Sunday, March 29, 2009


Pikes Peak, EIGHT THOUSAND feet of vertical.
This past week is the first one of the year in which I have logged 100 miles or more. Of course, there's nothing magical about rolling over into the triple-digits, but it does represent, to me, a level of healthiness and consistency in my running that usually indicates I'm on my way to engaging in some significant race preparation. Additionally, since I've only been running once a day, it means that my average daily run has eclipsed (ever-so-slightly) the 2 hour mark; again, this is just another rather arbitrary quantification, but it gets me excited about the upcoming season.

The past three months have been atypical for me in that I haven't launched head-long into maximal-level training at the first hint of complete health. Although I've been slightly dinged up over the past couple months, I've mostly just been--for maybe the first time ever--practicing an exceedingly gradual build-up in mileage/time in my training starting from (nearly) zero around the first of the year. Hopefully, such a prudent (rational? non-boneheaded?) approach will result in more consistent training/fitness for the year.

Not surprisingly, this new level of training has conincided with my return to what I'm increasingly beginning to think of as my "home state". Although my experience growing up in Nebraska will always remain the source of my most core values and life habits (and, hopefully, a permanent place to take refuge in relative isolation), I've spent most of the last 7 1/2 years in Colorado.

This past week I moved back to the Front Range once again for at least the next couple of years as I've accepted a place in the CU-Boulder Geography Department's Masters program, starting this Fall. I am extremely excited to begin the work of becoming a scientist once again, this time working on the acid mine contamination of the watershed at a Superfund site near Creede, CO. And clearly, living, working, and studying in Boulder will be a convenient place to continue with copious amounts of mountain running in the coming years.

The CU campus with Green Mountain looming in the background.

The past week has provided me with a fantastic refamiliarization with all of my beloved trails here in Colorado Springs. Yesterday I had a beautiful run with the Team CRUD folks up Crystal Park Road and down the Section 16 and Intemann trails. This run involved a 3000' climb, shindeep post-holing, downhill powder-floating, and brilliant Colorado sunshine.

Standing around at the top of the climb, ~9000'. Tara, Paul DeWitt, myself, Scott Jaime, and Rick Hessek. (Photo courtesy of Larry DeWitt)

I almost felt lucky to get to experience some real snow still this winter. Today was more of the same (but even warmer, with temps in the 50s) in a super-classic run up the Barr Trail to Barr Camp at 10,200' and back. I'll take dealing with a little snow any day to be treated with the alpine views and impossibly bright sun that Colorado has to offer.

There was a little more snow up there today than this picture shows!


Running 2 Mohican said...

I enjoy reading about your training and life adventures when get time to post. I get to run the Idaho Springs area from time to time when visiting Denver. I am from Ohio so it is fun. I am coming out to watch Leadville 100 this year. On my list of someday races. Need to prepare my lungs for that one.

Unknown said...

Hey Tony,

Good to finally run with you! And better yet, to have you back in Colorado! Hope we can hook up on more runs this summer. I'll certainly be down to the Springs more often so you, DeWitt, Rick, and Steve can be my tour guide.

Be well.

Justin Mock said...

Nice post and update. Sure there are tons of folks in Boulder eager to run with you. Plans to train with Mackey for WS100?

GZ said...

Well, if you are in the "back yard" hope we can get together for some miles and conversation. Glad to hear the training is gearing up well.

Stuart Swineford said...

Glad to hear you are healthy and back in the state. Mark me down as one of those "folks in Boulder" eager to run with you (well... for 6-8 strides).


AJW said...

I bet Mark Wetmore would love to get you out with some of the guys when you when you get to CU:) Good to see things are on track. See you in Squaw if not before!


bam la buse said...

I'm a French guy who just received the "Indulgence" dvd. Very interesting stuff! I was just wondering whether you had considered the idea of ever attending the "Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc" (UTMB) here in the Alps in Chamonix. This grueling race ( to me at least...) has never been successful to any American so far. Are you interested or there is no way you're ever gonna fly to France??
Just curious. Thank you. Bertrand Mayol, Chamonix, France

Andy B. said...

Congrats on the masters program, getting healthy, and back to a regular training schedule. Good luck at WS100.

Local Mind Media said...

Hi Tony,
Great to have you back in Colorful Colorado. Sounds like your attitude and wisdom mixed in with your tremendous running talent is a winning combination. Looking forward to seeing you out on the trails here in Boulder.
Take care,

Billy said...

Thanks for the update on health and otherwise. Looking forward to seeing ya run some great races this year!

Unknown said...

Good to see you back in Colorado where you belong Tony!! No doubt the juggling of school and training will take up the majority of your time as you prepare for Western. Thanks for sharing the pic of Barr Camp. It brings back alot of memories. I'll be running the Double(PPA/PPM) in August and can't wait to get back out there.

fredx said...

Hey Tony, I didn't realize you're now a Boulderite -- I guess I can be a little slow to keep up on things. :-)

C'mon out for a Boulder Trail Runners Happy Hour Run, eh?! I'm in Silverton right now, but would appreciate the opportunity to meet you after SJS & HR.

You're sorta known for your outspoken opinions on life, and I'm interested in sharing them with the world outside of running, showing a connection between simplicity and the ability to live passionately. If you'd be up for writing a short piece, let's chat. I'm at or 303-800-4604.

Happy trails,

- Fred Ecks

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