– T.S. Eliot



Why do I run Ultras? That is a good question to ask. I mean why spend hours upon hours in training, so you can run 50 to 100 miles in a single race. To be so sore the next day that you sometimes need help just getting around. What is that about? Really? Have I gone crazy? Hmmm. I came late, so to speak to the Ultra Running scene. But from about age 25 I have always had the idea to do one but never had the time. Thinking back, it might have been related to age and a single button that changed it all. The big 5-0 transformed me – there are things that you tell yourself you will get around to, but getting around to them might not ever come if you wait too long.

When I hit the half century mark I was working at a Management Job in Health Care – it was not good for me. Very long hours in a position that has been likened to: “Trying to Herd Cats.” In the process of doing this job I gained 30 pounds in two years. The eye opener came one morning when I went to button an extra-large shirt and it did not fit. I am not a large man – 5’5″. So to be wearing an extra-large shirt in the first place should have been a warning sign. But we have a tendency to rationalize things. Luckily it was that one single button, midway between the abdomen and chest that got me to pay attention. So that was it – no more “feeling like a dog chasing its tail.” Made a plan to quit the management job, revaluated priorities, decided I was going to do an Ultra. Just that simple? Of course it is never just that simple but that can wait for another story.

My first Ultra was the Run Rabbit Run at Steamboat Springs in September 2013 – the 50 miler. I was 51 years old and scared to death. I had read several books on running Ultras, surfed the web for information, and subscribed to Ultra Running Magazine. AND I had trained. But the mind wanders into dark corners. I was nervous enough that I did not sleep the night before, almost talked myself out of showing up. The only way I got myself to the starting line was taking it one small step at a time: Just get dressed, make and drink some coffee, eat a muffin, just get in the car, drive, etc…. I eventually made the start. I was actually early.

Because it is September the 50 mile race starts in the dark. And if you are slow enough like me, it finishes in the dark. The day before the event – the race director Fred Abramowitz had a pre-race briefing. The one thing he said that stuck in my mind was “For you first timers, at about the 30 mile mark you are going to look down at your running shoes, which may be covered in vomit, and say to yourself why the hell am I doing this? That is the moment you must not quit. If you can get through this point you will make it.” This point or moment came for me at the Rabbit Ears turn around. I so wanted to quit. I had just run 25 miles and the realization that I had another 25 to go made me nauseated. But I remembered Fred’s words and continued – believe it or not – in a few miles things actually got better.

By the time I got to the top of the ski hill (Mt. Werner) it was dark and I was exhausted but there was only about 7.5 miles to go and all of it downhill – about 3000 feet of downhill. At this naive point I felt that I could finish this. That it was actually going to be a reality. That was until I started running downhill. In the back of my mind I remembered someone telling me that the downhill parts in the last stages of an Ultra can be the hardest. They were not kidding. Wow – I would run a little ways, walk a little ways, and run a little ways. There was pain in this descent, intense pain, but not pain like an injury. It could be more described as a “powerful soreness.” A soreness that you have to experience because words fail to describe it. When that finish line came into view, I became what can only be described as jubilant, euphoric, enraptured, and ecstatic. I have never felt this way with any other activity, except well, maybe a cardinal one? In Ultra’s there is a boundary you cross that you do not realize is there. When you successfully cross it your world changes. I wanted to dance, to sing, to shout out to the world that I did this and I am invincible! I felt on top of the world, nothing else mattered! Civilization could end tomorrow and I did not care. After that experience I was hooked on doing Ultras.

Of course, all of this only lasted for about 30 minutes and then I needed my daughter’s help to get back to the car and for her to drive me back to the motel. The picture below shows me at the end of the race in 2013. I was second to last in finishing and it did not matter. I had crossed the boundary!

Well, that is about all for this week – hope to see you out there!!







– Ralph Waldo Emerson


My youngest daughter has been on Spring Break this week and we have been doing a little downhill skiing. On Monday we were up at A-Basin. Beautiful spring conditions, temperatures between 30 to 40 degrees, mild wind and brilliant sunshine. The resort was a little crowded but not too bad. The lower lift line was only about a 5 to 10 minute wait at the most, the upper lift was 5 minutes or less. Really could not have asked for more – well I guess you could have asked for a powder day. But, oh well you cannot have everything. The other nice thing about this type of spring skiing is that you do not need to be up at the crack of dawn to get first chair, you can sleep in a little bit. And actually getting there early can be detrimental due to the freeze / thaw cycle that occurs. In the AM the ski slopes are usually icy and as hard as concrete. But wait a few hours and they have softened up to a hard butter like consistency. Perfect for making beautiful sweeping turns. The picture above is at the top. The elevation at this point is about 13,000 feet. On Monday when this picture was taken, there was no wind for several hours and temps in the 30s. Hard to believe. In Fort Collins this same day, the temp was close to 80.

