Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Blast of 2010

What a year! Or not. At least I've been recovering from previous injuries. Life has been good, right through the so-called hard times. I've kept my job, my general health, even if not always my structural health.

I could have worked harder, on the running, but I honestly don't care that I placed it at a lower priority. I'm still looking forward to next year running ALL of the usual races, like I haven't done in two years.
One problem is that I signed up for the Barstow, CA, Calico Canyon 50k (2 wks away), and on the drive out there, the San Juan Solstice 50M registration will open. If I'm not registered within the first seconds after registration opens, I won't get in. The plan was to camp, but I don't think the San Rafael Swell has WiFi, so I'll have to get a motel, and get myself up in time. Both could be challenging.

I'm in Leadville, like has become a New Years tradition for me. I don't really party-in the new year. Instead, I tend to have maybe one or two beers after dinner, and then drive up to find a camp site. Usually asleep by 10pm. How's that for boring? But I've really enjoyed spending my New Years this way, so that's why I keep doing it. Besides, I haven't been invited to a New Years party since about 2007/2008. That business is usually for young people who are looking to get laid, not old guys who are retired from the whole boy-girl thang. So the choice has actually been easy.
My Leadville New Years tends to be peaceful, with lots of reading and staring at the wind, trying to clear my mind and soul and clear out the bytes, hertz, and C# code, and get back to nature. Surrounding myself with the most bitter cold and harsh winds have been an important ingredient. What better way to remind myself how mortal I am, and how simple real survival is? Returning to what it takes to stay alive reminds me that there isn't much about modern life that seems to have anything to do with anything.
I like to end the bitter cold with a luxurious soak in the hot springs followed quickly by a hot-stone massage to melt me into the new year. It's like closing the door on whatever was last year, and opening a completely new door on the next.

Namaste to last year, namaste to next, and namaste to all m friends out there!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

El Chubbo Grande Fat Ass

Got together with friends and ran. This was supposed to be a low-key event, and I was one of the FNG's, so I didn't feel like it would be kosher for me to invite any of my friends. Fat ass races tend to skirt some regulations, so pardon the lack of written details.

El Chubbo turds.








JT taking a photo of me taking a photo of him. We almost caused a singularity event.






El Stone Grande Del Arthur





The rest of the run was nice - and very runnable, but not so photogenic.
I haven't been doing my long runs. My feet are currently soaking in ice-water. My plantar didn't screw with me today, so I'll take regular sore feet over that old nonsense any time.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sunset

I shopped last weekend, instead of running. The only outdoors experience I got was a beautiful sunset from Cherry Creek mall.

This weekend is in doubt. Big plans, but I have a cold, so the plans might fizzle.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Rock Canyon Half

I ran the Rock Canyon Half Marathon a couple of years ago. It was lots of fun: near home, quick, simple, fast, cheap, and I could sign up at the last second. Not this year.
I talked to JT, and he was told it was "closed" two weeks before. Other sources said it was closed a week before. Still others didn't report it was closed until a few days before the race.
At the race, an hour before start, one of the club members and race volunteers was surprised to find out registration had closed and that there was no race-day registration.
The RD is a good guy, and this is a great race, but it has always been a small-local event, and this year it kind of exploded into a very big thing. Bigger than expected. So communication and organization in some areas kind of went out the window. Those who got registered were well-organized, and once the race started, it was business as usual: a very good time.
But I did not get registered in time. Dave Black and his son Joe did. Anita F also didn't get registered. This was FUBAR - the plan had been for Dave, Joe, and I to drive down to Colorado Springs to camp on Anita's floor, then all four of us carpooled down to Pueblo Saturday morning. But only half of us ran the official race.



Anita and I ran the whole course starting 40 minutes before everyone else, so we had a roving ring-side seat.



The forecast was for colder, windier, and even some wetness. It was dry and (almost) nice.



I ran the whole course for free, but without the extra oompf from competition, and $40 cheaper.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Daniels Park

Yes, I actually did something last weekend, but I've been too busy to get it posted.

Paul G was training for Across The Years and decided to do a Fri-midnight to Sat sundown run on the high ground from Daniels Park south of Denver. Some people are quiters. Paul doesn't know WHEN to quit!! So I met him after sundown Saturday night and we went several miles. I left him for a bit and did 3-sets-of-3 1/8 mile hill repeats that hurt like bloody hell. Oddly, the last set didn't hurt any more than the 1st.

