08 October 2013

Bluesky 2013 - 3:40, 6th

Pic: Spiderman Lee

Been a long time since I rock n' roll'd. It was great to get back on the trails and race this past Sunday at the Bluesky Marathon. Coincidentally, it almost did not happen. Returning back to regular running over the past two weeks has been a much more difficult transition than the experience I had a year ago. In 2012 I went to Basic Training, hardly ran, came back, seamlessly returned to training, and won Bluesky. Fairytaleesque. 2013 I completed Firefighter Academy in TX, ran 15-25 miles/week, came back, the body rebelled to training, and I was 19 minutes slower at Bluesky.

The day before the race I celebrated my B-Day and reflected on the past year. Despite running more in TX I was not into it. Monday through Friday my options were the track or treadmill. On the weekend I could run around base if I found someone to join me. Thankfully there were two guys that enjoyed seeing more than the oval so we would get out for one of the days off. I saw way too much of that track over my four month stint. Lanes 7-8 showcased dead baby scorpions that did not scurry fast enough to make it home to the surrounding rocks. The things you notice when you run in circles day after day.

Coming home I was once again refreshed to hit the dirt. My first run was Towers. BUT the 1700 feet of climbing in that run was more vert than my four months in TX combined. My calves hated me. Super tight. Hobblin' around OMB style. Coming back to the dry climate my feet cracked and split. My lower back ached. My body was out of sorts and I was a mess. I managed to put in a 60 mile week during my first full week back. Topped it off with a 12 mile long run. My longest run since Quad Rock 50 in May. Was I really gonna race Bluesky? This is the question I asked myself many times on Saturday night and race morning.

What would you pick in my situation? I could have stayed up all night, had a Breaking Bad marathon, and then showed up and volunteered at the race. Or I could run a marathon on a rusty set of wheels and get an intimate look at my off the couch fitness. I hoped it wouldn't be a disaster; but I really wanted to get through Season 2! In the end I compromised and stayed up until midnight watching Walter White's web weave itself through the ABQ. When the alarm went off at 5AM I almost ditched the race once again...funny what goes on between the ears.

The race started and I felt great! Until I started the grind up Towers. Ugh. The short of my race report was my legs ached for 20 miles and were super heavy. I ran steady eddy all day passing 3-4 runners during the return from Devil's Backbone. Definitely glad I chose to race and establish a base to grow on as I move forward with the necessary consistency that's been lacking.

May- 96 miles, 24 days off.
June- 78 miles, 13 days off.
July- 90 miles, 14 days off.
August- 70 miles, 17 days off.
September- 108 miles, 16 days off.

Last but not least... Congrats to locals: Nick Davis, Justin Liddle, Sam Malmberg, and Corey Hanson who raced up front all day; each setting PR's at Bluesky in the process, awesome!

19 May 2013

Quad Rock 50 Rockin' Report

Photo: E. Bibeau

Needless to say I wasn't brimming with confidence coming into QR. I had been watching shadows of my former self running effortlessly on the walls while I lay horizontal in the fatigue cave. On the couch, feet off the ground, wondering what my deal was. Was QR going to turn into another second half 25 mile death march like Sonoma? These were some of my thoughts leading up to race. Here's what it looked like on paper since Sonoma:

Week 1- 9.5 miles, 5 days off, "recovery week"
Week 2- 81 miles, 1 day off, started feeling a bit better so I resumed "normal" training
Week 3- 34 miles, 3 days off, felt like I was re-entering the cave, kept it real like chill
5 days before race- 20 miles, 2 days off, felt worked after these super easy runs

Went to bed early on QR eve. Woke up unsure of how the race would pan out. Drove to the race with the jams going LOUD! Singing along full throttle was a HUGE boost to my energy and spirit. It wasn't Aldean or Church that saved my race...it was Shelton! "Small Town Big Time Night" got me ready to roll! Whew! Disaster averted.

