LooseCrew-JeffO: July 2007


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

Monday, July 30, 2007


My Dirty Girl gaiters came in and I used a pair during the night run. It's so nice to run trails without getting rocks and sand in my shoes! The fabric is so thin you don't even know they're there.

Our night run from Fish Hatchery was only 23.5 miles. I could have blown that away in 4hr, since there was only one hill, but that would have been the wrong kind of stress for my "taper".
I've now been on every inch of the LT100 course.

My Excel graph shows a pretty nice sawtooth, but the line has kind of gotten out of its pattern, lately. This shows that I've eliminated tough weeks.

Jan = 17.0 miles (Yes, total! Still recovering from my broken foot.)
Feb = 54.2
Mar = 177.2
Apr = 195.0
May = 200.1
Jun = 229.7
Jul = 192.1

I've done lots of research. I've picked the brains of dozens of people who've completed 100-milers, and even many who've failed - so that I hopefully don't make the same mistakes.
I now know two people who've attempted the LT100 five times and failed every time.
Nobody told me what kind of schedule to use. Right or wrong, I designed my own training and diet, not even based-on anyone else's plan.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Turquoise Lake Night Run

I met 8 other lunatics yesterday at Fish Hatchery. That's 23.5 miles from the LT100 finish. We waited until it was nearly dark and headed out at 8:36pm.
Unlike what we'll have at the race, last night we had a full moon.
The weather was fantastic. It was cool, but as long as you didn't stop, it wasn't cold.

I tried to mentally imagine myself with 76+ miles of wear-and-tear. I put my mind and body into never-give-up mode. My form changed - not for the better, but realistically. When you're worn out, you just can't stay up on your toes running. You have to improvise. Your run becomes pathetic. There's virtually no air-time because there's no lift-off power.
I sprained my favorite ankle again! Then later on, I sprained it yet again! That second time HURT! I immediately got on my back and elevated it. I had taken an ibuprofen before the run, and another at the top of Sugarloaf, so there was no need to take another. The elevating worked wonders. Two minutes. I was back on my feet as if nothing had happened.

There was a woman with us who must be in her 60's. Her face is wrinkled, but OMG! her bod' is hot, like a HS girl would kill for a butt like hers! You meet some real super-athletes out doing stuff like this. I get a kick out of it.

The stretch from Mayqueen aid wasn't as easy as I'd heard. The first several miles are tricky in the dark. I need brighter lights! But once you reach the boat ramp on the north side, the rest is not bad.

I finished at 3am, without even trying. That's faster than I'll be moving during the race.

A very fun weekend with people who share my affliction.

Around Leadville, some tourists and locals have asked if I'm doing the LT100. I tend not to wear anything that would indicate I'm involved with it, but I guess my tree-trunk legs kind of give it away. Somehow, I look the part. I feel confident but I don't want to get cocky. Everyone says I'll finish with no problem, but I've heard stories of those who were prepared to slaughter the course, but got destroyed themselves. You never know what race-day will dish out.

This was my last training run. All that's left is casual jogging next Tuesday, two 90-minute massages, and casual biking and walking.
My weight is down to 167lbs. That's still 5-8lbs. over-weight. It'll have to do.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Tell me again - why am I exercising?

I've been trying to get faster at long distance. This can be achieved by doing two things - increase strength/conditioning, decrease weight (so that I don't need as many calories to move).
I know by watching my weight fairly stagnate while my waist shrinks that my percentage-of-body-fat is shrinking. I'm leaner. Like the article above states, if you're leaner, the RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) is higher. Another way of saying this is that it takes more calories to maintain muscle than fat. You have two 180lbs. guys - one is 40% fat and the other is 10% fat - they eat exactly the same quantities of the same stuff and have the same exercise - the 40% guy will get fatter and the 10% guy will not.
I don't feel any different than I did a year ago. There are times I feel like I'm making no progress, but I must be. If I'm leaner, then no matter how slowly, the results will end up making me faster.
I still have 2-3 years of competitiveness left to me. Meaning that I can still increase my athletic performance in spite of the fact that I'm getting older. I'm racing time. How's that for a healthy mid-life crisis?

