January goodness…

February 2, 2010 Run
Feb 2 run. Looks like a seal throwing up or something

And this time, no tears! ~ Tobias Fünke

2 Feb: 6.8 miles, 1:02, North Boulder surges

I put in some solid training in the last couple weeks of January for sure. Logged two more long runs (24.25 and 26.4 miles, 4.5 hours each) and stayed consistent with the rest of the program. For the month, I ended up with 195.3 logged miles – a strong effort all around.

The knee has still been giving me a little grief but seems to be responding positively to increased daily exercises as well as a lifting regimen as prescribed by Duncan Callahan. Duncan won Leadville in 2008 in somewhat brutal conditions and is a fellow Gunnisonite. I am working up to his full schedule as it is a bit more than I can handle right now but after lifting on Friday, I performed really well this past Sunday. Logged negative splits in the 26.4 miles and finished strongly. Virtually no knee pain to boot!

Today I ran on the trails north of Boulder (Eagle Trail system) and did some surges. Finished with 6.8 miles in 1:02 and felt strong throughout. The surges were a little clunky but the rest of the run I ran well and was motivated. I’ll have another week of “normal” training then will taper just a bit for the Moab Red Hot 50K+ on the 13th. Looking forward to running in the desert with a full pack of fellow ultra freaks.


Screw shoes rule…

Remember, if you are puking, you are running well. ~ Timmy Parr (2009 Leadville 100 Winner)

00:55, 5.67 miles, 10x1minute surges

I may make it through this winter after all. Finally got out today on my new screw shoes and they work great. Definitely a TON more traction and less distracting than YakTrax. I suppose they aren’t quite as adaptable as the YTs and your mom will KILL you if you wear them indoors but as far as hooking up a fear-free snow run, these things rule.

Headed out in nice temps (35°, bluebird) and did a warm-up jaunt around the ‘hood. Just explored a little to see what was open and stayed on plowed but snowpacked roads. Felt fine, just cruised. Then I headed back to the Beav’ for ten surges. These went fairly well. The Beav’ isn’t exactly flat so that, coupled with the conditions, made it a bit of a challenge. But I like challenges. Like the time I tried to pick up Daryl Hannah at a juice bar in Telluride. But that is another story…

I am working on the race schedule and believe I am going to forgo the short, fast-paced races for longer events. Targeting the Moab Red Hot 50K on February 13th as my first of the season. Should be super cool (if I can still get in). Seeing what happens for the remainder of the year as well with the big event, Leadville, being my main focus. Trying to get a feel for how much I should be racing vs. doing big, fun, self-supported, adventure runs. I definitely want to toss in a 60/40 Pbville jaunt in July so put that on your calendar. The first 60 miles of the course on Saturday, sleep in Twin Lakes, the run the last 40 on Sunday. Should be good times.

I also want to give a big shout out to Russ Bolig at Podium Custom Footwear. Totally hooked a brotha up on some insole fixes. These things are working very well and just needed a little attention and Russ made it happen and I didn’t even miss out on any training runs. Thanks, Russ!

Tomorrow, tempo. Gonna get my fast on.


Sage Burner update…

Well I’ll be damned. ~ Beavis

So the results have been posted and I ended up 34th overall with an official time of 2:45.11. This put my in 5th place for my division. Pretty sweet!

This week has been kinda nuts but I have been getting out. Monday’s run was short but really sweet. Virtually pain-free. It started a little clunky but quickly smoothed out to a really efficient effort. I was able to just get in a zone and go, which just felt great.

Tuesday I went a lot harder and busted out 5 miles in about 45 minutes. I ran sections of trail that up until now this year, I have had to walk. Starting to feel a lot more fit. I went for a hike on Wednesday that ended up being a lot longer than anticipated and then just hammered out 4 miles on Thursday on the roads down in Boulder. That too was a pretty good effort though I didn’t feel particularly awesome.

I am going out for a 10-miler today (at least that is the plan) and am hoping to hook up with Bobby T for a long one tomorrow. Still contemplating Leadville but I am rally wanting to do it again this year. As always, I’ll keep you posted.


Sage Burner race report…

Yeah, I finished.

