Monday, August 22, 2011

"White Nose Syndrome" A inconvenient truth everyone needs to know about.

My family and I visited the Oregon Caves on August 19th and it was here that I learned of the White Nose Syndrome. Apparently all over the United States and Canada, bats are getting a white fungus and it is waking them up early from hibernation and they are starving to death. I was told because of this, there will be more mosquito's, because that is one of the bats food sources and in turn, more and more pesticides would have to be used on our foods. This effects everyone. 

White Nose Syndrome

Why are America’s Bats Dying?
Since the winter of 2006-2007, at least one million insect-eating bats from at least nine states have died from White Nose Syndrome (WNS). This disease, named for the white fungus often seen on the muzzles, ears, and wings of infected bats, poses a threat to cave hibernating bats of the United States and potentially all temperate regions of the world.   The fungus, scientifically called Geomyces destructans, invades the skin of bats, producing ulcers and often altering bats’ hibernation arousal patterns, making them leave their hibernation before they are ready and causing them to starve. 

WNS has been detected in fourteen states: New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, and Oklahoma, and in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario.  
BLM Reminds Public; Abandoned Mines are Closed to All Access

brown bat with white nose syndrome
A brown bat with white nose syndrome
Credit: Marvin Moriarty/USFWS

What is causing this?
Scientists are still studying the fungus, trying to determine how it is transmitted, how quickly it affects bats and why it affects them. Researchers do not yet know if WNS emerged because the fungus was introduced into caves or if the fungus already existed in caves and began infecting bats for some other reason. WNS is likely spread by contacts among bats and with other environments. However, movements of humans and other animals between caves could also promote the spread of WNS. Scientists are currently working to determine if fungal infection is the sole cause of WNS-associated bat mortality. 
What does this all mean? 
Bats are important plant pollinators. By eating the nectar from agricultural plants, such as fruit trees, bats help flowering plants reproduce. Most flowering plants cannot produce seeds and fruit without pollination – the process of moving pollen grains from the male part of the flower to the female part. Over 300 species of fruit depend on bats for pollination. These fruits include mangoes, bananas, and guavas. If bats disappear, the fruits you love may become scarce.   
Mariana fruit bat, Guam
This fruit bat lives in Guam.  Fruit bats are important for pollination.
 little brown bat with white nose syndrome
This little brown bat has white nose syndrome.
You can see the white substance on his face.
Photo courtesy Al Hicks, New York Department of Environmental Conservation

Bats also help control nocturnal insects, some of which are agricultural pests or vectors for human disease. Almost any insect that is active at night can be food for a bat, including moths, beetles, flies, crickets, gnats, mayflies, wasps, and mosquitoes. An individual bat can eat its body weight or more in insects every night. It is estimated that the one million bats killed by WNS to date would have eaten more than 5.5 tons of insects per night or 2.4 million pounds of insects per year. Bats are an important element in the ecology of caves. Many forms of cave life depend upon the nutrients brought in by bats and released from their guano (feces).
Bats are adapted to high rates of survival (many of them live beyond ten years of age); so many bats only have a single “pup” each year, which prevents overpopulation in healthy bat species. Scientists are worried bat populations will not quickly recover from such devastating losses, which means an ecological balance will be altered in the wake of their absence.
Bats are an important part of our natural system. There are over 1,000 species of bats worldwide and they make up about a quarter of all mammal species. Bat populations all over the world are declining for various reasons. 
Does WNS pose a risk to human health?
WNS is in caves and mines that have been visited by hundreds of people during the past three years, yet there have been no reported illnesses attributable to it. However, because scientists are still learning about WNS, we do not know if there is a risk to humans from contact with affected bats, and we cannot advise you about human health risk. 
How can I help?
Public land agencies across the country are working together to help prevent the spread of the fungus. Scientific evidence suggests that humans spread it from one cave to another with their boots, clothing and anything they bring into the cave. Some caves have been closed to human access, and still others may be closed to prevent the fungus from spreading further.
-If a cave is closed in your area, do not enter the cave. 

Download this brochure about White Nose Syndrome and take it with you!
Going to enter a cave?  Learn how you can decontaminate yourself and your gear after entering a cave, so you can help save America's bats!
Download our Decontamination Procedures brochure and take it with you, so you can avoid contaminating Idaho's caves.

