Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hood to Coast

It's the largest relay in the world: 36 legs totalling 197 miles, running from Mount Hood to the Oregon coast in Seaside. Upwards of 12,000 runners and thousands of support personell.

This was the first time I ran, though I've been as aware as any other fitness professional in this neck of the woods. I did a total of 17 miles in three legs. This is harder than it may sounds, as I spent the hours between legs sitting in a van.

First leg was a quick 6 miles through Southeast Portland. Hot, direct afternoon sunlight, but nothing special. I did get to run past my favorite museum and through some interesting neighborhoods.

Second leg was 5 miles at 4 in the morning, run in the night through dense fog. Ten, maybe 15 feet of visibility. Runners appearing out of nowhere. Eerie.

Third leg was about as much fun as humping a cheese grater. Legs cramped from inactvity, a brutal hill followed by a hard downward slope right to the beach. It felt great to be done and to have done it.

Really, it was fun in its own weird way. Especially the team: Steve, Dave, Troy, Darcie & Patty. Much like our UBBT experience, the closeness of shared goals and common duress creates something spectacular. I think it's one of the reasons training buddies can be so close despite frequently differing opinions and experiences.

I'm probably going to do it next year. For that matter, I'm probably going to hassle some of my UBBT bretheren and sisteren to get out here and do it with me. Only takes 12 of us.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Why the Olympics Are Extra Cool This Time

I love the Olympics. I haven't owned a television since 1991, but I always find a way to watch. One year, I even rented a TV from one of those cheezy appliance rental places.

This year the Olympics are extra special. I'm not just talking about Michael Phelps surpassing what I consider the greatest athletic achievement in history. Or about how Jamaica appears to have brought the whoopass to the track this year. Or even about how nifty it must be for China, a perennial gymnastics powerhouse, to be performing well in their own house.

For me, what I'm enjoying is the level of civility, sportsmanship and kindness the athletes are showing this year. These aren't your Nike-sponsored felons like we see in our headlines and (sadly) in the ad campaigns. These are folks who speak intelligently, treat one another with respect. They accept responsibility when they fail on the mat/track/pool/road. They show immense courage by trying again when they fall on their face on the highest pressure stage in the world.

These are role models. They've got me thinking about how we could turn the Olympics into a character education curriculum the likes of which the world has never seen. I'm impressed.

On the other hand, the color commentator for women's gymnastics is an ***hole. He snorted and mocked the chinese competitor when she faltered on the horse. Didn't have a nice word for any of them. Him, I'd like to punch in the neck. But everybody else, even the other reporters, is showing a touch of class this year. Good on 'em.

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This is a roller coaster set of weeks. Some highlights:

  • Family reunion in Lake Tahoe.
  • Friend, fellow martial artist and brother from another Kelly Dodge's wedding.
  • My brother from the same mother coming home from Iraq on leave.
  • Detailing the final aspects of transitioning my after school program.
  • Finding a new home for my evening martial arts classes.
  • Figuring out what I'm gonna do next.
  • Upcoming black belt test.
  • Visit to Master McNeill's studio in Minden, NV.

I may have a chance to blog about these things in coming days.

Thanks for listening.