Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Happy New Years everyone! 
Cold.  Referring to the noun and not the adjective, as in I have a cold right now.  I've been having some weird symptoms for a week now, sore throat, light ear ache, some congestion and drainage and I thought that I had gotten over it but after yesterday's run it seemed to hit with a vengeance.  I am disapointed as I was going to start piecing together some higher mileage weeks starting this week.   That will have to wait.  Some allergy attacks, colds, and URI's  I can generally push through if I am careful but I am not going to take any chances with this one so for the next few days I will definitely be doing little to nothing and just taking it easy.

But running has been going well.  I haven't been trying to hit any training goals but I do attempt to get close to and hour and half in each day on interesting terrain or trails and while I am not being 100% strict about it, there is still a token focus on MAF and just taking it easy.  Yesterday was the warmest day we have had in Aspen for a bit, I think it got up to 31 degrees Fahrenheit and the first day I was able to run without a jacket or two on as outer layers.  I wore three long sleeved shirts layered and that was plenty enough for yesterday.

For most of the stuff I have been running, Micro Spikes are mandatory.  I don't notice them so much now but at the beginning I could really feel the weight of them on my feet.  I usually leave the house with them in a small pouch which I carry in my hand until I hit the trail and just slip them on real quick.  Pitkin County, or the city of Aspen, I am not sure who exactly does it but they do clear half of one side of the Rio Grand trail which stretches from Aspen all the way to Basalt.  They leave the other half snow covered for cross country skiers or folks snow shoeing.  But the trails here and around Aspen are just as awesome for running in the winter as they are the summer, even if you have to have the extra traction.

2013 reflections.... Probably my best year ever I have to say.  2001 miles of running, 2024 miles of biking.  That comes out to 384 hours of running and 218 hours of cycling and this is with at least one day a week off each week. I finished Leadman, big buckled in the LT100 Run. I pulled off a 50 mile PR in November though it wasn't as strong as I would have liked it was still a PR and I have managed to pretty much stay uninjured and healthy throughout the year. Those are the highlights, I could throw in more, but for now that is enough.  I am leaving 2013 on a good note and without any remorse or "coulda, shoulda, woulda's" lingering back there in the debris of the year.

2014 is completely up in the air.  Part of me has the faint desire to do Leadman again and though it is not part of the plan it is on the board as a last resort if I do not get into the LT100 MTB Lottery. (However a 2015 run at it is quite possible.) I have to also pull of a qualifying 100 in 2014 to stay in the Hardrock Lottery and deciding which one to do has caused me a bit of angst but I am pretty confident to say that I have settled on the Run Rabbit Run race in Steamboat, September 13th. 

I chose that race for a few reasons.  It was either it or the Bighorn 100 in June.  Run Rabbit Run won out because to be honest, I don't want to go into 2014 knowing everything else that will be happening in my life, (the layoff, selling the house, moving, etc.) while also training for and staring down a 100 miler in June.  Also, from Aspen, Steamboat is about 3 hours while the drive to Bighorn is around nine.  I am not a fan of post August big races and that is and was still a factor but the driving aspect swayed me in the end.   Also, the terrain here in Aspen really lends itself to the race in Steamboat in regards to the nature of climbs etc.  Anyway, I plan to register on Jan 4th when it opens up.

So for now, the schedule looks like this.

March 15 America's Uphill

April 19 Desert Rats Marathon

May 2 18 Hours of Fruita MTB 

July 12 Silver Rush 50 MTB - If I get into the 100 MTB

August 9 Leadville Trail 100 MTB - If I get in. 

September 12th Run Rabbit Run 100

There might be some others thrown into the mix like another couple of MTB races in May and the Golden Leaf Half Marathon in late September, but for now those are the ones that I am looking at. 

Melissa and I are going to the Wheeler Opera House tonight for a New Years celebration.  Between now and then I just plan to rest and medicate myself as much as possible. I'll be primed for the party after all of the Nyquil I consume today.   I am looking forward to the fireworks over Aspen Mountain tonight.

Happy New Years Everyone! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Grand Slam of Ultrasitting On My Ass is done.

I ran yesterday.  My first run in 19 days but really I have only ran one other time in the past 24 days.  It has been a nice break.  I think.  Two miles... average HR was super low in the 120's.  Super easy effort.  Tonight's run will be about the same just longer.

I am still not overly motivated to run right now as I am not really invested in it anymore past just doing it for fun and to keep from becoming just another fat-ass American.  No racing plans for 2014 as of yet.  Really.

I feel like I am wedged between a rock and hard place though.  Since I didn't make the cut in the HR100 lottery and since my 2013 LT100 finish will not count anymore for the HR100 lottery, I need to do some qualifying 100 this year if I want to stay in the lottery.  If I don't and take the year off from 100's then I will be starting over again with only one ticket in the HR lottery in two years instead of having a potential 32 tickets. One of my friends got in this year with 64 tickets.  I don't want it to take that long especially if I have to start over, so I feel the need to stay in the game somehow.  I really would like to do Hardrock while still in my 40's and at this rate playing the lottery every year I would have 128 tickets when I am 49.

My only solution to this dilemma is to run the Bighorn 100 next June.  I am thinking of that one because it is in June and after that I can just focus on the bike and the LT100 MTB for the rest of the summer.  Downsides... I have to train for a 100 through the winter months and right now even with six months to go I can't say that I am ready to buckle down and train for a race that my my head and heart aren't exactly enthusiastic about.  Also if I do Bighorn, I won't get to go to Lake City for the San Juan Solstice as it is the same weekend.  This will make the second year of missing the SJS50 then.

The second option is the Run Rabbit Run in September in Steamboat.  I've paced on that course I know what it is about and I also know it is no joke.  And it is in September which means still sorta training and having to stay focused when everyone is traditionally done with the season.  Also I want to bowhunt elk next September and after missing this past season I don't want to sit out another one.  A September Ultra would guarantee no hunting pretty much. 

The Bear is not even on the table as an option.

Whatever I decide it will have to be soon.  Rego for the Bighorn 100 opens on January 5th and I imagine there are others like me who are going to have to hustle to stay in the HR100 lottery game and will be trying to get in as well.  It will fill quickly if I had to guess.

So... that kinda covers my running scene right now.

In other news, I am in Aspen until January 2nd and so glad that I am here and get to stay for such a long duration.  So at least I am in a cool place to get the running thing going again.   The streets here are all completely covered with ice and snow and if I have to guess they will stay that way until late spring which is fine with me.  We are supposed to get another storm later in the week which I am really excited about.  I have been getting my back country skis and everything in order and hope to get out on them some more this weekend.

Melissa bought me some used Black Diamond Cult 167 back country skis which are the old school, non-waxless, kind of skis meaning they don't have scaling on the bottom surface in the kick zone.  I picked up some kicker waxes the other night at Ute Mountaineering and will have to reeducate myself on which wax to use during which temps and conditions to be able to kick and glide without losing grip.  They are fatter skis too so they should have some awesome float if I need it.

I still haven't made it to the top of Aspen Mountain yet on my skis and I hope I can do that this weekend.  I am going to have to get up super early to do that as I think it will take me between three and four hours to get up there and I have to be up at the summit by 9:00 AM per Aspen Mountain Uphill rules.

Now this... this is going to be awesome!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Weekend: Summit for Life Race

Getting close to the summit.  I had another racer use my camera and snap the photo.  I only took my gloves off to get my camera out, I didn't go up without them on.
I have run a grand total of five races this fall/early winter since Leadville.  This fifth one though was the one that I was looking forward to the most.  I really don't know why, but it just sounded like a lot of fun when I learned about it in September on my first trip to Aspen.

