30 May 2010
[caption id="attachment_310" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Pikes Peak looming beyond the Garden of the Gods"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_311" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Tiny Footfeathers winding through the meadow with amazing vistas"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_313" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Pikes soaked in blue sky"][/caption]
All photos by Steve and Kathleen.
TODAY: Sunday the 30th
I got an early (for me) start and ran from S. Boulder Creek path along Mesa trail to the Gregory trailhead at Green Mtn. Then made my way up gregory and ranger to the top, then over and up Bear and down and home. I hardly paused other than to eat a clif blok up on Green and to say "hey" to Shad Mika on my way over to Bear on the West Ridge trail. It felt like a solid pace and I was spent after 3 hrs 20 mins, which is what I intended - 50k pace. I'm trying to get into a 50k for this Saturday the 5th, so we'll see. Update: looks like I'm in the race this Saturday.
23 May 2010
Fun little custom version of the Boulder traverse today. Started from my place and hit the top of Bear Mtn in 60:29, then climbed down the backside of Bear and headed over and up S. Boulder Peak, then back over and up Bear (by default, really, because you have to run by Bear and the top is so close that it's a shame to pass up tapping the top), then over to and up Green Mtn, then back over and up Bear for a third time. I made it back to my place in 3 hrs 53 mins, so I grabbed the dog and jogged for 7 mins to round it up to an even 4 hrs (a la George Zack).
Felt a little lethargic at times, bonked hard on the way up Green, had a bit of heartburn for some reason (probably from choking down the clif bloks while bouncing on the descent. Otherwise, it was a good run and it feels good to be running fairly well in nice weather.
[caption id="attachment_301" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The final descent down Fern Trail."][/caption]
19 May 2010
[caption id="attachment_281" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Boulder as seen from the top of Bear Mtn"][/caption]
I intended to run up Bear Mtn and then Green but once I got up Green I had it in my head to beat the arriving thunderstorm cell that was visibly dumping rain over the valley to the west of the flatirons. So, I got to the top of Bear twice and Green once. I'm clearly out of shape when it comes to vertical running. The endurance seems fine but there's just no "pop" or energy to bound UP the trails. Regardless, I had a nice time and plan to hit at least one of the peaks every day for the next month or so. I took some photos and two videos (one at the last stretch of Bear and one of the last stretch of Green), so I'll let them tell the short story of the run today.
Other than the sheer joy of the running, the nice part was meeting two guys from Denmark up on Green Mtn. Knut (pronounced newt) and Jacob (yaycub) are nice guys and heavy runners. Jacob asked me if I run ultras and I responded yes, but only up to 50 miles, as of now. I asked if they did (run ultras) and Knut responded, "Yes, I run long distances." So, I asked what kind of long distances and he responded with "250k's mostly". Okeedokee.
The videos are shaky but the one up Green is sort of funny. The worst part of the run was the second ascent of Bear. The thunder and lightning were getting closer together, and closer to me but I pushed on and scrambled up to the true summit of Bear just as a bolt flash rocked me. I don't mean the cute little static shock you get on shag carpeting but a to the bone shock that left me dazed with skin feeling fuzzy. It scared me enough that I immediately dropped off the East side of Bear onto the sheer rock face where I traversed over to the trail and then flew down to the saddle and eased onto fern trail where I could relax a bit... I've been electrocuted before and this was crazy.
Here's the first ascent of Bear Vid:
Here's the Green Vid:
[caption id="attachment_285" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Green Mtn as seen from the top of Bear Mtn"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_286" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Knut and Jacob from Denmark"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_287" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Creepy guy on Fern trail photo. Yes, I used the wrong (too short) attachment to cut my hair this time."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_289" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The final scramble up to the peak of Bear Mtn"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_290" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The last photo up on Bear just after I got shocked to the bone by lightning and dropped over the east side of the peak."][/caption]
16 May 2010
I'd like to start by congratulating my friend, Sam, who just ran the North Face 100k in Australia, arguably the most difficult 100k in the world. He grinded it out for the last few hours to come into the finish at 19:29, earning the coveted sub 20 hour belt buckle. I promised him I'd run it with him next year if he buckled this year. Throw another Timmy on the barbie!
[caption id="attachment_269" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Jeff and Sierra on top of Green"][/caption]
I was in sort of a regrouping/hibernating mode this week, facilitated by the crummy weather and my sour mood from Miwok. I got out yesterday for 10 miles and 11 miles this morning. Then out again for a run up Green Mtn with Jeff V tonight. I brought Pippit along even though his longest run is maybe a half mile in the last six months. He did great, staying right on my heels the entire time. He is thoroughly wasted and under the bed now.
