11 February 2012

Didn't want to go trudging...

so I ran on the man made surface today. After being spoiled with so much dirt and mild temps this winter I think it made me a bit soft. Now that the snow and "normal" temps have returned I haven't been as inspired to be the "trudging through knee deep mountain hardman." Wait, I'll take that back just a smidgeon. I had a blast this past Thursday on Towers in absurdly slow and choppy conditions.

But this morning I didn't want to wallow in the pow. During my time shoveling the light and fluffy this morn, I brainstormed the HARDEST paved loop route from my front door. Ironically as HARD as this paved route was it had 75% less vert than my average long run in Lory/Horsetooth.

So I retired the shovel for the day and laced 'em up. From my place on the north side of CSU's campus I made my way to Lee Martinez Park where I gained the Poudre Trail and headed west. (I love the fact that no matter how much it snows the bike paths are meticulously plowed before any of the motorized streets.) My shoes grabbed the cement just like Jeremy Lin has grabbed the heart and hope of every Knicks fan. My quads began to quiver with the imperceptible change of grade. I was running uphill, barely.

Soon enough I popped out onto Overland and connected to the Behemoth known as Bingham Hill! I was soon faced with the inevitable question. Do I tuck tail and turn around or do I run out into the abyss of Bellvue and the Fort Collins countryside? Minutes later I found myself hurtling down the other side of the Behemoth! It was the point of no return.

As the adrenaline subsided I made a hard left onto Centennial Dr. I had heard legends about a Dam Hill that had pulverized the fittest men and women. Now at the base I tilted my head all the way back with mouth agape in horror. Could it be climbed? In winter? The conditions were horrible. Hard packed ice and snow. I could see the tracks which led to the wreckage of at least 17 automobiles. And all I had to guide me was a thin layer of foam and rubber underfoot.

I summoned the courage from my third Shot Blok and dug in. Minutes later I was at the top! Holy cow, what a relief! My footwork was spot on and kept me from submerging into the dark depths of Horsetooth Reservoir. I ambled along the rollercoaster road. Soon I saw all the trails I could have been trudging in. But not today, I was on a mission running the HARDEST paved loop from my front door.

In the clouds on Centennial Dr I looked down and barely noticed the coliseum of Hughes Stadium. Minutes later I had another choice. Do I descend to the level of mere mortals or do I climb to the heights of the Bouldering Gods above who inhabit the Piano Rocks, Torture Chamber, and Duncan's Ridge? It must have been a sign.

In the swirling clouds above I saw the silhouette of a lone runner ascending. A right turn it was! Another gnarly climb looked down on me condescendingly. I gritted my teeth and waged epic battle once more. Minutes later I was at the top! It was all downhill from here. I had slayed the dragon!

I saw the lone runner again. This time he was running at me. Up the hill he had just descended. Madness! Who in their right mind would have the bravery to rouse the giant again. As our eyes met I knew the Knight who was up for this challenge. He also chose the surface less taken today. It was Pete the Punisher! With his experience I knew he had the resolve to overcome a challenge of this magnitude. After a Braveheartesque inspired speech I wished him luck on his journey.

I was sent screaming down to the intersection of 38E where I Tokyo Drifted making an insane left turn! From here it was cruise control. I made another left onto the new bike path connector off 38E that will see you through to the Spring Creek Trail. Once on Spring Creek I wound around Rolland Moore and dipped under Shields. Then I gained the Walsenburg connector that spit me out in the neighborhoods south of campus.

The homestretch. I mustered up my last milligram of strength and wobbled through the heart of campus with onlookers gawking as I bobbed and weaved. Soon I saw the construction cranes above me with Laurel St. appearing more and more majestic.

I did it! After the cars passed I crossed Laurel victorious! I just completed the HARDEST paved loop from my front door! I soaked up the moment and highfived all the cheerleaders during my cool down walk. I sat on my front porch a man content. After untying my shoes I knew the run was over. But it shall now go down in history. These words shall give it life for generations to come.

Addendum for the Running Nerds:

Time: 2:44:03.6
Miles: 21.1275
Pace per mile: 7:46.2
Calories: 200.000001
Water: 0.0000000001 (ml)
* I got one snowflake on my tongue which impacted my calorie and water intake for the day*

05 February 2012

Superbowl Sprint

I got out today for my 3rd running at the Greeley Superbowl 5K. This is a local classic for a number of reasons: 1. The race starts and finishes at Bells Running, the hub of the Greeley running community. 2. The race benefits my alma-mater, Greeley Central High School and its XC Team. 3. Age group winners receive pies or a dozen cookies which can be brought to the Superbowl party you are attending in the afternoon. 4. A stroll down memory lane- The course winds through the neighborhoods and houses I used to tee-pee late at night as a boy. 5. The ageless wonder Doug Bell. At 61 he beats most men half his age. Case in point- turn back the clock 3 years ago to this race. I ran 17:23. Doug ran 17:10. Enough said. Always good to spend some time and catch up with the legend.

Coming into this years race I was thinking I'd finish with a PR. My once a week track workouts with Stefanovic and the occasional Ruehle have kept me honest. The extrinsic motivation of two tempeh burgers awaiting me after these circle sessions sealed the deal! My first two runnings at the GSB 5K were consistent. At my first 5K ever in 2009 I ran 17:23. Two years older I came back and ran a slightly slower 17:26. This year I got it done and escaped the 17:20's by running a 17:17. A new 5K PR at 32 years young! That sub 17 minute goal is still in my mind. I would definitely need to get some specificity to hit that...the love of the trails seems to kick that goal to the curb a bit.

The race was very spread out. Each of the top three finishers ran in no man's land all day; nobody close to push or pull you along. The winner was a Windsor HS runner in 16:40. I earned the silver and Doug picked up the bronze in 18:23. Four peanut butter cookies later I was at my parents house. Now it's time to watch the Olympics of Advertising...along with some football.