Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Solid Week

Getting ready to head out Saturday morning for 20 miles.
A solid week of running. 60 miles in 9:09 and that's with taking Monday and Friday off as total rest days.

A little light on the vertical for the week though. I blame having to run on the 'mill Tuesday for that.

Things are looking up here weather-wise. We are going to get into the 40's this week. While that will make for comfortable running temps the problem will be in everything thawing and refreezing into ice and or things just being a total mess of standing slush. Picking running routes is going to be a bit tricky but doable.

The running went well this week. I am still having to perform a certain amount of cognitive gymnastics to get my brain around running but I think that will be less of a thing from here on out. This week the physical act of running wasn't as tough as convincing the brain that I can actually do it or more importantly that I WANT to go out and run right now.

But I caught a lucky break of sorts on my 9 mile run with hill repeats on Thursday... I finished the entire workout with an inspiring and promising time that tells me that things are definitely moving in the right direction. Just the kind of proof I need right now for some extra motivation and inspiration.

March is going to be a fun month... not only will there be the race in Salida and getting to go to Salida to look forward to - we are also going to Cancun at the end of the month! Hell Yeah! :) There is that birthday thing in there too on the 8th... but I am sort of ignoring that for now.

Here is something that is neat too... most everyone knows that one of my greatest vices, weaknesses, or addictions is my soda drinking habit. Well, I have not had a soda since Thanksgiving! Pretty cool. I have gotten to the point that I don't miss it anymore.

Anyway, a solid week this week. The tale will be told by the end of this coming week and seeing how I hold up to the stress... But I have to say overall I am pretty confident and to be honest right now I am rather happy to be in "training mode" again... in a weird way it makes life so much more simple for me and simple is good! :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hello February!

First of all... January... it didn't end up the way I had hoped. The X Games and a cold the last week of the month pushed me heavily into survival mode. The last week I just worked with my clients, drove a sled (450 miles in five days - no idea on the vert) - nursed my cold and just did what I had to do to get by. 0 Miles the last week.

Ended January with 186 miles which is right between the miles I had for last Jan and the target I was shooting for this Jan... It will have to do!

Hello February! Winter is finally here and in full force. I have never seen this much snow in Aspen ever in all of my three winters living here. It's going to make running for the next few days interesting to say the least.

Fortunately I don't think I lost a lot of fitness last week even if I did not run. Driving a sled is hard and for nine to ten hours a day it takes a huge physical (and mental) toll. I got a workout every day whether I wanted it or not.

But now that Feb is here it is time to start including speed-work into the training. The next four weeks are all about that as I get ready for the race in Salida which is March 12th. Running outside was not happening today so I did a nine mile progression run on the 'mill which ended up taking 1:13:52. I am hoping that by the time Thursday gets here, the path on Cemetery Lane will be cleared off enough on the hill to do hill repeats... we shall see.

I am kind of glad... no... really glad that February is here. This month I will be focusing on two things and two things alone... the business and building it further, and running. No other side-jobs, distractions, or anything like that. The only thing I will have to battle in terms of training obstacles will be the the weather and judging from the long range forecast right now it should not be that bad.

Looking forward to Salida... might try a trip to Moab or at least around Junction to hit some dry trails in two to three weeks... I don't remember the last time I saw honest to goodness ground...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I'm Running Again... Or Writing again... You Choose...

This is the Xth time I have started this write up since the beginning of the year. To be honest I just don't know what to say or write about.

I have been running again and I will be racing some this year... Simple plan, Salida Marathon, Leadville Marathon, Leadville 100. Goals... PR in each race.

Last week was my first real week of "training" in forever. I've run through the fall and early winter some but not with any serious intent or goals in mind. Anyway, last week... 55.5 miles, 4310 feet of vertical climbing, 8:56 in time. This week will look very much like last week but with maybe a bit more vert.

The last two weeks of the month will be a challenge to get training in as I will be really busy. I have all my clients stacked the next two weeks on Monday and Tuesday's. All of the other day's until the 1st of Feb I will be helping (working) the X-Games doing uphill transpo. That means about ten hours a day on a snowmobile (sled) doing laps as I take competitors up the course to the top of the half-pipe or the jumps. Besides making some extra money, there is a reason to do this and that is to get enough hours logged on a sled so that when I return to Aspen Mountain next winter, I can have a full-blown White snowmobile license with Aspen SkiCo instead of the Yellow provisional license I had last  year. It doesn't mean anything really but it will allow me to do a little bit more on the mountain during open hours when we are in snow making season again.

