LooseCrew-JeffO: March 2007


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

Friday, March 30, 2007

Running in Clouds

I felt very tired last night. I didn't push hard at all - just put in the miles. It snowed all day long, and all through the run up Lookout Mountain. We went up to Buffalo Bill's grave and back - 9.5 miles.

The School of Mines fireworks were called off for the second year in a row. Everything was socked-in with the clouds.

But the Capitol Grill, which had burned last year, was open and serving pretty much the same menu, including the little apples they always put on every plate.
I think I'll take the day off. Maybe I'll do two easy miles if I start to feel like it.

It was 14 degrees this morning. Winter is not over. There's no such thing as Spring or Fall. It's just the time of year Summer and Winter fight over the weather!
I have to meet a guy tomorrow morning for eight-or-so miles. He's new to town. Should be fun. I like meeting out-of-towners for runs.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Winter ain't over

More snow. It's beautiful!
It's not good for my ankle, though. Also, the Leadville Trail 100 course was melting off nicely. Sections were trainable. So this is a set-back as far as training goes.

After Tuesday's 13.2 mile run, my feet were bothering me, so I didn't expect much from myself last night. After two miles, though, I was warming up and feeling decent. I launched a nice four-mile tempo run at 8:30 pace. Then I backed of slightly for a total run of 10.6 miles @ 8:42 overall pace.

I spent longer than usual stretching afterwards.
I followed again with a soak in ice-cold tap water. It's easier to get used to if I sit in a dry tub and let it fill up. Getting into a full tub of ice water is painful.
Then I massaged the quads and my plantar arch with a paint roller.

Tonight, Denver Trail Runners is running up Lookout Mountain.
Fireworks tonight in Golden. Last year the winds nixed the display. Tonight, the snow will make conditions totally safe, as far as fire-danger goes. If the wind stays calm and the clouds don't lower the ceiling too much, it ought to be great.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


As one of my readers pointed out, here is more controversy about Garside.

I guess I can't get as worked-up about it as other ultrarunners because I don't run for the same reasons as many other runners. Even when I feel competitive, it's more of an internal competition.
When I meet people like Matt Carpenter and Pam Reed, and hear the stories of people like Dean Karnazes, it inspires me. I don't worship the ground anyone walks on. These people inspire me, but they aren't my heroes.
When I hear about fantastic feats, it inspires.
I don't condone lieing, but no one will ever know. Will anyone know if Floyd Landis doped? No. (It would seem so preposterous. Why would someone use a substance that has little or no value and so easy to detect? It's more believeable that someone rigged the test. But we'll never know.)
But in fairness to those who race for different reasons than I (i.e. record books), I'm interested in posting any link about this controversy.

I've come from a co-dependant background of wasted life-force and energy. I've wasted vast amounts of energy complaining about things I had no control over. If we can't ever discover a particular truth, it's best not to waste energy on it until new, pertinent info comes out - and sometimes not even then.
There's a push for an international body to figure out rules and regulations for a 'round-world run. That's positive energy and a constructive goal.

Garside will hold the GBR record. When an ultrarunner organisation spawns meaningful rules, and then someone succeeds acording to those rules, will any ultrarunner even care about GBR? In the absense of such an organisation, I'm not faulting GBR.

It's easy to cheat in most of the races I enter. There's ridges, trees, and often tight loops. People get spread out sparsely over miles. I know there must be cheaters in many of the races I've been in, short-cutting loops, but all I care about is my performance. No one can take what I do away from me, so I don't sweat what other people do.

Even a work of fiction can be very inspiring. I think the Garside story, true or false, is inspiring.
And for those who believe in karma, if he lied, he's shark bait when he swims the Atlantic!


Ran 13.2 miles last night. I slept like a corpse for about 9 hours.
Afterwards, I poored a tub of very cold water and soaked my legs. (Denver's tap water is ice-water!) Very painful, but it was good for me.
The feet don't feel comfortable today, but not bad enough to concern me.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Even Forrest Gump didn't do this!

I'm such a wimp!
Look what Robert Garside
Next, he plans to swim it.
There's quite a lot of controversy, which I think is very impolite and unsportsmanlike.

Here's an organization that has it's own ideas how things ought to be done.

But Garside wasn't following the route of a running organization. His dream hatched from reading a Guiness Book of World Records book, and therefore he followed the strict routing dictated to him from Guiness.

For one thing, you can't run around the world, literally. The closest you could come would require running from Recife, Brazil all the way through Alaska. Then hop the Bering Strait and run across Asia, through the Sanai Peninsula to Dakar, Senegal. Then fly north to run across Iceland and Greenland.
I don't know what his route was, but any route will have to be "fudged". So why argue? He ran a very long ways!

