On my face


I fell on my face.

Running uphill in the mud.  I wasn’t going very fast, and just got a muddy face and hands.  I usually do this run counterclockwise with the haymaker right at the start. I’m running out of runs on these trails though. This way has more sustained up… and with the longer climb, it’s more scenic. Running it counterclockwise, I’m typically hauling ass downhill jumping logs and trying not to fall ass over heel down into the creeks… look where you want to go… not at the scary stuff on either sides of the trail. Good lesson all around… where you look is where you’ll go.

I remembered the first time I was exploring around here I ran this direction (clockwise) and then ran to the bottom of the haymaker and was completely lost…and ended up running back up and back the way I came.  Marquam Shelter is only .9 down trail.. but I didn’t even know what was at the shelter though (water)… and a shelter. And the way back downtown.

Lots of drooling today…so it goes with a tempo run. Workin’ hard…and droolin’

Had this tune in my head on the back through PSU:
“If you want it, you can have it… but you gotta learn to reach out there and grab it.”

Weezer philosophy. Worked for me today.

Shop bench

Is 98% done. It’s assembled, the top is screwed down. Some notables:

I disassembled, modified and reassembled my tablesaw guard to accommodate ripping the bench legs. On a full size saw with a 10″ blade, I couldn’t raise the blade high enough to clean up the glued edges, so I did half at a time (4 passed for each leg). I took the guard completely off and then sat down for about 15 minutes to think about how I could make the cut safer.

Oftentimes in woodworking, 90% of the time is setup, time to build a jig, time to make sure everything is ready to make the cut.. and then measuring and remeasuring before any cutting tool touches the wood. I guess it’s really about risk. Climbing history is filled with stories of pushing through and making the summit… and then losing all your fingers or toes. Is anything worth that? In my opinion no.  Victory is fleeing. I’ve always believed the adage, “he who down climbs and runs away,  lives to climb another day.”

I had to put a spacer bolt onto the guard body to raise the splitter past the rivet pin so that the shop legs could pass through – on the first cut the wood bound right as it hit the anti-kick pawls and I shut the saw off and stepped away (unplugged saw) and then extracted the wood from the pawls. Once I found out what was going on, I added the spacers and tried again – then I realized that because I wasn’t making a through cut (wood was too tall), the splitter was just hitting the top half of the leg and stopping. I then had to offset the splitter so that I would pass the left edge of the wood and not try to split the cut. Once these mods were done, all cuts were made with the guard on. After finishing the legs, I reversed all the guard mods and cut the side panels.

Final construction went well. Everything squared up nicely, I glued, clamped and screwed the mortise and tenons. The nice thing about this bench is that the sides are 3/4 birch screwed to the legs so it’s possible to disassemble it and move it. The top is a piece of 3/4 birch and 3/4 MDF screwed together and attached with pocket screws from underneath the bench.  It’s sold and probably weighs around 150+ pounds.

Last 2% is to add a hardwood edge around the perimeter to protect the MDF, drill the bench dog holes and attach a Jorgensen vise. After that… I’ve got a long list of cabinets I need to build. Projects I’ve put off for far too long.

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Aid station

One of my colleagues (also a runner) jokes that I treat the lunch room at the office like an aid station. While infinitely amusing – it’s kind of true. When I got back from my rainy run on Thursday…I had a Cup O’ Noodles. There are a stack of them sitting on the counter. I would never eat one of those unless I was electrolyte and calorie deprived and craving salt… but it’s perfect food if you’re running long. Warms you right up.

I developed a bad habit last summer after coming back from lunchtime runs in Forest Park of chugging a Sunkist orange soda – they are on hand and ice cold. The high fructose corn syrup fired me right up for any afternoon meetings. I’ll try not to do that this season.


Sometimes the runs are fun and the legs are snappy, other times you get into a rhythm and the miles click by, other times it just feels like work. This one didn’t quite feel like work, but I had just been through most of this section on Thursday, so it was really just a matter of rolling through the trails and getting back home.

