LooseCrew-JeffO: May 2007


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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

No Steamboat for me!

I've been so busy traveling, doing errands, and running around that I haven't had time to post. I've had so little time to relax that I stopped by and got three DVDs and watched two of them. There were things that needed doing, but I needed to unwind, so I took one whole evening all to myself to do "nothing".

The run Thursday a week ago was not good for my knee. It was tolerable through the weekend. Tuesday, I took it very easy while jogging around Wash Park. It hurt considerably afterwards.
This morning, it doesn't hurt much, so it keeps playing games with me.

I don't know how it started. It very well may not even be a running injury. As a computer tech, I often crawl around under desks and I might have knelt on a screw or something. Since I'm task-oriented, such a thing would never consciously register, but would get noticed if I aggravate it.
The pain is at the bottom of the kneecap right where the shin tendon attaches. That's also exactly where my knee contacts the ground when I crawl around. The pain is on the outside, not under the kneecap or buried under layers of other stuff. So again, that sounds like I knelt on something. It would also explain why running a 50-mile race and a 101.7-mile week didn't make it any worse, but isn't particularly helping it either.

The location of the pain also coincides exactly with Jumper's Knee, which also sounds exactly like what I do...
"this tendon comes under a large amount of stress especially in individuals who actively put extra strain on the knee joint such as those who regularly perform sports that involve direction changing and jumping movements. With repeated strain, micro-tears as well as collagen degeneration may occur as a result in the tendon."
You mean, like, trail running? Hell-bent-fer-leather down zigging, jagged trails?
Heck, even with constant NutraJoint, fish oil, and rest, I'm falling apart. I'm old and 8 lbs. over-weight. I have the psychological fortitude to push myself to the limit or beyond. The mental part of running 100 miles through the mountains isn't the hard part for me. The hard part is keeping my body in one piece. That would be easier if I tried to accomplish this in three years instead of two.

I plan to run easy on the trails Thursday evening with DTR.

Sunday is the Steamboat Springs Marathon. I thought I was registered, but I'm not. The races are full. This is a very serious mental let-down for me.
I want to go anyways. It'll distract me from becoming morbid, I can still enjoy the hot springs, and I can take my bike. I have Monday off, so I'll go to Leadville Sunday night. Monday I'll run from the LT100 start line as far as the snows will let me and then return. I'm guessing I'll make it to Mayqueen and back, which will be about the same as a marathon. Much harder than Steamboat.

Tonight, at midnight, the Imogene Pass Run registration opens. This will be a ridiculous instant sell-out like Pikes Peak. I only have modem dial-up at home, so it doesn't look like I'll be able to get registered in time.

Monday, May 28, 2007


I brought my good luck with me.

In the old days, no matter when I drove or which direction, the wind was always a headwind.
When I drove to Colorado to climb mountains, the wind would always shift such that 80% of the time I had a strong headwind. The other 20% of the time was a strong side wind which once picked my Honda CRX up off the ground and scared the be-geez outa me! I had such an adrenaline rush from the scare I had to pull over and get my pulse under control.

This trip had the wind at my back nearly all the way. The wind shifted so that it was blowing the opposite direction for the return drive. Probably gave me 3mpg better both ways!

There were thunderstorms - severe ones. You had to be there to believe it. Multiple thunderstorms danced on both sides of the highway. We never slowed down. We just happened to magically thread-the-needle through them. We only got enough rain to clean the bug guts off the windshield.

I took my son with me. We spent Friday night about a mile south of I-70 on a desolate farm road. No one drove by all night.
The next morning, we stopped at old Fort Hayes where I bought five lotto tickets to win a replica Sharps .45-70 buffalo gun. I figure with my luck, I just might win! (What do you do with a Sharps, anyways? You can't buy cartridges, and I think buffalo hunting isn't legal anymore, but I have my own reload press and maybe I can hunt "varmints"!)

The family was so busy with logistics of my parent's 50th wedding celebration that they didn't even have time or energy to act-up on me. So it was a quick get-in-get-out and nobody got hurt.

I heard that Wichita became real fat after I left. Not true. They're the same as 16 years ago. Not as healthy as Denver, but not bad.

The humidity was HORRIBLE! Even though it wasn't hot, we sweated like pigs. I think half of the trickle was condensation, not actual sweat, but the effect was the same - we were constantly sticky. Yuck! So glad to be home now! Sweat actually evaporates!

On the return, we skirted some more storms, and the clouds kept us from getting cooked by the sun. And there was no sun glare. It really was ideal driving.

We stopped on the same farm road coming back, but we were about 20 miles further east. There was a strong south wind. A powerful storm lit up the sky with lightening. My son was scared of tornadoes and getting struck by lightening, but I just rolled over and told him that if we do, wake me and tell me if we're dead. I slept like a baby.