Thanks to my friend David J for sending me this.

Change of subject...Today's Dilbert. Since I work in an office, I can relate to this.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Mountain Biking

Sunday was a beautiful day, in the 70's, partly cloudy.
First we rode up Waterton Canyon Road. The last quarter mile was very steep. As we chugged up in low gear, a dozen deer walked nervously by.
The Colorado Trail had snow on it a few weeks ago, but now it's nearly all clear. Just a couple of patches to hike our bikes over.
I'm no biker. My brother is, but he's a roadie. I ran more miles last year than he rode (well over 2000 miles), so my lungs were up to it, but he had the biker legs. Neither of us were particularly good at the technical mountain biking stuff.

My bike is extremely awesome, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to tackle those steep, rockie trails. I didn't realize that we were going to be chugging up steep switchbacks for miles. My quads were BURNING! My brothers lungs were burning.
In all, we did 16 miles. Not very far, but very intense. I'm surprised neither of us wiped-out. We each came close, and we each stalled out and fell over a couple of times, but no crash-n-burn.

Before turning around, we ditched our bikes and went for a hike down Bear Creek to a resevoir. There were lots of stream crossings. At first, my brother took off his shoes and sox and waded across, but I'm kind of amphibious, so I left my shoes on. Good thing because we had to cross the same stream about 8 times! We would've spent an hour putting shoes on and off.
There was lots of garbage strewn around. Much of it was in camps. It pissed me off. Some of it, though, was obviously strewn around by a bear, but hunters and fisherman are supposed to put there food in a tree when away. And they're supposed to police the area when they break camp. We didn't have packs, so we didn't have anything to pack trash out with.

By the time we got back to the CR-V, I nearly had blisters on my hands, my triceps hurt, I had scratches on my legs, and red abrasions all over. Nothing was broken, and scabs will show everyone how much fun I had.

I needed a day off from running. I don't know why. Last week was only 41 miles. That's not supposed to leave me needing a rest. But there's no way my feet were going to allow it. They didn't hurt, but they felt "wrong", so I wasn't going to push my luck. I think I managed to get a great workout anyways.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

20 miles in the Rain

Friday at work, a guy asked me if I had any exciting plans for the weekend. I told him I was going to run 20 miles. He said, "Not tomorrow - it's going to rain." I asked him why he was changing the subject. I'm talking about running and he starts talking about the weather. What does that have to do with anything? He concluded I needed to have my head examined.

So I ran my 20 miles. All injuries are a bit sore.

At Kaladi Coffee, someone complained about yesterdays rain. The guy behind the counter said he loves the rain. He went running in it yesterday. My kind of people!

Later, I'm riding Waterton Canyon and hitting the Colorado Trail.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Still running

My ankle was hurting some before I started running. Psycho-emotionally, I couldn't imagine not running, but the body didn't feel like it. I still managed to have a good 8-mile run.
Since I felt tired, I concentrated on cadence instead of speed. 180 steps / minute is supposed to be most efficient. I don't think I made it over 177. After 4 miles of that, I was tired, so I relaxed back to about 165. I don't have fast-twitch muscles, so 180/minute is probably not realistic for me.
Even though I wasn't pushing for speed, at high cadence, I don't think I was going very slow. I didn't time the whole run. One lap around Wash. Park clocked an 8:15 pace, so not too slow.

Collegiate Peaks Trail Run 50 (May 5) finally got my registration posted. None of the guys I know are running there. Two women I know are running the 25, and Anita F is doing the 50. So there will be a few familiar faces.
It's my first 50. I'd like to do it under 10 hours.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Mr. Lucky

I've tried very hard to make my body progress at an unreasonable rate. I've been active my whole life, but I only started running with any seriousness two years ago next month. So I'm asking my body to go from a weekend-warrior, 7-mile run three times a month schedule up to the Leadville Trail 100 in little more than two years. That's not easy. So far, even with the injuries, I've been managing to succeed. I'm still on-track, even if barely so.

I was sitting at lunch yesterday and a co-worker said that my sprained ankle was maybe Nature's way of telling me I needed to take it easy. To which I immediately said, "Nature can go fuck itself!"

That seems like blasphemy, but I think that if it's not an actual obstacle, then keep on truckin'. I've destroyed most of my life by imagining limits that were never actually there. I'm not the only one. It seems like human nature to seek comfort at the expense of achievement.

