July 8, 2014

June 2014

“They just feel like stuff is supposed to happen to them,” he said. “They're not going to have to work for it. And that bugs me because I know how hard I had to work to get where I got. Sometimes they sit there in amazement at why I come out here every day. But I cannot let their way of thinking into my head.”  Tony Gwynn
Perth Marathon.  After a successful 12kmrun at HBF Run for a Reason during the last Sunday in May, I decided to tick the box on doing a marathon in Australia while my running was going well.  My original plan was to give a “good effort” to use a training run for the target race of the season, the Ultra Tour of Mt. Rinjani in August.  I figured 3 hours would be about right.  I would plan to run a comfortable 1:30 first Half, then a harder whatever I had 1:20-1:25 2nd half.  But I got excited and emotional and ended up coming through halfway rather comfortably in 1:19 with a group of 4 guys running together.  Shortly after halfway, I started to spiral into the pain cave.  My legs and back were so tight and out of whack that my shorts twisted to one side causing me to re-adjust every couple kilometres.  Then my joints- knees/hips- started to heat up with 15km to go.  I kept shortening my stride, increasing turnover to reduce the pain whilst maintaining a 2:40 marathon pace.  The crowd spurred me on the last 5 km allowing me to maintain a respectable 4 minutes per kilometer but I fell short of even splitting.  2:42 final time. 

Dissappointed I did not negative split.  Dissappointed I did not have the legs to run 2:40.  Dissappointed I needed 3 weeks to not feel pain in my knee for 3 weeks after.  Glad I didn’t snap in half or sustain serious injury.  Annoyed that I lost 3 weeks of training for Rinjani.  Relieved my engine (breathing) felt comfortable at that pace.  Happy with the effort.  Content with the time.  Satisfied I can use the learnings from this race to continue to understand my biomechanical issues.  Optimistic about my running future.  Hoping I survive RInjani without injury.    

The Perth Marathon is a beautiful race and spectator friendly as it completes two out and backs.  One could argue that it is boring, but I personally enjoyed the crowd support as the other two marathons I have run only had spectators at the finish line.  I couldn't get over how beautiful the day was for a wintery July afternoon.  The city glowed across the Swan River as I watched the awards ceremony.  My buddy Gerry PR’d by 5 minutes to take 2nd place.  I talked to Ethiopian woman who dropped at 41 km but still really happy.  One guy I ran with through halfway (1:19) ended up running  a nice  negative split 2:34 for a PR.  I took out my tent afterwards to rest a few hours before the awards ceremony.  People thought i had slept there the night before in the pouring rain.  No, not there, but 30 minutes away.  I lounged around there watching  the mid-packers drift on by from my temporary camp site for the afternoon.  These people inspire me. 

Running  for Rinjani.  The first two weeks of June were by far the best few weeks of running I have done in 2014.  Then I ran the Perth marathon on June 15th and that forced me to write off the remainder of the month.  I could hardly walk because of knee pain.  The physio at work looked at my quad flexibility and wondered how I could even run, let alone run a marathon.  Now, 3 weeks later and a lot of quad stretching and agonizing lacrosse ball massage, the knee feels better.  I just ran 15 km today but do not feel like I will have enough time to properly train for Rinjani as I leave August 3rd.  I might just have to walk/hike/survive the 52km torture course.
Reading.  Art of learning, the Snow Leopard, The Obstacle is the Way.  All good books but the Snow Leopard resonated with me the most.  I listened to this classic as read by the author, 95 year old Peter Matthiessen, as he recounted the story over 40 years earlier in the Snowy Himalayas.  This adventure narrative reminds me of one of my favourites, the Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway.  It makes me want to do an epic adventure of some sort, and write a story about it.  If I were to write a book, this would be the style I would go for.    

Learning.  I did a knife making course and a intro level kayaking course in June.  I bought a new camera so I can take some pictures.  The knifemaking was a lot of fun because it encompasses so many different skills- forging, grinding, polishing, woodworking, heat treating- and it renewed my joy for building stuff.  The kayaking course was mainly a stepping stone to start training for the avon descent in August but I have since decided it is just not a possibility with my schedule and lack of anywhere to put a a kayak.    Lots of other things to learn this year- surfing, sailing, spear fishing are a few that come to mind.    

Good Article on Tony Gwynn:

June 12, 2014

May 2014

"The sense of having one's needs at hand, of travelling light, brings with it intense energy and exhilaration.  Simplicity is the whole secret of well being."

~ Peter Matthiessen (The Snow Leopard) on the mental relaxation of carrying everything you need for 2 weeks on your own back and not relying on porters. 

My best month in a long time running wise.  I determined I have a 7mm ganglion in my knee that has been causing knee pain since december.  I thought it was a sprained or torn meniscus so i believe this is somewhat good news.  Upon hearing that, I put the hammer down and tried to push though the aches.  I believe and hope that the altered mechanics from the knee cyst have been the cause of my weird shin/calf pain the past 2.5 years.  I still don't know yet.  I jumped in a 12km race here in Perth.  It was a fast course with favorable wind direction.  I placed 14th in 39:58.  I thought that was a fast time for my fitness and zero work under 7 minute mile pace the past 4 months.  But was surprised how fast some guys ran. I am reminded again, as I was during college, that there are a lot of good runners out there.  This is partly the reason I gravitate towards mountain and trail running as it thoughs another skill set into the equation to make it more challenging.

I took out the old Nathan running pack twice in May.  Once for aa epic 3 hour run on the Bibbulmun Track up and over Mount Cooke on my drive back to Perth from site.  My knee and shin hurt the first hour, then the pain dissipated.  I ran into a few groups on the trail that were suprised to see a guy running out there, alone, and so far away from bitumen.  It reminds me how much of a treat it is to be able to go out for 22 miles in the backcountry with nothing but some water and a chocolate bar.  Keep it slow, keep building, be conservative.  That is my philosophy right now-  Just make it to Mount Rinjani healthy and happy.    

Another slow month for me reading wise.  I nearly knocked off Mastery by Robert Greene.  I started the Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday.  I started listening to a classic which I have never read: The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen (who recently died at age 95).  It's narrative reminds me of Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway which is one of my favorite audiobooks/books.    

Not a lot of travel either in May.  I kept it local in the Perth Area with one company paid for week in a city apartment.Corporate life is so cruisy it feels morally wrong.  

There is so much great content out there and I consumed way too much of last month especially.  I'd much rather be creating more rather than consuming.  I'd rather be ticking off projects like building my own website, learning Python, finally finishing my borneo video, playing the guitar, or writing, or anything...  But instead I sit on the phone for hours each day consuming silly top 10 lists and how to live articles.  I should just live, more.  