It is very important to follow decontamination procedures if you are entering caves!  Follow these procedures from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:
Decontamination Procedures

Other useful links:
biologist entering cave
A biologist enters a cave wearing protective gear.
He will make sure he changes and/or disinfects his clothing, footwear and gear using proper procedures before entering another cave. 
White-Nose Syndrome in Bats

Close-up of white-nose infected bat
Ryan von Linden/New York Department of Environmental Conservation
Bat infected with white-nose syndrome
Help protect our bats! Avoid spreading the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, a fatal disease in bats.
White-nose syndrome was first observed in bats in 2006 in a cave in New York. Infected bats show a white fungus on their muzzle, ears, and/or wings. Unfortunately, the cool, moist conditions in which bats often hibernate seem to provide an ideal environment for this fungus to grow. This disease has killed over a million bats in the eastern US and Canada and is spreading west. View the latest news and maps from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
White-nose syndrome has not been detected in any bat at Oregon Caves. We want to keep it that way!
There is nothing wrong with visiting other caves. We understand why you like them – caves are fascinating environments, and no two are alike! But if you have visited any cave, mine, or bat hibernation site east of the Rocky Mountains in the past six years, or any cave in Europe, there is a chance you could bring the disease fungus with you when you visit Oregon Caves. Research has found that spores from the fungus that causes white nose can remain on clothing, gear, and footwear, even after they have been washed.
What to do:
  • Do NOT bring any clothing, footwear, or gear to Oregon Caves that was used in any white-nose infected site. As of March 2011, this restriction applies to any cave, mine, or bat hibernation site east of the Rocky Mountains or in Europe. This is subject to change based on the spread of white nose. View the latest map.
  • Disinfect anything worn or used in any cave, mine, or bat hibernation site more than 10 miles away from Oregon Caves before you visit. It is especially important to disinfect outer layers of clothing and the tread on footwear. Laundering your clothes does not adequately disinfect them. View instructions (68 kb, pdf) on how to disinfect your clothing and gear.
  • Avoid hibernating bats. Stay out of all bat hibernation sites in winter. Bats appear to be most susceptible to white-nose syndrome while they are hibernating. They are also very sensitive to light and noise. If you awaken them, they needlessly use up energy that they have stored to make it through winter, a time when they have no food source.
  • Report unusual bat deaths. If you observe unusual bat behavior or unexplained bat deaths in Oregon, call the Wildlife Health Hotline, 1-866-968-2600. In other states, contact your state wildlife agency.
Learn more:
  • View the latest news and maps posted by the US Fish & Wildlife.
  • Read the National Geographic article.
  • Watch the Oregon Field Guide episode.
  • Download the Oregon Caves White-Nose Syndrome brochure (752 kb, pdf).
This page was last updated May 19, 2011.


  For further reading:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Love is like grass" A story that involves me opening up to my readers.

"Love is like grass. If you fall on it, it may leave a stain and some temporary pain. But you'll get over the pain, it will eventually stop hurting.Now maybe the stain ruined your favorite pair of jeans, or maybe it was nothing special that was ruined, but either way the stain remains there. And with time, it will begin to fade, but it will always be there, a permanent reminder that you, too, once fell"

Today I was thinking about my father and how we used to have a lot of wonderful conversations prior to his stroke almost 2 years ago. In just one afternoon, his world gets completely turned upside down. 1 day he is fine, the next, he has a stroke.

With the combination of his stroke and his Dementia kicking in, it's challenging for him. He can't communicate well. He knows what he wants to say,but can't get the words to come out. He in turn, gives up. He says "oh forget it!" I often wonder how upsetting it is for him. He wants to talk to his family and friends, but finds it very challenging. So what he does is withdrawal from others.

Once again, my father is in the hospital. This time it is for chest pains and a blocked artery. While he is going to be fine, I find myself both sad and mad.

I am sad because he is my dad and I love him. I miss our conversations. I am upset that I had to move away to another state. I miss my dad. When he hurts, I do too.

I am mad because it seems that too many people in this world throw away relationships and they unable to forgive and love. I know people who refuse to forgive a parent, they refuse to pick up the phone and make things right, when they know they should. I know people that won't talk to their own children and I know people who have thrown away marriages instead of working things out.

