Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Long time







Well, now. It's been a long time since June 7, hasn't it?

In some ways it's been a very tough summer. My Dad has been very ill and it's been surprisingly hard to deal with on a number of levels.

He's has managed to develop non-alcoholic steatohepatosis and cirrhosis of the liver. The prognosis is grim; it's going to be ultimately fatal but not before some time passes and a lot of suffering is endured. How much time? There's no way to know, really. How much suffering? Again, there's no way to know for sure, but a lot.

One effect of the disease is that the liver weeps ascites fluid into the abdomen, and that fluid has to be removed weekly in a process called paracentesis. Basically, you jam a big catheter into the abdomen and suck out the fluid. The weekly quantity ranges from 5-10 liters, or about 1 to 2.5 gallons. Not a lot of fun, but it's perhaps the easiest part of the treatment regimen.

The bad part, the suffering part, is that the liver is damaged beyond the body's ability to repair it. This causes all manner of unpleasant symptoms. Nausea and vomiting, itching, feeling terrible all the time, weakness, confusion, difficulty breathing, etc. The process is also causing a slow but steady and irreversible wasting away of muscle tissue. The once strong fellow is now navigating slowly with a walker, and while he can still get out and about in a very limited fashion, he's getting weaker all the time.

So watching the progression of this disease has been quite difficult. I'm in the position of being the only person in the family with a medical background, so in addition to managing much of the day-to-day care I'm also the chief explainer for everyone else. "This is why that, and that is why this, and here's the plan, etc."

So there's that.

The day-to-day ranch management continues also, of course, but it's really not all that taxing. Between good rain and good cattle and getting a lot of fiddly bits sorted over the last several years and enough experience to be efficient we've been able to get by in remarkably good shape.

And speaking of good shape...

I'm more physically fit now than I've been in years. I've been alternating roadwork and weight room since April and I'm just astonished at how good I feel and how much I'm able to do. Some time ago -- more than a decade ago -- when I had my first Achilles surgery, I resigned myself to never being able to run again. But something funny happened following the last surgery. Between a really good repair and a smart/patient approach to improving my fitness, I accidentally found out that I can run again.

The running is a work in progress. Running on flat ground still causes a lot of soreness and stiffness in the ankle, but surprisingly, it's actually getting better over time. As long as I don't go wild and overdo it, I think I'll eventually be able to clock multiple miles.

The trick, which I stumbled on accidentally, was running steps. We have a railroad viaduct in town which is equipped with several flights of stairs, and for some reason I decided to see if I could run those to build up endurance and improve cardio. (Looking back I just realized that I wrote about the steps in May.) It was a bit of a struggle at first, but I found that running uphill is a lot easier on the ankle than running on flat ground. I think it's down to joint geometry and lever physics. Rather than bashing straight down on the heel on flat ground, running uphill seems to spread the impact over the whole foot and leg -- and probably just as importantly -- over a longer interval.

Anyway, the viaduct steps are 21-step flights, each with an 8-inch rise, for a total of 14 feet (if my math is right). When I started I was doing 15 flights, now I do 60 flights, and I do them a lot faster. It's an excellent workout.





Several months back I think I wrote about hiking and how super-duper I was because I could hike up smoke bong hill a half-dozen times. On Sunday I ran up smoke bong a dozen times, and ran up eight other hills along the course of my eight mile hike. From "never again" to "shit, I can do this" in less than half a year. Puts a big grin on my face.







Be interesting to see if anyone still stops by this ghost town. I may be able to start posting on a more regular basis but only time will tell.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Wildflowers, birds, crush day