Having said that, there is so much inspirational and good content out on the web that it is hard to follow everything cool, useful and interesting.  Here are a few of my favorites in May:

Derek Sivers:  Meaning of Life Derek Sivers: The meaning of Life

May 2, 2014

April 2014

April went really fast.  I keep saying that every month, but its true.  I have to get busy living.  So many great books to read, places to see, people to help, races to run, and so many new things to learn.  Lets Do it.

Travel.  I had a pretty good run this month.  I travelled down to the Southwest of Australia on a road trip for some camping and salmon fishing.  I was buzzing with excitement when reeled in my first salmon with my 35 dollar rod off Shelly Beach in Albany.  We cooked it up immediately with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Life doesn't get much better than that.

For my second swing off of the month, I took a trip to Bali Indonesia.  The balinese are just saints.  The people are so friendly and smile all the time.  I am starting to learn a few more Indonesian words and understand the people.  I was always perplexed and somewhat annoyed at how personal the questions are when you meet someone for the first time.  Where are you from?  What are you going?  Are you married?  etc.  I thought they were just talking to me because they knew i was a tourist and wanted my money.  It turns out it is their way of greeting a stranger and making conversation.  The other person is supposed to show the same interest and ask similar questions.  Anyway, the main reason for going to Bali was to take a wilderness first responder course.  I have wanted to take the course for a few years so just bit the bullet and went for it.  I am not sure how useful the information will be, but it is good knowledge to have.  I just like learning new stuff.

Running in Bali was Fun.  I put a lot of kilometers on the beautiful Champuan Ridge outside of Ubud.  However, I took one off chute and ended up at a pavillion in the middle of a rice field.  There were 4 half naked athletic looking girls standing outside.  It was a Meditation and Hula Hoop Retreat.  There were 150 girls inside each performing for the group.  I only managed 17 minutes on the run that day.  Do you Hoop?

Books.  Really Bad Month.  I basically did not read anything this month.  Played on the phone a lot, listened to a lot of podcasts, and consumed other types of media but not much reading.  Fighting now to get back in the rhythm of things.      

Training.  I have been getting into the weight room a bit more since the start of April.  I am trying to get some leg strength and resiliancy back.  I will keep it up hard for the next 3 months and see if it translates to better running performance.  Experience tells me it will

Looking Forward.  Heading to USA in September.  Next time I get on a plane will be August when i take part in the http://mtrinjaniultra.com/  .  I have 98 days to train.  Apparently it is really hard.  At least the is what the guy who summited MOUNT EVEREST told me.  It took him 3 days to complete the course and he said insane.  Ahh yep, 52km, 5100m vertical gain.  I must say though this is the first time I said hell yea to anything in about a year.  I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to do silly things like this.

Photo is...I dont really know.  I just picked a random one.  It's from Bali though.

April 8, 2014

March 2014

March was a pretty stale month for me.  No exotic international trips.  Just going back and forth to perth every other week.  No major progress on my reading goals.  Just felt busy.

I did have some training in Perth for work so I got to stay in a hotel for 7 days and got meals paid for.  My moral barometer showed signs of impending storms as I was staying in a 230 dollar per night room.  The family of 4 I stayed with in Indonesian lived off 300 dollars per month.

The city life is extremely easy: show up at 8, get off at 4, run in beautiful kings park with many other fit people, corporate office coffee machines and kitchens and dressing nicely.   But city life is so distracting.  Always some one to meet or getting stuck in traffic and never feeling like I am contributing to the process of making metal.  I think I prefer the simply mining life.

April should be fun.  We'll see

Photo is Claisebrook Train Station.  Perth.  

March 6, 2014

February 2014

February went really quick.  I was away in Jakarta the first few days of the month, then went to work for 8 days, then went to japan for 8 days, then worked for 9 days, and finished out the last two days of the month in Perth getting back to basics.  So I did not accomplish much except Travelling. 

Japan is a world class travel destination.  I feel like I would recommend it over anywhere I have been.  Anywhere.  I have been to Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and most of Australia since moving here in 2.5 years ago.  I have been to Europe and Alaska and Mexico.  Culturally, japan surpasses them all.  The people are so kind and humble.  It is tourist friendly with excellent train infrastructure, a variety of accommodation (traditional inns, capsule hotels, hostels, homestays), and there is something for everyone- mountains, cities, food, nuclear fallout. 

Books.  I read many books this month mostly on the way to Japan and back.  I kept the learning theme going with The Talent Code, the first 20 hours and started Mastery.  I read racing weight by Matt Fitzgerald because I am up a few kilos due to injury and sedentary lifestyle.  And I am currently listening to the audio version of Quiet.  I really enjoy all of these, especially Quiet because it is explaining a lot about my introverted self and how its not so bad to be an introvert and embrace it. 

Since I have read several books this year on skill acquisition and learning and being the best, I am starting to see how they all start saying the same thing.  The concept of deliberate practice or deep work is in all of them: Talent Code, First 20 hours, Mastery, Quiet, and So Good They Can’t Ignore You.  They all reference various brain and psychology studies (10000 hour rule) which leads me to believe that the ever growing field of neuroscience is going to have a lot of attention on it in coming years.  So if you want to learn what it takes be talented or learned or be the best, I would read So Good They Can’t Ignore You.  I like the logical, step by step layout of the book and the ability to tie all the concepts in as the book progresses.  The only thing lacking is the description of what happens to the brain when you do deep work (myelin) which Daniel Coyle does so well in the Talent Code.   

Future reading.  I want to finish off my theme on learning with The Art of Learning to move onto biographies and outdoor literature.  I re-read my notes on Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand because I just saw the movie trailer.  That book is epic and a must read for anyone before the movie comes out.  I haven’t read a great deal of biographies but Where Men Win Glory is my favourite with Unbroken a close second.  I want to get back into the bios.     

Future Travels.  I am going to shut it down for a while.  My knee hurts still so I am going to take of it and see if I can get back on the ball training.  It would be fun to do the Mount Fuji run in July and Kinabalu in October and Kepler in December but I am doubtful I will get back on track anytime soon.  I might do a trip to Bali or Lombok at some point because its close and cheap.  Who knows though?  I just need to live the moment.   

And Going to stop consuming so much internet stuff and start playing more and using my hands.  Being injured doesn’t help but maybe I am injured because I am not moving enough?

Japan Packing Video: Feb 2014

February 6, 2014

Jakarta Gear Video January 2014

January 2014

Welp, 2014 is already 10 percent down.  The year is flying by and I was hoping to have some better traction on my goals for this year and for life in general.  I have been thinking about where I want to be in 5 years and what seeds I should start sowing now to get there.  5 years will be here sooner than I think, what person will I become?

