Whitefish City Council did some sort of resolution to ask folks to wear masks.

The Whitefish Wave, in “support” of this resolution asking folks to wear masks, has laid down a rule requiring folks to wear masks. This is called “California Logic”.*

I can’t express how much I like this rule without using four-letter words. Here I am today, in the locker room, heading for the pool. No, the rule does not require us to wear the masks while swimming. That’ll be next week.

But we do have to wear the masks while on the pool deck. We don’t have to use them when working out on a machine – but we are supposed to wear the masks when moving from machine to machine, or when resting on a machine.**

And there is absolutely nothing that can be done about this.

Except to move to Mexico.

Fortunately, we’re heading down there next month. With any luck, this silliness will be over by the time we get back – or maybe we won’t come back :)***

*okay, then, YOU name it. My friend Don says that Whitefish used to be a nice sensible town, until these folks moved in. Now, they aren’t about to move back, because California is hell on earth, but they would sure like to help the rest of us make Whitefish into a little bit of that, since they are smarter than we are.

**Yes, that’s one of the things that they say – which is, if you think about it, an open admission that they don’t actually expect people to get off of the machines while resting. I’ve often noticed that the person trainers seemed to be teaching their clients to sit on their machines while resting and updating Facebook. I sort of thought that it was just poor manners. Now I realize it’s policy.

***no, I don’t expect this silliness to be over by the time we get back. As long as they keep pretending that asymptomatic cases of Coronavirus are the same as open smallpox sores, and that somebody who shoots himself while carrying Corona is a COVID death, this silliness won’t end – maybe ever.

Yesterday, after our ride, we did a short hike up the Columbia Mountain trail.

Ethel saw some moss down in the middle of the trail, and we looked up at the rock above it, and saw this:

If you look closely, you can even see the claw marks at the ends of the tracks. The fact that you have to look closely to see the claw marks means that this a black bear track, as opposed to a brown bear 🙂

It wasn’t a great hike; we didn’t go nearly as far as we intended. Ethel learned an awful lesson – it’s the same lesson that I learned this spring, but she didn’t learn from my learning 🙂 – it’s the lesson of the specificity of training.

Riding a bike on a trainer three days a week is probably a good bit more than most 61 year old women do, but riding a bike three days a week won’t enable you to walk up a mountainside – any more than skiing 100 days in a row, vigorously, will help you to run, bike or swim. Ya kinda gotta do what you do, to do it. Doing other stuff won’t help much.

The Big Book says that a Fourth Step inventory is a “fact finding and a fact facing process”. Ethel found some facts yesterday, and I reckon she faced ’em.

We’ll try this trail again later 🙂

In other news – the PAC-12 (read: “conference of champions”) has decided that they are only going to play other PAC-12 schools this year*. Now, the bell cow of the conference, USC, was supposed to open their season against none other than the University of Alabama. And their coach is sort of on a hot seat.

Looks like Coach Helton just got at least a one-game contract extension 🙂

But this bit of….caution on the part of the PAC leaves an interesting void – that’s the Memorial Day weekend game. And the Calgary 70.3 has been moved to that weekend, from July. And I couldn’t do that weekend, because I would miss the Alabama/USC game.

But, now, I won’t be missing that game. So, maybe….?

Of course, there are two other considerations – the first being that Alabama will reschedule somebody. And it might be somebody of equal of greater stature than the University of Spoiled Children. So that would mean – no trip to ESPN-less Canadia.

And the other consideration is – what’s the likelihood that Calgary will have the race, at all? Or, if they have it, that they will let Amurricans in? The border is still closed – wait; it’s only closed to ROAD traffic….hmmmm….

Along those lines – there were actual triathlons this last weekend in the state of Utah. Real, sho-nuff races. So at least they are happening, somewhere. So there’s hope.

So, like everything else this year, reckon it’s a wait-and-see proposition.

*the PAC wasn’t the first one to do this. The first conference was the B1G 10Imeansixteen. The Michigan coach said a few weeks ago that Michigan was as close as they would ever be to a national championship. Looks like he was right.

According to the local Ace Hardware, I shouldn’t have entered their store since the early 90s:

That’s the last time that I can remember feeling “well”. October, actually, of ’93 – when I ran 3:08:10 (negative splits) and qualified for Boston.

I took yesterday off from my workouts. That wasn’t because of feelings, but instead was because my Form and Fatigue numbers in Training Peaks said “You better not…” – and I was aware that those numbers didn’t reflect the two hour-and-fifteen-minute weight and core workouts that I’d been doing every week, so they were actually understated.

