LooseCrew-JeffO: June 2008


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

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

SJS50 part 4 (Will it ever end?) Hey, it's 50 miles!

I left off with us running along the Divide with stunning views...

The snow still told the story - I was way back from the front. The snow was way too trampled. It was a race full of half-hearted racing, on my part, and half-hearted "oh-well", never really deciding which to stick to, fun or competition.

The Divide rolls along up and down and some flat sections, snow, rocks, grass... I wanted to run across the grass and sing, "The HILLS are alive, with the sound of music!" But somehow I think I wouldn't have quite the effect of Julie Andrews. It was the obnoxygen getting to me.

One section had a very amazing drop-off. It was a thrill. I still have some frost-nip in my fingers from working my way down that snow field.

After several hours above 12,000 feet, we finally started descending. We got to the Divide aid station and I ate a big cup of Ramen noodles, then some banana, and left with my squirrel bag full of 'tater chips.

The next 9 miles were nearly all downhill. I did good, but the next closest guy was over a mile ahead. I didn't catch anyone until I got to Slumgullion aid.

There I met Tim and Anita Fromm. Anita crewed me through the stop, shoving food at me and filling my bottle and Camelbak while I sat and Tim took my mugshot. As I was leaving, someone else was coming in behind me.

Soon after leaving down from there, I passed another guy. Then the trail started the last long climb. Did I say I suck uphill? I suck uphill! The guy I passed, he passed me back. Then two more guys passed me. I cared, but at miles 41-44 - and you were never good at uphills - what can you do?

I enjoyed the scenery, that's what I did. I started to take photos several times, but aspen meadows don't seem to be so fantastic when looking at photos. I guess you had to be there. So picture this...

It's hot, but not so very hot really - just that you're pushing hard uphill so you're a little overheated. The sun is beating down without mercy. There's a mild breeze now and then that occasionally has a little umph. It cools your sweat and feels luxurious.

Nothing sounds like aspen leaves. Nothing looks like aspen leaves flittering in the wind. The course winds through aspen, then through meadows surrounded by aspen, then along the edges of meadows and along the edges within the aspen looking out on slanted grassy meadows. It was heavenly. The course dives in and out of so many of these groves and meadows and it soothes the soul.

But like I said, I guess you had to be there. My camera couldn't capture it.

More mud and water to cross before the last aid station.

Just 3.5/4 miles to go, mostly downhill - what I do best. I passed a few guys right out of the aid station, but one guy would not be passed. He kept the distance ahead of me all the way to the end. I passed someone limping, but he had it made at that point. Back down into Lake City, I could see three people ahead.

I closed on two. I knew I could pass them. But then I saw it was Cindy Stonesmith and another woman. They were holding hands and talking like it was a momentous occasion. I didn't understand anything they were saying, but body language made it look like maybe it was the other woman's first 50-miler or something. Cindy looked back a few times and saw me closing the gap. Holding hands like they were, they were a very wide obstacle, but one I could have sprinted around.

Basically, it looked like they were having a Kodak moment and everyone was cheering. I thought it would look crude to blow by them and spoil an otherwise poignant moment. I never found out what the deal was. The other woman wasn't in the final results, so I guess she was a friend of Cindy's and I don't know what the "moment" was all about.

Finish: 13:50:06 - same as Cindy.

Wow, I couldn't believe I finished UNDER 14 hours!!!!!! But then I found out that it was about the fastest SJS50 ever and I was only middle-of-the-pack. Very mediocre performance. I should've broken 13 hours. Oh well, goals... Next year...
I've taken notes and will be expecting better of myself next year.

SJS50 part 3

So there I was - missed the aid station. I looked left and saw two runners in the distance and knew they were heading towards Carson. So Williams had to be in my direction. There were totally no markers, so I had to have passed a shortcut. So I bushwhacked through the grass and trees hoping I was heading the right way. I wasn't seeing anything, but the other directions looked even less likely.

Finally I heard yelling and there it was. I checked in and refilled everything, eating some banana.

Back to the road, heading to Carson. We took a left and headed up a very steep jeep road that wound around and switched-back many times. I was in a bit of panic because of all the time and distance I'd lost. I passed several people. It was obvious that I hadn't done well at the beginning, and the lost time put me back with the much slower middle-of-the-packers. It was an odd, crowded sensation for a 50. This started working on me and I guess it took lots of wind out of me.

