Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ache Here, Ache There, Ache Everywhere.

Mmmmm.  Bison Cheeseburger.
I took Tuesday off thanks to the heat.  Skipped lunch and left work a bit early with the plan to run easy around the Boulder Reservoir, but as I got closer to my run destination, the temperature gauge in my car crept over 90 degrees.  Even for a short run, 90 degrees with no clear objective in the near future didn't seem fun.  I opted instead to stop at the grocery store and pick up some ground bison for hamburgers.

Yesterday I was much better about the whole motivation thing.  It took me a while to actually get out for my lunch run, I've been reincarnating a PC in the office which had gotten funked by a trojan.  It'll be running Fedora 13 and Windows 7.  I do like the Windows 7.

I finally got out at 2 PM and headed down to the Creek Path.  I wore my heart rate monitor, but since I've taken so many days off, it's not really a good judge of my effort.  My heart rate tends to be sky high even after 2 days off: 10-15 beats per minute faster than usual for a given pace.  I'm not sure why, perhaps my heart shrinks?  Probably it's well rested and ready to go?  It conjures an image of Homey bouncing around when I grab the leash.  I'll often run the first couple of workouts after a layoff without the HRM because the data are so screwy...

Anyway.  I knocked out 7 yesterday in just over an hour.  Pretty easy.  One disconcerting thing occurred while I was out there, my left knee really grumped at me.  Patella tendon I think.  I was running in my Green Silence shoes (Monday was a vff day), but after 5 miles I decided to take them off and run the rest barefoot.  That helped the knee almost immediately, but my left achilles tendon got grumpy.  Ugh.

Today I woke up with achy knees, elbows, back, neck and a sore throat.  I don't have a fever, but Deneb got something viral after his trip back from Bolivia.  I expect that he's passed it on to me (and maybe Natatly too).    I'll run short this evening, while pushing Deneb.  That'll take some of the pressure off my knees and ankles.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lunch Trot

Headed out today for my first real run since Steamboat.  It was good.  Boss was out so I had absolutely no trouble combining my "Marlboro brakes" with my lunch and lariated Flagstaff - 1 hour and 37 minutes; CU Gregory Canyon, Rangeview, Flagstaff, Gregory Canyon, CU.

Ran in my Bikilas.

One thing about Fivefingers, they're fine for climbing, but on a descent, they reward you with a bite with every missed step.  I was thinking about dexterity and foot placement on the way back down Flagstaff trail today when I damn near ran into a mother deer and her Bambi.  Right within arms reach.  Had I been wearing an Ipod I would have completely missed the Nature, but as it was I heard mom Clop clop clop as mom got out of the way.  Wish I'd had my little camera, but...

Anyway.  First real workout since Steamboat rewarded me with grumpy knees and good animals.  Overall good.  I'll probably be sticking to the Creek Path for the next few weeks until my joints return to happiness, but the reward was worth the cost today...

Thanks for reading.

Good weekend

Didn't do much other than getting out to move around a little bit.  Deneb and Homey trotted along on the Colorado Trail for a bit, and it's got me thinking about running from Waterton Canyon to Buffalo Creek.  I've always thought about maybe mountain biking it, but these days I think it might be easier for me to run that stretch...

Maybe in a couple of weeks if the weather is right.
Thanks for reading,

Friday, September 24, 2010

Head for the Hills.

On Wednesday, my wife and son finally got back from 2+ months in Bolivia.  Little guy grew probably 3 inches while he was gone.  He's speaking Spanish and some other language I'll refer to as babble.  Simply walking from one place to another is not good enough anymore, he's got to run!  Good news for a hopeful Dad that's for sure...

This weekend we're all going to head up to Buffalo Creek to hang out, read and take it easy.  I'll probably get out on the trails with Homey for a couple quickies.  It's been tough sitting around the house waiting for my blisters to heal up.  They're still blisters, but they don't hurt.  We'll give it a try anyway.  If it's too unpleasant, we'll can the idea and hang in a hammock instead.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Steamboat 50 (Part 3 - Return)

What's gone before and before before...

I messed around up top of Rabbit Ears probably for 5-10 minutes.  It was cool, but at some point I had to head back down that grunt of a hill I had just climbed up.  A volunteer kindly took my picture and I was gone.  Back toward where I had come from.  I typically go downhill pretty fast and I passed a few folks on my way back down.  I also slipped on some steep loose gravel, but just like Imogene somehow managed to avoid any serious consequences.

Somewhere in the 2 and a half mile stretch from the turn around back to the Dumont aid station I went through my longest run ever.  It was remarkable, I even commented to my little video camera about it.  I was feeling pretty good, but my stomach was starting to grumble at me.  Nothing serious, but it felt full and didn't care to stop feeling full.

Back at Dumont, I thought some carbonated beverage might help and I drank some coke and ginger ale to see if that might help.  I hit my drop bag for a couple more gels and Clif Bloks, turned down a beer offer and headed back onto the trail.

Charles Danforth and I had been pretty close entering this aid station, but I lost him somewhere just before it and I wouldn't see him again for quite a while.   I figured he was visiting with his family and that's when it really hit me that my wife and son weren't going to see me finish.  I got really pretty choked up, but the moment passed.

