Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Week

Happy Thanksgiving! On Thanksgiving morning I went out for a medium distance run of about 13 miles and for almost the entire run I thought about what I have to be thankful for. It’s a lot. I think if we spent more time listing all the things we have to be thankful for instead of thinking about all the things we don’t have, we’d all be a lot better off. One of the things I am especially thankful for this Thanksgiving is my son was able to come home for the weekend in a break from training as he’s prepares for deployment. Another observation: When I was unemployed in October, I had the privilege of sitting in some classes at a middle school that comprised a poorer area of Colorado Springs. I’ve always had respect for teachers, but that respect jumped 10 levels after spending a day in school. Any time I hear someone bad mouth teachers I will tell them to spend a day at school and see the real story. My hat is off to teachers. I am truly thankful for what you do from the bottom of my heart.

My intention was to start bike commuting to & from work this week, but complications at work made the logistics difficult so I’ll have to work it out, hopefully this week. I missed a day or two of running also, mainly because I got to bed late and didn’t think it would be beneficial to get up at 4 am to get a run in before work. Plus a couple mornings were single digit temperatures. I pulled a Max and stayed in bed hugging my pillow. Speaking of Max, he still has some sort of foot injury. It's heartbreaking to tell him each morning he can't go with me then see him sulk and look at me with those big sad eyes. It doesn’t seem to be getting better so he going to the doggy doctor Monday.

CRUD Run Photos
Starting off with the Sunrise
Photo by Harsha Nagaraj

Runner's Bliss
Photo Harsha Nagaraj
17 Miles and all Smiles
Photo Harsha Nagaraj
Monday Nov22
AM: Recovery Run, Delominco/Rockrimmon Loop, 0.7 hrs, 4.4 miles, Strength Training
Beautiful clear starry skies with a bright full moon. Priceless

Tuesday Nov23
AM: Middle Distance Run, Rolling Hills, 1.9 hrs, 12.9 miles
Rolling hills, felt good. Single digit temperatures with starry skies and bright moon. Absolutely stunning.

Wednesday Nov24
Slept in. Felt really tired, so took day off to recharge.

Thursday Nov 25 (Thanksgiving)
AM: Middle Distance Run with Speed, rolling hills & track, 2.2 hrs 13.6 miles
Felt excellent today. Slept in and got to run in the daylight. Beautiful day. Ran a loop around Ute Park then went to the track and did 10 * 100 Meter stride outs, running the straights and jogging the curves. After the track did another loop around Ute Park.

Friday Nov26
AM: MTB Cheyenne Mtn. State Park, 2.2 hrs, 22 miles
Finally rode my bike this week. Kind of a leisurely trail ride on rolling hills with Dan, Kara, and Bruce. Very enjoyable social able ride. Just 4 friends sharing our passion for being outdoors and riding!

Saturday Nov27
AM: CRUD Run, Air Force Academy Falcon Trail, 3 hrs, 17.4 miles
Another great run with CRUD. This was like yesterday’s run. Nice leisurely and fun. Again just enjoying the great outdoors of Colorado.

Sunday Nov28

AM: MTB Ride, Palmer/Ute Parks, 2.9 hrs, 28 miles
Very fast technical ride in Palmer Park with a big group. No one was waiting for anyone. Rode for about an hour with the group then started to head home. Met up with Gouge, Kervin, & Tom and rode with them a bit. Headed home and did a loop in Ute Park on the way back.
PM: Middle Distance Run, Santa Fe Trail, 1.5 hrs, 10.4 miles
Felt surprisingly good. Originally I was only going to run maybe 4 miles or so. But I felt really good so I kept extending the turnaround point. Ran from home then up through the AFA via Santa Fe Trail.

Week Summary: Run 9.3 hrs, 58.7 miles. Bike 5.4 hrs 50 miles

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Still No Snow on the Peak

Pikes Peak from Palmer Park

I don’t remember ever going this late in the year with no snow. This lack of snow makes for some great running and riding. The Saturday CRUD run went up a Longs Ranch which is a very steep dirt road that rises over 2,000 ft in just 2 ½ miles. Normally at this time of year we’d be post holing. There were traces of snow here and there and that’s about it. Even Barr Camp, at over 10,000 feet, there is no snow. We did get about 15 minutes of blizzard conditions and gale force winds on Tuesday evening. It was the exact time that I started my ride home from work. After just a couple of miles of fighting to stay on my bike and being blinded by almost white out conditions I decided this was too dangerous. I turned around went back to work, threw my bike in the truck, and started driving home. The wind & the snow subsided.   

