Photo courtesy of Andrew King - D4 Productions

Friday, February 29, 2008

10 K - 42:21

Lone Tree Loop - 3:30 p.m.
clear, mid 50's, dry trail
mind/body - good/minor left calf pain
medium effort

I didn't want to do anything too crazy today so I thought I'd go out to give the legs a spin and see how fast I could do a loop at Lone Tree. Did the loop (2.7 myles) in 17:12, which is a 6:22/mile. I really didn't feel like I was over doing it so it's a positive sign that I can cruise at a much faster pace thanks to my beloved speed workouts.

Tomorrow I'll go out for 16 myles to end the week. That'll give me 48 myles for the week which is where I wanted to be a week before a race.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

8 myles - (6 - 44:55)

Sanctuary hill - 3:30 p.m.
clear, upper 50's, slight wind
mind/body - motivated/no aches
hard effort

As I was doing my workout today I came to the conclusion that I train harder and more specifically for Way Too Cool than any other race all year. Even though I run much tougher and longer races, WTC is the one I invest the most time with. I guess because it's a premier national 50K and it's the first time I get a chance to see who's gonna be fast this year in later races... not to mention that I have fallen apart the last 5 myles for the last two years makes me want it even more.

Today I didn't feel that fast but my times say otherwise. I kept all 5 reps up the Sanctuary hill under 1:10!

My splits were:
  1. 1:08:74
  2. 1:09:60
  3. 1:06:90
  4. 1:08:20
  5. 1:06:23 (fastest time ever)
I guess the lactate threshold workout I did on Tuesday really did help my leg turnover. I'll try not to obsess over WTC anymore but I will have to put a list of the top runners before next week.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

10 myles - 1.08:10 (LT)

Daniels Park - 4:00 p.m.
mid 30's, clear, wet roads
mind/body - hesitant/no aches
hard effort

I was dreading this run today. Ever since high school (20+ years ago) I have never liked speed workouts, they hurt real bad. I run longer to avoid this searing pain the air causes my lungs, driven by the muscles in my legs that are suffocating.

Today was no different - I hurt me. I pushed as hard as I could on the lactate threshold (LT) myles. It's been over a month since I did this run and I'm happy to report progress. My LT myles were all faster by 20 seconds or more. I don't think my legs can move any faster without snapping all the muscles in my legs. Having said that, I'll need every bit of speed that I can conjure up for Way Too Cool.

Here are my splits:
  1. 7:33
  2. 6:03 (LT)
  3. 8:00
  4. 6:13 (LT)
  5. 8:02
  6. 5:45 (LT)
  7. 7:31
  8. 5:42 (LT)
  9. 7:22
  10. 5:55 (LT)
Now remember myles 2, 4, and 10 are all uphill while 6 and 8 are down. The faster and stronger I get the closer the up and down myles will get. I'm gonna take tomorrow off to let the legs rest and then back to the Sancturary hill on Thursday.

Monday, February 25, 2008

8 myles - 1.00:41

Daniels Park - 4:00 p.m.
mid 30's, partly cloudy, South wind
mind/body - O.K./fresh
recovery effort

A real casual pace today. I only wanted to get the legs lose for the upcoming speed work this week. I did not have any residual soreness in my legs from yesterday. I'm really happy that I can rebound the day after a 20+ day and still feel good. I think it just signifies that my overall fitness is good.

Moving forward, I need to be able to rebound like this because on June 16th I will be running in a week long race called Desert RATS. That race is all about rebounding for 6 days.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Feb 18-24 2008

  1. Mon - off
  2. Tues - 10 myles
  3. Wed - 13 myles
  4. Thurs - 12 myles
  5. Fri - 8 myles
  6. Sat - off
  7. Sun - 22 myles
  8. Total - 65 myles
Pic of the week - My family in Moab

I couldn't have asked for a better week following a successful race. I made it through the race without incident but all runners know that most injuries creep up a couple days after the event - no such thing here. This week had everything: easy efforts, hill repeats, medium efforts, and hard efforts. The hard effort came today when I mixed distance with hills and speed, great way to end the week to boost my confidence.

Speaking of confidence, I'm gonna need every bit going into Way Too Cool on March 8th. I just looked at the entrant list, can you "STACKED!" I counted 15 names that I recognize that have way more leg speed than me, 7 of which have a marathon PR below 2.30! I know it's not a marathon and a lot can happen in the last 5 myles over trails but I have every right to be intimidated when my marathon PR is 2.50. Needless to say, I'm gonna run my own race and look to get into the 3.40 range. That would be a huge success for me regardless of my place. Next week I'll list who I think will be the top 10 at Way Too Cool.

