Coasting

18

Dave’s a mess. ~ Johnny Upton

Since the demise of NYC, I have not been the best/most consistent runner of all time. Frankly, I have been taking a bit of a break – particularly from structured, “must-do” training. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been out there, in all kinds of wacky weather, logging fun miles. I have just been less focused, less enamored with logging miles, and just “running for fun”. My project this winter has been to continue running trails. In years past, I have bailed on trail running for a number of reasons: too much snow, too much cold, spring “A” racing on the schedule. This year we have had very little snow, above average temps (for the most part), and I currently am not planning a distance A-race for the spring. These factors have contributed in my logging a big chunk of my winter miles on trails near my house. Good times.

The result of this is that I am slow. Much slower than this time last year (when I actually won a 5K). That’s okay, however. I have been enjoying my journey, feel like a mega bad-ass when I get out in 0°F weather to burn a lap or two in the woods, and have appreciated running abandoned, snow-covered trails that I normally only see in the summer months. Not sure how all of this will translate when I get back to trying to run fast, long races… but for now, it’s all good.

~stubert.

Almost there…

But it’s wafer thin, sir. ~ Waiter

Sat 10 April: 00:36, 3.5 miles, Casa trails to Firehouse loop
Sun 11 April: 1:19, 7.91 miles, P2P to Gap to Raccoon, around Thorne Lake

Well, that was not a stellar week but I did manage to get in a few miles despite continuing to shed weight and have little-to-no appetite. Ugh. That food bout of food poisoning kicked my ass. Today is a new day, however, and I am bound and determined to get back on that pony and ride. (“Pony,” in this case meaning “running schedule,” NOT “dirty food eating.”)

As I mentioned, Friday’s run was fairly miserable. Saturday was better in regard to gut-pain, but energy levels were pretty “meh” and it wasn’t like I felt like doing long surges. I tossed in a couple of very mild, very short bursts and didn’t feel completely like jumping off a bridge, so that was nice. There is still a ton of snow in the woods around the house. We need a couple good rains to compliment the already massive melting going on due to warmer temps to really start to take a bite out of the biggest drifts but we’re getting there.

Yesterday, I tried to get out for a couple of hours but the energy levels just weren’t there to support that kind of effort. Managed to make pretty decent time up to the park where I dropped down Raccoon Trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park to test the (frozen) waters. Still a lot of snow on this loop as well wis MASSIVE drifts toward the bottom. My plan was to spin a lap but once I started up the climb from the bottom, decided that idea was for the birds. So I just headed home on another route.

Met up with a young fella (probably about 4-years old but I am terrible at estimating the ages of kids) on my way who came bursting out of his driveway inquiring frantically, “Why are you running?” I stopped and explained that I run for fun – an answer that apparently didn’t jive with his 4-year-old world-view. “But why?” I laughed and he quickly moved on to asking, “What are those things in your ears?” (My earrings.) “Why do you have them? That tree attacked me. Can I come with you? Who’s that dog?” All delivered shotgun style. I explained that he needed to ask his mom before coming with me and he agreed that she would probably not be down with that action. I was then instructed to walk, don’t run and we parted ways. Funny exchange, to say the least.

Eating was still not breaking into my “top-activities-for-a-Sunday” list (try as I might) and so I whacked down what I could and decided to just roll with it for now. Hoping that today produces a marked change in my stomach’s ability to deal with solids. I am approaching race weight from 1989 when I was a skinny cyclist. Not really where I planned to be at this time in my life.

As always, I’ll keep you posted.

~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.

Mixing it up…

Snow run shot courtesy of Sean.

Security is mostly a superstition; it does not exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. ~ Helen Keller

Sat: 3:17, 21.5 miles, Boulder Backroads course avec snow

Yesterday’s skiing turned into a movie due to single-digit temps coupled with 40+ mph winds and a desire to keep Dad and Donna from freezing their tuchuses off so we went to a movie instead. Invictus, though somewhat charming (thanks mostly to Morgan Freeman’s portrayal of Nelson Mandela), was entertaining at best. The secret service/bodyguard sub-plot felt really tacked on and Eastwood has handled shooting more adeptly in other efforts (which is saying a lot, considering I am not really a fan of his work). However, Dad and Donna enjoyed themselves so mission accomplished. Sometimes you have to take one for the team.

