Monday, January 29, 2007

News from Boston - good or bad?

Change in life is necessary, otherwise it would become stagnant and boring and there would be no growth. I get that. But sometimes when some things change, I don't get it.

Perhaps this is old news for some, or it's already been spread across someone else's blog, or on a newspaper article is some other city. But this news is new news for me. Here is what it reads:

NEW for 2007: The 2007 Boston Marathon will utilize a two-wave start with the fastest 10, 000 qualifiers starting at 10:00 a.m. followed by the rest of the field at 10:30 am.

I have issues with this. I knew the time had changed from the legendary afternoon race to a new mid-morning start. If you think about being out on the course, and the things you see and hear, and run past - the 'stuff' that's legendary of the Boston Marathon, a 2-hour earlier race is actually a big deal. It'll be different out there. So, okay. Life changes. But the 2-wave thing really gets me. Boston is prestigious, historical, competitive, expensive . . . you could insert millions of adjectives. It's an honor to qualify and be allowed a chance to run. It takes a lot of hard work. It becomes about reaching goals and lifelong dreams. So then, you qualify. You meet your goals, you 'get there', you've done your work . . . and you get placed in wave 2 with the 'rest of the field'. What the heck is with that? Is that the real race? The real Boston? The race that makes all your dreams come true? Or is that just the second wave, after the crowds are done watching, and the results are done being scored. I mean, it's Boston, people work a lifetime to get there, and some people never have any hope of being one of 'the fastest 10,000 qualifiers'. Shouldn't they still get to run the same race as everyone else? Starting corrals will be different, media focus will be different, crowds and trains and parking will be different. Think how many more men than women will be in that first wave. It'd be one thing if they told you up front that it was like the Olympic Trials and there was an 'A' qualifying standard and a 'B' qualifying standard. But maybe I just missed that fine print somewhere.

To clarify . . I did qualify for Boston, and I did register. I could've chosen one of 3 marathon times to use for my 'qualifying' time. I chose to use one of my slower times, and save my faster Portland time because due to the date I ran that one, I could use it for Boston 2008 - to run the race again, or in case I get injured this year. The 'news' article that I reproduced above actually goes on to state that you can update your registration with a faster qualifying time until March 1st. So, my dilemma has become whether or not to use a time that is 10 minutes faster, and increase my chances to be in that first 10, 000 wave. In reality, I'm not going to want to go another year after this. I'd rather go run London or Eugene, OR. Why not submit the faster time, and let chips fall where they may. But I'm still mad. Not just for my own sake, but for the whole second half of the Boston field whether I'm in that group or not. It's just not Boston.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


The sun came out today. I know that doesn't seem like a very bold statement, but after the gloomy weather lately, a little sunshine went a long way today. I was out on my run, waiting to cross at a pretty busy intersection. The cars on my right, were making a left turn from the turn lane onto the street I was waiting to cross. The green arrow turned to yellow, then red. My crosswalk signal turned green, so I went. I knew damn good and well that there was still a car turning - two of them in fact. Because it's a busy intersection, the first of those cars made it just past the crosswalk before traffic in front of it came to a stop, and it had to stop. Thus, the second car had to stop right at the crosswalk. Irritatedly, I put my arms up, as if to say, "Hello? Stoplight's red? Crosswalk? What were ya' thinkin' dude?" I laughed when I heard a car honk as I continued on my way, passing a bicyclist coming from the other direction. Then I promptly heard the cyclist respond to the driver, "Hey! Ya' dummy!" I laughed out loud so hard I had to stop running for a sec and catch my breath. Cyclists rule. I don't think I've ever heard a grown man call another grown man a 'dummy'. Every time I think about it I laugh again.

Then I got another half mile down the sidewalk and these two little toddlers were out with their vehicles. I think one was pushing a plastic lawnmower, the other was on a yellow plastic dumptruck. The first put out his hand to stop me like a traffic cop. He was making sure the sidewalk was safe for his friend to go by. See, so you know they learn all about traffic safetly when they're young, why do they forget it all when they grow up?