Next week will be another important week for me. I plan to go to the track, Sanctuary hill, and a shorter tempo run. I need to prepare next week as if I were running a fast road marathon if I want to be in the 3.40 range. I will continue on my diet to get to a ready race weight of 158.

And as so many times before I'll end with a quote from Coach K: Success doesn't come from wanting to win, success comes from preparing to win.

22 myles - 2.34:29

Lone Tree loop - 8:30 a.m.
clear, mid 50's, trail muddy in spots
mind/body - good/good
Hard effort

Actually 22.38 myles to be exact. That turns out to be 6:54/mile with 2600ft of elevation gain! Now that's what I'm talkin' about - a long run with elevation and speed! This is the kind of run that makes me keep running. They don't happen very often but when they do, boy are they special!

I did 7 loops over at Lone Tree with even splits: 18:19, 18:22, 18:19, 18:06, 18:17, 18:21, 18:15. Each loop is 2.7 myles with 328 ft of elevation gain. I felt solid throughout but I have to admit the last loop up the grind was tough. I took one water bottle and two C2 Powergels and I noticed instant energy from the gels like never before. I think the reason being is because of my diet. I've been eating more whole foods, less fat, and nothing processed or fried. Maybe revamping my diet is what I needed all long.

Friday, February 22, 2008

8 myles - 58:37

Daniels Park out/back - noon
upper 50's, clear, dry roads
mind/body - motivated/responsive
very easy effort

Very casual pace today. I think that's what I needed. I wanted to go faster because I felt so good but I know I need to stick to the plan. The plan is to mix up the days with LT, tempo, medium, and easy runs. I'm going to run 20 + myles either tomorrow or Sunday depending upon the weather to give me a total of 64 myles for the week.

On anther note, I've been helping my good friend Aric Manning with his diet and thought this would be a good time to review my own diet. I think I could stand to lose about 7 lbs to get to my optimal weight. I've resorted to not eating anything fried, no cheese, limited bread, and no sat. fat. My portion sizes are smaller and I have reduced my caloric intake to 2000 calories per day. My treat will be after Way Too Cool where it's been my tradition to pig out at In-n-Out burger. Mmmmm I can smell it now.... I think I'll go have a bowl of puffed rice.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

12 myles - 1.27:15

Santa Fe trail - 1:00 p.m.
slight overcast, upper 30's, South wind
mind/body - good/no soreness
medium effort

Worked in Colorado Springs today so I went to an old trail that I've trained on in the past. In total it spans 14 myles paralleling I-25. I'm not sure the history of the trail but it's a well maintained dirt path that is clear of any snow. Initially I was going to run a loop at Greenland but driving past it looked pretty soupy. I started my run at the Air Force Academy North entrance and ran North towards Palmer lake. It's all up hill and a with a mild South wind I had to work a little harder to maintain a 7:15 pace. My splits were 44:30/42:44 which averages out to just over 7 minutes per mile with the distance of just over 12 myles. Relatively no stiffness left in my legs but having only a Powerbar for lunch I felt the lack of calories towards the end of the run.

Oh I almost forgot, I wore a new pair of shoes today - the Pearl Izumi Peak XC. They are a really light trail racing flat that Bob Africa sent to me. Bob is Darcy Africa's husband whom is the merchandising manager for Pearl Izumi. We ran together at Red Hot 50K for awhile and talked afterwards - nice guy! He helped design the Peak XC and wants to get some feedback. They worked out great today! Albeit the trail was smooth but my foot fits perfect and it's got a nice roll to it. I'll wear them during Way Too Cool and see how they work out for 50K.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

13 myles (11 - 1.17:36)

Sanctuary hill - 4:00 p.m.
mid 40's, slight wind, clear
mind/body - clear/little sore
hard effort

Today was a special day because I got to treat my friend Tim Hola to the Sanctuary hill. I had been telling him about this hill for the past year and finally our schedules matched up. In reality it was a little too soon after a race to be doing LT hill repeats but I couldn't let Tim down. I parked 2.5 myles away and ran to meet Tim at Daniels park where we ran the 5 + mile loop as a warm up. Initially I wanted to do 5 repeats but after the 4th I was done but Tim continued on. Pretty even splits: 1:13:74, 1:15:46, 1:12:91, 1:14:85, 1:15:30 (tim). Normally I like to get progressively faster but with Tim there it was easier to push from the get go. Afterwards we ran back to my car 2.5 myles away and called it a day. Tim makes me faster so hopefully we can do more runs together.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

