Friday, October 29, 2010

Somebody's apparently pissed at Boulder.

So there's another fire close to town.  I had actually planned to run right through the evacuation area today, now I've got to find someplace smoke free.  The thing is, it seems to be very (very) close to Mount Sanitas.

View Boulderfire Domefire BoulderCanyonFire in a larger map
Depending on the wind direction, I wouldn't be surprised if the summit of Sanitas burns today.  Here's hoping that firefighters can get this sucker contained before it becomes a really bad situation.

Anyway.  I've gotten a couple of shorter runs in in the last couple of days and today I was hoping to do something longer and easier, but now with the smoke?...

After Tuesday's windy jaunt, I ran around the Boulder Reservoir Wednesday evening.  I was crunched so I went really pretty hard, regularly pushing the pace into the upper 6's.  I'm starting to wonder if I can break 21 minutes in a 5k.

Tomorrow I'll be running in the Louisville Monster Dash 5k and pushing my son in his carriage.  Considering the added load, I won't be getting 21 minutes tomorrow, but I think it can be accomplished soon.  We'll see.  May have to give it a go over at McIntosh Lake in training...  Nataly will be running also and I'm going to see about entering D into his first race too - a 100 meter dash.  Big family outing.

Yesterday, Homey, Deneb and I logged 4 barefoot miles around the neighborhood.  Deneb was in an absolutely foul mood when we left, but his mood perked up once we were moving and he became absolutely chatty after a quarter mile.  He had all kinds of comments to share, too bad I don't speak babble.  Need one of those fish from Hitchhiker's Guide....

Thank for reading

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gusty West Winds

Part 1: written last night.
I haven't had much to say for the last week or so because most of my runs have been pretty standard.  Run, pick up the Bean, run on the Creek Path, run with the dog.  Repeat.  Not much in terms of mileage or trail-age...

Today though, today was pretty notable because of the wind.
From the NCAR Foothills Lab website:  I ran between 12:30 and 13:30 today...
I had a full change of clothes in my bag, but we're talking tech shorts and short sleeved tech shirt.  I actually debated going out in my cotton button down too, just to break the wind, but decided that I just needed to run hard enough to warm myself up (temp at runtime: 45F).  Turned out (as always) that wasn't a problem, but I'd've liked gloves and tights.  My rule of thumb for when to keep the knees warm when running is below 50 degrees running and below 60 on the bike...

Whatever.  I got out and experienced (on average) a block headwind blowing 20+, gusting to 40+ for my first 3.5 miles.  Those first 3.5 were also slightly uphill as I was running West on the Boulder Creek Path.  It took me 30 minutes 3 seconds to run those first miles.  It took 4 minutes 20 seconds less to make the return jaunt at the same perceived effort.  Usually that's a negative split, but only by 1:30.  Tailwinds are nice.

Along the way, I was actually snowed on with a clear sky.  That's not a totally uncommon occurrence in Boulder, but only happens once or twice in a 365 day period.

It's been dumping snow in the mountains for the last couple of days - a pretty cool system (responsible for today's winds) moved through this past weekend.  It's now positioned approximately over the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  It's making weather for folks up there and wind for us here and in WY.

and Part 2: Written today.
Anyway, the wind and snow up high were enough to blow some flakes into Boulder.  Pretty cool.

The same process is what keep what glaciers Colorado has left alive.  Prevailing winds are West to East with a wind shadow on the East side of the Continental divide.  Because of the shadow, more snow accumulates in the steep glacial valleys East of the divide during a storm which is then supplemented even after the snow is done falling by additional drifting of snow thanks to the heavy winds.

Anyway, I was also informed that I wouldn't have my new running shoes until late November at the earliest (those MT101's are hard to find in stores).  I am loathe to purchase a shoe without trying it on first.  Sure you can send it back, but that's almost as big a pain in the butt as going into the store to try on new shoes in the first place.

Whatever.  It's almost time to lace on the screw shoes anyway...
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And some more from yesterday...

That is after I say:  Today's run got shot down because my boot drive on my laptop took a great big dump.  Instead of running, I got to visit Best Buy.

aside:: Now is a time where I can observe that Chuck is arguably my favorite show on television right now..........Alllriiiiight it's between Chuck and Fringe, but I have trouble giving FOX credit for anything ::/asideAnyway

Today, I did get a brief run in.  Car seat was in Nataly's vehicle and I had to pick up the Beanery::Good news/bad news, I was running late and only had the Bean's chariot to grab him with.  Absolutely humped it for the 1.75 miles to day care to grab him and managed to get in just under Nataly's preferred 5:30 pick up time - 5:29!  So I ran 3.5 miles today in something like 30 minutes, but it's really tough to actually say how long today's run took, it's really fun running with the Beanery.

