Phantom Injuries be Damned...
It has been a while since I was in a taper period saving up before a race. Sadly, nothing much as really changed. The Phantom Injury is still present, real, and a compelling reason for self doubt and fear.
From my first ultra at Mountain Mist 50K in 2010 where I had a tragic, "Get up from the office chair" knee injury, to the hip "injury" I sustained two days before flying to Seattle for my first hundred caused by that ever daunting walk up a flight of stairs to the bedroom. It happens every time. The mind is playing tricks on you. Trying to make you believe you can't make it. You WON'T make it. It's your internal back of the mind saying, "Here's your excuse. Use it. Embrace it. You can fail now."
So today while sitting at my office plugging away and I lose all the feeling in my left leg, from the hip down I was mildly concerned. Certainly since its never happened before. Just kept going numb, tingly. I asked a coworker if I was having a heart attack. Knowing me and that 94% of all comments are filled with some level of humor and/or sarcasm it was blown off in a flurry of "That's what you get for running so much!" comments.
I returned to my office to continue my heart attack.
In a continuation of our corporate fitness challenge at work we had to run a 1 mile trip around the neighborhood to test our standing heart rate recovery. It is a simple test of determining how quickly your heart rate can come down in one minute following high intensity exercise. The goal of sorts would be a drop of 40 beats per minute. So wearing a heart rate monitor we took off to start the mile.
I made it fifteen feet before I realized there was something amiss with my left foot.
Apparently I shattered it somewhere and didn't realize it.
Holy shit what's wrong now?!
Why does my ankle feel like someone slammed a board off it? I know, I'll just run faster.
Half ran the entire way. Still an inexplicable "injury." Doesn't hurt now. Don't know what the heck happened...I can only blame voodoo mind tricks on Dustin Hoffman.
Have you seen Sphere? I felt like at the end of the run I was going to get clobbered by a giant squid, and Dustin Hoffman was going to be standing at the finish line recording my time.
He's making me think I'm hurt when I'm not. He's playing with my mind.
I'm going to win Dustin.
I know it's not real.
Live the Dream Guys
Skurka in Alaska
http://andrewskurka.com/2012/how-i-make-a-living-as-an-adventurer/ People always say, "I wish I could do that" when they see someone else doing what they wish they could do for a living. Whether its a professional baseball player, National Geographic photographer, musician, or a professional adventurer. Andrew Skurka has gone out and done it and he's doing it now. He's a professional adventurer. I've been following Andrew for a couple years now as we're the same age and he's doing what I would LOVE to be doing. To do what Skurka is doing takes a lot of sacrifice in life and some that I'm not willing to take. So I'll remain happy doing what I'm doing and sit back and live a bit vicariously through him and the Anthony Culpeppers of the world as they take on these incredible journeys. They've earned it. It's not easy. Just read the article Skurka wrote about how he does it (linked above.)
Back to Reality...Sort of...
In holding true to my original plan to keep this website/blog from being anything but what all the other runner's blogs are here's a continuation of my oddities and some that I found on the internet. I have a soft spot for the beauty of a time lapse film, the process behind it, the music along with it. So I always look for them on the internet and then I click on the "Related Video's" and then I enter the downward spiral into the internet Labyrinth. Surprisingly not all are about running or ultrarunning or trail running. I think there are some you might really enjoy. If not, well...it's my website so I can do what I want. :)
Patagonia - An Obsession Relived
I've been mildly obsessed with Patagonia for the last 5-6 years. I had an opportunity in my life to make the leap and take my career in hotels to another country, single and with a chance to work abroad. I searched exclusively at first in Patagonia/Argentina/Chile as I've just always been intrigued by the area, the culture, the people. The movie "Motorcycle Diaries" didn't help much as I watched that over and over again with a 7' map of South America dominating my bedroom wall...constantly dreaming of the day I'd take the big move...
It never worked out that I would move to Patagonia. I took a promotion a couple months later in Arizona, met my wife shortly thereafter and I'd not change a thing from what I have now. Yet, I still have a picture of the Torres del Paine mountains overlooking Hotel Explora, my dream hotel in Patagonia, taped to my inside of my notebook I carry around all day at work. I just keep re-taping it to new notebooks every year. It's worn, battered, torn, and even faded. I just can't let it go.
One day. I'll be there.
Until then I settle for YouTube and Vimeo fixes of the area. I'll have my own videos soon...
Sh*T Ultrarunners Say
Shit Ultrarunners Say has been all over the internet this week. It's pretty dang funny, I've watched it five times now and it just gets funnier. Not sure how enjoyable if you don't run but just know watching it that...well....pretty much every one of those happens on a daily long run. Great stuff!
