Saturday, April 25, 2009

Death Cab For Cutie

I lucked into a couple tickets to Death Cab for Cutie's show in Bellingham on Thursday. Tenth row seats, in the grand old Mount Baker Theater! This is just a terrific location, and DCFC doesn't play these smaller places anymore. I went with my college roommate Steve, hanging out beforehand, and catching up on things at the Bayou on the Bay. Crawfish and alligator dip before a show! I don't think I've ever had gator before. We caught the second night show, which was "students only"--very lively---the crowd never sat.
I really didn't know that much about the Death Cab, except that they are from Bellingham and WWU originally, and lots of people like them a lot. This was their homecoming show--"We are Death Cab for Cutie....and we are from Bellingham!" (Crowd roar.) They all were Western students, I think, maybe Huxley even, my college. I liked the lead singer Ben Hibbard's comment about their visit--"Some things haven't changed a bit; some things have totally changed." I tried to think back to B'ham 10 years ago and now--amazing differences, and yet you still can get a disc and a bagel on Railroad. Steve said it felt like three lifetimes ago.
I'll save the Lester Bangs professional review for someone else (and Annie L. would not be a fan of these grainy pics)--but no exaggeration--it was a "rock star" performance, with great sound, pyrotechnics, driving bass lines, drumlines at times that reminded me of early U2 or maybe Journey, and a charismatic lead singer. I'm going to get some more of their music, pronto.

Friday night I went to OneAmerica's annual dinner in Seattle. This was a bigger deal than I expected, with over 600 attendees at the Washington Trade and Convention Center, and some very notable speakers (e.g. Ron Simms, Jim McDermott). OneAmerica is a terrific advocacy group, pushing for improved civil, immigrant and human rights in Washington. Originally started as the "HateFreeZone" in the aftermath of 9/11, to combat violence that was occurring to immigrants locally, their mission has now expanded and they are doing all sorts of good things, like fighting for the better detention standards in Tacoma and helping families in need, who've been separated from loved ones. People just don't realize some of the stuff that goes on.

In running news, I saw two owls sitting on a branch while running down the Fragrance trail this week. Here's a picture of one. I also ran around Blanchard one night, with a noticably improved time for a familiar loop, which is encouraging. I wasn't into driving to Olympia for the Capitol runs this weekend, after being out late the last two nights, and so I'm doing something local this weekend, though nothing near as taxing as a 50 miler. I want to get away from running the calendar. I may hit the Sunflower next weekend in Winthrop, since the North Cascades Pass opened last night.

Monday, April 20, 2009


There was a story in the Bellingham Herald this weekend about Barb Macklow and Vicki Griffiths and their adventure at the Umstead 100 in North Carolina a couple weeks ago. Link below. Barb, 74 years old, is now the second oldest 100 miler finisher in North America. Vicki knocked out 75 miles as well--no small feat. Such inspirations--I see these gals from time to time at local events--they always seem really happy, running in their little group.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sun Mountain

Sun Mountain 50k, yesterday, in the Methow Valley. Above Winthrop, near Sun Mountain Lodge, organized by James V. and Alison H., and they of course did a great job. An incredible amount of work was put into getting the course ready, from breaking up ice on ski trails to laying down straw for traction. This was a three lap "lollipop" course, with an aid station every five miles. Some of us were snickering at the start as James explained the directions, as I have no clue what he was saying, and I probably wasn't listening that good anyway--something about a lollipop, but then he tags his summary with "It'll be your own fault if you get lost!" But he was right---once we started, things were completely well marked. I sort of missed one turn on the third lap, after getting it right the first two times---a total space case move on my part. This is not uncommon for me. I could get lost in a paper bag.
There was lots of climbing, at a tad higher elevation than you'd find west of the mountains. Perfect training for this time of year. The 10 mile course was essentially two climbs, with the second one summitting Patterson Mountain, with a worthy straight up 10 minute climb towards the end. Do it three times for 50k, fool. The views were always incredible, frequently looking down at the still frozen Patterson Lake, pictured here. Or out towards the cold, pointed North Cascade peaks. Single track trails, with thigh high tumbleweeds, up, over or through cattle gates and other ranching type obstacles. The weather was odd--sometimes sunny, sometimes chilly with a breeze, moreso typically on Patterson Mountain across its summit plateau. I carried a windbreaker, that really made a difference up there. A friend of mine says its good "mountain etiquette" to carry a second layer. Good idea on this Saturday.
As far as my run goes, I was challenged---cramps for the first 15 miles, probably due to the Subway sandwich and late night arrival, and camping out in the cold the night before. Stars and the full moon made it totally worth it. Love the stars in the Methow. I was a bit bronchially challenged too--this has happened before, and so I think I need to have a few things checked. I didn't push (and it showed with my time)--I was out there for the trails. On the second lap, I found a lost dog, cute, wimpering, very sad. It ran right on my shin for 10 minutes or more, worried, crying, obviously lost. I helped find his master, and when he saw him, he ran like a bolt through the tumbleweeds, so happy. Yes, we can be heroes, just for one day.
There was pizza at the finish line, many flavors. Very fulfilling pizza. Pizza that makes you happy, after running 3o some miles. The finish line was a line in the dirt. With crowds, cheering. For me. Maybe just one crowd. A few people, really, since I was near last, and most everyone had already left. It was that kind of day for me, as far as running goes. Despite a slow start, I felt much stronger towards the end, especially after I addressed the early-race cramps with regular doses of endurolytes. It was supposed to be hard for me--I stacked this week with tough runs on Blanchard and Chuckanut, just to up the ante a bit.
Southern Rock Gold on the way over, discs 1 and 2. Then, Beck's Guero. "My black tambourine!" 250 miles.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


