Monday, March 31, 2014

March, etc.

I can't believe today is the end of March and I really can't believe it given the various weather forecasts both for our state and other parts of the country.  This winter does not want to let go.

A month ago I had no idea what I was going to be doing this year.  Within the first week of March I was denied entry into the LT100 MTB Race so taking matters into my own hands I registered for Leadman soon after.

Overall my training volume comparing last year for the first three months of the year and this year for the first thee months is off and it is large enough of a discrepency to cause some alarm. Almost.  I attribute it to taking the first weeks of January off when I was sick and also blaming the weather as it was way more conducive for long hours out running and riding last year in Jan, Feb, and March than this year.

So my numbers are off a bit.  I am not going to sweat it especially given the output that I have been consistently putting out this past month.  I feel way stronger on both the bike and running than I did a year ago.  It isn't the same as last March at all.

But my totals for this March compared to March of last year are really close.  Close enough for me know that I am on the right track and not playing "catch up" like the numbers might indicate.  I am definitely sitting in a good spot.

Training Time for March
I am ready for the weather to get right.  That will help a ton in so many ways.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Still in the Springs for a bit.

Melissa was here all this past week and we now have most of the house packed and ready to move.  My plan was to go up to Aspen early this week then and just stay up there but the weather has different ideas.  It looks as if it will be storming there pretty much all week so I might as well just stay here where I can at least train in milder weather.  Plus I have no desire to drive up there with the Jeep loaded to the max in winter like conditions.  I've done enough of that already these past few months.  No more winter driving! 

It has been a good week on the training front.  The only bad thing that happened was that I wrecked the bike yesterday.  Hard.  So right now I have some sore spots and what not from the impact but nothing that will be lingering or any real injuries to worry about.  I was damned lucky it wasn't any worse than it was. 

18:32 training hours for the week.  10:39 on the bike, all outside, and 7:53 running. 

I am ready for the wind to go away. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Closing Out The Week

Closing out another week and all things considered I think it turned out to be a good training week. 12:32 total training time for the week.  10:20 of running for 69 miles and then 2:12 spent on an indoor trainer riding.  I would have preferred to bike more this past week but the weather and circumstances were not cooperative.

I had really hoped to ride yesterday and today but it never happened with the weather.  I still managed to get into two solid runs though, 16 and 15 miles respectively and both were quality runs.  I hope to get in more riding this coming week while I am here in the springs.

Went to REI today and blew about half of my dividend.  I got a new bike light so I don't have to be so concerned about getting stuck out after dark and then trying to ride with a headlamp.  I also got a new Camelbak Mule NV to replace my old Mule which was ten years old and kinda stinky regardless if I washed it or not.  I finished up the trip with six new pairs of Thorlo hiking socks which I wear 99% of the time every day.

I have to get up super early tomorrow morning as there is a showing at ten a.m. for the house so I need to clean. I think when I am ducking out for the showing I will get new tires at Pro Cycling for the Cannondale since I blew the rear tire two weeks ago.

Melissa will be here later in the afternoon and for the rest of the week as it is her Spring Break and then we will start packing everything into boxes that we can.  That will be the mission for the week.  More or less I am planning on four piles.  Things to go to the ARC and will go this week.  Things to box to leave here until the house closes and I will then move them to a storage unit in Pitkin County.  Things (some furniture mostly but some books and my mounts) which will go to Melissa's parent's home for storage until we get a bigger place.  Then the things which I will be taking to Aspen with me the first week of April when I just go up there and stay full time pretty much.  What is left here will be ready to just go onto trucks. 

I plan to only come back to the Springs one more time to take care of things, the piles mentioned above, and then just be done with it.  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

If the girl isn’t dead by the third verse, it ain’t Bluegrass.

It is not really common knowledge but I am and always have been a fan of good Bluegrass music.  Anyway, I watched this movie this week, it is free on Amazon Prime if you have a subscription, and I can tell you that the music is awesome and the story... well, it's definitely Bluegrass.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Twelve Weeks And Two Days; Training in Aspen

So today I finally sat down and actually looked at a calendar to see how many days I had between now and the Leadville Marathon on June, 14th.  It comes out to twelve weeks and two days.  Good to know.

That will be my first race of the year.  Last year I was sort of bummed that I spent so much time through the winter and spring just training and did not go to any races except for the Cheyenne Mountain 50K. It was boring, isolating, and downright lonely at times doing all of my workouts alone.  This year though I welcome it.  I like knowing my first/next race is just over 12 weeks out and I can just focus on that and focus on that I will.  I am still a little freaked out over the possible snow conditions going up to Mosquito Pass that early in June though.  I do wonder if they might reconsider rerouting the course for the Marathon if it is bad.

