Monday, January 11, 2010


“Sometime it takes a Jimi Thing just to keep me swinging”

Dave Matthews may have had another meaning when he wrote that song but on this particular weekend the “Jimi Thing” I’m referring to is ice climbing. Ice conditions near Boston require a few good nights below 20 degrees (with days never above freezing) and the latest NE cold front had all the potential for a Sunday morning ice climb. The more I consider it ice climbing may be one of the wackier winter sports. There is no point to vertical ice climbing in terms of mountaineering. Many easier climbing routes exist around the ice but of course those other routes don’t involve a lot of whacking and kicking. Before the massacre on ice begins you need some tools - two ice axes in hand and steel blades called crampons attached to your boots now you’re ready to do battle. Above I slowly whack and kick a small frozen cascade in Middlesex Fells Reservation. This weekend I’m off to massacre some ice in Flume Gorge White Mountain National Forest and do some backcountry skiing while the kids enjoy the day at KinderBear Ski Camp Loon Mountain.

“what I need is all around me
Reaching, searching, never stop”

Thinking back & looking forward
Last year at this time I ran the GAC Fat Ass 50K, it was an arctic blast. Sounded like this year the course was under snow. Finishing this early winter marathon kicked off the idea to do a marathon a month. I made it up to April and burned out. As the great Neil Young sings “it’s better to burn out than it is to fade away”. It’s hard to say today if I’m burning out or fading away from the endurance sport called Ultra Running. With the enormous responsibilities and challenges of parenting three children under 6 and another one arriving in July I lose some freedom especially spontaneity & time but other sacrifices still smart like missing hobbies, sports, going to concerts and movies, sleeping late, even reading the newspaper. Some call them quality-of-life casualties. For each person, the definition of quality of life is different and deeply personal. One person may define quality of life as enjoying the beauty of a sunset. Another person may describe it as sharing a holiday celebration with family; worshipping at a church, synagogue or mosque; playing a game of cards; fixing a car; listening to music or solving a crossword puzzle. Each person has a unique standard of what has value and what gives quality to life. For me it’s the joy found in parenting and adventure. Again to quote George Leigh Mallory “And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for." With that said in 2010 I look forward to the joys of parenting and seasonal side adventures.

“The day is gone I'm on my back
Staring up at the ceiling
I take a drink sit back and relax”