LooseCrew-JeffO: May 2009


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

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cool Website!

I'm going camping with my 15y.o. son in the Winfield area, where the out-and-back LT100 course turns around at 50 miles.

Waiting for his lazy teenage ass to get out of bed so we can leave, I've been cruising the Internet. I found several really cool websites. I read somewhere some guy's idea of the best websites, and he chose the Drudge Report as #1. Very plain. Why the best? Because it loads instantly and is a no-nonsense informative site that lets you decide for yourself what is more interresting, instead of trying to guide you into believing that the current stupid thing Brittany Spears or some other idiot has done is newsworthy. The Drudge Report just tosses headlines out there with very little to differentiate them. And the Drudge Report doesn't actually write any of the content, nor host any content. All it does is link.
In that theme, Neatorama does a blurb-and-link. Not as plain as the Drudge Report, plus they add a little photo and blurb, plus they do have their own content sometimes. Neatorama links to many other unique and educational sites like EnvironmentalGraffiti,
and this funny blog
and HealthAssist
and NASA's Earth Observatory.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sage Burner 50K 2009

No, I didn't run this. And I didn't walk it either.
Gunnison. I like this town. I think the friendliest athletes come from there.
Paul G wanted to trade-up to the 50K, and I wanted to either walk the 25K or DNS, depending on how exactly my injuries felt raceday morning. So Paul got my 50K bib. I decided just one minute before the race that I would DNS, and ride my bike around instead.
My injuries are virtually painless, but the tissues are still weak. It'll take some weeks off to let them strengthen. The next race I care a lot about it the San Juan Solstice 50M four weeks away. Okay, I REALLY care about the Steamboat Marathon, but that's forbidden. That kind of speed will absolutely put me on an operating table. I plan to really take it easy on the injuries the next month.

Here we are raceday morning before heading to the start/finish area.

And they're off!

Tim Parr won the 50K

Mike Selig came in 2nd

Keri Nelson came in 1st female

My Denver Trail Runner camping friends Gayle, Julia, and Becca. This was Julia's first ultra and she did GREAT!

Anita Fromm on the left and... I don't know the woman on the right. I've seen her for years and I still don't know her name. My bad.

Under the Kelty sunshade with light rain coming down. These are not fair-weather women. No one complained about the rain at all.

OMG! Did Chris just fart?!

I got several miles of biking in and still got to meet the usual suspects.
It's great hanging out with people who don't care about the weather. Nothing stops us from drinking libations and acting silly until late into the evening. Yes, I said evening, not night or morning. We're athletes, okay. No 3am bedtimes. We're down and out by about 10pm.

On the way back, we all stopped at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. Then we stopped at the Coyote Cantina for lunch. It was a rolling vacation. But yes, we finally all went our seperate ways eventually.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Taking a Break

My plantar faciitis and Achilles injury are both simmering. I needed crutches after Jemez, not the next morning. Haven't been limping at all, but I can feel my injuries down there. I don't think I should run at all until I can walk without feeling my injuries. Then some easy, short intervals. I'm starting over again from scratch, biking some but mostly doing yard work and catching up on chores that has piled up on my list.

Sage Burner 50K this weekend - but I can only go camp with my friends and ride my bike. Maybe I'll hijack an aid station. Whatever, I paid, I'm going, I want my tshirt-or-whatever, and then I want to hang out with my friends and camp Saturday night.

With Jemez, I forgot to post the photos from the Greenland 50K.

Here are the 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-place women.
Bronwyn Morrissey on the left won, Elizabeth Campagna in the middle came in 3rd, and Caitlin Jones came in 2nd. Elizabeth ran an incredible race, almost perfectly steady until close to the end. She almost won.
Bronwyn did an awesome job taking and keeping the lead, but I think Elizabeth led most of the race. And Caitlin was going so fast at the end, if the race had been .2 longer, she woulda-coulda won.
It was very cool to see them all finish consecutively, with no guys between them. Very impressive competition to witness.

Here's Elizabeth and some ugly guy - wait, that's me! What a handsome cripple, don't you think? Pikes Peak is in the background, but the contrast made it invisible, so take my word for it, okay?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jemez 50 Part II

Leaving Pipeline aid, you plummet off the rim of the Caldera. It's almost a cliff. No doubt, this is a dangerous drop-off. It is possible to "lose it" and tumble to a broken and bloody heap at the bottom. The footing is extremely loose, and everything you try to grab is also loose. And you're also trying not to cause anyone else to fall.

