– the blog –

Picnic Training - Week 14 23 April 2019

April 14, 2019 to April 20, 2019

Sunday - 2.25 hours bouldering at NE Circuit

Monday - Rest Day

Tuesday - 1.5 hour bike ride (20 miles, 1600 ft)

Wednesday - 1 hour swim (3000 yds) and 5 miles of bike commuting.

Thursday - 18 laps on Mt. Tabor stairs (2400 ft) and 7.5 miles of bike commuting

Friday - 1 hour swim (2,725 yds) and 5 miles of bike commuting

Saturday - 2 laps biking Lost Lake Rd. (54 miles, 6400 ft) and 2 laps backcountry skiing Palmer Snowfield (7.7 miles, 4500 ft)

So. This was a pretty decent week. My swim on Tuesday had me enjoying an entire lane to myself, which made it easy to accumulate fast laps. Thursday involved unseasonably warm temperatures, and since I had not done Tabor laps in a while I decided to put in some time on the stairs to give my leg muscles a non-bike workout.

And then, there was Saturday. Hee hee. Oh boy, I was still feeling those Tabor stairs in my calves and hamstrings when we started our first lap up to Lost Lake at 7am. The early morning weather was cool and the sky was solidly overcast. The sun had not even peeked over the eastern hills when we started, and there was a light, cool wind blowing from Mt. Hood. I think I spent the entire first lap just stretching out my muscles and getting them motivated to climb 3200 ft. Towards the top there was a couple of feet of snow on the sides of the road and it was at least 10 degrees cooler than at the car. The normally speedy descent had to be checked because the upper road was wet from snow melt and quite slick.

The second lap was still tiring but the sun was out and my body was suitably warmed up. According to Strava, my elapsed time was faster the second lap but it did not include my quick bathroom break at the Lola Pass junction. The descent was exhilarating and I may have pushed it a bit on the rolling hills and flats.

Back at the car, we quickly snacked, cleaned up a bit, and packed up for the hour drive up to Timberline Lodge. When we reached Timberline, it was both warm in the sun but chilly if you sat around thanks to a cool wind coming off the mountain. The skin up was steamy though. The sun beat me down a bit and the last thousand feet up to the top of the Palmer ski lift was rough. I actually had to count steps to keep myself moving. The ski down in the corn snow was lovely, if a bit tiring.

After a break for food and water, we started our second lap up Palmer. Tina really wanted to make it a 10K day for elevation, which we estimated required going most of the way back up. More wind had come in with some darker, heavier clouds to the west, which meant this was a chillier lap. By the time we stopped to turn around, visibility had lessened and I had to quickly put on more layers and my warm ski gloves. The corn snow had frozen and it was challenging to distinguish sky from ground, so it was not the greatest fun skiing down.

Being done felt quite amazing and we had a nice dinner at Mt. Hood Brewing Co. before heading to Portland. Solid day of training.

Picnic Training - Week 13 15 April 2019

April 7, 2019 to April 13, 2019

Sunday - 2.5 hours bouldering at NE Circuit

Monday - Rest day.

Tuesday - 2 hour bike ride (28.4 mi, 2680 ft)

Wednesday - 45 minute swim (2000 yds) and 5 miles bike commuting

Thursday - 2 hours bouldering at NE Circuit

Friday - 1.7 hour bike ride (20.3 mi, 1614 ft)

Saturday - Mt Defiance hike (14.6 mi, 5774 ft) + Dog Mountain hike (6 mi, 2798 ft)

Our original plan was to do two laps on Mt. Defiance on Saturday. However, the Starvation Ridge trail had a small landslide, requiring a 30 minute detour to get around it, and then we hit snow about 2/3rds of the way up. Immediately past Warren Lake–and still an hour from the summit–we got enveloped in a rather nice snowstorm with wind. On the way down we made the call that perhaps another lap of Defiance was not worth it, so we headed over to Dog Mountain and did a lap there. Dog Mountain had no snow but the wind up top was whipping pretty hard. By time it was all said and done, it was 6:30pm, which made for a fairly long day. We considered a second lap on Dog Mountain but decided we wanted dinner more than we wanted to be out hiking past 9pm. Weird, right?

It does seem a bit odd that we keep on bouldering twice a week, despite it not really contributing to our Picnic training. On the flip side, I sent a v6 and two v5s this week, and it does provide some manner of cross training as well as socializing with friends. By the end of the month, I suspect I will only boulder once a week and use that "free time" to do another swim or bike ride.

Picnic Training - Week 12 8 April 2019

March 31, 2019 to April 6, 2019

Sunday - 2.5 hours bouldering at NE Circuit

Monday - Rest day.

