Tuesday, January 31, 2012



Try to cut out the glass
That was buried deep inside my skin
But I just kept opening veins the wrong way
I try to find the words to speak
Through the rope that's tied against my throat
And every word like glass has your name

I try to find some excuse
For the static on the end of the line
'Cause I can't make sense of your voice anymore
And to think that there will always be
Some part of you that's not part of me
I prefer the memory to the girl

I love you is just another way
To convince us of the lies we've told
I love you is just another way of killing time
I know that I turned my back
But I did it just to face the fact
That what I saw in your eyes
Wasn't mine anymore

Sunday, January 29, 2012


20 Miles. 4,000 feet of climbing. 5 hours 39 minutes. Slowly erasing past mistakes.

The following lyrics are from the Starkweather song Lazarus Runs from our first album. It's a song we always played with an added element of savagery. It means more to me now than it did back then...

Old fears resurfacing undulating beneath my flesh
Skin set to crawl, skin set to crawl

From the distance all the hills appear to be the same
Here the baying of wild dogs caroms amongst the evergreens
Through gaping fissures, collapsing colors I am exposed
I'll be the first to admit that I do this for the pain

When I reach inside when I reach beyond that's when the darkness sets in
Where impulse overwhelms reason when heated coils sear
Now I have this gut feeling that I'm going to destroy myself before it's too long
Call it intuition, call it hindsight or the lack of will

Back then there used to be feeling
Reducing myself to ashes to rebuild atop the ruins
The perfect foundation for the killing floor
The steering wheel turns all those memories burn
Cloaked under the stench of ignited oil
I remember your words, (fuel for the fire), I remember your words

Now I need something to numb the pain
Maybe roam beyond the hills into the field
Somewhere in this expanse I buried a piece of myself
To erase your memory
I'll remain here until the breaking of dawn
Resurrect without once missing to take what's left of me
Though I've built myself to be destroyed
You can never, ever take what's mine
Though I've built myself to be destroyed
You can never, ever, take what's mine

Encircle my body with razor wire
The deepest cuts are the kindest
Encircle my body with razor wire

Lazarus runs headlong through brambles and thorns
Used salt and alcohol to soak the ragged sores

Lazarus Runs...

Some photos from today:

Interesting question carved into one of the wooden foot bridges around mile eight. Even on a day like today I'm not sure.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


In my last few posts I forgot to mention that I fractured some ribs while running at Bear Creek in Pennsylvania. I was cruising a downhill, tripped over a branch and ended up falling onto my left fist, which happened to be strategically placed right over my heart. Having fractured my ribs a number of times (skiing, getting the crap kicked out of me, working), I knew I'd busted them up. I did my 18 mile run last week with a tiny bit of discomfort, but it wasn't until I started shoveling snow and pushing a snow blower who's wheels had stopped spinning that they started to feel not so fresh. They bothered me on todays run so I'm guessing they're probably healing improperly. Oops.

About todays run...it was nothing transformative, no great revelations, no problems solved, but it was my first true snow run. Last night we got 4-6 inches of light powder, the kind of powder that makes skiers weep. I'd planned on doing 10 miles before the snow hit but was satisfied with a lung busting, leg working 6.5 miles. It was a shitload of fun. I bombed the downhills faster than I ever have before and suffered mightily on every climb. Oh, and it was so fucking cold that my hydration pack froze in the first half mile. Oh boy. Over the last 3 or 4 months I've developed this bad habit of kicking myself in my left ankle when the trail gets a little bit technical. It's resulted in a little tear in my skin that refuses to heal. When it happens, if you listen closely enough, you can hear me scream obscenities at the top of my lungs three or four States away.