Usually the Caldera is a great place to make some time. It's several miles of easy-going and extremely runnable on the road sections. Once you pass the aid station, though, there's a huge expanse of grassland. The grass grows in frustrating clumps that defy attempts to run, but it is possible to run very ungracefully through this, with a few wipe-outs. But no running for me this year.
There's a small pond at the low point, and the frogs were croaking extremely loud. There were lots of birds. Some Mountain Blue Birds, owls, finches, and some birds I don't think I've ever seen before with jet-black bodies and bright-yellow heads.

Then up through the boulder-field. I attacked each uphill with all my frustrations. People who kept passing me on the flats and downhills saw me blaze up, even through the jutting boulders and fallen trees. No stopping, no slowing, and yelling, "Yeehah! Downhill all the way up!" and crap like that the whole way. What a knucklehead.
I wasn't alone. "John" looked and acted like a gung-ho sergeant straight back from the Middle-East. He was lots of fun and was also very vocal and good-humored. A really good guy to "run" with.
First-timers to this race struggle up this bouldering and deadfall-hopping and get to the top of the ridge and... they're crushed to see the flagging continue to climb up the ridge to the left, steep, and through the same clumps of grass found in the Caldera.
Finally up, over, and many miles of gentle descent. This descent was hard on me. Last year, this a was deliriously fine spree through beautiful meadows and forest. This year it was a walk, but still beautiful - without the exhilarating speed.
Then cross the barbed-wire fence.
Then miles of fairly boring stuff where I let my mind wander to my injuries and did a moving reassessment. Things seemed to be right on-track.
Up Pajarito mountain. A guy was lost - first-timer. I showed him the way. He had mis-read the map but wasn't far off.
Then down the expert ski-slope. This year was easier. Last year had been slushy snow. It was nearly impossible to keep your feet under you. But this year was just STEEP.
The only cut-off for this race is the ski lodge - 5pm. I made it in 4:30. Not great, compared to last year, but still right on-plan.
On towards Pipeline aid the second time. I like this figure-8 course. Had my picture taken kissing the inflatable sheep mascot - "Show the sheep some lovin'!"

I figured that with walking, I wouldn't fade, but I did. It wasn't the energy, but the swelling. When you don't use your feet, you flop down on them all day. You get no "spring". Even though I hadn't stressed my injuries in the wrong ways, everything from the ankles down swelled. The swelling put pressure on my injuries. So the pain in my injuries made it difficult to assess was the pain from furthering damage, or just side-affect of swelling? Wasn't sure. With 8 miles to go, I started slowing down. With 5 miles to go, I started slowing down a lot.
It was now dark. The race started in the dark and I was finishing in the dark. I had carried my flashlight the whole way, using no drop-bags, and planning for a night-finish.
As the pain below the knees intensified, and I kept slowing, it was still a very enjoyable experience. I didn't let myself mope. This was such a beautiful course. How very lucky that I was there. My life is so much richer with every experience, with all the people. Nature is something I like to experience face-to-face. I want to feel the wind, the rain, the snow, sleet, sun, the heat and cold (hopefully not too much heat). I want to feel the trees, bushes, and grass - and if they leave me bleeding some, that's okay! I kept telling myself, if I end up DFL, I'd still rather be there than sitting in Denver feeling sorry for myself.
I wasn't DFL, but not far ahead.
Last year: 12:20
This year: 16:30
I grabbed my crutches. J.T. got me some ice. Oh, my feet hurt and were swelling. I had another very nasty blister on my right heel. I need to return to my Injinji's and Vaseline. I never had blisters with that system. I had to poke about 30 holes in the blister to get all the layers and pockets of fluid emptied. Then I wrapped Ace bandages around both feet and ankles.

Paul Grimm is always telling me, "You'd be surprised how good you feel after one night of sleep." He is so right. I wasn't even limping the next morning. Moving slow, but still not limping.

Jemez 50 2009 Part I

This could be the most boring race report yet.
With tweaks blowing into injuries during the Greenland 50K, I was left in a tough dilemma. I could either sit at home and feel sorry for myself, or I could walk Jemez for 50 miles.
I walked.

