LooseCrew-JeffO: October 2008


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

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Boots

After I got home last night, I was so drained it was like I was drugged. I put myself to bed early and slept 10 hours, just like last week after the Boulder100. For sure, I must still be recovering from Boulder, but the climb was tougher than it seemed at the time. There was so much stimulation with my senses so overwhelmed that I was primarily paying attention to how cold my fingers were, my hydration, stepping careful, dancing with the wind and staying upright, and the VIEWS!! I wasn't paying much attention to how tough the climb was.
My GPS claimed I had only gone 4.1 miles round-trip, but plotting it on Google Earth said it was over 4.4 miles - still not far. So why was it so hard? There was 2510 feet of climbing, slipping constantly the whole way. I started at 11060 feet and topped-out at 13570 feet. Fighting the wind also required more energy to maintain stability, especially on the ridges.

I'm so glad I could visit that spot! I could see SO MUCH of the course I want the race on. The sections that were in most doubt were right below me. Plus I might have found an alternate route - but the NFS would have to allow me to build a new section of trail. If they would let me do that, it would keep the ugly powerlines out of the view for many more miles, and allow the race to enter an extremely beautiful high basin that originally would not have been seen.

I've lost my ice-climbing boots. Those boots were PERFECT! I've searched everywhere. How can boots that big disappear? Maybe I threw them on the roof of my CR-V one night sleeping inside and drove off without retrieving them? I don't remember anything like that. I have such a tiny living area and so much stuff that my shelves, closets, etc. are overwhelmed. It's hard to go through it all, but I have, and they aren't anywhere. I guess I have to buy new ones.
I LOVED those boots! They were so comfortable and indestructible. Okay, so it's not the same thing as losing a pet, or something like that, but I really will miss those boots. I've worn them on every extreme outing I've been on - EVER! Even camping in -20 raging blizzards above treeline, solo climbing Mount Wilson when recovering from Guillaine-Barre and still only half-recovered from paralysis, cramponing up adjacent Wilson Peak (I call them the Wilson Sisters) the year before, those boots have been up so many peaks.
I picked them up from "the pound" - REI's return racks - and paid half-price, or something like that. They looked so sad sitting there, but when our eyes met (my eyes and its eyelets and lace-hooks), it was love at first site. We bonded immediately.

R.I.P. (melodramic music plays here - maybe the saddest Italian opera music you can imagine)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

More Scouting for my 100K

I'm not really sure I'll ever have the patience to actually put this race on. It's so high and exposed. How does the Hard Rock RD, Dale Garland, endure the stress? The safety of the runners has got to weigh heavy on him.
I was going to drive through Montezuma and head south, but the gate to the north road was open. Since I wasn't used to that, I took advantage of it. I had no plans for the north, so I just made it up as I went.
It was a real late start - too many chores at home. I left my CR-V at 4:20pm and started up the trail/road to Argentine Pass. Instead of staying on the trail, I left it at the first and only switchback. I continued climbing up the valley on very slippery snow. The rocks under the snow were treacherous. The wind was gusting, but I guess I'm used to that, and it helped. The wind actually helped to blow me uphill. It was extremely slow going, with safety my primary concern.
It was all worth it! The views were stunning, and I got the best view yet of the areas I hope to have my course go through.
The sunset from so high up was fantastic. Heck, I'll let you decide!

Sure beats Kansas!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Thanks to everyone who has helped me get across the finish. The list of people out there who have coached and inspired me is too long. You know who you are.

I finally got my photos. I didn't take many. I REALLY wish I had gotten the sunset over the lake, but the timing didn't work out. All I got was me drinking my champagne at the end, and the swollen ankles and the really bad rash. Heat rash? I never had a rash like that. I'm afraid I didn't pay much attention to anything but keeping myself moving.

I'm not crippled. I was going up and down stairs at work carrying computers like usual. No one had a clue about my weekend. I haven't been hobbling. There have been some temporary aches and sharp spikes, but if I wait, they go away. I think it means I need to take some time with only moderate activity.

Tonight was the Tuesday Wash Park run. I trotted and walked 3 miles - no more. It felt good to run, but I think it would be stupid to try to push my luck. I need several days of rest before I start loading up again.

