LooseCrew-JeffO: October 2007


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

Friday, October 26, 2007

Photos from the Boulder100

The photographer seems to have given me more than my fair share of photos. Maybe that's because I was colored like a bumble-bee? Not sure which one to purchase.

Seems like any time I see someone starting a race with both knees wrapped, I question the logic of them running at all. And there I was, wrapped and running - until reality kicked-in. It was worth it. I had a blast and I stopped in the nick of time before my knees totally fell apart.

Ran fast on Tuesday, and slow last night.
The flesh on the back of my ribcage hurts like hell. It's weird. It really hurts bad at the start. I have to walk until the pain subsides, then trot. Finally I can run. But last night my feet were hurting so I ended up shuffling on the rougher trails of Green Mountain. Once I got to the road, I finished better.
I'm a bit discouraged at my recovery. This body isn't recovering worth a damn, in spite of eating well, tons of massage, vitamins, and lots of hydration.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More Obesity Studies

A new study says that it's not just America that has a chronic obesity problem.
Roughly 1/8th of all adults in developed countries have Type II diabetes.
Two-thirds are overweight.
One-tenth are obese.

There are too many spectators and too few players.
I somewhat bristle when some drunken, overweight guy tells me I'm a "traitor" because I'm not fanatical about one of the local sport teams. Now that the Rockies are in the World Series, I actually know the head coach's name. There's a couple of players I can't quite remember, but if I see them I'll remember.
The way I look at it, no one roots for me when I go to work each day to earn my paycheck. Nothing wrong with rooting for sports players or teams, but the way I see it, why watch other people have fun when you can have fun yourself?

If more people would have fun themselves, obesity wouldn't be such a problem.

If people would stop eating greasy, salty junk, poisoning themselves constantly while depriving themselves of vitamins, then their bodies could cope.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Next - without Nicholas Cage

I'm registered for the Rim Rock Run on Nov. 10. I'm still in pain from this season, especially the Boulder 100. Both calves are cramping, sore, and tight, in spite of massage. Tomorrow I run at Wash. Park and hopefully that will wash out the crud in my muscles.
Not sure what I'll do at Rim Rock. Seems like I've been throwing so many miles at myself that I never know what to expect on any race days. Every race seems to start with me feeling-out the first mile and deciding what to do. Rim Rock won't be different.
Last year, I had my stress fracture at mile 20 - EXACTLY! Two miles of agony and still a PR. I was really hoping for a 3hr Rim Rock to get my revenge, but I don't think this body can do it. We'll see. 22.5 is such a short distance. My stamina seems to start getting taxed at 25-42 miles, depending on many factors. So maybe I can race all-out and be okay.

I've strayed from my perfect diet. I need to get back to that.
Since quiting Matrix gym, I haven't kept up with my regular core and upper-body workouts. A new gym is opening up at a very convenient location and I plan to check it out. In the mean-time, I've been doing my bosu-ball pushups and some curls.

I have a business trip to Vegas the first week of November. I hate Vegas, but I feel challenged and am determined this time to create my own fun at Vegas this time - in spite of Vegas. I don't have any long runs planned. I would like to do a roller coaster and meet some fun people, but we'll see. One of the challenges is that my Vegas trip is heavily scheduled. And I'll be surrounded by geeks. It's very strange - I am definitely a geek, both in style and mental gifts. But I'm more jock than geek. I don't like sitting for very long with other geeks. They drive me crazy. I have to stifle myself from standing up and yelling, "GET A LIFE!" But of course that would be hypocritical because most of them would say that I'm the one who doesn't have a life. Eating "right"? All that working-out? Just to run fast and far? Back-at-me!

But that's how I am. I like running. It doesn't hurt anyone. Keeps me out of trouble. Cheaper mid-life crisis than a Ferrari.

OMG, my Advanced English teacher would tear me a new posterior-anterior orifice for starting so many sentences with "but". I've tuned into such a but-monkey.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Boulder100 Results - Wounded Knee

Wow, I finally got around to looking at the Boulder100 results. What a slaughter. 38 starters, 6 finishers. Compared to everyone else, I did okay. I think the slaughter was partly the ice-cold temps, rain, and the end-of-season stresses that caused many to DNF over injury-prevention.
Some people had a bad time - I thought it was fun. It's the yin to Leadville's yang. I think I could finish Boulder in 21 hours, if my end-of-season body will allow it next year.
Next year, the Moab 100 will be mid-May.
The Laramie 100 will be the end of June, which is too close to the LT100 and i think the LT100 Training Camp is that weekend.
I'll be pacing at Hard Rock again, too.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

