Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Today's Ride

Decent ride today on the Cannondale.  Made a slight adjustment on a cleat last night that made a huge difference.  I think if I tweak the saddle just a bit it might compensate enough for the handle bar reach and it will be 100% dialed in.  Overall really liking that bike.  Maybe even more than like.  The wind today... that was another matter.  Bring on the 90 degree days, bring on the drought and water restrictions... but dear god, no more of this wind!

Rode for an hour and half mid day.  Glad to get it in before the weather moves in tonight.

Followed that up with a nice walk with Asia in the park and Cohiba Siglo II.  Made sure she got a long walk in today as well before the weather moves in...  I have a feeling we won't be going outside much tomorrow for anything except maybe to shovel snow.

Today I weeded in the front yard and tomorrow I will probably be shoveling snow... damn this spring has been manic as hell.

Melissa comes home tomorrow.  I am probably going to end up losing our challenge.  I didn't drop any weight really but managed to maintain so I guess that is still good.  We won't know until the final weigh in.  We talked today and both agreed these trips of her's get really old after a week.  She had White Castle today... I won't comment anymore on that...  But still, compared to the fall this has been a snap and after she gets back we have a really fun summer ahead of us starting with a Rockies game on the 18th after we get back from Mexico.  Nice.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

2013 Prelimary Training Numbers

Out curiosity tonight I decided to look at my overall training volume for 2013 compared to 2012 at this same time last year. 

By April 29, 2012 I had run 1054 miles.  Of course the bike was nowhere in play at this time nor was it on the scope at all.

This year...  April, 29, 2013, I have 897 miles on the bike and 730 miles running.  The miles on the bike isn't 100% accurate because there were many miles logged on the trainer and they don't show up but for the sake of argument this is close enough.

Since two miles of biking equals about one mile of running (maybe) that means the cycling added about 450 miles to the running volume which puts me above 1100 miles for the year... so the total is a lot like this time last year.  I guess that is the overall point that I am trying to make.

I slept a lot today.  Paul Doyle called me this morning and went for a quick ride over in Red Rocks. I broke off after an hour or so and headed home then went back to sleep again until right before my shift tonight.  I could not believe just how hot it was out today.  Not just warm... HOT!  Even more so I can't believe that it is going to snow again on Wednesday.

Rode the Cannondale today and damn... that thing loves to climb.  I still think the fit is a touch off but I am not going to worry about that until after we get back from Mexico.  That bike is fast, I will say that.

Easy week I think this week as I will be mostly riding before going to Mexico and I will be only running down there... I can't wait to run all around the island exploring everyday.  That is going to be a blast!  I plan to map my runs to go to specific Myan ruins on the island each time I go out.  It will be a great way to find all of the ruins and to see as much of the island as I can.

Stained glass work from Cozumel. It seemed like it would make a neat photo so I shot it.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

That Was Fun

Coming in about mile eight.  Photo Courtesy of Pikes Peak Sports
Today was the Cheyenne Mountain 50K race here in Colorado Springs.  I had been really looking forward to this race as it was my first race of the year and hopefully the weather was going to be mild for a change.  It is a fun race, close to home and the course in my mind runs from deceptively easy to outright challenging depending where you are at the time.  As far as local races go it is one of my favorites.

Going into today I really didn't know what to expect.  I didn't know what I could do or how the run would turn out.  Since it had been so long since I had run a race that alone raised a lot of questions.  Anyway, it was going to be an adventure.

I'll save the mile by mile replay (you're welcome) and just discuss the day in terms of the two 25KM loops ran.  Let's just say that I really got my money's worth today.  I essentially had two runs or races in one.

The first 25K, I ran it in 2:25, a whole fifteen minute improvement over last year.  And in case you are wondering, yes that was too fast.  Too damn fast!  But it was FUN!  I ran it hard and it felt good and it was fun like I said.  I could definitely tell in that loop that I have indeed gotten stronger and that I am indeed a lot faster.  That alone today was a whole new experience for me.

But like I said, I went too fast.  As a second thought this morning I almost decided to take and wear my heart rate monitor just to keep my out of trouble.  I am sure it would have kept me reined in and that I might have had a better overall result if I had done that but I can't say for certain.  By not wearing it though, I got to have a very fun first 25K and I am just going to walk away happy with that.

