Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Weekly Running Miles for 3/25/13 - 3/31/13

Another late start to a running week doing nothing on Monday through Wednesday. But I finished with some good runs later in the week. I forget what night it was but earlier in the week I had to stay up late (2am) for work which (with my lazy body) meant no running early in the morning. And I've discovered if I'm not able to get out the door to run in the morning then it will most likely not happen. Too much stuff comes up later in the day. Thursday at about mile 2 I caught my buddy Wyatt coming off of a side street and we were able to run together for about half a mile or so. It's always motivating running with friends. Knowing they got up just like you before the sun came up. Battling cold and tiredness. It's especially motivating running with Wyatt because the man is a beast and I know he's out there 7 DAYS A WEEK. That's where I'm hoping to get soon.

Day Mileage Comments
Monday Lazy I hate being lazy.
Tuesday Lazy
Wednesday Lazy Embarrassing pattern has developed.
Thursday 9.1 Tomahawk long loop. Felt great.
Friday 8.1 Tomahawk short loop. Tired but battled.
Saturday Rest Work commitment.
Sunday 13.0 Ran from Castle Rock to Parker.
Total 30.2 Bit more respectable than last week.

Weekly Running Miles for 3/18/13 - 3/24/13

Went backwards mileage wise this week. Started out great on Tuesday and Wednesday and then work got in the way.

Day Mileage Comments
Monday Rest Tired from Saturday's run still
Tuesday 8.6 Tomahawk short loop + Legend loop
Wednesday 8.2 Parker hills and trails
Thursday Rest No time
Friday Rest No time
Saturday Rest Work commitment
Sunday Rest Work again
Total 16.8 Embarrassingly low mileage

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Weekly Running Miles for 3/11/13 - 3/17/13

A low mileage week because this was the week I kicked myself in the pants to get serious about this whole running business. But I didn't get around to doing that until the week was almost half over. Had a couple of days on the Cherry Creek trail either after work or during lunch. Felt so incredibly slow and tired on Thursday but felt pretty good the other days. Saturday was able to get over to Waterton Canyon which is a place that I just love running; especially when I can get up on the Colorado Trail.

Day Mileage Comments
Monday Rest Lazy
Tuesday Rest Lazy
Wednesday 6 Easy - Cherry Creek (CC)
Thursday 8 Easy - CC again. Very tired.
Friday Rest Sore
Saturday 13.6 Moderate Long - Waterton Canyon/CO Trail
Sunday Rest Sore
Total 27.6 Low but a good starting point. Will only go up from here.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The story so far...Part 3

My Running History - Part 3


Post Leadville 2011 I had a few weeks of pretty good mileage because I was determined to come back in 2012 in very good shape. Of course, after a few weeks things began to wane and my motivation lessened. After all, Leadville 2012 was almost a full year away. I had plenty of time to slack off right? My first race of 2012 wouldn't be until the end of April and it would 'only' be a 50k. Easy peasy.

That seems to be one of my main problems with running. I don't generally 'like' the actual running. One of my main motivating factors for getting out the door is if I have a race coming up. That makes it easier to get out the door in the spring and summer because I have a race once a month generally. But over the winter there's nothing. If I'm out on a 8-mile training run on the flat Cherry Creek trail I'm fine for the first couple miles and then I just want it to be done and I slog through it. The only times I really really really enjoy running is when I'm out on a mountain trail and I can't see 20 yards down the trail because there's too many twists and turns; trees surrounding you; rocks to hop over, etc. Luckily I don't live too far from those types of areas here in Colorado but I have to drive to them. I can't just hop out my front door and run a mile or so to a trailhead.

So, the long and short of it was that I got lazy again over the winter and did most of my running on the Cherry Creek trail (a flat concrete bike/walk/run path behind my neighborhood). The end of April rolled around and the Cheyenne Mtn 50k (a hilly trail course) was on tap. I ended up DNF'ing in that race because at the halfway mark I got mentally deflated by running the exact same pace I had the previous year. I had run the whole way too and felt so much better than the previous year. In my mind I should have been a good 30 minutes faster to the halfway mark than last year. So I tried to tough it out for a few more miles and with the nonstop running my legs had gotten tired and once again my nutrition intake was all wrong so about a mile after the start/finish area (on the 2nd lap) I turned around and walked back and DNF'd.