If I want to be a good guitar player or photographer or writer or entrepreneur or drill and blast engineer in 5 years (or glassblower, treehouse maker, expat tax law guru, runner, cabin designer…) what can I do now to get there?  I can do the big obvious things rather easily.  I can take a few guitar lessons, or a photo course, or join a writing workshop or take a course on starting a business or attend a blasting conference.  All of which are good places to start, even a necessity. 

But in my experience, mind numbing consistency always wins out. 

I had the privilege of working with one of the world leading consultants in my industry during an audit of our site.  I was in my first year of real work so even though I had no idea what I was doing, I was smart enough to ask him for his advice about my career.  “Simple.  Just read a technical paper or book on mining for 30 minuts every day and in 5 years you will be an expert- one of the best in the world.”  It’s funny thinking about it now because that was exactly 5 years ago.  Where would I be today if I actually heeded that advice?  It isn’t fun or sexy, but it never is when trying to be the best.   

Maybe the best thing to do is just to write, or pick up a guitar, or take photos.  Do the thing you want to be good at, do it daily for 15 or 30 minutes, and in a few years you might be the best (Male, Engineer, under the Age of 30, living in western Australia, but born in America, that has a beard).

Learning New Stuff.  I have been busy planning for trips and travelling to get any consistency in.  It is difficult when you move around all the time.  It is a barrier to practicing that will be difficult to remove unless I get a permanent residence.  For now I will do my best with what I got. 

Bible in a Year.  I downloaded a $1.99 Kindle bible that sorts everything for you by day.  2 chapters of Old testament, a bit of psalms, a bit of proverbs, and 1 chapter of new testament.  It takes about 15 minutes to knock out a days reading.  I am still on track with this one but without the neatly organized and easy to use kindle book, it would be a bigger chore.  In other words, the system I have in place eliminates some of the barriers to completing the task.  February 6th verse Exodus 23:4 If you meet your enemy’s ox or donkey going astray, you shall surely  bring it back to him…

Reading books.  I wanted to read 50 books this year with my own outline and/notes on each.  I am only at about 4 so far.  I’m falling behind a bit.  Once again he kindle simplifies this chore dramatically in cost and time.   My sister gave me about a 1000 kindle books on CD plus I have a bunch already.  And not to mention paper and audio books I have accumulated over the years.  Here is what I have read so far in 2014…

The Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias.  I get anxious about where I am going and what I am doing with my life.  This book eased those tensions a bit.  But I mainly picked it up because I really admire Ravi as a man.  He has led an incredible life and I happened to see him speak at College.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport.  This may be the most important book I read all year.  I won’t do the book justice but I will give you a brief idea of what it is about and what I took from it in a few sentences.  There is a common idea that to be happy in life you must follow your passion.  Cal dispels that myth with various case studies of people are happy with their lives and careers as a result of being really good at a rare and valuable skill- what he calls career capital.  First you get good at something, then as a result of being really good at something you get autonomy and the ability to use that rare skill to work towards your life mission, whatever that may be.  Another concept that alone justifies the cost of the book is deep work.  Check out his blog study hacks for more.  And I promise to publish some notes.  It will be a 
February goal. 

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary V.  I flicked through this one rather quickly and only got half way through because it doesn't really apply to my life...Actually it does because I just got a new Smartphone and there are 323 million mobile phone subscriptions in the USA alone.  Mobile will rule the world.  The book is about social media marketing and how to promote your products on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest.  There are some really interesting case studies to review.  “If you want to talk to people while they consume their entertainment, you actually have to be their entertainment…” 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Audiobook).  I finally downloaded this one as it has been recommended by Tim Ferris.  Audio books work well for me because I drive quite a bit back and forth to site.  The book is about a boy who grows up in the graveyard which sounds boring but the performance put on by the Author as he reads  and the imagination to write such a book is quite impressive.  I couldn’t take the headphones out the last two hours.    

Upcoming Books: Currently reading The First 20 Hours by Josh Kaufman on learning new skills.  Might start working through The Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett to work on my mobility and flexibility.  The Talent Code, Guns Germs and Steel, the Art of Learning.  I kind of have a learning theme going.  But I feel like I need to get back to some more fun books- like adventure travel, novels, biographies.  Too many how to or business type books that have great ideas but I never actually apply the principles so they become wasted effort.    

Jakarta.  My only travel in January but a good one.  I stayed with my friends at their siblings house.  I love the high regard for family people have in Indonesia.  4 generations live within 3 minutes walk of eachother.  We had 9 people sleeping on couches and floors in the small two bedroom house with one bathroom.  They ask me what Australia is like to which I replied quiet.  Jakarta itself is not much of tourist place.  Just a big city---but I have a feeling there is more to it than that.  Little kids were scared of me because I had a beard.  Indonesians are very upfront.  They introduce people like hey zach, this is my fat friend suzie.  They tell you if you look fat or ugly or smell bad or if they think you are attractive…Jakarta is very different than Bali.  All Indonesians are incredible muscians.  I want to watch Jalalanan movie… 

Upcoming travel.  Japan in 5 days.  New Zealand in March maybe…

Running.  Still going terribly bad. 

Podcasts and consuming too much.  There is so much info out there.  Recently, I have been listening to so many different podcasts at work.  Podcasts seem to be the big thing now.  Running Podcasts like talk ultra and marathon talk, School of Greatness,  this American life, James Altucher, Bryan Callen…So much to take in.  I don’t get why people need TV anymore and people always ask me how I live without one.  Because there is endless stuff on the internet that is better and without ads and can be watched at any time other than 8-9 o’clock in the evening.

Ok.  That’s it.


Picture is of the flooding in Jakarta.  We had to trudge through water to get to the main road (taxi/bus) from where I was staying.    

January 6, 2014

2013 HumbleBraggery (Travel) Year in Review

I just reviewed my #2012 travel year in review post.  If for no other reason, this blog is worthwhile for the simple fact that I can review trips.  2012 was characterized by a lot of travel within Australia and not much running due to ongoing injuries and health issues.  2013 was much the same with travel abroad and a slight upturn in running.  However, I wrapped up the year hobbling around with a sprained or partially torn meniscus.  So my running nightmare continues into 2014.  I did manage a few bouts of spectacular training in the Perth Hills during winter/spring and a finish at the Climbathon# for the second year in a row.
Last year I spoke about the revolving door of people in my life.  That is still true but I am starting gain a more consistent group to meet with in Perth (non-runners since I still am not going strong).  I reduced the amount of short camping trips outside of Perth to instead spend that time in town, with people.  I feel like I have seen of enough the southern beauty of Margaret River, Albany, Esperance, and Pemberton...etc.  And most of the North with a trip to Karijini National park still outstanding.  So I am finding it more valuable to stay put near the city opting to get on an airplane to go somewhere when I feel the itch.  I will continue this trend in 2014. 

