Archive for the ‘Running’ category

so I did a thing

September 3, 2018

As you probably know, I haven’t run a step since last October. That was when I did the Kansas City Half Marathon (with essentially no training) and did so poorly that I asked myself why I was doing it at all. (I still haven’t found an answer to that, but I think I need to; I have a 5K coming up later this month.) I don’t know if I’ve walked away from the noble sport of running or if I’m merely taking a break. A break is not uncommon from what I understand, but the longer my break lasts, the harder it’s going to be to get back into running.

Perhaps to alleviate that or to find an indirect way back, I got myself a bike. This is the latest in an almost unbroken series of bikes I’ve had since my earliest memories, perhaps the most memorable being a gold Stingray bike with raised handlebars and a banana seat. I called it Tiger Paws. I went everywhere on that bike when I was a boy. My last bike was taken from me when my son moved out, as I recall. It had hung from the garage ceiling for several years, untouched because I was, well, running. When that stopped, I no longer had that bike, and with the nagging in my head to get back to running increasing, I knew I had to do something to find a way back, so I got the new bike.

It’s nothing fantastic; it’s a cross bike, halfway between a mountain bike and a racing bike, meant for pavement and casual, noncompetitive cycling. It suits me perfectly. I’ve had it for a month, and in that time the heat has traded places with rain storms frequently. The times I was free for an hour or two ride didn’t often coincide with tolerable weather, so I was only able to get out on the bike (which I haven’t named yet) three times. Twice were rides of more than ten miles, and once was a rain-interrupted jaunt that had me sheltering under a park pavilion with about forty female high school tennis players doing various stretching and jumping exercises.* (I looked at my phone.)

But yesterday, before the heat got too intense and the forecasted rain came (but after bagels) I jumped on my bike and took off. I road on the Indian Creek Trail, a place where I have logged literally thousands of miles on foot (and may again). My vague idea was to ride it to the east, beyond where I ever ran. That meant going at least ten miles on familiar trail first, which was fine. I enjoyed revisiting the old places, zipping around walkers and runners (“On your left!” — I should probably get a bell) and bouncing over walnuts. This took me into Missouri (after mile 8), which made me feel like I had gone a respectable distance. And I kept going. Soon I was riding on parts of the ICT** I had never seen before. It appeared that the trail had very recently been repaved, and not cheaply either. The trail was paved with concrete rather than asphalt, which is certainly more permanent, and less prone to cracking and heaving as asphalt will do, and I suppose that’s better for cyclists, but among runners the conventional wisdom is that concrete is harder on the lower joints than asphalt. It’s a commonly held assertion that I’ve always been skeptical of, though I like to think I could feel a difference betwixt the two when I ran on them.

The ICT runs under the interstate three times, and the extension I took when I reached its end passed under the interstate a fourth time. The trail also passes under two railroad bridges, which I don’t think I’d ever run or ridden under before. The approach (from each side) to the railroad bridges was covered with metal canopies going out fifty feet. Does a lot of debris fly from railroad tracks when a train passes? When I passed under the interstate for the fourth time, the trail I was on was diverted through a shipping container (those metal boxes you see on the back of semi trailers or stacked perilously high on cargo ships). The highway bridge is under construction, and I suppose there was a risk of falling debris here as well. Thus the short passage through the cargo container. Odd, but effective.

I kept going, telling myself that at the next landmark I could see ahead (a bridge, a soccer field filled with grown men shouting plays to each other in a language I did not know, a certain rise or dip) I would stop and turn around. But I kept going. Finally, when I paused in some shade (the heat was rising) and checked my phone, I found I had dinner plans with my son. There was more trail ahead, but I knew I had to cover all of the distance I already had just to get home, so I thought best not to add any more to it. I turned around and tried to find my way back, which wasn’t easy since I wasn’t familiar with this part of the trail and there were many spurs leading from it. Plus I was going the opposite direction, so many things that ought to have looked familiar didn’t from this opposite direction. I managed to get back to the part of the trail I knew from my running days without mishap and the rest of the way home.

I did not wear my running watch to log my distance and time. If I had, I could have plugged it into my computer and gotten a map of my journey, including mileage. Instead, I visited one of the sites that distance athletes use to record their runs and mapped my ride. It turns out that my morning adventure was 28 miles. (It would have been longer, but my house is at the top of a hill. I think you can figure out what I mean.)