The Rockies are covered with snow. I think it's too late to scout my 100k course, but maybe I'll give it one last try this weekend.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Boulder 100 Report

The 12 Hours of Frisco taught me much about being prepared, and past experiences with Gemini Adventures races taught me about some of the temptations that have led many to DNF. They REALLY take care of you! They have more food types than most races. More, probably, than even the LT100. But the best (worst) thing is the heat tent. They have a tent with chairs and a big gas heater. So many people get into one of those chairs at night and never get up.

I bought a box of 1-gallon Ziploc bags. In each was an 11.5oz can of V-8, one gel, 20oz of sport drink, and either a bag of potato chips or a trail bar of some type.
For sport drink, I bought an 8-pack of Gatorade (for the bottles). I mixed some of them half-strength and others had my own mixture of orange R4, Gatorade, and Heed. Between those bottles, and my Ultimate Direction and bike bottles, I had enough for all 14 laps.
I made leashed out of duct tape for the Gatorade bottles.
Even though I didn't use the tempting main aid area, I did use the aid station at the far end. Every time I went through, I grabbed some banana and refilled my bottle.

Each 1-gallon bag contained 400-500 calories in food. With sprot drink calories, it added up to 9500 calories consumed.

Registration for 100's are not cheap, and by supplying myself I forfeited a chunk of money, but I saved a massive amount of time on the course.
Rules allowed us to receive aid anywhere on the course.
The course begins with a .4 mile loop. I stuck my pile of stuff at the junction of this loop.
Aid transition went like this...
If I had a Gatorade bottle, I stripped the duct-tape leash off .8 miles from the turn-around and threw the tape in one of the garbage can along the course, and threw the bottle into a recycle container at .7 miles from the main aid.
If I had an Ultimate Direction bottle, I threw it down and ran empty-handed the last .4 miles.
I'd make sure they recorded my number at the turn-around, then I went back .4 miles to grab a 1-gallon bag. No need to stop. My aid stops consisted of about 3-4 seconds because some bags were geared more for hot sun and some for cold nights, so I had to pay attention. While I walked, I put the food in one pocket, the empty bag in another, and I would drink the V-8 in time to toss it in the recycle bin at .7 miles.
A mile later, I would eat half my food.

So many faster runners would pass me well before the turn-around, then after being on the course for a mile, they passed me again. So I was doing an additional 1-2 miles while they were at the aid stations. That's how affective my few-second aid stops were.

The day was warm and the sun was a scorcher! I was using my beau jest flap on my cap, plus a white bandanna to shield from the sun. Humidity was extremely low - 50-60%, so the dry-rate was extreme. I didn't pee most of the day, but felt fine. At night, I began peeing three times per lap.

The only time I stopped more than 30 seconds the entire race, and the only time I sat was to use the porta-potty during the night. My longest stops were for hugs, and talking to friends I only get to see at races.
Theresa Do from the LT100 was volunteering. Paul Grimm and Paul Gross were both there. Jack from Hard Rock was there at the aid station.
Uli Kamm was there. I walked with him a couple of miles. He's full of sage advice and kept my psyche under control not to go too fast.
Ryan Cooper ran 128 miles in the 24-hour event. GEEZ!! That guy is incredible.
Alene Nitzky also did the 24-hour, but I lost track of her in the dark night. She's always very good company.
The night was particularly dark for the first several hours. And even after that, most people wear head lamps on their foreheads, so you can see their faces.
Mike Quispe and Justin Mock met me during the night. Justin had asked Mike how they would be able to find me, but Mike just said, "Look for tree-trunk legs." Sure enough, "Jeff?" "Yeah? Who are you?" They went about 4 miles with me and kept me laughing the whole way.
Paul Grimm volunteered until 4am, and then he paced me all the way to the finish.

My goal was sub-24 hours, but I was easily managing a 22.5 hour pace. But during the night, I forgot my down vest the first lap I needed it. I didn't get real hypothermic, but I did start shivering. Maybe my building dehydration through the day caught up to me, or my electrolytes weren't right? All I know is three laps were dismal and I fell way off the sub-23 pace.
Then at mile 88, I had this amazing resurge. I've only read about stuff like this. No I wasn't Superman, but it was like when the fever breaks after having the flu. I could run again. So I did. Run-walk-run-walk.
My pace chart allowed me to finish in 23:48, slowing down 2 minutes per lap through the whole race. I didn't follow the chart - it was just something to gauge myself by (and very useful.) I finished in 23:45. How's that for close?
Official cut-off was 30 hours, but seriously, if I can't do this in under 24, then I can't do the LT100 under 30. So to get my revenge, I had to do this under 24.

