A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!


Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2008! We said goodbye to 2007 and rang in the new year last night at a friend's house here in the Meadows of Castle Rock. It was a fine end to our first full year in Colorado and capped off a week of fun and fellowship with family and friends.

My parents arrived in Denver early on Christmas Eve morning and left early New Year's Eve morning (is that an oxymoron?). They were here about 5.5 hours short of a full week. But it was a full week, filled with good food (lots of beef, of course!) and family visits.

More on family later, let's talk food! The crowning meal was Christmas dinner, featuring a bountiful beef rib roast. If you've never tried a beef rib roast for Christmas dinner, it's time to start a new tradition!

[At Left: That's me, trimming some of the excess fat off the roast. This is an important step in preparing the roast for the oven.]

If you think cooking a rib roast is a big ordeal, it's nothing compared to a turkey. Besides, who needs another turkey so close after Thanksgiving? Beef makes this special meal even more memorable (and it doesn't taste like chicken!)

I cook rib roasts following the directions on BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com -- only I substitute Roasted Garlic Peppercorn CharCrust for the rub you can make in this recipe. It's easier and adds wonderful flavor to the roast.

[Above: the carved roast sits on the table ready for the feast. Also pictured: Leslie's cheesy corn and roasted balsamic sweet potatoes.]

The one other deviation I recommend is top pull the roast when the meat thermometer registers 125F (instead of 135F). But be sure to let the roast set for at least 10 minutes -- this seals in the juices and the internal temp will climb another 10F to 135F for a perfect medium rare.

OK, enough about beef. Back to family. In addition to my parents, we welcomed to our house (at one time or another this week) two of my mom's brothers and their families and a cousin on my dad's side of the family -- that's two uncles, two aunts, eight first cousins (including in-laws), nine first cousins once-removed and two first cousins twice-removed.

[Above (from left): my mom with my Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Charlie; Below (from left): my first cousins (once removed) Austin, Marissa and Eric]

The family tree grows bigger every year. And I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to spend the holidays with so many of them.

And later this week I will spend time with two of my brothers, a nephew, and two other first cousins (on my mom's side) rooting on the Kansas Jayhawks at the Orange Bowl in Miami!

More to come on that adventure...

Daren

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Snow Run

I went for a 4.5 mile run this morning in about 4" of snow that fell yesterday. It was quite cold (average temp 14.9F!) but sunny and beautiful. I saw a coyote running through the snow-covered Meadows. Wish I had my camera with me!

Below is an interactive Google map of the run, as recorded on my Garmin Forerunner 305 and logged on MotionBased. Click on "Sat" for a satellite view (obviously taken several years ago before many of the roads and houses in my neighborhood were built). Click on "Ter" for a terrain map. You can also zoom in or out. Pretty cool, eh?

Still looking for the perfect last minute gift for the runner in your family? I love my Garmin Forerunner...and they are now available online for under $200!


View Larger Map

Friday, December 14, 2007

Can I Get a Witness?

On September 22, as I was lying on my back on the pavement at the intersection of Foothills and Willow Run Drives, a woman standing over me said, "I saw the whole thing and will stay here to give a report to the police." My assumption at the time was that she was telling me that she knew the driver of the car was at fault in the collision that left me lying on my back in the middle of the intersection.

But when I asked Officer Friendly of the Castle Rock Police Department about the witness, he told me that he talked to a woman at the scene but "she didn't see anything." Turns out he was wrong.

Imagine my surprise when my insurance company, Progressive, called to tell me they had completed their investigation into the accident and they disagreed with the conclusion of the drivers insurance company (that it was my fault). In fact, they had talked to a woman who corroborated my account of the accident. Apparently the woman who I had seen standing over me was not an angel I imagined in my pain-induced state...she was a witness!

My lawyer was also pleasantly surprised to learn that there was a witness in my case. After I told him about my call from Progressive, he sent a letter to the claims rep handling my case, asking for a transcript of the witness' statement, saying...
"We are pleased that you are in agreement with our contention that Allied’s insured [the driver] bears the liability for this accident. I am hopeful that a more experienced and knowledgeable set of eyes will look at this file soon so that they do not force your insured [me] into expensive and time-consuming litigation over what would otherwise be a fairly simple claim."
My lawyer also sent a letter to the Allied Insurance representative...
"It is my understanding that your preliminary investigation has led you to the conclusion that your insured [the driver] was not at fault for the above-referenced collision. I will be providing you with additional information and authority as to why that conclusion is erroneous. I devote a substantial amount of my practice to the representation of cyclists who fall victim to auto accidents. It appears that the investigating officer has led you astray with respect to the rules of the road as they relate to this collision."
I love my lawyer.
"Our goal will be to resolve this matter with you without the need for litigation. If, however, you are entrenched in your liability denial, please let me know so that we may proceed accordingly."
Stay tuned to DDublog for more developments on my case...

Daren

Sunday, December 2, 2007

'Tis the Season...for Beef!

Today we headed out for our annual Christmas Tree Hunt. I'm not talking about a hunt through the basement for the tree-in-a-box...or through the local Boy Scout troop's roadside pre-cut tree stand. We prefer real Christmas trees...and we prefer to cut our own.

Cutting our own tree has been a family tradition for several years. A Sunday afternoon trip to the Christmas Tree farm outside Olathe, KS. Until we moved to Colorado last year and moved into our new home in the middle of the Great Blizzard of '06! We were lucky to have a small evergreen plant to decorate last year.

But we resumed the tradition this year. Living in Colorado you'd think there'd be plenty of cut-your-own Christmas Tree farms around. So we Googled "Colorado Christmas Tree Farms" and found one listed in Douglas County called "U-Cut Tree Farm." So we headed out with great anticipation on a beautiful bright sunny but cold December day to find the perfect tree.

Now, I'm no Clark Griswold, but I had hoped for something a little more picturesque than the U-Cut Xmas Tree Farm in Franktown. Other than the incredible views of Pikes Peak in the distance (just to the left of Shelby's right elbow in the picture above), the "tree farm" consisted of 10 acres of scraggly pines that make Charlie Brown's tree look good. Seriously. But we made the best of it and found one that looked like it needed a good home and cut 'er down, straped 'er on and drove 'er home.

We got home just in time to watch the KU men's basketball team beat the USC Trojans in Los Angeles. In between watching the game we had fun trying to find my brother Jon, his wife Betty and their children Alex, Brandon, and Kristina among the crowd. It wasn't too hard because they were sitting with my cousin Wiley and his kids, Preston and Becca four rows behind the KU bench!

