Hedge your bets…

It’s always good to have options. ~ Ned Braden

BB10K: 40:07.18, 480th OA, 13th in AG

I like to look at every race as a learning opportunity. Two weeks ago, I would have thought it far-fetched to expect to break 41-minutes on the difficult Bolder Boulder course given how my speed was coming around following Boston (read: it wasn’t) but as race day drew nearer, my turnover improved and I actually thought I had a shot at a sub-39 at today’s race.

As you can see, that was not to be but the overall experience of my very first BB10K was very positive. I got some more “big race” experience, I got to race against some fast gents (and ladies) and I got in a great tempo effort without breaking myself. What may outweigh all of these, however, is that I got to fully appreciate the benefits of setting intermediate goals.

Big race: One would think that running with 54,000 of your closest friends would result in a fair amount of cluster fuckery, particularly in the early stages of the event. I have to give the BB10K crew props on this one for sure as their seeding system and overall organization proved to take a bit of the “big” out of my “big race” strategy. I was expecting to have to battle my way to my corral and then work through the frustration of crowds throughout the event (and much more so in the first couple of miles). The event start system was structured in such a way, however, that I was able to stroll up 8-minutes before my wave started, find my teammates running in the same wave and genuinely enjoy the early going of what I expected to be a chaotic start. Sure, there were some spazzy maneuvers and occasional crowds with which to contend, but nothing near what I was expecting. Kudos.

Speedy: The BB10K is a world-class race that draws fast runners from around the world and getting the opportunity to run among some of the world’s best is a treat. Throughout the week leading up to the race, Boulder streets were filled with world-class talent and it was terrific to get to see their prowess up close and personal. It was also quite nice to be able to run with others throughout an event vs. starting too fast, trying to hang with the front group, deciding that you are being an idiot and going out too fast, then dropping back into no-man’s land between groups for the remainder of the event. Not like that has happened to me or anything. *cough*

Effort: My race strategy was to stay in control and glide the first four miles then try to punch the last 2.2. I was able to accommodate these goals for the most part though I went a wee bit hard on the Casey hill just after mile 4 and had to recover on the following downhill and my punch lacked much… well… punch in the final 1/2 mile but I felt fine immediately following the race and am confident I will not miss any training volume due to the effort. Which probably really means I didn’t go hard enough but I certainly didn’t want this training race to get in the way of my training so I suppose I’ll chalk that up  in the “mission accomplished” column. Or something.

Goals: The biggest takeaway from the BB10K is that I neglected to set intermediate goals and my motivation suffered toward the end of the race. I left 7 seconds on the table for a sub-40 race and that is just lame. My only time-goal for the event was my ambitious sub-39 and once that became a statistical improbability, I had no other goals targeted and my focus waned. Poor planning on my part for sure but certainly something to take into consideration for future events. It is always a good plan to have something for which to strive even if your primary goal slips. Lesson learned.

All in all, I had a great day and am excited to give it another whirl next year. Hopefully by then I’ll have a faster qualifying time so I can race with the big dogs in the A wave. Since I am not really a 10K kind of runner, I suspect I will have to remain happy to finish 3+ hours in front of the elites.

~stubert.

Weekly summary extraordinaire…

Yeah man, but it’s a dry heat. ~ Hudson

A crazy week weather-wise devolved at the start to treadmill sessions then closed out with a solid long, easy snow run in Boulder. Funny how things can turn around. My running mileage lagged a bit for the week but when you toss in a skate-skiing session on Friday and the fact that the mercury at the casa on Tuesday and Wednesday was scraping the high negative 20s, I don’t feel too bad about how the first week of February turned out.

Monday’s easy run reinforced for me the value of the shake-out run. My legs were a bit sore and definitely on the cranky side after Sunday’s long effort and the first quarter mile of my run Monday left me thinking, “What the hell are you doing?” I have been at this long enough to know that if you stick with it, sometimes the early grumpiness wears off and after about 1/4 of a mile, my legs shook out and I started to feel really great. Just took it easy and let it develop: 3.31 in 00:30.

Tuesday’s group run was canceled due to extremely cold temps so after completing some early morning emergency house repair (you don’t want to know), I jumped on the treadmill briefly to get in a few miles before having to head into work. Nothing to write home about: 3.6 in 00:30.