The pre-race dinner was the same spaghetti, and great crowds. Actually, there were more people than ever. It was fun meeting people, laughing, talking, etc. Good for the soul.
After the pre-race meeting, I won an Ultimate Direction 24oz bottle and fanny pack holder. Retails for $36. With tax, that paid for my gas for the whole trip.
Last year, I took my camera and took plenty of photos, so this year I left my camera.

The night before the race, the weather was unbelievable. I slept in the back of my CR-V with the windows open and didn't get cold. The air was so nice and I slept like a baby. Good thing I brought three alarm-clocks - the first two didn't wake me.

4am - breakfast was all the trailbars I got at the Greenland 50K race. Coffee - I had thought ahead and pre-heated my thermos withf boiling water. Then I had driven to Kaladi's for a 20oz cup. I poured out the hot water, poured in the hot coffee, and left it sealed until race-day morning. Awe yes!

Check-in. More meeting of friends and sharing stories and wishing luck. As we headed out, I hooked up with Uli Kamm and he told me how he walks EVERY race.
As usual, We're all talking and suddenly everyone starts moving, so I guess the race is on. Funny how low-key ultras are.
So I started with a nice little walk - but I couldn't keep up with Uli. Yikes! I HAVE to walk this one! If I can't keep up with Uli, this isn't going to happen.

Well, the plan was, no running - not a step. And if I can't keep up, then DNF at Pipeline aid and volunteer until the race is over. That would give me ring-side seat at an aid station that everyone in the 50M and 50K would pass through twice. And because the 50K started an hour later than the 50M, the flow would be constant all day long.
I took a fanny pack that held two 20oz bottles. In the pack was my ultra-skimpy Salomon Fastwing Hoodie jacket, a cotton bandanna, and toilet paper. I always wear hiking shorts during ultras because I like the big pockets. One pocket was stuffed with 5 gel-paks, and a baggie full of 500mg vitamin C, 200mg ibuprofen, 81mg aspirin, Tylenol, calcium, lots of Hammer Race caps and Endurolytes, and omega 3 capsules. See all the pills I pop during races?
When the sun hits your skin, it converts vitamin C into vitamin D. Natural process. Run out of vitamin C and you burn. Lots of sun = lots of vitamin C lost. In intense sun, you have to gulp about 500mg every hour. You can overdose on vitamin C. It's an acid. It's all about balance. You wouldn't guzzle salt capsules during regular life. Taking over 2000mg of vitamin in a day in pill-form is not normally a good idea. Better to feed yourself smaller doses regularly as-needed, with food.

Oh yeah, the race...
So we started out and I could barely stay within conversational distance with Uli. But there's always a traffic jam about a quarter-mile into the race as we get funneled down into a double-track trail. So it didn't do any good to hurry. After the jam, Uli and I were walking together with ease.
Then I got in a conversation with some other friendly guy. The trail is a mixture of light-gray powdery dirt and the rock it came from. The rock seems to be from a pyroclastic flow. For you non-geologist types, that's like a Mount Saint Helens volcanic ash and mud flow that settles and turns to rock. It's a somewhat soft rock. There are ruts a couple feet apart in the trail. I commented to this guy that they look like very old Conestoga wagon ruts. He said he thought they had to be also. The width is so very uniform to have been carved by hand, and sometimes the ruts get too deep for any vehicle to have made, except for a large-wheeled wagon.

The weather was almost uniform all day, and almost the same temps as the night. I started with a short-sleeve shirt and a long-sleeve shirt. After the first couple of miles, I tied the long-sleeve around my waist.

At the out-and-back section on Caballo mountain, I noticed Betsy Kalmeyer flying down rather earlier than I expected. Last year, we climbed together the whole way. Then before the descent, my downhill ability sent me way ahead for good. But this year, Betsy was WAY ahead of me!
The 50K runners were mixing it up with the 50-milers, by then, so it was impossible to figure out where I placed in the whole mess.
One young guy was giving it a good go. He looked very out of shape, but it was good to see him trying. Early on, we climbed a ladder after attacking a couple of ridges up and down. He asked me if it's all so crazy-difficult like "this". I just said, well, yeah, I guess - but you get to rest for several miles in the Caldera. I don't guess he finished, but I hope his spirits weren't crushed by the difficulty of this course. I last saw him going up the bottom of Caballero while I was finishing Caballero. That put him too far back to finish, but I hope he got to see the Caldera. It's my favorite part of the course.

