Friday, March 27, 2020

2008

monkeyboy kamp. 2 weeks out. 2008

i find myself, along with one other runner i know of, in the unique position of having been on the entry list for the 2008 western states 100 and also the 2020 event that was just recently canceled due to considerations related to the global outbreak of SARS-CoV2 virus known worldwide as the coronavirus disease.

the 2008 cancellation was acute. it was due to a wildfire that affected the course that was the result of lightening strikes a week out from the race. the cancellation was due to poor air quality, safety considerations of volunteers and crew members and the potential need for fire and ems resources to be allocated away from the public need in order to support the event.

for me, personally, this was devastating at the time. the car was packed and i was minutes away from leaving eugene when both my pacer and one of my training partners called me to tell me hold tight and not leave for squaw valley just yet. like so many others that year, i was looking at clear skies, feeling fit and rested and anticipating my first 100 mile run after 3 years of buildup and setbacks to get me to the starting line. it wasn't yet real and my considerations were self centered. reality was the smoke in squaw valley was thick, the considerations listed above were too great to safely hold the event and it was canceled for the first time in the 34 years of the event.

in 2020 the sport, the event itself and the reason for cancellation have global considerations far outreaching the acute local affect of 2008. To date, the virus has killed more than 25,000 people worldwide in a very short time and globally were are a planet being guided by CDC and WHO guidelines to mitigate exposure and try to ease the strain on limited medical resources that are already overwhelmed world wide. western state will be back. as an entrant, i now can shift my running from "training" to health and wellness so i can devote more time supporting my community as a health care provider without the daily emotional strain whether or not i will have the time to get a run in...which has been a new global reality for runners that have been affected by the outbreak of this virus.

the current race director of western states was also scheduled to be a participant in the 2008 race and knows what cancellation feels like. A large representation of the current Board also was a part of that process. i feel this decision was made from a place of experience and very complete consideration on all parts and i support it, especially the timing of it.

2009, like 2014 after a post race wildfire directly affected the course, was a celebration. what is happening globally is life and death. there is a shift in our global economy, healthcare system and day to day life that far outweighs whether or not we get to run from squaw valley to auburn the last weekend in june this year. i'm looking forward to being a part of the next celebration in june 2021. be safe. look out for each other.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

dewayne

dink and dewayne. mmtr 1999

my first memory of dewayne was standing off the side with a group of his Team BAD boys at the finish of the shut in ridge run, probably 95 or 96. they were a serious looking group, but dewayne broke into a smile and walked over to our local brood and started cracking jokes and introducing himself and his crew from huntsville. they were a group of guys who all trained together a few days a week and went to races trying to run fast. we all became quick friends. i think 4-5 of them were sub 2:40 guys with roland winning the race that year. those gold colored singlets. dewayne was also had crazy hair, earrings. typical rocket scientist. if you've never met a rocket scientist before, you had when you met dewayne.

next memory was waiting at the start of the grandfather mountain marathon in boone, nc in the late 90's and i see the same group of dudes roll up on harleys and running shorts. again...Team BAD with the hugs, smiles and buttermouths. they ran hard and then jumped on bikes and rode back to huntsville just like they came in. 

mountain masochist in 99 was the next encounter. Team BAD is now out of the gold kits and into the nike pro kits pictured above. dewayne was in full conversation coming into aid stations like he was out on a long run with his buddy dink. they socially put down a 3rd and 5th place finish that year. watching those two guys that year sure made trail running look a helluva lot more fun than road running.   

finally in 2000, i was standing at the foothills trail head in laurel fork creek on a random two lane road in south carolina waiting on some guy named claude to get his civil war era blunderbuss to fire and run some 35 miles unsupported to upper whitewater falls up in north carolina on a typical humid day in august. i think clark and i were the only one's i saw not wearing long trail gear. we take off and clark and i separate pretty quickly with byron backer and after about 5 miles two things happen; clark takes off, setting the course record that still stands 20 years on now and dewayne, who missed the start by 2 or 3 minutes catches us. i end up spending the next 25 miles running next to dewayne on a remote trail that transcends state lines talking about life, family, trail running and Team BAD. along the way i started to cramp about 30 miles into it and dewayne takes off. i come around a corner with dewayne at a dead stop in the middle of the trail. he had waited for me to point out a huge cottonmouth snake eating a mouse in the middle of the trail. i'll never forget the excitement on his face. "you ever seen anything like THIS in your road races?" with a huge grin. he takes off and beats me up the stairs and is humbly gracious at the finish. at that time, my marathon PR was significantly faster than his but he beat me soundly. 

