Friday, May 31, 2013

A Day Off

Supposed to get up to 30 miles today running.

I think I am going to go and have Chinese food for lunch. 

While both statements are true both statements also illustrate the total disconnect I feel from training today.  I am tired and the idea of trying to cram in a big run (emphasis on cram) today is just exhausting.  Even more so if that wind is going like it has been all week.

There are days to buck it up and just get it done and there are days to just enjoy.  Today will be one of the days to enjoy and rest.

Took a pedal to the back of my right calf on a wreck yesterday and it is sore and swollen and not as loose as I would like it to be.  So I am going to baby it along today.  Maybe later I will get out on it and stretch it out a little. 

I will hit it hard tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday.  I think that will work. 

But for now... Lunch with Melissa, Sesame Chicken, Hot and Sour Soup, Fried Rice and an Egg roll sounds like the perfect plan for the day.  Tomorrow's run will be there tomorrow.

This is the Monarch Crest Trail.  I plan to ride it the last weekend of July.  Can't wait!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I Might Just Be Tired But...

I might just be tired but his cracked me the hell up.  It is way early or late depending on your frame of reference and I think that fact that is is in German actually makes more hilarious as I can actually catch some of it. 

Loading the bike into the car reminds me of when I first got the Trek and I was trying to get it into the Jeep. 

My LAST night of nights tonight.  YAY.  Four days off to get my schedule right.  I get to sleep above ground.  I can't believe I made it these three months.

Three hour ride on tap today with climbing.  I am thinking Barr Trail up towards Elk Park on the newly fitted Cannondale.  That could be fun.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

One Monastic Month Out

Four weeks and four days... or exactly one calendar month away from the Leadville Marathon now.  One month!  I guess it is time to get serious?

By serious I mean that I need to revoke all of the little "vice passes" that I have been giving myself for the past month.  It's been fun but now it is time to focus a little.  I've done a good job the past week of monitoring the food intake and it has helped immensely.  Now for some other little lifestyle changes including saying adios to my little Cuban friends for the next several weeks and focusing on training, rest and recovery...  

Or as Lucho says, time to live like a monk.  We've had six months of hard work and this past month I have had a crap ton of fun to compensate.  Now, so close to the time of execution I have to start practicing some damned discipline, restraint and control.  Ugh... No more King's Chef, Chinese Food, or burgers for a while... I'll live.

Today I did put in my vacation requests for this summer.  I waited until I knew if I would be on days or not yet.  That was exciting and July is going to be super fun as I am going to gone up into the mountains every weekend except for one.  I can't wait.

I am taking the Cannondale in tomorrow to have it fitted.  I rode it a bit on Sunday and had a blast on a ton of single track with it but I've gotten it as dialed in as I can. Time for a pro to look at it.  I am pretty excited about it as I am sure once that is all set up for me I will be just as happy with that bike as I am the Trek and it is comforting to know that I will have two solid bikes in the stable to race with this summer.   I plan to ride both bikes a TON the week after the Marathon up on Leadville on the 50 MTB course.  Again... I can't wait!

I have to be conservative the next several weeks or so but it is exciting that we are so close to all of the fun starting!  Definitely exciting!

I don't think TP could be any more creepy than he is in this video....

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Walk Hard

Another great week of training comes to an end today.  After yesterday's run I was tired for certain but overall, structurally, I am feeling pretty good.  It is awesome to have a good training week with lots of volume and not end it with a lot of  nit-noity little pains and aggravations.

Twenty hours and fifty eight minutes of training this week.  112 miles riding, 44 miles running.  24K gain on the bike, 8K running.  Longest ride was 62 miles and my longest run was 18.  

Yesterday's run was interesting.  For starters I parked at the Manitou Springs High School Track and caught the Intemann trail there and ran it to Ute Pass Trail.  I refuse to deal with any of the Manitou traffic, parking, and paying to park hoopla so from here on out Manitou High School will be my trailhead of choice for anything Pikes Peak related.  That is until the figure out how to fleece me for parking there too.

