Monday, April 22, 2013

Cycling Dale Ball and Dorothy Stewart

The new maps on Dale Ball South!
Out in the foothills on Saturday, saw that the Forest Service had signed a few of the intersections near Atalaya with these cool new maps. Signs and maps! Progress has truly arrived in Santa Fe. No, but I'd love to see several more of these on the trails. I tend to know where I'm going but I don't get the feeling that a lot of other people do.

As a bonus, this map was posted not just at the first trail junction - where TR 170 splits off to Atalaya - but at the next two junctions as well. A sincere hi-five to whomever headed this project. One small omission is notable however; the map details Talaya Hill Open Space but Talaya Hill itself isn't marked. I mean, we've got Castle Rock in there but not Talaya? Maybe Talaya is a brooding and mysterious type of character. Castle Rock must be the extrovert.
Talaya Hill Open Space minus Talaya Hill
(click through for better detail)

On a side note, it's worth a mention that Forest TR 170 is the easier, less steep approach to both Dorothy Stewart and Atalaya. If you want to get your bike up onto Dorothy Stewart (or lower Atalaya) without the extended sections of hike-a-bike, this is your route. Still a technical ride but much more reasonable than the climb from Talaya Hill or the direct route from the Camino Cruz Blanca T/H.

The GPS map doesn't clearly show the air you can soar through off some of the rollers down on lower Dorothy Stewart. Nor does it show the collisions with off-trail trees on upper Dorothy Stewart. More of the former less of the latter for a pleasant ride.

Dale Ball South and morning sun

Some old dude rockin' his new wind vest (toasty warm)
Nearby Trails:
 - Atalaya Mountain Trail
 - Sun Mountain Trail
 - East Hills Arroyo - St John's College

View Dorothy Stewart Ridgeline Trail - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

 - TR 170 in yellow
 - Dorothy Stewart Loop in blue
 - Talaya Hill (top-left flag), 7,439ft

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tragedy in Copley Square

New York shoulders Boston's grief
A very un-welcome conclusion to Monday's Boston Marathon. There was some uncomfortable anxiety for the many people I knew out on the course that morning, all of whom have since been thankfully accounted for. My many memories of Boston were sterling - their sum many times greater than the parts - but now turned a bit darker.

The Boston Marathon is personal to me, and the damage to its fine people and the spirit of the day hurts me.
Disgusted that one of the fallen was a young boy there to watch his father realize months of work and personal triumph. Heartened by the reactions of many of the athletes and first-responders to rush to the aid of the injured.

And so I wear a race-t under my dress shirts and tie this week. Instead of feeling like I need to do laundry, it makes me feel like a super-hero. The bright turquoise Boston finishers shirt that I've always felt self-conscious about wearing now beams from its place in my closet as a charm against evil and a brilliant symbol of the goodness in all of us. And there are thousands like me. Boston will have a record registration push next year from folks whose emotional attachment to the great lady of American running is greater than the price of fifty-mile-weeks, and stiff joints, and muscle strains, and training runs at night in the snow, and the random violence of sick assholes.

A very elegant and concise perspective from a runner bearing witness to Monday's tragedy can be found over at The Logic of Long Distance. Jeff Edmonds writes:
Those two blasts introduced pain without effort. Suffering beyond endurance. A bomb is quick, thoughtless, grotesque, impatient, unfeeling. It's all externality, no internality. All destruction, no training. All noise, no silence. All damage, no strength. A bomb is the opposite of a marathon.

Another great reflection on the personal nature of the race from the always terrific Charles Pierce over at Grantland (and of Esquire magazine).
Nobody loves the Boston Marathon as much as the people who make fun of it year after year. This was the race that previously offered as a prize a not particularly expensive medal, a laurel wreath, and a bowl of beef stew. This was the race that, on one memorable occasion, nobody knew who actually won...The Marathon will be worth mocking again. But that will not be today. It will not be anytime soon.

And for those that prefer the visual, Stephen Colbert adds his opinion about the steeliness of runners and the hard-nosed people of Boston, and how this terror bullshit and mindless violence and mayhem is tired, and needs to stop.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tracking New Mexican Runners at Boston

It's Patriot's Day, and the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. A beautiful morning to be sure.

I've pulled together a tracking list of Santa Fe area runners heading out from Hopkinton into Boston today. The list below ought to include all runners from Santa Fe and Los Alamos. I found no entrants from Taos, Espanola, or Las Vegas. The master list can be found here, where you can build and tailor a list of your own, or you can wander back here where I'll be updating the tracking list as the race progresses. This morning's starting list shows 80 runners from the state of New Mexico.

