LooseCrew-JeffO: LT100 2007 - Winfield to Twin Lakes


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

Friday, August 24, 2007

LT100 2007 - Winfield to Twin Lakes

Near Winfield, I saw tons of friends. Luis, the guy I gave a ride from Denver Int’l Airport, was way up near the front, so I hadn’t reached Winfield yet when we passed. Chris L, Christian H and Christian R were likewise way up front.
This photo taken by my friend John Wright, who was waiting at Winfield to pace a friend.
After turning around, I saw Anita F, Jeanie, Cammy, Dan B, Kasandra, Xy, Javier, …
As I climbed up towards Hope Pass on the return, it became heartbreaking that everyone I passed was going to miss the cutoff at Winfield.

I took two ibuprofen at Winfield. They did wonders. From Winfield to Twin Lakes, nothing hurt! I felt nearly 100%!!
Paul G was pacing me over Hope.
The climb up Hope Pass, though, was a concern. I was horrible. Lack of sleep destroys stamina and power. It doesn't always destroy speed for short stuff, maybe not even power for a quick burst, but after 50 miles of mountains, I had no power.
The procession of people still coming down from Hope Pass was frightening. These last people would be getting into Winfield nearly two hours after cutoff. How they managed to leave Twin Lakes under the cutoff and end up at Winfield two hours late is a mystery to me. I guess I wasn’t the only one to end up with a bad day?

Luckily, the north side of Hope Pass was not so steep. My knee only bothered me when I tried to run down the steep stuff. I flew down from Hopeless aid station near the pass.
On the slippery black mud, I tried to take advantage and ran like a skater. Downhill, the mud was an asset. This is why I train in all kinds of weather. One of the reasons so many people DNF’d at Winfield, or later at Twin Lakes, is they couldn’t deal with the mud. It was thick and extremely slippery.
The only bad news is that Paul stopped at Hopeless to get me some soup. I ran for maybe 15 minutes without seeing him. I got concerned that he may have slipped and fallen, so I stopped. I lost time. I ran some more and stopped again. Finally he came. I gobbled the soup and then started running again. The soup tasted good and hit the spot, but I lost valuable time when I stopped. Also, in spite of the soup tasting good, my stomach had already grown upset and I had repeated little convulsions. It was always triggered by air in my stomach. It was impossible to keep air out of my stomach. And every time I tried to belch, instead there was a series of convulsions. It was very hard to get the air out without hurling. I tasted that soup for three hours afterwards, but I never threw-up.

At one point, before Paul had caught up with me, a friend and I were running together. He commented, “I don’t know about you, but I’m going home with some hardware!” I replied, “You damn right we are!”

We came out onto the river flood-plain and Paul pulled out his walkie-talkie to let the others know our ETA.
The river crossing was very good, again, and I wished I’d had more time to loiter in it.
After the river crossing, there were several other crossings before we headed across the meadow. Unfortunately, the meadow was flooded by all the rains we’d gotten. I’ve never seen water on this meadow. Elk graze there. The trail had been worn deep in spots. Between the trail sometimes sinking like a narrow ditch, and all the deep elk footprints, the swamp we had to pass through was treacherously pitted. You couldn’t see through the water because it was black and stinky with fermented elk dung. It was GROSS. Like trying to run through a sewer without tripping.
But I did trip, and I went down. I got totally stink-ified. Then Paul tripped, but managed to somehow stay vertical. As we headed to Twin lakes, there were two tiny stream crossings. I just threw myself into one and rinsed off.
We got to Twin Lakes as the sun had set. People cheered and a couple of people commented how can anyone still be running like that after 60 miles?
My legs were tired, though. It wasn’t so much a feeling of tiredness as a feeling of trying to run with cement in my veins and muscles.

I checked into the aid station and immediately checked out. Then I sat in my lounge chair. My crew brought all sorts of stuff, but not a drop of my pre-mixed sport-drink. Dave vanished with my entire pack to take it back to the crew vehicle. I was stuck. To save time, and because my feet were perfect, I decided to skip the shoe and sock change after the last river crossing. Bonnie had grabbed food for me, and Paul said he'd run my pack up to me.

