Archive for the ‘Ramblings Off Topic’ category

Rock the Parkway 2014 ~ recap

April 13, 2014

Rock the Parkway

CAUTION: Long post full of self aggrandizement.

I don’t think I was being too coy about the struggle I had completing my first half marathon last fall. I recounted it in two posts: here and here. It was tough. More than tough. And so it was with considerable anxiety that I signed up for Rock the Parkway, another half marathon here in Kansas City. But I knew I had to do it.

Of course I was full of fret and anxiety in all of the months leading up to RTP. I had “bonked” on the earlier half; I had run out of fuel and had to run on little more than determination and the muscles my body apparently had to consume to keep me going. It was the hardest, most grueling thing I had ever done (and that includes the calculus course I took in college). Yet I was going to attempt to do it again.

So I spoke to as many of my running friends as I could — those who would listen anyway — and asked what went wrong before and what I could do right this time. The bottom line was that I had likely fueled inadequately for that last run. I hadn’t eaten properly in the days before, hadn’t kept my body sufficiently hydrated in advance, and hadn’t consumed enuf energy during the actual run to sustain my effort.

And so I set about correcting all of that for this run. In the week before I had been slamming bottles of Gatorade (lemon-lime G2) each day. I had two pasta dinners on days when I generally never ate dinner at all. And I organized plenty of GU (chocolate outrage and salted caramel) and energy bites (Honey Stingers and ShotBloks) to carry with me on the run. I was determined to get my glycogen and electrolyte levels as elevated as I could in preparation. (I barely know what I’m talking about.)

And I watched the weather report. Early in the week, the forecast called for a chance of rain and possibly thunderstorms on Saturday. But unlike when I’m planning a trip to my little cabin in the Ozarks, as the week progressed, the threat of rain diminished. By Thursday, all chance of rain was removed from the forecast and the temps were expected to rise into the upper 70s. Maybe a little hot for a long run, but pretty close to ideal, at least to me. I decided to do without the long sleeve shirt and risk being a little cold at the start. That would correct itself once I got moving. And I would wear a cap because the sun was expected to be out and likely in my face both directions of the run.

The Parkway of Rock the Parkway is Ward Parkway, a pretty, divided boulevard that runs through some very nice neighborhoods and terminates at the Plaza, Kansas City’s upscale shopping and dining district. The course would take us north on the Parkway (more or less uphill until mile four despite what they say), then around a beautiful urban park, taking us back to the other side of Ward Parkway for the return (which is correspondingly — and blessedly — more or less downhill).

I slept well on the night before, though I remember having a dream about being unable to find the timing chip I needed to add to my shoe. I woke before the alarm and decided not to fight for any more sleep. I let the dogs out, drank another bottle of Gatorade, got online to surf a bit and reduce my anxiety, and slowly dressed myself in the kit you see in the photo above. (After a winter of layers and long clothes and hats and gloves, it’s nice to travel light once again!) About two hours before the run was to start, I swallowed three Advil and ate the entire packet of ShotBloks. I also ate two slices of bread with peanut butter on them and a banana. All that was left to do was to drive the few miles to the start where I could wait and fret.

The temperature was already 60 degrees when I arrived. I knew I would not be cold as I waited. Just shivering with fear. I met with some of my running friends, but with more than 6,000 runners at the event, I didn’t hang around and instead wandered over to my starting corral. I had reported my expected finish time based on my performance at that earlier half, and that put me at the back of the pack, which was fine. That meant there would be fewer people to pass me since most were already in front of me. (See how I think these things through?)

Being at the back of the pack (of 6,000) meant that even though the race started at 7:30, I would not be starting until at least twenty minutes later. The start of the course headed south for a short distance and then turned and ran up the other side of the Parkway. So as I stood there, waiting to start, I could see hundreds and hundreds of runners already underway, across the boulevard just to my left. Well, that was fine. I knew I had only one runner I needed to pay attention to.

The shuffling eventually got my wave to the start. I started my watch and hoped it could grab some satellites before we were ushered across the starting mats. And though I always worry that this won’t happen, it always does happen. I crossed the mats at a trot and settled in, knowing I had a great deal of time and distance I had to manage.

