So Marc turned 50. It was a big event chez nous, with a huge, fantastic party to which he invited everyone he could possibly imagine inviting. The weather cooperated beautifully, and a good time was had by all. I may have mentioned before that in celebration of this watershed (yes, that’s a hydrology term) year, we’re going all out and running our aging butts off all around the mountains of Switzerland. Well, the French-speaking part, anyway. What that means is that for the first time in many, many years, we’re actually in fairly decent running shape. Marc, in particular, is in the best shape he’s been in since the 1990s. He doesn’t look anywhere near 50. But then again, at 30, he still looked like he was about 15. In keeping with this flamboyant denial of the ticking of the clock, we made the rash decision to run a race click here to read the whole dang post [...]
Sorry about the AWOL. Life has been kind of hectic lately. I’ll to do a couple more race reports, and then I’m planning to take some time off. I need a break! Saturday after our epic Bettmeralp adventure, Marc and I climb in the car and head up to the lac du Joux, in the Jura mountains. It’s the hottest day of the summer (so far), with 33˚ temperatures down in Lausanne. The 24-km race around the lake starts at 2:15 pm, so we’ll be running smack in the highest heat of the day. But over in the US, the entire country is sweltering in 90+ temperatures, so I refuse to feel sorry for myself. In comparison, this is nothing.
Saturday afternoon, 16:07. Marc and I sit back and relax in the regional train from Lausanne to Brig. I pull out the food – apples, bananas, pistachios, and some crazy-good seed nut bars I’ve made from this recipe. I thought they’d be good recovery food for the trip back. After three trips to the bathroom at the back of the car, it’s clear he’s well-hydrated. Soon the seed-nut bars are gone. We talk about the upcoming race. Marc knows what he’s in for because he ran it in the summer of 2003. I’m nervous because although I didn’t run it in 2003 (the boys had a soccer tournament), I can nonetheless do the calculations – altitude plus distance – and it doesn’t look easy. But it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I feel like I’m ready. Last week’s race, the Trail de L’Absinthe, went pretty well. I’m feeling strong click here to read the whole dang post [...]
What with all the news about the microbiome in the headlines, running reports have taken a back seat at Gydle lately. Before I right that wrong, I’d just like to point your attention to another article in the New York Times – the number one e-mailed article today – about how we evolved along with microbes and viruses and other delectable parasites, and how our hyperclean germ-free existence is probably not that great for our health. Here’s a choice quote: Maybe it’s time we talk more about human ecology when we speak of the broader environmental and ecological concerns of the day. The destruction of our inner ecosystem surely deserves more attention as global populations run gut-first into the buzz saw of globalization and its microbial scrubbing diet.” I love it! These people are speaking my language. Dirt lovers unite! So, back to running.
It’s spring. The weeds are back in force. But somehow this year I just can’t get myself too riled up about them. It’s a combination of things: I’ve finally hired Oscar to deal with my garden overload. It came down to Oscar or tennis, and I chose Oscar. I look at the weeds and say “Oh, I must remember to tell Oscar to deal with that next time he comes.” Next time I see Oscar, though, he’s limping and I can’t understand his French any better than I did last time. I try to communicate about the weeds, but he’s obviously in pain and very busy so they remain. For the time being. I’ve decided that the horrible ones with the impossible-to-pull-out roots are hopeless. They win. I pull the stems off when I walk past them, and accept the fact that I will be doing this well into the click here to read the whole dang post [...]
I was heading to the checkout at the Coop last week when I ran into a woman I know from my years with the University symphony. She’s a runner, and we are both friends with Monica, who is also a runner. I asked if she’d done the 20km. Trop de monde, she said. Too many people. (There were 19,000 of us.) She and Monica had run 26 kilometers up and down the gorges du Nozon instead, because they were going to have to miss the Montée du Nozon race in the gorge on Saturday. Montée? I said. That sounds interesting…
It’s spring, and that means one thing: running. The weather starts to warm up. The sun stays over the horizon past 5 pm. The sap in the ol’ legs starts flowing again. I think it’s appropriate that I’m living in Switzerland, because I think deep down, I’m really a marmot. Winter ends, and I feel the need to get moving again. I need to get out on my rock and squawk, run around on an Alp somewhere. The races start to approach: the 20 km of Lausanne in late April. A 10-miler in Bern in May that’s advertised as the “ten most beautiful miles in the world.” Then, June 24th, the Aletsch half-marathon, touted as “Europe’s greatest half-marathon.” (I know. It’s all uphill. That’s why I want to do it so badly! Just look at that picture! Don’t you want to do it, too? How can you suffer with that click here to read the whole dang post [...]
Once a year Lausanne hosts a big natural/holistic medicine fair called “Mednat.” I went a couple of years ago and picked up some essential oils that smelled like the pine forests back in New Mexico. This year, the headline promised an “Agrobiorama Expo” which, to me, sounded like organic farm type stuff. (“Bio” is French for organic.) Maybe the woman with heavy green eye shadow and ivy growing in her hair on the expo’s homepage should have clued me in … Thanks to my friend Matt, who gave me a copy of “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer, I can no longer eat factory farmed meat (even in Switzerland, where rules and regulations are at least 300% stricter than in the US). So, thinking I would find some sources of organic produce, chickens, eggs and beef, I paid the 17-franc entry fee.
I’m making friends with my microbiome. Seems the prudent thing to do. I don’t want it to decide that this body is badly managed and thus a waste of time, and chuck it for a healthier version. No, not just yet. I have some stuff to write still. So I’m treating my gut flora to a microbial playdate. I want the symbiotic ecosystem that is my body to function optimally. Not long ago in one of my internet ramblings I stumbled upon kefir, a fermented milk product originating long, long ago in the Caucasus. The word kefir (pronounced keh-fear) is related to the Turkish word keif, which means “feel good.” Kefir is a drinkable probiotic made with either water or milk using a gelatinous matrix of yeast and bacteria that are curiously called “grains.” (They have no relation whatsover to real grains like wheat or oats.)