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Young at heart!  Badger Mountain Challenge 2013.

Young at heart! Badger Mountain Challenge 2013.

Move over Bloomsday! There’s a better place to race! I mean absolutely no disrespect to Bloomsday; it is a first class operation. It will always have a special place in my heart. But the Badger Mountain Challenge is a better course! That’s easy for me to say now, having finished the 2013 race.  Ascending Badger Mountain twice made Bloomsday’s infamous “Doomsday Hill” look like a speed bump.  Kind of like a Sunday stroll in the park! Comparing the Badger course to Bloomsday, or any other road race, is like comparing mountain biking to road biking: riveting technical challenges combined with physical challenge vs. somewhat monotonous physical challenge.  Bring on the wild!

Annie wins!  2013 tally:  Annie 2, Frank 1.

Annie wins! 2013 tally: Annie 2, Frank 1.

We arrived to the race about the time the first wave of speedsters were taking off.  The porta-potty line was long, so we missed waves two and three as well. The rest of us started after waiting for our turn, so Annie and I were in the fifteenth wave or so. The race was brutal at first, climbing hard without a real warmup. I pulled to an early lead over Annie on our first trip up the mountain, but she passed me by on the first downhill section. She has awesome downhill speed! The course twisted and turned, climbed steeply and descended steeply, followed by a long rolling road next to an orchard. For us, walking was best on some steep uphill sections. The mental challenge was to remember to run when you could. We passed dozens or hundreds of people during the course of the race, after starting nearly last. Annie was mentally tougher than me today, pushing the second mountain ascent.  I realized I was a bit late with my second gel. As it kicked in, the course leveled out and I turned on the speed!  For the last mile or two, I was running like a youngster, and loving it!  I finished in 1:41, about 2.5 minutes behind Annie. When I said my goal was 1:35 for next year, she targeted 1:30. That’s tough competition!

The race was well-organized, had good food and a beautiful site. Thanks to all the volunteers!

It was so fun to run in the sun!

Finishing fast! Re-match!!!

Finishing fast! Re-match!!!

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It was a microcosmically enlightening weekend.  Anticipation of our long-ass run, aptly named by Annie, reflected some fear, and much excitement. Finding Annie a bit ill was deflating, somewhat relieving, then disappointing. A fleeting fear of losing the dream passed by. Go with the flow leapt to mind. Who knows why things happen? It’s always important how we respond. I’ve had enough bad responses for this lifetime! We enjoyed a movie and retired early, sleeping long and hard.

Saturday brought our first experience with Recreational Equipment Incorporated’s periodic used equipment sale. We trailed so many people that I started wondering what the fire code limit was! We found the sale in the back parking lot, accessed by a parade through the store. So much stuff! There were great bargains on lightly used goods that weren’t quite right for the original buyers. REI’s ultimate money back guarantee also gave freeloaders a way to return heavily used items. Some folks will take advantage of anyone they can! It was fun to talk with the friendly and adventurous staff members and patrons. One dude told me of his trail running exploits in Vibram Five Finger shoes. Beware the pokes from rocks and thorns! I got a second pair of them for 70% off retail. Annie scored amazing deals on two pairs of running shoes, a wet-suit, a large backpack and wind pants. The check-out line was long, so we had time to shop for more cool stuff. I got another pair of Thorlo  Experia running socks (best!), a thin headband, a nice hydration belt and more gels. After hours of shopping, I felt tired! Maybe it wasn’t a good day for a long-ass run anyway? After some tasty curry, we retired to Annie’s apartment for rest.

Just as I was preparing to doze off…..”Daddy, it’s time to run!”  WHAT? Well, maybe we’ll get in a few miles, perhaps up to eight, but at least it won’t be a long, grueling run. “Just let me take a little power nap.” “How long?” “Five minutes.” Just long enough to prepare mentally. When my mind opts in, my body can follow. I mean that in the most extreme sense.

Because Annie’s a frickin’ maniac! We’re both stubborn enough to take on whatever the other one’s dishing out. You aren’t beating me! If you can do it, I can do it! This is seriously effective accountability partnering. Perhaps my only real hope to reach this goal?

Heather said the canal banks in Kennewick are great for running. She is right, but we started with a TERRIBLE guess on where to get access, on the wrong side of the canal.  After a mile or so of bushwhacking, bridge seeking and bark sparking, we limped back to the truck to try again. We discovered the Tagaris winery (owned by Taggares, but who’s really spelling anymore), causing hometown french fry factory flashbacks. We parked and tried again.  WORSE!  But hey, we stumbled another quarter-mile or so.  At this rate, we could be accused of stalling. The third time really is the charm! We got smarter, parked better and ran for a couple of hours. It was fun to feel our motors eat up the miles, building confidence while testing our growth.  We reached 11.6 miles when the sun was spent. So we trucked to the Columbia Center mall, prompting more flashbacks. I was a youngster when it was brand new. That Bon Marche’ was fancy! We learned that you can run 4.4 miles in three laps of the parking perimeter, which was especially rewarding with a mix of endorphins and sugar deprived bewilderment; EVERYTHING was so funny! Plus our spirits were soaring. We can run for three hours! We now believe we can run for five!

The little car that could, no longer can...

