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Howdy, pilgrim! No ads — you're in the ^zhurnal (that's Russian for "journal") — see ZhurnalyWiki for a Wiki edition of individual items; see Zhurnal and Zhurnaly for quick clues as to what this is all about; see Random for a random page. Briefly, this is the diary of ^z = Mark Zimmermann ... previous volume = 0.9927 ... complete list at bottom of page ... send comments & suggestions to "z (at) his (dot) com" ... click on a title link to go to that item in the ZhurnalyWiki where you can edit or comment on it ... thank you!

We Are One

From Chapter 22 ("Time Unfolds") of Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart:

The first rule of zazen, handed down from generation to generation, is to have compassion for all beings, and a deep longing to save all of them. We must practice samadhi meditation with great care, promising to ferry all sentient beings over to the other shore. We refuse to practice zazen only for our own emancipation. At the end of each of our activities together, we chant the Four Great Vows, beginning with the vow to save all sentient beings. This vow is based on the fact that we are one with all beings.

(cf. 01 (2013-11-05), Mantra - Ditto (2015-08-30), Mantra - No Others (2016-06-27), Mantra - We Are One (2017-04-18), ...)

- Saturday, July 22, 2017 at 04:40:37 (EDT)

2017-06-28 - Fervent in the Spirit

~6.6 miles @ ~12.8 min/mi

"Fervent in the spirit, prudent in counsel, abundant in labors, skillful in winning souls, he was a workman that needed not to be ashamed." So reads the grave site monument to William Watters, "the first native itinerant Methodist preacher in America" (1751-1827). Kerry leads the Dawn Patrol to a tiny urban oasis, the Adams-Wren-Watters cemetery on the grounds of St John the Beloved Catholic Church, where more than 30 are buried.

"Two more rabbits!" Kristin and Cait spy half a dozen today, plus a big fox near Old Dominion Dr. We make plans for the next long run, give thanks for today's cool weather, and share news. At the McLean HS track a couple of us sprint a 1:40 lap. Whee!


- Friday, July 21, 2017 at 04:25:32 (EDT)

2017-06-26 - Sign Language

~7.3 miles @ ~12.2 min/mi

"They were signing to their dogs, and the dogs UNDERSTOOD!" As we cross Route 7 Kerry tells of a weekend encounter at a dog park, where hearing-impaired owners used ASL to communicate with their pets. Cait recalls taking her then-infant niece Riley to the Mardi Gras, where the 18-month-old kept signing "More! More!" when offered beads. We trot through Tysons Corner as the rising sun glints off glass-clad office buildings, air cool and relatively low-humidity. Kristin's kids have kept her well-grounded over the weekend.


- Thursday, July 20, 2017 at 05:17:23 (EDT)

Howards End

Beautiful language, thoughtful insights: Howards End by E. M. Forster (1910) is a classic that one may regret not having read sooner — or perhaps better, feel grateful for having had the chance to read, however belatedly. It resonates with the best of Charles Dickens and P. G. Wodehouse, and sometimes has the feel of the film Stranger Than Fiction, with its omniscient narrator's commentary and its fascinating characters wrestling with what it means to be human. And the themes! Love and strife, poverty and wealth, men and women, art and nature ...

And always, such metaphorical sharpness, such striking prose! For example, in Chapter II a description of the city:

She broke off, and listened to the sounds of a London morning. Their house was in Wickham Place, and fairly quiet, for a lofty promontory of buildings separated it from the main thoroughfare. One had the sense of a backwater, or rather of an estuary, whose waters flowed in from the invisible sea, and ebbed into a profound silence while the waves without were still beating. Though the promontory consisted of flats—expensive, with cavernous entrance halls, full of concierges and palms—it fulfilled its purpose, and gained for the older houses opposite a certain measure of peace. These, too, would be swept away in time, and another promontory would arise upon their site, as humanity piled itself higher and higher on the precious soil of London.

More lovely bits to follow ...

- Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at 04:31:44 (EDT)

2017-06-25 - RCT with Friends

~15.3 miles @ ~12.9 min/mi

"Did you see that big red fox? Awesome!" At dawn the huge predator dashes across Rock Creek Trail between an approaching runner and me. A stag under the Capital Beltway bridge nibbles leaves from a low-hanging branch. A mile later, doe and fawn stand beside the trail. In front of Caitlin's home I text a pic of the GPS map display to her. "Good morning!" she replies. She's at Ken-Gar before me and waves as I approach. Soon-to-be-Grandpa Ken emerges from his car. Gayatri and Rebecca join us for a brisk run upstream and back. We drop off Ken and pick up Barry.

"Suds and Soles!" Volunteer course marshal service at last night's 5k race for Barry included lots of orange traffic cones and free beer. "Want some free coffee?" I offer, in exchange for a ride home (which he would have provided anyway). Cait and Rebecca race ahead as we trot out-and-back, meet/greet flocks of FTM (First Time Marathon) folks doing a long training run, and count 5 rabbits trailside plus more deer.


- Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at 07:16:05 (EDT)

Our Job

perhaps our Job
is to love this World
and All its imperfections
to help Others in their hard times
... and to accept their help in Ours

(cf. Three Thoughts (2004-11-21), Our Job for the Rest of Our Life (2015-07-18), ...)

- Monday, July 17, 2017 at 06:25:32 (EDT)

2017-06-24 - Trolley Trail with Barry and Sako

~8.2 miles @ ~13.0 min/mi

"Before I was human, I was a frog!" Sakurako listens to loud croaks as they carom and echo across the wetlands at KenGar. In downtown Tokyo, when she was an infant and fretful, her mother would calm her by taking her to a local pond where she could hear the frogs calling. We run up the hill together, then circle back to meet Barry and head south. Rock Creek Trail is busy with marathon training groups. Huge puddles on the pathway are the remnants of tropical storm Cindy's passage early this morning.

"Change is the only constant!" At Beach Drive one of us (guess who?) calls for unpredictability, adventure, something different, a new route. Sako and Barry humor him: Westward ho! At the Bethesda Trolley Trail we turn north, then close the loop via Garrett Park.


- Sunday, July 16, 2017 at 06:04:15 (EDT)

2017-06-23 - Curriculum Circuit

~4.4 miles @ ~11.9 min/mi

"Bottom Line Up Front! Minimum Viable Product!" McLean rain makes for a soggy jog around Dr Kerry's extended 'hood, with dawn's glow low between clouds on the eastern horizon. We muse about elements of a good sales pitch for a new initiative. Little stone statuettes of rabbits are the only bunnies spied this morning. Conversation turns to curricula to enhance thinking and help people analyze hard problems. (As a friend notes later, there's a big difference between teaching individual methods versus designing a proper program of study. "Courses pop up like mushrooms after a rainfall", SMB notes - but they aren't integrated to help learners acquire key "knowledge, skills, and abilities".)

"Wonder who lives there?" Secret Service agents, or clones thereof, stand watch next to black limos in front of a mansion with gold-filigreed gateways. We're thankful for health, families, friendships, and the chance to help others in need.


- Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 05:04:45 (EDT)

Mantra - Deal with It and Move On

  with It
        Move On!

expanding Mantra - Move On, quoting Rayna Matsuno's report on getting lost during an ultramarathon:

Joyce and John Dodds showed up and eventually our large group found the right way back onto the trail. I walked alongside Joyce and expressed my frustration. Joyce looked me straight in the eye and said, "This is where that sense of humor comes in. Sh*t happens. You just have to deal with it and move on." I thought about the time I almost dropped at BRR. Joyce told me back then to just keep moving, and that it was OK to take it easy if I wasn't having a good day. She saved me then and she saved me at Laurel.

As we approached the trail, I was determined to find my groove again, and a mile or so later, I finally did. The rest of the run was incredibly enjoyable. It was amazing to be surrounded by fields of ferns and run between tall rock formations. Everything was so beautiful, and the light rain topped it all off.

... and yes! — everything is so beautiful — this is an awesome world, and offers us all so much ...

(cf. MoveOn (2007-01-16), ...)

