It’s taken be a while to write this, and a part of me is glad that I’ve waited this long because I’ve had time to let the experience sink in. I find myself going back to that weekend almost daily and the entire weekend was better than both Callie and I could have imagined.
We decided last year that we wanted the wedding to be in North Idaho, so naturally we took a trip up there early this year to check out some venues and decide which was going to work best for us. We looked at about 5 different spots and had some pretty good ideas about which we were going to choose, so we decided to use our last day in town as a ski day. We went up to Schweitzer, which was a killer day of skiing, but we also met with the wedding coordinator, toured the resort and what they had to offer. In the end Callie made the executive decision that we were going to have the wedding at Schweitzer Mountain Resort on August 28, 2016.
I deserve almost zero credit for helping plan the wedding. It was pretty much all Callie, and for that I’m forever grateful to her. The wedding turned out so good, I’m also grateful that she did most of the planning..
Some of the most important people in our lives were able to attend the entire weekend and it was a blast. We both feel incredibly blessed, and I couldn’t be more happy to be spending the rest of my days with Callie. Very big thanks are in order to our bridal party, parents on both side for all the amazing support, and especially my father, Scott Barkdull, for officiating the wedding and providing wonderful guidance through the entire weekend.
Here are a few pictures from the wedding. All photos are from Jerome Pollos Photography.
My computer crashed a couple of months ago. I’ve gotten a bit lazy with trip updates and races, but some of it can be attributed to the computer crashing. I was using Windows 7 on that machine originally, then it wanted to upgrade to Windows 10. I thought nothing of it, and gave it a shot. The computer lasted about a month then crashed. It lasted about 6 years, so I think we got our moneys worth.
My biggest problem was that I didn’t back up the PC. Music, pictures, old W2 forms, etc. Huge fail. One piece of advice I would give myself if I could go back in time: back up all your shit! It never seems like that big of a deal until you need it. Kind of like insurance. No big deal.. oh wait.. crap!
I’ve had this marathon in my sights for the better part of 2016, but I didn’t think that I would get a chance to actually run it. Callie and I are getting married in less than a month, and that shouldn’t change your ability to run a race, but it does. There’s a large time cost associated with training, and I’m thankful every day that Callie is patient with me and encourages me to chase my new found passion of running.
Things fell into place just right so I pulled the trigger and registered for the full marathon. My good friend Justin also registered for the full marathon, and this was my first time being able to run a race with a friend, so my stoke level was high. Callie also registered for the 5k race, so I was very proud of her for going after that as well. She has probably improved on her running as much or more than I have in the last year.
We rented an AirBnB for the weekend, which was a few miles from the starting line, but we were able to make it work with public transportation. There was a fair amount of walking, which wasn’t ideal since we were there to run a marathon, but you can’t just sit around and wait for the race, so we went on some adventures while we were there.
Friday night we were able to catch a Giants ballgame against the Nationals. That was my first time at AT&T Park, and although I’m a Dodgers fan, I’ve been wanting to go there for a while, so that was a fun time.
Saturday morning we caught a Lyft ride to the Race Expo and shake out run at Fort Mason. The shake out run was supposed to be 5k, but it was just a touch over 2 miles. It was probably a good thing though. After picking up our bibs and race swag at the expo, we met up with Callie’s parents down at the Ferry Building and began walking the embarcadero. We did the whole tourist thing, checking out some street performers, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli, and Lombard Street.
Sunday was race day. I felt really good about the race, but I was worried that maybe my training wasn’t good enough to reach the goals that I had set. Justin was there, and he’s a bit of a clown at times, so that helped to keep my nerves in check. My goal time was 3:40 and I ended up finishing in 3:37:03 so that worked out well.
I use a Garmin watch to help me keep track of my pace, heart rate, etc. and by the finish line, the watch told me that we had covered over 26.5 miles, which is .3 too far. The only thing I can think of that would cause this is the alternate routes on the course to help alleviate traffic. Without the alternate routes, they wouldn’t be able to relieve traffic build up. The last 1/3 of the race cuts across the heart of the city, so there’s a good stretch of the city that would be essentially an island for 6 hours without the alternate routes. But, in this case it added quite a bit of distance to the race. Justin’s cell phone also found this to be true. We were pacing at about 8:20 per mile, so if you take a 1/4 of that (2:05), maybe we could have finished a couple minutes faster. I’d be pissed if I missed Boston because of something like that.
