Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 Recap

Ahh, the time of year that beckons reflection. Hot coffee, good beer, and slow runs abound. My family had our first Christmas with 4.

Sometimes folks look back at a year and say, "I could have done better here, here, and here." I know I'm guilty of it. Not this year though, I essentially did everything I wanted to and had a lot of fun in the process. I'll shoot to fulfill the same process this year with similar goals.

I'm embracing the snow for all it's worth, trying to be smarter about my training and scheduling of races. My main goal races are widely spaced, and I'm gonna train specifically for each. Bighorn is gonna be tough, really tough. Compared to Leadville, the race is a MAN sized 100. An area of mountainous terrain on the cusp of the Wyoming/Montana border, this isn't flashy. You'd more likely see Jesus' second coming than a Prius in Dayton, WY. I'll likely be going most of the night solo, no crew or pacer until mile 80. I'm rather excited about this actually, self sufficiency in a 100 is a tough thing to get right.

I've recently given some thought to racing the Devil Mountain 50 in October for the incredible run of Silverton > Steamboat > Pagosa all in a row. I think that would be a bit better than running Deadman Peaks both financially and logistically with what I've got planned for the run up to Hellgate.

In any case, let us look back on the year that was 2011. Some highlights:

Fourth of July Weekend:

My family was in California and I was able to sneak in a LOAD of training in a short amount of time. Two of the greatest people in the world agreed (each in their own way :)) to let me drag them along on a "fun" training weekend which included record setting vertical on all three fronts. Nevertheless we did manage that incredible fun that i'd promised. The fact that we literally almost drove my car off the mountain and died is an afterthought in that weekend which speaks to how great it really was.

Bighorn weekend:
Wyoming. Mountains. Family. First win. Enough said.

How quickly life goes from this:

To this:

Xavier's first day of Preschool:

So, hopefully, there'll be more runs like these to share our "year in review":

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Hit 3k yesterday while spending some time up in wolf country. I was thankful for snow and an "easy" run. Easy in this case is 13/+2500' up to 9200'. Had a great time hanging with Lucho and chatting along the run. Amazing country West Golden is, such incredible access to unused mountain trails. Gonna have to get out and explore that area this spring and summer.

Legs actually feel good now, perhaps the hills and altitude pushed out the sludge that seemed to be stuck in there. Need to continue pushing to get some semblance of sharpness back, but there's time for that too. The real racing begins in April, so I don't want to get ahead of myself just yet.

Missed some vert in tracking, but no matter.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


They say parenting is hard. But here is proof that even JT can be a parent.


Best new entry!
These are my favorites from the graph contest.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fruita is booked

Both the wife and I are booked for races April 21 and 22. If you want to hang out with us this weekend, I suggest booking a slot in one of the Trail Festival's many races...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tentative 2012

Salida Marathon
Fruita 50
Bighorn 100
Silverton Alpine 50K
Steamboat 50
Deadman Peaks 50
Hellgate 100K

Monday, December 12, 2011

Running Christmas

I love Running Christmas. You see, this is (generally speaking) the months of December and January. It's cold, there's snow everywhere, you're out of shape or tired. In short, life is good. More than likely you've had a bit of a love affair with beer and food over the last month and you're both reflecting on a season of running and looking forward to what the new year will bring.

Some of the great things about Running Christmas are the following:

1. Planning races for the next year

Isn't it fun? I have a particular affection for this one. Part of my goal through ultrarunning is to experience new things and places. I'm really getting excited about Fruita, which is an area that I've only really driven through. Right now, I'd give it about 90% certainty that I'll be running the 50 miler there in April. Other than that, I've got a lot of decisions to make, particularly, which races will make my goal list. This year I picked out two races in particular that I wanted to make some noise at, and they couldn't have been more different. Bighorn 50K, a race that just about held everything that I'm good at in large doses and only a bit of the things I consider weaknesses. That one went as planned and I won (no excuses there, not exactly a strong field). Then Leadville, I had some ridiculous fantasies early, and as the race grew closer, I got a bit smarter and down to earth in my approach and it went pretty well (lots of room to improve, but for a first 100, I will consider it a win). The other races were a combination of things, but mostly a means to an end (Pb training). My approach will be similar but different this coming year, and I'll likely choose races that suit me and are close by. More M's and less K's.