So here is the list in chronological order of notable trips I have taken in 2013:  

Southbound.  I once again attended to the annual camping, music and arts festival down in Busselton.  It was a fun time but I feel I am getting a bit old for it or maybe I just don’t like being penned up in a place for 2 days?  The highlight was an intimate, impromptu acoustic session by First Aid Kit at 1am in front of 20 lucky fans. 
Tasmania.  What can I say, I loved it.  Better known to me as the West Virginia of Australia, Tasmanians are friendly, quirky, and love the great outdoors.  I spent the entire week in a rental car camping out everywhere I could, running every trail I could.  I got two, yes two!, flat tires at the same time and was stranded on a dirt road in backwater Tasmania.  I had no cell phone coverage so I had to walk towards the next paved road some 7kms away.  I knocked on a dilapidated door and hitched a ride to the town Triabunna where the local pub allows people to pitch tents in their backyard.  I huddled up there for two nights while doing a day trip to Maria Island which proved to be a real gem with dolphins jumping next to the ferry on the way over.  It should be noted that 40% of Tasmania is protected wilderness with a ridiculous roadless chunk covering almost the entire southwest.  The Western Arthurs Traverse and Franklin River have therefore been added to my Bucket List.       

Family Visit.   My mom and sister came to visit.  We had one week to see everything we could and I think we did a very good job.  We headed down south stopping in Margaret River, Pemberton, through to Albany, toured the mine site in a few days.  The remaining days were spent in the Perth Area with the highlight being Rottnest Island.  I have to say riding bikes around Rottnest Island is the best activity you can do in Perth.  It was good to have the family here over Easter and have a big dinner with friends.
Singapore.  I spent the entire week staying in one place which is uncommon for me.  The gap year hostel run by Dennis and Jerrlyn felt like a natural fit.  Max, a guy from Malaysia living out the “Gap” and I discussed life, girls, and our dumbest mistakes to each other late into the evenings.  People in general are interested to get the American’s Perspective on most things, but unfortunately they tend to follow American news and politics more than I do.  Singapore is a very western type city as far as the internationalism and the fast paced business world is concerned.  However, it is so diverse and the hawker centres are amazing for their food selection.  Basically, you just get into the longest line and you will be guaranteed a good meal.  Singaporeans love their food.  A typical meal costs about 5 dollars, which is at least double any other south east Asian city but still a bargain for me.  The highlight of my trip was doing some mountain biking on Palau Ubin, an island off the coast of Singapore.  That, or running around the city at night with the Frenchman from my hostel.  Singapore has one of the best skylines in the world at night.  But I didn’t take any pictures…
Melbourne.  My buddy from college the Dirty Dar was there for work so I shot over for the weekend.  We forgot to take a picture together so the best one I have is of the Melbourne library.  We are pretty awesome.  It was great to catch up to share a few drinks and hot chocolates all over Melbourne and St. Kilda and the infamous Nunnery hostel.  I snuck out to the Dandenong Range do some running and hiking which turned out to be a pleasant a short train ride from the city. 

Home.  I did my annual 3 week trip back to the USA in August.  I felt like an outsider this time, as if I am more accustomed to Australian custom these days.  I spent the first few days in LA with my brother.  I did a fair bit of running Baldwin Hills Park running repeats from bottom to top.  I like the people and the encouragement that goes on there.  I also like the beach culture near Venice and Santa Monica.  You wouldn’t get characters like that on the Australia beach scene.  I then went back east to Pittsburgh to surprise my mom for her 60th birthday, did a road trip to North Carolina with my sister and saw Aussie-Americans Running Store owners, and sent my little sister off to Turkey.  It all went by really fast so I am looking forward to the next trip back. 

Borneo: Malaysia/Brunei.  I really nailed this trip.  I met so many interesting people which made the experience remarkable.  I can hardly remember them all because it seemed like every new town I landed in (and there were many) I seemed to run into incredible people and share the sites with them.  I exchanged running war stories with the global crowd at the Climbathon race, spent a day being chauffeured around mysterious Brunei with people I met on the ferry (now good friends), experienced World Heritage listed Mulu National Park with the Irish, and cheered for the home soccer team with most interesting set of Backpackers in the surprisingly chill city of Kuching.  I really need to write a report or post a video to do this trip justice.  11 days jammed packed with adventure and people.  Kota Kinabalu to Kinabalu Park for the Climbathon race, then hopped a ferry to the sultan country of Brunei with is loaded with oil money, then bussed it to the transient oil town of Miri, flew a prop plane to the Limestone caves of Mulu National Park, another prop plane to Kuching to finish off the last 3 days of the trip partying with backpackers and locals, and watching the goofy Orang-utans and running up Mount Suntoberg at Fastest Known Time speeds. 

Bali.  I officially became a West Australian in November.  Bali is a west Australian playground.  It is cheaper to fly there than Melbourne or Sydney.  I can’t say I really enjoyed it but did have one awesome day walking around the villages.    

Perth Hills.  This isn’t a real destination but I spent a significant time here this year.  I love the trails and the feel of the region, especially during winter when the water falls are in full force.  Most People don’t travel here because it is about 40 minutes’ drive inland from the coast.  I don’t understand it because people choose to live in cookie cutter suburbs on flat land when they could live in a unique neighbourhood in the hills.  To each his own.    

2014.  My travel plans are set thru March with trips planned to Jakarta, Kyoto, and North Island New Zealand.  I am still working out the logistics after march but intended to do my annual 3 week trip home to the USA, Northern India to visit Brother Athang’s School (pictured above), and another trip to Bali/Komodo?.  My running still is not going so great so I don’t want to make any promises but I would love to do the Climbathon in Malaysia in October for a 3rd straight year, the Kepler 60km ultra in New Zealand in December, Mount Fuji in June would be a life list event, and have toyed with the idea of doing a stage race in Nepal.  If I had the chance to do just one of those 4 events, I would be more than satisfied.  But I really just need to use 2014 to build up again.  2015 I will target 100 mile race……….YEA YEA YEA… 

2014 goals.  Secret.

