LooseCrew-JeffO: July 2008


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

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Neglected Blog

I've really been slackin'!
I took the weekend off. My aches have been signifiant, and too many have been sharp pains.
Saturday, I did - NOTHING! Absolutely nothing.

Sunday, I took my son up to Guanella Pass and scouted out a few miles of my 100K race course. I haven't been able to spend much time working on this.

All of the trail we went on was above treeline. The weather was great, but threatening. The clouds kept the sun off us and kept us cool. There was no lightening.
We started on double-track - none of it from vehicles, but from high foot traffic. Square Top Lakes are beautiful and a favorite hike of many people.

After reaching the lakes, the trail peters out and is nothing but clumpy grass marked by cairns.

It then traverses around, goes over a grassy ridge, then drops straight down into the trees. We went down to treeline, but then ran out of time and headed back.

My son did great. I didn't push him at all and he didn't complain. On the contrary, all he did was keep saying how much he loved it. So maybe I can rope him into more of this course scouting in the future.

We did 6.6 miles total, round-trip. That's over 10% of the race!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


What is with me?
Yesterday evening, I was in a foul mood. I should have stayed home.
But I didn't and ended up having a nice recovery run.
Fearing my behavior for the rest of the evening, I just went home and ate leftovers instead of going out with the gang.

I've been rushing around too much over the past months. Not enough quiet time.
I just found my unopened Leadville Marathon information packet. I've been so busy I'm out of control.
I'm severely enjoying my solitude, now. I mean I'm enjoying being alone, and sleeping, and being alone some more like it's bliss. It's starting to freak me out. I guess it's a temporary "correction" to all the hyperactivity of this race season. When I lay down at night, and it's just me, and it's so quiet and peaceful, ahhhh. Bliss.
I've got to get my batteries recharged - in more ways than one.

After my 48 miles of Hard Rock pacing, with my left shoe too loose, I ended up with a blister on the outside of my left heel. Then after running the SR50 with the right shoe too loose, I have a matching blister, only bigger. I never get blisters! I've got to pay attention to the tightness of my laces more.

All my shoes are now either the wrong type of worn to tatters. I tried to find some Salomons, but the pair I tried on didn't feel right on the right arch - probably a defect in one shoe. But I couldn't get any sales help so I gave up and went home.
I won a free pair of Montrails and want the Streak, but no one stocks the Streak.
In fact, I'm supremely frustrated. Where-oh-where can I buy trail shoes?!? The stores stock only the trendiest Nikes, Adidas, etc. I'd prefer to try on my shoes (so I don't get a factory defect like I just mentioned). But it's so hard to find the shoes I want that I may be forced to buy online anyways.

Does anyone know a great online store for buying Salomon, New Balance, Pearl Izumi, and other great trail shoes?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Silver Rush 50

The Saturday before the SR50, I helped out several runners who decided to do a 50M training run from Winfield to Leadville. Harry Harcrow, who came in 2nd in the LT100 last year, was going to do all the support, but I offered to help. I wouldn't have been much use, but he had some mechanical problems with his van. So it was a good thing I was pitching in.
It was also good to see Theresa Do and the others again.

The Silver Rush 50 was the first running of Silver Rush, which used to be only a mountain bike race. The Mtn bikers raced Saturday, and the runners raced Sunday. Some did both, and some tried to do both but couldn't manage. Between the bike race and many who've been racing/training too much, it seemed like half the runners were slacking like me.

Even though I didn't do the bike race, my body has been stressed to the max.
I'm tired of hacking up both lungs after races, throwing up from convulsions, wondering if I should go to the emergency room for oxygen because the foam in my lungs is choking me.
The fall during the Leadville Marathon did a tiny bit more harm than I knew. My elbow is more sensitive to touch than the day I fell. Obviously some bone injury involved - a crack or chip.
My left knee is intermittently hurting. I need to be more diligent stretching.
My left big toe knuckle has been bothering me for a month, and the swelling during Hard Rock was apparently from some dried grass jabbing into my foot and causing a mild infection - which swelled badly during the 48 miles of pacing I did.

So... I wasn't feeling motivated to kick butt at the SR50.

