Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras!

I just looked back on some photos from 2006 when I was at Mardi Gras (the first one after Katrina and Rita hit), and it was so wonderful to see the resilient celebratory spirit of the wonderful people in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast. It makes me really happy to see that come hurricane, come recession, come what may, New Orleanians find something to celebrate at Mardi Gras no matter what!

Fat Tuesday is kind of a cathartic day, and I think of it almost as a second chance for many people who by this time are letting their New Years resolutions slide. Fat Tuesday is a great day to let it all out, and give your resolution (or something else) another go for the coming Lent season. So go on out and enjoy the day today, eat your fill of King Cake, and get ready for some serious fitness and running it all off tomorrow (or in the next week or so if that sounds better!)!

Also, while today is a day of celebration, it's a great time to be reminded of all the needs that still exist on the Gulf Coast, even today. There are still plenty of opportunities to go down and volunteer to help build homes, etc., and the opportunity to give is as important as ever. There are many great organizations still active and doing great things on the coast, and Common Ground Relief is just one if you want somewhere to start!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Seriously Inspiring Friends!

Wow, a couple of my friends who are on The North Face team are spreading inspiration like pollen in Mississippi in spring right now! My good friend Diane Van Deren is as we speak out in the Yukon right now tackling the Yukon Arctic Ultra 430 mile race. No American woman has ever completed this race, and Diane won the 300 mile version of this race last year (special note- she won outright in that race, and only 1 other guy even reached the finish line!). Temperatures look relatively mild so far, and Diane is cruising! You can follow along with her pretty well here, and get updates on the race itself here.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, another friend and North Face teammate Simone Moro just completed the first ever winter ascent of Makalu in the Himalaya. Coincidentally I just finished reading a climbing book that chronicled a tragic failed winter attempt on Makalu some years ago, so this incredible summit that Simone completed is all the more meaningful for me now. Simone is an incredible guy, full of life, and clearly an amazing climber. You can see some great photos, video, and commentary on his blog (in Italian and English!).

While I've been training pretty hard ever since I found out I got into Hardrock 100, I'm kicking it into an even higher gear now with this new jolt of inspiration. Diane and Simone are incredible! Wow! Hopefully these stories will inspire you as well- go out there and explore!