Thursday, October 27, 2011


2 hours in the cerros with 2500ft of climbing with the first White Stripes album on repeat. i only occasionally listen to music while i run and, today, the experience was really fucking good.

i took the Asked Ultrarunner's advice and started off the first climb with 6 X 30 sec intervals on the steepest stuff i got. after i reviewed the contents of my breakfast, i proceeded through the horse pasture hills until they became vineyards, coming across the best horse skeleton i've found yet. i need to get a camera to take with me next time.

on the way home, I played just the above song on repeat. i passed a construction site while a guy was swinging a comically huge sledgehammer into a steel pylon. the combination of horribly overdriven guitars and metal on metal brutality made my eyes water and it was awesome. i lost a couple minutes here while i collected my fillings off the sidewalk.

time for beer and chicken.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"My Chinese Rug" Weekender 10/23/11

Monday- off. saw planet of the apes in spanish. had a nightmare about talking gorillas.

tues- over las torres, to end of horse pasture ridge. this has become the new daily standard. 9 miles round trip w/ maybe 1200 ft. of climbing (same for descent) depending on the route. typically this takes 90 minutes at the slowest and about 1:15 at the fastest. sometimes i choose to take a very unorthodox route to the towers, which yields a much slower time (and many many more thorn holes in my arms and

wed- same, with Quim who seems all bounced-back.

thurs- off. the blisters on my feet are giving me some hell.

friday- off. same.

saturday- 9 miles.

sun- 12 miles.

The issue this week were the blisters left over from the 80K. This is the first time in years that I've had blisters, so I suppose I should be grateful. I had forgotten how to deal with them well and opted to A) wait a couple days for the tissue to chill the fuck out and B) make small incisions at the top of each to let them dry up. So far, so good. They were caused by a combination of the very steep and persistent downhill running/shoe-skiing from the race and the steady degradation of my running form as I got tired. Moving along.

39 miles.

If evil's how they're livin', hell's whatcha give'em.


Monday, October 17, 2011

TNF Ultramaratón de Los Andes

14.5 hours of running, 50th place out of 66 finishers.

Well, this was an interesting time. I ran this race with my friend Quim, which was a last minute decision that ended up paying off in ways that I did not anticipate (despite death-marching the last 10 miles). I also lost my fancy camera, which was a bummer...but whatever, man, fuck it.

I want to remember a couple of things, so I may just start jotting things down before I forget them...

I met Ellie Greenwood before the race (although I didn't realize it, I just saw a Canadian flag on her pack and felt like chatting in English). I see that she has a pretty thorough race report up already, if you want a better idea of the course than what I am about to provide. I will say, though, that the route is incredibly fun and features some beautiful running (and hiking).

Overall, the course features two climbs at the beginning, a long descent and then a concerted climb from about mile 23 to 30. That said, there is essentially no flat running at any point in this race and about 12,500 ft of gain (with the same amount in loss).

Quim had been training hard in the cerros of Talca for at least as long as I have and, coming from a life of focused futbol training, is in better shape than I am. His previous long-run experience has been a marathon in the Canaries and a 100K in Andorra. Both were mountain slogs that he did with friends and with a pretty relaxed approached, as in the 100k took them 27 hours or so. This race he wanted to "run" more. As in, try to push the pace and achieve the best possible time for the course. Fair enough.

The race started at 4:00am, which had been changed a few weeks earlier from the originally scheduled time of 2:00am. Excellent.

We jigged around in the dark slowly (too slowly, considering the horrible blare of Bon Jovi at the start), heading towards the first climb. After a bit of hiking, we hit the summit and got a great view of Santiago lit up at night. Like a poorly chosen piece of barroom ass, cities are only beautiful at night...

Luckily, by the time the sun came up we were facing away from the city center and towards the looming range of the Andes. We were both feeling pretty excellent, laughing and running the flats and downhills hard. The sun was up, it was dry, not too hot and there was not a cloud in the sky. Gorgeous. After a cup of hot soup, we started the longest decent of the day and I had the single most enjoyable stretch of running I have ever had. There was no trail at this point to speak of, just course markings tied to the branches of trees and the occasional lonely course marshal to point the way.

