in my typical fashion, i didn’t think too much about the implication of signing up for 120 mile race at high elevation when in reality i was wholly unprepared for such a physical feat. As I spoke to other participants on how they prepare for the adventure, my suspicion was confirmed that I was mostly out of my league. Which is not to say that there weren’t other less prepared racers and when compared to them, i would have done fine. of course in hindsight, i did pretty good considering how little i train. pretty good meaning i was able to finish all the stages within a pretty reasonable amount of time without being super injured or wiped out. Also considering how sore I was from the SF Marathon a week prior to the race, i didn’t come into the race believing that i could be ‘successful’ in just a rigoius physical feat. still, i can’t say that i didn’t wholly believe in myself as i view the challenge as mostly a mental grit exercise and i was mostly correct in that assumption. physically, i may not have been as well train but i felt that mentally I ‘should’ be able to complete the challenge. for the most part. the scenario played out naturally and there were many moments that my mental toughness overcame my physical weakness.
i love these types of challenges and as i get older/more successful, they come more rare in my daily experience. previously, life just threw these mental/character challenges at you and nowadays, i have to seek it out. not to suggest that my life is so easy these days but the daily challenges are fairly minor and doesn’t build much character for the most part. intense challenges that consume your mind/body for short periods of time have a much more powerful impression on your character psyche. which is to say, after an experience such as this, my confident level went up considerably. the question becomes how will i apply that new level of confident. it’s been tempting to keep using this confident in the same channel but i am not sure that’s how i want to apply it. I think it’s fairly easy for me to fall into the idea of upping my running game into longer races and etc. Not that it’s a super bad thing as the health benefits are awesome, there’s just so much on my plate that i want to do and all preparing for ultra distances requires more time commitment than i am prepare to give at this point. for now, i suspect i will continue to do a few more races this year to close out a great year of running but not sure what the future holds.
Elven is a small village in the northwest of france that wouldn’t be on any tourist destination but I am glad that got to check it out. The only reason i took a 5 hour train ride from Lille to Vannes, was to see my old friend that had moved there. Even though I was only going to be there for 24 hours, it was one of my favorite part of the trip. Damien and I had met over 20 years ago over shared musical interests and of course the first thing after i got off the train at 1130pm was to go to concert in the middle of the countryside. With less than 20 people there and beer/wine for 2 euros and the open night sky, it reminded why i love french culture so much. of course, we stayed up in the wee hours drinking home made hard alcohol and caught up on life after not talking for over 10 years. i was super happy to hear that my friend and made such a transformational shift in his life to do something more meaningful and live in the countryside. undoubtedly there is a growing yearning for me as well to step a way from this hyper connected city life that is makes it super challenging to cultivate a life of connection to real people/nature and spiritual practice. anyway, at first i wasn’t sure if i wanted to make this a long journey to the middle of nowhere for just 24 hours with my old friend but by the end, he reminded me of why i adore him and love the damn french so much.
after working a few days in LA and hanging out on the beach, i decided to check out sequoia on my way back to the bay area. i had done very little research about it and as luck would have it, most of the interesting spots in the national park was covered in snow! it didn’t really occur to me to check for snow given it was california but at 7K feet, snow comes pretty fast and early. anyway, i barely spent a half a day in the national park because i was pretty much unprepared for the crazy winding roads and snow. This was the first national park where i saw warnings in numerous places about not have a vehicle over 22 ft! Even though my RV is only 25ft, I didn’t heed the warning and drove through the bulk of the roads that I was advised not to drive! Elena handle the winding roads like a champ and after the ordeal, i had felt that i had driven even more crazy winding roads. More challenging than winding roads was trying to park the RV at the designated tourist spots. Even though it was winter season, there was still plenty of tourist checking out the national park so it was a pretty frustrating experience. by the end of the day, i decided i had to come back during a different season with a different mode of transportation. in a couple of years, i figure i can tow a two seater car or a motorcycle to check out places instead of taking Elena everywhere!
my first work assignment where i am using the RV as my base station and it’s perfect for an introvert lifestyle. i wasn’t sure how i was going to do it because the RV park was a tad far away from the the work venue but luckily services such as uber/lyft has changed the game for me. being be able to be pick up in an RV park on the beach with all my gear and just giving dropped off (without have to stress about parking and etc), made the job super easy from logistical point of view. i am guessing i may sign up for my work road trips in the future as it’s a great excuse to take the RV and then do a mini vacation afterwards. to be able to be unbounded from the office and work anywhere and not worry about renting rooms/etc is definitely freaking awesome. i love waking up next to the ocean and then going for a morning run before heading into work.
i’ve been to paris a number of times and although i love the city, i had never had the opportunity to visit any other french city until this year. a friend invited me to photograph her brother’s wedding and i jumped on the opportunity and got the chance to see 4 other cities besides paris in this 10 day trip. also, this was the first time i was visiting paris in the summer and it was unusually hot. still, i got the chance to run in the streets of paris so is always one of the small highlights when i visit foreign places. salome and i went to arles to check out the world famous photography festival there. getting to see a different part of france reminded me how much i love french culture. the staging of the photo festival here was also a wonderful charming surprise. i think one of the main lesson i got from seeing photography in these different venue contexts (such as a church or a industrial complex) impacts you impression on the work. which is to say the packaging manners. although i very enjoyed the variety of photographic work curated here, at the end of the day, there were two things that stuck in mind. one, i need to get off my ass to down my own project and two, do your big project and move on. i felt that there were a lot of great artists and just stretch their status to marginal projects after their big ones.