2. Enjoying the ride

There's nothing like being months from any real goals or need for fitness to let one embrace the trails and trail running for their aesthetic greatness. A great case in point: my past two weekends of running. A 10 mile/2 and a half hour slog followed by a 22 mile 5 and a half hour slog. Absolutely loved every second of them both for the same reason. It's all about the company you keep. The natural beauty of the mountains in winter with all the snow is something to get excited about, not something to bitch about. What's not fun about trudgin' through 2 feet of snow with your buddies? There's way more time to chat, catch up on what others are doing in life away from running, kids and the like. It's like a really long cocktail party, and in that analogy, you don't even have to remove the alcohol! If I "ran" 22 miles in 5 and a half hours in June it would be likely that A) I'd be pissed off and B) I got injured. In December? It just means I stopped to smell the roses, had a delightful time, and made sure nothing passed me by.

3. Goal revision and goal setting.

I like goals, especially in sport. One of my goals this past year was to win a race, and cherry picked or not, I did. I tell you what, it was pretty fun, and I hope to do it some more if the cards fall right. The flip side to that? My run at Silver Rush, I tried to do too much and probably cost myself a good chunk of time. But, humility is a good thing, and getting your ass handed to you is a quick way to learn it. This year I'll be setting more goals, and I'll post them up sometime when I've got a better handle on them (that way you can bring them up to me later and laugh). However, I hope to improve again in 2012. I'm still a newbie to running, and I'm continually learning new things, but I've been helped immensely by my more versed friends. That is something that will never cease to impress me, I am grateful of the large group of talented and cool people that surround me.

So, enjoy Running Christmas y'all.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stolen photos from Sunday's run.

Stolen from Woody. I gotta say, I haven't been this excited about running in the snow in a while. Sunday's run was like letting a kid run riot in a candy store. The best thing about winter running though is that it makes running in the city WAAAAAY more fun. Last night my run was quiet, exciting (snow/ice), and free of the rash of people that usually inhabit my park. Perhaps the fact that it was 4*F kept them inside. I was sweating like a whore in church when I got home, dress for the weather and get outside!

Todd leading the way

Breaking some trail

Yeah, I should have worn tall socks

The gang (minus a few) just before the real fun began.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Blast from the past

Me at the top (Dad left). Top of a huge climb in Andorra. Sure wish I could go back and do it again.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thoughts and threads

First, thanks to Woody for a great group run this past Saturday. I had a nice 15 and then promptly enjoyed a crash and burn, legs feel pretty good though despite it all. 'Tis the time to shape up.

Trying not to get my hopes up for Hardrock, but I think I'm ready should my name be called. If I'm later on the wait list I'll simply pull out and try again next year. I don't want to wait and see with this race, it will require far too specific training and alter the rest of my spring/early summer to chance it. If I don't get in, it likely means a trip to South Dakota or Wyoming for some fun in redneck land.

Word on the street is that the folks from Steamboat's finest run are considering putting on a 100 mile race. I'm all for more races in Colorado, makes it easier to stay home. A 100 in Steamboat would be epic, and the weather patterns would mean you'd have to be ready for anything. This year's race was freezing/sleet/nastiness and last year's was the opposite, hot as hell. Throw in the Altitude and seemingly boundless singletrack and I can't think of a much better area for a run. It'd be Leadville 2.0.

On the subject of Leadville, my (awesome) finisher's jacket has the saying "America's Highest 100 miler." Is that something that they've taken from the bike? I mean, Hardrock is much higher and certainly the folks at Leadville know of it. Perhaps its just marketing, but I was confused. In any case, I'll be interested to see who lines up for Leadville this coming year, and if the string of good weather days continues. I think we're due for a "snow year".

Lots of folks on the interwebs chatting about the States lottery (almost 1800). I get a bit confused with folks who get pissed that the race is making money. Look, I get it. It's far too expensive for me, but it seems that this is a simple case of supply and demand. If it was truly too expensive, people would stop paying for it. Hype is usually what people say is a turnoff, but I bet all of those people follow along online when the race starts. I'd have to guess that 90% of ultra races could be considered low key or small time, so I don't see what the big deal is with having 5 "big time" races or whatever the number is. It's such a small representation of the sport.

