Monday, August 22, 2011

Wow... First of all... A Thank You...

I am still processing my Leadville Trail 100 run from this past weekend and as of yet I have no idea on how to even begin to write about it. I am not sure where to start and where to end and I want to write it out and not just regurgitate another mile by mile race report. That being said I want to first try to say thank you to everyone involved in getting me to the start line and then to the finish line.

So a huge thank you to everyone listed below. There is no way that I could have pulled this off without you all.

1. LT100 Race committee first of all for allowing me to register and even run the race.
2. Melissa who was supportive and did not try to "cut me" when I told her that I thought I might get in and run it. She managed all of the crewing functions and secured a rock solid team of pacers for me from Winfield all the way to the finish.
3. Annie, my daughter... She came up and crewed as well. It was a joy having her there.
4. Brooks who when I bounced the idea off of him to do the race or not (the Tuesday before), who excitedly and unequivocally told me to go for it.
5. My cousin John whom I was originally slated to pace. He had an AWESOME and inspiring sub-25 run which only excites and motivates me to go for it next year. Meeting him this year, talking about racing and running with him definitely reignited and renewed my own enthusiasm for the sport.
6. Bob and Tobi for letting me crash at their place up in Pb. Watching the dogs for them that week and running and playing up at that altitude for a week I am sure helped tons.
7. My pacers... Denny... What a great pacer. He took on the stretches from Win to TL then from MQ to the finish... We tore up the return trip over Hope Pass at a pace that I am still marveling over. Shawn who was SOLID the entire way from TL to Fish... He pushed hard and was unwavering in regards to keeping moving at a brisk pace. A great pacer who pushed me when I really needed it. Patrick... He was very patient on the trip up and over Sugarloaf which I was not looking forward to at all. This was where the pain really began and he rode it out with me. I still can't believe he did it in SANDALS! Denny again... awesome in the last stretch as he was dedicated to get me home. He got to see the damage and carnage as it was happening there at the end first hand. The three best pacers that I could have hoped for on this trip.
8. Coach Weber who was there and said some choice words to me (all meant in a good way of course.) Seriously... If it weren't from him I'd never gotten as far as I have in this sport. Surprise!
9. To all of my friends who were there at the race, running and or spectating, or pacing... seeing everyone truly inspires me to keep going.
10. And lastly... to myself for all of the hard work that I have put in this year... for having the courage to go to the line this year and for having what it took to drag my butt across the finish for a second time.

I will write more later... it may be this week or next but I will follow up with a more conclusive writeup as it was quite the adventure.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Plans... Or... What to do with the lemons?

Sometimes I believe plans are there for no other reason than to have something just to chuck out the window in order to pursue other options... Let me give you an example...

My life-view as of Monday morning 7:20 looked like this...

1. I was to stay in Leadville for one more day, leaving Tuesday morning to go home.
2. I was to come back to Leadville on Friday to pace my cousin for part of his inbound leg in the Lt100 run.
3. I would train after that and run the Bear 100 in Sept.
4. I would focus on 2012 after that.

By Tuesday 12:00, things had changed to...

1. I could not get time off to to run the Bear due to the VZ/CWA strike. My request was denied by executive management.
2. After presenting my situation to the LT100 RD, I was allowed a spot in this weekends race.
3. Instead of coming back to Leadville on Friday, I have to return on Thursday to be there in time for Med check in Friday Am.
4. I go to the start line 04:00 Saturday morning.

That is kind of the gist of it all...

Can I do it? I think so. Why not? I have way more things going for me than not...

1. I am faster than I was last year, no doubt.
2. I will be going to the line about 14 lbs lighter than last year. (Of course I can' t bench 225 anymore either...)
3. Last year going to the line I had about 1550 training miles for the year under my belt. This year, 1900.
4. I have an awesome shoe/sock combo that I have run four 50 mile races this year using with ZERO blister issues.
5. I have an awesome and experienced crew for this race.
6. I know the course and have been on it (too much) recently.
7. I spent the past week living and sleeping at 10K +.
8. I don't have any injuries.
9. I am truly excited and passionate about doing this race more so than I was going into the Bear...
10. I've done it before and I know what to expect.
11. The weather forecast is for nice cool temps and no heat and we all all know how heat kicks my butt...

