Saturday, December 31, 2011

Weekly Summary: Dec. 24 - Jan. 1

It's time to get a little more regular on the blog again.  It helps me to record my training and analyze what I need to work on while I'm on schedule for my goal race. I've spent the last couple weeks sort of ramping up to the start of my "official" training for my focus race this year, the 2012, and innaugural, Run Rabbit Run 100-mile ultramarathon, slated for September 14-15. The course sounds ridiculously tough with 22,000' of elevation change, including two climbs to Buffalo Pass, a 25-mile loop on Emerald Mountain and two trips to the top of Mt. Werner (at the beginning and the END of the race). More details on the race can be found here:  http://www.runrabbitrunsteamboat.com/.  

As of this week, I'm trying to establish my workout routine, which will more or less resemble an intermediate runner's marathon training schedule for the first few months, before I really start to pile on the miles.  For the first couple months, I'll have two off days and three on days during the work week and I'll be working up to doing back to back long runs on the weekends.  Starting at 10 miles, this weekend and increasing by 10% every week.  Every 4th week will be an easy week with reduced mileage for recovery purposes.   By March, I should have built my long runs up to 3-4 hour range and may run a 50K trail race as a 6-7 hour training run.  In April, I'll continue long-running in the 4 to 5 hour per day range on the weekends, with base miles during the week.  Possibly return to Buena Vista to do Collegiate Peaks Trail Run as a training run (25 miles) the beginning of May.  I'll also have a few days off in April as Katy and I are planning to go to Boston for the 100th Anniversary of Fenway Park and watch the Red Sox beat the Yankees!  We are also hoping to volunteer at an aid station at the Boston Marathon a couple days later. In mid-May, I might try to run the innaugural Quad Rock 50-miler in Fort Collins.   It looks like a good, challenging race and I'm a huge fan of Nick Clark, who is putting on the race with Ft. Collins' Gnar Runners.   That will be my first opportunity for a 12-hour run this year.   In June, I'm going to run the Steamboat Marathon for the first time.  Possibly for a road PR (under 3:38) if (and only if), I've just been running really strong leading up to it.  Otherwise, I just want to get in the miles and slow down and enjoy the marathon.  It's a beautiful course. At the end of the month, Katy and I fly to San Francisco to get married!  Amazing!   In July, I've got my eye on running the Leadville Silver Rush 50-miler as another 12-hour training run.  July and August will also bring some of the best races in the Steamboat Running Series including a new mountain marathon (Steamboat Stinger) and the addition of a 50K distance for the Mount Werner Classic.  Great training opportunities.  In the beginning of September, I will begin a two week taper until race day.  Hopefully that plan, good nutrition, solid training, a little money and a whole lot of luck will put a 100-miler finisher's buckle around my waist. 

Here's how it all started:

12/24/11:  12.0+ miles.  ~7 hrs.  2,260'v.  Sand Mountain.  Splitboard mission.  Chris and I skinned up to the north face of Sand Mountian into an area known as Jackson's Bowl, named after local Clark resident Jack White.  The approach was a nice, long gradual 6 miles in snowmobile tracks.  We got a few inches of snow a couple days prior and Chris and I planned out a nice day trip.  No real hiccups on the tour into the area, although it ended up being way longer than we first thought.  The final approach was steep and fun and the ride was worth it all.  A short, untouched and steep session in new snow.  Awesome.  Unfortunately, just as we began our tour out, I pulled out the mounting plates on my front foot binding after doing an endo.  Wham!  Right out of the snowboard and right to the ground!  I was livid.  I had to "skate" the entire way out switch stance (backwards) while using poles to keep my speed up.  It was incredibly awkward trying to push with my left foot but I managed and we did the down hill tour (with about a 1/2 mile of up hill hiking) back to the truck in a little more than an hour.  

12/25/11 - Rest.

12/26/11 - 6.28 miles.  1:04:34.  1,000'v.  Spring Creek Trail.  I've been running Spring Creek on my lunch breaks the few days before Christmas.  Seemed proper to "officially" begin my training on this trail that I love running so much.  It's even part of the race!  I think one of the reasons I want to do Run Rabbit Run so much is because I know many of the trails on the race course very well.  Then, I think, running the race will be like spending a day (and night) with an old friend.

12/27/11 - ~8.0 miles.  1:10:51.  Yampa River Core Trail.  Cruiser run from JDs house down to the skate park on the Core Trail.  Then, turned around and ran to the botanical gardens and then back to JDs.

12/28/11 - 6.2 miles.  1:02:40.  1,000'v.  Spring Creek Trail.

12/29/11 - Rest.

12/30/11 - 10.7 miles.  1:48:07.  1,000'v.  Spring Creek Trail and Core Trail.  First long run of my schedule.  Good, mellow effort to the top of the Spring Creek Ridge and then looped back to town and ran along the Core Trail to Stockbridge before returning to Howlesen Hill and then the high school.  It actually started to get warm and sunny towards the end there.  I don't think I've ever run on (much less seen) dirt in December (30th!) since I've lived in Steamboat.  Well, I did today!  Crazy.  Where is the snow?!  I guess I'm okay with it since I want to log the miles but I sure would like to know there was some snow out there to ride.  I may still get some powder this weekend up on Stagecoach Mtn.'s north facing slopes but it won't be deep.  This was the longest I've run for about two months and it felt good to go a little farther.  I should be fine on next weekend's 12-miler. 

12/31/11 - 4.61 miles. :55:59.  520'/-480'v.  Stagecoach.  Down, down, down the hill.  Up, up, up the hill.  Windiest.  Day.  Ever. 

1/1/12 - Rest.  ~1:30:xx 1,270'v./-1,300'v.  Stagecoach.  Hike Stagecoach Mtn. with Benihana looking for powder stashes.  Not that great.

Total miles (9 days):  47.7 miles.  +4,790'/-4,800' 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

12/4/11

12/4  -  A couple days after my last post, I decided to put my training and racing plans for 2012 on hold and only run for enjoyment.  For the last 8 weeks or so, I have been taking it easy and running primarily on the weekends, usually nothing more than an hour with alot of hiking thrown in to focus on strength building and, hopefully, giving my body a chance to recover from a few physical issues I have been dealing with. Winter has begun and I've been switching it up with alot of hiking in the snow, a couple of short spiltboard missions and couple of days of snowboarding at the Steamboat Ski Area. Without a season pass, I'll be hiking and splitboarding alot more this year and I had a great session here in Stagecoach today, hiking the mountain with Benihana.  Even though the coverage isn't deep yet, I got a few good powder turns.  If nothing else, it just got me more motivated to get out there even more once I realilzed how convenient it is to just walk up the mountain from the house. 

Now, 2012 is starting to look very interesting from a trail running perspective and it's time to start ramping up again.  Yesterday, I found out that the Steamboat Springs Running Series is going to add some longer distance trail races to its schedule next summer including a trail marathon and half-marathon and possibly a 50K.    I read on Nick Clark's blog about a month ago that there was rumor of a 100-miler being planned for the Steamboat area and it looks like Run Rabbit Run is going to go for it.  Presumably the same day as the 50-miler and I'm guessing the course will be running the out and back to Rabbit Ears twice.  Well, it looks like I'll be staying in the valley next summer for my racing and I am going to try to win the masters division in the running series as well as attempting my first 100 mile foot race.   In the meantime, I've got to keep the nutrition dialed, get stronger and climb (and descend) as many mountains as I can this winter because, come next summer, I'll need to be in the best shape of my life. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weekly Summary: Oct. 12 - Oct. 18

10/12 - Off.

10/13 - Off.

10/14 - 1:44:40.  10.05 miles. +1180'/-1220'v.  Stagecoach.  Nice and easy long(er) run.  From the house, I ran over to the field and down the single track to the gravel path.  There down to the fire station and turn right, then up the road and left on the dirt road to the Elk Run Trail that travels the south shore of the lake.  I ran the trail to the dam and then turned onto the dirt road that goes out to Sarvis Creek.  I ran the dirt road to a small section of single track, where I did a short climb before turning around and running back home via the same route.  I got to run in the sunshine after leaving the shop early and running some errands.  The weather was a perfect 60ish with a light breeze.

10/15 - 1:21:16.  4.18 miles.  +1040'/-1030'v.  Stagecoach.  Run-hike-run-hike-run starting at the "locals parking" and up to the top of the band of cliffs on Blacktail Mountain on the north side of the lake.  I used trekking poles for the approach climb/bushwack through tall grass, sage brush, short bushes and scrub oak up to a class 5 scramble to the top of the cliff.  In hindsight, I would've been fine without the poles and, instead, should have worn knee high socks to protect my lower legs from all the brush.  The off-trail climb and downhill were only slightlly gnarly and I found a cattle track at the top of the ridge to run on.  I was surprised to find a couple of cows at the top and stopped once I hit a fence line.  It appears that the top of the mountain is private property. I ended up coming down in a different section from the ascent and had to navigate some thick scrub oak for a couple hundred feet before I found some openings.  Overall, a fun run and good alternative to my usual routes.  My ulterior motive here was to scout out the terrain for some splitboard lines I plan on poaching sometime this winter.

10/16 - :56:43.  6.2 miles.  +490'/-470'v.  Stagecoach.  Down to the lake and back easy. 

10/17 - 1:00:38. 6.01 miles.   +690/-690'v.  Stagecoach.  What a beautiful evening for a run.  Partial sunlight through layers of grey clouds and cool temperatures in the high 30s.  New snow covering the tops of mountains above about 8500' but plenty of fall color below that.  Legs started feeling heavy about half way through the run.

10/18 - :38:51.  4.45 miles. +450'/-440'v.  Stagecoach.  Good up-tempo short run to bring my weekly total to 30 again.   Hills and thrills around good old Stagecoach.  Ran a couple of trails but mostly next to CR 16. 

Weekly Totals:  5:42:08.  30.89 miles.  +/-3850'v.