next year, dewayne is the throes of his dominance at mountain mist 50k on his home course in monte sano. i was still fairly green ultrarunner, i spent all winter training to break his win streak. i tried to psyche out the Team BAD boy by painting my nails black and came up to him during the pre-race dinner and told him "i was gonna stick to him like glue tomorrow". he smiled, said he looked forward to it. sure enough, a triathlete took off early and dewayne and i settled in and picked up where we left off the previous august. he's giving me a tour of monte sano while i'm stuck in my head racing. he did share his secret bottles of sweet tea he had stashed in various hiding spots vs. using crew. we caught the early leader and i took the lead and made a break from him just past 25. shortly after, come mile 26 i was walking with cramps and dewayne tactically comes up on me at the base of waterline trail climb that is famous in the race course and says "now would be a good time to stick to me like glue" with a wry smile and precedes to run away from me again and win his umpteenth mountain mist in a row at that time. rob youngren catches me walking and asks "how the glue sticking to dewayne was working out". i took my fair share of lumps as a young, cocky newbie. the winners were very gracious. dewayne made a point post race of seeking me out to give me counsel on how to come back and break his streak the next year. even at his best...he was the best kind of human. 

few other races here and there. some night road races, a 10 miler on the redstone arsenal where dewayne worked. then...i moved west. social media allowed virtual connection here and there and when i checked my email after my first western states, dewayne had a note of congratulations on my finish at the top of my inbox and he recalled that conversation we had about the race some 9 years before. i had no idea he was watching. i don't know if he ever knew the impact he had on getting me there. 

december 2018 i'm working the lottery in auburn and i hear his name called. quick look at my phone shows me that indeed, it had been 1994 since dewayne had a finish at western states. the past three or four years i had seen dink as either a racer or spectator at states, and the re-connection always felt good. so i was looking forward to having dewayne come west. a few messages back and forth and we meet in squaw for a short catch up after 14 years of not seeing him. same old dewayne. little grey now, but that smile was the same. i missed his golden hour finish as i was up on robie but he did pause for a big hug on his way past heading towards the track. turns out, unexpectedly, that's the last memory i'll have with him and like so many others i've thought about in the last few days, i'll cherish it.  

dewayne satterfield was one of my first real ultrarunning heros along with his buddy, dink taylor. dewayne was cool. he was smart. he was sincere and he was the rug that generally tied the room together and i wanted to emulate so much about him. i thought a lot about Team BAD while training with my eugene crew some years later and i imagine the bond our crew formed was a lot like what they had going on in huntsville in the mid 90s. it was magical and it was authentic, just like dewayne. 

i'll miss you, my friend. 

dewayne 2019 western states as captured by larry gassan

Saturday, November 16, 2019

sankatsu

mountain running
around pine, fir,
manzanita.
stopping atop a ridge
to view, reflect.
hunting eagle
scans the land
with eagle vision,
rises on some quiet current,
sights man
and veers away
to other territories.
the man runs
along trail
across bridge
above
clear rumbling water
past rusted, empty tin can
and snow flower
shouting triumph
in red.
deer bolting
like terror
stops man
frightened first,
thoughtful second,
third  
runs on,
encounters lizard
fixing him
with granite
eye.

-dick dorworth

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

sunrises, sunsets and visuals in between







 













lost highways, mining castles, hidden single track in two horse towns, alien crash landings, frosty sunrises and sunset, safe words, hashtags, tainted pink....yetis, branded beavers on bikes, moscow mules, great friends, phantom ranches, canyons and lots of am radio stations still playing old country songs.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