I didn't enjoy much of it, but it wasn't a bad experience at all.

One of my uncles had been an alcoholic. He quit drinking just one year before he died. After decades of alcoholism, quiting probably killed him - but it was worth it. During his last year, he got in touch with his children, healed old wounds, and died in peace. His ex-wife remarried a fantastic guy. I got to meet him. They're in their 70's and happier than ever. I love that! She tried to tell me not to give up, but all I could say was, "Nope - I'm done in that department. I put my energies into other pursuits that are more rewarding and far more reliable."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Toughest Woman

Annie at Crossfit Santa Cruz

This video wears me out!
(Use this on Apple/Mac)

Check out her abs!

Makes me feel like such a wimp. I need to get with the program!!!

Last night I ran 10.2 at Deer Creek Canyon.
The rains had everything greened-up. I never saw so much green! The drought seems to be over.
There were lots of ultraviolet colored flowers. The flash from my camera washes out the brilliance, but they were dazzling. There were also white and yellow flowers.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lost 5 pounds in 20hrs

This is way-cool link my friend DJ sent me...
Tribute to American Pie (by LoneStarSound.com)

I didn't weigh myself Sunday-Tuesday. My weight was 173lbs Wednesday morning. I had a massage Wed. noonish, which loosened up all the concrete and returned it to my bloodstream for processing. This being an easy week, and me being so busy getting tattoo'd and fixing two computers, I haven't had time to exercise at all! I've stayed hydrated, but this morning my weight was down to 167lbs. So without fluid retention from recovery/swelling due to long miles and little rest, my rested-weight is decent!

I'm supposed to run with DTR tonight (potluck dinner after), but not sure I have time. I have to pack for my dreaded trip to Wichita so I can leave immediately after work Friday.

I say dreaded because I hate the Kansas culture and mindset. It's too - redneck - intolerant. "There's only one way and that's my way!" I'm intolerant of intolerance.
I moved to Colorado because I like thin air and high-jagged peaks. Driving through flat Kansas wheat fields for hours bores me 'til my eyeballs start flipping back in my skull like the fruit on a slot machine.
I'm also the blacksheep of the family and they are apparently incapable of treating me in a positive - or even neutral - fashion. I used to go out of my way to keep my mouth shut and/or go along with stuff, but they became a group of juvenile bullies egging each other on at my expense.
So now I stand my ground instantly. That seems to work. I disagree often and early and refuse to turn the other cheek. They claim to be Christians (which I studied profusely growing up, so even though I don't profess that religion, I am expert in that theology), they don't act it. Like spoiled brats, you can't give them an inch. You have to lay down the rules, set real limits, and there have to be consequences for crossing those boundaries.

So, NO, I'm not looking forward to one second of this trip.
Probably the only thing that will get me to go East again is a funeral!

Yikes! This blog is supposed to be about positive energy and I just spewed forth my dirty laundery.
But it's all part of what makes me the ultra-running loon that I am. After growing up that way, there's nothing I love more than running through pine forests, up and down jagged peaks, across frozen, windy slopes... Freedom! I escaped from the psycho/emotional/spiritual desert that is Kansas culture and moved to where there's variety in both terrain and attitude. I connect with people out here. I connect with the land. I feel spiritual out here.

At least I can take my spirit with me to Kansas.
I just hope I don't get a speeding ticket driving back to Denver!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Oh, man, Luanne dosed me with her magic hands for lunch. She massaged the concrete out of my legs, but I could tell she was quite challenged with my calves. They really needed work.

It's wrong to fall for your masseuse, right? Kind of pathetic? Isn't that what losers do with care-givers like nurses or psychiatrists (not that I need one of those!)?
I'm not saying I'm falling for Luanne - I'm just saying... it'd be pathetic of me if I did, right?
Anyways, the thought never entered my mind. Ever! Really!

Last night, I got new ink.

Twin dragon armband on the right arm (to match the tattoo on my left shoulder). Still pretty sore but not as bad as I remember the first one being. I'm following directions closely with only one tweak - I dab on some Neosporin cream (not the petro-jelly type) with Pramoxine pain reliever, then some Lubriderm. The Neosporin+ really makes a big difference the first night.

Mike Bennett at Phantom 8 Tattoo did it. Thanks, Mike! Nice job!

I'll probably get one more tattoo, but at this point I'm not even close to deciding what or where. I'm thinking of a skull. I'd have to do the artwork on this one. Maybe my lower-back.

Other ideas I've pondered...
- T-Rex skeleton running through the desert with a Camelbak and trailshoes (too complicated)
- Eyeballs on the back of my calves
- Bar-code on the back of my head

Monday, May 21, 2007

Training Graph

Here's the graph from my Excel worksheet. The jagged line illustrates my hard and easy weeks. You can see early in the year how much I lost from my stress fracture and how much I had to ramp-up.

