Friday, September 4, 2015

Terrariums and Fossils

It is difficult to pinpoint when my love of the mountains and being outdoors began but I was reminded of one time in particular on a recent run with my friend Christie.  As with many long runs in the mountains conversation end up all over the place at some point she was talking about a terrarium which brought me back to when I was a kid.

For those of you not lucky enough to be an 80's kid they were essentially a glass box that you put plants, dirt and rocks in.  We had two hexagon versions (similar to the picture) that were at both ends of the couch in the front room and were used like side tables with a lamp on them.  Each week one of the chores in the house was to dust them and carefully remove the top for watering.  I don't recall when they were finally removed but in the bottom of one of them was a very special piece of shale.

In the summer of 1982 our family went to Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada.  We were there for the annual Anderson family reunion.  While we were there we had fun camping and exploring Lehman Caves.  One day during our stay my mom decided she had had enough of staying in camp and watching kids.  She told my dad she was going out for a hike and on her way out I asked if I could come.  I don't recall the exact conversation but as a parent of 4 children myself I imagine it went something like this....

I am not sure you understand what 'Mom' time is, Ryan.  It is where Mom's leave and spend time alone to relax and get away from kids.  

I was relentless and wanted to go though.  She ended up telling me I could come but she wasn't going to put up with any complaining or whining.  Check, let's go!

I don't recall what we talked about or what the trail was really like but I do remember how much fun I had spending time with my mom.  Since it was just the two of us it made me feel special that I got to go and I wasn't going to ruin it by being a whiner.  I was 8 and don't recall that I was a big whiner anyway but she would the definitive source on facts like that.  While we were out we found this piece of shale that had a small plant fossilized in it.  It was quite a find and we had fun showing it to everyone when we got back.  This piece of shale was placed in the terrarium in our house when we returned it was a weekly reminder for me of the fun time we had for years.

Me and Dad
During our trip, there was a group of us that climbed Wheeler Peak which is near the campground where we stayed.  There were two kids that made it to the top that day.  I was 8 and my cousin Pam was 9.  It was a gorgeous hike and the view from the top was amazing.  It was the end of July and there was still snow all around.  While I was looking up information on Great Basin National Park and Wheeler Peak I realized that it is the highest point in the surrounding 180,000 square miles at 13,063 feet. Not bad for an 8 year old!

When I topped out at 11,000 feet at Speedgoat in 2012 I thought that was the highest I had ever been in the mountains.  Going into the race I wasn't sure how my body would react.  I felt great afterwards and came to the conclusion that some people are ok with high altitude and some aren't for whatever reason.  I have lived in Boise most of my life at about 2,700 feet so 13,000 was a big jump that day.

Top of the world that day

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Pocatello 2 - Ryan 0 Chasing the Cutoffs at the Scout Mtn Ultra Trail 100k

Sunrise on the first climb up Corral Creek
Fun times in the mountains outside of Pocatello, Idaho on Saturday.  I had been sick all week and wasn't sure what to expect.  I thought I was doing a good job of pacing and keeping my effort level under control in the first third while I cruised along with my friend Lyndon who was doing his very first ultra.  When I got to the mile 26 aid station I figured I was about middle of the pack.  I sat down to organize my pack and heard one of the volunteers say there were only 8 more runners after me.

Ridge running before dropping into Gibson Jack
My comfortable pace had me nearly at the end and then to make matters worse on the next big climb I just had zero gas. I was fueling and hydrating fine but the effects of getting over a cold left me feeling really blah.  I didn't put it together at the time but I had also kicked a few rocks and roots on the way down to the City Creek aid station that must have pulled a muscle in my stomach when I tried to keep myself from hitting the ground.  Whatever happened, the result was pain in my abdomen that made downhill running almost non-existent.  

The Wall, The Gut, or The Barkley section in City Creek
I essentially walked all of the easy sweet downhill from Kinport Peak to the Midnight Creek aid station and from there to the West Fork aid station. I was really frustrated because this is where you need to be making good time.  People were passing me so I knew I was getting closer and closer to last place with 25+ miles to go that includes a 10 mile uphill stretch.  I resigned myself to the fact that I would surely get cut at the West Fork aid station since I was moving so slow and because I didn't have a headlamp at the right aid station.  The races rules said anyone leaving Scout Mountain aid station (mile 46) after 5pm had to have a headlamp.  Before the race I put my headlamp in my Big Fir aid station (mile 56) drop bag.  Miraculously I got to West Fork aid station (mile 41) at 4:50 just ten minutes before the cutoff.

At West Fork I asked the volunteers if I was in last place and they said I wasn't which was a relief because for the past hour I was sure they were all waiting for me and I had been planning to drop out of the race.  With 10 minutes to spare they were all pumped to get me refueled and back out on the trail which was kind of perplexing since I hadn't planned to continue.  Once I made up my mind to continue the aid station captain told me I had to stay for a few minutes.  I stood up and put my pack on and asked why?  She said I was not making sense and stumbling on my words (totally true).  I explained the reason I wasn't making sense is because I was originally going to quit and then was trying to shift gears and wrap my head around continuing!