Tuesday - Sick day!

Wednesday - 1 hour bike ride (16.2 miles, 774 feet)

Thursday - 1.5 hour bike ride (19.3 miles, 1732 feet)

Friday - 2.5 hours bouldering at NE Circuit

Saturday - 5 hour bike ride (63 miles, 5328 feet)

Woke up at 4am Tuesday morning with a congested nose and unhappy throat, so this week ended up being a little easier than originally planned. Bailed on all of the swimming, took an extra day off, and my mid-week bike rides were shortened. Busting my butt last Saturday, doing a solid morning of climbing on Sunday, and then hanging out with a 2-year old Sunday night may have contributed to my illness. Maybe.

The Saturday long bike ride was originally supposed to be a double hike of Mt. Defiance, but it was more or less a downpour in the Columbia Gorge that morning and I still had nasal passages full of ickiness. No reason to risk getting more sick. By 11am the rain had stopped in Portland though, so I put on my bike gear and headed out to do four climbs in the West Hills. Solid Type II fun, especially with the headwind on the way back into town. Whee?

Picnic Training - Week 11 1 April 2019

March 24, 2019 to March 30, 2019

Sunday - 3.5 hours bouldering at NE Circuit

Monday - Rest day.

Tuesday - ~1 hour swim (2,475 yards), 1.5 hour bike ride (21 miles, 1627 ft)

Wednesday - 17 easy laps on Tabor stairs (2400 ft) and 7 miles biking to/from.

Thursday - 1 hour swim (2,750 yards) and 7 miles commuting

Friday - 2 hours bouldering at NE Circuit

Saturday - Double Dog Mountain hike (11.5 miles, 5827 ft) and Triple Seven Mile Hill Summit Bike Ride (37.5 miles, 4931 ft)

Look at that fun Saturday! We are less than two months out from our Mt. Hood Picnic Day, so it was time for a hard workout combining two of the activities. It delivered! I started the Dog Mountain hike still feeling my calves from the Tabor Stairs on Wednesday and thinking that it was going to be a long day. Yet, we finished an hour earlier than expected. During our activities we only took short 5 minute breaks at the top and bottom of each climb. And then there was an hour between the hiking and biking, since we needed to drive to Mosier from Dog Mountain, take a bathroom break, and change into biking gear.

The only trouble I had was that during the last climb up to the top of Seven Mile Hill, my legs felt devoid of energy. My breathing was easy but my legs felt heavy; simply not enough calories got absorbed into the system. This is a problem I have noticed during longer intense exercise days like trail runs around Mt. Hood. Somewhere around 5-6 hours, I lose the nutrition battle. A part of this is that I lose my appetite for bars and sweets rather quickly and I am not sure my other foods are digested quick enough to help. An area to work on.

Picnic Training - Week 10 24 March 2019

March 17, 2019 to March 23, 2019

Sunday - 1.75 hours on bike trainer. 30 minute ankle rehab + core workout

Monday - 1 hour windy bike ride (1000 ft, 16.5 miles)

Tuesday - 2 hour windy bike ride (2,270 ft, 27.5 miles)

Wednesday - 10 easy laps on Tabor stairs and 7 mile biking to/from.

Thursday - Rest Day with bit of ankle rehab

Friday - Snowy Dog Mountain hike (2800 ft, 6 miles), damp Council Crest bike ride (1500 ft, 19.5 miles)

Saturday - 2 mile pool swim

Our local community pool was closed this week, which made training a bit challenging with an ankle still recovering from injury. Ended up doing a fair number of shorter bike rides: 78 miles total, according to Strava, and that does not include the nearly two hours on the trainer. On Friday, we took work off with the intention of hiking Dog Mountain twice. A little over a mile in, we found snow on the trail and it continued most of the way to the summit. One lap was enough for my ankle, so we headed back to Portland and did a quick Council Crest ride. Not quite all I hoped for, but the ankle should only get stronger.

Picnic Training - Week 9 16 March 2019

March 10, 2019 to March 16, 2019

Sunday - 2.5 hours bouldering at NE Circuit

Monday - Rest Day

Tuesday - Rest Day

Wednesday - Rest Day

Thursday - 5 miles of bike commuting. 1.1 mile pool swim

Friday - 1.75 hours on bike trainer, a short ankle + core workout

Saturday - 5 miles of bike commuting. 2 mile pool swim

At the tail end of Sunday's bouldering session, I went to fetch a long-handled brush for a friend and tripped over my own foot thanks to carpet drag. Minor ankle roll. So, three days of rest with minor walks and movement to help the ankle get back its range of motion, and then a couple swims and a bike trainer session. Not what I hoped to do this week with the mild weather, but whatcha going to do? Next week is unlikely to be too hard either as there is still some pain + soreness down there.

