Photo courtesy of Andrew King - D4 Productions

Saturday, August 29, 2009

9 myles - 1.06:29

HR urban trails - 8:00 A.M.
60s, dry, clear
mind/body - anxious
easy effort

Lots of weekend warriors out on the trails this morning - good to see! Highlands Ranch just finished a new section of trails so everyone was testing them out before it gets too cold. Some good climbing and descending but way too many speed bumps. A couple more runs to keep the blood moving and I should be ready to go, dark and early Wednesday morning at 3 A.M.

I'm putting together the final details of the Colorado Trail adventure. For the first time I looked at the extended forecast and it's looks to be O.K. - maybe even hot the first part of the week. I know it'll rain at some point but hopefully not all day and night.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

8 myles - 58:24

HR urban trails - 8:00 A.M.
70s, dry, some clouds
mind/body - good
easy effort

Average of 7:18 so real easy run. Mainly thinking about what I'm about to embark on in exactly one week! I think of the last two years that has gone into planning the CT adventure and it drives me crazy to think I will have forgotten to do something. I will be all geeked out with gear to include a SPOT locator and Garmin 105 GPS watch.

Which reminds me, the link you see on the side of my blog is for the SPOT locator, you do not need to be a member of SPOT to see the latest updates. Just hit "full screen" and it will take you to the track I've laid down. The SPOT locator will only give the message that I have made it to my predefined destination for the day or if I run into to trouble it will send a help message or 911 message. In addition, check this map out created by my friend Christian Johnson. Pretty cool Google map of all the way points that will be plugged into my watch. Gives you a birds eye view of the terrain I will be facing on a daily basis. I've also added markers to show you the start of each day (green with black dot on page 2) I'll have the link to the map up right next to the SPOT map in a couple days.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

11 myles - 1.18:18

Coyote Ridge - 6:00 A.M.
mid 50s, dry, nice
mind/body - relatively good
easy effort

Legs were a little dead to start but I guess that's to be expected after a long day in Leadville, right? "But NO! I can't have dead legs after a 43 mile run! I have to be able to repeat 11 more times in a row to complete the Colorado Trail" I said to myself. So I quickly stopped feeling sorry for myself and bucked up to finish the run really nice. Avg. of 7:07 and feel great now.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity... no. I had the honor of pacing B Fish at Leadville. Pacing is a precarious thing, not only do you as a pacer have to keep up with nutrition and stuff but you have to remind your runner to do the same. I will admit I failed Brian a few times as we got into the aid station and did not get him what he needed right away - either I was talking or just was completely absent minded. Sorry BFish. I really do love to spend time with B Fish on the trails because no matter his condition he always seems to have something positive to say. Like the first time he puked - he said "that one is for Joe since he couldn't be with us". As a pacer when your runner is puking his or her guts out, it is the most helpless feeling in the world. I didn't know what to say during or afterward because I knew he was hurting so I didn't say anything. What are you gonna say, "whoa are you alright?" or "that's it, get it all out." Are those comforting words? What are comforting words when your runner is puking? I will tell you that after Brian puked he ran his ASS OFF! He ran the entire road back to Fish hatchery. Then he ran the entire Hagerman road and nearly all the CT. After that he had an hour split to the Tabor boat ramp from May queen, all after he puked. So he went from the dark depths, straight into vomitus euphoria and then back all over again. That man is tough! I'm really proud of him for gutting it out! Congratulations Brian it was my honor and pleasure to be with you most of the day!

And to all my friends that I saw in Leadville, it was great to see you and catch up a bit. Congratulations to all who not only finished, but toed the start line. It's never easy to get to the start of hundred and those who made it are winners in my book. The race is supposed to be the celebration of the training but sometimes it doesn't work out that way, but that's what keeps us coming back. Trying to make a better version of ourselves. That's the ultra spirit.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

11 myles - 1.13:23

Coyote Ridge - 8:00 A.M.
mid 50s, dry, clear
mind/body - motivated!
easy effort

Damn! I wish I could bottle the stuff I had today! Running without a chain my friends! On FiYer! Just a 6:40 avg. but I was really holding back knowing I have to pace BFish for fidy on Saturday. It was a great feeling everything coming together in a run - you know what I'm talkin about right?

