A control freak is someone who over emphasizes vulnerability and tries to limit risk. When something goes wrong they do one of 3 things: they freeze up until they figure or something else they should control in order to avoid future risk, they blame someone else/ hire someone else to deal with the problem rather than learning how to deal with the unknown, they copy others who are successful hoping it will lead them to the same success and in the process avoid risk.

A problem solver is someone who isn't afraid to take risk / responsibility on themselves. They accept that vulnerability is part of the natural world and when plans change they are able to adapt, modify and continue. It is not a learned skill or adopted trait - it's an attitude. Ironically, a control freak's approach to becoming a problem solver is to look for the steps or method of adopting the traits of a problem solver.

I met this runner after a long group run talking about how he walks on a treadmill for recovery. No matter how hard the previous effort had been walking was a pure miracle for recovery. The way he was so animated and filled with conviction I immediately thought that I should buy the first treadmill I could get my hands on. Or at least that I should try this whole walking thing in some modified way. It's funny how our brains work like this. We see something working for someone else, and immediately think that if we do the same things we will be as successful as them. This is why nike puts it's logo on athletes, why budweiser has beautiful people having fun in all of it's ads. This false association got me thinking more about that runners solution. He wasn't fired-up on his unique method because he read it in a book or saw someone successful doing it. He believed in it because he discovered it for himself. It's problem solving. Taking the 'problem' of recovery and experimenting, researching, attempting to find your own way through.



I began to wonder if it was going to be a special day when race director Jessica DeLine handed me bib #3. Apparently she thought I was top 5 potential. And who wouldn't want to be lucky number 3? So off we raced under the stars into the 6am darkness of the mountains above lake Elsinore. Immediately the climb up to the ridge begins, dulling the usual race-start enthusiasm. As the road climbed steeper everyone began dropping back and I found myself in 2nd despite not pushing too hard. I followed the sole lead runner's increasingly distant headlamp. Was he a local just going out hard for the hell of it? Or had he run the race before and was going for the course record? Part of me desperately wanted to keep him in sight. While everything else told me to save the racing for later.

Every time I thought the early leader was out of sight I would round a bend and see him up ahead. Meanwhile someone was closing quickly on my tail. Scott passed me on the first steep descent once we reached the ridge road, he was bombing down effortlessly, talking about being 3 minutes off his pace from last year. He disappeared down into Trabuco canyon where I caught up to the guy who had been in the early lead. I tucked in behind him and tried to conserve as we rolled towards holy jim trailhead. I was feeling really good, happy to be running in the mountains. My mind drifted from the trail and in an instant I caught a rock or root with my foot(not sure which). I was thrust violently forward to the ground, my hands out in front taking the brunt of the impact. The shock! The terror! I rolled over onto my back as the adrenaline fueled emergency beacons erupted requesting a status report. Is your head still on? Yes. Is that poison oak you're laying in? Maybe. Can you get up? I think so. Back on my feet and moving I continued the self diagnosis. Right elbow scraped to hell. Left hand stinging all over. A golf ball sized swelling under a nice patch of missing skin quickly protruded from the palm. It was difficult to move those fingers for the rest of the day. I began to wonder how I would open my water bottles to refill them, much less carry two. And the biggest question of all was if it could be broken.

The aid station at the holy jim trailhead was more of a volunteer water stop with some gels. I knew they wouldn't be able to advise me so I managed to refill one bottle and get my ass back up the mountain. I somehow took the lead on the climb as the other two leaders seemed to be settling down significantly. Scott said he didn't feel as good as last year and was giving up on the race. I told him he would be back in it but wanted to put a lead on the switchbacks which are pretty much runnable. After getting some more water at the peak and being spurred on by the crew I made a quick turnaround. On my way down I passed people on the little out and back from the peak who were still on their way up. I saw Madison in second place climbing well and super excited. I knew he had never run more than a 50k race previously so I could only hope that the new distance would stump his youthful speed. Everyone was very supportive at first but soon the attitudes changed from 'nice work dude!' to grunts and grimaces. On the descent from Santiago Peak you have the option of taking a short route back to the finish and dropping down to the 50k distance. If the pain in my hand wasn't subsiding and I hadn't been in the lead this would have been considerably tempting! It turns out that this easy-out got the better of many people.

Floating back down the holy jim trail I tried to balance putting in a good lead with not digging myself into a hole. For the next 20 miles I didn't know how much of a lead I had on the chasers. The mental game would be theirs to win. It was important to forget about the lead and relax letting the chasers worry about wether I was gaining on them or not. If I could stay out of sight and maintain my lead it would be harder and harder for anyone to overcome the mental gap as 50miles of fatigue added up.

I walked every step of the climb back up Horse Thief trail. My legs felt dead, like solid concrete. Breath deep steady breaths, stand up straight, don't stop moving. It's so steep you can see the bottom from the top of the switched backs 1000' up. I managed to run in to the aid station at the ridge being run by Steve Harvey(Chimera race director). I told him I was glad that particular climb isn't a part of the Chimera 100 course and he threatened to add it. I rolled off along the ridge road with it's sudden steep declines and inclines. There's nothing flat but many sections seem runnable. I knew that the chasers would have to run every uphill that i did and faster. So I managed the damage on my body and tried to consolidate the lead meanwhile getting increasingly nauseous from all the sugar.

