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RTW Ruminations: March 9 – 1503/19/2015

inversion3/9/2015
Mon – off.
After flying into Barcelona late last night, I had a much-needed day off from really any kind of activity today. Since the race on Saturday, I’ve had a hard time eating much food. Which is super frustrating, because I feel starving and ravenous most of the time, but then when I go to eat a solid meal, it doesn’t take long for me to become nauseous and lose my appetite. I’m not sure this has ever really happened to me after a race before.

After my truncated breakfast, I went for a long walk down through BCN’s Gothic District to the beach for some reading and journaling. This has generally become my default activity here in Barcelona over the years (this was my 7th trip to the city), and, if nothing else, it’s good for people watching and getting lost in the tiny streets.

3/10/2015
Tue – Photo shoot in Puigcerda/Font-Romeu
Driving up to the Pyrenees today for the shoot with Buff, we passed through Berga and Baga, the start/finish village for the Cavalls del Vent 84K I ran a couple years ago (now the 103K Ultra Pirineu and this year’s Ultra Skyrunning Final). I’ll race either that or UTMB at the end of the summer, and I’m excited about either choice.

I was thoroughly surprised by the near-total lack of snow on the mountains. I guess there gets to be more snow over in Andorra and other points farther west, but we could’ve run probably 90% of the Cavalls course today without stepping in snow. Pretty nuts, especially since I’d always thought that Font-Romeu was supposed to be some kind of classy ski resort.

3/11/2015
Wed – Barcelona Beach (0:46)
I got out for a little shuffle/jog down to the beach before spending the rest of the day at Montseny, finishing up the Buff photoshoot. My legs were predictably sluggish and dead, but I think (fingers crossed) they survived the race.

3/12/2015
Thu – Barcelona Beach (0:53)
A reprisal of yesterday’s jog had my legs feeling a bit better. I spent the rest of the day in Igualada (45min outside of Barcelona) at Buff headquarters. Such a rad company; I feel really fortunate.

3/13/2015
Fri – Montserrat Climbing w/ Nuria and Salva
I met Nuria and Salva in El Bruc (village at the foot of the mountain) for a casual climb of La Prenyada. I was super-excited to finally get out for a little bit of climbing at Montserrat. Salva referred to it as “Spain’s Yosemite” and the “spiritual  center of Spain’s climbing culture”. It certainly is a gigantic wonderland of seemingly endless hoodoos and summits, all composed of a unique conglomerate sandstone with large cobbles. The route we ended up doing on Prenyada was five pitches, but quite moderate, starting with a pitch of maybe 5.7/8 with the rest feeling about 5.6-ish. Certainly the crux of the day was repeatedly squeezing my race-battered feet into my tight, still new-ish climbing shoes.

Afterwards, Nuria and I enjoyed a classic Catalan lunch (hearty salad, pale beer, fish and veggies main course) at the exact same bar that I’d eaten at almost three years ago when I’d gone for a nice run at Montserrat. The mountain really is a sprawling treasure of running, climbing, and scrambling. I’m looking forward to exploring it more in the future.

3/14/2015
Sat – Barcelona Beach (1:01)
I got up early (5:30am) to get this jog in before catching a taxi to the airport. This was the second or third time that I’ve done a pre-dawn, weekend morning run in Barcelona, and this was no different in that there were many, many people still out on the town from the previous night. Reminded me of college. Nice catching the sunrise from the beach, though. Legs are feeling better every day; I’m excited to get back into a regular training routine.

My trip back was pretty rough. First, the flight from BCN to Miami was 10hr, which I found odd as Dallas to Madrid on the way over was only 8hr. I finished DJ Duncan’s The Brothers K (absolutely fantastic) earlier in the week, and have since been plugging through Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent. It’s been really tough for some reason; something about his prose makes it very difficult for me to concentrate and remain engaged.