The race started straight up a steep, gopher-holed slope. The first male and female runners won a troy-ounce of silver. That was cool.
But of course, I wasn't going to try for that!
The entire first half, I didn't try at all! I was in coasting-mode. I made sure there was no stress on my lungs.
We went south out of Leadville into some terrain I've never seen. Then we headed east towards Mt. Sherman.
The course has some rocky and steep sections, but overall not very hard on the feet.
It does eventually hook up on the marathon course. There weren't very many miles of course in common, but much of it close, since the old mining areas are so criss-crossed with trails and roads you could get lost if you weren't familiar.
At the half-way aid station, I decided to start trying a little - but not much. I began passing people.
It wasn't long before sharp pains began in my metatarsals. I just ignored the pain and prayed to stay in one piece for 20 more miles.
During the race, I had to head into the bushes twice - so I lost enough extra time to really, really lose any competitive propensities. But I did try not to slack-off when I was running. Power-walk uphill had to be done with elbows bent and maximizing form. I didn't force myself to run fast, but I did demand that I ran everything that was slightly uphill, flat, or downhill on the return.
I passed a guy, Jesse, heading up the pass east of Ball Mountain. I'd never met him before. I actually got very far ahead of him without trying, but he caught me miles later going down. He remembered me from the marathon and wanted to catch and pass me. He'd only run three marathons in his life - all the Leadville Marathon the past three years in a row. This was his first ultra, and man, he wasn't hurtin'! He did GREAT! We both were hoping for sub-10hr finish. Starting out, neither of us had a clue what goal to choose. But 90 minutes from the finish, I noticed that I had gotten to that spot 90 minutes into the race - mostly uphill - so even tired and sore, I ought to be able to get sub-10hr.
Jesse soon took off and I had to head into the weeds for my 2nd potty-break.
I thought I was lost, because I didn't remember the road section that followed, so I waited until the really slow guy I passed a while before finally caught up. Then I was off running again.
I kept looking at my watch. I had told Jesse that I hoped it wouldn't be too close to 10hr, because I REALLY didn't want to try today. Then close to the finish, I decided I didn't care to try even if it was close. So glad they didn't send us down the slope they sent us up. That would've taken more effort and time.

Finish = 9:59:03 (last runner under 10hr)
32nd place
Still in one piece.

They had a brat, hot dog, and veggie burger cook-out at the finish. Coors beer (not so bad after 50 miles of heat and scorching high-altitude sun.)

I feel compelled to comment on the official drink for all Leadville events this year: Powerade. I have to choke when referring to it as a "sport drink". Go to the website and see if you can find important info like ... INGREDIENTS!!! This company is all about marketing hype, "joining" teams, and flavors. It's owned by Coca-Cola - what do you expect?!
Most important race-management tasks for a runner during an ultra are hydration/electrolytes. Tell me how much electrolyte in Powerade! There seems to be NO DATA out there! It upsets my stomach - and my stomach is cast-iron, so there's something WRONG with this crap! Does it have ANY electrolytes? I had to suck down 6 e-caps during the race!
There were more people throwing up during the biking and running events than I have ever heard of. The DNF rate was higher than it should have been because people couldn't keep from barfing.
This is what they'll serve during the famed LT100. Holy crap! A serious ultra-event serving Powerade!
This is such a peeve of mine I may not sign up for next year if they keep using Powerade.

End of rant. Back to our regularly-scheduled topic...

The SR50 race is higher than the Collegiate Peaks 50, and seems to have more climbing, but I'm not sure it's harder than CP50. Compared to SJS50 and Jemez, this was a cake-walk.
Wow, was CP50 really only 3 months ago? Seems like it was half a year ago. SR50 was my 4th 50M in 11 weeks, plus 48 miles of pacing at Hard Rock.

Time to drastically alter my mileage. Humpty-Dumpty is fried, and needs to rebuild. It is now too late to improve on my training for the LT100 - but I can screw it all up. Taper begins with no actual loss in miles - just the type of miles. Lower stress, but not at the expense of "quality" (speed), which increases VO2Max and efficiency.
I will spend the next few weeks before the LT100 working on under-10M runs, and going on longer hikes with my son and/or brothers. And lots of stretching and massaging. Diet is really important in these three weeks.