So, pretty good ride. The other conventional wisdom is that the ratio of cycling to running is three to one. Three miles of cycling is equivalent (in energy used? in wear on the joints? in conditioning?) to one mile of running. Thus my little ride was a bit more than nine miles of running. If I truly am building back my heart and lung capacity (and my quads), then maybe I’ll be (somewhat) ready for that 5K later this month.

 

*I’ve had a number of interesting, even spooky happenings at this shelter.

**I’ve found that there are some subtle but compelling differences between running and cycling. Hills for one. I’ve found that if I haven’t built up enuf momentum and I’m not in the right gear (and even if I have and am sometimes) I can’t always ride up a steep hill. I had to stop and walk rather than try to crank the gears into a hopeless fight against gravity a few times. With running, a steep hill ain’t pleasant, but it is manageable enuf to keep moving afoot without stopping even at a walking pace. Turns are another. At cycling speeds (even my speeds), there is less room for error. And with the luxurious growth of the trees and scrub that line most of this trail, there are some more or less blind turns. Were I running, they wouldn’t be a problem; I would simply hug the right side of the trail and come upon whatever was beyond the turn with a complete ability to deal with it (usually slowing or side stepping). On a bike, there is less time to react (stop quickly!) coming around a blind turn. I didn’t have any mishaps, but had there been a young parent pushing a stroller suddenly coming into view, I might have had to steer myself into the trees rather than something worse. So my point is that rather than call it the Indian Creek Trail, I think they should call it Insufficiently Clear Turns.

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2nd ugliest building in Kansas City

June 4, 2018

This was the view from my “steer and cheer” station during the Hospital Hill Half Marathon on Saturday. As you can see, a wicked storm has passed through during the night. I had to slalom through the streets on my drive here, dodging downed branches and unmoored trash bins far from their homes. When I got to my station, lightning was crackling through the sky and the clouds were growing darker. Emergency sirens were wailing throughout the neighborhood, and the race organizers were sending texts to “seek shelter” and “wait for instructions.” (I had thought about wearing short pants because of the forecasted heat, but decided not to. While waiting for whatever to transpire, I pulled on a hoodie to keep warm.) In all, a dismal portent for the race, but runners are dogged people, and running in the rain is actually kind of nice (if it is warm enuf). Eventually, I learned that the start was delayed by a half hour to let the weather pass, which it did.

I was at about mile 6.5, the halfway point. Despite the late start, it would be a half hour before even the fastest runner passed me. When he did, he made it look effortless. He was focused and didn’t acknowledge me as he kept his pace going up the hill I was on. Some people are just born with a different set of heart and lungs than the rest of us. This man was obviously born to run (though he supplemented his good genetics with lots of training and commitment I’m sure). Five or ten minutes passed before the next runners came along, and for the first half hour of my shift, the swiftest runners were spread out. The pack of runners that comprised the bulk didn’t arrive until after this.

Which gave me a lot of time for reflection and observation.

The building you see in the photo above has been called “the second ugliest building in Kansas City.” And what you see is an improvement over how it looked in the past. It happens that when I was in graduate school, I would pass this building on my way to class. I got to see it, warts and all, in the earlier days and wondered how such an eyesore could have come to pass. It was only decades later when a runner friend told me he had worked in this building for a time and that they had joked that it was the second ugliest in the city. The joke, of course, is that it was so bad it couldn’t even be called the worst. It failed at being a failure. And then there is the inevitable question, which I don’t have an answer for.

As I watched the runners (and walkers) passed, including a man in a kilt and a woman in a knee-length skirt and all manner of fitness levels (some were panting hard as they pushed up the hill, others were having casual conversations), there was another little vignette playing out before me.

On the brick wall behind that fallen tree, a juvenile starling would perch and flutter its wings. The fluttering business is how juveniles trigger the feeding response in their parents. The starling would sit on the wall and flutter for a while, then fly off, only to return a few minutes later. I’m sure it was saying “Feed me, Mom!” And the fallen tree before it suggested that the juvenile wasn’t going to get a meal, that the juvenile was probably an orphan. My guess is that its nest had been in that tree, and when the storm knocked it over, the parents were killed, with only the nestling surviving. This would explain why it was staying in that immediate area. It was hard to watch this; I’m a softy.

But runners and walkers kept flowing past me, thanking me for volunteering, and the occasional car came up behind me, hoping to somehow get to the other side of the street, beyond the flow of runners. My job was to make sure they didn’t hit anyone or even arrest the flow of the runners, so I watched for gaps and then waved the drivers through.

