Turtle Days 2019

I ran the Turtle Days 5K this weekend. When I was getting ready I went upstairs to sift through my collection of race t-shirts for something to wear for the race.

Shuffling through memories of long-forgotten races I found my t-shirt from Turtle Days, 2000. What could be more perfect to wear in 2019?

19 years, where’d they go?

I’ve written down every race I’ve ever run, my time, and often the weather conditions, how much I weighed, and how I felt. Looking back to that year 2000 race I’ve given up about 5 minutes over 5K in 19 years at Turtle Days. 16 seconds a year.

I toed the line, feeling good in 2019, hoping to better my time last year by a significant margin. And for a couple miles, it was going that way. I was ahead of last year’s pace. My niece Hillary was running too, at 2 miles I was on her heels and I was feeling damn proud at keeping up with a 27 year old.

But as mile 3 dragged on I faded and ended up running almost exactly the same pace as I did last year. I was disappointed, but as I look at the 19 year trend, I bucked the trend this year by 16 seconds.

And I won my age group.

I’ll take that.

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I’m Cold

I took my Mom today to have a minor medical procedure done, one where she needed a light anesthetic .

All went well and as she was coming back from the anesthetic they called me to come sit with her in the recovery room.

As she woke up she kept saying, “I’m cold. I’m cold.” [1] The wonderful nurses in the recovery room would bring her a warmed blanket each time she said that.

And it freaked me out. I’ve just finished re-reading Catch-22 [2] and one of Yossarian’s recurring memories throughout the book is the gunner Snowden saying, “I’m cold. I’m cold.” after he’s been wounded on a bombing run. [3] Only at the end of the book do you find out that Snowden is horribly wounded and dying.

Like Yossarian, at that moment I just wanted to run away.

1. It was cold in there. Felt nice on a muggy day.
2. If, like me, you haven’t read Catch-22 since high school, go to your local library, get a copy, and read it. What an amazing book.
3. Spoiler alert.

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Not Yet

I did the 15 mile run today that my marathon training plan called for.

The last two miles were a death march, I kept running but if a kind stranger had stopped and asked if I needed a ride I would have taken that offer in a second,

I got done and thought, “That’s it, I’m giving up, a marathon is not in my future.” I staggered up to the house and drank and ate everything in sight (including all the ibuprofen in the house).

Now, 7 hours later I’m feeling ok. Next week is a rest week, and then 17 miles the week after.

I’m not giving up yet.

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Modern Medicine

After a week of being trapped in the maw of modern medicine all I know is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

The people working in the system are wonderful people and they’re doing their best. But the model, the paradigm, the whatever is so broken, they’re not helping.

I just don’t know.

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Feeling Good Again

I’ve set myself the goal of running the Fort4Fitness marathon on September 28th, 2019. I last (and first) ran a marathon in 1997, the year I turned 40. I’ll be 62 years old by September 28th.

I’ve been following Jeff Galloway’s program [1]. It’s based on running 3 days a week, long slow runs, and regular walking breaks alternating with running. I run 4 minutes and 30 seconds and walk 30 seconds in the particular program I’m doing.

And it’s working. I feel so good running. Before I started following this program I had tendinitis in my right hip. My lower back would tighten up during a run. Both of those made running, and everyday life, painful.

Today I ran 11 miles and while I was tired and achy by the end I didn’t hurt. Mile 11 felt better than mile 1 [2]. No hip pain, no back pain. An 11:35 pace is nothing to brag about, but I’m not bragging, I’m just feeling good again.

 

1. “The Official Run-Walk-Run Site.”  I don’t get the “Run-Walk-Run” title, the program is Run-Walk or Run-Walk-Run-Walk if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.

2. That probably has more to do with that I did my run today after having Easter brunch at my favorite sister-in-law’s house. It took about 4 miles before I wasn’t feeling my stuffed gut.

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Wasted Again

Talk not of wasted affection, affection never was wasted;
If it enrich not the heart of another, its waters, returning
Back to their springs, like the rain, shall fill them full of refreshment;
That which the fountain sends forth returns again to the fountain.

Evangeline – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

My mom has vascular dementia, she often doesn’t know what day it is and can’t complete thoughts or sentences.

But her intellect remains formidable. We were talking the other day and she asked, apropos of nothing, “What do you know about Evangeline? Do you know why Longfellow wrote it?”

I had to admit the only reason I knew about Evangeline was because James Lee Burke frequently mentions her in his Dave Robicheaux crime fiction stories. [1]

After that conversation I stopped at the Peabody library in Columbia City [2] and checked out a Longfellow collection. I plowed through the dense, almost impenetrable to me, 19th century text and came across the gem that I quoted at the start of this post.

We’ve been talking a lot about fountains these days. Son Josh has done a jaw-dropping amount of genealogical research and relevant to this post our family name [3] can be rendered as “to the fountain.”

The words of a long dead poet, dredged up who knows why by the tangled synapses of my mom’s mind, through a good public library, to my son’s genealogical research.

These things flow by and through me. I’m a baffled conduit of wonder.

