Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I am aware that I suffer from DIY syndrome. The illness probably started out someplace in my youth on the farm and it's only gotten worse. It doesn't help that these days, among many circles, "doing it yourself" is not only trendy is revered. If i am not mistaken it used to be called "homemade" before the world of acronyms took over and it was typically done out of necessity rather than "cool" factor.

As an young indentured servant on the family farm we were constantly getting in little pinches and there is usually little help around to come to your rescue so you improvise all sorts of crap just to keep things moving along. This was pre cell phones so we'd run back to the truck and call my dad on a Mortorola handheld radio to ask for help and his usual answer was simple: "desert island". "Dammit!" we'd curse this expression as we knew exactly what it meant: you're on your own/do it yourself. And somehow, someway we'd creatively come up with some way of rigging whatever was failing us back into a condition that would allow us to carry on. It usually involved bailing twine and a pocket knife.
So with that background, and a touch (or more) of general tightfistedness I developed a case of DIY syndrome...

What's this got to do with running?! Nothing really, it has to do more with what I plan to do while not running that may or may not improve my running... You see, I need another workout or two to mix in with the miles. Cross-training.

I am definitely not a gym rat and I've avoided machines and barbells like the plague for my entire life. I don't care for all that crap and the environment of a gym makes me want to puke. Some I am hitting the junk piles at home and on the farm and the hardware store to build my own (DIY) "gym".
First piece in my homemade gym:

Slosh Pipe. Can you believe there is a whole website dedicated to this?! Then again this one is ultimately about putting one foot in front of the other... obviously I'll be building the 3" version--being a wimpy endurance athlete and not some crossfit-crazed-shaved-headed-injury-time-bomb. I seriously get paid to do this in the summertime moving handlines around the fields, now I'll do it for free in my spare time.

More to come on this little gym project...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


this week's long run was laps in my usual running digs, bush pasture park. lots of laps. so many 1 mile laps, that i had to keep track of them some place other than my head. i started leaving bark chips on a guard rail with each pass in order to remember how many rounds i'd completed.

now i never envisioned long runs being just that--a long run. i've always romanticized them a bit and pictured nothing but adventurous epics through forests with waterfalls around every bend or deserts with views so open I could see for hundreds of miles. this week's long run was anything but that.

not that bushie (as I affectionately refer to the park in my "jog log") is a horribly ugly place--I actually love the park. it is, afterall, the place that i hung out with kt and where i eventually asked her to be my wife on a picnic 4 yrs. later.

it's just that laps are laps and they are somewhat boring and well, repetitive. yet, i found this long run to be oddly rewarding. something about laying down those bark chip "tallies" felt good. it also makes me want to go at things a little harder than usual for some reason. i hardly check the watch but the repetition does make it easy to gauge progress in terms of distance and time which is not always the case on trails, especially new ones.

i am not sure if i'll make running laps a long run favorite but while the weather is crummy, the hills are covered with snow, the days are short, and trying to save on gas ($) it just might be the answer for the time being.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Desert Run

Tired of rain and slop.

This is where I'd like this week's long run to be...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Couch to 5K : 5K to 50K

I've never run any distance over 5k as a part of a competitive or organized event apart from a scramble I did last summer. So when I announced in my christmas card last year that I was finally recovering from a back injury and going to start "training" for a hilly 50k some people laughed and some people worried. The laughing was inspiring, but I don't know what all the worrying was about. Skeptics seemed to think it was a lofty goal and that I would kill myself if I tried too hard to accomplish it.

With programs like "couch to 5k" out there I can see why it may look lofty as a goal. Seriously, there's a program (that people PAY for?!) to train for a 3 mile and change race? Just get up--you don't even have to put down the remote--and go for it. Unless you are way obese you'll be fine. You might even like it!

With 6-7 weeks of decent training (no set regimen, just a balance of quantity and quality running and short daily runs with a long one on the weekend) I feel like the goal is attainable without a doubt. Completing 16+ miles on a treachorous hilly trail and 14.5 miles of hilly pavement on the past couple weekends has left me feeling better than ever. Long runs have begun to serve as a great mental piece of my poorly structured training. Confidence and knowledge is born out of these jaunts.