Lon Freeman (interview by Scott Dunlap) runs 25-30 miles during weekdays and 25-50 miles on weekends.
So minimum of 50 miles and max of 80 totals for each week.
Wow, that's a lot of miles to regularly put on your body. I don't know if I can do sustained mileage of 50-80 per week, every week, without injury, plus biking and swimming. Maybe next year. This year I'm just struggling to get the required training in time for Leadville without breaking.

After my hundred mile week, my legs are swollen. Normally, when I lay on my back and put my heel up on a chair, my relaxed calf muscle can be flopped back and forth like the H.S. lunch-lady's arm flab. It might be pure muscle, but if it's properly relaxed it should flop around as well as a blob of fat. But right now it's so swelled with fluids that it's like poking a solid chunk of carbon-rubber. There's no pain, but they feel pumped. I iced them last night, but I can't tell the difference. I elevated them, lowered, elevated, lowered to exchange fluids.
Massage is a waste of time right now. The muscles are so totally pumped I can't get any kneeding action going. Like trying to kneed a chunk of wood!
I guess since it's not hurtin', it's not bad. There's a lot of recovery work that my body needs to perform. It's going to take lots of fluid. I just need to keep the fluid moving. Stagnation would be a very bad thing. That's why I have to walk it off each day and keep trying to massage.

A Perfecter Week I Could Not Ask

101.7 miles total. That's the most I've ever run in a week.

The dam at Castlewood Canyon was built about 100 years ago. It broke in 1933 and caused Denver's 2nd-worst flood ever.
Now that my Hell Week is over, I hope to rest-up. It started to get monotonous around Friday. Even the awesome trails and scenery at
Castlewood Canyon weren't enough for me to do anything but "get it over with".

This week, I plan to run with DTR on Thursday. I have to jog/walk a couple miles most days, stretch, massage, etc.

My next event: Steamboat Springs Marathon, Sun. June 3. All pavement, nearly all downhill.
This and Rim Rock are the only pavement races I want to do annually. Steamboat has a party atmosphere all weekend long. The Strawberry Park Hot Springs are awesome - not to mention clothing-optional (which sometimes is a great thing [yeehah!] and sometimes not, but always entertaining).
Both are very fast races with incredible views. That's why I tolerate the pavement.
The Mt. Evens Ascent is all pavement, but I don't intend to run it each year. The views are great there, too, but some of the motorists get belligerent. I understand not liking to get held-up momentarily, but come on! It's not like you have to wait hours. Just seconds here and there. Why do people bring a rush-hour mentality to the mountains? I've seen this so many times. I wish these people would stay in the city.

I bought a new hydration pack. Since my beloved old Camelbak sprung two leaks, I decided it was time to replace the bladder plus buy a pack that was in-between my small backpack and my Camelbak. I don't like any of Camelbak's packs. Too heavy and too many superfluous jizmos sewn on.
Got the Solomon Revo 20. The 15 doesn't have pockets on the belt, which I wanted. The 30 is too big for what I want. Even half-empty, the Revo 20 is so light I think it's about the same weight as my old Camelbak, which has no storage built-in.
Solomon's website sux - too much active content. Takes too long to load, it's confusing to navigate. I have hi-speed at work and it still takes 10-20 seconds to load a page. Too much of a good thing is bad. KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
So here's the
Solomon Revo 20 at REI. They have it all stuffed, which makes it look big. With the cinch system, it actually ends up much smaller. These are the lightest featherweight packs I know of. So if it seems like too much pack, who cares? It weighs less than smaller hydration packs.
I blew $$$ on four 2-liter bladders of various manufacturers. I think this must be a life-time supply.

My new Revo got tested at Castlewood Canyon.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Done it

I went to Castlewood Canyon, helped out with the LaSportiva race, then ran it twice after everyone was gone.
15.2 miles total for my day, including some extra boondogling.
I sprained my ankle - again - when I was nearly done, but this time wasn't so bad. Bad enough to make me stop and lay down with my ankle elevated for a few minutes, and then I walked until lightening got me runing again.
If the race has 900 feet of climbing, I finished my 100-mile week with an 1800 foot workout. I felt okay. There were moments when the trail was challenging and not to hard aerobically. Those sections were the most fun and I ran hard.
Photos and more tomorrow.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Getting Hard

