It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness. ~ Seneca

Wed: 1:34, 11.25 miles, Snowpacked and icy Boulder road tempo
Thurs: 00:20, 2 miles, Treadmill session with Janet
Sat: 00:32, 3.4 miles, Treadmill surges
Sun: 3:47, 23.5 miles, North Boulder Hygiene loop
Tues: 00:50, 5.86 miles, Boulder Creek Path surges

Playing a bit of catch up after a hectic week and jam-packed weekend. Still have some residual tightness in my right glute/hamstring I am trying to sort out but have gotten in several great runs despite the wackiness.

Last Wednesday, I missed hooking up with the crew due to work obligations and had to wait until later in the afternoon to get in my scheduled tempo run. It was pretty chilly (15°F or so) and snowing when I started from central Boulder and made my way west on the Creek Path. I tried to keep my heartrate below 150 (and actually, at the time, thought I was doing an okay job of this) but the splits don’t lie and I guess I pushed it a bit on the warm up. Not a big deal given the weather. Had to keep the blood flowing for sure.

Once I reached Eben G. Fine Park, I headed onto surface roads and started my tempo after about 35 minutes of warm up. It was definitely game on after that as I rolled up 4th and dropped down Kalmia. One thing I do love about Boulder is that they tend to pay more attention to bike paths than the streets and Kalmia was a bit of a mess. Lots of snow-covered ice and slippery sections made for interesting and exciting running – particularly at tempo pace. I fared quite nicely, however and ended up with a solid effort for the day. Blew up just a smidge toward the end after getting stuck at a light or two, losing my mojo a bit and getting a bit chilled but all in all, a great run.

Thursday, I had a session with Janet Runyan and, given that it was all of 7°, we opted to hop on the treadmill instead of driving around with her windows rolled down. Janet has me pretty dialed in at this point and I showed her a couple of new tricks I have been employing to try to help drive my hips forward and she pointed out a some other techniques I could use to relax a bit more and get a bit more grounded. I can’t really say enough good things about where she has gotten me over the past 9 months. My form has improved, my fitness is way up and, though I am still nursing a few goofy aches and pains, I am feeling like I am definitely on the right track for a great year in 2010.

Saturday, Rach and I went to see the Met’s broadcast of Der Rosenkavalier. Fantastic opera and amazing performances. We even managed to get home in time for me to jam over to the gym for a quick run on the treadmill. Only did 32 minutes and 3 surges but it shook out some of the kinks from sitting most of the day. Glad to have that resource available for sure.

I met with the group on Sunday this week for my long, slow run. We hooked up in north Boulder and spun a quick loop on clear surface roads and snowpacked side roads then headed west and back north to Hygiene. These roads are quite familiar from my days racing bikes and I never even conceived that one day I would be running the same routes on which I spent so much time perfecting my sprint and chasing down breaks. Pretty cool, actually.

I actually felt amazing for the first two hours of the run and spent most of that time spinning sub-10s and chatting comfortably with Janet and Art Ives, a top-five Leadville finisher and all around nice guy. He also coaches runners and is never at a loss for amazing stories and solid advice about how to improve my game. We burned a lap southwest of Hygiene then Art headed back to Boulder while Rebecca and I spun one more circuit then followed. By this point, my heartrate was staying up for some reason but I felt okay so am guessing there was some interference or something. Maybe I was working harder than I realized but I was breathing comfortably so I am not sure what was going on. I was pretty ready to be done once we got back to the cars, to be honest, but it was a great run for sure.

I was a little sore afterward and had a good soak in an ice bath once I got home. Stretching, compression socks, lots of fluids and some killer grub from Rach did the trick to get me feeling much better very quickly.

Mild soreness on Monday dissipated by Tuesday and it was a gorgeous day for a run. I was down in Boulder anyway and took advantage of the spring-like weather (mid 50s, sunny, no wind) for a jaunt up the Creek path and some surges. Felt maybe a little clunky to start but kept a mellow 9:15 pace for my warm up then did 8 1×1 surges. Dropped back down for a sub 9 finish that felt really amazing. Almost mechanical in how I was turning over the legs with power and efficiency. Hoping that I get that feeling more and more as the season progresses. Really a fun run.

