Brian's Journal - September 2008

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9/01/2008 Mostly cloudy, low 60's
I ran a marathon training run today, 26.5 miles from home south across the plateau then east around Mt Pete and back home again. I accidentally turned off my GPS for a mile and a half after I crossed Hwy 410 so wasn't sure of the distance until I got home and could measure it on gmap-pedometer. The run took me a little over 4 1/2 hours, not counting a couple of yard sale stops. I didn't quite make it home. The boys needed a ride over to UPS so they picked me up when I had just a third of a mile to go. I was very hungry and thirsty at that point but I'd called ahead to have them bring me sardines, bread, a tomato, some leftover zucchini and a couple of bars, along with bottles of water and orange juice. Once home again I had cherry pie and ice cream for desert. Not an ideal post-run regimen.

9/04/2008 Summerland hike Sunny, 60's   Route  Photo Gallery

Mount Rainier from the Sarvent Ridge east of Panhandle Gap
 
Hikers on the Trail
Fryingpan Creek
Young Fir
Gentians at Summerland
Snowfield and Tarn

Sedum
Mimulus
Lupine
Crisp sunny fall day was forecast so I made plans to go hiking, decided on Summerland because I didn't want to drive too far and I did a hike in the Snoqualmie pass area just last week. I planned to hike up to Panhandle Gap then follow the ridge to the east up to the Sarvent spires. The views of Rainier from the meadows east of Panhandle gap are spectacular on a clear day.
The first couple of miles of the trail up to Summerland pass through fine old forest so I stopped often for photos then hiked fast between stops to make up time. In the last mile before Summerland I passed about ten other hikers. They all caught up to me again because above Summerland I made even more frequent photo stops, mostly for flowers and a couple of marmots. It took me just over an hour and a half to reach Summerland and almost three hours to Panhandle Gap.
As I was starting up the meadows of the Sarvent ridge I met a couple photographing a big pile of bear scat. They explained that their 10 year old would find this photo much more interesting than all the scenery shots. Above them I met another man descending and thought afterwards that I should have struck up a conversation with him as a possible mid-week hiking partner.
Marmot and Hikers
Snowbank and Runoff
East of Panhandle Gap
 
Lichen
Saxifrage
Yellow Monkeyflower
I ate lunch on the rim of the cliff looking down east at the Sarvent Glacier. A passage sharp-shinned hawk soared into view over the meadows below me then circled up, sailed across the top of the cliff just 10' behind me and dropped out of sight. A moment later he reappeared right below me and landed back to me on a point of rock just 20' away. Only then did he notice me. He peered at me over first one shoulder then the other, bobbing his head up and down to get my measure. I had a wonderful view but sat frozen under his inspection unable to pick up my camera lest I scare him away. Apparently just the sight of me was sufficient though because within half a minute he'd had enough and took off again.
As I studied the Sarvent glacier below me and on the map, I decided it might be feasible to descend it and continue down the valley a bit then traverse over the ridge to the Owyhigh Lakes trail. It proved doable though a bit dicey in my light hiking shoes with a stout old pine branch for an alpenstock and potential self-arrest device, using it to cut steps down the steeper section and to probe the several small crevasse crossings on my route. The glacier appears to be not quite senescent but even now the lower third to half is bare of snow and rapidly melting out.
Sarvent Glacier
Striated Ledges
Owyhigh Meadows
 
 
I found more flowers in the valley below the Sarvent glacier and in the meadows above the Owyhigh Lakes than I'd seen on the way up to Summerland. Nice forest too on the way out but the trek from the glacier over to the Owyhigh lakes and out the Owyhigh lakes trail took more time than I'd anticipated. By the time I reached the car back at the Frying Pan Creek trailhead the high clouds above the mountain were tinged with pink.

