Thursday, July 26, 2007

Some Consider it odd, Some Don't...

Some consider it odd, some don't...

I knew last night that today was the day to run to the office. I had been thinking about it for weeks, but I had never done it. 4 miles there, 4 miles back. Today, I was driven. I knew that I had to do it today.

I woke up and did the usual abolutions. I cleared my office messages and went upstairs to get ready. I dressed, packed Gatorade into my Amphibelt bottles, put my cell phone in the pocket, put on my electronic gear and Iwas out the door and running.

It was a good run to the office. I felt vibrant and alive. It was when I got to the office that I knew something had happened. There were cords across hallways & warning signs out about tripping hazards. I assumed that it was because floor maintenance was being performed. I knew that it was more serious, though. I knew it inside of me.

What did I do? I grabbed a fast drink of water and headed for home. It was a mile and a half later that the boss called my cell. A transformer on the power line behind the building had blown. It effectively knocked out half of the building's power (much like would happen in a rolling brown out). He asked who to call and I told him.

Do you believe in precognition?

I ran 8.35 miles today. Last week I ran 42.10 miles.

Saturday last, I ran a new trail. Called Wheeler's Lake, it is just off the summit of Hoosier Pass between Breckenridge and Fairplay, Colorado. A short trail but with elevation and a lot of scenic beauty. Climbing "Bolling Ball" hill took a lot of energy, running back down to the trailhead was fast and easy.
Waterfalls near the top of the trail.

The JEEPAVAN at the top...

And finally, here is my friend, Tom, trying his best to flop the Mighty YJ!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Just Maintaining and Weekend Fun

I am sorry that this blog has been so inactive. I just haven't had much to say.

I am training to run another half-marathon. I believe that I will run the Clear Creek half-marathon on August 11th.

I must admit that I am a little frustrated. My last half-marathon (my only) was somewhat frustrating for me. I really expected to do better than I did. I realize that the half that I chose did have some extenuating circumstances. There was the altitude and the drop in elevation. Still, I think I can do better. I've done runs since that did not deplete me so very much yet was still at height and drop. I don't know. I have changed my training to try and get out to do more mountain trails.

I tried that last weekend! We went and tried a trail that we haven't done before. We took a wrong turn and ended up on an extremely narrow trail.
It is always a challenge for the driver (and in this case, the spotter). We realized at this point that the trail was too narrow and we had better get turned around and make our way back out. Easily said, but not so easily accomplished! Not only were there trees, but there was a pit mine at the side that left little room for the Jeep to navigate forwards. We had to do it backwards. But we got out.

We finally found the correct trail. It is known as Red Elephant Hill. Why? It goes around a hill that is named, Red Elephant Hill. This is a narrow trail with really loose dirt on it. It is known as a one-way uphill trail due to the loose road bed and the narrow nature. There is no place to pass and the rule is that uphill traffic has the right of way. When we went up, there was a trail bike and an ATV coming down. We were able to get them past us, but we had to use our winch to get us back on the trail as the Jeep kept sliding to the passenger side.
As you can see, we did lose a light cover in this escapade.

My plan was to run down the hill. By the time I got to the top, skies were dark and heavy with rain. As I got ready, the downpour began. I didn't run. Of course, by the time we got the Jeep tires aired up, the sun was out again. Bummer!

This is the Google Earth track of the trip.

I've been doing more and more long runs recently. Just seems to feel good!

Let me know your opinions on my half-marathon and whether I am just too sensitive! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sunday, However, Was a Lot of Fun!

Jenny Creek trail is a rather unique trail for Jeeps in Colorado. It follows along a creek and at times it enters the creek and follows it for a while. A lot of fun to run. This picture is of a falls right next to the first water crossing.

It is a short trail but it can keep you busy as you drive it. Water entries and exits, very rocky, tight turns, and the scenery can keep you busy. It also smells great. This is a wonderful time of the year. You can still see snow near the trail. The wildflowers are resplendent. Just beautiful.

