Thursday, December 29, 2011


This year was carbonated - it fizzled. I pretty much lost steam in life back in April. After years of realizing my relationship days are long gone, and then things at work went terribly wrong - unjustifiably - my morale hit the pits. Not much seemed worth any effort. I normally am a very enthusiastic person who throws his passion into everything. I'm creative and fast-moving. I'm extremely effective.
But I lost all my steam.

The politics of this country and direction it's taken, and how far in debt its gone makes me believe there is no way this country is going to survive. The only question is how long the death-throes will take. And how many other countries will die with us in this global economy?

My job looks like a dead-end. I am loyal to the core, but there have been too many times where certain key entities have basically told me "wait", don't", "do this instead" (knowing full well some other entity will have my ass if I do). I'm between a rock and a hard place. Damned if I do and damned if I don't. It's the worst mess since I got hired. But at least I still have a job, even if the joy is completely gone.

My brothers hope some day we'll have a ranch near Buena Vista. We're trying to figure out how we can afford it, and how we'll make a living. It could be many years away.
One of my brothers has been unemployed for years now. Heck, people we're hiring at work were unemployed for 1.5-2yrs on average.
My son can't find a job. He's going back to school in June - I hope I still have a job and I can still afford his tuition.

My right foot has been pretty bad since early Fall. It shows no sign of improvement. As far as I know, my foot will hurt until the day I die. I'm just glad I can still run some. It's bearable.
I have too many injured friends. Ultra-running can be cruel if you pretend you're invulnerable and just like everyone else. Some do fine running 100's their whole life. Others die from health issues. Most of us are in-between, and we should admit it. not too quickly, mind you - too many people accept limitations too soon and give up. If you accept excuses, you'll never achieve anything - you'll never be all you can be. But it's a dumb thing to cripple yourself for the last several decades of your life, like many of my friends have done.

My life feels like I'm backed into a corner and there's no way out. It's not the worst "corner" a guy could find himself in - I still feel fortunate as hell. I'm still pretty healthy and employed. I'm not about to lose the house. I'm not going hungry and not worried about how I'm going to feed myself. That's some degree of hope.
But it isn't happiness.
That pretty much sums up 2011 to me. Sorry for the downer, but it's all I have. It could be worse.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter Runs

A storm had just blown in and covered everything with 6-12" of fresh, dense snow.

The Wednesday night run at City Park was in big-puffy-flakes falling down. I love running in this kind of snow-fall!!!

This week's DTR Thursday run was done on South Table Mountain. By then the snow was harder to get through. I wore my Atlas racing snow-shoes. It was a lot of fun.

On the way back, I found myself running alone. I heard a coyote around the bend. As I came around, I slowed and looked in the direction of yapping. I didn't see the coyote, but I saw a mule deer trotting up the mountain with obvious fear. No doubt there were a couple of other coyotes who were not yapping. The yapper corrals the deer while the others move in from the sides and try to ham-string the deer.
It was really cool to happen onto such a scene! Think of all those sorry saps sitting at home watching TV and I was watching real coyotes hunting real deer in a beautiful winter wonderland!

In Buena Vista last weekend, while trial-running, I decided to explore off-trail. I didn't stray far because there were boot tracks and I was afraid a hunter might shoot me. However, I saw the biggest freakin' canine tracks I've ever seen in the wild. They were as big as my hand. There are some people who break the laws and have wolf-dog hybrids. Too many hybrids attacked people, so they're confiscated when found and sent to refuges, or killed. So maybe this was a hybrid? Or, maybe wolves, which were re-introduced to Colorado many years ago (and my brother and I found a carcass of one with a tracking collar near Idaho Springs), have worked their way down south far enough to be wondering the hills around BV?

There were tons of deer around BV and Salida. They practically walk right up to you. They aren't "tame". They're used to a particular distance. If you look at them, or move the wrong direction, they bolt slowly away. I've found that if I whistle from a high-note to a low-note, it calms them. In fact, when I was younger, I could lure deer within 20 feet of me by wallowing in the grass and whistling. Curiosity could get them killed. Some deer can't resist checking out such a bizarre display. If I had a bow, they could be venison steaks.

Straight Razors

I had to buy some new razor cartridges, and was pissed that they cost so much. Less-expensive ones were higher quality, but had all sorts of plastic and packaging added. It pissed me off. So much disposable and over-priced crap! The modern shaving razor market is a "racket". Stop the train! I want off!

So I used Amazon to find a straight razor. I decided on a Solingen stainless steel straight razor with a cheap plastic handle. All the handle does it cover the blade when stored. When you shave, it has nothing to do with the job. So I spent all my money on the blade and didn't give a hoot about the handle.
Some people take great pride (arrogance?) in the whole religious shaving thing, and they want the prettiest straight razor this side of hell. Me, I just wanted to stop filling the land-fills with stupid plastic and wasting my money. Sorry Gillette - kiss my consumer ass.

The Solingen was nearly impossible to sharpen. For weeks, there was no noticeable progress. All I managed to do was scrape skin off my neck. I was extremely exfoliated, for sure.

Then when I was coming home from my vacation, I stopped in Leadville and visited the big antique shop. I found an old Blue Ring straight razor for only $84. Victorian-age, in the box, and as far as I could tell it was never used. You can tell because the rounded spine ends up with a flat side the more it's sharpened. From the factory, there's very minimal flat. It came in the original box, greased. A 115yr-old brand-new straight razor for less money than I paid for my stainless steel modern one. Wow!
With very little sharpening, I was able to shave with it.
I ended up buying a straight-razor sharpening stone and strop, since I had such a hard time sharpening. Wouldn't you know it - the instant I spent the money, the Solingen started shaving.
When the new stone and strop came, it didn't help - it actually dulled the blade, so I went back to my old stone.
I started with my diamond file, from my machinist days. Then I graduated to my fine-grained dark Arkansas stone. Apparently the Arkansas stone is the very best. It seems I wasted my money on the strop and razor stone.

With two straight razors, plus paraphernalia, I wasted lots of money, but I hope the landfills never see anymore garbage from me from shaving. And eventually I'll end up saving money. It'll take years, though - I already have about $290 in this new shaving gear.

Salida & BV

Some day, I might move to the Buena Vista area - or Salida. The locals, especially the ones who were born there, cringe when they hear yet another city-slicker is moving their way. Well I'm certainly in Denver, but a city-slicker is not very accurate for a guy who spent most of his life in tiny towns and whose only idea of fun has been to head into the woods.

I took a four-day vacation to scout out the area. Instead of doing a race or climb or camping trip, I concentrated my efforts on the towns. Previous visits used towns only as bases to launch my fun from - I never took them seriously. But this time I was looking at real estate, jobs, etc.

Of course, while down there, I used the shooting range twice, the hot springs once, and went trail running twice. I spent the night in the back of my Subaru.