Speaking of races, getting stoked about the 50 in the Fort. Would be great prep for Hardrock, shit, let's talk about something else. 12/10 will should make for a nice walk in the hills up there in the Fort. I think getting back in shape should always involve some sort of intentionally induced suffering. Makes you appreciate fitness.

Mentioned to a few folks that the wife and I are considering taking some time in Virginia for our 5 year anniversary. Anyone with knowledge of a good B&B or cozy cabin in the area, please drop me a note. Proximity to Fincastle, VA or Big Hellgate Creek would be appreciated :)

Donnie is off to my favorite race, good luck to him. Gotta have legs and an empty mind by Bobblets Gap because it's 10 miles and not 5 to Day Creek.

Getting off of my soapbox now...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Good news

It looks like JT (who registered as "Geoffrey Mutai") got a DNF at the Canya Canyon 6K.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Rut Buster

Going down to run the Canya Canyon 6K on Sunday. Mr. Bigtime is apparently in good shape these days and I am not. Hopefully it's icy and snowy so I can keep my 100% record, otherwise I'll have to eat some crow I'm sure.

Anyways, my daily running has picked up again, that's back to daily running and not a whole lot more. That sickness really took a lot out of me, and last weekend Gunner and I went to Falcon and I had to cut the run way short due to lingering fatigue. This week has been better, getting a bit of turnover in on the snow, though I'm clearly not on top form. That said, I'm still in pretty good shape. The starting point for 2012 is far better than the starting point for 2011 so I'm confident that I'll continue to progress.

The BS Report with Carolla was great. Bill Simmons argues that Rocky started the running craze. Also, they make fun of shorter distance running and endurance athletes in general. Though many of their shots would include me, I laughed my face off. Starts 15:45 into the pod if you don't want to listen to the whole thing. Love how they talk about running 11 miles a day is "crazy".

As for 2012, I'm still in research mode. Looking for stuff to sign up for in case Hardrock doesn't happen (List hasn't been updated since last month, but it was already at 274). Big Horn/Black Hills are the big frontrunners. Both courses offer something different, I'd have support for either, and I'll likely be at one or the other even if Hardrock happens as support for Gunner's first 100. I have a hankering to get out and run in Pine before December, I'll post the invite here if I can get a chunk of time clear.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Took my first real big health hit of the fall this past weekend. I'd been bitching to my wife about my back/joints Thursday and Friday, then come the weekend I just felt like general crap. Got the clear to run Sunday morning, but really needed to sleep and rest which is what I did. I still don't feel right, but better than yesterday so that's a step. Hoping I get healthy enough over the week to get a basic run in the Boulder Mountains this Saturday.

Some random thoughts.

Most of the Fall/Winter race calendar sucks around here, minus the FA events of course. The winter distance races in the Denver area are less than appealing and quite expensive in my view for what you get back. Really looking forward to kicking JT's ass at the hill climb in a few weeks, though aparently he's top dog now. Won't do him any good getting an elite entry to CM50K though cuz it's just a marathon.

Also, really looking forward to the Twin Mountain Trudge in Laramie this coming year. I love me some snow running, can't wait for it really. I don't like the in between times with all the ice, but when it's just fluffy awesome snow, it's pretty damn good.

Carved pumpkins with Xavier on Saturday, and the damn squirrels already got to them. So our Jack-O-Lanterns look more akin to toothless West Virginians...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beer Mile

Harvard Gulch Track. Sunday 10/16 @ 5:30. Rules.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Catching up

1-3 in the alumni game. Actually felt comfortable at the plate, drilled a single, stole second and third, scored. Made a couple errors at second (subbed in since none of our alumni players played second). I think if I still weighed 185-190 I'd still have the pop, timing was just a bit off (4 years not touching a bat will do that I guess).

In laws have been in town this week so I haven't gotten back into the groove of daily training, but I'm feeling more comfortable when I am out there. Snuck out to Mt. Falcon on Wednesday, felt a bit uncoordinated and slow, but settled in after a half hour or so.