I huuuurt.
~ John D. Roach

Today I ran the Sage Burner 25K in Gunnison. I am hurting WAY more than I should for a 15-miler but I think there might have been one flat spot on that course. It was technical and tough. Good stuff.

The weather report said cold and rainy for the start but the weather was actually perfect. Cool and overcast. Great running weather. I started in a t-shirt and gloves and that was more than enough for this course.

There were about 200 starters, nearly triple the number who ran last year. Being one of the newcomers, I was familiar with parts of the course but definitely found myself just following vs. knowing what to expect around the next bend or steep uphill. Subsequently, I just followed the pace which probably resulted in a better finishing time but man, I was hurtin’ by the time I was done.

We started at 8:00 and quickly made our way up, up, up into the Hartman Rocks recreation area. This was my haunting grounds as a highschooler – THE place to ride, hike and (ahem) throw the more than occasional party. The course then followed familiar mountain biking trails (98% singletrack) in a clockwise direction for a nice tour of the Hartman Rocks area.

The pace was pretty quick to start and stayed that way for most of the race. (For me, at least.) The first four miles wound through technical rocky sections and sage brush. I was in decent shape early on, running with a good group, then I stopped to take a leak and found myself running with another group who had someone in it who would NOT shut up. Here I am suffering up steep inclines and she just kept talking. I could have possibly communicated in hand-gestures and grunts at this point so I felt she was adding insult to injury. Makin’ a brotha look bad…

So when she and her crew stopped at the first aid station, I just blasted right through with a solid half-bottle to spare. A couple miles later they snuck back up on me briefly, then I put the hammer down on a long downhill section and my ears (and ego) were given a break. Whew!

The course just kept rolling and rolling. After the second aid station (about mile 7.5) I started really feeling it and started trying to focus on staying smooth, with good form. Easier said than done. My abs started really bugging me shortly thereafter so I just tried to settle in and keep up my mantra of “Most Guts”. Ironic? Perhaps.

I did manage to pick off a few people in the last 5 miles but things were pretty strung out at that point. I was also passed by one woman who really put on the heat in the last climb/descent. I should feel bad but by this point, I was pretty ready for the finish. The last mile or so featured a brutal downhill (down Collarbone Alley). Not really my idea of good times in the last miles but I wasn’t consulted. I blame Wiensie (Dave Wiens, mountain bike legend and all-around nice guy.) I did manage to turn it over pretty well in the last few hundred meters, so that felt pretty good. I finished right in the middle of my desired range of 2:30-3:00 with a 2:45. Not blazing, but I’ll take it. My GPS said it was 16.17 miles, for an average pace of 10:15 mpm. Not too shabby.

Afterward, I was really pretty jacked up. I tried to sit in the creek for a bit but my feet were having none of that. Way too cold. I probably should have stuck it out but damn… my toes were unhappy. I took a quick shower and actually thought I was going blind for a bit (yikes!) so I wacked down a thing of Pedialyte and felt much better thereafter but still a lot more hurtin’ than I should have been for a race of this distance. I attribute this to a few things:

  1. Fast pace: I really wanted to run a 50K pace but mixing the 25K and 50K participants made that more than a little tough
  2. Electrolyte imbalance: I need to get back in touch with my Salt-Stick habit
  3. Ambitious shoe selection: I am too heavy for flats. The Peak XC is a great shoe but at 180, I am just too heavy to run long distances in this set-up. Hey, I tried, it didn’t work for me.
  4. Wicked hard course: As I said before, this course was tough. Not a lot of sustained climbing (like wicked high passes with 3 miles of uphill), but tough nonetheless. Made it tough to get into a sustained groove but hey, that’s racing.

I don’t have results just yet but will let you know how I did in relation to others soon.

Speaking of not keeping score and comparing myself to other golfers (“Height.”), Dad and I hit the links about an hour and a half after I got home from the race. Needless to say, I was a little wrecked at the start but still managed to hit some decent shots. I had some crappy holes for sure but overall, played better than usual. I guess I need to run a boatload of miles before I play. I still logged triple-digits (a completely honest 108 with no Mulligans) but overall, I played much better than normal and considering that was the first time I lifted a club this year, ran 16+ hard miles beforehand, and generally suck at golf, it wasn’t too shabby.

