running (42)

Film of 8-year-old Winning Dipsea Race This Year

Thanks to harkinna for sending me this link, showing 8-year-old Reilly Johnson winning this year’s (100th anniversary) Dipsea race. The Dipsea is the oldest ross-country race in America, 7.2 miles from Mill Valley (Calif.), up 672 stairs, over a flank of Mt. Tamalpais, through canyons and fields to Stinson beach. It’s an age-handicapped race: the older you are (or the younger, in Reilly’s case), the more of a head start you get. I get the maximum head start of 23 minutes at my age (75), as did Melody Ann Schulz, a previous winner, and Reilly. (You can see me behind the 2 of them at the start.)

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Music and Gymnastic

Plato advocated balance. Right brain/left brain in education. Music (which included writing, story-telling and poetry) to be balanced by the Gymnastic (physical exercise). Mental balanced by physical. Still true, even more important these days. Never have us earthlings been more sedentary. Until very recently we had to perform physical labor to survive. Hunting, gathering, farming, dealing physically with the physical world. Now we’re pretty immobile in front of these monitors.

Over and over again I get away from running or paddling, and feel increasingly terrible. Chi dragging ass. I didn’t do much for a few weeks after hurting my knee in the Dipsea Race. Discouraged. Lot of office work to do. Finally forced myself to take a paddle in the lagoon, that night felt alive again, circulation going, mojo working. Such a difference. It’s hard these days to remember the body, there’s so much fascinating stuff going on digital-wise, but Plato was right, there’s gotta be a balance. Regarding dragging yourself out there, Stretching guru Bob Anderson says, “You never hear anyone say, ‘Jeez, I’m sorry I worked out.'”

Traveler’s Stretches: click here to download (free) a 1-page set of stretches to do when traveling. Print out and take on trip. Stretch on airplane, in hotel room.

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8-year old girl in spectacular Dipsea race victory

Reilly Johnson flew over the course, pig tails bobbing, to win the 100th anniversary Dipsea Race last Sunday. It was stunning to see such a young person with such determination and spirit. It’s an age-handicapped race. For example, men over 74 and women over 65 get a 25 minute head start over scratch runners (like 25-year-old men). Girls 8 and under get the same 25 minutes. This pretty much evens the race out so that old and very young are on an equal footing with in-their-prime-age runners. I shot this picture of Reilly at the beginning of last year’s race. Look at the joy. She’s won everyone’s hearts.

News story on race in Marin IJ

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This and that mid-June…

The Dipsea Race was Sunday; it was the 100th anniversary of this 7½ mile cross-country race from Mill Valley over a flank of Mount Tamalpais to Stinson Beach. A month ago I was running well, but a trio of little injuries and a week in NYC took its toll. I was really slow going uphill, but still have the timing to go fast downhill. Which I did, and the next day I was on crutches from I believe some torn knee ligament fibers. Ah me. But it’s healing as I speak. It was a wonderful race and I’m gonna do better next year. Plus we have a newly-constituted running group, the Pelican Inn Track Club, that has recently been infused with a bunch of blazingly fast young runners, and we are stylin. Last night there were maybe 30 of us the pub after running and the vibes were vibrant.

  • Tonight we had fresh halibut courtesy of our friend Billy, kale from the garden, and Lundberg Brothers organic brown rice. Plus local Lagunitas Brewery IPA Pale Ale. Our bantam chickens are laying so we have a good supply of fresh eggs.
  • There are two quail families running around in our garden with minute baby qualekins. They are about 2″ long, maybe 6 in each family. The male with his majestic plume stands guard while the mama clucks and shuffles the babies through the brush. They’re a delight to watch.
  • I just got a new iPad with 3G connectivity, which means I can get online anywhere there’s a cell phone signal. Hoo boy. To tell you the truth, there are times when I wish for simpler times. I LOVE all the things I can do with my (13″) MacBook Pro, iPhone, and iPad — not to mention the big Mac Pro I use in the office. Then there’s my Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, my Canon Powershot S-90, my GoPro Helmet Hero,and my new Sony Cyber-shot panorama camera. I extol these things to my old friends, the wonderful things I can do, how I can find just about anything via Google, how I can communicate world-wide instantly, etc. But sometimes I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water. It’d be fine if everything worked smoothly, but Rick is continually bailing me out of self-created and other types of problems. Well, there’s no going back and I’m gonna ride the wave. E-books here we come.
  • There’s a 2-mile paddle race in town here this Saturday. I’m going to do it although I haven’t trained at all. Surfers, swimmers, water people, I love these guys. I’ll see some of my ex-lifeguard friends (Stinson Beach, 1960). Surfers, skaters, kayakers, people who love the beaches and woods and natural forces, kindred spirits.
  • Today my friend Michael McNamara, one of the builders in Builders of the Pacific Coast, sent me photos of the van that Lloyd House just built, and lives in (on an island in British Columbia). Lloyd is the numero uno builder in the same book, my favorite builder of all time, and this van made me smile, it was so elegant and tuned-in. It made me reflect on people that make you smile, positive forces in our lives. Can you think of people like that in your life, people who make you feel good? They’re real. They’re genuine. Qualities that we’re seeking these days. Their energy (chi) is alive and vital, they have auras that project hope and humor and happiness.
  • The hills are rapidly turning golden from green in this warm weather.
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Pelican Track Club, circa 2010

Sausages and beer last night at cabin in woods after run in 70º evening weather, and dip in creek. Our new running club. Everyone except me is honed for the Dipsea Race (June 13). This is the 100th anniversary of this tough cross-country race, and runners have been training hard and steady. Gonna be exciting…

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Gettin back home

Much as I love NYC, there’s no place like…. I got into San Francisco around noon on Monday. (JetBlue v. cool airline.) Cruised by Ocean Beach (surf blown out, but kite surfers stylin), got latte, coffee cake at Trouble Coffee, then headed for home. On my way over the mountain, I stopped at the creek, jumped in the pool, floated over to let the waterfall pound on my head. Cold water like a slap in the chops from Mount Tamalpais. OK, so I’ve mentioned this before…

When I got home, there was this little halibut caught by fisherman Andrew, part of which we had with store potatoes and salad from the garden.

The next night I went running along the coast, then on the way back on an inland trail, stopped off at the secret swimming hole, a somewhat-hidden pond in a little valley. It’s lined with cattails, and protected from the wind so the water is like glass. I slipped in and swam across, there were birds swooping and singing all over the place. This is a blessed, magic planet, still alive in places here and there. Back to the pub for a pint of local Lagunitas pale ale. About 9 PM, headed home along the coast, listening to blues and country rock on Sirius radio, looking out at the sea and the still-darkening horizon.

It’s been raining lightly off and on, very unusual in June. When the sun came out yesterday, the honeybees were all over the poppies.

Columnist Jon Carroll, about the best part of the San Francisco Chronicle these days, closed a recent column with this poetry by Bob Dylan:

Don’t the moon look good, mama
Shinin’ through the trees?
Don’t the brakeman look good, mama
Runnin’ down the Double E
Don’t the sun look good
Goin’ down over the sea?
Don’t my gal look fine
When she’s comin’ after me?

If you are of a certain age and inclination, do you have Dylan/Stones/Beatles lyrics engraved in yr. brain, and know when you hear the first note, what the song will be?

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