Somehow, I haven't seen or spent much time with my friends since summer. Tim F is in Afghanistan. Anita F I finally saw again at Rim Rock and I realized I've been remiss. So I spent time with Paul Sat night, and then again Sunday morning (yeah, he was still going). And I'll be car-pooling to Pueblo with Dave B this weekend for the Rock Canyon Half Marathon.

I did hill repeats Saturday night, then intervals Monday night, and track workout Tuesday. Rest and massage tomorrow. DTR run Thursday (I plan to be a slacker).


Monday, coming home from work, a black fox with a white-tipped tail crossed the road in front of me. These are usually teenage Red Foxes that are full-grown, but not fully matured. Very rarely, they retain their black coat through life. I'd never seen a black fox, though, so this was a very cool thing to see. And it was only about 50 feet away.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

DTR Thanksgiving Day Run

We were supposed to meet at Noa Noa coffee shop, but I was running late. Then I took the wrong highway west from Golden and ended up on the wrong side of Centennial Cone Park. But it didn't really matter. I met up with the group 20 minutes later.


The wind was raging, and the temps were frigid. Thankful it wasn't -36 like it was in Leadville this morning!


I gave blood on Tuesday, so my legs weren't getting oxygen. I wasn't light-headed. It was as if I had just finished a race two days before. My legs just weren't cooperating. But I still got some decent miles and time-on-feet.

video




This is where everyone headed back, and I continued for some longer miles.






Mine were the only tracks for much of the way.


I saw two adult bobcats, a hawk that flew out of the grass a dozen feet away, a Rocky Mountain Bluebird flew across the trail in front of me, and whitetail deer tracks - a doe and two fawns. Unusual to see two fawns with one adult. The fawn tracks were so small they must've been the size of a medium dog.


James Peak on the horizon.

In all, 17.2 miles.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rim Rock 2010 Re-assess

I was pretty hard on myself for taking longer than 4hr to finish the Rim Rock Marathon. No doubt, I'm not exactly in great shape. However, looking at the stats, I still managed to finish 3rd in my division, and 58th out of 174 finishers. That's exactly the 33% mark, with 2/3 of the racers finishing behind.

I stopped "racing" at mile-marker 25, when I looked at my watch and saw 3:53 race-time. In order to reach my goal of a sub-4hr finish, I would have had to run sub-6min pace. I wasn't moving that fast down the steepest decent! So I "jogged" it in, not even caring that Sarah Labrec passed me near the end. I was more than able to re-pass her, but wasn't about to ruin what was apparently a very triumphant photo-op finish for her. I missed my goal and so nothing else really mattered but finishing. No doubt that final jog padded my time by over a minute.
However, compared to the whole pack, and the fact that I've been injured, I compared decently.
If I had not taken my camera, then finishing sub-4hr would have been guaranteed. Check out my special photographer running technique...

There was plenty of that, stopping, running backwards, even backtracking for the right angle a couple of times.
But I still tried hard, and with every stop, that's a bit of rest, and so not every second of stopping was actually a second lost. I was always able to run a tiny bit faster after each photo break.
So even though I'm still not satisfied, I'm not as upset as I was.

Check out this running form video/photo analysis...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hqspH_OTzA
"Bounce" in and of itself is not bad. It's "vertical" bounce which is bad. Cheap elastic energy refers to your springiness. This is good, and leads to reduced injury and increased efficiency. This much is left out of this gait analysis. They do mention "range", but not "spring".
I already have the correct landing angles, and my hands don't cross over, but I'll bet I bounce vertically quite a bit. Last night, I tried to mimic the Ethiopians, not bouncing as I ran. What I found was that in order to avoid vertical bounce, I had to alter the gyrations of my hips. This tired me out very quickly. I also discovered that in order to pull off the type of leg motions with that lack of bounce, I had to move much faster. Since I'm not in great shape, moving that fast, with that running form, killed me in a quarter mile.
On a ragged trail full of rocks and tree roots, much of this falls apart. It is not lost completely, though.
When Adam Feerst first re-taught me to run five years ago, I went through the same ordeal - running the way he taught wore me out in a quarter mile. But the end-result, once the required muscles had been retrained, was that I was much faster and less prone to injury. The knees I ravaged through over-striding were healed and my pace dropped precipitously.
You have to watch closely where in the stride they measure the angles. Many of the Africans will reach forward with their legs, and if you measured when their foot is several inches above the ground, it would look like an over-stride. But it only counts when their foot contacts the ground. As Adam taught, your foot should already be moving backwards when it contacts the ground. The Africans reach forward, and then arc back, contacting with a backwards-moving foot, and the shin is angled back far enough to place the toes directly under the knees.
This video analysis doesn't negate anything that Adam taught me, but it does add a significant morsel, i.e. vertical bounce. I was not able to take all of Adam's clinics, so maybe some of this would have been included? Anyway, very glad to see this, and passing it on to all of you.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rim Rock Marathon 2010

