Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wasatch Backcountry Photos - December 2012

December, in the Wasatch Backcountry... on skis.

Can I ski more than a three year old? I hope so, but the running joke has been that I am being handily beaten by Ann and Andy's three year old daughter for days on skis. I may have gotten a late start, but I'm making up for it (plus, I've learned how to trash talk a lil' kid). I just can't let these photos wither on harddrives, to be forgotten — so each month, I'll share the best shots we get.

Days Fork Tree Dec 12: Photo by Andy Paradis
Evan Caplis droppin' a knee: Photo by Andy Paradis

Chad Brackelsberg setting the bookpack, he enjoys this type of thing. Photo by Matt Hart
Ann Paradis charging, she enjoys this type of thing: Photo by Andy Paradis

Chad Brackelsberg & Andy Paradis skinning up, to ski down: Photo by Matt Hart

Andy & Chad bootpacking to Lake Peak; He dislikes this type of thing: Photo by Matt Hart
Chad Brackelsberg skinning: Photo by Andy Paradis
Peter Adler West Couloir Kessler Peak: Photo by Matt Hart 

Evan Caplis, buried: Photo by Andy Paradis
Andy Paradis schralping: Photo Matt Hart

Matt Hart & Andy Paradis skinning in White Pine Dec : Photo by Evan Caplis

Peter Adler & Matt Hart about to ski the Catcher's Mitt off Kessler Peak - Dec 30: Photo by Evan Caplis

Sunday, December 23, 2012

What I Read: Alex Hutchinson

Someone who doesn't read gets about the same education as someone who can't. Where you get your information seems of vital importance to how you see the world. We are bombarded with information, and misinformation all day long. I'm fascinated by how people wade through the deluge, when and where they consume, and how they structure their work-life around it. TheAtlanticWire has this wonderful series called Media Diet that I read religiously. They focus on the reading habits of "prominent figures in media, entertainment, politics, the arts, and the literary world". I'm going to steal this idea from them, however my focus will be on prominent figures in athletics, nutrition, and health.

This essay is from Alex Hutchinson, a former physicist and national-class runner, who writes Sweat Science for Runner's World Magazine
Alex has won a National Magazine Award for science journalism, and his latest book is called Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights? Fitness Myths, Training Truths and Other Surprising Discoveries from the Science of Exercise.  ~ Matt Hart

I should start by saying that my media diet is affected by the fact that I'm currently (but temporarily) living in Australia. It's funny how that changes what I read. I've been dividing my time between Canada and Australia for four years now, while my wife completes a degree. It means that paper subscriptions to magazines are essentially an impossibility, and that means that I miss a lot of stuff that I would check regularly if I were stably based in one place. It's not that it's impossible to get those things here - it's just that a bit of minor inconvenience is enough to drop some otherwise good content off the radar.

On the flip side, it can be pretty valuable - and surprising - to learn what you can live without. Like many people, I'm sure - especially people who write for a living - I sometimes find it a struggle to get the right balance between staying informed and spending all my time reading (and envying!) other people's work.

I wake up reasonably early, around 6 or 6:30, and immediately flick on my computer to check email and respond to anything urgent before the end of North American business hours. Then I check the websites of The New YorkTimes and The Globe and Mail, both of which I pay to subscribe to online. I'll read a few articles, then head out for my run with my wife. For the rest of the day, I'll be checking those two websites very regularly, as distractions/breaks between bits or work. I tend to read most of what appears on the main page of the Times, and rely heavily on the most-emailed list, which I find is a pretty damn good filter of what's interesting. (In contrast, the Globe's most-emailed list tends to be dominated by anything remotely titillating. I haven't figured out whether that's a difference in audience or site moderation!)

Most of my work these days involves writing about scientific research related to fitness, training, and health. I try to keep up with some of the journals in the field - primarily British Journal of Sports Medicine, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, and European Journal of Applied Physiology. I'll do a round to skim their tables of contents and preprints once every week or two. I also do a round of blogs to see what people are saying - people like Amby Burfoot (whose exerscience Twitter feed is also a great resource), Yoni Freedhoff, Pete Larson, Steve Magness, the Science of Sport guys, the Obesity Panacea guys, Stephan Guyenet. I also find Twitter often sends me to interesting places, and I'll end up spending half an hour reading a blog that I don't follow regularly.

