Jul 17, 2015 at 4:19 am #2215325Hiking MaltoBPL Member
thanks for the Writeup. Couple questions.
1) are you thinking the respiratory issues were caused but the Reds dust, exertion, or combination? one thing I have noticed on some of my more aggressive runs/hikes is that I can feel my immune system weaken, as weird as that sounds. It has been common for minor scratches to become infected and other such signs. Wonder if that could be what's happened with you.
2) You seem to have a very well thought out plan. have you consider breaking your sleep in a couple chunks, 2x2hours vs. 4 hour. I know of one FKT attempt on the AT where this was the strategy. (He was on great pace until an incident knocked him off the trail.)
I also loved your examination of where the push of the pressure "takes away the fun". it really made me think about my long days, which side of the line did they fall? Maybe time has softened the memory but at least most of them thankfully still fall into fun range.
Sounds like you learned a lot. I would be surprised if there isn't a Take 2.Jul 17, 2015 at 5:00 am #2215329Peter RodriguesBPL Member
@prodriguesLocale: New York
Great attempt and excellent documentation of your trip and the logistics. I think the single biggest takeaway for me was the notion of night hiking the more vertical sections, since speed is not of the essence. Never thought of it that way.Jul 17, 2015 at 7:08 am #2215346Art …BPL Member
Ralph – your detailed public documentation of your effort is very generous, and helpful to all, whether or not we may attempt the same thing.
Great Effort !Jul 17, 2015 at 8:12 am #2215364
"are you thinking the respiratory issues were caused but the Reds dust, exertion, or combination"
I think the body under immense stress, with a huge calorie deficit over several days, is just less able to cope with any pathogenic challenge, whether it's a wound infection or a respiratory infection. You're breathing constantly through the mouth, and the JMT can be a particularly dry and dusty trail. On my trip, it was quite cold and raining the afternoon/evening of day 1, which may have been a factor.
From this thread (which is a great read):
"The air and water of Evolution Basin is horrible. The air is so dry that it turns your lungs into beef jerky and your throat gets extremely parched in the process. Add to it the harsh quality of water that has all the minerals leeching into it from all the rocks of the Basin, and you know that it does not only look prehistoric, it feels this way. I could never get rid of the parched throat syndrome from that point, and pretty soon started to develop the so called “JMT cough”. Most runners who tried running JMT developed this cough at some point on the trail, which is when your lungs become contaminated with some sort of a greenish mass, and you just cough out solid chunks of it out of your trachea. It can get rather violent in the later stages of the run, especially when aggravated by the dust of Reds Meadow and often it keeps you from getting sleep at crew stops."
"Fortunately from this point the trail was predominantly downhill to Red’s with only a few minor climbs. I could more or less stumble all the way to Red’s which was kinda sorta what I did. During this stretch my lungs started to really deteriorate. I guess the endless hours of breathing dust along the JMT eventually took its toll and I developed a nasty cough accompanied by wheezing and fluid buildup deep within the lungs. When going up Tully Hole and toward Duck Pass Junction my maximum power output really started to plummet [ Duck Lake Junction]. At the time I thought the problem was my lungs. I figured they were becoming less efficient with the irritation, fluid, and stuff, and that they simply could no longer provide enough oxygen."
As for me in particular – I may have a weakness there. When I was a kid I know I had a susceptibility – if a cold was going around, often for me it would develop into mild bronchitis. I also smoked, sometimes heavily, for a large part of my life, which can't have helped! It's a big worry if I try again, of course. Given the similarity of Michael and Brett experiences, it may be one of the perennial challenges of this particular course that I'm just not well suited to cope with.Jul 17, 2015 at 8:19 am #2215366
"You seem to have a very well thought out plan. have you consider breaking your sleep in a couple chunks, 2x2hours vs. 4 hour."
I tried to find some scientific literature on sleep deprivation, but could not find much that helped. My gut feel (which may only apply to myself) is that 1 longer sleep is better for my mental state. On a purely physical level, perhaps 2 shorter rests might be better.
But remember that however efficient you are as a fastpacker, there's always a certain amount of messing around before you actually get your head down; and although I usually sleep very quickly and soundly, I found it took half an hour or so to "settle down" mentally to actually get off to good sleep. So the two strategies may mean 1 x 3.5hr vs 2 x 1.5hr actual beneficial rest.Jul 17, 2015 at 2:11 pm #2215445Aaron SorensenBPL Member
@awsorensenLocale: South of Forester Pass
The R.E.M. sleep is also what is desperately needed.
You start a R.E.M. cycle around every 1.5 hours after falling asleep.
So getting 2 cycles of at least 3 hours is much better for your body than trying to split that into 2 cycles each night.
You would probably waist about an hour each night of sound sleep.
However, with naps, you only need a good 20 minutes for some serious help to you.
Getting 1 or 2 naps in if you can't sleep is more helpful than just laying around, (I mean it's better for moving more on the already lack of sleep).
