LooseCrew-JeffO: August 2009


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

Saturday, August 29, 2009


My life has been a series of phases. This might be the end of my ultra-runner phase - or maybe not.

Phases I've had...
1) Writing. I always got A's in my English classes in school. I wrote poetry (twisted stuff), short stories, and longer, but never a novel. I pretty much don't write anymore.

2) Rocketry. I bought the rocket motors, but I made everything else from scratch. My rocket tubes were made from old-fashioned packing tape - the kind you had to use a sponge on the adhesive. I would wrap the tape around a dowel rod as a form. Nose cones and fins were made from balsa wood. parachutes were Saran Wrap and thread. I made some very fancy rockets.

3) Guns. I do my own reloading. I have more guns than I need. Come to think of it, I don't need one gun. I also don't need an iPod, but I own four.

4) Mountain climbing. I loved standing on summits and seeing a long ways. You can see farther on the higher peaks, so I began climbing 14ers.

5) Winter mountaineering. The previous phase obviously led into winter trekking and camping. I actually would target the most severe storms. Quite a few times I would meet people leaving as I was heading out and their attitudes were that I was a dead man - no way you're heading out into that and surviving.

6) Speed climbing. Running short on time, I began doing more in less time. On 2nd shift, I'd have to drive to a trailhead in the morning, and see how far up I could get before hitting my turn-around time and have to go to work. I usually never reached a summit.

7) Career change. This brought all physical recreation to a sudden halt. I met a Kenyan who was making over $100,000/yr as a database administrator. He grew up in a grass and mud hut in a huge family. They pooled all their wealth and sent the brightest to America to go to college.
As a machinist, all we did was stand around complaining about work conditions, wages, and some would claim that Mexicans were stealing our jobs, etc. It was quite a daily pity-party.
After meeting Kimayo, though, I couldn't help but get really mad - at myself and anyone who wastes energy in negative ways. I was born in this country, grew up with both the language and knowing the culture, and had only made myself a lowly blue-collar worker.
No offense, if you like being a blue-collar, power to you! The point is, whatever you are, if you're complaining about it, it's up to you to change it.
Some say never complain. I say that complaining is valid - only if it's thinking out-loud and precursor to action. What don't I like? What would I like? How do I get from here to there?
If Kimayo can do it, I can do it. I had no money and no time. No excuses!

I used every spare second of my life for a couple of years dumpster-diving for computers and software, built a lab in my basement, taught myself computers and networking, quizzed-out on my certification exams, and changed careers.

8) Ultra running. The previous phase, and then becoming a work-aholic because I felt insecure not having a formal education (ha! my self-teaching was BETTER!), I had no social life and no exercise. I couldn't even participate in a normal conversation. I had no connection with normal people. So I figured I needed to join some groups. Not just any group, but people like myself. What do I like? Running. Mountains. Trails. So I joined the Denver Trail Runners.

So what's my next phase? I'm working on it. It should involve my son. He loves camping and hiking in the Rockies, cars, and music. Since I don't have a garage, it would have to involve mountains or music.

This blog is out-living its usefulness. I created a newer blog, which is more appropriately named. In spite of my city life, and white-collar technology job, I live like a bum. I'm at home outside and moving at high altitude. For the past several years, I've been averaging about 1 out of every 10 nights spent either in the back of my CR-V, or on the bare ground, or in a snow-cave, or in my tent. I'm hardly ever home. I'm a trail-bum. My city life and job are currently necessities, but some day that might change. In spite of my more organic inclinations (my yin), I am quite a geek, so I love my job (my yang). So my new blog will be Trail Bum, but it'll be awhile before it goes live.
I love running, but I love other things too. I won't restrict myslef to just running the rest of my life. When I'm healed-up, I'll just drift into the next thing.

Leadville 100 2009

Results were predictable. I had hoped, and there are people who have finished in similar situations, so I totally went-for-it.
For naught.
Twin Lakes return, cutoff, 60.5 miles.

The plan: 29hr pace. If you shoot for a 30hr pace, you'll miss some of the cutoffs, so you don't dare aim for 30.

What went right...
1) Hydration. I didn't overhydrate at any point. It was a clear sky which led to a scalding day. New studies have come out telling us not to drink unless we feel thirsty. That is stupid advice. They extolled that study during the pre-race meeting. I ignored it. Experience has taught me the hard way that on days like we had, there is no way to keep up with the rate of dehydration. Your best bet is to drink as much as you can. My dehydration was slight.

2) Pace. I was nailing my slow pace. Never did I try particularly hard.

