Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Wrap Up - 2011 Thoughts

I ended up with 2,362 miles on the year with about 10 more planned to tie up 2,372. Not the big numbers other folks are turning in for 2010, but I'm happy and content with what I've done. Especially considering the fact that I did not run in January or February due to injury.

I had my highs (Hellgate/Sun Mountain/Leadville) and my lows (Steamboat/Sageburner/Barr Trail) but in all I had a truly great time. I'd say that I learned a lot, but that would be understating it. We all get the question ("why do you do it?"), but I've found it's easier just to not answer that, or that I can't answer that. I'm not entirely sure why I choose to devote so much time to such an endeavor as ultrarunning, but I enjoy it, and that's the short answer I give if I have to.

Some of the better moments this year were the most simple. There was a run I did with my best friend/training partner Gunner outside of Twin Lakes, CO where we laid down on the side of the Colorado Trail at 10pm and just watched the stars for a while and chatted. Pretty cool to be out in the middle of nowhere with no light pollution and watch stars (well until what sounded like a bear...). Then a week later, pacing the unflappable Leila DeGrave to a stellar Top 10 finish in her first 100 miler. Good stuff.

I met a lot of great people, most much faster and far more accomplished than I, but found them to all be normal guys with a similar passion. Seemingly, the faster you are, the more humble you become. I wonder if this has any relevance to the fact that all of these guys have truly gone to the edge of the human body's limits, and sometimes they've gone beyond. I think that my experience in Steamboat set me up for a great dose of humility and as well a good run at Hellgate. As cliche as it is, we learn far more from our failures than we do from our successes.

As I consider 2011, I have a few races in mind that I mentioned prior, but also some that I might just bail on. So far the only races I think I know that I'm doing are Way Too Cool and Big Horn. I still haven't decided on Leadville, though I'm leaning towards it. I think I'll think it over for a week or two still before making my decision. I applied for the Runner's Roost Elite Team, but I don't honestly think they'll take me, they've shaken up their sponsorship program so I may not fit the bill anymore.

I would love to spend some more time in the Pike National Forest next year; a place I'm so happy to have found. Opportunities seem endless there. Anyways, I'm bouncing around a lot, but I think most runners are this time of year. No racing, no real certainty, and plenty of time to think makes us antsy.

Here is one thing I'm certain I'll do next year: I will put myself in a position to achieve things most people may not agree that I'm ready or prepared to do. This was (partly) the reason I ran so well at Hellgate, I trusted what I had done in my training, and accepted the fact that the unknown could either support or fail me. I am fine dealing with "failure" (if you can call it that), but I want to at least be in a position to do something great. I could run 9:30 mountain 50's the rest of my life and that would be fine, but I want to see if I can run them faster, much faster. If that means I blow up and limp home in 10 or 11 hours, so be it. I don't think I will ever be as fast as the truly fast guys who are our there winning every weekend, but I want to find out how truly fast I can be in the mountains over long distances.

On goals:

I think I'll develop some goals because I think they're good to have, but I won't feel all that tied to them. I'll have to go back and check, but I don't think I achieved any of the goals I had set out for 2010! Primarily, I want to have a good work/run/life balance and be as good a runner as being a good father/husband will allow.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Awesome Photos!

Check out my wife's blog for some amazing photos of my son's shenanigans. He's so funny! Merry Christmas folks... More to come when I get back to CO.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Looking forward to 2011

Last week Rachel and I went out to dinner as sort of a belated 3rd anniversary dinner since I was travelling to VA for Hellgate on our actual anniversary. During the conversation we touched a bit on racing next year and one race in particular: Leadville. I've been adamant that I wouldn't touch it because we're planning on having another child, but when we were talking and determining the time-frame, it would actually fit. For now I'm going to wait a while and talk it over a bit more, but there is a seed planted, and I'm not even going to mention my goals for 2011. Not yet at least. Below are races that I'm looking at and some that I'm committed to. So far the ones set in stone are: Ponderous Posterior 50K, and Way Too Cool 50K. Everything else is up in the air, and certainly depends on weather or not I decide on Leadville. My main goal for scheduling races is to stay closer to home and make things as easy as possible on my family. The two out of town races are an exception, but not really. Way Too Cool is scheduled into a vacation to see Rachel's sister, and my family in CA. If we go to bighorn, my best friend has family in Dayton and we'd likely be able to stay in a cabin. For now, I've got some thinking to do.

*bolded races are getting serious consideration*


Friday, December 17, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hellgate 2010

Wow, what can I say? I had a friggin' blast running at the Hellgate 100K in south VA! I've got a lot to say about the travel and the rest of the trip including all the great people I met, but I think that was enough to warrant it's own post so I'll keep this one to the race itself.

12:01 am December 11th, we busted down the dirt road leading to aid station 1. The "road" was just a typical Jeep road that you might find on the outskirts of Leadville, but there were some definite differences to that; more scattered rocks (larger rocks) and a lot of leaves and overgrowth with scattered roots. I started out nice and easy, slipping right in a group of about 15 or so within 10 seconds of the lead. Here, I made sort of a conscious decision that there was absolutely no reason to be ahead of Karl Meltzer so I slowed when he slowed and pretty well stayed in his shadow through the first aid station (~5 miles).

From here we started a series of climbs as a good chunk of the 13,500' of gain is in the first 22 miles or so. I ran side by side with Jason from PA and we passed the time while keeping in touch with Karl and some of the top locals. Some time into the climb, Jason stepped off for a bio break and I kept at it, running somewhat with the guys but never really with anyone. It seemed like we had been climbing forever, but the grade was manageable (5-7% maybe?) and I was running strong and not breathing hard.

Somewhere just before or after aid two I was running right behind Karl for a long time, absolutely hammering the downs, slipping and sliding all over the place in the soft snow and leaves and pushing hard on the ups. This section (I think, my memory is a bit off during the night section) was awesome! Running on a really narrow trail in and out of the mountain side through the snow, it was what I had signed up for. We stayed like this and dropped a few of the other runners with us, including some guy who went out way too hard, and I was starting to think to myself, "what am I doing here? Scott said I should have only one goal: FINISH." Then I'd think, "I can run 50 miles in 10 hrs without a problem, if I get there, I can walk in under the limit even if I completely blow up." That's kind of when I went in the first phase of "race mode." All this meant was that I was going to try for a top 10 slot, figuring I'd need about 13:30:xx to get there based on previous results.

On my way up to aid 3 on the big climb, I found myself running with super nice Chris Reed from Team Inov-8 (must be a requirement to run for them) and we were motoring when we passed Karl, but just figured he wasn't feeling good and we'd see him later (I was right). After we passed aid 3 I kept moving, running with Chris for a few miles, then he'd drop back and I'd go out front now in 2nd place and just keep at it. Chris would come back to pass me in the middle of that section on the climb, then when I stopped to take a dump (rather precariously off the side of a cliff) I was passed by Karl and Keith Knipling. Here, 22 miles in my legs started to feel a bit worked and I had the "oh shit" moment, thinking I could have started to kill my legs only 1/3rd of the way through the race. Immediately I started to take my foot off the gas, walked for a minute or two for close to the first time and made sure to eat a few extra gels and 2 endurolytes.

I was caught and passed by Ryan from NY in this section leading to Headforemost Mtn, but I caught back up and ran with him into the aid 4 where I made a quicker stop and was out before him, I just tried to put a gap on him and shortly I saw more lamps in the distance, I spent the next downhill section trying to catch those lights, and I passed Karl taking a dump about a mile from aid 5 and caught Keith at the aid station, coming out there is a very shallow 3 mile climb and this is where I made the decision to go for it, it was roughly 50K into the race and I was feeling good again, actually not just good, but great. I absolutely HAMMERED the climb, running 8's or somewhere close and put a big gap on Karl and Keith, and I continued to run my ass off through aid 6 where Horton was ready to motivate.

Dr. Horton really knows what to say to get you moving or keep you going, it was odd but he got under my skin at this station and the next two as well. I think he said something like, "Scott wasn't lying about you Mexican't, you can do it boy!" I took off, just moving near the edge of too hard and I began to internalize everything that was happening around me. Nothing moved, I was living in a world where the only things that existed were me, the 15 feet of trail in front of me, and 2 guys ahead of me. I'd say over and over, you're feeling good, keep going, there is no reason to slow down, no reason to walk, it doesn't hurt that bad. It felt like I was in a trance almost, sort of weird. Blowing through the rolling terrain here was nice, and I really thought I might catch Chris, but he must have been moving too.

