Frosty’s Frozen 10-mile Race Report…

Who wants to live in a world where dogs eat each other? ~ Gloria

1:04:48, 17th overall, 1st in age group, PR

2011 racing has started off well with a solid effort this past weekend resulting in a PR for the 10-mile, 17th place overall and 1st in my age group. I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into this one as I didn’t taper at all nor have I really done much speed work to speak of. Plus my mileage over the last couple of weeks has been less than stellar. So I picked a fairly aggressive target time and just went out to see what I could do and to provide a measure of my relative fitness this early in the season. Apparently, it is not too shabby.

The weather was on the cool side at the 10:15 start and I only warmed up a little while (mostly because I was running a little late and didn’t have much time to warm up). That probably played to my advantage anyway. The first couple miles were, as usual, a bit too fast. The lead group pulled ahead fairly quickly and I tucked in behind two guys who were running a bit faster than I had hoped but I was trying to avoid getting stuck in no-man’s land all day and hung with them until I deemed it prudent to just go back to my original plan of running mid-6s. So stuck I was.

After dropping off the pace a bit, I pretty much matched their tempo for the next few miles. Seemed like whenever I surged a bit to try to catch up, they did as well so I pretty much resigned myself to running solo for a bit and just ticking off steady times for the middle portion of the race. I picked off a couple people leading up to the turn around (moving up to 20th place overall at 32:58) and then was met with a slight headwind after the turn. Ugh. I picked up the pace a bit to try to catch the two guys who were still running just ahead of me and quickly closed the gap. I sat on for about 1/4 of a mile but they seemed to be fading a bit so moved around them and set my sights on the next competitor up the road.

I was now sitting comfortably in 18th place and passed the 10K mark in a solid 39:40. Kickass. Still stuck in the zone between potential running partners, I did make progress on two guys in front of me and caught one competitor with about 2 miles to go. He was fading fast so I was only provide brief respite as I tucked in behind him then surged past in hot pursuit of another two runners.

Though I tried to step it up in the last couple of miles, the solo effort into the wind had tapped my reserves to the point where my kick was relatively non-existent. I did pick it up as best I could and closed the gap on the remaining two runners within striking distance but they both had a bit more in the tank over the closing 1/4 mile and I was only able to hold the gap to finish in 17th at 1:04:48 – and 1st in my age group. Sweet!

This result bodes really well for my fitness this time of year and puts me in a good position to hit my target of a sub-3 marathon later this year. Just need to keep up the hard work and stay focused. Still figuring out my racing schedule for the year but am planning to run more of these shorter-distance races as tune-ups and test-drives. Good stuff.


2010 Rearview…

Just keep swimming… ~ Dory

What can I say? It’s been a helluva year.

I started 2010 with one major goal: Finish the LT100. Through Rach’s unwavering support and encouragement, I was able to prepare adequately for the big event and adjust my goals accordingly. Suffice it to say, I logged a shit-ton of miles, had many learning experiences and grew exponentially as both a runner, and more importantly, a person.

Here are the digits:

  • Mileage: 2516
  • Days completely off: 77
  • PRs: 4 (100 miles, Marathon, 10K, 5K)
  • Goals achieved: 4/4
  • Best finish: 1st in Age Group – Golden Gate 1/2 Marathon
  • Most satisfying finish: 89th overall, 22nd in Age Group – Leadville Trail 100

I can say, in all honesty, that 2010 was an amazing year of running. I progressed throughout the season, learned a ton, logged 4 PRs at four different disciplines (100-miles: 24:42:40, marathon: 3:10:04, 10K: 39:16 and 5K: 18:54) and really grew as a runner as well as a person. Setting tough goals and beating those marks can really make a person feel good and well… I feel good. I couldn’t have done any of this without the consistent and ongoing love and support from my sweetie, Rach and definitely encourage anyone seeking to invest the amount of time it takes to focus on a full year of training and racing to try to find someone as amazing and patient (good luck with that). She cooked for me non-stop (quite literally), dealt with my gross gear, put up with my bullshit and kept me on the path to success at every turn. Thanks also to Patagonia for clothing support and nuun for helping with hydration this season. Two great companies you should definitely check out.

Leadville was definitely the highlight of the year. That long, difficult day teed me up for the success that followed in the Fall and early Winter races I completed on a whim and gave me the confidence to set difficult goals and hit those marks. I ran races of a wide variety of distances competitively in 2010 (5K to 100 miles – another, unwritten goal of mine) and intend to continue to run a variety of distances in 2011.

I learned a ton during my big year. One of the biggest lessons learned was to be patient and to roll with the punches. I suppose that is technically two lessons but they do go hand in hand. Allowing both training and racing to unfold and not getting too caught up in the little set-backs and hurdles along the way is imperative. During the last 12 months, I certainly had my fair share of marginal runs and races. Choosing to look at each as a learning experience and a stepping stone on the path to larger goals allowed me to move forward, build on my successes (and failures) and ultimately achieve my goals. Patience during every run and knowing when to relax during racing made for a successful, (mostly) injury-free season.

