August 31, 2014

August 25-31

I've never done a this-week-in-training post before, mostly because it would always go like this: I ran a lot. Pretty slow. Some hills. Not too instructive. But I did some things this week, so if for nothing else but posterity and, perhaps, to puff up my own ego, here we go.

Monday: Easy 2 hours. Strides. Weights.

Tuesday: Easy 3 miles. 4 mile repeats @ 6ish pace. Easy 3 miles.

Wednesday. Easy 2 hours. Strides. Weights.

Thursday: Easy 3 miles. 8 miles @ tempo "feel". Easy 2 miles.

Friday: Easy 2 hours. Strides. Weights.

Saturday: Easy 1 hour. Strides.

Sunday: Easy 1 hour. 3 mile repeats @ tempo "feel". Easy 30 minutes.

That's... a pretty big week? With quite a bit of quality, really. But looking back, it was mostly doing what sounded like fun at the time. It always was.

My leg is good. Creeping back up above outright anemia is helping too, of course. Excited to see where this goes.

August 30, 2014

UTMB, very briefly

Today is more or less the first weekend of football, and also the conclusion of UTMB. It's on such occasions of overlap that I'm glad for ultrarunning's niche status. The lack of popular media spares us such brilliant lines of inquiry as: Why can't the American (men) win the big one? Are they chokers? Are they even elite? The relative lack of fucks given is actually quite refreshing.

Rory Bosio is the story though, and ought to be. Two in a row. Amazing talent, planning, and execution.

August 27, 2014

Novel Reps

I did mile repeats yesterday, which wouldn't be noteworthy - even in the context of a personal running blog - were it not for the fact that, as best I can recall, this was the first time I'd done such a workout. That's something of an embarrassing admission, if I'm being honest. Nominally, I'm a runner. I present myself as such, and that's the lens through which many people see me. If you're reading this, you very likely know me as little else.

And yet... that's a pretty basic thing to have never done, yeah? For a runner with the occasional result I'm not ashamed by - even down to 5K - to have never really run a hard mile, much less a series of them, seems sacrilegious. And this is Lawrence, former home of Cunningham, Santee, and Ryun (though in Lawrence, the latter is much better known as a generally despised politician), each the best collegiate miler of their time.

So it feels a bit stupid to sit here and write, as a not exactly new 26 year old runner, that I ran mile repeats, and guys, it was really fun. Three easy to start, then four reps, each around six minutes, with full rest (three minutes or so) in between, then another easy three to finish. It feels a bit stupid, because it's hardly a novel thing I've done. You've done such a workout. Very soon, countless high schoolers and collegians will as well. Not to mention the hobbyists, targeting their fall marathons, 5K PRs, or whatever.

Those who might not, I'd wager, are primarily the ultra folks, a term I've never really embraced, though it's largely defined my training for these last three years. I've never embraced it, first of all, because I've always raced plenty of other stuff, and my ultra results really haven't been that frequent or that strong. (In that regard, I don't feel wholly as if I've earned it.) But, like the off color in white paint, it takes only a little to create something else entirely. So, you run high mileage - at the exclusion of anything else - and refuse to shut up about one good 50 miler, and people notice.

That said, the races which first romanced me into taking running somewhat seriously were all long, and they still capture my imagination more fully than anything else. Though as a nod to my stress fracture, I'm focusing on shorter things for the moment, I'd be lying if I didn't acknowledge a temptation to do the opposite, to say fuck it, and sign up for a 100 in two weeks, probably crash and burn, but eh, it happens. (I'm pacing instead. Spring, though...) So perhaps I reject the label because it's accurate, and I'm simply being a contrarian hipster? Could be.

All of that is functionally irrelevant to the training discussion at hand though, because mile repeats, or any kind of consistent work at faster than "steady" pace (which I've always been happy to indulge in) is probably helpful. At least, willfully neglecting anything is probably explicitly unhelpful. Magness talks extensively (as Canova) of "never leaving anything behind", even as your focus changes. With that in mind, I followed up today with 10 easy, and then strides post.

