Saying good-by to Petra

Petra is leaving. Spokane will no longer be her home, and she’ll be very,very far from here.

I'm bummed because of Petra's new job on the East Coast.

I’m bummed because of Petra’s new job on the East Coast.

Last time I wrote about Petra, we were about to enter into a relationship and start a lifestyle I call intense realism, in which we’re a couple, yet are fluffy with others.

But Petra was offered a job at the National Institute of Running Sciences in Washington DC. Besides being a good runner, she has a lot of business acumen. Her job title will be director of corporate relations. It’s an excellent opportunity and excellent pay. Plus, any time of day she and co-workers can have elevator vs. stairs races in the multi-story Institute building.

I’m happy for Petra, yet it’s not welcome news. I cannot walk past the photo of her on my dresser top without getting really sad. I had to lay it down to stay functional.SONY DSC

Petra has a couple weeks before she has to leave, so I’ll still see her, but it won’t be the same.

She tells me she can arrange flying into town almost monthly, but I’m doubtful how successful a long-distance relationship can be.

To occupy my time and get over her after she leaves, I’ve got a project planned that’ll take the entire fall season to complete.

I’m making a hiking shell out of cayenne peppers. I’ve got tons of ‘em in my garden, and I won’t have to buy bear spray anymoreSONY DSC.

Running lingo quiz

Welcome to Race to Win. I’m your host, Sprint McDowell. We have a great show lined up, and you can win big money.SONY DSCFirst of all, I’d like to thank everyone watching here at the studio. We have a packed house today.SONY DSC

Keep track of your choices. Answers are given at the end. Let’s begin the competition!

1)  Term for being beaten by a girl in a race.

  • A)  I took a gender hit.
  • B)  I got ponytailed.
  • C)  I got chicked.
  • D)  Sports bra 1; jockstrap 0

I like your response to that question. You’re showing me you know your running lingo. I see some prize money coming your way!SONY DSCLet’s see how you do on question number two.

2)  Common phrase for a runner slowing way down and finishing poorly.

  • A)  My legs got fried like chicken.
  • B)  I died.
  • C)  I wasted my pace in the middle of the race.
  • D)  When I tried turning it on, there was no switch.

Another great response there! Race to Win has been the No. 1-rated game show for the past five years, and in my book, our contestants are No. 1 also.


Let’s move on to question number three.

3)  Term for a strategy where you stay behind the leaders before making your move late in the race.

  • A)  Hang back.
  • B)  Hang out.
  • C)  Run incognito.
  • D)  The sneaky grim reaper.

Oh, our studio audience is really getting into today’s contest. I hear a group chanting your name. A couple banners urging you to win it all are being waved. That’s nice!


Okay, next question.

4) Term for the item pictured below that runners wear at races.SONY DSC

  • A)  Number thingy.
  • B)  In-box number bib for post-race hook-up.
  • C)  Covert race security tracking number.
  • D)  Race bib.

Let’s take a break. I’d like to get to know you, the contestant. Tell me about yourself. Have you had any good races lately? How’s your training going? Just speak at the photo of me below which activates an app that collects your words and delivers it to me real time.SONY DSC

Okay, thanks. Now, the toughest part of our quiz, Double Race to Win. Good luck!

5) Evan, a highly-rated US ultra runner, said, “I signed up for trash, but I cleaned like polish”, after running a 50-miler. What does this mean?

  • A)  He ran into a tree.
  • B)  He picked up litter while running.
  • C)  He fought off a bear.
  • D)  Profuse sweating rinsed away trail dust on his legs.

Our studio audience is loving it. They’re on their feet screaming for you. But I know that can be a distraction. Hold on for just a moment.

“Listen, everyone, I appreciate the enthusiasm, but let’s quiet down so our contestants can concentrate.”SONY DSCOkay, that’s better. Here we go, our final question.

6) Courtney, a very talented Canadian marathoner, said of her upcoming race, “I got my ducks in a line like cocky soldiers.” What does she mean?

  • A)  There’s no stopping her sprint to the victory podium.
  • B)  She’ll smash the course record.
  • C)  No one, man or woman, will come close to beating her.
  • D)  All of the above.

And here’s the answers:

  • 1) C – I got chicked
  • 2) B – I died
  • 3) A – Hang back
  • 4) D – Race bib
  • 5) C – Profuse sweating rinsed away trail dust on his legs.
  • 6) D – All of the above

I’m impressed by your level of knowledge. I salute your amazing performance.


This has been so exciting. We’re taking a hit because so much cash was won, but no problem. That’s why we have generous sponsors. To claim your earnings, download the app Cash for Me from the app store and just touch the envelope below on you mobile screen. A slot will form and your well-earned money will be dispensed.SONY DSC

I’m your host of Race to Win, Sprint McDowell. Until next time, keep on running and keep on winning! Bye!SONY DSC

My daily stress

In a previous post entitled Blogging Drawbacks, I explained how I am not the source of ideas for this blog. In a process I call thought presentation, ideas come in a way that allows me to perceive that they are coming from beyond myself.

