Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mt. Herman

Ended up running up and around Mount Herman last night. Not sure exactly why. Maybe it was because I was wanting to feel something old but somewhat familiar under my feet. It has been well over a decade since I have gone up there and ran. I used to run up there a lot when I lived up there and always enjoyed the less than crowded trails up in that area.

Maybe I decided to drive all the way up there yesterday because maybe I have just had enough of everything and I am just done. Walking into work yesterday afternoon the big screens in the lobby were blaring some news channel like always and the topic was the U.S. debt limit/crisis. I think that is what initially caused me to snap. I looked at the security guard and just said that maybe someday, the news will be predominantly good again. One can only wish.

Words and phases that I am utterly sick of... Oil prices, gas prices, house values, unemployment, debt limit, Iraq, Afghanistan, inflation, slow recovery... I am sure there are a few more than that but these seem to be the major ones that hit us every day in the news, and none of it is getting better. On a more micro sense, strike, rif, reorg, and my current favorite, "two days a week."

Maybe then it was just out of nostalgic reasons I traveled last night to run the old trails that I used to haunt. As I ascended the trail I marveled at the views while reflecting on just how different things are now compared to then, then being 1999. I miss 1999.

1999... pre 911... pre Bush-Cheney, pre ENRON and a whole lot of other messes. If there were ever a time in my adult life when the future looked so bright and full of possibilities it was then. The economy was chugging right along, we weren't at war, and you could still get a return on your investments be it in stocks, bonds or property.

Annie was five and just starting school then and it amazes me that she is going to be a senior this fall. That happened way too quickly. I can only imagine how bleak the world looks to kids her age now with the limited prospects out there waiting for them, regardless if they go to college or not.

Sure, I recognize that life wasn't perfect then but my god it did seem to be a more simple existence. I had way less weight on my shoulders or at least the weight didn't feel as heavy as it does now. Even so, then.. life was more equitable I think and everyone pulled their HALF instead of having to constantly be carried or supported or bailed out. It was easy to trust.

Maybe that is just the way that life goes. At some point we hit our apogee and that's that. I understand how the Peter Principle applies professionally but I never considered the fact that is applied just regular old life itself also.

And I will be honest... call it a mid life crisis or whatever but being 43 is no picnic. I don't fear losing my job so much because jobs are scarce and it would be hard to find another one. NO. I fear losing my job because jobs are scarce and it would be hard to find another one AND even more difficult since I am older. It is a hard feeling to describe but I feel myself becoming more insignificant and less relevant in and to the world as I keep getting older. That sucks.

So I ran the trails of my past remembering the better times and tried to enjoy the run the best I could. The scary thing about looking back and realizing that I was, is realizing the possibility that in ten years or so from now, looking back on this point of time as a time of prosperity and opportunity, that this time is in fact good. Mom always told me that life doesn't get any easier, so looking forward I just don't have the hope of things getting better anymore.

I miss 1999 and would go back in a sec... If for nothing else just to feel optimistic for a change.

On the bright-side though, I don't think that I ever ran faster up there than I did last night.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Playtime is Over

I've had a relaxing and very low mileage week post Silver Rush 50. After four continuous months of being in train, taper, race, recover, train, taper, race, recover... mode, I was ready for a break and do some other things.

I ran the Classic 10K on Saturday and that was fun in different kind of way. My time was 44:32 and I was 11th in my age group. I am so not a road runner but this was still fun to go that fast and be done in less than an hour.

Now for this week, it's back to work. I need to log some miles this week to bring my July total mileage up to something somewhat respectable. Then August is going to be a huge month for me 300+ miles for certain. I only have about eight and half weeks until the BEAR 100. So I need to get with it now and get the mileage and training volume up for the next five weeks at least.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Leadville Silver Rush 50

Some races go great, some go badly and then others turn out okay or just good. My run in the Leadville Silver Rush 50 counts as as just a good one... not great but good.

