Monday, July 28, 2008

Still On Schedule!

Well, almost anyway… Thursday morning, something I ate on Wednesday evening disagreed with me, so I took an extra rest day to recover.

Total miles for last week? 40.66 miles. That is deceptive, though. Actually, it was 25.33 miles for last week. I chose to run on Saturday morning instead of Sunday so I could go on a Jeep Trail on Sunday.

I was quite pleased with my long run. I was able to complete it in race pace. I ran the Highline Canal for this long run. There were more runners than I have ever seen on a trail before. There were also bike riders and equestrians. It was a great way to occupy the mind by watching people as I satisfied my running goals and muscle memory.

I switched to a handheld water bottle for this run as it is a long trail without restrooms or water available. It worked!

I also changed from Cliff’s Shot Blocks to Carb Boom. Carb Boom is like gu, but better tasting (and for me) seemingly much more efficient!

I think it also helped that the weather was cool at a quarter to 7 in the morning as I started out.

Took some deep space pictures Saturday night, but nothing very good happened. By about the time that everything was set up and seemingly working, the laptop computer’s battery gave out. We called it a night!

Like anything else that is new, there is a learning curve to it!


We did a really fun, but challenging trail this week. It was rocky and although the weather was good at the start it was raining heavily as we came back down.

The name of the trail was Holy Cross City. It is an old cart trail that served a mining community high in the central mountains of Colorado. Taking it in a jeep sure gave me a lot of respect for those pioneers that cut the trail, then traveled it with horse and cart.

I won’t bore you with the details, but for my rig it was a challenge!

Here are some Pictures:

A movie of me climbing an obstacle in the Mighty YJ –

Colorado Nature
Have you heard of Colorado’s latest natural challenge? It is the mountain pine beetle.
From Wikipedia ( -
“The mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae, is a species of bark beetle native to the forests of western North America from Mexico to central British Columbia. It has a hard black shell and measures about 5 millimetres.
Mountain pine beetles inhabit pines, particularly the Ponderosa Pine, Lodgepole Pine, Scots Pine and Limber Pine. The bristlecone pines and pinyon pines are less commonly attacked. During early stages of an outbreak, attacks are limited largely to trees under stress from injury, poor site conditions, fire damage, overcrowding, root disease or old age. As beetle populations increase, the beetles attack most large trees in the outbreak area.”
Unfortunately for Colorado, outbreak areas are becoming larger and larger in size. Whole mountainsides of our National Forest in Colorado can be seen with lots and lots of dead and dying pine trees. This picture is an example –

Monday, July 21, 2008

On Schedule!

I am actually on schedule! I ran 30.69 miles last week and included a 13.47 long run. I rode the bike along the Highline canal for 14.55 miles. Cross training on the bike is a nice change!
I can never get any of my runs to measure to exactly what the schedule calls for. I tend to run a little long.
I am now ingesting a CoQ10 supplement. I feel much better and my undefined aches and pains are going away. That is a good thing!

Bowie is an Explorer! (or he just got away!)
Bowie is the rescue cat that I have. He is a cute little guy that just does not realize that he has limitations. He thinks that he is just like every cat that is out there. The only problem is that most of the other cats do not have hip displascia or is blind.
We realized that Bowie had skipped out on us late Friday night. We still aren’t sure how it happened, but the little guy was left in the back yard as everyone went to work. Usually the back yard is a treasured sanctuary for this cat. He never leaves it. Of course, that is primarily due to the fact that every exit from the yard has been found and blocked.
Unfortunately, we had one of those summer thunderstorms over most of the South end of Denver. Bowie escaped the back yard. We had no idea how he got out or where he was!
Molly, the Australian Shepard, was no help. I repeatedly asked her to find him, but she seemed most happy to take on the responsibility of accepting all the love for her that was usually showered on him. Hmmm…
I started to wander down one block, then through the alley, then up another block, and down the alley on it, and on and on. I was on a fairly busy residential street near the house calling his name and slapping my hands together. I suddenly heard a Bowie sized squeak, and saw him running toward where my voice was. His head was moving from side to side as he tried to follow my voice. I called to him and he came right to me. I picked him up and took him back home.
Of course, now he believes himself to be a great explorer. Found him out of the back yard again this morning. I am sealing up all of the escape routes again!

It sure can worry you when a special friend gets lost like that!

We took the MightyYJ to Jenny Creek on Saturday. Jenny Creek is a trail near the east end of the Moffat Tunnel. The Moffat Tunnel is 6 miles long and runs freight and Amtrac trains under the continental divide to the western half of the state.
Jenny Creek is a challenging trail that actually follows the creek bed at 2 or 3 places. At the end there is a 10- foot long snow drift that you have to winch over to finish the trail. Always a lot of fun.

