Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekly Summary February 20-26

Monday- 5M, :44; Easy run from home. 

PM 9.5M, 1:14; 300Ft Climbing; Easy run on the bike path. 

Tuesday "Green Mtn Middle Time Trial"- 14M, 2:07, 2,500Ft Climbing; After attending cadet PT at 6AM at the Balch field house, I did a 2 mile warm up as the cadets were stretching and headed to Gregory Canyon trailhead.  I was excited and motivated to run a faster time than last weeks "med-hard" effort up Green Mtn.  Things started well and I was going at around 80% up Gregory Canyon, then to Green Mtn Lodge.  At the lodge I was about 90 seconds (16min and change) faster than last week.    Heading up to the fork for Ranger and Greenman, I was confident a sub 40 was going to happen today.  Just past the turn up Greenman, I ran into dense snow drifts on the trail.  The drifting was from Monday night's heavy wind, but was relatively infrequent.  A little annoyed, I still felt I could get a good time and be well under 40.  Unfortunately, the drifting only got more consistent resulting in a slow, energy sucking battle to the final switchbacks.  Although my effort level increased to 90%+, I wasn't going to get my ego boosting sub 40 ascent today.  What I did get going up Green Mtn, is a great workout and a 41:19, which is actually a minute 26 faster than last week's jog up Green.  I refuse to move on to another route up Green for my TT until I break 40 on this middle section.  

Wednesday Hurricane Running- 4.8M, :40; Easy run from home.  Right leg started to feel tight in the hip and groin area.  

PM 8.25M, 1:12, 600Ft Climbing; I ran from work up to the Mesa trail and down Skunk canyon to the cemetery.  Mesa and Skunk were super muddy, but fun.  Once I reached the cemetery I experienced the strongest winds I have ever felt while running.  The wind blew me off the trail and down part of a hill for 20-30 feet.  I was amazed at the strength of the wind.  I "miss out" not having a TV and hearing the facts and stories from wild weather days, but I am certain this was one of the windier days in a while.  Back on campus I was literally stopped in my tracks, blown off the sidewalk, etc...  I did hear a story from John Tribbia of a stick penetrating the wood siding of his house.  My TFL muscle was sore and I could feel some bad tightness in my IT band.  Back home my IT was screaming at me when I used a foam roller.      

Thursday Tempoish Run with Aaron- 12.25M, 1:30, 300Ft Climbing;  I ran with Aaron Kennard this morning (his birthday) for a 6.5 mile tempo run on the bike path.  The bike path was slushy, snowy and wet, but footing was manageable.  We hit splits around 6:15-20 while we chatted comfortably until we turned around.  On the way back and up, things got a bit more challenging and I hit splits around 6:05-6:15.  Overall, not a "hard" workout, but good leg turnover with great company.  While it wasn't bad, my IT and TFL were certainly hurting.  

PM 4M, :30; snuck a run in at lunch on the bike path.  The IT was still talking to me.   
We had Marcus over for dinner and he did a series of treatments to my IT and TFL.   Very concerned the ramp up of mileage without enough stretching and visits to Marcus were going to result in a bum IT.

Friday- 10M, 1:40, 950Ft Climbing; Ran my hillier route of Wonderland this morning.  

PM 6.5M, Easy run around town. 
I could feel my IT/TFL, but still only at an annoyance level of pain.  

Saturday Slush, Mud and Eldo- 14.5M, 2:08, 1,800Ft Climbing; Ran from the most southern trailhead on 93 over to the S. Boulder Creek diversion and into Eldorado Canyon.  I looped back around with some off-trail running.  Today was certainly very wet (as in water flowing down trails) with serious mud and shin deep slush due to temps breaking into the 50s for the first time this month.  30 minutes into the run I stopped making serious efforts to avoid  the elements.  
After Marcus' treatment Thursday, stretching and hitting the foam roller multiple times a day, the IT tightness issue was resolved!  
Approaching Eldo

Sunday Long Run with UROY Dave- 25M, 3:50, 2,000Ft Climbing; Met up with THEE Dave Mackey for a run from Hiel Ranch to Picture Rock trail and into Lyons then back.  The run started with some unexpectedly cold winds, but things quickly became warmer as we got into the woods.  Dave and I took it easy, talking about all sorts of pertinent things and random things running on mostly dry and snow free trail.  The rocky climb up Heil was fun, followed by the awesome descent on Picture Rock trail.  I love biking this route and running this route, but the Picture Rock section is really fun with its smooth trails and open views.  Once in Lyons Dave and I filled up with water and headed back.  Picture Rock's red dirt turned a bit muddy, but nothing terrible.  We cruised and chatted the whole way back and both felt surprised to be back at the truck and done with a near 4 hour run.  This was my first long run with someone else in almost a year... I think.  I can't believe how quickly this long run went by.  
UROY Dave Mackey 
Dave's new car

Summary: This was really a fun week of running.  While I managed to run a lot of miles have a medium effort tempo a fun long run and a good workout on Green, my energy levels running and muscle health seems to be very good right now.  I did have a close call, thank you Marcus, with my IT, but overall very happy with my training and health.  
Next week I hope to keep the mileage high, add some more climbing, keep up the TT and run the tempo faster.  If all goes to plan, I will be in a good place entering the two week window before the Chuckanut 50k.  

