Friday, October 24, 2014

Life. Some Disassembly Required.

After a full two weeks in Colorado Springs I am finally back in Aspen.  The rest of my stuff that I needed to move has been moved and everything else to be sold, donated, given away, or just discarded is now out of my life and gone for good.

Both the house and cottage are rented out and I believe I hit the jackpot with the tenants that I found. 

It was a tough two weeks there with every day becoming more challenging as more things kept going out the door.  The last two nights I commented to myself that I had more "luxuries" the month that I lived in the tent in Leadville this summer than I had in the house.

But disassembling a life is a chore.  Even with all of the stuff that I got rid of early in the year it seemed that I still had a ton to deal with the past two weeks.  Piece by piece and day by day the house which was my home for over nine years became just an empty shell.

I did not run one day while I was there.  It was just easier to skip the runs to focus on what I needed to get done.

The upside to the trip was that I got to catch up with a lot of friends.  This also meant that I got to out to eat just about every day and hit all of my favorite places.  That was a lot of fun.  Never got to King's Chef as someone was a total flake. 

Anyway, that is all done and I am glad to be back in Aspen and doubly glad that the pass has stayed open allowing me a double crossing on Sunday with the UHaul and an easy trip back yesterday.

Today the running started again. Shad Mika is visiting and we got out for a good 12-13 mile run today which allowed me to visit some of my favorite trails and show him around as well.  It would have been impossible to ask for a better weather day for late October.

I lost some fitness over the two weeks and I am fine with that.  Before I left I had to run up something damned near vertical to get my heart rate to go up.  Now I can run flattish stuff and have it be where it sort of should be. Being rested now I can start to build up again.

Talking to my friend Jeff here about an informal 100 miler in January.  No planned course or location yet but it will probably be something lower and more desert like.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Taking Another Break For Now

I have been in Colorado Springs since last Thursday.  I have successfully found renters for both the house and the cottage in that time and now I have to focus on liquidating the rest of my furniture and moving what few things I have left here to storage in the RFV.  If I still had my old F-150 I could probably move it but I am going to have to rent a van and do a quick out and back trip in a day.  I will be out of the Springs 100% by the end of next week.

I have not run the first mile since I got here.  When I got here last Thursday it was raining like crazy so I decided to not go.  Friday the weather was nasty and a scheduled day off so I bailed that day as well.  Saturday was nicer but I was doing so much work around the house and getting stuff done that time just slipped away from me.  I think that I intentionally let it slip away to be honest.

My mind completely recoils from the thought of running here.  Let's just say I am going to give myself a pass until I get back home to Pitkin County.

At first I felt bad about it because I was beginning to build some momentum and get a rhythm going again.  But after thinking about it I decided that another week or two off might not be a bad thing in the long run.  Last year I took two-three weeks off after the JFK 50 then started running again and had a really solid two weeks where things were going well.  Then I caught a nasty cold/virus at the end of December that knocked me out for another two weeks.  When I got back to running after that I felt a lot better than I did before I got sick.  As much as being sick sucked I had to admit that in the long run it proved to be beneficial.

So I am on another break for a spell.  It will do my mind good and relieve a lot of stress given everything that I have to get done in the next week and half. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

50! Wow!

I took the long way home on Monday after coming back from El Jebel.  Asia and I drove up to Ashcroft and just took in the scenery for a bit.  I stood there so long just looking at the mountains that I got a little sunburned.
50... that is the sum total of miles that I have ran the past two weeks.  25 miles two weeks ago and 25 miles last week.  I am still not out of the woods yet in terms of recovering from the summer but I am getting closer.  I figure another three weeks I will be back to normal, or whatever in the hell passes as normal for me.  Shooting for a 40 mile week this week with two days off thrown in there.

I ran the Aspen TNT this past Saturday and I am happy to say it went well.  I placed 4th in my age group and 20th overall out of 160 or so.  I am skeptical of their results as the printed results say that someone crossed the line when I did and that is not true.  I dropped two guys in the last quarter and there was nobody ahead of me on the straight stretch to the finish line.  And those two guys I dropped crossed together but not for like 10 seconds after I did.  

