Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The section begins on another familiar trail. The year before I had run this part in the dark, but Katie and I had hiked it when we were at Blues & Brews last September.
I had grabbed my iPod, changed my shoes (I was now wearing the Sportiva Imogene), and had the knowledge that for once I had not completely acted like a little girl during the night portion of an ultra. And it was increasingly looking like I would not see the sun set again during the race. All this seemed to bring new life to me and I finally got that second wind I had been waiting for.
I tore out of Telluride hiking like a madman. Hiking like I was re-living my days as an infantryman, I started passing lots of runners. I continued this almost all the way up to Oscar's, even passing Kirk, who I would not see again until the finish line.
I say almost, because I almost didn't make it all the way up the mountain. The last hundred feet or so were damn near impossible. Basically straight up, and the wall was covered in mud. It was fun, but it took me FOREVER! It was more rock climbing than hiking. I would dig my fingers into the wall and try not to slip backwards while I was pounding out steps up the face with my feet. Didn't quite match my pace up to Kroger's, but it was close.
I meet Paul at the top and somehow he is clean, where I'm covered in mud. But I'm having a great time and feeling on top of the world. We begin the bomb down to Chapman. I'm forced to find balance between wanting to sprint and needing to be careful not to break an ankle, this was a pretty technical section with tons of loose rocks. I'm running so well I actually pass some runners on the downhill, pretty rare for me.
The hill flattens out and we see some spectators, who tell us it's another half mile to the aid station. I pick up the pace to try to get there before 11AM, but I'm clocked in at 11:01AM.
More of the same here, just up an old jeep road for what seems like forever. We come to a fork in the road and Kirk heads right, so of course I follow him. We soon hit a fence marked "no trespassing" and Kirk says, "shit, this isn't the right way."
"Damn, Kirk," I say, "shouldn't you know this course by now, it's your 15th time out here!" I can tell he's hurting and think I may have a chance to finally beat him.
After a few miles we get off the road and the fun starts. The course so far had been snow free, making things a lot more pleasant than the year before. After we pass the Virginius Mine we hit snow, and since it's roughly 3:30 AM the snow if frozen solid. I struggle over this part, not because of fatigue but because I'm having trouble staying upright on the ice. It's taking a lot of time to find friction to move forward. Kirk, wiley veteran that he is, brought along yaktrax for this section and is once again quickly moving away from me.
Seems like it takes forever, but eventually I get to the fixed rope that leads up to Kroger's Canteen. Last year this section terrified me, and this year is no different. Should I slip off this rope I'd probably at least break some bones during the fall back down to the rocks below. I try not to think about that as I make my way up.
The climb is slow and uneventful. At 4:48 AM I've made it to Kroger's Canteen, 67.7 miles in. Paul looks at his watch and says it took 45 minutes to cover the past quarter mile, by far the slowest I'll move all race. The aid station guys give me the bad news that they're out of tequila, which breaks my heart. I rebound quickly, knowing Katie is waiting up ahead in Telluride with some PBR...
Eventually I get my ass up and moving and it’s time to say goodbye to the Ouray aid station. I pick up my new pacer Paul S and we head out at 11:35 PM. Seventeen and a half hours into the race.
Paul is very excited to be on the Hardrock course and is giddy telling me how much he’s studied the directions and how many waypoints along the course he’s entered into his GPS. I tell him to just keep looking for the course marker flags, which look like…which look like…
Shit, I can’t find one. “Are you sure we’re on the course?” I ask him.
“Oh yeah, definitely” he replies, eyes glued to his GPS.
After a few more blocks of no markers we finally figure out we’ve made a wrong turn. We end up taking wrong turns three times while on the paved streets of Ouray. Nothing big, no huge amount of time lost, just very funny how Paul said he knew the course like the back of his hand and then got me lost three times in the first half mile. Smack talk ammo for a long time right there!
Eventually we hit
Paul keeps me moving at a steady pace. I’m feeling good but in the back of my mind I know that I’ve had trouble during the late night portion of ultras. Paul keeps the conversation good and the miles pass quickly. Twice during this section I’m so tired I fall over. But I’m determined to punch through the night and I know that as soon as the sun comes up I’ll get a second wind.
We pass some familiar sights along the way, as the first few miles of the road are used in the
Paul asks me if I want to add some distance and go climb Mt. Sneffels. I politely decline.
