Monday, September 29, 2008

Less Than 2 Weeks!

2 Weeks!

Do you know that it is less than 2 weeks to the Chicago Marathon?

This man will be running it!

I ran 38.62 miles last week. I ran 13.16 miles on Saturday morning. Never has a half-marathon distance been so easy for me to run. I guess that there is a real purpose to all of the training that I have been doing.

I did try a small size Milky Way bar at the halfway point rather than a sawdust based 'energy' bar. It was a great deal more palatable, went down easy and didn't cause any distress. I do believe that I will use those on the marathon run.

I am about to head out on a 5 mile run. 3 more of those, 1 @ 4 mile run, 2 @ 3 mile runs, an 8 mile run next weekend and a 2 mile run in Chicago (the day before the event). I am ready!

After today, I will have run 180 miles in September and 1250 miles in 2008.


Wood you ride this bike?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Casual Sex!

Nah! Just trying to get your attention!

What is the big news? A mere three weeks to the Chicago Marathon! I finished the last of the long runs (22 miles) Saturday morning. If you would have told me just a few months ago that I would, that I could, run that far, that hard, that willingly! I would never have believed you. I would probably have laughed.

Now I enter my taper phase that will end with the event. There are some longer runs (12 miles, 8 miles) that will keep me busy, but I am ready to run a marathon!

- - - - -
As I ran Saturday morning, I ran up to one young lady. I said "Hi" to her as I passed.

“I’m running 21 miles today!” she said.

“Hal Higby?” I answered.

“Yes,” she said.

“I’m running 22 today. I’m running the Chicago Marathon!” Was my answer.

“So am I, “ she said.

I slowed down and ran alongside her.

“Have you received your confirmation e-mail yet?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied, “I almost cried. It is definitely going to happen now!”

“I agree!”

She asked me if I was going to join a Nike Pace Team. I told her I was planning on the 5:15 group. 5:30 is the one she was interested in.

“Cool! Good luck on your run!” I told her. I winked at her and told her to wave if she sees me there!

Small world, all things considered!
- - - - - -

Saturday's run took 4 1/2 hours. I am not fast, but I know that I can do it now!

Now to finish up… Total last week, I ran 52.19 miles.

- - - - - -
Ending it!

The above picture is for my friend, the Jade Lady!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chicago - Less than a Month!

Wow! Time is ticking down. Less than a month to the 2008 running of the Chicago Marathon! There has been a lot of training by a lot of people getting ready for the event. Yep! I'm one of them!

Last week, I ran 39.17 miles. The week before that, I ran 50.82.

It seemed so easy running a fall back long run of 12 miles on Saturday morning. Next Saturday, I run my final really long distance of 20-22 miles.

Yesterday, I bought the shoes that I will run the marathon in. I bought some high tech socks also. I run in both on this morning's run.

As far as keeping up with the schedule, I've done everything except the cross training on the mountain bike. I've run instead.

I'm getting close to the event! (Maybe I am going to survive the training after all!)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Isn't This Supposed To Be A Running Blog?

Well, Yes! It is!

Here is some information. Saturday morning, I ran the furthest that I have ever run. 20.48 miles. At least that is what my Garmin Forerunner 205 GPS watch told me. The Nike + iPod system gave me 20.15 miles. I really don’t care. It is the furthest run that I have ever accomplished.

Training is time consuming. I have met with some frustration from friends and family about the training. I get frustrated myself. At times, it seems like the only thing that I am doing/accomplishing. The good news? One more really long run, then it is the taper to the Chicago Marathon!

Question: Did I hit the wall? With about 1.5 miles to go, I felt OK physically, but I did start to get nauseous. I had slowed down, but I don't think that was odd. It was not a slower pace that those toward the end of many a long run. I was able to run on, but there was a jaw clenching feeling of any moment I'm going to toss cookies. My next liquid was supposed to be the gatorade that I was carrying, but I drank water instead. The nauseous feeling abated a bit, but did stick with me until I crossed the "Finish" line. I saw Tom about that time, and started dancing around him singing something silly like, "I did twenty! I did twenty!" After a couple moments of rest, I felt fine again!

