Monday, January 31, 2011

Race Schedule 2011

Here's the plan for the year so far... I don't like to much ahead, but its kind of necessary to avoid too many stupid situations. Hopefully I didn't forget anything. If you see something I forgot, please let me know.

I am still crossing my fingers for Hardrock. I'll know in less than a week. I also have a burro race on the calendar. That's tentative for now. There's some planning involved in that one. It's kind of a pain in the....

February 13-Montana de Oro 50K-San Luis Obispo, CA
March 12- Run Through Time Marathon-Salida, CO
April 18-Boston Marathon-Boston, MA
May 8-Kalamazoo Marathon, Kalamazoo, MI
May 21-Jemez Mountain Trail Runs-50M-Los Alamos, NM
May 30-Bolder Boulder 10K-Boulder, CO
June 4-Golden Gate Dirty Thirty 50K-Black Hawk, CO

June 25- Black Hills 100-Sturgis, SD
July 8-Hardrock 100-Silverton, CO

July 23-Crow Pass Crossing-Anchorage, AK
July 17-Aug.3- Alaskan Mountain Ultrarunning Camp

Early August-Boom Days Burro Race-Leadville, CO (yeah, you read that correctly)
August 20-Pikes Peak Ascent-Manitou Springs CO

Sometime in August-Nolan's 14 attempt (and Likely failure)

Fall-The Bear 100 or some other 100, maybe...After that, who cares...

I'll leave with a picture or two taken while out running on the front range. These were taken a few weeks ago on Green Mtn. Green Mountain is an interesting park. It gets a bad name because it gets a lot of use by all sorts, and it's not too remote. BUT, in my opinion, it still offers some seclusion and lots of wildlife, and a good climb or two (hill repeats?). Add that to it's convenience, and its a winner in my book. The views of Denver from the top at night are some of the best around.

Foothills (and maybe even Mt. Evans) from Green Mountain
Denver from the Top of Green Mountain

Monday, January 17, 2011


Last Saturday I headed down to the 1st ever Pikes Peak or Preposterous Posterior Fat Ass 50K race down in Colorado Springs. For those not in the know, a Fat Ass is more of a laid back group run than anything. Just a bunch of duders and ladies running around in the hills, followed by some beers. It's the equivalent of pick-up for you frisbee folk. Anyway, some dude that goes by JT was kind enough to host the runners and let us invade his house for the day, and local runners did a great job of marking the course so that the runners wouldn't get lost.

The race was supposed to have staggered starts at 7, 8 & 9 in the morning. I headed down with my friend Jeremiah and didn't quite make it for the 7:00 start, but didn't feel like waiting around for an hour, so we took off somewhere around 7:20 all by ourselves.

I'm not going to go into a lot of depth, but I had a great time. The weather was great. The trails were in great shape for this time of year. It was a great day all around. Jeremiah & I certainly weren't in a hurry, but kept up a decent pace while visiting with runners as we crossed paths, and catching up on life.

A couple highlights:

-There was a 5 mile section that was somewhat sketchy with relatively untraveled powder. Obviously, it was the highest steepest section of the course. As I was trudging up the hill trying not to go insane, I looked back to see some dude running up the hill effortlessly. Before I could get too dumbfounded , I saw a water bottle in the dude's arm pit. The unmistakable running form of Matt Carpenter. My mind was put back to ease.

-The route was a grand tour of CS trails. We even ran down the W's on Barr trail for 3 miles. I haven't been on that section of trail since the back end of the Pikes Peak Double in 2009. It was a bit icier this time around.

-There was this 70ft sheet of ice at the top of the hydro road. Nobody in their right mind would have intentionally stepped foot on it. I am an idiot. I did not consider the effects of running on it, and before I even considered running around it, I found myself running at about a 3 minute pace, feeling like a loony toon's character. I'm not sure how I managed to stay upright. Jeremiah may have had an even harder time not falling over while laughing at my dumb ass.

-We did get lost for maybe 30 minutes in Red Rocks park around mile 29 or so, but we were rounded up by some locals and led to the finish.

-Hearing GZ tell his epic tale of Burro Racing last summer. I am seriously considering giving it a shot this upcoming summer. Running up and down a mountain with a giant pack animal has to be entertaining, right?

Early Morning by Garden of the Gods. ( Photo by Brian McCarrie-Pikes Peak Sports)

More early morning scenery

I may have had too much coffee on the drive that morning...

