Layers
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Calico 50K, 2016

Calico 50K was the first ultra I ever ran, six years ago. My bib number for that race was 666, which disturbed a lot of folks who urged me to request a new bib or at least wear it upside down. This year, 2016, was the sixth time I've run the…
Trans Canada Highway
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The Old Man's Last Winter

The old man is dying. This is a series of notes I wrote while visiting him in Canada.Return of the Prodigal Son1974. I was touring artist colonies in the French countryside with my Grandpere, a retired French diplomat and hobbyist painter. He…
Salton Sea
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Smell the Barn

The old man isn't getting any better."Experience Vibrant Seniors Living!" says the brochure for Rocky Ridge Retirement Community.It doesn't seem like his experience was all that vibrant.He took a spill 5 weeks ago in his apartment there. The…
Fat Dog 120, British Columbia, Canada

Alas & Alack: The Future Ain't What It Used To Be.

Everyone seems to be complaining about how ultras are at some kind of crossroads and things ain't what they used to because some chick who got suspended for doping seven years ago (and has been off her suspension and eligible to compete for…
Field

Let's Roll, Baby. Cuyamaca 100K Race Report

Green Valley campground, 3 miles from the start. Grilled sausage and beans, my camping meal of choice when I'm bacheloring it.The first time I came through here was 1984 in a Jack Brown Cleaners van that had been converted into the Big Boys…
Me, in the white shorts, 1977

Pain Cave. (Where is it?)

I was fast once. Really fast. Really fast at much shorter distances, like 400 meters.Now I'm 55 years old.I ran my last track race in Brussels. I had a huge blood blister on my inside foot - the foot on the inside of the track, that torques…
Team Tapia, pit stop crew, Cloudburst.
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Angeles Crest 100 - 2015 Race Report

Mile 38. Howie emerged at Cloudburst looking haggard. He was hurting everywhere, especially in his back, which was pulling everything below it up - his glutes and his hamstrings. Howie was in pain. I reminded him that nobody is having fun…
Jemez Mountains

Jemez Mountain 50 Miler Race Report

The air in New Mexico is known for its clarity, and its light. This is a stark change from LA, where the marine layer creates an almost always present haze that traps the smog beneath it. And then there's the smoke from the fires burning in…
Mt. Williamson, peak

The Happy Hill

The Happy Hill.Halfway down Mt. Williamson I passed a little kid hiking up with his family."Is the hill happy or painful?" asked the little kid as I ran by. "Happy!" I told him.Thank you, little kid, for making my day, a day that was already…

Zane Grey 50 Race Report

Payson, Arizona.I'm always surprised by the the beauty of Arizona. What comes to mind when I think of the state are wide, flat, parched expanses of sand with the occasion shrub, saguaro cactus and Vermaland sign - in other words, the long stretch…
Cooking Heroin, Echo Park

18 Years

Once upon a time, I drank a little bit too much liquor and used a little bit too much drugs.1997. I lived in a one room apartment in Hollywood. I'd usually black out before I could get into bed and wake up on the floor, or on the sofa, wondering…
Salton Sea, 2004

Slow the Fuck Down

The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves. - Alan WattsHold on. We're runners, right?…
Rocky Brown Mountain trail
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Mindful running: I run just to run

I haven't written about running in a while because what is there to write about? Pretty much you just run. Somedays I run fast. More days I run slow. Usually I hike up hills. Running down them is a particular thrill, especially if they…
Salton Sea Stop
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Running with Aspergers, Pt 2

A few weeks before Black Canyon 100K, race director Jamil Coury let me know that they'd extended the cut-off to 18 hours, from 16. I was relieved by this. Sixteen hours had proven to be just out of reach on past attempts, and I liked knowing…
Spine

The Living Desert: Black Canyon 100K Race Report

I have a thing about the desert.When I was young, maybe six or seven, being American was my only connection to my dead father. My mother was French, my stepfather Canadian, we lived on the Canadian Prairie, and all I had were a few old photos…