Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Details of Morgan Valley Marathon, July 28 2012

MORGAN VALLEY MARATHON, UTAH

July 28, 2012. Start time: 5:30 a.m. (yikes!) Still dark. Motorcycle cops are right behind us, lighting the way and prodding us on... I just got there barely in time, at 5:25 (yeah, had GI issues at the hotel) and I jump into last place (which I will defend with my honor) as everyone runs off like bats out of Hell. I'm exhausted at Mile 2 (whose idea was this???). 

At 6:00 a faint light peeps over the mountain tops. Everyone in this race except me is a hard-core athlete. They say it is a flat course. It is not. (Just look at the hills in the pic below!) They say it is a fast course. It is not. It is as fast as the person who runs it, which is not me. I become best buddies with a couple of poetic Honey Buckets along the course--not sure why this morning I had to have ---uhhh--- GI issues. At least the HBs have toilet paper. Can't complain. 

 I catch up with someone who thought she was last, and we jog along companionably. For too many miles we are on the bad side of Highway 84, on a road that parallels the highway, a couple of hundred feet up from it (which couple of hundred feet constituted a Hill which we had to climb and will constitute a downhill which will kill our quivering quads). The road is cambered, and that can make for a real pain in the knee! Traffic picks up on the road. It's a bipolar situation: half frantic highway scene, half bucolic repose. Plenty of horses, cows, calves, and roosters or trucks, semis, SUVs, and motorcycles. 

Finally we are back in the shelter of the valley. Not too many humans out this Saturday morning. But it is beautiful. Anywhere you look, there are mountains, fringed by velvety hills in a nice shade of chartreuse. Two trains chug along at the bottom of the valley. A couple of goats stare, not excited. Roadkill: One little kitty, three birds, and a half-dozen unidentified small mammals. Great water stations, very friendly and helpful. I vote mentally for the one at mile 8, I think it features a fairy with gossamer wings manning the Powerade distribution there. 

Cheerful ladies in a roaming executioners' cart offer to end my misery about 6 times between miles 9 and 22. Heroically, I decline. The med guy gives me 2 electrolyte pills. Why not? At mile 23, there is some Coke and some Otter Pops (what the heck is an Otter Pop?? who cares? it's cold!). Mile 23 to 24 is the most awful stretch, an empty village street that's straight and endless. Finally, Mickelsen mile! Almost shaded, twisty and turny, by the babbling brook. You can hear the finish line, but you're running in the opposite direction, until finally the course turns again and you can SEE the FINISH line. And you Finish. You get the medal, you get cold water, and you get a nice bag of ice for the knee!

View from the hotel in downtown Ogden, UT

August 1, 2012
I checked the Utah box on Saturday, July 28, 2012, after 5 hours and 47 minutes or so of slogging through the thin air and battling GI issues. But I did not finish last, just third from last. 

So that is State number 21. In 2012 I did Louisiana (Rock n'Roll New Orleans), Kansas (Land of Oz marathon), and now---drum roll please...

 Utah (Morgan Valley Marathon--Do more, Be more, Run Morgan!) 

That's me looking totally moronic about 100 feet from the Finish Line. Note the  stylish headwear. It was darn HOT out there as soon as the Sun jumped over the mountains. Unfortunately there was no crowd support a-tall to admire my new pink ruffled running skirt. Oh well... Vanitas gets me every time.


So, here are a few pics from my Day After at Antelope Island, near Salt Lake City, UT (just 15 minutes from where I was staying). There were tons of bisons, lots of little ones. Millions of birds too.

Taking my own picture about halfway up the trail on Antelope Island. 
Close Encounter of the Shaggy Kind!

See-through Bison at the Visitor Center. I bought a keychain with a pretty stone on it.

Two thirds of the way up the trail. Nice rocks--placid lake.

Plenty of these cutie-pies around too. This one paused so I could capture him on "film." 
Shirt and medal and postcards. Great colors on this technical V-neck short sleeve Tee. This marathon gave out good stuff. I think I got some GU chomps and a couple of tiny LED flashlights on keychains, among other goodies. Not pictured is a little one-strap backpack that I found very handy.

I just loved Antelope Island! There are a few trails, a beach with showers, a junk food concession,and a campground here. I spent about 2 hours soaking in the Lake. You can just sit there, and the salt water holds you up! Amazing. Theoreme d'Archimede: "Tout corps plonge dans un liquide recoit de la part de celui-ci une force verticale egale au poids du liquide deplace" or something like that.