This weekend's training will be around Turquoise Lake west of Leadville.

My LT100 crew meeting is tonight after the DTR run

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Got my DirtyGirl Gaiters!

I ordered three pairs of Dirty Girl gaiters. They came yesterday.
I got
DFL Black, DFL Red, and DNF.
I might even order Prick Grey to go with my tattoos.

Whether I finish Leadville or not, my ankles will look great!

Monday, July 23, 2007


Anita Fromm is doing Badwater at this moment. Her husband Tim Fromm is crew-master, I think. He has been awesome for her this year! And he's quite the speed-demon himself whether on foot of bike. I still covet his skull tights that I've seen him in.
Live stats. She started at 8am Pacific Time.
The last I heard, she's still planning on "doubling". Starting in the lowest point in Death Valley, finishing the 135 mile Badwater course, sleeping 5 hours, climbing to the summit of Whitney, then running all the way back to Badwater Death Valley, for 290 miles total.

Live stats won't cover her "double" since the official race is only one-way 135 miles.

Better her than ME!!!! Go girl!

I did more research and revised my LT100 pacing chart. There were glaring problems with the chart. For one thing, "HP" should have said "Hopeless", which is what they call the Hope Pass aid-station, down at treeline below the north side of the pass. When you adjust the location of the HP stats, my training run was very close to the required 25-hour pace splits.
The bad news is that I finished 18 minutes late at the end. Not good, but I was slacking since I was looking for my dark-green CR-V in the night and didn't want ot run past it.

Other times that I thought were very late re-adjusted to within a couple of minutes! I'm very comfortable with this pace. I'm currently on-target for a 25-hour LT100. Anything can happen race-day, so I'm not going to get cocky, but I do feel that my training has been adequate.

I got rained on a lot, Saturday. The rain with lightening only lasted about 30 minutes, but it reduced to a sprinkle after that. I took off my ultra-light Salomon rain jacket after the rain. The sprinkles were so light I dried as fast as it landed on me so that I stayed moist but not wet.
When I got back to my CR-V, my pants were very flexible from the moisture. So they had to have been rinsed-out to some extent. So what a surprise when I pulled them out of my car. Stiff as starch. Unfortunately, the photo doesn't look right. They're standing straight up 10" off the floor!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

39 miles at Leadville

I had an interesting run yesterday.
I parked next to Halfmoon Campground and ran to Winfield and back – the roughest 39 miles of the LT100 course. I took my Salomon Raid Revo II with 2-liter bladder and one Ultimate Direction bottle shoved in one side. In the other side was a water filter pump since I was totally self-supported. Other extra weight was enough food for the day and three lights for night-running. At the LT100, I’ll have the luxury of picking those up at Twin Lakes instead of lugging them with me the whole way. I’m not sure how much extra weight that is, nor do I know how much of a factor it played in the day’s splits.
The day, before it had rained. The sky was still overcast. In fact, I never had to don my sunglasses all day long.
IF (big if) I manage a 25-hour pace during the LT100, I’ll be leaving the Halfmoon aid-station at approximately 9:30am. So I tried to start at 9:30, but didn’t get away until 9:40.
But then I had to use an out-house. Since I might have to do the same during the race, the time was included.

Then I ran into Jeff Beuche and Christian Hendrickson running the other way. Wow, they started where Hope Pass trail meets the road to Winfield, ran to Winfield, then back, then up over Hope Pass all the freakin’ way to Leadville!!!! Those guys are animals!

I continued on with what I assumed was 25-hour pace. I got to Twin Lakes at 11:57, a full 30 minutes late.

The river crossing during a past race - about 2 feet lower!

The river was just as deep as it had been a month before. This was due to all the rain, and it made the water murky so I couldn’t see the rocks underneath or how deep it was. Good thing I knew the way across.
I reached the trickle below where Hopeless aid-station will be set up and refilled my hydration bladder.
I summited Hope Pass at 2:09pm – one 47 minutes behind schedule! Yikes, how can that be and what is going on, anyway?!
Without pushing harder, I reached Winfield at 3:15pm, 16 minutes late. So the pacing charts are wrong - for me anyways.
Returning, I summited Hope Pass at 5pm – just one minute behind pace. I certainly need to adjust my planned pace chart.