Just before Carson, there was another wide creek crossing. A guy was actually stopped while he tried to figure out a dry way across. I blew through the water without hesitating. I looked back to make sure he was okay, but he was. I couldn't see how anyone could make it into one of the toughest 50-milers and cross all those streams in the first 20 miles, and there he was wasting time figuring out a pretty way across. Maybe he had serious foot issues and more water in his shoes would lea to bloody feet? Who knows? To each their own, I guess.

At the Carson aid station, I actually sat down and laughed with the other guys. It's not like I'd given up, but I just wasn't as focused on racing after that. I was intent on taking some good photos, getting a nice workout, and having fun. I still hoped to finish in the 14-14:30 zone, which I figured would have put me back up with the top 25%. With 9 miles to the next aid, I completely filled my Camelbak and Ultimate Direction bottle, and left with my squirrel bag full of potato chips.

Until the last creek, my feet were almost dried-out for the first time, but beyond Carson, there was too much water. We were running through lots of run-off and snow. The scenery was getting more stunning by the minute as we passed treeline again. Finally I reached the Divide, but the ridge then kept climbing even higher and higher.

The course markers then left the main trail and headed up the grass-and-rock hillside. (This reminded me of HardRock, where the course often follows no trail and you have to watch keenly for markers.) We gained the highest parts of the ridge where the views were best and followed it for miles! That was my favorite part of the race. There are spots that I just couldn't keep running, it was so beautiful.

So I wasted lots of time taking bad photos of great scenery. I could see, Handies, Sunshine, Redcloud, Wetterhorn, Uncomphagre, and San Luis in the east. You could see how the Slumgullion slide had dammed-up the valley and formed Lake San Cristobal.

On the downhills and flats, I passed people. We were very strung out. I'd see someone half a mile ahead and reel them in. Then the next one or two. That was slow going. I only saw one other guy running consistently at that altitude, but I eventually passed him too.

And because it takes me so long to post, this is the end of part 3!
Tomorrow I'll finish the photos and race, but there will also be a wrap-up synopsis debrief that might be helpful for anyone planning this race in the future.

Monday, June 23, 2008

SJS50 part 2

Race day, 3:50am, rise and, well, start moving. It was a decent night of sleep. One of the local coffee shops fed me two cups of coffee, a sticky pecan roll, and a sausage/egg/cheese bagel. Yum - but this was accidental. I never eat sausage before a race. Meat, and especially grease, slows me way down.
I started the race with a full Camelbak and a full Ultimate Direction bottle. The full bottle was excessive. So, slowed by the extra bottle, and sausage in my gut, it was all I could do to keep jogging along the flat road. So I ended up smack in the middle of the pack.
Bad news: You have to wait a lot at each roped river crossing. After the race, a woman complained that she waited a total of 45 minutes. I know I didn't wait that long, but it was still quite a lot.
The water was cold. The first few crossings weren't bad. It was the 4th that had my feet numb. And the 5th and 6th had both ankles and feet 100% numb! What a weird sensation running along wondering (hoping) that your feet are doing the right thing. I had my sprain from Estes Park to worry about, but there was no feedback from the feet.
Good news: No pain!