I was determined not to look at my watch as I ran, and by that I actually mean not to look at the pace reported on my watch. Generally one of two things happens when I do this. Either I am disappointed that I’m not running fast enuf, or I’m instantly exhausted because I see I am running too fast. Rather, I intended just to run at the pace my legs and lungs (and determination) set and do that for as long as I could (preferably 13.1 miles). I did occasionally look at the distance my watch reported, and by the first third of a mile, I was already hot. There was nothing I could do about that, no clothes I could shed or water I could spray on my face, so I just pressed on.

I was laden with GU. I had four packs of this energy gel pinned to the waistband of my running shorts. I also had a packet of Honey Stingers in the tiny back pocket of my skimpy running shorts. And I vowed to grab a cup of Gatorade and a second cup of water at each of the aid stations along the course. I intended to stay hydrated and nourished this time. My plan to was suck down a GU at miles 2, 4, 8, and 10. I would snarf down the Honey Stingers at mile 6. I hoped that regular infusions like this would satisfy my long-term energy needs. (On that half I ran last fall, I had only eaten some ShotBloks at mile 9, much too late to restore the lost energy in time.)

And so I ran my plan. The first four miles of this run are pretty much one long uphill adventure. There are some level spots, and two or three places where you go downhill briefly (only to recapture that elevation soon after), but for the most part, it is uphill. At the top of that hill is a very nice fountain in the middle of the parkway. (You can sort of see it on my bib and medal in the photo below.) This is, of course, where the photographers sit and wait for the runners to pass. It’s very photogenic: your smiling face with the fountain in the background. Except that you’ve just run four miles uphill. Now I’ll grant that for many (and perhaps most) of the runners on this course, four gradual uphill miles at the start are not much at all. They arrive at the fountain looking fresh and frisky, and they probably look fine in their photos. Me, on the other hand, not so much. I think I saw most of the paparazzi, and I did my best not to look too frumpled and frazzled. I tried not to gasp as I passed. I don’t know if I succeeded. In fact, I don’t know if they took any shots of me at all. The pack was still a little dense at this point, and I may have been lost in the crowd.

But onward. After this point, the course was mostly level. I was mostly tired, and I was already negotiating with myself about where I would allow myself to stop or walk or somehow rest. I knew that the highest point on the course was around mile 7, and I thought that if I achieved that, I had really earned a break. But then I remembered that I had made it to mile 8 on that earlier half marathon before stopping, so I thought maybe that would be a more respectable point. Whatever, it seemed like it had to be done.

I had been running on the far right of the roadway most of the time. This left plenty of space for the swifter runners to pass me without breaking a sweat. I noticed around mile three, however, that my right hip was beginning to send me messages of complaint. The camber in the road meant that my right foot was striking just a tiny bit lower on the ground than my left, and I think my hip was trying to make that clear to me. So I changed my route a bit. I moved to the left side of the road to give my hip a break. I realize that might seem like high-level thinking for someone in the grueling early miles of a road race, but the fact is I had experienced this before and worked out the solution then. I hadn’t anticipated this happening, but I also realized that the benefit of those three Advil I had taken early in the morning was probably gone by then. Regardless, the plan worked.

Until it didn’t. At mile 6, my left knee began to register its complaint. Apparently the lower footfalls on the left were now wreaking their havoc on my body. Worse, mile 6 was exactly where my left knee had begun to bother me on that earlier half marathon, and that was a sign that my IT band had had enuf. But I was on the run, and more importantly, I was still running at mile 6, not having taken one of the breaks I allowed myself, so it was back to the right side of the road. This seemed to work, more or less. The ache in the left knee diminished, and the ache in the right hip did not return. I figured that if it did, I would just run down the middle of the road where there was no slope either direction. And some of the time I did that.

In the meantime, I was devouring my GU on schedule and drinking the Gatorade and water offered at the aid stations. I had those aches, but what I didn’t have was fatigue. I was apparently keeping myself fueled properly. Mile 7 was a chore. The biggest hill on the run hit there. Many people were walking this hill, but I was determined not to. Yes, I was tired. Yes, my brain was telling me what an idiot I was. But I was determined to reach mile 8. The trouble was that despite my corrective efforts, my left knee was still hurting. At that point I was just over half way; I had a lot of distance yet to cover with a knee that didn’t seem like it was going to cooperate. So I made a regrettable but unavoidable decision. I walked two hundred feet to give my knee a break.