Strides. Fucking strides, seriously. Another revolutionary ingredient in my training, that really should be anything but.

Tempo (or threshold, or steady state, or whatever. Hard. How about that?) tomorrow, and then we're damn close to something that might resemble an actual week of training. Hope for me yet, perhaps.

August 25, 2014

Not to Run

My Hawk Marathon status after further - albeit totally unnecessary - deliberation:

Subtitles? Okay. 

I'll probably do some other stuff, which I keep saying, and I do mean. But we'll see. Marathons are long. A hard thing to do, if you're not really feeling it, and thus a miserable thing to fake. 

I'll volunteer instead, which is cool, because I sometimes need to appear a nice enough guy.

August 23, 2014

Kettle, Coil

Deafheaven's Sunbather was the closest thing to a mainstream black metal album we've ever seen, or are likely to see. This assertion is of course contingent upon your acknowledging Sunbather as a black metal album, and not post-rock, shoegaze, "hipster metal", whatever. The urge to classify something as "real" is very strong in the music community, especially among those die-hard fans of niche genres. Compound this further when said genre is nearly always the target of derision, and you understand why black metal fans are very touchy about what they allow into their club.

It's from that maelstrom of mainstream approval and die-hard derision that Deafheaven release their new single. Though I don't claim to know their motivations, this is a much more straightforward bit of blackened death metal, complete with a *ghasp!* guitar solo.

I'm quite fond of it, but then I found Sunbather breathtaking. People who hated that will likely hate this, and from what the internet has told me so far, it seems they mostly do. The critical consensus is thus far positive. So it goes, I guess. 

I simply find it more pleasant not being a genre die-hard, I suppose, but rather more sonically polyamorous.

Now I'm left to hope the band stops in Lawrence again when promoting their next album, as I missed their last show with a stress fracture. (Yes, I could have stood in the back, and out of the fray. But that wouldn't have been any fun at all.)

August 22, 2014

Outliers and Us

Thing about which I'm thinking today: There's a general assumption in the weightlifting community that even very serious hobbyists ought not follow the training plans of the drugged up genetic elite, being that they're neither of those things. (Assuming they are neither. Steroids change everything.) It goes further even than that, stating that much of what we know about training theory is severely skewed, having been too heavily influenced by a statistically insignificant pool of outliers.

(For a couple specific examples: The classic 6 day body part split and uber protein diets really require superhuman testosterone levels to work well. Mortals need less stimulation, more frequently, and can't make use of nearly 2 g/lb protein.)

For many fairly obvious reasons, this lesson could extend to endurance training. Don't think I've heard it echoed, however. In fact, I'd suggest we go the opposite route. Rather than disregard what they do, it seems we tend to look to the elites (athletes and coaches) for guidance and ideas.

If we assume that elite athletes have a decided genetic advantage (they do) and that many are getting chemical help (probably more true than we'd like to think), are we all idiots for more or less aping their training methods?

Yes, we basically always do less volume overall, and less volume of intensity. But the basic structure isn't that different. And it isn't really uncommon to see, say, a 2:40 marathoner training more or less like a 2:15 runner, despite being worlds apart.

Would the 2:40 guy be better off running 40 miles a week, with very specific hard workouts, and little overall volume? (The scientific literature would say yes.) Or maybe it should go the other way, with tons of easy miles. (The sub elite marathon times of the 1970's would suggest this.) Maybe he's got it perfect. Maybe it depends, and is wholly individual. Maybe everything works just about equally well, and none of this really matters.

I really have no idea.

August 21, 2014

Something for Nothing

This season's winter caps are now arriving at Running Warehouse, which is a cruel thing to see when you're running in triple digit temperatures. I don't presume this is some epic "fuck you" to those of us in Kansas - although sometimes it seems as if much of existence is a "fuck you" to Kansas - but that won't stop me from interpreting it that way.

