LooseCrew-JeffO: February 2007


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

Monday, February 26, 2007

Smell that mud - yeah, baby

You know you're spending too much time on the trails when you're washing your shoes and you smell the mud on one pair and you think, "Yep, that smells like Green Mountain". And you're doing another and you go, "Yep, that's Wash Park".

Ran 5.something miles to and around Wash Park. I have lots of energy pent-up.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Turn on the smoke

The Snowman Stampede was fun, as usual. It started very cold and windy and finished quite nice and sunny.
I volunteered at the 3.6-/13.6-mile turn-around.
Tania Pacev easily won the 20 mile. She somewhat tensed when I hugged her before the race - she hasn't seen me since before I had the fuzz on my face! LOL! By the time she passed my turn-around point the 2nd time, she had firmly consolidated her lead by about a mile, and had relaxed and figured out who the furry guy was! So she was her old familiar self, smiling and friendly. Her win is awesome because she had orthroscopic surgery on her knee last October. In spite of her easy win, she didn't look like she was running anywhere nearly as fast as she has in the past. But she'll get there.

Another friend, Kelly R., is leaving for Hawaii soon - permanently. Colorado is losing a fantastic runner and person. Our loss. At least we had the honor for a while, huh? It's Hawaii's turn, now.

I've been reading "Deep Survival", by Laurence Gonzales. It is a great book, for anyone who is adventurous, or curious about that type of individual.
Many people assume that doing adventurous things is always reckless. I can only guess those people have lived extremely boring lives. Otherwise they would know that some adventure is safer than "normal" life activities. These people often retort that the things I do aren't necessary, though, so if I die doing what I do, it's reckless and irrisponsible. But how many people in cities are doing "only" what "has" to be done when they die?
They die in a car accident on the way to a movie, a club, a friend's house to watch "the game". Did they "have" to go to the movie? Did they "have" to go to their friend's house? Did they "have" to watch the game?
They die in their sleep from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - after years of inactivity and poor eating habits - a virtual suicide that took decades to accomplish. Did they have to sit on their ass so much for so many years? Did they have to have extra helpings of ice cream and BBQ ribs so many times?
We choose our lives. We choose who we are. In a way, we choose how we die.
On the 2nd-to-last page of Deep Survival was a great line. One of his friends died in a plane crash. Then soon after, another friend died of glioblastoma. They were polar opposites. So-called "regular life" cannot escape the danger of our mortality. He says, "You're already flying upside down. You might as well turn on the smoke and have some fun."

So here's to having fun.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Green Mountain again

I was right about Green Mountain - the trails were mostly dry. There were several muddy spots, from 5ft. - 50ft long.
I now have a pile of about 6 pairs of shoes that need the mud washed off. Sounds like a good weekend chore.

Denver Trail Runners ran in town in the smog. Up on Grn Mtn, I could see the monster Brown Cloud well. I wasn't high enough to escape it, but smog is heavier than air and sinks towards the riverbeds. DTR ran along Bear Creek. So the smog they were in was probably 4x's what I had to put up with.
I don't fault Adam Feerst for staying off the trails. The leader of a group has extra responsibility with regards to public trails. Having 20-40 runners ripping through the mud can destroy vegetation on the sides of trails, widening a single-track into a swampy quagmire.

My right foot has been uncomfortable, but the spot where the bone broke isn't hurting. I want to be cautious but not overly so. There's going to be pain. I learned that years ago when I shattered my ankle. The pains in my right foot are chaotic and schitzo. I think they have more to do with the fact that all the muscles and connective tissues have atrophied the months after the break and are having a hard time coming up-to-speed.
My sore ankle from Saturday didn't bother me last night. Somewhat limping during my 20-mile run Saturday was good for re-balancing my muscles. After months of using my left leg more, Saturday I used my right leg more. My back had started to hurt from the imbalance. Now my back feels fine.

