Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Death Valley Marathon -- 2nd in Age

Today I completed the Death Valley Marathon, with a finishing time of 3:42:25, or about 90 seconds worse than my best time at St. George. I was second in my age class and 30th overall.

Conditions were ideal. Death Valley has rolling hills but is mostly flat, so flat that you think you are going downhill in each direction. I did this marathon in 2004, when it was the sixth running. It wasn't well attended then, perhaps 200 people. Today, the crowds were larger and they were running a half and a 10K. The half started off 10 minutes behind the marathon, and the lead half runners caught up with me at their turnaround spot, about 6.1 miles.

My 2004 marathon was my very first and I had a decent time of around 3:58. So, I haven't managed to shave all that much off my times. Slow, too big and not enough genetics.

As usual, between 17 and 26.2 miles I promise myself that I'll never do it again, as I struggle struggle struggle. This time (as I did in my slightly better St. George time) at least I passed people in the final miles rather than be passed. I was passed by one fellow at 24 who chatted with me awhile and said he was about to run his first ultra, and that he was preparing for that by running Death Valley on Saturday and Las Vegas the next day.

The weather was cool. I stayed ahead of the lead woman runner until mile 11, and ahead of the second woman runner until mile 13.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Newhall's Los Pinetos Peak

The view from Los Pinetos Peak (the top of the "Beast") on three different days.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rim to Rim to Rim Run, Grand Canyon 2009 -- 55th Birthday

Yes, once again, I went with Brother Dave (and with brother-in-law "Mr." Ed and Dave's friend John A.) to the Grand Canyon to make a rim-to-rim-to-rim crossing. Friends, do not attempt unless you are not quite sane.

We left our motel at Jacob Lake early in the morning of November 21,2009 and started the descent on the Bright Angel Trail from the North Rim parking lot at about 4:00 a.m. It was below freezing.

Within 15 minutes we arrived at Supai Tunnel, where it was warm enough to strip to summer running gear. From there, and within the hour, we arrived at Roaring Springs, a place I had run to earlier in summer. We stocked up on on water, knowing it would be a waterless run to the bottom of the canyon. Off we went for another couple of hours to Phantom Ranch. The box canyon approaching Phantom Ranch was a great place to run at full speed for three or four miles.

At Phantom Ranch, we hid our excess gear for the ascent. Folks were beginning to awake in the dawn. Up we went on the ascent to the South Rim. I had difficulty keeping up with the other three, but came within a hundred yards or so with Brother Dave once. Past Indian Gardens, as the ascent became much steeper, the trail was crowded with hikers and mule trains. We passed dozens of people.

I started experiencing quite a bit of nausea and my enthusiasm for the adventure flagged. The higher I went the colder it got. Arriving five minutes after brother Dave at the South Rim, we all stopped at the lodge to down a quick meal. I bought a technical long-sleeved shirt. My hot dog, however, wanted to keep coming up the next several hours. On the ascent down from the South Rim, I wasn't so much interested in going as fast as I had on the descent from the North Rim because the harder I worked, the more I wanted to hurl chunks.

Again, at Phantom Ranch at about 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon. However, the Park Service confiscated our stowed equipment, including our flashlights. BIL Ed and Friend John had to negotiate with a officious bureaucrat to get our stuff back.

Up we went; I was dragging behind as usual. Up and up and up. As my hot dog disappeared from the stomach, and I relied solely upon Hammer Gel, my nausea began to abate. At Supai Tunnel, BIL bonked with what appeared to be slight hypothermia. We got food into him and got his warm clothes back on -- within minutes he sparked up and roared past me to the top.

On the top -- wonderful victory! Forty-eight miles; sixteen and one-half hours, with 2 1/2 of those hours goofing off - shopping, waiting for the Park Service.

The other two blog posts are at: Davy:; Jon:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nov. 14: Another 50+ Week

Today's run was capped off by a tough technical downhill; up the fire road at Whitney Canyon and then down the Los Pinetos trail, through Placerita Canyon, up the Mt. Manzanita Trail, and down Viper.
Picture 1: Los Pienetos Descent off of Manzanita Mountain. This descent starts at about four miles up the Whitney Canyon fire road; the descent is about two miles.