Dad and I capped off the day with some killer grub from the always awesome Donita’s Cantina in Crested Butte. If you are in the area, get your ass in there. Then be prepared to haul an ass and a half out of there.


Vegas race report…

No making it rain. ~ Shana Mac

Ah, Vegas. Home of the $3 Prime Rib special and all-nude review. Gotta love it when 20,000 runner dorks descend on the city of vice.

So what a weekend. Here is the short version:

  • Got up too early.
  • Slept through my whole flight
  • Warm up run
  • Wonderful dinner at Nora’s
  • Wu Tang Clan
  • Bed too late
  • Up too early
  • Lost my gels
  • Ran too fast
  • Second half was kinda crappy
  • Finished strong
  • 3:24:35, 231 232 overall, 42 in class (official results)
  • Pretty whooped after
  • Great dinner at Spago
  • Way sore on Monday
  • Vegan Donuts at Ronald’s
  • Checked out Vegas
  • Back to airport

Now, for those braver souls… here is the full deal.


Apparently, I am no longer able to add as I got up at 4:15 for a 8:55 flight out of DIA. I could have slept another hour but I suppose for flights, it is better to be early than late. So I tried to read a little but was way too tired so I just napped in the airport instead. Other than snapping awake to the panic that my laptop was gone, it was all good. I pretty much slept the whole flight to Vegas which was packed with cowboys and runner dorks who would not shut up. Thank you iPod and Shure ear-pods!

Got to Vegas and met up with Carissa from GroundFloor Media and her husband, Zack. We grabbed a shuttle to the hotel (Mandalay Bay/THEhotel) and then I checked my bag and walked down to the Expo to pick up my race pack. Vegas never disappoints when it comes to an eclectic mix of people and this weekend was host to not only the marathon, but National Finals Rodeo and the De La Hoya/Pacquiao fight. Cowboys, fight fans and runners mixed with the usual Vegas crowd. Great people watching for sure. I had not been seeded (bummer) but I was able to sweet-talk my way into the corral (yes!), which was pretty cool.

We grabbed some lunch with Amy Claire from GFM at the Noodle Shop (not so good) and then I got into my room and went for a quick run. Running on the Strip is interesting to say the least and I occasionally found myself running in the gutter having been cordoned off from the main sidewalk. I quickly figured out this was not the best idea in the whole world and ran east, off the strip then hit the pool for a cool-down. I would say that I felt, okay… not great but given the last couple of weeks, that was pretty much what I expected.

John rolled in from LaQuinta later that day and we met up with the GFM crew for dinner at Nora’s. Laura, Ramonna, Amy Claire, Carissa, Zack, John and I were joined by three of Carissa’s friends from New York and we had a great time. Nora’s accommodated my wacky Vegan-ness without troubles and I wolfed down a pizza with glee.

John and I drove the New york friends back to their hotel then decided it would be a good idea to wander around the casino for a bit. Once we hit the floor, I noticed that the Wu Tang Clan was playing at the House of Blues and so we went over to see if the show was sold out or over. No to each question, so John splurged for tickets and we hit the show. How often do you get the chance to check out the Wu?

So the first act finally came on (a local hip-hop act that wasn’t bad at all), then a horrendous rapper named Queen Shalika or something, then a worse group called Ice Cold. At this point, I was really getting tired and needed to get to bed but wanted to at least see a little bit of the Wu Tang Clan. They finally came on at about 10:45 so I stayed for a few songs then hit the sack. John stayed for the remainder of the show which he indicated was pretty good.


I was up early (4:30) for the race and definitely didn’t get as much sleep as I would have preferred but whatchagonnado? I stretched a bit, ate a sandwich, and got all my stuff together then headed down to the start line. I had heard that one needed to get there early but since I was seeded, I could have slept for at least another 30 minutes. Live and learn. I followed a HUGE group of Elvi out to the event (yes, people dressed like Elvis) and then headed for the corral. At Denver, we were seeded according to approximate pace but at the Vegas event, it was more of a free-for all (not particularly chaotic in the corral) so I just took my time warming up, stretching, etc. until they started the wheelchair event at which point everyone behind the corral rushed forward. Fortunately, this was about 2 minutes to the start so I was in a really great position for the gun. Unfortunately, I lost two of my Clif Shots, which was a bit disconcerting and annoying but there really wasn’t anything I could do at that point so I just went with the flow.

