Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ready Or Not

305.24 miles for January. A grand total of 712.04 running miles between November 28th and today preparing for the Rocky Raccoon 100. If I am not ready by now then I will never be. Ready or not... here I go.


I tried today to explain to my boss exactly what my mental state is today. I explained to him that to best describe it, imagine an expecting mother who knows that she is going to deliver a 10lb baby this weekend and an episiotomy, epidural, or c-section is not an option but at least 20 hours of hard labor is guaranteed... yeah that's about how I feel right now. The week before a race is tough.

My boss did ask me to get something done this morning that was hi-vis and I was able to take care of it rather quickly so maybe I am not so useless after all. Just don't expect much out of me tomorrow and definitely nothing on Thursday!

Mostly the past few days I have been feeling tired. Very, very tired. I want to sleep all the time. I am tired and shit hurts. My left foot and ankle feel achy and my right Achilles tendon feels out of whack as well. Just more taper fun. Today I will run 2 miles again but it will be my LAST run before Rocky. Crazy. I will end January with about 304 miles which isn't too shabby. I know when I run though the aches and pains disappear so I am not overly concerned.

The mental part has been a struggle these past few days and I really don't now why. It is funny how just a few weeks ago when I was in the heaviest parts of my training volume just how strong my confidence was. Now? Not so much but I think it is coming back. I had a pleasant optimistic thought about the race this morning so that is promising. I just need to have about two million more of those between now and Saturday morning. These ups and downs are all part of the process. Once I start running on Saturday and I can totally focus on that, none of the doubts or concerns or any of that will matter anymore. I will just be running.

Something fun that I found on GZ's page. The Fishy song is hilarious!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

What's Done Is Done

I just finished my last real training week before the Rocky Raccoon 100. To be more accurate this was my last taper week with any significant mileage in it. The next few days I will just run a little bit here and there to stay warmed up and to keep from going stale but nothing more than a couple miles at a shot.

I made the decision in late November around Thanksgiving to really back off. I made this decision because I knew that the push to get to this point right now would take a lot. Also I had not had a decent break in a while anyway, so the week of November 14 was pretty much a 30 mile week with the week of November 21 being a nine mile week. The nine mile week was tough but I am glad that I forced myself to lay off those days.

But after that little break the work started with a vengeance. The biggest challenge I knew that I would face would just be trying to remain consistent in my training and this I was able to accomplish despite a lot of things trying to get into the way which I won't get into again now. But be that as it may, here are the weeks and totals leading up to the present which I am very proud of.

Nov 28 - 70.51 miles
Dec 05 - 85.23 miles
Dec 19 - 80.17 miles
Dec 26 - 90.35 miles
Jan 02 - 106.16 miles
Jan 09 - 81.07 miles
Jan 16 - 65.99 miles
Jan 23 - 46.80 miles

From November 28th until today that is a grand total of 706.83 miles.

Just a quick note on shoes. The La Sportiva Crosslites are still my overall shoe of choice at this time and probably what I will start with at Rocky. The Ionv-8 Roclite 285's... I like them enough but they pretty much suck on any hard surfaces. Another area where the Crosslites are superior, I KNOW that I can run a marathon on pavement with them but the Inov-8's, no way. On any trail they are a really solid shoe but mix any road or pavement in and they are not fun to wear. I will end up just wearing the Inov-8's here and there until I wear them out.

The New Balance MT110's... wow. These shoes make the MT101's look and feel like the retarded and ugly half sister that they are... Seriously, after the first run in the 110's I was ready to throw away and burn the couple of pairs of 101's that I still had around. Great for trails, hell, even great for track! I don't know yet for how long of a run I would trust them for but I will say that I plan to race in them at Salida for certain.

Time to pack and take it easy now.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Made in China? This I don't get!

For the past few weeks I have been lifting again for lots of reasons one of them being to give me something to do as I am running less. Regardless, I am not lifting in an effort to bulk up again or anything like that. No, I like my somewhat faster (okay, faster for me at least) trimmed out weight.

