LooseCrew-JeffO: Traveling Day from HELL, and Estes Park


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

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.


At 8:56 PM, Blogger Justin Mock said...

Whoa, better get a quick recovery in before the big one on Saturday!

At 11:44 AM, Blogger olga said...

Not bad, indeed:)

At 6:47 PM, Blogger Meghan said...

JeffO, sounds like a rough day, buddy. Ouchiemama! I hope recovery is going well for you!


At 3:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're a Trip, Jeff-o! Estes Park marathon one week & a 50 miler the next, not alot of Down time.Your Leadville 100 training is Grounded in good Hard work.If you Stumble across any cool races, let me know.See you next Fall.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Alene Gone Bad said...

Nice blog Jeff! Better let that ankle heal. Good job in Estes Park and good luck in your Leadville training. Avoid picnic tables.


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