^zhurnaly 0.9926

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Howdy, pilgrim! No ads — you're in volume 0.9926 of the ^zhurnal (that's Russian for "journal") — see ZhurnalyWiki for a Wiki edition of individual items; see Zhurnal and Zhurnaly for quick clues as to what this is all about; see Random for a random page. Briefly, this is the diary of ^z = Mark Zimmermann ... previous volume = 0.9925 ... complete list at bottom of page ... send comments & suggestions to "z (at) his (dot) com" ... click on a title link to go to that item in the ZhurnalyWiki where you can edit or comment on it ... RSS

2017-04-08 - Bull Run Run 50 Miler

~46 miles @ ~16.0 min/mi

label"But you have to finish to win it!" Bull Run Run race director Anstr Davidson piles on the pressure, and the mystery, by telling me before the race that "something special" awaits at the end of my 10th BRR — he refuses to say what.

When I cross the line almost 13 hours later, though, Anstr shakes my hand, shakes his head, and says: "We messed up!" (He actually uses a stronger verb.) Monogrammed swag, a felt jacket with my name and Tenth Finish, didn't get ordered. It arrives a few weeks later.

"No worries!" I reassure Anstr. It's all good — like every Bull Run Run!

Bluebells are out in full force this spring, and recent rains make for high streams and significant mud. Veteran ultrarunner James Moore hangs with me for the first several miles. We chat about our families; he and his wife Rebecca have been married about a dozen years longer than Paulette and I. (See 2017-01-01 - VHTRC Red Eye 50k for a photo of their, uh, tights.) As runners stack up and long lines form to cross the tributary creeks James banters, "There goes a 10 hour finish!" and later, "There goes an 11 hour finish!"

A few miles later the route turns back at mile ~8.2, Cub Run. This year follows the "High Water Course", with extra mileage added at the southern end to make up for the early northern turnaround. The last time flooding required this change was in 2005, a year that might have been my first BRR but for a torn toe tendon ten days before the event.

Tim Stanley (22 finishes) and Bill Wandel (19 finishes) hang with me for a while. We discuss the history of the race and their experiences. Pretty flowers mandate a photo pause. Passing runners laugh.

labelThe Marina aid station at mile ~19 is decorated with feather boas. One attacks!

Enthusiastic volunteers cheer runners onward, offer food and drink, refill bottles, and take photos. The inestimable Janet Choi is here. On the return trip, mile ~41, she gives me an icy-wet towel to help chill my feverish head. TY, JC!

On the way back after the Marina I pass Jeffrey Klemm, who is suffering from bad tummy troubles; I offer him sustenance but he declines. After the race he writes to share a blast-from-the-past story. Jeffrey wondered if he might be the oldest to finish BRR as his first 50 miler. He discovered that Joachim "Al" Grigull — who ran with me in Bull Run Run 2007 — won that honor with his initial 50 in 2004 at age 67. Joachim has since died; Jeff chatted with his widow, and discovered further "Small World" connections. Nice!

The Wolf Run Shoals aid station, mile ~24 (outbound) and ~37 (returning), features a Halloween theme. Kind friend Kate Abbott, who ran BRR with me in 2009, 2010, and 2011, is working here. "Great to see you, Kate!"

Deadfalls are a challenge this year, a few days after high winds and heavy rains. I in the background of this photo with a giant skull a big tree lies across the trail. Excelsior!

labelAn old Ford Fairlane lies abandoned on the "Do Loop" near mile 31. I've been here many times with friends during training runs — 2008-08-23 - Lost in the Woods, 2009-03-31 - Lost in the Woods Again, and most recently 2017-02-18 - Death by Do Loop with Stephanie.

But during the BRR the route is well-marked, so even all alone for many miles there's no worry. And now, it's Selfie Time!

A Nash Rambler rusts in the woods near mile ~32 of the BRR "Do Loop". Approaching it I catch up with Bill Smith. Surprise! — like me, he works for MITRE Corporation. "Any relation to Will D. Smith?" - "I wish!"

We pause to take pics of each other with the giant Hello Kitty balloon. This year is the 25th running of the Bull Run Run. Happy Birthday!

label"I have a new Power Animal", I text a dear friend, and share this picture. "Her name is Hello Kitty!" Then the phone battery runs down and it's time to get serious. On the return trip to the finish line I push hard, make the cutoffs with several minutes to spare, and pass several folks who are having a rough day. Comrade Bill Smith perseveres and crosses the line just a few minutes past the 13 hour mark.

The "Complex Roots of Unity" (a mathematics joke) wins the Slowest Team Award this year. I do my part to pull the average down; faster comrades Bruce Platter, Steve Gadd, and Ray Hunley all make it back far ahead of me.

With 10 finishes I'm tied on the all-time list at 44th-67th place; by age among this year's entrants I'm in 19th-20th place. The finishing time is my 8th fastest, good enough for 264th among 285 who make it all the way. The ^z BRR streak of never-a-DNF continues — yay!

  12:25:06 — 2007
  12:50:18 — 2008
  11:39:50 — 2009
  11:22:06 — 2010
  11:55:25 — 2011
  12:28:38 — 2013
  12:24:45 — 2014
  12:07:05 — 2015
  12:54:27 — 2016
  12:38:28 — 2017

(photo by Bryan Zelley)


(first segment of the total trackfile)

- Friday, April 28, 2017 at 08:41:00 (EDT)

Jimmy Carter

Former US President Jimmy Carter continues to amaze, as he grows and thinks and shares his wisdom and works to help other people. From his 2002 Nobel Peace Prize lecture:

... I thought often during my years in the White House of an admonition that we received in our small school in Plains, Georgia, from a beloved teacher, Miss Julia Coleman. She often said: "We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles."

When I was a young boy, this same teacher also introduced me to Leo Tolstoy's novel, War and Peace. She interpreted that powerful narrative as a reminder that the simple human attributes of goodness and truth can overcome great power. She also taught us that an individual is not swept along on a tide of inevitability but can influence even the greatest human events.

These premises have been proven by the lives of many heroes, some of whose names were little known outside their own regions until they became Nobel laureates: Albert John Lutuli, Norman Borlaug, Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel, Aung San Suu Kyi, Jody Williams and even Albert Schweitzer and Mother Teresa. All of these and others have proven that even without government power — and often in opposition to it — individuals can enhance human rights and wage peace, actively and effectively.

The Nobel prize also profoundly magnified the inspiring global influence of Martin Luther King, Jr., the greatest leader that my native state has ever produced. On a personal note, it is unlikely that my political career beyond Georgia would have been possible without the changes brought about by the civil rights movement in the American south and throughout our nation.

On the steps of our memorial to Abraham Lincoln, Dr. King said: "I have a dream that on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood."

The scourge of racism has not been vanquished, either in the red hills of our state or around the world. And yet we see ever more frequent manifestations of his dream of racial healing. In a symbolic but very genuine way, at least involving two Georgians, it is coming true in Oslo today. ...

And just a few weeks ago, in Nicholas Kristof's column "President Carter, Am I a Christian?", Carter responded to questions with:

My belief in the resurrection of Jesus comes from my Christian faith, and not from any need for scientific proof. I derive a great personal benefit from the totality of this belief, which comes naturally to me.


I do not judge whether someone else is a Christian. Jesus said, "Judge not, ...". I try to apply the teachings of Jesus in my own life, often without success.


For me, prayer helps internally, as a private conversation with my creator, who knows everything and can do anything. If I were an amputee, my prayer would be to help me make the best of my condition, to be a good follower of the perfect example set by Jesus Christ and to be thankful for life, freedom and opportunities to be a blessing to others. We are monitoring the status of cancer in my liver and brain, and my prayers are similar to this.

(cf. An Hour Before Daylight (2004-05-25), ...)

- Thursday, April 27, 2017 at 04:43:56 (EDT)

2017-04-03 - Pimmit Coney

~6.6 miles @ ~12.6 min/mi

"Rabbit Number One!" Kristin spies the first Pimmit Hills spring bunny near Lemon Road Park. Low clouds in the east glow tangelo-pink as the sun rises and feet lead the Dawn Patrol on an unplanned loop. Cait tells of a super-slow Russian-theme dinner recently at the Cosmos Club, followed by a no-surprises talk from a potential politician. Kristin reports on a huge bald eagle perched in a tree near her home yesterday. We ponder long-run possibilities for upcoming months.


- Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 04:43:24 (EDT)

Working with Difficulties

From Chapter 19 ("You Can't Get Off the Train") of No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen by Jakusho Kwong:

... What are any of us to do with the content of our mind? How can each of us work with our own situation? This is the practice of meditation.

