Friday, May 22, 2015

Training In The Rain - The Adventure Begins

Training In The Rain - The Adventure Begins

Originally a celebration of the running, climbing, and telemark skiing adventures that Tara and I took part in, this blog has morphed from one of primarily climbing FAs on obscure pebbles to backcountry powder posts, to trail running adventures in Colorado. Every once and awhile I'd throw in a link to a new article I read in some science journal about running, or I discuss some of my training. However, I never really said much, or opened up much of my life to the outside world. Let's face it, I'm not an extrovert and I've always been very humble. But I've been thinking lately that I have a lot to share and tell, and perhaps I should not keep so quiet about what I am up to or my opinions or thoughts. Also, as I've read other blogs over the years, I've noticed that the one's I enjoy reading the most are the most transparent and open. So, in a new turn for me, I'm going to try and talk more about my life in general - with a focus on my goals and how I am going about achieving them.

May has been wet. Too wet. The high country is still snowed in, Tara and I don't have any tele boots that fit, and so we are relegated to dealing with the rain and the local hills. As my two primary goals for this summer are Nolan's and the US Skyrunning series, I've been trying to get in the right training during this deluge. On top of that, we ended up moving into a VW Rabbit on April 25. Not ideal, but as part of the adventure we have embraced it and found it to be fairly OK - what is not to love living in a 50 square foot mobile home?

The idea originally was to start getting into the high peaks in May, with the hopes of getting on parts of the Nolan's course as well. That plan was quickly denied by mother nature. Instead, it has been simply a chore to keep up with training in some reasonable fashion while dealing with the non-stop rain. That means trying to get in as much vert. as possible, while still getting in one or two faster days during the week.

The other day I came across this 100 miler training plan that looks pretty much like what I have been doing, except that I don't have the volume and have focused on increasing vert. in May instead of volume. I think it's a solid plan, although I will work on emphasizing vert and volume in June and July, with the two Sky races coming July 17 and August 1. Then it will be Nolans with the final Sky race in October.

If you want to follow along on our journey this summer, there are a couple ways. I'll try and post regularly here (and be as open and transparent about the process), but you can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Strava. Now for some photos of the past four weeks of fun!

 I don't have any photos of myself prior to 2011, but a friend posted this one on my Facebook wall earlier. I took my buddy up a solo climb of the north face of Long's Peak under almost ideal conditions. I don't think he went on any more climbs with me after...
 The start of the rains... somewhere above Golden in the mist.
 The second night in the Rabbit, still fresh snow on the ground at 9,000'
 Sunrise run above Denver.
 The view from one of our secret spots.
 Tucked in for the night...

 Alpine glow - the best view for waking up.
 Rainy mist at Chautauqua - back at the start of May, but now a common scene.

 It snowed one night, but we were warm and ended up running up Sanitas.

 The standard Amphitheater trail these days... a small stream.
 Longs on the one clear morning we have had since 2009....
 Watching storm clouds from our nightly perch.
 Passing time...
 This guy walked about four feet in front of us one evening... very cool.
 The view from a ten mile tempo run at 10,000' on an open/closed road.
 Morning on the Boulder peaks before the rains came...
 I train at EarthTreks in Golden. Best climbing gym around, and these adjustable systems boards are killer.

 Sunrise on the Flatirons...

Your standard image for the past month... wet, rainy trails.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Way Behind - Time To Catch Up

Way Behind - Time To Catch Up

It's been a busy month trying to finish up projects, get training in, climb, and arrange everything for my next social experiment. March turned out all right, despite one week of semi-taper for a race (8th overall), some crappy weather, and dealing with the nightmare commute which requires me getting up at 4am three days a week. In total I did 237.9 miles and 50,748' of gain - a little shy of where I would like to be, but given everything I'm happy. April is looking to be a better month so far, and my last with the commute which hopefully will either free up some time or at least allow me to sleep more to recover better.

 For April so far, I'm at 219.3 miles and 25,637' gain. That includes a couple rest and taper days and dealing with the last week of crappy weather. I'm feeling good, and should be able to bump up the vert to around 50,000 over the next 9 days. So, things are going well. My foot acted up pretty bad during the 24 Hours of Lake Palmer event, forcing me to start walking way too early and then eventually to pull the plug after 12 hours and ~62 miles. It was certainly a bummer, as I was mentally and physically feeling good, but I was unwilling to push into an injury for a "fun" run. After a week of taking it easy, the foot seems to be OK. It really only acts up on roads when my gait is a certain way and I do much more mid-foot striking. On trails, I notice it but it doesn't seem to be bothered. Must be a sign of some kind!

As for climbing, things have been going well, although I have not had the time I would like to get outside much. Lots of campus board, finger board, and gym bouldering. I'm thinking with the move back to B-town and my social experiment, I'll get more time to get outside. I've already got two areas in the Flatirons that I need to check out, some are only partially developed and need more work. One is a M. Battaglia area that I looked at a long time ago but really want to go back to and develop this one house-sized boulder. Of course, summer is right around the corner, and that means all the fun will be up high, so they might have to wait until fall when temps will be better for pulling on small edges.

Couple articles that I wrote: Five Trails for Hill Running and Mountain Training around Boulder.

I had the honor to interview Alan Culpepper a week or so ago. Amazing guy, humble, insanely fast and talented. Here is the article.

 Sunrise over Green Mountain. So happy to not be running in the dark anymore!

 The standard shot of Boulder from on top of Bear Peak. Running the Skyline is always a fun time, and I'm psyched to be moving back there.