I really can't wait to get to Leadville tomorrow - lots of friends will be there. The best part about it is that I don't have to stress about running, just hanging out and soaking it up. It's shaping up to be a great race with lots-o-talent. See you all up there!

Check this story out. Half Moon road closed could cause problems for Leadville on Saturday

This will be the scene at Fish's cabin but without KULAK?? Say it ain't so Joe?

Monday, August 17, 2009

11 myles - 1.15:43

Coyote Ridge trail - 8:00 A.M.
nice - upper 50s, clear and dry
mind/body - good
easy effort

I started slow but warmed up nicely to average out at 6:53/mile. Since my mountainous slower runs over the weekend I thought it would be good to spin em a little bit quicker. I don't want to over-do it this week as I'll be pacing BFish from Winfield in on Saturday - gotta be able to crack jokes after 40 myles and that will require a fresh mind.

On another note, it's my mother's birthday today. I think it's the first time in quite some time that I actually remembered on the actual day (thanks for the reminder Nicole). Happy Birthday mother, I hope you enjoyed your day. Love you.

My sis and I with mom in Hawaii

What a great weekend!

I spent the weekend with the family in (and around) Salida and Gunnison scouting out the Colorado Trail. I wanted to make sure the logistics in my head worked out, give the access points a visual, and run parts of the sections I hadn't seen - basically a dry run of the adventure.

Since Jaxon was out of school on Friday we headed out to Breckenridge on Thursday and stayed the night. My intention was to hit the trail at 6 A.M. to simulate the adventure itself. The first morning I started segment 7 @ 6:38 A.M., a little later than expected but it was cold and raining so it caused me to wait for a little more light. This segment goes from Breckenridge over to Copper Mountain via the Ten Mile Range (12,500 ft). With all the recent bear activity on the news I was a little nervous venturing out and sure enough I had my first encounter, not with a bear but a Mama and baby moose. Stopped me in my tracks and looked for the nearest, biggest tree. I thought for sure I was gonna have a Meltzer experience. Thank goodness I scared the mama more than she scared me and ran off. Pretty much the only encounter with wildlife for the weekend. I gave myself 4 hours to meet Nicole at the convenience store near Copper Mountain just in case I went off trail or something. I made it over to Copper in 3 hours so I decided to do a few extra myles on Segment 8. Total: 18 myles, 4.11:04

We then headed to Leadville to experience the hoopla with the Leadville mtn bike race and Lance Armstrong in town. I have never seen so many people in Leadville before! We met Bill Dooper for coffee and then skipped outta town, headed to Salida for the night. Along the way we scoped out the stopping points at Clear Creek and Mt. Princeton hot springs, making sure there were plenty of camping sites close by. The next morning we headed up to the access point of segment 15 on Hwy 50. I started the day @ 6:50 and gave myself 3 hours to go the 15 myles up to Marshall Pass. Of all the sections I have done on the Colorado Trail, this section has to be the prettiest. It has a mixture of meandering meadows with lush green vegetation underneath the canopy of trees along with views at the top of the Continental Divide. Total: 15 myles, 3.07:34

After leaving Marshall pass we headed down Hwy 285 to Saguache to scope out the access point on Hwy 114. This trek was longer than I thought, about 85 myles from Poncha Springs to the access point. We hiked a bit on segment 18 to get feel for it and then proceeded around Hwy 114 back to Hwy 50 near Gunnison. We stayed the night in Gunnison where I had THEE best Mexican food money can buy, a place called Fiesta Juchitlan. It's on main street and a must if you go through Gunnison. While I'm on the subject of food and beverage I'll tell you about a another place that's worth the drive, Amica brewery in Salida has THEE best chili beer I have ever tasted! I'm normally an IPA guy but I like to try new beer, especially craft beers. You can't go wrong with the chili beer at Amica (and the wood fire pizza).