Another solid week as far as total time/mileage/vertical goes.  Feet feel slightly tender in the mornings but much better than they have over the past year.  Endurance and leg strength feel very good and I should increase my weekly mileage to thirty-five next week.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Weekly Summary: Oct. 5 - Oct. 12

10/5 - 1:08:29.  6.83 miles.  +370'/-380'v.  Stagecoach.  Easy out and back run next to the road down to the trail by the lake.

10/6 - Off.

10/7 - 1:07:25.  7.18 miles.  +620'/-610'v.  Stagecoach to Sarvis Creek Trail.  Awesome late afternoon run from the "locals parking" on South Shore to Sarvis Creek trailhead and then the first climb on the trail and back to the truck.  Yesterday was the first day it snowed in the valley and today was bluebird but cool.  Running the dirt road from the dam to the trailhead provided a great view of the Yampa River headwaters and there were a ton of cows out munching on the grass.   I only ran a little bit on Sarvis (or Service, or Sarvice) Creek but the first section of the single track was really nice, smooth and easy to run.  The entire run was either dirt road or single track except for the concrete on the dam and judging by my time/mileage/vertical, I ran faster than I thought I did.  I must've been jazzed about "something special."  Nice.

10/8 - Off.  Went to Leadville to ride the train.

10/9 - :46:xx. ~6 miles.  +510'/-480'v.  Stagecoach.  Easy run down to fire station on trail, followed by a little road and then a little dirt road and back to the house with a little extra uphill.  GPS battery died on the way down so I didn't get the exact mileage but it felt like an easy six.

10/10 - :27:26.  3.53 miles.  +380'/-370'v.  Stagecoach.  Hard run down to fire station and up the next hill, turn around and back up with a little on a side single track.

10/11 - 1:03:56.  7.01 miles.  +490'/-490'v.  Stagecoach.  Loop down the trail to the fire station, then right on the road and up and steep little hill.  Left on the dirt road with a few hills and then duck under the wire fence and down to the lake shore.  Couple of lake miles and then uphill next to the road all the way back to the house.  Got rained on after about twenty minutes but I could see some holes in the cloud cover that said it wouldn't last long.  Nice and cool, in the 40s and had a great run.  Thanks, BA.

Totals thru 10/10:   4:33:16+.  ~30.55 miles.  +2370'/-2340' vertical

Bumped up my mileage and managed 30 miles for the week.  Now, I need to slowly start building and stay consistent with my running.  I'm very seriously considering running the 24 Hours of Utah race in Moab next March and I should start working on my endurance to facilitate that goal.  I think it's soon going to be time to start running in the mornings.  I'm going to miss sleeping in.  Well, you got to pay to play!

.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Weekly Summary: Sep. 27 - Oct. 3

9/27 - :45:38.  5.3 miles.  +/-1000'v.  Stagecoach.  Hill repeats on .26 mile trail, +/-100'.  1st 2.12 miles in :18:47, 2nd 2.12 miles in :18:22, last mile in :08:29.  Progressively faster and effort was hard.  .62 mile, +/-120' v. cool down. 

9/28 - :27:02.  2.58 miles.  +/-400'v.  Stagecoach.  Short night time run down to the fire station and back home.  Easy.

9/29 - Off.

9/30 - :28:10.  2.75 miles.  +/-330'v.  Stagecoach.  Quick run down to the fire station and back (:22:40) with a little cool down.  Wonder if I can do it under :22?

10/1 - 1:47:15.  12.19 miles.  +1540'/-1500'v.  Spring Creek Trail.  Steamboat.  Gorgeous late morning run up to Dry Lake from JDs house.  The leaves in the aspens were fully gold in some spots and still brilliant green in others.  The combination lent a stunning relief to the mountain sides, particularly up on Buffalo Pass.  The trail was busy with hikers and bikers.  Great run at a moderate pace with a couple of harder downhill sections.  1:02:31 uphill to Dry Lake and :39:02:25 downhill to trailhead.  :05:38:99/.65 mile cool down.  Super nice re-visit to a favorite near-town trail.

10/2 - Off.

10/3 - 1:11:xx.  6.89 miles.  +1600'/-1640'v.  Stagecoach Mountain.  After work hike-run up to within 200'v. of the summit.  The trail was littered with yellow aspen leaves in many spots.  Good easy effort for the whole run.

Totals:  4:39:05.  29.71 miles.  +4870'/-4470 vertical feet

Monday, September 26, 2011

Summary of Two Fortnights: Aug. 25 - Sep. 26

8/25 - Off.

8/26 - Off.

8/27 - Off.

8/28 - Off.

8/29 - :38.  +/-390'v.  Stagecoach.

8/30 -  :30.  240'v./-210'v.  Stagecoach.

8/31 -  Off.

9/1 -  :49:22.  4.77 miles.  470'v./-490'v.  Stagecoach.

9/2 -  Off.

9/3 -  Off.

9/4 -  Off.

9/5 -  1:52:38.  10.21 miles.  1210'v./-1180'v.  Silver Creek Trail.

9/6 -  Off.

9/7 -  :27:21.  2.96 miles.  Stagecoach.

9/8 -  Off.

9/9 -  Off.

9/10 - 1:02:08.  7.75 miles.  +/-1130'v.  Emerald Mountain Trail Run.  Steamboat. 

9/11 - 1:41:35.  10.58 miles.  780'v./-740'v.  Stagecoach.

9/12 - Off.

9/13 -  1:31.  930'v./-890'v.  Stagecoach to CR 14 hill climb.

9/14  - Off.

9/15 -  Off.

9/16 -  Off.  Travel.

9/17 -  Off.  Travel.

9/18 -  1:03:22, 8.10 miles.  Whistle-Stop Rail Trail.  Farmington - East Wilton, ME.  A really nice run through the woods to a neighboring town and back.  The path is a former railway turned into a wide, gravel, multi-use trail that allows ATVs, bikes and hikers in the summer and snowmobiles and cross country skiiers in the winter.  I got a feel for how lush and dense the New England forests really are and with the leaves beginning to change color (a deep red), I was mesmerized.  In a mere 4 miles, I crossed 3 wooden bridges with spectacular river views. 

9/19 -  :44:06,  4.93 miles,  +260'v./-220'v.  County Roads, Farmington, ME.

9/20 -  Off.

9/21 -  :52:32, 6.26 miles.  Whistle-Stop Rail Trail.  Farmington, ME.

9/22-   Off.

9/23 -  Off.

9/24 - 1:27, +/- 1870' v.  Stagecoach Mtn.

9/25 -  Off.

9/26 - :32, +\- 300' v.  Stagecoach.


My running has been more than a little inconsistent for the past month.  The last couple weeks of August, I started trying to treat my plantar fasciitis by rolling my foot on a golf ball for 20 - 30 minutes, once or twice a day and took a few days off from running.  For a couple weeks or so, it really seemed to help and my foot was feeling great in the mornings so I added a little bit of light running and had a nice trail 10-miler on September 5th (my birthday run this year).  The following week, I did a race and a couple of hour-plus runs and the morning pain returned so I took it pretty easy before leaving for a week-long vacation in Maine.  While in Maine, I did some easy effort running on trails and on the road but the foot was still nagging me a bit.  When we got back last weekend, I was really jonsing to run some vertical so I ran to the top of Stagecoach Mountain last Saturday.  The run felt incredible and the golden fall foliage was just off the hook.  I really, really, really want nothing more than to go for a long (2-3 hour) run in the mountains during this perfect time of the year but the pain in my feet (however mild, relatively speaking) has got me feeling conflicted about how much (if any) running I should be doing.  I guess I'm just starting to feel pressed for time since winter's not that far off and I want to start increasing my mileage/time on my feet in preparation for an ultra I want to do next spring.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Emerald Mountain Trail Run Race Report

Well, quite frankly, I got to "live the dream" again today.  I woke up early (as usual) and walked the dogs as the sun began to rise over the Continental Divide.  In the dawn's early light, the sky was clear,  the air was cool and crisp and the leaves on the aspens, while still mostly green, were beginning to show signs of the approaching autumn.  The morning temperatures in the high 30s would eventually give way to a gorgeous day in the 70s. The thought of getting to run a mountain trail race in this weather was all I needed to feel good about the life I have.

I arrived at the base of Howelsen Hill early enough to do a little warm up running on the final part of the course and then, a little more on the bike path with Derek McClung before the race start.  This was the final race in the Steamboat Springs Running Series and it was really nice that it was actually a smaller field of runners than at the other races in the series.  It gave the race a really "local" feel.  Katy showed up to see me off, which always makes me feel lucky and very happy and I was ready to run.  My goals for the race were to finish in 1:03 and as the first Masters (age groups 40+, since I just entered a new age group last Tuesday) and, above all, to have fun.  Runners assembled behind the yurt next to the Sombrero Ranch's stables at the Rodeo Grounds and, at "Go!", we took off on our 12-kilometer, 1,130 vertical foot mountain tour.

Everyone seemed to be in great spirits and as we made the first hill going past Olympian Hall and there was alot of chatter and laughing.  I watched and laughed out loud at the ridiculously fast pace that Nick Sunseri was already on as he barralled up the trail next to the ski jumps.  It was obvious he was on to another win as he ran away from the rest of the field.  Two other runners chased him with myself, Harry Niedl, Walter Magill and Tammy Jacques already 30 seconds back, and we all began climbing.  Before we hit Blackmere Drive and started up towards Emerald Mountain, Harry moved up into 4th position.  Then, Walter and Tammy moved up about 10 seconds ahead of me.  We stayed like this for a few minutes and then turned on to the winding, uphill single track of Larry's.  Here, I started to feel really good and moved past Walter and, then Tammy, a couple minutes later.  We jumped back on Blackmere for the climb up to the top of the quarry and I could hear Tammy's footsteps hot on my tail as we neared the race's apex.  (In hindsight, it would have been great if the race continued up Lane of Pain to the summit of Emerald Mountain.  This would add an absurdly steep climb up another 400(ish)' in less than half a mile and, I think, really legitimize this as a "mountain race.")   I managed to hold her off until the top of Little Moab and then bombed down the gnarly, rocky trail to open a gap.  At the bottom of Little Moab (just a short 100+ yard, 100' descent), the course jumped back on the winding single track of Lupine.  I absolutely love running the smooth single track with it's tight corners in the scrub oak and occasional rocky steps.  I kicked it down a gear and did most of the mile or so downhill through the woods at just over a 6 minute/mile pace. 

