April 30, 2008


This article in the Seattle Times this morning touched me. It highlights what sports should be developing in our athletes - sportsmanship.

Something remarkable happened in a college softball game Saturday in Ellensburg. At least, I am conditioned to think it was remarkable, since it involved an act of sportsmanship, with two players helping an injured opponent complete the home run she had just slugged.

Why this generous act should seem so unusual probably stems from the normal range of bulked-up baseball players, police-blotter football players, diving soccer and hockey players and other high-profile professionals.

The moment of grace came after Sara Tucholsky, a diminutive senior for Western Oregon, hit what looked like a three-run homer against Central Washington. Never in her 21 years had Tucholsky propelled a ball over a fence, so she did not have her home run trot in order, gazing in awe, missing first base. When she turned back to touch the bag, her right knee buckled, and she went down, crying and crawling back to first base.

Pam Knox, the Western Oregon coach, made sure no teammates touched Tucholsky, which would have automatically made her unable to advance. The umpires ruled that if Tucholsky could not make it around the bases, two runs would score but she would be credited with only a single. ("She'll kill me if I take it away from her," Knox thought.)

Then Mallory Holtman, the powerful first baseman for Central Washington, said words that brought a chill to everybody who heard them:

"Excuse me, would it be OK if we carried her around and she touched each bag?"

The umpires huddled and said it would be legal, so Holtman and the Central Washington shortstop, Liz Wallace, lifted Tucholsky, hands crossed under her, and carried her to second base, and gently lowered her so she could touch the base. Then Holtman and Wallace started to giggle, and so did Tucholsky, through her tears, and the three of them continued this odd procession to third base and home to a standing ovation.

"Everybody was crying," Knox recalled Tuesday. "It was an away game, and our four fans were crying. We couldn't hit after that."

The extra run made it easier for Western Oregon to win the second game, 4-2, and sweep the doubleheader. More important, all involved realized they had taken part in an event they would always remember.

The question is, where did it come from, this impulsive gesture by Mallory Holtman?

"She hit it over the fence," Holtman said Tuesday. "She deserved it. Anybody would have done it. I just beat them to it."...

April 28, 2008

First Contact?

My boss is a big Star Trek fan. His coffee mug has the Federation insignia on it, and he has even semi-seriously thought about putting it on his business cards. I found this in the sink at work this morning.

I'm not sure what is floating in the mug, but it is almost a perfect image of the Federation insignia. Not exactly the Virgin Mary in toast, but a little weird nonetheless.

Weekly numbers

Down a pound and a half to 178 this morning. My running miles are tapering off a bit in the next couple weeks so I did a slightly better job of watching my food intake. Training numbers for the week were:

Running: 20 miles
Biking: 16 miles
Swimming: 1 mile

Tour de Dog

My friend Holly passed along this link this morning. Dogs and bikes - somehow she knew I'd be interested. Her friend bumped into David and Chiva when they were in San Francisco last weekend.

David is pedaling across the United States with his dog Chiva in tow. Their trip started in Seattle in mid-March, and they are currently somewhere near Santa Cruz, California. His rig including equipment, his and Chiva's weight is about 350 pounds. While traveling across the U.S., he and Chiva will hit all of the lower 48 and attempt to climb the highest point in each state. He will also be trying to raise funds to fight animal cruelty. Here is a map of their planned route.

When he hit the Oregon coast and mentioned the Seven Devils Road, I realized he had crossed paths with our route on the Pacific Coast ride in 2006. He travels through the Redwoods of California hitting several of the same small towns that we did. He has some great pictures and stories of friendly folks helping him out along the way.

He seems to post once or twice a week, and you can check in on their progress at: http://bikingdog.blogspot.com/

If you would like to start from the beginning (actually before the trip as he is preparing) you can go here: Before heading out on the trip, he visits some outdoor retailer conferences for sponsorship and equipment ideas, then heads to Alabama for some last minute advice from both his grandmothers (stay out of jail and have fun). You can then move forward along his trip by hitting the newer post link at the bottom of the page.

April 27, 2008

New traditions

Well after the snow and hail of the past couple of weekends, Spring is clawing its way into the Northwest. We enjoyed a beautiful afternoon yesterday, and I headed up to the tulip fields with some friends for a bike ride.

Roughly 60 miles north of Seattle, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is celebrating its 25th year in 2008. It runs through the month of April, though the recent cold weather may push the harvesting into May this time around. The various tulip fields are spread out in a roughly 15 mile radius area that is wonderfully flat for an early-season bike ride.