- Friday, July 14, 2017 at 04:30:45 (EDT)

2017-06-21 - Summer Solstice Anacostia Adventure

~19 miles @ ~15 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Dawn_Patrol_anacostia_2017-06-21_b.jpg"15 What?" Cait asks as we approach the middle of the National Mall.

"15 Miles!" is the reply. Today is her longest trek ever, a Dawn Patrol summer solstice Anacostia adventure.

Our odyssey tour takes in landmarks of downtown Washington DC: Jefferson, Washington, Lincoln, the World War II memorial, Union Station, and more. We explore part of the new Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. It's a warm day but less humid than some recent soggy ones.http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Dawn_Patrol_anacostia_2017-06-21_c.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Dawn_Patrol_anacostia_2017-06-21_d.jpg"Did the ancient Romans run around the Colosseum? Did the Greeks do hillwork to the Acropolis?" we muse on the climb to the 14th Street bridge. Kerry pauses for selfies at Nats Stadium. Kristin suggests we consider closing the loop via a trail along the east bank of the Potomac.
A red-winged blackbird perches on the South Capitol St bridge. Cait gets gummy bears at Union Station; Kerry and I snag iced coffee; Kristin goes for an ice cream cone.

"Try something new!" counsels the unicorn oracle card drawn last night. We do!



- Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 05:57:26 (EDT)

Systems Dynamics Advice

Humbling thoughts from the introductory pages of John Sterman's textbook Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World, starting in the Preface:


Realistic and useful models are almost always of such complexity and nonlinearity that there are no known analytic solutions, and many of the mathematical tools you have studied have limited applicability. This book will help you use your strong technical background to develop your intuition and conceptual understanding of complexity and dynamics. Modeling human behavior differs from modeling physical systems in engineering and the sciences. We cannot put managers up on the lab bench and run experiments to determine their transfer function or frequency response. We believe all electrons follow the same laws of physics, but we cannot assume all people behave in the same way. Besides a solid grounding in the mathematics of dynamic systems, modeling human systems requires us to develop our knowledge of psychology, decision making, and organizational behavior. Finally, mathematical analysis, while necessary, is far from sufficient for successful systems thinking and modeling. For your work to have impact in the real world you must learn how to develop and implement models of human behavior in organizations, with all their ambiguity, time pressure, personalities, and politics. Throughout the book I have sought to illustrate how the technical tools and mathematical concepts you may have studied in the sciences or engineering can be applied to the messy world of the policy maker.

... and from Chapter 1, Section 1, a metaphor:

The challenge facing us all is how to move from generalizations about accelerating learning and systems thinking to tools and processes that help us understand complexity, design better operating policies, and guide changes in systems from the smallest business to the planet as a whole. However, learning about complex systems while you also live in them is difficult. We are all passengers on an aircraft we must not only fly but redesign in flight.

(cf. Forecasting Lessons from Systems Dynamics (2017-07-05), ...)

- Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 04:32:16 (EDT)

2017-06-19 - Bunnies and Fireflies

~4.7 miles @ ~12.7 min/mi

"This singlet must have shrunk!" I refuse to accept any other explanation for my exposed midriff. Cait laughs and recalls similar shrinkage among her husband's shirts. The Dawn Patrol rambles short on a humid-warm morning, orange-tinged clouds to the east, intermittent welcome west winds. In Pimmit View Park we chase a rabbit that refuses to leave the path.

"He thought they were aliens!" Kristin tells of her young dog's amazement at his first firefly encounter. An azure-hued classic car parked near mile 1 features eye-catching, uh, artwork that depicts the undraped feminine form. Decal or painting, one wonders?


- Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at 04:35:40 (EDT)

Listening Practice

From Chapter 22 ("Time Unfolds") of Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart:

Not resisting, we breathe in the sound of the rain, of the birds, of the gong, of our feet as we walk on this wonderful squeaky floor—not resisting, we breathe these sounds in, we breathe them out. We dissolve into them, and they into us. This is listening practice, just being present with each sound, whatever it is: cars passing by, a fire engine zooming along making a terrific noise, every kind of sound. Nothing is a disturbance, nothing is an intrusion.

