Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Good Days

At this time of the year good days running are just rare but when they happen they are borderline miraculous events. Good days happen typically when the weather is just so... the sun is out, the wind isn't blowing and though it is not warm out, the temperature is still comfortable in a way.

The physical aspect of a good day happens when the body just does everything with what seems like an overall greater ease in running. The legs feel stronger and faster, the breathing is less labored and the heart rate stays "just right." On a good day it feels like you can run faster than ever and maintain that pace forever. Like I said, borderline miraculous.

The greatest thing for me when a good day happens running, like today, is that it completely frees my mind to dream, scheme and contemplate feats that seem otherwise impossible most other days. In other words, everything feels so great that the delusions of grandeur run rampant. But hey, isn't that all part of the fun?

Today was just awesome and I am so grateful... probably the easiest nine mile day in awhile. As I was running my thoughts were indeed able to float off to bigger and better things...

Having a great race at the Jemez 50 in May... Crushing my old time in the San Juan Solstice next year... Probably not running Hardrock but again getting PR's at both the Leadville Marathon and 50 miler in July. The most grand and fun delusion and dream of the day though was to have the speed, the health, and everything else to grab that Big Buckle in August... Yeah... sub 25 in Pb... Only if.

I love it when I have good days. :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say

Then spew it all out in your blog...

Seriously, with the exception of one personal victory, this week has stunk more than a bum's nut sack. I usually look forward to the week leading up to Christmas and New Years as a time for things to slow down. A few days to enjoy a little quiet and a chance to reflect on the past year while starting to usher in and plan for the new one.

Not this year.

I feel like I have done nothing but scrape by this week giving everything pretty much minimal effort... not out of laziness mind you but out of being spread thin. It's nuts.

I hope that the next few days will allow me to catch my breath, relax, get centered and get back on the ball.

Anyway, enough griping. I hope everyone has a wonderful and SAFE holiday! And if you are having an abortion of week like I have been, hang in there... it's gonna get better. :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Another Week

I am about to close my second 50 mile week in a row tomorrow. Just a short run and I am there. Thankfully too, because after today's outing I felt like I was on the wrong side of a prison rape scene. Okay it wasn't that bad but miles 0-5 were okay... miles 5-10 SUCKED, but then I came back and had a good run the last five or so. Actually got in 22.5 miles today.

I'm disappointed with the Western States 100 drawing. Only six runners got in from Colorado and nobody that I really know at that. I guess the next big drawing to watch will be the Hardrock 100 drawing the first weekend of February. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

So tomorrow, a short run, lifts some weights then I am going out to do my biggest and bravest outing of the year yet. Yup, I'm going to mall to go get my holiday shopping done. I will be armed with lists and a solid plan in place to get me in and out with little to no effort and then I will hopefully be done.

Annie had her first swim meet of the season this past week and she did awesome. I just can not express how much of a pleasure it is to see her do something she loves enjoys and also does so well. It is a magical experience almost to see your child thrive in "their element."

Finished reading a neat book last night, Once a runner. It was okay and I enjoyed it. I wouldn't recommend it to any non-runners but there are some points in the book regarding runners that is so true. Next I think that I am going to read Meditations from the Breakdown Lane.

Not much else to report. Life has settled down into a nice little routine for the most part for the first time really in months. It is very nice.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Well I can no longer live in denial that winter is here. Those local to COS all know that our first snow of the season came last night. Along with that, a cold ass 25 MPH wind out of the north.

When I walked with Annie to the bus stop this morning I commented that as I get older my tolerance for cold and snow and wind becomes less and less each year. Somehow after 21 years of living in Colorado I might have to start considering how to reconcile my love for the mountains and streams of Colorado with the complete disdain I have for winter now.

The problem is that all other places warm just aren't as fun. Well, unless it's Acapulco! :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

That Time of the Year Again.

Finally it is the weekend after the Thanksgiving holiday. The Incline Club will be doing their first Sunday run preparing for the 2011 season tomorrow. The slack time of autumn is over now. Now it is time to get back to work in earnest.

Actually I don't plan to run much with the IC this year. I do plan on being there most Sunday's to get my star, but I don't intend to the the commonly prescribed runs of the club. I am planning to use the Sunday runs with the IC to allow me to fill in my mileage target of the week and to also work on training which I think might be more specifically geared for the San Juan Solstice course. Up the Incline, then through the Experimental Forest, down Longs Ranch Road for my much needed downhill training, then back out on the Ute Pass Trail.

For my long runs I plan to run with the CRUD (Coloradans Running Ultra Distances) group on Saturdays. http://www.teamcrud.com/ I did a 17 mile run with them this morning and though I spent most of the time lagging behind, it was still a great run.

Thanksgiving was great. Melissa got to meet my folks and that went very well. Actually it was probably the best Thanksgiving ever. We all just had a great visit. Wednesday night we all went out to see Burlesque with Cher in it and it was a very fun movie. Thursday we all ran the Turkey Trot (Mom placed 3rd in her division) and even though the course was cut short (Thanks CSPD) it was still a fun run. Dinner was amazing followed by playing some fun games and having dessert.

Next race will be the Stocking Shuffle December 11th. Melissa registered us for that one and I am looking forward to it. I bet she drops two minutes off of her time from October.

I am still finding it hard to be excited about the cold and winter coming.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Kayaking 101

The biggest lesson and metaphor for life that I learned way back in my river running days is that you just can not fight the river. The river is going to push you exactly where it is going and your only option is to work with it. In a kayak where you are physically "In" the water as opposed to being on a raft or "lunch tray" (1) as we used to call them, that principle is ever so much more important... Rafts roll over things, kayaks go in and through. In a kayak when the combat gets tense sometimes all you can do is note where the strongest river current is going, pick the best line possible, go for it, and eddy out on the other side.

Bottom line is that in order to succeed on the river one must really be able to relax and literally, "go with the flow."

Which brings me to this week. If this week were a river run, I'd call it a classic Class IV run without any huge drops but lots of obstacles, fast moving water, no breaks, and very unhappy circumstances if you end up capsized. Think of the Numbers and you have it. It's been a ball breaker starting with the first conference call Monday morning at 8:00 a.m.

This week was going to be my week to get fully back into the running program, increase my mileage and start building that strong base I will need this winter to prepare for the real training in three to four months. That was my plan.

All I can say is thank heavens Melissa is running now or otherwise I probably would have never laced up my shoes the past few days. I ended up getting in half of my usual mileage this week. 180 degrees completely out of phase with my original plan. Somehow I managed to sneak in a weight work out... only one when my target was five.

So... I gave myself a pass this week. I just decided that it wasn't worth the extra struggle or frustration. Overall this week, I just had to let go and work with the pushy water or current of life that I found myself in. After all, if I had a bad cold the end result would be the same... somewhat of a week off. Next week I'll be back on the program for sure. Today I wanted to run with the CRUD group but work had other ideas. Next weekend I plan on running with CRUD on Saturday and a run with the Incline Club on Sunday. Back in business.

Big week this past week too... Melissa is all but moved now. Lots of work around the house getting ready for the holiday season and my folks coming to visit next week. Running a Turkey Trot next Thursday with my parents, Melissa and Annie and I am definitely looking forward to that.

And hey, life isn't all bad. Between work calls, I did sneak in a walk with Roxy and had a Cobhiba tonight after having the worlds best chicken parm (thanks hon).

I just had to pick a line and go with it.

(1) We called rafts, especially commercial ones laden with tourists (tourist were also called carp) "Lunch Trays." We called them Lunch Trays because they would feed the river gods so we wouldn't have to!

Friday, November 12, 2010

2011... The Plan

I think that I have nailed down for the most part what I want to do next year. There are so many "and's", "if's" and "buts" to the algorithm that makes it a little confusing but for the most part the planning is firm. I haven't talked too much about it, but it is official, I did send in my application for the Hardrock 100 this week and getting into that race or not, is the crux of the entire 2011 running season for me.

1. Jan 15, Twin Mountain Trudge. Have to go back and do this one again. A 22 mile really tough run in Wyoming, in January... enough said.

a. February 5th or so, Hardrock Lottery results will be posted. This will drive the rest of the season.

2. March 12, Salida HALF Marathon. I do love the marathon course but I can't seem to run it without getting banged up in some weird way so this year I will still support the event but only run the 13.1 mile option. UNLESS, the temps are in the 70's, and there is zero snow or ice or mud on the course then I "might" consider it. But really I'll gain more by running the 13.1 and not getting hurt than running more.

3. March 26-27, 24 Hours of Moab. This one is tentative. Not high on my list but a possibility nevertheless. If I get into Hardrock I will more than likely be running this one.

4. April 15, Desert Rats Trail Running Festival, 50 miles. There is a greater chance that I will do this one as opposed to Moab mostly because the weather might possibly be nicer. Another tentative. Again, if I get into Hardrock I will more than likely be running this one.

5. May 21, Jemez 50 miler. Regardless, this is a definite for me.

6. June 19, San Juan Solstice. Another definite. I want to go back and drop an hour or more off of this years time. I ran an honest 13:53:54 there this past year but was tasked to do 12:30. I would still like to fulfill that task. Plus I just love that race, period.

7. July 8, Hardrock. This is where the decision tree starts. If I am selected I will run it, period, and that will be the end of my 2011 running season pretty much, at least the big races. But realistically I have maybe a one in six shot of getting in. One caveat to consider, and that is the possibility that I am not too far down the wait list and can manage to get in as others drop before the race. That unknown could make life very interesting if that is the case.

a. If I don't get in and there is what I will call a "scheduling conflict" with something else I might want to do that weekend in July, then I will definitely be volunteering to go to Silverton to pace anyone who might need or want me to pace them. Otherwise if there isn't a conflict, it will be a non-running weekend and I will go with our primary planned outing that weekend.

1. If I don't get in I will probably run the Leadville Marathon, July 2nd
and also the Leadville 50 miler on July 17th. Mostly for fun, I will
go for better times and also to prepare for possibility of pacing for the 100.

8. August 20-21, Pacer, Leadville 100. I'll do from Winfield all the way in or from any other section someone might need.

