Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Segregation of Beauty

An essay on Place

Language, Trends

I live in Spokane, Washington. This is located in the large area of the U.S.A. known as the Northwest. There’s a trend to caption photos taken on Instagram in this area with a hashtag the great PNW, a.ka. Pacific Northwest. Spokane is not the PNW or anything generally east of the Cascades. It is the Inland Northwest. There is a difference. There is a large difference between the mountains in the Cascades and the mountains in this area. The difference between the semi-arid Idaho, Eastern Washington, and Eastern Oregon areas and the coast is huge. The coast is a rainforest. Stop it. We are not near the Pacific Ocean.

Micro Context

Often these captioned pictures are of generally nondescript things such as trees, snow, rocks, trails, the sun, and ice. Generally depicting a place as beautiful even though the subject of the photograph is of an object and or scene that is commonplace. Now, if you notice the details such as the weeds surrounding the Ponderosa Pine, and the angle of the sun, you could pinpoint the area where the picture was taken. The minor details put an area into context; it is what makes that land unique. I can tell when I’m running on Micah Peak versus running in North Idaho versus running in Riverside State Park due to the flora that is surrounding me. People take pictures generally to show and exhibit the beauty that surrounds them. Generally though the subject involves a lot larger areas such as mountains, rivers, and canyons.

Macro Context

These areas are truly what seems to define a place for most people. If you’re a climber you will not live in Kansas. Or that will not be your dream place to live. When people have activities that involve place they will seem to migrate to places that allow them the ability to operate within their preferred space. I would not consider myself a mountain runner. I love running in the mountains because of the inherent danger and beauty that is associated with running in the mountains. As a counterpoint I also love running along the river in Spokane because of the different movement style that is required to operate in a generally flatter, rocky, steep rolling, path. It hinders the ability to run even. I also like running around the rocky platues of Spokane, generally they offer sketchy grass, moss, fun rock piles, and choss that offers immense pleasure. Now to say that I would like to live in Boulder, Bozeman, Chamonix, Telluride, Squammish, Juneau, etc. is an accurate statement. But I haven’t even touched the amount of land that can be explored in a 30 mile radius just from my house. And that is eclipsed by the places that I can drive to in 4 hours or so. Land is practically limitless. But the easily accessible beauty afforded by other areas is second to none.

Beauty and Segregation

Mountains are the homes of the gods. The history of religion intertwines with high places. The Bible offers ample evidence that ancient cultures had a hankering for high places. Everest is considered a holy place. We like high places. I can’t tell you why, but we do. Yet we swarm the world over. Practically the whole world is populated. But our country flocks to place such as Great Smokey Mountains National Park and Yosemite National Park. Their the amount of vertical relief is obnoxious. We love our topographical relief. But is it better than Kansas, South Dakota, etc. Is that why we are protecting the mountains? If someone was to propose fracking in the Yosemite Valley there would be a huge uproar. Yet with fracking in West Virginia and South Dakota there is barely any uproar.

I guess those places aren’t worth protecting. Wendell Berry protested Mountain Top removal in Kentucky. No one is protesting that. Why? We don’t live there. My love for Spokane is because I live here. I want to live my life here without the fear of being poisoned. I want walking laws proposed so I can go everywhere. Whenever I see pictures of Thunderstorms and Tornadoes they blow my mind. This is a beautifully terrifying piece of nature that most of us don’t understand because we don’t live there. People stay because the land is in their blood. We haven’t experienced it. So we don’t care about the land. We care more about the things that are more immediately arresting in a photograph or general look when you arrive there and then leave. By allowing businesses to operating in places where the owners do not live and do not care we are putting our land in jeopardy. We need to stop it. Start caring for more than just what you deem as “beauty”.

