Showing posts with label running. Show all posts
Showing posts with label running. Show all posts

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Healing The Heel

I've noted here now and then that I'm having problems with my right heel.  It's swollen up on occasion and I stopped running about eight weeks ago and decided it was time to go to the doctor.  He sent me to a podiatrist.  (The referral system through Providence didn't work well at all.  It took three weeks and three follow up calls on my part just to get an appointment and I'm not sure I actually got to one of the four doctors that my doctor said he would recommend.)

The doctor said it was my tendon and that the minimalist shoes don't help.  Like the NYTimes article I posted about recently, he said that landing on the balls of your feet put more pressure on the tendons than other shoes
Image from Marathon Rookie
  He offered a whole array of possible actions.  I chose physical therapy.  This time I was able to get an appointment quickly - the day before we left for LA.

She set up a program of exercises that will strengthen the

The physical therapist gave me a set of exercises to strengthen the muscles in my calf to take pressure off of the tendon.

There are a lot of things to do.

I think I understand these exercises - and there are a few more - but I need to check one more time on how often I have to do them.  I know at least twice a day, but four lengths of the room (that only makes sense if you are in that room, which I was when she showed me what to do, but feet would also be helpful) four times for the heal raise and then there are three more where I have to walk on my heel - straight, on the outside of my heel, and on the inside of my heel.

There's also a protocol for getting back into running.  Starting with walking for 40 minutes for two days, then alternately walking for 4.5 minutes and jogging 30 seconds.  Then each day shorten the walking parts a bit and adding to the jogging.  All the while doing the exercises.  She said I could do the exercises during the walking parts.

This is the second time I've gone to a physical therapist.  The first time was when I dislocated a finger.  I was very impressed with her knowledge and my finger is almost completely normal.  It's not quite as straight as the other fingers, but barely noticeable.

And this time, her knowledge of the how the muscles interacted and what motions I needed to do to work particular muscles was eye-opening.

I think everyone should probably go to a physical therapist every now and then to make sure we aren't slipping into patterns that are causing damage. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Things People Sent Me - Service Dog Attacks; Maria Kang; US Wealth Distribution Ignorance; Internet Security; And More

People have been sending me links - not for the blog necessarily - and I've got all these open windows that I need to get rid of.  So here are some things you might find of interest. 

Large number of Attacks on Service Dog
"Frequency and Location of Attacks The Seeing Eye 2011 dog attack and interference survey revealed that 44% of respondents (324 out of 744) had experienced at least one attack. Of those, 58% were attacked more than once. Findings also showed that 83% (617 respondents) had experienced interference by an aggressive dog. The vast majority of attacks (80%) and interference (83%) occurred on a public-right-of-way such as a sidewalk or roadway. In cases involving the most recent attacks, 74% happened when respondents were being guided by their dogs within 30 minutes walking distance from their homes. Most of them (80%) travel by foot within their neighborhood on a daily basis."
The complete survey is available at Seeing Eye.

Op-Ed: “Looking Good” is Overrated: One Mom’s Response to Maria Kang

This is an opinion piece at The Feminist Wire and begins:
Maria Kang, you look fabulous.  I fully commend you for the work you put into a goal that was important to you, and I congratulate you on your success.  I admire you for your self-reflective journey, your honesty in your writing, and your acknowledgment that everyone is different.  I looked pretty good before I got pregnant, but nothing like you. I also have an eight-month old baby, and a couple of older kids at home.  I have to say, I certainly don’t look nearly as good as you do now!
I'm not swimming in that part of the internet where the Maria Kang poster appeared so it was all new to me.

XKCD -  Poster "20th Century Headlines Rewritten To Get More Clicks"

I can relate to this as I generally resist the temptation to make my post titles a little sexier.  My rule is that it has to be directly relevant to the post.  And I've even posted once or twice about the phenomenon of writing headlines for clicks - such as the use of lists of the X Most Awesome Ys.   The only trouble with the poster is that you have to know about things that happened more than ten years ago to get what the rewritten headline refers to.  Some examples at the link:

1955 - Avoid polio with this one weird trick 
1989 - You won't believe what these people did to the Berlin Wall (Video)

Remembering Hugh Fleischer  -
Please join us for a memorial service honoring the life of Hugh Fleischer in the Tikahtnu Ballroom of the Dena'ina Convention Center, 600 W. 7th Avenue.
Tuesday, November 5 at 5:00 PM
Where: Dena'ina Convention Center/Senior Activities Center 
This is a real difficult one for me.  Hugh died recently after making all sorts of contributions to the Anchorage community and the event is being held at exactly the same time I agreed to be on a panel at UAA.   But it looks like things will go on later than the panel and I can come by then.