At aid 7 Horton yells at me, "4 minutes off Chris and 29 down to Jeremy, you know Scott came out here and WON his race, come on BOY GO!" I tear off out of there like a man on an effing mission, determined that I'd catch Chris. As fast as I could go, I couldn't ever get an eye on him, and I was starting to get scared because I realized Horton never said anything about who was chasing me and I thought Karl might well be turning on the jets and looking to go for the win. Shortly thereafter I fell hard and smoked my left knee on a rock. Needless to say, I was terrified, at this point, I had run in 3rd place for so long that losing it would have been a huge blow mentally. Then the mental struggle of sleep deprivation hit me and I was just totally zoning out through aid 8 at Bobbet's Gap. From here to the last aid station is known as the "forever section" and damn it is tough. It's not that it's hard terrain, it's really not, but it is frustrating, you kind of know you need to be heading "left" but the trail keeps swinging back uphill to the right, and you start cursing out loud. All I knew is that I had to keep moving, and I slowed down a lot here in this section, constantly looking over my shoulder expecting to see Karl.

There were 3 short climbs and short descents with leaves covering every inch of the trail, some places knee deep and I was just so over it when I realized I had started descending for the 3rd time which meant I was on my way to the final aid. When I got there, they still hadn't set up yet, but they had gatorade at ready so I topped that in my bottle not wanting to eat another gel. Here on in is 2.6 mile climb and 3.5 mile descent and I ran my as much as I possibly could up the climb which is not that bad, but I was just exhausted, but more sleepy than sore. When I reached the top and realized I still couldn't see behind me I knew that I had 3rd in the bag and I just cruised down the hill around the corner and in through the finish line. When I crossed the line I kissed the ground and gave thanks to Horton for the great race he put on.

My finishing time was 12:05:18, 9th fastest time ever on the course, and I won my age group (0-29 with the 2nd fastest age group time ever). I ended up beating two of my ultrarunning idols, Karl Meltzer and David Goggins (whose article in RW opened my eyes to ultras just over 2 years ago). I am just stoked right now, I worked really hard for that result and I'm damned proud. Part of the spoils included a $150 Patagonia Jacket with the Hellgate logo embroidered in it. I can't thank Horton and the race staff enough for putting on a great race. The course was marked impeccably, and the aid workers were awesome. I'd definitely recommend this race to anyone, just be prepared to run...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Off to Hell

Flight in the morning, won't have internet of any kind so I'll text in a tweet to the side bar here ->

I've got enough layers to keep me sweatin' like a whore in church all night long :) Sorry Mom.

Stoked to find a bit of myself out in the mountains...

Friday, December 3, 2010

The weather in Hell

Looks to be getting more interesting by the day. Yesterday it was showing sunny and clear with 0% chance of precipitation. As you can see, we're looking a bit differently today:


Personally, I kind of hope it snows. I like running in the snow, and I think that could play to my advantage, thouh it might slow me down... Don't forget to through in your beer wager; so far JT is the only one going over, so that means either he or Todd will be 2 for 2 come Saturday the 11th.
Exchanged a few emails with Horty yesterday, seems like a funny guy, and quite intent on impressing the idea that this will hurt BAD! He also said something about that other mexican (actually I believe his word was Mexican't) never winning another MMTR ever again... Looks like I've got to work hard to beat as many whities as I can...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Remember November

Biggest month ever:


328 miles. Time to bring the pain!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Over/Under for HELLGATE!

Ok folks, it's getting to be Christmas time, so obviously that means suffering through the freezing cold and pounding your legs into submission. Oh, and beer of course. Here's how it goes, I'll place the line, then you say that you think I'll either go over that time or under (you can add a specific time if you like). It's that simple. If you're wrong, then you buy me a beer (we're going with Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA this time). If you're right, then I buy you a beer.

The line for Hellgate will be set at 14 hours and 12 minutes. I came to that conclusion by looking at the times of the racers that finish around where I typically do and gave myself 10 minutes (most of these folks have run 100 miles or 100k and it wasn't their first go at it like me). I realize that I could be over ambitious on the time, but if I set it any higher I don't think there would be as much draw to pick the over. If all goes well, hopefully I'll make the under, but I'm not going to gun it out of the starting gate like I've done for many a 50 miler.

This looks to be my biggest race for a while (this next summer could be sparce for me in terms of racing) so I hope to make the best of it and show the East Coasters how we roll in CO. Some info on the course to help you make the decision on where I fall:

Elevation gain - 13,500'
Length - 66.6 miles (4.6 of extra fun)
Start time - Midnight

Most accurate course info including Google Earth track.

Now let the wagering begin...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Quick Note/Happy Thanksgiving

I've been up in Evergreen on the eastern border of the Pike National Forest for the past 5 days and have been out of touch with most things, and I couldn't be happier. While I had a bit of a stiffer first taper week (only 50 miles), I got to spend a lot of quality time with my Dad and Mom, as well as my wife and son. My parents had rented a cabin/home for the holiday and we were tucked into the hillside nicely at 8800' with unbelievable weather and views.

I did get out for a few runs while up in the hills and they were incredible. T-day was a run with the wife where we ran through the neighborhood (friggin' steep) to the NF access trail and then up the side of the mountain (I ran a bit further, then smoked it back to meet Rachel) topping out at 10,100' with relatively little snow, amazing for November. The next day I ran a few miles further and ended up in the Mt. Evans wilderness (10,500'), couldn't help but think of getting all the way to Evans and back from Evergreen proper... Probably need company for that though, I've been seeing too many severed deer legs out on the trails...

The runs were just what I needed and free of any other traffic minus two dog walkers (who were surprised as hell to see me). I never knew that there were trail-heads to the NF in Evergreen but they are right there for the taking... I'm in the nervous but it's too late for any major changes now stage in preparing for Hellgate, so I've got to commit the course to memory as much as I can, and trust that I've done the work. I'm excited to race, really just excited to run far and free. I'll get the over/under up this week so folks can get ready to buy me some beer.

Catching up on the blogs tomorrow, hope your holiday was as great as mine.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Forty

Did my planned run almost exactly to plan, except I took an early wrong turn on the CT leading to an out and back on the southwest corner of the loop (which actually worked out perfectly as I hit 40.5 miles at my car). My body did not really feel like going for that kind of run, and I never felt like I ever got "into it"... I didn't feel bad, I had a few energy lulls from not packing enough gels, but I never really felt fully on top of my game. I think that mostly has to do with the fact that I've run WAY more miles in the past 7 days than I ever have (113 ~ previous high for 7 days was 100 ending last Sunday) in a 7 day span, so I was tired.

Mostly from the trails that I saw for the first time I was pleased. The Redskin Creek Trail was really nice rolling single-track, the new CT pieces were to be expected and excellent. The thing I really like about the whole Buffalo Creek area is that if you spend enough time there you really know exactly where to find water (clean water) and you can travel pretty damn light. This is a lot harder in the middle of the summer when it's 100*, but now, it's perfect. I carried 2 bottles and filled twice from creeks. Weather was perfect, chilly start, warming finish. It's crazy to be in T-shirt weather in the middle of November. There was a few short spots of 2-3 inches of snow on north facing trails on Green Mountain Trail, but other than that it was clear. Only saw a few people on the trails, and only one on the outer stretches, saw her twice, and it turns out she's the RD for North Fork. Super nice lady, good to meet her, and that one is definitely on the list one day.

I feel confident about Hellgate, and I'm feeling fit. On another note, I wore calf sleeves from recofit today which I liked. I primarily go them to basically turn my knicker length tights into full tights, and I'm not totally sold on the whole "science" behind them, but if it was a placebo effect, I felt together most of the day. My hammys were pretty sore by the finish, but I never got to the point of hamburger legs which is what I wanted to avoid. I thought that if I had to run a marathon after the end of the run I could. Tomorrow and Sunday are 15's and then it's taper time. The money is close to being in the bank...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Friday Long Run

This Friday I have the day off work and a pass from home to get a long run in. I'm planning on 40 miles, and I think the below loop starting at Pine Valley Ranch Park will be close. If not, there are plenty of other options for adding on an internal loop. Basically this skirts parts of the NF 50K course but goes further west and south while tacking on a lollypop loop on the CT and then finishing up on the final climb of the NF 50M course.

