Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Actually Still Here

Been a whirlwind past couple of weeks, and it won't end soon. But rest assured I'm still here and having fun.

After crewing David Clark to his LT100 finish, I stayed in Leadville until Monday.

How's this for a fiery sunset???

Monday afternoon, I ran up Mosquito Pass, ran hill repeats until horizontal rain scared me back down, and then right when I was about done, I wiped-out. Not far from the spot where I wiped-out during my last running of the Leadville Marathon in 2008. I landed mostly on my hands, rolling sideways and slamming my shoulder - the same shoulder I broke last May. It hurt, but not too bad. The next day hurt a lot more, but then it was fine.

Then, still oozing bloody goo from my scrapes, I met Leslie G and Keith B in town for the TransRockies Run.

My PT for my arm discovered that the fall on my shoulder seemed to help add a wee bit of extra motion in one sector. (Maybe I should fall some more?)

I had a very good run with the Denver Trail Runners at Apex Park. I hammered it hard and felt great. I was extremely careful on the rocky sections, but still went fast. When I fell on Mosquito Pass, I was being extremely careful, so even with care, the trails are sometimes very dangerous. I suppose I could crash and burn again even worse, someday.

Then over the weekend, my friends Brandy P and Chris R got married near Rocky Mtn NP, at a lodge. Partying two nights in a row, for me, plus a run Saturday morning up to Sand Beach Lake, left me very tired.

I started this week with a very intense VO2 workout at the gym, and then 5.2M around Wash Park. OMG, I'm so slow! I ran as fast as I could for one lap and only managed a 7:42 pace. I have GOT to lose WEIGHT! My midriff is a very embarrassing zone of lard. Even though my weight is not any more than it was two years ago, I guess I was fat then, too. If I shaved 12lbs, I'd be able to climb faster and injure less.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Crewing at the 2010 LT100

This year, I crewed for David Clark of Longmont Max Muscle.

David has been training for this for over a year. He has not been logging historically fast finish-times for many races, but has had a history of unstoppable forward motion. I wasn't concerned before or during the race that he would fail from any weakness, whether mental or physical. Still, a LOT can happen in 100 miles, and there's a lot of people who were tough enough who couldn't get across the finish for various reasons beyond their control. I just hoped that I wouldn't be one of the reasons he didn't cross the finish!!!

I somehow managed to bring my camera case, but the camera wasn't inside, so all I had was my crappy 1st-gen iPhone camera. But I got the most important shots of red-carpet and breaking the tape. David did AWESOME! Never a whimper, never a thought of quitting.

As far as weather goes, this may be the best year in LT100 history.
Anton Krupicka apparently tried to knock off Matt Carpenter's record. He was well over an hour ahead of 2nd-place Duncan Callahan. But alas, Tony's body would have none of that on this day. But what an awesome go at it!!!

Jake Gyllenhaal and another big star that my non-movie-star, non-fanboy head can't identify, and a small crew of others who seemed to be producers and/or directors and movie technician guys showed up and followed the race. And I mean they really followed it. They lived in Leadville for a few days before the race, they didn't sleep much or at all during the 30hr race, and even at night, I ran into them again at Fish Hatchery aid in the middle of the night. Mostly they watched, but I think they helped at times too.
They didn't seem to be filming any final footage of anything. It seemed to be tons of snippets. I was standing around with a random runner and friends at Twin Lakes. Jake G's star-friend was taking photos of us with a huge camera. It was only later that I noticed he had a small shotgun-mic attached. So he was taking movies and over-heard everything we said!
The director guy, of course, had to have a special chair that couldn't look like anyone else's. And of course he parked his glorified ass in it, apparently unable to stand amongst normal folk. LOL And he had to have guys handy to write anything down in case he said something important, like, "gimme a bigger latte manana" or something like that.

What a circus the LT100 has become! There were two para-sail planes flying around, documentaries being filmed, old veterans of LT100 mega-finishes milling around, and new Lifetime Fitness people, who now own and run some of the show.

David Clark moved well nearly all of the race. He executed just about the smartest, most disciplined LT100 I can imagine. His only problem was coming into Winfield, which left him close to the end of his rope. LT100-veteran Nick Sterner was his pacer and crew at Winfield. He knew exactly what David needed to do, and got David's legs back under him and out again. It was a loss of about an hour between Twin Lakes and Winfield, but he had managed to get way ahead at Twin Lakes, so he merely was back to his previous pace-average. No harm done overall.
All I can say is, for a crazy sumbitch, he was one sane, positive, and fun guy the whole way. It was a great time for all.

Nick Sterner paced David from Winfield to Pipeline Road crew-access. Nico Brooks paced him all the way to May Queen aid - the last aid station. Kelly Lotterhos ran him in to the finish.

David had his whole family in-tow. His brother and father even helped crew him and were indispensable assets. His wife and kids and his mom were there. I think everyone involved batted back a few melodramatic tears now and then. It was an experience, let me tell you. David is one heck of a guy to witness 1st-hand. Just seeing anyone do the LT100 is one thing, but David Clark is an extra special kind of character you have to experience to fully appreciate.

What a pleasant morning for a walk, eh?

...beep... "Uh, Houston..." ...beep... "We have attained red-carpetness."

YEAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!! And the crowd goes wild!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There's another good reason not to miss the 30hr finish cut-off... Ken Klouber shoots stragglers.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

LT100 Crewing

I'm in Leadville crewing David Clark at his 1st ever hundred. He is slow but strong, and I think that is what should get him across the finish. His chance of finishing is actually better than mine ever was. I'm as nervous and hyped as I am when I run it myself!

