Saturday, January 30, 2010

Starting to Commit

I signed up for several races and events through June of this year, so I committed to some big runs and rides. Man, there was a time when Ultra events were easy to get into. Now you have to sign up as soon as registration opens or risk not getting in. That’s exactly what happened with the Gunnison Growler. The Growler is one of the coolest mountain bike races out there. 64 miles of technical single track. Unfortunately it sold out in less than 12 hours and I didn’t get in, bummer. I have yet to finish that race. The first year I DNF’d with a broken derailleur, last year I was signed up but had to work… Next year!

So I’m signed up for the Bataan Death March in March, which is a tribute to the real death march in WWII. It’s amazing that so many people are unaware of this atrocity. One of the cruelest and savage treatments of American & allied troops in the war, yet so few Americans are aware of it. It’s an honor to participate in an event that pays tribute to these brave soldiers who experienced un-imaginable horror, hardship and suffering.

I also registered for DawntillDusk in April, an incredibly fun 12 hour mountain bike race of 100% single track. In May the Collegiate Peaks 50 mile trail running race, one of my favorites. Then a 7 Day Bike Tour of Colorado in June. So I'm commited to a handful of very tough races this Spring.

I’ve been seeing a lot about barefoot running lately. It’s something I’ve been doing for years at least two times a week during the Summer. Its turning out that running barefoot or at least barefoot style is the right way to run. Go figure, we’ve only been doing it for tens of thousands of years. Somehow the invent of the running shoe changed all that. I’ve got to find a way to run barefoot a couple of times a week in the winter. Time to dig out the Vibram Five Fingers.

James, Me, & Max enjoying a 22.5 mile CRUD run

Training this week went very well. The days are gettng longer, and sunrise a bit earlier. It doesn't seem to matter how long I live here or how many mornings I see the sun rise upon Pikes Peak, it's always a truely amazing sight. Now I begin building on the previous blocks of base building. This week and in the coming weeks, I’m adding intensity with Tempo rides, big gear hill climbs, and tempo runs, in addition to keeping the volume high. I haven’t been able to do much strength training as my wrist is not healing as fast as I would like, but I am doing CORE, squats, and some upper body exercises that don't require pushing weights, such as rowing and Lat Pulls. I've never been much of a milage tracker but I did note that I had over 1,000 miles on the bike this month plus some where around 240 miles running. Nice way to start the year. This Week's Log:

Mon: Strength
Tues: AM: Run 1.6 hrs with 10 * 15 sec Strideouts. PM: Bike 2 hrs with 40 minute Tempo
Wed: AM: Bike 1 hr with high RPM Pedaling. PM: Run 1 hr
Thu: AM: Run 1.3 hrs (CRUD Hill Climb) PM: Bike 1.3 hr with Big Gear Climbing and Strength
Fri: AM: Bike 1 hr
Sat: Run 3.9 hrs (CRUD trail run)
Sun: Bike 6.3 hrs (Semi hilly road)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Saturday CRUD long runs are almost always epic. This week was no exception. We did a 20 mile loop up Gold Camp Road (A dirt road closed to motor traffic), down Old Stage, then climbed the Columbine Trail back up to our starting point on Gold Camp. We started just above Helen Hunt Falls and proceeded to run a steady climb of 8 miles topping out just under 10,000 feet. We had a pretty big group starting out and the fast guys started pulling away after 2 miles. We also dealt with quite a bit of snow and the higher we climbed the deeper and slicker it got. This was the melted & frozen, melted & frozen type of snow. Ankle twisting crusty break through snow. But that's what made the run epic. Just another aspect of running in the mountains of Colorado. Slow going but still fun, a typical CRUD run. Big difference from last week; 23 miles just under 3 hours. This week, 20 miles just under 4 hours.

Sunday a very enjoyable mountain bike ride that covered four parks in Colorado Springs: Ute, Palmer, Red Rocks, & Garden of the Gods. Good times with a great group of guys and gal that made for a fun winter ride. The trails were very slick in places with us having our share of wipeouts. I was a little apprehensive, as my wrist is still sore and after coming off a couple big hit drops, my wrist said enough. We stuck to less technical trails after that. Luckily my two crashes were on the left side, so I didn't fall on my bad wrist. In the end over five hours of trail riding with well over 3,000 feet of climbing.

James, Dan, Sharon, & Kevin

Unlike the weekend, the week leading up to it was pretty much a recovery week. Let the body absorb all the running and riding from the previous three weeks. I cut the normal distance as well as the intensity of the week's runs and rides and felt totally recovered by the weekend. Sometimes recovery weeks are the hardest for me, because I want to keep going and have to force myself to cut runs/rides short. I probably should have went a little shorter over the weekend but just couldn't help myself. I love these epic rides and runs too much. And I can't really explain why, I am simply passionate about running and riding my bike. I have been for almost 40 years now. I often wonder how much riding & running I'd do if I was independently wealthy or retired. My guess is a lot!