There were "rivulets", run-off, and side-channels. Do those count as "crossings"? You got your feet wet in ice-cold water again.
So there were well over a dozen crossings in the first section of the race. But my favorite was where you cross a stream and head up the - wait, is that the trail or a creek? Well it's not THAT way. Oh, crap, the trail IS a stream. So you go up this ice-cold trail/stream, and then... you get to cross a river! Well the feet must still be there or I wouldn't still be moving, right?
All I could do is laugh at how crazy this whole thing was and how good the company was!
Finally, we started UP! Onto snow. Good, hard snow with decent traction. We climbed up an avalanche chute, then began a series of switchbacks. I brought an aluminum tent stake to us for self-arrest in case I fell. I never had to test it, but I think it was adequate.
Near the aid station, I heard a heave and a growl. The growl confused me. It was a guy puking his guts so extremely hard I thought he was going to break something. But he looked good. Probably just ate the wrong stuff for breakfast (like maybe a sausage/egg/cheese bagel?)
I just patted him on the shoulder and told him he'd be fine now!
Considering the remoteness of the aid station and how they pack
ed-in everything, this aid station was amazing! I grabbed some 'nana and orange and kept
going. Soon
after, I saw Carol Gerber, decked-out in purple jacket and purple hair. She gets the rad-babe award for the day.The views were starting to get amazing real quick. We climbed past treeline, then up on a high ridge, then the ridge
climbed higher.
Wow, then we could see the
south side of Uncomphagre, there was Redcloud, Wetterhorn. What a panorama!
The course followed the ridge up and then rolling across and around, and then it dropped precipitately down towards the Williams Creek aid station.This is the only section where last week's sprain bothered me. Carol Gerber and I were flying down. We're both lousy at climbs and good at downhills, but depending on the angle and the rockiness, I had to put the brakes on to be careful. So we kept passing each other. I was concentrating hard on stepping right and keeping my ankle safe.That's when I looked up and saw Tim Fromm with a camera. Woah! Nice to see him! And my mind took a short hike, and then back to concentrating.
That's when I missed the turn to the aid station. There was apparently supposed to be a guy right smack in the middle of the trail, but everyone has to pee at some point, right? And it's my primary responsibility, but I spaced-out at that key moment. It seemed like a mile. Well, I checked - it was only half a mile of detour, and about 7 minutes lost, but it trashed my race mentality.
Still, I hoped to break 14 hours.
And that is the end of Part 2!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

SJS50 part 1

This was a very fun and unique experience! I think I'm hooked!
It's going to take me a while to sort through my photos and video clips, but my body needs some TLC, so maybe I'll have the time.

The drive down was much quicker than I thought it would be. It was only 4 1/2 hours from Denver. My job has been beyond hectic it's been frantic. In order to avoid working weekends, I've been having to work late every day. But my boss's boss doesn't like paying overtime, so I left early Friday. Ha! I love my job. It's frustrating, constant overload. Perfect for me! I get bored too easy. If I gravitated towards "easy", I wouldn't run ultras.

The pasta-feed was the best! The owner of the Alpine Moose Lodge where I stayed is a very good chef. He catered the dinner. So it wasn't your ordinary "spaghetti". The rolls weren't the usual tasteless white bread.

I dropped off my drop-bags afterwards. I took full advantage of all three drop locations. It takes a bit of experience to get drop-bags right. I'm still learning.
I was told to have socks and shoes at the first drop. You gotta be kidding me! Folks, the concept of dry feet in this race, especially this year, is a fantasy.
Besides, I'm not a fan of shoe changes. I wear Salomons with quick-laces, and I still think it takes too long. And Salomons are the most breathable shoe you can find. Better to pick a shoe that dries out quick.
But there wasn't much drying out this year. There were at least 10 crossings, plus uncountable melting snow run-offs, snow slush, and my favorite, MUD! There was so much mud that dirt found its way inside my DirtyGirl gaiters, inside my Wright sox, and even inside my Injinjis.

The logistics of this race are harder than most. I think only the Moab Red Hot 50k+ is more difficult. But they pulled it off so well. Mostly this is because they have TONS of help. I'm not sure how much is paid for and how much is volunteer, but there were lots of very experienced mountaineers and SAR crew. Payment for most services was waived due to the substantial influx of visitors and the money they bring to the area.

The weather was PERFECT! Not hot, not cold, not overly windy, no threat of rain or lightening. But of course, at those altitudes, with no protection, the sun scorches.

My perfomance was very mediocre, but as they say in ultras, "a finish is a finish"! And it was FUN!!!

More to come...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I have to work late every day so I can leave early on Friday. So I don't have much time for chores, running, socializing, and packing. I'll get it done, though.

