Sunday, February 28, 2010

Age Denial?

Pikes Peak from Ute Park after a fresh Snow
An “acquaintance” asks me almost every time he sees me if I still do all that crazy biking and running. I ran into him the other day, he was drunk, with a bunch of his beer guzzling redneck friends, and started ragging me. In a nutshell he said I needed to grow up and act my age. Quit running around and riding a bicycle like some little kid. He went on to claim that the only reason I do all that crazy “shit” is cause I’m in denial of my age. Huh? Boy (“Man” I guess I should say) who knows what kind of ragging I would have taken if he knew I was vegetarian. The whole scene got pretty annoying and I left.

This “acquaintance” is about 5 – 7 years younger than me, at least 70 lbs overweight, on blood thinners, has high blood pressure, and pre-diabetic. I guess he is acting his age. It seems the “norm” these days is to be kept alive by a handful of drugs. It’s generally accepted as part of “getting old”. Am I missing something? Why is something as simple as exercising and eating healthy such a difficult concept to grasp? Why is taking care of what we have been given so abnormal that people have to critize it? Why is it the accepted norm that living life on drugs (or as we like to call it “medicine”) is inevitable after 50? Umm sorry I digress. I guess he annoyed me more than I thought.

Back to this age denial thing. I know how old I am. But what does “old” mean? Sure I’m not anywhere near as fast as I was 30 years ago. But 30 years ago I couldn’t run 100 miles or mountain bike for 24 hours. When I’m out riding with a bunch of young 20 – 30 year old studs and the pace picks up and I’m struggling to keep up, I find if I think about how old I am, i.e. “You’re 52 years old! What are you doing trying to keep up with these guys?” I get dropped. However, if I block that out of my mind and focus on strong smooth pedaling, staying relaxed, and breathing, I often stay with the young guys and sometimes even drop a few of em. A friend turned 50 this week. (He’s also very fast and enters into my age group this year, Yikes!) He is celebrating by spending the weekend mountain biking, running, & skiing. Maybe he’s in denial too. Maybe he should just be sitting back on a couch taking pills and complaining about how old he is. I know some “old” people who have turned their lives around from the “norm” and went on to finish marathons, mountain bike races or other feats that they previously thought impossible. I believe overall, they are much happier and feel much better about themselves. I don’t think we are ever too old to be kids. My response to this age denial accusation: I rode 87 miles Saturday morning, helped my son move Saturday afternoon, then went to a concert in the evening. Ran 21 miles Sunday morning and spent the rest of the day helping my son move.

Max and his Stick

Training: Training went very well this week. For the most part energy levels were high and I rested when I needed to. Tuesday morning, did a series of Time Trials on the bike 20 min, 15 min, 10, min, and 5 min all out. Five min recover between. Probably the highest intensity bike workout this year. Tuesday evening ran home from work. Wednesday rode to work then an easy run with Max in the snow after work. Thursday a very hard running interval workout that pretty much left me wiped out the rest of the day and into Friday, so I rested Thursday evening and Friday. Capped the week off with a long ride on Saturday (6.1 hrs, 87 miles, 6000+ ft of climbing) and a long run on Sunday (3 hrs 21 miles).

Mon: Strength
Tues: AM: Bike (TT Intervals) 1.7 hrs, PM: Run (run home) 2.1 hrs
Wed: AM: Bike (Ride Work) 1.1 hrs, PM: Run (easy) 1 hr
Thurs: AM: Run (Warm-up, 5 * 1 mile tempo w/ ½ mile recovery) 1.5 hrs
Fri: Rest
Sat: AM: Bike (6000+ ft climbing) 6.1 hrs
Sun: AM: Run (Santa Fe Trail) 3 hrs

Sunday, February 21, 2010


It seems this is the time of the year that a lot of people start getting tired of winter and longing for the warm temperatures of summer. Ironically, it seems the people that complain most are the ones that spend the least time outdoors. The weather here in Colorado Springs has been overcast with snow on and off since Thursday with the forecast calling for more of the same through Tuesday. I love winter. As well as spring, summer, and fall. I love watching my body & mind adapt to each season. I’ve been running or riding competitively for almost 40 years now. I have lived in Ohio, Kentucky, Germany and Colorado among other places and all have four seasons. Getting out in the brisk mornings of winter with fresh snow just lets you know you’re alive. And as the winter goes on, your body adapts and what was cold in early Fall, just doesn’t seem so cold any more. I rode to work this week in single digit temperatures. It seemed brisk at the most. When I rode to work in single digit temperatures in November it seemed down right cold. I find this interesting that we as humans have an amazing ability to adapt . We just need to go out and do it. Right now in February, a four hour run or six hour ride in 90 degrees would be undoable. In July, a piece of cake. I think if people spend more time outdoors, winter would not seem so bad. If you’re indoors all the time, you never adapt, and you freeze your butt just waiting for your car to warm-up. Another ironic observation I have, is it’s usually the same people that complain about winter that complain about how hot it is in the summer as they crank up their air conditioners. Each season is special, Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Get outside, run, ride, ski, walk, hike, swim, play, and enjoy them all!

As far as this week’s training, what a difference a week makes. The recovery last week worked miracles. All week long I felt like a new man. On Monday I did a strength workout with Roswitha and felt very strong. Maybe I was just showing off for Roswitha, but I was putting up some weight. Tuesday morning’s run, I felt fast and strong and likewise on my tempo ride in the evening. I actually had to hold myself back on the tempo ride to keep my heart rate in the right range, as my body wanted to go harder. On CRUD’s Thursday morning hill climb, a four mile climb up Cheyenne Canyon to the top of High Drive, I bettered my best time this year by two full minutes. Saturday, I had a great 21 mile run in fresh snow, despite not getting to bed until 1:00 AM after going to an Alice in Chains concert in Denver the night before. Finally on Sunday, an incredible bike workout on the trainer, close to four hours rotating big gear, high wattage intervals with low gear high rpm pedaling (120+ rpms) intervals. A good solid week! Ahh, I just noticed it's snowing. I think I'll go for a walk!

