Friday, April 29, 2011

April 310 Miles

Taking a break from running tomorrow, the last day of the month since I have to work and am oncall. Total miles for April, 310.89. Did a major 30 miler today instead of running multiple days and that really bumped it up.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Journey to Ixtlan

I'm re-reading Journey to Ixtlan by Carlos Castaneda for the umpteenth time and I found a new line in it that I got a kick out of.

Don Juan Matus speaking to a younger Carlos...

"I am as young as I want to be... If you dissipate all of your personal power you'll be a fat old man in no time at all."

Love it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Anatomy of a Blowup

I still haven't decided if I am going to qualify the running portion of my trip to Fruita a success or not. Getting to re-meet my cousin was definitely a win and nothing from the weekend can overshadow that. But... I did not walk away with the sense of confidence that I was hoping to get out of this race. My goal (realistic or not) was to come in under ten hours... my official time however was 10:36 and change. I was hoping this race would give me a good sense of if I can pull off what I want to do in Lake City come June. I am still uncertain.

Many, many things went well... and really not too many things went badly except for the epic slowdown which started at mile 40 and basically cratered me from mile 45 until the finish. The last climb (which I HAD been warned about) and the subsequent steep technical downhill (also warned about), coupled with the afternoon heat just did me in. Analyzing my times, etc, the last 11% of the distance ended up taking approximately 17% of my time on the course. Crazy. I don't do well in heat... that is common knowledge. And when I get tired, I can't run downhill to save my life, especially anything steep or technical, again common knowledge. This past Saturday afternoon I was slapped in the face with both of those at the end and by a big ol' pimp hand to boot.

I also think that I need to fess up and just admit to myself and to the world that I went out way too fast. I ran a great 25 mile race (4:25) but I should have rationed my "effort" through the entire course. But who knows... It is a toss up I think trying to figure out the break even point from where my conserved energy, if I had gone more slowly, would have still been affected by the heat which was sure to cause me to slow down at some point regardless.

Things that went well... there were so many things that worked! 1. Started in the short sleeved t-shirt and was a little "cool" to start but that wasn't a bad thing. 2. Kept lots of ice in the hand held bottles (thanks to Hawaiian Shirt Ray and his sister Laura). 3. Adequate amounts of sunblock so I did not get burned. 4. My shoes and socks rocked! My feet felt tired after the race and a little tender from abrasion on the soles but no blisters or any other foot issues. 4. No injuries. I did roll my ankle once but that was it. I did not go down. 5. Fueling/hydration and electrolyte protocol worked as fine as ever. I did have to drink more than usual but that was easy to do. 6. It is Tuesday after the race and I still feel "tired" but I do not feel physically beat up. I bounced back pretty quickly afterward so that in and of itself I think lends credence to the training and miles that I have put in the past few months. 7. What wind there was on the course was a welcome respite from the heat, not the knock you over gale force winds we have here in COS lately.

So really, except for my time, more things are in the plus column than in the negative. I am forced now to reevaluate my approach to the Jemez 50 Mile Run coming up May 21st in Los Alamos, New Mexico. No backing off on the training for one thing. I'm going to have to make April another 300 mile month for certain. I am going to have to load up the first two weeks of May on my mileage to hopefully taper for Jemez a little bit more than I did for the Desert Rats 50.

That is another thing that I need to take into account... my "taper" before Desert Rats was a 90+ mile week, followed by a 70+ mile week, then 20 miles the days before race... When I do taper for San Juan I intend to taper in the same fashion as I did for Leadville last year and go to the line in Lake City with completely rested and ready legs.

Hell, I PR' d! I should be ecstatic, yet something still just feels off to me.

Jemez is a tough course. I have my work cut out for me. Better get to it! :) 14 miles tonight...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fruita Surprise

This weekend my daughter Annie and I traveled to Fruita, Colorado so that I could run in the Desert Rats 50 mile race on Saturday, April 16th. I did the race of course and I will write a review of that later but this story is not about that. It is about something else entirely.

The drive to Fruita from Colorado Springs was a long five hour drive with only one stop thrown in there. We arrived about 6:00 p.m. with enough time to check into the hotel, get unpacked and settled in then it was off to the Hot Tomato for their (word of mouth) famous pizza.