Early start, probably before sunrise. Any takers? Lots of options to cut it shorter if 40 isn't your thing.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Double Days

Saturday was a double day, sort of like a B2B, just closer together. In the AM I woke up and met Jim and some others at the Rec Center for a jaunt down the highline canal. I hooked off a bit early and made it 17 miles easy, though my legs were really sore from the two trips up Falcon earlier in the week and the general fatigue of the high mileage I've put in. After the run I went home to quickly shower and grab Xavier to head down to the pub for the Liverpool match. The good things about that were that Graham was there (Ex-pat Liverpudlian) with his daughter and a portable DVD player so Xavier and his daughter Ashlynn watched cartoons while Graham and I pulled our hair out drinking Guinness and watching another shitty showing from our boys in red (actually black that day). Frustrating.

After getting over that and heading home, Xavier and I took a long nap. It was excellent, probably 2 hours. Then we got all dallied up and headed down to Woody's for dinner and a run. Dinner was great and the Gordon excellent! Xavier was a man on fire and really had fun terrorizing Woody's house. Soon enough it was time for the running and I was TIRED, I rode Woody's coat tails all the way around the HR trail system in the freezing wind and was glad he was OK turning home for 26 miles. A few times out there my bottles froze up completely and I had to work to get them unfrozen to drink. Hopefully Hellgate doesn't get that cold, but if it does, I guess I'll be ready.

On the week it was an even 100 miles, and another similar week is on the docket with a 40 mile run on Friday. I'm excited to have the heavy lifting in the bank here pretty soon and I'm ready to sharpen up for December 11th. Still have some thinking to do on the prediction contest...

In other news, I think I've come to the decision to not race 100 miles next year. Too much stuff happening here to be able to devote the time needed to train for the event and I don't want to just show up. I think I could do it now, but I don't want to just do it, I want to be ready. Besides, I think 100K should be enough for me for a while. I may not even race much next year. Looking through the events I'm interested in I see a marathon, a few 50K's, a few 50 milers, and a few 100k's that might fit. Right now I think one of each, and maybe another 100K at the end of the year. But we'll see.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Toughness

There is no bad weather, only soft people. This was the mantra last night during my second Falcon v1.0 of the last 3 days. It was a bit colder than Tuesday's trip, but bearable. Projected weather at the top was in the range of 15*-18* with light snow and fog.

We'd dealt with the fog during the last trip, but it wasn't too bad really, you could still see Denver through a diffused haze and it was really cool. Last night however, there were times when I couldn't even really see my own feet. It was really OK until about 1/2 a mile below the shelter, then the fun began. Luckily, there had been one hiker and a bike to this point so I was able to just stare at the ground and follow the tracks. The overlooks weren't tracked but at this point visibility was still a good 8ish feet so I was not concerned. What really got it going was the gate at the base of the meadow view trail and the fire road leading to parmalee, from here the entire upper loop was 3-6 feet of visibility with sections that I just "trusted" that I knew the trail well enough to keep going.

I was really tired, but the run gave me confidence that I can continue to push my body through rough patches. Coming down was the tricky part and a few times I came close to running completely off the side of the mountain, but I was going slow so it wasn't ever really much problem besides the lack of sight. All in all, it was a good training run, and though I was slower than Tuesday by about 10 minutes, most of that was on the downhill sections where I was simply making sure I was on trail and not on my face. The good thing is that I'm beginning to view Mt. Falcon as just a nice place to run rather than a place of suffering that I could only hit when I had a day to give for rest afterwards. I am more comfortable with the steepness, and I can run the whole thing even if I'm tired. In fact, both last night and on Tuesday were days that I had lifted and run earlier in the day.

Here are my thoughts: I'm stronger now than I was a month ago, a lot stronger. Hopefully that will help me in the last 20 miles of Hellgate. That's my focus right now. I'm not worried about the first 47, I've been there, and it's steep which will make it easier for me to chill out and let the race come to me. I've got some more work to do in order to know what is gonna be the right call in terms of clothing for the night section, right now I'm either too hot, or too cold. I have however figured out the glove situation which is one puzzle solved. I've got my fuel figured out (I think) and I am confident that I can learn from my prior mistakes. I'm ready.

I'll do some sort of odds/prediction contest for my finishing time for Hellgate, but right now I'm leaning to the 14.5 hour mark +/- 1 hour at the over/under so we'll see where the final line is. Also leaning towards Dogfish Head brews...

Like GZ, I'm considering throwing my name into the WS100 lottery just to see what happens. The race is actually become less desireable for me with it's rising cost (other factors too), but it comes at what could potentially be my best timeframe to run 100. Though there is a closer, perhaps more viable option in the Black Hills 100. I've got some thinking and some talking to do with the fam. We're definitely going to be taking a trip to CA sometime in the spring/early summer next year to hang with the folks, and my sister who will be moving back to Salinas with her hubs and doggy. That brings into play Miwok and or Way Too Cool as well as a host of PCTR runs. We'll have to see what shakes out, but it's time to start thinking about it with all the lottery crap happening soon.

Now give me some turkey and stuffing!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Falcon v1.0

Got out last night for a run with Todd G, Woody, and Jaime on Mt. Falcon to do the mexi-special in the first real snow of the year. It was a relatively late start and introductions were made quickly, including my procuring the Gubna I owed Todd from the Steamboat prediction contest.

We got going into a nice steady pace, nothing spectacular, and it began to warm a bit with the effort. All of us just kind of settled in without much chatter and made the shelter in 34:xx before the pace cooled off a bit and we just really cruised through the overlooks, around parmalee, and over the summit before heading to devil's elbow.

There were a few sections where the snow was alive and well and I got the first feels of the pillowy white stuff, good times. We continued to cruise, Todd and I chatting and we hit the base of the hill around 2:30:00 for a decent round trip time in the cold and dark. Depending on how it shakes up, Todd may have convinced me that Wasatch is the way to go.

He definitely convinced me to enjoy a Gubna in the parking lot, which took all of .0000125 seconds to convince me. A great night for a run, a better night for a beer.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Modified 101's and other Pics

Cut a notch out of the ankle collar that was bothering my Posterior Talofibular Ligament
Dropped some weight and now my ankle doesn't feel anything at all
Pirate!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday Long Run

Is it really November? Sure didn't feel that way today, it was wonderful. Woke up early after a late night (Park Burger/Hanson's/The Town at Cherry Creek) and headed out to Pine Valley for a spin on the North Fork 50K course. When I rolled into the lot it was empty and I took a pit stop in a really nice bathroom and took off before I fell asleep. It took me pretty much the first climb to get warmed up and I ate a Roctane GU for some caffeine and started to find a decent groove just cruising. I had allocated 6 hours for the run but soon realized that I shouldn't need that really.

I just spent some time taking in the crisp mountain air and beautiful scenery. About halfway down Gashouse I had to hop into the woods to take a crap and then kept going at a nice easy pace. That was sort of the theme of the run, nice and easy, get to the finish feeling like you could go out and do it again. The loop out around on the Colorado Trail and then back to FS Road 543 was excellent rolling singletrack in shady trees. Something I did was try to eat some flavored gels because I think I've been stuck in a rut with my eating habits and tried some new stuff. I got to say I was surprised how well it went. The chocolate mint GU was especially surprising and tasty in the cold, it was like Christmas. Also, ate some CarbBOOM! gels which were awesome. They have real fruit in them, the apple was the best, and watermelon was worthy as well.

No Gatorade, just water, gel, and an endurolyte. The rolling climbs were really fun on the way back and sort of wished I could just stay out all day running. I never had an energy lull or a "bad patch" and came through the NF50K finish in 5:16:24 then did about a 10 minute cool down through the picnic tables along the river. Checking the site, that would have been good for the win at this year's race but I think the heat was a factor there. Still, I never pushed it at all and think that a strong CR there would probably be well under 4 hours. If Timmy Parr could run Sageburner in 3:46, he could do it here, it's a much faster course. I think it'd be fun to do the 50K next summer, but we'll see.

In short, it was a great day. Loving this weather. Oh, and The Town was awesome. When I come out of a movie with an urge to drop f-bombs, talk in a Boston accent, and quit my job to start robbing banks, it's a good one. Also, it has become apparent that Ben Affleck should never be allowed to be in a movie that's not about Boston in some way.


Congrats to Scott for winning Masochist today! Mexican going back to Cali!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pretending

Yesterday I made the trek from the Denver plains up through Coal Creek to Nederland to run with some folks who are way out of my league. Scott had set me up with the group run and I was really excited for two things: running with company, and meeting some ultrarunning celebrities.