This was my first running of the marathon version of this race, which used to be the 23.5M Rim Rock Run.
My "training" pretty much ended at the Boulder 100, which was followed by a cold, then epic allergies, blending seamlessly into another cold. Neither cold was very severe at all, but it did keep me from breathing. Add tons of work on the exterior of my house and the only training I had for weeks has been the Denver Trail Runners Thursday night runs, once a week, and one Boulder Flatirons run.
So I knew I'd suck. I figured if I could finish under 4hrs, I could be satisfied, under the circumstances. Unfortunately I missed it by 4 minutes. So I'm not satisfied with my marathon finish.

The rest of the weekend, though, was incredibly enjoyable and relaxing. I enjoyed the ride out, the people, the weather, the scenery. I even enjoyed the snow storm on Vail Pass coming back so much I parked at the Pass and slept the night there to prolong the winter experience.






video


The final shot is Eisenhower Tunnel, at a red light, waiting for the hazardous fuel tanker on the right to drive through by itself. Winter is here, in the high country.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bear Peak and Mesa Trail

After two weeks of allergies and colds, with about three intermittent days total during that time of health, I finally went for a halfway decent weekend run. It was low intensity, but it was still extra running on great trails with great company.

I hooked up with Eric Lee, Kari Frasier, and Mike Poland from Boulder. Unfortunately, my camera was set to the wrong settings - I'm still clueless. It must've been trying to take "portraits". My Bear Peak summit shots were blurry, washed-out, and the Rocky Mountains blended into the clouds such that you couldn't see the peaks. I'm not sure why the pano turned out, but even that needed some retouch.




The free tools I use are Paint.NET and Autostitch.

I have Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2, but I hate it!! First, the install didn't go smoothly, and it kept wanting to go to the Internet. Second - and this one really sticks in my craw - advertisements pop up when I launch it. I paid for this app, and they have the nerve to spam me while using it! If it was freeware, I could understand that, but bought-and-paid? I also had to hack some garbage out of the Startup routines. I swear Corel is as bad as HP when it comes to crapifying your computer with startup shitlets, but at least HP's are easy to hack out. Corel has gone through great efforts to keep you from hacking them out. They want to take over your computer and remove any choice in having Corel contact and interrupt you at-will. I'll never buy Corel products again. Period.
I loved Paint Shop Pro, when it was owned by Jasc, but when Corel bought it, it got ruined by the marketing department and Corel management. I guess I'll just keep using my ancient version of Paint Shop Pro 5.
But honestly, Paint.NET does 95% of what I could ever want a graphics app to do, and it's totally free and totally supported with multiple updates a year, plus plugins.
Paint.NET runs on the Microsoft .NETFramework engine, so it doesn't come in a Mac or Linux flavor. That's the only downside. On the plus, it has a rotation function that is superior to any graphics app I've ever seen. I even have PhotoShop on one of my older machines, and it can't compare. For rotations, Paint.NET rules!


In order to get Autostitch to do what I want, I found I have to change two settings, Output Size and JPEG Quality, to 100%. This requires a lot of CPU speed and computer memory, but my computer is a beast, so no problem. If you use Autostitch, and have a slower machine, you can set these two settings a little lower and still get good results. It's better to leave photos at max resolution before stitching, even if it's slower. I prefer to crop lastly, because I often need to correct some tilt out of the pano, and zoom-crop. Reducing the image size to between 1-2MB is the last thing I do.

I haven't done a great many panos, so I only use this a few times a year. And when I get the hang of my new camera, I won't need it - my camera has a panorama function built-in. I just need to learn how to use it.