The start at the base of Little Nell. The gondola station would be to the left of the frame.
The Summit for Life is a race put on by the Chris Klug Foundation.  It's a forty dollar entry fee plus a $100 minimum donation collection.  There are two waves to the race.  The recreational division that takes off at 17:00 from the base of Aspen Mountain next to the gondola, and the competitive division which takes off at 18:00 from the same place.  The race is 2.5 miles in distance, and 3200 vertical feet gain.  You can ski up, snowshoe up, run up, hike up, take your pick.  There was a pretty even mix I think between the groups.  Seems the skiers went up faster maybe.  Waiting at the summit at the Sun Deck Lounge were lots of good food, drinks and post race awards and a very festive party. 

My first priority for this entire event was my fundraising efforts and I can't thank all of my friends and family who made donations enough.  Thank you.  My goal was to raise $1000 which I thought was lofty and in the end I raised $1300, even more awesome.  As far as the race goes?  Eh... I wasn't prepared to race it and didn't plan to race it.  Really.

Well, that isn't entirely true.  The weather and whatnot really influenced my decision.  Teens and snow at the base and snowing, and colder at the summit (I think it was two degrees Fahrenheit when I got up there) made me decide to dress for comfort rather than speed.

Vasque leather hiking boots, micro-spikes, ski pants, gore-tex gaiters, two shirts, insulation layer and my heavy jacket.  I had to be wearing 20 lbs in clothes I bet.  Others, more experienced to this kind of thing were dressed a lot lighter and when I do it again I will probably take that approach too but again conditions will ultimately dictate that.

The race... decided it was going to be a slow and steady hike and try to keep my HR down and not blow up.  And start slow I did...  I swear I was the last person over the top of Little Nell climb or at least it felt that way.  I just figured no big deal, just keep taking steps and get a rhythm going.   I did pick this race to try something totally different than I have ever done before and that was that I used poles on the ascent.  Except for my arms getting really tired at times I think they really made a difference especially after I learned to use the loops as opposed to the handle for pushing down on the poles.  Plus, going up in that snow, besides some added propulsion from my arms and not just my legs, the poles were extremely beneficial in maintaining stability on the way up.  So poles might be something I look into in the future for racing but only in places where they might come in handy and actually be warranted.

I only had my Garmin set to display altitude as I knew that was the real measuring stick of progress on this mountain.  The first 1000 feet gain just sucked pretty much mostly because it was just a shock to my system to be climbing like that.  I wasn't totally efficient yet, and really had no idea where I was going.  But after that first 1K of gain I started feeling better.  I also started passing a lot of people.  It seemed like a lot of people who went out too fast were slowing once they got into Spar Gulch.  Spar Gulch is steep and when it isn't steep it's damned near vertical.  Vertical enough that I was actually kicking steps it seemed a few times.

After passing 1600 in gain I was feeling better just knowing I was halfway there.  We passed the second and last aid station at 2000 in gain and after that is when it really started to get cold.  I had to zip my jacket up, put my face mask on to protect skin and close the vents in my jacket.  Fortunately it wasn't too windy as that would have made it worse but it was definitely cold.  It also seemed much more dark the last 1000 feet to the summit also.  Not sure why but it was.

I finished in 1:48.  I was hoping for something more like 1:30 but for my first time I am okay with it and really I just wanted to have fun and enjoy the trip up.  I would definitely do it again next year.  Also I get to do the same race again pretty much in March when I do the Americas Uphill on March 15.  Video of the Americas Uphill course which is the same as the Summit for life course.

Side note.... I wore my HRM but did not keep an eye on it all and only tried to maintain my level of effort by feel.  When all was said and done and Melissa and I were going down the gondola back to town I told her I bet my average HR was maybe 152.  I was surprised to find out when I downloaded everything that it was only 147 so I did a good job on keeping it damned near in the MAF zone the entire time just by feel.

Past that... a tough, quick, turnaround weekend.  It was my first time up in Aspen since Nov 13 and seemed like forever.  The drive up Friday night was not fun.  Today's drive back was only slightly better but I damned near bought it when a jack ass cut me off on Vail Pass.  I got lucky.  Damned lucky.   So back in the springs for another five days and then to Aspen again on Friday but this time I get to stay for three weeks.  Melissa and I have not spent more than week together at a time since July so it will be nice. 

Coming into the finish.  The 100 yards or so of flat terrain was a nice break.   Melissa rode the gondola up and waited at the top and took this photo as I was finishing.
I am still on my running break.  The "lottery results" of this past weekend have left me feeling even more unfocused, disenchanted, and less motivated than ever before.  The earliest I might run will be Thursday but I doubt I will. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Not Doing A Damned Thing

I walked Asia today.  That's been about it.  I was going to take advantage of the weather and go for a ride but I decided against it.  While I was walking Asia I started to design the ride thinking about how far/long I should go, what kinds of terrain, what my heart rate should be, if I should just ride at MAF and so on.  I decided that since I was being a dumbass about it and looking at it and trying to formulate it into some kind of a training ride I would just not ride.  When I realized that, I decided I really didn't need to ride as it sort of goes against the whole rest and recovery mode that I am trying to stay in for at least a month.  No running... but more importantly nothing structured and definitely NO TRAINING!

I will share something interesting though for those driven by data and maybe someone can answer this one for me.  This chart was taken from the 5K that I ran on Thanksgiving Day in Maryland.  You can see my heart rate went way up there.  If you see the yellow line on the chart, everything above that is 180 BPM and over.  Now here is my question.  I am 45 years old.  According to the 220 formula for max heart rate, I should top out at 175 beats per minute.  Well, my average heart rate for this race was 176.  AVERAGE! So how in the hell is it my heart rate could go that high and I didn't exactly die?
Everything above the yellow line is 180 BPM +.  How did I do that?
But resting is weird.  Nice but weird.  It is hard to believe it was just a year ago tomorrow that Lucho and I started working towards Leadman.  And even after August it really didn't stop as I still had the JFK on the table.  I know I like to race but I also know that deep down I really get into the process of training maybe for no other reason as it lends some purpose to my life.  But I also know right now that I am waaay burned out and need the break more than anything else.  I need to learn to do other things and or just do the things I love just for the simple act of enjoyment if for no other reason.  I also think I need to remaster the art of just sitting still.  Well, at least until the next lofty goal or set of goals comes down the pike but until then, chill.

I am still doing the Summit for Life next weekend and my goals for that are modest.  Just get to the top of the mountain.  It's a hike and it will be fun.  Actually I have been looking forward to this event more than just about anything else this fall.  Start up Aspen Mountain at 6:00 P.M.  get the top where there is dinner and a party waiting at the Sundeck and then ride the gondola back down.  It will be fun.

That being said I am still taking donations for this race.  My goal is to raise $1000 and as of right now I am at $850.  Please think about supporting this event put on by the Chris Klug Foundation which works to raise awareness for tissue and organ donation.  You can make a donation by going to my personal racing page here. Thank you!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Great Petrucci - Wooten Turkey Trot Throwdown

David, Mom, Myself and Melissa
On Sunday, the day after the JFK 50, if I had to do a 5K I would have probably done 90 minutes.  On Monday I felt a little better and may have pulled 60.  Tuesday I felt like I could do 30 minutes if really pushed.  Come Wednesday though I felt 95% less sore and was definitely feeling better as that was the day I began talking smack to my stepdad David.

David married my mom in 1997 and he wasn't the most active person.  He started playing tennis and doing other things with mom and after a few years he finally began running which before he claimed to always hate.  Now he does pretty good often placing or winning in AG in distances of a half marathon or under.  For today's race he wanted to get a new 5K PR which would require him to beat his time from last year which was 22:59.

My family did something different this year for the holiday.  We actually had our Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday night so that everyone who needed to be here could be here.  Actually it worked out quite well except for when David and I were starting on our second plates of food I told him that the race the next morning would not have anything to do with speed, fitness or leg turnover speed... it would depend on who could digest their food the fastest.  To keep things fair we even both had two slices of pumpkin pie for dessert.

Anyway, I had no idea how this morning would turn out.  I really wanted to help David to get a PR anyway I could as I knew that me getting one was really out of the question just days after a 50 mile run.  Really I just wanted to keep up with him and urge him on if possible.  Or maybe just get slightly in front and pull him with me.  But really I didn't know if I could keep up but that did not deter me from still talking shit.