10 myles - 1.09:07

Daniels Park out/back - 4:00 p.m.
mid 60's, North wind, clear
mind/body - clear/sluggish
medium effort

Initially this was to be a recovery run but I felt too good to go slow(er). My legs were heavy climbing but I felt really good on the flats so I decided to make this a medium effort. My first/last were: 6:40/6:34. From now until Way Too Cool I'm going to concentrate on leg turnover with shorter distance runs. I feel like I'm O.K. with endurance because of the race on Saturday but I will still get in one or two 20 + mile runs before WTC. If the weather stays like this then I'm gonna have 2 quality weeks of training but I have a feeling today was just a teaser for spring.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Red Hot 50K - 4:30:01 8th Place

Moab, UT - 8:00 a.m.
crisp 40's, clear, no wind, some snow
mind/body - good/good
Hard effort

The race has come and gone! I'm happy to report that I made it through without incident! I finished in 4:30:01, good enough for 8th place. Last year 4:30 would have got me second place by about 15 minutes but this year it was FAST!
Tony Krupicka 4.03
Kyle Skaggs 4.03
Justin Ricks 4.05
Duncan Callihan 4.13
Johannes Rudolph 4.22
Ian Torrence 4.24
Karl Meltzer 4.26
Suzanna Beck 4.28
Scott Jaime 4.30
Anita Ortiz 4.34

Here's how the race unfolded for me: I got to the start about 7:00 a.m. and decided to take about a 15 minute spin to get the overall vibe - I felt great! But having said that I was still not confident for the entire distance so I decided to play it safe and go out slow. Kyle, Tony, and some other dude (CU all American) took off. Karl started to go with them but decided a low 6 minute pace was not gonna hold up. I talked with Kyle and Tony afterwards and they said they wanted to burn everybody off and cruise in. Cruising they were until mile 29 and this guy by the name of Justin Ricks comes flying past them, they caught up and he confirmed he was a 50K racer. They put the hammer down and came in 4:03, a couple minutes before this "other" guy. It never fails, roadies come out of the wood work and blitz most everybody on the shorter ultras.

Anyways back to my race, I started slow and ran with Jared Campbell and chatted about last years Hard Rock race. Jared was 4th overall and so I wanted to pick his brain a bit. There was one climb and mostly all flat up to aid station 1 - went through 6 myles in 39:47, a very comfortable pace. Most of the next section was a big grind up for about 2 myles then a nice downhill on a semi-technical jeep trail. I ran by myself through aid station 2, which was 13 myles in 1.37:45. From aid station 2 to 3 was mostly sandy flat roads. I was now running with Ryan Burch from Ft. Collins, didn't talk much but I notice he was starting to slow around aid station 3, 17 myles - went through in 2.07:17. I was all alone again starting the climb up to aid station 4, mile 22. Then I got a glimpse of 3 runners not too far ahead. I was feeling really good at this point so I started to push up the hill. I caught two of them and the other one was Ian Torrence, who was just about 300 ft in front of me going into aid station 4 - I didn't get a split. Then it was up and down on slick rock for the next 7 myles. Ian took off! At this point, there were two ladies in front of me and I never saw them until the last aid station - mile 29. I went through aid station 5 in 3.51 and still felt good so I decided to try and NOT get chicked and pushed as hard as I could. I caught one, which was Anita Ortiz and the other one basically was running the same pace I was - I couldn't catch her. My split for the last section was 38:27, which turns out to be a 7:07 split/mile. This woman, Suzanna Beck from Oregon, crushed the record by a half an hour! To top it off she beat Anita Ortiz who is world renown for shorter mountain running. It seems like every time I'm chicked, the woman usually breaks the record. It's happened to me several times now.

All in all I'm extremely happy with my time! I couldn't have asked for a better race! This is exactly what I needed heading into Way Too Cool where I hope to go under 3.50. For the last two years at Way Too Cool I've been 5th place but I don't think that's gonna happen this year. The entrant list for WTC is even more stacked than Red Hot! I will be lucky to crack the top 10 and that's if I get under 3.50. I predict Erik Skaggs will win, Matt Carpenter will be second. They will both get under 3.30, which is world class for this course.