Are we missing someone? Let us know.
Elite leaderboard up here
Boston livestreaming can be found here
2014 New Mexico results can be found here

Through 5K at 835am:  Vin and Mike are out strong on the downhill out of Hopkinton.
Through 10K at 905am:  Vin still ripping along at 2:51 pace, Mike just under 3hr. Amanda Cola and Whitney Dreier are charging along at 3:22 pace. Kris Houghton of Abq is smoking a 2:21 pace. Kris is the winner of three titles at La Luz.
Through 20K at 940am:  Runners settling in and pulling back from their downhill aided early paces
Through 21K-30K at 1010am:  Runners spread out all over the course now. Houghton is well off his earlier pace. Los Alamos' LorenWohletz has been very steady as have Santa Fe's Amanda Cola and Whitney Dreier.
Through 25K-42K at 1045am:  Loren and Kris charge down Boylston St. to the finish. Loren just misses sub-240. The rest of the contingent tackles the challenge of the Newton Hills and Heartbreak Hill.
Through 30K-42K at 1145am:  Mike Dobesh is through with a strong new PR of 3:05. Congrats Mike. Vin is through at 3:08, good for 9th place in the Men's 55-59 age group. Outstanding. Whitney is through at 3:23. Way to go Whit.
In the Elite CompetitionAmerican Shalane Flanagan held on for a strong fourth place in the women's race at 2:27:08. Kara Goucher followed in 6th place at 2:28:11. Rita Jeptoo of Kenya was this year's champion at 2:26:25. Jason Hartmann secured a second straight fourth place finish in the men's field at 2:12:12, besting the returning champion Wesley Korir of Kenya. Unheralded Daniel Tapia nailed down a 9th place finish at 2:14:30, followed by unheralded Craig Leon at 2:14:38. Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopa was this year's champion at 2:10:22.
In the Elite Competition:  Joan Benoit-Samuelson lays out a blazing fast 2:50:33 to win the Women's 55-59 age group as well as a new age group WR by two minutes.

Extremely Unfortunate News - 5:45pm:  Horrible news obviously with the bombing. If you hadn't heard yet, at least two explosions went off at approximately 4hrs 10min into the race, located in the spectator area right at the finish line. A third explosive was found undetonated. At least two are confirmed dead. Dozens injured. All New Mexico runners appear to be accounted for but one. Updates are fluid on Facebook. A sad day for the sport and for our country. God bless the first-responders in Boston this evening.

1145am MST

1045am MST

Saturday, April 13, 2013

My Funny Story from the Boston Marathon

Onward to Boylston St.
The Boston Marathon isn't all drama and history. Some of it is just a morning run with a lot of new friends, and some of it is crowds of earnest little kids trying to offer you an orange wedge, and some of it is unexpected comedy. If you happened to be in the mood for a funny Boston story, then I've got one. 

I was at Boston in 2010. I'd just powered through the much talked about Newton Hills, and though not especially large, their position toward the end of the course will put the hurt of God into you, and so I was spent over the last few miles. Found myself digging hard to keep the pace from slowing and was mostly oblivious as to what was going on around me. As we run past the lawn parties near Boston University, maybe mile 22 or so, random spectators begin to spontaneously curse the Yankees. Yes, the New York Yankees baseball team. The outright dislike for the Yanks just seemed to spill forth right there at mile 22 of the marathon. Over and over I was informed that the 'Yankees suck!!'

My mind un-fogs a bit and it occurs to me that someone in my running pack must be wearing a Yankees cap or shirt or something. In between the general hollering and cheering I would suddenly hear a casual 'hey, f*ck you Yankee fan', then 'you can do it, it's all downhill from here!!', then 'get f*cked New York'. It took me a moment to understand what was going on, I didn't even realize we were near a University at first until I looked up from the road. I clearly remember glancing over and seeing a good looking coed nursing a keg cup in one hand, and mid-cheer for the other runners her eyes briefly harden and she blurts out to the guy two in front of me, 'trip and fall you Yankee f*ck', then continues to cheer for the rest of us as though nothing had just happened. Comic gold - that some guy would choose to run for three hours motivated by unadulterated sports-loyalty hate, and that the gracious folks lining the streets into Boston would gladly give it to him. A fine memory of one timeless Patriots Day in Boston MA. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Holy smokes, I just realized yesterday that Boston is right around the corner! This coming Monday, April 15th, tax day, the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. The arrival of Boston gets me fired up, a new year is here! I need new goals, I need to get out on trails I haven't seen in months, the running Gods demand it, the possibilities are endless.

Off the top of my head I know that Santa Fe's Vin Kelley will be running, Andy Winnegar is running, whom else? In the elite field I know that Olympian Shalane Flanagan will be seeking the first win by an American (male or female) in 30yrs. In the men's elite field the entirety of last year's US Olympic team has dropped due to injuries, Meb, Hall, Abdi. Not so inspiring fellas. Course record holder Geoffrey Mutai returns to reignite the magic of his 2011 season.