Saturday the 30th, will be his first race.  I'm going to push him in a 5K in Louisville and then we'll see about a 100 meter dash.  If it's ok for him to join, he'll be running. Maybe he'll DNF, but that's OK it's kind of a jumping frog story anyway.  I'll be with him and I expect he might have some fun....

All right, back to yesterday's run.

I had some pretty random thoughts while I was out.

When I hit the head of Gregory Canyon, there was a CU bus sitting and waiting for a class to return.  It made me think of when I was a GEOG undergrad and they took us out there to look at the Riparian Zone.  I then thought about Net Primary Productivity.

Very simply put, NPP is a descriptor for how an ecosystem grows - that is how efficiently an area can turn Carbon into something useful, like leaves or tendons over a given period of time.  The mouth of Gregory Canyon is quite the jungle as far as Boulder County is concerned, and as such is something of a statistical anomaly.  Most of Boulder county is either essentially savannah or mountainous, but there's quite the diversity at the mouth of the canyons...  Why does that matter?  It matters because, when one looks at the Average NPP for Boulder County, there are datapoints which aren't representative for the ecosystems present and they skew Boulder's average NPP.

Anyway, I was quite distracted by the thought of how much the productivity at the mouth of Gregory Canyon (and other similar riparian zones), might skew the overall NPP of Boulder County.  They represent a pretty small sample of Boulder County as a whole, but probably account for a very significant portion of Boulder's NPP.  I then started wondering, what other systems might demonstrate a similar kind of behavior and my thought waves eventually wandered into the realm of economics - how much does the "Net Economic Productivity" of Denver skew the overall view of NEP for the State of Colorado?

It occurred to me that there is probably a similar effect.  Generally speaking, there's quite a bit more wealth in and around Denver than there is in the rest of the state and it kind of begs the question, because things are rosy in Denver are decisions at the legislative level here in our great state informed by the comfort level of the legislators living at the mouth of the canyon (metaphorically speaking)?

I sure don't know the answer to that question, but much of the work I've done over the last several years has been ostensibly to help the kids in places like La Junta, Alamosa and Longmont, and not so much the kids in Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs.

Apologies and thanks for reading,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Freaking Gorgeous Day

After yesterday's less than spectacular culmination (Vermonters would recognize the crud we had last evening), Colorado rewarded us with a cookie for our perseverance.  Holy Frak, was today running weather or what?

I had planned to get out for an hour at lunch today, but the lure of the weather was just asking me to go for a bit more.  My boss complied and I found myself with a free hall pass today - took an extra 40 minutes.

interruptus::My wife is asking me to check out some dude on TV::/interruptus

Gearing?  Bikilas and er... somehow my standard "inner shorts" hadn't made it into the bag, so I went "non standard" and "free" the rest of the day:  the wife didn't notice until I remarked about it so all is good...

I ran from Benson up Gregory Canyon to the Tenderfoot Trail.  Google maps suggests that one can actually get down to Canyon Blvd from there, but I've never confirmed it.

Until today:  Trespasser!  There's about 1/4th to 1/2 mile where one should try to blend into the bushes, but damn, what a loop. Gotta find myself at the Red Lion Inn before I move to Bolivia for sure.  Anyway, climb Gregory Canyon turn toward the Flagstaff Amphitheater road, cross it and you're rewarded with a long descent into Boulder Canyon.

There's a half mile or mile on Canyon before you're rescued by the Boulder creek path, but the short scofflaw jaunt is absolutely worth it.  The route would be sweet in reverse too - nice tempo climb (for me)...

Anyway, from Benson Earth Sciences on CU campus, this is about an 11 mile loop which took me 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Great lunch break!

Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Week in review.

So, last week was a waste.  On Saturday some Enanitos Verdes* moved into my chest.

I only wish they serenaded me with something more than a percussive cough.  A year or two ago, I developed pneumonia because I went too hard when I was developing what I thought was a minor cold.  Will never do that again.  Pneumonia is no joke.  Sucked.

I didn't run from Sunday through Wednesday.  Finally on Thursday I had to grab the Beanery from his school and I ran over there with Jackson and the Chariot.  I was still coughing up stuff, but it was a nice frothy white rather than rather dense green.  Friday I was off again, but that was mostly caution and Saturday and Sunday I ran the same 4 mile loop each day.  Today I'll be back at it full time.