Definitely after that I will be done for the season. Some light races here and there in the fall like this year and also scheming for 2012. But for now, I think this is is enough to keep my mind occupied and motivate me to get some miles in the next few months.

Last race of the fall series this weekend and I am excited for it and the weather is probably going to be winter like for certain. We've had three summer type of races in the fall series, and the next one is guaranteed to be winter conditions, so I ask, where was the fall part? Also looking forward to the Turkey Trot in two weeks with my family and Melissa. We are already scheming on how much faster Melissa will do in this one. Can't wait to find out.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gettin' it up!

I haven't had much time to write lately. Or more accurately, I haven't had a hell of a lot to write about. My focus has been on trying to figure out what I want to do next year, trying to get in decent shape to start training for next year and just working to be more consistent in my running and lifting overall. Trying to find that rhythm which I think I have found.

I had a great visit to MD in October and got to do a 20 miler on the Appalachian Trail. I have now done all of the AT from PA to WV, through MD. I came up with a new term on that run calling it a "Dessert Run." A Dessert Run is a hard long run that is fun as hell that you do or get to do because you have put in the miles and the residual fitness allows you to do that run on a whim for no other purpose than the pure enjoyment of that run, period.

The past two weeks I've been striving to get my overall training hours per week over 10 hours. Hence the title to this blog. "Gettin' it up!" What did you think I was referring to?

My goal at least for the next several weeks or until January or so, is to get my training volume, lifting, running, walking, climbing, etc, up to 12 hours or more a week. I also want to do one long run in December and another in January of the 50K distance, followed with a 30/20 mile run, over the first weekend of February. Going by this schedule, once that first weekend in February is done, I will be setup to tackle pretty much anything that I decide to do the rest of the year.

I've been going to the climbing gym with Melissa lately and have been enjoying that. It seems that my trust in the rope and gear is increasing as I am able to let go more easily and come down after getting to the top of a wall. I think that I am getting a little better at climbing. I've improved enough that I dropped some money on a new harness so I am intending to work on the climbing thing for a while anyway. It amazes me just how much of a workout it is and how exhausted I feel after an hour or so in the gym. Overall though it is fun to go with Melissa and watch her gracefully scale a wall and come down smiling.

A few friends have thrown their money down for the 2011 LT100 race. I wish them luck. For right now I don't have any interest in running the race next year but am considering offering my services to be a pacer for anyone who might need or want me as one. I feel a huge karmic debt, both to Carolyn and the universe for having such an awesome pacer when I ran Leadville this year that I know I must pace someone in return to bring things back into balance. I'm not saying 100% no to the LT100 either. If things are rocking for me and look really good for me come June, I might reconsider. But I will only reconsider if for instance I do super exceptionally well in Lake City AND getting a big buckle in Leadville looks promising. I mean very promising.

It's gonna be a busy rest of the month. Melissa will officially be moved in come the 24th of November, ushering in a whole new chapter in both of our lives. I can't help but think god bless the woman, and hope to hell she really knows what she is getting herself into! :) It is all very exciting.

My parents are coming out for the Thanksgiving holiday and that will be the first time they meet Melissa. Again, something else that is exciting. After that, December, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years and 2011. It will all be here in the blink of an eye.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I think I'm Back!

Officially I will say that it took seven weeks for me to "come back" after the Leadville 100. Seven full weeks. It was not until last weekend and earlier this week that my runs started feeling faster and I've even been lifting again and that is even feeling good too.

Seven weeks.

I didn't just sit still all that time either. I kept trying get going but I never could find a rhythm, a pace, or anything that felt decent. I could have a nice run one day and the next would just blow. All my joints hurt most of the time... even my hands. It was sort of like having a flu for a long time. All of the aches and pains also made me contemplate and sort of consider the fact that maybe I am feeling like crap because I am older? Maybe...

But things are better now. A good week of running. Some impressive times (for me) and I am feeling great. I feel more solid and intact. I know that is a weird way to describe it but that is how I feel.

Running in the new New Balance MT101's for two weeks now and for the most part I really like them. My only complaint is that they seem to be a touch larger than my MT100's fit-wise. I might go down a half a size and see how they work. Regardless it is nice to be running in a shoe that let's ME run the way my body wants to run (mid-forefoot strike) as opposed to all of the other shoes and stuff over the years that didn't work with me or for me.

I'll never go to barefoot running or wear those damn VFF's... but I am really digging this minimalist shoe design. Now if they could only make them in GTX.

Fall running is turning out to be fun. Two races down in the fall series so far. I am running a part of the AT next week in MD and when I come back I am running a 5K with Melissa. She has been working really hard for this one and I am excited to run it with her and take pictures. Then the day after that is race three of the fall series for me.

Right now my goals are to increase speed, increase strength, and god willing, drop a few pounds in the process. Short term, that looks like a sub 6:30 mile and being able to bench 225 again. Weight... I don't know... If I lost 8 lbs I'd be happy.

So really all in all, things are good. :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

More Goals...

I was talking to Melissa tonight about the "concept" of moving out of Colorado. We both pretty much agreed there would be too many things here that we would miss. The conversation reminded me of a time a few years ago where I seriously considered moving out of state. This was in 2006. As I contemplated that move, even then I knew that if I did it, I would NEVER get to do the Leadville 100.

It took me four years to get there but I finally did it this year. Even then in 2006 it seemed like an impossible goal, yet I eventually got there and it happened this year...

So past what I talked about last night... I am still kicking around the big "what's next?"

I have three ideas now... three more big goals... One is already in the cooker which is the San Juan Solstice next year. The other two... they could very well be a ways off yet. But on the bright side... both of those races are in Colorado as well.

It's nice to have something bigger on the horizon to look forward too, plot and scheme... my plans will be more clear come the first week of February. :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Catching up with myself...

I'm still not there, wherever that may be. Bottom line is that I have had zero consistency in both the quality and quantity of my runs. Overall I feel better with each run but still just feel "behind." My longest run so far post LT100 has only been 14 miles and that damned near wrecked me in the heat. Basically it was a great ten mile run with four miles of yuck at the end.

I've laid out a loose plan of races for next year. The first one being Jan 15 in Wyoming. The Twin Mountain Trudge. Last year the weather was absolutely perfect for this run, meaning it was in the mid 30's and no wind. It is called the "Trudge" because there will be snow. I am hoping for another good weather day this year. I've already sold Melissa on the idea of a side trip on the way home to Steamboat to go soak at Strawberry Hot Springs again. I am already looking forward to it.

After that... I will run the Salida HALF Marathon... I'm not doing the full marathon there again unless I know the course is perfectly clear. Two years getting hurt there was enough. The half is a simple out and back. Maybe a 24 hour race later in March, a 50 miler in April, another 50 miler in May followed up with the San Juan Solstice 50 miler in June where I hope to drop another hour or so off of my time. Past that I have a few ideas but we will have to wait and see.

I am anxiously looking forward to some short term things though. I am going to MD in a couple of weeks and I am planning a nice long run on the Appalachian Trail there with my stepdad. It is about a 19-20 mile run that we have done before. It should be warmer this time. I am also looking forward to breaking out my back country skis and going skiing and snowshoeing with Melissa once we get snow. IF it ever cools off that is.

Went climbing with Melissa last week outside. It was fun. Well, my second climb was. My first climb, not so much. She went up first and set the quick draws and also set up the top rope. I went up second and collected all of the quick draws. I hit a point where I just didn't think that I could go anymore. I stood on this ledge for god knows how long before I said F it and went on up. I was so close to coming down though and saying that I was done. I am glad I didn't. The second climb I went up the wall like a damned spider monkey or something, at least three times faster than the first one. Anyway hopefully we can find some time this month to go again.

We had a great trip to Steamboat last weekend. It was just so nice to get away.

So that is about it... I guess I am still recovering and as the title says, I am still catching up with myself. I've also been reading a lot and that has been nice as well.

It will be a fun weekend. On call Friday night, but Saturday I am going to a party at JT's then running the first race of the Fall Series on Sunday. All things considered, an easy weekend.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Elk Don't Know What Cigars Smell Like

Wow... I can't believe it is September already and damned near 1/2 through the month at that. Of course Leadville is over and I have been gone and have returned from my annual pilgrimage to the high country. Ten days of hunting, fishing, campfires, rain, snow, sun, cigars, and everything else. I got to rest a lot, read, see some gorgeous country and just relax for ten days. I also got homesick too but that's another story.

I am home and slowly reintegrating myself back in my life. I am running again but no great distances yet. I am still recovering from a fall when I was up camping that is slowing me down. I am also waiting on a replacement Garmin cradle so I can charge my Garmin which has been dead since losing my older charger cradle.

I feel like I am floating without any specific goals or objectives right now. It is funny because this fall is a lot like last fall in that sense. The huge difference is that I don't have the DNF hanging over my head like I did last year.

I'll figure it out sooner or later I guess.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The LT100 - The Final Chapter

I have been debating on how to write this race report. How does one write about a 100 mile race? I guess about the same way they run it... one section at a time.

It was good to be in Leadville early last week before the race. It gave me some extra time to acclimate but to also just become more comfortable and relax there. Melissa and I had a great visit at HMI (High Mountain Institute) where I was left wishing I was a teenager with loaded parents to go there. It is an interesting outfit so I highly recommend checking them out.

We made it to the medical check in early on Friday morning then went back to the house to hang out for a bit. We were to meet JT and Brandon for breakfast the the Golden Burro at nine or so. JT I had met in person just the week before on a run in Red Rock Canyon but I had not met Brandon yet so he was still a "virtual" friend. Turns out there were a lot of us there for breakfast as Brooks was there too. I really wasn't sure what to eat, I wanted something but not a huge breakfast so Melissa and I split a huge order of biscuits and gravy with hash browns. It was perfect.

After breakfast we all meandered over the gym for the mandatory briefing. We went upstairs to get good seats to see it all. Since this is sort of an "old time revival" sort of deal with a lot of whooping and hollering, I told Melissa this might be the closest she ever gets to being Baptist... Ken Chlouber can be down right evangelical getting everyone fired up for the run, inciting everyone to chant in unison, "I commit! I will not quit." As a side not, that line is not bullshit as I bet I said it thousands of times during my hours on the course.

