Saturday, March 31, 2012

March - 321 Miles

My cell phone was ringing and that is what woke me up from my blissful mid-afternoon siesta after the dreadfully painful pukefest of a 20 mile run that Brooks and I had today.  It was my health insurance carrier reminding me that as part of my coverage that I have access to a free health coach.  I wish I could get the CEO's telephone number and call HIM at two in the morning to inform him that my blood pressure is actually 97/62 and that he AND his health coach can both go screw themselves.

Seriously today was rough... I lost it three times coming down Barr Trail... my stomach was not happy at all today in the later part of our run.  Everything hurt the last few miles and when I say everything I mean my shoulders, arms, back, eyes, head, and not to mention that everything from my hips down just felt shattered.  WTF?  I did 30 last weekend no sweat and I BARELY got through today.  I am not sure how we do it but somehow Brooks and I have the uncanny ability to turn probably the simplest four miler into a long drawn out sufferfest.  At least we have company during it and usually a really good story afterwards.  All complaining aside today was fun and a great day to just be out.

I have had three 20 mile effort runs these past six days.  I won't get in a 30 miler this week but doing three 20's I am very happy with.  

Somehow managed to pull the March mileage out of my ass the past two weeks.   March will go down as a 321.18 mile month.  All things considered, such as my birthday, days off around the Salida race,  generally feeling blah, freaking allergies, the thing with my father, etc... 321 miles is an insanely solid number.  Last March the total was 304.This time last year the total for the year was 741 miles, this year, 828.  Nice.

Tomorrow I have to do some serious cleanup with a 12 miler to get my total of 90 miles for the week in.  I will keep it low and flat so that Melissa can ride her bike with me and we can spend the time together.  That will be fun.  Now to see what mischief we can get into this evening!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

3 A.M.

Oncall sucked last night/this morning.  Got paged at 3:00 a.m. and have been up ever since on the same outage.  The upside is that this issue is so convoluted and complex and in the end, not an OS or Server issue... so that is good for our team.  Luckily JT and I cancelled our Barr Trail run so I didn't miss anything this morning. 

I only got in 7.5 miles yesterday.  In light of everything this week, working yesterday, and being oncall I will take it.  Today I am going to sleep, swing by the office for a few then do a 20 miler this afternoon.  I have the time due to extra hours with the oncall.

It hasn't been the easiest of weeks.  I guess grief takes on different forms and we experience it in different ways.  I am angry about a lot of things, disappointed about other things and I feel a strong sense of loneliness, or to be more accurate being alone in dealing with this death.  I've seen plenty and I mean plenty of death in my life... maybe cause I am older it doesn't affect me as much or have such a strong impact.  Maybe I still feel some sense of relief that the old man is free of this world?  I don't know.

Yesterday I called the funeral home and have those arrangements in the works.  There is paperwork that needs to be done and due to the political/religious views of other  family members I alone am handling all of the administrative tasks and costs related to putting my father to rest.  I still have no plan to go to FL to the condo and am still in the process of figuring out how to best handle that. 

Personally I don't want to go there and root through all of his stuff and what would I do with any of it anyway?  I don't want or need anything.  Well, just for this mess to be over... that would be nice.

Reality is different these past two days... in one way life feels every bit the same as it did on Monday but I feel enveloped in this fog or cloud of emotional discomfort.  I can't or won't call it pain but I guess there is that.  I do feel like I have been kicked in the gut and am still in shock.  Maybe the best way to explain is that the loss is not really directly affecting me but it is a sensation that is accompanying every waking moment.  I can't say that I am numb but everything feels blunted.

There unfortunately is no manual for this sort of thing...  I guess there couldn't be... like people's lives, I reckon each death is just as unique.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Last Andy

JT blinked first this morning and bailed on the track workout.  At least he was big enough to not blame it on the dog today.  I got in a good ten miler this afternoon with lots of trail and climbing.  Of course the wind is just tearing ass out of the south again today but what else is new.

The needle on the weight scale in the bathroom is finally on the right (meaning the left) side of 145 for a change.  I think that I can really tell a difference too judging by my runs the past few days.  I read in my racing weight book that it is within tolerances to gain up to 8% of ones body weight in the off season.  I barely gained 4% I think after Rocky and I can't even imagine gaining 8% and trying to lose it.  Again, I am just happy that things are going in the right direction.