I kept listening for footsteps behind me but they never materialized.  After a couple minutes, I saw a white t-shirt in front of me and ran a little harder to catch it.  Here, I passed Eddie Rogers, who runs in either Vibram Five Fingers (a "foot glove") or sandals.  Today, he was wearing what looked like a home-made, Tarahumara Indian-style sole tied to his feet and ankles with rope or line.  While I like his barefoot approach to trail running (I race "minimal"-style trail flats, Inov-8 Talon 240's), I just don't think you can run as fast in sandals or barefooted as you can in shoes.   Once I got in front of Eddie, I hammered the pace to put on a good gap on him and  to take advantage of the long, gradual downhill of the next few miles.  There were a few, small uphill sections but the rest of Lupine was a fun, fast, meandering run through the trees before the course finally broke into a meadow and the made the turn out to the Bluffs Loop. 

I ended up running the Bluffs Loop by myself and could feel myself starting to fade on the occasional uphill.  Fortunately, there weren't many ups and I was able to keep my tempo quick all the way back to the Rodeo Grounds and the race finish.  As I reached the portion of the course I had pre-run earlier in the morning, I opened up to the fastest I could run and sprinted the last few hundred yards to the finish.  I managed a 4th place overall and first place Masters finish in a very satisfying 1:01:46.   Nick Sunseri killed another course for the win in :50:11 with Adam Loomis of Eau Claire, Wisconsin in second (:56:04) and Harry Niedl in third (:57:37).  Local mountain biker extraordinare, Tammy Jacques went on to win the women's race in a quick 1:03:07, followed by Steamboat's Kristin Stemp (1:12:47) and Veronica Ventuno (1:13:30) of Denver.   Derek McClung ran the race of the day in my book, finishing 14th in 1:10:28, nearly 5 minutes faster than he expected.

Just as much fun as the race was hanging out with all the other runners afterwards.  Steamboat has a small but great community of runners, both road and trail alike.   With food catered from some of the town's fantastic little restarants and free water, gatorade and beer(!) to drink, runner's milled about, telling stories from their personal races and talking about all things running.  The atmosphere was festive and light.  Clearly, the race series regulars have become pretty familiar with one another and are supportive and friendly.  Furthermore, the running series consistently raffles off the coolest gear at the end of every race.  Tech t-shirts, Big Agnes sleeping bags, backpacks, magazine subscriptions and free nights at the Sheraton make it better to be lucky than fast at a Running Series race.

In all, another fantastic race put on by the race directors and volunteers make me glad to live and play in such a wonderful little town in the Rocky Mountains.  The consistently good participant turnout is testament to the quality and enjoyability of the races that are put on by the SSRS. Thanks for the memories and see you next summer, Running Series!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Weekly Summary: Aug 19 - Aug 24

8/19 - 4.00 mile.  :47:04.  ~800'v.  Silver Creek Trail.  Started raining not long after I started running up and into the woods.  Very hard at times. 

8/20 -  Off.  BA's wedding.  What a great time.  Started the day out with Creekside breakfast with Jonny and Matt G., then went tubing on the Yampa with them, Shasta, Christian, Dave and Rivers.  Brian and Melissa's wedding that evening was beautiful and a terrific reunion of alot of friends.

8/21 - 14.3 miles.  2:30:44.  ~3400' v.  Continental Divide Trail Run. 

8/22 - Off.

8/23 - Off.

8/24 - 4.91 miles.  :45:57.  +600'v./-610'v.  Stagecoach.   Easy road run to break in my new Suunto altimeter.  My newest mountain running toy.

Weekly Totals:  23.31 miles.  ~4800'v.

A bit of racing, a bit of recovery this week.  Mostly easy efforts to offset running one tough race and my longest run this summer.  Hard to believe how many 20-30 mile runs I did last summer and comparing it to the low mileage I did this year.  It's been cool focusing on shorter distance but I definitely miss the long adventure runs and ultras so I'm pretty sure I will be bumping my mileage back up next year and possibly going for my first 100-mile race or 24 hour race.  Over the next few weeks, I think I might be foregoing the last two trail races in the running series in favor of using the time to do a couple of long runs in the Flat Tops.  I've noticed that the leaves are slowly beginning to turn gold, so winter weather isn't far away.  However, the next two months are probably the best of the year to go trail running.  The weather will be cooler and the foliage will be ripening and I feel fit enough to make some longer routes.  I also want to try a speed attempt on my Flat Tops Short Loop and a Devil's Causeway double.  Once winter hits, I won't be getting a Season Pass to Steamboat this year, so I hope to be doing alot of longer splitboard tours to keep my cardio fitness up and running a little when weather permits.   

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Continental Divide Trail Run Race Report

Holy shit.  That is a tough race.  Especially when it starts the morning after one of your best friends gets married and you clipped your quadracep on a rock while tubing down the Yampa River that afternoon and you've been at sea level for most of the week before and...OK, that's enough excuses.  Here's how the race went down:

The 2011 Ski Haus Continental Divide Trail Run, which is a Trail Runner Magazine Trophy Series race, sold out with 125 runners, again proving that the Steamboat Springs Running Series is really getting the attention it deserves.   It was another gorgeous morning, the weather clear and cool and perfect for racing.  After meeting at the Knoll parking lot at the Steamboat Ski Area, runners are loaded onto shuttles which take them to the race start at the Fish Creek Falls trail head.  At the race start, runners practically sprinted to the trail to avoid bottle necking and continued down the trail and crossed the footbridge at the bottom of Fish Creek Falls.  Immediately afterwards, runners begin the first of many, many climbing sections.  Gaining 500' in the first mile and 1500' in the first 3.5 miles, I found myself hiking much of the first part of the race.  The trail is not only steep but also very, very rocky for the first few miles, making it very difficult to do any running at all (unless you are one of the rabbits at the very front of the race) since the footing is so sketchy.  I managed to reach the 2nd waterfall in 33 minutes and took a few seconds to go down to a small pool and dunk my hat in an effort to cool off.  After the second falls, the trail begins to climb more gradually and I was able to start running a little more, albeit conservatively, knowing that there was still much more uphill to deal with later in the race.  About 4 miles in, the trail crosses a beautiful meadow that was pretty muddy.  I tried to avoid getting my feet wet at first, but there was an unavoidable section of soupy mud and all bets were off.  I laughed and said out loud, "Yep.  It's a mountain race."  I saw the runner in front of me turn his head a bit and smile in agreement.  At the 5.5 mile mark, the course turns onto the Mountain View Trail, a 6 mile grind up the backside of Mt. Werner.  I paused at the aid station, drank two cups of Cytomax, ate a Honey Stinger gel and pet a race volunteer's dog before I proceeded on. 

I have a real love/hate relationship with Mountain View Trail.  Running in this direction, it's a long, forested uphill run to get to the top of the ski area.  It's a beautiful trail (that's the love), especially in the last 2 miles when the views out to the Continental Divide become really impressive.  But it's tough (the hate).  I always have a hard time on this trail.  I ended up doing most of the trail alone, alternately running the flats, downhills and moderate uphills and hiking on the steeper climbs.  My right quadracep was feeling pretty sore from hitting the rock in the river while tubing the day before but I just tried to keep moving and keep my heart rate from going too high.  I stopped a couple of times to get some debris out of my shoes.  Finally, in the last 1.5 miles, I caught a glimpse of two runners about a hundred yards in front of me and I felt like I would be able to catch them, if not before the summit, then, hopefully on the 2.5 mile descent to the Gondola.  I managed to reel in the first guy and kept steady after the next, catching him in last .5 mile before the summit.   At the summit, I was so relieved to finally be done with (almost) all that heinous uphill.  By now, we had climbed well over 3000'.  On the descent, I saw two more runners in front of me and I ran my fastest to catch them both.  I was able to catch the first runner on Storm Peak Challenge and gave him an "attaboy" as I passed.  There was a short, bushwacking detour to the course due to logging operations on the mountain, which was actually really fun.  There was a ton of flagging to let you know where to run but NO trail. Just low brush, grass and rocks.  I managed to pass the second runner here and then did all I could to stay fast on the remainder of the downhill as we hit dirt road again.  Like the Mt. Werner race I did a couple weeks ago, this course finishes with a very cruel 400+ yard uphill run to the gondola.  I felt like I was moving in slow motion but happily crossed the finish line in 2:30:41 (19th), nearly 6 minutes off my goal time of 2:25 but proud, none the less, to finish this grueling race.  

Nick Sunseri won the race, destroying yet another course record, in a blistering 1:47:50!   We talked before the race and were both a little dubious about the advertised race distance of 15 (or 16) miles.  Both of our GPS watches calculated the course at 14.3 miles.  Nobody disputed the 3400' of vertical gain.  Other locals also recording fast times were Josh Smullin (3rd, 2:05.30),Harry Niedl (4th, 2:07.10),  Bill Goldsmith (5th, 2:08.13) Glen Light (8th, 2:15.34) and Gregg Joyce (14th, 2:25.36).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Weekly Summary: Aug 10 - Aug 18

8/10 - 3.89 miles.  :36.31.  ~300'v.  Stagecoach.   Hard effort for first 5K then medium hard to easy cool down. 

8/11 - 6.74 miles.  1:04.28.  ~400'v.  Stagecoach.

8/12 - Off.  Katy and I drove down to Denver and caught a flight to San Francisco/Alameda to spend a few days with family and to prepare for our wedding there next summer. 

8/13 - 6.55 miles.  1:07.01.  ~50'v.  Alameda, California.   First of a trio of awesome early morning runs next to the bay with Katy.  Foggy, cool and occasionally, a beautiful view of San Francisco across the water.  I love running with my girl.

