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Skiing Into the Night

This past Friday night my friend Marco Vienna and I started running up Mt. Crested Butte on skis at midnight in a bid over Star Pass to end up in Aspen. This route is 37 miles, part of a Ski Mountaineering race called The Grand Traverse. We estimated the trip would take us 12 hours. Our friend (and support team) Danni Perri took this photo before the start of the race. Thank you so much for the support Danni!

For the first 5 hours of the race, we were doing great. We made it over Death Pass with plenty of time to spare and were actively passing other participants. We were heading up a high elevation valley called the Brush Creek Drainage. It was about 5 degrees out and I felt warm because we had been moving non-stop. Around this time we stopped for a few minutes to eat and drink water. And I got cold. It's not clear exactly what happened but my best guess is that I contracted mild hypothermia in my lungs which from then on made it extremely difficult to breathe.

We continued for the next two hours towards the next checkpoint, but my pace was much slower. Around six and a half hours in, I could only move a dozen meters before being forced to stop and catch my breath. This was a demoralizing rhythm, but we continued up the mountain. We made it to the Friends Hut checkpoint about 10 minutes before the cutoff. This checkpoint is right before a difficult climb over Star Pass, followed by the most difficult descent of the route.

While the rules of the race would have let us continue, at this point, I was pretty worried about how difficult it was for me to breathe. And there was no way I would have felt safe taking myself and friend up the pass. If my condition worsened at all, it would have put us both in an unacceptable amount of danger. If I couldn't get down under my own power, it would have been bad.

It was disappointing not to finish. But I am so happy we were able to get out there and try something truly difficult for our ability. Right as we decided not to continue, the sun finally rose after 7 hours of skiing in the dark, and we were rewarded with this view. It was the best silver lining.

Last fall I dragged Marco to Aspen for the Mountain Bike version of the Grand Traverse and this Spring he dragged me to Crested Butte for the ski version. Continuing the tradition we will be running this route in the fall :)

Just for fun, this is a couple of photos of us near the top of the route in the summer on bikes.

Boulder Skyline Traverse

Running for the last 5 years I've had a straightforward goal. Complete a marathon. It started as a dream and slowly with effort turned into a reasonable goal. Then last October, I did it. With my friend Sean Hamborski, I ran the Detroit Marathon. Sean and I have a long-running history together. We ran our first 5k, half and finally full marathon together. I couldn't have asked for a better running partner. And the goal of running a marathon was a great forcing function to get us out running.

I've been thinking this year that I need something new to keep motivating me. But what? In the short term, I have absolutely no intention of becoming an ultra runner. I like my knees too much. Eventually, I'd like to run a marathon on every continent. But I'm in no hurry. That will be a lifelong challenge and I won't do another marathon this year. My next one will be in Antarctica in 2020 and I'm putting together a team. Email me if you are interested in joining: antarctica@davidkircos.com

Here's my new goal for this year: run the Boulder Skyline Traverse. 19 miles, 6k foot vertical gain. Sanitas Mountain, Flagstaff Mountain, Green Mountain, Bear Peak, South Boulder Peak. All 5 of the peaks on the Boulder front range. I haven't established exactly what a success condition for this run will be. There are some very steep parts of the trail. It's not safe to run 100% of it, so maybe I'll set a time goal. I have to attempt the route first to calibrate exactly what that time will be.

I am really stoked about this challenge. Happy running in 2018!

Fun: Ok Go

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MejbOFk7H6c

I love how the car hits pianos each tuned to a different note/chord. The making of video is also great:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_26801&feature=iv&list=PL07D399D8CE9C0B48&src_vid=MejbOFk7H6c&v=75aqU54CaYE

Limerick Monday

I'm burned out because of technology today. Too much screen time. 

There once was a girl with a phone
Without it, she would feel all alone
On it all day every day
A fucked up price to pay
Sill on the phone, now a bitter old crone

I used female pronouns because the word crone rhymes with phone. The balance of tech and presence is a challenge that everyone faces.

Now time to read a book and let my mind wander.

Haiku Monday

1/2/2017

in the mountain sun
able to take a deep breath
calm before the fray

Monday's I am going to write poems. I will vary the poem type week to week. Next week I'm taking inspiration from Isaac Asimov and writing a limerick.