Oh Yea... The weekly Log:
Mon: Rest
Tue: Run - 0.9 hrs, Bike - 1.5 hrs
Wed: Bike - 1.1 hrs, Run - 0.7 hrs
Thu: Run (CRUD Hill Climb) 1.2 hrs, Bike - 1.4 hrs
Fri: Bike - 1.1 hrs
Sat: Run - 4 hrs
Sun: Bike - 5 hrs

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Very Good Week

Continued base building this week. The sturdier the foundation the harder I can train and race this Summer. It's important to build a really strong base to work from over the Winter and so far I think I'm building one of the strongest foundations in years! This week was another great week of riding and running despite the sprained wrist.
I took a day off Monday to let my wrist heal but Tuesday was back at it with an early 1 hr 45 min run with Max. We finished just as the sun was rising to display a majestic snow covered pikes peak. What an incredible way to start the day. I took my bike to work with the intention of riding home but my wrist was still pretty sore so it was the trainer again. While driving home I was dreading sitting 2 hours on the trainer when the weather was the warmest in months. But once I got started it turned out to be quite an intense workout; probably better than if I had rode home!

Wednesday, early in the morning for an hour on the trainer, then an hour plus lunch run of steep climbs and descents on the Columbine Trail in Cheyenne Canyon. The trail was still hard pack snow even though it was something like 58 degrees. A Winter scene that felt like Summer! I had to work late to make up for taking such a long lunch break but it was worth it!

Even at Almost 60 Degrees Helen Hunt Falls is still Frozen

Thursday, early morning 1 1/2 hour run with Max. Max got into a bit of a tangle with a raccoon, but luckily the Raccoon wasn't interested in fighting and climbed a tree. That raccoon was just about the same size as Max and could have tore him to pieces. In the evening, I was able to ride home. It usually takes a little over an hour but I added a loop around Garden of the Gods and a Climb up Flying W to make it a just over 2 hours. Riding Garden of the Gods this time of year is pretty serene. The tourist are gone, there are no street lights, and I pretty much have the place all to myself. A very peaceful ride if you don't think about mountain lions.

Friday an easy ride to work of just over an hour. OK, now I ride to work early in the morning. It's usually cold. This morning I believe the temperature was in the upper teens. It's also dark. I saw a guy running in shorts and no shirt. I'm not sure what his point was, it's not like he's getting a tan or anything. He was just running down the trail in the dark, in the cold, with no shirt or tights. He did have gloves on though.

Saturday CRUD

Saturday long run with CRUD. Today was not a typical CRUD run. We actually ran! Normally we are on steep mountain trails with questionable footing, and a CRUD outing is part running, part climbing, part hiking, and part surviving. Today was more like normal marathon runners, with a relatively flat course, good footing, and even talk of speed! We started downtown then North on the Santa Fe Trail for 1 1/2 hrs then turned around and ran back at what some of us like to call fast. A CRUD speed workout of sorts. The distance ended up being just under 23 miles and I suffered pretty good on the last 5 miles. Only CRUD would call 23 miles a "speed" workout. The weather was incredible. Mid 20s when we started and near 60 when we finished. Once home, I rode for about 45 minutes on my road bike to flush out the lactic acid in my legs. Beautiful day!

Max a little Tuckered after almost 23 Miles

Sunday long ride alone. Couldn't find anyone that wanted to go ride 100 miles today, so hit the road early, headed East and just rode with no particular plan other than ride. The weather was amazing for January. Mid 20s starting out, but mid 50s by the time I finished, and no wind. Colorado Springs has got to be one of the most perfect places for riding. For road riding, East is miles and miles of prairie, ranch land, rolling hills and no traffic. West the Mountains, North the Air Force Academy (the world championships were held there once), and South rolling hills and Cheyenne Canyon. Then there is unlimited miles of trails for mountain biking and trail running. Today's ride reminded me of how lucky I am to be living here. Finished up by riding to the West side of town for a loop around Garden of the Gods and a climb up Flying W. Rode like I felt, and just enjoyed a day on the bike. The only issue was my wrist hurt a bit, especially after four hours, but nothing major. All in all a very good week. After three good weeks, next week will be a bit of a recovery week

Heading back to CS after a long day in the Saddle
Mon: Rest
Tue: Run - 1.7 hrs, Bike - 2.1 hrs
Wed: Bike - 1.2 hrs, Run - 1.2 hrs
Thu: Run - 1.5 hrs, Bike - 2.2 hrs
Fri: Bike - 1.2 hrs
Sat: Run - 3 hrs, Bike 0.7 hrs
Sun: Bike - 6 hrs
No Strength training due to sprained wrist.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Year is Off to Good Start!

The year is off to good start. As far as training, the year started Dec 28, so just wrapped up the second week. Continuing the pattern established over Nov & Dec to ensure I have a great base to work from once Spring rolls around. My routine for base building is pretty simple: Run & ride as much as possible!