I ran alone for a bit.  I leapfrogged with a couple of very nice women for a while.  Then, as I'm negotiating a downed tree while simultaneously passing someone, my other nemesis of the day appears.  Chris, a guy I had met on a "Church of the Holy Trail" run several weeks back, was letting me pass.

Initially it didn't register, but then I was like:  Hey aren't you Chris?  While he was simultaneously re-introducing himself and saying that he thought he had recognized me eariler.  We would run together for pretty much the rest of the race.

The stomach issue was becoming a real problem, and I was starting to suffer from micro-cramps in my legs.  I had no desire to drink and eating was out of the question.  I got to aid station number 6 and declared myself perplexed and an aid volunteer commented on the salt crusting my cheeks, suggested SCaps, some melon and a turkey wrap.  Initially, I thought the turkey wrap was the all time worst idea ever presented to me, but right then Charles shows back up and said that I should really give it a try.  I was sure he was ahead of me, but it turned out the other way around.  I accepted the roll and headed back out onto the trail.

I would take a bite of the wrap and a mouthful of water to soften it up.  Eventually I got almost the entire thing down.  I was starting to feel better too, but was still worried about the cramping.  I had a vial of Advil and Endurolytes.  Probably a half hour after the SCaps, I took 4 Endurolyte capsules.  This worked.  By the time I got to the Long Lake aid station, I was feeling good again.  My rough patch officially over.

Chris, Charles and I ran in a fairly loose line until we got to the Long Lake Aid station, where I stopped to fill my water bottles and eat a pretzel.  I headed out, and very quickly realized I was forgetting something.  Keys and phone were in my drop bag.  I turned around retraced 100 meters and found my bag sitting in the sun.  I opened it up and upon grabbing my keys and phone, I literally scalded my hand and they ended up on the ground.  I was more than a little surprised, but upon reflection quickly realized that what I had done was effectively leave them on the dashboard of a car in the hot sun.  I picked up the phone and tried to open it, but it was stuck.  I was fairly certain that the thing was dead.  I hoped that the same wouldn't be the case for the keys.  Oh well, they got stuffed into my fanny pack and I headed back out onto the trail with my fingers crossed.

This section from aid station #7 until the Mount Werner station is remote and the race director made it clear that rescue would be difficult if one found oneself in serious difficulty.  I was not having problems, but as I traversed this section I came across 2 people who were.

One gentleman had been unable to keep anything down since the Dumont Aid station -15 miles back, and another person who had been in difficulty since just after the turn.  I offered them both water, gels or Bloks, but they both declined.  I don't know if they finished, but I was really struck with the stubbornness of people who undertake this kind of thing.  I don't think that kind of stubbornness is in me, but I don't really think this race really tested me either.

I caught back up to Chris somewhere on this second to last section, and I think he was experiencing a bit of a rough patch.  We motored along together for a mile or two until he declared that he was holding me back and pulled off.  I wasn't really troubled by our pace, but thought perhaps a fairly cheerful guy could be pretty annoying if you're suffering so I went on alone.

Upon reaching Mt. Werner, there was Charles again.  Dude was truly my nemesis on this day.  At this point I was feeling tremendous.  I didn't really take much time at the aid station, I simply topped up on Succeed and got motoring on the descent.

I started flying.  I pushed the pace into the mid 7's and passed a whole bunch of people.  I was feeling good.  Suddenly, my blisters from Imogene let go.  The one on my left heel splattered seemingly all over and the one on my right heel was torturing me.  I started questioning my own sanity and slowed down a bit.  It was rapidly getting warmer as I descended the mountain and I walked a bit in the shade and had a drink.  I got passed back by one of the people I had passed higher up on the climb.  Then the wheels came off.  I remembered I wanted to finish with a smile.  So the 7's turned into 12s and 13s.  No worries.

Charles came by along with several other people.  I wanted to finish alone so I waited until there was a good gap and jogged it out.  My Mom and her dog were at the finish as was Fred Abramowitz with a pint glass and a hand shake.  Charles quickly greeted me at the finish and said that he couldn't get beat by a rookie.  Chris came in just a couple of minutes after I did and I went over and thanked him for the time we spent on course.

Anyway, this was really remarkable.  Somehow I had finished.  My official finish time was 11 hours 27 minutes and change.  I negatively split the course and I met all of my race goals:  Finish, Smile, go under 12 hours.  Had I not gotten behind on electrolytes and water, I might have been close to 11 hours, but that goal will have to wait for another year.

I believe the ultrabug has bitten and I've been infected.
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Steamboat 50 (Part 2 - Outbound)

What went before...

The race director marshaled the field out the door around 6.  I wasn't sure what time precisely, but we all clotted together in the start/finish chute and waited for word to get under weigh.  It was chilly at the start and I was wearing the exact kit I went with for Imogene.  Loose fitting wind breaker I've had for an eon, buff, CU Visor, light weight gloves, Boulder Marathon long sleeve tech shirt, shorts, Ijinji (celery color) socks, and Cascadias.  This very quickly turned out to be way too much clothing, but I appreciated it initially.