Some funny things about the X-Games gig... I will be on ESPN a lot, of course you won't know it's me... Secondly, I will be meeting a ton of athletes and hauling them around who are world famous I guess but I have absolutely zero clue who they are... I guess I'd recognize Sean White (maybe) but that's about it.

In other "notable news" I have been appointed (using that term very loosely) to be the chair for Aspen Elks Lodge Veterans Service Committee. I have been on the committee since last summer and was approached by the previous Exalted Ruler of the lodge about three weeks about taking over the leadership of the committee. At first I balked but after thinking about it some I decided to take it on. We had our first meeting with me at the helm last night but yesterday afternoon when I was reflecting on my path the past few months it sort of became apparent to me that me taking over things has been a long-term con that has been in the making for quite some time.

Snowboarding... eh... the only time I really enjoy it is when Melissa and I go out together and she skis. Of course now that I am "training" that will take a back seat to running and fitting everything else into life. But after being away from it for 20 years, I regained my skills rather quickly it seems as now I can do a top to bottom on Aspen Mountain and not die. I am thinking that after Salida and I am taking a little break I will get in a lot of snowboarding then.

Business with Tri Peaks Life Coaching is going well and really getting going now. I half suspect that come summer I will be renting a VERY small office and will actually be able to afford it! I got two new clients in one day last Friday... very exciting.

Running shoes... I've been wearing the Hoka Speedgoats this past month. Love the tread but I find the overall fit of the shoe to be questionable. I really want to like/ love the shoe but I am not there yet. Pros - they are light, great tread, and feel okay on my feet. Cons - Thin upper so you are going to get wet feet, and how they feel on my feet. I know I contradicted myself but they feel good and they don't at the same time, it's hard to explain but they have gotten better the more I have broken them in. They are NOT like Stinsons which I can take out of the box and run a 100 miler in with little to no break-in, that's for sure.

So there you have it... compelling, right? The name of the game between now and Feb 1 is to just get in as many miles as possible. The first week of Feb I will mix in speed work and I am hoping by then I will have a more clear picture of my fitness, strength, and speed or the lack of it...

Stay tuned... 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My First Real Television Appearance

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be this week's featured guest on the Aspen Local's Show. I had a lot of fun doing it and working with Erik Skarvan, the host, beforehand. Obviously I haven't written too much in a while but this video from yesterday's show will catch you up on everything that has been going on.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Shameless Plea For Money! :)

Hello Everyone! The Summit for Life is only two weeks away! The past two years I have participated and raised money for the Chris Klug Foundation's Summit for Life Race up Aspen Mountain. This year I will not be able to participate because of scheduling conflicts. If you support organ and tissue donor awareness and you have contributed to my fund raising efforts in the past, I ask that you please consider sponsoring my friend Lori Kret who is doing this event this year. I would really appreciate it, especially since I can not be a part of it this year. Thanks!

Monday, November 9, 2015

It's All Good! Really!

I haven't written in ages, I know. Things have been busy, crazy, but all in a good way. Life is good.

Picking up more clients... good.

Enabled Enterprises is getting more business and jobs... good.

AND... I got the job as a snow maker on Aspen Mountain. We started officially making snow November 1st. It's an eight week gig and ends on December 20. My shift is Thursday through Sunday noon to midnight. So, four days on, three days off... GREAT!

I just finished my first four day rotation, and I have to tell you... I can't believe they even call this a job. For me it is exciting as there is so much to learn and I am basically in sponge-mode while I am on shift. Then add in the fact that you have no idea as to what to expect when you go out on a "gun run" or are turning things on or off.

It works perfectly as I can work with my clients Monday-Wednesday, take care of stuff for Enabled, then work the last part of the week on the mountain. Win. Win. Win.

And the guys I work with... such an amazing collection of characters. Being the new guy there is so much for me to learn but everyone is so helpful, supportive, and even patient.

As for running... well, not much of that going on. I tried to really push it the first three or four weeks after Run Rabbit Run but it just was not working. Physically all was fine, but mentally and emotionally I was not there. I decided three weeks ago that an extended break to let everything find its own level was in order.