"Raced" the Band on the run 2 miler out in Aurora today with my father in law. 12:30 in the snow on a slightly hilly course. Pretty fun actually, we couldn't find the start for the longest time (in a gated community that you couldn't drive into), but got there with 10 minutes to spare. I decided to bag a warm up and any real effort (wise decision). I didn't slack too badly, but with our first cold day and no warm up I could still feel the hammys twinging around mile 1. I was the default winner in the 19-29 AG, I was also the only one in the AG. For a race with an $18 registration they gave out some nice swag. I ended up with a $25 gift card to the Runner's Roost, but almost all of the other AG winners came away with a nice Saucony RR jacket. Then I ate 3 Cinnamon rolls, watched football, and drank Titan/Hop Trip IPA.

Back to work this coming week and I intend to get back on the horse. This applies to training and eating/drinking. I've enjoyed my beer and disregard for most forms of healthy eating, but I'm ready to start the long transition back to fitness. I might use some small 5K's or XC races to help with the speed work as I tend to get up and after it more with others there to push me. I'll also try to join Joe and Luke for some turnover work.

The 2012 race schedule has been up in the air a bit, but I'm gonna keep it under control until I find out about Hardrock. That would change everything, especially in regards to training.

Lastly, my Rockhopper is fully under construction, the entire front end is disassembled. Was happy to see the traditional 1 1/8" steerer rather than the 1". I may have socialized my way into a set of Mavic wheels this Friday. Pays to attend homebrewer parties.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A jock filled weekend

Alumni weekend is upon us, or maybe just me. Time to relive our former glory.

However, more importantly, it's time for trash talk and reuniting with some good friends who I once shared many long bus rides to such wonderful locales as Las Vegas... the one in New Mexico...

Game time is 10am with BP prior, gotta try and put a few off the scoreboard like the good old days. Now that I'm 30 pounds lighter, it'll be a good time to prove my old theory that you don't have to be huge to hit homers. I'm gonna predict a 1-4 performance with a homer and 3 K's.

First things first though, time to enjoy a few beers with the boys tonight.

This is GREAT. To get an idea of just how bad we really were that first year, check this out.

I try to mention just how poor we were when people bring it up, or I mention that I played ball in college, but it's just easier to see it in writing: 6-45. If you look hard enough you can find me cast in a less negative light (beer to whoever actually reads through it enough to find them), but it's not easy to find...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Phase one complete

Picked up a swap part saddle from the LBS parts bin (nice Bontrager evoke) for $20. Now my butt will be happy. I threw the new saddle on the CX bike to give it a go and this morning I thew my WTB Silverado saddle on the Rockhopper (so much better). The next phases are as follows:

Pedals- SPD/Less than $30

as is the bike is in commuter shape so pedals would allow me to use my Sidi's (which were purchased for $7.95 at DAV thrift store in Lakewood).

Wheels- Here's a tough one, I'll need a 29'er front wheel and a 26'er rear both NON DISC. Surprisingly hard to find old school MTB wheels nowadays. Likely will use my dividend from REI in march to pick up mismatched pair as they are the only place that seems to carry what I need (single wheels) in my price range.

Fork- Rigid, 29'er and Canti compatable

Tires- again, one 29'er and one 26'er, preferably 1.95's and fast (Small block's perhaps)

Now onto the stuff I have no idea about:

Headset- likely also need access to a press?

Stem- at least 100mm, likely need 110 or 120 due to having the smaller frame.

Spacers- including a front brake cable hanger like this one.

Handlebars- high rise, like this. Again, to accommodate my smaller frame.

The last step would be to turn it into a Single Speed, but that's simply to fulfill the desire to have a LOW maintenance bike. The gears currently on are great 18sp and in good condition.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Free meat saw/Project bike/Joke of the day

My co-worker gave me his old 1993 Specialized Rockhopper Sport (in pristine condition) and now I have a winter commuter and a project bike. I'm gonna have some fun and maybe even get it ready for a Leadman 2013 go. Probably the most important fixes initially would be the saddle (it's original and it hurts) and the pedals. otherwise it's fully ready to ride. Even the original "smoke" tires have great tread.

My friend Jesse reinvented his early/mid 90's Specialized into this beast:

That's the inspiration. Jesse's bike is a SS 69'er with mullet brakes (disc front/canti rear).

Joke of the day:

A boy's parents are getting a divorce. The judge asks him, "do you want to live with your mom?"

"No," the boy says, "she beats me."

"Oh," the judge replies, "well, would you like to live with your father?"