We didn't have to wait long until we were released and quickly everyone was off and running.  Even me.  I realized my folly fairly quickly and settled into a solid power hike.  This is my first 50 and none of my goals required my "running" this opening stretch.  I expect I wouldn't finish last in an uphill time trial which ended at the Mount Werner Aid station, but with the better part of 44 more miles to go after that first climb I was happy just to let more ambitious bunnies bound away.

After a mile or so, I was very close to dead last.  Looking back down the hill I could only see 6-10 headlamps behind me.  While somewhat disconcerting, I figured that was really not tragic, as the energy I was saving here would probably pay dividends once the opening climb was over.  This is also probably a good place to note that I was wearing my HRM and had decided that an appropriate max HR for this climb would be 170 (my average for Imogene), I didn't set the alarm, but I checked regularly and I never did exceed that target.  Throughout the first part of the race I used my HRM to keep my effort in check:  whenever my HR climbed into the 160's I dialed back the effort a bit.

As the climb progressed, my conservative approach paid off and I started reeling folks ahead of me back in, all the while staying within an assumed safe effort.  We hit the top of the climb and the first aid station and the local radio was blasting Barry White:  Can't get enough of your love or You sexy thang or something like that.  Up next though, Born to Run by The Boss.  That got a laugh.  My split up to this point was 1 hour 44 minutes.

I grabbed a bit of banana, some Succeed, and ventured out onto the running portion of the course.  Almost immediately upon leaving the Mount Werner Aid station we were onto some sweet sweet singletrack.  Briefly I was alone, but soon I came upon a group who were ticking over a pace I could dig.  There was banter.  We discussed the beetle kill, forest fires.  Where everyone was from...  Spirits were high and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

The train stuck together until the Long Lake Aid station where I met my first drop bag and ditched all of my excess clothing.  Jacket, gloves, buff, keys and phone all went into my bag.  I grabbed a couple of gels and Clif Bloks.  I topped up the Succeed in one water bottle and water in the other and headed out again.

The singletrack continued.  I was alone again.  The entire group I had been running with took less time to get through Long Lake than me, but that was fine.  Running alone in woods and open fields like the ones that feature RRR isn't exactly a difficult chore.

Eventually though I came upon another group of about 10 probably a quarter mile ahead of me.  It took a bit, but I ended up catching up, working my way through and eventually out the front of the group.  I think it was during this pass where I acquired my day's nemesis.  Charles Danforth has a website with many detailed trip reports.  I referenced it several times prior to running the Pawnee/Buchannan loop earlier this summer.  I also was planning on running the Four Passes Loop in Aspen with my cousin and Charles's site came in handy again because he had backpacked it before.  I bailed on Four Passes because of weather, but it's still out there...

Charles and I would go back and fourth the remainder of the day.  We would run together for a while, he'd pull ahead and I'd pull him back.  It was great having somebody to chat with of about the same ability.

Aid station #3 came and went without much fanfare.  Looking at my data on the day, I probably ran this third section too hard.  Perhaps the excitement of catching and passing a group got the best of me, but I was having fun, so...

Charles and I ran to aid station number 4 together the entire time.  Around mile 20, Goeff Roes passed us going the other direction very quickly followed by about 4 other runners who I wasn't familiar with.  They were all 9-10 miles ahead of us at about 4 hours into the race.

Aid number 4 was the only one with easy access for crew and family.  Charles had the latter.  I envy him that, as my wife and son have been in Bolivia for more than 2 months.  This time through though I was fascinated enough by the people willing to quaff the Dales, Gubna and other frothy beverages being offered by the aid station volunteers, that I didn't really do any reflection of my own.

At this aid, I had another bag full of gels at this aid station as well as a clean short sleeve tech shirt which I gratefully changed into.  I perused the offerings other than beer under the aid tent and headed out to the turn around at the Rabbit Ears themselves.

This final section of the outbound portion of the race was "run" on a jeep road which started out gradually enough, but eventually became a real grunt.  It's like the race organizers wanted to remind the racers that this was an ultramarathon and that they damn well better be sure that they really want to be doing this.  After 18 or so miles or so of fairly steady running, they put a seemingly near vertical incline for everyone to savor.

During the gradual section, I saw Jim and Brooks on their return.  They were about 5 miles ahead.  Jim looked really quite strong and Brooks really quite determined.  Charles dropped me on the climb up to the Ears, but not by too much and I wanted to mess around a bit when I got up to the top anyway.

The Rabbit Ears are remnants of volcanism that occurred somewhere in the latter third of the last 65 million years.  The landform itself was really pretty cool and its volcanic matrix contained large blocks of the country rock it intruded.  Anyway, I climbed up to it so that I could get a good look.  Shot some video and declared the landform Miocene in provenance, climbed back down to where the volunteers were checking runners off as they made it to the turnaround and headed back the way I came rather full of confidence that I could finish the race.

I made it to the turn in 5 hours and 48 minutes, 12 hours wasn't remotely out of the question, but that waits until tomorrow...

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Steamboat 50 (Part 1)

This is a tough one.  The memory is a bit vague.  It's been tough to codify my thoughts on the race.

The quick and dirty of it is:  Holy Crap, really?!

But if you're interested the rest of this one and probably 3 more posts will be dedicated to the race itself and it's denouement.  The longer version probably starts the night before...