Also, I got 2nd place!

It was a fantastic time - and now I hurt like hell.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Winter in Wyoming

I wrote the following Saturday night.

I'm sitting the same place I spent Friday night. I'm a few miles from the Happy Jack exit on I-80 on a ridge. The weather is worse than ever. Ice coats the outside of my car.
In the past, I have "roughed it" to extremes. I've hiked, climbed, and camped in severe blizzards. A few of my adventures were downright death-defying in sub-zero raging winter storms above treeline.
So here I sit inside my steel and glass cocoon, cheating. I have comfy bedding. I've just finished watching I Am Legend for the 2nd time.
Outside, the wind rages, rocking the vehicle. I have the windows barely cracked to let some air pass through. The wind tries desperately to send its rage into my lair.
Am I getting old, or what? All I do is run, now. If I climb a mountain, it's just a training run. If I head out into a winter storm, it's for a short training run - or an aided race. I tell ya - life is so different now.
My soul loves the wind. When I sleep, I like to feel the wind on my cheeks. I like when an occasional snowflake or droplet lands on my cheek. But I sure am woosing-out inside the car.
Oh well...
Time for bed.

Around 11pm, I was awaken by... silence. The wind had stopped. I opened up the rear window and let the clean air in. Then it started snowing lightly.

In the morning, the clouds had lifted sufficiently to give me a very nice view. What a crime that I forgot my camera and was left using my iPhone. I did the best I could with its pathetic camera.

I like shooting. I've been pheasant hunting in the past. I have nothing against guns or hunting. But why do some selfish, ignorant turds have to bring TVs and other garbage out, then shoot it up, and then leave it? It pisses me off for so many reasons. It is SO hard to find a place to shoot in Colorado because so many idiots have caused signs to sprout saying "No Shooting". There were a few nice, free outdoor shooting ranges near Idaho Springs, but each were shut down. They give shooters a bad name.
When I've taken my son shooting, I've always warned him, "We always leave the range better than we found it." I won't clean up everything (I'd need a pickup truck!), but I'll at least clean more garbage than I brought. If everyone did that, piles of junk wouldn't proliferate.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Silent Trails 2008

This was an experience! WHAT a completely necessary FANTASTIC time!

I drove up straight from work. The weather was nice, the traffic bad, but no auto accidents.

I made it to Cheyenne for dinner, then onwards. Not far out of Cheyenne, in the dark, I drove into a cloud. The next 30 miles were treacherous limited-visibility. Then it started freezing on my windshield. So not only could I not drive the speed limit due to visibility, I had to slow even more for ice. The cloud was only hanging around the ridges.
I took Happy Jack exit to find a place to camp. In the freezing cloud, the mist was billowing across the ground in constant waves. Visibility off the highway was even worse. I don't know what was legal camping and what wasn't, but with visibility sometimes down to 20 feet, I didn't think I'd see another soul - nor would a ranger think of looking for any violators. I don't know where I was - I just drove off into the mist on a dirt road and stopped somewhere.

In the morning, the weather wasn't even a tiny bit better. My car, and my bike outside, were coated in rime-ice.

Alec Muthig and wife Kathy were there, as usual. So was Gail Leedy and Patrick Eastman, people I've met before. Patrick got married this summer.

Things were actually tolerable at the start, but I spent half an hour on the side of the road with a cardboard sign warning people to slow down. In spite of that, several vehicles slid past the turn, but overall, I think I helped keep people out of the ditches. What irony if someone had a car accident at a race in memory of 8 runners who died in an accident.

I felt pretty good at the start of the race. The trail was icy and there were plenty of rocks and tree roots and two streams to leap across. If you add it up, there was maybe 1-2 miles of road, 1-2 miles of double- or wide-track, and the rest was winding single-track through rime-coated aspen and pine. It was MAGICAL! But watch the footing. The few times I had to step on a smooth rock,my foot slid sideways on the ice. My Pearl Izumi's just don't have tread.

