Tree-hugger goes running

I live pretty close to a protected natural area, Riverside State Park. Yesterday I went running there because it was sunny, warm, and nature beckoned me, and I like it when that happens.

Riverside st park bridgeOne of the first things I did was give a hug to an old friend. We go back a long way.

Rivr. park tree hugMy family used to camp here when I was a kid, even though we lived only twenty minutes away. It was during one of those camping trips that I threw a rock at a robin and killed it. As I gave it a post-mortem inspection, I didn’t feel so good about what I did. I often threw rocks at birds, but after that I stopped.

I ran around on the trails, but the photo below that I took didn’t turn out so good. The fault is the camera’s, not the camera operator.

River. prk trailrunningThere’s a pedestrian bridge which I’ve run across many bunches of numerous times. When I was a student, just for a thrill I crawled over the railing in the middle of the bridge when the river was running high and hung from the cable by one hand. It really isn’t that much of a risk. For a cautious person as myself, it’s about as far as I go.

Rivr park bridge entranceI climbed a basalt pillar next to the river that has been my favorite place to take a break from running since I explored these woods as a track and cross-country runner for nearby Spokane Falls Community College.

Rivr park rock climbingI wanted to just sit and admire beauty, but realized I would be remiss if I did not exert authority over river traffic since I was in a gate-keeping, sentry-like position.

Rivr park restbreakSoon, some kayakers came down the river. A couple of ‘em weren’t staying to the right, and they were sloppy with their oar-handling. A third member of the party was okay, and I let him pass.Rivrpark kayakersThe other two I directed to approach and issued warnings. Their apologies and promises to do better were sufficient, and I let them pass.

Even though there were very few park visitors, I ran into a couple educators I know from my days as a teacher and a couple members of a running club I belong to. It’s a good thing I didn’t run into them the last time I visited Riverside State Park. I wrote about that incident in a previous post, Trail Running Encounter with Hot Babe Leads to Disrobing in Meadow. That would have been embarrassing.

Basalt and Pine Marathon

Before you read any further, grab your calendar and a pen. Mark October 6th. I’m very happy to announce the first annual Red Lion/Basalt and Pine Marathon. This premier marathon, sponsored by a major hotel chain, will be held in my front yard. The race name comes from a couple important components of my landscaping.

Many of you remember the post from June 9th in which I gave details about how I converted my lawn into a natural landscape of indigenous plants, and how I go for runs on paths I made. Because of the many favorable comments and suggestions, I’m turning my running paths into a scenic and well-planned marathon course.

Putting in six miles, all in my front yard

I’m on a ten mile training run, all in my front yard, in preparation for the marathon

A unique feature of the Red Lion/Basalt and Pine Marathon is that spectators can view the entire race without changing location. To facilitate this, I’ll be installing bleachers along the curb and benches in several places. I’ve also been working very hard lately getting the course in shape – pruning, widening the running paths, and course beautification.

course work 1It’s been very hot lately, and where other race organizers would likely give up, not me. However, I have to take a break now and then.

course work break2Another great amenity – no foul-smelling port-a-potties. All participants and spectators have full access to my home bathroom.

bathroomThe good news just doesn’t end. I applied for and received in the mail just yesterday, documents certifying my marathon as a Boston qualifier.

course approval letterFor out-of-town guests, a 50% discount on rooms at the Red Lion Hotel has been arranged. The Red Lion/Basalt and Pine Marathon Trade Show will be held in the hotel convention area the day before the race.

red lionThis marathon is shaping up to be a 5-star event that attracts entrants from near and far. However, I’m always evaluating the mix of amenities and features that make for a great race experience. If there’s something you’d like to see, please leave a suggestion on how I can make this event even better.

It’s hard being second fiddle

On April 26th, I wrote a post called Long Hair and Beard Slows Runner. It features Britt Davis, a fellow member of the Flying Irish running group and the Manito Runners Club. For a while it was my second most-read post. Now, my site statistics show it’s the most-read by a large margin.