Picture 2: Los Pinetos. At the bottom of the run in the 2.5 mile segment in Placerita Canyon.

Picture 3: More Placerita Canyon.

Picture 4: Manzanita Trail ascent out of Placerita Canyon, a one mile segment.

Picture 5: Viper descent, about a two mile segment

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Another 50+ mile week

I ran another 50+ miles this past week. I particularly enjoy the stress runs I have been doing; did a 15-mile run on Saturday in the heat on an empty stomach and no water.

Two runs are coming up; a 48-mile rim to rim to rim run in the Grand Canyon Nov 20, and a marathon in Death Valley on Dec. 5.

I've done the R-R-R once before; it was my first run beyond marathon distance at the time. I've done a lot of running since then, so hopefully the stress won't be the same as it was before. The R-R-R is particularly tough on the feet and a particular tendon in my right leg. Keeping water in the system seems to help, but I hear the spigots along the trail have been shut off.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Once again, I am running along the Hudson River in Albany. It is chilly and beautiful.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ascent to Nike Base

Well, today I was prepare to run the 100 mile Pony Express Run in Utah, having talked wife into it, but then my driver became ill. Scott, though, at the last minute said he could do it but I didn't have time to get up to Utah.

Today was a 20-mile ascent to the Nike base with a return down Placerita Canyon with an ascent back up to the Viper trail at Mt. Manzanita. About a 4 1/2 hour run.

These pictures are great when you consider that they are taken in the most populous county in the United States, 14 million people. In 4 1/2 hours, the only people I saw were firemen at the Nike base, where the helicopter jump station is located.
Photo 1
Photo 1 is a view of Fire Station Camp 9 at dawn at the top of the mountain, looking down from the communications tower peak. To the right is the remnant of some of the missile base communications equipment.
Photo 2
Photo 2: View to the north of the Los Angeles basin at dawn; you can see the financial district in the center of the photo, where I work.
Photo 3
Photo 3: View to the north of the Santa Clarita valley, looking at Sand Canyon.
Photo 4
Photo 4: Off the Fire Station is a descent down the mountain. This is the look up the route from which I had just descended. The shot is taken at Bear Divide. The bare trees were burned in a fire three or four years ago, planted there as a WPA project in the 1930s.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

First 100-Miler

OK. I haven't told my wife yet, but next week I am running the Pony Express 100 in Utah. Son Scott will be crew chief. Wife has been wondering why my running has been stepping up in the past few weeks back to obsession level.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

50-mile plus week

Saturday ended another 50-mile plus week, with two days in Livingston, New Jersey.

On Saturday, I didn't have time to run my planned 30-miler so, instead, I ran a "high stress" 15 miler. Based upon an article I read in Runner's World, one could duplicate end-of-run conditions by not fueling or drinking before or after a run. So, I selected my usual loop of Towsley Canyon, but I doubled it to get above 15 miles.

I arrived home from the run ready to pass out, my usual end-of-long-run condition if I don't drink right. There, I was confronted with an extremely poopy diaper I had to immediately change, since none of my children would do so.

I put the kid (I won't say whether it is one of my own or a grandkid) in the bathtub, whereup the kid's sister jumped into the poopy bathtub water.


I've signed up for Boston!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

This Week's Running in Review

Well, Saturday last week I was smoked by my brother and brother-in-law in a run of Timp in the Wasatch Range in Utah. I struggled and came 40-minutes behind my best run, for about 4:40. They beat me by about 1:20.

But, this week I have been ramping it up. From Utah I flew to NY. Among my notable days this week was a 12 mile run in Clifton Park, NY followed by a ten or so mile bike trip.

Then, back to Salt Lake; I only had a couple of hours outside of client meetings to plot my next strike break but I ran from my son's house in Sandy to the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon and then ran a trail along the Bonneville shelf for awhile.

Today, back in California a 20 mile run to the top of Odeen Platform above Mentryville, and then back for a 14-mile bike ride on the road bike I just purchased off of ebay.

I bought new shoes at the recommendation of my brother who said I needed a stability trail shoe. I bought a pair of Saucony ProGrid Xodus, a very stiff shoe. Buying running shoes is risky business, because they are so expensive, and one thing about them in a perfectly acceptable shoe otherwise can make them unacceptable - a particular hot spot, usually. My shoe closet is full of very expensive running shoes I use only for a casual shoe because they just don't cut it.

