Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Wu Wei

Saihung thought back some ten years to a question he had asked the Grand Master as he was trying to understand the concept of wu wei.

"What does wu wei mean?" he had asked

"It means," his master had replied, "that everything you do seems spontaneous, natural, and complete. Nothing affects you. Nothing stirs up the emotions to interrupt the precious tranquility that you have constantly cultivated."

"Nothing affects you?"


"What if you were meditating and someone tries to kill you?" ashed Saihung

"If they come to kill me, fine. I shall kill them first."

"And then?"

"And then I sit back down to meditate."

"That's all?"


"Wouldn't you suffer for killing another?"

"Not in this case. They came to kill me. I merely interrupted them."

"Wouldn't you suffer within?"

"No. That's wu wei. One event happens, then another. If you are truly wu wei, then you are always placid."

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Farmdale and Wu Tang Sword Style Circa 2006

I joined my Dead Runners' Club brothers at Farmdale this past Sunday. Temps were a cozy 15 degrees, skies clear, wind shrouded by forest cover. I took off ahead of the group, reasoning that my slow pace would make it tough to keep up and still be comfortable. The snow of the last month or so has since frozen solid making footing a bit more difficult than it was a couple of weeks ago, but still preferable to pavement. Went (stupidly?) straight up Blue Chevy Hill, losing a half step with every step gained, did a half hour or so on the back trail before forking north to the water crossing at Farm Creek. Clear ice right on the bank did me in, went down on my ass, bruised elbow, knee, but no cracked skull, so kept moving. As the maxim dictates: "If the bone ain't showin, keep on goin.'

Now, I've been at Farmdale several times and it's a testament to my lack of navigation or maybe just refusal to consult a map during a run that I do not know all the trail linkups. I ended up going up the dam face and finding the mountain bike trail system on the back side, hooking up with Dave, Larry, Scott, and Kim on Scholl's loop. Larry and Kim headed back and I decided to toss caution into the culvert and try and keep up with Dave and Scott, both much lighter, faster and more talented than myself. They were kind and I managed to keep up, we looped back to the dam, backtracked through Scholl's, finally illuminating how to weave through those upland prairie areas to connect to the access road and return on the back trail. All told it was a solid 2 1/2 hour run.

Started reading "Chronciles of Tao: Secret Life of a Taoist Master" by Deng Ming-Dao, a book which collects his three shorter novels into one cohesive work. More later.

Soundtrack: "Think Differently: Wu Tang Clan meets the Indie Culture" Picked this up for myself on a whim while christmas shopping. I keep looking for answer to "36 Chambers," but alas it never comes. This is a compilation of Wu style mid 90s (surreal to think that passes for nostalgia) beats rapped over by "indie" mc's. It's not exactly Wu, as RZA, GZA, and UGod are really the only clan that appear on this, but when they do pop up, it's worth hearing, for instance there's an amazing, albeit too short, tribute to ODB, and some spoken word interludes by Jim Jarmusch, just enough spark to keep it interesting. I'd say about 30 percent of this is golden, 50 is average, and 20 is throwaway. Sadly, in 2005/6 from what I can glean about the state of hip hop, that's good enough to warrant a listen.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Deer Run, Run

This past Saturday was the Deer Run, Run 8k race at Comlara Park near Hudson. I ran this race in 2002 but pf and a stress fracture respectively kept me out in '03 and '04. The course is set up in a European style cross country format, mostly double track trail, some open some wooded, and about 8 different barricaded jumps of 3 feet or so. The entire course was blanketed in 6 to 8 inches of snow and race morning was windy, I'd put the wind chill at around zero.

I started off slowly with Pam, jogging the first mile in a conservative 11:30, at 1 1/2 miles I picked up my pace some, passing 20 or so people in the next 30 minutes. In some of the open areas you were basically postholing through where snow had drifted slightly. My finish time was pretty slow, 51:25, or about 10:20 pace. My whole point was to basically have run and put in a few continuous running miles, but my thinking is that faster leg turnover might be helpful in terms of overall fitness and possibly even strength. I love those 3-4 hour run/hikes with lots of hill climbs thrown in, and I don't plan to modify long runs, but during-the-week workouts will have more faster tempo work and maybe the occassional fartlek thrown in. Building vo2 max a bit and pounding the legs with speed, as tedious as it can be at times, I think definitely has benefits.

Soundtrack: My buddy Rob recently burned all the old, rare Nuisance 7"s for me onto cd. Its been in heavy rotation since. "Sungod" is such a frickin' great tune.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Jubillee Rogaine

Yesterday morning was the Rogaine orienteering event out at Jubillee State Park near Kickapoo, IL. A rogaine is essentially a timed orienteering event where you try and accumulate as many controls as you can within an alotted amount of time. We had 4 hours to get a maximum of 25 controls. I met Pam out there about 15 minutes before the mass start, just enough time to get the map and sign up and really not enough time to route plan. We quickly decided to work on the southwestern quadrant of the park. Not good. Right from the start I miscalculate our starting point and we drifted off too far west on a nice chunk of single track. Ran about 20 minutes before finally getting oriented at a trial junction near a creek crossing. Ended up doing some decent (for us) rough navigating and managed to bag our first control.

The park was covered in about 3 inches of snow, which is just the coolest damn thing to run on, made even cooler by all the bushwhacking you get to do off trail, and we traversed open prairie, creek beds, climbed steep reentrants and scrambled through briars. This is so much fun you don't even care about the 20 degree temps and wind chills somewhere closer to zero. In total we bagged 7 controls for 14 points in about 2 hours 45 minutes. I feel that with more time to study the map we could've logged 3 or 4 more. I still have alot of practicing to do before I get competent at orienteering. I'll try and scan our map with the route traced tomorrow to demonstrate what happened and where improvements can be made. That said, there a million worse ways to spend a winter Saturday afternoon. I'm a convert.