Like I noted in the post on Saturday, I went to the race meeting and picked up my packet.  The race director gave a moving memoriam to Jenna Gruben, an ultra runner and uber-volunteer for the Steamboat race.  When I picked up my packet there was a little shrine set up to her with a couple of quilt tiles to be signed by the racers.  It didn't feel right, as I had never met Jenna, so I didn't put my name down or offer any words.  It's interesting though because when I think back, the Fruita race was touched by Jenna too and prior to the start, there was a moment of silence and some racers adopted some sort of iconography in remembrance.  Had Dave mentioned Imogene to me 4 years ago instead of three, I expect I would have known this person to whom I have devoted one of my longer paragraphs, but as it stands I guess I missed out.

After the meeting, I hightailed it for food.  Went to the City Market and picked up an 8 piece, dark meat, fried chicken box.  You know, "The cornerstone of a nutritious dinner."  I ate 4 pieces of chicken for dinner and added in some pasta salad, broccoli, a half gallon of apple juice and some Chips Ahoy with milk.  Probably a 2000 calorie dinner at a bare minimum.  Carbo-loading is for short races.

Upon eating, I set my alarm for 4:45 (I think) and turned out the lights.  It was about 9. I felt tired and expected to sleep.  Nope.  I usually don't have too much trouble sleeping, but before Imogene and before Run Rabbit Run, I slept like crap.  I actually got up around 4:20, turned on SportsCenter, and got my act together.

 "Mellow Cup Coffee" is enough to oil the works apparently.  It was nice to get that out of the way before I even left the motel.  I ate a few more Chips Ahoy with milk - "The cornerstone of a nutritious breakfast," - I mixed up a couple of water bottles full of Enduromax, grabbed my gear and headed out the door around 5:20.

I parked, got checked in, and got some water.  Mellow Cup had performed the most pressing duty and I figured I didn't need any more caffeine so I was looking for hydration.  I also grabbed a muffin, but I was pretty well topped up with Chips Ahoy so I only ate the top.  I usually hate when people do that, but I was willing to make an exception.

While milling about waiting to get marshalled to the start, I met Jim and Brooks.  Two dudes who would end up in the top 20.  I was familiar with Brooks because of Brandon and Jim from twitter.  Both gents are obviously much, much faster than I and I wouldn't see them at the finish, but that's a story for another day (Thursday maybe?).

Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Yeah, so about that report...

Took a vacation day today.

Moved around a bit, didn't bother with the 'Puter. Not really all that interested in sitting in one place for a long time, but having trouble moving from one place to another...

 Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


After a long day on the trails behind the Steamboat Mountain Ski Resort, I spent a long day in the car.

Not ideal recovery.

I'll write up a race report tomorrow complete with video, but until then...

Thanks for reading, Jay

Friday, September 17, 2010

In Steamboat, Tired

That might be it.

Ran a bit this morning with Homey, took him to Julies and drove up to Steamboat.

I picked up my packet, and attended the pre-race meeting then went to the deli counter at the local Grocery store and picked up dinner.  Fried Chicken.  MMMmmmmm tasty.  Some pasta salad and a fairly hideous broccoli something or other rounded out the meal.  I've got Apple Juice some milk and Chips Ahoy for desert too.

Tomorrow is coming early.  Less than 11 hours until race start.  We'll see.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

T Minus 33 hours (ish)

Steamboat 50 is coming up.

Right.  I've said that already.

Steamboat 50 is coming up.

What did I do?

Um....  Some laundry?  I guess?  Gotta have clean Ijinji socks for the race.

Less than 1 year ago I said, "No way I'll ever do one of those!" and here I am about to "do one of those."  I honestly don't know how I'll finish or if I'll finish, but today I picked up enough "tech food" for two 50's.  That should be enough calories...

This race almost feels "spur of the moment" to me.   Imogene was always target A on my calendar.  I lost sight of it, dreams reminded me of it, and I raced it.  I feel like I might have left a bit on the course, but not alot (just a couple of skin cells)...  Here I am, like last year undertaking something unknown in the wake of something known - I knew Imogene was in the bag last year, just didn't know how fast I could go...

Allrighty then.


Presupposing no injuries, I think I'm going to go under 12 hours.  Not sure of course, but...

Why?  Running today with the Holmes, I felt like I was gliding.  Effortless.  Fast.  We didn't go far, but it felt good.  It was the first day since Imogene I felt fit and good again.  No soreness whatsoever.  Good.

We'll see.  The big challenge in the Steamboat 50 is right up front.  3750 feet in 6ish miles (profile). After that there is less than 5000 feet of climbing left (over 44 miles).  I'll take that first bit easy - at 210 lbs there isn't much choice.  After that, it's going to be a question of fuel.

There's a part of me which thinks that I could hit 10 hours for the course, but then I remind myself of that first bit and readjust my estimate.  This is my first 50.  Modesty matters.  So:

  • My first goal for this race is to finish.  
  • My second goal is to finish smiling.
  • My stretch goal is to come in under 12 hours.  

I really think I can get all three, but I really prefer being able to give the volunteers a grin and will sacrifice #3 in order to say thanks along the way.