The leg held up today too.  I still intend to aggressively treat it with ice, NSAIDS and compression until it is 100% or at least 95%... I think that I just did something goofy to it last Wednesday.

Found out this morning that my father died last night.  We had an estranged relationship but be that as it may I am still in shock.  I just hope that when his death decided to touch him and told him that it was time that he was able to go with the honor of a true warrior.  I also pray that he now knows the peace and comfort that he never afforded for himself in this lifetime. This now means that of the three Andy's I am now the last one.

One of the old man's favorite songs...  Enjoy.


Yesterday went rather well even with the wind. There were a couple of times I had to actually throw my arms up to protect my head from flying debris, but I still managed to get in 20 miles and start the week the way that I wanted to.

The right shin held up okay but the two times that I stopped on my run it seemed to tighten up almost immediately. On a good note it was not too sore this morning.

I'd like to do the Peak again this weekend but actually start in Manitou, summit, then come down if anyone would like to join me.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

It's like catching a wave... or not...

Had an okay week this week. The tendon in my right leg is still iffy so the jury is still out on that one. Regardless it hung in there for all of yesterday's 30 mile run and didn't give me any issues past feeling a twinge here and there. It just tightens up and gets sore intermittently (just like it did in the 90's) and can be really aggravating.

I am thinking that 30's are the new 20's in mileage I mean. Two weeks with 30+ mile runs and each one has gone rather well all things considered. Actually yesterday's effort even with the elevation gain went a lot more smoothly than I was anticipating. One thing that I do like about 30 milers is that after running a few of them in series, 20 milers aren't that big of a deal!

90 mile week coming up. I hope to start off with an aforementioned 20 miler early Monday morning. I am not sure of the rest of the week but at least one 30 miler next weekend. This is the biggest week going into Desert Rats.

I am completely rethinking my taper process as I look at my success in last years LT100 with basically a four day taper after an 84 mile week prior compared to my standard taper going into Rocky Raccoon and the unholy ass kicking that I got there. There could be something valid there to consider.

Yesterday's run went really well like I said and since it went so well it gave me time to really think about my running the past two months and as much as I hate to constantly lament over it... well, it has all just sucked! Seriously. I haven't had one really good run in ages.

Of course I talked to Melissa about that last night on our way to the hot springs and we started working backwards.... I know the last 12-8 mile runs the weekend before Rocky were not fun at all and were a complete drag... the 20 miler the weekend before that was nothing exciting either. No... we talked and we came up with the theory that my last good run that felt good, that I had fun doing and just "worked" for me was the Fat Ass 50K on Jan 14th. Pretty much everything after that was circling the drain and after RR100 it has been nothing but digging myself out of of the septic tank... Until yesterday.

I explained it to Melissa last night that it is kind of like surfing; the way that I have been feeling the past few weeks. You know when you are out in the water and watching the swells come in and you are timing them and finally one comes by and you kick and paddle like hell to catch up to it and drop into that sweet spot on the wave and ride it in? But you also know how sometimes you kick and paddle and you travel with the wave but on the backside of the swell, on the wrong side of the breaker and no matter what you do you are stuck and you will NOT be catching that wave and riding it in... that is exactly how I have felt for the past several weeks... Just chasing it and not getting to experience that "click" of everything working and falling into the wave. Flailing, fighting, but not quite getting there. I felt a little better last Tuesday morning but that has been about it.

Yesterday was different though and I don't know why. Taking on a 20 miler is not such a big deal but 30 milers I do give some thought and consideration to. And the way I ran it I didn't even have the luxury of being through all of the tough stuff at mile 15 or the halfway point, no... I had another five miles to go and probably three thousand more feet of elevation to climb. But none of this affected me and as a whole I just felt on. Even in the last few miles I was able to run with some speed albeit downhill but when I am tired that could be a challenge even. Yesterday it just seemed that a lot of things finally came together that hadn't for a very long time.