This is the second and last weekend of Nebraska Wildflower Week. The annual celebration takes place during the first week of June and is bookended by weekends, running from The Friday closest to June 1 (which sometimes falls in May) through the next Sunday. This year it runs June 1-10.
A gumbo evening primrose (Oenothera caespitosa)
I’d encourage everyone to get out and look at some wildflowers this weekend. You don’t have to travel far; in fact you can find a wide variety of wildflowers blooming on waste ground right in your own town. If you can find some native prairie to visit, so much the better, but as I said it’s not completely necessary.
Yellow evening primrose (Calylophus serrulatus)
If you do go out, take along a field guide to prairie plants if you have one. Grassland Plants of South Dakota and the Northern Great Plains, by Johnson and Larson, is a good one (for this region of course). It includes nice color pictures of blooming wildflowers and offers a wealth of information on most of the prairie grasses, forbs (wildflowers), and shrubs you will find.
Close up of gumbo evening primrose (Oenothera caespitosa)
Lacking a field guide, use your phone or a pocket digital camera to take pictures. Later on you can download and search the internet to discover the names of the treasures you’ve found. There are also wildflower apps available for your phone. I’ve had little luck with these myself, but your luck might be better than mine.
Yellow evening primrose (Calylophus serrulatus) and downy paintbrush (Castilleja sessiliflora)
If you happen to be in the Kimball area today (Friday), tomorrow, or Sunday and would like to take a native prairie wildflower tour on the EJE Ranch, call or text me at 308-241-0878 or shoot me an email at shonny61@gmail.com
Mourning dove with yet-to-be-identified wildflowers
On Tuesday I hiked out on a parcel we call the South Googie, which is a thousand acres of prairie just south of Kimball. I-80 runs right through the middle of it. The landscape is broken by a couple of major north-south running canyons, and I started my hike in the easternmost one. As I passed a fence line I was greeted by a house finch.
House finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)
It was quite warm, being one of the (if not the) first 90-plus degree day of the year. The canyon is choked with hardy native forbs, most of which are in bloom just now. There are also abundant shrubs such as current, chokecherry, and sumac. Those are mostly done blooming for the year but are setting lots of fruit.
Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) setting fruit
Along the way I stopped to check on a Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya) nest I discovered a couple of weeks ago. When I last checked a few days ago the clutch of eggs was just hatching. Today there were several chicks in the nest along with a lone unhatched egg. The  male and female phoebes who are raising the brood kept a close watch on me as I scrambled up to their nest located in an overhang on the canyon wall.
Chicks and a single egg fill the nest of a Say’s phoebe (Sayornis saya)

Say’s phoebe (Sayornis saya) watching closely
Continuing my hike, I crossed under the interstate and made my way west. The prairie was alive with the color of wildflowers. Hiking up and down the many slopes along my path was a good workout, and the day’s late-spring heat was eased by a light westerly breeze. There was no shortage of mosquitoes, but a liberal application of insect repellent kept them nicely at bay.
Yucca (Yucca glauca) flowering
After a mile or so I came to a second interstate underpass and crossed back to the south side of I-80. This underpass -- a 7x4 foot concrete tunnel, really -- was home to a large population of nesting barn or cliff swallows. The floor of the underpass was littered with discarded egg shells and the mud-construction nests were filled with peeping baby swallows.


I made my way back to my pickup and notched up another nice, vigorous 4-mile hike. All in all it was a brilliant way to spend a couple of hours on a hot, early June day. Give me a shout if you’d like to share the experience.

Today (Thursday) was crush day. I did an hour of hard stuff in the weight room, followed by two hours of hard roadwork -- including 10 summits of Smoke Bong Hill. Smoke Bong is right at 5 stories tall, if you use the 14-foot story measure, so that's a 50-story climb. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

In the weight room I did 300 situps, 60 pushups, 60 pullups, 150 20 lb. overheads, 150 60 lb. leg lifts, 150 100 lb. bench presses, 150 60 lb. curls, and (just outside the weight room) 30 400 lb. tire flips.




Needless to say, I couldn't have done this six weeks ago. So I'm making nice progress.

What's that? Crush day? Oh, yeah. It's just a once-a-week extra hard push. The idea is to try to achieve physical exhaustion. So far I haven't. What I'm finding is that I'm gaining strength and endurance at a pretty rapid clip. I'm not in my teens or twenties anymore, and I'm still fat as hell, but as I suspected there's a lot more in the tank than I've been able to use. That's a good thing.

Speaking of being olden, the experiment with fitness comes with a lot more aches and pains than in my youth. That's fine; pain is weakness leaving the body.

I will say, however, that I've come to love the fizzy wonder of alka-seltzer. It's just bubbly aspirin, but aspirin is a wonderful pain and anti-inflammatory medicine. People have been using it for at least 6,500 years. That's even before the gurglenet!


Friday, May 25, 2018

Ambulate ad vive





So lots of things have kept me far from the blog for a number of days. Sometimes it seems I'm living crisis-to-crisis, but it's not that bad. Just life stuff.

