12 Glory Laps in 12 Hours

12 Glory Laps in 12 Hours
Last February 20th, I hiked and skied 12 laps on Mt. Glory. 19,638 feet climbed with skis on my back and 19,638 feet skied to raise money for Camp To Belong. It's snowing again and I'm ready for the 2nd edition! Click the logo for more info and ways to support camp!

Camp To Belong - Elk Mountain Grand Traverse

Camp To Belong - Elk Mountain Grand Traverse
We're racing the Elk Mtn Grand Traverse this March, a 40 mile ski race across the roof of Colorado in the middle of the night! Click for updates on our training and fundraising progress!

Peaked Sports

Peaked Sports
Driggs, ID

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Big Horn 100 - Dayton, WY, June 20th,

I did it.

My first 100 miler.

Thank you sir! May I have another?!

I almost nailed it. Almost. If only I could have done a few things differently. But these were things I had to figure out on my own by pushing past my previous limits. I know what to do differently next time. And there will be a next time, I'm already planning it.

I was nearly certain I could finish under 30 hours. I calculated out an average pace of 3.5 mph and figured I "should" be abe to maintain that which would bring me in around 28.5 hours. Best case scenario? A 4.5 mph average pace which would bring me in around 22.5 hours. Woah. Better not be on pace for anything under that!

I finished in 28:38:11. Best part of my body at the finish? My brain. Glad to be done. Worst part of my body at the finish? My big toenails.

***Make a note of this all you virgin 100 milers***

If you're gearing up for a 100 miler, bring a pair of shoes at least a half size bigger than what your normal trail shoes are for the second 50 miles. I'd never experienced swollen feet before, but after this experience, I'll be wearing a size 10.5 or even an 11 for the second 50. Your toes will thank you!

Best part about the race? Let's see...

1. MY CREW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wouldn't have finished without them. Honestly. Melissa, Erika, and Jen. Thank You! You kept the race car going! Melissa, you were the aid-station nazi. "Drink! Eat! Tie your shoes! Now go! Now!" Erika, your blister maintenance was awesome, however gross it may have been, you didn't cringe at all. And I especially enjoyed the last 18 miles with my "impromptu" pacer, Jen in her knee-length skirt! You made the finish possible.
2. Chasing Ehredt around the Big Horn Mountans for 64 miles. I don't think I've ever had so much fun in a race. Nice work on putting down 100 miles in 22.5 hours dude! I wish I could've stayed up there with you.
3. The scenery. Wow, those Big Horn Mountains are B-E-A-UTIFUL! Especially late on Friday evening around mile 40 when it began raining and the raindrops were lit up by the setting sun filtering in through the trees.
4. The race organizers. For being forced into an alternate course in the last week due to heavy snowpack that remained on the upper section of the course. I heard a number of runners who had done the "normal" course before and they said they liked this year's alternate course better.
5. The volunteers manning those remote aid stations up in the mountains in the middle of the night. Y'all were awesome. Thanks for being up there. It sure was great to see you.
6. Getting caught, passed, and left in the dust by a super-power-walking Olga at mile 84. I've never seen anyone power-walk like that. Olga! You're a power-walking superhero! And the fact that you wear a skirt makes it even better.
7. My nutrition. I practically nailed it. There's a few places where I think I should've taken in a bit more, but for the most part, I followed my plan and it worked.
8. The fact that I have no sore muscles. How this is possible, I have no idea. Did I go through a complete recovery on my 18 mile "hike" into the finish from the last aid station? I dunno...
9. My knees survived!!! Without hardly any problems. How? Could be a combination of alot of things, but everything seemed to come together just fine. I am 100% knee-pain free.
10. The fact that I'm already thinking about my next 100 miler. And it'll probably be later this year. Ready? = )