The rest of that day, we drank beers and just hung out. Good times.
Monday was our day to fly back home, but before we did, we set out on foot to explore some more of the city. We found a community garden, which I think is an awesome idea, where basically the residents of the area get a small section of the garden to plant whatever they want and harvest the results. The public is free to visit the garden, but you’re not allowed to pick anything.
We also went to Dolores Park where we just happened to come across the biggest water balloon fight I’ve ever seen. All kinds or random people showed up at “high noon” the announcer dubbed it, wielding a mega phone. Some were even in their business suits seemingly on their lunch breaks. Some people had shown up with buckets full of water balloons, and at the end of the bucket is a water that leaked out or from busted balloons. One chick in business attire felt the wrath of the bottom of the bucket in the waning stages of the fight. It was a good time and pretty hilarious.
I love going on these short weekend vacations, especially when we center it around an event. I feel like we get a lot accomplished and there’s less time sitting around asking each other what the other wants to do.
In exactly two weeks, Callie and I will be getting married. We’re very excited for it, and looking forward to seeing tons of family and friends all in one place. After that, I’m ramping up my training again for the California International Marathon in Sacramento. December 4th, here I come.
San Francisco was my third marathon. I wanted to do well this time around, and it’s not that I didn’t want to do well in either the Ventura Marathon or the Huntington Beach Marathon, but I didn’t know how to do well up until this point.
I was getting up at 5:30 am every day for a while so I could get about 6 miles in before work, then running another 4 or 5 on my lunch break. On my lesser mile days, I’d take some time to do strength training at the gym to build strength in my legs and core. Sound like a lot? Well, it isn’t. The truth is, I’m still very new to this sport and learning a ton along the way. I’m realizing now that if I want to be good enough to qualify for Boston I need to be substantially better. Stronger legs, hips, core, more miles, longer long runs, and speed work.
3:37:03 was my time at the SF Marathon. I’m proud of my time because I know how far I’ve come.
|Huntington Beach||3:55||-24 minutes|
|San Francisco||3:37||-18 minutes|
Boston Marathon qualifying time: 3:05. Yeah.. I’ve got a long ways to go, but I’ll try like hell to get it.
Today is Tuesday. We should be home by now, but our airplane had a mechanical issue yesterday. Coming home is polarizing for me. On one hand I miss my family and friends dearly. After all, they have shaped my identity and taught me what is important in my life. On the other hand, it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of trying to spend time with everyone in the short amount of time that we have. Mostly “hanging out” means going to a bar somewhere, which is fine, but when you do that day after day, it is physically taxing. I’m excited to get home and cook a bland meal of fish, wild rice, and zucchini.
The purpose of our trip was to witness my sister’s wedding, and to support her and her husband. It was beautiful. I say that not for the obvious reasons that the food was good, venue nice, cake delicious, etc., but because is was so incredibly honest. They meant it with all their hearts, and I believe that everyone in attendance could sense that. We all go through our hardships in life, our successes, and minor corrections in an otherwise linear path leading towards peace of mind and financial freedom. This wedding proves there is balance in the world, and I believe my sister found that with her husband, Robert.
Krissy has sweet moves. I have video to prove it..
Maybe home is a state of mind. A place where you feel love and can be loved, be at peace, and fully committed to your path.
I’m also getting married shortly. August 28th to be exact. We were able to carve out some time on Friday to go up to Schweitzer Mountain Resort (where Callie and I will be married) for a final details meeting. I’m excited about the thought of getting our families together for laughs, shared memories, and creating new memories. There’s only a handful of times where everyone comes together for a shared purpose, and it will be amazing to have some of the most important people in our lives witness the beginning of the next chapter in our lives together.