So at the end of the weekend I got a taste of everything that makes me tick; time with the family, running in the mountains, good Mexican food, and good craft beer. And it wouldn't be complete without an adventure getting home - right? On the way home I was going to show Nicole where she would meet me at the end of day one at Long's Gulch but as we got to Fairplay a sign said that the road was closed 30 myles ahead due to an accident. We elected to take an alternate route over Hwy 9 into Breckenridge and then cut across to Keystone to make it back to I-70... backed up too! We kinda knew it would be as the weekend traffic was coming home so we stopped at Beau Jo's to wait it out. Come to find out there was another accident up ahead from a drunk driver hitting a bicyclist and dragging him on the road - tragic! We eventually made it home around 6 PM, approximately 7.5 hours from Gunnison. On the news last night they said that Hwy 285 was closed until 8 P.M., showing cars and people strung out for dozens of myles on the road - good thing we took the short-long cut...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

10 myles - 1.10:46

HR urban trails - 7:00 A.M.
70s, dry, clear
mind/body - eh. I guess OK
easy effort

Just puttin' in the myles to get to the weekend - avg. 7:04. Actually tonight we are headed to the mountains to do some more scouting on the CT. I will do probably do segments 7, a little bit of 8, and 15 on Friday and Saturday all while I watch a little Lance Armstrong/Dave Wiens action. Some of my friends are doing the Leadville bike race as well so I'll torment them as much as I can along the way. Have fun out there boys!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

11 myles - 1.15:03

HR urban trails - 6:30 AM
50s, clear, dry
mind/body - good for early morning
easy effort

Just another ho-hum run. Although a little bit faster today with a 6:49 avg. I'm really quite uncertain how I should be training for my upcoming adventure; whether I should be running or hiking?? At any rate, time on my feet is what matters right? I'm planning on getting up to the CT with the family over the weekend, probably hit segments 7, 12, and 13. I figure the more I see of the trail, the more unnecessary mistakes (ie wrong turns) I make during the real deal.

Hope Pass inbound last year - man I was hurting already

Monday, August 10, 2009

11 myles - 1.18:00

Coyote Ridge trail - 8:00 A.M.
70s, clear, dry
mind/body - good
easy effort

Just a ho-hum stroll through the park today. Avg. of 7:05 with just a tiny bit of elevation gain. I ventured onto a new section of the east/west trail to mix it up a bit.

The Colorado Trail is consuming my every thought. I even find myself getting emotional about it and I haven't even started. I think for the simple fact that this is the hardest thing I have ever attempted I am more fearful of failure than anything else. I am doing it for fun but I also want to know what my limits are. Is it the mind that goes first or is it the body? Only time will tell - I can't wait to get started!

Will be in Leadville next weekend helping this guy go sub 20 again.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

10 myles - 1.09:33

HR urban trails - 9:00 A.M.
Perfect running weather - upper 50s and clear
mind/body - good
easy effort

I end the week with just over 50 myles, not bad considering my stint in Orlando. Very nice morning to be out and everyone else in Highlands Ranch agreed as we all shared the trails. Maybe not all... there are some mountain bikers who think they own the trail by pretty much clipping you as they pass.

Just reminiscing about Hawaii a bit - my "older" sis and her boys

Saturday, August 8, 2009

17 myles - 2.03:27

CT (waterton - Roxb. loop) - 8:00 A.M.
mid 60s, clear, dry
mind/body - good
easy effort

Just trying to salvage the week here. Going to Orlando got me out of my routine (again) only being able to put 13 myles on the treadmill in 4 days. One day I snuck out early only to have my manager occupy the treadmill right next to mine - so much for being sneaky... Although on both runs I did crank the treadmill up to 10% just to give the lungs a workout at sea level.