Shortly after the Imogene Pass sign we're caught by Kirk Apt, who has more Hardrock finishes than anyone. It's nice to chat with him for a bit. No surprise that he was catching me at this point. I was beating him at Desert RATS and at Jemez through 35 miles or so, and in both races he caught me and crushed me over the final section of those races. Seemed like the same thing was happening here.
We turn a corner and the next aid station comes into view. Governor Basin. I take a seat by the fire while Paul fills my bottles and gets me some food. It's 2:37 AM. Despite my past history of crashing around this time, I'm feeling strong and think I can make it 'till dawn.
Suckered Mike S into pacing me at Leadville. Can't believe he fell for such lies like, "I'm really a fun person to be around at night after I've been running all day." Think I'm gonna make him my lackey from Winfield to Halfmoon, maybe Treeline.
Still looking for pacers to take me from Treeline to the Tabor boat ramp if anyone is interested. I'd like to think I'll be running sub eight minute miles at that point, but in reality I'll be hiking most of it.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Silverton to Cunningham (9.2 miles) - Saucony Progrid Guide TR (same ones I wore at the Austin marathon)
Cunningham to Grouse (32.9 miles) - La Sportiva Fireblade
Grouse to Telluride (30.6 miles) - La Sportiva Wildcat (a tactical error, these shoes shoulda been in my bag at Sherman but I fucked up and packed wrong)
Telluride to Silverton (27.8 miles) - La Sportiva Imogene
Also, I wore my Nathan Elite 2V two water bottle holder (also snagged from the CRC) and tied my brand spankin' new Hardrock Moeben sleeves to it. Two water bottles are not sufficient for Hardrock unless you plan on drinking from streams, which I did often and haven't gotten sick yet.
Socks? At no point for the first 82 miles did I wear a pair of socks that cost more than $1. At Chapman Gulch I splurged and threw on a holy (as in lots of holes, not blessed by God) pair of $5 CRUD socks. So I changed socks six times and the total cost of all my socks was a whopping $10, less than the one pair of Drymax socks we got in our schwag bag.
What did I do for 25 minutes?
-took another dump
-ate another Purple Castle bacon cheeseburger
-drank two cans of ensure
-drank a can of PBR
-shot the shit with 8 Yellow Snow, an old hasher friend I visit each time I'm in Ouray
-got off my feet for the first time in over 17 hours
-drank a cup of coffee
Actually had a great time at this aid station, it was awesome having both my pacers as well as Katie and Barr Camp Neil to hang out with. By the time I left I felt somewhat refreshed and was ready to tackle the hardest climb of the day.
Lots of people over the years have gotten lost on this section, weird because it's a straight shot up a dirt road, but Shad keeps me on course. Shortly after the ghost town of Animas Forks I stop to take my first dump of the run.
A few pounds lighter, the pace quickens. Shortly before the top I look over into a snowbank to see "CRUD" written in the snow. Truly inspirational.
We hit the top and begin the ascent to the Engineer aid station. Last year that aid station was where I began to fall apart. What turned into a quick squat to warm up by the fire turned into an hour long pity fest on my part. So this year I vowed not to stop at the station at all. Arrived at Engineer, roughly the halfway point, at 20:47. Left Engineer at 20:47. Didn't even break stride!
Was able to go another mile or so before we had to turn on the lights. Well over halfway. Things were going really well for me at this point in the race. But I was worried about what the night would bring, as I had yet to perform anywhere near respectable during the dark.
It's a long, rugged singletrack descent after Engineer and we we're able to run a good chunk of it. I point out several places along the way where a fall would result in a fatality, which I'm sure Shad enjoyed. I tripped once, and came dangerously close to losing my flashlight. However, Shad, wonderful pacer that he was, tripped many, many more times so I didn't feel too bad about my night skills.
We pass Yellow Jacket Mine and in what seems like minutes we're on the other side of Highway 550. Though it seemed to take forever to get from there to Ouray, we kept moving forward and at 23:10 Shad finally dropped me off at the aid station. The first night section had gone better than I ever could have hoped.
Nice run this morning through Red Rock Canyon. Ten minute warm up, 10 x 90 seconds with 90 seconds rest in between. Not my best workout ever but it was a good test to see if I was recovered from Hardrock (I am).
Gonna crush my legs over the next two days with a run up Pikes Peak on Friday, and possibly again on Saturday (depending on what CRUD is running). After that I plan to stun the trail running world by winning the Cheyenne Canon Mountain Race and securing a spot on the US Mountain Running team. OK, by "win" I mean placing in the top half of the race, but either way I will be at Bristol Brewing afterwards with my brand spankin' new cowbell enjoyin' my free pint 'o Laughing Lab. And for good measure, I'm sure I'll have a Cheyenne Canon Pinon Nut Ale as well...
