Sunday, May 27, 2012

5/21-5/27 - Turned 25 and Got the 90mile Week Hat Trick

8 miles - Beautiful day to go for a warm run. Temps in the 80's, but the breeze on my skin as I sat under the Royal Arch made it worth it. Lots of people out today on one of the more popular routes in the park. Monday is rest day, so I knew I was pushing it when I chased another guy up the steep part of the trail. I can't get dropped by a guy in jeans, even on a rest day, right? I think he stopped on his own accord before I officially passed him. Proof that a fast hike is often more efficient than a run. Well done, Mr. Joggin' Jorts. Well done. Felt better after the run than before, so all is well. Had to resist the urge to run more, but that sort of defeats the purpose of recovery days.

Bike commute.

AM - 10 miles - Awoke to a scratchy throat and allergies. Got out of bed not because I was eager to go for a run, but because the nasty pollen clogging my throat was macking me hack and cough. 3 milles to the Cottonwood trailhead for a 20minute fartlek. 4x90sec, 2x60sec, 2x30sec, 2x15sec. Equal rest. I'm no good at math, but I can tell I screwed this up. I'm kind of in no man's land with the group. Many are training for the BolderBoulder, so they did 13min. The group doing 20 was fast. I could either keep up during the effort parts and drop back on the rest, or vice versa. Regardless, I was left to my own devices and got a little off time. All this means for me is that my fartlek was extra unstructured compared to the rest of the group. Go figure.

My speed efforts are abysmally slow, but still serve a purpose. On the way home from the run, my allergies were catching up to me and I was getting hungry. I thought I was crawling at a 10:00 pace, but was surprised to see that I was running an 8:30 pace. The speedier sessions are helping, even if I'm a back of the pack runner at short distances. Once again, I have to remember that it's a day by day kind of thing, and worrying about where I want to be doesn't change where I am. Jog on.

Bike commute

AM - 18miles - I was really hoping for 20 today, but I woke and realized that this achy throat and cough are getting worse, not better. Hope in one hand, shit in the other, right?
Anyway, the semi-usual route up Gregory Canyon to Long Canyon, then the Bear Mtn West Ridge to the new Green Bear trail. Bear Canyon down to Skunk Canyon, then some weird gravel road to a research area that I probably wasn't supposed to be in.

I, for some reason or another, decided that I should do a hard mile on the track. Maybe it was just curiosity to see what I could do after three hours and a few thousand feet of climbing(on a single banana, thank you). Jogged some streets to Boulder High's track and ran a comfortably hard mile. Garmin said 5:53, the clock said 6:01. What does this mean?

-Running on a track in trail shoes(MT110s) sucks

-GPS watches have a way to go before they're accurate

-I am the fastest human being alive.

At first, the Watch discrepancy had me thinking. Have all my training numbers been off? Am I slower, or faster then? What does this mean for my mileage totals?
Who the hell cares?
This just goes to show that mileage and splits mean fuckall in the big picture. The important thing is to get out on a daily basis and build a relationship between our minds and our bodies. I get my ass handed to me regularly by people running fewer miles, and I've outrun people who run nearly double what I do(and the inverse). Volume is the key to running well, but so is adequate recovery, quality sessions, appropriate terrain, nutrition, etc. If you need a mental picture for "the keys to running well," look no further. I'm still a long way from figuring it out.

I unfortunately had to bail on an early AM run with Ely. I was up hacking all night, and finally passed out at about 5am. My alarm went off at six, and I knew that continuing to run in this state would be a detriment. An easy 5-8miles on the greenways might be all I sneak in today. Today is a scheduled easy day, so anything I do is gravy...which is funny, because gravy clogs your heart and kills does overexertion. Solid phrasing.

5 miles - Just a little shakeout on the creek path to keep the legs ticking over. The run yesterday was a little rough, but I seem to have weathered it well. First mile clocked at 8:00, then the middle three were sub 7:00 pace. The run wasn't as easy effort-wise as it should have been, but I had a hard time backing the pace down and still feeling smooth. Instead of fighting the pace down and running longer, I just shortened it to 5 miles and called it a day. 36 minutes of running was refreshingly short and sweet. Long runs make me love short runs, and short runs make me love long ones. (There should be a "that's what she said" in there somewhere)

Bike Commute 

AM - 5 miles - Wham, bam, and scram track workout with the club. I arrived in time to sneak a 1 mile warmup in(totally inadequate) as I coughed my way to the track. Can't seem to get a good night's rest and shake this thing. 8x400m with a 200m "float." "Float" means to hold a decent pace on the rest efforts as opposed to my typical recovery shuffle. Got my ass kicked as usual, but it still worked out to be a roughly 6min/mile paced effort on the track. The hardest part about this is remembering that my goals for track work aren't to whittle down to a certain 5k time, but rather to stress my legs to impose adaptation. The process induces a physioligical response that hopefully will provide fatigue resistance in the long run. Now that I've ever so eloquently fed myself bullshit excuses for being the club turtle, I can go meet Sam for coffee.

