Never Summer training week 0

This is the first day of week 0 of my 25-week Never Summer 100k training. I'm treating it as a rest week. I feel like I'm in better shape than I was at week 0 of my Quad Rock 50 training in November 2018. I have more of a base. I've got my gear figured out. Most of all, I have more experience. I'm looking forward to regular speed and hill workouts starting next week.

In addition to the Never Summer run at the end of July, I've registered for the Quad Rock 25 mile on the Saturday of Mothers Day weekend and the Kettle Moraine (Wisconsin) 38 mile "fun run" on June 13. There are local runners who do the Quad Rock 50 and the Never Summer 100k in the same year as part of the Gnar Slam (QR 50, NS 100k, Black Squirrel, and Blue Sky Trail Marathon), but I'm not quite at that level of fitness yet. Maybe next year. My guru, David Bitner, has signed up for Kettle Moraine and I'm looking forward to spending some time on the trail with him and gaining some nighttime running experience; the fun run starts in the evening and has a mid-morning cut-off the next day. I'm expecting to cross the Never Summer finish line between 1 and 2 a.m. if all goes well, and I should be able to simulate this at Kettle Moraine.

Horsetooth tree stan

Yes, I mean stan, not stand. One quarter mile below the top of Horsetooth's Spring Creek Trail, at 6770 feet elevation, there is a gnarly old Douglas fir that has grown up against a large boulder that rolled to rest in the drainage long ago. The trail goes right under it and I love pointing the tree out to people who've never noticed it before.

This tree deserves a better photo

One day I'm going to bring my better camera up there along with some cord to measure the tree's circumference. I estimate its diameter at breast height (dbh) to be almost 36 inches. Some formulas for estimating the age of a Douglas fir say to multiply the diameter in inches by 5 to get the age of the tree in years. Rocky Mountain Douglas fir grow more slowly than trees in the Pacific Northwest and grow extremely slowly after 200 years. Is this a 180 year-old tree or is it older? I haven't noticed a larger or more lichen-covered specimen anywhere in the park.

Bark, lichen, and stone

I'd love to know more about this tree. Please Send me an email if you know anything about its history.

First long run of the year

Yesterday I joined runners training for Quad Rock in running 15 miles up and down Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, my biggest outing since October 2019. It was lovely up there.

View to the south and west from a bend on the South Ridge Trail

There's a lot of packed snow and ice on the trails and for lack of traction I was going very slowly on slick descending stretches like the shady parts of Towers and South Ridge. After I got home and ate I bought and installed some some cheap hardware to add traction to one of my pairs of trail shoes.

The shoes I wore at Loopet Loppet

I followed the instructions on Matt Carpenter's screw shoe page and screwed 11 3/8" sheet metal screws into the lugs on the bottom of each Speedgoat. A 1/4" magnetic socket and a cordless drill made it as easy as advertised.

The neighborhood glacier

This morning I tested my shoe hack on a inclined patch of ice near my house and was pleased with the extra traction. I can run straight up and down the ice at an easy pace without slipping. I'm looking forward to trying these on my next icy hill workout.

Station identification

Hi, my name is Sean Gillies, and this is my blog. I write about running, cooking and eating, travel, family, programming, Python, API design, geographic data formats and protocols, open source, and internet standards. Mostly running and local geography. I live mostly in Fort Collins, Colorado, and sometimes in Montpellier, France. I work at a startup named Mapbox, building location data services and products. I appreciate emailed comments on my posts. You can find my address in the "about" page linked at the top of this page. Happy New Year!

Running in 2019

I'm back from my last run of 2019, a short trot in suburban Boise near my mom's house. This year I've run 224 times, 4 times with a bib pinned to my shirt: at the Run Through Time in Salida (26 miles) in March, Quad Rock (50 miles) in May, Black Squirrel (13 miles) in September, and Loopet Loppet (42 miles) in October. One trail marathon and two ultramarathons.

I surpassed my 2018 mileage total in early July. 2019's numbers:

  • 317 hours and 23 minutes (60% increase)

  • 1,701.8 miles (50% increase)

  • 180,771 feet D+ (113% increase)

I put running ahead of unpaid open source projects, conferences, working groups, and Twitter arguments in 2019 and have no regrets at all. I'm going to continue in 2020.

Wrapping up another year in the hills above Boise

"Link in bio" is a smoker's cough

Anil Dash wrote yesterday that "Link in Bio" is a slow knife. I'd call it a smoker's cough, a nagging reminder that you're using a toxic product.

Jamie Zawinski has been blogging about this problem for years. It's in that post that I saw the perversity of Instagram giving us all exactly one link. One single hyperlink per user.

I found both those posts via links, using RSS.

Speaking of, read the site content for 10 minutes and then look out your window at the snow or sky. You'll see some strong purple after-images.

Rasterio wheels for Python 3.8

Rasterio wheels for Python 3.8 were less straightforward than those for Fiona, where we only had to update a git submodule. The Rasterio wheels include HDF5 and NetCDF libraries that had to be rebuilt for Python 3.8 and OS X with a newer version of XCode. I recently asked the Travis CI team for a build timeout extension and was granted it – it's more than enough to build Rasterio's dependencies for each job, now – and this came in very handy: all the Rasterio wheel-building jobs on OS X finish in less than 75 minutes. Thank you, Travis CI.

Once again, I'd like to point out that I'd be rather lost if I couldn't follow the example of Thank you, Matthew Brett, et al.

School open house night part 2

Whew! Another long school open house evening in the books. Bea and I spent 2 hours at one of the middle schools we're considering. It's her first choice because of friends. I know two teachers there, but I'd never been in the building before.

There's an LGBTQIA+ organization at the school and a very fun and smart group of kids representing it with a table and poster in the school gym right next to Science Olympiad and Chess Club. Fully supported by the staff as far as I could tell. Fort Collins is a bit behind the curve, but seems to be catching up.

The 6th grade Language Arts (English, we used to say) teachers are trying some new stuff that seems cool and very likely to engage my daughter. They are teaching as a team in a combined classroom. Lectures are out. Discussion and role-playing are in.

I was ambivalent about this school going in, but the staff impressed me. I'm glad I went.

Another highlight is that dinner was made for us while we were out. One of our family's standard easy dinners is pasta with a vegetable like cauliflower, potatoes, or green beans – blanched in the same pot – tossed with pesto. Arabelle nailed it.

Fiona wheels for Python 3.8

Despite being busy with family stuff, I'm bringing blogging back tonight, and I'm also updating the project so that I can build manylinux1 and macosx wheels for Python 3.8. It's working great and there will be a Fiona 1.8.12 release on PyPI this morning. I'm going to regret this tomorrow when I have to get up at the crack of dawn to get kids to school, I'm sure, but it feels good to think about unblocking folks who want to try Fiona on 3.8.