Darkness…

The depth of darkness to which you can descend and still live is an exact measure of the height to which you can aspire to reach. ~ Pliny the Elder

This is the time of year I usually dread. The days are unbearably short (I know, I know… Alaska) and usually freezing. Neither of which contributes fantastically to keeping a level of fitness together. Fortunately for me, I had the means to invest in a solution to both problems – I purchased a kickass treadmill to battle the darkness and the cold. Mother nature has conspired this year to take a big bite out of #2 as we have been experiencing a return to summer of late. Not that I approve, this climate change stuff could be a doozy long-term, but being able to run outside, in shorts and a t-shirt, in mid-December is a treat at which I will not scoff. I do hope for some more seasonal weather in due time, however.

Barker Reservoir is usually firmly locked in a thick layer of ice by this time of year. This season, however, it remains mostly in liquid form. Eldora’s trails are in fairly crappy shape as well and we have very little snow on the ground at the casa. As I write this, in fact, it is nearly 45° at 7:00pm. Not normal at all. The I-70 corridor, however, has been getting pounded by terrific winter storms so the skiing in the high-country is actually pretty stellar. Best of both worlds, I imagine. Good times.

I have managed to keep up a somewhat silly run streak for 46 days. I am in desperate need of a day off, however, and am taking one Thursday in prep for this weekend’s 10K event in Denver. Not sure exactly how I will do since a) I have never actually run a 10K race and b) am not sure my prep has been as fantastic as it could have been with lots of work-related distractions keeping me from focused training but I plan to give it all I have, race smart and come away with a sub-40 chip time. So I guess the first half of that sentence contradicts the second half but the truth will be, as they say, in the tape.

I have managed to get in several days of skiing at the Basin as well and am finally coming back into some semblance of form and style I crafted two seasons ago. Skiing with confidence again, which is nice and I feel really able to explore the opportunities a mountain like A-Basin has to offer. I did throw down some coin on a pair of AT boots and am very excited to see how well I ski locked down. I predict ample gains in what I can accomplish when not constantly faced with the prospect of flying over the bars. Should be fun.

My two remaining goals for 2010 include logging an honest 2500 miles for the year (as of today, I am only 50 miles shy of that target) and running that elusive sub-40 10K. The latter is going to be the touchy one as (barring injury or unprecedented flame out) I have the former pretty much in the bag. I’ll announce a day on which I’ll cross that arbitrary threshold and anyone who wants to join in the fun and/or games can come along. Afterward, beers will be served.

So stay tuned. News is forthcoming.

~stubert.

No track mind…

Snow at the Casa
Plonk.

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. ~ Lao Tzu

Tues 23 Mar: 00:47, 4.25 miles, Treadmill surges

An upslope storm rolled in last night and dumped about 18″ of fresh stuff on the Casa del Critters. Standard operating procedure for the Front Range this time of year. What is significantly less standard is my “meh” reaction to the whole thing. Typically, I would be standing in a line with a thousand other yahoos waiting for the lifts to start churning. This year, not so much.

Lots of factors contribute to my blah reaction to what would normally be unbridled enthusiasm for blower pow conditions. The death of my friend, Jonny Copp, in an avalanche last Spring certainly isn’t getting me overly thrilled to go out and tackle the backcountry and the shitty snow conditions we have experienced all year aren’t helping either. I tend to get into patterns of behavior and if things don’t line up, I move on.

I am a bit bummed that I bought passes again this year that have remained virtually unused. And I think my bummed-ness comes less from the money I spent on the passes than from the loss of enthusiasm for something I once cherished. I have been trying to look at it all from a more Zen perspective (with mixed results). Over the past 10 years or so, I have racked up an average of about 60 days per year. So over the long haul, I have gotten my money’s worth. I think that the overall change in attitude has to do with the quality of running I am experiencing this year. All season I have been telling myself that I would rather go for a good run than a mediocre ski and now, well… I think that I would rather go for a good run than a good ski.

Perhaps next year things will change. If the East Wall at the Basin will ever open up, maybe my attitude about skiing this year will come around. But I really only look at that as a way to cross-train for running. Apparently, I now have a no-track mind.

~stubert.

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…

~stubert.

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.