For the most part then the status board is mostly green... but there are issues that could be impacting and fully expect them to in one degree or another...

1. No @#$@# taper! I ran an 84+ mile week last week. I ran 20 miles (moderate effort) up in Leadville on Monday night. That being said, I won't be starting as fresh as one might want. BUT! My runs last week or so up in Pb were really strong quality runs that never left me too trashed. (a positive spin here...)

2. As well as having only a four day taper, I only have four days to wrap my head around this whole endeavor. So a very short time to psychologically prep. I am forced more into reactive mode now of just do it, don't think, just do it, which could lend itself to a more organic and natural (read better) running effort from me since I am not brain f*cking the race for months on end.

3. Timing is tight with me having to leave Leadville and get back to the Springs after being gone for a week. I have less than 24 hours (down to about 8 hours now) to get my life here caught up, get my gear together (all done last night) and run some last minute errands before heading out back to Leadville tonight. It is just stressful and more load than I would like on my system two days out from ANY race... much less this one.

That about sums it up. More in the plus than minus column for certain. I am excited and ready to go. I can't wait to get back up there and be a part of it all again.

As I told Melissa last night... When life gives you lemons, sometimes you just have to force life to bend the hell over, shove the lemons right back up life's ass, and then go on your merry way and run hard!

This is definitely one of those cases...

So I won't be pacing my cousin now but I guarantee I will be chasing him and working to catch him on the inbound. Hopefully that will push him even more. :)

So I say again... good luck to all of my friends racing and pacing this weekend. I am so excited to see how everyone does... From Brandon going for his Big Buckle to my buddy Lee who is going for his 1000 Mile Buckle... My cousin John going for his first finish and everyone else... I look forward to being out there with you on the trial again.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Year Later

Friday night I had a great training run. First I ran over to Brandon's place then we left there and headed down to the lake. Once at the lake we parted ways with them headed towards the dam and me headed on the single track to Mayqueen Campground and beyond.

The lake trail, I love it... I hate it. Regardless... I know it. I completely attribute my being able to finish the LT100 last year on my intimate knowledge of the 13 miles or so around the lake and into town as I ran is so much last year. It isn't a tough trail, or a bad trail, it is just a long trail. That north shore once you come around the boat ramp just seems to always go on and on forever. Friday night was no exception. My pace seemed erratic but still far from labored. I cruised through the campground to the Colorado Trail trailhead and started the climb up Sugarloaf.

Feeling tired from the night before made the run up the road and to the top of Sugarloaf tougher than I remember it being but it did reinforce my belief, that that particular climb is deceptively steep and easy to go out too fast on or go up too fast. It isn't that it is a hard climb but I think it is just easy enough to sap more out of a runner than they might realize at the moment. It was still fun running and cresting the top, seeing the full moon rising and following the trail markings.

I had my best run ever down the powerlines that night, even in the dark and with my headlamp on I still felt great coming down and I was on the hard road before I realized it with wet feet after missing the tiny footbridge in the bottom. Though I had run 20 miles the night before and then another twenty that evening and still having more to go, I was feeling pretty good. Strong.

Strong enough that I began to really wish that I were running the LT100 this weekend instead of the Bear 100 in September. I just feel so much better, stronger and faster than I did this time last year. I told Melissa Saturday night when we were bowling that I truly think that if I took this week off and rested, I would go to the line with a much higher chance of finishing than I even had last year.

That being said I looked at some numbers tonight and it stands to reason that I feel the way that I do. Last year, I went to the starting line for the LT100 with a total of 1544 miles for the year and that included the seven weeks struggling with the injury after the Salida Marathon in March.

This year... comparing to the same week as last year, I have a total of 1881 miles and I am uninjured and have not really had to manage any injuries this year at all. So just looking at the miles run and the races I've run as well, it is easy to see why that I feel way stronger than last year. Way.

But... this year has never been about coming back here in 2011 for the Lt100. No. It has been about keeping my eye on 2012 and seeing if I can come back and get the big buckle. It has been about getting faster and stronger and seeing just what I can do. I never really got to have THE race that I wanted this year for various reasons but I have had a solid season and there is no doubt that if I keep my training on track the next few weeks that if I get to actually go and run the Bear that I will do great. Right now going and running it is doubtful due to the strike and well, to be honest... driving 10 hours to Utah... well, that just doesn't excite me at all, so I might just bail on it.