Our friend Gerry used to put together these rides, and Jeanette carried on the tradition by organizing this year's excursion. We all met in the town of La Conner and headed out in a group of about 15 riders. We even had our own Metal-Cowboy-like rig riding with us.

We took our time pedaling the country roads and drinking in the scenery. Last year many of the fields had already been harvested, so the variety of colors this year was a treat. We stopped at one of the more popular growers, Rozengaarde for a half hour of photos. Rozengaarde sounds a little Tolkienish, and it did not disappoint.

Our one mishap was when Jeanette lost the key to her bike lock. Before we could raz her too badly, she reminded us of the wonderful maps she had printed out for all of us. Fortunately one of the people from Rozengaarde came to our rescue with some bolt cutters. Those tulip stems must be pretty tough to cut through.

One more quick stop at the side of the road to get a few tulip field shots. Jennifer took this great shot of our youngest rider.

After our bike ride we met back at the La Conner Brew Pub for a great lunch on the patio. Afterwards we wandered down the street for a little ice cream. We know Gerry would've wanted us to. And to him we offer our toast for starting this traditional bike ride.

See you next year!

April 23, 2008

Friends in need

I've mentioned some friends that were going through some tough times, but haven't given many details. The Lindens found out they were pregnant in February. It was a happy surprise as they weren’t really trying to get pregnant, but they weren’t really trying to prevent it either. She is due August 27th.

They went in for their first ultrasound March 6th, and had another scheduled for March 31st to find out if they were going to have a boy or a girl. A few days before the 31st, they received a voicemail that there were some abnormalities in the blood work concerning neural tube disorders. Spina Bifida was mentioned. Though these tests have a high rate of false positives, during their March 31st appointment the ultrasound indicated club feet, excess fluid in the brain and a problem with the spine. Spina Bifida is now a reality. They decided to let everyone know their baby’s name so that we could all pray for her by name. Her name is Annabelle.

A month later they are still reeling, and probably have more questions than answers. They probably won’t know all the health issues Annabelle will face until she is born. It looks like the problem with the spine is between the T4 and T5 vertebrae, and that at this point she will likely be in a wheelchair.

One of the many thoughts they had when they found out they were pregnant was “we need to get this house finished before the baby arrives.” Beyond the baby-proofing, their house was a fixer-upper, and the garage-turned-living-room has walls torn down to the studs with open wiring and insulation. There is also some termite damage to a beam out front, and still other projects like refinishing the floors need to be taken care of before the baby arrives (nasty chemicals, etc). Now with all that has gone on in the past month, and with looming medical expenses on the horizon, they are not sure how they can do it all.

Their friend has offered to spearhead a weeklong fix-up/remodel of their home to get them ready for Annabelle. They have set up a benevolent account for Annabelle, and are asking for donations to help pay for the material costs of the build. I am sure the Lindens resisted the help at first, but they are at a point where they can't afford to turn away any help. Please visit the site to learn more about it, and donate if you can. The site is Annabelle’s Circle.

Happy Birthday Alyssa

April 22, 2008

Book recommendations

I had the opportunity to see Joe Kurmaskie at the Bike Expo back in February. He is also known as the Metal Cowboy and has written for Outside, Bicycling, Men's Journal magazines and has also written a number of books. He was a very entertaining speaker and I was looking forward to reading his books. I read both Metal Cowboy: Tales from the Road Less Pedaled and Momentum is your Friend and enjoyed them both.

"Tales" is a compilation of stories of his biking adventures of his youth including a trip down the east coast of the U.S. and a trip across Australia. "Momentum" is about a 4,000 mile bike trip across the United States starting in Portland (where he lives) to our nations capital. This time around though he is towing his two sons Quinn and Enzo. Quinn rides a trail-a-bike attached to Joe's bike and Enzo rides along in a trailer behind Quinn. Having his boys along adds to the weight he is pulling, but it also adds more child-like wonder and exuberance to the trip (not that he's lacking in either department).

The books are less about climbing hills (though there are plenty of those) than it is about the people and scenery he sees along the way. He meets some wonderful and entertaining folks along the open road. There are some heartfelt moments as well as very funny ones.

Anyone who has done some traveling by bike should really enjoy these books. Beyond that smaller audience, anyone who has a sense of wanderlust and would love to see our beautiful country would enjoy them as well. Bill Bryson fans should sign up too.