One thing I did to mitigate the temptation to go hard on my runs was to run barefoot when I did get out.  Those 4 milers were longer than any previous barefoot run and now the balls of my feet are a bit chaffed.  I'll be running in my Vibrams today to allow for some healing.

Another weird injury occurred because I wear a belt leash around my waist so that I have both hands free when running with Homey.  I have always had a "sensitive" lower back.  It'll go out for little to no good reason and for a week or so I have trouble bending over and picking something up.  I'd never had a problem with the dog around my waist before, but this weekend he was pulling pretty good and I noticed it occasionally messing with my form by rotating my hips forward at the top.  Jackson isn't typically a puller, but he was hyped for the running Saturday for sure, probably because we hadn't been out because I was sick.

Otherwise, I've gotta praise my Eagles for their really nice win yesterday.  They played seemingly well in all phases of the game, and MV7 wasn't the quarterback meaning I could cheer the plays and the players.  Why do I bring this up?  Well, first off, I've been an Eagle fan since before their first super bowl appearance and second, because I was one productive house husband this weekend.  During the game, I baked bread and did laundry and after the game I made dough for pizza.  That was a score!

Thanks for reading.

*Enanitos Verdes = Little Green Men (or Green Dwarves)...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Uninvited Guest in my Chest again.


Had a tremendous run Saturday in the VFF treks on up in Buffalo Creek.  A 16 mile loop I've ridden on my MTB but never run.

It turned out to be a bit harder of an effort than I wanted, because I found myself running with a bunch of mountain bikers.  We leap frogged at first, but eventually I dropped them.  That was really good for some extra BPM.

I'll post a link to the run.  But in basic, the first 3 miles or so are on Hwy 126 and all uphill.  After that the route gets onto single and double track which climbs until about mile 7 or so.  Then there's a long descent back to the cabin.  In all a 16 mile loop.

I took 2:45, and not only was I happy with my passing and dropping some MTB'ers, but I ran the entire way in VFFs.  That is my longest single run in Five Fingers by 100 percent and my longest day in total by 33.  Pretty sweet.

After I got back to the cabin, my Mom, Nataly, the Beanery, Julie and a whole mess of dogs took a walk on the Colorado Trail to get my Mom re-oriented with the surroundings.  There's a really pleasant location, east of 126 on the FS 1776 where you stand in an unburned copse of trees and can see Pikes Peak, Denver, Mt Evans and Mt Bierstadt.  Cool.

Sunday, I was going to do about an hour long workout which included some intervals, but I woke feeling like crap.  It wasn't my achilles-s either.  Nataly wanted to rake some needles and somebody needed to babysit the Beanery.  So, I decided I'd just put off my workout until lunch today, but when I woke today the gremlins had moved into my chest.

Probably shouldn't have had so much fun chasing down the MTB'ers on Saturday.  Because today, I'm wondering if I'm going to feel a run is warranted tomorrow.

Oh well.
Thanks for reading,

Friday, October 8, 2010

McIntosh Lake

Quick hitter update.  Today's workout was supposed to be a tempo effort.  In my world that's somewhere between half and full marathon pace.  The kind of effort you can keep up for 2 hours or so.

The weather is blustery, windy, cloudy and cool.  A perfect fall day.  Reminds me of training for cross country in high school:  New Jersey in Voorhees State Park and in VT on Bump Road.  It's actually snowing in the mountains.  Aside from the wind, I'd call that perfect for running.   Good stuff.

I started out comfortably fast to warm up, but when I hit my lap button suddenly it felt like the race was on.  I settled into an effort comfortably above my tempo effort - not much, but perceptibly.  I was ticking through right around 7 minutes per mile and feeling good.  The weather surely had something to do with that.  There's no way I could run for 2 hours at 7/mile, but I could probably go slightly faster than that in a 10k.  Perhaps I will if I run in the Longmont Turkey Trot again this year.  We shall see.  I'd like to break 42 minutes in a 10k before we head to Bolivia.

I did 2 laps of the trail around McIntosh Lake for a total of 6.9 miles.  My 5 mile "tempo" section was done in 35 minutes and 10 seconds.

Anyway we're going up to the cabin this evening, I'll log a few miles on the Colorado trail tomorrow.  Not sure how many, but I'm looking for 2.5 to 3 hours.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Forced day off

Life ended up forcing a day off.