Weekly Totals

114 Miles
8,250 Ft Climbing
40 Miles Biking



Monday, February 20, 2012

Week Summary February 13-19

A return to mountain trail running
Last weekend's race was a turning point for my running fitness, but this week was even more rewarding with a bit of a rekindling of my passion for running long miles in the mountains, albeit doing so in February.  Everyone has doubts, ups and downs, etc... and on a run at the beginning of the week I questioned if I would rather be doing something else.  Mainly I was questioning trail ultra vs shorter racing and training.  Saturday, my doubts were turned around.

Monday- 12M, 1:51, 1,000Ft Climbing.  Ran from campus to the mesa trail and out to shadow canyon and back.  A bit tired from the weekend's race.  
Tuesday- 13M, 2:22, 3,200Ft Climbing.  Ran from home to Eben G Fine, up panorama point to Flagstaff mtn, to green mtn lodge, up greenman to Green Mtn (1:21); back down ranger to green mtn lodge and home the same way.

Totally Me
Wednesday "Triple Run with Fitness Test"- 8M, 1:04; 550Ft Climbing.  Ran wonderland trail. 
PM: 4M, :28. Quick run from work.

PM2: 4M :29. Another quick run, as I had to do a timed 1.5M under 9:24 for my fitness test.  This was my last fitness test in the AF.  I managed to gut out the max pushups (57) and sit-ups (54) in a minute to finish my career with a perfect 100% on my fitness tests.  My pecs and abbs were sore until Sunday.        

Thursday "First Green Time Trial of the Year"- 14.37M, 2:27, 3,000Ft Climbing.  My first "Time Trial" workout up green since April.  While I didn't jog, I didn't run this at maximum effort, more like a medium-hard effort.  I ran the couple miles from North Boulder Park to Chataqua, up to Gregory Canyon TH and the start.  I ran up Gregory Canyon to Greenman to the peak of Green Mountain in approximately 42:45.  I could have run a few minutes faster, but still, I have some work to do to get back into 36:04 shape.  I ran from the summit down bear canyon.  The trail form the 4 way intersection to the power line ridge does not mirror the actual trail during summer and the route is "exciting", with the apex being two 30-40 foot straight down descents.   Once down bear, I ran mesa trail then home.  Fun.  
Friday- 10M, 1:16, 400Ft Climbing.  Ran on the Boulder Creek bike path with part of the run with the CU AFROTC Cadets doing their PT/Run. 
PM: 4.5M, :35.  Felt good on an easy loop around Boulder.
Saturday "Basic Boulder Marathon"???- 23M, 4:18 4,500Ft Climbing.  Friday night I decided I would run up Flagstaff Peak (not exactly a prominent peak), Green Mountain, Bear Peak, South Boulder Peak and then down Shadow Canyon to the southern terminus of Mesa Trail and back home via the trails along S.Boulder Creek and Boulder Creek. 
I got started on this run a little before 6AM.  I ran with 4oz or so of Wilberry Liquid Shot EFS by 1st Endurance and my hand water bottle.  My legs going up Panorama Point were less than spry, but warmed up and felt better by Flagstaff.  Alpenglow is a drug, with the effects on my psyche immediate as soon as it illuminates the mountains I am running.  I made the short detour to hit Flagstaff's "peak", then over to Green Mountain Lodge. 

Just kidding.
I was blessed with a 1/2 inch dusting of snow overnight to improve traction on the solid snow and ice pack across all of Chataqua Park.  All week I have run without my spikes, as I misplaced them in my recent move.  No spikes has slowed a few runs down a bit, but overall the running has been pretty good on the dry snowpack as it has been staying pretty cool (40s). 
Nearly every time I run up Green Mtn via Greenman, I get "Stairway to Heaven" in my head at the long staircase near the summit.  I made Green Mtn in 1:28, about 7 minutes slower than earlier this week, but I was a bit tired and taking it easy for the long effort ahead. 