But, yeah, it was hot and I ran anyway. High 7 minute pace for 12 on a pretty hilly route felt like shit, but in that kinda good after-the-fact sorta way. I stood in the shower and leaned on the wall and felt, even as the water was at a moderate temperature, that my body temperature was plummeting. Then I ate a little fruit, drank some water, and yeah, that's it. (Eating a substantial meal after a run is supposedly important, but I've never been able to stomach it, and at this point, I've stopped caring/trying.)

Doesn't seem all that interesting, now that I've written it out. Lacks context. Mundane steps are interesting if part of a journey. If this were a training run for something, there would, I think, be additional narrative heft. But as is, it's a training run for myself, for my own edification, satisfaction, etc. I'm training for everything and nothing.

I've attempted to write out something like a fall schedule, with promises that I'd target things, really train, and try and eek a few shorter distance PRs out of this otherwise somewhat wasted year (in terms of racing). Those were probably always empty promises anyway, given that my training inevitably devolves into doing whatever I want on that day, basically just trying to run a lot, with some hills thrown in. Pretty clear at this point that, no matter what intentions I may claim, that's basically what I'll end up doing.

Enjoying you "training" isn't the worst thing, of course. You could even argue it's the best thing, for those of us in the subsusbsubsub-elite crowd. Maybe we could find a few seconds here and there. Maybe, if we nailed everything, 30 seconds off a 5K, a minute off 10K, so on. Is this worth it? It is if you want it to be, I suppose. It just depends where your priorities are.

Last year, I had two races I cared too much about. And even then, my training was basically "do a lot of hilly miles". (Probably 70-100 per week, if I had to guess. But I never track, so...) Of course, when your biggest target is a hilly 50 miler, that's probably not the worst idea. Not exactly incisive Canova specificity, but not bad.

This year, I don't have anything like that. I'm still going to race, probably, but I'm not going to pretend I have any idea what, or where. Mostly my goal is "get my shit together". Get my iron up above corpse levels, keep fucking around with my "base", get some quality gym work done, keep my leg unbroken, and see when/if inspiration strikes. Frankly, the training will probably look the same regardless.

Not the worst thing.

August 14, 2014

A damned dozen

I wrote, post stress fracture(s), that my ferritin level was low.

It is, as of yesterday, 12. Which is pretty awful still. Not any better, in fact, than what it was.

This is frustrating for the obvious reasons that it would be. But it's oddly encouraging to think I've managed some not embarrassing fitness while essentially taking reverse EPO.

"Optimal" is a viscous concept in both fitness and nutrition, so of course it's even more vague where they intersect, as here. Some suggest levels should be at least 50, others 75. I've seen some recommend as high as 135. Which, I dunno. But not 12. Nobody thinks that's optimal for basic healthy functioning, much less distance training and racing. The reference range of my particular blood test bottoms out at 30, so I need to more than double it to simply reach that - still "deficient" - range.

The answer, of course, is a pill. I'd love to say I'd simply fix it "naturally", with diet, but then I'm no purist on such matters. I want what works. Give me the pills, not fucks.

In the meantime, I'll imagine a hidden well of fitness, just waiting to be oxygenated.

August 12, 2014


I don't own a camera but if I did I'd post a picture of the levee in north Lawrence. It's my favorite running destination. Not for the scenery, because there basically isn't any. Not for the terrain, because it's a flat gravel path

But actually, yeah, for those things. For those things, or rather, for the absence of them. It's my favorite place to run because that's all it is. You go, and there is no auto traffic, and thus no stop signs or lights. There are very few other runners, walkers, and cyclists as well.

It's about 4.75 miles from the start to the railroad, at which point I'll turn around, sometimes after sitting for a bit to watch a train go by. I look at the graffiti and goods and wonder what stories are there, think on the intersections of industry and culture.

I could run the other direction - towards Topeka instead of KC - but I don't. I like the repetition.

It's a little crunchy but basically silent. There are things to see but nothing to look at. So you run, and while running, you are running, and you are thinking about running, about your cadence, arm carriage, pace, etc. Sometimes you think about nothing and the wind narrates your actions, punctuated by rhythmic footfalls.