Anyway, I had a nice comfortable warm up over to Ruxton and then limited exposure to the circus around the COG before hitting Ute Pass Trail which I had all to myself.  Hill one was tough... hill two, still tough but shorter, hill three took forever, hill four about did me in and hill five finished the job right before the crest.  I devised a plan inspired by Keith Grimes who earlier in the week posted that he had hiked up Long's Ranch Road one night.   Yesterday afternoon that idea seemed brilliant to implement for me as well into my workout.

I had already gone through probably half of Camelback bladder and water bottles at this point.  If I ran up the road I'd be completely empty by the top I am sure.  My mind was fried from pushing for so many days.  Hiking up that road wasn't going to be that much slower anyway.  So that is what I did and it worked out great!  Hiking is legit ultra training anyway.

Hiking is challenge too.  It can be a touch humbling, it can be too slow at times and it can demand a lot more patience than a typical run can.  But the truth is there will be parts of EVERY race in Leadville this summer where I will probably be hiking some at one point or the other.  Hell even in the 10K I bet.  So I figured yesterday I should probably start hiking some more and getting used to that again.  I got to spend more time with my heart rate a little more under control and steady (I was probably at MAF anyway) and spent more time in the fat burning zone where I sort of need to be for a bit.  I got to work muscles that aren't worked that much anymore with all of the running and cycling.  My brain got a break form pushing so much like I said earlier and it just allowed me to relax and enjoy the ascent up the road.

One of the other great benefits to hiking I figure is that it is damned near impossible to get hurt so in the sense of self-preservation and protecting all of the work put into training this year, hiking a bit was a good idea.  And lastly, if I EVER get into Hardrock, I can almost promise that will be mostly hiking anyway.

The run back down Barr via the Experimental Forest was fun as always.  Then the trek back to the High School was tough initially going up and around the base of Red Mountain but after that it was easy.

Like I said, another great week.  I am so glad that Meslissa and I decided to stay home this weekend as it really allowed me to rest between workouts, eat and sleep and recover.  I wouldn't have been able to do that if I had a lot of windshield time in the Jeep.

Five weeks till the Marathon... gulp.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Found out today that my three month tour of duty working nights ends next Thursday.  I can't believe it.  I had resigned myself to the fact that I would be working nights for quite some time.  I am in shock but happy at the same time.  The past three months have definitely been challenge because of the work schedule.  

Anyway three months of hell is about to come to an an end.  No more sleeping four days a week in the basement on the futon.  That alone will be awesome.  This is my last night on this week, four more nights next week then back to days.  I can't wait.

Melissa and I have decided to stick around here for the weekend instead of taking off and doing anything.  We can do more if we stay home really than take off and go on a road trip.  We will be off and doing enough stuff through the summer anyway so a weekend around home will be nice.

Decent 11 mile run this evening. Melissa rode her bike along with me on the entire run.  Feeling a little beat up from the ride yesterday but it all worked out.  Nice four hour ride planned for tomorrow.  I am thinking go from the house up Almagre (Mount Baldy) and back. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Weird is a good word to describe today.  Off would be another good one as well as just plain old "uggh."

Had a tough time getting to sleep this morning after work so the brain was engaged longer than I wanted.  Finally got ready to go to sleep and figured to get a full day of sleep I'd need to get up at three or so in the afternoon.  That was going to make riding a touch problematic because then I would have really had to wedge it in between sleeping and my shift tonight.  I set my alarm for three and probably around nine I was out.

I woke up with the room completely dark and quiet and no clue as to what time it was.  My body believed it to be sometime after two in the afternoon.  The alarm had not gone off yet but I figured it was close to time.  I moved around a little and I could see a bright sliver of light on the edge of my makeshift blackout curtain.  The intensity of the light made me think think that it was much later too.  Finally I shifted up and peered around the corner of the futon to actually see the digital clock and it was only 12:42.  Weird.

Weird but good in a way.  I had not slept my day away and I have some time to play with to get ready for the ride and to actually ride without feeling pressure to cram it in.  My feet hit the floor and I was moving.