Several miles before West Fork aid station
I asked anyone if they had a headlamp I could borrow and no one did so I was just going to go to the next aid station and ask them.  If they did...I would continue.  If not...I would be done.  It was my fault and I didn’t have time to stand there complaining.  I just didn't want to give up on myself if there was still a chance.  Just then Luke Nelson, the RD, came up and asked how I was feeling.  I said I was doing OK and needed a headlamp.  He asked the same group of people for a headlamp and someone gave him one which was funny.  I was already on the trail so he said he would go back and get it and run it up to me.  It was also funny to see him riding a single speed beach cruiser looking bike up the trail to meet me.

The six miles before West Fork I struggled to maintain an average of 24 minute miles that had an average downhill of 220 feet per mile and I knew that wouldn't cut it so I tried running uphill when I left the aid station.  There was less jarring on my stomach and I ended up running about half of the
10 mile uphill.  In the 5 miles to the Scout Mountain aid station and I cut my mile pace from 24 to 17 and went from 220 feet per mile of descent to 360 feet per mile of gain.  It made no sense but I was determined to do what I could to make sure I made it to the end.
Once I popped out of the trees and onto the exposed road up to the top of Scout Mountain I had cell coverage.  Michelle and I exchanged a number of text messages and she cheered me on which was much appreciated.  I ended up doing about 40 miles of the race solo so it was nice to have a little ‘company’ while I hiked.  (Power hiking through rocks and texting is not advised)  I had to put the phone away once I crested the top though because the downhill off of Scout Mountain is insanely steep for a short bit but then turns into the nicest switchback trail leading into Big Fir aid station.  I wasn’t lighting the trail on fire with my downhill speed but was surprised and happy with being able to uphold a respectable pace while dodging the many ankle biter rocks that seemed to always be rolling under my feet. 

Looking south from the backside of Scout Mountain
Surprisingly, I was making good enough time that I didn’t need the borrowed headlamp until right before Big Fir.  It was a PrincetonTec (POS model I believe) and it was almost bright enough to see my hand 3 feet in front of my forehead.  I was grateful that a total stranger loaned it to me and thankful the sunset gave me just enough help that I didn’t need it.  As I was rolling into the final aid station I was pretty sure I was in last place now since I left West Fork with two minutes to spare and no other runners came in while I was there.  The volunteers confirmed that I was.  They still had hot perogies and baby potatoes sautéed in butter which was amazing.  I finished them off with one of Karl Meltzer’s Red Bulls and headed out.  As I was leaving I asked Karl if this kind of performance would get me through Speedgoat 50k in a month and he assured me that I would be fine.  Sometimes it just isn’t your day.

I had two hours and thirty minutes to run just over 6 miles so barring a complete meltdown I thought I should be able to get it done.  The finish line had a midnight cutoff so I couldn't just slog in.  The sweepers were planning on leaving right behind me to clear course markings so my goal was to stay ahead of them as long as I could and once they caught me to enjoy some much appreciated company.   I don’t know how soon they left after I did but I managed to stay ahead for a few miles.  We hiked the trail up the Nordic center together chatting away which helped pass the time and quickly reached the final descent toward the finish line.  After a short single track and dirt road section we reached the highway for the final quarter mile of pavement and cruised into the finish at a fairly decent pace.  I had about 30 minutes to spare on the final cutoff I think.  I am not exactly certain of my finish time.  Luke was there to greet me as I crossed which was nice.  He presented me my finisher award and the caboose (or DFL) prize which was a cool Patagonia Houdini jacket.

Gorgeous bookend to the wonderful day
My first ultra was the Pocatello 50+ miler in 2011 and I had my worst day ever.  I have had lots of great races since then thanks to the many lessons I learned that day.  This day was worse…but I just couldn’t quit on myself.   I love setting and achieving hard race goals but the feeling at the finish is so much sweeter when I have had to overcome some sort of obstacle and push myself to the end. 

Big thanks to Luke Nelson and his crew for putting on an amazing and tough race that will not disappoint.  The trail marking was perfect even for slow guys in the dark!  All of the aid station volunteers were wonderful and helped push me on when I didn’t know if I wanted to continue.  I’ll be back and hopefully won’t have any more lessons to learn next time.

Friday, April 10, 2015

How To Get There From Here...

