Return of the Chans...

It's been a long time since I have contributed content to the blog world. So here is my brief re-introduction to it.

Details of my Pacific Crest Trail hike can be found over at www.iamthechan.com . I am thinking about keeping most if not all ultrarunning related posts over there and keeping this blog more closely related to adventures that Nicole and I embark upon. We'll see how that goes.

Anywho, tomorrow in Malibu the weather is supposed to be uncharacteristically nasty. It also happens to be a PCTR trail running event in which Nicole is running the 18k and I'm running the 50k. Last year this race wrecked me as I underestimated the heat and didn't keep up properly with nutrition/hydration. Should be a different story this time around.

More soon...



Going to checkout the California Heritage Museum later today with Nicole. They are have been running an exhibit SKATEBOARD: Evolution and Art in California. We've been wanting to get there for a while, and today is the day!

I'm leaving Saturday for the Pacific Crest Trail hike, so won't be blogging here much for a bit but if you are interested please follow me as I walk through deserts and over mountains from Mexico to Canada over at www.iamthechan.com


Scott Jurek...on the record

happy man after a long day

Scott Jurek is the man. Read this article about the American record he set a couple days ago in the World Championship 24 hour race. 165.705 miles on a 1.25-kilometer loop in Brive, France. Incredible achievement by a great guy. It's hard to mention the accomplishment without including that he has been vegan for years and winning huge ultramarathons in the process. Congrats Scott.


What we've been up to...

A quick update of the recent happenings in the life of the Chans. As suggested from the picture above, we saw Iron Man 2. It was entertaining, and as a bonus we went before noon so saw it at half price. Good special effects and good enough story.

We also met up with friends at the Huntington Botanical Garden. Neither of us had been before and we had a great time. If you are in the LA area and haven't been...go. There is a ton to take in between the gardens, library, and art collection.

baby ducks at the Botanical Gardens

stray plant life at the gardens

In between all of the excitement, we also made it out with friends for great conversation and unreal all you can eat sushi. The head sushi chef kept sending out special rolls he had created that weren't on the menu yet. No one needs to see pictures of me stuffing my face...so I'll spare you from that.

Last night we happened upon an event at a local sporting goods store. Well known ultrarunner Dean Karnazes was signing books and did a Q&A before having to catch a flight back home to the Bay area. Dean has been instrumental in bringing distance running to the public at large. His recent book talks about his experiences running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days.

On a side note we scored a case of Greek yogurt and a bunch of GU chomps from the sponsors at the event. Nice!



I have news. Read this post, then visit iamthechan.com

In 2007 I married the most fantastic woman on the planet. I was also fortunate to have the opportunity to thru-hike the 2175 mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Upon completing the AT a desire to continue pushing my physical and mental limits was ignited, so I decided to train for a marathon. The idea of running 26.2 miles sounded absolutely crazy to me at the time. After completing the marathon I looked for what was next and discovered trail running. I could not get enough of roaming through forests and up and down mountains for hours at a time. In the past year I have run five ultramarathons in the mountains of Southern California. So now what?

Beginning in a couple weeks I will attempt a thru-hike of the 2650 mile long Pacific Crest Trail. The PCT stretches north from the Mexico border through California, Oregon, and Washington state and ends just across the Canadian border in Manning Provincial Park. Along the way the trail passes through six out of seven North America ecozones, 25 national forests, and 7 national parks.

Blog updates and photos will be posted regularly at iamthechan.com to follow the planning and progress of the hike. Please leave comments when you visit. As I have told people, it's about the only company I'll have!



Tonight Nicole and I went to a free event at UCLA. Food 2.0 Sustainable Agriculture, Social Entrepreneurship, and the Future of Food. One of the panel speakers in the last discussion was Ann Gentry of Real Food Daily. RFD is a delicious restaurant in Santa Monica that we have been to a couple of times recently (including for Nicole's birthday a couple days ago). Speaking of birthday meals, we also checked out a great Ethiopian restaurant, Merkato.

Amazing food at Merkato

Other than that we've been keeping busy spending time running and hiking in the local mountains. It's a good life.


One Year Wiser.

The blog has been quiet lately, but we have been BUSY! All good stuff though...

More info to come and pictures of Nicole's thesis project. Graduation was great and today we are celebrating her birthday! It starts now with a hike and also involves delicious food later in the day.



Long time no post. Nicole is finished with her thesis project and this Saturday she will officially graduate with her Masters degree from the Art Center College of Design - Media Design Program.

A round of applause for my talented wife please...

More pictures of the exhibition to follow. Ah yes, and Happy Earth Day (yesterday) to you.