Speaking of weights though... The other night I was staring at the plates on my bench press bar and I noticed for once, a sticker that says "Made in China."

Now I have seen this sticker before I know but it never affected me like it did the other night. More than likely all of my plates, standard and Olympic size were made in China. WTF? Now that just does make sense to me.

For starters these are not a hi-tech item. No, far from it. But giving it some thought the whole process seems ridiculous. Let me explain.

One would assume that for these plates to be even near cost effective they would have to be able to be sold in the US for more than the cost of making them, right? Okay, here we go... The materials, ore, etc, more than likely was mined in China. That was trucked to a plant more than likely where it was put into a smelter and became iron blanks, I am guessing. Then those blanks were probably shipped to another plant where the actual weight disks were forged to their specific sizes and weights.

I am going to over simplify this step but from that plant then the plates were transferred to a ship and brought to the united states. Tons and tons of just dead weight! The ship docks on the west coast presumably then the weights are unloaded, shipped via train or truck or both to Colorado Springs some how to a store where I buy them and drive them home in my car. For decent plates I think if you shop wisely you can get them for a bout a buck a pound, so a 50 pound plate or one 50 pound dumbbell will cost you around a $50, pretty much. So in order for a store to make a profit, their wholesale cost would be way less, right? Right?

So then how can it even be COST effective? That is what confuses me to no end. Not to mention don't we have the materials and plants and methods of shipping in the U.S. do do this more cheaply?

And it is not even about the costs of the weights that I am really griping about here but the overall waste of resources to manufacture them and get them here. This is but one silly example but maybe something to look at when you wonder where things come from and how they get here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Things That You Will Never Hear Me Say

1. Hey, after we run Barr Trail, let's get fondue while we are in Manitou.
2. I already have too many pairs of running shoes.
3. I made it through the whole race without puking!
4. 5:00 a.m. IS the best time of day to run.
5. I love the wind!
6. I do really well running in heat.
7. I don't know about that route Brooks, maybe we should do something different?
8. I can't wait to run the Ascent again someday.
9. I want to do an Ironman now.
10. Mountain Dew IS really bad for you.
11. I want a donut.
12. I want a McRib.
13. I just ordered a new pair of compression shorts.
14. I think that I will need my trekking poles for this one.
15. I just bought a new treadmill!
16. I just did 10 miles on a treadmill!
17. I just registered for Badwater.
18. I can't wait to run Boston.
19. I'm going to go on the Paleo Diet. (Or vegan or some other such nonsense.)
20. I am just a recreational runner.
21. Those Hoka's look really cool!
22. X distance is easier than Y distance. (All distances are challenging.)
23. I love dogs off-leash on trails that jump all over me.
24. Jenn Shelton is not pretty.
25. BTR was the best book ever!
26. Tapering is a lot of fun and I enjoy it!
27. I spend way too much money on running and racing.
28. I am taking a year off.
29. Leadville is boring.
30. I just got into Hardrock!!! (Probably not just due to the odds not being in my favor.)
30. I will never run again. (Okay I might say it, I will never mean it and it will never happen.)

Everyone have a great day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

NB MT 110's!

First run in the New Balance MT110's tonight. All that I can say is holy crap, they were worth the wait. New Balance knocked it the F out of the park with these.

The MT101's were one thing. The Trail Minimus something else... these are just perfect.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I sitll haven't figured out hundreds really

Yesterday was my last long run before Rocky Raccoon. At this point, every thing that I could have done has been done. I trained deliberately, diligently and damned near perfectly. I can't think of anything that I would have done differently. I've battled the weather, the dark, the cold, a real cold that I caught on 12/21, pissed off shins from tele-skiing, everything... Nothing stopped me.

Yet with all of the training success I know damned well the task at hand will be tough, no doubt. I don't care if the course is at sea level, or relatively flat or whatever. It is still 100 miles and you can't bullshit your way through 100 miles. Well, at least most people can't. A marathon, yes... a 50 miler, sure... but 100, not likely.

