Monthly Archives: December 2007

nearly-annual birthday run

I like to celebrate my birthday each year by running up Mount Si.  It’s a small mountain, but a challenging run, located about 40 minutes from home.

Amazingly, most friends seem to have plans that involve being with family, or attending to last-minute preparations for Christmas, so are not able to make the slog up Mount Si on the morning of Christmas Eve.

It’d be nice to have company, but sometimes it’s better to go it alone too.  I don’t typically ‘train’ for this run.  I don gloves and hat, grab some sport drink, head out and do my best.  This year’s edition involved a bit of walking for the last mile or so up to the top.  There was a lot of snow for this stretch too.  It was slippery enough up there to turn around a bit shy of the top.  Ordinarily I’d feel like this was cheating myself of that final five minutes of challenge.  This year I was just happy not to fall off.  There was more snow that I’d ever seen on the mountain.

I was the only person I saw dumb enough to wear shorts.  The only other runner I met was doubling up!  She’s training for Western States, and made the trip a good bit faster than me.  She also didn’t chance the slippery final stretch to the top.

So – I didn’t set any speed records, and my quads are burning two days later.  But even despite the walking, there’s something about making this run each year that makes me feed good.  It’s a great way to observe a prime number birthday!

who we are

I just passed a interested bit of time reading a blog written by a person I worked for from about 1999-2006.  I knew him as Michael.

A few months back, my manager wrapped up a meeting with me by telling me that Michael was going to take some time off towards the end of the year, and return as Megan.  I like to think of myself as progressive and open-minded, but it definitely threw me for a loop.  Gender transition is simply outside the realm of my experience. 

But it’s important to observe that there’s a lot to smile about here.

First- Megan’s taken a very courageous step.  Not simply coming out, but having the generosity to share lots of her journey with anyone interested in reading her blog.  This honesty can only help others struggling to come to terms with their gender identity.

Second – she’s walking this path with her family – her wife, and her children from her first marriage.  Every family has their problems and complexities.  It’s inspiring to see Megan and her family deal with all of this together.

Third – and this is speculation – I’m proud to work for an employer with a progressive culture.  I don’t know whether Megan’s been well-supported through her transition, but would like to think so.  People tend to say the right things.  I hope they’re doing the right things too.  Since Megan’s returning to work in the new year, I’m hopeful this is the case.

So after reading Megan’s blog for a while, I had a conversation with my eldest daughter about it – all in the interest of opening up those lines of communication with your pre-teen.  I explained that I didn’t really understand much about gender transition, and that the issue made me feel a bit uncomfortable (her too – judging by the expression on her face!). 

We talked about how important it is to accept people for who they are, and that gender and sexual identity is very much a part of who someone is.  I told her that coming out takes lots of courage, people tend to feel shame about these things, that shame is never healthy, so we need to be supportive. 

When we talked about how my brother probably struggled with some similar feelings before coming out as a gay man, my daughter observed that he seemed pretty happy now.  Neither of my kids thinks twice about accepting my brother’s partner as another uncle – a member of our family.  That made us both feel good.  We talked a little more about how we should work to change unfair laws about marriage.  Then, having been patient with her father for a while, she demanded the bedtime story, so we shifted gears.

This confirmed what many experts tell us.  Kids are smarter about these things.  They take things at face value, accept it, and then move on.  I wish all of us were this wise.

running for fun or purpose


Since completing the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October, I’ve been struggling to motivate myself to do structured workouts.  I was good about doing speed workouts and weights for several weeks, but fell off the wagon, and haven’t yet climbed back on.

I’d planned on trying to do one or two more marathons this year – possibly the Christmas Marathon in Olympia, or perhaps the Last Chance Marathon up near Bellingham.  The former didn’t happen, the latter probably won’t.  It’s been almost a month since my last significant long run, and I can’t decide whether I want to do the races anyway.

For the past week, I’ve been running regularly with my friend Ben.  We don’t break any speed records, but have a good time. 

Today we did a nice 7 1/4 mile run around Bridle Trails State Park.  It was cold – probably about 35, and partly cloudy.

We started out grousing about the cold, but by the time we’d been out for about ten minutes, we’d fallen into a conversation and weren’t even thinking about the running anymore.  When we made the decision to extend the run to the perimeter of the park, it was a no-brainer.  Where else would we want to be on such a perfect morning for running?

We finished strong.  The road from the park, back towards the gym takes us downhill a couple of hundred feet, and then gains it all back in about a quarter mile.  Tradition is that we accelerate for the second half of the hill.  The pace is determined by feel – the better we feel, the faster we go.  Then, we’ll try to speed things up over the last quarter mile to the gym.  Sometimes we’ll hit a sub-seven minute mile pace on that last stretch.  This morning was more modest – we might have hit 7:45 or so.

No matter though.  The thing is, we had a great time and managed to sneak in a bit of pushing too.

Eventually, this will accrue to some larger goal.  For now it’s enough to enjoy it.

catching up

Well – it’s been a very busy couple of months since I’ve posted anything.  Initially, my excuse was that I was working on my race report for the Marine Corps Marathon (end of October).  Then the weeks stretched on, and I had to acknowledge that I’d just run out of things to say.

Some friends are asking how it took me so long to catch on to this.  Actually, we’ve been very busy indeed.

Just before we flew to DC to do the marathon, our house was burglarized.  Even more scary was that Kris and Rachel heard the creeps leaving via the back door.  Definitely unsettling.  Fortunately we can replace what we lost.

Then our remodel plans (long in the works) were thrown into chaos by some nearby development.  Here’s hoping we can work with the local community to get some regulations governing mega-houses.  Energy inefficient living pods lined up in a row, without regard for the character of the community.  I have no idea who buys these things, or why they buy them.  Apparently they’re lucrative though, which makes things all the more annoying.

Kris has officially signed up for Ironman Arizona next autumn.  It’s gonna be interesting balancing our training needs, but I’m definitely proud of her.

Finished up work for the year today, and am looking forward to some time off.  Of course, I’ll still need to run a couple of interview loops, hustle up developers for a couple of pending projects, and get ready for reviews, so it’s more like I’ll work from home a bit rather than check out completely.

I am hoping to get in some XC skiing over the next couple of weeks, and play with my new camera.  But then Kris showed me what the calendar looks like – doesn’t include a bunch of down time.

Hey – maybe I should sit down and write the family holiday letter rather than ramble and complain here …