Thursday, February 24, 2011

Way Too Cool T-minus 2 Weeks

I thought with 2 weeks to go I'd give a sort of status update on my training and feeling going into the race. Over the last two weeks I've had a sort of roller-coaster in terms of general well being and feeling on my training.

First I got sick about a week and a half ago along with the rest of the family and it hit me hard, especially in my energy levels, I was tired all day. Through that I took some rest days but managed to eek out some miles though they were mostly all flat and at a moderate pace. That and I continued my regimen of lifting weights twice a week with an emphasis on squats. I have heard much on how ultrarunners don't need to lift and such, however most of these folks have access to tons of vertical on a daily basis and end up building strength that way. I however live in Denver with responsibilities that limit my access to big vertical, and I've found that lifting really helps me develop the strength needed to maintain composure, form, and power throughout the extended climbs.

Anyway, I had two terrible weeks of training where I wanted to be in the 70+ mpw range as I continue to bump up the intensity but managed 70, followed by 60 the next week. However, right towards the end of last week I started to claw my way out of the sickness I'd been dealing with (and get more/better sleep) and there's been a general turn in my feeling and training. Monday was awesome because I got to get up in the hills and run true "trail" (ice) for the first time in a while. I had attempted a 50K tempo on the Saturday before but ended up getting lost and picked up by my wife after crashing at 22 miles and 15 miles from home. Monday was the exact opposite; even through it was a pure ice chute I felt solid on the climbs and bomber on the descents. When I got back to my car 15 miles later, I wished I could just go back and do it again! This week should get me into the prime base training load of 85-100 mpw and I hope to keep it there consistently through the summer.

Now, when I look forward to Way Too Cool in 2 weeks, I'm becoming more and more satisfied to come in without expectations and just run solid all day as a training run. It will be super easy to stay engaged with the new trails, as long as I don't get lost! Who knows, the low altitude could help me turn in something faster that I think I'm geared for, but I'm not worried anymore. I'm just excited to hang out with all the fun trail folks and soak up the early season race atmosphere. I'll leave the hanging it on the line for Cheyenne Canyon...

Friday, February 18, 2011

A nod from Geoff

I'm not sure how I missed this post from Geoff last friday (must have come out during my run), but it was an honor to even be mentioned in this list.

To be completely frank, I'm not sure I belong on the list with those other guys, but I agree with Geoff's assessment, I think the bigger and longer the race, the better I may do. That's been a bit of a self realization with me, both on an enjoyment and a performance level. I enjoy the epicness of the run perhaps more than anything really, that feeling when you get back to your car and go "wow." Sort of a sense of disbelief in what you have just experienced and how far you've travelled.

To that end, my racing this year will definitely be more limited with the child on the way. Rachel had her first exam this week and it went really well. We've got one kid coming and a due date of September 24th. Immediately I thought about that time of year and how cool it is to have a birthday then. That time falls in line with my favorite race (although it's been my nemisis from a performance place), Run Rabbit Run. I really look forward to sharing that with the little one when he/she comes as I have with Rachel and Xavier the last two years.

I'm really looking forward to racing this year, even though I'm not currently lined up for something "big". I hope to get myself into top form by July to be able to take a realistic shot at a record. I'm also looking forward to having fun at Way Too Cool. I think the race being so big, with so many fast dudes has me pumped up even though I know I won't be competing up front. I think a good race from me would bring me up near the top women, but that may be pushing it a bit as I don't really have much of the leg speed to be up there. If I can keep it close to the hills, I'll have a shot to not get chicked, but we'll just have to wait and see. Cheynne Canyon will be super fun too, I'm really excited to be on new trails and explore. The race should be small, but JT and I have some beer exchanging to do after his throwdown in NOLA.

After that, I am looking to lay down a solid race at Big Horn, with some outside intentions of seeing how feasible a shot at the CR will be. The 50K is devoid of any huge climbs, but from what I understand the course is pretty rough. The downhill is what really gets my blood pumping, it's the thing I do best, and there's a lot of it in the 50K. Then I'll put in one more push of training and taper off for July. I'm still not certain what I'll be doing then, but I know as long as I can stay healthy, I'll be pushing the training hard and getting ready. Most likely this will be for either North Fork or Silver Rush.

