Well, with a week to go before the Denver Marathon, I have one more medium-long run planned (today, 12M) then I’ll just get my taper on for the remainder of the week. I am guessing I could really use a couple more weeks to prep for this puppy but I suspect the RD won’t be willing to push the start date back for me so I’ll just make due with what I have.
Bought a pair of Brooks Green Silence flats to try out. I ran in them last week and am taking them out again today. Initial tests were quite positive so I am excited to see how I like them during the longer efforts. Scott Jurek used these during his record-breaking 24-hour event this past summer, in case you were wondering.
Work has been steady (read: hectic) this week but I managed to get in all my runs. Rach and I even got to go to the Met in HD performance of Das Rheingold yesterday, which was gorgeous on a whole host of levels.
I am off to Boulder to get my run in. Have a great Sunday.
What is without periods of rest will not endure. ~ Ovid
Tues Aug 3: 00:27, 2.86 miles, Casa Trails
Wed Aug 4: 1:38, 11.71 miles, Boulder Road Circuit
Thurs Aug 5: 00:41, 3.24 miles, Janet’s House
Sat Aug 6: 3:15, 16.00 miles, High Lonesome via Devil’s Thumb
Sun Aug 7: 2:26, 13.11 miles, Mesa Trail
Total: 8:30, 46.91, 7931′ vert
Light first week of taper with a few strong efforts. Took Monday off then just relaxed on Tuesday. I felt the need to run fast on Wednesday so tossed out a pretty solid tempo run in the rain. Saturday featured a great run up high on High Lonesome and I finished off the week with a solo night run on Mesa Trail.
High Lonesome is still one of my favorite places to be and it was great to get up there again. There were a ton of people up there, enjoying the scenery and beautiful weather. The double Mesa run was a lot of fun as well. I felt really strong on the way out and then managed to spin negative splits for the return trip. No kitty or bear sightings but I did see a rattlesnake who was a little displeased with my presence.
In taper mode at this point. One more medium weekend, then full rest, lots of eating of Rach’s awesome food and final prep for the race. Good stuff.
Figure on your time at the summit of Hope in-bound to be about your half-way time. ~ John
Mon 26 July: 00:47, 4.88 miles, Casa Trails
Tues 27 July: 00:54, 6.50 miles, Boulder Creek Path
Wed 28 July: 2:58, 12.53 miles, Gregory>Green>Bear>Mesa
Thurs 29 July: 00:39, 4.13 miles, Casa Trails
Sat 30 July: 4:45, 30 miles (est), LT100 Start to Treeline +
Sun 1 Aug: 8:11, 38 miles (est), LT100 Winfield to Mayqueen +
Total: 18:15, 96.04 miles (est), 14,000′ vert (est)
Total – July: 63:22, 318 miles (est), 46,700′ vert (est)
Capped off the LT100 training with an interesting week. Highs and lows, as one might expect but overall I feel that I have put in a solid effort to give Leadville a go in three weeks. I spent a ton of time on the course, took good care of myself (thanks in HUGE part to Rach’s efforts and support) and a lot of quality miles leading up to this race. Not sure where this will all take me but I have definitely enjoyed the journey.
Things have just gotten crazy busy. This is a combination of running out of time to prepare for the race, logging longer and longer runs and some business developments that have kept me in negotiations and planning much of the time over the past several weeks. I had a couple of fairly blah runs this week that, while certainly not encouraging, really did allow me to focus on shrugging things off when they aren’t going exactly to plan and working through adversity. By the weekend and Camp 2: Hello Faddah, however; I was ready to rock.
The highlight of the week prior to heading up to Pbville was definitely either Tuesday’s effort (simple surges but just a great overall run) or Wednesday’s jaunt up Gregory, Green and Bear. The latter was significantly more unpleasant as I experienced stomach problems throughout the run but still managed to get the circuit completed on time. I considered abandoning the effort at several points along the route but stuck with it through the prescribed time and, though my distance was a bit off, left the day behind me with something to chalk up in the “win” column. A decent way to enter the weekend and my final Leadville Camp: Hello Faddah.
Jammed up to Leadville Saturday morning to run the first few sections of the course. The weather was perfect for a run and I started in town and quickly made my way down the Boulevard and on to Turquoise Lake where the course switches from dirt and paved roads to fat singletrack that meanders around the lake. Lots of people were out this weekend, checking out the course in preparation for both the run and the mountain bike race which share some common ground. I was a bit quick down to the bottom of the Boulevard (00:30 – probably 2 minutes fast) for my prescribed time to Mayqueen, but was feeling strong so just kept things mellow as I spun easy miles along the edge of the reservoir. No press, just super relaxed running.