I was directed to write that post and it’s the same with this one. There are several key points I’ve been told to include. The most important is in the last paragraph of this post.

This source often pushes me to go beyond my comfort zone. As far as this blog goes, I don’t mind making myself look silly for a laugh, but sometimes I worry that I overdo it.

When this disincarnate being began communicating with me, I was thrilled. I previously experimented, studied, and read about non-religious, spiritual topics for many years. I believed a non-physical realm controlled everything in our physical world.

After this communication started, a future scenario was detailed in which I will be able to experience this non-physical realm, and besides certain benefits that can come with that, I’ll have the ability to help others in a way that is immediate and dramatic.

But to attain this, I’m required to go through a period of preparation for this role, an important aspect of which is sexual in nature. I’m also required to do things that are unhealthful, unenjoyable, and not something I’d ever do on my own.

I’ve had many unpleasant experiences that left me with a bad feeling. I find myself dismayed and sometimes humiliated doing things that are required. As well, attracting a significant other would be problematic considering the situation I’m in. I haven’t been in a relationship since I divorced thirteen years ago.

This preparation period has been ongoing for well more that a decade, far longer than I thought it would. Many times I’ve wished I could go back to being like everyone else. However, its been made clear that I will not be released. I am stuck, and I don’t know when or if this preparation period will ever end.

Not everything is unpleasant. I’m active in the Spokane running club scene which provides some camaraderie. I’m required to go out on the town often, nearly always alone (and to return home alone), which can be enjoyable. My discarnate mentor communicates with me constantly, and I’m often entertained by the comments and observations it makes. Many times I’ve had to stifle laughter because I’m out in public alone and there’s no apparent reason for me to be laughing my head off. This keeps me in a good mood (mostly).

Though I don’t mind talking about my experiences, I’m reluctant to go into detail because I haven’t realized the benefits that would justify my behavior. I’ve had to do bewildering things that would make people question my judgement.

Though I know that all my thoughts come from beyond myself (and it’s the same for everyone else, as well), this fact is difficult to believe without the experience of thought presentation. However, many readers of this blog post will soon receive a snippet of this experience, courtesy of a vast, multi-dimensional “being”.

Wine and running

Some runners, especially women, like to drink wine. This is a big mistake. I consider drinking wine similar to drinking poison.

Runners need frequent fluid replacement. Wine is a poor choice. Though resveratrol and other antioxidants in wine are supposedly good for you, they have a negative impact on running. For those who foolishly choose to drink wine, it should be done only for that rare quiet and romantic moment.

Recently I received a bottle of wine as a gift. I put it in my cupboard, intending to dispose of it first chance I got.Jim's wine bottle

Several days later, It occurred to me I’d forgotten to throw it out. When I took it from the cupboard, I noticed it was cabernet sauvignon, which is such a beautiful word. It’s no wonder French is known as the language of romantics.Jim examining wine bottleAs I reached for the garbage, my arm brushed a hanging unit that holds pans and utensils. A wine opener fell to the floor.

I didn’t know I had a wine opener, but since I never use it, I must have forgot. Was this a sign? I uncorked the bottle and took a sip.Jim tasting wineIt actually wasn’t too bad. With each sip, it tasted better. So I had a glass, then another. Next thing I knew, the bottle was empty.

I didn’t want my good feeling to end, so I went to the store and bought another.Jim buying more wineAfter a couple more glasses, I really wanted a woman to come over and enjoy wine with me. It was awfully late to call someone though. However, thanks to a stroke of ingeniousness, a hot woman was soon at my table.woman at tableI changed into a nicer outfit and splashed on some cologne. She really liked my wine, and our conversation was so stimulating and romantic.Jim drinking w:friendWe looked deep into each other’s eyes. I was so taken by her beauty and her charming femininity. I told her that her long, slender, Audrey Hepburn-like neck was so beautiful.

Jim's frend close upSoon we were toasting to a great evening and great company.

Jim toasting friendWhen it was time to bring the evening to a close, I laid down, whispering, “Good night, my precious love doll.”Jim in bed w:friend

Hawaii: Run or swim with the sea turtles

I needed a pause in my running, a break from the training grind, so I arranged a trip to the Kona Coast in Hawaii. When I mentioned this to a friend, she pointed out that I’ve been injured and have run little since April. I totally forgot about that. Still, breaks are nice.

Besides the wildlife, plants in Hawaii are so unlike what we have in Spokane.

Besides the wildlife, plants in Hawaii are so unlike what we have in Spokane.

Ruby Redpepper, owner of Animal Fulfillment Specialists, was doing a seminar there about Hawaiian wildlife. I hired Ruby a few months ago as a consultant when I released indigenous, wild animals into my naturally landscaped front yard. She knows so much about animals, and I really, really like animals. I wasn’t about to miss this seminar.

