Friday, February 3, 2012

My knee feels a bit better today so things are definitely trending in the right direction. I may give it a couple more days before giving it a test but that's OK since I am headed to West Virginia for Carson's ski race. Probably good for the long haul.

Judging by the polling data it looks to be a two-man race between Ian and Hal. Can't wait to follow along tomorrow!

And, I am really psyched to note that I have signed on as a Hoka One One ambassador joining Karl Meltzer, Dave Mackey, and a few others. As most of you know, these shoes have been extraordinarily helpful in my recovery from PF so I should have no trouble promoting the brand. I will, of course, continue with Patagonia and Drymax, as well. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Got to the doc today and he ruled out MCL and meniscus damage so that's good. Turns out it's a pretty bad case of tendonitis and it means a bit of a break but not a total meltdown. Good, not great.

New Taproom post goes up tomorrow that should be good.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Anybody tried this? Evidently it's the best beer in America and it goes on tap this Friday! For two weeks only! If you have extra miles send me a ticket and I'm there:)
Resting my knee for another day before seeing Dr. Wilder tomorrow morning. Trying to take the long view which is easier some days that others. Did get into the February 18th VHTRC 50K and also got the reg forms for Bull Run Run and Promise Land so I guess, one way or another, this season will happen:) Trending toward tendonitis but we'll see.

Interesting results for the poll with Salomon and Montrail neck and neck and Patagonia an TNF lagging behind. New poll up now!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My knee felt a bit better this morning but to keep things on the safe side I made an appointment with Dr. Wilder for him to check it out. Honestly, it's this kind of thing that really reminds me that aging does have an impact on the body and it needs to be taken seriously. Sometimes, I must admit, the exuberance of running gets the best of me and it can kick me in the butt.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Knee felt a bit better this morning so I think I may have dodged a bullet. That said, being prudent is the best course right now so I'll take a few days off and get on the bike or into the pool. Probably what I have in store for my future anyway.

Retropost of the Week
I wrote this in September, 2007 as reflection on some of the great friends I have made through running. It was called "Friendships Forged on the Trail"

I have often wondered what it is about our sport that nurtures such incredible friendships. I can honestly say that some of my best friends in the world are ultrarunners. In fact, they are actually some of my only friends. As much as it’s hard for me admit, even though I spend my days among literally hundreds of people, I would not consider many of them friends. It’s odd, really, but true nonetheless.

The extraordinary thing is that the friends I’ve made through this sport are not people I spend a whole lot of time with. Some of them I see once or twice a year and yet, when we are together, it is like we see each other all the time. Perhaps it is because we are united in this unusual endeavor or that we seek the same answers to life’s perplexing questions. However, whatever it is, I know that my best friends run, they run long, and they love to share the joy of running long with me. In most cases, that’s all I need in a friend. Strange, I know, but true.

First, there’s Tom. He basically taught me how to run. Spending countless hours together on the Angeles Crest course in the late ‘90’s cemented our friendship and taught me most of what I know about running ultras. Tom taught me how to eat, pace, talk, act, and, most of all, run downhill. Tom shared with me secrets of strategy in the late stages of a 100 miler as well as how not to get too caught up in the moment. In the 2006 Western States Tom and I shared the trail through the canyons and survived the heat together. It was a moment of solidarity that I do not think I could replicate in any other part of my life. Tom, my friend, here’s to you; mentor, friend, role model. In an age when we have fewer and fewer people to truly look up to I hope you know that you will always be the Gold Standard for me.

