Western States 100: I’m not sweating– my body is crying

“I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail.” -Faulkner, from his Nobel acceptance speech.

Mile 35. The sky kept pouring, sometimes with sleet, sometimes with hail, sometimes with huge rain drops that are rare for the usually sunny California Sierra. The palms of my hands had begun to go white and wrinkly; I was moving but still shivering. My fingertips had been white since mile 5 and would stay white until mile 50. The remote course meant that I had only seen my crew once, at mile 30, and would not see them again until mile 55. And unlike every other ultramarathon I’d run until now, I had no close friends in the race to talk to and stay fired up with. It was a lonely, lonely time. Me vs. my own head.

“Why am I out here? What am I trying to do? Is it worth it?” It was the second of three times I’d consider quitting that day. But I couldn’t stop now, in the cold driving rain in the middle of nowhere in the mountains–I had to keep moving. So I did. And as I went, a higher level of psyche started to come back. So it goes, downs and ups, ebbs and flows. “Accept the low points and move on,” said 2010 winner Geoff Roes.

Just last week, legendary ultrarunner Scott Jurek came to La Jolla. Having won Western States seven times, he gave me some good tips and a boost of psyche!

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Posted in Physical Exertion, Pondering, Running | 6 Comments

Dear Media: Mountains are not Stadiums, even for Honnold, Brosse and Jornet

“There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.” -Hemingway Continue reading

Posted in Climbing, Great Nature, Physical Exertion, Running | 8 Comments

Year in Concerts 2012, part 1

I love live music! My record streak was eight straight nights of live music at age 20 or so. Since then, I’ve fallen off, but I still try to get out once a month. My annual concerts summary post is always too long (see 2011 here2010 here, 2009 here), so I’m splitting 2012 up into two.  This time, I saw Garbage, Jane’s Addiction, Delta Spirit, Alabama Shakes, Chairlift, Henry Rollins, and more!

Yes those are real live women in huge dresses dancing while hanging from the rafters at the Jane’s Addiction show. Continue reading

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North for the Sun: on the Narrows way to Zion

Yeah wordplay and symbolism. I packed it into that title. And we packed the weekend too: climbing, hiking the Narrows and solar eclipse viewing in Zion National Park, a place that’s indeed close to Heaven on Earth. Livin’ it!

Sunset from the I-15, near Sin City, on the drive to Zion. One of the top 5 or 10 sunsets of my life.

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Read the Label: Organic?

Do you read the label? Do you trust the label? Is there truth in advertising? The political philosophy of Libertarian Paternalism means allowing people choices, but influencing them in a good direction. To this end, labeling food is one of the best roles of a government– verifying what’s being pushed on us. Most labels (e.g. “cage-free,” “natural”) need not mean anything; they’re not tied to some government-defined standard. But what about the term “organic”–is it also a meaningless term? The short answer is USDA Certified Organic or California Certified Organic Farmers – CCOF actually do mean something and do carry weight. So look for those labels!
Posted in Environment, Food | 4 Comments

Till I Collapse: PCT 50 in Memorial of Tim Ray

I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour – this greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle, victorious. – Vince Lombardi Continue reading

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Joshua Tree Traverse

And he said to me “you move too fast. You can’t fully appreciate the views [on the Appalachian Trail].” And I was a bit taken aback for a second. Mountain vistas are amazing, and I love them. But going to the mountains for only the views is rather like going into a church to just see the architecture–you’re like a tourist.

When holy people pray in the church, don’t they close their eyes? And then they can pray better, talk to God more clearly, without distractions? Staring wide-eyed at a stained glass window, taking a hundred photos, doesn’t get me any closer to understanding why the building was created in the first place. Pushing hard and moving fast, too fast for this man’s liking, helps me see God like closing my eyes to pray.

“Could be that you’re right,” I said. “But if I was blind, I’d still be out here all the same. I don’t go into a temple for the gold-plated ornaments.”

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