Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Red Planet Pt. 2

I left Steamboat Springs for Moab at 2 a.m. on March 26th, partly because I wanted to beat a snow storm that was moving in, but mostly because I was just dying for a change of scenery. The drive up was uneventful except for nearly running out of gas. As I pulled onto Highway 313, the skies started getting light and I pulled over to take this picture.

I pulled into the campspot that Christian and Jonny had found the day before just after 7 a.m. The guys were happy to see me get there so early and I was happy to be there. It was cool with some light flurries but not uncomfortable.

Later in the morning, the guys went out to do a little 4 wheeling and I laced up to take a run with Benihana. I was going to run the trail the guys were on but found my own trail after running a couple miles. It felt great to run on dirt again as I cruised by giant sandstone features under slightly overcast skies.

About a mile down this trail, we climbed up into a natural amphitheatre and followed a sign and some cairns (small rock piles that mark the trail) to find some petroglyphs on the rock wall. Very cool. I wish I had brought my camera on this run. Continued past here after running on the slickrock for a couple minutes and got back on the trail.
I ran easily on the sand and rock for a little longer before I started to feel tired from the drive and decided to turn around and head back to camp. Nice mellow run in the desert for 52 minutes.

After the guys came back we took a drive down to Dead Horse State Park where we kicked it for a little while, taking in the views and hiking a couple miles.
On the drive back to camp, I nearly fell asleep at the wheel. Fortunately, Jonny B. was there to catch it before I ran us off the road. Oops. Better take a nap. Just chilled at camp the rest of the day.

It was cold the next morning and we watched as squall lines of light snow came rolling in off the desert. It wasn't as bad as it sounds. We dealt with the weather and went wheeling a little later. In the afternoon, John Asta showed up and all of us wheeled 7 Mile Jeep Road.

It got much warmer in the daytime and we went out to do the Moab Rim Trail. On the way up, I could tell that I would be able to run at least as fast as we were crawling. I got out before the turn around (after Emitt the Dog barfed in Asta's crawler!) and ran with the dogs. We started out in a cool creek bed that was still damp from the previous night before climbing up some slickrock. I had no problem staying way out in front of the guys as they creeped and crawled over obstacles. I saw a few day hikers but not many people and had the best time jumping up and down the rocks as the dogs ran alongside. We went to Potato Salad, a popular local's obstacle, after that, so that Asta could meet up with some buddies from Wisconsin. That evening, we went on a covert, night wheeling mission.

I'd tell you about it, but I'd have to kill you afterwards.

The next morning, we were planning on wheeling Poison Spider Mesa but got shut down by a group that had reserved the trail for a Jeep Safari Week event. We were meeting up with Asta's friends so we all decided to go do the Metal Masher Trail. The drive there was beautiful, up through an amazing canyon. When we got to the trailhead, I got out to run the trail as the guys wheeled it. Asta's friends from Wisconsin thought I was crazy. We stayed out on the trail about 3 hours and I managed to run about an hour and half, going back and forth from the group, then back on the trail. There were some, uh, complications, so Jonny and Christian had to make a run for some parts.
I had some, uh, complications of my own on the run out. Without getting too graphic, let's just say I was lucky enough to find some paper as I ran down the trail. Shortly thereafter, I found a nice bush to hide behind.

I didn't run the next day, in preparation for leaving. I packed early but we stayed in camp until midday. I got a little greedy and stuck around to go on one more wheeling mission. It got a little hairy on some of the obstacles and Buschmann ended up snapping a tie rod end. By now, it was 3 p.m. and I hitched a ride back to the campsite. Tired but happy, I wearily made the drive back home.

The trip was just what I needed to recharge my batteries. I would have liked to run a little longer but it wasn't quite in the cards. Great trip, though. I've started posting pictures on my Facebook page.

