Tuesday, July 31, 2012

To my friends and their Big Dreams

 Just an old, saved, QOTD from Slim:

Just a thought for the day.
I've heard so many people say "I'll do that when I'm older, when I lose 20 pounds, when I'm retired".
We got through life saying "I would, but it probably wouldn't work out" or " I'd like to but. . ."
We too often base our actions on an artificial future, painting a life picture based on an expectancy that time is more than sweat, tears, heat and mirage.

You can't count on anything.
For out of the blue, fate can come calling.
In a flash, what was once an unlimited horizon is the honed blade of a life gone short, robbed even of the power to grieve for what is ending.
I stand outside on a pale crescent of beaten earth and breathe deep.
I feel every ache in my muscles, I feel my skin, hot under the sun, the savage, fecund smell of loss in the air, laying heavy in the loud silence.
Somewhere in the distance is a soft clap of thunder, overhead clouds stray deliberately across the earth, disconnected from mechanical time.
I'd rather be elsewhere; the smell simply that of kitchen and comfort, the sounds; only that of laughter.
But I know how lucky I am, to simply be, in this moment and alive.
You can continue your day and do nothing, standing in brooding and irretrievable calculation as if casting in a game already lost.
Or you can seize the moment, the days, wringing every last drop from them.
Remind your loved ones you love them.
If there's someone that means the world to you and you've never told them, tell them now.
Hug your family, forgive an enemy (but remember the bastard’s name), give the dog an extra biscuit.
Then step outside into the sharp and unbending import of Autumn, a dying summer flaring up like fading flame, one last taste, one last memory, never knowing how long it will remain.
-Posted by Brigid on her blog

Monday, July 30, 2012

Me and my Bodyweight

Today was Day One of Excercising-without-running.

So as I drank my morning coffee, I Gooogled "home workout bodyweight" and came up with about 2.3 million hits in 0.3 seconds.

I printed off the third one I read.  It seemed to be a pretty straightforward workout.

Then I had the brilliant idea, hey, it's summer, no need to do these in my dim, dusty workout/wine cellar room downstairs!

Of course, I did have to factor in the three dog scenario.  This is similiar to the "home situp attempt" where you try and do situps as three dogs wander by and either lick your face or sit on your chest.

I took the jump rope out (bought for my abandoned UnderArmour contest) for warm up.

The dogs didn't like the jump rope. Or the hop scotch.  They did like the push ups. The GS pup kept ripping up grass and dirt and shaking it all over me.

I abandoned the dogs to the area outside the fence.

I did "Workout A".  Repeat 4-8 rounds?  I didn't read all of that. I did 4 rounds.  I also only did 12 pushups each time, on my knees. Yes, I am that under-developed.  But you have to start somewhere.

I found the jump rope kind of fun, although I  have no stamina for that either.

Tomorrow should be a 10K RATB, although we have to first butcher a lamb (the Amish are conveniently dropping it by) first thing in the morning.  So I hope to do Workout B-called Baby Burpee (I think these used to be called jump squat thrusts back in the day) before the lamb shows up, then get to the run before it gets too hot.  Maybe I shall also try and record the details of my 10K, too, to be able to have some fair comparisions.

And it's August already!!

Good enough reason to start a new routine!


If you are a runner, chances are you have recieved medals for achieving your finish in a race.

Ever want to do something else with your medals?

Please consider this organization, Medals4Mettle

Run fast. Run far. Run for a greater good.

Medals4Mettle (M4M) is a non-profit organization that facilitates the gifting of marathon, half marathon, and triathlon finishers’ medals. Runners from around the world give their hard earned medals to Medals4Mettle.

Our worldwide network of physicians and volunteers then awards these medals attached to a Medals4Mettle ribbon to children and adults fighting debilitating illnesses who might not be able to run a race, but are in a race of their own just to continue to live their life. It is in honor of this mettle and courage in bravely facing these challenges that they are awarded a medal.

This is a pretty cool organization.  Think of your marathon medal around the neck of a fighter facing another round of chemotherapy.  Your race doesn't seem so hard now, right?

I gave all my 1/2 marathon and marathon medals away last year or so.  The only one I kept was my first medal, from my first marathon.  After I mailed the medals out, I found another Akron Marathon medal, and then found a 50K medal, so I am waiting to amass more (that could be awhile) or perhaps donate mine in with someone else that would like to donate.

You don't have to give all your medals, consider sending one, or making a cash donation. 

Thanks for reading and considering!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

11 Miler, Thoughts on Pace, and Improvements

It sure felt weird this morning, going out for my 11 mile, around the block run.