I started the Master Cleanse today. I'm not going to last.
1) It took me an hour to make today's supply of lemonade
2) It tastes bad and triggers nasea when I take a swallow - which precludes me taking another until the nasea goes away.
I haven't even begun the eventual "cleansing". Days 2-3 are the worst. That's why I planned to start on a Friday morning.
I bought 25 lemons. I used up 6 making one gallon. 25 lemons will get me through 5 days. That will do very much good. It's not like I live on cheese burgers, chitlins, and coca-cola. I shouldn't be that toxic.

I'm officially backed-out of tomorrow's Snowman Stampede. I really wanted to run it, and my foot feels fine. There are 2 distances: 10 & 20 miles. There's no way I'm going over 5 miles on pavement at this stage. I feel very good today - very strong. I feel the muscles getting back into it, and the foot is progressing well. I'm not going to jeopardize it.
Unfortunately, much of the secret to my success is that I've been running alone, which I don't prefer. By running alone, I pay better attention to the slightest nuance of my injury. There's no pressures. I can scrub the entire run at any moment, run less, run more, run here, run there...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Changing planned runs

Last night, I ran twice around Wash. Park (5.14 miles). Last week, there were only three of us. Last night, there were more than 20, including several new people.

I just got word that this weekend's Snowman Stampede is switched to pavement because of snow. So looks like I won't be running.

So now I need to decide on either volunteering or climbing a 14er.

My foot is sore from collective stresses of last Saturday and last night. Not sure I'll bother with Thursday's run. It'll be in town mostly on paved paths. Maybe I'll try Green Mountain again. It seemed like if I parked at the east parking lot and stayed on the east and southeast sides, the conditions weren't so bad.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Stupid stuff I like

Ask a ninja:

The Brookers:


Since I was so stoked for Moab, and since I needed to find out the state of my foot, I decided to run my own 34-mile race.
Since running the paltry 5-mile loop of Wash. Park at full speed had left my foot hurting something feirce a couple weeks ago, I decided that pavement was not an option.
That was a good choice.
Unfortunately, I chose Green Mountain. Bad choice - but where else? I probably should've tried Cherry Creek Resevoir or Chatfield State Park. But I didn't.

Green Mountain was covered with mud. I thought the southern trails would've been melted and dried. Instead, there was 1-3" of mud nearly every step of the way. There was snow here-and-there. The snow was actually better footing than the mud.
I brought several pairs of shoes, and used them. One whole loop around was about 6.7 miles. So my CR-V was my aid station. I started with my Goretex montrails, then my Goretex Solomons, then my Vasques.
I don't mind getting dirty, but this was ridiculous - worse than the Salida Marathon last year. So I thought of it this way:
- Good training for Salida in 4 weeks
- Good training for the Bataan Death March in 5 weeks
I didn't make it 34 miles. My left ankle started hurting as if sprained. I've been feeling this off-and-on for a month. It makes no sense. I've been taking it easy. Any little tweaks have had ample opportunity to heal, and this tweak didn't exist at the end of my season. So where did it come from?

All I can think of is I keep sitting stupid in my office chair. My left knee is bent and my left foot is buried underneath my chair with my ankle bent at an uncomfortable angle. I get so wrapped-up in my technical chores that it isn't until I'm hurting myself that I notice. This is a chronic bad habit. I need to dig out the old ankle brace and start wearing it to work. Maybe changing my chair heighth will also help.

The photo below isn't slanted - it's just the way the snow/trail was.
Anyway, I stopped running at Green Mountain at exactly 20 miles. My last miles were on the paved bike path.

My feet hurt me as bad as they did the 1st few months of last year. When I finished the Leadville Marathon, my feet stopped hurting. I thought I was cured. No such luck. I need to build my mileage back to get rid of the pains.
Good news - today I feel human. No hobbling around.

The Snowman Stampede is next week. 10 miles. Not sure I'll run it. I seem to recall half of it is pavement. I might give my free entry to someone else and volunteer yet again.

