Photo courtesy of Andrew King - D4 Productions

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

12 myles - 1.26:57

HR urban trails
SE strong wind, low 30s, muddy/slushy
mind/body - good
easy effort

Prescribed workout: 90 minutes easy effort - keeping HR up on downhills

Actual workout: 12 myles 1.26:57 avg. 7:14 easy effort - not much downhill running

With the recent snow dump the trails are really muddy/slushy so I had to keep to the dirt roads for the most part. The minimal trail section I did get on was very slippery with mud so I wasn't able to keep the speed up. I've got a two day meeting starting tomorrow so my running is gonna take a hit but hopefully I'll be able to get on the TM for some fast uphill hiking.

I end March 09 with 240 myles. In comparison, March 08 I had 230 myles so relatively the same amount of myles. I figure April will be somewhere around 300 in preparation for Miwok.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

16 myles - 1.56:16

HR urban trails/Daniels Park - 11:00 A.M.
slushy/muddy trails, clear, mid 50s
mind/body - good
easy effort

Prescribed workout: 2 hours with the last 30 minutes faster pace

Actual workout: 15.74 myles 1.56:16 avg. 7:23 - easy pace with last 4 myles in 26:40

Felt good again today to finish out the week with 70 myles. Pretty good considering being sick earlier in the week and the recent snow dump. In addition, I put in about 10,000 ft of elevation gain.

Even though we got about a foot of snow 3 days ago, the dirt is starting to show on the trails already. Having said that, the trails were pretty sloppy/slushy today freezing my feet as if I were in HR all over again - looking forward to it!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

19 myles ~ 3.20

Manitou Springs - 7:00 A.M.
mid 20s, clear, some snow
mind/body - good
easy effort

Prescribed workout: 2-3 hours easy effort with hills

Actual workout: 18.43 myles ~ 3.20 easy effort with ~4000 ft of elevation gain

Joined the CRUD group again for the regular Saturday long run. Mostly the same group from last week except Grimes slept in, JT decided to roll away from the bar, and Tony is back from Ashland, OR. First time running with Tony and JT - kinda nice to chat with them. Although if I stand next to JT I'm underdressed, stand next to Tony and you would think I'm going to the North Pole! Hope I can get down there for most Saturdays moving forward as it gets me out the door and mixes it up a bit.

Today we went up Crystal Park road, down Palmer Lake trail, over Section 16, and finished on Intemann Trail for a nice big loop. Little bit of road, trail (mostly snow covered in which Tony broke trail with no socks), and dirt road - nice little loop. I get really confused up there because I don't know the name of anything but I'm learning quick. Next week the CRUD Saturday long run is coming North to Mt. Falcon for a double. You better be there BFish!

Friday, March 27, 2009

4 myles - 1.01:50

Treadmill - 5:00 P.M.
foot of snow outside, clear, slushy
mind/body - good
easy effort

Prescribed workout: 30-60 minutes fast walking

Actual workout: 4 myles 1.01:50 avg. 15:27 - 3.88 MPH

3rd day in a row on the dreadmill but it wasn't all that bad. I think variety is the key! I cranked up the TM to 12% grade and walked as fast as I could. In reality, this is a workout I never would have done in the past but when I think about how much walking actually occurs at HR - this workout makes total sense! I hope to do this workout at least once a week until HR and obviously when the snow clears it will be to a couple 14ers.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

10 myles - 1.11:25

Treadmill - 10:00 A.M.
foot of snow, blowing, slick
mind/body - very good
easy effort

Prescribed workout: 60+ minutes easy effort - hill sprints or strides to end

Actual workout: 10 myles 1.11:25 avg. 7:08 easy effort - last mile intermittent hill sprints

Woke up to partly cloudy skies and no snow on the ground. Had my coffee and breakfast then started to gear up to go running, looked outside only to find a blizzard had settled in! It was a tough choice but I went for the dreadmill. Most of the run was spent at 6:49 pace and then threw in a few 8 MPH @ 8% for 45 seconds to finish so that I could simulate the hill sprints. I feel really good right now and maybe because I've felt so crappy the last couple of days.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

10 myles - 1.09:11

Treadmill - 10:00 A.M.
upper 40s, partly cloudy, dry
mind/body - good
Hard effort

Prescribed workout: 75 minutes Kenyan cut down starting at 8 pace, add 0.1 MPH every 0.25 mile AND THEN throw in 4% grade on the last quarter each mile. Finish remaining time @ 6:30 pace

Actual workout: 10 myles 1.09:11 avg. 6:55. Started at 8 pace (7.5MPH), finished at 6:11 pace (9.8 MPH), remaining time @ 6:30 pace.

