Fall to winter…

Man imposes his own limitations, don’t set any. ~ Anthony Bailey

Been taking things a bit easy of late and work has been slammin’ so that has kept me very busy. Still managing to get in some decent running though my volume has been off of a bit. Still gunning for a 2500 mile year and need to step it up a bit in November/December to make that mark.

I have been nursing a calf/Achilles tendon goofiness for the past couple of weeks that seems to crop up after 5 miles or so of running. Definitely wanting to take care of this rather than allow it to become a chronic problem so my longer runs have not been particularly long. Spun 10 on Sunday on trails near my house that take me into Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Still not much snow in that area of the woods but one can sense that it is on its way. Probably not many weekends left of uninhibited high-country trail running so I am enjoying it while I am able.

Very excited about the addition of a Sole F85 Treadmill to the arsenal for this winter. Much more convenient than hitting the gym and it forced me to rearrange the office a bit and commit to a stand-up desk (which I built over the weekend). Still need to sort a few items out in there but it is coming together nicely.

I couldn’t find another good marathon to run this year so will focus my attention on running a sub-3 next season. I am planning to work in a 5K and 10K before the end of the year and hope to put together a couple more long-ish adventure runs before we get completely socked in with snow. We’ll see if those get done before it just becomes silly.

One race that is definitely on the schedule for ’11 is the San Francisco Marathon in late July. That isn’t really a PR kind of race but it should be a blast. Really looking forward to that one. Will have to sit down and figure out the rest of my schedule soon. As always, I’ll keep you posted.

~stubert.

Dialing it in…

This is out of our range and it’s grown. ~ Kurt Cobain

Mon June 21: 00:29, 2.87 miles, Casa Trails barefoot
Tues June 22: 1:06, 6.68 miles, Janet’s house
Wed June 23: 2:55, 16 miles, Zoo Loop GGCSP
Thurs June 24: 2:17, 7.92 miles, Arapaho Glacier Trail
Sat June 26: 2:34, 13.88 miles, Casa Trails + barefoot
Sun June 27: 7:46, 37.66 miles, LT100 Start > Twin Lakes
Total: 17:08, 85.01 miles, 11,815 vert

Interesting week of running with highs and lows throughout. Overall, I am feeling fit but still have some work to do before the LT100 if I am going to perform well there. It’ll come.

The first runs of the week were really business as usual and I have been feeling really great on all my shorter efforts. I have been tossing in big ascents up to altitude every week and those just feel better and better the more I do them and the higher I get on the mountain so I’ll keep throwing those in the mix as they seem to be working well for me. It is gorgeous up high as well with tons of marmots running about and the wildflowers really starting to pop.

The big event for the week was Sunday’s self-supported effort on the first 38ish miles of the LT100 course: Start to Twin Lakes. The day started early with my alarm waking me at 3:45 for the drive up to the course. I dragged my trailer up with my motorbike to make the self-support system complete and, after stashing provisions in a couple of locations along the course (and a couple of misguided attempts to find a shortcut back to the highway), made it to Twin Lakes, got the bike off the trailer and headed back to the start in Leadville. Gear stashed, shoes on and I was ready to roll around 8:15.

I actually felt great and had a little bit of a tough time going slowly enough to meet my prescribed splits. I was a little fast into Mayqueen and Fish, then didn’t have any real set times for the rest of the day. Nice, easy running throughout. I felt strong on the section between Fish and Treeline, stopped to refuel, then made my way onto the new section between Treeline and the Colorado Trail.

This was the only section of the course with which I was not familiar and it is relatively flat and fast. Not a lot of coverage, which actually probably won’t be a big problem on race day given when I will be hitting this portion of the course, so I am not too worried about it. I continued to run well but as this section progressed and I approached the Colorado Trail, started having some stomach problems when contributed to my eventual downfall on the day’s run.

By the time I reached the CT, I was feeling pretty crappy with a stomach that wouldn’t empty and (subsequently), legs that just didn’t want to go anymore. So I walked. And walked. Really demoralizing, to say the least. The CT continues to climb quite a bit more than I remembered as well with a couple of short, steep downhills but what seems like a fairly upward trend for quite some time as one makes one’s way toward Twin Lakes. I tried alternating run/walking but really walked a solid majority of the last 5 miles or so into TL. I did pick it up for the last mile, which is decidedly downhill but that didn’t leave me feeling particularly strongly about the day overall despite a decent finish time.

