LooseCrew-JeffO: September 2006


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Friday, September 29, 2006


Yesterday, before my trail run at Apex, I had a strange sense of foreboding. Like something bad was going to happen. It was like a strong feeling that I was going to get hurt. Apex is real rocky. And the last leg runs straight down the bottom of the valley. The angle is perfect to run with high speed and little effort. But there are extremly technical sections. Few people can blaze full-speed through these.

I ran most of it with care. It's easy to run up steep sections carefully, because you're barely crawling. But then I started down that last part.
One of our faster runners, Ted, was coming down behind me. I'm the competitive type. Even though Ted is faster, I wanted to see how long I could stay ahead of him, without getting in his way. So I cast my foreboding aside and just WENT. Man, that was FUN! It's scary and exciting. One wrong step can destroy you.
Ted tripped, at one point, but somehow managed to stay on his feet.
Then he passed and burst ahead.

It was a great run. Really good for the soul.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dashing through the snow...

The race director of the Golden Leaf said that the group who tried to hike the race last Saturday turned back because "it was too slippery." So it looks like I was the only person to run the course. Their loss. The solitude was great, but I wish I had someone to share the experience with, even if just emailing each other photos.
Maybe someone else did run it, but like me, they didn't check in with anyone.

Tonight, Denver Trail Runners goes to the Apex trail. I hope I get there early for some extra miles. Tuesday I felt bad, but that seems over. Amazing what one good day of rest will do.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I'm the ugly one on the left, with friends Kristen and Scott at our Sunday run at Elk Meadows near Bergen/Evergreen.

You get faster and stronger from recovery, not from exercise.
If you don't exercise, you can't recover.
If you don't rest, you won't recover.
You don't have to fully recover unless injured, or leading to a race that you want to perform well in, or your body feels "wrong". Your body will normally recover even as you stress it. Overstressing to the point of injury is crazy.
People who are in shape have to push themselves beyond a certain threshold in order to improve. Exercising under that threshold allows you to slowly recover.
Exhausting yourself for weeks at a time sends signals to your body that it needs to recover quicker. After a few weeks of intense and careful exhaustion, you have to slack off for a week.
To do this carefully, you have to really pay attention because you're right below the over-training threshold that can lead to injury. So if you're only two weeks through a three-week exhaustion, and your body says something isn't right, you have to take your slacker week early.

I thought about running/walking the 24 hours of Frisco this weekend, since I've felt like Superman, lately. But I asked some friends with experience and they shot back that I was thinking loco. "Rest!" Indeed I was loco...

Yesterday, I started feeling really tired. I went on a measly 5-mile run and felt bad for four miles. It's time for some slack time. I have this weekend off. I want to hang out at the 24 Hours of Frisco and cheer on my friends. My schedule is aggressive enough. If I don't stick to the plan, I might get injured.

Thank god for friends.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Golden Leaf run

I ran Golden Leaf. It was awesome!
The winter storm was still storming, so I threw on my studded snow tires and took off right after work.
Vail Pass was horrible. I'm surprised they didn't close I-70. Cars were going about 30mph. I zipped by at 55mph, but still 10mph slower than the speed limit.
Then the snow got so thick I could hardly see. So even I was going 30mph for awhile. But it cleared before I entered Glenwood Canyon.
It snowed sporadically the rest of the way.
I found a dark place to park 10 miles from Aspen, and slept in the back of my CRV. The coyotes were yapping outside and the snow kept coming down all night, but melting without accumulation. Everything was muddy.
Just a few miles from Aspen, there still wasn't any snow on the ground next to the road. I was thinking it would've been dumb to cancel the race.
I parked (no parking fees or tickets off-season) and took the shuttle to Snowmass Village.
The race director emailed me directions, but it was hard to decipher because I had no familiarity with the ski resorts. But once I picked up Government Trail with its race markers (black arrows on yellow backgrounds), I was better off. There was one spot where I went from markers every several hundred feet to about half a mile with no marker. So I actually backtracked about half a mile to make sure I had my bearings. Didn't need to backtrack that far, but missed two arrows. It didn't matter. I felt great, the scenery was totally amazing, and there wasn't a soul anywhere to be seen.