Even with all of my preparation I know I have a solid 50-60 miles in me but what happens after that fourth lap when things begin to get ugly and unravel? How about that final fifth lap? But then what happens when the exhaustion, the nausea and ugly blisters come up with a vengeance? The moments when everything just hurts and it is just you and the pain?

After I ran my first LT100 I swore never again would I run that distance. I recognized that I am good trail runner, I am decent marathoner and even a halfway decent 50 miler but 100 miles... that just ain't nothing to fuck with or take lightly. Ever. Of course I ran the LT100 a year later and did great but still it takes its toll.

I'm not overly freaked out or psyched out, rather I think that I am in the process of developing a healthy, cautious respect for the course and the distance in which I am getting ready to run in less than two weeks... hell two weeks from now regardless of the outcome it will be over.

Of all of my concerns of things that I can control right now is my concern about not doing anything stupid the first 20 miles. I need to run that first 20 miles in a very conservative rate and refuse to get sucked into any racing. That is going to take a great amount of discipline and patience on my part regardless of how fresh or fast or great I am feeling, I need to step on the brakes. That is my strategy.

Watched Incendies last night. It was a great movie, loved the music, I recommend it.

Friday, January 20, 2012


It is the Friday of my first taper week. Two more training days to go yet with a 20 miler on Saturday and then some other miles on Sunday for fun. Starting to feel as if I am really bouncing back and all of the chronic aches and pains of the past few weeks are starting to subside. It is very refreshing to run on fresh legs that don't feel like lead at the onset of each run.

It is reading season again... regular action I think they call it so Melissa is ass deep in student application files and will be doing that damned near 24x7 for the next few weeks. She has really mastered her process when it comes to reading applications the past year or so and just kicks butt at it now. I am so proud of her because it took a lot of work to figure out how to rip through them as quickly and thoroughly as she does now. Anyway... all of this is good but it is like being a single parent again as I am an application "widower" now! It could be worse I know, it could be fall travel season.

One of my side projects is now a step closer to being realized today. I can't or really won't discuss too much about it now but it has been in the works now pretty much since August. I figure a few more weeks and the cat will be out of the proverbial bag. It is exciting, that is all that I can say for now. A hint, it involves death, destruction, floods, tornadoes, and disaster on the whole...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fat Ass 50 and Fine Tuning

Ran the local Fat Ass 50K this past weekend and had a great time doing it. The weather was simply outstanding for mid January and for the most part the course was nice and clear. There were some spots with bad ice but nothing that was not to be expected. Thanks to all of the local CRUD guys and Brownie for creating such a great course.

The 30 mile-plus course took me 7:03 to finish and I did the full course. All in all I was not too banged up afterwards and really my biggest complaint was that my ankles were sore from having to work double time running down Longs Ranch Road and stabilizing me in the snow. I tried to run the course at or about the same level of effort that I plan to run the Rocky Raccoon 100 in less than three weeks. Slow... Start off slow and hold back then just slow down less than anyone else over time.

I registered for my fourth San Juan Solstice yesterday morning. My fourth! Holy shit! That in and of itself made me feel old. A decade or so a go running that race was merely a dream... now I am doing my fourth one... Crazy. I booked a sweet cabin this morning for Melissa and I for that weekend too. The race aside, I think that we always have fun on this trip and we look forward to it.

But after registering for SJS, I decided yesterday morning that I will NOT register or run the Desert Rats 50 Miler in April more than likely. After Rocky I plan on focusing hard on Salida and recovering and then after Salida I plan to focus on the SJS 50 like a laser... I know deep down that I have yet to have my best day there and I intend on doing that this year. I want that freaking cannibal hat!

The reason I am taking the Desert Rats race out of the equation is that I don't want to get caught up in the 50 miler, race, recover, run, taper, race... cycle that I was doing last spring and summer for four months. I could possibly go out to Fruita and run the 25 miler though... I won't exactly say no to that completely, at least not quite yet.

