Sunday, March 20, 2011


Friday morning this week I awoke to a slight smattering of wet snow here in town with the peaks above town exhibiting a frostiness that suggested there might be a little more snow up there.  Against my better judgement I headed towards Fern Canyon sans Microspikes anyways and within minutes of entering the canyon and engaging its merciless grade I was viciously reminded: building running fitness is all about patience--this route was way more difficult for me than I'd hoped.  It took all of my will power to maintain a running stride to the Nebelhorn saddle at the half-way point of the climb, and above there the fresh inch or so of snow hid and lubricated the sheets of ice underneath so that, without spikes, I was forced into a hands-on-knees hike the rest of the way to the summit of Bear Peak.

Sitting on the windless top of Bear, looking out over the serene inversion layer of clouds at my feet, I was simultaneously inspired and downtrodden.  After a week of running up and down Green Mt., I thought that maybe I was ready to step up my game a bit, but Fern showed me just how close to the edge of my current fitness I've been playing all week and that that level of fitness is still (duh, it's only been a week!) pretty low.

That's okay, though, because, for the most part, it's working.  I'm feeling healthy and am more thankful than ever for my ability to reach a peak-top every morning--I know that with patience and consistency my fitness will gradually build and the moments of flow and effortlessness will happen more frequently.  It's exciting to watch one's strength accumulate from what feels like the ground up, and I look forward to finding out just how high I can take my abilities over the next three months.

Mon- 12 miles (1:51) Green Mt., 3000'
Up back and down Bear Cyn.

Tue- 12 miles (1:50) Green Mt., 3000'
Up back and down Bear Cyn. Ran with Scott.

Wed- 12 miles (1:50) Green Mt., 3000'
Up back and down Bear Cyn.

Thu- 12 miles (1:50) Green Mt., 3000'
Up back and down Bear Cyn.  With the time-change, I've been catching some incredible sunrises this week.

Fri- 14 miles (2:17) Bear & Green, 4200'
~2" of fresh snow in the mountains made for poor footing on upper Fern. Felt really strong the last 30min, though.

Sat-AM: 12 miles (1:48) Green Mt., 3000'
Up back and down Bear Cyn. Ran into Brendan on top and then Aaron on the Mesa Trail.
PM: 8 miles (1:10) Flagstaff Mt., 1500'
70F afternoon had the trails crawling with folks.

Sun-AM: 12 miles (1:50) Green Mt., 3000'
Up back and down Bear Cyn. Pretty tired after Broken Social Scene's amazing non-stop two and a half hour set at the Boulder Theater last night.
PM: 8 miles (1:10) Flagstaff Mt., 1500'
1mi barefoot on grass at the end.

The BSS show was a $32 ticket--which is almost double the most that I've ever paid for a concert before--but they played basically twice as long as other bands usually do and the two songs below (videos not from last night, but from an NYC show a couple months ago) were--when witnessed live--worth price of admission alone.


David Hill said...

Patience is key, nice to see you back out there putting up double digit runs every day.

Andy said...

102 miles and 25k of elevation may seem like a slow return to form for you, Tony, but if it's any consolation it's still a superhuman week compared to most of us. Probably cold comfort, but remember to enjoy the process. Great to hear you're getting your stride back.

vis said...

Thanks for the tunes again. No doubt the lack of music in your blog contributed to your infirmity.

On a side note, I can't help but wonder if the members of Arcade Fire + Broken Social Scene > 50% of the current population of Canada.

Pez said...

Nothing of what we do has sense without enjoying.
You are a master on that way of thinking.
Let yourself heving best, good and normal days, it's a privilege being able to do what we do.
Step by step.

Great to read you back on mountains.
Best regards from spain.

Brandon Fuller said...

There is good reason why Fern is not highly traveled among runners.

Anton said...

Andy-Don't worry, I'm definitely enjoying myself :-), but there's definitely a difference between running a 100 mile/25k' week and running it WELL. I'm just slogging in time right now, waiting for my fitness to catch up. But I still enjoy it for sure.