Monday Nov15
AM: Recovery Run, Delominco/Rockrimmon Loop, 0.7 hrs, 4.4 miles, Strength Training
Very easy pace, felt really fresh today. Good strength workout too!

Tuesday Nov16
AM: Middle distance run, Neighborhood, 2.9 hrs, 12 miles
Very early run on bike paths & sidewalks. Ran a little slower on the bike paths since it was hard to see. Also added a couple hills just for fun.
PM: Attempt at ride home, 0.3 hrs, 3 miles
Started to ride home from work. A blizzard started just as I got started and I could barely stay on the bike by the time I got to the top of Peterson Hill. The wind was incredible and the snow was white out. With all the traffic it was a very dangerous situation. Turned around and went back and got my truck. It seemed as I drove home the storm subsided.

Wednesday Nov17
AM: Track Workout, 1.4 hrs, 9.8 miles
Warmed up by running to Eagleview Middle School track then did 4 * 100 w/100 recover, 4 * 400 w/200 recover, 2 * 1 mile w/400 recover, and 4 * 400 w/200 recovery. Felt really good this morning despite yesterday’s run. The wind was pretty brutal on the West straight but I had a strong tail wind going east. Times were kind of slow, but then again I’m and old guy that hasn’t done track work in a while. 400s ranged from 1:33 to 1:40 with the last one being the fastest. The miles were 6:54 & 6:51. If I had more time I would have done some barefoot running, but work calls!

Thursday Nov18
AM: Middle distance run, Santa Fe Trail, 2.8 hrs, 12.1 miles
Still feeling good even after the last two days of pretty decent runs. Just ran a nice even pace and enjoyed the early morning stars and cool air. Was pretty stiff at work today though.

Friday Nov19
AM: Slept in, somehow I turned off my alarm clock.

Woke up this morning too late to run. I think I needed a rest, because I didn’t feel like running at lunch or in the evening.

Saturday Nov20
AM: Long Trail Run, Williams Canyon, Waldo Canyon, Longs Ranch, Barr Trail, 4.6 hrs, 22 miles, 8,188 ft climbing.

Equals: Another fantastic CRUD run! We had a few new people today, but they were not new to ultra running. Today I felt fantastic and even though most of my running has been flat, I felt good on the climbs. Maybe because I took yesterday off? Longs Ranch seemed less difficult then I can ever remember. At different points small groups would turn off and head back to town until only Paul & I were left to complete the climb up Barr Trail from Bob’s Trail. Paul & I continued to Barr Camp which sit at a little over 10,000 feet. Amazing, still no snow this late in the year. We ran a very relaxed, civilized pace back down Barr as neither of us are great downhill runners. The whole run was just fun, relaxing, and peaceful.

The Gang Rippin the Trails in Palmer Park

Sunday Nov21
AM: Mountain Bike, Palmer Park, 3.4 hrs, 31 miles, 4,164 ft climbing.
Rode over to Palmer Park to meet the gang and do some technical riding. There were a lot of very good technical riders there today, so I had my work cut out for me. The pace was hard and fast compared to last week. Although my legs were feeling yesterday’s run I was keeping up for the most part. We rode all the most technical trails in the park. I feel really good with the way I rode today. I was able to ride many sections I normally can’t and sections that seemed really hard in the past felt relatively easy and smooth. It seems my technical skills have really come up a couple notches since I started riding with Kevin. Great ride! Rode some of the trails behind UCCS on the way home.

Week Total: Run: 10.4 hrs, 60 miles. Bike: 3.7 hrs 34 miles.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Single Speeds and Early Morning Runs

Pikes Peak from Ute Park
This week took some adjusting. After a month of not working, I became real comfortable with sleeping in until 6 – 6:30 and hitting the trail at 7:00 or so. So it was rough going back to getting up at 4 every morning. I’m sure glad Veterans Day came around as it was a good place for a break. As much as I tried to keep the workouts consistent with pre-employment, I just didn’t get a lot of cycling in. At the new job, I’m still getting adjusted and figuring out the logistics for commuting. I finished building my single speed, mostly from spare parts, which will be my commuting bike. I tested it Thursday and found its geared way too big. I was barely turning the cranks on even the smallest climbs. I put a bigger cog in the rear, we’ll see how it goes when I start commuting next week. Have a great week!
Training Log
Monday Nov8
AM: Recovery run, Delmonico/Rockrimmon Loop, 0.7 hrs, 4.4 miles
Very easy pace, very early in the morning. Ran roads and sidewalks since it was dark. Felt pretty good once I got warmed up. Strength workout after run.

