Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Leadville 2009 – Round 2 – there will be a Round 3!

Right before the 4 am start, left to right, Smelsers, son Mark, cousin Ron, Allen's dad Lloyd, son Scott, wife Nancy, Allen, and then me and my brother Andrew
This report will be short because my experience on the course ended much too soon. Thursday and Friday were partially filled with pre-race meetings and preparations. We left our campsite and stayed in downtown Leadville in the RV on Friday night. We woke up Saturday morning at 1:45 am to eat pancakes and the race started at 4 am. It was really warm at the start, like 48 degrees (compared to 32 degrees last year with rain and snow!) and I left all the jackets and gloves at the start. I forgot that at 4 am the temps still go down a bit before they go up so I spent a couple hours trying to keep my hands warm before the sun came up. The first leg of 13 ½ miles to Mayqueen was uneventful. Allen Smelser had caught up to me by the time we got to Mayqueen and we ran into the aid station together. I was already suspicisously worried about nasuea, only nibbling a little on food as I left the aid station and jogged up the road to the trail.

The next section is only 10 miles to the Fish Hatchery but I think it's probably like 6 up and 3 down or so. Those six miles up just took forever! It's not really that steep and last year I ran up much of it so I don't know what was wrong with me this year!? I was going as fast as I could stomach-wise and I was chewing Tums just trying to make it up and over the pass without throwing up. It seemed like everyone was passing me only going a little faster than I was but they were soon out of sight. After a while I started looking at my watch even wondering if I would make the Fish Hatchery cut off in time? Good grief! Once I crested the top and starting running (plummeling?) downhill, I immediately felt better. I had about 30 minutes left when I got to the pavement and had 1 1/2 miles to run mostly uphill into the Fish Hatchery. I felt so much better and knew there was a lot of runnable territory coming up so I ate a little bit at Fish Hatchery and continued on, leaving 10 minutes before the cut off.

I ran power poles through the next 4 relatively flat miles and then on the dirt roads it started to get hot! and I mean really, really hot. The sun was just so intense. I heard later that they had record or near record high temperatures in the area that day. 80 degrees at 10,000 feet and higher is really intense. For these miles there was no shade at all. I was alternating running and walking with a group of others, trying to make it to the next aid station. A couple miles at the most from the aid station, the nausea came roaring back. My head was spinning and so was my stomach and my pace had slown (is slown a word? if not, it should be!) considerably, and I was just trying to stay on my feet. The sun felt hotter and hotter and I stumbled a few times, with nothing to stumble over. I arrived to the aid station before the cut off barely by a couple minutes and told them I think I am going to throw up. I went in the medical tent and started throwing up in nice big black trash sacks. After 10 minutes of such ridiculousness, the cut off has already gone by and my wrist band was cut. They put ice on me and eventually I started to feel better. But when they weighed me, we found out I had lost 7 pounds from dehydration, in just the first 30 miles. I guess that's what did me in - dehydration and altitude sickness? It had been bothering me all week to be honest - especially the altitude. When I hiked Mt. Elbert on Wednesday with Andrew, I threw up several times just after summiting on the way back down. But once we were below timberline, I felt much better. All week long I was light-headed and slightly miserable at my camp site, but that didn't strike me as odd when I lined up on the start line on Saturday morning! The previous 2 times I had come to Leadville I hadn't experience anything quite like what I did this time.

It was especially frustrating because last year I made it 50 miles and this year only about 30. With training and experience, I was immensely more prepared this year. I trained very well all summer! Anyway, as I lick my wounds and re-commit to training harder and better and going back next year, hopefully, I respect so incredibly those that were able to finish. It's just so amazing! One day I'll get that Leadville buckle! And then what will I do with it? uh...

My brother Andrew was my crew and he helped me out a ton, especially with bringing ice to the pipeline road where I was really needing it. Also, I think he was 'inspired' by the whole event and just might want to run an Ultra some day...maybe even Leadville! And Allen made it to Winfield but was late for the cut-off (this was his third Leadville attempt!), but Nancy told him after the race that he is going back every year until he finishes! Then Allen responds to Nancy, "I love you, wife!" I thought that was pretty funny!

More Colorado Vacation Pictures

Colorado Vacation 2009

My brother, Andrew, and I had a great vacation in Colorado last week. The first weekend we were in Colorado Springs. We hiked around in Garden of the Gods and then on Sunday I ran (part of…see Pikes Peak Marathon report and new pictures) on Pikes Peak. Monday morning we left for our camp site at Turquoise Lake, near Leadville, Colorado. We did what campers on vacation do; we sat around, read, played cards, cooked, enjoyed the cool and dry Colorado air and just relaxed. And Andrew went fishing a lot. On Wednesday we hiked Mount Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado. Thursday and Friday were partially filled with pre-race meetings and preparations, and some very purposeful resting. We left our campsite and stayed in downtown Leadville in the RV on Friday night. We woke up Saturday morning at 1:45 to eat pancakes and the race started at 4 am.

Monaghan Roofing Co.

