Archive for July, 2008

I’m not really injured today

July 28, 2008

I know I spend a fair amount of time moaning about being injured.

So I thought it might be nice to say that I seem to be OK at the moment.

Rusty warned me the other day that because of my nasty habit of injuring myself I should lower my goals. I simply can’t train hard enough to achieve them. If I try — I’ll get injured again.

I did not want to hear that, of course.

I believe that I’m more likely to get injured the faster I go. Which is one reason I don’t like to run miles or 5ks. But now, it seems, even marathons are too fast for me.

Mike Swan says that after I do my first 50 miler I’ll never want to run a shorter race again. I fear he may be right.

Santa Barbara Particulars

July 7, 2008

The fire began last Tuesday
And busily through the week
Had been covering Santa Barbara
In an evanescent reek.

I get the impression, from the inciweb site — though they are careful not to say anything explicit — that the fire has been contained toward the cities and the east but is continuing to grow west and northwest. Which suggests that the danger to my house (always slim) has become slimmer

However the air I breath is full of ash still, and it sounds as though that will continue for the foreseeable future. It doesn’t fall abundantly, but very gently, very slowly. I test this by leaving my bike locked up outside, and then, when I return an hour or two later finding a faint speckling of white ash upon my black seat.

I haven’t run outside since the fourth. I’ve been doing my runs on a treadmill in a gym — hoping that the air inside has been somewhat filtered and so less hazardous. This morning I arrived only to discover I had left my running shorts at home by mistake. So I ran in my bathing suit (which I had taken, by mistake. The bathing suit and short being roughly the same colour).

It’s warmer, inside, with no breeze; so I sweat more, which means I have to take my glasses off, which means I can’t see much of anything. I can’t recognize people who greet me. Another disadvantage of inside running is the question of how to blow my nose. Outside I can snort onto the ground, but that is not a reasonable option inside. A stack of tissues doesn’t work well because they tend to flutter away in air currents and even if they did hang around, they become so drenched the moment they touch my sweaty face that they can’t effectively absorb more moisture.

The treadmills at my gym have little signs on them saying you can only use them for half an hour if others are waiting. So far, others have not been waiting. My shortest workout is 45min. More annoying the treadmill will turn itself off after an hour — you go from full speed to a full stop in just a few seconds. Finally some of the treadmills will go no faster than 6 minute miles. That’s 10k race pace for me — a speed I like to surpass from time to time.

Normally we do a speed workout on the San Marcos track… but that’s the Red Cross evacuation center. It might be rather crass to wake them up at 6am. I may need a fast treadmill tomorrow:-)

Yesterday afternoon the light was a watery brown, the sun veiled in smoke. Ash fell intermittently and lightly.

Today dawned all foggy. I hope that will give the fire a hard time. Yet the fog is probably low lying, and the fire above 1500ft so there may be bright sun for the fire.

Fog and smoke — a London Particular.

Beware of god

July 4, 2008

As I was running this morning I was struck by the thought: A religion is like a monarchy — there are no checks and balances in either. You can’t argue with the word of god any more than you can argue with a king. But at least with a king it is possible to verify that the king did indeed say that.

The proponents of monarchy point out that there have been good kings. I grew up with the romantic notion of Good Queen Bess (not the current one, the one 4 centuries ago) — but as I grew older I learned she had a really nasty spy network and secret police.

My mother likes to point out all the good religions have done, the hospitals started, the educational institutions endowed. I tend to see all the harm, the wars started, the restrictions on thought.

But however good a religion may seem yesterday it can change. My mother is an Episcopalian/Anglican. A religion currently undergoing a civil war as one side supports homosexual rights and another (stronger) side does not. Once again those supporting human liberties are being attacked from overseas. It is hard to believe in the “goodness” of religion as I watch. There are no checks and balances. How can anyone argue with the word of god? How can you argue with the bible?

Of course it is easy to see that modern religions are works of fiction. The Book of Mormon is based on a fantasy short-story published in the early 1800s. The sacred books of the Scientologists are science fiction novels.

Perhaps the bible is different? Yet when you look at the Gospels you find downright lies. Herod didn’t massacre the innocents. Jesus’s family didn’t go to Egypt to escape him (that one always bothered me — they were poor — where would they find the money to move?). There isn’t a Jewish prophecy saying that the mother of the Messiah would be a virgin. For that matter, Jesus was not named “Emanuel”. There wasn’t an earthquake or a darkness when Jesus died. The list just goes on. The bible looks as unbelievable as the other religious sources I’m aware of.

The “Gospel Truth” is an oxymoron, a fallacy.

My statements above are easily verified by comparing one Gospel with another. People have been doing that at least since the Enlightenment. And the Jews have been complaining about misusing their prophesies for millennia. Yet because the bible is the word of god no bible has been issued with a list of errata.

This is dangerous. It shows a willful desire to reject objective truth.

For a long time, I didn’t think it mattered. After all “God died at Auschwitz”, eventually that would sink in. Eventually people would accept evolution and stop the assault on our education system. But then 11/9/01 happened and the US went on a crusade against “bad” muslims. And suddenly the dangers of religion became all too visible.

A madman in Afganistan points out that the Koran has passages which advocate (and therefore God desires) holy war. An idiot in Washington tells us God has told him to attach Iraq.

How can anyone else verify what god wants?

There are no checks.

We’ve slowly been doing away with kings.

Give me Atheism, or give me death!

Times

July 2, 2008

Jenna asked me how long I thought it would take to run White River.

I’d really no idea. I told her so.

Then I made a guess. Let’s see the closest I’ve come to a 50 mile trail run is the Catalina trail marathon. Which had about half the distance and half the elevation. So let’s double that, and add an hour ~ hour and a half and round off to a nice number. Let’s guess 8 hours. About.

Then I got home and looked up the results.

In 2005, Mike Swan ran the course in 8 and a half hours.

Mike is faster than I am. And an experienced trail runner. 8 hours is out of the question. Perhaps 10?

We shall see.

Confidence

July 2, 2008

So many of the accounts in Running through the Wall talk about how ultra-running has given them new confidence in themselves.

I don’t believe it.

Or, I don’t believe it will have that effect on me.

Oh, I’m sure it does for some people. And I expect it is the kind of story that editors like to collect. But could it affect me that way?

I certainly lack confidence. But I don’t lack confidence in my ability to push myself. I lack confidence in my ability to deal with others. I have absolutely no idea how to start a conversation — oh I can lecture, but that’s not a conversation. A blog is perfect for me, a nice monologue where I can’t see when people get bored and stop reading. I used to go out with a woman who would laugh at me whenever I attempted to make small talk — so now I don’t go out with anyone and no one laughs.

I just can’t see how running could help that. All that time out on the trails alone.

Of course, I don’t know that I’ll be able to run 50 miles. I expect I can. I hope I can. It will be interesting to try. (And rather embarrassing if I can’t because my parents say they’ll come watch). But I don’t really expect it will build significant confidence.

I know I can push myself through 6 miles of steadily increasing misery when I hit the wall at mile 20 of Cal International Marathon. I know I can write the best open source font editing program in the world. If I run 50 miles, I expect that to be just more of the same.

But I don’t think it will help me talk to you.