Oddly (sadly?), the very last person on the course, attended by two pacers who were at her side, gave up directly in front of me. She said she couldn’t go any farther — she’d gotten half way, and she was struggling up just one of the many hills still before her, but it looked clear to me that she was in distress — and so she fell back to the sag wagon and was driven to the finish.

And so I had an eventful race, standing in one place for a few hours and watching the human (and non-human) drama transpire before me. Plus I got a shirt out of it.

steer and cheer

June 1, 2018

I’ve mentioned that in the Finnegans Fogbound story I’m writing there is a half marathon and a 5K. One of my central characters walks the 5K, and the other is a course monitor on the half. She stands at an intersection and makes sure no one turns up the street she’s on by mistake since it’s not part of the course. (Seems silly, I know, but I’ve seen this happen. When runners are “in the zone” or exhausted or in pain they are no longer subject to reason or even the behavior of hundreds of other runners flowing around them. They do make wrong turns.)

I’ve been a course monitor a half dozen times, so I think I can write this bit from experience, but just to bolster my literary experience, I’m going to be one again tomorrow.

Tomorrow Kansas City will host the 45th running of the Hospital Hill Half Marathon¬†and I’ll be a course monitor at about the halfway point. The run is named for the hill in town (at about miles 3-4) where many of the hospitals were clustered back in the old days. It is considered one of the more challenging runs in town because of that hill (and others), and it’s one I never did in my years of throwing one foot in front of the other. (In fact, when I see all of the dogged runners push past me — my site is on an uphill — I’m hoping to get some inspiration not only for my story but for returning to running. We’ll see.)

So anyway, while you’re asleep abed tomorrow morning, I’ll be on a quiet corner in Kansas City, ready to steer and cheer thousands of runners and walkers on their way.

“The Kick” finds a home

March 13, 2018

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned my story “The Kick” before. It’s running related (all of the running I do lately is in my fiction). Anyway, I just learned today that it’s been accepted for publication in Aethlon, in an upcoming edition.

Aethlon published my One-Match Fire story “Runaway” last year (I’m fond of that story), and it was the first and only place I sent “The Kick” for consideration. This is the second publication to accept a second story of mine. Mirror Dance did this as well many years ago.

“The Kick” is not related to any of my other stories or characters. It’s a one-off. And though it has a first-person narrator, he/she speaks of “you” who is the subject of the story, so it verges on being a second-person narration.

Aethlon is a print publication only, so unless you subscribe, I won’t be able to share the story with you anytime soon.

Anyway, happy news.

Kansas City Half Marathon 2017 recap

October 25, 2017

I suppose I should write about this rather than keep avoiding the subject. I’ve not written much about my running because it’s been going so badly lately. And the half marathon I “ran” last weekend was no exception. But I want running to be a part of my life, I want to be able to use running as part of how I define myself, so I shouldn’t shy away from discussing it.

And despite how poorly I am running lately, there are runner friends of mine who can’t run at all. One woman whose blog I read used running to battle her depression and has even run the Boston Marathon (the Holy Grail for runners) but now due to an injury can barely get out and do a few strides any longer. Another friend I know personally, and whose pace in a 5K is my personal goal, needed foot surgery and is now getting around on crutches. She hopes to get back to running, but there doesn’t seem to be any guarantee that she will. Yet another woman I know had to have knee surgery and is now on the injured reserve list, though she has been walking a lot and doing some short runs. And a man I know had to end his streak — running at least one mile outside every single day — after 11 years because of an injury. (Imagine running every day for 11 years!) Compared to these people, I have little to complain about. But I probably will anyway.

The first thing I should tell you about the Kansas City Half Marathon is that I did not train for it at all. In August and September I ran a total of about 40 miles. I’ve done that much on some good weeks, but that comes about to about 5-mile weeks in the time I should have been training for 13.1 miles. So, as I said, I was not trained for this race at all. But I had signed up for it last spring, soon after I had completed the Brooklyn Half Marathon, when I was energized and in denial about my declining performance. And I know I would have regretted not lacing up for the Kansas City Half (in part because I’d already paid for it). So lace up I did.

I’d run this half twice before, and I ran the full Kansas City Marathon once, so this has become something of a tradition for me. This year, however, they had changed the course. Chiefly they reversed the direction, but they also made some changes in the latter half that involved hills. Thus whatever performance I could have mentally called upon from my past runs wasn’t going to apply. So I was going into a new course with no training. What could possibly go wrong?

