Monday, December 19, 2011


I'm a shitty runner. I mean a really, really shitty runner. I'm talking 13 minute mile shitty. It took me over 3 hours to run 11.1 miles. Sure, there was 1600 feet of elevation gain, but really, 3 hours? So it got me thinking yesterday, will I ever be able to run a 50k? A 50 mile? I guess if I had 5 or 6 days to set aside I might, but until then I'll just need to find some satisfaction in spending hours alone in the woods. I guess it won't matter to me much that I won't ever enter a race, after all, a good part of the reason I run is to get away from human beings, even nice hiking/running human beings. I've learned a lot about myself out there. I've learned that when the pain begins, it eventually goes away. I've learned to enjoy the few precious moments when the bewildering misfiring of chemicals in my head miraculously quiet themselves. I've learned that I no longer crave the swirling chaos of the city. I've learned that she and I had our few 'moments in grace' and now they are gone. I've learned that I need less and less to live a satisfying life. I'm still learning to make peace with what I see and feel when I'm out there; when the temperature is in the high teens, the sun barely rising over West Mountain, and the silence serving as both blessing and curse.

This is a brief explanation of why Nuclear Lake is, in fact, named Nuclear Lake. It's taken from the blog "Bean Road":

Nuclear Lake, in a hollow beneath West Mountain in Pawling, New York, is a beautiful spot with a troubled past.

When I was teaching physics at the Trinity-Pawling school in Pawling, the Appalachian Trail south of Pawling was a long roadwalk. The National Park Service bought a large parcel of woodland with the intent to reroute the trail. The process took several years however, because the property had been operated by the UNC (United Nuclear Corporation) and was the site of one of the few private uranium and plutonium research facilities in the United States. But nuclear research alone was not the main concern. In 1972, a chemical explosion blew out two windows in the north side of the laboratory, spewing an unknown amount of plutonium dust through the woods. United Nuclear cleaned up the property at a cost of $3 million, but local residents and Appalachian Trail hikers were concerned about the potential health risks.

In 1980, the old buildings and retention tanks were still there on the shore of Nuclear Lake, abandoned and decaying. Nearly 30 years later, the AT has been rerouted, and it now passes the site of the old laboratory and hugs the west shore of the lake. The old UNC sign and the buildings are gone now, though several large clearings remain.

It somehow makes sense that I would run at the site of a nuclear disaster...

On a side not, This 829 lb bear was killed in North Jersey, not too far from Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain. I would kick that things ass:

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