Friday, February 12, 2016

Chaos within the structure

I've been doing a lot of structured writing the last little while. I've been paying attention to quotes and making sure that they are right. Even though it hasn't been too much of a problem deadlines and due dates are loom in the future.
     Sometimes it's good to just put things on paper, or in this case,  on a computer screen that could turn into thousands of computer screens by the time it's finished with its journey.
     There are a lot of things on the internet. I just to ok a refresher course on how to shoot in manual on a dslr. My test subject was ever so patient as I took multiple shots of her doing her homework in the library. She has been using internet tutorials to figure out a program that she needs to use for homework in one of her classes.
     Outside apparently the smog is pretty bad, or at least that's what I'm seeing on Facebook. Some of the runners around here have been getting above it and I think I might follow suit in the morning. The snow outside hasn't melted completely away, but there is less of it than there has been in the past. Springtime is coming and with it clear trails and beautiful scenery.
     I have thought about my running this summer and I'm not sure what to go for. I could train and hit the next popular distance in ultra running or I could do another 50K and see how fast I can do it. I ran the other day and my lower leg hurt. I was reminded of how last summer lower leg pain was a shadow that lurked with me wherever I went. It was only when I slowed down before my race that I understood what it felt like to have my legs basically pain free.
     There are quite a few I's in this post.
     Today I got a text from my sister. We talked for a while and then she asked me if I had seen her Instagram post. I hadn't but I looked it up. It was a picture of a handicap symbol in a parking lot. Apparently my niece told my nephew that that was the spot where he could pee. You can't really blame her it looks like someone sitting on the pot to me!
     I talked with Don Haney the other day. This summer he spent 8 days hiking across the Uintas on the Highline trail. He started out with an 82 pound pack. He only weighs about 170 pounds himself. His trajectory kept him mostly above 10,000 feet and he hiked through rain and even snow. Wait a second ... I'm writing my assignment. Maybe I should just do it.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Step by Step, Mile by Mile, Risk by Risk, We Learn

            Step by step, mile-by-mile, trail after trail, a runner subjected his shoes to miles of use. Many times he ran alone. The tread on the front of his shoes was worn almost smooth in places. The cloth uppers were torn. He got used to the lack of traction and compensated for it by using the tread on his heels that was almost fully in tact. When running down a slippery slope the runner back on their heels is sometimes too far-gone. Their feet are just that much closer to sliding out, leaving them on the ground.
            Our runner finally got new shoes. The well-made tread gave him traction as he navigated a technical downhill path, but he still found that his habit of using his heels, forged during miles of running in worn out shoes, manifested itself.
According to Albert Einstein insanity is, “doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” We sometimes wear ourselves out doing good things. Our body, mind and spirit tire from repeated use. It might seem like we no longer have traction to move forward and we start to fall back on old habits. Habits that might even feel like the most secure footing we have at the time. Since we are not getting the results that we want, we just do whatever seems to be the most comfortable. Just like some people’s reaction to frightening downhill running might be to lean back and use their heels. Can’t break an old habit? Struggling with your goals? Not getting the results you want from the gym? Forget it for today. Say you’ll do it tomorrow. It’s not that hard to relapse into old habits.
We sometimes get the opportunity to, “buy a new pair of shoes.” A new semester comes. A new job opportunity gives us a change of pace. A friend decides to do something we have been thinking about doing for a while and wants us to join them. We jump on the opportunity and are bent on achieving our goals, but then it happens. We trip on that first rock. We slide on that first patch of gravel and we find ourselves right back on our heels.
We don’t need another pair of new shoes. The pair we have are working just fine. After all, we just got them. Finding motivation in such circumstances can be difficult sometimes. We feel like we have slid so many times that we couldn’t possibly gain the confidence to do what we need to do. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” Judith E. Pearson stated, “The way to recover from a mistake is to observe it dispassionately, take whatever corrective action is appropriate, regain your composure, focus on what to say next, and get on with it.”
So how do we regain confidence after developing a bad habit? We start taking calculated risks. Dr. Susan Jeffers wrote, “The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.” A runner’s brain calculates the sound of their feet against the ground to assess the extent of their slippage as they fly through the mountains. It calculates the steepness of the hills and the horizontal angle of the trails in front of them. It carefully measures the rocks in their path and chooses whether to go around, jump over, step on, behind or beyond them. It assesses their breathing and muscular fatigue. It sends signals to their body to compensate for different types of footing, whether it be muddy, rocky or smooth. Then their feet come down with a vengeance and they have to live with every decision. Stephanie Freeman wrote, “Each success will increase your self-esteem and help you become the individual you need to be to grow.” Every time a runner’s foot comes down and they don’t fall on their face their confidence level rises. Every time we find success in taking a calculated risk our confidence grows.

What are you going to do next time you get a new pair of shoes? Are you going to stride out and take risks, or are you going to lean back and stay on your heels?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Running with a Mountain Biker

Ripping past bushes, navigating rocks and making turns I chased my rabbit. It isn't often that I have a pacer, but today I was lucky enough to have a patient mountain biker for a running buddy. When and if you do run trails with someone on a mountain bike, take them to the nastiest, steepest, rockiest trail you can find and you might be able to keep them in sight.

I took my running clothes to work so I wouldn't have to come back to my apartment before going to the mountains. After changing I went to Mount Timpanogos Park. Right around the time I arrived a mountain biker also stopped in the parking lot. After talking for a while he said something like, "Be nice when you pass me on the way up." Then I wanted to see how I could do against him.