I feel good, considering both big-toe joints are now hurting and I have a sprained left ankle. Everything seems to be healing amazingly fast. My toe joints feel better now than they did before Estes Park. I iced and elevated my sprain Sun/Mon, and ran carefully around Wash Park, plus an additional mile of walking. The circulation is helping. I can only hope it's enough to get me through SJS50.
If I have to DNF, I hope I do - rather than trash myself. I still have hundreds of dollars down on a tight race schedule through summer. The timing of these injuries coupled with this brutal race could destroy me. But it seems like things have a way of miraculously working out. So I'm not out 'til I'm out.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Traveling Day from HELL, and Estes Park

Orlando was very fun, but trying to get home was exasperating, and it totally reinforces my rule never to go anywhere unless I can drive there in one day, with few exceptions.
Saturday, I woke at 5am.
Plane starts to take off at 7:40 and the pilot slams on the brakes.
20 minutes for the mechanics to look at it.
Try #2, slam the brakes on again!
Back to the terminal for the mechanics to look at it another 40 minutes or so.
Finally they tell us to get off so the mechanics can work on it a couple of hours.
Waiting in the terminal.
Finally they ground the plane permanently!
Luckily, I hooked up with another TechEd geek and we took turns standing in line for alternate flights. Drew found a flight first and flashed me a peace sign as he headed off.
I got one definite at 5:16pm to Chicago, then another to Denver before 10pm. But they put me on "priority stand-by" for a 2:50pm flight because I told them I had a marathon in Estes Park Sunday morning. Slim chance, but I made it on!
I suppose I could claim that was the only luck I had that day, but who knows? The first plane could have crashed - I'd be dead. I could have been without the help of Drew. The second plane could have crashed, or been forced to land halfway to Denver.

The flight was uneventful, except I sat between a couple of the nicest women. This is the first time ever that I've had the pleasure of enjoying an entire flight due to the company. The woman on my right was seeing her college roommate from 40 years ago. She grilled me about why I went to Florida, and the marathon, which led to running and ultras, and... yeah, crazy-man. The woman on my left was a beautiful hippie from near Aspen. She liked to take her sandals off and cross her legs. We each had wine and she shared cheese and foccaccia bread with me while we chatted about mountain resort towns and diet. Her old parents refused to eat real food, and they believed that processed foods were "real" foods and that whole foods weren't fit for consumption! Yikes! And they could not be educated!

Back in Denver, I drove home by 6:20pm. I was on the highway heading to Estes Park by 7:10, but got stuck in an epic traffic jam because of a fatal accident. In Colorado, it's the policy of CHP to close the highway for HOURS!!! whenever there's a fatality. I sure hope I don't die on a highway. Closing the highway will never bring me back to life. There were vehicles on the shoulders that had run out of gas, people were pissing without privacy, etc. I can understand closing highways for 15-30 minutes, but not for hours.
So I could just complain, but I'm lucky it wasn't me who died, nor any of the other vehicles that were involved. Whoever died, died a horrible death. No details.

I made it to Estes Park and was fast asleep by 11:30pm.

In the morning, I got my packet, and met Shankar - who I TOTALLY spaced-out! Who was he? He looked familiar. I didn't remember who the heck he was until I was driving home after the race. See how senile I am? He's from the Tuesday group around Wash Park. I ran into him and his parents one day at Moe's Bagels, too. But in Estes Park, total blank. I pretended I had a clue who he was and felt like a selfish prick for not remembering. I certainly remembered his smile and personality, just not who he was or where I knew him from, or his name.

I met Anita Fromm and Alene Nitzky. Anita loaned me a hand-held water bottle, since I packed and left way too quick, and two gelpaks.

I planned to take it easy - just a simple training run a week before the SJS50 next Saturday. Also, I wanted to keep the healing I managed with my left big-toe knuckle.
Anita predicted I would do really well - because I was dressed really color-coordinated! So THAT'S the secret? Since I was in yellow and black, I told her, "That's my motto: Float like a butterfly, dress like a bee."