Friday, July 18, 2008

New Pandora.com update for iPhone

Now I'm happy...
Pandora is now available for iPhones.

Okay, okay, this is slightly off-topic - but not really! How many of us are dependent, or sometimes dependent, on our MP3 collection while running?

iTunes only plays songs. I guess most people prefer that.
I prefer Pandora.com. You tell it artists or songs you like and it plays songs randomly that are similar in many ways, even if totally different bands. This helps me to shop and somewhat broaden my musical horizons without wasting time on surfing or shopping. Pandora does the work. I tell it if I don't like a song, or if I do, or no-comment. This tunes your Pandora account (totally free). There are no commercials - just music. The more you tell it what you like and what you don't, the better you end up liking the offered selections.
The combination of Pandora and iTunes Store mean I can buy my favorite songs with extreme easy, after Pandora does the work of shopping for me.
So now I can run in style, with great new tunes, whether within cell-range or not.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jamie Donaldson Shatters Badwater Record

Jamie Donaldson tried last year, and what an amazing job she did - but shin-splints destroyed an otherwise dramatic run.

Pam Reed, one of the nicest people you could ever know, held onto her record for another year... but the writing was on the wall.

Badwater 2008 - Jamie went out strong and stayed strong.

Akos Konya and Jorge Pacheco battled for 1st, but Pacheco was too strong. Still, Konya held on for a strong 2nd.

Dean Karnazes held onto 3rd most of the race. As fast as Jamie was, running that fast, that late in the race, there really wasn't anything DK could do to defend himself. Jamie just ran away towards the 3rd place overall finish and a new record.

Read the reports...
Badwater Reports

And the Newspaper story...
RMN _ Littleton Runner Conquers Badwater

Colorado has a new hero and celebrity!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Late Award

After the Estes Park Marathon, the unofficial results had me listed as 4th in my division. But when I was leaving, someone said I was 3rd. Well, I never win anything, so I just left. When I got home from Hard Rock, I found they shipped my 3rd place medal to me. Now I feel like a heel. It's the only award for running I've ever won. Finisher medals are nice, but especially in my cut-throat M4 division, it's nice to get an award before going into M5.

My left forefoot is still swollen. I'm not sure what caused it, but it's why I didn't run the last section of HR100. The damage seems like soft-tissue, not bone or connective. I would think it would heal fast, but it's not. I'm not going to be sure if I'll run this weekends 50M race.

Badwater is still going ok, but Pacheco has won, and Colorado's Jamie Donaldson has come in 3rd overall.
Shanna (Banana) has come in 7th! Very awesome jobs for everyone!

Monday, July 14, 2008

HR100 Pacing Report

Every year I mark my calendar. I'm obsessed with the LT100 and HR100. You gotta learn to walk before you can run - I have to finish the LT100 to be eligible for Hard Rock.

I drove down on Thursday evening after work. My friend and the runner I would pace, Paul G, called and talked me into driving all the way to Silverton.
There were two Paul G's - Grimm-n-Gross. The gross-er one was nice enough to offer his trailer to the grimmer one +sidekick, the Late JeffO.
I made as little noise and conversation as possible getting in. I was asleep within two minutes of climbing into my sleeping bag.
We woke at 4am.

I rode with Paul G - uh, the usual reaper - and milled through the throngs, putting effort into always yielding to runners.
The RD, Dale, was busy figuring out check-ins and wait-listed runners who were entered at the last second.
I left a military duffel with sleeping bag, towel, clothes, and water bottle in the gym.

The race started, I took photos, then I went for breakfast - buttermilk pancakes and eggs.

Then I drove to Ouray to take a nap.

Olga called, then four of us carpooled to Telluride.
Olga, it was very great to see you again. (That friend of yours, Mike, is impressive! I gotta be like him when I'm his age! He rulz!)

