SoM day 1 — 3.1m, 43:34 (14:00-128)

“Townes Van Zandt is the best
songwriter in the whole world,
and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table
in my cowboy boots and say that.”

— the prophet Steve Earle

“I’ve met Bob Dylan’s bodyguards,
and if Steve Earle thinks

he can stand on Bob Dylan’s
coffee table, he’s sadly mistaken.”

— the prophet townes van zandt

The starting gun sounded on the Summer of Muskrat today, with a small but enthusiastic lineup.

The usual Muskrat rules are in effect:

Runs must be completed between midnight and midnight. From Sept. 1 moving forward, runs must be done in bird shoes and Townes shirt, in keeping with the tradition of the 1928 Bunion Derby. At least 3 miles per day at 15:00 pace or less.  Rules will be altered, added or forgotten as things go along.

No enchiladas within an hour of day’s run. Last person going wins.

Today’s run went fine. We ran on the track and didn’t get arrested. What more could you ask for? Although getting arrested would make for a better Townes song. Oh, well. Patience.

track, 10 a.m., 91
3.1 miles
43:34 (14:00, 128)
14:07, 14:09, 13:47, 1:31
157, 0.73, 3.6, v34

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Sometimes when I feel nostalgic, and lacking an affinity for Bing Crosby, I look through the list of blogs I followed. Most have long since died, the way blogs always do. But I had to smile when I came across the noob lab. Brilliant writer, fearless adventurer. Nice human.

She stumbed across the Summer of Muskrat somehow and signed up immediately. Made it as far as the pina colada debacle before dropping out with a bad hoof. Her final Muskrat post:

Stuff I learned from Summer of Muskrat:

  • All I need to do to really piss Eric off is go on a run through the Flats.  Especially after dark.
  • I can run on a full stomach of Indian food.
  • I can run four miles when I’m drunk.
  • Black spandex is a girl’s best friend.
  • There’s always time in every day (even the busiest of days) to get some exercise.
  • For reasons unknown to me, people don’t actually mind if you have to disappear for 40 minutes and you come back reeking of sweat and shame.
  • Amazing life moments happen when you dink around outside a lot!  Firefly storms, black bear sightings, baby animals of all kinds… these are only a few of the experiences brought to me on SOM runs…
  • Never forget to sunscreen your feet when you’re beach frolicking or your running shoes will become your worst nightmare.
  • Your body will tell you what to do.  Sometimes it will tell you to eat nachos.
  • I still have a lot to learn.

Her blog ended in September 2013. Which made me think. THERE HASN’T BEEN A SUMMER OF MUSKRAT SINCE 2013???? I suppose this is as good a time as any, with tomorrow being August 31 and all. Usual rules apply. Must enter by quitting time tomorrow. Valid not offer in Papua New Guinea. As always, never a cover charge. No parking validation.

Full disclosure: Muskrat love isn’t really my favorite song.

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dear david

“I don’t envision a long life for myself.
Like, I think my life will run out before
my work does, y’know? I’ve designed it that way.”
— the prophet townes van zandt

Hi. You don’t remember me. I was the guy in lane 9 a year ago today when you were doing the intervals from hell. I stood there with my jaw hitting the ground as you flew around the track in the crazy August heat. I had no idea who you were, but I knew you were spectacularly fast. The next day as I read your obit, I realized just HOW fast.

I needed to go to the track today, to stand in that same spot, to look out and remember. The tree you were resting under is gone as well, a victim of the summer storms. Even the stump has been removed and covered up by gravel. The crow you were inhabiting seems to have left as well. Time marches on, I suppose. You click the stop button on the watch and wait for the next one.

You would have loved it tonight. The weather has gotten a tad cooler. The moon was almost full, enormous as it rose over the track. A young female was in Lane 1 running ferocious 200’s. That wasn’t you, was it? You seem to get around. It was a lovely night.

I still don’t have a car, so getting there was a chore. But the roads were empty and it was one of those nights to contemplate life. It’s all so random. Live, die, inhale, exhale. Mo worries we’re not doing enough to make the world a better place. I worry that I don’t much care anymore. But there’s much to be said for the simple joy of walking and breathing and experiencing the simplicity of an evening stroll. Thoreau and Abbey make for a pretty good compass.

Wow. That was a year ago. Time really DOES fly, the same as you did in that last back stretch. I guess you had a good life. I’m sorry it ended too soon. Maybe there’s something to be said for your life running out before your work does. Townes was wise.

Anyhow, thought I’d say hey and let you know the track misses you. Please tell Townes I said hey.