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ready for 100 miles, I am









So this is quickly becoming real and I don't think I could be more ready. 100 miles. There's alot of unknown out there in those Big Horn Mountains and I will find out soon enough (beginning Friday at 11am) how it will all turn out. Today was a rest day. I came home from work and napped. There's time for a little "leg work", one last session in an effort to help relieve my tender delicate knees. They feel good now, but I'm sitting on the couch. Ask them how they feel after 50 miles and I'm sure they'll tell you. Then ask them after 100. ; ) Tomorrow is another easy jog day after work and then a bar-b-q with some marinated flank steak. (I wonder if I could save some to put in my drop bags for the race. Hmmmmmm... Running down the trail with a slab of dripping juicy flank steak in hand and a griz hot on my heels. On second thought...) Then Wednesday, our team of three runners (Ehredt, Evans, and I), our one pacer, Melissa (probably will be pacing me), and one of our crew members, Erika, will be getting together for a pre-op briefing (beer and pizza) to hang out and go over a few last things to make sure everybody is prepared gear-wise. Then we blast out of Teton Valley, ID on our 6-7 hour drive to Sheridan, WY where we will be staying Thursday night before the race. Jen, our second crew member will meet us there. And then...







Friday...







at 11am...





Giddyup!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Schafer Butte, Part II

"You have to run slow to run fast."

"Plan to get faster in the second half of the race."

"Towards the end, you should be progressively speeding up like a carpet unrolling."

All good advice, but oh, the difficulty in putting this plan into action. Patience. Calm. Relaxation. Experience. Sometimes lessons take a long time to learn and these are all too often very difficult lessons for many runners at any distance, but the ultra-distances are where those long, endless, painful miles await after going out too fast and not paying attention to your body. The death march.

And so it was that I found myself comfortably jogging along through the streets of Boise at 5:08am last Saturday morning with a group of 20 or so like-minded ultra-runners. Most were heading out for the full 50 miles. The rest were doing a shortend version of whatever distance appealed to them. I figured I would go at least 50k and then if I felt good enough at the 19 mile mark on the out and back course, I would continue on to the turnaround at mile 26 (there was an extension loop we did only on the way out that added an extra mile. Then, on the way back, we skipped that loop cutting off two miles to finish with an even 50). I began running with the intent of maintaining a pace that I could theoretically maintain for 100 miles. I wanted to keep my heartrate low, my legs fresh, food and drink going in and walk whenever I wanted to. I was not there to race. I was there to prepare.

The first 11 miles were up. Waaaaaaay up. We gained 2,500 ft. It took alot of patience to let a group of five or so runners take off up the trail. "This is not a race. This is not a race", I kept telling myself. Walk slower. Keep the heart rate down. I came into the aid station at 2:10. Not bad. Just under 12 min/mile and I still felt like I was going slow. I stopped at the truck that had the tailgate flipped down and was met by Jack manning the aid station. He had spread out the food and drink on the tailgate for the runners to peruse as they arrived. I grabbed a few pringles and pretzels and continued my walk up the dirt road. The next aid station was 8 miles away and I was told to "stay to the left at every junction", by the father of one of the runners a few minutes behind me on the course. He was there to crew for his son, Cliff, who was running the full 50 miles. Staying left was good advice especially because this course was not marked and for a newcomer like me running by themselves, it would have been impossible to know for sure which direction to take when the road or trail split. I hoped I would either catch up to an experienced Schafer Butte runner by the next aid station or someone would catch up to me. If I had to stop and wait, I would.

At roughly mile 15, Cliff caught up to me and we walked most of the remaining climb up to the mile 19 aid station at 7,500 ft where we were shrouded in a cold white fog. We had climbed up to the top of Bogus Basin Ski Area from its southern backside and the weather was not so summery here with a temperature of maybe 45 degrees. We had been out 4:10 hrs. About 13:10 min/mile. I felt like I was on a hike.