The climbing began around 23 miles or so and sucked pretty hard. It just kept coming, with very little opportunity to stretch out and run very much. We reached the half-way point at almost exactly 6 hours, which was fine with me. Here, I think, is where Quim started digging himself into a hole. He pushed the uphill pace hiking, which I think was fine, but then he also would break into a little jog every time the terrain flattened out, even if this was just a few feet. Honestly, I think he would have been better off just holding steady with either hiking or running, as those little bursts of running are just needlessly tiring. The day was wearing on, getting warmer and I noticed that he always had a little water left in his single bottle each time we came to an aid station. I, however, was guzzling water like a champ as I was already pretty familiar with how little I sweat in such a dry climate. Quim also didn't eat very much. He felt like the gels caused him to have a sugar crash and, as such, only ate nuts and fruit at the stops. I had been taking in at least 300 calories/hour for the first 3-5 hours and then switched to just gatorade as the day wore on. I should have said something earlier, in hindsight, but who the hell am I to tell him what to do? Dude comes from Girona, has hiked and run in the Pyrenees and is generally fitter than I am...anyway...

The final nail in his coffin hammered itself in when the race organizers had placed a "2K to next aid station" sign waaaay too early and, because we were fucking thirsty, we picked it up a little in an effort to get there. It turned out to be more like 5K with more climbing before we got there and Quim was feeling rough. Still, I was surprised at how quickly things started going downhill for him. After the next climb, he wasn't in the mood to run the downhill anymore and when we got to a flat section, he didn't want to jog that either. I didn't feel amazing or anything, but I still was in the mood to run (I was shooting for a sub-12 hour finish). It was rapidly evident that Quim was starting to stagger a bit and on one occasion when I asked him if he wanted a gel, he looked around like "Huh?" and seemed unsure of who had spoken to him. Fuck. Several times he encouraged me to run on ahead, but it just wasn't that kind of day. We had had a really good time running together up until then and ditching him just didn't seem like epicly bro sort of thing to do. Plus, I've never had the option to run an ultra with someone I know, so that also seemed like sort of a waste. I'm sure I'll have ample opportunities in the future to go back to training and racing alone.

Anywho, the last 10 miles were a fucking drag to end all drags. Mentally, I felt pretty upbeat. Very resolved to help Quim walk in this race and keep him from really going down the drain. I cajoled him into eating a little bit, drinking more water and told him stories about stupid things I've done when I was drunk (lucky for him we only had 4 hours of I was just getting warmed up when we finished). He seemed pretty vacant and spent, but I give him a lot of credit for never once considering out loud that he might quit. In fact, he complained very little. Righteous.

Yeah, so 14.5 hours after starting, we jogged in the last 100m of the race.

Gabbo, Stephanie and Emma were waiting at the finish line and helped get Quim some water and some food. I was in a remarkably good mood and felt more or less completely fine. I had several blisters, which for me is odd. One of them had gone ahead and exploded in my shoe, which was gnarly looking. While Quim was recovering a little, I went and said "hi" to Tim Twietmeyer, Ellie and Ian Sharman. Each remarked that the course had been very hard. Word up.

I feel pretty confident that I would have run under 12 hours for this race had I run alone, but I'm much happier with how things actually panned out, honestly. I learned a lot watching someone bite the dust like that and it was very rewarding to give a fellow runner a hand when they aren't having a great day on the trails. Honestly, if I wanted to simply "execute" a coldly calculated and predictable race, I wouldn't be running ultramarathons in the first place. The idea, for me, is to have something of an adventure. Experience something previously unknown. By my definition, adventure always includes equal doses of happy and shitty. If that sounds unappealing, I would recommend a sofa. Seriously, sofas are awesome. I'm sitting on one right now. It feels amazing...but it's not an adventure. Whoa...

On the way home, while waiting for a cab, Quim started vomiting up the water and spaghetti. He looked like a cadaver. We got him back to the apartment, gave him some water and he went to sleep instantly. I woke him up a couple hours later to eat some food, which stayed down and he seemed to be doing slightly better.

I ate a metric shitload of food (because the English shitload doesn't exist here) and drank beer until I was falling asleep sitting up.

I am writing this on Tuesday after just having returned from my first run post-race. I feel the best I've ever felt after an ultra and am really really excited about running more in the upcoming months. I really want to spend more time in the cerros around Talca, doing some much longer stuff than what I've been doing so far. In the back of mind, I'm still thinking very hard about running the "W" down in Torres del Paine. Peter Bakwin has an FKT up for the route, which has been describe as anywhere between 80K to 120K, depending on the exact route. There's also a 70K race in January that I'm thinking of doing...but honestly, the Torres del Paine Circuit sounds so much cooler than paying people a lot of money for cutting up my oranges...

Huge congratulations go out to GZ, who finished his first 100 miler in under 24 hours. Cred.

68 miles on the week.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Santiago Is Just All Right With Me.