Friday, January 19, 2007


Shoshone Falls, near Twin Falls, Idaho

I'm always a fan of things in the sky -
  • At home, we affectionately refer to the Seattle cloudcover as Cumulus Abundus.
  • My husband proposed to me under an Autumn sky and our youngest child is named after a star in the Orion constellation we often watched out on evening walks back when we were dating.
  • I can recall sitting out on lawn chairs in the middle of the night during winter a couple of years back to watch the Aurora Borealis, and dragging a sleepy child out of bed to see it.
  • Last week we took the binoculars out to glimpse Comet McNaught against a magnificent winter sunset.
  • I love to watch the seagulls gliding and soaring on the wind high in the sky.
  • I love the snowflakes that fall like glitter, I love the smell of fresh raindrops, I love the falling leaves, and I love the summer sun.
  • Way back when I decided to write this post, I saw rainbows 4 days in a row (granted we have a lot of rain here in the Emerald City), but it was unusual, like some sort of sign that I should pay attention to.

And so . . . rainbows. It just makes sense that I'd wonder in awe about them - I always have. The fact that I have 3 little girls seems to amplify that somehow, and add something tender to my affection for rainbows.

I've often claimed that I've driven through the end of the rainbow, and have read accounts of others doing so. But it isn't possible, not really. I've done my research to make sure. And yet, who am I to let someone else dictate what is or isn't possible in my life? Things in the sky have a way of making me feel small sometimes, but not in a belittling way - more like I'm a small part of something so big it's thrilling to even try to comprehend.

Lots of things usually come up when you talk about rainbows. How many colors are there really, and is it purple or indigo? In your head you start humming the tune to 'Over the Rainbow' or 'The Rainbow Connection'. I know, it makes you feel sorta silly and kinda girly, but here's some trivia for you:
'Over the Rainbow' was first produced in the late 1930's (lyrics by EY Harburg, music by Harold Arlen). It became a symbol of home for US soldiers during WWII, and it tops the Songs of the Century List created by the Recording Industry Association of America. By my very modest estimates, it's been redone by about 125 artists (but in reality, more than double that) since way back when Dorothy (Judy Garland) sang it in the Wizard of Oz. 'The Rainbow Connection'
(written by Paul Williams & Kenneth Ascher) is a little more modern and makes you feel a little cooler, a little more hip, right? I mean, after all, that one's been remade by the Dixie Chicks, Jason Mraz, Willie Nelson, Kenny Loggins, Sarah McLachlan . . oh, and about 40 others. But guess who's credited with the original version? None other than Kermit the Frog for the Muppet Movie in 1979. That song received both oscar nominations and golden globe nominations in 1979 and was a huge radio hit. Both songs have been credited with a symbolism for the youth of their generation: a promise of hopes and fulfilling dreams amidst a yearning for what promises might lie ahead; a desire for something else, something better, something more satisfying.

So what's in a real rainbow? If you don't know, a rainbow is caused by rays of light that are bent as they enter a water droplet, and when they are refracted (bounced back the other direction), the light is separated into a color spectrum. By definition, a rainbow does not actually exist. It is considered merely an optical phenomenon seen only from the position of the observer. It's position is dictated by the position of the sun in relation to water droplets in the air, and the point of the observer. More specifically, "The position of a rainbow in the sky is always in the opposite direction of the Sun with respect to the observer. The bow is centered on the shadow of the observer's head, or more exactly at the antisolar point (which is below the horizon during the daytime), appearing at an angle of approximately 40°–42° to the line between the observer's head and its shadow." (wikipedia)
Scientifically you cannot reach the end of a rainbow. No two people see the exact same rainbow because they are at different vantage points. You can see the end of a rainbow from afar, and I've wondered so many what if's . . . if a cloud moved over the sun, and bent the sun rays at a different angle and they refracted and reflected through the curvature of the raindrops just at the moment you were moving toward the rainbow, could you reach it? . . . but it gets complex and there's still the laws of physics to contend with.

Kind of a funny thing - a rainbow is beautiful, colorful, isn't really there, and you can never reach it. Sort of an alluring fantasy, isn't it? But sort of like human nature in life. We seem to always wonder what's on the other side, what's out there, what more is there? How do we reach ultimate bliss and beauty in our lives? And yet, what we see, isn't the same as what anyone else sees. And tangibly, it doesn't exist at all. What one person perceives as eternal happiness, another person might not even notice.