Pounding Pavement By Heal Or Toe -

 I think this was sent to me as a follow up on my post about barefoot running.  This NY Times article says, "not so fast" and points out that people who land on the ball of their feet get problems too, just different ones from the people who land on their heals.  And this is particularly poignant because I have had problems with my right heal (ok Harpboy?) and that's where the article says 'barefoot' runners get problems.  I finally got an appointment with a podiatrist for next Monday to see how to start running again without permanently damaging my heal.  The person who made the appointment said the doctor is a runner. :)

9 Out Of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact 
  I think this came from an email too.  It's a video that compares:

1.  What Americans think the distribution of US wealth should be.

Screen shot from 9 out of 10 Americans Are Wrong video
In this one the richest make roughly 10-20 times more than the poorest.  

2.  What Americans think the distribution is.

Screen shot from 9 out of 10 Americans Are Wrong video

In this one the richest make roughly 100 times more than the poorest. 

3.  What the distribution of wealth in the US actually is.

Screen shot from 9 out of 10 Americans Are Wrong video
The video gives a different ratio on this one - the average CEO makes 380 times what the average worker in the company makes. 

4.  What the distribution actually looks like when you cut off the top of the curve that goes out of the picture and re stack it onto the graph.

You can see the repasted tip for the top 19%, but the narrator of the video says they had to make a whole new column off the chart to show how much the top 1% has.  It comes to 40% of the wealth in the US.  While the bottom 80% has only 7%.

The point of the video is that our understanding of reality is totally wrong.  And I would suggest when you hear Republicans charging people with trying to foment class welfare, it's part of the campaign to keep the American public ignorant of the reality.

I haven't check this video's numbers, but even if he's off by a lot, it would still be shocking.   Here's the whole video at You Tube.

I can't tell when it was posted, but it says that it's been watched 11 million times and there are 37,000 comments. 

Ten Steps You Can Take Right Now Against Internet Surveillance - This comes from the Electronic Frontiers Foundation.
   "The good news, if you can call it that, is that much of what the NSA is doing is mass surveillance on everybody. With a few small steps, you can make that kind of surveillance a lot more difficult and expensive, both against you individually, and more generally against everyone. . .
  1. Use end-to-end encryption.
  2. Encrypt as much communications as you can.
  3. Encrypt your hard drive.
  4. Strong passwords, kept safe.
  5. Use Tor.
  6. Turn on two-factor (or two-step) authentication.
  7. Don't click on attachments.
  8. Keep software updated, and use anti-virus software.
  9. Keep extra secret information extra secure.
  10. Be an ally.
The link gives more explanation of each of the steps.  If you wouldn't leave your house or your car unlocked, why would you leave your data unlocked?  Because keys and locks are easier to understand than encryption.  And that's what NSA and others take advantage of.

[UPDATE Oct. 30, 2013 12:28pm - Feedburner note - this one posted within 30 minutes.  Let's hope this becomes the norm again.]

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Peek At Summer, Yesterday

Sky was blue. 

We came close to 60˚F. 

And I took advantage and did my run in shorts and a t-shirt.  It felt good.

The Chester Creek bike trail was mostly clear of snow but there were some patches, like here where a temporary unnamed creek flowed across the trail. 

But the trail was clear again up ahead.

A great day everyone's been waiting for.  Still in the 50s today, but mostly grey. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What Do We Know About The Boston Bombing?

NPR has been making a lot of noise this morning about the bombing at the Boston Marathon.  It's like they know this is important and they should spend a lot of time on it, but they don't really have anything substantive to say. So they keep playing the same things over and over.  I haven't looked at other media so I'm not sure what they're doing.

What do we actually know?

Of the basic news questions, what, where, when, who, and why, we know a little about what, where, and when.


I say a little because the 'what' that we know is the result:  two "improvised explosive devices" exploded [our understanding of what exploded is also still evolving] and three people were killed and over 150 injured.  We know about the action of some of the responders, especially the medical response.  There is a lot of 'what' that we don't know- all the action that led to the explosion or what he or they are doing now, whatever security precautions were taken by the race officials, and a myriad things we haven't even thought of yet.

