pre mt kenya

After climbing baldy 18 times in the last three months you would hafta imagine im in great shape heading up to 16000' summit of mt kenya. Or at least the best shape i could be in given where i live. But the danger of being well-prepared is that it makes you confident. You pass people going up the trail like theyre standing still. Usually they are standing still trying to catch their breath. In snowy conditions you push through with less gear and a smile to boot. Time and again you survive the freezing hands and numb feet, the blistering sun, the blasting winds. You become familiar with these sensations and learn to ignore them. You subtly begin to expect that no matter what you encounter you will get home because you always have. Theres no big crisis. You are adapting. Then one especially hazardous day you ignore the hesitant feeling in the back of your neck. You drag your heels in the gravel and slide across the ice as you are pushed along by a heavy wind towards the edge. You laugh because your ready for this and you know youd rather face the consequences then spend life wondering. Wondering what if. Its too cold to slow down because youve brought minimal clothing. You keep moving as the danger becomes eminently tangible. A loose rock spins out from under you and your knee spirals 180 before snapping back into position. No more laughing. You tell yourself to be more careful but its too late. As the mind begins to hesitate it wont keep up with the pace at which the dangerous obstacles are approaching. A sudden 100mph gust and you are going over. Its a distinct recognizable and humbling admition of defeat almost in slow motion you realize this is not a close call, you are not gonna save yourself from this, you are going down. Impact, pain, panic. Broken. How broken? Still limping. Why am being so careless? The wind doesnt take you seriously and it hesitates for only a moment before smashing you again with violent eruptions of noise and cold and fear. No choice but to move. No way out but through. As the deafening wind errupts intimidatingly, there is calm again inside my head... this wont kill me, im not going to die from this. Im going to get pelted with icicles and swirling snow flurrys as i scramble through 4 foot snow drifts on a ridge no wider then the trail dropping 1000'+ on either side. Ill limp back to my car to my cabin to my hot shower and meal. Ill gaze at my wounds from a distance. Will i know the danger was real? That a few feet, a few degrees makes all the difference. Have i matured to this level of risk or simply become more numb the closer i get.

Reflecting on a succesful bout of training is so rewarding. How lucky i am to have spent so many days out in the cold, above the clouds, moving through the heavens. But if i can take anything away from this final run its this:

The only thing worse than not being poperly trained is being over-confident.

Posted from the Road


The f***g ideal life

The thing about storytelling in film is that every scene has to have drama. Otherwise there is no story to tell and no reason for the viewer to watch. This is where we end up with forced reality show characters, the more outragious the better. The dangerous and more subtle side effect is that we get repetitve exposure to scenes about daily life that are filled with dissapointment. Someone is always unhappy about some thing, the conflict they must try to resolve. The problem with this is that we start to view episodes of our own daily life as imperfect. We learn to look for the disspointment instead of the positive that life is chaotic but somehow beautifully balanced if we are alive to witness it. The good news is that great films can actually convey this message if they intend to.

- Posted from the Road


AC100 - Round 2 - Breaking 24

This year 98 people dropped out of the angeles crest endurance run. My race unfolded flawlessly until the 75 mile mark. From spending the proper amount of time in training for the race, to the hanging out with the family on race weekend, I felt more positive and more confident then last year. I was putting time in the bank throughout the day with the ceaselessly motivating, hard working, crazy supportive team surrounding me (Mom, Dad, and Steve). It was exciting to push myself and see how much better i felt then last year until chantry flats. with 25 miles left to go i was right where i wanted to and we thought we had 9 hours to get to the finish by 5am (earning a silver buckle for finishing 100 mi in sub 24 hours). we actually only had about 7:30. time suspiciously kept nipping at our heals and we had to take the 2 last epic climbs (+5000') in the dark without stopping. The residual exhaustion from a long day of heat and altitude was starting to reveal itself. Our theme has been to 'JUST KEEP MOVING.' if it hurts, slow down. if you feel like stopping, walk. Steve who began pacing me after 50 miles kept saying, "relax, run your race. your doing great. keep moving. one step at a time. that'll get you there." Descending the rocky twisting trail down into LA and back to the finish was tricky in the dark. Last year the sun had already come up when we were on this section. After we left the final aid station with 5 miles to the finish a flurry of runners was around us, everyone frantic to finish before the 24hr mark. Now it was truly a race against time. We pushed as hard as we could and slowed down as little as possible splashing through creek crossings and jumping down rooty boulder strewn single track then power hiking up little hills rolling off the top into a stiff desperate trot. A group of runners rushed by saying we had only 50 minutes to get there. "COME WITH US!" they yelled. But I knew that I could only maintain an efficient build to the end and it would be my last push. "Take it easy, this is your race" Steve said. I tried to say something back but it came out in gasps and burps and other nonsense. Finally the trail let us out onto a flat forest road near JPL and I took a deep breath. When we hit te tarmac all i could think of was how i wouldnt let myself not make it in 24 hours because I didnt want to do this race again! street lights revealed a runner agwad who we followed through the neighborhood. and I was glad because my dim batteries were nearly dead. I kept asking steve how much time there was. "plenty, you got this". Then we turned the corner with altadena park down the street and i could feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Across the grassy field to the finish line where runners and race crews were huddled around lit tents and volunteers were making burgers, chicken soup, and hot chocolate. After waiting all night for the race to start and all day for the oppressive canyon heat to fade with the sunset, after waiting for the steadily growing pain to be relieved, and after wondering for a year if I could be in the pictures I had seen of people finishing in the dark... I'm now in one of those pictures! I kept smiling as it started to get cold and things began to really hurt. The word lucky doesn't quite express how I feel to take part in such an event and to have such a positive outcome beyond my expectations. The biggest priveledge is having such a special crew to share it with.