Running stronger

Somebody 'splain this to me...
The past few days has been painless while walking around, but when I started to run, it was bad. When I stopped running, the pain went away.
Last night it was as if my ankle had no injury. I was careful at first, but with no sign of pain, I sped up. I got a very good 5.3 mile workout in.
Afterwards, it started hurting. I then ran to the grocery store and then to Blockbuster. Very painful afterwards. My ankle has been hurting mildly walking around the office today.
There's no consistency. The pain is schizoid. It used to hurt when I ran - now when I don't.
Anyway, it's healing fast. Looking forward to the Greenland 50K. That course is fairly easy. Certainly nothing like the last few miles at Salida.

I stumbled across this test:
Sex ID
I guess I'm not a knuckle-dragger.
The test says I'm attracted to female faces (duh).
Also says I have an extraordinary 3D perspective and very expressive with words. The former is a male trait and the latter is a female trait.
My brain function scored in the middle, leaning neither male nor female.
Emotions: midway
Dito for spatial ability.
On one hand, it claims I'm not into technical stuff (I'm a damn good computer tech in real-life), and on the other says I should be an engineer or scientist.
The shocking test is where it says you have to split some money. I guess the average person, whether male or female, is a greedy, selfish child in this area. I'm not.
So what's it all mean?
Nothing - it's just a dumb Internet test. It was fun.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Couple of Cripples

The discomfort in my ankle is subsiding. I ran a little faster than a pathetic "plod". I think I'm up to a "trot".
Three miles last night.
Neighborhood streets are canted towards the gutters. It's the perfect angle for my ankle. If I run facing traffic, like you're supposed to, then nearly all the stress is off the injured tissue.

My son crashed-n-burned on his snowboard yesterday. He was going downhill sideways when his board clipped a rock. The board suddenly stopped. He bent at the knees and folded. His back jammed the backside of the snowboard so hard he thought he'd broken his back. But then he sprung forward and did a face-plant. Wow, snowboarding is so fun.
He was in lots of pain last night, but still went to school this morning.
He draws cartoons, so he drew a short one of how his crash played-out. OUCH! It hurts to look at it. He was lucky it wasn't worse.

So now we're both hurtin' in the mornings like a couple of old men.
It's like I tell him, though - the more scabs you have the more fun you're having.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Slow but still moving

Ran two very lame miles last night. My ankle hurts even when I go slow, but it hasn't hurt any worse afterwards. So the general rule: If it doesn't feel worse afterwards, and it continues to heal, then there's no reason to stop running. So maybe I'll just plod along at 2 miles/day until I can up the speed and miles.

My leg muscles didn't feel like they needed any rest at all. During the downhill, my quads were very tired from putting on the brakes, but they needed almost no recovery. I credit that to eating Accel gels during the race (they have protein), and eating cookies, gumbo soup, and tomato bisque within 30 minutes afterwards. I'm very religious about consuming protein after any workout.

Awesome weather continues. Supposed to get wet later this week.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Human Skateboard

I thought this was pretty cool. My brothers and I used to make stop-action animation films when we were kids using GIJoes.
(Link edited so it works now.)

Human Skateboard

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Loose Crew

That's my company name. Regards computers, it refers to my association with other techs. If someone wants my services, I might refer them to someone else. Regards to mtn climbing, it refers to my climbing friends. We pretty much agree on everyone packing for self-sufficiency - in case anything goes wrong, or we decide to split the climbing party.
Say "Loose Crew" fast. Yes, it's like "loose screw" - that'd be me. That double-entendre perfectly describes my personality.

Anyway, I wanted to moved to Denver and open up my own outdoors equipment company, like MountainSmith. But it didn't materialize...

Below, is another of my ideas.
A beaujest flap that attaches to any cap. Attaching it is too problematic for manufacture, so I just use it myself when I run marathons and ultras.

True story...
The inventor of the backpack hip belt, which totally revolutionized backpacking, patented his idea. Patents aren't cheap. He then went to one of the major backpack manufacturers and demo'd his new system. They watched without comment until he asked if they were interested. They said they weren't. He was so certain he had a revolutionary idea he couldn't believe they weren't interested, but they insisted they had no interest.
Next year, that same company offered hipbelts on nearly every pack.
He sued and won. Afterall, he had a patent!
They appealed. Appeals postpone penalizing judgements.
Here's how it works in America...
If someone sues you, you have to PAY to DEFEND yourself! Even if the defender wins. You have to counter-sue to regain expenses, and this is sometimes done, but each time you go to court, you have to shell out thousands for, basically, renting court time and getting a lawyer. It adds up.
So he sues a 2nd time and wins.
They appeal a 2nd time.
So he gets wise and asks his lawyer, "How many times can they appeal?" He answers, "As many times as they'd like."
So justice in America isn't justice - it's all about who has the biggest pockets. A company has more assets to spend on court costs. He wasted probably $8000 on this, and that's 1970's dollars. Rather than make money on his idea, he went into debt!
That's how hundreds-of-thousands of little guys get squashed. That's how Microsoft does business. That's how big fish swallow small fish.

