Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Decade!

I couldn't resist one last run, with a full moon, on New Years Eve, and a Blue Moon at that. The Denver Trail Runners only went 6.5 miles, and we didn't push. It was worth it.
My plantar didn't like it, and my sprained ankle was getting torqued on the uneven and unpredictable footing, but it worked out. It was great weather. Not too cold, not too windy, and the clouds weren't enough to cover the moon.

With this years incessant injuries, I can't say it was a particularly good year. I managed only on PR. Recovering from the flu, I ran the Salida marathon in the best course conditions ever, which allowed me to get my slow butt across the finish line early. but my year unraveled after that, with plantar faciitis starting during the Moab 100 the end of March and persisting throughout the rest of the year. PF derailed every race I did after that. I didn't start three races, DNF'd three others, and barely finished what was left.
March was my only "good" month, with 221.5 miles.
October was the worst, with only 16.6 miles. My PF would wake me in the night with spasms.

The competitor in me is very bummed. I was really starting to get fast. I was starting to finish in the single-digit percentile of the mass of contestants.
The Zen in me, though, remembers too many lives I've lived that were no so well. I've still managed to do more this year than any other before I turned 45. Even with PF, I'm as mobile as any normal person. I'm not normal, so it doesn't suit me to be so sedentary. It sure beats being partially paralyzed, like I was ten years ago. It sure beats lots of other situations other people have had to endure.
So I still feel pretty lucky, overall, if I don't think too greedy.

I only managed 1265.2 miles this year. That averages out to less than 3.5 miles/day. That's still 2.5 miles/day more than I ran five years ago or any other year of my life.

The graph tells the story of my year pretty well...

Tomorrow, I leave on my one-week vacation. Since my ass hurts all the time, from biking and rowing and sitting, I'm not going to bike. Before I made that decision, though, I did the heaviest maintenance on my bike I've ever done. My PF isn't good enough to run double-digit mileage. So I'm heading into the snowy, frigid mountains with my toboggan to camp, howl at the moon, and watch the snow fall.
Then I'm coming down to stay in a hot springs. I'll soak, and hike, and read, and get massages.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope this new decade is better and brighter than the last.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Still pondering the options for my 50th birthday week of adventure.
My plantar is not good. It's still better than it was two months ago, and it's still on-the-mend. It's just not mend-ed. Trying to do 50 miles would be possible, but it would set me back to square 1. No more square 1!! I've had enough of that!

The Grand Canyon is out because my plantar can't tolerate any steep descents.
In fact, I'm not keen on staying in any national parks because they have too many rules. I want to enjoy myself, after-all, and going from a city to another place with a bunch of rules just sucks. So if I enter a park, it will be temporary day-use only.

I'm looking at mountain biking alternatives, even though the nerves in my ass and hams shoot shafts of pain for weeks from such activities. Cabin fever says I must get out, and I feel I must deserve my 50th birthday. It's hard to feel deserving spending it all between hot tubs, massage tables, and bars.
Don't get me wrong - I intend to spend appropriate amounts of time there also! I just haven't made up my mind where to go, yet, and it may be decided as I'm driving out of town.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Vibram Five Fingers

I bought some Vibram Five Fingers 9 days ago. In that time, I wore them at home a couple of evenings, and then I walked to the grocery store and another time to the coffee shop. Tonight, I went running at Wash Park. The trail around Wash Park is flat and manicured, so no worries about twisting my sprained ankle (from my Thanksgiving run), and no sharp rocks or tree roots to worry about poking my feet.

I figured running in Five Fingers would take getting used to. It's not quite like I expected, though. When I think about it, my hips, thighs, and core tighten up. When I don't think about it, my hips open up and it seems so natural. For one thing, there's no annoying 1"+ padded shoe heel that keeps reaching to the ground each step. You can actually step more naturally under your knees without your heel "landing" from some stupid shoe design.

On the other hand, without the padded and structured shoe under your foot, your foot has to work harder, and it takes more abuse. Five Fingers are part of a process - not a final solution. They're little more than rubber slippers, but the toes keep your foot from sliding around and giving you blisters.

A warning about sizing...
I normally wear a size 10.5 shoe. for ultra-running, I wear a size 11. Manufacturers vary in how they size their shoes, so I might wear anything from size 10 to 11.5. I figured that Five Fingers were supposed to be worn barefoot, with no socks. Since I intended to wear Injinji socks, I figure I'd be wearing at least 11.5 for Five Fingers. Well, not even close. I ended up with size 10, and maybe I should have grabbed 9.5? I think maybe 9.5 would be too small, with socks. Without socks, 9.5 would be perfect.
So these are not items to buy online. You'd better try these on. (Okay, I know you sneaky readers try things on in stores and then buy them cheaper online!) I get an REI dividend, so I bought them in-store.