I'll write something after the race orientation tomorrow.
Until then...
Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Steamboat Ruminations

All right.  A couple of days removed from Imogene and I'm starting to realize the impending 50.  This is a similar year to last in that one week following "The Race" on my calendar, I scheduled another.  Last year, it was my first marathon.  Boulder.  That race was run on a day which was brutally hot, and the organizers somehow managed to run out of water and Gatorade for the later finishers of the race.  I also seem to remember results taking forever to get posted afterwards.  Googling around afterwards, in part to see if anyone was injured or worse as a result of the organizers rather lax preparations, I stumbled across Brandon's blog, and that really got this ball rolling - You know, if that dude can do this stuff, why can't I?  So...

Early in the year this year, I had proposed to my cousin that we run the Mount Desert Island Marathon.  He used to be a sub 3 hour marathoner, and might well be close to that now if he trained for it, but skiing is his real passion.  I was thinking I'd try for a Boston qualifier at MDI, but wanted to make sure that I wouldn't be wasting a plane ticket, lodging and the sundry assemblage of folks for what might turn out to be an abject failure...  So I put the Steamboat Marathon on my schedule with a time goal of 3:30.  If I could hit 3:30, I'd bust my ass with interval training and miserable hot runs throughout this summer and then try down at sea level to uncork 3:15.  It was a hard cap.

Steamboat went well through the first 22 miles.  I was well under my 3:30 goal, but two factors conspired against me in the last 4 miles.  One, a not insignificant hill got in my way and two, the sun.  The lower stretches of the course were very exposed and the temperature seemed to get very high.  I suffered.  I had opted not to don my "Sun Runner" hat prior to the race and that might have been the difference.  I finished Steamboat in 3:33.  Three minutes off of my goal pace.  No BQ attempt this year, run for fun was the name of the game.  Intervals suck, but running long in the mountains doesn't:  a fifty miler would make it onto my schedule.

At first I thought it would be the North Fork 50.  I've got some roots in Buffalo Creek, and a fundraiser for the volunteer fire department seemed like a tremendous idea.  But, couple the high temps of July 17th with a difficult course I was already very familiar with thanks to my MTB and I decided NF50 would be a no go.  I started thinking that a 50 after Imogene would be sweet.  Ideally something in October, but I wanted something that didn't involve laps.

I ended up deciding that Steamboat would be the race, but I had to hold off on registering until August because of financial timing issues.  When I got around to clicking the link "register now" the race was already over it's 150 runner cap.  I was sad.  I mailed the race director a note, "Are you going to open up more slots?"  and got back, "We're going to try.  Check the site regularly."  Which I dutifully did and lo, more slots opened.  Thanks Montrail.

So, just like last year.  One week after Imogene, I'll be undertaking my first of some crazy distance.  Last year it was a marathon which took almost 5 hours.  This year it'll be my first ultramarathon.  I'd say I have a specific time goal, but I wanted to go under 4 for last year's Boulder Marathon, so I'll just say I won't be breaking 10 hours this year.  Next year - 100?  Um... Doubtful.

Re: today's running.  Quads are still sore from Imogene, but much better than yesterday.  All else is happy.  I ran 3 miles very easy in my VFF with Homey who also got brushed today.  Good day all around.

Thank for reading.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Burned a Match

The title of this post could well be "and...Moving on Now," but I've got one last bit of Imogene left in me.  I'm fantastically sore from the race on Saturday.  I'm confident everything will be loosened up come Steamboat, but right now I'm having a little trouble creaking out of my chair.  Oh well.  I said I wanted to give the race a go and well, that's what I did.  In case you missed them and were interested, I posted my GPS file to Garmin Connect and I shot some video while out on the course.

Anyway.  Today has been about work, taking things pretty easy and debating what my effort should be today.  I debated a second day completely off, but opted instead for 2 miles super easy with Homey.   Sometimes a very light effort is more effective in enhancing recovery than is total rest.  A short easy effort would usually find me in my bare feet, but today I wore my vibrams because of the blisters on my heels and am pleased to report that they caused me zero discomfort.

I have a standard out and back which is perfectly 2 miles.  Homey has places he always tags and specific patches of grass which he likes to snack on.  Today though, there was something interesting in the tall grass next to the bike path.  He expressed a desire to go check something out so we stepped over and he sniffed and quickly jumped back.  He eased back in and sniffed really intently, but try as I might I couldn't see anything in the grass.  I did notice the grass moving, but I sure couldn't find anything.  I think it's spectacular that even with a 6th sense, there are times when life just hides from us.

I'm glad I got out this evening.  Hopefully I feel better tomorrow.  Today my quads are fantastically sore...

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Imogene Pass Run

I suppose I'll start with how I'm feeling today and then get into the nitty gritty of the race.

I most decidedly raced yesterday.  The laundry list of achy muscles includes but is not limited to:
  • Glutes
  • Quads
  • Calves
  • Abs
  • Biceps
  • Delts
I'm also somewhat dehydrated, but I expect that has something to do with my choice of recovery beverage once I arrived home as much as it does my effort yesterday.


Imogene is an interesting race.  It could probably have affiliations with companies like Brooks, Montrail, or Hammer Nutrition, but for some reason the organizers don't seem to court those kind of associations.  Aid stations are therefore stocked with a real hodge podge of things.  Fig Newtons, bananas, M and M's, oreo cookies, gummy bears...  Water and Gatorade.  At the summit:  Gummy Worms.