9/07/2008 Sunny, 70's
I ran another Boston qualifier - 3:30:43 - at the Skagit Flats marathon today. I picked up Monte around 5:45 and May Cheng and Leslie at the South Bellevue park and ride around 6:20. Through Everett the sky was overcast, good for running, but when we dropped down to the Skagit flats the clouds burned off. Clear sunny morning, not as warm as last year apparently but warmer than two years ago when I last ran Skagit. We arrived around 7:15 in plenty of time to check in and get ready.
I had decided to run hard so wore my new Brooks Axiom shoes and didn't carry much weight, just Gu and my keys in my fuel belt. I started with Guy Yogi, Chris Warren and Jon Mahoney; Guy and Jon pulled ahead somewhat in the first few miles so I ran with Chris for the first five or six, averaged 7:50/mile. For the next ten I averaged 8:00/mile, somewhat slower due to headwind from about 10 to the turnaround but a little faster on the way back. After 16 I slowed somewhat due probably to the increasing temperature as much as anything else. Until mile 20 I ran at a more or less constant, comfortably hard effort level, breathing 2 in and 2 out with occasional spells of 1 and 2, and with my heart rate in the low 170's. Around mile 20 I picked up my effort level in an attempt to keep up with the 3:30 pace runner. My heart rate increased to around 180 but my pace stayed the same, averaging 8:15 from mile 17 through to the finish. That wasn't quite fast enough to keep up with the 3:30 pacer and I finished in 3:30:43, exactly 2 minutes behind Chris, 5 minutes ahead of Jon, who slowed down quite a bit after 20, and 13 minutes ahead of Guy, who had dropped behind before the turnaround.
I ran a good race and was pleased with my time, especially considering the temperature and sun during the second half and my relatively low mileage, like under 30 miles per week, for the past 3 months. Unfortunately soreness developed in the tendon in the front of my shin just above my ankle after the race, coincidentally exactly one year after the last time I had a problem with it at the Mid Mountain marathon after hiking in the Wind Rivers.

 
9/13/2008 Maui Sunny, 80's
We flew out on Thursday, got settled into our condo in Wailea, watched the sun set while we ate supper on our lanai comfortably air conditioned by the afternoon tradewinds. Thanks to the time change we were in bed by 8:30, easily earning my $10 reward for getting to bed before 10PM. That's my new scheme for attempting to develop a habit of going to bed early instead of my usual midnight or later.

 
Susan was still asleep when I awoke at dawn so I stuck my camera in my fuel belt and headed south
 
 
towards Makena on an exploratory run. Sidewalks lined with fragrant tropical flowers, golden sand beaches framed by black lava outcrops, coconut palms leaning over turquoise bays, mynahs and francolins foraging along the road - we're not in Enumclaw any more. I detoured down Makena road past Makena Landing, then again down a dirt road with big puddles and scuffed tracks where a herd of pigs had recently passed. That led me to Black Sand beach soon after sunrise, the famous basalt sand shaded by overhanging Kiawe trees. My next stop was Big Beach, a long sandy crescent with signs warning of the shore break - waves breaking right at the beach. I remembered the shore break from our visit to Maui when Daniel, then only 4 or so, got caught by a wave and almost dragged out into the big aquamarine ocean.
 
 
I decided to turn around at Big Beach so after taking a short walk along the beach I headed back to the condo. My shin tendon, which had been fine for several days, began to get stiff again and was somewhat sore by the time I reached the condo. Not a good development, particularly with the marathon only a couple days away. I'd been really looking forward to the Maui Marathon, anticipating it as the highlight of our trip. I was also hoping to do a serious hike or two. Now with my shin tendon sore again, I stand a good chance of not finishing, and may not even be able to start. Today I was really glum about it. I felt tired all day as well so we didn't do much, mostly hung out at the condo.

9/14/2008 Maui Marathon Sunny, humid, 80's

 
My shin tendon was still stiff overnight last night, noticeable though not painful whenever I stretched or flexed my foot. Susan drove me to the start in Kahului at 4:30AM. Marathon and half marathon runners were gathered in a big crowd under streetlights in a parking lot behind Macy's in downtown Kahului. The air was comfortably warm. I was wandering around when Marie Zornes recognized me. She ran with me both years in the Tacoma City marathon, aiming for 4:15. Although she didn't stay with me all the way either year, in May '07 she set a PR of 4:26 so she was happy about that. She introduced me to her friend Dana Peters whom she met last year at the Maui marathon. I told them that I wasn't running fast today because of my shin so would likely see them on the course.
 