why's it so hard to do what you really want to do?

At work today we had a meeting of all the company where upper management thanked everyone for their hard work and then awarded someone with the designation 'employee of the month'. They said this person was a team player who was exceptional at filling out spreadsheets(they were only partially sarcastic about the latter). This sort of embarrassing motivational backwash reinforces the choices i've made over the last three months to spend more time/energy/focus training in the mountains and less being a perfectionist at work. I would rather have one person I respect acknowledge how hard it is to run AC100 in under 24 hours then to have a multitude of robot monkeys cheering about my ability to fill out company forms. Not to mention the satisfaction that comes with breaking through personal boundaries. That is it's own reward that affects every area of my life. We make choices everyday to do what we think other people want us to, instead of the things we we are truly passionate about. It's silly. The sun is shining on the otherside of this mountain, you just gotta break out of the pack and climb over it to get your reward.



No one takes charge. No one but our incompitent chaperognes speak english. We only make the situation worse by trying to instill order. Nobody thinks ahead. the atmosphere is laid back and festive until (no shit!) the train goes off the fucking tracks. The veggies are soaked in oil. All the food is soaked in oil! There are salads at least but its a numbers game until the stomach cant handle anymre bacteria.

No billboards in sao paulo
On Sunday major road in each city is shut down for people to run and bike
The capital was built by intent in the geographical center of the country

Got pepper sprayed by accident

The human race is a nervous, impetuous disease spreading upon the land.

Theres these moments when im on a trip in anther country and a song comes on the radio that i would never listen to at home. usually some new pop shit or something, but it fits the good vibes of sun and air and travel just right at the moment and i cant help but to smile.


It is frustrating to work in a foreign country where the culture defys logic. Not to say that every experience in the western world is comprehensible (not even by a stretch) but there seems to be no intrinsic effort towards efficiency in other cultures. You hafta let go of logic or your head will explode.

I cant tell someone how to do what i do. to become a better manager i have to change my responsibility. Forget about asthetics and focus on story etc.

- Posted from the Road


the invincibility complex

some people do certain things, wether it be drugs or exercise or reading books, recreationally. and others take it to another level, doing them in a way that is meditative in nature. to transcend the point at which the body resists the mind can be a religious experience. wether in a single run or in the day to day effort of training for many weeks. a persons identity and circumstance melts away. suddenly it is just a human on a planet traveling through the mountains or across the land. ultimately in a struggle with the universal condition that is life. to move and survive. when someone is able to approach something they think is extremely difficult and in the midst of it perceive it to be impossible but then somehow manage to pull through, they suddenly believe that with such a step by step approach to problem solving there might no longer be any task too great which cannot be broken down. it suddenly unlocks the world around such an individual even though nothing has changed except for their mind. To a point in ultra running a runner gets so accustomed to pushing through exhaustion even when they feel like giving up that they reach a state in which its hard to tell when to stop. after the art of seperating pain from the mind into a distant dull ache has been mastered, it becomes difficult to listen to the body. A body which is organic and therefore miraculously regenerative but also fundamentally mortal and exists in a finite world.


what did you do this weekend?