At the Pipeline aid station, I had to sit down and probe my injuries. This was the final check-up. I decided it was a "go".
Basically, I was letting my feet flop around on the ends of my legs. I wasn't using any muscles below the knees, except minimal stability. No air-time, no rising up on toes, no stresses applied to the Achilles or plantar. While this took/wasted more energy, I had plenty of energy to spare. I had to stick to the plan, and the plan was working.

Monday, May 11, 2009


The ending of The Joy Luck Club still makes me cry. I know this is extremely un-guy-like, but I can't help it. This movie just gets me. Not just the watery eyes either, but having to dab the tears and the sniffly nose.

Now to some guy-stuff! Golly, I sure love pain! Hooyah!
I feel like myself again, now.

My Achilles is healing extremly fast, but I fear there's been too much damage to heal in time for the Jemez 50M this weekend. We'll see. Every week I put Humpty Dumpty back together again, and each weekend I hope not to fall off the wall again.
I was limping this morning, but by noon, I was not. My body wants to run. I feel 100% everywhere except my left ankle and heel. I'm like a caged wild animal. I want to RUN! I can't wait for this weekend. I have no idea what will happen - just doing the best I can.

Had a dental appointment this morning - no time for podiatrist.
Got training class Tuesday - no time for podiatrist.
Need to register my over-due car with emissions test Wednesday - no time for podiatrist.
I can't see out of my glasses, they're so scratched-up and old. I'm practically blind. I need to get a new prescription and glasses/contacts. Jury duty last week. I keep taking so much time off work they're giving me shit that I'm practically never at work anymore. Now I'm also supposed to go to a doctor about my injuries? This is totally not kosher, but I need to fit it in.

I'm officially no longer training. At all. All I do is race, and mend, race, and mend. Last year wasn't like this. Last year I kicked ass. Last year I had my High Priestess, Lucy, giving massages and doing her little prayer-thingy over me. But I started falling in love with her, which was creeping me out since you don't do that with your therapist. And I need to start saving for my son's college, so I had to stop going to Lucy.

This is another disjointed rambling psycho-post, I know. What can I say? It's how I am.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Greenland 2009

I wasn't sure my plantar faciitis and my Achilles (or above the Achilles) were ready for this, but the past has shown me that you never know unless you try.
I didn't really develop goals, but there's always some soup of hopes I pull from at any time.
Elizibeth C. and I carpooled down with plenty of extra time to stand in porta-potty lines and get warmed-up. Neither of my injuries felt like they had 31 miles of speed in them, but I was going to try.
Like I said before, though, at the first sign of dangerous deterioration, I was going to either bail or walk it out.

Since I had warmed up, I was full-speed right from the gun. I wasn't running according to heart-rate or GPS pace. I run almost exclusively from effort these days. My pace was definitely faster than usual, but it was, afterall, just a 50K. My lungs don't fill up with foam fast enough and my lungs have been better this year, so I decided to ignore my lungs and just go-for-it. At the end of my first lap, I was on-pace for a 4:40 finish, even leaving a little room for fade.
But I wasn't fading. I was speeding up. I felt GREAT! My second lap promised to be a little faster than the first, which would only seal-the-deal with more time in the bank.

From the very first, I was limping, but man, I was limping FAST! It dawned on me that I was in the loco-zone - that I probably wasn't going to stick to my plan of stopping if my injuries got too bad. I was smokin' the course and wasn't about to let up.
There was a 12mph wind blowing up from the south that made outbound tougher, but of course you get a tailwind blowing you back home. I took full advantage of my downhill abilities coming back, and my bulldozer abilities going into the wind.

About mile 13, Elizabeth passed me, but we were basically going the same speed. I stuck within conversational distance for another couple of miles.

Then a sharp pain in my left Achilles, and another, and another. In spite of not having the discipline to stop if things got bad, things got very bad instantly. So bad, it took no discipline to stop. My race was DONE! It was a bit heart-breaking. It was very painful limping back with such a pathetic cringing hop. A couple of times, I had to stop and lay down and rub my Achilles.

Elizabeth, though, hung in there. She hammered-out the 3rd lap without fading, and on the 4th, she barely faded at all, but got passed by two women. After leading the entire race, Elizabeth had to put up with two women barely passing her the last few miles. She finished just 2.5 minutes behind 1st place female and 2 minutes behind 2nd.
Caitlin from the Denver Trail Runners was 2nd, and she was moving significantly faster than 1st or 3rd, so she would have won if the race had been another mile.