3) Gear & drops. I nailed the logistics. I hadn't brought enough e-caps in my pockets, but then I packed extras in my dropbags.

4) Eating. I ate less. The theory was I have previously been eating too much. Evidence was (sorry for the graphics) farting a lot. Eating too much causes undigested carbs to reach the lower intestine. That leads to fermentation and the unavoidable gases. I didn't bonk, so I obviously got this right, but what a narrow balance!

5) Ibuterol. I sucked it down - maybe more than the advisable medical limits. It didn't keep my lungs from filling, but it still helped. It stopped the gu in my lungs from turning into a frothing foam. That is very significant, really, because foam reaches higher, faster, and blocks my alveoli easier. I still suffered some suffocation, but ibuterol now has concrete, classified benefits.

6) I ended up needing the bottles of Gatorade I packed in my dropbags because...

What went wrong...
1) My collection of hydration bladders was well-used. Some had slight leaks. I bought a brand-new MSR hydration bladder a few days before to guarantee no leaks. Race morning, I'm soaked at the start-line. My bladder came new with a sizable leak. And that was my only hydration container.
I tried duct tape, but that didn't work.
Finally, around 50k, I figured out that I could hang the little filler-cap flange on the side of the hydration bladder pocket to keep the top from sagging down. Since the leak was 2/3 of the way up, leaking became minimal. Improvise.

2) In order to keep from hammering my plantar, I had to put on the brakes. This trashed my quads. Not a little. My quads eventually became useless meat.

3) My plantar got hammered anyway.

4) Sharp pains proliferated. Limping on my right foot put more stress there, and so the right side started to disintegrate.

I sucked! I'm so out of shape.
As of now, I have logged 1150 miles this year, and nearly all of that was before three months ago. The past three months have been not-quite-sedentary. I hear so much bullshit about running hundreds. "It's all mental." If that were true, then a 300lbs slob could get off the couch and mentally force themselves through 100 miles of climbing and descents to cross the finish under 30 hours. We all know that can't happen. So several things have to happen, and you can't cheat on any of them. You have to get your body weight down, you have to get your VO2Max up, you have to get your logistics right, and you have to learn your body's needs and signals so you know what to give it under a variety of circumstances. I've got most of that, but my conditioning sucks.

I've been spending more time with my son, which is a good thing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lance Armstrong at the LT100 Mtn Bike Race

I was just trying to grab some more altitude a week before the LT100 Run and spend some time with friends. I took my son and we went camping with a handful of Denver Trail Runners.
They were way more into seeing Lance and other famous bikers than I. Not my thing, but my son really thought it was uber-kool to see him.

My lense decided to fog up just in time for him to ride by. I had the camera mounted on a very steady log, so there was no shaking and it should have been crystal-clear. But it wasn't, so there.
At the finishline, I totally forgot my camera in the car a half mile away. A friend gave me his 7 megapixel camera while he used his 3 megapixel camera. The leader trucks were blocking our view completely. We didn't even know Lance was hidden beyond the far corner of the trailing truck. Neither of us saw him until he was almost past. Both of us shot while looking over the top of the cameras and moving them like a machinegun. Somehow, we both managed to get him perfectly centered and no shaking.
Now if only he would email the photos to me, I could share them.
It was fun doing photography, for a change. I won't quit my day-job, even if I get a good camera.

A few more days until the LT100 Run. I'm obviously not "ready", when you consider I haven't trained in months. Last year, I didn't even try at the 50-miler, and did it under 10 hours. This year I actually tried the whole way, and it still took me 48 minutes longer! So that doesn't bode well.
It's convenient having tons of notes. I've been packing since Sunday night, and I think my dropbags are ready. My pace charts have been modified from last year to allow me to have a smoother (for my legs) pace.
So I'm in lousy condition. I'm getting really fat. Anything could happen, though. I could break a foot before I reach the first aid station. Or I might finish in 28 hours. I'm just going to enjoy the running. I'm so tired of not running.

Last year, the weather was rainy and snowy. This year's forecast is for clear weather and heat. I'm not sure which is harder.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

My Son's First 14er!

My son climbed his first 14er Saturday!

And I got some altitude.
I ran into Luke T. as he was coming down. We met at the Leadville 50 a week ago.
There was light snow on the upper thousand feet of the mountain, but otherwise the weather was fantastic.

Still not running. I guess my one-day stint in the Leadville 50 started a rumor that I was healed. No such luck.
But still looking forward to the LT100.
Getting some VO2Max workouts on my rowing machine and riding my bike at least once a week.