"No," the boy says again, "he beats me too."

"Hmm," the judge considers, "who should you live with?"

The boy replies, "can I just live with the Denver Broncos? Because they're not gonna beat anybody."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Quick update about the status of the Garcia household.

All is good on our little patch of grass. As it turns out, Oliver broke his humorous on delivery (left side, basically the bone between your shoulder and elbow). We saw a pediatric orthopedic doctor yesterday and he assured us that it looks good and will heal extremely fast (3 weeks). We've got his arm immobilized by using an ace bandage to keep his hand on his chest (similar to the position a sling puts your arm). Otherwise you'd never know he's got a broken arm. When it's still (99% of the time) he's just a normal baby, no crying unless he's crapped himself or needs food. He fusses when we have to change his shirt but that's to be expected.

Sleep wise we're doing well (knock on wood). He's been cruising off to sleep for 3 hours at a time so we're relatively rested. I'm extremely thankful for that, and I've even got a few runs in. I might try to see if Xavier wants to go check out the Bear Chase Race on Sunday. Speaking of Xavier, I'm taking him on Thursday to go do something fun. Had thought of hiking, so I might check the weather to see if that's a good idea still. If not that, I might take him down to Manitou for the penny arcade and pizza.

Thanks for all the well wishes in the last post, always great to hear from y'all. Nick, Rachel loves the idea of hanging out with Dana and the Clark contingent of germ spreaders during the Chubster so we'll see you there. In other news, I will likely head up to Boulder sometime around Halloween, and take part in a small chunk of legally questionable hi-jinks. Won't be ready for the full deal, probably a heavy half.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Oliver Edward Garcia

My second baby boy was born at 3:40AM today!

Crazy stuff as we had just enough time to get to the hospital. Literally, no more than 40 minutes from Rachel waking me up, we had another kid. So stoked right now!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beer Sponsor?

Companies can do a lot with grassroots marketing and here is my new idea:

A local beer maker promotes their beer by making me an ambassador. I promise to bring some of the beer to all of my races and share with friends and strangers. Ultrarunners are a great avenue to market at due to the level of beer consumption. I think it's a primary ingredient in all successful racing plans. I'm sure that we can conjure up some scientific studies proving the recovery benefits and social "coolness" factor. I'll even wear a hat.

You get a cheap marketing avenue, and I get a case or two of free beer every month.

Front range brewers, make it happen.

Hildebrand Ranch 6 miler

Come on out and join me for the Hildebrand Ranch 6 miler this Satruday at 8:00 am. Early test to see where the legs are. Come laugh at how slow I am! $10 for a no frills, no BS race.

Or join me for a beer at Three Lions at 6:30am Sunday for the Liverpool v. Tottenham match.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Got a nice early run in with Mark Mobley around the Matthews/Winters area on Sunday morning. Total was something like 8.6 in 1:21 so even while it was an easy pace we didn't slack too much on the climbs. Mark is notably stronger on the climbs and gapped me on the climb back up on the Hogback. Wonderful morning out, loving the crisp 45*F air.

Legs are coming around but still dead and tired. The easy mileage is nice though, and I'm back to daily lunch runs (phone in hand, just in case the baby decides it can't wait). Definitely taking my time getting around the hood at lunch, but it doesn't really matter right now. Hopefully in a few weeks I'll feel rested enough to test out the legs with some speed work.

Three Lions Pub

Perhaps the best place to watch football of the English persuasion in Denver. Three Lions Pub. They even have a booth with taps in the middle, and about 150 TV's.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rock Canyon 1/2

Thinking about heading out to Pueblo on 12/3 to run the Rock Canyon 1/2. Should be a good warm up for the chubster. I have to run 1:24:57 to make sure I beat JT's PR.

The Offseason/Allegiances

Somewhere during the year of 2004 I began following football, well, Clark's brand of football. Having come from a typical American background I'd had no interest in the sport prior and indulged in America's major sports (baseball and football). When I moved to Colorado my roommate (Gunner) played soccer for the school and I began to gradually learn the game and its nuances. By my sophomore year I was skipping out on midweek classes to watch the team I'd grown close to play Champions League matches on ESPN.