We spent a day in the classroom learning about island wildlife and how to call them to bring them close.

Ruby is second from left, listening to a participant describe how dolphins came onto the beach to lay in the sun with him.

Ruby sips water while listening to a participant describe how dolphins crawled onto a beach to lay in the sun with him.

Our first excursion took us to the seashore. I put my head in the water and did sea turtle calls. After a half hour without any luck, I fell into a tidal pool. It took fellow group members fifteen minutes to pull out all the spines from the sea urchin I landed on.

Then Ruby tried and right away a turtle came.sea turtle comingRuby has such a way with animals that it tried crawling out of the water and into her lap. But Ruby discouraged it because it’s important not to touch the sea turtles.sea turtle comes to RubyWhenever I approached the turtle, it swam away quickly. I grabbed a rock to throw at it, but Ruby calmed me down. I like sea turtles, but not when they’re being mean to me. Ruby talked to the turtle in a kind and gentle voice and persuaded it to come up to me. Sea turtle come to meGeckos are everywhere in Hawaii. You’ll find them in some stores and homes roaming freely. They keep bugs from overrunning indoor spaces.gecko outdoorsThe gecko below lives in the house that I rented. If you get close, they scurry or jump away very quickly. I tried to make it change its home to my pocket, but it wouldn’t cooperate.gecko on ceilingI climbed a tree to see if I could spot another island of Hawaii, and Ruby told me I might encounter a chameleon. Sure enough, I did. I got a close-up picture, but the mean chameleon wouldn’t hop into my pocket even though I asked nicely.chameleon

Each day after class, I returned to my rented house so excited by Ruby’s seminar that I read about animals till the wee hours of the morning.animal expert7

Front yard marathon cancelled

Some readers may remember a post I did last year about how I did away with my lawn and put in indigenous plants. As a follow up project, I made running paths that allow me to go for a run in the country without leaving my front yard.Putting in six miles, all in my front yard

Eric Nelson, a fellow Manito Runners Club runner, suggested I hold a marathon race in my yard. I took him up, got the course Boston certified, and wrote about the event in a post called Basalt and Pine Marathon.

I was hoping to make the marathon an annual event, however, several issues arose during last year’s race that forced cancellation of this year’s race.

  • Over 2,400 runners entered my event. Entrants spent most of the race trying to squeeze past other participants without making much progress.
  • Since the race course was a 220-foot loop, race officials soon lost track of lap counts and placing.
  • Many runners left their warm up clothing in my neighbor’s yard, and I forgot that my event and his lawn-mowing schedule coincided. The shredded outfits left a bitter taste among participants.
  • Because I’ve been injured, plants in my front yard have grown out of control. I estimate it’ll take two weeks to cut a trail good enough for racing.
The native plants in my front yard have really grown and multiplied. Good to look at. Not good for running.

The native plants have really grown and multiplied. Good to look at. Not good for running.

I leave you with a photo of me, gazing among the plants, wondering if I can corner one of the four marmots that live in my yard. The pair of coyotes watching me may laugh, but they haven’t had much luck either.

Jim in yard


Warning: I am desperate

Sitting down to write this week’s post, it became clear that no ideas were coming to me. I became desperate because all I could think of was random things, some that had something to do with running and some that didn’t. I apologize if this post bores you, however, if you have trouble falling asleep, it’s an excellent resource.

In the 2011 Bloomsday 12K, a photo was taken of myself and a couple other runners. Of six feet, none were touching the ground.Jim running Bloomsday

I once read an article about this and was surprised how high the ratio of both feet off the ground is to time that at least one foot is on the ground.

Below is a photo of me watching a track and field race on YouTube.Jim watching race

Non-runners (and some runners too), probably think it’s boring to watch people run in circles over and over, but I find it very interesting.

Here I am standing atop the compost pile in the corner of my backyard.Jim's compost pile

The guy who lives across the alley from me once asked my next-door neighbor if they hate me. My neighbor asked why he would think that. The guy across the alley said because he saw them tossing weeds into my backyard. My neighbors do that because I offered to take their weeds for composting.

I’m going to reveal something embarrassing. Maybe you’ll find it disgusting. I grow lots of tomatoes in my backyard. I eat plenty fresh, but I also boil a bunch down to make spaghetti sauce. I also have a dehydrator that I use to dry more for wintertime eating.

I cut up more than a hundred tomatoes to dry.

I cut up a lot of tomatoes to dry. This is one batch which I repeat a bunch times more.

When I cut bunches of tomatoes, there’s a large pool of tomato juice left on the cutting table. The juice is especially sweet and good-tasting. I put my lips to the table and suck it up.Jim sucking tomato juice

I’m a bachelor, and I live alone. I can get away with this. However, if I start seeing someone, don’t take a screen shot of this photo and send it to her. I’ll come after you.