Of course it may have just been the promise that I made to myself for drinks and nachos at The Loop in Manitou when it was all done that spurred me on but I don't think so. I think it was just that for the first time in awhile I felt strong on a run... not necessarily fast but strong and for now I will be happy with that!

Friday, March 23, 2012


It is Friday and I just feel crushed from the weight of the past week. Crushed. I have been super tired and with the high pollen and my allergies acting up for so long I am now starting to actually come down with a REAL ailment or two. Right now I suspect a mild ear and sinus infection. We need rain, and now.

This hasn't been the most intense allergy season for me but in terms of duration and days without any relief I think it is a new record. I've been sneezing and wheezing since the last week of February. Did I say that we need rain?

Ran with Brooks on Wednesday and we kicked out 12 miles. I did something in the first half of our run and tweaked what I think is my post-tib tendon. It doesn't hurt in my foot or ankle but a few inches above my ankle and and behind the shin bone on the inside. I am concerned because this has not bothered me in YEARS and to have it pop up like it did is rather disconcerting. Icing the hell out of it, keeping it elevated and compressed. We will see. Hopefully I can just work through it. This I don't need.

Short run this evening then a good 30 miler tomorrow, the weather is supposed to be awesome, I just hope the leg is cooperative.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Seven Weeks.... Again.

CC track this morning with JT. 5x1000m with 400m RBI. The CC track is getting to be a huge mess with goose shit on the north turn and then dirt and holes on the track from construction on the south turn. It was cold for the first day of spring with the wind coming straight out of the north.

The workout went fine... so was last night's run with Asia up on Section 16. I think that after Rocky Raccoon, I am FINALLY back to normal! Just under seven weeks which seem to be about right looking back at my recovery after the 2010 LT100.

It is hard to explain but running back across the bridge to the house this morning for the first time in ages I felt pretty good and like things were finally clicking again on all levels... physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual. Maybe I should have been expecting it given that I was not sore at all after the 5K on Saturday and surprisingly not too trashed after Sunday's long run to Cripple Creek. I will have a better idea by the end of the week but for now I will enjoy at least the feeling that I have finally bounced back.

I am enjoying the new NB Minimus MT00's more so than I ever enjoyed the Minimus MT10's. I was concerned about the 0mm drop in the beginning but it does not seem to be that much of an issue. The shoe is crazy light too... I weighed it at 3.6 oz. What I like best is that my feet feel more protected in these than in the previous model. Sure some rocks and stuff poke through but it just doesn't seem to happen as often as it did in the MT10's.

Also, I am giving the MT110's another go... I wore them on Sunday's run to Cripple Creek and they did great. My only complaint about that shoe right now and it does concern me a bit considering some of the races this summer is that my feet get really cold in them at times. Other than that they seem to be holding up okay. So I am not ready to throw them out just yet... 37.23 miles no blisters or any other problems... they have to be good for 50 miles then I'd guess.

From left to right, the original Minimus Trail MT10's, the latest MT110's (which replaced the MT101's) are in the center and new Minimus MT00's are on the right.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Tough 80

This should be called how NOT to put together an 80 mile week but really, in the sense of ultra-training it is right on almost.

Monday - Off
Tuesday - 10.5 miles
Wednesday - 10.5 miles
Thursday - 11 miles
Friday - 3.2 miles
Saturday - 4.29 miles (Including a 20:49 5K/3.1 miles)
Sunday - 37.23 miles

Grand total for the week, 81.80 and 172 miles so far for March.

When logging bigger weeks and months I prefer to be ahead of it instead of chasing it. That means I'd rather log my big weeks the first half of the month and also getting the bulk or at least a significant chunk of my weekly mileage done by Thursday. This has not been the case so far for March which is targeted to be a 300 mile month. Anyway...

My goals each week are 1. To get get a 30 miler in. 2. To get a 20 miler in on top of that, and 3. Another 20 miler in the mix if I can pull it off. Regardless once a week between now and August I will strive for at least one 30 miler. That was the reason for yesterday's long 30+ mile run... that and to get in my miles for the week.

And in reality, a singular 30 mile training run, for an ultra runner is much more valuable than 3x10 mile runs or 6x5 mile runs... I used to believe the 20 milers were a good chunk of the weekly running diet but now I truly believe that one 30+ miler a week is far superior.