I have just finished an 81.5 mile week and so far have 156 miles in for August. I am going to load this week up front mileage wise then take it easy later in the week in order to be able to give it my best pacing my cousin this coming weekend when he is running his Lt100.

And to all of my friends running and pacing next weekend I wish you all the very best race weekend!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Intuitive Training

For the time being I am on my own. No coach or anyone supervising my training for the next few months. I had brought my old coach back on this spring after Fruita, more than anything else to keep me out of trouble the next three months as I ran three more 50 mile races. By keeping me out of trouble I mean making sure that I don't over do it, take recovery weeks and taper as well. Things that I am not so great at enforcing myself.

While I enjoy being coached and having someone else doing the brainwork, at the same time I completely enjoy the freedom of training on my own and devising my own training schedules for each week as I go along.

Fortunately I found out yesterday that the impending strike at Vz will not impact me as much as originally thought so my racing and training for the next two months should not be affected too much. I still can not take any time off but I don't have to work 6x12's a week either. I did request time off for the Bear a couple of months ago and have yet to see if that was approved or not. The race starts on a Friday and it is in Utah so I HAVE to have time off to get there, race and get back. Anyway, it could all be over by then so I am not going to worry about it too much right now.

I've laid out my weekly target mileages for the next several weeks leading up the Bear. Including this week in progress, the mileages look like this.... 70, 70, 80, 80, 100, 80, 40, 10, Race. Right now I seem to be able to handle the 70 mile weeks okay so 80 should be an easy transition. A hundred mile week is just tough period. I plan on over 300 miles for August and it should be easy to get there with this plan.

Back to my original premise though, I have been enjoying the freedom of my runs this week and figuring them out as I go... It is fun to "not know" what course I am going to run some days but instead of just picking, allowing the course to reveal itself to me. For example, I wanted to do two runs on Tuesday and get about 15 miles. I wanted to do two runs. Some trails, some flat. So Tuesday morning, super early I went and did the incline (35:03) then ran up and over Rocky Mt. and then on down Longs Ranch Road and back to Manitou via Ute Pass Trail. It was just a fun run partially ran under the light of my headlamp, and it was so QUIET that early. Add the extra bonus of a nice comfortable cool temp and it was nearly the perfect run.

I'll do a few easy tonight... 20 fast tomorrow morning super early and then I get to have a fun run with my cousin John on Sunday. I will be over my goal mileage for this week. Cool.

I still can't believe it is August...

Monday, August 1, 2011

And There Goes July

Wow... I can not believe that July is already over. This year is flying by. July was a big month. We went camping. Melissa and I were engaged on July 1st. My parents came out for a visit and I ran the Silver Rush 50. Asia has been going to puppy school still, Melissa had a yard sale and that was a huge success. We have also had the chance to actually get out and do things the past two weekends and have some fun.

Work, that's another issue. Strong suspicion that the unions will strike back east this weekend and that will force my team to go to a 6x12 schedule for the duration of the strike. If that happens my training for the BEAR 100 is at risk, pacing my cousin John could be at risk, archery elk season could not happen and also even going to run the Bear 100 the last weekend of September. Not to mention that working 12 hours days is just fucking hard... 12 hours of work then you have about four hours for personal time then sleep for eight, repeat. It is bad enough on a rotating three on, four off, four on, three off schedule, but six days straight is going to be brutal. Bonus... they haven't mentioned it yet but they could even throw us on shifts... I am still in denial and keeping my head in the sand about this one and just hoping the strike does not happen.

Had a good week running last week. Wednesday was my first really good run after the Silver Rush 50. I did 70.33 miles last week and my total of miles for July was 216. Considering days lost to being sick and some weather I will take it. 200 - 250 was my goal for July so I am happy. 1722 for the year total so far. I will have some more big months but I am going to hit my goal of 2500 for the year easily and might even get closer to 3000.

Going to try to do another 70+ week this week. It might be hard to squeeze in but I will get it done. Soon I will be doing 80+ and more hopefully!