The Frederick Way Station Turkey Trot is sort of a part of our family Thanksgiving tradition really anymore so everyone ran it including Mom and Melissa.  After we all were downtown David and I started running a bit to warm up.  I didn't feel bad but I didn't feel great either.  I still had some lingering aches and pains which really made me doubt if I could keep up with him or not.  After running some more and doing some speedier pick ups I did start to feel better and things warmed up.  After about 20 minutes of this we went to the start line with a minute or two before the race start.

Once the gun went off David was GONE!  Now I really did not know if I could keep up or not.  I caught up with him though and felt good enough.  I decided to take a different tactic and keep going.  Hopefully pull him with me but I sensed after a while (though I didn't look back) that I had opened quite the gap.  I figured I could still help him by not slowing down and hopefully he was back there trying catch up, chasing me.

As for me the first mile went great, the second mile still good but there is a half mile incline in there that can take it out of you.  Between miles two and two and half another little climb. I was losing speed on the climb but my heart rate was staying the same so I knew my level of effort was still consistent.

About a half a mile from the finish the same guy that placed 2nd in our AG two years ago when I came in third passed me.  I just let him go as I knew I was pretty maxed out and considering everything else I really didn't care as I was running WAY better than I had ever expected.

I crossed the finish line in 21:13 (fourth in my AG) and once I was done bending over determining if I were going to puke or not I stood up and started looking for David.

He wasn't that far behind really.  22:57 was his time and he beat last years time by two seconds.  Mission accomplished. A new PR for David.  He also came in second in his age group.  Mom came in first in her AG so at least two of the four of us brought hardware home.

This race is probably my favorite 5K of all time.  Every year it grows more and more and I think this year they had over 4,000 people running it.  If it were a touch warmer today without the wind, times might have been faster but who knows.

This was the one planned deviation from my running break.  I just couldn't miss this run no matter how long it took me to finish it.  I thought earlier in the week I would have to run with mom and again just hoped to keep up.

Next up is the Summit For Life on December 7th which won't be a run but a hard hike up Aspen mountain.  I am still taking donations and I am 75% to my goal of raising $1000 for the Chris Klug Foundation which raises awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation. Please consider making a donation and help me to reach my goal of raising $1000 for this great cause. I have 9 days left to reach my goal. You can make a donation by clicking HERE. Thank you!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

JFK 50 - It's Done!

Yesterday's JFK 50 didn't go exactly as I planned or had hoped.  But it was at least consistent with the rest of my running this fall which means it was ultimately inconsistent.  In a nutshell I had a great run until mile 30.  About mile 34 through mile 38 I hit that often encountered low spot which happens in most ultra's.  I just could not pull myself out of it so I did the best I could until things finally turned about mile 45.  I finished in 9:52:58 which isn't what I wanted but still a new 50 mile PR.

The course... the first 2.5 miles are on hard road going east from Boonsboro, Md to the top of South Mountain where it hooks up with the Appalachian trail.  That 13.5 mile section of the A-Trail is really one of my favorite running trails and I always try to run at least once when I come out to Maryland to visit.  The trail is not technical but it definitely tricky with many rocks jutting out of the trail and many roots which require constant attention to footing.  Getting to the towpath by the Potomac River is a relief allowing the mind and eyes a break.  I felt really good through this section and was enjoying the trail as always.

Next is the C&O Canal towpath.  25 miles of it!  Nothing hard here except it is a grind and after awhile the river and trees are no longer visually stimulating.  At all.  I hung in here okay for maybe ten miles then it just got old.  At mile 34 I thought I was at 37 and realizing that mistake sort of let the air of my ambitions.  By mile 38 I was really in the hurt locker.  Not wanting to drop but definitely not wanting it to go on anymore and surely just wanting it all to be over.  At this point I was no longer invested in the outcome and only wanted to finish.

Finally at mile 42 the course leaves the C&O Canal towpath and joins the hardtop road with a pretty serious and abrupt climb.  The last seven miles are typical rolling Maryland farmland two lane roads.  Before I rallied towards the end I was walking the ups and running the flats and downs.   Around mile 45 things turned around and I had a really nice run to the finish.

We really got lucky during the race as the winds which were in the forecast never really materialized until about the last mile and even then we were not running into it for that long.

I finished feeling okay and I was met at the finish line by my parents and of of my best friends Hugh and his wife Angie. Our other friend Bruce was busy working at one of the aid stations that day.   After the race we went to dinner and had a really great time.

The race... I was AMAZED!  Over 1000 runners were in it which is pretty big for an ultra, right?  I have to say that I have never seen a race managed as well as this one, EVER!  There were at least ten very well stocked aid stations along the course.   Course volunteers just looking out for runners on the A-Trail as well as on the C&O Towpath.  Every major road crossing has either local, county or State law enforcement directing traffic and looking out for the runners.  They even went as far as supplying reflective vests (which we had to give back) at mile 42 to all runners who went through there after 15:00.  That's foresight!

I think that every race director out there could learn a lot about how this race is managed from an ultra standpoint.  It was an eye opening experience.

The JFK is America's oldest ultra and this was the 51st running.  I don't know if I will ever run it again but I highly recommended that it should be experienced at least once.  I met a guy who is friends with my family this weekend and was going for his 37th finish this year.  37th!  Now that's something.

Now I am taking a long and overdue break with nothing structured or planned until I figure out the next year which might not be until the end of February.    It was a real challenge this fall having the JFK 50 still on the radar after Leadman but I am still glad that I did it.  But yeah.... now it is time for a break. I can't wait to do some ( a lot) of back country skiing in Aspen in December and more time on the bike when I can fit it in.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Weekend

It was good.  Watched a lot of movies.  Caught up with a lot of friends.  Ran on Saturday, rode on Sunday.  Slept A LOT!

The End

Beaufort.... about the last days in occupied Lebanon at Castle Beaufort.  Great movie.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Nguyen Wooten

Uncle Ho!
Reclaiming an old nickname from decades past as Sherpa (Where did the post go?) is so over used now.  If you want to use it you will have lawsuits from me and about 90% of the Vietnamese population raining down on your head.

And no, I won't divulge the original source or cause of the nickname so don't ask.

JT said it and I agree.  All of this ultrarunning drama has made it an interesting post-season.  Personally I have always believed that ultrarunners can be quite the snarky bunch when given a chance.  The attitudes typically flare it seems during tapers right before a big race but this stuff this fall with Leadville, Hardrock, et al, is just something else entirely.

I will say that personally I am becoming less enchanted with ultrarunning (and ultrarunners) with each day it seems.  Even though the ultraruning sport is not mainstream it is really starting to feel like whitewater kayaking started to in the late 90's when every schmoe from the front range would buy the latest play boat and just suck up time in the holes and not really ever learn the art of going downriver.  It was cool until it was cool then it wasn't cool anymore.  Yup... I see the parallels.

Aspen mountain is opening early this weekend and Aspen is going to get nailed with a storm starting later today.  Of course I am super jealous because I am stuck here in the Springs where the forecast is pretty much windy with a 100% chance of dull and brown.  Melissa will be skiing and I will be doing my own version of the slalom, dodging the homeless in Monument Valley Park on my runs this weekend.

Bitching about other things now... South Park has really sucked this season.  Bad.  It's almost like Matt and Trey have thrown in the towel but this past Wednesday night's episode was really good.  I hope they have a second part this coming week.

Kiki floated the idea of Silver King to me the other day.  Depending how things pan out, or not, I will more than likely do the Silver Rush 50 MTB this summer.  Might just make it a double.  We'll see.