8/14 - 6.93 miles.  1:02.49.  ~5'v.  Alameda, California.

8/15 - Off.

8/16 - 9.02 miles.  1:18.44.  ~50'v.  Alameda, California.

8/17 - Off.   Flew back from Cali and, after a great lunch at Arugula in Boulder, Katy dropped me off in Blackhawk for BA's casino night bachelor party.  Great night with alot of great friends and a lucky one, too.  First time ever playing roulette and John Asta and I stacked it up on black to the tune of a few hundred bucks.  Decent first showing for me at the craps table, also.  Awesome time.

8/18 - Stagecoach. 

Weekly Totals:  33.13 miles.  <1000' vertical.  Fantastic week of easy running before doing the Continental Divide Trail Run this weekend.   I'm feeling pretty good, if not a little under-rested, after having a busy week of travel and fun.  CDTR will be a challenge, especially since it's the day after BA's wedding. Damn, life is really good right now.  There, I said it. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Weekly Summary: Aug 2 - Aug 9

8/2 - Off.

8/3 -  5.55 miles.  :52.07.  ~400'v.  Stagecoach.

8/4 - Off.

8/5 - Off.

8/6 - 12.0 miles.  2:03.34.  4,775'v.  Mt. Werner Classic Trail Run.

8/7 - 8.92 miles.  1:54.57.  ~1,000' v.  Stagecoach Mountain.  Easy long hike/run on Stagecoach Mountain. 

8/8 - 13.49 miles.  ~700'v.  2:09.04.  Stagecoach Reservoir.  Easy long run but longer than I expected to go. 

8/9 - Off.  Took Benny for a long walk.

Weekly Totals:  39.91 miles.  6,875 vertical feet.  Great race last Saturday and a couple of long runs the two days after to get ready for a 15-mile, mega-vertical effort at Continental Divide Trail run in a couple weeks.   Looking forward to doing some running in San Francisco/Bay Area while I'm there next week.  Legs are feeling really good and my feet (plantar fasciitis and tendonitis) haven't been bothering me when I run, just a little in the mornings.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mount Werner Classic Race Recap

It was another stellar summer morning with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-60s (after a little rain in the days before) and a near-full corral of runners began the 12-mile,  3,400 vertical foot trek to the top of Mt. Werner.  The race website: (http://runningseries.com/races/mt_werner_classic.php)  claims the course actually climbs 4,775' because of the multiple uphill and downhill sections along your way to the summit.  I read once that a 1,000' climb is like running an extra mile.  To call this race a challenge is no understatement. 

I arrived early enough to see neighbor and friendly runner Bronwyn Rittner in the parking lot and walked down to the registration tent.  Because I registered early enough, my race number was pre-printed with my name on it.  I thought that was a cool, classy touch for the Race Director to think of.  I did a little warm up running with local speedster, Harry Niedl (ended up finishing 3rd, 1:49:45) and let him know my plan was to start really slow and save as much as I could for later.  My only goal was to beat last year's time of 2:06:04.

At the start, I stayed true to myself and started slowly,  settling in with a pack of runners as we headed up Right of Way towards the bottom of Thunderhead lift.  From there, we got on the dirt road up to snowmaking, instead of taking the single track.  This was a detour from last year's course due to a mudslide that happened in the spring.  As we approached the first view of the valley from the top of Bashor Bowl, I ran with Roy Cardwell from Vail, who I met at last year's race and we talked for a bit.  Roy's running the Leadville Trail 100 in a couple of weeks.  We got to talk for a while after the race, too, which was really nice.  He says he'll be back next year.  I hope so.  We passed the first aid station at the Snowmaking Building and hopped on the Valley View trail to do the first section of serious climbing (of course, I say this after we have already grunted our way up a solid 7-800').  The weather was so nice and cool in the shady aspens.  I ran with the two women's leaders (Nancy Citriglia and Kelly Bedell) for a little while, then pushed ahead once we got near some of the downhill sections.  I caught Duke Barlow from Breckenridge just before the climb up Moonlight but he passed me as I hiked up a steep section and then got away from me.  I was relieved once the course got to Duster because I knew that we had a relatively tame climb to Rendezvous on a mile plus dirt road.  Nancy Citriglia of Winter Park was now the women's leader (went on to finish first in 2:03:46) came on strong here and passed me on Duster.  At Rendezvous, the course runs down a dirt road to the bottom of Sunshine Lift and then, begins the gnarly 2ish mile climb to the summit on Pete's Wicked Trail.   I was able to see the two runners in front of me on the occasional switchback, so even though I really started to feel beat, I had a goal in mind of staying somewhat close to them.  I couldn't quite find a rhythm on the climb.  Pete's is a pretty technical trail with water, rocks, logs, a bit of everything.  And it's relentlessly steep.  I checked my watch at one point and I had been running for 1 hour and 38 minutes, so I ate a Honey Stinger gel to give me a boost.  It helped a little but, if not for the amazing wildflowers and the jaw-dropping view at the top of Sunshine Liftline,  it would have felt like a bit of a death march to the summit.  Once within sight of the top of Storm Lift, I was able to get my second wind, ready for a 2.5 mile downhill run to the gondola.  Local runner, Mike Hlavacek, was at the summit aid station with some encouragement and a pitcher of water or margarita.  Your choice.  I thought he was joking at the time but found later that Nick Sunseri (local running stud and winner of this year's race in 1:41:19) and Roy had both taken Mike up on his offer.   (Not for me, thanks.)  On the descent, I just went for broke and clipped off my fastest downhill effort my legs could take.  First, I passed a Chevy Suburban and, eventually, caught Nancy as I cruised down Storm Peak Challenge but she still managed to stay close behind me.  Less than a mile from the finish, I see Eddie Rogers (Steamboat)  running in Vibram Five Fingers and I really want to catch him at the end.  I definitely had pace on him and I was feeling good.   That is, until he saw me chasing him and kicked it down another gear.  The final 400 yards or so of the race is another unforgiving dirt road climb up to the gondola and I was completely gassed.  His strong stride indicated that he had more left than I did.  He finally disappeard around a bend just before the finish and I did all I could to end with a smile.

Yes!  Another wonderful time running a great race and I even PR'd the course with a time of 2:03:34   (Shooting to go under 2 hrs. next year and I managed to keep my top 10 streak intact by finishing 8th because a couple of real fast guys didn't run today.)  I stuck around for a while, ate a little food and talked about trail running with a few of the other runners.  It was a super beautiful day and I was glad to hang out at the top of the gondola with a bunch of people who had just run the same, awesome course.  Everyone was just really in sync and friendly, so the event had a really positive vibe.  Great time.   The Race Directors, Emily Conjura and Cara Marrs, did an incredible job of putting on a Zero Waste Event.  The course was well-marked and well-managed.  I'm already looking forward to next year.  This race is definitely a Classic.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Weekly Summary: July 26 - Aug 1

7/26 - Off.

7/27 - Off.

7/28 - 4.74 miles.  :38.34.  ~400'.  Stagecoach.  Easy run.

7/29 - Off.

7/30 - 10.63 miles.  2:15.08.  ~2000'.  Devil's Causeway Short Loop.  East Fork Trail (1119) - Devil's Causeway Trail - Chinese Wall Trail (1803) - Bear River Trail (1120).   Incredible morning run up to the tundra.   Without pushing very hard and stopping for photos, I made it to the Causeway in :44, a solid 8 minutes faster than my first attempt two weeks ago.   The next 3 miles were absolutely sublime.  I felt like I was on top of the world as I ran 8 minute miles at over 11,000' taking in the endless views, surrounded by an ocean of wildflowers and still finding the occasional snow patch.  The descent on Bear River Trail started out with a half mile of crossing snow patches, water crossings and rocky steps.  Eventually, the trail entered the woods again, smoothed out in a few places and was very runnable.  A couple of log bridges helped me cross some fast moving streams.  It would've been nice to run for another hour or so but I wanted to get back home and take care of some things.  Just a fantastic trail run with a little bit of everything.  A ton of marmot sightings!  Even with many stops to take photos (more posted on my Facebook page) and a short refueling stop, I was still able to run the entire loop in 2:02.54 and then did a short cool down.  I will almost certainly try and run this loop for a fast time (1:30 - 1:45) at some point in the future.  



Topo of the Causeway Short Loop.


Looking NW from the Devil's Causeway


The Devil's Causeway

7/31 - Off.

8/1 - 7.12 miles.  :58.00.  ~400'v.  Stagecoach.  Good uptempo run down to the south shore of the lake and back up to the house.  Encountered a little skunk on the trail so I let him do his thing until he disappeared into the tall grass.  Right after that, saw a gorgeous bald eagle perched atop a pole, checking out the critters around the lake.  I think it was the same one Katy and I saw yesterday morning when we walked the dogs down to the dam.  Very cool!

Weekly totals:  21+ miles.  ~2800'v.  Good week with low miles but what a fantastic run on Saturday.  Probably my favorite run since the Lake of the Crags run I did last summer.  Looking forward to running the Mt. Werner Classic this coming Saturday and hoping to run at least as fast as last year (2:06) if not a touch faster. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Weekly Summary: July 19 - 25

7/19 - Off.  Blah.  Should've run.

7/20 - :36.xx. ~200'v.  Stagecoach.  Ran the trail down towards the lake and back.  Worked hard on all the uphills and recovered on the downs.  Good, short effort.

7/21 - Off.  Second day this week that I didn't run simply because my attitude sucked after work.  Like most people, I hate my job most days.  Unfortunately, it affects my running way too often.  Not winning!

7/22 - 2.0++ miles.  19:00.  ~150'v.  Stagecoach.

