Sunday, February 21, 2010

Running in the Rain

Did 2.5 hours in the rain today. First, the "breathable" in "waterproof breathable" is a complete crock. Second, I ate it after hopping off the ledge from the Strawberry Canyon fire trail into the redwood grove and slid on my butt 10-15 feet. It made me happy that on the way home somebody stopped at a crosswalk with me asked if I did it on purpose. No, I suppose I didn't fall on purpose, but I didn't really mind, either. You know it's a good run if it's better to just hop in the shower with all your clothes on when it's over.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How's This For A Plan?

The next PCTR race on Angel Island is June 19. What if I bought this kayak trailer for my bike, rode to the Berkeley marina, paddled the 8 miles across the bay, ran the 50K, paddled back to Berkeley, then biked home?

I've frequently biked/run to races in Redwood Park or Rodeo Beach, but I'm pretty jealous of the runner that biked 80 miles to the race up in Salt Point State Park then won the 50K. I'm not promising to win anything, but it'd be a rad carbon-less trip. I don't know squat about the currents in the Bay, so I'll have to look into that. I know you can paddle about 3 mph, so I'd have to be on the water before 5:30. The sun rises at 5:47, so that shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Five Unrelated Paragraphs of Varying Interest

Conversation at the Berkeley Bowl Checkout
Cashier: When you peel those Shasta tangerines the smell is really strong.
Me: Really? Like after you eat asparagus?
Cashier: What?
Me: After you eat asparagus your pee smells.
Cashier: Oh, yeah. It totally does. I didn't realize that until somebody pointed it out.
Me: And the tangerines do the same thing?
Cashier: What?
Me: They make your pee smell?
Cashier: I said "peel" not "pee."
Me: Oh, that makes a lot more sense.

I had a pretty good tri-sport three day weekend. I took my bike to the community workshop on Saturday, replaced 4 broken spokes and trued the back wheel, fixing the speed wobble I'd been getting, meaning I can ride no-hands again, meaning air guitar is back, which is awesome. Sunday I took the kayak out and paddled from Berkeley marina under the bay bridge and back. The new spans are bird-free, but dodging the falling bird poop under the old span was quite a challenge. (I promise to take my camera next time--it's really pretty out there, I guess I'm a little scared of taking a spill and killing anything electronic.) Monday I got a good 5.5 hour run/hike in, which I think is pretty much my first long run since late October. I discovered I'd been missing out on half of Sibley park. I thought it was basically linear with just one trail (Skyline) going from end to end, but I was totally wrong, as there's a cool old quarry part of it with gigantic bullfrogs in the ponds and great views down to Highway 24 and east to Diablo. On the way back I did a trail in the south half of Claremont Canyon I've only done once before. It's fun but not necessarily worth it since it's not connected to anything and requires a bunch of road to get there.

Deer Tick is a pretty great band. Sea Wolf's song Middle Distance Runner is fun.

I got a free couch off craigslist today. One out of two of the seats is more comfortable than the floor, so I guess that's a win.

The following is a list of the Hard Rock-qualifying 100-milers, their date, location, application date, and status.
I would gladly run Bighorn in Wyoming, except I'm going to be busy all June with a teaching/faculty-prep course I hope to take. CCC I've done before and don't really want to do again, and Grand Teton is a bunch of loops, so that leaves Plain and Leadville. I'm been over Hope Pass (the killer on the course) on the CDT, and I'm going to Leadville at the end of the month to hang out with hiker trash friends, so maybe I'll be inspired. We'll see.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Would Someone Please Raise My Taxes?

California has no property tax revenue to speak of, so the state parks are in the crapper. I wasn't sure that I was going to run it this year, because I might very well be in the worst shape I've been in in five years, but it's a crying shame that the Diablo 50 Miler was canceled this year thanks to state park cuts. I've run it the last five years (it's been around for seven) and it's a terrific butt-kicker of a course. 13,400 feet of climbing and it always magically falls during the first 90-plus-degree heat wave of the year.

Half Dome

Permits required for Half Dome final ascent on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays starting this summer.

I've actually never climbed it before, aside from partway one Christmas day as a storm was coming in, and now I certainly never will on a weekend. The article says they'll check permits mid-May to mid-October, which is to say, the entire time the cables are up. That seems a little excessive, since I assume that the Valley empties out after Labor Day.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

No Deal

Bummer. I didn't get into Hardrock this year. Not only did I not get my number picked in the lottery, I didn't even get into the lottery in the first place. I was only going to have a 1 in 7 or so chance of getting in anyway, but with so many entry applications the RD decided to stick very closely to the regular means of qualification (Wasatch, Eagle, Bear, Leadville, Angeles Crest, Massanutten, Western States, Plain, HURT, Bighorn, Grand Teton, Tahoe Rim Trail, Tour de Mont Blanc (163 km version), Cascade Crest Classic, or Grindstone in the last 2 years) and my CCC four years ago, Headlands last year and CDT yo-yo weren't good enough.

I've kind of been keeping Plain in my head as a back-up. What do you think (ZG especially)? Timing is sub-optimal thanks to the job market this fall, but I think it's my kind of race.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Book Review: Solo Faces

I had never heard of James Salter or any of his books before I ran into this article calling his Solo Faces "the greatest novel ever written about the outdoor life." I'd have to agree, and not just because right now I can't even think of any novels about the outdoor life other than Hatchet, as it seems like most adventure tales I've read have been non-fiction by adventurers who aren't writers. But apparently Salter is actually a decent writer and doesn't sound like an idiot when he talks about rock climbing. He has a very sparse or abbreviated style that reminds me a little of Cormac McCarthy. There isn't a gripping plot arch to this book; basically a dude goes to Chamonix, climbs a bunch, and meets some women, but there is a subtle analysis about why he's living his life the way he is that is wonderful. I recommend it.

A few good lines:
The only thing she said that made him like her was once, in exhaustion,
"You make love like someone in a novel."
After three days he left.
"Where is he?" Colette asked calmly as they were having a conciliatory lunch. She had already forgiven Simone. They were like two patients who have had the same illness.
"I found him extraordinary," Simone admitted. "But he also made me nervous. I never really knew what to talk about with him. He's not exactly a polymath. He knows nothing about politics, art, and yet I found myself perfectly willing to believe in him. Whatever it is, he has it despite himself."
"I think it's mainly an ability to look good in old clothes."

"I told her I'd been climbing for fifteen years. For most of that, ten years anyway, it was the most important thing in my life. It was the only thing. I sacrificed everything to it. Do you know the one thing I learned about climbing? The one single thing?"
"It is of no importance whatsoever."

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Taxi to the Dark Side

I generally think it's important to educate yourself about horrible acts in human history so you can better do your small part to prevent their repetition, so I've seen some fairly disturbing movies and documentaries. Taxi to the Dark Side beats them all. My country did it during my adult life.

You really need to watch this movie. A version of the film edited down by 20 minutes for the BBC is available on google video, but ignore the first 35 seconds by the person who posted it.