No Reflection

Sorry from veering momentarily from running. This is hillarious...
No Reflection

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Still Gimpy

The biggest of my problems were my left calf cramp, and my left knee.
Secondary to that, my right knee felt like it was about to blow also, plus both feet were swelling so badly. Ever had clay stick to your shoes in the middle so that your toes and heels don't touch and your arches are taking most of the weigh in the middle? That's what the swelling was doing.
Staying up on my toes helped, until the ligaments and tendons below the inside of my right ankle started hurting with very sharp pain that occasionally shot up my leg (and is still doing that as I type this). This is looking like a chronic problem caused by scar tissue from the rebuild of my ankle about 25 years ago. All the ligaments had to be sewn back. I don't think this will keep me from finishing a hundred - the swelling takes 10-20 hours to kick in and peaks 48 hours later.

Even though my left knee concerned me most during the race, after I quit running, it was the right knee and foot that got most inflamed.
Just like at Leadville, my right achilles got sore. I have no idea why.
My left knee hurts more when I walk than when I run. Go figure. I tried to run as much of the Boulder 100 as I could.
After a lifetime of being Humpty-Dumpty, there's lots of scar tissue, and other problems, but I don't think any of that should stop me from running a 100. Maybe I'm too thick-headed. I'm going to keep trying.
I've got lots of great excuses, but the people most likely to fail are people with great excuses. I never said this would be easy - I just said that if others can do it, so can I. If this takes me years, I plan to do it, but not at the expense of fun and health. So far, even with the pain and frustrations, this has been the most fun I've ever had. It's like getting on a roller-coaster and riding it for 2.5 years.

I have scabs around my armpits. Because it wasn't hot, there wasn't lots of sweat being rubbed into the abrasions, so I wasn't aware the abrasion was so bad. Now, three days later, when I bend and stretch, the scabs crack open and make their presence known.

Percentage of body fat before the race = 16.7, after = 13.6, Tues. morning = 14.1%, Wed. morning = 14.7. Those hungry fat cells want to puff right out again.
My weight was exactly the same (the usual fluid retention from excessive electrolyte consumption).

I probably went too fast, but I keep hearing that, "If you ever want to run fast, you have to run fast." So I ran the speed I hope to run. If I keep training and racing like this, I should be able to go further each time.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Boulder 100 - 2007

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity...(Dickens)
And that sums up last weekend. I didn't finish this "easy 100" either (sigh), but man was it fun! I tried to run smart, and when I stopped, I believe that was wise, in spite of a frined who was down-right angry at me. I totally believed I was going to finish and could hardly believe it when I didn't, but after too much psycho-emotional BS after Leadville, I'm not losing any sleep over this (sorry).

I only made it 64.28 miles - my worst performance ever.
However, I ran 50 miles in 9hr50min.

I got plenty of sleep heading into this one.
Could have eaten a better breakfast - actually I should have eaten breakfast. Instead I had a Muscle Milk and a piece of beef jerky with an ibuprofen. Then a 20oz coffee. Better than nothing.

Wasn't sure how to attack this course. Most of my training and races have been high altitude and tons of climbing/descending. I finally decided to just run relaxed and easy until I could no longer continue, then walk until I could no longer continue, and hope it's over before I get to the hobble stage.

I still have no idea who and how many did the various events, so it's impossible for me to know how I was doing. Starting out, I ran for a bit with Jamie Donaldson and a guy who looked like some serious business. That set off an alarm inside because I'm not elite and soon was ahead of each. I stayed ahead until Jamie passed me at about 10.5 miles. My best guess is that I had been 1st place and had dropped to 2nd in the Boulder 100 solo event.
The whole time I was thinking how the Boulder 100 has a bad rap. First, it's 14 laps (yuk!). Second, it has 1.75 miles of asphalt each lap for a total of 24.5 miles. So nearly a quarter was paved.
Most of the people who do the Boulder 100 are running in the relay events. So the whole way, us solo runners see everyone whizzing by. Nearly all the solo runners who do the Boulder 100 are either first-timers, looking for redemption for a bad performance (or two [or three]), or both.