I did sit there in the stands amazed, completely amazed that another year had passed and that I was there in the same gym, AGAIN, attempting the run, AGAIN, and hoping to not get my ass kicked as badly as last year... AGAIN. I couldn't sit anymore so I left and went outside hoping to find my coach, Scott Weber, whom I had yet to meet in person.

Ran into my Coach and we talked... Turned out he had five of us up there. I met another one of his runners who came from Japan where he was stationed to do this race. Scott and I chatted until Melissa came out from the briefing and we went back to the house to get lunch and relax. I got to take a wonderful nap that afternoon and that was the last that I really slept I bet until Sunday afternoon.

Friday night the crew arrives... JJ, and my daughter Annie. My pacer Carolyn shows up later Friday as well. Only one crew member missing but he is running the Ascent on Saturday so he won't be there until Saturday night. Gear is ready, I'm hydrated, hydrating... eating... trying to relax... try to get some sleep. Yeah right...

Up at 2:40 to start getting ready to go to the start. Get dressed, grab my gear and go to the start with my friend Ray who is running as well. We get there, get checked in then wait. I follow my coaches advice and get close to the front and on the left side. I wait... I can't believe it is really here... I marvel that my watch and the race clock are 100% in sync. What are the odds? Melissa, Annie and JJ are not at the start as they have already headed off for Mayqueen to beat the crowd. I knew I'd be seeing them soon.

3, 2, 1, BOOM!

We are off. I am running. God it feels good. The taper made me miserable. Brandon said something at breakfast the day before about how his taper made him out sync so what was supposed to happen in the morning was happening in the evening... well I had the same exact problem. That being said I felt rather bloated at the start. Nevertheless it was good to be running again and moving. Time to get this job done.

I cover the first three miles or so down to the railroad tracks in 28 minutes... a little fast, I need to reel it in. I feel controlled and in the right part of the pack and I look down at my Garmin and I am seeing that I am in the 10 minute per mile range, exactly where I wanted to be. I keep running. I am happy because nobody around me is talking. Up the power line cut I went, across the road then onto the single track of the trail around Turquoise Lake. I'm about an hour in or so and feeling good. A bit further I can look back across the lake and see all of the other headlamps behind me. It is comforting to know that I am not back there. My splits or whatnot seem off. I keep checking my Garmin and it indicates I am at the right speed but I can that from the time compared to where I was on the course I had been going too fast. I came in to Mayqueen dangerously ahead of schedule at 2:11 or so. Oh, and this is with 4 pit stops along the way.

Found my crew and I didn't waste anytime getting out of there. A small glitch with the sunglasses and I was out of there. Almost went medieval on a guy who blindly chucked a half eaten container over his shoulder causing me duck while we were running out of the campground. I just yelled "WTF buddy?" He jumped but I passed him. He did finish I know but behind me. At least I got to see that.

Ray passed me in the trees. Ray is fast. I'm not going to get sucked in. I hope he has a good race and let him go. I've had concerns about this section, up and over Sugarloaf and down the powerlines all year. I suspect this section did some damage on my ass last year and I didn't want it to happen again. I was wanting to keep up the pace but not over do it either. Whatever I did, I feel it worked until I got to the top...

Remember that bloated feeling folks? Well, I pulled off the trail behind a tree and proceeded to leave spoor of grizzly bear proportions. Large enough that it concerned me that it may play havoc with my weight when I would have to weigh in later. It was bad. I'll leave it at that but I did start running again and I did feel a hell of a lot better.

Down the power lines... dear got that took forever. I looked at my Garmin and I was comfortable with my pace. Still that damned downhill ate me up some. I was extremely happy to be off of it at the bottom and run to the Fish Hatchery.

Some crucial things happened at the Fish Hatchery for me... one, it was getting warm and I anticipated that so I switched from Perpetuem to Heed. Secondly my coach was there and he kept me moving so my crew in fact had to run to give me my stuff and get me out of there. Thirdly I was now running on road, in the middle of nowhere practically and well, it is sort of boring there.

I didn't like this section too much last year and didn't think that I would like it much more a year later. But we had a plan an that was I would see my crew at treeline 4.1 miles away where they would give me two more fresh bottles of Heed. This allowed me to run and drink as I wanted or felt I needed to instead of rationing so much.

At treeline my crew was waiting. I was so happy that they were my crew and they were doing awesome. A bump here and there but overall I was just so thankful for them. They got me out of there and off to Halfmoon II/Box Canyon Aid station.

By this time I have run over a marathon distance wise. It is getting hot and I have a LONG stretch to go before Twin lakes at mile 39. It was in this section last year that my race was lost and everything seemed to unravel. This I did not want a repeat of. Regardless, it seems that after 20 miles my feet just always hurt, and today was no exception and they were starting to hurt now... I get through the aid station after refilling my bottles and keep moving. I get on the Colorado Trail and know that I have just about six miles to go. Starting to hurt a little more. At this time I decide to get real with myself and tell myself, "It's gonna fucking hurt so get used to it asshole." While at the same time giving myself props for really doing a great job, which I was. I consciously tried to smile and to laugh and fuck it... just have fun damn it. Why not right?

I make it into Twin lakes right on the money split wise 8:23... The sitrep isn't quite as rosy as it was earlier... my right knee is not liking the steep downhills. I decide before even getting to TL that I will start popping Ibuprofen and I will put on my knee brace. It might not make things "better" but it will hopefully keep things from getting worse, allowing me to move on. Crew get's me out of there quickly after swapping my waist pack for my Nathan Vest and applying a decent coat of sunscreen and sports shield.

The River crossings... another not so favorite part. Really crossing the water, the river, etc, isn't that bad. It's the damned flat boring ass swampy area that I can't stand. I get to the river. It does look a touch higher than last year and I plunge in. Oh my god... it felt so good... nice and cool... I just wanted to stay there all day. I think that eyes are playing tricks on me (already)as there appears to be a huge bald dude in a pink leotard and tutu sitting on the river bank taking off his shoes. Nope I wasn't seeing things... this guy and I were passing each other until the end. He finished too.

I haven't seen Anton yet. I wonder where he is. My money was on him to win. Last year he passed me at TL when he was inbound and I was outbound. Curious enough we past each other at the same time as last year, 9:06 about 1/2 of the way up Hope Pass. He was flying and it was neat to see him run. I didn't see another runner till 45 minutes later.

I summit Hope Pass and I see the bottom way below. This three miles or so is just some of the most rugged nasty downhill trail I have ever seen. It kicked the shit out of me last year and it did a number on me this year. My knee hurts... going downhill isn't so smooth but I do my best to keep going. JT and I pass not to far from the bottom. He's doing great and it was comforting because last year we passed on top of Hope Pass. Not long after seeing JT I see Brandon. He's looking a little worn but hard to gauge.

About a mile before getting to the road I start to lose it... I'm tired of going downhill. I am wanting to be on smooth surface so much. Finally I hit the road and I am laughing, ecstatic! This is where they cut my wristband last year. I'd be damned if that was happening again this year and I knew it wasn't happening there at the road. I taunted the volunteer about it jokingly... he laughed and told me to get the hell out of there... Up the road I go to Winfield.

Wow... it looked like the carnival was in town when I got there... people, tents, just like a huge party atmosphere. Ray had passed me about a mile out from Winfield. He was having a good day. He might just pull that sub 25 finish. I still wondered if I might not see him a bit later.

I run into Winfield and to the medical tent to weigh in. Carolyn my pacer catches me and asks me what I need/want, I tell her and she takes off. I go to step on the scale and I am already pleading my case with the race volunteer explaining that I probably left five pounds up on Sugarloaf that morning. He laughed at me but I told him I was serious. Well I was only two pounds off from the day before so evidently my hydration was on, so they let me go.

Time for a pit stop. My crew sits me down, first time on my ass in 50 miles. My quads are iced, legs massaged, shoes and socks changed, Carolyn is loaded up and we take off. Scott ran with me a bit telling me that I was doing good and to keep it up. Carolyn catches up with me and I give her the lowdown.

1. My knee is jacked up. I can NOT run downhill. Most downhill's hurt.
2. My running muscles are not firing. I just can not get a rhythm going.
3. Other than that I am feeling pretty good, happy, and I think my spirits are high so that is good.
4. I can still climb and go uphill like a mofo... (another great asset)

Carolyn starts working me early... we'd run tree to tree or ribbon to ribbon or what not... just trying to get it going. I am glad when we start up the pass cause I know I can get in some good work here. The excitement, the gels, the Heed, but I really suspect the Mountain Dew that I slammed at Winfield decided about 20 minutes into our ascent to make a second appearance. I tell Carolyn that I am not feeling well and she says to just get it out. I lean against and aspen tree and whoooooorph... out it came. Ahh... better... back to work.

We are above treeline now and see a guy laying down with others trying to tell him to drop. I'm glad I am not that messed up. We keep going and summit the pass in what I consider an amazing time. I joke that we went up probably as fast if not faster than when I came down it.

This next part I figured would be the make it or break it section for me. Five miles to Twin Lakes, most of it downhill. To summarize the descent, I ran as much as I could. It hurt, a lot. We lost time. It got dark on us with only one flashlight. Huge blister popped on the bottom of my left foot right before the river crossing. The river water hurt like hell on said blister. Rolled into Twin lakes 45 minutes or more off schedule. Now the fight begins... I still feel strong on uphills and I am still in good spirits.'

My crew sits me down, I get warm clothes and hot cup of chowder. My feet are pretty messed up now with blisters and need attention. Blister bandages and duct tape and we have to get out of there. Scott tells me I am about five minutes from a DNF if we don't hurry. Melissa tells me we need to make up 15 minutes in the next section... Scott walks me to the hill and tells me that I can stil do this but I have to be willing to hurt myself to get it done. I accept this as truth and I know it is going to get worse before it get's a lot better.