So that brings us up to date. Sorry for the lapse… hectic has been the word that best describes my world right now. But getting out for a run always seems to bring everything back into focus.


Ups. Downs…

Nothing more foolish than a man chasin’ his hat. ~ Tom Reagan

Sat: 00:40, 4.3 miles, Treadmill surges
Sun: 2:23, 14 miles, Boulder slow run
Mon: 00:45 weights
Tues: 00:48, 4.9 miles, Neighborhood surges

If I have learned anything over the past several years of running, it is never a good idea to obsess too deeply over any given day’s effort. Certainly there will be times when your performance does not match up with your expectations – I am not saying you shouldn’t invest some time trying to sort out the why – but I have found that beating yourself up about an off day is rarely productive.

After Friday’s day off (intended to ski with my dad and his fiancée but the weather didn’t cooperate), I got back to business on Saturday with a good ski with good friends and a quick run to shake out the cobwebs a little bit. Pete, Edy and I hit the Basin in the morning and conditions, though still wanting, were a lot better than the last time I was up. More terrain open which meant I was actually a bit sore the next day from using muscle groups that haven’t gotten a lot of action over the past 8 months. I hit the treadmill on the way home and felt like I was ready for Sunday’s effort.

Janet asked that I try to tone it down a bit for Sunday’s run since the last three efforts were a bit higher than prescribed so the goal for Sunday was to keep the heartrate down and just have fun. I headed west along a route that took me to the far western edge of Boulder then worked my way south along city streets, eventually meeting up with the familiar system of Boulder’s vast network of trails. These were snowpacked and icy for the most part so I donned my YakTrax and made my way up Enchanted Mesa to Mesa then down Bear. Other than residual soreness from Saturday’s double-up, I felt pretty great. I was able to move at a relatively steady pace without spiking the heartrate. Just steady, relaxed and easy.

I made my way back northeast, via Boulder’s equally awesome network of bike paths and wound my way back to my car with the plan being to use this as a staging area to refuel. As you have read, I have had some ongoing issues with knee pain in the medial posterior region of my right knee. This cropped up again on Sunday’s run and it was really bugging me by the time I made it back to my car. I also was experiencing some unbelievable chafing for some reason and these, combined with a storm quickly moving in from the west and my having ditched my jacket at Pete and Edy’s place early in the run (temps were much milder than I expected), pushed me to the decision to call it a day with only 14 miles and 2:23 covered out of a projected 24/3:50. Not a shining moment but one on which I refused to dwell (especially given that the skies opened up with a serious snowstorm no more than 10 minutes after I called it a day).

I was still a bit sore on Monday and went to the gym to work in some upper-body weights just to knock the rust off a little bit and try to get more consistent about full-body strengthening. Yesterday, I was back in action with a nice little run around the ‘hood on snowpacked and icy roads. I then found a relatively flat section that was also dry on which to do some surges. These felt a bit harder than normal (mostly because the odd numbered surges were slightly uphill and into a headwind) but I really focused on staying relaxed and using good form over blazing speed (which, you are probably aware, is not really in my skillset anyway). It felt great to get out and I was able to work on some stride adjustments throughout the run that appear to relieve some of the wackiness I have been experiencing with my hamstring.

Today’s planned group run was kiboshed by work priorities so I’ll run solo this afternoon and get in some good tempo work. Planning to continue to test this new form to see if it is something I should work into my regular stride. I am sure Janet will have some recommendations and feedback when I meet with her tomorrow.

All in all, though last week was not my finest effort (only ran about 30 miles), I learned a lot, had fun and continue to be consistent which, at this stage of the game, is probably more important than actual numbers. I feel that I continue to make progress and that is the key.

See you out there.


Trigger pulled…

Got my hand in my pocket and my finger’s on the trigger. ~ Beastie Boys

Wed: 1:30, 10.5 miles, Boulder tempo on snow

Just signed up for the Moab Red Hot 50K event February 13th. Pretty excited, to be honest. Looking forward to getting back out there and doing an early season event.

