K is for Kayak and Kilometers and mucK

I don’t know what letter I should be on by this point. Clearly I have been derelict in my blogging duties, and probably have been ousted from the A-to-Z community, but I feel compelled to write today, dereliction be damned.

Not much makes me happier than sitting in my kayak on the lake on a sunny day, except maybe kayaking after a great run. Today was one of those banner days when I got to do both, something I haven’t done for months and months.

The sun finally made an appearance in conjunction with a day in which I had nothing to do but read for class, so I took advantage and slept in, went for a run (5.26 miles or roughly 8.5K), and then spent the remainder of the afternoon in my kayak on the lake (reading my Gestalt textbook). When I looked up from my book, I got to see fish jump and hawks swoop down from the skies to pluck the trout from the water. I chased a blue heron down the coastline trying to get it to sit still while I took a picture. An unsuccessful endeavor, but majestic and rewarding nonetheless.

After a week off due to illness, I took to the trails yesterday and got in a little more than seven great miles (or approximately 11.5K). In fact, yesterday my fastest mile was the last mile. I love negative splits, and I love coming back strong after time away. Today’s run was a bit tougher, a little slower, and a tad shorter as I pulled something in my right ankle while mowing the back 40 yesterday. I had to wear my rubber boots to mow since most of the backyard is a swamp. Those polka dot fashion boots from Fred Meyer don’t have much stability or support. Now I’m sitting with ice on my ankle.

I’ve not seen the backyard this wet in the nearly 20 years I’ve been living here, but had I not mown yesterday, I would have to rent a hay baler next weekend. As it was, I had to take a layer off with the weed whacker first. And I am not exaggerating when I say there was at least six inches of standing water in places. One section of fence had fallen over, the posts completely rotted away. I suppose at some point that’s going to cost me. For now, it’s propped up to keep the deer out (little f**kers got in and ate the geraniums and pansies Mom planted last week—for more on that ongoing battle, check out this blog from a few years ago).

But today I felt great having tackled the first mowing of the season, the first run in a week, and the first kayak since October. I am a little stiff and sore, but done with the worst of it, ankle notwithstanding. I am looking forward to more (especially since I recently talked a couple of buddies into buying kayaks).

Spring is blossoming slowly in these parts this year, and today was a small taste of everything I love about the next six months: kayaking, running, my backyard, and sharing it with friends.

Hope to see you out there!

K is such a difficult letter. Kilometer. Knowledge. Kundalini

KI’ve been struggling with what to write for K, which, technically, should have been done yesterday. Tying a K word to my running theme is proving difficult. I suppose the obvious K is Kilometer, as in 5K, 8K, 10K, etc. I could go down that road, metaphorically, I suppose, but I’m not feeling inspired.

My favorite race seems to be the 10K, or 6.2 miles, roughly a quarter of a marathon, a little less than half of a half marathon, which is 13.1 miles or 21.08241 kilometers. Most days I run 5 miles or a bit over 8K.

When I started running and using my Nike app, I got a little verbal acknowledgement from the voice in the app when I hit each kilometer along my run. I found the information frustrating as it meant I spent the next kilometer futilely doing math in my head, trying to figure out what my pace was in miles per hour. Eventually I switched the app to alert me at each mile which makes much more sense.

I remember a concerted effort by the powers that be to educate us on the metric system when I was in middle school—7th grade if I remember correctly. The metric system is coming, they warned. Best to brush up on this vexing system of 10s. Nearly forty years have come and gone since then, and we still prefer the random foot, yard, mile system here in these United States. We don’t seem any worse off for not making the switch.

See, that’s all I have to say about kilometers. Not very inspiring or useful, really. I took a look back at last April to see what I wrote about on the K is for day then and that was not helpful either. A year ago, I was as stuck as I am now.

I considered a K blog on Knowledge as well, a pretty big topic. As a student, I find myself awash in the acquisition of knowledge. I struggled to tie Knowledge to the running theme, though. I suppose we could approach it via data—data is information, and information, once absorbed, becomes knowledge. Knowledge is power. Once I know my stats, I have information and then knowledge about my running. I can then fine-tune my runs. Meh. Maybe if I were interested in taking my running to the next level, but I’m not. I’m content with the status quo.

Two more possibilities arose as I pondered K words, one of which has nothing obvious to do with running: Kundalini. Kundalini is the energy that rests at the base of the spine (according to yogic tradition), which, once awakened can result in deep bliss (among other things). Interestingly enough, to those who know me, I attended a church service this past weekend where the topic was Kundalini Mayhem, or what happens when the kundalini rises in the unprepared. (It’s a long story, but fascinating. One I may have to explore in more depth in a later blog post.)

The kundalini rises along the spine’s chakras, which brings me to my new tattoo (I know, a very circuitous route—I just can’t wait until T to write about my tattoo): a choku rei symbol. The choku rei symbolizes power. It means, basically, “place all the power of the universe here.” The symbol is said to represent the chakras, in the places where the coils intersect with the staff.

I put the tattoo on my right shoulder for two reasons. First, it will look all sorts of badass when I run in a racer back tank top. And second, because I’ve had a strange sensation under my right scapula for the past two years. Recently I discovered the discomfort is the result of degenerative disk disease, something called radiculopathy (basically, nerve pain).

The Choku Rei symbol is used in Reiki to draw power to the parts of the body on which it is drawn. I figured my right shoulder and the radiculopathy could use some assistance. That, and it looks sweet. (Hopefully by the time T is for Tattoo rolls around, I’ll have a better picture).

tattoo

Rise with me–spiral
Up. Let us float heavenward
Toward hope and bliss