I felt almost naked out there.  I was wearing my pack, my old Nathan Hydration pack, made filthy by my trail run on Friday.  It's almost as dirty as the UD Wasp Pack, still not washed yet, from the HR Run.  But I wasn't carrying a jacket, food, all those extras I'd been hauling around for months.

It was just me, the pack, 50 oz (or 70 oz) water bladder, the Zune with the latest 3 Non-Joggers podcast.  I had no particular goals in mind, other to run the route.

By run, I meant to run the uphills.  And I did.  These uphills are seeming pretty small these days, and I hope to be able to keep that in perspective.  My long uphill, on this route, is about a good 1/2 mile uphill.  From the valley to the ridgeline is maybe 3/4 of a mile.

It really didn't bother me to keep the legs turned over in the running method either.  Now the day was cool and overcast, probably in the low 70's, and I was nice and rested.  But how much of my previous history of not running the hills was mental, not physical?

So I go over to where I kinda keep my running stats, 

I have noticed, over time, for my 10K (well it's really 6.4 or 6.5 miles) around the block that my times really haven't improved.  That's been bugging me.  I mean, I lost weight, that should help improve my times, right?
Also, I have *run* the entire loop-and *walked the same hills* on the loop.  And my finish times are pretty much the same.  That's kind of disheartening. What benefit am I getting, by running the hills, if I can finish in the same amount of time, walking the hills?

I mean, check the pace. I run this route about once monthly. My pace has not really improved since I started on this new route.  And today, with running all the uphills,  my pace is just about average with the other times, where I know I walked the uphills!

Here's the screenshot of my *10K* Route:

My times really haven't changed much, since August 2011 for this loop either.
Now I will have to admit that no run is exactly the same.  Sometimes Scooter the Dog accosts me, and I have to stop, sometimes there are a bathroom break in the first mile or fifth mile, I'd have to look carefully to see what the time of day is.  But bottom line, I see no real improvement on pace-on speed-in the last year.

And that is the frustrating part with me. I've got the stamina, the endurance. If I eat and hydrate right, I can go--a good long time. But can I finish a race within time constraints?

How can I get faster?  That is the question.  I've had this annoying quote in my head for the last month (now posted on the blog too): 

“If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.”


So I need to shake things up.  Do something different. I want to improve on several areas, as an athlete.  I feel like I am in, (as close as an ultra runner comes to) an "off season".  (Yes,  I do have a 50 mile race at the end of August.)  I want to work on the core, the arms, and tighten up some areas.  So that might mean more strength training, less running.  I don't know.  What I do know is, that I want to improve. I can't finish Hardrock doing the same thing I have been doing.  Yes, there are other races and goals besides the HR Finish too.  

It's time to improve.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Well, most things are better after a trail run.  I've broken through some apathy, on a bunch of levels. 

As I drive south to Salt Fork State Park, I notice new downed trees in the area.  Apparently just a few miles south got hit harder last evening than us.

The park was hit hard!  But I start down the white blazed bridle trail.  But almost immediately, it's tough going.  I can see the trails had been cleared from the Derecho that hit June 29.  But now there are fresh trees down.  All I am doing is climbing over, through, and around big downed trees.

I give up after 1/2 mile and go off-piste back to the road.  I come across some park workers, and they say a tornado hit in the area, and tore up one of the marinas.  Okay, that would explain alot!

I decided not to give up, but drove further into the park and entered the campground.  There was not any fresh storm damage in this area.  There was much evidence of the Derecho.

Mother Nature, Landscaper

There were a few areas of trail that I almost didn't recognize due to Mother Nature re-arranging her placement of trees.  A wooded, almost dark section was now in the broad daylight due to her decision to lop off some tall trees.  Apparently it was their time to go.

And that's how Mother Nature works, whether it's a wind storm or a fire started from a natural cause.  Topography changes.  The big tree is uprooted.  The stream, which was next to the big tree, now has a new route to progress down to the lake.  The old stream bed now starts to green up itself, without the water movement on it.  Sometimes it's a long, slow change, other changes are quick and abrupt.

The bridle trail in the campground was runnable.  It was a slow run.  I tried to take some pictures of deer, but they were too blurry for the public eye.  It was a good run.  Slow, somewhat miserable in the humidity,  I didn't mind-at least I was out there.   I had no particular goals in terms of mileage or pace.  I do have, in the back of my mind, that I have a 50 mile race in just about one month.  I don't want to lose my fitness.  But I also don't feel quite like jumping back into a training routine just quite yet. 

That being said, I am thinking of  my 10K route tomorrow, and my 11 mile around the block on Sunday.

Sometimes running is just not training. Sometimes it's just running, for running sake.

Writer's Block

 So where has my writing muse been?  I had *all day* yesterday to work on blog posts and time to plan blog posts.  I started at least three or four. Closed them.  Some were a bit too truthful, and I didn't want to hear people's comments about my whining. Others were just too..uninspired.