That could have been me!  Goodbye to my 22 year adventure partner……

Going to work is an adventure!  Financial challenges promise adventure. Instead of boredom, we practice juggling, imagining, testing, measuring, re-thinking, reporting, streamlining, etc.

Play time is still more fun! I seek new ways to build, tone, lengthen and strengthen my muscles and my mind. Active, fun and challenging pursuits fire up my spirit! Helping others experience these delights sounds so enticing!

Time for play! Or work? They both sound fun! Here’s to more adventures!

Let's ramp it up a bit!

Let’s ramp it up a bit!

 

 

It’s my choice!

I loved running the St. Patrick’s Day 10k footrace in Kennewick yesterday, for many reasons. It was fun to start strong and fast. My ego enjoyed passing some people along the way. My pride loved watching Annie finish with the best kick I saw, to beat out a woman who sprinted in her attempt to hold Annie off. I fed off the energy of hundreds of healthy people, assembled to celebrate the spirit of competition. I was inspired by the finely tuned bodies of the fast runners. I realized that the harder I work at it, the stronger I get, the faster I run, and the better I feel. This applies to so much more than running!

I choose to be strong, healthy, optimistic, adventurous, playful and fun. I choose effort, mental toughness, dedication, persistence and faith. I embrace challenge and resistance, just as I accept wind and rain. My spirit will soar like a sail on the sea, an eagle in flight, or a racer engaged. I will use healthy fuels to run faster, think more clearly and explore more widely.

I will enjoy this amazing gift of life, in the fullest way I can muster. I hope I always stay open to better and better ways to live!

St Pat's 10k 2013

You are what you eat! The truth of this resonates in various ways.

Eat more fruits and vegetables! This is intuitively sound and consistent advice across the field of “experts.”

So? Yesterday was a classic day, including blackberries with breakfast cereal and a pre-workout treat of mango. The day climaxed at dinner, starting with green smoothies, following a long workout on elliptical machines, weights and StairMasters. Then we enjoyed Indian butter masala stir-fry:

Indian butter masala stir fry

 

Having eaten the smoothie, which was laden with kale, spinach and banana, the broccoli and red pepper in the stir fry made for a nice balance of health. The next course took us to a new level: roasted vegetables! Brussels sprouts, asparagus, butternut squash and sweet potato fries filled our bellies the rest of the way.  I slept well and now I’m charging into a new day! Thank you Annie for feeding me so well!

Since we are what we eat, what are we?

  1. Vegetables?
  2. Nutrient-replenished athletes, ready to charge into a tempo run?

Given my work schedule, and the resultant need for stress relief, I’m voting for option number two! Knowing Annie, I believe the run is more mandatory than optional!

TC half shirts

Running fourteen miles yesterday was growth for Annie and I. It was a faith builder. We really didn’t feel like running the last two or three miles, but we did. Those last few miles were a growth frontier, a persistence test. Do we have what it takes to push to the goal? The run sharpened our mental toughness and extended our physical frontier, so that in a couple of weeks, we’ll likely be able to run sixteen miles. Will we feel the same after that run? I don’t know, but I’m guessing so. We’ve done four runs of eleven or more miles in the past month, and they’ve all been tough. Yesterday, it was hard to finish a short cool-down walk. We should have walked farther, but we could not.

Since that was so hard, what makes me think I’ll be able to run twice that far in a couple of months? The people who inspired me! All the people I’ve known who have run marathons before. You made it! You’re tough, mentally and physically. That’s the new me as well. I want to join your club! Without this commitment and the resulting accountability, it would be way too easy to give up. I want to see how it feels to climb this mountain!

It’s a little shocking to me, because I had limited myself to half marathons. Until last month, I hadn’t run one of those for over five years. I thought ten kilometers was far enough. Then I decided to move past self-limiting thoughts. I was cornered. How to escape? RUN!!!

I hope we’re all looking for ways to have fun. I sure am! Tough stuff comes naturally enough. Being the fun is like taking a run: it boosts me higher! Can I help someone smile? Induce a laugh? Spark a chuckle? I know I’ll try!

The sun is shining gloriously this morning! I knew it would. I needed a bit of patience. I don’t know which days will offer the most pleasant weather. I can’t do anything about that. But the storms in my soul are within my control. Because I’ve been gifted spiritual tools that I can use to help my light shine. Time to put in a new bulb? There’s an endless supply! Let’s flip the switch!

Parasailing Frank

That’s me!  I’m a youngster, because I feel that I am. If I’m lucky, there may be time for being old later. If not, such is life. This youthfulness is really fun!

Stretching. Massaging. Toning. Pushing. Re-fueling. Resting. Meditating. Letting go. Researching. Imagining. Believing. Embracing. Accepting. Observing. Staying the course. Helping. Loving. Feeling. Joining. Solving. Releasing.

Joy! Beauty! Love! Excitement! Passion! Challenge! Desire! Success! Freedom! Blessings!

Kindness. Compassion. Gratitude. Sharing. Being.

Life is new, fresh and full of mind-boggling possibilities! Spring has sprung again, in a place that is dear to me: my soul!

Happy new day!

frankoshanko

I love health, humor, adventure, exercise, romance and competition. Well, I just love life! ( :

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