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.

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.

~stubert.

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.

First frost…

Death lies on her like an untimely frost. Upon the sweetest flower of all the field. ~ Lord Capulet

Yesterday: Rest
Today: Hike
Tomorrow: Ride

Several quick announcements:

  1. Per the title, today can be marked down as the first frost of the season. For those of you who are not fond of Winter – bummer for you. Everyone else, start doing the snow dance.
  2. I am a bit stressed out right now but will keep thinking about #1 to try to deal with it.
  3. In an effort to help out #2, I went to see The Bourne Ultimatum yesterday. Not really a recommended movie if you are trying to chill out. Just sayin’.

Movie time: As stated above, I went to see The Bourne Ultimatum yesterday. I felt this was a big-screener and was not disappointed. Pretty much non-stop action. Good times. I am not sure you should go see it if you tend to have seizures when confronted by flashing lights as I think the longest single camera shot in the whole film was about 1.5 seconds but from my perspective, the Bourne series is decent action filmery.

It has been awhile since I have watched the other two installments but I recall being pleasantly surprised by the first and more than satisfied with the second. The third built on both of these but didn’t muck it up with the standard action-hero BS lines, some sort of cheesy love story or trying to make Bourne anything much more than the machine into which the government turned him. Sure, there is some social/political commentary tossed into the mix and a large amount of silly action stuff (Every action hero is an expert at everything, which always cracks me up. They can jump on a motorcycle and pull off stunts that would take years of dedicated practice to master, for example, and can sustain obscene amounts of abuse and keep on rolling but hey, it’s an action movie, not Merchant Ivory.) but overall, this is a pretty good series if you are interested in just shutting off your brain for a bit.

On the other hand, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets continued the tradition of great book, mediocre movie started in the first installment of that series. I know it is for kids but there have been plenty of kids movies made that aren’t borderline excruciating. I will probably continue watching this series as well but am not entirely sure why. I guess you get what you deserve when casting for looks instead of talent. And whoever wrote the score (John Williams) should be beaten to death with his own heavy-handed music. That would show him. And I seem to remember the book actually ending, not just trailing away into nothingness. Anyway… just my take on it.

Ok. Time to get some work done before I have to get more work done.

~stubert.