I wish I would have written more, took better pictures, and shared the adventures with people.  I did however manage to somewhat succeed at taking a picture a day for 2013 (still need to update that blog).  I really fell off the ball in November and December because I thought it was a dumb undertaking.  And It was for the most part since I did not spend much time trying to actually improve my photography skills, but quickly flipping through every picture last weekend allowed me to relive the entire year in 5 minutes.  I liked it so much I decided to do it again in 2014.  Take one snapshot that epitomizes the day.  I upgraded phone so I can now take pictures on the phone which will greatly simplify the undertaking.

Favorites of 2013:

Movie: Lincoln (only other movies I can remember watching were: Annie Hall, Cloud Atlas, and Man of Steel).

Book: Choose Yourself by James Altucher.  A big reason why I have started to revaluate my routine during the second half of 2013 and refocus on intentionally living. 

Song: Wally Wider or the Ballad of Speck and Pebble by Delicate Steve (xcmcvey recommendation)

TV: Game of Thrones (all three seasons watched).  Crazy and morally bankrupt show but I can’t imagine the amount of work and dollars that has gone into making it.  Epic.     

I promise to Blog more in 2014…


Pictures aren't working now...so I will update in a few days

December 22, 2013

A Walk in Bali

Going to Bali is a rite of passage for any West Australian. It is the Cancun of Australia. People go there to party and take advantage of the ridiculously cheap way of life. It is cheaper to get to than Sydney You can rent a scooter for 5 dollars per day, my accommodation was never more than 10 dollars per night, meals were never more than 5 dollars with the cheapest and coincidently most enjoyable being the 75 cent Nasi Goreng (an Indonesian staple) purchased at a sweaty night market outside of Lovina.

But I must say, I hated Bali from the start.

On the Airplane, people were just there to party and have fun. There was total disrespect for the flight attendants and obnoxious behaviour. I was ready to get off the plane and get away from tourists.

Upon leaving the airport I was surrounded by "taxi" drivers wanting my business. A taxi driver in Bali is a guy who owns a car and hangs around at the airport for so long that he forgets where he parked his car while his family is sleeping to earn a few extra bucks. I was told to go for the "Bluebird" metered taxes because there is no arguing about the fare. They were right. I got into an argument with him because he specifically told me one price at the beginning, then changed it at the destination saying that it was his accent. The price difference was the equivalent of $2.20. This is not a significant amount of money to me but it was the principle of the matter that annoyed me. I soon learned that this is common in Bali.

I travelled to the north to Lovina, otherwise known as the Kuta in the North.  Kuta is tourist hub in the south lush with shopping malls, expensive hotels, and western style restaurants like hard rock cafe within a stone’s throw of the airport.

I was once again hustled and shown around to all these different hotels they were renting out. All of which were completely empty and cost between 15-25 dollars per night. The entire town was dead because the tourist season ended a few weeks prior. The guy working for the hotel continued to sale me on his hotel, but I insisted I would like to walk around first. Finally, he relented so instead tried a different angle selling me a on a tour the following day with snorkelling, boat rides, and Swedish girls. I quietly listened to his presentation but politely told him I simply want to go up into the mountains. Then he completely changed demeanour pleaded with me because he has a family and he was going bankrupt. I didn’t know what to say, I just didn’t want to go on a boat ride. I felt bad about it.

I strolled barefoot along the sand during sunset with a couple of coconut milks and some cookies. I was hoping to just sit there quietly and watch the sunset.  But I was bombarded by people selling anything from fresh fruit to woven baskets to cooking classes. One guy started by offering to "taxi" me around, then tried to sell me on a boat tour the following day, then snorkelling, dolphin feeding, and eventually evolved to mushrooms? Drugs? Girl? Guy? and finally ended with "What do you want? I can get you anything?" I just want to sit here alone and watch the sunset, mate. 

The next day, I went to rent a scooter to get into the mountains near Munduk, but again I was hustled for some absurd price of 150,000 IDR which is about 3x the competitive price. I didn't even bother negotiating the price down. I just walked out immediately. This is only 15 dollars but I hated how blatantly this guy (and most business owners) tried to exploit the tourists and make an easy buck. I understand they are mostly a poor country, but why not try to run a fair business? I suppose I am forgetting Indonesia is the 4th most corrupt country in the world.  I started to learn that the culture here works that way.

(Here is how businesses work in Bali.  Start off asking 10x the fair market price, some people might not realize and pay anyway and you will have made a week’s salary off one transaction.  I have heard too many stories of people paying 40 dollars for a taxi ride from the airport to Kuta because that is how much it costs in any major Australian City.  The normal metered taxi price is about 5 dollars.  Good Profit there for the driver.  Basically, everything must be negotiated down in Bali.  Everything.  EVERYTHING.)

So I walked out of that place and back to the hotel without any way of getting up the mountain.

So I just kept walking west along the shoreline.

I made a left turn onto a rugged, unnamed road pointing up the mountain towards Munduk.  I immediately began dripping in sweat from the mid-day heat and humidity. But it felt good.  I was just walking through village after village, farming house after farming house, bamboo forest after bamboo forest...UP and UP.  Until the mid-day heat dropped off as I ascended in altitude.

School children in brown uniforms joined me on my journey as they had just been dismissed for the afternoon.  I used the otherwise useless lonely planet pages I printed off to show the children how to make paper airplanes.

There were old Balinese woman with grey hair and straw hats wielding machetes and carrying produce in baskets on their heads. Groups of 3 generations of men congregated to do work together: patch a hole in the roof, repair a fence, burn off excess brush around their homes. Villages of school children joined me on my walk. Most people didn’t speak English, just “Haallo”, but one of the school children did. She happily chatted away with me as her friends looked on curiously.  She wanted to be a teacher.  Then she turned down a dirt trail to her home and was gone.

And then I found myself alone once again. Not in the physical sense because in Bali there are always people around, but I had made it to a town with tourists and businesses where I could quietly disappear into the conformity of a crowd. Was it Munduk? Maybe, I really don't know. Somewhere along the 7 hours of walking it took for me to get there, I forgot about the amazing lakes and waterfalls near Munduk which were highlighted in the guidebook.  Instead, the walk was about feeling a culture and ultimately restored my faith in the good people of Bali. 

Boats by beach in Sanur.

Mie Goreng, not Nasi.  Nasi means rice.  Mie means noodles. It only took a few tries to figure that one out.  

What is that?  It is gasoline for scooters.  I should have asked that question before I sat down next to it to eat my Mie Goreng.  The FDA wouldn't be too happy with these practices.  

One of many rice fields in Bali.