The Proving Grounds coffee shop in Leadville is gone. City on the Hill coffee and espresso is the new name. All the usual faces are gone. Most of the new employees show very little personality, yet the food is just as good. Maybe the food is better - I had a pesto turkey sandwich that was awesome! At least one guy, who might be the new owner, has plenty of personality and is really cool. That makes up for the somewhat boring other people.
I can't help missing the old crew, though. But the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and that sandwich is working on my allegiance.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

El Chubbo 2011

The annual El Chubbo Grande run near Fort Collins was every bit as fun as I'd hoped. After months of getting fat and slow, I let my legs stride out.

It was colder and definitely snowier than last year. There was even several scary patches of ice below Horsetooth rock, but I managed not to wipe-out. The snow slowed everyone down, and only the most elite bothered to go the full 50k distance.

I carpooled, and our driver wanted to get back by 4pm, so I grabbed a ride back at an aid station after only 21 miles.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Commuting, Work, Dreams

I don't know about blogger etiquette, but they solicited everyone to link to their blog anyway, so I have their consent.
This post is so dead-on, and covers just about every tiny facet of fiscal reasons why living close to work is important. Any how you should buy a car, which car, why, etc.

The True Cost of Commuting

When I was 20 (some time in the last century in a land far, far away), my car broke down and I had to hoof it to work. That was crazy long and hard. So I bought a 10-speed for 10$ at a garage sale. Even biking took its toll on me (I was no athlete back then [how ironic that this older version of me can run circles around my younger self]). The lesson was learned: Always find work close to home so you have the option to walk, run, and/or bike to work - or take public transportation.

I also refuse to buy cars with a loan. If the money isn't in the bank, I can't afford it. People say that's crazy! It sure has saved me several thousand dollars in interest over the past few decades. Also, many insurance companies charge you higher rates if you have a lien on your car. If you get a loan on a car, it should be to boost your credit rating. You don't need to take the full term to pay it off. You can pay it off a couple months afterwards and your credit rating will soar.
But if I want a higher credit rating, I'll do it with a lower-interest loan, and do the same thing - pay it off after a couple of months. Auto loans charge the highest interest rates of any loan you can get.

I currently work 5.4 miles from work, if I drive the back-roads, which are safer and more predictable.
If I take the highway, good luck with the traffic-jams, but it's only 5.3 miles. It's more reliable going home, and some days I can get home in only 5 minutes.
But if I ride my bike, that's dangerous as hell. The area between home and work is a cluster-phuk of interstate highways, one-way streets, railroad tracks, Lightrail tracks, and clogged streets. So to ride my bike the safest way, I have to go the wrong way in many places to avoid the most dangerous sections. This takes me through Washington Park, then along the Cherry Creek paths. The air quality is horrible, especially in winter, so someone with asthma like myself is not actually getting healthier by biking to work.
Light-rail requires that I walk/jog 3.9 miles round-trip, so public transit isn't fast. There's a way to take your bike on Lightrail, but seriously, at the times I go to and from work, the trains are sardine cans. There are times a train stops and the doors open, and its all the passengers can do to keep from spilling out - there's no room for more, much less an entire bike. If I have to wait for a later train, I'm late for work.
We need more trains, but they're spending all their money expanding the tracks to newer routes east and west and diverting jammed-up trains from busy routes to new routes, leaving even fewer trains for the busy routes. Yikes! Suffice it to say that Lightrail hasn't worked out for me.

I know several people who live in Colorado Springs, Boulder, Ft. Collins, yet they work in Denver. They spend all their free time (and money) driving. I won't judge too harshly - many had the perfect formula, work and home close, they start a family, then they lose their job. To keep the house, and to provide for the mortgage, the kids, and everything, they are desperate.

My dream is to work from home. How's that for a commute? I could go home for lunch every day! I want a two-car garage-sized shop that I can work in, and an income from my shop, and income from my technical skills, some through the Internet and some from making house calls to fix computers or set up Internet/networking stuff. All I would need is an Internet connection, UPS/FedEx, and a workshop.
At that point, I'd be extremely mobile and could live just about anywhere. My dream is to move to Salida, Colorado, or somewhere like that, with a lot of land to play on.

It snowed Thursday, and I had a beautiful run in Elk Meadow. Now Saturday, it's snowing again. I love fluffy new snow! I like walking through it and the unique "smunching" sound it makes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Erands and Projects

I've been the Denver Trail Runners moderator for the month of November. It's not so hard when there's no races in my schedule.

I've been very busy doing things that I kept putting off while racing all the time. It's been years since I've bought any civilian clothing, like jeans. I ran out of things like shaving razor blades and shampoo. So I've been doing lots of shopping instead of lots of running.
My brothers and I have wanted a 1qt-1gal gallon paint sprayer, so I shopped online and found some with real good reviews. Finally, I bought one.

I also got to do some computer work for an old friend I hadn't seen in a couple of years. It's nice to catch-up.

My brothers and I are going to try to get several of our engineering ideas patented. Then maybe we can get some things into production. These are long-term plans we hope will allow us to be self-employed.

My Colt Navy 1851 revolver was missing the barrel catch for the reload plunger. I tried to order one from Dixie Gunworks, but instead of coming, I got an invoice that stated it was canceled - no explanation as to why. But my powder flask came. Well, I really, REALLY needed that barrel-catch! No kidding! So why didn't' they call or email? The order asked for my phone#. So I was pissed - partly because they charged $7.95 postage and handling and all I got was one item. I guess I won't be doing business with them ever again.
So I looked into my junk, grabbed a piece of metal, started sawing and grinding and filing and sanding. Geez, it only took me an hour to make the damn thing from scratch, and even had a bottle of gun-blue to darken it. I hammered it into place and now my Navy 1851 is whole again.
The flask had three set-screws that were loose. I had to take them out and apply Lock-tite before reassembling and filling with powder.
Then I made a percussion cap nipple-wrench from a piece of steel tubing and made a handle out of brass.

This working-with-my-hands stuff is what I have always liked. I don't have a real workshop, but I do have tools. I just do what I can with what I have.

I'm not sure when I'll be able to shoot it for the first time.

I now want an old-fashioned straight-razor. Extra shaving cartridges were on my list. What a scam! Ten cost $20.59 at Target. But I can buy 4 disposables of slightly better quality, also by Gillette, for $6.59 ($1.65ea.) This is moronic. The small cartridges cost nearly twice as much as disposables that will add 300% more crap to our landfills. I can't fathom why they do it this way. They also made deals so that no cheaper store-brand knock-offs are made to compete. This is kind of good in that crap Asian stuff doesn't push out the quality items, but it's still a racket that has a different kind of penalty. Shaving stuff has been this way for many years. The industry rewards you for choosing the big, wasteful packaging with more disposable junk.
So I'm ready to give up. Just give me a straight razor and some soap. I'll shave the old-fashioned way. I already have a brush.
I'll still be trimming with my little Wahl beard-trimmer, but the shaving-to-the-skin will be done with a blade.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Twice a week

I run twice a week, Wed & Thurs evenings. Maybe every three weeks, I'll also run a Monday.
Being rested, when I do run, I tend to run faster than I've been accustomed to. I regularly run 8:00 or faster, concentrating on using my feet to propel myself a couple of extra inches each stride. This keeps me springy, keeps me from trashing my knees, and strengthens my feet, especially my arches.