Half the time, though, all I want to do is paste a screen-capture, crop, and put red boxes around stuff to highlight. For that, my favorite is the ultra-simple MSPaint. I sometimes prefer there not to be any fancy features that slow the launch down. Using the keyboard and mouse, I can create entire images, with edits, in seconds. Any of the other apps mentioned would take 5x's longer.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Catching Up

I have a cold. Nothing severe - all upper respiratory so far - but enough to call in sick to work.
So I've been using Remote Control to work on computers at work. My God, when I was in High School, computers didn't have hard drives. Computer Science taught us how to punch out paper cards as "programs". And now I can take control of a computer at work as if I'm sitting there. Telecommuting (in order to telecommute properly, you have to be drinking coffee and sitting at your computer in your underwear - it's a rule).
I'm paying dusty bills, cleaning stuff up, and stringing new network cable. Since my home is little more than a crash-pad, it is not a nice environment. There's no room. One of my friends said I'm "The mad scientist of computers." My main room is a computer lab with every flavor of Windows, Ubuntu Linux, a MacBook, laptops that work and laptops that don't, bins, shelves, and cabinets of parts, books, books, and more books (less than half about computers).
This is the same lab where, as a machinist, I built a lab from computers I rescued from dumpsters, taught myself all about networking and computer maintenance/repair, quizzed-out on exams, and got a white-collar job paying twice as much.

I'm not much of a reader or watcher. The idea of watching baseball or football - and doing nothing else - appalls me. "You mean... JUST watching??? How do you do that?" I'd have to hold still and not interact. I'd have to log some real ass-time!
Runners World? Trail Runner Mag? I have been given copies of those but I barely glance at them. I'd rather run than read about it. I know there are "inspiring" stories, stories that help us avoid injury, run faster, etc. But still, I'd rather just do it than read about it. Part of it is that as I've gotten older, I care less about how well I'm doing stuff and more about just doing it. So I donate the magazines to my local Kaladi coffee shop.

It's days like today when I'm sick (and in the future as I get decrepit) I will plug away at the stack of unread books that has gotten so high, it fell over a couple days ago.

My son is 18. It will probably be another few years before he's done with school and under his own roof. The apple didn't fall far from the tree, but the apple did roll a long ways, and it continues to roll. He loves the outdoors, but he's more into music than athletics. I at least have him lifting weights. He is an incredible musician. Okay, the music is not my choice, but he writes his own music and engineers it too. He has friends, both at school and across the Internet, who send him parts to songs. He builds the songs with multi-track recording software and a mixing board. Then he burns the CDs and distributes them. He wasn't given any lessons with any of this stuff. He is completely self-taught.
I've spoiled him with stage-quality musical instruments. I remember trying to learn snowboarding with a half-assed board. I still don't care about snowboarding. Maybe if I'd had a real snowboard?? Trying anything with a "toy" instead of the real thing can turn you off to something. I figured I'd buy him one decent keyboard when he was a kid. If he liked it, great. If not, I could sell it or give it away. His ADHD brain took right to it. So every year, I bought him more stuff - all stage-quality. Roland, Squire, DigiTech, Korg,... And every penny well worth it. While other kids are getting high and drunk, he's writing and mixing songs.
Yet his passion is cars, not music. He wants to be a mechanic, but also wants to design and make his own cars. I guess he wants to be the Dick Rutan of automotive.

I've tried to show him through the way I live my life that limitations are most often figments of our imaginations. That's what running ultras is all about - showing him that the impossible is possible. If we perceive a limitation, we should be realistic and honest about it. It's okay to accept certain limits, but don't fictionalize excuses for why that limitation is being practiced. We decide how we want to live, which direction we want to go, whether or not to achieve, what to achieve. To achieve our goals, we need priorities. I don't believe in parenting in such a way as to impose myself onto him. He is he. I am I. He needs to find himself, build himself, and live his life. But there is one thing I selfishly insist on trying to imprint him with: It's all about people. It's okay to have goals, and to charge forth, destroying or ignoring whatever obstacle gets in your way - except not at the expense of people. I'm no fan of religion, but I do believe that the value of our lives is equal to our contributions to humanity. If I imprint nothing else on him, and he is different from me in every other way, I will feel like a successful parent.

Now look what happens when you mix free time (ass-time!) with cold meds... I just rambled all over myself - and now you.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Boulder 100, 2010

I signed up for the Boulder 100 an hour before the race started. There aren't many races left where you can still do that.
It's nice to be back in the fray.