Alley way off the main road in Ubud, Bali

Near Ubud, Bali

15 minute walk outside of Ubud, Bali

Lake in the Central Mountains, near Munduk

Sunset in Lovina, North Bali

Villager walking on road

November 20, 2013

Climbathon 2013

Its been over a month since the race.  Wow.  But I traveled for 10 days after the race in Malaysia/Brunei, went to work for 8 days, then traveled to Bali, and then went back to work for 8.  Now I am off and back in Perth (yep, soup of the day $11.50) so I can finally post this.  I feel very fortunate to be doing what I do.  Here is the race report:

I stood next to Ruth at the start to ease the tension and fear of a really difficult undertaking.  We both came from a similar college running background and could share a laugh together at the quirkiness of the start. 

A local (shirtless?) man with a loud speaker, not officially involved with the race committee, was unleashing some kind of war cry in Malay.  The crowd acknowledged the man with a quick shout.

Two tiny local women who must have been several inches below 5 feet toed the starting line in front of us.  They were wearing long sleeved shirts and plain black rubber shoes.  The girl to the right, Danny, won last year’s race.  Maybe I should wear rubber shoes?  The oddity of the sight reminded me of the start line at the 2010 Imogene Pass run where I looked across to Jason Wolfe and smiled-  Timmy Parr was wearing an old pair of Asics road trainers to run up and over a 13000+ foot mountain.  Tim beat me that day.  Rule #67 of distance running:  it doesn't matter what you wear or how you look, winning trumps everything.

The horn shouted and 50+ plus adventurous souls took off up the mountain.

I started off at warm up pace for the first few minutes still not really knowing how to warm up for a 5 hour race.  Two friends from last year were standing on the side of the road cheering and yelled for me.  I hadn't seen them in a year and was genuinely surprised to see them.  I took 20 seconds to give them a high five and hug before they urged me to refocus my efforts on the race. 

A Muslim woman fully covered in head scarf and long sleeves/pants was running next to me.  I admired her for destroying my silly prejudices but was more interested in how she would cope with the mid-day temperatures on the final road 10km.  (She finished strong).

I worked my way up slowly from the start over the 4 km the road section eventually catching a glimpse of the two Kenyans way out in front (both DNF).  I believe I was in 10th or 12th place heading through Timpohon Gate (4 km into the race) and onto the summit trail. 

I took an opportunity once in the forest to stop and pee as I was feeling a stomach cramp coming on.  Two dudes pass me while stopped.  I started again only to find a camera man 25 meters around the corner.  I looked down and realized I might have restarted my run a little too quickly.  "Hey , Billy Peed his pants.  The guy next to me remained stone faced my joke showing absolutely zero emotion. 

32 minutes into the race, I looked at the watch for the first time.  I was poofed.  Nothing particularly was troubling me, just plain old didn't put in enough work to run up the entire mountain.  This race is hard.  I quickly went into damage control mode by hiking the steeps (aka 85% of the uphill) and only running hard on any temperate or flat grades.
I woke up at 5am in Perth on Thursday after 5 hours of sleep and 10 consecutive days of work to catch my first plane to Kuala Lumpur.  I arrived in Kota Kinabalu that evening after 8pm. I met Alan and Tan Wei at the airport to share a cab to town.   We checked into our hostels and went out to the night market to have dinner.  Alan knew exactly where to go and what to order (and knew everyone at the race having run 13 Climbathons).  He asked in Malay for a certain type of fish from a nondescript stall, and literally picked the fillet off a tray of ice.  The man grilled it on the spot.  Dinner was served.  It was delicious.  The mystery meat was Stingray.  I like Stingray now.  It would be the catalyst for a successful Kinabalu Summit.

On Friday, I caught the race bus from Kota Kinabalu to Kinabalu Park.  The realization set in that this was going to be really hard when I looked up at the mountain during the uncharacteristically clear sunset. 
I had dinner at the hostel along with several other runners.  I had some sort of fried rice chicken then attempted to go to bed at 10pm after talking with some of the other runners. I was still buzzing with excitement as I tried to fall asleep. 

There were 8 people in my room.  Alan, Tan Wei, 4 Filipino guys and a lone Kenyan girl in the corner.  She was lying on the corner bed shivering and not expecting the crisp mile high air.  I gave her the spare jumper I brought.  Her name was Carolyne, the eventual day 2 race winner.  She had been living alone in a hotel room in hot and humid Kuala Lumpur since August racing the Asian road circuit for a few months before heading back to Kenya for Christmas.  It must be a challenging lifestyle but admired her sacrifice and commitment to keep the running dream strong.

The morning couldn't come soon enough because I was ready to get this show on the road.  Carolyne gave me a slap on the hand.  I have been running races for 10 years but her preface advice astounded me with the shear simplicity yet positive vibe it gave me…"Success".  No good luck, or run smart, or quick feet or stay focused or what ever other catchy, useless moniker.  Success.  Just get the job done and do it well, however you define it. 


Course Description: start at Kinabalu Park headquarters (1500m), 4 km road uphill, 9km trail/steps/granite rock face uphill to Summit (4095m), 5km back down summit trail mostly steps, turn down Mesilau trail for km which feels like a never ending torture fest because of the steep ups thrown in the mix, and finally a10km really steep and hilly road section with a little more down than up but finish on a 1km uphill to Kundasang town. 

I knew what to expect.  I covered every bit of the course last year (hiking the summit portion and racing the short course in the lower reaches of the park).  But I was still surprised at how hard it was.  I have incredible respect and admiration for the best guys in the world, the Kilian Jornet and Marco De Gasperi.  Who somehow made it to the summit on the old course in an hour 30 minutes and back down in under one hour over what seems to me a mostly non-runnable course.  These guys run the same course but are playing a different game.  But they were not here this year, just in spirit as whispers of Kilian were heard frequently throughout the race weekend.

The game I was playing this day was to survive.  The relentless technical uphill and steps made my right arm tired from trying to pull myself up the hand rail.  My back throbbed from the irregular effort and stride required to get my body up the mountain as fast as possible.  But I just kept moving, walking if I had to, and boy did have to. 

2:38 minutes to the summit.  30 seconds on the summit to soak in the views on such a clear day.  I made a mental note to enjoy it, to take my mind off the racing aspect and look around.  I was there in Borneo, with ruggedly beautiful landscapes and friendly people, doing what I love to do: expressing myself through motion and adventure. 

I thought the hard work was over when I reached the summit.  I was incorrect. 