Today, I went for a nice, hard 1:13 run down to Howelsen Hill and back along the bike path. I haven't figured the mileage yet. Good run that got me a little sore. Well, it's not time to let up. "No one can run those miles for you." I keep telling myself. Trial of Miles. Collegiate Peaks Trail Run is one month from tomorrow and although I am using the race as a training run, I still want to run strong with a race mentality. My plan is train hard in the next 3 weeks (including a long run at sea level in Florida!) before tapering the last week of April.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just one quick blog entry before I take off to Moab. A slow week at work so I got up on the hill to do a little snowboarding. Everything is winding down with only a few weeks until the mountain closes and this season finally (mercifully) ends. Currently, we stand at 220" of snow for the season, which is incredibly sad by Steamboat standards (avg. 350"). I just hope we get some rain this spring/summer to make up for the lack of snowfall and so we can have campfires this year.

Wednesday, it snowed a couple inches and Bob skied in the morning, so we traded shifts at the shop and I took the afternoon to go poke around in the fog. The top of the mountain was completely socked in, so I stayed low and took a few laps. I found some good pockets of snow in the north facing trees but the overall visibility was so shitty that I called it after only riding for an hour or so.

Thursday was alot nicer and sunny. I went for a 30 minute hill run with Benihana in the morning, before work, while it was still dark. Went to work for a few hours but left the shop at noon and went up on the hill with BA after we had brunch. We met up with Spicoli at the top of the gondola and the three of us got some great sunny, spring turns. Fun, fast and poppy! After riding, I still felt good, so I went for a :45 run in the afternoon. I got to wear shorts, which was a nice change, and I ran with the dogs for about :25 then took them home and went out on the road for a shorty.

Today, I ended up working a full day (of course, I wanted to leave town!) and I just finished packing for Moab. Going to sleep early and leave mad early tomorrow morning for some red rocks, sand and sun (and maybe a little rain on Friday).

Monday, March 22, 2010

Took Friday and Saturday off from running because of the soreness in my left soleus and went on a 9 miler on Sunday. Both calves were rather tender after about 3 miles but not so much that I felt the need to turn back. I stopped for a second and stretched and re-continued at a very comfortable pace. It was a beautiful, sunny morning although very chilly, in the teens or single digits, for sure. I ran a road route up US 40 to Highway 131 and then back towards town on River Road. At Tree Haus, I had to stop to relieve myself and went to find a discreet spot near a maintenance building. The visor on my cap kept me from seeing the low roof, which I slammed my head into! Ouch! Dazed and pissed at myself (but not on myself), I ran on around Mt. Werner Circle and up Apres Ski Way to make a big loop around the Mountain neighborhoods. Cruised it on home in 1:25, good for a 9:00/mile pace overall. After the run, my right calf muscle was now more predominately sore, I decided to take today off from running (and possibly tomorrow) to rest up for Moab.

I've been geeking out over the topo map Bob gave me of the Moab area for the past week. Tons of trails and 4x4 roads to run and wheel on and warmer weather and big red rock cliffs to gawk at, can't wait.

That map, however, motivated me to pick up topo maps of the Silverton, Summit County (Vail/Breckenridge), Aspen and Grand Junction areas and now I'm dizzy with the route possibilities here in Colorado. It's clear to me that I'm going to be spending alot of time free running trails this summer. To that end, I ordered an ultralight backpack, (a GoLite Jam, 1 lb. 14 oz., 3000 cubic inch capacity), sleeping bag and sleeping mat (2 lbs., both from Big Agnes) this weekend. This is the core of my fastpacking gear for this summer. I'll also carry: a bivy sack, rain jacket and pants, up to 3 liters of water, a water filter/pump, a stove, food, a headlamp, a map, camera and, possibly, Benihana's dog food, if I can't get him to wear a pack and carry it his damn self. Light and fast and cover alot ground! Some of the runs I'm already thinking about:

Silverthorne: Buffalo Mountain loop, 12 - 15 miles, with the option of connecting to the Gore Creek Trail for 30+ more miles. Also, Ptarmigan Peak summit, a 4.7 mile climb from 9000' to 12,498'.