From here, it would be an unsupported 7 mile out and back section. I needed to make sure I had 14 miles of happy times with me so I filled up my two liters, mixed in the approprite Powerbar Endurancemix and headed off. I downed a protein shake, had a bit of food, and waited a few minutes for Cliff knowing he had run this course before and I was about to get myself lost if I continued on by myself. He was my guide. There is no way possible for to have done this event without someone with me to guide me and Cliff did an amazing job. We seemed to be pretty well matched for running together and it was nice to have some company. We skidded down a 1/4 mile section of lingering snow on one of the ski runs and then began snaking our way down the switchback service road through the ski area. We came to a closed gate across the service road and were emptied out onto a paved road. We took a left and quickly came to an intersection with another road and a couple faint trails at the bottom of a looming butte in front of us to the north. Cliff pointed out that we would be heading around Schafer Butte in a clockwise direction coming within sight of where we picked up the loop trail before turning away and running a singletrack trail east to the turnaround a few miles later. I expected to see the leaders coming back on the trail any time figuring they probably had at least a half hour on us. After all, Cliff and I had been jogging easily on the downhills and hiking pretty much all of the uphills and stopping occassionaly to go over the route or take a pit stop.

Finally, at 5:15 into the race, we passed the lead group of three on their return trip after reaching the turnaround. I made a note of the time and the place on the trail where our paths crossed. Not long after that, Cliff and I passed another runner heading back, and finally reached the turnaround. We had covered 26 miles in 5:25. 12:30 min/mile. Perfect. I told Cliff to go on ahead. I needed a "pit stop" and I would try to catch up to him. I felt good as I began running the slightly uphill trail after the turnaround. I could see Cliff walking and figured he was waiting for me. As I fell in behind him, he moved to the side of the trail, mentioned something about always seemeing to lose steam after reaching the turnaround on out and back courses, and told me to go on if I wanted. I always feel energized and refreshed any time I reach the turnaround on a course so I didn't understand quite what his predicament was, but I voiced a cheery "Ok, well I'll see you up the trail!" fully expecting to see him catch back up to me over the next few miles.

About a mile of running later and I caught up to the runner who had been just behind the lead group of four. He was not doing too well. He didn't have any gear other than a waistbelt with water flasks. We was wearing shorts and a white short sleeve shirt. It seemed too minimal for a fairly unsupported run in the mountains on a day where the temperature just never really warmed up. I was wearing my long sleeve smartwool and my windbreaker and that was borderline just enough to keep me warm. I passed the spot where I had seen the leaders and checked my time. 5:35. Whoa! The lead group is only 20 minutes ahead! And I feel like I'm out for an easy hike in the mountains. I wondered how they felt. I wondered if I'd see some of them by the finish.

I chatted with the guy I had caught up to for a few minutes and evaluated his condition. Cold. Dehydrated. Lacking calories. His race had turned. His march had begun. I asked him if he needed anything. I wanted to give some more clothing, but I was already wearing everything I brought and I was borderline cold. Food? Water? Nope, he said he was ok and was going to take the shortcut and bypass the loop trail around Schafer Butte to speed his trip back up to the aid station at the top of the ski area. I agreed that was a good choice and began my loop. I was met by the remaining runners still heading out to the turnaround. There weren't as many as had began th race with us six hours earlier and I rationalized that some of them had turned around for a shorter distance. I could still see Cliff at certain times behind be on the trail still running. It was good to see he was continuing to move quickly. Since I was simply reversing our earlier route I was confident I could navigate on my own so I didn't feel that waiting for him was completely neccessary although I thought it would be nice to regain the company. I figured he'd catch up to me soon.

I popped out of the loop trail and back onto the pavement, missed the turn back onto the ski area service road, had to hop over through some brush to find it again, and began my powerhike up the mountain. Halfway up, I saw Cliff beginning his climb. We waved. I reached the top and caught back up to Mr. Hypothermia (the runner wearing short sleeves who I had encountered way back on the loop trail) and checked in with him to see how he was fairing. Not so good, but we were within a mile of the aid station and he seemed capable of continuing on his own to get there. I was thinking his race would probably be done at that point.

I cruised into the aid station just below the top of the ski area at 7:00 hrs. miles. 12:44 pace. Sweet. 17 miles and 4,750 feet below and I'd be done. Could I break 10 hours? Gasp! Not if it means running hard. I'd made it this far feeleing great and my main concern was taking care of my knees.