Another big lesson I learned is to never give up. This manifested itself both at the LT100 in a positive way and during the final miles of the Denver Marathon in a less positive manner. During Leadville, I was suffering badly on the climb back up Powerline at about mile 80. In fact, I convinced myself at one point that I could just drop out at the top of Sugarloaf. Fortunately, that opportunity did not arise and, though I spent a considerable amount of time walking both the up and downhill portions of this leg of the race, I soon gained new strength and was running solidly throughout the final 15 miles of the race. At the Denver Marathon, I allowed the clock to dictate my effort and, when in the final miles of the race with time statistically running out on the opportunity to run a sub 3:10 for the day, eased my effort because I couldn’t reach that mark. It turned out the course had been set up incorrectly and was long. The race organizers subtracted time from every finisher’s results leaving me 5 seconds shy of a sub-3:10 effort. Had I not relaxed in those final miles, I would have certainly finished under that mark. In short, keep going and don’t let up.

I was fortunate enough this year to have a plethora of amazing non-race experiences: Summiting Hope Pass in early June; stumbling across bears foraging for food; running with elk on multiple occasions; watching marmots frolic among high-alpine wildflowers; braving thunderstorms both above treeline and during a particularly violent storm on Boulder’s eastern plains; catching what would be Crested Butte’s biggest storm of the season for some amazing skiing in late February; seeing both my dad and friend, John get married; watching the Met Opera series in HD; the list goes on and on.

In short, 2010 will be fondly remembered. And here’s to an even better 2011.


Rudolph’s Revenge 10K Race Report…

We run to undo the damage we’ve done to body and spirit. We run to find some part of ourselves yet undiscovered. ~ John “The Penguin” Bingham

00:39:16, 17th overall, 4th in age group, PR

Cold weather finally came to Denver just in time for the annual Rudolph’s Revenge race. I opted to run the 10K event and hoped to put in a solid effort. My training hasn’t been completely up to snuff these past few weeks with numerous distractions and short days conspiring to keep me from putting in the miles I would normally like but I lined up with 600-odd other runner geeks to give it a whirl.

I made my way to the head of the queue to be sure to get out with the fast guys and targeted a sub-40-minute finish to wrap up what has been a stellar year of running and racing. After wishing a friend good luck (knowing I would be chasing him all day) I bounced around a little before the start, stripped off the garbage bag I was wearing to stay warm and we were off!

The first 100 meters of the run featured a very steep downhill into a tight bridge/right-hand turn and people were a bit all over the place jockeying for position and attempting to keep from getting clipped by the handrail. After this obstacle, however, the race merged with a bike path and headed north along the Platte river. I felt I was in a decent position as things shook out but quickly discovered the group with which I was running was going more slowly than I needed to achieve my sub-40 time, so I bridged up to the next group and settled in. After a minute or so, they slowed as well and so the first couple of miles was filled with little surges. I’d catch a couple people, they’d slow up, I’d bridge up to another group. This, as you might imagine, was a bit frustrating.

After about mile 2, I was stuck in no-man’s land for most of the remainder of the race and so had to rely on my own pacing to get me through. I didn’t feel terrific, by any means, but did manage to keep moving at a fairly steady until my right Achilles tendon started hurting as I crossed a bridge at about mile 3.5. One step it was fine and the next, not so much. Not sure what happened there but I just backed off the pace a smidge and soldiered on.

I must admit, it was pretty exciting to actually be at least within sight of the leaders of the race. I kept trying to haul people in during the last half but my Achilles problems weren’t really letting me move as quickly as I wanted so I just focused on retaining a semblance of good form and finishing strongly. With about 3/4 of a mile to go, I kicked as much as I was able and nearly caught the closest competitor in front of me in the steep uphill in the last 100 meters. I finished up in 39:16 and felt quite happy with that result. I realized after the race that I had run one previous 10K event in college and seem to recall finishing that one in about 45 minutes. So I’ll proudly take the new PR!

I have about 39 miles left to complete my final goal of the year – run 2,500 miles. Honestly, I have probably eclipsed this mark already as my Garmin usually reads a little short but to keep it honest, I am only counting verifiable mileage. So if I have a decent week, this goal could be reached in the next 7 days. If it is a bit thin (which it probably will be given my desire to get some skiing done and the Holidays), the mark may be passed in the last week of the year. In either event, I’ll keep you posted and shoot me a note if you want to join me during my 2,500th-mile run!


Recovering well…

LT100 Sub-25-Hour Buckle
Big ass buckle.

