Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…

Couloir above Lake Isabelle

Hey Ma, get off the dang roof! ~ Cletus

Good end of last week/start of this week, activity-wise. Saturday saw gorgeous conditions in the high-country so I headed up higher to do 13 miles on Rollins Pass. I started above the tunnel and made my way up the old railroad grade. There were still several large sections socked in with drifts so car traffic was virtually non-existent.

View east from Rollins Pass

Unfortunately, I felt like hammered crap and my abs were really, really angry with me all day so I didn’t turn over the miles as quickly or painlessly as I had hoped given the past week’s progress. It was good to be out, however, and I have learned that there is no such thing as a bad run so though I felt a little discouraged by the set-back, I took it in stride.

Sunday I stuck close to home as one of our foster bunnies was at the end of his journey. Rach does an amazing job giving these special guys a loving home but it is still very hard to see them go. Louis was not an old bunny but had a terminal condition that required additional care and attention so he and his friend, Bruscetta, came to live with us. Rach paired them with two other great bunnies, Sidney and Peanut, then Homer was added to the group for a really cool fivesome. Louis will be missed but Bruscetta can now stay with her new friends, which makes it easier on her for sure.

On Monday Luke, Ben and I headed up to the Brainard Lake area to do some skiing. We got a fairly early start but an inversion made it incredibly warm up high and we were met with breakable crust conditions on the hike in and sloppy, punchy snow on the bootpack up towards Isabelle Glacier. It was a gorgeous day (albeit warm) but the going was much slower than we expected. We decided to ski a protected coulior but I bailed about halfway up to get home to get some work done. I actually felt great. I was a little slow but was being really cautious as every time my right leg postholed in the weird conditions, my right knee would become very grumpy.

I apologized for calling him “Snotter”.

On the way back out, I was treated by a river otter playing in the freshly thawed far-eastern edge of Long Lake. He was playing in the shallow water near the tip of the lake and even posed for me a bit while I took photos. River otters were recently declassified as endangered and are now listed as a threatened species so getting to see the little fella (actually, not that little) was really cool.

Tuesday I ran up near my house. Just kept a steady, relatively slow pace and ran a fun figure eight in the woods. I hit up some of my favorites: Tupperware, Funky Boss, Diver Down and power hiked the steeper sections. Felt okay, actually. I didn’t push the pace really at all and was able to just stay relaxed and comfortable.

Today I doubled down and did a quick run in the woods on some pirate trails (actually got a little off track due to early-season conditions) and then did a fun exploratory moto ride with Luke. We jammed up Rollins Pass to see how much snow had melted in the past three days of seriously intense heat (for May, at least) then went up Mammoth Gulch (which is still pretty socked in) and then checked out the Fourth of July road, which is open and clear all the way to the trailhead. Luke then stole my motorcycle. He has a knack for swiping people’s bikes. (Hey Pete, if you are reading this, your moto is in my garage.) It won’t be long until Luke is kicking my ass in yet another activity but for now, I’ll relish not having to chase him around.

I head to Gunnison on Friday to race the Sage Burner Saturday morning. Since my abs are still being jerks, I am just going to do the 25K event with explicit instructions to take it easy. I’ll let you know how that goes.

She’s just a bean.

And here is a shot of Molly for your viewing pleasure.

~stubert.

Two in a row…

The greatest pleasure in life, is doing the things people say we cannot do. ~ Walter Bagehot

Nothing better than two solid runs in a row. Well, except for three, or seventeen, or twenty-eig.. SHUT UP! I’m writing this post.

So I have now logged two good efforts in a row and I am pretty excited about it. I have been seeing another awesome Physical Therapist who is helping out a lot. If you are having problems that you can’t seem to figure out, call Sandy Bertrand. She’s great. Thursday’s run was good as well but only about 40 minutes so I am not going to count that one but Friday was fun and amazing. Hit the trails around the casa which are now mostly free of snow. There were a few sections I had to put on my trudging hat but for the most part they were clear. Did a fun, 8-mile loop with only minor ab discomfort and finished strong. Good stuff. Was able to hammer up the hills and just felt really solid throughout the run.

Saturday I took “off”. By “off” I mean Luke and I rode dirt bikes for something like 6 hours so there you go. I put the DR through its first real tests and it rode like a champ. A LOT heavier than the Husky (which is kindof a pig itself) but I managed to make it up some pretty hairy stuff (for me anyway). Only dropped it twice. Nice! Really had a good time and explored some fun terrain between Rowena and Rollinsville.

Today the weather was kinda crap so I went to the gym and ran on the dreadmill for a bit. I felt awesome and super strong, which was refreshing. After a warm-up, I put the hammer down for an hour then ran laps on the track for another 30 minutes. I am definitely getting there and am pretty psyched. Really figuring out this new stride and think it is helping me a lot.

I am going to continue to wait until the end of the month to decide about Leadville but am feeling more confident every day. Excited to see how I continue to improve in the next few weeks. My first race is in Gunnison on the 23rd and I am hoping to do the full 50K but may have to back that down to 25K. I’ll keep you posted on that.