“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.”

Life is too short for grudges.

You know, I have a tendency to push people away? I feel that the hurts that I've experienced in my life, I have become such a private person, really only opening up to those that I know that I can trust. I've heard complaints that I am not an open person. But to fully open up to someone, to share your inner most thoughts and desires, knowing you will not be judged, that takes trust. I have found that I can write in my blog, I feel that I am able to fully express my feelings. I know that I will publish these writings for all the world to see, I am still able to do so.

"We're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone-but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy."
A photo of my siblings and father. I'm the youngest.

My only hope is that as my Dad's health progresses from bad to worse, I won't withdrawal. I will still go and see him. I fear of the opposite. I fear that I will withdrawal and it will only hurt me.

Many nights, I go to sleep sad, wake up in the middle of the night with a heart that hurts. ♥♥

I still have that chance and I am blessed.

Love you Dad~

My secluded running trail

There is a trail in the Redwood Forest that I was introduced to by Mr. R. Hirt, a 74 year old Ultra Marathon runner. He has ran the Western States 100 several times and still participates in 100's, 50's, 50K's.

When I run on this trail, I rarely see anyone. I think I have seen less than 10 people since we moved to town January of 1011. Most of them were on horses. For any locals reading this, I just gave you a clue to where I like to run. For safety reasons,  I don't like to publicly announce where I run.

Another trail hooks on to this trail and that is a trail where all the tourist go, it's a drivable trail. The trees are of course pretty. The tourist also like to go to a overly populated trail known as the boy scout trail. I find it boring, even as a hike. I find the trees on my deserted trail much prettier and I like the secluded part of my trail, makes it more mysterious. I even like the initial huge hill, lucky for me, it's getting easier.  I wish people would research more when they decide to come up to the Redwoods. I wish people could see what I've seen. Even hiking with my family, they just don't go far enough.

Today, I even noticed a tree that I have gone by many times. I mean, I really noticed and it is extremely huge, it's width and height. I wish others could see it. It's a shame. Really.

I have even noticed that people who drive on the drivable trail, drive too fast, even when they appear to go slow. You really appreciate beauty more when it's done with repetition and patience.

I don't make a habit of carrying a camera with me while I run, but have seen these "special and hidden" trees many times.  Most of the trees that I have photographed have been while hiking.

I drove by this tree numerous of times, until the day that I ran by and saw someone peeking inside of it. You can actually walk inside the tree. The view is really neat and I wonder how many other hollow trees are in the forest that nobody knows about?

I've driven and ran by this stump numerous of times before realizing you can walk to the top of it.

 Perhaps I should carry a camera.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gray Whale Watching in Klamath, Ca

As of August, 12th, 2012, it has been 52 days since the gray whale entered the Klamath River and she is beginning to deteriorate, she is showing signs of wear and her behavior for wild animals isn't normal. The whale is swimming around the U.S. Highway 1001 bridge in Klamath. Her calf was with her but has gone back to the ocean. There have been efforts to get her to go back to the ocean, all failed. She is being monitored by biologists.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Other thoughts on the Mt. Hood 50

"Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'" Peter Maher'

Running the Mt. Hood 50 has been a goal of mine for about 2 years. So why have I not been thrilled to have completed it?

Most everyone knows that when we moved from Oregon to a Northern California small coastal town in January of this year that I was seriously depressed for months. Running became everything to me. I felt like it was all I had. I knew that if I became injured and couldn't run, my depression would be so much greater. Unfortunately, I injured my hamstring twice in one week in early May I think and had to drop out of a 50K to save my Mt. Hood 50. Plan worked. I healed. Lets not do that again.

In June and part of July, I helped a teenager for 30 days with extreme emotional problems and a hard home life. It began to affect me also because she is a loved one.

Training for the 50 became hard physically after I ran 31 miles, all my long runs were a struggle, I was tired. A few runs, I threw up in the forest. But I got through each of them. You can't tell me to stay home because of a cold or apparently flu or throwing up because of bad reactions to of the counter drugs. I think all of my struggles made me stronger, mentally and physically. A few runner friends got upset with me for still going out and running when I should have, but I just can't help myself. I mean, I wasn't dying.  My legs worked fine.