Weekends have been spent recreating in less strenuous ways. I've been shooting, shopping online for gun parts to repair or upgrade.

I bought a Navy 1851 black-powder revolver that's as old as I am. This is something I've been wanting for many years. I bought it in Victor Colorado, near Cripple Creek.

This instigated much research on my part. Mine is a brass frame - apparently Confederates used more brass, where Union troops had mostly steel frames. Also, the term "Navy" was gleaned from the caliber: .36. Mine is a .44, which has a step in the cylinder for the bigger loads. So at a glance, you can tell the difference by looking for the step in the cylinder. Obviously the .44 doesn't hold true to the original Colt design.
I've always wanted three black-powder guns, the Navy 1851, a single-shot flintlock pistol, and a .50 Hawken that I insist on building myself from a kit. I want to do the stock myself, and I'm not sure I'll even use the wood stock that comes with the kit - depends on what design customizations I chose. I want it to be a freakin' masterpiece. I used to be a silversmith, in another life, and a tool&die machinist later, so I have the skills. But I need a bigger workshop for that project.

Back to running, there's been lots of talk about Fat Ass wannabes. There is a greater demand than there are races. So maybe I'll slap something together not too far from Denver, and not too high - so that weather can't derail the plans.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Differnet Strokes

I have only been running Wed and Thurs, mostly, since Sept.

Large feasts are rare, to avoid gaining weight.

Last Monday, I somehow managed to run 8 miles faster than I think I have in 32 years.

Arthritis in my right foot is getting pretty bad, and causes me to limp a lot, but not while running.

I've been shooting my guns often. This is something I did many years ago, but since my son was born I haven't done much. I used to be an incredible shot with my Glock 17 and Glock 19. It was a natural ability that became better with practice, but I found that neither my natural nor my practiced abilities exist anymore. I guess I'll have to actually train to become good again.
My new AR-15 is very fun to shoot, but I'm having a hard time figuring it out. At 100 yards many shots strayed, but at 508 yards, I shot 20 rounds within about 5" while standing free and shooting fairly rapidly. Go figure. We'll see if I can continue that sort of accuracy the next time.
I wish I had a longer range to shoot at. I would like the opportunity to shoot 7.62mm out to half a mile, if only I could find a safe and legal place to shoot that far.
I used to reload lots of 9mm, but I now need to reload 9mm, .40S&W, 5.56mm, 7.62x39, and if I get the gun of my dreams, 7.62x51 also.

Shooting ranges are getting closed all over the place. There are too many idiots, and all it takes is a couple of idiots to ruin things for everyone else. People take TVs and computers to free outdoor ranges and shoot them up and leave the junk. So these places get posted - no shooting. I have taught my son, always leave with more junk than you showed up with. Always show respect and be safe.

I will return to more camping, like in previous years. Winter used to be my favorite time of year to camp. Maybe it will be again. Hopefully I'm not a wimpy old geezer yet!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Aspen Golden Leaf Half 2011

Vasque and Ute Mountaineering put on a great race each year. My patience with crowded races has grown thin these years but the 4-wave start really helps tremendously. Since I go with a large gang of friends (well over 20 of us), and the scenery is great, I find this race hard to resist. It's become an annual thing.

After 50-mile races the two weekends before, I guess I wasn't at my best, but I couldn't tell by the feeling. I got in touch with my inner maniac and ran as hard as I could.
They changed the course. They made it harder and better, but there's more climbing at the start than previous times I did this. Since I'm no good at climbing, it took me 14 minutes longer than my PR for this course.
I almost wiped-out about six times, but never crashed.
I felt so freakin' fast! I was surprised when I still had over a mile to go when I reached my PR time limit.
I finished 10th in my age and 155th overall (out of 748 finishers) in the top 21%. I'm not proud of it, but I guess it could have been worse. If I want to be faster, I'll just have to get faster, right?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Steamboat 2011 Run Rabbit Run 50

I was going for a PR for the course, but I was a couple minutes short. But a very fun weekend, for sure.

My recovery from my 50-mile PR 6 days before was rocky. I jogged 5.5 miles on Wed., then Thurs. morning I felt certain I was going to throw-up. That passed, but I didn't feel great the rest of the day. Then Thurs. night, I came down with a fever that lasted all night. It went away just in time for me to get up. I had Friday off, so I packed and drove to Steamboat, wondering if I was even going to start the race.

I slept in the back of my Forester, as usual, and the cold rain woke me up about 20 minutes early. I used the time to cut out circular athletic tape to put on my nipples. It was going to be a wet day and I didn't want bloody nipples staining my shirts.

The rain stopped in time for me to walk to the start line. It wasn't too cold or wet at the start. In fact, it was kind of perfect.

I took it easy the first mile, but then started to push harder than normal. If I was going to PR, I was going to have to keep pushing harder than normal.

After about 5 miles of climbing, we ran up into a cloud. We stayed in the cloud until the return, running back down out of it.

It started raining when I was about mile 22, and it just got worse from there. It rained pretty hard, and it was freezing-ass cold. The rain often turned into sleet and/or snow, then back to rain. I was soaked by the time I got to the Dumont aid station at mile 28.
This aid stop derailed my PR. The freezing rain had too many runners trying to stuff themselves under too few canopies. I had nowhere to put my bag and change. Finally I grabbed a spot and yanked my shirts off, but all I could find was one dry short-sleeve shirt inside, not a long-sleeve also. So I put the dry short-sleeve on and the soaked long-sleeve over that, and my ultra-lite rain jacket over that.

I left as fast as I could. A sock change would have been comical, since the single-track trough we often ran in was filled with water. Mud was everywhere and slimy like grease. The creeks doubled in flow. Occasional winds sucker-punched whatever shred of warmth surplus I could generate.
Man, was that fun! LOL
It was fun, but a bit dangerous. Half of the leaders had to drop from hypothermia.
In fact, nearly 50 people dropped, and no shame about it. It's the only ultra I've even done where the aid station volunteers sometimes had to suggest to runners that maybe they should quit - for safety-sake. You either had enough clothing or you didn't. If you didn't, you should stop. The conditions were the worst of any race I've ever done. The aid stations were too far and few to be screwing around out there without enough clothing.

The volunteers were the best. This may not be fair to volunteers at some other races, where the merde didn't hit the fan and allow them to show their mettle, but the Steamboat crew sure did a phenomenal job. No one was injured or lost.

Pretty much everyone who was out there lost the feeling in their hands and faces. I'll bet some volunteers were even in bad shape. Vehicles at aid stations had the engines running and runners were sitting inside, stacked on top of each other sometimes.

I barely had enough clothing to keep moving, and was gravely concerned for my well-being. BIG THANKS to Kelly and Katie for looking after me for a few miles.

Once I hit the last 10k downhill to the finish, my legs muscles carried me fast. My heart and lungs were fried, but my leg muscles take whatever I throw at them.