If I could change it I would add some rolling hills, but then it would be a road, not a levee, and I'd have to share with trucks. So no. It's fine as is.

I ran there yesterday, sharing it with a few members of KU's cross country team. A steady day for them, conversational, fluid, symmetrical, and of course, faster than me. I was more aware than usual of my short legs, slight inward ankle roll, floppy hair, mediocre pace, sub 10 but not sub 5% body fat, etc. Self conscious but I said hi, they said hi, and I went along, thinking that yes they should run here, it's a good spot, probably the best spot in town and the only one that allows you to miss hills, if you want to really cruise.

And so I did, and so I'll do today, with other people or not, because it's not my lawn, and even if it was, I wouldn't tell any damn kids to get off it.

Also, one of the dogs - you can never tell which - ripped my heart rate monitor strap to bits. So - as usual anyway - "cruise" is gonna be my only pace metric for a bit.

Edit: A picture has been provided in the comments. I'm to technologically illiterate to post it, however.

August 9, 2014

5K for 5K

Baldwin City is about a twenty minute drive from Lawrence, headed South. A few thousand residents. It's one of the options I could give when asked where I'm from, given that I attended junior high and high school there. (Born in Portland, ME, but never lived there. Childhood in Abilene, KS. Adolescence in Baldwin. College to present in Lawrence.) It is also a running town - though I didn't start until I'd been gone for a few years - owing mostly to the fact that the boys have 11 state titles in the last 20 years, while the girls have 8. (Same coach.) This has raised the sport's profile in the town considerably. At least when I was there, the runners were very much celebrated athletes, and it was considered the cool thing to do. (Somehow my 3rd place in state debate didn't have the same result.)

So, there are 5Ks for many occasions, one every few months, never lacking for participation. Today's was a benefit for a junior high school English/History teacher who has recently been diagnosed with ALS. I had her, and so did my younger brother. She's been there over 20 years, so it goes without saying that many other students did as well.

As the purpose was simply to raise money, there were no bibs, chips, timekeepers, awards, etc. A start line and a donation jar. That was enough to draw over 100 starters and 5500 dollars, on rather short notice.

It is just running, yeah, and too often, I probably care too much about it. But I don't think there's anything else that could've attracted such interest in Baldwin. People wanted to get out, run/walk, then hang out. Small thing, yeah. But something.

The atmosphere was a difficult thing to describe. Serious and solemn at times, but never altogether unhappy. Post-race was borderline celebratory. The mingling you'd expect, with fruit, water, burritos, and ice buckets dousing random people.

The race itself went well. The course is hilly, and the grass is allowed to grow a bit, so it doesn't run like green pavement. A good turnout, with a few faster folks, including a couple high schools runners. I held off the faster of the two by a couple seconds. Those kids can kick, though.

Felt like this at the start.

Felt like this at the end.

Ran nine more back in Lawrence. Difficult day to get my head around.

August 8, 2014

Narrative and Context

There's a sentiment expressed (ironically, yes) on running blogs and message boards, when discussions get overly technical or argumentative, that we should all just shutup and go for a run. Chill, and stop thinking so hard, basically. I'd like to put aside the irony of someone taking the time to comment that others shouldn't take the time to comment for a moment, and say that this sentiment isn't one I share.

Not to say that it isn't valid. Plenty of people enjoy running for the act, and that is, of course, perfect. It's a very simple thing, running. One foot at a time, and away you go. There's a local guy who races plenty, with whom I've spoken, who just runs 30 minutes a day. He doesn't consider pace, or distance - though he goes plenty hard, from what I've seen. He knows nothing at all about the biochemistry that informs his fitness, nor does he care. He runs, races well - but only ever on a whim - and enjoys it.