The sky was broiling and thundering. As I was coming down the north side of the pass, I saw rain on the trail far below. Then lightening struck right where I needed to go. It was very ironic – since I was exposed above treeline, the safest thing was to run as fast as I could towards the rain and where the lightening just struck!
I stopped at the trickle to refill my hydration bladder and found that I was significantly dehydrated. So I filled my Ultimate Direction bottle too.
Oddly, the river crossing was better. There hadn’t been any rain upstream, and some of the silt had settled.

I made it to Twin Lakes at 2:46pm, 31 minutes late – again.
I had to stop again to refill my hydration bladder on the side of Mt. Elbert.
It was about 8:40pm when I finally had to use lights. That slowed me down. Note to self: the farther I get before going to lights, the quicker I’ll be.
I finished at 9:20pm, just 6 minutes late.

Overall a very good day of training and the last major event before the LT100.
I feel good this morning, but my left knee and a totally new pain in my right arch were bugging me towards the end.
The rest of my taper will consist of maintenance runs, easy biking, high-altitude camping, and walks.
And sleep. I haven’t been getting enough sleep this past week. When climbing, I can really feel the effects of lack-of-sleep.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Chronic FOMO Developing

I always run the Silent Trails Memorial race each September.
I have a serious scheduling conflict! Four events on that one day! Why is October 13 so popular?

Sat. Oct. 13 - Silent Trails Memorial
Sat. Oct. 13 - Buffalo Creek 50K, 7am, from CtyRds 126 & 96
Sat, Oct. 13-14 - 24 Hours of Boulder ($110 - geminiadventures.com)
Sat, Oct. 13-14 - Boulder 100 ($110 or $130 after Sept 1)
Here's another race related to the Silent Trails Memorial:
The Shane Shatto Memorial & Remember the Wyoming Eight, 5K Run/Walk & 10K Run

The link is for last year's info. Looks like fun.
For 2007 information contact:
Kerry Shatto or Pete Zellner on that link.

As for October 13, looks like I'll have to do Amber Deboer's 50K. I've already told her I'd be there, plus these are people I'd like to see somewhat regularly. They tend to all be from further south and west of me, like the Salida/BuenaVista region.
But I also REALLY want to do 24-Hours of Boulder!
FOMO! FOMO! (Fear Of Missing Out) What can I do? So much fun and so little time? So lucky to have such problems!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

One month to go

I got another massage today. It's the first time Lucy has been able to give me a massage without my legs feeling like two chunks of wood.

Even though HR100 pacing was easy on my heart, lungs, and big muscles, the little muscles I use in my ankles and hips for stability were tired. Also, my knees were stressed.

I ran last night at Wash Park. It was an easy run, but I did get in a mile of tempo.

It's too bad the course doesn't afford spectators much opportunity. It's nearly all on public lands. The roads aren't closed to the public. So you have 600 runners, plus for each runner you have 0-8 crew/pacers (guess 4 average), plus aid station volunteers, plus course officials, plus emergency personnel, plus tourists/hikers/fishermen. So many thousands of people will inundate the region.

I have friends asking how they can help, but I already have my crew and the best way friends and family can help is to stay out of the way. It sounds harsh and ungrateful, but I don't know what to say. Hotel/motel rooms in the region are all booked-up. In fact, If you wait until January before the race, you probably waited too long. Many rooms book for the next year's race immediately after the race. So where are my friends and family going to stay?
I don't know if LT100 is going to have live stats like HR100. Probably not. But it would be nice, because that's the only practical way to spectate the LT100.

Another factor is that I won't be a pretty sight and may not be in a "favorable" mood. This is new territory for me. I've heard stories about hallucinations, I've seen guys with drooling stalagtites hanging off their chins, and stuff like that. It's bad enough that my crew will see me, but they're all seasoned ultrarunners or LT100 veterans, so they know what to expect.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hard Rock Pacing

It has been a total blast! It was awesome!

