Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cheyenne Mountain 50K

Well, not a whole lot to report as far as fireworks. I had a pretty blah day overall and was initially pretty frustrated with how things went, but as things have sunk in I'm realizing the good in what was going on and perhaps some things that I need to work on.

As for the trip, it was a lot of fun. Headed down Friday evening to JT's and had a few beers before heading downtown for more beers and the Lukas Nelson show. Then it was back to "elite headquarters" for some z's before the race.

Race morning felt a bit like any other morning except JT served me my coffee and it was overcast in Colorado. Temps were high 30's low 40's for the start, but it was nice to catch up quickly with some friends I hadn't seen in a while.

From the go I wanted to get a feel on what the big boys would do with the pace, but I let them go within the first 1/2 mile or so as it was too hot for me. I was in between the lead group and a chase group for the first few miles and after a quick stop to tie my shoe I was passed and working to get back onto the chase group. I felt fine, but similar to Way Too Cool, I just wasn't finding that next gear. The course was surprisingly fun with some really buffed out sections and some nice rocky sections mixed in.

Being that I'd never been down there, I was a bit disoriented at times with all the turns, but the course was really well marked and I managed not to get lost. Coming back through the Start/Finish I noted the course a bit long so I took a mental note so as to be unsurprised on lap 2. I didn't grab a split but I think I was somewhere around 2.13 or so for the first lap which was well off what I had planned going in, but about what I deserved given the effort and legs I had.

(Eyes closed!)

Starting lap two I had closed on Paul and Marco a bit, I'd get near them on the downs and lose them on the climbs, so I had some small motivation to plug a bit faster. I ended up catching Marco about mile 21 and it was clear neither of us was having a day to remember. Then I caught Paul at the base of the last grinder and put a bit of time on him, but could tell I wasn't going to be hanging on to a particularly good split for the second half and just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I think at these times you want to drop because it'd be easier to say that you know it wasn't your day and blah blah blah. Then you show up to the aid station and realize you're being a little bitch and keep going. I finally started feeling stronger around mile 28 and made good time through the rollers and the long swinging downhill to the finish.

Time at the line was 4:48:08 which was almost exactly 40 minutes slower than cool (I owe a lot of beer) but I think the course was actually quite a bit tougher. Certainly there are far fewer sections where you can really open it up due to all the turning. However, for a first time event, this was a well planned, and well executed race. Certainly there were some Triathalon touches to it with the planned "elite" wave and the actual podium for the overall and a/g winners, but it was a good time on a worthy course. Lucho would feel at home ;) I could definitely see it turning into a bigger event and drawing a lot of folks who otherwise would have run Greenland as the course is much more preferable. Perhaps we'll see an option for a longer race as well 75/100K, which would be a nice way to test some early season endurance.

It was nice to catch up with the CRUD contingent after the race as well as Brendan, Luke, Ryan, Tracey, and Los DeGraves. I introduced myself to Jason in the parking lot and had a good chat. His buddy with him was introduced as that guy who won JFK; Brian Drumm, the man who came out of nowhere (at least in the ultra world) and destroyed the JFK50 field, nice guy for sure.

(Brendan cruising the bridge)

(Leila shows the boys how it's done)

Lots of lessons learned here. I have a tendency to be both over-confident and over-critical and I was the former going in and the latter throughout much of the race. With raw legspeed in the race, there was really no way I was going to win, but I could have been better prepared to run my own race and run faster. What I can take away is that I am actually becoming more consistent and stronger as a runner. I've been finishing closer to the front more often than not so that is a good sign. I also felt like I could have kept racing, I certainly had the legs to run a few more laps and perhaps that's a sign that what I've been doing in training is really laying the groundwork for August. However, with that said, if I'm going to stay in contact with Yassine for more than a mile at FP50K I need to continue to devote some more time to getting some leg turnover into my workout routine. I have some more plans with how to do that thanks to some prompting from Justin Ricks, a guy who if you haven't heard of him, you surely aren't aware of much in the Colorado running world. He'll go after an OT in Eugene next week.