Exploration and Birth

The world is huge. It is 400 miles from where I live to Seattle. As a runner running from one place to another I generally experience things in two dimensions. I am not experiencing a piece of land in its full three dimensional place. I’m not experiencing place, but am engaging in transition which is what travel generally brings. Living in a single place though allows for a much fuller engagement of a single place which then creates an attachment to the land. I was born on the west side of Washington. I love the rain, moss, ferns, and damp sticky trails. I still love that. When I went to Bellingham a few weeks ago, it was very similar to where I was born. I loved it. It feels like coming home.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014



I haven’t posted in approximately six months. I have a handful of half (alliteration) started blogs that just haven’t gotten posted yet. I lack the impetus to write essays when in school due to an overwhelming flood of anxiety due to not being able to articulate an opinion that has not quite condensed in my mind to something more tangible due to the fractured nature of reality. This shines through in my personal projects that I only finish about half of them. This is reflected in my wisps of running articles Most are on the topic of ultra-running, fastest known times, land usage, and the popularity of running as a sport. These will meander hopefully up here soon.


And hopefully my running will meander back soon. I’ve been actively participating in the sport of running for 7 years now. If people asked what I did my response would be rendered as follows “I run and read”. The fact that I ran somewhere around 400 miles between my junior years of high school while reading some 57 or so books, shows sort of lack of other focus in my life. I’ve suffered with depression for a large part of my life, and running was a healthier way to deal with the practices that I generally engaged in before enlightenment. To say I had or still have a balanced life is laughable. My mental health is often dictated by how my running is going. So these last six months have been a rather mentally stale time for me. In addition to losing running my significant other walked out of my life during a similar timeline, so this year has been stressful. It has been a definite sharp curve of having plans and timelines ripped out from underneath me. Luckily I’ve been living in a house with some great friends and living life with some great Rainshadow Running event provides greater motivation, I would also just like to volunteer with other programs that I see doing good work in the community. And I have those ethereal goals of being a nicer, approachable, encouraging, uplifting person. Embrace the good in the world. You know.


My health is doing much better than this summer. My heart rate went up 10 bpm when I stood up today. In the summer it would shoot up like as much as 60 bpm upon standing. Scary, my doctor kind of shrugged his shoulders though. I guess you would call this overtraining. I don’t know, there is and was something. The major scare of heart issues is gone. I had an echocardiogram and there were no abnormalities, which, the nurse who did it said that most heart rate issues are from dehydration so I have been sucking down water the last few weeks. I think I’m having some gut issues. So I’m trying to work through those by avoiding most FODMAPs, and taking probiotics along with resistant starch. I think too many people avoid gut health.


I am starting to run a little more. I think the most I have done is maybe three miles. I’m doing a little hiking and running. I did run every single day last year though. I went swing dancing for 3 hours in November. The hope for this year really is to get healthily moving again. This means something more along the lines of what Troy Howard does. I want to learn how to climb. There’s some good climbing around Spokane that I can hopefully I can convince some friends to get out to.

I’ve got some plans for hiking the enchantments, maybe. Hopefully If I get a job soon (I’m done with school woo, wow, slip of paper) and then I’ll maybe volunteer at a hundo. Or, if I’m feeling good enough I’ll pace someone/crew. I would enjoy that. Whatever I do has to be considering how I feel on a week to week, month to month basis. As I said before here, I’m looking for sustainability for life rather than for 2 years.


  • Get healthy. Have healthy digestion, energy levels, food intake, and thermal processes.
  • Start running and getting active again. Essentially be able to get out for light activity for several hours without feeling wiped out for next few days. Hopefully get out an hour or more for several days
  • Get out for a long multi day hike. Enchantments. Also one of my buddies wants to go hike in the Cabinets.
  • Bike more.
  • Get a standing desk. Hopefully wherever I work I can use this.
  • Lose weight. I have gained 15 or so pounds this year. Hormone issues wreak havoc. Do this a healthy sustainable way. Eat when I’m hungry etc.

long term goals (in no particular order and subject to change)

  • Wonderland Trail.
  • Nolan’s.
  • Hardrock, and any hundreds I would have to run to get in.
  • Barkley’s
  • Adventures.
  • Getting outside till I die

Best album released this year, in my opinion.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Goals

There are times where you have to let things go. You have to kill something in order to get what is necessary, what is desirable. I’m 99% certain that I am going to drop out of the Bear 100. This isn’t that big of a deal for me. I’ve been waiting about 5 years to do one of these, and it can wait till next year or for a few more years if need be.

