Everything in Moderation

Friday, January 16, 2015

Merit Endurance Blog

Through mutual friends, Blaine and I met photographer/adventurer/designer Jason Eichhorst down in Salt Lake City, Utah on our second of three road trips west. At that time, he was just discovering that long days on foot, minimally clad, in the mountains could prove equally exciting to long days spent skinning on skis, the method by which he'd mostly toured the Wasatch peaks near his home over the previous years. He showed us around some of the biggest mountains I've ever climbed while we were there, and then we shared beers and stories afterwards. (I like to remind him that at that time he was mountain running in climbing approach shoes and cut-off jean shorts : ).

Since then, we've stayed in touch via the internets and social media mostly and our exchanges have centered around our mutual love for trail running, gear, mountains, and coffee. On our most recent trip across, we met up with him again in SLC to share food, beer, and stories. At that time, he'd just completed his first hundred miler, The Bear, and his stoke-level for ultra/adventure/mountain running seemed to be at an all-time high. That entusiasm is evident in one of his latest projects, Merit Endurance . The guy definitely has an eye for design and pretty much anything aesthetically rad:

On this blog, he interviews some masters of endurance, and also showcases some great videos and photography. He even posted my silly little poem on the "Thought Collective" page. Thanks Jay!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Who am I?

Yesterday I woke up with a poem in my head. This sort of thing NEVER happens. To be clear, I'm not a writer and definitely don't fancy myself a poet. I just couldn't stop thinking about how similar my morning ritual of making coffee (hand grinding the beans and then brewing coffee in the french press) is so similar to heading up the local peak. I'm not sure why I never thought about it. Anyway, here is my sad first attempt at a poem:

Morning Ritual

Blurry eyes.
Fingers fumble to find ties.

Pour them one by one into things that grind.
Start slowly,
sleep still owns.

One at a time they go,
twisting, turning, popping, cracking.

They start to kick up, up, up.
Faster now, as eyes clear.

Whirring, burring
turning, grinding, churning.

What lies ahead, uncertainty,
familiarity, freedom

See the flecks of rays.
Smell the approaching apex.
The joy that grinding brings.

Add water,
That other thing.

Spend a few moments here,
Extract all you can:
bitterness from burn,
sweetness of summit,
the fruits of your labor.

It’s time to go down.
Pour out your heart,
press the plunger.
Flow forth that liquid movement,
down, down, down, effortless

until the vessel is full.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Just finished reading this tome:

Which was pretty good, but ultimately went on a bit too long for my liking. Blaine loved it, however, and marked it as one of the best books she's read in a long while, so maybe check it out. 

Meanwhile, I'm now reading this:

Which is absolutely doing it for me. I love non-fiction, and especially works that are close examinations of weird aspects of our world or interesting characters. In this, Kerry Howley becomes obsessed with two MMA fighters and provides readers with a glimpse into the interesting subculture of cage fighting. She's also a successful academic and philosophy PhD candidate, so it's well written and she provides a unique filter through which we're able to view this world.

Speaking of books, The Morning News Tournament of Books released its list yesterday.

Check out the 2015 list of books and judges HERE. 

Blaine and I always try to read as many of these books as possible. 

The only book from the list that I've read so far is:

This is a collection of short stories, all war related. The first story, titled "Redeployment", is by far the best in the collection. It had me in tears. At around 15 pages, you could probably read it in the aisle of your local bookstore. I highly recommend it, but get ready to feel.

Finally, if you haven't yet given it a listen, get ready to get hooked:

You can give this podcast a listen for free HERE.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

2014 Candle Time: Looking back and looking ahead

(I love this candle x-mas present from my mom and dad!)
A family of friends of ours (2 adults, 2 younger kids) have this nightly ritual right before the kids' bedtime that begins with the lighting of candle. I stayed with this family for about a month this past summer, so I was lucky enough to get to partake in "Candle Time" on numerous occasions. 

Since Blaine has been back in Oregon, she's joined for a couple of Candle Times as well. While the ritual itself is quite simple and takes just a little time, the daily devotional practice is a big deal for the family. Here's how it works:

1. Each person present that evening (including visitors!) goes around and expresses a gratitude based on his or her day
2. After everyone has shared, all bodies present sing together a little song that the family has written (I won't give away the lyrices, but it's a kind of group gratitude for each other and it's very sweet)
3. Each person takes a turn sharing an intention for the next day
4. The group "Oms" together 3 times  (The family identifies with Buddhist philosophy)
5. Depending on the day of the week, one of the kids blows out the candle, signaling the completion of Candle Time.

On my run this Christmas Day morning up Spencer Butte, I was thinking about the 2014 year coming to a close and how I have so much to be grateful for. Rather than do my typical yearly recap where I list a bunch of meaningless numbers that do little beyond spawning comparisons, I thought I might shift things this year and use the model of Candle Time for my end of the year blog post. So, here goes:

GRATITUDES for 2014:

I have a body that moves well and allows me to do some pretty cool things. I have a brain that thinks quickly and reflects. I have a heart that pumps blood reliably and also feels emotions. I am grateful for my health.