Today I felt great! I don't like to go to Waterton very much because the 6 mile road leading to the CT is very boring, however, once on the CT single track it makes it all worth it. I averaged just over 7 minutes per mile with some elevation - decent. On the road back I cranked it up a bit and was somewhere in the range of 6:40 when two fellows came flying past me, what the.... Turns out it was Mark B. from Boulder running company (2.20 marathoner) and his buddy doing some tempo work. And that's why I run ultras (I said to myself)

Picture in the Durango Herald finishing Hard Rock

Friday, August 7, 2009

Colorado Trail

About a week ago The Denver Post had an article about a fellow by the name of Winston Branko Churchill. Winston hit the CT in July 2008 to sort some things out and, in particular, figure out why society is so tightly bound to material things (i.e. bigger houses and more money). The takeaway I got from the article is that like many others who have an appreciation for the wilderness, Winston was trying to find himself and figure out his place. The tragedy of the story is that Winston never returned from the CT as his body was found about a month ago.

This caused me to think deep about why I'm doing the Colorado Trail. Am I trying to find myself? Am I trying to find meaning to this life? I don't know. What I do know is that I share the same appreciation for the wilderness and also question my affinity to material things. In addition, I like to challenge myself and find out what I'm capable of. One of my sponsors, Nathan Hydration has a tag line of "Helping athletes redefine their humanly possible". Maybe that's what I'm doing, simply stepping out of the box and redefining my own limits. I never wanna look back at my life and say "should have, could have, or would have". Needless to say this adventure will change me.

Now to the adventure itself:
  • I don't plan on breaking any records.
  • Start on September 2nd and finish on September 13th (my 40th birthday)
  • Begin each day @ 6 A.M. and hopefully be off the trail by dark
  • Anyone is welcome to join me at any time along the trail
  • I will be wearing a SPOT device and will have a link up on the blog
  • Day 1 – Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 – Brian Fisher pace
    Segment 1 - 16.8 myles
    Segment 2 – 11.5 myles
    Segment 3 – 12.7 myles
    Segment 4 – 16.6 myles
    Day Total – 57.6 myles – end Long Gulch

    Day 2 – Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 - Long Gulch
    Segment 5 – 14.4 myles
    Segment 6 – 32.9 myles
    Day Total – 47.3 myles – end Goldhill
    Overall – 104.9 myles

    Day 3 – Friday, September 4th , 2009 – Gold Hill - Rick Hessek pace
    Segment 7 – 12.8 myles
    Segment 8 – 25.4 myles
    Segment 9 – 13.6 myles
    Day Total – 51.8 myles – end Timberline Lake
    Overall – 156.7 myles

    Day 4 – Saturday, September 5th, 2009 - Timberline Lake
    Segment 10 – 13.0 myles
    Segment 11 – 21.5 myles
    Day Total – 34.5 myles – end Clear Creek Rd.
    Overall – 191.2 myles

    Day 5 – Sunday, September 6th, 2009 - Clear Creek road
    Segment 12 – 18.5 myles
    Segment 13 – 22.8 myles
    Day Total – 41.3 myles – end Chalk Creek
    Overall – 232.5 myles

    Day 6 – Monday, September 7th, 2009 - Chalk Creek
    Segment 14 – 20.9 myles
    Segment 15 – 14.2 myles
    Day Total – 35.1 myles – end Marshall Pass
    Overall – 267.6 myles

    Day 7 – Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 - Marshall Pass
    Segment 16 – 15.2 myles
    Segment 17 – 20.4 myles
    Day Total – 35.6 myles – end Hwy 114
    Overall – 303.2 myles

    Day 8 – Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 – Hwy 114 - Paul DeWitt pace
    Segment 18 – 13.8 myles
    Segment 19 – 13.7 myles
    Segment 20 – 12.7 myles
    Day Total – 40.2 myles – end San Luis Pass (overnight pack)
    Overall – 343.4 myles

    Day 9 – Thursday, September 10th, 2009 – San Luis Pass - Paul DeWitt pace
    Segment 21 – 14.8 myles
    Segment 22 – 17.1 myles
    Day Total – 31.9 myles – end Carson Saddle (overnight pack)
    Overall – 375.3 myles

    Day 10 – Friday, September 11th, 2009- Carson Saddle - Paul DeWitt pace
    Segment 23 – 15.9 myles
    Segment 24 – 19.8 myles
    Day Total – 35.7 myles – end Molas Pass
    Overall – 411 myles