The climb out of Twin Lakes is great. Carolyn and I pass so many people. I sort yak again, but nothing to brag about. It starts getting cooler but not bad. Prefect weather I think. The moon was beautiful. I start to think of other things like going Elk hunting in just weeks time and being in the high country with my bow for about ten days. If I can walk...

Coming into the Box Canyon aid station Carolyn and I get smart... I wanted a soda at Twin Lakes but didn't get it. I want something to wash the gel/Perpetuem taste out of my mouth. We really don't have time to stop, well I don't. Carolyn goes ahead and mixes my two new bottles of Perpetuem, I grab a cup of coke, sip half and take off knowing she will catch up in a bit. I get a bit out of there and I hear Carolyn coming down the road. It is funny hearing someone really run and pound it out...

We do okay coming into Treeline but my crew and coach seem a little frantic. Scott grabs me and tell me the only way I can pull this off is to do at least a 40-20 to get to the Fish Hatchery. Run for 40 exhales, then walk for 20, repeat. It works.... but you have to be awake and able to count. I was a past that but I got his point. I have to run as much as I can, really probably more than that to get to Fish Hatchery before the cut off.

Carolyn and I run the road. It hurts, I am tired. The air in the valley is cold and the breeze makes it even cooler. We run telephone pole to telephone pole walk a bit then run some more. I try to run as much as possible to increase our buffer. We get into the aid station with plenty of time, we made up time things are good again. Same deal I leave and Carolyn catches up later down the road.

The next section, climbing the power lines up Sugarloaf which I knew would be a bear but I figured in my condition what I really needed to worry about was the other side... the down. I've read and heard just plan on 90 minutes to make it up so that is what I did. I ignored the three false summits and just kept going. Again we passed a lot of people going up. Coming down... well this was when it got bad.

Coming down the road there were more rocks, loose rocks and it was harder on the feet than I can describe. I'm tired. I am cranky. I know that we are losing time. I don't want another fucking gel, thank you very much and I fucking quit! Seriously I told Carolyn that was it, I am done. We gave it a good run, time to call it. She didn't buy it and just said lets keep going and see what happens. Of course I complied. :)

We hit the Colorado Trail section to Mayqueen. I know there is downhill in there but I also know there is some rolling and some up even. I also know that we are dangerously close to not making the cut off at Mayqueen. A couple hours earlier I thought that we would clear Mayqeen at about 6:00 am, but now it looked more like 6:30+ which was past the cuttoff. Something needed to happen and it needed to happen right then and there.

I found it. I don't know where but it was there. When I came out at the trailhead I was in a dead run and not stopping. I had minutes, less than ten minutes to make it through Mayqueen before being DNF'd. I had to at least make that. I knew that if I did make it would still be tough getting around the lake. That worried me some but I did have the consolation of knowing that I had run that trail so many times this summer. It wasn't foreign to me, I could make it work.

I left Carolyn behind and went to the aid station, checked in and left. By 6:30 the cut off time I was well on my way on the trail around Turquoise Lake and I was moving. I was going so fast that I almost became concerned that Carolyn might not be able to catch me. I started doing some math and it started to really seem possible that I could do it.

Carolyn found me. She had fresh bottles and my sunglasses. We kept going. She kept pushing me. She still made me drink and have my gel on schedule. We got around the lake and my friends Lee and Sharon Burton were there by the road to greet us. Lee has been an awesome inspiration for me over the years and they had come up that morning just to see me finish. I did not want to let them down so I kept going.

Down the powerline cut we went, it hurt, we got on the dirt road, I could run we are passing more people and it is getting warmer out and it is also getting later. We make it to the railroad tracks and I told Carolyn we could run all the way to the big turn and we did, passing still more people.

We make the big turn leaving only three miles to go until the finish, we have one hour and ten minutes left until the race if officially over. Under normal circumstances no problem... but I've been up for over 30 hours straight, covered over 90 miles, everything hurts... it has to be done.

We come up over the first rise and Carolyn says let's start running again and we do. Off and on until we are to the soccer field. Just a mile to go. There is Scott cheering us on. He asks me how it feels to go 99 miles... I laugh. I tell him there is no way I could have made it there without his help. We push on and Carolyn is telling me that my crew will be there to run in with me. This was something that was never discussed. We run down the last downhill before the finish and Melissa and Annie are right there taking pictures. They start to run with me the last little bit as I approach the finish. I can't believe it. I am going to make it. I've dreamed about this for so long, finishing Leadville and it is going to finally happen.

I cross the finish line and bend over to breathe. I get my medal and Merilee hugs me and says "welcome home." I hug her back and just say thank you. My buddy Erich grabs me and about all but carries me to the aid tent for my final medical check. My weight is good. I feel okay, they ask me to sit just for a few and I do. I get a coke and yell over to JT who is on the other side of the tent... I did it. Now we get to have cigars at some time yet TBD.

Back to the house, cleaned up go to the award ceremony... get my buckle... It is all a dream almost.

How did I do it? I will tell you... I picked up pieces of knowledge, sayings, mantras, thoughts, whatever that I used to get me trough it. From Ken, from my coach, from me, from friends... The following lists all the thoughts that I kept running through my head that kept me going.

I commit, I will not quit. From Ken C. (sorta hokey but it worked)

I dont' want to do this again... Get this done and get it over with.

I wanted to make it worth everyone's time and effort who were there to help me. They came to see me finish and by god that is what I am going to do.

I focused on the things that were working, my attitude and my ability to still climb hills. Depended on those things to finish.

Focused on getting to just the next aid station, not the entire course or whatnot. One piece at a time.

I wanted Annie to see me finish so she could wear her crew t-shirt to school and have it be legit since I did the 100 miles. I wanted Annie to see her dad do something cool and have her be a part of it.

You can do this... just keep going. Do not stop. (More self affirmation.)

The only way they are cutting "this" wristband off is if they fight me and hold me down to do it.

Constant Forward Motion!
Relentless Forward Motion!

GMFG (go motherf*cker go!) My personal favorite of mine that I dreamed up for lake city and had written on my hand to get me through the day.

What Anton said to Brandon and Brandon wrote in his blog... "Nothing is going to stop me from finishing this race."

“On a good day, running 100 miles is fucking hard. Period. On a bad day, it’s borderline impossible.” I probed on this statement and asked how do you or I overcome that. He told me simply that you go into the race with your mind set on this statement:

Nothing is going to stop me from finishing this race.

JT's story about having to nearly be pushed out of MQ on his first finish due to being so close to the cut off. (It told me that I had a chance even if I was that close too.)

What Scott told me, that I am going to have to really hurt myself to get this done.

And that is how it happened.

Monday, August 23, 2010

29:34:10 I did it!

This will be a short post and I will definitely write more about it later. I finished the LT100 run despite a few unexpected challenges that put me right up against the cuttoffs the last 1/4 of the race or so.

So many people were involved in me achieving this success and I will be sure to cover that in my next entry. Regardless, there is no way that I could have done this on my own or by myself....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So, so close now...

Regardless of what happens on race day(s), in less than 96 hours... which is less than four days it will all be over. I can't believe it. Not only less than a week to the race but less than a week for it to be over. It is hard to believe that it is here.

There isn't much to do now past just waiting. Most of my stuff is packed and ready to go. There isn't much running for me to do right now as I am in taper/rest mode. Just take it easy and enjoy these last few days.

Right now I think the biggest thing I have to do is work on the mindset that I will finish this race. Not just think that I can but I have to really believe it and stay with that.

My goals are modest, I want to be dead smack in the middle of the pack. That is about a 27:30 finish and I believe if everything is going well I should be able to achieve that. I'd love to be a sub 25 finisher but the reality is that I am not there yet. So I am going to be pretty damned happy with a 27-29 hour finish and leave it at that.

What else... had a fun trail run last night that loosened things up, raised my spirits and also calmed my nerves. I'll have another light one tonight after it cools off then another one tomorrow sometime probably up in Pb. Tomorrows will be really light. Everything is feeling great.

Anyway, I should introduce the rest of the players in this tradgedy/comedy... we won't know which until Sunday.

Crew Chief A.M. - My lovely girlfriend Melissa who has been WAY more than understanding and supportive through this quest. She proved her crewing prowess in Lake City and I expect to have nothing but the best support from her with her attention to detail throughout the race. I owe her some serious time skiing, rock climbing, etc... after this.

Crew Member A.M. - JJ... I've known JJ forever and I am excited that she is part of my crew. Plus she owes me after last years Georgetown to Idaho Springs run, right JJ??? ;)

Crew Member/Photographer A.M. - Annie the greatest daughter in the world. This will be the first race in ages she has been at with me so I am really excited that she will be there. In addition to helping Melissa and JJ with me during the day Annie has the responsibility of being the team photographer. I can't wait to see the pics.
Annie, being a teenager with endless energy will also be serving as a crew member through the night.

Crew Chief P.M. - Here is the real man of the day... Erich. Erich will run the Pikes Peak Ascent then boogie himself to Twin Lakes to crew me from that point to the finish. I have known Erich since 1987 and he has had the honor to see the good, the bad and the ugly from me over all these years. So when it DOES get ugly he can handle it and consequently me.

Pacer - Carolyn... I couldn't ask for a better pacer. Great strong runner, she knows the course, knows what to expect and she can adjust I am sure to whatever pace we need to do for those second 50 miles. Just as long as we don't fall or get lost... :) Along with Carolyn comes Carols her boyfriend who will be helping Carolyn as part of the crew and he will also serve as backup pacer if something goes awry.

Ray - I'll have a cold one waiting for you.

Coach - Coach Weber. This guy has has his hands full with me since the word go in February. I've learned a ton from our talks and have taken "most" things to heart. :) Seriously... we've got the fueling, hydration and electrolyte pattern down to a science and that alone will go a long ways to me finishing this weekend. Thanks for everything!

Friends - I have made a lot of friends the past year who are ultra runners and you all are a constant source of understanding, inspiration, motivation and in some cases, cautionary examples of what not to do. :) For those who will be in Pb I look forward to being in the same race. To others doing other races such as the Peak, have a good run!

There is the cast of characters. I can't thank you all enough for being part of this.