Me about to get out of bed this morning:

"Firetruck this, I ain't training today. My neck hurts, my back hurts, my hip hurts, my legs hurt. I'm sore and stiff. I've done enough this week. I can take a day off."

Me after I got moving a bit:

"Well, I'll do my weight room stuff. Then we'll see."

As you may recall, I have a certain fascination with and appreciation -- perhaps even love -- for jumping spiders. I watched this one stalk and catch a housefly in my garage yesterday.

"Get yer own, Bub!"


Which has little if anything to do with Ambulate ad vive, or Walk to Live. I got the idea for the title of this post from the old foot soldier's axiom; "take care of your feet, and your feet will take care of you."

The reason I was thinking about feet -- my feet in particular -- and about taking care of feet, is because it's time for new shoes. Unless I get hit by a bus I'll have logged well over 200 miles for the month of May, and my shoes are wearing out.

I've been wearing sneakers when walking in and around town, and those are kinda-sorta okay, but I really need serious hiking shoes if I'm going to be able to keep piling up the miles. Sneakers don't have the kind of support I need, and old fat guys need well designed shoes to keep the foots fit as well as the leg joints and spine.

When hiking the prairie I've been wearing Danner hiking boots and shoes. Danner makes great boots, even if they're chinesium in the present century. But they are heavy (3.5 and 2.7 lbs./pair, respectively), and they are old school when it comes to design, so I figured there was likely something better out there.

And oh boy is there! Just get on your computer or phone and gargle up "lightweight all terrain hiking shoes" and try to figure out which ones to buy!

Fortunately, I got a 30-percent-off e-coupon in the email and out of the blue from Arc'teryx the other day. Reviews and description had put several of their shoes on my rather long short list, so I decided to jump on a pair. The ones I settled on were the Norvan VT shoes. They arrived today.


These shoes weigh only 1.6 lbs. for the pair, which is great. They also fit well, have excellent orthotic support, and have an advanced all terrain sole which is good on the asphalt or gravel as well as the shortgrass prairie. So far today I've done 8.25 miles (that's 13.277 kilometers outside the U.S.) in them and it's almost like having new feet. We'll have to see how they hold up, but so far they seem to be a winner. A steal at only $170!

The shoes did well and felt good on the road as well as on the prairie. And you never know what you'll find when clambering around in prairie canyons, especially when you're wearing great shoes.





Bideo, too...





Buenos adidas! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Some ride





It's not that I haven't been writing here, it's just that I haven't been posting here. I've produced a double handful of drafts over the last 10 days but they keep falling apart. I suppose I should just press on and post something.



I've been really hitting it with physical training since April 30. Basic weight training, cardio, and hiking. This is a different approach for me. Over the last couple of decades I've been relying on physical labor and pleasurable hiking to keep fit, and that's worked pretty well. But I am getting older and it seems a good idea to increase my level of overall fitness while I still can, and I think daily training is a good habit for me to get into.



Over the last couple of weeks I've shed a lot of fat and rebuilt a good bit of muscle mass. I'm nowhere close to being actually fit, but I'm heading in the right direction I think. I've been telling myself over the last couple of years that I'm "more fit than most of the folks I know in my age cohort," and that's true, but "more fit than them" is not the same as actually fit. If I was actually fit I'd be 60 lbs lighter, for instance.



It's a process. Along the way there have been no few aches and pains and I'm sure they will continue, but I can live with those. So far I've not had any injuries, and I'm being pretty careful, but I'm sure there will be a few along the path. On the upside I feel much better in general and I'm sleeping better.

So why all this sudden bullshit about fitness? Couple of things, I guess.

I've been watching a close family member struggle with liver disease for many months now. The problem stems from a condition called fatty liver, which happens when the liver has a problem with handling fat. It's rather complex, but the liver begins to store triglycerides in liver cells and eventually the sheer quantity of stored lipid kills the cell. The cell then becomes scar tissue, or to use the medical term, cirrhotic. When enough cells are affected the liver loses two things -- working liver cells and the vascular pathway through those cells.

When enough cells are lost the liver can no longer do a proper job of filtering blood and doing the metabolic magic that pretty much every other part of the body relies on.