I hated myself for it immediately afterwards. Started making plans for my next race. Met with my friend, Wyatt, who said that Cherry Creek really wasn't doing anything for me. He and I started meeting at the local high school track on Wednesday's to do repeats (400's, 800's, 1200's, 1600's). It was very motivating to get out of bed at 4:45 in the morning to go meet a friend and run together. The other days of the week I'd drive over to east Parker (which has hills) and do my 7 to 10 mile runs. I'd drive over to Deer Creek Canyon (very hilly trails) to do my long Saturday runs.

June 2, 2012 was the Golden Gate Dirty Thirty 50k just outside Golden, CO. It was a very hilly, very technical in places, course. I had no idea what my time would or should be. But I ran a smart race and I was ready for it. I finished with a time of 7:17 and I was pretty excited about it.

June 30, 2012 was the Leadville Marathon. Not all that technical but all trails and dirt roads with a massive climb up to Mosquito Pass at 13,200 feet elevation. This race is 'only' a marathon distance but feels like an ultra because of the altitude and climbs involved. I had the best race of my short career. For the first time ever I was actually looking at the people around me and racing against them. Normally, I go into races with a goal just to finish the course. I don't care about place or anything like that; just finishing. But this day I was locked into a great race and for the last 4 or 5 miles (all downhill) I passed people left and right. My fastest mile of the day was mile 26 as I'm racing to the finish line. Finished in 151st place out of 509 finishers.

With those races out of the way it was just a wait for August to roll around and get the Leadville 100 behind me. I had decent training through the summer. Found too many excuses to take days off again, but felt like this was my year. I was pumped.

As we lined up at the start I was excited to have a good race. Again, I was just focusing on finishing the race. I was racing against myself, my own body. I settled into a comfortable pace (which looking back was probably too fast) and I felt great. Over the course of the day issues started to arise (as they always do it seems in any ultra). My main problem that day was I kept having to pull over to urinate. Looking back it's possible I had an infection; that's how it felt). I came into Twin Lakes (40 mile mark) about 20 minutes slower than the previous year because of how many times I had to pull over. It was physically and mentally draining. Heading up Hope Pass (the big climb of the day) I got about halfway up and pulled over (once again) and passed out. Yep, fell straight forward passed out. Somehow my body turned onto my back as I fell so that nothing was injured. A couple of guys coming up behind me helped me out and said that I had been out for about a minute.

They got some water into me and made sure I was fine and continued on their way up the Pass. I laid down for a good hour or so and went back to the town of Twin Lakes and my race was over. Another disappointing year at the Leadville 100. Once again I just couldn't get my nutritional intake under control. It's a part of this whole ultra thing that I still haven't mastered (as if I've mastered any of it). I have a friend, Chris, who can take nothing but water and a Gel every 30 minutes for 24 to 28 hours. That's it! Water and Gels. In the ultra world everyone is 'an experiment of one' and so I still have a ways to go before I get it figured out.

I came back from Leadville wondering if I really wanted to continue with this whole running thing. A few days afterwards I decided NOT to do the Leadville 100 in 2013 but would attempt it again in 2014. Instead, I would be a pacer for my friend Wyatt in 2013.  I decided to take a few weeks completely off from running. A few weeks turned into a few months as the winter came. I finally got out the door for a few runs here or there but again found too many excuses to stay indoors. Over the winter I did mostly nothing.

And that puts us right up to the present where I'm at the end of a 'decent' week of training. Meaning I was able to get in a couple of moderate runs during the week and a fairly long run over the weekend. That's what I have to build off and I'm hoping to really ramp up the mileage as summer starts. The Cheyenne Mtn 50k is coming up in 6 weeks with the Greenland Trail 50k exactly 1 week later. I have 2 back-to-back 50k's coming up with precious little time to prepare for them but if I can stay consistent with training and start getting some good mileage on my legs I think I can do 'OK.'

You can see the rest of my schedule over to the right of the page. My focus this year will be to do as many 50-milers as I can. I want to go long long long so that I can start to figure out the nutrition intake game as I go farther. See, it's fairly easy to fake your way through 20 or 25 mile training runs on a weekend. But when you're going 50 miles (and eventually 100 miles) you can't fake it. You can't just push your body through it. You've got to have a handle on your calorie intake and that's what I want to focus on this year so that 2014 will finally be the year that I put a finish at the Leadville 100 behind me.

So, for this blog I'll be posting my weekly mileage along with race reports and any other running tidbits I feel like sharing. My thought is that it will help to keep me accountable and be a motivator to get me out the door for daily runs.