PM - 8 miles - I only had an hour and a half to run in the afternoon, so I headed up to Chatauqua and ran the Ampitheater trail, some of Gregory Canyon, and scrambled over the the Flagstaff trail to head down. I came home and found out Sam was working late, so my hurrying was all for naught from a social standpoint. It was nice to have an extrinsic motivation to run fast. Instead of hiking up the Amp trail, I sprung up the knee high log stairs until I reached the top. I about puked, but I did it. Instead of a long up and a long down, it was nice to do three short climbs and descents.

AM - 8 miles - Hopped on the creek path for an hour on the creek path up into the Canyon. 4 miles up, 4 miles down. Really mellow on the uphill; just sort of felt the climbing muscles burn subtly and stayed steady. The downhill, as usual for this route, is steep enough to practice quick turnover and keep from working against gravity. If my lungs can keep up, I just keep catching myself as I fall down the grade.

PM - 4 miles - 2 hour hike with Samantha at White Ranch Park in Golden. I swear that girl can hike the steep stuff at my long run pace. I'm not a huge fan of hiking, but the slow, steady, methodical climbing makes my legs burn and I get to spend some time outside with my partner in crime. Again, some may be irked that I count hiking as training miles. To make those people feel better, I'll count myself out of the imaginary contest between them and me...whoever they are.

66 miles so far. Better get to steppin' on that long run.

30 miles - I was shooting for 40, but was also supposed to be out the door by 4am. Considering that 4am is about the time I actually fell asleep, I figured it wasn't going to happen. The goddamned allergies are netting me about 3-4 hours of sleep nightly. From home to Chatauqua, then ran the Mesa trail out to Dowdy Draw, then a convoluted series of cayon and foothill loops around there. Reversed the route and headed home. My watch died about 3.5 hours in, so I had to estimate the route's disatance with the map and by time(which is probably as accurate as a Garmin anyway. Things went pretty smoothly, energy-wise, and there were no flat sections on any of the trails. Some nice steady downhills to beat up the legs and some uphills to stress the lungs. No summitting today,which kind of makes me feel like a puss, but its my birthday, I'll do what I want. Took a shower and walked around downtown drinking beer all afternoon.

Total: 96 miles. I really thought I had a good chance at clearing 100 this week, but the Sunday long run was shorter than planned. I can't seem to get a good night's sleep with this cough, so I just did the best I could. I think I could have rested a bit more during the week and banked up some miles for the long run. Instead of resting, I ran up a canyon the day before, and did quality doubles the day before that. Still averaged 90miles/week for the month of May, which us in precedented for me. I'll stop whining and just hope I'm getting in decent shape. I don't feel sore or fatigued, but I'm running a higher volume than I've ever run before. It's probably because I've finally got enough running under my belt to start putting in real mileage. This is only my 4th year of being a "runner," so maybe it's finally starting to catch.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

4 miles - 30 minute shakeout to recover from yesterday's 31 miler. I felt good, with no soreness to speak of in my legs. Where I felt fatigued was my core- back, abdominals, and glutes. I'll take this as a good sign that I'm running a form that stresses the "endurance" muscles and spares the structures that are further away from my middle(I do love me some chirunning). I typically test for recovery by running a mile or two on flat ground or gently rolling hills wthout looking at my watch. After I finally feel warmed up, I have a gander at the GPS watch. For me, between 7:40 and 7:20 is comfortable for an easy run. I considered myself recovered and called it a day. Restng on Monday worked well last week, so I figure I'll try it again.

40 minutes on the bike for work, and leading water aerobics. I live like a dirtbag, but at least I get some training in and lots of enjoyment out of my job.