Tuesday Nov9
AM: Middle distance run, Santa Fe Trail/Delmonico Rockrimmon Loop, 2 hrs, 13 miles
On the road by 4:30 this morning. Stayed mostly on the roads, but ran the paved section of the Santa Fe Trail due to it being dark and the batteries in my headlamp were dead. Very quiet this time of morning, even in town.

Wednesday Nov10
AM: Tempo Run, Santa Fe Trail, 1.2 hrs, 8.7 miles, Strength workout
The trail was nice and bright this morning from the new snow that fell over night. I also had fresh re-charged batteries in my headlamp. Warmed up with a little over 2 miles then ran 4 miles at tempo (2 miles out and back) then home. My watch lap counter didn’t work right on the tempo run so I have no idea what my time was. The purpose of this run was to get a baseline. Guess I’ll have to wait until next week.

Thursday Nov11
AM: Medium distance, Santa Fe Trail, 1.5 hrs, run 10 miles
Happy Veterans Day! Got to sleep in this morning. I have to admit, these 4 AM mornings are starting to get to me. Pretty cold this morning and the legs felt pretty beat up and tired. Still had a good run, as I spent almost the entire run deep in thought, contemplating the new job, life and the future.
PM: Single Speed Ride, 2 hrs, 26 miles
Well I found out today that I have my single speed geared way to high; 44 on the front 17 on the back. I rode most of the way to work and back on my “newly built mostly out of spare parts single speed” to test it out. It rides fantastic but the gear is too hard. It goes great on the flats and down hills, but on some of the climbs, I could barely turn the pedals. Coming home was against a really strong wind, so I was having problems pushing that gear even on the flats. I think it will be too much with the load I carry back and forth to work (food, clothes, shower stuff). I need to either put a 42 on the front or a 19 on the back. So I guess I won’t be riding to work tomorrow.

Friday Nov12
AM: Recovery Run, Delmonico/Rockrimmon Loop, 0.7 hrs, 4.4 miles, Strength workout

Saturday Nov13
AM: Long Run, Ute Park/Air Force Academy, 2.8 hrs, 18.4 miles
Today was a “No dog day” on the CRUD run. The reason being is that the run was in an area known for bighorn sheep. The Forest Service would not appreciate (nor would the bighorns for that matter) dogs chasing them around. So I ran from home with Max in Ute Park. I dropped him off at home after 8 miles and headed to the Air Force Academy. Max was limping later in the day (my guess is from all the sidewalk running this week) so we iced his leg for a while. He's going to have to take a few days off and let his foot rest awhile.
PM: Easy Road Ride, Around Town, 1.3 hrs, 17.4 miles
Very easy ride around town just doing errands. Picked up a 19 tooth cog for the single speed. A 42 chain ring probably would have been the better way to go, cause I had to add a couple links to the chain to get the 19 cog to fit.

Sunday Nov14
AM: MTB Ride, Ute Park/Palmer Park, 4 hrs, 32 miles
Today was one of those days that everything just seemed to come together and flow. I rode with some great technical riders today; James, Lynn, Ian, Dana, Sharon, & Kevin. There must have been some osmosis because I was clearing stuff with seeming ease that I normally have problems with or can’t clear at all. Templeton Trail, which is always very challenging for me, seemed easy today. I also rode a section of trail I’ve never been able to ride before. The whole ride though technical, was smooth, relaxed and fun. Its days like this that all the hours of frustration and practice on technical stuff pay off. Great ride! Also, Max isn't limping any more, but I'm still gonna let him heal for a few days.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Back to Work

This was my last week of being unemployed and the weather was great so I took full advantage of it. Without the time and stress of having to look for a job I was able to do some good riding, running, and household chores this week. Tomorrow (Monday) is back to work and I'm pretty excited about it. But this also means going back to getting up at 4:30 to workout, riding home in the dark and forgetting what day light looks like except on weekends. I was really getting used to getting a full nights sleep! It was amazing to sleep in till 6:30/7:00, run during sunrise, and witness the changing of colors throughout October. Although I haven't committed to doing the Leadman again, this week certainly looked like a Leadville training week. Especially the weekend; a superb long run in the mountains on Saturday followed by hard long mountain bike ride on Sunday.

Nov 1
AM: Recovery run, Hank’s Loop. 0.5 hrs, 3.2 miles, strength workout

The peak looked nice with fresh snow this morning.

Nov 2
AM: Middle Distance run, Santa Fe Trail, 1.7 hrs, 12.4 miles
Felt really good this morning. Temps a little brisk starting out. This was one of those runs that reminds me how much I love running. Everything flowed and just felt fluid. The weather was great too.
PM: Bike Ride, Santa Fe Trail, 2.3 hrs, 29 miles
Took a nice spin to the South part of town to visit an old working buddy at his new job at the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Very impressive place. Had a nice tail wind going down, tough head wind coming back.