Lining up towards the rear of the starters out on Wakea street I spotted Robert Lopez and Amy Yanni, in pink and Maniac yellow singlets respectively. Robert was wearing sunglasses, which reminded me that I'd left mine back in Seattle. I didn't end up needing them, particularly for the first few miles before dawn. Way up front by the start we could hear some Hawaiian chanting, then the national anthem, then the crowd was moving. The shin felt OK for the first mile or two. The night, though humid, was not uncomfortably warm for running but it was a little difficult to see the roadway. We swept around the corner onto Puunene then turned again onto the Kuihelani highway headed across the island. I caught up to Marie around the time it became light enough to recognize her and we ran together for several miles at about a 9:30 pace, walking a minute after each mile marker. As we approached the mile markers we'd catch up to Dana, who was running with Bart Yasso from Runner's World. The same Bart Yasso who popularized my favorite speed workout, the Yasso 800's. Marie introduced me during one of our walk breaks. I planned to continue running with Marie but my shin began to bother me around mile 4 so I dropped back to walk more frequently, running fast between walk breaks. That way I hoped to maintain a reasonable pace while minimizing my actual running time. A guy from Colorado took offense that I kept sprinting past him, particularly when I stopped to take pictures.
 
Around mile 6 the sun rose dimly through the haze obscuring Haleakala across the valley. A few runners began to complain about the heat and humidity. I took a little hike off the road to pee on some sugar cane and when I got back on the pavement and began to run, my shin felt fine. Strange, but OK with me. I caught up to the guy from Colorado, Peter Warda I think, and blamed my stop and go running on my shin. He seemed mollified. We ran together for a few miles and he talked about moving to Maui and about how each town seemed to have its own character. Paia was a hippy town, as I recall, Haiku was for farmers and Makawao frequented by cowboys. Somewhere in the hills after Ma'alaea I lost Peter. The road slices through dark basalt cliffs capped with dry grass glowing gold in the morning sunshine. I enjoyed the hills and felt good though my tendon didn't particularly like the downhill stretches.
 
Much of the second half of the race runs along the water. I was tempted more than once to jump in but figured I pay for it with chafing from the salt water so held off until after the finish. I ran for a while with Maniac 649 Harvey Makasone and with a guy named Brian. Around mile 14 Bart and Marie caught up to me while I was taking pictures so I ran with them for a couple of miles. Bart used to run much faster but partial paralysis and joint pain from a couple of bouts with Lyme's disease have slowed him down. My shin was feeling good so I ran mile 16 at an 8:10 pace then slowed down to take pictures where big Ohi'a? trees shade the road. Back along the shore again, more golden beaches, aquamarine water, green roadside parks. Stiff glutes and quads began to mask
 
 
the occasional twinge from the tendon.
I particularly appreciated the great course support in the second half. Lots of volunteers wearing bright orange T-shirts offered plenty of water, sport drink and sponges soaked in ice water as we ran by. Between miles 22 and 24 we ran on Front Street along the Lahaina waterfront. Fragrant gardens and quaint little shops provided a nice change of scenery and a few spectators to cheer us on. The tendon began to hurt a little in the last mile but that was OK with me - I finished!
 
I wandered around the finish area for a while with no particular objective in mind. They were serving orange juice to finishers, along with oranges, bananas, watermelon and papaya. The papaya was a nice touch. I found the medical tent and picked up a ziplock bag of ice to carry around with me along with my water bottle and T-shirt. I meant to use it on my shin but the tendon had stopped hurting for a while so I ended up giving the ice to Marie after she finished. I discovered Robert
 
hanging out with a bunch of Hawaiian Maniacs and found myself a minor celebrity for a few minutes. Everyone wanted to get their photograph taken with the Programmer. Les Omura asked me to say hi to Gary Marr for him the next time I saw him; I told Les about going out too fast with Gary at the Christmas marathon. Marie, Bart and I greeted Dana as she finished then we all walked down to the beach and soaked in the clear turquoise water. Perhaps not as theraputic as soaking in Puget Sound but a lot more relaxing.
Bart invited us up to his huge top-floor suite after swimming so we spent the afternoon high above the beach and the maze of swimming pools between the towers of the Westin Maui. Bart ordered some lunch and we sat around watching a football game, talking about the race, listening to Bart's tales of his running adventures. Susan and Marie's husband Tim joined us and when the time came, we all went downstairs and ate pizza at the awards ceremony. Bart presented the awards because the regular announcer had left most of his voice back at the finish line, announcing the finishers. He had barely enough left to translate Bart's words into Japanese; apparently a lot of runners from Japan come over to Maui for the marathon.

