Monday, May 28, 2012

Intestinal Fortitude

So I just got back from AZ, and brought along a surprise. I somehow managed to pick up an intestinal bug my last day there. TMI: It's moving through my system. I got more toots than a full brass band. So, on my Memorial day Holiday I got some time, while I lounge around and fart, to put a post here.

I am reading a book by Bill Bryson called "A Short History of Nearly Everything". I am to the part where he talks about the microbes in and around our bodies, the one's we use, the one's that are nice in some places but not so nice in others. I can't help but think about this intestinal bug I picked up, and where it came from. I was out on a run in Long Canyon in Sedona, and I was punctured by what I thought was an agave plant. This is also known as an "Aloe" plant. I wonder if that puncture lead to some bacteria releasing into my bloodstream. It hurt like hell, and the area around it was was sore and inflamed. It burned like nobody's business. Anyway, my point is that we think we are so healthy, and in a moment it can change that quickly. Was it the plant that made me sick? Who knows..In a way I just feel lucky it was only as minor, and if a short lived intestinal bug is all I get I am grateful. Intestinal Fortitude. Got some.

Madison Marathon
So they cancelled the Madison Marathon. Evidently, the organizers felt that the heat was too much for runners to take. Feh. To me, this just goes to show the degradation of the marathon distance in general. It's an every man distance now. My most recent marathon time puts me in the top 16% of the race, at age 50. It was a very lukewarm pedestrian 3:35. My 3:19 at Chicago was good for top 7%, of 33,000 runners. 20 years ago, that wouldn't have even been middle of the road. Anyway, back to my point. Now, everyone thinks they can 'run' a marathon, and expect organizers to take care of their every need, and ensure they don't get hurt or do something stupid. Sorry folks, but it's YOUR responsibility to ensure your own safety. The race is the race, the Madison Marathon should have gone on as expected and the runners should decide if the conditions warrant starting, or dropping out. Ultra runners know what I mean about personal responsibility. I ran a 50 mile race in July, at 95 degrees and high humidity. I adjusted. Have road marathoners ever heard of S-caps? do they know how to carry a hand held, or a Camelbak? How about slowing down to the conditions? If the Ultra distances ever start to turn into what the road marathon has turned into, I am switching to a new sport. Intestinal Fortitude. Get some.

So spent some time in Sedona, AZ. Beautiful trails, all over. Hundreds of miles of them. My only regret was not getting a four wheel drive vehicle. A lot of the more majestic trails have pavement leading right up to them. This makes it's easier for everyone to get to and enjoy them, but of course, that means bigger crowds too. If you didn't get there early, it was hell getting parking. Realizing this early on, I stayed on my 'central' time clock and rose every day at 5 AM pacific, which was 7AM central. This put my out there on the trails at 6 or so, and I could get the primo parking and be well on my way before anyone else got out there. It worked most of the time, except when the parking lot didn't open until later. Rather than go through these gyrations, I would have preferred to just drive into the back country, and avoid the crowds all together. Hence the need for a four wheel drive. I did one run, up Wilson Mountain, and it was fairly obvious I would have the trail to myself. It's a jewel, easy to get to, and HARD. AS. HELL. 4 miles up, 2300 feet elevated, from 4700 to 7000 feet. Pretty much the whole thing was UP. I guess the tourists don't have Intestinal Fortitude to handle something like that. Suits me just fine. let em go shopping instead.

More Tourists
I went to the Grand Canyon one day. It was amazing. Awesome. Spectacular. It was also overrun by tourists. It's a national monument to be sure. 5 million people every year. For someone like me, its much harder to enjoy when I feel like I am in a mall.: Heading down Bright Angel, fewer and fewer people to contend with. I understand the desire to run rim-rim-rim, it's puts you in touch with the soul of the place. Gets you out there, alone and away from the crowds. I am grateful, actually that such a place exists for both the tourists and the individualists. The tourists can look at it from afar, and take it all in. I have to touch, see, smell it up close. I am a dirt roller by nature. Speaking of which, even an individualist likes company now and then. I found this great running store in Sedona, where they really have Intestinal Fortitude. They got some, for sure. Read the two bios, they are good runners, and know the area well. The Sedona Running Company proves to me one other thing. If you read their page, you will see they have a sense of humor. Something I find common in Ultra folks. Here is a good example from the events list from their site.
It's also nice to know that there is actually a semi-organized event of this type. May 19, Grand Caynon R2R2R Start training now...This could be your chance to complete this Ultrarunning right of passage. Email Adam for details. Other distances available: Rim-to-river-to-rim (15 miles) Rim-to-rim with shuttle back to start (22 miles) Rim-to-river-to helicopter rescue (not recommended) 

That's it for me today. I.m pooped. no pun intended.

Post note: One last thing. On Memorial Day and every day, a very large thank you to all veterans. My Dad (Korean), my uncles Howie Wagner and Bob Kushel (Vietnam) my ex-father-in-law Arlo Kanter (WWII), Rolly Royce, Scott Royce, Randy Hansen, and probably more than I can think of right now. Yeah, you got intestinal fortitude.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Big Rocks

Headed to Sedona this afternoon. Red Rock country.

Going to run in the Grand Canyon for a bit too, I hope. Have a good week everyone, I'll post pictures as I can.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Miles to go before I sleep

I've been getting a lot of miles in lately. In my car that is. The trail? not so much.  This week alone I spent 9 hours in the car. Ugh. The career thing has changed my habits a bit as of late. So its time for some adjustments.

For the first time in my life, I am going to live away from the epicenter of where I was born. Funny when you think about it. I have always traveled, to a whole variety of places in this country. But I've never called anywhere but Janesville Wisconsin home.

Now that's changing. I am moving away. closer to my work, so I can cut down my drive time.

We'll have to see how this goes.