Sunday, December 28, 2014

Week 31 - Winter is Here!

It looks like winter is finally here. Max and I started our run Saturday at -2 degrees Fahrenheit (-19 C). I thought we’d cut it short or at least after a short distance bring Max back. I was afraid he would get frostbite on his feet. He did fine and we ended up running 18+ miles finishing in a balmy +9 degrees F. 

Sub Zero Temps? No Problem!
I find animals amazing. For example a dog can go from a nice warm 65 degrees in the house, and without changing clothes, run outside like nothing is different. I don’t get it. They must have an amazing thermal regulator. When you think about it, the animals that live outside; deer, coyote, rabbits, mountain lions etc. can deal with all weather conditions without air conditioning, heating units, or extra clothes. In Colorado Springs we can have temps as high as the 100s in the summer and well below zero in the winter and they deal with it. What I really find fascinating how a dog can go from a warm house immediately to sub-zero temperatures and it doesn’t seem to faze him. I guess I'm easily fascinated...

Checking out the Frozen Monument Creek
Training is going well despite the cold; actually I’ve been enjoying it, at least running. I’ve sort of wimped out on the bike and spent some time on the trainer. With a four day weekend I didn’t have the need to ride to work on Thursday and Friday and I didn’t really want to deal with the ice and ton of clothing necessary to ride in cold weather. When it comes to icy and cold weather one can actually get a better workout on the trainer. I also discovered podcasts which really takes the boredom out riding one spot in the basement. I find particularly interesting Rich Roll’s podcast and highly recommend it. Rich is an amazing guy with an amazing story for which he wrote a book "Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myselfthat I also highly recommend.

Wimping Out in the Basement
(but listening to some great pod-casts)
So this week’s training was more of the same, nothing sexy. And that is pretty much what training is, just consistent plugging away, getting the right combination of quality and quantity, and sticking with it. Even this far out from the Burning River 100 I’m super psyched and motivated. We should be getting the donation site up soon for the Children’s Hospital Cancer organization that Ben chose. Again I’m super psyched and I hope this really works out to help a lot of kids and their families going through a really rough time.

Even after 18 Miles the first thing Max does is chase the squirrels out of the yard then wants to play ball
This Week’s Training:

·         AM: Ride to Work (7.2 Miles)
·         PM: Ride to Gym from work (10.3 Miles), Gym Workout
·         AM: Run (8.2 Miles), Ride to Work (8.7 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home (8.8 Miles)
·         AM: Run (6.6 Miles), Ride to Work/Trainer Ride (27.3 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home (7.4 Miles)
·         AM: Run (10.7 Miles), Trainer Ride (36.4 Miles)
·         AM: Trainer Ride (20 Miles)
·         AM: Run (18.4 Miles)
·         PM: Gym Workout, Trainer Ride (22.4 Miles)
·         AM: run (10 Miles), Trainer Ride (38 Miles)

Total: 223 Miles (Bike 169, Run 54)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week 32: Running with the Dogs!

Remember Primus? Primus is the dog my son, Jesse rescued from Afghanistan in 2011. When Jesse is out of town we get to keep him and he’s always a pleasure to have. Him and Max get along great and Primus loves to run… to a point. I think right now 8 – 10 miles is his limit, but with a longer stayd we could extend that. So this week and next week it is Running with the Dogs. Who knows maybe Primus will have his long wish granted on Saturday; Run with CRUD.
Running with Max and Primus
(Check out Primus's story by clicking his name above)

Training is going very well. The five day a week running format seems to be working fabulously. Believe me there are mornings when the alarm goes off at 4:00 am and its 15 degrees F. out that I contemplate staying in bed for another couple hours. But then I think of why I’m doing this and how no matter what, I have to cross that finish line with Ben running at my side in July. Staying in bed will not get me there, and I do not want to disappoint Ben, the kids we will be raising money for, or myself. So I get out of bed, and once running, everything is awesome. Like doing anything else in life, take that first step no matter how hard, and everything else falls into place.

Max Enjoying an 18 Mile Trail Run
Checking out the Ute Park Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas!