As far as the race goes, it was a complete bust. Memories of the Steamboat Marathon 2009, I spent half my time on toilets, and my fastest running was trying to get to the toilets before it's too late. The good news is, I didn't have any accidents. I saw sign that I was not alone in my agonies, and feel thankful I fared better. Still, after symptoms grew half as severe, and then went back to full strength again, I lost patience.



I could no longer run to the toilets because running made it worse. So after reaching 50 miles in only 10h25m, I struggled through one final, agonizing lap.
It was a 30hr race, and I had only gone 57 miles when I stopped, and parked my car next to the porta-potties. All night long I listened to the porta-potty doors slam, using them myself half a dozen times. In the morning, after some sitting and drinking some Mix1, I hoped I could walk one more lap. Even that was dangerous, and I again barely made it safely.
Total mileage ended up being 64 miles.
In spite of the way it turned out, there is no other way I would rather spend my weekend than doing my best at a 100-mile race.
I believe finishing was a certainty, if it hadn't been for my issues. My pace was quite good, and I was looking at a slight PR of maybe 23:10 to 23:20, if you factor in normal deceleration. My target had been 22:49, but I lost so much time in toilets, that frittered away. I knew the crux of any hundred is the miles between 70 and 90. For some reason, if you can make it to 90, it seems your demons are slain, and the last 10 tend not to be as bad.

Sixty-four miles is far short of my goal, but it's more than 100K, and it's farther than I've run since the Moab 100, 2009, when my plantar fasciitis first reared it's ugly head and took me out. There is no sign of my PF. Unfortunately, you don't dare turn your back on PF. If you've ever had it, you're more likely to get it again, and you just can't stop the ice treatments.

One of the highlights was when David Clarke found me in the dark, right before my 8th lap. He barely had time to pace with me for 3.5 miles. I was in a "shitty" mood, but he sure did raise my spirits.

Next event, I plan to help at Adam Feerst's Bear 10-Spot.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Spammers

Spammers are a peeve of mine.
Anyone who posts with any spam links will get rejected - no matter how nice and complimentary the post is.
Lately, it's been getting worse.
I wonder - how much do these people get paid? .003 cents per post? Is it somehow a spam-engine doing it?
My Yahoo email account is getting spammed with chat request - just lately. I've tried blocking, but that doesn't block chat requests - only emails.
Thank Blogger for moderation controls!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Silent Trails 2010

I had a good time in Wyoming, but no PR this time.

I drove up the night before. Dinner was at the Albany Restaurant across the street from the old depot tourist-trap. I had the cutest waitress, way too young, but vivacious as hell. She parked herself at my table and just started talking, and talking, and talking... Geez! And I was lovin' it, but it seemed odd, and I was kind of looking around thinking, is she going to get in trouble for spending so much time standing at my table? She told me all about her pet snake, her pet rats, and we talked about dogs and cats and rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, guinea-pigs, and ferrets. She was so expressive and, well, ADHD that it was hard not to laugh. But she was so very endearing! That made my whole night! Too bad she was young enough to be my daughter. In fact, I wondered if the glaring proprietor was her dad.

I parked for the night near the race course and slept in the back of my car in the trees. The wind was blowing very hard, especially up on the Divide where I was. It just rocked me to sleep.

The next morning was coffee and breakfast in Laramie, then back to the hills for the race.
I wore my new Mizuno Wave racing flats and loved them. They aren't as minimal as some racing flats, so these will last longer (I hope).
Other than the wind, the weather was almost perfect.
I took all my asthma meds, and downed 16oz of Gatorade, chasing it with Heed to try to avoid gunk in my throat. Sugary drinks like Gatorade have a bad habit of causing phlegm in my airways.
My plan was to run at least 3 full miles to warm up, but I screwed that up by getting all sociable and talking all my time away. I ended up only running half a mile. That hurt. I immediately started the race slow, and couldn't push it any faster. So I lost time from the very beginning.
Then I missed a turn and ran for over a minute before finding out. When I got back tot he course, I was pissed to see that I ran right between two arrows, one on each side of the wrong way, pointing me to turn left. So I lost over two minutes, and definitely less than three.
I had my usual asthma attack near the top of the big climb. Every time I've run this race so far, the climb triggers one where I'm gasping both in and out, on the brink of a catastrophic clamp-down attack. Next time, I've GOT to bring my Albuterol!
But the rest of the race went well, and I had a very good time. It's so nice to be hammering the trails again!