March in Colorado can always be a little unpredictable on the Front Range. One day you can have snow and temps below 30 degrees and the next day it can be sunny and 70 out. It can make life a little interesting at times. Fortunately that has not been the case this week. The Front Range has seen mild temperatures, cold in the morning (30s) and warm in the afternoon (60 to 80 degrees). Add in a little sun, clouds and some much needed rain and you have beautiful running weather. So when we were not out skiing, it was back to training for the Quad Rock in May. It was nice to not have to use the running tights or a jacket this week. The picture above is part of a trail run right behind Fort Collins in the start of the foothills. There is an initial elevation change of about 500 feet. You run up one hog-back and down the other side to Horsetooth Reservoir and along a trail that goes down to the East side of the lake. There are multiple trails in the area and you can make this a 5 to 20 mile plus run if you want. I am looking North to Northwest in the above picture. In the one below I am in the same position but look East out over Fort Collins. These pictures were taken yesterday on Thursday – the temperature was about 60 degrees, with clouds and sun in the area. And strangely enough – no wind. Simply just beautiful. I feel very fortunate to have this resource right in my backyard.

Well that is it for me this week. HAPPY VERNAL EQUINOX!! And have a great weekend – hope to see you out there!!







CORPORATISM – the control of a country, state or organization by large corporate groups.











I know now that I have been living in a bubble. A bubble that has been created by the merging of the government and the corporate world. I now live in the time of “Corporatism.” Until recently I never stopped to think about what it means to be part of a corporation. Working on the “patient side of health care” for the last 30 years my focus was very narrowed – when the work day was done so to speak – it came down to only one thing: Did we do the best that we could to take care of the patient. Nothing else really mattered. When hospitals changed from one corporation to another the only difference I saw was who signed my check. Yes I was living in the bubble.

Now whether you think it is the best thing since sliced cheese or put it in the same category as Ebola – like it or not – Obama Care as it has been coined, did one thing for a lot of us narrow minded, patient centered professionals – it woke us up! I had to ask myself: Universal Health Care for all? Why would this be a problem in the USA? We are one of the richest countries on earth. Surely we would be able to figure this out? Hmmmm!? So I started to read about corporations, how they started, why we have them, the good points and the bad points, and one interesting idea that related corporations and the public to Biology. The idea is that you can look at corporations and society as a symbiotic relationship. This I could understand. Besides working in health care I have a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology – where I learned all about mutualistic relationships in the animal kingdom. The disturbing part that become readily apparent is that these relationships are not endpoints. The environment changes, animal populations change, corporations change, societies change, people change – all this leads to instability in the relationship. One party becomes parasitic and this is where the problem starts. It is the same in the corporate world and society as it is in the animal kingdom. This idea is nothing new. The back and forth of corporate power and public welfare has been going on since the first corporation was formed. It is just in the last 20 years with the downsizing of government and concurrent deregulation of corporate laws that we have more of a parasitic corporate structure.

Every president and politician that has warned about, spoken out against, and voted for legislation limiting the power and influence of corporations has faced a backlash of negative criticism. President Obama is not the first and will not be the last. In my humble opinion, the best thing that we could do would be to strengthen the laws that restrict corporate power and influence. Are corporations bad – yes and no? Are corporations good – yes and no? It all depends on where you are at in the parasite (corporation)/host (society) pendulum.

Well I think this is enough for now. I encourage that you do your own reading on corporations to learn more. See ya out there!!











“When one has been angry for a very long time, one gets used to it. And it becomes comfortable, like.…like old leather. And finally….becomes so familiar that one can’t even remember feeling any other way.” – From Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Episode – The Wounded)

I am an artist. Be it a struggling artist, but still an artist. It has taken me a really long time to make that statement about myself. Funny – I believe that I knew I was an artist since the age of about 5 or 6. But as the old saying goes: “The seed has to be planted on fertile ground for it to grow.” It has taken a long time for the seed to finally find that fertile ground.

A significant family member who was influential in raising me had a very serious anxiety disorder. In her struggle to cope with life and all of its vicissitudes she became very controlling. If there was something that you wanted to do but she did not feel that it was “Kosher” then by god you were not going to do it – under threat of corporal punishment. My childhood in Texas, the Wichita Falls area, spanned the years from 1962 to 1980 and real men and boys at that time did not do “Art” in the traditional sense – this is what I was led to believe. I was threatened with beatings, called names like sissy and queer and made to feel abnormal if I asked for art supplies or talked about art. The usual commit was: “Why do you want to do that are you queer, that’s for sissies, it’s not for you and besides you’re not good enough.” These are some the fondest memories of my mother. I can talk about this now because she is dead. She passed away due to cancer the day after Thanksgiving 2013. It was an incredible relief. I felt as if a controlling, dominating, dictating force had finally been lifted from my life. It was a good thing.

The ART seed did find some fertile ground in the late 1990s and is still growing. Kind of a stunted bush at the moment. Because of my childhood, the art that I do has a tendency to drift toward “irreverence.” It will not be me painting the pastoral nature scene unless there is “something” seriously wrong with it. It would need a sword wielding Barbarian or female warrior holding the head of some recently vanquished enemy. Yes – irreverence, disrespect, derision, mockery, sarcasm, fear, anxiety, etc…. That is what moves me to paint, to draw, to sculpt, to make art.

I learned two things in my art classes. The first one is that: “Nothing is sacred.” The second thing is that: “In Art – it’s all been done before so stealing is OK, original ideas are very, very rare. So steal it and just make it yours.” The paintings that I am showing here are “bad boy” characters from TV animation – Mo and Side Show Bob from the Simpsons and Stewie from Family guy. I have also include one of my first dragon paintings.

So that is it for me this week – training is still going good for the Quad Rock 50. Lots of snow in the mountains of Colorado this last week. Should be good spring skiing.