After a trip to the bathroom we started up. He left me behind on the gravel road and waited for me on the trail. We paused there and continued until we met another cyclist. After a good pause we started again and I got separated from the cyclist but continued up the hill. It took him a while to catch back up, but soon enough he passed me and waited for me again. I think we took separate trails but we started up the mountain on the same trail again. After a downhill he was quite a ways ahead and he waited for me again.

He told me the trail we were about to climb was difficult for him. I followed him up this trail and passed him when he seemed to lose traction. I stayed ahead up to the rock altar where I waited for him! I asked him which trail he would use to go down and he told me that he was going to continue to climb and then take another trail called "Taj Mahal." I followed him more closely this time as he made his way through the more difficult terrain. The trail was steep and rocky in places. We turned off onto another trail and weaved our way through some fairly technical sections and I stayed pretty close. I haven't run that hard in a long time. We came down through sharp turns and rocks, then climb in sections. At one point my sunglasses were pulled from my head. I found them and continued on. I could hear his back tire skidding as he slowed down. We eventually came to a road that was steep enough to go fast and not as technical as a general rule. He waited for me again on a fairly flat gravel road. We talked for a while and I found out his name before he took off.

Tyler Mullins, you are a dang good rabbit!

Monday, August 3, 2015


If you ever want to see heaven I suggest walking up Mount Timpanogos in the day time up the Aspen Grove Side. It's beautiful. It's popular to climb "Timp" at night, in order to see the sunrise, but I have explained to people that they ought to do it in the day. There is a point where you can see up into a cirque or bowl that has layers of green separated by rocks. If it is the right time of year there is water cascading down.

If you climb Timp at night you won't really see that view on your way up. You might catch a glimpse of it as you make your way down, but if you are like most people you will be looking at the trail, trying not to trip on rocks and feeling the fatigue that befalls those who climb mountains.

Another tip would be to climb during the spring. Sometimes the snow can be a pain, but the mountain is so green. When I climbed it for the first time we saw a girl hiking along the trail. In front of her, two mountain goats walked along as if they were her pets. It's not uncommon to see these animals on the mountain. There are quite a number of them.

Mountain goats are humbling creatures. They live in the mountains and must wonder, what in the world we are doing up there. We aren't normally scavenging for food or getting away from predators, unless you call sedentary life a predator.... What would draw us up so high? Most of us are pretty inept as compared to them. As good as we get at navigating the terrain, most of us won't come close to what they can do. Of course we can rock climb and use our hands to scale things they wouldn't dare, but if most anyone tried to keep up with them in their element, they would leave them in the dust. The only hope some might have would be to out-distance them and even then it might take a while.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Trail running is more.

     I had a really different experience today. I was running down through the rocks, navigating treacherous terrain yet I was at peace.
Trail running is more.
Being a trail runner is getting wet as you brush against rain soaked vegitation
It's stepping carefully while you climb a muddy slope
It's looking out over a valley and talking with your best buddy
It's trying to figure out just how much and what kind of food to take in
It's that hole you just put in your new shoe
It's the guy with the crazy laugh that you found in the middle of nowhere
It's getting to know your body
It's dancing through rocks with no pointe shoes
It's having the agility of a half-back and the stamina of two
It's pounding your feet with a sledge-hammer
It's experiencing the most majestic mountains but still appreciating a flower
It's exploring the limits of your mind and body
It's having your guts roll
It's breathing in and out
It's feeling fatigue try to crush your will
It's leaning in to a corner.....and coming out

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

...or I could just stay on the trail.

     Last week I pushed my mind farther than I had in a while. I ran up Grove Creek and kept going toward the Timpanooke Road. I knew that I was about half a mile from the road when my phone GPS let me know I had gone three miles. The last part of the trail up to the road was steep and rocky. I didn't do the best job of staying motivated. I made my way up and all of the sudden I was right by the road.
     I think sometimes we don't understand how close we are to things getting better. We know that the road is up there and even kind of where it is, but we don't understand how close it is. It could have been a mistake, but I think I even saw what I thought was a road, higher than where I actually hit it. Elder Holland said in General Conference of October 1999 “'Don’t give up, boy. Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it—30 years of it now, and still counting. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.'"
     On the same trip, coming down, I had a scary moment on a single track trail on the side of a canyon. I came close enough to falling off that it made me think about what I would do if I fell. I thought about calling for help. I thought that people near me and what someone would do. Then I thought, "...or I could just stay on the trail." I think a lot of the time if we can avoid heartache we should. If we can avoid hurting ourselves we might as well.
     I think I was in church the other day when it came up that we do not fail unless we quit trying. It's probably attributed to someone, but it's a pretty well known idea. I've thought, if you don't get up because you are tired of falling down, then you're still on the ground. Though maybe not the most original thought. It's pretty good imagery.
     Live life and make the best of it. You might not understand how closer you are to things getting better. Stay on the trail, it's not worth falling off if you don't have to. Don't stay on the ground. My grandma  used to say, "You can't do nothin' when you're sittin' on your 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

04/22/15 #whoneedsroads

It's past midnight, but I might as well post about "yesterday's" run. I "had" to take my new shoes for a spin, so my roommate and I took off up rock canyon. It was a blast. My left achilles has been giving me trouble for the last while and I've been "resting" it. Trail running seemed to be alright on it and I felt much less pain at least for the majority of the time. I got a new bag today as well. It's pretty small and I think I almost have it adjusted. #whoneedsroads