It was 95 in the shade when I started up the cactus to clouds trail from Palm Springs, elevation 465'. As I climbed up the 15% grade trail through a maze of desert rocks and sand the trail was nearly impossible to follow. Heat from a scorching sun reflected off the land and encircled me while the grid lined streets quickly shrunk on the desert floor below.

My body rebelled against every step up, lactic acid coursing through my legs. My back was tense with the 2 liters of water strapped to it. My whole body soaked in sweat despite the dry air.

Vegetation slowly became less sparse as I climbed through the 5 zones this trail encompasses. It appears on a map to be a relatively straight shot up the steep slopes but in reality there are countless switchbacks the entire way.

I caught glimpses of the ariel tram wires to the north and the mountain station where tourists caught rides up the mountain. Once reaching the rocky edge of the escarpment and refilling my water at the ranger station I could carry on to San Jacinto peak 6 miles further up.

I was certainly running out of daylight by this time and could have turned around but the lure of completing the entire trail from desert floor up to 10,800 was unavoidable even if it meant possibly descending the last stretch in the dark.

I past clean pleasant smelling tourists as they meandered through the alpine valley with cameras slung around their necks. I felt like a ghost wisping by their controlled environment through the forest. I probably looked more like a homeless person.The peak was absolutely worth it (www.dermandar.com/p/dDAYvw). One of the best views in the world from the pacific to san gorgonio to salton sea.

The minuscule size of the neighborhoods where my car was parked in palm springs 11000 ft below was intimidating. I was lucky to find a little signal on my phone and texted Steve realizing that I hadn't told anyone where I was. I could have stayed there on the cool mountain top a long time but had too start down quickly chasing the mountains shadow as it stretched east towards Joshua Tree.

I hooted and hollered all the way down to scare away evening wildlife, being the only person on this part of the mountain all day. I past three deer just twenty feet from the trail and as twilight began to fade a loud sudden hiss revealed a rattlesnake beneath a poky cactus coiling up to strike at my legs. It was at least 4' long and tan as the sand. The city lights began to sparkle and stars were now visible. After delaying the use of my tiny emergency led light till the last possible minute I began using it to navigate the rockier terrain. The trail was difficult to follow winding around the rocky mountainside in the dark. At one point I went off the edge towards a valley with several tracks that turned out to be nothing. Instead of forging ahead I backtracked to the shoulder and relocated the main route.

The city lights reflected off the rocks as I began to see cars moving along the grid. Soon enough I was able to hear them and I realized I was sweating again profusely. A warm breeze brought the thick air of a 97 degree desert evening up towards me. By the time I could hear the town I was getting close. It took me an hour more of steady descending to reach the bottom after 10hours on the trail.

48k +11,250'


Quotes - The 4-Hour Body (Timothy Ferriss)

Skeletal muscle is a very effective generator of force. 1kg of it can support 44kg of mass.

RULE #1: AVOID “WHITE” CARBOHYDRATES. Avoid any carbohydrate that is, or can be, white. The following foods are prohibited, except for within 30 minutes of finishing a resistance-training workout like those described in the “From Geek to Freak” or “Occam’s Protocol” chapters: all bread, rice (including brown), cereal, potatoes, pasta, tortillas, and fried food with breading. If you avoid eating the aforementioned foods and anything else white, you’ll be safe. Just for fun, another reason to avoid the whities: chlorine dioxide, one of the chemicals used to bleach flour (even if later made brown again, a common trick), combines with residual protein in most of these foods to form alloxan. Researchers use alloxan in lab rats to induce diabetes. That’s right—it’s used to produce diabetes. This is bad news if you eat anything white or “enriched.”

Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again.
Rule #3: Don’t drink calories.
Rule #4: Don’t eat fruit.
Rule #5: Take one day off per week and go nuts.

1. Ensure that your first meal of the day is not a binge meal. Make it high in protein (at least 30 grams) and insoluble fiber (legumes will handle this).
2. Consume a small quantity of fructose, fruit sugar, in grapefruit juice before the second meal, which is the first crap meal. Even small fructose dosing has an impressive near-flat-lining effect on blood glucose.
3. Use supplements that increase insulin sensitivity (PAGG)
4. Consume citric juices, whether lime juice squeezed into water, lemon juice on food, or a beverage like the citrus kombucha I had.
5. Increase insulin sensitivity before binging by adding some cinnamon to your pastries.

Use caffeine and yerba mate tea, at the most crap-laden meals.
Greens supplement, “Athletic Greens” doesn’t contain caffeine but will also help.

Do 60–90 seconds of funny exercises a few minutes before you eat and, ideally, again about 90 minutes afterward

[ because it brings glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT-4) to the surface of muscle cells, opening more gates for the calories to flow into. The more muscular gates we have open before insulin triggers the same GLUT-4 on the surface of fat cells, the more we can put in muscle instead of fat. "In conclusion, the present investigation demonstrated that 8 days of HIT lasting only 280 seconds elevated both GLUT-4 content and maximal glucose transport activity in rat skeletal muscle to a level similar to that attained after LIT ('Low-Intensity Training' of six hours a session), which has been considered a tool to increase GLUT-4 content. Compared to a control, GLUT-4 content in the muscle was increased 83% with 280 seconds of HIT vs. 91% with six hours of LIT.]

