Running Log

Tick surgery, bad consequences, Mengele the dental hygienist, SIOP FORCES, seeing an acquaintance on the Today show, and the ethos of saying hey

Yesterday’s tick proved to be bigger than originally thought. The doctor spent half an hour scraping away inside the wound getting the various legs, mandibles and whatever wee little chitinous parts out.

Doxycyclene, an antibiotic, is being prescribed prophylactically. Two tablets per day, taken between meals.

Keep an eye on the wound. I should look for a red rash ringing the bite site 3 – 32 days following the bite. Also, muscle pain, joint pain, fever, headache. Two possible diseases borne by ticks in this area are lyme disease and Rocky mountain spotted fever. Due to the law of averages I’m unlikely to get either illness.

I added a step to today’s dressing regimen (if that’s what throwing on shorts and a tee shirt can be called): rubbing Vaseline over the tops of the socks and around the shorts elastic waistband, to prevent ticks from finding purchase there.

Yesterday before work I had a dental appointment for teeth cleaning. The dental hygienist, Diana, gave me a little extra lovin’ for being 15 minutes late. Dear girl. I tried to mumble something about a tick while she was doing the poking and polishing, but it came out like “I ah a ick eh uhihg. A ick. A ICK. Ig ick, ery ig.” She was unimpressed with my particulars, but was very focussed on telling me about her gym workout and how it was so hard to find single men (got a little extra jolt there) around this area who weren’t comPLETE (jolt) JERKS (jolt – ooooh that one hurt).

Last night I had another surreal moment. I’m having a lot of them lately. So we’ve got this big engineering meeting last night, and I’m having a glass of wine and do my usual meet and greet strategy at such events: avoid your friends, because you know them already, and talk to J. Random Dude so you might to get to learn someone interesting. I stand next to two good looking guys in nicely tailored suits. One guy knows of the other guy by reputation, and he’s kind of toadying up to him. The tall good looking silver haired gentleman has this aw-shucks quality about him, but it turns out he’s a vice president at a local Big Company, ex bird colonel in the air force, served on the OSD and all that.

He had these great stories about serving on nuclear weapons inspection teams after the Cold War. He said how wild it was to be permitted to fly a Soviet AN-24 transport plane around Kiev in the Ukraine. His Russian counterpart, the pilot of the transport, was pointing out key features that they used as navigation markers. What made it particularly wild was that he was trained to run SIOP sorties on B-52s, and all of his routes took him over the Ukraine. He said he’d ‘flown’ these sorties virtually so many times he could anticipate and recognize the landmarks almost as well as the Russian pilot who flew here every week. He looked out of the cockpit windows and thought to himself, yep, I’d be dropping a bomb here, and here, and over there.

Ah me. Back in the day, when I used to have boatloads of clearances, I used to do architectures for satcom resources for all of the SIOP forces. If you don’t know what I’m talking it would take too long to explain. Part of the drill was to go into the mountain and check with the two star about how they got out their Emergency Action Plan to all of the triad of the SIOP forces: boomers, SAC, and the ICBMs. These were the kiss your ass goodbye messages that Absolutely Had to Get Through and get acknowledged again and again and again. Talk about serious shit, that was serious shit. I don’t miss that life one bit. I am super glad we’ve got silver haired men, hugely competent men, that run these systems, that keep us safe. I am super glad there’s no one big enemy any more, that there’s no brinksmanship any more. What you see today is nothing like what life was like in the mountain when you went to defcon 4. Sphincter constricting, is all I can remember.

44 minutes. It was freezing cold again this morning. All the spring peepers are silent now. Can they live through such frosts? I ran past Kristy’s field and all the way to the big electric tower that holds the high voltage lines. Sweet Kristy. She’s getting married this summer.

Thigh rash now requires Vasoline before and after run. Arms still lazy. They drift up and down in random motion. I don’t bother to control them. They just do whatever they feel like doing. Knee good, hip good.

I have absolutely no problem running now. Of course, it’s only 44 minutes. No problems with wind, and the legs aren’t tired yet. I’ll bet problems of motivation will kick in once I get over an hour a day running, because that’s usually been the break point in the past. However, this training regimen feels fundamentally different than in the past. I wonder if this is because the marathon is now really a means to an end, the end being the 2100 mile hike in 2006.

I figured out the code behind saying hey along the running trail. If you’re running and another runner runs the other way, when you’re around ten yards from him you look up and make brief eye contact and then say “Hey” and maybe wave. I’ve noticed the really cool guys don’t wave. Makes me wonder if I should wave, but then I worry that probably I’m not really cool enough not to wave.

Now, if you double back, this ethos changes. When I turn around at the half way point and run back, if the guy I just passed has also turned around, and we are forced to acknowledge one another again, the rules are different. You hit that 10 yard mark and then you look at him and lift up your chin, as if silently saying “Sup”, but you remain silent. And you definitely don’t wave. Waving, or saying anything during this second delicate time makes you a complete dork. It makes you look needy.

I have not yet understood the ethos behind acknowledging women runners. A whole nuther thing. First of all they usually run in groups of two or three, and usually have a dog with them, so when you do encounter them, it’s hard to acknowledge all the lifeforms in this pack. You’d sound completely ridiculous saying, “Hey”, “Hey”, “Hey”, and “Hey, pooch.” I try to get by with a wave that lets them know I am not a serial rapist or Trail Bludgeoner. It’s also difficult to know which woman to look at. The best looking one? This makes me superficial. (Well, duh!) The homeliest? Does this get me sympathy points with the cute one? Doubtful, really. Do I just look at the dog, thereby making me a dog lover and thereby tolerable and perhaps even desirable? Or perhaps does that just brand me a weird people hater? It’s so difficult to answer these questions. You can see now why I’d rather run in the darkness when no one else is on the trail. These social conundrums are beyond me.

On returning, my wife was watching the Today show and motioned me over. Some talking head at the Pentagon… hey wait a minute, that’s Mike Dominguez! And holy shit, now he’s like an assistant under secretary of defense! Mike who complained of how brutal West Point was, and how he didn’t feel he was up to the standards of his classmates, and here he’s answering Katie Couric’s questions in a poised and dignified manner. Mike’s wife knows mine, and the two women would talk about life in the fishbowl world of the Pentagon. Ha ha ha. So now Mike’s on television. Life’s too funny, sometimes.

To a friendship that’s run its course: Goodbye to Jim, Dick, Bill, Knox, Ed, Steve and Miguel. Love you all more than you can know. Jesus said “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” – John 8:32. For some, prison is more comfortable, and freedom is too confusing. But this is the free world, and free is what I have to be.

The esteemed JessicaPierce /msged this, which you ought to know:

as far as the problem of how to acknowledge groups of female joggers – I'd vote for a small nod (NOT upnod, which connotes curiosity or flirtation - a request of some kind) plus a brief, civil smile. This says "I see you, I acknowledge you, but I am not asking anything of you." As a taker of long walks, this is the best sort of wordless stranger-contact on the trail - anything more makes me think the guy is specifically out to ogle, which puts me on edge.