This will be my last entry until after the race. It will be a different story than last year, I promise.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

There are no Guarantees...

Four more days till the big day. As a matter of fact at this time in four days my ass had better be damned near to the top of Hope Pass. Preferably on the other side.

I'm stressed. I feel like I am in a pressure cooker with an 80 lb pack on my back. The taper is going well now, physically at least. Little to no soreness to report and I can tell that my energy level is increasing. But the stress, the anxiety, the nervousness... that is becoming difficult to manage.

There is no doubt that I am ready. My crew is in place. The plans are set. Bags are mostly packed. I'm ready to get this underway. I've been looking at this for nearly a year since my DNF last year... even longer before that. I am ready to do this.

Gear is good, my crew is top notch I have a great pacer and I am in the best shape I can be in heading into this. Be that as it may there are still no guarantees of a finish but I put my chances WAY above the chances of many of the 780 registered runners for this race. I predict that come Saturday evening, there are going to be a lot of disenchanted, chia seed toting, five finger wearing, brokenhearted souls in Lake County. Just a guess. :)

I won't be one of them!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Last of the Heavy Lifting

Ended up going up to Leadville for the weekend and getting in a couple of good runs up there. Saturday ran from Halmoon to Twin Lakes and back. Then on Sunday a brief jaunt around Twin Lakes.

Saturday's run was an eye opener. For starters it reminded me of how miserable I was on that section last year. Secondly it helped a bit to truly educate me on the nature of that section. It is way different than what I remembered it to be. It is probably a good thing that I ran it now so that I know exactly what to expect when I get there in less than two weeks on race day. It was a good refresher.

Sunday it was windy around Twin Lakes and since I am not a fan of running in the wind it made for a tough workout. It was a long 12 miles.

Easy week this week followed by and even easier week the following. I am really looking forward to the break and time off. I still can't believe that it is less than two weeks away.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Taper Time

Years back one of my kayaking buddies uttered the phrase, "sit back and watch the comedy unfold" as we were floating through slack water between rapids. He'd usually say this when we were on a river while observing something out of the ordinary about to happen. As it stands right now, I feel like I did then, back on some slow moving water waiting for the next thing... Waiting for the comedy to unfold.

It is taper time. My last large runs were the week before last. The past past week was a VERY light 40 miles. This week will include more miles but not a whole lot more. I'm feeling better every day. More rested and stronger and with a lot less aches and pains on every run. It is nice.

Less than three weeks now until the Leadville 100 trail run. I feel ready. The week that I spent up in Leadville running and reconnoitering the course was a great investment in time an energy and a huge boost to my confidence. A huge boost.

All of the heavy lifting is done. Now all I have to do is run just enough to try to maintain some level of fitness while at the same time avoiding injury. I remember just two months or so ago when I was staring down the mileages for June and July. I remember thinking that if I could just get through June that July would take care of itself. Not that July would be any easier but I just felt like I could get through June then the the last hard month would be doable.

It was.

Sitting here it just surprises me how it all looked then compared to now, on the other side. It is neat.

I am really excited to go up to Leadville on the 19th. This time is going to be different, I know. But still, as Chris used to say, I'm just sitting back and watching the comedy unfold.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

3:34 A.M.

3:34 A.M. the alarm goes off. I've had maybe six hours of sleep. My goal is to be out of the house by four to do a 20 mile run. All I want to do is go back to sleep.

I get up, get dressed, mix my bottles, fill my vest with fresh water, and grab a handful of gels. Put on shoes, get my headlamp and let Melissa know that I am leaving. (Gels fall out of vest on bed in the dark. Discover this about 20 minutes later, anyway...)

There isn't any light yet. 4:00 a.m. to me is still pretty much night time. It is warm out. There isn't any coolness in the air. It just didn't cool off last night.

I trudge on. One mile, two miles, three... all uphill. I can't get my brain around the scope of the run this morning nor can I reconcile with myself why in the hell am I out running while most people are sleeping. I realize that I could have slept another 3.5 hours more, easily.

As the sun comes up the sky is blood red to the northeast. I wonder if we will get rain or a storm today. That would be nice. Starting up my second big hill of the run, Flying W road... Still not going too fast but still moving forward.

I crest the hill and start the long run down on the other side. Still can't get much going on the downhill. I figure it will come in time. I'm about 8 miles into the run and the rest of it is mostly downhill/flat.

I hit the trail at Woodman and start going south. I'm feeling tired and I have about nine miles to go. I negotiate with myself to just keep going and make it to the next major road/milestone. Miles 11, 12, and 13 all float past. Between miles 14 and 17 I start to feel a soreness in my left quad, deep. Not sure if is a cramp or what but it is starting to hurt.

Two miles to go. Having to walk a little here and there to keep the leg from hurting too bad. Run a little, walk a little... less than a mile to go and I know that I am going to make it home.

I finish before it gets too hot out. My evening is going to be free to just hang out at home. I am happy. I realize that these long runs are impacting me a little bit emotionally/psychologically... I'm away from home a lot on these runs and am alone so I think that in a strange way I am developing a weird case of homesickness. Crazy, huh?

Just 5.5 weeks to go now. 1.5 more weeks of hard running then after that take it easy until the race. I only have to keep it together for a few more weeks... stay healthy, don't get hurt and take care of myself. I need a nap. :)

To all of my friends who are running the Leadville Silver Rush 50 this weekend I wish you the best. Hope the weather and conditions are great for you. Can't wait to see the results.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The San Juan Solstice 50 #2

One of the better parts of running a course that you have run before is that you at least have some idea of what you are getting yourself into. Last year I went into the San Juan Solstice run blind for the most part, my only knowledge of the course coming from maps and elevation profiles and second hand knowledge. I should also that add that much of the course was actually ran blind last year in blizzard conditions for many hours along the continental divide.

Things were much different this year.

This would be my first race since the Salida Marathon in March where I tweaked my leg and had to spend a few weeks getting that back in order and to be able to run again. Even though my training has been going really well it is hard staring down a 50 mile run and even more so a 50 mile run of this intensity. This race is purported to be the toughest 50 mile course in the United States boasting over 12,000 foot elevation gain and loss.

Each day before the race I became more and more restless with my last good day of sleep being the Wednesday night before. I fretted over drop bags, checking and double checking and inventorying the contents to make sure I had at least the basics of what I would need when I would need it on the course.

Going into the race things were looking very promising. The weather forecast was optimal, clear with no storms like last year. With good weather on the horizon, and a great crew/support system set up, the race seemed even more simple than last year leaving me to only worry about running.

The drive down was fun and relaxing and just a treat to get out of town. Our cabin in Lake City was easier to find than we thought it would be and thankfully is was a very nice cabin. A huge upgrade from the one from last year.

Friday night of course I struggled to go to sleep. All of my gear was set out for the morning to make it easy to get ready and out to the start. The last thing I remember Friday night is the moon setting behind the mountains and how visible the stars were. I didn't sleep too long but I did sleep soundly.

Melissa woke me up on Saturday morning at 3:50 and told me that I had ten more minutes to sleep. That was nice as it brought me back to reality but allowed me to rest and relax deliberately for a few more minutes. Finally I got up, showered, got dressed and off to the armory we went for me to sign in and start the race.

Just like last year, right before 5 am, all of the runners migrate from the armory out to the street for the start. It is still dark and I can feel the tension building in my chest and radiating through my body... I am on edge and ready to go. I kiss Melissa and tell her I will see her in few hours, the gun goes off and we are off heading towards Alpine Gulch. Now it gets real.

The run up the road goes smoothly. I feel that I am in or getting to the right part of the pack, the part of the pack where nobody is talking. I crave the silence on the trail and people talking in a race just irritates me. It tells me that I am in the wrong place and I need to push ahead. I catch up with my friend Ray (can't miss the Hawaiian shirt) that I haven't seen since Salida and exchange pleasantries. He is having an awesome running year and soon pulls ahead of me.

The climb up Alpine Gulch is quiet and uneventful except for the lady stuck straddling a log across one of the creek crossings. Don't know what happened and I really didn't care. I decide to go around the six or seven people waiting to cross on the log and plunge into the creek to go around. The first "deep" creek crossing of the morning and it really wasn't that bad. Still climbing, getting higher and I can tell we are approaching 11K, the trail seems a lot steeper than last year. I just conclude that Alpine Gulch is just a serious climb and leave it at that. About a half a mile below the Alpine Aid Station a guy looks at me and says, "hey, you're the dude from the video! I've watched it hundreds of times!" I laugh and say yeah yeah that was me, thank him for watching it and we keep moving on.

I zip through the Alpine Aid Station and keep on climbing until we are on the top ridge and begin the long and steep descent into Williams Creek. I'm trying my hardest to keep of a strong A+ level of effort and it feels as if I succeeding. A few people passed me after the aid station but I pass them again and a few others in the five miles down to the next aid station.

I see Melissa and the Colorado College umbrella as I come flying into the Williams Creek Aid Station/Campground. She has a little table set up with everything I could need and has two fresh (and very cold) bottles of Perpetuem waiting for me. We exchange things out, I put on a fresh coat of Sports Shield and take off having only stopped for 2 minutes at that aid station...

Last year the climb up to Carson seemed to be the killer for me with the climb up Alpine being understated. This year was the opposite. The climb up to Carson seem much more smooth this year for some reason maybe because I knew what to expect. I made it to Carson in about an hour and forty minutes which is what I was hoping for. At Carson I top off the bladder in my vest, mix fresh Perp, and cleaned out my shoes and wrung out my socks which were still damp from all of the creek crossings earlier in the morning. (Fresh socks would have been great but I neglected to put them in the drop bag for some damned reason.)

I was only at the Carson Aid Station for maybe five minutes. I'm out, going up the road. Still a bit of climbing ahead as I have to summit Coney Peak up on the continental divide. As I plod up the road I am amazed at how different it is than last year. I also marvel that even though it was SO nasty at that point last year, just how comfortable I was heading up the road, bundled up in that storm.

