Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Vicarious Vlogging: A Rock Repeat Above The Clouds

I'm always talking about my Rock Repeats. Today I took you with me while I did one in the snow and ice on a beautiful winter day in Fort Collins. I wrapped up the week with a quick trip up and down, plus a few little extra spurs on some side trails to get a few extra miles.

It looked dismal this morning when I left the house, all overcast and foggy. But once I got up to about 6000 feet, it was clear blue sky.

Watch the video to enjoy this awesome winter day and get a few ultra training tips and insights!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Vicarious Vlogging...Horsetooth Reservoir in the Wind

Welcome to a new feature on Journey to Badwater: Vicarious Vlogging by Alene.

It's where I take you with me on my running adventures, short and long, sharing snippets of my runs. If you've never run in Fort Collins, Colorado in the winter, you are missing out on one of my favorite places to run hills.

If you're lucky enough to catch it on a day like today, you can get the full effect of the sandblasting gusts that cut your face with ice shards, stab you with spears of dried grass, and steal the breath out of your mouth before you can inhale.

I wanted to get 10 miles of hills today but I only got 5 because the wind was blowing so hard I couldn't see. I pulled my hijab-like neck gaiter and head coverings up over my face and around my sunglasses, but I had to hang on to the edges so gravel and debris wouldn't blow into my eyes. And since I didn't have my arms at my sides for balance, the wind picked my up off my feet a few times and nearly knocked me over.

The snow blew so hard across the road that there were sections of slush all the way across the width of the asphalt.
Later in the day I finished up with a walk after the wind died down.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Really Quite Out of Sight...

Somehow, today I managed to get 10.5 miles in, mostly running, without too much effort getting out the door or keeping my legs in a running pattern, even on the slick streets and sidewalks with sheets of ice and slush puddles.

The days don't have enough hours in them to allow me to get everything done now, but I'm productive nonetheless. Seems like I only have half my work done and my workout, and I'm looking at a day going down in a blaze, like this sunset the other night.
I love nighttime, but it's been so cold and my workdays are so long that by sunset I am ready to wrap it up for the day. Before I climb into bed these days I usually watch things on my iPad, just mindless day-old comedy stuff like the Tonight Show, Daily Show, Larry Wilmore, and so on. And the other night I happened to see a clip of Jimmy Fallon promoting David Bowie's new album and I thought it was strange that he wasn't a guest on the show. And then the thought disappeared.

The next day I saw all these posts on Facebook, RIP David Bowie, etc.

I am not big on popular entertainment culture though I do pay some attention. I haven't been listening to music much because my iPod died last spring and I haven't been running long enough runs to warrant replacing it. But one of my favorite artists has always been David Bowie, and the rise & fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars has a designated spot on every music playing device I own. It's perfect middle of the night ultra music.

But David Bowie has a special meaning in my life beyond his dramatic and creative performances. When I was fourteen years old and still living in Philadelphia, my very first concert was David Bowie.

And it was spellbinding and spectacular in a way that only a 14 year old can perceive it, but I can remember it vividly nearly 40 years later. I remember going with my friend, we took the train to downtown Philadelphia and went to the concert, feeling so independent and grown up. I remember the stage, the lights, the smoke and haze, and the outrageous costumes he wore, so energetic, jumping around, and the way his voice projected. His gender-bending persona was ahead of its time in many ways, and I was grateful for it.

As a teenager I had a difficult time with my own self-concept and figuring out what was an acceptable way to dress and appear in public. Where I went to junior high, it was an affluent community of many spoiled upper-middle class brats, and Mean Girls was hatched in a similar environment. I was not a girly-girl and I didn't "get" fashion, and I didn't dress to look feminine or to impress. Jeans and t-shirts, no makeup, no hairstyle, just long, stringy thick hair, were my thing.

I hung out with a group of similarly outcast girls, and we were not boy-crazy. So we didn't fit in. And David Bowie showed me that it was okay to be offbeat and not tied to gender expectations. At 14, that was a powerful revelation, at least it was for me. And living through childhood with a mom who was all too happy to enforce her gender requirements on my style of dress and activity, it was pure validation.

