LooseCrew-JeffO: LT100 2007 - Aftermath


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

Sunday, August 26, 2007

LT100 2007 - Aftermath


3 DNFs @ Mayqueen 1 -- 6:30 drop-bag-only
10 DNFs @ Fish Hatchery 1 -- 6:00 drop-bag/saw crew but no crew-duties
Treeline -- 1:00 + 4:00 porta-potty /
crew missed me
4 DNFs @ Halfmoon 1 -- 2:00 no drop-bag/no crew
49 DNFs @ Twin Lakes 1 -- 7:00 + 16:30 crew – wrap knee, get jacket for rain
1 DNF @ Hopeless 1 -- 3:30
86 DNFs @ Winfield -- 2:00 + 11:00 crew
0 DNFs @ Hopeless 2 -- 4:00 + 1:00 waiting for Paul on trail
74 DNFs @ Twin Lakes 2 -- 0:00 + 20+ Dave took pack – Paul delivered
21 DNFs @ Halfmoon 2 -- 4:00
Treeline -- 5:00 ??
17 DNFs @ Fish Hatchery 2 -- 8:00 + 4:00 porta-potty

Total accumulated AS time = 105, approx. = 1hr, 45min
Total time out Start-to-DNF = 26hr (1650min)
Total time running = 24hr, 15min (1455min)
% time traveling = 88%

If I had managed my AS times better: total AS time would be 2-3min. ea. X 10, and 5min. ea. X 3, equals 45min. acceptable.
My average speed until I DNF’d was 18.35 minutes per miles.

I could’ve traveled another 3.5 miles for free, if I had moved through the AS’s quickly. That would’ve put me beyond Mayqueen with 12 miles to go.
The stops did something else far worse, though. They caused me legs to congeal, and that slowed my pace coming out of each stop. There’s no telling how fast and how much further I could have gone. We’ll never know. I just feel confident that I could have finished, especially in light of the fact that I’d finished the last major
climb heading for the finish.
If the things I had control over had been done right – sleep the days before and get through aid stations quicker – I would have finished, even with my injuries.
On the other-hand, if the bad-luck things hadn’t happened – kicking the big rock, my left IT band blowing – I also would have finished, even with lack of sleep and bad aid station management.
I guess it just wasn’t my day.

Photo before the most severe swelling set in and the initial welts sprea
d out.
When I got back to the motel, and took off my Dirty-Girl gaiters, shoes and socks, I had a surprise. There were two purple marks on my shin – one low down on the ankle. At that time, I couldn’t remember kicking one rock, much less two, but nothing else puts marks on your shin like those. The top one didn’t hurt, but the bottom one was swollen. Then out of the vagueness of my memory, I remembered “the rock”. How at the time I marveled that such a big rock could so easily go airborne with just the flick of my toe. I remembered the painful smack as I batted it hard with my left leg. The mystery is how I wasn’t specifically aware of this bruiser.
However, in long ultras, the endorphins are flowing and everything starts to hurt to some extent. You get used to accepting things and not thinking about it.
This photo, the original marks have spread out into a swollen mass.
The other thing was I damaged a nerve. After the race, the top of my foot was numb. During the race, I thought I had shin-splints, which I haven’t experienced in nearly 30 years. Apparently, instead of hurting at the injury site, shafts of pain went bolting up each side of my shin-bone for the rest of the race, just like shin-splints.
In this last photo, you can see the swelling of the left foot, and there was another blunt-trauma welt on the right achilles tendon. The achilles swelled, but it was nev
er a factor in the race.
I crushed the ligaments and sheathing just above the foot. The sheath is called the Superior Extensor Retinaculum. The muscles that control the foot, the Extensor Digitorum Longus, and Extensor Hallucis Longus, slide under this sheath. Everything in that area sustained a nasty crushing blow. So for 65 miles I had damaged tissues sliding through damaged sheathing. Laying there on the bed, it was purple, red, and swollen until the skin was stretched shiny. Paul and Dave helped me to build a pile of blankets, pillows, and sleeping bags. Later, Doug and Bonnie came by and fixed up an ice pack. Even though I had gone a long time without sleep, and had just gone 84.1 miles, I couldn’t sleep. Too much discomfort.
The biggest thing was my lungs. My airways kept filling up with phlegm and I’d wake up hacking. It was too thick. I had to turn left, hack, turn right, hack, turn on my hands and knees, hack, always turning the head this way and that. Then when totally exhausted, I’d settle down for another 10-15 minutes of sleep. All that hacking gets the blood pumping, though and then the ankle starts to throb.
I planned well enough to bring oxycodone, but I couldn’t find them. I searched the car about 5 times and the motel room, but didn’t find them until Monday morning. Kind of late then.
Ken Klouber said it looked broken and told me I shouldn’t even be standing on it. He told me to go to the clinic. Later, Marilee said basically the same thing and wrote out the doctor’s phone number.
So I got it x-rayed, but it was negative – no bone chips or fractures.
In the LT100 store/office, I met a guy who’s feet were swelled way more than mine. Each and every toe was swelled to the max. He finished. He had 3-5 layers deep of blisters. That’s what all his swelling was about.
I could stand but not really walk, per se. I would stand until I got the nerve for one more hop. It was pathetic and slow and hurt just to watch.
I took a pain killer before bed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Tuesday, the Wash Park gang were very supportive. Christine and Molly baked me a cake that said, “We’re Proud of You, Jeff”. Very thoughtful. I’m lucky to have such great friends.
At dinner, my ankle was swelling and sore so I grabbed my ankle as I stood. When I let go, there were indents from my fingers nearly ¼” deep. My flesh was full of coagulated goo. This is the stuff that filled my legs and turned to cement during the aid stops during the race.