This must have taken FOREVER to complete. It's just incredible. Both in scope but the sheer beauty of Yosemite. Wow.
Get Up to Get Down Trailer
This guy has been all over the country thru hiking and certainly applies to the above mention of guys that just go out and do what they always dreamed of. This video is a trailer to a longer movie he's working on about the Great Enchantment Trail, a 700 mile long trek through Arizona and up through New Mexico. Starts in Phoenix and ends in New Mexico going through southern AZ and western NM. Starts in the Superstition Wilderness as you can spot Weaver's Needle right off the bat!
Possibly my favorite video of ALL TIME
This video would have been totally different with another song but what a great choice! It's so interesting to see the backgrounds in each shot, even if only for a second in the time lapse but the pauses...they really grab a hold of you, make you pause and really pay attention. It's incredible really and the ending really takes a full grip on you, or at least it did me. I love it. Super creative.
He has no legs. Stop making Excuses.
More proof that nothing can stop you from doing what you always wanted to do. Yes, sounds cliche, but in the world of, "I used to be able to do that when I was your age" and the excuses that come with everyday life it's always great to see people kicking that crap to the curb and going for it anyway.
The guy that made this video was 17. Incredible.
The GoPro has been around for a little while now so a lot of people know what they are. Still though, many do not and always ask me what kind of camera I have. So for those not familiar with this little piece of technological genius...here's their promotional video. Which..is...amazing!
Alberta - It's like Alaska...but not another 2,000 miles north
File this under: Yes Please! Can you imagine what the running trails are like up there?!!!!!
I say that because I'm always so far behind on updating this. So much happens, so little talked about, so much missed. Or is it? You tell me. Did you miss me? Didn't think so. Funny thing is, I started this website and wrote in it for months and months and never even told people I had it. It was an outlet of sorts, a place to consolidate my thoughts, my aspirations, my frustrations and a place to dream. It still is but as life piles it on more and more with each passing week I feel more burdened by the internet and all it encapsulates. Good and bad.
So for the sake of my dozen loyal readers...ok, just my Mom. Here is an update on the Arizona trail scene, my unrelenting mission to run myself into the ground, and why Monsters are better in the form of mystical beasts than in aluminum cans.
This is going to be very random. Probably weird. I can't guarantee you'll enjoy any of it. But you clearly have nothing else going on right now or you wouldn't be reading this. Buckle up. I just slammed a Mountain Dew.
Running Circles Around Monotony
After running Cascade Crest in late August I didn't make it to another race after that. I missed Man Against Horse, skipped Cave Creek Thriller, passed on Pass Mountain and bailed on McDowell Mountain. All races I planned on running going into the very week of the race but never actually signed up. Why? No idea. One is definitely spending the money on a race I wasn't totally thrilled about. Sure, the guys always have great shirts but I have dozens of race shirts. Running 31 miles just didn't appeal to me all that much and I was becoming more and more interested in the 25-30K distance. So with each passing day I'd gain more confidence and yet never actually test it. All the while I was training for the Mogollon Monster 100 test run on December 10th. After that was snowed out and postponed until May I was really bummed. So how do you go from running a mountain 100 to two weeks later signing up for a 24 hour race on a flat, 1 mile loop? Again, I'm compulsive...and I like to try new things.
Across the Years is a classic of classics. Lots of history, lots of extremely talented runners. A totally different breed of runners than what I've come to know as "ultrarunners" but no less talented or unique. So how was running around in circles for 24 hours? No idea. I made it 7 miles before I knew I had doomed myself into a full day of boredom. I hit 22 and thought maybe I'll just jump into the little trail side lake and drown myself. Mile 34 came around and I started walking just to talk to someone new that I was coming around the circle and hadn't yet met. By the time I reached the 45 mile mark I had lost every ounce of motivation to continue. I'd walk it in with my good friend Honey and I called it a night. 50 Miles. 10 hours. That's enough for me.
Physically I felt great and actually felt even better as I reached the 50 mile mark. I simply did not have the heart to continue, I had no goals, signed up for the race that morning. It was fun, I met some great people and would certainly recommend the race to someone else that likes the flatter courses or loves timed courses. Me? Probably won't do it again for some time. Like next year.
Castle Hot Springs 22 Miler- Jan 7th
Paulette cruising down the road
Another race in the series that Arizona Road Racers puts on along with the Mazatzal 18 Miler. This one is 22, all roads and circles through a remote area of central Arizona and one I'd not visited yet. It was a small group but not unsurprisingly the same 40 people I see at every trail race or ultra. I was excited to see how I would handle actually "running" 22 miles straight and with the 2500 feet of climbing it did add another element of difficult to it. I finished it in 3:16 or so with Paulette which was good for 7th or 8th. It's a pretty low key, non-competitive type race so not sure anyone was racing, I know Paulette and I weren't. Just a nice day out in the desert. A classic Arizona race, I'll be sure to make it next year as well.
