Barcelona Day 2 

We slept in a bit and then I got out for a quick run along the beach. We then purchased a day pass for the hop on hop off bus.  Our first stop was for the Cementiri Est de Poblenou, and then lunch. 
TBC – these are in reverse order but I’ll fix later. 

After lunch we walked along the board walk back to the bus, then jumped on it to the Sagrada Familia – I’ll do that in it’s own blog post!  From there we went to Park Guell, walked up and up and saw some amazing views.  Then we had a bit of an aventure getting to Tibidabo.  The phone said it was a 28 minute walk, which would have been faster than going back to our bus stop to get to the next stop, so we started walking.  We realized it looked to be much further so we jumped in a taxi which took us a long long ways.  There really wasn’t much to do a Tibidabo so we took a bus — a super crowded bus down the mountain.  From there it was a “subway tram” ride down to a normal sub way station, and from there a few trains toget to our bus.  The bus ride in was quite long and we were the only two on the bus, sitting up top in the front from to try to stay warm.  We grabbed some food at a Mediterranean place on La Rumbla, then some dessert, and finally got back to the hotel. 

Beech Mountain Xterra 5k

On the day I started my 46 revolution around the sun, I was talked in to running the Beech Mountain Xterra 5k.  There was also a 15k, which is much more my kind of thing, but timing wise I just couldn’t make it work — we had to get off the mountain and get R1 off to camp.  Plus Lucho suggested a hard 5k would be better for me with where I am in my training right now.

I got quite the birthday present — the young gun that must have gotten 90-120s ahead of me missed a turn, and so while I thought I was running for 2nd place, I came in to the finish and was told I won the race overall!  Hardest 5k I’ve ever run (not that I run many, it’s been over two years since the last); slowest 5k (28:11) I’ve run at least in the last 25 years if not ever…  But I’ll take the win!  (It’s the 1st time I’ve ever won a race outright!)




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The data shows I was in the 5:15 range on the downhill….

The Pursuit of Happiness

This article on came across my reader today:

And a couple of quotes really stood out to me, especially in light of my DNF at Bryce:

At some point, and I forget exactly how his comment came about, he said something along the lines of “isn’t this what it’s all about? The pursuit of happiness…not the race as such, that’s just an excuse to get together…it seems to me that what’s important is the shared experience…for better or for worse this is an incredible moment.”


Ultimately, it is not about the race, how fast or slow we run, it is about the people and the shared experiences, and that togetherness is for me what makes running in the mountains so meaningful.

This holds true for me for Bryce…  I had a great time at Bryce, both the family and friend time before and after, but also the race.  Would I liked to have finished?  Of course, but that wasn’t what was most important about the experience.

AZ & UT Day 9: Zion – Angels Landing

After we packed up the cabin we headed back to Zion. It was still crowded , but we actually got a parking spot in the park this time! We took a shuttle to the Grotto, and hiked up Angels Landing, which has sections with chains to hold on to, and 1000 foot drops on either side. It was a day with near record heat, and we all ran out of water. About a mile out I ran down to get more water and bring it back up, and passed EMTs heading up to help someone out – presumably and hopefully for heat exhaustion. 

After we hiked down, we got some refreshments at the lodge, and took the shuttle back toward the car. We ended the 100F+ day with some time in the Virgin river.  

Photos below:

AT & UT day 4: Bryce

With the start of race tomorrow, we laid low today with a few short walks around Bryce and the scenic drive.  We made it to race check-in in time for Ben to compete in the beverage mile, and I paced him on the last loop.  I could definitely feel the altitude!  Photos of Bryce below.  

AZ & UT Day 3: Zion

Zion is majestic and beautiful and stunning, but today it was also tremendously (over) crowded.  Lots of traffic and parking was full. We had to park outside of the park itself and shuttle in. We still did a couple of easy hikes – Emarald Pools lower, middle, and upper, and the Riverwalk.  Reece, Ben and I also went about 10 minutes up the Narrows.  Photos below:

I hope to get back to do Angels Landing but it may have to be another trip.  

2015 Strava stats

Here are my 2015 Strava stats:


compared to last year:


Though last year’s post says I started using Strava exclusively sometime in July (2014), and while I tried to transfer things over, perhaps somethings were lost.

Looking at 2015 I see some of the same problems I had in 2014 — I need to work heavily on strength, especially leg strength and core strength, to improve my running.

For 2015 in review, I did have solid runs at Uhwarrie 40, Jordan Lake 12 hour (53 miles), 75 miles on the AT, at Hinson (83 miles), and Pinhoti 100.   Jordan was a bit of a struggle with stomach pain and the AT was just hard all around, but overall those were 5 very solid ultra runs for me.

In 2016, beyond strength, I will continue to work on my mountain biking.  I also somehow need to work on mobility — some kind of movement practice like MoveNat or the Mobility WOD or even getting back to some yoga.  Something to reverse some of the “damage” just running and riding cause!

For races, it’s still coming together, but I’m definitely in Uhwarrie 40 in February, Mountains to Sea 50k in April, and Hinson Lake 24 hour in September.  I need to find a long mountain bike race or two, and need to get a WS100 qualifier in so I can keep increasing my tickets in the lottery, I’m just not sure which races I’ll choose yet.  It should all be finalized in the next week or two.


Pinhoti gear and fuel

I realize I left out food and gear from my race report, so here’s that info:


  • Altra Superior 2.0 and injinji toe socks for 69 miles, Hoka Stinson Evo and Balega socks for 31 miles.  I lost one of the Hoka’s at the race finish, but those have been around for 2.5 years so it was time anyway.
  • Tobacco Road Marathon calf sleeves, started with them more for warmth than the supposed compression benefits, kept them for protection from the trail which was overgrown in some places.  Also started with arm warmers due to the start temps, quickly took them off.
  • Nike combat pro compression with a Prana Mojo short the entire race.  I use these shorts for everything — running, hiking, biking, swimming — the later was quite appropriate for the weather!
  • Ice breaker sleeveless top until mile 69, then icebreaker 200 weight half zip top the rest of the way.  Ultimate direction rain shell for most of the race — amazing light weight and kept the water off.
  • Florida coast to coast buff — something that’s been with me for every major race for 12-13 years.  Under Armor fleece hat,  plain black wool buff.  A couple kinds of gloves.
  • UD AK vest for the 1st 55 miles, UD PB for the last 45.  Just used two handhelds the entire way.
  • Petzl tikka rxp and a fenix PD32 UE (that I never used).
  • Carried duct tape, vasoline, and the like.


  • Vfuels were again a constant, I can always get those down.
  • I had one pack of UCANN to start, and had more in my drop bags, but never felt like that is quite what I wanted/needed.  The non plain versions come across as VERY sweet.
  • I also carried these amazing “chewy balls” which are peanut butter, oats, dark chocolate, honey, etc.  But for some reason, after the 1st 5 or 6, I did not care for any more the rest of the way.
  • Epic bars — both Bison and Bacon — these are always good.  🙂
  • MAPS (BCAAs) — tried to shoot for 5 every hour.
  • Endurolytes – with the humidity during the day I thought a few of these would be worthwhile.
  • Vitamin I — really trying to get away from this completely but I’m not quite there yet.  I think 400mg every 5 – 6 hours.
  • I had a Bonk Breaker or two for the 1st time, and they were pretty good.
  • From the aid stations:  bacon, egg, cheese, quesadillas; tomato soup; broth with rice; ramen with noodles.  The warm broths were very welcome all night in the cold weather!