I’ve been struggling seriously with my health since around the beginning of April. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment a week from Friday, and hopefully this leads to some knowledge about what is going on with my body. I don’t think I’ve been to a doctor since I was 18. This shows my extreme reluctance to rely on doctors and my reliance on the internet. And mostly I haven’t had enough issues to warrant a trip to the doc, just running injuries. The most restrictive of the symptoms I’ve been having are extreme fatigue, low blood pressure, random twitching of my legs. I think this could be an Iron deficiency, or maybe an endocrine issue. I’m not too worried about it barring any extreme issues such as cancer. This is sort of a relief to me, I’ve been feeling pretty erratic and running really isn’t that enjoyable to me right now. I’m just waiting for the doctor’s opponent right now, just kind of chilling. I’ve doing most of my runs at a low aerobic pace. This has been kind of on and off, just depending on how I am feeling. My goal is to do a run and feel like I could go out and repeat it. This kind of goes in terms of anything that I do, whether it is lifting, running, skiing, skateboarding, etc. To increase fitness it will require a little pushing every once in a while to increase the adaption to stresses in training to eventually get better. I’m sort of taking some training philosophy from Phil Maffetone. He stresses doing aerobic training, until a platue is reached then anaerobic training can be introduced. This is essentially to allow the body to adapt to training stresses, then stress it a little, then back off, a cyclic system. I am cheap so I’m not going to buy the book, but rather start messing with my training. This might decrease my ability to increase my speed really fast. I’m not too worried about that though. I’m looking for longevity. I’d much rather be able to be 28 and accomplish my goals, and continue to get faster into my thirties, then to be burned out and have a messed up body for the rest of my life. This is also going to temper my desire to push.

I’ve always had this desire to push. During cross country and track in high school I never rested. I would push easy runs hard. I just never got fast. After running my first 5k in 32 minutes, I had lowered that to 22 at the end of the season, and only got two sub 20 5k’s in high school. This was funny, since I could crush guys, who could run 17 minute 5k’s, in workouts, make them hurt. In high school I learned how to hurt though. I think I could run in a lot more adverse conditions than others. I looked forward to running in the rain. I would run in sub-zero temperatures. My buddies would tell me I was an idiot. I was trying to just show how tough I was. I just had a desire to get out every day and show hard I could go. This was totally opposite during races. I hated racing, I could never perform. As an aside, this desire to push is mirrored in my weight loss efforts. Consistent weight loss doesn’t really condone itself to intense starvation efforts. It just is easier mentally for me to put myself in a state where I will eat very low for a few weeks, then consistently eating less for months in a row. It takes a lot more effort to be consistent for a long period of time then for a short period of time. After I ran my first marathon, I couldn’t run for six months due to an injury. I went barefoot and I could run again. This was a slow lead in. I ran very little, very slow. It was great; I just enjoyed getting into shape. I put off any real running goals. It was during this time period, I learned about Anton Krupicka. My goal of running a 100 miler came back into my head, after hearing about it in high school, and I just wanted to run a lot. During the winter of 2010-2011, I upped my mileage. I didn’t really care how fast I was going, or the conditions. I just ran easy, didn’t care about my weight, I just enjoyed. Looking back on it, this is probably the healthiest I’ve been. I think there is a large difference between health and fitness. I ran my 5k PR (18.5 min) after this period of time. In addition, I signed up for my first 50k in April. In training, I ran the course in 4 hours, with two gels, and a little water. That’s a decently fast time for that course. I got injured right before the race, had some kind of posterior tibialis stuff going on, which I’ve struggled with off and on after this. I got rid of that. I decide to do some mile repeats with some kids that I was coaching, wrecked my knee. The race went crappy, I felt horrible, and I walked the second half because my knee gave out. That healed. I went down to Colorado to look at a school. I ran up Pikes, with practically no training in 4 hours. I really hold this as practically the hardest effort I have ever given. This solidified my interest in mountain running. I broke my toe in September when I was slack lining. The next year and a half were just crap running wise. I was just running too hard, looking back on it, without eating enough. But it also changed my goals. I had these weeks where I can taste what I could be. This is what scares me. I sabotage my efforts due to pushing too hard. Matt Carpenter his senior year had an 18 minute PR in the 5k. This motivates me, how driven do I want to be? How meticulous can I be? I want to be Spartan, that’s something that drives me. I’m mentally ready to go.