I used Tailwind for the first time – changing it up from Cytomax which has been my fuel of choice for the past 15? years.  The distinction is that it contains more calories so you can reduce/eliminate food and consume xx oz. per hour. I ordered the sample packages that include all 4 flavors. Berry was what I was drinking on Saturday. It’s got a super-mild taste and no sweet aftertaste like Cytomax. It also has no coloring so it mixes clear… kind of nice. The only annoyance were the directions that gave instructions for a 48oz bottle or a 24oz bottle. Most single serving bottles are 20oz. Not a big deal… maybe cycling bottles are 24oz?

I mixed two 20oz bottles and took the rest of the mix with me. I tried to drink regularly after the first hour. I still ate a Clif shot and a Hammer gel – and then refilled my bottle at Marquam shelter and mixed the rest of the power. I felt zippy after I had a good drink and got back on the flats for the last 3 miles. Never felt hungry, had good low end power and definitely felt like I got a second wind around mile 17.  I’ll try the other flavors and then order in bulk.

I modded the UD vest by shortening the female part of the 2 chest buckles by pulling them closer with zip ties. There is about 3/4 of an inch of fabric that (I guess?) helps the buckles contour around your chest – the sizing is so shitty on those vests though that even that much of a tolerance is enough for the vest to shake too much. It’s solid now and I can snug it up…and still breathe.

Run was okay. It started raining 10 minutes out and rained off and on the entire time.   It’s so fun passing through downtown on my way to the hills as there’s always some kind of event (usually a race) going on and people are cheering and there’s entertainment, etc. Saturday there as an MS walk and a people were everywhere along the waterfront. It was raining harder as I made my way toward the steel bridge where I peel off left and run down to Thurman on my way to the Lower MacLeay trailhead.

I heard the drums from my house before I left but didn’t think anything of it – then when I crossed Hawthorne and turned right the drums became louder. There was high school? drum line standing out of the rain under the Morrison bridge and they were jamming! I slowed a little to linger. It made me smile. Super awesome.

They were kind of like this;  except in Portland style, they were wearing all black and sporting Doc Martens.

Nothing else to note – it was a bit of a slog. In the rain. Grunt.

Rain; Heavy at times

Seizing the opportunity between meetings.


A low cloud layer hung just above the trees. Running up Balch Creek I felt like an ant on a narrow trail, enveloped in a tunnel of green. Trees hung low over the trail and I had to duck my head to avoid hitting them.  The rain was steady the entire run. Before I set off I gazed out at the rain from the office lobby. It was never a debate to go or not go; just a moment to focus turn over flow control.

I haven’t run with music since my shuffle stopped working at the race. Now I can hear the water hitting leaves, the crows calling and my feet splashing through the mud.

The curious part of meditation is that an event is not made into an experience.


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Glue up

New bench is coming together!

I’m using a laminate / mortise and tenon construction method using baltic birch glued up to create the legs and stretchers. The stretchers (tenons) are comprised of 3 strips of 3/4 birch glued (and clamped). The legs are 5 strips of 3/4 birch glued with the mortise created with the gap (last set in the image below).

Everything is ripped wide at 3 9/16 and after gluing I’ll clean up the edges back down to a final width of 3 1/2. The bench top is another piece of 3/4 birch and a piece of 3/4 MDF sandwiched (and screwed) together. I’m planing to drill holes for bench dogs and add a proper cabinetry clamp… maybe a Jorgensen. We’ll see.

It’s really hard to build a bench without a bench (thus all the stuff across the tablesaw, router table, sawhorses, etc.).

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If only I were just a simple cabinetmaker.  Maybe if I had been born 200 years ago.

Although he made a living of his craft, Krenov referred to his attitude towards his work as that of an amateur, feeling that the competitive attitude of a professional causes one to compromise one’s values as a craftsman. He avoided calling the conception and creation of a piece as “design,” preferring a more inclusive term “composing.” Composing, explained Krenov, is reacting to the wood, a continual re-evaluation and improvisation open to wherever the wood takes the composer.