Already I'm liking the Saucony (a brand I've never found acceptable, but probably because I bought their cheaper shoes) them better than my Brooks Cascadia. The Brooks gave me hotspots in my heel. After a tough 20-mile run today in the heat, with 14 of it on the road, there were no hot spots! Great shoe!!!

Next week, I'm off to Silver Lake in the Adirondacks. for some running and biking. (Well, client work during the day.) I'm renting a bike in Albany. It should be fun and different!

I came up with a new joke this week for which my family gave me a standing applause. Seems I went to the doctor, given my advanced age, and was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the doctor.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

North Rim Descent to Roaring Springs

I descended in July from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to Roaring Springs and back, a 3-hour round trip (usually, an all day hike). This wasn't much compared to the rim to rim to rim I did with my brother here.

Descent to Roaring Springs at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: GPS Community

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cannell Plunge

On June 22, 2009, friend Greg and I mountain-biked the Cannell Plunge from Sherman Pass in Kern County to Kernville. This is a 26-mile descent from over 9,000 feet for experienced mountain bikers. I hadn't touched my bike in a year, but fortunately had many many hours on my feet in ultrathon training.

At the end of the day, I wasn't tired from the physical exertion except for the relentless assault upon my arms and shoulders from the braking and turning required in the last, very sandy, descent.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Upper Kern River to Rincon Pass

I did this while at scout camp with two sons. This 12 mile run started at the intersection of state highway 99 and the Kern River near Kernville, California, in the lower Sierras just east of the divide. This area of the Sierras is dry and hot in late June. I ascended the Kern River along an extremely rocky trail which made it difficult to run. The trail then leaves the river gorge and ascends up to the Rincon trail. This connecting trail was little-used. It connected with the Rincon trail and in the early morning I was uncertain about the Rincon trail's location and direction in the early morning. It took me several minutes to locate the compass on my Garmin and then I was off and running south.

The Rincon trail disappeared into a riverbed. A trail marker tree had been washed down and it took me several minutes to find the trail again. Finally, I ascended to the pass and then descended.

This was a moderately-difficult run, in part due to the difficult footwork among the sharp rocks in the first 5 miles. There was no way that the first 8 miles of my run would be passable for horses.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cindy Graduates

Fourth daughter Cynthia graduated tonight from Hart High. Off to the University of Utah.

Albany, NY

I just returned from several days in Albany, NY. Still recovering from my marathon on Memorial Day, I still have some of the soreness from the run. However, I was able to get out a few times.

This run below was a 10-miler, north along the Hudson River and then south along Broadway through the villages of Watervliet, Menands and then Albany.

This is the prettiest time in Albany. Green everywhere. The view along the Hudson was quite wonderful, although the river was smelly at times. The polluted Hudson is worse than normal these days whilst a billion-dollar dredging for PCBs at a G.E. plant upstream is underway.

Henry Hudson sailed up the Hudson in 1609; this year is the 400th anniversary of his discovery voyage. He was looking for a northwest passage. (I frankly can't understand how he would think to find that sailing up a freshwater river, but what do I know. And, he didn't.)
Albany, NY at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: GPS Community

Monday, May 25, 2009

Los Angeles Marathon -- 4:00:54

May 25, 2009: OK; not the greatest time. Placed 100th in my division at a 60% grade. As an excuse, I am recovering from pretty painful but not all that drastic surgery in March which caused me not to be all that interested in training.

There were close to 20,000 runners. The weather was overcast and around 70 degrees. We started at 7:20. Characteristically we couldn't hear the national anthem, even though we had no problem hearing Mayor Antonio Villarigosa and some of the promos.

I ran with several members of my stake; 11 from one ward alone. I have gone running with them in the past. I think I beat all of them; not quite sure. One sister from my stake, a few years younger than me, placed 20th in her division. One fellow, 10 years old than me, placed 24th.

I'll have pix.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Klamath Falls, OR

This was a great run in the morning of May 15, 2009. It was 27 degrees to start in the morning, and I was dressed for summer weather. It warmed up after about an hour.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ode to Manny and Drew


You're a dope and a fool.
I knew it all along.
You've destroyed Boston, and now Los Angeles.
Go away.