[Above, from left: Kristina, Wiley, Jon (black shirt) congratulate KU coach Bill Self after an impressive road win over the USC Trojans]

Anyway, we spent the rest of the afternoon putting up the tree, outdoor Christmas lights and the cresche my grandmother Angell hand-painted (she made one for each of her four children and 12 grandchildren). Each year we take turns placing the figurines the way we think they should be arranged (who gets a better seat at Jesus' birth, the three kings, sheperds or animals?).

This year I made sure the animals got a front seat. And of course the bovine earned a special place next to the manger with Mary and Joseph!

This prompted my daughter to start crafting a new version of the Christmas story entitled, "Jesus' First Steak." I kid you not.

After all, the beef industry has been very very good to us this past year. So to top the day off we sat down to two tasty Omaha Steaks top sirloin steaks for dinner...compliments of my brother Jon. Thanks, bro!

Daren

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Something to be Thankful For

Sitting here on Thanksgiving night I can think of many things to be thankful for -- the 25 family members who joined us for lunch today, the baked turkey, ham and, of course, BEEF (rib roast) we enjoyed with all the fixin's (mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, Grandma Angell's rolls, green beens, cranberry sausage stuffing, and Aunt Betty's cranberry relish), and the beautiful home we have to host such an event.

But I am also very thankful to be back up and running after taking eight weeks off to heal from my cycling accident and broken collar bone. Like last Thanksgiving, I started off today by running the Turkey Rock Trot 5K race in our neighborhood in Castle Rock. In my first week back in action I ran 17 miles (including today) -- not exactly "easing" back into it!

I began last Thursday with my usual 3.1 mile route and ran it in 33:36 (10:48/mile). The last time I had run it (before the accident) I clocked in at 27:33 -- a full six minutes or almost 2 minutes per mile faster!

On Saturday I ran my usual 4 mile route in 42:22 (10:31/mile). A little better, but still way off the pace I had been setting.

On Monday of this week I ran my usual 5K route again and finished in 31:46 (10:14/mile). More progress.

On Tuesday I went out for a 3.75 mile run with our dog Casey (who is also recovering from an injury!) and finished in 40:57 (10:55/mile). But this includes time for Casey to stop and smell lots of things (none of them were roses).

So, my goal for the Turkey Rock Trot was 31 minutes (10 minute miles). I thought this was pretty reasonable given that I only had one week to train.

Between Tuesday and today the weather in Denver took a severe turn for the worse. Temperatures dropped from highs in the 70s to highs in the 30s. And yesterday we got about an inch or so of snow. This morning it was 17F when I woke up and around 20F at the start of the race! The cold scared off at least half the 900 registered runners, but I was there with Leslie's cousin Bryan's wife Tammy and several hundred other brave souls.

Tammy and I ran the first mile together...but I was struggling to keep up with her. When my Garmin Forerunner 305 indicated we had finished the first mile in 8:15, I knew I couldn't keep up the pace so told Tammy to feel free to take off, which she did! But I kept pushing it pretty hard -- harder than I had since the Chicago Half Marathon in September (according to my Forerunner, my average heart rate for the race was 160).

When I crossed the finish line the time on my Forerunner and on the official clock read 27:21 -- 3:39 faster than my goal time! But it also showed the distance at 3.02 miles -- nearly a tenth of a mile short of a 5K. But even if you add another 50 or so seconds to my time (1/10 mile at a 9:00 pace), I'd still have finished almost three minutes -- or a minute a mile) ahead of my goal!

So tonight I am thankful that I was able to run this morning, that Tammy was there to push me for the first mile and that after one week of training I am nearly back to pre-accident form.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Daren

Monday, November 19, 2007

Whose Fault Is It Anyway??

When a bike is traveling in a bike lane on the right hand side of the street gets passed by a car which then turns right in front of the cyclist, creating a collision, whose fault is it? The driver of the car or the cyclist?

When stated so simply the answer seems so simple: the driver of the car violated the cyclist's right-of-way. And it really is that simple...until law enforcement's bias against cyclists gets in the way.

This type of accident, where a cyclist gets "right-turned," is very common. Unfortunately, it is also very common for the police to blame the cyclist by claiming that it is our obligation to yield to the car. As ludicrous as that sounds, I actually bought into that argument -- the one espoused by Officer Friendly of the Castle Rock Police Department in our conversation the week after my accident -- until a faithful DDublog reader (thanks, Terrance!) passed along a link to a column in VeloNews called "Legally Speaking with Bob Mionske: A Fatal Bias?" It is a must read for every cyclist who shares the road with our four-wheeled friends.

Bob Mionske is a former Olympic cyclist (1988 and 1992) and winner of the 1990 national championship race who became a lawyer after retiring from racing in 1993. Bob is also the author of "Bicycling and the Law: Your Rights as a Cyclist." Anyway, after reading Bob's column, especially the story of Siobhan Doyle, a 31-year-old Portland, Oregon, cyclist who got "right-turned" in an accident eerily similar to mine, I began to question Officer Friendly's interpretation of the law.

In the Siobhan Doyle incident, the Portland police also failed to issue a citation to the driver. When asked why, the Police Bureau spokesman said, "Determining fault at a collision is a function of an investigation. The Police Bureau will respond to any collision but unless there are trauma injuries our only role is to help with traffic control, confirm that there is not a crime involved in the collision (Reckless Driving, DUII, etc.) and confirm that all motorists have a valid drivers license and insurance. We will also help those involved fill out an exchange form so they can resolve their differences through their insurance companies."

Ah. Insurance companies. Those unbiased purveyors of justice. Guess what the insurance company representing the driver of the car that turned in front of me "resolved" on my behalf? Allied Insurance a Nationwide® company On Your Side® actually had the nerve to claim that I was the "majority involved" party. In other words, I was more than 51 percent at fault when their insured made a right turn across the bike path I was traveling in, violating my right-of-way. In Colorado that means they pay nothing. Whose side are they on? The driver's, obviously.

So I guess my insurance company will pay my medical bills, buy me a new bike and...wait a minute! First of all, I wasn't driving a car, so which insurance company covers my expenses? Auto? Life? Homeowners? Believe it or not, my auto insurance will cover medical bills up to $5,000 under my "Med Pay" coverage. But when it comes to the damage to my bike, I'm up the proverbial creek. Besides, I AM NOT AT FAULT!