One thing I can tell you for sure; a mountain 100 is in my future, and I'm stoked for it when it comes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Why is it that I'm having trouble accepting that "only" 50 miles could be the longest race of my season?

I don't know, something in my brain is pulling back and forth. You need to do more... 50 miles is tougher than hell, just focus on that...

Weird. Sort of an existential moment. Why are ultrarunners so focused on 100 miles and not 110 or 120 or 100k?

Perhaps it's because I feel my body is better suited for longer than 50 miles, that I don't have the legspeed to keep up in shorter events. Perhpas not; sort of a odd moment right now for me.

Friday, February 4, 2011


As I alluded to in my previous posts, I've done quite a bit more thinking surrounding my running lately and I've come to some slightly vague conclusions around what my goals should be or what I should do to achieve them. The cool thing about this is that it has helped to form a solid motivational tool for me when it comes to training.

I'm sure most runners go through similar peaks and valleys, but I've always found it interesting that post race I'm either hyper motivated to race again, or I'm completely satisfied and ready to relax. My racing last year went: crappy race, train hard/good race... repeat. Logically it makes sense, because I was disappointed or embarrassed and I wanted to prove something to myself.

Initially this year I had a hard time getting going. Partly, I knew I didn't have enough time to adequately prepare for Way Too Cool and the toughness of training through winter (though ours has been unseasonably nice discounting the past week) left me lacking. However, there are some things that have helped which are contrarian by nature.

Hard line approach:

This is the logical side of my brain working. The marked improvement I noticed in my climbing ability during Hellgate was in no doubt brought about by the hard work I put into it. I ran more hills, and ran them harder than before. I got into the gym and did squats and lifts that helped build strength, and I ran uphill on the treadmill. I don't have ease of access to hills from my house or office, and I don't justify driving out to the hills for my daily runs. When I noticed the gains after reflecting on Hellgate, I knew I had to keep working hard (in my case in the gym) to continue that benefit. The more I dwell on this the more pumped I get about training hard. I watched a short video today on KJ's training and I just got amped on it. That's it man, rip it in training so you can rip it in the race.

My life approach:

Call me sappy, but the more I run, and the longer I am a Father/Husband, the more I draw inspriration from my family. Since getting passes to the Denver Rec centers, I've brought Xavier out quite a bit to play basketball. He's 2 1/2 so there's not much "basketball" being played by the little man, but there is a lot of running. When I was watching him yesterday, he was literally as full of joy as I've ever seen him. He was running full speed across the court trying to dribble the ball and then he would ultimately dive headfist and slide across the floor. After laughing like a damn fool, he'd get up and do it again. Baseline to baseline. It's purity man. It's why you do it; it's f***ing awesome. (sorry mom). I've been smiling a lot lately when running, it feels pure, it's kinetic. What better way to pass on to another generation what we should be doing as humans, respect life, be in the moment. That's what my buddy Johnny's late father taught me, be in the moment because it's not there forever. Enjoy your time doing what you're doing. I've been motivated because I enjoy getting out there every day, I enjoy what I believe is setting a good example for my son (and for the little fetus growing in my super hot wife's belly [shameless plug there, she deserves it]).

In any case, motivation is easy to come by right now. I waffle between the two approaches and it's been quite cyclical. One day I'm motivated because I'm super stoked to get out and cruise. Other days I'm motivated to ablosutely destroy my muscles, break down to build up. So far it's been a healthy balance. Writing this my legs feel as if they've exploded from the inside out, it was a good day at the gym...

Soon we'll be out running trails like the one from this pic I stole from Jaime's header:

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I'm all in now for Way Too Cool, Cheyenne Canyon (anyone have a course profile?), and Bighorn. I'm about 80% sure I'll sign up for North Fork, but I have time for rego on that one. I would love to run another 100K this year but I'm not sure it'll fit. I don't know why there aren't more 100K's out there, but I'm sure Nick's run will help fill that void. I found it to be a great distance, lots of fun, but still super hard. Now I got to get my 50K chops in order...

Below is a pic from the PP50K of me following Doug (pretty sure that's his name, cool dude but too fast for me that day) from Denver, then some other guy, Matt Carpenter, and some other fast guy. Proof I ran with MC baby! Gotta love MC, he's proof you don't need any fancy shit to run fast (saw him at BTMR wearing a cut off half cotton t-shirt).