I even consulted my "blog planning document" on Google, scanned some phrases I jotted for future blog posts-trail safety, maltodextrin, my hatred of video blogs,  drop bag planning...nope.  Just didn't see anything I felt like writing about.

I even googled "blog content" and got a great list of items that should spark me to some sizzling blog content.

I was not even inspired to write about my running plans for the day-which has subsequently changed.  I was going to go run the Zoar Valley Trail, about twenty miles.  Late in the evening, I changed my mind.  I was just very uninspired to be running in the afternoon, over exposed trail. 

SO I am off to Salt Fork State Park this morning.  I hope to find the muse out there on the trail somewhere.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Weekend OFF

It's my four day weekend off.

And I have...nothing planned...

At all.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012


For all of us that are our own worst critic..

No, I am actually not being hard on myself today. Or yesterday.  But occasionally, I am very rough on myself (although getting much better) so I thought it was a good little reminder.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Post Marathon Blues

Well, that did not take very long!

The post race blues have hit. I'm antsy, bored, and frustrated.

And tired.  Perhaps the 10K around the block yesterday wasn't the best idea.  Coupled with a misinterpreted email, that didn't mean what I thought it meant, was a light night of sleep.  My cashier told me about one hour before my shift ended "that I looked really tired."

Thanks.  I felt very tired.  After lunch, the food just hit me and I was glad to get out of work.

The "post recovery marathon blues" articles instruct me that I should have had a "post run" plan in place.

Well, that would have involved the gods goodwill that I didn't fall off Grant Swamp Pass or Oscar's or Virginius and returned to the East in one piece.  I was serious when I told people at work about falling off a cliff.

So what's on the plan for the future?

Well, so much for my plan of NOT.DOING.NOTHING. I've perused a list of 100 mile races for the fall.

Nothing has really got my attention.  Well, I have one scenario.  To be announced later.

Fall  (and late summer) Plans:

YUTC Volunteer/Familiarization Run August 4.  First time back on the Mill Creek Park since the Monkey Hill Marathon..of last year.

North Country Trail Run 50 Miler August 25.  Somewhere in Michigan. I signed up for this race, like one year ago.  Before HR.  I ended up with a comp entry.  So this is my first race post HR.  And it's a 50 miler.

I'm very apathetic about this race. 

50 milers are not my forte.  But, it's after HR. And not at elevation.  I should plan on finishing this under the cut off.  I should find out where this is, in Michigan.  Maybe get a hotel room, if any are still available.
Or get ready to hang my hammock and blue tarp out there somewhere.

The Ring-Labor Day Weekend-can't make it this year.  This makes me very sad.  My first taste of the MMT rocks was the Ring Weekend.

Groundhog 50K- another great 50K.  I can't run it, since I am working that Saturday, in order to have the next Saturday off.

YUTC- our club run!!  I finagled Friday off, before the race. That will allow me and Coach Hanks to mark the course.  Saturday, September 15  is the date of the YUTC.   Eight years of the race. I won't be running it, just working the Aid Station at the Log Cabin.

Akron Marathon?  I should find out when this this the year they changed the course?  Maybe I should run a back to back on the Zoar Valley Trail, instead.

Slim Pickins-our club weekend of Fat Assness, in November.  This year we are going to Cooper's Rock, in WV.

URINEO-December 22.  Our next club FA.  I'm planning on 50 miles this year.

SO, yes, I do have some plans for the fall, but it's just "fairly normal" activity, no great epicness in the works.  Maybe that is my problem, coming back to "fairly normalcy" after my big HR trip.

So, at least typing out this post gives me several ideas to peruse..maybe not future epicness, but maybe just some plain trail fun..

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hardrock Race Report 2012 Part One

I am sitting in the bleachers at the Silverton Gym, watching the festivities around me. On one hand, it's a bit surreal; I am running in the HR 2012.  On the other hand, it's a typical ultra.  Fit people wandering around, some sitting quietly, others laughing and talking.

In the *very* short bathroom line for the ladies, one runner says "half the female field is in here!"  (Only 17 females started HR).

About five minutes to go, I hug Slim and go  outside.

It's an ultra.  No real defined starting line.  In fact, I glance at my watch, two minutes to go, we're all still gaggled around.

But Dale is climbing up on The Rock, and we count down to zero, and we are off right on time.

I walk out of town, in the very back, with ten or so others.

We come to the famous river crossing in the first mile or so.  NOW it seems like Hardrock.  Photographers are out, the small groups of supporters/crew are on the sides of the Million Dollar Highway; Dave Horton smiles and wishes me well.

South Mineral Creek is very low, but the rope is there.  I cross the creek, water only to maybe mid-calves, and then we runners are off!