Have any of you "Hit the wall?" What was it like for you? Let me know...

I ran 50.82 miles for last week. I ran 33.27 miles the week before that. I did ride the bike for 13.42 miles in that same week.

If you read my blog, then you know that I contributed to a rescue over the Labor Day weekend. Often in that kind of scenario, you never hear about what happened after they left the scene of the occurrence.

One of the other students did send me an e-mail explaining some things (Names have been changed to protect privacy). Here it is –
“Hello and thank you for your help this weekend.
I am very interested to see the photo's that you took yesterday and Micheal was very excited to hear that someone was taking photo's.
My friends and I just got back from Grand Junction where Micheal is being taken care of. He is looking a lot better today however he has some pretty serious injuries. He has lots of stitches and staples in his head, fractures to some parts of his skull, a blood clot that is being monitored heavily, he broke three ribs that injured his plural lining of his lungs and last but not least he has a broken pelvis.
We are all very thankful for the help that everyone gave to us and Micheal. It is very encouraging to see everyone coming together for such a freak accident. A lot of us shared the scariest thing we have ever been through and are very grateful that we are all still here and that Micheal is still alive.
Again thank you very much.”
Casey Davis

Picture Updates

What the roof of the snow cave looked like prior to the cave in.

Tom operating the winch control.

The helicopter taking off with “Michael” inside…

Then a couple of days later yet, I received an additional e-mail from “Casey.”

“Thanks Charles.
I know Mike will be very excited to see the photos as well as all of us involved. I heard from some friends who saw Mike again on Monday he is doing even better than Sunday. He was able to get up to move himself from bed to bed when moving out of ICU, he was talking more and looked in less pain. Sunday he was still a 4-5 level pain on a 10-scale. Mike's been talking more and able to laugh a little but still doesn't remember anything from climbing down the hill till he arrived in Aspen. The Best news that I have heard is that he will be returning to Western State College to continue his studies instead of returning home in Oklahoma. None of us knew Mike more than a week since he had just transfered from a school in AZ. What a first weekend of school eh?
Again thanks for uploading the photo's so quickly.
Thanks a bunch!”
Casey Davis

So it seems that this incident will have a positive ending! That is always a good thing!

The Last Word...
I watch "Top Gear" on BBC America. It is a show about cars. On the last show, the host raced a marathoner against a little European Fiat. You know what? The marathoner won the competition!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Do you Beleive in?



Free Will?

A loving god that will place you in a certain place at a specific time?

I hope I do not offend, but I think something happened to place me where I needed to be.

Mount Antero
Friday was basically a happy 1st day of vacation. I was going on a camping trip. I was going with my old (more of that later) and very good friend,Tom, and my dog, Molly.

We loaded the Jeep at a comfortable time. This was a minimal camping trip. Just enough clothes, equipment, and hobby stuff to be comfortable. We'd get gas, food and water as we needed it.

First stop for the day was Mount Antero. There is an exciting shelf road built out of scree. Scree is loose rock debris covering a slope. From where we parked the Jeep to the very top of Mount Antero there was scree.

And... A partial view from the top!

At the summit of Mount Antero, my Garmin 205 watch read 14,305 feet in elevation. It is exciting to be at the top of the world. It was an interesting diversion from the Jeep. I was proud of my 10 year old puppy, too. She made it all of the way up and down on her own!

Bogged down!

We headed back toward St. Elmo's. It is a pretty active ghost town. We could catch the Tincup Pass Trail and head through the mountains and into the Taylor Lake Reservoir area.

Trouble was, we ended up trapped in a trail bog. We should have known better. We should have done what everybody else was doing and go slightly off trail and around it. I am a member of some organizations that all agree to “Stay The Trail.” That means you stay on the trail. You don't cut new trails, you don't abuse the terrain, you don't do any extra damage to the environment. So, we went into the bog.