Friday, February 16, 2007

All packed and nowhere to go

They closed I-70!
Too windy. Gusts have been over 100mph all day long.
So no Moab Red Hot 50K for me!
I wasn't even angry, but I am bummed.

This morning, the news showed a sheriff officer with blood on his neck. The wind shattered two of his windows. The flying glass put a bunch of little cuts on his neck.

This photo is at Beaver Brook/Floyd Hill. It was closed all the way to Vail.
I'm a very lucky guy, so I figured I'd just drive as far as I could and maybe (maybe [maybe]) they'd open the road by the time I got there. No luck on that.
There have been dozens of flipped-over trucks and cars, and lots of broken windows. I talked to a contractor at lunch who said a stack of plywood got dealt-out like an invisible giant dealing cards.

I guess it's a good thing I hadn't mailed in my registration, huh?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Something I've been looking at lately

The Master Cleanse
The Raw Food Site
Master Cleanser
Lemonade Diet
Master Cleanser Forum

Toxins are unavoidable byproducts of digestion of foreign matter (food).

Here's a scary warning:
Are you clean inside?

The best place for toxins to build up are in arterial plaque, fat stores, intestines, and skin. The reason is that, except for intestines, these are the places where circulation is worst.
Some less-likely but serious places are in your organs, and these can lead to cancer, especially if the toxin crystalizes.

A deep-tissue massage kneeds these toxins out of your skin. That's one of the benefits of massage. It's also why so many people die after a massage, and why you're supposed to get a doctor's okay before getting your 1st deep-tissue massage.

The Master Cleanse is, ideally, a 10-day ordeal that completely empties your intestines and resets your body's cravings. Even though you'll lose some weight, the purpose isn't to lose weight. If you have unhealthy cravings for fried foods and sweets, and it causes you to become obese, this diet can reset those cravings. It's the aftermath of the diet that hopefully will lead to a healthier diet that allows you to crave healthy foods.
Anyone can benefit from this "reset", though. For athletes, it's a good way to break away from the average diet and switch to a stricter athletic diet.

I need to do this soon, but I need to get myself to a Whole Foods. There aren't any conveniently located in my stomping grounds, so I need to go out of my way some day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I've been trying to eat healthy, and reduce my calories, lately. I want to get my weight down to 160lbs. If I do that, it will go back up to 163 for sure, but that's 10lbs. less than I weigh now. I figure 156-163 is just about ideal for me. Right now fat fills the spaces between the muscles. If I keep my muscle-mass up, and lose the fat, my skin will sink into the clefts between the muscles and really make me look ripped.
Then I plan to wax my entire body, spray on a tan, and go work for Chippendales.
Then, I woke up...

But seriously, my weight actually went up to 175 like the old days. Last winter had me lose weight. This winter I'm gaining.
For the past week, I've been eating less. Friday I ate too much pizza, but not as much as I used to. Other than that, I haven't eaten too much.

I've gone entire days where all I eat are Safeway nutritional drink for Breakfast, Muscle Milk for lunch, then an apple, mixed nuts, and a giant salad (only a trace of dressing) for dinner.
At work, the guys like to grab me for lunch. They like cheap fast-food like Wendy's, Pizza Hut, ... So it's not ideal, but I save gas & money. Also, I can be somewhat of a work-aholic, so I like to be torn away from my work when they stop for lunch. Usually lunch is a surprise - the time flies. If they don't get me, I can miss lunch entirely.
In my desk are cans of tuna, apples, and mixed nuts. Sometimes I stock nutrional drinks and Nature Valley trailbars.
Today we ate at that fancy Irish restaurant, McDonalds.
Yesterday I ate at my desk for lunch and then ate 8 California rolls from Tokyo Joes for dinner. With an organic beer (Budweiser is organic, right? Right?)
I don't eat a perfect diet, but by reducing fried food to almost-never, reducing overall calories, and increasing vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables, while exercising, the weight ought to come off eventually.
When you starve yourself, your body goes into a protective starvation-mode where it becomes more efficient (you can do more on fewer calories). So when you put your body into starvation-mode, it's real important not to binge. That's how you gain weight through improper dieting. When you're famished and you pig-out on junk, that's worse than just eating the same ol' stuff. So the ocassional times I'm starved, I drink a nutritional drink or a handful of nuts, then wait about half an hour before eating a meal.
I was at 173 last night. That could be water-weight alone.