I got up to Geoff's house a bit early because I didn't know how long the drive was and chatted for a while with him and his GF until the rest of our group arrived in the form of Tony, Dakota, and Joe. Truth be told, I was sort of hoping that somebody a bit slower would show up just in case I couldn't hang but I had to settle for them running 20+ miles with 7K vert the day prior. My body was feeling under the weather so I was just hoping to hang on really.

The run started right out of Geoff's backyard and rolled a short while while we got acclimated and chatted before launching into a pretty stiff climb which had me reeling a bit, but by the time we all made the top there was a general consensus that nobody was feeling all that chipper and that we'd back off an take it easy. From then on we snaked our way through some trees up to about 10K' then bombed a rocky downhill to around 9K' and arrived at Eldora for the start of our climb to a Nordic ski hut at 11K'. The climb started out well and we were crunching through snow until the last mile or mile and a half which was a 30 minute trudge through knee deep snow. My ankles are swollen and nasty today for sure, but it was a "welcome" to winter I guess.

The pit stop at the ski hut was nice and then a short climb to a view and we were smashing back through the snow down to the ski area and to the start of our climb back to 10K'. Here I fell apart a bit and unfortunately made the group wait a bit for me at the top but it was really the only effort breakdown on the day and hopefully didn't slow them too terribly much as we were taking breaks every few miles for someone to crap or water the flowers. The only bummer of the trip was Joe raking his ankle after slipping on some melting snow a couple miles from the house, so we just cruised in nice and slow from there. At the house, I took Geoff up on a soda, sat for a little while before saying my goodbyes and heading off down the hill.

All in all, it was a great day in the mountains with some truly great runners. Pretty cool chatting it up with those guys and listening in on the play by play from the river in at this year's WS100. Look forward to seeing the guys at a race in the coming months.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Looking back at Steamboat (in pictures)

Campground fun!
Pre-race cow riding?
Token kid through a hole shot

Oh, and the fun stuff, bit of swerving here...

There's the blank stare, good times!
Xavier cheering on finishers with the Anderson crew.
Proud father (emt to the left and right :)
The Garcia fam!
Woody and I enjoying a seat post race, short shorts and spandex!
Gunner to the line!
Gunner and I

X gettin' in on the noise makers
Gunner and Woody
Los tres amigos ( hoping my wife chooses the IPA )
Right in front of our cabin...
Ran over that...

A perfect end to a wonderful day...

Rocks? Yes please.
The coolest bookstore/coffee shop in town has a reading area for kids under the stair case
Another wonderful set of memories with my wife and son. This trip was especially great because we got to spend so much time with my best friend and great new friends. I hope that Xavier will look back at these little family trips and remember them as fondly as I do. For most of the trip, Xavier threw rocks into the Yampa river which was right next to the cabin. Wonderful. More proof that it's not about the race, it's about everything else.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Progress

Didn't make it out to Centennial Cone as planned mostly in part because I couldn't convince anyone to come with. I've only been once, and I wasn't confident out there by myself, it's also generally an unpopulated area in cat country so I figured I'd just stay closer to home. Luckily I brought extra batteries because my headlamp started flickering and dying as soon as I was halfway through Matthews/Winters and had spotted 3 sets of eyes looking right back at me. Creepy.

Other than that and this odd sort of puking sensation I kept getting and still have a bit today (could be some sickness deal my son gave me) I felt pretty good. Definitely not great, but I had some decent pop in the climbing legs that I've not seen since before Sun Mountain in June. I think the leg sled is doing it's job, as I don't necessarily feel like Matt C, but solid and strong. First noticed that on the climb up Zorro and it's 8-10 2' stone stairs at the top, those had always given me problems, but not last night. I took it easy, but probably ran close to a fastest time on the loop without ever elevating the breathing. Good notes.

All that said, I'm thinking of either going to Centennial Cone for 2 loops or possibly running the 50K North Fork course. We'll see, but it's nice to not have any real snow to deal with so far.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wednesday night run

The weather shows tomorrow night to be chilly (mid/low 40's) but clear with 0% chance of rain/snow so I'm planning on a nice evening jaunt around Centennial Cone. I'm planning on leaving my house about 7:30 which means I'd start the run just after 8 from the Mayhem Gulch trailhead (bottom of the map).

The run is fairly non technical and not too steep, the first 1.5 miles are a steep but after that it's more rolling and quality singletrack. Plan is to do a full counter clockwise loop, so roughly 17 miles. Easy pace being that it's night, probably 9's or so, just to take in some fall goodness.

If you'd like to join, drop me a comment or an email, I'll have room in the car for a few extras if you want a ride. We're in the DU/Wash Park area.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The week of Jaime

Great week of running so far with one day left. This week I met Jaime Yebra on Thursday night and got in a nice little run around Green Mountain. I had only known Jaime from his blog because he was at Steamboat this year, but he lives just 4 blocks from me! Jaime's a cool dude and we got to chat about all sorts of things in the car and on the run, both of us are Bay Area guys and played D2 baseball in college.

Then this Morning I met up with Scott Jaime and Jim Petterson for a long run on Mt. Falcon. The early (6:30) start held some chill in the air, but it warmed up quickly into just about perfect running weather. On the initial climb, it was pretty clear that is was going to be a long day for me as the legs just really didn't want to climb, but good training I guess. We did the full loop ~15 miles with Jim jamming back to the car after Parmalee for a meeting. Good chatting with Scott on ultras and such, seems more and more I need to focus on mental fortitude, being able to convince my body that it can do more than my brain thinks it can. We are tougher than we think. We passed new Evergreen resident Brandy Erholtz on the way down to the cars; sure is getting faster around here.

The second trip back up became a mental struggle for me as the legs just did not have any go left whatsoever. I was cursing Lucho for suggesting the weight room last Saturday; I got in two sessions (Monday/Friday) with some solid work on the leg sled. Unfortunately, that led to my legs being sore and slow today but hopefully it will eventually lead me to being a stronger climber, something I desperately need in order to progress in my running. In any case, I stopped at the shelter and came back to the car for 21 miles on the day and 4600' of climbing. A good start to the Hellgate buildup.

Good times here though, enjoying the Indian Summer weather, though I believe I'll have plenty of time to become "cold acclimated" for Hellgate.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Night Run Tonight

Visitors welcome, starting at 8:35pm from the C-470 lot for Green Mountain/Matthews Winters . Nice short run ~7mi small variations to make it longer if you like and one decent hill 1.25mi +850'. Drop me a comment or an email (on profile page) to let me know if I should wait for you, otherwise we'll just take off right when we get there.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Entering the Gates of Hell

This morning when I came in to work I received an artificial email from Dr. David Horton of Liberty University in Virginia. The email was expressing concern for the abilities of the applying Hellgate 100K runner based on the information given in the application. The email made sense to me, as I was unable to put any info in the 100K results or past Hellgate finishes column; I've yet to race at that distance. He asked to explain why I should be allowed to run in the race, to provide a sort of proof that I'd make the cutoffs.

I responded to his email email by showing my past 50 mile results, toughness of terrain, and generally talking myself up. I also name dropped some folks I know who've raced there and finished, and locals I've made new acquaintance with that have connections. A few minutes later, I recieved an email back with a simple response:

"You're in."

My heart is pounding a bit right now to be honest, I'm stoked, and driven. It's been said that the race is freakish, tough, and many fear it as the hardest of the Beast Series, even over the Grindstone 100 Mile.

December 11th at 12:01 AM I take off on what is by far the toughest running task I've ever undertaken. Time to dig deep, to find that place where doubt goes to die and revel in it. As I get ready, I'll continue to do the hard work that I've done in the past for 50 milers, but in addition I'll be taking to some more "intense" training, including night runs in the cold, and water crossings. I've got to figure out what works for keeping my feet warm through the water and snow at night in freezing temps. This may actually make it easier for my time to be spent with family and not out on runs during the daytime.

Going to a new distance has gotten my blood pumping more than running my first ultra two years ago. This race is, in true Horton fasion, longer than 100K at 66.6 miles. Fitting.

Time to HTFU for real.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hill repeats and Intros

Got out this morning for some hill repeats on Lookout Mountain with Lucho, Scott, Aaron and Mike. What can I say? I'm gonna feel that one tomorrow, in fact, I'll probably get out this evening for a short run to keep the muscles a bit loose. Indeed I had a bit of cramping while driving home, and the big boys really handed it to me, that was tough!

It was a pleasure to meet Lucho and Scott, two of our local super studs. Scott is going out for Mountain Masochist in November, and I've put in my entry for Hellgate so we'll hopefully get a long run or two in for the build up (if I can keep up, he's fast!).