The first 11 miles is nice, a warm up.  We're all fresh. I'm in the back of the pack with famous people, like the Peros (Deb and Steve) and Hans Dieter.  We come along on various people hiking, taking pictures, and Hans and Steve are hailed and greeted.

We climb the Kamm Traverse.  I can see the South Mineral Wells Campground, and even our site where we camped out last week.  It's strangely comfortable to see familiar sites.

Grant Swamp Pass to Chapman AS

I am relieved to get through KT Aid Station. I did not time out.  I had been a bit worried about being so slow that I would be eliminated first from the HR course.
I did have with me a pace card and cut offs for the 48 hour pace.  I did not have any times memorized and nor was I looking at my watch.
I was running/walking/hiking/climbing at my pace.  Having never been on the course before, I found it impossible to guestimate any sort of times between AS. I had resolved to go at my pace, and hope it was going to be fast enough to make the cut offs at HR.

I have heard that Grant Swamp Pass is a bear. And indeed, it is.  On our way to the summit, it's almost impossible to ascend.  I pull on my gloves.  Now I am using both my hands and feet to literally crawl up the slope, almost on all fours.

I hear Steve yell for Drew to grab a stone, and I know we are almost at the top! I grab a stone and tuck it into to arm warm sleeves, now well around my wrists, and summit.  I place my stone on the cairn at the Joel Zucker memorial, and take a quick look around.

NOW I have to descend Grant Swamp!  This is my first scree field to encounter. Dobies has told me to stay out of the middle, as it's almost devoid of scree. I start down the right hand side, and kick rocks on Hans Dieter below. (Sorry Hans!!)  After much yelling at me, I try the left hand side.  In fact, if left alone, I think I could have descended much quicker.

For anyone not familiar with scree,it's just loose rock, mainly shale. And when I say loose rock, that means you take a step, and you might sink down a foot, and the mountain slides with you, downhill.  I watched one HR veteran literally ski down the hill on his feet, in about 10 seconds.
It took me a long time, trying to maintain 4 or 5 points (two hands, two feet, sometimes my ass) on the ground.

Here is a short video from Matt Hart, taken in June  before the race:

By the time I hit the big rocks at the bottom, our little line of runners was gone.  I knew there were 3 or so runners behind me, but now our little band was all spread out.  The next aid station is Chapman, on a nice wooded downhill trail, with lots and lots of bacon!

It starts to rain as I arrive.  Scott and Jim arrive right after me, and Scott takes the chair that I decline.  Food is great here, big pieces of bacon, tator tots, and soup! I even get a "to go" baggie of tots and bacon.

There is a rumble of thunder as I slurp soup under the tent, but we are way down at 10,000 feet, well under the tree line.  I decide I will start the climb to Oscar's Pass, as I still have a huge climb. If the weather gets worse, I can always wait the storm out in the trees.

Note on the weather:  storms come up daily and frequently in the mountains,  usually starting in the late morning and early afternoon.  One of the reasons HR has a 48 hour cut off is runner safety; in case you need to spend a few hours hunkered down, trying to outwait a storm.  Storms refer to lightning, hail, sideways rain/hail, or all of the above.

It did start to hail on me, on this long climb.  I just slung my rain jacket over my head and draped it over my shoulders, over the pack, rather than wearing it.  It was still pretty warm and I did not want to over heat on the long climb up Oscar's Pass.

Steve Pero  had mentioned this was his least favorite climb of the race, so I was curious to see exactly what that meant.  Well, it's a long climb. A real long climb.

Oscar Pass, photo by Blake Wood
Partway up, there is a sign that says, "no mechanized vehicles" past this point..and the sign was put up in 1961.  Now, I can't imagine someone driving something back in the fifties up this far.  But there apparently is/was a mine up here.

We climb up to about 13,000 feet.  The trail is just nasty rough rocks...that goes on and on UP AND UP.  I resolve to never complain about Signal Knob rocks again.  I contemplate becoming a 1/2 marathon runner..

Jim, a HR veteran, passes me, and  gives me encouragement that we are almost at the top.  And soon, we are!  We hug and he tells me it's a 7 mile downhill to the town of Telluride.

It Takes All Day to go to Telluride

I don't remember (until later) that this is where the re-route occurred for both the 2011 and 2012 HR race due to some property dispute.  All I remember is, it seemed to take forever to get to the town of Telluride.

I'm also worried (unduly) about cut offs, but I won't dip into my pocket and check the times.  It is what it is.  I am going at my pace, and that will have to work for me.  Or it won't.

Man, it takes a long time to get to Telluride.
 You go around a curve, and you can see it!! Town below!! But you are still way up there..and town is way down there...

