MOVE; Stay INSPIRED!

 

  • sub-4’d this year (first since 2015), but didn’t PR
  • scored my best 50K time, but no 52-mile Bighorn finish
  • 2,017 in 2017 – this WILL happen – plus the 75 miles missed from last year’s journey
  • & this Sunday, I’ll FINISH marathon #100 in Dublin Ireland 🍀

 

SURVIVOR.

That’s what the t-shirt reads – the unexpected gift that arrived last weekend from Sis.  Same sister also running 26.2 miles, marathoning side-by-side/stride-by-stride on the Emerald Isle this Sunday.

  • 22 marathons completed, one more to go

Last treatment: December 22nd.  Marathon’d New Year’s Day in Florida.  Clean bill of health: January 15th.  Dates still vivid in my head – like remembering someone’s birthday.  How long ‘til the mind lets it go?

 

Fall time, 2018 goal-setting time.  Started tri training today, 2014 was my fittest.  Ironman Year.  Nope, no Ironman in my near future, just back on Plan.  STRONG in 2018.  Time to finish what I started.

  • new Marathon PR – tri training at a steady consistent 9:50 pace.  Not even sub-4 pace.  However, trusting the plan.  Chilly Start, overcast skies, no headwind, landscape: a mix of quick pop-ups & flats – sometime/somewhere early Spring or late Fall 2018, it will happen.  Replacing Cape May, New Jersey as my PR locale.
  • Bighorn 2018 – No marathoning after Memorial Day.  Bighorn, my only race in June.  Focused all-out effort.  52 miles. Registration reminder set: January 5th.  Physically AND mentally ready.
  • Run the Year ‘Gap’ Year – running harder, faster, longer but running less.  No counting miles, no month-end blog posts, trusting the plan.  Mix of cycling, swimming & high altitude hikes.  2018 focus: Bighorn.
  • 50 State Déjà Vu tour – Celebrating Sis’ BIG birthday with an ALL uphill 50K in Hawaii: Hilo to Volcano.  Point-to-point ultra, NO downhill.  Literally to the top of Volcano.  AND it was HER idea ❤   Minimum of 15 states in 2018.
  • Another province, another continent.  Target year: 2020.  Marathoning Canada‘s 10 provinces AND all 7 continents.  Even Antarctica?  Yep, even Antarctica.  Currently on a wait-list for January 2019.  Will find out in 3 months if I snag one of 30 spots.  THEN nickel-n-diming for a year to save the $$$.  Yikes – and WOW!

 

Can’t LIVE if you’re afraid to DREAM.  Look at the shirt – I’m so much more.

 

 

 

“After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again.” ― C.S. Lewis

 

Failure/not completing what one’s started – it’s a tough pill to swallow.  Some spout excuses, I’ve never been one to jump on board. Running’s a solo sport.  Body failure, mental weakness, weather conditions – doesn’t matter.  It’s you, the trail & a pair of shoes.

Started the weekend early like most (of my) race adventures.  Booked a bus ticket, not a lotta options to northwest Wyoming 🙂  Boulder to Denver, Denver to Buffalo (Wyoming, not New York).  9 hours.  Then ride-shared with a buddy to Dayton (Wyoming, not Ohio).

Bib pick-up Friday afternoon in Sheridan.  2 drop bags packed for Saturday’s 52 mile run.

2-mile taper runs all week.  Half-month watching Bighorn videos [on YouTube].  Hot temps, their principle complaint.  Tomorrow’s forecast?  Light rain & mud, remnants from last week’s snow.  PERFECT conditions.  Summer’s come late to Wyoming.

Reviewed the map, reread the manual, talked with one of the race’s first 100 mile finishers.

Every T crossed, nothing left undone.

 

Should you drive into the Footbridge Aid Station, be aware that there are 2 creek fords to drive through. The second is quite deep at this time. Do not attempt to drive to Footbridge without a high clearance vehicle.

 

Our aid stations are well stocked with GU products, GU hydration, water, and a full supply of a variety of foods to help you in your endeavor for the distance you have registered and chosen to run. Please remember that the aid station volunteers who hike to their stations are limited in supplies, but are still well-stocked to assist you.

 

…you should yield to any runner that is catching you from behind, let them pass by stepping to the upside of the trail so that they may continue at their pace. The faster runner does have the right of way, and would be appreciative of your yielding this to them. This is true for horses as well, and others that may be on the trails.