I don't think I have ever run a 10K so hard in my entire life.  It was hard.  My average HR for the race was 176 and I topped out at 184.  Basically I ran a 10K at what I would call my 5K effort.  But it was fun in that weird way that races like that are.  I was pretty sure that I was going to blow up around mile four but somehow was able to hang on.

Sunday I got to do my last run up Aspen Mountain (Ajax) via summer road.  That was the last day that the gondola will be open for a bit.  Living in Aspen that is sort of one of my favorite runs, regardless if I run up the front side or the back side I get a huge kick out of riding the gondola down for free.  You have to pay to ride up but they give you pass if you get up there on your own.

The bears are out in numbers here in Aspen this week.  I am seeing one to two a day.  I get a kick out of it but I don't dare walk around at night without a flashlight. I did bail out coming down the Hunter Creek Trail yesterday evening on my run as it was too close to dark and I didn't want to be in the brush with limited visibility that close to dark and run into one.

Headed to the springs tomorrow (Thursday) to take care of business and I will be there for a week or so.  If anyone is up for a run or lunch let me know.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Now It's October

I wasn't really ready to see snow this week.  There is more higher up.  I heard of guys skiing up on Independence Pass this morning.
October is here and in Aspen there is no way of pretending anymore that winter is not imminent.  I have mixed feelings about fall in general.  Part of me really enjoys it as the stress of races and training from the rest of year are done and I can just go out and run without any real purpose or direction.  Yet on the other hand, the cooler temps, and shorter days, are just a constant reminder of what is next.

So the big news of the week is that Leadville has gone to a lottery system.  Wyatt had a pretty good rant about it all.  I do question if "The Book" is actually still relevant in terms of influencing runners and those up and coming in the ultra game.  Three to four years ago, maybe... now, well, I just say look at the shoes most people are wearing and how footwear has really gone the other way.  Anyway, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.  Will it drive up demand or will it stay about the same?  Now that it is a lottery, will people look at other races? I guess if I were forced to say one way or the other I think they should have gone with a qualification standard first instead of going full blown nuclear with the lottery. 

From a personal standpoint with five finishes and after doing every race that Leadville has to offer at least two other times and being done without any desire to ever go back, it really does not have any impact for me.  One question I do have though is how will this affect people who are attempting certain slam series such as the Rocky Mountain Slam or the other one... (Don't want to say it lest I get sued.)  Anyway, I can see it making things hard to finish those series, that's all. (As a side note, with my chances of getting into HR100 increasing every year, I do sometimes entertain the idea of the Rocky Mountain Slam but don't tell Melissa I said that.)

I pretty much gave myself the summer off from working.  With the exception of working with established clients and classes and working on the requirements for my certification for the business, growth, or the activity of business building was put on the back burner.  I think more accurately it was wrapped in foil and put in the fridge.  Now that summer is over and there isn't anything big or serious on the horizon, all of that is now 95% of my focus in life.  So, I have been busy with that.  Of course building a business is nothing that I have ever done before so there is a great deal of learning, and learning, and then the work that goes into it.  In a strange way I view all of this as my next race or my next Leadman.  My belief is that if I can train for Leadman (twice) and finish (twice) I can take the same exact level of focus and effort and have my business humming along beyond expectations within a year.  So, that's what I am doing.

But that does not mean that I have given up on other plans or dreams, I did register for the Hardrock 100 Lottery on Wednesday.  Let's see where 16 tickets gets me this year.

And I do get to run a fun 10K here in Aspen tomorrow.  It is the Aspen Town and Trail 10K.  It is a small race and I ran it last year in it's first running.  I have been feeling better this week so my plan tomorrow is to actually race it.  I figure it is going to go awesome or I am going go down in fireball of glory around mile four.  Mostly I am just looking forward to it and having fun.