At about 6:05 we were off, accompanied by a fireworks show and we headed North up the Strip. There were no problems with congestion since I started way up front and we had 4-lanes and a straight course ahead of us. We ran all the way up the Strip, which was actually pretty cool, and I settled into a steady 7:45ish pace that fluctuated a bit (7:15-8:00). I had the idea that I might actually qualify for Boston so I decided to push it to see what I could do. Probably not the best plan but I figured, “What the hell,” and just motored along the Strip, checking out the landmarks.

We started at the south end, which is much newer and more populated and worked our way north to the seedier end of the Strip. So the sites became danker and danker as we moved along the first 5-6 miles of the course. Shortly after turning off the Strip, the half-marathon runners took a different route so the full-marathon peeps were on their own. We worked our way into North Vegas which became a bit sketchy and devoid of attractions to draw the eye. It was interesting, to say the least. I kept up a pretty solid pace for the first half (1:39 at the mid-way point) but wasn’t really feeling very well. I just tried to keep up the 7:30 pace for as long as possible and eventually was really suffering. I had a few decent miles in the last half, usually when I would latch onto a faster runner and try to hang on for as long as possible.

Towards the end, I started walking through the aid stations to really get some liquids down and was able to pick up three more Shots at about mile 16 which I readily slugged down. Unfortunately, I gobbled one at about mile 16.8, thinking there would actually be water available at mile 17 but that station was non-existent so I was really hurting for liquids by mile 18. Oh well. I had some really bad miles in the last half but was able to finish much more strongly than Denver so that felt pretty good. I came into the final few hundred meters and really just focused on running fast and strong and finished with a chip time of 3:24:35. This beat my top-end goal by about 5:30 and was a full 17-minutes faster than my Denver finish. I finished 42nd in my class and 231st 232nd overall. That puts me in the top 5%! Really, really satisfying.

Immediately afterward, I felt a lot better than Denver but my legs were really sore. I also had to pee like crazy and noticed that I had some blood in my urine. Having not experienced this in the past (but not terribly concerned because I vaguely remembered reading something about this), I headed to the medical tent to be sure and the doc confirmed that due to the muscle breakdown, it is pretty common to have that happen after an event of this type. So I ate some more food, drank lots of water, took a cool-down dip in the pool then headed back to my room for a much-needed soak. I pretty immediately started peeing normally, so that was nice.

I just kicked it for the remainder of the morning then met up with the GFM crew for a Coke. John and I then sought out more Stu-friendly food at the Border Grill. They were friendly and accommodated my wackiness with a tasty chop salad. Good stuff. We didn’t do much the rest of the day until later when we headed down the Strip to check out Planet Hollywood to find some food. I was feeling really sore and woozy by the time we finally landed at Spago. They were great and made me a special, off-menu, vegan pizza which was quite tasty. I felt better after eating and getting some more liquids then we headed back to THEhotel and I hit the sack.

Today, I woke up really sore. Much more sore than post-Denver but without some of the more long-term ouchiness (toes) that accompanied my Denver experience. My right index toe is pretty tender but everything else seems ok. My quads are most sore and I definitely noticed them tightening up and suffering during the event so that makes sense.

I took a swim in the morning then John and I checked out and headed off the strip for vegan donuts at Ronald’s. Definitely yummy but I now know why donuts are not on my list of “missed foods”. Just not my bag for a breakfast chow-down. Very tasty, though. John and I then just dinked around Vegas for a bit then he dropped me off at the airport. My flight is now about to start boarding so I’ll wrap things up…

Overall, this was a great time and a fun event. I wish they had been a bit more organized, particularly at the start, and wish all the aid stations had been where they said they would be. There were restrooms all along the route, which was nice, but there were a lot of other advertised amenities that did not materialize and overall, I think that they over-sold the event in their marketing materials. Not like that was a big deal to me, but I can see some people being a little pissed.

The accommodations at THEhotel were top-notch and restaurants really went out of their way to try to set me up with food I could eat, so overall, though Vegas is just completely ridiculous, it was great to be there this weekend. Not sure I would do this event again or not but I did have a great time.

I’ll probably have more thoughts later but for now, that’s all I have.


[edited for creative spelling and overall place adjustment]