Rash Ramblings

A runner once, an explorer always!

Category : Other

One Hundred Twelve

To say this summer in Austin has been harsh is an understatement. The all-time record high of 112 was tied on Sunday, August 28, 2011.  July was the hottest month ever in recorded history and then August was hotter than July. September continued that warmer than normal trend. This year tied September of 2005 as the warmest on record. The record for the number of consecutive days above 100 was set at 27 on August 12th. The old record was 21. I wasn’t totally convinced that we wouldn’t break that record for a second time this same summer. As of today (October 2, 2011) there have been 90 100-degree days this summer and 132 90-degree days in a row. The previous record number of 100 degree days was 69 set in 1925. We had a high of 101 on September 29 which was the latest 100 degree day in the month of September. We still may not be done with the triple digits as there have been two occasions of 100 degree days on October 2. They occurred in 1938 and 1923. We are in to breaking records this year so why should we assume we are done? A link to show 100 degree information for some cities on the southern plains: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/srh/climate/?n=100degree2011

It hasn’t been enough to be brutally hot. We are also very dry.  The rainfall of 0.01 inches in September 2011 set a record for the driest September at Austin Bergstrom. The old record was 0.02 inches in September 1989. The average annual rainfall in Austin is 32.1 inches.  According to the LCRA and the National Weather Service, “The 11 months from October 2010 through August 2011 have been the driest for that 11-month period in Texas since 1895, when the state began keeping rainfall records. This summer in Texas has been the hottest in the country’s history, according to the National Weather Service. More information on the current drought can be found at http://www.lcra.org/water/drought/index.html .


The lack of rain is now bringing up another possible record and that would be one we are definitely not looking forward to. Lake Travis is continuing to drop and has reached the third lowest elevation on record. As of today, Lake Travis is at a level of  628.61. Any rainfall we have had lately has been scattered and mostly insignificant, but if that is all we are going to get, we’ll take it as it comes. Here are the totals through the end of September 2011:


2011 2.92 0.48 0.09 0.27 3.65 2.01 0.05 T 0.16 2011


The total rainfall so far this year about 9.63 inches. This has done nothing to contribute to replenishing the lakes. Apparently last year the level at Lake Travis was more than 50 feet higher. All of the public boat ramps are closed. Below here is a chart showing the level at Lake Travis during the previous six worst droughts:


Lake Travis
Low lake elevations during six worst droughts

Drought Name

Min. Lake Level*



(Drought of Record)

August 14, 1951


1964 615.02

November 8, 1963


2009 629.83

October 4, 2009


1984 636.58

October 7, 1984


2000 640.24

October 15, 2000


2006 643.55

December 13, 2006




It was said back at the beginning of September that the 11 months from October 2010 through August 2011 had been the driest for that 11-month period in Texas since 1895, when the state began keeping rainfall records. Unless something very significant happens, this will surely be the driest year ever recorded in Austin. We can only hope these records will never be broken. Also, according to the National Weather Service., this summer in Texas has been the hottest in the country’s history. There are also indications this could continue until 2020 or even longer. We can only hope this is wrong. We will be faced with challenges that will be life changing. We will not be able sustain the population, as far as I can see, without massive adjustments and innovations.


Pray for Rain!!


Influence or Influenced

Another day of activity begins. I am out the door in the dark somewhere close to 5:30 a.m. As I pass under the first street light, it is blinding and much brighter than all the others I will come to as it is my first and my eyes are not yet used to the light. It is the dead of Summer. The heat is incessant. There have been over forty days so far with highs over a hundred. Even at this early hour, the air is thick and its touch is heavy. I move out of the light and hope for the most part to soak in my solitude.

I come upon a dog in the backyard across the street. Its barking is unsure and half hearted as though he sensed something was not right, but was not fully aware of my presence. This is just as I would like it. This is my time to be alone. I’m not looking for any “howdy do’s” or “how are you’s” from faceless images in the dark. This is my time to know me and analyze my place in this world. Often I may feel like the person that goes into a crowded room. It is that feeling of being apart, yet still a part of that crowd.

I pass others doing their routine and I do my best to stay out of their path and remain unnoticed. Through repetition you become somewhat aware of their routine, whether you want to are not. You expect to see them here or there and when they do not appear for whatever reason, there is a hole. If you never see them again, you may always wonder what happened to them even though you really have no reason to.

