Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

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.

Snow fun

February 24, 2019

Harrison and Hal. | Photo: Nancy Hobbs

My man Hal Walter and his boy Harrison suited up for a 10K on my old cyclocross course in Bibleburg on Saturday, but it wasn’t exactly a triumph, or even one of those father-son interactions that makes you go “Awwwwwwww. …”

Still, as Hal notes over at Hardscrabble Times: “Sometimes you ‘win.’ Sometimes you learn.”

Give it a read.

 

Put on your sailin’ shoes

February 22, 2019

Everyone will start to cheer when you put on your sailin’ shoes.

Man, it seems I’m not the only person with a bad case of the Februaries.

Bicycle Retailer’s Steve Frothingham is at Frostbike in Minnesota, but it’s not a social call, and seems unlikely to break a streak of two weeks without exercise.

“S’what’s on the menu this evening?” I asked yesterday. “Partying with industry leaders?”

“Typing,” he replied.

Adventure Cyclist‘s Nick Legan, meanwhile, was riding that fabled Road to Nowhere in Colorado and looking forward to the Roll Massif, which will be conducted outdoors, with any luck at all in warmer weather.

Ooo, datsa baaaaaaad ol’ puddy tat.
| Photo by Hal Walter

“I was on the trainer myself,” he said. “Tried distracting myself from the misery with intervals and a movie. Worked in some respects, didn’t in others.”

Up Weirdcliffe way, Hal Walter was dealing with single-digit temps, wind, and writer’s block in what he called “the worst winter in recent memory.”

He was also keeping a weather eye out for unwelcome company. When I asked what made those tracks, he replied, “Something that could eat you.”

Me, I was making my own tracks. I put on my sailin’ shoes — along with fleece-lined tights, two Patagucci long-sleeved shirts, an old ShaverSport wind jacket, tuque, and gloves — and lumbered off into a strong southerly wind that bore nary a whiff of sun-splashed desert.

I hit some sort of weirdo thermocline just past the turnaround and set about unzipping this and unbuttoning that. But by the time I’d left the trail and hit the short paved stretch leading home I was freezing my huevos off again.

It wasn’t what I’d call fun, but it was exercise, and some days that’s enough. Still, if you must run, don’t forget to take your Little Feat with you.

Doctor, doctor, well, I feel so bad
This is the worst day I ever had
He said, Have you this misery a very long time?
Well, if you ill, I’ll lay it on the line
You’ve got to put on your sailin’ shoes
Put on your sailing shoes
Everyone will start to cheer
When you put on your sailin’ shoes

Limping into the new year

December 31, 2018

Tonight’s the last night for holiday lights.

The finish line is just around the corner. If we can just stay on our feet — never a sure thing — we’ll make it to 2019.

It’s been a week since I took my little tumble on the trail, and in that time I’d neither run nor ridden, reasoning that my crumbling temple of the soul needed a little quiet renovation.

Besides, it was cold out there. Snowy, too, and windy, with ice in the shady spots and everything. One of yis up north must have sent your miserable climate down here for a change of scenery.

Thus the cycling was right out. I’d managed a couple short, limpy walks, favoring that dodgy left knee, but skipped the resistance training ’cause my right mitt looked like a couple bucks’ worth of ground round. With a good thick bandage and heavy gloves I could shovel snow, and that was fine. Lifting weight with an actual purpose, don’t you know.

FInally, today everything seemed more or less in order, and as it started to snow again I tottered out for a short run. It felt weird at first; if you’ve ever tweaked a knee you know the feeling, the reluctance to put any serious weight on it, your stride having strayed, your mojo gone missing.

But gradually I loosened up and settled back into something like a rhythm, and while I pussyfooted around the icy patches I was able to shake off a few flakes of rust. When I got back to the ranch I even treated myself to a little quality time with the dumbbells.

No, not those dumbbells. I’m talking weights here. I’m still hoping to see the other dumbbells in the dock here directly. It’s gotta be Mueller Time one of these days.

As for the rest of yis, I hope to see you slouching around El Rancho Pendejo come the new year. Keep your heads in the clouds and your feet on the trail, and we’ll all join up on the flip side for another lap around old Sol.

Satan Claws

December 24, 2018

A rare photo of me thumb out of me arse.

Well, I picked up an early gift from my old buddy Satan Claws. Sonofabitch tripped me up on a trail run today and pitched me ass over teakettle.

Tore up the heel of my right hand and my right elbow, wrenched my left knee, and collected a couple other dingers here and there. I expect a few more will manifest themselves about the time I’m trying to get to sleep tonight.

Funny thing is, I didn’t really feel like running, but I did it anyway. Now I really don’t feel like running.

WIth Pat O’B’s bicep on the fritz it looks like the DogHaus is serving up a Paddy melt(down) for Christmas. Deck them halls, all y’all. Fa la la la la, la la, la, la.

Fathers and sons: Going the distance

November 2, 2018

Harrison “The Blur” Walter hits the creek crossing at the 2018 Colorado cross-country championships. | Photo: Hal Walter

Kicking off his interview with John Cleese last week, Marc Maron talked briefly about being invited to play guitar alongside Slash and Jimmy Vivino while hosting a benefit show for The Blues Foundation and The Americana Music Association.

Maron plays, but not at that level, and noted afterward: “The thing I always seem to learn over and over when I am around real musicians is they have committed their lives to a magical art. I am always amazed and excited at how consistently they nail songs and take you on that journey.”

Hey, I can dig it. Now me, I’m a professional rumormonger, which is to say that I get money to mong rumors, mostly by writing, occasionally by cartooning. And after more than a few decades of practice, practice, practice, which has yet to get me to Carnegie Hall, I can mong a quick rumor with keyboard or pen at the drop of a hat full of cash.

And a very small hat it usually is, too. More of a cap, actually. The sort one might find on a pint of Jameson or a bottle of Advil.

But podcasting? It feels like typing with boxing gloves, or drawing with a banana.

So, yeah, I get it when Maron — who is a podcaster, among other things — says of his hobbyist guitar-playing: “I can show up, and I can play, but I’m gonna clunk up something … that is not my craft, that is not my art, that is not my form. …”

Which is the long way around to saying that yes, we have another episode of the distinctly unprofessional and gratuitously hobbyist Radio Free Dogpatch on tap. It is quite literally an amateur hour, and you might need the Jameson and Advil to get through it.

In this one I chat at some length (and some distance) with my old comrade Hal Walter about his son Harrison, who just wrapped his first year with the high school cross-country team.

It was an up-and-down season for the 14-year-old, and he didn’t qualify as a varsity athlete for the state championship meet, held last Saturday in Bibleburg. But as an autistic athlete it seems he was eligible to race an event for special-needs kids.

Now, Hal prefers to keep Harrison in the mainstream whenever it’s possible and practical. But Harrison had been talking all season about going to states, and while he hadn’t made the varsity cut, he did have a strong finish to the regular season.

This left his dad with a tough call to make. Give it a listen.

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with a Shure SM58 microphone and a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB audio interface plugged into a a late-2009 iMac, using Ecamm’s Call Recorder for FaceTime, which apparently will not survive Apple’s transition to macOS Mojave. I edited the audio using Apple’s GarageBand. The background music is “Matador’s Entry” from ZapSplat, and the race-day audio was stripped from a couple video clips forwarded by Hal Walter.