Yeah, it’s a lazy dog-dangling afternoon. ~ Homer Simpson

Relaxed on Sunday and Monday but then got back after it on Tuesday and Wednesday. I have found that getting the legs moving again shortly after a big effort really pays off and Tuesday’s run was no exception. It is remarkable how well I feel after the race – especially given how poorly I felt post-race in ’07. I attribute both the success over the weekend and the relative ease of my recovery to good form, consistent and voluminous training and great nutrition. So bonus!

More short recovery efforts (or lack thereof) scheduled for tomorrow and the weekend. Very psyched to be in this kind of mode this early post-race.


24-hours of Utah Race Report…

Moab at dusk
Caution: Runners on Road

I want to be more like the ocean… no talkin’ and all action. ~ Jane’s Addiction

Thurs 25 Mar: 00:38, 4.9 miles, Boulder Creek Path tempo
Sat 27 Mar: 5:13, 31.9 miles, 24-Hours of Utah 2-person 12-hour race

Back to Moab and more racing. I would say that the results this time were significantly improved over my last venture. Different course, totally different race. Good times.

First, the prelude… Wednesday went totally pear-shaped on me as it started off poorly and just seemed to get progressively worse. I had a 7-miler on deck but a snow storm put the damper on that plan and apparently the Rec Center still thinks that snow is enough of a catastrophic event to continue to close down whenever it happens. I am going to chalk that up in the “lame” column. Anyway, the day was a bit of a disaster so I am pretending it never existed. Moving on…

Thursday, I was supposed to go for a relatively easy run with some light tempo work but apparently my bod had other plans. Ended up slamming a 5-miler in 38 minutes while trying not to. I am going to not scoff at it, however. Guessing I needed to release some frustration from the previous day’s cluster, so I did. Tried out the new Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel XCs. Apparently, they are speedy.

Friday, Sean and I jammed down to Moab to run the 2-person, 12-hour event at the 24-Hours of Utah ultra race. Sean offered to drive so I did a little happy dance and plopped into the passenger seat for the 6-hour trip. We stopped a couple of times along the way to eat and fuel up so it was a leisurely adventure. Rolled into Moab around dusk, checked into the hotel, grabbed some food and hit the sack early. One thing I have noticed about many Moab restaurants… very few places “specialize”. Seems like you can get burritos or pizza or whatever pretty much anywhere you go. Very odd.

Up early on Saturday to gather our stuff, check in to the race and get rolling. It was fairly chilly in the morning but clear and calm and I started us out with a couple of relatively fast laps which put us in 5th overall. This was not a good way to start the day and the early fast pace would haunt me the rest of the day. The course featured fun, varied terrain which started on dirt roads then dipped into some sandy singletrack then climbed on slickrock to the highpoint and then reversed the order on the back side of the loop (descend slickrock, singletrack, roads). Runners were instructed to alternate direction each lap which provided some variety, which was nice. Great scenery abounded for sure.

After my two laps, it was Sean’s turn and he spun a couple while I attempted to figure out how to fight stiffness and chills while waiting for his return. Not sure that mission was accomplished as when it was my turn to run again, I was seriously clunky. This would be the pattern all day: Run for a bit, attempt to not get too wrecked during the down time, repeat. Definitely a challenge.

I ended up spinning relatively even laps (well… not my last one, so much) and Sean kept the tempo during his stints on course even while experiencing some seriously horrendous stomach issues. He hung tough and I couldn’t even convince him to let me finish things out by taking his final lap. We ended up with 64 total in just under 12 hours for a 2nd place finish.

Sean’s stomach problems continued into the night so I went to Zax for quite possibly the worst $20 “large” pizza of all time. Yeah. Don’t go there. We got up early the next day, hit the Jailhouse for breakfast (Sean’s stomach still not cooperating) and then jammed back home. Aside from the nausea, it was a great trip.

Some tidbits:

  • Pacing: Figuring out how to pace these types of events is a challenge. One gets the Devil/Angel thing going on with the Devil telling you, “Rip it up, man. You only have to run 5 miles.” And the Angel keeps screaming, “Dude! You’ll log over 30 by day’s end. Slow the fuck down!” Well, as usual, the Devil won.
  • Pacing Part 2: Having logged virtually all of my mileage this winter on roads, my ideal of a “reasonable” pace is still thoroughly out of whack. Running 11-minute miles just doesn’t feel right. This… will need to change.
  • Run/Rest Cycles: Honestly, this format is for the birds. I had fun, but taking 45 minutes to 1.5 hours off between efforts is not the way to get things done.

Overall, it was a great race. It was cool to meet Ben Dunn, who won the men’s 12-hour solo race and logged as many miles in 10.5 hours as the two of us managed to crank out in almost 12. Also congrats to Sonja Wieck who tore up the field with her 21:58 100-mile solo effort. Her first 100-miler too!

All in all a great weekend of running in the desert.


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