You can find his books at his website, The Metal Cowboy as well as Amazon and other booksellers. Check him out.

Happy Earth Day

Just in case you didn't visit Google today.

I didn't do anything ground breaking today to honor Earth Day. Just the usual stuff. A lot of the changes we can make are just small things that taken together add up to a more responsible way of living.

I did fill up the tires on my truck to hopefully increase my gas mileage. Tightening budgets may do more to reduce waste than anything else.

I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us - Theodore Roosevelt

April 21, 2008

Hybrid sales

An article in the Seattle Times this morning mentioned that sales of hybrid cars are up 38% over the past year, even as car sales in general have declined 3%. More hybrid options and of course higher gas prices are leading more people to the market that makes up 2.2% of car sales.

The article also listed the top 10 states for new hybrid registrations. Not surprisingly, California leads the way with a 26% share of U.S. sales. Washington came in 5th with 3.7% of U.S. sales.

What was a little surprising was the number four slot: Texas. Land of oil derricks, black gold, Texas tea.

Weekly numbers

Well, I didn't get it done this week. I am a little surprised that I weighed in this morning at 179.5. I thought I had decreased the amount I ate this week, and my running mileage jumped up as well. I need to pay closer attention what I am eating because clearly doing something wrong. Training numbers for the week were:

Running: 31 miles
Biking: 0
Swimming: 1/2 mile

April 20, 2008

Congratulations Olympic qualifiers

The Olympic Trials for the Women's Marathon took place this morning. It was staged in Boston the day before the Boston Marathon, much like the men's trials held the day before the New York Marathon. Unlike the men's trials, there was no TV coverage. You could only catch it online, and as it started at 6:30am our time, I didn't catch it. There will be an hour recap a week from now on MSNBC. Weak.

Our Olympic representatives will be:

Deena Kastor 2:29:35
Magdalena Lewy Boulet 2:30:19
Blake Russell 2:32:40

Deena Kastor was the bronze medal winner in the 2004 Olympic Marathon, and is a favorite to compete for a medal again. Blake Russell redeemed herself after just missing out in 2004 when she finished 4th in the trials. They will join the men's marathon qualifiers Ryan Hall, Dathan Ritzenhein and Brian Sell in Beijing. Good Luck to all!

April 19, 2008

Saturday's adventures

Well, there was 4+ inches of snow on the ground this morning. Like I mentioned before, I had an 18 mile run scheduled today. I was meeting a friend in the morning to talk about replacing the railing on his deck. I figured if the Burke-Gilman trail was covered in snow at noon, I'd need to postpone. It turns out that the snow was concentrated at our house and the trail was "fortunately" clear.

It was raining and in the 30's when I started running at noon, but the rain only lasted for a couple of miles and the sun peaked through on and off. I ran by this bench:

There are some bronzed shoes attached.

There's no plaque or anything, so I don't think they are to commemorate anyone in particular. Just art I guess. Kinda cool.

I was also simulating my drinking and fueling schedule for my next marathon. Since I can't carry enough fluids for this long of a run, I did an out and back of 10 miles, and stopped at my truck to refill before doing the other 8.

About a half mile after refilling, I ran by a group of people cleaning up the Burke-Gilman trail for Earth Day. As I was passing through, one of the guys called out my name. It turned out to be my cousin who was there with his Albertsons co-workers (including my second cousin). We were both pretty surprised to see each other so randomly.

Things went pretty well overall. The last couple miles were tough as always. I was about a half mile from the finish when a loud thunderclap boomed behind me. I made it to the finish, and as I was walking back to my truck, I looked out over Lake Washington and could see the storm coming (quickly). As I climbed into the drivers seat, the sky opened up and the hail came crashing down. Nice timing.

As I was driving out of the parking lot, I spied my cousins again loaded down with garbage sacks and even a dining room chair. Awesome job guys. Glad they didn't get too soaked while doing their good deed.

April 17, 2008

The "great" debate

I watched the democratic debate from last night. It is the first debate I have seen so far this season. Hillary did a bit better than I expected, Barack a bit worse (I had higher expectations going in for Obama). It was actually relatively civil.

Unfortunately, the first hour they were asked questions about flag pins, sniper fire, who loves America more, who's bitter, what the people they know believe, etc. They led off mentioning that historically the runner up in the primary used to become the vice presidential nominee. They then put both canidates on the spot to pledge that they would do this. Akward silence and laughter followed at this somewhat moronic question.