My friend BJ was in Seattle this week, up from San Diego. BJ and I went to school together back in the day, and last year trained and ran Wasatch. This year we're planning on doing the North Face 50m in Bellingham/Skagit this June. So, today, I took the proverbial long lunch, and we previewed the course a bit, running the Chuckanut Ridge trail, down the triple diamond chinscraper, and then down Fragrance. BJ actually put in a couple hours before that too. Great run with a great friend. We'll be back at it in June.
And....we found a snake!! Poor was sort of cold and lethargic, not too smart, sitting in the middle of the ridge trail, and then I come along. It wasn't rock solid like the one I found in the snow last year, but it's probably owl meat it doesn't get its act together. As it was, I insisted that we both do Fear Factor pictures. Take that Rogan.
Also...I was a bit saddened today to hear that Marvin Webster died. Marvin was a key member of the Sonics 1978 championship team, and his nickname was the Human Eraser, because he blocked shots. It's a real 70s nickname, and he was a real 70s player. Any kid growing up in DC or Seattle, and I grew up in both, would emulate him on the court, or maybe the Big E, or Unseld, or Downtown Freddie Brown, since the Sonics and Bullets played two years in a row in the championships. They didn't have cable tv back then, so championship basketball and nicknames were a big deal. Marvin was 56, and even as the reports say, I remember him to be a really cool personality. Hadn't thought of the Human Eraser in a while, but sorry to see him leave so early.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hank Hill Yoga

I went to Bikram yoga tonight. Bikram's the hot yoga. This was my third time. I am very bad at yoga. Very VERY bad. Funny bad, like Saving Sarah Marshall bad. Standing on one foot is hard, and some lady is barking at me to do the swan pose. "No, Scott, your other right!" I don't do well with people barking orders at me, or heat. I'll keep going--it's obviously good for me and my running, and there's some great reward at the end of the yoga rainbow, I'm sure, but tonight while I was falling all over myself, I thought, this must be what Hank Hill looks like when he does yoga. I must be the Hank Hill of yoga! Then I chuckled to myself (totally losing track of whatever the barking yoga master was saying), but then you can't chuckle out loud or you'll break the chi. Whatever---when I got home, I checked, and sure enough, there's an episode of Hank Hill trying to do yoga! Go Hank go! Hank had a bad back, and he was doing yoga on doctor's orders, and in fact my doctor and some other people have been pusing me to go as well. Here are some excerpts, and I'm with Hank here---
YOGI VICTOR: Let me tell you a story. Once I was like you: skeptical, nearsighted, paunchy. Then I met a special friend. This glorious friend took me to places I thought I'd never --
HANK: Excuse me, but is this one of those stories where this special friend of yours turns out to be yoga?
YOGI VICTOR: What time do you evacuate your bowels?
HANK: What??
YOGI VICTOR: There's only one right answer: between four and six in the morning.
HANK: Well, this was a great way to spend a lunch hour.
YOGI VICTOR: Lunch is one of the worst things you can do to yourself!
HANK: We've been doing stretches for half an hour. When are we going to get to the yoga?
YOGI VICTOR: Ha, ha, ha! Hank, do you tell the blood to start flowing through your veins or the air to start filling your lungs? You probably do.
HANK: You know, Vince Lombardi won five championships without ever using sarcasm. He just yelled and shoved people.
HANK: Son of a gun, it's working!
YOGI VICTOR: It's not working. It is.
YOGI VICTOR (observing Hank): This is the first time I've ever been disgusted by the human body.
YOGI VICTOR: One can't leave yoga, Hank. One --
HANK: Yeah, yeah, I know, everything is one way, then it's the opposite. Gotta go.