Morning Run in San Diego: Checking out the Bay Front – San Diego part 3

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Easing myself out of bed, I decided to go for a run to test out my Luna Sandals for the first time. It’s been in the 20-30s since I got them, and I don’t have any toe socks, but just like I figured San Diego wouldn’t disappoint. This is the view from the hotel going down for my run in the 55 degree weather.

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Now clearly the 55 degree bliss was missed by the locals who were wearing multiple layers to run, but there were a few people out in reasonable clothes for a jog. The trail was nice and level and people were friendly. I found my pace and relaxed and just enjoyed the views and snapped a few pictures as I went.

I started out next to the Star of India and the Midway, but I wasn’t in a steady enough pace to really get a good shot of those. I’ll have to snap a couple of pictures when I get a chance sometime before I leave.

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I ran by this marina and park where they were setting up a wine festival just east of the convention center. These wonderful trees made the slow rise of the sun feel otherworldly especially with all the activity going on behind them this early in the morning.

Now at this point I had sort of planned on turning around.

This was my first run in a month, and the convention was going to take a lot out of me walking mile after mile between sessions. The plan was for 2 miles, but I was already past that with a turn around. But the level ground felt nice and my legs weren’t tired.

Besides, there was plenty more to see.

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After passing this marina, I felt like turning around, but then I saw this cool looking sort of suspension bridge – sort of because it looks like the suspension is far more aesthetic than structural, and I decided to run over it before turning back.

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When I got to the top, I snapped a picture of the convention center that I would be spending the next couple of days at. Then I headed back for a shower and some breakfast before the long day began. IMG_3131

Hearing President Jimmy Carter at the American Academy of Religion

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Jimmy Carter spoke tonight in as the first president to ever speak to the American Academy of Religion or Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting. His topic? The Role of Religion in Mediating Conflicts and Imagining Futures: The Case of Climate Change and Equality for Women.

Without any pause or preamble or any sign of his 90 years behind him except for the wealth of knowledge President Carter spoke concisely and eloquently in great detail on the issues facing women and how the issues facing women will become even greater do to the consequences of climate change.

The statistics were galling:

60,000 americans are sold in to slavery every year, predominantly women.

160 million little girls are killed simply because they are women – mostly by their fathers and relatives.

Women still fight for equal pay, fair distribution in the market place. Carter himself noted that where women have been involved in the peace making process there has been a higher rate of success. He even asks that all conflicts being mediated bring along women for their insight and ideas.

Climate change will only exacerbate the problems that women and girls face around the world. When bread runs short and people are hungry, the food will get passed to the boys.

Carter speaks rightly that this behavior comes from Muslims and Christians and Jews and people of all faiths misreading and misrepresenting their sacred texts. When questioned on the particularity of the verses that he verifies this notion with, he first claimed that it was not his area of expertise – he was after all nothing but a “peanut farmer and sunday school teacher” – he still teaches Sunday School at his home church.

Then he noted that Genesis claims we are made male and female in the image of God, and only if we hold up Genesis 2’s account over Genesis 1’s account can we start to ignore the equality in which we are created and loved by God as female and male. Like wise he brings out the passage where Paul claims that neither Jew nor Greek, nor Slave nor Free, nor Male nor Female but all in Christ.

He may claim no scholarship, but his love for neighbor in abstract throngs spread across the globe as well as the person across the table surely sets Jimmy Carter up as a great lover of people. He even challenged the scholars in the room to teach themselves and their students to love the person in front of them and be wary of only loving in the abstract.

His talk on Climate Change and his commitment to peace alongside his friends and his center are more than inspiring. Even if you may disagree with him, respecting the man that made the speech tonight is just a simple choice of respecting someone who really lives out the two fold commandment to love God and neighbor.

Because of that, I had no problem waiting in line to get my book signed.

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Luna Sandals Review: Part 1, The Bay Front

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Minimalist footwear is a bit of a thing these days thanks to Barefoot Ted appearing in McDougall’s “Born to Run”. Vibram fivefingers brought me into this little niche world, and I’m still on the band wagon. My most recent acquisition is a pair of Luna Sandals.

This morning I headed out along the bay front in San Diego for a quick two mile run to try these puppies out.

Well sheer enjoyment took over of the scenery and the shoes. I only quit after five miles feeling pretty refreshed, it was too far honestly and I knew I’d be walking at my conference all day. I still don’t have any regrets.

The running sandals: Ok, there are quite a few options on Luna’s website, but it’s set up well and pretty easy to navigate to get what you want. The only qualm I have with the ordering process is that I couldn’t tell if I had to order the straps separately or if they came with. They definitely come with, and if anyone needs an extra pair of laces just get in touch…

Now I went for a sale option for $55 (normally $90) I ended up with Luna Venado Sandals. This is a pretty basic pair with no frills to speak of. The only frill I opted for was the MGT footbed which is supposed to be good when wet and sandy. The first is good because my feet sweat, and the latter because trails around my area tend to be dusty/sandy. The leather might be a more comfortable option, but I’m liking these so far.