Sycamore Canyon 50k - race report

Recovery from the Old Goat race last weekend has gone really well. Long story short - last night I decided to run the Sycamore Canyon 50k.

Sycamore Canyon was my first ultramarathon one year ago and so holds fond memories. Before the race I ran into a few friends and met some new ones.

From left to right, Stuart, Andrea, me, Billy, Josh, Emil, Kristin, Colin, and Andee

I suppose the purpose of my running this race (besides great company and mountain/ocean views) was to test how well I really had recovered and to run a race with no pressure or expectations.

photo by Stuart

I started intentionally slow since this was the first run after OG and I needed to feel out my legs and see what they had to offer. Over the miles I gained confidence that they weren't going to fall apart on me and I was able to move at a relaxed but intentional pace. Nutrition and hydration stayed pretty solid until the approach of the last aid station. My stomach was a little upset at that point but nothing serious. Unfortunately it's a big climb out of the canyon after the aid station so that section was a bit difficult.

In the end I finished strong and felt good about my effort and the way my body held up. A pleasant bonus was that I PR'd by about 27 minutes. Also, I felt the freshest I ever have after a race. Here's to another speedy recovery!

Hi Stuart!

Interesting side note. I brought my iPod, but never turned it on. I have found a nice rhythm and connection with my breathing helps keep mental focus and a good gauge on effort/pace. I'll probably still use it on long training runs. It's nice to listen to audiobooks and podcasts to pass the time.

I'm building a collection of these coasters

I didn't take any pictures during the race, so enjoy this confusing bonus photo. It depicts a boxer focused off camera and me...battling a land shark.

maybe I can pick him up by his ears?


We are April Fools...

Nicole and I have been married three years today. Yup. Life is good.


Old Goat 50M - race report

This past Saturday I ran my first big boy ultra, the Old Goat 50. It takes place in the Santa Ana Mountains of Southern California and boasts nearly 14,000 feet of gain. The most talked about climb is the 8 mile continuous "up" from Holy Jim to Santiago Peak accounting for 4,000 feet.

My main goal was to finish the race...under my own power...and before the 14 hour cutoff. To do this my main focus was to be on nutrition and hydration. If this stayed solid I knew I could sustain the slow steady pace needed to finish, barring any unforeseen circumstance of course.

Friday night I drove down to stay with relatives in Laguna Hills. It saved me an hour of driving in the morning and let me get up at the later 3:30am time. That was a huge help, even though I didn't sleep well and probably only got 2.5 hours of sleep total.

I left in plenty of time for the 6:30am start but had a very difficult time finding the turn off route 74 in the dark mountains. I finally parked the car at 6:37am and still needed to get to the start line, check in my drop bag, and get my bib number. Needless to say I was stressed. I grabbed all of my stuff and ran to the start line (about half a mile) where thankfully they had not begun the race. With the help of volunteers I got my race bib pinned on and drop bag in place as the final race instructions (none of which I heard) were finished being announced. I crouched down to tighten my laces just as the race started. That was close. Thankfully that was the only issue I had with missed turns for the rest of the day.

The next three photos below were taken by Benjamin G. His wisdom was helpful in keeping my pace reasonable so that I had enough left for the climbs ahead.

the tunnel reminds me of a scene from Lord of the Rings

From pretty early on until the aid station at mile 11 I was stuck near the front of a 28 person train. That's a lot of people on single track. It broke up pretty good after that and people got into their own rhythm.

At mile 21 we could access our cars and so I stopped quick to switch out my socks and swig some electrolyte drink. As I began a climb a few miles later I was running alone and decided to plug in the company of my iPod. About a song and a half later I caught up with a local and Old Goat racer, Garmon. He had previously hiked about 30 miles of the course and told me the major snow covered peak I could see in the distance was San Gorgonio. Cool. Good memories of that from my hike with Stitch.

rocky dry trail

I met several other cool people along the way including Jay and Ben. It was also Jay's first 50 miler. Apparently this is an ill advised first 50 due to difficulty, but many of us were out there to attempt it. Deborah who was also completing her first 50 miler knew the course really well and helped keep me company as well as provide "tour guide" service. Also in the Bear Springs area I met Jennifer, who despite throwing up for hours during the run, somehow powered on and finished before the cutoff.

the Santa Ana Mountains

The volunteers and organizers were also amazing. They had kind words and provided great service when it was really needed. I appreciate all of their hard work and support. Thank you.