Today I was off anyway, so I’m going to allow that to remain. But tomorrow I jump on the bike, just as planned, and be back out on the roads on Sunday.

I’m listless. I can’t seem to get interested in what I was doing on the piano, I’m not playing my guitar, and I’m only going to 4-5 meetings per week. I’ve been swimming again, but not too much – and now the Wave has implemented a mask rule, which makes me just not want to go there at all.

The rule is for the times when one is not actually exercising – one is supposed to put the mask on while moving from machine to machine. That seems so useless – so I’m supposed to wear the mask when I am NOT exhaling with great force?

But it seems like folks these days just want to pretend that they are doing something, so, if anybody eyes them too closely, they can say “Hey! We’re doing something! Sure, it’s stupid – you know that and we know that – but at least it’s something! Leave us alone!” But that’s just my perception. I have no idea what the truth is. Who knows?

But it does tend to discourage one from going. And, who knows? Maybe that, after all, is what they want to do – just find a way to make folks stay home.

The B1G 10 has announced that they are only going to play conference football games this year – they are cancelling all of their non-conference games. Now the lawsuits start. I don’t understand the reasoning – apparently they think that traveling farther to games exposes their student athletes to more virus.*

So I “rest” today, and get up tomorrow and get on the bike. Then see what happens. Ethel is talking about doing the Columbia Mountain hike tomorrow after we ride. But we wind up not hiking a lot more than we wind up hiking.

Now, I’m going to actually play piano. No, really.

*I’ve venture to guess that leaving high-powered athletes stuck at home for those extra four weekends this fall would result in much riskier behaviors than letting them sit on a plane. But who knows? They may be right.

So I just finished the second/fifth Millennium book, “The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye”.

I say “second/fifth” because it’s the fifth book about Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist, but it’s the second book by David Lagercrantz.

I was very much surprised to find out that Stieg Larsson didn’t live to see the first three books published; apparently he delivered the manuscripts for all three as a package, and then promptly died thereafter. So much for wondering, while reading the second two, if he’d had to manipulate the plots in the sequels to fit the reality of the first book. Apparently, it was all one story.

When I decided to give the Lagercrantz books a try, it was with some misgiving; how could this guy possibly do what Larsson had done? But I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter – that Lisbeth and Mikael’s stories just somehow live in some place where they can be reached, and then told, at some amazing level of consciousness where these folks visit for our edification and entertainment.

It may be that Salander and Blomkvist have such strong characters that their actions, under given circumstances, will always be the same no matter who’s telling the story. The same goes for Holger and Dragan, and Bublanski and Modig, and for Erika and the rest of the magazine staff.

I realized something of this attitude when I noted how much I really, really liked the movie versions of the stories. They tell a slightly different story, with some elements compressed and some changed; but there’s a place in me that doesn’t even forgive this, but sees it as somebody else telling the same story, with the somebody else’s viewpoint.

This is different from, say, The Lord of the Rings. To me, the stuff in print is the truth – it’s canon – and the movies, while absolutely laudable efforts in their part, simply fall short because they can’t include everything, or change some things to make it more palatable for the movie audience. But I won’t believe, for a minute, that it’s Lady Arwen who goes to help Strider and the Hobbits west of the River; I know it’s Glorfindel, and you know it’s Glorfindel, and we wink-wink nudge-nudge each other when Liv Tyler somehow gets worked into the story. We know better.

With the Millennium stories, however, I just figure it’s a different viewpoint. This guy thought this happened, and that guy thought that happened. They’re good stories, either way.

I haven’t watched the fourth movie, because – well, because I’ve read enough of the writeup on the film version of The Girl in the Spider’s Web to tell that I probably won’t be able to reconcile the contradictions.

No reason to do so, anyway. The books is fine as is. Even if Larsson didn’t write it 🙂

TRAINING UPDATE: Man, I’m tired. But I’m still willing to go for a 2.5 mile run today, even if I don’t swim as well.

But – even given that willingness – I’m wondering if it might not be more prudent to wait until Friday to do so. My hardest days, without a doubt, are Tuesday and Thursday right now – Saturday and Sunday can in no way compare, either in terms of volume or intensity.

So – there. I’ve made my decision. I’ll put today’s run and swim off until Friday. We’ll see how that goes. I did this a few weeks ago, and it played out well.