Tonight, I ran 2.5 miles without stopping, then I walked a bit to make sure all systems were "go". My feet were sore but they're ALWAYS sore these days, without any running. It was the plantar that I was concerned about, and that seem fine. So I ran some, walked, ran, walked another 2.5 miles.
Total of 5 miles, and my feet feel fine.
My calves are another matter. They have atrophied. They are so sore.
These Five Fingers will exercise muscles you aren't used to exercising, which is a good thing, but that exercise will cause those muscles to tighten up more, which is what caused my plantar faciitis in the first place! So anyone using barefoot running or Five Fingers to help needs to do it as part of an overall program that emphasizes stretching above all else. Seriously, until your PF is gone, stretching, ice, and massage are the #1 therapeutic remedies - not necessarily in that order.

I'm SOOO happy I can run (some)! I know I suck, and my runs are a shodow of the ultras I used to do, but I'm actually able to pick one run each and EVERY week!!!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Run 2009

This year, the Denver Trail runners ran the Mesa Trail south of Boulder and along the Flatirons.
DTR's big weekly run is the Thursday evening run, but since Thanksgiving was on Thursday, we obviously weren't going to do an evening run.
We met at 9am at the southern trailhead. I didn't stick with the main group. Besides, the group broke up. Some ran for an hour, others for two, etc. So the socializing we did at the start was about all there was, except for the person(s) you ended up pairing up with on the trail.

I ran outbound for 3 miles, turned my ankle, stuck it in snow for about 5 minutes, then ran back.
So I've had plantar faciitis since March, severely since May, on the left foot, and now I sprain my right foot.
The swelling is not really on the ankle but in front of the ankle. Kinda weird. But not so bad. It will no doubt take the usual month to heal, but it's not so severe that I can't use it. I limped yesterday, but I'm not today. The danger is that I won't feel pain, and then will torque it and re-injure barely-healed tissues.

Man, I can't take myself anywhere, can I?

I turn 50 in six weeks. One of my many bosses at work came to me and said, "You said in your email that you're turning 50?" Yep. "Fifty?" Yep. "Really?" Yeah, why? "You don't look that old." I don't feel that old, in spite of all the ravages from injuries, illnesses, disease, and years.

Still not sure what I'm going to do as far as adventures and parties. Probably a party on Saturday, Jan. 9. I have to work Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, but I don't have to work next year until the 11th. So I plan to put some miles on this body and have a grand adventure. 'What' adventure will have to wait to see how my plantar is doing. If it's not so great, I'll have to stick to non-running - maybe biking in Utah. If the foot is good, and the snow not so deep, I might do the Grand Canyon R2R2R from the north rim.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fruita Mountain Bike Trip

My friend Becca Hall organized this. What an awesome weekend!

I left right after work and followed some really great directions to a free BLM campground. I slept in the back of the CR-V Motel.

We all met-up at "the coffee shop" and planned our day.
Most of us went biking, but some went running. We all parked at the Loma exit and ran various sections of the Kokopelli Trail. This is the same convoluted web of trails used for the Spring Desert Ultra R.A.T.S. Festival, and the start of Desert R.A.T.S. and the R.A.T.S. Mountain Bike Tour. With Becca's husband, Andy, leading the pack with Frenchman Tom, we headed out at a faster pace than my lungs appreciated, but I was tired of getting fat. Besides, it was only five hours of working-out. So I tried not to slow the group down too much.
Actually I was well-paced with one rider, but he was on a very old hard-tail. So even though he was in better biking-shape, my awesome bike allowed me to have no trouble staying with him. So at least I had company in the sandbag position.
We rode the Horsethief Bench Loop, then parts of Mary's Loop, Steve's Loop, Lion's Loop and Troy Built Loop.
Nearly everyone broke something on their bike. I blew a tire, even though I had slime in it. Slime seems good in areas with lots of Goatheads, like my neighborhood, but out on the Kokopelli, slime isn't much good. I must've pinched the tube between my rim and a rock because it went flat instantly.
With my lack of biking skills, it's a miracle I didn't go over the handlebars at least once. I did crash once, on dirt, with a small degree of grace.
In fact, I noticed that the one skill that has improved remarkably since buying my bike is my ability to wipe-out and land on my feet, or a hand and foot. When I first got my bike, it was more normal for me to end up with the bike above me and my noggin on the ground.