As far as long training runs go, this one was not a lot of fun. From the time that I left the car in N. Cheyenne Canyon until I stepped into Ruby Tuesday's in Cripple Creek I was outside the entire time. It was slow starting out because of the loaded Nathan Vest full of gels, everything else that I might need and water. I also had two handhelds. I just suffer when having to carry so much weight and it wasn't until 16 miles into the run where the weight dropped enough that I could really start moving.

Overall a good long day on the feet but I don't think that I want to do this one again, even if the weather were better.

70 mile week this week then pop it up again even more for the next... I will be good and ready when the time comes for Desert Rats next month.

An easy five later with Asia... hopefully between now and then I can find my survival strap ID tag/bracelet... no fricken clue where it went off to. I hate it when I misplace stuff.

Elevation profile of yesterday's run, from the High/Low Gold Camp Road Parking Lot to Cripple Creek.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Yes, it is that bad... The main culprits are elm, juniper and poplar, but I suspect it is the elm and juniper that are tearing me up right now.

I can water my yard and stuff, I don't mind but THIS is why I really want it to rain or snow soon...

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Ambitious run this morning. My thought process was that since everything else has been feeling tough, might as well do something more challenging to put everything back into perspective.

Wore the NB MT110s' this morning giving them another chance. They did okay but damned did my feet get cold in them by the time I hit Bob's Road.

"This week he mopping floors next week it's the fries." - Gold Digger K. West

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

South of 140

Regrouping and getting it back together. I've committed to dropping the weight and though I would prefer to be around 7 pounds lighter I think that I might even have to go lighter than that just to make the maintenance a little easier and drop about ten to twelve. Great! Nothing but cardboard and water now...

Figured out my training plan between now and Desert Rats last night. March is going to be tough month now, hell this week is going to be a challenge. Today's 10.5 miles was slow and ugly... I hope to feel better by the weekend. To add insult to injury my Garmin misfired on the download so today's data was lost and I had to enter it in the training database manually.

Barr Trail in the morning but I plan to go further up than the W's and make it a longer workout. We'll see.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Skipped running the past two days. Mostly sore on Sunday yet and still a bit lingering yesterday. At this point in time a day off would probably be more productive than going out, flailing and hyperventilating amongst the trails of El Paso County. So I ditched yesterday.

Not too thrilled with Saturday's results. 1:58:53... so about three minutes slower than last year. 21st overall, 4th in male 40+ group... It is what it is. Couldn't have run it any harder than I did. This I think just completely illustrates the need to lose weight and even four extra pounds on my frame is a lot to deal with. They say that one pound equals about two seconds per mile so the math works out to be be almost right on the money between last year and this year. The diet started yesterday.

Registered for the 5K this Saturday and hope to go under 20 minutes on a course in Colorado and not just at sea-level. Also registered for Desert Rats 50 Mile race April 20th. That will be the next focus. Of course I hope to go faster in that race than last year but we will see.

As a positive side-note, my LT100 pacer roster is complete now. Hawaiian Shirt Ray will be pulling me along from Twin to Fish.

Non-running related... Spring has sprung. Looking at the forecast for the next several days with the high temps, no freezing temps and super low humidity, prompted me to hookup the sprinklers yesterday. Gas and electric bills go down... Water bill goes up... Can't win.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Papa Wooten and I Sept. 2001

Today is my birthday and I am turning 44. That is hard for me to read and even more difficult for me to willingly type out but it is true... If my grandfather, Papa Wooten/AKA Andy Sr. were still alive he would have turned 101 years old today as well. Not a day goes by that I don't think of him or miss him. He passed away on February 5th, 2005 and It amazes me that seven years have actually passed. It was always the neatest thing to have the same birthday and from when I was a kid all the way into adulthood it was just such a cool thing to share.

In my whole life I never felt safer, more loved or more accepted than when I would be with Papa. Some of the best days of my childhood were spent alone with him. One in particular day stands out, when I was three or four, Papa and I were on the swing on his front porch, and he taught me the song about the “Animal Fair.” It’s a song that I was happy to teach to my daughter when she was a toddler.