UPDATE: I played nine holes with Erik and some interlopers, and then decided to go ahead and run; the golf was so bad that it left me recommitting myself to triathlon. Then the run was so bad that I wondered if there was a third option.

Didn’t swim. Too tired. I’m even too tired to stretch. But I’m going to do so anyway.

Had a good workout this morning – you understand, that’s speaking relatively.

But I still don’t see any actual races that are actually happening. It’s been two years, this month, since I did a triathlon – the Whitefish Lake Sprint.

Calgary sent me an email, when I contacted them – they say that they’re going to do the 70.3 on Sunday September 6th, spacing it out all through the day. Well, I don’t know that that will actually happen – but while the race was on September 5,6 and 7, it was possible that I could do it on Monday; but doing it on Sunday means that I would miss Alabama playing USC on Saturday (because Canadians don’t have actual ESPN, but some knockoff with the same graphics) and that just won’t do.

So I don’t know that any races will happen this year. But that’s all results-oriented thinking – I still have to do the *&^%$#@ workouts, just to get some semblance of fitness. And this morning was encouraging, at least.

It could be that I’m encouraged for the same reason that Ethel is still married to me. I’ve often said that I don’t understand feminine sexuality – I’m just glad that it exists. It does seem that Ethel keeps lowering the bar on what her man should be just fast enough to let me stay above it.

In the same way, I may be lowering the bar on what an “okay” workout is, to the point that – every now and then – I have one.

But my heart rate was 10 beats/minute lower during today’s VO2Max ride than it was last week, and my run was 40 seconds/mile faster. This may have had something to do with Wayne, the maintenance guy at the gym, getting a short floor fan and pointing it at me on the treadmill; if so, it was much appreciated 🙂

And my core workout was a little more extensive, with more reps and higher resistance, than last week. So everything was better than last week.

I reckon that’s enough of a bar for me.

In other news – I reactivated my Facebook account, just to take a look around. In about fifteen minutes of scrolling, the only political or activist postings I saw were from my granddaughter (how’d this happen? I want a blood test) and my old friend, the Hawai’i liberal. Okay, that’s why they made the “unfollow” button 🙂

TRAVEL UPDATE – no, we’re not going to San Jose del Cabo. Turns out that the gyms in Los Cabos are closed. So we had to find a hotel with an open gym, and now we’ll be staying on the beach in Cabo San Lucas. We’ve never stayed on the sinful side before; I just hope we don’t wind up in a mess of drunken debauchery. As long as we’re sober, though, we’ll be okay.

Ethel has booked us, yet again, for a tropical vacation 🙂

This time, we’re going back to San Jose del Cabo.

If this were important, it would be iffy enough for Vegas to post odds on whether or not we’ll actually get to go. But I’m not overly concerned in any case; I had my vacation.

I know SJdC well enough to recognize the hotels and locations in the above postcard; just this side of the big wall to the left is Playa Viejos – “Old Mans’ Beach” That’s where the surf breaks are small enough that we old folks won’t hurt ourselves 🙂

The “shack” that you see just past that is Zippers – probably our favorite restaurant in Los Cabos. Fantastic nachos, great pickled jalapenos, and an excellent beach/bar menu.

Then comes Las Olas, a condo development where we’ve considered buying in, and then condos and hotels all down the shore – we’ve stayed at three of the places in this photograph. We’re going back to one of them this trip, I believe – Posada Real, which means “Royal Inn” – it ain’t royal, but it’s nice enough. It’s sort of past its prime, but it’s right on the beach, with good free breakfasts and an open bar at the pool. “Open bar”, for us AAs, means “all the Diet Coke we can drink” 🙂

Posada Real is close to the gym, and close to the downtown AA meetings. It’ll work for us just fine.

We are supposedly going from 30 July to 11 August, which is a short trip for us – made even more of a rush in that we have an overnight layover at LAX; not just overnight, but from 3:30 PM to 9:15 AM. Wow. What are we going to do at an LAX hotel for that long?

TRAINING UPDATE – after building up my running mileage for five weeks, this week I capped it off at level flight right at 30 miles. I’ve added in runs and swims enough to give me 9:15 of real training, plus two good hard lifting days. Now comes the acid test – can I hold this volume and intensity for two more weeks? Watch this space.

PIANO UPDATE: None 😦 I’m getting my scales done and maybe ten minutes of this song or that each day, but there’s just no oomph there. One problem is a surprise – my office here is warmer than I expected. It’s just not comfortable. Amazing that I can be on a tri bike for six painful hours, but while I’m on the piano, I want to be at the right temperature.

