Tuesday, January 31, 2012

First month of 2012 is in the books

Allison climbing "Face Off" (5.12a) at the Overlookfrom BlogPhotos
The week started out a bit frustrating when I discovered my right knee was a bit swollen on Monday morning after an 11 mile fast pavement run Sunday afternoon. Given that, I didn't run all week. So zero miles last week in the running department. But the swelling was gone by Wednesday and it feels fine after 12 miles of running this week so far. The swelling is a symptom of a torn meniscus I know I've had in my right knee since 2007. Not sure where the tear came from but I found out about it after I ran the Hardrock 100 miler in July 2007 and the Leadville 100 three weeks later. By mile 70 of Leadville my knee looked like a cantaloupe. It was a long, slow last 30 miles that night/day. I saw two knee docs after that incident and the first one, Auge, was ready to cut immediately. The second opinion from Dr. Lubowitz of Taos Ortho was more conservative and I went with that. I took it easy for a month or so and hadn't had any issues with my knee since. So I'm hopeful my increased mileage and hard, fast pavement running was the impetus this time and it won't recur any time soon. We'll see. Otherwise, a standard week at work and home. Wednesday was a day to celebrate at work when we completed the migration of all employee email accounts from our cyrus servers to the Exchange servers! Wednesday night was a fun night of bouldering at the SF climbing center. Friday night Allison and I watched Ides of March and found it to be an excellent movie. I had no idea what it was about going into it so it was a complete surprise. Saturday morning enjoyed the unseasonably nice weather with some rock climbing at the Overlook before going home to wait for a new mattress delivery between the hours of 2 and 5pm (that didn't show up until 6:30pm!) It was worth the wait though and we're digging the new mattress.
Nat on "Thorazine Dream" (5.11+)"
Sunday was another fun day of rock climbing at Diablo Canyon near Santa Fe. I'm in full-on projecting mode of "Clovis Hunter" a very cool 5.12b in the Solar Cave there. I gave it three attempts on Sunday falling once above the most difficult crux. And it was a shit-show full of entertaining value for the onlookers. I was trying to clip high on the fifth clip and fumbled with the clip like a complete noobie climber. It must have looked way sketchy for the crowd. Embarrassing. But I gave it 100 percent each time and really enjoyed the climbing. The biggest news is that Allison and I purchased airfare to Spain for two weeks at the start of April. We're psyched! Going to be tourists and check out the new sport climbing mecca of northern Spain. Way excited! Now to work out the rest of the logistics for the trip. Got any suggestions?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Some snow sliding, running, and climbing. A solid week 3.

After the holiday on Monday it was an average day at work on Tuesday with a hearty lunch run of 7.7 miles with Tom before more on-going email migrations at work Tuesday night. Migrations were OK despite some network issues that caused us to restart ~50 migrations (out of ~300). Still, I was home by 8pm. Wednesday I skipped running for lunch and instead went to check out the new snow from Tuesday's storm up at Pajarito Mountain with Amy. We were pleasantly surprised by the 6 to 8 inches of new snow on the Townsight run and vowed to return the next day for lunch too. Wednesday night I got my plastic climbing on down at the Santa Fe Climbing Center. Allison is taking a 10-week training-for-climbing class down there on Monday and Wednesday nights so I've been trying to get down there once a week with her. I'm not a fan of the roped climbing there but the bouldering is really quite fun and a good workout so I've been enjoying doing that. Thursday morning I was motivated enough by the snow at Pajarito to get up early and head up for a Dawn Patrol lap with Tom and Sarah. It's always a bit difficult to roll out of bed early but once I'm up there, I'm always very happy I motivated. Thursday's reward was great with an incredible sunrise as we neared the top of our 1,000' ascent.
Tom at sunrise during Dawn Patrol Thursday. From BlogPhotos

