Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 In Pictures - Part 2

Part 2 in a 2 part series. To read part 1 GO HERE.

Another year another presi-traverse in New Hampshire's White Mountains. Nothing beats the rock hopping up high and anyone who things Massanutten is the only place with rocks can still... think again.
It was hot as hell at the Vermont 100 and we survived, barely. Fourth year in a row running in the VT100 and my fourth finish. First time we didn't break 24 hours but we still earned every step.

Headed to Leadville Colorado for my third 100 in three months. I made it up and over Hope Pass, twice, before timing out at Twin Lakes II. I'll be back!

Helped a newcomer reach the finish line at the Vermont 50 on the most perfect day in race history.
Picked up an old passion of mine and casted a line a few times even managing to catch a few keepers.

The Run Across NH was held on trails this year. After 25 hours and 100K, the team just couldn't stand getting lost anymore. So we called it a day... but a heck of a day it was to get people moving in New Hampshire.
Made it to some lesser travelled places to take in the fall foliage of NH one last time.

At some point you just gotta relax. I spent November at home, finishing up the fall semester of Senior year and curling up next to our kitty Buttercup.

While I don't have a picture for December I can't say that life is without adventure. Trying to get back into running again, losing weight and trying to relax. The end of the semester has been crazy, and looking ahead to 2011 is even crazier. While I won't be racing as much... the types and amounts of adventure I look forward to having are both countless and different. Yet I am sitting here looking at these pictures thinking back to all the adventures we were capable of in 2010 and I am nothing less then grateful. It's been one hell of a year. From sea level to 14,000 feet. To all 4 corners of America. From the mundane to the extreme. I feel like I've accomplished a lot and have once again spent a year living the dream. Human Potential is about being ALIVE and a life has been well lived in 2010.

Hopefully in the next few weeks I can continue to provide the blog-world with some exciting news about my future (ie. Career) and welcoming back sponsors for 2011. So until then, Happy Holidays to you and yours and a very Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2010 In Pictures - Part 1

My annual year in review, in pictures. 2010 has been nothing short of an amazing adventure. As I look back on it, I am humbled by the kinds of things I've been fortunate to experience. Here's a stroll down the year that was, 2010.

How do you forget "the streak" I managed to string together in January which was completed with the naked mile on the 31st of the month. Could 2011 see a repeat of the feat?
Then there was the Hammy Slammy in Hillabammy 50K run. Just a typical Sherpa John fat ass training run amongst friends. I even managed to lose a glove to the snow gods... we won't get into why.

We spent 24 hours on the streets of Boston, MA investigating social justice and how experiential education theory works. Found a place to sleep in Harvard and discovered the sadness that is homelessness in America.
Then I had a little winter camping out in Barrington in preparation for our upcoming trip in the whites. The dance party was the best part and we had an absolute blast!

No Power? No Problem! We ran 50K around my town of Epping while jumping over downed power lines, under hanging limbs and then through blinding snow squalls. Epic!
Then it was the backpacking trip to Greely Ponds off the Kancamagus of NH. On a weekend of 50 degree temps, we camped on top of 10 feet of snow, created an amazing snow kitchen, did some x-country skiing and dragged 3 pounds of beef stew into the wilderness. Good times!
The month was completed by heading to Tennessee where I completed a long time dream of running in and finishing one loop at the Barkley Marathons. I survived the loop but not without paying my penance to the ultra/Barkley gods.

Three of us ran the Cross Rivendell Trail from Vermont into NH. The 54 Mile run was the first time anyone had run the trail from end to end.

If Andy Weinberg is involved, chances are its going to rain. After 60 miles of downpours and the onslaught of Snow, I dropped out of the McNaughton in VT 100 Miler focusing my sights more on the upcoming Grand Slam.
We finished May off with an 8 day backpacking trip around the Eastern Half of the Pemi-Loop in NH's White Mountains. Along the way the class was able to assist Randy Pierce and his trusty guide dog Quinn along the way. One of the toughest yet more rewarding experiences of my life.

I set a personal best on the Pittsfield Peaks 50 Mile course coming in 8th place. One of the best performances of my running career and exceptionally meaningful.
Then after 4 years.. I finally had my chance to run Western States where I finished, got my buckle, then spent a week in Vegas and the Grand Canyon celebrating life.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Goodbye Friend

Tonight I read some very sad news about the passing of my dear friend Alyssa Skye.

Some of you may know that in November 2008, I checked myself into a psychiatric ICU to do battle one on one with severe depression. And so began a very turbulent time in my life which included... and still includes.. a very tough daily struggle to climb out of the ditch. But I fondly remember the time I met Alyssa Skye out in San Francisco.. in March of 2009.

Alyssa and I had started playing e-mail tag with each other through e-mails and facebook. We started having conversations off list from the ultra-list during the time of my personal incarceration. I remember those months talking to her being very soothing and helpful. She seemed to understand me and what i was going through. She listened with an open heart and an open mind and then one day she said.. "You need a vacation.."

Without blinking an eye, I got an e-mail from Alyssa that she had bought me a plane ticket to visit her in San Francisco during my spring break. So, that March I hopped on airplane and flew to San Francisco, alone, to see my new friend. She picked me up in the airport and brought me to Pier 39 where we had lunch and some Fat Tires. Then it was up to me where to go. We ran back and forth over the Golden Gate Bridge then ran in Muir Woods where we ran underneath the giant Red Woods, along the Dipsea all the way to Stinson Beach where I soaked my legs in the Pacific Ocean for the first time.. and just stared out at the water.

She even paid for a hotel room.. and every meal we ate, every beer we drank. We talked for hours about running and hiking and rock climbing. The next day we went to the the Marin Headlands, checking out the Miwok 100 Course and the Beach down at Tennessee Valley. Down there I watched in awe as Alyssa free climbed on the rocks that the waves crashed upon. The next day we made it out towards Point Reyes and ran on the trails up there. We made it all the way out to that famous light house where we looked for whales.

Four days of my life... during my darkest days... a complete stranger who never batted an eye at flying me to California all expenses paid to simply LIVE. I will always remember this trip as a life changing experience, as a trip that put some sunshine on my darker days and when someone... or something.. greater showed me that people do love in this world. Even strangers.
It had been a few months since I had heard from Alyssa. I talked with her last week. As always we talked about her children and how much she loved them. How much she grew to hate SAR yet enjoyed the work she did in looking for those in trouble. But I'll always remember my friend Alyssa... telling me that once I moved to Boulder she was coming over to teach me to climb lead on those Flat Irons out there... we were both so excited..

I leave you with this.. While out at Point Reyes.. we made our way to Arch Rock and headed down to the seashore where we walked along the sandy shore searching for creatures and shells. I'll never forget the huge starfish and sea anenomes. I found a huge chunk of quartz down there.. that was too big to take home on the plane. Little did I know but my friend had picked it up and hid it in her bag... I got it in the mail a week after returning home with a book titled, "Everybody Needs a Rock."   I guess I'll read before bed tonight...

Good Night Alyssa... I'll miss you friend. Keep bringing me that sunshine.