SONY DSCIt’s good that a post I wrote has done so well, but there’s a downside. It’s mostly about Britt Davis. This is really bothersome because I want everything to be all about me. What’s even worse is that Britt offered to be the subject for a post on long hair and beards. Oh, I just hate having to admit he came up with the idea for my most-read post.

When a new article is posted, it receives its greatest number of viewers that day, or the next day if I posted late. Over time, fewer and fewer people go to that page. After several days, the post gets read very sporadically, and most days, not at all.

However, Long Hair and Beard Slows Runner is a different story. It went downhill like other posts, but it kept showing up in my stats as being viewed a bit more frequently than others. After a while, it started showing up nearly every day. Now, more than two months after it was published, it’s gaining steam.

I wondered why it was pulling in readers. Back in May I googled long hair and beard and found that the post was on the third page of the results. Someone with a little computer background could probably explain why this post showed up on the third page out of several million results for this search term, but I really don’t know how it happens. I have no idea how search engines work. As well, the posted photo of Britt made it onto Google’s long hair and beard images. My desktop displays 40 rows of images and though Britt was near the bottom, I thought it was something that he was even there.

Every so often I googled long hair and beard, and each time I found that Britt’s photo and the post about him climbing. I checked just today and the post is now on the first page of the search results, second item down, right after images for long hair and beard. And in those images, Britt is in the third row. He’s ahead of images of Paul Rudd, Keanu Reeves and Ashton Kucher. I’m so incensed because if I had thought to grow my hair long and start a beard, it’d be me there instead of Britt.

I guess I should share the stage and give Britt credit. However, I’ve discovered I have a claim to fame, too. I know that not many people would google this topic, but if you did runners in capes, guess whose picture is the first one.

My leg is in a rut

Not feeling so well at the end of my runs.

Lately I’ve not been feeling so well at the end of my runs.

I’ve been telling some of my fellow running club members that I’m in a post-Bloomsday running funk. I did well stepping up my training for it, but I ran poorly in the May 5th 12k. Since then, I’ve really reduced my mileage, but still can’t run more than five miles without pain in my hip and thigh developing. It goes away after a couple days rest, but happens again next run. I also have soreness in my right calf that has lingered for over a month.

As always, when I need accurate medical information, I call my very good friend, I.P. Aard, who’s a medical researcher at the National Institute of Running Sciences. I wrote about a visit she made to my hometown of Spokane in a previous post, Running Expert Pays Home Visit.

These visual  aids detail the leg issues I have going on

These visual aids detail the leg issues I have going on

When I called I.P.’s number, the person who answered sounded like her, but insisted she was a new person on staff, Dr. Spede E. Runnur. It sounded like a totally fake name, but amazingly, many employees at the Institute have names that are similar to running-related terms. Here are a few examples:

  • I.P. Aard – I PR’ed
  • Sted E. Payce – steady pace
  • N. Terrville Wurkoutz – interval workouts

I asked Ms. Runnur what happened to I.P. She said that I.P. and another employee were canned last week because they spent too much time doing elevator vs. stairs races in the Institute building.

I was taken aback and genuflected a moment about my very good friend, knowing she must be very upset. I made a point to get hold of her right away.

I described my injury to Dr. Runnur. She said she’d come across the exact symptom set a few times lately, and the problem was that my leg was in a rut. Doubtful that this is a real medical condition, I asked how my leg could get into a rut. Dr. Runnur said that frequent running over a long period of time can lead to a condition called bipedal boredom, the precursor to leg in a rut. She said the most effective treatment is a couple sessions of acupuncture.

I thanked Dr. Runnur and wished her well in her new position. She replied, “Thank-you, honey bean. How have you been?”

I was taken aback a second time. “I.P., you…you fooled me.”

“I was surprised I had you going for so long. Sorry about your injury, but really, acupuncture should help. When are you coming out my way? I’d really like to see you.”

I had a hard time keeping my composure. I could feel it coming on. “I really thought you were Dr. Spede E. Runnur. This is so emasculating. I….I….”
“Oh, sugar, I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. Hon, please….please don’t cry.”