The wind climbing Coney was brutal. I had to hold my hat on a few times and even lost it once. I summitted Coney and continued along the divide. I couldn't run quite yet so I decided to cruise and wait till I was closer to 12K and on smoother trail to start pushing it again. The closer I got to mile 31, the Divide Aid Station the faster I went.

Another quick stop at the Divide Aid Station and I was out of there. I was going so fast and not paying attention that I tripped and rolled right in front of the lady on the ATV who kept track of the runners coming in and out. It was really sorta funny. On to Slumgullion....

This is probably my least favorite part of the course. The open space on top before you head down the ridiculously steep road towards Slumgullion is just mind numbing. It goes on and on and though it is runnable it just is not fun. It is about as exciting as running on treadmill. At one point I just say screw it... step off the road and vent before heading on down the road.

I arrive at Slum Aid Station and there is Melissa who is right on the spot handing me cold bottles of Perp, putting more sunscreen on me and handing me a cold Mountain Dew to sip on. I blast out of there after only a four minute stop and am on my way to Vicker's Ranch and "the hill."

The last big climb on Vicker's Ranch is a killer climb of 1700 feet in just a couple of miles. I budgeted an hour for this hill alone. When I started going up it was 4:04 in the afternoon so I just figured I would top out at 5:04. Actually I topped it at 4:59... close.

Just a few more miles to go. I hit the Vicker's Aid Station, top off my bottles and head out. I'm losing time at this point I can tell. The steep sections the last couple of miles before town take their toll on me. I curse the trail but celebrate when I hit the smooth maintained road at the trail head. I smile as I pass four other runners on my way into town. I see Melissa unexpectedly and she runs with me the last 1/2 mile to the finish. I was tired, it had been a long day and I just wanted it over. With about 200 yards to go I tell her that I just need to get this over with and I take off on a dead run feeling somewhat "strong" as I cross the finish, my time being 13:53:57.

Finished we head back to the cabin and I get cleaned up, have a great dinner and finally fall asleep after I get comfortable later. It was a good race, everything went well, I had the best crew person and pacer ever, but most importantly it was just a nice weekend away from home.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Six Days Till Lake City and the San Jual Solstice 50 Miler

I haven't been writing much lately for probably two reasons. The first reason would be that a lot of my time has been spent running so I haven't had much time to write. The second reason would be that I haven't been having too many issues injury wise to slow me down and or complain about either. All in all things have been going well, so I've been quiet.

The miles have been stacking up. According to my Garmin and how it logs a week, this past week I did 86.4 miles. I had a great 31 mile run last weekend and this weekend I did two 20 milers back to back. I've been feeling yesterday's run all day today though especially in my quads which just feel thrashed.

On the bright side I have a nice light week this week leading into the race at Lake City. I've been bouncing back and recovering fairly well these past few weeks so I think that I will be in good shape. My time last year in the race was 15:44:46 and that was in that nasty storm. Originally this year I was shooting for 13:45 to finish, feeling that would be a respectable improvement over last year and also very doable if the weather cooperates. Well... I have a new target now. My coach wants to see me pull that one in at 12:30, what he considers and A+ effort.

12:30... That means I need to drop well, about three hours from last years time. Okay... Melissa will be crewing for me and I do not intend to take any long breaks at the aid stations so I am planning to get back an hour there. So if the weather cooperates AND I push it hard I think that I can do the 12:30 as directed. I spent part of the night doing some fancy math to compute the splits I will need to make and I think it is doable.

For me this race is important as it is my first race since getting injured in Salida in March. This is also a race that I just like so I am looking forward to doing it for that reason alone. It will be worth running the 50 miles hard just for a break out of town and away from all of my normal runs, routes, etc. I really can't wait to go.

Anyway, my new splits as I have computed them to fish in 12:30 are as follows.

Mile 7.5 Alpine Gulch Aid Station 2:05
Mile 15.7 Williams Creek Campground 3:46
Mile 21.8 Carson Aid Station 5:23
Mile 31 Divide/Yurt Aid Station 8:12
Mile 40 Slumgullion Aid Station 9:54
Mile 46.5 Vickers Aid Station 11:32
Mile 50 Finish 12:30

Before you think the times sound off or slow or what not... take a look at this elevation profile of the race. Then you can see why it might take two hours or more to go the first 7.5 miles. :)


Again, I can't wait till next weekend, I think this is going to be a blast!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Just a Great Day

Today turned out much better than expected or even hoped for. Yesterday was to be my big run of the week with a 20 mile run. I did that, in the heat and came home and recovered nicely through the afternoon and evening.

I woke up early this morning for the most part feeling pretty good. I had decided to stay put in town instead of venturing out and do a local run. The idea came to me in yesterdays run to do the Gold Camp Road run up N. Cheyenne Canyon and go as far I could and do and out and back for a minimum of ten miles. BUT I also was leaving the option to go further and do a big loop that at best I figured was 20 miles at a minimum but probably no more than 30 miles.

When I took of this morning things felt pretty. I was not feeling too much from the day before to be honest. About 7 miles in as I ran through the 3rd tunnel I just figured I'd go ahead and commit to the full loop. I've biked this 2x but that was 16 years ago and while I was confident I knew how to catch the trail further up, I still had some concerns. I did pack a map to be safe.

The weather was perfect. Cool starting out but even when it warmed up it wasn't that bad. Everything felt great the entire distance. Okay towards the end I was getting a little tired but more so just tired of running that being tired from running.

My goal for the day was 10 miles minimum as I said. I had to clock 12 miles to meet my goal of 250 miles for the month of May. I ended up doing 26.

I can not explain just how good I feel right now. Physically not too much discomfort... but mentally and emotionally I am on cloud nine. My confidence which really has been in the crapper for weeks is soaring for a change. I needed this run and I am just so thankful that it worked out as well as it did.

Came home had a great dinner, watered the lawn and all of the plants too. The great thing is that I still have a day off tomorrow!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Just a Quickie

Had a decent 20 mile run today. It was hot and a little windy but other than that tolerable. Towards the end, last five miles or so I could tell the heat was starting to get to me. I'll have to rethink the whole idea of Badwater I believe. Haha. Seriously it was 88 when I got home so this has to be the warmest run of the year for me so far.

Everything is holding up well. Left knee and hamstring are good. Right shin is cooperating. Just have to get rid of this little blister on my right foot but I think that I have solved that one too. I think I am not tying my shoes tight enough. Maybe... or it could be heat related. Either way I have to have it solved in the next few days. With everything else going so well I don't want to be jacked up by a blister.

Tomorrow is going to be cooler. I am going to run Gold Camp Road from N. Cheyenne Canyon to Old Stage Road and see how far I get before turning back. It could be an out and back or I could come back down some trails and make more of a loop. My goal is 20 miles again tomorrow and that will put me way over my monthly goal of 250 miles for the month of May. Tomorrows run will also have some moderate elevation to it which is a bonus.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Catching Up

I haven't written in a while and really there is not a lot to say. Things have been progressing well over the past few weeks with my long runs increasing from 12 miles to 15, to 20, to 31.1 and being able to handle the distances and recover after the run.

The left leg is doing great still so that issue is gone. Overall some tweaks and pings here and there but at these mileages it is to be expected. I ran five miles this morning and it felt no different than the mid week runs from last week.

Going to Lake City to run the San Juan Solstice in three weeks or so and I can not wait. I am super excited. This will be my first race since Salida. This race will be a great confidence booster. I have a rather solid pace/plan in place and if the weather cooperates I intend to drop an hour from last years time. That won't be hard as long as I don't screw around at the aid stations too long. Haha.

Just over 12 weeks to go until Leadville. Had dinner and discussions about the race with my friend Ray who is running it for the first time this year. I think if things keep going the way they are for both of us, we are both going to have a great run up there come August.

Things are going well... Let's keep it that way!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Getting There

Had a 52 mile week last week and that went really well. A 15 mile run on Saturday which was my best run in WEEKS was a very nice treat. The greater treat was waking up on Sunday morning and realizing how much pain, discomfort and general soreness I was not feeling at all. Woohoo!

Melissa was heading out of town for a few days so we hung out on Sunday so I didn't run until after she left later in the afternoon. It all worked out as I did 10 miles up in N. and S. Cheyenne canyons in the evening when the wind had died down some.

My right shin is a little sore and has been since last week. It goes away once I start running. Shinsplints I am sure and also pretty positive it is from the miles from last week. It is manageable.

Tonight's ten mile run... three trips around the Palmer Park Rim Trail. Zero pain in my left leg. Not my fastest time but it is a trail you have to be careful on and since I was going to run it 3x, I figured I'd better take it easy. What cracked me up all night was that I used to think that running once was a big deal.. nah.... that was just my warm-up tonight. No wind tonight too and I finished just as the rain began... not a bad deal. :)

I came home and went to check my work PC to check on something and it was sounding like a jet engine trying to take off as the vent fan was going full bore. The screen was blank and the cursor was flashing. My guess is that a bearing seized in the hard drive, causing the temp in the case to go up causing the fan to go nuts. Regardless, work laptop no workee anymore. I tried to see it after booting from CD ROM and no luck. Had a friend e-mail my manager and we will figure it out in the morning. So far I am not TOO freaked out by what I have lost as I had very little personal stuff on there. There will be some work stuff and procedures I will have to find or recreate. It will be fine though hell, this has happened to so many of my team mates, I am surprised it has taken this long to happen to me.

That is really all I have. I am still feeling better day by day, and adding more miles. 53 more to go for this week and I am pretty confident that it is all going to work out just fine!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Slowly but Surely

Last week was my "rest" week of only 40 miles. When all is said and done this week will be a 50 mile week. Tuesday was a five miler and yesterday a ten miler. So far for the week I am "holding up."

I figure if I make it past this week intact I am on my way, though I don't expect things to get any easier, I don't expect the injury to get any worse. It feels as if it is rehabbing itself now in parallel along with my activity. Yesterday's run I was concerned about but it ended up being just fine.

Still feel a twinge or a pull or something hinky every once in a while in the soft tissue behind my knee. To be clear I feel it mostly when I am sitting or not moving. Seems that when I am walking or running the discomfort is absent. I felt in come and go a few times on yesterdays run.