This Week’s Training:

·         AM: Ride to Work (8.7 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home (7.7 Miles)
·         AM: Run (10.5 Miles), Ride to Work (8.7 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home (8.8 Miles)
·         AM: Run (5.8 Miles), Ride to Work (8.7 Miles)
·         PM: Ride from Work to Gym (10.4 Miles), Strength Workout
·         AM: Run (10.5 Miles), Long Ride to Work (25.5 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home (7.7 Miles)
·         AM: Ride to work (9.2 Miles)
·         PM: Longer Ride Home (22.6 Miles)
·         AM: Run (18.3 Miles)
·         AM: run (10.1 Miles)

Total: 173.5 Miles (Bike 117.5, Run 55.7)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Week 33: Running with an Old Mountain Biking Friend

This week I had the opportunity to hook up with a friend from many years back and introduce him to running with the CRUD. Mark was among the first mountain bikers I met when we moved to Colorado Springs from Germany over 20 years ago. He is responsible for getting me involved in mountain bike racing in Colorado and arranged for my first sponsorship and pro-deal on a bike; a Schwinn Homegrown, a top of the line bike at the time. Ironically we ran the newly constructed Iron Mountain Trail that crosses over the former property of the “Troll on the Hill”. We were chased off that mountain by the “Troll” himself 18 years ago. Although the Troll is long gone not much has changed with Mark; he still leaves me in his dust, only now it’s running instead of mountain bikes.
Long Time Friend from Early Mountain Biking Days - Mark Tatum
This week’s training was pretty easy. I was kind of dragging Monday morning, so I took Monday off and skipped a day at the gym to let the batteries recharge. With semester final exams, final papers and final presentation due, this was a good week to back off from training. I continued to feel a bit worn out through mid-week so I continued to keep the runs and rides easy and to a minimum but started feeling energetic again by the weekend. Saturday’s CRUD run was 18 miles and a bit of a shock to the system.  Typical of a CRUD run, we did a ton of climbing (4,472 ft) and descending (4.452 ft), which I haven’t been doing. My legs got tired from all the climbing and beat up from all the descending. But also typical of CRUD, everyone is so awesome and fun to be with that no matter how hard it is, it's fun. Plus I got the extra bonus of running with a long-time friend.

Heading up the new Ute Trail

It's steeper than it looks!

New Overlook off the Ute Pipeline Trail

Long's Ranch Road - Climb from 7,290 ft to 9,111 ft in 2 miles
Max gives me that disgusted look as I start falling behind

Mark & Max checking out the Ruins from the Experimental Forest

What today's ruins used to look like

This Week’s Training:

·         Day off from training
·         AM: Run (8.5 Miles), Ride to Work (8.5 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home (7.7 Miles)
·         AM: Run (5.8 Miles), Ride to Work (8.7 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home (7.9 Miles)
·         AM: Run (8 Miles), Ride to Work (8.7 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home (7.7 Miles)
·         AM: Ride to work (8.7 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home (7.7 Miles)
·         AM: CRUD Run (17.9 Miles)
·         AM: run (8 Miles)
·         PM: Road Bike (30 Miles)
Total: 149 Miles (Bike 101, Run 48)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 34 - Running with the CRUD

Coloradans Running Ultra Distances that is. One of the great things about training for an Ultra is running with CRUD. This is such a great group and every run is a fun little adventure. And  some of the runs especially if Steve Bremner is along can turn into fun BIG adventures. 

Cap'n Jacks Trail with CRUD
The first time I decided to run a 100 mile race I sought out a group of runners that could help, motivate, and teach me how to take on such an endeavor. I found CRUD and they are the greatest group of runners that can be found anywhere. It was running with CRUD along with their ton of advice and support that got me to the finish line. When it comes to ultras, running is only a small part of the equation. Nutrition, logistics, crew, pacers, what to take, what not to take, how to train, how to start, and most important, the mental aspect, are all factors in running 100 miles. Hooking up with a group like CRUD greatly enhances one’s chance for success. Also training with such awesome people helps to make the whole journey a lot more fun. So naturally after I signed up to run The Burning River I’m back to running with the CRUD!

An Awesome Group to Run with!
Photo by Steve Bremner
As far as training goes, I’m still just preparing to train; hanging around in the 40 – 50 mile range, with the normal amount of cycling and some strength training thrown in. I don’t really think it is a good idea to begin training in earnest until February, about six months out from the race. In the meantime, my goal is to keep generally fit through the holidays and have a good foundation to begin serious training in February.