I had the best of all worlds on Sunday. I got to drive the Jeep up the trail to the top. My plan was to run down the trail using two-foot drive.

At the end of the trail there is a snow drift on the trail. Above the snowdrift is a hard mounted point you can attach your winchline on to. We arrived at the bottom of the snow drift. We looked it over and debated it. As we were deciding, a small group of fellow trail runners gathered. We made the decision to winch the Jeep up and over the snowdrift.

I ran the winch line up the snowdrift and hooked it onto the Hard point. Tom tried to drive the Jeep up the snowbank. As we suspected, the jeep's back tires went in about a foot and all four tires were spinning with no grip. He tightened the winch line from inside the cab. The Jeep started to follow the winch line up the hill. Tom stopped about half-way up and wanted pictures.

We got to the top. The trail at the top goes to Yankee Doodle lake. We looked around and then drove the Jeep back down over the snowdrift again. After all, the Jenny Creek is much more fun than the forest service road from Yankee Doodle Lake.

We got out and had some lunch. I drank some gatorade. I changed my clothes to a running outfit. I took off down the trail. I stopped at the water crossings to wait for the Jeep to catch up. At first I got way ahead and ran back up to it, then back down to the water crossing. As he drove the trail in the creek, I ran a footpath alongside. I even rode the running boards on two of the crossings.
It was a fun distance run. I really got into the freedom of a back-country run. At one point, some ATVs passed me, slowed down and offered me some gatorade. People are so friendly back-country!

My boss offered me a nice dinner as a partial compensation for the day before, so we stopped at a casino in Blackhawk, Colorado. We ate at a very nice buffet. So, its probably good I had a long run that afternoon!

Monday, July 09, 2007

No Run Last Saturday -

I have a thing with time off around the 4th of July. Something always happens.

2 years ago, I took the Jeep back country. It was Molly and I. I ended up on a very narrow trail. The Jeep slid off on the passenger side. The winch failed. Tom had to come and get us after a night in the dark with scary sounds all around.

Last year, Tom, Molly and I decided to go camping and ride a trail. The trail was far from town and it was difficult. It rained most of the day. When we finally got on the difficult trail, I spun a hub (that means that I jammed the steering causing the u-joint at the end of the axle to rotate incorrectly and break). We put it back together in the rain and headed back to home. Unfortunately, we didn't put it together enough with enough parts to guarantee safety. We forgot to install the wheel bearing. It was pretty surprising when the passenger front tire fell off the Jeep at 55 MPH. I was driving. It was an interesting experience. I stomped on the brakes, shifted into neutral and locked my arms, hands and wrists on each side of the steering wheel. The jeep finally stopped with the axle buried in the gravel at the side of the highway. 30 minutes later we had the wheel back on and drove slowly back to Denver.

That is some history.

Now - Saturday.

We were packed and ready to go to Jenny Creek, a Jeep trail near Rollinsville, CO. If you have ever taken Amtrak through Colorado, you've gone through the 6 mile long Moffat tunnel. It is on the route between Winter Park and Rollinsville. It is the train tunnel through the Continental Divide. We were about to get in it and head out when I got a cell phone call. It was 9:00 AM.

It was my boss. "There are problems at the office with the phones," he says. "Half of the upstairs is out and we can't get a dial tone anywhere!" I was soon on my way to the office instead.

I got to the office and tested around. Something catastrophic had happened. Now, what is it? I checked the phone room and the outside phone connections. Everything looked OK. I called our telecom vendor and explained the situation. He suggested that I call the phone company and put in a trouble ticket.

I called and scheduled a repair. 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, no later than 5:30. Oh Great. As it was a holiday weekend and it was a July 4th holiday, I expected to see the repair guy at 5:29 PM. I was pleasantly surprised when I got his call at 4:05 PM. "It's OK from the pole to the demark (outside connection point)", he said. I reached for a phone. Still no dial tone.

I called the telecom vendor again. He didn't want to come out and warned me about time and a half per hour. I had to get the phone system up again so he came out. He checked the connections in the phone room. Nothing. We went outside. He looked at the cabinet, looked at the wall, looked at the cabinet again. He looked at me and said that I had better file a police report.