summer


spec·i·fic·i·ty

/ˌspesəˈfisədē/

noun
  1. the quality of belonging or relating uniquely to a particular subject.
coming off of 4.5 years of inconsistency, injury and setbacks, i went into the early steps of winter with the goal of rebuilding my relationship with running and rebuilding my body. a modest buildup and lots of backcountry skiing and strength work gave me a chance to slowly start transitioning into specific efforts with an eye on exorcising the demon of my broken foot/dnf in 2015 at waldo 100k. age, time off and lost fitness were a consideration when building my prep i selected a few events that i felt best mimicked the waldo 100k course in preperation.
wild outback 55k course profile
some pretty specific needs: moderate mid level altitude, multiple climbs and descents, lots of douche grade and a progression between first race and goal race.
siskiyou outback 50k course profile
wild outback was an eye opener. hard rust buster that my body physically responded to, just didn't have the stamina to race but was pretty pleased to cover any distance over 25 miles for the first time since 2014. physically my climbing at any sort of anaerobic effort was poor as expected coming off the time off and slow rebuild so management and bouncing back was key in that effort. SOB was a marked improvement with recovery from wild outback and some additional training under my belt, i made a fitness jump. the high country in oregon opened up and geared a lot of my training efforts towards being able to handle the repetition of climbing an descending and overall effort of waldo.
waldo 100k course profile
the program worked. i felt good, physically and a nice 2 week taper after a last long effort coming off a really intense period of work and little sleep set me up to accomplish my goal. i don't usually recommend going into an event like waldo with 4.5 years off and only 1100 miles of running in 8 months, but the balance of aerobic ski efforts, strength work, experience and specificity in training and prep races left me with a result i feel good about. plus, it felt good to see a summer of finish lines, goals met and finally a waldo hat.
descending fuji. capture by teri smith
specificity. quality, not quantity. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

fremont

band aids are never meant to be permanent. i finally removed one for good last fall and started back despite not being completely healed and painfully willed my way out of the cycle that had gripped me. looking back on accepting that path and circling back seems on the surface, rather inane. though, in a world where we each spin day to day, unpacking from this past weekend gave me an opportunity to pause and reflect. 

i've done the work and hit a marker recently, so before i continue on this adventure of physical and spiritual rebuilding, i can't do it without an honest assessment of what person stands in the mirror and the experiences learned leading into and during the current relaunch

a few lessons delivered to me:

-laughter > ibuprofen. if only we could bottle the stuff. since we can't, build your tribe and water that seed frequently. don't go numb.

-there is a big difference between having a good life and being a good person. my town in full of people with shiny toys and empty hearts. rather than get pulled in, i decided to push free and be a better fucking person. sincerity beats sprinter in any hand of poker at my table

-don’t ever, ever get complacent. this could be a post in itself, but the slope is slippery. keep your head clear. stay humble, motivated and engaged in the moment.

i've got more lumps coming. this i know. with those lumps though, i also get a few more miles, smiles and experiences that i've gladly observed vicariously while injured tissue kept me locked. i embrace and look forward to receiving all of them and earning the measurable gains like i've already had in this short period of time. 

thankful
jun 8, 2019. sharing my stoke at my first ultra finish line since 2014. photo by jake

Friday, March 22, 2019

luna

full moon ski on friday night lights

“It is a kind of church, back in these last cores. It may not be your church -- this last one percent of the West – but it is mine, and I am asking unashamedly to be allowed to continue worshipping the miracle of the planet, and the worship of a natural system not yet touched, never touched by the machines of man. a place with the residue of God – the scent, feel, sight, taste, and sound of God – forever fresh upon it”
-rick bass, the book of yaak

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mother nature kept dealing.

the snows drove me indoors to my treadmill for cadence and momentum, while the chores to simply get me out of my driveway and keep my horses fed drove me to the mountains for balance and keeping cynicism towards an element at bay. friday night lights has evolved organically the last few years mostly driven by the blonde and recently it has morphed into extra outings on the skis watching friends new and old become more confident and adventurous in both the backcountry and snow parks that populate our growing outdoor church. the less ego you carry, the more you become part of this tribe. luna's emergence affords a nice change of pace for this locale known for it's strava rage and sprinter van clogged parking areas. it's beautiful to still find empty or untracked trails and stillness stealthily playing within sight of the overpopulated tourist township simply by changing from day to night. my best ski days this year have been under the cover of darkness. i strongly believe it's akin to the spirit of the awesome midnight run. it's been a good winter to play.