Vail/Beaver Creek/Minturn area: numerous long, out and back valley runs

Aspen/Snowmass: Conundrum Hot Springs. Just over 7 miles into the Maroon Bells area, hit up a sweet, au natural hot spring. I could turn around there but if I want to really get manly, continue up and over Triangle Pass (12900') for two miles, then do the 5.5 mile descent down to Gothic (9469') and then, turn around and go, up and back over for the full marathon.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Last Thursday, I left work early because it was such a nice day. I wanted to get a road run in and enjoy the newly lengthened afternoon. For the first time this year, I got to wear shorts! Felt great to stride it out but my left soleus (lower calf)muscle felt sore fairly early on in the run. I had a feeling that I had been running a little hard lately and was feeling the onset of a little overtraining muscle tear. I ran on and was able to continue without doing much more to upset it. I ended up with a great afternoon run down River Road to 131 and down Highway 40 and back to the house, 7.55 miles, in 1:04. 8:00/mile. I didn't run yesterday or today, but should be able to get back into it on Sunday. No worries though, I will probably taper my running this week very lightly in preparation for Moab.

Super stoked about going to Moab with Buschmann, Asta and Creeps, next weekend. We all made the trip there, must've been 7 - 8 years ago, when I still lived in Denver. Shit, I had dreadlocks at the time! That was a while ago. Anyway, Christian was living (or moving) there, and had built up his first Yota rock crawler. We spent a couple days camping and wheeling and it was a blast. This time around, everybody is pretty much bringing a rig, we're going to spend a little more time there, and I get to go nuts trail running slick rock and desert trails. Maybe some mountain trails, too, since Moab has it all. Can't wait. My goal is to do two long runs and probably bring my mountain bike, as well. Slinging my own water will be a must in the high desert, so I'll be sure to bring the ol' Camelbak. Another reason I'm excited to run there is that I'll get to wear my Vibram Five Fingers again. Last summer, after reading Chris McDougall's "Born to Run," I started doing a little barefoot-style running, while wearing the VFFs, which are essentially a foot glove. It's been too cold and snowy here since then to wear them, so I am glad to get the chance again. The idea behind the VFFs, and barefoot running, is that your feet can move in the most natural way possible once they are free of the confines of shoes. This, in turn, makes the feet, and legs, and body, stronger by allowing you to run the way humans were meant to.

Alright, good talk. Lates.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

anotha doubler

I went for an early trail run in the dark this morning. It's been sunny and warmish the last few days and cold at night, so there's alot of hard snow out there. Definitely, MicroSpike conditions. I warmed up with the usual run through the park and up and around my hill loop, then proceeded up to the First Vista behind Whistler Park. The topo map says this is a 400' climb, in about a half mile. As I neared First Vista, I noticed Benihana was not with me. I stopped and listened. I could faintly hear him barking off in the distance, way downhill of me. I knew he had an elk on the run. "Shit. Not again! Asshole." I thought (or did I say it?). I turned around at the Vista and bombed the downhill. Benny will (most of the time) come when I whistle for him but he wasn't listening this morning. I finally caught up to him about 20 minutes later, chasing a young buck, in the yard of one of the Priest Creek mega-mansions. He wouldn't come to me, so I took the liberty of walking through this person's yard, when I see them in the window, working at a desk. Here I am, in winter running gear, with a headlamp beaming, at six o'clock in the morning. They notice me walking next to their home so I felt obligated to knock on the door and assure them that I'm not trying to break into their house, I'm just trying wrangle my exuberant Siberian Husky that I just chased down from a mile away. The guy was cool enough and I leashed up Benny(now that he was tired from chasing) and we raced back home, me still fuming the whole way. The run, plus the side trip, took 1:09. Distance: unknown. Pace: fast enough to catch up to a Siberian Husky and an elk.