During my two weeks off I just got this unruly itch to race again. Hopefully I'll get in, but I can always race Northern CA and visit my parents in December.

I'm really looking forward to running Bergen Peak with some boys from the Steamboat race. Good stuff, and what great weather!

Friday, October 1, 2010

San Diego

Out to attend the Grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary. Pretty damn cool, as are my Grandparents. Will attempt to bring the camera along for the run up Cowles, maybe more than once, maybe not, schedule dependant. I'm stoked to get running again. My head is filling with irrational running thoughts once again... good to be back.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A few runs to break up the recovery...

I interrupted my recovery time to participate in the Boulder Sunset Triathlon for a short tri relay team. Initially the race was scheduled 2 weeks ago, but was moved due to the fire. Obviously, the short tri is the weeniest of triathlons, and I was on a relay team (weeniest of the weenies :) So 5K was my run on a flat out and back on dirt road, and my first run since Steamboat was the day before (Saturday) ~8 miles @ 7:30. Unfortunately, I ate some homemade whipped cream Saturday night (lactose intolerant here) and woke up with the shits. Rachel raced Sunday morning so I spent much of the time in the port-o-let enjoying the atmosphere. Got picked up for the tri a bit after noon and headed up to Boulder for the shenanigans. I was pleasantly surprised by the shwag (incredibly bright socks, nice tech shirt) and found some shade. It was hot, in the 80's and I was all achy from the morning on the jon, and I was hoping I wouldn't have to push it too hard on the run. Anyway, when the first relay team finished the bike, I started my watch to find my gap (female runner on the first place team into transition) and figured if I was 2-3 minutes off I could maybe close the gap, but if she was half decent or better I'd have no chance. Our gap was 3:37 so I figured it was a race for second and took off. I actually felt pretty good leaving transition and the short small uphill I looked down and was surprised to see 5:48/M on the watch, so I figured I'd push it until I saw the girl and if I thought I had a chance to come close I'd hold down the throttle and see what happened. To my surprise I didn't see her coming back at me at all and ended up catching her at the turnaround (split was around 9 minutes or so). I figured if I had closed three and a half minutes in 2.5K I could cruise in and not hurt and still win so that's what I did. I ended up putting another 3 or so minutes on her and just cruised pretty slow on the way back ending up right on 20 minutes for the 5K. Got some nice shwag for winning, $30 from fleet feet so I'll have to go up to Boulder again sometime to buy a shirt or something. Also got a little plaque for winning which is now chillin' in my utterly dull grey cube here at the office. Also have a camelbak water bottle from fleet feet that's my office water bottle (not the easiest thing to drink from, but a nice bottle). Good fun, good free beer at the Avery tent and great tacos from Illegal Pete's. This was also my first win of any kind in racing, though winning the sprint tri relay at a generally non-competitive local race is like dunking on 10 year olds with an 8' rim...

Thanks to the race staff and volunteers for a great time and a well run event, I can't swim for beans, but if I ever find the time or money to go swimming I think and Ironman might be in my future (way far off in the future!). Of course, Pb will call my name far before the Ironman.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The OB Winners and Losers

The proud beneficiaries of my less than stellar finish last Saturday are....

JT & Todd!
Gubna for Todd (I'll make it a complete 4pack in honor of your entering the Royal Order of the Crimson Cheetah) and JT can earn himself a full set of the OB of his choosing by finishing his business on the Rocky Mountain Slam this weekend (Wolverine buckle too?)...
The proud losers are interestingly the ones I know best!

Woody, Jake, and Dad all owe me an OB's concoction! Apparently you have too much faith for your own good! Kidding, I should have been buying for ya!
More to come, but all are welcome to a run up Bergen Peak in a few weeks with Jim playing guide! I am having a hard time staying put right now and I should get out on the bike soon, but my legs are pretty damn fresh from not having run hard the second half of the race so I am getting some pretty stupid thoughts in my head. Must go home and sit... Must go home and sit...
On a separate note, Xavier crapped in his potty for the first time yesterday and I am one proud dad! Hooray for poo!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Run Rabbit Run 2010 aka. "Puke Fest 2010"

Wow! What a tale of two races. Suffice it to say that I am satisfied (mostly) with how things turned out and I am learning.

From the off I was sure that the day was going to be average at best, but despite that I was feeling pretty good once the climbing started. Initially, I thought that I would be fine with 14:00/min miles for the first 6 (+3400') miles and then try to just find a pace and settle in. At the top of Storm Peak I figured I was somewhere in 30th place and feeling rather good compared to last year. In fact, the climb seemed a lot less steep than the year prior which was a pleasant surprise. Having two bottles I opted to skip the aid station and picked up a few spots while settling in between two runners who seemed to be clipping along at a decent pace.
The 6 or 7 miles from Storm Peak to Long lake were fairly uneventful and I just zoned out a bit and took in the unbelievable scenery. The burnt orange and red were almost smoldering; a wonderful image of autumn. Arriving at Long Lake I dropped my second water bottle (probably a mistake), my sleeves, and my gloves as it was warming up. Picked up some water and got out before the others I was running with. Skipping past Long Lake and subsequently Elmo Lake, I was finally feeling a bit free, the terrain is much more manageable and I was opening up the throttle on the flats and engaging the climbs.
Upon reaching the aid at 18.5 I topped off water (hadn't drank much, possible foreshadowing) and powered on through. From here it's mostly downhill into Dumont and I was able to run strong, though not as strong as I had hoped. I was probably averaging somewhere around 8:15's or so when a good day should see me :30/m or more faster. The terrain is similar to Sun Mountain where I was running sub 7:30's for a dozen or so miles. In any case I passed Helen Cospolich and she asked me about if there were any females back but I told her she was in the clear. Coming into Dumont I had expected to see the leaders (last year I was at least a mile out when Burch came flying by) but was surprised to not see any hint of them so I continued on (skipping water again, dumb).
The dirt road out of Dumont was the best I felt all day and I picked up the pace passing one more guy and then turning onto the trail leading to the Rabbit Ears. About 1.5 miles from the turn Roes came by, but didn't look to be killing it as I had expected (moving fast none the less, but I was expecting superman I guess). Then came Bill Fanselow and his superhuman abs (dude has an 18 pack I swear), followed by Burch all within a two or three minutes. I remembered the steep nastiness of the climb to the ears but it will hit you upside the head anyway and I was suffering for the first time getting up to the turnaround. Once up, I stopped to tighten up my shoelaces, mentally telling myself that this next 25 was going to hurt but it's time to toughen up (little did I know the torment I was really in for!). Helen passed me as I was tying my shoes (girl can climb, damn!) and that was the last I'd see of her making me F3 I guess ;)
Back to the turnaround and I was still feeling OK, but after gorging myself (knowing I was behind on calories) at Dumont I headed out. Not more than 100 feet down the trail and everything I had just taken in was on my shoes in one of the most amazing projectile vomits of my life! It was crazy, I had just pounded some serious coke and it was all fizzy and brown spewing from my face! Awesome to watch I imagine, but this is where the downward spiral started. I forced myself to keep the pace nailed down on the two track dirt heading back to the first climb inbound and then I power hiked that section (stopping to puke again) and tried and tried to keep myself in rhythm. Unfortunately, my stomach didn't think that was a good idea and I was in a sort of run a mile, puke/dry heave a mile, run a mile routine and my pace was falling off sharply.
*Note* I was on pace to run low 8ish inbound hitting the turnaround about 4:15:00 ish. Course is faster inbound by about a half hour if you play it smart I'd give it, more if you're nails. That could tell you something about how badly I fell apart from mile 28 in :)
Making it back in to the 18.5 to go aid, I was getting looks and had a hard time telling the volunteers what I needed. I ended up sitting down next to the aid station tent and eating a slice of watermelon and taking in some succeed drink (which is nasty stuff in my opinion). Feeling a bit better after a few minutes of sitting in the shade I took back to the trail, a nice technical section of downhill and BOOM here comes the watermelon! Woof, I shook it off and walked a while while I tried to gather myself and then started to lightly jog which was about all I could muster. I was not feeling good, wasn't sweating and hadn't been able to pee. I stopped to try and force myself to pee and could only manage a tiny bit that was dark yellow (like dijon mustard, not brown or red so I figured the kidneys were OK, but I was in some serious dehydration).
On my way into long lake, I caught up with a few mountain bikers and they were encouraging me into the aid stop which was nice, but I had not been able to return much in the way of banter. One of the volunteers walked right up to me and said, "you need to sit." So sit I did and they were kind enough to bring me a bunch of water and succeed while I tried to eat some shot blocks. I was probably there 5 minutes and felt a bit better so I decided to get going, and 50 feet down the trail I puked up all that junk again! I was not really having fun here at all, noting that I had no shot at going under 9 if I couldn't get this crap together. Unfortunately I couldn't, the technical trail and my puking slowed me to a shuffle and I was in all out survival mode knowing I didn't have an out until Storm Peak so I needed to keep moving. Here, about halfway to Storm Peak I found the mountain bikers (a couple) as I stumbled to the side of the trail to try and puke again. The lady mountain biker took some pity on me and offered cold water from her pack which I let her pour over my head for a couple minutes, Wow that felt good! I was still unable to ingest much without puking it up so I moved on having been cooled down by the miracle woman (as she will forever be know to me).
I remember vividly this next section of climbing and descending from last year so I was confident and running well (ish) but having trouble with foot placement and I was kind of stumbling and swerving all over coming into Storm Peak aid. They have a great view of runners coming in so the EMT there took me off the trial and sat me down immediately without any pretense (must have looked like a bucket of roses there). He started questioning me about eating and drinking, asking me what my name was and where I was from. I was pretty confused and dizzy and I think I asked him to start over, but he was doing some dehydration tests I guess and pinching me, then taking my pulse. He then said he wanted to take me down the mountain to which I replied, "I don't' think that's a good idea." So we settled on me not leaving until he was sure I could make it. So I sat and drank Succeed and ate a slice of banana and some tums. I don't know how long it was (10-15 minutes maybe, maybe less, I can't remember for sure) but I asked him if I could go and he allowed me to so off I was again.
6 miles of downhill on a packed dirt road (far less scree and rock this year, must have been grated recently) was its nasty self and I settled into a nice 8:25ish pace and was feeling actually OK for the first 3 miles but it was hot and as I got closer and closer to the finish I became more and more dizzy. I tried to drink my water and pour some over my head but it was only working enough to keep me upright. The construction near the finish had me a bit confused and I misstepped and damn near ate it with about 50 meters to go. Crossing the finish line I was toast, and while trying to stop and sit I just kind of fell. Thankfully there were 2 EMT's there, one of which caught me as I was falling and laid me on the ground. So a few minutes of question asking and water over my head, I was sitting up, seeing my wife and son and just glad to be done. Total finish time for me was 9:34:03 . When all is said and done, that was 35 minutes faster than last year, so I can't be too unhappy, but I think I left a solid hour out on the course and perhaps more.
Poor planning, well, little to no planning I think set me up to make bad decisions on hydration and fuel, which I attempted to compensate for and never recovered. This was the first time that I have puked on course and it was not a fun experience, though I wish there was some video of the first one as it was pretty epic!
I got to meet Jim (who rocked it!), and chatted with him and Aaron before Woody arrived, followed shortly by Gunner. I did manage some pizza and beer post race without puking and a meatball sub later on, but felt woozy, and still don't quite feel right. I've been eating tums all day to quell the crap going on in my stomach, weird and gross. We were late (and missed) the awards but got to have a nice chat with Ryan and Megan Burch, and I gotta say, two of the friendliest folks around. Truly and honor to share some space with them for a few moments, and Ryan killed it running on a bum knee pretty close to his CR last year.
I'll have some more to come about the rest of the year and my thinking about what my running has to offer going forward. We'll see, it was a tough day for me mentally, and I think I'll let my mind cool off a bit before I dig into what I'm thinking.
As for the rest of the trip, it was excellent! Saturday post race, and pretty much all day Sunday were spent sitting in the Yampa River which was about 6 feet from our cabin. Xavier emptied the shore of all rocks and deposited them into the middle of the river which was just classic little boy stuff. Loving the fall weather here. See ya on the trails in a few weeks.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Steamboat Heating Up

