Sunday, May 31, 2009

Another Day in Paradise!

Another beautiful day in paradise! Today I knew I would be tired. I could feel it coming. A culmination of three hard weeks, each with over 20 combined running/riding hours. This week was particularly hard, with over 21,000 ft of climbing thrown in.

Left from home & met Dan at the top of Chutes early in the morning and we headed up Gold Camp, then up St. Mary’s Falls on a loop that lead us back to Gold Camp. It was evident that I was tired and I couldn’t keep up with Dan. He mentioned something about his wife being faster on a single speed. We did an hour of steady climbing up Gold Camp before we hit Old Stage.
One of the Tunnels on Gold Camp

At this point we up to abut 9,500 ft and I had no power. I seemed fine as long as I went my own pace, but trying to keep up with Dan was killing me. And it was frustrating for him to be waiting on me. So we split. I headed down Old Stage looking for a trail I’d never been on that Dan pointed out on the map, and Dan headed for Jones Park.
Dan Checking the Map

It took some looking but I eventually found the trail. It’s a very isolated single track along a ridge and the scenery is incredible. I was pretty tired though and kept making mistakes. After the second crash I got to thinking. "This is a very remote trail, if I crash and get hurt it could be days before I’m found. This is also very dense mountain lion country, not a good combination." I scared myself enough to turn around.
Riding "The Trail"

Once I got down to Cheyenne Canyon at 7,000 ft or so I felt much better and rode the normal combination of trails back home: up the Chutes, Section 16, Entemann, Red Rocks, Garden of the Gods, Ute Park. I felt much better the last 2 ½ hours than the first 3 ½. Go figure.

Garden of the Gods from Red Rocks
Next week is nothing but recovery and racing. Sand Creek Mountain Bike Race Wednesday evening, and the "Dirty Thirty" 50K running race on Saturday. These last three weeks have been pretty incredible. It’s nice to be home!
Total for Week:
9.9 hrs, 60 miles
Bike: 13.3 hrs, 139 miles

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Running and Loving the Trails!

The Start of another Epic Run

Another Epic CRUD run. We had a pretty big group and it was just fun right from the beginning. There were different goals with today’s run so we started together for an hour of so then started splitting up on different routes. Some guys like Rick Hessik, Paul Smith, and John Genet were running for over 6 hours! Most of the group was planning on running about 3 hours, while my goals was about 25 miles. I ran from home to the Santa Fe Trail head, met up with Team CRUD and we ran north toward the Air Force Academy, through miles of horse trails, then the Falcon Trail. After a few miles on the Falcon Trail we split, some going up Stanley Canyon, while myself, John, Keith, and Carl continued on the Falcon Trail. Falcon Trail is a 13 mile rolling loop around the Air Force Academy. It’s a great run and ride. It’s amazing the amount and variety of trails we have here.

There were a few water crossings

After completing the Falcon loop, Keith, Carl and I headed back to the Santa Fe Trail and eventually the trailhead of this morning meeting. John, although not feeling too enthused about it, continued alone for another lap of the Falcon Trail. It was getting close to 80 degrees. Once we got back to the trailhead, Carl had 22.5 miles on his GPS, and I still had to run the two miles back home. It seemed like a good idea when I left in the morning. No biggy, that’s what the Leadman is all about, continuing when you don’t feel like it. So I ran the rest of the way home, feeling surprisingly strong. I must not have looked that way, because as I was running up my street, I seem to be getting a lot of "that poor guy" looks. Tomorrow is a big bike day, then I’ll take it easy until the Sand Creek Mountain Bike Race on Wed.
Here comes Team CRUD
Run: 4.3 hrs, 26 miles

What a Week So Far

Now I am into the heart of Leadman training. This has been an incredible week so far, I will definitly need to recover next week. As my Leadman training builds, I am finding less and less time for the blog. So here is the week so far. I'm really happy with how things are coming along.

Mon: Strength workout. Went pretty hard today. Focused on core as usual, but went harder on upper and lower body. Also went hiking with my son Jesse, who is back from Iraq!

Tues: Strange day today. Got up early for a 14 mile run & just didn’t feel very peppy. With Leadman hanging over my head, I can’t skip a run just I don’t feel "peppy". A lot of times I start feeling better once I get running anyway. Out of bed and on the trail. I kind of slogged through the run but never really felt good, even a bit in a bad mood. Felt tired and stiff throughout the run. Stiff most of the day afterward, actually falling asleep a couple times in front of my computer at work. Now the strange part. The evening ProCycling ride was great! It was a kick butt ride! I felt strong right from the beginning. On the first climb I felt strong and stayed with the big boys about ½ way through the climb. I even got stupid and tried to go to the front. Well that didn’t last long, and the lead guys cranked it up a notch and started to pull away. They weren’t pulling away real fast though, and I was determined to keep them in sight all the way to the top. The last part of the climb kicks it up pretty steep and I was on the verge of puking, but was able to keep them in site. The second climb, I actually was right with the leaders all the way to the top, going over third! Stoked! This was a night where everything clicked. Wonder why the morning was so weird?