I am so proud of Elizabeth! She beat my 50K PR by a minute, and she came in 12th overall.
Another cool thing: First three women came in together 10th, 11th, 12th overall.
The photos are on Elizabeth's camera, so you'll all have to wait for them.
I think Elizabeth is built for speed. She has always had it in her. It was so cool to see her race today. She damn near won. Some day she will.

First place male was done in 3:50-something, and second barely under 4 hours.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

My Week Has Been Murder

I've been on jury duty all week. The last time I was on a jury, it sucked. This time lived up to the memory, plus much more.
Monday, it took them from 8:30 until 5:30 just to pick the frickin' jury!
So the trial actually began Tuesday.
They told us the trial would probably be over my Wednesday. Then when they were through presenting evidence and witnesses, it was late Wednesday and they said "we're actually ahead of schedule". How is that? We hadn't even begun deliberating and it was end-of-day Wednesday.
At least the deliberations didn't take long, but it still had us out late Thursday 5:30pm.
I think we made the right verdict, but there's so often gray areas. We were certain this guy is very dangerous. Witnesses were all scared to look his way. He'll appeal, because he has nothing to lose by appealing. If he gets out, I hope I see him before he sees me.

I hated the whole process, but I especially hated the gutless hypocrites that refused to serve. They're willing to live in this country where our laws, infrastructure, etc. allow them to live relatively safely and prosperously. Soldiers, cops, and firemen are willing to put their lives on the line. And these spineless people aren't willing to go the last few feet to close the link. I feel like shipping these people to Afghanistan or Somalia to see how they like the "freedom" of anarchy.

What's this have to do with running?
I didn't run all week long. I rode my bike Tuesday. Since the jury kept me late, and my son had a concert at school where he knocked-'em-dead, I didn't bother with the DTR Thursday run.

So that was kind of the plan. Before Collegiate Peaks, I ran hard Tuesday and Thursday and ruined any chance I had at a great 50-mile PR. My plantar faciitis blew up and is now significantly bad.
By not running all week, I've hoped it will be healed well enough for a good Greenland 50K Saturday. If the plantar faciitis starts to unravel, I might just back-of-pack this race - or quit. This race is a freebie for volunteering at others. It's not like I have $100 in registration down on it. Jemez 50M is in a week. I REALLY want to be in one piece for that.
So I hope to have a good time this weekend and not destroy myself.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Collegiate Peaks 2009

I hadn't even had time to completely unpack from my Arizona vacation with Zane Gray. Mostly I'd sifted-out the dirty clothes washed them, and repacked so fast I only hoped I hadn't forgotten anything.
I drove down immediately after work and barely made it in before 7pm when they close the kitchen. I usually get 2nds and 3rds, but my body has not been the eater it historically has been. One go-through was enough to fill me to the brim.

I have to warn... I've been this way several times a year for the past 16 years, and never have I seen so many cops. In only 120 miles, I saw more cops than I saw the entire 2000+ mile Arizona trip. Not only that, they weren't even a tiny bit lenient. I thought a state cop was going to pull me over in South Park. He pulled onto the shoulder giving me the evil glare and turned his car around. I was only going 3mph over the limit. But he never chased me. Then in BV, cops were writing tickets for a ridiculous 15mph speed limit. As the race director said, "I know 15mph sounds absurd, because most of us in this room can run faster than that." No shit.
And as I was writing this, a BV cop pulled someone over across the street. Then a county sherrif pulled in to back them up. In all, I must've seen 9 different cop-cars on the prowl. I digress...

My plantar faciitis was not in good shape. I first felt it during the Moab 100. It bothered me slightly throughout the Zane Gray 50. Zane is a slow 50, so no wonder it never became a factor, but CP50 is a fast course. I feared it would be a factor, and it definitely was.
On Wednesday, I got tired of a blistered and itchy toenail, so I pulled it off. There was nothing but a crater, which is what I like. Toenails are stupid and just get in the way.
Also, on Thursday, I did a dumb thing. I ran with the Denver Trail Runners, including a crazy hell-bent-for-leather downhill through rocky single-track that left the rest of the group far behind. (Me and my crazy downhill!) So my legs were not fresh at the beginning of the race. If I'd been smart, I would have only ridden my bike during the week.

The forecast called for 50% rain, with a start temp of 34F. I packed too heavy. I took my running pack with hydration bladder, and I wore four layers, plus had an ultra-lite rain jacket.