one could describe last week and how many things didn't go according to plan. or one could say that they got all their work done diligently and took a nice weekend trip to the grand canyon. but really it was more like this... friday afternoon sitting on a jammed freeway going nowhere fast coming from two days on set filming for a freelance producer while taking notes over the phone for videos due sunday for my regular job flight is in an hour rear ended no time to stop thumbs up asshole park in wrong terminal run across airport book an earlier flight back sunday in time to finish videos arrive in Flagstaff drive up to the south rim meet Steve catch some sleep, 7am gear up run to the edge then down bright angel trail exhausted already stomach cramps achy lots of stops must drop food-cache with headlamp halfway down then cross the colorado river at the bottom wind through towering walls as the grand canyon heats up dehydrated shaky lightheaded Steve sets pace steaming on unflinchingly the 4am'ers already passing us on the way back warning signs consciously ignored up from red rock cliffs and snow melt falls to massive granite walls stop wait something is wrong body not responding a few more steps out of water Steve takes bottles to see if he can reach the top one step rest another step rest finally arrive at the north rim 8000 ft snow patches trees nap on cold rocks shivering from wind Steve unstoppable runs extra mile to campsite where tap is on join gravity back down into the canyon feeling better a lot better a whole new man enjoy the sun the wind the spectacular view smile grimace run to the south side of GC and climb again hurry to reach the stashed snacks and headlamp as sun sets then march a slow grind up and up and up the slower you go - the longer it takes the faster you go - the more pain you embrace learn to forget about the distance and suddenly you arrive at the end 13hrs45min, 57 miles, +12,850ft rest eat laugh limp, 3 hour nap and leave quietly at 1am drive to Phoenix stay awake tail lights swerving wildly ? strange ? ELKbrakeAIRBAGnooo >! sudden violent thud and everything slows ------- pull over breath calm down --- - - must make flight - - - airbag smokes - - welt on arm - - elk fur stuck in smashed headlamp - - wait for help must make flight - make police report roadside assistance insurance claim - call taxi ride with tow truck must make flight - 'sleep' in back of taxi make it to flight upgraded yay 'sleep' on flight home by 9am videos delivered by 3pm. breath. smile. rest. chapped lips and dry eyes. happy to be alive.


East or west, home is the best

The beautiful thing about a place where nothing operates the way you expect is those moments when everything somehow miraculously comes together and what usually seems impossible becomes reality. The dust turns to gold and floats in the air. Streaks of light pierce through the storm clouds. Take nothing for granted. Why go back? To make sure i get there every five years. A pilgrimage to defy the path of least resistance. But seriously, why? To have an honest experience with kenya. To find out for myself what my relationship with this place is. Now that weve both grown up a little. Practically speaking? To scout mt kenya expidition.


true strength is knowing your own weakness

i was awake in the middle of the night so i drove. up into the foothills where snow fell yesterday. the goal was to reach san gabriel peak before sunrise. i arrived at the trail head and switched off the headlights. darkness. the silence from the stereo revealed a howling wind outside. i sat there for 15 minutes before starting the car and driving back towards the highway. my mind was in turmoil. so many good reasons to go home. get warm. get nourishment. read a book while taking a shit and go to bed. i forgot my gloves, wind jacket, and headlamp after all. three fatal errors as regards to the life of todays adventure. i was almost shouting at myself in a steep argument. 'your being such a pussy!' i stopped the car and sat for 10 more minutes before I knew that I could not live with going home now. 9 out of 10 people wouldn't have hesitated. but it's the 1 out of 10 that make it when things get really tough. the ones that head off stupidly into the dark and cold because they secretly hate themselves. it's that special club that gets to experience the sunrise casting golden steaks onto the peak of a mountain rising to meet the new day. you have to fight for it, but when you do you become a part of the blessed few. for all the times that I felt pressure to work instead of running. for all the times that it was socially awkward to go running instead of hooking up with chicks. for all the times that it was inconvenient to go out but turned into one of the best runs of my life. for all of that, I never once remember a day that I chose work over running. Im not fool enough to think that I would be happily married today if I had spent more time relating to girls instead of running. I don't remember the morning stomach aches, the wet & cold days, or the stress from work. what I do remember are the sunrises in the mountains, the snow capped peaks, and the feeling of completeness that comes with a day out in the wilderness. I remember finishing my first marathon. I remember my second one and my first 50 mile, 100k, and 100 mile too. I could probably sit and recall every race I've ever run. But ask me what project I was stressing out about two weeks ago and i'd be stumped. if all we are is what we do, and all we have is memories of it... then let us focus on the good stuff.


mahasamadhi - the whole story

In my head are mountains reaching towards the heavens. a star blazes down on the surface of a rocky planet below. There is nothing here but water, air and stone. single cell organisms gathering, dividing, multiplying. There is motion, growth, and death. the stone mountain is ground to rubble by a single drop of water. Replication and adaptation. The wind screams silently above. the fire feeds a thousand blue and yellow pigments forming a green ember that bursts upward through the apathetic rubble and chaos reaching for the light. Devouring, it dies as it grows. Respiration, pulse, rythm. Exhaust, suffocation, darkness. A shiny green bulb emerges from the tangle of weeds that holds the future. A brilliant threatening display of violet and red emerges. There is aggresion, desire, consumation. The spring dries as the offspring consumes. A constant yet franetic struggle, fragility ever present. The leaf, the tree, a forest. Energy, minerals, and molecules changing shape a thousand times. Heat rises as cool descends. Cells sweat and dehydrate. A stillness overcomes. atoms stir. Disappear and transform. Fire trapped erupts as fuel cascades towards its most stable form. The darkness paints itself across thick bark as its appetite is quenched. A mark of ownership. Skeletons, outlines, memories. A fog whisps over the land unseen. Far across the hills the sun sets then it rises. A planet breaths.