Lesson 4: Never, ever, EVER let go of your pack! I don’t care how good-intentioned they are, your hydration pack is your race. If your pack is so gone you can’t see it, then the only tool you have left is hope – that you’ll see it again and in a timely way.

You’re better off using whatever sport drink they have in the aid station. Don’t let your crew fill your hydration bladder – do it yourself. It only takes me a couple of minutes during a marathon to fill my hydration bladder, grab some gels, and grab some other item of food. Two minutes. How was it taking 20 minutes with a crew (Twin Lakes out, Winfield, Twin Lakes in)? That’s the mystery. And no matter what, it has to be my fault as much – or more – than anyone else’s. What makes a crew efficient is communication from the runner. I obviously screwed that up early and often. The best I can figure is that there was too much talking and not enough running. I was getting into a stupor, so my mind was not functioning well. Answering easy questions was getting difficult.

Bonnie, my second pacer, and I climbed for about a mile and still my pack had not arrived, even though we were climbing very slowly so my food could digest.
My injuries were flaring. Every time I stopped, not only did I lose the time I wasted while stopped, but the inflammation slowed me down afterwards from coagulation. It was imperative that I not be forced to stop very long.
Bonnie and I were about at the point where we leave the road and take the singletrack. I told her I wasn't going another step until I had my pack. A couple of minutes later, Paul came and I was on the way again.
Slower than ever. It was like concrete in my legs. A concrete truck has to keep turning or it will set-up. I had to keep my legs moving, but the aid stops were killing me. I needed to get moving. None of these stops should've taken more than 3-8 minutes, instead they were all lasting more than 20 minutes. Oh well, we were all new to this angle of the LT100, so we were all learning the hardest way possible.
When you do your first 100, your legs will swell worse. If you become a chronic 100-miler, then your legs will start to get used to it and swell less each race. It’s just like any other conditioning. Anton Krupicka’s feet don’t swell up like basketballs. Jerry B’s feet didn’t swell up after I paced him at Hard Rock. One of these days, neither will mine.

After eating, I took another ibuprofen. For some reason it had absolutely no affect. My legs were swelling and hurting. They were sluggish. Five miles before, running into Twin Lakes, they were working fine. Now was the first serious sign that something wasn’t right, and it wasn’t correcting no matter what I did.

My left IT band was now hurting even on flat terrain. Bonnie had diagnosed it accurately the first instant she heard of it and had wrapped it before I had climbed over Hope Pass. That’s one reason the Twin Lakes outbound aid stop took longer. Now it seemed to need blood, so Bonnie unwrapped it. After a few minutes, we wrapped it again.

In the pitch-black woods, we couldn’t see anything unless our lights were shining directly on it. We kept thinking this hill was the last, but then we went down and back up again.
In spite of the sluggishness of my legs, stream crossings were not a problem. My feet had no problems tip-toeing across the rocks.

By mile 60, I knew my legs were experiencing the beginning of the end. Would I make it in time? It was getting to be impossible to run. It had degraded into a walk-a-thon.

We finally made it to Halfmoon Road and then Halfmoon aid station. I was tired of gulping air from the poorly-designed drinking bite-valve on my pack. Bonnie found an empty gallon water jug and filled it with sport drink. AWE! I could take big gulps instead of little sips. That was great.

In the tent, I saw several people I knew. I asked one, from Boulder, how she was doing. She replied, “I SUCK!” I said, “No!” She said, “YES!” She later finished Leadville under 29 hours. She passed me on Sugerloaf.

We didn’t waste any time at Halfmoon aid. It was one of the few efficient aid station stops the whole race long.

On to Treeline.


At 8:16 PM, Blogger Meghan said...

This is quite painful to read, even from this far, far perspective.

Thanks for sharing all the details and all that you've learned along the way. It's really a great self analysis.

So, how are you doing at this moment, or do I have to wait to find out?


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