I had realized after I topped the hill in mile 7 that I had the energy and the mental fortitude to run the entire 13.1 miles. What I didn’t have was a left knee that was on board for this. So although running the entire distance would have been a great personal achievement, I knew that I had to leave that for the next time. In the end, I only walked about two hundred feet. It was such a short distance that the slower pace barely registered on the pace chart for the run (after I plugged in my watch and downloaded the adventure). And then I was running again.

At mile 9, I was back on Ward Parkway again (having looped around that urban park), and the route from this point was mostly flat and generally downhill, with a few climbs thrown in that mirrored those on the earlier part of the Parkway because, well, we were running along it again. And that seemed to be enuf. I ran. I kept running. I passed the mile markers. I ate the last of my GU at mile 10. I hit all of the Gatorade and water stations. (And, yes, I always did ask if they had Bud Light. “Next station,” they’d say.) And I kept running.

We passed through some very nice neighborhoods, but they were lost on me. I was deep inside myself. Concentrating. Pushing. Ignoring. Running. I was far behind all of my running friends, many of whom were already likely finished. I was alone on the course, surrounded by hundreds of other runners, but no less alone. I could only call on myself for help. Except at mile 11. It was there that I spotted one of my friends from the running club. She was sidelined with an injury but was working as a course monitor (which meant blocking one of the side streets so we delirious runners didn’t accidentally turn down it, and that actually happens more than you might imagine). Seeing her at that point in the long run was exactly what I needed. I felt a kind of emotional recharge that buoyed me for the rest of the run.

The last mile is literally downhill. Not a steep downhill, but a consistent downhill. Because I was fueled (apparently) I was able to coax a little more speed out of my legs. At least that’s how it felt. It felt as though I was running faster and harder, and that I was able to sustain it for a last mile. (And when I downloaded the run later, my watch confirmed that I had.)

I came pelting down that last little bit before the finish arch, running like I knew what I was doing. I thought that some of my friends might be on the sideline to cheer me on, but if they were, I never saw or heard them. It didn’t matter. It was all about me at that moment. I pushed and pressed and ran and ran, and then I crossed the finish mats and it was all done. 13.1 miles, and nearly every inch of it run by my legs and lungs.

I switched off my watch as I crossed the mats, and I fell into a staggering walk, suddenly limping because my left knee asserted itself again. Maybe I exaggerated the limp. Maybe I didn’t. I don’t know. I think I was more pooped by that last quarter-mile push than by any failure of my running mechanism. I stopped at the man who would clip the chip from my shoe and nearly fell over when I tried to lift my foot. He graciously told me to leave my foot on the ground and he would remove the tag that way. Then I greedily accepted the bottle of water someone offered me. And then I stepped up to the man who hung a medal around my neck.


It was a good run. I had been fearing a repeat of my first half marathon, but I ran my plan and seemed to have conquered myself. (I beat my last half marathon time by 8 minutes!) Clearly I need to do some exercises to strengthen that knee. (A day later, my left IT band is tight and still pretty angry with me.) And somehow I need to wrap my poor brain around the fact that I must do twice this distance in October when I run a full marathon in Portland.

But all of that was for later. At the moment there was chocolate milk to be drunk. And a foam roller to be pressed to my flesh. And a hot epsom salts bath to take.

And I need to start preparing for my next half marathon, just over two months away. The boy is insane.


Happy New Year

March 20, 2014

Happy New Year to all of my Persian family and friends.

The custom is to get yourself some kind of treat so you can stride into the new year with hope and vigor. This year I got myself two new shirts!

Groundhog Run 10K ~ 2014

January 26, 2014

GHR 2014

I had done the Groundhog Run 10K last January, and I vowed I would never do it again.

I did it again.

When I ran it before, I found the air stale and the scenery monotonous in the old limestone mines. Mile after mile of limestone pillars with the lanes between disappearing into the possibly endless darkness. The exhaust of big trucks and even trains that pass through the caves still in the air. Reports of orcs and goblins. The gloom of the underground could overwhelm a sensitive soul, but I had been preoccupied with the anguish of running 6.2 miles. I was glad I had done it, but I was also glad it was done, and I had no interest in doing it a second time. Once again, though, I had the chance to be on the company team, which meant not only did my fees get paid, but I got VIP parking (other runners had to be bussed in), and I got access to the VIP lounge (which has coffee, bagels, donuts, and real bathrooms).