I ran a sloppy 2nd half of the race, and no doubt could have taken 15 minutes off my PR. I stayed horribly long at Dumont, the Long Lake stop was too long because the volunteer filled my 70oz bladder all the way up - my fault for not saying half-way. And half-way would have been faster, not to mention less weight. I only used 30 of those ounces the entire rest of the race! So I carried 40oz of dead weight for 13.6 miles! My brain was frozen! So that all adds up to a lot of lost speed. I finished in ~11:26 and my PR was 11:23:24.
That means next year 11:10 is mandatory.

I love this race for the family atmosphere. So many of us know others. It has a real local home feeling that I really feel a part of. People who run Run Rabbit really like to run for the sake of running.

It's amazing my poor battered body responded so well, so close after my other race. I'm now attempting to repeat the fast recovery so that I can hit the trails at the Aspen Golden Leaf half marathon a week later. Hell - it's just a half-, right? The problem is, a PR means running it under 2 hours, which for me is ridiculous. So that's my plan - ridiculous.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hell Froze Over

I won a race.
Naw, I'm not making this up.
Yes, it was a tiny event with no real competition.
I mean there were other ultra-runners there, but most of the people involved weren't even actual athletes. Some were soldiers recovering from grave injuries. Others were elderly parents of soldiers, lost or living.
It was the American Heroes Run in Longmont, CO. It's a fun, low-key event. There's only as much competition as you decide to have. There were only a couple other ultra-runner guys and a few ultra-runner women. The other ultra participants were not experienced as racers. The main theme was to commemorate the events of 9/11/2011, and all those who died that day and the decade since.
We ran for 9 hours and 11 minutes.
It began at 8:46AM, the same time the first plane hit the first tower.

The weather was clear and beautiful.
An Honor Guard was there in full uniform.
David Clarke and Emily Booth from Lifetime Fitness put the event on. There was a half-marathon, marathon, and ultra. There were also some team events.
As far as running, I was hoping to get a PR for 50 miles. I ended up not getting 50 miles within the time limit, but I kept going until I had done 50 miles. My new 50 distance record is 9:13.

The sky was almost entirely clear. Many stopped to take long breaks from the scorching sun. The temps were fine, but that relentless sun will microwave your noggin if you stay out too long. I just kept my cap wet and my sun-flap wrapped around my head.

Nobody was even paying attention to who was leading for most of the race. The other couple of guys were younger and faster than me, but I was the only one with a clear goal. My goal had nothing to do with other runners.
With less than three hours left in the race, Jeremy Ebel and I found out I had barely more than a 2 mile lead. He suddenly stopped horsing around and started running.
I had honestly lost interest in my 50-mile PR, and was interested in coasting through the rest of the time with more and more walking each lap. But Jeremy was trying to take this old, fat man's one-and-only win away, so I decided to give it a good go. He gained on me so fast I knew there was nothing I could do, but I couldn't resist making him earn it. Jeremy seemed to chew up nearly half a mile of my lead and then he was only barely gaining on me. And then he wasn't gaining on me. And then he just ran out of time.
By then, my 50-mile PR was back in sight again, so I kept pushing and made it.
I'm sure glad Jeremy was there to keep me honest.
Unfortunately, I was planning on taking it easy because my next race, 6 days after, is Steamboat 50. I hurt, and Steamboat is going to be "interesting". But it always is.

Monday, August 29, 2011


As pathetic as it may sound, I'm physically fine - except the skin is going to eventually fall off the bottoms of my feet. I never got to the point of physical exhaustion. I sure was tired, but we all were at 70+ miles, but I wasn't "spent". My muscles weren't even sore during or after the race.
I'm was kind of tired of talking about Leadville even before the race. There's a few noteworthy things though.

I screwed my race up by not changing shoes at Twin Lakes. That's the worst thing I did to my race. Oh, well.

I ran the Leadville 50 in my La Sportivas and got them very wet nearly the whole race, and there wasn't any hint of the troubles I would have in the 100. So that was a surprise. It's not like my shoes were untested, but I did forget a lesson from very many years ago. I seem to remember blogging years ago that shoes shouldn't be waterproof, but instead they should dry out fast. So uppers should be netting so that water drains out instantly, and shoes begin to dry out quickly. Lesson forgotten. Crosslites are great shoes, but I don't recommend them for Leadville unless you where multiple layers of socks - even panty-hose socks outside of Drymax could do the job.

My lungs are odd. They behaved as if completely healed at the Leadville 50, in spite of pushing too hard the first half of the race.
The lungs behave this way...
The stressor is the uphills, yet somehow the lungs are fine uphill. Even though the stress builds, it also somehow keeps my lungs clear. When I start heading downhill, the stress is off, but the stress has been loaded. My lungs start to fill on the downhills. If I hammer the downhills, which is what I've always been good at, then I manage to put some stress on down the hills and help reduce the lung-flooding. I can easily get through a 50 this way, or even a 100K, but there has always been hell to pay once I stop. When I stop, there's no stress, so my lungs flood quickly and I cough so hard I almost vomit and break a rib.

When I got to Halfpipe, they couldn't find my drop-bag. I thought they were going to keep looking, since I told them I needed it really bad. While I waited, I took off my shoes and socks and saw the state of me feet - bad. Then I ate some soup, put my shoes and socks on, and hobbled from tent to tent looking for my drop-bag.
Apparently someone somewhere gave the Halfpipe crew a list of bib numbers who had DNF'd earlier in the race. So they grabbed those bags out of the orderly line-up of drop-bags and tossed them into a disorganized heap. Whether they accidentally grabbed mine, or an entire list of bogus DNF's were given to them, the result was the same. When I stop, my lungs get worse, not better. So not getting my drop-bag was very bad at that point in the race.

Like a previous post on this blog, I mentioned that when in doubt about whether you're over-hydrated, dehydrated, hypernatremic, hyponatremic, just guzzle an isotonic solution. No matter waht, your pH will head towards the correct direction. This worked extremely well for me all day, as I had 20oz bottles of isotonic water in every drop-bag. I also had V-8 and Gatorade. On the return, I made it a rule that I would drink every drop of fluid in all my drop-bags before allowing myself to leave each aid station. The couple of miles after each aid station I always felt quite good.

If I had changed shoes and socks, I would have been moving faster when I got to Halfpipe. I wouldn't have taken off my shoes there. I would have impatiently demanded to know which tent had the drop-bags and I would have grabbed it sooner, instead of after stopping for 20 minutes. So I fumbled my race very badly from Twin Lakes to Halfpipe.

I have scarred the hell out of my lungs over the years. I love altitude, winter, mountains, and running long distances, but apparently I'm filling my lungs with fibrosis, and my lungs are becoming less and less capable of each breath. I really don't want to be one of those old people who has to carry around an little oxygen bottle everywhere I go.
So I don't want to ever let myself do another 100 mile race. I probably shouldn't do any 50's, but how can I resist?
Ultras are just so very much fun. We all run for different reasons. I enjoy the preparations, the drop-bags, logistics, "the plan", the execution. Unlike other runners, I don't get bored bored or lonely out on the trail for hours. I relish every step.
So I'm not going away from 100's with my tail between my legs, in spite of my horrible success rate. I need to stop doing 100's for my own health. I'm not sure I can stop myself, though. But that's the plan.

Monday, August 22, 2011

LT100 2011

This was do-or-die, and I died.

