Good judgement comes from experience, experience comes from bad judgement.

– Mark Twain a.k.a Samuel Clemens, writer and wannabe ultrarunner

$9852 raised to help cancer patients through the amazing people at the Life & Hope Fund.  Want to help? CLICK HERE

And on with the blog…

We were trying to catch a skunk who had decided to make a homestead claim of 40 sq. feet in our neighborhood.  Actually, under our deck, to be precise.  Instead, we cuffed the guilty-looking critter in the mugshot above.  I do not know for sure if this is the raccoon responsible for cantaloupe gnawings and outright thefts from our garden from 2011 to present . . . but that he was wearing a mask makes me highly suspicious.

This critter has been around; certainly ours is not the first trap he has seen.  Why venture into this one?  Did he reach the tipping point of curiosity?  A primal urge to explore the forbidden?  Or was it just the delectable odor of ground fish innards set as bait?  Although all turned out well in the end (more on that later), I’m sure Saturday was a miserable, miserable day for this furry alleged melon absconder.

And then came Sunday . . . and it was a miserable, miserable day.  I should have known better, but I ignored the wisdom that experience had wrought.  Caught in a trap that was plainly in view, having convinced myself I could sneak in and enjoy the tasty fish innards undetected.

Now, to be more clear, I was committed to doing a 50-mile training run on Sunday.  For someone training for the Leadville 100 Trail Run, 50 miles is about as tasty as minced carp guts are to a raccoon.  This may be difficult to comprehend, but work with me.  Once you get your mind wrapped around the idea of doing 50 miles it becomes, well, irresistible.  OK, I can see that most of you  are cocking an eyebrow and backing away from the screen in disgust.  But, strangely intrigued, some of you are dialing 1-800-DOMINOS and ordering double anchovies.  You, my friend, understand.

Temps were forecast to head well above 90 degrees on Sunday.  I knew this.  I also knew I that I am a rather poor hot weather runner.  Some people are very talented when the heat is on, like my cousin, Susan.  She claims to be Scandinavian, but she is actually Reptalien…a cold-blooded reptile from another planet who moves faster as her blood warms.

When the temps soar, so does Susan . . . she has kicked my butt at most of the epic hot 26.2’s over the past five years: Grandma’s Marathon 2007, the Chicago Marathon 2007 and, most recently, the Boston Marathon 2012.  CLICK HERE to enjoy that train wreck.

My sweet spot, on the other hand, is 39 degrees.  I nailed my PR of 3:21:02 in Chicago on a day full of high winds, forbidding clouds and welt-laden sleet. Simply glorious.

Speaking of glorious, it all started out OK around 3 AM, despite humidity and temps in the 70’s several hours before the sun came up.

Bob Johansen is a futurist and he claims that the future is already here…it’s just not evenly distributed.  What he means is that you have to pay attention . . . look for those signals this very moment of what will happen down the road.  At about Mile 6, one of those indicators of the future appeared as I tripped over a curb in a new construction zone and took a nice tumble.  Nothing serious . . . bruised hand, bloody knee, hip abrasion (The Trailrunner Creed: “If the bone’s not showing, keep on going.”)  Fortunately, my iPhone and iPod helped to break my fall.  Check out the cool new design on my day-old iPod.  And I am looking for an inexpensive fix to the broken gorilla glass on my 4G.

The view across the wide Missouri at the 13 mile mark was not too shabby…nice sliver of moon accompanied by Jupiter in the upper right (Noel Anderson claims Venus should have been there…but since Mars was also a no-show I’m guessing those two were off to the submarine races).

We had stashed a few bottles of water and Gatorade along the route, so hydration wasn’t an issue for the first 25 miles.  Dan, always faithful, was there at Mile 28 with sustenance and sherpa-iness to help guide my way the next 22 miles.  The PB&J with a light coating of bug repellent was as good as any fillet I have ever experienced.

Dan took me on the 10+ mile Lost Valley loop and things started getting tough.  I could feel water sloshing in my stomach but my body’s ability to absorb liquids was not commensurate with the output through my sweat glands.  This imbalance would only get worse as the temps started to rise into the 90’s.

We finally made it out of the woods and off the technical trail (aka rocks, roots, climb, mountain bikers) and back on to the relative comfort of the Katy Trail, a rails-to-trails conversion covered in a dry, cracking, dusty chat.

At this point Dan, displaying his sensitive side, gently reminded me that we needed to add on an extra 2 miles if I was to clock an even 50 for the day.  We should head back north for a mile right now, away from our final destination, because it would be more shady on this part of the trail.  Really?  It’s 90 degrees, I have 39 miles on my daily odometer, I’m thirsty, and Dan wants me to run away from the beer.  This is the moment I conjured up swear words in my mind that mankind has not even yet invented.  It is also the moment when I grudgingly realized Dan was going to make a great pacer in Leadville.  Thank you, Lt. Dan, for leading me in the wrong direction.  I salute you.

The final 10 miles were a constant union negotiation between disparate muscle groups looking for just one more reason to go on strike.  Temps in full sun reached over 100 degrees as the white rock on the trail bounced the toasty rays right back atcha.

We made it to Augusta, MO to be greeted by Sherpa Tami with water, cheese, chips, burgers and a hoppy IPA that made me very sleepy beepy.  My formerly lichen-green shoes had turned the ashen-gray color of the Katy Trail . . . they looked better than I did.

And for our raccoon cantaloupe bandito?  Relocated to the wilds of Fenton, MO.  Have either of us gained any good judgement from this experience of exercising bad judgement?


But probably not.

Life & Hope Fund Update:  WOW!  We’re up to $9852 after an awesome week!  Tami and I are very humbled by the amazing support you have provided to help cancer patients and their families make ends meet.  Special thanks to some very special people this week:  Christy Fry, Holly Carpenter & Randy Krohn, Kiyoko & Teruo Fujita, Laura Kuhl, Josh, Vicky, Jordan and Colin Van Horsen, Max & Jacque Saucedo, Basil & Debbie Rudawsky, John & Jennifer Legens, Ellen & Carr Trovillion, Larry Willhite & Elaine Gelvin and Dan & Cathy Flynn.  Many thanks to everyone who has provided encouragement in one form or another.  You are helping to make a tangible difference in the lives of people who never expected to have to deal with the diagnosis that has been handed them.  Very, very proud of your effort!  Want to learn how you can help?  CLICK HERE!  Do it.  It feels good. 🙂

Training Update:  1847 miles YTD.  2-days post-miserable, miserable day and I’m feeling OK.  Went out for an easy 4 miles today in 92-degree heat and was happy it was only 4.  Easy recovery week on tap with a looooong climb sometime this weekend.  Headed back to Colorado in the near future to take one last crack at 50 miles on the Leadville trail before the Leadville 100 Trail Run on August 18.

So, that skunk we were trying to capture before Rocky Raccoon checked in?  Saw him this morning:

Happy trails, my friends!