Because I was not caring for anyone’s nursing baby this year (as his mother ran the 5K), and because no one had called for a team photo too early in the morning, I did not have to get there nearly four hours ahead of my start time (as I had to last year). There was one other difference this year. My wife came along as my support team. This is not really a good run for spectators. They do not have access to the bowels of the cavern miles back in the hill; they can only really be present at the finish line to watch us come stumbling in. And with my comparatively pokey pace, that meant my wife would have a lot of time to kill after I started.

We got to the mine only an hour before my start time, which seemed to me to be cutting it close, but we did have enuf time to find out where the chocolate milk was being given out — critical information for after the run. We also met up with some old friends of ours whom we hadn’t seen for seven years. I was going to run with one of them, but her pace is much better than mine, so “running with” her was more expression than reality. We milled about, caught up a little bit, and wandered over to the start area. (The place was too packed for us to get to the actual start for a while.)

Soon we runners parted from our spouses and pushed into the crowd of starters. We were in the third wave, so two groups took off ahead of us, giving us more space for collecting ourselves nearer the actual starting mats. Because we were underground, my running watch could not get a satellite signal and had to rely on the sensor on my shoe to judge how far and how fast I would be going. In order for it to do that, I had to walk a short distance as the watch searched for that sensor, and then after it was found, I would have to start the actual running within a certain amount of time or else the watch would have to find the sensor again. Fortunately, I was able to pull off this massive synchronization feat just about perfectly, and I pressed the GO button just moments before my feet carried me over the starting mats (which would provide the official — and likely more accurate — time). So we were off.

My running companion was soon out ahead of me, and by the first quarter mile, I had lost her. Also at the first quarter mile, oddly, was the first water station. No one needs water in the first quarter mile, but I realized soon after that that was not the point. Since the full 6.2 miles would require two circuits of the route, this water station was actually for when runners were at mile 3.35. (It would be a while before I would reach that point.) I started out slowly, by intent, and hundreds of runners were surging past me. I did a good job of holding back at this point when the energy of the crowd tends to get me going out too fast and wearing out too soon.

The first mile of any run is the worst for me. I question whether I can go even that far, why I am doing this to myself, why I have made all of the choices I have in my life, whether my life insurance premiums are paid up and my will is in order. Even knowing that I will eventually get through the anguish of the first mile doesn’t seem to help me get through the anguish of that first mile. But through it I always get.

Fewer people were passing me by then, and I had begun passing the walkers, all of whom had run past me earlier. I was beyond my initial agony but I was pushing myself to keep running. I had half promised myself that I could walk through the water stations, get a refreshing drink and a moment of rest, but when I came to the first (well, second) water station, I didn’t walk. I did grab a cup of offered water, spilled most of it, queried if they had Bud Light, but kept on running.

At several points along the run, the route goes down an avenue, makes a turn, then comes back along that same avenue. Thus I could see all of the runners who were ahead of me, and I studied them to find my friend. I never did see her. However, when I had made the turn and the oncoming runners were those behind me, I saw a co-worker and we waved. (This surprised me since she is a much better runner than I.)

And so the miles passed. I took water from all of the stations, but I never walked. I deliberately did not look at my watch to know my time since it can be a) not reliable, and b) often discouraging, so when I came back to the start and began my second time around, I really didn’t know if I was doing well or doing poorly. I did walk several hundred feet at this point. In the tiny back pocket of my shorts I had stashed some Honey Stingers, a kind of energy candy that supposedly would give me a boost to finish the race. I gobbled those as quickly as I could and then attacked the remaining 3.1 miles at a run.

By this point, the crowds had thinned. I rarely had to squeeze between or dodge around people to pass them, and this surprised me because I was actually passing other runners. I assumed they were even more exhausted than I was. What other possible explanation could there be for this?

When the opportunity allowed, I looked for my friend among the runners ahead of me, but I couldn’t find her. I kept throwing one foot in front of the other. I looked up now and then to take in the scenery (why was there a boat parked in that cave? is there a lake down there?). I took special meaning from the NO IDLING signs. I ignored the STOP signs. I took water when it was offered. And I just kept going.

Two things happened at mile 5. I found a surge of energy. I was exhausted. I wanted to stop. But I could feel my legs pumping faster, and I thought I could keep it up. Was it the Honey Stingers kicking in? The good night’s sleep I managed to get? The weeks of training? The glazed donut I had snagged from the VIP lounge? The three Advil I had slammed earlier? My positive mental attitude? I don’t know what it was, but I was eating up the pavement, feeling excited that there was some unexpected energy in me so late in the run.