Anyway,that's my David Bowie story. It makes me want to go get that new ipod today, fill it with my music, get out under the stardust and dance my way through a night run!

So the next time it looks like this outside, I hope to be headed out the door for a while. RIP David Bowie. Thanks for the inspiration.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Progress and Plogging

We are now three weeks past solstice and I already notice the slight difference in the evening light, past 5 pm. Looking out the back window I see this view.

I got 55 miles on my feet this past week. Three hours of which was running. Progress. It's been so cold, that's been the hardest thing to overcome.

I'm buried in editing work with my startup but enjoying it. I love it when I get the edits back from my team. They have so many great insights, and my blind spot is covered. I say blind spot because, not being a cancer survivor myself, there are many personal experiences that I don't bring to the work I do. I can listen and empathize to the best of my ability, but I will always be missing a piece. Thankfully I am not a cancer survivor. But I am aware of the potential for anyone, including myself, to become one.

Tomorrow I am being interviewed for a podcast by one of the longtime readers of this blog. I will share the link and info as soon as it's available. Sounds like fun. Thanks, Amy, for the opportunity to plog (podcast-blog).

Another busy week ahead, and every step gets me closer.

It's still Sunday. For now, back to the backyard gazing.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Thoughts on Snow and Ice in Spring

Welcome, nine days into a Fort Collins spring. Despite the cold and snow, I've been consistent, both indoors and out. Working on walking 10 miles most days, and doing a little running within those walking miles. I need it more for my head these days as my brain is overloaded. The walking time allows me to stop my state of panic, sort through my thoughts, and slow down.

For some reason walking does that for me, so much better than running. And since I'm not training for anything, the running is not all that important, so I do it when I feel like it. So far the running mood hasn't struck me more than two or three days a week. It is mental, and part of it is also my poor level of fitness for a higher level of intensity. It's not as comfortable to run. I know, no excuses, and once I get into the habit, it's won't be as difficult. But again, no race, no stress.

I've been enjoying the long stretches of bike paths in Fort Collins, that are always plowed before the roads. What drives me crazy is that the city doesn't plow the small streets, and they have poor drainage, so we get icejams.

We have this crazy system of garbage pickup here, we have several different companies that haul waste, and that means that almost every day there are trash and recycle trucks coming down our street. It's a waste of energy and is hard on the streets, in my opinion. But since we have this system, I say why don't we put blades on the trash trucks so they can plow the small streets as they go? I think that would help a lot. I'm sure the garbage companies wouldn't want that. But it's such an inefficient system, multiple trips down the same streets to collect garbage. And it would solve the problem of the small streets never getting plowed.

And as a pedestrian, the city is pretty bad about plowing sidewalks. Once the snowplows come through, they cover the sidewalks in snow and chunks of ice. Then, when they do clear the sidewalks, it's inconsistent and they don't enforce the sidewalk shoveling ordinance. The worst offenders are certain churches (ahem!) that should have plenty of young missionaries physically able to maintain their sidewalks and help their community...and apartment complexes. You would think these places bring in enough with the overpriced rental market in this area, but they can't seem to clear their walkways.

One of my neighbors on the other side of the street is the sidewalk Nazi. He calls the city on people. I wish he would follow me on my running and walking routes, he's be busy all the time. On our side of the street, our next door neighbor has a snowblower and usually wakes up early and does the sidewalk on our side, plus some of our driveways when he has time. I have a neighbor down the street who is in his late 70s so I try to get down there and move some of the snow if the neighbor with the snowblower hasn't been out.

I don't mind the snow, but it's the ice and bitter cold that gets to me. And the ice is worse than the cold. We have a serious ice problem in Fort Collins, as I've mentioned many times before. There is no drainage. A year ago the city replaced the corner curbs with wheelchair accessible corners, which is great for the times when there's no snow and ice. What happens, though, is the snow melts and slush and deep water accumulate at the ends of the streets, and the water backs up over the corner sidewalks, making treacherous solid ice sheets at every street corner in the neighborhood.