I drove to Silverton the night before the race and asked the race director if he knew anyone who wanted a pacer. He did. Soon I was in the Wyman Hotel knocking on JB's door. He's a very affable guy and was quite glad to have me. We talked projected times, his past times as comparisons, logistics, etc.

For the first time, I was able to follow live stats, so I was able to guess when JB and his pacer (wife) would get to Ouray. I guessed within two minutes! They had just gotten there about 4:23am. JB was in bad shape, but mostly it was fatigue/sleepiness. His body was freaking out and starting to shake uncontrollably. I threw down three sleeping bags I always have in my car and he bundled up for a 10-min. nap. That made a huge difference. JB and wife headed out again after a long 46-minute aid stop.

In the background, some guy was barfing convulsively and non-stop. Strange how you get use to stuff like that.

Since the sun was about to come up, they weren't worried. Runners always tend to fade in the wee hours of the night, but they rally about the time they normally wake up. He was still ahead of his 2005 time, so he was well ahead of the cut-off times.

In Telluride, I was suited up and waiting at the aid station just 4 minutes before JB came in. He was only about 40 minutes behind his projected time. He warned me the new projection wasn't a 2am finish but more like 4-5am.

The scenery blew me away. I've been climbing and hiking for years, but I missed the high valleys south of Telluride. I've been in the lower valleys all around but had no idea what I was missing above treeline.

JB was basically hiking the whole thing. I tried to imagine what his legs must feel like and tried to throttle myself back and think of him. I nagged him about drinking and eating Gu's.

We made it to Chapman aid ahead of schedule, but not too far. We didn't waste time, and headed out within several minutes. We ate on the trail.

We had a good time, and got into the KT aid station during fading light. We ate hot potato soup and drank Coca-cola.
I had my first of two river crossings soon after.
We headed up into a crazy meandering trail through the forest in the dark. I took the lead, basically doing all the trail-finding. When you do 100's staying sharp is difficult. If you have a pacer, it's best to stick them out front at night and just follow their lights. Still, I was surprised just how sharp JB was. We didn't talk much, but I liked to start some small conversation periodically to keep his mind from totally skipping-off. We went from KT aid all the way to Putnam without seeing a soul. We saw lights off in the distance, but never within a mile of us.

It was a pitch-black night and the stars were amazing. Between KT and Putnam, we spent hours above treeline, and lots of time on ridges where our views were barely obstructed in any direction. Very cool. Totally religious experience.
The worst part of the journey was about two miles of rocky trail below Putnam where you could not find flat, stable surfaces to place your feet. In the dark, with dancing shadows from multiple headlamps, it was almost comical. We lost some time there.
The last river crossing was deep and cold, but it rejuvenated me. I've never crossed a river in the dark. That was interesting. There was only two miles left.
JB kissed the rock at 3:17am. Much better than the 4-5am he had warned me about, but still less than the 2am he had dreamed of. Still an amazingly hard race and he finished with hours left to spare.

To show appreciation for being crew at Ouray and pacer for 27.2 miles, JB bought me a fleece vest with the Hard Rock logo. Maybe I'll get a chance to do the same next year (if I'm not racing HR100 myself).

Friday, July 13, 2007

Found a Runner to Pace

I found a runner to pace at Hard Rock!
I even got a second offer that was too late. The 2nd offer was a guy who finished HR100 about a half-dozen times!

Ran into Paul G, too. He's doing great.

Check out the live results..
Hard Rock Live!

My runner, JB, is a two-time veteran, and he's done several other 100's including Western States, so even though he's back-of-the-pack, he's reliable.
Good news: I get to run from Telluride all the way to the finish in Silverton. Those are some extremely rugged miles! ETA is about noon Saturday. Finish ETA is approximately 2am. Lots of night-running with a sliver of moon that is supposed to be useless. A very dark night in the rockies.
I so totally love this!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Unofficial LM Results

Unofficial Leadville Marathon results have been posted.