I got in over my head as the season continued, I was more and more enticed by Liverpool's captain, Steven Gerrard. He played incredible football, and scored phenomenal goals, a la this one:

The team in 2005 was scrappy, and relied on a revolving cast of role players and creativity. League success was minimal, but we made the Champions League final where I became a Red for life:

In 2006, I found myself sitting in fado irish pub and throwing crap across the bar at the West Ham supporters after this game:

Then, in 2007 I made pilgrimage to Liverpool to watch the final league match of the season. It was incredible old grounds with everything you hope for. Dingy stairwells, cheep beer, and phenomenal seats.

Now, I get to take my son to bars at 8am on Saturdays to watch my boys play. With the running season in regression. My sports viewing will begin to begin to take its place with equal vigor.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hardrock 2012

My application is in the mail.

Anyone want to grab beers on lottery day?


Saturday evening GZ put up the bat signal so I heeded the call to Chautauqua at 6:30 Sunday morning.

Johnny T. joined us and we casually strolled out of the lot at a leisurely pace. Given that I hadn't taken a step since Leadville, I was encouraged with the feel but not surprised that they were still heavy. We headed up the backside of Green, I was thankful to avoid the frontside, and we started huffing and puffing our way up on a beautiful morning (45*F at the lot).

Somewhere around halfway or so my legs just couldn't keep the running motion and I went full on power hike. I was able to stay in contact for a while, but lost contact before the 4way where GZ kindly waited to ensure I didn't go for an unnecessary jaunt down Bear Canyon. Up the ridiculous steps to the summit and I let out a sarcastic, "suck it Tony, that's 2" as it was a second ascent of the year in 3 tries. As if on cue, Tony came hopping up the trail about a minute later and we all chatted on the summit for a while. Johnny T had to bail for work, but GZ, Tony, and I probably spent 10 minutes soaking in the views and catching up.

GZ and I then took the middle route down which was excellent trail, seemingly much flatter than what we had run up and talked family, youth sports and the like on the way back to the car. In all, a perfect morning out. It was nice to finally spend a bit of time on the trail with the mileage master himself and see the messiah on the summit. This time of year is the best, races done, and the only thing to dictate where, when, how far, and how hard you run is simply desire. I want to run up that. There are no easy days, hard days, or "workouts", just running. It's nice like that.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mission Full Rest Complete and more on 2012

This coming Sunday I'm going for a run, and I'm stoked. Since Leadville I've done zero running; I'm starting to go through withdrawal. I like taking two full weeks of rest to sit around and let my body heal from a hard effort, but getting that full two weeks tends to be difficult to achieve. The first week is easy, when everything is still out of whack and sore, but the it's the second week, when you feel fine that is the tough one.

While I've enjoyed my beer, I'm looking forward to enjoying the fall weather, even in small doses. Rachel is motoring right along towards having this kid and we're ready at any moment to have it. The sense of imminence means I'll be doing shorter runs, closer to the car and my phone. Sunday, I'm planning on hitting Mt. Morrison. This is the steepest climb on the Denver front range and one that is not frequented by runners or hikers. During the rest period I've decidedly come to recognize the importance of addressing the biggest weaknesses in my running: flat speed and climbing.

This past year's training log focused on base mileage and volume. I would do it again, because with my limited experience, I don't have a real base to draw on, but I feel that the past two years have given me enough to start to focus more on things that I believe will increase my performance. Conveniently, Lucho posted something that essentially confirms my thinking. However, I don't have the base (or talent), so I don't think I can get away with 50 mpw but from my experience I tuck nicely into 90-95 mpw in the meat of my schedule. It's an area that allows for volume AND intensity. That's my focus for the year; never sacrifice one for the other.

In regards to addressing my weaknesses, vertical is something I've lacked in my training at least on a regular basis. My desired race schedule next year will include plenty of vertical, and so Mt. Morrison will likely become a regular fixture in my training alongside Mt. Falcon and Lookout Mountain. Variety is key. Lookout being the best spot for workouts, Falcon being the most logical steep running trail, and Morrison being the place for masochistic workouts. It's our Sanitas/Incline/whatever. I'll also try to get some flat fast work in, while I've constantly avoided the track for a few years, it may be time to find a group to help me. I'm lost there, no experience whatsoever, so a group is likely my best option. That and joining up with folks doing marathon training. We'll see, but it seems like a good option. My group of running buddies has increased dramatically in the last year, so I can hopefully sneak into other workouts without too much hassle.

