Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

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.”

Sailin’ shoes

April 21, 2020

The Linear Trail at rush hour.

I’m no longer running because I’m apparently a fragile old fart, assembled from stale Olive Garden breadsticks, paper straws, and Tinkertoys.

But Herself is still at it. Denied her beloved indoor group workouts, she zips out to pound ground. Hup hoop hreep horp, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

Me, I went for a brisk walk. There are worse ways to spend 45 minutes on a sun-splashed afternoon in New Mexico. Most of them involve reading the news.

Have a nice trip? See you next fall

February 26, 2020

Waiting on the “provider” at urgent care. Is it just me, or does
“The Provider” sound like some sort of third-tier Marvel superhero?

One of the sad things about modern medicine is the questions you get asked.

It used to be, “Where does it hurt?” Or, “What brings you to see us today?”

Now it’s “Do you feel safe in your home?”

As long as I can see the wife in my peripheral vision, and both of her hands are empty, sure.

Or, “Are you depressed?”

Not until you asked me that question.

Another popular one seems to be, “Have you had any other falls recently?”

I didn’t fall this time. I broke my ankle running and then hopped around on the good leg, screaming all of George Carlin’s “Seven Words” in no particular order. Then I limped home, got in the car, and drove a few blocks to visit some people who seem to enjoy probing strangers for weakness and financial information.

While we’re discussing modern medicine, here’s another observation about crutches. Not only do they still not come equipped with cup holders, shocks, or hydraulic disc brakes as standard equipment, but no matter where or how you park them, like Doc Sarvis’s bicycle, they still slide immediately to the floor.

And finally, if like me you suddenly seem to have some time on your hands that desperately needs filling, scope out this fine interview with Sonny Rollins. He’s had to give up the sax due to illness, but he hasn’t given up, y’feel me?

Foot, loose

February 23, 2020

They didn’t have any Reynolds 853 crutches with cup holders.

So there I was, JRA (Just Running Along), when my right ankle folded up like a cheap umbrella, only with an ominous crunch that said, “Try walking this one off, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.”

I’m no stranger to sprained ankles. Don’t know why. A rolled ankle is just one of those deals that keeps coming around, like acid flashbacks or “Golden Girls” reruns.

But usually I walk that shit off.

Not this time.

Oh, I had to walk, all right. I never run with a phone. And even if I did, Herself was in Florida, so who was I gonna call to come get me? Batman? I never run with a Bat-Signal either.

So I hobbled home, wrapped the ankle up like a fat burrito, and drove to the neighborhood urgent-care outfit for an X-ray, expecting the usual RICE advice with a sizable bill attached to lend it some authority.

Not this time. Sumbitch ain’t sprained. It’s busted.

So I drove home with a removable ankle stirrup, a list of orthopods, and the obligatory pair of aluminum crutches.

And can you believe it? Crutches still don’t come with cup holders. I had to fabricate that sucker myself with a big assist from King Cage and the USB (Universal Support Bolt).

Drip grind

April 17, 2019

Welcome to the jungle.

Yesterday I rolled the dice and came up winners.

Come spring I dial the running back to once a week, usually Monday. But Monday was just too damn’ nice to pound ground, so I took Steelman Eurocross No. 1 out for a spin around the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

Don’t be gruel to a heart that’s true. (h/t the Checkered Demon
via S. Clay Wilson.)

Tuesday was a tossup. LIke Monday, it served up some prime cycling weather, but Wednesday’s forecast called for rain, and I hate a squishy trail. So I ran.

And a good thing too, because today is reminding me of my days slaving for an afternoon daily in Oregon, only without the mold, slugs, and bottomless drams of Jameson with Guinness backs.

I still get that 4 a.m. wakeup call, since Herself is an early riser. But at least I’m not the one who has to leave a warm, dry house to work. Give my umbrella to the Rain Dogs.