Month: November 2015

Colossal Vail 50/50

Colossal Vail 50/50

My quest to complete a 50 miler brought me to Tucson to run the Colossal Vail 50/50.  I found it kinda funny that I left home for a race in Tucson that had 40 people in my distance (100-125 overall) the same weekend a 40,000 runner Rock & Roll event was held back home in Vegas.  40 people on a beautiful trail, 40,000 people jammed together on pavement?  I made the right choice!


The race was crazy well organized for such a small event, somewhere around 150 volunteers for a race of only 100-125 people.

This is a very nice fast course.  One could run this whole thing, there isn’t any technical portions and very smooth trail. … I couldn’t run the whole thing, it’s more of ‘in theory’ you could run the whole thing.  🙂


The design of the course is a double out and back – 34 mile out and back south and a 20 mile out and back going north.  There are no real killer sections, but the climb from mile 12-16 before the turnaround and then the mid day heat on the return half of the 50k knocked a lot of people out of the 50 mile.   So watch yourself there.


The deserts in Tucson are more varied than the Mojave desert in Las Vegas.  The trail flows between the scrubby desert with scrubby bushes that I’m used to, to the greener deserts you see in old westerns.  In the north portion, you get the saguaro cactus forest that AZ is more famous for.  Though at that point I was just trying to survive to the next check point so maybe I was imagining things.


I’ve done several trail races, this was the first course that was on an active section of the trail.  Several day hikers and through hikers were out on the trail.  I’d imagine its because that even though there was no huge ‘payoff’ vista or anything, this was a good solid trail – a place and a route you’d actually go for a hike even if there was no race.


So about the volunteers and aid stations, there really were more volunteers than participants.  There was an unofficial bacon aid station at a road crossing as well as pork chops at the 50k aid station!


The most famous runner in any race is generally the fastest.  The second most famous is the person at the back.  That’s the person that is keeping all the volunteers out on the course.  From Mile 34-48 I was that person!  🙂 Though there was a runner still on the course after I DNF’d – but I was famous for a while.  I bring that up because there were at least a half dozen mountain bike volunteers out sweeping the course and making sure I was ok.

When I made it back to the finish line (via a car) there was still a ton of food left.  A nice treat for me – as a back of the pack finisher in trail races–  finish line food is usually very picked over.  In fact, the camp fire was still going and it looked like the ‘party’ would continue for hours after I left for my hotel.



Syrian Refugees

Regarding the US political debate to the Syrian Refugees:

I have a different take on the current refugee crisis.  I disagree with the reasoning of the Republican governors but I agree with blocking the refugees.

I’m not opposed to letting Syrians into the US, I’m opposed to the current administration’s handling of immigration policy in general.  If there was a rational plan to handle immigration in general then Syrians, Canadians, Mexicans, Iranians, whatever. I think everyone should want to live in the USA.

I believe in a very generous immigration policy.  I think we should welcome just about anyone who wants to come to America to work hard.  I think that should be the legal policy.

The problem is I’m opposed to circumventing the existing immigration policies.  I’m a person who believes in following rules.  The losers in all of this are the people outside our borders that want in but want to follow the rules.  That’s crazy.  Let the people who want to follow the rules in and make it more difficult for those who don’t want to follow the rules.

I’m torn between compassion for a people that are being driven from their homes because everyone in the world seems to be bombing  them versus a US President who’s immigration policy is destructive to the country.  This is a crisis that is tough to solve because the president played a game of chicken regarding immigration.  Not to mention that it is our poorly designed foreign policy that is partially to blame for the problem.

If you are on the pro-allowing the refugees in side, please cut the governors some slack.  The President has been taking advantage of the governors for years now and they’ve had to suck it up.  Now they have an issue that they have some traction with — sure it is xenophobic but if the President won’t engage them with moderate discussions, the best option sometimes is rallying more hardcore voters.

But you look healthy

A ‘complaint’ I find occassionaly from people with Chronic Illness is frustration when people say “But you look healthy”.

I think I understand that complaint, but as a parent with a child with a chronic illiness “looking healthy” messes with how I evaluate situations.  My daughter is happy and looks healthy during the day afternoon.  She does school work and goofs around as I would expect.

She won’t get up in the morning.  She probably won’t get up until close to noon.  Is it fatigue? She is on some powerful medicine that absolutely has fatigue side effects.  She went to bed at 8-8:30.  She is a teenager – teenagers frequently are difficult and stubborn.  She looks healthy, all outward appearance (save one) look good.

So as a parent I have to evaluate whether my kids are healthy enough to go to school.  Fever? – Nope. Runny nose? Nope. Puking? Nope.  Sounds like a school day.  All symptoms I can physically see.

You went to bed at 8?  Yep.  Ok you had plenty of sleep – go to school.  Oh you’re still tired.  How am I supposed to process that?

Again,  I think I can understand the basis for the complaint about “looking healthy” and it is way too easy for people to judge and evaluate other people’s situations.  But we evaluate situations based on how we ‘know’ the world is supposed to work.  How else are we to make decisions?  I’d rather you just not be sick 🙂 but we all have to deal with the world as we find it.