Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Week Log: Feb 18-24

Mon-AM: 2 miles (16:00) Monument
Shin was still a bit sore.  Not too bad, so I just turned around and decided to give it an extra day.

Tue-AM: 16 miles (2:11) South out and back w/ Kyle
The shin was a little bit tight every now and then, but it never got worse.  Great weather.

Wed-AM: 23 miles (3:00) Buckhorn Mt. plus barefoot w/ Kyle
Shin twinged every now and then, but I felt great towards the end.
PM: 4.5 miles (:37) CRC run in North Monument with big group in the FiveFingers
Shouldn't have done this run; shin was tight by the end.

Thu- 0

Fri- 0

Sat- 0

Sun- 0

Total: 45.5 miles (6:04)

Hmmm...obviously a bit of a mistake of a week on my part.  I can never seem to learn; however, this shin is proving to be frustratingly tenacious and somewhat unpredictable.  I'm going to bag the Mexico trip and just focus on being healthy and fit for AR.  Mostly, I'm getting tired of not being able to be out on the trails every day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Week Log: Feb 11-17

2/11 Mon-AM: 16 miles (2:09) South out and back
Ran nice and easy with Kyle. He was a little tired from hammering with Matt yesterday and I was pretty tired from my biggest weekend in a while. Great day to get the shirts off and just chill out and get a tan.
PM: 6 miles (:51) North Monument
Easy cruiser in the FiveFingers. I felt really good for some reason.

2/12 Tue-AM: 24 miles (3:07) Buckhorn Mt.
Solid, semi-tempo effort up the 3.5 mile climb in 32:25 and then dropped a 5:35 mile on the way back through Bear Creek just to test out the legs. Hamstrings still tight, but a great day all around.
PM: 4.5 miles (:41)
Nice easy run w/ Jocelyn and Kyle after work.

2/13 Wed-AM: 24 miles (3:20) Buckhorn Mt.to 666 Loop
This was a great run on a shirtless-warm day w/ Kyle. We were actually able to complete this loop, but there were some significant drifts up on the ridge. Kinda tired by the end. Great morning in the mountains.
PM: 5.5 miles (:44) CRC Monument Loops
Ran easy w/ Kyle and Greg from New Balance in the FiveFingers. Felt good.

2/14 Thu-AM: 23 miles (3:03) Up High Drive and down Gold Camp
It was snowing this morning and that made the ice on High Drive super slick. I fell twice--once skinned up my hip and the other was while cranking down Gold Camp. I fell so hard it knocked the wind out of me. Tired by the end of this run, but I felt no need to taper for Moab on the weekend.
PM: 5 miles (:41)
Easy w/ Jocelyn in the FiveFingers.

2/15 Fri-AM: 11 miles (1:32) South out and back plus North Loop
Nice mellow run with Kyle and Jocelyn in some great fog. Legs felt good. Drove to Moab after the run and slept right on the starting line for the 50K.

2/16 Sat-AM: 35 miles--Red Hot Moab 50K+ (34 miles) in 4:03:02
Ran with Kyle. Did a mile easy cooldown w/ Jocelyn, Kyle, and Anna.

2/17 Sun-AM: 0 miles

Total: 154 miles (20:21)

This was a solid week. I had some big mileage until Sunday because I didn't do any speed. I held off the speed because I was feeling pretty stressed from last Thursday's workout plus the weekend distance. Plus, I still feel like I'm just trying to get into shape---I love consistent daily 3hr mountain runs for building basic fitness.

The weekend was pretty good--I was pretty heartened about my fitness considering the quick pace we took it out at and especially considering the way Kyle and I were able to respond with a huge surge when we needed to the last two miles. That showed me that we truly were running easy up until that point. Averaging 7:09 pace fairly casually on a technical course with ~4500' of vert makes me confident about my fitness as I begin my major build-up for American River. Right now, I think 7 minute pace should hopefully be doable there.

