Sunday, May 18, 2008

Storm over Everest

Those of you who have read Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air" or G. Weston DeWalt's "The Climb" will be familiar with the tragic events of the 1996 Everest climbing season when a fast-moving storm trapped many climbers in the death zone, leaving eight people dead including expedition leaders Rob Hall and Scott Fischer. A few nights ago I watched a fascinating PBS documentary "Frontline : Storm over Everest" (you can see the entire program online here). It was produced by world class climber and filmmaker David Breashears, who was on the mountain in '96 and helped rescue several climbers that day. The documentary focused on the survivors 10 years on, and it was fascinating to actually see people you've read about and find out what's happened to them since and their perspective on events. Some of the familiar names interviewed include Sandy Pittman, Lene Gammelgaard, Charlotte Fox, Beck Weathers, Mike Groom, Neal Beidleman and Makalu Gau. In the aftermath of the tragedy (and in Krakauer's book), some were portrayed as heroes, others as villians, but all have a story to tell. Well worth watching.

We had some friends stay with us Friday night so Nancy didn't go run with her Rogue group yesterday. Instead we went to Walnut Creek later that morning to do hill repeats on Endo Valley. We took Gavin with us and he hiked/ran with me (I didn't take the camera so this picture is from a recent trip to McKinney Falls). He had a great time and at one point turned to me and said "Daddy, I love being in the woods with you". At another point we saw another runner and Gavin said "let's catch him daddy" and took off down the trail. I'm so proud of my little boy. After Nancy's 7th hill repeat, Gavin decided he wanted to try the Endo Valley loop so we hiked around it. I half expected that I would have to put him on my shoulders for the hill, but he happily climbed it and was duly rewarded with jelly beans at the top. Then we hiked back to the park and played on the slides for a while.

I had a nice relaxed run around Ken's loop this morning. A lot of the regular Sunday morning folks are at the Guadalupe mountains this weekend, so it was just Mike and myself. He's a very accomplished ultrarunner and we had a good chat. I picked his brains on techniques for running 100 milers (particularly Arkansas which he's run and paced several times), and we talked at length about rugby and knee injuries. He was good company and it was a fun Sunday morning run.

This afternoon I took Nancy to do hill repeats on the road. The hill in question is in a neighborhood near La Frontera in Round Rock - I've used it for a number of years with my running group and it's perfect for repeats. I was going to just stand halfway up with Gavin, watch her form and then do some repeats of my own, but after her first hill he wanted to get involved so I put him up on my shoulders and ran with her. Let me tell you, that was an excellent workout. He weighs a good 40lbs, and those hills weren't easy. I did 4 repeats with him on my shoulders, by which time Nancy was done (she did 5 repeats and finished strong with a really fast last one) so I was able to hand him off and do another two (felt very fast without the extra weight) before finishing off with one backwards. I always feel that one.

I've just got up from taking a nap with Gavin and the rest of the day will be devoted to cooking. I got Devin Alexander's new cookbook yesterday and I'm looking forward to experimenting. Her thing is creating healthy versions of popular dishes - I've used several of her recipes in the past and they've all been yummy (plus she's a bit of a babe). Tonight I'm going to try out her rigatoni in meat sauce (going to add some carrots to the sauce as a way of sneaking extra veggies into Gavin - I'm so cunning) and prep her blue cheese mushroom hamburgers for tomorrow night (I have some extra lean ground beef ready, but I can never resist tweaking recipes so I'm going to substitute feta for the blue cheese, customize some of the spices and grill them on the barbecue). I'll let ya know how it turns out.


clea said...

I saw the Everest show on was good, although that is one thing I am happy to watch and have no desire to do. I don't like being cold!

I'll try and make the ken's loop one of these Sundays to meet some more of the club...sounds like your running is going very well.

Mark said...

I agree. Any sport that runs the risk of your nose, fingers or toes falling off is best enjoyed from a distance!!!