The restaurant was crowded when we got in there but we were able to order our pizza and salads. A friendly couple with a table against the wall next to the register were kind and generous enough to save their table and offer it to us. Talk about luck!

As we were sitting and eating our salads I noticed the group of four that had just trickled in and ordered and were taking the table next to us. One of the guys in the group was tall, dark hair, fairly thin but obviously in good shape. Something about him seemed almost familiar but I was pretty sure I didn't know this guy at all. I let it go. Annie and I finished our pizza and got out of there as to get back to the room early enough to do the final prep for Saturday's race get some sleep.

Race day morning I am running and not more than two miles into the trail I pass the same guy that I saw at dinner that night. He asked me if I were running the 50 and I told him yes and I cruised on wanting to get ahead and put as much time in the bank as I could before it got too hot and I would begin to unravel later in the day.

Of course about mile 35 or so, this same guy passes me again. We exchange the standard trail pleasantries but I didn't think much of it past that Fruita is small place as I keep running into this dude.

With the race finished and after Annie and I had enjoyed a great Mexican dinner we came back to the hotel to attend the awards ceremony. We got there a little early to get some decent seats close to the front but also by the door as I knew I would be going in and out a lot as my hydration was coming back on line with a vengeance.

Before the presentation was to begin, this same guy that I was talking about earlier and his buddy came into the room and with so many seats taken could not sit next to each other. So his buddy sits in the aisle in front of us and he squeezes in and sits on the other side of Annie. No big deal but I thought it was funny that I saw the guy at dinner the night before and saw him during the race and now here. I also noticed he had a mild case of trail rash going on too.

When it came time to hand out the awards to the finishers of the 50 mile race, the race director said he would just call names and everyone could come up and get their commemorative rock with the race logo on it. After calling a few names they finally called mine... "Andrew Wooten." I got up and as I was walking to the front they called out the next runner... "John Duda." I about broke my neck as I turned around and he stood up smiling at me and said "I knew somehow it was you!" I just stood there and he walked over. He is my first cousin on my father's side of the family that I had not seen since we were little, whom I saw at dinner the night before, talked to on the trail and was also sitting right next to his second cousin, my daughter Annie for over and hour without anyone having a clue! I'm the older cousin by six years but we did spend a lot of time together as kids and his mom was one of my all time favorite Aunts.

We hugged and realized that it had been forever since we talked, 2005 actually, when our grandfather passed. We never got to see each other then as I was not able to make to the funeral because of working on my Masters at the time. So no way would I have been able to recognize him as an adult.

Afterward we talked some more and caught up some. He's running Leadville in August and I am going to be his pacer. I am so excited to do this.

So... quite the surprise this weekend and if anything this only reinforces the notion that nothing on this planet happens by accident, and there are indeed no coincidences.

Giving it more thought last night I realize what triggered such weird sense of recognition maybe... He has dark, dark hair and a lot of it (yeah I didn't get THAT gene) and blue, blue eyes... a darker more olive skin tone... except for the height he resembles our Papa Wooten a bit I think and I believe it was those subtle similarities that I was recognizing maybe.

Anyway, great to see you again John!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


This week I am tapering which means am barely running and overall just trying to take it easy. My last big run of the week was Tuesday evening and that was ten mountainous miles. Interesting enough I ran that course 20 minutes faster on Tuesday than I did just two months ago. I'm still scratching my head over that one.

Tomorrow, Thursday I will do a light and easy five miler then maybe one mile or so on Friday.

I am getting really excited about heading out on Friday. I've been studying the results for the Desert Rats 50 Miler from previous years and calculating my own splits and all I can say is that unless the course is really technical (and slow) I am expecting to have a stellar day. As in a "who dat?" kinda day when I blaze across the finish line. Or I could come in bloody and beat up... we'll see.

The forecasted high for Saturday keeps creeping upwards too. Now it is 70 and partly cloudy. 70 is gonna feel pretty warm I am afraid especially if there isn't a breeze, which again is predicted to be 8 mph or so out of the west. If it stays partly cloudy that will help.