Papa set a very high standard as someone leading by example in my life. Papa was always well groomed, well dressed and well mannered. He kept his home clean (I know that he cleaned at least once a week because I got to help in that a lot myself), and if you went hungry at Papa’s it would be your own fault. Not only did he cook lots of food he was pretty darn good at it too. From Papa I learned how to make fried chicken gravy.

What I do not remember is Papa ever getting cross with me. Even though I am sure, there were many occasions I deserved it. I also do not remember Papa ever saying a bad word towards anyone even if he had just cause. From him I learned good temperament, but I admit I have yet to master it.

Papa was always extremely generous to everyone and especially anyone in need. I know that he helped many people in many different ways, being sly as he was; it was difficult to figure out what he was doing or when he was doing it, but you could see at times he was doing “something.” From Papa I learned always offer to help, or just step in and do it if you can.

I remember that every time I went to Papa’s house, I never knocked on the door or rang a doorbell; I could always just walk right in. Whenever he realized I was there he always yelled "Heyyyyyy!" and would give me a hug. From him I learned how to love and not to be afraid to show someone how much.

I would not be where I am today without Papa’s guidance and support. Though it has been nearly 25 years since I left home, his words and final advice given one Sunday morning at breakfast still ring true for me. On the verge of leaving home and going into the Air Force, I was naturally scared. Mostly I was just worried about how life would turn out in general. I am sure I had asked Papa what he thought I should do and or could do with or about my future. The words he told me I refer to daily. Papa simply told me “always do your best, if you do that, things will always be ok.” There were many life discussions between us at the table in Minden, WV just about every Sunday morning in my late teens and I was blessed to have had Papa not only for great advice but sometimes just to listen without judgment. From Papa I learned that sometimes all you really need to do for someone is just be there and really listen.

I probably would not have finished college if it were not for Papa as well. He was not 100% happy about me going into the service but I promised him that I would go to school either during or after my enlistment and get my degree. That promise was very important to me to keep and I did.

All I have are good memories of Papa, and it is very difficult to accept the loss of someone whom meant so much to you. All I can say is that Papa was probably the "best person" that I have really ever known and the other person in this entire world that is even in same league as him actually has the same exact initials that he does... and that would be Annie.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What is it? Exactly?

When Brandon and I were climbing the Peak on Sunday I found this item lying amongst the rocks. At first my mind wanted to make it a light-sabre but I knew that even I could never be so lucky. No, it is a rocket of some sort or maybe even a flare, spent from the many New Years fireworks shows from the summit of Pikes Peak.

Here is the first view of the object with the tail-fins retracted. Of course there is not a nose cone on it anymore.

Here is another view with the fins deployed and how I found it laying on the rocks. Seriously my mind wanted to believe it was a light-sabre!

And here is the business end, the rocket engine and nozzles viewed from behind the fins as they are deployed.

So if anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I overslept this morning to tune of about 30 minutes. I startled awake just a few minutes before five and had to be at the COG Depot at 5:20 to meet JT. Somehow I made it...

I sprung out of bed, got changed, cleaned up and was out the door pretty much right at five. Managed to pull in and park at the Iron Springs Chateau just a few seconds before JT showed up.

Had an okay run up Barr Trail. Actually it was exactly like Thursdays run almost to the second. Considering how tired and sore my quads are today I am feeling pretty damned good about that. Beautiful sunrise as we were running down the trail. Next week it will be dark as we will be back on Daylight Savings Time.

Ordered a new pair of MT101's this morning for the race in Salida this weekend. I am not ready to commit to run a race, even a half marathon in the MT110s' yet. The MT101's just feel a bit more solid on my feet and I feel faster in them. And hey, the MT101's were 50 bucks... so to get a pair of shoes that I will wear and ultimately trash for 50 bucks is a hell of a deal. It really all just comes down to confidence and without beating that dead horse anymore, we all know that right now I need all of the confidence that I can get.

I am throwing Desert Rats 50 mile back on the schedule. I just need to have it approved by my boss and arrange a house/dog sitter for the time we are gone. We plan to spend a day in Glenwood before going to Fruita and making a long weekend/vacation out of it. Sort of excited about that. Beautiful country, great course... I plan to PR on this one for certain.

