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.


Crash, boom, bam…

You take the good, you take the bad… ~ Alan Thicke (Who knew?!?!)

This has been a pretty stellar week for some of us. Others, not so much. I’ll start with the some and move on to the others…

After Sunday’s long run, I thought I would be a little worked. However, Monday morning I felt awesome and hit the gym for some weight-training and just to get the blood flowing again. Did about 10 minutes on the rowing machine then circuits. The gym is not my very favorite place to be but if one is efficient, one can minimize the time spent. Plus, the Gilpin County Rec Center is very nice and rarely crowded. So it’s all good.

Tuesday, someone decided to kick the blower into high gear and it was howling up here. So I headed back to the gym to run on the treadmill. Just put it in cruiser mode for about a half an hour warm-up (10:00 pace on an XC course that didn’t ever really tax me) and then stepped it up for a whole boat-load of surges. Amazingly, these felt awesome. Yes, I was working pretty hard but was able to stay relaxed, even at a quick clip. 50 minutes total for somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 miles.

On Wednesday, I headed down to Boulder early to meet up with a group that does tempo runs every week. I parked a few miles from the start and got in a good warm up, did some short strides with the group then we split into 3 or 4 packs for the tempo work. I was in the last group that consisted of Tim, Rebecca and me and we chased the rest of the runners. I am guessing there were 10 people total including my running coach, Janet Runyan. Fun to finally get to actually run with her.

I pretty much just stuck with Tim for the first 4 miles (where he stopped) and we spun low 7s for most of that period. We would catch other runners then they would take a shortcut and meet us farther along the route so we all got to run together for at least a little while. After Tim dropped off, I kept going for a full 50 minutes of tempo. Ended up back at my car in sub 1:30 and a total of 11 miles. I did about 25 minutes warm up, 50 at tempo and about 10 cool-down. This was actually a really great run and I felt awesome throughout. Covered lots of miles in a short period of time. Good stuff.

Wednesday night was when things took a turn. First, we found out that Reggie, my buddy John’s 13-year-old bulldog, had gone missing. He had been sick for quite awhile and was really old for a bulldog and his body was found the next day. He apparently had just wandered off to find a place to die. Very sad for John and the Reg-man will be sorely missed. He was awesome. Then Thursday, Luke, Pete and I went up to the Basin to get in some runs. On run #3, when we weren’t even really skiing that fast, Luke caught an edge and went down like a sack of potatoes. Spiral fracture of his left clavicle. Super drag. He handled the whole thing like a champ, though. We look forward to his recovery so he can get back to the business of kicking our asses all over the ski area.

I hit the gym on the way home for a few circuits and decided that I could take the day off from running since I skied and lifted. Off again today then a short run tomorrow and long again on Sunday. Starting to really feel great and I’m looking forward to putting some races on the schedule soon.

Be sure to get your passes lined up for next week’s Adventure Film Festival in Boulder. A lot of great movies to check out. Don’t miss it!


One in the bank…

…one of many children… ~ Jane’s Addiction

Hit the Basin up this morning for the kick-off for the ’09-’10 ski season. I was a little rusty on the first run for sure and my new liners, courtesy of Larry’s Bootfitting, will take some getting used to (yes, they are STIFF), but otherwise, it was a good first outing.

Luke and I didn’t last very long – not due to any physical, out of shape-ness – but due to the ever building crowd of snow sliders flocking to one of only two mountains open for business. We made about 6 runs before calling it a day and Exo was actually spinning at a much faster tempo than normal. Our final foray into the maze was a 15-minute affair… only an hour or so after catching first chair. Alan is promising more terrain will open soon and with Keystone set to turn next week, the crowds should thin a bit.

I hit the gym on the way home to log some time on the treadmill and do a few surges. Temps climbed today which resulted in a squishy mess on local roads and trails. I definitely would love to get a treadmill at some point. Plop in a movie and bust out 15 miles. Sounds like a great combo to me.

Tomorrow is the date for the annual New York Marathon. This one is definitely on my list of “must-dos” as it is not only enormous but would be really cool to run through all five boroughs. Fred Lebow started the event back in the early 70s (if memory serves). There is a pretty good movie that goes into a lot of interesting detail about the event: Run For Your Life. The New York Times published an article recently about a man who created his own NYC marathon by walking around his block 75 times. I like DIY.

Tomorrow I have a long run on the schedule. Definitely not “planned” yet as I have no clue where it will be but probably will end up somewhere in Boulder. Unless you have other ideas…


Wild West Relay race report…

Bright and early is a half-truth. ~ me

Getting back on the racing train was great. I had been missing the camaraderie of running with others and the Wild West Relay was just the ticket.