[caption id="attachment_270" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="My best little buddy up on Green (8,300 ft)"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_273" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Pippit taking in the view west of Green"][/caption]
The plan is to refocus on the next race in July by getting in some solid mileage through the end of June and figure out which other events I'd like to run.
By the way, does anyone know why the May UltraRunning mag is, as of today (the 17th of May), still undelivered???
11 May 2010
If we weren't nearly half way through May, this rain/snow/cold would be acceptable.
Summer called and said it was held up in traffic but offered a little glimpse of its visit on Sunday. Steve and Kathleen drove up from CO Springs for a run. They just got back from a week of running and relaxing in New Mexico, so I wasn’t sure I could meet their expectations. Luckily, it was a beautiful day and they seemed to like the trails we explored. I haven’t seen so many people on this route before. We must have passed or been passed by well over 100 people from mountain bikers to casual family outings.
Steve plays the Sherpa in the Kathleen and Steve adventures and carries all the essentials, including a camera, so I relied on his expertise with the photos – in good hands for sure. After the run we snapped a couple group photos with Pippit, got cleaned up, and headed out for lunch. A good time as always!
[caption id="attachment_250" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Steve and I enjoy the rare sun and warmth"][/caption]
The week turned out light but good. Forty five miles on the week in four runs (32 miles Sat/Sun). The hamstring has improved each day and seems fine now. I’ll push this week into some heavier miles and vertical and make the call on Jemez by Sunday. It’s a long drive and tough race, so I want to feel good going into it.
Thanks to Kathleen and Steve for driving up; I had a terrific time with them and appreciate the company.
08 May 2010
You are cordially invited to return to Colorado. Casual attire is fine. Please just consider bringing some warmth and sunshine. I miss you tremendously and look forward to your prompt arrival. Yeah, it's May 8th, so get a move on.
Yes, I'm tired of this chilly, cloudy weather and muddy spots on the trails. Next week's forecast is not very promising. This week was tough mentally after my crummy showing at Miwok. When I try to not dwell on the race I am kindly reminded of it by the itchy poison oak on my arms and twinges of pain in my hamstring. I took Sun, Mon, Tues off, ran 7 miles Wed, took Thurs off, ran 6 miles Fri and ran 17 miles today. The hamstring seems better and actually showed no signs of pain at the end of the 2.5 hours of running today. Friends are coming up from Colorado Springs to run with me tomorrow and the weather is supposed to be nice, so it should be a good time. I haven't really enjoyed a run since 14 days ago.
Jemez is in two weeks and I'm wavering on whether to run it or not. It's a 7 hr drive and a BEAST of a run with 12,000 ft of climb and normal finish times over 10 hours. I guess I'll see how this coming week pans out before deciding. I definitely don't want to head down there half-hearted and set myself up for another bad race. I'm beginning to wonder whether I even like racing. The last month of training was a lot of fun. Last Saturday's race and the following week... not so much.
See you soon, Summer. Drive safely.
02 May 2010
Injured hamstring at 2.5 miles into the race. The two days leading up to race day (especially all day Friday) my right leg hurt (must have been all 10 of those miles I did over five days). It felt ok Saturday morning but then after running on the beach at the start and heading up to the top of the cliff the hammy let go. I decided to run as best I could to the aid station where my friend Stephanie was coming to watch me (28.5 mile) and see how it went. Well, it went ok. I was hitting my splits for a 9:30 finish through the first three hours but it was excruciating to the point where I was altering my gait and getting really frustrated. I saw Steph and kept going but after 2 or so miles I decided I didn't want to make her wait there for four hours (what it would've taken me to make the turn around and get back down to mile 42), so I took off my bib and hobbled back down. So, 32 miles in 5 hours.
It's obviously frustrating, especially when I think about how great I felt week after week of 75-90 mile weeks and then I take the week of rest and.... whatever. It's probably a combination of "racing" that worthless 5k last Sunday and sitting on my butt for 8 hours a day for training at work. It was a postcard perfect day and the views were amazing. The people were great and the course is 2nd to none.
I feel badly about letting down Minto & Wilkie, the insurance co. that made this trip for me possible. Marty Pomerantz (one of the head guys of the company) is a class act and would be happy to discuss good rates on insurance for any ultra runner who doesn't have insurance.
And I feel badly that Steph came all the way out to that aid station (if you've ever driven the winding road out to Bolinas, you know what I'm talking about). She was super supportive and kind. I had a great time with her this weekend and I appreciate her tremendously.
So, I guess I'll see how I feel after a couple days and get back on that horse.