Run: 2.1 hrs, 14 miles
Bike: 1.1 hrs, 18 miles

Wed: Today was recovery from yesterday and rest for tomorrow. Tomorrow is a big day. Morning run to Eagle View Middle School then 2 miles barefoot on the grass inside the track, then back home. In the evening, just played around on the mountain bike for an hour, working on technical stuff in Ute Park. Nice relaxing fun.

Run: 0.8 hrs, 6 miles
Bike: 1 hr, 8.2 miles

Thurs: A big day! A climbing day! Early morning ride to Cheyenne Canyon for three repeats to the top. My goal was for each repeat to be faster. Times were slow I accomplished my goal. I was also working on using as big as gear as possible, sort of like weight lifting on the bike. Each climb is 3.1 miles with average grade of 7.3%. The first mile is relatively flat so the second part is steeper. After the third repeat, about ½ way down I saw Dan D coming up. He was suppose to do the workout with me, but I guess it was too early and he couldn’t get away from hugging his pillow. I turned around and rode to the top with him, which turned out to be 1.4 miles with avg grade 8.2%. Rode home from there, which was another hour, and added the Flying W climb, because it’s a tradition, for a total of a little over 6,000 ft of climbing. This was only the beginning of the fun! In the evening, the CRUD Barr Trail Time Trial. This is a timed run 4.5 miles up Barr Trail with an avg. grade of 11.2%. After that we go for a run. I surprised myself tonight, as I walked a lot more than I did last week but was 3 minutes faster. Stoked again. Great ride Tues, brutal hill workout this morning, and now 3 minutes faster than last week. I think training is coming along. I have to admit these times are not fast, but they are improving.

Bike: 3.9 hrs, 48 miles 6000+ ft climbing.
Run: 2.7 hrs, 14 miles 3360ft climbing.

Fri: Legs were pretty sore today. Loosened them up a bit with a good strength workout, then an easy spin downtown in the afternoon running errands, like buying new running shoes. Big run tomorrow.
Bike 1.2 hrs, 15 miles

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thoughts on the Ride

Blogett Peak
Had a very nice relaxing 70-mile ride on quiet Colorado country roads today. I stayed on the north end of town riding a loop through the Air Force Academy, Roller Coaster Rd, County Line Rd, and into Palmer Lake then everything in reverse. Although there were no big climbs there were lots of rollers and I still ended up with over 5,100 ft of climbing. As I was riding I started thinking about all the training I do and why I do it. Is it because of the Leadman? Is it because I’m crazy? Why would I run for five hours on Saturday then ride for another five hours on Sunday, and do hill repeats and time trials throughout the week? And all this while maintaining a full time job. The only thing I can think of is it’s what I absolutely love to do. I don’t look at it as work or training or torture at all. I just love running and riding my bike. If I could do it for a living I would. When you think about it, anyone that trains to compete in cycling or running without making a living at it has to love it. Why else would they get up hours before work for a ride, or rush in a run at lunch, or force themselves out on the bike or a run after a full day at work; for free. I can’t think of a single professional athlete that gets up extra early before training, or squeezes in time at lunch, or after a day of training, drags him or herself into a cubicle to sit in front of a computer, for free. So I don’t think I do this because of the Leadman. I think the Leadman is an excuse for me to do something I love; justification I guess. I am just so thankful that I am lucky enough to be able to do what I truly love, and that is run, ride my bike, and appreciate this incredible planet. Leadman is just icing on the cake.
Week Total:
Bike: 8.6 hrs, 128 miles
Run: 10.5 hrs, 60 miles