One item of note, it is amazing how good -6° feels after crawling around in the snow in -26° temps.

Wednesday devolved as well and the 1:15 easy run I had on the schedule turned into a quick one: 5 in 00:41.

By Friday the frigid weather had departed the area and I was in the mood for a skate ski. I have been hoping to add skating to my regular regimen but for the second year in a row, it just hasn’t come to pass. This was only my second outing for the year but I felt amazing and was able to cover a LOT more ground in a shorter amount of time and without resorting to stopping on long uphills to catch my breath. Just cruised around a bit at Eldora: 6.34 in 00:50. Later that evening I jumped back on the ‘mill to get in a quick surge run. Had 45 on the schedule with 6, 20-second surges but figured the morning’s effort counted for something so cut it short. 6 surges, 3 miles, 24 minutes.

Given the lack of duration for my runs this week, I decided to opt out of downhill skiing on Saturday and headed in to do a tempo run with the Gijima group. We started at the East Boulder Rec Center and made our way along the Bobolink trail to Marshall road where we started what was supposed to be an 8-mile tempo run. I wasn’t feeling super great but just worked on my form and tried to lay down splits in the 6:30 range. Somewhat successful. We made it back to the start after about 6 miles of tempo so a few of us tacked on another mile and called it good: 10.71 in 1:20.

And to round out the week, I did a long, solo run this morning in Boulder. We got quite a bit of snow overnight so side streets were a bit of a mess. I started out on the Boulder Creek path, ran west for 3.5 miles then headed back to the path that parallels Broadway to the south. Though many of the pathways had been plowed, they were still a bit on the slow side but I made good time heading south back to Marshall, over to Cherryvale then back to the Creek path. I finished up with a bit of a fade on Goose Creek and surface streets but got in a good run at a pretty low level of effort: 20.38 in 2:45.

All in all, I am happy with where I am sitting right now. I am a little nervous about being able to get in quality runs prior to Boston but today’s 20 was confidence-boosting for sure. 10 weeks to go before my first big race of the year. I am planning to complete the Winter Distance Series with another 10-mile race on the 19th then will test the waters with a half maraton on March 6th in Denver. Either of these races could be complicated by weather conditions but I am hoping they will be able to show me something about my level of fitness heading into Boston. Time will tell. Conditions pending, I’d like to do another sub- 1:05 (perhaps even push that a bit lower but definitely work on a stronger finish) at the 10-mile event and will be looking for a sub- 1:26 half. At least those are the numbers that I am considering.

As always, I’ll keep you posted.

~stubert.

Bringing the heat…

Less plot. More fu. ~ Rach

Mon 31 May: 00:31, 2.75 miles, Red Plow barefoot
Tues 1 June: 1:12, 7.45 miles, Pirate Trail to Thorne surges
Wed 2 June: 2:21, 16.28 miles, Westview tempo
Thurs 3 June: 2:25, 9.03 miles, Janet’s house then Flagstaff/Green run/hike
Sat 5 June: 1:45, 10.37 miles, Casa trails
Sun 6 June: 3:51, 22.08 miles, Dirty Bismark to Flatirons Vista
Total: 12 hours, 67.96 miles, 7387 vertical

This past week saw a lot of great progress but one major set-back… the arrival of serious heat to the region. Monday-Saturday were all pretty mellow, temperature-wise but Sunday saw the first really hot day with which I have had to contend this year.

Right now, I am transitioning to time-based training vs. really trying to hit specific distances or paces but it is a little hard to break out of that pattern and I find myself tracking my progress even when I just need to be getting time in on my feet. It feels great to burn 10-minute miles on hilly trails but realistically, I need to get more adept at running a bit more slowly, conserving my energy and staying super relaxed. This, if you can believe it, is easier said than done.

Every run this week featured opportunities for learning and improvement and I took full advantage. While Monday and Tuesday runs were fairly routine, Wednesday featured an overall run that felt super relaxed with a higher pace than what is normal for me. I spun about 9 miles of warm-up then moved into tempo mode for another 5 or so. Overall, a solid effort with great results.