Here's how the race panned-out...
0.5M - whatever healing my left toe knuckle managed in Florida blew
1.1M - a woman right behind me commented to her friend, "What's with the guy in the yellow shirt? Isn't he going too fast?" He warned her, "His legs are a foot and a half longer than yours and as big around as tree trunks." (That woman finished 6th-place woman, I think.) They caught up to me and I told her the key to this marathon is managing your hydration and electrolytes.
~8M - took and e-cap and Hammer gel
18M - took another e-cap and ate a Gu
Soon after, Jenna passed me. Jenna's running form was almost perfect. She used her hips, which is a peeve of mine - most people don't use their hips, or not all the way. Jenna was perfect. So she passed me on the up, and I'm not good at up, so I passed her on the down at 19M.
20M - Coming into an aid station, I sprained my ankle badly and crashed into the gravel on the shoulder of the road earning some road-rash. Five people passed me, including Jenna and the 6th-place woman. I could barely put weight on my ankle. A guy at the aid station said I could quit and they could give me a ride. Wrong thing to say...
I walked. The walk turned into a power-hike. That turned into a slow limping jog. I scolded myself: You're not running 6+ miles with a limp. If you can't run even, you have to quit. So I sucked it up and started running. And then I was back to full-speed. I looked ahead at the backs of the runners who passed me.
Well, I wasn't racing - it was supposed to be a "safe" training run, but that didn't exactly pan-out. So I decided that I might as well start racing. Besides, I needed something to focus on besides, "Poor me".
I reeled them all in and passed them, then I made certain to increase the gap to let them know the deal was sealed. Granddad could run. Jenna, however, hung on and finished behind me.

24th place
5th place in my division
Not bad for slacking-off the first 20M and then finishing lame, I guess.
I allegedly won a Newton hat, but no one was manning the Newton tent, so I never was able to collect. Food and beer was beckoning, so I gave up and went to the post-race feed.
And I'm hurting. Not sure what's going to be available for the SJS50.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Orlando was very good to me. I can't judge the rest of Florida by one part of one town. All I can say is I had a blast! It was fantastic. The weather somehow cooled off, and on Friday the humidity even dropped - or seemed to.
Microsoft took good care of us. We were fed breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all you can eat and drink. Also, each evening was all the beer and wine you could drink, for about an hour.
Orlando knows how to combat the heat and humidity. I swear every building had nuclear-powered air-conditioning. I learned the first day, wear a tank-top or sleeveless shirt for the walk to-and-from, then pull a t-shirt over that so I don't get cold indoors.
Every day, thunderstorms rolled in and drenched everything.

All I had to do was cross the street to get to a trail. There was a moat next to that with tons of critters whistling, hooting, grunting, chirping, and calling. They were new sounds. I couldn't tell what critter was making what sound. It was always dark by the time I got out there, so I could never anything.
We were sent to Universal Studios for a party Thursday night. Again, all you can eat and drink. We only had access to the corner with the kiddie rides, though. There were so many people at TechEd that it wasn't until this party that I finally met a co-worker.
They had us scheduled for breakfast at 7am and done between 8pm-midnight. Only got 5-6 hours of sleep each night and kept nodding off during sessions as if narcoleptic.
The tap water is gross, but they had coolers all over the place stocked with pop, juice, and water, plus pots of coffee.
I thought smoking would ne a problem, but there were surprisingly few smokers. Obesity also wasn't bad, but the part of Orlando I was in was mostly travelers.
Friday evening, I went to the Gila bar and told "Debra" that I usually drink beer but wanted a big margarita. I told her to surprise me. So she invented this really strong margarita that was nearly all booze. All over Colorado, they measure the booze and then pour in non-alcoholic mixers. At this bar, they just tilt liquor bottles! Yah! Woohoo! Gimme anudder! Yah! Beer me! I didn't like the Modelo so at no cost Debra gave me a Dos Aquis Amber. Awe!
So much for healthy living. This week had me eating more junk, getting less exercise, and less sleep than usual.
My plane started taking off then slammed on the brakes. Now we're sitting on the sidelines waiting for maintenance to either give us the go of no-go. I hate flying.

Estes Park marathon tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More LT100 Course Photos

Some more photos from the Leadville 100 course. The last post was extremely frustrating - each photo took 2-6 tries before it would upload because the airport siphons it's traffic through an ad-proxy which didn't work worth a damn.

Looking south from Turquoise Lake dam (No I wasn't parked on the dam!) Massive and Elbert visible.

Mt. Elbert from the east. The course is about where the aspen meet the pines. No snow visible - clean rolling.

The road to the river. This section always seems to have exactly the same amount of water no matter what time of year, whether dry year or wet. For those of you new to the LT100, you get your feet wet multiple times crossing several pools of barely-running water before you ever get to the river.