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
With perserverance I shall
Gain my extra pound
Slowly getting back into running again. Ran a whopping 9 miles last week to make sure I recovered from Hardrock. On Monday it was a trip up the Incline with a sea level friend, and on Tuesday it was a slow run to the top of the W's with the usual PPRR Tues/Thurs group. Today is off, tomorrow is a hill/speed workout on Barr Trail, and Friday it's a 30 to 40 mile long run up and down Pikes Peak. Leadville or bust!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I've said this many times before to anyone who would listen, but my prediction that the place would be closed once someone dies a stupid death up there has come true.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
My original plan had called on me to really attack this part of the course, from Sherman all the way to Ouray. Yeah, it’s a pretty big climb from Sherman, about 9,500 feet, up to the roof of the course on Handies (14,048 feet), but I’ve hiked over 50 14ers since I moved to Colorado so I wasn’t too scared. I was hoping I could hammer down off Handies to the aid station, use Shad as my whipping boy to get up Engineer, then bomb down into Ouray for a quick brew.
Felt good coming out of Sherman, hanging out with Tyler Curiel and Scott Eppelman, two guys who I couldn’t hold a candle to back in Texas but were back with me due to the slightly bigger hills and slightly higher altitude in Colorado than San Antonio.
We head up on Cinnamon Pass road at a good hike. It’s not a huge climb and I should be running here, but I need to let my stomach settle from all the food I ate at Sherman. We’re soon joined by Betsy Nye, a former winner of the race. It’s a nice stretch, some good conversation to go with the familiarity of the road (besides doing it at Hardrock last year I’ve also been on the road to get to the Red Cloud/Sunshine trailhead).
Soon we hit Burrows Park and I see the shitter I hid in the previous year because Melissa wouldn’t let me take a break. I quickly refill my water bottles from some jugs hidden under a bridge, and head up through Grizzly Gulch on my way to Handies Peak.
It’s here I have my first, and last, low point of the day. I just got into a funk and it stayed with me for the entire climb. Tyler and Scott pulled away from me here, a real kick in the junk to get my ass handed to me by some Texans on a 14er. I just felt really tired, like “it’s way past my bedtime” tired, not physically exhausted, which was weird for 3PM. I never promised to quit running forever, as I usually do during an ultra, but I remember thinking that when I finished this direction of Hardrock I would have nothing to prove anymore and I wouldn’t have to return.
But I kept plugging away and for as bad as I felt, I wasn’t losing too much ground. I don’t think I was passed on this section, even though I felt like I was going very slow. Shortly before treeline it started raining and I had to put on my GoLite jacket. The weather didn’t get too bad though, and right before the summit I looked back and found myself looking down at a rainbow.
Arriving at the summit of Handies, I stopped to sign the 14ers.com log book. I was passed by five runners while doing this. I checked for Scott Jamie’s name, but it wasn’t there, proving my theory that he had to cheat to win our bet! I was the first runner to sign the log that day.
Didn’t waste too much time on Handies and soon began the run down through American Basin. My uphill blues soon went away as I was able to run most of the way back down to Grouse Gulch. This part is one of my favorite sections of the course, nothing to see but mountains and wildflowers and lakes and marmots (not that that’s different from anywhere else on the course, but for some reason this section sticks out to me).
At one point before the aid station I was running down some narrow singletrack and there was a marmot on the trail. I figured he’d just scamper off into the rocks but he just stood there. Right before I ran him over he turned around and took off down the trail as fast as he could. I was amused, and picked up my pace to catch the guy. The marmot looked back, saw me gaining, and surged! Great stuff! Didn’t last very long, as marmots aren’t the most fit animals on the planet, and right before I got close enough to step on him he jumped off the trail and disappeared.
Really got some confidence back on the downhill, and I was looking forward to downing my first bacon cheeseburger and picking up my first pacer. Entered the aid station at 18:31 and left at 18:39. It’s not quite the effort required to be a champion competitive eater but it’s not a bad time for a Purple Castle burger.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Also volunteering at the Women's Distance Festival this Saturday morning. John O bribed me with another sweet t-shirt. So all you chicks should come down and see me there. I'll probably be doing some kind of course direction gig, looking all official when in reality I'm just checking out the tons of hot women there. Remember ladies, it's gonna be hot this Saturday and the best way to avoid heatstroke is to wear as little as possible!