Not sure exactly how far I stayed in 2nd place, but I think it was for about 50 miles, in spite of the fact that Jamie D had lapped me! Both knees were wrapped, but they cut off some circulation and I had to take them off to combat the growing swelling in my feet and lower legs.
About 46 miles, I developed the worst cramp in my left calf that I've ever had in a race. It wasn't as full-blown as some people I've heard where they were prostrated as the mucsle self-destructed itself, but it was frighteningly close to that point. I had to stop and massage. My electrolytes couldn't possibly be low - the day was cool, I was sucking full-strength sport drink, plus gels, plus a few e-caps. This cramp would not go away.

Then my knees blew. They didn't completely blow, but they are barely blown to the point were these legs will not be able to run for a couple of weeks, and not very much after that. I may not even run Rim Rock three weeks from now. Oh, well, I tried.

I smiled a lot. People probably thought I was on drugs - or completely stupid. Maybe I slipped out of the doctor's hands when I was born and landed head-first (man, that would explain a lot!)

There were some fun people. It felt like a party that wouldn't end. In spite of the laps, I was never bored because there were too many great people passing each way.

However, early in the race, a friend I've known for years told me after only about 12 miles that he wasn't having fun and was rethinking everything. He said he wasn't just rethinking the Boulder 100 but ultra-running as a whole. He's thinking about not doing it anymore.
I told him that life is huge. There's too many things in life that are rewarding, fulfilling, and fun. If he isn't having fun, then he shouldn't be there. Everything with me has been one phase after another. Fishing, guns, hunting, crew (rowing), writing, missionary work, mountain climbing,... Heck, just move on to the next thing.

Maybe, though, he's worried that he'll lose most or all of his friends. Ultra-running absorbs so much time that even if I don't hold it against him, I probably won't run into him anywhere. We don't even live in the same town. The only time I see my friends is when we bump into each other in training or races. So I wonder how many of us just keep running because that's where our extended "family" is?

After the race, when I was laying in my car with my knees wrecked, my feet sore (been visiting an Occupational Therapist to reform my foot which keeps my right foot especially sore), and my right ankle swelling, another friend called and he was pissed at me for stopping. So not sure I still have that friend.

After giving my other friend absolution and supporting him as a person no matter what his endevours, it seemed very incongruous. Everyone is different and we all are motivated for different reasons. I very much want to finish the Leadville 100 in under 25 hours. Heck, just finishing any hundred will be hard enough. But that's what I want.
Don't judge me by that alone, though. I'm a lot more than just some ultra-runner. i feel inspired by quite a few people, and I feel responsible because I realize I inspire others. I don't want to let anyone down - I take life seriously. This is a fun, enriching endevour but the point isn't just to go 100 miles and then brag about it. Ultimately, going the distance doesn't really make you better. There's no pot of gold at the end of that rainbow (okay there's some gold buckles!). The journey is what it's about, and if that journey doesn't make you a better person, and if you don't take a few people along with you helping and inspiring them to be more than they were, then you've missed the point of everything.

After I had slept for hours, and got out to reassess to see if I could go on (there were hours left in the event), I decided that I probably couldn't safely go more than 1-15 miles. And if I did, I would surely be full-blown injured. So I went into the tent to find Miles K shivering out of control. And that was when he was nearly recovered.
Remember what I said about me being amphibious? When the temps drop below 40 and the wind is blowing, and sometimes the rain turns to snow for several seconds, well I'm no longer amphibious. I did my last (9th) lap with my upper body in full winter mountaineer suit - two tech shirts, fleece vest, down coat, Gore-Tex jacket, fleece cap. I still have shorts and wet feet, but my core was warm.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Night Before Boulder

I've had some minor problems sleeping this past week, but not as bad as before Leadville. I've been using half-doses of Sominex. I ran out so Thursday was without, which was the most important night of sleep before the Boulder 100. I didn't have much trouble falling asleep, but I know I would've slept better if I'd had Sominex.

Staying at my brother's place tonight. That's the plan, anyways.

It's nice to start the race at 9am instead of 4am like they did at Leadville. That was SO DUMB! 9am is civilized. We don't have to run in the dark twice. I can sleep in. When I have to get up extra early I don't sleep because I stress-out through the night that I'll sleep through the alarm. So I end up not sleeping at all. This way I can get a full night of sleep before the race (here's hopin').

I've packed on 5 lbs. since Golden Leaf. I feel like a fat slob. Guess it doesn't matter now. My weight will go crazy through the weekend and next week.

Forecast is nasty. 60% chance of windy, cold lightening and rain. I hope the RD doesn't wig-out and cancel. This course is easy and allows anyone to quit whenever they want. There's nothing remote about this course.

