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Slow as a Turtle

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wow, it has been a long time since I last blogged! I took a break from SparkPeople. At the beginning of Summer I came down with Giardia. About the time I got over Giardia some Iowa egg farmer gave me Salmonella food poisoning. How lucky can a guy get?

I am feeling much better now.

Anyway, I missed most of the mountain running season. Yes, in Colorado there is a mountain racing series. I managed to run only two mountain races. There are still regular races down on the flat that I could do. Even the "flat" races in Colorado can be hilly.

Of course, I am tremendously out of shape. I have also been remiss in recording what I eat. The good news is that I haven't gained any weight. I have not lost any weight either. I have started lifting weights again. I can barely muster about 1/2 of what I had been able to do before I got sick. I am trying to take it easy so I don't hurt myself, which is a new attitude for me.

All is not lost! I can still muster questionable judgement about running.

I went running yesterday for the first time in a month. My common sense told me to find some relatively flat place and take it easy. I did not listen to my common sense. I decided I needed to run in an interesting place. I found a set of trails that were cut into an extinct volcano. For the few of you that don't run up volcanoes, the best words to describe the experience are: steep, rocky, treacherous and fun.

Here is the summary from my Garmin:

Maximum grade: 48% (First 1/2 mile - I am not kidding - that what it is)
Maximum Elevation: 6,080 ft
Distance: 3.6 miles
Time: 44:32
Average Pace: 12:30 min/mile

A 12:30 pace is not fast. The terrain was very difficult. I guess a 12:30 is not that bad. The 48% grade may have cost me some time. I could not run all the way up that bad boy. I had to walk about 1/2 of it. I had to dodge a lot of rocks too.

I think I can find a place to run that is not so insane. But I am not sure I want to. At least I didn't fall this time

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DAVEW175 10/30/2010 8:13PM

    Welcome back. It's great that you haven't gained any weight.

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FIRENUT34 10/25/2010 9:18AM

    Glad your feeling better, what a rash of bad luck. 12:30 is not a slow pace for that especially after a bad illness like yours. Remember, the turtle did win the race. I can't imagine that running as the highest point in my town is about 35 ft above sea level. Hills are overpasses.

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ITSHOWYOULIVE 10/25/2010 12:16AM

    Oh My!! That is an interesting run!! I couldn't have done that even without everything you've been through!! Way to go on getting back to running!! Try to take it a little easier next time :)!

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ZONER25 10/22/2010 4:36PM

    Good job, but maybe slow but steady would be better. I hiked Daisy Mountain this week which probably was same grade but I don't run because I am bionic. I hike and hunt alone with a Spot so my wife will be able to find the corpse.

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IRONGRANNIE 10/22/2010 2:54AM

    Welcome back Bruce. You have been missed. I hope you will soon be back to normal. (Is that possible?)

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DEUSMACHINA 10/21/2010 10:46PM

    FORTY-EIGHT PERCENT??? Goodness me! Excellent work, I think!

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L3DESIGNS 10/21/2010 7:14PM

    Great job getting back to running. Take care of yourself!

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LKEITHO 10/21/2010 6:23PM

    Might as well have fun with the runs now that you're feeling better! Just don't hurt yourself. Glad to have you back!

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IONA72 10/21/2010 4:11PM

    Nice to see you back again, I was going to say take it easy.......silly me!

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ELYMWX 10/21/2010 3:14PM

    Glad to hear you're back. If you ever find your sanity, please let us know emoticon

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SOUTHGOINGZAX 10/21/2010 11:46AM

    Hey Speedy - tough break! Giardia and Salmonella? Ouch. I'd recommend buying only organic eggs from free range chickens and not drinking from puddles....Too soon for jokes? I know it's not a laughing matter to be sick - try getting food poisoning in Uzbekistan, where they try to cure you by making you drink hot, salted vodka - but glad to see you are back and not letting some bacteria keep you from trying to kill yourself - I mean, challenge yourself.

Seriously though, you are my hero. 48% grade?! That's just crazy steep! I'm so impressed!