Monday - Thursday were easy. I was ahead after Wednesday, but DTR runs shorter runs and I was 50 minutes late, so I had to catch back up on Friday.
Friday, though, I was a little dehydrated, and bummed at Nicolette's son dieing, and tired from 54 miles of running through the week. I had to really push myself. I barely managed a 10-min. pace.
Mon = 13.7
Tues = 16.1
Wed = 15.5
Thur = 8.4
Fri = 17.1
Total = 70.8 miles
So I have two days to complete 29.2 more.
That seems like such a short distance to me these days, but yesterday's run was occasionally painful - maybe the wrong kind of pain. Since I have more to fear from injury than lack of conditioning, at this point, I'm playing this by ear. I may decide I shouldn't finish this 100-mile week.
Each night I feel tweaked. Each time I heal miraculously. I call it my Spiderman-routine. I drink my NutraJoint cocoa, I take a Calcium pill, fish oil, maybe a multi-vitamin, I get a good night's sleep, and the next day it's like the previous miles never happened - my body screams for more - MORE!
Today, I feel good, but that means nothing. When I start the pounding again, I have to reassess, and if the wrong pains start up during, I have to walk back home.
The weather this week is unbelievable. I picked a great week for this.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Too close to home

I somehow don't seem to escape constant close reminders of our mortality. My dentist's son died yesterday.

I've never been close to a dentist before, but this one is different. He is the best guy and genuinely cares about everyone.
His receptionist's husband is a triathlete, so we swap stories.
His hygienist is a gabby and entertaining woman.
John Sr. always asks about my training and races.

When I was in college (yes they had college in those days), I was on the trunk of my friend's Nova when he floored the gas pedal. I, of course, didn't accelerate and dropped like a rock to the pavement. My tailbone broke. My first marathon would have been a week later. Instead, I had to play spectator.

Wednesday, as I ran past South High's parking lot, there was a girl sitting on the door sill of a car that was speeding around the parking lot. I thought how totally stupid and unnecessarily dangerous that was.

The folly of youth. Too often the physics never dawns on us. We can only hope we learn before we die.
I guess John Jr. won't get the opportunity to learn. Maybe his classmates will learn from his death.

That's two parents I know in one month who've lost a child.
I thank the Powers above that I still have my son, but these are too close to home, too close together. It has definitely put a damper on my usual behavior. I've worked hard to overcome a negative and depressed attitude in my past. This is difficult. I guess sooner or later I will get hit directly, not obliquely. So these events might be preparing me for what's coming. If Karma rules, and things really do happen for a reason, then I fear what the "reason" for all this might be.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Gushing sky

Uh-oh, I might have to abandon this blog...BugBash.

Last night was fun. It was REAL fun.
I ran 4x's around Wash Park. I was NOT bored! Wow, my heart was going pitter-patter at the "scenery".

Also, I saw an Ethiopian guy - real tall - running like a banshee, and sweating in spite of the cool temps. He didn't look familiar at all. I've seen photos of several African runners in magazines, but this guy wasn't someone I've seen.

The fun part was the rain. At the beginning of the run, it was partly cloudy and I even had some sun on me. Then the clouds closed in. Then they got dark. Then it got windy. Then ice-cold micro down-drafts would slam down at various spots in and around the park. Dust clouds swirled and blew.
Some people seemed oblivious. The clouds above were not threatening rain, even though some sparse droplets escaped. In the distance to the west, though, there was a greenish-gray wall. Green means hail.
I meant to run 5x's around the park, but I decided to escape. Even my thick Czech/Irish/German skull isn't thick enough to ward off hail, if it gets too big.
To the south was bright light from a hole in the weather. I kept thinking the line from Poltergeist, "Run to the light! Run to the light!"
When I was a mile from home, the rain started. That was okay because I'm amphibious. I had hoped to make it to the nearest business - Starbucks - before the hail started, but I didn't. It was smaller than peas, but I feared it would get bigger. And lightening was striking all around. The rain came down so intensely that in two minutes everything was flooded. I've only seen rain that hard about three times in my life. Some college guys were on their front porch and asked me if I wanted to wait it out on their porch. I accepted since Starbucks was still over a block away. They gave me a beer. I waited for the hail to stop, but the rain was still coming down in dump-truck loads as I ran.
Flooding was very bad. I guess a kid north of Denver got swept away. It was raining so hard in Denver it's hard to imagine any worse, but I guess it was.
But for me, it was fun running through the gushing sky and flooding sidewalks and streets. People in cars were pointing at me and I was laughing. I was a kid again.
All boys need to be happy is to have sticks, mud, and puddles.

I'm 7 tenths of a mile short of my needed average for 100 miles. Not a big deal.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Goal: 100 miles

14.26 miles per day
That's what will give me 100 miles by Sunday evening
This is my hardest training week. It's also the least fun.
I just need to gitterdun.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Time Trial

Mt. Falcon...35:05:28 = (+1:07:18)
That's about what I could expect on the heals of a 50M and a hard Tuesday run. Conditions for the time trials were totally ideal, though.

I have two ideal pacers to replace the two that bowed-out. These replacements are ideal because they're leaders of one of the biggest running clubs in Colorado, and they've volunteered or paced at the LT100 every year for a long time. They're also the NICEST two people you could ever meet!