This Week’s Training:

·         AM: Ride to work (8.7 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home (8.5 Miles
·         AM: Run (8.3 Miles), Ride to Work (8.7 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home (7.7 Miles)
·         AM: Run (6.6 Miles), Ride to Work (8.5 Miles)
·         PM: Ride from Work to Gym (10.7 Miles), Strength Workout
·         AM: Run (9.2 Miles), Ride to Work (8.5 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home (7.7 Miles)
·         AM: Ride to work (8.7 Miles)
·         PM: Ride Home (7.7 Miles)
·         AM: Run (15.8 Miles)
·         PM: Road Bike (25 Miles)
·         AM: run (6.1 Miles)
·         PM: Mountain Bike (29 Miles)

Total - 186 Miles: Run - 46 miles, Bike 139 miles, 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 35 - Burning River 100 - Core Strength.

An Awesome Morning Run in Ute Park
 After I signed up for the Burning River I went and bought a gym membership. Why would I join a gym to run 100 miles? Well it is certainly not for the treadmill! I’ve never been much of a gym rat but since I’ve been working on an exercise science degree I’ve discovered the importance of core strength not just for running but for all sports, as well as everything we do to include aging. Balance, posture, stability, and back health are all related to core strength.

So what exactly is the core? For the longest time I thought a strong core meant having six pack abs and didn’t see how that had anything to do with running or cycling. In fact, the core is every muscle in our trunk; back, chest, oblique’s, glutes - pretty much everything but the limbs. All movement and power either originates or transfers through the core.  How many runners have you seen all hunched over when they run? Or their back bent in a bow? This is all due to weak core muscles. During running, stability and posture problems put stress on joints at odd angles eventually causing injury to ligaments, tendons, or worse. Do this day in and day out and injury is imminent (approximately 60% of runners experience an injury per year). During a long run as the body gets tired the posture gets worse and the on the joints, tendons, and ligaments become more exaggerated causing even more potential for injury. Do this for 100 miles and any posture, stability, or compensation issues are exponentially magnified.  I don’t have enough fingers to count the runners I’ve seen at 75+ miles in hundred mile races leaned over side-ways, or hunched over, or limping along because their core muscle gave out on them.

So what are good core exercises? My favorite and apparently one of the most effective is the good ol push-up.  Sara Klein in the Huffington Post  even goes so far as to say the push-up is the greatest exercise in the world! James Herrera the US National BMX National Team Coach and friend of mine recommended years ago to do 100 push-ups a day. When done right push-ups work the abs, shoulders, torso, chest, and lower & upper back. That’s a lot of territory for one exercise! So to do a 100 push-ups, I like to do 5 sets of 20 throughout the day at work. Just get up from my desk knock-out 20 push-ups and go back to work. When I go to the gym I do sets of 20 between other exercises.

The list of core exercises can go forever. Some of my favorites are below:

Rowing works almost all the muscles of the core and is a good warm-up

The Push-up Down Position

Push-up Up Position

Side Plank (30 - 60 sec each side)

Ball Crunch

Ball Rotation (Side to Side)

Torso Rotation

Lat Pull

Back Extension Down Position

Back Extension Up Position

Sitting Row
Week 35 Burning River 100 Training Summary

                                 AM                                          PM
Mon:                                           Ride Home from Work   7.5 Miles

Tues:     Run 8 Miles                  Ride Home from Work   8.8 Miles
             Ride Work 8.5 miles

Wed:     Run 6.2 Miles                   Core Strength Workout (Gym)
             Ride Work 8.5 Miles

Thurs:   Run 10.3 Miles
              Mountain Bike 30 Miles

Fri:        Hike 5 Miles
              Road Bike 28 Miles

Sat:       Run 15.2 Miles                          Road Ride 22 Miles
             Core Strength Workout (Gym)

Sun:      Run 7 Miles
             Mountain Bike 46 Miles

Week Total
Run – 46.6 Miles
Bike – 159.3 Miles
Total – 205.9 Miles

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Count Down to Burning River 100 – Week 36

As I mentioned last week I committed to running the Burning River 100 with the goal of having Ben, a young man who has been bravely battling cancer the last two years, run the last mile with me. With that, his mother and I have decided to raise money for a non-profit of Ben’s choice that will help kids and their families that are going through this ordeal. It’s not a pleasant subject but one we are going confront head on throughout this adventure. I've seen some videos of the hospital staff and how they dedicate their lives every day to helping these kids and making what they are going through just a little easier. They are true heroes; more on this and the non-profit in a later post.
Max Patiently Waiting for me to Catch Up

So the countdown has begun as far as training, week 36 in the books with 35 to go.  I am actually using now through February as a time to prepare for training and not really specifically training for the BR 100. So the mileage appears quite low for someone training to run 100 miles! But I feel:

1)      I need to work up to the big miles
2)      Mega mileage all year long is not sustainable.