Last year, I had a minor asthma attack going up the steepest last part of the major climb. This year, with Albuterol, I had no troubles. I pushed hard, but not 100% because i didn't want to get injured one week before the Boulder 100. It didn't matter - I PR'd anyways. 1:32 (I checked last year's stats - I'm completely missing. So i checked my race report from last year. I neglected to state the finish time, but said I had taken two minutes off my time. So that would mean I took another five minutes off. So, still getting older and faster.
I was 5th in my division. I'm very satisfied, especially since it wasn't a 100% effort.

The post-race is always fantastic. All you can stand to eat. Lots of awards and prizes.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Got My Energy Back

I've been really tired lately. I actually took Saturday off. My brothers did their usual bit where they say thay want to do something and then they don't. We were going to go gold prospecting, but instead I watched a DVD.

I highly recommend the Chinese movie "2046". It's one of the best movies I've ever seen. Extremely well written, acted, and filmed. Why haven't I heard of this before? No Hollywood marketing campaign behind it, I guess. 2046 won awards at Cannes.

Sunday I ran at Apex Park, which is a pretty rugged trail. I did an 8.6 mile combination. I never felt very good and had to force myself to do interval hill sprints.

Today, I started slow, but after warming up, all my fatigue faded away. I logged 9 miles and finished FAST! I feel great!

I can no longer suggest Knox NutraJoint.
In past years, I could get NutraJoint for $11 with a coupon or on sale. The coupons and sales stopped. I didn't want to pay $18 for a little can, so I waited for it to go on sale again. Instead, the price shot up to $28 a can! Geez! There's no way I'm paying that! But that's not all - now its $38 a can. Thirty-eight! Dollars! US!
Buy Jello and take calcium suppliments.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Ramblings

The woman in red & black. I see all sorts of incredible women at Wash Park, but this one that was wearing red & black on Tuesday has caught my attention.
Don't get me wrong - I have no intention of starting anything with anyone. My past is paved with a perfect record - every woman who I tried to have a relationship with now hates my guts. I've discovered too much happiness alone, I'm selfish about my freedom, and I love to run. Why screw with what works?
Wednesday, I saw her again. I swear she runs a half-marathon every day. She has to be doing 5 laps, or maybe more.
Thursday, she was there again!
Now Friday night, and she was still out there.
I am very curious about her, but she wears ear-buds. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if a person crams earbuds in their ears, and they don't ever make eye-contact, then they want to tune-out the world and don't want you to bother them, right?

I've been averaging a bit more than 8 miles per evening.
By the end of August, I ran more miles than all of last year. Now I've done 200 miles more than last year.
It's nice to be healthy. I have been having occasional sharp pains in both feet since the beginning of summer, but since it hasn't been constant, I haven't slacked. Still, with so many people I know getting severe sprains, stress-fractures, knee surgery, and other issues, I'm trying to be cautious and not take anything for granted.

There's a marathon tomorrow morning easy driving distance from Denver and I decided not to run it. I'm going to spend time with either my brothers of my son, or all of them.

Recently, my head has been sweating like crazy. The temps are cooling off, but I'm sweating so much that I have to wear a bandanna to soak up the sweat lest it run constantly down. A cap isn't enough. I tried wearing a cap and then dabbing and wiping with a bandanna in my hand, but since the sun sets so early, I don't really need a cap bill, so I now go running like a pirate, wearing the bandanna on top. I'm just a hot-head.

Next week, I have the 10-mile Silent Trails race in Wyoming. I really like this race. I get to meet another group of people I don't normally see, yet they all love to run trails like I do.

Two weeks from now is the Boulder 100. It's a boring course, but I'm really looking forward to it. I know I'll have lots of fun. It's not the course, it's the company I keep! Oh, and the view of the Front Range helps. At the 12-hour of Frisco, I learned some extra things about self-crewing that ought to keep me moving faster through the turn-arounds. V-8, V-8, lots of pre-filled sport-drink in any kind of bottle I can fill - it doesn't have to be an Ultimate Direction bottle. I bought a bunch of Gatorade in smaller bottles. I can fill them with my preferred mixture of Heed, Gatorade, and Pretpetuem.

And last-but-not-least, I stumbled on this blog in bloody-ol' England. The photos are well worth the visit...
Sarah' and Iain's blog
So check out the wiki. It is absolutely beautiful - for a place with no trees and still low elevation. They even run in the famed Brecon Beacons.