I stopped for a refil on water. Another 2 liters. This time, just water. Some of the folks hanging out at this aid station were sitting on camp chairs around a fire they had built on the edge of the dirt road. But on the road. There they were just sittin round the fire right on the road. I dunno, maybe it wasn't that unusual of a thing, but I remember staring at them as I refilled my water thnking how odd a sight it was to see a fire buring on the dirt road surface with people huddled around it. I certainly don't blame then though. It was cold and foggy up there. Colder than it had been on our way out a few hours earlier. And the fog was freezing to the trees and chairlifts and anything else that happened to be up there. It even snowed a bit, ever so lightly.

I began my descent looking forward to warmer temps and caught up with an older gentleman heading down the course with trekking poles. Tyler, I think. He was around sixty years old and out on a 50 mile trek alonside the rest of us young pups. An absolutely great guy. We chatted and laughed for 5 or 10 minutes. The walking felt good to me. And I enjoyed talking to him. But then we parted ways and I picked up my shuffle down the road. About 30 minutes later, I caught up with another runner. I had seen this guy in the lead pack after the turnaround. He was walking. I began walking with him. Frank. Lived in Boise. Running his first 50 miler. I asked him what happened to the pack he was with. He said one of the four runners in his pack stopped at the last aid station at mile 33. Craig, another member of their group took off down the trail in full flight and was not to be seen again. Andre, the remaining lead pack member was somewhere ahead. Frank said he had to slow down because he was feeling the effects of 35+ miles and needed to pace himself a bit slower. I decided to walk/jog with him to the next aid station where we would have 9 miles to go. It was great. A liesurely pace. Just moseying along.

We arrived together at the last aid station at about 9:05. 13:18 min/mile. The last 10 miles could have been much quicker on the gradual rolling, but mostly downhill smooth surfaced dirt road, but I had made the decision to enjoy the company of my running compatriots instead of focusing on maintaing a faster pace. In the end, this was the best possible scenario. I still remained feeling great. Knees were getting a little sore, but felt good for the most part. And I was getting to know some great people. Fantasticly enjoyable.

Shortly after beginning our final 9 miles, Frank mentioned he would be slowing down and for me to continue on. Well, he seemed to be doing fine other than being tired and I didn't want to be out there any longer than I had to so off I went. Rolled along on some beautiful rolling singletrack at first, then took a right on a trail named "Hell's Ridge". And boy, they weren't kidding. This thing was dry, loose, extremely rocky, rugged, jagged, and very steep in many spots. Ouch. Now my knees were not happy. Oh, the pain. I tried so hard to take it easy on them, but whether walking down that stuff or jogging, there's really no easy way down. I had begun to develope some blisters on both big toes as well and now those were making their presence known. Grrrrrrrrrrr... Where's the end of this thing? Down, down, down, down, down, down, down, down, down... More down... I navigated my way through the seemingly endless maze of trails snaking all over the hills northeast of town and managed to stay on the same route we took on our way up hours and hours ago when it was barely light enough to see. Things looked alot different now.

I finally bottomed out onto the road we started on and shuffled my blistered feet and aching knees back to Fort Boise Park where we began our journey so long before. I tagged the finishing tree and stopped the watch. 10:20 hrs. Perfect. 12:24 min/mile. And I finished strong and comfortable. (Other than the blisters and knees)

Conclusion:

I mentioned in my earlier post that I had a few revelations and here they are:

Heart rate. More than anything, this is the indicator that dictates my speed. If my heart rate is too high, I'm burning fuel at a rate exceeding that of which I can replace it. The higher the intensity, the more difficult it becomes for my muscles to continue to work while trying to process food and water. They impeed each other. I must maintain a pace that allows the fuel to be processed efficiently. When I eat, my digestive system needs the ability to focus on processing that fuel without being overburdened by a muscular and cardiovascular system operating at a high intensity. The faster I go, the less my body can process food. The more I process food, the less fast my body can go. I became keenly aware of this correlation while I was out there and if that means letting the leaders go and never seeing them again, well so be it. They are the faster runners. All I can do is take care of myself within the limits of me.







