The Weekly Stoke: Trail runner gets very lost, the best running dogs, Boston Marathon tips, and the half marathon selfie gal tells her story

The Grand Canyon. (wikipedia commons photo)

The Grand Canyon. (Wikipedia Commons photo)

April means different things to different people: Late-season turns on the slopes, breaking out the backyard grill, ramping up for all those spring races. And so much more. So in honor of all those possibilities is this rather extensive collection of links. Time for the Weekly Stoke!

This trail runner took a wrong turn and spent a few days lost on the Sierras. The story has a happy ending.

Remember the gal who took a bunch of funny selfies during a half marathon in New York? She elaborates on her story here.

And for those of you getting ready to run the Boston Marathon, this blogger has some helpful race day tips.

If you’re a runner and you like dogs, here’s a list of the 10 best running dogs.

Another good top 10 list: Things you need to have on a river trip.

And finally, a list of some of the best negative Yelp reviews of America’s national parks.

The Weekly Stoke: No rucks at Boston Marathon, a life-saving dog, Maria Kang, an ice climbing close call and why Wyoming is awesome

Grand Teton, Wyoming. (Wikipedia Commons photo)

Grand Teton, Wyoming. (Wikipedia Commons photo)

I’ve been seriously feeling the need to get on the road. Probably has something to do with winter-induced cabin fever. In any case, that’s given me time to find some really good links for you to check out. Let’s get to it with the Weekly Stoke!

Security concerns have ruled out military groups from doing “ruck marches” during the Boston Marathon this year.

A man out on a snowmobiling trip has his dog to thank for saving his life.

Maria Kang and familiy.

Maria Kang and familiy.

Maria Kang, the controversial  “no excuses” fit mom of three kids who made a major Internet splash recently, is doubling down on that theme in this latest effort.

Here’s a good read about this runner’s latest 100-mile ultramarathon, and all the mental games that go into conquering such a race.

If that inspires you, then check out this: A young cross-country runner diagnosed with MS is not wasting time. She’s going all-out in her sport.

This link tells the amazing story of an ice climber who had the ice he was scaling fall right out from under him.

A female CrossFit competitor has a beef with the organization — she’s transgendered, and the CrossFit games is telling her she has to compete with the guys. So she is suing.

Here’s a list of 13 tips for doing your first mud run/obstacle course race.

And finally, one more list: 20 great things about Wyoming.

The Weekly Stoke: The mess on Everest, man fights off a bear and one runner’s journey from Boston to Oklahoma City

Mount Everest. (Wikipedia Commons photo)

Mount Everest. (Wikipedia Commons photo)

This edition of the Weekly Stoke is going to have a pretty heavy emphasis on Mount Everest, but plenty of other goodies await. It’s been an interesting week in the outdoors.

First, I’m sure that most people have heard about the fight that happened at Camp 2 on Mount Everest. And there are many conflicting stories about how it went down. In short, three European climbers got in a conflict with Sherpas setting fixed lines on Everest, which led to a brawl in which the Europeans were assaulted by angry Sherpas. The Sherpas claimed the Europeans had ice kicked down on them while rope-setting work was being done.

One of the climbers, Simone Moro, tells the tale in this post.

And here, a second member of the European team, Ueli Steck, describes his version of the events. And it seems as if it was pretty scary. The parties did get together to forge a sort of truce, but many are saying that future incidents like this are not only possible, but likely. It seems the circus that is Everest just took a very dark turn.

A couple weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings, some of the runners who were prevented from finishing that race ran in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. CNN’s John Sutter tells the story of one of those runners, and weaves in some other storylines we well.

Here’s a list of the kinds of dudes you don’t want to be.

And then there’s this list — the six most dangerous hiking trails in the U.S.

And finally, the story to end all stories: A man fights off an Alaskan brown bear with nothing more than a tripod and his bare hands. Try topping  that one at the office watercooler!