Aside from details such as what color the table linens are going to be, the best man and I were able to carve out some time to go for a trail run and check out the actual site of the ceremony. I’ve been mountain biking up there a few times before, so I knew there was a pretty good trail system in place, but had never run any of them. From the village, we ran up the cat track towards chair 4. The trail turns back across the face of the mountain and under the main lift (Great Escape Quad), then follows the ridge line up to the top of the Quad. After that, we ran down towards chair 6, then up to Little Blue, down the ridge and finally up the ridge line to Big Blue.
I’m conflicted. Everything I experience is beautiful. The Schweitzer Mountain trail run, our backpacking adventures in the Los Angeles Forest, snorkeling in the ocean, running marathons, witnessing my sister marrying the love of her life. I really do hope that home is a state of mind. I fully feel the power of love, and love completely with all I can give. I’m at peace, and I’ve never been more committed to my path than I am now.
“Home is whenever I’m with you”
It seems that it would be so incredibly easy to “go the extra mile” as a large company. With nearly unlimited resources, a company should do everything it can to rectify a situation when something goes wrong.
9 days ago I bought an electric razor off of Amazon. I have an Amazon Prime membership which means all my orders are two day shipping. So it should have shipped on Monday and been in my hands on Wednesday. The item was lost in transit, but rather than overnight a new one, my only options were to wait and see if it showed up in a few days.. or buy a new one and then return the other one if/when it showed up.
Here’s the feedback I sent to Amazon this morning:
This was a ridiculous inconvenience. It’s been 9 days since I placed my order. I do understand your limitations from an operational standpoint, but as a customer I don’t care. I paid you money and I want the item in my hands, now. That’s the idea of the prime membership.
When you fail to deliver on your part of the process, I don’t care what the reason is, you just need to make it right. Me purchasing the item again and then waiting 7 days for the original purchase to be refunded is an additional inconvenience that further strains the process.
Rather than finding a way to make money off me, you should be more focused on salvaging the relationship and taking the extra step to wow me. Look at my order history and see how much I’ve paid you over the years. Solution = offer the item for free, or heavily discounted. Or some kind of family and friends offer that gives a free download of something I’ll probably never use or care about, but at least demonstrates that you’re trying.
You aren’t the only supplier that sells this product. I could have easily gone down to Target and had it same day. I bought from you because of the convenience factor. So that’s broken. The next step is to fix that.
About 7 years ago I read a book called Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. They have some great examples of how Zappos goes the extra mile for their customers. I decided to test that, so I called their customer service number and was honest about my intentions. At the time, I was working for an online retailer that shipped packages to customers all over the country. I was having a shipping issue where I thought a customer was being dishonest about their shipment. They said the product was damaged, and wanted a replacement. Our procedure at the time was to ask for a photo of the damages, then after seeing the damages we would send a replacement. In hindsight, we should have taken a better approach, but that was our solution at the time. This customer refused to give us a photo, so I was in a bit of a bind.
I called Zappos customer service and described my situation. She told me the way Zappos handles these types of situations is to overnight a replacement, include a return shipping label in the replacement package, then give the customer 30 days to ship the damaged product back or the customer would be charged for the damaged product as well as the replacement.
First off, almost any customer service rep from any other company would have hung up on me. The fact that this person was willing to take the extra time to help someone who wasn’t even a paying customer was a wow moment for me. Furthermore, it illustrates how broken some of the processes of other retailers are. The cost of losing a business relationship over an electric razor is simply not worth it. If you take a negative situation and turn it into an opportunity to delight, you’ve further cemented the relationship for years to come.
It’s been a while since I’ve committed some time to blogging. A lot has happened. I ran the Huntington Beach Marathon (improved on my previous time by 25 minutes), I got engaged, we’ve been backpacking, trail running, and attending various music concerts over the last few months.
A couple of weeks ago, we did a trail run from Chantry Flats, headed up the Sturtevant Trail, climbed Mt. Wilson, then headed back to Chantry Flats via the Wilson Rim Trail and the Winter Creek Trail. This weekend we wanted to go on a trip that had access to water. We backpacked Joshua Tree, and another trip out to the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, both of which we had to pack water into. Water is crazy heavy, especially if you have any decent elevation change or distance. Anyways, this weekend we didn’t want to pack water, and we were curious about the West Fork of the San Gabriel River. What a great opportunity! Especially because we had already explored that area a couple of other times, and wanted to expand our knowledge of the area.
