Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

Shoes for industry

October 23, 2022

The shoes say “Yes, yes, yes,” but the cold feet say “No.”

My old copy-desk comrade Hal Walter and I have a habit of carpet-bombing each other in the morning with news items hot off the digital press, guaranteed to elevate the heart rate.

This morning he hit me with a grim item about a cyclist bludgeoned to death by Florida Man, observing, “Cyclists piss people off for some reason.”

I fired back with some AAA advice for driving in winter weather, since Hal has to take his son Harrison up to Leadville today and snow is in the forecast.

Next, since the lads were doing a 14-mile run before leaving Weirdcliffe, I doubled down with a running mag’s top-10 tips for legging it in the cold — guidance that seemed heavy on the buying of various items.

And finally, for the coup de grâce, I tacked on a hastily freestyled top-10 list of my own, possibly because the wind was blowing about 666 mph here in The Duck! City and the going outside seemed contraindicated. Also, I may have been slightly overcaffeinated.

Dr. DogByte Sez: “Run Right Out and Buy Some Shit!”

Tip No. 1: Buy shit.

Tip No. 2: Buy more shit.

Tip No. 3: You know you can’t be happy without buying shit, so buy some more shit.

Tip No. 4: Buy some shit, then run around the corner to the coffee shop and buy some more shit there.

Tip No. 5: Buy some shit, then step outside, mumble, “Fuck me, it’s cold out here. I should really go back inside and buy some more shit.”

Tip No. 6: Buy some shit for your squeeze. Maybe your squeeze will then buy some shit for you, or even suggest taking your exercise indoors and under the covers, where it’s warm.

Tip No. 7: No, probably not. In fact, she’s out running. So while the cat’s away, you might as well just buy some shit for yourself.

Tip No. 8: Now that you’ve got the carpal tunnel from buying shit, you should probably schedule an appointment with a physical therapist. Which is kind of like buying shit, except you can’t brag about it while showing it to your friends.

Tip No. 9: So fuck that shit. You’d have to go outside, if only to get in the car. Better stay inside and buy some more shit, using your good hand.

Tip No. 10: That knock on the door? Not UPS. Collection agency. Looks like it’s time to run after all. If you don’t have a back door use a window. Think of it as parkour. We’ll have some tips for that if you make it back. With a viable credit card, of course.

Run!

March 19, 2022

The wind smears clouds like a finger over pastel pencil.

Running was the order of the day yesterday. Not from the Russians, or even from the cops. Just ’cause.

Mostly just ’cause it was all we had time for.

Another round of visitors was en route and I had been instructed to deploy my mad posole skillz. The cooking is not difficult but does burn a bit of daylight, even with Herself handling the salad, cornbread, and ice cream. So instead of a refreshing bike ride we did a half hour of the old hep hoop hreep horp along the foothills trails.

I was not at the top of my game, with seasonal allergies using my snotlocker for a speed bag and the Worm Moon wiggling into my REM sleep the night before. I don’t like taking drugs that don’t make you see things that aren’t there, or vertical blinds that make you see things that are there.

Next time we need window treatments I’ll stay in the kitchen where I’m useful, maybe whip up a batch of posole for the installers. Either that or go for a run or ride, come home just in time to sign the check.

Red vs. white

March 6, 2022

March keeps pitching its meteorological curveballs.

It just snowed for a solid 10 seconds, so I guess the drought is over.

Whoops — on its thin white heels comes the red-flag warning. Winds of 25-25 mph, with gusts to 55? Ixnay on the inklerspray, hon’; we’d only be steaming the neighbors’ raggedy-ass cottonwood.

What a fine day to not be towing a rented travel trailer, as the neighbors will be doing directly. Even a bicycle will be too high-profile a vehicle for Your Humble Narrator.

Here in a bit I hope to squeeze in a short run. Got to keep the muscle memory alive in case Voldemort Poutaine decides he’d like to add The Duck! City to his collection.

Of course, the old spook might be having second thoughts about property acquisition given his struggles in Ukraine. And if he isn’t, he should be. To paraphrase Rick from “Casablanca,” “There are certain sections of New Mexico that I wouldn’t advise you to try to invade.”

“Boris, is this not where we parked the tank?”

“Da, Mikhail, it was right here. Central and Pennsylvania. Remember the friendly lady behind the In & Out who beckoned to us as we passed? She offered to take us around the world and you said, ‘But we just got here!'”