How To Get There From Here...The Ten Lessons That Have Served Me Well

By Coleman H. Peterson

The previous exerpt is from page 12.  I found the abstract online and need to get a copy of it to read the whole thing but I love the message.  It follows the the sentiment of my blog title.  When people have asked me what was that ONE THING that finally clicked that made me successful I often say, when you want to change more than you want to stay the same you can do anything.
I wanted to change my ways for years...but not enough to do anything about it.  I think everyone has been in this situation before.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

21 Golden Rules

Some neat things to remember:

1. No one can ruin your day without YOUR permission.
2. Most people will be about as happy, as they decide to be.
3. Others can stop you temporarily, but only you can do it permanently.
4. Whatever you are willing to put up with is exactly what you will have.
5. Success stops when you do.
6. When your ship comes in.... make sure you are willing to unload it.
7. You will never "have it all together."
8. Life is a journey...not a destination. Enjoy the trip!
9. The biggest lie on the planet: "When I get what I want I will be happy."
10. The best way to escape your problem is to solve it.
11. I've learned that ultimately, 'takers' lose and 'givers' win.
12. Life's precious moments don't have value, unless they are shared.
13. If you don't start, it's certain you won't arrive.
14. We often fear the thing we want the most.
15. He or she who laughs......lasts.
16. Yesterday was the deadline for all complaints.
17. Look for opportunities...not guarantees.
18. Life is what's coming....not what was.
19. Success is getting up one more time.
20. Now is the most interesting time of all.
21. When things go wrong.....don't go with them.

~Author Unknown~

Make it a great day! Ryan

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Wasatch Lottery Run

I threw my name in the hat again for the Wasatch Front 100 lottery.  I did Wasatch in 2012 and have learned A LOT since then.  My hopes were that if I was able to get in I could correct all the things that went bad for me that day.  I was still a relative newbie when I ran it last.  It was my third hundred miler and maybe 10th ultra but I had only been doing ultras for 15 months.

Whenever I put my name in lottery drawings I go for a long run the day of the lottery.  It's fun to find out if you made it but why waste a whole morning when you could be out running.  The Western States and Hardrock lottery always falls on the Ryan Anderson Invitational Marathon so that it easy.  I didn't put in for States this year but I did for Hardrock.  Not surprisingly, my 0.whatever percent chance didn't land me a spot so I'll keep trying.

There were 4 of us from Boise who put in for the Wasatch lottery Heather Culig, Cory Harelson, Derek Call and me.  Heather, Cory, and I met up for a run Saturday morning with no real agenda other than 20+ miles and as much trail as possible.  The forecast was saying more than a half an inch of rain was supposed to fall Friday night so we didn't have high hopes that we would see much trail.  As it turned out the rain missed us and we got to do a majority of the distance on the trails.

Cory got this great shot.  The clouds look ominous but it didn't last long.
We ran into Dave and several other friends in Rocky Canyon and headed up Three Bears to Watchman.  The sunrise was amazing and well worth the early start.  The temps were in the 50s at the start so I just wore short and a short sleeve shirt which is insane for Idaho in February.

Heather went up 5 Mile with Dave and Cory and I went down Orchard.  Once we hit Rocky Canyon Cory and I decided it would be best to go up the Ridge Road and come down 5 Mile.  The lottery started about the time we hit Aldape Summit and I quickly got a text from my friend Scott in Utah who was keeping his ears open for all the Idaho guys.  Just after that Heather calls and told me I was in and she was too!  She was the 2nd name drawn, crazy.  We motored along Ridge Road and down 5 Mile and got another text that Derek was in.

Guess who's going to Wasatch? This guy!
It was fun getting the play by play while out pounding out some hills.  When we hit the bottom of 5 Mile I was running and texting (not advised...even on flat ground)...and got another one from Heather that said something about Cory.  I yelled at him to check his phone and the message was, Cory has a 59% chance at this point.  Ugh, we were hoping it was to say he was in.  We went all the way down 5 Mile and Rocky Canyon all the way to our cars with no more texts.  I figured the lottery must be over by then so I asked Cory if he didn't get in if he would like to come and pace me.  He said yes, but I could tell he was a bit bummed.

We parted ways and just a few minutes later on the drive home Heather sends another one saying Cory was the 4th from the last name drawn! Woohoo.  I replied and said dammit there goes my pacer, sarcastically.  He said, you wouldn't believe how stoked I am right now!  I said I could believe because he was stoked just to hear we all made it.

It was a fun day out running and winning the lottery!


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dailymile 2014 Year End Report

Another year gone and lots of miles in the bank.  My spring training for the Buffalo Run 100 in March and Western States 100 in June took a lot out of me.  After States I felt generally awful, lost motivation, and somehow was able to keep running some decent miles the rest of the year.  I had my first DNF at IMTUF in September which was disappointing but had no regrets.  I ran my 4th Foothills Frenzy in October and had my slowest time.  I knew I would, the way I was feeling, so I dressed up all goofy and just had a good time.  In November I went to Javelina to support Michelle and got in some good miles with her and several friends who were there.

I am feeling good and ready to take on the new year.  This year's plan is to get fast this spring and then add some big mountains so I can kick ass at Speedgoat 50k again and Wasatch 100 (like I didn't last time)!

Last Year's Report
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