Ah yes - the famous Kenyan cut down workout! As if it wasn't tough enough to begin with?!?! Paul threw in a 4% grade every 4th quarter mile! Today I went to the local rec center to see if there was a difference in treadmills. I surprised myself at how far I made it so maybe my treadmill is a little tweaked because it seemed a little easier today. But nonetheless the last two @ 4% were tough at 9.4 and 9.8 MPH! I started to feel the lactate build up but then it was time to bring it back down so a quarter mile was just about right. On the flip side of that I noticed when I was level I was cruising pretty effortless.

I'll admit from week to week I'm always intrigued by what Paul throws my way but I think he may be a little sadistic...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

11 myles - 1.31:09

Mt. Falcon - Noon
dry, mid 50s, partly cloudy
mind/body - better
Easy effort

Prescribed workout: 75 - 90 minutes with hills - easy effort

Actual workout: 11 myles 1.31:09 avg. 8:17 ~4000 ft elevation gain

Finally back at Mt. Falcon! My dear old friend that I have a love/hate relationship with.... I just love it when I'm done! Falcon is never easy no matter how slow I go but I told myself I would just take it nice and easy to get my butt over there. I've been fighting this cold for the last 3 days and have felt miserable so I was just happy to be out. My route was up Turkey trot and then around to Parmalee in which I'm usually about 6 - 10 minutes faster but a good starting point for the year. One thing I did different this time is I tried to keep my HR up while going downhill and just let myself go. I missed you Mt. Falcon, I'll be back soon....

Saturday, March 21, 2009

21 myles ~ 3.50

Palmer Lake - 7:00 A.M.
30s to start - 60s to finish, clear, dry
mind/body - hesitant/sick
easy effort

Prescribed workout: 2 hours easy pace with increased pace last 30 minutes

Actual workout: 21.37 myles ~ 3.50 - avg. 10:35 easy pace ~5000ft of elevation gain

Met the CRUD group at Paul DeWitt's house this morning for the weekly long run. Good size group with Paul, Steve B., Grimes, Harry, Rick, and others I didn't know. We ran up, I guess it's called Palmer Lake trail, to Rampart road and then circled back around. Beautiful area! If I had not committed to running with the CRUD group today I probably would not have run at all because as you will recall I had a sore throat last week prior to WTC. I thought I had it kicked but the cold finally reared it's ugly head yesterday with aches and sniffles.

So this run will officially kick off my specific training for Hard Rock with a decent amount of climbing as well as a 1000ft descent at the end in less than 2 myles, exactly the quad masher I needed. Mark the date: March 21st - 16 weeks until HR.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

10 myles - 1.10:52

HR urban trails - 3:00 P.M.
Sunny, mild, dry, mid 60s
mind/body - not motivated yet/come on legs!
easy effort

Prescribed workout: 2 hours, easy/recovery effort

Actual workout: 10 myles 1.10:52 avg. 7:05, easy/recovery effort

Yep it's official! Recovery week. My legs just start to peter out around the hour mark - the deep pain that radiates from the bone, through the muscles feeeling like they will snap at any moment! I looked back at last year after WTC to see how I felt the week after and sure enough - same thing! That makes me feel a little better to know that the legs will heal in about a week. Last year I only did 39 myles after WTC, this year I'll probably get 50. I'll take tomorrow off then finish the week with the CRUD run Saturday

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

10 myles - 1.09:58

Lone Tree loop - 3:00 P.M.
mid 50s, no wind, dry
mind/body - not motivated/legs heavy
Hard effort

Prescribed workout: 75 minutes with 6 X 1:30 @ 5K pace

Actual workout: 10 myles 1.09:58 avg. 6:59 - 6 x 1:30 @ 5K pace

I'm strugglin' a bit here. Legs are still heavy and I am NOT motivated to get the work done this week. I was hoping for the 8 mile Monday run to shake it out but my legs have been stiff and still are stiff right now. I have cherry picked my way through the easier workouts this week but all that is left is 2, 2 hour runs and 8 x 1 mile intervals. If I don't come around during the 2 hour run tomorrow then I'll bag the mile repeats this week and shift them into next week.