 

July 2013 Update, about time!

So it's July 3 and I'm finally able to attempt re-entry into blogworld.
Okay, I have a lot of catching up to do. Whine: Ain't easy to take classes and work and still eat and sleep and run! It's insane! But insane people run in my family. At least, I do.

Anyway, I left it at hinting that I would talk about the Dakotas and Olathe, Kansas (Land of Oz), and Louisiana. Well, I've done a few more since my last posting. I'm up to 24 marathons for the 50-State Quest (29 marathons total).
Working backward: I trotted around Denver, Colorado, for a high-altitude jaunt in the Colfax Marathon on May 19, 2013. Before that, Columbia, South Carolina, was the site of my award-winning performance on March 9 2013 in the surprisingly cool and famously hot capital city marathon (yup, got third place in my division, but race directors have NOT sent me my award yet, whatever it may be, and before that, I juked it in Jackson, Mississippi, for the Mississippi Blues marathon on January 5 2013, in yet another capital city. I just love capitols. But I didn't see the one in Denver because it was shrouded (undergoing renovations, I guess), and it just looked like a big ugly water tower.

Best race so far for 2013 in terms of organization/swag: Mississippi Blues marathon. They played up the musical aspect and gave runners a harmonica and a blues CD, plus free entry (with free trolley transportation) to a bunch of nightclubs with cool blues performances after the marathon. Also best medal hands down, absolutely awesome and glittering, a guitar in sparkly blue... fabulous.



Best activity after the race: Columbia, SC, gave runners free admission to their wonderful museum of art, and by chance the Alliance fran├žaise was presenting a free play based on pictures at the exhibition. Spent a great Sunday there. Great exhibits, hilarious play. And the medal is sizable and original. But I want my 3rd place award, dammmmit! And those hills can give you pause (sore paws). And it was a two-loop course, so you knew you would do those darn hills again (I counted 37 hills). And some of us almost got killed when a driver raced through the intersection while we were running (he didn't see the cop). A close call...


Hardest run, and poorest organization, but best snow-capped mountain in the distance: Denver Colfax Marathon. The packet pickup was overwhelmed, the many miles on Colfax Blvd were boring, and of course the altitude got me (even though I live in Albuquerque, same elevation as Denver, I still don't do well with altitude...). And my t-shirt was not cut right, the shoulders are uneven and crooked, and the medal was unbelievably boring, a big 26.2, which had very little to do with Denver. How about some pointy mountains or something for next time?


So that's 2013, so far. I was contemplating Whitefish, Montana, next September, but I'm afraid of bears. Missoula was sold out when I looked into it. Note to self: sign up early for next year. I may do the RunWoodstock in Pinckney, Michigan--a 60s-themed race weekend. Get your groove on...

Keep backtracking.... Last year, in 2012 I started off with the New Orleans Rock'nRoll, post-Mardi Gras marathon in early March (March 3, 2012): very nice crowd support, excellent decorations of trees with beads in them from previous bacchanalia, nice rock bands, but let me tell you: the beignets they are so famous for don't hold a candle to the ones my maman used to make. I tried 2 different places, nope. They are too big, too mushy, floury, sugary. The real beignets should be small and spherical, crisp on the outside and tender but cooked on the inside. The monsters here were big ole boxes of starch. Ay ay ay... someone could make a fortune by setting up a stand with the real beignets... but I digress. anyway, below that is me at packet pickup, trying to look exotic with a blue flower in my hair.


 Getting back to running: on April 21 I hit the yellow brick road, which wasn't brick and wasn't yellow, but you can't have everything (in fact, you can't get your award!! I earned third place in my age group there too, but have I received my award? No sirree BOB!--and you can't get decent Gatorade either-the one dispensed on the course of the Olathe, Kansas, Land of Oz Marathon had been diluted 10 times more than it should have been--it was like drinking water with a pink crayon dipped in it. argh! I was depending on the Gatorade on the course, did not have my own, and ran out of electrolytes (aka mojo) at mile 17. That threw me for a loop. And I almost threw up after I crossed the finish line. Very upsetting! I cannot recommend that marathon, despite the nice witches and Dorothy's running around). 