I think this is really pretty good.  "Tech Food" is really hit or miss.  For instance, at the Steamboat Marathon, the aid stations were stocked with Honey Stinger products.  Let's just say:  they're not my bag.  By going with a mixture of things at aid stations, there's going to be something for every one.  Not only does Imogene offer worms at the summit, but hot freaking soup too.  So good.

Onto the race then.  I stayed in Montrose Friday night.  General lack of organization had me scrambling for lodging, and I didn't really want to shell $120 for one night.  Montrose is only 45 minutes away and staying there saved me more than one dollar per minute.  I did go into Ouray Friday to pick up my race packet and meet my cousin for dinner.  We ate at Buen Tiempo Mexican restaurant.  I had Chile Rellenos.  Good food.

Got to the motel in Montrose around 7:30 and laid out my gear for Saturday morning.  The weather forecast was for cold in the am so I went with a long sleeve tech shirt, shorts, light weight gloves, buff, CU visor, and wind breaker.  I pinned my number on my shorts, but left it un-crumpled because this year the race went with disposable timing chips.  No ankle bracelet > smooth moving race bib.  Got settled in around 8:30, set the alarm for 5:35 AM and had the lights out by 9:30.  I think I woke every hour on the hour just long enough to check the clock.

I ended up getting out of bed at 5:20.  Got dressed and drank some coffee.  After losing a little weight (thanks coffee), I grabbed my bags and headed downstairs.  Picked up a couple of bagles and a sweet roll and got on the road to Ouray.  Almost immediately, my cell phone rang.  Deneb and Nataly were calling to wish me luck.  That was really nice.  Didn't expect it.

I parked the car about 2 blocks into town and got down to the serious business of girding myself for the run.  Gloves, check.  Water bottles with enduromax, check.  Buff and visor, check.  All systems go and there's a half hour to kill.

At the start with Dave.
It was freaking cold out.  Temp probably 32?  I hit the lav one last time and met my cousin with about 15 minutes to go until race start.  The minutes clicked by fast at this point and before we knew it the gun went off.

One of the nice things about Imogene is there is only one climb.  One of the bad things is the climb is 10 miles long and gains over 5000 feet.  The nature of the course also puts the racers in the shade for hours.  I mentioned it was cold at the start, I mentioned the course climbed 5000 feet, I should mention it got colder as we got into the run.  I was in and out of my wind breaker until we came out of the shade.

The first 7.5 miles or so are pretty much all "gentle" grades.  "Runnable" albeit slowly.  I wasn't really paying close attention to my timing through this part of the course.  I was going alright, but looking at last year's results, I'd picked up 14.5 minutes over the previous year's effort.  While I was out there, I didn't really think I was going that much better than last year, but I guess I did.

Dave and I ran together for the first couple of miles, but I grabbed some water and gatorade at the first aid station and I don't think he did.  He didn't gain much on me, but we were unhitched at that point and it stayed that way.

I suppose the "Buff" logo looks like...
it might be there on purpose, but I promise it is not..
The final 2.5 miles of the ascent are where the real grunt is.  We run out of the old glacial valley and climb it's steep sides.  At some point along this way, I started to realize I was going pretty well.  I had hoped to take 10 minutes out of my last year's time, but thought there might be more to be had.  There was indeed. Through this section, I was 7 minutes better than last year and I was feeling pretty good.  Total time up:  21.5 minutes.

Along the way, I had 1 fig newton, 2 oreo cookies (mistake), a fistfull of m&ms (which I ate in place), some soup, 2 Hammer Gels (which I packed for myself), and about 1 24 oz bottle of Enduromax.  At every aid station on the uphill side of the pass, I had a random selection of 3 cups of fluid (water and/or gatorade).  I skipped all aid stations on the descent.

People I'm about to pass.
Once on the summit, I paused to shoot some final video and I started downhill.  The descent is pretty technical through the first bit and I wasn't able to really get it going.  I felt like I was slower by quite a bit through there.  Once onto smoother roads though, I started to realize that 3 hours and 30 minutes were an attainable goal and I opened it up as far as felt safe.

I was passing lots of people.  Lots.  My results say I was 151st fastest on the descent.  This is the only section I beat Dave on.  Woo Hoo!

This is something of a good news/bad news result though.  I had a couple of hot spots in my shoes.  Ended up with blisters on both heels.  That'll be fun next Saturday.

And, as I was nearing the finish, mile 15 or so, I noticed that timing wise 3:30 was nearly in the bag, but it was going to be close.  I pushed the pace.  I gave it what I had left.  I was flying and...suddenly I was flying - literally.  My left foot had clipped a rock.

In slow motion, my brain registered the problem and remarkably diagnosed a solution.  I dipped my shoulder and rolled, just like my kung fu instructor taught me how.  I ended up right back on my feet, almost as if I meant to do it.  I was staggered with cramps in both legs, but they loosened up quickly and I was moving again, but this time I was somewhat more cautious.  I started thinking about next week and just eased back.  As I crossed the line, I the clock said:  3:30:03.  FRAK!

Even with the unfortunate accident, I somehow went better over the descent this year than last.  In total, I went over 27 minutes better.  I think, had I not crashed I might well have been close to 30 minutes better.  Oh well.