Finally, that last downhill surge in the race did tweak my shin again, though. That, combined with all of the downhill slickrock running that was in the race. The shin caused me to take Sunday (and the following Monday) off, but it really was just a slight setback and I'm just glad that I'm getting smart enough to listen to my body and not try to run through little twinges like that. It's all about remaining disciplined enough so that I can be consistent in the coming weeks.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Moab Red Hot 50K+

This weekend Kyle, Jocelyn, and I drove out to stunning southeastern Utah to enjoy the desert weather and do some running amidst the surreal red rock landscape. Simply put, no matter the time of year, it's hard to resist the allure of Moab's canyon country.
I had missed the Rocky Raccoon 100 because of needing to take three weeks completely off from running to heal a shin injury, but with a week of incredibly helpful treatment from the folks at Champion Health and two solid weeks of running under my belt I felt ready enough to go put in a sub-maximal 34 mile effort with Kyle. Much to race director Chris Martinez's credit, he allowed me entry less than a week before the race. I was number 295 at the packet pick-up, so I'm guessing that approximately that number of people started the race. That shows astonishing popularity for a race that is only in its second year.

The entrants list revealed a solid field on both the men's and women's side. Karl was back to defend last year's win, as was a much more fit version of last year's runner-up, Torrid Torrence. Additionally, Steamboat 50 mile champion (and former CU All-American) Zeke Tiernan and Leadville 100 top-10 finishers Charles Corfield and Duncan Callahan rounded out the field.

For the women, 8th place finisher in the 2004 women's Olympic Marathon Trials Susanna Beck probably sported the quickest marathon PR in the entire 50K field with a 2:34. Such road talent was backed by considerable trail experience in savvy mountain runner Anita Ortiz, defending champion Darcy Africa, veteran trail racers Emily Baer and Helen Cospolich, Wasatch 100 champ Liz Irvine, Leadville 100 champ Tammy Stone, and Leadville 100 runner-up Michele Jensen. Wow. That's quite the depth for such an early-season race.

The Red Hot course is quite unique. It consists of a run through a gorgeous canyon wash, a rolling lollipop loop on top of a mesa, some challenging climbing and descending on pure slickrock on Poison Spider Mesa, and then finally a screaming descent to the Poison Spider Trailhead on Potash Road on the Colorado River. All in all, it climbs ~4500', almost all of that in the first 25 miles or so. Throw in some moderate altitude (between 4000' and 5000'), the two dominant surfaces of loose sand and cement-like slickrock, and you have a challenging bit of trail racing.

Just as the desert sun rose, we all took off from the Gemini Bridges Road starting line and attacked the initial icy climb part way up the mesa. Kyle and I set a quick pace right from the start. We were most concerned about Zeke Tiernan's short distance speed because he was largely an untested unknown in trail ultras. Karl stayed close through the first couple of miles of climb and then descent, but once the track flattened out in the bottom of the canyon our quick pace soon whittled away everyone but Zeke.

At this point, the pace definitely felt quick and certainly not maintainable but I think pride got the better of Kyle and I. I'm sure Zeke would've followed whatever pace we set, but I think we both mostly wanted to be rid of any company as soon as possible. With that in mind we attacked the shortish, very steep climb up out of the wash and onto the Metal Masher trail. We hit the first aid station at 5.5 miles in 35 minutes and both shed our arm warmers as we were now fully in the sun on top of the mesa. At this point, Zeke was only 100 yards or so back.

Here the course continued into a lolli-pop loop on jeep trail that was largely rolling over a mixture of soft sand and slickrock. Eventually, we climbed up to the rim of the mesa and then enjoyed a nice downhill to the 12.8 mile aid station, which we reached in 1:28. Kyle and I both grabbed a gel here. I'd taken my first gel an hour in and took the second one on the down/flat back half of he lolli-pop loop. Kyle and I kept a solid pace through this section. The effort was mostly comfortable, but we were definitely still moving.

We hit the 17 mile aid in 1:56, so were still on sub-7 pace, grabbed another gel and were on our way. At this point we decided to mellow out the pace a little because a sub-4 hr finish time seemed a little unlikely. My legs were still feeling pretty good through here, but we had a lot of climbing to do once we hopped on the Gold Bar Trail and got up on Poison Spider Mesa.