Taking this reality into consideration, don't ever sell your ideas. Also, don't bother with patents on most ideas. Instead, post a "Patent Pending" label on things, whether it's true or not. If there's an inquiry from some entity as to what the patent application number is, then you can go through with the actual patent pending, if you decide, before responding.
If you decide not to patent, you have to weigh the possibility that someone could steal your idea, patent it, and then sue you for making your own idea. The best way to defend against this is to mail proof of your idea to yourself and don't open up the letter. If you have to defend yourself, you bring the un-opend letter to court. The post-date predates the patnett date, so you can't be accused of stealing the idea - but you may be forbidden to sell items in that moment forward.
Otherwise, take-the-money-and-run with your ideas and don't waste assets on defending your ideas. Many ideas are too piddly to get a specific patent on anyway - like titanium tent stakes (get real).

I have zero business savvy. Me and math don't get along either. Th
ose two things are the biggest handicaps in my life, but that's me. And I never found a partner, so the outdoors gear supplier, Loose Crew, never got off the ground.

The place I go for fabric is Denver Fabrics. If they don't have it, they'll order it for you, as long as it's in the supplier catalogs.
Other materials are hard to find. I used to be a machinist, so I obtained some impossible-to-find materials (including some carbon-fiber square tubes with stealth radar-absorbing construction).
I bought an old sewing machine. They do better with heavy-duty fabrics. If you buy a new machine, then you have to shell out extra $$ for an industrial machine, which might be worthwhile. Some of the new stuff I'm trying to sew is lite material, like running tech shirts are made out of. My machine refuses to sew this without wadding up the thread - which causes me to become biblical (and "speak in tongues").

Salida or Bust

My Salida Marathon was a BUST!!! Okay - not totally - I didn't DNF, and I had a great time! It was awesome as usual!

First, Paul G and I camped along the course the night before under a moonless, star-filled sky. We threw our sleeping bags on the ground and slept comfortably in 20-degree temps. The sunset and sunrise were beautiful.

Before the race, I met Tania P and Anita F. While Anita F and I were taking our time walking towards the start, gabbing away, and still not there when we barely heard the RD yell, "GO!" So they started the race 2 minutes early (GPS time) and we weren't quite ready.
I had two main goals: don't tweak either of my healing injuries, and set a PR - which should've been easy since the course conditions were much easier than last year. Taking it easy meant slowing way down on the downhills, since my sprained left ankle can't take that. The last few miles are the steepest, craggiest downhill of any race I've seen. Any chance of a PR evaporated in the last few miles. But I told myself to concentrate on Leadville and my injuries.
Then with my PR gone, I decided to walk/trot the last mile on smooth road. That's when I stepped on a little rock and twisted my already sprained ankle and heard it pop very audibly. Now it's official (pardon my Belgian) - my ankle is FUCKED up! I hobbled across the finish with an embarrassing time and one of my injuries is worse. And it was a total freak accident. It could've been either side of either ankle, but no, it was exactly the same side of my already jacked ankle. What are the odds of that?
I've been one of the luckiest SOB's in the past few years. I can't believe how freakin' weird my lucky steak has been! So this is obviously some karmic equalization process. But I still don't feel any doom. This is just a hiccup. I plan to continue to go into debt in that area. I'll worry about paying off the karmic creditors later in life.

Paul met Carol, and we spent the 2nd night under the stars. Carol froze her butt off in her Jeep while Paul and I slept comfortably on the ground with frost on our sleeeping bags. Go figure. Girlz... LOL At least Carol camps out and doesn't complain. Not many women are willing to do that. She has an awesome up-beat spirit and smiles incesantly.
We went to Bongo Billy's coffee shop in Buena Vista for breakfast. We split up there.
Right now, Paul and Carol are climbing Quandary, which my jacked-up back (yes, this old man's back is killing him worse than his ankle) and foot won't let me do.
I'll meet them later in Breckenridge.
Right now, I'm drinking jasmine tea in Leadville's Cloud City Coffee shop.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Stuff I've made