I had a fantastic time and even got reimbursed for all of the money I spent earning my black belt.  Not that meeting your future wife isn't compensation enough, but my kung fu has never actually seen a practical application.  Sweet!

Until next time Imogene.  Thanks for having me.
And thank you for reading,

I didn't declare myself "Longmont, CO" rather I went with something stupid - 2nd consecutive Imogene Finish.  Had I declared myself "Longmont, CO", I'd've been the first finisher from my humble little berg (who declared themselves as such).

Friday, September 10, 2010


Got out to Ouray in one piece and got signed in.  Took forever to get there.  Held up in traffic in multiple spots.  Might be taking a different route home after the race tomorrow.  We'll see.  I do like that I can grab a room in Rifle if I'm too tired if I return by I-70...

We'll see.

Ouray is beautiful.  I'll be bringing my little video camera to document the suffering tomorrow.  Should be fun.

Time for bed.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Week in review and "Can I get some sleep here?"

So I haven't written anything about the running I've done this week.  It's been vanilla.  Kind of preseason running.    Short and sweet, not too hard.  I'd intended to run Sunday, but with the heat and much cooler forecast for Monday, I switched days off.

It was during my run Monday that I first saw the evidence of the fire myself.  It was pretty darn remarkable.  That sucker is big and bad, still burning, but 30% contained.  It is the most costly fire in Colorado's history with over 170 structures torched.  Crazy stuff.

On Monday, I ran 7 miles:  4 miles in vff, and 3 barefoot with Holmes.  Tuesday, I'd hoped to get a run in with the Max Muscle Longmont group at 7:30 pm, I'd even cleared Homey's participation, but couldn't make it all the way to 7:30.  I really prefer to run in the morning, at lunchtime or immediately after work.  Sitting around and waiting for a couple of hours and then running smack dab in the middle of dinnertime isn't going to work for me.

Oh well, at 6:50 I slipped on my vff, put the leash on Homey and set out the door.  Suddenly we were flying.  I didn't have my Garmin on, so I have no idea how fast we were going, but it felt super quick.  I really didn't want to be going hard, so I checked my effort by keeping my mouth closed and breathing through my nose the entire run.  It still felt fast.  Mid-upper 7's I think.  Anyway, we kept the distance down, 3 miles.

Yesterday was another day off.  I was going to take today, but like Sunday, favorable weather today encouraged me to change my run.  I'll get 5 in tonight.  Will have my GPS and keep the pace real low: 9-9:30.

Photo courtesy of the Ouray Chamber of Commerce
The big deal is the Imogene Pass Run on Saturday.  It's keeping me awake at night. I think I've lost sleep 5 of the last 10 nights because I keep thinking about it.  I guess that means I really want something out of this race.  Given that, I've decided to give it a go.  I don't care one whit about my time at Steamboat, but I can't stop obsessing about how long it'll take me to finish Imogene.  That means, I'm going to go for it.

Last year, I was just under 4 hours to the finish.  This year, I'm hoping I take at least 20 minutes out of my time.  My preparation hasn't been ideal.  I was gimpy after the Steamboat Marathon and I decided I'd do the Run Rabbit Run, so I focused more on long endurance efforts rather than raw climbing power and weight loss.  Still, I think I'm much more fit than last year, and last year I felt like I could turn around and run back to Ouray after I finished, so 20 minutes might just be doable.  We'll see on Saturday.  In the meantime, I hope I can sleep the next couple of nights.

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thoughts on training, and birds abound.

This week has been about logging miles, but winding down simultaneously.  One of the most difficult aspects of training is timing your fitness.  The goal of training isn't just to get yourself fit, it is to get yourself fit at the right time.  In his book, Total Heart Rate Training, Joe Friel boils training down to a fairly simple equation which states:  Fitness = Rest - Stress.  He's got a pretty good post about it on his old website.

I've got a bit of a problem with his equation, it implies that fitness decreases with increased stress and that it does so linearly.  I think the equation should be multiplicative (at the very least) because the fitness curve is distinctly non-linear.  Whatever the case, in order to become fit one needs to stress the body enough to fatigue it, then rest it so that adaptation can occur.  There are a total of 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week that can be given to training (Stress and Rest).  The balancing act over the course of weeks and months will produce fitness.

One of the reasons I'm nervous for Steamboat is I've been stressing my body like never before.  Even when I raced bikes, my longest rides were in the 6 hour range.  The Pawnee, Buchanan loop took almost 9.  I don't think I'm as fit as I was back then, but then perhaps my fitness is of a different sort.  Back then, I wouldn't have gone out for a 9 hour ride, that would have been close to 200 miles, but I would do 20 minute long cruise intervals at close to 30 miles per hour.  That'd be like me going out and doing repeats at just under my 5k race pace.  That kind of training is really unpleasant.  Anyway, I hope to find fitness in 2 weeks.

Today's run was a mere 13 miles.  I had heavy legs.  Felt slow.  Slept terribly last night.  Woke up at 3am and couldn't stop thinking about the Imogene Pass Run.  I was thinking about how I'd go.  Will I beat my time from last year?  How much do I think I can take out of it?  This one is tough.  It's kind of a priority race for me, but I don't want it to mess with Steamboat.  AAAAAARGH!  Run 'em both and damn the consequences.  

