Showing posts from 2014

The 2015 SKT Trail Running Movie

Film makers will shit a brick and die when they learn about the 2015 SKT Trail Running Movie. Its a documentary about me, dammit. Yes, my heroic metaphoric struggle for world dominance—at the 2015 Sean O’Brien 50—pushing a shopping cart. With a thundering musical soundtrack too. Maybe with a stray dog at a dark finish line. You'll see me:
...looking at the camera...recounting a teachable moment...digging deep, hiking the vert, busting the gnar, running my own race...cracking manly jokes...flirting w Aid-station hotties who are wearing balconette pushup halter-tops and 4” Maximum Drop CMFMs. And it's pouring rain. Don't ask why....bagging on elite dewds, etc for being over-talented, skinny punksCutaways to random various girlfriends looking regretful.

Diversity alert: Mexican girls commenting casually in Spanish, no subtitles. Mariachi music.

Aid station convoy entourage, with rub downs. Little umbrella. And it's pouring rain. A glancing mention of the new CR set by TBD… B…

SKT Mastery at the SJT50k

I raised SKT Mastery to whole new depths at Saturday's San Juan Trail 50k, finishing 14min after finish cutoff. This is a career first. Back at the campsite, I got out the matches and built a fire. ‪#‎SlowAndShit‬

First time for everything. I was playing it pretty conservative for the first 20mi. Figured I could hit the last 11 in 3 hrs. Wrong-O. Stride tightened up, trail got a lot more technical up to, then down Holy Jim, then up Horse Thief to the Divide Road. It wasn't until the last 2 miles off the top did I remember something Andy Roth had told me [letting hips relax, rolling into the stride] that I was able to open it up. But then it was too late.

When I crossed the finish line, I joked with RD Baz Hawley that it was only 23 years earlier, I'd done the late San Juan Trail 50-Mile.

"And you're just now finishing!"

Remember the hunters? they weren't looking for deer...they were looking for stragglers.

Weather was overcast Friday night. I'd driven down…

The Three Dimensions Of Shade

"A man alone with his thoughts lives in a crowded house"
—Don Juan Castaneda, "Conversations With Maestro Sevende Sandia"
There is no cell reception in the San Gabriels. I was unwired for three days. $36, cost of a campsite at Chilao. But I'll charge hipsters $450 ea for the weekend, then taser them when they try to Instagram. And all greasy stains at the picnic tables are really bitter tears from the butt-hurt. 

The Three Dimensions Of ShadeThe San Gabriel sun is merciless. You've either found shade, or made your own. I've opted for making it.

I have a love-affair with 1" EMT pipe canopies. They beat crappy pop-ups cold. But you won't know this until your pop-up gets gusted into a gully, breaks its back, and you're left with junk. Bungee cords secure the shade panels. I double them up on the full-sun side, leaving the other sides open as needed. Then chase the sun from east to west. When something breaks, its only a part, not a complete …

Nine Trails Of Vert

FIRST, A COMFORTING BROMIDEBest way to recognition and applause in ultras is to finish last. All the people who weren’t there at the beginning will be thrilled to see you—because you didn’t wander off the course while jabbering into your smartphone and so on. But I get ahead of myself.
SPOILER ALERT: NEW MATHTake note of the following numbers. 9 + (5 + 3) x 2. Not written totally correctly? Too bad.

Santa Barbara Nine Trails; thirty-five miles of asskicking vert. Luis Escobar, RD, now hosts this classic race, the gold standard in ass-kicking since 1990. Anybody who sneeringly references “California Carpet Trails” is welcome to try this race on for size. It climbs and plunges in the mountains above Santa Barbara. Technical out the ass; in both sunny and shady varieties. The smooth sections are on the various sections of Edison roads. They pitch up and down too. No character-debilitating shade here either; its photon-fury at its best. Wear that black t-shirt and be prepared to enjoy your…

Rocks Off On Mt Williamson

Recently there have been reports of nubile young women, dewy ultrarunner wannabes, inexplicably lured off the Pacific Crest Trail from either direction. Perhaps they were getting lost, in the finest Chet Baker tradition.