Brandon-I LOVE Fern when I'm reasonably fit. Right now it's just cruel.

Jesper said...

Hey, i love to read your blog and nice te hear that there is some good progression going on!! .. isn't there some way I can sign up for this blog so I get an email every time there's an "update"??

Ryan Castillo said...

Wow! Slow return indeed. I'm just getting back into running because of my own injuries and I don't even think I'm putting down a tenth of what you're doing. In fact, at my peak I'm not sure if I've had a week that was 3/4s as much as your "slow return". Great job!

JessiePants said...

Wonderful that you are out and feeling better, as others have said slow and steady wins the race.
You are an amazing man and an inspirational runner. Keep your head held high!
PS. Thanks for the tunes!

Aaron said...

I'm glad you get to witness fern for the moment, as what it is to the rest of us! I'm sure you'll be running every step of it easily again before long though.

Charlie said...

I doubt you have lost much fitness Tony. Some plazma volume and a few red blood cells but they should be back in a couple of weeks.

Jesper - just click on the orange square at the top of your browser and apply for the RSS feed.

Jesper said...

Charlie - thanks alot! ;)

Xclusive Fitness said...

Diggin' the new Radiohead?

Anton said...

Re Radiohead--Almost digging. Radiohead albums always take a while to grow on me, but that's why they all remain classics, too. Really like Codex...pretty much a fan of all but the first and last tracks, actually.

tim white said...

Hello Anton. I just wanted to get your opinion about speed training. 99% of my running is on trails and in the mountains. I'm looking to enter a 10k trail race in April, and i want to give myself the best chance to compete. I have zero previous training with any type of running, other than my long jaunts up and down mountains. This will be the only 10k that i do as i would like to transition more into ultra distances. I've been running solid for the past two years so my aerobic base is quite strong at this point. I have recently been given access to the local high school track and would like to make the most of it. For the past two weeks I've gone to the track once a week and done one session of 6x800s, and this mornings session was 4x100,200,300,400 (based on advise by someone with far more experience in this area). Given the endless options for this kind of training, I was wondering what you thought might be the best type of speed work to focus on? I'm actually very surprised at how much i like going around on an oval very fast, and training those muscles that i rarely engage! Thanks!


Jay said...


I know you asked Anton and I'll let him speak for himself, but for what it's worth I found Jack Daniels Running Formula to be the most succinct and helpful description I have seen of the different types of speedwork, what they are intended to accomplish and how to go about them. I personally think it is a very worthy read if you want to understand the science behind training.

Edward said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kylef810 said...

Hi Anton,

Been following your blog for along time and this is the first time I am posting a note. Congratulations is returning to running, I myself have been dealing with an Achilles issue and the return to training is slow, but showing signs of improvement.

Regardless, I am curious to see if you read this article in NY Times, and what your thoughts are:


Dominic Grossman said...

I've loved BSS for a few years now.. Did they play 7/4 (shoreline) and did you rock out with the porportional amount of passion?

William said...

Always good to get out and see a show. You into the French Kicks at all? Similar to the Walkmen, which I know you like. Lisbon is still in heavy rotation on my end, especially after seeing them this Winter. Nice to see you building up those miles!

Unknown said...

Greetings (你好) from Hong Kong. Enjoy reading your blog. Have you ever been/ran out this way?

Running Bums said...

The moments of flow and effortless bring hope through the most difficult and trying times. They may not come often but they are totally worth waiting for!

Payton MacDonald said...

Thanks for all the wisdom and insight with the blog, I love checking in every few days. And I enjoyed the documentary about (1000 miles . . .)

BTW, I'm writing a book about triathlon and would love to ask you a few questions if you're up to it. I've had some great interviews with Mark Allen, Joe Friel, and many others. Kindly shoot me an email if you're willing. Thanks,

The Latest News said...

I think your blog makeover looks really nice!