The photo below is me heading into the aid station at Santiago Peak. The last couple miles to the peak were tough, but the rest of the race was very manageable. I felt better and more consistent than in any 50k that I've run. Mentally I felt very strong the whole way too. No real low points. That was huge. Must have been the Night Owl singlet (thanks to Evan and Zach for their support and encouragement).

photo by Charles Borlase

The rest of the race was a blur. Going from aid station to aid station, not believing there was only 13.2 miles left, 10.5, 5.2, etc. A lot of this was downhill which was painful but manageable on trashed quads. If anyone knows better, correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think anyone passed me the last 22 miles or so of the race. Of course being in the back of the pack there aren't statistically as many people left to pass you! However, I'll take this as a positive sign that I didn't crash and burn later in the race.

Final time 13:18.48. I was 81st of 135 starters. Not a bad day in the mountains.

Post race...

I'll leave out the less glamorous post race stomach issues and inability to keep down anything, even water for several hours. By the next day I felt great and had a big appetite. My quads are still a little sore but I can handle stairs and slow running. I'm on my way to a really good and fast recovery.

I had no feet issues with my Inov8 Roclite 315s and Drymax trail lite socks. The only "injury" I sustained was in the last 1/4 mile while running in the dark when I ran into a tree branch with my shoulder. Apparently I wasn't the only one to smash into this branch! The iPod got only 5 minutes of use and mental clarity was much greater...hmmm.

Again, someone correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the weather was amazing. I never felt overheated or too cold (with the occasional aid of my windshirt). This could be due to finally properly hydrating and thermoregulating for a race. All in all an amazing experience.

great swag at the Old Goat

Thank you most of all to my beautiful and amazing wife Nicole. Without her support through all of the training and preparation this race would never have happened. You are the best!


LA 26.2

Congratulations to all those who ran the LA Marathon today. It was a great new course this year, starting at Dodger Stadium and ending less than two miles from my house at the Santa Monica Pier. I took the opportunity to head down to the finish line and watch people finish. It was not too hot and the sky was overcast. Lots of spectators were on hand and 25,000 runners made their way along the 26.2 miles. Below are a couple of photos I took to remember the day.

Nacho Libre finished in a very respectable time

One of a couple barefoot runners that I saw. Neat.

Finish line...to the pier...to the beach party!

After watching the race for just over an hour I headed over to REI then to the library. I wanted to read the Runners World article in this months issue about Scott Jurek. I thought the article was so so, but that's just my opinion.

Tonight Nicole and I had a delicious dinner and saw Shutter Island. She had read the book, I had not. We both loved it. Very well done. Better than The Book of Eli which we saw earlier in the week. So there you have it.

6 more sleeps until the Old Goat.


The Passing Lane...

The taper isn't going too well. Or maybe it's just right? Who knows. My overall mileage is down but I have been getting in plenty of good trail miles. I'm going by feel in terms of actual tapering. I hope that serves me well.

The Old Goat race is 9 days away. I'll have some stories to tell after that. Hopefully with a happy ending...more soon.

Related to the past post about the Matthew Good concert that Nicole and I saw last weekend...

It rocked.


Canadians, Vegans, and Endurance Athletes Oh My...

Nicole and I are going to see Canadian musician, author, activist Matthew Good perform tonight in Hollywood. I don't think I've ever seen him put on a bad show in the dozen or so times I've seen him. Last time was in a tiny club outside of DC about two years ago.

Earlier in the week we met with another Canadian, Brendan Brazier, for a book signing and Q&A at a Whole Foods in Glendale. He is a professional endurance athlete...and vegan. Yes the two can go hand in hand quite nicely. In his book, Thrive, he shows how. Brendan also contributed to the course content for a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition available through eCornell. We chatted a bit, he answered some specific questions, we talked about farmers markets and then Nicole and I headed out for dinner with huge appetites.
It felt like vegan endurance athlete week in Southern California, because I also had the pleasure of taking in a presentation from legendary (vegan) ultrarunner Scott Jurek. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 people came to Mother's Market in Santa Ana to listen to him speak. It took me over two hours in horrible traffic to get there. I met people that came from even further away and one that even took the day off work to make sure they would make it. The trip was totally worth it. After the talk, about ten of us went for what was to be a 30 minute night run with Scott. We went through a park and along the streets where he continued to share knowledge and provide advice. The run turned into over an hour, but everyone survived without incident. I did however make the awful joke during the run that the next aid station was "just up around the next corner". Sorry for that.

Scott and I before the run

Last but not least...on Thursday I got up at an insane (for me) hour to join with the SoCal Coyotes running group on some Santa Monica Mountain trails before work. It was my first time running with this group. There was a good turnout of great people. No surprise there. I'll join up with them again for sure.

And well, that's that...


Malibu Creek - one for the road

Congrats once again to all those who ran, volunteered, and helped to organize the PCTR Malibu Creek run over the weekend.