Monday, February 12, 2007


These are the snowshoes I'm looking at...



The modular design makes it easier to replace the bindings with an old pair of running shoes. They weigh less and cost less than Northern Lites, but not sure if they'll fall apart. I heard about them on a blog. A husband/wife team swears by Dion, so maybe they're pretty good. They certainly are affordable.

I think the design/price/materials is very competitive with NorthernLites

Neither of these brands is available in stores. Unless I find a bargain on a used pair of race-worthy snowshoes, looks like I'll be buying one of these.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Thawing Out

At my favorite coffee shop again.
I rode my Trek.

I need to lose weight. I worked-out, and I've barely eaten today. I had Safeway nutritional drink for breakfast, Muscle Milk for lunch, and just had a raspberry muffin to tide me over until supper. Taking my vitamins, too.

Going to a party this evening. Otherwise I'd feel inclined to head off to the mountains again.
my foot still feels like I need to take it easy. Tomorrow I ought to get a decent ride in. There's still tons of snow and ice, so the riding can get hazardous, but I can't stand taking it easy. At least we're thawing out. The alleys are still rutted, but most of the streets are clear.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Two-run week

Tuesday, I hooked-up with someone from Sacramento. She was born and raised in Sweden, lived a couple years in Hawaii, and now lives in California.
After my horrible experience in Las Vegas, when I heard she was coming to town, I was obsessed with getting my revenge on Vegas by setting the example of how I'd wished Vegas had treated me.
She got lost and ended up finding Wash. Park about 15 minutes late, so we started running just the two of us.

Elinor is FAST! Her target distance is 5K. Mine last year was, well, add a zero to the right. And this year, change the K to an M and then double it. So, yes, she ran frickin' circles around me!!!! Doh! It was hilarious. She did intervals running ahead of me and then looping back to run with me a few more minutes before taking off again and again.
She had all sorts of great stories about Sweden, Hawaii, and California.
She'll be here for another week. I hope I get to see her at least one more time.

That's one of the things I love most about running with groups and racing - meeting people from all over America and the world.

Last night, Denver Trail Runners ran at Bear Creek Lake Park. It's a really boring place to run, but my foot can't take much. I ran hard at Wash. Park - too hard. So my foot wouldn't take much on Thursday. I ran alone in the dark on pavement, and left early. It wasn't much of a workout, but at least I broke a sweat. It was 6-7 miles. I didn't go out to eat afterwards. Instead I went home and ate spaghetti.

The Moab Red Hot 50K filled up quick. They planned for as many as 100 runners. But it looks like it might end up being 400. Since I haven't registered yet, I might not get my swag until a week after the race.
Then again, I might decide not to race. Maybe I won't go. Maybe I'll go but ride my bike. The race is about 34+ miles. I'm kind of forced to register at the last minute. It all depends on how my foot feels the days before the race. I've got two weeks.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

How to Put on Frozen Boots in the Morning

So you've got all the winter toys and you stayed warm all night. You took off your GoreTex before bed and put on all your fleece and down for a nice, warm night. Now it's morning and your boots are frozen solid.
You need to get dressed in sessions. Take your night stuff off and stay in your down bag. Yank the sole liners out of your boots and tuck them into your waistband. When your gloves are warm and dry, and you're ready to put your boots on, put the warmed liners back into your boots. this is especially important because you haven't been moving around and your feet have no circulation. So they won't tolerate the cold so well. If you at least warm the liners, you get just enough head start to ensure your feet don't get cold.