I managed to climb in the sack Thursday night around 9 so actually got in a decent number of cuts before the alarm started blaring at 2:30. It was early but not very bright when I rolled out to meet the rest of the team in Denver for a short van ride up to Ft. Collins. The race started at the Budweiser plant (can’t think of a better place from which to run away) and we met the remainder of the team at the start line. I was batting clean-up in van #2 so I would have to wait a LONG time before hitting the road for my first leg.

Teams consisted of 12 people who took turn running individual sections of the 197-mile course from Ft. Collins to Steamboat. Legs ranged in distance from about 2.5 miles to almost 8 and we competed in the Masters category which meant that we each had to run our respective sections in order. We started at 6:40am and since van 2 wouldn’t have to start our first leg for several hours, we grabbed some food then made our way to the first van exchange point – a school somewhere in the middle of nowhere, Northern Colorado.

We hung out, got organized, chatted with other teams and waited quite awhile for the first runners to arrive. By the time Tom, our team runner, arrived, it was quite toasty. Sammie took our van’s first shift and ran well despite the conditions. By the time I was up for my 2.5 mile jaunt, it was scorching out. I just put the hammer down so that I could get this bake-fest over as quickly as possible and finished in 19 minutes or so.

Then the waiting started once again as van #1 took over the running duties.

We drove back roads to the second van exchange and did our best to get some sleep during our break. We hung out in a campground for several hours until our teammates rolled in around 11:30pm when once again, we were on duty.

We took turns sleeping and running and my second leg started around 4:45am Saturday morning. I love night running and felt awesome during my 5.5-mile section of highway running. Competitors were spread out along the route before me and were just small dots of blinking red lights in the distance. I ran smoothly and managed to pass 6 other runners and finished in Walden with an average pace of 7:50-minute miles. Not too shabby.

The cycle repeated itself and we ended up in a field near the foot of Rabbit Ears pass. I immediately plopped down in my bivy sack and crashed out for a couple of hours until it got too warm to sleep any more. Some time thereafter the other van showed up, followed closely by their last runner and we were off again for our final sections. Up and over Rabbit Ears then I took over the final leg through the town of Steamboat and on to the finish line. 5-miles in 40 minutes (with a couple of delays where I got slightly off course and stuck at a traffic light). Not too shabby. Overall time: 32:25, average pace: right around 10-minute miles. Good times.

Thanks to Kathy, Paul, Sue, Lauri, Merlin, Tom, Lynn, Joel, Dave, Sammie and Frank for including me on the team, to Kevin and Drew for volunteering and giving me a ride back to my car on Saturday and to Rach for putting up with all my crap all the time and baking awesome treats for me and the team. Hopefully more fun times to come.


And the winner is…

You know what this is? This, is a perfectly healthy goat kidney. ~ Rach

It’s been a wacky few weeks for sure. I have been feeling really strong of late but am still having ab issues. Seems I can really hammer for several miles then things start to creep up on me to the point where keeping any semblance of a steady pace is not much fun.

So today I headed to the doc for an MRI. Very expensive tube nap.

Results came back quickly and the preliminary diagnosis is Osteitis Pubis – commonly referred to as a Sports Hernia (ed: not true, these are completely different beasts… family docs aren’t very well-versed in this stuff, apparently). Not the best news but at least we can move forward with improved confidence. I have an appointment with Dr. Paul in a couple weeks to review options and to learn more about the extent of the injury. The best part is that I thought it would be a good idea to check out the MRI images… like I knew what the hell I was looking at. Rach pointed out that if you showed me a photo of a healthy goat kidney, I wouldn’t know the difference. Good stuff.

So until then, we’ll play things by ear, see what the plan is and probably start riding more. I talk with another doc tomorrow to see what his short-term thoughts are. Hope to know more in the coming days.

On the plus side, I went over to Gunnison for Dad’s Day and just want to go on record to say that the PGA is in no danger of me coming in there and ruining their image. As usual, I am a horrendous golfer. But it was fun to get out with my pops – even if I was an embarassment. I did hit a few pretty decent shots but I don’t envision a career on the links in my future. Immediate or long-term.

I did have a relatively decent run while in Gunny. Just jammed out on the street for 11 miles. Felt awesome for 7 or so then things went downhill a bit. I definitely went out too fast but also the ab wackiness kicked in with a vengeance starting shortly thereafter and was in full effect by mile 10. It was fun to go fast again, if only for awhile. Street and dirt are two different beasts.

So I’ll keep the reports coming. Keep your fingers crossed.


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