 6 Mile Turn-around Point
Headin Home Santa Fe Trail
Drink Break!

AM: Aerobic run with Intervals 7 * 400, 5 * 100, Eagle View Track, 1.3 hrs, 8.7 miles, Strength Workout
My plan this morning was an easy run around the neighborhood, hit the Eagle View Middle School Track for 10 * 100 meter stride outs then run home. I was really feeling good and the hamstrings weren't anywhere near as sore as last week. After the 5th stride out Ingrid Hibbits a mother of two and competitive tri-athlete, asked if I would join her in 400 meter intervals. So we did 7 * 400 meters in about 1:40 – 1:43 each (about 6:40 mile pace) with 200 meter recovery. She kicked my butt, but it felt good! Ran home and added a nice intense strength workout.
PM: Road Ride, 2.5 hrs, 35 miles
Accepted an job off today, so I looked for a safe bike commuting route to my new place of employment. Took it pretty easy and I think I found a good route. Looks like about a 34 mile round trip. I think I’m gonna get my old Schwinn frame and build it into a single speed, which would make a good winter commuting bike.
Ingrid Cranking Out 400s
AM: Middle Distance run, Santa Fe Trail, 1.4 hrs, 10.3 miles
Ouch! I definitely felt those 400s from yesterday. Was pretty tired and stiff right from the beginning. Kept it easy and focused on being smooth the whole run. After about 8 miles my left hamstring started getting pretty tight. Just focused on running relaxed, enjoying the great scenery of Colorado, and at one point I started imagining that I was an ancient Greek messenger running forever to deliver an important message. Weird I know, but it helps.
PM: Road Ride, 2 hrs, 31 miles
Nice cruise with Grant east side of town.

AM: Recovery run, Rockrimmon/Delmonico Loop, 0.7 hrs, 4.4 miles, Strength Workout
Very easy pace. Got up early and ran in the dark, so stuck to the streets today. Finished just as the sun was rising. Gonna be another beautiful day in paradise! I got start getting used to getting up early again. I start my new job Monday!

AM: CRUD run, Cheyenne Canyon <-> Cheyenne Mtn Lodge ruins, then 6 mile loop home <-> Santa Fe Trail, 3.3 hrs, 16 miles
A nice little adventure with CRUD up to the ruins of the Cheyenne Mtn Lodge. First time I was ever there, very cool! 5 miles straight up and 5 miles straight down. Trail was rough, going was slow (1.5 hours to do the first 5 miles) Great run/hike! Once finished, dropped Max off at home and went for another 6 miles. I posted a more detailed description of the run is on my previous post.

View of Mountain we ran Yesterday
AM: MTB Ride Home, Ute Park, Stratton Open Space, Chutes, Columbine, Cap’n Jacks, Zipline, Redrocks, Garden of the Gods, Flying W, Home, 5.4 hrs, 44 miles, 4,780 ft climbing
Great ride today. Played around in Ute Park then headed for Cheyenne Canyon to meet up with Grant & Dave for about 2 ½ hours then headed home via Red Rocks & Garden of the Gods. Another beautiful day. Kind of felt like Leadman training with the long run and long ride back to back this weekend.

Dave climbing a switchback
Grant is all smiles

Week Summary: Bike: 12.2 hrs, 139 miles Run 8.9 hrs 55 miles

Cheyenne Mountain Honeymoon Lodge

Today we embarked on a little adventure. In 1925/26, way up at the top of Cheyenne Mountain, Spencer Penrose built the luxurious “Cheyenne Mountain Honeymoon Lodge” complete with a million dollar winding road to get there. In the late 50’s early 60’s NORAD moved into Cheyenne Mountain and use of the mountain was restricted. The lodge fell into disrepair and the entire lodge was bulldozed in the early 70s. The road has since grown over and very few people know of the lodge’s existence or how to get there. Today’s CRUD run/hike was to find this fabled place. And we did.

Click here to see what it used to look like.

We started at the bottom of Cheyenne canyon and proceeded up various trails that had us climbing steep terrain for about 5 miles. About ½ way up we found the remains of the old lodge road and followed it to the remains of the Cheyenne Mountain Honeymoon Lodge. We also found on another peak and old cabin, still in good shape. I can’t imagine how anyone could build such a cabin in such a hard to get to place or as Steve put it “Why?”.

Click on Slide Show for Full Screen View

As with all CRUD runs, it was fun, adventurous, & challenging. We were young kids again exploring  our backyard!