I know I am no downhill runner so I didn't feel too bad when a much shorter guy with thick quads blew past me heading down the granite slick rock in the top 1000 meters of the mountain.  I stopped to tie a shoe and kept rolling down the mountain alone.  A Filipino named Dino caught me on the Mesilau Trail portion.  I stepped aside to allow him to pass but he encouraged me that we would do it together.  I then did some of the best technical downhill running I ever had done and he was right on my back coasting along effortless.  I was leading us down the mountain for about 2km when we caught a Frenchman named Guillaune.  At this point, Dino was seemingly ill affected by the downhill and the overall duration of the race.  He zoomed ahead.  Guillaune was in a bad place mentally and physically.  It was too much downhill running for the expat living in Singapore (and this guy living in Australia).

We ran together for the remainder of the trail encouraging one another.  I think we both almost cried when we heard the crowd at the trail/road intersection signalling that we were almost off the hellish, never ending Mesilau.  There were times on the Mesilau trail when I wondered I would make the deceivingly simple cutoff time of 6 hours for 33km.  The trail just kept going down and UP DOWN and UP.  It was not a cake walk.

Leading Guillaune on the Mesilau Trail, I thought I would pull away from him, But like a zombie in a bad horror movie he just kept coming back, he dropped me on the road downhill portion and kept clicking along steady to the finish.  I fell into a bad place just trying to hold on to that spot.  For the first time I noticed the pain in my foot that sidelined me for 4 weeks during my preparations.  I wanted to eat something salty and drink something other than water as my head was pounding and the sun baking.  But as per race tradition:  “Road Marathon is 42 km and you only need water.  This is only 33 km so all you need is water. ”  I safety pinned 4 packets of Gatorade chews to my waste band at the beginning of my race given to me by Gatorade Ambassador Cody Angell who had a pallet of them sitting at his house in North Carolina.

I recognized the course from last year and just had to make it up the final 1 km hill at the end.  Walk- run- Walk-walk- hold off Jeremy, hope Ruth is not close by – walk- RUN the last 200m and give out some high fives to the spectators.  I was a bit dizzy after 5 and 1/3 hours of running.  But felt very happy to finish and live to tell the tale.  

I felt like I had more training under my belt this year but suffered more if that makes any sense.  I finished last year’s 23 km course in about 2 hours 40 minutes.  This year’s 33km course took me 5 hours 20 minutes.  So it took 2 hours and 40 minutes to run that extra 10km to the summit?  I couldn't really understand it.  The only conclusion I reached was that this race is really hard and I was not ready for the duration.  Just plain not in good enough shape to properly tackle it or let alone run for 5 hours.  I was a little bummed about not being closer to the leaders but appropriately realized something as I looked back up the mountain from the finisher’s tent: 

I was just happy to do it, and to be there, and to meet interesting people (what a global bunch!!!) and to finish within the cutoff time.  I was a zero 6 months ago with needles in my back and hip wondering if I was ever going to recreate in the mountains again.  And though I am still not 100%, I’m just glad to toe the starting line at any race and finish.

October 8, 2013


“When the miles come easy, cherish it.”  
~Meb Keflezighi

I planned on having an epic day on the trails for my birthday running 3 loops, 46.5 km or ~28 miles, the Eagle View trail in John Forrest National Park.  But that pipedream was two weeks ago when I was training like a bear in the Perth Hills during my off week.  I quietly logged 5 runs of two plus hours in 6 days. I was just having so much fun putting in the work and living simple.  Wake up, study and self-reflection for 45 minutes, run for two hours or more on forested trails in the Perth Hills, smash a homemade protein shake, ice bath in my friends pool (sill winter here), eat my first meal at 10 or 11 am, read/rest/recover/treat myself to TV movie like 7 years in Tibet or The Dark Knight on lazy afternoon, and then head to the city to meet friends in the evening.  Repeat the next day fully refreshed without any sense of fatigue or soreness.  Cherish it.    

But the accumulation of stress aggravated my right foot/ankle.  I pushed it too hard too soon.  I wrote my victory speech before the battle was finished.  I was dumb.  But I am ok with that.   

My biggest worry last year -27- was my health.  How was I going to get back to running full time again?  Am I ever going to do the things I love in the outdoors again? 

I was literally sitting in a doctor’s office on my birthday getting a referral for yet another test to figure out what was wrong with me.  While it appears that similar fate has found me today with my foot submerged in a tool box filled with ice water, my mindset is completely different.  I am less concerned about my race in two weeks that I am not prepared for because of injury, again, than I was last year. 

The one thing I had to learn during my downfall was to be 100 percent content with never having those experiences again.  I was idolizing a thing, recreation, and not being able to do it dragged down other areas of my life.  I have come to realize that I could never run another race or walk a long trail again and still be content with the accomplishments and experiences I've had.  I heard once that if you love something or someone, let it go.  If it was meant to be, it would come back.   

Today, 28, I am afraid of wasting the opportunity.  I have a lot to be thankful for: job, people in my life, education, two loving parents, no debt, a bank account, relatively good healthy, a car that runs, a car, not having to spend my life savings to pay a people smuggler to transport me to the country I currently reside in, and much more.  I am afraid of squandering life away on worthless pursuits.

Following the world news recently has reinforced the idea that the world is moving fast and crazier than ever.  The US government Shutdown meaning more economic volatility.  Another boat filled with refugees from Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan  Lebanon, and Syria carrying men, women and child sank off the coast of Australia/Indonesia- over 22 drowned to death.  Chemical weapons being used on innocent civilians in Syria.  The siege in Nairobi...The writer at the end of an article on the recent suicide bombings in Iraq casually stated in the final paragraph, “Monday's attacks were the biggest since the Sept. 21 suicide bombings that struck a cluster of funeral tents packed with mourning families in Sadr City, killing at least 104 people…More than 4,500 people have been killed since April.”

I don't really have any political statement or a solution.  The best I can do is not waste the opportunity that so many others would cherish… and it might not always be there for me. 

Overdue actions from last year to carry over to this year:

Start a Major Side project.  Starting a small business or writing a short book or seriously learn to program would be really cool.  However, if I get my running legs back, I feel like I would give it a serious go and try to run some fast times and long races.  Father time is catching up and this takes priority at this point in my life.  I can start business or write a book at any age.

New Hobby, Musical Instrument.  Primarily just to expand my mind and try something new.  I have never done any singing, dancing or instrument playing in my life.  Now would be a good time to try.  Again, running would trump this.  I have no problems with focusing 100 percent on running for a few more years if I can get the ball rolling.

Choose One.  I have so many ideas bouncing around my head.  I think it is about time I stop dreaming and actually choose one and go after it.  I don’t know what this means yet but I hope to understand it better in the next year.

Walk the Walk.  I read all these books and blogs on how to live and be healthy and be happy and be wise and control your own life…etc.  I think I already know what the right things are to do.  I think its time to apply the principles I read about and actually make a difference in my life.  You can subscribe to Runner’s World magazine, but if you don't run, you will never be runner. 