I have been thinking about this in regard to our placement in life. We sometimes find ourselves in what we perceive to be bad situations or unfulfilling jobs for whatever reason. It may not be that we were put in that place or that job, because it was going to do anything for us. What if we were put where we are at a certain time so that we could influence or be influenced by a certain person or certain people. Although you can’t necessarily see it at the time there is a purpose and maybe we should just be the best that we can and let time take care of the why. That doesn’t mean go along aimlessly. You still have to have goals and a plan. It is just that the pacing of this plan is not totally in our control. Take the bumps, fix the flat…but keep on going.



We had a strange day in May yesterday. Our high was 54. Sorry…I didn’t get out yesterday morning. It was in the low to mid 40’s then and I just couldn’t justify it. I did get out today and it was only slightly warmer. The running is getting easier. It still hurts, but not as much and I know a little more what to expect now. I’m thinking about the next push. I probably need to set a better plan as to what I want to do, where I want to be and when I want to arrive at these points. It is time to get rid of the shotgun approach and zero in more on the target. I’m not looking for an obsession, but I am looking for a little more success.

I know that in order to have improvement, I can’t be in the comfort zone. I know I could have done better in the Capitol 10,000. I just wasn’t in the mood to push past my training pace. I would be happy with a “good” time. That will not be the case a year from now. This will be an interesting year.

Mon  22:15.63 W/R     Tue  22:14.26 W/R     Wed  22:31.62 W/R     Fri  22:50.42 W/R     Sun  22:37.54 W/R     Tue  21:48.05 W/R


A runner must run with dreams in his heart, not money in his pocket.
Emil Zatopek

A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.
Paul Dudley White

Exercise should be regarded as tribute to the heart.
Gene Tunney

He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.
Thomas Carlyle

Here’s what I tell anybody and this is what I believe. The greatest gift we have is the gift of life. We understand that. That comes from our Creator. We’re given a body. Now you may not like it, but you can maximize that body the best it can be maximized.
Mike Ditka

The first wealth is health.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Read more:http://www.brainyquote.com


Now What?

April 5, 2011 – I took most of the week after the Capitol 10,000 off. This time of year, doing what I do, is not the best time of the year to pick to do a race. The two or three weeks before the race were infused with the beginning of the Spring rush. I have been in the landscape industry for most of the last 26 years. For a while now I have been on my own as it has afforded me the most flexibility and, although I did have some people working for me at first, I decided to be a one man business. This means if there is anything physical to do, I do it. I am at peace with that. I see no shame in digging a hole, especially if I can put a tree in it.  ( I continue this now 17 days later. April 22, 2011) One thing leads to another. My focus is changing and I am about to embrace it all. This has been a great learning experience. No where is something understood better than when you are right there in its clutches.

When I began this move out on my own, I was overweight and out of condition. I began the landscaping and my physical conditioning improved, but my weight didn’t change much. I have gotten stronger and now that I am running again, I am in much better condition. I know that with persistence and dedication I can move to that next place. The question is, ” where is that next place?” I am in a holding pattern for the moment, but stay tuned as I work through that.


Fri 33:32.22 Walk     Mon 23:10.64 W/R     Tue 25:08.53 W/R     Wed 31:44.38 Walk     Thur 21:52.83 W/R     Fri 34:17.15 Walk      Tue 29:54.61 Walk     Wed 23:50.19 W/R     Thur 22:51.44 W/R     Fri 22:34.33 W/R     Sat 30:18.57 W/R    Sun 31:10.43 W/R     Mon 22:37.01 W/R     Wed 24:27.37 W/R     Thu 22:43.41W/R     Fri  23:01.74W/R


Texas Independence Day

In honor  of the 175th anniversary of the declaration of Texas’ independence I am posting a letter my great-great-great grandfather, Samuel T. Allen, wrote upon his arrival into Texas. This letter was written to his brother Caleb back in Stonington, Connecticut. The original letter is on file in THE SAMUEL T. ALLEN PAPERS at THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN HISTORY on the University of Texas Campus at Austin. This letter was transcribed by Gary Rash on April 5, 2003.

San Jacinto Augt 25th 1830

Dear Brother,

This will inform you of my safe arrival in the province of Texas in good health and spirits. I arrived on the 21st of July after a long tedious & rather dangerous passage of eleven days from New Orleans the trip very often made in 4 days – we were blown off the coast and suffered much for water – but I feel thankful that our fate was no worse for on examining the vessel after our cargo was discharged we found her to be completely rotten – so bad that I could pierce my knife through her plank I think therefore that I have been peculiarly fortunate to escape as well as I have I am certain that in the future I shall not put to sea without first ascertaining whether I am in a sea boat or a mere wreck.