Neat points about this race and weekend. My parents were able to be there and I got to visit with my cousin John who was up in Pb training and I also got to visit with my friends Bob and Tobi. So the day before the race was a lot of fun getting to visit and socialize with everyone. Also, Saturday was when my parents found out that Melissa and I are engaged and have been since the first of July... we wanted to wait until they were out to tell them in person. It was hilarious seeing mom's reaction when she finally noticed the ring on Melissa's hand at dinner.

Synopsis of this race... it is all ran between 10K and 12k on the east side of 24 in the old mining district mostly on Jeep trails and very little single track. This course crests over 12k four times. Say what you might about other courses but I think this is probably the most beautiful course (similar to the Leadville Marathon) in the state. From certain vantage points on this course you can see nearly all of the Leadville 100 course from town, around Turquoise Lake all the way down range to Hope Pass. It is breathtaking (in more ways than one.)

I had high expectations for this race. I was shooting for sub 10 and I will just say now that did not happen. I came in at 10:17:37.

However, I did do great the first 35 miles or so. I had my splits computed and I was making them. Actually I felt great most of the day. I made it to the Stumptown turnaround a few minutes off but still way within range and then the next 12 miles back to Printer Boy Aid Station went well too. As a matter of fact I was right on time getting here. I left Printer Boy with 3 hours to do what I did in 2.5 hours earlier in the day, but that didn't happen.

The last big climb up and over 12K sort of did me in I guess. That and it got hot. It took me a full hour to do that climb with the last mile taking quite some time. The next stretch back to Leadville after that is very runnable but as I ran lower in elevation, while there was more air, it was also getting hotter and I was just done. I could not get my legs to turn over at all. I could literally feel myself slowing down as the minutes ticked by. I hit the ten hour mark with about 1.5 miles left and I just had to let it go and focus on finishing.

But that is what this ultra game is about. You never know what is going to happen, good or bad. I was having a great race yesterday until I wasn't. I don't think that I can classify this as a blow up though as things didn't get THAT bad. I just slowed down a whole lot.

As far as root cause for yesterday's (mediocre?) performance? Eh, I could point out a ton of reasons and circumstances since San Juan that may have contributed. Everything from work stress, to being sick, to just life in general. A lot of things happened in this last cycle between the two races. But that is life and you can't do anything about that.

And really... I had a good day, more things went right than not. My time is still an improvement of 56 minutes from two years ago. I can't bitch about that. I am still working on getting better and faster and stronger. It is all good.

I feel good today considering it is the day after. I had a good run, my parents had quite the show as they had never seen an Ultra event before. I got to run through some of the most gorgeous country in the world. I have no right to complain. LOL!

Next race is the Bear in Sept. Pacing my cousin John in five weeks in the LT100. Lots of great things on the horizon. I am excited and looking forward to going back to Leadville next month and running from Windfield back to the finish. THAT will be the best run of the year and it has nothing to do with me, that's the cool part. I can't wait.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Up Again

I'm back or so it seems and feeling so much better. Still no clue as what the root cause was this week but I am seriously starting to suspect total electrolyte depletion from the hot run on Wednesday. I only say that as I didn't start to really come around until I started on a cycle of Salt Stick Caps yesterday taking two caps every hour or two or so. That seemed to help a lot. Still a touch bloated this morning but nothing hurt.

Well, nothing hurt except my left knee which I just attribute to the pounding it took on Wednesday. Hurt is an overstatement though, let's just say I am aware that it is there but not overly concerned as I am sure after taking off tomorrow I will be fine by Sunday morning.

Ran five miles this afternoon but took it easy and slow. It wasn't an impressive run by any stretch but It let me know that I am going to be okay and that a day or two of rest now won't hurt me.

I have had a great day off. My bags and gear for the race are packed. I was able to have a nice phone chat with my cousin John and all around just enjoy a low stress day. Looking forward to the weekend now. I will be stopping at Pancho's on the way to the race... Gotta have my mondo-combo burrito! :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Cause as the Cure

Just did a three mile run. It hurt. Really now for the past week or so all that I can remember is pain associated with all of my runs. I haven't had a decent run since we got back from camping it seems like. Lots of pain, discomfort and tiredness.

