Rowing Across The Pacific

Bob Shebest Checking out the Sierra Range

Bob Shebest Checking out the Sierra Range

Took last week off to finish some projects. Haven’t had more than a day off this year so was looking forward to a few days of being disconnected. What did I accomplish in a week? Cleaned out the garage so both cars fit. Whoo hoo! And put up some bookcases. Nicole took care of me the whole week even though she hasn’t been feeling well. Will need to put some time in on the trails as Western States is approaching. A good training week last week between time in Auburn and a few days in Tahoe. Spent a couple days in Austin the week before with work. Was almost 100 degrees in Auburn a couple weeks ago and there was no respite in Austin although most of the time we where inside. Tried to explore the Austin neighborhoods by going out for a run on Tuesday night (thought maybe I’d run into Lance) but after about 5 miles, I was done. A couple weekends ago was the Auburn Triathlon, formerly the World’s Toughest, and Dylan and I ran about 10 miles along the bike course that passed real close to our house. I see this one lady on a bike that looked like a $200 huffy, reflectors on the wheels and everything. No less than 20 feet behind her is this guy huffing and puffing on a fully aero $4K plus Kuota. That would have been me! But it was good to be out there and see the athletes. The triathlon was on my calendar but I decided to save my mental energy for Western States. Being on the course and watching the athletes, I missed being out there and competing. Hopefully, next year. Nicole rode over and met us in T2 and then we all went back together with Dylan laughing the whole way in his Chariot.

What a change a week can make. Last weekend was cold and rainy. I got talked into running the canyons of the Western States trail on Saturday. Carrie picked me up at 5:30 AM, and after a quick stop at Starbucks, we meet the group in Foresthill. Everybody piled into two SUVs and we drove through the rain and up to N44 at about 5500’. Lisa Downey and Bill Finkbeiner were a couple other runners I knew. Had a good size group at the start but it was too cold and wet to stand around and chat. By accident, someone had taken Carrie’s pack out of the car in Foresthill so she had to borrow water bottles and had no snacks. Luckily, I had a spare wind jacket that helped her a little. The first few miles were a trek through sleet and mud and then we descended into the canyons. Forgot how long the climb out can take – about 40 minutes for 1 mile! Carrie’s IT band started giving her trouble so we split at Devil’s Thumb and I ran alone back to Foresthill, picked up her SUV and drove back to Michigan Bluff where Carrie and some of the other troops had dropped. Everybody was cold and wet. So it was a good call.

This weekend Bob and I ran almost 30 miles in the trails above Truckee (see picture above). We hit about 5 miles of the PCT but the snow was still too thick to run all the way to Squaw. Saw some climbers scaling the cliffs above Donner Lake as we ran down Highway 40. Felt good except when I did a face plant about a mile from home when I tripped over a rock. Bob was laughing as I stumbled, recovered, stumbled, recovered then finally went down. This week will need to be a high mileage week, then I do some track work next week before trying to do one more 30 miler in the canyons.

Dylan loved hanging out on the deck and watching the wildlife. One of his favorite things was the early morning walk, hearing the birds and being able to touch all the different pine trees. Our favorite thing was being able to get in an afternoon nap.

As I begin to prepare for Western States, I’m using Twitter to posts brief updates, if for no other reason it’s good to look back and see how the journey unfolded. The fun part of these ultras is in the planning up to the event and then when it’s over, the memory of the journey. The middle part, the actual event, is often the hardest part. This is week 2 of my 5 week training plan and so far so good. I’ll be happy if I can improve on my first attempt of just under 22 hours. What I really need to make sure happens is that I don’t make any stupid mistakes and have a miserable experience. Plan for the worst case scenario: lots of snow for the first 20 miles, temps in the 100’s in the canyons and feeling like crap. Need to keep moving.

I’m hooked on following Roz Savage as she tries to row (yes row as in rowing a boat) across the Pacific Ocean (yes the Pacific Ocean). It’s pretty incredible to follow her progress and thoughts. Interested? Check it out at:

Speaking of incredible, Phil forwarded this video to me and I have to share it. Enjoy.


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