9/16/2008 Hana Sunny, high 70's

The day after the marathon we drove out to Hana, stopping along the way to photograph flowers and views and to buy fruit from several stands. Lots of pale yellow guavas on the roadway and lots of very fragrant white and cream-colored flowers along the road. Most of the waterfalls were turned off, their water hijacked to supply cane fields and condos. A few miles before Hana we took a detour down the narrow road to Wai'anapanapa state park where my favorite fruit stands are located - rickety tables laden with avacados, star fruit and other goodies. Last time I stocked up on avacados not realizing we couldn't take them home with us. This time I allowed an extra day after our Hana trip, in part to enjoy those avacados.
Fruit stand
Moonrise
Black sand beach
Palapala Ho'omau church
Wai'anapanapa Avacados
We reached the Bamboo Inn around sunset and ate supper on the deck of the 'Iwa suite as the moon rose between the palm trees. Nice place, clean and quiet, very restful. In the morning we walked along the basalt pebble beach and up to the Hana Hale Inn for their continental breakfast, noteworthy for the variety of tropical fruit they served. They had three kinds which I'd never tried before - dragon fruit, lychee and Jamaican? passion fruit. The lychee fruit reminded me of a little model of the earth. The thin brown crust encloses a translucent gray mantle deliciously sweet and fragrant with a small black seed for the solid core. Dragon fruit is a large crimson prickly pear with somewhat milder flavor and much softer seeds than the wild prickly pear fruit I found outside of Las Vegas a few years ago. The passion fruit were sweeter and less intense than the variety we bought in the Kihei farmer's market. That variety is best diluted with breakfast cereal and milk. We also enjoyed talking with Sarah about life and politics in Hana.
After checking out we drove on down the road to the little church where Charles Lindberg is buried. We missed the turn and ended up driving a mile or two further to where the road is closed for repairs. Spectacular cliff overlooking a long windswept beach. I searched for coconuts but couldn't find any good ones. At Lindberg's grave two Hawaiian women were selling fruit and threading Plumeria flowers into lei's. They use a vein from a coconut leaf for a needle, tying the thread onto one end. They had a little boy, two or three year old, with them. Once he got up his courage to approach us he took it upon himself to show us around, demanding that I pick flowers for him (we settled for one flower) and picking up sticks for me to throw off the cliff out at the point. Several white-tailed tropicbirds were circling over the blue water below us. It's a very pretty spot - the whitewashed church standing in the sunlight with banyan and coconut trees around it, the gray basalt gravesites surrounded by short-cropped green grass and patches of ti and red-flowered ginger, a many-rooted banyan fig in the corner of the yard.
Yellow ginger Hedychium flavescens
Heliconia Heliconia rostrata
African tulip tree flower
Red ginger Alpinia purpurata
Our guide Chavince
 
Back in Hana we ate lunch down by the harbor and came across Tim, Marie and Dana eating out in front of Tutu's. Nice to see them once more. We headed back out the Hana road together but we lost them when we stopped for one more visit to the Wai'anapanapa avacado stands.