Friday, February 15, 2008

4 myles - 30:35

Moab, UT - 3:30 p.m.
crisp 50 degrees, layer of clouds, muddy
mind/body - ready to go/ready to go
easy effort

Today was the "real" test as to what would happen tomorrow. I found some four wheel drive trails across from Sorrel River Ranch which had some elevation gain. I pushed the pace in the end to see how my body would respond..... all systems go! I haven't felt this good in a couple weeks so maybe whatever has been happening for the past two weeks is behind me. I hope to have a good race tomorrow. When I say good race, I really mean, I hope I finish without incident!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

7 myles - 51:34

Tuscan, AZ - 5:00 p.m.
65 degrees, slight wind, layer of clouds
mind/body - fresh/better than yesterday
easy effort

Went back to the same loop trail and then did an extra climb to add a couple of myles. I felt much better today and no aches in my legs. I needed today for some confidence! A bunch of people from the meeting were out on the trail watching the sunset and as I went cruising past, they all started talking. Later that night going to dinner I saw the same people (most of which are flat landers from around the U.S.) and they all wanted to know why I was running around on that trail? I knew if I got into a discussion about the races I do, they wouldn't understand so I just told them I wanted to burn some calories so I could drink beer that night..... but then again who I am kidding - I ONLY run to drink beer!

Monday, February 11, 2008

5 myles - 41:21

Tuscan, AZ - noon
80 degrees! no wind, no clouds
mind/body - fresh/skiddish
easy effort

I really needed to get out today and thank goodness our hotel was at the base of a mountain. There was a 5 mile loop trail that travel through the lower part of the mountain. Not a smooth trail either - lots and lots of rocks and pitted out by horses. First time in a long time I had been on a technical trail so I stumbled a few times before I got my rhythm. All in all I didn't feel the best running and the calf started to act up towards the end. Did 5 hill sprints of 30 seconds to get the leg speed up.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Feb 4-10 2008

  1. Mon off
  2. Tues off
  3. Wed off
  4. Thurs 10 myles
  5. Fri off
  6. Sat 12 myles
  7. Sun 12 myles
  8. Total 34 myles
Pic of the week - Mom and Myles for the first time

Not much to report this week other than the fact that I didn't run very much. A week before a race I like to hit 40 myles and have a little speed work in. Considering my left calf injury I actually ended the week better than anticipated. To be completely honest with myself, up until two weeks ago my training was going so good that I actually thought I had a chance to be in the top 3 for Red Hot 50K.... not now. With the field stacked and my last two weeks in shambles I'm looking to hit the 5 hour mark, based on last years times. Everything happens for a reason and maybe the reason here is because this was to be a training run in preparation for Way Too Cool..... and so that's what it'll be, a training run in the desert with some friends. My predictions for the race looks like this: Kyle Skaggs, Ian Torrence, Karl Meltzer, Johannes Rudolf, Eric Storheim. If Anton Krupicka runs then he will take second and that's a big "if" because of his injury.

Next week I have another meeting, this time in Tuscan, AZ. I just hope that we are staying in a place next to the hills and desert. If so, that will be perfect training preparation for Red Hot. I hope to get out tomorrow for 6 myles and then 6 more on Wednesday. If the calf feels up to it then I'll do some hill work. Adios mi amigos!

12 myles - 1.25:22

Daniels Park out/back - 11:00 a.m.
about 50 degrees, partly cloudy, dry roads
mind/body - good/good?
medium effort

Yaawhooooweee! Another run without incident! Minor twinges here and there in the left calf but it held up even pushing a bit in the end. I seem to notice it more going uphill rather than down or flat. So as long as the uphill grinds in Moab don't last too long I should be O.K. My first and last splits were: 6:40/6:49. I'm gaining more confidence but I'm still a little gun shy about something going wrong during my run. I keep thinking back to that 30 mile run when I bonked and wonder if that's gonna happen in Moab..... if it does, oh well "that which does not kill you only makes you stronger".

Saturday, February 9, 2008

12 myles - 1.27:06

Lone Tree loop - 10:00 a.m.
clear, mid 40's, snow packed trail
mind/body - fresh/left calf?
easy effort

Well.... I went to the hospital yesterday to have my left leg surgically removed. With all the advances in technology today, the program called swap-a-leg was able to give me the leg of my choice. I chose to have a genetically engineered leg from this guy. So the next time you see me I will have a slight limp as Steve's legs are shorter than mine (not to mention a white pasty color.)