Then on July 28 I was off to altitude in Utah for the Morgan Valley Marathon (Be more Do more Run Mor....gan! was the motto.) The weird part was starting in pitch black except for the motorcycles throwing garish light on my butt and pushing my pace. I was exhausted by mile 1. I was expecting a landscape more like the Moab area and was disappointed to find something that reminded me of Virginia. No tall  mountaintops. Nevertheless, the race crew was awesome (except for the lack of direction in some places, where being alone, of course, I had to ask innocent bystanding construction workers if they knew which way the marathon runners were supposed to go... sigh). Another big sad surprise was the Coke they promised at mile 20, which was about as hot as the surface of Venus in summer. Not refreshing... But hey, I finished. And the blue and orange t-shirt is nice. See below, sky and mountaintop, that's basically what I saw from Ogden where the hotel was, when I looked up.

Monday, July 16, 2012

January 2010 update

Dear One and Only, Single, and Unique Follower of my Blog, Revered Spirit and Not Ghost,
Sorry to let you down with so few entries since June 2009! How bored and dejected you must have been. My apologies are as sincere as my followers are numerous. But anyway.

To recap: 2009 saw me covering the distance in six marathons: 1. Tampa, FL (Gasparilla Distance): 1 March 2009; 2. Frederick, MD: 3 May 2009; 3. York, PA (Inaugural Bob Potts marathon): 31 May 2009; 4. Seattle, WA (Inaugural Rock'n'Roll): June 27, 2009; 5. Mesa Falls, ID: 22 August 2009; 6. Boulder City, NV (Inaugural Hoover Dam marathon): 31 October 2009.

FREDERICK MARATHON. After the Tampa Bay Gasparilla marathon in soggy, cold, windy Florida, it was time to stay close to home and revel in the beautiful spring weather that we enjoy in these parts in early May. Accordingly, I signed up for a marathon in my home state of Maryland ("America in Miniature"--hmmm, who thought that one up?), the Frederick marathon. My wonderful friend and erstwhile running coach Harold agreed to be my chauffeur for this expedition. By the way, the man is a machine: he hadn't run a stitch in months (no more than 12 miles since December) and was going to attempt the full 26.2 cold turkey (and he succeeded--especially the cold part--not the turkey!). So at 5 a.m., way before dawn cracked (into a miserably cold, windy, and rainy day) the Jag picked me up at the Home Depot on Shady Grove Road. When we arrived in the vicinity of Frederick, cars were already backed up, snaking all the way from the Fairgrounds to Interstate 270. As soon as we had parked on the grass, we headed for the powder rooms. Sheesh! It was dark as heck in those porta-johns.

One thing about this marathon business is that you have to be very aware, as a blind person would be, of the stuff you have with you, at all times. One year a friend who was driving a bunch of us to and from the Cherry Blossom 10-miler lost her car key in the john. That was one totally irretrievable key and a long way back home. But I digress.

It was not raining yet when we lined up, but boy was it dark, even after the sun rose. And fairly cold, 60 degrees, which is a good temperature for running as long as it stays dry. Everyone was chatty, as usual.
The course goes through old town Frederick for a bit, which is pretty and quaint and worth a visit under less rushed circumstances. Alas, rain started pouring at mile 3. Yuck. Soon we were out in farmland, trudging along on highways, one of which is the old National Highway, a scenic highway or by-way, which I am sure I will check out on a prettier day (and in a car) (with a nice hot cappuccino). Old-timey silos and barns, fields, very picturesque. I'll bet on a better day I would have seen some wildflowers too, which on this day the rain and mud probably drenched. The wind started picking up. It got colder. In the Wal-Mart parking lot I peed behind the dumpster. Hey, when it's that cold, you void. A few people were out cheering the runners, and I cannot be thankful enough for the brave souls who manned the water stations in that nasty weather. "Keep it up!" one spectator shouted enthusiastically at some point. "Keep it up?" responded a guy. "I can't even get it up! Too cold!" Harold, bless his heart, kept me entertained with his running commentary and snappy one-liners to the few lookers-on. But soon the spectators thinned out as the rain drummed onto our shivering frames.

We fell in step with "Barefoot Todd" or "Ted," an amazing runner based in California, but originally from around here, who runs marathons, well, barefoot (duh). I kept looking at the debris on the roadside and the pointy gravel and wondering how thick the soles of his feet must be. Maybe I should try it.