The dust storm we had on Friday would have reminded their fathers of the good old days in Afghanistan. It looked like one of the haboobs that periodically buggers traffic between Tucson and Phoenix. Blotted out the valley to the west and a slice of the Sandias to the east, redistributing portions of the Upper Chihuahuan Desert without need for tanks, aircraft, or artillery.

I didn’t ride or run Friday. But I got out yesterday for a 90-minute ride, and found myself dealing with another sort of Eurasian invasion — trails clogged with tumbleweeds, also known as (wait for it) the Russian thistle.

The endorphin hit parade

February 4, 2022

The winter, it lingers.

Six degrees at 6 a.m. Is it an omen, d’ye think?

Probably not. Just the pre-caffeination brain spinning its wheels like a 1996 F-150 with a bed full of firewood, half in the ditch on a snowy Colorado afternoon.

And yeah, I’ve been there.

Today’s high may be that in name only, so I’m thinking ixnay on the ike-bay. A short run seems sensible, if you will concede that running — with empty hands, anyway — can ever be sensible.

I don’t mind it, as long as I’m not breaking ankles. But running will never be my first choice if the temperature is 40° or better and there isn’t snow on the deck.

The Mitchell High School swim team in 1970, the year we went 11-0.

Last on my endorphin hit parade is swimming. I spent 10 years on swim teams, ages 8 to 18, and swam laps off and on afterward in Tucson, Pueblo, Denver, and Bibleburg, because I was a member of some gym that had a 25-meter pool and why not?

But I got tired of smelling like chemicals and wearing green eyebrows and feeling my hair freeze between the gym and the car every February. The hair freezing is no longer an issue, but the rest of it still applies. A friend of a similar vintage quips, “We all end up in the pool,” but I notice he ain’t there yet.

Plus there’s a weird sonic vibe in the pool area, like you’re stroking through a Louisiana Best Buy with a leaky roof during a hurricane. And you have to see other old dudes bareass in the shower, which should be part of any “Scared Straight” programs the schools are running these days.

“This is what prison looks like, kids.”

“Jesus Christ! I’ve shoplifted my last pack of smokes, honest!”

That right there is a kid who’ll take up running with empty hands. Unless he steals a bike first.

Why the long shadow?

December 21, 2021

Gandalf the Grey? Nah. Gradaigh the Groady.

No, it’s not some dark twist on the old “a horse walks into a bar” joke.

It’s solstice! Short day, low sun, long shadows. Huzzah, etc.

Don’t forget your cap, squire.

I start carrying a cycling cap on rides this time of year. Generally I get a late start, because it’s not exactly toasty out there in the mornings, even in the Upper Chihuahuan Desert. And if I’m headed home into that low sun come midafternoon, I want some sort of eyeshade so I can see who’s trying to kill me.

Likewise on hikes I favor a broad-brimmed hat, either a Carhartt crushable boonie or a Broner fedora if I’m feeling stylish.

For runs I go back to the cycling cap — not the Rivendell, but a beat-up Campagnolo model that is so old I can’t recall where or how I acquired it, since I’ve never been a Campy man. I usually fetch a light Sugoi watch cap along too, and wear one while tucking the other into my waistband. Got to keep the brain-box warm since I don’t drink the antifreeze no mo’.

Here comes the sun, doo doo doo doo. …

Just remember to keep moving, like the Earth around the sun, and the Milky Way around the amazing and expanding universe. Don’t crouch indoors like a gargoyle, puzzling out that goddamn WordPress block editor or how long it’s been since your last shot and whether you dare have your great-aunt Fannie over for tea and biscuits. Get out there and chase yourself around.

I know, it’s dark out there. It’s dark when you get up, dark when you go to bed, and in between it’s just dark.

But keep a smile on your lips and a song in your heart. While you’re at it, you might pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space, ’cause there’s bugger-all down here on Earth. And keep one hand on your liver.

Good night, moon.

Born to run

November 13, 2021

Harrison Walter (center) signs a letter of intent to run for Colorado Mountain College. His dad and coach, Hal, is third from the right.
Photo: Joy Parrish

My man Hal Walter recently arranged a small signing ceremony for his son, Harrison, who will be running cross country and track for Colorado Mountain College next year.

