Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Coffee Shop Hell

My digs for the day.  No, that is NOT a coffee but a hot chocolate.  I'm just here for the WiFi.
I am by far not a fan of coffee shops.  Not a fan at all.  For starters I don't even drink coffee.  The vibe has just never set well with me. 

But today I am sitting today in the Starbucks in El Jebel.  I'm only here for the WiFi.  At least I can get work done while I am waiting on Asia to get out of surgery.  Yeah... about that.

About three-four weeks ago she mysteriously came up lame on her left back leg.  The same leg that she had ACL surgery on back in January. The short story is she has/had an infection in there and we hoped that a strong round of antibiotics would knock it down.  It helped and she bounced back but that course ended last Tuesday and by Friday she was limping again.  So the next step is to remove the plate that was put in when she had her ACL procedure with the thought/suspicion being that is what is holding the infection and where it is borne from.  There are more sinister theories but I am refusing to consider those at this point. Just hoping for the best here. Of course we won't  know anything for sure until the culture from the plate and biopsies come back as to what is really going on.  It will be a waiting game for sure.

It was about a year ago that I published the The Little Book of Happiness - Breaking Through the Abundance Threshold.  I never gave Amazon my bank account information back at the time.  So... a few days ago I got an actual royalty check in the mail.  It wasn't that much but the concept of it all is just so cool.  I made something geared to help people and it sold!  To me that is just very exciting. 

I actually ran yesterday.  My first run since Run Rabbit Run.  It was slow and uncomfortable.  A lot more uncomfortable than I was anticipating.  I guess it is going to take a few more days until things start to turn around.  I am not in a hurry.

At least I have been able to write a new blog for the Tri Peaks Website.  It is called Ack! Overwhelmed! and is all about helping clients get unstuck when they are overwhelmed and just don't know how to proceed.  It's pretty cool 

I wonder how long it will take before they kick me out of here?  Maybe I had better order lunch. ;)

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Fog Is Lifting

It has been a very strange week.  I have been busy and have gotten a lot done.  Just don't ask me what though, I probably don't remember.

Most of this week I have just been super-duper tired.  More tired than I can ever remember actually.  Post RRR100, physically I think that I took on way less damage than in the past, and have just been super tired instead.  I feel about 90% better today though.  After waking up it felt like someone turned the lights on in the dark room that I have been living in all week.  The joke is I didn't realize it was that dark.

I plan to start running again in a few days, definitely after the weekend.  I will run the Golden Leaf Half Marathon with Melissa next weekend and I think that I am actually going to run the Aspen TNT 10k on the 4th of October to see if I have any speed left at all in me.  But for the rest of the fall, I plan to keep it on the light side in terms of volume and plan on only 40-50 mile weeks.

Asia is going to the "spa" (boarding kennel) tomorrow and Melissa and I are going to spend the day and tomorrow night in Glenwood sort of as a mini-vacation.  Eat, drink, soak, repeat.

Looking forward to putting in for the HR100 lottery and I am even more excited now that there will be 12 more slots for the never started group.  I have a suspiscion, which could be wrong, that with people not getting into the lottery from other races that are no longer qualifiers for HR, the pool might shrink some.  I will have 16 tickets which doesn't seem like a lot but I guess it is way better than starting with just one.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Run Rabbit Run 100 (107) - It Feels Good To Feel Good!

I registered for Run Rabbit Run 100 on the fourth of January with the sole intention of just doing a race this year that would help me to maintain my qualifying status for the Hardrock 100 lottery since they dropped Leadville as a qualifying race.  Back then the decision came down to Run Rabbit Run in September or Bighorn in June.  The more I thought about it, I did not want to be staring down a 100 in less than six months, having to train through the winter, and with all of the upcoming life changes that were developing... Bighorn just did not fit the bill.

Since I did not get into the Leadville 100 MTB, I ended up doing Leadman again but that information, the lottery result, was not available until March, at which time I decided to do Leadman.  That meant that after the LT100 run I would only have three weeks and six days between the races.

Run Rabbit Run was not a total unknown to me.  I had paced my friend Ben there in 2012 from Dry Lake to the finish.  My opinion after that experience was that no way would I ever go back and do the full race. Ever.  But as outlined above, necessity dictated otherwise.

In July, during the middle of training and racing the Leadman series, I found myself, quite to my surprise, becoming excited about the prospect of doing Run Rabbit Run.  The more I studied the course and tried to visualize a plan for it, the more I looked forward to it.  I had a total shift in thinking.  Yes, Leadman finished in August but it wasn't the end of my summer. Twisted enough, that last week in Leadville was my last big training week for Run Rabbit Run in my mind.  Afterwards, I recovered, got the legs moving again and started getting serious about going to Steamboat and doing well. 

To spice things up, I was going to do this one without any support or pacers. I decided to have three drop bags on the course at places that I would go to at least twice and that was it.

Then things really got interesting.  On August 22, I was working out my plans for the race and this picture pops into my news feed on Facebook.
Run Rabbit Run had introduced a sub 30 buckle instead of just the standard finisher buckle.  "Ooooh!  That's the one I want!"  Planning then got a lot more serious.

So the goals for this race are starting to shape up in varying degrees. Get the race done to stay in the HR100 lottery was goal one.  Pull off a 100 so close after Leadville.  Do the race solo, sans crew and pacers. Then finally run my ass off the best that I could to get that pretty and shiny gold buckle.

That's a pretty big order right there...