The Weekly Stoke: OKC Marathon steps up, bushwhacking, killer beavers and the most amazing wingsuit stunt ever

Photo by The Oklahoman

Photo by The Oklahoman

I’m a day late on this one, but it’s been that kind of week. Here’s what I’ve got for The Weekly Stoke:

Organizers of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon made a very cool offer to runners who were unable to finish the Boston Marathon because of the bombings.

Speaking of Boston, here’s a list of people doing awesome things in the wake of the bombings.

Killer beavers in Belarus? Yeah, that happened.

This guy has a take on bushwhacking. Might it be the next official outdoor activity? How many calories can you burn bushwhacking? Maybe a burger/fries/2 beers worth. Read on here.

And finally, I give you this: The most amazing wingsuit stunt I’ve ever seen. And since we’re talking about wingsuits, you know it’s going to be pretty awesome. Watch it below:

Looking back on a rough week — and finding solace on the run

trail

First we got the terrible news from Boston, where the finish line of the Boston Marathon was desecrated by a couple of men armed with bombs. Three killed, scores injured, and a bit of innocence lost.

Then something about ricin-laced letters.

Midweek, a huge explosion in West, Texas, where the death toll in that small town is being measured in the dozens.

We had tornadoes here in northeast Oklahoma that night. Thankfully, no one was killed. Just some damage and minor injuries, but a lot of frayed nerves.

And then, late Thursday, the second chapter of the Boston tragedy: The suspected bombers gunning down an MIT campus police officer, engaging in a shootout with police, and then the death of one of the men. As of this writing, police are looking for the deceased man’s younger brother.

And today, incidentally, is the 18th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.

I think we all have an excuse to be down in the dumps right now. But I’ve found some really encouraging signs from people.

A fund was set up to help the victims of the bombings. Acts of kindness and courage abounded in Boston on Monday, and as police continue their pursuit, more bravery is on display.

It seemed the entire state of Texas showed up to help following the tragedy in West. Donations flooded local relief agencies.

Runners have also taken actions, both symbolic and concrete. Those who couldn’t finish the Boston Marathon because of the attacks are being offered a free entry fee to run in next week’s Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Runners have been posting their support through social media. Local races and runs have been held in Boston’s honor.

In the midst of my own training, my intermediate and longer runs culminate on the same north-south street leading into downtown Tulsa: Boston Avenue. It’s a tougher stretch, almost all uphill, leading to the highrises of downtown and past some really beautiful art deco buildings.

Yesterday, as I was finishing up, the bells at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church chimed around 4 p.m. It was cloudy, cool and windy. Not the most ideal training conditions. But for about an hour, things were just right again. I felt a little normal again, especially trudging up that final leg.

My hope is that when you’re out training, racing, getting alone on a trail or doing whatever you do, you find that sense of “normal” again. Even if just for a brief moment in these extraordinarily abnormal times.

Keep your heads up, folks. These times are tough, but tough people outlast tough times.

Keep that in mind when you’re grinding out that last mile.

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7088

An open letter from Oklahoma regarding the Boston Marathon

Despite the fear and violence, the good guys showed up. And will keep doing so.

Despite the fear and violence that marred the Boston Marathon, the good guys showed up. And will keep doing so.

Dear Boston,

It’s hard to find the right words. But we feel your pain, shock and sadness. Deep within us.

In a little less than two weeks, people from all over Oklahoma City and the state of Oklahoma are going to gather to run the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. It’s a great race, the state’s biggest. And while competition and achievement are high on the list for those of us going, there is a higher purpose for the event: To highlight the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

In a matter of a few days, we here in Oklahoma are going to reflect on the event that gave rise to the Memorial, and later the marathon that bears its name. It was on April 19, 1995, that Timothy McVeigh exploded a huge truck bomb outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, killing 168 people — including 19 children at a second-floor daycare — and injured hundreds more.

Since that time, the Memorial and its accompanying museum and institute has had a goal of educating people about the dangers, causes and prevention of violence and terrorism here and abroad. We learned a lot about those subjects in the moments, days and years that followed 9:02 a.m. on that dark, spring day.

Our thoughts will be on that time. But they’ll also be fixed on another sad April day. April 15, 2013. The day where a celebration of athleticism, dedication and toughness that is the Boston Marathon — America’s marathon — turned into a day of bloody carnage.