7/23 - 9 miles.  1:17.24.  2500'v.  Spring Creek Memorial Trail Run.  My second time running the Spring Creek race was just as fun as I remember it being the first time.  The newspaper reported that 180 runners showed up to run to run either the 9 miler or the 5K race.  It was another gorgeous, sunny morning and I was definitely eager to run this race again.  I had a bone to pick with the course after getting lost last year and  I was also excited to see if I could better my previous time.  The race had the same fun, trail run vibe and I was really glad to see my friends Bronwyn and Derek running this year.  There were all sorts of runners on hand.  A couple of fast guys from Ft. Collins and one from Denver (the eventual winner), joined a few of Steamboat's speedsters at the front of the pack and visitors and locals alike all lined up for this annual romp through the woods.   At the start, I went out a little hotter than I usually go and settled in behind the lead pack before watching the fast guys get smaller and then, disappear altogether.  The first mile is relatively flat (slightly uphill) but miles 2 - 4 feature two very steep, unimproved single track climbs through the aspens with several downed trees to climb over.   I kept the tempo quick, hiked the severely steep sections and was only held up by having to re-tie my shoes a couple times.  Once on the dirt road up to Buffalo Pass,  I still ran a steady pace and made it to the Dry Lake parking lot in just over 45 minutes.   I felt like I had pushed it a little hard on the ascent but I was stoked to be starting the 5 mile downhill part of the race.  I picked a fast pace and tried to just let gravity do the work as I ran my way down the course.   The trail was in great condition, tacky and fast.   Thus far, I had pretty much run the entire race by myself.  With a couple miles to go, I was caught from behind by Greg Joyce (whom I beat by 30 seconds last year!) and I could tell that he was running stronger than I.  Once we hit the wider part of the trail, I moved to the side so he could pass and I tried to hang with him to the finish.  He just had too much left and I slowly drifted further behind.  I dug down deep to finish strong and still managed a big smile on my way to the finish line.  I was the 10th runner across the line (6th, 30-39 year old) and kept my Running Series streak of top 10 finishes alive. I bettered my time on the course by 1 minute and 49 seconds but still felt like I faded too much in the end.  I'm sure that my endurance was much better last year because I had so many long runs under my belt.  This year my short distance running and focus on speed helped me keep my legs turning over fast even though I didn't have the "deep miles" lungs and legs.   Big up to Derek McClung who ran a respectable 1:28.14, getting in under his 1:30 goal just a week after riding 114 miles in the Tour de Steamboat.  Awesome job, buddy!  Bronwyn's 1:44 on this gnarly course is nothing to sneeze at either.  Next race:  Aug 6 -  Mt. Werner Classic (12 miles, 4775'v.).

7/24 - 1:10.xx.  ~400' v. Stagecoach.   Fantastic sunny run around the south shore with Katy.   The wildflowers are off the hook right now!  Katy's longest run in a while and it was just wonderful being out with her for more than a couple miles.

7/25 - 10+miles.  1:35.xx.  ~500'v.  Stagecoach.  Out and back run from the house down to the dam and then about another mile or so.  Wanted to get in a longer run in preparation for Mt. Werner in a couple weeks. 

Weekly Totals:  ~30 miles.  ~2950' vertical.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bi-Weekly Summary: July 5 – July 18

7/5 – Off.

7/6 – 7.2 miles. :57.33. ~250’v. Stagecoach. Ran down to the lake from the house and then about 1.2 miles on Elk Run Trail, which runs along the southern shore of Stagecoach Reservoir. First, you run downhill for about 2 miles along the county road. Once you hit the trail (crushed gravel and very easy to run or ride a bicycle on), the elevation levels out mostly with some small rollers.

7/7 – 3.04 miles. :33.19 ~450’v. Stagecoach. Climb/descent on Stagecoach Mtn. single track.

7/8 – Off. Awesome dinner and martinis at Cottonwood with Katy.

7/9 – 8.? Miles, 1:06.41. ~1000’v. Howelsen Hill 8 Miler. Super fun beginning to the trail running races in the Steamboat Springs Running Series. It had been raining pretty regularly for the past three days and I knew it was going to be a bit of a mudfest on the course. The Howelsen Hill 8-miler course starts at Olympian Hall at the base of Howelsen Hill and runs out toward the rodeo grounds before jumping on the trail and climbing slowly out to the Bluffs. After the first 1.5 miles, the course changes up and climbs on the Lupine Trail which is a tight, meandering single track in the scrub oak. These 2 miles of climbing up to the top of the quarry were my favorite part of the race. I was slowly catching a runner in front of me and felt strong the whole time, while maintaining a solid pace. By the time I made it up to the quarry, I had caught one more runner and was able to pass him on Eye to Eye, just as the race topped out in elevation. Once I knew it was all downhill to the finish, I picked up my pace considerably and was rocketing down the trail. The trail was moist, tacky and fast through the aspens. I was keeping a sharp eye out for orange flags on the left hand side of the trail because I didn’t want to take a wrong turn and there are many opportunities for that on Howelsen’s extensive trails system. I got to a trail 3-way and there were no flags to be seen! I stopped and ran back and forth a few hundred yards but didn’t even see a footprint in the mud. I had to laugh to myself and I waited about 30 seconds until the next runner came down the trail. We teamed up and chose the one trail that goes the most directly downhill. About a quarter mile later, I just decided to bomb down the trail and find my own way to the finish. Approaching Blackmere Drive I saw more flagging and got back on course. I was having a blast and felt so exhilarated as I crossed the finish line. I found out after the race that just about everybody lost the course at that same spot and it makes me wonder if the race director kind of did that on purpose to make it a free-for-all to the finish. (Kind of like the Dipsea Race in San Francisco.) Anyway, it was an incredibly fun run on a nice, cool, overcast Steamboat summer morning. Next race: SPRING CREEK MEMORIAL 9-MILER, July 23rd!

7/10 – Off.

7/11 – 4.41 miles. :51.02. ~750’v. Silver Creek Trail. Hard to easy effort on a soggy Silver Creek. Ran out to the Wilderness Area boundary and back. Fun, challenging terrain. The climbing in the first 1+ mile is as hard as you want it to be. I made it a little hard on myself, plus running in the wet, low brush ensured wet feet.

7/12 - Off.

7/13 - 7.94 miles.  1:09.50.  ~450 v. Stagecoach.  Up tempo trail run down to dirt road and Elk Run Trail near the dam.  Nice evening run along the lake.  A little buggy but not too bad.  A little cloudy so not too warm and just a little breezy.  Yeah.  That was a nice run.  Good up hill back home, too.

7/14 - 11.23 miles.  1:35.44, ~450 v. Stagecoach.  Stagecoach reservoir loop run.  From the house, downhill to Elk Run Trail and then around the lake to the dam.  Ran the dirt road and then trail back up to the house from there.  Long run but pushed the pace rather than taking it slow.   Warmer and sunnier than yesterday. 

7/15 - 4.92 miles, :50.14, ~200 v. Stagecoach.  Stagecoach Reservoir out and back.  Dirt trail to dirt road across the dam.  Nice easy effort to recovery from yesterday's run.

7/16 - 5.50, 1:34.51, 1500'v.  Devil's Causeway.  First time for me to go to the Causeway.  It's a good trail to run but definitely steeper than most of the other runs I do.  Plus, this one starts at an elevation of 10,250' so the air is already thin.  The initial section of the trail, runs along an open meadown (amazing wildflowers today) before ducking into the woods and beginning to climb.  There was still plenty of snow and I had to make my own way across some sizable fields of snow before the final, steep 700+' scramble to the top.  Once on top the Causeway, the vast open terrain that is the Flat Tops can be viewed in every direction and the thought of future runs through the wilderness seem limitless in possibility.  I ate a quick lunch (turkey/veggie wrap) and relaxed for about 15 minutes before resuming the run down.  The descent was incredibly fun, especially glissading down the snow fields and cruising through the forest.  Views of beautiful alpine lakes and epic mountain tops were everywhere.  From the trailhead ledger, I ran the ascent in :52 and the descent in :42.  This was an amazing run but only whetted my appetite to run more Flat Top routes. 

7/17 - ~3miles.  Boulder Creek Bike Path.  Beautiful but warm morning run along Boulder Creek with Katy.   We ran the bike path next to Canyon Blvd. toward Nederland.  Alot of people out using the path but really no surprise in Boulder.  Great to be out with my girl, even for a short run. 

7/18 - Off.

2-week Totals:  55.24 miles, ~5050 vertical feet 

Really fun and productive two weeks of running.  Felt healthy and did a variety of runs with plenty of hills, steeps, rollers, trees, shade, sun, water and views.   Looking forward to doing the Spring Creek Memorial Trail Run this coming weekend.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Weekly Summary: June 27 - July 4

6/27 - 6/29 - Off.  Took a few more days off from running to move into the new place and get settled in Stagecoach.   It wasn't easy though as I soon discovered that there are trails EVERYWHERE in the area. 

6/30 - 1.9 mile.  Roadie.

7/1 - 4.x mile, xx:xx.  ~200'v.  Short run on the gravel path down to the Fire Station near the lake with a little side trip around a single-track loop I found along the way.

7/2 - 7.03 miles, 1:34.01, ~1500'v.  First time running on the old Stagecoach Ski Area was a blast.  I'm able to hop on a single track trail just a couple hundred yards from my front door.  From there, I stayed on the single track but found a bulldozed road that meanders around the mountain.  I got to check out a couple of the abandoned ski lifts.  There seems to be a multitude of trails to explore so I'm excited to get up there more often and become more familiar with my new "backyard."  On this day, however, I was more interested in summiting, so even though I did out-and-backs on a couple trails, I mostly kept working the climbs.  I developed a terrible headache that seemed to get worse as I got over 9000'.  It forced me to turn around before I had intended but after descending a few hundred feet, I definitely felt better.  It's funny how changing altitude can still have an adverse effect on the body regardless of fitness or acclimatization. 

