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Running

Sep 25

2014

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Marin Headlands Run

On break in San Francisco, I was getting too fat and lazy, immersed as I was in the free-cookies-and-beer world of Air BnB headquarters. Ethan said that I would be remiss if I didn’t make it to the Marin Headlands for a run– that it was like “running through a Patagonia ad“.

The golden gate bridge, on my return trip.

The golden gate bridge, on my return trip.

Well, SF public transit really sucks, and there are only busses to the headlands on the weekends. This was frustrating. After hitting my head against a table for a few hours trying to figure out a ride (driving in SF also sucks), I decided to do what I usually do and turn a simple run into a big adventure by biking there and back.

Armed with a cruiser bike borrowed from my Air BnB host (thanks Ian!) I navigated the bike-unfriendly bike routes of San Francisco, up and over the tourist clogged golden gate bridge, and out to the quiet, foggy headlands. Read on →

Sep 23

2014

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Running Around Oregon

I’m in San Francisco now on a week-long break from medical school. I’m on a taper that is psychologically hard to maintain and I just want to run around instead of letting myself get fat in front of amazing views from Potrero Hill. The roller-coaster of knee-pain emotions is being combatted with aggressive PT and hopefully I’ll have a fun story to tell you next week. Until then, the adventures continue:

Mt Hood Wildflowers

Wildflowers bloom near Elk Cove, Mt Hood.

 

This past month of medical school has posed new and interesting challenges to getting outside. That alone means that doing so is more important to me than ever. Getting up onto the flanks of Mt Hood each Saturday for a long run is as rejuvenating as yoga and as relaxing as a favorite malty beverage. Read on →

Aug 10

2014

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All Paths Lead Nowhere

In the Fall of 2006, I was a freshman at Reed College. I though that I wanted to be a philosophy major, and despite a pronounced lack of experience, I considered myself a competent outdoorsman. With ambition blind to my own abilities, I talked two dorm friends into attempting the Timberline Trail around Mt Hood. At 41 miles in length, and with significant elevation gain, Outside Magazine had hooked me by calling it “the hardest day-hike in America”.

At that time, my idea of lightweight was an underloaded 60L pack, with a small tent, and only one (!) stove for the 3 of us. We didn’t plan to bivy, but goddammit, we were prepared to if it came down to it. And it did. As Yvon Chouinard famously said, if you bring bivy gear, you will bivy. A scant eight miles into the loop, under a drizzle slowly turning to early October snow, we were unable to find the continuation of the trail after it crossed Clark Canyon, a glacial moraine divided by a snowmelt river. We not only bivied there in the tent for a few hours, but subsequently retreated to the nearby ski resort, Mt Hood Meadows, where we spent hours in the abandoned lodge drying our clothing with hand dryers and cooking oatmeal on the floor.

Newton Creek

The Newton Creek trail traces the precipitous edge of the moraine.

While I still have a considerable amount to learn about mountain travel, it’s fun to look back at myself and see, if nothing else, the power of unbridled enthusiasm, and to appreciate the experiences that I’ve had since that which have changed my perspective and my competency in the mountains. Read on →

Dec 01

2013

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No Excuses Interview Series: Ethan Linck

The No Excuses Interview Series explores the approaches and personalities of athletes who are inspiring in both the quality and consistency of their achievements. They’re real people doing great things. What they do, you can too, if you want it.

Ethan Linck chasing powder on Mt Hood.For part two of the no excuses interview series, we’re joined by Ethan Linck, a West-coast Vermont transplant, mountain runner, and inspiring friend.

Bio

Ethan Linck is best known in the Pacific Northwest endurance community for setting the Fastest Known Time (FKT) for an unsupported run around Mt Rainier’s Wonderland Trail (93 miles, over 22,000′ of climbing) last year in 27 hours and 19 minutes.

He has also run around Mt St helens, Mt Hood, the Three Sisters, and placed in several PNW trail races and ultras. Most impressively, he accomplished all of this while a biology student at Reed College. His resume is impressive, and he catalogs his adventures and observations on his blog Beyond the Ranges

A self-described would-be naturalist, he also “nurtures particular interests in the ecology of New Guinea and Melanesia, mountain running, and backcountry skiing. He’s currently spending the winter in Gothic, Colorado”. He joins us by email to talk about what goes into his big endurance efforts,where his naturalism and athletics meet.
Read on →

May 29

2013

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Trail Factor 50K Trail Run Recap

La Sportiva Anakonda

It only took 48 hours for these shoes to dry in the sunshine.

Two days ago, I did a bad thing to my legs.  At least, that’s what they’re telling me today.  Not that I’ve stretched or anything, but to bend and tie my shoes is a trial, and to descend stairs is another thing entirely. Two months back, I wrote about a training schedule for a 50k trail run; I hurt now because of that run.

I was lured into this maniacal plan by my friend Alex Ragus, who suggested that we train for it together.  For the record, he did register, but he also bailed a few weeks before the race, having been otherwise occupied and not having trained in the slightest.  In spite of Alex backing out, training for the race became a positive experience for me.  While training I discovered that there’s just an ineffable pleasure to traveling by foot over great distances.