As a big running fan, I also end up checking Letsrun and the Runnersworldsite, among other places, pretty close to hourly. Say what you will about Letsrun, but they do a very good job curating good content from across the runningsphere. There are a lot of excellent running sites that I don't need to check regularly, because I'm confident that Letsrun will flag the stuff I'd be interested in.

For pleasure (I can make a case that the running stuff is "work," though it's pushing it a bit), my first go-to is The New Yorker, which I read essentially cover to cover every issue. That's what I'll read over lunch, if I need a break during the day, and in bed before sleeping. I bought a Kindle specifically so that I could get The New Yorker instantly, wherever I happen to be in the world - and carry as many issues of the inevitable backlog as I need to! These days I read less fiction than I'd like to; the last novel I read was "Cutting for Stone", by Abraham Verghese. I do find myself reading a fair amount of nonfiction that's peripherally work-related; right now I'm in the middle of Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow. (Both are great, by the way.)

I don't consume much of other forms of media. I don't like video on the web, at least for information that could be conveyed just as well with text, like interviews. It's just way too slow and inefficient. My wife and I will typically watch a half-hour of TV after dinner to unwind. Sometimes it's something being broadcast, but mostly it's a series on DVD. And if there's a good marathon or track meet being streamed from somewhere in the world, we'll find time for that!
Runner's World Magazine: Alex Hutchinson's "What I Read" essay 

Others from the Media Diet: What I Read Series

Matt Hart
Endurance Coach, Athlete and Writer

Dr. Ben Lewis

UltraRunner, Doctor and Banjo Player

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Master in the Art of Living

"A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both."
~ Francois Auguste Rene Chateaubriand (French writer, politician, diplomat and historian)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Running in Southern Utah

Some great last minute advice from a friend made these photos, and an amazing few days in the desert even better. Two days and about 40 miles of amazing trail.
Druid Arch

photo by Evan Honeyfield

photo by Evan Honeyfield

Confluence Overlook

photo by Evan Honeyfield

photo by Evan Honeyfield

"Fast" Evan Honeyfield put together this video, which happens to cover two weekends of running with Sarah and I, check it out.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dude, You Fucked Me Up a Little Bit

This clip from Joe Rogan's podcast spoke to me so much I had to share it. It's a conversation between two stand-up comedians, but it's infinitely applicable. I can't distill it any better than it is already presented here. I could have said this word for word to friends Jared Campbell (after last years Barkley) and years ago to Steve Copson (at the beginning stages of my [former-life] software career). Thank you both.

You must surround yourself with these people.
"Dude, I gotta be honest with you. You fucked me up a little bit." 
"My friend is doing something really special here. I know I have something in me, and I'm not living up to it. And being around him reminds me of the fact that I'm not living my fuckin life."
"100% of all haters in the world are unrealized potential." 
"There is no scarcity." 
... thanks to Bobbie Hackenbruck for sharing this video.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What I Read: Dr. Ben Lewis

Ben Lewis
Someone who doesn't read gets about the same education as someone who can't. Where you get your information seems of vital importance to how you see the world. We are bombarded with information, and misinformation all day long. I'm fascinated by how people wade through the deluge, when and where they consume, and how they structure their work life around it. TheAtlanticWire has this wonderful series called Media Diet, that I read religiously. They focus on the reading habits of "prominent figures in media, entertainment, politics, the arts, and the literary world". I'm going to steal this idea from them, however my focus will be on prominent figures in athletics, nutrition, and health.  ~ Matt Hart

When my polymath friend and running partner Matt Hart asked me to write an entry for his series I quickly agreed to contribute to what sounded like a neat project.  Some quick accounting in the following minutes however led to some bleak conclusions: that after eight fairly intense years of medical education and now two years of fatherhood my consumption of the written word is not particularly broad nor — discounting the specific reading I do to stay current in my medical field — deep. I spend a good amount of time these days with Goodnight Moon[1]. More incriminating, I spend more than my fair share of time in bed in the evening watching Netflix on my laptop, perusing YouTube clips of Zach Galifianakis, or scanning inane running blogs while my wife is wholly immersed in some imposing looking work of modern fiction[2]. If nothing else, writing this piece (and reading other entries on Matt’s blog) will jar loose some of the rust and nourish my now atrophied and stilted brain.  

