Like a good bonfire

When you do something, you should burn yourself up completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.

– Shunryu Suzuki

Last Friday’s run sucked.

I felt so slow (and was in fact slow), I had a weird pain on the bottom of  my foot, I just wanted to stop… but I didn’t. I got through and finished. It never got any better … and then it was over.  I remembered that things can’t *always* get worse, at some point they have to reverse course – or end.

A concept that I’ve carried with me since swimming competitively in high school was the image of an hourglass. That’s what the pain in hard physical effort is like, the sand falls to the base of the ampoule – the constriction … but then it opens again – this is the passing through – and if you keep at it, you always pass through. Or you stop. No idea if there is a name for that point or not.

Today’s run was on-on. After it from the first step. If you want to run fast; you have to run fast. If you want to do anything really; and do it well, you have to do it well at least some of the time – otherwise you won’t know what “really well” feels like. If you always do something mediocre; you can’t expect to do it better than mediocre at some point in the future – it doesn’t work that way.

I was thinking a lot about how bad I felt on Friday’s run today and the counterintuitive truism that the tough experiences, the ones where you want to roll over and die, the ones that make you question why?… the ones where you feel more like *fleish mit oigen* than an actual human, are actually the experiences that have the most to teach.


Day 9

FT dad duty.

“So what do you guys want to do this weekend?”

“First go to the city and play in the fountain, then have lunch at elephants deli, then go to Mt. Hood and go skiing, then go camping.”


(we hiked up to the snow line last weekend and glissaded near magic mile. And I finally found where Alpine campground was – for some reason I thought it was lower down on T-line road (it’s actually near the top.))

IMG_1229In the 90’s in Portland last Saturday, 70’s at 2100 meters on Mt. Hood.


№ 2

10th in my age group; 29th overall (out of 98).

Long first climb, followed by a craycray downhill (I was galloping / jumping at one point). I recovered on the downhill, but then didn’t go anaerobic again on the flats (should have pushed harder), then went anaerobic again on the 2nd climb that had this annoying little kicker at the top — I was moving slowly right at the top – then recovered again on the rollers back along Wildwood trail… I let my mind wander and took my foot off the gas a little bit.

Finished in 47:00, then pulled my phone out of my waist belt and stopped Strava (Ambit 3 here on Friday!!!).

Fun first race. I have a suspicion I’m going to be wearing a headlamp for the last couple of races… I think it’s going to be dark at the end of October. We’ll see.

Came home and heated up some tortillas in the cast iron and ate 2 yummy fajita burritos covered in guac and salsa. Mmmmmm……so good. I picked up some green chile from whole foods this weekend, but was too lazy to take it out of the freezer and heat it up tonight. Cha cha cha.=======

Fun 2, although it was only a 5’er … there was some drooling.


This is a good read:

I read it through the context of software product design… I liked this quote:

This watchful, inner kind of creativity is not about making things but about experiencing life in a creative way; it’s a way of asserting your own presence amidst the much larger world of nature, and of finding significance in that wider world. By contrast, our current sense of creativity is almost entirely bound up with the making of stuff. If you have a creative imagination but don’t make anything, we regard that as a problem—we say that you’re “blocked.”

XOXO is coming to Portland next week (a conference about creative people making stuff). I went the first year, then was a little weirded out that you had to apply to be invited the second year.

On my ride home yesterday I passed an open warehouse door and inside were 2 massive steel structures with swings hanging in them. They’re outdoor structures for XO. Curious to find out where they end up.


Making meaning

Not only is this course amazing because of the waterfalls and technical rocky trails – but it means a lot because it was my comeback race. I remember after I left the aid station around mile 18 or 19 – my watch stopped and I didn’t know what time it was, I was running alone, the trail wasn’t marked very well. It was the suck. One foot in front of the other; best way is straight through it.

I’m at 2:25 flipping up my red hat starting up the first climb.

Gorge 50/100K race film from Project Talaria:

Gorge Waterfalls 50/100k – 2014 from Project Talaria on Vimeo.


When the chores are done it’s time to cut loose!

I’ve never driven up Burnside past 23rd so I didn’t really know where it went, but I’ve always crossed coming over to the Arboretum from Pittock Mansion and wasn’t sure the distance from 23rd to the trail crossing… maybe a mile? (I think it was a little less).

The most awesome thing when out exploring a new route is making a good find. I didn’t take any water with me because I know where all the city fountains are in Washington Park. The first I would find if nothing else would have been at the Elephant House near the rose garden. But right as I got to 23rd I started to think I should eat a gel and try to find some water. I ran on and started looking around for hoses or spigots or water fountains and just as I got to the trail that leads uphill left into Washington Park – BAM! Ask and you shall receive! A TRIPLE water fountain – one for little people, medium people and big people. So I ate a gel and gulp gulped and then started up the hill.

The only sketchy part of this run is a short section on Burnside where there isn’t much of a shoulder – I slowed down on that section and stayed way to the left as cars were zooming at me coming downhill.  Saw another runner coming down the hill and gave him the Old Rasputin peace up. There is also a bus stop up there – on the same stretch of road with no sidewalk and no shoulder – not very Portland.  Maybe for the people who sleep in the woods and catch a ride to city center?  o_O

Fun one. Recommended. Will do again. 3.5 stars. (out of 5)

Took my UD vest mostly empty and wore it loose.  Super comfortable. Used Strava on the phone (Ambit 3 shipping next week!!!!!), 3 gels, water where I could find it. Cha cha cha.


In other news, Americans got their asses handed to them at UTMB this year. I imagine a whole crew of US runners heading to Chamonix to train for next year. Not sure what the dealio was … maybe too much pre-race fondue and nutella crepes. Big bummer.