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RWALTON730 10/21/2010 10:30AM

    I just started back running, too. I had to take time off because of stress fractures. Like you, I am not back where I would like to be, but taking it slow will get me there. My run yesterday was an average pace of 11:30 mile - I was about a 10:00 mile on a good day. Take it easy, the speed and endurance will come.


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I think I am okay - but I am slow

Monday, August 02, 2010

I have not been active on SparkPeople for over a month. Somewhere along the line, my friends nominated me as a motivator. I am humbled to be named as a motivator. I could really use some motivation now!

Six weeks ago I came down with Giardia infection. Recovery takes 6 to 8 weeks. I went through two rounds of powerful antibiotics. I still felt terrible. My doctor told me the antibiotics had likely killed off the beneficial flora in my digestive tract. He recommended acidophilus. I am now feel good enough to start running again.

My vacation from running allowed me to heal from a variety of injuries. Unfortunately, my left hip still hurts like a red hot spike. The pain is actually is above my hip and doesn't feel like Iliotibial Band syndrome. I have had IT issues before. This pain is a whole lot worse. I think I may have ripped the tensor fascia latae ("TFL") muscle. The pain is at the top of my pelvis where the TFL muscle connects. When I press on the muscle it really hurts. I guess six weeks was not long enough to heal the hip.

I am running anyway! I can stand being hurt. I just can't stand not running. Besides, the pain doesn't seem to be getting any worse when I run. I can live with that. I am doing some stretches that seem to help.

Last week I was in Atlanta on business. I knew my fitness level had declined. I figured I would get back to running while I was in Atlanta. The 1,000' elevation in Georgia is a lot lower than 8,500' of Bailey, Colorado. I was hoping that more air would be a good thing. I found a nice place to run near the hotel called the "Big Creek Greenway Trail"


The Big Creek Greenway looked like a jungle to me. As far as I know, Colorado does not have any jungles. Here is a shot of Handcart Gulch trail in Colorado. (Trailhead Elevation: 9,019 feet - Top Elevation: 12,081 feet)

This is what seems normal to me.

I really liked the change of scenery in Georgia. I put on my running stuff, did some stretching and took off down the Big Creek trail. After a mile I was soaked with sweat. Oh my - it was HOT! I found out later it was 96.8 °F and 97% humidity! For comparison, today in Bailey it was 63.7 °F and 44% humidity.

I did not run very well in Georgia. The best I could do was 28:59 for 5K. I have a lot of work to do to become Speedy again. But I am on my way back.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HARRINGTON5 9/17/2010 11:48AM

    I haven't talked to you in so long. I'm glad I stopped by to see what is going on in your life. I can't believe that you can run at all. You have gone through a lot, my friend. I know what you mean about the humidity because those are the temperatures that I have been runnin in all summer. I'm still shooting for that 30 minute 5K, but haven't gotten there yet. Please take care of yourself. You really are a fighter and you will get your speed back, I just know it.

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HLTHYETER 9/7/2010 8:46AM

    You have a great story--best wishes for a speedy recovery!

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DAVEW175 8/24/2010 7:26AM

    Sorry to hear about your infection - It's hard to keep motivated when you're feeling sick. Take your time getting back in shape and you'll be speedy again in no time.

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ANNASBF 8/10/2010 11:32PM

    My daughter's boyfriend...a 5k/10k guy for many years...came down with constant knee and hip pain from training. I was in a doctor's office waiting room and happened to hear a CNN report about athletes after 40 need to understand that a factor in aging is tightening and stiffening of connective tissue which leads to injuries and odd types of pain when attempting sports/training even those that have had long standing fitness habits. Traditional stretching and warming up did not address this sort of body process. They recommended yoga to stretch and soften the ligaments. I told him about it, and now he takes a yoga class at his gym once or twice a week. The rest of the time is spent with his usual cardio/strength training/running routine. He has reported that he is relatively pain-free and feels it has improved his overall physical fitness while contributing a stress relief benefit as well. He takes Power Yoga with my daughter. Just a suggestion because I'm really hoping you can get back to being Speedy again. I feel for you because these challenges and activities are such a part of who you are. Good luck, Speedy.

