Vancouver Island
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The Old Man, pt. 2

The old man is in his 80s now.He's not doing so well.Always taciturn except when drunk (and, often, even then), it wasn't so easy to see his mind slipping away. He was never a fast man - his speech, his movements, everything about him was tightly…
Ernest feeds the chickens, Alberta 1923

Chicken Farm

When I was 6 years old we moved out to a 20 acre spread in Springbank, a rural area west of Calgary, Alberta, towards the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.The nearest kid my age was Billy Young, who lived about a mile away by field, or 2 miles…
Mt. Lukens - trees in fog - April 2011

Zen vs. Oblivion

I recently read someone describe himself as "an Ultra runner trying for Zen oblivion."There seems to be this common misconception about Buddhist meditation as escapism - that it will somehow carry you away as if you were on some sort of cosmic…
Idyllwild Tree Bark

Black and White

A year ago I was still running roads. An acquaintance of mine ran ultras. We became friends who became good friends who became even better friends, and, after a long time basically fighting it, we ended up lovers. She's been at the center…

Nanny Goat 2011

Nanny Goat 12hr: 60 miles 7th place overall. Nanny Goat 12/24/100 is run on a 1 mile loop run around a ranch in Riverside It's a timed race: 12 hours, 24 hours, and, this year, an official 100 miler.I ran the 12 hour race. This would be…
Salton Sea, rusted bike.

Confronting Fear

There is a guy amongst my acquaintances whose stated ambition as a runner (and perhaps as a man) is "To crush fear in all its forms". While it might work for him, it seems to me to be the wrong approach to take when confronting fear. I'm…
Bart & Bernice
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The Old Man & the Wedding

My stepfather and I had not talked in 14 years. Our relationship had never been that terribly close because we're both suspicious, distrustful characters, and we'd both given up on each other by the time I got to be about 10 years old.My little…
Burned wood, Griffith Park


It's not quite been a year since my friend Buck dared me to run the LA Marathon with her. It had been almost 30 years since I last ran in earnest. For 20 of those 30 years I'd lived a life someone else described as a "bad Larry Clark…
Me, Cyprus, 1977

400 Meters

400 meters was my race. For a few years in my teens, I did not lose at that distance. Every race went the same. I'd come out of the second turn and hit the final straight having just pulled into the lead. As I'd pull away, I'd hear cheers.…