I was the first person out that day, in spite of the fact that there were at least 5 people, and probably more than that, who wanted to hike the trail in spite of the cancellation. But they started later.
I started immediately from the shuttle at the Pedestrian Mall and climbed up Wood Drive until it ended, and then onto a dirt road with light snow on it. This is what my emailed instructions said to do, but I found out later that the race didn't go up Wood. Wood was an alternate the race director emailed to us fools.

As I started up Wood, not yet sure it was the right street, I asked a guy on a morning walk what street I was on. He confirmed and asked what I was doing (I was obviously dressed for some serious stuff). When I told him I was running the cancelled race, he said I was (can't remember the exact euphemism) whacky or a loon. To which I said, "Yeah and this road ends in a circle, right?" in a run-on sentence because if I had a nickel for evey time someone said I was crazy I'd be able to race and train for free.

There was about 8 inches of powder on the trail. I learned last winter that even on tricky trails, you don't necessarily have to look down and don't necessarily have to see everything you step on. You have to use the right form, use those strong trail-runner stability muscles, and some trail-sense, to step without trouble. There are spots where I chose to walk to be totally safe, but generally, the whole trail was runnable.
There were nearly 500 registered runners. The snow held the water onto the trail. Even a hard rain wouldn't have produced as much water and mud. So if the race hadn't been cancelled, the trail would've been turned into a widened quagmire. A couple-dozen runners would be fine, but not 500. So it was probably a good call to cancel. The trail-runner in me said its ridiculous to cancel, "let's DO THIS!" But the environmentalist and pragmatist in me said it was definitely the right thing to do.

It was beautiful, peaceful, magical.
I felt like one of the billionaire Aspenites. Here I had this virgin snow on a trail that was all marked-out just for me. I surely appreciate all the work the volunteers put in. I hope they know their work wasn't totally for nothing.

Afterwards I talked to the folks at Ute Mountaineering and got my race packet with t-shirt.
Then I drove to Glenwood Springs, drank beer, and soaked in the hot pool for an hour. Then to a coffee shop for mint tea, wireless, quiche, then a brownie and ice cream (I know - lousy post-race - but the brownies had nuts in them, so it must be healthy).
A great Saturday! Good for my soul.

Friday, September 22, 2006


They cancelled my Golden Leaf half-marathon in Aspen!
What's a guy have to do to get a race in???
I'm sure glad there's lots of people around the state willing to put on races. I hope to be an RD (race director) some day, too. So I'm not mad at any people. I'm just getting frustrated that my races two weeks in a row got destroyed.

Food for thought - or what it feels like to BE humble pie!

There's now significant snow in the high country. I have to leave right at the end of my shift. If there's an emergency here at work, then I hope I can say, "Too bad - seeya Monday!" 'cause I have to drive on icy roads on a highway that was closed last night, to get from Denver to Aspen and still be on time for the race tomorrow morning that will almost certainly be cancelled.
Sound like fun?
But here's the best part! No refunds! $35 That'd buy lots of beer at the Dam Brewery! About 18 beers!
- Bringing snowshoes, my homemade GoreTex/kevlar snowpants, ice boots, and ski poles.

Anyway, what I wanted to write about is something the snow reminded me of...

