Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Devil’s Gate and Coastal Sagebrush

I ran up to Devil’s Gate Dam again yesterday. Well, almost to it. Water from our recent downpours (seven inches last week) was being discharged from the bottom of the dam and flooding the stream that I need to cross to get to the last climb that leads to the top of the dam and the pedestrian/equestrian tunnel through it. The high water only cut about a half-mile off of my run, but I do like to be able to run through that dark tunnel and emerge on the other side with a brightly framed view towards Brown Mountain.

I’ve recently discovered that Coastal Sagebrush (Artemisia californica) can provide a refreshing pick-me-up for tired runners, bikers, or passersby of any kind. The scent is strong and almost mint-like. All you have to do is brush your hands through it as you pass by and bring your hands up to your nose to experience its recharging scent.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

back and front

Pine, Snow, Sky...
Downtown, The Pacific (on the right)...

Friday, January 25, 2008

browsing old books

It’s amazing how often a good book can be found in the library just by looking around in the same section of one’s favorite authors. Today I picked up another Gary Snyder book, but also found a few others on the same self.

The book I’m reading now is called The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills by William Saroyan. Although I hadn’t heard of this author, I liked him right away and grabbed two of his books.

“A man learns style from everything… A bike can be an important appurtenance of an important ritual. Moving the legs evenly and steadily soon brings home to the bike-rider a valuable knowledge of pace and rhythm… Out of rhythm come many things, perhaps all things. The physical action compels action of another order – action of mind, memory, imagination, dream, hope, order… The action of the imagination brings home to the bicycle-rider the limitlessness of the potential in all things.” (Saroyan, 1952, p.11-12)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

waiting for the rain

A little rain is on the way - seven days and seven nights, supposedly. Actually, one of those days has already passed with no rain – just some drizzle – 6mm.

Roiling grey sky most of the day today… a few moments of sun almost broke through, too…

I went out for a run this afternoon. I’m not sure if I was trying to get the run in before the rain came, or intentionally trying to get caught in it.

Ran up to Devil’s Gate Dam via the Arroyo Seco (about 14 roundtrip). Felt good to be out in the brewing storm. The last mile was slow but still solid. My speed seems to be up a bit on my longer runs, but that may just be a result of the cool temperatures.

Discovered a great recovery drink in the fridge – margarita mix. Take a few slugs off that big ol’ bottle and pow – it’s like a super strong and zingy Gatorade - I recommend a water chaser.

It’s getting very dark out there. Brown Mountain looks black. Still no rain, though… oh, wait… here she comes now.

Monday, January 21, 2008

rejection, due to lack of spirit

Exercise is kind of a funny thing. There are people about my world that think that I get a lot of it. But honestly, I exercise very little. This is something that has become apparent to me in this past week since I’ve had a free pass to the gym up the street. While the “workouts” have been good enough, I just can’t connect with their perspective.

Many of my runs and rides may not quite be out in “sublime nature,” but I do seek routes that allow me to have the possibility of contact with the earthly landscape/spirit among which I believe we reside. I go for the companionship, not the pump. The gym does not provide me with this manner of companionship.

Today my free week is up and I need to decide if I’d like to “join.” So I’m supposed to balance and weigh the potential advantage as to whether or not paying a certain amount of money per month to lift “state of the art” “heavy stuff” will be valuable to me/my health/my experience as a human.

This same sum of money could buy me new handlebars every month.

Or new running shoes every month.

Or help provide for our fellow humans in need – every month (or other org.)

Or pay part of my bar tab…

The gym guy will probably call me tomorrow. Wish me luck in rejecting his version of reality (and substituting my own *).