Lastly, thanks again to JT and Katie for letting me crash the place and hang out for a few days. Thanks also to Drymax for yet another blister free race! Good times out there.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fact of the day

If you Google "Patrick Garcia Runner Colorado" you will find no pictures of me. However, you will find a few picutres of naked dudes running around with pumpkins on thier heads and a picture of the one and only George Zack.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cheyenne Canyon Registrants posted

Names are linked to a PDF here.

Lots of friendly faces will be running down in the springs this Saturday, including the other PG. Fast guys were what was already known pretty much unless there's somebody I missed (Vega, Hessek, Severson, Peinado, Trimboli, Schlarb). The women will be chasing Anita Ortiz who appears to be back in force, but maybe Leila or Maria can give her a run for the money.

Looking forward to hanging with the CRUD contingent down there. If I don't make it home JT will likely make up some story about how a tree fell on me while I was sleeping. Don't beleive it.

In other news, JT will be running in the "MASTERS" category...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Over/Under CC50K

I've never been down to the Cheyenne Canyon trail system so I can't be entirely sure of what awaits me at the CC50K next weekend (4/23), but from all accounts there will be 4 climbs (2 per loop) that are shallow but long and 4 descents. The trail is supposedly not technical, but there are alledgedly not many straight sections and it's twisty turny and compacted to a relatively small area.

This is realtive to Way Too Cool, but the course is different and of course it's a few thousand feet higher than Cool. Here is the course map and profile. The race should be really interesting, but we're not all sure who will be there. A lot of the real big guns have confirmed they won't be there, but USATF 50 mile trail champ Jason Schlarb as well as Brendan Trimboli will be. Hopefully it's not just the three of us standing on the start line of the elite race, that'd just be weird.

***Just got confirmation that Dan Vega will be there and he's got wheels!***
***Now confirmation that Marco Peinado will be there too!***
***2:27 Marathoner Levi Severson is making his Ultra debut***

So, without further aideu, the over/under for CC50K is my finishing time from WTC: 4:08:41. Rules are the same and simple, if you think I'll be slower, guess over. If you think I'll be faster, guess under. If you're right, I owe you a beer. If I'm right, you owe me a beer. Unlike JT, I'll actually pay up if I lose!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Speed or lack of

There's always talk out there of weather you should incorporate speedwork into your training or just leave it out all together. We all know of the guys who have success both ways, we've got a bunch on the front range running on the track and a bunch who don't. I guess my opinion (a rather uneducated one at that) is that speedwork in moderation can't hurt. My goal for the year is to develop a strong base (getting there) and then consistently add quality workouts to my routine to peak in August. That said I'd basically not done any kind of structured speedwork since last spring or summer, so a few weeks ago I dabbled my toe in adding some.

I basically came up with the idea that I'd do one shorter session (repeats/tempo) on Wednesday and one longer but less intense session on Sunday. Let's just say I haven't been setting any records with my speed and I won't be out winning any 5K's soon. Last week I ran a pretty controlled 5M tempo at 6:25mpm (insert chuckle), and today's was a bit more work at 6:13 mpm. Some of the initial benefits I'm seeing other then the relative feel of my easy days feeling slower while at the same pace is that there is a certain mental toughness to finish out that last mile to mile and a half of the 5M tempo. No one is watching me, and no one will follow up with me tomorrow to make sure I did it. Mental strength is the ultimate X factor in ultrarunning, the more you practice, the easier it gets.

The reason I've been doing this speedwork is that I have a few races (one in less than 2 weeks) that require me to run significantly faster than in a typical Colorado style mountain ultra. Cheyenne Canyon will likely be fast and I want to be able to push towards the CR at Big Horn (found that the course is a few miles long which means the low 4 time is more stout than originally believed). There is an additional race I may take on that could require some turnover and then there's Leadville. Leadville is a runner's course no doubt, so the greater my ability to run, the greater my ability to do well (at least that's my approach). I am not planning on being a mountain beater at LT, but I want to really be able to handle everything between Twin and Harrison.