Monday, March 16, 2009

8 myles - 57:58

Daniels Park - 3:00 P.M.
70 degrees! dry, no wind
mind/body - hesitant/sore quads
easy effort

Prescribed workout: 60 minutes easy/recovery effort

Actual workout: 8 myles 57:58 avg. 7:14 easy/recovery effort

I guess the ol' quads are telling me I need to work on some downhill running - man are they sore today! Much worse than after Rooty Raccoon. And to top it off Paul prescribed a pretty tough workout week with this being the only easy workout. Today on the flat and uphill section I actually felt pretty good but when coming down I had to baby step it. I've got 7 weeks to work on the downhills in prep for Miwok otherwise that course will beat me again....

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Way Too Cool 50K - 3.55:09 6th place

Photo courtesy of Jean Pommier crew

For me, and countless others, WTC marks the official beginning of the ultra running season. This year was my 4th WTC and each year it just seems to get better. From the camaraderie, organization, aid station volunteers, competition, all the way down to the delicious froggy cupcakes.

Julie Finger assumed the new role of Race Director and her first order of business seemed to be the course. She changed it. It was well known that WTC was not a "true" 50K but everyone seemed to accept that fact with 20 years of tradition. Why change it now? Paul DeWitt and I went up to the course on Friday to do a little scouting and shake the legs out. We ran into Julie and she explained the reasoning: When the race started it was called the Cool Canyon Crawl in which that course was exactly 31 myles. Well when the race changed to Way Too Cool a few years later the course ended up being marked incorrectly, making a turn off the road too early - a short cut if you will. I'm not sure when they figured it out but the RD just decided to keep it the same. Julie and others wheeled (most accurate) the old course and sure enough - 31 myles. Before she made the announcement of the change she consulted with Uli Steidl and other course record holders and got their opinion, they were all in favor of making it a "true" 50K. Change is always seen as difficult and people react with frustration. I commend Julie for making the change because the way I see it is that Way Too Cool can now be sanctioned and maybe someday host the 50K national trail championship. I also commend Julie for a tremendous race atmosphere - no detail was left undone! And yes there were little froggy cupcakes that Julie's Mom and friend Monica spent 8 hours baking and decorating.

For the race itself this is how it happened for me: A couple days leading up to the race I came down with a sore throat - I couldn't believe it! I always seem to get sick before a race, or maybe it's just that I'm ultra sensitive to how I'm feeling and make a mountain out of a mole hill. But my throat was sore and my Friday leg loosener wasn't good so I was little fearful at this point. Friday night I went to eat with Paul DeWitt, Justin Ricks and his wife Denise. We talked about the course, shoes, and strategy. Strategy mainly because it's easy to get caught up in the excitement and start way too fast so I wanted to warn first timer and teammate Justin Ricks.

Start to Hwy 49 (7.1 myles)
Sure enough 5:59 for the first mile and I was behind about 25 people. Justin and I looked at each other and just shook our heads. Next mile still on the roads with a couple hills, 6:15. So for 2 myles 12:14. I just did a tempo run of 2 myles in 12:12!!! And the leaders were still pulling away! We started the trail and climbed up to the highest point, a few started to fall back, and a quick group of 6 started to form: myself, Justin Ricks, Karl Meltzer, Rod Bien, Michael Buchanan and another guy I didn't know. We got to Hwy 49 in about 47 minutes (6:37 pace) which turns out to be about 11 minutes slower than my previous years on the old course. Breathing pretty easy and feeling really good.