The Judgmental Brothers had discovered enigmatically puzzling land formations on top of Mt Williamson. Ritual observance? Fetish object? Geo-directional ley-line indicator? Was this directional art for aliens? Or merely the lithic whoopie-cushion for pre-contact indigenous peoples?

Each expedition member was left with their own sobering thoughts as to the origin and purpose of these enigmatic land sculptures, far from the sight and purview of commentators and critics.

Leader Fails

Some of you are doing, or leading training runs on the AC100 course. Here's a checklist to avoid disaster:
LEADERSIf you're leading a group, then its YOUR responsibility to make sure you've covered all the details. EVERYBODY STARTS/EVERYBODY many know the route? How many newbies? Pair up experienced w/ newbies.  It's gonna take more time than you think. If somebody has a critical appointment back in town, they'll be late. Guaranteed.EVERYBODY ELSEKnow where you're going. Get the map—the RaceBook is full of them. Study it. That's why its there.Take care of business. Proper dress/proper gear. Just because some Internet Kid Jesus runs with a garter belt and a squirt gun does not make it right for youhow much fluids/electrolytes are you carrying?Are there any water drops on the way? Do you know where they are?how many are in the group? You'd be surprised how fast you forget.RUNNERS: The group may be slow, but save the speed for another day. Or …

Hyena Three-Day 100

The best way to preview the Angeles Crest 100 course is the Three-Day 100. It would break out as a notional 40/35/25. This is the best way to get a real sense of what the course is. Its formidable, unrelenting, and demands your complete attention. I’d done it back in ’96, and it gave me a realistic view of what was needed on Race Day.

Of course, Geoff fucking killed it. Now I'm busy writing my self-congratulatory memoirs with the aid of gin and bitters to take the bad taste out of my mouth. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
THE SET UPWe began putting together the Hyena Three Day 100 and invited a short list of friends. The short list is to maximize your effort, minimize drag, avoid chickenshit when other people's agendas start clogging up your day.

The base camp would be at the Chilao Campgrounds up in the San Gabriels to minimize driving chores.
“If anyone has specialized culinary prefs ie vegan, gluten-whatever, please handle it. Otherwise it's espresso, meat/poultry/veg/…

Adventures In Doctor Land

Adventures In Doctor LandDuring my last physical, the doctor unwittingly revealed a voodoo truth in the American psyche: the cure for death is always five years away from today. Tomorrow, it will be repeated all over again. In other words, don't do anything out of the ordinary, and you'll live forever. 

I had no idea how much fun it was going to be.  It started with the Self-Assessment Form in the lobby. Sample questions included 'Are you/have you': 
…smoke?…own a gun?…drink? how much?…are you beaten by your partner?…take drugs…unprotected sex?OK fine. I checked all that applied. Shortly I was called in, and was met by Sonia, a cute Latina. She was reading off the list doing follow-up, which were curve-balls. Since I was at bat, I gave it my all.
Did you smoke?
Hell yeah. Years ago. If it burned, I inhaled. Are you joking?

A very long time ago. Good luck finding anything.

Second-hand smoke?
Oh yeah, my stoner neighbor's fine-ass weed. Shit's expensive, I can…

AC100: The First Is The Last

Wrightwood: Mile ZeroWhen Uncle Hal was finished doing the Saturday pre-training run advisories, he said “Larry’s gonna be sweeping, got anything to add?”

“Yes I do. If I catch up to you, then your training sucks”

Nervous gusts of laughing followed. As it should be.

The herd is being thinned. There are runners who are not prepared, coasting on some kind of delusional fumes. If you haven’t learned that showing up without a real cap, wearing dark clothing, eating crap food and carrying insufficient fluids are not sustainable methods for surviving the early summer heat, you’ve got problems. Insufficient mileage? Got injuries you're not letting heal? That too.

The main pack thundered off into the distance. I’m left with my own unspooling colorful adventure; the business of getting back into shape. And the Acorn Trail pitches straight up for the next two miles up to the PCT.

The last five weeks have been exercises in recovered memories, mental and physical. You can kid yourself, but the tru…

AC100 Last 26 Miles

The Last 26 Miles This section is a lover who’ll rake your back, fuck you so hard that you’d stay fucked, then ignore your calls. A standout in a Race that’s pretty much the same way. Its harsh, demanding, and indifferent to your esthetic preferences. You learn to love it on its own terms.