I went looking for lunch and beer. These are important things when visiting Telluride, I'm telling you. There was a yoga festival, but the only thing I cared about were these absolutely fantastic veggie-wraps full of rice, black beans, zucchini, carrots, peas, Cilantro, etc. Heaven. Then beer.
During this feast, Kyle Skaggs blew through the Telluride aid station. I got back and half a dozen people made sure I knew I'd missed him.

I stayed a long time, but my runner didn't show. Turns out, he got lost twice - once before each of the first aid stations. We went back to Ouray, but Kyle was so fast he was long gone up towards Engineer Pass.

The wait was fun. I watched and helped with many people I knew and others I wanted to know, and helped with people I'd just met.

Paul-the-Grimmer was late and later. He got lost again with the new, radical course change that led into Ouray. Total time spent off-course = well over an hour.
He felt good and seemed to be perfectly coherent. He spent 20 minutes shoveling food into himself.
His drop-bag was not there! This was critical. The sun had set and all his lights, jacket, gels, hydration pack, etc. was in there. He had to borrow from several sources but was outfitted okay when we finally left Ouray.

We headed up to Engineer AS in total darkness. It was a new course, so we were both searching for markers.
I had seen the sheer, narrow ledges in photographs. At night, it was just a black void with the sound of raging water emanating from the bottom. From the sound, you could tell it was a very long drop. This thrilling trail lasted off-and-on for over a mile. Finally we broke free of the gorge and found the AS. The camp fire was billowing choking smoke, but it was warm. This stop was brief.
We followed the markers on up, and up, and up. Since I was apparently the most energetic at that point, it was as if I was pacing for about 8 people. There was a pack ahead that seemed to be operating the same way.
From Engineer Pass to Grouse AS, there were no markers at all. Some jerk had removed all of them. I verified that there were a few, although not many because the course is easy there. But there were none when we went through. Paul and I knew pretty well where we needed to go. We saw one guy, who was actually a multi-time veteran, go the wrong way, but he was well over half a mile away, so we could only hope he figured it out. (He did and we saw him later.)

Paul's drop-bag was at Grouse, clearly labeled "Ouray". Better late than never, I guess.

After Grouse was the climb of Handies, then down to Sherman AS. It was over a mile of descent. Then up towards Pole Creek AS.

This is where things changed. Paul was feeling all the 13'ers and 14'ers he'd climbed the weekends before, and the 90 or so minutes of wasted time spent lost. His legs were going.
My strategy was to get him beond Sherman - we don't want to DNF on the Lake City side. Get to Pole Creek. We can't DNF there - there's no transportation! Continue to Maggie and hope for a ride. Can't get a ride? oh, well, we might as well continue to Cunningham. Well, we can't DNF at Cunningham - it's too close! Let's DO THIS!

But no matter what tricks I pulled, when we got to Pole, Paul was done. They had an extra sleeping bag, so he stayed the night and walked to Maggie AS the next morning.

On the way, my mind started freaking. It was like having aliens beam my mind/soul into a body that was hiking up a mountain trail. All of a sudden, I was there. One moment I was nowhere, the next, I was inside someone's body hiking up the trail. The memories of previous miles were injected a moment afterwards. Oh, so weird! And neither my steps nor conversation faltered. But I was freakin'! Woah! Happened again. And again. I took a caffeine pill, and it eventually put an end to it. It's the only caffeine pill I took the whole time, and it worked wonders. From now on, I'm taking a load of caffeine!

So, runnerless, and the sun getting lower, I ran on towards Maggie.

At Maggie, I refilled and ate. One AS guy didn't seem to appreciate me using resources. I responded that my runner's registration paid my way. Besides, I was helping everyone who came through. Then I picked up pacing for Marcus M. I think maybe Marcus' mind was doing to him what mine had done to me earlier.

What can I say? The stretch from Maggie to finish is worse than wicked. Dangerous, especially in the dark and not knowing the way, with a runner who is S-faced. For some reason, my mind was still sharp, but my left foot was swelling. Even with Paul G, the theme had been, so what? My legs are better than his. Don't emit a peep about any pains. Be positive and gung-ho. But those last couple of miles down into Cunningham were a BITCH! BITCH!!!! And the omen of the headlamps going vertically up the opposite side of the valley was surreal. It was like they were zigging and zagging up a wall. Thousands of feet more up and then down, and then a few too many miles through flats to the Rock. We were too late to make it, I think, but my foot was too swollen to continue.