Hwy 49 to ALT 1 (8.3 myles - 15.4 total)
Started the descent down to the American River where it seemed to be a little muddy and rutted but no worse than previous years. As we ran parallel to the river our little group becomes smaller: myself, Justin, Karl, Victor Ballesteros, and Rod. Once up on the ALT trail we picked up another runner, Jeff Kozak, and settled in behind him. It was slower than I wanted and others seemed to be antsy but I knew going too fast on this section is way too easy and could cause a blow up problem later. Almost to the aid station a couple of guys in matching singlets came flying past us "like a train" with no water bottles - roadies! I made a mental note that I would see them again no matter how good they looked. I made it to ALT 1 in 1.49 - quick math told me I was about 12 minutes slower than last year but same split from last year.

ALT1 to ALT 2 (6.3 myles - 21.7 total)
We got to the aid station and Victor just bolted up the hill (didn't see again). The roadies got a cup of water and were off. I settled in once again behind Jeff Kozak for about 2 myles and turned around to notice Karl was coming fast. I decided to get past Jeff and get to Ball Bearing hill keeping Karl behind me. Up to this point I had taken in a flask of EFS gel (400 calories) and then started on GU packs (1 every 20 minutes). I also had a Nathan water bottle that I had filled up twice. Having said that, nutrition and hydration were spot on with no problems. I made it around to Ball Bearing Hill with Rod Bien, Karl Meltzer, and now Lewis Taylor. Lewis passed me 2 years ago with 4 myles to go so I knew he was gonna be tough. I climbed Ball Bearing real good! Honestly I ran a good chunk of it and caught up with Justin and now Phil Kochik. At this point I am in 14th place and feeling good. I made it in 2.39, which was still 12 minutes slower than last year but did the loop in 50 minutes (fastest yet)

ALT 2 to Goat Hill (5.1 myles - 26.8 total)
I filled my water bottles and grabbed two more GUs. I went out on the trail with Phil Kochik, Justin, and another guy. This section is the same fast section (ALT) that we went out on but now we had oncoming traffic (slower runners) to contend with. I was content to sit behind these guys and let them part the way. About a mile into the stretch Justin passed me and I followed. We soon separated ourselves from the other two. Justin was running good and I was thinking if I had to sprint to the finish with him I would certainly lose. But nonetheless, happy to lose to a talented runner like Justin. Suddenly about 3 myles into the section he pulled over and that was the last I saw of him. I was now feeling the best I had all day leading up to Goat Hill. I soon caught two other guys, which only fueled my fire. One of the guys I caught was the roadie that passed "like a train" earlier. I gritted my teeth to catch the next one and to keep Lewis off my heels. I made it to Goat Hill in 3.20, still 11 minutes slower than last year.

Goat Hill to Hwy 49 (2.9 myles - 29.7 total)
I pretty much ran up Goat Hill because I caught a glimpse of Lewis behind me and this is where he passed me two years ago. I was motivated, feeling good, and bolted through the aid station. This is the section I have always suffered so I loaded up on the GUs taking two at the beginning of the section. This section is quite deceiving because of the climbing, if you do too much to get up Goat then you have nothing left for the hills that get you to Hwy 49. I caught a glimpse of two guys ahead and knew I could catch em if I ran the entire section. I caught one before Hwy 49 and was quickly running out of real estate. I'm not sure of my time going through here but I think it was around 3.42. I ran this section in 22 minutes my fastest by 3 minutes. Everyone at the aid station was cheering me on to catch the next guy who was only 1 minute up

Hwy 49 to the Finish (1.3 myles - 31 total)
Ironically the distance left was the distance that was added so theoretically I could say on the old course I would have come in around 3.42 - which I think is pretty accurate. I ran with everything I had to catch a glimpse of the next runner and I did.... but it was the ONE person I did not want to see - Paul DeWitt. Paul was running solid all day - I got glimpses of him about 4 or 5 minutes in front of me. He looked strong and I had high hopes he would pull the "W" outta the hat. Paul told me later that he had made it up to 3rd, tried to lose the guy he passed, ran out of salt, and began to cramp. Once that starts, it's pretty much over as far as holding a pace. I feel bad for Paul because he was hoping for a top 3 to qualify for Western. And the sad truth is that he would have been top 3 if the cramps hadn't started. But anyways, I passed Paul and guess who was in front of him? The other roadie guy that passed earlier "like a train" with no water bottle. He saw me and started running up the hill and was still ahead of me with the 1/2 mile sign to go. I dug a little deeper and broke him on the next little riser - it gave me those little tinglies in my head. 3.55:09 was my final time in 6th place. In my head before I began 3.55 is what I thought I was capable of.