Second, there’s Craig. This guy is a true Pied Piper and a pure connector. As Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his bestselling book, “The Tipping Point”, the success or failure of most of life’s ventures rest in the hands of the “connectors.” These are the people who bring people together and keep them together. They unite people around a common cause and celebrate others’ accomplishments more than their own. My friend Craig does this in spades! Seeing him cheer his good friend Ed on to a 24-hour finish at Western States or watching in awe as he supported and cajoled countless runners to the finish line at Western States over the years assured his status to me as the consummate connector. Add to that the annual post-Way Too Cool Karaoke party at the Georgetown Hotel and the “Blichigan Muff” training camp every spring and you have a guy who knows how to bring people together in meaningful ways. Just being around Craig makes me feel better and I will never forget his comment upon finishing Western States this year, “I kept waiting for the carnage until I realized the carnage was me.” Craig, here’s to you, our connections, and the brotherhood of the trail.

Third, there’s Graham; family man, professional guy, nutcase! Honestly, I thought he was toast at Western States this year after he told me he had traveled to nine countries in seven days to take his company public in mid-April. I should have known better. After a burst of training and his usual preparation which includes running long distances in intense heat wearing his “bank robber costume” and spending way too much time in ice baths he pulled off a third place finish and sent me away with my tail between my legs. Of course, after pulling my tail out we spent a wonderful day on the track in Auburn, cheering in the runners and reveling in our families. Not only do Graham and I understand each other, but even worse, our wives accept and even embrace the insanity of this sport. It’s certainly a bit odd but we are actually united in the silliness of it all. At the end of the day, that brings us closer together in ways that I can’t quite explain but can’t ignore either. Graham, here’s to you, your family, and the battle that awaits next year!

Finally, there’s Joe. I first met Joe at the Vermont 100 in 2002 and couldn’t believe he was passing me at Mile 32. Of course, a year later this same guy was breaking the Grand Slam record and doing so in style. What the heck? Here was this Philly boy, moved to Colorado, taking the sport by storm. What could be better? Damn! Then, of course, he starts talking smack about 30 mile weeks, long junkets on the tab of the insurance industry, and the inevitable decline of Western Civilization. Of course, in the midst of all this, I realized I was making a friend, a good one. This was confirmed at Western States 2005 when I managed to finish 8 minutes and 59 seconds ahead of Joe (but who’s counting?). It was the pinnacle of my athletic career and when Joe finished he ran to me with congratulations. Joe, here’s to you, our smack talk, your sandbagging, and the glory of what once was and what will always be.

I, of course, could go on for days with this list but I hope my theme is clear. This sport has given me friendships to last a lifetime. Friendships forged through hard work, competition, and shared pain. I hope that you can all feel the same thing. We runners are a strange lot and sometimes we find comfort in strange places. For me, the four friends above and countless others have shown me the power of friendship. It is a power I would not know were it not for our sport. For that, I am truly thankful.

(Writer’s Note: The last names of the four men described above have been intentionally omitted to protect the innocent)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I had an all-around screwy day yesterday! After staying up too late on Friday night I had to drag myself out of bed early to take Carson to ski practice. I basically lounged around for 4 hours at the ski place and then we came home. After a two-hour nap I finally got out the door and limped through an 8 miler. Turns out I jacked up my left knee somehow. It's the opposite leg from my pf so it could be some sort of compensation thing but it's weird. Especially since the pain is on the inside/back of my knee. I am thinking it's some kind of tendonitis that is the result of ramping things up to fast. Obviously, I am not getting any younger! I think I'll give it a couple days and then go to the doc if it's still around. Knowing me, it's probably because of my super-tight hips, hamstings, and glutes. Maybe this is another wake-up call to stretch and crosstrain.

On a much more positive note I must say I am just thrilled about Craig Thornley's appointment as the next Western States RD. He has a love and a passion for running in general and Western States in particular that is truly infectious. Furthermore, his contagious enthusiasm will almost certainly rub off on everybody involved with the event which I know, in the end, will make it even better. I am excited about the future of the Big Dance!

I was quite impressed with the way the WS Board of Trustees handled the entire thing. From launching a public search process to checking references to having the candidates undergo a thorough interview process they truly established a precedent of transparent professionalism which the race truly deserves. Over the next 20 or so months it will be great to see how the transition unfolds. Knowing Greg and Craig as I do I am sure it will be seamless.