The President, in his short statement today,  took it from the concrete and descriptive to  abstract interpretation:
"This was a heinous and cowardly act and given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism,"
How much was he thinking about the grilling he got over how fast he called the Benghazi attack terrorism?  


The explosions happened near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  But we don't know where they were planned, where the bomber(s) is now, where another explosion might be planned.


Again, we just know the timing of the explosions - the Anchorage Daily News reports it as "shortly before 2:50pm about four hours into the race."  We know nothing about how long this has been in the planning and whether another time is already planned.  We don't know when suspects will be apprehended or a trial will be held.

We really know very little about what, where, and when.  But compared to who and why it seems like a lot.


We know very little about the victims and while we all have concern for them, I think we're most curious about who planted the explosive devices.  The President narrowed it down to:
 "a terrorist organization, foreign or domestic, or was the act of a malevolent individual."
Foreign or domestic covers the likely universe of suspects, but I think the rest of this may be a bit narrow.  When exactly does a 'group,' say, become an 'organization'?  And what turns a group or an organization into a 'terrorist organization'?  By detonating the explosive at the Boston Marathon, the perpetrator became a 'terrorist' if he/they didn't fit that category before.  But I suspect the President's words imply an existing organization with an already existing identity as terrorists.  But is that an identity they have themselves or an identity the US government or some other authoritative body puts on them?  (Were the original Boston Tea Party participants patriots or terrorists?)

I'm not trying to question whether this was a terrorist act, but rather whether this might have been carried out by an organization whose existence is known, but hasn't previously been considered terrorist.  Or the more chilling possibility of someone trying to stir up fear for political gain.  (I'm reading The Man Without A Face:  The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin which begins with apartment bombings around Moscow and other Russian locations that were blamed on Chechen rebels, but were apparently the work of the Russian Federal Security Service to build fear and nationalism among the Russian voters.)

And 'malevolent individual' again leaves out that in-between category of group. Plus it would seem that 'malevolent individual' merely tells us it's a person with the intent to do evil to others - not anything we didn't already know.  What if it was a delusional person who thought he was saving himself or others this way?  I'm merely saying we shouldn't close off reasonable options.

Terrorist groups tend to take credit for their projects.  We've been told no group has claimed credit and that the Pakistani Taliban denied responsibility.  Nor, apparently, had there been prior warning.  Though it's probably too early to be sure about that. 

He also told us who in terms of people in charge by telling us he was briefed by his National Security Team which includes
"FBI Director Mueller, Attorney General Holder, Secretary Napolitano, and my Counterterrorism and Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco"


Ultimately, this seems to be the question most on people's minds.  The main clues we have at this point relate to the target, or what we assume to be the target, the Boston Marathon.  What does it represent?  Who would want to attack that symbol?

Boston:  Irish, liberal, Catholic come to mind. Boston Tea Party, abolition, elite education (Harvard and MIT plus a bunch of other universities), Logan Airport where 9/11 terrorists started, Red Sox, Cheers.

Marathon:  Running marathons is an 'achiever' sport.  It's not something people do lightly and for the Boston Marathon you have to qualify by running other marathons.  It's a non-motor sport.  An individual sport (not a team sport - though there are groups that run as teams.)  It takes endurance and planning. 

There are lots of possible motives there.  But it could be that the bomber is from Boston and it was just a convenient target.  Or that this was a personal attack on someone disguised to look like a terrorist attack.  (Probably not likely, but it should still be a backup motive until they're certain.)

It's more likely that the culprit(s) will be found through following the evidence he left at the scene, through photos or videos, or through a tip from an insider or someone who knows the bomber (like the Unabomber's brother sending info), rather than starting with the motivation.  But considering motivation certainly helps law enforcement prioritize their efforts.  (Though I would expect the bomber to have been well disguised so the photos will not be that easy to interpret.)

It seems prudent at times like this to take everything you hear with a grain of salt.  There's much that isn't known.  But the authorities also know, but aren't telling.  (Obama took no questions after his statement today, suggesting to me he does know more and doesn't want to have to evade questions.)

And, in a day or two, we can probably expect a full press Republican attack on why the US was not prepared for this event and how poorly the President responded.  That's just how they work.

