Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sawtooth and the Big Mystery

Back in January I decided that I was going to sign up for the Sawtooth 100 miler.  It was around February that I started telling people.  At the time, September 9th seemed so far away, now it's nearly here.  Gulp!

It's funny, I've been thinking about this race for well over nine months now and I still can't seem to get my head around what this race is, what it will be like.  I know we start at 8am on Friday at Gooseberry.  I know the race ends, 102.6 miles later, at Lutsen.  I know it will hurt.  A lot.  But most of the rest is a mystery.

I assume it'll take me between 27 and 33 hours to complete.  I assume I'll want to quit at some point.  I assume I'll have moments of pure joy.  But this unknown.  This exploration into uncharted territory frightens me and excites me at the same time.  What will it be like to hurt at 3am, barely able to lift my legs over the unending hills?  What will it be like to cross that finish line?  And that's why I signed up.  To find out.

Sometimes, I think you just have to accept the unknown, to revel in the mystery and have the confidence that it will all work out.  Usually, if you give it all you have, it WILL work out.  And that is my other known factor in this.  It's my trump card.  I WILL give it all I have.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I had a major catastrophe happen in my home late last week.  I can't be sure, but I'd nearly call it a life threatening coffee maker broke!  Imagine the horror I had to face!  No coffee in the morning; that sweet aroma filling up my tiny apartment.  That first, warm sip of the sweet nectar of the Gods.  My morning ritual taken from me by some cruel hand of fate!

Ah, but I was hearty.  I'm a runner and runners know how to deal with discomfort, so off I flew to McDonald's for an early morning coffee and a return to that electric ride of caffeine in my bloodstream.

And since then I've made due, mostly by drinking my coffee at work.  I haven't bought a new coffee maker yet, I really hate driving up the hill but that dreaded trip is coming soon, I'm sure.  Seriously, I can only deal with so much discomfort!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Watching the Moon

Staring out tonight at this amazing full moon.  I'm wondering what reflections I'll see in it.  Who else is also staring at it?  It's a beautiful thing to see.

I recently learned that the Earth once had two moons, orbiting together on the same plane.  They collided, and essentially became one moon, as if they were meant to be that way.  Circling around on the same orbit until eventually they came together.  It's why the side of the moon that we don't see, the so-called "dark side of the moon" is made up of completely different elements than the side we do see.

In "The Symposium" Plato gives us the dialogues of a dinner party, where many of the guests at the party discuss their respective views on love and desire.  The guests see love as many things; a response to beauty, a cosmic force, a motive for social action and ethical education.

Aristophanes, a poet, tells a tale of human unity.  How we were once two people, together, with our cosmic mate, if you will.  Some were two men (of the sun), some were two women (of the earth) and some were a man and a woman together.  Those who were man and woman were known as being of the moon, since the moon is like both the earth and the sun.  What Aristophanes tells in his story is that the Gods split us in two and since then we've been in constant search to find our mate.

"Long ago, our nature was not the same as it is now but quite different.  For one thing, there were three human genders, not just the present two, male and female.  There was also a third one, a combination of these two...For another thing, the shape of each human being was a rounded whole, with back and sides forming a circle.  Each one had four hands and the same number of legs, and two identical faces on a circular neck.  They had one head for both faces, which were turned in opposite directions, four ears, two sets of genitals, and everything else as you would imagine from what I have told you so far...The reason why there were these three genders, and why they were as described, is that the parent of the male gender was originally the sun, that of the female gender the earth, that of the combined gender the moon, because the moon is a combination of sun and earth."  -excerpt from the speech of Aristophanes from Plato's "The Symposium"

There's a great movie called "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" which is essentially based on this tale by Aristophanes.  The movie is a musical and the song "The Origin of Love" sums up the theme.

Sometimes is seems that love is a cosmic force.  I've seen it work miracles.  I've seen it transform people. And all this time, the moon has been there, watching us.  Watching those miracles happen.

Monday, August 8, 2011

5 Days in Boulder

That John Denver guy knew a thing or two.  I'm out in Boulder, Colorado right now for some work and play.  Newton running has brought us out here for a two day coaching class and a 3 day retail summit.

It's been great being out here.  The sun is always shining, the views of the flat irons and the front range are tremendous.  I just got back from a run of a little over an hour, climbing up for the first half until my heart was threatening to pound out of my chest.  I stopped for a bit at the top of a pass, took in the amazing scenery, let my heart rate calm down and then took the trail back down into town.

Walking along Pearl Street has been nice; people watching, the street performers...We've had some really good food and met some interesting people.  And I've learned a TON!  I'm also pretty excited because one of the speakers we get to meet today is Olympic Gold Medalist, Frank Shorter.  The man who possibly single handedly started the running boom in America.  That will be fun.

Still, I do miss Duluth.  The trails, the lake, the view from Hawk's Ridge, the peonies at the Rose Garden...and I can't wait to get home.