    Day 11 – Saturday, September 12th, 2009 - Molas Pass
    Segment 25 – 20.9 myles
    Segment 26 – 10.9 myles
    Day Total – 31.8 myles – end Hotel Draw
    Overall – 442.8 myles

    Day 12 – Sunday, September 13th, 2009 - Hotel Draw
    Segment 27 – 20.6 myles
    Segment 28 – 21.5 myles
    Day Total – 42.1 myles – end Junction Creek
    Overall – 484.9 myles
I hope to see you along the trail somewhere.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

11 myles - 1.16:19

Coyote Ridge trail - 6:30 P.M.
70s, dry - just nice all around!
mind/body - good
easy effort

Whew! I wasn't tired after my run but then I read Tony's blog entry and man I'm tired for him! I felt like I just suffered through a race! I'm gonna go eat a gel.

My run went off without a hitch. Just a nice little cruise through my local trail system. It was pretty hot today so I waited until it cooled down and enjoyed every minute of it - avg. of 6:56. I'm off to Orlando tomorrow so I'll be hittin' the treadmill all week. Gotta crank it up to the max incline, breath hard, and sweat all over the place... makes people stare (as if my neon green socks weren't enough). Maybe I'll throw on the Smith Optics head band to put it over the top. Check Myles out!

He's into hats ...and apparently head bands too.

He's waiting for the bus.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

16 myles - 5.51

CT segment 4 - 9:30 A.M.
clear, dry, 70s, nice cooling wind
mind/body - refreshed
easy effort

I've been waiting for this day since Jaxon was born - the day he encourages me to get out on the trail and even a little camping.

We left after school on Friday and Jaxon was non-stop chatter box for the entire hour and 45 minutes to the Long Gulch trail head - I knew he was excited! I kept probing to find out how far he thought we should go the next day, in which his reply was "let's just spend the day hiking and exploring". We found a nice little campsite next to a stream about 0.2 myles from the CT with a fire pit AND stacked fire wood. We settled in while it got dark all the time I was trying to get the fire started with wet wood. The fire lasted approximately 15 minutes, roasted 4 marshmallows and then it began to rain. That forced us into the tent which made Jaxon more than happy cause he was starting to get a little nervous of bears with the darkness.

Next morning everything was frozen. Didn't last long as the sun came over the mountain top, not a cloud in the sky. We finally hit the trail at 9:30 AM and Jaxon once again was excited as he talked for the first two hours non-stop. Jaxon is a military buff so he was talking about things I didn't know existed or had a name, like getting "gillied up" or "carbine". At any rate, we hiking down the long gulch and took our first break after two hours, made it another hour to our turn around point and ate lunch. We made it from Long Gulch trail head all the way to Rock Creek trail head 8.2 myles in. If Jaxon wasn't talking about the military he was trying to identify mushrooms or wild flowers, sometimes he knows (or thinks he knows)too much for his own good as he thought he could eat all the mushrooms he saw. I agreed to buy him a mushroom and eatable plant book when we got home.

As we made our way back Jaxon started to slow down and start complaining about his feet. I guess that's what 12 myles in 4 hours will do to a 10 year old. It was down right hot now when the wind wasn't blowing, Jaxon began to get a headache and feet aching more. I knew Jaxon was drinking enough because his 70 oz Nathan pack was dry and peeing every 5 minutes - good sign. The funniest thing Jaxon said all day was "Dad I think I have an enlarged prostate cause I have to go to the bathroom way too much" Where did he get that?!?! We hit the last downhill with 2 myles to go and Jaxon started to really get a bad headache so needless to say the last stretch was miserable for him. Once he saw the car he pepped up again and said "Dad are you proud of me?" Yes son, I have always been proud of you!

I think this is one of those trips that will be etched in my mind for the rest of my life (and hopefully his as well). Along the way I learned more about my son and feel this has given us a true father/son friendship. He's already counting the days I begin my CT adventure as he wants to go a few sections with me. Sorry no pictures, both my camera and iPhone were dead.