I felt bad about it, but I bailed at Cunningham and got a ride.
Marcus tried to continue but hallucinations brought him back. He is so tough. He made it 91+ miles of HR100 terrain.
Jack, who was laid-out at Pole Creek at the end of his rope, passed us and finished.
I saw so many that were "too late", but somehow they managed to hang on, rally, and push to a finish before the 48-hour cutoff.

I need to stop here. I could expound, but this post is too long already.

Friday, July 11, 2008

HR100 2008 Has Begun!!

I got in at 11:30pm last night.
Weather is fantastic, but forecast is mixed-bag.
Paul G and friends are stoked.
Luck to everyone - runners, crews, pacers, and all the incredible volunteers and RD staff!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Leadville Marathon Report

This is amazing...
Keri Nelson won. Not 1st-place woman, but 1stOA. When I first saw her, she was WAY ahead of 2nd. It seemed like 20 minutes. I don't know if Tim DeBoom is just faster downhill, or if Keri faded, but it was a fairly close finish.
You had to see her! You had to see her run! Wow!
In fact, all the top 5 or so were flying like not-from-this-earth. There was some incredible, tough competitors out there, and I feel I earned my place.

Since I've been so busy, I didn't take the time to look at last year's results. I seemed to remember I finished in 5:19, but that was wrong. Still, I did shave 4.5 minutes off my time. I'm not real satisfied with that, but it was at least faster.
There is one milestone, though. It's the first time in my life that I finished in the top 9%.
Next year, I'm determined to break 5 hours.

For breakfast, I drank a 20oz. coffee and ate Greek spinach quiche.

I ran up 6th avenue and back for a 1.3M warm-up.

My hydration was good, I had done my asthma meds in advance, and I sucked one Accel-gel a few minutes before the start.

I had one Ultimate Direction bottle. Filling it nearly all the way each aid station, I drank nearly a gallon during the race. Still, get this... I peed once before the race, and then not again until a few hours afterwards - even though I drank probably another litter after the race. So including the coffee, about 1.5 gallons and nothing coming out! The dry-rates at-altitude are horrendous. I felt fine, and when I finally peed, it was the right color.
Gee, isn't this fun talking about pee? Where else could you read about this stuff but in a running blog?!?!

I fell. Tripped, whirled, tried to recover, nope-oops-going down. I didn't waste a second and was running again. I figured if it would hurt, I'd find out the first couple of steps, right? So stopping to look at myself would have been a waste of time. I didn't feel any blood trickling down, so how bad could it be?

Anyway - splits! These times won't mean much to you, but look at my "place" at each A.S.! Too bad this wasn't a 50K! (Hint, hint, Ken & Merilee.)

Ven1 . Res1 . MP . . Res2 . Ven3 . Fin
0:50 . 1:50 . 2:48 . 3:17 . 3:49 . 5:05:17
64th . 45th . 35th . 25th . 24th . 21stPl

The guy I ran with during the LT100 Training Camp night-run was John Ramsay. I was knocking on his back door before the last aid station, and he even looked back and said "hey" at me, but John ran away from me to finish nearly three minutes ahead.

Behind me, there had been no one. It looked like half a mile of safety behind me. Then I noticed Neil Blake coming down the home stretch behind me with un-nerving speed. What's an old guy gotta do? I was wanting to coast in, but he made me work.

Two M4 division guys like us -
"My walker is faster than your walker!"
"Yeah, but I have new Nike Gore-Tex Depends!"
"Yeah, but I drank Geritol Plus before the race!"
"Yeah, but - oh, I forgot what I was gonna say!"

I was hurtin' and all I could think near the finish was Monty Python...
"But I'm not dead yet!"
"Well you soon will be!"

Post-race was good, but short of protein like turkey-wraps or PBJ. The air was so dry that the tiny PBJ's where virtually dehydrated into funny-looking crackers.
The volunteers tried their best and did a good job. And Ken K was everywhere cheering us on.