Each one of us holds the very same wish and aspiration: to be able to work with the difficulties that life brings us, based on the awareness we cultivate through our practice. As you continue your journey and your practice grows, you will see that there's a beginning and a middle and an end that, in reality, are all the same. For convenience, or because we are speaking about it, we separate this One, this Same, into three parts, but actually it is just One. In time you will discover this for yourselves, unless you become scared and run off—which, believe it or not, happens frequently. But what comes up in our meditation is not new. It's old stuff, and you can only run off so many times before you realize that there's no need to run anymore. For many people that's the moment when their practice begins to engage. ...

- Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 05:25:16 (EDT)

2017-04-01 - More Kenwood Cherry Blossoms

~20.4 miles @ ~13.2 min/mi

"German cheesecake!" Gayatri Datta describes her cooking project yesterday. On the way to meet her in Bethesda, dodge puddles by skyglow on the Capital Crescent Trail. Spires of the Mormon Temple gleam between bare tree trunks as seen from the trestle over Rock Creek. We loop into East Bethesda and return via NIH and the Trolley Trail.

"30,000 - which is why I don't run it!" Don Libes tells how many people will do the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler tomorrow as we await Rebecca Rosenberg, whose car won't start this morning. Our walkabout includes a pause at the Hello Kitty Truck, where a line is already forming. Gayatri and Jerry Epstein dash around the block. When Rebecca arrives we proceed down the CCT to the Kenwood neighborhood.

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Lawn_Owl_z_2017-04-01_t.jpg"You're OCD - and you have a photographic memory!" Jerry leads the gang along a fractal route to cover streets that we missed last weekend. Pink confetti rains down upon us as brisk winds blow through the cherry blossoms. After a beautiful meander it's time to head home.

"Lawn owl!" The big kitschy bird sculpture is filled with sand to add weight, and lies abandoned on the roadside at mile 19 near the one-lane wooden bridge over the train tracks. Cross Training: carry it home and set it up by the front door!


- Monday, April 24, 2017 at 04:47:28 (EDT)

Master and Margarita

Through a glass, darkly: Mikhail Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita is clearly brilliant and important, deep and broad, a great river of Russian literature. But in the foggy mirror of Richard Pevear's and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation that greatness is often tough to glimpse. Clunky choices of words: who says "interlocutor" or "physiognomy", not just once but in multiple chapters? Poetic lines stumble, e.g., "Love leaped out in front of us like a murderer in an alley leaping out of nowhere, and struck us both at once. As lightning strikes, as a Finnish knife strikes!" (from Chapter 13, "The Hero Enters") Please — a Finnish knife? Even if that's literally what the author wrote, it's not the right way to convey the metaphor. Compare the Michael Glenny translation, "Love leaped out at us like a murderer jumping out of a dark alley. It shocked us both—the shock of a stroke of lightning, the shock of a switchblade knife." Smoother, clearer, better.

And yet! — somehow despite the translation, outlines of Bulgakov's vision survive, at the magical-satirical intersection of:

For praise and perspective in recent years, see essay-reviews like Viv Groskop's or Jonathan Grimwood's or Corey Flintoff's. And see sites by Jan Vanhellemont and Sergey Litvinow for news, art, analysis. And the 2005 Russian TV version by Vladimir Bortko, available online.

And remember the most famous quote, "Manuscripts don't burn." And the perfect statement of faith (in Chapter 2, "Pontius Pilate") as Jesus answers his interrogator:

"I do not know these good people," the prisoner replied.
"And now tell me, why is it that you use the words 'good people' all the time? Do you call everyone that, or what?"
"Everyone," the prisoner replied. "There are no evil people in the world."

Yes, and it's truly all good ...

- Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 09:23:11 (EDT)

Nothing But Mu

From Chapter 11 ("Building a Temple") of Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart:

Of course we think. We can never get rid of thoughts completely, and to imagine that we can is unrealistic. So to judge ourselves, to chastise ourselves for our thoughts is a waste of time. But how do we deal with this thinking? Thinking is pondering, considering, weighing, judging, and so on; having an argument back and forth in our minds. Not thinking is the denial of thinking, denying what is going on in spite of ourselves. Zazen is something else. Zazen is completely accepting the presence of ideas, of thoughts, without either affirming or denying them, without engaging them. Sometimes there is a life situation to which we must direct our attention. At such a time, of course we must think it through. We think it down to the last drop, but we do not fool ourselves that we are practicing zazen.

Thoughts are not our enemies in zazen. Our thoughts are endless, inexhaustible. This is the nature of our minds. Thoughts are not bad. We let them come, but we do not pursue them. What do we do with this powerful energy that comes about through sitting? Instead of using it to engage in these thoughts, to make arguments in our mind, "to raise waves where there is no wind," what do we do? We have excellent practices to help us: counting our breaths, just counting them. Chanting inwardly, just chanting. Staying with the koan, becoming the koan. Being Mu, nothing but Mu. Just inhaling, just exhaling, the breath just as it is, without getting tense, without judging, weighing, or considering. Just this.

(cf. This (2013-03-09), Mantra - No Goals (2015-07-26), Joko on Joy (2015-09-03), Statelessness (2016-07-30), How Things Are (2016-12-23), ...)

- Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 04:19:21 (EDT)

2017-03-29 - Rappahannock Run

~7.4 miles @ ~13.5 min/mi

"Autopilot!" Cait explains why she's awaiting us at the wrong building. Today's the last Rapp Run, since folks are imminently moving out of that leased space. Three big deer stare at us as we cross a little park. Then: "Westward Ho!", from Tysons into Vienna past the Westwood Country Club. Squinting at a map suggests that Creek Crossing Road might get us back via a new neighborhood. Let's try it!

"There's the dragon!" Kristin spies the front-yard sculpture that we saw on our last exploration here (cf. 2016-09-02 - Tysons Exploration), almost seven months ago. A person in search of her lost cat gives us the phone number to call if we find it. Puddles on the ground and sharp breezes portend a cold front's arrival.


- Friday, April 21, 2017 at 04:38:49 (EDT)

Intimate Study

From the beginning of Chapter 15 ("Intimate Study") of No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen by Jakusho Kwong:

An important part of Zen practice is study. Of course, we study the self through meditation and other activities, but we also study the world, as well as some of the abundant and profound literature that has come out of Zen practice. In each of these ways we are always studying the self. It is a big mistake to think that when we read writings on the lives of some of our ancestors, we're studying about someone besides ourselves, because each phrase, letter, and even the space between the letters is actually pointing toward ourselves. This is the underlying meaning of what we call intimate study. Actually, we might say that intimacy itself is at the heart of all of Zen. When we are intimate with anything, or with everything, we are simultaneously being intimate with ourselves.

Early dawn, when the sky is clear, I can see the stars from my bed. It feels so peaceful and quiet with these bright beings pulsating through the universe. When we're small, we're taught that the sky is over there, far away, so the parents and children feel that they have some idea of where the sky is. But maybe that should be only the beginning idea and parents should also say to their children, "You are part of that sky, and that sky is part of you." In this way parents would be introducing their children to intimacy with the world. ...

(cf. Not Always So (2009-07-04), ...)

- Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 04:43:24 (EDT)

2017-03-27 - Potomac River Neighborhood

~7.8 miles @ ~14.7 min/mi

"That hurts my eyes!" Kristin critiques the facade of a mini-mansion as the Dawn Patrol, in architecture-analytic mode, tours a new neighborhood. Moire-pattern lines radiating in all directions from the front door just don't work sometimes! Thick fog blankets Langley as we begin. Droplets backscatter in headlamp beams. Kerry leads us through Parkview Hills and River Oaks, past new construction and classic homes.

"My son had a crush on her daughter in kindergarten!" Dead-end streets are lined with castles and chalets in the neighborhood between the Beltway, the Scotts Run Nature Preserve, and the Potomac River. As morning brightens we marvel at some of the buildings and the views they command. A pink parasol protects a backpack at the end of a driveway while the student waits inside for the schoolbus to arrive. At the Live Oak Drive terminus of the Potomac Heritage Trail we ponder the 10-mile trek to Teddy Roosevelt Island. Maybe another day!


- Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 04:10:53 (EDT)

Mantra - We Are One

We Are One

    ... there is no Other ...

        ... there are no Others ...

            ... One thing, All things ...

(cf. This Is Water (2009-05-21), Indra's Net (2009-06-21), Core Buddhism (2011-10-17), Mirroring Each Other (2013-05-12), Ground of Being (2013-10-03), Forgiveness and Oneness (2013-10-08), 01 (2013-11-05), 0-1 (2014-08-29), It is Thou (2014-09-24), Mantra - Ditto (2015-08-30), Mantra - For Us (2015-11-28), Mantra - Be Your Own Best Friend (2016-02-16), Mantra - No Others (2016-06-27), ...)

- Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 05:02:38 (EDT)

2017-03-26 - Kenwood Cherry Blossom Sunday

~7.5 miles @ ~13.0 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Kenwood_cherry_blossoms_Sakurako_Narita_2017-03-26_t.jpg"They call me 'The Grim Reaper'!" Sako tells Rebecca Rosenberg and Ken Swab. A week ago she and her EMS crew save a life — yay, team! Today we do a space-filling ramble through the peak-bloom cherry-blossom-lined streets of Kenwood, pausing often to take photos.
"They should sell maps!" Neighborhood kids set up their table offering lemonade and coffee to passers-by — for a fee. Cars creep slowly under pink arches. I arrive early and, when attempting to put the car key into a pocket, discover my shorts are on backwards. Temps are far chillier than yesterday, with intermittent north winds, so while awaiting others I run back-and-forth along the CCT to stay warm (mile 1 @ 9.5 min/mi).http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Kenwood_cherry_blossoms_2017-03-26i_t.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Kenwood_cherry_blossoms_Ken_Sako_Rebecca_2017-03-26_t.jpg"Little Cherry Blossom" is what Sakurako's full name means; she reminisces about running the Imperial Palace Grounds in Tokyo. Rebecca continues her training for the Big Sur Marathon in a month. Ken recounts yesterday's antiquing-auction-odyssey into Pennsylvania, and last month's expedition into the slot canyons of Arizona for the 55k Antelope Canyon trail run.

"NO PARKING Montgomery County Police" say signs along the lanes. Is this a law-enforcement-free Sanctuary Zone?


- Monday, April 17, 2017 at 04:38:14 (EDT)

Wonderful Place

From Chapter 11 ("Building a Temple") of Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart:

The Buddha, while out walking one day, stopped and pointed and said, "This is a wonderful spot to build a temple." A bodhisattva stepped forward, placed a flower on that spot, and said, "I have just built a beautiful temple."


But where is the most wonderful spot to build a temple. It is in each one of us. The bodhisattva placing a flower on that spot is a bodhisattva placing a flower in our hearts. Each one of us, sitting on our cushions, is building a beautiful temple. Wherever we are is a wonderful place to build a temple.

Someone came to me and said, "I feel I'm so lacking." At this moment, what do you lack? Not a thing. "As the truth eternally reveals itself, this very place is the lotus land of purity; this very body is the body of the Buddha," Hakuin said. This very spot is a wonderful place to build a temple.

- Sunday, April 16, 2017 at 06:16:59 (EDT)

2017-03-25 - Kenwood Cherry Blossoms Plus

~19.6 miles @ ~13.5 min/mi

"I love Leland because _____!" Gerald and Barry offer answers re the steeply seductive street, including, "... afterwards, everything else feels flat!" and "... the hills are worn down a little bit every time I run it!" (And it's Stanford's first name!) This morning I love Leland solo, en route to the rendezvous in downtown Bethesda. A single scrawny bunny hops across a front yard. Daffodils droop.

"Kerry? Perfect timing!" Smiling Dr K emerges from the underground parking lot stairwell just as I arrive. She and Cait meet Santa Steve, who gives them each a Princess Token. With Jerry and Barry we do a quick out-and-back on the Capital Crescent Trail, join Rebecca, and proceed to the Kenwood neighborhood for cherry blossom viewing. The trees are in full bloom, lovely. A small boy intent on his handheld Gameboy almost walks into us.

"Half price pizza!" Barry and I plan our traditional dinner, on sale since the local basketball team won with > 100 points yesterday. For bonus mileage Jerry leads the group further down the CCT to the DC line. Kerry pauses to swap her lucky knee brace from left to right leg. Barry shows us his neat new flip-belt. Cait discusses the traditions of Easter egg hiding in her family. Back in Bethesda we part ways.

"You must taste this chocolate croissant!" Kerry and I enjoy iced coffee and a snack at Paul, a fancy-nice bakery. Rebecca accompanies me most of the way home. She's ramping up mileage in preparation for the Big Sur Marathon in a month, a race Barry also plans to run. Best of luck to all!


- Saturday, April 15, 2017 at 04:22:07 (EDT)

Only Get Better

Encouraging words from an interview, half a dozen years ago, by musician-singer-songwriter Howard Jones with Dan MacIntosh of SongFacts:

Songfacts: One of the songs that many people can really relate to in these economic times is "Things Can Only Get Better." I'll bet that you can probably sing that with just as much gusto now as you did when you first wrote it.

Howard: That's right. We're talking about the second album, now, and I'd had great success with the first one. I thought, People are listening to me, so what can I give them that is really going to help? And everyone goes through shit. Everyone goes through bad times. Every single person on the planet goes through bad times. And it's great sometimes to have somebody say to you, "Come on, even if it gets so you lose everything and everything goes horribly wrong, you can still pick yourself up and go forward, and you can make it right, you can make things get better." I'm so glad that I can stick to those sentiments now. And they're just as relevant, really. I think pop music, one of the things it should be is like a cheerleading song that helps you get through a bad time and pick you up a bit when you're feeling a bit exhausted and glub. And that's what I really wanted to do.

... and is "glub" a typo for "glum", or a special (British?) usage? No matter! It's all good, and it's true. We can make things get better.

(cf. Wikipedia "Things Can Only Get Better", associated music video, and Mantra - Things Can Only Get Better (2016-09-11), ...)

- Friday, April 14, 2017 at 04:49:28 (EDT)

2017-03-24 - McLean Ramble

~6.5 miles @ ~14.5 min/mi

"They're marshmallows!" Dr Kerry is describing her cuddly-friends, cat Phoebe and dog Sid, each other's BFFs — not anything floating on the iced coffee that she's sipping. The Dawn Patrol pauses at Starbucks in downtown McLean, then meanders cross-country through Bryn Mawr Park while enjoying quiet conversation and a pink-lavender dawn, interspersed with shared laughter. Kristin's puppy Black&White is doing well, as is Cait's 3-year-old niece Riley, who recently requested a practice Easter Egg Hunt in preparation for the actual event.

"Mono was the best thing that happened to me!" Discussion turns to quick weight loss via illness. Norovirus (or something like it) hit me this week. Alas, it didn't do enough: I'm still in the high-140s, crossing into the low 150s, a dozen or so pounds above optimum. Sad!


- Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 05:22:48 (EDT)

Being Where You Are

From Chapter 12 ("Confidence in Your Original Nature") of No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen by Jakusho Kwong:

... When you focus on practice and be where you are, something changes in your life. This is not just Buddhadharma. It is universal! It's not Buddhist, not Dharma, not Zen. These are just the names. Only when you let go of name and form and even the present can you truly be where you are. This is not just a one-time realization; it's something we have to cultivate over and over again. ...

- Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 04:15:54 (EDT)

2017-03-18 - MBT and CCT with Stephanie

~22.1 miles @ ~13.5 min/mi

Dr Stephanie Fonda and Z on the Metropolitan Branch Trail"Hairy Woman!" At mile 4, Dr Stephanie suggests a Trail Name for me.

"Uh, thank you, I think!" is my reply. We're trekking along the Metropolitan Branch Trail, enjoying a crisp morning. Coach Fonda listens to details of last weekend's "Crazy Desert Trail Run" (verdict: Tape the Feet next time!) and shares her Maryland Heights adventure on the same day: steep hill repeats that included a stumble-fall and a badly-rolled left ankle. By mile 20 the ankle is horridly swollen. Finally, two miles later, SF agrees to catch a ride back with me. Heal, rest, recover, improve — please!

"Could you take a photo of us?" I ask a passing runner, and hand her my phone. Flashback 3 years (cf. 2014-02-09 - Metropolitan Branch Trail with Amy and Stephanie), when during a 20 miler Amy and Stephanie sat on this very same painted wall for me to capture their image. Small world!

Via Trail Talk we solve the world's problems. Answers involve patience, trust, and friendship. How obvious!


- Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 05:58:22 (EDT)

No Need to Say So

From Chapter 9 ("Depending on Nothing") of Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart:

... a Buddhist temple has nothing to do with bricks and stones. Such a temple is built of pure, eager, willing, and loving hearts. There is nothing mysterious in Buddhism, and there is no propagation, no compulsion. No one is going to bind anyone's will. But within the strong, formal practice that we are engaged in, we find our own freedom. This is a place where all of us, from all walks of life, with various levels of education, points of view, and backgrounds, have come together to help one another in a true bodhisattva spirit. We chant the Four Great Vows together: I vow to save all sentient beings. I vow to get rid of my delusions. I vow to master the Way. I vow to follow the Path. Endlessly. We are not here for tranquilization or some sort of pleasant effect, but for something much deeper.We are here to practice together, deeply and clearly, and to live it without saying one word about it. We certainly are not doing this in order to be able to say, My life is so much better since I started doing Zen practice." Nonsense. So it is, but there is no need to say so.

- Monday, April 10, 2017 at 04:34:14 (EDT)

2017-03-15 - Northeast Austin Track Trek

~10.1 miles @ ~11.6 min/mi

"Curse you!" Midway through today's run I meet Jennifer, visiting Austin from Baltimore. She admits that she recently set a personal best in the marathon there that is at least 10 minutes faster than my PB. Arggggh! She is studying her map to figure out the way back to her start. I help her get oriented, then try to keep up for a few blocks before abandoning the chase. She's just too fast!