On a lot of our Southern California adventures, we routinely find that Modern Hiker has already done what we are trying to do, which is very nice because his blog is the best I’ve come across for hiking, and he includes a GPS file complete with waypoints that you can download and then upload onto your GPS device. Thank you!
Our original intention was to take the Devore Trail down from the top of Mt. Wilson and stay at the Devore Campground. We hiked into the West Fork camp, and shortly after leaving that camp we ran into hikers coming from the Devore Camp and let us know that space was very limited there. I guess that’s not normally the case, but this weekend it was full of campers who had gotten there before us.
The West Fork Camp is nice, has access to water, and there’s a good amount of overflow space when there’s more tents than there are campsites. This morning we saw a bobcat. It was chasing a squirrel down the hill on the other side of the creek. That’s definitely a first for me and it was impressive to see a wild cat like that, especially because it was a lot bigger than I thought it would be.
The hike out was pleasant. The trail between West Fork Camp and Devore Camp meanders through the bottom with creek crossings and some interesting variations in the terrain. We met a couple of Forest Service Volunteers on the way out. They had let us know that the trail used to be in bad shape and that they had volunteered to work on the trail so that it could return to its prior form. The forest service lacks the funding it needs to pay for tail maintenance on trails like this one, so these very generous volunteers take care of the task, based purely on their love for the trail. I think that’s a wonderful testament to the power that these trails can hold on us.
I ran my first marathon a couple of months ago, and I’ve got my eye on the Huntington Beach Marathon in February. I suppose I was a bit naive the first time around, because I registered for it with little marathon training under my belt, and I think my finish time reflected that. I finished in 4:19:23.
The first half of the marathon I was pacing at about 8:30. That may seem slow to a lot of people, but it was pretty quick for me and I actually felt good at that pace. Then the second half of the race came about and I ran out of gas. I ended up walking for some stretches and that was extremely disappointing to me. But when you run out of gas, you run out of gas.
I think I can do better. That’s why I’m taking on the Huntington Beach Marathon. I know that in order to achieve my goals I need to do a better job of training and preparing, so I found myself a training program that I can work on by myself. I work a regular 8-5 job, but when you have training runs that are sometimes 10 miles long, multiple times during the week, it can be difficult to slot that in. So with my schedule, I think this will be a good solution for me. I guess we’ll see on race day.
This training regimen is from Runner’s World. They have multiple options depending on your level and what you want to accomplish; I chose the intermediate level. This schedule comes with an additional 11 pages, breaking down exactly what you should be trying to accomplish for each day, tips, and slight tweaks to what’s listed in case you want to push harder or need an easier day depending on what your body is telling you.
If you are looking for something similar, I would recommend purchasing it from their website. It’s cheap and I’ve really enjoyed it so far. Here’s an overview of how it looks.
Race day is February 7th, so I already had to cut out 6 weeks of the training program. I was already logging between 20 and 30 miles per week, and maybe I’m being naive about my training again, but I feel pretty good this time around. A couple of years down the line (if I keep this up) I’ll probably look back and shake my head, but we’ll see.
Today’s results: Day 49
Today was our first color run! It’s only 5k and they don’t even time it, but it was cool. The only bummer about that is that no one really cares when they take off from the starting line. If the race is timed, or at least loosely timed, then I think there would be better groups starting out rather than nomads staggering into action.
We’re starting to really get into running these smaller races. I have a few half marathons and full marathons on my radar, but all that aside, this is an awesome way to keep running fun.
It was a quick trip this time. I flew into Phoenix on Friday night, my buddy Justin flew in from Coeur d’Alene, and his brother Jake flew in from Denver. We rented a car in Phoenix and drove 4 hours North to the Grand Canyon. We also met up with 6 other people that Justin work with, but knew the party would likely split off into smaller groups.
Our latest quest: run the Grand Canyon from rim to rim. Callie took me backpacking in the Grand Canyon for my birthday last year, but I’d never done something quite like this before. I ran the marathon a few weeks back in order to help prepare me for the R2R, but let’s be honest, there’s not really a great way to prepare for it because not much can really compare.
