Sunday, April 24, 2011

Journal entry

Here's a journal article from a few days ago:

Happy 4/20! No, I won't be smoking pot today, if you're wondering. I went for my run today with clean, smoke-free lungs, Thank God, and it felt wonderful. I took my friend's dog, Bear to the Witch Hole Loop and carriage trails. This dog is awesome: tame, yet still wild at times; playful yet won't bite your fingers off; obedient, yet still independent. We chased deer scents through the woods. He'd take off sprinting at breakneck speed and I'd do everything I could just to keep up. Rolled around in some mud (doesn't he ever get cold?). I'd like to film a run one time with Bear at my side, trying to capture the pure joy of playing and dancing with a dog. Sprinting downhill with wreckless abandon; teasing, jumping, playing, play-fighting, playing fetch, listening to each other's strides, breathing, and spirit. Of course, when he stopped to sniff and pee every five minutes, it was frustrating. But not because he stopped me but because he could sense more than I could out in the woods. Know what animals were around, what pheremones they were releasing. Bear is so much more aware of the WILD than I am. I yearn to have his sensitivities to scents and sound ranges and vibrations. I wish I could run like Bear - swift, efficient, so NATURALLY, with four legs, not two. Running on four legs would feel so primal - the closest I come to that is rock scrambling up and down mountains. What if man did learn how to run on four limbs again? Just create exctensions for our short arms? Woah. Heavy.

Scott Swann said I should think about writing some "documentation" of the Round the Island Run I did last Saturday, since he can't think of "anyone stupid enough to try that" historically. I might have done something no one else has ever doen before - how cool is that? I want to present my experiences to kids across the island, try to share the joys of long-distnace running. the ambition, the dreams, the worthwhile hardships, everything. Maybe inspire a few kids to run a little. Why? Good health and fitness, healthy lifestyle, can be less consumeristic, regulates your diet to some degree, can become a type of spirituality, passion, pastime (a glorious pastime), a social connector (!), a great way to travel and see the world and fundraise money for good causes, do good for others, inspire others to get healthy and fit, and use their priorly neglected bodies. Great way to appreciate the outdoors and your environment. Great sports of XC and Track. If you find any talent in it, you can get scholarships to colleges! Motivation and inspiration to others. I can tell them at "Katie" at Hunters' Beach who, after hearing my Round MDI Run story, said she'd soon stop smoking and start running again.

Update - I have since gone on many other runs with Bear and my other friend's dog, Cosmo, with much success and joy. More to come. Woof!