In other good news... I am going to spend the last three weeks of the year in Aspen and won't be in the springs.  Now that is something to look forward to! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

8th Annual Aspen Summit for Life - December 6 - 7, 2013

I will be racing in the 8th Annual Aspen Summit for Life on December 7th.  It is a nighttime, uphill race, gaining 3,267 feet in elevation in just 2.5 miles... all uphill and all in the snow.  All in the dark.  This race benefits tissue and organ donation.

Please consider sponsoring me in this race and no donation is too small.  You can go directly to my official race page here to donate.  Thank you!

Monday, November 11, 2013

That Boy Ain't Right (Still)

If you are going to bail on a run, this is as good of a place as any!  The infamous Woody Creek Tavern.
Thursday's tempo run was awesome.  Saturday's run went exceptionally well too.   Sunday the wheels came off again about halfway into my long run.  WTF?

On Sunday things started off rough and just never got any better.  I gave myself a generous two miles to warm up and take it easy then kicked it up a notch after that.  The "after that" felt just as challenging as the warmup.  Even more strange was that my handhelds which I usually never notice felt like they weighed 20 pounds apiece.  Stopped after an hour or so, had some MAP a gel and drank some and started running again but quickly decided to call it a day after that.  Came home and took a two  hour nap which isn't like me at all.

To add injury to insult... something tweaked in my left foot on Saturday during my run.  It didn't really hurt running on Sunday but if I am walking around barefooted it really smarts in the ball of my foot behind my big toe.

All of this is REALLY making miss the training and riding on the bike.  Seriously... screw any other long running races for awhile... let me get into the LT100 MTB next year and give my body a respite from all of the pounding for a season and just train for that.  At least that is where my head is at right now.

But even with the running sucking we still had an awesome weekend.  The fund raiser on Friday night was a blast and our room at the St. Regis was truly something to experience.  Saturday night we went out and Melissa and I played a really tough couple of games of dominoes.  She won but it wasn't a complete shutout.

Last night we saw Thor.  Well Melissa saw Thor.  I ate popcorn, drank a large coke and had some candy bars.  I will say that the evil elves cracked me up as they all looked like Teletubbies to me.

So a day off today.  Maybe a day off tomorrow.  I need to let this foot thing figure itself out.  Already planning on a long, maybe month long break from running once this JFK thing is over with.  I can't remember ever training for a race and being so out of it as I have for this one.

In other news... Melissa and I had a long talk about the current living/commuting situation and we have come to the conclusion that one way or the other I will be living here full time by June 1st.  RIF (layoff) or not, I am putting the house and cottage on the market in March.  That means I plan to resign from Verizon unless something else happens in mid May.  It is nice to have a date for that on the calendar now. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Black Belt

How cool I think I will look Friday night.
This story has nothing to do with the martial arts and even less in regards to running.  It's just a funny story, maybe...

Melissa and I are going to a fundraiser on Friday night here in Aspen called the Flamingo A GO-GO put on by the Aspen Education Foundation.  Not really being sure what to wear and since I recently got rid of all but two of my dress suites (Yes I actually own suits) I decided to splurge and get a new suit for the occasion.  The one suit that I have and might have worn is just too stuffy and buiness like and the other one is linen best suited for the tropics, not November in Aspen.

So last week I went and got a really sharp slim fitting black pin-striped Calvin Cline two piece which I happened to get a huge discount.  I also got some new shoes, tie, and dress shirt to finish off the ensemble.  The only thing I didn't buy was a new belt since I have a ton of dress belts and just belts in general so no extra money needed to be spent for that.

A funny part of getting the suit is that I wear a 42R coat.  However, the pants that come with that size coat were a 36W... Way too huge and of course they needed tailoring just like the coat did. When the tailor was fitting me she seemed perplexed as she waved her hand at my midsection and exclaimed in broken english, "you have nothing here!"  I just smiled and thanked her for noticing.

So it is Wednesday and I am on my way up to Aspen and I am driving out of Colorado Springs around 4:40 in the afternoon.  I made it all the way from my house to 31st Street and guess what I realized that I forgot?  Yup... my black belt.

You know the scene in Harold and Kumar go to White Casetle and they leave their apartment and Kumar realizes he forgot his cell phone in the apartment and he decides to not go back for it saying "we have gone too far," even though they are like 20 feet from their apartment door?

Well that is what my decision making matrix was like when I realized I had forgotten my belt.  Of course I am pissed because I forgot it but to backtrack back to the house through west side rush hour traffic and then try to head out again... it just wasn't worth it.  I'd gone too far.

So I try to relax about it on the drive... I have two belts here in Aspen, both brown and they won't work.  I even tried to remember if one of them was reversible and of course it wasn't.  Plan B?  Well there aren't many places between COS and Aspen to stop to pick up a belt for a suit and I was in drive mode and stopping for anything besides filling the tank or a bio-break at the last minute wasn't going to happen.

But I get an idea on the drive up.  Aspen has a pretty cool little thrift store and I bet I could pick one up there.  There was plan B.  Plan C, try to find a men's store in Aspen where I could get a belt without having to pay through the nose.  Plan D, head back down the RFV to Glenwood and see if I can find something there.

I took a break today at lunchtime and walked to the thrift store.  The long and short of it, no luck.  What black leather belts they had which would have worked I could have made two belts out of for me as they were so long.  Damnit!  Now what do I do?

I really don't want to drive anywhere... I really don't.  The new commute to Aspen around Independence Pass is a tough drive and it really drained me.  I thought maybe I could con Melissa into driving me to Glenwood (in her spare time - like she has any) and see what I can find there.  But almost back to the apartment I had a brilliant idea!

Maybe, just maybe, Carl's Pharmacy might have something?  I have been in there a few times and though I never saw any belts, they have about one of everything that you could ever imagine in there.  It had to be worth the shot, right?

BINGO!  I walked to the upstairs of the store and boom, there was the belt display.  And they even had one that matched my new shoes and fit!  And it wasn't an arm and leg and I didn't have to drive anywhere else to get one!  SCORE!

To celebrate the win I went to the Grateful Deli and got a sandwich for lunch.

But closer to reality... But hey, this was an Aspen benefit as well....

Monday, November 4, 2013

Aspen Quick Trip

Drove up to Aspen Friday night to surprise Melissa.  She had no idea that I was coming up until she called and I was in Breckenridge.  Definitely surprised her and we had a great weekend.  Basically just figured that if I hung out here in the Springs all that I would do on Friday night would be sit around, eat junk food and watch movies.  Basically just wasted time so I might as well do something useful and drive to Aspen and see Melissa instead.  I applied the same theory to Sunday night because that's all I would be doing too if I hung out here.  And besides, I just didn't want to spend another weekend in Colorado Springs, hating it, and wishing I was somewhere else.

The driving situation has changed.  Independence Pass is now closed for the season so I am taking the long way around.  In order to bypass Denver and I-25 altogether, I took 24 to Hartsel then CO 9 to Frisco and caught 70 there.  The long way around ads about 90 miles an another hour and half roughly.  (It's actually ten mile longer taking I-25 to I-70 to Frisco.) So instead of it being 159 miles it is 248 and instead of taking 3:30 or so time wise it is now 4:45, one way.

Going up wasn't so bad as the conditions were good but driving home last night was a crash course/refresher in winter driving.  Basically winter conditions from outside Aspen all the way to Hartsel.  Vail pass was a nightmare with trucks stuck in the left lane, the right lane and sometimes just dead in the middle of the road.  The Jeep did awesome.  Hoosier Pass was even more fun as I was the only one driving it so nobody else had laid down tracks on the road.  The roads finally cleared around Hartsel and all in all the weather cost me another hour of driving time which I guess isn't that bad considering how nasty it was.

I got in some solid runs in Aspen which was nice. 16 mile tempo run on Saturday followed up with a 19 mile grind of a run on Sunday.   I swear that it feels like my internal carburetor is tuned to run better at 8K than at 6K.  I can't explain it but that is one thing that I have noticed this fall.  I seem to run a lot more efficiently up there than here in the Springs.  Up there it seems like my heart rate, speed, and perceived effort all line up and are in sync.  Here in the springs it feels as if one or the other is off, mostly the heart rate compared to speed it seems.