Policosanol (Nature's Life)

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been proven to regenerate vitamin C and vitamin E; restore levels of intracellular glutathione, an important antioxidant that declines with age; and increase excretion of toxic heavy metals such as mercury.

Ensure adequate consumption of B-complex vitamins while using PAGG

Green Tea Flavanols (EGCG) - decaffeinated
Human studies have shown some potential fat-loss with as little as a single dose of 150 milligrams of EGCG.

Garlic extract and its constituent parts have been used for applications ranging from cholesterol management to inhibiting lethal MRSA staph infections.

Science and empirical data have shown that the body needs 4-6 weeks to reset and regain its physiological bearings. The hypothalamus gland controls bodyweight, boyd temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, and circadian cycles. The interim phase allows the hypothalamus gland to recalibrate and readjust.

Allowing the body to "forget" exercises in an interim/recovery phase makes the movements feel fresh and new when they are re-instituted and the training effect is profound.

The basic movement patterns are like the 0-9 keys on a calculator. All other numbers, complex movements, in this case, are still combinations of the basics. If you feel strained, you're not using the proper technique. Stop and review rather than persist through the pain and develop bad habits.

So far, two primary strains of bacteria have been found to influence fat absorption, almost regardless of diet: Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. Lean people have more Bacteroidetes and fewer Firmicutes; obese people have more Firmicutes and fewer Bacteroidetes.

Prebiotics are fermentable substrates that help bacteria grow and thrive. In this category, I’ve experimented with organic inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides, commonly referred to as FOS. In the whole-foods realm, garlic, leeks, and chicory are all high in inulin or FOS content.


Grateful Pain

When you're out there struggling and things aren't going your way. You don't know when the suffering will ever end...

Thats when you have to take the pain you're feeling, look it square in the eyes... and smile, embrace it, make it your friend. Because pain is change, pain is growth, pain is what makes you stronger. Anybody that wants to improve but doesn't want to get to know pain is a fool.

Embrace the pain, better yourself. It's that simple.

- Posted from the Road



I love that raw devastated feeling you get in the middle of a long run on a hot dusty day. You know you're giving it everything. The trail is stripping you down to your most essential strengths and weaknesses. You're body feels depleted, yet strangely powerful. Entering a zen-like state of almost supernatural confidence.


What does 'ultra-running' even mean?

The other day I was at a party trying to explain to a group of 'non-runner' friends about 100 mile races. I know I know, first mistake right? I wasn't doing a great job as usual and one of my friends just looked at me astonished... "you run 100 miles in 24 hours without stopping?" I told him that it was in the mountains so you're hiking some of the ups and running down and you have aid stations where you can rest and get food if you want, but it's important to keep moving. "Soooo," he said as the juices in his brain slowly oozed around, "it's mooore like a hike/run thiiing..." While he was technically correct and I wasn't going to argue about a sport so far outside his frame of reference, I said something about how if you want to finish in 24 hours the pace is 14 min/ mile which looks easy until mile 75. I think he was annoyed at everyone for being so amazed with what I did. I think in his brain he was fighting the idea that we do what most reasonable people feel is impossible. The same way I reacted when I first heard about ultras. I was scared, I was skeptical, I wanted to find the missing link that unveiled what was apparently magic. Okay not magic but something close to the edge of impossibility. I do think that it may seem a bit deceptive to call what we do ultra-'running' when we rarely finish a race without hiking some portion however small. To the uninformed it could look as though we conveniently leave out that detail to impress people. It's probably just easier than saying, "yea I ran/walked/stopped to pee & eat quesadillas for 100 miles". In my view calling it a run/hike also gives the wrong impression. Shouldn't we be allowed to call it running when the whole point is to get from A to B as quickly as possible? We run every step and only when we absolutely cannot run anymore, or when it's more efficient not to, we power hike up a mountain side. That seems like it warrants us to go around claiming we ran a 'hundred'. Maybe for a lot of racers it's not about time or running as much as possible. Maybe the running is just done to avoid cutoffs while spending a magnificent day in the wilderness. But for me, it's running. It's the joy of movement and the challenge of speed and efficiency across vast distances. Having been challenged to better describe my experiences to the uninformed has helped me discover what doing ultras is really about personally. While I don't think most people have a problem with us calling it ultra- running, I'll probably try to call it 'racing' 100 miles in the future.


Another kind of bi-polar

On one side there is my mom saying don't take yourself too seriously. On the other side is my dad's personality striving for perfection.
Him and I were building a bird cage one time when I was a kid. After giving me permission to do it and agreeing to take me to the lumber store to get wood for the frame, he sat down and began re-drawing my roughly sketched blueprint, this time including each detail of the structure complete with notched grooves that made the wood flush wherever two pieces met. These were particularly complex to make, especially compared to just getting all the pieces nailing them together as I had pictured it. In my head the goal was the end result and the process was just an inevitable adventure standing in between. Wether from experiences like this or wether it's hard-wired in me, I do also enjoy and take pride in perfection. I often live in the details of a creative project that no one who observes the work would recognize let alone give two penny's for. Not to say that they're unimportant. It's the part of me that holds myself to a higher standard. The one that asks if I can turn my Bs and Cs into As instead of being happy they're not Fs as my dad did once.
While my tendency is to be goal oriented I view myself as being perfectly split down the middle with regard to these opposing perspectives. Often caught between the details and the bigger picture.

- Posted from the Road