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 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.