Besides waking off at time that I was not planning to the next weirdness came when I hopped on the scale.  The weight is up. Up. Up. Up.  I don't know what it is... well I do... I have two suspects but the main one is that I am still eating every damned thing in sight like I did on vacation.  Oh yeah, drinking sodas too...   So right now I can't really modulate my intake be it either the quantity or the quality and the numbers one the scale are reflecting that.  Worst part is I sort of don't care.  It isn't as much as I don't care as I just don't have the whatever it takes right now to be strict with myself.  Working my new schedule is tough enough... training is tough enough... something has to give and damnit I love to eat.

Anyway... weight is up... motivation to do anything about it is down and I am displeased by both of those factors.

Now to ride... I had the ride sort of mapped out in my mind and I had transcribed the workout to a note card to tuck into my shirt.  Basically I was looking at an hour warmup followed by a 30 minute interval up a hill, ten minute easy rbi, then a 20 minute interval, another ten minute easy rbi, followed by two five minute high intensity intervals then just regular riding to bring the volume up to three to four hours.

The same problem I am having with cleaning up my diet crept into the ride today too... Just a head full of "I don't want to."  The first hour I thought about just quitting.  Everything.  Running is stupid and riding a bike is even more so developmentally limited... it's all bad.  Then the ever nagging question of "why" looms over me... Why Leadman?  Really?  Why?  Why not just call it a good fifteen minute ride go home and go back to bed, call it a day and hope for a better tomorrow.  Email Lucho and inform him that due to a lack of interest today has been cancelled.  Why not?  Why not even just take a week off, completely, and then see how things look after that?  A week off... that sounded pretty good, or it did.

Of course none of that happened... I didn't bail.  I rode through Sonderman, GOG, Red Rocks and did my first 30 minute interval pretty much the full distance up high drive.  It about killed me and I got it done but I had no clue how I was going to do the next 20 minute interval with my HR between 145 and 155.  But then I got an idea...

I bombed back down High Drive to the Red Rock Loop trail and started riding up it towards Section 16.  Now I am having fun.  Riding up that single track was a blast and before I knew it, I was almost at the top and my 20 minutes about done.  What do you know?  Pretty cool!

The ride back down to High Drive on the trail was fun too and that is when things really turned around for the ride.  I did the five minute intervals going up High Drive again then down the south side and around Lower Gold Camp to Red Rocks then GOG, then home pretty much the same way I went out.

Maybe I was just tired.  Maybe I needed to knock some rust off after two blissful days of rest?  Who knows, but somehow I managed to find my rhythm again on the ride and just have fun.  I think part of it is something that I read that Dave Weins wrote in an article.  "The best way to improve is to ride your mountain bike a lot, plain and simple. The more trails you descend, the more hills you climb, the more roots you encounter, the more blind turns you navigate, the more times you brake, shift and corner, the more rutted jeep roads you traverse, the more… Okay, you get the idea. Get out there and ride your mountain bike!"

That made sense today and inspired me a bit as I found myself in the later parts of the ride pushing things a little bit.  Never unsafe mind you but maybe going down a trail or two a touch faster than I normally would.  As disjointed as the ride started out I found myself savoring the technical challenges of trails on my way home.  I also thought about that other cyclist I saw on Saturday and his super smooth descent down the trail... That makes me want to improve even more.

A weird day, a tough day no doubt, but it was definitely a day that pushed me in more ways than one. I am confident that in the end I benefited and definitely got something out of it.  33.81 miles in 3:44:10 with 7653 of gain.  It worked out.  

Tomorrow I run.  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Day Off

Lucho typically gives me Monday off as a recovery day but after the workload of the past week today was set as a rest day as well.  I didn't balk at it either... for once I am completely content to spend a Sunday doing damned near next to nothing.  I took Asia for a walk but that was about it.  I am looking forward to taking tomorrow off too.  I won't lie.

I feel really good about this past week.  For a five day training week I got in 16:34 total hours of training, 6:51 on the bike and  9:43 running.  77.5 and 51.5 miles respectively.  About 8K in elevation gain on the bike and over 13K for the week running.  The big push was the five hour/50 mile ride on Thursday followed by four hour/20 mile'ish runs on Friday and Saturday.  I got through it all and I am pretty content with that right now.

