Saturday, November 17, 2012


I’ve made some interesting life decisions lately.  I don’t know if there is some strange part of my subconscious that that feels the need to be different, or that is unsatisfied if something is too easy or too normal.  Whatever the hell it is, I end up doing some weird shit, and just generally making life a little more difficult than makes sense to most. 

I just took a new job with American Rivers in Nevada City, CA.  I’ll be their new restoration and outreach coordinator, and I’ll be working on things like meadow assessment and restoration in the headwaters of regional rivers, dam and fish barrier removal, riparian restoration, and the creation of blue trails (essentially river boating “trails”).  I’m sure there will be other projects along the way too, and all of them are pretty exciting to me. 

Also, I’ve been running and training a good bit since I moved to Nevada City.  I had originally been training to run my first 100 miler at the end of September, and honestly, I think I was pretty fit and ready for it, but by the time the end of September came around, I felt tired and burnt out on running.  Mostly I think it was all the time I spent alone this summer, and especially all the solo running I did.  I think I had company on maybe five of my many runs this past summer.  It was fantastic sometimes, and other times it was really hard.  It really helps to have a partner to share in the suffering of logging big mile weeks (and big mile days).  It was a good learning experience.  Anyway, that’s all to say I didn’t run a 100 miler.  I’m unsure of my devotion to ultrarunning.  I can see what it takes to achieve at a high level, and I feel confident I can attain that level, but I’m unsure of my desire to devote the additional time and energy necessary to do so.  I like doing other things too, you know? 

That said, I’m still excited about running.  After a few pretty easy weeks through October, I started ramping my training back up to what I would consider good base mileage for myself (40-50 miles a week), but I’m still fighting some instability and tracking problems in my right hip/knee, I think stemming from my groin injury over a year ago.  After a couple weeks of consistent running, I started to get that “uh oh” feeling in my knee, and I could tell that my stride is just a bit “off”.  This was actually good timing, because I was just settling in to life in Nevada City, and I decided to get a gym membership.  Over the last couple weeks I’ve added 4-5 days/week of gym time on top of running 4-5 times a week, and it’s feeling really good.  I intend to start going to some yoga classes soon too.  I need to handle this hip/knee thing with some proper stability, strength, and core work, and I think I’m headed down the right path.  Running is in maintenance mode right now, it’s the offseason anyway, and I’m going to revel in some cross-training.  Hoping to do a good bit of backcountry ski touring for my wintery weekends, maybe some climbing here and there, some running, and a good bit of strength training.  Invincibility is the goal.  No problem.  With my recent move to Nevada City, it’s got me Western States dreamin’.  The only way I could do it though is if I won free entry (I’m too damn poor otherwise).  So if the winter goes well for me, we’ll see if I can’t be competitive in one of the spring time Montrail ultra series 50 milers.
Here’s what my last couple weeks have looked like, and roughly what I’ll build on and improve through the winter:
Run in the morning, 4mi or so; Gym in the evening, general leg and core strength training
Run in the morning, 4mi or so; Gym in the evening, rowing intervals session and core work
Run in the morning, 6-7mi or so; Gym in the evening, full body strength circuit workout
Run in the morning, 4mi or so; Gym in the evening, general leg and core strength training
Run in the morning, 4 mi or so; Gym in the evening, rowing threshold workout and core work
“Long run” or bicycle ride, 2-2.5hrs (Maybe only every other weekend for a while, and will change to skiing in a few weeks, hopefully)
Run, 1 hour or so (or switched with Saturday)

Anyway, none of this so far is particularly unusual for me.  The big change for me is my “living situation” for about the next year.  Ready for it?  I’m going to live in a tent.  For a year.  No big deal!  I’m staying on a coworker’s property.  We’ve cleared a site and built a deck for the tent over the last couple weekends.  I just finished putting the decking on in drenching rain this morning.  The landowners have been super supportive and nice- they were interested in developing the site for family and friends to come and use anyway, so they’ve supplied all the decking materials and a bunch of other stuff, and are even going to run a water line to the tent site.  I just got my tent in the mail yesterday- it’s a 10x12’ canvas tent I ordered from  I’m going to build a wood frame for it, and best of all, I have a woodstove to put inside the tent.  Toasty warm.  I’m pretty stoked about it in a strange way.  I’ve been staying in another lady’s tent that is a really similar size and setup to what mine will be, so I’ve had a chance to demo it, and it’s pretty damn cozy when that wood stove is going.  I’ll have an outdoor kitchen area, a hammock, some camping chairs, a view of Deer Creek, and a short pathway down to the streambank and a swimming hole.  The gym membership will be my key to showers and maintaining some level of personal hygiene. I'm considering setting up a simple solar panel and battery pack so I can charge an electronic device or two, and maybe even power a light bulb!

The tent life is going to be a great learning experience for me, a lesson in living simply.  A grand experiment.  I'm looking forward to learning more about myself, my wants, my needs, and how much one can do with very little.  

 I’ll keep you updated as my “living situation” develops.  Stay in touch, will ya?  Phone call, text, email, facebook, snailmail, telegram, however you prefer, just do it!

--Sorry these pictures are awful, you can blame my recently-broken ipod

The path from the (dirt) road down to the tent site, still under construction

The site after clearing it of some serious Himalayan Blackberry.  It was use-a-chainsaw serious.

The platform framed, and burning one of the piles of cleared blackberry and brush

The decking going on.  Ran out of batteries that day, but just finished it this morning.  Deer Creek is just down the hill side from the tent platform- you can see a good stretch of it when standing on the deck.

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