We winched up the snow, then drove back down and back out along the trail! And… No, I did not run the trail!
This is a short video of my friend, Tom, driving the MightyYJ through the creek.

Remember that this is a National Forest Service sanctioned trail!

Had a little trouble getting out, though…
Nah! It was a staged shot. The train was sitting there waiting its turn at passing through the tunnel!

I am automating the telescopes for astrophotography. It is an involved process that computers really help with. We do not have all of the parts yet, but we have started some trial runs at it.

Outside set up with the computer running the rig.

Just the telescopes setup (with a view of Bowie’s backyard). Notice the extreme weight set up used to counterbalance the telescope rig!

That’s it!

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Quick Update! (but not necessarily short)

Doctor Visit
I went and saw my Doctor for the July installment of the semi-annual examinations. No problems and some suggestions.

My numbers from the blood tests. Keep in mind that I am on Lisinopril for Hypertension and Lipitor for Cholesterol.

The blood glucose is higher than normal. I am consistent in the number. It seems to be an inherited feature from my family line. My Doctor said that for me, it seems to be normal. At least, it is not a concern yet.

So my numbers are good. Part of that is from the medicine and part of that is from the running.

I twisted my left ankle last weekend. He examined it and agreed that it is loose. The Doctor has suggested wrapping the ankle with 3M Cabon when I run trails or go for a long run.

The Chicago Marathon – He OK’d me.

Then he said something about when a man gets older he sometimes feels that he must prove some things to himself. I reminded him that he got me into running! There needs to be a focus. The goal of a marathon does provide smaller training goals and other competitions along the way. I think he gave me a wink and then we dropped it.

Fellow Bloggers
Sunshine left me a note regarding Statin drugs and the effect on the body. Especially as it pertains to Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ10). This has been an interesting subject. A summary can be found at a blog witten by R. Sockness @
In her article, Ms. Sockness wrote-
“Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like compound that belongs to a family of 10 substances designated coenzyme Qs. But CoQ10 is the only one found in human tissue. CoQ10 is present in virtually all cells and is especially high in concentration in the heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas. Within the cells, the majority of CoQ10 is found in the mitochondria, the cellular organelles responsible for energy production. CoQ10 is essential to the energy production cycle that takes place inside the mitochondria, and it also functions as an antioxidant. “
And also –
“Statin medications, also known as HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, are effective in inhibiting cholesterol synthesis, thus reducing cholesterol levels by decreasing cholesterol production. In doing so, statins block production of farnesyl pyrophosphate, an intermediate in the synthesis of CoQ10. Myopathy, or muscle pain, a frequent side effect associated with statin use is believed to be related to a reduction in CoQ10 levels.
According to Giuseppe Caso, MD, MSc, PhD and colleagues at Stony Brook University in New York, some of the myopathic symptoms in patients treated with statins may result from a depletion of CoQ10 and the associated inability of the mitochondria to supply the energy needed for muscle contraction. CoQ10 supplementation may help reverse these symptoms.”
I will be getting a CoQ10 supplement to add to my daily regime. I am hoping that it is an effective way of diminishing my non-focused muscle pain. I’ll leave a report soon. Thank you, Sunshine, for sharting this bit of information with me!

Peter just completed a raft trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. He had quite an experience and shares a lot of it on his blog. Fascinating reading. Emotional reading. You cannot help but be moved. Please go there and read up! You will not be disappointed! Thanks Peter for sharing your story with all of us!

Virtual Runners Rock!
Are you interested in joining a virtual runner group? Point your web browser toward our VRR group and join in. The rules are there for you to read. It is just a way to inspire each other to run and share our runs with each other! Will I see you there?

As I am on the road to Chicago, I need to share my deficit training with you. My weekend long runs have not been long enough. I have been running, but on mountain trails I tire from elevations before the full distance is completed. It needs to be corrected.

I have not done my cross training on the mountain bike for two weeks. Sometimes I haven’t taken the rest day that I know I need. The cross training day has become the rest day. This week my Doctor appointment took the place of the cross training. I will have to look at my schedule again and see if I can move the cross training day to another slot.

Input, please! I can use it.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Steve Canyon

If you were to Wiki(pedia) ‘Steve Canyon,’ you’d learn that “Steve Canyon was a long-running American adventure comic strip by writer-artist Milton Caniff. It was published from January 13, 1947, (starting shortly after Caniff had retired from penning his previous popular strip: Terry and the Pirates), until June 4, 1988, shortly after Caniff's death.

