Weekly summary extraordinaire…

Yeah man, but it’s a dry heat. ~ Hudson

A crazy week weather-wise devolved at the start to treadmill sessions then closed out with a solid long, easy snow run in Boulder. Funny how things can turn around. My running mileage lagged a bit for the week but when you toss in a skate-skiing session on Friday and the fact that the mercury at the casa on Tuesday and Wednesday was scraping the high negative 20s, I don’t feel too bad about how the first week of February turned out.

Monday’s easy run reinforced for me the value of the shake-out run. My legs were a bit sore and definitely on the cranky side after Sunday’s long effort and the first quarter mile of my run Monday left me thinking, “What the hell are you doing?” I have been at this long enough to know that if you stick with it, sometimes the early grumpiness wears off and after about 1/4 of a mile, my legs shook out and I started to feel really great. Just took it easy and let it develop: 3.31 in 00:30.

Tuesday’s group run was canceled due to extremely cold temps so after completing some early morning emergency house repair (you don’t want to know), I jumped on the treadmill briefly to get in a few miles before having to head into work. Nothing to write home about: 3.6 in 00:30.

One item of note, it is amazing how good -6° feels after crawling around in the snow in -26° temps.

Wednesday devolved as well and the 1:15 easy run I had on the schedule turned into a quick one: 5 in 00:41.

By Friday the frigid weather had departed the area and I was in the mood for a skate ski. I have been hoping to add skating to my regular regimen but for the second year in a row, it just hasn’t come to pass. This was only my second outing for the year but I felt amazing and was able to cover a LOT more ground in a shorter amount of time and without resorting to stopping on long uphills to catch my breath. Just cruised around a bit at Eldora: 6.34 in 00:50. Later that evening I jumped back on the ‘mill to get in a quick surge run. Had 45 on the schedule with 6, 20-second surges but figured the morning’s effort counted for something so cut it short. 6 surges, 3 miles, 24 minutes.

Given the lack of duration for my runs this week, I decided to opt out of downhill skiing on Saturday and headed in to do a tempo run with the Gijima group. We started at the East Boulder Rec Center and made our way along the Bobolink trail to Marshall road where we started what was supposed to be an 8-mile tempo run. I wasn’t feeling super great but just worked on my form and tried to lay down splits in the 6:30 range. Somewhat successful. We made it back to the start after about 6 miles of tempo so a few of us tacked on another mile and called it good: 10.71 in 1:20.

And to round out the week, I did a long, solo run this morning in Boulder. We got quite a bit of snow overnight so side streets were a bit of a mess. I started out on the Boulder Creek path, ran west for 3.5 miles then headed back to the path that parallels Broadway to the south. Though many of the pathways had been plowed, they were still a bit on the slow side but I made good time heading south back to Marshall, over to Cherryvale then back to the Creek path. I finished up with a bit of a fade on Goose Creek and surface streets but got in a good run at a pretty low level of effort: 20.38 in 2:45.

All in all, I am happy with where I am sitting right now. I am a little nervous about being able to get in quality runs prior to Boston but today’s 20 was confidence-boosting for sure. 10 weeks to go before my first big race of the year. I am planning to complete the Winter Distance Series with another 10-mile race on the 19th then will test the waters with a half maraton on March 6th in Denver. Either of these races could be complicated by weather conditions but I am hoping they will be able to show me something about my level of fitness heading into Boston. Time will tell. Conditions pending, I’d like to do another sub- 1:05 (perhaps even push that a bit lower but definitely work on a stronger finish) at the 10-mile event and will be looking for a sub- 1:26 half. At least those are the numbers that I am considering.

As always, I’ll keep you posted.


Bringing the heat…

Less plot. More fu. ~ Rach

Mon 31 May: 00:31, 2.75 miles, Red Plow barefoot
Tues 1 June: 1:12, 7.45 miles, Pirate Trail to Thorne surges
Wed 2 June: 2:21, 16.28 miles, Westview tempo
Thurs 3 June: 2:25, 9.03 miles, Janet’s house then Flagstaff/Green run/hike
Sat 5 June: 1:45, 10.37 miles, Casa trails
Sun 6 June: 3:51, 22.08 miles, Dirty Bismark to Flatirons Vista
Total: 12 hours, 67.96 miles, 7387 vertical

This past week saw a lot of great progress but one major set-back… the arrival of serious heat to the region. Monday-Saturday were all pretty mellow, temperature-wise but Sunday saw the first really hot day with which I have had to contend this year.