I have these goals. They are ambitious. I’ve told very few people. I do not want to be vocal about these. I do not see any glory in doing these things, and I don’t care about people’s ideas of what I can do. I just want to do them for me. They aren’t anything big; they really won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. The idea of following a low buildup is so that I can make myself unbreakable. I can go deep. The precarious things that I’ve done scare me. I have done some not very smart things, where I’ve been cold as hell (couldn’t get my car started), hot as hell with no water. I mentally have no qualms about putting myself in some dark places. It’s interesting if you look at Julien Chorier’s heart rate for UTMF, it was 117. I don’t what effort that is for him, but I would much rather be there, where I can race at the end. I want to be crushing my abilities. I’ve tasted it and I’m ready to go.

This slow buildup will also be valuable to me in some other ways. I want to pursue some others things. I have some other interests than just running. I want to volunteer at races. I want to make some art, which I haven’t done in a while. I want to start making some clothing and equipment. I’ve talked about it. I just want to start doing it. I want to get my hunter’s endorsement, so I can get good food. I just want to be involved in some other things. Like writing here, I’ve been writing a lot and I miss it. So here’s an interpretive image of Anton.
And here’s some music. First some good local music. And some things that recently came out.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I Hate Tech Fabrics

     I hate tech fabrics. When I started running all I wore was cotton tees. They are legit. Go read this. Educate yourself. Essentially the Mountain Hardwear advertisement is on crack. This is sort of an open letter to all outdoor companies. I am an Engineer in Training. I’m graduating with a mechanical engineering degree this fall. I understand the use of technical fabrics in packs due to their superior mechanical strength, and wear resistance. Go look at the mechanical properties of something like Kevlar. But my current annoyance is with outdoor companies. Now, there is something to be said for the environmental footprint of natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, silk, latex rubber, and seal gut (talk about this later). I don’t know what the environmental effect is on this, but I’m willing to gamble on the fact that it is probably better than the gross petroleum we are using now.
      I don’t think the use of natural materials has been exploited to the degree that has discovered all their uses. I wear wool mostly for winter. This stuff doesn’t stink, and in my opinion has a greater degree of sweat removal compared to that of a tech tee. This is something that is very important in the winter, or the cold, as mentioned in the article above. I know that silk has been used for ski suits, and I know that Terramar uses silk in some of their gear. I also don’t know what kind of thread is used in this application, but couldn’t something like wool fiber or a sinew be used? This is something I’ve thought about. Sinew is really thin, and very strong. The Mongols used it to make composite bows. There are some companies that are really using wool well, but not as well as could be. Many times the products offered are combined with polyester, spandex, etc. The people that really dropped the ball on this are Smartwool. I emailed them a year and half ago about making running shorts. I was hoping they would do something innovative when I heard that they would be coming out with running shorts. Nope, spandex waist band, and normal polyester shorts with a wool liner. Seriously, I want a wool pair of shorts. Wool is slightly lighter than polyester. And it isn’t as itchy or stiff. In addition, a question could be addressed to companies like Patagonia, etc. Why not make a wool shirt that is for winter running, or climbing? There are guys that run in wool shirts from places like Pendleton. Why can’t a shirt like that made similar to the R1 hoody by Patagonia? Some people may ask about the weight of polyester compared to wool when wet. Anton K wears wool socks. Edmund Hillary wore wool. So I guess unless you’re trying to go balls fast, which let’s face it most people aren’t, wool will probably work. Someone make wool shorts.