Amy carving a lunch lap turn. From BlogPhotos
Friday I went on a solo run to try to run Santa Fe Baldy. I've done this run the past two Januarys and wanted to keep the streak going. However, I was a week late for ideal running conditions and only made it ~4 miles to the meadow called Puerto Nambe before being stymied by loads of new snow from Monday/Tuesday. I tried to push on but the post-holing was just too frustrating and slow. I even tried some crawling on the snow surface to avoid post-holing but doing that in minimal running clothing wasn't very pleasant nor efficient. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful day and I still ended up with 8 miles and ~2,000' vertical of activity out of it.
My crawling tracks in Puerto Nambe. From BlogPhotos
The shortened trip up SF Baldy afforded me more shopping time in Santa Fe so I finally purchased a new Cal King mattress to replace our aging, sagging mattress. It was pretty ballsy to purchase a mattress without Allison giving it some test laying but that's how I roll. I'm pretty confident I know what she likes in a mattress and I hate burning up time shopping for things like this so I just went in, negotiated a bit and got 'er done. It gets delivered next Saturday. Ironically I had the best night of sleep I've had in a long time that night on our current mattress. Man I slept well; it was awesome. Friday night I ended up bouldering at the Santa Fe Climbing Center again for a few hours with a great, fun group of people while Allison had her "Monday makeup session" (since Monday was a holiday). Allison, Nat and I went climbing down at Diablo Canyon outside of Santa Fe on Saturday meeting up with Amy, Aaron, Claudia and Hagen. The day started out beautiful and warm and slowly got colder as the clouds and wind picked up. Still, it was a very productive and enjoyable day of climbing with Allison, Nat and I all sending routes we hadn't sent before in the Solar Cave. Allison and I both sent Lucy (5.12a) while Nat sent the super fun Clovis Hunter (5.12b). Amy and Aaron finished establishing a new two-pitch 5.12a route called Icarus and both of them then promptly sent the route. It looks very cool and I'm excited to try to climb it the next time we can get down there. And I managed to get a few pretty good photos thanks to the decent cloud cover.
Nat on Clovis Hunter at Diablo. From BlogPhotos
Sunday was crazy windy in Los Alamos for much of the morning so we did some chores around the house until around noon when Allison took Bill's dogs for a walk around the neighborhood and I went for a saucy 11 mile run that felt fast by my standards. I was encouraged by running a decent-for-me pace and still feeling quite good even though it was only 11 miles. I'm hoping to get out for a run of twice that length this coming weekend to see how my legs are feeling in anticipation for the Moab Red Hot 55k race in a month. We wrapped up the weekend with a pizza and beer session at Bill's while watching the NFL NFC Championship Conference Playoff game between the 49ers and the Giants. I was pulling for the 49ers and they lost. But now I'm pulling for the Giants in the Superbowl because I'm damn tired of the Patriots. I'll sign off on this post with a badass time-lapse movie of Yosemite scenes. This is really impressive and inspires me to try to do more time lapse movies despite not owning a motorized dolly or decent video editing software. Until next week!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Second week of 2012...

The second week of 2012 is in my books. It was another good one. I'm a night behind on my weekly blog because today is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday so it felt like a Sunday despite being a Monday.  Speaking of MLK Jr., if you're interested in his life and the story of his assignation, I highly recommend reading "Hellhound on His Trail" by Hampton Sides. I read it last year and really enjoyed it.
This week was pretty standard. I didn't get to run as much as I had hoped but managed to get in a couple decent lunch runs and one ~17 mile run on Saturday morning. The faster pavement runs with undulating terrain feels like good training for the Moab Red Hot 50k+ next month. I don't expect a super fast time at the Red Hot and instead just hope to run and finish an ultra without IT band pain after being plagued with IT band irritation all last fall. Saturday afternoon Allison and went climbing down at the Overlook to squeeze in a few routes and replace an aging bolt and hanger on a fun arĂȘte route called Paul's Boutique. We had replaced four of the five bolt hangers (and upgraded the anchors) a few weeks ago so now the route is fully upgraded.
I worked a couple more nights during the week on our ongoing project of migrating all the email accounts from the old system to the newer MS Exchange infrastructure. Things went smooth and the nights were short.
Friday night we had a small pizza party and movie viewing session at our house to watch the highly-acclaimed ski/snowboard movies "The Art of Flight" and "I.All.Can".  Both films are phenomenal! If you haven't seen them yet, check out the trailers below.

