Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Tale of Two Eights.

Saturday late we went to Cuevas.  Last week I was hoping for 60 and found myself on track, hitting the mile 42 point at the end of my second run Saturday.  All I needed was 18 more Sunday...

When I woke up, I found myself less than inspired to run.  I mustered a couple of times, but something (which I will relate soon) made me feel a bit weird about taking off for a three hour run in Cuevas.

Lunch rolled around and we all ate, and finally I told Nataly, "I'm going to feel bad whether I go for a run or I don't." To which she replied, "Go run."

Deneb was asleep, I had a bit more than an hour...

I went out 4 miles and back the same for 8.  I saw some folks on the road, 3 French guys who were walking to the "Bella Vista" and one of the dudes who helped harvest potatoes in Cuevas last December.  I spoke briefly with all of them, and informed the French guys that their "Bella Vista" was 5 kilometers out (it was actually more like 6, but...).  This was at 3 something in the afternoon and to get to the "Bella Vista" and back to the campground at Cuevas was 10+ miles.  They did have packs and presumably tents so the rain that came in force soon after I left them probably wasn't too big a deal.

Anyway.  I only had time for 6 miles on Sunday, but ran 8.  I ran them pretty hard, and have paid for it.  Brutal delayed onset muscle soreness took me out of action yesterday, which had me considering a second day off today.  Seems it was a good thing I didn't actually try for the 18 I'd planned.  Fortunately, as today wore on I felt more and more like going for a run even though I am still quite sore.

Deneb has started daycare.  His first day was yesterday.  Loved it.  Loved it again today.  He's not sure how to interact with the other kids, but just having them around, playing, seems to get him jazzed.  It's messed with his schedule.  He's been sleeping almost until 8:30 in the morning and now we're asking him to get up at 6:45.  It's a brutal transition for me.

Whatever, I prefer earlier wake ups...

So back to today's run.  It was weird.  Laps of the back yard.  Done them before, but today I kept feeling like I should just keep going.  Ended up running for an hour and 10 minutes, just over 8 miles by my GPS.

There's a neighbor kid.  If he sees me, he asks if he can come over.  It's gotten quite annoying.  Not quite Glenn Close, Michael Douglas annoying, but well downright annoying.

Today I realized I could use that to my advantage, and before I started my run I unlocked the gate, set out some stuff for playing in the sand  pit and then set out trotting in circles.

On my second lap, The Question Was Presented.  I said, "La Reja esta abierta."

A couple more laps and I opened the gate for Franco.  Who quickly went off to play with the dogs and Deneb.  What seemed like some kind of sad, "Where's my Dad?" constant prodding has evolved itself  an ideal situation.  My son is playing happily with an older friend, and I can keep an eye on them.  I look forward to having him over some more.  Maybe he'll run a few laps with me (he did today)...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Where's Waldo?

At one point in time this blog was about me and my travels with Homey.  Much running to keep my rather rambunctious and (at times) quite destructive Golden Retriever too tired to do anything foolish.  Running with him was something of a stop and start affair until around mile 3 or so and then he'd settle into a rhythm and could go for hours.  

I have stopped running with him in Bolivia, in part because I don't trust the dog-life around here, and in part because he's starting to lose a gear.  He'll join me when I run laps of the back yard, but tags in and out almost like he and Ella are running a relay.  

Anyway, in my previous life, I worked in the Geology Department at the University of Colorado.  My task was to create a series of videos which showed the geologic history of the state. Occasionally, this allowed me to take off with my camera and collect “media” for incorporation into my work. One day, I took advantage of that opportunity to head out and drive around the Eastern Plains, visit Garden of the Gods, look at some exposures of quite old (for Colorado) sedimentary rocks on Hwy 24 West of Manitou Springs, and finally end up at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.  

An example of the videos I was working on is below.  I wrote, directed, animated (all but 2 scenes - the good stuff is Nataly's younger brother's work), provided many photographs and the voice talent, edited and uploaded this video.   One of the photographs I took on this day's drive ended up in this video - the photo labeled "near Manitou Springs, Colorado" which was, in actuality, the now infamous Waldo Canyon.
After the the Fossil Beds, I headed back toward CO Springs when...on the lefthand side...a trailhead whizzed by - Waldo Canyon Trailhead.  I still had a fair bit of time left in the day, and I was wearing my running shoes so, I found a turn around and made my way back to there.

As usual, Jackson was absolutely stoked at the prospect of getting out of the car.  Especially on twisty roads, he gets carsick.  Weird malady for a dog, but his previous owners warned us about it.  "He doesn't do well in cars," I believe was their exact phrase.  I assumed that the thrill of exploring a new area outweighed the pain of twisty roads.  