Morning dawns cool. I run a lap (1:47) at LBJ High School, another at my junior high on the tiny track there, and one more (1:44) at my alma mater, Reagan High School. For some reason I feel a bit tired — maybe I need to up my mileage? (but see 2017-03-11 - Crazy Desert Trail Race

After the run, for the first time I try a salad with kale. When will the superpowers appear?


- Sunday, April 09, 2017 at 06:25:22 (EDT)

Three Little Words

From the "Get Real Project" by Andrea Howe, three short sentences that, if used honestly, can help build trust and professional intimacy:

That makes sense.
Tell me more.
I don't know.

... and expanding upon those:

In conclusion, Howe mentions a fourth sentence:

Of course, we could add "I love you" to the list of word triplets, but then things start to get a little too squishy. (Or do they?)

Yes to adding, and No to "too squishy" — sometimes!

(cf. Trusted Advisor (2012-12-23), Action to Raise Trust (2015-09-05), Principles of Trust-Building (2015-09-23), ...)

- Saturday, April 08, 2017 at 03:03:28 (EDT)

2017-03-11 - Crazy Desert Trail Race

~66 miles @ ~15.5 min/mi

TROT Crazy Desert Trail Race 100k buckle"#FUROB? No! You need shirts that say #TYROB!" Race Director Rob Goyen is really a super-nice guy — not at all like his faux-cruel reputation that led to a line of naughty-hashtag tees. His T.R.O.T. (Trail Racing Over Texas) "Crazy Desert Trail Race" on 11 March 2017 turns out to be inadvertently long: instead of three laps of ~33.4 km (~20.8 miles) each circuit includes a free bonus of 4+ miles. When runners report the mistake, in real time RD Rob announces that the third loop will use the "Half Marathon" bypass for a final ~16 mile orbit — a grand total of ~66 miles (~106 km, plus or minus a few percent). As soon as Rob tells me the good news he gets a big "Thank You, Sir!" and a sweaty ^z bear hug. Now I have a chance to "run my age" in miles and get more distance per dollar than originally promised. What's not to like?
In northwest Texas, San Angelo State Park features prickly pear cactus, limestone hills, scrub brush, and the official Texas State Longhorn Herd. Buzzards circle lazily overhead. Huge cattle stare, then step aside to let runners pass. Thick clouds and cool breezes keep morning temperatures down. My ~25 mile first lap comes in at ~5.5 hours, an unexpectedly brisk pace of ~13.5 min/mi. Then the sun comes out, breezes fade, and the next 25 miles becomes a warm speed-hike in ~7 hours at ~17 min/mi. Humidity is low; sweat evaporates fast. By GPS I achieve the original 11 hour, 66.7 km cutoff — yay! After ~12.5 hours, mile ~50, I'm back at the start/finish area, ready for Lap 3.Crazy Desert Trail Race start area
Crazy Desert Trail Race prickly pear cactus and ZBelinda Jared joins me now. She's a veteran ultrarunner with two 100 mile finishes, a relentlessly cheerful attitude, and a delightful Australian accent. Darkness soon falls, temps drop precipitously, and gusty north winds bring chills. I zip up my trail shirt and run with thumbs held inside fists for warmth. Belinda starts to feel nausea and then becomes seriously cold. Wisely, she decides to drop at the mile ~58 aid station before hypothermia sets in. Unwisely, I go on ahead with the promise to wait for her at the point where the Half Marathon trail branches off from the 100k course that we followed for loops 1 and 2. Extremely unwisely, I fail to specify how long I will pause. After 15 minutes I'm getting nervous as well as frigid. So I proceed, accompanied by infinite guilt. Thankfully, Belinda is safe!
Alone now in the dark, it's mission-critical not to fall. Gopher holes produce strange 3-D optical illusions as headlamp's light sweeps over them. My calves cramp up when I pause to shake pebbles out of shoes. The left hamstring gets tight and twingy. I roll the right ankle but not seriously. A foot drops partly into a pit on the trail, but no harm done. Shoes slip on scree-pebble slopes, but I don't take a tumble. The 100k mark goes by just short of 16 hours. Stiff winds blow down the final aid station, but with only ~4 miles to go it's "No worries, Mate!"Crazy Desert Trail Race desert butterfly
Crazy Desert Trail Race mile 1 path and Z"Do I kneel for you to put the ribbon around my neck and dub me 'Well Done'?" At 17 hours 7 minutes, a bit after 11pm, I arrive at the finish line, shake hands with Rob and another race official (his wife?) and accept my first-ever ultramarathon finisher's buckle. In 27th place of 29, I'm the leading non-Texas-address finisher. I'm also the last non-Texas-address finisher!

My face is sunburned; my neck aches. I'm grinning like a jackass eating cactus.

"Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here Buckle!" Well, that's not the meaning of "buckle" that Gerard Manley Hopkins had in mind for his poem "The Windhover", but the beautiful verses echo in my mind as I run. Back at the car, I find the battery dead — perhaps I left a dome light on? And the phone battery is dead too. Oops! Fortunately my brother Keith has lent me a charger-pack, and come Sunday morning a friendly race official gives me a jump-start.

"We got this!" as a wise and graceful friend (who gave me a "Superman" ring — thank you!) often reminds me in times of stress, and as I remind myself repeatedly during long solo hours.

And it all turns out OK — as always!

Crazy Desert Trail Race finisher buckle and Z

(trackfile - incomplete! - actual distance approximately 65-67 miles)

- Friday, April 07, 2017 at 05:17:51 (EDT)

Spectrum of Thinking Tools

Possibly a useful spectrum along which to order and analyze tools for thought:

... and how could this schema be further extended — perhaps into more than one dimension? Hmmmmmmmmm ...!

(cf. Thinking Environments (1999-04-07), Thinking Tools Examples (1999-04-08), Thinking Tools Goals (1999-04-09), ...)

- Thursday, April 06, 2017 at 05:22:38 (EDT)

Kindness, Gentleness, Compassion

From Chapter 10 ("Two Schools, One Samadhi") of No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen by Jakusho Kwong:

... When the focus of your practice becomes like the light of the sun penetrating a magnifying glass so sharply that it makes a fire, it dissolves greed, anger, and ignorance, the three great obstacles to our original heart/mind. Since these obstacles are no longer there, you become aware of the nature of your original heart/mind, which is vast like an ocean and pervasively very quiet, calm, and bright. Then your attitude and demeanor naturally transform. Surprisingly, more than you had ever known, you realize that you are a kind, gentle, and compassionate person. This true realization, or revelation, is due to zazen. ...

- Wednesday, April 05, 2017 at 05:15:17 (EDT)

2017-03-04 - Loudoun Heights and Maryland Heights with Stephanie

~24.2 miles @ ~18.4 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Loudoun_Heights_Maryland_Heights_run_map_2017-03-04a.jpg"Stephanie, you're heading for Georgia!" Near the crest of the ridge Dr Fonda turns right, following the Appalachian Trail, instead of left onto the blue-blazed Loudoun Heights Trail. Oops!

"Want to try something really audacious?" After Tuesday's double trek up Maryland Heights Stephanie has ~24 miles scheduled for Saturday. "Maybe we could do Loudoun Heights AND Maryland Heights — twice? No, that's just too crazy!"

So at 0815 this morning we find ourselves running across the bridge over the Shenandoah River.

"Next time we do this, we really need to bring more water!" somebody remarks, six hours later. We're both dehydrated after finishing one Loudoun Heights ascent, returning to take the Appalachian Trail across WV, and then running up Maryland Heights twice — with a bonus digression to visit the overlook above the Potomac. Now we're heading back into Virginia to tackle Loudoun Heights once again. Wow!

"Wait a minute. You said 'next time'. So ... that means we're going to do this again!" Dr Fonda traps me once more. Hmmmmmm!

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Harpers_Ferry_run_stephanie_z_2017-03-04a.jpgBrisk: temps rising from the mid-20s to the upper 30s, winds gusting 20-30 mi/hr.

Flashback: 2010-10-23 - Quad State Quad Buster — lost in the woods on Loudoun Heights after crossing Maryland on the Appalachian Trail, scary, alone in the dark.

Happy: Paul & Paul & Jeff give us fist-bumps when we unexpectedly meet on Maryland Heights.

Delightful: singing along to the classic rock song "Centerfold" during the dawn drive up to run.

Stressful: after mile 19 ancient legs cramp and pace slows.

Compromise: send Stephanie ahead to the overlook, meet her as she returns. Her day has at least half a mile of extra awesomeness.