Definitely enjoying the time off. I am bummed that I have to dial in tomorrow for a work related conference call that will probably not be all good news. Maybe someday I can take a whole week off uninterrupted...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

70 Miles Last Week

In all fairness, last week went as planned... my goal mileage was 70 miles and I hit that. While my mileage was what I planned it was not what I expected which was more like 81. The week before a 50 mile race it is splitting hairs I guess and really, just doing the 70 was sufficient for a "taper week."

But last week sort of illustrated why I train the way that I have been lately which is to load up early in the week and early in the month to get a hop on my mileage because you never know what is going to pop up and possibly derail things. In the case of this past Sunday it was the horrible wind ripping out of the NW that I just could not mentally force myself to go out and face. So my longer run which was planned turned into a shorter one later that night (too late) in calmer breezes.

I won't get started on the wind but geez... every year it seems to get worse and worse. It's too dry and too windy. There... I'll stop now.

I did have an amazing 20 mile run last Thursday. 2:50:52. Now I know that in the big scheme of things that isn't blistering fast but for me that's a great pace. I'm not going to lie. It fucking hurt. Bad. It will be a long time before I try to run that far that fast again. If I progress there naturally, great... but I'm not going to let another one rip like that because as I said, it just hurt.

Looking forward to the race in Fruita this weekend. My right hip is hurting me and I hope that it settles down. It is the same issue I was having earlier in the year that seemed to mostly go away once I quit wearing the Fireblades. Well, Friday and Saturday I wore the Fireblades again and guess what? My butt hurts again.... so... back to the crosslites and MT101's. I don't think this is bad and I am confident it will be okay for the race this weekend. The weather is going to be great I think.

My plan for this week is as follows... Mon 7, Tues 10, Wed 3, Thurs 5, Friday 1-0, Sat 50, and if I am still feeling great I might run the Desert Rats 13.1 on Sunday. Maybe.

Of course I am off of work this week and taking it easy too. I am so thankful to get this break! :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Andy's Incline Plan

There will no doubt be a lot of people that I piss off, alienate and who may never speak to me again after this posting but so be it. The government might be shutting down but the 1st Amendment is still on the books.

The Incline... it's a mess, a nuisance, a safety hazard and for the most part a blight on the face of Mt. Manitou. Years ago it was used by serious athletes at a training too but anymore it is just another social scene like the dog park or such. It is overcrowded, there are serious erosion issues around it and let's not forget the ever present scent of dog poo the entire length.

I admit, I used to LOVE the incline. Best workout ever. Leave work, head to Manitou and be up and back down the trail in a smidge over an hour... To me it was also a great indicator of what my PPA time could or would be that year if I were running the Ascent. If there was ever a problem with parking at the Barr Trail Trail-head, it was due to people who were parked there and legitimately using BARR TRAIL!

My disenchantment with the incline began maybe four or five years ago. It just started to seem more and more crowded all the time. Maybe it was the time I saw the Darwin Award Candidate with the baby on his shoulders (on his shoulders, NOT in a carrier) going up that I realized that there was an issue with the damn thing maybe becoming 1. To popular and 2. To freaking accessible to the public as a whole.

Maybe it was the time that I was waiting for the guy ahead of me to pull out so that I could park and the lady behind me adamantly refused to allow me to back up to allow him out so that she could take that parking place. I was forced to drive around him so he could pull out then Ms. Wonderful took the spot.

So, hey... it's not crowded all the time so I started going early. And I mean early. So early in fact that light would just be peeking across the plains as I would summit. Actual sunrise would occur when I was closer to the bottom. That was in the summer months. In the winter, the entire trip could happen in the dark, regardless if it were morning or evening. That worked for a bit, well, until others caught on. I used to even ride my bike there as to not have to sweat parking. 45 minutes there, 25 minutes home.

I can go on and on... parking sucks, too much dog poo... dogs off of leashes, people just generally get in WAY over their heads. Last Sunday I was running up Ruxton and I could visibly see the conga line of people the entire way up. Crazy.

So... My plan... really to be honest the only smart player in this entire incline fiasco has been the Iron Springs Chateau for finally charging people to use their parking lot. They are making some money and I applaud them for that.