I purchased a mule immediately on my arrival and have been travelling ever since in this time I have seen nearly the whole of this province and I must agree with all others who have seen it that it far surpasses any other country I have ever seen I believe this spot to be the Eden of North America I think I have at last arrived at the promised land – the fairest spot on earth.

My dear Brother you have requested of me to inform you when I found a place where you could do well by your trade I have now found that place a golden opportunity now presents itself for you to accumulate a fortune on a short time by your trade I shall proceed to print out to you the advantages—Common wool hats such as sell in Connecticut for 75 cents are here worth from $2.00 to $2.50 – roram(?) hats that sell with you for $3.00 & $4.00 are here worth $8. to $12.00 & hats of better quality sell proportionatably high – furs are cheaper here than with you wool is about the same – If you become a citizen under the Mexican government (which is a republican government like the one under which you now live) as I have you will receive 1111 acres of land – if you area a married man you will receive four times this amount which is 4444 acres this of itself is certainly a great inducement

A gentleman with whom I now board by the name of Lynch says that if you will come here & commence your business: he wall pledge himself to give you one acre of Land in a very suitable place & convenient for your business as it borders on the San Jacinto river . so that you would never want for water close to your door . I think this place will be an excellent place for your business you can live here and take up your land where you please. —

I do not wish to urge you to come to this country on account of my dear Mother and Sisters who I know need someone to remain with them – but still feeling for you the affection of a Brother. I cannot bear the idea that you should work so hard and so long as you do and will if you remain in Connecticut and barely gain a subsistence after all your toil – when if you were to come to this country you could accumulate property with so much more facility – this argument alone must outweigh every objection – we all wish to make money as fast & as easy as possible, it is what we all strive for in this world – It was for the purpose of accumulating wealth that I first left my native country. the land of my birth. And all those that were near and dear to me – and until I have accomplished this end at least in a measure I shall never cease to strive I think it to be a duty incumbent upon the Brother & Son of the widow & fatherless to strive to make all in their power and endeavor to alleviate their wants

I would advise you my dear Brother as one who feels deeply interested for your future welfare & prosperity to come to this country as soon as possible and be assured that as far as lies in my power I will render you any service which you may want—

Uncle George is here with me and coincides me in opinion in respect to your emigrating to this country he says that I must tell you not to delay but to come on as soon as possible before some one stops you in your place –

Write me as soon as you receive this and inform me of your determination – If you conclude to come out I will write you a letter of instructions – informing you of your route and cheapest mode of conveyance – likewise what will be necessary to bring with you.

Give my best love to all with you & mother & sister when you see them & be assured I remain your affectionate & loving Brother.

Samuel T. Allen


03/02/2011     Apparently a PR for my 2 mile course this morning.     Wed  16:50.45



A Little Colder This Week…

I got out of bed last Wednesday with a lot on my mind.  Foremost on my mind was a real dread at getting out in the cold, especially if it really was around 28 degrees. Knowing it was going to be colder I had already planned on doing my short route. Running in the cold didn’t use to bother me and maybe it still wouldn’t bother me so much if I wasn’t getting out of a warm bed to go running in the cold at 5:30 in the morning. Mr. J. Frost is not necessarily always a good host and on top of that I have never been as excited about running in the morning as I was about leaving it for later in the day. It is just that this is the only way I can assure that I will be consistent.

I had some good runs late last week and intended to take off Saturday or at least wait until later in the day, which again I did not do. I got up Sunday fully intending to brave the cold and get in another run. Instead I got all bundled up and ready to run. I sat in the recliner to get my shoes on. I noticed the other day how cozy I felt all bundled up sitting in that recliner…even without laying it back. Well Sunday morning I decided to ride that pony. I just sat in the chair feeling good until it was time for me to start getting ready for church. It was kinda like eating too many brownies. It felt so good, but then the guilt lingered.

I had to make restitution so when I went out for my run this morning I picked it up a little and ended my run with a personal best for this route. I really need to be closer to 42 minutes for this route and today I did it in 53. I will lengthen my distance before I make that 42, but somewhere in there I will edge closer to that pace.     Wed  18:43.12     Thur  54:27.67  Fri  18:47.40     Mon  53:20.80




We are given obstacles and trials so that we have to depend more on God and in this way our faith will be increased.