My brother, Andrew, led the effort the week before we left for Colorado to replace my dad's roof, which was destroyed after the early July hailstorm here in downtown Wichita. He did a great job working all day everyday to get the job done. It only took him 3 1/2 days. My dad took vacation days to help and I helped each evening after work until dark. One bad-when it was almost dark-picture:

Running the Sahara

During my vacation in Colorado, I watched "Running the Sahara" on DVD, a special gift from Sarah. It was an interesting, inspiring, and often hilarious documentary of three (crazy!) ultra-runners who decided to run all the way across the Sahara in Africa. Their quest had lasted 111 days and took them through 6 countries: Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya, and Egypt. By the team's daily GPS record, they had traveled over 4,300 miles (6,920 kilometers). They fought through injury and extreme fatigue and lots of other interesting complications to reach their goal. I recommend the story to all my ultrarunning friends.
One line that has really stuck with me is from Matt Damon, one of the producers of the film. He volunteered to run with the runners some during their quest but said that he didn't want to go beyond 13 miles because, as he said, his body shuts down at that point. One of the ultrarunners responded, "No it doesn't! You just have to reconfigure your relationship to pain!"

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pikes Peak

Yesterday was the Pikes Peak Marathon and my first attempt at finishing it. It didn't exactly go as planned. The way I understood it, I was about 4 minutes late to the cut-off at Timberline aid station (about 12,500 feet) and that forced me to turn around there and go down. The higher and higher I went the more I was sick and couldn't catch my breath, suffering from what I believe was altitude sickness. It was 10 miles up and 10 miles down, so I did end up running 20 miles. Of course, I was very dissapointed to not finish the marathon (officially receiving another DNF - did not finish, my second of the year, see Rockin' K and third overall, Leadville last year) and never having made it to the Summit of beautiful Pikes Peak. When I turned around and started running downhill, I felt better step by step and ran really well. I know that in the future if I can make it to the Summit, coming down will definitely be the easy and fun part. I feel a bit of unfinished business and hope to return one day to finish what I started. Now it's time to rest up and re-build my confidence for next Saturday's Leadville Trail 100 mile run. Andrew came with me for the whole week of vacation and we are headed to our camping spot at Turquoise Lake, near Leadville now.

NEW Video (8/26) Video of coming to the finish line (only 20 miles though):

And then when it was all over, sitting down on a bench, wondering, wait a minute, what happened? It seemed like a good idea at the time! Guess I have unfinished business on Pikes Peak for a future attempt!

Friday, August 14, 2009

After The last Tear Falls by Andrew Peterson

After the last tear falls
After the last secret's told
After the last bullet tears through flesh and bone
After the last child starves
And the last girl walks the boulevard
After the last year that's just too hard

There is love
Love, love, love
There is love
Love, love, love
There is love

After the last disgrace
After the last lie to save some face
After the last brutal jab from a poison tongue
After the last dirty politician
After the last meal down at the mission
After the last lonely night in prison

There is love
Love, love, love
There is love
Love, love, love
There is love

And in the end, the end is
Oceans and oceans
Of love and love again
We'll see how the tears that have fallen
Were caught in the palms
Of the Giver of love and the Lover of all
And we'll look back on these tears as old tales

'Cause after the last plan fails
After the last siren wails
After the last young husband sails off to join the war
After the last "this marriage is over"
After the last young girl's innocence is stolen
After the last years of silence that won't let a heart open

There is love
Love, love, love
There is love

'Cause after the last tear falls
There is love

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Savior, Please Keep Saving Me!

"Savior" by Josh Wilson

Savior, please
take my hand
I work so hard
and I live so fast
This life begins
then it ends.
And then I do the best that I can
but I don't know how long I'll last

I try to be so tough
but I'm just not strong enough
I can't do this alone
God I need you to hold on to me
I try to be good enough
but I'm nothing without your love
Savior, please keep saving me

Savior, please
help me stand
I fall so hard
I fade so fast
Will you begin
right where I end
And be the God of all I am
because you're all I have

Everything you are to me
is everything I'll ever need
and I am learning to believe
cause you're the one who's saving me

(Seen for the first time at the Leadership Summit. Powerful lyrics and an amazing presentation in song.)

To see on YouTube:


"Success is a self-correcting phenomenon."

-Gary Hamel, Harvard Professor, as quoted at the Leaadership Summit

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Marathon/UltraMarathon Archive

Wichita Marathon October 2003
Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon April 2004
Dallas Whiterock Marathon December 2004
Chicago Marathon October 2005
New York City Marathon November 2006
Oklahoma Marathon (Tulsa) November 2006
Salt Lake City Marathon April 2007
Andy Payne Memorial Marathon (Oklahoma City, Lake Hefner) May 2007
Heart of America Marathon (Columbia, Missouri) September 2007
Marine Corps Marathon (Washington D.C.) October 2007
St. Jude Marathon (Memphis, Tennessee) December 2007
Olathe Marathon (KS) March 2008
Mountain Home Marathon (Arkansas) November 2008
Thunder Road Marathon (Charlotte, NC) December 2008
Salt Lake City Marathon April 2009
Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon April 2009
Los Angeles Marathon May 2009
16 marathons in 12 states as of 8/11/09.