Years ago, I was climbing Antero in a winter storm. Early on, still below treeline, I saw big mountain lion tracks on the jeep road under my feet. It was snowing hard and the tracks were obviously fresh, but I knew I'd see it ahead of me before we were too close. Besides, I've never heard a story where a person with an ice ax and cocooned in winter gear had ever been attacked. They like to bite your neck, but my neck was covered by my backpack and parka. So I ventured onward.
Then the tracks veered right and headed up the hill. That was good. I didn't want the critter thinking I was stalking it, right?
But wait! Maybe I should stalk it - somewhat. It looked like the tracks went up the hill and backtracked. Okay. Backtracked where?
So I waited a bit, then followed carefully. Trees were sparse near treeline and the snow wasn't so heavy - I couldn't see for a good distance in all directions.
The lion tracks traversed the hill above the road until it reached a bush. I could see that the lion had sat down patiently and watched me pass below. And I'm certain it was doing so that very instant from another vantage. There wasn't another place close enough for it to hide, so I wasn't in any particular danger at that moment. No, the real danger had been as I walked just 30-40 feet below on the road earlier thinking the lion was ahead of me and not watching either side or my flanks.

It's times like this that you don't feel like a very powerful force. These primeval critters don't care about if you're impressive or rich or a great human being. You're just "food". It's humbling, to say the least. They'll just eat my humble pie for desert!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Doubter Do

I’ve often said, “I don’t think I can do this,” and people say that “if you don’t think you can, then you won’t.”
Not true. That may be true of others, but I’m wired differently.

Dick Rutan is the only other person I know of who is like me in this. (Of course he's far more brilliant!) When he says, “That’s impossible. No one can do that,” then he’ll not only attempt it, he’ll succeed. He has a long list of “impossible” accomplishments.

When I say something can’t be done, I’m not giving up; I’m challenging myself to a duel. The gauntlet is down. Time to rock-n-roll.
I fail a lot! So it’s not some series of successes. It’s a series of failures with rare success. Failure is easy for me to deal with because it happens all the time. Failure is almost meaningless, except to teach me what doesn’t work. I still react to failure, because I’m a passionate person (that’s why I’m crazy, right?), but success is awesome!

If it’s easy, it probably isn’t worth doing.

Monday, September 18, 2006


My klutzy weekend didn't work out for racing. I needed a Saturday race, but both races were Sunday, so I didn't have one to run.
When I got home Friday, I found out my new mountain bike was ready for me. So I bought shoes and cleats (my first bike with clipless pedals).

Saturday was spent above Winter Park Resort on the road to Rollins Pass. It was snowing (it was a BLIZZARD!!!). So my first day using a REAL mountain bike was in 4" of snow. The bad news is my tires slipped a lot and I couldn't see the rocks underneath very easily. The good news is snow is a lot softer to fall down on!

Sunday, I biked in 40mph winds, but no snow. It was not a graceful ride. I fell lots of times (but no one saw, so it doesn't count, right?) One fall was spectacular on a switchback on a steep, rocky slope. Good thing I had my helmet, my Camelbak, and gel gloves. That's the only reason I'm not hurt. (That and my thick, boney Slovak skull. I probably have a concussion, but how can anyone tell?)
If I had sense I'd be a roadie and run in towns.
I love snow. Did I tell you I like snow? I sure do!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Primeval Mountain Man

When I was 8, my parents loaded the old station wagon with all 5 of their kids and took us on an old-fashioned road vacation driving through the west. We drove from Kerrville, Texas through the butte and canyonlands of Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and the mountain states of Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado.
I grew up in the oppressive heat and humidity of Texas and Oklahoma. I hated it. Growing up in it didn’t make me “used to it” at all.

When I saw snow on the mountains in Colorado, I KNEW I would live here some day. There was never any other plan. There was never any other vacation other than to go to the mountains. Friends frequently suggested vacationing in cites! Can you believe that?! A city?! Are you crazy?!!!!! I live in a city! Why would I want to vacation in one?!
Okay, so many people have explained it to me thoroughly, so I understand where other people are coming from, but “understanding” doesn’t mean I relate.
I love altitude.

I love snow.

I love wind.

I love cold.