This was probably my best "complete" ultra I have put together. Everything worked for me on this day. My nutrition and hydration were spot on. And I went out easier and always remembered what Guillermo Medina once told me "Let them come back to you". In total 8 runners came back to me and I'm here to tell you, it's better to pass than to be passed in the end. I guess the ol' legs came back after all. Next up for me, Miwok 100k - I have some unfinished business there...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

4 myles - 28:24

Grigs - 3:30 P.M.
low 40s, dry, South wind
mind/body - good/sore throat
easy effort

Prescribed workout: 30-45 minutes with strides at the end

Actual workout: 4 myles 28:24 avg 7:06. 3 intervals up Grigs hill - 1:02:74, 59:51!, 59:95

Last little test before WTC. I did this exact workout before WTC last year with interval times of: 1:10:10, 1:06:90, 1:02:61 - with the last one being the fastest ever. I never thought I would be able to get under a minute but I did just that today! I have been running this hill for 5 years with times ranging from 1:15 to now 59:51! I know it's insignificant to anyone who reads this because you don't know the hill but in brief: it's a dirt road with this little section about 300 meters long with a slope of 3% to start, 7% in the middle, then 2% to finish. Like I said yesterday, speed wise I'm a little better off than last year but today really confirmed that! The work is done for WTC and I hope it pays off...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

8 myles - 53:45

Grigs out/back - 3:30 P.M.
upper 30s, some snow, mild wind
mind/body - ready to go
Hard effort

Prescribed workout: 60 minutes with 2 mile tempo in the middle.

Actual workout: 8 myles 53:45 avg. 6:43 - 2 mile tempo in 12:12.

I am ready to go! Compared to last year going into WTC I feel like I'm in a little better shape - speed wise. I feel very comfortable cruising around a 6 minute pace for a few myles, which tells me that at sea level I should be able to cruise in the high 6s to low 7s for a 50K. Ultrarunning magazine just came out and listed WTC as the most competitive race for 2008 and it's shaping up to be the same this year. I would really like to crack the top 10 @ WTC but it has to be an issue-free race in order for that to happen.

On another note, a big congrats to fellow Coloradan Jamie Donaldson! Her name is just plastered all over the latest Ultrarunning magazine stats page for 2008. I knew she pretty much dominated the 24 hour and hundred mile scene but the stats page really puts it into perspective - way to go Jamie!

Monday, March 9, 2009

10 myles - 1.13:32

HR urban trails - 4:00 P.M.
North wind, cool, dry
mind/body - kinda draggin' today
easy effort

Prescribed workout: 75 minutes easy effort

Actual workout: 10 myles 1.13:32 avg. 7:21 - easy pace.

Very nice and relaxing run just thinking about WTC this coming Saturday. I feel very good right now and have high hopes. I threw in a couple of 10 second bursts on the way back just to keep the legs honest.

Karl Meltzer released his list of odds for the top runners and I'm happy to say I made the list for the very first time! I'm listed at 13-1 odds with the comments of being a sneaky fast one - not sure about that one.... maybe it means I don't look that fast and harmless but has posted some good times in the past??? Dunno?? I'm just happy to be mentioned on the same list as some of those runners. I have to admit though, there are others that are just mentioned with no odds that will vie for the win (i.e. Matt Lonergan and Mark McManus). I don't know Lonergan but he put up a good 50 mile time @ Sun Mart last year under 6 hours so I think he is one to watch for the win as he is gaining ultra experience.