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ROOT4HOME 8/3/2010 10:01AM

    Wow! Glad you're feeling better after that infection!! Hope you're hip feels better too!

I agree, running in high humidity is no fun...but WTG on getting back out there!! emoticon

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STEPHANON 8/3/2010 8:18AM

    Yes, running at those temps/humidity is difficult even for someone without any injuries. Sounds like it will just take you a little time to build back up, but I'm sure it's nice to be able to start up again. Please be careful!

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L3DESIGNS 8/3/2010 1:59AM

    Glad to hear you are on the mend. Take care of your hip and soon you'll be Speedy before you know it!

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ELYMWX 8/3/2010 1:29AM

    Glad to hear you are back! Take your time, and try not to over-do it, right. Oh, right - OK, just try not to injure yourself too badly this time...

emoticon emoticon

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TRIGRAMPS 8/2/2010 10:17AM

    That is a speedy time for that heat and humidity! Glad that you are back! You might try Zyflamend for the pain. It's a pricey herbal supplement by New Chapter that should be available in any health food store, but it's a wonderful anti-inflammatory agent. It's the only stuff I've taken that I can notice a difference. Also, it's a huge gel-filled pill, but I just bite the pill and swallow the gel. It's a little peppery, but not bad. They have it in a dropper bottle, but that was too much work, and it didn't save any money.

Also, on the Giardia, get some probiotics stuff at the health food store. Acidophilus is good, but there are lots of other bugs that you need down there. Have some yogurt and keifer also.

Blessings! --Sam

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LKEITHO 8/2/2010 9:05AM

    Glad to see you back and active! Hope your TFL heals up soon!

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AQUAPOWERS 8/2/2010 8:53AM

    It's nice to read that you are running again. Best of luck with your recovery efforts. You'll be back to "Speedy" before you know it!

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Bloody, Banged-up and Bruised

Friday, June 18, 2010

I need a few days off from running or exercise. I clobbered myself on Monday while running on a steep and rocky trail. I hiked the same trail on Tuesday so I could snap a few photos for my “Ouch” blog. Wednesday I did cardio on my elliptical and lifted weights. Today, Thursday, I went for a run at noon near Boulder, Colorado. Boulder is at a "low" elevation of 5,500 feet.

I ran up a rutted and uneven trail. The temperature was a blazing 90 degree F. I forgot what I was doing and lost my concentration. I tripped over a rock and did additional damage to my hands and left knee. This tumble was on top of the face plant I did on Monday on the Ben Tyler trail.

Damage inventory, includes:

Multiple cuts and scrapes on left hand
Bruised and swollen right hand
Cuts on left knee
Bruised right calf (This happened when I fell down on Monday - how it happened is a mystery!)
Sprained right ankle
Bruised left elbow
IT Band Friction Syndrome

I don't know how much more of this I can take! I think I may be over-training. Even though my clumsiness is a family legend, I am taking a lot more of a beating than usual. I may need to heal before I go running again.

I think I am a good runner, albeit a clumsy one.

I am a good skier also. I can ski bumps, steep and deep - you name it. Over the years I have had a few skiing injuries. I broke my right wrist. I took out my right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). I destroyed my left posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).

My biggest skiing crash was at Breckenridge. I smacked the ground really hard. I got a quadruple concussion; tore my neck muscles and ligaments; broke three ribs; and had internal bleeding. I did three more runs before I started hurting too much to ski. I got to ride in ambulance. Ambulances are loud. I learned some medical terms including, anaphylactic shock and intubation. I also found out what happens when an EMT calls for paddles! I spent 10 days in the hospital on a morphine drip. I was in rehab for 6 months. I am much better now.