I decided weeks ago that this would be my last effort at any 100 miler.
Things were going well the 1st 60.5 miles. That's when everything unraveled - fast.

I stopped because the soles of me feet were wrecked. Shoulda-coulda - I had dry shoes and socks at Twin Lakes and didn't change (to save time).
When I got to Halfpipe, they couldn't find my drop-bag. At all.
My lungs are not healed after all. As I sat terminally waiting for my drop-bag, my lungs started foaming up.
That's the skinny version.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Crusted Butt

I've been on vacation, and I want to spend my time high. Sunday, I hiked/jogged up Hope Pass, river crossing and all. I tried to mimic guesstimates raceday pace. This was my last semi-workout before the race.
But Leadville is hard to take for an entire week. (Besides, now the Golden Burro is closed! So much for my local discount.)
Monday, I got a soak and massage at Cottonwood Hot Springs, and minor sunburn was free. LaNae seemed to think I was a mess. Said something was floating in the skin in my lower back, and something wrong with my neck. Couldn't believe I felt neither. And the dog bite - I thought it was looking good, but LaNae... Hey, don't tell me how jacked-up I am before Leadville! Wait 'til after - OK?!

Then I drove to Gunnison, then up to Crested Butte. I parked my Forester and immediately met two women. We had desert and margaritas, and one even paid for mine. (!!!) But then they bailed so they could go hiking next morning.

I found a quiet dirt road to carcamp on that night. I woke up several times. I'm a bit confused. I swear something small was running across the roof of my car, but I have my big Thule box on top. The first time, I shined my light on the roof. Nothing. Then on top of the box. Nothing. I'm deaf in my right ear, so I can't hear in stereo, can't tell direction or distance too well. The 3rd time, I looked under the car. The biggest porcupine I've ever seen was underneath. I had a 3-quarter rear view and it held still as if, "if I hold real still I'll be invisible!" I had to crank the starter a couple times to scare it off.

Tuesday morning, I went to look at Judd Falls. Couple miles.

Sat on my ass the rest of the day.
Later that evening, when I was online with my laptop in a parking lot, a bear ran by 20ft away. Whoa - hello! Right through town.

Wednesday, I did a rambling road-trip to every gunshop in the region. It's getting nearly impossible to find gun stores, shooting ranges, reload supplies, and law-abiding dealers who will help you attain whatever specific weapon you want to order.

Anyway, I'm in Salida drinking beer at Amica's. In a while, it's back to Leadville and getting in-gear for the LT100 this weekend.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Heat is On

I never have done well with heat. My body shuts down to preserve itself. It feels like I'm drugged. I'm not talking about when I'm actually in the heat. My body knows when its hot outside, and it does this. My body tries to go into hyper-sleep. I can't think very efficiently because it feels like my brain is drugged. I just can't get motivated. It's like I have sleeping-sickness - can't ever wake up all the way.

My training is going poorly - I'm very under-trained.
I went to Real and tried their calculator to figure out a predicted finish time for the Leadville 100. Granted, I was really sick during April, and my performance for each race since then has been better and better - so things are moving in the correct direction. But the calculator says I'll barely finish. That's IF I finish, and the margin of error is great enough that I could even finish, but not make the 30hr cutoff.

Real calculator predictions
Based on...
Run Rabbit Run: 2.42+/-.31 = 24:03/27:34/31:08
Jemez 50: 2.15+/-.24 = 28:56/32:34/36:13
SJS50: 2.11+/-.23 = 29:12/31:40/35:06
Silver Rush 50: 2.65+/-.27 = 25:07/27:57/30:36

I'm feeling real un-motivated, though. Just not caring about the Leadville thing much anymore.
I went to log into the Leadville website today, but my login was invalid. They dumped all usernames and passwords. So i created an account last October, but in February I couldn't log on. And now in July, the account was no good and I had to create a new one. I'm so glad I'm not dealing with this race ever again. I work hard at a job that is full of hassles - but they pay me to put up with hassles. But when I'm not getting paid, the last thing I want are hassles. The Leadville races just aren't my cup of tea anymore. I'm not against them - it is quite a big enterprise. I simply don't want it in my life after this summer.
It's like the Pikes Peak Marathon - so glad I did it - once. I never want to do it again - such a zoo.
There are other races coming out all the time, and I want to stick to races that are simpler. Maybe abandon pay-for events and stick with adventures with my crazier friends who like to do Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim, and stuff like that. I want to go back to work feeling relaxed - not like I've been run around a rat-race dotting i's and crossing t's.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Leadville Silver Rush 50 - 2011

I really like the 50. Not to hard, not too easy, fantastic scenery, awesome people, not far from home.
I overslept. Somehow, two alarm clocks didn't wake me. The light in the sky woke me at 5:24. Race start at 6:00. So plenty of time to get there, but not enough time to get there all organized. Forgot my GPS pod, which would have helped keep me on pace. Didn't have time to deliver my drop bag.
My goal was a new PR. That would require under 10hrs.
I sprained my ankle at about mile 21. That sure didn't help. But I've had worse sprains, and an icy pool of water was blocking the road right after that. I stood in there for several seconds before continueing.
I made it to the half-way turn-around in exactly 5hrs, but the wheels were falling off. So Plan B was to finish as well as I could.
Not fast, not slow, just a fun day.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


One of my friends died over a week ago.

Missing Golden climber's body found on Mount Baker in Washington

She and her boyfriend were coming down from the peak and had to descend a large snowfield. The snowfield wasn't particularly steep. Conditions were complete white-out. Some other climbers started the glissade down the snow, then Sheryl started down, then her boyfriend. When he got to the bottom, the first climbers were there, but not Sheryl.
As it turned out, snowmelt had created a creek under the snowfield and had melted out a very deep hole. I think maybe it was over 20 feet deep. In the white-out, Sheryl never saw it until she was sailing into it. There is a strong flow of icy running water in the bottom.
That was July 3rd? I haven't been able to get a good date, but the story was out July 5th.
Sheryl's body still hasn't been recovered. Of course, its bad enough, and no one wants anyone else's life to be risked in a recovery operation. Still, its very hard to take.
Sheryl was a very happy and energetic person. She's very much missed around here.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Leadville Marathon 2011

Oh, man, this was the year I was slow. The first three years I ran this race, I did so well, each year doing still better than before. But this year I knew it wasn't going to happen. I finished in 5:45, or something like that. My PR was 5:05 - so close to sub-5hr. Next year. I need to stay injury-free.

Good news is my lungs are still cooperating. Not like normal healthy lungs, but not like they have been, either. My lungs weren't a factor at all.

For training, I ran on Mt Evans twice in the past several weeks. But I haven't had nearly the mileage I historically have logged. I'm just not fast. That takes more training.

It was an awesome weekend. My son came along and we had fun camping the night before and after the race.

The weather was perfect. That makes all my races this year! Am I Mr. Lucky or what? Just give me free entry into your race and I'll bring great weather! (Void where prohibited by law.)
I really enjoyed the race. I wasn't agonizing over a PR. I was certainly giving an honest effort, but nothing like the past.