At all of the aid stations I made sure I appeared fresh, smiling, moving smoothly. If the second place runner asked how I was doing they would get bad news about how good I looked. After summiting Santiago peak a second time I would finally get a feel for how close the chasers were. Descending the out and back however I didn't run into anyone before making the turn off to another trail. With 99% of the climbing done I knew the race was mine to win but the steadily dropping road all the way back to the finish is a severe 7 mile descent. You're always nervous that if you relax someone will come out of nowhere to blow you away. I tried to move swiftly until the downhill ate away at my enthusiasm. My knee started to hurt, my whole body begged for flat ground. My left shoulder/back that had progressively gotten tenser all day became a pinched nerve so painful my body was contorting awkwardly. Like many final miles of a hard run it seemed endless until the road finally flatting out just before rounding a corner and seeing the tents at the finish.

52.5 miles
+12,500' gain





I'm a left handed person. That is to say that I write with me left hand. I kick with my left foot. They say 'left-dominant' brains tend to produce more 'creative-type' people. In my case this pretty much makes sense. My job is something that I once considered a hobby, making videos. I always find the process of creating something where once there was nothing satisfying. And this is why training plans don't work. In fact I have such a low success rate with them that I view them as more of an outline of what I won't do. There's a saying in movie making, a script is pretty much a list of everything that won't make it into the movie. Don't get me wrong I love numbers, and plans. I'm very analytical and reflective too. I also bat and play golf with my right hand. So sitting down and creating 'the perfect' training plan is quite a fun exercise even if it doesn't lead to doing any physical exercise. The problem is motivation. I don't respond to a set of mileage set out for myself two months ago. It doesn't get me out of bed to go run even if I know that there's a race in the near future. I pretty much create a mental block from executing my training plan the minute I write it down. What I have found works better is to give myself broader more general guidelines for a specified amount of time. For example, if I make a goal for the month like climb 10,000ft every week this month, than my creative side gets to take over day to day figuring out the path towards achieving this. Along the way I can geek out on the numbers and check off periodic goals to keep me on track. By keeping my schedule minimal and flexible I greatly increase the odds that I will get more running done. More important than having the perfect training plan is making the act of training fit most efficiently into my life. Simple habits like putting on running shorts first thing everyday and keeping my favorite running shoes right by the door make the process easy.


Standards of Perfection

people seem to forget that perfection takes total focus and dedication. they come to expect it without sacrifice. there is nothing if there is no struggle. darkness makes light possible. acknowledging this is the first step to realizing your potential. you must not fall prey to their folly and come to expect the impossible out of yourself even though they desire it.

in creative work, all achievements are relative. perfection is just an esoteric idea thrown at a wall of individual experience. this is why you get stuck in a 'loop' if you aim for the absolute best you can be in all areas of life. it's meaningless until you decide what the best looks like.

you cannot associate too closely with a project or you will feel that you also might not be satisfactory in some way. the beauty of life is that we are always becoming. always new. there is no negative for life.

and if being able to completely open yourself to a vision and let it become you is a gift. then use it sparingly and if it does not reveal itself, take peace from it.

the joy of what you do is to create something from nothing. no money or deadline or co-worker can take that away from you. always create.

it's easy to take things to seriously. but you just hafta smile and eat, run, play, work, repeat and pretty soon you might find that ur alive.

live in the moment not for the moment. make the best choice now, knowing that you deserve it later.

drink from ur best glass, eat the best food everyday, and play like you mean it because today might be your last.

Quotes - Wild

I realized I was having a kind of strange, abstract, retrospective fun. In moments among my various agonies

the thing that was so profound to me that summer -- and yet also, like most things, so very simple -- was how few choices I had and how often I had to do the [very] thing I least wanted to do. How there was no escape or denial. No numbing it down with a martini or covering it up with a roll in the hay.

The silence was tremendous. The absence felt like a weight ...The sun still stared ruthlessly down on me, not caring one iota whether I lived or died. The parched scrub and scraggly trees still stood indifferently resolute, as the always had and always would.

I felt both uneasy about my situation and astounded by the vast lonesome beauty. should I continue on or turn back? I felt both uneasy about my situation and astounded by the vast lonesome beauty. should I turn back? I wondered, though I knew the answer. I could feel it lodged in my gut: of course I would continue on.


Epic day in the San Gabriels yesterday!

Baldy 10,064', Thunder 8,587’, Telegraph 8,986', Timber 8,303’, Cucamonga 8,858’, Bighorn 8,441’, Ontario 8,693’

At the base of Bighorn I didn't think I had the last two peaks in me. I almost took the trail past the turn off to head back down to my car. I started taking steps very slowly up the unmaintained ridge line trail(nearly cross-country) and pretty soon found myself on the other side of the peak heading towards Ontario. It's a powerful experience to get through moments of disbelief like that. I ran out of water on the way up to Ontario but luckily found the springs down in Icehouse canyon gushing. I drank for a minute at both of them and was still thirsty as the last light of day disappeared in an orange glow against the pine forested slopes. Running down the road back to my car at Baldy village I saw a fox or coyote dash across the street. The sliver of a moon shone brightly in the darkening sky and an owl hooted somewhere in the forest by the road. A perfect way to end an exceptional day in the mountains.

47.5k, 8hrs +11,500