Yesterday, I headed down to Boulder and did a run on mostly snowpacked and icy roads. Warmed up for 30 minutes then did 1 hour of tempo. Didn’t feel like it but I churned out 10.5 miles total. Pretty sweet effort for a Stu. Janet worked on a couple things with me to try to get me to ground my left side a bit more to open up my right hip and, though it felt a bit wonky and ended up affecting other parts of my bod, did seem to make everything feel “easier”. Easier is good, for sure.

Was going to head up to Eldora for a few turns today but the schedule booked up and we lost water in the kitchen (stove went out last night, ugh). So I’ll stick around the house, get some work done, try to get the water back up and running and then head to the gym later for a quick run (most likely). It’s 5° out right now and my screw shoes are frozen so I’m guessing I’ll opt for the wuss route today.


Links, snow and walls…

He may have driven us into a wall, but at least he didn’t blink. ~ Jon Stewart

Fri: Golf @ Deer Creek
Sat: 00:40, 4.19 miles, Snow trails and surges
Sun: 3:30ish, 18ish, LSD bonk-a-thon

Where’d the time go? After last week’s efforts, I tossed in some golf with my pops then got back on the running plan for a nice little jaunt on Saturday near the house then a long, slow run on Sunday that was pretty awesome for the first 2+ hours then turned south quickly. Headed out from the Cottonwood trailhead in Boulder and made our way north to Jay then up past the Res and on to the Eagle trailhead. It was a beautiful day for a run and there were tons of people out enjoying the cool, clear weather. I ran for a bit with Janet Runyan along the Eagle trail until she turned around to head back home. The group split apart as we headed west and by the time we reached the Foothills trail, I was running comfortably with Art Ives, a top-10 Leadville finisher.

Art and I made our way south along the Foothills trail, up and over the ridge to Sanitas and then back down to Eben G. Fine Park where we went our separate ways. I needed to get in 3:10 for the day so jammed up and over the flank of Flagstaff and back down to Chautauqua. This… was ill-conceived and given my lack of water and food, quickly made for the rapid approach of the proverbial wall. So I sucked it up and kept going since my car was on the other side of town and I wasn’t about to let a little thing like 6 miles get me down.

I made my way over to the Boulder Creek bike path and started to work a run/walk cycle that eventually got me where I needed to go, albeit much more slowly than I had anticipated. But that is what happens sometimes, particularly in ultras… you have to just suck it up and keep moving. All told, it was a good run and I learned a lot. Plus, I wasn’t too destroyed the following day as I was able to rehydrate and get some calories moving quickly. A good day of training, for sure.

I took Monday off then didn’t manage to get out for a run on Tuesday so I am really interested to see how today goes. There is snow in Boulder so it could be a total cluster but I’ll go give it a whirl and report back soon.


Location, location, location…

Perfect practice makes perfect. ~ Vince Lombardi

1:05, 6ish, surges

One of the things I love about living where we do is our proximity to interesting people and terrain. In the winter, running in the high country becomes somewhat challenging as trails disappear beneath drifts of snow, the wind kicks it up to eleven and the temps drop. The Boulder/Denver basin, however, sees many days of sunshine and warmer temps that allow runners to get out and enjoy a wide variety of trails and safe running circuits. You can ski in the morning then drop down to Boulder and get in 20 miles in the afternoon. No sweat. (Well, maybe a little sweat.)

Today I headed down early to drop our kitty off at the vet then got a little work done and ran a few errands before heading out to Janet’s for our regularly scheduled training session (just a portion mapped there… forgot my Garmin). I warmed up in shorts and a Patagonia Capilene 1 T-Shirt (yeah, it was lightweight t-shirt weather) then worked with Janet on surges. Felt pretty great, actually. We worked on getting me to initiate the stride from my hips instead of my feet and I felt like I was really starting to get it. Sweet!

Then I went to Shirley for a great (if brutal) massage, picked up Beep and jammed back up to the hills. I did pick up some screws while down in Boulder to make some screw shoes. Probably not a bad addition to the gear list… just in case.


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