Thursday, August 30, 2007

Another Place to Rant

To my throngs of dedicated readers:

I have created another blog for the masses. To keep up-to-date on my rantings on the topic of education, catch my posts on the JG Edublog.

Join the edublog community with your thoughts on the state of education. The global conversation is already in progress!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Wonderful Consolation

Missing my family and being so far from the comforts of home are two of the occupational hazards in my present line of work. My daughter seems to be growing a decade a day. Missing even one day of Ilana means I miss too much. Alas, the sacrifices that I make to balance my professional and personal lives.

Usually my travel is manic, and my sightseeing is limited to the airport, the Holiday Inn, and the cafe/audi/gyma/torium of the school that has hired me. This week I have been lucky to be working in the same spot for three days, so I had a little time to be adventuresome. The video below simply cannot capture the seamless blue of sky and sea, the crisp, cool air, or the sweet musky scent of douglas fir with an overtone of oyster harvest.

I am blessed with my friends and family, and I never forget that, especially when I mourn the time we've lost because of my travel. Witnessing the glory of Mother Nature's creations in Coastal Oregon was a wonderful consolation.

My Virtual Running Buddies

With my new subscription to Bloglines, I've been reading more about the topics that interest me. Allowing the aggregator to do the work, it searches the web for blogs and news articles based on specs I have set up. Naturally, I have it looking for information about running.

This morning my feeds included an article published last night about Prineville's Adventist Marathon Clinic. This is a faith-based running club, integrating spiritual and physical fitness. Marathoning for the All-Mighty may be a good way to motivate my feet to move faster.

Or maybe if I were born the child of Zhang Jianmin, a Chinese businessman, running would be easy for me. Instead of wasting my youth on games of Kick-the-Can, Red Rover and Boxball, I would have been running the equivalent of one and a half marathons daily by age eight.

Reading other reluctant runners' stories, blogs and news articles I feel more connected to my brothers and sisters in pain. Commiserating with the way she feels, I chuckled while reading about writer and runner Kelli Young who fessed up to having a questionable running soundtrack, "Baby Got Back." That would fit right in with my "Love Shack" and "Shake Your Groove Thing" playlist that sets my 5K pace. Preparing for my AM hotel treadmill pounding, I am thinking about her perfect simile:

"I was hooked. Addicted to the sense of peace that comes at the end of a run, even on days I silently grouse with each step. Peace. Like the feeling you get after taking Excedrin for a really bad headache. Not until you feel as if your head's ready to explode can you truly appreciate the feeling of relief when it eases."

Sometimes the training seems ludicrous and lonely, so it is comforting to know that there are other amateurs out there, fellow Marathoner-wannabees, trudging along to set our PRs.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Marathons and Desitin

Eleven miles yesterday. Eleven miles logged in training for the Outback Distance Classic Half Marathon coming this Thanksgiving Day. Way ahead of the training schedule, I'm a superstar. Look out folks, because now I can work on time. That's right, at mile 10 I'm thinking, this was nothing. Piece of cake. Next time more speed intervals. Tomorrow track work. I won't just finish, I'll glide across that finish line after mile 13 with the lithe twenty-somethings, barely breaking a sweat. I felt good, proud of the accomplishments completed before 9:30 AM on a Sunday.

Barely 5 hours later my glory melted into an uncomfortable sensation. The skin covering the spot where the triceps muscles should define my upper body was in flames. Both arms. Apparently the combination of 100% humidity, 94 degrees Fahrenheit, a doubled-up sports bra and 11 miles makes for the perfect prickly heat recipe. Or, more precisely miliaria as defined by Wikipedia:

"Small red rashes, called papules, which may itch or more often cause an intense 'pins-and-needles' prickling sensation. These rashes may simultaneously occur at a number of areas on a sufferer's body, the most common including the face, neck, under the breasts and under the scrotum. Other areas include skin folds, areas of the body that may rub against clothing, such as the back, chest, and stomach, etc. "

Thank God I don't have a scrotum. Treating the underarms with Desitin was embarrassing enough, especially for a running superstar like myself.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sensory Youth

The taste of grass between my teeth
The sound of my parents’ late-night voices down the hallway
The feel of the hot slide on my bare legs in summer
The smell of an exploded ink pen, of a fresh box of 64 colors, a newsprint sketchpad
The purr of new corduroy school clothes
Watching a millipede roll into a tight ball when frightened
Watching the moon follow us from the back seat of the Duster
The salty mush of my boogery tears in my mouth as I cry over some injustice
My senses, as a child, so alive, so vital to my existence.
Now quieted for my focused pursuit
Of something I cannot sense.