There's a twist to this whole pacer story, though...
My original pacers, Matt K and friend/co-worker, work for a food distribution company. Thier boss was over in Iraq and got back this Spring. Their boss decided to run Leadville so Matt and co-worker decided to pace him instead of me.
Now the DamGummint told him he has to get ready to ship out again within the month. Back to Iraq.

I could spend pages mis-directing this blog away from running and into politics/religion/culture, but I won't.

Maybe I can use Matt and/or friend still.
My second-shift crew chief was going to double as my last pacer. He's very slow and knows it, but that might be a good thing at that stage of the race where the challenge might be to keep me walking (running those last 20 miles might be only a dream). Or if I still have strength and am fighting to catch the 30-hr cut-off, it could be a bad thing. He's fantastic company, though, and I really would love to have him with me when I cross the finish.
Strategically, though, it would be smarter to have Matt take his place. Matt would not be running at capacity. Matt's a LeadMan - he's done the mtn bike race and the run.
Paul was going to switch pacing for Matt's boss after he was done with me. Maybe I'll have Paul pace me the last leg(s)?

I'm such a lucky guy. Is everyone tired of me saying that?
I'm lucky to know so many totally amazing creatures.
I'm lucky to call so many "friend".
I'm lucky to be so healthy.
I'm lucky to have been born in this country that everyone in the world wants to move to and/or mimic (and hate).
I don't want to take anything for granted. Life is short, and when it's not, sometimes you have to endure decades with a maimed or paralyzed body. We really have to appreciate everything we have every minute of every day. When things aren't the way we want, instead of going ballistic, we need to appreciate the perspectives (the Big Picture) that keeps it all in context. Life shouldn't be about controlling everything; it should be about trying. Trying builds character, and when trying, that's the best way to interact with others. Life is about relationships, so this is important.

Uh-oh, I hear that music in the background starting to play, again. That must mean I'm soapboxing. Sorry. I'll stop.

I did manage to talk to several veteran runners about training. I've decided my training schedule is right for me as-is. I still haven't filled-in the last three weeks, though. I figure that part will come to me as things draw closer.

Happy running, rolling (or anything else you do) everyone.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I ran hard at Wash Park last night. I felt good, my legs wanted to run, and I felt kind of like getting my revenge on my slow 50-mile time. So I ran 5 miles as hard as I could.
As he said in Slingblade, "I shouldn't ought to have done that, uh-huh." I have a 2.5 mile time-trial hill-climb on Thursday. No way I'll be able to PR now.

I got a massage today. Even Lucy couldn't get all the kinks out (I'm such a kinky guy, afterall). It felt sooooo goooood, though. I think I might have drooled.

Mt. Falcon
Start elevation = 6017 feet
Finish = 2.64 miles @ 7484 feet
Previous best time = 33:53:10 @ 12.50 pace
I keep looking at my times and they look so pathetic. That's why we use Mt. Falcon - it's a killer climb. What better way to test yourself?
Since I wasted myself last night, and haven't been working on speed, I anticipate a dismal time. If my legs feel bad, I may skip it. I have to run 100 miles next week.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Eat! Eat!

Like my Czech mom and grandmom would say, "Eat! Eat!" I talked with Tania P. last night. She weighs 30% less than me and consumed about 4x's as many calories as me. She won 1st-place female. So that kind of confirms what I did wrong.
But she said I shouldn't have runs farther than 50M before Leadville. That goes against all the other advice I've had.
It doesn't get easy. There's so many training styles. I don't have the experience, so I rely on the experience of others. Her advice: Find one more 50M before the end of June.
That would mean I'm really running out of training time fast. She also said not to do my planned 30-hour walk around Wash. Park.
I hate to change plans this late. I'll have to re-consult with all my other "coaches".

If anyone out there has advice, please fire away.

"Taper" will require a diminishing of distances I run as I draw closer to the LT100, starting somewhere 30-40 days before the race. All the training experts seem to agree that "intensity" (speed and heart-rate) should not be diminished during taper. In fact, some increase in intensity can help (some rare experts say increasing intensity at all can lead to injury). Generally, it's the amount of running, not the quality that needs to taper.