Muddy feet

Only when the course is truly muddy does the dirt work its way to the toes.

The morning of the race, I was grumpy, but I had a plan.  I was grumpy because it was the end of a long process.  Not to get into any cliché hippy nonsense or anything, but these days I’m slowly discovering a newfound patience that lets me tackle bigger projects, and that patience is pretty satisfying.  Reaching the end of the road, by comparison  doesn’t hold a lot of learning potential.   Read on →

May 17

2013

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Ruckel Ridge Hike/Run

[singlepic id=12 w=500  float=center]

I took a run up Ruckel Ridge this afternoon against the impending threat of rain.  Run is a relative word, because the train rises so steeply that it is often faster and more economical to power-scramble on all fours.

The trail gains about 3700′ over the first 4.5 miles of the nine milke loop back to the car. In that space, it climbs up steep tree roots, and basalt rock piles, with the occasionally restful flat-ish piece of trail.  It made for a brutal run but would make for a fun hike.  It ends on the top of Benson Plateau, which was eerily silent and foggy as I crossed Ruckel Creek to descend the better maintained trail on it’s other side.  Read on →

May 13

2013

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CRG Running and First Ultra: Photo TR

These past few weeks have been crazy.  Nevertheless, I’ve been trying to stick to sneaking in a few longs runs each week to prepare for the 50k that I signed up for months ago and which now looms in the near future.  The Columbia River Gorge is a trail-runner’s paradise, hiding deep gorges full of waterfalls which within a few miles provide access to miles of trail through Mt Hood National Forest. Early in the last week I took a solo trip up Larch Mountain, a local classic, to see where the snow line was hiding, and then just yesterday, I made it out with Ethan for a run up Eagle Creek to Wahtum Lake, a run which marks my first Ultra-distance outing.

Multnomah – Larch Mountain – Oneonta Gorge

Stats

Parking: Multnomah Falls Parking Area, Oregon Gorge exit 28, no fee required, busy on weekends and sunny weekdays.

TH: Bathrooms, food, and water available

Stats: 17 miles, ~4200′ vertical gained.  A whopper of a hill right up front with a long and gradual down to follow.

Time: 3:49, with a fair bit of time lost up running around in the snow.

Larch Mountain inset, click for full map (big file).

Larch Mountain inset, click for full map (big file).

Read on →

Apr 07

2013

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Night Running and the Eagle Creek Trail

Eagle Creek Cabling

Eagle Creek Cabling

A few nights ago that familiar need for adventure struck again as I sat at my desk, plugging away at some biochemistry, but out of a sort of curiosity, I decided to delay my plan for a run until after nightfall.  I did so out a curiosity born from an interview that I had seen with Kilian Jornet (recently discovered by the USA it seems) in which he spoke in beautiful Catalan about the experience of running at night.  I have tremendous respect towards Kilian both for his humility and because he seems to find great joy, becoming absorbed in the mountains, even when he is competing.  His description of relying on all senses to move at night spurred me to wait until dusk. Read on →

Mar 19

2013

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Training for a 50k Trail Run

Forest Park Trail Panorama

(Click to make me big)

For those who don’t know me personally, let me fill you in: I’m too busy these days.  I’m applying to medical school this summer, which means working 20 hours a week in one hospital, volunteering one day in another, studying organic chemistry, studying for the MCAT entrance exam, preparing application materials, and generally just taking on too much.  It’s a passing fad that will start to wind down in June once applications are in and school is done, but for now, I have to suck it up and do less of all of the things that I love to do, like climbing and skiing. It’s sad to say, but they’re just more involved sports that require weather coordination and advanced planning, which makes them hard to fit into an ever-morphing schedule.

LaSportiva Crosslite 1.0

This mind and body though, they rest for no schedule.  I’ve written before about the need to get outside and move.  It’s primal, and necessary, and I’d implode without an outlet.  Moreover, I like to dream big and I like to have trips and such to look forward to so that even in the darkest, busiest days of city gloom, I know that escape is looming. When I ruminated on my schedule with these needs in mind, an idea came to the fore: running.

BORING.  I can hear you say it.  But there’s something undeniably satisfying in the ability to cover run long distances.  Most people think that you’re crazy to run 13 miles, or that this is some superhuman feat.  Thankfully, we’re not most people. With a plan, I think that it’s reasonable for any athletic person to train for and run a 50k.  So that’s what I’m doing. Read on →

Feb 25

2013

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Animal Nature: Why I Run

Yesterday, as I sat working away at my computer, I felt the urge.  The urge is something that you can probably relate to– it’s that feeling that you want to break out of whatever you’re doing and go elsewhere.  This feeling comes in many sizes, big and small, ambitious and modest.  It comes when you flip through Alpinist magazine rather than read your textbook, and you start planning a trip months in advance instead of paying the bills.  It comes again when your momentary distraction leads you out onto the internet, where we’re blessed to have many, maybe too many, sources of inspiration.  I’ll become distracted only to  read an article about climbing, or skiing, or any movement sport and right then I just have the feeling that I want to do that too. Not later.  I need to go now.

A little piece of nature

Read on →