My PR was 1:32 back in 2006. I managed 1:39:52 this time. Even taking off a couple minutes for the wrong-way, I still would be over my PR.
Poorly done, what can I say? I will have to kill it next year.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Best Campsite In The World

Meghan had a great post about a recent fast-pack trip, and she mentioned the World's Best Campsite. That put the idea into my head to have a little contest to see if we could all figure out what the World's "ACTUAL" best campsite is. Not that Meghan's campsite couldn't be the best, but this is a democracy, after all, isn't it? Of course, the Internet spans well beyond our USA borders, and I would never want to exclude the Rest Of The World.
So here's the deal...
Everyone tell me what their bestest, favoritest campsite in the whole wide world is. Preferably, give a link to your own blog or website, or even photo-sharing website to show us some views. Tell us why it's the best. Include stuff like how far away from water it is (make sure it's a legal distance per park/forest reg's), how soft, flat, protected the sleeping area is for a comfy sleep, and how much sky you can see.
I know it's subjective, but that's part of the fun, isn't it?

I have several favorites. Getting photos might take me a little while. Some places I haven't been back to since digital cameras came out, so I may not have jpg's yet.

Maybe this post will end up being a rambling post that never ends...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Grays & Torreys Time-Trial

I have been running Grays & Torreys from the chimney near I-70 for several years now. I've been putting forth an extra effort to get training above treeline, so it made sense for me to run this before the snow flies to see how bad I still suck, and to see how much further I need to go to get back to my 2008 fitness level.

My doctor gave me some Advair samples, and I've used it for a whole week. My asthma has been dogging me for years, and it's the biggest limiter of my performance. In addition to Advair, I took a snort of Astelin, which is a long-acting nasal dilator, like hot mustard, but not painfully intense, and not wearing off after a few minutes. Astelin lasts half a day. Last, I took a hit on my Albuterol.

Thursday, I chugged a whole quart of Gatorade before the DTR run, and because of that, I ran like a banshee. Since that worked so well, I did the same this morning.

I love my sleep, so I didn't bother to wake up early. I didn't get started until 9:46am.
There wasn't any chance of breaking my 2008 record of 3:56, so I started out walking, but not wasting any time - I wanted an honest assessment of my current conditioning, but without tearing up my lungs.

I was surprised when I reached the summit of Torreys in 2:10. I was pretty sure my previous time was 2:12. I wasn't even wasted/hypoxic! That's when I realized I could actually set a PR. So I hustled over to summit Grays and then down.


As I left the upper cirque and was getting into the flatter section above treeline, my right toe caught a rock. I spun around so fast, slammed my left shoulder (boy, I really am trying to break it again, huh?) into the trail, but it ended up being a glancing, hard blow that left me staring at the sky. I'm slower than I used to be downhill because I'm paranoid I'm going to fall, yet in spite of being extra careful, I still keep falling. Luckily, no harm done.

I finished in 3:45, taking 11 minutes of my best time!
How the hell is this possible? I really am in worse shape than I was in 2008. I can only guess that the Gatorade and asthma meds did the trick.

The chimney in the parking lot is my Start/Finish

So now I'm looking at the Rim Rock Marathon. What if I guzzle another quart of Gatorade before the race, and do the same asthma-med ritual? And what about the Boulder 100? Yeah, boring course, but it's a great course for experimenting. Is it possible that at mile 80 I won't have lungs topped-off with gunk? Will I be able to finish an hour or two faster?
I used to train nearly every day. I haven't been doing that recently. I'm afraid I've been slacking off - only running a couple of times a week. No more Tuesday runs, no more running every day, just the DTR Thursday run and a weekend mountain run. Yet somehow I'm performing as good as I did in 2008?

Fingers crossed. Awesome news. I'm elated.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Run Rabbit Run 50, 2010

Wow, what an awesome, awesome weekend!
As I was walking into the Bear Bar where Run Rabbit was based, the evening before the race, someone asked me if I was running. I said, "Heck no! I've been injured for over a year. I'm not trained-up. I can't run 50 miles through the mountains!"

Then Fred offered me a bib and I just TOOK it! What was I thinking? I think it was something like, "Life is an adventure - get on the frickin' boat and shut up!"