Rainbows make me think, and they make me feel, and they leave me with a continuously unsolved mystery. For me, those are the important things in life. But that's me, and I suppose it's gotta be different for everyone else, doesn't it? A couple last notes . . if you've never heard Israel Kamakawiw'ole's version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful world, now would be a good time to listen ( - it's amazing. And I can't seem to find where this quote came from, but is sure makes a lot of sense:
"We must each paint our rainbow from the colors we've been given."

Friday, January 05, 2007

Tao or Taos?

I'm gonna move - to Taos, New Mexico. Oh, wait, that was just a wishful dream. When you live in a place that boasts 2 of the wettest months ever on record within the last year, and both of those months have been in the winter when the average day brings only 8 hourse of daylight and 16 hours of darkness, what else should one hope for? The temperature ranges from a 35 degree low to a 45 degree high. Not really cold enough for the thrill of snow, and not warm enough for much else. The constant forecast is partly cloudy with a chance of meatballs. Most days I live in smartwools, polar fleece, and a hat.


December 21st brought the winter solstice which means a gradual 6-month increase in daylight hours. Then Christmas happened and we went on vacation. Probably the best way to sum up vacation would be to link you to my getnout buddy's post to see the photographs. I'd have to say the highlights for me were: skiing up Thompson Ridge, learning and loving skate skis, seeing the glorious pink sunrises light up the sky and the hills across the valley from the cabin every morning, snowshoeing up to the top of Patterson Mountain - it was like being on top of the world, and the peacefulness of my solo showshoe through the cemetery down the road.

Running? Did I do that? Not really unless you count chasing my husband 1,000 ft. straight down Patterson Mtn. through 3 feet of snow, wearing snowshoes. It was sorta like trail running and I laughed most of the way down. Since December 24th, my only run has been Wednesday (2 days ago). I had to force the Wednesday run - all 3.6 miles of it - the missing .4 mile was when I decided it was much more enjoyable to walk along the beach and track the waves from the passing tanker as they started way out in the bay and finally crashed on shore.

I feel compelled to discuss the new year because - well, it's a new year - at least until Chinese New Year February 18th - and then it's all sort of confusing. My year has begun in sort of an awkard way. I rely a lot on technology in my life. My special order 'hard to find' earphones for my ipod have broken, our stereo isn't working very well, and my computer crashes right now after about 5 minutes of having any browser or any document open. No itunes, no net surfing, no blogging unless I am quick or hijack my husband's laptop. Life is quieter without music. Part of me wonders if it's like a message to me to focus on the quiet and solitude and theat there is something for me to learn there. I've been really into books on naturalists lately. I'm currently reading a book I borrowed from a friend on John Muir (a huge idol of mine since I was about 12 years old). I have another book that I had on reserve from the library - Silence and Solitude: Yellowstone's Winter Wilderness by Tom Murphy. The photos leave me in true amazement. It's ironic that at a time when I'm focusing on solitude, simplicity, and nature, that all of my technology toys should break.

I've long been pondering the idea of what to be when I grow up and find myself with an internal struggle for the current time in my life. I have a love of running - of the drive, the power, the endorphins, the struggle, the sweat, the goals, the times . . . I have a passion for nature - for reading and writing about it, but moreso for existing in it, and photographing it to freeze the moment for eternity - to always enjoy the beauty and peace from that given moment.

I love both of these things, but I feel that in my world, they are opposite extremes, and if I lean too far one direction, I'll lose the other. Thus, I sit in the middle and don't give my whole self to either one. I feel like if I go crazy and really train to my ability that I'll lose the passive side of myself - the nature lover. And I feel that if I relax and take time capturing the stillness of nature, that I'll slow down too much and lose sight of the ambitions of running. I know these thoughts might seem illogical - but they're how I feel. My resolutions for the new year are to find a balance somewhere within myself and allow myself to live all of what I love, right from the heart, every single day.

And I want to learn to play chess . . it's a long story with my daughter - sort of a deal someone suggested we make - that if she learned to type on a qwerty keyboard with proper finger positions instead of the hunt and peck method, then I would finally learn to play a game that she loves.