Now, what would I like for hot weather running? I want wool shorts, always. I wear polyester shorts, I wear them year round, so I want shorts I can wear year round, wool. I want a linen and or cotton shirt. I haven’t tried a linen shirt, but I think it would be cooler than cotton. It also holds more moisture, so with the above article in mind, this potentially should make you cooler. So do it. Someone mess with it.
      But what about water proofing? We need tech fabrics for waterproofness, and keeping warm. I think with a heavy wool shirt, I think it might help, like a big knitted wool poncho. But, in case not, you know the seal gut I mentioned earlier? Go look at an Inuit anorak. They made a waterproof jacket that looks practically like a modern day wind shirt. I am willing to bet it is lighter than practically every waterproof jacket on the market. It also doesn’t have nasty waterproof coating on it. I would not be adverse to wearing seal gut. I am also willing to bet that it is more environmentally friendly than the crap we are wearing on our bodies right now.
      The next category I want to address is shoes. Now in case you care, some Native American guy ran 100 miles in under 24 miles in a pair of moccasins back in the 1800’s. Full disclosure, I run barefoot a lot, and in somewhat minimal shoes. What is necessary? Anyways, half the rubber we use in shoes is a combination of natural rubber and a petroleum rubber. Now natural rubber comes from latex, heat, and some chemicals to change the mechanical properties. Cool beans. I don’t know a huge amount about chemistry, or the production of rubber but I feel as though a better way to manufacture soling could be found. If not, dang. Anyways, I think if they could be cast in such a way that would allow the sewing of a upper onto the rubber, or use a glue free vulcanization such as in this pair of keen shoes, and rather than using a rock plate, use a stiff piece of leather like those in high end dress shoes. Leather could then be stacked for extra cushion. The upper would be leather. I would be looking at something that could hold the foot in such as a soccer cleat. For breathability I would create a pattern that could puncture the leather upper like the Mt110. This would probably mold around the foot fairly well. In addition for comfort inside of the shoe it could be lined with wool, with some extra cushioning around the ankle.
       This is really just some thoughts that I’ve been having over the past year or so. This is the only forum that I know to really discuss it. I don’t know anything about the environmental effect of wool production, cotton production, etc. I just think it would lower our overall footprint on the planet. Also, stop buying crap. Go buy a sewing machine, and use that tech tee you are going to throw away to add some pockets to throw some bottles in. I really think people are adverse to using old technology because they believe in progress. Everything we produce is obviously better. Right, that’s why dudes used to be fast than Usain Bolt And hey Patagonia, stop sending me catalogues. Don’t buy anything, here’s let’s send people catalogues so they can buy crap. Wow, you guys are super innovative. Buy this stuff so you’re green. Also, start producing some more things domestically, I might be more willing to buy it then. I guess I would also offer a shout out to Krissy Moehl and Luke Nelson. These two individuals are making a huge effort to really limit the amount of garbage that is produced during Ultras. I got a cup from the Pocatello 50, and that is going to be a part of my kit until it falls apart. At the Pocatello 50 you were give a refillable gel flask. That is great. Here’s some music that’s been in my head the last few weeks.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pocatello 50