It was a popular comic strip. It was so popular that the town of Idaho Springs, Colorado adopted him to represent their town. “A statue to Steve Canyon was erected in Idaho Springs, Colorado, and a nearby mountain canyon was renamed "Steve Canyon". Happy Easter was reportedly modeled after an eccentric who lived in nearby Central City.”

Idaho Springs was not the only town to erect a monument to the comic strip, though. “A mosaic, of Steve Canyon's ward Poteet Canyon, stands in front of the city Fire Station in the town of Poteet, Texas.”

I spent the Independence Day holiday weekend in Idaho Springs. Why? Camping, firework observation, jeeping, astronomy and running.

Camping was great. We went to the town of Idaho Springs. Interstate 70 was jammed and traffic moved very slowly. We headed toward the ‘Indian Hot Springs,” but turned onto Montane Road. Out of the residential area, the road turned into a National Forest Service (NFS) road. As I drove, we looked for a camping spot with a good view of our sky.

We expected it to be very busy with other dry land campers. We didn’t see anybody else. It was an amazing quiet and private place. We found a great place and set up camp. I ran the trail we drove on, then settled in for an afternoon nap.

Friday night, I slept well. Saturday, I slept even better. I woke up Saturday night to the patter of rain. We stayed dry and comfortable all night. Amazing what a little time off can do for a person.

It was after 9:30 PM that we heard a firework display start. From the distance from us, it was the Central City event. It lasted a long time. The explosions were crisp and clear. The colors were dramatic. It was pretty cool to sit at your camp and watch fireworks display in the evening sky. Soon after that display ended, another display in Georgetown started. We could not see it directly but we heard it and light from the display illuminated the cloud of explosive smoke that was filling the valley.

Saturday, we aired down the tires. I ran from the camp site to the park restroom down in Idaho Springs. Tom and Molly drove down. We met at the park and went off to ride the Red Elephant Hill trail.

We met two other rigs at the base of the trail. They allowed us to take the lead. We worked together to conquer the trail.

Wild flowers can be interesting in Colorado.

As the snowmelts, the wild flowers follow the elevation zones. You can follow them as they spread up the mountain across the Summer season. I think it may be a divine way of reminding us that life is ever present and definitely follows a plan. The field in the picture is near the top of the trail.

We ran all of the obstacles and had a lot of fun.

At the end of the trail, we took off for the Mill Creek Loop.

The Mill Creek Loop is best known for an NFS living museum project known as the "Empire Hilton," at the original location of the town.

We broke off from the group and headed toward Bill Moore Lake. We did get near it, but heavy snow drifts still covered most of the trail.

We headed down to Empire and had a great late lunch at "The Sweet Shop." They saw Molly and brought us an ice cream cone decorated with dogbones. She was happy with it and consumed it happily!

This picture shows how a telescope is supposed to look.

This is how the telescopes looked for most of Saturday night.

We have an 8" S/C reflector that is computer driven. We also have a short tube 80mm refractor manual telescope.

Friday night started out great. There was only a 5% moon. There were some clouds but they were moving toward the east. Both telescopes were setup and ready to be aligned.

We were able to see Mars, Saturn and many of the Messier objects. We took a break to watch some fireworks about that time.

After the fireworks, we went into the tent to warm up. After some warm up time, Tom went back out but found the explosives smoke all about in the air. That smoke was light absorbing, so we called it for the night.

We covered the telescopes as we went for the trail ride. Good thing, too! We came back to find that rain had fallen. There was enough to collect in chairs traps and other places. The ground sucked it up.

We decided not to uncover them until it was safe to.

Some friends came up to view with us, but we never really got a chance. The brunt of the clouds had moved east, but wispy thin clouds remained. It was like gazing through a haze.

It was fun but not so fruitful an activity.

What is the most fun about going to the Mountains? Trail running, of course. What a chance to get out to nature. The entire road that we were camping on was about 5 miles long. It ended at a private gate.

Friday, I ran about 4.25 miles by running from the camp site to the gate, then below the camp and back to the gate again. Molly joined me for most of it.

Saturday, I ran from the camp down to the restrooms at the park. It just worked out as a motivator. It worked!

I twisted my left ankle at 1.38 miles. It really hurt at first. I sprained that ankle in high school and it has been loose ever since. If I step (run?) on it wrong it can get painful quickly. Within a few moments, it felt better again and I hit the raod (a little slower).

Sunday morning, after we packed up camp, I headed toward the gate. Molly ran with me for the 1.60 miles (seems like it was uphill both ways). I left her at the Jeep and headed toward the restrooms again. Here is the elevation profile of that run.