I've always known you're going nowhere.
And now you're doing it fast.
Hope you like the bench.

Fall River Legend

I pleased to report the successful run of my production "Fall River Legend" at the Reno Dance Theater. Seven months of good attendance, with the phenomenal leads of Rene Molinare and Frances Meiani. Look next for my production of "Firebird" in Portland.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Grandfather Again

I am pleased to announce the arrival of Ruby Severts in Denver, Colorado. She is my fifth grandchild. Oddly, I was in Denver in the airport with a diverted plane when all this was going down, but heck business is business.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bruce Springsteen

Ok. I'm not much of a Springsteen fan. My last album of his was vinyl. I have Billy Joel albums on CD, and I generally despise Billy Joel.

But, with wifey on April 14, 2009, I went to see Springsteen and the E-Street band at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. He played without an opening act; apparently never does. It was a 2 and 1/2 hour show, one of the longest I've ever gone to for a single act. Every second was worth it, really, to this non-fan.

There was not a black or Hispanic face in the arena, except for two members of the E-Street band. Almost all of these white fans appeared to be able to sing along with Bruce's seemingly incomprehensible lyrics. The audience was composed mostly of boomers my age, although there were some 20-something kids there.

I was waiting for Bruce to go off on some political rant; he didn't.

I particularly enjoyed Bruce's version of a Stephen Foster song in the encore. I missed hearing Thunder Road and the Rising. He scattered some songs from his new album in the mix, including an odd one about Outlaw Pete where he donned a cowboy hat.

Max Weingart (Conan O'Brien Show) was on drums, and Nils Lofgren was a guitarist. The musicianship was terrific. The sax player was a fellow who looked like he was 70, and had to be propped up the entire time, but he was wonderful.

Maybe I'll go out and buy and album or two.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

More running!

Ran almost 20 miles yesterday (ran to Towsley Canyon and then ran a double loop plus an additional mile on a third loop), and six miles the day before!!! Feeling a little better.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My First Real Run in 21 Days!!!!

Ran Towsley Canyon this morning, about 7 miles. Finally!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Post Race Recovery Part II

Went for my first post-surgery run today. Two weeks from today since the surgery. Two miles. The wind's there but not the will.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Post Race Recovery

This is the absolutely worst post-race recovery I've ever had. I scheduled what might be running-related surgery for the Wednesday after the race and that surgery was completed Wednesday after over one hour in the operating room. I won't go into the gross details.

I've been off my feet for 48 hours now; looks like it is going to be a while before I run again.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Old Pueblo 50 Mile -- Tucson March 7, 2009

March 7, 2009 I completed the Old Pueblo 50 Mile run in Tucson, Arizona, with a time of 10:45:47, or 48th place.
This would be my seventh ultrathon, not counting pacing duties.

The weather was perfect. We had a start in the 40s and it never got above 70 degrees in the desert flats.

We started in the dark. I had to buy a flashlight the night before, incorrectly thinking I could get away with a dark start. There were lots of runners. I blew past the first aid at Granite Mountain, about 3 miles, without stopping.

The ascent up to Gunsight Pass was lots of fun. I am glad to say that I ran most of it. The greatest part of the course was the downhill from Gunsight Pass to the desert floor – a long descent and very technical. I worried the whole way about twisting my ankle but I survived well. I had a fast runner on my tail who could never catch up to me until we got to the flats, and about 2 miles into the flats he caught up and complimented me on my descent. As he was pulling ahead, three large dogs came out of the desert and contemplated approaching us. My companion actually ducked behind me and I held my bottle out for defense. We ran past them quickly. We pulled into the aid station at 19 miles, Helvetia, and away he went.

[See one of the dogs in the background; I am just coming off of Gunsight Pass.]

I like to run these ultrathons without keeping track of the mileage so that I can get mentally into finishing, and at the Box Canyon aid station I was pleasantly surprised to hear that I was at the 25 mile mark. I had a pretty good time of about 4 ½ hours.

The ascent up Box Canyon was tough. I was passed by runners as I walked, but I proceeded to pass them all later.

The last ten miles were delightful. Rolling trails, grassy fields, beautiful views. As I pulled in to the last aid station for the final four miles I was feeling terrific; no injuries, no blisters, feet not all that tired.