Monday, April 18, 2011


I finished the run. Took me a grand total time of 15 hours and 41 minutes. What I tried to avoid by starting earlier in the morning still happened - I was lost, in the dark, with a non working headlamp, getting called by the police, phone battery halfway dead, and tired as never before. Two deer materialized in my vision as I was exiting Schooner Head Overlook, and I started asking them for directions as well: Me - "Hey, do you know where Schooner Head Rd. is?" Deer - "..." Me (pointing to the other deer) - "What about you, sir...or ma'am?" Deer 2 - "..." Me - "Well...Okay then." (Shuffles back to Park loop). What I imagine they said afterwards was something like that (When I'm out of sight) Deer 1: "Qu'est-ce que c'est?" Deer 2: "Je ne sais pas..." Thankfully, Ken Hill called me just in time as I was headed the wrong way on the Park loop (towards Cadillac Mtn.) and steered me towards Schooner Head Road. "only 3.2 miles Steve" "3.2 Miles! Yes!" "Sarah Luke wants to know what kind of pizza you want from Reel Pizza?" "Everything!" 3.2 Miles? I could do that in my sleep. And since I had been awake since 2 AM Saturday morning, I probably would be sleeping quite soon if I didn't hurry. I pushed myself from a march to a slog. To a shuffle. Broke the metaphorical Forest Gump casts off my legs and TOOK OFF. Others thought I was really sprinting but I knew the truth - human flight. Get wings. Like that greek dude. My brain had turned into a pile of oatmeal throughout the day, slowing down my speech, my thoughts, my concerns. Even pain wasn't a concern now. My only focus was switching gears and getting to the village green to that ULTRA-PIZZA. My stomach juices jumped up and down with every step, awaiting a tasty thanksgiving dinner to satisfy cravings. I busied myself with calculations in my head. 11 minute miles. 3.2 miles....that's...35 minutes...what about 10 minute....NO...what about 9 minute miles...that 30 minutes. Lets go under 30 BABY! I shifted into higher gears with words and grunts. "Let's do this! ARGHHH!" (Scott Grierson taught me that one. He taught me to save my energy for the final push and then... Put the HAMMER down!) Jackson Labs' lights were in sight now. Less than a mile away! 2nd gear. Arghh! 3rd gear. Arghh! Ken Hill says I'm flying now. 4th gear. Arghhhhh! I morphed my body from an old-timers electric wheelchair into a MACH JET! How? I thought to myself. How is this possible after 15 and a half hours of running? The farthest distance I had gone before this was 32 miles. Now I'm running 64? Twice as much. Past Jackson Labs, Ken Hill goes ahead to the village green. The hours on the road find me again and I slow to a shuffle walk again. Less than a mile, less than a mile... I see flashes of light. People cheering, yelling, whooping, yelping. Dogs? I climb the curb, reach the stone circle, break to my knees, and kiss the damn thing. Right next to the bird poop, I expect. 15 hours and 41 minutes ago, it was dark and cold, just as it is now. Only Kelly Reid was there, snapping a photo as I crouched in a joking manner into the sprint position at that very circle. That was my take off. This is my landing. Alina puts something heavy into my hands. Says congratulations and heres a gift. I know right away - Pickles, my favorite. Sarah Luke asks if I need an IV at the hospital, if I can walk, if I need to be carried. I'm lucid enough to laugh. I'm fine, I say, I just need pizza. Then it's in my hands,it's so warm!, and I'm at the house. And I've fallen on the couch. I can only eat a few pieces before I keel over on my side and pass out. Rest.

Friday, April 15, 2011

First Post!

Great! I found my blogger account! Woot. I'm trying to kill time before my epic Round the Island run at 5 AM. I only have to kill time until 4AM when I will gear up and head to Jordan's Restaurant for a hearty breakfast before my 70 mile run today. 70 mile run. 70. mile. run. I have to say that a few times to really understand what it means. Ha. I'd like to use this blog to post online articles about ultrarunners I've interviewed and other information I'm finding out about while studying ultrarunning and speed hiking and endurance sports in general this Spring. It's my senior project! Can you imagine that, a senior project on endurance sports coming from me, the acting kid? the former SHY kid? the slowest varsity member in high school cross country? it all seems like a dream... : ) Anyway, I've interviewed around 18 ultramarathoners and speed hikers after 3 weeks. They've told me AMAZING stories about the limits of the human body, about the joys and tribulations of endurace events. Like the Hardrock 100, an insane ultramarathon through the San Juan Mountains of Southern Colorado. 66000 feet of elevation change, average elevation of over 11, 000 feet...That's over 2 miles high. Now to many people, that sounds as appealing as a sea urchin sandwich, but to me, my blood starts to pump, my head gets dizzy from imagining the lack of oxygen, and my heart, or my spirit, or whatever that courageous voice is inside me, screams, "GO FOR IT!" Push the limit of your body, your mind, your motivation and will power! In my mind, whatever doesn't kill me...will surely hurt a lot, and will be well worth my time. Whatever does kill me...well, I just hope its during a run. Not that I plan on dying anytime soon. It's just good to have a broad perspective about life in general, because you never know when ya gonna go. Can you tell I'm nervous about this ultra? : ) So I've raised hundreds of dollars for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, in honor of my cousin Christopher, who has CF. I started a donation page less than a week ago, and thought of this idea of running around MDI around 2 weeks ago. Phew, everythings moving very fast these days. Heres the link to my donation page where you can contribute: Alright, gonna gear up. Wish me luck. Peace.