It was a very good time. The race is extremely well supported, and is one of my favorite courses. It's like trying to run on a pile of rocks for 26.2 miles. Crazy. I love crazy-ridiculous courses, but the scenery is also fantastic.

These panos were all taken from the race course.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

San Juan Solstice 50 - 2011

Wow, where do I begin. Mixed bag.
This is one of the hardest - if not the hardest - 50-mile race in the world.
This year, the water was so high, there was no way we were going to do the traditional route. The creeks and rivers are raging with the most possessed, ugly, brown, frothing water you ever saw. There was no safe way to send 200 runners across 18 (I think) stream crossings. So they created an alternate course, in the same region, avoiding all the major stream crossings.
Hearing this, lots of people who had to drive a long ways, and weren't already locked into tickets or reservations, bailed. This allowed everyone who was on the wait-list to get a spot.

One of the best things about the alternate course was that, for those of us who had already done SJS50 multiple times, this time provided new views. The morning views through the aspen and meadows with Uncompahgre and other huge mountains around was breathtaking.

The volunteers were the best! No doubt, these people are the best folks you could ever hope to staff a race with, and the terrain this race is in is so forbidding that it's a daunting task.
Because this course was thrown together at the last minute, there were a few minor glitches. There are several places where the course leaves a trail and bushwhacks up a slope, across a meadow, etc. If you didn't see the markers off-trail, up the slope, through the trees, you'd miss a turn. Most courses mark such a turn by making a line across the trail with white flour (it's biodegradable), or they take a long strip of course-marking tape and tie rocks to each end and put it across the trail. If you're looking down at the technical trail, you can't miss these types of "wrong-way" markers.

I didn't find anyone - not one single runner - who didn't get off-course at least once. I missed a marker and only went about 50 feet before having to back-track. Worst-case was a pack of 20 who went two miles off-course. Several of these people ended up calling it quits. It really sucker-punches your morale, especially when the terrain is so difficult, and you tell yourself that the alternate course, if you PR, won't actually mean anything - so why keep trying?

As for me, I just wanted a finish, a good time, and to not get another injury. My open dog-bite wasn't hurting. Band-aids were still coming off with some bit of blood and lymph, so after two weeks, it's still not totally sealed, but it wasn't hurting. The new course avoided all the deep water, and that allowed my wound to stay dry.

The weather was like at Jemez 50 - perfect.
Sorry I don't have photos, but I already took a camera on the previous two races, and I was car-pooling, so I packed light and ditched he camera.

There was a miscommunication that somehow occurred about the Divide aid station. We were all told that it would be at mile 31, but that it wasn't certain - they would go as close as they could. Apparently everyone thought that worst-case would be 1-3 miles away. They said aid stations #2 and #3 were at miles 11.5 and 22 and my GPS concurred. Then at mile 29.00, there was another aid station. They said the next aid station was at 31M. Not trusting, I went loaded with about 40oz of water. At mile 31.5 there were two non-athletic girls sitting on a rock. I assumed they were from the nearby aid station, right below the Divide rim - I was wrong. I asked some other racers if I missed the aid station. They replied that they never saw one either. So we continued up.

We found the yurt, but no sign of life. At mile 36.6, we finally found the Divide aid station. The aid station was great, the people were great, but we could have been warned that maybe it could have been that far. While only 7.1 miles, it was the 3rd brutal climb after many high-altitude miles, and it was slow. When each of us ran out of water, we could no longer eat or take salt. So not only did we get dehydrated, we dropped into glycemic deficit. So the Divide aid station had to do a lot of nursing of wrecked, staggering, mumbling runners. I must say they did a great job, in an exposed area, no tent, providing hot Ramen soup and all the other things runners' bodies crave. My hydration bladder also got stuck closed, and a guy managed to fix it without tearing it, which I thought was impossible. So I really appreciated his efforts. They got my feet back under me after about 15 minutes and I headed down.

In 2009, the descent into Slumgullion is when my lungs flooded with fluid, so I was apprehensive. But everything went okay. I ate a whole pocket full of Oreos and guzzled fluids, trying to recover from the deficits that almost caused me to collapse above treeline. When I got to Slum aid, Kristin Alvarez was there and helped me with everything I needed. Not long later, I ran out of there feeling almost human again.

...Until I hit the last Big Climb up to Vickers ranch. Beautiful area. The aspen, meadows, and views are so serene you just want to lay down and soak it all in - but you gotta keep movin'. Seemed like the climb would never end.

I finished a minute under 15 hours. A terrible finish time, but a finish. Still waiting for official results, but thinking there were epic numbers of DNF's, from demoralized drops to people missing aid station cut-off times.

I had a great time. Made some new freinds. Actually it's not the running and races that keep me coming back - it's the eclectic bunch of people I keep meeting.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pitiful Mileage

My logs tell a dismal story of very little training. The only thing the logs don't tell is my cross-training. But even that isn't impressive, if you count the time spent on non-running work-outs.
Weekly mileage for the year...
Yes, there's a zero in there. April was constant sickness, followed by Collegiate Peaks 50. I haven't hit 80 miles all year!
I feel good, though. Not much physical stress at all.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Training for SJS50

My dog bite is healing, but it is a nastier thing than I had thought it would be. For about 15-20hrs, I was wondering if an infection was going to run-away, but I managed to massage the infection away. I had been so distracted by the open wound that I neglected to notice the little gouge next to it. That little gouge was way deeper than I had thought.
I put a couple of lose stitches into the big open wound, finally. A bit late, but it has helped. For one thing, the wound would break open a little and leak when I ran, but with the stitches, it hasn't opened up since.

After a week of pitifully short 2-4 mile runs and walks, with several 10-minute VO2Max rowing machine workouts thrown in, Thursday I finally ran a good 10.2 miles at Mt. Falcon Park.

Saturday, I drove up to Summit Lake below Mt. Evans and ran to the summit and back. Man, I so very often don't plan anything, and I use dead-reckoning. I thought the summit was only 1,000ft above me and the road was probably only a few miles. I planned on getting at least 10 miles, so I figured I would do two summits runs. WRONG! The road from Summit Lake to Mt. Evans summit is just over 6 miles and the summit is over 1,400ft above the lake. With a short extra I added south of the lake, I managed a very high altitude 12.7 mile training run.

My lungs are doing great. I don't understand this. There's tons of forest-fire smoke hazing up the air, but my lungs and asthma don't care. But just a little pollen and WHAM!! Dust often bothers me, but smoke isn't so bad.
I've been feeling very bad and weak for the past couple of months. April is historically the highest mileage month of the year, but this year, I was so incessantly sick that April is the lowest mileage. That will badly impact my performance the rest of this year. But runs like I did up Evans will help a lot! I feel very good. I almost feel like the SJS50 won't be so bad.