 

We are expecting fairly average course conditions for 2017, but remember we are famous for the Bighorn shoe sucking mud. There will be snow, mud, rocks, roots, elk and their calves, moose and their calves, bear and their cubs, grouse, snakes, and other wildlife as well as challenges along the way, but we are in WYOMING and just consider this part of the adventure.

 

Welcome, and safe travels to our wild and scenic Bighorn Mountains!

 

Thank you,
Bighorn Race Officials

 

Saturday.  Race morning.  5am race start, 45 minute drive from my overnight cabin.

Bed at 8:30, didn’t drop off ‘til after midnight, up again at 3.  Mentally sapped.

Not the lack of sleep – FEAR.  I can’t do this.  It’s too many miles.  All trail.  I’m at elevation.

Pitch dark, in the car by 4.  One deer.  Two moose.  Then…heavy fog.  Large patches of snow [on] both sides of State Highway 14.  Only 10 minutes to Start.  Where is the turnoff?  No cell signal, map left in the cabin.

Must have missed a turn.  Back over the pass, back into the fog.

Never ever located the Start.  HUGE fail.  Have never missed a race – and this my goal race, my first 50.

Tough miss.  Just wasn’t meant to be.  Loss.

Showered at the cabin, retreated home – left a day early.  Prepaid my stay, sunk cost.  Home.  I’ll figure it out at home.

 

UPDATE: 3 days later, still Bighorn-wounded but back at it.  Reconnecting the dots.  Have created a path for 100.  All flights booked, all races registered.  Ready, ready to run.  Looking to Ireland: October 29th.  Marathon #100.  Focused.

Bighorn 2018?  Yep, I’ll be back.  Count on it.  I’ve never run FROM anything.

 

 

 

“Everest is and always will be dangerous.  Tragic as it is when we lose people, it’s important that we remember that the very reason we go to the high mountains is to approach that edge.  Doing so amplifies what it means to live.”

Kilian Jornet, professional ski mountaineer and mountain runner, via Facebook:

Thank you Ueli for being a mentor in alpinism and a constant source of inspiration. Every climb with you was a learning to keep improving along with a mountain lover. My thoughts are with Ueli’s family and friends.

 

Sadly heard about Ueli Steck’s fatal accident in the airport, on my trip home from Oklahoma City.  These guys are tops in their sport, seem immune to death.  We remember a life well lived, a no regret life.

My own personal journey to Everest ended 2 months before my flight itinerary/anticipated departure – cut short by a series of earthquakes, closing the mountain in 2015.  Will I try again?  Not saying no…just saying ‘not yet’.

January 2019 goal: Antarctica.  Still a year & a half away, whole lotta living to do – but by calling it out to the universe – right here, right now – makes the goal actionable, no longer just a dream.  Life is meant to be lived.  Thanks Ueli.

Dream; stay inspired.  Absolutely anything is possible!

 

 

Ueli Steck, the Swiss Machine | Published December 8, 2014 |

Two years in a row, I’ve seen a NatGeo Adventurer of the Year in person – here in Boulder.

I met last year’s winner Kilian Jornet at a book signing, in Colorado competing at the 100K Ultra Race of Champions.  This year [saw] nominee Ueli Steck at historic Boulder Theatre benefiting the American Alpine Club.  Tonite I kicked back, watched [videos] & listened to Ueli talk mountaineering, climbing, endurance & technique.

— 2012:  52 different hikes in 52 weeks

— 2013:  first full marathon in Alaska

— 2014:  Ironman Boulder

— 2015:  TBA

Gonna keep 2015 plans under wraps a few more weeks while I coordinate logistics & details.  Might have thought 26 marathons in a calendar year was the BIG goal next year – nope 🙂   Crazy excited – seriously folks, this is B-I-G!

 

 

Adventurer of the Year, Ueli Steck, Killed Climbing Near Mount Everest

The “Swiss Machine” was known for his speed ascents and love of mountains.

 

By Andrew Bisharat

PUBLISHED APRIL 30, 2017

 

Ueli Steck, a charismatic Swiss mountaineer famous for speed ascents of some of the tallest and most difficult mountains around the world—feats of mind-blowing endurance that earned him the nickname “Swiss Machine”—was killed on Sunday while acclimatizing in the Everest region of Nepal. He was 40 years old.

 

A spokesperson for Steck’s family confirmed his death on his website:

 

“Ueli Steck was killed while trying to climb Mount Everest and the Lhotse. His family has learned of his death today. The exact circumstances are currently unknown. The family is infinitely sad and asks the media builders to refrain from speculation about the circumstances of his death due to respect for Ueli.”