       I told my dad at the beginning of this race that I would finish in about 10 hours. I was hoping that was sandbagging what I expected out this race, but it ended up being right on schedule. This was about an 11 minute per mile pace. I ran a 79 mile week before this race. I also ran a total of 97 miles the week of this race, I was trying to run through, and see if I could run a semi-high mileage week. This week probably had only 15,000’ at most of gain total in it. Most of the vertical gain came from a 20 mile run with 6500’ feet of gain at 10:30 pace, and a 27 mile run with 6400’ feet of gain at 10:03 pace with approximately 12 hours of rest in between. I was hoping I could hit something close to this pace for the race, which was derailed by one major issue, eating too much salt. If your feet swell, you end up having your feet hurt for the entire race. It sucks. Also I had an ear infection which majorly effects balance. If you look at my heart rate effort for this race, it was relatively low. My average heart rate was 158, which is generally what I do most of my longs run at, or lower. My max aerobic heart is right around 177, I was aiming for an average of little bit lower than this for the whole race. For most of this race it felt as though I was goofing around, essentially not really pushing just cruising.
      The day before the race my feet had already started to swell a bit. Damn sausages. I went running and my shoes began to feel tight as did my tibialis posterior, it was enough that it was affecting my running. This has been an indicator for me of foot and ankle swelling, and I knew my race was probably going to hurt. Usually I can get my ankles to stop hurting after running for a little while they usually start stretching out. I also drank a lot of water to try and get the swelling to go down.
      The next day dawned. I had a really good night’s sleep. My dad and I slept in a tent on the ground. I woke up, and made my normal pre long run food, an altered version of nutella, essentially almond butter, coconut milk, cocoa, and some xylitol. This went down really well, and I had no problems with digestion or anything. The race had a mellow start. I just jogged with the lead pack until we turned onto the single track trail that eventually goes up a fairly mellow climb. I ran this climb the day before, and I was able to run at a fairly mellow pace without too much effort. At this moment I felt like crap, and went to this mindset of just finishing, and throwing all time goals out the window. I felt like I couldn’t run, and it didn’t help much that due to an ear infection was throwing off my balance. I was hiking this almost douche grade hill. So I settled in, and thought to myself I’ll finish where I finish.  Once the climb ends there is this rolling section where I tucked in behind a guy trying to keep my effort low, and trying not to fall over due to the lack of balance from my ear infection. Cruised through the mile 8 aid station and I passed the guy I had been tucking behind in addition to a woman who I had lost sight of on the first climb. When we hit the off trail section I was a little confused. I looked up and could see no flags, just people hiking. I just hiked straight up this section at a fairly mellow effort. My legs started feeling better. I caught several guys on this climb. This was my favorite section. You topped out and ran along this rocky ridge, reminded me of the Bridger range, except with cactus. Dropping off this climb I was feeling pretty good. I pounded the rest of my dates that I brought with me, downed this with a little water. I tagged onto two guys dropping into the 16 mile aid station. It was really fun, except for the fact that my shorts were falling down and I had to hold my Patagonia Houdini in my hand rather than tucking it into my waist band. This reduced my efficiency as I dropped down into the aid station. I fixed my shorts here handed my jacket to my dad, ate some oranges, and some potato chips.
      This next section of the race was pretty sweet. It was this mellow grade perfectly tacky trail. I really enjoyed running this, even though it wasn’t that steep of a grade. Eventually you hit this section that was going up a stream bed that was steep and really rocky. I could do this kind of thing for hours, pow-hiking hard. This eventually topped out, and I just cruised to the 26 mile aid station. I pounded a first endurance efs shot here and continued to after each aid station.  These were good, except for the fact of how much salt they have in them, more feet swelling. I was just generally breaking the race into 6 mile splits because that isn’t that far. I ran into the 32 mile aid station at 5:40. My Dad dumped two bottles of water on my head, which if hadn’t happened I would have slowed down a lot in the next twenty miles. These twenty miles contained about 6000’ feet of gain, which I’ve done that sort of distance and gain in about 3 hours before. I thought I may be able to make a low 9. Except my feet hurt, like hell. On the climb to Scout Mountain, it was a mellow grade, that if my feet hadn’t hurt I think I could have run at about 10-11 minute pace. Case in point, my heart rate was averaging about 170 the first half, I averaged 158 for the whole race.   I just alternated hiking and running here, not really pushing anything. Once we got to the top of Scout Mountain it was time to rip. I was going down at about 6 to 7 minute pace here. I fell once. Then I fell again after I kicked a rock, which my toe still hurts so I think I may have broken it. With five miles left to go you hit a road that trends downwards, which I was going at 6 minute pace down.  The last climb goes through a ski hill, which I hiked, practically all of. I was sort of just done here. I thought I could easily break 10 hours, so I just took it easy, which barely happened. I cruised down to the finish, and sat down.  I slowed down a lot for the last bit, a woman who I had passed coming down off Scout hadn’t come in the last aid station while I was there, and was there for about a minute or two. She only finished 20 seconds behind me.
     I really don’t know what to think about this race.  I basically didn’t really train at all between this and Yakima Skyline. My main goal is Bear, so I when I originally was looking at this race, I was aiming to take it easy and see how I could do. Which I ended up doing and it was a fun race. I didn’t even feel sore after this race. My feet were just swollen so bad that I couldn’t really run for a few days afterwards. I had to run in crocs. In addition to that, I basically discovered that my glutes, since about April, shut down. Essentially this means that I have no spring in my step. I can’t jump; it is sort of hilarious to watch. My brother told me that I look brittle. So I basically have to inject myself with a huge amount of calories to be able to run, since I have no energy return. For Pocatello, I was shoving food in my face the whole day, so that helped a lot. I’ve been clearing that up a little bit recently, just trying to get my glutes to fire. That and my ear infection wasn’t an ear infection, it was just really bad allergies, which I am still having right now.