Now for part two... the second 25K which is basically two 12 K's back to back, in two different sections... Well, this was a different run altogether.  While the first 25K was an all out sprint almost, this second 25K was pure unadulterated ultra training both mentally and physically.    On the first half of the second 25K at mile 16 I rolled my left ankle and that hurt pretty bad and that was with me the rest of the run but more than that I was just spent from the first 25K and going out too fast.  And bonus... it got WARM today.  Not miserable hot but warmer than we are used to this spring and I sort of got a little dehydrated too in this part.  Miles 16 - 26 were just an exercise in pushing to get it done.  Hike the steeps, run the flats and downs.

With about three to four miles to go the trail was descending and it opened up a bit to allow for a smoother pace.  Believe it or not I was able to capitalize on this and pick it up there at the end and hold it till the finish.   So as much as the second part sucked it was a good feeling to be able to rally at the and finish strongly.  But I got to tell you.... When I was done,  I was done!

So a mixed bag for the day.  A solid 50K run that goes into the training volume.  Overall time slower than last year but I can live with it and throw in the education that I need to be little more conservative yet in my starts, regardless of how much fun I am having, and that will go a long way in serving me well the rest of this season.

Lastly though I have to say there were many moments today that I was definitely looking forward to my bike ride on Sunday!

Me (In black) following JT (green shirt and bucket hat) at the start.  Photo courtesy of Patrick Garcia.
Eight weeks till the Leadville Marathon.  Wow.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Cannondale is Done

Finished working on the Cannondale tonight.  I think... maybe, maybe one more adjustment and that will be a shorter handlebar stem.  The current stock stem is 100mm and I might actually need a 90mm.  Right now it sort of feels like I am too far forward but I will know for certain after a few rides.  I think I have the bike pretty dialed in fit wise so it might just be as small difference in frame geometry between the Cannondale and the Trek that I am feeling. 

The bike comes in right at 23 pounds even.  I was shooting for 22 and change I think this is about it.  It feels super light and I have to say that just from riding it around the bit that I was this evening that I really enjoy the responsiveness of the hardtail frame.  I know it is not the best for all terrains and types of riding but when I get out of the saddle and start torquing on the bike it gets up and goes!

I will take on it's first solid outing on Sunday when I am on my recovery ride after the Cheyenne Mountain 50K which is on Saturday.

I am really looking forward to the 50K in two days.  Today was my last run for the week, a short and easy three miler.  Tomorrow I will rest, help with the packet pickup at CRC and then race Saturday.  The weather should be perfect and I guess the trails will be clear by then.  It's going to be fun.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Big Money

Melissa is on travel for work as spring travel season is here.  After Fall Travel, Fall Open Houses one and two, then reading season and then Spring Open Houses... Spring travel is nothing to deal with.  It is definitely easier to work around than fall travel as the trips are limited in both frequency and duration.

But when Melissa is gone on travel there is a huge challenge for both of us and that is diet of course.  She is constantly surrounded by nothing but "road food" and I tend to very easily, quickly, and readily slip into bachelor mode when it comes to meals and meal choices.  For me and I hate to admit this, when she is gone I really get sloppy when it comes to my dietary decisions and I do pay the price in the form an almost instant five to ten pound weight gain.  (see last fall for proof)

So before Melissa left left we were giving each other a hard time and came up with a contest idea to see who would lose the most (or gain the least maybe) over the duration of her trip.  We both officially weighed in on Saturday morning and we will both weigh in when she gets home on the first.

The stakes are high. If she wins, meaning loses the most weight, I have to pay for her SCUBA diving outings in Cozumel in two weeks.  If I win/lose the most weight, then she has to pay the house/dog sitter instead of me having to do it.  Loser also has to buy the winner dinner at Joseph's at some point in the near future.

This could be an expensive bet. 

It helps me as I really want to keep a few pounds off before the Cheyenne Mountain 50K.  And secondly... I don't mind being strict right now for a week or two cause I know it will all be blown to hell when I am in Mexico anyway, so it all works out.  I am seriously craving some decent tacos.

I know Melissa is really working hard on her end to win... She's way competitive so I can't slack or it's gonna cost me!  We will see how it goes.

Had a decent week training last week even with the weather.  Sunday was a treat with a long ride and I got to do some fun technical riding in Ute Valley for a bit.  Still working on the Cannondale and am now waiting on a torque wrench to install the new carbon handlebars.  I spent most of last night applying the Frame Skin to protect the frame.  It came out okay but nothing special.

Progression run Tuesday, easy bike on Wednesday and an easy run on Thursday before the race.  I am looking forward to going into the race rested and seeing how I do.  It is supposed to be sunny and warm on Saturday so regardless it will be awesome to be out in decent weather.