My Plan - question marks are unorganized activities not set in stone
? May 15-21 - 100-mile week
May 25-28 - trip to Wichita for parents' 50th anniv.
Sun, June 3 - Steamboat Springs Marathon
? Sat/Sun, June 9/10 - 30-hour-walk-in-the-park
Sat, June 16 - Mt. Evans Ascent

Sun, June 17 - Estes Park Marathon
? Sat/Sun, June 23/24 - Either of the following...
..a) attack the LT100 course (snow will still be on Hope Pass)
....Sat - from Leadville, run to fish hatchery & back - 47M - start @ 4am
....Sun - from Twin Lakes, run to Winfield and back - 21M - start @ 11:15am
....Extra-credit - run a couple miles further up the trail (Mt. Elbert) before returning to my car - +4M
..b) climb five 14ers with Paul G
Sat, June 30, July 1-2 LT100 Bootcamp (optional)
Sat, July 7 - Leadville Marathon
Fri, July 13 - Hard Rock 100 pacing (Paul G)
Sat, July 21 - Golden Gate Canyon Trail Run, 12.7M
Sun, July 22 - Oh-Be-Joyful!, 12.5M 7am, Horse Ranch Park west of Crested Butte
? ~ ethereal training space ~ July 28/29, Aug. 4/5, Aug 11/12
August 18-19 - Leadville Trail 100 (mandatory stuff Fri, Aug 17)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Collegiate Peaks 50M

Well, not so "wahoo", but it was my first 50 miler and there's over 7000' of climbing, and I finished without any worry about cut-offs or DNFs.
10:48:20 - Way off my sub 9:30 hope or my sub-10 demand.
I saw several notable people DNF or convert their 50M to 25M. But Anita passed me! WTF! (LOL). I guess I'm entering her turf now.
Sorry - no photos. Lots of clouds and the views weren't as far as a camera tends to like.
Dave B. and I carpooled. We each bought coffee for the next morning and then ate the pasta feed. I don't remember last-year's pasta being very edible, but this year was FANTASTIC! I ate too much.
Then we grabbed a beer and headed for a spot at about mile 4 on the course. We did the "biv'" on the ground. It sprinkled on us twice or three times during the night, but not enough to get us particularly wet, and the temps never got below freezing even though there were some snowflakes that touched my cheeks periodically.
Breakfast was re-warmed coffee, a cinnamon roll, and Safeway nutrition drink (similar to Ensure).
Since I'm not a morning person, and the race began at 6:30am, we arrived only a few minutes before the start.
Tim F. had the most awesome tights - white skulls on black background. I WANT SOME! (And I want some Dirty-Girl gaiters to match. I might DNF at Leadville, but I want to dress for the occasion.)
I headed out on-pace for a 9.5hr finish, and I held that for 30 miles. I wasn't counting people. I don't know how many people did the 25M, or the 50M, or how many were ahead of me. I can only remember 5 people passing me after the
30-mile mark, but I couldn't have done well.
Last year, 61 people finished. My 10:48 would've earned me about 44th. Unlike many races, though, these stats are skewed by the ability to convert your 50M to 25M. Accurate comparisons would have to take all racers who started
with the intent of running the 50M, and how many DNF'd or converted.
As I was approaching the 25M turn-around, I saw A. D. was about a mile ahead of me. This is about right for me. She's fast, but I've always finished not too far behind her. But as I was heading out, at about 26M/27M, I saw her returning deep in thought like she was asking herself what she did wrong. This was a shock. She's a young local legend. Seeing her turn back, and seeing another legend of LT100-fame who converted, made me wonder.
I was too happy, though. It was a fantastic day. I was grinning from ear-to-ear so much.
At about mile 30, I headed up the looong hill to the highest point on the course. I walked most of that. By the time I'd reached the top, I was wasted. I fell way off my pace after that.
A 24yr old, Joy, passed me on the walk up and we met at the next aid station. She left me but we met again. She had only ever run one marathon before that. We paced each other for several miles.
Thirty-one miles was the furthest I had ever done in one race, so even though I was tired, I was glad to be going further than ever before. But the day I paced Paul G at LT100 in 2005, I had run up and down Grays & Torreys (two 14er's
and 15 miles) and then gone to Leadville to pace for 26 more. So that was 41 miles in less than 24 hours. So it wasn't until I'd passed the 41-mile mark that I truly felt like I was pioneering.
Anita passed me at about 40 miles still looking strong. I was so tired I just used my never-give-up gear and kept mentally nagging myself, "Just rock the hips and swing the arms. Don't worry about your legs - they'll follow. Rock the
hips, swing the arms
A guy named Andy teamed up with me and we paced each other for about 6 miles, but then I couldn't even keep up with him.
The last 9 miles was about a 15-20mph head wind. The last 3 miles was 20-25mph face-wind and the temps dropped like a rock. I was more hypothermic than I ever remember being! But I finished.
Afterwards, I was afraid of going into shock, or cramping, or throwing-up, so I couldn't sit down. I just had to keep moving, stretching, massaging, and eating slowly (they had a turkey sandwich waiting for each of us).

HW285 through South Park was apparently closed (due to the fact that South Park is hell-frozen-over). It must've opened less than an hour before we drove through. It was still blowing pretty hard though. On the drive out in nicer weather, I had felt guilty for still having my studded snow tires on, but they came in handy driving home.

