San Jacinto and San Gorgonio

I haven't had the urge to write much lately. I'm hoping it's just a slow patch, or maybe I'm just not doing enough cool stuff. So, this post is mostly pictures of the last two weekends.

On Father's Day I decided that San Diego was just a little too chilly at 70 degrees, so we decided to head to Palm Springs for an overnight trip. It was 112 in town. We took the tram up to Mt. San Jacinto and while the kids hiked, I took off on a trail run. The weather up top was 65 and the trails are beautiful up there. If you're ever in the area and have a chance to ride the tram, don't pass it up. Especially if you have kids. That ride is better than anything at Disneyland. The family hiked while I ran for about an hour and wished I had given myself enough time to reach the summit, but I told my wife I'd be back in an hour and I didn't want to run into any Search and Rescue operations on the run back down. I made it a little past Round Valley Campground before I reluctantly made the turn.

Last weekend Sanam and I joined Jess and Nata (you may remember them from such hits as Cactus to Clouds) for a climb up to the top of Mt. San Gorgonio. It was another beautiful day and we all made the trip to the top of Southern California's highest peak (11,500 feet). The women led the way and it was nice to not have to hike behind Jess for a change.

Sanam and I have talked for years (ten to be exact) about being able to run together again, and we took full advantage of some of the runnable descents to smile, stumble and run down the mountain together. Our kids are getting to the age where we can leave them with a sitter and spend the day frolicking naked running in the mountains together. I hope that they appreciate this now, because very soon we'll be dragging them on these running adventures whether they like it or not.

Overall, it was a good couple of weeks of mountain training and I'm looking forward to another attempt of the 8,000 Meter Challenge (Baldy, San Jacinto and San Gorgonio in the same day) next month. I also signed up for the Cuyamaca 100K in October and I'm really excited to get back out to the Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains to train. I see some more family day-trips in our future.

Breakfast of Champions

Riding the tram to the top

Stupid happy trail face

My tree-hugger

Beginning of the Gorgonio ascent

Running down with my wife

Seriously, the best Mexican food ever except for Mexico, but I wasn't hiking up mountains there, so this probably tops even Mexico Mexican food from Mexicans.
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Bonus picture: a shot I took on our Joshua Tree trip made it into this month's Trail Runner Magazine. I love that magazine.

San Diego 100 DNF Report

This was a post I didn't want to write. I want to move on, but I feel that I owe it to anyone who chooses to read this blog (you puzzle me, but I appreciate you) to write about the bad days as well as the good ones. In the end, the decision to drop out of the San Diego 100 wasn't a life-changing, dark, spiritual, overly emotional, or dramatic event. In the end, it was banal (which is a word I "drop" frequently when hanging with my "boys").

I was sick. I started puking at mile 32 and walked and stumbled for the next three to four hours, trying and failing to take in water, salt, nutrition, even a popsicle. I'll spare the technicolor details, but everything I tried to put in my mouth came out five minutes later. It was the middle of the day, it was hot, and it was a downward spiral leading to dehydration and more sickness. The decision to drop at 44 wasn't that difficult and I don't regret making it.

The decision to drop wasn't momentous, but the kindness I received on the trail was. The runners were all suffering on that stretch, an epic climb up a steep asphalt grade from Pine Creek aid station to Pioneer Mail. Without fail, everyone that passed me on that stretch stopped to make sure I was okay, asked if I needed anything, and offered to help. In the midst of my own personal struggle, I was amazed at the kindness and the shared bond of suffering that is felt out there. It lifted my spirits to see my friends Kara and Jeremy Scarbrough at the aid stations and they did everything in their power to help me get through. I also appreciate the failed efforts of Jeff Coon and Stephen Kirby who tried to motivate me to continue the race.

I want to thank my wife for being there for me, too. She is going to school to become a nurse, and I can't think of anyone more suited for the job. She has the innate ability of knowing when to be tough, and knowing when to be soft and caring. I was so happy to have her there.

A lot of people sent nice messages after I dropped, but I have to give it to Ryan Holler for summing up pretty much exactly how I felt: "I wish I could say knowing I tried, and put in the training, and competed hard, and such, is what counts. But I don't want it to count. Not finishing just sucks, and that's it. What counts is forgetting about it and going home for some quality time with our wives and kids who don't think one bit different of us either way." The only part I'm confused about is how many wives Ryan has.

The San Diego 100 is run by amazing people. The race director, Scott Mills, the volunteers, the other runners, all make this race something special. I'm excited to try it again next year.

Here are some pictures from the race.

I love this picture even though it was nearly an action shot.

With the speedy and inspiring Chris Sigel (who placed 4th) and his crew, Chad Spaman. (Pannikin represent)

photo courtesy JKS Imagery

photo courtesy JKS Imagery

Jeremy trying to tell me how to not throw up (photo courtesy JKS Imagery).

A welcome sponge bath. It's weird...I started the race with a full head of hair. (photo courtesy JKS Imagery).
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