Well, it was a mistake. The Jeep couldn't go forward, couldn't go backwards. The only direction it did seem to be headed was down. I got out and got the tree strap and a clevis (D-ring). I released the winch clutch, grabbed the Amsteel rope and headed toward the nearest tree. No Way! That nearest tree was too far away.

Just recently, the winch rope was replaced. At the same time, a 50 foot extension rope was purchased. Good thing. We needed the winch rope run out as far as was safe. The 50 foot extension was connected to that end. I headed toward a dead, thick tree stump. I was still short!

Tom got the snatch strap (a 16 foot long towing strap). I attached that to the long winch rope configuration. That was long enough. I got out to the side. Tom started the Jeep. He started to reel the rope back in. It seemed to take forever. The Jeep could only move if the winch could pull it out. Tom didn't need to drive as all the tires would do is slip in the deep mud. It was a lot of weight on the winch rope. Everything depended on the winch being able to pull the Jeep out of the 'Jam' it was in.

There is a winch control set into the dash of the Jeep. It allowed Tom to control the process and to be able to drive. The Jeep tipped upwards as the the front tires started to climb the front dry edge of the bog. The edge was high and the chassis. took a beating as it climbed out. Tom applied power to the tires and the jeep came out of the bog. We were out!

We wound everything up and put the equipment away. We started to remove mass quantities of mud from underneath the Jeep. We got a lot of dirt and muck out from the chassis. We also found that during Tom's odd ride, the Shock absorber mount on the passenger side rear axle had broken free. We took it easy from there for awhile. Soon we were in the town of Tincup. We found a back country campsite and set up. It was a dark night with no moon in no time.

I slept great until 3:00 AM. I woke up and was wide awake. I tried to get back to sleep but ended up going to the Jeep and listening to the radio until 5:00. I returned to the sleeping bag and fell asleep again.

Delays, delays, delays...
We had several things to do the next morning. We needed to get a coffee grinder. We had forgotten one and all of the coffee was whole bean. Crushing beans with a hammer does work, but is difficult and tedious labor. We had to wash the Jeep (it was a mess from the bog). I had to do a long run. We needed to get the Jeep repaired. We also needed to gas up the Jeep. We needed more food and water.

I thought about running from Almont to Gunnison as we got going. I didn't, though. I didn't want to stick Tom with all of the work. So, we drove in and got things started. It took a while and a few stores but we found a coffee grinder. We washed the Jeep (top and bottom). Again, it took a while but we found someone that would weld the shock mount (actually a gas station). We found a place to get some breakfast and I changed into my running togs. I ran from Gunnison to Almont as Tom bought food, water, and filled the Jeep's gas tank.

It was a long, hard run in the heat of mid-day. I found out that it was a slight, but continuous uphill run. I was slow and, at times, it was a search for shade. Eventually, the run was finished. I met Tom and Molly at the river. It was a 10 mile run.

We decided, even though it was late in the day, to ride the Devil's Punchbowl. We headed that way!

The Incident at the Devil's Punchbowl!

The Devil's Punchbowl is a canyon in central Colorado. It is located between the towns of Crystal and Mount Crested Butte. It is a popular and challenging canyon for all sorts of recreational activities. It has a reputation, though. Several years ago a SUV from Texas slipped over the side and rolled, killing all 9 people inside. There have been other incidents. This place needs to be treated with respect.

We negotiated the trail to the top. Very scenic. You can tell the top by the warning signs. We passed them and headed into the canyon.

There are river crossings and rocky narrow trails. Some of the trail was interesting but not too tough. We made it to the bridge and watched the midway water falls. We headed down in to the second half of this forbidding canyon.

About halfway down, we were stopped by some hikers. A lady leaned in the driver side window and told us that there was an emergency situation. A hiker had been hurt when the top of a snow cave collapsed! She asked if we could help.