 I’m also spending time working on core strength which is essential for helping the body hold out for hours and hours of running. That will also be covered in another post. So my philosophy is to work on overall fitness to include cycling, strength training, and running over the next couple months then start getting more event specific starting in February – about 6 months from the start. The strategy is to not get injured. One has to get to the starting line to have any chance of finishing!

First Footprints in the Snow this Morning!

So with that said my first official week of preparing for BR 100 went well. Very early morning runs Tues – Thurs, commute to work by bicycle every day, and good core workouts at the gym. A good mix and a good start! 

Training Week 36 Burning River

Mon: AM - Ride to Work ~ 8 Miles
          PM - Rid Home from Work ~ 8 Miles
Tues: AM - Morning Run  7 Miles, Ride to Work ~ 8 Miles
          PM - Ride Home from Work ~8 Miles
Wed: AM - Morning Run 5.3 Miles, Ride to Work ~ 8 Miles
          PM - Ride from Work to Gym ~9 Miles, Strength Workout
Thu: AM - Morning Run 9 Miles, Ride to Work ~8 Miles
         PM - Ride Home from Work ~8 Miles
Mon: AM - Ride to Work ~ 8 Miles
          PM - Rid Home from Work ~ 8 Miles
Sat: AM - Morning Trail Run - 13 Miles, Strength Workout
Sun: AM - Morning Trail Run - 7 Miles, Bike Indoor Trainer Ride 23 Miles

Run 41.4 Miles, Bike 102 Miles

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Burning River 100!

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since my last entry. As they say; (whoever they are) time flies. It’s been an incredible year filled with mountain bike races, trail building, coaching high school kids, a mountain bike trip to the Mecca (Moab), a bike tour of Colorado,  going to school and getting ever closer to that Exercise Science degree.  Of course at the core of all this is my job and family. I thought as we get older we are supposed to slow down…

So with all that said I just signed up for the Burning River100 Run  next summer. It will take me back to where I grew up in Akron, Ohio. The race follows the Cuyahoga River from Cleveland to Akron and is called the “Burning River” because in the 1960s the Cuyahoga was so polluted it caught on fire. This brought national attention to the rate at which we were destroying our planet and was a turning point for many environmental policies. It has since been cleaned up and reportedly has a beautiful trail system that I will have the opportunity to run.

I quit running this year and focused on mountain biking but started back up in July to pace a friend in the Leadville 100 Trail Run. I’m really enjoying the running and am completely motivated. Training is going well and Max, my training partner seems to be up for the challenge.

After a 17 mile run last week the first thing Max did was chase all the squirrels and Rabbits out of the yard and then wanted to play ball. I think he's up for the challenge!
There are many reasons I chose this particular run. First and foremost I have been inspired by a friend in Kent, Ohio who experienced something no mother should ever have to experience. Her son, Ben was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and they both have been bravely fighting it with all the positivism and love that I have ever seen. They are both a true inspiration. Ben is recovering and it is my dream and mission over the next year to finish those 100 miles with Ben running the last mile at my side. As I said, they are a true inspiration and I am on a mission. It will also be nice to come home and see family and friends. This will be only the fourth or fifth time I’ve been back since leaving in 1977.

So I’m firing up the blog to document this new adventure. As with the Leadman Blog of years gone by, I’m hoping that my experience will be of benefit to anyone else who decides to pursue a similar dream. Hopefully my training and experiences can be a learning tool for others crazy enough to take on such an endeavor

I love being the first out after a fresh snow, making the first foot prints... Judging by Max's smile, so does he!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Studded Tires are the Bomb!

So the first week or so of the year started out quite chilly. For several days I commuted back and forth to work with temps just below or just above 0 degrees F. The back streets on which I commute are ice packed and slick. One morning last year, under these conditions I hit an ice patch and went down hard causing several injuries that kept me from riding and running for a couple weeks. This year I bought a pair of studded tires. These things are the bomb!

