November 26, 2010

The Pacific Crest Trail - One Day.

Today made for a good 10 miler from Big Bear Lake up Cougar Crest Trail to the Pacific Crest Trail and back.  I always enjoy running on the PCT because it's, well, so huge!  And it makes every other trail seem so small.  According to William R Gray, one of the fist to hike the entire length in one effort, the PCT is "one of the longest and most majestic hiking trails in the world". 

 I just finished Gray's book entitled The Pacific Crest Trail, a journal of his seven month odyssey along the 2,650 mile trail that stretches from the boarder of Mexico to Canada.  I'm now even more inspired to touch the southern boarder and then one day, be it over months or possibly years, but certainly after crossing mountains, deserts and forests, reach out to touch that northern Canadian line.  One day.              

From the PCT looking over Big Bear Lake.  
San Gorgonio sits in the background.

PCT southbound

2,650 Miles from one end to the other.  One day!

November 22, 2010

The Gift - A Video

The gift is a short video (music by Moby) about some special outdoor moments I was lucky enough to capture on film this year.  It contains no movie footage, only still pictures.  5,412 pictures in fact!  I hope you enjoy it.  And I hope it inspires you to get outside and look at all the amazing things that are waiting for you!  Be sure to turn the volume up because the music is awesome.

To see it on full screen click on the start arrow then click the four arrow icon next to the vimeo link at the bottom of frame.  

Please leave a comment!  ROCK IT!

The Gift from Will C on Vimeo.

November 14, 2010

Catalina Eco Marathon -- The Hardest Marathon?

Just before the starting gun of the Catalina Eco Marathon sounded yesterday,  my thoughts flashed back to a conversation I had recently with my friend Jeff P.  “Jeff what’s the most difficult marathon you’ve ever run”?, I asked.  “Oh, that would be the Catalina Eco Marathon”.  Spoken by anybody else these words wouldn’t be all that concerning.  However, these were words spoken by a man who’s run over 150 marathons.    

Runners ready, Go!  And we were off.  More than 370 of us, making our way up Avalon Canyon.  We passed right by Hermit Gulch campground,  not a notable landmark to most, but the home to four runners Rob M, Chris C, Gerry W and me the night before.  As I looked over at the empty tent #6, I thought I could still hear sounds from the night before.  Sounds?  Ok, let me just say human noises only possible after spending hours taste testing Catalina’s finest Mexican food and cervesa.  After that crescendo, the snoring, and I’m talking some weird alien sounding snoring, was actually a relief.

While steadily climbing for a couple of miles, I was getting some glances in at my heart rate monitor.  These glances turned to double takes, which isn’t a good sign when you running Jeff Ps hardest 26.2.  Oh well, I had only myself to blame, realizing that I was probably a couple of liters short on fluids at the starting line.  Call it the Catalina cantina effect.  Not recommended for PRs, course records or other breakthrough performances. 

As we crested the top of the climb, we were just shy of 1,750’, atop of one of the most scenic vantage points in all of California.  This was a day unlike most, with crystal clear skies and breathtaking  views in panorama.  To my right, across the Catalina channel, stood the Santa Ana and San Gabriel ranges.  To my left, the great expanse of the deep blue Pacific Ocean.  One of the most memorable moments for me was when Rob M and I were descending westward around mile 8 high on a ridge, and below us was an expansive view San Clemente island.  It was a once in a lifetime view of this stealthy island only visible from the mainland on the clearest of days. 

As the race wore on, we traversed a healthy mixture of ridges, canyons, truck trail and single track.  We ultimately came upon the vaunted “Crunch” hill at mile 19.  Difficult?  Yes. But a good break from a rather monotonous 3 miles following mile 16.  By the time I hit the top of the Crunch, I finally started to feel ok.   My heart was finally settling down.  I realized at that point it must have taken me 19 miles to catch up on my fluids from the night before.  Rob M and I cruised through the last few rolling miles on the Trans Catalina Trail.  At this point my second wind was in full force and I was able to pick things up through the Hermit Gulch single track trail and onto the finish line for eighth place overall.

Would I recommend the Catalina Eco Marathon?  Absolutly.  Its a beautiful course with some challenging terrain and a great team of volunteers.  Is it the most difficult marathon? I defer to Jeff P on that topic, but after living through tent #6 and the Catalina cantina effect, it now gets my vote.  

November 7, 2010

The Creepy Spider

By Charlotte C.  (Age 7)

One day there was a spider and it crawled a mean crawl.  One day a man saw that spider when he was running.  Then he poked it with a stick and it crawled away.  But it did not crawl very far because it was tired.  Then it was time to go.  So the man went home.

The End.

November 6, 2010

Where Has All the Unkown Gone?

Do you remember what you felt like before starting your first year of high school or college?   Or your first race?  The anticipation, the butterflies, the sweet taste of the unknown.     It's kind of intoxicating, I think, facing something new and outside of our comfort zone.

I remember that feeling when I was preparing for my first ultra.  It all seemed so new and different.  The training, though not too different from the marathon training I'd done for many years, just seemed more fun.  More meaningful.  The whole running experience just seemed more vivid.

Coming into my 6th year of running ultras I'm beginning to miss that fresh perspective.  The butterflies are still there, but the "newness" has faded.  My training is going well, but I know I need to take it to another level if I'm going to achieve some of the goals I've set for myself.   I know I'm capable of getting to where I want to go.  I just really want to enjoy the journey along the way.

Where for art thou unknown?