I may live a bit too close to the edge. Tripping over a few rocks while running seems like small potatoes.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAWSCOVEL1 7/26/2010 6:42PM

  Sorry to hear you got messed up.
I have just started running/Walking & I am a accident waiting to happen LOL. I fall going up my stairs. I just did my first 5k Mud Run on July 17th, That was a blast. I made it with out injury. You need to take it easy for a while & slowly get back into the running. Take care! emoticon

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HARRINGTON5 6/28/2010 1:49PM

    Well, Bruce, I'm not laughing at this blog. It sounds like you really got hurt. I haven't been around because I hurt my back and couldn't sit at the computer. The weird thing is, I hurt it pulling out bushes. It didn't seem too difficult, but I must have twisted the wrong way. My BF keeps telling me to remember my age and stop trying to be wonder woman working out in the sun and humidity. Well, to heck with remembering my age, I'm going to keep active until I die and then I still might give a few more kicks. Anyway, I am much better, but I did take almost two weeks off. I have a race Saturday and feel I need to train hard to get ready. You take care, my friend. You are too special to be down for long. Beside, I love hearing about your runs, so you gotta get better soon. Cynthia

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DANSTOUT 6/18/2010 5:34PM

    If you are living close to the edge, try not to trip :)

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AOGOAE 6/18/2010 3:50PM

    lol, broke some ribs then did 3 runs before getting the ambulance? too funny. good luck healing up!

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LASARRE 6/18/2010 2:26PM

    Heal quickly!

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ROOT4HOME 6/18/2010 2:20PM

    Take care & heal quickly so you can go out and do it all over again!! emoticon Seriously...take care!! emoticon

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NWFL59 6/18/2010 12:01PM

    Well you obviously know that I'm shaking my head in disbelief about how you continue to beat yourself up and then get up and do it again! Hope you recovery is quick and smooth and that you're able to get back to doing the thing you so greatly enjoy. I would suggest riding your expensive bike for a while but I've done that before and you've not listened so why would I expect you to do so now. Take better care of yourself Bruce.

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ELYMWX 6/18/2010 11:32AM

    {read blog}
{shake head in disbelief}
{re-read blog}
{re-shake head in disbelief}
{re-re-read blog}
{try to think of something witty to say}
{give up}

Take care of yourself, Bruce, and heal up. No pressure here...


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TRIGRAMPS 6/18/2010 10:39AM

    I hate to think what riding off-road with you on your Stumpjumper is like! No wonder DW won't run with you! Rest & heal completely: you don't want this shoulder ache that I've got!

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LKEITHO 6/18/2010 9:55AM

    Sounds like you have had entirely too many adventures in your day! I gave up downhill skiing after 3 (very minor compared to yours) injuries in a row. Stuck with cross country after that. Take care of yourself and enjoy your weekend!

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PRINCESSNURSE 6/18/2010 5:54AM

    All that and you just THINK you might be overtraining? LOL


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NAVYNURSE 6/18/2010 5:03AM

    wow....talk about a bad day...and you keep getting up!!

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MARCYNA 6/18/2010 2:07AM

    Even the best athlete sometimes may fall, so take your time to rest and heal and then you'll get back to your normal activities...congrats on your being such a good runner & skier!!!! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/18/2010 2:08:23 AM

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Ouch - that hurt!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I need to find a race to run. I have been holding off registering for a race because of a slightly sprained ankle and a hurt Iliotibial band. I read someplace that inadequate warm-up and hill running can cause Iliotibial band injuries. Inadequate warm-up and excessive hill running pretty much describes my training strategy!

I want to find a nice little out-in-the-boonies race with excessive hill running. I know this may sound crazy. I am just very good at running hilly courses.

I went for a run Monday, June 14th, on the Ben Tyler trail near my house in Colorado. This trail is not an easy run. Just to prove I am not making this stuff up - here is a description of the trail from the Mountain Travel Guide:

"Ben Tyler Trail #606

Rated Most Difficult, the 11.4 mile Ben Tyler Trail begins at an elevation of 8,260' and reaches its highest point at 11,650'.