Several of us met at the Provin' Grounds coffee shop and ran up Hope Pass, but because I was reminded of the epic traffic jams on I-70 after a major holiday weekend, I only went up to Hopeless aid station with Teresa, then back. Teresa had gone 36 miles the day before while I was doing the marathon, so we were both pretty slow, and a great match. Afterwards, I gave Teresa a ride back to Broomfield.

Then I rushed home for a shower - and out again.

Because I don't trust what my "reputation" is, I think I should maybe not mention a name. (Seems misunderstandings happen lots these days.) Let's just say I had one of the most enjoyable evenings I've had in years. Great company, dinner, and a trail run at Red Rocks, ending in the dark looking over the lights of Denver and Red Rocks Amphitheater.

There were many friends from last year that don't seem to have returned to the Leadville scene. I miss them, but this year I have the fantastic-est friends! EVER!

Life is currently too good and I'm wallowing in happiness.

The rest of this week is going to be spent healing the bruising on my left foot, and the other bruises from my fall in the race (left butt cheek, right heel of palm, left elbow). Then packing for Hard Rock pacing.
Paul G said I was pacing 55M, then 52M, now he says sorry, it's 58M. Maybe it's good my foot hurts. I need to taper for this pacing job! It takes about 50M to slow Paul down to my speed. With only 42M behind him, I might have a bit of trouble keeping up!
This could be the funnest thing I've ever done in my life.

But how can I tell? Seems like everything is the "funnest" these days. And everyone I meet is SO COOL! And so amazing! How can everything be THAT great? Have I lost balance and all perspective? Or is life REALLY this good? I don't need to die and go to heaven. Heaven can't be better than this! The more miles I run and the more nights I spend under the stars the happier I get.

As Justin Mock pointed out, Colorado Runner Mag linked my blog.
Thanks, Jessica and Derek! You have the BEST mag!
CRM Blogs here

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Leadville Marathon Time

Good race.
About 15 minutes faster than last year. (Correction: only 4.5min faster.)
21st out of 230? finishers.
6th in division.
I ran with no GPS, no pace chart, no idea how I was doing compared to previous years.
Fun! Fun! Fun!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Leadville Trail 100 Training Camp 2008

After work, I had to finish packing at home, so I left Denver late on Friday. I was extremely sleepy, having gone several weeks on 5-7 hours of sleep every night, except a couple at 3 hours, and lots of running, plus still trying to recover from SJS50. So with just under 10 miles to go, I pulled off the highway and crawled into the back of my CR-V and was instantly asleep.

I woke at 5:30am and drove into town. I couldn't wait for the breakfast to begin, so I grabbed a cup at the Provin' Grounds coffee shop.

It was nice to see familiar faces, but there weren't as many as I had expected. Didn't matter - I met lots more.

We loaded onto a bus and drove us to Mayqueen campground at the west end of Turquoise Lake (mile 13.5 of the LT100). We would run 26 miles to Twin Lakes (mile 39.5).

I dosed myself with nasal steroids to control the nasal symptoms. It seemed to open up everything above the lungs. It took a couple of hours for the full effect.
I took albuterol 30 minutes before. It takes an hour for the full effect of that. So we were halfway up Sugarloaf when I started feeling like Puff the Magic Dragon.

Anita F and Gayle were running together, so I hung out with them for several miles.

Coming down Sugarloaf, I saw a familiar rock. Of course, I have no idea if it was "the rock" I flicked up with my right toe and bashed with my left ankle last year at the LT100. All I know is it was at the right place and it was the right size and shape. So I ceremoniously kicked it, then picked it up and heaved it off the road. "So THERE! You rock, you!" Can you believe how foul my language was?

At Fish Hatchery aid station, I took the opportunity to chow down. Hey, I never get to do that in races, and I paid a lot for the Camp, so I intended to get my money's worth!

After FH is the boring part - a couple of miles of pavement, then a few miles of dusty dirt road with traffic.
This is where I met Erin and Joy. Erin invited me to run with them, so we pretty much hooked-up for the rest of the Camp, in one way or another. It was nice to have a couple of new, interesting people to talk to, so the miles went by effortlessly.