Anyway.  The freaking birds were abundant on McIntosh Lake today.  Lots of Pelicans, multiple Great Blue Herons, a raptor of some sort and a boatload of vultures.  The water was down and I think the vultures were out seeing what they could find...

Anyway.  Thank for reading.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Beautiful day.

Today was pretty darn remarkable weatherwise.  Not sure how warm it was, but at lunch it was absolutely perfect for running.  I knocked out 7:  work to NCAR and back by way of the Mesa Trail.
Not much else to report.  I ran in my Cascadias in large part because in 2 weeks I'll be putting 50 into them and I haven't used them much recently.

Did 2 more when I got home.  Barefoot with Homey.  He's quite content and relaxed lying on the floor in the living room.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Great Egret

Today was kind of a big day.
I had intended to run at lunch, but my boss came by my office this morning and:
Kramer-like Weimer enters the cluttered space occupied by Mike S. and Jay A. both are apparently working hard and listening to tunes on headphones...
Boss:  Mpjme aurav lmnve?
Jay looks up, removes headphones
J:  Hey Paul.
Boss:  Hey Jay, are you available for lunch today or do you have something else going on?
J: I need to run.
Boss:  All right.
MikeS:  Check out my Mastodon...
Boss:  Nice.
MS:  I'm working on a Camel too.
Boss: Hmmm...
MS:  Do you think it had a hump?
Boss: What does the literature say?
MS:  Soft parts...rot...
J:  It's a North American Camel.  We're presenting it to 8th graders.  It has a hump.
Boss:  Sounds good.
J:  I can do lunch.
Boss: You sure?
J: Yup.
Boss:  I have to skype, when I'm done, lets go.
J:  Cool.
End Scene

Paul and I discussed lots over lunch.  Nuggets.  Children.  Broncos.  Eagles.......moving.

A big problem with my relocating to Bolivia is that the project I am working on with Paul and Mike (and Leo, and Chris, and Ben) will not be finished before I leave.  I can get it closer and we'll probably have only a couple vignettes left, but it won't be finished.  Even with the videos done, the Flash still needs to be ironed out.  It's a bit more work:  5-12 months.  Nataly wants to be in Bolivia in January.

At lunch today Paul and I were able to get to the point where we could say, "This has obvious consequences."  To one another.  That is good.  Tomorrow I'll suggest he pays me when a product gets delivered.  The money he has to pay me will last longer and it will help me stay sane in a land where I am a stranger.  

Today's run really had little remarkable.  Boulder Resevoir.  7 Miles. Easy.  There was a giant white wading bird.  I expect it was a Great Egret.  It was far away.  A quarter of a mile?

I don't know why, but I've always had a sort of superstition regarding birds.
They portend.
A bird smacks  your windshield:  bad luck. Seeing somebody like this in Colorado though is worthy of consideration.  Enough...

I wanted to run with Holmes when I got home for a couple more miles, but my ankles grumped at me as I stepped out of the car so Jackson didn't get a run tonight.  That's ok, he's been licking at his paws a bit more than I like - maybe they're irritated.  My paws are from running with him.  Tomorrow I'll run at lunch in my Green Silence shoes, and hopefully when I get home I'll have something left for Homey.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

And then there were 2...

Days off that is.

After running 47 miles this past weekend, I had thought I'd go running yesterday, 7 miles at lunch.
And then...
My office mate suggested we go get some lunch at...
"Dude, I've gotta get a run in errr... Larkburger?  I haven't eaten there yet."
Lunch run could wait.

Image courtesy of Royce Bair
On the drive home, I started thinking about how much I ran this weekend and started thinking a second day off might not actually be a bad thing.  I logged a ton of mileage last week and think some of my trouble sleeping last week was directly related to my exercise.  I've got 2 races coming up.  This is supposed to be a rest/taper week, therefore:

Three days in a row though wasn't going to happen.

After a back and forth with my wife via skype chat about moving or not moving.  Moving in country or moving out of country.  Making decisions or not making decisions.  Applying for jobs or not applying for jobs.  Eating grapes or raisins.  Wearing Crocs or blah blah blah...  I took the afternoon off to get my resume in shape.

That done,  I headed out the door in my Bikilas for 4 miles.  I felt remarkably loose and smooth.  I kept looking at my GPS and dialing back the speed.  I really wanted today's workout to be easy.  Recovery.

After 4 in my five fingers, I got home and grabbed Homey for 3 more.  I took off my shoes.  He doesn't run in them, so until he's got tough pads again, neither will I.  It's really easy to stay easy running with a dog.  They've got lots to do while you're out.  Sniff.  Mark.  Pee.  Poop.   Repeat.  For me and Holmes it works out to:  run 1/4 mile stand for 20 seconds.  At least for the first mile and a half.  Then he settles into a travelling mode which is almost metronomic (new word: root metronome)...

Anyway.  Today I got my resume in shape (it's pretty obnoxious, but doesn't look like yours), I ran 4 miles in VFFs and 3 barefoot with the dog, and I had an argument with my wife.  Hopefully, tomorrow doesn't include door number 3.

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