As I go out on my runs I make little observations that in my own mind are now truths. I will run up to an intersection where cars are stopped and rather than demanding or taking for granted they will stop or remain stopped for me, I choose to run behind them. It puts the control in my hands. I know I am no match for any vehicle when I am on foot. This fact is also true for bicycles.  A lot of the bicyclists demand the road is theirs, too. I can agree with that to some point, but at the same time I understand that these motorized vehicles are much bigger and heavier than me and someone doesn’t have to be doing something intentionally for me to get hurt. I also do not necessarily agree with these “hard core” cyclists that think that their right overrides the rights of others when they tie up traffic because they cannot maintain the posted speed limit. I chose to stay out of the way of these vehicles whether on foot or on bicycle. It makes more sense to me to take the secondary roads that are less travelled by the motorized vehicles. I take it as my responsibility to stay out of their way, because I like living and because I know I can trust me.  As for the others out there, I have no way of knowing their thoughts and/or distractions. It only takes a second to totally change what is important.

I am now looking at this running thing differently than I did when I began again to run. I thought I would have a little pain and adjustment as I tried to get going again, but it really hasn’t gotten better or gone away. It may have changed a little. There are days I can barely get out of bed and when I do, I;m not sure if I’ll be able to make my way to the bathroom, much less be able to go for a run. Many days I have just decided I’ll go out and see how far I can get. Most of the time on these days, I feel like hell for about a mile then everything starts easing up. It just goes to show that you don’t really know what you can do until you try. I don’t know what the road ahead holds for me. I believe I was inspired to get back on the road and I am not sure where that will lead. I set my goal to finish in the top ten in my age group at the Capitol 10,000. If I was to look at that realistically today, I would have to say it looks more probable in 2012 than in 2011. I am not giving up though. I can’t say what God has got in store for me and if it is to be, He can make it possible.  As in other aspects, it is for me to just to plant the seeds.

Also, today I have reached another milestone. I have not missed a day in about two weeks. I always weigh just after my run. Whether that can be agreed to as the best time to weigh, I do not care. It is just my intention to weigh at the same time under the same conditions so that there is some sort of constant. Today, I weighed in at 199.4 pounds. This is the first time in probably 20 years that I have have dipped below 200 pounds. This has not been an overnight thing either. I am peeling the pounds away in onion skin layers and I am realizing it is not just the exercise. The whole lifestyle has to be attacked…exercise, eating habits and even the amount and quality of rest I am getting. I feel better about the change. I wasn’t happy looking at that guy in the mirror. When I looked in the mirror, all I could think was, “Who are you and what have you done with my body?” As it is, I will keep on with this new routine and look forward to gaining the new insights and hopefully, a better quality of life.     Wed  18:04.70     Thu  17:34.06     Fri  20:00.07 W     Sat  45:17.48     Sun  17:17.31     Mon  45:59.02     Tue  46:19.49



Destination achieved…

No run today,  just a journal entry from my 1984 bike ride:

Monday  September 17, 1984

I set out from the Snyder Travelodge at 9:00. I had stayed in room 215. I got off a little later than I had planned so I knew I was going to have to do some hard riding to get to where I wanted to, when I wanted to.

The wind was in my face and my knees were hurting but I knew it was my last day so I even pushed a little harder.

I made it to Roscoe and I decided to stop at the Dairy Queen. I wasn’t going to at first but I remembered I had a 1934 series five dollar bill hidden away in my wallet…otherwise I only had about a dollar seventy-five.

It was so good. I had a Dude, fries, and a medium Dr. Pepper. I also had a D.Q. sandwich (ice cream). I made it to the Dairy Queen at about 12:15 and I left about 12:45.

I was passing Sweetwater at 1:00…there was lots of downhill and I was standing up and cranking.

I pushed really hard and made it to Abilene at 4:00….

 We will either find a way, or make one.
– Hannibal

If I set for myself a task, be it so trifling, I shall see it through. How else shall I have confidence in myself to do important things?  – George Clason

I’m a big believer in growth. Life is not about achievement, it’s about learning and growth, and developing qualities like compassion, patience, perseverance, love, and joy, and so forth. And so if that is the case, then I think our goals should include something which stretches us. – Jack Canfield


I was out on the run thinking about commitment. All those years I wasn’t running wasn’t as much about not having the time to do it, but more about no longer taking the time to do it. That is how we open new areas of interest. There comes a time that we make time for this new thing and if this is something we truly desire to accomplish, it is very important that we do not lapse and let something else ooze into this block. I f you were wanting to run and didn’t feel you could run, then walk or do sit-ups or something that is related. Just make sure you don’t let something take this time over – go through the motions until you can get back on track. This is mostly about building a routine. This is really true in any area you want to pursue. If you want to be a writer and can’t think what to write, then just sit down and write the alphabet out over and over until you can turn them into words. Do what you want to become and you will move that direction and slowly gain expertise in that endeavor. That is why I do these things and I must remain diligent.  18:44.99


After taking a couple of days break in Lubbock to see old friends and visit my former employers, it was time again to continue my journey to finish my trip from Durango, Colorado to Abilene, Texas in 1984.