Nutrition. I ate and drank and ate and drank out there. More than I think I ever have. I easily put away over 3,000 calories. That's 300 cal/hr. And I guess that's nothing unusual for ultra-runners, but it's just something I've had difficulty doing in the past, partly because I was usually focused on going fast and not allowing my body the opportunity to ingest that much. For the record, here is what I consumed:









5.5 liters of fluid. 18 scoops of the Powerbar Endurance drink mix (9 scoops/2 liters). 4 liters of the drink mix and about 1.5 liters of water on the way down.

8 Tangerine Powergels

2 11oz EAS Myoplax Lite chocolate protein drink

1 Odwalla Super-Protein bar

2 strawberry Pop-Tarts

Variety of Pringles, pretzels, orange slices, oreos, and peanut butter/honey bagles

I feel ready for the Big Horn 100. I'm fit enough. I've got my shoes, clothing, nutrition, and pace dialed. I'm going to take better care of my feet. I'll be changing socks and shoes along the course to avoid blisters. It's not any of those things that concerns me. It's my knees.

It'll be a challenge to keep my knees happy over that kind of distance. If they hurt after 50, they're gonna hurt more after 100. But I'm employing every tactic I have at my disposal to increase my odds.

1. Slow the pace down. Slower pace = softer striding

2. Take rest breaks at the aid stations to sit down and give the knees a break while I change shoes/socks

3. Apply topical Tendon Rescue ointment on my knees every 20 miles

4. Pop one or two Ibuprofen every 20 miles

5. Wear Patellar Tendon knee strap below kneecap on each knee

6. Do massage work on IT band and Abductors with focus on releasing the tension over the kneecap ligaments and tendons.

Will any or all of this work? ?? ????????? I don't know. But at least I'll be able to say I did my best to prepare and gave it everything I had in my first attempt at 100 miles.



Oh, and one more thing...

The people volunteering for this event were outstanding. I guess you could say we all volunteered because there was no "formal" race. Just a friendly grou of runners getting together for a long jaunt in the mountains. No entry fee. No marked course. Minimal support. But Frank put on an excellent run and if I'm still running this time next year, I'll keep this event on my list of things to do!

http://www.bandannarunning.com/

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Shafer Butte 50 miler - Boise, ID June 7th, 2008

Info as listed on http://www.bandannarunning.com/:

"Event Name: Shafer Butte Endurance Run
Additional Info: Low-key ultra. Roughly 52 mile. Over 10,000’ of climb on the route that is a mix of trails and multi-use forest roads at elevations between 2,800’ and 7,500’. No entry fee, no medical aid, nor any formal communications. The course will not be marked, but"


But what? What else needs to be said? No entry fee? No medical aid or communications? Not even course markings?! I had been to one other Fat Ass style event before, the Capital Peak Mega Fat Ass in Capitol Forest, WA, and both years I did it, the course was pretty well marked and very well organized despite being a club-style run with no entry fee. For this run, I was prepared for a mostly unsupported run where I would be carrying my full pack with 2-liters of water and all the food and clothing I would need for potentially ten+ hours in the mountains.

This would be my last big training run to prepare for the Big Horn 100 in two weeks. My goal: Run a casual pace that would allow me to remain fresh for the entire event and finish feeling like I could go back out for another 50. Possible? Yes. But my track record in the 50 mile distance has not been exactly comforting, mostly due to not maintaining my nutrition properly, but also a nagging pair of tendonitisized knees from all the overtraining I did last summer. So... I wanted to run/walk at a pace that would allow my knees to survive as long as possible over at least the 50k distance, and then, if I felt good enough, go for the 50 miler. Risky? Maybe, this close to my first 100. But I needed to take care of a couple things. I needed to know if my knees were going to be able to handle it and I needed the mental confidence booster of putting down a solid 50 miles without feeling completely hammered, knackered, and shot by the end. And that's exactly what I did. Bring that 100 mile shiznit on man cause I'm ready. I haven't been sore at all since Saturday's run. How is this possible? How could I cover 50 miles on foot with 10,000 feet of climbing in 10 hours, 20 minutes and not even be sore afterwards?

