Rash Ramblings

A runner once, an explorer always!

Category : Illustration

I chose to start my birthday off with a challenge. It is something I have been thinking an=bout for a while. My goal was to run to the Big Spider and then back home. I had two things going against me from the get-go. I had never run the trails to the Big Spider (especially not in the dark) and this was going to be the longest run that I had done in over 20 years. The good thing about this day was we had a little rain last evening so things had been cooled down somewhat.

The biggest problem I had was deciding which fork to take when the trails branched off. It was nice to get away from the streets for a run. Mostly I heard my feet crunch, crunch, crunching on the crushed granite trails, although there were interspersings of concrete. On the way out, about two-thirds of the way to the Big Spider, I did have the thought go through my mind, “I wonder if I will really be able to run all the way out and back. As I was getting closer, I kept thinking the Spider would pop up, but it didn’t. Then just as I was starting to think I missed it, there it was. I ran up and between the legs as I turned to head home. That was fun…halfway done.

Giant Spider Sculpture

This twenty-three foot high giant spider, named Arachnophilla, is located at the Mueller Southwest Greenway in the Mueller development at the old airport. The sculptor is Dixie Friend Gay, an artist from Houston. [Julie Dean, 11/20/2009]

From: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/23592

I felt pretty good on the way back. I did have some pain in the bottom of the wide part of both feet, but not enough to really affect me. I made it all the way back to the house without stopping any. I felt good and I had been running for over an hour (1:03.36). After I got back home, I was curious to see if I had lost a lot of water weight, because back when I was running my best, I could weigh before and after a run and sometimes there was almost a ten pound difference. I weighed in at 204.4, so probably not the case today. Anyway, it was a good way to start my birthday. Now to go find some bacon like I smelled while out on the run.


It takes a long time to grow young. – Pablo Picasso

A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun.  Enjoy the trip.  ~Author Unknown

Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age.  Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.  ~Tom Wilson


Day Six…

Every morning I run I am formulating what I am going to write while I am on the run. I want to record what I was thinking, but even more I want to have said something that is useful to someone else. I started these runs because I have a goal to place in the top ten of my age group at the next Austin American-Statesman sponsored Capitol 10,000. The tenth place finisher in my age group last year ran a chip time of 42:55. Back when I was running my best I ran some 10Ks in the 33:00’s, so I definitely know the potential is there. I take my steps slowly now knowing I will increase the intensity at an increasing rate as the race draws near. My biggest step has been to get my body use to the routine and movement of running regularly.

On the run today I was going over important things to monitor while on the run. I try to make sure I am relaxed – shoulders are down, hands are open and relaxed, jaws are loose (you don’t want to be gritting your teeth) and also that I keep a smooth stride. I also have running through my mind something one of  the runners I used to run with said. His name is Greg Lautenslager and all of us at Tech that ran with him were pushed more just by around him while training. He said, and this quote may not be exact, that a coach of his once said that “you must run to win and the rest will take care of itself.’ I don’t know that I ever thought that way. I always tried to do MY best, but did I sell myself short by having a preconceived notion of what my best was? I think if I had consciously had that thought in mind I might have done better.

I will go into this endeavor with that thought in mind. It is time to step it up. I will not let my mind hold me back. I say I will aim to be in the top ten, but I really strive to win my division. Now as I wind this down, I look back in an excerpt from my journal to day six of  my bike ride in 1984 from Durango, Colorado back to Texas. :

Thursday September 13, 1984

I left my camp in the river bed headed for Vega. It was just barely light when I started (7:07 am)

A shot from my campground under the bridge.

I think the ride from Channing to Vega was the toughest so far…no matter whether I was going uphill or downhill I had to pedal. The wind was blowing in my face…and at times 20 -30 miles an hour. It was also about 93 – 95 degrees and the sun was beaming down on me. I was thinking to myself of seeing how the ride from Hereford to Lubbock was and if it wasn’t any better – I might take the bus to Abilene.

I made it to Vega about 11:15…thank God. I stopped at a the grocery store and bought some snacks…chocolate milk, pineapple cinnamon rolls, bananas, and an orange. I went across the street to the courthouse lawn and sat under a tree and ate. Vega was a nice town though there wasn’t a whole lot there. I was heading out of town and stopped at a gas station to fill my water bottles…I also rested a little more.

