Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fast and Furious

As a kid, my Dad would take my brother and I to play at Little Creek Base's Navy Seal training course. They had a huge cargo net, walls to climb over, monkey bars, sand pits and many other obstacles . I remember running around with my brother just having pure fun. I have been curious about obstacle course races since they first started popping up. A character flaw of mine is that I can I can sometimes be cynical. The "in your face" commercialism associated with Spartan races has prevented me from taking part. In an effort to not be ridiculous I decided to sign up for the race taking place on Oahu, to just have fun like when I was a kid. Arriving at the stunningly gorgeous Kualoa ranch in the early hours of the morning, I began to wonder why I decided to take part. There were people coming out of the woodworks, loud house/techno music blaring and drones in the air. Given my disposition, that type of atmosphere causes a tremendous sense of uneasiness that in any other circumstance would call for hard liquor. I anxiously anticipated the start of the run and disappearing into the shadow of the surrounding peaks. As soon as the race started my feelings of uneasiness were gone and a smile was beginning to form. I went out fairly hard and was joined by two fellows I could tell were in it for the long haul. The course took us running up a stream for over a mile, straight up a muddy fern covered slope with a 1,000ft+ climb and back down. There were several obstacles to keep things interesting. One involved filling a five gallon bucket with gravel and carrying it up and back down a steep hill, jumping over 8ft walls, cargo nets and a balance beam. I was feeling great until having to carry two 40lb sandbags up and down a hill. I had fun for all 12 rugged miles. I wish it was easier for me to get to another Spartan event because I learned a lot about how to approach the obstacles. I ended up coming in 3rd place overall which I was stoked about. I would definitely recommend these types of events to anyone looking to have a good time playing outside!

The following week was the Volcano half marathon. I love this event because I can walk to it from my house. This was my fifth time partaking in the run that goes through Volcano Village and up through pastures and cloud forrest to the 4,200ft elevation range. I was feeling pretty good and ran a nice steady 6:00 minute/mile pace the whole way finishing in 1:18. I have been slowly building up for the Water is Life 50k in Arizona. I love the 50k distance and am very excited to run through Hopi country and see some of Arizona in a few weeks!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Life Force

Redwood dreamin' on 97 south headed out of Bend. There is something to be said for a long road trip, sort of purifying like a long run. Nothing but endless trees in the periphery, mountain peaks in the rear view and open road ahead! This part of the country brings a sense of manical magic to me, I can feel the pull of the flowing rivers and aliveness that is all around. From Bend to Crater Lake to Umpqua hot springs to the Redwood forests, a classic trip that will never get old.

UmpquaMeditation from Billy Barnett on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sunday, December 21, 2014

I love how training for a 100 miler is just as much a journey as the race itself. The past several months have been filled with highs and lows all pulling toward the greater good of balance. Long manic runs, calf injuries, good books, painful stretching, searching for waves, empty trails, stormy seas. It's all beautiful. The HURT 100 is three weeks away and I can sleep easy knowing I have done everything I could to prepare and remain balanced. I'm looking forward to being on the trails all day and going within during the night searching for inspiration. I have no expectations except staying in the moment.....time does not exist.

"When I am not present to myself, then I am only aware of that half of me, that mode of my being which turns outward to created things. And then it is possible for me to lose myself among them. Then I no longer feel the deep secret pull of the gravitation of love which draws my inward self toward the mystery. My will and my intelligence lose their command of the other faculties. My senses, my imagination, my emotions, scatter to pursue their various quarries all over the face of the earth. Recollection brings them home. It brings the outward self into line with the inward spirit, and makes my whole being answer the deep pull of love that reaches down into the mystery of my being."

~Thomas Merton: No Man is an Island

(Ka'u coffee half marathon)

(Kohala forest)

(So stoked to run some trails with Lance Armstrong)

"We are approaching the longest night in the northern hemisphere, when from the deepest darkness the new light is born. The last few days before Winter Solstice can be experienced as a descend, deeper and deeper into the darkness, with long nights and not much daylight, especially when the winter skies are cloudy.
But we have forgotten how to honor the darkness as a light bringing source, as a feminine quality. This is a time of the year when we can reclaim an intimate relationship with darkness, an understanding of its power.
And at the same time, in the southern hemisphere, we are expecting the longest day of the year, full of light. So the darkness is beautifully balanced on this planet, and we are always protected from getting lost in extremes."
-Working with Oneness

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


This photo had been motivating me for years. It was taken shortly after dropping out of the 2005 HURT 100, after 26 hours of being out on the course.

Usually after a hard effort, all agony is forgotten and I am left with the feeling of wanting to do the run again. It has taken me 10 years to want to attempt the HURT again. I have felt a nagging desire to go back but have always thought better of it. Over the years I have ran quite a bit on those trails. More than a few times I have emerged bloody and covered in mud from just a ten mile trek across those roots, rocks, and mud pools called trails. It's been almost a decade and I still remember staggering around ridgelines at 3am delirious. There is something dark and introspective about those trails. The bamboo whispers in the night breeze, shadows and fog play tricks on the eyes. After 23 hours of being on the course, I thought I was being stalked by a boar (Which is not known for being stealthy and sneaky). I picked up a stick and started swinging it around yelling "Come out you fucker!!" At least I had enough sense left to know that I probably shouldn't continue dangling around ridges. I went down on a cot at the next aid station and woke up with a slight sense of disappointment that has stayed with me. This is the year for redemption; I’m stoked to start training for the January 2015 edition of the HURT. Why this year? I feel like I have made friends with the trail. We have come to a mutual understanding with one another. For me the trail is like quicksand. The harder I try to go, the more struggle I create for myself. My most recent treks on the course I have been able to feel relaxed and flow with an even and steady pace. I am excited to dedicate the next several months to learning to run with more patience.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Then a ploughman said, "Speak to us of Work”.
And he answered, saying:

You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth. For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life's procession, that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.

When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.
Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?
Always you have been told that work is a curse and labor a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work you fulfill a part of earth's furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,
And in keeping yourself with labor you are in truth loving life,
And to love life through labor is to be intimate with life's inmost secret."

-Kahlil Gibran

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pirin Mountains

Snow capped peaks and idyllic meadows with trickling streams stretched out into forever. Mt. Vihren is the highest peak in the Pirin range at 9,560ft. From the town of Bansko, it was fun to explore trails in the park. There were few people around for how easy the access was, I found the trails to be a true treasure.

Koncheto Ridge(Snow, fog, wind, smiles)