Flatrock September 50K 2007
Psycho-Wyco Ice-Version 50K Februrary 2008
Cross Timbers 50-Mile (Texas) February 2008
Rockin K 50-Mile April 2008
Free State 100K April 2008
Psycho-Wyco Fire-Version 50K July 2008
Lunar Trek 40 Mile July 2008
Leadville Trail 100 (DNF at 50 Mile) August 2008
Flatrock 50K September 2008
Heartland 100 Mile October 2008
Rock Creek 50K October 2008
Run for Missions 104 miles November 2008
One Hill at a Time 50K December 2008
Kansas Ultrarunners Members Only 50 mile March 2009
Rockin K 50 mile (DNF at 36 miles) April 2008
Free State 40 Mile April 2008
Lunar Trek 100K July 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Ambulance Chasers"

"Ambulance Chasers" - that's the term I learned for those people who try to take advantage of a negative situation, exploiting it for their own personal gain. Since the hailstorm, one month ago today, my house and neighborhood has been literally bombarded with people trying to sell new roofs, car dent repair, and windshield replacement. I've even had more than one person try to knock on my dooor at once. Anyway, every day I come home to at least one if not several door hanger flyers for "the most reliable roof repair" and the mailbox is full of the same stuff. Today, on my way back to the office from lunch, I noticed that on my windshield underneath the wiper (broken from the hailstorm!), was another flyer for "paintless dent repair"! I am ready for the Ambulance Chasers to move on!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

They Like Jesus But Not The Church by Dan Kimball

Here is a summary from a book I would like to read soon called They Like Jesus But Not The Church: Insights From Emerging Generations by Dan Kimball. Apparently the book is based on these valid questions that people are asking of the church (with Kimball's suggested perspective below):

Isn’t the church just organized religion that is politically motivated?
Is it judgmental and negative?

Does the church repress women?
Is the church homophobic?
Does it arrogantly think all other religions are wrong?

Does it take the entire Bible literally?

The church is an organized community with a heart to serve others!

The church is a positive agent of change loving others as Jesus would!
The church holds women in the highest respect and includes them in the leadership of the church!
The church is a loving and welcoming community!
The church is respectful of other people's beliefs and faiths.
The church holds beliefs with humility and strives to be thoughtful theologians.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

UltraMarathon Man: Confessions Of An All-Night Runner

UltraMarathon Man: Confessions Of An All-Night Runner
by Dean Karnazes

I just read for the second time (a couple weeks ago) UltraMarathon Man: Confessions Of An All-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes. The first time I read it in May 2007, I thought Karnazes was a complete freak and who would ever want to do that sort of thing, but yet somehow found it intriguing and fascinating and a few month later I ran my first ultra. Anyway, two years later I re-read the book with a different perspective and found it very interesting.

Some of my favorite quotes:

With the cheesecake stacked on top of the pizza, I started running again, eating as I went. Over the years I’d perfected the craft of eating on the fly. I balanced the box of pizza and cheesecake in one hand and ate with the other…. (11)

Every devout runner has an awakening. We know the place, the time, and the reason we accepted running into our life. After half a lifetime, I’d been reborn. Most runners are able to keep a rational perspective on the devotion, and practice responsibly. I couldn’t, and became a fanatic. (65)

[Karnazes - just after hearing about 100 mile races for the first time…reading about the Western States 100 in Outside magazine…] My 5-mile jaunts around the city were sufficiently demanding in their own right. How would it be possible to extend that twenty times—through the mountains? Running thirty miles had debilitated me for weeks; attempting 100 might leave me dead. Sitting at my desk, in my tailored suit and leather loafers, thumbing through Outside with its photographs of sweating, struggling, brutalized, and barely coherent runners, I had just one thought:
Where do I sign up? (73)

To call running “fun” would be a misuse of the word. Running can be “enjoyable.” Running can be “rejuvenating.” But in a pure sense of the word, running is not fun. (83)

Plenty of people are discontent with their lives, but not many come to the conclusion that running for twenty-four hours straight will solve the problem. (87)

After running 65 miles, you begin to lose touch with your body. The normal systems that monitor and transmit critical data to the brain begin to disintegrate and malfunction. The body starts playing tricks on the mind. Important physiological information is often communicated in sporadic pulses of pain that show up unannounced. Under normal circumstances, you would have at least some hint of the mounting tension, but after running 65 miles straight, your early warning signals become useless. One minute you’re running along feeling satisfactorily; the very next you’re abruptly delivered a life-altering muscle cramp without warning. (127)

[talking about his friends who he’s invited to “go for a run” with him] Sadly, most are now excommunicated and have never forgiven me for dragging them into the sport. One ex-friend ran 60 miles with me all night. He hasn’t run a day since. That was four years ago. (211)