I’m about to post this and then attempt to tickle the ivories for a bit. We’ll see how it goes.

After this morning’s Sweet Spot workout in Zwift, I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to do the 7 & 1/4 miles of running that I had on the schedule. In addition to my fatigue, the weather was threatening, and so I didn’t want to get too far from the house.

So Juneau and I ran laps around the neighborhood. Eleven of them, in fact, plus a bit.

Yeah, that pace is slow. But it’s faster than Tuesday was. That’s how far down the tubes I have gone since taking most of the winter off to ski every day.

I followed this with a full set of lifting. Then I wasn’t good for much until about 3:15 this afternoon, whereupon I drank two cups of coffee and did some chores. No piano today, after my scales. Just too tired.

Taking the winter off – there’s a line in the 9th Step promises in the Big Book that states “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” I’m having trouble with that line these days 🙂

The stuff that happened before I got sober? Yeah, that’s all good – I count all those losses as gains, because they got me to AA and AA got me to God.

But I find that I have recurring regrets over things that I’ve done in sobriety. For instance, skiing every day – 100 days in a row – this winter. Sounds cool and all, sure. However, I wasn’t able to maintain run/bike/swim fitness, and now I’m paying for it.

In addition, the two big things that I was preparing for with all that skiing – Corbet’s Couloir and heli skiing in Alaska – never happened. So I lost my fitness, but I didn’t get the things that I was trading it for.

(I also lost %25 of the money I spent on the heli skiing trip, as well).

So, I wish I hadn’t done it. I suspect that that’s a “regret”. Isn’t “I wish I hadn’t done that” the de facto phrasing for any regret? …I don’t count things that seem to happen without my volition as “regrets” – I don’t regret 9/11 or the reception deemed an “interception” by the refs in the 9-6 LSU win over Bama in 2011 as a “regret”, either. I didn’t do those.

But I sure ’nuff decided to ski all winter, and I also made those decisions to back off training to the extent that I did, and now I have to live with the results.

Some young folks I know are all “yeah, but you learn from the mistakes, so why have regrets?” Sure, sure 🙂 The changes I made in 2005 probably had an opportunity cost of around $2M, off the back of a napkin. I’ve struggled for many years with the question of “well, what did I learn from that”?

The best I can come up with is “Don’t do stupid stuff”. Well, that might be a lesson – but I’ve never yet met the person who completely learned it. I’m still doing stupid stuff fifteen years later (note the skiing-every-day-not-working-out referenced above).

I’m not paralyzed by regret. But I’m aware of my mistakes. And some days I wish that I was paralyzed by my regrets. The other day, a young friend was bemoaning his indecisiveness. I told him I could have used some indecisiveness many times 🙂

Here’s a sign that we have on the wall in the Bama Room:

It’s kinda cute. One of our friends gave us this for Christmas last year – we’ve got another, similar, sign downstairs.

Now, it’s sort of hard to get indignant about anything on this sign. Love, hugs, laughter, dreams, gratitude, fun, and cheering for our sports team – the only way you can hate any of this is just the last one, and that’s if you actually actively dislike the University of Alabama.

But you’d have to go into the Bama room to see this sign in order to get indignant about it 🙂 It’s inside our house, so that we can see it and smile.

I’ve seen a couple of signs lately here in our neighborhood. Folks have posted them in their front yards. THESE signs proudly proclaim that, in those houses, they BELIEVE… and then there’s a list of highly divisive and controversial statements that seem intended to polarize. We’re not talking love, laughter, gratitude – no, we’re talking about stuff that folks carry on protest signs.

My first thought was something along the lines of – if you can buy, retail, a sign with a large group of disparate & controversial opinions, and proclaim them all as your own – then, are you actually doing any thinking for yourself?

But it turns out that there are several of these signs available on the market, so at least there’s a range of sets of obnoxious things that you can say to your neighbors.

Second thought – does everybody in your house agree with you, as your sign says, on everything in the sign? How in the world did you manage THAT? Ethel and I would agree on love, trust, gratitude – but, again, those things aren’t divisive. But, as William Penn said, “it were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable”.

And my last thought, which just occurred to me before I wrote this – why put that sign OUTSIDE? I hate to say it, but the only reason that I can see for doing so is to, again, arouse controversy and argument. If you mean it as a reminder to yourself and your family, then why not put it indoors?