After my loved one went back home from visiting, I began my + self talk, but I kept hearing in my mind, you're going to totally finish this.

Running this 50, the excitement wasn't there like when I ran my first. The week leading  up to it, I was nervous, very nervous and not very excited.

Even have ran it, I'm not beaming with pride. I'm not thinking about it and glowing to myself like I was before. I think, yup did it! Now what?

Normally with every race, I get very emotionally attached to the runs. It gets in me, I even try to friend everyone running the race on Facebook so that we can experience it together. If I have to drop out of a race due to injury, it's always devastating. I think this is the reason why I successful at the races. I think "I am going to run this or die trying!" I feel that I have to run it, I have to finish. It is a need for me, not a want. This emotional need was there for the Mt. Hood 50, I was just so distracted by life.This is the reason why if you look back at my race report write up, it mostly is about how I felt running the race, how I felt afterwards. Where as some of my friends that ran the race, they talk about what was going on between aid stations, much more analytical and detailed.

Perhaps I am just a mileage junky. Remember when I mentioned that during marathon training, every mileage was just so much more exciting than the last. Well I ran my first 50 in Oct of 2010, 2nd in 2011. I've done it, I know I can do a 50 and really feel that a 100 is so achievable.

Other things that I wanted to mention about the 50 is that there was this girl that had passed me at mile 20 I guess. She passes me and mentions that she knew she was going to fast as she already fell 3 times. Well shortly after she passed me she falls again and I said "well that makes 4!" I have no idea who she was, but wished I knew how she finished the race.
"I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart." Mike Fanelli (I took this advice at the Mt. Hood 50)

"The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy...It is not age; it is not diet. It is the will to succeed." Jacqueline Gareau 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

From 50 miles to 100 miles, a goal worth achieving

"Every higher distance was much more exciting than the last!" These were the words that I said during marathon training and why I chose to move on to Ultra Marathons.

I have now ran my 2nd 50 mile distance. So what is next? 

I am going to run my 3rd 50 on October 29th. I am returning back to the race of my first 50, Autumn Leaves in Champoeg, Or. After that I will rest for a few months (not really) until I start an eight month training schedule for my first 100.

I was very hesitant in choosing to run my first 50. I didn't see accomplishing the distance in my head for quite awhile and if I can't see it, I can't achieve it. Finally I did. Originally my first 50 was going to be Mt. Hood. But that was a goal that got put on hold thanks to a huge plantar wart that crippled my training. Once that was removed by pretty much force with a lot of scraping and laser treatments, I decided to run the Autumn Leaves race instead as my first. Autumn Leaves was basically a road run, some trail, but it went around a loop 8 times. I ran that in 9:55 and have now just completed my 2nd 50, the Mt. Hood 50 in a minute shy of 12 hours. 

I have decided for training for my 3rd 50, I will tweak the schedule to work up to run 25 miles one day and 25 the next, 50 in two days. I was running 50 in 3. I also need to increase my speed again. I would like to run a 9:40 pace again. There is a time limit on the Autumn Leaves 50 and for some reason, I got a lot slower when I trained for the Mt. Hood 50, likely because of the trail running. But, it is now time to pick it up again.

100 mile distance. For some reason, running a 100 miles entered my mind as doable easier than running those 50 miles. 

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”

"If you can dream it, then you can achieve it."

I find myself running and thinking about the 100 mile distance: race planning, about training, getting a pacer, saving $ for it, etc. I've been reading advice blogs on how to run your first 100.

I plan on running Rio Del Lago. It is traditionally held in September. I will run it in 2012. 

For training, I will use the Santa Clarita Runners Club. I've used them for the past 2 50's and 6-8 50k's. Their schedule works for me. Here is a link to the schedule.

I will be going from the 50 mile distance to the 100. Some wouldn't advise that, perhaps, I should run a 100K first. I don't know.In the back of my mind, I hear the quote, "at first you don't succeed, try try again." But, I believe I can achieve the 100 mile distance with proper training and a mind that is loudly saying "you can do it!" and a heart that wants it badly enough. I only have one life to live, why not take the risk? I say go for it Jeannie!

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."