Ready to leave Lubbock.

…today Sunday, September 16 (1984).

I got up this morning and went to get the flat fixed. I went to the Texaco station by Tech (on University). I couldn’t find the hole so I went by Roland and Penny’s…(Ron and Rick’s cousin). I had to borrow a wrench so I could get my front wheel off to change the tube.

While I was at Roland’s he almost insisted I eat an omelet…so I did. It was great!

I then went by my friend’s sister’s place so I could get my windbreaker. I also wondered where my pump was – I lost it somewhere here in Lubbock….

I then went back to my friend’s mother’s house and packed my bike up. His sister called and then I went and picked her up – she wanted to take some pictures before I left.

I finally got on the road about 12:30. It was overcast and cool…quite a change to what I had been riding in. Two guys came up beside me on bicycles and I talked to them until we got to Slaton. They said something about the bike club out on a ride…I then thought to myself I might see Jürgen and Simoné. Not long after that – I did. They were riding their tandem along side another guy. They were really moving on. They both had red, white, and green shirts on. I said “Jürgen”. He heard me and recognized me… He said “Gary.”

I made it to Post about 4:45 pm. I was riding against the wind all the way. I stopped and got some snacks and had to figure which way I wanted to go. It was 89 miles to Aspermont and only 44 miles to Snyder. It would still be close but I took off for Snyder at 5:00 pm. I had been talking to a boy (about 12 or 13) …he asked a lot of questions about where I’d been, what I had been doing and where I was going.

I did a lot of stand up riding after I left Post. I got a lot of strange looks from people along the way. The sun was over the horizon and I was still about 6 miles from Snyder. I passed a place that had about a 10 foot high chain link fence and all the sudden all of these dogs ( about 7) were racing to the fence line. I didn’t think I had anything to worry about until they flew through a gap in the gates. I had an adrenaline rush…they never really got close after that.

It was about 8:40 pm when I got checked in at the Snyder Travelodge. I used my credit card and still got my room for $18.95 though I had to take an upstairs room. I called Mom because I told her I would be there Sunday at the latest. I got to bed about 11:0 pm.

Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle will never know.  – Charles Kingsley

I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time. – Charles Dickens

The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. – Confucius

What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.   Samuel Johnson


I stepped out this morning and the first thing that caught my ear was some body’s wind chime off in the distance. It was doing what wind chimes are meant to do,  in a most purposeful manner. I immediately thought, “I’ll have a breeze today and instantly my day was a little better.” I try to stay attuned to those things that will be a positive factors. We are doing no good if we are not enhancing the world around us when we can.  That world includes the people and the conditions. So many are indifferent to all the factors that influence who they are and rest in the illusion that it is they alone who shape who they are. Even a solid rock outcrop cannot shield itself from all the climatic conditions or other outward inflictions that would cause it to be changed even in its own resistance against it.

I take off running with these thoughts and a question from a friend on my mind. The question was, “How is your body holding up?” My body is more of a barrier than my thoughts. Everything is in good repair and working as it should for now, but if I didn’t have this body holding me back…there would be no limits.  But as God has put me in this body, I will strive to reach the potential that it has. I realize  it is in doing that we become. In being in the regular practice of running and writing I become both a runner and a writer. If I only periodically run or write something, I am just a person that does those things. You cannot hide from the fact that you are what you do. Daily we must look to our actions to verify that we are doing what we want to be or want to become. Whether you are cognizant or not, that is what is happening. That is one reason I have gone back to running. I don’t believe I can become the person I am to become if that is not a part of me. 19:03.72

Below is the text from which my title quote comes:


Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
life to the lees. All times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
that loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known—cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honored of them all—
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end.
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, my own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the scepter and the isle—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centered in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me—
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
the sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be that we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are—
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


That best portion of a man’s life, his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.    –    William Wordsworth

The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.    –    Benjamin Mays