I think the COG really screwed the pooch on this one by not capitalizing on it sooner. Seriously... they should have installed a ten foot chain link fence along both sides of the incline on their property, with concertina wire on top, a turnstile and an attendent at the bottom taking $ from everyone wanting to go up and have a one way turnstile exiting as the incline leave's their property. It wouldn't have been illegal as far as I can tell either. Too late now...

An extension of said fence and toll taking to the summit would be awesome in my book. It would pay for itself. Offer memberships, punch passes, etc... Charge a few bucks a head. Have only a couple of official egress points along the route up. 5$ a pop... lots of money, really quickly. That's how you manage it. Of course, this will never, ever, ever fly...

So my solution... and this is radical... pull the damned thing out, railroad tie by freaking railroad tie and reforest the scar. Parking will not be such an issue for the Barr Trail Trailhead anymore or on Ruxton for that matter which I bet would be a huge relief to the residents. Nobody will have to monitor the incline as it wouldn't exist. That visible line will no longer be an eyesore visible from miles around. Pull it out. Restore the vegetation and repair the social trails that resulted from people shortcutting down the mountain.

It's an unmanageable resource at this time. Period. Its overuse can not be undone and with the current plans... usage will not abate and will only get worse over time. How could it not?

The issue isn't so much the incline... Like I said, I loved it. The incline and the current situation facing it is only a symptom of a much bigger issue that we will all have to come to grips with sooner or later on this planet and that is straight up competition for resources due to overpopulation. I'm amazed at where I find cigarette butts anymore in the woods... amazed...

Anyway... before I get off into other subjects, there it is... my plan... capitalize the hell out of it and make some damned money or pull the damned thing out and restore the strip to it's natural state... there ya go.

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What Does Not Bend, Breaks...

I don't know how to describe the past month or two except to say they have been rather chaotic. Chatoic, chaos, disorder, overwhelmed, tired, stressed, etc... these are words that have crept into my everyday vocabulary the past few weeks and I have been using them way more than I would prefer to.

Yesterday I had two insights that I shared with Melissa. The first one being that the "mess" in my downstairs office is directly proportional to how out of control I have felt the past few weeks and the mess that I have felt my life has become. The second insight was that every day, every week the gap between list of things I am accomplishing vs. the list of things that I need to get done is growing wider, and wider, and even wider which in turn is causing even more distress.

So... Nothing is bad. Let me get that straight but right now and recently there has been a lot to deal with.

In order to get things (and myself) back on the right track I am taking a few days off next week to just sort of hang out around the house and get "caught up." It won't be a heavy running week as I will be tapering for Desert Rats. A perfect time to decompress. I plan to clean up the office... do some yard work, read a lot, watch movies and as I said just hang out. Maybe go for some day hikes with the dogs or even go fishing for a day. Cigars will be smoked.

As Don Juan told Carlos Casteneda, one needs to be able to stop the world in order to "see." I am hoping to accomplish this next week on my little break and to once again be able to see, experience and feel all of the great things I am blessed with and fully appreciate life cause one thing is for certain, life is way to short to be constantly stressed out over crap. :) I'm just really lucky I have someone who is loving and caring and respects me enough to allow me to experience, feel and go through what I go through, patiently, with tolerance and without judgment and allowing me to work though my own little process and coming to my own conclusions, insights, and ultimately growing as a person. Thanks honey. I love you.

Side note... I am really looking forward to bowhunting this year. Exploring some new areas to go to and that is fun. I miss doing map work, scouting, etc.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

93.5 For the Week. Holy Cow

Just popped a 90+ mile week which I really wasn't expecting to do. Right now, 70-80 max is the most I really need to be doing to accomplish what I want. But I did 93.5 this week and feel pretty good. The last two days were killer runs, 23 miles each, same course just different directions with lots, and lots of elevation gain and loss.

Feeling pretty good right now physically. My feet feel fatigued but that's really about it. I know that I've kept a decent base through the winter but the past two days have done wonders for my mountain/trail running confidence. Absolute wonders.

This was today's run... same as yesterday like I said, just the other direction.

Training Peaks

Hoping for a moderate week this week then I plan to taper the following leading up to the Desert Rats 50. Hoping for some good things to happen there in a couple of weeks.

Picked up a new pair of Crosslites. Love those shoes. I put about 400 miles I figure on my last pair and they have hardly any tread left! I'll start breaking those in this week. :)