Stay tuned, my naughty monkeys, for I shall reveal my revelations in my next post. Muhahaha. MuHaHaHaHaHaH! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!





Overlooking Boise



This section of trail was about an hour to an hour and a half from the start and must have had 5 or so susustained pitches of trail that were at 30+ degrees angle within the 2-3 miles we covered.




Bogus Basin










This is what a 50 mile dog looks like. Yes, I got beat by a pooch. Sadie and her runner, Andre finished about 15 minutes in front of me.


30

It was without too much hoopla and fanfare that I turned 30 last Friday. So long wandering 20s. Welcome stable directional 30s. It wasn't so much the particular day that had me excited, it was more of a symbolic thing of what's to come in the following days, weeks, months, years as I begin my fourth decade here on Earth. Life certainly is an adventure. A journey with surprises and ups and downs along the way that sometimes are expected and sometimes not. Some of the goals that I had ten years ago have been met, others have been forgotten and replaced, a few have been attempted with varying degrees of success, and some I am still working on. I know there are more accomplishments and acheivements on the way that I don't know of at this time, but that's ok. I'll know when the time is right. In the meantime, I will enjoy this place where I am at beginning with this delightful homemade birthday carrot cake made for me by a dear friend. After a slice of cake and some ice cream last Thursday, we shared a light late evening jog/hike up to beautiful Mud Lake perched up on the hillside above Victor, ID. The last remaining hours left in my 20s. Then on Friday, my actual birthday, I drove to Boise, ID after work to run the Shafer Butte 50 miler on Saturday, my last major training run in my preparation for the Big Horn 100 on June 20th.









Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Definition of epic...

ep·ic
Pronunciation: ╦łe-pik
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin epicus, from Greek epikos, from epos word, speech, poem
Date: 1589
a: extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope

Recipe: Take one Big Hole Mountain Range. Make sure it's not yet quite ripe for summer travel (i.e. deep snowpack at higher elevations that require routfinding due to a buried trail). Add five trail runners at approximately 2:00pm. Mix in some storm clouds and a dash of thunderstorm. Combine with 27 stream crossings, a short glissade, a decision to bail on the original route and follow another route out of the mountains to another trailhead, and a pinch of "I just ate my last gel and we're still two hours out." Stir until exhausted (Approximately 7 hours). Garnish with a hitched ride in a motorhome with four nice folks on vacation from Reno and a beautiful 3 mile jog in the setting sun back to the truck.

















Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Quickly...

Before I move on to more current events, I do want to post a quick note on the Pole Pedal Paddle event from May 17th.

For the record, it was one of the most frantic, heart-pounding, mentally-challenging races I've ever done. All of a sudden, we were racing and then we were done. I was done in 2 hrs and 14 minutes. The winner was done 29 minutes before me. And everyone except one of the four female competitors were between us. (There were 14 men in the racing class and 4 women and we all started together in the first wave)

If you look at the photo from a couple posts ago of us at the starting line, you'll notice everyone is lined up wearing cycling clothes, bike helmets, and ski boots and poles. And no skis. The starting line was about 50 yards down the hill from where our skis were placed. When we started, we ran frantically up the hill, clicked into our downhill skis, and took off down the gated super-G course which was rapidly becoming more slushy in the 70 degree morning air. I'm sure it was quite a sight watching 18 spandex-clad skiers come screaming down the mountain all in a long line.

I came into the nordic exchange in about sixth place, knowing this was where I would lose a huge chunk of time. And there were a few factors invloved here. First, was that before the race started, as I stood there on the starting line sizing up my competition, I realized how serious these guys were and then how magnificently ingenius there are! Many of them were already wearing their nordic boots and had simply buckled their nordic-booted feet inside an empty, rear-entry alpine ski boot shell! Hah! No need to change boots that way. Simply click off the downhill skis, unbuckle the one and only buckle on the alpine boots, remove pre-nordic-booted foot, and presto! Click into nordic skis and you're off! So I, with my clunky four buckle alpine boots to change out of and my funky little nordic boots to change into, would be losing minutes just at the exchange. And that wasn't even the biggest part...