Had to take Asia to the vet last week as her jaw/cheek was horribly swollen. Looked like she had a big wad of Red Man that she was chewing on... Not good. Turned out to be an abscess of some sort. She has been on major antibiotics for a week now and I am very happy to report that 90% of the swelling is now gone. As a side note that little shit ran her heart out last night with me. I will run her later today.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

*All photos by Brandon Stapanowich*

That pretty much describes everything that was in my pack today for my Pikes Peak summit bid with Brandon Stapanowich. First part of March, going above treeline, anything could happen right? I guess my pack was 20 pounds at least maybe 30. Regardless it was nice to know that I had the insurance with me in case I may have needed it at some point. As Brandon and I were almost back to our vehicles in Manitou I was commenting on just how great the day was and the best part was that 90% of the crap in my pack... I did not need!

Originally this weekend I had intended to do a 20 mile time trial run which is SOP the week before the Salida races. Fortunately I knocked it out on Wednesday leaving my weekend pretty much free to do other things. Brandon had posted earlier in the week that he was going to attempt his monthly Pikes Peak trip this weekend and I figured why not? I told him that I was tentatively in earlier in the week but more or less was all in by Thursday afternoon when the forecast for Sunday looked exceptionally favorable for the trip.

I told Brandon that I was going to start early and I figured he would just catch up with me. Melissa and I were out late last night and I didn't get much sleep (3+ hours before the alarm went off at 5... ugh... time to get going. I was up and out of the house and starting up Ruxton by the COG Depot just a smidge before 6:00 a.m. It was actually sort of warm and nice. Oddly enough there was 1/10th of the incline traffic and folks doing Barr Trail this morning than are usually encountered on Weekday mornings. This I did not mind as the only person (singular) that I met on his way down was all the way up by where the bail trail hits Barr Trail. Really most of the morning was like that with the majority of the trail all to my own. SWEET!

It was a great morning... not cold and yet I was not overheating either. I just settled in with a steady hiking pace and plodded ahead without even stopping at Barr Camp. I was concerned about the trail conditions further up but really it was not that bad at all. Some deeper spots and soft spots where the snow was more of a crystallized sugar-snow but all in all no problems to speak of.

About a quarter of a mile past the Bottomless Pit sign Brandon caught up with me. Perfect timing! We made our way to A-Frame and there we began the plotting and scheming of best routes to the summit. All in all I would say that we did a great job with my only complaint being the grade or overall steepness of some sections as we avoided the deeper snow and patches of solid ice. We had a very efficient line straight up from the A-Frame almost all the way to the 1 mile to go sign at 13,300 feet in elevation. From here we followed the trail a piece before we started scrambling again on a dead reckoned route the 16 Golden Stairs Sign which we kept losing track of here and there as we climbed.

We did okay coming up just feet away from the sign and we then negotiated part of the Golden Stairs then it was time for another strategy. Taking the far south ridge would have just been too exposed to the wind and staying on the classic route (the trail itself) was too snowy and icy so we were left with the only other option to scramble upwards to the summit itself. And it was scrambling in the truest sense... we were holding onto rocks for leverage, balance and even pulling ourselves up at times. One of those not so fun situations that really is a lot of fun as long as you don't get hurt.

We were almost at the top and discussing the safety aspects of being up on a mountain like Pikes Peak, more or less in the middle of winter alone. I told Brandon that for the most part I believed that the Peak was a safe mountain even in winter but by yourself still not smart.... all it would take is one slip, one badly twisted ankle and you would be screwed.

The universe agreed! I had just taken a step over a rotting piece of timber and my foot got caught underneath of it as I slid backyards falling flat on my ass. That was scary. Like a turtle or any blonde on her back... I was screwed. I was able to assess for the most part I was fine but since I was angled downward and sort of pinned between two rocks, or more like my pack was, I was not going anywhere. Stuck!