I am really on the fence on if I will register for the HR100 lottery. I've explained it before but to be honest, after so many years of not getting in I have pretty much lost all interest in it. That being said, I am heavily leaning towards not putting in and just going on with my happy life as it is.  And to be  even more honest, with the way my life is right now (awesome) getting into HR100 would be more of a pain in the ass than I want to take on in the next several months.

Right now I think the perfect running season next year will be to nail Salida in March, Aspen Backcountry Marathon in June, and then focus on a 21-22 hour'ish finish in Leadville come August. Right now that line up and those three races resonate the most to me.

Snow making is a tough job and very physically demanding. That's part of the reason I wanted to do it. Hiking up a steep pitch in the snow in hard shell mountaineering boots at a decent clip for 50 yards is every bit as sapping as a hard 220 on a track... seriously. So I am planning on minimal running between now and the end of the year and then picking up again after the holidays, full tilt.

So there you have it... Still here... still kicking... :) 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Run Rabbit Run 100 And After

It has been a crazy busy week and I will get into that later... I haven't really wanted to write about Run Rabbit Run 100 because basically I am not sure what to write about... Just the good parts, include the rough spots (there were many), or not write about it all.  I'll just start and see what develops...

Going into the race I felt solid. Better than I have for any 100 that I have ever run. I had zero doubts in my mind that I was in shape to run it and even better, make a go of racing it. On a confidence level of 1-10, I was at an 11 and that is an awesome place to be. But it wasn't false bravado or wishful thinking... one look at my training log for the past three-four months and seeing not only the focused and precise work that I accomplished, but the fact that I was able to keep it together made me realize just how strong I was.

This was also one of the most enjoyable tapers for a 100 miler that I have ever had. With all of the solid work behind me it was just fun to know the "hay was in the barn" and my last two weeks of taper runs I could just enjoy and have some damned fun for a change.  I did have one day that I really felt like crap and I guess that was the Friday which was two weeks out from the race... I just chalked that up to taper blues and knowing that I had been there before just chose to ride it out as I knew that feeling like shit was just a step on the path to feeling better.

I also went into this race super relaxed.... so relaxed the few days before that I was concerned that maybe I was TOO RELAXED. But once I got up to Steamboat and saw friends and knew it was happening the appropriate level of excitement and enthusiasm entered the mix of emotions.

I love this race and I won't go into all of the reasons why as it is for all of the same reasons that I fell in love with the race last year.  It all still holds true.

This was also my second hundred, and second time running this race without crew and pacers and I have to tell you that makes it a lot of fun for me. It's a mental game of sorts when you are getting close to an aid-station and planning out exactly what you are going to do when you stop rather than knowing what someone is just going to hand to you. Plan the stop, get what you absolutely need, don't waste anytime and get the hell out of there, and the volunteers are so awesome at this race, they make those fast stops easy to do.

So the race... Obviously it went well... but it wasn't until the return trip from Spring Creek back up to Dry Lake that I discovered, or at least got an idea of how well I was doing, so that was mile 73 or so I think. I was heading up as my buddy Paul was heading down and we passed and he told me that I was in the top ten. I thought he was delusional. I knew I was further along in the pack than last year, but top ten? What?

Anyway... the race... Mt. Werner... it sucks.  I won't go into the rain and sleet on the way up as it was really kind of neat. But damned that hill is steep and I still haven't figured out how to manage it. I also can't decide if it is a good feature to have so early in the race or not. On one hand if you are smart it DOES slow you down... on the other hand, if you are not smart, well, I can see it destroying someones race in the first hour quite easily. All I know is that it hurt going up and it felt like my calves were going to just rip apart a few times as it is steep and my bio-mechanics just don't do well climbing that fast on that kind of grade.

But I made it up and made it to Long Lake and I guess I was on time or really close to last year. To be honest it sort of felt like I was possibly slower but I was not sure. When I noticed that things were really different was in the run down Fish Creek Falls where I was alone 98% of the time on the trail without anyone around me. Last year I really slowed down through here and I bet I was passed by 20 runners at least. Not this year.

Olympian Hall, which was really one of my first splits that I was trying to make. I think I made it there in about 4:40 which was about 40 minutes faster than last year I think. Got in, got out and headed out for the next 20 mile loop which I was kind of looking forward to if for no other reason just to get it done, get back up the hard road, get back to Fish Creek Falls and back into the woods.

Last year when I ran it, I started up Fish Creek Falls trail right at dark. So one of goals was to be ahead of that this year and I was. It was also in this section that I got to see one of the coolest things ever that I have seen in a race.