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all’s wail that ends wail

Well I want a better place
Or just a better way to fall
Here we go
— the prophets modest mouse

OK, I hate walking.

30 miles this week and there’s nothing there. No sense of excitement, no feeling of accomplishment, no acute sense of needing to puke. No cramps in the middle of the night, no stitches, no uncertainty. No love. No hate. No fear. No joy. Nothing.

Just walking. I hate just walking.

What am I going to do? I have no idea. I’m lost.

This is the only thing I have. And it’s fading away day by day.

Please bury me with it, the Mousemen say.  Good news for people who love bad news indeed.

“We can sprint the turn on a spring breeze and feel the winter leave our feet! We can, by God, let our demons loose and just wail on!”  Parker wrote.

It’s easy to let the demons loose. It’s hard to remember how to wail.

Oh, well. On to the next week …

6 miles, 9 a.m., mad dog, 90
1:35.39 (15:56-121)
14:59, 15:17, 15:39, 16:19, 16:37, 16:45
143 0.71 3.0

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So if you don’t mind, I’ll just move along
But it looks like I’m singing the same old song
— the prophets gibbons, hill and ham


Things I learned on today’s stroll after yet another round of monsoon storms:

Lesson 1: The first time you wade through the water on the course, you think OH MY GOD MY SHOES ARE GOING TO GET WET.

The second time you wade through the water on the course, you think, Well that’s sort of fun.

The third time you wade through the water on the course, you’re totally a 6-year-old again.

Lesson 2: There are no excuses, no limitations. Just slap on your knee brace, embrace your walker, and go kick some butt.

OK day. Interesting experiment.

7 miles (9:20 a.m., mad dog, 84)
1:37.35 (15:22-123)
14:53, 14:53, 14:58, 15:20, 15:33, 15:51, 16:06
145 0.72 3.3

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just skating by

I live on the edge of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian community. As a result, I am constantly reminded of their influence on the area. Never so much as when I’m on the mad dog loop.

You read a lot of back and forth about how Native American communities built the elaborate architecture many years ago, before technology and the industrial age and Legos. How could a simple people build such complicated monuments that survive for so long. Some speculate they had the aid of Undocumented Immigrant Space Aliens. I’m generally skeptical until I come across ruins that are just too hard to explain.

This is the skate park at Eldorado Park, along my daily route. It’s easy to spot because of the massive petroglyph looming over it. Its shadow falls upon a skate park. How could ancient Native Americans have possibly built this skate park? An Amoeba Bowl, a quarter-pipe. Curbs, rails, launch box. Think about it. SKATEBOARDS HADN’T EVEN BEEN INVENTED THEN!!!! And yet, these simple people were able to build something this elaborate that still stands. Chief Tony Hawk indeed. It had to be a visit from the ancients. Good luck building a wall to keep them out.

I sucked it up and went out at 8 a.m. As it turns out, mornings really ARE cooler. 6 miles at 15:01 pace with HR snoozing. I can do this. Maybe I’ll get some pointers from the aliens …

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peppa pig and me

Sometimes it’s easiest to tell a friend a lie,
they don’t understand the way I feel.
— the prophet taylor

It’s a rest day, and that can mean only one thing. Peppa Pig.

OK, that makes no sense. But neither does Peppa Pig. It’s an odd little cartoon that comes on in the morning and doesn’t involve an insane president ranting, so I’m in. The funny thing is, if I’d had Peppa Pig as a kid, I wouldn’t have become a runner.

It says at the start of the show that it’s about teaching kids social skills and how to get along blah blah blah. But if I had learned social skills as I lad, I would never have turned into the tragic introvert that I am today. I would probably play team sports like Ultimate Frisbee and Ultimate Game You Play Instead of Ultimate Frisbee Because You Can No Longer Refer to Flying Discs as Frisbees Bite Me Wham-O Just Kidding Don’t Send Any More Letters Thank You.

So maybe it’s for the best. And if Papa Pig’s car eventually gets fixed, maybe mine will too. Besides, I learned all I need to know from Heckyl and Jeckyl, two cartoon magpies who beat the crap out of each other and everyone else for sheer enjoyment. And they didn’t have to wear helmets when they rode their bikes.

I toil at my desk in the solitude of my little one-man office. Peppa talks to me. I go one step closer to insanity. Which, after all, is the most valuable trait you can have as a runner.

Oh, Mona, Mona, so much of you to love, too much of you to take care of, so long.

I probably shouldn’t take days off.

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