Despite my worry about cut offs, I did have to stop on the road to take a picture of Bridal Veil Falls...this is not my picture, I am hoping my SD Chip surfaces at some point, as I did carry the camera on the run!

I get to the bike path. Great! I'm almost there..right?  It goes on and on. I finally reach the Aid Station, well over the time when I thought I would make it to the Aid Station.

But I am still really good with cut offs to Ouray, so I am heartened!

Hardrock Race Report 2012 Part 2

The Road out of Telluride

I get lost in Telluride.  I carefully follow the orange ribbons out of the AS, turn right, and come to the main street intersection in town. I look forward, left, right.  I do not see any ribbons.  I look some more.

I cross the street, look for ribbons.  I whip out my printed course description for this section, it doesn't reference the town.  I am very frustrated.

A Telluride Marshall vehicle pulls up.  I tell him I am in "the Race" and does he know where I need to go?
He points down the road: "That's the only way out of town.."  I am shaking my head, manage to thank him and now RUN back to the Aid Station, at least it's only a few minutes back.

I was pretty upset when I got back to the AS, another runner commented on it, so I hope I was not really rude.  My friends, who came through Telluride much earlier, were surprised at my problem.  "There was a person directing us.."  Well, not for the back of the pack, there was not. And yes, it was because I was a rookie.  Anyone else would have known where to go.

A very nice man walked me out of town-all I had to do was go forward, crossing the street, and up one more block there was orange ribbon-which I could not see from the corner.  I thanked him, and started on my climb up to Virginius.

Kroger's Canteen

Now I am climbing, on my way to the most coolest Aid Station in the Ultra World-Kroger's Canteen
From the Manual:  " VIRGINIUS PASS-KROGERS CANTEEN. Pass #4. Cornice, Acrophobia, Exposure. Chuck Kroger and Kathy Greene started this aid station in 1992 and since then dedicated crews from Telluride backpack supplies into here for a minimal aid station. Chuck became a regular participant/finisher of the Hardrock before succumbing to pancreatic cancer in December 2007."

This is a little, small bench, at 13,000 feet.  The volunteers climb in with their supplies and spend all day there.

But first  I have to get there.  I'm really trying to move a bit quicker, as it is starting to move on toward the evening, and I would REALLY like to get down off Virginius before nightfall.

Okay, I am also there! I summit, and don't see..anybody!  Where's the Aid Station?  And WHY does the trail go downhill...over there?

I am only at Mendota Saddle!  I am not there yet!  Argh!  I make sure I spot a marker as I again move forward..yep, still on the course, and not to Kroger's yet.  It's about one mile to the real summit.  The AS is kind of hidden behind rocks, but I get a cheer as I finally appear!

The guys instruct me to take a seat next to Andrew (I think that is his name) another runner, tucked under a tarp, and they swiftly serve me a cup of soup.  It is so cool to be up here, but I only stay five minutes, and the guys give me instructions on how to get down.

So, see the top of that ridge?  We have to go DOWN all this.  Now, in the dark.

The guys tell me there is a switchback trail right in front of me for the first pitch, then tell me to stay right of the snowbank for the second pitch.  I don't remember what they recommended for the rest.

Many times this area is a total snowfield, and I can see where a snowfield would make it much easier to go down.

Headlamp on, I go down this loose screee on what I think is the trail.  I am pretty much petrified.  I've got both hands on the ground and both feet.  Occassionally I add my ass to the ground too.  I keep telling myself "take your time, take your time"  you can't finish the race if you are dead.

I get to the second pitch.  Ok, just going slow.  I get to one part, where I can see a runner's headlamp way do I get THERE?  Am I on a trail?  It's almost vertical now.  Am I on the trail/course, or am I heading for the edge of a cliff?  I honestly can't tell, but I don't want to have to climb back up a cliff.

Once I get to somewhat flat ground, I am just stoked!  Now that I have lived through that descent, all is good in my world!

We hiked and drove this section, so I knew what to expect for the road section.  I got through Governor's Baisin AS, and then got down the very long road, the road to Ouray.  

Ouray-Hot Hot Hot

As I descended, to the lowest point on the course, it was growing increasing more warm and humid.  Humid?  This is Colorado, it's not supposed to be humid! 
I get to Ouray, and take care of business.  I dump my AS bag out on a picnic table, a little to the AS workers dismay-I'm supposed to be in a chair, or in the tent, with better light.
Oh well, my stuff is here now.  I change socks, get some bandaids, and then duct tape my toe. I eat and drink some Coke.  I talk to Brian McNeil, who is dropping due to an injury.
Okay, I decide it's time to go.  It's so warm here!