When the intrahepatic vascular pathways are affected, other bad things happen. All of the blood that passes through the gut flows directly into the liver through the portal vein. If bloodflow through the liver is constricted, the blood pressure in the liver goes up, as does the pressure throughout the gut. This is called portal hypertension. Increased pressure in the liver soon begins to squeeze still-healthy cells until they, too, begin to die and become cirrhotic. In many ways it's a spiral of death. There are treatments that can help, and they are helping in this case. But it's a battle. The near term outcome depends on whether the still-healthy liver cells can heal themselves. Under ideal circumstances a person can survive with as little as 25 percent of the liver functioning. How will this particular case play out? It's too soon to tell. There are positive signs and negative signs.

What's the connection to fitness?

Well, in the first world fatty liver is the fastest growing segment of the death industry. Shouldn't be surprising, really. People in the first world tend to overeat and under-exercise. Excess calories get stored as fat, and first-worlders are the fattest group of humans there have ever been. There are limits to the amount of fat the body can make, store, and use; when the sheer quantity of incoming nutrients overwhelms fat production/storage/use capacity some of that fat begins to pile up in the liver cells. Sound familiar?

Yeah, not a good disease to have. It's entirely preventable though, at least as far as I understand. The key to that prevention is to not be fat, or if fat, to get un-fat. I'm fat, so the path for me if I want to avoid fatty liver and all the bad stuff that goes with it probably isn't to lay back in the recliner and shove twinkies down my neck for a few decades.

As I think I've mentioned before, I've been blessed with robust good health. Therefore getting un-fat is as simple as addition and subtraction. More output than intake until the fat goes, then a proper and healthy balance of intake and output. The most sensible way forward appears to be diet restriction and daily physical training.

What else about fitness?

Interestingly, there's actually a solid correlation between leg strength and head trauma in the aging population. Like it or not, I fall into that population. The correlation looks like this; those with stronger legs have both the strength and agility to avoid falling and/or to catch themselves and regain balance is they begin to fall. Those with weaker legs, not so much. Falling carries a high incidence of head trauma which itself carries a high incidence of bad outcomes. So strong legs are a real plus, and the only way to maintain strong legs is to exercise those legs. And unless you've got a bike built into the recliner, watching Oprah and popping bon-bons probably isn't the appropriate approach.

Also, here's an interesting study I blundered across. It looks very much as if -- in general and in the population as a whole -- Americans could add more than a decade of useful longevity to their lives by following five simple lifestyle guidelines. Don't smoke. Don't be fat. Don't drink alcohol excessively. Do at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily. Eat a properly balanced and appropriate diet.

If you think about it, the normally healthy body does all kinds of cool shit to keep itself healthy and functioning at a remarkable level. To maintain that into the advancing years, all you gotta do is stay out of the recliner, don't poison yourself, and keep a little bit active. But you gotta do it of course. Makes sense, right?

So if it's so simple, why do only six percent of Americans follow the recipe? Why do 94 percent of Americans, including myself, do only a couple (or none) of those things? Who was it who said, "common sense is the most uncommon of virtues"?

It's a good question. At the end of the day...



Holy shit! I went full Yoda! SMH.

Hope I'm not coming over all evangelical. I don't mean to lecture anyone but myself. In a lot of ways this post is pointed only at me. Just thinking at the keyboard.

"When you sleep in, you skip your workout, all of a sudden the donuts are starting to look pretty good, and then the next thing you know it's pizza and when you get home at night you're just watching tv, and that can continue on for days. Days turn into weeks and the next thing you know... you're fat and out of shape." Jocko Willink


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Rainy days and Wednesdays





The crafting (gag) of this post has proceeded in fits and starts. It is now Saturday afternoon. When I began, it was Wednesday afternoon...

I was talkin' to myself and feelin' old.

And it was raining.

But it was Wednesday, I didn't want to quit, and I had better things to do than frown.

It's a great line though, that "rainy days and Mondays." A lovely old Carpenters song with a lyric and melody that tend to play in my head on rainy spring mornings. Who needs bluetooth when you've got rockhead?

I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind...

No, no, that ain't the Carpenters!. though I really dig this cover, and a bunch of my brane synapses are conspiring to recall moments from times long past.



Um, where was I?