AM - 10 miles - From home to Gregory Canyon, then the Long Canyon trail up to the road. I felt sort of dizzy and sleepy on this run, but managed to steadily make it up with minimal walking. I was tempted to take the West Ridge Trail to the Green Summit, but really want to work up the gumption to catch the Tuesday Night Tempo run after work. 10 miles and +/-2600ish feet will just have to do for now.

PM - 7 miles - I did the interval workout I was supposed to this morning. 2 mile warmup, which ended up going well. The second mile of the warmup was a 6:40 on a rocky path next to the greenway. I then started the interval session of 5x3:00. Oddly enough, the intervals that felt slowest were the fastest, and vice versa. Slowest was 6:10/mile, fastes was 5:35/mile pace. I know I should be running faster, but since I also had a good morning run, value the workout as a supplement to the volume.

On my 2 mile cooldown, I felt my Nike Streaks giving me a blister. At first I was pissed, then I looked ahead of me and saw a guy running barefoot. Here I was a guy who has actually worn a nametag with "Barefoot Jesse" on it as VIP guest at a barefoot running event, and I had to be reminded to take my damned shoes off. Clocked a 6:30 mile barefoot on my cooldown. This may be wishful thinking, but I think I'm doing something right here.

AM - 9 miles - "This may be wishful thinking, but I think I'm doing something right here." When will I learn. Woke up tired, and never really woke up on the run. I knew when I couldn't even get under 9min/miles on the road to the trailhead that I was in for it. Decided just to hike/run to the Flagstaff Summit and take a rest day. Nothing really hurt, but I was feeling sleepy. I actually yawned while running up a mountain. Yesterday was a day of quite significant training merit, with a strong, steady climb in the morning and a smooth, fast(ish) tempo run at night. Balancing it out with a rest day just makes sense I suppose. That didn't make it hurt any less when a couple runners disappeared up the trail.

...still on pace for a...70 mile week? Oh shit, I'm in trouble.

AM - 14 miles...or was it 13? No watches on Ely, Archie, or me, so it was a map guessing game. Archie is a dog, so the blame can only be shared two ways. Headed up to the Sourdough trail, which goes up to about 11,000 feet, most of it above 10,000. A great change of scenery and some truly higher altitude running was just what I needed to shake the funk off from yesterday. Stopped in Nederland for pastries and coffee afterward. Must find a way to maintain this lifestyle.

PM - 6 miles - 3 miles to work, helped out at Special Olympics Swimming, then 3miles home. I felt pretty spry on the way there with a low 7min/mile pace, but totally dragged ass on the way home. Great day of running with no aches or pains to speak of.

I forgot to run. I just posted about being present and giving life your all, and I spent my morning reading a book next to the creek. Maybe relaxing a day is me giving relaxing my all.

18 miles - My place to Chatauqua, then Gregory Canyon to Green's Summit. The reconstructed Green Bear Trail to the West Ridge, then Bear Peak. Drank a beverage, then reversed course. Long, arduous hike/run in the thunderstorm. With all stops for pictures, views, and hanging around on the summits(I did a lot of that today), I was in the mountains for 4.5 hours. No need for speed today. Focused on strength and some quiet reflection. Today would have been my cousin Michael's 29th birthday, had he not been killed in a car accident 5 years ago. I struggle with the fact that I'm older now than he was when he died. The trail has run cold, and now it's time to find my own.

A gloomy beautiful day at the Flatirons.

From Gregory Canyon

The super mellow, non-technical reincarnation of the Green Bear Trail

Green Mountain from the Bear Mountain West Ridge Trail

Bear Peak Summit, covered in fog. 3100ish' down is Boulder

AM - 12 miles(ish). 1.5 hour run with the Club. Much like my college days, meeting with the club for their long run is more of a tempo effort. That's the beauty of being a sloppy ultrarunner. They run a hilly half marathon in and hour and a half and call it an easy long run. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't all that uncomfortable either. Good company and a good run around the Res. I'm realizing that as much as I love running the steep and technical, Good ole' fashioned leg speed is going to get me ready for Tahoe. I think finding a balance between slow, strength-building summit tagging and "comfortably uncomfortable" rolling hills will be the secret. They help build strength for one another.
...and now some high altitude hiking with my lady.

PM - 10 miles (HIKE) - Sam and I had the afternoon off, so we drove up the canyon to Eldora and hiked up to Devil's thumb. 5 miles and 4000'ish feet of climbing. The Camera, of course, was left in the car. We were met with snow around 11000,' so it's not runnable just yet. The hike was a good balance of the speedier morning session. I know, it might be questionable to some of you that I'd count hiking, but if there's no training merit in a 4.5 hour walk up and down boulders at altitude with a 35lb pack on, then I'm not sure why my legs are so sore. A great day on the trail, regardless.

