Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Wild Miles

My next running adventure is going to be the Wild Miles relay race at the end of April. I've been recruiting a team since the beginning of the year, but it's been hard since most people's brains shut off immediately once they hear"170 miles". No matter how quickly and clearly i explain that the race has 30 legs and that each runner only has to run 3 legs, the damage is already done.

In fact i think that the hard part of the race won't be the mileage. I've done more mileage than the total of my 3 or 4 legs on numerous weekends. The big difference on those occasions was that i got to sleep in between my runs. The difficulty with this race is that i have to run, keep up with the progress of the race, and stay semi-alert except for random catnaps. On the plus side, i get to run at night, which i love to do.

So far i've got 8 runners including myself, all of whom are fairly strong, most with marathon experience. Two were complete strangers to me until this last weekend when we did a group run at Mission Bay. So far, only 1 is female, but i'm hoping that at least 1 of my last 2 recruits will be another lady.

I'm not quite sure what motivated me to do this. Running has always been a solitary activity for me, and i'm not inclined to organize or lead. I don't even particularly like to lead the group i allegedly lead at my job. My only hypothesis at the moment is that i feel a need to bond with other people to whom i don't have to explain my strange compulsion to run. There's something vaguely military in the recruiting and planning, which sometimes appeals to me and sometimes repels me. I like the idea of pulling off a complicated plan, but i'm also resistant to the concept that any human endeavor can be made predictable.

Monday, March 12, 2007


I have no idea if this story about toxoplasmosis is real science or bs, but it's of interest to me because i acquired a toxoplasmosis infection when i was a teenager (i grew up on a farm and at one point had 13 cats). It was, in retrospect, a significant point in my life. I missed many days of school that year, did not play sports, and i even spent a week in the hospital (where i developed an intense crush on a beautiful red-headed nurse who was about a decade older than i). I would not say that the infection made me neurotic or paranoid, but the experience of being outside my normal high-school community definitely made me more introspective.

For me the infection seemed to affect my heart, because for several months i became intensely aware of every beat. My week in the hospital was spent primarily undergoing a battery of cardiological tests. The doctors finally concluded that my fatigue and hyper-sensitivity were a result of the infection, which one doctor hypothesized had reached my pericardium. Oddly, it was that week of tests that also revealed to me my somewhat abnormal physiology. I have a resting heart rate in the high 30s, and on the treadmill stress test i was never able to get my heart rate above 177 beats/minute. Cardiologically speaking, i'm a bit of a freak.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Burning Stupidville

My son Nathan and his friend Ben have formed a band, which they call Burning Stupidville (don't ask, i don't know). Recently, they recorded a few songs and posted them to a site called MyJonesMusic, and they also have their own MySpace page.

I won't try to convince you that it's great music (it was written by a 12 year-old and 13 year-old after all), but it's not bad. What amazes me more though is the process. They were not only able to play the music, but they recorded it, and posted it on the Internet. Or, put another way, they played it, produced it, and distributed it. Did i mention that my son is 12?

I'm too old to remember what i was doing when i was 12, but it was something different. I probably watched a lot of television and i might have been playing sports. I didn't have my son's interest in music, or his talent, but whatever i was passionate about at 12 i understood that there were large barriers between my world and the adult world where people made things and put them in front of the rest of the world. I don't think my son knows that, and it makes me very proud.