Beginning at the North Ben Tyler Trailhead, Ben Tyler Trail climbs steeply via a series of switchbacks. The trail becomes less steep after the switchbacks up to a crossing of Ben Tyler Creek, after which the trail gradient increases and the valley tightens."

Another review calls the trail, "extremely rocky and rough"

I didn't run 11.4 miles up the trail. In fact I only ran 1.6 miles up the trail to Ben Tyler Creek. My total distance was 3.2 miles. I was not happy with my time for the 3.2 miles. Here are the specifics:

Total Distance: 3.2 miles
Maximum Grade: 46% (That is what the Mountain Travel Guide means by "climbs steeply")
Average Grade: 25%
Average Pace on Ascent: 13:46 min/mile (I know that is slow but this trail is really steep!)
Average Pace on Descent: 9:58 min/mile (I know this is slow but I was trying to dodge rocks, roots and fallen trees so I wouldn't do a face plant! I was not entirely successful!)
Starting Elevation: 8,260 feet
Highest Elevation: 9,575 feet
Total Time: 37:24
Average Pace: 11:41 min/mile

I started running up the trail at 5:00pm. The temperature was 47 degrees F. This trail climbs up through a series of really nasty switchbacks. The Forest Service put in some nice guardrails made of native trees so you won't tumble off the trail and hurt somebody below you.

This trail is rocky steep and treacherous. I had a blast!

I stopped to hydrate at Ben Tyler Creek. The water is pure and crystal clear. I turned around at the creek. I was going down the steep trail skillfully dancing over rocks and tree roots. I was completely please with my grace and skill. I kept going faster and faster. According to my Garmin I was blazing down the trail at a 7:24 min/mile pace. I slipped on some loose gravel, caught my foot on a tree root and did a spectacular face plant! As I was falling down, I thought, "Oh no - not again!" and "How am I going to stop!" I banged my left knee really hard! Yes, my left side has the bad IT band. My sprained ankle was caught on the tree root. I got some gravel in my left hand. I got scraped-up quite a bit.

I didn’t fall while I was running in Iowa last week. I really am not that clumsy.

Here is what I am thinking – I might as well run a few races even though I am not 100%. A race course is likely to be less hazardous that some of these trail. I may be able to find a good mountain race on July 4th. For training, I am planning on running Burning Bear trail and Slaughter House trail.

Not much of a sign on the highway. Very easy to miss.

Here is the trail head. Doesn't this look inviting!

Lots of information on this sign.

This is really steep. The surface is rough. I did not find this easy to run.

Some trail sections have very loose gravel - very slippery.

I really think that a 13:46 pace up this trail at 9,000 feet elevation is not all that bad.

Here is Ben Tyler Creek The water is cold and pure. Please note the high-tech bridge.

This would be a bad place to trip. The trail is narrow and cut into the side of a hill. A tumble off the side would really hurt.

My left hand is taking a beating. I had already dug the rocks out of my hand when I took this photo. I think only one face plant on this trail was doing pretty good.

There is my car! I am almost done. A total time 37:24 for 3.2 miles is not spectacular. I did survive and hardly lost any blood.

Hmmm - was I wilderness wise? I will let you be the judge.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LKEITHO 6/16/2010 10:16PM

    Beautiful area! I used to hike some trails like this in the Canadian Rockies when I was a kid. I can't imagine trying to run them! I hope all the scrapes and bruises heal quickly. A race has got to be easier and safer than this!

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HUSBANDANDDAD 6/16/2010 9:33PM

  Great Pix though :)

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JUST_DEBORAH 6/16/2010 2:32PM

    Ouch...beautiful trail. Hope you are on the mend.

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NWFL59 6/16/2010 11:38AM

    So Bruce I see you had a challenging run and only a minor spill. You must be in pretty good shape not to have been more severely injured in your spill. Glad you enjoyed it. I would like to read about your biking adventures while you give you battered body a change and allow full recovery for a change.