I guess this time around, the 30-39 age-group was the most feirce. 40th place was actually 14th in the M3 division! How frustrating could that guy be?
I have six 1st-place division winners ahead of me and six behind me.

My pacing plans for Hard Rock are gone. That blows my schedule, which counted on both long miles and high, rugged terrain, while scouting the HR100 course for next year or whenever I manage to get through the lottery entrant process.
I'm driving down to the San Juans Thursday morning. I guess I'll have to hang out at an aid station offering to pace.

Monday, July 09, 2007

LM recap

Leadville Marathon accumulated elevation = 5976 total, all above 10,150 feet

My rib cage muscles were freaking out after the race. I ate 5 e-caps during the race but my legs were twitching the last few miles - thought I might have a full-scale cramp, but lucked-out.
I passed into 44th place two miles from the finish, but he rallied and I couldn't hold him off - he re-took 44th place two blocks from the finish.

Concerning my wallet in my pocket the whole race... What can I do but laugh? Hey, maybe there might have been a Starbucks on Mosquito Pass? How was I to know? I coulda had a latte! Everyone else woulda-bean begging me for a coupla bucks!

Except for the wallet, it was the perfect race. I had my aid-station splits written down on my wrist. At the first station, I was worried because I'd warmed up before the race and still only managed to be 30 seconds ahead of last year.
Then five thoughtless runners were standing elbow-to-elbow blocking the aid table talking and eating/drinking and no one else could get anything. I had to run the wrong way around and get aid from the volunteer side of the table. But every station after that I gained a minute or more.

I hadn't realized that our bib #'s were our places last year. So my bib said #57. As I came down off Mosquito Pass, a guy cheered me on saying I was doing a lot better than 57th place this year. That's when I figured it out. So next year my bib will be #45.

In spite of pushing until I was about to drop dead, I still sprinted across the finish.
Merilee said, "Jeff, was that totally necessary?!"
I said, "Yes - it's my signature."
So there it is - I need to finish Leadville and no matter how wasted I am, I need to sprint across the finish line.

As I was following my friend Dave B the last mile, lightening struck about a block away. The bolt and the boom were simultaneous. I don't know if I actually felt the concussion, or if the flash-boom just scared the be-geez outa me.
We were soaked and little pellets of frozen rain were mixed in. So we got a free shower!

Still waiting for the results to get posted.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Leadville Marathon 2007

Well, what can I say? Sometimes you have good days and sometimes you have bad days - and there's nothing you can do about it!
Today at Leadville - - - I KICKEd ASS!!!!
Couldn't help it.
45th place in 5:09:50
Last year I was 57th in 5:22:10 - so 12m20s off my time.
Man, that hurt so bad. I ran like a maniac.
Kind of aggravating... I forgot to take my wallet out of my pocket before the race. Didn't find it until the race was over. I passed a guy and was in 44th place. He struggled and passed me two blocks from the finish. I sprinted for my usual 100yd dash, but it wasn't enough. The weight of that wallet alone - no doubt - put me back in 45th place.
But it all made for a more-entertaining finish. And I have a new acquaintance.
The weather is so perfect! The mountains are so very green. It's beautiful. I'm so happy. These Leadville trail races are SOOOO fun!

I car-pooled with one of my LT100 pacers, Dave B. He'll be coming in soon so I need to head out and see if I can get a good photo of him. And I've got other friends to snap shots at.
Awards @ 5pm.
Hope everyone had as much fun this weekend as me!

Friday, July 06, 2007

When to Taper

Advice I'm getting lately is against what I've read nationally. I read that 45 days is the accepted start to taper for a "hundred". I have 42 days left.
What I'm getting from all the Leadville veterans, though, is that I should begin tapering just 14 days out.
So my schedule hasn't changed, but the intensity has. I'll continue to train fairly hard, but if anything starts feeling like it's about to disintegrate (like a week ago), then I'll back off. I've been training in an exhausted state. I don't want to train in an exhausted state anymore. I want to recover from each event before hammering myself again.