I remember. I remember a rainy day many years ago. I was in Junior High, probably seventh grade. It was springtime, and the memory of that day is infused with "last couple of weeks of school" flavor. Anyway, I walked out in the rain that day. It was probably lunch time and I suspect I'd spurned school lunch in favor of taking my grownup seventh grade self down to the malt shop, which was a leisurely stroll of six or eight blocks. I doubt it was raining when I set out, but it was certainly raining when I headed back to the ol' school yard. It was a warm rain, a very springtime rain, and I remember how good it feltto be walking in a warm rain in the middle of a world coming alive after a long winter sleep. Walking in rain without being bothered by the wet or by my soaking clothes. For some reason that memory has stayed with me and it's a delightful one.

I also remember becoming chilled later in class, and shivering miserably in my sodden clothes. That's a good memory too, though not quite as delightful. Kind of a yin and yang thing I guess, an early realization that life is complex with complicated rules and unanticipated twists and turns. A good way to learn about the no free lunch thing; that the price of walking in a delightful rain storm is often paid in time spent shivering.
Ninth Grade, but close enough for gubmint work.


Think this yearbook ad would fly in 2018? Oh the victimization!

Butt I digress.

Wednesday morning I was indeed talkin' to myself and feelin' old. Feeling stiff and sore and creaky anyway. I did some serious exercise walking on Monday and Tuesday, and though I'd kept myself somewhat active and on my feet over the winter, I didn't do any regular walking or hiking. So Wednesday morning I was stiff and sore and creaky.

And it was raining.

Despite the pain of my age-induced infirmities I wanted to get out and get in some road work. But it was raining. Should I skip it and take a day off? It was an attractive proposal.

Getting in a good hard hike was more attractive, so that's what I did, spurred in part by the memory of a springtime walk in the rain many years ago.

The first mile was miserable. My ankles were sore and stiff and made me feel awkward. It was hard to get a flowing stride going. And as always when getting my legs back into walking shape, my anterior tibialis muscles burned like fire. The Tibialis Anteior is the big muscle on the front of the lower leg that lies alongside and outboard of the shinbone. It's the one that gives a great deal of power to your stride, the one that you use to push off with. The deep, aching, burning pain that came with each step was anything but enjoyable.

Not my first rodeo though, and I know that powering through the pain is the key to success. It's easy to give in to the pain and quit, and doing so isn't the end of the world, but it does delay the goal of getting back in hiking shape.
Cows didn't offer to get me a wheelchair.

Puddles are always nice to see in this country.

'Zackly 15 miles north of the Colorado line.

Just in case.

Rainy.

There's a Longhorn hiding in there.

Smokebong hill, good for what ails ya.

Brewer's blackbirds and a black-throated sparrow.

Keeping the rain out.

So I pressed on, and as usual, muscle pain began to dissipate after the first mile as tightness eased and blood flowed. I ended up taking a route that went a couple of miles south of Kimball along Highway 71. It was damp and cool and the rain wasn't the warm rain of my memory, but I kept plenty warm as I strode along. The route was mostly uphill going out and downhill coming back, so it was a good workout. As usual when I walk along roads with traffic though, people kept stopping to give me a ride. A couple of them actually wanted to argue with me when I declined their offer and explained that I was exercising. Which raises the question, were they actually offering assistance to a fellow human being? Or was their mission to manipulate and control an object that they don't really regard as a fellow human being?


Good workout.


Thursday it rained again, and Thursday I hiked again.

I split the hike to stop by the hospital while Dad was getting a paracentesis done.


Yesterday it was fixing fence and pasture hiking. Also four runs of a 1,000-yard two-gun course. Two-gun is like golf, only more kinetic. Players are required to have two balls, even the girls. And speaking of golf, more people are murdered annually in this country by golf clubs and other bludgeoning instruments than by rifles and shotguns combined. Funny how the media can't report that.


Today I didn't want to go at all. Not a lot of energy on standby. But that's the way it's supposed to be actually. It takes time and effort to switch the ol' metabolism from winter storage mode to non-winter active mode. You gotta deplete the ready stores of energy (blood glucose and muscle glycogen) and make the body start freeing up energy stored as lipids. Slow and easy over an extended time works, but so does fast (relatively) and hard (relatively) over a shorter time-frame. The danger of going fast and hard is twofold; the possibility of injury increases somewhat, and so does the possibility of giving up because it's too hard. So far so good. We'll see if I pussy out or not.



Five charges (ahem) up smokebong hill today. East of smokebong hill is drug deal road, you see...