- Monday, July 10, 2017 at 04:12:30 (EDT)

2017-06-18 - Rock Creek Ramble with Dean

~10.2 miles @ ~12.6 min/mi

"The hair style of #2 - NOT a runner!" Celebrity-marathoner Dean Karnazes was on the new "To Tell the Truth" TV game show a few months ago, and Dean Palmer quotes the reason one panelist gave for voting against him. We dash along Rock Creek Trail together, pace ~10 min/mi for the first 4 miles today. Parking at KenGar overflows into the neighborhood as a training group arrives early on a hot and hyper-humid morning.

"Rats with hooves!" a lady describes the two big deer who stand by the path. "Four-legged locusts!" Ken and Rebecca catch us, then Gayatri and Barry. We turn back to pick up Sako and Win. A side path beckons at Dewey Park; Gayatri and I explore it until spider webs, poison ivy, and the threat of ticks force us to retreat. Further downstream I investigate it from the opposite direction. We finish up with a sweaty hill climb.


- Sunday, July 09, 2017 at 04:27:44 (EDT)

Ingressive vs Congressive

Eugenia Cheng is a thoughtful person, a mathematician, a musician/artist, and a writer (cf. her book Cakes, Custard, and Category Theory). In mid-2017 she spoke on a podcast "Greater Than Code" with Coraline Ada Ehmke, Rein Henrichs, Jessica Kerr about important issues of society, archetypal male/female styles, collaboration, organization, and life:

... I decided that we should have new words to replace masculine and feminine and I brainstormed with an amazing friend of mine for ages about this. We finally came up with ingressive and congressive. Ingressive is to replace masculine and congressive is to replace feminine.

The idea is that ingressive is about going into things and not being waylaid by what people think or by emotions and congressive is about bringing people with you and bringing people together and unifying and making connections between things. ...


... broadly speaking, I've come to think that congressive behavior is basically better for society but that ingressive behavior is rewarded more by society because society is based on competition. It's based on how you present yourself so for things like competing for a job, you have to be ingressive to put yourself forward for promotion and to talk about how great you are. Whereas, when you're actually doing some work with people, then it's really helpful to be congressive because then you bring people together, you understand people. ...


... There are ways to be congressive and deal with ingressive behavior. It's just hard and I'm figuring them out as I go along and what I hope is that we can gradually getting more in touch with our congressive side and find a way of diffusing ingressive behavior so that congressive behavior can be more valued because the trouble is that ingressive behavior is kind of louder. It's like the fact that the loud people are always the loudest. They're the ones who get heard. While ingressive people aren't in charge of everything, they will continue to reward ingressive behavior as well. I think that is one of the big reasons why women are underrepresented in politics, in management, in academia, and dare I say it, also in crime because I suspect that ingressive behavior is also related to really, really being focused on winning and not really caring about losing ...


... the ingressive people aren't put off by being wrong. They're really spurred on by the joy of being right and that, I think means that there is an accidental filter that puts off congressive people and keeps ingressive people in. I think this could lead to why women are still underrepresented in math. I think that we can change that by presenting math in a congressive way early on, instead of an ingressive way. There's so many mathematical outreach activities that I look at them and go, "That's really ingressive and there are ways that you could turn it into something congressive." But you know, if you said that about boys and girls instead of ingressive and congressive, you would sound ridiculous because then you would end up saying, "This outreach activity appeals to boys and not girls." Doesn't that sound stupid? Whereas ...


... There are two kinds of argument — well, there are lots of kind of argument — but there's an ingressive argument where everyone is trying to win and the way you win is by showing that you're clever than the other person and that they're wrong. Whereas, I really like congressive arguments where the aim is to understand something. Then it doesn't matter who is right and who's wrong because whatever happens, you learn something and you've understood it. ...