But for a day or two, everyone will hold their tongues, make obligatory statements about unity and prayers for the victims and their families. 

Most average Americans will be sending genuine love and prayers to the victims and their families and paying special attention to the people around us.  Perhaps we can tap into these feelings of shock and outrage to understand how the people of Iraq and Afghanistan feel after the bombings that kill civilians there.  And how some might raise an eyebrow about our reaction today in contrast to our response to the events in their countries where far more are killed this way and where we have such a large presence. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

"Covering your feet with cushioned shoes is like turning off your smoke alarms."

As I kid I spent a lot of time barefoot, so when talk came out about barefoot running, my ears perked up.  I really like to run but I could never understand why running shoes were so expensive.  My doctor would always nag me about how running was bad for my knees.  But I didn't seem to have much trouble.  I don't run all that much.  Maybe 3.5 mile runs. My goal is three or four times a week, but it's easy to let cold weather or icy trails be excuses to slow down starting in November.  Shoveling snow, cross country skiing are also aerobic exercise.  But when I visit my mom in LA, I run more often. Because shoes are so expensive I tend to keep running in the old shoes even when it's clear the cushion effect is gone.  I like being able to feel my feet again. 

When the barefoot shoes came out, I checked up on them.  The blue shoes with the toes were just too weird for me but I did ask people wearing them how they felt.  I did read about barefoot running and like people who love the idea that chocolate and red wine are good for you, I was enjoying the reports on barefoot shoes.  I looked at videos like this one and realized that my natural running form is the barefoot way - landing on my forefoot and not on my heal. 

So in January, when we got to LA and we were walking around the Santa Monica mall on the way to a movie, I found a pair of minimalist shoes at the Sketchers store.  They still look like running shoes, but they have very thin soles by running shoe standards and there's lots of room for my toes to spread out. And they weigh almost nothing.

Here they are on my first day of running in them.  They felt great.  I can really feel the ground with these.  It's like running barefoot except all the little rocks are softened a bit when you step on them.

And then, I got the email that my book club was going to read Born to Run:  A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen  by Christopher McDougall.  The book mixes McDougall's personal story of running and having all sorts of typical running injuries and going to Mexico to find the super runners for a magazine story he's writing.  It wasn't until about page 150 that he actually starts talking about the research findings on running shoes and barefoot running.  He mixes a bunch of stories about different ultrarunners and barefoot runners and races, and the people who participate in with the info on the shoes.  The kind of thing I've been known to do here on the blog. 

The basic idea is that people have been running for thousands of years.  For many this was how they caught food.  They'd just keep running down an animal until it got exhausted.   So, this argument is that running is natural to humans, that we run to get food and that running keeps us healthy

The problem with running shoes is that instead of letting the foot feel the ground and react to those messages it gets back, the cushioned feet get lulled and stop doing what they need to do to naturally cushion the the body.

Quoting Stanford's NCAA Cross Country Coach of the Year, Vin Lananna:
"I think you try to do all these corrective things with shoes and you overcompensate.  You fix things that don't need fixing.  If you strengthen the foot by going barefoot, I think you reduce the risk of Achilles and knee and plantar fascia problems." (p.a69-70)

Or this from a study by Dr. Craig Richards, an Australian researcher:
"Runners wearing top-of-the-line shoes are 123 percent more likely to get injured than runners in cheap shoes."  (p. 171)
 Runners in shoes that cost more than $95 were more than twice as likely to get hurt as runners in shoes that cost less than $40. 
 And here's one that I loved hearing:
"As running shoes got worn down and their cushioning hardened the Oregon researchers revealed in a 1988 study for the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, runners ' feet stabilized and become less wobbly.'"

Now this is stuff I want to believe.  It also fits with my personal experiences.  But I did start carefully with the minimalist shoes. So far, running in the new shoes feels great.

But I am looking at other research on this.  

Here, for example, is a Harvard explanation with photos of ways the foot hits the ground.

It's also a warning, like so many others, that consumers should be careful of the claims of companies that make lots of money telling you their product - which fills a need people didn't know they had -  is good for you. In this case, it seems to be a need we didn't have and caused lots of people a lot of pain and suffering.  There is a section of the book that talks about the Oregon coach who first created fancy running shoes and the company Nike and how even Nike got around to pushing the benefits of running barefoot, but with their minimalist shoe on your foot.