The weather was nice, and there was food and beer waiting for us when we finished. What more could you ask for?

Tim and Anita F invited me to use the spare bed in their motel room. I jumped at the chance and took a shower. We ate Mexican food a few blocks away, then went to bed early.

Sunday, at breakfast, I decked-out Erin's shoes with my red DFL skull gaiters. She was certainly looking like a rad ultra trail runner.

Instead of letting us run over Hope Pass to Winfield and back, they instead bused us to Winfield, insisting that the Pass was "blocked" by snow. I beg to differ, but they did have lots of folks to look after, and they went out of their way to let us get whatever workouts we wanted.
I chose to climb Hope Pass, then turn right and climb Quayle. I didn't go all the way to the summit, but to the highest point on the ridge that led to Quayle. I wasn't sure how much time we had, so I didn't go the extra mile to the summit.
Downhill! I love rocky downhills - but you probably know that. I sprinted through the rockiest parts, slowing only to make the turns. It was speed I wouldn't use during the race, but it was a good workout.

More food, more beer, but I lost Erin, Joy, and Anita. I took the first bus back to Leadville.

I then drove to Twin Lakes and hiked to the river. Wow. The river was 12-18" above normal. It was flooding it's banks by several inches. It was a raging torrent like I've never seen it. Exactly 3 weeks before, also in the midst of warm temps and high snow melt, the river was only a few inches above normal. Now it was flowing powerfully enough to wash away a bulldozer. That put an end to my aspirations to cross the river.

With time to spare, I went mountain biking among the mines and tailings east of town.

6am Monday morning, Phil and Kim from New York, and Mike from Tennessee, Erin from Phoenix, and I, ate junk food at the Country Store and drank bad coffee and headed for the trailhead.

It was funny how easy it was to go fast up that peak. The last time - and only time - I had ever climbed Elbert was back in 1982. It almost killed me from dehydration and exhaustion. I was clueless about the extreme hydration needs at that altitude. This time was a waltz. Even goofing off, the five of us were at the summit in about 2h30m. Erin was ecstatic! It was her first 14er and she took lots of photos and a video clip to show her friends.

We took a different, longer way back. It was nice to do this with ultra-runners who didn't argue the longer route at all. It seemed "better" to all of us to pad some more miles.

The night run! This is always fun. This time it started raining at the beginning, but then settled into intermittent sprinkles. In all, the weather was actually quite nice. Since I had to be at work at 8am Tuesday morning, and we'd end near midnight, I told my new friends that I was only going slow until my lungs were warmed up and then I was going to put the pedal down.

I'm so bad with names. There was this old guy in front of me who was SO fast! I thought I'd blow by him but I was just trying to keep up. There was a younger guy behind me, who likewise was just trying to keep up with me. Uphill we puffed. Once it leveled out, we settled into a great intermittent run, but the other two hesitated at all streams. I blew through them and across them without slowing, so I ended up in front. After several miles, it was just the younger guy and myself. I never got his name - I was pushing so hard to get back to Denver. Down the steep, rocky Colorado Trail I sprinted and pulled away by myself. We rejoined on Half Moon road and ran together for miles.

At the end of the run, there were burritos, hot cocoa, and beer. No way I was going to drink a beer with so little sleep and a two hour drive to Denver in the middle of the night.

I left Leadville at 12:04 but didn't make it home before I got so sleepy I pulled over at Red Rocks. Seconds after turning off my engine, I fell asleep sitting upright. Ten minutes later, I woke up and drove home. I hadn't had a bath since Sunday morning, and had run so many miles, so many times, and was covered with "trail". But I just crashed into bed without cleaning.

I was at work on time the next day, clean but not shaven.

Three days, five running excursions, 11 hours of sleep, multiple streams to cross, 63 miles. Life is good.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

San Juan Solstice 50 Summary

I figured on writing a summary to SJS50, but between my job and all the traveling and running I've been doing, I haven't had time.
I finished the LT100 Training Camp, but that'll get a wee backlogged. To expedite, I will dump my "debrief log"...

