Thursday, April 7, 2011

National Half Marathon and Skiing in Colorado

National Half Marathon:

After a week in St John celebrating DUG turning 50 not much can be better. As I had said, since I got back to the US on Margarite's dime I figured I should take advantage of it.

My brother 337 had been wanting to do the National Half Marathon, I told him I would join him. The race runs all through Washington D.C. Even if you are not a runner you will enjoy this race. 337 had been training hard especially the week before the race. He decreased his sleep to just a few hours a night and increased his drinking to a 12 pack a day. By race day he was primed and hung over. The weather was perfect sunny and 45 degrees. Our pace was a consistent 9 min 40 second per mile. Nothing to write home about but respectable. At mile 7, 337 starting going into convulsions at first I started to panic, but then I realized he was dry heaving from being hung over, dehydrated and maybe a still little drunk. Even with the dry heaves 337 held his pace. At mile ten a mild case of diarrhea hit 337. While he showed true stamina with the strength of his sphincter muscle he did have to end the race. We had been running for an hour and forty minutes and had reach the ten mile mark. There was nothing I could do to help 337 with his diarrhea so I went on to finish the race. I had 3.1 miles to go a 5K. I really wanted to be under 2 hours. I would have to do a 20 minute 5K not bad for a 50 year old fart.

I finished in 1 hour 58 minutes for an 18 minute 5 K. I know I ran fast but not that fast so something had to be wrong with my watch.

The best part, we all had a bunch of fun.

I would like to give an honorable mention to Dan the Man Van Bellingham. Dan the Man Van Bellingham ran the full marathon in 3 hours and 30 minutes (the clock shows over 3:31 but his time was behind the clock time).

Now for a small world story before the race I was sitting in the parking lot of RFK stadium in Washington D.C. This is where the race started. Who pulls up next to me? Flower, from our Hells Canyon Snake River rafting trip. So we meet in Idaho do not talk / have any contact for 2 years and then in a parking lot of 16,000 cars Flower parks right next to DUG. What are the odds?

From Washington D.C. To Colorado:

My last chance to ski in Colorado for the season. Jack Daniel a friend of my brothers and sister in law is joining me. Jack Daniel the great, great, great grandson and heir to the Jack Daniel Distillery is not just a great guy, but as you might expect from a person that grew up in the Whiskey Business he is somewhat particular and peculiar. For example he has ski goggles with a fan built in to keep them from fogging up. Everybody else I know just cleans their goggles with a tissue or lint free cloth. His gloves are electric to keep his hands warm. He actually brought 4 pairs of skis and 2 pairs of boots. He switches between three pairs changing them each ski run depending on how his run went and the conditions. He saves one pair for after lunch. His thought process is that after he eats lunch he weighs more, so he needs a pair of skis to match the extra weight. I told Jack Daniel to just take a Duce after lunch and everything will balance out.

Friday was a great day of skiing. In our group was "A" , Sue, Jack Daniel and myself. It was 60 degrees "A" was just wearing a T-Shirt and of course ski pants.

Saturday was so nice we skipped skiing and Ross and I did a very hilly fast bike ride. 60 miles covered in 3 hours. Elevation change over 4,000 feet, the last 10 miles was up hill with a 37 MPH head wind, what a great ride.

Sunday another exciting day of skiing you may remember Rita, "A's" girl friend was joining us. I found out that Rita is a world class snow boarder. She has won several Junior Olympic medals. Her snow boarding abilities are second to none. Also joining us was Sue "A's" mom.

We showed up to 3 inches of fresh snow and more coming down. By the end of the day over 24 inches of new snow had falling. Jack Daniel hurt his back carrying all his ski gear so he was skiing the bunny slopes by himself.

Sue on a snow board was paired with me, while "A" was off with Rita. I had never skied in such deep powder. Think about skiing where you can not see your skis. Tons of fun for a beginner skier like me. Sue on a snowboard was unbelievable. It was like watching a genie fly on a magic carpet. I found out snow boards float on top of powder while skis slip under the powder.

I felt like it was my first day of skiing, I accomplished several head plants followed by minutes of searching for my skis and poles. At 3:30 Sue and I were on the lift heading for our last run. All of a sudden both our phones started ringing. Not wanting to drop our phones from the lift we did not answer. As soon as the phones stopped ringing they would start ringing again. Once we got off the lift we saw "A" had been calling us so we thought we should call him back. He had some awful news.

Rita had been attempting a 250 foot jump. That is 250 vertical feet. She completed 5, 360 degree rotating flips when she realized a run away skier was directly where she was about to land. Rather then plant her landing which would of surely killed the run away skier, Rita at the last moment some how wiggled her hips which moved her entire body about 20 feet to the right of her planned landing place. Unfortunately the wiggle offset her rotation and she landed directly on her head. "A" went on to tell us Rita was upside down buried in the snow up to her belly button.

Luckily Rita has a hard head and only suffered a minor concussion . Sue and I raced to the medic hospital. When we got there we found out Rita actually had no injuries from her fall and landing. The concussion happened when the ski patrol took Rita down the mountain in the sled. The patroller forgot to strap her head down and each bump forced Rita's head to SMASH against the metal sled which is what caused the concussion. (Since Rita has sponsors she asked me to blur he image for the pictures, she was concerned about losing her sponsors if they knew what happened)

After we collected Rita and rounded up Jack Daniel it was close to 6:00 pm. When we explained to Jack Daniel what had happened his response was," I wish I could ride in the ski patrol sled". Like I said peculiar.

After taking care of Rita all day "A" must have been famished, we stopped at a local steak place and I swear "A" was eating a whole cow right off the bone.

Monday Jack Daniel and I went skiing we had perfect conditions. I had convinced Jack Daniel to only bring one set of equipment. His back was getting better and he was able to ski better. We did a dozen or so runs, had lunch and went back out for more skiing.

We were skiing down a moderate blue slope I got ahead of Jack Daniel so I stopped to wait. After about 15 minutes of waiting a snowboarder stopped and asked me if I was "expletive" DUG. I reluctantly said yes. Who wants to be greeted by a stranger with a curse word before their name. He said some guy up the mountain is cursing his head off and yelling "Why did I listen to expletive DUG I knew I should of put on my afternoon skis". As I was listen to the story my phone rang. It was Jack Daniel in between his curses I figured out he had fallen while skiing and he blamed me because I told him he did not need to change his skis after lunch. Once I got Jack Daniel to calm down, I asked if he took his Duce after lunch. All I heard was silence on the other end of the phone.

A very sheepish Jack Daniel finally asked if I would call the ski patrol, he could not ski his knee was in intense pain. He also said he needed to use a bathroom. I guess now he was ready to take that Duce.

I called the ski patrolled, skied to the bottom took the lift up and met the patrol where Jack Daniel was lying in the snow. Jack Daniel got the sled ride he had wished for, along with a torn MCL. I skied the rest of the afternoon had some great runs. Then picked Jack Daniel up at the medic hospital, they remembered me from the Rita incident and asked to stop referring patients.

What a way to end a ski season, the bad news two major injuries, the good news they were not mine.

I want to give a big thank you and great job to the Copper Mountain Ski Patrol and the doctors, nurses, and staff and the Copper Mountain Medical Clinic.

Back to Botswana,


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