Superstition Wilderness 50K - January 14th, 2012
Weaver's Needle coming up to Parker Pass
I love the Superstition Wilderness. Just on the eastern edge of the Phoenix metro area its so accessible and visable for many residents but nearly everyone is clueless in what is held behind the mountains hovering over the city. Behind that wall of rock is a 180 mile network of wilderness, completely replete of people, as inhospitable an area as you can find in this country and as unforgiving as it comes. Yet with that comes a beauty that isn't matched by many places either. The rock formations, the varied vegetation, the sunlit canyon walls as the sun rises over the mesa. The desert is a beautiful place if one just gives it a chance, opens their eyes and welcomes the experience.
This year we had a group of nine taking the loop around the western and most frequented (see: Runnable trails) trail systems. The course climbs a total of 4,500 feet in exactly 31.1 Garmin miles while passing several ridges, steep descents, big climbs and fast, winding, single track.
We had the National Trail Champion David James, Angeles Crest 100 winner Paulette Zillmer, stud thru hiker/ultrarunner Anthony Culpepper, fresh off his 5,000 mile/9 month loop from Arizona to Montana and back. My friend Michael Duer from Tucson, who I ran with in our friends 50 miler up Mt. Lemmon last year made the trip with his friend Sarah, both great, fast ultrarunners. Jon Roig returned again, always up for anything unreasonably difficult, with so little apparent effort it makes me want to double my monthly mileage after every trip with him. Jeffrey Bryant, the "old guy" of the group who claimed he would be falling behind but was always right on our tail. Then my brother Noah who put in 5.5 miles of running since August came out and ran the 25K first half. Pretty standard for him, knocked it out and kept up with us the entire time. Always impressive no matter how many "off the couch" adventures he does with me.
We all finished in about 30 minutes faster than last years time, all smiles and only 9 of us were bloody when we finished. The rocks are unavoidable, catclaw your worst nightmare and you can't get away from any of it. This year felt a little less overgrown, maybe less rocky? I could be delusional though as I run on rocks every day and I'm more used to them than most. Usually when I take people to the Superstitions they love the utter beauty of it but can't wait to get done because the area is so technical. It's Arizona. What's NOT technical here?
Old Dudes Rule
Like how I snuck Scarlett into this post? She's always relevant...
STEFAN BEHR 71
RICHARD BUSA 73
ROBERT CALABRIA 70
JEAN-JAQUES D'AQUIN 71
EDWIN DEMONEY 73
JOHN DEWALT 73
EDWIN FISHMAN 71
WOLFGANG GEISTANGER 72
AARON GOLDMAN 74
RALPH HIRT 71
SHERMAN HODGES 70
GRANT HOLDAWAY 75
BILL HOLLIHAN 73
DON JANS 71
LOU JOLINE 71
BUDDY JONES 72
DICK KAMINSKI 70
RICHARD LAINE 70
LEO LIGHTNER 70
LINK LINDQUIST 70
CHRISTOPH LUX 78
ROBERT LYNES 72
JERRY McGRATH 70
FRED NAGELSCHMIDT 70
STUART NELSON 70
DAN PIERONI 70
RAY PIVA 74
JOHN PRICE 71
EPHRAIM ROMESBERG 75
SAM SOCCOLI 70
KARSTEN SOLHEIM 73
BERND SPRING 70
WALT STACK 70
OJARS STIKIS 72
BEECHAM TOLER 70
MIKE TSELENTIS 71
DIETER WALZ 72
ROSS WALZER 71
JONATHAN WILLIAMS 86
EDWIN WILLIAMS 70
TOM WOLTER-ROESSLER 78
CARL YATES 70
IRIS LEISTNER 78
HELEN KLEIN 75
BARBARA MACKLOW 74
ELDRITH GOSNEY 70
Know what this list is? This is a list of everyone over the age of 70 years old that has completed a 100 mile race. It's an unofficial list compiled by ultrarunner Dan Baglione whom I met and ran with (walked...) at the Across the Years race. One of the many interesting guys and girls out there with a massive running resume that makes you want to quit your career, and become a running vagabond to try your best to catch up to his accolades by the time your his age. He's one of the many guys like Karsten Solheim, and others that are over 60 and still rocking it hardcore. The beauty of Across the Years is the depth of dedication these people have. I met a guy from Washington, Fred Willet, who has the body of a 57 year old (his age) as you would expect. A nice round belly he's worked hard in earning yet he was pounding out the miles with a consistency anyone would be excited about. After a while of running laps I saw Fred, shirtless, in the mid afternoon of his SECOND day and sparked up a conversation with him. He's 57 and he plans to run a sub 3 hour marathon when he turns 60. Amazed and honestly a bit surprised based on his outwardly non-in shape appearance I asked what his current marathon time is.