After a near full day of work, I needed some redemption and it was a beautiful, sunny afternoon. Laced up for a fast road run and started running. I had mapped out a five miler a couple days earlier, so I kinda followed that route and added a little to make sure I got the full five. Ended up with 5.33 miles in 40 minutes flat, good for a 7:30/mile pace. I've been feeling stronger lately and it felt great to push the pace the entire run. That's probably the fastest 5 miles I've run in 15 years. I've read several times that speed work has no place in ultra running. Whatever. That shit is fun.

Definitely feeling the second run in my legs tonight. I've got some soreness in my calves and, of course, my right hamstring is tender. I've beeen recovering quicker and quicker from my runs, so I expect to feel great in the morning. Another really positive benefit I've noticed is that my Resting Heart Rate has dropped from an already low 48 bpm, to 39-40 bpm, when I wake up. That is unbelievably low! This is super encouraging for me, as I know that many elite athletes are in this range, and is just motivating me more to push myself to see what I am capable performing this summer once I'm in condition.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My legs are legitimately whooped after this weekend. Saturday morning, Benihana and I arrived at the Mad Creek (a.k.a. Swamp Park) trailhead voluntary closure sign sometime around 7 a.m. and volunteered ourselves to run the trail anyway. A few days of warm temperatures and sun had melted alot of snow on southern facing slopes and sun baked the open meadows to near solid, with many punchy spots. The trail was a challenge to run as I would go for hundreds of yards at a time with good footing and then, randomly punch through the otherwise hard snow surface to my mid-quadracep. At one point, as I entered a section that was well shadowed by trees, I had to literally crawl across the crusty surface. Quite the adventure. I was hoping to run for two hours, but as we started making good time across a couple sun-crusted meadows, Benny caught wind of some elk and was off. He managed to flush a few and had one big bull separated from the group. The little jerk harassed the elk for a few minutes then finally listened to me and we started back toward the trailhead. We made a couple big laps, running out on the open meadow by the barn for a while, then headed back down the main trail and to the truck. Ended up running for 1:35 on tricky conditions. A short snowboarding session after that had me feeling a little spent.

Spent the rest of Saturday installing a lift kit on my truck with Creeps. The kit was easy enough to install, just upper ball joint spacers for the front and an add-a-leaf in the rear. Then, throw it on the alignment rack. The two of us wailed on it at my shop and had it done under 4 hours, with the exception of some lower control arm adjustments it still need to make.

Thanks, Christian!

This morning, I left the house in the dark at 6 a.m. and did a fun split trail/road run. First, took Benny out and ran my Loops of Fury hill route 4 times, which I figure to be about 1000m a lap. Whole trail run was between 5K and 4 miles when you include the approach and return run. Got back home in :50, dropped off the dog and changed into my road running shoes. Ran a 5 mile loop up to the ski area then down to the bike path and back home in :43, for a total run time of 1:33. Amazing how long the road run felt compared to running trails. Felt strong enough and gave a solid effort, heart rate 144-160 bpm, on many of the hills. My right hamstring still hurts from time to time.

Around 9:30 a.m., I went over to JD's while he finished his prep for our splitboard mission. This being his first time out, we chose some easily approached pitches off of Seedhouse Road in Clark.

The first trail we picked was fun, but very sun baked and south facing. The skin approach was a very easy trail and we got on top of a nice, little hill after a short hour long jaunt. The ride down was little sketchy, with a super hard surface to carve on, but the pitch we chose was nice enough to try again when the coniditions are better.

After that, we drove around Steamboat Lake to check out the snowmobile approach to Sand Mountain, just to get an idea how far it is. We circled the lake, then headed a little north up Highway 129 and decided to try some north facing pitches off of Prospector Trail near Hahns Peak.

We parked and found that someone was kind enough to lay down a skin track for us already so we followed it for a short while before switchbacking uphill once we found a good area to ride. We ended up getting a fun ride down through the trees which we were able to ride all the way back to the highway, only having to hike a couple hundred yards back to the truck.