I thought about making a sign for our front yard – it would probably say something like this:


Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot, or will not, completely give themselves to this simple program….

I suspect that Ethel and I would both be down for that 🙂

I was standing on the street in Silverton, CO, a couple of weeks ago, and Ilooked up and said, “I ran up that”.

Did, too.

It was 21 July of 2012. It was some work. From just over 9000 feet in downtown Silverton to just over 13,000 at the top of Kendall Mountain.

I…couldn’t do that today.

I did manage today’s workouts – a 45 minute Givens VO2Max bike, and 7.22 slow, sloggy, sweaty miles on the mill at the Wave, then a full+ core workout. I didn’t get home until noon.

I’m hoping to hold this volume for three weeks. If I can do that, then we’ll see. So far, none of the Ironman races have actually happened. Lubbock was scheduled for this past Sunday, but it looks like they cancelled it on Friday or Saturday. That means that the athletes were already there – they’d paid, they’d traveled, they’d checked into their hotels.

But they won’t get a refund. NOBODY gets money out of WTC.

I still can’t get going on my piano. I’m danged tired all the time. If I have any energy, I wind up playing golf with somebody, and then I’m dang tired all the time.

I’m trying to get and hold 30 miles/week running, plus three hours on the bike and two swims. Something over nine hours per week. It’s sort of embarrassing, what poor shape I’m in.

But, once upon a time, I ran up that.

After wandering around the mountains of Colorado, and a good bit of high plateau in Wyoming, we took the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway out of Cody up towards the Beartooth Highway.

Cheif Joseph was definitely scenic. When we got to the junction with 212, we saw…this…

Holy mackeral. Hard to believe something that pointy could exist.

I’m not going to show you any of the pics of the Beartooth. Suffice it to say that my camera and my eye aren’t worthy. Go drive it yourself 🙂

I was aware, though, while we were up there, than I don’t live up there any more. Up high is now a memory for me, or it’s a place to visit. While driving over the Million Dollar Skyway from Purgatory to Ouray, I was nearly overcome by the awareness that I used to live up here, and I threw that away. It’s hard for me to get – and stay – past that.

This morning, I was doing my stretching routine after my short workout. When I got to the part on the mat, I got hit by three songs in a row – the Gin Blossoms’ “Pieces of the Night”, Verve Pipe’s “Freshmen”, and Semisonic’s “Closing Time”. All three of them hit me like a punch in the gut.

Folks who know me know my relationship with “Pieces of the Night”. To me – among many other themes and sub-themes – that song sings about the awareness, after making a decision, that one doesn’t get out of self-driven decisions what one hoped to get out of them.

“You wanted to be where you are,
But it looked much better from afar –
A hillside in shadow, between the people and the stars”

There’s the period after getting what Self wanted where we realize that, no, it did not make us happy and sastisfied. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t even grateful for our circumstances – just that it didn’t make us feel the way we thought that it would make us feel.

“Freshmen”, on the other hand, talks about the tragedy – to ourselves and others – of following Self blindly. Sometimes, when looking back, we realize that the consequences of our self-directed decisions had powerful impacts – on us, and on those around us – that can’t be corrected or removed. We make decisions based on self, they don’t leave us as happy as we thought they would – and then everybody has to live with the mess we made.

I thought it was funny that “Closing Time” came after those two songs. This is a song that is tied, in my head, to the last sequence from Warren Miller’s “Freeriders” film, released in 1998. This sequence is about heli-skiing in Alaska, and for over twenty years, every time I’ve heard this song, my mind goes to that sequence in my head – in this case, snowboarders, who are descending these amazing lines above treeline over bottomless, endless snow, and then I’ve said to myself, “Someday, I’m going to do that.”

Well, this was going to be the year that I was going to do that 🙂 It didn’t happen 🙂

But it’s still in my head, and I’m planning on it next year.

But it tickled my sense of irony that I could take these three ideas as presented in song – following my wants won’t make me happy, it can have disastrous consequences for me and many others, and gee, I can’t wait to do it again! – and not kick the last one out of consciousness for its obvious unworthiness 🙂

I reckon that’s why we keep doing inventories 🙂

I decided to leave the San Juan Mountains in 2013. I’ve never – when being honest in thought – not regretted that. And now I’m totally willing to follow my brain into the next stupid thing, as well* 🙂

*it has to be noted, if we’re being honest, that I followed my brain TO the San Juans, as well. So, there’s that. Full disclosure.