Not sure what's going on with this race. I personally didn't guess that Lance Armstrong would try again, but he destroyed his own record in the LT100 bike race a week ago. Not sure why all the famous people are in town. Sitting here in the Provin' Grounds coffee shop just after the start of the LT100 run, and the star of Donnie Darko, Jarhead, Rendition, Jake G, and some other famous notables, have been sitting around the couch hunched over maps.

Been sleeping in the back of my Subaru and lovin' it! Looking at stars through the huge moon-roof is great. Although the young couple who drove up nearby and phuq'd made me lose 30 minutes of sleep. I still have the easy end of the job.
But I'd rather be running, even with the pain and agonies. Nothing beats the adventure of pushing yourself so far that you break.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

North Half Moon Lakes

Short on time again (express train never stops), so I don't have much time to write.
Took my son backpacking to Half Moon Lakes.

Lots of mushrooms.

Truffles???? I'm not sure.


Mushrooms started growing between the soil and a rock. The mushrooms pried the soil up off the rock, but the oddest thing was the mushrooms were all growing upside-down.

One of my favorite campsites in the whole world! I was in this exact spot about 6 years ago, in winter. Obviously the only person up there. Snow, the lake was frozen with spidery cracks all through, and the wind was rockin' me. But the sky had been clear and the moon lit up the night. That was then. This time it was warm and calm. We watched dozens of falling stars and satellites. The meteorites were very spectacular, with yellow fireballs and glowing tails. My brother said yesterday that this was a predicted meteor-shower. So we lucked-out. I've never seen so many spectacular meteors in my life, on one night. And it was on a night so clear and dark, I never remember such vivid sky.

Of course, we had to have Jiffy-pop popcorn on my camp-stove.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Run Rebellion Run of the Mundane

My Internet is down, so this simple post is coming from my iPhone.

I managed to log 130.7 miles in July. July is the first month this year that I've managed to run more than the same month last year.

August is off to a good start...
Joshhua Mitchell's Run Rebellion held the Run of the Mundane to see how many laps they could get in at Washington Park. It was a scorching day. I sweated buckets, but managed to keep peeing. I soaked myself With water constantly, yet I couldn't dump enough water on myself to keep the salt from crusting.
My goal was 100 miles in 21hrs. Not a realistic goal, in light of my year-and-a-half of persistent injuries, but it wasn't about being realistic.
I managed only 38.7 miles.
Mainly, I needed to find out where I was at in the endurance arena.
Conclusion: I suck - I've lost at least half of my conditioning.
I had hoped that I'd only lost speed, not endurance, but I think both areas are half what they used to be. I think I can only manage a 4:50 marathon, 5:45 50K, and 11hr 50M.
I could have gone faster and farther, but my crotch got severely chaffed - again. This is what happened last time I went round-n-round at Wash Park. This time, I quit before breaking the skin. The worst welt was puffed up a good 1/4". One or two more laps would have bled. Nothing about Wash Park would make that worth it. Even Vaseline didn't help. If it gets too hot, Vaseline melts completely and runs off. I should have used an anti-chaffe stick, but I used it up last year.
It was lots of fun, good exercise, and I actually managed to hold a 21hr hundred pace for 26 miles. Beats sitting at home.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Clear Creek Camping

My son got back from Chicago with his mother on Wednesday, so he only had a couple days to chill out before I grabbed him for backpacking.
I had loftier goals for this weekend, but I don't believe in pushing very hard when going with my son, or any other less-motivated people. We got a late, leisurely start, and the forecast came true - rain.
I had hoped to backpack north into the basin south of La Plata, but my son's allergies can get severe, and the rain had them flared full-blast, so we modified plans.

The rain didn't stop us from having a small fire. There were about three short breaks in the rain that allowed us to re-stoke the fire before retreating a short ways to our dry abode under a giant fir. We ate lots of jerky that we bought at a road-side stand on Climax. Elk, Salmon, and Buffalo. We each had an apple, and we finished with Jiffy-pop popcorn, which somehow came out perfect, even though the poor pan was a month old, and had been beat-up while packed. It's the simple, stupid things that make camping with kids fun.

We slept late. I guess my son got more sleep than I, since my broken arm always hurts when I lay down.

We were camped in this grove of trees.

The trip was worth it! The camping went smooth, and the views were breath-taking, in spite of not climbing above the valley.

The air was so clean!

This is one of the most beautiful spots on Earth!

I'm enjoying introducing my son to each of the most-awesome places. There are many more.

I have worried in the past that he might not appreciate the outdoors. It's not like you can force anyone to apprciate it. I used to think the only people who don't love the outdoors are people who never experienced it, but then I met several people who explained how and why they love cities and not the outdoors. I understand why they're the way they are. And they aren't wrong. I'm just not like that. In spite of being a computer nerd, my soul belongs to the boonies!

We were in luck! We found more strawberries than I have ever seen in the mountains. For the uninitiated, Colorado's forests are paved in strawberries. This is not something that you hear, generally. But anyone who bothers to look down will see, "Doesn't that look just like strawberry plants?" But you never see any strawberries.
Then, about 10 years ago, I found several pea-sized strawberries. Oh, the flavor was HUGE!! All the flavor of a full-sized strawberry packed into a berry the size of a pea.
Then again, a couple years ago, I found a few more.
But this batch was the most abundant I have ever seen. Unfortunately, they did not pack the punch of the first ones I had found - just normal flavor, but at least my son got to pick and eat wild strawberries in the mountain and appreciate how rare a treat that is.
These are the sort of simple little memories childhoods are paved with, and I hope I provide enough of them for my son. Computer games are fun, and texting, driving to the mall, hanging with friends, is all great, but there's no substitute for SMORES, wild strawberries, hikes, and stories around a campfire.