I was just above the falls proper and the sun was setting on the flat horizon in the west, so directly behind me and at the same level as I was. The orange cast of light from the sun behind me colored everything in front me, bathing it all in this amazing glowing vibrant shade of orange. It was mind blowing and just so beautiful. In all of my years in the mountains even I have never seen anything quite as magical as that and if any memories linger with me from the race it will be that one singular image I am sure.

I made Long Lake for the second time in about 12 hours and 15 minutes give or take. It was cold so I carefully selected layers and exactly what I would or should need for the rest of the night and got out of there. I did spend a few minutes to joke with and flirt with Jenn Shelton some who helped me with my bag and that was fun for me.

This race had two modes too it... the first half where I was running but constantly checking with myself to make myself relax and to measure if I was going to hard or not, or if I needed to back off or not.... Again, I knew that I was doing well enough and around mile 28 had figured out two things... either I was having a great day or I was heading towards an epic blowup and there was no way to tell so I might as well keep going.

Now comes the second part of the race and things getting tough... My allergies kicked in when I got to Steamboat on Thursday and I took a 24 hour Claritin. I should have packed one for Friday afternoon but didn't. As a result I started to get a lot of drainage which had a huge impact.

See, starting around hour 13-14, I started puking. Nothing would set on my stomach. My fuel, gels, any solid food, anything. It would all come up. The drainage was hitting my stomach and my stomach would rebel so a lot of puking during the night.

I tried to temper it by eating bland solid food at every aid station. Mashed potatoes and ginger ale were my food of choice and it would set long enough I guess for things to absorb some but after a while it would come up. Hey... I was in in the military, so I know how to puke I guess. I never felt sick, but would start feeling it wanting to come up and then wait until there was no other choice for it to come up, let it fly, then get on my way... I managed it. I also switched to straight water which did allow me to keep my hydration right... trust me, I did keep checking it every time I peed.

So the running mode of the second half was completely different... instead of having my foot on the brakes, I kept pushing myself to put the foot on the gas. I kept telling myself if you can run this section then you better damned well run it, and obviously that is what I did.

When left Summit Lake the second time I really wanted to make the math work to finish in under 25 hours. Goal wise, I was no longer even on the CHART in regards to my expectations and I was just winging it. But I knew the math and the terrain would not allow it to happen. Why? The section between Long Lake and back to Mt. Werner has a lot of damned climbing in it on the inbound and it just ate me up. Well, no, it didn't, I had a faster split all the way in from Summit Lake to the Finish than last year but I could not make up that amount time no matter how hard I tried and I did try.

Just as I can't decide if Mt. Werner at the front end of the race is a good idea, I am pretty sure that I don't like the idea of running down the Mt. Werner Service Road for 6.5 miles to the finish at all. It just hurts and it was probably in the section that I did the most damage to myself.

I gave up two places between Long Lake and Mt. Werner, I could not hold these guys off and about halfway down the service road, I looked back and behind me were what looked like ten guys bearing down me.  No! Not the F today! I told myself and I kicked it into high gear, and by high gear I mean sub 7-minute range or as close as I could hold it the last three miles. I was not going to give up another spot and if any of these guys were going to catch me they were going to have to break something in order to do it.

25:14:44. Just call it 4.5 hours faster than last years time. In reality I was looking for a solid 3 hour difference.  In EVERY regard expectations were greatly exceeded in this race. No regrets, no what-if's... nada.

I told Melissa when I got home that I wanted to get a belt for that belt buckle and actually wear it. Those who know me know that I NEVER wear my buckles as I see it as kind of gauche really, but anyway, this one I want to wear as symbolizes so much to me, not just the race but whole entire summer of training, consistency, trade-offs, being smart when otherwise I might not, and then the execution of the damned race, even with all of the puking...

A week later and I still don't have the belt... This buckle will rest along with the others.... :)

Recovery wise this has been the strangest recovery week ever. The first day was nothing but pain. I almost could not go to sleep Sunday night. But Monday I was busy working all day and night which I think went a long way in loosening things up. I have also pounded a ton of calories this week and have been getting 9-10 hours of sleep every night so each day is better than the previous.

Tuesday I will go to the track for our last track workout as a group.... No structured running for the rest of the autumn... now it's time to rest, recover, and just reflect on what has been such as awesome summer of running.

Photo Credit: Steve Bremner