Of course after SJS, Leadville in August then the new race in Arizona in late Sept.

81.07 mile week last week. Sixty mile week this week. All of the work that I could have done for this race is done... now to just not fuck it up and do something stupid the next three weeks... It will be so nice to have time for other things besides training. I have some reading to catch up on as well as some other side projects that need attention. Life is good!

Fat Ass 50K Elevation Profile

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One More Day

It has been a really weird, stress-filled, chaotic week. Not bad, just a lot going on. Broken window fixed on Monday, oncall Monday night, swim meet Tuesday night, didn't get out to run until late last night, multiple meetings today, went to the office 2x this week... just stuff... nothing bad just stuff.

This is my last big week of running. It will be an 80 mile week. Last night's run, every step was cold and uncomfortable. Today was a little better, at least the sun was shining. Had to push through the first six but then the trip home was better. Much better. I can always tell a run is going well when I start to daydream and have delusions of grandeur... In this case looking past Rocky Raccoon and planning my strategies for the Salida 13.1 in March.

Melissa called it though as she was seeing the strain on me this week. She told me early on Wednesday to just make it one more day... make it through Thursday and I will be okay. I've held onto those words the past 36 hours like a life preserver. I needed it. I went from just about never wanting to run again this afternoon to having a good run in the end.... followed by a fun run with Melissa and Asia and then going out sushi... just as always in the end it all turned out well!

Friday will be an easy run. Saturday the Fat Ass 50K which will probably be the longest effort between now and going to Texas. The trail is supposed to be fairly clear so I think it will be fine. I ran down Longs Ranch Road last weekend so I already know what to expect there.

Sunday, register for the San Juan Solstice and interview a few potential house/dog sitter candidates during the afternoon. We just can't kennel the dogs anymore... to much guilt. Really. Even though I know they are fine and well taken care of I want them home and looked after. Here when I leave and here when I get back.

New shoes arrive tomorrow. Inov-8 Roclite 285's to test drive and a new pair of La Sportiva Crosslites to replace the ones that I have pretty much trashed since last month. The new pair I will break in on Saturday and then put them aside until Rocky. The great thing about Crosslites for me is that I can take a new pair and race in them without any break-in issues... one of the reasons I love that shoe and I hope that it is not discontinued... that's why I am trying the Inov-8's, as a backup option.

Still waiting on the New Balance MT110's. CRC doesn't have them yet and aren't sure when they will arrive.

I probably get more excited about running shoes than I should.

Can't wait to see how the Women's Olympic Marathon Trials go this weekend. Go Jenn!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Playing With the Numbers

Now that I am somewhat in "taper mode" I have time to sit and play with numbers and come up with a pacing plan for Rocky Raccoon. Basically I have five time goals to beat. First of all come in under 24 hours, and then there are times in the 20 and 22 hour range that I would like to beat. Ultimately though the two main goals are to come in under 20 hours AND my actual goal time is under that at 18:45.

18:45... wow.

First of all, why under 20 hours? Why is that significant??? Well, Coach Weber told me a long time ago that to have a chance to come in under sub 25 at Leadville and get that big buckle a runner needs to be (or should be) in 100 mile shape in February and be able to come in under 20 hours at Rocky Raccoon. If you look at the ratios listed on RealEndurance.Com it states the ratio is about 1.23 for the RR100 time to the LT100 times. So 20 hours in RR100 comes out to be about 24:36 in Leadville.

So, long story short, that is why I need to hit under 20 hours in this race. It is basically just a follow up to last summer's races which were just efforts in trying to run faster and in the end to see if I am fast enough to even have the bandwidth to come in under 25 and get the big buckle in August 2012. For the most part everything last year indicated it is doable and I really don't expect the trend to decline. Yes I came in at Leadville last year at 27:59:11 but that was a conscious decision made around mile 65... last year was not going to be the year and that I needed to stick to the plan. So, here we are, weeks before my first 100 mile run of the year.