**Careful with the volume. This video is quiet, but the next is much louder**
We woke up at 3 am on Saturday to make sure we had enough time to get a little food down and double check that our packs were ready. My pack weighed only 7 lbs, but I probably went over my checklist a thousand times in my head. Jake had sprained his ankle a couple of weeks prior to the trip, so he wasn’t sure how far he could go or if he could even run at all. He started on the trail at 3:30 am in order to gage if he would be able to complete the entire trip based on when we caught up with him.
None of the rangers at the Grand Canyon will ever recommend running rim to rim, and are very reluctant to give any pointers for being able to accomplish it, but at the trailhead they were conducting a survey on rim to rim runners and measuring their weight, what they had to eat that morning, how much water they drank, and any other consumables prior to the run. It was of course voluntary and they gave us zip lock bags to put any wrappers or anything we consumed in the bag. Then they wanted us to stop at a second station in the bottom at Phantom Ranch, and then again at the North Rim.
We headed down the trail at about 4:15 am along with some other people, mostly backpackers, but there were a few other runners out there. Once we got down the trail a mile or so, it was awesome to just stand there and look back at Bright Angel Trail leading back up to the South Rim. There were intermittent trails of headlights with the clearest night sky of stars and moon that I’d seen in a long time.
We made it to Indian Gardens pretty quick, but I made it a point to look around there and imagine what it would be like to spend some time there. Callie’s granddad was in the forest service and once upon a time he was able to spend some time with a friend who was a Grand Canyon park ranger and stayed there at Indian Gardens for a little while.
After Indian Gardens it felt like the trail was a little less rocky and fairly flat for a bit. Around that time we were wishing that we had started closer to 5 am so that we could have experienced more of the south rim in the daylight.
We made it to the Colorado River just after sunrise and I thought about Callie the whole time. She told me that she thought it was so cool that we were going to be able to get all the way to the river and one regret she had was not being able to see the river up close.
This is a pretty legit video that Justin made.
We caught up with Jake at the river crossing, snapped a few pictures and pushed on. A little further up the trail after crossing the river was Phantom Ranch. We refilled our water there and looked around for the rangers who were manning the survey tent for the Phantom Ranch section. A couple other people from our party were able to catch up to us in the amount of time we burned, so the group of two (Justin and I) had swollen to 5.
We kept moving and the group started to separate again. It was beautiful, and down in the bottom of the canyon, you’re shielded from the direct sun so it’s pretty comfortable. We took the advise of a stranger and took a “shortcut” to Ribbon Falls, but that turned out to be a bad idea.
He’s either an asshole or a bushwacking connesseur. It was about a 20 minute detour, so by the time we made our way back to the trail, the people we had separated from caught back up with us.
The 5 of us stayed together for the most part for the rest of the trip. We stayed at Cottonwood Springs for longer than we originally anticipated. There was one member of the group that was nursing a bum knee, so we spent time asking other hikers/runners if they had seen him and what state he was in. On a side note, if you’re not 100% healthy, stay home. It’s way too big of a gamble and expensive as hell if you have to get air lifted out.
Towards the end of the run (that had now turn into practically a crawl) it got hot outside and everyone was just trying to gut it out at that point. We got to the North Rim around 12:30 pm, checked in with the last survey station, and rested. We had two people in our party that were quite a long ways behind us–it turns out, one of them had rolled an ankle, heard a pop, but decided it was a good idea to keep going.. That was at Indian Gardens. Again, if you’re not healthy, don’t risk it. We waited for 4 1/2 hours for them to get out.
While we were waiting, we went to the lodge on the North side, grabbed some brews and enjoyed the view. I think I prefer the North side over the South. There’s less people, the buildings are rustic but nice, and the view of the canyon is out of control.
It was a 5 hour drive back to the South side, which sucked. After running for as long as we did, the last thing we wanted to do was be in an uncomfortable van dreaming about showers, flip flops, and cramming cheeseburgers down our throats. What can you do though? It was a grand adventure and I’d definitely do it again.