The people who laughed are starting to take me a little more serious too!

89 days to go until Mac Forest 50k!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid

In yesterday's post I took a brief tangent and touched on running's accessibility and simplicity before declaring it "another topic" for another day.

Coincidentally, while I babbled about why I am growing to be a lone wolf runner the esteemed AJW took on my tangent subject of "simplicity of running" in his weekly Taproom post entitled "Essential Paradox". He questions the simplicity of long distance trail running and the responses to his article were interesting to read.

The bottom line for me is: Just like anything else out there in our modern society running can be made complicated but it's not required. In other activities like climbing, biking, etc. that are much more gear dependent all these complicated doodads are a necessity to safely move up or faster or whatever.

Yes, there are a lot of shoes and gizmos to choose from as a runner but not compared to most other activities in the outdoors. Don't let get started on a list of gear required for an aid climber or a tri-athlete...

I don't blame companies big and small for looking at the long distance trail runner and seeing an opportunity to make some $$$$. Almost every modern soul (especially Europeans for some reason I can't pinpoint) has developed a knack for comfort and the latest tech and most of us are no exception to this. But if this:
becomes the norm... I am sure there will be a great "push back" down the line. People have been running with out all this crap for a very long time. And is complicated gear making all this easier? one could easily argue yes it is easier. But arguing that it is therefore better? I doubt the quality of the experience is much different.

Keep It Simple!

Friday, February 10, 2012

LONE WOLF: Is running turning me into a loner?

On my run early this morning I did not see a single soul and it got me thinking...

I'm not a huge extrovert when it comes to big social gatherings and all that type of stuff but I do appreciate the company of good friends when doing most of the activities I love. Things like rock climbing, mountaineering, and drinking beer and so on.

But, when it comes to running I find myself ALONE, A LOT. And, oddly, I LIKE IT. Apparently, this isn't all that unusual.

But it's kind of new for me given my recent decision to run more and train for ultras in the near future and beyond. This all came about last summer when came to the realization that I don't have enough free time to climb mountains as a hobby. Running is more accessible and I am in love with it's simplicity, especially when compared to climbing with all it's logistics and spendy doodads. That's another topic...

Back to being a "loner runner"... I run alone mostly because my training schedule is really, really whack. I run at 4:30 in the morning lots of days and on others at 6-7:00 pm when I get home from work. There is no set pattern really I just go when I can and when I WANT to. Why run if there's no want, no zeal, no passion? Again, that's another topic...

I also run alone because of this pace/zone/"zen" thing that it looks like others experience and also mention in the linked article above. I really can't explain it but running through the woods alone gives me some cheap thrill that is hard to put into words. I'll try to figure out how to word it as I experience more and more of it.

Of course running alone has it's downside... see Saturday, Feb. 4th. First of all, I was not near where I said I was going to be, I was a tad lost, I was late, and the trail conditions were perfect for something catastrophic to take place. My mind was racing with thoughts but I think the presence of a friend would have brought some calm. Having said that and looking back on the whole ordeal (which really isn't that big a deal) I was glad I went through it ALONE. And that loner pace/zone/zen feeling that I can't explain was with me the whole time...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Why train harder?

My reasons are similar to this guy's:
The way I see it, I'll be farming forever and I don't want to spend my golden years going to and from the doctor's office. Plain and simple.

And, because I like to drink beer. The bottom shelf stuff...

JORTs 5k Inspiration

The simplest things crack me up to the point that I am inspired to share it with others. I just hope they find it as humorous as I do...

Case in point:

This whole website is genius.

And, it's inspired a fresh theme for this year's first Bottom Feeder Farm Run, the JORTs 5k on March 3rd. Hopefully, I can find someone to take some pictures to post here. As for me, I am not passing up the chance to run a few miles in my trustee Wrangler cut-offs.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Blog attempt #4

I've attempted 3 blogs prior to this one... each had a slightly different focus (or lack thereof) but all ended up being wasted cyberspace in a matter of weeks.

I think this one will be different. I don't know how often I'll post or exactly what I will post but it's focus is just a bit more clear: Run.

I listen to a lot of music while training. Everytime this emotive song comes on I can't help but kick a little harder.

Thanks for all those primal screams Yeasayer!