My running muscles are protesting as they haven't had this kind of load in weeks. I can only imagine what everything would feel like now if I hadn't done any of the walking that I had done while I couldn't run. I expect the strength to come back fairly quickly though.

Everything is coming on line though and I am feeling a lot better and a heck of a lot more optimistic about the next few months. I have an inkling that the next 107 days of my life are going to be the toughest and most challenging ever, but as my coach said, I need to do everything that I can to be the fittest that I can be come August. This I can do.

I have my crew and my pacer all on board now and that is a good feeling. Annie told me last night that her mother gave her the green light to go up to Leadville that weekend so I am really excited for her to be there. I have a strong crew and a great pacer so I am lucky to have that peace of mind, knowing that is an issue or concern I really don't have to worry about now.

So slowly but surely things are coming around. It won't be long before 50 mile weeks turn into 60, 70 or more... It is going to be fun. :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Train?

Sometimes you really have to wonder if the light at the end of the tunnel is actually a light or is it quite possibly a train? Sometimes it is damned hard to tell the difference until it is too late.

To be honest with everyone I have to say that pretty much for the past few weeks the tunnel has been dark without any light to speak of.

Okay... it hasn't been THAT bleak but it has been touch and go the last few weeks. While I have known all along that I would get better and I would get back to running the question was always when?

Walking. I've walked a lot and that has been invaluable for boosting my morale. While it wasn't ideal it still allowed me to get the miles in, around 50 a week, and at the same time allowed me a sense of accomplishment to know that I was still working. I could walk many miles in a day and not have any pain during my walks and what was even more special, no pain after or the following morning. Logic would dictate that if I could walk without significant pain, then eventually I'd be able to run without pain as well.

So last week my coach gave me the yellow light to proceed with caution and start doing some running again. The stern warning being that if I got silly, I could completely undo the previous weeks of babying the injury in five minutes or less of carelessly running harder than I should. My orders were to walk/run pretty much every other day last week and I did and it worked out beautifully.

Of course I'm not running nearly as strong as I'd like to be but I'm doing okay just the same. I did a 13.5 mile run/walk on Saturday without any issues, well, besides the damn wind, then on Sunday did another 8 mile run/walk, again without any adverse affects.

The light at the end of the tunnel... nope, it's not a train, it's the actual light and in the later part of Sunday' s run I got the sense, finally,that everything was going to be okay. Having the feeling that the worst part of this episode is behind me was such a relief. I can not express how wonderful it felt and still feels to have hope again and that I can continue training and that all is not lost.

I have to say though, thank god for my coach, Coach Weber who has been invaluable in working through this injury. He's been supportive but also realistic in regards to what I should or should not and or could or could not be doing. The biggest benefit of having a coach in this situation is that he has basically protected me from myself. (Yes, I am learning to be more cautious, conservative and smart. Albeit slowly... ) :)

So things are coming back on line. I have my crew pretty much picked out and an idea how that is going to run and I have a great pacer who has ran the race before and who knows the course. The weather is getting better so running conditions will be getting better. It just feels like it is all coming together.

I am not out of the woods yet with this injury but we can deal with it at this point. I get a rest week this week of only forty miles and I am looking forward to them. I am going to make them smart miles and not go out and blow it this week and get hurt all over again. But more important than being able to run again right now is the return of hope, some confidence and just an overall sense of optimism. It is nice to once again believe that, "I can do this." ;)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Plan A.5

Plan A.5, or A and half if you will. I don't think that Plan B is going to be necessary. Yesterday I had a great conversation with my coach and the future just looks a litter brighter and optimistic. The bottom line is this, on some days I can run without any issue, other days I can't. Whatever is going on is not consistent and while it is probably still healing, the running is not helping it.

But we know that I can still run some. I can walk without any issues at all so for the next week to keep or get my miles up to 50 miles for a week, the plan is to walk seven miles a day for the next seven days. So basically looking at this as training for the second half of the Leadville 100 course while at the same time allowing my left leg a little more time to rest without the stress of running. I'll be lifting a lot too.

I am super excited about this plan because it keeps me moving for one thing. It will allow me to get my mileage up without stressing the injury which is awesome. The downside is that it will take a lot of time to walk the miles every day but I think it will be fine. After last nights short running workout with the Incline Club, I also know that I still have a little strength and a little speed left to work with. Okay, maybe a little bit more than a little. ;)

Lastly the piece of evidence which gives me a lot of hope is that when I got hurt last year it cost me some time in the spring. After that injury healed I bounced back rather quickly. Looking at the time line from last year and where I am this year, I have a few weeks yet before I need be really concerned about making any drastic changes in plans. Those few weeks plus this 7x7 schedule I believe will be the silver bullet to get me out of this mess.

So for the next week, walk my ass off, lift a lot and then next Thursday test the leg and see how it does. I've got a good feeling about this, a really good feeling.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Plan B

This will be a short update. I am guessing that things are still getting better, but the progression seems to be slower now. Sure I can do a lot more than I could three weeks ago but barely any more than I did last week for certain.

Some days are good, some are bad. Yesterday I ran three miles relatively pain free and I mean "pain free," as in what I would feel on a normal day. Today my left knee was hurting as bad as it was last week after a hard run. To make matters worse, the location of the pain seemed to have moved as well.

I am still waiting on the custom inserts for my shoes and I am hoping they will make a difference. Anything at this point to get past this injury: inserts, tiger balm, snake oil, sacrificial chickens! Anything.

After much thought today I am going to try my old running shoes tomorrow and see if that makes any difference. I have half a theory that because I changed to two new pairs and a new model a month before Salida, the possibility is there that something in those shoes may have caused me issues or caused something to weaken to the point where it may have caused me to be more vulnerable to an injury than I would have been otherwise. At this point it sure can't hurt.

My goal was to be 99.9% pain free by the end of this week. After today's run I just don't see that as being possible. The idea of Plan B did enter my mind during the run today. Maybe I should just take break, give myself some time to heal and maybe after that just look at this year as a building year. Look at Leadville as a 2011 option, not 2010. Plan B.

On a good note, the wind was not so bad this evening and that made the run so much more comfortable. The Incline Club starts their Thursday night workouts tomorrow night and I plan to go to that. The weather is getting slightly warmer and it seems that while everyone else is now starting to succumb to allergies mine have passed for the season already.

Next week I will have a more clear picture one way or the other I think in regards to the rest of the season. Anyway... that's all I have for now.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Heads or Tails?

Which way are things going go? Heads or tails? Is my season fundamentally over now or am I going to pull my arse out of this fire like I have so many other times in the past? Will the structure around my knee or whatever is bugging me heal itself while I continue training or will I have to stop altogether, rest, and re-plan the next year or two of running? I just can't tell at this point. Seems to be fifty/fifty and it could easily go either way.

This past weekend was jacked up and really there isn't a better way to describe it. I walked for over two hours in the screeching wind Saturday afternoon then on Sunday I walked three hours all around the neighborhood all afternoon. Work effectively tethered me to the house on Sunday so I could never be more than five minutes so from my desk really. The weather was nice on Sunday and Roxy walked with me some... Annie and Roxy walked with me part of it, and even Melissa did a couple of loops with me. The company and the weather on Sunday made it an easier three hours than if I was just walking around by myself and I was grateful for both.

It wasn't the worst way to spend the Sunday afternoon but I would have much rather been doing a long run, actually running.

At this point I am starting to feel some stress about the injury and if it will get better and rehab itself in a timely manner. Seriously, it feels as if I am on the razors edge here. One to two more weeks like this and I can pretty much kiss Leadville good bye for this year. Or, or, it could go the other way... one to two more slower weeks and I am back on the program.

The best scenario is (and has been for the past two weeks) that I wake up tomorrow morning and I am as good as new, start training again in earnest and run my scheduled races leading up to Leadville and finish it.

A more realistic but yet optimistic option is that I continue to slowly get better, train through this, still hit my major races but don't plan on doing so well, and push it all the way until August 22.

The other options, I'd really rather not think about at this point.

My coach and I had a long talk on Monday. I think we both decided to try to treat this as transitional week and see what my knee/leg can do. Don't get crazy, and DON'T over do it. Personally I am of the mind that now is the time to try to work the leg and work through the injury, train with it and move forward. It is a binary question... am I ready or not, yes or no? The option of another 100 miler next February was thrown into the equation and I have to be honest, it didn't gather any traction as a positive motivator at all, quite the contrary. Let me put it this way... I do not want to run this other race, EVER. That fact alone has served as a bonfire under my butt to make me sorta force it this week. I don't want to push out to next February what I really want to get done this August.

So I've been working out this week in earnest. Monday I ran/walked for 35 minutes or so... two minutes running, one minute walking and that went okay. Tuesday I rode to the incline, ran 1/2 the way up then ran down the trail with minimal knee issues, then rode back home. Today I did a convoluted four mile run which I broke up into three different parts. The overall story is this, my leg hurts when I run but not too bad. If I stop running and start waking there is no pain at all. The discomfort does not linger but of course I don't know how far I could really push it if I had to but I don't think it is time for that test yet. Also this week I am reincorporating my normal lifting routine along with the commitment to focus on it as well as the running. I don't want to lose any strength but really at this point I need to lift more I think for my head more so than anything. Do some extra so I don't feel like such a Schmoe, especially if I have to back of on the running some more.

That about covers it. Tomorrow, Thursday another light run and I have another appointment on Friday with the Sports Massage Therapist, aka "The Queen of Pain," and that I am thinking will help things move forward some.

Right now I will say that I am glad that I didn't give up my slot in the San Juan Solstice in June when we figured out my new race schedule. No matter what happens, I know that if worse comes to worse, I can run that one. :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Making the Big Turn

This has been a good week I think in terms of my injury healing but not only from a physical standpoint but also from a mental one as well. Monday I rode and had a nice hike that evening that strained my leg a little bit. Tuesday I took off because of my trip to Denver and the weather. Wednesday, my leg felt great with a little bit of walking. But yesterday...

Yesterday which was Thursday, my leg felt great. The night before I was able to do a one legged squat with each leg without any pain. Mentally yesterday I just had a stronger sense of well being and even a greater sense of optimism that I will be back to running and training very soon.