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IRONGRANNIE 6/16/2010 5:09AM

    I think ELYMWX has summed this up nicely! BTW I don't think I'd even walk up that trail! It looks very steep and dangerous.

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HURDLE4LIFE 6/16/2010 1:00AM

    Great photos! They say a picture is worth a thousand words...I only need one to describe your shots UNBELIEVABLE! The hills alone would make me shake in my boots.

I'm not sure where you live, but runners world has a race finder;

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USFBULL 6/16/2010 12:45AM

    Nice shots, wicked place to run, yes face plant is not a recommended event. very distracting scenery in a very complex trail. Way to go and you truly do need that break. Deserved emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ELYMWX 6/16/2010 12:37AM

    OK, I haven't read the blog yet, but the first thing that went through my mind is "Now what has Bruce has gone and done????" Now I'm gonna read the blog!


Now I've read the blog. It sounds like fun, but this also sounds somewhat familiar (I'm referring to your last blog and IIRC a couple you wrote last summer/fall). And all I will say, this: you've been at this for a while, and you (probably????) know better, so take care of yourself!


Comment edited on: 6/16/2010 12:42:58 AM

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The High and The Mighty

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I am in Des Moines, Iowa right now (Wednesday, June 9th). Almost a week ago I started writing a blog about a run in the Rocky Mountains on Kenosha pass. I found it difficult to capture the essence of the experience of running at an elevation of 11,500 feet. I didn’t want to sound like a braggart or a fool. I only wanted to share my unique running experience.

This week I have been running in the lush green countryside of Iowa on the Saylorville-Des Moines River Trail. The trail is paved and immaculately maintained. On my first run in Iowa I tooled along having a lot of fun. My Garmin showed I ran 5k in 26:32 at a pace 8:30 min/mile. I did 10k in 53:32 at about the same 8:30 min/mile pace.

As I ran along this great Iowa trail, I thought about my high-altitude run on Kenosha pass. As I ran through a tunnel of green leafy Iowa trees, my run on Kenosha pass took on a remote and surreal quality. I started thinking some of my fellow Spark runners might not easily relate to running at extreme altitude. Now that I am in Iowa for a week, I am having trouble relating to my own high altitude running experience. For better or worse here is my story of my run on Kenosha Pass.

The High and the Mighty

I once gave blood in college many moons ago. After taking a couple of gallons of my blood, the nurse told me to avoid alcohol and strenuous exercise. What did I do? I hit the bar and drained two beers down my gullet. I then went on a long run as fast as I could go.

I was pretty toasted after only two beers. I got really light-headed during the run. I just wanted to see what would happen if I ignored the nurse's stern warning. I had fun. I don't recommend such foolishness. Heck, I was 20 years-old, 10 feet tall and bullet proof!

Unfortunately, I still act the same way.

On Thursday June 3rd, I went for a run. Not any old run. I went on a really hard run. If you follow my blogs, you know I was struck down with a blown left IT band some weeks ago. I was not a happy camper. I tried to rehabilitate my IT band with physical therapy and a hiatus from running. I was trying to be good. I can be good for only so long!

I have been wanting to test myself. I promised myself when the snow was gone from the Colorado high country, I would run the Colorado trail from the top of Kenosha pass. Here are the details of my run:

Date: Thursday, June 3rd 2010, 5:00pm
Distance: 10K (6.22 miles)
Starting Elevation: 10,049 feet (That is pretty high!)
Maximum Elevation: 11,583 feet (That is even higher!)
Maximum Grade: 40% (That is really steep!)
Surface: Rocky with fallen trees. (That maybe a bit dangerous!)

I knew this would be a hard run. I knew this run was the worst thing I could do to my IT band. I did not care one wit! I had been itching to run the Colorado Trail for months.

As previously noted, this trail is high and steep. At high-altitude the air pressure is much lower. Less oxygen is absorbed by lungs. Blood oxygen saturation drops. Another phenomenon is that arterial pressure is reduced, which means less oxygen is exchanged between the blood and the cells. At 11,000 feet these effects are severe. A runner at 11,000 feet is getting 40% to 50% less oxygen than at sea level.