At the half-marathon point it got a bit crowded and confusing, because we couldn't tell in which direction we FULL marathoners were supposed to go. An innocent bystander pointed helpfully as we stopped and looked around, forlorn, for signs. "I think it's that way for you folks." Luckily, he was right. It's always nerve-wracking when you're barely halfway there and most of the people around you are half-marathoners and they are DONE and the crowd is CHEERING and bunches of runners are staggering around with huge smiles, wrapped in medals and mylar, stuffing cheese pizzas into their pie holes, and you have another 13.1 to go and you are friggin' LOST. (Note to race directors: have pity on the dummies who are doing the longer distance! Have the half-ers diverge early on and never cross our paths again!)

Then the hills began in earnest, the lovely rolling hills of Maryland. We ran down to the gently flowing Monocacy and then back up from the Monocacy into some vapid developments (note to race directors: lose this part--it's ugggly!). Hideous houses, horrible hills!
At mile 17 Harold announced a misbehaving knee, some general fatigue, and possibly some GI issues and sternly enjoined me to go on ahead without him. With a heavy heart and much sobbing I left him to his fate, caught up with Barefoot guy, lost Barefoot guy again, cursed the rain that was turning my toes into prunes, and slogged on. I had to stop several times and stretch due to a knee that was acting up, probably in a hypochondriac psychosomatic bout of empathy with Harold's knee. The wind kept blowing and I really felt it on the open road in the last few miles. I swear it was getting colder and colder. By the time I finally made it through the finish line, my teeth were actually chattering! I was in shorts and singlet and soaked to the bone. My shirt said "Will Run for chocolate," but at this point I was running for Survival, although a hot chocolate would have been nice too, come to think of it.

I finished in 5h06. I collected my medal, which is a nice piece of hardware featuring the famed steeples of Frederick with the sky cut out. Harold trailed in soon thereafter. Got some Sunflower chips and a banana, and then, because we were so cold, we bee-lined to the Jag across a sodden field, water up to our ankles. In an uncharacteristically prescient manner I had packed a complete change of clothes and shoes. Note to my mother if she is reading this: Harold has perfected the art of changing outside his car with perfect adherence to the concerns of modesty, and I managed to do the same inside the car.
Ah, how nice to have heated leather seats for the ride back home! I had run this as a "training run" and could start tapering for the Pennsylvania marathon, where for the love of God please let it not rain!
So that was STATE No. EIGHT. Only 43 more to go!

Apologies for Tardiness to My Two Followers

 Dear Two Followers of my bloviating blog: I am planning an update. Been kinda busy the last two years, what with being an old Babe in College again. I've made a little progress in my Marathoning across the 50 states + DC. As of 4/21/12 I have 19 states (+DC) under my fuel belt. SoooooOOOO, I have to tell you about all those other states I just nailed: the Dakotas! Kansas, Land of Oz marathon (yes, really)! My first ULTRA in Oklahoma! On, on and on in Kettle Moraine in Wisconsin! Maryland, my Maryland! Louisiana: Laissez les bons temps Rock'n'Rouler in New Orleans, mon chou. Mon beignet au sucre! Wait, there's more. I figure I'll get to posting stuff sometime before school starts again on August 20. For now, I'll just put up a few pics from my new abode, New Mexico, just because.
This is the view towards the mountain from my office window.
That faint blue haze in the background--that's the Mountain.
This is Alix posing as an Odalisque on a blow-up bed in my "office" when I had
 just moved into  Rockin' Cottonwood Ranch.
Note the handy orange Ikea toolbox on the floor--a lifesaver!

The first thing to do in Albuquerque is to take the Tramway up to the top of the Sandias. Great view! (View towards the south here.) And below is just another mind-boggling sunset...



Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tampa Bay, Florida, Gasparilla Distance Classic Marathon
March 1, 2009
State number 7! This is the point at which I decide for sure that I might as well try to run a marathon in each of the 50 states.
After suffering through frigid winter weather in DC, I thought Florida would provide a sunny, warm venue on March 1. But this was, so far, my coldest marathon (that is, for overall temps--San Antonio was colder in the morning) and my wettest and windiest. At the start line, about 1300 people gathered in the dark on a rough cobblestoned street. The forecast called for miserable weather: 40s, rain, wind, and possibly thunderstorms. Well, the gun went off, so off we went too, and the rain held off for about 90 minutes. I can't say the sun rose; let's say a pallid, sickly shade of mauve replaced the pitch black in the sky. We ran through some posh neighborhoods where every other yard had a For Sale sign clattering in the wind. I selected a couple of stately, beautifully landscaped properties for myself. A few crimson rays of sun appeared for just a few minutes, and then scary inky clouds obscured the light again, and the wind started, and the rain started, first as a sprinkle and then as a frenzied, battering downpour. My hair, dahlings, was Such a Mess! I was completely soaked within a minute. Socks drenched. Squish squish squish... Sneakers turned into Spongebobs. Yikes, 18.2 miles to go...
Now what you must understand is that because of a fine sinus infection that I had picked up in the middle of January, I had been out of commission and had NOT run for about 5 weeks because this illness was just incapacitating to the max. My longest run since January 15 had been 8 miles, a week before this marathon.
So, I knew I should not race this, but airfare and entry fee having already been disbursed, there was no way I was going to NOT show up. I figured I could just do a slow, fun sort of distance "walk-run." I pictured warm breezes, palm fronds swaying... But it was SO cold and SO wet and SO windy and SO just plain dreary that I couldn't walk--or I would freeze or get depressed to death! So I ran. But I really felt the lack of training. My knees were wobbly, my quads hurt, I was sure eight or nine blisters were forming, and breathing was tough (Humidity, about 200%). At some point I overheard a runner telling another that there was thunder further out and they might have to stop the race. My thought was, Oh, yes, good idea! would you PLEASE stop this torture?
As you can imagine, there was precious little crowd support, with this nasty stormy weather; but one lady in a pirate costume did her best to encourage us at mile 18 (arrgh, me hearties), and a few hardy, tanned folks under umbrellas, sipping steaming cups of java, casually cheered us on. ("You're almost done" is so cruel to hear when you know you've got 9, 8, 7, whatever number of miles left...) When I finally reached Mile 24, I was really spent and had to start walking, and what do you think happened? The clouds parted a bit, the rain stopped, the wind abated, and the sun shone for about 10 minutes. That little bit of sunshine was heaven. Reaching the finish line and getting that big, bad, piratical medal was heaven. Spent the rest of the day in bed, sleeping. Heaven.
Time: 4:56:32; Placed: 17/28 division/ 367/502 females; 1036/1307 overall.
Moral of this Marathon: State mottos are not all they're cracked up to be. Florida, the Sunshine State... yeah, right! : )
Actually, given the circumstances, the race organizers did a good job, and there was food at the finish, which was sheltered from the rain. And the medal rocks: Skull and crossbones, a symbol of the pain endured.
Note: Sadly, this marathon spoiler was the storm in which NFL players went out on a boat and were shipwrecked and only one guy survived.

Got Four More States Checked OFF!







November 16, 2008



San Antonio, TX--Inaugural Rock'n'Roll Marathon.



My time at SA marathon was not stellar; I was hoping to do a bit better, but I have a list of very good excuses, not the least of which is the rank and hideous hotel that I innocently booked and which forced me and my daughter to be outside the room two entire days before the marathon, mostly walking around about 40 miles a day. The stench of dead rats inside the hotel room was so overpowering we did not enjoy staying inside. Even with the night temps in the 30s we had the window open all night in order to breathe. The smoke detectors had been ripped out of the ceiling. The bathroom sink was clogged. The furniture was broken (yeah, we took pictures and we're complaining). Nuff said. We searched the city for another hotel room, but with the marathon and a big convention in town, nothing was available until Sunday (after the race...).

It was damn cold (37 degrees F) and dark when I set out at 5:30 am to catch the shuttle to the start line, too early perhaps but smart in retrospect, since I learned later that there was a snafu with some shuttles not returning to pick up about 1,000 runners, who waited and waited and finally crammed into taxis to get to the race start.

The starting area was very dark, with nary a shelter in sight. The only glimmerings were those of lovely frost formations on the grass. No Starbucks anywhere in the vicinity! No Starbucks? Can this be America? Nope, it's TEXAS! We the runners (those who had taken the early shuttles) stomped our feet and danced in place for 2 hours in order not to freeze and lose toes to frostbite. By the time the gun went off, we (meaning I) were (was) already exhausted. They let corrals out exquisitely slowly so that when mine was let go (# 16), it was almost 30 minutes after the gun start (and there were 16 more corrals behind mine). To prevent crowding on the course, the volunteers would wait until the previous corral runners were almost out of sight before releasing the next one. So when we were finally let out, everyone ran like bats out of hell to try to catch up with the runners way down there, far, far away. My first mile was just over 10 minutes, and I wanted it to be slower, but who could tell the pace? Everyone was passing me, it seemed. And it was so cold it felt good to move at last.