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Another Epic CRUD Run

Barr Camp in Pouring Rain

Another Epic CRUD Run. These runs are too fun to be considered training! This was a typical CRUD long run with lots of climbing, getting lost, and enjoying the mountains. It rained off and on throughout to make things more adventurous. Our little adventure started in Manitou and headed up William’s Canyon. Paul DeWitt’s dad joined us from VA, so he had a serious altitude adjustment to make but did just fine. Williams Canyon is a rocky uphill run that eventually takes us to the top of Waldo Canyon. We did a short spin through Waldo Canyon to Long’s Ranch Road. I not sure what this road was used for in earlier times, but it is pretty much closed to the public now. It is STEEP & LONG. After slogging up Long’s Ranch Road, we regrouped at the top & continued through the Experimental Forest (sounds like a scene from Wizard of Oz) to Barr Trail, which goes to the top of Pike’s Peak. We were only on Barr Trail for a little bit and turned off & up the pipeline trail, which was a new trail for me. I found out why it’s called the pipeline trail when we crossed a bridge across a canyon with a pipeline running across it. Well it was actually just lying there. From there we ran up and up and up following the cog railroad tracks until we came to a rest stop for cog railroad passengers. From there we took a trail that we thought would take us back to Barr Trail but it petered out so we bushwhacked it. Eventually found Barr Trail and ran it up to Barr Camp, which is about ½ way to the top of Pikes Peak. A quick break and we headed down in a steady rain to Manitou, about a seven mile descent. Fun Times!

Run: 4.9 hrs, 25 - 27 miles? 5,100+ ft of climbing

Friday, May 22, 2009

Setting a Basline

Recovery Run in Ute Park

This was a week for establishing baselines. CRUD does a 4 ½ mile time trial every Thursday up Barr Trail. It’s a brutal uphill run with an average grade of 11 ½ percent. ProCycling started a semi-weekly time trial on road bikes up Cheyenne Canyon. This is a climb of 3.1 miles with an average grade of 7 percent. So I’m integrating these time trials into my LeadMan training. Cheyenne Canyon went pretty well, it was far off my best time but wasn’t my slowest. I think my time up Barr Trail the next day was pretty close to my slowest. No biggy, I’ve been a flatlander most of this year, so I don’t expect to run a 4 ½ miles straight up to an altitude of about 9,500 ft very fast. It was raining most of the run on Barr Trail, so it wasn’t too hot. Now I've got a baseline to improve upon this summer. Hopefully by the end of July or beginning August I’ll be surpassing my best time from my younger days. That would be a good sign.
Max after a Run in the Rain

It’s been a good week so far. Lot’s of quality running and riding with good recovery. I won’t be able to do the two races I had planned this weekend. Due to the uncertainty of work/travel status, I didn’t register until the races were full. No worries, I’ll try to simulate them this weekend. So far this week:
Mon: Strength training, primarily core
Tues: Run – 1.9 hrs, 14 miles w/5 miles relaxed tempo in 35:36. Bike - 1.3 hrs, 22 miles w/2 * 8 min hill repeats & 5 * 3 min steep hill repeats
Wed: Run - .9 hrs, 6 miles w/1 ½ miles barefoot in grass. Bike – 2.3 hrs, 23 miles w/Cheyenne Canyon TT in 21:14
Thurs: Run - 1.9 hrs, 9 miles w/Barr Trail TT in 1:07:58
Fri: Run - .8 hrs, 6 miles w/2 miles barefoot in grass. Strength training primarily core

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What a Week!

The Incline Just to Right of Pike's Peak
This has been an awesome week getting back into the swing of things. After going six months with hardly seeing a hill, I’m surprised at how well I was able to get back into the hill workouts. Got in plenty of hills on the bike and running. Tuesday morning started with a 12 mile run w/ 100 meter sprints scattered throughout then in the evening the good ol high intensity "climb so hard you puke" team ride. I was shocked when I was able to keep up with the main group.
Wednesday an easy recovery run to include a mile of running barefoot, Thursday morning some technical mountain biking in Ute Park followed by an 18 mile slightly uphill time trial from Ice Lake to Palmer Lake on Santa Fe Trail. Again another surprise; my time was among my best. Came upon some Burro racers training on Santa Fe Trail. Only in Colorado! Thursday evening Max & I climbed the Incline then ran to Barr camp at 10,200 ft, which is about halfway to the top of Pikes Peak, then 7 miles back down to Manitou Springs.

Burro Racers

Going to the Incline
On Friday, I almost lost my little buddy Max. We did an easy hike vs. running as my quads were pretty beat up from the downhill running on Thursday. We were passing through a field, Max chased a rabbit over a ridge and I heard him yelp on the other side. I started running toward the ridge when he came running back through the field with two coyotes twice his size in pursuit. One was behind and the other was circling around to head him off. I ran toward them screaming at the top of my lungs and got there at the exact moment he was caught from behind. The coyote heading him off was within two seconds of striking. I ran in kicking and screaming and both coyotes gave up the chase and ran off with me chasing them screaming at the top of my lungs. That was scary, two seconds slower and Max wouldn’t be here today.