9/18/2008 Sunny, 80's
Yesterday I awoke before Susan so drove down to Big Beach, walked the beach and took some pictures then made the short hike over to Little Beach to swim where I could keep my shorts dry. Before returning to the condo I explored a little further down the road, past tiny and popular Pa'ako beach to a big parking lot at the edge of the Cape Kinau lava flow. Looks like an interesting area for further exploration but no time this trip. Susan was up when I got back to the condo but we hung around the condo for a couple of hours eating breakfast then helping David with his first college English paper and never did get snorkeling.
Bluespine Unicornfish
This morning, our last day here, we made sure to get out. We got into the water at Makena Landing around 7:45AM and spent more than an hour out exploring the reefs both north and south of the small beach. Susan loved it and could have stayed out all day (I would have had to come in every hour or
Raccoon Butterflyfish
so to warm up) but we had to get back to check out of the condo and catch our plane. The morning was sunny but clouds started building early off Haleakala so we had partial shade out on the water. Fish weren't abundant but there were many different kinds - we saw schools of yellowstripe and perhaps blue (blue with yellow fins) goatfish over sand, schools of convict tang just under the surf, groups of racoon butterflyfish, pairs of ornate, threadfin and saddleback butterflyfish, Moorish idols (or something similar) and forcepsfish, manybar goatfish, occasional redlip and
Ornate Butterflyfish
bullethead parrotfish, yellow trumpetfish, Pacific gregory, orangeband surgeonfish, yellow tang,
Reef Triggerfish
orangespine and bluespine unicornfish, reef and pinktail triggerfish, yellowtail, cleaner and saddle wrasse, yellowmargined?, whitemouth (densely white-spotted) and snowflake moray eels, little Hawaiian spotted puffer and many more that we couldn't identify, including the dark one with whitish blotch at the base of the tail which I couldn't identify on the last trip either. Had I discovered this fish identification site earlier I might have been able to identify a few more of the fish. Something else for the next trip.
BTW, I didn't take any of the fish photos - they're all public domain (as far as I could tell) on the web.
At the airport the agricultural inspection folks confiscated the tomato slices out of our pesto and sprout sandwiches along with the plastic containers of sliced papaya and sliced avacado. So much for my theory that cut-up fruit would pass inspection. Cooked items are OK - we were allowed to keep our steamed green beans.

9/24/2008 Mostly cloudy, occ light rain, low 60's  Parable of the Talents
Considering the parable of the talents again (Matt 25:14-30) it occurred to me that talents given by the master to his servants represent the grace that God offers to sinners. That grace is His unmerited favor through which our sins are forgiven and He counts us as wholly acceptable to Him, and the power He provides to us to turn away from sin and live in communion with Him. Seen in this light, the parable of the talents contrasts those who accept the gift of His grace with the one who receives but refuses to accept God's grace. The servants who accept God's grace bear fruit and enter into the joy of God but loss, despair and death are the destiny of those who will not accept His grace.
I have always equated the talents in the parable with our material and temporal circumstances as well as personal attributes and abilities by which we benefit in this world, and through which we are enabled to bless those around us and advance God's work. In that understanding, the fearful servant fails to use his God-given circumstances and abilities for good and for God and is therefore condemned in the judgement, while the good and faithful servants use their talents and material wealth in God's work and accordingly receive God's blessing. It was the unproductive servant's fear of his master which prevented him from using his one talent effectively. Ironically his master appears to fulfill the servant's expectation of him in his harsh condemnation of the unproductive servant's failure to multiply his talent.
I have in the past not found much to encourage me in the parable of the talents. Compared to the blessings I have received in my life, the blessings I have given seem meagre. "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required..." Lk 12:48. I've certainly benefitted personally from both my situation in life and my talents and abilities but I still carry around a sense that I've not lived up to my potential. In a spiritual sense too I feel that I've been given a good deal of insight into Scripture and the knowledge of God and have done little with it. I can't help but worry that God will see my life the same way I do, that He will at some point require much but find little. Like the unprofitable servant I am tempted to view Him as a harsh judge who will condemn my lack of zeal and unfruitful life.
Viewing the talents as God's grace provides a different, and somewhat more encouraging, perspective on the parable. In His grace, God forgives my sins and accepts me as His own, and therefore heir to His kingdom. In His grace, He also provides power to renew my mind and transform my character through the work of the Holy Spirit. As I believe and accept both the forgiveness and renewal encompassed by His grace, I manifest that same grace in my own life, and I share in His joy. The servant who received the one talent refused to accept God's grace. In Matt 25:25, he tells his master "I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground; Look, there you have what is yours". In other words,it is not mine, he says. He refused to receive the gift, perhaps fearful of the responsibility that would entail. But he is not correct in his accusation of his master as a hard man, "reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed". God knows I am powerless to do good, and therefore provides through His grace the power and willingness I need to obey Him and become like Him. These are mine along with forgiveness for my sins, when I receive the gift of His grace.