Going back up on Wednesday so this is a quick turnaround but it was worth it.  I will also be up there for a full week like normal which will allow me time to settle in to being in one place for a few days.  We are also going to a benefit up there on Friday night which will be fun.

Not sure how many more months of this commuting I have in me though, especially with the winter coming on.  I am sure that I will do it as long as needed but I am becoming more and more interested in developing a plan B for getting out of here by next summer if need be.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Race Is Better Than Your Race

The big news today to rattle the ultra running community was the call made public by the Hardrock 100 race committee to exclude certain races from their qualification standards.  The two races that were dropped which are causing the most stir are the Western States 100 and the Leadville Trail 100.

This was taken from the HR 100 website:

A note about the 2013 Leadville 100: The Leadville 100 includes many of the features that are important for a HR qualifier: high altitude, long climbs, potential for mountain weather, and more. However, the 2013 Leadville 100 ignored other traits of importance to the HR: environmental responsibility, support of the hosting community, and having a positive impact on the health of our sport. Because of timing, the 2013 LT100 will still be accepted as a qualifier for the 2014 HR. LT100 finishes will not be accepted as qualifiers for the 2015 HRH and beyond.

All I can say is "WOW!" And that is not wow as in I am impressed, more like the wow you get when your wife/girlfriend/partner respsonds to something you say or do in total disbelief that you are actually that big of an idiot. 

It just seems awfully judgmental for one race to make a comment like that in regards to another.  And even if that were true, what is the purpose of this decision past punishing Leadville runners?  Their participation is not the cause for what missteps might or might not have happened in the 2013 LT100 run and how it was managed.  They were running!

And lastly... enough of the comparison between the two races.  Both are 100 mile races but both require certain skill sets that the other does not.  Let me throw these numbers out there... going by the ratios on realendurance.com comparing the two races and finishing times for both, which are 0.67 plus or minus 0.2, based over many years, clearly indicates that anyone who finishes Hardrock in the 44 - 48 hour window would possibly have a very slim chance of finishing Leadville within the 30 hour cuttoff.  That's just math folks. Math that indicates that nearly 1/3rd of the HR100 field could not even do Leadville, so which race is harder now?

Like I said, different skill sets. Get over it.

Yes this decision personally impacts me.  I had planned on using my 2013 LT100 finish for qualifying for the 2014 and 2015 HR100 lotteries.  I really don't have the desire to do any other 100 milers at this point as none really excite me.  It would have been nice to have a shot (or two) at doing Hardrock these next couple of years instead of just the one.  That being said, if I don't get in, well, that's probably the end of my 100 mile running career right there.  At Least For A While.  Never say never.

Anyway...  Throwing my name in the LT100 MTB this weekend after registration for that lottery opens but of course that drawing won't be until February.   A sick and twisted part of me contemplates registering for Leadman again if for no other reason than it would guarantee me a slot in the bike, well after doing the 50 of course.  Fortunately I am not that desperate.

Two good days of running this week so far.  I've enlisted Lucho's help to get me out of weeds and keep me on track the next three weeks before JFK.   The workouts the past couple of days seem familiar and comfortable yet stressing but reassuring at the same time.  Maybe I'm not as jacked up as I thought.  My confidence is starting to come back thankfully. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Weekend

Definitely a mixed bag.  I took Saturday off from running for a couple of reasons, mostly because I had planned to and secondly because I was on-call Friday night and ended up sleeping in really late as a result.  I still think I needed the day off.  The symptoms or what not,  left over from the flu shot seemed to be abating as well.  Not as congested, not coughing as much and my energy level was definitely improving.

The upside to the weekend... nothing like eating ribs, pizza and getting to spend the night with Melissa in Denver to change my state and outlook on life.  Not to mention I got ten hours of sleep Saturday night!  Hoping the next week and half goes by quickly until we can get together again for a week.  Anyway, serious mood improvment.

The downside.... I decided to attempt a four hour run on Sunday after getting back.  Everything started off well enough but thank god I was only about a quarter of a mile from Criterium Bike's when I realized I really needed to use their facilities.  The second hour went well and it seemed that maybe all would be just fine but I was wrong.  At or about 2:40 into the run I just imploded.  I can't describe the sensation completely but imagine a balloon deflating.  I just sunk.  Kept plodding along until 3:15 then I was walking the rest of the way home.  Everything from the waist down was hurting with deep aches all the way to the bone it felt like.

Moving around after I got home I think I got a taste of what it might feel like to be 100 years old.  Feet, ankles, knees, calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes... everything felt as if it had been bashed in by a baseball bat.  So, so weird.  In the grocery store Sunday evening I was basically using the cart like a walker.  I seriously felt THAT beat up.  I don't get it.  I just don't get it.

With less than four weeks until the JFK 50 I have to say my goals are becoming more modest with each passing day.  But all things being equal I did feel better yesterday, at least for a good chunk of the run, than I did all last week so maybe I am close to being out of the woods.  Regardless I am just going to keep on going the best that I can between now and the race and just do the best that I can training and then in the race.  It's all I can do at this point.  As Papa Wooten used to always tell me, "Always do your best and everything will be just fine."

Today is a day off and besides just hoping to bounce back I am also going to dig back a bit deeper and try to figure out when exactly the train jumped the tracks.  Talking to Melissa last night we were discussing it and I told her that it seems like this slump, as she called it, has been going on for two weeks now.  Up until then everything was just clicking along just fine.  But then again, the situation might just resolve itself and I will never know. 

Ugh... running.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

My Forced Break

I am still convinced that the flu shot affected me but not ruling out maybe a small cold though.  Definitely not allergies as the Claritin didn't do a damned thing this week to knock down the drainage.  My nose was running and stuff all day on Friday.  Feeling a lot better today.

Naturally I did not run on Friday.  Felt like I could but would not let myself even attempt it.  I settled for a long walk with Asia.  I am also not going to run today.  Sunday is a tentative maybe but I need to wait and see how I feel.   I seem to be less symptomatic today so maybe I am pulling out of this, whatever "this" is.  I'll know for sure in a couple of days once I start feeling better just exactly what the deal was.  Usually when I bounce back I feel so much better that when I look back at when I was feeling like crap I can really get good idea of how crappy I was actually feeling.  Weird I know.

But seeing that there could be many different things at play here I think that taking the small break is the smartest thing to do.  I'm just going to let things fall where they may while the dust settles.  It will all make sense soon enough.  A few days rest has to be better than digging a deeper hole for myself, or at least that is what I keep telling myself.

Off to Denver tonight to see Melissa and we are spending the night up there.   Of course I am sure that will do wonders for my outlook!  

But for I am just going to enjoy my weekend. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Black Dog

Found this today.  I didn't realize I still had it.  From my first PPA in 1995.  Anyone else have one of these or earlier even?  Obviously I wore this one a lot!
(Warning:  Not a cheery feel good hit of the summer kind of post.  If you can't handle it stop reading now.)

Back Dog.  That is the song by Led Zeppelin that was playing in the cab when I got in it tonight.  I wasn't happy about the cab ride but I had to get home somehow.

I got my flu shot on Monday.  I got one last year and I don't remember it messing with me too much.  I stayed away from them for years because I had to get them when I was in the military and whenever I did, I was sick as a dog a few hours later then for the next few days.  Since last year's shot didn't affect me I went ahead and got one for this season but I don't think I was as lucky this time around.

Tuesday for the most part I felt okay but definitely not stellar.  I also had some soreness show up which I just attributed to the riding and the running over the weekend.  I blew off my run at the CC track in the morning because when I woke up, well it was cold and dark out so I said screw it.  I have plenty, plenty of months ahead of me to go run in the cold and dark.  No sense rushing to do it now, I thought.  I was wanting to do a MAF test so I decided to wait until after work and go to the Manitou High School Track and do it there.