Gear for this race:

  • Cotton fruit of the loom t-shirt I’ve had since I was a freshman (or 8th grade?) in high school. 
  • Nike temp split shorts; they make the best shorts of those I’ve tried. They need pockets. 
  • Patagonia Houdini.
  • Trusty pair of New Balance Mt110’s.
  • Ultimate Direction handheld.

On the blog queue: 

  • I Hate Tech Fabrics
  •  Mountain, Ultra, Trail? 
  • The Game 
  • The Wild


Monday, April 22, 2013

Yakima Skyline 50k-Losing My Vision

I ran Yakima Skyline 50k this past weekend. I ran a 6:10, with a first half of 2:40. Some things I learned:
  • ·         Hiking, I suck at it. Can’t Hike, I hiked a butt load this year at least all my elevation gain was on stuff you could only hike. Think 2000’ of gain in mile. I just need get better at hiking.
  • ·         Buy new shoes for courses on technical terrain. My shoes were practically shredded, and were slipping out on the rocks, and were open on the sides so I would get lovely stabbed feet on the rocks.
  • ·         Liquid food. I hate solid foods. I need to find a liquid food I like. I drank a bunch of ginger ale. And some chips.
I was hoping it was going to go pretty well. I had done a run of 20 miles with 8000’ of gain a few weeks ago in less than 4 hours at a really low heart rate, jogging pace essentially, albeit on much less technical terrain, no food or water. I had done about 25000’ feet in a week in only 60 miles at elevation in Bozeman during the last week of March. I was ready. Or so I thought. I had contracted what I deduced as giardia last summer. I’ve had it bug me, specifically at White River last year. In the days before the race I started experiencing these giardia-like symptoms.  I was unable to run more than 2 miles without loss of motor control in my legs, and the only thing that would give me energy was rice. I decided to just load up on food before the race, and hope things went well.
The first climb went well. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to run this past week, so I wasn’t able to get that much vertical in , this lead to really tight calves, which lead to a sore back. Once I gained the ridge, I was feeling ready to rip. I don’t like running uphill hard. I would much rather run fast on the downhill. I passed 3 guys on the descent off the ridge, not pushing I felt as was just cruising at a slow pace. I was running in fourth place until the second major climb. Here I got passed again by the guys I just passed. I didn’t worry; I would catch them on the downhill. Here’s where the shoes come in. Feet were slipping out on this technical terrain off the ridge. I got the aid station at the turn around at approximately 2:40. I had some ginger-ale. I was ready to rock. It was only 15 miles, and I was feeling good. So then my race deteriorated from here. I could basically only hike the uphill sections because I started having motor control issues, even ones that I would normally have ran. Everyone said I looked good. I felt good. I just couldn’t force my body to run. I couldn’t run downhill that well. I felt like what Anton describes in his 2009 Leadville Race Report, “It was really kind of mortifying for me. I’ve never had my body betray me so completely in a biomechanical, muscular function sense. Metabollically I’ve had pretty incapacitating issues before, but never on the musculo-skeletal level that didn’t involve true injury.” At the drop off the ridge in the final stretch is what really scared me. I started to lose my vision, I was reduced to walking the downhill because anytime I tried to run, I was falling down, just collapsing on myself essentially.  I just wanted to finish. I started to run as soon as I hit the flat section near the river. Then ran in, sat down, and hoped not to faint.
It was a good race, just not the run I was hoping for. It was an amazing course.James Varner puts together some of the best races. They are excellent and what I love about ultrarunning. I really figured out at this race, that I just like running on trails. I would love to do that course again just for a run. It’s only three hours away. I’m looking forward to Pocatello 50 in 5 weeks, and hopefully I can get rid of my giardia symptoms by then.