The second thing that happened around mile 5 was that I caught up with my friend and passed her. I couldn’t believe that, but I couldn’t believe I was running so well at all. I expected her to trot up beside me, but she never did, and I ran the rest of the race nearly alone, seemingly going faster the farther I went.

At mile 6 I came upon one of my friends from the running club I am in. I didn’t even know she was at this run, but she recognized me and asked if my watch was working. Hers wouldn’t link to her shoe sensor and she wondered where we were in the total distance. As I said, I had not been looking at my watch much during this race, so when I obliged her and checked our mileage, I saw that we were at 6.1 miles. We had only a tenth of a mile to go, and I was still feeling strong. I hit the afterburners then and pushed hard to the finish, crossing the mats and then gasping for oxygen in that foul underground as I slowed then stopped. I had the sensor cut from my shoe (not the one that talks to my watch), and then someone gave me this:

GHR 2014 bling

My first bit of running bling for the year. The Groundhog Run is a benefit for the Children’s Therapeutic Learning Center, and those children are the ones who can fly because we run for them.

Soon after I finished, my friend crossed the mats. She and I walked a bit as she cooled down, then her husband and my wife found us among the crowd and we all hugged. I soon made my way over to the chocolate milk station and gulped two cartons (on top of the one that my wife had secured for me earlier). We took some photos. I met up with some other running club friends. And then the four of us returned to the surface of the planet and drove off to a breakfast joint for some well earned indulgence.

When I plugged in my watch later that afternoon and saw the time it reported, I compared it to the time I had run the race last year. I had shaved off nearly four minutes from last year’s time. And when I looked up the official time online, I confirmed that I had beaten my earlier time by more than four minutes. On closer examination of my run, I found I had negative splits. I ran each mile faster than the one before it, covering the last mile at a pace better than my best all of last year. That was surprising since I had taken off the whole month of December to recover from some injuries, so I considered myself in recovery mode.

So, I had vowed not to do the Groundhog Run a second time, yet I did. Now I’m thinking that I must run it every year and keep trying to get better.

2013 in review ~ a WordPress report

January 1, 2014

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 58 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

year in review

December 31, 2013

I think I am more than a little shy, or as the man said, “He’s a humble fellow, and he has much to be humble about!” Thus I’m not really comfortable with a post like this, but as the man also said, “If you have nothing else to say, talk about yourself.”

2013 was a pretty good year for me. Five of my little stories (including two of my Fathers and Sons pieces) were published within the year:

In addition, my story “Pandora’s Tackle Box” was reprinted in Harnessing Fire: A Hephaestus Devotional.

It was also a good year for me running-wise. I completed a number of 5K and 10K runs, joined a running club, and ran my first (but certainly not last) half marathon, which was the hardest thing I have ever done (and I’ve been through childbirth four times)! To top it off, I completed 1,000 miles run in the year during that half marathon. (I even created a category for my posts about this. Click on Running at the right if you want to read about me running on about running on.)

I didn’t read nearly as much as I would have liked in the year but there’s always next year. And in the next year I intend to run a full marathon (as well as at least one half marathon and assorted other runs and another 1,000 miles overall). And I nearly reached 100 friends on Facebook!

What else is there for me in 2014? I think I’m going to try juggling.

my anti-Black Friday

November 29, 2013

I’ve always been wary of our consumer culture. I’d read once that our economy is based not on buying but on frenzied buying. That’s more than a little sad to my way of looking at things, but what’s worse is that by 4:30 this very morning, I already saw posts on Facebook by people I’m related to saying how mad the shopping is out there.

Determined not to be a typical Consumer Culture Casualty, for years I have spent Black Friday in the wholly un-American pastime of not shopping but rather going to the woods for a day of frolic. So in a little while we’ll be packing the Prolechariot (the name my son gave to my red pickup) with a day’s supplies, getting out of the way as the dogs leap into the back seat (in their own kind of frenzy), then steering toward our little cabin in the woods. The forecast calls for nearly 50 degrees down there, though that will probably only occur for a few minutes late in the afternoon, but if we keep busy, sawing logs, or rambling in the forest, or throwing sticks for the dogs, we should stay warm enuf and have a good day. Traditionally we have a campfire, and I see no reason not to do so this year too.

And then we’ll return home in the gathering dark and hear the accounts of others who took themselves into the manufactured and manipulative mass madness of shopping for “deals” and be grateful that we are not part of that.