I am grateful for my loving, beautiful, talented, and devoted wife. She sacrificed a whole lot to move back to Oregon with me, and she has certainly put up with plenty of my bullshit. She has been my constant rock and my best friend through everything. I have a soul mate. I am lucky.

I am grateful for a family that has provided me with a strong model for love and commitment. A dad that taught me how to be a good man/husband and treat people well. A mom who models selflessness and care for others. A sister who teaches me math : ) AND how to be a better person. She holds me accountable when I need it. They have selflessly allowed me to adventure and grow out here in Oregon, even though it means being far away from them. I love them all dearly and not a day passes where I don't think about each of them back in NC. I hope they know how much I love them.

I am grateful for my job and finding a career I love. It's not an easy job; it challenges me and it takes up a lot of my mental/emotional real estate, but it also nourishes my soul. It provides me the opportunity to help other people, and I have deep gratitude for the team of therapists and the clients with whom I work.

I am grateful for the community of friends I've discovered here in Oregon. From people I met at the University of Oregon in my Couples and Family Therapy program, to the Tuesday Night Hunters, and to all those people I've met through these two systems. They've taken me in as their own, and for that I am grateful.

INTENTIONS for 2015:

Improve as a husband and as a person.

Consider what it would be like to become a father.

Help us get out of debt from our two moves/settling back in here. Live simply, finding a sustainable balance between earning and spending.

Worry less about money : ).

Continue working towards licensure for Couples and Family Therapy, while helping those who suffer from eating disorders and other mental illnesses.

Read lots of books, but don't feel obligated to finish the ones I'm not enjoying.

Spend less time looking at my phone, and more time looking at the people I care about.

Pet my dogs more.

Play ukulele regularly and laugh at my inadequacies.

Finish the two ultras I'm signed up for. Qualify for WS lottery again.

Climb harder bouldering routes, at least a grade or two.

Bike to work a couple of times each week.

Get Blaine on top of a big mountain in Oregon.

Sleep outside more.

Play LOTS of disc golf.

Find more frequent and consistent ways of communicating with family and friends who are far away.

Smile and laugh more.

Om, Om, Ommmmmmmm : )

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Lotteries, or, Lest you think I've stopped trail running...

Didn't get picked this year in the lottery for this one:

So, in order to get a qualifier and another ticket for next year's lottery, I put in for this:

Proceeded, with "The Hammer" to get chosen for Miwok in May. Proceeded to freak out, and then put in for the lottery for this most competitive of 50 milers on a whim, so as to have a long training run in books:

Proceeded to get chosen for this today AND with ALL of the hunters who also entered the lottery. Proceeded to freak out and be very excited. 

It's gonna be a fun season of running down in sunny California!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

What a week of exercise looks like for me right now

20 minutes of Foundation Training in the morning

Bike to work and back at the end of the day (an hour/ ~14 miles on the bike total)

Push-ups/Core circuit

2 hour Hunt/Trail Run (~10 miles, 2,000' gained)

20 minutes of Foundation Training in the morning

Bike to work and back at the end of the day (an hour/ ~14 miles on the bike total)

~1 hour of playful bouldering at the gym on the way home

Push-ups/Core circuit

Bike to work and back at the end of the day (an hour,/~14 miles on the bike total)

~1 hour of playful bouldering at the gym on the way home

20 minutes of Foundation Training in the morning

90 minute Trail Run (~9 miles, 1,500' gained)

Bike to bar : )

1 round of Disc Golf at Alton Baker (+4 and a new course PB for me!)

~1 hour of playful bouldering at the gym

Bench press/core circuit

2 hour Trail Run (~12 miles, 1000')

Cougar Hot Springs soak

Watch Star Wars

Noteworthy: Feeling STRONG all around for the first time in a while. On the runs, I feel excited and spry, not like I'm just slogging through mileage or vertical. Biking to work has been excellent. It's a time to plan/prepare for what's ahead or reflect on the day. It provides a much needed transition from work to home and increases the time I get to be outside. Also, I've fallen in love again with bouldering.

Foundation Training has had visible effects on my posture and strength (I've been doing the first DVD for 3 weeks now, but had been doing the video below daily for about 3 weeks before that) and the increased power/engagement in my posterior chain is helping me feel more strong and protected on runs and when climbing at the gym, but also just in general with everyday movements. It's crazy because the postures are so simple, but you can feel results so quickly. I started with these videos:

Here's the Ted Talk.

Here's the 4 min thing I did daily for a while at the start of the day, before I ordered the 2 DVD set.

Let me know what you think!

Friday, December 12, 2014


Saw this film last weekend with Blaine:

And we loved it! Favreau's comedy is a celebration of food, cooking, and the bringing together of people around these things. A lot of what I was writing about in my last post is exemplified in this film. BUT: Spoiler Alert: It'll make you really want a grilled cheese on white bread and all the Cuban Sammies : ).