In short, it didn't go to well at the Manitou Track.  Even my first warmup mile was rough.  Each of the four test miles were about a minute off from what I was expecting.  To make it worse, the results were inconsistent as my last two of the four miles were faster than the first two.  Weird.

Wednesday I really started to feel like crap.  Not really sick but just fuzzy-headed.  I had some drainage.  It was feeling like I was either dealing with allergies, coming down with a cold or maybe just the flu shot was messing with me.  I felt really tired come 2-3 p.m. and was seriously contemplating a nap which I really never do.  I didn't feel so great so I decided to just walk the dog and take it easy instead of pushing things.  Get to bed early and hopefully head off any virus or infection that might be settling in.

That worked as I felt better today but still not 100%.  I gave myself the day to sort out how I felt and if I was up for trying to get in 20 miles tonight or not.  By three in the afternoon I had convinced myself to go for it and by four I was out the door and running.

Let me say straight up, I am so burned out of running in Colorado Springs.  There are some segments that I run that I would just as well rather be on a treadmill for, and those who know me know how much I hate treadmills.  At least on a treadmill I don't have to look at all the depressing stuff that I see on all of my runs.  Anyway...

I got in the first ten okay... made it to 11.5 miles and then more or less stopped.  I just stopped.  Fuck it.  I was done.  I turned around and walked about a mile to Lucky Dragon, ordered a Kung Pao Chicken dinner to go and called a cab for a ride home and then listened to Black Dog the rest of the way home.

That was my day.

Not sure what the hell is going on with me.  Am I just burned out all together?  Is it that I can't get overly enthused or motivated about the JFK 50?  Is it just that after Leadman and this summer nothing looks as bright and shiny as that did to me?  Have I pushed too hard these past few weeks and maybe facing an over training situation?  Or are there non-running influences messing with things... job, living situations, just day to day stress or just all of the above?  Could it be the autumn blahs that I usually get?  I wonder about that one as I found myself today wishing it were the first day of winter already because at least then I know the days are getting longer and things are just looking up all around, or at least that is my perception of things after the Solstice.

I just don't know... but I decided on my little walk to pull the plug on the rest of the training this week.  I am going to give myself a few days to step back and hopefully have my mind and body resynchronize before getting on with it some more.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Reality Check

For when you don't feel like getting out there.  File this one under "What's your excuse?"

Monday, October 21, 2013


Define irony.  When a team that is having a winning season mostly due to their new quarterback is defeated by the team that they got their new quarterback from.  Of course I am referring to the loss that the Denver Broncos and  Peyton Manning were handed yesterday by the Indianapolis Colts. Maybe Tim Tebow can get his old job back?  Okay, I completely exhausted all of my knowledge of the NFL in this paragraph.  Neither team is special to me for various reasons.  I do remember when the Colts snuck out of Baltimore in the middle of the night and the drama that came after.  But seriously, I bet Melissa and Annie watch more football in a weekend, or two, than I have the last ten years combined.  Maybe even longer.

Anyway... dogs.

Dogs have been causing some interesting drama for me the past two days.  One is mine and the other is not.  First, the dog that is mine.

Part of what threw me off on the second half of my run yesterday was when I came home I discovered that Asia had indeed been busy entertaining herself in the most unproductive manner.  Pulled out and chewed on were one pair of Italian heels... not mine.  In the kitchen I also discovered the loaf of bread that was on the counter was missing.  Knowing where to look I went out to the back patio and found the empty bag along with a mess of other stuff that she had dragged outside, which wasn't her's to play with.  So I had to clean up that mess before taking off.  She earned kennel time for that trick.  Anyway, I think it just sort of got under my skin and threw me off a little.

This morning I took a break to make some breakfast and while in the kitchen I saw a flash of movement in the backyard through the half closed blinds.  A quick peek and I recognized the dog as one of the ones in the neighborhood that I watch.  She had escaped her pen and her backyard and found her way to mine.  I quickly got my shoes on, grabbed a leash and my neighbor's keys and took her home, just thankful that she came to my house and that she was safe.  Anyway, when I got back home I remembered I had left a roll that I was going to toast with my eggs on the counter when everything went down. Of course Asia being as opportunistic as she is, the roll was long gone by the time I got back.  This one was on me.

Taking a rest day today.  Tomorrow is supposed to be five miles and I am thinking of heading over to the CC track bright and early to do a MAF Test to see where I am.  I haven't really done one since I started training at MAF exclusively several weeks ago.   The last one I sorta did was that weekend in July or August when I was too burned out to travel anywhere and decided to stay home.  I really don't expect the results to vary too much from what my fitness level was last spring or summer to be honest but it's a useful way to get the miles in.

Back to back twenty milers slated for later in the week.  I am going to do them Thursday and Friday since I don't have class on Thursday night this week.  I should be able to knock them out easy enough.

I emailed my Hoka rep about this pack.   I'd be interested in giving it a shot.  I really like the Nathan Packs I use but would like something with just a tad more space in it. Hopefully I can score one.  Maybe in time for the JFK 50 even.  That would be cool. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Meanwhile, back in the 80905.

Came back to the springs on Wednesday afternoon.  I tried extra hard to enjoy the drive over Independence Pass as it will more than likely be closed when I go back to Aspen on November, 6th.  Yeah... I am spending a solid 21 days here before going back up.  Because of schedules and other stuff going on I am meeting Melissa in Denver next Saturday night and we are spending the night up there.  But then I am staying here in the springs through my next rotation, then going back up on the 6th per the normal schedule.

I texted my friend William late on Thursday night telling him that it was my second night here at the house and I was already over it.


Finally hit the grocery store Thursday night.  Picked up the makings for one of my all time favorite meals which I had not had since last November, before I started the entire Paleo Diet experiment.  I promised myself that after Leadville/Leadman I would make it sometime.  Nothing fancy, just tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.  With two glasses of milk!  Seriously, one of my favorites of all time and it was awesome.  

Nothing special to report this week form the running and training front.   I had short runs all week, and I took Friday off.  I rode the Greenland Gravel Grinder on Saturday and that turned out to be a 46.9 mile ride that I did in 3:53:30.  It was okay, great weather and the course was interesting enough. I still need to tweak the new saddle on the Cannondale just a smidge but overall it worked great.  I worked really hard to keep my heart rate down in the MAF zone but at times it was really a challenge.  I had to take hills really, really slow.

Today, Sunday, was supposed to be a 30 miler but I just could not do it.  I ran 18 miles first and came back to the house to refuel and get fresh bottles.  When I took off for the next 12 I really struggled to keep my heart rate down so my speed really plummeted.  When the rain started at mile 21 I said screw it and headed home.  I came up seven miles short for a total of 23 miles for the day all at MAF.

Between yesterday's ride and today's run I still feel like I had a solid weekend of training.  But today my heart and my mind were just not into it.  At. All.  I think that quitting when I did was a good idea as it kept me from digging a hole that could take me a bit to get out of.   Just more of the nuggets I learned training with Lucho... Sometimes less is more and you have to listen to what the body is telling you.  Or maybe I am just rationalizing being a pussy this weekend?

Seriously considering giving trekking poles a whirl.  The only problem is that I don't know how to use them really.  I once read where Karl Metzler said something to the effect that they make uphills so easy that it is insane.  (totally paraphrasing that)  So if anyone reads this and is well versed in using trekking poles for long races in the mountains I sure could use some pointers.  

A photo from Saturday's ride.  Thankful there isn't one of today's run! :) I do need to change out the front rings and rear cassette on this bike.  Geared too much for climbing and not enough for flat out riding. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Observe the rest day and keep it holy...

Of course I am not talking about Sunday... for me pretty much this entire past year Monday has been my rest day each week and pretty much without exception.  Lucho made sure that I always took at least Monday off.  Now it is sort of a standard.

I remember when he told me that after training for a bit come Saturday during a training week I would be dying for Monday to get here.  Anyway, it is a plan or part of the plan that I am intending to stick to from here on out.  Gone are the days of trying to get two months or more logged without a day off.