About 5 miles into Sat Run Max Finds a ball

And for the next 15 miles we played catch

Come on throw the ball!

Well if your not going to throw it, I'll come get it!
Mon: PM: Strength Workout
Tues: AM : Run 1.6 hrs (10 * 15 sec stride outs & 40 min tempo) PM: Bike 2 hrs (Ride home w/ 40 min tempo)
Wed: AM: Bike 1.2 hrs (Ride work) PM: Run 1 hr (trail run)
Thurs: AM: Run 1.1 hrs (CRUD Hill Climb) PM: Bike 1.4 hrs (Ride home)
Fri: AM: Bike 1.2 hrs (Ride Work)
Sat: AM: Run 3.3 hrs
Sun: AM: Bike 3.8 hrs (Trainer, Big gear Low RPM/Low gear high RPM intervals)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

An Experiment of One

Could this Flock of Geese mean Spring may come early?

They say in the Ultra world that everyone is an experiment of one. What that means is that there is no figured out standard way of training for ultras. Marathon runners have a plethora of books, material and training guides with day by day schedules for all levels of runners. The same goes for cyclists. Ultra endurance, both running & cycling, is still a mystery. My particular experiment is further complicated in that I’m combining both ultra running and ultra mountain biking. Last week, I think my experiment went a little bit to the extreme, and I paid for it this week. My theory is that ultra endurance is extreme and therefore requires extreme training; 20+ hrs a week. I base my training schedule off the concept of three hard weeks, each building upon the other, and then recover by cutting my training in half every 4th week. It’s a principle used in biking and running at the shorter disciplines. This was supposed to be the third week in the cycle, therefore the hardest and longest. Trouble is I went so hard and long the previous two weeks I was exhausted. So on Tuesday I did something I rarely do. After ten minutes into my ride (on the trainer) I quit. Just couldn’t get it going. I decided to listen to my body and make this a recovery week. For the rest of the week, I took it pretty easy, cutting most of my workouts in half, and keeping the intensity leisure. Re-charge the batteries so to speak. We’ll see how it went. This morning I was feeling like my old self again and was tempted to run 4+ hours instead of 2 ½. Got to have discipline and control my desire to run forever! I am an experiment of one, and we’ll see if this week’s experiment recharged my batteries! Oh yea... Happy Valentines Day!

Training Log:
PM: Run 0.9 hrs
Tues: AM: Run 1.8 hrs (3-4” new snow) PM: Bike – Started on trainer but quit after 10 min
Wed: AM: Bike 1.8 hrs (Big gear intervals on trainer) + Strength
Thurs: AM: Run 1.4 hrs (CRUD Hill Climb) PM: Bike 1.8 hrs (Ride home, easy)
Fri: AM: Bike 1.2 hrs (Ride to work)
Sat: AM: Bike 3.4 hrs (leisurely)
Sun: AM: Run 2.4 hrs (Technical Trail Run)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Love, Dedication or Obsession?

Today I had to wonder. Is it that I really love running and riding or am I just obsessed?

View of Pikes Peak from Top of Bob's Trail during Saturday's Run

Last week I stepped up the intensity a bit with big gear hill climbs & tempo runs & rides along with long endurance runs & rides. This week I stepped it up even more. Tuesday morning was a hard 12 mile tempo run with 10 * 15 sec stride outs, followed by a 2+ hour ride in the evening with 50 min tempo. Rode to work on Wednesday but was kind of dragging at work, so didn’t run in the evening. Thursday morning, CRUD hill climb, then rode home from work and added 4 big gear climbs up Flying W. There is nothing like sweating like crazy climbing a hill, then freezing while descending in the cold and dark. Saturday, another epic run with CRUD, running amazing trails with an amazing group on an amazing day. Approximately 22 miles with 5,640 feet of vertical in about 4 ½ hours. Finally on Sunday, I think I went over the edge. I started out with an hour trail run in the morning, then came back and got my mountain bike. Rode for 1 ½ hours until it started snowing and the mud started gumming everything up. Came home and got on the trainer. I really didn’t want to do a long trainer ride, but still wanted to get a long ride. Eventually, I pulled out the “Hardcore 100” Spinerval and started riding. This is basically 5 ½ hours of intervals, starting easy and building in intensity with the last hour being very hard. Many times during the workout I wanted to quit but convinced myself this would make me mentally tough for those 12 – 24 hour races. So I ended up with 1 hour of running and 7 hours on the bike, a long day at the office. It's days like today, slugging through a long hard boring workout that makes me wonder if its love, dedication or obsession. Maybe a combination of the three?

Mon: PM: Run 0.5 hrs barefoot (Vibram 5 Fingers) followed by Strength workout
Tues: AM: Run 1.6 hrs with 10 * 15 sec Strideouts & 30 minute tempo. PM: Bike 2.3 hrs with 50 minute Tempo
Wed: AM: Bike 1.2 hr with high RPM Pedaling.
Thu: AM: Run 1.3 hrs (CRUD Hill Climb) PM: Bike 2.1 hr with 4 * 10 min Big Gear Climbs
Fri: AM: Bike 1.1 hr PM: Run 0.8 hrs
Sat: AM: Run 4.7 hrs (CRUD trail run) (5,640 ft climbing)

Sun: AM: Run 1 hr Bike 7 hrs (Combination MTB & trainer)