So how did Allied decide I was the "majority involved?" Well, they called Officer Friendly of the Castle Rock Police Department and he shared the same misinformed opinions with them that he shared with me...and even came up with a few new ones!

Remember when Officer Friendly told me that the bike lane I was traveling in ended at the intersection and began again on the other side? [At left: the intersection where the crash occured showing the bike lane in question]. Well, according to Jennifer Seldom* at Allied, he is now saying that the bike lane isn't a bike lane at all, even though it is clearly marked as a bike lane on the police report he himself filed! Apparently Officer Friendly told Jennifer that the five-foot wide "bicycle lane" shown on his report is actually just an "extension of the road."
*name changed to protect me from lawsuits

NOT TRUE, says my lawyer. That's right, I have a lawyer. After reading "Fatal Bias" I e-mailed Bob Mionski and he got right back to me and suggested that I consult with someone who actually knows the LAW regarding cars and bike "interaction" in Colorado and he referred me to Brad Tucker, a cat. 3 road racer and pro attorney in Colorado. Brad is the founder of ColoBikeLaw.com, a site dedicated to informing and advancing the rights of all cyclists, especially in Colorado.

Like a good neighbor, Brad Tucker is truly on my side. Finally, I think I'm in good hands!

Stay tuned for updates as the case unfolds. In the meantime, please remember to Share the Road!

Daren

Friday, November 16, 2007

Getting Back in Shape

I ran yesterday for the first time since my bike accident on September 22. It was painful. Not so much for my collar bone as for my legs and lungs! Based on my time -- 33 minutes to run 3.1 miles -- taking a seven-week hiatus was deterimental to my health! I'm out of shape...but I'm back in training.

For the time being I have to be content with running. I went in for my follow-up appointment with the orthopedic surgeon last Friday and he said my collar bone appears to be healing, but X-rays at this stage aren't able to really see the "new" bone. He pushed on it and said it is moving as one, which tells him it is healing, but he doesn't want me to get on a bike for at least another six weeks after he sees me again and X-rays confirm the bone has healed.

But bike riding is really a moot point right now. I don't have a bike to ride. The dented aluminum frame of my trusty Cannondale Road Warrior has been deemed "unsafe at any speed." The Black Pearl, as some of my cyclist friends dubbed it, is out of commission. That bike has taken me many places -- seven MS150s, three Ride the Rockies, and one four-day, 400-mile trip across Missouri...more than 10,000 miles in all. It has been a great companion, never interrupting me during the hundreds of hours of think time on all those rides (except for an occasional flat tire or minor adjustment). It was my first road bike and I will always remember it (you never forget your first).

I have started looking at new bikes but am not anxious to part with the $2,000-$3,000 it will take to replace it. I was holding out some hope that the car driver's insurance company would reimburse me for the damage to my bike, but it looks like I'm going to have to fight them for it. But that's a long story for another day and I'm so frustrated with her insurance company and Officer Friendly of the Castle Rock Police Department right now that I can't talk about it without getting angry. Suffice it to say that I have retained legal counsel to represent me -- a bike riding lawyer who is passionate about cycling and protecting the rights of cyclists in Colorado.

Stay tuned for more on the unfolding saga of "Whose Fault is it Anyway?"

Daren

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Life is Good, Part II

OK, so the Chiefs lost to Denver. It's not the end of the world. Life is still goood. The brisket turned out awesome...probably my best ever. And the Donkey's fans I invited over were not unreasonably obnoxious. I think most of them realize that beating the Chiefs doesn't make Denver a good team. It just makes them a little less bad than the Chiefs, who have no quarterback, no offensive line, and an injured star running back (Larry Johnson). It's good to see Priest Holmes back in the lineup but no running back is going to fare well behind the blocking of KC's inept offensive line.

So, back to the brisket. I've been trying to perfect brisket for several years now and I think I came very close this time. Question is, can I recreate it? My marinade recipe changes every time I smoke a brisket. It starts with Dale's Steak Seasoning -- the same soy-based marinade I use on steaks. But from there I pretty much just empty all the half empty bottles of whatever sauce I have in the fridge or cupboard. This time I included half a bottle of The Boulder Hot Sauce Company's Harry's Habanero sauce and a bottle of Holen One Farms marinade from Nebraska (given to me by my friends at the Nebraska Beef Council). The final touch was about a third of a packet of Char Crust Roasted Garlic Peppercorn dry rub.

I started marinating the brisket Saturday morning and let it soak up all those good flavors for 12 hours before putting it on the smoker Saturday night around 8:00 p.m. I took it off the smoker right around kick-off (11:00 a.m.) -- 13 hours later! Then I wrapped it in foil and let it rest until half time when the devouring began. After tasting the first slice I knew I had done good. The dozen or so guests seemed to agree. It was gone within about 15 minutes.

Stinkin' Donkey's fans invaded my home, sat on my couch, watched the game on my Samsung 42" plasma TV with six-speaker surround sound home theatre and ate all my brisket!

Regardless, I was eating beef, drinking beer and watching football with friends. Life is still good.

Daren

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Life is Good

It's Sunday, November 11 at 12:11 a.m. and life is good.

I had my six-week follow-up appointment with the orthopedic surgeon on Friday and it appears that my collar bone is healing nicely. I can start running again but not riding yet. But that's a moot point because I don't have a bike to ride. More on that situation later...

The Kansas Jayhawks football team beat Oklahoma State 43-28 tonight to move to 10-0 -- on the same day THE top-ranked Ohio State University football team lost. KU could be ranked #1 this week...in football. Unheard of.

Tomorrow the Kansas City Chiefs host the Denver Broncos in a matchup of mediocre teams who could make the playoffs by winning the mediocre AFC West this year. As a Chiefs fan living in Denver, this is a big game. Bragging rights hang in the balance. And I've gone so far as to host a watch party and invite several Donkey's fans (as well as some fellow Chiefs supporters and neutral parties who will pull for the Chiefs after they taste the slow-smoked beef brisket, pulled pork and Colorado Sausage Company brats I am serving up!).

Time to check on the brisket. Life is good.

Daren

Thursday, October 18, 2007

On the Road Again

Yes, after just three weeks of recovery I am back on the road again. No, not on my bike (I wish). Just back on the business travel road. It has been an eventful return to life on the road featuring prime beef, tornadoes and charbroiled oysters!

