Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Road Running Kit v3.0

Yesterday's run was hot one. Half way through I realized I'd forgotten to tape my nipples and I was beginning to chafe. Ouch!  I stopped, busted out my running kit, cut two strips of tape, applied them, and was off and running. Chafing emergency averted.

As I was restocking my kit I realized that it's been years since I published its contents. I've made notable improvements since v2.0. Here's what I carry now:

The contents include:

  • Cash
  • Heavy duty fishing line wrapped around a bread clip
  • #22 surgical blade
  • Handkerchief
  • Credit Card
  • My usual keychain. Includes: tweezers, 3ft of cordage, Benadryl, P-51 can opener, safety pin, whistle, derma safe razor, pill container with $20 and a set of rare earth magnets
  • Surgical mask
  • Leuko Tape
  • KT Tape

All this fits into a normal sized SPI Belt. For trail runs I use a slightly larger belt pack and add in an SOL Heatsheet.

The tape and handkerchief solve most medical issues. The blade, cordage and keychain tools help with repairs. The surgical mask is a Covid addition intended for use when stepping into a business with  a mask requirement. The cash and credit card solve everything else.

Given how compact and versatile this kit is, I can't imagine running without it.

v1.0 and v2.0

Monday, July 12, 2021

Bull Run Campground: 24 hours of Outdoor Fun

Last birthday we gifted 5 year old S. camping gear and a promise that we'd do a camping adventure. And then Covid hit and we went a year without leaving the house. Now that things are open we were all more excited then ever to tackle our camping adventure.

When Shira and I hiked the BROT we learned that at the Bull Run terminus there was a campground. We did some research and learned that not only was there camping, but there was also a Water Park. That sealed the deal: we decided we'd have our camping adventure there.

Friday night, after just 40 minutes of driving, we found ourselves at a classic car-camping site. We had a fire pit, picnic table, space for a tent and 100 yards away, clean bathrooms.

It was fairly late, so we quickly went to work setting up camp. Shira and S. worked to setup the tent, with the highlight being S. pounding in stakes using the mallet we purchased. Once the tent was setup, S. realized there were various tree nuts scattered throughout the campsite. He collected them up and started cracking them open with his mallet. Let me tell you, collecting up nuts and smashing them may not seem like much, but you've got to try it. Talk about a simple pleasure in life. S. was happy. We were happy S. was happy.

Shira and I finished setting up the tent, filling it with sleeping gear and then I clumsily started a fire.

As the sun went down, we roasted marshmallows over the fire and looked forward to a full day of adventure the next day.

We had quite the packed schedule on Saturday. We started with a treasure hunt to a nearby Geocache. S. found the cache, but alas, there wasn't any exciting treasure to be found in it. I'd brought 3 mini-"Lego" sets camping for S. to build. The idea: he'd leave one in the cache in exchange for a treasure and take the other two home. With no loot to be had, he was glad to keep all three vehicles. I always over-think what to leave in Geocaches, and I think these small knock-off Lego sets are ideal.

After Geocaching, some playground time and lunch, we walked the short distance to Atlantis to cool off. S. enjoyed exploring the kids area and getting dumped on by the massive water bucket. And then he and I made our way into the pool. They had life jackets for the kids, which S. donned. This let us roam the whole pool, from the area where he could stand to the deepest parts (5 feet!). While an older kid may have scoffed at Atlantis, S. loved it all. We finished our water time adventure with ice cream sandwiches. Yum!

We had one more adventure to tick off before I could call our camping experience complete: fishing. We grabbed my ultralight fishing rod and headed out on the Bull Run Occoquan Trail. We made it to Cub Run where we turned off the trail and headed up an un-named path to follow the creek.

We finally found a spot where the fishing looked like it might work. I asked S. what color Trout Magnet lure he wanted to use, and he picked solid gold. Nice. I gingerly tossed the tiny lure into the stream and waited a few moments. Bam! Fish on! I reeled in a 3 inch Sun Fish. Whoo! There were fish in the water.

For the casts after that I had S. reel in the line. On his second attempt he pulled in a whopper: a 4.5 inch sunfish! We were all overjoyed. S. had caught the biggest fish of the day, and I'd delivered on my promise that we'd be able to go fishing.

We walked more of the trail to see if we could find other fishing holes, but ultimately, returned to our first spot on Cub Run. There we pulled out sunfish after sunfish, marveling at each catch.

I have to say, Bull Run Campground really delivered. It blows my mind that we got the complete camping experience and did so a mere 30 miles from our home.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Review: The Wisdom of the Talmud

My Sister-in-Law gifted me a 1950's copy of Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser's Wisdom of the Talmud. I was curious how a 70 year old book would explain a nearly 1500 year old text.

Most of what Bokser has to say about the content of the talmud lined up with what I've pieced together over the years. I was re-introduced to a number of our sages and I marveled at how their philosophies have endured throughout generations. When I consider that I can articulate points of view that after 10 or 20 years no longer make sense, it's all the more amazing that Rabbis of old got so much of it right.

Pursue peace, strive for humility, practice kindness, seek knowledge, provide education for all; these values are so familiar that they hardly seem worth articulating. And yet they were, and in a number of ways still are, revolutionary.

But what really blew my mind in Bokser's work were the chapters leading up to the content overview of the Talmud. These chapters provide a historic account that deftly shows how the Jewish people transitioned from biblical tribes to a centralized priestly religion to the loosely organized Rabbinical faith that we practice today. Bokser covers the people, events and critical changes that made this journey possible.

While I was familiar with many of the events and names that Bokser highlights, I'd not seen them connected in such a clear way. In short, I could grasp that there were both Biblical, Temple and Rabbinical versions of Judaism, but not how we smoothly flowed from one to the other.

Judaism tends to be a religion that focuses on continuity and adhering to traditional practices. Dietary restrictions, for example, aren't re-evaluated on a regular basis to keep them in line with modern sensibilities. Instead, they are derived from ancient texts and remain as unchanging as possible. And yet, as Bokser makes clear, it's only through change that the Jewish people were able to survive.

For example, without transitioning to a fixed calendar in 359 AD it would have been extraordinarily difficult to keep the dispersed communities' holidays in sync. Surely it felt wrong to abandon the procedure for determining dates based on observation and testimony; what with hundreds of years tradition behind the practice. And yet, acts like this are precisely what allowed Judaism to continue into the future.

Perhaps the highest complement I can pay to Bokser's text is this: once I finished reading the book, I immediately flipped back to the historic chapters to re-read them.

To connect the dots of my ancestor's history wasn't something I'd previously considered. Now I wonder why I didn't search this information out sooner.

Thanks Sis, what a treat this book turned out to be!