Outbound, the pass east of Ball Mtn.
Tomorrow is the Leadville Marathon, which I'd like to run hard. Last year, I ran well. When I finished, I looked with disgust and embarassment at the clock, but 5:22 is very good for the Leadville Marathon. So I can only hope for a repeat of Steamboat, where I ran well the year before but PR'd anyways. Analyzing last year's time, it looks as though I hadn't warmed up beforehand. So if I jog a couple of miles before the race, I should do much better. And if I fuel properly I'll have more juice at the end. Last year I started to bonk the last few miles. Hoping for 5-7 minutes off last year's time.
I feel great. I'm ready to race. Race day, though, I can never guess how I'll feel. Luck-of-the-draw. But I intend to try hard to beat last year's time.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I keep hearing this same theme...

From Scott Dunlap's blog:
"One thing I quickly noted about triathletes is that they seem to be more competitive than the ultra runners. If I came up on somebody from my age group (who were everywhere – when is that going to stop?), they would prefer to surge than chat. In fact, nearly all of my humble attempts at starting conversation with “isn’t this a great day?” were met with grimaces of disdain. The few who answered back were often ultrarunners! That’s okay – to each their own."

This is one of the reasons I've never done a triathlon. One of these days, I'd like to eventually, but triathletes are more like a bunch of competitive individuals and ultra-runners are family. To ultra-runners, going fast isn't the point. Even being competitive, we like each other - we're in it together to the end. When a triathlete sees someone falter, they see advantage. When an ultrarunner sees someone falter, they offer to help. "Need an e-cap?" "You okay?" "Need a gel?"

I know some great triathletes, but they're the ones who also run non-tri foot races - in addition to tri's.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Training Camp: Night Run

Terri found Cody!
She parked at the bottom of the gulch and hiked up to the last place she saw him. When she got back to her car, Cody was there waiting.
Unlikely happy ending.

Loading up for Saturday's 26-mile run.

Turquoise Lake From Hagerman Road.

I went back to Saturday night's car-camping spot to straighten out the mess in my car and look for bear sign. It sure sounded like the bear growl that night came from directly behind my car, but apparently it came from about 100 degrees to the left, and less than 20 feet away. Several feet away, I found part of a tent (no rips), and some trash at the bottom of the hill. Not sure if these items had anything to do with the scavenging of a bear.

The Colorado Trail on the flanks of Mt. Elbert.

The night run was lots of fun. We were dropped off at Twin Lakes by bus and started running just before dark.
During the LT100, I plan to have baggies and two small stuff-sacks. I don't want to stand around one second more than absolutely necessary. When I blow through aid stations, I'll stuff food into my pouches, like the squirrel I am, and eat while I walk. I'll walk very slowly as I eat, but at least it'll be forward!
They told us there will be 11 opportunities to stop at aid stations. If you stop for 5 minutes at each, then you've just added an hour to your race time. If you finish 20 minutes late, you can blame your lagging at aid stations.

For some reason, I couldn't even feel the previous two day's mileage. I was ready to go!
Mimicking what I expect race-day, I walked and ate while we climbed up out of Twin Lakes. That is one of the steepest climbs on the course, and the worst 30 feet are next to the Twin Lakes aid station. It's vertical and loose. Not the thing tired legs want to tackle.

Once you're up, it's a very awesome single-track run for many miles on rolling terrain. This is the section where you can get your shit together and assess what you've done, where you're at in the race, and what you need to do. This is the section where you decide your race. Do you go for sub-25 hours? Are you in danger - imbalanced electrolytes, hydration, food? Time to make sure your feet are under you.
Also time, if you find yourself alone, to turn all your lights off for several seconds and look straight up at the stars. Wow! And at that point, it can get a bit emotional as you realize how lucky you are to be healthy, to live in this country where we worry about whether or not we'll DNF instead of whether or not someone will blow you up or shoot you, how awesome humans CAN be, and how you're helping to destroy the imagined limits of humankind, ...

