Sunday, November 29, 2009

Figuring things out

I went to my friend, and climbing partner, Ken's memorial service tonight. Ken died from complications due to Leukemia. I hadn't climbed with him in a few years and honestly did not get a chance to climb with him a lot. He did, however, turn me into an ice climber: a deed for which I am eternally grateful. I had the privelege to climb some sick ice with Ken, and just wish we had more time to rope up together. Nevertheless, tonight was a celebration of his life. There were slide shows (Ken loved giving slide shows) and readings about Ken. It was really quite inspiring. At one point, several emails reflecting on Ken were read, and one of them was from me. I was very pleased that it was shared. It was good to see some old friends from the climbing community. Ken's biggest fear was not being "remembered". I was amazed that he could have this fear because he impacted so many people in the climbing world. He was a real teacher and very giving of his time. He organized trips and was always watching out for others. Ken will not be forgotten. In fact, I've never seen a church so packed!

I'm always a very emotional type at these things, and today was no exception. It also gave me a chance to reflect on how I have lived my life and what I want to do with the rest of the time I have in this world. It reinforced some of the things that I like about myself and my life, and got me to think about some changes I'd like to make. We'll see how it goes...

As far as running, I managed to log some decent mileage this past week. While it's a mere fraction of my training from last year, I did manage to get in nearly 40 miles this week on some tough terrain. I also squeezed in some climbing and yoga, so am starting to feel more fit. We'll see if I can keep it up once the weekly grind kicks back in.

Upcoming plans include ice climbing in the DAKS after Xmas and a big ski trip to B.C. in February. Yeah, backcountry POWDER baby!

Other 2010 plans include the inaugural Traprock 50K trail race co-directed by yours truly and the famous Goat (a.k.a. my bud Kevin). We are shooting for April 3, so mark your calendars and sign up for our Facebook page!

Cheers and have a great week everyone!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving and good advice

Today is Thanksgiving! Happy, Happy T-day everyone! I made my traditional apple pie and drove to my folks this morning for a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat.

My brother, Robert (a.k.a. Bubba), called earlier in the week to see if I wanted to do a morning run today, and the request put a smile on my face. We run at different levels, and Bubba only gets out a couple days per week, but the fact that he runs is all that matters to me. We have worked out a system that works for us. We run the 1-1.5 miles together and then I start to pull away or Bubba fades a little. I circle back and we chat every 1/4 mile or so. Once we decide on the halfway mark, I take off in a sprint for it. It's an out-and-back course, so Bubba watches for me and turns around as soon as he sees me heading back. At some point, I catch up and then we run back together. Today, Bubba did 6 miles in 55 minutes. I was happy for him as he pushed it hard on the last mile.

When my Dad saw me, he asked if I had any racing plans for the upcoming year. I replied that I would like to do another race, but work has been keeping me from getting any decent training in. He gave me some good advice, "You need to change that...". Damn! For once I could not argue with the man, and we never see eye to eye. I was speechless. It made me think...

Before the run with Bubba, my cousin, Paul, from Colorado called. He said, "Hey, I just wanted to thank you for being in my life you crazy SOB!" I was shocked and confused. Then he explained...he had just spent a few days with his brother, Sean, in Vermont, and Sean showed him the pictures from the Vermont 100 in 2008. OH! OK! Now, I understand the crazy SOB comment. I've also visited Paul during some crazy climbing adventures, so he thinks I'm a total nut now! We had a nice chat :-)

So, I drive home, and decide to check on AJW's attempt at the 5:00 mile. AJW is a great 100 miler and won Vermont in 2008 when I placed 7th. We chatted after the award ceremony as I've always been a big fan. So, while I was watching the video of his attempt, I see his son wearing the Vermont 100 race shirt from 2 years ago. Wow! I'm thinking someone is trying to tell me something.

I don't have a plan right now, but it sure would be nice to start getting in some good mileage and crank out some fast times. I definitely feel better when I run more than 3 times per week.

I signed up for Attackpoint tonight to start tracking my weekly mileage. We'll see where this goes...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Sunday, November 1, 2009


Meb Keflezighi won the NYC marathon today and I just happen to catch it on TV. It was amazing! Meb is a U.S. citizen who grew up in California. He finished 2nd in the Athens Olympics and has finished 2nd and 3rd in NYC previously, so it should be no surprize that he finally pulled off the victory. Nevertheless, he is 37 years old and it is the first time an American has won the race since I graduated high school in 1982. So, it is a great day in U.S. running.

The amazing thing about it, in my opinion, is that 6 of the top 10 finishers were Americans. Ryan Hall, the great young prospect and Meb's training partner, finished 4th. This represents the great return of American distance running. We've all been waiting to see if this day would arrive, and here it is. You have to wonder what Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter are thinking right now.

It was exciting to watch it unfold. There was a pack of 11 runners at the mid-way point, and the commentators mentioned Ryan Hall, Meb and a couple other Americans were in the pack. They focused on the tall, blonde haired Hall because he had won the Olympic trials marathon. I took one look at thought he had no chance. He was too tall and did not look comfortable. Meb, on the other hand, was short and light like most great marathoners, and looked very relaxed in the back of the pack. I wondered how he would do and thought it was cool that he was wearing a USA singlet. I also noted that he had on a hat, arm warmers and gloves. The man was running comfortably all right.

One by one they all dropped off the pace until there was only 2. Meb and one of the great African runners. I watched for clues to see if he had it in him to go for the win. I watched intently, and then I got the clue. He dropped both his arms and shook them out with about 3 miles to go. You do not drop your arms and shake out when you are pushing and fatigued. You shake out when you want to loosen up a little. He still had his hat and arm warmers on him, and I knew he was getting ready to cut loose.

With 2 miles to go, Meb pushed and opened a 5 second gap. He made his move and the other guy could not respond. It was all he needed. He opened up a gap and ran in glory pointing at his USA singlet as he approached the finish line.

Meb is the man!

In his post race interview, he said he had imagined this day for a long time.

After the victory, I went out and ran a quick 6.5 miles to celebrate. I felt like stopping to tell everyone that I passed on the trail, but I figured they would think I was crazy.

So, if Meb can run a 2:08 marathon at age 37 with two young daughters at home and working through a year of treatment for stress fractures, what else is possible? Think about it.

There's a guy up in Mass. who started running at age 53 and has run something like 80 marathons and eight 100 milers. He's about 80 years old or so. Cool.

So, what else is possible?

Enjoy your week!