Thursday I got a massage. LuAnne worked for 90 minutes to squeegee the clay out of my lower legs. I joked to her that I could probably mold a miniature of Mount Rushmore on my ankle. LuAnne is an amazing woman. She has a heart of gold. She put me to sleep massaging my legs and when I woke, she was singing softly to the music she had playing.

That night was the Denver Trail Runners pot-luck picnic after the run. I didn’t show up in time for a walk, but my ankle was really bothering me anyway. It was great to hear about everyone’s race at the Pikes Peak Ascent and Pikes Peak Marathon the same weekend. Again, I’m lucky to have so many great friends. These people are the cream-of-the-crop. They’re kind and generous and warm, and they live life all the way.

I’m not close with my family. They think that people like me – mountain climbers and trail runners – are narcissists. They criticize what I do – always have – and at the same time they marvel. They think the discomfort and injury I cause myself is a mortal sin. Fine. I guess I’m one of those damned trail runners. (Sounds like the theme of my next tattoo – which is another reason they think I’m going to hell. Hah!)

Maybe I’ll look back on this and be glad I didn’t finish? Maybe this will trigger “an enlightenment”? Who knows? Maybe this was meant to be – Karma. What happens in life doesn’t matter – what you do with it is what counts.
One bad thing about a blog is when you fail, everyone knows. But the good thing is that, without privacy, I can’t wallow in self-pity. I have an example to live up to.
Life is an ultra. It sometimes beats you, but it better not be because you gave up. Life is love, interaction, experiencing the extremes, reaching where you’ve never reached before, exploring the unknown. I guess that’s what they mean by “touching the void”. There’s an infinity out there, so you can’t explore it all – it’s limitless. All you can do is sail to the edge of the world and jump off. Then somehow return and tell about it.

Namaste, everyone!


At 2:06 PM, Blogger Daniel said...


Nice Blog. I had a rough day. Went into LT100 feeling good but it was obvious early on that my legs had never fully recovered from my 50 mile training once month out. I won't make that mistake again. I don't envy your pain as I hurt and only pushed out 60 miles. Dan Bryant

At 3:21 PM, Blogger JeffO said...

Wow, Dan, I know you can finish the LT100. It was hard to watch so many strong people drop. And it seemed not too many people had the same reason(s). Beautiful weather and temps. What a slaughter this year. Glad to see you there and glad you made it back to Winfield. That's still a lot of miles!
Let's hope we don't remember any of the misery a month from now. Ignorance is bliss, right?
We'll get this, Dan. You know we will.

At 10:04 PM, Blogger Meghan said...


Your ankle looks a mess! The part where you say that it was swollen to the point where the skin is stretched smooth and shiny gave me the shivers. I'm glad that you don't have any broken bones, though.

It sounds like your healing, both physcial and mental, is coming along.

I hope you don't feel too shy about sharing this journey with your blog readers. You are learning so much from this experience, and I feel like I'm learning from you through your blog. Really, these things are venues to share our experiences. I appreciate the nitty gritty down and dirty no holds barred entries on your blog. It's all quite inspiring.

And harrowing. Just kidding. No I'm really not. ;)

Hope you're well!


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