Here are some pictures from this morning:

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I've talked about it before, the quitter voice. It's the voice in your head that feeds itself on your failure, that gets off on your weakness. The quitter voice woke me this morning at 6:30. I'd laid out my clothes, filled my hydration pack, laid out my gels, dropped the orthotics into my shoes, and did the hundred other obsessive things I do before a "big" run. The quitter first reminded me how cold it was; 11 degrees with the wind chill. The quitter reminded me that long hours alone in the woods after this past week could do more harm than good. The harm would come from the dissolution of something beautiful , best described by the band Egghunt, from DC, when Ian Mackaye said that "what was ours, is now yours and mine". I got out of bed, got dressed, and figured I would at least drive to the trail head and see what happened. Then I got out and started South on the AT. The quitter reminded me how cold it was, how it would be easier to just give up now rather than face the disappointment of walking it out of the woods once I finally gave up. Somehow I was able to quiet the voice, control the endlessly looping inner dialogue about how everything between she and I went so horribly and irreversibly wrong, and at some point early on in the run, I decided that I was going for 18 miles. It wasn't a matter of whether 18 miles was a good idea or not, no weighing of options, just 18 miles and then stop.

At some point I'll post a video clip of Gary Robbins, a Canadian Ultra Marathon runner who has set both the East and West Coast trail speed records. On his East Coast run the pain started early on and never seemed to leave. It was a 218km (135.5 mile) run, so there was an enormous amount of suffering to be had. At one point he talked about running through the pain and how the brain, in an effort to protect the body from damage, relentlessly sends out pain warnings and by ignoring them, that protection mechanism eventually gives up and allows you to keep running. He was far more eloquent than I, but there were some rough patches where I used his technique and it cut the throat of the quitter. I remember miles 11-13 being particularly shitty. I was a little bit cold, my legs were getting clumsy, I was tripping on rocks and roots, and she started swirling around my head like a hurricane. I knew that it would eventually end and it did. The final low point, the last 2 or 3 miles, was purely physical. My legs were shot, my left knee felt like it was being drained with a 12 guage needle, and I'd almost completely lost the ability to run downhill. Uphill and flat were okay. Down, not so much. The last mile was a pattern of walk/run/walk/run but I eventually ran into the parking lot and felt like I'd laid to rest so much of the failure and disappointment of the months since Labor Day.

The days tally:

96oz of Gatorade
1 Bacon and Egg sammich
6 Chocolate Outrage gels
1 Drake's Coffee Cake
2 trashed quads
1 angry knee

Sunday, January 1, 2012


The silence used to frighten me. The low grinding noise of the city kept, at least to some small degree, the maddening din in my head hovering just below the surface. It was a comforting sound, and it reminded me that even though I was locked tight inside my own crooked little story line, I was never really alone. Then it all fell apart, the relationship and my life in Manhattan. I remember what it felt like driving away from the city, thinking that it would be the last time I saw it as an inhabitant and not a visitor. For the next few years I dreamt of the day I would move back, and told anyone that would listen that once I clawed my way back onto that island, nothing but death would ever make me leave. I remember trying to sleep at night with the windows open after I'd moved to Connecticut. There was something about the quiet that seemed deadening to me; as if not only had something inside gone silent, but that the world around me had gone silent as well. I remember moving to the place where I sleep now, tucked into a small band of trees and hills at the intersection of Interstates 84 and 684. With the windows open in the Spring and the Fall I can hear a diminished yet no less present version of that same noise that comforted me in Manhattan. It's no longer comforting. When I lay in bed at night, as still as stone, I often think of this verse from the Starkweather song Into The Wire:

With closed eyes I focus on the lull of lush static white noise off of the highway
Imagine the tide crash the shore
I will lay here and I won't make a sound, I will lay here, watch it fall,
and I won't make a sound...

I now find myself craving the absolute silence of the woods, the complete negation of all sounds human. I'm dreaming about moving to New Hampshire, to the harshness of the White Mountains, and am feeling the ever increasing desire to just be left alone. Some of my happiest memories of the last two or three years have been when I was alone. Alone in my late night drives back from Philadelphia and, more importantly, alone in my solitary runs on the Appalachian Trail and trails of Western Connecticut. In an ideal world there would be someone to share those miles and hours with, but the reality is that for me, intimate contact has always resulted in a sadness that seems to inevitably outweigh the happiness of any friendship or relationship. One of the great gifts of trail running is that it has allowed me to not only not fear the silence and isolation, but to use it as a way to make myself whole. I have medications, I have a remarkable therapist, and I have silence. Life without any of those three becomes unmanageable in a frighteningly short period of time. Of the three, it's only silence that feeds my soul.