Monday, June 09, 2008

LT100 Trail Report

I didn't see all of the course, but I looked at Sheep Gulch 2 weeks ago, and I saw very much of the rest of it this past weekend. So I will mix eye-witness accounts and extrapolated predictions.

You can run from the start to the dam without snow.
Right away, there's snow around the lake in drifts with dry ground around. So I predict you can run most of the way around the lake, while dodging drifts.

The basin west of Turquoise Lake has received an inordinate amount of snow - seemingly more than the rest of the course. The trail from Mayqueen to Hagerman road is very deep in snow up to 4 feet deep.

Since I have foot issues, I did some cross-training and shoveled for several hours below Hagerman Road. I wasn't trying to clear it so much as help get some heat down deeper, sooner.

Hagerman road is clear up to the switchback up towards the summit of Sugarloaf. Some of the northern road up Sugarloaf is clear, much of it not.

The southern side of Sugarloaf is 2/3 clear.

Further south, I hiked from the turn on Half Moon road up the Colorado Trail for two miles. This is the steepest part of the trail, and it was runnable the whole way, with insignificant snow patches.

I predict you can run from Powerline all the way to the river crossing.

If you try to cross the river very carefully, using the gravel-bars, you will still have to deal with water up to your navel. (It is my experience that rushing water up to your crotch will likely sweep you off your feet.)

From a distance, it appears that Hope Pass is horribly deep in snow, but I was able to get to 11,000 feet on the shady north side (Little Willis). No trouble getting to the intersection of Big and Little Willis, nor to the ditch that we cross above that.
Right after crossing the ditch, the trail starts to zig-zag up, and it gets very snowy.

However, it's so trampled that it's still worthy of LT100 training.
After that, the trail levels out and there's intermittent drifts. Finally, there's the first of a few clearings below Hopeless.

Beyond that clearing is pretty much solid, un-runnable snow.

Overall, about 12-15% of the course is still not runnable. With only 19 days to the Training Camp, I'm guessing there will have to be some training course modifications, but hopefully Ma Naturale will prove me wrong.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Work, work, work

This week was a total loss for training.
Monday, I had to rest from the Steamboat marathon. My left fot is hurting.
I ran the usual Tuesday run at Wash Park, but added another lap before everyone showed up.
Wednesday, I worked from 8am to 8:40pm, then ate a late dinner and went to bed.
Thursday was a nice run on North Table Mtn.
Friday, I worked until 6:30pm, then went home to eat and do chores - squeezing in a paltry 3 miles.

Monday, I leave for Orlando, Florida. What are the chances of getting any training there? I wouldn't know. I'm not the least familiar with Orlando. I left Kansas because I hate...
- flat
- humid
- heat
- cities
So I moved to Colorado. Orlando, including Disney or whatever, is not my bag of tea. But it's only for 6 days, so I hope to survive. If I have to put up with cigarette smoke, though, I might return green in the gills.

So I haven't had any running to report this week.

Hoping for good reports from Meghan and Bob at Kettle Moraine today. I think they'll both nail it.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Steamboat Perspective

Looking at my stats from past races, I was shocked to find out that Sunday's race is the fastest I've ever raced at ANY distance. In January, I ran the 10-mile option of Frosty's Frozen 5 in 80.5 minutes with an avereage pace of 8:03. For me, that was FAST! Well at Steamboat, my average pace was 8:01!

Here are some unofficial Steamboat Springs Marathon Results. I like the handy graph.
I'm certainly not used to finishing in the top 11%.

During the race, I got a few of the usual looks from people because I breathe so hard and loud. Like they were thinking, "If he's breathing that hard, he isn't going to last."

This bumps the Leadville Marathon down from being the race I'm most proud of.

Before the race, I noticed my left big-toe knuckle hurts. The race didn't do it any good - it hurts more. I unconsciously rotate my foot to avoid putting pressure on it. It's a bad habit that could lead to other injuries, but right now, I guess keeping the pressure off will help. Hopefully this won't become chronic.