When I’m above treeline, in a blizzard, and the wind is slamming me with snow, there’s this primeval thing from inside that engulfs me. No matter how violent the weather around me, something deep in my soul feels – finally – totally at peace. Like I’m HOME!
My intellect chimes in, “Hey, you – uh – Goretex, nylon, like, if you really belonged here, you wouldn’t need to be cocooned in space-age materials and need hi-tech gear to travel!” But my soul is oblivious to my intellect.
Several years ago, I was alone in a valley above treeline and the weather was producing more tornados of snow than I’ve ever seen before. They’re like dust-devils, but bigger. Each was about 2,000-3,000 feet high with bases only 20 feet wide. One of them nailed me dead-center. I shoved my ice ax in and spread my feet to take the impact in a three-prong stance. Right afterwards, I shook my ax at it and yelled, “YEAH! KICK MY ASS, MOTHERFUCKER!” Hog heaven.
I love winter.

I don't just want to see the mountains, I want to feel the mountains. When the wind slams me, it's like the mountains hugging me and playing with me.

Each year when the first snows come, I feel the “URGE”. I gotta go climbing. The mountains beckon. Running season is ending; climbing season is beginning. But this year, I still have my October races to deal with.
Tomorrow morning, I need to race. I’m not registered and still not sure which one or where I’ll race. I don’t even have a distance to psych for. This is so haphazard. This is a klutzy weekend. Only thing I’m sure of is I’m gonna have tons of fun with people I – mostly – don’t know.
I'm livin' the dream.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Mt. Wilson

About 8 years ago, when I was climbing San Luis Peak (near Gunnison, CO), I was in top form. I could climb with crampons and a pack like a nuclear-powered robot. My climbing partner, Phil, was getting wheezy from asthma, so we stopped our climb of San Luis. He said I should climb Baldy Alto right next to us. I didn't like separating in winter with him wheezing, but Phil insisted. So I charged up the little 13er, with waste-deep powder on the summit.
Later, back at camp, our stoves wouldn't work. What's the likelihood that both stoves would fail at the same time? We didn't have water filters because they tend to be a one-use thing, in winter (they freeze solid). We chopped holes in the ice on the creek and grabbed some water. His stove would light, but it wouldn't flame up, so we barely got the water heated - but not boiled.
Phil was fine, but I got "The Revenge".
Back in Denver, just as soon as I was getting over it, I was back to burning my candle at both ends. Then I got sick again. Should've let myself mend all the way. Then I got better. Then I went full-speed again and got sick again. (Does bull-headed come to mind?) But then I got better. Finally.
Or almost.
The virus had mutated through each recovery. It was no longer like the original. I contracted Guillaine-Barre. My own immune system was eating away my nerve tissue. I lost strength in my hands and feet. I went to the doctor, they took samples, they didn't call me back. It got worse. Soon I was paralyzed in the hands and feet and my arms and legs were waning.
I took my son on one last walk. He asked me if we could go on a bike ride (I always ran beside him). I told him we couldn't. He asked why. I said he new why - this was our last walk. At the rate I was dieing, I'd be bed-ridden in a day and dead in 2 or 3.
The doctors weren't going to do anything because they found nothing wrong. That's the thing about when your own immune system attacks - there's no foreign thing left to find. Your immune system is producing white blood cells tailored to kill a virus that has proteins too similar to some part of your own body. So as it killed the virus, it eats away your body.
Finally a neurosurgeon rushed me into the hospital cardiac floor (24-hr watch) and gave me three servings of immuno-globulin over three days.
I liked my stay there. So did the nurses. I was the only guy there not dieing (not anymore, I wasn't). When I found out I wasn't going to die, I felt great! So what if I was partially paralyzed or weak the rest of my life! Cool!
I kept joking with the nurses, "Ya wanna arm wrestle? You'll win!"
They had to check my strength, heart rate, breathing three times a day. So all these nurses would come in and grab both my hands and tell me to squeeze. I'd smile and bat my eyes. I've never had so many women wanting to hold my hand! They had me breathing so hard I almost broke their lung-meter. They thought I was a hero for having such a positive attitude during adversity, but my perspective was how lucky I was to be able to recover from the brink of death.