Thursday was a bit of a double with a short session with Janet Runyan where she helped me work on some techniques to improve my lean and relaxation and they seem to be paying off. Essentially working on lengthening the back of my neck and floating the top of my head up and forward to initiate my lean from there rather from my waist. Good stuff. Post run, I went to Chautauqua and ran/hiked Flagstaff and Green. Felt great.

Saturday I went for what is becoming a mainstay – the Casa Trails. These are some of my favorite/most familiar trails near my house. I can spend hours on these trails and not see another person. Just moving along quietly through the woods. Good times. Saturday featured more of the same – just fluid motion on mixed terrain.

For Sunday, I had a mellow, relatively short run planned and met with Bobby-T to spin a lap on the Dirty Bismark course south of Boulder. This is actually a pretty fantastic network of trails that loosely follows the Morgul-Bismark road bike course from the Red Zinger and Coors Classic days. My buddy, Ben Blaugrund, just won a Pro bike race on this course last week so it seemed appropriate. The only drawback to the course is one section that forces you to run along McCaslin Boulevard. Not the worst thing ever but if you are looking to stay off the slab, this section would blow that goal.

Bob and I finished up the loop in about 2.5 hours – a pretty good pace considering we weren’t really trying to push it. We stopped often along the route to read historical markers and walked most of the major hills. Once back at the car, I grabbed some more food and filled up with fresh water in hope of adding another 2 hours to the run. The Dirty Bismark route features absolutely no respite from the sun and, given the forecast heat on this day, was probably not the wisest choice. The tack-on of Flatiron Vista was not much better in the coverage department and the hours in 92+ degrees and no shade took its toll. Warm (and rapidly turning hot) water didn’t help either. By the time I had been out for 3:15, I knew that 4.5 wasn’t going to happen and I headed back to the car – dehydrated and very, very hot.

Lots of lessons were learned: Be prepared for the elements – bring ice and cold water (in a cooler, preferably). Select your route with thought to the conditions expected on that day. Drink more than normal. Roll with the punches.

~stubert.

Sixty…

I don’t like having you as my cousin… you’re tall and old. ~ Jack (my new step-nephew, actually)

Fri 23 Apr: 1:12, 8.65 miles, Air Force Academy Loops
Sun 25 Apr: 4:55, 28.5 miles, Niwot/North Boulder Loops
Weekly total: 9:45, 60.65 miles

Great week. Both training and otherwise. Friday was a bit of a cluster but the rest of the week featured solid training and good times.

The non-running highlight of the weekend was my dad’s wedding in Colorado Springs. He and his new bride, Donna hosted a wonderful weekend and are now in the air on their way to Hawaii for the honeymoon. Here’s the weekend recap:

Headed down to the Springs early on Friday, hoping to beat both traffic and pretty crappy weather. What should have taken about 2 hours turned into 3:20 with I-25 being turned into a parking lot for a good portion of the morning. So golf was out and watching it puke snow was in.

Dad arranged lodging at the Air Force Academy (he was a Major in the Air National Guard) and so we hung out there most of the afternoon. I had planned to hit some trails I used to ride a lot in college, but the snow and wind made that seem pretty fruitless. By mid-afternoon, I really needed to get my run on and headed down to the gym to log some treadmill miles. The room was way too hot so I bailed after 3/4 of a mile and decided to brave the outdoors. Fortunately it stayed relatively warm so the roads throughout the Academy fairly quickly melted off. Though it stayed windy, the street surface alternated between damp and wet. I selected a 6-mile loop (which turned out to be closer to eight) and got in a short run. Actually ended up feeling okay but got a little messed up given the mileage difference.

Friday night, we went to a party and met all our new relatives. Donna made special food for me (given my wacky vegan-ness) and it was wonderful to meet everyone and catch up with my brother and his wife, uncle and cousins. I decided to head home late Friday night and got to bed around 1:30. A bit of a long day but worth it.

Saturday, Rach and I headed back down for the actual wedding, which was a lovely event. Rach taught the little kids shame, even. Everyone should know that. We had one fairly major kink in the plans when one of our bunnies, Flea, got sick. We tried to get him to feel better before leaving for the event, but were unable to do so. So we brought a secret guest to the wedding carrying on a long and proud tradition of us bringing critters to family events. Why anyone expects otherwise at this point is beyond me.