Night Owl Racing race report


Malibu Creek trail run- volunteer race report

The storm clouds never came together and so the weather turned out beautiful in Malibu today for the PCTR Malibu Creek trail run.

pre-race photo at Malibu Creek State Park

There were three distances being run. The 10k, 25k, and 50k. PCTR puts on great races and if you have ever run them you already know this. Since I am beginning to taper for my run at the end of the month I took this opportunity to volunteer. For the first hour and a half or so I helped out with parking as runners arrived. From there I moved to a tent with another volunteer, Sheri, and we handed out race shirts to finishers and medals/ribbons to age group winners. Sheri is quite an accomplished runner and will be running the Western States 100 mile this year.

the tent where we handed out shirts and awards

I waited around for a bit when my volunteer shift was done to watch the first 50k runners come in. First place and smashing the course record by some 25 minutes was my friend Evan. About 15-20 minutes later one or two other runners came in under the old record looking strong. It was not soft competition.

Evan (1st 50k) and Brandon (4th 50k) after the race

In this picture Evan (representing with the Night Owl Racing singlet) had just asked Brandon what races he had coming up, to which he replied, "I'm running the Old Goat in a few weeks". Someone off to the right of the photo chimed in, "man that's a nasty course, tough race". Evan is pointing at me saying, "hey, Dave is running that one too". Uh oh.

It was great to see familiar faces such as Billy and Stuart and of course make some new friends. These pictures were with my phone, I took a couple other pictures with someones camera and will put up any that turned out in a future post. Until then, congrats to all those who participated today and thanks as always to the volunteers!


Whatever Works...

Nicole and I got takeout Thai food from the place down the street tonight and watched Woody Allen's "Whatever Works". It was entertaining and humorous. Of course, if you don't like Woody Allen's work or Larry David's acting this will not win you over...but it worked for us.

I got up with the sun today to hit the trails for a wonderful looooong run. My legs are pleasantly tired now, but ready for one more big week of running before the taper. Yes...the well deserved taper.

After yesterday's rain the sky was clear and the views of the big snow covered mountains were amazing. Lastly, I signed up to volunteer at next weekends Malibu Creek 10/25/50k. It was kind of late, so I'm not sure if they'll need me or not.

Goodbye, enjoy the beginning of March.


Hamster Wheel...

I've been utilizing the treadmill in training the past couple of months. It's convenience has helped me to up my miles. A majority of runs and miles still take place on the trails...also I have been sneaking in a few extra miles and stair climbing repeats in the morning before work. Only time will tell if the preparation is enough to survive my first big boy ultramarathon...

Also, my last post was not meant to be "anti-runner". I'm just not comfortable with defining myself as a runner!

So then tell me, what are your goals for 2010?


On that note...

Related to the last post about endurance...earlier today Matt Hart released his 2009 ultrarunning video. It's just over 4 minutes long, and if you need your fix you can view it below.

A sweet 19 miles in the Santa Monica Mountains today. 265 on the year. Man the weather here rocks.



Just because I run doesn't make me a runner.

I went to the track today to do repeats on bleacher steps. I figure it's a good quick workout on what would have otherwise been a rest day. More importantly it's a good way to simulate hills for the 13,000+ feet of gain in my upcoming 50 miler.

I felt like I was in another world amongst the track runners doing their high knees, lunges, 50 meter sprints, and 400 meter striders. I'm in my element roaming mountain trails dodging branches, bears, and rocks for hours, or days, or months at a time.

Until a couple years ago I had never run more than 3 miles at a time in my life, then I eased into longer distance with a couple of 10k's after the Appalachian Trail hike...then a road marathon...then a trail 30k...and I still didn't feel like a runner (whatever that really means). Three 50k trail runs last year and over 1100 miles of running. Nope. I thought, "maybe after my 50 miler I'll feel like a runner".

the "lemon squeezer" approx. 1365 miles down and 810 to go on the AT

taken from a random flickr page to show part of the rock scramble

What I discovered with the help of a couple "runner" friends is that we aren't runners at all, nor do we want to be classified as such. We're more comfortable with being endurance athletes, using our own two feet as the transportation of choice. So while it would be cool to improve my 10k time, I would much rather complete a 50 miler racing against the cutoff time. Then there are the 100 milers...and multi-day races...and well, you get the point...or maybe you don't. Either way is fine. I'm just happy I found a way to get my endurance fix.


Hallmark Day

I don't need an excuse to express my love and appreciation for Nicole...but then along comes Valentines Day.

We're coming up on three years of marriage. I've got to tell you, it's been pretty awesome.

Thank you Nicole.