Ha! Actually there is a little more structure which looks something like:

Mon: Strength Training (focus on core)
Tue: Get up 4:30 for 1 ½ - 1 ¾ hr run before work. PM: Ride home from work, if not too cold or icy, loop through Garden of the Gods, then climb Flying W or ride the trainer/rollers if can’t ride outside, or combination of both. 2 Hours.
Wed: Ride to work, 1+ Hour. PM: Hilly run, 1 hour
Thu: 1 ½ - 1 ¾ hr run before work, with speed session. PM: Same as Tue.
Fri: Ride to work, 1+ hr. Strength training
Sat: Long run (3-5 hrs) followed by easy 1 hr spin on bike
Sun: Long ride, MTB or Road 3 -6 hrs.

I’ve had a rather unnerving companion fairly consistently on the way to work over the last few weeks; A coyote about the size of a large German shepherd, that appears to have no fear of humans. Several times now he has come out on the path within inches as I ride by. Sometimes he trots along behind until I stop and yell at him to go away. I usually see his eyes reflecting in my headlamp on the side of the trail just before he comes up. It’s a little eerie, haven’t seen him for a couple days though.

Started the year right with a fun technical MTB ride in Palmer Park on New Year’s Day as well as the following Sunday. That whole weekend was a great way to kick off the year.

New Years MTB Ride
This weekend was somewhat of a compromise. As with most Saturdays, I went on a terrific long run with CRUD, but during the run I slipped on ice and landed on my wrist. The same wrist I broke in October. I completed the run and even an hour bike ride after the run, but then it started swelling. I planned on a 100+ mile road ride today, but my wrist and hand were too sore and swollen to ride. OK, change in plan, easy run & trainer ride. The run went well but the bike/trainer ride was very painful. I tried ignoring the pain, but after 3 hours it was extending up my arm, and I was focusing more on the pain then the workout, so I threw in the towel at 3 hours (55 miles). I’m icing it along with Advil, so hopefully it heals fast. No biggie, these things happen. I can still run, and I’m sure I’ll be back on the bike in no time!

Training Log
Mon, 12/28/09: CORE Strength & weights
Tue, 12/29/09: AM – 1.6 hr run. PM – Ride home plus trainer w/sprints, 2.2 hrs
Wed, 12/30/09: AM – slow ride to work (very icy) 1.2 hr. PM – Hill run up the Chutes & Gold Camp, 1 hr
Thu, 12/31/09: AM – 1.6 hr run with sprints. Bright moon off the snow seemed like running in daylight! PM – Lunch time road ride with my boss, 2 hrs
Fri, 1/1/10: MTB Ride Palmer Park. Big group, technical and fun! 3.2 hrs
Sat, 1/2/10: CRUD run, Urban trails, 2.7 hrs, followed by 1 hr easy bike ride
Sun, 1/3/10: Long MTB ride. Rode an hr in Ute then over to Palmer to join Sharon, Ethan, Dana, James, & Dan for more fun, 4.6 hrs
Week Total: 7hrs Run, 14 hrs Bike

Mon, 1/4/10: CORE Strength & weights
Tue, 1/5/10: AM – 1.6 hr run. PM – Long ride home to include GoG & Flying W, 2.1 hrs
Wed, 1/6/10: AM – Ride to work, 1.2 hr. PM – Hill run up the Chutes & Gold Camp, 1 hr
Thu, 1/7/10: AM – 1.8 hr run with sprints. Temp 2 below. PM – Trainer workout, hills, 2.1 hrs
Fri, 1/8/10: AM – 1 hr Trainer/Rollers
Sat, 1/9/10: 3 hr CRUD run, followed by 1.1 hr trainer ride (hurt my wrist)
Sun, 1/10/10: AM – 1.1 hr run followed by 3 hr trainer ride.
Week Total: 8.2 hrs Run, 10.5 hrs Bike

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A New Year A New Blog

After finishing the Leadman, I took a break from blogging but not from training. There was still one more thing on my list which was exactly 4 weeks after the Leadville Trail 100 Run. The Akron Marathon, in Akron, OH. It was a reunion of sorts with High School friends, especially two of my best friends Bill Stout and Karen (Jones) Gergon. Karen ran the marathon too, and it was her first. Karen is amazing, a mother of 9, grandmother, and just a year before could not run around the block. She finished with a huge smile and is ready to tackle it again next year! I on the other hand was tired from the very first step and slowly deteriorated throughout, pretty much walking and jogging the last four or so miles.

Karen Finishing the Akron Roadrunner Marathon

Took a break after the marathon and just rode my bike. In October, I went over the handlebars on the way to work and fractured my wrist. If your gonna break something, October is the best time to do it. I needed some time off anyway!

I've been ramping up the base miles since November, building on last year. I'm getting in some incredible rides and runs and 2010 is going to be great. I've got a ton of races planned both running and riding. Gonna try something other than Leadville. After 13 Leadville 100 MTB races, 3 Leadville 100 runs, and 2 Leadmans, I'm ready to move on to something else. The Breckenridge 100 Mountain Bike Race and the Grand Tetons 100 running race look like my main goals in 2010. Also on the calendar are several others such as the Gunnison Growler, the Baton Death March, the Collegiate Peaks 50, and the list goes on. Throw in the Bicycle Tour of Colorado, a Rim2Rim2Rim Grand Canyon run, and Ring the Peak (Pikes Peak) just for fun and it should be a quite an adventurous year. Welcome to 2010!