We'd already been out and about at Garden of the Gods and outside of Manitou, but this was too good to pass up.  We parked, I grabbed my little Nikon Coolpix, 40 oz. Clean Canteen and headed up the trail.  Jackson dressed as a dog, and me in jeans.  Whatever - one of the joys of running is just how little you need to be able to enjoy an outing such as this one.

The "Waldo Canyon Loop" was really a lariat in the neighborhood of 7 miles long.  It started with a decent singletrack climb over decomposed Pikes Peak Granite.  One of my favorite running formats and surfaces.  We stopped for many pictures and I didn't have my GPS, but I do remember turning left at the beginning of the Loop portion of the trail.  

I remember running through a very pleasant copse of Douglas Fir or Ponderosa Pine where the earth was recognizable dirt and the trail just begged one to open up the throttle and run.  

And I also remember the shock I felt when I ran past a signpost planted next to the rocks.  It turned out to be one of many, each with something else interesting about the geology in the canyon.  

One pointed out the Great Non-conformity.  The sign showed where sandstone rested on top of granite, and pointed out that the surface which separated the 2 rock types represented a gap in time of something like 500 million years.  Another identified the Peerless Dolomite.  I think I remember that one because the name of the formation is simply unmatched. There were others, but I don't remember them well...

At different junctures along the trail, Pikes Peak was visible to the South and Colorado Springs to the East.  A really cool area I hoped to visit again with my DSLR.

Unfortunately, my memories are fuzzy - Homey and I ran together here in late January, 2008 - and "Waldo Canyon" is now synonymous with the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history. I expect that even though the rocks are now going to have even better exposure, it will be a rather inhospitable place for quite some time.  I wonder how long it will be before the organization that stewards the land back in there re-opens it.   

Thanks for reading, and give a nod to your local emergency services personnel, would love to see some of them around here...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Game Planning

OK so the heavy stuff is out of the way.  On to why we're here (at least me and my 4 readers)...

Training for the Vermont 50!  Somehow that seems less cool than "Leadville 100" even when I make it big.

Anyway, The VT50 is packing almost 18000 feet of total elevation change  (down counts, really), but something about their elevation profile has me thinking: GPS track...
Source: http://www.vermont50.com/html/course.html   
I've been pretty much all over Vermont on my bicycle and have hiked many miles there too, so I simply don't believe some of the spikes.  That said, some of the steepest terrain I've hiked is in VT so, maybe?...

Whatever, the winning times are fast.  It looks like at least 7 times have folks gone under 7 hours in VT and the course record is just over 6 hours 15 minutes.  Goeff Roes record at Steamboat while he was "mediocre" is 7:11.  Not saying Steamboat is harder or anything, but it sure is higher...

I've got that to base my expectations on.  Lots of the route is on gravel roads, those won't be too bad, cars have to go up them, so they're probably runnable.  There're also aid stations every 5 miles or so.  I think I'll be able to significantly beat my Steamboat 50 time. I'm thinking 1, maybe 2 hours.  Absolutely going to give it a rip.

Of course, I'll have to see how the training goes, and how many miles I can log in Cuevas (probably perfect training ground for this race), but I'm glad to have something a bit more "bite sized" to chew on for the next 3 months.

Thanks for reading, and stay cool...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

One Last Bit of Introspection.

In my last post, I noted that in Bolivia I have the time and opportunity to train like I would like for a race like the Leadville 100.  Currently I'm too much of a softy to leave Deneb home with the maid to get out for a long mid-week run, but were he in day care, that wouldn't be an issue.  The real irony of having time to train in Bolivia is that, even while the time is there, it's the only thing I find attractive about being here.

This has put a huge strain on my relationship with my wife.  I often find myself regressing and becoming a person I very much dislike.

There's a further irony.  My wife is doing fabulously well career-wise here.  In fact, I find great pride in the fact that she is such an influential person.  In her current role, she has the capacity to actually make a difference for the environment.  I have uttered on many occasions the phrase, "The only thing I give a shit about when I cast my vote is who will be a better steward of our lands."  She would always have my vote, yet somehow finds herself essentially a dictator.

She is Executive Director of a small institute here which is looking for sustainable methods to harvest Bolivia's timber.  There's more, but if I told you, then I'd have to kill you...

Anyway, all of this complexity ties into why it's too much for me to even attempt Leadville right now.

[editor's note - somehow I forgot to sign off]
Thanks for reading, and sometimes there are just some things which are more important.
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