I headed on to Hereford. It was not nearly as bad there. I got up some speed for a while…then the wind picked up again and I ran into some uphill. The sun was really hot and the trees along the road were about 15 miles apart.

It was good to get to Hereford (about 3:15 pm). I headed to a friend’s dad’s house…… I knocked on the door and one of his younger sisters opened the door and she didn’t recognize who I was…at first she thought I was the yard boy. (Pretty funny as it turns out) His dad came home about 5:30 or 6:00 and he took us out to eat at K-Bob’s. It was great I had steak and shrimp.

It was great to see them again… …His younger sister talked me into riding into Lubbock with her (didn’t take much). God answers prayer! We got into Lubbock late…

I stayed in Lubbock a couple of days so I won’t add another excerpt again until the 16th. 18:04.30

Heat, ma’am! it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.  ~Sydney Smith, Lady Holland’s Memoir


The Rain has Passed…

The rain has ended for now. This morning I emptied another 0.25″ of rain from the gauge from yesterday’s rain. The air was heavy this morning as you would expect after a few days rain. It wasn’t excessively hot but just muggy enough to make you feel uncomfortable. I always come out in the morning to find the neighbor’s cat sitting in our driveway or carport and he takes off constantly looking back like the town’s people in those old western movies do when the gunslingers suddenly take to the street. The run this morning was uneventful. I have finally attained a mode where my body has adapted to what I have been doing, so shortly, it will be time to step it up. Funny thing this morning, just after I finished my run and had set the garbage out for pick-up and was heading inside – a little shower popped up. Good timing!

I have now added “Day 2” of my bike ride in 1984. The excerpt is as follows:

Sunday, September 9, 1984

This morning I left Wolf Creek Campground at about 7:20 and headed for Wolf Creek Pass. It was only eight miles to the pass but it was also about 2,800 feet difference in elevation. I stopped at Treasure Falls for a moment and then cruised up to the observation point (scenic overlook) and there I fed some birds and chipmunks. I then trudged on up the mountain stopping occasionally to rest and take a drink of water. I finished my water before I got to the top, so I filled up at a mountain stream by an emergency truck exit ramp. It was a good thing, too. I finished another bottle before I got to the top.

I fed the birds and the chipmunks at the scenic overlook.


Finally at about 10:45am I made it to the top of the pass. There I saw two guys on motorcycles, one with a trailer. They told me they were from Borger, but they had been staying in Southfork, CO. One took a picture of me and then I got him to take a picture of me with my camera. He told me his name was Tom Robinson and that if I went into K-Bobs in Abilene to tell Merle Richardson I had seen him.

It was really good to get to the top. The ride down was great. I must have been going about 35 mph. The scenery was great. The Aspens were starting to turn and at one point I was riding beside a river and it felt like it must have been about 38 degrees.

I stopped at a lodge and store and got a burrito (egg, potato, cheese) and a couple of cans of fruit juice (apple, orange). Then I cruised on past Fun Valley and into Del Norte. There I bought two more rolls of film. I went to Monte Vista and ate at a Sonic Drive-In. I had a steak sandwich, large order of fries, and a large Dr. Pepper and I can’t say how good it tasted.

From Monte Vista I cruised on to Alamosa. I wondered where Pat Porter (Olympian) was. The town was not what I expected. It was very flat – only surrounded by mountains (though it was nearly 7800 ft. elevation).

After I left Alamosa I decided to see how well I could see the Great Sand Dunes from the highway and then just cruise on to Fort Garland. There weren’t any campgrounds near so I stayed at the Concord Motel for $ 28.25. I wouldn’t have done it but I didn’t want to sleep in the desert away from a campground – plus I would get to take a shower.

So here I am now feeling much better. I’ve been looking at my routes and I’m going to try to make Trinidad tomorrow via State Highway 12.

I am adding the excerpts in italics, everything else is from now. I remember that morning well. I only had a plastic “tube tent” that hung on a rope between two trees. I put my sleeping bag in that. I got up real early because I was freezing my buns off. Overnight it had fallen to around freezing, so I had to get up early and get to moving. The other thing that stands out in my mind that was not mentioned was the fact that when I got to the top of Wolf Creek Pass, it was about 26 miles of a constant downhill…didn’t even have to pedal if I didn’t want to. Today – Carpe Diem. 18:48.03



Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.  — Chinese Proverb


Spontaneous Combined Doodling