[Rolling into mile 46.]

I ripped past a few more runners. A fellow older than I am in a green shirt (see the photo; he's behind me) passed me at the last aid station and that was all she wrote of that. In the last three miles I came within 100 feet of the runner who would eventually be right ahead of me, but he pulled ahead several hundred yards with a strong finish. I came in around 10:40 (to be corrected when I get the exact time).

Many thanks to my brother Davy for motivating me to do it and ignoring all my excuses not to do it. Especial thanks to Davy's friend Dave, from Gilbert, with whom I kept exchanging places (and pleasant conversation) for over 30 miles until I finally pulled it out in the end.

I spent another hour with my brother at the end. It was getting cold.

I thank the race directors, Lynda Hendricks and Steve Burton. This is one of the finest 50s.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ascent to Nike Base; Return Placerita Canyon

This run is an old favorite. Lots of vertical and distance. Tuning up for the big one next week. This run is like mindless running. For the trail part I rarely see a soul. Today I saw one other runner. In the ten years I've been making the ascent to the Nike Base along this trail, I have perhaps seen twenty people total from the Los Pinetos Trailhead at the top to the Nike Base. I made the mistake of making the entire run on two small breakfast bars, and didn't eat breakfast, but that's planning.

What I really like about this run is that at the Los Pinetos trailhead (which is actually at the top of the trail and about 5 miles into the run; it goes down in both directions to the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys) the Los Angeles Equestrian Club has plopped an outhouse in the middle of nowhere; bring your own T.P. however. I know, TMI.

There's also water at the Nike base, a fire jump station manned around the clock, at the very tip top. (It looks like they were running on generators; must not have restored the power lines since the fires last fall.) It is always fun running through this fire station; there must be thirty or so men there, mostly around 25 years of age. They see this old 54-year-old running through. There is also supposed to be water in the campground in Sand Canyon, but I couldn't find any serviceable fountains this day.

Note how I deviate from the road in the lower southeast corner. There is a very steep single track trail to the peak, and then off the peak heading east there is another single track that bypasses a long road loop.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Gearing Up for the Old Puelbo 50, Next Week

As my firm goes through 10% layoffs this morning (gag and misery), I contemplate the ridiculous. Another 50M in Tuscon eight days from now.

Am I ready? No. I've taken a whole week off from running because of the pressures of work. But, I am never ready for these runs and I always claim not to be ready.

Will I like the heat? He** no. Heat slows me down and makes me sick.

Will I be embarrassed? Yes. My brother will be there to embarrass me.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

To Magic Mountain the Long Way

One of my favorite runs, below. However, on a regular work day the traffic can be fierce along some of it. Today's run was with no water and on an empty stomach, so it seemed to go on forever. Plus, the unending pain in my hand from the stenosis in my neck is excruciating. I guess it will never end.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Another Run

Here's another fun run this week. All the way up to the old railroad bridge crossing in North Valencia where the City has added new paths to its system near Magic Mountain. From there up San Francisquito Canyon, the site of a 500-death dam collapse 80 or so years ago, and back. This run is very scenic. Through nice neighborhoods and along the Santa Clara and San Francisquito Rivers. Of course, a river in the Los Angeles area is a wash with a trickle of water running through it in the winter.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Favorite Road Run

This morning was one of my favorite road runs. I picked up my wife's running group about two miles into the run, at about 5:00 a.m., near the intersection of Wiley Canyon and Old Orchard, and proceeded to get smoked by two of her fast friends.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Training for Big Horn 100

Ok; June 19, 2009, I declare, I am running the Big Horn 100. I ran the 50 last year. This will be my very first 100, and at age 54 I'm not getting any younger and since this is on my "bucket" list, I have to do it now.

The Big Horn 100 is one of the tougher runs. The altitude, the vertical change, the temp differences, will make it quite the run.

To prepare, as you will see, I am planning a half marathon in February, a 50 in April, and the Memorial Day Los Angeles Marathon. I need to find another race in there somewhere.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

January 1, 2009: Newhall's The Beast

An ascent up Newhall's the Beast today, descending through Walker Ranch and Placerita Canyon. About 14 miles.