- Dinner from 4:30pm to 7pm, they say, but fact is they were packing up and stopped serving around 6:38pm. So get there by 6pm to pig-out properly.
- Your drop-bags need to be dropped off at the same time.
- Nothing opens in Lake City before 7am, except for race morning: the Moose coffee shop is open at 4am. Don’t order anything with sausage. (They have ham/cheese/egg bagels.)
- Race starts at 5am.
- You need fleece gloves, bike gloves, Mtn Hardwear Elmer Fudd hat and ultra-light wind/rain jacket. Plus one Camelback bladder and one bottle. Take squirrel bag for chips.
- Take one aluminum tent stake for snow/ice arrest
- Warm up to full-speed before the race, and make sure you don’t eat too much. You don’t want to be slowed down heading up the road towards the river crossings. There are traffic jams at the crossings. So you need to be ahead of rush-hour. One woman complained in 2008 that she spent a total of 45 minutes waiting in lines.
- At start, 1 full Camelbak. Bottle should be empty, or have one swallow available in bottle.
- Aid #1 (top of Alpine Gulch) take one cup of water. Eat banana and orange.
- At Williams, get one full Camelbak + ½ bottle for getting to Aid #3 (Carson). Eat banana and orange. Fill squirrel bag with potato chips.
- At Carson, fill Camelbak and bottle all the way. Eat banana and orange. Fill squirrel bag with potato chips.
- At Divide, get one full Camelbak + ½ bottle to get to Aid #5 (Slumgullion). Eat banana and orange. Fill squirrel bag with potato chips.
- At Slumgullion, 1 full Camelbak. Bottle should be empty, or have one swallow.

Even though I had planned to split my hotel room, and ended up solo, this race scared me so much, and I had no experience, that I was stressed. I ended up not offering the extra bed to anyone and being thankful I had zero distractions so I cold focus, get my drop-bags finished, plan and get my "head" for the next day, and get to bed whenever I wanted.
It did pay off, but it was more than I needed. Honestly, if SJS50 wasn't that tough, I don't think I'll ever let a 50 bother me again.
I plan to move at full-speed in 2009.
By-the-way, I heard that registration will be changed to Jan. 15. I love this race so much I was going to require WiFi at any place I celebrated New Years just so I could be ready to register. I registered late on Jan. 2nd and ended up on the wait-list. If they move it to the 15th, I will set my alarm to wake me up at 11:30pm so I can get online.

So you can probably guess that I'm in love with this race? VERY good food at the pasta feed. Not your ordinary pasta. Great organization. Best of all, this race is TOUGH!
There's a trend - the tougher the race, the more fun I have. It isn't about the speed. It's about two things. The views in the wilderness, and how hard I have to drive.

And I guess that's why I keep trying to finish 100. I found my limits. My limits have resided at around 80-87 miles. I "stop having fun" around 70 miles. Beyond that, it's "interesting". I've had a hard life - mostly of the emotional kind - a bit brutal. So I've learned to be a bit brutal on myself.
The right side of my brain feels sorry for myself. The techie/scientist/analytical left part of my mind is totally bored with sniveling and doesn't want to hear it. This latter part of my mind is in charge when I register! The left side is too dumb to comprehend what 100 miles means. The left side tells the right side, "It'll be fun - a grand adventure." And the right side goes, "Oh BOY!!!"
If it sounds like the right side of my brain is a Labrador Retriever, well, PURE COINCIDENCE! Hey, all men are dogs, right? So I can't help it!
Anyways, at the beginning of 100's, the right side of my brain is pulling at the leash. In fact, I complained over the weekend that I was tired of training for the LT100 and wanted to just "get it on". I may not be successful, but I want the challenge NOW! I eat 50's for breakfast! (And lunch and almost dinner too.) And I feel READY!
The left side of my brain is using my body as a sadistic test-bed. "I wonder what will happen if I do... THIS?!" AAAAHHHH!!!! "Golly! What about.... THIS?!! YAAAAAHHHH!!!!

But last year I thought I could finish, Little Engine that I am. So much can go wrong.
Succeed or fail, I LOVE trying!