In short, my ideal race schedule for 2012:
Salida, Fruita 50, Ice Age 50, Hardrock, Wasatch, and Hellgate. Basically a two half season with a focus on speed early and mountains later.

Obviously that depends on my ability to gain entry into the latter four and there are plenty of great races that could replace them if I don't get in so finding races isn't the hard part, the hard part is addressing the issues in my training and tackling them.

Speaking of tackling, it is the start of football season, both here and aboard and my son is taking his cue. He just began preschool (see pic below) and we had a potluck dinner/meet and greet last night at his school. There were a few older kids (6yo) playing with a soccer ball that he wanted to partake in. The older boys began a game of keep away that was frustrating to my kiddo. After about 5 plays, Xavier decided to fix the problem by spearing the oldest kid and taking him to the ground. I know I'm not supposed to condone such behavior, but it made me proud. Find the problem, fix the problem. Now we'll have a double dose of that thinking soon.

Bring it.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Incredible. Painful. Fun.

That pretty much sums up my first 100 mile run. The challenge certainly falls into the category of things you need to do to truly understand.

Driving to the start line with Gunner and Keith was weird, I was predictably tired because it was so early but I didn't really have any nervousness, just calm. We had some good times as always making jokes (many that will not be repeated here) and staying loose. Not long after I was poking fun and taking jabs at my fellow running friends there at the start line.


Stay calm, stay relaxed, don't do anything stupid. I stopped to pee on the side of the boulevard which helped calm me down and ran with Brendan through to the mini powerline cut where I hiked and ate the remains of a clif bar. I was taking the advice of Lucho and running without a watch, running easy, and eating like mad. I was a bit worried with all the people ahead of me, but trusted that it was ridiculous to worry about placing in the first 13 miles of a 100 mile race. I ran with my Nathan race pack so I cruised right through May Queen and heard someone mention that we'd hit near 1:52 for the spit. A bit too fast in regards to my plan but it felt incredibly slow.

I tucked in behind Mark Mobley through the CT section and focused on just taking it easy. The trek up the backside of Sugarloaf was a section that I knew was critical. Almost anyone can run this, but it's too early to hunt for time, so I forced myself to hike 90% of the climb. At the top of Powerline on the initial downhill, Tim Long caught me and made a joking pass at top speed. We chatted a bit, and continued to move towards Fish with Tim taking the lead down into the aid. This essentially happened over and over throughout the race.

Fish Hatchery brought my crew access and I was pumped to see them, but focused too. I swapped my long sleeves, pack, and headlamp for a bottle and my vest and was gone without missing a stride. It was seamless and continued this way all day, probably saved a minimum of 30 minutes over the course of the race.

Onto the road section I was feeling confident and calm, running easy as ever with 1/4 of the race done but the meat ahead of me.

I passed a few folks and made my way through Treeline, swapping a bottle on the fly and continuing through. The trail from here up through the new Mt. Elbert aid station is fairly monotonous, and I wasn't working to keep a decent pace. Down the single-track to Twin Lakes, I was confident and happy to have 40 miles out of the way.

Again, my crew was flawless, swapping my bottle for a pack mid stride and I was off to tackle the beast of Hope Pass. Across the river I was feeling good, and began grinding my way up over the 12,600' frontside. I knew I'd get passed so I tried to take it in stride when it happened. Arriving at Hopeless aid I got my super hike on and finally made it over. I love downhills, but I hate running down the backside of Hope. I simply made sure to stay on my feet and make way for the leaders. Sandes came through first looking amazing, then Dylan hot on his heels. It was pretty awesome seeing just how close the top 8 or 9 guys were.

On the way into Winfield I yelled a few profane remarks at Brooks and tried to take him out, but he was on to me. I had to settle for a run up to the aid station. I had aid workers fill my pack as I weighed in (only down a pound) and then I was back off to cheers from some friendly faces.

I felt great all the way until I had to hit Hope again, and it sucked. I slowly made my way up to the top all the while feeling worse and worse, getting passed at steady intervals and overall not enjoying my decision to do this run. Somewhere near treeline, Brian and Todd caught me and pushed me to the top. Their familiar faces were just what I needed to push a bit harder and get over that damn pass. I grabbed a cup of coke and headed out down to Twin Lakes. As we got back to more normal elevation I rebounded a bit and ran well into the aid station to change my shoes and head out with Jaime.