When I started out, I didn't have much of an income, and so I couldn't afford much fancy gear. If it wasn't at KMart or the Army Surplus Store, then I had to make it myself. In Wichita, KS, the only place to get fabric was Ponca Tent & Canvas. At that time, they were conveniently next door to the biggest surplus store in town. Since Wichita has tons of aircraft plants, there was no shortage of fasteners and other component gadgets and materials.
It also helped that I was a machinist.
I had my own waterproof, nylon bush-hat long before Columbia's bush hat and the Seattle Sombrero.
I had tent stakes made of aluminum tubing (one end of an arrow cut to length) before you could buy the gold-colored ones in the outdoor gear stores. And now I have a few titanium tubing stakes, which you can't buy anywhere, yet.
I made a 1.3 lbs. tent with poles made from aluminum arrow shafts.
I was making ascent vests years before The North Face made one. That item didn't sell well so they yanked it.
I made some snowshoes that allowed me to attach my ice crampons into them. That way I didn't have to add claws to the snowshoes, and I didn't waste time taking snowshoes off, then putting crampons on, and then reversing all that on the way back.

The snowshoes are lighter than any you can buy, but with my rudimentary tools, I couldn't bend the aluminum sharp enough to get the front of the snowshoe angled up high enough. Consequently I occasionally trip.
Grivel made snowshoe/crampon systems like that - about 5 years after I had already done it. They didn't sell well so they stopped selling them. The crux was you had to own one very specific model of crampon or you couldn't clip in. They should've made a universal clip-in and/or strap-in binding. (Hey, they should've given me a call!)
Fleece gloves, caps, earbands, GoreTex mittens, climbing nuts from T6 aluminum with Spectra cord, regular gaiters, tobagan cover, backpacks, stuffsacks, ... I can't remember everything.

Plus a plethora of modifications to items I've bought and improved on.
My best item is my snow pants. I designed these pants because even Marmot and The North Face lacked all the features I wanted. My pants have suspenders, the back drops down to easily "do yer bidness". The gaiters are built-in to the ends of the legs.
I hate velcro. Snow gets iced into it, water freezes into it, it wears out, it sticks to stuff you don't want it sticking to,... So my pants have two zippers on each side, one inner and one outer. A zipper is also much faster and easier to operate than velcro.
The crampon-guards on the inside of each leg are slick, heavy-duty pack cloth. I've tried cordura and Kevlar, but my crampons would catch those more-textured fabrics and cause me to snag and trip often. Not to mention those snags would lead to tears in spite of how heavy-duty the fabric was. Slipprier pack cloth doesn't snag, and it reduces the weight of the garment (I always sweat the weight).
The knees have 1/4" fleece padding and are covered in Kevlar.
The seat has 1/8" neoprene padding and are also covered in Kevlar.
The main fabric is 3-ply bonded GoreTex. There's only one layer to sew, because the three layers are bonded into one. This GoreTex never wears out.
One time I was crossing a creek on a snowbridge. It gave way. Both feet went underwater up to mid-shin. I jumped to the other bank and assessed the damage. I was dry inside - not one drop got into either boot.
These pants are BOMBER!!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Taper week, I guess

My broken foot has been hurting since Friday. It's not enough to stop me from running, but I decided to take this week off anyway. My foot doesn't feel any better for it, so I know it's needed.
Salida Marathon is Saturday. After getting out of shape while my foot healed, and after giving blood a couple of weeks ago, I know my performance won't be anything to brag about, and I don't really care. I'll take off the rest of the week, do my marathon, and take off some more days.
I ride my bike a tiny bit daily (kind of a token ride to get the circulation going, but not a workout), and I'm supposed to go mountain climbing Sunday after the race.
So not much to report.

I like Google Earth. Since I don't have the time or money to travel, Google Earth is the next-best thing. So for lunch at work, I go places I probably will never actually visit. Today, I visited Costa Rica, where a co-worker is from, and Tahiti and French isles around. I always pictured Tahiti as an island paradise, but Google Earth shows it has a highway, a large metro area where two towns have sprawled together, and ritzy mansions like I'm used to seeing in Aspen and Vail. They even have a huge, ugly industrial area. So my image of Tahiti has been popped! What a silly dream!
The isles around, though, OMG! There are atolls with maybe 5-12 islands poking out and a landing strip on the biggest. No roads. No towns. Maybe (just maybe) a shack at the landing strip. Man, I could see myself walking around naked for a week spearing fish and laying in the sun. Oh, drop me off with a case of beer and a gallon of margarita!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pikes Peak Registration

The Pikes Peak registration was a complete failure. So many thousands of people were waiting the instant registration opened that the Active.com servers crashed.
There's plenty of time to get the situation under control long before the race, but I feel like saying, "I told you so!"
Check out Adam Feerst's post last year.
Lobby for change in Pikes registration process

It's not easy being a race director, and it's harder with a major international race like Pikes, but clearly the writing has been on the wall for a couple of years.