Weather forecast has warmed up a bit...

Don't forget to vote!



Still a great day to run fast. I'm thinking the CR goes down, way down, by an hour. Just sayin'...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Over/Under for Steamboat

Alright folks, time for some fun. Time to make a prediction and let the beer do the talkin'!

Last year I limped home in 10:09:00.

I'm gonna set the line this year at 8:40:00. Simple gambling here; make an over or under prediction of my time versus that line and put a member of the canned beer apocalypse on it! Next time we meet up for a run or whatever, either you or I will be providing a brewski!

Any takers?

Leadville quotes from Rod Bein

Just found Rod Bein's Leadville RR. Here are some great quotes from it.

On the size of the race start:

The field has inflated to about 900 due to all the exaggerated adjectives that were used by Chris McDougall in "Born to Run". Think how many would come if McDougall was even slightly a legitimate runner. Oops, did I say that?

On heading up to Hope for the first time:

"Bring it on", I thought. I think the mountains might have laughed at me for a minute before opening a serious can of whoop ass on me.


On returning to Hopeless:

We got down to the "Hopeless" aid station again and it was pretty much a scene out of MASH. Lots of folks still heading over Hope Pass for the first time (poor bastards) and many of them were suffering badly. I puked a few more times here as I tried to pop a gel.

Lots of other good stuff in there too. My favorite is the "poor bastards" quote, classic.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Taper babbling...

Calm and focused, that's what I'd say my mind embodies right now, perhaps borderline lax. Surely that will change as the Saturday edges closer, but what would race week be without the constant changes in mental approach or confidence? Fifty miles along the CDT hasn't changed, but I have changed and come back better prepared.

I've been thinking about splits and such, but at the moment, I think I'm going to throw them out. What matters to me is taking an hour off last year's "run". I will probably take some risks because, well, because it's more fun that way. I'm glad Bill, Geoff, Ryan, and Dylan (and others) are running because it puts out any chance of irrational pre-race thoughts. Time for me to focus on what I do well. I think that an 8:xx:xx is reasonable and expected from me, but I'm not going to make any comments on how low I think that can be.

One thing I've found is that, the number can only be as low as the day gives you. If you're on, you can push right to the line and possibly beyond. On an average day you can be fast if you play it smart and stay within your thresholds. Sometimes, things just don't go your way and you need to gut it out. I know that I can gut this race out, I did last year. Hopefully the actual race experience will be the antithesis of 2009.

This race will also be the final journey for my beloved grey pair of NB 100's. Per my log, they have 65 sessions, 713.5 miles run, 114 hours 35 minutes and 59 seconds on them as of now. 66 is a good place to stop.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Musings and misdirection

Nick won Wasatch.

What a breakout season (nationally that is), guy can't lose right now. It seems like every time he steps up to the plate, he jacks one into the upper deck. I think the only guy that should take bets with him is Tony.

Speaking of Tony, I attempted to make my way up Green Mountain, but ended up off trail somewhere and after climbing some sheer face hands and all I ended up at the second flatiron. Coming back down I was all over the place trying to find a trail. I followed cairns on the way up, which is why I thought I was still on trail, but I don't know I guess I just misread a sign somewhere which is fine because I was working hard and my brain was pounding by the time I got on Saddle. I must have been a sight when the couple making out on the summit saw me snot-faced and panting.

Someday I'll get a guide to take me up the real way! Hopefully that's Gregory/Ranger! I have a feeling it wasn't gonna get any easier when I got up to Greenman... Most of the trail I was on was not reasonably runnable, such has been the case with my experiences of Boulder trails. More reason to stay close to home I guess.

Good times though, ready for tomorrow and my last actual work before touch up work heading into Steamboat.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Weekend Plans

I received an email confirming what I had expected: the Boulder Sunset triathalon was cancelled or postponed as the area is being used for staging during the fire. This was fine with me, there are far more important things to deal with up there.

Sunday morning I'll be getting up early to run with Woody down in the Ranch, which will be nice, I love seeing new trails!

I'll probably run a touch on Saturday, but not much at all, probably just a loop around Wash Park from the house. (or maybe I'll head up Apex...)

*edit* Of course I will be out in Golden for my wife's maiden 10k voyage! Good luck babe! I love a sweaty woman!

Otherwise, tonight is the opening game for the forthcoming NFL season, so I'll be joining Gunner to watch his beloved Vikes down at Cap City Grille. Who knew there was a Vikes bar in Denver?

Had a nice run last night up at Bergen Peak with Gunner and Aaron, legs are finally coming around and I'm hoping to get to the line itching to let it rip. That's how I felt going into Sun Mountain and I really put something together there, if I can do the same in Steamboat I might surprise some folks, but to me, as long as I pull an hour minimum off last year's time, I'll be happy. More to come on Steamboat...

