Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It was time for my annual checkup with my cardiologist. It's been two years since my last stress test so I was excited to battle the treadmill again and hopefully get the thumbs up for another season of ultra running. The test starts with attaching about 8 electrodes around my chest and back(some shaving req.) and wrapped a blood pressure strap around my arm. Then I laid on my side for an echocardiogram. Using an small ultrasound wand, the technician targeted different areas of my heart, creating a series of colorful short videos that showed the blood flowing through the chambers and valves. It was very interesting to watch the old heart work away. Then it was time to start the treadmill. The test is call the Bruce treadmill test, you start out at a walking pace 1.7 mph and incline of 10%, then every 3 minutes, it speeds up and elevates. Our treadmill was set for 7 sessions that ended with 3 mins at 6.0 mph at a 20% incline. I did the same test a couple of years ago and hold the distinction of being his only patient that completed the whole 21 minutes. You have to understand that most of his patients are 20 or more years older and have trouble walking fast and I'm the only one that shows up in running shorts. While I was plugging away, in the other room, they ran a couple of other patients through their complete tests. They thought that was funny. The nice thing about this test, is that it allows me to check out my maximum heart rate under medical supervision. When I got to the last of my 21 minutes, I was at my maximum heart rate 174, (my resting is 38). I was ready to stop, but they wanted to see what the machine would do after 21 minutes. Would it stop? would it keep speeding up? no one knew since they never went that long. So they said hang in there so we can see what happens. The treadmill just stayed at the same pace and incline, fortunately after another minute they stopped the machine and laid me down for a post run echocardiogram. My heart was really pumping away but settled down very quickly. My cardiologist told me I didn't have any issues, sent me for a blood test and I was done. So I'm good for another year, a little adjustment on my chlolesterol medication, and I'm on the trails again!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

well it's a week late, but here's last weeks adventure...
My family took our spring break down at Sunriver the week before Peterson Ridge 60K. It was alot of fun, spring skiing and biking each day. My muscles were sore from the skiing, but I was having too much fun. Tried to run the Dechutes river trail, only made it about 2 miles in, too much snow and I couldn't always spot the trail. Saturday nite, Alexa, Dave, and Kris showed up at our rental house to crash for the night. Dave showed his prowness with ping pong before we hit the hay for an early wake up for the drive to Sisters. The temp was cold, but with the forcast for 70 degree weather, I started with short sleeves, skull cap, and gloves. I started the race running with Eric Barnes and we clipped along at a good pace on the flat first section, but after reaching the first aid station a few minutes earlier than I have in the past, I slowed down. But after another mile, there was Eric, taking pictures of runners. I guess he wanted to slow down also, since he ran a marathon the weekend before. He dropped in behind me and managed to take a header at a road crossing. I started to feel heavy legs and by the time we got to the grunt climb, Eric was way ahead of me. After the grunt is a long gentile downhill where you can really cook. I could barely make 9 min miles! The trail was also part of an out and back so there was alot of traffic going both ways from both the long course and short course runners. Every one on the downhill was passing me, how depressing. I felt terrible but managed a smile when I spotted Alexa charging up the hill past me. Then Dave came cruising by and when I said hi, he stopped and ran(shuffled) with me. He got his fast workout in and wanted to run in with someone. When we got to the next aid station, I thought I would have a seat and wait for Kris to show up. Didn't have to wait long, but Kris was cruising and there was no way I was going to keep up with her. So Dave hung with me almost to the turn for the second loop. I really wanted to just finish with him, I was going soo slow, but it was a nice day and I figured I need to practice running in pain for a few hours, so when Maureen showed up, she and Dave continued to the finish while I made the turn for another 3 hours of fun. On the second loop, I tried every combination of fluids, gels, and electrolytes with limited success. At the top of the hill at the 25 mile aid station, I had a nice chat with Kurt, RD for Waldo, then actually ran part of the downhill at a pretty good clip. But by the time I reached the last aid station, I was back to shuffling. I finally finished about an hour later than I expected. It was great coming in late, more people to cheer! I didn't feel that bad, and the shower in the gym was invigorating. But my legs were sore for a couple of days. I'm glad I stuck it out, good mental training, however, I know I need to take it easier before a race, not start out too fast, and wear a hat!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Yesterday, James and I were going to run the trail from Wedekind to Hell's Creek since we couldn't make it all the way last week due to snow. It was great to drive all the way to Wedekind with no snow. Since I as usual was under time constraints, we skipped the first section of trail and ran down the road to catch the trail where the 50 miler usually does. The trail was in good shape until we got about a 1/2 mile from the C line road intersection. There was a group of 8 to 10 fir trees, some large, laying across the trail. More than my chainsaw could handle. We decided to continue on a couple more miles and scope out the slide at Hell's Creek that wiped out the trail. Wow!, the slide started from the top of the switch backs all the way to the Creek. Totally wiped out everything. We could see the Greenline trail leaving the Creek from the log jam at the bottom and decided to head down there and run the the Greenline back to Wedekind. We went about straight down on a old log skid slide, (the same place John hurt his knee) cut over onto the slide, walked a log across the creek, and forged our way through the log jam to the trail on the other side. We thought this could still work for the 50 miler but I'm sure there would be alot of complaints, DNR wouldn't approve, and John would never do it. But we had a good little adventure and the Greenline trail going back up had been scoured and was rocky but not as muddy as it usually was. We made the shortened loop in 2 1/2 hours. Another great day in the Capitol Forest!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Had a couple of good trips up to Capitol Forest over the last couple of weeks. First, I went up to meet John and Henry the mountain biker to clean up fallen trees by Wedekind. I went up early and was happy to find the main road freshly graded and free of snow all the way to Wedekind for the first time in weeks. I worked for about an hour with the chainsaw until getting it stuck just as Henry and John arrived. Henry has a big saw and made quick work of the rest of the trees while I caught up to John at the washout and built a ramp down to the creek crossing. I had to leave early, but Henry gave John a tour of his proposed new trail west of Wedekind. It was alot of fun running the chain saw. I'm sure I'll have more opportunities as we prepare for the 50miler.

This Sat, Kris, Dave, James, and I planned to run from Wedekind to the slide at Hell's Creek. Unfortunately, the snow gods had re-appeared and there was a new foot of snow on the road and we had to park at Trail 50 and run from there. We ran the road ruts past Wedekind down to the 50 mile turn off into the trail. There was only about 3-4 inches of snow on the trail at this point so Dave talked us into trying it out. We went for about a mile with easy running until we hit a road crossing. It was time to turn around, but there was Dave, feverishly building a snowman. So James and I each rolled a ball as Dave fashioned the snowman into a bunny! What a goof ball!
I managed to snap a couple of pictures with my phone camera and recorded a short video which my phone won't let me send anywhere so right now it's my wallpaper on my phone. It started to warm up on the way back so on the trail, we were pelted with snow balls falling from the tree limbs. I took a direct hit on the top of my head and another big one on the shoulder. Now, everytime we took a break, Dave would make another bunny snowman. I felt great on the long uphill climb up the road and cruised on the downhill to the car. All in all, another great day in the forest, and I didn't even get my car stuck in the snow thanks to Dave and James pushing me out of my parking spot.