I ran the marathon in 2006. Crowds aren't my bag of tea. Great, epic marathon. Glad I did it once. I never want to do it again.

I don't want to sound too ungrateful. Matt Carpenter is a great guy, the Incline Club a great club, and the TCR board is quite generous to offer these races. I just hope a better (practical) situation unfolds.
Here's some of what's going on.

Monday, March 12, 2007

My Rolling Mess

Last year, I was going to lunch with a runner-friend of mine, but he doesn't race much. He gets in my car and says, "Man, your car is gross."
Yep. And your point???

There's an eclectic pile of saftey pins from several races, my trash bag says Runners World on it, I have various gloves, mittens, headlamps, etc. littered into every nook and cranny.
And that doesn't even include the back...
On road trips, I fold the back seats down and lean the front seats forward and sleep in the back (my mini-Winnebago).
I wonder how many of you out there do the same, to save on Motels?
And I wonder how many of you like to do much more than just run? Biking, climbing, hiking, snowshoing, skiing,...
So you end up with lots of "junk in yer trunk".
There are those personalities that like to plan every minute of an excursion. And if any part of "the plan" fails, they end up in a psycho-emotional funk.
There are others who like to be prepared for anything! "We don't need no stinkin' plan!" Things that inadvertently happen just change the kinds of fun we have.
I'm the latter personality.
So I have a lot of junk in my trunk.

Warning, due to the graphic nature of the following photo, viewer descretion is highly advised.

This isn't packed for a trip. This is the way it always is.
Am I embarassed? Um, no.
It is what it is.

Fun weekend!!

According to this Body Mass Index caculator, I'm supposed to weigh 156lbs.

I currently weigh 173lbs, or allegedly 17lbs overweight.
BMI isn't a perfect way to judge proper weight, but it's usually close, and it's quick.

Some football players are so bulked on muscle that their BMI claims they're fat. So obviously BMI isn't always correct.

I think mine is fairly close, but ultra-runners tend to have tree-trunk legs, so I might be able to fudge the numbers. About 160-165lbs should be about right. So I still need to dump 10lbs.

Sat., I biked about 13 miles up and down Waterton Canyon. It was real nice, but it clouded up and started to sprinkle.

Then I drove to recreation point #2 to go running in my new Redfeathers. I was north of Mt. Evans, about a 1/4 mile from Chicago Creek Campground. It rained while driving there, then it switched to big snowballs falling out of the sky, then it stopped about the time I left my car. To the north, over Winter Park, the sky was BLACK! I had friends chopping down dead plague trees that day.

It rained hard all the way home.

The past 7 days, I ran every day for a total of 50 miles.
I've averaged 5.7 miles/day this month.

I'm exhausted. I don't think it's from running, though. I slept about 11 hours Sat. night. Then Sun. night, I had no trouble going to sleep. Before going to bed, my stomach felt crampy like it can only feel leading into stomach flu, but it went away and no other symptoms manifested. So I'm pretty sure it was my body successfully going toe-to-toe with the flu and winning.

My right foot, the one that was stress-fractured, is hurting. Too much too soon. I guess I still need to build carefully.

My legs muscles have been kept tired and sore for the past two weeks. Not too much, but just enough to really trigger improvements. Last night, my easy-long run was about an 8:50 pace without trying. Much better than last week's struggle to maintain 10:00 pace.

This week, I plan to slack off. I have the gruesome Salida Marathon this coming Sat.

This year I'm tracking my mileage (last year I didn't care). I built an Excel spreadsheet with graphs. Since computers and software are my career, it's good practice. It's fun (and dumb) incentive to want to run more just so I can cause the graph to spike. Whatever works.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Boy & His toys

UPS delivered my snowshoes to the wrong address, but I have them now.
I'm sitting in Kaladi's, in shorts and sleeveless tech shirt, and SWEATING!
My car is loaded with snowshoes, bike, running shoes, sport drink, daypacks, etc. I'm ready to rock-n-roll. I had to catch up on my sleep, run errands, and do laundery, so it's lunch time and I haven't left town.
I'm wasting time posting this blog! Doh!
I'm outa here...

Friday, March 09, 2007

South Table Mountain

Last night was 7.5 miles @ South Table Mountain. It was only me and Scott F., in the 5:30 group. There were about 20 others in the 6:15 group.