One thing I thought I could do mitigate my current inability (and lack of training) was to run with a pace group that would control my pace. I could pick a pace group that would finish in a modest but committed time, certainly not near the best I’ve ever done, but better than the completion time threshold I had set for still holding some self respect. Controlling my pace is, I think, part of my problem. I get going faster than my heart and lungs can support and I get winded. Thus, running with someone who would set a pace (which would vary depending on the terrain) could be a way for me to manage my moderate skills (and lack of training). So I picked a pace group that seemed reasonable, with plenty of cushion between it and that finish time limit self-respect threshold. I was really counting on this to work for me.

It didn’t. As I look back now, I see that the pace group I had chosen was only six minutes slower than my best half marathon time ever. There was nothing modest about this pace, at least for me. I’m not sure why I made such a poor choice.

Anyway, when we took off, the first thing we faced was a mile of uphill running into downtown Kansas City. I could feel myself straining to keep pace with the group, and it wasn’t long before I knew it wasn’t going to work. I began walking at the half-mile mark, watching the pace group move farther from me. It was the first of many, many walking breaks for the next 12.6 miles. I could run, but I couldn’t keep running. I had to take walking breaks and pant heavily.

Fortunately, I was not the only one like this. I don’t mean to disparage these other runners, but I am glad I was not alone in my performance.

After turning the first mile we had a long stretch of nearly a mile going downhill before we turned onto flat ground and headed for the Jazz District of Kansas City. This circuit is a recent addition to the route, and it’s a good choice since Kansas City and jazz have a long history. Alas, early on a Saturday morning, the place was deserted. And after we left the Jazz District we faced more than a mile of uphill running. I continued to alternate running and walking, and I hit all of the water stations, but I was not doing well. (Note that this particular uphill mile had been a delightful downhill run in the past, before they reversed the route.)

But I persevered, and mile 5 meant the top of the hill. From here we had about two miles of generally downhill running, and it was somewhere in these two miles that I hoped to see my wife and grandson Emmett, ready to hand off a candy bar to me for quick energy. (I had also carried four packets of GU — chocolate mint, which is my favorite — that I was eating every three miles or so.)

By this point I had pretty much found my informal group. I keep passing and being passed by the same runners. Occasionally I would think that just about everyone who was behind me but was going to pass me had already done so. Then another pack of runners would hurtle past. Some of these packs were later pace groups, and I saw their dedicated times (on little flags held by the pacers) approaching that threshold time I needed to beat. Being passed didn’t bother me much because a) my goal was to finish before the threshold time, and b) I was out of my mind with fatigue. It was somewhere at about this halfway point that my legs started to give me grief. This was surprising since my legs almost never give out, but this run they were. My right quad, just above my knee was burning with an unfamiliar pain, and I could feel a wicked case of shin splints coming on. Even the soles of my feet felt odd, almost liquidy. But what could I do? I was only half way through the torment, and if I was going to retain any measure of self respect, I had to get to the finish under my own power. So power on I did.

And it was not long after this that I ran past my wife and grandson. They didn’t see me, and I only spotted them after they were behind me. (I had given up expecting to see them in this area where she said she would try to be since another block ahead was a turn onto a street and a new part of the course that was not spectator friendly.) So I turned and trotted back to them, grabbed the candy bar, moaned my agony, and took off again. I am told that little Emmett was very upset that I didn’t stick around. (Part of me was too.)

I continued to alternate walking and running, knowing that in about two miles I had a long uphill before me. I would likely walk more of that than run it. Shortly after the halfway point the course split, the full marathoners going to the south while we half marathoners continued to the west. We ran through the Plaza shopping district, nice, but also mostly empty on Saturday morning. The pack had thinned by this point such that the police were letting cars cross our path when there were sufficient breaks among us. There were also a lot of ambulance sirens in this area. I can’t say if they were picking up exhausted runners, but it was unnerving, and while the cars had to yield to us, I suppose we runners would have to yield to an ambulance that needed our roadway.

The big hill arrived. I made the turn and ran as far along it as I could, but it was only a fraction of the distance to the top, and my walk/run method was once again in full use. I’ve driven these particular roads hundreds of times, but I never appreciated the subtle rises and falls in them from the seat of a car the way I did with my feet.