Getting nervous? Wonderful. You’re looking at a legacy original mountain hundred, not a “backyard cheese-ball loop 100”, as Luis Escobar so eloquently described it.
Spoiler alertI got my ass kicked. Its become the pattern for the summer: race, ass-kick recovery run.

Minutes after the start from Chantry Flats, I’m practically by myself, Jeanne is seeing this part of the course for the first time. Now I get to find out how much I really remember of the course. The ribbons start coming down.

Today, we’re lucky. Uncle Hal and friends are hosting an aid station at the 94 mile mark, 18 on today’s outing. This is huge. Otherwise its *maybe* finding water from a hose in Millard Cyn. Or pumping from an open s…

2014 Giants In The Shadows

Everything you’ve read about this race* is true. Now its up to me to provide lies and embellishments.

Baz Hawley kept us waiting around prior to yelling “FUCK OFF” to start the race. In time-honoured fashion he regaled us with details about his latest medical procedures, presumably his Acute Mangina. He's retired more times than Cher, but nevermind. The assembled multitudes were busy busting out selfies, whiling away the boxcar waiting and nervous walking typical of these events.

The moment the race started, all the real talent ran away. Guys: this means you’re not taking enough time doing What Needs To Be Done. Ladies: this is where the fun starts—Barry White and Suntan Oil.

We all know where it goes from here. I did what I do best: boring the living shit out of runners unlucky enough who didn’t get out while the going was good. Utilizing most of my date-expired inventory from the Ultra Spank-Bank, the course was littered with bodies over the next 6:42 I was out there. When I arri…

27 Mile AC100 Beatdown

[Mon, May 26, 2014]
This morning my brain is mud. I slept in til 7. Overall I had a good, tough day yesterday. My job was to sweep the course of marker surveyor ribbons put up by the training run front-runner. I’m so slow right now its the only honorable way to participate. Pre-start pix were taken, but I declined to be in. Its the runner’s show, not mine.

Yesterday's 27 mile Islip to Chilao AC100 training run was held under optimal conditions. That's not a typo. Weather was generally mild, there was generous aid from dedicated volunteers. God bless all of you. And it still kicked unholy ass. Wait until it really gets hot.

The first-timers, accompanied by veterans, experienced a very challenging section of the course that is always overshadowed by Mt Wilson and other glamor-betties. They are the wise ones who got to feel the lay of the land and the route that is beyond the grasp of a GPS or any other app.

For all those outside the elite circle who missed this to chase strawberries…

2014 Born To Run 50k

The first 10 miles were young love-- it was all so fresh and new. I thought I'd met my soulmate, no thoughts of previous lovers.

The 2nd ten miles were inspirationally hard, and so much dialog and learning, but we got thru it, our love crushing and dominating.

As I finished, I became an impromptu celebrity based on my quiet mastery of SKT Method. I was cheered on as an inspirational meme by lawn chairs. Jumper cables were stowed away, the SAR team was told to take a hike.

The final 11 miles were bitter and judgemental. The harsh light of day revealed that we had nothing to say, because it was all about you. And I blame you. Literally. And shit.

Of course, there's pictures.

G8R Boi

A BRIEF FORWARD, by Dr Erasmus Binkster

Canada has given the United States many things. That's because Canadians are naturally generous. For instance: Peter Jennings, Dan Aykroyd, Celine Dion, Wayne Gretzky, France Jolie. And Canadians are so generous, they only want Wayne Gretzky back. We can keep the rest. Including Avril Lavigne.

Avril wrote a song, nay, epic poetry that speaks to the fragrant heart of ultrarunning. No kidding. Here it is. I'm sure you may see yourselve[s] in this dainty ballad.

PS All of you out there with 15 year old daughters can skip the pop-quiz at the end.

G8R Boi[with insincere apologies to Avril Lavigne]

He was a trail-boy, she was, like, a 10k girl
Can I, like, make it any more obvious?
He was a trail punk, she did road 10ks
Like, What more can I say?
He'd like to do her, she'd never tell, 
secretly she wanted his trail-jerky self as well.
But all of her friends hiked up their tights
They had a problem with his Petzl Lights.

He was a gaiter boy, she sai…