I somehow managed to have everything I needed to run an ultra in my car.
My pre-race meal was pizza from Blue Sage Pizza.
Naz A offered me floor space at his hotel room. It was his 1st 50 miler, and he did great. He finished about 2hr 30m faster than me.

Being so under-trained, my goal should have been just to finish, but instead I decided to take 30 minutes off my previous best.

Fred A. told me I had to finish. I said I can do bad, or I can do terrible, but I can't quit.

The weather was almost perfect, but like the Saturday before, there wasn't a speck of cloud in the sky and it was a scorcher. Luckily, it was a mildly gusty day, and the course gives a fair amount of shade. I took two Ultimate Direction bottles and always had water in one, sport drink in the other. So I was able to use half my water by squirting it on head and shirt. This kept the heat from bothering me at all.
I also paid better attention to my hydration and electrolytes than the weekend before. I ate regularly, used about 6 gels, ate potato chips and banana at the aid stations, and just kept moving.

The course is 50.2-50.3 miles, so it's almost exactly 50, with just enough extra to avoid any arguments.

The weather obviously helped everyone. All the records fell.

I love this course! Very beautiful, several lakes, very challenging, great people, great town.

I never felt bad during the race. My asthma hurt early, which concerned me, but it never got worse and I never faded.
Charles Danforth and I somewhat leap-frogged each other the whole race, especially the last 3rd or so. It's about time I got to know a guy whose name I keep hearing, and whose blog I've stumbled across several times.

The last 10k of the race is steep downhill, but this time I wasn't as fast. Since breaking my arm, I keep having visions of crashing. I still take some chances, but not like I used to. I actually got passed three times during that final descent. A fourth guy nearly passed me too, but I managed to stay ahead through the chute and across the finish.

My body was wrecked! I was almost in shock. I had to keep moving or I would have passed-out. Then when I was finally able to sit, I started turning to concrete, so I had to move some more. Eventually, I got some post-race pizza and one beer into me, but I couldn't stand to consume anything more, nor could I stay conscious much longer. So I went back to my car and passed-out on my sleeping bag in the back of the car. I slept right through the awards.
Around 11:15, I struggled out of bed, drove to a convenience store and bought some Gatorade. After drinking the whole thing, I drove a few miles out of town on a dirt road and slept until morning.
After Breakfast, I soaked at Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Then ate pizza at Beau Jo's back in town. I don't think I've ever eaten so much pizza in three days in my life.

Right now, I finally feel human again. Tomorrow, I'll be 100% again.

Friday, September 17, 2010

OMG! I in Run Rabbit Run 50

So I drove to Steamboat to volunteer. Fred A said they had enough volunteers - do I want to run? They have people doing half-day shifts but I worked all day last year. So he got me in.
Whoa, what a surprise. And I went through a 15 minute panic where I started trembling, wondering if I even have all the stuff for running a mtn 50.
This will be interesting...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 American Heros Run

My friend David Clark, who I crewed at Leadville, and Max Muscle put this event on. Let me tell ya - 9 hours and 11 minutes is way easier than 12 hours or 24 hours!

My poor brain just wasn't into waking up at 5:30am, though. I figured I'd wake up at some point, but it's easier to drive while awake. I missed the turn-off and had to backtrack.

The course was a 1.06 mile loop in Rogers Grove Park in Longmont, CO. My goal was to run 50 miles, which would have bettered my 9:33 finish at Collegiate Peaks 50 in 2008. It didn't happen. The temps weren't too very hot, but there wasn't a speck of cloud in the sky. At Longmont's altitude, it was a scorcher. I could have handled my hydration, electrolytes, etc. better. Still, I was surprised that my wheels did not exactly fall off. However, after hitting pace for 33 miles, I realized I couldn't hold the pace after so many hours struggling with the heat. I basically walked with Dale Perry for half a dozen more laps.

First place, Jerry Armstrong, was way, way ahead with 6 more laps than me and Chris Labbe.
Chris was hoping to do a 9min/M pace the whole time, but for some odd reason, his heart rate shot to 162, which happens to be my VO2max rate! So even though he got two laps ahead of me, I managed to get ahead of him by a couple laps. But then his legs got better, and I stopped trying, and Chris tried to sneak by me. He managed to gobble up nearly all my lead.
Then with 17 minutes left, I realized I could easily do another lap. Dale Perry said he was done, so I ran faster than I had in quite a while. Chris tried to reel me in, but after walking so many laps, my legs were stoked with energy. He finished only a minute behind.
In my best year, 2008, I couldn't have hoped to keep up with Chris Labbe, so this was a fluke. When you get old and fat like me, you gotta take what you can get. He had a bad day and i had a good day. That leveled the field.