I know there will be some dark horses there but it's always hard to tell with those fast roadies coming from Oregon. Maybe do a quick sort of Oregon runners and pick a couple to post a good time. Oregon has owned WTC for the last couple years but Colorado is coming to take back the crown this year. Let the ultra season begin! It's gonna be fun!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

12 myles - 1.27:42

HR urban trails
low 30s, dry, partly cloudy
mind/body - good
easy effort

Prescribed workout: 90 minutes easy/steady effort - race day visualization

Actual workout: 12 myles 1.27:42 avg 7:18, easy/steady effort - started at actual race time

Real easy effort just thinking about WTC next week - lots of wondering.... wondering if I'm gonna get sucked up in the excitement of the race and go out too fast, wondering how many dark horses are gonna show up this year, wondering who is gonna come back to me that went out way too fast, wondering how I'm gonna feel late in the race, wondering with proper nutrition and hydration if I'll be passing people in the end, wondering what the trail is gonna look like... the strange thing about "wondering" is that I'm in control of all that - just gotta use my experience and be smart about it.

In reality not much visualization went on today except for two recurring images; me digging into a post race In n Out Burger in Auburn while this guy make a mad dash to the finish, followed by an image of this guy buying my beer ALL NIGHT LONG!

Friday, March 6, 2009

9.1 myles - 56:02

Chatfield Res. - 8:00 A.M.
Still WINDY! 30s, dry
mind/body - strong/very strong
Hard effort

Prescribed workout: 60 minutes @ marathon pace (mp)

Actual workout: 9.1 myles 56:02 avg. 6:09 - a little under mp

Now that's what I'm talkin' bout! Despite the wind (which is now blowing Southwest) I managed a good time and felt great doing it! The wind was at my back 1/2 the time cruising pretty effortlessly but when it came time to head into the wind I was working hard. So in the end the wind evened the pace out one way or the other. Good confidence builder!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

9 myles - 1.05:09

HR urban trails - 8:00 A.M.
Windy! 60s, dry
mind/body - eager/good
easy effort

Prescribed workout: 60+ minutes easy/steady pace. strides or short hill sprints

Actual workout: 9 myles 65 minutes avg 7:14 easy/steady pace, no strides or hill sprints

North wind blowing pret-ty strong! Effort was greater than 7:14 but when it's blowing 25MPH in your face, that's seems pretty fast! Hammy seemed a little tight when I woke up but didn't seem to bug me on my run. Tomorrow I'll test it on an hour marathon pace run - as long as the wind dies down...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

12 myles - 1.22:44

HR urban trails - 3:00 P.M.
Northeast wind, low 70s, dry
mind/body - strong
Hard effort

Prescribed workout: 90 minutes with 5 X 5 minutes @ 10K pace

Actual workout: 12 myles 1.22:44 avg. 6:53, 5 X 5 minutes @ 10 K pace

The wind was causing havoc on my 5 minute surges! Although I tried to maintain the pace, it wasn't always there - but the effort was! Nonetheless I was tired after the 5th one. 3 of the 5 surges were on trails similar to WTC so I feel pretty good about that. I feel like the leg speed is there for WTC but I won't know for sure if the legs are completely back until that last 4 mile stretch. Should be fun!

Monday, March 2, 2009

10 myles - 1.10:48

HR urban trails - 3:00 P.M.
74! Enuf said.
mind/body - hesistant/strong
easy effort

Prescribed workout: 60+ minutes easy/steady with hill sprints

Actual workout: 10 myles 1.10:48 avg. 7:04. Easy/steady pace with 7 x 10 second hill sprints (8%)

Leading up to the run, I just didn't feel like running but how can anyone pass up a day like this! 74 degrees for March 2nd?? The weather was enough to bring my mind around and have a pretty decent run. I felt light on my feet with easy breathing. I honestly believe these short hill sprints are helping me run strong - granted I've only done two sets so we'll see in the long run.

WTC is less than 2 weeks away and the official course came out yesterday. It's pretty common knowledge that WTC was not a "true" 50K with 29.xx myles but the new RD decided to lengthen the course to exactly 31 myles. Why now? Why not leave it for 20+ year tradition. Does the new RD realize that even at 31 myles it's still not a "true" 50K? I don't get it? Oh well, it is what it is. Uil's record was soft anyways...

Throw away all your old splits and overall times because this year everyone WILL take longer - save those few who have the best day of their life. I'm just hoping to break 4 hours this go-round...

On another note, I saw a funny bumper sticker today that read "The End of an Error - January 20th, 2009". And not to be outdone a funny quote "If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style"