Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I've recovered pretty well from Howl. The slow pace certainly helps. The lack of doing long runs has left me more time to read!

I finished "Shark God" by Charles Montgomery last week. The author traces his 19th century missionary great-grandfather's route through Melanesia in search of the "last heathens" and real, true magic. He finds that "kastom," that is to say an amalgam of culture that relates to history, religion, ritual and magic, still runs thick amongst the island people. But the illusory "magic" that Montgomery seeks is only found when he's willing to look through the silty veneer of his own pre-conceptions and the mythologies that sustain kastom.

"It's faith, not veracity, that gives stories their power. And thus charged, stories confer power back on their believers, whether that power is simply the strength of certainty, spiritual clarity, or something more...But when you fall toward mystical thinking, when you rub up against the rough edges of it long enough, it can enter you like a virus, and the world changes. There is more danger, but there is more possibility. Events present themselves symbolically. They wrap themselves in magic rather than coincidence, and their circumstances assume direction and purpose."

I found this book a solid companion to Kotler's West of Jesus.

I'm about 100 pages into "To Care and Conquer" by Derek Leebaert. It's excellent, so far.

Postrace running has so far been short stuff. Just a few aches and pains linger, nothing serious. I'll probably hold off long runs for a few weeks, then get back on the trails with a slow ramp up starting around October, hopefully for the 50 miler in April at McNaughton.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Howl At the Moon 8 Hour

Rode down with Dave on Friday afternoon to Kennekuk Cove Park, just east of Danville. Pitched the tent and ate dinner, then walked part of the course, ended up taking about a 45 minute stroll to loosen up the legs, getting back in just in time for the beer to be tapped and get in some carbo loading with a few Beck's (!). The night was surprisingly cool, in the 50's, which made the camping comfortable--up at 5:45 to get ready and to the starting line by 7:00 a.m.

I was shooting for anything over marathon distance, considering my lack of long training runs this summer. The course at Howl isn't tough at all, one semi-hill at the start, some mostly grass double track areas, a bit of pavement, and some gravel access road. While the course is pretty, what made if fun were the people. Being a 3.29 mile loop, you're almost always running near someone. I never did get bored during my nine loops., chatting with other runners, enjoying the scenery and the weather, which touched the 80's but wasn't brutally hot at all.

I felt strong for the first seven loops, alternating run/walk, eating a little and drinking two bottles of fluid per loop, usually re-filling with 1/2 gatorade, 1/2 water at the 1 1/2 mile aid station. Some cramping had me pretty much walking the ninth loop, finishing a bit early at 29.6 miles. Kim and Keegan had showed up by that point, so I opted out of the last out and backs and hit the beer and food. This whole event is basically a big party. The Beck's alone got me close to the entry fee and the food is incredible--chicken, rice, greens, etc. What an awesome ultra, I'll definitely be back.

Soundtrack: Bruce Springsteen "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions"

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Catfish and Corn II

Lots of corn but no catfish. We spent yesterday afternoon plinking around the farm. Took a few pics with the digital.

Keegan and superdog Zoe on the two miles of trails in the back 15 acres.

Farm pond.

Two Bur Oaks.