... I think a lot of the writing about how women can be successful is about teaching them how to be ingressive so that they can compete with men. That works for some people and I've met plenty of really ingressive women who become successful at that and who are proud of themselves for having done it. But I think there's another way, which is to find ways of congressively dealing with ingressive behavior and I fantasize, and this is a kind of abstract dream again, where I fantasize about not an all-women institution. I've worked in all-women institutions and all that happens is there are ingressive and congressive women and the ingressive women take control and that's that.

What I fantasize about is an all-congressive institution, where everyone is chosen because they're congressive and everyone works together congressively and though, staff are working at congressive, I'm not quite sure what it would be like because it so far from things that I know. But I've tried to set some things up small microcosms like that for myself. For example, any class I teach is very, very congressive. I try to make it explicitly congressive so that it's all about understanding things. ...


... if we think ingressively, then we think about blame. But if we think congressively, then we see a system as a whole. Then we realize that it's a system that we should be thinking about, not the individuals. I think that's a congressive way of thinking. ...

(cf. Proverbs, Rules, Bureaucracies (2000-07-12), Talent for Collaboration (2001-12-08), Keith Johnstone Improv Quotes (2012-12-06), Mantra - Yes, and... (2016-01-30), ...)

- Saturday, July 08, 2017 at 05:20:40 (EDT)

2017-06-17 - Leland Street with Barry

~10.4 miles @ ~12.8 min/mi

"I thought you were supposed to be pulling me along!" Barry and I take turns taking the hills of Leland St on a warm-and-humid morn. Six rabbits nibble front lawn grass; three chipmunks dance across the road. We follow a narrow trail along the west bank of Rock Creek, brush against nettles, and pause to rinse legs using water from our bottles.

"Mundanes might freak out at the sight. Weak ones could swoon," I explain, as I put my singlet back on when we return to civilization or what passes for it. Earlier, on the solo run from home to our rendezvous I push hard and do mile two in 8.3 minutes by the GPS. Waiting for others to arrive I meander around downtown Bethesda. An exhausted runner sits outside a shop and catches her breath. The verge of the art-fountain-sculpture quotes Winnie the Pooh: IT IS MORE FUN TO TALK WITH SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T USE LONG, DIFFICULT WORDS BUT RATHER SHORT, EASY WORDS LIKE "WHAT ABOUT LUNCH?"



- Friday, July 07, 2017 at 04:32:39 (EDT)

2017-06-16 - Dr Amber Visits

~6.5 miles @ ~11.7 min/mi

"You carried those shoes across the Atlantic Ocean just to run with us? Thank you!" As rain begins to patter down the Dawn Patrol welcomes Dr Amber, in town for work and up early on the last day before her return flight. Kerry reports on a long night of high school graduation parties. Cait's raccoon trap caught two critters yesterday. We meander through Langley Forest and assess the local mansion construction boom. Snaky roots threaten to snag ankles on dirt cut-throughs between neighborhoods; pathways are narrowed by flourishing bushes. We pause at the Heather Brook Court statue of mermaids to send a group selfie to Dr Kristin, who can't join us today.


- Thursday, July 06, 2017 at 06:58:22 (EDT)

Forecasting Lessons from Systems Dynamics

From the textbook Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World by John D Sterman, Section 16.5 ("Implications for Forecast Consumers"):

The results suggest important lessons for forecasters and especially for managers and decision makers who must choose which forecasts and forecasting methods to buy.

First, most forecasts are not very good. Forecasts are most accurate when the underlying dynamics are stable, as when predicting the influence of regular phenomena such as seasonal variations. But forecasting methods are particularly poor when there are changes in trends, noise, and other sources of turbulence. These are precisely the times when people are most interested in forecasts.

Second, most forecasting methods frequently miss changes in trends and turning points in cycles, lagging behind rather than anticipating them. The systematic errors in forecasts of inflation, commodity prices, energy use, and other variables strongly suggest adaptive expectations and simple trend extrapolation often dominate professional forecasts. These methods do correct errors over time, but because they involve smoothing past data, they inevitably introduce delays that cause the forecasts to miss key turning points and shifts in growth rates.