After a three-day trip to Columbia, Missouri, I am now in New Orleans for the 2008 National Beef Ambassador competition. But first stop was cousin Wiley's new bachelor pad in Clayton, MO. Determined to experience the semi-urban lifestyle, Wig and I walked to the local Straub's market to pick up some USDA prime beef ribeye steaks. Back at VC's flat we met up with KL and enjoyed a glass or two of fine California wine while grilling the ribeyes to a perfect medium rare and watching the Colorado Rockies sweep the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The next morning I drove to Columbia, MO, for a series of trainings at the Missouri Beef Industry Council -- and a series of severe storms that brought tornadoes across Missouri. Fortunately the tornadoes bypassed Columbia, but I woke up the next morning with an ear ache that led to a trip to an urgent care facility today in Kenner, LA. Yes, Louisiana.

After leaving Columbia yesterday afternoon I caught a flight from St. Louis to New Orleans. Somewhere in route, my ear ache turned into an ear infection. So I had to go to an urgent care facility today -- my second trip to an "emergency room" in the past four weeks. But this time it wasn't in an ambulance!

I can't remember the last time I had an ear infection. I actually wonder if it is related to my bicycle accident. Seriously. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I have only been able to sleep on my left side. The infection is in my left ear, which has spent the past three -- almost four -- weeks pressed against my pillow for 6-8 hours every night!

Whatever the cause, it's not fun to be sick in a strange town. It took three hours to find a doctor to look in my ear, tell me it looked "nasty," give me a shot of steroids and prescribe antibiotics. But with the help of the Louisana Cattlewomen I made it to the urgent care factility, saw the doctor, and got my prescriptions in time to enjoy a dinner of charbroiled oysters at Drago's in Metarie.

So here I am tonight. Sitting in my hotel room, drugged up, stuffed full of oysters and ready to get home to my family, unpack the suitcase and enjoy the rest of the weekend sitting on the couch watching football with a broken collarbone, infected ear and grateful heart. Hey, at least I'm here, experiencing the ups and downs, joys and sorrows and aches and pains of life!

Daren

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Chicago Takes Heat Over Marathon

I find it interesting to read all of the news coverage about the Chicago Marathon -- most of it criticizing organizers for their handling of the unusually high heat and humidity during the race this past Sunday. Some people seem to think the event was too big, some think officials should have cancelled the race sooner and still others think it should not have been cut short. I think they're all a bunch of Monday morning quarterbacks who should sit in their Lazy Boys and find something else to write about.

First of all, the runner who died had a common heart condition known as mitral valve prolapse. We had a man die of a heart attack in a 5K race in Kansas City two years ago in optimal weather conditions. Was the race too big? No. Too hot? No. Was the death the fault of the race organizers? No. Obviously, a death in a race is tragic, but are we going to start requiring every participant to pass a physical? I sure hope not. Even that would not prevent injury or death.

Second, the heat and humidity were high, but not terribly unusual or life threatening. According to the chart below from WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune, the high temperature was 84F at noon with a heat index of 92F, which means the relative humidity was about 70%. And it was only 83 F with a heat index of 89F when organizers decided to close the course to runners not past the halfway point around 11:30 -- three and half hours into the race (which is not unreasonable).

Sporting events like this are held all over the country in worse conditions, just not as high profile as the Chicago Marathon (in other words, the media doesn't pay much attention). For example, the Vineman 70.3 Half Ironman triathlon in July featured temps and humidity near 90. According to my MotionBased track of the event we reached a high of 89.6F and 88% relative humidity. I ran those numbers through the National Weather Service's Heat Index Calculator and came up with a heat index of 116F! No wonder I felt like I was dying towards the end of the run!

But I didn't die because I stayed hydrated. Heat becomes deadly when you sweat excessively and don't replace fluids. When you become dehyrdated, heat remains in your blood and your organs slowly cook (see below). The one valid criticism I have read is there wasn't enough water available on the course. That is a problem and is probably why many runners were unable to finish. Even then, I understand many runners were using the water cups to pour water on themselves - which may feel good but does nothing to prevent dehydration. That's just selfish and stupid and not the fault of the organizers.

So I have decided that criticizing the organizers is unfair. The criticism really belongs on the backs of the participants who failed to prepare properly, stay hydrated and didn't stop themselves before their body shut down on its own. The bottomline is every participant needs to know their own abilities and pay attention to warning signs.

The Chicago Marathon is yet another example of where we need to accept a little more responsibility for our own health and safety. It's time to stop suing McDonald's for obesity, blaming Crocs for elevator accidents and criticizing race organizers for Mother Nature. I certainly know I will be more careful the next time I ride my bike (and will continue to wear my helmet)!

Daren

P.S. Overhydrating can also be dangerous. Excessive water consumption can result in a condition called hyponatremia, better known as water intoxication. Hyponatremia occurs when the sodium concerntration in plasma falls too low, probably as a result of drinking too much water while losing too much salt.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

An Exercise in Empathy

If you ever get to feeling too comfortable in life, try wearing an immobilizing sling on your good arm for a week (you can borrow mine when I'm done with it!). It's a great exercise in empathy. Consider the millions of people living with disabilities for their entire lives. We live in a two-handed, walking upright world of sight and sound. Losing any one of those abilities requires you to adapt in a big way. I'm thankful my disability is temporary.

Over two weeks have passed since I collided with a car and broke my right collar bone. I believe my body's natural healing process is working as intended. I can tell because I no longer feel the sensation of the broken bones rubbing together, catching, popping loose, etc. The broken area seems to have stabilized. The initial pain has moderated to discomfort. No longer a pain in my shoulder, the break is now more just a pain in the butt!

Every little task is tougher -- shaving, brushing my teeth, putting in and taking out my contacts, buttoning my shirt, grilling steaks, typing on a computer (ever tried hitting "control/alt/delete" with one hand?). I'm getting pretty good at doing all these things left-handed, but I'm sure it will go back to being the lazy limb once my right is functional again. Sleeping is still difficult, since I can only lay in one position comfortably. But I'm even getting used to that.