Today, I got up early (after not a lot of sleep again) and jammed down to Boulder to run with the group. The run was a little slower than normal and I felt great despite the lack of sleep. Put in a strong effort and ended with about 28.5 miles in just shy of 5 hours. Run time was probably more like 4:40 or so. This pushed me up and over the 60-mile mark for the week. Good stuff.

Hoping to finish up the month with daily runs Tuesday-Friday. Heading to Palm Springs for another wedding on Friday, however, so that day may be a day off. Planning a decent run on Saturday but this week will be a bit on the low side in preparation for a big week the first week of May.

~stubert.

Week in review

Runnin’ with my brothers, headed for the home base
With a steady pace on the race we just faced
The road ahead goes on and on
This shit is gettin’ longer than a motherfuckin’ marathon

~N.W.A

Mon 29 Mar: 00:29, 2.97 miles, easy ‘hood run
Tues 30 Mar: 00:54, 4.73 miles, Janet’s house surges
Wed 31 Mar: 1:50, 12.25 miles, Gunbarrel tempo
Fri 2 April: 00:25, 3.06 miles, Cirque de la Butte
Sat 3 April: 00:39, 4.25 miles, Treadmill surges
Sun 4 April: 5:50, 30 miles, Cirque de Boulder

Week total: 10.3 hours, 57.5 miles
March total: 37 hours, 221.31 miles
YTD: 113 hours, 575 miles
*hour totals include all activity

Post race, I actually felt okay. Not particularly damaged at all and ready to keep rolling the mileage. Took Sunday off then did a quick little jaunt around the ‘hood and felt fine.

Tuesday, I met up with Janet and did some easy surges out in East Boulder. We worked on some form issues but really things are coming around nicely in the form department. Still trying to figure out shoes and insoles but that may be an ongoing task.

For my tempo run on Wednesday, I had a great time running with Art and the crew. Started out solo and then bumped into Art doing his warm up. Joined him and ran to the start. Felt great, actually, and was excited to see what I could do with the tempo portion of the run. Janet had me teed up for a little shorter distance this week to recover fully from Saturday’s race and I started with Art. Spun negative splits each mile and finished very strongly. Just what I have been looking to do since starting tempo work several months back. Good stuff!

I creamed my toe (no roast beef) Wednesday night with a door and thought I might have broken the little bugger so I just did a short walk (about 1.5 miles) to test the waters. It wasn’t too bad – hurt a bit in the shoe but didn’t really bother me too much. So that was pretty good news. Something is definitely not completely right with it but it doesn’t seem to affect my running so I am going to choose to ignore it for now.

I had two days left on my Crested Butte pass so tested cramming my foot into my boot (all systems go) and jammed over to Gunny for the night on Friday to ski, hang with my pops and get in a short run. The skiing wasn’t too bad for last-week-of-the-season action but I was hitting it like a chump. Spun a lap around the town of CB before dinner and felt pretty great, actually, then gorged myself on Donita’s food.

Decided to head back home Saturday instead of braving the slopes as a storm was rolling in and I didn’t want to get caught up in heinous I-70 traffic on the way. Stopped at the gym and ran briefly but didn’t feel super red hot. Did ~45 minutes with some surges.

Sunday we were up early for bunny duty then I decided to tackle what has been a bit of a nemesis – the Cirque de Boulder. This fun run takes one completely around the PRB and manages to do so mostly on dirt. I felt great for the first half or so then started to fade a bit once I got into more technical, hilly, sloppy terrain. By mile 25 I was pretty hammered but vowed to finish up. Ended up with a not-too-shabby 5:50ish for 30 miles with a lot of walking in the last 5. It wasn’t pretty but I got ‘er done.

Think my main problems during this run were pacing and hydration (which led to bonking). I definitely bit off more than I could chew but was really pleased that I managed to finish it up. I need to work on hydration across the board and get more used to carrying water in a pack vs. bottles. There are a lot of advantages to the pack but one significant disadvantage is being able to monitor your consumption more closely. This will be something on which I work on future training runs.

So that was my week. All in all, pretty solid effort and a lot of good training as I continue to prep for the LT100. More to come this week!

~stubert.