Drug deal road is where even prominent local businesspersonages go to get the stuff they need to survive. Poor bastards (and bastardettes!).


 Beautiful day out there today...






Monday, April 30, 2018

A short survey of a rather long list





After I got off work this morning (last week of the p/t winter job, yay!) I was feeling particularly lethargic. Not tired, really, but kinda blah. Not much energy or enthusiasm. Yes, I'd been up all night, on my feet, cleaning and retailing. But I slept good yesterday, I didn't work very hard at all last night, and there's usually a lot more juice in the tank come 7 a.m.

What was the problem? I don't know, but I suspect a lot of it was in my mind. Part of the problem, I suspect, is that I was feeling a bit resentful at my winter job for keeping me from enjoying the lovely spring weather -- and in particular -- from getting in the kind of workout I've been hungering for.

There's some pretty muddled thinking there, but there always is when it comes to resentment. "I need to get some rest so I can be up for working tonight, therefore I can't fix any fence or get in a hike today because that's not rest." The first part of that equation is sound, but the second part is not. You just don't need (and I can't even pull off) 16 hours of uninterrupted sleep in order to pull an eight-hour overnight shift. Is it even possible to fit something I want to do into those non-sleeping hours? The world wonders...

So why was I thinking my job was a big poopy-head meanie keeping me from doing anything fun and enjoyable?

Shit, I don't know. Sometimes I'm surprised I can dress myself.

One of the things (from the rather long list) that I take for granted is my Liberty. I am a grown-ass man, and I get to make my own choices. That's due in small part to things I have done to put myself in a situation where I have a lot of viable choices. But it's mostly due to the fact that I chose (ha!) to be born in a place where the First Principle was the first principle published by our nascent nation; where I am officially equal to all other human beings and where Liberty is codified as my unalienable right, granted not by the government or by my fellow humans but by my creator.

Yeah, I take that one for granted all the time.

So there I was this morning, all lethargic and whiny, but also suddenly and unexpectedly aware that I had choices to make because I bloody well have the unalienable natural right to make choices. Yeah! Firetruckin'-A! Choices! 'Merika!

So Nona the Wonder Dog and I went for a three-mile (2.81) walk. It wasn't an exercise walk, more of a leisurely amble with plenty of ball throwing on my part and ball retrieving on Nona's part. Took about an hour.


It did reveal through sore and tired muscles that I'm not in very good hiking shape at all. Doing the cornvenience store shuffle over the winter was better than sitting on my ass eating bon-bons and watching Oprah, but it wasn't anything like keeping in shape.

I weighed myself after the walk and the scale groaned and revealed that I'd gained 45 lbs over the winter. Yikes! Of course that's 65 lbs less than I weighed after the previous winter's bout with bone infection and surgery. That's a plus, but I really need to get off the dime, lose some lard, and get back in proper shape.

Which brings us to the second thing I take for granted -- my good health. Because of the overall excellent health the Lord has seen fit to bestow upon me, I have no doubt whatsoever that I can shed pounds and regain a level of fitness that stands well above that of most people in my age cohort. I take my good health so much for granted that I think nothing (or very little) of larding it up over the winter. There are countless people who would give or do anything to have good health like mine, because they have poor health and no possibility of ever attaining what I routinely take for granted. Kinda shameful, no?

After the three-mile (2.81) walk Nona and I went out to the ranch so she could caper and gambol and so I could treat Jeter and Red for ticks. I took a big North American Dog Tick nymph off of Jeter last evening.


That was just before I spent a few delightful minutes watching a PT-19 doing pattern work as sunset approached.








When I got home after treating for ticks it was still too early to hit the rack. I felt pleasantly tired after the morning walk, but I also had a hankering to go back out, enjoy the lovely weather, and get in some actual exercise. So I did. I went 4.1 miles in an hour, so my pace was 25 percent faster.


I also charged a steep hill five consecutive times. It's only 0.2 miles up the hill but it's got a progressive slope that starts at about 5 degrees and ends at about 40 degrees, so it's a good one for making the ol' ticker pound and the ol' lungs move lots of air.
Five times!

As I cooled down over the last half-mile I happened to notice a couple of people who do not enjoy robust good health. Good food for thought. Now it's off to bed, followed by a night of cornvenience store delight.