But not having any races between now and then is fine with me. It just keeps my life more simple and I can appreciate that right now.

Double workouts most days this week which is sort of new for me.  In the past I have done doubles but not at this intensity and not day after day.  It's fun.  After just two weeks of working with Lucho I can tell that the foot is definitely on the gas training-wise, and not so much on cruise control as last year.  (That is just an analogy though... we weren't on cruise control or slacking last year either.) Last year the goal was to survive, this year it is to actually achieve something. 

I am so glad that I started training in January like I did in order to be ready to train for whatever I would end up doing.  It has paid off in huge dividends.  Another cool thing that I have noticed is that I am a lot stronger (and maybe even a touch faster) than last year.  I know this because last year the bike rides and trainer rides would kill me.... so I sucked on the bike pretty much.  Then when it came time to run, the runs were miserable and hard to get through because I was still affected from the bike workouts.  So my running sucked too.  It all sucked pretty much.  I remember being so frustrated last February I think it was that I almost just quit altogether.

But this year and especially these past three weeks it is completely different.  Whereas last year I was learning how to "run off of the bike" this year I am already there and have been there.  So I feel stronger and I do believe that my training is more effective now.  It is a huge confidence booster.

Training in Aspen though... If I were to do any outside riding up there this past week it would all have to be on roads.  Most trails are too messy to even run on right now.  A month or two ago trails were solid packed snow so no big deal.  Now there are soft spots, muddy spots, and then icy spots to contend with.  Marginal for running, but definitely not fit for biking.   I will have another three weeks or so in the springs coming up for riding there before I am up here full time mid-April.  I will figure out places to ride then.  Still though, lots of roads to ride on that are paved and clear... up the pass, or at least part of it, Maroon Creek Road, Castle Creek Road, Woody Creek Road and the like... 

Training aside... it is has been SO nice to be up here this week.  I get stop by the school most days and say hi to Melissa which is a huge treat.  AND!  It is nice to be somewhere and be able to sit on a couch again.  But more importantly I have just realized that this is just my home now so I am happier here than anywhere else I could be pretty much.  But, I am going back to the springs tomorrow.  Melissa is off for Spring Break next week and will coming to the springs on Monday.  Next week is the final push on packing and everything else.  By April 1, things will be in boxes to come here, go into storage, etc.  Then it will be time to move.  Finally! 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Got A Lot Done This Week

All in all a pretty good week for the most part.  I sold a lot of stuff and am feeling good about that.  Pretty soon I won't have anything left except for the stuff that goes into boxes to be moved.

Great week of training.  I had an interesting experience on Thursday's ride because my back tire on the Cannondale went flat as I was riding up Cheyenne Blvd, almost to Cresta.  It seems there is a seam in the tire that runs down the center of the tread and that is where it was leaking from.  I tried to make it an easy fix so I removed the needle from the valve stem, put a small bottle of Stan's Sealant in to the tire and fiddled with it until it seemed like it would hold.  Move the sealant around, shoot in some air, check it and do it again.  It flatted about 20 minutes into my ride but lasted the other 2:40 but I still think I need a new tire.  The Trek was getting tuned up so that is why I was on the Cannondale.  It was an easy fix and thankfully I didn't have to use the tube in my pack as that would have taken longer taking the wheel off, remove the tire, put in the tube, etc. 

Lots of riding this week though and the runs were good too.  14:50 of training for the week.  11:30 on the bike, and 3:20 running.  Yesterday, Saturday, I did a 60.6  mile ride with 5K of climb and that was 5:27 of the total biking volume for the week.

Thoughts on weight and diet.  Right now I vary between the mid to upper 150's.  At the current time there really isn't any discipline in my diet at all.  I have enough other stuff to worry about in life right now than to be constantly policing what I eat and drink.  Call it a cop out too, but the way I have been training all winter, I have wanted to make sure I am eating enough to build some lean mass if I can but also to prevent bonks on workouts so every workout has been strong.  Anyway... There are approximately 12 weeks until the Leadville Marathon.  I am going to clean the diet up starting on April 14 with my goal weight being 147 -149 by June 14, and then try to hold there for the summer.  That will give me about eight weeks to lose about seven to eight pounds.   