Friday, December 07, 2012

AIFF 2012: From Miss India to Kenyan Runners

  [Check the AIFF 2012 Tab above for what's on today.]

I saw two films Thursday:

Things I Don't Understand  seems to fit well here at What Do I Know?  I'm too tired to write usefully about the film now.  It shows again Saturday night at the Bear Tooth.  There are a lot of characters with issues, including a musician who turns down a paying job as a coffee bean because he has to be true to his art.  You can see the trailer at the film's website.   The small Alaska Experience theater was full - about 30 people.

The World Before Her - is an Indian-Canadian documentary that looks at the boot camp to train the dozen or so finalists for the Miss India contest and a nationalist Hindu camp for young women.  The juxtaposition of the new and old India makes for a stark contrast.  For me the most interesting characters were the young woman of ambiguous gender and her father.  She is the trainer at the fundamentalist camp and pushes the campers hard as she espouses an extreme Hinduism.  Yet  she does not plan to get married and describes herself something like half woman and half man.   Her father will have none of this because a wife's place is in the house. 

Then I went off to the film-maker reception at the Spenard Roadhouse where I talked to a few film makers.   Mark Mudry is in the video below.  His film Where Dreams Don't Fade, about Kenyan runners, will be screened

Friday Dec. 7 at 10pm at the AK Experience Theater  and
Sunday Dec. 8 at 7pm at Out North

Sunday, November 04, 2012

AIFF 2012: Wolves, Cuba, Skiers, Dislecksia - Some Documentary Topics Coming To AIFF 2012

The Anchorage International Film Festival comes to Anchorage in less than a month - Nov. 30, 2012 is the opening night.   Lots of films come each year and probably most people in Anchorage have no idea that a film on a topic or location of interest will be playing.  So I'm trying to alert people to some of the many topics coming.  I've already done an overview of the feature films.  This one looks at the documentaries.  I'm sure there are some topics for everyone.

I'd note here that the makers and stars of the 2009 AIFF Audience Award winning Paddle To Seattle (the tongue-in-cheek documentary of their kayak trip from Skagway to Seattle) will be back with their adventure traveling the Ganges River in India, though the title - Go Ganges - doesn't have the cache of Paddle to Seattle.

So here's a long table.  Scan through the topics in the left hand column.  Remember I haven't seen the films, I'm just pulling out topics based on the descriptions.  Then mark the ones you'd like to see and check the Anchorage International Film Festival website to see when they will show.  They range in length from 5 minutes (Solar Roadways) to 113 minutes (YERT - Your Environmental Road Trip).  The shorter ones will be grouped together and the longer ones will show by themselves.  The schedules aren't up yet.

Topics FilmOther
Inuit People - Hudson Bay ‡People of the Feather
Subsistence ‡People of the Feather
Eider Duck ‡People of the Feather
Yukon River River
Wolves Wolves Unleashed
Siberia Wolves Unleashed
Zaire/Congo Back to Mandima
Cuba Unfinished Spaces
Art Unfinished Spaces
India ‡The World Before Her Go Ganges
Miss India Contest ‡The World Before Her
Iran Falgoosh (Blames and Flames)
Film Making Falgoosh (Blames and Flames)
Kenya Where Dreams Don't Fade
Runners Where Dreams Don't Fade The Mountain Runners
Journalism (Mexico) Reportero
LGBT Burmese Butterfly I Need A Hero
Hair Dressing Burmese Butterfly ‡Cutting Loose
Burma Burmese Butterfly
Prison ‡Cutting Loose
Scotland ‡Cutting Loose
Extreme Skiing Tempting Fear
Sweden Tempting Fear
Palliative Care Okuyamba (To Help)
Uganda Okuyamba (To Help)
Piano Prodigy Twins Toni and Rosi
Nazis Toni and Rosi
Seniors ‡Ping Pong
Ping Pong ‡Ping Pong
Inner Mongolia ‡Ping Pong
Dyslexia Dislecksia:  The Movie
Comic Super Heroes I Need A Hero
(couldn't find good link)
I Need a Hero (White Hawk Bourne) a brief history of LGBT characters in comic books and the impact these characters have had.
Model T Race Cars The Mountain Runners
Aparteid †Roadmap to Apartheid
South Africa †Roadmap to Apartheid
Palestine †Roadmap to Apartheid
Solar Energy Solar Roadways
Highways Solar Roadways
Sea Horses Mission of Mermaids
Oceans Mission of Mermaids
Environment Mission of Mermaids Solar Roadways/YERT
Innovation ‡YERT - Your Environmental
Road Trip

Cystic Fibrosis Breathe Life
Ganges River ‡Go Ganges Or try this link, which took forever to open.