Yesterday, I did chores. I thought I'd be a cripple, but I was only a bit slow at times. Once I'm warmed-up, I can go up and down stairs like normal. Today should be the worst. Maybe tomorrow morning. By tomorrow evening, the pain should be waning.
When I got home, I took a freezing leg-soak, then a hot shower. Fish oil, NutraJoint, pecans, and a good night of sleep had me feeling better. My weight was down 4lbs. I swelled 6lbs. after Greenland, but now I'm underweight? No visible swelling this time. My left knee hurt a tiny bit the entire way but is not one bit worse afterwards.
Last night I massaged my quads for about an hour. That has helped very noticeably. I'll be running again Tuesday evening.

My mantra in past races was, "Them what eats the most wins." So why didn't I follow my own advice? During the race, I had a total of three Accel gels, 6 M&M's, a small cookie, about a dozen mini-pretzels, and a palm-full of potato chips. That's not enough to run 50 miles!! No wonder I ran low on steam! WTF! How many times do I have to learn the same lessons?! Did my calcium suppliments fill my skull full of bone?

Okay, okay - deep breath - calm now. It was still an okay performance. The JFK50 gives you 14 hours, and it's nearly flat at sea level. So 12 hours for over 7000' of climbing and between 7900' and 9400' altitude isn't much time. I still had well over an hour before the cutoff.

The most important thing was having fun. I had plenty of that.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Pot Luck

Denver Trail Runners ran at South Table Mountain.
I walked and trotted just enough to get the circulation flowing but not enough to sweat.

I ate at home, but I brought beer and sat around talking.
DTR has monthly pot lucks in warmer weather.

The forecast for Buena Vista is looking okay. I had heard it would rain all day. Now it looks like a very cold start warming to 45 degrees. No snow or rain forecast for during the race.
It will be a cold, wet night camping out, though.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


During hard weeks where I run lots of miles, all kinds of thoughts build up in my head. During easy weeks, I tend to post them.

I don't believe or think in a classical fashion. I think classical culture has failed us.


Life isn't meaningful. "Meaning" is derived through action, even if the action is an expresion of love. Life doesn't "give" us meaining. It's for us to create. We have to take meaning from life. It's totally subjective. In that, we can make whatever meaning we want.
Saying that makes it sound like I think it's easy, but it's not.

I can't be Buddhist because I don't believe in Kharma. I don't beleive "everything happens for a reason". I beleive "sh!t just happens".
It's not WHAT happens that counts, but how you deal with what happens.
It doesn't matter whether you have money or possessions.

About the only super-natural thing I beleive in is that there is a creator, the creator is a being of sorts, and that positive attitude/energy causes positive things to happen in life.

Simple example: The vast number of decades of my life were spent in a morbidly negative family. I practiced their negative attitude. In life, I never won anything - I was supremely unlucky. Now I'm lucky. Things practically always work out in my favor, and not particularly because I did anything - it just happens. I win running shoes, iPods, race entries, etc. I win more than my share. Makes me feel guilty (I'll probably give my iPod to my son).
I don't know how else to explain this phenomenon. If these were isolated, or fleeting, I'd say it's chance. But I'm talking about decades worth of bad luck being replaced with several years worth of fantastic luck. I beleive that my great luck will continue as long as I hold on to the positive attitudes I've developed.

Running helps me to meditate. Sometimes it's psuedo-meditation (clearing the mind of everything but one topic). And other times it's true meditation (clearing the mind of everything).
There have been a few times where I've zoned-out and then come back to reality somewhat startled. Hell, I've even started falling asleep while running and almost wiped-out.

I like running long miles. It's peaceful.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Go to Cinnabons!

I thought this line was hilarious...

Sumacrae wrote this near the end of her Boston race report.

"The temperature was cool, which was great for me but that skinny sub-species of runner had a tough time. It reminded me of that fact that I have always wanted to grab those runners and tell them "For the Love of God, go to Cinnabons"."


I'm sure most of you have seen some of these... Here's the official website's Trunk Monkey videos.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Wondering about Life

I'm acquainted with someone who had a baby daughter who was your typical energetic and vivacious tot. They had a great relationship.
Thursday evening, the daughter developed a fever and headache. She died several hours later.
I don't know what to say about that.

A couple of decades ago, I took evening courses to become EMT certified. The EMICT's that taught the course were burned-out. I finished the course with the nickname "Johny Gauge" (if you know the significance of that, you're way too old), but I decided not to pursue the career. For one thing, Kansas had a law requiring you to volunteer for several years before allowing you into EMICT training. EMT's make chump-change, but requiring me to donate years of free time for a career with a three-year burn-out rate seemed stupid.
The other reason I decided not to pursue becoming an EMT or even go into hospital medicine was that I don't think I can deal with dead children.
My upbringing wasn't fun or warm. I guess that's made me - I'm not sure how to say it... "Tough" isn't accurate. Tough is when you feel pain but deal with it. I tend not to feel pain. I guess that means I'm a cold, heartless bastard. Except that I care a great deal. I bend over backwards to do the right thing, say the right thing, and be the right guy at the right time. I believe in social and civic duty. So I guess I'm a cold, hard, boy scout.
I've witnessed two shootings, a death by suicide that including literally gallons of blood, and been to about a dozen auto accidents that were very gruesome. A couple of those accidents were worse than "gruesome". For some reason that didn't bother me much.
Except for three experiences that led me to believe that as cold as I am, there must be something fuzzy lurking within.