7/3 - 6.28 miles, 1:19.01, ~1000'v.  Silver Creek Trail.  Just a short 6 mile drive down a dirt road from my house and I'm at the Silver Creek trailhead.  This trail is a new discovery for me.  It's a long, wooded trail that crosses the Sarvis Creek Wilderness Area.   I'm not sure exactly how long this trail is end to end (I'm estimating about 12 miles).   I only ran the first 3 miles of it because I forgot my water bottle and it was a very warm day.  After the initial climb, on technical single track, the trail enters the Wilderness Area at mile 2 and follows a deep valley as the trail traverses a north facing mountain side.  Fortunately, there were many streams flowing and I was able to keep cool by dunking my head and hat a few times and taking the occasional drink.  (I figured it was better to risk the discomfort of giardia than die of dehydration.)   This is a very "runnable" trail once you get past the initial climb.  The single track is perfectly smooth and either rolls or climbs very gently, but stays pretty much around 9000+' of elevation.

7/4 - 10.05 miles, 2:06.09, 2000'v.  Morrison Divide Trail to the "Muddy Slide." Just a few miles down Forest Road 270 from Silver Creek Trail is the northern trailhead for the Morrison Divide Trail.  This awesome double track (motorized vehicles allowed) climbs through the woods (classic Colorado pines and aspens) for 5 miles up to an amazing erosion feature at 10,250' known to locals as the "Muddy Slide" or just "The Slide."  I ran the trail as an out-and-back, but the trail continues south and back down to Lynx Pass.  Again, I found this trail to also be very "runnable" and smooth, although there were a couple of downed trees, a few technical sections and, at lower altitudes, water crossings.   The first mile or so featured a chance to do both uphill and downhill running but this section of the MoDiv Trail is hallmarked by a long, steady climb/descent through the forest.

Weekly Totals:  ~30 miles, ~4700'v.

Managed to bump up the mileage and vertical feet thanks to a long weekend.  I'm super excited about living in South Routt County now and looking forward to a multitude of trail running opportunities.  Sure, the trails right here in the Stagecoach area are amazing but what really excites me is being within an hour's drive of the Flattops Wilderness Area.  I bought a topographic map of the Flattops the other day and the number of trails, the distance they cover and altitude they reach is truly EPIC.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Weekly Summary: June 20 - June 26

6/20 - 5.13 miles, :40.30, ~600'v.  Slightly soggy day so I stayed off the trails and ran some road hills.  I wasn't really "feeling it" but still gave a decent effort and worked on my leg turnover on the downhill on Bear Dr.  My route from the house was: bike path to Chinook Ln., through the First Tracks condos over to Mt. Werner Circle, up to Val d'Isere and then down Bear Dr. to Walton Creek, Stone Ln. and bike path. 

6/21 - 7.54 miles, 1:58.42, ~1500'v.  Red Dirt to Saddle Trail down to Mad Creek and back with Benihana.  Benny got super hot so we had to stop a few times so that he could cool off. Poor little guy has to run in a fur coat no matter the weather and today got sunny and we did alot of climbing.  Fortunately, there were a few places to stop where he could stand in the water and cool off and we hiked a mile or so instead of running.  I feel bad because I get frustrated with him for not being able to keep up sometimes but then I need to remind myself that he's not out on a training run, he's just running because he loves to, it's his instinct.  And then that reminds me of the real reason that I'm out running trails:  Because it's what I love to do.  Good boy, Benny.

6/22 - 9.18 miles, 1:51.10, 2000+'v .  First time running up to the top of the Gondola this summer and it was a good one.  Whistler Park game trail up to Valley View and then up to the gondy.  Made it to the top in 1:05.40 before running the same trails back down.  On one of the steepest parts of the climb, I checked my pace and saw that I was doing a 27-minute mile.  I had to laugh!  Still, I love this route.  It's mostly in the trees but still has a couple sensational views along the way.  (None of which I stopped to take in, today.)   Very technical footing for much of it, but the single track section on the Mountain allows for some smoother running.  My favorite thing is probably that almost every time I run this route, I have it all to myself.  My cool down on the bike path was really interesting as the creek had swelled in the time I was gone and I got to run in 6" of water as I got home.

6/23 - 6/26 - Off.  More or less taking a few days off from running to pack and move Katy and I out to Stagecoach.  I'm feeling pretty good though.  Feeling strong from the last few mountain runs and pretty sure I would have logged a 40 mile week if we weren't in the process of moving.  Today (6/25), I'm nerding out in front of the computer and watching how the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run plays out. 

Weekly totals:  21.85 miles, 3100+'v.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Weekly Summary: June 13 - June 19

6/13 - Off.  Double lower calf blowout from the race this past Saturday.  

6/14 - Off.  Really surprised to still be feeling the after effects of the race.  Apparently, I ran much harder than I thought.

6/15 - 5.5 miles, xx:xx, ~500'v.  Ran Spring Creek Trail with Katy for a couple of miles before continuing up the trail a another mile and half or so by myself.  Legs felt incredibly fatigued at the beginning of the run despite already taking three days off and I could feel the lactic acid in my calves coming back on during the downhill return.  

6/16 - Off.

6/17 - 10.3 miles, 1:40.01, ~1,300'v.  With the snow finally melted all the way up to Dry Creek, I decided to go for what I like to call an "end to end burner" (to borrow a phrase from the graffiti world, meaning to paint a train car entirely from one end to the other) on Spring Creek Trail, so I ran the entire trail from trailhead to terminus and back.   A cool, slightly overcast day was perfect for running and about 3.5 miles into my run I saw and stopped to talk with Adam Sando, who was mountain biking.  He confirmed that the trail was good to go all the way up to Dry Creek.  It was a tough run overall.  It took me a few miles to feel good but it didn't last long and even after the turnaround (5.15 miles, :57.24), I felt like I was working way harder than I should've been.  I hit the 6 mile mark around 1:03, which is what I ran 8+ miles in last weekend.  Ended the run at a casual pace rather than pushing it too hard.

6/18 - Off.  I hadn't planned on taking Saturday off since it is usually an opportunity to run as long as I'd like, but today was different.  One of Katy's dogs, Ulu, had been acting oddly so I dropped him off at the vet (where Katy actually works part-time) in the morning.   They called her and we both met there to find out that his lungs were dangerously full of fluid (possibly the result of an erupted tumor) and that he was having an incredibly hard time breathing.  Under the circumstances, our only choice for treatment was to try and get him over Rabbit Ears Pass and down to the Front Range to run some tests at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.  The down side was that he was in such bad shape and old enough (he was over 11 years old) that he might not survive the trip or tests.  Our only other option was to have him put to sleep, which, sadly, is what we decided to do.  I have lost other pets in the past but never sat and watched as one was given a lethal injection to end it's suffering.  As painful as it was to do, it was the right thing to do and the staff at the clinic were very supportive and kind.  Ulu was a gentle and wonderful companion and we are incredibly sad about losing him so suddenly.   We love you, Monkey Dog.



6/19 - Off.

Weekly Totals:  15.8 miles, ~1,800'v.

Another really low mileage week, but some things are just more important.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekly Summary: June 7 - June 12

6/7 - 7.02 miles, 1500'v., 1:09.22.  First summit of Emerald Mountain (el. 8252') this summer as it was finally dry enough to go for a solid uphill effort.  Made it from the truck (parked on the far side of the rodeo grounds next to the ice rink) to Howelsen Hill base area to the summit of Emerald via Blackmere Drive and Lane of Pain in 39 minutes.  I pushed the downhill harder than I had intended, probably because there were a ton of mountain bikers on the hill and I love blowing by mountain bikes.  I ran down the Lupine Trail which has a ridiculous amount of fun switchbacks and technical rocky sections and keeps you nicely shaded in the scrub oak and aspens most of the time.

6/8 - 2.67 miles, ~200'v., :34.02.  Leisurely trail run in Whistler Park with Benihana dog before going home and making some pizza for dinner.

6/9 - Off

6/10 - Off. 

6/11 - 8.19 miles, ~1000'v., 1:03.13, pace:  7:43/mile.  Still a little bit cool at the 10 a.m. start of the Hayden Cog Run.  There were also 5K and 10K runs that went through town but the feature race was the 8+ miler that starts in front of the town park, weaves it's way through the small town of Hayden and, then, climbs about 1000' in 3 miles on a paved county road up to the top of the Hayden "Cog".  I felt a little out of my element at another road race (wearing trail running shoes, no less) and outgunned by what looked like a few fast dudes (wearing road racing flats).  The entire field of racers for the Cog Run was actually very small, maybe 25-30 people.  I really like the smaller races, it's just more of a homey atmosphere and no huge crowds to get lost in or weave through.  It's also neat to see people who do alot of these races and become more familiar with them.  Again, I saw Don Platt, the 6-time Hardrock 100 finisher, who was running his 24th Cog.  I really admire his longevity and consistency.  At the start, the lead pack took off  fast.  I stuck with them for about 100 yards, looked at my GPS and saw that we were already doing a 6:12/mile pace.   This was way too hot for me so I eased back to a 7:00/mile. "That was humbling,"  I thought.  Once we were out of town, I got a look at the first climb.  I was actually really excited about getting in some good, steady miles of uphill running and that's exactly what I got.  I was able to pull ahead of 3 runners here and find a little breathing room.  I passed one more person on the next steep climb and I tried to keep the effort moderately high without blowing up.  It was a clear and sunny day and the views were getting better and better as we climbed up to the Cog.  It started to get warmer without any sort of cover and I made sure I took a few swigs from my handheld every now and then.   Near the top, Mike Hlavacek passed me and I tried to stay close to him, hoping I might be able to pass him later in the race.  At the turnaround, which I made in :35.19 (8:36/mile),  I was surprised to find that I couldn't keep up with him on the downhill.  I checked my pace on the GPS at one point and it read 5:38/mile, which isn't slow, but it sure seemed like it as I watched Mike gradually increase his lead on me.   His running looked so effortless and I was just amazed at how he just seemed to get faster and faster (or I was getting slower and slower).  At one point, I dug down deep and really tried to catch him but it was just no good.  At least I was pushing myself to run my best.  In the last mile, as I returned to flat road, my legs really started to feel fatigued and I knew I was almost out of gas.  With only one more turn and a little to run, I checked my time and saw that I wouldn't break 1-hour.  (Rats!  Well, I guess I have goal for next year.)   I could feel my legs were going to be upset with me later in the day, so I eased off the pace and rolled through the finish in a modest, but well-earned 1:03.13, 9th finisher.  My downhill split for the second half was  :27.53 (6:52/mile), so not bad, but I would like to get that down into the 6:30/mile range.   Definitely a fun, challenging and humbling race.