40 Thoughts on Turning 40 12 March 2019

  1. This birthday happened sooner than I expected. At some point, you are just living your life, day to day, month to month, doing your thing, and then the year 40 rolls around. Oh, is it here? Already? Well, come on inside, I just put the kettle on.
  2. I entered my 30s having no real clue what I was doing with my life and it shows. My 20s, on the other hand, had me working at one job for four and a half years and living in one house for over five years. When that stability ended, I got a little unfocused.
  3. It has been almost ten years since I was last to Scotland.
  4. Injuring my right knee and the long road to recovery really screwed with my head. There are certain events where the only way to think of them is as there being a time before and a time after. One little slip completely changed the direction of my life. I still think about what my life would have been without it.
  5. And yet, that injury led to a new appreciation for how much I love being physically strong and out of doors. So, um, that’s good?
  6. Thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and moving back to Portland immediately after really screwed with my head. Like the knee injury, I now think of my life as a time before the PCT and a time after the PCT. I doubt there has been a single day that I have not daydreamed about strapping on a pack and going for another long walk.
  7. A voice in my head continually wonders why, with the plethora of trees in my neighborhood, I need to wait until I get home to pee.
  8. Despite all of my skiing and mountaineering photos, I am actually not that fond of being cold.
  9. I swing between acceptance and dorky rage about losing hair on top of my head. I mean, come on! It was so lush! And my forehead is just getting HUGE! ::sigh::
  10. At last check, I had four grey hairs in my beard. That does not seem to really bother me at all.
  11. The amount I have saved for retirement is no where near enough, which is a bit embarrassing considering my income potential.
  12. Thanks to Amelia’s cats, especially Diego, I think I am ok with cats now. But in my heart, I still want a dog.
  13. Despite all of my donations, regular messages to my representatives, public comments to government agencies, and a general attempt to stay informed and engaged…I am not sure anything I did last year made a damn difference.
  14. Fresh bread, made by your own hand, is pretty great.
  15. My health is good. No disease or illness exists and my activity level remains exceptionally high. Even with all of the injuries and damage to pretty much, well, everything, my physical problems are manageable. I suspect another knee intervention is drawing near though.
  16. Professionally, more and more I am convinced that half of what most developers and engineers spend their time on is a complete waste. Poor management, bad direction, and incompetence are rampant in my industry.
  17. Where the hell is The Doors of Stone, Rothfuss? I’m not getting any younger here!!
  18. I trim my nasal hairs now. That’s a thing.
  19. My unibrow, after a very productive couple decades, has really chilled out though. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.
  20. When I first read Stalin’s Barber, I did not really understand the point of a Turkish singeing. That is no longer the case and I promise this is the last mention of hair in this entry.
  21. After a year and a half of regular bouldering, I am concerned that I am always going to feel like a shit climber with no appreciable skill. Probably would be helpful to stop watching videos on Instagram of climbers who have been climbing for literal decades.
  22. Still not King.
  23. I have rewatched The Force Awakens, Last Jedi, Solo, and Rogue One in the last year. While I enjoyed them a smidgen more the second time around, Empire Strikes Back still blows them all out of the water.
  24. Before I turned 30, a number of people kept on telling me to watch out because my metabolism would start to slow down. Well, losers, here I am at 40 and I still spend more than $400 a month on food. I’M STILL WAITING!!
  25. This is the age at which I became a CTO of a technology company. Ha ha, that kid, he had no idea what he was in for.
  26. We really need to set up a pull-up bar and/or hangboard at home. Our current house is really quite old and has not been the best maintained, so I am rather uneasy about mounting anything as I am not sure it would bear my weight.
  27. This is half my age plus seven years. Um, yeah, no way, no how.
  28. The Cascadia subduction zone unnerves me. At any moment, a colossal earthquake could occur and completely devastate the region. It is a major contribution to why I have never bought a home here. It may be 50 years before it happens but the uncertainty does not sit well with me.
  29. Not sure if it is age or all the time I have spent outdoors this past decade, but I find the city extremely loud and smelly. Painfully so. On days when I am tired or have not eaten recently, the amount of sensational intrusion can make me rather anxious.
  30. Thirty is the sum of the first four squares, which makes it a square pyramidal number. Make one out of zinc and then you can be a true nerd.
  31. I am still a little weirded out that I bought a brand new car. I researched options, compared prices, negotiated, and even got a car loan. All the things! And now I have a shiny car where everything works properly and there are heated seats. Every so often I still get a whiff of new car smell. Weird.
  32. The age when I first started drinking coffee. Made it all the way through Reed College and two startups before Pre-Med in my 30s required this level of mental booster.
  33. I still listen to Disney musical numbers on an almost daily basis. In fact, I am listening to one right now while I write this. No apologies.
  34. Bicycling may kill me. Thousands of miles of biking a year and with the growing population in Portland there is significantly more car traffic, so I feel less safe on the road. You have to be a very defensive biker as you never know when one careless driver on their phone may turn right in front of you. Without exaggeration, it happens on nearly every single bike ride. It seems like it is simply a matter of time before Tina or I are in an accident. It weighs on my mind.
  35. Posted on Twitter: “The person you were at 22 does not get to decide who you have to be for the rest of your life.” This is solid advice. Things change, people change, and you can change the entire direction of your life if you want to. It’s yours.
  36. God does not exist. I believe that. I have faced my own mortality often enough that it is not some loosely held belief tossed at the first scent of death. If anyone, post-Paul, says otherwise, tell them to politely fuck off.
  37. Bataffleck is the best Batman.
  38. Some people say they would never go back to when they were 18, 21, 25, 30, whatever. Me? Totally would. I am willing to give it another shot. And then another, and then another. I mean, think of all the things I could try with my life. Eesh, it’s like people are satisfied with a single data point. Where’s your sense of scientific curiosity?
  39. When it comes down to it, you really need so little to survive. Food and water. Shelter. Most days I really believe that and cannot believe the level of luxury I live in. Other days, I think to myself, “Come on, just buy a second pair of pants, Paul.”
  40. My biggest concern for the future is what mankind is doing to this planet and all of the life on it. The current books I am reading are Poached by Rachel Nuwer and The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells. The words “crisis” and “catastrophe” are an understatement. We are destroying our home and the majority of humans are not paying attention.