The race... I loved it.  I don't know if I will do it again myself, but I highly recommend it for anyone who is in Colorado or close to Colorado who runs 100's.  The field size is small'ish, the aid stations are awesome and the volunteers are just simply amazing.  And the course?  It's pretty damned challenging.  (As a side note, I don't necessarily agree with the decision that dropped the LT100 from the HR100 qualifying race list, but I definitely believe that RRR100 is more appropriate of a qualifying race than Leadville.)

Running the first 40 or so miles of the course I felt great and really enjoyed running it.  My mantra for the day was "it feels good to feel good!"  Seriously, this is the best I have felt in forever.   Nothing hurt, I wasn't tired, and I wasn't dogged by the fatigue that had plagued me all summer.  It was also fun to run with and meet a lot of new people.

The late night hours though things started to change some.  I think that I experienced some weird slow down between Summit Lake and Dry Lake and I was also starting to slip into some low point without realizing it.  When I got to Dry Lake I was rather done.  I had to hang out a few minutes longer to eat some real food and regain my composure.  Not long after that though I started to feel a lot better.

The sun came up when I was almost back to Summit Lake which would leave me with 20+ miles to finish.  I knew it would cost me time but I took a break there after dealing with my drop bag and ate a ton and even sat for a few.  I was behind schedule but I thought that I could come in under 30 hours if I really pushed it and when I left Summit Lake, that is exactly what I did.

I had a great run from Summit Lake to Dry Lake but then started to struggle again between Dry Lake and the Mt. Werner Summit. I had not realized just how much climbing there was in that section and it just seemed to go on forever.  I was still on pace to come in under 30 hours but just barely.  What I really wanted was a nice time cushion to jog down the steep Mt. Werner service road and take it easy but that was no longer an option.  So I did what I had to do and hammered down the best I could the last 6.5 miles telling myself to keep going and that I can feel good some other time.  I pulled it off and crossed the finish line in 29:43:09.

This race seems like a total game changer for me.  Going into it I believe that I put to use all of the years of ultra experience and knowledge that I had gained and there is no way I could not have done it without relying on that.  The same goes for the actual execution of the race.  Being out there solo, you have to have a high degree of self-awareness as to everything that is going on, both external and internal.  Self-care becomes even more critical too, such as knowing when eat more, or back off just a little, or push just a little harder.  There is so much more that I wish I could explain.

Now for some rest!  No running for a while but I will probably get on the bike in a week or so for fun rides only.  I will run the Golden Leaf Half with Melissa in two weeks but I am running that solely to help her.  After that I might start looking at some smaller races through the rest of the fall and early winter.

And of course, I will be putting in for the HR100 Lottery! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Packed For Steamboat - Run Rabbit Run 100

This is what I am in for this weekend.  Lots of climbing but I think if I just gear down and keep it steady it will be a lot of fun.
I am notorious for waiting to pack for trips until the last minute.  Okay, maybe not the absolute last minute, but more like the second or third to last minute before a trip.  Getting everything together for Run Rabbit Run this weekend was no exception.

Part of it is that packing for races has become a lot easier over the past several years.  When I packed for my first ultra ever, The San Juan Solstice in 2009, I packed more for it and had more stuff in my drop bags that I had packed for a seven day, fly in, bear hunt in northern Saskatchewan that I went on in 2005.  When I ran Leadville in 2010, I think the entire back of a Jeep Wrangler was filled with my stuff. This year, I handed Melissa and Annie three little duffel bags.  Guess I have simplified it some.

The logistics though for this race have been a fun challenge for me.  I am doing it without a crew and without pacers so that means I have to have drop bags. But then the questions of how many bags, what to put in them, etc, etc, comes up.  I settled on only three.  One at Long Lake which I will go through three times, one at Olympian Hall in town which I will hit, twice at miles 20 and 30, and then another one at Summit Lake which is the aid station for miles 56 and 81. 

Then I had to figure out the timing of it all.  How many of X in each bag based on when I might arrive, etc.  Where do I pack the warm clothes, headlamps, extra goodies and snacks and so on?  And again the question of quantity came into play, with how many packs of drink mix, gels, etc, based on hours to get to each aid station and to the next.  It has been fun and I am damned glad that I sat down two weeks ago and sort of hashed out that rudimentary pace chart to give me something to go by.

Anyway, packing is done. 

As far as everything else goes, I am really excited for this race.  I feel great, nothing is hurting, and I think I am going into this one way more rested than anything I have done the past few months.  I am not going into it with the thought of still being beat up from Leadville or anything like that.  Seriously, Leadville? That is so 3.5 weeks ago!  I talked to Melissa about it last night and I told her that in my mind Leadville is deeply rooted in the past and so far back now that at least in my mind it has no bearing on anything else.  Even if it was less than a month ago, it is still that far back to me.

Looking at the past three weeks though it has been really interesting.  The first week, well I didn't really do much of anything except walk around town, eat, drink and sleep.  The second week started on the bike and some runs and EVERYTHING still hurt. But all of that dissipated by the third week where all of my workouts were relatively short but had some ass kicking intensity thrown into them.  My longest run was the Sunday before last when I did the loop from the apartment, up Sunnyside Trail, to Hunter Creek and then down.  It took 3.5 hours and was a long day on trails.  That ended a 45 mile week of running too.

I am relaxed and definitely more confident than I have been in quite some time. I have no delusions or misconceptions that this race is going to be an easy one.  Not by a long shot, but my plan is to just go into this thing relaxed, keeps things conservative, but steady and just have a good time.

It is 100 miles... anything can happen.