Allison and I went climbing with friends Nat, Matt and Gabriela at the scenic and fun Utopian Vistas crag along the Rio Grande Gorge near Taos, NM on Sunday. It was a beautiful, sunny day and we really enjoyed ourselves. I enjoyed it so much I'm still quite sore now, more than 24 hours later!

Gabriela on "Nirvana Blues" at Utopian Vistas. See more photos.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012. A New Year, Some New Blog Action

I've been really bad about blogging despite enjoying it quite a bit. So while I don't "do" New Years resolutions, I'm going to try to make a concerted effort to blog more by writing weekly recaps. I'm not sure anyone at all reads my blog but I'll enjoy capturing what I'm up to and I'm constantly inspired to blog more by blog-constant friends such as JV who's always on top of it. The year 2012 started off excellent by unwinding at home after a week in Las Vegas, NV visiting Allison's Mom and climbing with good friends at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Allison and I were both in bed by 11:30PM on New Year's Eve so we didn't see the new year come in. New Year's Day I got out on a "12 for 2012" run with many local friends in White Rock, NM followed by a great brunch. I ran approximately 1,250 miles in 2011 and it felt great to start 2012 off with a solid pace 12 miler. Later that day, Allison and I tried to do some cross-country skiing on the local nordic trail but found conditions too icy and sketchy for our liking so we punted after a short bit.
From Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, NV. December 2011.
Monday was the New Year's holiday so I got out into the New Mexico backcountry for some skiing with Andy, Bill and Steve in an area called Big Tesuque. Considering it had been sunny and dry in NM for over a week, the riding was quite good.

Andy skiing Big T

At work, we've been migrating user email accounts from the long-standing Cyrus email servers to the new Microsoft Exchange service using a product called Transend. I wasn't impressed with Transend initially but that once we got it figured out, we've been doing 200-300 user mailboxes per night without much issue. This means I worked a couple nights during the week but not too late so it's not a problem. I ran some more during the week managing a total of 23.5 miles, all pavement. I'm going up to Moab, UT for President's Day weekend in February to run the Moab Red Hot 55k trail race so I'm getting some minimal training in. Running roads should be good for that course, I think. Friday was my regular Friday off from work and I went out rock climbing with Daniel to a not-often visited nearby location called the Sewer Crag named for its proximity to the White Rock sewage treatment plant. The climbing is a lot of fun on great pocketed basalt that's common along the Rio Grande Gorge. We established and bolted a new 5.10+ route we called "100 Years of Solitude" that was fun to establish and climb. Despite the proximity to the sewage treatment plant the climbing and scenery is wonderful.

Daniel on the FA of "100 Years of Solitude"

Friday night I drove up to near the Great Sand Dunes, CO with Bill to meet up with our friend Jeff for a weekend of 14er climbing and camping. Saturday morning we drove up the Lake Como road to about 10,000 feet taking advantage of very little snow in CO this season. We then hiked up to setup a high camp above Lake Como that morning. From there we continued up basin to climb 14ers Ellingwood Point (14,042') and Blanca Peak (14,345') in some gnarly cold wind. We got descended back down to our high camp by 5:30pm to eat and settle in for the night. It was great fun to meet up with Jeff for this fun outing. I typically do one winter 14er trip per season but with the low snowpack in Colorado this season, I may be back up there again this winter.

From Ellingwood Point (14,042') and Blanca Peak (14,345'), CO. 2012-01-07
I bought a new album this week, Awolnation's Megalithic Symphony after listening to it repeatedly on Spotify. I highly recommend it. All in all, a great week! I hope the next 51 are just as entertaining.