How will you/did you spend the day?

Alvaro Mutis

September 26, 2013

I learned this week that one of my favorite writers, Alvaro Mutis, has died. He is probably best known for his series of novellas, The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll. I first learned of these stories on the Community board at ABE Books many years ago, and since I have this Quixote fixation, I knew I had to give them a read. They are now a permanent resident of my bookshelf, and I certainly intend to read them all again.

There are only six novellas in the collection, but I had heard that he was working on at least one more story about Maqroll in the last few years. If I could read Spanish, I understand there are a number of other works of his I could devour. And if I could read poetry at all, even more.

a peek inside my head

July 5, 2013

my brainGiven the quality of some of my posts here recently, you may have imagined that there was nothing inside my head at all. Well, now you see differently. That’s me you see above.

I recently participated in a clinical study of runners (and actually, it was of people supposedly addicted to exercise — never in this universe could that be said of me, but I met the qualifications). I’m not exactly sure what the point of the study was, but they told me I would get some images of my brain from an MRI scan, and that was enuf to motivate me.

I went to the nearby university hospital where I answered a lot of questions, had an EKG done, did some funny breathing exercises, and then went across the road to the imaging lab where I got to enjoy being subjected to an MRI for about an hour. If you’ve ever had an MRI, you know how terrifying it can be. I lay on a bed that was moved into the large cylinder where the magic happens, and though I was not strapped down, I did have my head inside a cage that held it steady while they peeked inside. People are known to panic from feelings of claustrophobia inside MRI machines. I managed to hold it together, but I could see how some people might have trouble with it. Oddly, they taped a vitamin E pill to the right side of my forehead. They said it would help orient the technicians to which side of my head they were looking at. I guess.

During the hour, I read questions that were displayed on a screen before me. (Actually, above my head, but a clever arrangement of mirrors let me view them normally.) The questions were of this nature: Would I rather have $10 now or $100 now but not be able to run for two weeks? Would I rather have $20 now or $50 but not be able to run for two days? And so on for nearly an hour. I answered by pressing buttons on a small pad in my hand. I suppose they watched the lights flash in my brain as I answered the questions. Of course there was no right or wrong answer, but I tried to be consistent in my responses, even as they varied the questions slightly.

I hope they got what they wanted from the test. I was happy to participate, and I got a look inside my head.

this makes me sad

June 25, 2013


I was greeted with a shock when I ventured into the little town near our Ozark cabin last weekend. Part of me wishes I hadn’t gone into town, but I know I would have learned the sad news eventually.

The town had a used bookstore that had been there for as long as I had been venturing down to my bit of woods. I prowled its shelves for Iris Murdoch novels to add to my collection and whatever else I could find that I didn’t realize I needed. I knew the owner was not well, and I was not too surprised when he decided to close up shop last summer. I don’t know what’s become of him, if he’s still in the town or even still alive. When I would go to the little town,  I always drove past the bookstore even though I knew it would be closed. I could still see the shelves full of books in the windows, and I wondered if someone might try to reopen the store or at least try to liquidate the inventory.

But that was not to be. Sometime since our last visit, the bookstore — and two 19th Century shops beside it — burned to the ground.

sad too

That pile of bricks and charred timbers and the white things that were once books is all that is left of the store. I took that shot from where the other two stores stood. They were vacant at the time, but it’s a shame that they were lost too. It looks as though all of the debris from the three lost buildings was shoveled into this place. There was a basement under the store, so that pile is deeper than it looks.

Something in me loves used bookstores. The musty smell. The creaky, spongy floor boards. The dust and the spiderwebs. The chatty shop keeper. The crazy books you’d never see anywhere else. And occasionally, the treasure you’ve been seeking for years. But this one is gone. In the back of my mind I think I knew that this was the likely end of the store. Who would want the inventory? Who would even want to haul the inventory to the dump? No one was clamoring for the space — there are plenty of vacant storefronts in the little town. It wasn’t even on the square but on a side road, much like the little town wasn’t on the highway but out of the way and inconvenient. So the thousands and thousands of books sat there, waiting for the flame that would be their end.

It makes me sad.

National Running Day 2013

June 5, 2013

Today is National Running Day, but you probably already knew that.

There are organized runs in many places throughout the country, but really all you need are a good pair of shoes and some free time.

Maybe I’ll see you out on the road.


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