I've kind of been avoiding my boss and needed to join him for some face time.  We had lunch.  Then I got sucked into the project I've actually been avoiding him about and made truly remarkable progress today.  Should finish it tomorrow:  early.

Monument Canyon at Sunrise, Colorado National Monument
I've got many pictures of this area, but none quite like this.
By wisconsinhiker:  Jon Higgins  This photo was taken on October 25, 2006. 
Lunch with boss precluded me from running then and Deneb at home with mom meant no forced departure time.  Really crushed work.  Triassic Colorado should be done tomorrow except for tunes.  Might even get those added too.  I've been dreading this video, but really liked it today.  It doesn't actually suck.

Anyway, taking today off means that I've had my 2 off days for the week.  Tomorrow I'll run tempo at lunch, Saturday will be "long" at the cabin and Sunday will be a HR based interval workout.  Should end up with 50+ this week.

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rest? Screw that!

Got out today for a good hard effort - lunch run from work.

I warmed up for 10 minutes and hit the lap button on that darn Garmin.  Five by 6 minutes above 178 bpm with 3 minute walking recovery intervals got underway.

It actually felt relatively easy.  5x6 at essentially my 10k "perceived effort".  I don't particularly enjoy 10k's, but if you're only going that hard for 6 minutes and then walking, it's actually kind of fun..

I ran in my Bikilas.  This forced me to really watch my footsteps on the trail.  I find that pretty darn cool actually.  Five Fingers makes running a very zen thing.  No room for missteps, a wandering mind will reward one with a freaking negative reward for sure:  Must find the least sharp landing - or else!

Out on the trail, I saw folks, waved when not too distracted by rocks and said hi when the trail was smooth.  Overall a very good workout.  The details are on Garmin Connect if you care to check them out.

Anyway at lunch I ran (and walked) 6.5 miles in 1 hour and 6 minutes and feel good about my effort.  I had to leave work at 4 today to get Deneb from daycare, I've been getting in earlier in case I have to "get out" and today was a day I cashed in some accumulated minutes.  Not many though (thankfully), because tomorrow I'll likely be doing the same thing.

Nataly had the car with the car seat, so I "had to" run the 1.7 miles to the daycare center with homey and his chariot.  Must say that today it was a very good thing he's decided he digs riding in it, because when I got there he was apoplectic.  Apparently the kids in his crèche decided that hanging out was awesomer than napping, so nobody slept more than an hour.  Deneb usually takes a 2 and a half hour mid-day nap.  I got there to one tired boy.

He settled down very quickly once we were outside and getting into the stroller and even gave up a couple of chuckles as we went over the cool swoopy - not rectilinear - curbs over by the golf course.  We got home and he was ready just to chill in his own space and read his (one time) popup book while I put together his dinner.

Nataly and I played catch with the baby after dinner, as he ran back and forth between the two of us, laughing the entire time.

Good stuff, good day.  I ran 10 miles and watched my son sprinting from one end of the living room to the other.

Thanks for reading

Run Bare?

I started running again last week, but I was slowed by some gimpiness.  Early, it was the knee, later some real tightness in my hamstrings (?).  Pain manifested itself as a significant decrease in flexibility and actual excruciation in my lowest back.  It's worst when I wake up in the morning, and actually got me out of an afternoon of work on Friday, but the symptoms faded over the weekend and acetaminophen takes out the morning gimpiness very quickly.

I ran a few miles and actually really stretched one out on Saturday.  Not sure how fast it was because I haven't been wearing my watch since Friday, but Homey was having trouble hanging on...

It is kind of nice not having that thing strapped to my wrist.  Toward the end of the Stb50, I was feeling encumbered by it.  It actually hurt my wrist enough to where I took it off and clipped it to my waist pack.

Western Grebe
Image from
On Saturday, we all (my mom, Nataly, the Bean, Homey and I) went for a walk around McIntosh Lake.  The lake was really low, and there were tons of birds out - pelicans, geese, a heron and grebes.  I'm not 100 percent on the grebes, they were far off and I didn't have binocs, but the coloring and behavior made sense.

Anyway, the Bean was in his chariot and Homey and I were pushing it, sometimes jogging, sometimes walking, and sometimes chasing his Mom.  He seems to think riding in that thing is about as much fun as he can have sitting down - that's good because I'll be picking him up with it tonight.

Anyway the "running" I did without the watch seemed more fun and less like work without my GPS, so I think I'll start going "bare" there too, at least when a workout doesn't have a specific purpose.  Unfortunately, that won't be the case for today's lunch run, because I've got an agenda - work on speed...
Thanks for reading,
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