A week later, I was up in the snow in a zero-degree blizzard with two brothers. With paralyzed hands, it took me an hour to set up my tent. A sailor would've blushed listening to me cuss, and my brothers probably hated listening to me, but I wouldn't ask for help.

A few months later, I climbed Mount Wilson solo, @ about 80% strength. What would've been a quick overnighter had me struggling to a low camp, then finally my high camp. I even took a day off at my high camp to recover. I had 30lbs of climbing equipment, in addition to my other gear. I used my day off to climb
Rock of Ages Pass (13,002') and cache my heaviest gear.
The "Big Day", I climbing up over the pass with my down sleeping bag in an otherwise empty toboggan, then descending to the base @ 12,400', riding the toboggan like a horse. If I fell on Mt. Wilson, hopefully I'd be able to climb into my down sleeping bag and survive.
The snow was great, that morning. It was a steep climb and my crampons and ice ax had great grip with no clumping. Near the summit, I jammed my long ax into the snow and hooked my rope in with a 'biner. I used slings, 'biners, and an ascender to keep myself anchored as I traversed with one BD ice tool and one hand on the rocks. Testing each step, one of my steps totally broke away and snow/rocks plummeted a thousand feet straight down and then continued cascading down the steep snow below the cliff.
But I summited. One other guy summited that day. He climbed from the Telluride side. We had a conversation near the summit and then we went our ways.
By then the snow was shit. It was close to a wet avalanche. I kept going straight down and then over. Down and over. If anything broke loose, maybe there wouldn't be enough above me. Most accidents happen when going down. I kept telling myself 'the climb ain't over 'til you're down. Pay attention and work hard.' Man, my feeble arms were wasted, but my legs didn't seem to mind.

I had to climb Wilson solo in late winter. I had to prove that I was stronger than the disease. It was my way of proclaiming, "Fuck you!"
Without accepting therapy, I've been charging hard and getting stronger. My hands will never be as strong as they were. I used to be able to do 40 or more one-handed pushups, but now I'm lucky if I can do 10. That's a lot luckier than if I'd died, huh?

Hate to eat-n-run, but gotta go, gotta go

Hey, it's summer down there!

One of the biggest differences between training for regular races and ultras is that regular races don't require food. Ultras require substantial consumption of calories and water. Gels and Gatoraid alone won't do, for most people. Ultras typically have aid stations stocked with sandwhiches, soup, and other food.
Runners who aren't used to eating while they run will have trouble. If your electrolytes are imbalanced, you might hurl. If you're too exhausted and hungry, your body might start going into shock, and you might hurl. If you get dehydrated, you might hurl. If you get too much air in your stomach after eating, you might hurl. (Hey, there seems like a theme here.)

Don't be a hurl-gurl or a hurlie-man. Train to eat.

For some reason, if I start a run with food in my stomach, it's a bad thing. I have to wait until my body is totally warmed up. Then I can eat.
I like Accel gel and Hammer gel. I don't like caffiene unless there's less than 6 miles to go.
Chicken soup is great. Gimme noodles, too.
I lived on PBJ for a year. Can't eat it very well anymore.
Used to swear by Camelbak, but if aid stations are frequent, I prefer a hand-held water bottle. Two Dixie cups without stopping through an aid station keeps me from wasting time.
If aid stations are few and far between, nothing beats Camelbak. I once went head-down&ass-over (no - I meant to do that) down a rocky trail. The Camelbak protected my spine. On hot trails, the water helps cool my body (I take the foam liner out so the water is sloshing next to my skin). They tend to have pitchers of sport drink at the aids.

I'm sewing my own hydration pak for racing. Not sure what bladder I'll use. Platypus is lightest, but the design sticks me in the back. Camelbak doesn't, but the bladders are too heavy. (Sounds like I need to write a letter.)