Not being able to drive is the biggest inconvenience. I hate being dependent on Leslie to drive me around. One side benefit, though, is commuting together. We're saving gas money and spending more time together. We should keep this going after I'm able to drive again, but probably won't because she won't let me listen to my radio station and I take up the space where she keeps her "stuff." Major issues ;)

Every time I feel like complaining I think about my friend Eldon Roush, a Cat 3 cyclist who was in a serious accident during a race this past April 28 near Lawrence, Kansas, breaking his C5 and C6 vertebrae. The doctors say the odds are that Eldon will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair, but he is determined to beat those odds. Leslie and I went to school with Eldon at Ottawa University, where he played on the OU Braves football team. We reconnected when we moved to KC 10 years ago and as I got into cycling and triathlons, Eldon always encouraged me and would invite me to ride with him, even though it meant he'd have to slack off considerably in order to avoid leaving me in the dust! And now Eldon encourages me and so many other people who are following his road to recovery.

To read more about Eldon's inspirational story, log on to http://www.carepages.com/, complete a short, free registration process, and enter the Carepage name "eldonroush." You will be inspired by Eldon's faith, determination and positive attitude. Here is the most recent entry from his CarePage:



26 September 26, 2007 at 07:48 PM CDT
Sometimes I feel like Job, the bible character. It seems like so many things have been taken from me in order to test whether or not I still believe in God. So much of my life was built around the ability to walk. I loved the outdoors; everything outdoors and this was taken from me. Other things, too numerous to mention have also gone wrong since that April morning, yet, so many things have been given to me in return. Friends, family, and people I do not even know have willingly given us money, remodeled our house and offered up their prayers. The weekend of September 8th was yet another example. A charity ride held in conjunction with the Tour of Missouri (pro bicycle race) was held to raise money for me to cover medical expenses. The initial estimate was that about 100 – 200 riders would attend. That Sunday, over 600 riders showed up – what a truly amazing and overwhelming sight. That Tuesday, the first stage of the race held on the Plaza, Janet and I arrived on the Plaza to find a huge banner that said, “The Tour of Missouri Supports Eldon Roush”. Again, this was a humbling honor and a testament to God’s power. Truly, like Job, what was taken from me has been rewarded back to me thrice.

I would write more updates, but I feel that since the progress happens more slowly now that I would be wasting everyone’s time. Every week, though, I am able to look back at the prior week and see that progress has been made. Every therapy session we work on standing and walking in the parallel bars. I have gotten to the point where I can stand without any assistance from the therapist (my hands are on the bars, though) work on balance. We then take steps. My ability to stay up is good, but I am still having a really hard time lifting my foot up enough to move it forward. When I can lift it up or the therapist lifts it up for me, then I am able to kick it forward. When we are not working on standing, then we work on core strength. I do things like crawling and then standing in a kneel position. All of this is so very hard. If you want more updates or other stories from me on a more frequent basis, then let me know with your feedback. By the way, last Saturday, I was able to get on my riding mower and mow the yard. What a great feeling to do something for a change. Never give up, never stop trying.

Keep the faith, Eldon. We are all pulling for you!

Daren

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Share the Road...Please!

One week ago I was sitting in the emergency room at Sky Ridge Medical Center. I'm glad I'm not there this afternoon, but I must say I'd much rather be out riding my bike than sitting at my computer posting this on my blog! The pain is now mostly discomfort and the frustration is setting in. Five more weeks to go before I can run again and several months before I can get back on a bike. By then the new Share the Road license plates should be available, reminding drivers to watch out for cyclists. Maybe this will prevent accidents like the one that put me out of commission. If you are a cyclist in Colorado or are a driver who supports the rights of cyclists to share the road with four-wheeled vehicles, you can support the cause by ordering a Share the Road license plate today. Click here for more information.

The Colorado Department of Transportation has joined the effort with the "Share the Road. Don't be a Road Hog." campaign, offering these tips for motorists:

* Focus on driving. Avoid using cell phones and other personal devices while driving.
* Keep your eye on cyclists and pedestrians. They have a right to use all the roads in Colorado unless expressly prohibited.
* Keep track of them in your rear and side mirrors.
* Slow down.



I especially appreciate the "Keep track of them in your rear and side mirrors." In my case that would have prevented the collision, I'd still be riding, and a certain silver Dodge Intrepid would still have a side mirror to keep track of cyclists!

Share the Road....please.

Daren

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Missing Pieces

Ever since my accident last Saturday I have been trying to fill in the missing pieces. What exactly happened after I collided with the car? (I don't remember anything between the initial impact and lying on my back in the middle of the road). My first stop in this investigation was the Castle Rock Police Department, where I picked up a copy of the official State of Colorado Traffic Accident Report. Unfortunately, the report didn't reveal much of anything. In fact, it left out some critical information. For example, the "artist's rendering" of the accident ended at the moment of impact. This bugged me so much that I took it upon myself to fill in the missing pieces: my bruised and broken body lying in the middle of the road and my bike lying in the grass on the far side of the intersection (see below).Whatever happened to the eyewitness who stood over me and promised to hang around to tell the police what she saw? Officer Friendly explained that she didn't really have anything to add, so he didn't take her statement. This was obviously an open and shut case of a 215lb. cyclist failing to yield to a 2,000+ lb. car. I'd still like to talk to her. Maybe she can shed some light on how my bike got the mysterious dent in the top tube that looks like it might have been caused by my own body landing on it. Was I separated from my bike on impact with the car or did we fly through the air together and come crashing to the pavement like some sort of X Games routine gone horribly wrong?

Speaking of missing pieces, what happened to the rest of my collar bone? I can see it in the X-ray, but when I look in the mirror it looks like it was stolen from my body by aliens straight from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Hmmm. Maybe that's what happened between impact with the car and impact with the ground. Maybe aliens caught me in mid air, removed part my collar bone, and placed me back on the pavement flat on my back. Maybe they accidentally warped the aluminum frame of my bike while beaming us up into their flying saucer. And maybe the eyewitness was an alien who hung around just to make sure nobody else saw what really happened.

Or maybe I hit my head on the pavement harder than I thought :)

Daren

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bicyclists Beware: Road Rules Favor Four Wheels













When it comes to the road...cars rule. As much as Colorado boasts being "bicycle friendly," the fact is that the laws favors our four-wheeled friends. I learned this lesson the hard way today, when Officer Friendly* of the Castle Rock Police Department politely explained why I was lucky he didn't cite me for "failure to yield" to the car that I so rudely crashed into on Saturday.
*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those who protect and serve.

It's an important lesson for all cyclists, so thought I'd share what I learned:

First, every cyclist knows that bicycles have to follow the rules of the road, just like all other vehicles. As Officer Friendly graciously clarified, it was my responsibility to yield to the car turning in front of me, just as I would if I had been driving a car. I get that. However, apparently cars and trucks don't have to treat bikes like other vehicles. For example, cars can pass us on a residential street and turn in front us without yielding -- even though we are in a designated bike lane. I don't get that.