~stubert.

Holy crap another week…

These guys at school… smoke. ~ Gavin

How did that happen? Another week just whoosh… in the past.

Well, here’s the summary:

  • Sunday: 12.5 miles up Rollins Pass, 1:47. Pretty good run. I was a bit tired from the day before but after about 3 miles started feeling okay and so I just kept going until the road maintenance wore out (at the second train bridge). Cool and a bit windy but nice to go on an evening jaunt in the high country.
  • Tuesday: 9.5 miles in Boulder, 1:19. Brutal run. Not sure if I was still just wiped out from the weekend or what but I was definitely not feeling it today. Had a 9-miler on deck with ~4 miles at 10K pace. I am pretty sure I ran the planned 4 miles at 10K but that isn’t saying much. It was my 10K pace for the day, not what I would consider a real 10K pace (if you get my drift). Pretty much maxed out. A bit ugly. If I have learned one thing after years of training and competing (and trust me, it took years of training and competing to learn this), there is no such thing as a bad training day. There’s always something to be learned and something to be gained, even from what seems like the world’s worst day out there. Plus, you were out there and not stuck in some goddamned cube for a few hours so chalk that up to goodness.
  • Wednesday: 5-mile recovery run in the woods, 00:49. We had a bear pay us a visit Tuesday night so I was on the lookout for our fuzzy little friend throughout my run (no sightings). Just a fairly mellow run in the hills near our place. Walked the steepest sections in an effort to keep my heartrate down. Nice and cool with a brisk wind. Perfect woods running conditions. My left ankle was bugging me a bit and since that horrendous effort a couple weeks ago, my right knee has been giving me a little grief but on the heels of Tuesday’s beating, this was a good, slow effort.
  • Thursday: 9.5 mile Boulder Res loops, 1:21. Great, relaxed run at the res. I headed west from the East Eagle trailhead and did a short loop on the Eagle Trail then did a clockwise Res loop. Threw in Coot Lake for good measure (and some extra miles… this is not a 10-mile loop as published). Ran into Caleb just as he was getting started, which was super cool. Caleb notched a top 1000 in the NYC marathon last year with a 3:02. Pretty awesome, if you ask me. Hoping to get together with him in the coming weeks to have him kick my ass on one of his slow days. In any event, I felt strong and was able to keep a good pace throughout without taxing myself too much. Nice and cool (though you wouldn’t have known it from the way I sweat) and no wind. Saw a couple of pelicans, which was awesome. I really like pelicans for whatever reason. Not necessarily a rarity in Colorado but still cool to see.
  • Saturday: 5-mile recovery run Eldora road from Ned, 00:40. Just a nice, easy run on the only flat road I could think of in the area. Steady pace up, picked up the speed a bit on the way down. Felt really strong and worked on running smoothly and efficiently. About a half mile before the turn, another runner warned me of a bear up the road but I didn’t see it. It is definitely that time of year, apparently, and the big critters are all out and about trying to pack on the pounds before the long winter.

Total mileage for the week: ~41.5
Total time for the week: ~6 hours

Not too shabby. I generally stayed on schedule this week with a couple of runs being just shy of planned. Overall, I am feeling pretty well and am not getting burned out. I am a bit concerned about what happens when the snow starts flying but we’ll just play that by ear and not worry about it before it happens (which it will). Last night it snowed down to about 10000 feet so it is definitely on the way.

I also tried out a new pair of shoes today: the Pearl Izumi Surge. It is always a bit iffy trying out new shoes but Saucony no longer makes the ones I prefer (and they are much more of a trail shoe anyway) so I thought I’d give the Surges a shot — particularly since I am doing the road thing for the coming months. First impressions are positive. They are definitely lighter than what I normally use and felt stable and fast on the road. I was planning to use them for tomorrow’s run but decided that was a bad idea to jump into a fresh pair of shoes for a long-ish run. If these keep working well for me, I’ll probably pick up another pair for use during the event as well. That is the plan, at least. I’ll keep you posted. So far, I like them.

Tomorrow, I have a 17-ish miler planned for down in the valley. May turn this up a notch to 22 and run with Caleb. I’ll let you know.

~stubert.

Suffer-fest…

Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream. ~ Paulo Coehlo

Yesterday: Run – Local Rollinsville trails, 4 hours
Today: Ride or hike – Casa del Critters, ~ 1 hour
Tomorrow: Off

Yesterday’s run was interesting. I felt pretty dreadful for most of the run with short bursts of time that felt decent. Not sure what was going on but I was having real problems getting into a groove. All day my legs felt heavy and clumsy. I think that some of this could be attributed to the high pollen count and the fact that I am experiencing some allergy-type reactions to the current state of the ecosystem. It could also be that I have just reached a bit of a plateau and need to fight through it. Or both! Good times.