Third, smoothing and extrapolation of the past trend in the variable itself seems to dominate other considerations in forecasting. Though forecasters often claim to (and indeed may) examine a wide range of variables in making their forecasts, past values and past trends strongly anchor their forecasts. The influence of other variables is weak because their connections to the target variable are poorly understood, unstable, noisy, and ambiguous. Forecasters often behave as if they were using simple smoothing and naive extrapolation even when they are using complicated formal models. They adjust the parameters and values of exogenous inputs until the output of the model is "reasonable," that is, until it matches their intuition. Intuition, however, is biased by a variety of judgmental heuristics and tends to be strongly anchored to recent trends.

Fourth, forecasters tend to underestimate uncertainty in their forecasts, often failing to provide a range, alternative scenarios, or a list of factors to which their forecasts are sensitive (see the overconfidence bias, section 8.2.5).

How then can managers improve the value they get from forecasts? Fight against the overconfidence bias by explicitly challenging assumptions and asking how your expectations might be wrong (for practical examples, see Russo and Schoemaker 1989). Require forecasters to document their assumptions, make their data sources explicit, and specify the methods they are using. Don't allow forecasters to use add factoring (chapter 21 discusses standards for replicability and rigor in modeling).

Even so, improving forecast accuracy is difficult. The best way to improve the benefit/cost ratio of forecasting is to reduce the cost. The projections of expensive forecasting services and models tend to be dominated by smoothing and trend extrapolation. Managers can save a great deal of money by smoothing and extrapolating the data themselves. Forecast accuracy may not improve, but the cost of acquiring the forecasts will fall.

Finally, focus on the development of decision rules and strategies that are robust to the inevitable forecast errors. The real value of modeling is not to anticipate and react to problems in the environment but to eliminate the problems by changing the underlying structure of the system. Modelers and their clients should be designers, not diviners. In the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupèry, "As for the future, your task is not to foresee, but to enable it."

(cf. Transient Behavior (1999-05-11), Fifth Disciplinarians (2000-09-10), ...)

- Wednesday, July 05, 2017 at 04:49:55 (EDT)

2017-06-14 - Tale of Peter Rabbit

~7.3 miles @ ~13.7 min/mi

"Now I'm just smiling!" It's a natural reaction to the sight of me carrying an ultra-cute plush toy Peter Rabbit under my arm for the last few miles of today's Dawn Patrol. The big doll is standing by Dempsey St with a sign that says "FREE", so of course someone must rescue it! The Dawn Patrol rambles toward a rising sun, thankful that the morning isn't as warm and humid as the day will soon be. Opalocka Dr demands a detour to admire the bungalows. Three real bunnies nibble front lawn grass.

"Don't eat that bead! Don't lick his ear!" Kristin describes attempts to curb the over-enthusiastic antics of her family's puppy. Cait tells of testing a slip-n-slide and reports on the status of raccoon-trapping activities in her yard.


- Tuesday, July 04, 2017 at 06:25:02 (EDT)

Mantra - Beliefs Are Knobs, Not Switches

The Big Problem — the root cause of so many mistakes and fights and wasted resources — is the natural human tendency to imagine that beliefs are true or false. This is (almost always) wrong:

Belief is a Knob
    Not a Switch!

Outside of definitions and math (and even within much math) there are degrees of certainty, odds and likelihoods, ranges of numbers rather than specific answers, errors distributed across a zone, a universe of multiple possibilities.

When new information comes in — evidence — it's vital to update beliefs rather than throw them away. "Turn the Knob", more or less, based on the balance between the weight of prior knowledge and the strength of new data. That's Bayes Theorem, in a qualitative nutshell.

Don't be too sure!

(cf. Statistics - A Bayesian Perspective (2010-08-13), Introduction to Bayesian Statistics (2010-11-20), Fallibilism (2013-05-14), Adventure of the Bayesian Clocks - Part One (2013-12-04), Adventure of the Bayesian Clocks - Part Two (2014-01-05), ...)