Somewhere around mile 10 the first full marathoner passed me. The escort motorcycle had been chirping behind me all the way up that long hill, and he caught up on the flat bit after it. The full marathoners’ course went out for 13.1 miles after the split then rejoined our course for the remainder of the way. The runner was little more than a stick man. He was tall and lean and seemed to have no more muscle on him than was necessary to allow him to float past me. He also had no more clothing on him than the skimpiest purple shorts I’ve ever seen on a person. (The weather was about ideal for running: in the fifties and overcast. The thunderstorms would come that evening.) Soon after, another young man passed me, and he was moving with such grace that I knew he was an athlete. We half marathoners had blue on our bibs; the full marathoners had yellow. Had I turned to look at these people passing me so effortlessly I could have confirmed that they were running the full, but I didn’t because agony.

So I was well more than half way through the course, but my legs were hurting and though I finally managed to get my breathing under control such that I could sustain more distance between walks, I was too exhausted to do much. I plugged along. There are parts of the run along here that I have no memory of. It was hilly along here, though falls as well as rises and it was just a matter of persevering. There was no glory in it, no runner’s high. But also no defeat.

We wove through a neighborhood I’ve run in several times before on other races. I’m grateful that these folks tolerate having their street closed for a few hours a few times a year.

Somehow I had fallen in with a pace group. It was the one I probably should have chose at the start, much slower but still faster than my threshold. The lead pacer kind of pulled me into her group and spoke encouragement to me, and she got me up the very last hill on the course though I had to walk after that and lost the group.

No matter. The last half mile was a glorious downhill run. I knew this was coming because I had driven the course a few weeks before. (I ran a 5K several weeks ago that had an uphill finish, which is just mean.) Once I crested the hill and saw the half mile laid out before me I thought I would find a burst of energy and finish well. But I was so shot (remember, no training) that I actually had to walk a few blocks just so I would have something in the tank to run across the finish line.

And I did. I came down the hill and saw the finish arch ahead of me. The pack was very thin at this point and I could run right down the middle of the chute. Some friends on the sidelines spotted me and shouted encouragement. And then it was done.

I accepted my medal (I really wish they would hang these things around your neck rather than just hand them to you) and a bottle of water, most of which I poured on myself despite the chill. Then I found the chocolate milk but only took two cartons. Somewhere in the crowd was my wife and grandson, and my job was to find them and try to endure the ride home without cramping too badly.

They were in a grassy area near the finish. Emmett was playing, as he was supposed to be, when I staggered up. He was happy to see me again, but he had playing to do. Libby and I talked about going over to the finish line festival full of booths, with free massages, sandwiches, and beer as well as hundreds of sweaty people, but Emmett was fussy, having given all of the patience he had to being good for the morning, so we decided to leave and steer ourselves homeward. We did have to stop once so I could get out of the car and stand until the cramping in my shins (!) passed.

Once home I did some foam rolling and some stretching, and then I took a long bath with Epsom salts and finally crawled into some comfy sweats.

Once the official statistics were posted online I found that I came in 73rd of 97 men in my age group. That was acceptable enuf, but more importantly, I beat my threshold time by seven minutes and seven seconds!

I don’t have anything on my dance card right now, which is a peculiar feeling. I need to ramp up my training runs again and see how that goes, and then maybe I’ll look around for another race.

 

Plaza 10K 2017 – my running lament

September 12, 2017

I suppose I should write something about this. I ran the Plaza 10K for the fifth year in a row over the weekend. And by “ran” I mean I ran and walked it. I’m pretty sure I ran more than I walked, but I haven’t bothered to analyze the stats my running watch recorded, so that might be wishful thinking.

This was the slowest I’ve ever completed this 10K and possibly every 10K I’ve run in my half dozen years of throwing my feet in front of each other. (But I haven’t bothered to check my statistics to confirm that either.) I accepted the medal they gave me once I crossed the finish line, and I drank five cartons of chocolate milk afterward, but it wasn’t a good race for me, and I was glad it was over. Oddly, of the nearly 3,000 runners, I was in the top two-thirds, which surprised me given my performance. There were more than a thousand runners who finished after I did. Nor was I last in my age group, which was a position I had regularly defended in my early days of running.

I haven’t written much about my running lately mostly because I haven’t been running much lately. And that’s actually on doctor’s orders. (The Plaza 10K was, obviously, done in defiance of my doctor.)

My running has grown miserable in the last several months. I just don’t seem to have the lungs for it. I can run at a decent, seemingly sustainable pace — and feel fine — and then have to stop and gasp much sooner than I would have on the very same route only a year before. (Two years ago I ran the Plaza 10K with a friend, and because she needed to walk some of the hills, I would run circles around her and even run backward just to stay with her, but I never had to stop running.) On Saturday mornings each week I would run the same route, and week to week I was finding my performance diminishing. I was stopping more frequently to catch my breath until I was down to quarter mile intervals.