Good thing I'm amphibious.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Cleaning Day

I've been feeling like a slacker, lately. I know I did the Steamboat 50 and Lead King in the same weekend, and Golden Leaf a week later, but that was a couple of weeks ago. I feel like I've gotten away from serious running altogether.

I road my bike on South Table Mountain Sunday a week ago, then ran Tuesday and Thursday (PR'd at Red Rocks), but my mileage has been pathetic.
Had another foot appointment. Things are coming along slowly. Peter has already fixed my right ankle. I guess the end of my shin muscles were just knotted-up. He brutally massaged the painful parts, which made it feel worse before it felt better, but hours later the main pain was gone. Two days later it was as if the chronic problem never existed.

Yesterday, my son and I were going to spend the day with his friends at Elitch Gardens riding roller coasters and getting wild, then at night I was going to go dancing like a fool and hopefully not go home afterwards.
The day panned-out totally differently. My son's friends had discount passes but they bailed on us. The wind was possessed (later that night the wind knocked out the power at the televised Rockies game). I was afraid they would close the best rides because of the wind. The water park was already closed. If I can't get wet and run around doing the slides and stuff (I DON'T act 47 when I'm playing!) then it's not worth it.
I live in half a basement infested with spiders and other bugs. It has always been a self-limiting problem - the spiders eat each other so they keep themselves under control. But for some reason it's been worse lately (maybe they signed a truce?) There were several days I killed three spiders. As busy as I am, I'm always rushing around. When I get in the shower and a spider falls out of the curtain, it's easy to wash the body down the drain, but out on the carpet the body stays until I have time to vacuum. Well I've been VERRRY busy!!! So there were lots of bodies and I was getting disgusted.
Also, all my running, climbing, and hiking gear has ended up in ridiculous piles in my bedroom.
My computer work has led to a huge accumulation of computer "stuff" that has laid around beyond it's worth so that it's now totally obsolete.
I have to pack up for the Boulder 100 coming in 6 days.
I have to start getting organized for my trip to Vegas.
When I get back, I'll have no time to unpack, so that means I need to register for the Rim Rock Run and pack for that so that all I have to do is grab my bag and go.

So what I ended up doing yesterday instead of playing is I worked all day. I vacuumed up dead bugs and cobwebs, I bought shelves to stuff all my hiking and running gear, I threw away tons of old computer stuff, the studded tires for my CR-V are now outside.
So now I can actually use my kitchen again!!! Okay it's still crowded but I have some access.
There's still lots of work to do, but I made a noticeable dent.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Dynamic Limits

I bought a mirror-mirror-on-the-wall bathroom scale. It flatters me and tries to get on my good side. It tells me I'm 23-25 years old. This morning it claimed I was only 162lbs. My percent of body fat varies from 14-15%. My BMI is 22.8.
I haven't been running very much since the LT100, so I haven't had my usual appetite. Still, I've eaten some crap - haven't stuck to my healthiest diet but haven't exactly been horrible like I used to be. I guess I ate like a disgusting pig Thursday after the run, but haven't eaten much since then.

Imagine yourself blind... You approach a wall and then you touch it. Is that all you do? Is that enough? Or do your hands start exploring, look for deviations and edges? What do you remember - the flat, boring areas, or the deviations (textures, protrusions, etc.)? There are those who won't be satisfied until they've found the boundaries of that wall - all of them. Edges that are hardest to find are the most memorable.

Some of us are like this. We have to explore. People are more exciting to explore because some limits are imagined, some are very difficult to find, and when we do find them, well, the boundary is dynamic. We can push ourselves further.
In ways, we're all like the wall, and also like the blind person.
We're like the wall because it's not the flat, boring things about us people remember. Our unique gifts, talents, and flaws are remembered, and we're often defined by our contributions and limits.
We're like the blind person because we don't always see things initially. It takes much exploration. Some people lack curiosity and others are insatiable.

I guess the reason my DNF at Leadville still excites and thrills me is that I've been seeking out this boundary for years. I finally found my limit.
Like a sailor looking for the edge of the world. He falls off, but before that he has the exhilaration of knowing he found it!
But my limit is dynamic. Now that I've found it, I know myself better. I know what I have to work with. This limit can move.

Ten days to the Boulder100.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Massage again

I added photos to yesterday's post about the B-17.

Got another massage from Lucy today. I was made of rubber when I left. On her table it's like I've been drugged - I'm so GONE!

I haven't been psyched for the Boulder100. I have to keep reminding myself this is a serious endeavor.
I need to get my mind in gear for this. Twelve days away.