1. I didn’t admit that I thought Wordsworth wrote Evangeline. One of my great regrets in life was that I pursued a technical rather than a liberal arts education.

2. Public libraries are a treasure. I’m filled with hope every time after I visit one.

3. Zumbrun. Are you paying attention?

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Sounds Like Home

I’d planned to make broccoli beef tonight which we usually make with flank steak or something like that. But when I went to the freezer last night we were out of flank steak or sirloin or anything really appropriate.

So I grabbed a chuck roast [1] and slapped it in the refrigerator and decided I’d figure out how to make it work later[2].

Tonight rolled around, it’s 5pm and I’ve got a chunk of roast to get ready for supper. I considered slicing it paper thin and searing it and hoping for the best, but then I remembered my favorite cooking tool, the pressure cooker.

This isn’t one of the modern Instant Pots, this is an old school pressure cooker. You pour in some water, a chunk of meat, crank the heat and let it rattle away for 30 minutes or so and you make a tough old chuck roast meltingly tender.

More than anything else, it reminds me of home. My mom and my grandmothers used pressure cookers. To hear it rattling away on the stovetop and to smell the rich steam takes me home again when I was a little kid [3] and that sound and smell meant good things soon like beef and noodles.

Or good things like broccoli beef. We’re eating light these days, and beef and noodles served over mashed potatoes doesn’t exactly fit the bill.

So I sliced the chuck roast thin, trimming off all the fat and put it in the pressure cooker with garlic, ginger, soy sauce and water. Once it got up to steam I set the timer for 12 minutes and cut up a couple heads of broccoli, a green bell pepper, and some green onions.

Then after the beef came out of the pressure cooker I seared the beef in the wok, added the vegetables, then a sauce of soy sauce, oyster sauce, ginger, garlic, and scallions and et voila!

Broccoli Beef

Served on a bed of cauliflower rice, it’s delicious, light, and … tastes like home.

1. Yes, it bothers me to cook “Chuck”.
2. I’m a little hard-wired. The menu was done first, so the ingredients must conform to the menu. To adapt the menu, since it was done first, would be, well, wrong.
3. ” Didn’t have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standin’ by”

— End of the Innocence, by Don Henley

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Just Me, Just Running

I love to run. 9 miles this morning on one of my favorite routes down Chapine Road.

I’m training for a marathon this fall. I don’t know that I’ll get there, that these old feet, knees, and hips will stand up to the pounding.

But I just love to run. To go out this morning and spend an hour and 45 minutes running was pure pleasure. Not that it didn’t hurt. My feet and back were aching during the run, and my quads are going to tell me about it tomorrow.

While running I lose myself in my thoughts, just drift along ruminating on old memories, or thinking about what might happen next, or just enjoying the moment, feeling my breath cycling oxygen in and co2 out, my heart beating strong, all fueling my legs to keep moving on.

Running a marathon will be nice, but just running makes me happy.

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Artificial (non) Intelligence

I was at Wal*Mart in Columbia City today with my mom, and we picked up a box of Zeiss Wipes, looked at them, realized that wasn’t what we were looking for, and put them back. And when I got home and opened up Facebook this ad was in my feed.

I don’t know what bothers me more, the creepy stalking by Wal*Mart or sheep-like belief by advertisers that this sort of “big data – A.I. – targeted marketing” works.

Let me spell it out for you Wal*Mart, you’re wasting your money, I’ve never bought any brand of lens wipes and I’m unlikely to ever buy lens wipes. Get the message?

I’ve never clicked on an online ad and so obviously I’ve never purchased anything from doing so. Maybe you targeted marketing chimps[1] could factor that into your algorithms. Oh wait, that would cut into your revenue. Don’t do that, it’s all about how much money you can generate, that’s the only measure that matters[2].

And if that isn’t clear enough for you, I never, ever, willingly shop at Wal*Mart[3]. You are a disgusting blight on our community. Go away, shoo, shoo!

1. These chimps are software developers. I’ve written software, boy and man, since 1982. These chimps are my professional brothers and sisters. My siblings? I’m ashamed of you.

And for what? For a little bit of money. There’s more to life than a little money, you know. Don’t you know that? And here ya are, and it’s a beautiful day. Well, I just don’t understand it.
— Marge Gunderson’s soliloquy in the movie Fargo.

2. “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil.” – 1 Timothy 6:10. Or as a latter day prophet, Sir Albert Howard, put it “the cursed thirst for profit is at the root of the mischief.”

3. I did buy groceries at Meijer for a while, but I couldn’t shake the unclean feeling. It’s a horrible soulless place, sucking the life out of the community. I don’t care if they do stock Edwin Coe products.

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Ain’t Gonna Study War No More

This ad has been running on TV this fall. The Army as a POV video game. Those aren’t human beings on the other side of your point of view, they’re “challenges.”

We’re not “fighting for honor”, we’re not “fighting for country”. We are fighting to win battles as pointless as a video game and the dead, crippled, and maimed suffered and suffer for no reason.

I reject this glorification of the military.

And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.

Isaiah 2:4

Any question on how He will judge us?

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