Karl has Nick at 3-1... good money?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lucky Day!

Got into work this morning, sifted through my morning duties, and then found this... Whazzza??? Time to go buy a Powerball ticket!

Thanks Bryon and iRunFar! Guess I'll be rocking some La Sportiva gear this winter :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Boulder Peak Bagging


A perfect start to the day

Really? Shadow Canyon was stupid, steep, and rocky.

Bit frustrated with how nasty Shadow was being.

View to the south from South Boulder Peak, doesn't get much better.

One down, two to go. South Boulder Peak Summit.

Decent bit of scrambling to get up SBP, but Bear was much nastier.

Looking back at South Boulder Peak

Bear Peak, still feeling alright, but it's heating up. Green Mtn in the back.

Green Mtn, had about enough climbing for one day...

A look back at some of the day's work

Friday, September 3, 2010

Traditional or Back Door?

After pouring over the Boulder Open Space maps (which suck hard by the way), I've come to one of two conclusions.

1. Traditional approach to Green from Chautauqua (Gregory/Ranger), then Bear and South Boulder peak in an out and back fashion (allows for a two step on Bear and Green) which I plot at roughly ~15 miles ish. Like I said, the map sucks.

2. Coming in the back door. Park at the South Boulder Creek West lot and go South Boulder Creek trail/Big Bluestem/Mesa/Shadow Canyon, hop west up South Boulder Peak, then Bear, Bear Peak West/Green Bear to Green Mtn, then back through Green Bear loop Bear Canyon to Fern Canyon, tag Bear again (and maybe SB too) and head back the way I came. This looks like roughly ~19 miles ish.

I'm thinking the traditional approach would be more fun if I were feeling springy and it'd be nice to see how my ascent compares to others, but my legs are a trainwreck right now and I'll be taking this one easy easy easy. My guess is that I'd deal with less traffic coming up South Boulder Peak (I'm leaning that way)...

Alright, I'm committing to the South Boulder Creek TH option. Hopefully I'll leave the crowds behind...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Run in Boulder this Saturday?

Thinking about getting up early and running in the Boulder area since I've never run north of White Ranch. Perhaps 15-20, I'm open for ideas/suggestions and company (but I'll be looking to get out early in the am ~5 or 6ish)...

Thoughts?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August by the book

Not sure what to think about the summer, I feel like it was just here. However, it was nice and crisp when I stepped out the door this morning, signalling to me the first hints of fall.

By the book, I show 297 miles for the month with 9 days off. 13.5 miles per day of running or 9.5 per day. My biggest month ever, guess I should figure out that I am still in shape. The legs are super sore today and I'm thinking I'll take one more day off and then begin the sharpening process... If I do run today, it'll just be cruising around easy.

As I Look at the below picture from Thomas Reiss' blog


I think to myself... holy &*#$! This is of course Hope Pass outbound, about mile 40 of the LT100. All you have to do is run over that, turn around, come back over, then run 40 more miles... What??? I know I did half of it, but it still blows my mind.

I'm certain that one of these days I'll completely lose it and sign up and do this thing, but I'm not sure if it will be next year. What I am thinking of seriously is Miwok if I can get in. Proximity to my family and so forth is really nice, and my fam has never seen me race. That may be my chance to tackle a new distance before child #2, but we'll see what happens there.

I'm really looking forward to spending time up in Steamboat with Rachel, Xavier, Jon, and Woody & Co. We'll all be in the nice little cabins of Steamboat campground and as has been said, I fall into the line of Fall=Best and there really is no place like Steamboat in the fall. Hopefully we'll be in for perfect weather like last year, but I think I'm due for a slugfest with 'ma nature...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Week ending 8/29

Well, pretty frustrating day for me overall. Turns out I'm a bit more worn out from last Saturday than I let myself believe and perhaps should have turned in for some rest instead of pushing through. Really, the long run today should have been the capstone to a decent block of training for Steamboat in 3 weeks, but what it did was create some doubt in my time goals. I bailed at 18 miles and just sat in Bear Creek for 2 hrs, which while fun, didn't accomplish what I had hoped for in 28 miles today. The wisdom in my head says that it's better to show up to the start line a touch under-trained than a touch injured. 80 miles on the week.

I'm trying not to let this go to my head, I know that the miles I put in and the summer of running I've turned in so far is a show of forward progress. I have done some great work, seen some really lofty goals come down by putting in the work necessary. I took over an hour off my PR at 50 miles (actually more, since Silver Rush is a short course), ran a decent half marry half-assed, and stayed healthy.

I have 3 weeks to tune up for Steamboat, and I'm going to start by taking two days off in a row, something I haven't done in a long time, but something I feel I need to do in order to be able to put in the quality miles to sharpen up. I'm not a high mileage guy yet, I think I wanted to become one this summer because it sounded good and everyone else is seemingly putting in huge miles. What I've come away with is that I am still a work in progress, I was not a runner until about this time 2 years ago. Since then I've gone from trying to run my first ultra on 40 mpw, to racing a 50 and logging some much higher mileage.

Being able to juggle family and everything else is tough for me, but I love my family, and won't do anything to sacrifice them. Today, I spent some quality time with my son playing in the river along with "uncle Jon". Jon is my training parter (I've dragged him along on long training runs before he even cared much about running) and he's been the best companion one could ask for out on the trail and in life. Xavier is lucky to get so much time with him.

Tomorrow, I will start my taper by playing some footy over at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Thank God that Liverpool won today, because the Padres were swept by the Phils and without that, my sporting world would have been 0-3.

Time to rest and finish my beer.

Monday, August 23, 2010

She Speaks to Llamas - A tale of pacing the Leadville 100

Here is my long account of pacing 50 miles of Pb. Leila surely has a slightly different take, but essentially we got it done.



The day did not start out wonderfully for pacing duties, with the heat and dust of the disastrous aid station that is Winfield (too much to say about that, but for another post) and Leila was going through as she would call a "low point" which makes sense after coming over Hope then having to fight cars and dust on a crappy dirt road for 3 miles. Prior to the day, I had received a spreadsheet detailing everything we'd need to take from every aid station and the basic plan for each stop along with projected splits. Here at Winfield, we were about 30-40 minutes behind the split for a big buckle. After a bit of fumbling through and not being sure of what to bring for the grunt of Hope Vol. 2 we hit the road back out where I had my first job as a pacer keeping my runner safe by slapping the hood of a truck so as to not be run over.



Side note: I like the term "my runner" as a pacer because it gives you some sort of ownership of the run, weird yes, but important to the mindset of being a good pacer, something that was sort of trial and error as the day went on but I feel as if we got better and better. More to come on this, including my mistakes and triumphs as a pacer.



Coming out Leila had a bottle of Perpeteum drink (her preferred liquid calorie) and I carried 2 bottles of water in addition to my own hydration pack with supplies. Down the road about a mile, Leila needed a pit stop which I took as a good sign, my running was getting adequate fluid. My goals as a pacer were to (1) keep her safe (2) get her to the finish line (3) hopefully come away with a big ass belt buckle. Hydration was a key to goal 1. Back at it again and making the start up Hope we got into a strong power hike. Leila is actually a far superior hiker than I, and she was rocking the climb to start though we hadn't spoken much to this point and her audible interactions had been less than reassuring to me.



The climb back over hope was just crappy to be honest, it was congested with people coming down and going up, we kept leapfrogging people in a continuous grunt up the seemingly never ending pass. Near 11.5K' Leila asked me to take the lead and we chatted a bit shortly about her race so far. Here I really started to notice that the tone in her voice and inflection had changed drastically (this I jokingly related to her a long time later) as I assume her energy levels had taken a huge hit and effort was near max. Near 12K she called out to me, which I took as a sign of warning, though she related that she was "happy". That was all, though I assumed she meant either that running 100 miles was cool, or that we were near the top of Hope. Again, her voice sounded sort of loopy, but we reached the top and I was stoked to be headed down to Hopeless aid station, but this took some time with the technical and loose aspect of the trail. Refilling bottles at the aid station and another pit stop, Leila started speaking to the Llamas (of which we spoke of earlier on the way up), things like, "hello llama, how are you?" This meant one thing to me, we need to get the eff down this mountain and back to more manageable terrain/altitude.