Bear Peak
On the way to Beark Peak I hit my only "trusted" water stop, which is Bear Creek.  With SO much snow and cold weather, I only had one realistic place to fill my hand water bottle and even then I had to lay completely down on the trail and reach down to the water.  On my first attempt I managed to scoop tons of dirt, weeds and mud.  Back down again on my second attempt I got a better fill, but got weeds in the the bottle.  On my 3rd attempt I got what I thought was a good one.  I looked at the water and saw a snake/worm like organism swimming around with a hairy body, not good.  Finally, totally snowy and cold, I got a debris free fill.  I had to make the creek water last for a while and I was a bit grossed out, so I put the bottle behind my back tucked into my pants for a while before I drank it. 
As always, Bear Peak was awesome fun and the views from the top are truly wonderful.  I made my way down and over to the final short climb to the tallest peak, South Boulder Peak.  On my way to SoBo, I decided I would mark my time from Eben G Fine to South Boulder Peak and see if GZ would add this route to his “Fastest Known Time” listings.  My split from Eben G Fine to SoBo was 2:10.  2:10 is nothing to brag about for the approximate 8.6 mile route.  I am confident a lot of people could and have run faster, if anything it is a bit of a February benchmark for me for right now. 
The descent down Shadow Canyon was scary.  I finally hit terrain, steep icy/slick snowpack, where I really "needed" spikes.  It wasn't until Shadow Canyon that I saw another person... pretty cool.  It took a lot of effort to actually keep a running pace and not fall.  I managed to get down this steep canyon with only one full on fall to my butt, which luckily didn't hurt.  Once down, I ran to the south east corner of the park via trails I usually never run.  I started to head back north via mesa to blue stem which I took to Hwy 93.  From the Hwy I planned on running S. Boulder and Boulder creek trails home, but at this point I was really getting tired and was happy to settle for a run on 93/Broadway home for about 23 vs at least 27 via the creeks.  I did manage to turn a corner and start to recover once on the roads running the last 7 miles at 7:30ish pace. 
After the long run, I ran into Adam Chase and was informed the route I chose, besides taking mesa all the way back vs Broadway, makes up "The Basic Boulder Marathon".  Cool.  I look forward to doing it again.  I would also like to do this run and add Mt. Sanitas, which would cover pretty much all the peaks spanning the front range of Boulder. 

Sunday- 14M, 2:07, 750Ft Climbing.  Ran at 5:30AM on wonderland north to the tunnel under 36 and on the trails towards Boulder reservoir.  I startled a horse by the trail, then stopped and gave him some petting and a taste of my salty, sweaty glove.  Back home the same way. 
PM: Did an 8 mile ski tour up to Ouzel falls in the south part of Rocky Mountain National Park with Maggie and Felix.  It was great fun skiing down the trails with Felix on my back, he had a blast.  Anyone looking for a 8-10 mile awesome trail run, I would highly recommend the trail to Ouzel falls and lake as it is packed out perfect for spiked running. 

Weekly Summary-
Great week, felt good.  I'll normally do a tempo once a week, but more of the same for the next month.
13,400 Feet Climbing
107.3 Miles  
8 Miles Ski Touring
35 Miles Biking (to work and back and around town)

Monday, February 13, 2012

2012 USATF Cross Country Championship/Armed Forces Championships

I had an awesome time at the USA XC Championships in St Louis Missouri this weekend.  The Air Force team came away with wins for both the women and men's team (4th year in a row for both the men and women) at the Armed Forces Championships!

Great Bib #

 After a rough last two months dealing with 2 colds, a stomach virus, a DNF at Bandera, moving and my head wound, this last weekend was truly a significant turning point.  I ran 40:35 for 12K (7.5 miles) for an average pace of 5:25 per mile.  The weather was cold, low 20s, and windy.  The course was relatively flat with somewhere around 75 feet of climbing per 2K loop.  The footing was a bit rough with frozen dirt, mud and grass with patches of sloppy mud and grass.

My goals for the race were to run as well or better than last year, be the AF's 5th runner (out of 8), and run sub 5:30 pace.  More specifically on splits, I wanted to run sub 17 for 5K, sub 34 for 10K and speed up the last 2k.  I ended up running 6th of 8 on our best team performance ever, 34 seconds behind our 5th guy (a 3:40 1500 meter runner).  I ran 5:25 pace and came through the 5K in 16:52, the 10K at 33:56 and sped up the last 2K.  I ran almost the same time as last year's San Diego race, on a more challenging course.  So overall, I was very satisfied with my performance and exceeding nearly all my goals.  Brian Dumm, 2010 JFK winner and AF teammate, ran a great race coming in at 39:35 as well!  Watch for Brian this year as he plans on running more ultras… 
Men's 1st Place AF Team

From the gun through the finish, I felt unbelievably "good".  After a full year of ultra-trail specific training and racing combined with now being 33 years old (there was only one guy who was as old as me who placed higher... the next place up), I feared running sub 6 pace at a cross country 12k "sprint" might be a painful and potentially bad experience. 

I ran an even paced race, stayed under control and never felt like I was in danger of slowing or hitting the wall.  After the race I was a bit concerned I might have been too conservative, but after thinking about if for a day or two, I think I came pretty close to running my max... I just had a well planned and executed run.  After 6 years of doing this race, despite the race being out of my focus areas, I guess I figured it out a bit. 

Air Force Men's and Women's 1st Place Teams

Winning the Armed Forces Championship is awesome, but I am also very encouraged to see that I have a good base of speed endurance and strength.  I will now focusing on hill climbing and long endurance (I've been really looking forward to this transition) in preparation for the Chuckanut 50K and the Leona Divide 50 Mile, which are "faster" trail ultras that will hopefully complement my current fitness.  

Lastly, almost more valuable that the actual race itself, was hanging out with my AF running friends and teammates.  There is something to be said about being part of a team that gets together a couple times a year to race.  We had a very fun night celebrating and dancing after the race in St Louis.