Thursday, October 4, 2018

Put a fork in 2018

2018 is done, put a fork in me

Some years I’m the dog and some years I’m the tree.  This year I was the tree. 

I was looking forward to ending 2018 with a couple of strong performances at the Yeti 100 and the Backyard Ultra. Instead, we’ll, I didn’t do much.  

Yeti 100 is put on by one of my favorite people in the ultra world, Jason Green. Jason is ultra running.  He’s community. His spirit and attitude is 100% what I love about this sport and I was looking forward to a huge hug from him at the finish line after a strong 100 mile performance.  Don’t ask me why. I wasn’t well trained.  I wasn’t in good shape. I wasn’t even running well. I guess I just thought based on my experience and the fact that the course was flatish and smoothish I should be able to finish. 

The course is, staggeringly beautiful. 33 miles gently down a 3,000 ft. mountain, then back up it about down again.  46 trestle bridges for each out, back and out again. Amazing aid stations. A really cool vibe. A skateboard deck, shirt and hat for all participants...and the feeling that you are part of a community that is really in this together.  Yeti knocked me out. 

So what the fuck happened?  Well, at mile 33 I noticed a hole the size of a fingertip in the center of my foot pad. Which caused some blistering and a little rot foot.  So I stopped (Thanks Ami!!!) and changed socks, freshly applied Trail Toes and headed back out with the Grant Maughan mentality of “blisters ain’t shit.” In retrospect the foot pad blister changed my hair which caused more blisters and blood blisters and all kinds of, well, fucked up shit that dropped me to my knees around mile 80.  And my day was over.  

And I again thought...why am I doing this? How can I make this sport a part of my life when I have a year like this?  Who would want to listen to me talk on a podcast after this terrible year of DNF’s and failures? What the fuck is wrong with me?

I remembered back to a time when I felt like I could finish everything and everything.  When I attacked each race and trained my ass off.  When I felt like the kind of person people admired as a runner. And I was a little sad. 

I decided to just pull the plug on 2018 and look ahead. To take some time to train and work on diet and nutrition. To get in good running shape and unfuck myself. To make 2019 a better year and stop trying to force things.  

And to go back next year to see Jason Green in Damascus and get that fucking hug.  

I’ll be back.  I have some training to do.  

I should probably work on writing a bit during this period too!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Why you should just shut up and leash your fucking dog

Why you should just shut up and leash your fucking dog



            I pulled this quote out of Edward Sandor’s blog post because I have come across this scenario far too many times:

"Leash your dog!"
Why? Aside his base existence off-leash, he isn't doing anything wrong. He isn't hurting anyone. He just wants to laugh and frolic in the woods, just like you.
"You're breaking the law."
Though truth be told, upon confrontation, I just smile and say, "Have a nice day!" and we keep on as we were, minding nobody any business at all--and in a way, that's asserting dominance, taking powers”

            This encounter always leaves me flabbergasted (old timey word).  I kinda feel like a person would feel if every time they approached a green light they had to worry that someone might be disregarding the light going the other direction.  I long for a “leashed” dog park or area where I can spend time with my leashed dog with confidence that everyone is following the rules.  But this post isn’t about me and my unique circumstances.  Nonetheless, in the interest of full disclosure I have a large Doberman that doesn’t really like other dogs.  He loves all people.  He’s not viscous or a danger.  He just had an unfortunate early life and we rescued him. (who rescued whom?).  He’s my best friend and main running partner.  (two ultra finishes – a 30 and 50).  Ask anyone who knows him and they will tell you, he’s a good dog.

            I should also disclose that I have a keen interest in animal rescues, having given some time and money to the Illinois Doberman Rescue Plus, and I am a member (and Secretary Nominee) of the Illinois State Bar Association Animal Law Section.   Yes.  I know a little about animal law and I give my spare time to it and its causes.

            But this isn’t about me, my dog and my credentials.  It’s not about you either.  You see, in answering this question it’s a mistake to reflect on that time you got bit.  That time a friend of yours was attacked.  Or the time an off leash dog bit your dog.  Nor is it about your subjective fears and allergies or your love of cats and hatred of dogs.  None of these are relevant to the discussion.  Nor is the fact that you have the greatest, kindness, god-like dog that wouldn’t hurt a fly.  Nor is the fact that your dog is under your complete and utter control.

            It really comes down to two concepts.  1) common sense (we could also say “logic”); and 2) courtesy.

            Let me say first – if you live in a place where dogs are allowed to be off leash, or if you are in an off-leash dog park, this isn’t directed at you.  ENJOY!  If off-leash is legally permitted none of this applies. 

            Let me say second – I wish we lived in a world where every dog was good, every person was good, no people were scared or allergic, and no dangers existed to off leash dogs and they could all frolic in lawless harmony to their hearts desire.  But Elvis isn’t cutting records anymore and I stopped believing in Santa, so that isn’t possible.  In point of fact, Mr. Sandor (who’s blog post this is a rebuttal to at the following link:

himself realizes these limitations.  I know this because 1) I’ve never actually seen him with his dogs off leash; and 2) he has a door to his house, and he doesn’t allow his dogs to do whatever they want….if he did, they would likely do what any free dog would do… to the nearest Burger King and wait out back for scraps. 

            So the reality is, we live in a world with:

1.     Problem dogs.  (Mine technically being one of them); and
2.     Problem people which fall into the category of bad dog owners, people that can’t be around dogs and people that just don’t like dogs.

If anyone has a practical solution to eliminating these two things, problem solved.  But again, I stopped believing in leprechauns long ago.  So, as a consequence, some jurisdictions have imposed laws that require dogs to be leashed when in the public sphere.  These laws exist to protect good people and good dogs from problem people and problem dogs. 

If you don’t like leash laws move to a place without them or fight to change the law.  But if you live in a jurisdiction with a leash law or are in an area which requires a leash and you don’t use it, you’re either selfish or rude.  There’s no way around it. When you ignore the law and just do whatever you like you are like a person that says “stop signs are for other people” or “someone else will pick this garbage up” or “I’ll choose whether or not to vaccinate my kid.”  Sure, you’ll get away with it for a while but everyone you effect just thinks you’re an asshole. 

            There’s a million ethical, social and metaphyisical arguments around the fringe of the issue.  (“My dog is different” and “This is my way of contentious objection” and “Dogs want and need to be free” etc. etc.).  I get it.  There’s also plenty of places for you to lawfully have your dog off leash and plenty of places where leash laws don’t exist.  You can also fight to change your local law. 

            But seriously.  If it’s the law where you are, just shut up and leash your fucking dog.