Run happy, mud-puppies!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I couldn't find a marathon to run this past weekend, so I ran a half-marathon and then ran 8 fast miles the next day.
It's time to start ramping it up.

I've had minor injuries in the past year. My knee last November, a few ligaments here-and-there, my left ankle after Pikes, but they all feel okay (mostly). I feel strong, today - like an X-man. I hope things don't unravel during this year's Grand Finale in October.

I love running. It's hard to explain. My father was an engineer, two of my brothers are engineers, I was a tool&die machinist but now I'm in computer and networking technology. My mind relaxes best when there's a repetitive,
technical set of problems for me to solve. Preferably not problems that are too much work. Like a game of solitaire, but add endorphins. It has to be trails. Distance alone is generally too boring. I love billy-goating up and down rocky trails and rollie-pollie rocks. I'm not a fan of gluey or slippery mud, but the more watery kind that makes you finish as filthy as a pig is fine with me. The technical aspects of my footing, my pace, how hydrated I am, whether or not I'm on-course, etc. These are all things that keep me focused - but not so overly focused that it's a chore.

I run for my son, who needs someone to look up to.
I run to burn off stress.
I run because I have this schizo sort of thing going on where I'm like my own father and son. A little-boy part of me needs to look up to the man in me. And that man in me can't ever let that kid down. Cause if the man in me ever lets the kid in me down, then maybe the kid will stop trying. I'm afraid the man in me just doesn't have the passion left to put up with so much of what life hands him. If the kid in me loses his passion, well, it'll be a bad thing. Not just for me but for those whose lives are somehow connected to mine.

I don't know how badly my own son may need me to run. Probably not at all. It's just something that works for me. So I'm just seeing how far it can take me.

It's an obsession. Nothing, in excess, is good. But what's "excess"? When it starts detracting from other areas of life? That's not quite accurate, either. Your job detracts from the quality of life sometimes. There has to be balance.
I guess the big question is whether or not you're contributing more to this world or less. Just because you impress people doesn't mean you're contributing. However, having character and inspiring people to be more than they are - THAT'S what it's all about! That's a successful direction and life. As long as I don't loose sight of that mission, I can't lose. I'm not just trying to run 100 miles, I want to take as many people there with me as possible. Even if they can't or don't run, I want them to feel what I feel when I'm really living life. And I hope they enjoy waking up as much as I do each morning.

I love this shit. I'm totally crazy about running and wish this old body could do more of it. I guess I'm gonna find out!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Setting the stage

Last year, I ran for fun and socializing and started with no serious goals. However, by the time I paced Paul Grimm at Leadville in August 2005, I was hooked and planned to finish the LT100 at least once. I started the day by setting a dramatic PR running up and down Grays & Torreys that morning, then drove to Leadville to pace for 26 miles. So I had a great 41 mile day. But I wasn't racing. The longest race I had done was 10 miles.
Then in October, I ran a 50K, totally bypassing the marathon distance.

This year has had me racing over 350 miles, not including training...

Salida 'Run Through Time' Marathon
Collegiate Peaks (25 mile)
Steamboat Springs Marathon
Buffalo Creek Marathon
Golden Gate half-marathon
Leadville Marathon
White Ranch 10K
Elk Meadows 10K
Fastrek Forest Challenge (8 miles)
Pikes Peak Marathon

Scheduled this year:
Kremmling Road Kill Half-M
Golden Leaf Half-M
Durango Double (50K & Marathon)
Silent Trails (10 mile)
Goblin Valley 50K
Rim Rock Run (22.5 miles)

And there will probably be a few others not on the current schedule.
The goal of this year was to increase speed and solidify my marathon-distance endurance. I ran the Pikes Peak Marathon and chose that as the year's most important race. Before that, I didn't want to "waste effort" on distances over 26.2 miles.
My speed has increased. I used to finish with 30% to 50% of the pack behind me. Now I can reliably perform with about 75% of the pack behind me.
Now that Pikes is done, I can devote some effort to longer distances.