But there are - while perhaps fewer - a not insignificant number of neurotic headcases like myself who sometimes enjoy the ideas more than the acts. Again, I do realize the inherent potential for minor blasphemy here. That I spend more time every day reading about running than actually hammering out miles (though most would say I run plenty) speaks to a certain pencil necked sensibility, a bookishness I've always been happy to embrace.

I don't, however, think these are contradictory notions. Reading about mitochondrial adaptations gives meaning and purpose to runs that would otherwise be mere movement. That movement is of course pleasant in its own right, but like words, needs context to demonstrate its true poetry. And those adaptations - like so much of biology - goes beyond imagination, truly a case of reality outpacing fiction. We are, in this case, protagonists of our own narratives, and the authors too. We can shape ourselves by our actions, exert control in a world that so often deprives us of any semblance of autonomy. And we can do so knowingly, eyes perpetually wide in amazement.

This was - and remains - the central appeal of running, to me. It began with questions. Could I run a lot? What would happen if I did? Could I finish a half marathon? A full? An ultra? How would I do those things? How would I then optimize performance? (That last question will never be answered with total satisfaction, acting instead as a perpetual rabbit.) These questions give context to the act, purpose to an hour or two every day, makes letters, words, and narrative out of otherwise incomprehensible shapes.

(Please note that, in all of this, I'm speaking only for myself. And that I'm a happy dork.)

August 7, 2014

Rambling, Geeking

I like fantasy novels. Always have, and at this point, it's probably safe to assume that isn't changing. I was, as it happens, greatly amused that there's a "Goblin's Forest" on Longs Peak, which itself looked menacing, while shrouded in cloud and fog. I consider myself likely the only person to have won a 50 mile race and played several games of Magic: The Gathering in the same calendar year. I'm very proud of that - imagined - fact.

So, I'm excited that my favorite current fantasy author has a new book. It's his first that's categorized as.... young.... adult, however, and I don't consider myself one of those. But I did buy it, because the reviews are good, and categories are often no help at all.

This can be even more true in music, where one man's atmospheric black metal is another's progressive shoegaze with elements of blackened death. And both insist the other's taste is garbage. Still, I was excited for Wolves in the Throne Room's latest album, although I heard rumblings it was something of a departure from their usual, which I'll call American atmospheric black metal. You can listen below, and decide for yourself what you'd call it. Probably, you'll think it's disgusting, which is fine. I've listened to this album nearly every day for about two years now, so I'd obviously disagree. (I'm listening to it right now, actually. Second time today. Brilliant as ever.)

These different notions are fine. It's also fine when a band or artist decides they want to do something very different from their typical work. This in no way invalidates previous offerings, though some fans act otherwise. But for me, life goes on. Crash Love didn't ruin Open Your Eyes and Shut Your Mouth. Same band. Different sounds. One I vastly prefer, but so it goes.

With that preface, I really want to emphasize that WITTR's latest record doesn't color my opinion of the band's previous catalog, nor does it diminish my interest in what they'll do next. But I'd also like to say that I hate the album, after one listen. It's entirely ambient noise. Spacey, vibey, synth stuff. Which yes, is a thing. A valid thing. But not my thing. I'll listen again tomorrow. And then on, perhaps, when I'm playing chess.

Which I do like. Though I'm really awful. A better runner, I guess, and better than I thought I'd be at this moment. My Colorado efforts were good - if errant - and I completed 12 @ 7 flat in 94-degree heat this afternoon, able to pass the talk test the entire time. My fitness, such as it ever was, seems to have returned quickly.

Still, I'm not terribly motivated to do anything with it, other than enjoy not having a broken leg bone. Call it a base phase, if you want.

Related, Running Times posted an interesting article by Greg McMillan today, concerning the oft-debated merits of speedwork (VO2max, in their parlance) during the base phase. McMillan, being a Lydiard guy, is against it, though he advocates for a more Canova model of periodization in the article. Not to say he's wrong (for what it's worth - nothing - I actually agree with him, fundamentally), but his arguments are not really empirically proven. If there is any research on muscle pH and mitochondrial degradation - related to training intensity - I've never seen it, and he certainly never cites it. But then, he - like Lydiard - is a coach more than a scientist. And even the "science guys", like Magness, advocate a basically identical model. Train the opposites, work towards race pace specificity. It does make sense, but given that reading academic journals is my job, perhaps, I really like to see them used when science sounding terms are used somewhat haphazardly to build a case.