"Hi again!" Hikers are surprised to see us repeatedly and on multiple trails. Two ladies who met us in Maryland greet us in Virginia. In addition to the ridges we did, they climbed the AT up to South Mountain today. (Admittedly, they drove instead of ran between locations, and only did each once.)

Run of Legend for Stephanie and her Wood Elf: more than 6,000 feet total ascent, says GPS.

Next time: add Weverton Cliffs!?



- Tuesday, April 04, 2017 at 06:30:06 (EDT)

Just Breathing, Just Being, Just This

From Chapter 8 ("Breathing In, Breathing Out") of Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart:

Someone came to me and said in disbelief, "This is spiritual practice, sitting on a cushion and counting from one to ten?"

Everything is spiritual practice. When you leave the zendo, you go back to all kinds of life situations; you are not taking anything with you. You are going back with nothing. Not a thing. You are going back, however, to respond to whatever your life situation is, vividly. This is what our practice is about. Some people are doing koan study. It's not what you say to me in your response, it's how you respond. And how do you respond to your life? Don't take anything with you. Then there's just this cleared-up mind that responds to whatever is asked of you.

Those of you who are doing this strange spiritual practice of counting your breaths are discovering that it's exceedingly wonderful; it is incomparably the best way to take us into the ocean of samadhi (one-pointed concentration). Just counting: it's difficult to do, to count from one to ten, again and again. To reach a unified, single-minded state, this method has been used for generation after generation after generation. When you begin counting, there are many thoughts. Thoughts come in and thoughts go out, and eventually, the counting takes over and you are deeply engaged in vast—what? And then, just naturally, counting stops. And you're just watching the breath, breathing the in-breath, breathing the out-breath. And then even that falls off, and you're just purely being. The thought of practicing Zen is gone. The thought of successful practice is gone. Scattered mind is gone. There's just simply one-mindedness, and then no-mindedness: Mu-shin. Nothing seeking, or striving, or getting; just counting. Just breathing. Just being. Just this.

(cf. Being with Your Breath (2010-02-20), Waking Up to What You Do (2010-03-21), Coming Back to Your Breath (2011-09-25), This (2013-03-09), No Beginning, No End (2013-03-24), Mantra - Mindfulness, Nonattachment, Oneness (2017-01-25), ...)

- Monday, April 03, 2017 at 04:21:24 (EDT)

2017-03-03 - Frog and Toad

~3.9 miles @ ~15.5 min/mi

"Spring is just around the corner!" Dr Kristin promises, quoting the Arnold Lobel Frog and Toad story titled "The Corner". A few wet snowflakes fribble down as the Dawn Patrol not-so-dynamic duo prepares to ramble around Pimmit Hills. Green decorative lights glow along the eaves of a home. Early commuters swerve to give us a wide berth. The kids are OK today, despite headaches and stress, bureaucratic snafus, and everything else in life. It's simply wonderful to just be out for quiet conversation with a trusted friend. Sunrise tickles the underside of clouds rose-pink.

Which one of us is "Frog" and which is "Toad"?


- Sunday, April 02, 2017 at 05:42:29 (EDT)

Mantra - Touch and Go


... in the present moment, fully here, but not clinging — as Pema Chödrön suggests in Touch and Go (in Chapter 4 of her book The Places That Scare You), "... We touch thoughts by acknowledging them as thinking and then we let them go. It's a way of relaxing our struggle, like touching a bubble with a feather. ..."

(cf. Present-Moment Reality (2008-11-05), Kundun (2010-03-31), Fully Present (2011-02-14), Wakeful, Open, Tender (2016-08-25), ...)

- Saturday, April 01, 2017 at 04:57:37 (EDT)

2017-03-01 - Dawn Duo

~6.0 miles @ ~12.8 min/mi

"Kwanzan cherries ahead!" Pink petals speckle the sidewalk and stick to a hand that brushes against wet blossoms. Rain pauses for the Dawn Patrol to trot toward a sunrise behind thick clouds, temps in the upper 50s. Dr Kristin and I run for those who can't make it today. We concur on the value of not responding in haste to unfair criticism or blame, and of sharing credit widely after an unexpected success.

"Oops! That was a deep puddle!" Suddenly, soggy socks ...


- Friday, March 31, 2017 at 05:35:23 (EDT)

Zero Exists

From Chapter 8 ("Close Attention") of Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart:

... Can we be just as we are? Stripped down to zero? Just plain, ordinary, simple, with no pretension? This zero is emptiness, no content. The idea of zero comes from India. Buddha understood it very well, and he tried to convey to his disciples, to us, this understanding. Zero exists because of the activity of emptiness. We experience this activity as impermanence. Everything changes. There is no end to it. Moment after moment, breath after breath, everything is constantly changing. And at the same time, we discover that which never changes. This Buddha-nature, or Tao, or absolute ground of our being—this never changes, and it is from this that form derives.

A flower blooms; the petals fall; it dies. Birds come. They sing; they fly away. Rocks in the garden are quietly disintegrating. Everything, there is birth, growth, death, decay. Every moment, without ceasing even for a second, there is being, nonbeing, the activity of impermanence. Every day we chant in the Heart Sutra, "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form." This is the function of impermanence. But just thinking about this, just using our discriminating mind, our small-self mind, we cannot understand. We must come to the place before that discriminating mind was born, where there are no names, where this is no "is it or isn't it," where there is no cold, no heat. This is the place we come to in deep zazen. This condition is known as the samadhi of no conflict. There is no argument that remains; no discriminating self; no self and other. We experience everyone and everything as self.

(cf. No Method (2010-01-21), Shul (2011-06-11), Empty Cup (2012-05-08), Mini Zen Gardening Kit (2013-01-28), Mantra - Vast Emptiness Everything Sacred (2015-03-17), Holding Space (2016-07-22), Statelessness (2016-07-30), ...)

- Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 05:23:34 (EDT)

2017-02-28 - Maryland Heights with Stephanie

~8.0 miles @ ~17.8 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Maryland_Heights_stephanie_fonda_z_2017-02-28.jpg"Whenever I see mountains, I feel good!" Dr Fonda leads the way up the Maryland Heights Trail, a strenuous climb of ~1200 feet within a ~2 mile ascent. "You did bring the defibrilator?" I ask. Hopeful vultures circle overhead, envisioning my carcass. Stephanie glimpses a red fox.

The peak offers awesome views of the Potomac River. We pause for selfies, then enlist a friendly fellow traveler to take additional pics. Trains whistle and rumble below on their way past Harpers Ferry.

"Next time, remind me NOT to run to your home before trying this!" Only 4 days ago Stephanie did it solo, as her quads remind her during the steep descent. At the bottom we tag her car and head back up again, taking the loop in the opposite direction for variety. The elevation profile shows highly symmetric twin peaks.

"Those soft and fuzzy sweaters, so magical to touch ..." — on the classic rock station we sing together along with the 1980 hit "Centerfold" by the J. Geils Band. Trail talk is quiet and thoughtful, focusing on self-respect, patience, love, kindness, and widening one's circle of concern.



- Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 04:55:10 (EDT)

2017-02-28 - Blitz to Stephanie's Home

~6.3 miles @ ~10.0 min/mi

"Take the long way home!" Instead of the direct route to Dr. Stephanie's house, meander along Rock Creek. Begin with broken-field running, zig-zagging between trash cans on the sidewalk, banana in hand. Gnats buzz about the head of a stone statue. The Mermaid Fountain is eye-catching as always. An old comrade, "Alby", pauses to greet me on his way to work. Race hard for the final miles to pull the average pace down to single digit min/mi — barely!


- Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 04:30:24 (EDT)

Gallic Shrug

http://zhurnaly.com/images/gallic_shrug_emoji.pngLift shoulders, pout lips, open hands palms up, ...

"Not my fault!" ...

"There's nothing I can do!" ...

"Don't blame me!" ...

"Deal with it yourself!" ...

"It is what it is!" ...


(cf. WeeBitMoreComplicated (2007-08-29), "What is the Gallic shrug?", "The Gallic Shrug", ...)

- Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 06:00:58 (EDT)

2017-02-27 - Firearm Arrangements and Edible Coatings

~5.0 miles @ ~14.3 min/mi

"What are 'Edible Arrangements'? And 'Firearm Coatings'? This is a great planet we live on!" Shops across the street from each other offer diverse products. After a pause to snag hot coffee at Starbucks the Dawn Patrol continues its tour of downtown McLean. Temperatures are dozens of degrees colder than a few days ago: frost glitters on grass and parked cars. We explore a neighborhood but fail to find a way out that doesn't require climbing a fence. Backtrack time!

"Good morning, Rainbow!" The pet dog we met on Friday is out for a walk, wearing his eponymous collar. An early morning meeting mandates a short loop. Kristin reports on a quick trip to the beach over the weekend, in honor of her daughter's latest lost tooth. Kerry tells of celebrations after Langley High School's hard-fought victory on Saturday, when for the first time ever the Saxons won the regional girls' basketball title. Onward to the state championship tournament!


