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


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


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

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


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.