Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dedicated Or Crazy?


Seventeen degrees.
That is what the thermometer read on my back porch Sunday morning when I stepped out at about 5:30 AM.
Saturday is my usual running day but I had a commitment this past Saturday that precluded a morning run.
Thus, I ran on Sunday.

This was one of those days that I committed to that summer in 1999 when I was deciding if I was going to become “a runner”.
I was going to do it just like my weight workouts.
No excuses.
No slacking.
Set up a program and stick to it.
No matter what.
In sickness and in health.
In the rain.
In the snow.
In the heat.
If the circumstances were not ideal, you just suck it up and do the drill.
Shut up and run, as the phrase goes.
I knew it was going to be cold.
I have run in the cold before, and lived.
So I just set my mind to do what I knew I should.

I was prepared for the chilly task.
Three layers on legs, three breathable layers on top, one pair of knit gloves inside a set of wool mittens on hands, two layers of socks inside running shoes.
Ear warmer and a breathable neck cover.
And Vaseline smeared on my cheeks, lips and chin.
It was almost enough.

My fingers were the first to complain about the lack of insulation.
Halfway into mile one, they were wanting more protection.
I balled my fists up inside my mittens and tucked my thumbs inside my fingers.
That made my thumbs happy but my fingers complained.
So I alternated thumbs outside fingers for a few minutes, then fingers outside thumbs for a few.

Somewhere toward the end of mile two, my hands began to sweat and I took off my mittens, leaving just my knit gloves to protect my hands.
They were enough.
I marveled how much energy and heat one body can produce, even in the most bitter cold, such that one can begin to selectively remove layers of clothing and still be “comfortable”.
Just a few minutes ago my fingers were complaining about being cold, now they were “hot”.

Soon after that, my left hamstring began to whine about too much stress.
The complaint was duly noted but the run continued.
I was highly motivated to finish this session as soon as possible.

One reason was because it was cold.
As warm as I was by then, I knew that if I had to stop running and walk, I would become cold again.
Not a good thing. (I hate being cold.)
Second, it was Sunday.
I needed to get back to the house and get ready for church.
I had almost an hour of safety margin but I did not want to play it too close.

It is good to be running again, in spite of the inhospitable environment.
I am looking forward to July.


The bathroom project is not complete yet.
It was allowed to sit half finished while I went on vacation.
Friday afternoon I installed my new Atomic Toilet.
It turned out to be more simple than I was expecting.
The main reason for this is that it required no leveling on my tile floor.
With no fiddling around to get it to sit level the installation was simple.
I pressed the wax ring on the bottom flange, turned the bowl over and set in on the pipe with the two anchor bolts poking through the base holes.
I smushed the wax ring down and bingo! the potty was placed.
The tank was attached (with silicone goop applied to all holes/gaskets, and then the water hose was attached.

I held my breath as I turned on the water.
The tank filled.
I pressed the lever and KA_WOOSH!
The Atomic Toilet did its thing.

The brand is Toto.
It does not flush like most toilets I am used to.
Instead of a long ten second swirling gurgling hydraulic symphony with a final wet gargle like I am used to, this new piece takes about two seconds (literally!) to wash away whatever is in the bowl.
This thing could flush a whole loaf of bread.
Or a Jimmy Dean sausage.

There were a couple of small leaks in the hose connections that required some tweaking, but those were soon fixed.

After having to use the back bathroom for almost three months, it felt strange tending to biological business in the front bathroom again.
But I am very pleased with my new plumbing fixture.
Now I am getting ready to install my new vanity and sink.

Pictures of my Oregon trip coming soon!

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