- Monday, March 27, 2017 at 04:36:28 (EDT)

Here to Let Go

From Chapter 7 ("Breathing In, Breathing Out") of Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart:

We are here to let go. We are not here to get something, but to let go of everything. We sit together to deeply understand This Matter, the ground of our being. Some people may say, "I'm sitting because I want to get some peace of mind." Yet this is what gives us peace of mind: to experience the depths of ourselves and to understand that it belongs to all of us. So we walk together, harmoniously in step with each other. We work together as one body. We sit together and we feel this peaceful condition, this room that is filled with silence.

(cf. Three Poisons (2011-06-19), Let Go (2013-10-18), Giving Up Hope (2014-09-01), Learning to Pause (2015-08-10), Perfect Size for Letting Go (2015-09-14), Eleven Rules for Mindfulness (2015-11-07), Mantra - Let Go and Let Be (2015-12-02), What Is Zazen (2017-02-11), ...)

- Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 06:24:08 (EDT)

2017-02-24 - Langley Survey

~7.5 miles @ ~13.6 min/mi

"The Dawn Patrol needs a Mission — let's go see the house that burned down last week!" Drs K&K lead a meandering adventure through a couple of cut-throughs to Turkey Run Road, where the site of the conflagration is protected by DO NOT CROSS tape. On the way somebody is shooting baskets to a rebound-return machine in an annex behind a mansion. Another stately home features bright chalk art on the driveway. A thin crescent moon rises shortly before the sun. Temps are ridiculously warm for February.

"Why can't he bark like a big dog?" Kerry and Kristin compare notes on their puppies' vocalizations. Or, as Shakespeare described Theseus' hounds, "... Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouth like bells, / Each under each. A cry more tuneable / Was never holla'd to, nor cheer'd with horn, ... " (Midsummer Night's Dream, IV.1).

And post-run, more adventure: drive off, then slow to let two cats cross the street, accelerate, and there's a thump. Something fell off the car roof — the phone forgotten there. Oops!


- Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 05:37:06 (EDT)

2017-02-22 - Silly Villians

~6.9 miles @ ~12.3 min/mi

"Condiment King!"

"Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy!"

Cait and Kristin compare notes on supervillains, respectively from the new Lego Batman movie and the PBS WordGirl series. Dawn Patrol's route today meanders past the Eagle Mansion and the Lavender Cabin — both of which sound like good names for an evil malefactor's lair!

We advise Cait on her family's upcoming Disneyworld Half Marathon ("Have fun!" and "Don't fall down!") and share stories from the past weekend. Kristin reports on the hazards of letting a South Park toy with speech synthesis capability fall into the hands of young children. Danger!


- Friday, March 24, 2017 at 04:33:50 (EDT)

2017-02-20 - Tysons Trek

~5.0 miles @ ~12.6 min/mi

"Your little nincompoop is dancing down the aisle ahead!" says Kristin's son about his sister, yesterday in the grocery store. Better, perhaps, than what he used to call her: "My baby bother!" Dr K and I meander through Tysons Corner enjoying the rosy sunrise. A noisy flock of crows takes wing and circles above us.


- Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 05:46:42 (EDT)

2017-02-19 - GW Birthday Marathon

~26.2 miles @ ~11.7 min/mi

"This is Not Good!" Dr Kerry says, when the GPS voice announces our pace. Today is her Birthday Eve Spontaneous Marathon, aka the George Washington Birthday Marathon, and we're going ~2 min/mi faster than planned. But no matter! Kerry slices more than 50 minutes off her prior PB for the distance, and we finish with big smiles. Not bad for a race that she only started to think about two days ago!

"417 — and the Comrades 3 times!" says Pauline from England, when we ask how many marathons she has run. Ultra-veterans Caroline Williams and Phil Hesser greet us before the start, as do buddies Ken and Jennifer. Temperatures today reach near-record highs, in the 70+ zone, and we give thanks for brisk winds whenever the course turns toward them. Electrolyte capsules, energy gels, and quarts of Gatorade all help, though our fingers swell and my right hamstring threatens to cramp.

"I've seen you here almost every year for over a decade, and never stopped to shake your hand!" I apologize to Derek, whose boom-box and applause annually encourage runners when they pass him at miles 9, 16, and 23. Kerry pushes us along, allowing only limited walk breaks as we climb hills. During the last lap I stoop to pick up a spork in the road, mainly so I can say "spork in the road". Climbing the big hill at mile 25 we meet Chris, who wears a Hulkmania shirt that he rips apart as he crosses the finish line.

Kerry and I accept this year's uber-garish medals, pose for photos, and enjoy traditional GWBM chili. My experiments turn out well, especially taping the feet to deter blisters — though I need a refresher lesson from Stephanie on how to apply Leukotape most effectively. Dr K and I get home early and happy. A great day, great volunteers, and a great race!

(Splits, according to my watch and the mile markers: 11.7 + 10.3 + 11.6 + 10.7 + 11.6 + 11.6 + 10.3 + 12.0 + 11.2 + 11.2 + 10.4 + 11.9 + 11.3 + 11.3 + 11.7 + 13.4 + 12.0 + 11.5 + 12.5 + 12.8 + 12.8 + 12.3 + 13.3 + 12.4 + 12.3 + 13.3 + the final fraction in 2.2 minutes)


- Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 05:52:32 (EDT)

Mantra - She'll Be Right


... Australian slang for "Everything is OK" — no problem ... things will all work out somehow ... don't worry ... it's good enough ...

As, in fact, it always it!

(cf. Optimist Creed (1999-04-16), Lord Love a Duck (2010-02-15), No Worries, Mate (2012-11-24), Mantra - Things Can Only Get Better (2016-09-11), ...)

- Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 05:37:50 (EDT)

2017-02-18 - Death by Do Loop with Stephanie

~8.3 miles @ ~16.9 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Death_by_Do_Loop_stephanie_z_2017-02-18a1.jpg"I'm stubborn!"

"You think you're stubborn? I'm really stubborn!"

Lost in the woods near the Occoquan, Dr Fonda and I compete for bushwhacking honors as we stagger down and up hillsides and clamber over fallen trees. We're enjoying "Death by Do Loop" (DxDL), an informal Saturday morning trek sponsored by the DC Capital Striders. On the orange (or maybe it was blue?) trail we miss a turn and follow yellow horseshoe blazes that lead to an abandoned rusty hulk of a car. Selfie Time!

Then press onward, backtrack, check the map, turn around, and eventually find the way back to Fountainhead where we began. For past disorienting adventures in the same area see 2008-08-23 - Lost in the Woods and 2009-03-31 - Lost in the Woods Again. Is this the Bermuda Triangle of Bull Run?

Quatro and his friend Carol lead us on a tour of the white-blazed trail. A kind soul in the DCCS has brought scrumptious chocolate-coated peanut-butter delicacies to share, and Q is carrying one. "Pretty Please?", I ask, as we part ways to head back to the start. Quatro lobs a high-arcing PB-Choco-Bomb and Stephanie catches it. Touchdown!

Today's trail talk is quiet and thoughtful. We give thanks for dear friends, good health, tender relationships ... muse on how to be loving-helpful-kind while letting others grow strong and independent ... and wonder how to recognize and honor one's own self without being selfish. So hard, sometimes.

Discussing ASMR — a tingling-relaxing-euphoric-thrilling sensation triggered sometimes by acts of service and certain sounds — we wonder: could some people create moments of pure joy for others and yet never realize it? Could it be happening everywhere, unnoticed? What a lovely thought!



- Monday, March 20, 2017 at 05:56:31 (EDT)

2017-02-17 - Meet Maureen

~4.4 miles @ ~15.6 min/mi

"You're one 'Sorry!' in the hole now, Maureen!" Caitlin's mom is visiting, and apologizes twice before she learns the Second Rule of Dawn Patrol: you only get to say "Sorry!" once per mile. She already knows the First Rule: leave no one behind, ever!

By flashlight and headlamp Kristin leads the way along the path by Dead Run to the north end of Pine Hill Rd, where we take Kerry's Cut-Through #7 in reverse. Maureen laughs off the sub-freezing temperatures; she's from Buffalo NY. We trek along Benjamin St, admiring mansion architecture and wondering what the response would be if we knocked on a door and said "Trick or Treat!" at 6am?

When Cait's shoe comes off we suggest duct tape, which she used inside another pair before a fancy-dress dance over the weekend. An electric sunrise just keeps getting more beautiful. At Kerry's home we share coffee and memories.


- Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 05:17:45 (EDT)

2017-02-15 - Langley Blowdowns

~7.4 miles @ ~12.9 min/mi

"Fox!" Cait spots the creature hunkered down in the brush by Dead Run, eyes glowing orange in our headlamps. Half a block later it's Kristin's turn: "Rabbit!" The big bunny dashes across a front lawn. Hope it survives!