I've been down the past few days, no doubt. We have had mandatory meetings at the office with executives who have flown in from god knows where. I have been working for the same manager now for three years and I could not pick him out of a line up if my freaking life depended on it. Why don't we start there... let me meet with a manager (leader) who actually might understand what is going on in my life work-wise and who might really get it? Anyway... a totally demoralizing and soul raping couple of days in the office this week.

So yesterday due to social obligations, other stuff and work I had to really hustle to get a run in. So I decided to run while I was at the office. Long story short, five miles through the Garden and fast at that. Oh yeah, it was hot as fuck too. Back to the office, quick shower, change then I sat in a hardback chair for 1.5 hours while receiving a sunshine enema.... I think that this was my downfall, the sitting for so long... everything,muscles, tendons, everything started to seize up.

And when I say everything I mean everything. Wrists, shoulders, BACK, legs, ankles, knees, hips, quads, EVERYTHING hurt. To put things into perspective, the last time I felt this badly was right after the Leadville 100 last year. All except for the torn up feet it was all the same, the pain, the inability to move, no comfortable position to lie down... Identical. Great Pain.

I slept fitfully last night. Up and down... could not lay on my right side as that old injury in my shoulder was screaming at me. Up and down and back to sleep again trying to find the right position.

This morning when I got up I felt 300% better. Don't get excited as everything still hurt but at least now I could walk. Things have slowly gotten better through the day due to copious amounts of water and ibuprofen and just sitting and working.

But then something happened today and made me think that maybe I am still carrying that bug from last week. I was sitting here working this afternoon and I completely sweated through my t-shirt. I mean like a heat flash I guess... What the hell caused THAT?

Thank god I am burning tomorrow as a vacation day... I need it.

Anyway... I have to do some work tonight. Stressful. I could not sit around the house anymore so I decided to gamble. I could walk easy enough. My left knee still hurts and my shoulders are KILLING me as are my wrists but everything else is relatively pain free now. So... I decided to risk it and see how I would do on a short three mile EASY run.

Well when I got back I actually felt a little better. My fingers are more flexible now and my wrists did not hurt nearly as much. Hips and knees still hurt a little, as well as my ankles I just realized but NOTHING compared to yesterday.

I can't wait till this race is over this week... Lot's of pressure around this one. My parents have flown out and the last time they came out to see me do a race was the 2003 Pikes Peak Marathon and that is and was probably the biggest blowup and failure in a race for me to date. ITB flare up on the down trip caused me to walk 90% of the way down. I came in just under eight hours... pathetic. I hope to give them a better show this weekend in Leadville on the 50.

But past that I think that I am suffering from the lower miles that I have been doing. The mode of race week, recovery week, training week, training week, taper, race week, has really worn me down the past few months. I haven't gotten any better it feels like. Anyway, I think that I need to get my mileage back up to around 70mpw or more to be more in my zone.

Maybe I am just getting too old for this shit.

Anyway, I still pulled three miles tonight... Going to rest and hope for a better next few days, a good race and so on.

As a side note, Melissa has started blog written from more of a crew/support perspective in regards to ultras' and I must say it is a crack up. Please visit (and follow) her blog here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Good Weekend

Had a good weekend this weekend. First of all had a blast keeping tabs on the Hardrock 100 race. I can't tell you the last time I watched a televised sporting event but wow... During Hardrock I was hitting the refresh button constantly on the Live Update page like a lab monkey hitting the lever to get another rock of crack.

Had a decent 3-2 run on the summit of the peak this weekend. Ran out of time so didn't get the "1" in. Still some good time spend at high altitude. Actually this is the first that I have been above 12.5K I bet all year and I was pleasantly surprised at how well I managed. Annie went up too and had a nice hike down 1.5 and back up. She is and has always been such a STRONG hiker.