Harrison is on the autism spectrum, and so making the leap from high school to college may involve more gymnastics than it did for thee or me. Writes Hal in his Substack newsletter:

It’s been a long run for Harrison, who began his scholastic running career in middle school cross-country and track at Custer County, and then continued into high school. Seven years in all. In the first few years we didn’t know what direction he’d run when the gun went off — or if he’d actually run or melt down. We’re still working out the transition to college. He may be splitting his time in Leadville between online and in-person classes, and doing some workouts next fall with his old team — and coach — here in Westcliffe.

A tip of the Mad Dog mortarboard to Harrison and Hal for a job well done.

And speaking of jobs well done, Hal recently announced that he would be stepping down from MetaFaceButt to spend more time with his Substack newsletter. You can subscribe to that here.

The path is the Way

November 9, 2021

Light traffic, muted colors

I hate to do this to those of you who are wrestling with actual November weather. But oh, was yesterday ever a fine day to ride the ol’ bikey-bike down to the bosque.

It was a little late in the season to catch the prime fall colors, but there was a flash or two here and there.

Traffic was light on the Paseo del Bosque trail, so instead of heading south past I-40 to Mountain and heading home via the mean streets, Indian School and whatnot, I pulled a U at the interstate — pulling off the arm and knee warmers — and enjoyed a double dose of the auto-free environment.

Then I enhanced the experience by riding the Paseo del Norte path, the North Diversion Channel Trail, and the Arroyo del Oso/Bear Canyon Trail. Hey, you got all this bicycle infrastructure, why not put it to use?

The whole trip added up to a little more than 40 miles and made a nice change of pace from the usual dawdling about in the foothills. I enjoyed my departure from the norm so much that I did it again today.

No, not the 40-mile bike ride. Today, I went for a run.

Saddle up, buckaroos

April 6, 2021

Longtime Friend of the Blog Hal Walter got a little teevee time on the Tube of You recently when Nancy Hobbs, executive director of the American Trail Running Association, popped round to his place with a videographer in tow.

Nancy wanted to chat about burro racing, which Hal has been doing for more than 40 years, winning seven world championships along the way. So naturally he had a few thoughts on the topic.

The video is a three-parter. The first is up top, and you can catch the others here and here.

Paddy melt

March 18, 2021

The ground drank that snow like a college kid hitting a beer
during spring break in Florida.

Our St. Paddy’s snow lasted about as long as bipartisanship in Congress.

Herself went out for a short run yesterday afternoon and reported that the trails were barely tacky. And this morning is as you see.

When the weather gets goofy like this I miss running. It’s such a convenient workout when God is pitching changeups at you. Efficient. Minimal gear. No coasting.

A 45-minute trail run isn’t long enough to be boring, and it doesn’t gnaw off a sizable chunk of your day the way cycling does. You can get started early, and finish early, too. Nobody honks at you, unless you’re running past a goose with attitude.

Running and swimming are probably our purest forms of exercise, although an indoor pool is an expensive accessory. You can always acquire property on some placid sandy beach in a tropical paradise, but that’s even pricier than a Y membership.

And the ocean likes to go for a run every now and then too. Sometimes it takes you with it.

Oh, Lord, I can feel myself getting talked into it. Running, not swimming; we got sand, but this ain’t no tropical paradise. My feets have already failed me once. Spring can’t come soon enough.

The corral-based lifestyle

May 14, 2020

As long as we’re checking in with old compañeros, say howdy to my man Hal Walter.

Hal is Bug-bound up to Weirdcliffe, in Crusty County, Colo., where he’s helping his son finish his sophomore year in high school; trying to cobble together something approximating a living (he doesn’t call his blog “Hardscrabble Times” as a party gag); and pondering the cancellation of the marquee events on this year’s burro-racing calendar.

“You know, these are weird times,” he says in the video up top. “I’ve been in the sport of pack-burro racing for 40 years, and the idea that we wouldn’t … have a season is just unbelievable to me. The important thing, I think, is for us all to stay connected — stay connected to our animals, the earth, and the sky.”

Social distancing isn’t much of an adjustment for guys like Hal and me. We’ve been home-based scribes for hire since forever (some days it seems so, anyway). And we weren’t all that cuddly when we had reg’lar newspaper jobs. Ask anyone.

But The Bug® is out to bite us all in some tender place, no matter what we do or where we do it. The sumbitch got Hal and his burro-racing buddies right in the ass. So, like the rest of us, he’s just trying to keep himself plugged in and plugging along, putting one foot in front of the other.

You can download a free copy of Hal’s latest e-book, “American Flats,” at “Hardscrabble Times.”