I went to Strawberry Park Hot Springs Sunday afternoon and stayed for a couple of hours. I spent the first 20 minutes standing in the painfully cold river next to the pools. Then I hobbled my paralyzed legs out of the river and let some circulation get going again before dipping into the hot pool. I re-entered the river a few more time to get a good hot/cold wringing-out of my muscles.

Everyone was complaining about their quads. This race left my quads unscathed. It was my hams and butt that hurt me. If I knew more about running and locomotion, I'd know what this implies.
I ran the whole race, even through aid stations, and always on my toes. No matter how steep the downhill, I leaned forward and concentrated on high cadence.
Maybe after totally trashing my quads at Jemez Mtn, not much can phase me? That would be nice. Leadville is especially hard on your quads.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Steamboat Marathon

I had several goals...
Cut 12 minutes off my very best marathon time for a sub-3:30 finish.
Qualify for the Boston Marathon at the same time.
Set a new PR for the Steamboat Marathon, which is also my marathon PR.
I was very proud of last year's 3:42 finish! I didn't see how it was possible to meet my goals, especially after two 50M races in the past 4 weeks.

The drive in was faster than expected. I didn't stop at all and arrived with plenty of time to get my race packet.
I ran into Justin Mock, who is a speed-demon that occasionally runs with us on Tuesdays. Justin seems to always either win, or finish in the top three. He was the only person in town I seemed to know.
That night, instead of driving 8 miles out of town like I'd planned, I found some townhouses under construction and set my sleeping bags up inside the foundation of one. I parked in a parking lot a block away. In the morning, my sleeping bags had frost on them. I admit I slept poorly. I'm not used to being in a town. I should have stuck to my original plan. I got 7 hours of lousy slumber.

The shuttle ride wasn't as bad as my last experience, but it still was the least enjoyable part. I never have liked shuttles. I was telling Justin how I didn't really feel great - not bad, but certainly not like I could hope. but he reminded me that you often don't feel good and it all comes together.

The temps at the start had to be in the 40's, but I stripped down to my lightest sleeveless top. I sucked down two gels, and I took one Ultimate Direction bottle.
I never got cold, and as the temps rose, I never got overheated. The sun was intense, but I sprayed on lots of sunblock.
And for the first time ever, I used albuterol once before the race, and again at 15M. Wow, what a difference. The jury is still out as to possible placebo affects, but I swear it makes a very big difference. If nothing else, my sinuses no longer annoy me for the whole race!
I feel like Pinocchio - "Oh boy! I'm a real BOY!!" It's almost like I'm normal... except that I'm really weird and a knucklehead. But let's pretend that doesn't matter!
My lungs didn't stress out and start foaming up. The coals in my windpipe didn't flare up.
But it's still high altitude and I was pushing so hard - I guarantee I was sucking for air - couldn't get enough - but it was for all the right reasons.

The aid stations were awesome! There were tons of volunteers at each, which works well with my bottle strategy. I ran every last step of the race. No potty breaks, no stopping to drink. I just grabbed cups from a long line of volunteers holding out cups and poured them into my bottle. I didn't care if it was water or Gatoraid. Twice, I almost collided with runners who stopped to drink, but managed to barely dodge them.

I didn't bring my GPS - I knew that if my goals were possible, I had to push - so hard. No excuses, no making deals with myself, no trying to do math late in the race (I can't do math very well sitting at a computer, how dumb of me to try to do math during a race!) I concentrated on cadence. No matter the uphill or downhill, or how steep, CADENCE! Like automated pistons.
I started to fade at 22M. It took all sorts of determination to keep going at full speed. My hams and butt were hurting. I just concentrated on cadence.
With a 2.2 miles left, then I started doing math. That's when I realized I was nailing it.

I thought my spront at the end would kill me. It didn't I coulda/shoulda started sprinting with a quarter mile left, but I didn't. And now it's too late.

My finish time at Steamboat was 3:30:06! Okay, so I missed the 3:30 goal, but Boston gives you the 59 seconds after that! So...
- 33rd overall
- 4th in my age division
- Only one woman ahead of me. She passed me at 23M and I could still see her when she crossed the finish. That's a FIRST for me!
This is such a boost for me! I've had so many ups and downs this year, and my training/racing has been brutal. It has paid off so far.

Estes Park Marathon is next, in two weeks. Then the SJS50 in three weeks.