Ran twice since Hardrock. Last night I did three miles from the CRC, and this morning another three out to Graffiti Falls and back. Little stiff, but feeling pretty good.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
After the lake it's a 3,500 foot drop down to the next aid station and I had a blast running the entire thing. I got a feeling here that I was gonna be able to finish the race, and it was such an awesome feeling to know that all the hard work was gonna pay off. The views were incredible, the people around me were incredible, the effort was nothing, and I was having such a great time I remember thinking "it's a great day to be alive and in the mountains." Just one of those moments where I realize why I do all this crazy shit.
I laugh several times down the hill, including when I pass two places where Melissa allowed me to take 20 minute naps last year!
Soon the fun is over and I'm at the Sherman aid station. After escaping an overzealous volunteer I grab a seat and start to shovel down the yummy mac & cheese. Gawd that stuff was like heaven!
Funny moment at the aid station as well. Despite several pounds of vaseoline the lining of my shorts continued to chafe my nutsack. That was the only problem I was having at that point, and I worried how much shit I'd take if I had to drop from Hardrock for that. I asked a medic for scissors. He gave me a super heavy duty pair, the kind you could cut through clothes with, and I reached down the front of my shorts...drawing all kinds of stunned looks from the peeps at the aid station. But don't worry ladies, I only cut the lining out of the shorts.
Into Sherman at 13:41, out at 13:49. 28.7 miles, over a quarter of the way there with Handies Peak looming.
Enter the Pole Creek aid station at 11:31 and am out at 11:33. 19.6 miles down.
Methinks some kind of unofficial memorial service will be held after the Leadville 100.
Soon we started one of my most dreaded climbs of the day, up to Green Mountain. 2,500 feet, basically straight up a cliff. I remembered it from last year when Melissa and I were running down it, saying how much it would suck to have to run up it.
I settled into a strong hike, dropped Ms. Van Deren, and actually started passing quite a few people. I was not pushing very hard but I was making up a lot of ground on people in front of me. It was my first of many good climbs I'd have during the race.
Slow and steady, I finally reached the top of Green Mountain and broke into a run. It was such an awesome feeling, I had just finished the climb I was dreading most and I felt great. From Green Mountain I was able to run most of the way to the next aid station. Hooked up with a runner from Virginia, who I'll call Mr. East Coast since I can't remember his name, and we started some friendly banter after I told him I was always embarassed when I was losing to sea level guys. He did tell me he was a former top five finisher at Hardrock, so at least I wasn't losing to a sea level scrub.
Up and over Buffalo Boy Ridge and down to Maggie Gulch. Mountains and wildflowers everywhere I looked! Same drill at the aid station - took in a ton of food and liquid, refilled my water bottles, and took off. Into Maggie at 10:33, out at 10:35. Two aid stations, four minutes total, not too shabby. 15.3 miles down.
The first half mile or so is probably the easiest terrain I'll see all race. Nice jog through the tiny mountain town of Silverton on the dirt roads (I think Silverton only has one paved road, and we pretty much avoid it), with lots of locals out cheering for us runners.
We soon head out of town and the fun begins. Around two miles in we cross our first stream. I have to laugh at myself as I remember the year before when this five inch deep creek had brought me to my knees in near defeat. After the stream we begin the first climb of the day, about four miles straight up to Dives-Little Giant pass just above 13,000 feet. Runners are still grouped together here, and I fall into a gaggle moving slower than I want to, but I play it safe and tag along.
Soon enough we're at the pass. Everyone bombs off down the mountain, but I think it's too early for that kind of effort and hike/jog down the technical descent. Before too long I can see the Cunningham Gulch aid station several thousand feet below. I'm psyched to see CG and I pick up the pace a bit. After a long downhill and another creek crossing I'm already at the first aid station.