Brilliant. The marijuana money is helping with street improvements, but we need someone who isn't stoned to plan the improvements.

Well that's my snow and ice rant. I must be resentful because it's spring and we are getting all this snow. We did just plan a trip to Arizona, though, so I'm looking forward to that, if it's not snowing there. The other day I was on the phone with my friend Terri in Tucson and it was snowing harder there than it was here. And Flagstaff's snow this winter makes Fort Collins look like a tropical paradise.

Speaking of spring, I can't really complain because I have all this to look at as I walk and run the bike paths.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Windy & Unstable: Don't Waste Any Time, 2016!

We're just 4 days into the new year and all kinds of stuff is already happening. On the home front, I have been consistent with my workouts other than running for nearly a month now, so I overcame that resistance, whatever was preventing me from being motivated to do the important work of resistance training and flexibility. I already can reach my mouth with the toes on my right foot. Progress.

I've been busy getting things set up to move forward on my new business website and bringing all the players together, attorneys, marketing people, graphic designers, website developers, and the nurses, patient advocates, and cancer survivors who are editing and scrutinizing my work to get it ready to go. It will be a whirlwind of activity the next few months.

Wackos and more wackos...

And, of late...the primary election that is now being held in Oregon. Who cares about Iowa or New Hampshire? With the Bundy standoff against the federal government, the Republican presidential candidate wannabes are showing their true colors. Business as usual, in the ever crazier Murica.

Let's see if we can bump up the insanity another notch. If you want to be President and you don't even respect the laws of the country you think you want to run, then we have a problem. It's not okay to take over a federal building with an armed militia. That's sort of like this other group we know...called ISIS... but guns are sacred. The American mascot is no longer the bald eagle. It's a bald gunman. And while we're at it, let's save the fetuses so we can shoot 'em in the streets when they grow up. Like the columbine design Colorado license plate says, "Respect life".

The rest of the world, that once mocked and laughed at our stupidity and self-centered arrogance, is now scared because they see the danger of what could happen should one of these fanatical demagogues land in the White House. I laughed when I saw that most of these bozos took the bait and used the opportunity to diss Obama and puff their chests to fan the flames of their willfully ignorant followers, instead of taking a stance that clearly showed they have SOME common sense, as Rubio and Bush did.

Which is pretty scary to me, as I fear the presence of either of those two in the White House, but evidently they aren't quite in the same "loco league" as the others in the lineup of suspects we see in every debate.

I hope that this election is the beginning of the permanent decline of these punks desperate to return the country to the repressed American state of the 1950s and the social sentiments of that era and before. They've been trying to do away with science and facts long enough, and Texas is already censoring the schoolbooks. Let's keep growing the ignorance, that'll help our standing in the world. Talk about economic ignorant, uneducated, uncritically thinking underclass is just what the top 1% needs.

Pistol-whipped and whining...

I did have a good laugh when I read the new story about White Republicans being the angriest. What are the demographics of the NRA, by the way? Check it out. What do you expect. You can only blame yourselves, you all voted against your own best interest because you were pistol-whipped, and you put all these morons in Congress who have done nothing but dismantle the underpinnings of the economy and the laws that make us a civilized society, they are doing everything they can to reverse progress on economic, education, social and civil rights matters, resisting attempts to deal with racism and social inequality and symbols thereof, and are trying to guarantee that every generation since the baby boomers heads into a future with no economic or social safety nets.

I am not thrilled with Hillary Clinton because she is too entrenched in the corrupt politics of Washington but at least I know she won't be going the way of the nutcases. And Bernie Sanders, I still feel he's a long shot even though his politics are most aligned with mine.

Worse yet, I cannot believe we've been hearing about the clown lineup of these delusional characters for so many months and we still have nearly a year to go until we pick the next occupant of the White House.

Hey Murica, WTFU!