Second, a bike lane is not really a traffic lane. A car turning across a bike lane has no obligation to check to make sure that lane is free of bike traffic. However, if a bike wants to turn left across a lane of traffic we must, of course, check to make sure that lane is clear. In other words, if I had passed the car in the bike lane, signaled, then turned left in front of the car, I would have been at fault when the car ran over me. I get that. But if the car passes me and turns right in front of me causing me to crash, I am at fault. I don't get that.

By the way, according to the police report (above) there was only one "vehicle" involved in this accident. So, is a bike a vehicle or not? Not...according to the report. Apparently we are both "Traffic Units" (TUs) but not all traffic units are created equal. This seems like a vehicular double standard.

I don't harbor any ill will towards the driver and certainly don't blame Officer Friendly. As he courteously reminded me, his job is to enforce the laws as written, and those laws, at least in Colorado, don't favor cyclists. The bottom-line is, regardless of who was at fault, I'm the one sitting around with my right arm in a sling. In a car vs. bike collision the car always wins. So the only real rule to follow is: let the bicyclist beware.

On a lighter note, my favorite part of the accident report is found in the final lines of the accident description: "TU1 (me) struck TU2 (the car) in it's front right driver side door, mirror and bumper (it was actually the passenger side) with its front portion (my left knee). This caused the rider of TU1 to fall its bicycle [sic]. TU2 remained on all four wheels (wouldn't it be a great story if I had knocked the car over on its side!)."

Somehow Officer Friendly's sterile description just doesn't capture the drama and violence of my body hurtling through the air, crashing to the ground shattering my collar bone and skidding across the pavement! Somebody needs to teach these guys a little creative writing.

Daren

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Road to Recovery

Leslie and I paid a visit to the orthopedic surgeon today, Dr. Craig Loucks of Peak Orthopedic. We both left feeling a whole lot better about the recovery process and a lot more knowledgeable about how bones heal. With a crude drawing on a piece of paper, which I recreated on the X-ray below, he explained that after a fracture, the body sends new bone cells to the site. Those cells bind together and "weave" new bone into the "fracture gap" restoring some of the original strength. That woven bone is eventually replaced by bone that is as strong as the original bone. Regarding surgery, Dr. Loucks explained that he rarely recommends surgery on collar bones, preferring to leave them to heal on their own, but that he would consider surgery in my case for two reasons: 1) the severity of the fracture, and 2) a recent study on clavicle fractures found that surgery can improve healing in of severe fractures (it was previously believed that surgery was not as effective as letting the body heal itself). Of course, there are risks with any surgery -- esp. infection -- so he recommended giving it six weeks and reevaluating. Surgery is still an option at that point if things don't go well, but Dr. Loucks said he gave it a 90 percent chance of healing on its own.

Given his explanation, and the fact that I slept well last night, feel 100% better than yesterday and haven't had to take any pain medication, I decided to give my body a chance to do what God designed it to do! If all goes well, I should be back on my bike shortly after the new year (unless we're uner several feet of snow like last winter!).

Speaking of my bike, I'm still shocked that it looks nearly untouched, with the exception of a large dent in the top tube. Not sure how that happened, but I wonder if it was me landing on the bike. Whatever the cause, the frame is shot.

The other shocker is the damage to my helmet. Again, it doesn't look too bad, but the styrofoam core is cracked through, indicating a significant impact.

Soapbox time: Everytime I see somebody without a helmet -- usually a soccer mom out for a ride around the neighborhood with her kids -- I knock on my helmet and yell, "Hey mom (or dad), where's YOUR helmet?" So stupid. If I hadn't been wearing a helmet I could be dead...or worse (brain dead). So if you ride without a helmet, do me and your family a favor and go buy one today. Yes, it will mess up your hairdo, but if you ride hard or long enough to call it exercise, you'll need a shower anyway :)

While inspecting my bike I also noticed a major flat spot on my rear tire -- from skidding across the pavement with my brakes locked up. That's really the last thing I remember before I was lying on my back looking up at a woman asking if I was OK. She was in the car. Several people have asked me if the car stopped. They did. And they took good care of me. When I find out who they are I will thank them for that.

Thanks to everyone who has written or called. I appreciate your concern, but I am on the road to recovery...and there is no speed limit!

Daren

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Break in Training

I went out for a short ride today and ended up riding in an ambulance to Sky Ridge Medical Center. Leslie picked me up there and drove me home with my right arm in a sling with a badly broken collarbone. As you can see in this X-ray, my right clavicle is broken in two places.
So, I won't be riding...or running...or swimming...anytime soon. Guess maybe I'm due for a break (pun intended) after a full summer of events including my first Half Ironman triathlon, my first (and second) half marathon, and my third Ride the Rockies.

My last ride of the summer ended about a mile from my house on a steep downhill in my neighborhood. I left my house heading out on my normal route, but for whatever reason I decided to go straight across Coachline Road into a new section of The Meadows, rather than turning left and heading towards the mountains. It was one of those decisions that you later regret and wonder how things would be different if you hadn't made it.

As I headed along Foothills Drive, two cars passed on my left, but then the downhill grade got steeper and I picked up speed, keeping pace with the cars. Coasting at a good clip in the bike lane on the right, I suddenly realized the cars were slowing down. I began braking, but then the car ahead signaled a right hand turn onto a side street. I hit the brakes harder, but 215 lbs. traveling downhill at 35 mph carries a lot of momentum. My rear tire locked up and began fishtailing and as the car began to turn right it became evident I was not going to stop in time.

Whether I hit the car or the car hit me, one thing is for certain...in a car vs. bike collision, the car always wins. Fortunately the impact was more of a glancing blow than a direct hit, but it was enough to launch me into the air. The next thing I knew I was lying on my back in the middle of the intersection. At the time I didn't think I blacked out -- or as the EMT guy in the ambulance radioed to the hospital, I "denied losing consciousness" -- but I must have because I don't remember flying through the air or landing on the asphalt on my right shoulder.

I laid on my back until the ambulance arrived, without moving...except to make sure I could move my arms and legs. I felt remarkably OK, except for the pain in my shoulder. After a bumpy and painful ambulance ride, the X-rays confirmed what I already knew (I could feel the break in my collarbone when I ran my fingers along it). The folks at Sky Ridge, including Mike and Chad (at left), took great care of me and took care of the pain with some intraveneous dilaudid.