Young White-crowned in the garden
On another topic, I spotted a new yard bird today. A "V" of about 40 geese flew over the house this morning just as I was taking out some compost. Their calls seemed different from the typical Canada Goose honking, higher pitched, almost like gulls, sort of "ka-lee-uk or "ka-lee-ah-leek". Mostly dark with white around the base of the tail. The call is distinctive for Greater White-fronted Goose. Also had both a Western Tanager and a Swainson's Thrush eating dogwood berries along with flickers and robins this morning, but the geese were the big deal; it's been months since I've seen a new yard bird.

9/26/2008 Partly cloudy, high 60's

Dahlia in the garden
I ran 3 miles today, only my second run since the Maui marathon due to soreness in my left anterior tibial tendon 2-3" above my ankle. I ran 3 miles 3 days ago then stretched my shin by plantarflexing my foot, which turned out to be the wrong thing to do. Stretching the tendon seemed to aggravate the soreness considerably. Bicycling is OK though; I rode 12 miles two days ago and 14 miles yesterday, both fairly strenous rides, and the very limited dorsiflexion involved in cycling does not seem to cause further irritation to the tendon. The motion which bothers it in running seem to be the plantarflexion followed by dorsiflexion immediately after toe-off. My theory as to the cause of the problem is that tight calf muscles (as indicated also by my chronic tendency to retrocalcaneal bursitis in both heels particularly first thing in the morning) are causing excessive plantarflexion on toe-off which in turn is putting excessive stress on the tendon and tendon sheath at the base of my shin/top of my foot. According to information on the internet, tight calf muscles and weak shin muscles relative to the calf muscles along with excessive pronation are the most common causative factors in anterior tibial tendinosis. I think my pronation is OK but the calf/shin imbalance and tight calves both seem to apply. So I've begun stretching my hamstrings and calves and will start shin strengthening exercises as soon as I can dorsiflex my foot without irritation. Meanwhile I think the cycling probably helps strengthen my shins as well since I had a bit of DOMS in my anterior tibialis after my first ride in a while.
Running barefoot doesn't seem to stretch the tendon as much as wearing shoes so I did my 3 mile run today barefoot, carrying flipflops in case I needed them on the chipseal pavement of our road. The tendon felt almost normal and it really felt good to be running again but unfortunately my soles aren't quite as tough as they were a month or so ago and I developed fairly deep blisters on both big toes and the outside of my left heel. Oh well, the blisters will clear up in a few days and I'm encouraged that the tendon doesn't seem to be any worse this evening.
Meanwhile I'm missing the Tahoe Triple Marathon this weekend, and probably St George next weekend as well. We've tentatively cancelled our planned trip to the southwest for those two races, though if my shin continues to improve, I may try to do St George after all. That's a long shot at this point. Neither Susan nor I are too upset about not doing the trip; it's nice to hang out around home and start getting a few things done here. Although I haven't been getting much done; I've spent almost all of the last few days writing up and illustrating our Wind Rivers backpacking trip last August. I don't know if anyone else will enjoy or benefit from my Wind Rivers account but I enjoy both the process of writing and laying it out, and the subsquent opportunity it will provide me to recall the details of the trip and the beauty of that area.

9/27/2008 Mostly sunny, high 70's

 
 
David and I rode our mountain bikes down the O'Grady road then up through the woods on the new trail to the upper end of the O'Grady pastures. We struggled through the field to the riverbank on our bikes
King Salmon in the Green River
then parked them and waded across the thistle-infested field to see if the old trail still exists back through the swampy woods near the river. It does not. We photographed thistle-fluff and a breaching salmon before biking back the way we came. Sunny warm day, probably one of the last of the fall, made brighter by the opportunity to hang out with David for awhile.
My anterior tibial tendonitis doesn't seem to mind mountain biking although the irregular sod of the field aggravated it some.
 


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