Unfortunately, the RD says we won't get to run the normal course. Too much fast-flowing water. The race criss-crosses the same creek several times going up the first climb. That water is so high it'll sweep shorter runners off their feet. A few years ago, we did this with ropes across and a one-person-on-rope rule. This created multiple traffic jams all along up the creek. And when we got above the creek, no one could feel their legs below the knees. I mean not at all. Zip. Nada. Gotta look down to be reassured they're actually still there. I'd rather do that again than run an alternate course.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dirty 30 2011

I don't have much time to post, but I do have photos taken during my volunteer stint at this year's Dirty 30 in golden Gate Canyon State Park.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gunnison 2011

My son graduated High School the Tuesday before Sage Burner, and originally I thought it was the Thursday before. Anyway, to save some money and give me the option not to go, I didn't register for the race.

Instead, I ran the course starting a much-too-late 1hr 45m after the start. I brought three 20oz bottles. At about mile 11, I bummed a quart off a very generous guy in a pickup. Then at the half-way point, there was an aid station that was still being taken down, and they filled me up. Then the next aid station was gone but they left all the water jugs. Cool - most of the race and still supplied.

But it was hot and very low humidity. I was drying out faster than ever.
By mile 12, my quads started hurting - left-overs from the Jemez 50 the weekend before. Then the dehydration slowed me down. I slowed so much so quickly that my progress became pathetic. There were two opportunities to shortcut back, but I was too stubborn. I really should have taken them, but, well, I'm stupid.

A biker gave me another 8oz. That helped me get almost back. Then a guy gave me a refill of an entire 20oz bottle with over half a mile to go, plus he mixed Heed with it. So I made it actually 32 miles total for the entire day.
It was too risky-stupid but worked out. It was hippy-running - bumming nearly all my aid. I guess it puts extra meaning to "Trail Bum". I guess I needed a cardboard sign that said, "I'll be honest - I just need a drink - and a Gu."

There were over a dozen of us from Denver camping together. It was a lot of fun.

Sunday, I stopped in Leadville for a short high-altitude run. The local kennel was out running their dogs in the snow off-leash because no one was out there. I guess I changed that rather unexpectedly. There were about six dogs and two ran up to me real friendly. I love dogs, but my lifestyle, and living in a basement, doesn't leave me a lot of room for a pet. As I got closer to the owners, the whole pack rushed me wagging and licking.
Except for one. It had been an abused dog and loved it's new care-takers. In an over-protective frenzy, it dashed in and ripped a hole in my calf. The kennel owners kind of freaked. I just packed snow on it and told them not to worry about it. It's just something that happened.
The emergency room didn't want to sew it shut. My doctor two days later also said he didn't want it sewed. So I'm going to heal with a hole in the skin.
It's a 90deg cut, all the way through the skin, but miraculously not through the fascia around the muscle. In a weird way, after it was cleaned, it was kind of cool looking through a door at the calf muscle moving around inside.
It never did hurt much - not when it happened, not in the ER, and not later. I think it was the Guillain-Barre that keeps me from feeling all the pain I could feel. Oddly, the Novocaine needle hurt like a hornet sting. It's as if I can feel certain sharp pains all the way, but dull pains not as much. Wouldn't you think getting bit would be a sharp pain? But it didn't hurt when it happened. Whatever.
I'm not supposed to run, but after 32 miles Saturday, I had a little post-run swelling that usually goes away with more running. Holding still caused my legs to swell below the knee. So to keep the swelling from cutting off circulation and causing an infection, I had to walk and run some.
I worked out on my rowing ergometer Tuesday, and I went running Wed., and walked Thurs.
It is a big and ugly wound, but healing well, and not interfering much with my life.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Jemez 50 2011

After poor health for all of April and a stinging DNF at Collegiate Peaks, all I wanted out of Jemez was a good time and a finish. I got both.
But during the race, I wanted another thing - to finish before it got dark. I got that with some time to spare also.
It was an ugly finish, though. I finished faster than when I walked it in 2009, but not impressively faster. I'm just in lousy shape. Very lousy. There's just no way to cheat your way to the finishline. If you're in bad shape, it will show up out there.

Since I knew I'd be slow, I decided to take my running pack. I would use a hydration bladder and a 20oz bottle. Then 10min before start, I noticed my pack was dripping. I had checked my bladder for leaks, but not with the hose clipped in. So I rushed to my car and replaced the bladder with two 16oz bottles. Wow, two 16oz and one 20oz seemed a bit much, but a 16 & 20 wasn't going to be enough for my slow butt to go 7.8M between Valle Grande and Pajarito Canyon.

Things went well. The weather was beautiful! BEAUTIFUL!! I've never ran a race where the weather was better.

Then at Pipeline aid station, I accidentally left my 20oz bottle. I had been carrying one empty 16oz bottle and the other 1/3 full. So I slid and crashed my way down the cliff into the caldera and when I got to the bottom I realized my mistake. There was no way I was going back up that cliff! I had 7oz in one bottle, so I ran to Valle Grande much faster than planned. Then I topped-off both 16oz bottles and headed to Pajarito.

It was definitely a wonderful day. In spite of this stupid bottle problem, everything else made it a perfect day NOT to be sitting on my ass!

As expected, I got to Pajarito Canyon aid station dehydrated. I drank extra while standing around, then refilled and took off. I was really dragging ass, but better to recover moving down the trail than sitting at an aid station. So lots of people passed me. At the next aid station, one of the people who passed me sat down like he wasn't going to be able to walk another step. I don't know his name and I hope he managed to get his legs back.
As I started the last big climb over 10,000 feet, I started to feel almost human, but the climb kept me from feeling good. Again, I got passed and then passed them as they lost their legs.
Finally, the Big Drop - the double black diamond ski slope. I was surprised as slow and tired as I was on the up, my legs felt fine on the down.
Back at Pipeline, Grabbed my 20oz bottle again and headed up the last climb. The last 11 miles are monotonous. I just shuffled along. It wasn't a walk and it wasn't a run. It was that in-between thing. Walking hurts my feet too much. Running took too much energy.

This is the first time I took my new pulse-oximeter. I watched my blood-oxygen rate fall and climb. I was never in trouble. My pulse was sometimes high, and during the Caballo Mountain climb it dipped as low as 81%, but I found I did best if I kept it between 85-89%. Any less was dangerous to my asthma and anymore was being a pussy.

A finish is a finish. After the last couple months, I'll take it.
Stress from work, and not enough time off, has whittled me down. I needed a break. I got exactly what I needed. But even as slow as my finish was, it was over too quick. i love Jemez 50M. Slow or fast, I'll just keep coming back.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Collegiate Peaks 50 - 2011

This went badly, but it was still a fun, beautiful and worthwhile weekend.
My lungs flared early. I gave a token effort the first 25M lap. I don't know what I finished it in. Probably 4:45, but I had to used the restroom, so I didn't leave for a while after that. My last lap, I just tried to run/walk/hack.
My lungs just weren't ready. I felt pretty good before the race, but as soon as I started running, I could tell it was too soon. Still, I paid special attention to all the stressors I could do something about, like hydration, calories, and electrolytes. I think I handled that well.
I tried to stay ahead of the cut-offs. This is something I could never imagine having to do. I really had to suck down some pride. There was the option to drop at the end of the first 25M loop, but I figured I didn't go to do half a loop. If I pushed too hard, I was just going to aggravate my lungs more, so just have a good time.
I missed the cut-off at mile 39. Got a ride back. I'm not hurting much, but more than 39 miles ought to.