[‡ = films in competition. There are lots of films here, so not getting into competition doesn't mean it's not a good film.  Update Nov. 25]

Remember, this is just the Documentary films.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Anchorage's Pot Hole Art Gallery

I took advantage of Wednesday's sunshine to go for a run and found an art gallery I'd never noticed before.  The Pot Hole Gallery opened in an alley off of Northern Lights with an Ice Art exhibit created by M. Nature.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Inspection Run And OutNorth Revival Meeting Tonight

I  took advantage of the sunny (if breezy) weather to get a run in and see how the neighborhood fared the storm. Except for this one cottonwood that was covering most of the street nearby, things seemed to be ok.  Oh, the traffic light at MacInnes and 36th was still not working.  There did appear to be some trees down in the woods along the bike trail too, but they could have been like that awhile.


[UPDATE  Friday, next day:  Here's what's left of the tree:


There is termination dust* on the mountains. 

And the Chester Creek bike trail was still beautiful. 

*Termination dust, the first snow on the mountains, marks the end of summer for folks in Anchorage.

Also, want to remind people that OutNorth is having a fundraiser tonight.  It's $40 a person at the door which sounds steep except it includes food and drinks. (Well I expect they might charge for the alcoholic drinks.  It is a fund raiser.)

OutNorth continues to bring Anchorage the most interesting and often the most edgy performances by local and Outside performers and artists.  Really incredible stuff and sometimes things that don't quite work, but are interesting attempts.  So $40 including food isn't that much to help keep this theater/arts non-profit alive and well. 

Includes Midnight Sun beer, wine, food, edification, salvation, entertainment, and remarkable deals on art, objects, services, experiences and upcoming shows.

It starts at 5:30pm and will give you a chance to chat with artists from the many community groups affiliated with them - from Hmong high schoolers learning to play their traditional bamboo flute, to actors, musicians, dancers, visual artists.  You can get a sense of the eclectic mix at their radio station which went on the air this year KONR (KOutNorthRadio) at 106.1 FM.  They're doing a special program to coincide with the Revival.  From their website:

"Anchorage Augmented
On September 6th, KONR Out North Art House Radio will host an augmented reality mix tape of Anchorage featuring the recorded works of local musicians, poets and performers as augmented reality works of art. If you are a local artist, musician, poet or performer with recorded works of art that you would like included in this project please email them to us in mp3 format. Anchorage Augmented will be taking place as part of Out North's Season 28 Revival, festivities will begin at 5:30 at Out North Contemporary Art House."

Do I have vested interest in OutNorth? Yeah I do. I want to see the kinds of performers they bring to Anchorage and I want to see them using those performers to help our local performers - including kids - stretch their imaginations and talents and contacts. So getting the word out to get more people there increases the likelihood they'll survive and thrive. That's my vested interest. A dumb thing on my part was that I didn't start labeling posts about OutNorth events until recently, but you can look at some of the old posts about their events by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Running with Eagles and Salmon

A 3.5 mile run from my house and back yesterday afternoon had me communing with three bald eagles (the other two were too far to catch on the camera)

A few minutes later, going over a Campbell Creek bridge there were salmon coming home to spawn. It's the red/orangish splotch in the lower middle of the photo. This is an untouched photo - no games in photoshop. Just the way the light was reflecting on the water.
Today it's raining again.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

From AA to Yoga at Venice Beach

Ran down to Venice Beach this morning.  Blue,  blue sky.  Not too warm.  Took off my running shoes and socks and went down to the water.  Modest surf, nice kelp.

On the beach there was a large crowd for the Sunday morning AA Meeting.  (I know AA is anonymous, so I took the picture from far away and I don't think anyone could be identified.  The resolution is low enough that blowing it up won't help.)

And a little further down the beach was Brad's Yoga.

And then I got off the sand.  Put my shoes back on and ran back. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Running Makes You Smarter

It was easy to run when we were in LA earlier this year, but with all the snow we had, I switched to shoveling snow as my exercise.  I haven't been a total slug, but I know some serious and regular movement is needed.  The streets are clear of snow and I have no more excuses. 