- Monday, July 03, 2017 at 03:50:44 (EDT)

2017-06-12 - Cut-Through Confirmation

~6.7 miles @ ~13.6 min/mi

"And they just flat-out lied!" Trail talk today includes lots of head-shaking and face-palming, as we analyze how not to handle professional issues. The Dawn Patrol confirms a great new cut-through discovered last week between Windy Hill, Elmwood, and West Langley communities. Kristin spies two rabbits; Cait and I are fortuitously color-coordinated in orange, lime, and black gear. Kerry's neighbor greets her and recommends Greenberry's coffee, but the line at Starbucks is short and iced java there gives a quick boost for the final miles.


- Sunday, July 02, 2017 at 05:44:32 (EDT)

2017-06-10 - OSS-CIA 50 Miler DNF with Stephanie

~13.3 miles @ ~15.2 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/OSS_CIA_50_miler_PWFP-Hord_Stephanie_z_2017-06-10.jpg"Banana!" says John Hord at mile 8, running a few steps behind me.

"Is that the safeword?" I ask. "Will it stop the suffering? Banana! Banana!"

We're doing the OSS/CIA 50 miler, a night race that begins on a warm and humid Saturday evening in Prince William Forest Park. Dr Stephanie sets a fast pace over rocks and roots, 13-15 min/mi, a bit too brisk for me to sustain given temperature and terrain. This is a free run for me, since I won (if "won" is the right word!) an entry in the DC Capital Striders lottery a few months ago.

Charlie Poffenberger introduces himself; we chat and share running and family stories. Dipak Bhattacharyya, who played leapfrog with me along the C&O Canal towpath six weeks ago, greets us. With a few dozen others we take the 6pm early start, so headlamps aren't needed until mile 9. Ever-cheerful Gary Knipling gives us fist-bump encouragement.

"Bad news!" Stephanie reports at the 2 hour point. Her ankle injury from a Maryland Heights fall a couple of months ago has healed, but the other foot now is hurting, and getting worse, possibly with plantar fasciitis. With a big race next month, now is not the time for further injury. We tread cautiously for a few more miles, witness a copperhead snake slithering off the path (I wanted to take a selfie with it, but it got away!), and at the next aid station withdraw from the race. Toni Aurelio accepts our bibs, and Bernard Pesjak gives us a ride back to the starting line.

A beautiful moon rises in front of us as we drive home, and reminds us what's more important than finishing a race.


- Saturday, July 01, 2017 at 04:55:52 (EDT)

2017-06-07 - Stumble Tumble Scrape

~4.5 miles @ ~12.2 min/mi

"Or I could have shoved you into that pile of dog poop?" On the Paxton Road sidewalk near Pimmit Drive: stumble, stagger, nearly-recover, then fall. Oops! Kristin considers giving me a nudge toward the lawn but wisely refrains. I aim for grass but miss.

Thankfully, the tumble results in nothing worse than scraped knee and knuckles plus a bit of hip rash. Superman ring on badge chain cracks iPhone screen, but a new model is due out in a few months. Kerry and Cait offer condolences. We reminisce about injuries. The Dawn Patrol spies four front-yard rabbits as drizzle starts and stops.


- Friday, June 30, 2017 at 04:40:27 (EDT)

Mantra - Uncertainty, Kindness, Peace, Hope


(cf. Underappreciated Ideas (1999-07-06), ...)

- Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 05:15:17 (EDT)

2017-06-04 - Burmese Food

~8.3 miles @ ~12.7 min/mi

"Welease Wodewick!" and then "A hospital? It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now." Barry quotes from the films Life of Brian and Airplane; I recite a bit of Gerard Manly Hopkins. On a sultry Sunday afternoon we meet at General Getty Park and ramble up Sligo Creek Trail. At Colt Terrace Neighborhood Park we pause to exercise on the children's playground equipment, then hook back via neighborhood streets to return downstream. A big deer peers at us, and a chipmunk dashes across the path. My lunch with DS Merle at the Mandalay Cafe — Burmese samosas, KaYann Thee Hin (eggplant onion curry), and Tofu Ohnno Hin (with coconut-cream curry) — was a tasty but perhaps suboptimal pre-run repast.


- Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 04:15:04 (EDT)

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