As such, after a brief attempt to do some reading I took advantage of American Airlines’ outstanding seat-back movie screens and binged on new releases: Foxcatcher (very good), St. Vincent (Bill Murray is always a riot), A Most Violent Year (unexpectedly outstanding; best movie I’ve seen since Birdman earlier this year), The Skeleton Twins (it was okay; my expectations were pretty low); and then, because once we landed we were stationary on the tarmac for another full hour, I very nearly got all the way through The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. This is the third time I’ve seen this movie, but I love David Fincher, Rooney Mara’s character is hyper-compelling, Trent Reznor’s score is perfect, and I’m a (albeit reluctant) fan of Daniel Craig.

3/15/2015
Sun – 2 x Green Mt+Seal Rock (3:35, 6500′)
The last bus from DIA to Boulder on a Saturday night leaves at 11:19pm. My flight got in at about 12:45am last night, so I was left to try and snooze on the floor of the airport until the 4:25am bus. When I finally walked into my apartment at 5:30am, it felt more like noon to my body, so going to sleep was kinda tough, but I managed to get an hour or so before the sun was up at 7:00am, and I made a pot of coffee, excited for my first scrambling in exactly a month.

Side note: the coffee was stupendous this morning. These last two weeks were particularly disappointing/frustrating on the java front. Almost all of my first-thing-in-the-morning coffee consumption was via a hotel Nescafe-type-of-machine, and while this was a giant step up from the incredibly watered down drip goat piss that was served the first couple of days up at Garanon (seriously, the Lipton Green Tea seemed to have more kick and certainly offered more flavor), it was still frustratingly poor quality from that which I’ve grown accustomed.

The two exceptions were: 1) the one day I had time for a mid-morning cup at a shop around the corner from my hotel in Barcelona that Pau had recommended—True Artisan Cafe. But, they didn’t open until 9am. 2) The overall fantastic meal (and espresso shots) Joe and I had at the Nuria-recommended Dejate Llevar Cafe in Tejeda on Gran Canaria.

There were a couple other random acceptable cups, but overall it was a disastrous trip for java.

Anyways, I don’t know if it was the coffee, but I had a great run this morning despite all the travel. After biking up to Chautauqua, I had a glorious scramble of the First, followed by a march to the summit of Green itself. From there I descended Bear Canyon and tagged a lap on Seal Rock (up the south side and downclimbing the north side—an extra 1000′ of vert and 30min of time, Mesa-to-Mesa), before heading back to the summit of Green via Satan’s Slab and The Fist. On the descent I stopped off for a quick summit of the First Pinnacle in the Amphitheater. Awesome day out on the hill. Temps very near +80F after all the snow from February mean that the springs/creeks are finally running, and the trails are generally a muddy/slushy/sloppy mess. Spring is here!

A nice example of Segall’s ability to occasionally slow it down.

21 responses to “RTW Ruminations: March 9 – 15”

  1. David Hill says:

    Congrats on a solid race outing on minimal run training. Zane Grey eh? Didn’t see that coming…you must like running on rocks :)

  2. Ian says:

    Hi Anton,

    Have you considered reading ‘H is for Hawk’? Its a book by a young British author/poet; a story of her life after her father died and she took up falconry to heal. It’s all nature and wonderful, brilliant prose. It is also a million times better than the synopsis makes it sound. Check it out!

    • Bianca says:

      Well, I am no Anton, but THANK YOU for this recommendation. I am reading the book right now and am loving it. Gracias!

      • Lenna says:

        following you on bllgoovin! I'd like to wear this dress with nude shoes (sling back shoes) and a shiny clutch and sparkling earrings! of course with a updo ponytail ! i love it!

  3. Seb says:

    Hi Anton,
    Do you plan to run The North Face 100 Australia in may?
    Thanks

  4. JoshT says:

    Hi Anton,

    Great write-up as usual! Thanks for sharing. And thanks for including some not so glamorous tidbits of your pursuits, such as your bout of nausea and loss of appetite after this past race. Has transparency (publicly speaking) always been easy concerning the practical challenges you face as an athlete, despite the risk of criticism from the audience, or has your comfort level in sharing developed over time?