When thinking of Boston the two legends that immediately come to mind are Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit. The other members of American Marathoning royalty - Frank Shorter, Meb Keflezighi, Deena Drossin - they are Olympic heroes, not revered for specific glory in America's most storied race. Alberto Salazar was a hero of New York and the chase for the world record. Boston Billy and Joanie were heroes of Boston, the peoples' race and the fabric of 116 years of American running history. And Joanie, as she's affectionately known, was a Boston hero, an Olympic pioneer and gold medalist, and a world record holder. She touched them all. She held the American record for twenty years and still holds the American Olympic record 30yrs after running to gold in the first ever women's Olympic Marathon. She's my favorite, and it's her I that I think of when I think of the best of American marathoning. And as it so happens Joanie is running on Monday, her talent only marginally eroded by time and miles.

Cheers to all the New Mexican runners heading east with shoes tied to their luggage, digital watches strapped to wrists, and electric expectations of being part of the Boston experience.

Joanie and the 1984 LA Olympic Games

Boston Related Posts:
  - Boston! (2012)
  - Boston Fills Up Slower than Expected
  - Boston Race Report - 2010

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Not Seen on Treadmills

Cannon's Washington Landscape with Peace Medal Indian
Out with the family today at the New Mexico Museum of Art. Lots of good stuff of course, but I'm partial to the work of my man T.C. Cannon, Taos landscapes, and the requisite Pedernal icon by O'Keefe. Hadn't seen this one before, it's lovely. This was the Pistol's first go around for all the above.

Know what's almost better than no-admission Sundays at the museums? The short walk across the Plaza to the Marble Tap House Patio, ftw.

O'Keefe's Pedernal and Painted Earth

Related Posts:
 - Scholder's Orange Dog & Friend

Thursday, April 4, 2013

First Annual Maraton por La Paz, Bolivia

That's right, the highest capital city on the planet (elev. 3650m or 11,975ft) has now joined the marathon craze, and I know this because I've got a man on the scene down there (up there as it were). The intrepid Major Brennan, DesertDirt's swift-footed brother, was one of the reported 2500 runners to take on the inaugural oxygen-thin course in March. The Major has been living, working, and training in La Paz since September so in actuality it made a lot of sense to jump into the hometown race. That, and Irishmen who grow up in the 7,000ft perch of Santa Fe at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo mountains are fearless.

Right, so the first section of the course was an out-and-back climb that topped out at 13,490 ft, roughly analogous to Imogene without the steep grades. My brother reports that there were a sizable number of runners, perhaps first-timers, that took off like a shot at the start as if it were a 5K and not 42K, and faded badly by this point. There were other runners that waited to jump into the field at this point perhaps because it was more convenient than back at the start. The back-end of the course enters the city and begins to weave through many of the neighborhoods. Like many first time races, the aid stations ran dry before much of the field came through. Several of the local folks lining the course through this section were thoughtful enough to bring out pitchers of water, and some store owners handed out bags of water to the runners. A bit like the good folks handing out orange wedges in Boston, except with probable health implications! Tough it out and hydrate I say. Most of the course's second half was a net descent ending with 300ft of climbing over the last 2K. Kind of a rough finish, but you know, you've got to earn your post-race beer so you gotta suck it up and charge through it.

Major Brennan at far left, crushin' it
Here's a better photo of the guy in which his relentless
speed isn't blurring the image

Bishop and the Stars and Stripes
My bro's run was good for a 4:06 finish and second American in the field. Pretty solid run. He lost to this guy, Aaron Bishop (at right), who ingeniously outfit himself with red knee-things to simulate the inhuman speed of the blade runner. A wily and ultimately successful strategy, well played sir. Bishop reports that his bannered escort was a friend and local cab driver that picked him out of the field right at the finish. He should probably buy his friend a drink for creating a somewhat epic finishing pic.

The runners up front seemed to have little difficulty with the course challenges or elevation. The winner hailing from Bolivia, finished in 2:33:20. He was shadowed by two Peruvians who came through in 2:34 and 2:35. We figure the altitude handicap to be about one minute a mile for the average finisher, maybe double for a runner not training at altitude (quite possibly DNF cause running at 12,000ft is a freaking chore).

All things being equal, my bro felt La Paz was probably not as difficult as the Great Wall Marathon in China. Great insight, I could make that call and I've run neither. The Major adds those two finishing medals to his finishes in Athens and Rwanda. Yes, he ran his first marathon in Rwanda, and no, people do not consider me the odd one in the family.

Related Posts:
 - Maraton de Santiago, Chile

Assorted race photos courtesy of Ms. Sara Greengrass:

Bolivian Bear Costume Guy, likely thinking that all the other runners in the field are chumps

Boliviano Clown Guy making it happen

Guy at left sucking on water bag, guy at center without water bag hurting badly

Awesome Old School Guy running with retractable pancho, satchel, and color-festooned socks creates a sharp contrast with lame punk-kid runner at right. A similarly old-school attired runner finished 12th overall. One word for that:  Badass.

View Maraton por La Paz - Bolivia in a larger map


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