Since there was still too much snow and mud left over from Tuesday's storm I didn't even think about riding yesterday so that left me with only the walking option. I ran. Not far or not too fast but but mixed it in with the walk yesterday and it felt great! It was so nice to be able to run just a little bit again and be pain free. I didn't go too far and I stopped before I started to feel any strain in my left leg but wow. It sure did leave me feeling optimistic about the future.

This was not a fast run at all and I really took it easy. I am not sure if I will try to run some more today. I think I will dial it back in and just walk and ride. I have my appointment this afternoon with the sports massage therapist and I am hoping that maybe she will have the same conclusions that I have about this injury, both the cause and an optimistic prognosis.

Sunday's incline club run is up to Barr Camp and back. My coach told me that if I can make it to BC and back down (hiking) without any issue that I would be ready to run again. That is my goal for the weekend. It would be great to be running again next week. So nice.

One thing about the past 12 days and being injured is that I am reminded to just freaking be careful, be smart, and don't take any unnecessary risks that could cause me to get hurt or injured. A line from my favorite running book by Hal Higdon, Run Fast, quotes Dr. Kenneth Sparks. That line has been going through my head 100 times a day these past couple of weeks... "As you age, you need to train smarter and be more in tune with your body. Every time you go out to run, it could be your last workout, because of an injury."

That "last workout" line provides much food for thought and I have to say that I am FAR from ready for my last training run and the way things have gone this week, I believe that I am a ways from that point. Thankfully.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Status of Things

It has been ten days since the Salida Marathon and I still can not quite run yet. It think that I am close though and that makes me feel better and I am confident that I will be running again very soon.

I still can't run but yesterday I had a great (great for me) ride on the bike and a nice hike in Palmer Park later that evening with Melissa and Roxy. During my ride I did not feel any discomfort in my leg at all but about 30 minutes into the hike I started feeling it. At this point I am suspecting what I thought all along. Yes I am experiencing pain, discomfort and stiffness in my left knee but I am fairly sure that it not in the knee itself. The knee does not hurt when I am sitting, or just doing normal walking or riding even. It is when I start to really crank it walking or hiking that I begin to feel the back of my knee tighten, followed by the outer side of my knee.

The original injury I believe now is in my hamstring and that is what is causing my issues. I say this because for the entire past week, from the beginning to now, I have always felt "something" in the back of my leg. Today it is constant... not pain per se, but for lack of a better way to describe it, I can feel a "knot" in the back of my leg a few inches above my left knee. That knot has been persistent and hamstring injuries can present themselves as knee pain.

A hamstring injury I can deal with, especially one such as this. Muscle heals quicker than tendons and the days where I have not had any pain or discomfort are encouraging to me as that may mean this "down time" will not be that long.

So... Damage control... I am going do Denver today to see a specialist about some inserts for my running shoes that may prevent further injuries in the future. Annie is going with me so we should have a fun time on the ride. Weather is supposed to move in tonight but hopefully it will not get bad until after we get home.

Did some research and talked to some people here in the Springs and found a good sports massage therapist and I have an appointment for that on Friday afternoon. This will hopefully promote the healing process by increasing the blood flow to the injury and by doing some other nifty little things.

I'm still hurt and I still can not run. Things are in the works to remedy this issue and hopefully prevent any further ones. On a good note I am confident still that this will pass quickly and training will resume before long. It is hard to stay optimistic at times as I do miss getting out and being able to run. I promised myself yesterday when I was riding that no matter what the conditions are, rain, wind, heat, etc, that once I am able to run I will not complain about any run and I will be just super grateful to be out there again.

Friday, March 19, 2010

What a Week!

No two ways about it, this has been a long week. I haven't ran since trying to run last Sunday, well excluding that little 50 yard jog in the park Wednesday evening. I've been really good but honestly it isn't like I've had a choice, my knee wouldn't have let me run even if I wanted to.

Riding the bike... Geesh... Ick... ARGH!!!!! Let's just say it is not my favorite activity. It is like watching paint dry to me. I don't get it either because really I ride the same places that I run for the most part and I see all of the same things. So why does my mind resist riding a bike so much? Maybe it is because deep down at the core I am a runner and not a cyclist. Sure I've ridden a lot in the past, both road bikes and mountain bikes but even back then when I took those rides seriously I still considered myself a runner more so than a rider.

I have to give credit where credit is due though, I did get three really good workouts in this week, over three hours total riding the bike. It didn't bother my knee and it did get me out of the house and riding enabled me to keep moving. I'll just look at it as a bitter pill to be swallowed, or like I told the boys years ago, "you don't necessarily have to like it, you just have to do it." Regardless of my feeling about riding, I can see now where it will be so important in the pursuit of my goal which is to finish Leadville this year. Not only is it important now as a training tool to allow me to work around my injury, it will also be important for me to incorporate it into my weekly regime once I am running again for cross training benefits on the days that I do not run.

So, like it, love it, hate it, whatever, I'm making the commitment to do the saddle time this year in order to achieve my goals.

Now a neat thing about riding this week is that I have been riding my road bike past a BMX track everyday. Those who knew me as a kid might remember my PASSION for BMX, my bikes, racing, and jumping anything I could. Well guess what? Apparently all of that has not been lost so I am putting it out there that once Leadville is done this year, Andy is gonna get a new BMX bike and start riding and maybe even racing again. 42 is probably the perfect age to start a racing career in BMX I bet.

Today's walk went well. My first walk this week where I have not felt any twinges, or pain in my knee or lower leg at all. This is a great sign. I am so glad this situation is moving in the direction that it is. I don't think it will be long and I will be running again.

Speaking of running again... no more stupid races on risky courses or any runs on risky routes in general. I can not afford to get hurt again. If I am running on anything sketchy, terrain wise I will be ultra careful.

I don't remember the last time I went this long without running but I am guessing it was last August. Things are getting better and I can see this week fading into my memories as my training commences again here in the not so distant future. This has been a week. Next week will be better.

Next week will be better.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I don't like RICE!

This does not refer to the steamed or fried variety from the local Chinese take-out joint. No, in this case RICE is an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Of course the only reason one would need to rest or elevate or compress and ice something is because of an injury and that is the case here. I'm banged up. Again.

My left knee which has practically zero history in the injury department now has me on the bench. It happened Saturday while running the Salida Marathon around mile 12. In a nasty muddy patch I slipped sorta, my left leg turning strangely and "ping!" I felt that twinge in my knee. It sucks to feel something like that 12 miles into a 26 mile race. You just know you are going to have a long day ahead of you then.

But it isn't just the knee. It seems like the past two to three weeks I've been dealing with one nasty thing or another... injury or illness... take your choice. First there was the deep fissure or crack in the skin on my left heel. Nothing to sinister but it required attention and a lot of Neosporin.

After that I banged up my right ankle (good ankle) two weeks ago. That one could have put me down but it didn't. I iced it and wrapped it and starting running on it immediately. It wasn't ideal but by the end of that week the ankle was doing okay.

Of course the ankle was fine but for a 20 and 10 mile run that following weekend I was deep in the symptoms of both a nasty allergy attack and dealing with a cold at the same time. The cold went away and the pollen count dropped last week and I started feeling better.

So bring on the Salida Marathon. You know... I should have known better. I should have thought this one through a little bit better. This is not a good course for me and with the conditions of the course this year, even more so. I can sum up the course this way... eight miles uphill followed by four miles downhill which was mostly mud. Another four miles uphill again in the same mud as before. A quick two mile downhill on mostly dry Chaffee County dirt road but then six miles of uphill/downhill in snow, ice, slush and mud. A good part of those six miles are part of a very rugged and steep descent heading back into town. The last two miles... some downhill, some flat, mostly clear and gentle terrain but hell, by then the damage is or was done.

Garmin has a neat tool where you can follow me on the course during my run here:


I crossed the finish line about 30 minutes slower than I would have liked with my knee killing me. Overall, energy-wise, I felt great, just the pain in my left leg. I still had a bit of gas in the tank it was just unfortunate that I had a cracked axle.

This was supposed to be a major training weekend for me. 26 miles on Saturday, 23 miles on Sunday. It just didn't happen. I iced my knee Saturday night and took care of it and when I woke up Sunday morning it felt fine, I could walk on it jut fine and I could even bound up and down the stairs without any issues "GREAT," I thought... I only got banged up a little bit and it is all systems go. I confidently packed everything I'd need for my run and took off.

Forget it. I made it about a mile before the pain and discomfort radiating through my knee made me just stop. Part II of my big training weekend was not going to happen. I walked back to the house feeling quite defeated. Angry at myself for even running that race the day before knowing full well the course was crappy with the snow and everything. Mad at myself for getting hurt and having to puss out on a training run. Overall just greatly disappointed in myself, my training, my running talent (or lack of). Also I was and am fearful over the training time that this injury is going to cost me and the impact this will have next month, and in May, and in June, and ultimately in August?

Called my coach... received orders to stay off of it... push the ibuprofen, ice, yada, yada... the standard routine. He did say he'd rather me lose a week than a month. All I can think the whole time we are talking is that I completely blew the weekend. The plan for 50 miles in two days is a wash out. Angst.

In reflection again, it has really been one freaking thing after another these past few weeks. I am not an injury prone person, nor am I typically accident prone. I failed to mention that on two occasions the past couple of weeks, I have also managed to take a couple of decent sized chunks out of my scalp too. That doesn't impact my running of course, but it is still a pain to deal with.

So here I am just a month and two days out from my next race. My first 50 miler of the year and I'm having to take it easy. I guess it is a good thing that I haven't registered yet.

I've been injured worse in the past I know and at worst, even then I'd lose a week and a week isn't that long. Originally I was hoping that I would be able to do a light run tomorrow but I just don't see that happening. I hate missing training runs. It has been months since I have missed one and I hate to start doing that now.

Damage control as my coach said... right now it is all about damage control. RICE, don't run, ibuprofen... don't run... don't run... That is the thing about running injuries that sucks the most... the cure is typically to completely refrain from the cause... running.