Total for the week: 90 miles

Funny how it keeps working out to round numbers. If I posted on running2win or some other training log, I probably wouldn't count the hike, but the best part of being the only one who uses(and probably the only one who reads) this blog, I take liberties.

Another decent week down. Every time I've tried a 100+ week, I'm left in ruin. That being said, I've never put together training month this consistent and injury-free either. We'll just keep playin' it by ear. Consistency pays off, or at least that's what I've been told.

Quite a few of my friends ran the Born to Run Ultras this weekend, or will be running Pineland Farms next weekend. Great job and good luck!


Friday, May 18, 2012

The Big Year: Inspiration takes a rare form

I feel like I'm breaking some sort of blogger-ultra -trail- runner code by acknowledging the existence of mainstream anything, but I love movies. I rent them on a near-nightly basis. I like to think that I actively watch the movies, enjoying how a group of people have collaborated to tell a story and share a message with the world. (I do my best never to call them "films," hipsters).

The other day on ill-planned long run adventure with Jason Robillard, we took a jog of shame from the Boulder Bus Station to my apartment. We talked about finding things to be passionate about in life. If you're familiar with both of us(who am I kidding, we have a remora/shark symbiosis), then you know where our passion lies. Either intentionally or inadvertently, we seldom leave our little, yet global community of running enthusiasts. The people that stand out in my mind as being overtly passionate enough about a hobby to make a lifestyle out of a hobby are nearly all runners. Maybe the cousins of runners - climbers, cyclists, hikers, etc. This can't be a true sample of the world we live in. There must be others out there. We both agreed that it would be a pleasure to experience another indulgence that people build their lives around, one that isn't based around heel/toe differentials or S-caps.

My girlfriend, roommate, and I rented the movie The Big Year, starring Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and Steve Martin. It was my turn to pick, and I love Tenacious D(J. Black's dynamic duo with Kyle Gass). The trailer showed some funny moments and some cool outdoor scenes, so I invested the dollar.

As I watched the story unfold, I couldn't help but identify with the characters. These three men are in different milestones in their lives, but have dropped everything to pursue a passion. The passion? Birding. All three of these guys have decided to embark on a "Big Year," Which is an officially unofficial contest among birders to spot the most species of birds in a calendar year. The lengths the characters go to in a chase for an obscure, prizeless title are astounding. Martin's character retires from his leadership of a fortune 500 company and spends the year flying all over the Western Hemisphere(with the support of his wife and family from home). Owen Wilson's character continuously leaves his wife at home against her wishes while they try to have conceive a child.

What really struck a chord with me was the character Brad Harris, played by Jack Black. An unknown in the world of birding, he decides to give a Big Year a try. He saves up his vacation time from his full time job and gives a wealthy retired man and a dedicated pro a real run for their money. He maxes out his credit cards(and his mother's) in pursuit of a dream that doesn't make sense to the vast majority of the population. He has to reluctantly answer questions like "is there any money in this?" "any recognition?" The answer, of course, is no. Friends and family can't get their heads around this obsession with something that, even with the best outcome, will produce to "real" gains in his life. As the story progresses, Harris shows himself, his family, and the film's audience that to pursue your passion, the passion must be in the pursuit. He becomes engrossed in his travels(with a little cajoling from his supportive mother), finds love, and at the end realizes that the outcome is irrelevant if the journey is pure.

I wouldn't be writing about it if I wasn't moved by the story(that, and it's a day of little running and work today). I sincerely hope that I don't come across as grandiose when I notice parallels in my own life. I recognize that I'm not the best at what I do(run, as far as this blog is concerned). Odds of me being the next Scott Jurek or Geoff Roes are slim to none. Seeing pictures of me puffing on a nebulizer asthma treatment or wearing knee braces reminds me that I have no business even doing what I do, much less improving. I've come to Boulder on a slim budget I've saved from 60hour weeks in a factory, working part time to support myself while I give real training an honest attempt. I want to train in earnest for just one year and see what I'm made of. Medals, times, and weekly miles are measures of success, but I've got a different goal in mind. I want to look back on this time in my life and be able to say that I gave it what I had. As the mileage gets higher(hopefully) and I feel like calling it "good enough," I hope I find the resolve to keep training smart and earnestly. Seeing people that have passions differing from my own, even if it's just in a movie, has helped put things into perspective. Other people may find it foolish, but they aren't the ones who I have to stare at while I brush my teeth.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

An Actual Training Week

3 miles - Total "fluff run," despite doing it in just under 21 minutes. Some easy skankin' on the Boulder Creek Path while Mr. Marley played on my ipod. I've designated monday as my rest day. Races are on the weekends, so getting in a pattern of recovering on mondays and doing easy runs makes sense for now. Glad I had some colder weather running gear. 90 on Saturday, 40 on Monday. I love the mixed bag of weather lately.