I was very sluggish, and snorting and hacking the whole way because the smog has been bad this week. Even in somewhat clean air, it takes three days for my sinuses and throat to clear up.
My quads were hurting. I can't believe how badly I got out of shape during the months my foot was healing.

My left ankle is better than it was a week ago. My right arch is better if I wear my 3/4-length arch&heel shoe inserts.
I have some full-length arch support inserts, but they gave me blisters doing just 5 miles around Wash. Park. So I'm wearing those in my work shoes until my feet are used to them. Then maybe I can run in them. But even the one time I ran in them, I could feel the sharp pain in the front of my arch, so not sure they'll do any good. I think thye're no good by themselves. If I stack the stock shoe inserts on top of the orthotics, they seem to work much better.
I don't know why the 3/4-length inserts work so well. I think it's a combination of inserts and shoes. Since I have about 12 pairs of running shoes, it'll take me awhile to figure out which combinations work for me. Right now, the 3/4 inserts and my Mizuno trail runners are working perfectly.

Tania P. told me to roll a tennis ball under the arch of my foot. I don't have one, but I'm using a paint roller instead, and I think that's better. That stretches and massages at the same time.

Since I come from a family of engineers, and I've been making my own outdoor gear for years, I think I'll try to make my own plantar stretcher sock for sleeping in. But if this project doesn't happen soon and quick, I'll just buy one. This isn't something I can afford to leave on a back-burner.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Feel the Need, the Need for, uh, Slowness

Last night's 5.1 miles wasn't so bad. Wasn't too comfortable the first two miles, but finished feeling fine. Also ran about 9min/mile pace.

I have to keep in mind that I'm supposed to be building my mileage carefully, even though I feel impatient to pour it on. I'll taper 5 days before the Salida Marathon, and then back off the pounding. I need to do more mountain climbing and hiking and less running.

In order to get a belt buckle at Leadville, I only have to average 15min/mile. That's 4mph, or a quick walking pace. If you figure that I can't hike some inclines that fast (notably Hope Pass), and I'll have to stop several times to eat, change shoes/clothing/etc., then that means I'll still have to run much of it to keep the average. But I shouldn't have to run much faster than 12min/mile.
So I guess I shouldn't even worry about last Monday's pace.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Feeling Old

Last night, I decided to do a totally easy distance run. So I filled a Camelbak with sport drink, grabbed two trailbars, filled a pocket with pretzels, and took off.
Then I realized Heroes is on TV @8pm. I practically never watch TV, but I do enjoy Heroes because it's dumb (if you haven't figured it out, I like dumb things).

So I decided to turn around in time. That turned it into a 12.7 mile run.
At mile 10, I realized I was averaging less than 10min/mile. I wasn't supposed to concern myself with time, but I thought 10m/mile was history. I ran Rim Rock @ 8:34, and Goblin Valley @ 9:13, so I should've been able to saunter through 12.7 miles of virtually flat pavement at no worse. So the last 2.7 miles, I kicked it up to finish at exactly 10min/mile.
Then I walked around the block to warm-down. A passing motorist stopped and yelled, "Hey, you're walking when you're supposed to be running!" I turned around in time to see that, although she'd stopped at a stop sign, she was looking at me instead of traffic and a car had to put on the brakes and hit the horn 'cause she drove in front of them.
I don't know if she was trying to be funny - she didn't sound like it - or thought she was everyone's personal-trainer. I just thought she was stupid. (I like dumb things, not stupid things.)

Last summer, I was doing a long run in town. Like last night, I ran to Wash. Park, through Wash. Park, until I reached Cherry Creek, then headed upstream for miles before turning around. You're supposed to train how you expect to race. Last night, I ate two trailbars and pretzels without stopping or walking. So I'm decked-out for distance. So last summer, this guy ridicules me because, "You don't need all that for Wash. Park!" WTF! MYOB! Have a clue that you're clueless! Some people's attitudes really stick in my craw. They make snap judgements, which would be okay if they'd keep their mouths shut.
Now you know another reason I like long mountain trail runs. I don't have to put up with people like that.

After last nights run, I was totally beat. A few weeks ago I ran 20 miles on Green Mountain with no real problems. Then 12.7 easy miles wrecked me. My thighs were sore before the run, but really sore after. My left ankle is barely better than it was late Thursday.
My right plantar fascii, where it attaches to the ball of the foot, has been bothering me since July. I've been stretching and massaging that a lot lately. When I try to research it, all I get is planter injuries at the heal, not the ball of the foot. So I guess my specific symptoms are rare (lucky me).
The pain is tolerable, but I feel compelled to scuttle some of my race plans. I need to concentrate on Salida Marathon, Greenland 50K, Collegiate Peaks 50M, and the Leadville Trail 100. None of the other races are particularly critical, and it would save me some money.