I enter Cunningham at 8:29, chug some ensure, eat one of Katie's delicious turkey and cheese bagels, refill my water bottles, and head out at 8:31. 9.2 miles are now behind me. I'm about 20 minutes behind schedule, but I'm feeling terrific and have a feeling that this race is gonna be a much more enjoyable experience than the year before.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
karl meltzer finished at 6:38 this morning. The first woman, Diana Finkel, is currently in third. and if you're wondering on the pbr race....scott jaime is winning. even after suffering or still suffering from a bad stomach. i don't know first hand b/c jt's too slow for me to be at the aid station when scott gets there. he could very well beat him by 12 hrs. that means i better drink the pbr in the cooler before jtgets in so he can't steal mine to give to him.
so i was going to do 1 beer for every ten miles jt runs. there are just 3 little words that prevented me from doing that thus far. MILLION DOLLAR HIGHWAY! (scariest paved highway in the world...i came close to hitting 6 deer, a moose, and 2 skunks last night) but i have 3 down and will resume my goal once i'm safely in silverton waiting for brownie to finish...which will be at approx 8 tonight.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Moogy dropped at Sherman which is the aid station right before heading up Handies Peak. Heard he was an hour ahead of Joe but not sure the exact reason. Hell of an attempt anyways.
on-out....more in the morning.
no wait listers made it in this morning which, i gather, is quite unusual. but with almost perfect conditions no one second guessed themselves.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Not so this year. It may seem like a stretch to want to run seven hours faster, but I feel I'm in much better shape this time around, and I wasted A LOT of time at the aid stations last year.
After spending the past few days coming up with splits to each aid station, someone posted basically the same numbers to the HR list. Here's what I got. On race day, you'll be able to track me here and see how I'm holding up.
Cunningham Gulch - Friday 8:10AM
Maggie Gulch - Friday 10:15AM
Pole Creek - Friday 11:15AM
Sherman - Friday 1:20PM
Grouse Gulch - Friday 6:00PM*
Engineer - Friday 8:45PM
Ouray - Friday 11:25PM**
Governor Basin - Saturday 2:10AM
Kroger's Canteen - Saturday 3:45AM***
Telluride - Saturday 5:10AM
Chapman Gulch - Saturday 9:30AM
Kamm Traverse - Saturday 1:00PM
Putnam Basin - Saturday 4:00PM
Silverton - Saturday 5:59:59PM
* - pick up Shad
** - pick up Paul S
*** - catch Fast Eddy, who will pass out after drinking a shot of tequila (Paul S is bringing a sharpie for the occasion...)
PBR and King's Chef bacon cheeseburger at Grouse Gulch and Ouray.
Of course, my main goal is still just to finish the thing. I'd be happy with a 47:59:59.
Also keep your fingers crossed for Neil, he's currently 19th on the wait list...
Monday, July 06, 2009
Tony ended up winning in 16:54, despite running two hours before the race. The next three guys were all under 17. No other finishers until me, and then it was another 30+ seconds until someone else came in. BLOS finished 10th in 21:01. Think they had about 120 runners.
Katie was the true star of the day. She had been trying to break thirty minutes in the 5K for quite some time, but never got close in Colorado Springs. But put some booze in her and take her to Leadville and she was gold. Despite hiking Massive the day before, she finished in 28:44. Probably the only person to ever get their 5K PR in America's highest city.
Afterwards we got to watch the Leadville 4th of July parade, always a treat. Great way to kick off the holiday weekend.
I had bigger things on my mind and ran the race for fun. And by "fun," I mean I had a blast kicking Yeti's ass! Started way in the back of the pack to ensure I wouldn't go out fast and ended up finishing in 1:04:58.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Friday morning it's an early start to bag Mt. Massive, at 14,421 feet above sea level it's the second tallest peak in Colorado. After that we're gonna relax with a round of golf at the Mt. Massive golf course, North America's highest golf course. Neither Katie nor I have ever golfed before, and I reckon that neither of us ever will again, but it seems like a cool thing to do.
We'll do supper at one of the fine and fancy establishments in Leadville. The rest of Friday evening will be spent drinking around a huge campfire, thanks to stealing a ton of wood from the Sand Dunes campout!
Saturday morning it's the Leadville 5K. I almost won this last year with a blazing 19:55. Very low key event with a lot of Hardrockers who are staying at the Leadville hostel to get used to the altitude. It's a good time, cheap, and the door prizes rock.
Probably do lunch at Rosie's, America's highest brewpub, before heading over to Red Rocks for the annual July 4th Blues Traveler show! Woohoo! Comedian Lewis Black is opening, should be interesting.
Sunday morning is the Summer Roundup 12K at Bear Creek Park. Last year I got so drunk on Saturday night I missed the race! I can't do that this year though, or they'll pull my rego to the Pikes Peak Marathon. Don't expect a blazing performance, as this race is less than a week before Hardrock.
Sunday afternoon a bunch of us are headed up to the Denver Red Dress Run, always a blast. Plus, we're hitting the Cherry Cricket first, second best burgers in Colorado!
All that and, of course, ending the weekend at the acid jazz jam at the Mariner.