The economy, which the commentators say is American's #1 concern, was finally addressed in question 16 in the second hour. ABC has put themselves in the sensation over substance corner of journalism, a corner that is large enough already.


Adidas ad

  • I used to think runners were crazy.
  • When I started running, I figured it was only the ones who got up to run at 5am who were crazy.
  • When I started that, I figured it was only the ones who ran in the rain that were crazy.
  • When I started doing that, I knew it was just runners who ran marathons that were crazy.
  • Now here it is 5am and I'm out training for a marathon in the rain.

I have 18 miles scheduled this Saturday. It might snow.

April 15, 2008

If it were only this easy

Shields at maximum!

Increase your productivity by 50% and look like an alien in the process.

It happens every time it rains. Productivity on the street goes down 50 percent as one good hand, which could be used for texting, coffee-clutching, hand-holding or gesticulating, gets monopolized by an unwieldy umbrella.

What's a good multitasker to do? Enter Nubrella, an oversized space helmet-like apparatus billed by the company as the hands-free "Ultimate Weather Protector."

Available directly from the Nubrella company for $59.94 (including shipping and handling),

Full story in The Seattle Times

I actually don't own an umbrella. Yes it rains a lot in Seattle, but I've never felt the need to carry one around. When I see a sea of umbrellas on a rainy afternoon, I think of dodging hundreds of metal points at eye level. I don't have a hairstyle that will wilt or glasses that will spot, and frankly I've grown up, worked outside and ran in the rain long enough that it isn't a big deal.

A bonus with these might be a "cone of silence" so we don't need to listen to their cell phone conversations. Plus no metal points to poke an eye out.

April 14, 2008

Pile of paper

I picked up our mail from the post office this afternoon. The stack actually wasn't as big as I imagined it, but there was still quite a bit of junk. Between the wife and I we had six credit card offers and a couple catalogs. I've been meaning to stop the credit card offers for a while now. You can do a five year or permanent stop at https://www.optoutprescreen.com/opt_form.cgi or by calling 888-567-8688.

Also on our doorstep was another phone book. For some reason we get six or seven phone books every year. We may use one of them a couple times a year, but we certainly don't need seven different ones. I looked around online and found these numbers you can call to stop delivery.

DEX: 1-877-243-8339

Yellow Book: 1-800-929-3556 or 1-888-400-5914

Verizon: 1-800-555-4833

Weekly numbers

Well, actually two weeks of numbers. I rearranged some training and weigh ins to work around vacation last week. So I weighed in the Friday before leaving, and I was still at 179. Training numbers for that week were:

Running: 21.25 miles
Biking: 0 miles
Swimming: 1/2 mile

As I mentioned, our vacation was at an all-inclusive resort, so there was lots of good food and many empty cocktail calories. I took in my share. I did run three times and swam while we were there, but I was pretty worried about a big jump in weight. Fortunately I was only up a pound to 180 this morning. I couldn't have realistically asked for better. Training numbers were:

Running: 23.5 miles
Biking: 0 miles
Swimming: a few hours in the ocean

April 13, 2008

End of radio silence.

A friend called to ask if I was trapped under something heavy, but actually the wife and I were off on vacation for the last week.

It was a beautiful toes-in-the sand, do-very-little type of vacation that the wife needed. We spent the week in Puerto Vallarta with five other friends. We chose an all-inclusive resort which meant we didn't even need to think about where we were going to eat. We have been on a few cruises in the past ten years, and this was like a cruise without a ship. This particular resort also included your cocktails in the price, so our livers might have been the only thing working hard all week.

I had plans of blogging while gone, but again it didn't happen. I wrote the April 5th entry while on the plane, then posted it at the L.A. airport. After that nothing. I probably should have been reflecting on my life as I stared at the ocean, but it was much more fun trying to master body surfing the waves.

As I write, the photos are downloading from camera to computer. I haven't looked at many yet, so hopefully there are some winners in there. There are 261 so odds are relatively decent. Thank you inventor of the digital camera.

I have heard some people say they are anxious to get home from vacation. I don't recall a vacation where I wasn't thinking "how can I swing a couple more days". The wife made an effort to miss the plane ride home, so I think we were on the same page this time. Once the trains, planes and automobiles journey home begins of course, I'm ready for it to be over. We fell into bed somewhere around 1:00 in the morning, and it did feel good to be home. The only thing missing was the pooch who was still at a friend's house.

