Thursday, May 03, 2007

NOLA Day One – The Journey

Not much to report from day one unless you want a retroactive Texas weather report and a comprehensive review of seat backs of American Airlines airplanes. It took us 10.5 hours (8.5 of them sitting in planes) due to t-storms in Dallas but we finally made it to New Orleans. Felt right at home when the cab driver from Hong Kong started grilling me about speaker systems. Where was my Triad buddy when I needed him? This guy was talking about $100k systems – way over my head!

Going back a few hours, back at the Portland airport we had extra time so I got one of those 15 minute massages they offer there (I love PDX). Also had time to buy a couple of books, which wound up making the 8.5 hour flying time pass by pretty quickly.

I ripped through Ultramarathon Man – Confessions of an All Night Runner. This dude, Dean Karnazes, is totally insane. He warms up doing 26.2 miles. The guy runs 50 miles from his San Francisco home to the starting line of a marathon in Napa and then completes it in 3 hours and some change.

The story of his 100 mile race through the Sierras (The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run) was worth the price of the book in and of itself. The guy also organized the first marathon at the South Pole (and was the only guy to run it), and also has completed the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135 mile trek through Death Valley in 125 degree temperatures (his first pair of running shoes literally melted).

Listing the feats out like this makes it sound more like a freak show, but the book is a compelling, inspiring look at how far the human body can be pushed, how much the mind has to do with it (mind over matter) and WHY someone would want to do it (it’s more than “Because I Can”).

When running a 199 mile relay by himself, he said he ran the first 100 miles with his legs, the next 90 with is mind and the last nine with his heart. Cool. He’s also funny as hell. Or his ghost writer is. Regardless, it’s an inspiring and quick read and I highly recommend it.

I finished that book before we got to the plane change in Dallas, and busted into “Into Thin Air,” the story about the botched Mt Everest climb that cost a number of lives in the early 90s. I already know that story and you probably do too. So far, another very interesting read.

Anyway, the hotel on the first night was great. The Royal St. Charles Hotel. The last thing taxi man told us was that attendance to the festival seems light this year. Fine by me – more beer for us! We ordered a pizza at 2 AM Central and went to bed at 4.

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