*Edit 4/22/13 - My Suunto Ambit died a few days ago, I need to send it in to get repaired. I do all my runs by heart rate, rather than pace. So I was kind of lost here, I had no clue what my heart rate was doing. All I know is that I never red-lined, and was never pushing hard. I just practically couldn't run the second half. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Year in Review, Next year.

The year in review post.
  • I have a yearlong running streak, at least a mile a day. (Pending unless a horrible occurs tomorrow)  Cool. 
  • I ran my first fifty miler. 
  • I managed to stay practically healthy the whole year. 
  • I finally ran an 80 mile week (with 20,000 feet of vertical gain), which wasn’t really purposeful just doing what I thought was comfortable every day. 
I had a bad time during the months of October and November when I had a bum ankle, which reduced my mileage to 10 miles a week. I lost most of my strength over this period, and so I’m getting back in the saddle. I started doing cross fit, which hopefully aids in the regaining of strength. I'll probably quit after two months, just because I can't justify the cost. I finally had a good ultra. My very first ultra in 2011, I had a bum knee and so I was reduced to walking the whole second half. I ran the course in an hour and fifty minutes more than I had in training. I didn’t really train for Chuckanut. White River 50 I had a whole host of problems. During The Mt. Spokane 50k I actually felt good halfway through, and ended up in the top 10 (there were 35 people in the race), and got a 50k PR by 2 minutes. So basically the plan for ultras next year is Yakima Skyline in April, Pocatello in June, and hopefully Wasatch Front Endurance Run in September. If I don’t get into Wasatch, then I’ll probably run The Bear, or Cascade Crest. I also want to try to get into The Bridger Run again because it was an excellent run. Other than that I have several adventure type runs planned for next year. I want to run The Lion's Head next year (several times). This is about a 20 mile run, with about 6 miles of pure ridge running, I did some recon on it, just wasn’t able to find the trail to access the ridge. I know where it is now though, after some discussion with people I also want to try to establish an FKT on the Kettle Crest National Recreation Trail. This would be point to point, approximately 35 miles and 6000’ of elevation gain. I’ve had my eye on this since I’ve heard about it and I would put this around October, since there are limited water sources and I want it to be cooler. I’ve also got an idea of establishing an fkt site, and trying to set a standard for descents and ascents of mountains and trails around here. I’m the only one I see running fast on Mica Peak and Mt. Spokane. I’m fairly certain Sean Meissner of Montrail or John Roskelley must own a lot of them, or fast runners that don’t care. I’m also penciling in a quick Mt. Rainier climb, because I want to do it. And me and a buddy will probably do a rogaine, gain some experience for Barkley’s maybe, which I want to do. There are some other mountains in the Inland Northwest that I just want to tag off Mount Ambercrombie again, some unnamed peaks in North Idaho, essentially just a lot of peaks in the Selkirk Range. I’d also like to do some runs in Glacier. I have some arbitrary running goals pr in a 5k (my pr is mind numbingly slow), pr in a mile, run a road marathon since I haven’t ran one in three years, run a 100 mile week, run 30,000’ + of vertical in a week (maybe at the same time), just simple stuff. I also just want to be more aggressive in my running, which deserves another post.  I’m also graduating this next fall and will have a really easy spring and fall quarter, so hopefully that frees up some time. And hopefully I post some more up here. I’ve got a couple ideas floating around in my head.