Good weekend!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Splitboarding: What it is!

I thought I'd do a blog that would explain splitboarding to the uninitiated.

Above, I have my splitboard, a Forum Roost 158(cm) and below it, my all mountain stick, a Never Summer Revolver 156. Obviously, a splitboard is a snowboard. The difference is that you can take a splitboard apart, remount the bindings, add snow traction skins to the bottom and ascend the mountain as a pair of skis.

I bought the board on Ebay with a splitboard conversion kit made by Voile and skins. The board had already been cut in half, so I just needed to treat the inner exposed edge to waterproof it. I used spray enamel, but I know people use epoxy, as well. The hardware was relatively easy to put on the board.

At the tip and tail, there are hooks that help align and hold the board together.

To release the bindings, first, pull a this pin from under the toe of the bindings.

The bindings are attached to plates that slide onto base pieces that are screwed to the each board.

Slide the bindings off and take the board apart by the releasing the hooks.

Now, you're ready to reattach the bindings to each ski. First, swap your left and right skis so that the snowboard finished edge is on the inside. This keeps you from snagging the hooks when you're in tour mode.

Next, attach the binding with the pin to each ski. Now, when you walk, the binding has a free heel.

The risers under the binding make it easier to ascend steep pitches.

Finally, attach the skin to each ski.

They fit by hooking over the end of each ski, then you stretch the skin the length of the ski and press it to the base. The skins have adhesive on one side that keeps them tight to the base of your board. The bottoms have a texture that allows them to slide forward but not backwards once you are on the snow.

Other essential gear, if you're going to shred some serious gnar. Shovel, avalanche probe and avalanche beacon. Collapsible poles, extra gloves, water, food, firestarter, some tools, and a space blanket, usually make it into my pack.

Splitboarding is the ultimate ride. With one, you can ride any pitch you are determined enough to go up. Like this one.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Split Session

Began my day with a nice, hard early morning hill climb run in light snowfall while most of Steamboat Springs slept. My body woke me up a little after 5a.m., so I listened and complied and got suited up to go out with Benihana. Light jog for the first half mile, as usual. Under dark skies, I could see the hazy glow of the moon behind the clouds. Occasional flakes of snow passed my headlamp and landed on my face. Solid climb effort today, running the entire time, all the way to Second Vista, 800' vertical above the valley floor. I estimate the distance to be 1.5 miles. The average slope grade to be about 30 degrees with one .25 mile flat section. Running up to 2nd Vista is like doing two hill intervals, separated by a quarter-mile recovery run. The first hill is quite long, the one after the flat section, short but very steep. Maybe 45 degrees at the very end. Today, I turned around at the highpoint and whistled for Benny to follow. Fun run down the hill, without being too agressive and took a longer route to the bottom to make sure my run wasn't too short. Finished running in 50:42.

After work, I felt like another workout so I laced up again and went out on the road to get a little mileage. Much warmer than the morning, I actually ran without a beanie for the last 20 minutes or so. The sidewalks were all but clear of snow and ice, only a few mushy sections, but the footing was safe. Felt like a little trail and road mix. Good stuff. I made a loop from the house up to the ski area and around Mt. Werner Circle down to the bike path. Followed the bike path, then veered off and ran around the neighborhood for a little while to make my run time 41:16 for 5 miles, about 8:20/mile.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Catching a little rest for the legs today, but had to write a quick note about snowboarding yesterday. Instead of splitboarding, we rode Steamboat Ski Area (home!) with a couple of hikes out of bounds thrown in for good measure. Met up with Matty G and Louise and proceeded to the top of Mt. Werner, where we found some great steep and deep snow at Gate D. It's a short pitch with a long traverse out, but fun and worthy enough. Matty and I then went over to Pony Express and did a hike out to the canyon from the top of the chair.