Any interest in an over under for CC50K??? I'm thinking of a number now.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Wife's Race

My wonderful wife is an RD for a small Non-profit fundraiser 5K in Lakewood on April 30th. You should come out and run it for a few reasons:

1. It's cheap ($15)
2. It's a 2 lap XC style course: few small hills, turns, and fun basically. Not your average 5K.
3. You'll probably beat me.
4. My wife is pretty hot. I may even let you take her picture.

And you can register HERE.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Silver Rush!

This July I'm headed back to the place where the drive to run somewhat absurd distances started for me, the Leadville Silver Rush 50. I'm super excited for this race because it will allow me to see some of the progress I've made since jumping into ultras 2 years ago. In 2009 I ran 9:12 and was really proud of myself, as I should have been in my first 50.

Looking back at my training going in, my biggest week was 61 miles. Now that is a taper week, but I have worked hard to gain the base mileage and fitness needed to push myself that far. I have a much better approach now than I did going into SR in 2009, and I hope that I can take a huge chunk of time off that figure. I'm excited to tackle the race where it all began, which ends up in a perfect place for my Pb build. We grow and learn from race to race, so lets hope I've learned enough to run well at altitude.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Partners in Crime

One thing struck me as I was running around the Ranch with Scott this past Sunday. While I do 99% of my running alone, or at least not directly in sync with another, the times I do get out with another person or a group really have an impact on how I view things. For example, as I've mentioned, I am taking a mitigated approach to increasing volume and really focusing on a base of mileage that will hopefully bring me to August in true top form.

Just having that person there to validate my thoughts is nice, because on every other run, I'm thinking these things and basically throwing them out into space with no response. About 2.5 hrs into the run on Sunday, we'd begun talking a lot about how to prepare for ultras (or running in general) and the need to build into fitness as opposed to holding fitness for an extended period of time. There are different schools of thought here, but it was interesting to hear Scott's version of the story as well as the similar but different views of his 2 coaches both past and current.

As well, I think about the weekend prior out in Buffalo Creek with Woody, Leila, Brendan, and Ryan. Running with them has a different feel than pounding out the miles by myself, almost a family quality, therapeudic even. It was cool to hear Brendan's thoughts as he and I are quite close in age.

This past Thanksgiving my family was staying in west Evergreen and Rachel and I went out for a run up into the Mt. Evans wilderness that was one of the true highlights of my year. Sharing the experience of being on the trail with the person you love most is something that is hard to explain. I got pretty excited when Rachel mentioned to me she was thinking of running 3 trail races next summer (post baby), as it means more shared experiences in the outdoors.

I think that as we interact while running we get a validation of our thoughts, and in a weird way, a family. I do like running alone, but the experience of sharing the trails with others has become a much needed way to validate my trail running soul.

Friday, April 1, 2011

March in Review

March has been my best and most consistent month of training ever. I've done a lot of work to build a stong base which I think is coming along quite nicely. While I have started to sprinkle a bit more quality in my routine I'm far from being fast. I dropped a couple mile repeats on the way home from work the other day and I was bit unsatisfied with a 6:27/6:12/5:58, but I can't expect much anyways (hey, it was windy and uphill... or I'm just slow... or both). I wasn't even sore the next day, likely either due to the fact that I only did 3, and also that I couldn't even push myself past that point where it hurt. Hopefully I'll get around to some better and more consistent turnover so the next few weeks will be interesting to see how it goes.

The most important thing to me is that my long runs have been solid for the most part. I've been getting in around a 30 mile long run every weekend with the exception of the week when I did a 20/20 on Saturday and Sunday. While tough initially, these long runs are becoming by far my favorite and most enjoyable part of my running week. I've been out early as well, so getting done around 11:30 with almost 5 hours of running under your belt really helps make you feel productive even if you lounge around the rest of the day. Onward to April and the 2nd quarter...