Heading up to Aspen tomorrow for a few days.  It's been two weeks since I have seen Melissa and I have been really missing her.  Plus there really isn't a need for me to be here this week anyway for the most part.  I can run all I need to there and ride an indoor trainer for all of my bike workouts so no impact there.  This is probably my last trip up there to "visit" as I imagine when I go up about mid-April that will be it.  I will just live there. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Leadman! Part Deux

Since my lottery luck sucked so bad for the 2014 HR100 and the 2014 LT100 MTB I am now geared up for another run for another Leadman finish this year.  I have sat by and waited patiently for months waiting to see exactly what might happen this year and for that reason I have abstained from registering in any races except for Run Rabbit Run 100 which is way out there in September.  Now I have a race schedule, my summer is set.  Just five races really. 

Pb  Marathon  June 14
SR 50 MTB    July 12
LT100 MTB   August 9
10K                August 10
LT100 Run    August 16

So there you have it.  My first race of the season now will be the Leadville Marathon in just a little over three months away.  For those who are familiar with the standard schedule of Leadville races, you might notice that the Marathon date is about two weeks early but the other races are spaced apart about the same.  The early marathon date I see as both good and bad.  Good as I can race it hard and have four instead of two weeks to recover and get ready for the SR50 MTB race on July 12.  The bad... given our snowpack situations across the state and especially the central mountains, the marathon course could be really messy if  not downright un-runnable. 

The following three photos were taken June 9, 2011 on the way up to Mosquito Pass.  You can see why I might be concerned.

Looking up towards Mosquito Pass.  You can see the snow on the roads up there.
This is the road lower.  The creek and flowing water is the road itself.
Looking back down the drainage you can see how much snow was still up high.  This was June 9.

Anyway, that's the potentially bad part.  But really not a lot to worry about because if the conditions are that bad it will just affect everyone the same I imagine.  I know better than to get too freaked out. If they have an exceptionally warm and windy spring in and around Leadville the snow will evaporate in a hurry. If the course is good, I'd like to pick up ten to fifteen minutes here.

Then there is the 50 bike.  The command decision by Lucho and myself is to ride the full suspension Trek on that course.  Also planning on getting in a boat load of riding the course and training on it.  I am looking to go nearly an hour faster in that race than this past year.

The 100 bike... now here is the challenge.  I plan to ride the Trek for this race too.  The hard tail Cannondale is on the bench for now as my back up bike.  It is mechanically sound and ready to race.  I decided to race the Trek as I have already raced it and it is a good bike for that course and I trust it 100%.  Also from a budgetary point, it is cheaper for me to plan to race and maintain that bike through the training and racing season than to keep fixing both bikes.  It is cheaper to feed one horse than two. 

I have to make up about 1.5 hours in the 100 bike over my time last year.  I think the first hour is easy to make up as I have experience on the course now and know it.  It's those other 30 minutes that we are going to have to work super extra hard to make up.  I think that I made Columbine in about 5:35 last summer.  This year it has to be nearly an hour faster at 4:40.   It should be fun (and scary.)

For the 10K... I'd like to drop five minutes there but if I come in the same time that will be fine.  My secondary goal is to keep on JT's heels and harrass him for that whole race... that is if I don't just flat out crush him and if he is even in the series still at that point.

The biggie... The LT100 Run.  I will be honest.  One of the reasons I did so well last year was that I told myself countless times that I would not be coming back to do that race for quite some time.  That helped me to push through a lot of sections that I do not like.  I don't know if I can get myself to fall for that lie two times in a row.  I also believe that last years run was the best run of my life and quite possibly not one to ever be duplicated.  I could be wrong but 23:18 seems pretty darn far out to pull off twice.  But I also think I cracked the code for me in terms of running that race and big buckling and I will race it the same exact way as I did this past year.  The speed will be there or it won't but I think I will be okay and a big buckle for the run is quite doable. 

So I am looking for three hours off of my time.  This past year, I was 15th overall and it is cool that nobody older than me finished the series ahead of me.  I would like to keep it that way this year too. 

Q: What is more cool than having a Leadman Trophy sitting on your mantle in Aspen?

A: Having two of those heavy as hell trophies sitting on your mantle in Aspen!

Friday, March 7, 2014

My Birthday Run March 8th 08:00

Anyone who would like to join me tomorrow, Saturday, March 8th for my annual birthday run, come on down!  I try to do my birthday run most years and I always try to get my years in mile-wise but most times come up short.  Anything over thirty tomorrow will be great.... 46 is the goal.  Yeah I know.. "Damn you are old Andy!"

I have come up with a very simple loop that is approximately 8.5 miles long.  The loop starts at my house, goes over to Monument Valley Park by the swimming pool, then south to the foot bridge which crosses over to the east side of the creek. Go north for two miles or so to the top of the park then take the other bridge, west, and run south along the west bank of the creek to Fontanero.  Take Fontanero west to the greenway then head south until Walnut and then turn right, west, headed into Sonderman Park.  Go all the way through Sonderman Park up to Mesa and then take Mesa south back towards the house.  More or less that is the loop.  I will probably run it mostly counter clockwise but might throw in some clockwise loops for variety and to help manage the wind if that is an issue.

