Friday, December 07, 2012

Half Past Done

A snapshot of the brief sliver of sunlight that appeared over the Santa Clara Valley during my bike ride this afternoon, because that's the only way I've seen sunshine for better part of the past two weeks — brief slivers. I'm enjoying it, actually — the rain, the mud, the quiet fog, the deserted trails. But it means I've been doing a lot more trail running recently. Enough that I can actually monitor my daily progress and make little tweaks to my pace in an effort to learn the not-so-gentle art of increasing speed. Yesterday, I ran around a tight corner and directly into the obstacle of a massive fallen tree. My pace fell from 7:18 to 10:07 as I climbed through the maze of branches. An unwelcome side of my personality was actually annoyed that happened. Enough was enough. Today I got back on my bike.

Quick 18-mile pedal into the hills and back, and I felt like my strength was starting to come back on this route I pedal often enough to know what strong should feel like. I think the running, and perhaps even the "fast" running, is boosting my recovery from whatever it was I'm trying to recover from. (Oh yeah. The autumn full of endurance racing.) Fast trail running is full of conflicting emotions for someone like me — exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Although I've been pushing for speed on descents, just to see what it feels like, I've gleaned much more enjoyment from my uphill grunts — going as hard as my ragged lungs will let me and feeling proud of anything close to a 10:07-minute-mile average. I have no doubt I'll always be a much more enthusiastic climber, but I am feeling (tiny) sparks of new confidence on descents these days. And I realize downhill confidence will do more to improve my abilities as a runner, and, ahem, my times. So learning to actually *run* downhill is something I want to keep working on, even if it makes me feel like I'm one step away from a horrible fall.

I've been relatively quiet this week because 1.) I haven't been able to shoot anything remotely resembling a good photograph, and 2.) In addition to chugging forward on a book project, I decided to start a new blog.

Don't worry, I'm not going to kill "Jill Outside" after seven long years of virtual life. It's just that recently I've thought about all of these subjects I want to write about, these events I want to cover, that don't fit the scope of a blog called "Jill Outside." And as I thought more about it, I realized that a lot of these subjects are things that don't get a lot of coverage, period ... or at least, not much more than superficial blurbs from the media. Since I'm so passionate about esoteric endeavors such as snow biking, mountain running, bikepacking, fastpacking, and explorations of the cold and remote regions of the world, I'd like to do more to tell these stories to the world (wide web.)

On Tuesday I launched a site called "Half Past Done." There's more about the focus of this new blog and its name on the About Page. I'm going to work on updating it regularly with news items, book reviews, commentary, profiles, and interviews. It will give me an opportunity to do more of that everyday journalism thing that I've been missing since I left the newspaper industry. And I do hope it will eventually catch on and become a successful site, but for now it's a "for fun" type of project.

So far I've added a post introducing Eric Larsen's upcoming fat-bike expedition to the South Pole (planning to follow up on this trip regularly), an awesome new bikepacking event in Scotland, an introduction to expedition racing, and a synopsis of the major bikepacking races of 2012. The site is in its early development phase, so I'd appreciate any feedback or suggestions about coverage, design, readability, etc. I'm definitely not sold on the layout, but I actually do like the way the rotating window allows me to display up to five posts with photos "above the fold." But I might rework it if too many readers find it irritating. I'll be grateful for any feedback about things like that. 


  1. This is awesome. The web needs a publication that tracks ultra-endurance expeditions and events - especially those that don't fall under MdS banner or the traditional 100 miler summer run.

  2. Awesome!! Definitely like it!!! Looking forward to reading more articles.

  3. I Love It Jill! A lot of fun info in one site! Bikepacking is my favorite.


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