Past Week
Run 28 = (7+1+1)+(3+1)+(12+1+1)
Bike 48 = 24.63+(2+4.32)+2.66+(7.44+7)
Car 45 = (31+6)+8

Saturday, January 19, 2008

good day

early morning moonset through my window

drifted back to sleep

double dose of caffeine

smooth morning run

warm, blue sky over my mountain

another run in the afternoon

early evening moonrise - a bright orange planet too

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

free one-week trial

There’s a tiny little gym up the street. I’m testing it out this week. I know it won’t compare to the gym I went to several years ago, but it’s only one mile from home (compared to 5). Which means I can just shoot up there anytime I feel like it. Last night I ran there and back for a quick warm-up/warm-down and did a dozen sets in between. Door to door round trip was under an hour. That seems like something I could work into my schedule - and a nice way to add some easy running miles - every mile counts. It felt really nice to get some real weight on the legs again – it’s been a long time…

I’ll try not to bog down the blog with too many gym-rat stories, but if you start seeing some two-mile runs (or 1+1, really) posted in my stats that’s probably where I’ve been.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

afternoon cruise

For a while now I’ve been trying to take Mondays off from any significant physical activity. Yesterday afternoon I took a quick 1.3 mile ride up to get a burrito. Then I thought I’d just cruise up the street a little further to stretch the legs. It was a really nice day and I found myself pedaling along my seven-mile bridge run route. It’s interesting how different it looks from the other side of the street. Then I kept riding some more following the Arroyo Seco towards Brown Mountain.

I got to thinking about all the trails up in those mountains that I’d like to experience. So I hung a West and rode up to the map shop to look at those trail on paper.

I think it would be fun to walk/run from my home to the Pacific Crest Trail. This would likely be an (multiple) overnight journey for me at this stage in my endurance/life. The PCT is probably something like 30 miles away - I didn’t measure on the map. Of course, if I walk all the way to the PCT, shouldn’t I just walk all the way to Yosemite, too. Or Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Canada… Another very long-term goal, I guess.

Then on the way back I finally got a chance to ride across the new pedestrian/bicycle bridge over the Arroyo next to Devil’s Gate Dam. It’s got a nice solid steel framed structure with wooden planks for a floor. It’s a little noisy as you pass over but that just adds to the fear factor of the 50-foot drop over the side.

After that I took a North and had a nice mellow ride through the quiet shady river canyon (mid-seventies and sunny yesterday) below Brown Mountain.

After 25 miles of resting, I came home and had wine with Hilary.

Hilary drinks wine now, you ask? Well, yes, thank god, and she started just in time - last week she tore her ACL.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

the day after

Pretty tired today after my re-introduction to the word of “weights.” I’d forgotten about that part of it. I could barely get out of bed this morning. After eventually making it past the coffee phase of the morning I headed up the Brown Mtn trail with CICLE Tony. I think we were both pretty tired this morning. We only rode about two-thirds of the trail. It was a really nice day for a ride, though, and it felt great to be up on the trail again (first of 08).

I still think lifting will be good for me in the long run and hopefully provide the added strength and fitness level to push further back into those mountains. I did a little web-study on Catra’s Crossfit – seems like a solid program. I might try to copy it for a while. I don’t think the junk in the garage is going to cut it for very long…

Last week
Run 16 = 3+3+7+3
Bike 71 = 3+10+(3+19)+6+9+21

Saturday, January 12, 2008

performance enhancing junk in the garage

I think it’s time again to add some weight training into the mix. I haven’t lifted weights in a real way in probably eight years. That’s a pretty long rest between sets.

I used to do a lot of weight training in my youth. Now that I’m almost into my old age (I’ll be 35 this year) I think I could benefit from some strengthening activities.

The trouble is that I don’t like most gyms. They seem like such fake environments. My old gym was okay, though. It was a pretty serious place - mostly a bunch of bouncers and martial artists - oh, and my Mom. I guess I could go back there.

But, then there’s the issue of price, too. Gyms are expensive.

So, until I figure this out I’m going to start with a few calisthenics-type exercises around the home.

That’s probably all I really need, anyway - just enough to reengage that sense of resistance training.

This way I can do sets in between every paragraph…

Some push-ups…

Some squats…

(How does one do squats at home? Well, it’s tough. But we’ve got these rolls of Marley in the garage (ah, life with a modern dancer…). Each roll is about 5 feet long and about 60 pounds. It’s a bit awkward to get a roll up off the floor and onto the shoulders, but I guess that can be included as part of the exercise, too. They’re not heavy enough for a real workout, but they’re free and available.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

the feet know

The outside of my right foot has been hurting for a couple weeks. And you know what that means – time to blame the shoes. Right now I’m rotating four pairs of shoes. Two are getting up around 400 miles and should probably be retired soon or at least restricted to short runs only. I don’t think these are the main source of the problem, though.