I made it into Mayqueen a full 10 minutes earlier than I had planned (2:05) but still just felt great. Filled up the hydration pack and headed back along the course. I have run the first 23 miles of the LT100 course 3 or 4 times this year in prep for the race so I know it pretty well at this point. Just ran really comfortably up the paved road out of the Mayqueen campground and made quick time to the Colorado Trail section. This portion of the course is a little more technical and rolls at first then settles in for a short climb up to Hagerman road. I made quick work of this section and spun an easy 9-minute pace up Hagerman to the first major climb of the course – Sugarloaf.
The north side of Sugarloaf is honestly not too bad. It is all easily runnable but I settled into a familiar run/walk cycle for the trip up and quickly summited without any real effort whatsoever. Probably averaged 11-minute miles on this section to the summit (3:10) and felt great. I dropped down the south side, which is significantly steeper and made my way to the Fish Hatchery in a blazing time (3:55). I still felt super strong and so I just motored the next segment to Treeline in 37 minutes or so to finish the day’s run in 4:32.
Since I was about 1/2 hour early, I had some time to kill before Sean came to pick me up. So I put my feet up, took a little nap and then jumped in with a nice guy named John who was running an out-and-back on the course to cover about 67 miles. He was moving slowly, heading in-bound on the course so we just jogged along and swapped stories about past races, amazing performances by elite athletes and the usual banter. I put in about another mile or so before Sean arrived. I bid John farewell and was off to grab a shower and some food then to hit the sack.
Sean was kind enough to agree to drive me to Winfield in the morning where I started my run. He had a shorter day in store and timed his start so that we would hopefully arrive back in Leadville in close proximity to one another. The first mile out of Winfield was pretty clunky then I found my running legs and, once again, was off on another adventure. I settled into an easy pace down the road then just hoofed it up the back side of Hope Pass. This section is steep. And relentless. It demands that you just pick a gear and grind. So that is what I did. I made it to about treeline before having to stop for some first aid treatment on badly chafed thighs then continued my assault of Hope Pass. I summited in about 1:23 and just let it flow down the north side. I got a little lost after crossing the creek but quickly found the right path and made quick time to Twin Lakes (2:28).
After getting fresh water and treating my legs, I jammed out of Twin Lakes and up to the Colorado Trail. I am least familiar with this section of the course but have run it now both ways a couple of times. Once you crest the initial climb out of Twin Lakes, it rolls along for a bit then drops onto a new section of the course that is flat and fast. I made one wrong turn in here which cost me a little time but figured out my mistake fairly quickly and continued on to the new Treeline crewing station in good time (4:39).
After mucking about getting gravel out of my wet-again shoes (there used to be a bridge or culvert crossing of some sort over the creek at Treeline that has recently been removed), refueling, and doing some more first aid on my thighs, I headed out to Fish. This used to be one of my most dreaded sections of the course but, having participated in a few road races and training on roads all winter, I no longer fear the slab. I made good time to Fish (5:32 with that long transition at Treeline) and, though completing a couple of run/walk cycles in this section, was still feeling strong for the climb up Powerline.
The thighs were getting progressively worse but I settled into a strong hike on this section, only stopping a few times for short breaks. The first section is a bear so mentally, once you get over that, all the rest of the climbing is way less arduous. Don’t get me wrong, this whole section is a bitch but for those of you seeking a mental pick-me-up, thinking of each of the false-summit sections individually will really help and knowing the first one is the worst of them will make this climb much more tolerable. I hit the summit in 6:49 and made my way down toward Mayqueen.
I was definitely slowing down a bit at this point due to the chafing and started to really pay for it. I ran out of water on the descent and was reduced to a painful walk down the Colorado Trail. I did manage to run a lot of the downhill to Hagerman as well as the mile or so on Hagerman itself but really lost a lot of time on this section. Draining the water reserves didn’t do me any favors and I finally reached a creek on the CT and refilled, took a break and assessed my condition. I then continued down the trail to Mayqueen (8:11) and assessed.
At this point, I was actually still feeling pretty strong and knew I could make it in the rest of the way. I just wondered about the value/quality of that effort and decided to call it a day at this point. Just didn’t seem prudent or beneficial to walk in the remaining miles and increase the damage to my poor thighs. So I conferred with Sean who agreed to come pick me up and called it a day.
All in all, it wasn’t exactly what I had planned but I feel good about the weekend. I decided to pull the plug on the final day’s run due to the dreaded chafe and really feel comfortable where I am at this point. I am working on some preventative measures to keep the problems at bay during the race and am really looking forward to the 21st where it will all be put on the line. Now I will start my taper and enjoy the next few weeks in the run-up to the race.