I am with Larry and his pacer, Heather, but I have to let them pass me. I'm not climbing well, (I'm so hot) and I have to stop for a bathroom break.  I'm already thirsty, why didn't I drink more water at the AS instead of Coke?

I finally get to the tunnel, at 550, the Million Dollar Highway, and now I am on familiar ground again. We climbed this section the other day before the race. The pics below are from that day.

About as close to the edge as I was going to get.

  See the drop off?  Yes, it's a long ways down.

But now it's after midnight. I'm alone. I'm pretty tired, and  I'm hot and thirsty.  But I don't want to drink the contents of my water bladder down too soon.
 Wow, this precarious section of trail seems to go on for a long time.  I'm moving very slowly. I've picked up my trekking poles in Ouray and they are helpful.  But I am very careful and slow here.  This section was much quicker in the daylight when we were fresh!

I know we are going to hit a trail sign with a marker on how far it is to Engineer. I'm afraid it's going to say 4.5 miles.  I want it to say 2 miles, but that doesn't seem to be the right number in my head.  I'm tired and I want to cry.  I need to eat, but nothing seems good.  I chomp into my Payday bar. Did I mention I was tired? A line of a song comes to mind:  "You can't stay here."  There is no choice.  I could go back to Ouray, OR I can move forward. That's the choice. I can't stay here and whine.

I climb and climb, slow and slow. Now it's getting light out.  So much for worrying about getting across the Engineer's Pass in the dark with my brand new $$ Fenix light.  Now all I am concerned about is finding the Engineer AS.  I am getting punch drunk.  I need a nap.  My energy level is pretty much red-lining zero.

They are unexpectedly, at tree level.  And while I am hot, standing there, I start to get chilled with the early morning wind.  I eat two cups of soup.  Handfuls of chips, but still not many calories.  I am very dispirited to hear I have a 1.5 mile climb up to the road, then a 5.5 mile downhill.  How will I get up that climb?

I leave the Engineer AS.  Now the wind is hitting me.  I stop to pull on the tights that I quibbled over carrying.  I took off my rain jacket and donned my wool top, and then put on my rain jacket, tobaggon, and gloves over my fingerless gloves, it was that cold.

This is where the lack of sleeping really hit me.  I was staggering up the mountain.  I finally got to a point where the sun was hitting the ground on the mountain, and I laid down, among the flowers, for a nap.

I made it six minutes, before I jerked away, shaking.  It was too cold to stay here. "You can't stay here."   So I hobbled uphill.    Slower and slower.  All I wanted to do was lay down, just for a nap.  But it was too cold.

I have to go UP THERE?? I can see little tiny runner figures up there. I'm brain dead at this point. You can't stay here. You must go to Grouse Gulch.  But you need a nap, Kimba.  You can't go on without some rest.

Finally, I get to the road. There is no respite. The wind is worse here. I now have the hood to my rain jacket up, and zipped up to my nose.  I'm moving down the road. I have to, I'm already very chilled, I need to keep moving.  There's no resting here.

I'm finally moving down out of elevation.  I've got 5.5 miles to go.  What was the cut off time? 10.50.  I've got plenty of time. But I need to nap.  I can't function.  I'm barely moving down the road (it seems), tripping over rocks.

I try, on three or four occasions, to find a rock in the sunlight and curl up and sleep on.  But I either have to pee or get dizzy. I can't get comfortable.

And time is bleeding away.  I know I have Grouse Gulch, and then Handies (the 14'er) to climb.  But can I do this in the time allowed?  I have to nap. I cannot climb Handies and not time out without a nap.  But can I get to GG AS and still nap?

Time bleeds away as I walk down the road. I'm still weighing my decision in my head, drop or time out? Back and forth, back and forth. I cry a bit. I'm so tired.  I just want to sleep. But this is Hardrock.  But there is no way I can get over Handies and not time out.  I'm so pissed at myself for quitting. But I am out of time.  Maybe I could just stay out on the course and just...time out.

No. If you are going to quit, then quit. Don't pussy out and then come up with the lie "well, I just timed out, what can you do..."   Did I mention I am so sleep deprived?  I can't function straight. I'm tripping on rocks. When did I eat last?  On the climb to Engineer Pass?

Now I can see the AS below.  But now it's 10 am! And the AS is nowhere near!  I start to walk faster. I'm not sure if I have made up my mind, as I keep checking my watch, as this frigging road goes on forerver.  I don't seem to be any closer.  Now it's 1015. Then 1020.   Any sort of time margin for a nap is going straight out the window, as now I seem more concerned about tackling Handies. 

And now, look at the clouds over the drainage toward Handies.  What about those, Kimba?  You got time for a nap AND to sit out/evaluate those storm clouds?

I'm so dead. I can't even think straight at this point.