The suicide was a biker. Big, tough guy from a broken, tough family.
His mom looked like a tough woman. Heavy drinker, smoker, ex-biker-babe, and leather face that showed the years of wind and self-inflicted lifestyle abuse.
This tough woman had to identify her son. She made almost no sound. Almost.
It was more than I could take. I had to leave. Blood, guts, gunshots, death - no problem. Seeing someone else's emotional pain - full-stop.

About two years ago, I was driving to the mountains and a massive beam fell from a highway overpass. A father, mother, and newborn were driving to Denver at the wrong time and the timing was perfectly bad. The top of the Durango was sheared so cleanly that everything above the windshield wipers was gone. Without any details about the occupants, guess how it left them.
The suddenness is what freaked me out. Not just that, but HOW they died so suddenly. I was shaking for the rest of the day and actually lost lots of sleep over the months after that. I couldn't stop seeing the airbags laying over... and the crumpled top section still stuck to the beam.

About 30 years ago, I was in Amarillo doing missionary work with street people and some other "desperate" people. Two of these people were a mother, Renee, and her 1yr-old daughter, Jessica.
Jessica was born with a heart defect that caused it to stop beating approximately once every day or two. Renee was virtually physically attached to Jessica so she could revive her each and every time with CPR.
Jessica's father was a dirt-bag. He was a typical redneck - drunk, temper, occasionally beat Renee, kept threatening to beat Jessica who he said was a worthless defective child that was ruining everything. Certainly made him broke with all the medical expenses. Just as he was about to grab Jessica and beat her, Renee took her and ran out of the house and never stopped.
Us missionary types were segregated. I worked with the men, Sandy worked with the women. We were headquartered in an abandoned motel.
One morning, Sandy told me Renee and Jessica were at the hospital. Jessica's heart had stopped the night before and she was almost beyond saving, but they were okay now.
Sandy said, "Renee wants you to come see them at the hospital." I said, "You mean all of us, right?" She says, "She specifically requested you."
Well I didn't know Renee. Everything I heard about Renee's husband was 3rd-hand from Sandy. So this was a mystery. Why me?
I showed up but Renee was sleeping, so Sandy and I went into Jessica's room.
Jessica was crying. You had to see this kid. Most kids take years to understand death. Jessica wasn't even a year old and knew what it was - totally. You could see it in her face. There was a seriousness and fear in her face that normally takes a lifetime.
I went over and knelt by her crib and rubbed her back and told her it was okay.
Jessica stopped crying and looked at me in a way she didn't ever look at anyone else. It was odd. And then she said, "DADDY!"
The hair stood up on the back of my neck. I figured I'd misunderstood her. It wasn't so clear. She started crying again and I comforted her some more.
Jessica said it again, but this time there was no mistaking it. And she looked at me like she knew me and needed me.
To this day, even as I type this, it's hard to hold back the tears.
Apparently I was the spittin' image of her dad, but I wasn't a redneck jerk. Renee thought I'd be good for Jessica.
Unfortunately for them, in spite of my good heart and intentions, at that point in my life, I was gutless, spineless, and weak. Life takes more than just good intentions. You have to be strong enough to stand up at the right place at the right time and do what needs to be done. You don't have to like it - you just have to do it. Liking it is only icing on the cake - if you're ever that lucky.
I don't guess I'll ever let myself remember that I failed them. I was at the right place at the right time, and failed to do anything but wish them good-luck. And ever since then, I've been particularly hard on myself to be skilled and ready for anything.
I've jumped out of airplanes several times before I'd ever landed in a plane. I can walk and run forever, even with a pack. I can shoot laying down, standing up, and running towards, away from, or sideways from a swinging target. I'm trained in emergency medicine, Chinese boxing, and I can improvise under stress. Snow, ice, rain, sun - no problem (but heat is my Achilles heal).
The most important ingredient, though, isn't any of these skills. The most critical ingredient is something any girl, or weakling accountant can achieve. It's mind-set. You have to be mentally ready. Guns are no good if you can't pull the trigger. Emergency skills are no good if you panic and get flustered. You have to have the guts, the spine, the willingness.

Maybe that's why I gravitate to ultra-running. Some say ultra-runners are always either running from something, running to something, or both. That's me.