Herman Gulch

I was going to park at Loveland Pass and hike up Sniktau, then take a right turn and go a ways to a point where there was a nice collection of snow on the leeward side. Prevailing winds mean that you can expect this every year, but the wind had blown nearly all the snow off the higher elevations.
I love the wind, however, it can kill.
When I parked on Loveland Pass, there were no vehicles parked there. The wind was blowing so hard that I knew my 50lb tobagan was going to get tossed around with me tethered to it. Also, the wind was so extreme that I worried that my CR-V might get literally blown off the pass over night. I re-positioned my car so that it faced the wind. I figured it could take a 200mph head wind and not get blown off, but a side wind would roll it. Once it started rolling, it wouldn't stop until it reached the valley below.

The driver of a vehicle that parked after me took my cue and did the same thing with his truck.
Okay, screw this. Love the wind or not, this is just beyond the thing a soloist ought to do.
Plan A was to have a good time. Plan B was to have a good time somewhere else.
I drove to the Herman Gulch trailhead and took off from there.

The wind was much less possessed with high ridges towering around. I found a nice place to pitch my tent and then noticed I'd brought the wrong tent!
After cussing myself out, I decided to improvise. Ignore how the tent was meant to be used. Use it the way I'll be most comfortable. So I dug a hole the right size, laid the tent down as a floor, and stretched the fly over one pole. I anchored the edges of the fly with snow on the outside. Not quite a snow cave, not quite a tent. My hybrid lacked the wetness of a snow cave and lacked the draftiness of a tent.

Here's my tobagan with the lid pulled back.

The wind raged over me. I love the sound of wind. It is somehow the most wonderful sound on this Earth. I love it more so than any song. Wind is Nature's voice. As I lay there all night, listening to the wind slam the shit out of everything around me, it has the effect on my soul of a mother singing to an infant.
That's what I feel when I'm out there. People say I'm crazy, but is it crazy to want to experience what sings to my soul? All people seem to notice is cold, irritating wind, annoying snow getting in their collars,... I experience "home". I hear the wind and I say, "Hi, Mom. I'm home." When it slams into me, it's just a hug.
Granted it's like one of those big huge wolfhounds that seems to think it's a chihuahua and doesn't realize its own size and strength, but it's a hug none the less.

Friday, February 02, 2007

What's Wrong?

I've been verbally jabbed by friends about previously not resting enough. They don't know what they're talking about.
I typically ran only three days a week, Tuesday, Thursday and a weekend run or race. In addition, I sometimes had an upper-body work-out at Matrix.
People love acting like experts and talking condescendingly. And I tend to be nice and open to info. But these people don't make sense. Here's why...
Typical training schedule (cut and pasted from Dave Styles suggested training schedule):
Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: Short run
Wednesday: Semi-long run
Thursday: Short run
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: Cross-training
Sunday: Long

Now count the rest days. I see two, with 71% training days. My schedule allows twice as many rest days, with 42% training days.
Other sources, like Matt Carpenter, give similar training schdules. And the very people saying I don't rest
enough are probably guilty of running 5-7 days a week. (Many consider "rest" to be nothing more than a short, easy 5-mile run.)

And this excerpt from Kim Mueller, MS, RD about ultra-marathon diet/training:
"Appropriate daily protein consumption for moderate intensity endurance training lasting 4+ hours (ultra-marathon training)."
My weekly hours of training, including upper-body gym workouts have been only about 7-9 hours. If I was training over four hours a day just five days a week, that'd be 21 hours a week. I was only putting 40% of the supposed requisite stress on my body.

What led to my injury had nothing to do with too much stress and too few rest days.
It was caused by less-then-ideal
diet and less-then-ideal running form. I've come a long way, but I've got a long way to go. I know what I'm doing wrong, but not necessarily what I need to do to get it right.
I'm reading a book about sport nutrition, primarily towards marathoners, plus other sources of information. They all agree that whole foods, uncooked and unprocessed, are best. But some of those also say that not everything needs to be whole and/or organic. Those call for certain engineered products like vitamin suppliments, creatine, protein drinks, and sport drinks.
Ironically, the worst food I eat tends to be from when we finish running and then go eat pizza, mexican food, etc.
A friend told me that decaf coffee has all sorts of leftover poisons from the decaf process. I need to look into that. I'd hate to give up coffee, but it would certainly save me some money.