AM - 15miles - A royal fuckup, but I made some lemonade out of the lemons. I intended to meet the Club for an interval session, but got lost on my jog to the meeting place. I had no watch and no phone, so I was screwed. I had water and a single GU with me, so I decided to do a fartlek run in the residential foothills area for a couple miles. I found a trail access point to get me into the Mountain Park, so I picked up the pace on Shanahan Ridge. The rest of the Mesa Trail and the streets home served as a cool down. Twice I've run pretty rugged trails in my MR00s. For better or worse, I have to accept that running trails in those is heavenly. I love the moccasin like feel and super flexible sole. It's a tradeoff between the occassional sharp intrusion of the MR00s and the occassional ankle rolling of the MT110. I'm bringing both to my next ultras. If I keep my wits about me, I'm faster and more confident in less of a shoe.

...Bagged the PM tempo run in lieu of a more conservative approach: homemade pizza and some Oberon Ale.

AM - 14 miles - Casual mid/long run from my place to Mount Flagstaff. A loop on the Tenderfoot trail. Aptly named on this particular day. I need to put my plated shoes back on. Slowly getting better at sustained climbing. Yesterday was supposed to be a shorter day, and today was supposed to be a longer day, but My little fartlek faux pas of getting lost in suburbia altered my schedule. Still a nice romp around some smooth trails. and about 3000ft of climbing.

...Bagged the shakeout in lieu of a bike ride because of an invite to run a couple peaks tomorrow morning.

AM - 14 miles (rough estimation- GPS died midway)- slept in a little, and met Ely for a jog at Chatauqua. We both experienced one heck of a low today, he more than me(for a change). Mesa Trail out to South Boulder Peak, then to Bear Peak. Bear Canyon down and the Mesa back. Lots of time on our feet today, but we were hurting for some reason. Possibly heat and intense sun related. We ran out of water and splashed ourselves in the creek to get back. This route isn't typically a ball-buster for either of us(meaning that we can trudge up it without constant breaks), but some days are just like that. Still tagged two summits, one of which I've never been on before. Biked home and drank water until I got nauseous. Ramen, bowl of fruit, and beans for recovery.

Don't I look like an ass by putting "AM," implying I'm going to run again?

6 miles(?) - Tempo run + hill repeats - 20 minute warmup, 2k tempo run, then 5x60seconds on the Julliard hill near the rec center. Finally got myself to the group workouts. It still amuses me that I can run at my own pace on mountain trails for 3+ hours without issue, but my legs explode when I really push it. So far, this week has been a good balance of slow strength building and "beyond comfortable" speedwork.

7 miles - Recovery run from Friday's speedier efforts. To and from the Rec Center for work. Nothing special, all roads and bike paths. Feels good to do 7 miles and feel recovered. Prepping for the next day's long shuffle.

31 miles - Long run day. The club was meeting in Superior for their long run, so I thought I'd jog to them, run as much as I felt like, and run home. Little did I know that the meeting place was just under 10 miles from my house. Lack of preparation leads to bonus miles. I made it just in time to start the run (after getting lost, jumping in with a different group of folks, crossing a cow pasture, and awkward standing about). We ran a non-technical trail, but the hills were still tough. Nothing steeper than the average mountain road, but the mud and clay made for a fun time as I slipped ad slid in my MR00s. I stopped to use the bathroom, then decided to make the run go by faster by catching my group. Dipped below 6 minute pace for almost a mile before catching up...then my legs hurt. We got back to the parking area, I shook some rocks out of my shoes, and jogged to a sandwich shop to grab an egg and cheese bagel and a Mountain Dew(Hey, joining a track club doesn't mean I'm still not a hobbyjoggin' dirtbag). Lone country miles on rolling hills on the reverse route home. The only walking I did on the whole run was to adjust my pack and take in a view of the mountains from afar. The overall pace for the run was just about 7:45, which I'll shut up and be happy with minimal excuses and bellyaching.