Sunday I ran the Section 16, Palmer Loop in an hour and 16 seconds. I think that is a new PR for me on that stretch. I ran on Sunday afternoon after the storms had passed. One thing that I love about Colorado, or at least Colorado Springs trails in the summers... After a good rainstorm or just after, you are always almost guaranteed to have just about any trail to yourself as nobody else will be out. Love it!

Hoping to make this a short work week. I am still burning my carryover from last year and I want to take Friday off just to hang out. Saturday we will head up to Leadville for the Silver Rush 50 and I am really excited about that. My parents are flying into Denver on Thursday and are going to go up to Leadville this weekend for the race and that will be fun as they have never been to Leadville before.

Jury is still out on the Garmin. I had planned yesterday's run to fully check it out but the battery died n the way to the trail. My fault I need to charge it more I guess. I am so used to having the 205 just sit in the cradle and the 310 works differently so I need to charge it more. It did pretty good on Saturday up on the peak so I am optimistic now.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What Was THAT?

This has been a strange week and I haven't been feeling well for most of it. Of course all of this I was not able to piece together until today or so.

On Tuesday I ran five miles and suffered every inch of every mile. Hell, I even stopped a few times as I just could not go. I was feeling extreme soreness in my legs which didn't make any sense seeing that my long weekend runs were days behind me and otherwise I should have been feeling better but they just felt dead. Motivation for the run was hovering around zero as well. Tuesday night I slept fitfully and did not get much rest. Wednesday morning I did not want to get out of bed.

Somehow, looking back it is all a fog now, I was able to get through yesterday with work and all and take Asia to puppy school. I still was not feeling great but muddling through. Once we returned from class I started to feel cold and achy all over. The symptoms that had been stealthily creeping up on me for three days finally ambushed me full force with a fever, chills and aches all over.

Sixteen hours of sleep later and taking it easy and I feel much, much better. I have zero clue what it was but it cost me two days of running. One day of work, and really the quality of life this week sorta sucked as I was slowly becoming ill. Regardless it feels so much better to be on the other side.

Hardrock... yeah. I just looked at the weather forecast for Silverton and Telluride for this weekend and from the looks of it this race may just be a wet one. Next year... next year. I still feel good about my decision. I doubt if I could have gotten in but it is the HR100... not the HR50. I still stand by what I told another friend today and that is that you don't mess around with 100 miles. You better be in shape (and I really think that I am) but you gotta be 100 % sure you can do it, you have to have a crew that you can also rely on 100% and they have to know their stuff 100% too. In otherwords, you can't fake it. I know that, and to go down there with a half assed plan would just be inviting disaster for me. Regardless I am excited to see how all of the runners do this weekend and read the race reports from the weekend. I wish everyone a fun and safe race.

As for me... I have to get over this crud. I am still not 100% happy with my Garmin 310xt yet and need to test it out some more. I've talked to Garmin and they are willing to replace it and that is good. Hoping to spend some time this weekend at very high altitude and just taking it easy getting ready for the next race.

All I know is that after feeling cruddy for a few days it is so nice to be feeling better in comparison!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

June and Everything After

June is done... Miles for June, 250.59. Not too bad. July is already off to a great start after being able to spend a few days in the high country training and relaxing.

As of the time of this writing, I am #13 on the HR100 wait list and after great consideration I have decided to not go down to Silverton this week to wait and see if I can get in. After running up in the mountains and the conditions that I encountered the past several days I will just say that yes, I am disappointed that I did not get into Hardrock this year but I am glad that I am NOT running it this year due to the conditions. After seeing recent course photos I will just stay at home and keep my focus on the more important and immediate goals.

1. Sub ten in the Pb Silver Rush 50.
2. Pace LT100.
3. Run the Bear in Sept.
4. Take a step back and set myself up for a good year training for the big buckle
in Leadville for August 2012.

There are other goals mixed in there but those are the high points.

Much more to report from the past few days but for now I'll call this the June update and recap.