I think there are a few elements that contributed to these problems:

  • Solo effort: It’s tough being out there all alone for that period of time. My self-support system worked well (decently spaced drop off points) but running solo for that long takes a toll. So there was a big mental component to it for me. This should be much less of a problem during the race and the training I am putting in now, solo, will pay off during the event.
  • Fuel selection: The self-support contributed here for sure as I only had a few choices in my drop-kits. Need to provide myself with more variety during these solo runs in order to be sure that I have some options. Rice milk/protein drink was not working well for me on Sunday. I think that as the protein sits, it becomes a bit bitter so on race day, if I decide this is something I need/want, I’ll have my crew mix it up when it is requested vs. having it sit around.
  • General mental attitude: This was a challenging week for me mentally. Redford, one of our bunnies died on Friday, which was really tough. I am sure that contributed to some of the lows I experienced in the later stages of the run.

Overall my time into TL was decent and considering how much of the final hour and a half was walking, was really quite strong. Though I felt pretty down about the run in the hours after finishing, upon reflection, I am okay with it. Wanted to finish with significantly higher quality but there is still time to work on my pacing, patience, consumption and mental/physical fitness.

~stubert.

Week in review…

The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Tues 16 Mar: 00:46, 4.69 miles, Casa trails surges
Wed 17 Mar: 2:08, 13.5 miles, Dearborn tempo
Thurs 18 Mar: 00:32, 3.11 miles, Snowy trails slog
Sat 20 Mar: 00:40, 4.35 miles, Treadmill surges
Sun 21 Mar: 5:00, ~30 miles, Long, slow Boulder run
TOTAL: 8.75 hours, 55 miles

This was a pretty solid week of training, actually – especially considering how I felt most of the week. After last Sunday’s effort, I was a little beaten up going into my normal schedule and though I was able to keep up the plan, I was definitely feeling it this week. On top of that, I donated platelets/plasma on Wednesday and that took it out of me a bit. Thursday I had to drag myself out on my run but, as experience is proving, once I got out there, I had a great time. I did modify my route to be more about entertainment than running (post-holed for much of the “run” in deep snow drifts) but sometimes that is what you have to do. Mix it up. Enjoy.

By Saturday I was feeling pretty much all together again and Sunday’s run was another tour of way North Boulder. Amazing how the miles just tick off. By hour 4 I was getting a little tired but finished up relatively strongly (even if getting a bit sore) and managed to come away from the whole experience feeling very positively about the effort. I must admit that I am a little sore today but am sure that will pass quickly.

While running multiple hours on end, one has the opportunity to do a lot of thinking and one item that comes up fairly often for me is the philosophy that there is no such thing as a bad run. Sure, some are more productive than others, or hurt less, or have an overall quality that surpasses others, but really, there are lessons to be learned from each and every experience. Sometimes the lessons are big (remember to drink, don’t step on rusty nails, punching yourself in the face is not a good motivator) and sometimes they are as simple as, “I can do this!” Regardless, I have discovered that getting out there, even if the end result doesn’t feel especially “good”, is way better than not getting out there.

Enjoy.

~stubert.

Get up, stand up…

Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that! ~ the Queen

Tues 2 March: 00:40, 4.9 miles, Boulder Creek Path surges
Wed 3 March: 1:48, 12.5 miles, Westview loop tempo
Thurs 4 March: 00:39, 4.4 miles, Mtn. Meadows/Beav easy

Still rolling consistent mileage. I felt a little whooped going into Wednesday’s tempo run and slightly blah about the whole endeavor. Once we got rolling, however, it ended up being a decent effort. I blew up quite dramatically at the end but still managed decent splits. Lessons: Pay attention to what your body is yelling at you, time your kick, push through the finish. One out of three isn’t great but gaining the knowledge of the other two makes up for their absence during the effort.

These runs aren’t all about time on my feet. They work as training for my head as well. Getting up for a daily run can be difficult. Some days, my brain tells me to just bag it, to take the day off and everything will be right with the world. These are the days that when I pull on the trainers and get moving, I can make that big, wuss part of my brain shut up for awhile and then I realize how much better I feel for having ignored the naysayer in me and gotten out for awhile. It is rare that I feel worse after having gone out for a run. And that is a big part of why I do it.