90 miles

This was my first "semi structured" week of training. The rest days were planned, the speedier sessions were balanced out with easier efforts, and the volume remained adequate. I feel great after the Sunday training run, so I'll rest up on monday and try for another good week.

Monday, May 7, 2012

April 30th - May 6th, 2012

All the ass time in the car drained me of energy. 0 miles. 40 minutes of biking as my work commute.

Planned to run the Tuesday tempo run up Gregory, but my scatterbrained ways got the best of me. Forgot my shorts. Probably for the best since I was dehydrated when I got out of work. Travelling wrecks me. I'd better make sure I get a flight out West for Tahoe to save me from travel fatigue.
Standard 40 minutes of biking and working a gymnastics program.
28 miles -Thirty if you count the jog of shame from the Boulder Transcient Station. Jason beat me to telling the tale, and he used my photos, so I'll just be lazy and link to his self depricating version.

Though we fell drastically short of our mileage goal, I'm a bit more optimistic. It was a great adventure and it allowed me to experiment with carrying gear. When water and refeuling are unknown distances apart in no man's land, I'm not willing to risk my life to don a "minimalist" label. Plus, carrying extra weight on a training run can only make me stronger. The downside is funny tanlines I guess. We failed to run the route in both directions, but I'm confident that we could do it if we attempted it again. The time spent with the map out alone was probably an hour of idle time. Another bonus was that the run started off with a casual jog up Green Mtn that may have been my fastest yet. Just a reminder that fighting the mountain is futile. Relax and flow.

We managed to stay off pavement all day, with the exception of some miles on Flagstaff Rd.

JR and EP navigated using the map. My job? Carrying it.

Me at the Barker Reseroir, really craving a beer and a sandwich.

10 miles - A nice recovery run with Jason and Shelly on the Flagstaff Trail and Green Mountain. I know I'm a recent transplant, but I like showing people my favorite views on the trails. The run was casually paced, but Jason and I made a bit of a fartlek out of it. Having him pushing behind me made me run faster than usual. Awesome run in absolutely perfect weather and some Illegal Pete's afterward. Having the Robillards in town was great, and I'll be sad to see them go again. They've made plans to crew and pace at TRT, so it we a grand adventure for certain.

AM - 8 miles ...ish? Work and Samantha's birthday celebrations called for a condensed workout. After lots of slow, aimless wandering in the mountains, a flat, fast effort made me feel like less of a bum. Headed to work early and hopped onto the South Boulder path for some 1/2 mile repeats.
1 mile warm up
5x800, equal rest.
2 mile cooldown
This was fun, in a painful kind of way. I'd like to get back to a point in training where I could link these 800m's together to form a solid tempo run. Since it took a half mile of jogging in between to get these numbers, it's not going to happen overnight.

Worked all day at the Special Olympics track meet.
I can never say that I’m lacking sources of inspiration. As the athletes competed in track and field events, I began to realize something. Those of us who fancy ourselves as athletes could learn a great deal by attending a Special Olympics event. As “highly functioning” people, we learn how to mask our performance-related feelings with ego and boorish bravado. The athletes at these games show unfiltered emotion. They get so happy they cry, they get so nervous they get sick. Nobody cares if they make an ugly face as they squeeze every ounce of strength from their legs as they break the tape. After a 400m, which ended in a 3 way kick in the final steps, I saw the competitors truly embrace each other. They were truly thankful to be there, looking forward to their next opportunity to tear up the track. Friends want to race each other not to settle scores, but because it’s fun. If you ever get the chance to volunteer at a Special Olympics event, jump at the chance.

13ish miles on Republican Mountain with Jason and Shelly. As much as I love having an 8300' peak 2 miles from my door, I love the high country even more. This was my first time above 10000' since my return to Colorado. The altitude is humbling, and so are the views. Both implore you to stop, catch your breath, and realize how small we really are. Pictures don't do it justice, so my words couldn't possibly do it either.

A little embarassment as I realized Shelly and I were wearing the same pants.
We would return to the truck 4hrs later to realize that I left the door open.

Maybe it's my winter outdoors roots, but having bright sun warming me while I can
see my breath makes me feel most like me.

Most of the trail was in this condition, but a bit more steep.
4 thousandish feet over 6ish miles to the summit.