Jeremiah cruising on some singletrack in Williams Canyon, I think.

Afternoon View on the Intemann Trail

Trudging up the snowy Longs Ranch Road

We finished up the race around 1 in the afternoon. I think our "official" time was 6 hours give or take. We hung out with some friends and other runners for an hour or so, before heading to the Trinity Brewery on our way home, where I enjoyed a guilt free taster flight of beers with some Bacon Mac and Cheese.

Good Day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter Running Blues

It's been a long while since I've posted anything. There's lots of reasons for that, but none of them substantial. I guess it essentially comes down to the fact that I just haven't found the time or motivation. That's kind of the theme for me, as of late, and it's not a new development. When I take a good hard look at my past training(and general behavior) the month of December is definitely the one month that leaves me feeling like I accomplished nothing. Surely, I did something during December. What exactly was it? Sleeping? Boozing? Running? Sitting on my ass watching TV? Reading? Some of all of that, and unfortunately more of the dumb things than the good things. I did manage to finish a few of the books I never seemed to find the time to finish during the summer. But I also found myself up past midnight at a bar a bit too often, and I'd bet I watched more TV last month than I did the remaining 11 months of the year. Yuck.

Do I have SAD? Probably. Do the Holidays screw with my mind? Yes, I'm a scrooge. Did the weather influence my desire to run? A bit. Did the darkness? Sure. But I already knew this stuff, it happens every year. It comes down to the fact that I just have to take it in stride, and weather the storm.

When I look at the numbers, and my general fitness, I actually did a pretty good job of handing December in 2010. I definitely had my rough patches, but I definitely put down more miles this December than I ever have before.

Running is a weird activity for me. In nerd talk, it has a extremely large moment of inertia. Once I get that ball rolling, I can keep it going and really find myself in a rhythm and accomplish a lot of things I never would have thought possible. BUT, if I slack off for a while and get out of that rhythm I find it rather difficult to get the ball rolling again. My main goal at the end of the year is to just keep that ball rolling. I know I'm not going to find a rhythm. I know I'll look back at the month and feel like I didn't do enough. All I can really hope for is to come out still feeling like not all was lost.

Trail (and even road) running during the winter is actually quite a rewarding activity at times. Snow, Ice, cold, and darkness all combine to turn what would be a routine, boring romp around a park or well known trail into an unpredictable, sometimes rewarding, sometimes mentally defeating adventure. Unpredictability is the name of the game. Overdressed, underdressed, not enough light, wrong shoes, forgotten clothing, defective equipment/clothing.... the list goes on and on. These are the issues that plague winter running.

Running on a summer evening is simple: Shorts, Shoes, water bottle.

Before embarking on a winter run one needs to fret about what kind of 'traction' they'll need (shoes? screw shoes? snowshoes?) How many layers? Gloves? Stocking cap? It can get exhausting. My approach? If you know me you can probably guess. Throw all that crap in the back of the truck and grab what I need, and hope its clean (I probably do 3X more laundry in the winter than in the summer). It doesn't always turn out well. Sometimes it turns out straight up miserable. That's winter running though.

Although I make it sound really complicated, the amazing thing is that winter running eases my mind better than any single thing on earth. Running down a dark snow trail, hearing to the crunching sound with every step, looking at every breath as it rises past the beam of my headlamp, the sting of the cold against my cheeks and ears. It brings you in the moment. It becomes easy to focus on the task at hand, and forget about all of those other things that really don't matter.

Enough feelings talk. I needed to put that in writing, so that I can reference it in 11 months. December's over, and I'm feeling pretty damn good to be honest. I finally replaced the digital camera that met it's demise during a disastrous boating expedition in Alaska last summer. As a result, I've made a habit of carrying it with me on my runs in an effort to capture some of the more interesting scenery I encounter during my time on the trails (I'll never claim to be a good photographer, but they should be enjoyable, none the less).

Berkley Lake
Mount Falcon
Mount Falcon
Mount Falcon
Green Mountain

Matthews Winters
Matthews Winters

Parting Thoughts? Well, I'll lie like I always do and say that I'm gonna try and do this blog thing more. Oh, I have a 50M coming up in a month from today! Let's hope that December was as decent I think it was. Can't beat weekend running in CA during the winter. That's one way of combating the Winter Running Blues.