Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Run

Twas a fine afternoon,
A beatiful day,
The year's first trail run,
An evening to play.

Snowless trails aplenty,
58 degrees,
First time for t-shirts,
Shorts and bare knees.

St. Patty's Day today,
Prefer running over beer or song,
My white knees a flailing,
Irish heritage, I belong.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thieves and Scooby Doo

Got out for my weekly long training run on Saturday along the Gateway Trail. Overall, it's a pretty decent trail. I've got three mile out and back loops marked in two different directions. Most of the people walking are pretty good, although it seems this section has a few more casual trail users than other walkers, teenagers being teenagers, overweight couples still clinging to their New Year's resolutions, etc. This Saturday it was pretty warm out, so I took my windbreaker off after 3 miles and tied it to a tree trunk next to my Gatorade bottle that I had also wedged into a split in the tree trunk. As bikers and runners, I think we've all done this. It's a common thing here in the cities to see bottles and extra clothing tied to signs, benches, trees, basically anything permanent. At the end of 9 miles, I came back and noticed that my Gatorade bottle had been removed from the tree and was now lying on it's side in the mud. Also, my windbreaker was gone. Stolen! Some thieves steal cars. Some rob banks. Who steals used, sweaty clothing?!? The windbreaker turned out to be one of my Whistlestop Marathon "finisher" jackets from 2008. It really wasn't that nice and has very little value. The half zipper was cheap and broke a long time ago. The elastic band on the bottom broke last year. It's also made of very cheap material. But it kept out the wind and I didn't think twice about getting it sweaty or dirty. If there's anything positive about the situation, it helped with the rest of my run. It was my first 20-miler of the year, and the remaining 11 miles of "life without windjacket" went very well because it kept my mind off running. After a few miles I realized that my jacket was most likely gone forever and that I had a better chance of finding my jacket by hiring the Scooby Doo gang. I thought about ways how they would nab the crook. Would they wait in the bushes and surprise them? Would they wear disguises and sneek up on them. Would they use the "mystery machine"? As I finished the last couple of miles of my run, I envisioned a teenage boy with acne and a cracking voice wearing my old windbreaker. One day he was a mere dirtball trying to make a statement in this world. The next day, he's got chicks hangin' off both arms and makin' up stories about being a marathoner. Maybe it's just fate. Oh well, time to wear the other Whistlestop Marathon windjacket. That one's got a broken zipper too.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Farm Dogs and Flytying

'Tis the season for fly tying. For months the vise sat there in isolation like a hermit. I'd think about it on occasion, but the vise and I had not yet connected this winter. Finally last week I brushed off the dust and just like that had switched into fly tying mode. One at a time, the flies started turning out of the vise. I started by tying a few general flies that were just invented on the spot. They have no name, no recipe and for the most part no direction. I switched on the tv and flipped through the channels after tying about six of these flies. I stumbled across the Eukanuba National Dog Show on some channel. Dog shows are a crazy sight where the dog owners prance their prized animals around the arena while spectators clap. I thought it was funny and as far as I could tell it's a beauty contest for dogs, where only the prettiest dogs get awarded prizes. Forget about the dog's personality. Forget about its compassion. Forget about whether or not it crapped on the rug that morning. What's most important in a dog show is that the dog looks pretty. As I went back to tying flies again, I realized that my flies would never win any shows for looking pretty. In a way my flies look more like farm dogs than anything. They are a mixture of a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and the more you stare at them the stranger they look. My flies won't be competing in any contests any time soon, so maybe I shouldn't be judgemental. I think I'll add them to the fly box and let the fish decide.