Thursday, January 11, 2007

A dog, a runner, and the road

I could never live in the city. I commute to Vancouver about twice a month by train. Packed into a crowded train, listening to the sounds of steel wheels on rail being drowned out by the endless overheard conversations of complete strangers. So many conversations, that after awhile it just sounds like white noise, indistinguishable constant.

I think that's another reason why I run before dawn, to escape the white noise. I love to run the trails and I live about a mile and a half from the nearest forest. The trail system however is from end to end only about a mile at best. So for most of the morning runs I take it to the streets. Before the cars and traffic, before the dog walkers and just after the hardcore partiers go to bed I'm out on my run with dog in tow. I use to think it was for the sake of the dog but really it's for me. Running is my solitude, a time to erase the white noise from the memory banks. Like many runners if I don't get in my daily run I'm cranky and irritable.

My dog is a two year Golden Retriever, Koda. He's a great running companion. He's a swimmer but a poor retriever. I'm not talking bad retriever as in chasing a ball down and not returning it. I'm talking about full on lackadaisical despondency for the ball. He could care less about balls, sticks, and stuffed toys . . . whatever. You throw it and he'll look at you like you just did a nasty in your pants. This is not for lack of trying. Believe me in his puppy years when he was too young to run I bought Frisbees, tennis balls, the whole gambit of throwable objects. It bore no fruit. And so my dog became a runner . . . and nothing else.

This suits me just fine. A dog, a runner, and the road.

The Dreadmill

Here I am stuck in Kelowna BC. Under any other circumstances Kelowna is an athlete's dream city. In the summer they host several Tri's, a marathon, several fun runs. It's about half an hour from Penticton home of Ironman Canada. It is beautiful up here. Except when several freeze-thaws have left the streets with an inch of ice and the current temperature is -20C not including wind-chill.

Yeah I'm a wuss but I'm not a quitter so I head off for the dreaded treadmill. The dreadmill. No matter how you slice it: Steep incline, faster speeds, ESPN blaring from the TV in front of you. It truly earns the moniker.

Every winter for at least a couple of days in a row either snow or ice prevents the run from happening. I think my karma says it's time to put your feet up. First karma gives you subtle hints that you are pushing it. You know soreness that won't go away. Insomnia. You don't listen and push harder. So Karma deals you a full on snow storm. So you go inside to the dreadmill.

The dreadmill deprives you of everything sweet about running. The sights, the sounds. The wind in your face, the deep coolness of the air you breathe. That rush from charging up a small easily conquered hill. Give me the outdoors any day.

I'll be back. Yeah I’ll be back

Thursday, January 4, 2007


I love to write. I wish I could write better than I do. I've got a buddy who is a writer, a professional. Actually he's an editor for a newspaper. It's pretty cool when you think that every week somebody reads your stuff whether it's an editorial piece or a news bit he gets to write. It is read with interest and then in some way you've changed a life by what you've wrote or how you conveyed the facts. Think about the responsibility, the accountability. Putting things into perspective my editor friend says he has to take things with a grain of salt. When he rubs someone the wrong way he'll say to me, 'Remember. . . today's headlines will lining the bottom of birdcage tomorrow.'

That's why blogging is so cool. Almost complete anonymity and freedom to write. What's the deal with Blogging anyway? Do you think people want to read your thoughts, are you fulfilling a service, or is it merely a selfish pursuit to pander one's own ego? I believe there is some catharsis in it. You can call it therapy or self-indulgent. What ever the case there are thousands of blogs out there. I have read well written ones and some not so well written but they are all good. They all provide insight into the blogger's psyche or their soul for lack of a better term.

Do you think if you write a blog you should be inclined to read as many other blogs? After all if you believe your stuff is a literary masterpiece then there has got to be others worth reading too.

But what about the creepy factor? The otherwise 'stalking' part that you lay it all out there and share part of your life only to have someone else soak it up like some predator. I guess that's why most of us use an alias, a 'nom de plum'. One can never be to safe to protect the privacy not meant for the web to see. It's a double edged sword indeed.

So I remain embattled with my editor friend. We both write, his readers far out number mine. I'm anonymous and therefore will never be famous for what I write. Nor do I want the fame or even credit. He may never be famous but at least it pays the bills.