As you can see, it was a great practice run for the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half-Marathon that I will be running on August 9th.
Here I am running down one of the many steep areas.

It was a great weekend and a lot of fun!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The News

I was perusing the web today and found this interesting article. Thank goodness for people like Mr. Bradley who didn't think about it, but just helped a runner/jogger in need.

Rockford Park worker helps save man's life
By RICARDO LOPEZ • The News Journal • July 2, 2008

A few minutes after talking with a visitor to Rockford Park in Wilmington, a state worker saw him collapse outside the restrooms Tuesday morning.

Jim Bradley, 55 of Claymont, first thought the man was having a seizure or had fallen and hit his head.

But then he checked the man's pulse.

It wasn't there.

"I started doing chest compressions and tried to clear his airway," Bradley, a state park employee, said. "I hollered at my supervisor to call 911."

New Castle County paramedics received the call at 7:49 a.m.

Paramedics arrived and found Bradley doing CPR on the man, who appeared to be having a heart attack, said Sgt. Kelli Starr-Leach, a paramedics spokeswoman. Wilmington Fire Department and the new Vanguard Health Care ambulance service also responded.

Paramedics used a defibrillator to successfully revive the man, who was taken to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition, Starr-Leach said.

"Were it not for first responders, the outcome would have certainly been worse," Starr-Leach said.

Bradley and his supervisor, Dave Jones, were doing maintenance work in the park restroom near the Rockford Tower when the incident happened. Bradley said he assumed the victim was middle-aged and a jogger because he was dressed in shorts, a T-shirt and sneakers.

"I had talked to him about about two minutes before he collapsed," Bradley said.

"He was waiting to use the restroom but someone else was already in there. He seemed very coherent about himself," he said.

Bradley said he performed CPR for about 10 minutes while he waited for paramedics to arrive. He said he learned CPR five or six years ago, but never had to perform it before.

"While doing chest compressions, I heard him start breathing again. I checked his airway, made sure it was clean and clear," he said. "Then he lost his pulse again, and I started compressions again."

St. Francis Hospital did not disclose the victim's identity or condition due to patient privacy laws.

"I'm very concerned about the man," Bradley said. "This whole thing shook me up pretty bad, but I feel in my heart that I did everything right."
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I would like to thank you, Mr. Bradley! I would also like to thank the paramedics and those handling the 911 communications. I sure hope someone like Mr. Bradley is nearby should I ever need it on a morning run!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

6 Miles Today (Among Other Things)!

Ever have trouble naming the blog entry for the day? I do all of the time! Hence the misnomer for today.

The Training Schedule…
Week three is complete. No problems. I tend to run more than this schedule is having me run. The cross training on the bike was much easier this week.

The Nike+ Sportband
I think that my Nike+ Sportband is calibrated now. At least it is close. I wore the Sportband and the Garmin Forerunner 205 for the 4 mile race last Saturday and the 205 read 4 miles exactly, but the Sportband read 3.92. Hmmm...

I may have a problem with the Sportband. Condensation is forming inside the unit. From some conversations on Runner+ and the Nike+ site, others are having the same problem. Some of the other units are so wet that they have quit working.

Do you have a Sportband? Is yours working alright? I'll let you know if mine gives up the ghost!

Fun Training Pics!
I think the City and County of Denver is trying to tell me something about my running abilities –

This is a small waterfall on the Bear Creek trail.

This is a (very poor) panorama of Wild Cat Park on the Bear Creek trail. It is located at 3.3 miles from my front door. Makes for a wonderful 6 mile run with a steady water supply/break area at the halfway point.
I think this park is very innovative. It sits on a house plot. It is next to a recreation path. It is a great idea and often seems like an oasis in the middle of a run.

I am experimenting with a cheap digital camera I bought on a ‘Deal of the Day’ site. The pictures are all right, but I doubt I will use it. The camera has to be held still for about 2 seconds after you press the button. So, if I am stopped, and remember to wait the 2 seconds it works great. If I try to take a picture on the run, I can end up with something like this –

(A jeeping friend named this picture, "Fear and Loathing in Illinois Gulch.")

A Semi-Annual Doctor Appointment –
I have already had the blood taken for the mandatory tests. I need to see the Doctor every six months due to medications that I am on. I do have high blood pressure (the medication helps but does not control it) and I also take Lipitor for High Cholesterol. My blood tests show low numbers for the cholesterol now. I am wondering whether that is because of the medicine or because of the running that I do. It is, most likely, a combination of the two. I would sure like to get off of the medications, if I could!

Concerns? None, really. I would like to have the Doctor’s OK for the Chicago marathon, though.

All for now!