This past training week was my biggest week in both time and mileages in I don't know how long.  Sixty Six miles, over eleven hours of running and over 9500 in vertical gain.  Not a bad week really.  The challenging part wasn't the physical aspect of the runs but more the mental.

First there were the three ten milers in a row mid-week last week. I have always struggled with that distance.  Again, it isn't the distance per se but the time involved in running it.  Internally I am usually done by mile eight.  It is never short in duration but just long enough that the mind has to really work to keep going.  The 20 miles on Saturday were pretty easy but the ten miler again on Sunday took a great deal of mental urging to get it done.  Melissa ran the first 5.5 with me and to be honest I was about to just call it good when we got back to the apartment before I took off to get another 4.5.

This week starts off easy though... all runs before the weekend being under five miles even but that is just building up for a long 30 miler on Sunday after which I get a day off.

Found some great new trails here in Aspen this weekend.  The Maroon Creek trail from the Recreation Center to highway 82 is a great little single track as well as the Meadows trail which goes from the Meadow's Resort down to the Roaring Fork River/Rio Grand Trail.  I don't know how runnable each of them will be in the winter once the snow gets deeper but for now they are quite pleasant. 

Saturday's run was pretty eventful. I ran into a someone (Eric Sullivan) that I met this past summer at Leadville and we ran a bit together up Smuggler Road.  He had to take off after an hour as he had things to get done but I went another hour up to the gate which had me running in a lot of snow that second hour.  I also got to see some elk, a nice bull elk even and a lot of mountain lion tracks.   But even up high in the snow it was warm enough to be comfortable especially in the sun.  It is the second time I have gone up that high on that road and it was nice to see that it was every bit as steep running up and down it as it was when I rode it last month or so.

I've added another business to the list that Aspen is lacking... A good late night diner.  I bet King's Chef could make a killing here!

It's not the best picture but this is the bull elk that I ran into on Saturday.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My New Diet

Okay... in reality it is sort of like Atkins and Paleo... but then not really....  More just survival than caveman. 

Time is very scarce this week and I don't want to go spend a ton at the store.  I am just eating everything that is left in the house since going to the store to stock up isn't that practical.  Also since I will be gone for a few days, no need having stuff sitting around.

I told Melissa a few nights ago that I was just eating everything that we had in the fridge and pantry this week to get rid of it.  Her reply was that she was glad that I was eating the leftovers.  Of course I had to respond and disagree by telling her, "no, I am just eating what is LEFT!"

I figured the last straw will be when I open the soup sized can in the pantry without a label on it anymore.  But for a while it just remained the mystery can... the last resort.  Melissa told me they were apricot preserves the other night and to bring them up to Aspen but I said no... sounds like they might make a nice treat!  

I've even resorted to drinking a bottle or two of GNC Whey Protein powder everyday just to fill up the calorie count.  I have a jug and a half of the stuff that I need to get rid of and this is a great excuse.  Plus I like it, so no harm there.

Actually it has been an interesting experiment.  One dinner was nothing but five bratwurst covered in spicy mustard with hot pepper rings on the side.  That's kinda Paleo, right?

Today for lunch... Frozen pierogis that I know have been in the freezer longer than I want to admit publicly.  Actually they were pretty good. 

It is actually fun hitting the kitchen, figuring out what is left, and coming up with ideas.  I still have some chicken left and some hamburger patties that I put out to defrost.  A can of beanless chili and some Saltines are left too and about a half dozen eggs.

The other night when I wanted a snack I remembered there was a leftover bag of plain granola and a leftover bag of chocolate chips in the cupboard... I got a container and mixed the two together making a fun snack that lasted me a couple of days. 

But this week's "diet" kinda goes along with everything else in my life now as I am really trying to get rid of a ton of stuff and simplify.  If I don't go to the store, I don't buy a lot of crap.  If I don't buy a lot of crap I don't eat it... I'm not losing weight this week of course but I sure as hell am not gaining any!   And to be honest, this is probably the cleanest my diet has been in months!

It is just part of the living alone (part time) adaptations I am having to make.  Without Melissa and Annie here I just don't need that much around and there is really no routine.  Hell, I ran the dishwasher Tuesday for the first time three weeks I think.   

Headed up to Aspen tomorrow and Melissa and I are already planning on going to the Hickory House once I get there for BBQ.  End of the diet.

Anyway... this is my first "bigger" week of training since Leadville.  Shooting for a 66 mile week.  Back to back to back ten milers Tuesday, yesterday and today.  Ten milers don't stress me physically but do push me mentally quite a bit.  Three in row even more so.  Running a 10K with Melissa on Saturday but I need to tack on some more miles to make it a 20 mile day.  I figure I am going to run and just meet her at the start. 

Six weeks until the JFK 50.  I am starting to find ways to get more excited about it.  I still have humble goals for this one but I expect to finish well and intact.  I will be racing my favorite 5K just a few days after which will be interesting to follow up the 50 miler with.  PR'ing both would be awesome but I would not put money on it.

JFK 50 Elevation Profile.  Really it's everything after mile 17 that has me sweating.  Pancake FLAT.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

October 8

I will be in the springs all week this week and won't go back up to Aspen until Friday.  I talked to Melissa about it on Sunday and I just didn't have it in me to do another two day turn around after driving back to the springs last Wednesday, back to Aspen on Friday and then back to the springs on Sunday.  To go back on Wednesday wouldn't allow me enough landing time here to get done all of the things I need to catch up on here.  Of course I'd prefer to be in Aspen 100% and not even have to do the drive at all.  That day is coming though.  Soon.  How soon I don't know but I know my life here in the springs is my old life and Aspen will be my new life.  For now it is just limbo.

I met a guy at the cocktail party that we went to last Saturday night.  Really cool dude.  Apparently he was supposed to be ringing the bell to open the NYSE last week but decided to blow it off and speak in Melissa's class instead.  Anyway, really cool guy and we were talking and he asked where we were living.  I told him 1st and Francis and he got all excited that we were neighbors as he lives between 2nd and 3rd on Francis.  Of course I am cracking up in my head over all of this as he has an 8000 sq ft home and we live over a garage.  Same hood... WAY different experiences.  I actually hope to get to hang out with  him some more as he was genuinely a very cool guy.

Aspen is missing three things... a cigar shop, a good bagel shop and there is nowhere there to get a good Chicago Dog, or any good dogs at all.  Half kicking around the idea of investing in a hot dog stand and setting up shop at the base of the mountain.  It could work.

Last week I soaked and baked my leather back country ski boots in the oven.  They were a touch large but I think the operation was a success.  They are still a touch roomy but that is with just one pair of socks on but with a liner sock and rag wool sock over that, I think the fit will be perfect.  I just need to get some more climbing skins for my skis as Asia ate my old ones when she was a puppy.  I can't wait to do some XC and BC skiing when I am there.  I don't really like downhill skiing anymore but I still love just taking off and going in the woods and skiing that way.  Kicking the idea around of some winter camping this year too like I used to do way back in the day.  Ski, camp, ski some more.  Typically two days of skiing up a mountain then turn around and ski down for three hours straight to the vehicle.  

27 years ago today I left home to go to basic training.  I can't believe it was that long ago.

Used to listen to this guy a bit back a few years ago.  Heard this song on the Sat Radio in the Jeep the other day.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Aspen Chuck Severy Cross Country Challenge

The snow in Aspen this morning.
Came up to Aspen this weekend to run this race.  It is an off week/weekend so really I should be in the Springs but there is the race and I am going to a function with Melissa tonight.  Not sure if I should wear the peach or the powder blue tux though.

The drive up was okay until Independence Pass of course.  Due to the Government Shutdown, the shitters at the top of the pass are closed.  No kidding.  It is funny is a sad sort of way... Asia and I made due with the bushes.