I headed out with the intention of repeating my long run of a few weeks ago that took me to Nederland but shifted gears a bit to run more in the forest and explore some new trails. I did find a new singletrack just by chance off of North Beaver road. I was bushwhacking in the direction of Magnolia road when I stumbled across an old mining road that then turned into some decent singletrack. Not knowing the real name, I have dubbed this section “Smitty” and hope to explore it more on later ventures out.

This trail dumped out to an offshoot of Mag which I followed West to the Habitrail and then back to Rollinsville and home. I then took full advantage of our creek with a good soak. I need to figure out how to make it deeper, however. I think skinnier will be the trick to achieve a level of flow that fully covers my legs.

I believe that I am feeling the benefits of that soak today as my legs are only a little sore and don’t feel too tired. I will probably go for a short ride or hike later but just got word from Pete that he was thinking of going for a run. I might be into that as well.

Movie time: Yesterday and the day before we watched the 1940 and 1944 versions of the classic film, Gaslight. I must say that the ’44 version is vastly superior in every way. It is a little dated but features a fairly sophisticated plot (especially for the time it was created), solid writing and fine acting. Skip the ’40 version, however. It is actually pretty bad.

Enjoy.

~stubert

Edit: Stories like this make running Leadville seem plausible. Now to channel my inner monk.

The trend continues…

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. ~ Bob Dylan

I seem to be the bringer of precipitation of late. Yesterday, I finally got motivated around 2:00 for a 2-hour run and shortly after heading out the door, it began to snow. No big deal, I came prepared with my new Marmot Precip Jacket – which, incidentally, I like very much. But running in the cold definitely is a different beast than in more moderate temperatures and I would not consider this to have been a particularly “good” run. We ended up with about 3 inches total accumulation. Springtime at 9000 feet.

It was definitely beautiful out. I explored the trails around my house, did some maintenance, and felt better for having dragged myself off the couch for a couple hours of training. Generally speaking, people don’t like to run. I find this is a significant contributor to the blank stares and quizzical looks I receive whenever people learn of my Leadville plans. I have found that there is a definite period of time one must invest in the sport before it becomes something enjoyable. And this time varies from person to person for sure. Running hurts. Make no mistake. But once you develop a small level of fitness, you get past this pain to understand why thousands of people enjoy this sport. You see more, experience more and the world slows down around you. It can be a peaceful endeavor. One to which I have grown quite fond.

On Tuesday, I managed to get in to see Mark Plaatjes, 1993 World Marathon Champion and winner of the 1991 LA Marathon. Mark now lives in Boulder and is a Physical Therapist who has now helped me get back on the trails on several occasions. Mark did some work on my still-swollen left knee and tweaked right ankle. I am definitely still feeling both but anticipate that his efforts, along with some stride modifications, will help me get back to form in short order. It is great to be able to go see someone who has experience in sport. I always feel better knowing that my healthcare providers can sympathize with the frustration of not being able to perform at one’s peak due to an injury.

On a completely unrelated note, if you didn’t know already, I tend to watch a lot of movies. Not as many as I once consumed but more than the average viewer. Currently, most of these are viewed at home on DVD but I still get a lot of pleasure watching film. As an added feature to runsturun, I’ll start posting what I have recently watched. I may even review a few of them for you. (I used to write for Filmthreat – a few of my reviews are still up there if you search hard enough.) So I’ll catch you up on this past week’s screenings and then try to keep up on a regular basis from now on:

  • May 12 – Confessions of a Dangerous Mind: I often re-screen movies and this is one I have seen several times. Sam Rockwell was awesome and this is perhaps the only movie with Julia Roberts that I would ever recommend.
  • May 13 – Inside Man: I actually enjoyed this film quite a bit. It is Spike Lee doing not Spike Lee. Not that Spike Lee doing Spike Lee is a bad thing.
  • May 18 – Casino Royale: I am not a Bond fan but was told by several people that this was the antithesis of the standard Bond movie. It was okay. Cut out a ton of the Venice segment and it would have been a lot better. I would say that Daniel Craig did a decent job walking in Sean Connery’s boots.
  • May 22 – Amelie: Again, another repeat viewing. This is a beautiful film. Watch it immediately. An interesting note, this film contains lots of sexual situations, references and some nudity and was marketed as a family film in the EU. In the US, it received an “R” rating. Just another example of how screwed up this country is. (Casino Royal, filled with violence and scenes depicting torture, got at PG-13.)
  • May 23 – Volver: Almodovar is pretty amazing. His films are typically snippets of time and feature severely-off-camber themes. This is no exception.
  • May 23 – Pan’s Labyrinth: Another repeat and a beautiful/horrible film. This one is not for the squeamish and was marketed as an adult fairy tale. This film is incredibly well done and is an example of all that is wrong with Hollywood. I find foreign film to be more willing to take chances and push the envelope than domestic endeavors. Pan’s is no exception.

That’s it for today, ladies and gentlemen. I plan to ride the Singlespeed at lunch or post work if anyone is interested in joining in the fun and/or games.

See you out there.

~stubert

Edit: And I just stumbled across this gem celebrating the death of the Hummer. Good times (and that says a lot considering the behemoth I drive).