Not to say I received zero running related articles today. I did work on an article concerning blisters in ultrarunners for a podiatry journal. It was, to my mind, fascinating. The short version: Injiji was the only sock that seemed to help. No tapes, powders, creams, etc., did. The best predictors of blister freedom, however, were ultra experience and training volume. Something to that, probably.

By the way, yes, I realize this is basically four posts in one, and if you read this whole thing, I offer you either congratulations or my sympathy. It just so happens that the primary things about which I geek (fantasy lit, people screaming loudly with backing guitars/drums, and running) offered inspiration today. So a near perfect day, yes, but probably also a hint as to why I haven't had a date in a while. Somehow, a profound interest in hobbits, scary music, and blisters accomplishes this.

August 5, 2014


Whether we evolved as running creatures is an interesting debate largely because it is both of those things - interesting, and a debate. That we're evolved as bipedal apes, capable of covering prolific distances on our two feet, is not so contested. So perhaps "Born to Run" is presumptuous. Born to sprint/jog/walk, or simply Born to Move, though less catchy, would perhaps be more accurate.

(Traipsing about is a term that's fallen out of favor that I think does the topic justice, and which I'd like to see come back. Announcing my lunch break - which is really my "going for a walk break", I do try, but my quirks aside, I doubt it catches on.)

In any case, humans have moved about on two feet for as long as we've been humans, probably before, though that's a chicken/egg situation, to some extent. For likely about as long, we've contested races over some time and distance, if not for money, then perhaps for a shiny rock, a nicer cave bunk, or whatever. "Just because" has always been good enough too. Animals play in order to "practice" skills, and instill practical fitness. Human should hardly be different.

This is to say, moving about on two feet is an inherent part of the human narrative. People that run, that hike, that walk about, know this, on some level, even if they don't seek words for it. Plenty have, however, from Nietzsche, to Rousseau, Thoreau, Dickens, Snyder, ad infinitum. Some, like Japan's "Marathon Monks", give the act religious significance. (Not unlike the countless pilgrimages of history, and for that matter, present day.) Some, like today's neo-Beat soul runners, merely seem to imbue the act with such heft.

All of "this" is, I think, part of the appeal of running. It is, to some extent, a celebration of the self, but also a celebration of place, community, movement, and history. This can be Hardrock, the quintessential American mountain epic, or Six Days in the Dome, a callback to 19th century pedestrianism. (About which there's a very good new book, which I'd recommend to the historically interested.) It can be a local 5K, won in 19 minutes, or an Olympic finals. It's all just running, which is really just a brief moment of airtime away from walking. Which is, again, a very basic, fundamental thing. Perhaps the most basic and fundamental thing. Which is perhaps something, perhaps nothing.

Does that mean it matters? That it's important? I would say for me, yes. And for others as well, obviously. I've seen too much proof to say otherwise. But I don't know that I can declare anything like that unequivocally, universally. Certainly there are greater triumphs and tragedies everyday. We're reminded of these things, and when faced with the latter, anything but outright nihilism seems unjustifiably optimistic. Maybe humanity is just fucked. Maybe nothing matters.

What matters, if anything, speaking in the most broad sense, is a question for philosophers, who were and are, as has been established, themselves bipedal ramblers. Whether their solutions have ever been satisfactory, or whether there ever could be such a thing, I'd argue that, at the very least, their methods were sound, that traipsing about is a key to finding answers, if not The Answer. Capable and free movement of the body is not a strictly necessary condition for similarly capable and free movement of the mind, but history and present day both suggest it probably does help.

August 2, 2014


Back home. I missed the dogs. They were all excited to see me, and the old one slipped on a misplaced running shoe in her haste. She's ok though, and I am too. Hi, Lawrence.