And this is where the dune buggies and jeep caravans went by.. Thanks all, let me just stand here, with my back to you, and bleed more minutes off my little clock.. I was pretty irritated when I got to the Grouse Gulch AS.

"I'm dropping"   I announce..and start crying.

I instantly get the sympathy (which I do not want, but that's just my curmudgeonly self, which my NEO TC peeps understand)  " good job, 65 miles, you did great"..  


Well, aftermath is probably best left for a future post.  I wasn't hurt or injured.  I did some pretty basic Ultrarunning mistakes:  I got into a calorie deficit; then had hydration issues; which along with a course kicking my ass, just drained me of my will to continue.  I would put the sleep deprivation up there as my main obstacle to rationally think forward to continue.  I should have slept; I should have ate more, at the AS, and I should have carried more calories in my pack to eat.

I have to say I've been bitten by Hardrock.  It's the most difficult thing I have ever attempted.  But now I have some knowledge, of what I have gotten into. I know what to work on now, and know some of the course.

I may enter the 2013 lottery, but I already promised not to run it.  So that leaves 2014 and later dates open..and 2014 would be another clockwise direction again..

Sunday, July 15, 2012

65 Miles At Hardrock

Hey all,
it's been a busy two days here in Silverton, haven't had a chance to update on here.

I dropped at Mile 65, the Grouse Gulch Aid Station.

I'm okay with that, but I am still disapointed.   I really don't subscribe to the "way to go, you did 65 miles, that's awesome" mind set.  Because the race is 100 Miles.  If this had been the Hardrock 65, then I would be satsified.

But, on the other hand, this is Hardrock.  Hardest thing I have ever done.  Hardest run (it's not a race) I've ever done.

Never encountered mountains like these before.

Never glissaded down a loose bed of shale (called scree)  down a mountain.  Never looked over a rock ledge wondering if I was on trail or at the edge of a cliff.

Never had several moments of sheer terror on a trail-which, once I lived and got down safely, found it awesome!

Never went from being overheated and hypothermic in the same hour.

I've got no epic tale of woe or drama for dropping.

What happened to me can happen to anyone in an ultra.

I got behind in calories.  5 miles to the next aid station might mean you have to climb a 12 or 13,000 foot mountain in between.  Also got behind on water, which helped with the energy deficit.

The wheels started falling off around Ouray, mile 40. I had a big climb, and was way behind in calories and water.  By the time I made Engineer Aid Station, the sleep deprivation kicked in. 

I made it to Grouse Gulch, mile 65, with about 20 minutes to the cut off.  But I needed a nap, and had to climb Handies Peak, a 14'er (14000 foot mountain) next.  I decided to drop there, rather than time out on the other side of Handies, which would have taken me a very long time to climb.

I'll write a nice detailed report later this week complete with pictures.

I won't be back next year, but I am definitely wanting to get my Hardrock finish.  It's just almost hard to relate, the situations and conditions.  It is certainly as advertised:  "WILD AND TOUGH".

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Calm Before the Storm

Well, I hope there are no storms!

Just sitting here on the deck on our house in Silverton, looking at some beautiful mountains, feeling absolutely calm and at peace at the moment.  I'm sure that will change soon, but right now I'm calm, serene, cool, ready to go.

The drop bags are packed, and labelled.   My bib number is # 169, in case you want to check in every now and then this weekend.  It's a 48 hour run,  (it's not a race) so you've got plenty of time to go run yourself, eat dinner, go to bed, get up,  have breakfast, and then check in on me again.

We take drop bags over to the Silverton High School gym soon, and have our mandatory runner meeting at noon.  Then there is a pasta dinner at 530 pm, so I will attend that and then return to chill out and make sure clothing and last minute gear is ready to go.

I did not mention I do have a pacer for at least one section of trail.  Mike Dobies, a 9 time Hardrock finisher, is going to pace me from Ouray to..wherever he wants.  Mike has been coming off injuries.  He was originally in the Run this year, but not in shape enough for the whole Run.  I was very happy and relieved to have such a veteran to share trail with.  It's a good carrot for me to get my butt to Ouray and then pick him up.

Well, folks, what else to say?  There might be a blog post later, but I doubt it. 

I will see you on the other side of this most epic WONDERFUL adventure!!!



Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
- Mark Twain

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hard as a Rock

So what's left?  It's July 11.  Two sleeps until race day.  I've had ups and downs.  I've had doubts-major major doubts about finishing this race.  To be realistic, I don't have that great of a chance of finishing.  I'm not trying to sandbag here, or look for excuses.  About 59% of the field usually finishes.

So then, why, am I here?

Because..several reasons.   I believe there was a reason my ticket was pulled last December, on the luck of a first time entry.  It was my time to run Hardrock, whether I felt I should have more experience or time under my belt.