The Dawn Patrol strides over sticks and twigs blown down by recent high winds. Broken trees almost block the path in a couple of location; bands of yellow "CAUTION" tape stretch across the asphalt. We ramble into Langley and text-message a GPS push-pin waypoint to Dr Kerry when we pass in front of her home. "You should have come in for coffee!" she replies.


- Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 07:05:21 (EDT)

2017-02-13 - Against the Wind

~8.9 miles @ ~13.4 min/mi

"Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then!" And wish I could have remembered that Zen lyric sooner this morning. Northwest breezes are 20+ mi/hr, with chilly gusts reaching 40+ mph. Kerry and Kristin have to duck under a broken cedar tree trunk that stretches over the sidewalk. The 1967 song "Windy" comes to mind — and raises the question of how many neurons are devoted to storing sunshine-pop lyrics like that? And how long should it take to recall that Bob Seeger was the artist who wrote "Against the Wind"?

"Let's run to a different Starbucks today!" Kristin nominates one we've never visited, in Tysons Corner next to a Harris-Teeter on Park Run Drive. But when the Dawn Patrol gets there nobody is behind the counter, although the doors are wide open! Another erstwhile coffee customer suggests being baristas for each other. But we decide against it, and after a couple of minutes give up and hit the road again.


- Friday, March 17, 2017 at 05:31:15 (EDT)

2017-02-12 - Wet Trek

~10.3 miles @ ~13.1 min/mi

"Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" — "Pennies from Heaven" — "Who'll Stop the Rain?" — "Purple Rain" — "Macarthur Park" ("Someone left the cake out ...") — "Red Rain" — Rebecca and Barry free-associate a medley of precipitation-themed songs as we ramble along Rock Creek through intermittent light drizzle. We review recent movies, compare notes on donut shops, run a few hills, and reminisce about races. On a side trail near Ft Detrick's Forest Glen Annex speculation includes what superpowers one might acquire by drinking from the contaminated streams there, or perhaps just taking a dip as Achilles did in the River Styx. Who knows?


- Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 14:58:20 (EDT)

2017-02-11 - Mormon Temple Hillwork with Cait and Stephanie

~16.3 miles @ ~12.9 min/mi

"Good morning, Oreo!" At sunrise, as the full moon sets, Dr Stephanie starts running. Within a few blocks, there's Rebecca walking her lovely-friendly dog Oreo. Pause for puppy petting! After a digression through Garrett Park and Kensington we join Caitlin at mile ~5 and return to the flatter Rock Creek Trail.

"It's just another theoretical astrophysicist!" Gerry waves at us from across the street. Soon thereafter, "Make way — elite runners coming through!" Anny and Michele and Jeff zoom past. We run three times up the Mormon Temple Hill, meeting Gayatri and other friends solo and in training groups.

Mindful sharing and trail talk topics include advice making new friends, studying graph theory, managing unreasonable first-date expectations, running downhill during ultramarathon training, heart-attack hazards of deep-décolleté at a dinner with elderly gentlemen present, temptations found at Duck Donuts in Rockville, and the challenge of listening to the spaces between notes of a fast Haydn flute trio. Om-ward ho!


- Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 14:30:15 (EDT)

2017-02-10 - Last Wishes

~6.5 miles @ ~13.7 min/mi

"Pretend to be happy — I'll fix it!" Mindful Mom Magic works wonders, apparently even via the medium of text-message. This morning temps in the lower 20's lead Dawn Patrol feet toward a Starbucks on Route 7, where hot coffee maintains momentum. An electric persimmon sunrise distracts Kristin, who almost trips on a sidewalk crack as we run through Tysons Corner. Kerry throws out an arm to help her recover. We warn each other away from icy puddles.

"Your daughter locked my son in the dog's cage!" Note choice of personal pronouns. Conversation also gets serious, talking about a lovely final resting place for one's ashes. "I'd just like to be the bench there!" — a beautiful thought.


- Monday, March 13, 2017 at 18:32:42 (EDT)

2017-02-08 - Hot February Trot

~7.1 miles @ ~13.6 min/mi

"Murphy is his name!" says the owner of a 105-pounds-of-joy black Rottweiler-blend out for a pre-sunrise stroll. Dr Kristin and I pause to pet the big puppy, who is thrilled to make new friends. The Dawn Patrol duo meanders across Route 123, veers around crowds of construction workers on sidewalks, and ventures cautiously along the shoulder of a busy street underneath the Dulles Access Road.

Freakish February warmth brings temps in the mid-60s. Much mindful conversation and trail talk ensues. We're all so busy putting out fires, listening to lectures, and doing our duties these days. If only the whole world were a bit more grown-up and self-aware, more open and flexible, and a bit less prone to panic. Maybe some day!


- Friday, March 10, 2017 at 10:02:08 (EST)

2017-02-06 - Theory of Justice

~5.3 miles @ ~13.1 min/mi

"Justice as Fairness!" is philosopher John Rawls' bumper-sticker summary of his theory of justice. One of Kristin's kids is fully on board with that; the other currently is more in-the-moment I-want-what-I-want. Demands a tricky balancing-act by a good Mom!

The skeleton Dawn Patrol crew takes a lap for luck around McLean High School track, then trots south as an umber sky slowly brightens. Icicle-lights glitter in a window to frame a line of snowman-statuettes. A bronchitis cough intrudes during walk breaks, never while on the run. "Is that a rabbit?" Nope, just a small bunny-shaped cedar branch blowdown.


- Thursday, March 09, 2017 at 11:21:47 (EST)

Werner Zimmermann, R.I.P.

Werner Edward Zimmermann, age 87, passed away quietly on March 6, 2017. He was with family, in his home on the farm near Hostyn where he grew up and, years later, returned.

Werner's life was full of service to others. He took a leave of absence for two years from La Grange High School to serve his parents on the family farm when his brothers were drafted and sent away during WWII. He rose through the ranks at the Carnation Milk Company and served as a supervisor for the Austin branch. In the 1960s he started his own business, Princess Craft Manufacturing of Pflugerville, to build campers and pick-up covers. In addition to owner and general manager, Werner served in dozens of additional roles including recruiter, designer, subbookkeeper, master carpenter, and more. After years of success he sold the company, but had to take it over again when the abilities of the new owners fell short. Again Werner served his customers and employees well, and rescued the business. After he "retired" back to the Zimmermann farm, Werner began serving part-time on behalf of the Engle Farmers Mutual Benefit insurance company of Schulenburg. His honesty and passion to help others fueled his rise to become President of that company, a post to which he was reelected for many years.

In 1951 Werner married Minnie Merle Meinke and with her raised two sons, Mark and Keith. After divorce, in 1969 Werner wed Dorothy Hoover and became father to her children, Patrick, Michael, Corinne, and Shawn. Werner is survived by two brothers, Elroy and Gilbert, a sister, Gladys, and dozens of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces, and nephews.

When Dorothy died in 2009 her eldest son Patrick eulogized her. After a difficult first marriage, in Pat's words:

... Dorothy's life took a happier turn. She met and married, in 1969, the greatest man I know, Werner Zimmermann.

The two of them seem to have been made for each other. The were a great team. They became partners in life, and partners in business.

Werner loved our mother, totally, unreservedly, not least during the last two years of Dorothy's life, when her health began to deteriorate more rapidly. They were the best things that ever happened to each other.

They were, and are, people of true grit. They had good times and bad times. Usually the good times and bad times were all happening at the same time. Such as when their business burned to the ground in 1971 while Werner was in the hospital having abdominal surgery. No matter what happened to them, they just picked up the pieces and kept working.

I think of myself as a hard worker, but Werner and Mom make me look like a slacker.

In 1971, when Werner woke up from the anesthesia of the operation that Pat mentions, his doctor asked him, "Do you want the good news first, or the bad news?" Of course, as an optimist Werner wanted the good news. He learned that the surgery was a total success. The bad news, that downtown Pflugerville burnt down and his business was utterly destroyed? No problem. Werner could handle that.

Funeral services are scheduled for Monday March 13, 2017 at 10:00 AM at Evangelical Lutheran Church in Swiss Alp. Interment will follow at 3:00 PM at the Capital Memorial Park in Pflugerville. Contributions in Werner's memory may be made to Hospice Brazos Valley in La Grange, the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Swiss Alp, or charity of one's choice.

(cf. Johnson Condolences (2008-01-05), Dorothy Zimmermann, R.I.P. (2009-08-21), ...)

- Wednesday, March 08, 2017 at 08:47:57 (EST)

2017-02-05 - Tempo Trek

~11.2 miles @ ~9.7 min/mi

"Technically, it's afternoon!" Mr Quibbler is on a solo tempo run today, and feels the need to correct a cyclist who says, "Good morning." A few miles later, when a walker greets him with "Great to see you back!", he replies, "Thank you, but I haven't been away." OK, loosen up, dude!