    Josh

  5. Jessica says:

    Smooth recovery and beautiful prose as always. Glad to see you are back to training in such a short time.

    I share your love for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Stunning movie.

    • Minerva says:

      Thank you Father for this blog and place of prayer for us to go to. I ask your blsseing on Rebecca. Meet her need and let her know it's You. Give her peace, hope, and comfort from you. I ask the same for Charlie. Let him know you are there and you care and wrap your arms around them. Give Angela a good days rest as she has worked all night (I think). Bless her this day. In Jesus name, amen.

  6. jsr says:

    HAHA dude you should patton “drip goat piss” coffee

    The time delay I believe some drunk guy at a bar told me once, is from turbulent rotations created from the rotation of the earth…which is felt on long and higher flights. Not the same as turbulence in storms. But my research in this is talking to a sweaty alcoholic at an airport bar.

    I am curious on the pitch of 5.7/8. When I am designing the shoulder on a highway we just use 4:1 3:1 2:1…is base 8 a universal climbing unit?

  7. James says:

    I was also wondering if you’re running the North Face 100 in Australia in May? Also I know what you mean about Conrad a little chewy at times have you read Heart of Darkness?

    all the beast

    jimmy

  8. Sung says:

    Sad to hear about the bad coffee on the trip, Tony. Drip goat piss coffee, though – what a stupendous description! Hope all is well.

  9. Laura says:

    Brothers K…yes!

  10. charlie says:

    Tony:

    Happy Vernal Equinox!! I just wanted to tell you that I am presently trying the Active Patch 4 U for a knee niggle. Thought I would try them based upon seeing you using them and I am happy to report favorable results thus far. I have followed your periodic trials and tribulations with your shin, and wonder if you see a role for these patches in a preventive role/capacity. Thanks and beware the dreaded goat piss brew…

    Peace!

  11. Logan says:

    On a musical side note; Carrie and Lowell, the new album by Sufjan Stevens is available for “First Listen” on NPR. I know you frequent NPR so maybe you are aware but it is truly worth a listen when time permits. I tend to have a bit of an affinity for morose, deep lyrics. This touches on both. Hope you enjoy it. If not its probably because the majority of my music is considered horrible by the buying public. And that is just the way I like it.

    P.S. Psyched to see you signed up for Zane Grey. I would assume you may be staying in Flagstaff prior? As you know there are some sweet trails up there. If you find yourself looking for some good camping spots around Payson before ZG let me know as I have spent tons of time up there over the years. Either way, I will be up to watch the race unfold. God speed on your spring buildup and life activities in general.

  12. Dave says:

    It’s funny how you can’t seem to reliably get a decent coffee when traveling out of the country. I have traveled in Kenya and Columbia and the coffee in both countries were pretty terrible. In Kenya’s case it’s somewhat excusable as they export all of their top quality arabica, but still…

  13. Trevor says:

    Anton,

    I imagine you will pass this comment to the side, BUT for traveling purposes you might give Starbucks VIA Italian brew a try. It is not instant coffee, no chemicals. You mix one packet with 8oz of hot water and the result is a nice strong cup of Italian roast. You never know…

    Just a shot,
    Trevor

    • anton says:

      Trevor, I occasionally use Via on very early mornings when I’m too lazy/in-a-rush to brew an actual cup of coffee. It is surprisingly good.

      • Bianca says:

        nespresso (ristretto) is really good. i am sorry, but it’s true. i hate that i love it. but i love it so. i threw out my bialetti for good and replaced it with a nespresso machine. i am somewhat ashamed to admit it, but i am admitting it here, publicly. so there, how do you like them apples?!

  14. hugy says:

    Hi Anton, I’m a french guy who starts to do some trail
    my main question for you is : since you run, how is your body and your health? Are your knees all right?
    do you start pain here and here in your body? and untill what age you think you’ll be able to run with this intensity?

    Thanks,
    lot of respect man

    Hugy

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