This was the only time I would stop at an aid station all day, and the only time I sat down. I spent all of a minute changing my shoes as everything was set and ready to rock. Jaime had all my stuff so I just focused on hiking out of the wall at Twin Lakes. The climb is steady, but I was feeling good and we made decent work out and when the trail flattened I was running strong. I felt great all the way until Half Pipe aid station where I spoke some famous last words. I asked Jaime for the time, and concluded, "I think we've got a shot," in reference to going sub 20 hours. Immediately my legs began to seize and I became a hobbling mess. I put on a brave face for my family at Treeline, gave my son a hug and kept moving through.

Once I hit the pavement I was quickly becoming a train wreck. I have never been in such pain in my entire life. I wish I was more coherent and fun, but I was just reeling. Jaime got me into the telephone pole game, walk one, run two, repeat. It was killer, but it kept me moving and then he made it 3 poles. By the time we got to Fish I was still horrifically catatonic, but I was moving. Jaime's job was done, he kept me moving in the deep dark place where you learn just how idiotic and tough you can be.

Gunner picked up the pacing duties at Fish, some 77 miles into the race and we made our way out to the base of the infamous Powerline climb. To put it mildly, I was just ecstatic to have him with me. Gunner is my best friend in the world, and is moving in a month to Chicago, so this was a sort of capstone to our current era. We did some life recounting while grinding up the climb and the I slowly began to rally, running sections of the uphills.

Once we crested the summit (it had just become dark enough to use a headlamp), we almost immediately began to reel back the time I had lost and we made excellent time down to the CT where I knew I needed to be careful and not end my race with a broken leg. To my surprise, we did really well here, Gunner was able to find a solid running cadence which allowed me to stay on his heels and follow his line. By the end of the CT we had caught and passed a runner and through May Queen we did not stop, passing at least one more.

From May Queen to Tabor boat ramp we continued the same agonizingly painful cadence, Jon staying just far enough ahead so that I could follow, fast enough that I needed to run. I always hate running this section because Tabor seems to take forever no matter how fast you run, this was no exception. Again through the boat ramp we did not stop, Jon having gone ahead to refill my bottles. Keith told us that there was a runner just up ahead that had been in rough shape and was walking so we kept pace, determined to catch him before the mini powerline. Just before matchless we found Brooks and heard about his unfortunate GI revolt and subsequent body malfunction. All in all, he seemed in good spirits considering and wished us well as we continued on.

After getting through matchless we pretty well nailed the remainder of the Turquoise Lake trail until the damn mini powerline descent. My legs revolted again, but all I could do was laugh as we began to recount all of the ridiculous situations we'd gotten ourselves into. I hobbled down CR-4, after getting passed, to the dirt road to the base of the Boulevard and tried to run again. After a few tries we got the wheels turning and I started running hard about 2.5 miles from the finish. I passed the guy who got me a few miles earlier and got a gap just as we hit pavement. I knew it would be close to sneak in under 21 hours and we picked up Keith to run the final mile. Conveniently, there was a plot to keep me moving by lying to me about what time it was, so I kept running as hard as I could.

A few hundred yards before the finish, I was greeted by Todd and JT, and then I saw the red carpet. I ran through the line to my waiting wife and son... Amazing. I felt awesome, mostly, and I tried to soak in what had just happened. After a quick weigh in (down just 3 pounds), I called my parents who'd been up waiting for me to finish. Incredible.

I can't say thank you enough for my crew. Keith had everything ready and done, I never had to stop for a single thing (added benefit for him, he didn't have to hear me bitch and complain!).

Jaime got me through the darkest of dark patches, 7 miles of hellish pain, thanks dude, you're amazing!

Gunner, well, this was something wasn't it? Some day we'll be all old and fat, fishing somewhere and you'll make a joke about this day and I'll spew some Deisel out of my nose.

To my wife and son. Thank you for putting up with me. Thank you for supporting me, and thank you for being there at the finish line! I love you!

Now, on to the next adventure, kid number two!

Again, thanks to Drymax and for your support. I was as comfortable as 100 miles can be!