Ryan Burch gave an unbelievable performance, breaking the course record by basically running 50 miles at marathon pace. I never saw him strain so much, but he was really knocking it down. Wish I could have seen more of him on the course.

I drove to Leadville for the night. I just drove to the end of the road, threw a couple of sleeping bags on the ground, and laid out staring at the stars. There was only one decent falling star. The other was maybe my imagination, it was so short and small. There was virtually no wind - just an occasional slight breeze. My lungs didn't like the thin air, but the cleanness of it, and the smell of pine was really fine. My body responded well to that.
My abs are still very sore from coughing. With the lack of training I've been getting, my abs at least have not withered.

Jemez is much harder. If I couldn't finish Collegiate Peaks, then how can I finish Jemez? I'll just have to hope the lungs clear up all the way, and I can get some training.
If I can't finish Jemez, I'll bail on SJS50. Those bibs are too coveted to waste a bib with too much doubt. If I can't finish Jemez, I feel obligated to give my SJS50 bib to someone on the wait-list who has a better chance. Besides, the way the wait-list works, if you bail, your credit card never gets charged - I wouldn't lose any money.

I've been told I need to go to National Jewish. Apparently there's a battery of tests they have to do - maybe 10 visits - where they really tell exactly what you need to do to deal with your particular type of asthma. They specialize in athletes, too.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Missed the Whole Month

I've gotten in several runs in April, but not one of them was 100%. I had 6 days in a row of running. The rest of the time I spent coughing, and coughing, and coughing some more. I coughed so hard I thought I was going to throw-up my guts. I coughed so hard so often my abs are sore. I coughed all the way through the month. They wouldn't let me work because everyone was tired of hearing me cough. I coughed so hard I had a headache. I had to intertwine my fingers and clamp my palms on my temples before each coughing fit because it felt like my head would explode during the effort. I was coughing convulsively.
The doctor said it was Reactive Airway Disease, of which my asthma is just part of it. My hypersensitivity to pollen, smoke, or anything else causes my respiratory system to attack me. He stuck me on a steroid that got rid of most of the convulsive coughing, but that was a week ago and it is starting to return.
This elevates the risk of pneumonia. I've had acute pneumonia, walking pneumonia, and someday I'll probably die of pneumonia.
They x-ray'd my lungs and sinuses and they were clear, so he said I wasn't sick from an infection - just being attacked by my respiratory system.
I'm taking Claritin to help control my allergies. This Spring has been hell.
What fun.
This may end my racing career. Virtually no training this entire month. Friends are bragging how they've logged 300 miles, and I haven't made it 90 for the entire month.
I have Collegiate Peaks 50M in 6 days, and I'm still coughing. I may have to bail.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sick Again

After finally getting in six consecutive days in a row of running, even though it was small mileage, I'm now sick again. As usual, it's respiratory. My respiratory system is destroying my athletic ability. If it isn't asthma, it's a number of viral or bacterial issues.
A week ago, I'm pretty sure I had pneumonia, but I was still pampering myself from the allergy issues I had right before that.
I haven't been completely healthy since getting home from the Moab 100.

I've logged 46 miles in the past 7 days. That's the most I've gone since the week of Moab. That's not horrible mileage - better than nothing, considering - but it's leading me into a season of no-PR mediocre races.

Next up is Collegiate Peaks 50, which has sold-out. I don't think it ever sold-out before. There are lots of races selling-out for the 1st time this year. I don't think this is so much due to an ultra-running craze. I think the population of this country just keeps growing faster than the number of new races, but that's not a scientific opinion. Part of it is a bit of craze, and another part of it is the types and quantities of products for runners, from shoes and 4 oz. hooded jackets to gels and sport drinks.

When I was born, it was still seen as unsportsmanlike to eat or drink during a race. First they started fudging by drinking water, then the Florida Gators developed Gatorade, then NASA made Tang, and we've just been tinkering ever since.
I'm sure the 1st ultra-runners existed 1,000's of years before the marathon was created, but modern ultra-running races like LT100 and HR100, combined with sport-drinks, launched a new industry. That industry has allowed ordinary blokes like me to run multiple ultras each year. The more of us that sign up for multiple races, the sooner they'll fill up, obviously.

The price of gas will make future racing less likely for me. I might give up the Moab 100, Rim Rock Marathon, either the Salida Marathon or the Salida Scramble, and God-forbid, SJS50. I've already given up Sage Burner 50k, Steamboat Marathon, and Estes Park Marathon. That would leave...
- One Salida race (Mar)
- Collegiate Peaks (May)
- Jemez (May)
- Pbville Marathon (June)
- Pbville 50M (June)
- Pbville 100M (Aug)
- Steamboat 50M (Sept)
Seven races is still a lot, right? There would be some free events within 1hr drive from home I'd do - I've been doing more of that stuff in the past year.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I did errands last weekend, instead of driving to Desert RATS near Fruita.

Friday night - Fixed my son's school bell that he bought - but it didn't work. I tucked a tiny spring in the right place and it was better than new. (hard to believe it ever worked, with the crappy materials they designed it with.)

Saturday - Swapped my studded snow tires off and put my aluminum wheels back on, drove to the tire place and bought new Yokahama's, got a haircut, grocery shopping, clothes shopping, and squeezed in a short run.

Sunday - Ran in the AM, ran in the PM.

My running sucks. Something doesn't feel right. You know how you feel after a race, and there's traces of lactic acid in your quads? That's what my quads feel like - only I haven't done any races or hard runs lately. You know how sucker-punched you feel after a race? That's how I feel all the time.
When I look back at Calico 50K, and how good I did, it's hard to believe that was just three months ago, and that was really me.
I don't know what's going on. This week, I'm going to try real hard to "log" over 5 miles every single day, even if I have to walk it. Maybe some better consistency is what will shake me loose?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Salida Scramble 2011

I had friends running up near Lyons on Saturday, but I knew I would be running in Salida Sunday, so to save gas and time, I went running along the way, Saturday.
I ran along Chubb Valley to Trout Creek and up towards Buffalo Peaks. Total of 9.5 easy miles, but at decent 9400'-9600' altitude.

I ate at Amica's with a beer and then to my usual parking place up in the hills. It was a very windy night, and one gust blew extremely hard for over a minute. But it settled down after that. The temp barely got below freezing.
Breakfast was at Salida Cafe & Roastery.
It was an easy 8:30am meeting time. It was still a little breezy and cold, but not bad. The trails were clear of any snow.

I was not feeling so hot, so I took it easy. I pretty much sat back and rode my legs and watched the scenery go by. In spite of that, I managed to get a good enough workout to make my quads and calves sore. 17.7 miles, including excursions.

And ever since getting back, I've been getting destroyed by tree pollen and dust. My sinuses are attacking me with such fury I've never seen. It seems to get worse every year. Things at work haven't allowed me the luxury to take more than half of Monday off. I'm desperate to get work done - no overtime allowed and I just can't seem to keep up with the load. I come home brain-fried, sinus-fried, and physically exhausted.