"4:20 but I walked a bit so I could practice for this."
Somehow after a few more minutes of running and talking with Fred I no longer had a shred of doubt that he would accomplish this. One story after another I hear from one person after another about determining something they want in life, setting that goal and by God, sticking to it until they reach it. I know Fred will do it, he's just that kind of guy. Later that afternoon, several hours later I was running past Fred and as I passed him I said as I tired, "Fred! I'm fading here!"
Fred's reply? "The HELL YOU ARE!" A command with such a definitive tone you can't deny it. You're right Fred. I'm not tired. To hell with fatigue. I'm going to go faster.
It was worth another five laps of effortless running.
Many people I work with or I know use age as an excuse or reason for being as out of shape, unhealthy or incapable of certain things. They can't do this or they can't do that because they are "old." Which often or not is late forty's or fifty's. Hardly old.
"Oh to be young again."
"I remember when I was young and could do that."
All of it.
I do half my training with a 52 year old mother of 3 that has run Hardrock and races ultras all the time. Dave Mackey is the 2011 Ultrarunner of the Year. Older than almost every other Top 5 runner out there by a decade. Karsten Solheim (on this list) is still hammering out 100's and he was born a year or two after Moses. My point is, I'm not skinny because I run and my coworkers aren't fat because they are old. I'm fit because I train not because I'm skinny and my coworkers can be every bit as in shape as they want to be. Nothing is stopping them but themselves. Age is irrelevant. This list proves it. These people aren't "crazy," these people are living their lives as they want to, as they should and as they deserve to. Good for them, I hope to be in their shoes later in my life.
The Mogollon Monster 100
Kind of nuts that the trail is kind of like this...
I'm going to go out on a limb and make the statement that directing a 100 mile race is harder than RUNNING a hundred mile race. It's a lot of logistics, planning, organizing, budgeting and bureaucratic nonsense.
And I love it.
As much as it takes, the hours of planning, I know this race is going to be something special. The trails are amazing, views incredible and I'm confident the pieces are going to fall into place. I was disappointed after we had to postpone our trial run in December but now look forward to the May 5th running in weather a good bit more similar to the September date. Prior to that I plan to make several trips getting video of trail sections, additional photography, marking and planning for the coming race. With each big 100 selling out, going to a lottery, I think it's going to help the Monster fill to it's 100-125 capacity the first year and give everyone a good sized competitive field. There is a lot of interest, my email inbox remains filled and the offers to volunteer keep coming in. Check out the race website www.mogollonmonster100.com for more info. I'm the proud owner of a GoPro Here 2 so look out! Video's coming soon!
So What's Next???
Training buddy Matt dominated with a 4:24...he's a road runner my ass.
I ran this race last year with a wicked cold, 103 degree temperature and bailed after the 25K mark. My only DNF. Ever. Kills me to this day. I have to return. I'm going back. http://www.getoutgetlost.com/1/post/2011/2/san-tan-scramble-race-report.html
Next after that the following weekend is the 12 hours of Camelback, a maniacal redundancy up and down Echo Canyon for 12 hours or until you fully tear each ACL. So I'll try to make it to that...
Following weekend is the Grandpa Jim's 50K. Up Cholla, down Echo. Over the roads to the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, up Squaw Peak, around Circumference Trail and across the Trail #100 to the North Mountain Visitor Center. My home ground. My trails. My Mountains. If I don't win I'm going to become a professional badminton player. Ok, I won't do that but I train on these mountains, can hammer the super, super technical descents and hope to do really well at this event.
Two weeks later I'm running a 55 mile backcountry Superstitions run with Jeff Jones and a few other brave souls. Repeat of last years run plus a few miles to retain the original route. I have my reservations about a few of those sections and repeating them again but ultimately I just love the Superstitions too much and have a hard time saying no. It's my heroin.
The following weekend (I can see my overall times plummetting about now..) is the Mesquite Canyon 50K. This hopefully will be my third straight year running it, lots of climbing, great collection of runners. Competitive, hilly, technical, hot, snakes, boulders. Should be just as exhausted at the start as last year following a Superstitions run but I don't want to miss it so I'm already signed up.
After that? Who knows? A beer under the sun at a Spring Training game?
Let's hope so.