Someone during the early morning hours (between 3:45 AM (the last received message on the voice mail) and 6:30 AM when the boss came in, a thief took 50 feet of 50 pair cable from the outside box to where it enterred the phone room wall. Just cut both ends and took it away.

A smart telecom guy can be a real asset. He was able to reconnect all of our lines in a more secure manner than before without having to string more cable to be stolen.

It took a while to get everything fixed up, but we were able to do it. I finally got home at 9:00 PM.

What did the thief get? Maybe $25 for the copper in the cable. It cost the company between $500 and a $1000. Hmmm...

No run on Saturday for me!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Holiday Run...

I had a lot of fun on the fourth of July! Tom and I discussed doing a run that morning. He has a park that he is very fond of running in. I don't like that particular park and I had my heart set on a trail run. We could not agree on a compromise. We decided to run the recreation paths that follow the Platte River or the Bear Creek.

Both are well established recreation paths in our area. They are kind of chopped up right now due to the construction of a large shopping center.

We stopped at a park and got ourselves and Molly ready for a run. We decided on a 5 mile run. Tom usually runs 3 miles 3 times a week. I tend to run a few more. We made sure that all of us were well hydrated, including both Tom and I drinking some Gatorade.

All of us did well to the half-way point. With the construction going on, the path was reduced to hot stretches of pavement or sidewalk. Tom and I did fine. Molly faired not so well. Probably a combination of the heat and the pavement, but Molly slowed down. We walked the last half mile back to the jeep. We sat with Molly for a while. She got lots of water to drink.

Tom and Molly drove the Jeep back to the house. I ran the rest of the way.

I did go to my Doctor on Tuesday -
Cholesterol - 141. I had a PSA test and it came back normal at 2.8. The glucose was high @ 105 (normal is under 100 - Diabetes is considered 120 or above). Everything else was normal. I will get blood work re-tested in 3 months.

I will try to get off of the cholesterol control drug, Lipitor, at the next set of blood work tests.

Oh yeah (dread, dread), a preventative care colonoscopy was also prescribed. I'll check into that next week.

For my friend, Jason -
This is my first attempt at writing a name via Garmin and Google...

It was supposed to be my name written cursively. It seems that you need a very big space to write in or you need to go much slower. I thought that you might enjoy seeing someone else attempt it. I'll work on it...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A Weekend Trail Jeep/Run...

I found Saturday to be a really fun day! Tom and I took the Jeep out for a Jeep trail ride. It was a birthday run for a member of the club (Happy Birthday, FPKites!).
5 vehicles went on this run. We went to Bill Moore lake up above Empire, Colorado.

It was hot (oppressingly hot) in the Queen City of the Plains, so it was a welcome diversion to get out of the city. It is a popular trail to run. Not too challenging, but always fun to run. The weather was mild and enjoyable. We were able to get all of the way up to the lake for the first time this year.

Of course, when we did get there, the mosquitos were overwhelming! We were the only Jeep with insect repellant so we were very popular. Everyone borrowed it time after time. We were all miserable including Molly. She was eating her breakfast at the side of the Jeep while mosquitos were eating her! It was like a cloud over her head.

I went prepared to run the trail back down to the point where we aired down the tires (airing down tires gives more traction).

I wore both the Nike+ iPod system and the Garmin Forerunner 205. I started the iPod right at the start but forgot to start the Garmin immediately. This is the route as seen on Google Earth.

I was surprised when I got home and downloaded the information into Sport Tracks software. There was an elevation increase of 211 feet (all at once, it seemed) and an decrease of 2327 feet. I just didn't feel it. Of course, I did the half-marathon last week and I think my muscles are conditioned now. Amazing these bodies of ours!

The following graph is from the Nike+ sensor. As I said, it was a Birthday run. There was a birthday cake that we shared. We did this about halfway down the trail. I bet you can't guess when/where we stopped to have the party!

It was a great way to spend a Saturday and I though I would share it with all of you!