Monday, August 6, 2012


A good general daring to march, dares also to halt,
Will never press his triumph beyond his need.
What he must do he does not but for glory,
What he must do he does not but for show,
What he must do he does not but for self;
He does it because it had to be done,
Not from a hot head.
Let life ripen and then fall,
Force is not the way at all:
Deny the way of life and you are dead.

-Lao Tzu, The Way of Life
                                                                                       -TK and Luke Nelson dueling on Friday

I’ve found the true meaning of these words in a matter of three minutes this past Friday. 10 days ago, I was in the ER passing some incredibly painful kidney stones. The experience is equivalent to being stabbed in the back and having the knife slowly turned every twenty minutes (nausea included). If you’re wondering how a 25 year old gets kidney stones, it’s from too much protein, sugar, and sodium and not enough water after a demanding Hardrock on my kidneys. A 2mm stone ripped apart my kidney scaring it for several days, keeping me from running for the first time this year. I would walk around the office and the gentle impact of my walking gait would sting my sensitive kidney. Finally things started to turn around and on Wednesday and I ran for 3 miles with a ¼ mile of fast climbing on a 15% treadmill. My eagerness to be back competing (albeit in a 15 minute competition) was not natural. I was excited to support my sponsor Injinji, and that excitement overlooked the rationale competing in the Uphill Challenge (15 minutes at 15%) a week after passing a kidney stone.

The competition was 3 minutes of running, and 12 minutes of painful cramping and kidney throbbing. Even with walk breaks, getting to 15 minutes was one of the most painful things of my life (1.27 miles). As I watched the seconds tick by slower and slower, I could hear my thoughts clearly. My competitive nature was outpacing my physical state. I thought of the moments I really loved racing: a perfect blend and sync of my competitive spirit and athletic ability. This was not one of them.

I think the most common comment I’ve heard from Olympians is “I’m just going to go out there and have fun, and it should work out.” Though millions of viewers might be rolling their eyes in unison, I believe those words hold a perfect understanding of the demands of the action. Athletic endeavors can have any number of extrinsic reasons behind them, but at the core, the action must be natural.

I am looking forward to a more natural fall, whatever the races I choose (or don’t choose), I’m looking for that feeling when no variable is a limiting factor.

July 30-Aug 5
Monday, Tuesday: 0
Wednesday: 3 miles, 250ft

Thursday: 3 miles, 0ft

Friday: 6 miles gentle trail in Mill Cyn
Uphill challenge: 1.27 miles in 15 minutes at 15%

Saturday: 11 miles, 1000ft, Crystal Cove

Sunday: 9 miles, 3000ft, Ice House Canyon-Easy hike up with Katie, good dynamic fast downhill on the way back. 

Total: 33 miles, 5250 ft.

Slowly starting to get back to feeling like I’m ready to do some normal training again. The forced rest over from Saturday-Tuesday seemed to help reset things mentally. I’m ready for the return to the mountains. 

Toro Y Moi - Rose Quartz