It sounds like any good exercise will do.   

From Sunday's NYTimes:
For more than a decade, neuroscientists and physiologists have been gathering evidence of the beneficial relationship between exercise and brainpower. But the newest findings make it clear that this isn’t just a relationship; it is the relationship. Using sophisticated technologies to examine the workings of individual neurons — and the makeup of brain matter itself — scientists in just the past few months have discovered that exercise appears to build a brain that resists physical shrinkage and enhance cognitive flexibility. Exercise, the latest neuroscience suggests, does more to bolster thinking than thinking does .(emphasis added.)

Of course every week there is some new food or activity to add or avoid.  But walking and running have been on the good list a long time now.  None of these mean you (specfically) will or won't live longer and get smarter, but it means people in general will, and you might be in the group that does.

[UPDATE:  See follow up post:  It Worked, I Ran I Got Smarter. ]

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Good to Run, Even if Wet

We're staying in NW Portland, not far from our apartment when I spent six months here on sabbatical.  We're not in the section I ran most often. Today I got to go run.  It's all familiar, but the details of which roads dead end into paths into the park are fuzzy. 

It turned out to be uphill most of the time (coming back was much faster) and I knew there was a trail somewhere through the wooded park.  This on the left is that trail, but going the wrong direction.  I just couldn't find the trail connection on the other side of the road. 

 So I turned around and went back pretty much the same way I came, varying the streets a little.  I haven't run for about three weeks, but shoveling snow has kept me reasonably fit, but it just doesn't compare. 

On the right is a runner/biker by-pass for a tunnel.  

I think we're headed for the Japanese Garden later.  It was one of our favorite nearby destinations.  I used to run by or through it regularly.  It's beautiful rain or shine. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Watching Eagle Harrassed by Ravens and Magpies While Running

I've been rationalizing that shoveling the driveway has been my exercise since October 30 and we've had measurable snow about every three days since then (at least that's how I remember it.)  But shoveling isn't running.  Today I cleared the snow that had accumulated on the deck.  Did some indoor tasks and the sun came out which got me itching to run.  It's a little colder than I like (10˚F or -12˚C), but I thought I should go at least on a short run.  I forgot how good it feels to run outside, even in the cold. 

I also got to see ravens and magpies ganging up on a bald eagle.

The raven is on the right above the eagle

The bald eagle, alone

And now a magpie (left) comes over to keep an eye on the eagle (right)

The sun was already covered again by the clouds at 2:30.  Official sunset was at 3:48pm - we gained, according to the newspaper, 1 minute and 27 seconds of sun over yesterday.  That may not seem like much, but at that rate, it's ten minutes in a week, and the amount we gain is increasing daily.  And for those of you wondering about sunrise - it was officially 10:15am. 

I know the photos aren't very good, I was running.  And my pocket canon powershot doesn't do distance well.  But I'm just documenting here what I saw. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

LA, Verizon Problems, Sazón, Etc.

We arrived in LA Tuesday morning.  There's a wedding we're going to and that was a good excuse to visit my mother.  But her internet connection has been out most of the time.  Verizon is very polite and patient on the phone and they agreed there was something wrong with the router.  But the guy who came to the house yesterday, reset the router, and with a rather smug manner, said he fixed it.  Well, it worked for 20 minutes and then stopped again.  Called Verizon and they couldn't even connect to the router and agreed that the guy who came by should have replaced the router.  So they're sending a new one.  I'm temporarily on some one else's internet and trying to get something up. 

I also had ordered more memory for my laptop and had it sent to my mom since I didn't know if it would get to Anchorage on time.  Then it turned out I needed a #0 philips head screw driver.   So, instead of running to the beach yesterday, I ran to a hardware store to get the screw driver.  There was a computer repair store on the way and they didn't have one.  Nor did the hardware store.  But I passed this bakery and bought a couple of roles.

I also checked out this hydroponics store, since I don't think we have such things in Anchorage yet. 

I stopped in an eyeglasses shop and while they have little screwdrivers, they're not for sale, but she suggested another hardware store - B&B - nearby that had them.