Under beautiful sunny skies, we made the short 10 minute hike out to Fish Creek Falls Canyon. I always get a little nervous dropping into the canyon because I don't know the area as well as most. Super deep snow, even on a light year like this one. It's very steep, north-facing with dense pine tree cover everywhere, so it's hard to see a clean line to ride until you are almost on top of it. The area is littered with hidden "alleyways" and rock drops and pillow lines. And cliffs. I've had my fair share of climbling down trees and sliding down rock faces (who hasn't in the canyon?) but have never been seriously cliffed out, although it is a possibility if you take the wrong line. This day, the Snow Gods looked favorably on me and I linked the best line I've ever had down the canyon. Close to 1000' vertical feet of deep, deep snow and trees and "pillow lines." Popping little airs here and there. Only in the last 150' did I have to stop and arrest against some small pine trees, sluff a little snow down a 15' chute and then slide down. Finished the last section by ripping through some tight pines, out and over a small rock into a small aspen stand and a few big slashes at the bottom, before the 15-20 minute traverse out. SICK. That's a guaranteed smile every time I think about it.

Did another short hike after re-meeting up with Louise off of Sunshine Peak. I forget what the local's name is for this area but it's a perfect place to take the splitboard and get turns in big, wide open powder fields and aspen stands. Kind of the opposite of the canyon in terms of topography.

Spent the next couple hours trying to keep up with Matty. It was no use. The man is just a machine when it comes to snowboarding. You should've seen this particularly ninja-esque 360 he casually threw as he dropped into a tree run. So styley. And he rides so freakin' fast. Anywhere, any conditions. I mean, I am a pretty good snowboarder, but Matty reminds me that there is a whole 'nother level to the sport if you have the drive, focus, passion and love for the Ride. A great friend and a fo' real rippah, brah.

Crushed my lactic acid threshold, for sure. Legs were so sore, even after a good hot tub soak, particularly in the back of my right knee and hamstring. I felt pretty good this morning and almost went for a run this evening but thought it was wiser to rest and hit it hard again tomorrow. So that's what I'll do.

Looking to the future, Collegiate Peaks is about 8 weeks away, so I need to get some long runs in. At least, a few 3-4 hour ventures. I forgive myself for not running the past weekend because I've had some great days of riding. Still, I need to increase my workday mileage a little over the next 3 weeks. Then, I'm going to Moab for a couple days with my homies and I want to do two long runs there. A few weeks later, in mid-April, I'm going to Florida to see my mother. That will be a perfect time to do some long, flat runs at sea level before coming back, tapering the next weekend and racing the next! Is it wrong to want the snow to melt so I can run trails? I miss dirt. Say it ain't so!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Today was A+ on the solo shred tip. Between 5 and 9 inches of new snow last night, depending on where you were on the mountain, gave way to a few hours of sunshine this morning and the snow was ripping.

I went up early and scored first chair on Christie Peak, instead of getting on the Gondola. I just cruised the cat tracks down to Thunderhead, slashing the sides up and popping little airs. The snow quality was already impressing me. Jumped on the chair and did a lap from the top to the bottom of Thunderhead, straight Hollywood shredding under the lift. Man, that is one of my favorite runs to get if you're lucky enough to be first on a powder day. Steep with plenty of moguls and natural shapes on the sides and groomed down the middle. (Not to mention the trees on either side of the run.) I chose the skier's right side and had an incredible first run down, catching solid, worthy air at least a half dozen times. I was breathing so hard when I hit the maze at the bottom of the lift. When I got on the chair, an old timer next to me says, "You must've just come down Concentration." I proudly got to show off my line as we went back up the mountain. We both agreed that Pony Express was the next lift to go to but parted company and I continued my solo mission. I ripped down to Pony under the Burgess Creek lift line, ducking in and out of the trees, and starting my line off with a fun, little 10-foot drop off the cat track. The snow was great and I got to be the first one down my favorite way through this section.