If you are not going to get a solid 1.5 hours of sleep, then just lay down for a nap.
An hour of sleep is useless over a nap if you are not going to catch a R.E.M. cycle.Jul 27, 2015 at 1:14 pm #2217303
Just when you thought all this JMT FKT activity had died down for a while…
I'm also going to attempt to beat Andrew Bentz's Unsupported FKT on the JMT starting tomorrow morning, Tuesday July 28th. I am currently in Lone Pine after finishing an acclimation trip yesterday from Kearsarge Pass to Whitney Portal with my wife Amy, and will start at approximately 5am or 6am tomorrow morning if all goes well. I was able to get a walk in permit today, and with the weather forecast calling for thunderstorms starting on Thursday, I am going to go for it now and try to beat the weather rather than wait till the 30th or 31st as I had originally planned.
I will be using Ralph's timesheet as a rough guide, but am hoping to run a bit more on the downhill sections and sleep a bit less if I can manage to keep going. First sleep at Woods creek, 2nd sleep near either MTR cutoff or near Lake Italy junction depending how I'm feeling. Any additional sleep at either Reds or Tuolumne, depending how things go. I'm hoping to limit sleep to 3 hrs per night (2 REM cycles) and possibly go through the third night if I'm able to continue, or take a short nap if needed.
As we all know there is much that can and likely will go wrong, but I feel as prepared both physically and mentally as I'm ever going to be, so I'm going to go for it and give it my best shot. I will have a spot so anyone who wants to follow my folly at home and stay up all night with me is welcome to do so…I will post the link later today.
Thanks are due to Ralph Burgess for sharing his detailed timesheet and strategy, as well as being so kind as to share his hotel room with me on a number of occasions while we were both training for this fool's quest. Also thanks to Aaron Sorenson, Andrew Bentz, Adam White, Brett Maune and Peter Bakwin (among others) for taking the time to discuss strategy and/or share the benefit of their experiences with me.
Cheers, jeers, prayers and positive thoughts for a successful and safe trip are all much appreciated! I will try to post more later but need to go eat and check into my room right now.Jul 27, 2015 at 1:35 pm #2217307Ito JakuchuBPL Member
Awesome! Cheers, jeers, prayers and positive thoughts all flying your wayJul 27, 2015 at 1:59 pm #2217319Brendan YeagerBPL Member
@byeagerLocale: New England
Good luck you crazy son of a…
I'll be rooting for you all the way!Jul 27, 2015 at 4:19 pm #2217352
Here is my spot Link for anyone who wants to follow along:
Thanks for the support! It will help keep me going just knowing that some of you all care about this crazy stuff…Jul 27, 2015 at 4:21 pm #2217354
Good luck Allen.
And just to make this more interesting – I'm going to make another attempt on Wednesday, starting 24 hours after Allen.Jul 27, 2015 at 4:22 pm #2217356
And best of luck to you as well!!!!Jul 27, 2015 at 4:34 pm #2217357Adam WhiteBPL Member
@awhite4777Locale: On the switchbacks
> And just to make this more interesting – I'm going to make another attempt on
> Wednesday, starting 24 hours after Allen.
NO! TOO MANY SPREADSHEETS, TOO MANY TABLES!
Kidding, of course. Best of luck to both of you!
Stopping at the store tonight to stock up on popcorn and beer. This'll be fun*!
*For all of us, not for either of you. For both of you, it's going to be suffering. A lot of suffering.Jul 27, 2015 at 4:41 pm #2217361
So, if I catch up with Allen, is drafting allowed?
(We really should have had one of those boxing-style trash talking press conferences before this)Jul 27, 2015 at 6:54 pm #2217391Ryan SmithBPL Member
@violentgreenLocale: East TN
Good luck to both of you! Hoping to see some records fall.
RyanJul 27, 2015 at 7:38 pm #2217401Mike MBPL Member
Ralph- thanks for the detailed report! It's too bad it was an illness that ended your attempt (maybe that's better than an injury???), sounded like all systems were go otherwise. I wholeheartedly agree with everyone that you certainly didn't walk away with nothing- that was a valiant effort and you have my utmost respect for that effort. I hope you get another go and see the record fall.
Allen- best of luck to you!
Great having such talented folks to root for on this site!Jul 27, 2015 at 7:47 pm #2217405jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
good luck to you both! Ralph, you can draft Allen, but, like Ali, he may refuse to serve…Jul 27, 2015 at 8:16 pm #2217415
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. On the other hand, that which does not kill me makes me stronger. Aphorisms can be so confusing. So, why am I going again?
In my first attempt I got to 175 miles in a little under 3 days, when I was stopped by breathing problems caused by a respiratory infection. So far as I can tell, I'm now completely healthy again. It may turn out that I have a particularly susceptibility, and the dusty JMT is notorious for causing such problems. But I didn't have any problems last year going fairly fast southbound; and the overnight temperatures this time will be significantly warmer than a couple of weeks ago.