Finally, on the way back home I passed this 'healthy' Mexican restaurant - SAZÓN.  Unfortunately, I didn't take my camera when we went there for dinner later.  It was a beautiful little place - burnt orange walls, nice paintings, and tastefully covered tables.  She even made some chair covers.  And the food reminded me of 'real' Mexican food - not the overcheesed stuff we usually find in Mexican restaurants. [Update: But we did go a second time and I took my camera that time.]

Again, it's a shame I didn't take my camera because the place was so photogenic.  For people in LA, it's on Washington Blvd. at the corner of Centinela, in Culver City.

I'll try to do more when I get access again.  

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Roots, Ribs, Sidewalks

Why cut a beautiful, healthy tree growing in the city?

I was taking advantage of the sunshine and warm temps to go for a run Saturday morning from the motel to my mom's place. (Which was full up with our kids.) 

And saw a long row of cut trees.  And there was probably a good reason when I saw what the roots had done to the sidewalk.  But it's not the big buckling that's a problem for me.  It's the part where the next slab sticks up about two inches.

Shortly after taking those pictures, the toe of my shoe caught the edge, and I went airborne, all in slow motion now.  I thought about the dislocated finger caused by just such a flight a year and a half ago, I saw the grass to my left, I pulled in my arms, pulled down my head and landed in beautiful shoulder roll and was back up on my feet all probably in no more than three or four seconds.

But when I started walking I could feel the ribs on my left side.  I had about a mile to go and walking wasn't bad.  I eventually started a slow run and made it ok.  But the ribs were very tender.  I slept on my right side last night and things are a better today. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Boxing, Soccer, Private Jet, Lemons, and an Old Chair

I still have things to post from LA, so they'll show up for the next few days.

I ran around the Santa Monica airport Monday and here are a few shots.

These two guys - Ignacio and Rudolfo - were working hard in the hot sun.  (The fog rolled in Monday evening and Tuesday was cooler.)

At the same park overlooking the airport there was 
a woman's soccer (real football) team practicing.
People have their private jets parked along the fence next to the park.  If we want to talk about government services for the wealthy, I'm sure that the fees folks pay for using the Santa Monica airport don't pay for what it costs the City of Santa Monica - especially if you consider the lost property taxes on this huge area.  Now, I do believe in government infrastructure, and keeping this open land rather than increasing the population density is a good thing, but I suspect a relatively small percent of the population actually use this one and a large percent of the users are probably in the higher income levels.  (This is all speculation.  Someone else can see if there's something there or not.  A lot of the airport is being filled in - Santa Monica City College buildings, restaurants, more soccer fields and playgrounds, a place for live theater, etc.)

The birds of paradise were blooming.

I ran down this Santa Monica alley to see the backsides of the houses.

This lemon tree leaned over the fence into the alley.

And this chair beckoned, but I kept on.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Burnaby Mountain 2: Around the Park

My Dad would be 99 years old today.  I know he would have loved to have been in the park with me.  Happy Birthday wherever you are Dad.  

The sky is pretty much clear and the weather in the 60s, so it seemed like a good day for a run. There's a park down the hill from where we're staying. This post is pictures of the park and the trails I took. The last post of the park will be from the rose garden.

The park is around the P and ? just left of the "You Are Here" sign on the map.

Here's from an April 15, 2010 CTV report:
Fire has ravaged an acclaimed restaurant on Burnaby Mountain just weeks before wedding season.
The blaze was discovered at about 7:15 a.m. Thursday by a cook at Horizons Restaurant, located at 100 Centennial Way.
"He opened the door and heard a crackling sound, and he called the fire department immediately," restaurant operator Geoffrey Howes told
Eight fire trucks arrived on scene, and the fire was extinguished about an hour later. No one was injured in the blaze, but the restaurant's kitchen was destroyed.
Howes said the damage is extensive and will take about three months to fix. About six planned parties and wedding celebrations will be disrupted.
 It's now going on six months later and you can see from the picture, there's still work to do before  the Horizons Restaurant is open again.  

Then I continued my run down Pandora's trail. (On the map - this goes up and left from the park along the boundary with the 'danger' area.  It's marked, and you might be able to see it clearer if you double click the map.)

Then to the Gnome's Home Trail

The Gnomes were sitting all over this tree, but didn't come out in the picture at all.

I think this stump (about six feet tall) may be their home.

And then up the Ridgeview trail back to the park.

And then back up to the campus past this great swing scene.