I certainly ran harder the last half of the night run than I plan to run at Leadville, but it was a fantastic feeling. I could see someone's light ahead of me occasionally, and behind me occasionally, but very often there was no sign of anyone else on the trail. When we got down to Halfmoon Road, I could see them ahead. Their headlamp kept swinging around to look back, so I know I was pushing whoever it was. And I could tell the guy behind me was trying to catch me. But none of us were actually racing. It was all a sort of spiritual feeling - kind of a way to touch each other in the night in a distant but camaraderie sort of way. If we'd actually wanted to race, I suppose there would have been some passing.

At the finish, there was more beer. The burritos were VERY good! I had two beers and two burritos, plus hot cocoa while we watched runners come in and the mostly-full moon rise.

Then I caught a shuttle back to Leadville to clean up and sleep.

I'm lounging at the Proving Grounds, now. I actually have to do some computer/networking chores in Granby for Denver Water, but then it's back to being on vacation. By coincidence, the woman I'm doing work for is good friends with Ken Klouber of LT100 fame. They're both very much a part of Colorado's political history. Personally, they're good friends, but politically they've been mostly adversaries. I'm just the tech-guy.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Training Camp: Hope Pass

Yesterday's post was interrupted by closing-time at the Proving Grounds coffee shop. (Yes, I've gone over to the other side. The other side of the street and a couple blocks away from Cloud City Coffee.)
I was talking to a woman who lives in Leadville and I was hoping to score a shower and bed, but closing-time ruined that, right about when I thought she was about to offer! DANG!!!

Okay, Sunday's training run over Hope Pass...

Since I plan to cross the river in a single pair of socks, I wore my dual-layer Wright Socks, but since I already had a blister, I bummed a dollop of Vaseline and created a lubricating mess on my foot before donning my socks.
They did NOT let us do the river-crossing! The bus dropped us off at the bridge a couple miles upstream of where the trail crosses (the same bridge Trey Corken showed me on a map a week ago).
Immediately after crossing the bridge, and for the first five miles, there was a traffic-jam. Since I was such a mess Saturday, and wasn't sure how much depth Sunday's good feeling had, I resigned myself to my place in line.
Andy, from Collegiate Peaks, just happened to be right in front of me. Our pace is so very much the same, and he's a very good, steady runner. Also a very good trail-personality. I had told him how trashed I felt the day before. He responded that my run at Collegiate was strong, i ran ahead of him most of the way Saturday and only fell behind because of a blister, so he wasn't going to listen to me saying I'm not doing well anymore! My idea of not doing well is the same as his average.
That kind of set the stage for the day, too, because I was feeling pretty decent and the climbs over Hope didn't diminish anything. For some reason I just felt stronger and faster as the day wore on.
Altitude is my specialty. I power-hiked over Hope. The south side, which is so steep I had declared "un-runnable", was somehow quite runnable Sunday. I can't expect to run like that at LT100, and I don't plan to, but Sunday I ran down.

One bad story...
Halfway down the Winfield side of Hope Pass, a woman was going up the trail with her dog, Cody. Several runners ahead of me had already passed them, and Cody was freaking out. Terri should have had her dog on a leash, but didn't. I was trying to be polite. I came to a complete stop, which wasn't easy on a trail that steep. It wasn't a graceful stop but I managed. When I stepped to the side, there was some rotted wood that crunched. That "crunch" was the straw that broke the camel's back. Cody totally freaked and ran down the trail. Cody stopped barely in sight and looked back. I dropped to one knee and held out the back of my hand. This usually is universal dog-talk for "come sniff me and make friends". Instead, Cody freaked more and ran down out of sight. Terri yelled at me not to kneel down, "don't reach towards him, don't talk to him, don't even look at him!" Well, if she knew Cody was THAT skittish, WHY in HELL wasn't he on a leash?!?! So emotionally I feel guilty, but mentally I know it wasn't my fault.
So we couldn't all stop. A couple of people jammed behind me. We started running again. It was a full couple of minutes before I saw Cody again lower down. He was peering around the bend. The instant he saw me, he bolted - this time for good.
Nearly at the bottom, I passed another runner, so I know Cody abandoned the trail and either ran up or down the horribly steep mountain-side.
Cody acts like he was fresh from the dog-pound. I have Terri's cell number, but I'm probably the last person she wants to talk to, except to cuss me totally out and tell me what a horrible person I am. Anyway, I left her a message.