Anticipation, joy, pride — all wiped away when a couple of bombs exploded near the finish line on Monday afternoon.

Terrorism. Here. Again.

Inside one of the Gates of Time at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

Inside one of the Gates of Time at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

I know what it looks like. Back in 1995, while working for a little suburban newspaper in Oklahoma City, I went to the Murrah Building site soon after the attack. What I saw reminded me of past bombings, overseas, in havens of war like Beirut. Friends and co-workers are still haunted by what they saw there. Oklahoma City rebuilt, but did not forget. Those who died are memorialized beautifully and the hard truths of violence, extremism and evil are kept front and center by the people who maintain the Memorial. If you ever come to Oklahoma City, it is a place you must see.

But in the here and now, we feel what you feel. The grief. The anger. The desire to do something — anything — to help. The inevitable, unanswerable questions:

Why would anyone do this? How could anyone in their right mind think it’s OK?

Who would attack runners, the nicest, most harmless tribe of folks on the planet? And the spectators who gathered to cheer them on?

How could anyone live with themselves knowing they’d killed people, innocent people, including a kid? How could they stomach the sight of themselves in the mirror knowing some of their victims won’t walk on their own two legs ever again?

McVeigh went to the death chamber as defiant as he was twisted, sanctimoniously quoting the poem “Invictus” before a lethal cocktail of drugs sent him to his eternity. It’s not worth your time trying to get into the minds of people like him, or Osama bin Laden, or all the other crazies out there who seek soft targets in cowardly attacks that have the unreasonable and unreachable goal of forwarding their ideological aims.

Truly, I cannot answer the question of why evil is allowed to persist in this world. Hell, I can’t answer any of these tough questions.

But what I can say is that the good guys will show up. In fact, many already have, tending to the injured, lining up to donate blood (in some cases, immediately after crossing the finish line), doing the police work to hunt the bastards down. And they’ll keep showing up. It’s just what they do. What most of us do.

Here in Oklahoma, we may not all be able to lend you a direct hand. But this is a place of people who pray, and there’s a lot of that going on right now on your behalf, Boston.

And you can bet that we’ll be running in your honor, too. Thousands of us. On April 28, we hit the starting line in downtown Oklahoma City, a stone’s throw away from where we lost our innocence. Yes, we’ll be running for the 168 of our own who died and the many more who were spared but inexorably scarred.

But we’re running for you guys, too. Because we know.

Take care, Boston. We’re with you.

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7088

The Weekly Stoke: Boston Marathon advice, the amazing Kilian Jornet, an escape artist and climbing humor

0416-boston-marathon.jpg_full_600

I’ve got a great collection of links, and the first one is rather timely. The Boston Marathon is this Monday, and this blogger has some tips for first-timers in America’s premiere marathon event. There are also good general tips for marathon runners in there, too.

From Outside Magazine, here’s a profile of Kilian Jornet, an ultramarathoner who set a speed record for ascending Mont Blanc. Keep in mind, mountaineering is this guy’s secondary sport.

Also from Outside Magazine: Have you ever heard of Troy Knapp? Folks in rural Utah sure have. Part criminal, part survivalist and part escape artist. A fascinating read about how a guy lived on his wits, survival skills and thievery in Utah’s backcountry.

Ever wonder what it would be like to literally drive to the ends of the earth? These guys actually did it, traversing Argentina’s Patagonia to drive to Tierra Del Fuego on South America’s southern tip. Via the Adventure Journal’s Overlandia series.

This guy set a goal to travel, under human power, 3,333 miles this year to mark his 33rd birthday. Read here how he is making this commitment work.

Here’s a story that’s better read than experienced: Surviving an avalanche during a solo climb up Colorado’s Long Peak.

Some humor for ya: Brendan Leonard (semi-rad.com) tells you how to make sure your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse never participates in your chosen outdoor sport ever again.

And then there’s this bit of climbing humor that even a novice like me can appreciate. It’s safe for work and pretty hilarious. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!