I am pretty well acclimated to high altitude. Part of this acclimation is a reduced heart rate. My heart rate during my high-altitude runs is about 102 beats per minute. The slow heart rate is a response to less plasma in the blood.

I started up the steep trail, or rather, I collided with the trail. The trail climbed at a 30% to 40% grade. I pushed up the trail and I ran as hard as I could. I struggled for every breath. Each step was a victory. Nothing mattered except one more step! I didn’t even notice any pain in my left IT band. My legs and lungs hurt so bad that any pain in my hip did not register. As I neared 11,000 feet the trail flattened. I was 2 miles into the run. All of a sudden my lungs and throat caught fire. I started hacking up white frothy stuff. My old friend, High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), had decided to visit me.

I got this definition from a medical website:

HAPE Definition : “Acronym for High Altitude pulmonary edema, the accumulation in the lungs of extravascular fluid (fluid outside of blood vessels) at high altitude, a consequence of rapid altitude ascent, especially when that ascent is accompanied by significant exercise.”

An accent from 10,000 feet to 11,500 feet in 24 minutes probably qualifies as “rapid”. I wimped-out and decided to turn around and head for lower altitude. I fell going downhill only once, which is a miracle.

My time for my high altitude 10K was:
1 Hour;
12 minutes; and
58 seconds.

(That is another way to say “SLOW”!)

Average Pace: 11:44 min/mile
Fastest Pace: 6:12 min/mile (downhill)

When I got finished with my run, I felt physically terrible but mentally elated. Runners understand these feelings. How do you know your limits unless you try to push past them? For every runner, anywhere, each step is a victory!


At 11,500 feet there are not many trees. Trees struggle to survive at extreme altitude. The trees that are up there are scrubby and stunted. The massive green deciduous trees of Iowa just amaze me!

There it is! This is the trail sign. If you want a bit of a challenge, I can give you directions.

I think they don't want bikes to damage the fragile ecosystem at extreme altitudes. The forest service is not too concerned about one winded runner will do much damage!

This is the start of the trail and about the only part that is flat. I feel this is a bait-and-switch tactic.

At least the area is scenic. Harsh perhaps, but pretty.

Here is the last evidence of civilization on the whole trail. Kind of a pretty little bridge.

My pretty new shoes are a mess now. I read in Runner's World magazine that a runner has to generate 10 to 20 percent more energy when going up an incline. Is that all? Seems like it takes more.

I fell. I tripped over a big rock on the way down. I am much better now.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LKEITHO 6/11/2010 10:33PM

    Wow! What a workout! I had a friend who died of HAPE while climbing K2. As fate would have it, she had been named after another peak in the region, Nanda Devi. Definitely not a problem to be taken lightly. I'm glad you got down OK. Be good to yourself!

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GAZELK 6/10/2010 10:11PM

    Great story. After losing weight, I enjoying running up hills, but nothing like your experience.

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ROOT4HOME 6/10/2010 9:16PM

    Wow!! You really like to push the limits!! But as a runner myself, I get it! WTG!!

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NWFL59 6/10/2010 12:37PM

    Gee with that blog title I expected to read about Lancaster and WWII British airfields and the stress of command and the flack etc. I still obvious remember watching the old B&W movie by that title.

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NWFL59 6/10/2010 12:26PM

    Glad you're enjoying your runs in Iowa. Interesting reading about your high altitude run, glad you didn't do yourself some serious damage. Hope your IT band is healed or at least continuing to improve.

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ELYMWX 6/10/2010 12:02PM

    I'm glad you survived to tell the tale!

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DAWNDMOORE40 6/10/2010 9:29AM

    Wow you are an inspiration to us all! Keep up the good work and happy running! emoticon emoticon

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AQUAPOWERS 6/10/2010 9:24AM

    Speedydog, you are a rebel. I just finished reading my first running book. I think you broke all the rules I just read about. emoticon I'm happy you survived to run another day!

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