So I mixed things up even more by moving my Long, Slow Day to Saturday this week so that I could run with a buddy of mine with whom I am hoping to do a lot of adventure running this spring and summer. We have a few grandiose plans (including the John Muir Trail, the Kokopelli Trail and a full assault of the Colorado Trail in ’11) and he is actually starting to get excited about another attempt at the LT100 this summer. So that means I may have some company along the first half of the event but am down one pacer if he decides to go for it. One takes the good with the bad (and I kid… I’d love for him to give it another shot). So I headed down to Boulder amid flurries, gray skies and cold temps to get a long run on.

We met at Sean’s place then drove out to the Boulder Res to run on the Boulder Backroads course. This is a notoriously difficult marathon course spiced up this morning by snow-covered and icy roads. Relatively fresh snow, to boot, so while it did provide some relief from the pounding one can be handed by frozen pavement and hardpacked conditions, it married this to sloppy footing and loss of traction to which I am becoming accustomed. This was not going to be a record-setting pace day, however.

We had the benefit of a crew today in the form of Sean’s father-in-law, Dave, who graciously not only drove us to the start/finish but placed drop bags along the route so we could resupply water and other goodies, loaned me his YakTrax (which I didn’t end up needing but were good to have along) and hung around after his shorter run to drive us back to Sean’s. Dave rules!

Overall, I felt pretty great and we managed to keep an average pace in the low 9s despite the conditions. The weather even broke for us within a few miles of our start and it ended up being a gorgeous day. No wind, sun shining… good stuff. We were shooting for 20 miles but mis-estimated the turn around spot on the out-and-back section of the course and ended the day with 21.5. Some minor aches and pains in the last couple of miles but those were to be expected given the poor footing we experienced throughout the run.

I am testing a couple of recovery techniques and will let you know how they work. Added full-leg compression stockings to the immediate post-run regimen and took an ice bath when I got home. I know this isn’t ideal (should tee that up immediately post-run) but thought I’d see if it appeared to have any positive effect when delayed. I tossed the stockings back on after the bath as well so now am I not only super sexy but well… I don’t really know how to finish that sentence.

Rach filled me full of amazing curry she just made up from whatever we had in the house and now I am feeling quite sated. Great Boxing Day for sure.

~stubert.

Decembrrrr…

Balmy.

When I was your age, we had to walk 5 miles to school. Snowin’ in the summertime. Uphill both ways. ~ Someone’s Grandpa

Thurs: 00:40, 4 miles, treadmill easy
Sat: 00:40, 4.75 miles, treadmill with surges
Sun: 1:55, 13 miles, treadmill/track easy

I have been grossly negligent about posting this past week. Perhaps the cold weather has slowed my mojo or something. Apologies all around.

The treadmill and I have become friendly this past weeks as the temps have plummeted. Thursday, I hit the gym for a post-tempo recovery run and felt great. Really nothing to complain about or remarkable about the effort aside from its genuine lack of any issues. Just jumped on, spun through 4 miles or so, then went home. Good stuff.

I took Friday off then headed up to the Basin with Pete on Saturday morning. We were greeted with chilly temps and fresh corduroy which I used to my advantage spinning blazing laps on my AK Maidens. Not really what the skis were designed to do but they do it admirably. Tip those puppies up on edge and they just accelerate away from you. I hit the gym on the way home to say hello to Mr. Treadmill again and busted out 4.75 miles in about 40 minutes with 5 sets of 1×1 surges. Again, felt awesome.

Sunday, Rach and I headed down to the shelter early to help out with the bunnies and it was cold. And snowy. And windy. Not the best combo. The plan was to drive back home, then jam down to Boulder for a long run but that simply wasn’t in the cards with temps and conditions that were not much better than those found at home. So back to the gym for more treadmill action. Spun 8 miles at a leisurely 10-minute pace then hopped on the track for 5 more. 13 total in a bit less than 2 hours. Didn’t push it at all and felt smooth. Boredom was the only battle I had to fight, really.

So I’m hoping we get back into some more normal “cold-up-top, warmer-down-below” style weather soon or I am going to have to break out the balaclava and mittens. Running indoors serves its purpose but is not the best companion long-term. I did get my skate boot back from Larry today so I envision some skinny skiing in my not-too-distant future.

~stubert.