Going up to have dinner with Annie on Wednesday and that is always a treat.  Can't wait!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Survivial Mode

The weather patterns of the past three weeks, and next week will make four has had a major impact on my training motivation, numbers, enthusiasm and just overall outlook.  Each training week, starting on Tuesday (the day after having Monday as a rest day) is greeted with some storm or the other.  The weather does tend to improve through the week but it is majorly cumbersome to work around. And dear god, the wind last weekend through Wednesday was it?

And now with all of the bullshit spring snow getting out to ride is going to be really tough and probably won't be happening until after I get back from Mexico in three weeks.  It is disheartening to look up and see where I want to be with the bikes in the mountains and to see all of the snow that JUST got there instead of JUST left there.  Fucking April. 

Let me put it this way.  I loathe running inside and I think that treadmills are the work of the devil and everyone knows I have run in some pretty nasty shit in my days but Wednesday I more or less BEGGED to be able to run inside.  Thankfully I was able to run in the new sports center at CC and had an awesome workout.  Winter might not be done yet, but I am definitely done training in the winter weather this year.  Done.

Anyway, all of this has really pushed me into survival mode.  The work schedule adds to it all too.  I am struggling with my diet and the numbers are going up.  Something has to give and I admit to bit of comfort eating the past month just to get by.   It is all really making me reevaluate my life, priorities, where I am, and where I want to be.  Right now I have to say that my priorities are my life and health which includes my relationship with Melissa as my number one priority... me.  Second... my training and Leadman as that sort of goes back to number one.  Third my job.  I can't and will not devote my life to that company in a manner that causes me discomfort or threatens priority number one, my health.

And then there is sleep... I sleep when I have to and can anymore.  I try to keep a schedule but it isn't always consistent.  I have no shame if I fall asleep at my desk working at 4:00 a.m.  I don't.  Getting by day to day anymore is tough enough in survival mode without having to constantly battle sleeping too.

But my shoulders have been backed into the turnbuckles long enough... time to start swinging back and get into the middle of the ring and retake control of the situation.  Melissa leaves on Saturday for work so I really need to refocus next week, especially on diet to get ready for the Cheyenne Mountain 50K.  I don't want to go into that race heavy.   Get through the weekend and the weather and snow at the beginning of next week and just hope that is the the last of it.

As a side note I am scaling back my participation in Facebook in a very large way.  I am not going to go into all of the whys and wherefores but I think that overall it has turned into a toxic environment for me (not intentional or anyone being particularly nasty just the overall tones of it all) and I think that Facebook has really missed the boat, jumped the shark, etc... I am seeing it as more and more symptomatic of what is wrong with us as a society as opposed to what is good... I see it as part of the problem and not the solution and I just don't want to play anymore.  (Of course I will link my blog pages there but that will be about it.)

Don't ask... it really has been tough in the ring the past couple of weeks... no shit!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Here Comes the Change Up…

One of my favorite teachers at Oak Hill High School was Mr. Larry Coleman.  I had him for two or three classes, I don't exactly remember but one of them was economics and it was in his class that I learned one the greatest rules to life that I apply in just about every major decision making process, without fail.

"With risk comes reward."

There ya have it... play it safe and you might get ahead, marginally...  Go for broke and you may end up just that, flast-assed busted... safety and a comfortable profit is usually found somewhere in the middle.

I bring this up because as of today, in regards to my bid for a solid Leadman finish, I have decided to take a big risk.   I now have confirmation from the Leadville Race directors that my entry for the 50 mile run has now been changed to the 50 mile MTB race.

I have run this race 2x in the past and have done okay.  A few months ago I would have never considered racing it on a bike.  With my upswing in confidence these past few weeks the MTB race became more and more appealing.  But here is the deal... I could play it safe and we can all pretty much guarantee that I could do well enough in the run.  And given my performances on the bike the past few weeks it is pretty safe to say that I can ride that 50 mile course in Leadville on a regular day.  But can I race it?

Can I actually be in that race and not wreck or not get a nasty mechanical that puts me out of the series?  These are the risks... and while overall not the most daunting challenges, it is still all new to me and a touch scary and exciting.  Okay, a lot exciting.

The rewards?  I am on the bike for about five to six hours instead of running for ten or so.  My racing that weekend is done on Saturday then.  I can be pretty much recovered and back to training come Monday or Tuesday no problem.

If all goes well...