In spite of my injury, and my pack weight, I hoped for a PR under 9:30. And in fact, above the ankles, I felt great.
Starting out, to stay on-pace, I noticed a woman with a most-amazing figure and graceful sway - and wearing tights to show it off. I tried to keep her in sight, but she got away from me, since she was a 25-miler. But I caught her at the first aid station. I kept passing her though, and then I passed her for good.
But then Gina Harcrow caught me. We had the same pace plans, so it would seem we would be good pacing each other, but she caught me about the time my plantar faciitis was at its worst. So we only ran together for about 10 minutes and then she left me on the summit climb. I kept her in sight all the way to the summit aid station, but then she was hopelessly ahead.
I picked up two other guys going the same pace. There's a section of trail where every year, the lead runner passes by. I let the guys know this was the spot. John Anderson was a little behind, but still passed us within that same section just two minutes after I predicted. Nick Clark was seconds behind.

My first lap was a good 35 minutes too slow for a PR.
If life has taught me anything, it's that it ain't over 'til it's over. I still felt good. I had peed 7 times in the first lap. In fact, the first time, in my usual style, I pee on-the-move. I waddle to keep from peeing on my shoes. I thought I had privacy, but five women passed me during my whiz. Oops.

At the turn-around, I dumped my pack, tied a long-sleeve shirt and rain jacket around my waist, and took off again.
I felt tired, but was still looking forward to the 2nd loop, which was a very good sign.
To be honest, I took more ibuprofen than advisable. Vitamin I is what kept me from slowing dramatically. And any time the build-up started to fade just a little, the pain in my heel slowed me down. There were two periods when this had happened. One started right before Gina had caught me, and the next started at about mile 26. The 2nd one wasn't as bad.
The whole 2nd lap was a mental battle that I mostly won, fighting the pain.
At mile 30, my gut started slight cramps and gurgles. At mile 40, my gut really felt bad. This is the sort of thing people blame on Heed. I've used Heed for years and have always preferred it, but this time it seemed to be the cause. And the result was that I stopped eating and drank less. But I battled on.
I had caught up to Marcus Mueller, from Eagle, CO, at the summit aid station at about mile 33, and we periodically ran together the rest of the way. We kept trading places. When my gut started bothering me, I stopped to do a #2 next to the road, and had barely gotten my shorts up before Marcus passed me. I managed to catch him again, and then passed him significantly far ahead. So I was very surprised to see him at about mile 46+. He passed me with ease and made it stick.
By that time, I had figured it out that I wasn't going to get my PR, but I could make it very close. With such a goal gone from my plate, and my Moab 100 Achilles injury flaring up, and my new plantar faciitis injury flared up, feeling such misery so close to the end, it was extremely tempting to just walk it in. But I stubbornly wanted to know where I could be at my PR of 9:32. I chugged on, albeit not quite on race-pace. At 9:32, I was across the last bridge on the paved road leading to Buena Vista.
At that point, the only incentive I had was to finish under 10 hours. I slacked-off like a complete woos. But sub-10 isn't a bad time, really, just nothing to brag about. I didn't care about the exact time, and don't know what it is. Nine:fifty-something.
Afterward, I was limping pretty significantly. I'm pretty buggered-up.

I had a great time. I got to meet all my usual friends, re-acquaint with less-frequented friends, and made some new ones.

In the aftermath, laying around the rec-center, feeling sore and tired, my friends John Wright, Naz, Ralph, and Scott asked if I wanted to go for beer and pizza. Man, I jumped right up! Trash me, thrash me, then BEER ME!
After dinner, we drove into the hills to camp and do irreverent guy-talk around the caveman-campfire. (What's said in the guy-camp stays in the guy-camp.)

Next week is the Greenland 50K. A measly 50K is like taking a week off.

Zane Gray 50 - Part III

I'm having so much adventure, so close together, I can't keep my blog up-to-date. This weekend's Collegiate Peaks race is over, and I'm still following-up on last weekend.

I met Erin S. at the Leadville 100 Training Camp last year. From the start, she seemed like one of those people who just radiates positive energy. Non-stop inspiration and enthusiasm. Being around Erin is like standing around a big, roaring campfire. Everyone just wants to warm themselves by the fire.

Erin, and boyfriend Rafael, showed up at the finishline to pick me up. Larry King had sighted Angie B, but I couldn't find her.