Of course one way or the other, I am sure it will make for a fun story.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Coffee Shop Hell

My digs for the day.  No, that is NOT a coffee but a hot chocolate.  I'm just here for the WiFi.
I am by far not a fan of coffee shops.  Not a fan at all.  For starters I don't even drink coffee.  The vibe has just never set well with me. 

But today I am sitting today in the Starbucks in El Jebel.  I'm only here for the WiFi.  At least I can get work done while I am waiting on Asia to get out of surgery.  Yeah... about that.

About three-four weeks ago she mysteriously came up lame on her left back leg.  The same leg that she had ACL surgery on back in January. The short story is she has/had an infection in there and we hoped that a strong round of antibiotics would knock it down.  It helped and she bounced back but that course ended last Tuesday and by Friday she was limping again.  So the next step is to remove the plate that was put in when she had her ACL procedure with the thought/suspicion being that is what is holding the infection and where it is borne from.  There are more sinister theories but I am refusing to consider those at this point. Just hoping for the best here. Of course we won't  know anything for sure until the culture from the plate and biopsies come back as to what is really going on.  It will be a waiting game for sure.

It was about a year ago that I published the The Little Book of Happiness - Breaking Through the Abundance Threshold.  I never gave Amazon my bank account information back at the time.  So... a few days ago I got an actual royalty check in the mail.  It wasn't that much but the concept of it all is just so cool.  I made something geared to help people and it sold!  To me that is just very exciting. 

I actually ran yesterday.  My first run since Run Rabbit Run.  It was slow and uncomfortable.  A lot more uncomfortable than I was anticipating.  I guess it is going to take a few more days until things start to turn around.  I am not in a hurry.

At least I have been able to write a new blog for the Tri Peaks Website.  It is called Ack! Overwhelmed! and is all about helping clients get unstuck when they are overwhelmed and just don't know how to proceed.  It's pretty cool 

I wonder how long it will take before they kick me out of here?  Maybe I had better order lunch. ;)

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Fog Is Lifting

It has been a very strange week.  I have been busy and have gotten a lot done.  Just don't ask me what though, I probably don't remember.

Most of this week I have just been super-duper tired.  More tired than I can ever remember actually.  Post RRR100, physically I think that I took on way less damage than in the past, and have just been super tired instead.  I feel about 90% better today though.  After waking up it felt like someone turned the lights on in the dark room that I have been living in all week.  The joke is I didn't realize it was that dark.

I plan to start running again in a few days, definitely after the weekend.  I will run the Golden Leaf Half Marathon with Melissa next weekend and I think that I am actually going to run the Aspen TNT 10k on the 4th of October to see if I have any speed left at all in me.  But for the rest of the fall, I plan to keep it on the light side in terms of volume and plan on only 40-50 mile weeks.

Asia is going to the "spa" (boarding kennel) tomorrow and Melissa and I are going to spend the day and tomorrow night in Glenwood sort of as a mini-vacation.  Eat, drink, soak, repeat.

Looking forward to putting in for the HR100 lottery and I am even more excited now that there will be 12 more slots for the never started group.  I have a suspiscion, which could be wrong, that with people not getting into the lottery from other races that are no longer qualifiers for HR, the pool might shrink some.  I will have 16 tickets which doesn't seem like a lot but I guess it is way better than starting with just one.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Run Rabbit Run 100 (107) - It Feels Good To Feel Good!

I registered for Run Rabbit Run 100 on the fourth of January with the sole intention of just doing a race this year that would help me to maintain my qualifying status for the Hardrock 100 lottery since they dropped Leadville as a qualifying race.  Back then the decision came down to Run Rabbit Run in September or Bighorn in June.  The more I thought about it, I did not want to be staring down a 100 in less than six months, having to train through the winter, and with all of the upcoming life changes that were developing... Bighorn just did not fit the bill.

Since I did not get into the Leadville 100 MTB, I ended up doing Leadman again but that information, the lottery result, was not available until March, at which time I decided to do Leadman.  That meant that after the LT100 run I would only have three weeks and six days between the races.

