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.