Because I want to be here.  I've gotten rather irritated (and I hope it wasn't showing because these folks didn't mean it) at people asking me if my husband was running.  " No, I am running"  I have repeated at least a few times.   Screw it if I don't look like your traditional skinny ass ultra runner.   I ran my qualifiying race, in a solid time, and I got picked.  There are 19 females out of the field of 140.  Women can run ultras.  Diane Finkel has almost won HR outright. 

I will also say I am scared.  And thrilled all at the same time.  This is the hardest thing I have ever attempted.  It's going to take every bit of my mental toughness and will and every ounce of my physical ability to do this.  Out of the two sides, it's the physical that is the weakest.  My mind cannot drag me over the tops of 13000 mountain peaks.  I have to be able to stay ahead of the cut offs, keep a positive attitude, don't let my emotions get the best of me, and persevere.

THANK YOU to everyone who's been leaving comments on FB and comments on the blog.  I haven't  had much time to try and even do much replying with a kind of limited internet connection, but I am very grateful for your thoughts.  Please continue to send the positive energy flow for me AND all the Hardrockers heading out on the course July 13.

It truly is going to be an epic adventure.  I have become a person who enjoys testing the boundaries and limits-and well, I think that's why my ticket was pulled December 4.  I'm getting one of the biggest tests of all.

I've had the mantra in my head all week long, so this is it for Hardrock:

 "She thought she could, so she did."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hardrock Course Recon Day Three

This day we covered the course from the Grouse Gulch Aid Station to Handies Peak.  I did not go all the way to Handies Peak.  My goal is to make it there on race weekend, not before.  I stopped at  Sloan Lake, elevation 12920.

Hardrock Course Recon Day Two

The second day we covered the course from close to the Governor Basin Aid Station to Kroger's Canteen.  We did this as an out and back, opposite direction from the way we will run this on race day.

   See way up there?  That's where Krogers Canteen Aid Station is located, at 13100 feet.    This is literally a shelf that hardcore Hardrock volunteers backpack up for the runners.

It's not all brutal's very beautiful with wild flowers.  I hope some of those pictures can shine through.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hardrock Course Recon Day One

I've been on the Hardrock Course for the past three days.

The first day, we covered from mile 48.6 to 53.9.  Typing this, it does seem like we didn't cover much distance at all.  But check out the photos during this section:

  See the shelf that Eric and Jim Harris are standing on?  That's the trail. We are on the Bear Creek National Recreation Trail through here.  The trail is literally blasted out of the mountain.  You can still see the remains of the old narrow guage rail that the cars were on.

The Hardrock Manual warns through this section "Acrophobia Exposure"..  Yes, you could certainly see this here.  Or, rather, I won't see this section, because it will be night time when I come through here.

This old house is by the Yellow Jacket Mine.  We took a few minutes to peek in.  It's certainly adequate to hunker down in, if there is a storm brewing through this section.

Slim on old remnants of mine equipment.  Old abandomed remnants of mines, mine equipment and buildings are everywhere.

We were very encouraged to see how well the trail was marked. There was really nowhere else to go, yet occasionally there would be a HR marker or confidence tape on the course.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I got out on the trails about 1015 am or so.  My original plan was to hike up Mt Evergreen, but Gombu pointed out the Three Sisters and The Brother to hike to in t he Alderfer/Three Sisters Park.  So I set out on my own, Eric and Gombu planning on more of a run themselves.

It was hot and sunny, and  I kept breaking from a run into a walk.  I've done 47 miles in five days here!
The mule deer are not afraid of  humans nor do they move off.  This is from about 4 feet away.

I made it over to Alderfer Park, about one mile away, and started on the hike which would lead me to The Brother overlook.

However, as I turned a corner, this is what I saw:

I decided to DNF The Brother's Climb, as it looked like the storm was heading right toward me.
So I ran the loop, which led me back to the parking lot where I started.

I sat there on the fence for at least ten or fifteen minutes, looking at the sky, trying to decide whether I should wait it out, or just return to the bunker.  I was somewhat amazed at the people-at least 10 or so, starting UP the trail with the sky so dark and blue overhead.

I decided to go back to Gombu's, and that's when the rumble of thunder started.  As I crossed a meadow, there was a huge crack of lightning, and I increased my running (YES I was running) pace.  The temp dropped and the wind kicked up.

It began HAILING.  Cold hail.  I knew I was about 1/2 mile from the house, but I got to the woods and pulled my nice eVent Jacket out and donned it.  I continued to RUN as it was pouring hail.

Another lightning crash, but at least I was in the woods.  It actually came down much harder after I got back to the house, where the hail accumulated on the ground!

Good check of my gear today, to see how quickly a blue sunny sky out here in the West can turn!