Brandon asked if I were okay and I told him yes I thought so but I was going to need a hand eventually. He then asked if I minded if he took a picture and I told him to knock himself out... just let me grab this rock so that I don't slide down any further though... I have to admit the inverted perspective of Rampart Range, Manitou Springs and the horizon itself was pretty freaking neat. Since I wasn't hurt or in danger, I started to get a good laugh out of it all. Brandon gave me hand as I sat up and recollected myself and we finished the last 100 yards to the summit.

On the summit we took pictures and hung out a bit. Actually it was NICE up there. For starters, no people... secondly, it wasn't that cold. We conferred about the route down and I for one was in favor of a different route down (not the trail and not the road) and Brandon agreed. So like a couple of old time hobo's we started down the tracks ever aware and on the lookout for the railroad man.

Best Decision EVER! On the south slope we were completely out of the wind. Windy Point? Not so much! We even ran into a small band of sheep on our descent which was really cool and worth the climb. I find it amazing that they can live that high all year around. Amazing.

What we originally thought was snow blowing off a ridge below us turned out to be the COG snow plow clearing the tracks. So... we tried to go around and not be too obvious of our intent to get back on the tracks. This alternate route led us to a great snowfield where I was able to do a sitting glissade most of the way down. Weeeeeee! The self arrest got a little interesting but it all worked out and we made our way back to the tracks and were on our way. Again.

Train! CRAP! "What do we do?" I asked Brandon... He said to just wave and smile as we were off the tracks. A train of tourists were on their way up the mountain as we were on our way down. We were stone cold busted out in the open above treeline... what to do? So I took Brandon's advice and watched as the train tilted towards us as everyone came to OUR SIDE of the train to take our pictures! Crazy! It was almost uncomfortable and I expected them to start throwing food at us at any moment to lure us in closer for better pictures... The train started back up the tracks and we began to go the other way ourselves. We ended up ducking said train again right above Mountain View but this time were ready and were well off of the tracks and in the timber.

We made the trek across to Barr Trail with Brandon going ahead to Barr Camp to let them know that we were back down the mountain. The run down Barr Trail was fun. I was tired but it felt good to still be running after such a long day and of course by now I was scheming on ditching my pack and coming back for it some other day as I was sick of it.

We kept running and once a bit below No Name Creek, it was a carnival. And when I say carnival in this sense... I don't mean it in the good way... I mean carnival as in the state fair "mommy can I have a quarter to ride the redneck" kind of way... my god the trail was crowded.

Finally we hit the trail head parking lot. I was done... I looked at Brandon and just said, "No mas Amigo... No mas." He laughed and said yeah lets walk on down from here. It was just such an awesome day.

We go to the vehicles and and I took my pack off and handed it to Brandon, you should have seen the surprise on his face when felt the weight of it. "I am surprised that you could have run at all with that," he said... I was still happy because there was so much in the pack that we didn't have to use and sometimes... that's a good thing.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Welcome Back

No doubt the past two weeks have been a bear, however slowly (appropriate for me) and surely things have swung back around. Last week I had a 20 miler on Saturday and finished the week with 56 miles. Not too bad for a first full week effort trying to get back into the swing of things.

Yesterday the last day of February I did my usual pre-Salida 20 mile time trial run. This run gives me a good idea of where I am each year at this time. I ran it three days earlier on Wednesday instead of on Saturday but I just could not waste the good weather and overall favorable conditions yesterday. There was also the added bonus that I truly felt up to it. I came up just three seconds slower than last year and with stop lights, and seeing that I had to run the last 3 miles in the dark which always slows me down a bit, I am very satisfied.

The other reason for throwing the 20 in yesterday was to bump my February mileage up to 200 for the month which I did and February will go down in the books as 202 miles and that was with the two full weeks off.

Barr Trail this morning with Brownie and he was flying... me not so much. I just held a comfortable sustained pace the whole way up until the turn around. It felt good and I just wanted to enjoy the run up the trail more than anything. It is crazy how many people are there at the trailhead or on the incline at just after 5:00 a.m. Crazy.

So I am back or so it seems and am ready to move on. I feel ready for Salida but I am not putting a lot of pressure on myself or any expectations. This one will have to figure itself out as I am running it. All things considered I think it will go just fine.

I'll cancel my appt with the glue factory today.

Happy March 1st everybody!