So as I sit on my couch tonight watching Saving Private Ryan and typing this with my left hand, I'm feeling pretty lucky. I could, and probably should, be hurting much worse than I am.

Oh, in case you were wondering, my bike is toast. The aluminum frame is bent. But it was about time to upgrade to carbon anyway :) I'm not sure about the car. As I was loaded into the ambulance, I saw the passenger side mirror dangling from a wire. From the look of the cuts on my left knee, my guess is I took the mirror off with it as I went over the top of my handlebars.

No doubt about it, though, the car won.
Daren

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It's All About the Beef

After running the Chicago Half Marathon on September 9, I stayed in Chicago for the National Beef Cook-Off and Food Media Seminar on September 11-12. In fact, I felt like I never stopped running (until I got back to Denver and went for a bike ride on Saturday!). It was a great week for beef. Food editors and cook-off contestants from across the country gathered in one giant celebration of beef hosted by celebrity chef Guy Fieri, host of "Guy's Big Bite" and "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" on TV's Food Network.

Meeting Guy, with his bleached blond hair, goatee, skateboarder shorts and signature sunglasses perpetually perched on the back of his head, I was impressed with how "down-to-earth" he is. Perhaps its because his mom was a "California Cowbelle" (now known as the California Cattlewomen)...and he is a beef lover.

[Above: Guy chatting with Mary Bartz, director of food communications for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association; Below: hamming it up with Shenoa French of the Beef Demonstration Center].

In fact, beef was one of the first meals Guy ever cooked for his family. As he told the story at the National Beef Cook-Off Gala Awards banquet, one day, after complaining about the meal his mom had prepared (apparently he's not a big fan of eggplant parmesan), she told him that if he didn't like it he could fix his own dinner. So the next night he picked up two thick, juicy ribeyes on the way home from school and pan fried them with a combination of spices he found in the cupboard...and the rest is history!

The National Beef Cook-Off was a great way to showcase the versatility and convenience of beef as contestants competed in four new categories: New Dynamic Beef Dishes, Nuevo Latino, Kids in the Kitchen and "Small Plates, Big Tastes" Grilled for Everyday Entertaining. [At left: several of the beef dishes on display at the Cook-Off].

The theme of the entire week can best be summed up as follows: Beef is a great-tasting, versatile, and convenient way to add lean, nutrient-rich protein to a healthy diet.

This year's winner, Christine Riccitelli, took home the $50,000 "Best of Beef" grand prize for her "Nuevo Chipotle Beef Butternut Squash Boats" [At left: Christine celebrates with one of her two sons, who flew to Chicago for the awards banquet]. Christine is a big believer in the benefits of beef, often reminding her "hiking" girlfriends they would have to eat more than six chicken breasts to get the Vitamin B12 and Zinc in a serving of beef and almost three breasts to get the same amount of Iron. Ounce for ounce, chicken just doesn't stack up!

Bottom-line: Beef is the king of proteins. Beef is rich in nutrients, tastes great, and is quick and easy to prepare. Beef. Pick some up on your next trip to the grocery store. Your family will thank you. Beef. It's what's for dinner!

Daren

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ode to Bernie

Last night at dinner with Team ZIP, as we shared stories from the Half Marathon, I realized I had left out the most painful and parts in yesterday's post. So here's the rest of the stories...

Running with Bucky through the crowded field of runners -- over 12,000 in all -- we got lots of comments on our "Beef It's What's For Dinner" running jerseys. Most were supportive, but we do run into an occasional vegan at these types of events...there's one in every crowd. Somewhere around mile three I ran past a guy who then shouted: "BEEF? I'M A VEGETARIAN!" So Bucky, who was right behind me, passsed him and said, "that's too bad, you could be running faster!" I think Andy Rooney got it right when he said, "Vegetarian is an old indian word for 'lousy hunter.'"

After everyone finished the race and we reveled in our accomplishment (the best part of running a half marathon is sitting around afterwards be thankful that it's over!), Leslie and I headed off to catch a cab back to our hotel to get cleaned up and find someplace to eat lunch and watch the Chiefs game. Of course, about 10,000 other people had the same idea. Two hours later, after walking several miles, calling every cab company in Chicago, and waiting for a commuter train that never came, we hitched a ride with a native Chicagoan named Bernie.

[At left, Bucky and I congratulate each other after starting and ending the race together]

I found Bernie loading a bike onto his car and asked if he could help us get back into downtown where we could catch a cab. But Bernie, who is preparing to celebrate the Jewish High Holy Days, insisted on taking us all the way to our hotel on the North side of the Loop. He explained that one of the lessons of High Holy Days is to be kind to strangers because the Jews were once strangers in a strange land. One thing is for sure, Bernie was a godsend, rescuing Leslie and I from our temporary purgatory!

Meanwhile, Michaele, Shenoa, JoDee, Deanne, Caroline and Bucky headed to Hot Chocolate for brunch. Unshowered and still wearing their Beef jerseys, the group enjoyed a wonderful, relaxing meal while Leslie and I traipsed around, sweating, tired and in pain (even Leslie was hurting after walking for miles in a thin pair of fashionable flip flops). But as we got back to our hotel, got cleaned up and headed to ESPN Zone, their problems began.

[At left: The Great Unwashed]

After dropping off JoDee and Bucky, Michaele and Shenoa headed to O'Hare to drop Deanne off for her flight back to Denver. Unfortunately nobody told them I-90 was down to one lane (even though construction crews weren't working on Sunday!). So a quick trip to the airport turned into a two-hour crawl through Chicago traffic. Anyway, Deanne missed her original flight but caught a later one. Did I mention that she still had not showered?

And speaking of the great unwashed, JoDee headed out to a sportsbar with her friend Shilpa after changing clothes...but not showering. Apparently she passed Shilpa's sniff test and was deemed good to go. Perhaps it had something to do with Shilpa's desire to get to the bar and watch her Patriot's beat the Jets!

And finally, after returning to their bachelorette pad in Lincoln Park, Shenoa, Michaele and Caroline were able to catch a quick nap, get cleaned up and meet Bucky and I for dinner at Rockit. It had been a long day for everyone, but we decided to make it even longer and headed to Howl At the Moon, home of "The World's Greatest Rock-n-Roll Dueling Piano Show."