The trail here quickly turned into pure slickrock with pink flagging to show us the way. I spaced out the need to get a gel down before we tackled the technical slickrock climbing, and by time Kyle and I had crawled our way to the 22.6 mile aid in 2:36 I was at a definite low point.

However, I sucked down a gel on the descent and pretty soon things were all fun and games again. The sun was brilliant, the view across the valley to the snow-covered La Sals was magnificent, and the toughest thing was not running too close to Kyle so that we wouldn't step on each other as we picked the best line on the technical descending.
There were a few times in this section that we came to a complete stop as we searched for the next pink flag and I commented to Kyle how this race was necessarily "Euro-style" in that you basically ran the straightest line across the slickrock from flag to flag. It also got pretty warm the last hour of the race and I ended up taking two S-caps in the last hour and a half or so of the race.

We were happy to finally spot the last aid station (mile 29) from about a half mile out because we'd both drained our bottles. However, the last little bit into the station was really sandy and I started whining a bit about how vile a surface sand is to run on. After a quick fill of the bottles we departed the station at 3:28 and decided to just chill it out to the finish because it didn't seem like we had much chance of breaking 4 hours. Sub 4:10 would be fine with us today.
The next two to three miles were pretty boring, sandy, muddy, and flat jeep track running across the top of the mesa. Finally, at about 3:45 or so the road started the descent down to the Colorado River with switchbacks and a lot of those big 3-4ft rock drops that plenty of misguided folks in the Moab area think are perfect for crawling up in a Jeep. Neat.

Just after Kyle and I were commenting that "Geez, I sure wish Chris had found a way to make this race a true 50K and not 34 miles because we'd be cracking a brewski now instead of bonking and trying to decide if I want to take the trouble to suck down one last gel", when some dude in road flats came blowing by us on one of the more technical downhills.

After ascertaining that yes, indeed, this fellow was running the 50K (and not the 33K; we'd been passing dozens of 33K runners for the past 10 miles or so) Kyle and I immediately shifted gears from the dawdling, complacent eight minute pace we'd been running to a (much more painful) low five minute pace. Within a quarter mile or so we'd gapped the runner (Justin Ricks) and spent a frantic 10 minutes or so blazing down the final switchbacks to the finish line to tie in 4:03:02. We were 22 minutes under Karl's inaugural course record run from last year.

Because we'd had to run so hard to the finish, Kyle and I put in a 10 minute cool down with Jocelyn and Anna Pichrtova (relaxing after her easy 33K win) and then spent the rest of the afternoon lounging in the sun, chatting, and drinking milkshakes. A pretty great day.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Week Log: Feb 4-10

Mon-AM: 15 miles (2:03) Garden of the Gods-Rampart Range Road-Intemann-Red Rocks w/ Kyle
Nice easy cruiser run with Kyle in some great sunshine.  Did some bouldering in the Garden afterwards before it clouded up and started snowing.

Tue-AM: 21 miles (3:00) Section 16 Loop
This run was pretty rough because of all the new snow up in the mountains.  I was plowing through ~6" of fresh powder up on Section 16.  Wore the Crosslites on this run, and they worked pretty well in the snow.
PM: 5 miles (:41) North Monument
Nice easy jog in the evening after work.  Hadn't planned on running, but once I stepped outside it wasn't nearly as cold as I thought it was so I put the shoes on and cruised around in the dark.

Wed-AM:  23 miles (3:00) From Red Rocks: Up Gold Camp to the top of High Drive, down High Drive and back to the house.
This run began horribly.  It was a gorgeous warm day, but I felt like death, so I just told Kyle to go on without me.  Ended up feeling better after the first hour and cranked solidly the last hour or so at sub-7 pace.  Finished up with 10min of barefoot...the first of the season!
PM: 4 miles (:35) North Monument CRC run.  Felt good.

Thu-AM: 25 miles (3:00) 20x2min hard/1min easy on Gold Camp Road
Great workout.  I cranked pretty solid on these, and of course, got moving well on the way back down.  Felt good to get moving again.
PM: 4 miles (:33) Monument and downtown with Jocelyn.
Felt good and wore the Vibram FiveFingers the whole way, which were awesome.