Run Rabbit Run was not a total unknown to me.  I had paced my friend Ben there in 2012 from Dry Lake to the finish.  My opinion after that experience was that no way would I ever go back and do the full race. Ever.  But as outlined above, necessity dictated otherwise.

In July, during the middle of training and racing the Leadman series, I found myself, quite to my surprise, becoming excited about the prospect of doing Run Rabbit Run.  The more I studied the course and tried to visualize a plan for it, the more I looked forward to it.  I had a total shift in thinking.  Yes, Leadman finished in August but it wasn't the end of my summer. Twisted enough, that last week in Leadville was my last big training week for Run Rabbit Run in my mind.  Afterwards, I recovered, got the legs moving again and started getting serious about going to Steamboat and doing well. 

To spice things up, I was going to do this one without any support or pacers. I decided to have three drop bags on the course at places that I would go to at least twice and that was it.

Then things really got interesting.  On August 22, I was working out my plans for the race and this picture pops into my news feed on Facebook.
Run Rabbit Run had introduced a sub 30 buckle instead of just the standard finisher buckle.  "Ooooh!  That's the one I want!"  Planning then got a lot more serious.

So the goals for this race are starting to shape up in varying degrees. Get the race done to stay in the HR100 lottery was goal one.  Pull off a 100 so close after Leadville.  Do the race solo, sans crew and pacers. Then finally run my ass off the best that I could to get that pretty and shiny gold buckle.

That's a pretty big order right there...

The race... I loved it.  I don't know if I will do it again myself, but I highly recommend it for anyone who is in Colorado or close to Colorado who runs 100's.  The field size is small'ish, the aid stations are awesome and the volunteers are just simply amazing.  And the course?  It's pretty damned challenging.  (As a side note, I don't necessarily agree with the decision that dropped the LT100 from the HR100 qualifying race list, but I definitely believe that RRR100 is more appropriate of a qualifying race than Leadville.)

Running the first 40 or so miles of the course I felt great and really enjoyed running it.  My mantra for the day was "it feels good to feel good!"  Seriously, this is the best I have felt in forever.   Nothing hurt, I wasn't tired, and I wasn't dogged by the fatigue that had plagued me all summer.  It was also fun to run with and meet a lot of new people.

The late night hours though things started to change some.  I think that I experienced some weird slow down between Summit Lake and Dry Lake and I was also starting to slip into some low point without realizing it.  When I got to Dry Lake I was rather done.  I had to hang out a few minutes longer to eat some real food and regain my composure.  Not long after that though I started to feel a lot better.

The sun came up when I was almost back to Summit Lake which would leave me with 20+ miles to finish.  I knew it would cost me time but I took a break there after dealing with my drop bag and ate a ton and even sat for a few.  I was behind schedule but I thought that I could come in under 30 hours if I really pushed it and when I left Summit Lake, that is exactly what I did.

I had a great run from Summit Lake to Dry Lake but then started to struggle again between Dry Lake and the Mt. Werner Summit. I had not realized just how much climbing there was in that section and it just seemed to go on forever.  I was still on pace to come in under 30 hours but just barely.  What I really wanted was a nice time cushion to jog down the steep Mt. Werner service road and take it easy but that was no longer an option.  So I did what I had to do and hammered down the best I could the last 6.5 miles telling myself to keep going and that I can feel good some other time.  I pulled it off and crossed the finish line in 29:43:09.

This race seems like a total game changer for me.  Going into it I believe that I put to use all of the years of ultra experience and knowledge that I had gained and there is no way I could not have done it without relying on that.  The same goes for the actual execution of the race.  Being out there solo, you have to have a high degree of self-awareness as to everything that is going on, both external and internal.  Self-care becomes even more critical too, such as knowing when eat more, or back off just a little, or push just a little harder.  There is so much more that I wish I could explain.

Now for some rest!  No running for a while but I will probably get on the bike in a week or so for fun rides only.  I will run the Golden Leaf Half with Melissa in two weeks but I am running that solely to help her.  After that I might start looking at some smaller races through the rest of the fall and early winter.

And of course, I will be putting in for the HR100 Lottery!