Americans are an “all or nothing” kind of society. Sometimes (when embracing the “all”), this works to our advantage and great discoveries are made, records are broken and we really shine. Unfortunately, the “nothing” takes over much of the time and we are left with generations of couch potatoes with carpal tunnel syndrome or video-game-thumb. I can’t count how many times I have had people ask me about running and comment that they would like to run a marathon (or half marathon or whatever) but that they just don’t have enough time. So they do nothing.

My advice is always this: If you only have 15 minutes to run, go run for 15 minutes. That’s it. Sure, the bigger goal may still loom out there but running 15 minutes will get you moving in the right direction where sitting on the couch will get you nowhere. It’s the same advice I give people who want to go vegan but just can’t give up food-item-x. So eat less of food-item-x… you will be doing yourself a favor and helping the planet. Strap on the trainers and go out for 10 minutes. That’s 10 minutes more than nothing. Which is much more than just a start.

~stubert.

1153…

I ran. I ran until my muscles burned and my veins pumped battery acid. Then I ran some more. ~ Narrator

Thurs: 00:34, 3.51 miles, Neighborhood recovery run

For my last run of the year, I just spun around the neighborhood in windy, cold conditions. Not much to say about that aside from, “It was great to get off the couch.” All in all, I am very pleased with how the last few months of the year have gone and that I was able to log 1153 miles for the year. Considering I was injured for most of the year, that is not too shabby. Here’s how it stacked up:

  • January – 0 miles: I was busy skiing, trying to recover from the wackiness that ended up plaguing me all year and well… just not running, I guess.
  • February – A few. Not many, however: I know I got out for one run on the Mesa trail and definitely hit the treadmill a couple of times but didn’t write anything down so whatever I actually ran, did not make it into the final tally. Less than 20, for sure.
  • March – 28 miles: Sporadic, at best. I injured my knee in late February and that pretty much put the kibosh on any real running for the month. Plus, my abs were still kicking me in the ass (don’t ask).
  • April – 102 miles: Actually started ramping it up a bit and started visiting Janet Runyan for coaching. Two good things that go great together.
  • May – 156 miles: Actually did a race in May too. Go figure.
  • June – 79 miles: Abdominals came back with a vengeance and I throttled back the miles, got an MRI, and got on the schedule for a procedure to help with the problems.
  • July – 51 miles: Going the wrong direction mileage-wise but the right direction health-wise. Sometimes one takes what one can get.
  • August – 105 miles: Ramping it back up and another race under my belt. The Wild West Relay was mellow and fun.
  • September – 137 miles: Able to keep things moving in the right direction. Relentless forward progress.
  • October – 139 miles: Got in some good runs in October and paced Chase Squires to a 3rd place finish in the 24-hours of Boulder race. (Mostly, he did it on his own.)
  • November – 172 miles: Really finishing up the year strongly with solid runs throughout the month despite crazy weather.
  • December – 182 miles: The trend continued in December with solid running over the course of the week and fairly consistent weekly mileage. Logged several 20+ days and ended up with a solid month of training despite some crazy-cold weather.

All in all, this wasn’t quite what I had hoped to achieve this year but sometimes you have to just roll with it. My goals for 2010 include: Staying healthy and injury-free (gotta get cracking on that one), doubling my mileage for the year (see #1), getting in some fun racing throughout (one race already teed up for February), doing several adventure runs (Kokopelli Trail and R2R2R are both on the list), training monthly at higher altitudes (“Define ‘higher’,” you say?), spending a lot of time on the LT100 course in July (running each section, doing back-to-backs and putting in “real-time” training on course), and finishing in the top 50 at the LT100 in August (this actually may change in the scary direction if things go well throughout the year).

Thanks to Patagonia and nuun for providing great clothing and awesome hydration. I highly encourage all of you to look first at these guys when gearing up and seeking solutions for your outdoor activities.

And I definitely couldn’t do any of this without the support and encouragement I receive at home. Rach not only keeps me moving in the right direction but provides me with unbelievably yummy sustenance to enable me to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Yea Rach!!!

Here’s to a new year and new adventures.

~stubert.