I was counting on the 24-hours of Boulder the end of Spring, but they moved it to the Fall for next year. I need such an event and will have to find something else. If I can't find one, I'll have to do my own 24-hour training event. I'll map a 8.3 mile course in the mountains that is sufficiently rugged and high. 8.333 miles is 100/12, which is the average distance between aid stations at Leadville. Maybe I'll choose a course up Sugarloaf Mtn near Leadville from where the Mayqueen aid station will be. (4.16 up and back, 12x's) My car will be the aid station.

The best part of all this running has been the amazing people I've met along the way. Although I'm becoming more focused, I hope I don't lose site of my humanity in pursuit of some selfish and stupid goal to run ridiculous distances. It should be fun, it should be social, it should be healthy both in mind and body. Although it won't change the world, I (at least) should come away with something I can use the rest of my life.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I hope none of this seems elitist. Completing the LT100 and Hardrock 100 are goals that would be meaningful to me. I like to keep things in perspective, though. Just because I can do something most people can't doesn't mean I'm better, because most people can do things that I can't. Some people have musical skills, PhD's, teaching skills, leadership abilities, etc. that are not only extremely hard to achieve, but do the world a great deal of good.
I don't see my ultra running as being important (except to me). We ultra-runners tend to know of each other and admire each other, but the rest of the world sees us as curiousities and sometimes freaks. It's also a bit selfish to expend so much energy doing something that doesn't really benefit the world. But we all have free time, right? Most choose to spend it vegging in front of the TV, or watching people play sports. We choose to run.
Hey, have any ultra-runners out there not been called "crazy"? Huh? I'll bet not a single one! We share a bond of insanity.

Actually, though, it's not insanity. Seriously, it's a matter of doing the right training. Sure there tends to be pain, but not necessarily. Proper training may rid you of most pain.
Discomfort is another matter. There seems no end to discomfort. Even without obvious pain, discomfort can wear you down and make you quit.
I've not had a happy childhood, and I grew up with no end to sources of how weak and pathetic I am. So now that I'm into my middle-age thing, I guess I'm still insecure about that. I'll always be proving - without ever being satisfied - that I'm not a gutless wus.

Besides, for my "mid-life crisis", ultra-running is a lot cheaper than a red Ferrari convertible.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


This is my first blog, so excuse the crustiness, please.

The reason I'm doing this blog is to start a diary during the year leading up to my first Leadville Trail 100.
Interested people would be others who are training for ultra-marathons, especially the LT100 or other 100-mile races.

If you don't know what an ultra is, or haven't heard of hundred mile foot races, then you're probably wondering if you're misunderstanding. The usual first reaction to hearing about a hundred-miler is, "What? What do you mean? A relay? How many days is it broken up into?" Well, it's not a relay and it's not broken up, but yes it does tend to take more than a day for most mortals.

Some, though, are not mere mortals. Matt Carpenter holds the LT100 record of just under 16 hours. Nothing more than a good days run for him. Sure he bleeds like the rest of us, so he's "mortal", but he's not just a "mere mortal"! I guess that's why champions inspire.

I love the Rockies of Colorado. I like camping, hiking, climbing fourteeners, winter mountaineering, and trail running. So when I heard of the LT100 I thought two things:
1) That seems totally impossible, incredible - even fictional!
2) Other people have done it - so that means I can too.
Hey, wouldn't it be awesome to be one of those mountain gods?

Of course there's those who "can" and those who "can". The first "can" means you have the potential-potential - i.e. you can't right this instant, but you can attain the ability. The second "can" means you have the ability.
But as those who have completed ultramarthons know, even having the ability doesn't mean you're guaranteed success.

So my goal is to succeed the first time, and without injury.