The shoes I believe to be causing me problems are not old – just over 100 miles - but I think they’re just too ridiculous. There are a lot of ridiculous shoes out there these days. They’ve all got the new super extra stabil-torsion-loop-cross-hyper-lite-whatnots… but, hey, they look cool and that’s what counts, right?

Well, looking cool is fine enough, and I have to admit that I do judge a shoe by its appearance a little too often. But when the shoe starts trying to tell my foot what to do, it’s game over, man. My feet know what they’re doing just fine on their own thank you very much.

So I did my best to listen to my feet in the store and I think I found some nice cushy shoes without too much hooplah. Already my feet feel better (is that even possible?). I think I’ll take them out for an easy three tonight…

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

this evening’s thoughts for a mellow year

I went for a short run this evening. That’s all I’ve been doing so far this year – just a few three-milers. It’s actually a pretty nice distance. It gets all the blood flowing nicely enough to get a good stretch in afterward and doesn’t take a huge bite out of the day. And it doesn’t make you hungry like the wolf.

I think I’ll try to do more short runs this year. And less middle distance runs (7-9). And more long runs (12 or more).

I’m not aiming to break any records this year. Not yet at least. I’m sure I’ll start to get competitive with myself around halfway through the year. Until then I’m hoping to just have some enjoyable runs and rides – follow a few paths, see where they lead…

Monday, January 7, 2008

rain trivia

Last year’s rain season (mid-2006 through mid-2007) brought us 6.25 inches of rain.

Last weekend (mid-Friday through late Sunday) brought us 6.1 inches of rain.

Seasonal Rainfall Totals
2004/2005 - 56.5”
2005/2006 - 26.25”
2006/2007 - 6.25”
2007/2008 – (see forecast)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

dreamtime or delusion

You may have noticed, I’ve been reading some Gary Snyder lately. I just read a passage in which he quotes from Dogen: “To carry yourself forward and experience myriad things is delusion. But myriad things coming forth and experiencing themselves is awakening” (Snyder, The Practice of the Wild, p. 76). This relates in some way to what I’m trying to express with my new blog title, pacific blue sky dreaming. To some degree I feel like I head out on my feet or my bike to experience the world, but I also feel that at the same time the world is heading out to me. The world I live in is represented in my mind by the name “pacific blue sky.” And that world is “dreaming” my/our adventures into existence. This, at least, is one perspective that I’d like to awaken to a little more in the time ahead. In this way, each mile becomes something much more than just something to log or graph or compare. Each mile is myriad experience. Each mile/moment is infinite. Each moment is another opportunity to awaken in the midst of this sublime earthly dream.

Delusional (slow start) stats for this week/year:
Run 6 = 3+3
Bike 7

Saturday, January 5, 2008

first run

Went out for the first run of the year tonight with Hilary. We took a few easy laps around the high school track (Go Tigers!). I hardly ever run at the track. I’m not sure why. It’s only a half-mile from home. And I always seem to enjoy it when I go. It’s nice to think about the tradition of Track and Field and some of my favorite tracksters while running. It seems to give me a bit of a lift.

The high school just spent a gazillion bucks on installing a synthetic track (I kinda liked the old clay track) and field so maybe I should use it more frequently to justify the loss of raises for the teachers of “our children.”

I don’t want to get all new year’s resolutiony on you all, but maybe I’ll try to go to the track more often this year – add some wind sprints and speed/form work into the mix. Oh yeah, and barefoot running on the artificial turf – I never got around to that last year.

Friday, January 4, 2008


I haven’t run or gone on a real bike ride for a week now. I’ve been trying to rest, recuperate, decompress, decompose. For the last few days I’ve just been lying on rocks and staring at the Sky out in Joshua Tree. It feels like my body is about ready to go again, but now it’s dark and rainy, so that should hold me back a little while longer which is probably just what I still need.

I’m strangely excited about this upcoming spin around the sun.

So… what should I keep track of this year?

2007 totals

Run 1056

Bike 3140

Burrito 125

Beer 569

Car 2267