And things are looking pretty good, awesome in fact. An 80 mile week never looked or sounded as good as it does this week. I can't even imagine 60 miles next week and god help poor Melissa who will be having to deal with me that 40 mile week and the week prior to Rocky as I climb the walls and gnaw on my own flesh as I get antsy to go... Years ago I was pretty happy about being able to run a Marathon in March and being able to train up for that during the winter. I NEVER thought training for a 100 in the winter here in Colorado could ever be possible but I have done it for the most part. Yes... now the excitement is building.

To pull off 18:45, I have calculated the following splits.

20 Miles 3:22
40 Miles 6:45
60 Miles 10:07
80 Miles 14:03
100 Miles 18:45

That means the first sixty miles I have to average a 10:07 per mile pace and it slows down after that obviously. It is going to be a challenge to hold back the first 20 miles I know but I am going to have to do it. I guess my strategy is to go out slow but in the end just slow down less than everyone else. Sort of borrowing from Hal Higdon's philosophy, "The fastest sprinters are not always the fastest out of the blocks, but rather those who slow down the least in the later stages of the race."

Had a good track workout with J.T. this morning... I'll do another trail run this afternoon and I am looking forward to that as the weather is supposed to be great.

I'll take Asia on that one and it will be even more fun!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Maybe This Explains It

Taken from Again to Carthage by John L. Parker: A conversation between two characters in the book, page 179.

"They say there are basically only two different kinds of sports: Ball and chase," said Roland.

"Right. And the ball sports are the most ridiculous."

"Why would that be?"

"We figured that out too. In order for any ball sport to work, all the participants-and spectators too for that matter-have to jointly agree for the duration of the contest that some silly inflated goat bladder is the most important object in the universe."

"Ah, a willing suspension of disbelief."

"Precisely. A game is a physical form of fiction. The instant the game is over, this magical object is suddenly just a goat bladder again. Chase on the other hand, is a much more elemental concept."

"In what way?" Roland was pulling up to the green-striped awning in front of Petite Marmite.

"Everyone understands the idea of escaping from something that wants to eat you..."

Personally I've never understood team sports... Sure I understand how basketball and football and baseball are played but I have just never "gotten it." I never enjoyed playing and I sure as hell have never enjoyed watching so much.

Maybe it is just because of the way my personality is that I have never grasped it. My somewhat antisocial tendencies that have always made me feel apart from everything when it comes to team sports, playing or watching.

What confounds me even more is how people associate so passionately with their favorite teams. When people say "We won!" I just wonder WTF are they talking about... we? In the case of NFL, I mean some people act like they are owners and coaches the way they talk about "their" players... "We won!" No, you didn't... a group of guys probably more than half your age that you will never probably meet on a field miles and miles away... yeah, they won... you sat on your ass on your couch.

I mean Jesus... the recent bowl games... I swear... One team defeats another team in a 70 to 33 final score. If you read the blog and Facebook updates you'd believe this was the beginning of the rise of a whole new republic... Maybe, if illiteracy, poor dental hygiene, obesity and mass unemployment are the benchmarks of of a new society, but thank God it isn't. It was a game of "ball," that's all.

I've contemplated this well for over a week and this is what I have concluded... if the only thing that you have to gauge the relevance of your life or your place in society is the success or failure of, and I have to say this, total strangers on a field that you will never know, a reevaluation of things just might be in order.

I prefer to focus on not being eaten personally...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Help Wanted!

Just consider this a shameless plea in an attempt to score some great pacers or just one great pacer for that matter for the 2012 Leadville Trail 100. It seems even now that most everyone is spoken for and or running it themselves so trying to secure a pacer is about as tricky as getting a date for the prom...

Anyway... My thoughts on pacers are as follows; If I can get one to go with me from Winfield all the way back to Leadville, the entire 50 miles that would be great. Or if one person would be willing, I could pick them up at Twin Lakes on the inbound and THEN they could go the rest of the 40 miles in with me.