The site claims that these (the venado model) are the pair you want for handling trails and concrete along withe the mono model.

Ok, so how did they feel?

First off, they felt really really light. I mean, I’ve been running with five fingers for years now which are not hefty by any means, but these felt lighter and nimbler. The open air on the top of my feet kept the sweat from building up and making my feet prune like, and this over longer runs I think will be something I really appreciate.

They are as comfortable as my five fingers and when properly tightened (just tighten the strap) they didn’t move for me at all. In a related issue that is important for distance runners, there was no rub what so ever. A few weeks ago I was walking around in them and discovered that they were rubbing in the heal, but after looking up how to tighten the shoes properly, I had no problems at all in the heal. My feet stayed nice and planted over the whole five miles.

The trail this morning was incredibly flat being right by the bayside (more about that tomorrow). So, this review isn’t finished.  Now by the time you read this, I hope to have taken them out to run in Balboa Park to test out how they do on hills, the dirt, the mud, the gravel, and maybe a little sand and rocks. After that, I hope I have a solid positive verdict on these little sandals which are definitely one of my favorite things to wear already.
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Surfing Lessons!

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Surf Lessons have been a bucket list item of mine for about 10 years, and two days ago I got to give surfing a try. It was every bit as fun as I had imagined.

Josh and I started out on these gigantic foam boards in wetsuits. The idea is that the extra foam supports your weight better and the extra width and length makes it a bit easier to balance. After a few minutes of instruction our instructor took us out into the waves.

We were pretty bad.

I may have stood up on second try, but it was not for long.

For a while I struggled and fought with the large foam board, but I realized pretty quickly that I couldn’t really get my arms around it. More energy was going into lugging the thing around than anything else. So, I swapped the board out for a narrower, shorter, and much lighter board which the instructor told me would be more difficult.

He was definitely right.

It wasn’t just harder, it took a completely different way of situating myself to get up.

But I started to get the hang of it, and I realized that the wetsuit was not only making me hot but was keeping me from moving freely. Heading in to the shore, I stripped down to my trunks and went back out. After a few more minutes I started to catch the wave a little better and managed to get up a few times for longer and longer each time.

After I felt like I had just started to really enjoy myself and not fight the surf so much, it was time to head in.

I’m still not proficient by any means, but I’m looking forward to my next trip.

San Diego Trip: Part 1

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Flying into San Diego today I snapped a few pictures of the aircraft carriers and other vessels in port. But even the impressive views from the plane didn’t get me ready for San Diego. I’m mesmerized so far.

About fourteen years ago my family saddled up the car just after I got my drivers’ license to head to San Diego from a little town North of Austin, Texas. My first drive post passing the test, and I drove over several days to California. We wen through San Diego, but we really didn’t get a chance to explore. My dad has an unfortunate habit of trying to cram too much into one trip and missing out on some cool opportunities in the process.

I inherited this little foible.

When ever I travel I try to cram everything in that I can, but cramming doesn’t make what you’re doing more fun or really give you a chance to connect to any particular spot.

It’s my initial impression, but as we stood out on Point Loma looking out over the city, it felt as if you could spend a life time in San Diego and not see everything or go to everything. The mountains behind the city looked like a big sandbox to play in, the running trails by the coast and bay, and seeing all the restaurants all of these things just seemed to crash in like a wave.
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I like this place already.

Give me a few more days and I may just be in love.
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Litographs: One of my Favorite Ideas

Over the last couple of years my wife and I have collected a few Litograph posters. What are they? Well they are the words of a book shaped into a picture that represents the book in question.

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In this one they took the words “Through the Looking Glass” (Alice in Wonderland) and made it into the image of Alice falling. Now in this image you can’t see the words as they are, but on the proper site with the link above you can take a look at the zoom pictures and see just how intricate the work is. When you get the poster you could read the book from the image.

We have a couple of Jane Austin books, “The Heart of Darkness” by Conrad, and Newton’s “Optics”.

They don’t just sell posters but also totes. Courtney really wanted one of those and ended up getting “Emma” by Jane Austin. Not our favorite of Jane’s books, but the image was a little more interesting than the one for Persuasion.

Now some of the images don’t contain the whole volume, but the idea still amazes me. I still enjoy looking up at Newton’s “Optics” and Conrad’s work, and I still hope to have an opportunity to add to my collection. The depictions of the New Testament and the Torah are absolutely beautiful with words made to look like parts of a stained glass window.