Right now, I am transitioning to time-based training vs. really trying to hit specific distances or paces but it is a little hard to break out of that pattern and I find myself tracking my progress even when I just need to be getting time in on my feet. It feels great to burn 10-minute miles on hilly trails but realistically, I need to get more adept at running a bit more slowly, conserving my energy and staying super relaxed. This, if you can believe it, is easier said than done.

Every run this week featured opportunities for learning and improvement and I took full advantage. While Monday and Tuesday runs were fairly routine, Wednesday featured an overall run that felt super relaxed with a higher pace than what is normal for me. I spun about 9 miles of warm-up then moved into tempo mode for another 5 or so. Overall, a solid effort with great results.

Thursday was a bit of a double with a short session with Janet Runyan where she helped me work on some techniques to improve my lean and relaxation and they seem to be paying off. Essentially working on lengthening the back of my neck and floating the top of my head up and forward to initiate my lean from there rather from my waist. Good stuff. Post run, I went to Chautauqua and ran/hiked Flagstaff and Green. Felt great.

Saturday I went for what is becoming a mainstay – the Casa Trails. These are some of my favorite/most familiar trails near my house. I can spend hours on these trails and not see another person. Just moving along quietly through the woods. Good times. Saturday featured more of the same – just fluid motion on mixed terrain.

For Sunday, I had a mellow, relatively short run planned and met with Bobby-T to spin a lap on the Dirty Bismark course south of Boulder. This is actually a pretty fantastic network of trails that loosely follows the Morgul-Bismark road bike course from the Red Zinger and Coors Classic days. My buddy, Ben Blaugrund, just won a Pro bike race on this course last week so it seemed appropriate. The only drawback to the course is one section that forces you to run along McCaslin Boulevard. Not the worst thing ever but if you are looking to stay off the slab, this section would blow that goal.

Bob and I finished up the loop in about 2.5 hours – a pretty good pace considering we weren’t really trying to push it. We stopped often along the route to read historical markers and walked most of the major hills. Once back at the car, I grabbed some more food and filled up with fresh water in hope of adding another 2 hours to the run. The Dirty Bismark route features absolutely no respite from the sun and, given the forecast heat on this day, was probably not the wisest choice. The tack-on of Flatiron Vista was not much better in the coverage department and the hours in 92+ degrees and no shade took its toll. Warm (and rapidly turning hot) water didn’t help either. By the time I had been out for 3:15, I knew that 4.5 wasn’t going to happen and I headed back to the car – dehydrated and very, very hot.

Lots of lessons were learned: Be prepared for the elements – bring ice and cold water (in a cooler, preferably). Select your route with thought to the conditions expected on that day. Drink more than normal. Roll with the punches.


Exploration, discovery…

Whoot, there it is. ~ 95 South

There are many things to appreciate about levering oneself off the couch to go out for a run and I was reminded of one this evening when I braved the elements for a fun trot around the neighborhood trails. Snow started coming down as I pulled on my trainers, grabbed a hat and headed out the door. By the time I reached the woods, it was pounding. And windy. And awesome.

I kept a nice, mellow pace and made my way down familiar singletrack, already dusted with fresh, heavy flakes. Getting out, no matter what the conditions, has become a favorite pastime and I have grown to really enjoy traveling familiar byways in anything nature throws my way. (Check with me again in a few months when it is like, 3° out.)

As I approached my final descent back to dirt roads and the asphalt ribbon of the Peak to Peak, I glanced to my right to discover a new trail – one which I have passed without noticing at least 50 times. The conditions were just right so the snow coverage made this new trail stand out from the pine-needle-covered ground. Otherwise, I would have missed it.

This deviation was not part of my agenda but I had to see where this new trail would take me. I knew it couldn’t lead me too far astray and had to intersect with familiar territory fairly quickly given the area in which I was running. After running along for a few minutes, enjoying the undulations and twists of the route, I ran into a mountain biker heading the other direction.

The other funny thing about getting out in all sorts of weather is that when you do meet up with other adventurers, they are always just as happy about being out in the conditions as you. “Great weather for it, huh?” said Señor Mountain Bike. “Indeed,” I concurred. We chatted briefly and I introduced myself. Now, I’ll call this trail “Dan the Man” in his honor. I’m sure it has many other names but that’s how I’ll refer to it… in my own mind, at least.