I'm just not a very good nordic skier. I mean, I can do it. But it's alot of work for me and sometimes I don't feel like I have much control. This past winter as I did it more and more, I would still lose my balance and crash spectacularly for no apparent reason. So there I was, 100 yards down the gentle slope of the nordic course, in front of the gathering of spectators, skidding to a halt on my spandexed arse in a clumsy tangle of akward nordic skis and poles. I got up, refusing to let the feelings of embarrasment even have a chance (which I knew they wanted to) and took off along the snow again with my tail between my legs. Then I crashed again on a fast icy rolling section in the trees and scraped the skin off the outside of my left shin, left thigh, and multiple knuckles on both hands. The spill also released the buckle on my left ski boot. Now I was severely dismayed. I just wanted it to be over. But I kept pushing on. I had already been passed by most everyone during the alpine/nordic exchange. I got passed by a couple more on the nordic leg and was fairly certain I was securely in last place among both the men and the women. Two of the women and two of the men passed me on the nordic leg like I was standing still. 'Wait til the bike you dainty little nordic skiers', I thought as I wobbled my bloodied, dismal, drooling and gasping self up the hill to the nordic/bike exchange. Ignoring the stares of everyone around me wondering who this bumbling racer was that was coming into the exchange 10 or 15 minutes after the main group after such a short little 8k nordic loop, I stumbled over to my newly altered bike and prepared for the chase. 'Ok, it's on now!'

The day before the race, I had stopped by a local bike shop and outfitted my road bike with a couple neat new features for the sole purpose of going downhill very fast: A new 11-23 cassette, a new 56 tooth chainring, and a set of aerobars. No, I didn't have the disk wheels, three-spoke, carbon fiber wheels, and $5,000 time trial bikes of some of the guys, but at least I can say I tried and I feel it helped. I caught two ladies and two guys by the time I finished the bike leg and right at the end, I got passed by a guy who apparently had been behind me since the very beginning of the event! Where'd he come from?! Why didn't he catch me on the skate skis?! Wha???!!! You mean I wasn't last?!

So then came the 10k run. And I had placed my shoes at the farthest possible place away from where the bike/run exchange was because I had to set them out earlier in the morning before there were any race officials there to direct me to a good spot to put them and I didn't know where to go. So after handing my bike off to a race official, I ran in my socks 50 yards in the opposite direction, got my running shoes on and ran back to begin the run. The people I had passed on the bike leg had caught back up to me. 'Sigh...'

The run felt awful. It took a long time to run that 10k. Not sure how long, but long. I didn't catch anyone, I didn't get caught by anyone. And then, there it was, my stubby little boat among the long, sleek racing kayaks. And I was toast. Somehow, someway, there were more people behind me that caught me in the water. All but one of the ladies. And by the time I finished, I was so exhausted and dehydrated and bloody and sore. I just wanted to go back to the house and clean up and rest. But my car was still up at the ski resort. So... after no luck finding a ride up there, I got back on my bike and rode the 22 miles, 2,500 feet up into a headwind to get the car. Then I drove back into town, retrieved my boat, retrieved my ski gear which had been gathered up and brought down the mountain by the race officials, drove across town to return my rented boat (stopping for a 28 oz pepsi slurpee along the way), then finally driving back to the house I was staying at to get cleaned up and vomit the 28 oz pepsi slurpee into the toilet.

Wait til next year...

(By the way, Joe and I ended up not climbing Mt. Hood that weekend due to a freezing level at 15,000 feet and slushy unstable snow conditions all the way up the mountain. But I was able to meet up with Dr. Trevor for an awesome 6am run in Forest Park Monday morning before I left Portland. Watching the sun come up and shine through the trees during our 1 hour trail run was a fantastic way to start the day. I didn't want to drive the 11 hours back to Victor.)