The weather was gorgeous, the company unbeatable, and the terrain was... well, it ate bikes like they were little snacks! But it was beautiful!!

At night, we hung out around the campfire but went to bed around midnight.
I slept like a baby! It was bliss.

Sunday morning, I road some more, but this time I went solo and slower, so that my asthma wouldn't make me cough up both lungs like the day before.

Then a friend called, reminding me of a scheduled event in Denver. It was snowing in Denver! I thought she was pulling my leg! Fruita was sunny and warm. Then an hour later, she called again and said they were canceling because the corn-maze field would be muddy.
Plan B: stop off in Glenwood Springs and drink my favorite Vapor Cave IPA at the Brewpub!

Vail Pass was a slipper mess, then a semi truck was on its side between Copper and Frisco, and I was wondering if I'd get through Eisenhower Tunnel before they closed I-70. I managed to get home in one piece, and without any traffic jams.

Bed-time for this tired man. I deserve it!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lighting for Trail Runners

This article about lighting for trail-runners has been worked on for years, and distributed to the Denver Trail Runners for several years, edited each year. The first copy was a 50/50 effort between Adam Feerst and myself.

Whether you’re running an ultra-event that goes through the night, or you just want to keep running through the short days of winter, you may be shopping for good lighting. Maybe you’re a gear-hog that already has plenty of different lights, but you may not be utilizing your gear optimally. During a race, there is no substitute for good lighting. If you’re running with insufficient light, you’ll probably either slow down for safety, or you’ll risk injury. If worried about weight, err on the side of too much weight/light than not enough. I've overheard too many elite runners complain that they had to slow down because they couldn't see. For these, a few more ounces of lighting would have more than paid for itself.

Some things to consider:
- Contrast gives you depth-perception
- Peripheral vision avoids vertigo and tunnel-vision
- Brightness gives you speed and confidence.
- Colored lenses
- Weight/bulk
- Battery life
- Cost
- Safety

Contrast is created by having light away from your eyes where you can see some shadow to create depth perception. The more sources of light you have, from different angles, the better the contrasts will stand out. This is basic knowledge to any photographer wanting to make the subject stand-out.

Peripheral vision is aided by stray light. Reflectors try to block stray light and direct it forward for greater range. Since runners need the most effective light about 6 feet in front of them, reflectors are usually counter-productive. What's good for a camp light is not good for running a trail.
That is, unless you’re trying to follow reflective trail markers. In those cases, you’re not just trying to see for foot-placement, but also route-finding. Some headlamps have selective beams from long-range reflective to short-range dispersed.
Head lights leave your hands free and shine where you are looking. However, the light directly over your eyes can create glare, reducing contrast.
Hand lights can be easily directed and reduce glare. However, it takes practice to keep the light's direction from swinging while still using your arms.
Multiple lights can add depth-perception by countering shadows caused by a single light.

Brightness is determined by a combination of wattage, reflector, and the type of bulb you’re using. Incandescent bulbs are last century’s technology. They eat batteries and burn out, especially when dropped.
LEDs usually last forever. There are regular LEDs (less than 1 watt) and “super-bright” LEDs (more than 1 watt). The brighter LEDs are much better but use batteries faster.
There are, however, lights that utilize both LEDs and xenon or halogen. The battery-eating xenon/halogen is usually surrounded by a reflector that gives you a very bright projecting light. This gives you the best of both worlds. Depending on the unit model, you may have several switch settings that allow you to choose the brightness of light and longevity of your batteries. These hybrid gas/incandescent bulbs, used sparingly, are a luxury during moonless ultra-races through the night, especially races like the Hard Rock 100 where you’re above treeline looking for reflective markers a mile away.
Another option is to bring one Xenon or halogen flashlight with a button that can be depressed half-way for several seconds of reflector-controlled beam. This saves batteries and still allows superb long-distance lighting to pick out reflectors far away.