The way down Hope back to twin was slow but steady going, Leila making apologies for not going fast enough and me trying to assure her that everything was fine, and we're just trying to find a pace to hold steady. Once near the base of the climb, we got going much better and talking more, though it was mostly me rambling about the year and trying to keep her engaged. Soon, the Leila I know came back, and the cheery voice replaced the confused sort of quiet and harder to understand voice from up on Hope that was speaking to animals.



Across the stream and the slew of other water crossings, we made our way through the marsh trail (not really a trail, but just matted long grass and swamp) to Twin Lakes inbound (10m for me, 60m for her). I was carrying a radio and had given instruction to her crew (Hubs/Bro/Parents) for all matter of things to be set up. There was some confusion (note: my first big mistake) and I ran up the road to help get stuff ready for her, but she was not expecting that and I didn't clearly articulate that I was going to, combine that with the Zoo that was Twin Lakes, and she was confused coming through, not sure where we were until I ran back to lead her in. She was a bit upset (and quite understandably so) that I had left her, but we were soon at the chair changing her socks and getting her food bottles set up. This stop was all chaos, the sock change took what to me seemed forever and we spilled water all over her extra clothes (she didn't really notice that which was huge). Finally, after gathering sleeves and everything else we started back through the tent, then engaging the climb out of Twin.



Coming up the trail we got into a strong hike/run and were greeted to a "lookin' good" from Chris McDougall of Born to Run fame which was a bit odd, but interesting none the less. Whether that was the fuel or the fact that we were starting to catch and pass people in groups now we were moving, moving really well. The trail coming into Halfmoon was rolling uphill then slightly downhill and we were really rolling despite Leila's feeling we were still moving too slow. In reality, this is where we started to earn that buckle.



Halfmoon was my favorite aid station, there were no crews and it was efficient and friendly. Leila used the bathroom and I was treated like gold, they filled my 3 bottles in split second and had the drop bag ready (radio man set that up about 50 yards prior to the aid station) so I could make another bottle of Perpetuem grab some Powerade for myself and be ready when Leila was done, and we were gone. This is where I started to really get a good feeling and sense of grasp of my duties as a pacer. Now that it was dark and headlamps were burning, I had thought going in that I would get sleepy and tired, however, from this point forward I became hyper-focused.



The dirt road from Halfmoon to Treeline was fast and we were rocking making solid time and looking forward to keeping it on track. This was the point where I realized we still had a great shot at making it in under 25 hours. We basically needed to go 30 miles in 8 hours, easy with no miles in your legs, but never a lock with 70 miles already gone (and 20 more than ever before). Treeline meant we had crew access and that was great, Leila wanted her capri tights and we got fresh water/perpetuem and a long sleeve for her and were gone when she was finished changing. The crew stops were now getting faster and more efficient as we kept going. I think this had to do with being able to radio in exactly what she wanted and Kevin and Mike being ready and quick.



Treeline leads to the road section, easily a crappy section in a "trail race" because it's not dirt. However, roads are faster and we continued to run strong here. This was also the only time I stopped to pee (I did a far better job making sure L was stocked and nourished than I was keeping myself going, in fact, I myself ran out of water 3 separate times including the last 14 miles, but this is not important as I was fine without it). Once we got to the low point on the road, the wind picked up and we had a strong and cold headwind, so we went Tour de France style and Leila lined up right behind me so I could block the wind, then off my shoulder as the road turned up to Fish Hatchery. We ran all the way up to Fish Hatchery and were rock solid again with time. Leila ran up to the turn around aid, grabbed some powerade and headed back down to the cars. I had made sure we had her requested item (mix of redbull, emergen-c, and water), but also made sure we had a bottle of perpetuem because it was the one thing she seemingly could get down and would get down, along with another bottle of water.



We walked out of Fish looking forward to Powerline and being off the road, but I forgot potatoes so I had to run back quick and grab those and get back to Leila so she could eat and get ready for the climb up Powerline. Once down off the road, I led the climb and really tried to push her, I knew we'd still be close to time and wanted to make sure we didn't lose time dallying on the climb. This was about the only way I forced her to go faster than she was ready to, but she always responded and though the pace was quick, we got through the steep stuff and she seemed to be doing much better, running pieces and passing people.



After we finally topped out on Powerline (the climb is so frustrating because of all the false summits) Leila had another rough stretch, I believe this was due to calorie lull, basically a short period of not taking in enough calories caused a section of time of low energy which in turn does not promote optimism. She had not realized we came away from Fish with perpetuem and was glad to hear we had some which helped a bit and she was able to take that in slowly. Someone passed us here, and she was pretty upset, not wanting to be passed (this was awesome to me, just a fighter instinct at its core, 80 miles in, feeling rough and the one thing on her mind is not getting passed) I tried to remind her that she could only control what was going on with her and that the best thing to do was to focus on taking in calories. This to me was super important, she was having a tough time running the downhill on the rough road leading off Powerline in the dark. When we did this 2 weeks earlier, she was at the front of the group nailing this section, but with fresh legs you don't realize the difficulty of seemingly "fast" sections that tired legs will give you.



We made it off that section and onto the better grated dirt road, then again onto the singletrack above Mayqueen. This section is deceiving in a number of ways. First, it's technical in they daytime, making moving through at night 80+ miles in really dangerous, and the noise from Mayqueen aid bouncing off the lake made it seem way closer than it was. I convinced her that we needed to take it easy, and make sure to hike quickly so as to not end our day on that trail. This was the keep her safe part, a broken ankle and we would have been toast, obviously. However, she was able to keep up with me (me moving in a fast walk, averaging about 16:00/m walking, we had a purpose and I was going to make sure we had a shot at that big buckle). We radioed in for gatorade and that was it, then ran strong down the road into Mayqueen. One of the best things I did was get her through the tent and out as fast as possible, we didn't stop for anything. She didn't notice, but that place was a deathtrap, it was warm and there were runners all over the floor and in cots. I knew we needed to keep moving and get back out, so we got through, she used a bathroom and I got a bottle of gatorade, dropped a bottle with Kevin and Mike and we were back on the go. Basically, we did not stop for anything but a bathroom here.



I convinced Leila that we could powerhike the entire section to to Tabor Boat Ramp because it was more technical and we could make up time on the other side of the lake, I did the math in my head and knew for the first time that we were going to get that big buckle as long as we kept moving. I had Mike and Kevin set up 2 Gatorade bottles because that's all she wanted now and I knew we could make it from then on in with her only taking in fluid calories. The stop at Tabor was all about the crew efficiency at it's finest. We had now done this enough to know that we had exactly what we wanted and were gone, Leila did not stop at all going through here and all I did was pick up bottles make a few comments to Mike and Kevin and get back up the trail to Leila.



Route finding was tough as always on the Turquoise Lake trail because there is no real defined trail and at night it's even tougher to see. I realized my light was going dim but just as that occurred we hit Matchless boat ramp, caught a bunch of folks and Leila used the bathroom while I swapped batteries on my headlamp. She got out kept rolling as I finished, and then I was back in business, my light was rocking the trail like it was noon again! We were super careful on the short powerline trail coming down off the lake because it's nasty and steep, but from there we ran strong, me blocking another strong cold headwind and then we were along the railroad, then to the bottom of the boulevard. This is the last steep climb and we set a rocking hiking pace up that thing, probably as fast as the night run 2 weeks ago.



By this time, the cheery Leila was back in action and we were basically in celebration mode knowing we had done the hard work and we were coming home with plenty of time to spare for sub 25. We chatted with a guy going after the Grand Slam but along with a group of about 7 others, we left them behind because Leila's pace was too hot. To the football field with a mile left we picked up Mike who came down to run it in with Leila. From here, she picked up the pace, and picked off everyone in sight and held off a late charge by another guy. I was super proud of her for going sub 25, even more so for being behind on splits, having a rough time even through 60 miles, but then smashing her projected splits thereon in to make up all of the lost time.



The finish line was awesome, she ran through and got a few quick pictures, but the race staff grabbed her and ushered her to the final med check where she was basically within a pound of starting weight which was awesome, but I think her core temp had dropped a lot. She ended up in the med tent under blankets for a while to warm up before we hobbled back to the cars to grab some sleep at her cabin.



Again, huge congrats to Leila for rocking the crap out of the LT100. Full results here. Leila was F6 and 80th overall!

This is what I learned most about being a pacer: make sure your runner is tough as nails. Never once was there any hint or speak of not finishing, EVER. While there was a short period where we thought we might not make sub 25, it was short lived. Congrats to all who toed the line at 6th and Harrison, truly a brave and heroic act in itself.