Now we're off to dinner at Quartino...too many great restaurants here and too little time!

Daren

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Team Zip Conquers the Chicago Half

It's a beautiful September day in Chicago. The sun is shining in a beautiful blue sky. And Team ZIP shone brightly this morning in our first official team outing -- the Chicago Half Marathon. Eight beef lovers began the run at 8:30 a.m. this morning and eight of us finished the 13.1-mile course along Chicago's famous Lake Shore Drive. Congratulations to Shenoa French, Michaele Musel, JoDee George, Jessica Gordon, Bucky Gwartney, Caroline Junkin and Deanne Beard! And thanks to my wife, Leslie, who served as Team ZIP official photographer and cheerleader for the event.

Bucky (at left, shirtless) and I (at left in my new Team ZIP jersey) began the run together and finished together one hour and 56 minutes later -- 4 minutes under my goal of two hours! It was a personal best for me (by almost 13 minutes!), but not for Bucky, who's personal best (1:46) came earlier this year in the Sandhills Half Marathon in Valentine, Nebraska -- his first! Bucky and I have both run three half marathons in our lifetimes...all this summer! We both felt good about our average pace of 8:44/mile (according to my new Forerunner 305 wrist-mounted GPS navigator).

JoDee, Shenoa and Michaele (at left) started together and finished within a few minutes of each other. This was Shenoa and Michaele's first half marathon. Both trained hard and were glad when it was all over! Shenoa's friend and formerr swimming coach, Deanne, ran a strong race -- her third half marathon this summer.

[At left: Caroline cruises along mid-way through the race; Below left: Jessica catches her breath moments after crossing the finish line]

I was proud of everyone on the team. We all finshed the race while spreading the word that beef gives you ZIP -- zinc, iron and protein -- the stuff your body needs to strenghten and sustain you through a 13.1-mile run!
We'll continue spreading that message this week during the National Beef Cook-Off in Chicago. Stay tuned for pictures from the Cook-Off later this week!

Daren

Friday, August 31, 2007

Goin' to Kansas City

Actually, "Went to Kansas City" would be more appropriate but it's a lot less catchy than the title of the famous jazz tune by Wilbert Harrison. The truth is I was in Kansas City last week and am just now getting around to writing about my trip. In any event, it was good to get back to KC, see some old friends and pick up some new Chiefs gear to wear back in Denver. I just hope my beloved Chiefs look better in their first game this weekend than they did in preseason!

While in KC attending a meeting at the Westin Crown Center, I went for a run through downtown, past Liberty Memorial, Union Station and the new Sprint Arena (at left) that opens on October 13 with a sold out Elton John concert. It's great to see the new arena taking shape and helping reshape downtown Kansas City.

Downtown Kansas City, once on the verge of becoming a ghost town, is now one big construction zone. The new 17-story H&R Block World Headquarters sits in the middle of the mess, waiting for the rest of the city to catch up. But it won't be long before the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Power and Light District, and other new attractions complete the dramatic transformation of downtown KC.

Before heading back to Denver last Friday I had a unique opportunity to visit the worldwide headquarters of Garmin, manufacturer of global positioning systems for flying, driving, running, cycling, hiking, hunting, and boating. I am a huge fan of the Garmin Forerunner and Edge GPS-enabled running and cycling computers, so it was cool to visit the place where these amazing gadgets are made.

My friend and former colleague Ted Gartner (left) is the manager of media relations for Garmin, so I got a private tour of the manufacturing, warehouse/shipping and marketing departments. It is an impressive operation. I loved seeing boxes and boxes of Garmin products ready for shipping to stores across the country. Ted tells me that every device Garmin passes through that facility in humble Olathe, Kansas.

Next stop: It's back to the Windy City for the running of the Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday and the National Beef Cook-Off next week.

Daren

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Running Through Enemy Territory

I love living in Colorado. But as a native Kansan -- and Kansas City Chiefs fan -- football season is an interesting time to live in Denver. This was especially true today as I ran the Fans on the Field 10K in downtown Denver with fellow Chicago Half Marathon trainees Deann, Shenoa and Michaele (pictured with me at left).

Fans on the Field is a fundraising run for the National Sports Center for the Disabled that takes runners through Coors Field (home of the Colorado Rockies), the Pepsi Center (home of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalance) and finally Invesco Field at Mile High (home of the Denver Donkeys).

[At left: runners loop through Coors Field around mile 3 of Fans on the Field 2007]

Those of you who follow pro football will remember that the Donkey's self-destructed in the final game of last season to allow the Chiefs to go on to the playoffs. So, of course, I just had to take the opportunity to rub it in the face of all the Denver fans in the run. The only problem is that I didn't have any KC Chiefs logo running apparel, so I printed Arrowheads on Avery Ink Jet labels and stuck them on my hat, shorts and shirt! Unfortunately, following last night's pitiful performance in a preseason game against Dallas, the Donkey fans didn't take the bait. I didn't hear a single negative comment. In fact, the only comments I heard were from fellow Chiefs fans cheering me on!

Fans on the Field began at Mile High and headed along the Platte River to Coors Field, where we ran into the stadium, across the warning track and back out the way we came. From there we headed towards the Pepsi Center where we ran in one side and out the other, heading back towards Mile High. When we got back to Mile High the course took us in the north end of the stadium, along the sideline and back out the south end to the finish line.

[At left and below: Deann crosses the finish line followed by Shenoa and Michaele]

As we entered the stadium we were greeted by "Miles" the Denver Donkey mascot. As I passed him I yelled "Go Chiefs" and he bagan to chase me. But much like a Donkey defenseman trying to run down Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, the gap widened as I sprinted into the stadium and towards the opposite end zone.

The extra motivation was just enough to send me across the finish line just under my goal of 55:48 (9:00 min/mile). According to the official race results I finished in 55:29 for an average of 8:56/mile.
Thanks, "Miles," for giving me the push I needed to meet my goal!

Overall I finished 91st out of 192 men and 22nd out of 48 men in my division. I'm always happy to finish in the top half. So, feeling good about the effort, I kicked back on the grass in front of Invesco Field for a couple of refreshing malt beverages. It was a beautiful day. I could have taken a nap right there but the "honey do" list back at home included installing a ceiling fan in our kitchen, so I headed south to Castle Rock.

Coming up this week, my running tour of the country includes stops in Great Bend, Kansas and Dublin, Ohio. Woo hoo!

Daren