The map of the 8.5'sh mile loop.
I hope to get in five loops and then then just do something out and back to tack on the extra remaining 3.5 - 4 miles.  I like the size of the loop as I will never be gone for more than an hour and half for each loop and can stop in the house for more stuff if I need it or change into warmer or cooler clothes as the day wears on.

I plan to start at 8:00 sharp and just keep going until it is done.  Afterwards I will probably go downtown or to Manitou to get something to eat and to hang out a bit.  And if anyone wants to hang out then I would love to have the company.

Registered for Leadman yesterday.  Lucho is back on the payroll.  I had what was probably the most fun summer of my entire life last year doing this series.  When I was running on Wednesday and thinking things over I realized that this summer is going to be even MORE fun.  It is pretty exciting stuff.  I get to train in and around Aspen, and I will spend a lot of time up in Leadville training since it is so close and really focus this year on sharpening my biking skills.  Dos el plato grandes, por favor.  :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Wasn't Expecting This

This sort of gums up the works a little.  Do I register for Leadman now or just say screw the whole idea?

Which came first, the couch or the potato?

Another purging milestone last night.  I sold my couch, love seat, end tables, coffee table, two lamps and a fake decorative tree.  I guess I don't have to worry about sitting and around and turning into a fat ass on the couch since I don't have one now.

Now where do I sit?
For some reason and I have yet to put my finger on it I have felt "off" since it all went away last night.  Maybe I have hit or I am approaching the point of no return when it comes to the purging efforts?  You know, past the 50% mark where now I have less than half of what I started with?  I definitely feel a huge energy shift. Maybe it is because I got rid of something that was more than just stuff and actually had a real history to it?  The couch and loveseat I got when Annie was eleven.  Do you know how many movies her and I watched while on that furniture all of those years?  It is just a weird sensation.

My motorcycle is on the block next and you can imagine the headaches involved in THAT if you have ever sold anything on Craigslist.  Lots of stupid questions.  I think my favorite one so far was the guy who asked if I would bring it to him in Boulder, and oh yeah... he wanted for half the price.  Sometimes I weep for our country.

The sad thing is I already have ideas for another motorcyle for Pitkin County once I get up there.  

Short but intense ride lined up for today when it warms up.  Wednesday is a run, Thursday ride, Friday sort of an easy day with Saturday being the huge run.  The forecast for Saturday is deteriorating a little bit so I might have to do the run on Sunday.  Last year on my birthday run it was cold, windy, not raining but a heavy mist kind of crap.  I sure hope it isn't like that this weekend. And if anyone is up for doing any of the miles with me let me know.  I am planning three separate forays from the house with the final one ending in Manitou in the evening and then maybe taking a taxi home after hanging out there a bit.

Still no word on the 100 MTB Lottery...  But it is only Tuesday.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Saturday. No Run Today.

Just a lot of this kind of slush and stuff today.
The weather is bad out for running and forget even getting on a bike.  It isn't because it is snowing or that is windy or even that cold out.  If anything it is because it isn't that cold out and that is what is making a mess of things.  There is just slush and melting snow everywhere. It is snowing and has been all day but the outside temperature is right around 32 to 33 degrees Fahrenheit.

It just isn't worth it to go out and get in the mess.  Even if I stayed on the surfaces that have been mostly clear and I have been running on all week it would still be sloppy.  I guess I could have tried to go to the ARC to run on the treadmill but I am just not that invested in it today.  I feel bad I am dropping my long run for the week but it happens.  I had already planned on going to the ARC tomorrow for a long ride on an indoor trainer and that will just have to do.

I did get to check out parts of the Power of Four Ski Mountaineering Race today and watch Brendan Trimboli and his racing partner Drew finish the race.  It is a race that I would like to try someday but I am nowhere near good enough skiing downhill to even think about it right now, if ever.  It is a stout race, at 25 miles and over 12K in elevation gain. 

Heading back to Colorado Springs later tomorrow afternoon in order to give the traffic a head start on I-70.  The weather forecast for the springs looks nice enough to get some good rides and runs in this week.  I am planning a super, extra long, forty'ish mile run for next Saturday.  Still trying to figure out the course but I think it will be something like three 15 mile out and backs from the house to various parts of town throughout the day. 

Leadville 100 MTB lottery is this week.  Once I find out if I got in or not then I will plan out my season accordingly. It does feel weird that it is the first of March and I am only registered for Run Rabbit Run 100 and it all the way out there in September.