Monday, April 30, 2007

Yippee

I ran a personal best by 3 minutes for 14:49:38 in the Diablo 50-miler yesterday. I was hating life from mile 24-31 because, well, it felt like someone was applying a baseball bat to my groin with every step, so I was having nightmares of hernias, kidney stones, and testicular cancer. Then at mile 31 it magically went away and I was doing OK, but I was still kind of hoping I wouldn't make the 6:15 cutoff at the mile-38 aid station. Then my friend John Bellows came down the trail and met me a mile before the aid station and starting running to pace me. I thought he was trying to kill me. We got to the aid station and Marcus and my friends Dula and Susan Parkinson were there to cheer me on. I was a couple minutes over the cutoff, but I was doing fine, so they let me continue. We pretty much rocked the remaining 12 miles, and that was that.

Huge thanks to my pacer John, surprise support crew Dula and Susan, and Marcus for driving cars around so I could get home. Thanks to everybody that's paced me before. I'm totally grateful, but fair warning to anybody else that may help out in the future: we're now 2 of 3 for getting tickets on the way home from Diablo.

Also, I had a good time talking with a friend of a friend Catra that's going for the PCT speed record this year. She's starting May 23, so I asked if this was her last race. Nope, she's running Miwok 100K next week, some other 50-miler the week after that, and the Ohlone 50K plus 100 miles to the start line the week after that, three days before she starts the PCT, so it was cool to meet somebody as crazy as me that would just casually say "duh, you gotta get a run in" before your huge adventure. Her blog.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Interwebs Are Full of Useless Information

I just made a website about my upcoming attempt to hike the CDT. It's not very pretty. I should at least add a picture or something.

It's The Final Countdown

If I were more tech savvy, this blog would be playing the shitty Swedish band Europe's song The Final Countdown right now. In my mind, G.O.B. is failing miserably at a magic trick, nay, an illusion, at this very moment. Ahh, Arrested Development, how I miss you.

Anyway, it's the final countdown because I leave Berkeley in four days (April 30), and I start hiking the Continental Divide Trail two days after that (May 2). Because I am stupid, I'm running a 50-miler with 14,000 feet of climbing on Sunday, April 29.

So what's been going on with me lately? Kurt Vonnegut, one of my favorite authors (along with Mark Twain, John Krakauer, and Ambrose Bierce) died, so I read his and A Man Without A Country and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. Favorite quote:
Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies--: "God damn it, you've got to be kind."
A kid from the county I grew up in killed a bunch of students at the school my sister and about a fifth of my high school went to, my buddy Schnapp came through town and we explored the port of Oakland on a cool bike ride, I've occasionally been training for the 50-miler but not really, I've been watching a bunch of Ingmar Bergman films which I love for the same reason I love Vonnegut, the Wizards backed into the playoffs and are totally getting killed by Cleveland, I've prepared 14 packages of maps and guidebooks to mail to myself along the trail, I spent over $1300 on gear last month, I turned in the form to re-enroll in school in January and they cashed my check, I've handed off everything I've worked on for the last two straight years to others, and I'm just about ready to take a long hike. It's a good day for a 5K, and it's a good year for a 10,000K.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

How I Spent My Evening

Marcus is a total goober, so we went contra dancing for his birthday. Which is to say, square dancing but in big long lines of two, just like you hated doing in elementary school. In order to mock me more effectively, check out the Bay Area Country Dance Society website.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Things and Stuff

Not too much to say. I visited my folks in Oceanside a while back; there was only a little bit of yelling, so I managed to stay for around 72 hours. I think Marcus is getting kind of sick of me living on his couch, but I'll only be around for another three weeks (as if that were a short period of time to have a rent-free loafer in your tiny studio). I read another Chuck Klosterman book, Killing Yourself to Live, that wasn't as good as Chuck Klosterman IV, and I really liked John Vaillant's The Golden Spruce, an Into the Wild-like tale about an unstable logger that as an act of protest cut down an ancient and unique Sitka spruce in British Columbia and then disappeared.

CDT planning goes well. I've been buying gear I need (Henry Shires' TarpTent, Gossamer Gear sleeping pad, the paper and ink to print all the maps) and trying not to buy the fun gear I may or may not need (UV SteriPen water treatment, GPS system that's on sale at REI). The task of planning for both directions is too daunting, so I'm just focusing on the northbound direction for now and will let the return fall into place.

Here's a really interesting article about economics that lambastes the type of economics I can actually understand (Freakonomics type stuff that's fun and interesting with simple and reliable statistical estimates but not earth-shattering Fed interest rate super complicated model here's-how-you-end-all-unemployment-forever type stuff). The full article's only available to subscribers. I'll send it to you if you ask.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Kenya Pics

I finally posted my pictures from Kenya on my website. If you've been reading my blog you'll have seen most of them before, but now they're a little bigger.