Had a guy pass me on his mountain bike as I was descending to Lower Gold Camp Road from the Red Rocks connector trail on my run yesterday.  The guy was flying!  But he wasn't out of control or anything like one typically sees around here... I mean I would have both hands full of brake and this guy just zoomed down as smooth as an Olympic skier going down a slope... it was cool to watch but also a little intimidating as I looked at the skill gap between his riding and mine.  

Six more weeks (five weeks and six days actually) until the Leadville Marathon.  I have been reading my old notes on the race from 2009 as well as reports form other runners to sort of get familiar with that course again, at least in my mind. I know from the last time I wrote, "Tough course.  The first hour was spent thinking, "dang it's hot" followed by "dang this is steep.""

The Leadville Marathon Elevation Profile

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Night Run

First night run of the year tonight.  Of course I have run plenty the past few months in the dark but this is really what I would call the first real night run of the year. The temps were comfortable and I only had to wear shorts and short sleeved shirt and my headlamp.  Just a very easy and casual cruise through the park.  Comfortable, relaxed, and happy.

This was also the second run of the day.  The first was a nasty progression run followed with hill repeats.  Melissa rode her bike and joined me so that made it a lot of fun.  She even did the hill repeats with me!

Today was bifurcated due to meetings at the office this afternoon.  So my "day" looked like this... sleep till noon, run, go to office, come home, eat dinner, sleep some more, run again, then shower and work.  Crazy, right?

But today is day four and I have only a few hours left on the clock.  Long ride for Thursday and I am looking forward to it.  I might try Old Stage/Gold Camp and stuff.  We will see.  I have managed my first week back post vacation and am feeling pretty good.  There is the possibility that I could be going back to days come June but I doubt it.  Actually I am sort of hoping to stay where I am for the rest of the year.  It took two months of pain to figure it out but now that I have it dialed in I am comfortable more or less.

And the upside to staying on is that when it does get warmer in a few weeks  I can run late at night on my breaks and do even more night running this summer. 

I really have never understood the entire fascination with all things Pirate so I really enjoyed this skit from Robot Chicken.  Warning, probably NSFW.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Magic Mike

Today turned out well. Late, late, damned near afternoon start for my ride but I got it done.  Started out with great weather but then ended up in rain, hail, sleet and wind up on the USAFA.   Saw a huge snake but not sure what it was exactly.  I have contacted my goto snake expert K.S. for identification.

27.5 miles in 1:46.  Came home looking like the victim of a shotgun blast as both myself and the bike were completely covered in red/clay/mud.

Slept pretty good then woke up this evening and ventured upstairs.  Melissa was sitting on the couch and of course I announced that I was awake and asked where my dinner was...

No response...

I said, "Hey... where's my dinner?" Again, No answer...  WTF?  Maybe she took my joking too seriously? 

So I see she has her headphones in and is watching something on her laptop so she wasn't ignoring me on purpose so that's good.  She tells me to come over and that she wants me to see something.  I am sure by now you know where THIS is heading...

So I have seen things this evening that I never needed to see.  EVER.  Mathew McConaughey in a leather harness and cowboy hat... and some other dude break dancing... all the while wondering again... WTF???  And is there some man-card board that I need to contact to notify of this gross violation or possibly even surrender my card... Forever.

Finally it ended and I asked Melissa what the hell was that and why did I have to watch it???  She said she liked it and that it was pretty freaking hot.

I replied, "You know what is hot honey? You washing my bike!  Now THAT would be hot."

I had fun cleaning the kitchen tonight.  
Just last week.  Damn. 

What I Learned In Mexico

I guess there is more than one way to phrase it.  It's an old and faded decal on our fishing boat.
Having a rough transition back to the world. Glad to be home but overwhelmed by a lot of reality at the same time.  Just too much uncertainty floating around right now.  Life should be more about fishing, umbrellas on the beach, cigars, cerveza and ceviche...

Anyway... two days down this week... two more to go.  Dentist checkup this morning and then a two hour ride and then I get to crash for a bit.  If I can make it through this week I am sure all will be fine. 