Driving on the Aspen side of the pass was a bit dicey.  Ice mostly the first few miles down, then snow, then clear roads.  Slid a few times which caused a bit of involuntary puckering.  But past that still a good drive.

Woke up this morning to snow and cold temps in the lower 20's.  Made the decision straight up that I was not going to wear shorts.  The Chuck Severy Cross Country Challenge is a race put on by the Aspen High School Cross Country team as a fundraiser.  The course starts at the High School and meanders up towards Aspen Highlands for a bit then drops back down and loops back around.  The majority of the course was ran across snow covered fields it seemed which were mowed.  A real cross country course.  The snow was not slippery so traction was not a problem but it was deep enough that it felt like running in sand the entire time. 

I wasn't sure how I was going to run this race.  The past month has been committed 100% to MAF training but I really wanted to race this one.  When we got to the high school I spent about 20 minutes running at MAF to warm up then when the race started I just tried to keep my HR in the 160 - 165 range and just see if I could hang on for the three + miles.  and whatever speed I had was the speed that I had.  I basically looked at it as one of the tempo runs that Lucho seemed to love making me do this past summer.  Ended up running a touch hotter than that with an average HR of 167 so I know my HR was in the 170's for a good part of it.  Finished 5th overall and 1st in my age group.  Good thing I know how to run in snow!

Tomorrow will just be a bike ride.  I think I am going to ride to Basalt and back.  Next week my mileages start ramping up training for the JFK 50.  All of my training between now and then will be back exclusively at MAF again.

Put in for the HR100 this past week too.  Four tickets now.  Guess we will know how that plays out in a couple of months.  35 slots for the never started peeps and I bet there are at least 1000 who apply who fall into that category... those odds have me buying lottery tickets again as I feel I have a better chance matching the six numbers and winning than ever getting to start at the line in Silverton.

In other news... the book is selling which is kind of surreal to me.   It has me pondering about starting another project.   Knowing it is out there though is weird. It is hard to explain but there is a certain amount of vulnerability to it. 

Taking the Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain today.  With all of the snow and changing trees I bet it is going to be mind blowing beautiful!  I am so ready to be here 100% of the time.

Friday, October 4, 2013

My Book

I have been working on this project for longer than I care to admit.  I finally finished it and have self published it on Amazon for digital download.  It's not a big book, hence the title.  I don't intend to make millions and retire from the sales but I do hope that maybe, just maybe someone or a few someones, might get to read it and it will have a positive effect in their lives.

The book is spiritually based and deals with a lot of theories revolving around the Law of Attraction but goes a little bit deeper in regards to that and it really breaks down and explains the pitfalls and traps which keep us from creating that awesome life which we all deserve.

I'm no Michener or Clancy or Ruiz by a long shot but it was written with the best intentions in mind and I hope that the messages within are understood.

The book is available here for download.

In other news, headed back up to Aspen tonight for the weekend.  Running the Chuck Severy Cross Country Challenge tomorrow which benefits the Aspen High School Cross Country Team.  Should be a fun race.  Speaking of races... I still need donations for the 8th Annual Aspen Summit for Life 2013 to promote organ & tissue donation!  My goal is to raise $1000 for this race so any contributions would be awesome! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

This Could Be A Good Sign

Picked up my mail today from the Post Office since I had it on hold while I was in Aspen and I received a heavy envelope from the Leadville Race Series office.  Inside was a medal for the Leadville Marathon that I ran this past summer.

There was also a note that basically said that they received the feedback on the finisher mugs that people were less than enthusiastic about.   I would fall into that category as I don't drink coffee so any mug like that has really zero purpose in my life.  Anyway, they were wanting to make good and sent the medals and also offered a ten percent discount for next years race.

To me it is an interesting turn of events and I am curious to see what the race organizers look at differently now in other areas and try to fix. 

Now if they would just send my little plaque with my race finishing times for the back of my Leadman Trophy I'd be stoked! :)

The medal is on the one on the left under the tan colored mug.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Aha Moment On Independence Pass Road

Today ends my first three weeks of training, sort of geared mostly towards the JFK 50 in November but also just still rebounding from the summer season of racing.  I have been running 100% of the time in my MAF/Aerobic/Zone-2 heart rate range.  Again, to build and maintain fitness as well as beginning to build a solid base for November.

Saturday's run I decided to slog up the Aspen side of Independence Pass for a few hours then have Melissa pick me up at some point.  It was a great way to gain elevation and a chance to run something different.  I will say that I think that road will be better to run once it is closed in the winter and is hopefully packed down by snowmobile tracks.  Anyway... it was a good run but I had to focus very intently on my HR to keep it down below 145 as much as possible.

Of course running uphill below that HR is slow for me.  Not that I have ever been super fast but I am running even slower than my normal plodding pace.  It takes discipline and self control but I think the time invested right now is well worth it.

Now to be honest the other reason I am working to train at MAF exclusively is to really train my body to become a fat burning machine. My weight is pretty much what it is and unless I really diet hard it isn't going down that much but modifying my body fat percentage may still be something that I can control, especially if confine my runs to staying in Zone-2 exclusively.  To be even more clear, burning and reducing fat is about as important to me right now as my overall training so it is way up there on the priority chart.

So running yesterday I got to thinking about how when I was in my 20's and 30's I could run steady 8 minute miles on my training runs while also constantly fighting to keep weight on.  Then I realized that when I got older, in my 40's I tried to run the same intensity thinking it would help me to drop weight but frequently became frustrated when things didn't change.  I also seemed to be developing more and more of a gut and storing fat around my mid-section... yet another curse of middle age.

But yesterday it clicked!  When I was younger I could run at that rate and my HR WAS higher but it was also in my aerobic zone... (for that age.) Then when I was older, trying to run the same intensity, even though I could do it, I was always going too hard and way above my MAF training zone.  In my younger days I probably ran with my HR constantly above 155 and that worked... but I didn't know, or even realize that as I got older that changed.  Now, to obtain the same fat burning benefits of running I have to keep my HR much lower and as a result (for now as it will get faster over time) I am forced to run more slowly.

Before yesterday though I had another epiphany a few weeks ago.  This was centered around my massive weight gain last fall.  Again, the result of thinking errors in terms of fitness and running.  I trained A LOT last fall to run faster.  Lots of track work and lots of runs just going out super hard.  I was always in the sugar burning zone and therefore my body demanded (and who was I to refuse it) lots and lots of sugar to replenish.  That being said, I gained, no kidding, 20 pounds between the Leadville 100 last year and the morning of the Thanksgiving when I weighed in at 167.

It wasn't until Lucho and I started working together that things really started to straighten out both fitness wise and body composition wise.  Part of it was diet of course but I am forced to believe that a lot of it was from backing way the hell off on the intensity for a while.  

After three weeks now of strict HR training I am starting to really see results... or to be more accurate, feel them.  Fat is burning off and I am probably not lighter but I can tell a difference between the way I feel now as opposed to when I feel heavy.  I am still having to run very, very slowly but there are hints that is changing as well which is evident when I am running flats or downhills and have to really get the legs turning over to get the HR up into the zone where I need it.

I am sure I will write more about this the next few months as I am fully committed to this style of training until at least I get an idea of what my race schedule looks like next year.

Speaking of which... here are my plans which are tentative at best.

1.  Salida Half Marathon - March
2.  San Juan Solstice - June
3.  Hardrock 100 - July (I have a better chance of hitting powerball.)
4.  Silver Rush 50 MTB - July (Will probably end up doing this since HR100 is such a long shot.)
5.  Leadville 100 MTB - August (All thing being equal, I wouldn't mind training next summer with this event being my number one focus.  But this is a lottery too so we will see.)

Today's run was a fun ten miler on a newly discovered trail called the Government Trail which runs from Aspen to Snowmass.  Super awesome single track with lots of climbing and descending but nothing too extreme either way.  It would also be a great mountain bike ride when I get the chance.  Great views of Pyramid and the Bells from the trail.

Pyramid Peak as seen from the Government Trail.