Thanks for reading this walk down memory lane. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The story so far...Part 2

My Running History - Part 2


August, 2010 rolls around and it's time to pace my friend at the Leadville Trail 100 Run. And I was nervous. The way it works is runners complete the first 50 miles by themselves and then they are able to pick up pacers who will run alongside them and carry stuff, encourage, set pace, etc. for the last 50 miles (One pacer at a time but you can split that last 50 miles into many pacers). My friend had 4 pacers, including me, and I was scheduled to run 10 miles with him between mile 76 and 86 over a very steep climb.

We were staying at Copper Mtn resort about 30 minutes away from Leadville and since the race started at 4:00AM we all got up around 2:30 or so to get down to the start line. Watching the start of the Leadville 100 is a thrilling experience. There were around 650 runners that day (a little over 300 would finish) and every one of them had a headlamp on so that as the race director blasted off his shotgun signaling 'GO' all you could see for a full mile down the road as they headed out was just a wave of bobbing headlamps. For myself as a non-runner, at the time, it was exciting to watch.

(By the way you can read his race report in 3 parts if you're interested: Part1Part2Part3)

The first aid station is 13 miles down the trail so the crew, including myself, headed over there to be ready for my friend to come through the aid station. The aid station is at a campground called MayQueen which is at the western tip of Turquoise Lake outside Leadville. It is a gorgeous place. Very woodsy and scenic. As we stood there in the cold (it was near freezing; in August no less) and watched the runners come through something spiritual started happening. It was incredibly inspiring to watch these folks coming through the aid station. Everyone was pumped, exhilarated, energetic. Each runner would come through and their crew would grab them and hand them whatever they needed, then they'd head through the aid station tent to grab anything else and then they were on their way again to the next aid station (which is another 10 miles away over a mountainous pass).

I knew right then I wanted to get back into running. And I knew right then that I didn't want to 'waste' my time just running 5k's or 10k's like I had done in high school and college. I didn't even want to 'waste' time running marathons. I wanted to run ultramarathons. For those unaware, an ultramarathon is basically anything over a marathon (26.2 miles) distance. Generally, the distances for ultras are 50k (31 miles) and up. The most popular ones are at the 100 mile distance. The Western States 100 trail run in California is probably the most popular race of them all. The Leadville Trail 100 run is considered one of the more difficult at the 100 mile distance because of some insane climbs and the altitude. The lowest elevation point is 9,200 feet and it peaks out at 12,600 feet at the top of Hope Pass. Incidentally, the background picture for this blog that you see is taken from the top of Hope Pass on a training run I did last summer.

Back to the Leadville race for my friend. He ended up not finishing that day. At one point he had taken the wrong trail where it wasn't marked well and had gotten off course enough that he woudn't have been able to make the cutoff times for the next aid station. That's right, not only do you have to worry about trying to slog through 100 miles but you have to do it within 30 hours and each aid station has a certain time where you need to be there or you're out of the race.

That day is when my new running career began. While I wasn't able to pace for my friend at the race I set my own goal that day to one day finish the Leadville Trail 100. The following week I started on a training program and the first Saturday back from the race I ran 10 miles. I was incredibly sore the next few days but it was a good sore. Remember, I had done nothing for years and years and was not in the right shape to be running 10 miles.

In December I signed up for the Leadville Trail 100 for 2011.

The following April, 2011 I ran my first ultra at the Cheyenne Mountain 50k on a cold, sometimes snowy, spring day. I finished in 6:35 having never even run more than 20 miles before that point. I remember looking down at my watch at the 26.2 mark and thought to myself 'I just ran my first marathon'; and I still had 5 more miles to go.

Two weeks later I ran the Greenland Trail 50k on a hot, windy May day. Finished in a time of 5:40. In June I ran my first 50 miler at the Northfork 50 mile race. That was tough but I was able to finish.

In August, 2011 I ran in the Leadville Trail 100. I was pumped, confident, and eager to make it to the finish line. I got to the top of Hope Pass (45 miles) and made the mistake of sitting down at the aid station (which is called the Hopeless aid station by the way). I was feeling incredibly nauseous and light-headed. One of the medical staff came over and asked me some questions about how I was feeling and long story short they ended up having me lie down in a med tent and put an IV in me. Once they do that I'm automatically cut from the race. My race was finished. 2 hours later I got up from the tent and had to hoof it 5 miles back to the nearest town (Twin Lakes) so my crew could pick me up.

I was deflated and frustrated. My first DNF (Did Not Finish). It was somewhat to be expected. I was very inexperienced at this distance having only trained for a year and I was not able to get a handle on my nutritional intake.