So not only did I get in a run but I experienced some rather inclement weather and, in fact DUE to that weather, I found a new trail among those which I have been running for years. That, to me, is bliss.


The wind, it blows…

This speech is my recital. I think it’s very vital. To rock a rhyme that’s right on time, It’s tricky is the title. Here we go. ~ Run. D.M.C.

If you close your eyes, take a deeeeep breath and relax, you can practically see all the awesome shots I have taken over the past few days of skiing and running. Just picture the most amazing photo and video ever produced, then up that by 23% and you’ll be in the ballpark. Unfortunately, this is the best I can do for you at this point, since I donated my camera to the Brainard Lake wilderness on Sunday afternoon.

Yes, I have been busy training. Even did a 15-miler on Friday in the Boulder drizzle. Luke and I went out Sunday afternoon in gale-force winds to hit up the north-facing chutes on Niwot Ridge. Did I mention the gale-force winds? Yeah. We dropped down D2 (funky snow but fun) then jammed back to the RockShot pitch in the Rabbit Cages. Really funky snow in there. Wet slab conditions prevailed. At some point between the bottom of D2 and the parking lot I lost my faithful camera. The shots on it are award-winning.*

*Proclaimations of awesomeness are contingent upon the discovery of said camera at which point the author can not be held responsible for any lack of photographic awesomeness. But until the camera is found, the author is sticking to his story that the author composed and captured the best images ever created in the history of digital (or non-digital) photography.

Tuesday, I ran 8 miles north of Boulder. Seems the theme for the week is huge headwinds that suddenly die once they become tail winds. I put in the time on Foothills Trail then transitioned over to the trail system west of the Res. Didn’t feel great but after Sunday’s 6-hour trudge and a short, recovery run on Monday, that was to be expected. Stus and heat still don’t mix.

Luke and I headed back out this morning to an abandoned attempt to ski one of the couloirs off of Audubon. Today’s wind made Sunday look like a crappy Nichole Kidman/Billy Zane movie. The weather station at D1 said 80mph gusts and I believe it. It took us an hour to get up to Brainard where we decided that we just weren’t into getting blasted off the Audubon ridge and headed back over to the Cages. Dropped RockShot modified (hit the really steep drop in) but conditions were like Cold Medina with a slippery top layer of relatively fresh on top of a weird crust layer with slush underneath. Tricky.

As I said, it is good to be out there regardless of the munkiness of the skiing and bead-blaster conditions. Figuring out the rest of the week but I suspect it will be more of the same. Good times.


Still life with Canada Crüe and thumb: Me, Luke, Pete, Seth, thumb

We need to form a full assault, it’s Canada’s fault!
~ The Residents of South Park

Tomorrow I head up to the Great White North for a fun-filled week of skiing and trying to avoid back bacon. Luke, Pete, Seth and I are staying in Canmore (outside of Calgary) and have plans to ski around the Banff area. We are hoping to get in some days at Lake Louise as well as Kicking Horse and other highlights of the Canadian Rockies. Should be pretty kickass.

I managed to get in a few more days this week but stayed away from running despite the unbearably warm temps. This week featured several 70° days in the Denver/Boulder area which is, frankly, stupid. It did snow today (finally) so that should help things a bit. I am not a big fan of this kind of crazy heat in January. I skied at Eldora on Saturday with the Canada Crüe and then at Eldora with Pete and Edy on Sunday. Both days I was virtually pain-free, which was a treat. My abs/psoas muscles were bugging me a bit again on Monday and I visited Dr. Dave on Tuesday to see if he could work some more magic but alas, it was not to be and I am once again feeling it. Oh well.

Wednesday, I headed up to Eldora to spin some Lost Lake laps with Larry. How alliterative. It was 40° at 7:45 when I got up there which didn’t bode well for the snow conditions but the gut of Right Chute was actually quite tasty for not having had any fresh for a week. Larry and I did a couple laps then both headed back to the real world and work. It was great to get out and it really made me look forward to next week even more. Gotta love exploring.

So I hope to keep everyone posted during the trip and will let you know how things are going. Rach is currently baking a bunch of cookies for us to mack on and I am pretty much packed up and ready to go. Next stop, Pete’s house in Boulder to pick him up at 5:00 then we get our flyin’ on and will be in Canada by 11:00 or so.

Stay tuned…


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