Practice gratitude.  Be thankful every day.  Write it down every night until it becomes habit to think this way.

Read a technical paper daily.  One of the great mining consultants told me to read one technical paper on drilling and blasting (or anything) every day and in 5 years I would be an expert in that field.  30 minutes per day for 5 years and you can be an expert.  Of course, he told me that about 5 years ago when I just started in the workforce.  If only I would have heeded his advice…The second best time to start is now. 

Develop a Healthy Poverty.  I am going along pretty good at this by living out of car the past two years.  But as I get older, many of my peers are buying houses, new cars, getting married which are all great things but I don’t want to succumb to that ever present feeling of doing it just because it’s the THING to do.  My time will come for all of that- maybe.  I aim to get joy out of the small things and be more consistently content with the life I am living.  Annie Dillard puts it so well in her classic A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek:

“The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside by a generous hand. But- and this is the point- who gets excited by a mere penny? But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days.”
Obviously, there is so much to do and not enough time to do it.  I don’t expect to do half of these things.  I just have to keep my foot on the accelerator and cycle through and repeat. 

The web has everything and most of it is free.  Here are a few of the many things I have been checking out.  Who knows what I will be following a year from now?

James Altucher is a weird guy, but some of his easy to follow instruction and funny stories about life make his writing a can't miss.  "There is only one skill: the skill to persist." 

TED Talks.  They have been around a long time but recently I have gotten into a habit of watching one 20 minute talk every night with dinner (when I am at camp).  I have watched about 40 talks since July. I find new ideas come to me more often since I have started this. And fuelled me to write 30 posts in 30 days.  

Ultrarunners.  I have been following runners like Anton Krupica, Dakota Jones, Cameron Clayton, Kilian Jornet, Rickey Gates, Sage Canaday and now shining star Rob Krar (and so many more).  They are sponsored by outdoor companies and race all around the world pretty much full time.  Seems like an awesome life.  Maybe if I start running well again, I can do it too?

Seneca.  Stoicism is a philosophy about I finally started reading letters from a stoic.  It is a big time recommendation from Tim Ferris and I have been wanting/putting it off to read it for years.  I have gotten through about 25 of the letters and still many more to go.   

Ryan Holiday.  I like his concept of keeping a commonplace book.  I have been doing it for years collecting articles and writing outlines/notes on books I have read but am nowhere near as organized as him.  He also reads hundreds of books per year.  I am  on his monthly recommended reading list but I only read like 2 books per month if I am lucky. 

Chase Jarvis Live.  A web tv show where he interviews successful and creative individuals.  I really enjoyed the most recent one featuring Austin…

Intellectual Ventures.  I actually found out about this through a ted talk.  I find the work they do on solving the worlds problems with funding from Bill Gates fascinating.

Too tired right now to add in all the links, just google them.  The internet is all connected anyway.  Every word written on this page and can a link to it.  I think very soon every word typed will have a direct link to another webpage.  The internet is smart and big and scary.  

Picture: Me on my 28th Bday

September 18, 2013

30 days to Kinabalu Climbathon

AHH my foot is hurting now.  Why does my foot hurt Christopher McDougal?  Why?

I don't know if my left leg is ever going to be the same, but I have been training through it.  I still have an achy calf/shin, inner hip/groin, and occasional back pain all on the left side.  It hasn’t got any worse and I know nothing is broken or snapped because Dr. Doss has been over me numerous times with his magic wand (ultrasound).  Maybe it has something to do with nerve damage?  I assume 4 cm cracks in the largest bone in the body don’t magically heal themselves, even after 3 years.  So I will keep on going.  (Update- The last 6 out of 7 days were good, Yesterday the hip was bothering bad but I worked on it mid run and managed to get 5 good hill repeats in.  Today, the 18th my big toe on the right foot is really hurting.  Took the day off)

I have been have been having a great couple of weeks on the trails.  Mileage is the highest it’s been in 3 years, getting in a lot of hilly runs on my days off, and just enjoyed the spring season here in Southwest Australia with abundant waterfalls and wildflowers.  I still want to head to the Stirling Range but commitments and people in Perth coupled with the fact that I am starting to enjoy the Perth routine are keeping me local.  I don't want to throw off the rhythm I am currently in.   

The Perth Hills district is a great place to train.  I have been camping out near Mundaring Weir during my days off.  It is quite hilly by Australian standards and scenic.  I have the option to run trails around the weir, hop on the Bibbulmun track for an out and back, or just run the unmarked local stuff around the Zig Zag road on Gooseberry hill.  My favourite just might be the 15.5km Eagle view loop in John Forrest National Park.  Right now in Spring there are wildflowers and some pretty epic waterfalls from the heavy rains namely National Park Falls and Hovea falls. 

I found the steepest hill I could find in Kalamunda National Park in the Perth Hills district.  I then did it 5 times pushing both the down and up.  It took about 7 minutes on the up and 4 minutes on the down.  I really need to work on the technical downhill running.  That is where I lost most of my time in last year’s Climbathon.   Interestingly, my downhill speed got slightly quicker on the downs as the workout progressed but started to fade bad on the ups.  This indicates the down is more skill based.  If I practice it, I will get faster.  Hmm.

I started following Kilian on Facebook.  Every day he comes out with some pretty epic picture of him adventuring in the mountains with friends or travelling some distant land like Russia.  It seems like he is living a pretty awesome life and just dominating the sport of mountain and trail running.

Marathon Talk had an interview with Jeff Eggleston.  I finished second to Jeff Eggleston several times on some hill climb races in Arizona around 2009-10.  I liked the fact that he was doing those types of events while being a professional marathoner.  Obviously, that strength work he was doing a few years and consistency overtime is paying off.  He did a podcast recently on marathon talk.  His signature long run workout caught my attention.  It is basically a morning and afternoon run of 25 km each with a total of 75% of it done at marathon race pace.  The interesting part was how he restrict his diet in between runs to train his body to burn fat.  Think about it, 50km in a day with 37-38 km (23 miles) at race pace.  I may have to try a modification of that for my future ultra/marathon training. 

I heard on the radio an interview with people about what has changed in Perth in the last 20 years.  The number 1 thing was the Diversity.  People coming from all over the world to live here.  It truly is a diverse place.  I jumped in the car today to drive around the mine site and there wasn't one Australian.  Kiwi, South African, Brit and American.  An Italian Backpacker staying near Fremantle told me he is learning French faster english because there are so many of them hanging out there.  It is really cool to live in such a diverse place.