6/12 - Off.   Calves are little sore as post-race DOMS sets in and I pulled a muscle in my back at some point yesterday.  I'm feeling 39 today.  Ouch.

Totals:  17.88 miles, ~2,700'v.

Didn't run a whole lot this week but I did work 40 hours which is probably more important.  Well, I guess that's a matter of perspective.  If I didn't need money, I suppose I would run just for the hell of it alot more than I already do.  Anyway, I should start adding a little more volume to my totals once I feel good enough to run again.   

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Weekly Summary: May 31 - June 5

5/31 - 3.90 miles, 50:43

6/1 - Off

6/2 - 7.08 miles, 1:25.33, .30 mile cool down, 4:00.13 (1800+' v.).  First time running up to Valley View via the Whistler Park game trail.  The trail gains roughly 1600' from miles 3 to 5 and is exceptionally steep in a few sections.  There are a trio of progressively higher vistas along the way the allow you to great views of the valley.  The descent is fun, starting with  mountain bike single track, followed by dirt road, so you can open up the stride a little bit.   A short run on the bike path and a couple of streets takes me right back home.  


6/3 - 6.55 miles, 1:05.03 (700-800'v.), .1.01 mile cool down, 7.56 miles.   Whistler Park hill workout:  Warm up run to the park followed by some moderate effort trail running before working some short, steep climbs.  After the initial climb, there is a loop trail offers a runnable 150' climb and descent with a flat, recovery section.  I ran  3x150'v., reverse direction 3x150' with .3 mile recovery between ascents.  Progressive effort on each lap had me huffing and puffing but I feel like I am getting stronger. 

6/4 - Off

6/5 - 10.74 miles,  1:42.35 (1500-1700' v.), .35 mile cool down, 4:57.80.  Very little pain in my left foot fascia this morning.  Tendonitis swelling on right heel looks noticably better.  Sick "early season" run on Spring Creek Trail in lieu of doing the Steamboat Half or 10K.  Started on the trail behind the high school and ran all the way up to the canal before doubling back and getting on Spring Creek.  Then, power hiked a steep 150' climb back up to the canal on a rough drainage track, turned around and dropped back down to Spring Creek.  I ran a few uphill miles through the aspens to the 7th bridge (elev. 7902')  before turning around.  My legs were getting a little fatigued but bounced back on the downhill and I had a great time racing down the forested single track, most of the time with a fully swollen Spring Creek raging at my side.  The unmuddy sections were perfectly tacky and easy to grip.  Dealt with a little snow and mud, just enough to keep it fun and I even wanted to get my feet wet towards the end so I ran though a few puddles and drainages.

Totals:  29.85 miles, 3900-4200+' v.

Stepped up the trail vertical a little bit this week.  There's now dry trail up to about 8000' where there are still lingering pockets of snow.  Last year on this day, I was able to run all the way up Spring Creek to Dry Lake and then run a couple more miles up Buffalo Pass Road.   Today, I had to turnaround about a mile short of Dry Lake.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Weekly Summary: May 23 - 30

5/23 - Off

5/24 - Off

5/25 - 8.01 miles, 1:06.xx, (100' -200'v.) -easy cruiser out Hwy 40 towards Rabbit Ears, turned around at 4.0 miles and slightly picked up tempo on the way home.  Been trying to decide how much running I should be doing and, at what effort, to give my feet the best opportunity to heal properly.  It's not very painful to run but the occasional pain during the day is not a great thing.   I don't think not running altogether is the answer. 

5/26 - 5.22 miles, 1:03.43, (1200+' v.) - Ball buster single track run up the ridge behind Whistler Park.  Start with a one-mile-ish warm up and then climb 934' in about a mile.  Made the turnaround in :31.13, then added a short 150' climb after the downhill.  This seriously vertical run has been a favorite test piece of mine for the last 3 years of running around this area.  It's a tough climb every time and I almost always have to hike several sections of the trail.  I can only recall having run the entire trail in the uphill direction one time in the past. 

5/27 - 6.22 miles, 1:0x.xx (800+' v.)  Ran Mad Creek Trail to a little ways past the barn before turning abound and doing a loop up to Saddle Trail and then back down to Mad Creek.  Short cool down on Hot Springs Trail.  Legs definitely sore after back to back days of trail runs.

5/28 - Saturday.  Easy shake down/recovery run.  Leaving for Denver with Katy in the evening.  A couple days away from Steamboat..

5/29 - Off  Slept in, had a big breakfast, went to Coors Field and watched the Rockies with Katy.

5/30 - Off  Another day off in Denver.  Watched a little bit of the Bolder Boulder 10K on TV and thought about running a little bit but other than that, nothing!  Legs feel great though.  Left foot is good enough to run but definitely a little tender in the morning. 

Totals:  19.45 miles, 2.200+' vertical

My next opportunity to race comes next weekend at the Steamboat Half-Marathon or 10K, but I'm not sure if I will run.  Actually, I doubt it.  The last two trail runs I had were so much fun that I am getting alot less motivated to go road running.  The snow should really start melting this week as it warms up a little more and the trails on Howelsen, "out and backs" on Mad Creek and laps up the ridge behind Whistler Park are fun enough in the meantime.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weekly Summary: May 15 - 22

5/15 - 4.68 miles,  600-700' vertical. 1:03.15.  Ran some trails on Howelsen Hill with Katy and Benihana, including a cool "back door" trail we've never run up to Orton Meadows.  It was a nice, sunny day but, as expected, the trails were rather wet in a lot of places.  We continued over to the southeast side of Howely and ran some of the cross country ski trails and a little single track where the trails were a little drier.

3.82 miles, 150' vertical.  34:47.   Afterwards, I went back out and did a few more miles, first through Whistler Park and then over through Priest Creek subdivision and out to Hwy 40.  Medium hard effort. 

5/16 - Rested

5/17 - Rested

5/18 - Ran about 2 miles with Benihana and picked up Marvin in Whistler Park.  Took a break for a little while and hung out with BA when I brought Marvin back to his house. 

5.93 miles, ~150' vertical, 53:59.  Then, I ran over to the park next to the fire station and ran 4x1 mile repeats.  Working the inclines on the first and third miles and running a little easier (still at a good tempo, though) on miles two and four.  About 8 miles total at a solid training effort.

5/19 -  Plantar fasciitis in my left foot was really hurting in the morning.  Rested the sore foot and a nagging cough that has been with me all week even though I really felt good after work and wanted to go for a run. 

5/20 - 7.01 miles,  1100'+ vertical, 1:01.  This run started out as work and slowly evolved into a good, solid run as I climbed up to 7711' in elevation in the first 4 miles, followed by an equal descent in the last three.  I managed to catch a nice window of no rain for my after work run.  Five minutes after I got home, it was raining sideways.

5/21 - Rested

5/22 - 5.49 miles, 500-750' vertical, 1:09.48. .6 mile cool down, 06:52.   Ran Spring Creek with Benny after getting shut down at Howelsen due to muddy conditions.  Fun, relaxing trail run with a few good-sized hills thrown in for effort.  A few people out on the trails today, taking advantage of a lapse in rain.  Ran just past the second bridge and the trail was too wet and muddy to venture any further with the dog.  He stayed surprisingly clean during this run but probably only because we turned around at this point.  We did a "Y" route and turned right at the trail intersection at did a short 200+' out and back before running back out Spring Creek. 

Weekly totals:  29 miles,  2500'+ vertical feet

My feet have been bothering me more than usual.  Particularly, the plantar fasciitis pain I've been feeling in the mornings.  Tendonitis in my right heel is very tender and has been more noticable while I'm running.  As a result, I've kept my mileage rather modest this week, instead of bumping it up into the 40s as I had originally hoped to be doing.  Basically, I've been cutting one long run of 10 -12 miles out of my weekly schedule.   I'm trying to get my bike dialed in so that I can ride it and cross train.  I need to stay off of my feet when I can.  I think I will try substituting my long run with a long bike ride.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weekly Summary: May 8 - May 14

5/8 - 7.51 miles, 1200'+ vertical, 1:18.27.  Whistler Park is starting to dry out so I went over and did a few laps (one with Katy!) up on the hill side to work on my trail dexterity some more.  Three solid climbs and descents, interspersed with flatter, winding trail work with plenty of washed out sections.  Plenty of moop (mud/dog poop). Gross.  Still, working the hills felt good and I was able to run, hop and jump over puddles, logs and rocks.  My kind of technical running.

5/9 - 6.54 miles, road run (negligable vertical), 53:57.  First, 2 mile warm-up in 16:29 (8:15/mi. pace), then 3.0 miles in 21:33 (7:10/mi. pace), last mile plus cool down in 8:31.  This was the first time I've tried to do any real speed work.  Since I've decided to focus on shorter races this year, I want to see how fast I can get.  In college (about 18 years ago!), I was a sub-5 minute miler, under 40 minutes for 10K and ran my fastest 10 miles in 63:00.  I'm a hell of alot slower these days, but I'm sure I can train myself to run a little faster and it will be fun to see how much I can improve over the summer.  I think I'm going to do a road race this weekend and I've been trying to decide if I should go 5K or 10K.          

5/10 - 2.98 miles around Whistler Park with Benihana.  1x400' climb and easy run around the park.  Gotta get home and start cooking some ribs for dinner tonight!  Registered to run Spirit Challenge 10K but I am trying to move to the 5K since the Running Series only gives points for the 5.  I think I'm going to get my ass handed to me by the competition but, of course, I'll run my own race and just try to keep the wheels from falling off.

5/11 - 4+ miles.  Ran out Hwy 40 again.  Medium effort fartlek workout.