If not, I might be leaning on Melissa extra hard to sell off everything, say the hell with the world, load up the Jeep, and run away back to Mexico.

No Nuts. No Glory.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Coming Home

Sitting in the hotel lobby waiting for transpo to the airport.... what a week it has been.  I have to say that hands down this was the best vacation ever.  I've been to Cozumel before and to various places in Mexico lots of other times but this trip trumps them all.  The weather, the resort, the food, all the stuff that Melissa and I got to do... it was definitely a great week.

I managed to get in 70 miles running down here this past week too.  Kicked my ass it did.  I didn't get to run on as many softer surfaces as I would have liked so there was a lot of running on pavement.  Wind was always a factor as well.  Either inbound or outbound there would always be a  strong headwind one way or the other to buck.  But it was actually better running into the wind as it caused an evaporative/cooling effect.  Running with the wind to your back was at least ten degrees warmer it seemed. 

About mile fifteen of yesterday's twenty mile run I started hearing a strange squishing noise.  Then I realized what it was.  I had completely soaked through my socks and shoes.  Water was dripping down the sides of the shoes... I was actually leaving footprints on the asphalt.  That is is how much fluid I had been losing.   I also drank about 100oz during that entire run too.  Maybe even a touch more.  It has been a great contrast to running in the crappy Colorado winter weather (which I hear we are still getting) but I don't know if I would ever be able to adapt to this kind of heat to train in on a regular basis.

The hotel we are staying at hosts a Triathalon every year... I would not be able to do it this year but I am not opposed to coming back and doing it again next year.  Maybe, we will see.  We are coming back as I definitely want to do more spearfishing and I want to see more of the other side of the island and there is so much more diving for Melissa to do.  And we HAVE to do the Pirate Ship Dinner again... 

But I am ready to go home too.  I miss Asia and just being home.  We have six weeks until the Leadville Marathon and then the fun really starts for the summer.  

I need to download my other pics but here is the one from spearfishing on Monday.  The guy in the camo wetsuit is Anibal the guide.  He was a pro divemaster for  ten years before becoming a spearfishing guide a year ago. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Having A Great Time

Speared my first fish this morning.  The largest trigger fish out of the group of us on the boat.  And that is what I had for lunch.  Great tasting, delicate fish.  Hope to get another one when I go again on Thursday.

Enjoying the trip so far.  I have run twice, a three miler and a 20 miler... Melissa has even ran with me some.  She went diving this morning and saw a pretty big nurse shark she said.   I didn't see any sharks today which is a good thing because spear gun or not, I don't want to be anywhere close to any sharks, really, ever.

The resort is pretty cool.  It is an all inclusive and in the past I have not been too impressed with all inclusive setups but this one is nice... Seems they are interested in providing more for you than just the basics that you pay for.  For instance, they cooked my fish for me today and made a great presentation of it.  I also think that they thought it was neat that I came in the restaurant carrying this big assed dead fish that I got just an hour earlier.

Running down here is the greatest.  So much to see and take in.  On yesterday's run I saw shades of blue in the water that I guess I never could of imagined.  Just beautiful.  And bonus!  No snow!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Do Epic Shit

Or at a minimum something moderately impressive...

Cobbled together a strange ride today.  Soon I hope to be able to ride above 8K without dealing with snow or even having to think about... 10K would be even better.  Anyway, the goal for the day was four hours with three nasty little 20 minute intervals thrown in for good measure... Problem was finding enough hills and distance overall to fill four hours with the the weather we had earlier in the week...

So, in short... North Cheyenne Canon, Lower Gold Camp, down Skyway, up Skyway, Red Rocks, Manitou, Barr Trail, GOG then home via Stinson trail and MVP....

Leaving in the morning for Cozumel for a week.  Finally.  I hope for better riding conditions up higher when I get back.  Hell I hope for better running conditions too.  All I know is for the next week I will be running a ton of flat stuff at sea level in monster heat and humidity and I can't frickin wait! 

Spearfishing Monday and Wednesday, lots of running, sitting on the beach, reading, smoking awesome Cuban Cigars and checking out ruins that are older than I can really fathom.  Awesome.  Just Awesome!