Voluntary Testing

Several weeks ago I stumbled upon the fact that our zip code—along with several others in Northeast Portland—is a high risk area for radon. I had never before thought about radon. We didn't have radon in California, or at least not where I lived, or maybe we were just ignorant. Anyway, I picked up a little DIY test, set it down in the basement for a couple of days, sent it off to the lab, got the results back three weeks later and yikes, we're off the charts down there. The basement, that's where I ride my trainer. Oh, yeah, those intervals, pulling that air deep into the lungs. Shiite muslim. The good news is that I actually do most of my indoor rides upstairs, especially the longer ones, and presumably the radon levels are lower up here. Still. So tomorrow morning I'm calling an outfit to arrange for a professional test and based on the results there, we'll look into the mitigation options. It's not crazy expensive, a couple grand in the worst-case scenarios. More economic stimulation! Replaced my busted washing machine earlier in the week, and now this; I think I deserve a medal for aiding the recovery. And speaking of recovery, been reading a lot about that concept in endurance training. Recovery and adaptation. Key, key concepts. The ideas are still fuzzy in my brain but I feel like I'm getting there. I'm starting to understand why I do those 30-second sprints, and why intervals on the bike can be so valuable. And why giving my body a chance to adapt to the work is so necessary.

Well. Today, I just swam (the thing about swimming, as opposed to running and to some extent cycling, is that you can go hard almost every day). Five-hundred yards to warm up, then 5x100, 10x50, 2x200 and 100 yards to cool down. It's going well, but I'm actually very close to pulling the trigger on paying for some coaching. More economic stimulation!


  1. Maybe you can open a radon mine, providing jobs to thousands, and even MORE economic stimulus. You might even get to be Commerce secretary.

    But ... hell ... that's kind of disturbing. You're right that the Bay Area is a low radon zone. Another thing that's a factor here is the weather, which allows/encourages folks to open up the windows, which actually helps keep radon levels in check.

  2. Today I called a couple of companies that do radon mitigation. One of them said, "Yeah, 16.4, that's a high reading [four times the EPA action level]. But there's some houses in Lake Oswego in the hundreds." So I guess L.O. might be better equipped for that lucrative mining operation.

    You're right about windows, by the way. One expert says you can substantially drop the radon level just by opening a window in the basement. My problem is that my windows are set up to be all the way open or not open at all. So my "mitigation" might start with simply redoing a couple of the window openings to get some air moving through...