This state of affairs is not without precedent. I would estimate that until the age of 18 my predominant sources of the written word were Calvin and Hobbes, cereal boxes, and my well-worn and yellowed copy of Once a Runner[3]. An unusual preamble to becoming a literature and philosophy major but there you have it.

I’m now an inpatient psychiatrist at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute so a good portion of my reading these days centers around staying current by reading major journals in the field and papers relevant to patient care — the details of which are likely uninteresting for a wider audience. I co-teach several courses for resident physicians including a psychopathology course and a psychodynamics course and so end up doing some reading in these domains so as to have at least one or two intelligent things to say. My research interests are in the philosophy of psychiatry and I do a fair bit of reading and writing in this area — as of late focusing mainly on the application of Daniel Dennett’s work in philosophy of mind to certain questions of classification and methodology in psychiatry and in how issues of social construction come to bear on conceptualizations of mental illness (relevant books here include Consciousness Explained, The Intentional StanceSweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness, Brainchildren: Essays on Designing Minds, Freedom Evolves by Dennett or The Social Construction of What? and Mad Travelers by Ian Hacking).  My default interests are in philosophy so I’m generally not very far from some book or set of papers in this domain.  Currently I’m reading Free Will by Sam Harris#.

I should read more fiction.  Favorite authors include Don DeLillo, David Foster Wallace, Milan Kundera, Virginia Woolf, Wallace Stegner, Vladimir Nabokov.  

All things considered I’m a pretty skeptical dude and this carries over even into my professional life.  Over the last several months I’ve been on a kick of reading several recent popular press books largely critical of psychiatry and psychopharmacology as a whole: Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker, The Loss of Sadness by Jerome Wakefield, The Emperor’s New Drugs by Irving Kirsch, and Unhinged by Daniel Carlat.  While I can’t fully ascribe to all of the critical arguments put forth in these books, I find — and always have found — it important to expose oneself to a variety of positions and to be ready to throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water if needs be, however threatening that prospect is.

We also subscribe to a number of magazines — the enumeration of which is likely not dissimilar to scores of other white, liberal folks with college degrees who enjoy indie rock, farmers markets, and NPR: The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Review of Books, Scientific American, and The Economist.[5]

Regular online reading I do includes the NY Times, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Huffington Post,,, The Onion, Alex Hutchinson’s blog at RunnersWorld, RunningTimes, iRunFar,, The Science of Sport,  Twitter-pated nuggets from Matt Hart, Trailrunner magazine,  www.scienceofrunning (Steve Magness’ blog), a number of familiar running blogs, VeloNews, Beer Advocate, and various and sundry Facebook status updates from estranged and unfamiliar high school classmates about what they ate for breakfast.

[1] Which is not necessarily a bad thing.
[2] We haven’t had television in over 10 years now. When confronted with discussions on pop culture TV I’ll mention this fact in an off-hand, if supercilious tone, not once acknowledging that I watched 3 back-to-back episodes of Louie on Netflix the night prior (which is hilarious and fantastic BTW).
[3] Which remains the best book on running ever written.
[4] One of my many heroes.
[5] Arranged in hierarchical order as to the proportion of the magazine read: I read The New Yorker cover to cover whereas I generally make it several sentences deep in any piece in The Economist before I am in at least Stage 3 sleep.  

Others from the Media Diet: What I Read Series

Matt Hart

Writer, Athlete, Coach


Alex Hutchinson
Runner's World Sweat Science, National Magazine Award recipient for Science Journalism