Mon July 19: 00:29, 3 miles, Casa Trails shake out
Tues July 20: 00:57, 5.86 miles, Casa Trails w/surges
Wed July 21: 2:43, 15.18 miles, GGCSP Zoo loop
Thurs July 22: 2:15, 11.71 miles, Casa Trails
Sat July 24: 2:59, 17.75 miles, GGCSP Zoo loop
Sun July 25: 2:50, 17.42 miles, Ned Loop to Rollinsville
Total: 12:25, 70.92 miles, 9829′ vert
This week was nuts. On top of the mileage, I worked something like 55 hours and traveled to the valley on three different days. Not my normal way of doing things. Had some great runs, however. So it all works out.
The highlights were probably Tuesday’s surge run and Saturday’s redemption in the Park. Tuesday, was like Wild Kingdom out there and I saw many creatures along my route. First some fancy ducks in the pond near our house. Not sure what they were but they weren’t mallards. Then a muskrat swam right up to me in the same pond. I wasn’t in the pond, the muskrat was. Then I stumbled across a black bear just wandering down the neighborhood road. Then I spooked a bunch of elk and got to hear the babies and moms calling to one another. Then I saw a bat. Good times. The run was awesome too so bonus!
I had kindof an unfocused run on Wednesday in Golden Gate Canyon State Park so I ventured back on Saturday for redemption. And that’s what I found with a really focused, sustained effort throughout. Really excellent results.
Sunday started out really strong but then I think I got a little backwards on my water and electrolytes and started feeling the effects. And it was hot. Really hot for up here. I was completely soaked with sweat when Rach met me in Rollinsville with water and smiles and so I just jumped in the car and called it a day. I certainly could have made it home without issues but it just seemed prudent to not push it at this point.
Heading up to Leadville on Saturday for the last big weekend before the race. Planning to run about 27 on Saturday then tackle the final 50 on Sunday. Should be exciting. I’ll keep you posted.
Hey, careful, man, there’s a beverage here! ~ The Dude
Mon 12 July: 3:58, 21.54 miles, Hello Muddah: Day 3 Betasso laps
Wed 14 July: 00:32, 3 miles, Casa Trails barefoot
Thurs 15 July: 00:36, 4.11 miles, Janet’s house surges
Sat 17 July: 2:00, 11.20 miles, Casa Trails exploration
Sun 18 July: 3:30, 16 miles, High Lonesome
Total: 10:38, 55.85 miles, 8,924′ vert
Finished up Camp One: Hello Muddah with an easily supported effort in Betasso that fed into some night running. It was hot, even at the 6:00 start but my legs responded quickly to the effort and I fell into a nice rhythm spinning laps just over 30-minutes long. Ate shit on lap 3 and cut both elbows, my left hand and my back and landed heavily on my right hip. Such is life… hopped back up and continued, albeit bloody and dirty. Maintained a fairly steady pace throughout only walking during the final laps as my legs got tired and it got dark. All in all a successful end to a successful Camp. Feeling more and more prepared for the race, which is great.
The next several days were all about rest and recovery so I took Tuesday completely off, did a very mellow run on Wednesday barefoot then just rolled some easy miles with a few surges with Janet on Thursday. I was back at it Saturday with 2 hours in the woods. Didn’t feel great but did find a new trail to keep me entertained. All in all, I felt better as the day progressed, so that was encouraging.
Sunday, I headed up to one of my favorite routes, High Lonesome. This trail peaks at about 12,000 feet on the Continental Divide in the Indian Peaks Wilderness northwest of my house. I started at the Hessie Trailhead after a deep creek crossing on my motorcycle, which was exciting (and wet). The King Lake trail is fairly mellow and I made quick work of the ascent, feeling strong and fresh. Hit the High Lonesome trail in about 1:20 then headed north along the divide to amazing scenery bursting with color. The wildflowers are amazing this time of year and seeing them up high makes it even more special.
Spun a couple miles on High Lonesome then dropped down on the Devil’s Thumb Lake trail. There was one large patch of snow with which to contend but it wasn’t a huge deal. Then I made my way down, past Devil’s Thumb Lake and decided to burn a little more time by heading back up to Lost Lake. I usually spend quite a bit of time in the Lost Lake area in the winter so it was cool to see it un-frozen and devoid of snow. Found our standard hike-out area and poked around up there a little bit before heading back down to the moto where I packed up and headed into Ned to meet with Pete to discuss crew logistics for the race.
All in all, a good week off the heavy lifting with some fun miles thrown in for good measure. We are now about 5 weeks out and I am feeling strong, fit and healthy. All good ways to be.