Pony Express was great, as well. Took a couple laps on Pioneer Ridge, enjoying the steep, pine tree pitches and open fields that make this area so fun. A few people out charging the same areas, but I had no problem getting fresh lines here. Plenty of natural shapes to pop off of and the snow was perfect for landings. I did take one good tumble on my way over to Burgress Creek chair. I spent a couple minutes regrouping, cleaning out my goggles and brushing off the snow. Then, made my way to BC so I could go over to a south facing side of the ski area.

Until now, it had been a little cloudy but I dropped into the Elkhead trees just as the sun came out. I was the first person here, as well. The snow on this side of the mountain was more spring-like, wet and slushy, but, of course, super good and new. I had an amazing run through the trees, coming out under the liftline and went straight to the bottom of Elkhead to get on and go back up. I ended up making four more laps through here, just owning the area. Nobody was doing this side and I took full advantage and just kept going back and going top to bottom over and over and over. Sunny as all hell and fairly steep with aspens on the entire pitch make this a beautiful and fun area to ride. The snow is just deep enough under the lift now to ride underneath it, and I couldn't resist taking one from top to bottom under the lift most of the way. I heard a few "woo-hoos" of approval coming from the chair on a couple of occassions. :)

After an hour-plus of spring snow, I went back over to Thunderhead to hit up some more north facing pitches. The snow here was still cold and more winter-like powder and I was stoked to be riding such varied conditions in one day. That's March for you. I got to launch off a favorite rock of mine on Vagabond and quickly cut over to do some trees on the skier's left side. Super sick line of untouched snow through here had me super pumped. Big rocks and landings had me super tired. At the bottom, I got back on Thunderhead and decided to take one more lap. At the top, I went into the gondola building to "recharge" my gloves and goggles (dry them out). Feeling refreshed, I took my last run of the day (morning! it was only 11:30am)down through the trees again and caught some fun airs once I got back onto the ski run.

All in all, an A+ morning of hard riding that got me unbelievably tired. In my usual style, I didn't even bother going to top of Storm Peak since I had no trouble finding good lines on lower mountain. It's nice to ride by yourself sometimes because you get to go wherever you want and if you session one area for a while, like I did under Elkhead, it doesn't get all tracked up. Except by you.
Solo mission: accomplished.

Whooped, I cleaned up and spent the afternoon hanging with Jonny B and Creeps at Slopeside, soaking in the sun, drinking a few pitchers of free beer and eating pizza. It certainly doesn't suck to be a local in a ski town.

Tomorrow, looking forward to a splitboard mission into Fish Creek Falls area with Matty G! Doesn't look like I'll be running this weekend.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Took Thursday off from running and went to JD's in the evening to do a little snowboard base repair and general hanging out. I meant to bring my camera and take some pictures of the splitboard and do a blog entry that explains what splitboarding is and all that. That didn't happen, but I will do the aforementioned blog in the near future.

It snowed a few inches of spring snow last night. Started snowing again this afternoon and has been snowing hard ever since. It's supposed to dump all night. That said, it should be a powder day in the 'Boat tomorrow so I don't think I'll go running in the morning and save it for the hill. I'll probably "press glass" (which is a local way of saying you'll be first in line at the Gondola in the morning. Pressed against the glass doors. Get it?)since I haven't done that yet this season. It will be nice to get some killer inbounds turns before it gets tracked up. I'm just hoping for a deep day. Currently, we are just hitting 200" of total snowfall for the ski area, with a little over a month to go before it closes. By comparison, Steamboat averages 350" a year, with our record snowfall, two years ago, being 489". While, I've definitely had a couple of face shots this year, it's been a lackluster year, overall, in Steamboat. But, March is a snowy month in the Rockies, and tomorrow should be good.

Speaking of snow, tonight's run was full of it. Free ran 6 slushy miles on the bike path, through parking lots, a field of knee deep snow, up long hills and around the neighborhood and the park in a hard, wet snowstorm. Fun and dark headlamp mission. It was a Runner's run, for sure. I think it's exhilarting to run in really adverse weather. There is something so satisfying about running free, your body warm and your mind alert, with the weather hard on your face. Today was no exception as I caught myself running with a huge smile more than a few times.