When the sun came up and over the buildings it finally warmed up, and I took off 2 layers on top and one on the bottom while running (hard to do the bottom part while running, but with practice I will get better). (Yes, I did have shorts under the sweat pants. And I wore my FTM singlet, the 2008 edition that says "The Marathon: 26.2. Never a doubt") I lost several minutes in a disgusting porta-potty. Unlike some of our trainers who emerge from those structures in a highly energized state, I was not invigorated by the sight or smell. How some people manage to smear their excrement all over the seat is beyond me. Is it that hard to just centrally position a rear end over the seat? I had to spend some time on logistics and then, after exiting, on warning the next person in line and exculpating myself. Note to self: Always carry your own tissues.

It got hot (75?) at around mile 15. Perfectly blue sky, lots of sunshine. The course was beautiful and scenic, if a little twisted (yes, I ran the tangents!), and tons of spectators and bands cheered us on. My daughter actually caught me at mile 9. I remember some old Spanish missions, I remember Victorian mansions to rival Charleston's best, I remember some hills, I remember a river, I remember more hills; in fact, I remember a 5-mile hill starting at mile 17 not unlike the return trip on the CCT that we often take on our long training runs; I remember that hideous and treacherous finish line hill, which nixed any hope of glorious last-minute sprinting to a triumphant finish. In short, I remember The Alamo! It was the same kind of feeling, except I think nobody died during this marathon. One spectator wearing a shirt saying in huge letters "YANKEES SUCK" appeared about thirty times along the course. How did he do that? I thought I was hallucinating. At the finish line my daughter was there with a camera, and we had the best cold beer(s) ever! (Glad she's finally of drinking age!)



But what of my FTM compatriot?? I looked for those elusive compression knee-high socks everywhere on the course and at the finish area but didn't spy Nick "the Brit" until later that evening at a Mexican restaurant (Mi Tierra, scrumptiously delicious, we went there three times for breakfast [and that was just on one day!]). Ah, yes, nothing takes the hurt of the marathon out of you better than a couple of margaritas and a good steak! (Unless you're vegetarian, in which case I recommend the cheese enchiladas iCaramba! idelicioso!) All in all, a good race for me, my tenth marathon, finished in 4:45:44, missing perfect fours by 60 seconds. Pace: 10:45 minutes per mile. (Curses on you, porta-potty!) Placed 86/280 in my division, 1505/3511 females, 4055/7526 overall.

That's it, my peeps, I had a fun time. I recommend this race: great crowd support, beautiful course, fun bands every mile or so, and did I mention ice-cold foamy beer at the finish? By the way, when I landed in San Antonio and saw the line at the car rental, I decided to do without the petroleum-mobile, and that was a brilliant move--you really don't need one unless you want to explore the hill country outside San Antonio. San Antonio itself has a great trolley system, which we used all the time, and the people are extremely friendly. Also, The Riverwalk is just wonderful to stroll along; however, the better restaurants are NOT on Riverwalk. So do give San Antonio a try. But don't book the cheaper hotels. And bring a disposable fur coat and a portable heater to the start line. And sanitizing wipes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Guns in National Parks

Sick but true: weapons of small-mass destruction are to be allowed into our National Parks. ("House approves measure to allow guns into national parks" Washington Post Thu May 21, A6). Who are these 105 "Democrats" who backed this insane idea? If it is a right to carry a gun, that right should be observed, respected, and enforced in any public place, correct? Why then are gun owners denied their rights in Federal buildings? in schools? on airplanes? If guns are not a threat to MY life in a National Park, they should not be a threat to anyone's life anywhere, including schools, airplanes, and Federal buildings. Is the life of an air traveler, an elected official, or school age child more sacred than that of a hiker in a National Park and require special protection? I think not, unless our sense of ethics is seriously twisted. Therefore, I submit that if guns are allowed in National Parks, guns should be allowed in the Capitol, during White House tours, and on airplanes.

Full-needled cactus jab to the 279 morons who passed this bill in the House.