Naaah, just kidding..... I had to come up with a clever story as to why my left calf magically repaired itself in a day and half! I felt great today! My body as a whole is ready to go but having said that I was still a little tentative with my effort. I didn't want to over do it and ruin what my body magically did to my calf. Don't get me wrong, there is still something there with a little twinge but nothing to alter my stride or foot strike. But all that said I only went a third of the distance it needs to hold up. So Yes, there is still some doubt lurking in my mind.

Three loops today, 19:53, 19:54, and 19:29 for an even, consistent effort. Hopefully I will have another successful day tomorrow to start building confidence again.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

10 myles - 1.10:17

Daniels Park out/back - noon
mid 30's, partly cloudy, no wind
mind/body - fresh/left calf
easy effort

Well at this rate I won't be running Red Hot 50 K. I started my run feeling fantastic but around mile 5 my calf started acting up again. I'm not sure what to do at this point because the more time I take off to heal, the more fitness I will lose. I've taken the last 5 of 7 days off and at that rate I should pretty much lose everything that I've worked for the last 8 weeks. Even if I don't run, I will still go to Moab to see friends and to give Nicole a much needed break. Keep you're fingers crossed....

Monday, February 4, 2008

Jan 28 - Feb 3 2008

  1. Mon - off
  2. Tues - 15 myles
  3. Wed - 16 myles
  4. Thu - 12 myles
  5. Fri - off
  6. Sat - off
  7. Sun - 14 myles
  8. Total - 57 myles
Pic of the week - me finishing my favorite race

It's been a long strange week. First the injury bug bit me, forcing me to take off additional days off, then adding insult to injury I was bitten by the Wasatch rejection bug. But THEN yesterday I won a spot in my favorite race - Hard Rock 100! Of all of these things Hard Rock is the one I wanted the most! Obviously no one wants injury but I've done Wasatch several times and was contemplating not even sending my application in.... in fact, my wife was more upset that I didn't get into Wasatch than I was. I consider Wasatch my home course so I almost feel obligated to apply but having said that I can really concentrate on other races that I've wanted to do during that time. Everything happens for a reason, right?

Getting into Hard Rock was bitter sweet for me. My heart started racing when I saw the list was up and then to make matter worse I don't even look for my name first, I look for my good friend Brian Fisher. I found him at #38 on the wait list - the worst possible place to be! Last year I was #33 on the wait list and didn't even know if I was in until the day before the race - THE most stressful time of my life! Each year between 30 and 40 get in off the wait list so that means Brian is right on the cusp. Brian, last year James Varner was #38 on the wait list and he was the last one accepted so there's still hope. If all else fails then you can do the Hard Rock 100K as my pacer.

All that said you can see why it's been a long strange week. Moving forward, I hope the next 3 days off will allow my left calf to heal then jump back in the saddle with 40 myles next week. I'm off to Carlsbad, CA.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

14 myles - 1.34:16

Lone Tree loop - 10:00 a.m.
thin layer of clouds, mid 30's, little bit of snow
body/mind - tight left calf/fresh
medium effort

How much is too much? I think that's the age old question. And the question is only answered after an injury. This "tight" left calf is proving to be more stubborn than I initially thought. I haven't run for 2 days because of it. Just walking around, particularly up stairs, I could feel my entire calf muscle tense up. It's more of a dull pain originating deep within the calf.

So today my initial plan was to do 20-24 depending upon the calf. Not knowing how long it was going to hold up I decided to do a loop course and cut if short if the calf started acting up - I ended up cutting it short, only 5 loops (2.7 myles) instead of 8. But having 2 days off, the rest of my body was fresh and wanted to GO! So GO I did with the following splits: 18:57, 18:30, 19:03, 19:04, 18:40, averaging out to 6:58/mile. Not bad navigating 1600+ ft of elevation.

Today was a good indication of how tired my body has been for the last 3 or 4 weeks. On this loop course in the past couple of weeks I've been hitting around 21 minutes - pushing it. Today with a rested body I was hitting mid 18's with the same perceived effort. I've been building, building, building very rarely taking 2 days off in a row and now I know how important rest days are. Today also gave me a good confidence booster that my training has been true to me. So now the only question is, will my calf be healed in 2 weeks to make it 34 myles?? I'm headed to Carlsbad, CA for 3 days next week so maybe 3 days off is what the doctor ordered.