In all, I managed 46 miles, although officially, I only got 45.8, or something like that. I'll go by my GPS, since they don't pad. GPS's can only shortcut your path. So you can fairly accurately trust you went at least as far as your GPS says.
If I hadn't given up and walked, I don't think I could have done better than 47 miles.

It was a very fun day. David Clark's family is the coolest family you could ever meet! His dad walked the entire 9 hours and 11 minutes and PR'd!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Buchanan Pass-Pawnee Pass Loop 2010

I never knew this trail existed! OMG, this one is a keeper!
Unfortunately, my son stole the SD memory card out of my camera without telling me, but the camera has 10-12MB internally, so I was able to shoot half a dozen photos. I stole others from Kari.
My northern freinds from the Boulder/Ft Collins area put this run together.

I needed altitude, and I knew there were lots of trails in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area south of Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park that I needed to discover. Having a crazy bunch of special idiots show me the way was a luxury I couldn't pass up.
Seven of us started out after 7am.
I played caboose all day. At first, it was because I have to warm up very slowly and carefully in order not to aggravate my asthma. It takes a few hours to get fully warmed-up. But I also wasn't sure what my conditioning status was at this point. I'd been working on short, fast speed-work. I've been logging scant few miles. My main goal has been to trigger my body to return to its previous state. Muscles have memory. I've seen this several times over the years in my own body where I get out of a cast and my limb is horrifyingly emaciated. But in just a couple of months, it's back to normal.
So I stuck with Cat S until we got over the first hill.

Longs' Peak in the distance

Then as we started the 2nd big climb of the loop, Kari called a pow-wow. Our various paces were too strung-out for the long day and it was time to choose sides. Three opted to turn around at the top of the pass. I chose to become the caboose for the four that continued.

Coming off Buchanan Pass

These three women kicked my ass!!!! Okay, I kept up, except for the stretch between Pawnee Lake and Pawnee Pass which had me sucking for air, but it was a race-pace effort for me to stay with them.

The scenery was so beautiful, and it just kept getting better and better.

Head up towards Pawnee Lake

The trail below Pawnee Lake is FULL of the most incredible waterfalls! There were several sections of river that were series of falls and pools. If the water hadn't been too cold, even at this warmest time of the year (for mountain water), I'd have said they were great for skinny-dipping.
I bought a SteriPen a year ago but had never used it. Since we were going light, and drinking out of clean mtn water, I opted for the 'Pen instead of my filter. It's a slick thing to have, and leaves no chemical flavors, and faster than pumping.

I didn't know at the time, but all these women kicking my ass were elite runners. Yikes! Even though I kept up with them, I'm sure it was only because they throttled-back. But the stretch between Pawnee Lake and Pawnee Pass, they dusted me off like lint and waited for me on the top. !!!
I've got a long way to go to get my legs back under me, folks. I'm fat. My weight is still 170-174lbs, and has been steady for over a year, but my belly really sticks out in the most unflattering way.

I hadn't planned on such an arduous run, but it really was beneficial.
Except for my Pearl Izumis. As we headed up to Pawnee Lake, my toe caught a root stub that punctured the shoe mesh and ripped it all around beside the outer toe. It wasn't a catastrophic failure, I barely noticed any difference, but I've had to throw the shoes away.

Pawnee Lake

The trail up the west side of Pawnee Pass goes through quite a rock pile, and zig-zags up a wall.

Steph E about to cruise on by without any effort, while I suck like dieing goat


Very strong gusts of wind were not helping, except for the few times it was a tailwind and lifted me up the trail.

Here's a shot just after getting over the top of the wall. The trail drops straight down below the spires in the foreground.

Birds-eye view of Pawnee Pass

My feet are good and no sign of my PF, but I need some serious altitude training.

What an awesome time! Everyone says it's 27 miles, but my GPS claims 26.3. GPS's tend to shortcut switchbacks, and there were quite a few, but I think 26.5 is probably accurate, and that's what I'm putting in my mileage log.

More from Charles D, who did this with Steph (one of the trailmongers kicking my ass), and another from Jim P.