Ha! Back in Santiago to hang around for a day or so before the TNF Ultramaratón de Los Andes. Soakin' in that world-famous smog. Plus, the students are marching (again) today and i'm watching tear gas roll across the street a few blocks away. A lung-full of tear gas right at the starting line? Now THAT's an ultramarathon.

I have no idea how I'll do, honestly. I feel pretty good, I think? Honestly, I feel very strong but I also feel very bloated. It's that time of the month again.

and by that I mean...knock-down, drag-out drunkenness 5 times a week.

After this weekend, it's back to the cleaners for Señor Hígado (liver).

GOOD LUCK! to this guy on his 100-mile debut.

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Screaming into Opened Mouths" Weekender 10/9/11

50 miles on the week.

On monday, the start of my specially designed period of super scientific physical body-sculpting, i was running.

Running with legs filled with chicken hearts.

I was as tired as an unloved chicken heart and it showed. Dutifully. Pitifully. I ran up the cerro as always.

Lo and beerhold, there appeared a man running up the cerro also. past the trees and the easy no-big-deal part and then he started the hard, pretty-big-deal part and i thought "whattt the hell?"

Right here in lil' old talca, there's a guy from girona spain who is also an "ultra" runner and who will be competing next saturday at 4 a.m. in the Peter North's Facial Ultra Marriagethon of the Andy's.

On thursday Joaquim and I met up to run in the hill pastures beyond the regular trails. It was a day filled with ducking under barbed wire, jumping rivers, bushwacking, searching for routes. At one point, a storm moved in and soaked the air with thick fog and mist. It was impossible to tell if I was 10 feet from the valley or 1,000,000...which was really good. total loss of perspective. Another time, we started descending along an animal path and found ourselves in the midst of a herd of mountain goats, which we had obviously spooked. For a minute or so, we bombed down the trail out of control amidst 20 or 30 goats all doing the same. It was pretty fucking righteous.

Yeah, the race is next week, which should be nice.

Gabbo lives in Santiago and came down to Talca to visit. We cooked a lot and drank a lot of beer and wine. It was nice.

Give'em hell, ya'll. It's what they deserve.

Monday, October 3, 2011

"Brawl in Mid-Air" Week Ending 8/2/11

That is such a good damn song.

Really enjoyable week of running.

¡¡¡¡ "La Media Maratón por el Medio Ambiente" POST-RACE REPORT!!!!!

Right after I came across the finish line, I met up with my friend Kake and went to her house to eat, watch TV and then eat again. We shared a one liter bottle of Heineken, which went down pretty well. Nothing crazy, maybe equivalent to one and a half standard 12-oz yeah, the afternoon was off to a slow, maybe overly cautious start.

Got home around 10pm and had 6 cans of Paceña in the fridge. The first one disappeared in no time. I briefly considered that the pace might have been a little hot, but I felt pretty relaxed and it was easy to convince myself that I could keep it up. I might have felt a little pressure given the late start and perhaps I was trying to hurry to gain some lost ground. Hit beer #2 in sub-10:00. I wasn't sure where I was at regarding my salt intake, but I didn't want to waste any time making popcorn, so I powered through beer #3 with just a carrot. It was right around this point that I got a little sidetracked responding to emails and watching videos about ancient Egypt. At the start of beer #4, I started feeling a little sluggish. I won't lie, I had a flicker of doubt at this point in the post-race, but I dug deep and reminded myself of my training. "Stick with plan, dude. Have faith." ...which I took to mean that I wanted to listen to "Faith" by George Michael. This definitely revived my spirits and beer #5 was open and ready in no time. Wrapped up an especially witty (no, hilarious!) email to an old friend and was busy reviewing a wikipedia entry on performance-artist Marina Abromovic's "Rhythm 0" piece, when I suddenly realized..."Duder, this has been an awesome day and you are now fully god-damned ready for bed. Go claim your prize."

7th place overall in 1:24:12. Half-marathon PR.

80 miles on the week. Best week of running that I've had in ages.

Whether you're resting, racing, riding or just running around in circles, I hope everyone is out there giving the whole world some hell.

Remember: Nobody, nobody, nobody can pull off the same shit as you and still come out all right.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Freedom. No one around today. I went to the mountains yesterday and ran for 4 hours and, boy, do the bottoms of my feet look like the top of an overcooked pizza. Delicious.

So, I opted not to run. No. That isn't wholly true. I opted to do NOTHING. I did exactly zero in terms of anything even remotely productive.

Freedom. I had a dream. That one day. I would rise up and think:

"Why did I rise up? Maybe I should sit back down and eat some pizza."

I'll see you all in hell.