Continuing, I ran comfortable at a relaxed pace to Winfield, turned around, and headed back. It was very hot, like Saturday. Like the week before. The best thing is to get back UP! So I hiked hard. The higher I got, the more often I felt a breeze and the lower the temps. I passed lots of people. I felt better than ever.
I climbed with an empty hydration bladder. I brought my Ultimate-Direction hand-held bottle. Two-liter bladders are great for long-distances between aid, but hand-helds are better for shorter legs. Since there was no "Hopeless Aid Station" on the other side, I used the same stream as the week before to re-hydrate, but this time I didn't put any into my hydration bladder. I was moving too fast and wouldn't need more than a full bottle.

I finished in 5:40, I think. That's about 1:30 faster than I expect to do that leg during the race.
I grabbed an almost-empty bag of Guys potato chips, some more water, and sat in the ice-cold river for about 20 minutes.

I caught a ride to Twin Lakes for more food and beer.
I went to the office where Trey Corken had stayed the week before. The nice old lady there corrected my spelling of his name and gave me his sister's phone #. So maybe I can find him again.

Later that evening, at the pasta-feed, I met another woman who lives in Leadville. In short, I ended up not having to worry about bears and mosquitoes Sunday night.

I have photos from Saturday and Sunday, but these last few posts are obnoxiously long, even in abbreviated form. So photos will have to wait.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

First Two Days of Training Camp

It has been an interesting two days (so far) at the Leadville Training Camp.

I checked in Friday night. I finally got to meet the famous Race Director Merilee.
Years ago, a rocket scientist from Los Alamos, NM, figured out every last calorie his body would need to complete the LT100. He NDF'd! So the next year he decided to screw that level of detail. When asked what his strategy was he replied, "I'm going to keep running until Merilee tells me to stop." He made it.
So they made a T-shirt that says that. "Start running and... Don't stop until Merilee says so."

First day, the weather was unseasonably hot. I never deal with heat well. We ran from Mayqueen to Twin Lakes - basically a marathon. I suffered. I took my Salomon Raid Revo with 2-liter bladder and guzzled like a fish, but it wasn't enough. Lots of people suffered.
My legs still hurt from the weekend before. My left ankle slowed me way down. Any time the terrain slanted down to the right, it felt like a full-blown sprain. Any time the terrain was flat or slanted the other way, it was as if there was no injury at all.
My left knee was bothering me again. WTF?! Ever-other weekend it hurts - so schitzo.
The biggest problem ended up being a new, big blister on my right foot, front and center. And I was wearing my tried-and-true faithful combination of Injinji's and thin Gold-Toes! So I ended up branding the day a loss.
Others, though, gave me kudos for a job well done. I definitely finished right behind the lead-pack.

I met Andy again. He's the guy who helped pace along with me for about 10 miles at the Collegiate Peaks 50. Just like at Collegiate Peaks, I was ahead of him until near the end. Then he passed me and finished well ahead of me.
I met all sorts of cool people. TOUGH people! Geez, these folks are hard-ass tough. Very impressive and surprisingly not full off shit.
Ken Klouber was at his best. Funny and inspiring character. All it takes to get a 2nd wind is to see his smiling face on the course and, damn, nothing seems to hurt anymore.

Saturday night, I drove east up the road towards Mosquito Pass. (The Leadville Marathon will be there next weekend.) I slept in the back of my CR-V, as usual. The mosquitoes were biting, but it was not cooling off very fast, so I had a choice between being bitten constantly, always just as I'm drifting off to sleep, or closing the windows and boiling, which doesn't allow me to sleep. It just got too hot, so I threw open the back window of my CR-V, which immediately drew a loud and deep growl from a bear! Yikes, if it isn't mosquitoes it's bears! What does a guy have to do to get some sleep?!

I woke feeling quite good, though. Much better than the day before. I wasn't sure what to do about the blister. Going through the river will require a single pair of socks to avoid time changing on the river banks. I chose a new pair of The Wright Sock, which is a double-layer single. They're awesome.

More tomorrow...