Do I feel like I am pussing out by doing the ride and not the run?  No.  Do I feel like I am doing less than by not doing BOTH races that weekend?  No. The old me might have but my view today is that when I finish Leadman and I am standing in the gym with that finisher's trophy, my standing whatever it may be will not be affected by which event in particular I do, only my performance in that event.  So in short, no.  And to be honest, by taking on the MTB which will probably be my second MTB race in my entire life, with all of the unknowns, my lack of experience and the series of risks... in a way is almost the more courageous of the moves.  I am excited to say the least.

So... this is what I have to look forward to.  I hope that I can be close to the front and not sitting around so much on top of the hill.  I intend to race the Trek in this one.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Waitng For The Snow / JFK 50

If the weather were nicer or the forecast more favorable I would just run this morning after work but since neither one of those is the case I am going to crash.  I am not holding out much hope for precipitation but you never know.  I did fert the back yard yesterday in case we do get some good moisture.

A little sore "yesterday" from hammering it down Longs Ranch Road on Sunday but not too bad.  I am sure it won't impact today's run workout when I finally get to it.

I have made the decision to register for the JFK 50 in MD in November.  I've run the trail portion before on my own. It is 20 miles or so of the AT and I loved it so I am definitely hoping to get in.

Melissa leaves for travel the 20th through the 1st of May.  I have the MTB race on the 20th and the CM 50K on the 27th.  Then on May 4 we leave for Cozumel and I am looking forward to running around the island and through the jungle down there.  That is going to be awesome!

Ready for summer and definitely ready to be getting up to Lake Country to train and hang out. Can not wait!

Soon.  Very Soon.  TQ Lake looking west towards MQ.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Booty Time!

This is what the past week has felt like! Geez.

For those of you who happen to know me personally it isn't a secret that I like to keep my life low-key, low-drag and basically cruise under the radar of everyday life.  I really abhor drama, BS and chaos in general.

Or as one of my cousins said when we were hunting once, "A clean camp takes care of itself."  In a nutshell that is  how I try live.  Take care of the little nit-noity details and most other stuff falls into place and the unimportant stuff, well that stuff just falls off.  But wow, not this week!

Working the shifts last week, a mail order snafu, and my first parking ticket EVER were some of the wrinkles that accompanied the week.  They say that no matter how bad you have it, there is some poor bastard out there who has it worse than you do.  Well, eventually in that scheme there is inevitably the "bottom bastard" and maybe this week was my turn to be him!  At least I can still laugh but I was half serious when I told Melissa this afternoon that finding a bomb shelter to lay low in for a few days until this spell blows over might not be a bad idea!

But considering that it is day one in my four day work week, except for my workouts, I am more or less vanquished to living underground for the next 96 hours anyway so the problem may solve itself.

I have to say though, even with all of the stuff of the past week I managed to have a great training week.  7:44 of riding and 7:23 of running for a total of 15:07 training for the week.  Combined elevation gain was 16830 feet for the week.  I also had a ride on Friday that was just awesome.

It is hard to believe just how miserable I was training just three or four months ago.  It felt like nothing was working at all.  The focus on the bike which I was weak at was not fun and the focus on the bike made even the running a challenge so every single workout was a struggle it seemed.  Then slowly the cycling seemed to come on-line and not just the fitness but my confidence too.  Following that came just the ability to enjoy the rides themselves which I was not excepting at all.

Then it seemed that once we got to the point where my training load seemed to balance out to what would be equal to 70 miles per week or a touch greater which is my usual sweet spot I started to feel better about things overall.  The cycling was getting stronger but then I also started to have some good running days mixed in with the tough ones.  And once I understood why the tough were so tough (cause of the bike the day before usually) it all made sense! Now?  Now I seem to be having more strong days than not and I am recovering quite nicely too.  It's all starting to click.

Of course now I think is when we are going to start focusing more on the running, specifically getting ready for the marathon in 11 weeks and five days.  I can tell by Tuesday's planned workout that is the direction that we are headed. 

I think it won't be long and I will be missing the bike! 

Ed O'Neil gets it.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

Leadership? WTF?

I was on my last bottle of MAP last week and I decided to reorder some as to not run out.  I placed my order through Protocol Supplements which was the same vendor that I used the last time that I ordered four bottles as they had the best prices on the net and were recommended to me by a reliable source.

I ordered four bottles again on April 1, a total of 151 bucks... 161 after shipping and handling.  

So... I get home from my run on Thursday and there is a huge envelope in the mail I see that the return address is labeled Protocol and I am excited because I know I have another two months osf MAP work with now.  Cool!  I love the product and I think it has been super beneficial for me both during and after my workouts.  I was concerned about running out.