With "La donna è mobile" stuck on heavy mental rotation, the miles flow by briskly. A young lady training for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler zooms ahead on the Capital Crescent Trail, then stops to rest on a park bench. One mini Heath Bar provides fuel for the final mile. A family of cyclists says "Hi!" on Rock Creek Trail and again half a dozen miles later on the CCT. Splits according to GPS: 10.8 + 10.1 + 9.6 + 9.4 + 10.5 (climbing the hills of Cedar Lane) + 9.6 + 9.8 + 8.9 (perhaps due to track gitches in the tunnel under Wisconsin Ave? or to the girl who zips past there?) + 9.0 + 9.3 + 10.0 min/mi.


- Sunday, March 05, 2017 at 07:00:13 (EST)

What a Drag It Is Getting Old

http://zhurnaly.com/images/xkcd_ui_change.pngFrom Randall Munroe's xkcd comic #1770, "UI Change":

"Ugh, I hate when apps make arbitrary changes to their UI. Stuff I do all the time just got way harder for no reason!"

"Man. You are not gonna like getting old."

(cf. Pickwick Papers Width and Wisdom (2006-07-05), Enchanted Castle (2010-07-17), Nothing There in the First Place (2015-05-31), ...)

- Saturday, March 04, 2017 at 04:51:27 (EST)

2017-02-03 - Good Sports

~7.1 miles @ ~13.8 min/mi

"Puppy!" Kristin spies another cute little dog out for a walk. The Dawn Patrol braves 32F chills to meander around McLean and Falls Church. Kerry and Cait discuss sportsmanship, good and bad, in basketball. Friend and cousin (respectively) Jimmy Patsos, coach at Siena College, recently made the news when a rival team refused to shake hands post-game. Patsos walked along the line where they should have been and shook hands with imaginary players. Sweet symbolism!

The 1938 pacifistic film "Dawn Patrol" (set around World War I aviation) is now on order. Perhaps we'll see who among us corresponds to Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, or David Niven? Alas, not a lot of ladies in that movie ...


- Friday, March 03, 2017 at 04:21:15 (EST)

2017-02-01 - New McLean Cut-Through

~9.2 miles @ ~13.4 min/mi

"Bitmoji! You've gotta try 'em!" The Dawn Patrol rambles long on a brisk morning, bank thermometer in the mid-30s, chill intermittent breezes. Silhouetted by streetlights, two big deer amble across the road. Cait tells of last week's National Symphony Orchestra "Pops" concert. Kristin's foot is largely recovered from last week's stumble over her new puppy.

"Let's call it 'Kerry's Cut-Through #7'!" Led by Dr KB, we explore Pine Hill Road, an apparently-ancient gravel lane that leads to a big farmhouse. A narrow path brings us back onto neighborhood streets. Who knew? And in other deep philosophical questions, we wonder if a big white rock in a front yard indicates a "swinger" residence? Or is that an urban legend?


- Thursday, March 02, 2017 at 05:16:25 (EST)

Vladimir Braginsky, R.I.P.

Vladimir Braginsky (1931-2016), was one of the underappreciated godfathers of gravitational wave detection. MIT's Rainer Weiss shares a glimpse of the man:

Another memory of Vladimir I carry are his comments to me after a particularly difficult meeting with a review committee of vacuum experts who were advising the NSF on our strategy to construct the 4km beam tubes and their enclosures. The experts from vacuum groups associated with accelerator laboratories were skeptical of our design to process the metals to reduce out-gassing and thereby greatly reduce the number of pumps required to meet our goals. They were convinced that the ratio of pumping capacity to surface area was so low as to jeopardize the project and were convinced the LIGO vacuum would fail to achieve its design even though we had demonstrated the strategy in two separate experiments on different scales. I knew that if we were to build LIGO based on their recommendations, it would have significantly exceeded our estimated costs and I felt would have killed the project. Vladimir caught me sitting in a room on a corridor near the Caltech Physics Division headquarters with what must have been a pretty desperate look. He came and patted me on the back and said, "You know what you are doing is analogous to a man trying to love a woman in broad daylight in the middle of Red Square. You will get a lot of advice." We both laughed; it was just the change in perspective that was needed.

(from "LIGO Mourns the Loss of Vladimir Braginsky" in LIGO News, 2016-04-25; see QuantumNondemolition (2000-02-05), ...)

- Wednesday, March 01, 2017 at 04:56:14 (EST)

For back issues of the ^zhurnal see Volumes v.01 (April-May 1999), v.02 (May-July 1999), v.03 (July-September 1999), v.04 (September-November 1999), v.05 (November 1999 - January 2000), v.06 (January-March 2000), v.07 (March-May 2000), v.08 (May-June 2000), v.09 (June-July 2000), v.10 (August-October 2000), v.11 (October-December 2000), v.12 (December 2000 - February 2001), v.13 (February-April 2001), v.14 (April-June 2001), 0.15 (June-August 2001), 0.16 (August-September 2001), 0.17 (September-November 2001), 0.18 (November-December 2001), 0.19 (December 2001 - February 2002), 0.20 (February-April 2002), 0.21 (April-May 2002), 0.22 (May-July 2002), 0.23 (July-September 2002), 0.24 (September-October 2002), 0.25 (October-November 2002), 0.26 (November 2002 - January 2003), 0.27 (January-February 2003), 0.28 (February-April 2003), 0.29 (April-June 2003), 0.30 (June-July 2003), 0.31 (July-September 2003), 0.32 (September-October 2003), 0.33 (October-November 2003), 0.34 (November 2003 - January 2004), 0.35 (January-February 2004), 0.36 (February-March 2004), 0.37 (March-April 2004), 0.38 (April-June 2004), 0.39 (June-July 2004), 0.40 (July-August 2004), 0.41 (August-September 2004), 0.42 (September-November 2004), 0.43 (November-December 2004), 0.44 (December 2004 - February 2005), 0.45 (February-March 2005), 0.46 (March-May 2005), 0.47 (May-June 2005), 0.48 (June-August 2005), 0.49 (August-September 2005), 0.50 (September-November 2005), 0.51 (November 2005 - January 2006), 0.52 (January-February 2006), 0.53 (February-April 2006), 0.54 (April-June 2006), 0.55 (June-July 2006), 0.56 (July-September 2006), 0.57 (September-November 2006), 0.58 (November-December 2006), 0.59 (December 2006 - February 2007), 0.60 (February-May 2007), 0.61 (April-May 2007), 0.62 (May-July 2007), 0.63 (July-September 2007), 0.64 (September-November 2007), 0.65 (November 2007 - January 2008), 0.66 (January-March 2008), 0.67 (March-April 2008), 0.68 (April-June 2008), 0.69 (July-August 2008), 0.70 (August-September 2008), 0.71 (September-October 2008), 0.72 (October-November 2008), 0.73 (November 2008 - January 2009), 0.74 (January-February 2009), 0.75 (February-April 2009), 0.76 (April-June 2009), 0.77 (June-August 2009), 0.78 (August-September 2009), 0.79 (September-November 2009), 0.80 (November-December 2009), 0.81 (December 2009 - February 2010), 0.82 (February-April 2010), 0.83 (April-May 2010), 0.84 (May-July 2010), 0.85 (July-September 2010), 0.86 (September-October 2010), 0.87 (October-December 2010), 0.88 (December 2010 - February 2011), 0.89 (February-April 2011), 0.90 (April-June 2011), 0.91 (June-August 2011), 0.92 (August-October 2011), 0.93 (October-December 2011), 0.94 (December 2011-January 2012), 0.95 (January-March 2012), 0.96 (March-April 2012), 0.97 (April-June 2012), 0.98 (June-September 2012), 0.99 (September-November 2012), 0.9901 (November-December 2012), 0.9902 (December 2012-February 2013), 0.9903 (February-March 2013), 0.9904 (March-May 2013), 0.9905 (May-July 2013), 0.9906 (July-September 2013), 0.9907 (September-October 2013), 0.9908 (October-December 2013), 0.9909 (December 2013-February 2014), 0.9910 (February-May 2014), 0.9911 (May-July 2014), 0.9912 (July-August 2014), 0.9913 (August-October 2014), 0.9914 (November 2014-January 2015), 0.9915 (January-April 2015), 0.9916 (April-July 2015), 0.9917 (July-September 2015), 0.9918 (September-November 2015), 0.9919 (November 2015-January 2016), 0.9920 (January-April 2016), 0.9921 (April-June 2016), 0.9922 (June-July 2016), 0.9923 (July-September 2016), 0.9924 (October-December 2016), 0.9925 (January-February 2017), 0.9926 (March-April 2017), 0.9927 (May-June 2017), 0.9928 (June-October 2017), 0.9929 (October-December 2017), ... Current Volume. Send comments and suggestions to z (at) his.com. Thank you! (Copyright © 1999-2017 by Mark Zimmermann.)