I got in the crew vehicle and told the guys that I was done with ultras. Of course, even on the 20 minute drive back to the house we were staying at I started to formulate plans about what I would do differently. And by the time I reached the house I was all pumped about the following year and trying it again.

Stay tuned for Part 3 (so much for being brief)...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The story so far...

Hello everybody. I've started a blog. I am an utter and total noob when it comes to this sort of thing. I read blogs all the time but I have never started one...until now. This blog is not to share my wit or knowledge with anyone...yet. Basically, this is just to give me a somewhat public kick in the pants regarding my running career. I'll be posting my weekly miles, race reports, etc. in an attempt to make this my 'accountability' partner in this endeavor.

These first few posts will most likely just be about how I got into running, where I'm at in my training so far, etc.

So without further ado, let me back up and give you my running history as briefly as I can (but since it's my blog I can be as long-winded as I want right? RIGHT?) UPDATE: Turns out I got very long-winded. What follows is just history that's mostly for my own benefit. Read on if you're interested.

My Running History - Part 1
End of my Freshman year in high school. The cross-country coach comes up to me after a baseball practice and says 'Hey I heard you're a good runner, why don't you come out for the cross-country team next fall.' No idea where he got that notion. My guess is that he was just fishing for skinny kids to populate his team with. So in August before my Sophomore year I went out for the first practice...WHICH WAS RUNNING 3 MILES UP AND DOWN HILLS AROUND A SOD FARM!!!!!!111. I had never run more than half a mile at one time in my entire life. I was able to hang with the seasoned guys for 1 mile and then walked it in for the remaining 2 miles. I was dead.

Next day, went to practice too sore to do anything and the coach says 'Mile repeats...3 of them'. I struggled as best I could through the first mile repeat. Then I went home. Just took off. Didn't want to be in cross-country anymore. Too hard.

Next day, I'm sitting at home after school in my room and my Dad comes in and says 'Why aren't you at practice?' I say 'Don't wanna do cross-country, not interested'. My Dad is generally a calm and gentle man; at times a pushover. This time, however, he put his foot down. 'You made a commitment to that team and you're at least going to follow through for 1 season. If after this season you're still not interested then you don't have to sign up for it next year.'

I share that story from my pre-running days because guaranteed I would not be where I am today if I had not had that conversation with my Dad that day (and I'm not just referring to my running career). I went to practice the next day and suffered through it. And then I started to get pretty good. My running just got better and better (naturally). I made very close friends with the guys on the team and ended up really enjoying cross-country throughout high school. In the Spring when baseball came around I decided against it and signed up for track instead so I could run the mile. Basically, when I look back at my high school days my memories are overwhelmingly flooded with cross-country and track meets and practices.

After high school I was able to get on a cross-country team in college (2nd fastest guy on the team).

After college I ran the Bloomsday run in Spokane, WA for 2 years (pretty big event) and did well and enjoyed it.


Got married, had kids, got lazy, got fat (not incredibly fat or anything; I'm a skinny guy by nature). In high school I can't quite remember how much I weighed but I think it was around 140 maybe a bit less (I'm 6'0" tall). Nowadays I hang out around 185 to 190.

My wife and I bought a treadmill a number of years ago and I would run on it occasionally but never more than 2 or 3 miles at a time. Was never consistent (except for 1 period of 4 months I ran every single day on it  a few years ago). I hated running on the treadmill and running outside was even harder! (I still hate running on the treadmill).

January, 2010 my family is over at a friend's house for New Year's Eve and he says 'Hey, you want to be a pacer for me at the Leadville 100 this year? You would probably need to run about 20 miles or so.' When he first said it I laughed it off as a joke. Then he said 'Serious'. I said 'No way man. I've never run more than 10 miles at one time in my life.' He said, 'You have until August to get in shape'. I said, 'Well, what the heck, let's do it'.

I did...nothing. I think I went out for a few 2 miles jogs around the neighborhood. I went hiking in a few places. My friend and I hiked up Pike's Peak in July of that year and it crushed me. When I got to the top (it's 13 miles up) I laid down and died. Could barely move. We ate some lunch up there and I said 'I'm going to need to take the train down'. My friend went to ask the train folks if I could get on and they said there was no room. There was no way around it. I had to walk back down. Of course going down is easier but it still sucked. Man did it suck. When we got to the car I was the most physically spent I had ever been in my life (and I went through Army basic training in my younger days). I told my wife I would never do that again (I went back and did it the next year in 2011 and would have done it last year if not for the fires).

After Pike's Peak I did...nothing.

Stay tuned for Part 2