Well... I hope the package but by now I am skeptical because it feels more like a book, or a box within the envelope rather than four bottles.  WTF?  I open the envelope and this is what I see...

So what the fuck am I supposed to do with this?
It is a book on leadership... no MAP... fuck me, and not even any MAP dust in the envelope.  I am shocked and I feel like I just got hit in the gut and the air knocked out of me with a cheap sucker punch.

So I get online and check the Protocol Supplements website out just to see if they even carried this hokey book and maybe that would explain the mistake.  Nope.  Now I am really confused.  I email the site owner (and over 24 hours later do not have an actual email response BTW) but basically decided to call and find out what I could.

Fortunately Protocol Supplements is located in Laguna Beach, CA, so it was still before five p.m. PDT when I called and got in touch with Cody Oakland the owner of Protocol Supplements himself.  Long story short I sent him a lot of text messages with images of the package and the book.  It appears the package was reopened and resealed sometime in transit, maybe, and the book put in at that time.  Who knows.

But what I do know is that he more or less just laughed at me incredulously, asked more questions and seemed dumfounded himself.  What I also know is that he failed to make any effort or offer to right this situation.  I texted him this morning and he suggested I go to the PO and see what they might do (which is nill I bet... those poor bastards can barely get the mail delivered on time much less figure something out like this) and that he (Cody) would work on it from his side, whatever that means.  I think it means I am hosed in this deal.

I am afraid that in the end I am fucked out of $161.75 (That's a pair of Hokas folks) and also will be out of my MAP supply within a week.

So in the end... if any of my readers ever contemplated doing business with Cody Oakland or Protocol Supplements I recommend taking your money and customer service expectations elsewhere.

On that note, I have a leadership book for sale... cheap.  :) 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tough One

Warning:  Whiney Blog Entry.  Read at your own risk.

Tough six mile run today.  The run itself wasn't bad per se but having to do it through the fatigue of working these shifts made it tough.  Just one more night for this week and I am through it.  Progressive run on Thursday, a long ride on Friday, long run on Saturday and something easier I am sure on Sunday.

Broke away from the Paleo model in a huge way tonight.  Melissa and I went out for Chinese food for the first time since November.  My weight is low so I don't feel to bad about it but also with the work schedule being what it is I am having to do pretty much whatever it takes to get through day to day.

I miss BNL... hell, I miss 1997...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Barr Trail

Today seemed like the perfect day to try to ride up Barr Trail some and to see how I could handle that.  Again, with most things mountain bike related, the last time I had a tire touch that trail I was 26 I bet.  But knowing what I needed to ride, times, HR zones, etc... it seemed like a great idea.  It also allowed me to recon it for future rides and my goal if it was clear was to be to ride down LRR however, once I got to the Experimental Forest it was obvious there was just too much snow from there up in places to make it worth going any further.

It was a great ride though.  Riding up Barr Trail is tough.  Not so much in the taxing leg busting, lung bursting way that some climbs can be but instead it is a challenge to pedal over, around and through the plethora of obstacles on the trail and to keep going.  Everything from loose granular Pikes Peak Granite on the trail, to larger rocks, roots and water breaks make it tough to keep a forward momentum going.  And to be honest there were just some sections even going up where I had to portage the bike some but still it was fun.

It is funny how Barr Trail makes the rest of the hills today appear to be nothing.  Over 4500 gain for the ride in 21 miles.
I'd say Barr Trail will be good practice for simulating going up the Powerlines in Leadville.  Maybe not 100% similar but I think the skills will be transferable.  As far as riding down Barr Trail?  I think that will just help my confidence overall with all of my riding across the board.

I've seen this tag all over town... Monument Valley Park... other places down low and even on trails in the foothills.   Has anyone else noticed it?  This was on the Barr Trail sign at No Name Creek.

I see this tag all over town and all the up the peak too.
But today was a good ride.  I know it was a good ride because as I was coming down Barr Trail I was second guessing my decision to skip the Silver Rush MTB race... The cycling confidence has grown by leaps and bounds the past couple of months.  This is a good thing considering I am doing a sixty mile race in just over three weeks...  I better have some confidence!

Lastly I trimmed down the carbon seat post on the Cannondale today.  I felt wrong taking a hacksaw to something that cost so much as an aftermarket purchase but I had to trim it for a better fit on the bike.  Bonus... I lost another oz in weight on the bike!  From what I have played with on the Cannondale and testing it out here and there I think that I am going to be quite happy once I am finished setting it up and I can take it out and put it through the paces.  I can't wait.