Picnic Training - Week 8 10 March 2019

March 3, 2019 to March 9, 2019

Sunday - 3.75 hours bouldering at NE Circuit

Monday - 9 miles of bike commuting. 1.5 mile pool swim

Tuesday - Bike ride (21 miles, 1700 ft)

Wednesday - Rest Day

Thursday - 5 miles of bike commuting. 1.5 mile pool swim

Friday - 2.5 hours bouldering at NE Circuit

Saturday - 4 hour bike ride (49 miles, 4500 ft)

The weather was finally good, so we got in a longer weekend bike ride. Went out past Sauvie Island and then did a few hills before heading towards Council Crest. While we were on Newberry Rd, we paused and got to see the construction finally happening to repair the road. Looking good but the road is completely closed until they finish. Took Wednesday off as I was feeling a bit tired and sore all over, so I wanted a bit of a rest.

Picnic Training - Week 7 4 March 2019

February 24, 2019 to March 2, 2019

Sunday - 3.5 hours bouldering at NE Circuit

Monday - 1.75 mile pool swim

Tuesday - Cold and windy bike ride (21 miles, 2000 ft)

Wednesday - 16 laps on Mt. Tabor stairs (4 miles, 2400 ft)

Thursday - 1.25 hours bouldering at NE Circuit

Friday - Backcountry Ski on Mount St. Helens (12.6 miles, 6300 ft)

Saturday - 1 mile pool swim and 9 miles of biking around town

The training keeps on building. We had no rest days this week, instead we decided to have two easy days surrounding our St. Helens climb, which we knew was going to be a fairly long day. Even with no rest days, our bodies seemed to handle the training load well. Short 15-20 minute naps a couple times a week in the late afternoon are becoming a regular habit though.

Picnic Training - Week 6 24 February 2019

February 17, 2019 to February 23, 2019

Sunday - Downhill skiing at Mt. Bachelor.

Monday - Rest day!

Tuesday - 1.5 hours on bike trainer.

Wednesday - 1 mile swim.

Thursday - Council Crest bike ride (20 miles, 1600 ft). Red Cross Blood Donation.

Friday - Rest day. Biked 4 miles to tea.

Saturday - Mt. Hood Backcountry Ski from Gov't Camp to Silcox Hut (8 miles, 3300 ft)

After an exhausting weekend of climbing, backcountry skiing, and downhill skiing while still being sick, this week necessitated me not pushing it too hard. My body was feeling a bit worn out and needed an easier workout schedule. Also, my regular blood donation was scheduled weeks ago for Thursday, which hard experience has shown requires a full day off afterwards or else I feel poorly for much longer. Backcountry skiing on Saturday felt relatively fine though.