I ran 13 miles this afternoon, met some running friends later to plan our next big adventure, then spent the evening catching up on blog reading while watching the final round of the Masters. The pile of mail and hundreds of e-mails wait until tomorrow. Tonight, I am still on vacation.

Pictures are done.


Beanbag chairs on the beach

One beautiful sunset after another

April 12, 2008

April 5, 2008


A toss of my car keys from my right hand to the left. I've been doing it for 15 or 20 years. It started after I locked the keys in my old Mustang a couple of times. I started tossing the keys as a physical cue that I had them. I still do it most times I get out of the car.

Not long after that I lived in an apartment where my parking spot faced a bedroom window. I began waiting until I pulled out of the spot before turning on my headlights so I didn't spash the room with light. I still wait until I back out of my driveway before turning on my headlights. No other reason than habit.

I was thinking more about habits on my long run yesterday. There is a movie called "Grand Canyon" starring Danny Glover, Kevin Kline and Steve Martin among others. It is sort of a midlife crisis/re-evaluating your life type of movie. In one scene Danny Glover is relating a story about his father. He asked his Dad about living through the depression, world wars, racism, heart attacks and all the rest life threw at him. He asked "How did you keep going?" "Habit" he replied simply.

As you grow older, more challenges seem to creep into your daily life. Often slowly but sometimes with jarring suddenness. Either way you hope to adapt. At some point it becomes "it is what it is" or habit.

It is not unlike physical training. When you begin, you may be gasping for breath with your heart pounding after a half mile (or a couple blocks). By stressing and resting your body, it grows and adapts to a new level of stress. Soon you can accept the same challenge without it pulling you under.

I imagine the stresses of life in the same way. Things you could not handle at 20 are now dealt with at 40. Life has simply prepared you over time to deal with more than you once could. Like training though, the rest period is where the growth and adaptation occurs.

I wish some moments of rest for you my friends as you adapt to this new reality that came at you hard and fast. And I pray for you and your little girl as you both grow stronger with each passing day.

April 2, 2008

Argh Taxes!

Well the good news is they're done. Bad news is we owe this year.

It never is a pleasant experience, but it is one of those things you just can't avoid (just put of until April). As life gets more complicated so do our taxes. Back when I was single working for a paycheck, my tax return was a single page and could be filled out in like 20 minutes.

Now the wife and I own a home which adds complexity, but also some great deductions. Being self-employed adds a whole bunch of time and effort to the tax return. I guess I could eliminate some of the pain by paying someone else to do it, but its one of those things I am capable of doing so I can't justify spending the money. Plus it seems more time is spent sorting through your records and figuring out the totals to hand over. At that point it seems silly to have someone just plug them into the forms.

Preparation was a little more time consuming this year - all my fault. I let my desk become a pile of receipts and statements.

Much worse than the proverbial shoe box accounting. Well now the desk is clean and everything is filed where it should be. It was a crappy week, but now that it is all done it feels nice.

As a side note, many of the IRS forms show an estimated time to complete. For example, schedule C (profit or loss from a business) shows:

Recordkeeping.....1hr. 18 minutes
Learning about the law or form.....24 minutes
Preparing the form.....1 hr.
Copying, assembling and
sending the form to the IRS
.....20 minutes

Even if I hadn't left myself such a pile to sort through, this seems a little optimistic. Of course a lot of the forms are interrelated, so it is hard to know where I'm spending all my time.

April 1, 2008

Tough runs

My long run this weekend was 15 miles. I wasn't feeling well mentally and was kind of dreading it. I ran along the Burke-Gilman trail again, so at least the scenery was nice.

Several people have said that with all the running, etc that I'm doing I should be able to eat whatever I want. I was thinking about that while I was running. Though running is one of the better calorie burners, at my level the pounds aren't going to fall off. I started doing some math (anything to distract the mind while running) and even with 25 miles this week, that meant just over a pound of calories burned. A little depressing.

The last 3 or 4 miles, my hamstrings tightened up. I pressed on as it wasn't too brutal. They were pretty sore afterward, and still sore on Sunday. As I headed out for an 8 miler yesterday, it started to hail. I probably should have taken the hint.

I waited a bit and it lightened up to a drizzle. I headed out, but I only made it about a mile before my left leg tightened up. Not wanting to injure myself, I turned around. What's worse than running in the rain? Walking.

Weekly numbers

Weighed in down a pound to 179. Slow but in the right direction. Training numbers from last week are:

Running: 25 miles
Biking: 0
Swimming: 1/2 mile