August 1, 2014

Longs run

(Note: Places and distances are as best I can recall. I didn't bring a map, because I was dumb, and I'm not looking at one now, because I still am.)

Longs Peak is not named for the duration of the climb, which is not really that bad in any case. Walking the entire way, I stood on a boulder, looking up at the Keyhole Route in a little less than two hours. Given that a 1:14 summit has been done, two hours to stand way beneath forces a degree of humility. Endurance sports are cool like that. Times are times. You know where you stand.

And as I stood there, looking up at something that would involve my hands, that same humility led me to turn around. Having never climbed so much as a rock wall in my life (seriously, never), and knowing that an 18-year-old from Lenexa fell to his death just last week, I decided (having really decided days ago, honestly) that running down would be far more my speed. (My parents agreed with this decision.)

(Googling this last week, and again today, shows that the Keyhole basically is a "run up" for some people, which is fucking unreal. But in this, I'm happy to be a wimp.)

But it wouldn't be a trail run for me without a missed turn, then compounded. I had intended to take a different route down, swinging by a lake I'd skipped on the way up. This... somehow... led me down towards Glacier Gorge. It was about an hour of running before I entered a clearing, which had apparently not been a clearing for long. There were trees for twenty yards laid flat, perhaps, I'd guess, by a flood. In any case, the trail ended there, quite abruptly. 

There was, however, a sign some ten yards back, which pointed towards Bear Lake. I'd been there the previous day, and thought that, upon arrival, I could call my Dad and arrange for him to pick me up there, instead of at Longs Peak Trailhead.

The problem with this plan, however, was that we'd planned a pickup time of four hours post-start (giving me time to take plenty of detours on the way down), and I'd already been moving for three. The sign said that Bear Lake trailhead was 7.8 miles away, which, given the terrain and my fatigue, would be a decent effort. Still, I figured it would have to be made, since I didn't want a search and rescue party on my behalf, when I didn't show on time.

So, I hammered. Over the rocks, down the switchbacks, up the inclines, through the streams, and too near the ample horse shit. 

My watch read 4:01:something as I popped out of the swelling crowd, and I jogged over to the nearest ranger. Who kindly informed me that their office phone was not working, and neither were those at any of the ranger stations, except for that at Park and Ride. Since my cell didn't have signal, I'd have to ride the bus down, and call my Dad from there. They radio'd out that Alex Beecher was fine, just in case Jeff Beecher - or anyone else - asked. I laughed and said that I wasn't dead, then thought that tasteless, in light of the fact that several people do die in this park every year.

I rode the bus down, which took about 40 minutes, stopping everywhere, begging people off, then on, even when neither looked likely to happen. I compulsively checked my cell, begging for coverage that never arrived. 

Once at the Park and Ride station, I jogged towards the ranger's office, and asked to use their phone.

Are you Adam? A ranger asked.

Alex, I said. Beecher?

Oh, Alex, she said. Yeah, we heard. 

I then dialed my Dad, whose phone apparently didn't have signal either, then my Mom, who was in town, to let her know that I was ok, though she had no reason to expect that I wasn't. The ranger then called the Longs Peak Trailhead crew, telling them to look out for a guy looking like my Dad, driving a white Altima with a Jayhawk license plate. 

He, apparently, did no such thing, because when the Park and Ride ranger called back, she insisted that he really should go look in the parking lot. This eventually worked, and I was retrieved.

In the meantime, the ranger offered me two bottles of water and a bag of peanuts, saying that her son moved to Oregon after college to do "crazy long" trail races, so she sympathized, and was happy to help out wayward distance runners.

Things thus turned out quite well for me. I got in a substantial effort, and in the process, was only a minor inconvenience to others involved. (The rangers did say they appreciated my communication, as many searches are wasted on people presumed to be missing, who are already back at their hotels.) I further established that, on any trail, no matter how well marked, I will take a wrong turn. And then my Mom found a restaurant with quinoa. Good times.