 

This season, Steck was preparing to attempt to ascend 8,850-meter Mount Everest and Mount Lhotse next month. On April 24, 2017, Steck shared this Instagram post from Khumbu Icefall as he acclimatized and trained for his upcoming expedition.

Steck’s remains were reportedly discovered near the base of West Nuptse, a 7,800-meter peak standing to the west of the Everest massif. Climbing alone, Steck was reportedly acclimatizing on Nuptse when the accident took place. This acclimatization run was in preparation for Steck’s ultimate goal: a traverse of both Everest (8,850 meters) and Lhotse (8,516 meters) in a single push, while taking an ambitious route to the summit of Everest—the infamous West Ridge, unrepeated since its first ascent in 1963. He was also planning to climb without using supplemental oxygen.

 

Steck had been training for the “Everest-Lhotse Project,” as he called it, for years. His face lit up with excitement and awesome wonder every time he described it. It was this unbridled enthusiasm for climbing, combined with his inhuman endurance, that so greatly inspired both core climbers and armchair mountaineers around the world. It also earned him recognition as a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2015.

 

“Ueli transcended simple inspiration,” says Cory Richards, a National Geographic photographer who is currently in Tibet, acclimatizing for his own ascent of Everest. “What he gave to our community was matched only by the tracks he left in the mountains. For me, the space he leaves is one that can’t be filled. Simply admired and revered.”

 

Steck’s death is the first fatality of the 2017 Everest season, a period that lasts from March to May. Upwards of 1,000 Everest-bound climbers are reportedly in the region this year, a record in and of itself. That Steck, who was considered perhaps the best mountaineer in the world at this time, died on a standard acclimatization run speaks to the inherent risks of mountaineering in the Himalaya.

 

Perhaps Steck’s most impressive achievement was his solo 28-hour-roundtrip speed ascent of 8,061-meter Annapurna in 2013, a feat that earned him a Piolet d’Or award, mountaineering’s highest honor. Steck tackled the South Face, an intimidating 10,000-foot vertical wall of ice and crumbling rock. In 2007, Steck nearly lost his life attempting the South Face when rockfall knocked him 300 meters down the mountain. Miraculously, he survived with only minor injuries.

 

Steck was raised in the idyllic town of Langnau, in the Emmental region, and spent his youth playing hockey with his two older brothers. He discovered climbing at age 12 when some friends of his father, a coppersmith, took him to some local crags. He promptly traded the hockey rink for the climbing gym, and was soon competing on the Swiss junior climbing team. Steck was always a gifted rock climber, capable of climbing at a high level. In fact, in 2009, for his honeymoon, he free climbed “Golden Gate,” a 3,000-foot 5.13a on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, California, with his wife. Steck’s near “onsight” turned heads earned him respect among the typically unfazed Yosemite denizens.

 

Everest is and always will be dangerous,” says Richards. “Tragic as it is when we lose people, it’s important that we remember that the very reason we go to the high mountains is to approach that edge. Doing so amplifies what it means to live.

Steck’s real passion, however, was for the mountains—moving light and fast and covering as much terrain in a single push as possible. He trained for his biggest Himalayan ascents by running and soloing in the European Alps. One of his favorite outings was to speed climb the infamous Eiger Nordwand (“North Face”), an historic feature first climbed over four epic days in 1938. Steck first soloed the Nordwand when he was 28 years old, taking just 10 hours. Over the years, he continued to improve his time, ultimately racing, in 2015, to the Eiger summit in just 2 hours 22 minutes and 50 seconds—a standing record.

 

Steck’s career was not without controversy. In 2013, he was acclimatizing on Everest with Simone Moro, a famous high-altitude mountaineer and helicopter pilot from Italy, and Jonathan Griffith, an English climber and photographer. The trio made the decision to climb above a team of rope-fixing Sherpas, an action to which the Sherpas took offense. An altercation ensued at a lower camp in which a large, angry group of working Sherpas confronted the European climbers, and ultimately hurled rocks at their tents.

 

To many, Steck will always be remembered as the Swiss Machine—a powerful, rare animal stretching its formidable legs and lungs across an impossible mountain sweep. But to those who knew him, he was much more. As British journalist Ed Douglas, who has covered Steck’s career over the years, wrote on Twitter:

 

“One thing Ueli Steck wasn’t and that’s a machine. Warm and at times surprisingly fragile. But not a machine.”

 

 

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