Team CRUD in the Clouds
Saturday, a magic four hour run into the clouds with CRUD up Cap’n Jack’s to Frosty’s (10,000 ft) and the base of Mt Rosa (10,500 ft). We had to traverse several snow fields in the high country and since it was an overcast day we were literally running in the clouds. It was a great Leadman training run with over 4,500 feet of climbing.

Snow in the High Country
Finally on Sunday, went on an awesome six hour mountain ride with one of my best riding buds, Sharon Larson. This ride covered it all; big climbs, big scenery, big descents, technical, rocky, six hours of single track bliss, with just over 6,100 feet of climbing. It is so good to be back!

Headin Down Trail 666
Sun: Mountain Bike - 6 hrs, 45 miles, 6,100 ft climbing
Sat: Run - 4.1 hrs, 18 miles, 4,500 ft climbing
Fri: Hike with sprint training
Thurs: Mountain Bike – 3.5 hrs (0.9 hrs TT), 46 miles, Run – 3.3 hrs, 14 miles
Wed: Run – 0.8 hrs, 5.5 miles
Tues: Run 1.6 hrs, 12 miles, Road Bike – 2.5 hrs, 39 miles, 3219 ft climbing
Mon: CORE Strength workout

Monday, May 11, 2009

Back on the Bike!

Finally! Had a great mountain bike ride Sunday. First time on the bike in a month. It felt great. Went to Ute Park and did some technical riding. I was very surprised at how well I was riding and how good it felt on the climbs. Since I was feeling so strong, rode over to Red Rocks to do some longer steeper climbs and felt great. Added Intemann Trail, and a couple more climbs and had just a stellar day. Saw something interesting on the way home. A sheriff had a car pulled over and the contents of the trunk were on the ground. I thought "drug bust". A closer look revealed that the sheriff was changing the front tire. Wow, he took the logo "To Serve and Protect" to heart. I've never seen that before. Just made a great day even greater.

Sunday, May 10: Mountain Bike, 3.4 hours, 29 miles WoooHooo!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Back In Colorado Again!

Pike's Peak (Click to enlarge)
WHOOOHOOO! Finally back Home! Man it’s been a very long hard 4 weeks on the road (and 3 ½ months before that). I can’t even begin to describe how happy I am to be home. With all the travel, getting up at 4 am to run, working all day & night, it seems like I haven’t seen the sun in weeks. Even though it rained all week, and I worked all day and late into the evening I still managed to get up and run in the dark every morning. Coming home is paradise. This week I got a total of 55 miles of running and zero biking. I haven’t even seen a bike for a month. I celebrated coming home by running one of my favorite loops at Rampart Reservoir. It’s a fairly flat run, but beautiful with an average altitude of just over 9000 ft. I haven’t run a hill in over a month so I decided not to do an extreme hilly route. This run was magic! It did wonders for my soul. I am so happy to be back in the mountains! My goal was to run at least 3 hours. I did a loop around Rampart Reservoir in a little over 2 hours, then ran another hour just enjoying the mountains and trails, being back home, and my favorite running buddy in the whole world, Max.

My Bestest Running Buddy in the Whole Wide World

Saturday, May 9: Run 3.2 hrs, 22 miles
Friday, May 8: Run .7 hrs, 5 miles
Thur. May, 7: Run 1.5 hrs, 11 miles
Wed. May, 6: Run .7 hrs, 5 miles
Tues. May, 5: Run 1.2 hrs, 8.5 miles
Mon. May, 4: Run .6 hrs, 4 miles
Total for Week: Run 7.9 hrs, 55.5 miles

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Set Backs

This last week has been pretty exhausting and frustrating. Got to San Diego and woke up the next morning with a sore throat and feeling pretty groggy. We worked very long days Mon & Tues and I just wasn't feeling 100%. My joints were sore and I just couldn't get going even on an easy run. On Wed, got up at 3:30 am for a 6 am flight to Columbus, OH. Pretty much zero time to run or workout. In Columbus we worked very long hours again and on my flight home to Colorado Springs, whatever was bothering me all week came down like a hammer. I got home went to bed and didn't get back up for over 24 hours. When I did, I had a fever of 100.7 and my throat was so sore I had a hard time swallowing liquids. Still had work to complete before I leave for Washington DC tomorrow. I guess working long hours and travelling to 4 time zones in a week kind of wore me down. Especially since I was trying to force training too. Well it's been 3 weeks off the bike, no running the last three days, I'm sick as a dog and heading out of town for another week. Times like these will make crossing that finish line that much sweeter.