It’s better to have too much light than to have too little. Find the right level of brightness and weight, for the speeds and trails you want to run, and your own relative vision at night. Smooth paths may require no lights, while jagged, rocky trails with jutting tree roots require the max.
The closer your lighting is to your eyes – like a headlamp – the less the contrasts. This is because of the dancing shadows that give you a clue about how deep a hole is or how big a rock is. If the light is right next to your eyes, you’ll see no shadow. If the shadows are too dark, this may erode your confidence, making you slow down. Crisscrossing shadows give your eyes better perspectives.
Most headlamps can be converted to a waist or chest light.
If you’re only going to have one light, use it lower down for depth-perception. If you have a headlamp and a lower light, your headlamp should be the dimmer one to fill – but not obliterate – shadows created from your lower light(s).

Colored lenses severely diminish a bulb’s efficiency, but very bright-white light reduces the light-efficiency of your eyes (what’s called “night-vision”). Yellow, brown, and amber block blue light, which reduce haze and glare, and increase contrast making things clearer during speed sports. Red light is well-known for retaining night-vision.
Also consider weight and bulk. Some headlamps have the batteries integrated into the light, which is smaller and lighter with no wires, but tend to be front-heavy. Headlamps with separate battery packs are balanced, but are heavier overall and have wires which may end up getting mangled or worn-out.

Safety is another factor, mostly during training. Unfortunately many trail-runners do much of their training on roads. There are times you may not think you need any lighting, but consider there are times you want to be more visible to bikers and cars. Reflective clothing and a flashing tail-light can also be helpful. There's also the chance of meeting lions or bears on the trail. A flash of light in their eyes can blind them long enough to avoid an attack.

For short runs, rechargeable NiMH is great and saves plenty of money over the years.
Lithium is the other extreme, and is not rechargeable. It costs far more than any other battery but it runs longer too, and it’s immune to cold or going bad from sitting on the shelf. This may be a better choice for frigid winter runs. Lithium batteries have recently been found to damage LEDs from overheating. They are not recommended in moderate-to-hot weather. If you only have one LED bulb, only use them in the coldest environments where LEDs can’t reach critical temperatures, and you need the resilience of lithium. Overheated LEDs will become dimmer over time and will have to be replaced in order to return a flashlight to original brightness. However, if your light has multiple LEDs, then adding a little extra wattage won’t be able to damage them, even on warm nights. The more LEDs, the safer lithiums become.

Many lights are made from “aircraft-grade aluminum”, but this isn’t a good thing for runners. It’s heavier than plastic and far more durable than runners need. Some ads brag that you can drive over them with a tank or Humvee and they still work. I don’t anticipate any of my flashlights getting run over by anything, much less a military vehicle. Especially with regards ultra-running, every ounce counts.

Costs range from about $15 - $60. Headlamps tend to cost more than generic flashlights. The fancier features (LEDs+halogen reflector+4 switch settings) can send the price over $50.

When shopping, you’ll see ratings for candlepower and/or lumens. The term “watts” refers to power usage and doesn’t translate directly into brightness. Candlepower is a linear measurement equal to a birthday candle one foot away. A lumen is a square foot of light one foot away from the same candle.

Some packaging shows a silhouette of the beam. This can help you decide. Is the design for long range (better for hiking/camping) or for shorter range (better for runners)?

The most popular brands are Petzl, Black Diamond, Princeton Tec, Gerber, and Brinkman, but you may find others that are also very good.
One of my favorite flashlights is a 9-bulb Garrity that fits in the palm of my hand and runs lithium batteries without fear of degrading the bulbs. A lanyard is also a great feature on a hand-held light. The price is low enough to buy a couple for different drop-bags, while having an ideal weight/brightness ratio.
If I have to go with just one light, though, I'd choose a Tikka Plus. It probably has the best weight/brightness ratio available. I can wear it around my waist, or my head, or I can wrap the headband around my wrist and use it like a hand-held.

A partial list of stores and online dealers...
REI Outlet
Sierra Trading Post
Wilderness Exchange
Back Country
Adventure Racing Gear
Gear Zone
EMS Outlet
Bent Gate
Army/Navy Surplus, Kmart, Wal-Mart, Target, and at garage sales or Goodwill, ebay, amazon.

If you have any favorite places to shop, add a comment.

Lighting technology is taking leaps and bounds. Don't fixate on any specific model of light mentioned in this post. New models are coming out all the time, and new manufacturers, and old makes get new management (which overhaul the company). I think Petzl is clearly the best right now, but I reserve my loyalties because things are always changing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jemez 50 2009

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 poured hot tap-water into my thermos, then a pot of 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 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 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 comment 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 oput-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.

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 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 bothy 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.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Jeff's New Blog

This is my testing ground for a blog make-over.
Eventually, I hope to move my blog here.