I blamed it on training too much on a treadmill through the winter. I never selected a program on the mill but just trotted along at a constant pace for an hour, able to sustain this (with a good amount of sweat). So when the weather got decent enuf for me to hit the trails outside, and I didn’t have a constantly turning belt to establish and maintain my pace, I found myself going too fast, faster than my heart and lungs could support. So I told myself that I was having trouble reining in my pace, and that was why I was getting winded.

But that didn’t explain the week-to-week constant decline in performance, especially in the last few months. When an intended three-mile run was cut short at one mile, I called my doctor’s office on my misery-soaked walk home and made an appointment for the very next day.

The doctor took my complaint seriously and immediately had me give blood for some tests (all results within normal ranges) and submit to an EKG (also perfectly normal). I was then scheduled for a stress test — more treadmill running with sonograms of my heart action before and after — which turned up nothing. I’m sure the doctor initially thought that for a man my age, my problem was with my heart, but that hasn’t seemed to be the case.

Nor have I had any chest pains when I run. I’m pretty sure my heart isn’t the problem. (Though maybe my soul is.) Maybe it’s to do with my lungs, though I don’t know what could have changed recently and so significantly that I was having a decline in performance as I have. I’m supposed to do some lung tests soon too. The doctor had suggested other possible causes, including an endocrine problem, but I guess he’s ruling out the more likely culprits first. And in the meantime, he’s forbidden me from any vigorous exercise. I am allowed to walk my dog, but that’s about it.

Since I don’t believe I have a heart issue, I intend to go ahead with a 5K I have scheduled for next month at my old university, and I actually have a half marathon in late October I’m signed up for. And unless the doctor turns up something tangible, I intend to do the half. But if I do find a continuing decline in my running performance in the weeks before, I may decide for myself not to run it.

It’s disheartening. I’ve given up my goal of running a thousand miles this year (though I was on target for it as recently as July). I’m not eyeing the race calendar as I used to, looking for things I want to do. I’m going to give the medical possibilities a chance, but if nothing turns up, and if I can’t seem to turn the tide on will power alone, I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

There’s probably a story in this.

bits and pieces

August 31, 2017

I had intended to start off this week with a nice, chatty, informative post for you, gentle reader. But somehow that didn’t happen. And here it is, nearing the end of the week, and I’m scraping together some stray thoughts just to have something on this humble blog.

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I can report that I’m making good progress on that new One-Match Fire story I’ve spoken of a few times. The original title was “A Civil Tongue” but I never much liked that, and it didn’t seem to really fit with what I want to do with the story. (Still, it was better than two even earlier title ideas: “Up and Down” and “Forgive and Forget.”) It helped knowing the two characters so well, so I knew how they would behave in the scenario I was putting them in, including a flashback scene with some parallels. But what really helped was reversing the story resolution. Instead of a character doing what I had originally thought, I realized that he would probably do the exact opposite. And when I knew that, I could see my way to the end. Also, reading Sonnet 52 gave me the new title I especially like: “Special-blest.” I have another story in the cycle called “Twice Blest” that is from The Merchant of Venice, and the first story in the cycle is “where late the sweet birds sang,” which, of course you know, is from Sonnet 73. (I also have two stories in the cycle titled “Men at Work and Play,” and “Men at Rest.”)

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It’s not that I think there is anything inherently wrong with double spacing after a period. All of the “rules” are merely convention, merely what happens to be mostly agreed upon at the present. What bugs me about double spacing after a period is that so many people do it without any thought at all. They do it because they were taught that way and never again reflected on the “why” of it (that being a relic from the typewriter and typesetting days of yore). The same thing bugs me about people who put underlines betwixt words or characters in a file name. Men_at_work_and_play.docx, for example. I’m pretty sure the underline, that is, not allowing a blank space in a file name, is a relic from the old DOS days. People do it because that is what they learned and they assume, likely without question, that it must be done that way. I never put in an underline for any files I name, and those I’ve “cleaned up” by removing the underline don’t seem to have exploded or anything like that.

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I mentioned some months back that there had been a string of murders along the Indian Creek Trail that I run. Well, it seems that the killer has been caught. He has been positively linked to several of the murders (using DNA evidence among other things) and is suspected in the remainder. Apparently it was pure, random malice with no other motive. I hope that’s the end of it.

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I also mentioned some time back that I wondered if any of my children read this blog. That linked post was intended as a taunt. Well, none has come forward yet.