Sunday, April 30, 2017

butterfly effect

i'm reading up again
on how to stay alive
when my friends get dead
time might not prove it
but i'm swimming toward the middle
without regret
~ arruda, mcmahon, and woodward
(the lion the fox the bear)
got my bib number today, setting off a kaleidoscope of butterflies.

maybe there will come a time when flying to a distant city to run a 100k will seem like no big deal.

this is not that time.

oh, i'm #290.
breaking gear news: i'm in trouble. my miwok shoe plan is in shambles.

i picked up some brooks calderas a few weeks ago, on the advice that miwok is not too technical and won't require burly traction. the calderas provide a sweet, cushy ride with lots of energy return...but in thoroughly testing them at chuckanut, the maunawili trail, and tiger mountain, i've rolled my right ankle four times. and i'm just not an ankle-roller.

so, while i like the caldera in some conditions, it's clear i can't trust them on anything but docile terrain. i have no firsthand knowledge of the miwok trails, but i'm guessing they're not entirely docile (and this is not an ideal time to be guessing).

in my last long training run (last saturday at grand ridge), i went back to my lone peak 3.0s. always great traction, but after 27+ miles my feet and legs felt beat up and worn down. i love the LPs for shorter distances (and wet conditions and sketchy terrain), but for me they're not the answer over longer distances.

new shoes, just before a big race.
oh, yeah. just like the pros do it.
to sum up, i'm now the proud owner of a pair of salomon sense pro max.

after a 3.8-mile recovery run in them i've determined...absolutely nothing. desperation predisposes me to like a cushy shoe with a wide toebox and a VERY comfortable fit, but let's keep it real. i need to run a few dozen trail miles in them to even begin to have a clue how they'll perform during a 100k.

but i don't have time for that. therefore, i'm planning to make an awesomely rookie mistake and wear them at miwok anyway.

update: a couple days ago i wore the salomons for a chirico threepeat: 1,760 feet up, 1,760 feet down each trip, on some pretty technical terrain.

conclusion: whew!

the shoes did exactly what i needed them to: stuck to slippery rocks, absorbed recurrent roots, and stayed under my feet rather than rolling out from under them.

my quads are still complaining about the chirico descents, but my ankles are very happy.

and, i now have confidence in a pair of shoes for a big chunk of miwok miles. i just have to figure out what to do the rest of the way.
gotta run.

Friday, April 07, 2017


"the most profound lessons about courage, strength, and character, i've learned from women."
~ me
until yesterday, the statement above was true. today i'm adding a man to the roster.

gary robbins.

that's him over there on the ground, (temporarily) destroyed by an all-in effort resulting in an almost-finish at the 2017 barkley marathons.

it should be noted that (practically) no one finishes barkley. forty of the best runners in the world have a go at it every spring. and most years, none of them get it done.

this year, though, the goal was in gary's grasp. he was two miles, a handful of minutes...and one wrong turn in the fog away. from gary's blog:

"...the fog had once again set in. As I went over the final bump on the course I knew I would hit a trail, go left, and run down into camp with maybe five minutes to spare, but the math added up, I was going to make it...

"I bushwhacked down the mountain at breakneck speed and found myself at a large river. The river was maybe fifteen feet wide and absolutely raging from all the rain we were experiencing. I took one step off the river bank and was already chest deep. I would never have made the decision to attempt to swim such waters under anything other than a highly sleep-deprived and stressed state of mind.

"I washed out on the other side maybe thirty feet downstream. I continued bushwhacking and quickly spotted the road into camp. I had less than three minutes left till the sixty hour cutoff. I thrashed my way to the road and put my head down and gutted out the hardest three minutes of my life to collapse at the gate, over-time, and from the wrong direction. I did not finish the Barkley Marathons, and that is no one's fault but my own."

any way you parse it, this last push was a stupendous, heroic effort. under any circumstances. but especially after 60 hours, 60,000 feet of climbing, on zero sleep.

the example gary set there adds to an already-amazing legacy, while also providing a helpful reminder:

unless i'm spurting blood, i can never drop from any race, ever again.

gotta run.