The race crew gave us a really nice gray hoodie and a photo from mile 17, and a bowl of scorched soup.

After any 50+ race, I usually emanate a really profoundly horrible stench. This race was odd because I was just a bit stale and crusted in salt. A bottle of water was in my dropbag and I used it to rinse off and clean my legs. I'd even packed a towel.
I've never been so fresh after 50 miles. I wasn't at all hobbled. Which is strange. I sprained the same ankle twice during the race before I'd even reached the first aid station. And the course is so notoriously tough. But that is why I was okay - the obstacles kept me from running as much.

After retrieving my car from the start, I got a shower in Payson. We met up with Angie B from Tuscon, who just flew in from Canada to crew Olga. Small world - Angie knew Erin from a relay team from years earlier!
Then we headed for Scottsdale.
Erin had done a complete transformation in the drive down and was now looking ready to kill the town.
We stopped at Stingray's for sushi. (Okay, it has an obnoxious website.) I've eaten sushi at all of Denver's hottest-reviewed sushi restaurants from a few years ago. I know there's newer ones I need to check out, but after eating at Stingray's, I felt that Denver doesn't really have one single sushi place! Stingray's is THE BEST sushi EVER!!

The women in Scottsdale are all extremely beautiful, and (no doubt) the plastic surgeon industry must be BOOMING! Too bad those beautiful women are mostly not athletes, so as soon as their youth fades, they'll pudge and sag and end up spending a fortune getting perpetual nips and tucks until they look like a character in Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. (Trail women RULE!)

Erin put me up for the night, and it was so funny getting a stack of towels, with matching set of shampoo, lotion, and soap, like a real hotel!

Erin, Rafael, and their roomie Mohinder, and I all went hiking at Camelback Mountain on Sunday. It is a short 2.2 mile round-trip, thigh-burning hike to a great overlook to the Phoenix metro-area. Saguaro cacti are all over the place! Coming from the mid-west, this was a new treat for me.
While the Phoenix are in general isn't an athletic place the way the Denver area is, if you want to see athletes, Camelback is the place. One old guy must've climbed Camelback 10 times while we were there.

A news helicopter flew very close around the summit as we waved back. I think they were significantly closer than FAA reg's allow, but no harm done.
While there, we did a little rock-scrambling, too.

My legs felt fine, and I even ran down some of the descent.

Then we headed to a REAL Mexican restaurant. Even most Mexican restaurants have a habit of selling a generic Americanized version of Mexican food - because it sells well. I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but it was a really good one. We got seafood-based dishes. I ate octopus and squid for the first time. (It tasted mildly like fish, but had a gristly texture.)
As we were waiting for the main dishes, Erin got a phone call. They were supposed to be at a BBQ! So we got it to-go, and went over to Lee's apartment.
I'm probably mangling the spelling of all these names. Mohinder is Nigerian, but grew up all over mid to southern Africa. Lee (Li?) is Chinese. Her friend Iy (pronounced Eee) is a Chinese national. Rafael is from Mexico City.

Between sushi Saturday night, and seafood Mexican, and Chinese BBQ, I ended up eating either with my fingers or chopsticks all weekend long. We had quite an international conversation.

This was just about the funnest weekend I've ever had, with the best people I could ever meet. I've always felt like a hopelessly untamable, uncouth animal. I can pretend to be cultured and sophisticated, but in the end, it looks like I'm pretending. I've learned that if I don't pretend too hard, it's not as awkward, and the effort is appreciated. So I hope I balanced it out.

Finally it all ends, and goodbyes are hopefully until next time.

I had to pick up my dropbags from the race directors house before heading out of town. I spent the night 90 minutes from Flagstaff. Breakfast was in downtown old-town Flagstaff. Maybe I needed a guide - I was not very impressed, but it was nice to see it anyways, since it was on the way home.

Next stop: The Big Crater. This is private property. It's an incorrigible tourist-trap. I was hoping for a run around the crater, but they were short one employee, and I don't think they allow anyone out solo. Everyone was obese, or very frail-old, or a little kid, or a yapping fluffy dog. So there was no fast-moving human traffic. I just looked, took some photos, and left. In all, being from a geologist background, it was worth it to me. But for most people, read about it online and look at the pictures.

The view away from the rim was equally stunning!

There are some lava flows west of Albuquerque. They look very young, geologically. They've never been covered by dust. The source seems to be a volcano to the south.

All of this in six days!