It seems that 5 college students had decided to hike over the Labor Day weekend. They had negotiated the Devil's Punchbowl when they saw the snow cave. The cave was formed by snow filling a depression over the river. The river slowly cut the cave from the underside. They went inside and explored. As they were leaving. A major part of the snow shelf above them collapsed. One of the hikers was hit by the snow falling. His body was tossed against some rocks. He had head and body injuries.

His fellow hikers had him prone and comfortable. One had climbed out and up to the trail. He flagged some hikers. Of that group, one had volunteered to run to the township of Crystal. That was a 3 mile (or so) distance.

3 quads had stopped just before we came down. Of that group, there were two nurses and a Dentist. The lady that stopped us had past experience as an emergency nurse.

Neither Tom nor I have any experience medically other than first aid. We would not be able to assist in that. What we did have was equipment that could really help out in this situation.

Tom got out a climbing rope that we keep in the Jeep. He tied it off to the front bumper. That provided people a way in and out of the canyon. 2 of the 3 nurses headed down the rope to assess the injuries. We keep 2 sleeping bag liners for emergencies. We got them out and sent them down to the scene. After a basic assessment, one of the people came back up and everyone conferred.

They needed more equipment to help move him safely. We got out the 50 foot extension winch rope and the tree strap. Those items went down also.

In half an hour, the first responders arrived from Crystal on quads. They took over and coordinated the rescue efforts. There was some confusion (as I imagine there always is at this type of an affair), but things were sorted out quickly.

Nature was not to be denied, though. Just as the roof originally caved in at one edge, another part started to crack and move downward. All of a sudden, it fell into the river. The snow roof was still connected, but we knew the rest was about to go. With time, it did. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, thinking that time could be taken. Then, with a loud roar, the entire South side of the snow shelf collapsed following the smooth rock wall it had been anchored to al the way down and into the river.

Fearing that the fallen snow would block (dam) the river, the decision was that he would have to be moved fairly rapidly.

The back board (stretcher) arrived via yet another quad about that time and the EMT's went down the slope to the accident victim. With time of the essence, they secured him to the board and started the move. They had to go along the edge of the now roaring river on slippery rocks. They carried him slowly to where the climbing rope was located. There were preparations at the top and at the bottom of the slope. 6 people at the top were ready to use themselves to belay the stretcher up the slope. Problem was, it was a 250 pound climbing rope they were using. It was not a guarantee to bring him up safely.

We offered the winch and the winch rope. We attached a clevis (d-ring) to the safety thimble at the end of the winch rope and sent it down to them. They secured the winch rope to the back board. Tom operated the controls and we winched the party up the slope. They placed him on the ground in front of the Jeep.

The evolution of events as they occurred in the Devil's Punchbowl!

The ambulance from Carbondale had just arrived. The EMT's checked the young man again, then he was placed in the ambulance. This is a narrow, shelf road on the side of a cliff. They had to get the ambulance turned around so they could return to Carbondale. What did that mean to us? We had to back the jeep up the same road uphill. I stayed in front and spotted him as Tom drove the Jeep backwards. It was hairy (and scary) but we made it to the bridge. There was enough room for all of the vehicles that had been waiting to park as the ambulance turned around and left the same way we had just driven.

We exchanged some e-mails and addresses and then we left also. We got all of our supplies back except for the sleeping bag liners. We asked the EMT's to donate them to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. It was worth it to us for the injured guy's comfort and the sense of participation that we experienced.

We turned around. In Mt. Crested Butte, we got some supper and then headed back to camp in the dark. A wild and exciting day!

Sunday, we packed up the camp, then headed back to the Devil's Punchbowl. We drove the entire run, then we rode the Lead King Basin trail. We drove most of the trail in the rain. We ended it by taking pictures of the most photographed object in Colorado – The Crystal Mill.

We headed back to Denver for showers and some sleep. A most excellent weekend vacation!

Tom had a birthday on Sunday. We got back and Molly & I disappeared. I came back with an ice cream cake for him! I sure was glad that he shared it!