Thursday, October 27, 2011

Marching Along

Here are a couple more from the (recent) vaults of the sculpture project.  The timelapse that I posted a teaser frame from months ago will soon be a reality; more teasers may be in order!

Woman, child, and dwelling

Chatting explorers

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Mudsharks

I got invited last night to stay out past my bedtime and photograph a reunion show for legendary Reno ska band The Mudsharks.  After a swift rise to stardom in the 90s, they broke up but still maintained a loyal following, as evidenced by the arrival of visitors from several states away for this little show at the Black Tangerine (they also played the Little Wal for UNR Homecoming the night before).

After who knows how many years, they operated like a well-oiled machine and brought some honest-to-god stage presence.  I had an absolute blast making photos with them; thanks guys!


Rock the mic

Work the horn

Work the horn II

Bring the heat

Tickle the keys

Evidence of hard work



Monday, October 10, 2011


Well, save the 5k at Burning Man, I haven't done a stitch of racing this year, triathlon or otherwise.  I could pontificate, but it's mostly due to substantial time commitments that haven't totally excluded exercise but have prevented any sort of concerted effort to train for stuff.  I'm not that torn up about it, since I saw the busy times coming, knew they wouldn't last forever, and decided that ruining myself to do it all wasn't quite worth it.

Anyhow, things have calmed down a bit, and a few weeks ago, I remembered that approaching soon was a race I'd been meaning to do for a while.  Unfortunately, this race, a marathon, has always been a few weeks before Silverman, and the -last- thing I'm gonna do is smash myself to that degree just before the proverbial A-race.  However, Silverman is on hiatus this year for the ITU Long Distance World Championships (same course, same weekend, and no, I'm not racing that :) ), so the planets aligned to let me run Bizz Johnson.  Except that I've been a total dirtbag since, oh, about November last year.

Google "marathon training plan" and you'll be assaulted with schedules that average 16-18 weeks.  Those, apparently, are for people with some sense of self-preservation.  I had three weeks.  Now, to be fair, I hadn't been a total dirtbag, just mostly.  My yearly mental workout log is about like this:

Swim: about 6 times since November '10
Bike: a couple dozen rides
Run: more than the other two, but 15-20 miles per week

So, presented with the opportunity to piece together a marathon in 3 weeks, I devise the following brilliant plan:

Week 1: ~30 miles
Week 2: 67 miles
Week 3: Recover and race!  Happiness ensues!

Through some measure of luck and dumb luck, I survive the ramp-up to 67 miles without any drama and arrive at the start line kinda fresh and blissfully willing to see how long I can hang on.  Another little bit of disclosure is that after a handful of iron-distance triathlons, I'm not worried about the distance, but rather the pace.  So by "how long I can hang on," I don't mean "finish the race," as I'd done the distance several times, but instead how quickly I can fling my shrieking carcass across the finish.

Notably, I'm not the least-prepared for this race.  Accompanying me is Andy, who's got a fairly deep running resume but hasn't done anything whatsoever in half a year.  When he decides to run this race 3 weeks ago, he makes a plan like this:

Weeks 1, 2, and 3, including the 26.2-mile race: Run no more than 50 miles total.

True to form, Andy comes off the couch, puts in one training run measuring 16 miles and another measuring 8, then laces up his shoes on race morning.  Good lord.  I've got no doubt that he'll do just fine given his background and attitude, and for that matter, I'm half expecting him to jog by my lifeless body crumpled into some willows about 4 feet after my "fitness" vanishes.

This race is a certified Boston qualifier, and it has a reputation as being a fast course, making it attractive for people who are looking for a way into that race.  However, not really worried about making it into Boston, I figure I can go as hard as I want, race strategically as long as I'm able, and if I blow up...hey, no worries; there's nothing riding on it.  So that's the lead-up.  On to the race!