 Longs Peak and clouds.

 I went and watched the Boulder Track Club dominate a meet at Mines a week or two ago. Some really talented runners, and Troopy is really doing an excellent job coaching.

 Old mine ruin I checked out on my failed Mt. Saxon Double. There was still too much snow to really make it worth it, but I love checking out old mine ruins. Found two medium sized boulders up there, but nothing deserving the 4 mile hike!

 Don't mess with these dudes!

The board from 24 Hours of Lake Palmer. It worked pretty good, although I know I marked on a couple others at points when I was tired, and someone marked on mine at the beginning. But for a fun run, a great time and event!

 Looking up Clear Creek Canyon from the top of Lookout Mountain. This was during our 5 days of snow and rain we just finished.

 The view south from the summit of Mount Morrison. I really want to run the hogback from point to point, seems like a cool, logical line if not a hellish bushwack!

Dinosaur tracks! Lots of wild turkeys on the backside of Mount Morrison. It's a lush little valley and they must be thriving down there, as I saw four of them in one day.
Not the best shot, but you can see the turkey taking flight in the center of the photo. Big birds that you rarely see.

I'll be hosting a trail running clinic on May 7th as part of the promo around my new book. Come and check it out, should be a good time, and it's free!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring - Training Starts

Spring - Training Starts

Today is the first day of spring, and that means training needs to get serious for any summer projects or goals to be completed. Last year I was already well into my G & T Challenge, which consumed one of my two free days every week, preventing me from focusing 100% on any other goals. This year my two main goals, as stated before, are to do Nolan's and to race in the US Skyrunning Ultra series. The two goals do not go hand in hand, as Nolan's is a long walk in the mountains, while the US Skyrunning races are fast 50Ks (Tushar is 50 miles) on fairly runnable courses. As such, I need to build massive endurance and vertical stamina, while also somehow maintaining any leg speed and tempo endurance I have gained over the winter. Not an easy task, and one that I continue to struggle with in my mind. My work and volunteer schedule keeps my life pretty tight, but my plans right now are to focus on recovery, tempo, and fast speed work during the week when I have only about 1 hour each day before catching the bus to work. On my two free days, I am hoping to spend them slogging up and down mountains to get in the massive vertical training necessary for Nolans. How these two opposing training plans mesh is up in the air, but that is the idea going in from here on out. I will also be taking a random day off when I can to try and get one more long, vertical oriented day starting in April. Not sure how it will all work out, but that is the "plan".

So, to start it off, I did the M5 challenge today. I've done this before, and it is always a killer. Run (hike) up and down Mt. Morrison's southeast ridge 5 times for a total of around 10,000' and 20 miles. It went well, but I could certainly tell that I didn't have my climbing legs as I have done more road stuff over the winter.
 Long's Peak from the summit of Mt. Morrison.
Pike's Peak from the summit. So crystal clear this morning, you could see forever...

Speaking of which, last Saturday I ran the Erin Go Braugh 7.77K race in Westminster. This was the shortest race I have ever run, and I had little idea what I was getting into. Most of the winter has been spent building a solid base, with some surge runs thrown in here and there, and an occasional tempo run as well, along with vertical slogs. I figured I would just go as fast as possible from the gun and see if I could not hold on. After a mellow warm-up, I lined up and took off with the lead pack. I instantly hit a wall but kept pushing and trying to keep pace. The pack thinned out and I soon found myself running alone. Umm, I thought that only happened in ultras, not fast road races? At the turn around, I noticed that I was not alone, and the entire 400+ field was right behind me. I kept pushing, chanting positive mantras over and over in my head and just praying that I could hold on. I could feel a good burn in the legs, and my stomach started to get acidic, but I just steeled my eyes on the finish and kept pushing. I crossed the finish line and instantly threw up, right there off to the side. Nothing bad, mostly just a tad bit of water/stomach acid. This is the first (and only) time I've every tossed my stomach after only running for 4.8 miles! I guess I was pretty much at my limit. At the results, I found out I was 8th overall, and 2nd in my age group, which was a shocker. Pretty good for a MUT oriented runner I think. I might have to see if I can't loose my breakfast in an even shorter race!

Notice my hat above, pretty cool. Here is a better shot.

I got it from the magazine Like the Wind, out of the UK. I also wrote a piece for them, which finally showed up in their latest issue. Pretty psyched to have my name in print alongside Bill Rodgers (yes, him), Dakota Jones, Guy Oliver, and a slew of other running writers.

I had a good friend make me some custom snow tools for this coming season. Made by Paul Sibley, one of the original climbers of the area from back in the '60s and '70s, he did a great job. They are made of aluminum and titanium and are perfect for moving fast over snowfields on the local mountains. I got a set of two, one for each hand.

Ran up Grays and Torreys a week or so again, testing snowshoes once more. Not much snow compared to last year, but I still really enjoy the mountain and area. Soon the better lines will open up and some serious adventures can be had.

The Apex trails are running so nice right now...

Got a first-hand look at the Rowdy Mermaid kombucha brewery yesterday. Jamba is turning out some incredible flavors and brews. If I could, I'd drink a bottle a day simply for the health reasons.

Finally, I picked up about 200 pairs of old, used running shoes from BRC Littleton. I was thinking, most people are excited about spring because of the flowers, longer days, warm weather, etc. I picked up these shoes, filling my little VW Rabbit to the max, and was thankful that it was warm enough to keep the windows down. Nothing like a car full of used running shoes with the windows up and the heat on...