We've all got our demons to fight with, but mine felt smaller today.

Shelly and me trotting across the sky. A couple miles from the summit.
Yes, we had to stage some cool photos.
Would you want nothing but candids of me, digging a man-pri wedgie?

Thanks to Columbia, the Peak 2 Peak jacket provided just enough warmth.
I originally wore it because the weather forecast was looking stormy, but it blocked a little cold air.

Jason steps from behind the lens to...squat a rock? Xfitters are weird.
You haven't tagged the summit until you're standing on the tip top, right?
There has to be a way to keep this dream alive.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Mini-Week, So To Speak

Noon - 13 miles - Left home and ran to Chatauqua, then took the trail to the Saddle Rock Trail, up Greenman to the Summit. Why was I so obsessed with reaching this summit last year? Bugs everywhere. Long grind of a climb with mostly high heart rate hiking, just trying to get there as efficiently as possible. About halfway up, I realized it was hot and I had no water. My eyes were rattling in my head and I was a bit dizzy. Still, the fastest way home would be to hit the summit and make it back down to Gregory. The heat made me all too aware that I'm still a novice who makes novice mistakes. Took the Long Canyon trail back to the canyon and jogged it in. Drank copious amounts of water for hours afterward, and still pissed dark yellow until bed time. I can't believe I thought I could get by with no water. I should have been double fisting bottles on that route in that heat. Lesson learned.

Afternoon: The typical 40 minutes worth of bike commuting and teaching water aerobics. It doesn't count as mileage, but it serves as my shakeout for the day.

Morning commute to work for leading an exercise class. I sort of underestimated the adaptation to returning to a physically active lifestyle. Having to commute under my own power once or twice daily has been a blessing. It's a little tiring, but it keeps my body loose and gives little "mini workouts" throught the day. It makes me realize that no matter where I end up living, I'd like a situation where a car is a luxury and not a necessity.

PM - 6 miles - Quality over quantity today. Sporadic work schedule and some errands to run kept me off my usual routes in the morning, but a group tempo run after work was just what I needed. A new(to me) mountain trail and some strangers helped me keep pushing despite wanting to give up and walk up HogBack Ridge, or whatever it's called. The fastest guys(some are 2:40ish marathoners, from what I understand) in the group run the 3ish mile loop in about 30 minutes. I was a couple minutes slower, but had no watch. 11-12min/mile tempo run up rocks, right through a mountain covered in wildflowers and a few deer? Well, I could get used to that. I'm fairly sure I was still wrecked from my dehydration the previous day, but it was still an enjoyable effort...and by that I mean it sucked really bad until it was over. Long ride home from the North end of town.

15 miles - ..ish. No watch. Ran to Chatauqua to meet Ely and Archie for a Bear Mtn. summit. My goal for the next month is to actually do a running type motion all the way to the top of Fern Canyon. I definitely had a series of bonks on this run. The route was quite enjoyable, but I really had to embrace the "runner's low" while Ely glided away from me. I was dizzy and disoriented for much of the descent, but didn't eat gravel, so I guess I'm okay. As much as I wish I had a slow metabolism, I might have to up the calories on these 2-4 hour efforts. Still a great run on a route I haven't taken since last Summer. Just have to keep on keepin' on and experiment with things like calories, hydration, volume and pace to get the most out of my work. I don't want to take it too easy on myself, but I've only been here for 3 weeks. Last year I showed up in much better shape. This year I showed up a borderline depressed hasbeen.

7 miles - I had enough of the concentrated ass whoopins of the last three days, so I jogged to work and back, nice and easy. Well, as easy as one could run with a full backpack on.

The rest of the week was a whirlwind trip back to Michigan with no running(unless you count airport jogging to catch a plane. Up at 5am to fly home, attend Samantha's graduation, throw a little celebration, and then get up at 6am Sunday for the drive back. We stayed in a small cabin in Gretna, Nebraska for a few hours Sunday night, but it was mostly a fast drive back to Boulder so I could get to work Monday.

Our sleeping place on the return trip to CO.
My dream house. A single room cabin. I'll start collecting sticks and logs.

Total: 41 miles in 4 days. I seem to have a curse of a ~10mile average, in spite of some long days.

A rather short, concentrated week of running, but it had some speedier stuff thrown in and a long mountain grind, so it just is what it is. Bigger things planned for this week. Life will resume some sort of normalcy for me now that Sam's back.