Shortly after the start, a group of three forms at the front, and we run comfortably together until about mile 7, chatting and getting to know each other ("My name's Scott!" "I'm Eric!" "MghElhhiokktk!"), when Eric goes off the front.  Scott leaves to run him down after about a mile, and I'm languishing in the doldrums 200m off the back without much kick to bridge up.  Then again, it's still early in the race, and just so long as I keep them in contact, it ain't no thang.  Eric and Scott stay off the front for miles and miles, and then a curious thing happens.  Eric drops a glove at about mile 14, Scott misses it, and, not really thinking, I pick it up.

Well, now I'm carrying something that's not mine, and the guy it belongs to is a couple hundred meters up the road.  The miles are melting away, and now's as good a time as any to work hard.  I catch Eric at mile 16, return his glove, and find myself in a pretty high gear from bridging up to him.  Scott is another good bit up the road, so I keep my pace up and start chasing him down.  I eventually catch up to Scott at mile 18; he's slowed down quite a bit and we chat for a minute.  Then, hoping to open up a gap, I turn the pace up to Smash; gotta make hay while the sun shines!

Suffering; a 1-part series.  Photo courtesy D^2

By mile 22, the previous 8 miles of chasing, bridging, and then gapping have taken a huge toll on me.  The wheels start to come off, the veil of fitness and preparation is cast aside, and I retreat deep into my cuddly little pain cave where everything's Just Fucking Peachy.  Having learned from Scott (early in the race) about his ultrarunning exploits, I know I can't limp it in without having him destroy me...guys like that don't stay down for long. 

What I learn later is that Eric catches Scott at mile 20, and that reawakens Scott's pace.  He climbs out of his rut and returns to 6:10 miles, which means that he's closing on me at a furious rate.  Thankfully, I've opened up enough of a gap that, after hallucinating through the last few miles, I arrive at the finish line 30 seconds ahead of him.  Eric is another couple of minutes behind Scott, so we three musketeers are reunited soon enough.  I clock a 2:50:42, and I must say I'm pretty happy with it!

Surprise visitors at the finish are Grant and Shawna, and D^2 is there after chasing Andy and me to various trail crossings via car.  We stand around and chat over a cold beer with Scott until Andy finishes.  High fives go all around, we absorb some more knowledge from Scott, and then head for home.  As an aside, Scott is a member of the Patagonia Ultrarunning Team and is an excellent ambassador for the sport; you can read his ruminations on running here.

Now, a day later, the consequences of my "plan" are apparent, as I'm utterly shattered.  Call it a lesson in being just fit enough to get myself into lots of trouble...  Racing plans are starting to take shape for next season, and hopefully reports from races devoid of any training are a thing of the past!

Stay in school, kids; Photo courtesy Korg


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Feathers and Fur

Continuing on from Story Mill, here are a few more from Montana...just a little wildlife and whatnot.  All of the birds are from a quick float down the Jefferson.

Great Blue Heron

Immature Bald Eagle

Greater Yellowlegs

Owl; variety unknown.  Snake!; variety unknown

A jaunt up into the Tobacco Root Mountains yielded Jackson Lake after and a brisk hike, but no more animals.  The weather had been far too warm to kick off fall foliage, unfortunately.

Grassy yellow stuff near Jackson Lake

And finally, the scourge of garbage cans all across the land, our favorite local bandit. [quite proud of this one: dark out, long lens, wide open, manual focus, manual flash exposure, and handheld, to top it all off]

Raccoon; cuddly, except for the claws

I was able to get a whole bunch of running and some top-notch relaxing done during my lovely but too-brief stay, not to mention some good exploring around Bozeman and Hookjaw.  Ethel's got a few weeks to witness either the continuation of an Indian summer or the onslaught of brutal winter weather.  Good luck with that, babe!


Monday, October 3, 2011

It's The Wheat

Ethel and I road-tripped up to Bozeman last week to drop her off for a seven-week internship with Keystone Conservation.

On my first run through the Greater Bozeman Area, I stumbled up to this abandoned mill outside town and knew I'd have to come back at night for a photo.

Flora and fauna will populate the next post, but I wanted to get this up while it was fresh in my mind.

Story Mill


Past Detritus