One of my most vivid memories of running is from college. I routinely ran a six mile loop from George Washington University to the Capitol and back along the National Mall. One particular day, it was already cold and raining when I left on my run. As I ran around the Capitol and started making my return run to school, the weather just unleashed, the wind picked up and it started hailing! Painful, pelting hail and me with 3 miles to go. I just remember laughing because the weather could not have gotten any worse. There was nothing to do but laugh. Laugh and run home!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Good one!

Excellent day, particularly from a training standpoint. Started the day off by running for about 45 minutes with Benihana on some nice, crunchy snow. Ran the climb up to First Vista, about 600' vertical in a half-mile. Whistled for Benny, turned around and ran back down most of the way only to find the dog had his own agenda. So, I turned around and ran back up about half way up the hill, cursing and whistling for my canine cohort. Hmm...hill intervals, I thought. Good workout. Finally, caught sight of the husky bounding down the trail, so I turned tail and hustled to the bottom of the hill. Felt great to run fast early in the morning! Leashed up the dog as we got to the park and jogged a 1/4 mile home.

I left work around 2pm. Later, in the day, Matty G was in town, so we got the ol' splitboards out and skinned up a scar on Emerald Mountain. Fun, little hour or so hike up before my skins started collecting snow on a rather steep pitch through the trees. My feet kept slipping out from underneath me, so I decided to stop fighting and put my board together, slung it on my backpack and hiked as far up as I could. Eventually, I was post holing to my thighs and decided to strap in there. Matty kept skinning up to the top so I waited for him to come schralping down. The snow was heavy, wet, spring snow, but easy to punch through and slashy. We had a fun section through the trees, then pointed it into the big, flat Orton Meadow on the northeast side of Emerald, and surfed it most of the way back to the car, with Matty's malamute Sooky, running behind us the whole way. Benihana stayed home for this mission. All in all, a couple of fun hours breaking a sweat and making some fun spring turns. Loving the extra daylight. Can't wait to set the clocks back!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fun, hilly snow run with Benny and Marvin after work this afternoon. Overcast but not terribly cold. Just a little chilly. The dogs loved it and so did I. Jogged through the Park, did the short hill climb and then a couple Loops of Fury (my name for the half-mile hill loop), then ran downhill and about half-mile home. Definitely felt like running more when I was finished but it was a long day at work and I was happy to just shower, eat and chill. 'Nuff said.

Monday, March 1, 2010

truth hurts, don't it?

Today's work: Ignition coil on a Subaru, glow plug relay on a Ford pickup, diagnosed a bad fuel pump in a Dodge pickup that was towed to the shop over the weekend, move a few cars around from last week and dump a bunch of waste oil. In the afternoon, had Andy's Bronco towed into the shop. Diagnosed it and it needs: new battery cable ends and ground wire, a starter, fuel filter and fuel pump. Did the electrical, installed a starter and the fuel filter, and got the gas tank pulled. Finish it up tomorrow.

Drug my weary ass home and despite a tough weekend on my legs, decided to go for a short but hard run on the bike path to really blast my body and forget about work. But trying to run fast and icy sidewalks/roads just don't mix. All I think I really did was just frustrate myself, as I spent the run looking for icy spots and stepping around them and, therefore, losing my rhythm. Finished my sad little 3.6 mile loop in a pathetic 30:11, roughly an 8:20/mile pace. Not fast.

But the painful truth is, I'm comparing my performance now to what I was accomplishing almost 20 years ago and THERE IS NO COMPARISON. (Get over yourself, Randall. You've gotten older! It's OK!) I may have been young and fast, then, but now, I'm finally embracing real endurance. At 38, I may not be able to bust out a 4:54 mile, but I can run 50 miles! And, by Jove, I'll run 100 miles when I'm 40. (Eat that, young me.)