Thursday Run

The Denver Trail Runners met at Chief Hosa west of Genesee for a frigid run in the snow storm. It was about 5 degrees and snowing hard and blowing. I love this stuff! Jamison was saying that too. What a crazy bunch of running freaks we have!
The highway was treacherous and the traffic was horrible. It's amazing that about 13 people decided to do this!

I had to post my before-and-after shots.

I thought it was so hilarious. Frosty the Jeff-man.

Here's how I decked-out my legs and feet. GoreTex Montrails.
My origianl pair of Montrails was bought at EMS. The original pair cracked and made a hole where it bends at the ball of the foot. I told this to an EMS employee and he told me to bring them in. They replaced them for free. This had less to do with EMS and more to do with Montrail backing their products. It didn't cost EMS anything.

I have my Injinji toe-sox on underneath some hiking socks. With the GoreTex, this system keeps my feet warm.

Some people use neoprene or GoreTex socks over other socks. There's lots of ways to stay warm and dry.

We ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Bergen Park afterwards. I had a Cadillac Margarita. Man those are strong! No skimping on the tequila.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Running on Ice

Denver is paved in ice, right now. There's black ice and glossy, bumpy snow-pack ice. It makes for really slick running.
This is an opportunity to brush up on the basics of good running. On nice warm flat ground, you may never learn. But what makes you good on ice also makes you good on warm pavement.
Normally, when people get on ice, they tense up and obsess over whether or not their feet are gripping or sliding. What's happening with your feet isn't really that important, though. What matters most is your Center of Gravity (CG). If you obsess over your CG, and leave your feet, legs, hips and waist loose, then your feet will naturally, subconsciously do what they need to.
This, Grasshopper, is the Zen of running. Keep yourself centered and the rest will follow.

A while back, the Denver Trail Runners was running at night on Green Mountain. Green Mountain has some trails that are full of rolly-polly rocks. One of our new people was kind of freaking out because she didn't have a light. Martin Pahl told her not to worry about her feet. Don't think about them and they'll find their own way. What he meant is pretty much what I've just said.
So running on ice can also help you to run at night, and running at night can help you run on ice. Running at night, on trails, on ice is really advanced, dangerous, but if you survive, it will teach you ideal form.
Trail runners have to use far more core strength, and at the same time, they have to stay loser. Loseness allows dynamic response. Tightening ruins equalibrium and leads to falling.
I've been thinking all this for months, but recently my friend, Christine, mentioned the benefits of running on ice. So I figured it was time I get this written before the end of Winter!

To stay "up", all you need is to keep your feet under you. If you're paying attention to your feet, and not your CG, then you may not be keeping your feet under you.
On totally slick ice, you can't really push off - so you may decelerate some. But most of your forward momentum is from leaning forward, not from pushing off. That's how it should be on warm pavement, too. Running is falling forward while trying to keep your feet under your CG. If that's not what you've been doing, then you've been wasting energy.

As for stepping without looking, when there's rocks, that takes sight. At night, you need some light to see, but you're better off using your peripheral vision. That means minimal or no artificial lighting. If you're doing it right, you shouldn't have to look down. Your eye's cones don't see in the dark as well as the rods, so looking down defeats the purpose.

But if you're an old guy like me recovering from a broken foot, well maybe the rocks and bumpy ice should be avoided a little bit longer.

Don't think I'm old? My last post I said "I ran 7 official races between 22.5 and 31 miles, plus 3 unofficial marathons, plus 2 half-marathons, and some little 6-9 mile races." Actually it was 9 official, 3 unofficial, 3 halfs, and some 6-10 mile races. I can't remember yesterday.