5/12 - Rest.  Go and eat sushi with beautiful wife-to-be.  Unagi (eel) is so good.

5/13 - Took another rest day.  Felt kind of necessary to keep the legs fresh for tomorrow's 5K.  First time I think I've ever raced this distance (5K).  In college, I ran plenty of 1.5 mile Physical Readiness Test runs for NROTC and about thirty 5 mile, 10K or 10 milers and a couple marathons.  I think it will be fairly difficult to figure out a pace for a 3 mile race.  It might seem short but it's long enough to burn yourself out if you go out too hot.  Especially after a year of training and running ultramarathons where running fast is really the least of your concerns.  I'm looking forward to a new challenge. 

5/14 - Spirit Challenge 5K race.    Half-mile warm up around the Middle School track.  21:33, 6:56/mile.  A beautiful morning, not a cloud in the sky.  The course started at the middle school and worked it's way uphill, first on CR 36 then, on Hot Springs Dr.  A short downhill took us to Butcherknife Canyon and a half mile section of trail.  A few days ago, there was a 2-3" creek running down the middle of the dirt trail but today it was mostly dry with just a couple rivlets of water.  Climbing out on the trail, the race turned left on Amethyst Dr. as it finally peaked out before the last downhill back to the middle school.   I did't know the course until a few minutes before the race and it turned out to be a fun one.  There was plenty of variation in terrain, but it was a mostly challenging uphill course.  The second climb, out of Butcherknife, was a mean little 150 - 200'.  Finished a couple minutes behind Derek Ledigh and Harry Neidl, two guys who typically lead the Running Series in points.

I was glad to see Derek  "D-Money" McClung out there getting a few sunny Steamboat miles this morning.   Looking forward to seeing you at a few more races, buddy.

The coolest things about the race were some of the people I met.   Bennet Gamber, age maybe 6, who ran the 5K barefooted in 23:08.  Sub-8 minute miles for a 6 year old?  Are you kidding?  This kid is going to be really fast when he grows up.  He also rides a mean unicycle.  I also met a really nice man named Don Platt who has finished the Hardrock 100 an incredible 6 times.  If you don't know what the Hardrock 100 is check it here:  http://www.hardrock100.com/.  It's pretty much the hardest 100 miler you can do.   In all, good local action.  Lots of family and kids and just a good community vibe.  (Oh, I also I met another cool guy with Red Sox cap on that my girl would've loved.) 

Totals:  24.63 miles  Vertical:  2,050'

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Weekly Summary: May 1 - May 8

5/1 - 7.04 miles (1000').  1:03.52, road with hills, .31 miles, cool down

5/2 - 7.00 miles (1000') 1:10.23, road with hills.  I think I was going for a PR on the hill up Laurel Ln. on this run, but ran into Ross and Tim on the road and stopped to talk.  Still, working on both strength and speed on my runs this week.  Alot more vertical and faster downhill running (6:00 - 6:30 pace)

5/3 - Easy 1.6 mile/ moderate 1.8 mile for 3.4 miles running/3.3 on the bike! - Ran downtown to pick up my bike from JD's.  Then, rode to the store and back home.

5/4 - Chill

5/5 -  6.2 miles, can't remember how this one went down.   

5/6 - 8.36 miles, (1500'), 1:22.00.  Did 2x1.5 mile and 1x1.0++ mile hill repeats on Mad Creek Trail.  Starting to work on getting my trail and climbing dexterity back.  Trails still very soupy in spots where they weren't dry or snowy.  Mad Creek is about 80% dry up to Saddle Trail.

5/7 - 3.56 miles (200+'), 37:52.  Nice casual pace with Katy from the museum to Butcherknife Canyon (trail flooded a couple inches!) and out Spring Creek to the first bridge.

Totals:  39.19 miles ,  3,700 - 4,000' vertical


Another solid 40 (almost) mile week.  Nothing too strenuous or very long.  Mostly, I'm working on getting my climbing legs back and speed on the flats.   I think I'm going to run the first 10K race in the Steamboat Running Series next weekend to see what kind of speed I have.  Plus, it will be fun to see how many points I can rack up in the Series over the course of the summer.  It will be a good gauge for the early season, regardless.  I'm pretty sure I can bring a modest sub-45 minute 10K time to the table, at  least.  If not, I've still got a lot of work to do.  Either way, I've started doing it.  I'm just glad to be running on a little dirt now.  We're supposed to get more rain/snow early in the week then we'll see what happens the rest of the week.  I should do a few flat road runs this next week to make up for the vertical feet I've begun adding to my runs.   Right Achilles still acts up every now and then.  Spring is finally here, though.  Good times.   

Saturday, April 30, 2011

What is what

Running in the mountains, I've learned, is just as much about attitude as it is about altitude.  This has become more apparent to me as we near the end of the SIXTH month of snow here in the Yampa Valley.  I've written, on a few occasions, about the challenges of running in the snow and cold, but didn't expect it to still be relevant this late into the year.  Sure, on the valley floor, I could run an ultramarathon next to the roads but the amount of snow that still remains on top of my beloved foot trails is nothing short of ludicrous.  

Last year, I bagged my first running summit of Storm Peak on June 25th, while attempting a thru run to Fish Creek Falls.  I was denied the thru run 3 miles after the summit, on Mountain View Trail, by snow in the trees that completely obscured the trail.  The route finally opened up a couple weeks later.  This year, it could be August before the route is open.  Oh well, what can you do?  (Run short routes, with less vertical or travel to run long routes!)  There's no contesting Mother Nature.   Thus, the need to keep the attitude correct.  When the weather gets nasty, you still go out and grin and bear it and remember how good the run makes you feel in spite of the adversity.  After all, when you are running hard, you put yourself into a state to deal with adversity regardless of what the weather is doing.   Here's how I dealt with this week's challenges:

4/24 - 5.5 miles.  Great, easy 2 miles with Katy followed by a couple more miles of up tempo running at 6:30 - 7:30/mile.  Road run.

4/25 - 5.5 miles total,  broken down into 2 miles of road, .5 mile 100' road climb , .5 mile deep snow/slush 100+' hill climb and descent, 2 mile road.  Air temp: 34 degreesF.  Nice and tough run  between the weather and conditions which consisted of rain, sleet, snow, wind and spray off the vehicles driving down Highway 40.

4/26 - 7 miles, 1000' cumulative vert. in first 3 miles.  Made it to the top of Laurel Lane (700') in 24:00 from the house (2.4 miles).  More gnarly weather as winter continues through the end of April.

4/27 - Managed to get out to Mad Creek Trail just after 1 p.m. to scout it out.  Ran the 2 miles (600' vert.)out to the barn with Benihana but the trail is still about 30 -40% covered in snow.  It was fun though and I did a little UK-style fell running before turning around.  It was awesome to be out with the dog again.

4/28 - Splitboarded at the ski area.  The sun came out finally (just for one day) and I took advantage of having the day off by skinning up to the top of Pony and again up to the gondola.  The ride down the lift line and then in the woods a little bit was super good, untouched spring slush.  Concentration was good, too, but I got chastised by Lance at Slope Maintenance for riding through an area closed off for logging.  I didn't see any closure signs so I just went for it.  My mistake.  Ended up hiking 7.9 miles and at least a couple thousand feet of vertical.  Great cross training workout and just a beautiful day to be outside.  Total time on the mountain was about 3 hours.

4/29 - Around 6 or 7 miles.  Legs felt like lead from the previous day's mission.

4/30 - Went to Rangely to wheel.  Too cold to run.  Rest.

Friday, April 22, 2011

April snow showers bring May trails unrunnable because they are still completely buried in FEET of snow

It's been an eventful month and not totally unblog-worthy but I just haven't been in the mood to write much.  First of all, the title pretty much says it all.  When the ski area closed on the 10th, I was ready for the switch to be flipped, the sun to come out and warm temperatures to begin melting the snow so that I could start doing some serious vertical running.  Alas, we've had TWO days of sun since then and it has rain and/or snowed every other day since.  Above 9000' the snow base is still well over 100".  Probably closer to 150" at 10,000'.   As a result of my lack of training (and being generally unprepared to make the drive/camp out/etc.), I decided not to run last weekend's half-marathon at the Desert RATS Trail Running Festival.  My first official DNS (did not start) of the season.  I don't think I'll be going down to Buena Vista to do the 25 mile version of the Collegiate Peaks Trail Run on May 7th, either.  (Then again, who knows...)   I've kind of decided to keep my race distance at half marathon and shorter this year.  While I love doing ultramarathons, the training, racing and recovery times are just too much right now.  I'm concentrating a little more on getting faster at shorter distances and I think my focus races this year will be Spring Creek Memorial (gotta make up for losing the trail last year!) and the Mt. Werner Challenge.  I'll try and do all the trail races in the Steamboat Running Series and maybe not travel to any races this year.  Keep it close to home.  Of course, those races seem so far away right now when I look outside and still see nothing but snow and snowing. 

However, this past week, I finally wrapped up the Wilderness First Responder course I've been taking at Colorado Mountain College so I've got a little more time to commit to running.  After a very mediocre winter mileage-wise, I've been ramping up my time on my feet for the last three weeks and have increased my weekly mileage from around 20 to almost 40.  I will keep my total running to around 40 miles/week for the next month before increasing again and work on intensifying my efforts so that I'm running in the 7 - 7:30 min/mile range.   I'm going to keep the volume fairly mild and target 50-60 mile/week for the summer.  For the moment, I've only been road running.  Fortunately, one of my routes contains about 1000' of cumulative vertical in the first 3.5 miles, so I'm starting to get my leg strength back.  Man, it's been a long winter...I've been jonsing to run on dirt for months!

Well, short post to just catch up a little.  Although not a complete record of all my runs, here are some of my recent numbers:

Week of 4/3 - 4/9  -  23.28 miles
Week of 4/10 - 4/16  - 14.76 miles + 1:30 snow trail run on Howelsen CC ski trails
Week of 4/17 - 4/23 - 37.11 miles