Otherwise I'd be happy with a solid team of 2-3 pacers taking on various parts of the course.

So... if anyone reads this and wants to volunteer that would be great or if anyone reads this and has an idea of someone right the job that would be great as well. Just let me know. I am planning a serious attempt at sub 25 so a solid pacer setup is damned near mandatory.

Of course Melissa will be crewing for me and she will also be more than glad to crew a pacer or pacers as well with any of their needs, shuttling gear and what not.

On to other subjects, this week week was my peak training week for Rocky Raccoon. 106.16 miles for the week. The fascinating part of it all is that I am feeling rather well all things considered and not overly beat up. I have to be honest, the weather the past week contributed a lot to my success and getting the miles in . I really got lucky.

Really, this entire training cycle for this race which I officially started the week of Nov 28 has had more good going for it than not. There was the week of 19 December which had the worst weather so far but I stuck it through that week and managed to get my planned miles in. Most of the fall I managed to average anywhere from 50-70 mile training weeks so my base was already there when I started hitting it hard the last week of November. Here are the weeks of training and the associated miles:

Nov 28 - 70.51 miles
Dec 05 - 85.23 miles
Dec 19 - 80.17
Dec 26 - 90.35
Jan 02 - 106.16 miles

All things considered I am very, very happy with the past five training weeks. Very happy.

I am ready to start tapering... 80 this coming week, then 60, then 40, then maybe ten the week before the race.

Onto shoes... I am excited about the MT110's maybe coming in to CRC this week. I have a preorder on file with them. I checked out the Inov-8 F-lite 230's which have a similar upper but a less sturdy than the Rocklite 285's and I think based on that I might like the 285's to replace the Crosslites. Seems there are some issues within La Sportiva that is bungling their shoe shipments. Personally I tend to believe, even though I have been told otherwise that the Crosslites are being replaced by the Crosslite V 2.0.... just a hunch.

Then I am excited about the new NB Minimus coming out next month...

I am so looking forward to this 80 mile week and the 30 mile or so FA run this coming Saturday. It is going to be a great week.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A New September Ultra

Hmm... Arizona in late September... HAS to be better than frickin' Utah and driving across I-80... This one just might go on the schedule. Thanks to my friend Jeff Jones for letting me know about it.

Mogollon Monster 100

Since there is a 'Squatch on the logo it really is a must do for me!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year

My last run of 2011... 20 miles. First run of 2012... 37.5 miles. Crazy.

Totals for 2011 come out like this, 376 miles for the month of December and a grand total of 3053 miles for the year. Originally I was thinking of 2500 as a goal.

I think that 3000 is a good number to shoot for, well, at least for me. I'd be concerned about injuries going that much higher.

We are just weeks away from Rocky Raccoon. This week will be my peak week of training as I am shooting for 100+ miles. Next week will be 80 miles again, then I really get to start backing off in my taper. Can't wait.

Ran the 37.5 mile run yesterday.... from my house to Dakota Hot Springs, door to door. Things got a little rough for me around mile 30 but was able to gut it out. Ran a good chunk of the last third A LOT faster than originally planned and or agreed to but it was good to push it. This run to Penrose was a lot more fun than the first one I did as It was nice having Amy and Brooks along for the fun as well. Again, Melissa has perfect timing meeting me in Penrose and she brought me the best Subway sandwich ever to eat in the car once I was done... oh yeah and a Snickers bar. I bet the sandwich and bar were gone in less than five minutes... definitely no more than six.

Adjusting to the New Year still but over all the holidays were a blast. Skiing with Melissa and my buddy Erich was a lot of fun on Christmas Day and then Melissa and I went to Monarch on New Years Day. It is fun skiing again but I have to be honest, it is a lot like starting over as I was away from it from so long. I'm not a total 'tard on the slopes but I am a lot more conservative than I used to be, that is for certain.

Big week, lots of miles to run but thankfully the weather is supposed to really cooperate. That will be great! Maybe get to run in a few less layers this week, that will be nice.

Have a great week everyone!