I slept exactly 8 hours. I practically never sleep that long. Felt good.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Happy Happy, Joy Joy

Yesterday, I started by driving to Loveland Pass and hiking up Sniktau.
It was 15 degrees and blowing hard. I don't know what the wind-chill was, but it was dangerous for any exposed skin.
I hope this helps me build more red blood cells.

Then I drove to Denver, picked up the Tuesday gang, and drove to the Denver Trail Runners Full Moon snowshoe run, which we hiked.
It was 9 degrees that night, but the wind wasn't as bad below treeline.
A few miles away, though, a guy died...
The ambulance sped by as we were heading out.

Afterwards, we ate at Fiesta Jalisco in Bergen Park.
Tania Pacev was there, and seemed in better spirits than I've ever seen her. It was very good to get to spend time with her where we weren't at a race, or exhausted after a race. And she got to meet my Peeps. (And they got to see a REAL RUNNER!)
Tania has raced all over the world and either wins, or places in her divisions every time.
Between the regular DTR runners, my Wash. Park friends, and Tania, I had a moment where I just got all quiet and a part of me stood back and took it all in. It's like I had to pinch myself. I've never been consistently surrounded by so many fantastic people in my life.
I'm happy.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Snowshoes shipped

My new race snowshoes just shipped from Sierra Trading Post. I ended up buying none of the previously-mentioned snowshoes. I found some of the over-priced snowshoes I really wanted on sale.

2 lbs., 4 oz.
$131, incl. shipping&handling

That'll work for me.

Last night we ran at Green Mountain. We had gotten light snow the night before. The wind drifted it rather deep in spots. It was some really tough plowing. I just tried to run straight through each drift, but each was so very dense, usually on hillsides, and no telling how deep each step was.
It was not what my left ankle needed. My left ankle is now bad enough to need serious attention. The Salida Marathon in a couple of weeks is even in question.
A friend was jabbing me about my ailments after the run and I claimed I was 100%-good-to-go. But that was before I had to walk back to my car after sitting for an hour.
My ankle hurts more when I'm going downhill.
Endorphins help alleviate some of the pain, and when I don't move it, it feels fine.
I can't believe this! I never even twisted it! WTF!!!

I ran 6.6 miles. I ran Monday-Thursday. Still, it only adds up to 19 miles. Because of my ankle, I'm not running today. It's not the mileage that hurts it - it's the un-even surfaces that I keep stepping on. I need strong ankle tissues. I might be stuck on flat surfaces for awhile. I love my wild and craggy trails, but if I don't get a handle on this, my season will get trashed.

The stress fracture on my right foot is now undetectible. It's as if it never happened - totally healed

Found out that the San Juan Solstice filled. Since I haven't registered, this will have to be marked off my list. I'll probably attack the Leadville 100 course during that weekend instead.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Running in Weather

I noticed that many people are obsessed with strict training routines and schedules. They obsess over clock times.
I really don't care about that kind of stuff, yet I'm doing okay. Granted, I could do even better (I'm guessing), if I cared less about fun and more about winning.
It's just that, in Colorado mountains and in ultra-running, effort is more important than strict clock times.
Many workouts claim you should do "this" distance at "10k pace", and that means an optimal, flat-land, usually low-elevation 10k.
It seems meaningless in the mountains. If you want to train for mountain races, pace=effort.
If it's windy, and you're running against the wind, it's okay if your splits are slower. And you shouldn't avoid the wind. After all, you may be running a race in such winds.
If it's icy, it's an opportunity to practice running on ice, because during a race, the one that survives will beat out the competition.
Same thing goes for snow, mud, and rain.
When you're starting a race, and you're thinking how horribly grueling the miles will be because Mother Nature is dumping a surprise on the course, the one uplifting thing should be your knowledge that you've trained for this. Others may not have. So-called "bad weather" shouldn't depress you - it should reassure you that you'll do better than usual.

I keep thinking this because the Salida Marathon is coming up. Even though the RD from last year promised me the inaugural conditions were worse than usual, this is an area that can get a foot of snow in July, so there's no telling what you'll get March 17.

I ran 5.3 on Monday, 5.1 on Tuesday, 2.0 on Wednesday, and I just gave blood. I'm supposed to do 6.7 or more on Green Mountain. I may end up hiking it, if my heart strains too much. No use in killing myself.

I'm hoping that running shorter mileage more often will make me less likely to injure, while at the same time, ramping-up my miles towards Leadville.