If I felt that all I could achieve in the best case would be (say) to go under 4 days and post the 5th or 6th fastest time, I wouldn't bother. But I was close to record pace last time, and hampered perhaps 2-3 hours by wet weather. So I think if my lungs stay healthy I do have a genuine chance. So that makes another attempt worth it.
What else will be different this time?
This attempt will be at full moon. The moon never provides enough light to see your way on the trail, so it doesn't help you move faster, a headlamp is always required. The ambient lighting from a full moon is helpful for orientation and navigation, but that doesn't make too much difference for me as I know the trail well. However, I think there's a significant psychological benefit to the ambient light – hiking in pitch blackness can be oppressive. It may also help with sleep deprivation.
I've changed my food quite significantly. On my first attempt, I got almost all my calories from Power Bars. Once they reached my stomach, they were ideal: I digested all my planned calories with no problems at all. But by day 3, I just hated eating them. This time, I'm planning to get about 30% of my calories from Power Bars, 30% from Perpetuem powder, and 40% from Clif Shot Bloks. I think I can manage 6-7 Power Bars per day, and I know that (aside from taste) they work well. I know that Perpetuem powder goes down easily and my stomach likes it. My prior objection was just the time and hassle of handling the powder. But 5 x 300-calorie bottlefuls per day will waste at most 10 minutes per day. And the Perpetuem, like the Power Bars, gives me a little protein and fat to supplement the majority carbs. The Shot Bloks are soft jelly-like candy, like energy gels with less water content, and therefore decent calorie density. They are all carb, apparently a combination of simple sugars and some maltodextrin (I can't figure out how much). They go down extremely well, but the main worry is stomach upset from too much simple sugars – I have had no problems in testing, but the testing has been limited.
My kit won't change much. I'm taking a small Neoair Xlite at 8oz this time. It takes no time at all to blow up, and I think the 3oz weight penatly over the cut down Ridgerest will be worth it – just so much more comfortable than foam (I'm a side sleeper). I will probably leave my puffy jacket at home – with forecast 50F overnight lows at my sleep locations, I don't think it's needed.
I will put up a new split schedule later. It's similar to before, with a 5am start on Wednesday morning. I've just fixed some of the splits that were wrong, mainly on downhill sections that I had not run at full speed before, and that I discovered were more tricky than I remembered.Jul 27, 2015 at 8:33 pm #2217418Cayenne RedmonkBPL Member
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
This is awesome, full moon and everything !Jul 27, 2015 at 8:41 pm #2217419
"full moon and everything"
I have noticed Allen getting hairier. And he will be VERY hungry by July 31st.Jul 27, 2015 at 8:44 pm #2217420David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
>"I got almost all my calories from Power Bars"
Caving, as a sport, is tough on gear. And tough on foodstuffs. After squeezing through passages that are 92% of your own cross-section; dragging your pack in front of, behind, on top of, and usually under you; swimming through some passages; and shredding your clothes through others, Powerbars are the only foodstuff (using the term "food", lightly) that are unchanged on the journey. A turkey sandwich, a packet of Goo, and a chocolate bar are VERY much changed by the trip through the cave.
On the JMT, OTOH, most of those abuses don't exist. I would take at least 48 hours to transition from real food to a diet 100% of which can be procured at Foot Locker. Better yet, I'd keep some fraction of my food on the trip more real that that. A wrap or two. Some cookies. And what do you crave on the trail? For sled dogs, beaver is famously the go-to meal that they'll never turn down. Having your own go-to food along, might be worth the extra ounce to have something to look forward to. And your body might be telling you something if there are particular foods you crave on the trail.Jul 27, 2015 at 9:07 pm #2217421
These are the split times that I will be targeting. I've corrected a few splits that I realized were wrong during my first attempt – sections that I hadn't done at full speed. I've also put in a 3rd rest period at Red's. I'm clearer on my strategy this time, and with the 3rd rest period added in explicitly, this adds up to just equal Andrew's time (ok, 5 minutes quicker!)
Jul 28, 2015 at 6:56 am #2217459Bob MoulderBPL Member
@bobmny10562Locale: Westchester County, NY
… and no pings yet! ;-/
Weather looks great over there!Jul 28, 2015 at 7:09 am #2217461
Yeah, I don't know what's happened with Allen's SPOT. It was pinging when he tested it near his hotel last night. I hope it's just that his start has coincided with one of the periodic satellite coverage outages, and it will pick up shortly.
He was planning on either a 5am or 6am start, depending how his night's sleep was.
Edit: and just as I was writing this, we got a ping from Allen near Outpost Camp. He's on his way.Jul 28, 2015 at 7:11 am #2217462Adam WhiteBPL Member
@awhite4777Locale: On the switchbacks
Yep, the first ping just came in…he's well on his way up Whitney.
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