Fri-AM: 10 miles (1:28) Mesas w/ Kyle
Ran nice and easy, but could've gone even easier.  I was sore from the workout yesterday, and I like to go easy on my easy day.  Had to pick it up at the end to get to work on time.

Sat-AM: 35 miles (5:03) Section 16-Intemann-Williams Canyon-Rampart-Garden+barefoot.
First actual long run in a while and I could tell.  It was a beautiful warm day and I was moving quickly all day despite not feeling that great.

Sun-AM: 35 miles (4:40) Navigators-Rampart-Stanley Canyon-Air Force Academy-Falcon Trail
Ran all the way up Rampart Range Road and then down Stanley Canyon to get to the Air Force to watch Jocelyn run at an indoor meet there.  Got a ride back with Kyle.  I was moving fast again today even though I didn't feel that great, mostly because this run was almost all road.  I found a sweet little trail--trail 713--that saved the day when the canyon boxed up and the road ended.  There is not much snow around here.  I would bet that I could go up and run Rampart Reservoir in a couple of weeks if we don't get dumped on.  There is so much less snow than we got last winter, which is good because that means I'll be able to get on Pikes a lot earlier which Kyle and I might have to do because Silverton is getting pounded this year.

Total: 177 miles (24:03)

This was a great week of running.  I didn't feel that great all week, but it was a solid week of getting back into it.  Now, I just need to string together about 10 months more of weeks like this and I'll be really happy with 2008.  This much running is completely sustainable--it's not too much, yet it satisfies all of my desires of being in the mountains.  Now, it's a trick of remaining disciplined enough to not increase it from here.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Week Log: Jan 28-Feb 3

Mon- 12 miles (1:30) Mesas w/ Kyle
The shin felt great for the first 1:10 or so, but then it tightened the last 20 minutes and felt like I was basically back to square one.  Not encouraging.

Tue- 0

Wed- 0

Thu- 5 miles (:40) North Monument
My shin never hurt at all and I finished optimistic about it's health.  I felt absolutely terrible otherwise.

Fri- 8 miles (1:00) Mesas and Monument
Felt good and the shin never hurt at all so I was super-psyched.

Sat- 13 miles (2:00) Longs Ranch loop backwards w/ Kyle
Barr Trail was incredibly slick, and this was compounded by the fact that I was in my Nike flats.  So, instead of trying to descend that ice luge without screws, we decided to keep climbing and go down Longs instead.  We kept a solid pace up the whole 3000' climb, though, and then bombed the super-steep downhill through a bunch of powder.  My shin absolutely never hurt, and it was a blast to be cranking through the snowing and foggy mountains.

Sun- 17 miles (2:22) UPT-Waldo Loop+ w/ Kyle and Matt (Incline Club)
Matt started off cranking, but it was a beautiful day and he calmed down some once we got to Waldo and the pace was more leisurely.  I'm trying to be smart, so I turned back on the UPT while Kyle and Matt went up Longs, but I added on some at the end to make it a full 17 miles.  I wore the Crosslites w/ screws on this run and I'm pretty psyched on these shoes.  They felt suitably low-profile and light and I think the extra bit of forefoot protection will be welcome once the snow melts some more.  Great run.

Total: 55 miles (7:32)

I think I'm finally back.  This injury was incredibly unfortunate timing for me (with missing Rocky), but with the help of all the great folks over at Champion Health (including the cold laser treatment that I'll post about later) I think I'm definitely on the trail to good things once again.  Time away from running makes one appreciate it so much more intensely, that's for sure.

Friday, February 1, 2008


The Way Too Cool 50K entrants list was posted recently.  I'd been considering doing the San Juan 50 miler in June instead of Western, but now, with the possibility of Matt possibly being at Western, I'm pretty resolved to run the American River 50 in April and hopefully be on the starting line in Squaw Valley on June 28th.

I'm highly anticipating the results of WTC as Kyle's brother Erik, Matt, and Galen Burrell all go head-to-head...it should be a very exciting show-down if Galen is in shape (I know Matt and Erik are in shape).  Of course, Matt was most likely just testing Active.com's ability to handle a high-traffic registration process to see if it will handle the Pikes Peak registration on March 1st, and might not even be running WTC at all...