These make Ice seem like normal pavement
In the winter I commute on my home built single speed. A bike I built from an approximately 20 year old Schwinn Homegrown mountain bike frame and spare parts I had in my garage. It’s not much to look at but it gets the job done. Having only one gear significantly cuts down on the maintenance requirements of riding in cold, wet, and snowy conditions. The only issue I have with the single speed is when climbing I almost always have to stand up. Under the slick conditions of winter, with no weight on the back tire, I often slide out. Not so with the studs! Now I can climb up roads of almost solid ice while standing with barely a slip. I’ve seen cars fishtailing and swerving all over the road while I just pedal on. I’m amazed! I ride primarily bike paths and side streets to and from work. Many of these side streets have sections of mirror like ice. These can be a challenge to even walk. With studded tires, no problem!  After over 25 years of bicycle year round commuting I finally tried studded tires. I don’t know why I waited so long!

Not much to look at but gets the job done!
Living in Colorado means big critters hanging around the front yard
I had a little mishap on my road bike that ended up trashing the frame. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but the chain wrapped around the derailleur, locked up my back wheel, snapped the derailleur, broke the chain, bent the derailleur hanger into the cogs, bent the cogs and front chain rings. It was about a four mile walk home in bike shoes. Frame not repairable. So a late Christmas present has arrived – a brand new Specialized S-Works Roubaix frame! This frame was designed for long rides. So the first thing I did was take in on a nice hilly 60 mile ride. I like it!

Maiden voyage on my new ride
With the New Year kicking in, I’ve began to get back in training mode. I’m looking to do the full Rocky Mountain Endurance Series again, as well as the Tour of Colorado, the Gunnison Growler, and a multi-day mountain bike trip, among others. With the cold and ice I’ve had to resort to the trainer for specific workouts before heading out on the single speed to work. I’ve also incorporated strength training and Max loves to help out with the ab work!

Max helping with Crunches

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 In the Mirror

When I look back on 2013 I can’t believe what an incredible and productive year it has been.

For me, one of the biggest highlights was saving Ute Park. For those not from Colorado Springs, Ute Valley Park is a magical mecca for mountain bikers, hikers, and those that love the outdoors; and it’s located right in the heart of city limits on the northwest side of town. What most people didn’t know is that over half of the “park” was actually private property. The owner decided to put it up for sale and the City of Colorado Springs approved it for several hundred housing units and a shopping center. With a very short time line, a small group of us formed the “Friends of Ute Valley Park”, our community united, we held fund raisers, worked with other organizations, the city, and in eight blazing months raised the money, approval, and closed the deal to purchase the land to remain forever open space.  I am so very proud to be a part of this, even though I played a fairly minor role compared to others. Now every time I run or ride in Ute Valley Park I can’t help but appreciate how close we came to losing it and the legacy we will leave behind.

Ute Valley Park Gateway Project
Another accomplishment I am particularly proud of is helping my good friend, Kevin Cahn complete and compete in the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series, arguably the toughest mountain bike race series in the US. In Kevin’s first year of serious racing he completed these races like a champ with a top 15 finish in the final race, the incredibly brutal Breckenridge 100.

Kevin at The Breckenridge 100 MTB Race

This year I made an effort to use my bike as transportation as much as possible. This resulted in putting more miles on my bikes than my truck. A combination of biking and running brought me just short of 10,000 miles for the year, while I put just under 8,000 on my truck. I intend to increase that difference in 2014!

I went back to school this year and it has been everything I hoped it would be; interesting, challenging and educational.  Although my other degrees are in the computer science field, I’m now pursuing a degree in exercise physiology. It’s been awesome and I’m looking forward to learning even more in 2014.

Some other highlights of 2013 are; a back packing trip with my incredible wife, Roswitha (and Max of course) for our 34th wedding anniversary; riding new trails in Moab; camping in the Redwoods; a multi-day road bike trip in southern Colorado; accomplishing my goal of reading at least one book a month (outside of text books); winning the old guys age group in Rocky Mountain Endurance Series; and having the opportunity to lead a number of very challenging projects at work.

34th Wedding Anniversary

Riding the Magnificent 7 in Moab
The Amazing Redwoods
Finally, the year wouldn’t be nearly as amazing if it wasn’t for all the incredible friends, family, and colleagues that I have the privilege of knowing and being inspired by. One particular young man in Kent, Ohio who I have never met in person is an extra source of inspiration to me. He is a young teenager who has been battling leukemia for over a year and his positive outlook and attitude are beyond compare. He refuses to be a victim and is on the road to recovery. I am truly looking forward to meeting him face to face some day.

Let’s all make 2014 our best year yet. Build upon the positive, learn, grow, and pursue your dreams, whatever they may be. Happy New Year.  

Happy Trails in 2014!