Rollin' in the valley. Photo: M. Hodges

The race started and we rolled out comfortably on the road catching up with those we knew and figuring out who was who from those we didn't. On the first descent down Spring Creek I was enjoying the home trails and moved past Arthur, Briney, and then Aish to take a brief (any my only) lead of the day. Aish and I struck up a bit of conversation about his NZ homeland shortly before we hit the Horsetooth AS. From here out the race was on! As we headed up Southridge I watched Aish, Briney, Arthur, and Hamilton float up the second climb of the day as I took it somewhat conservative as I thought about the remaining 4 we still had to ascend.

Aish and I dropping into Horsetooth AS Photo: N. Peterson

From Southridge I ran solo all the way to the Timber Trail descent where I went by Briney on the steeper pitches before the bridge. I hit the turn in 3:39 (3:36 in 2012) and soldiered on. The temp was warming and the climbs were feeling tougher. I was mentally preparing for my rematch with the crux climb up Mill Creek. Last year it kicked my butt. This year I took it easy not letting the heart rate skyrocket as much. More intentional hiking on the steeps...maybe I went too easy. I got to the top where I surprisingly saw Aish in a chair at the AS. He apparently took a brief detour off course descending Arthur's Rock Trail. Instead of following the named trail to the AS he went left on Overlook. During this time Arthur unknowingly took the lead and began his Mill Creek ascent. Aish then went beast mode to catch up to Arthur and was stopped short by the accumulation of lactic acid by the time he got to the top.

Photo: N. Testerman

I got knews that Hamilton was only a few minutes in front of me and was looking rough. I figured keep it steady and I'll catch him within the hour. I passed by the oncoming masses ascending Horsetooth as I made my way down with no sign of Hamilton. Once I got to the Horsetooth AS Erskine gave me the status, "Kiss your course record good bye, Arthur is looking STRONG!" "Hamilton is only two minutes ahead and looking rough, you've got 2nd!" I went up Spring Creek and never got a visual on Hamilton. Same thing at Mill Creek AS. "He's only 2 minutes ahead and looks ROUGH!"

Photo: N. Testerman

I bombed down Towers and had my first Goding sighting of the year. "There you are" said Goding in a very relaxing yet reassuring way. Goding revealed the truth. "You're not even close to 2nd. Just keep doing what you're doing. Stay in the present moment. Be the trail. You'll run faster when you stop running. All we are is dust in the wind. Grasshopper." (Disclaimer: only the first quote is legit, the others are what I heard after 7 hours of running)

The Finish! Photo: S. Price

Once I hit the valley I cruised to the finish; mistiming my kick by 22 seconds to finish in 8:00:21. (4:21 second lap, 4:04 in 2012). Another awesome post race and successful event beautifully directed by Pete and Nick and the INCREDIBLE ARMY OF AWESOME VOLUNTEERS!!! Congrats to King Arthur for making it 3 in a row! On his first pass of Arthur's Rock he grabbed the sword and never looked back! Shelby Berg- awesome job on your first 50! No DFL...keep rockin!

07 May 2013

Tick Tock Quad Rock 50 Mile Race Preview

Since last year's inaugural running the Quad Rock course has survived two wildfires. On Saturday the second running will see a longer/different course (fire related), a deeper field, and a prettier purse. Here's a look at who's gunning to be one of the Hot Shots:

The Favorites-

Michael Aish- Ran in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games for NZ in the 10K and 5K. 4 Time All-American at Western State with individual titles in '99 and '01. He's 2 for 2 at winning the 50 milers he's entered. Even with limited Ultra experience it's tough to bet against this level of ability.

Trent Briney- 3 Time Olympic Marathon Trials Participant with a 26.2 PR of 2:12! One of the fastest times ever at JFK 50 with a 5:37. Was 2nd at the Crown King Scramble 50K in AZ this year. Another raw talent who's familiar with racing the top competition this country has to offer.

Josh Arthur- new to the Ultra scene with a few results under his belt. Was 2nd at Cascade Crest 100 in 2012, his first time at the distance. Has two 50 M finishes, nothing electric. What stands out is his 2013 campaign with wins at Salida and Fruita marathons. Look for him to flip the switch this weekend.

Karl Meltzer- He's running super smooth this year. 4th at Bandera, 5th at Moab, 1st at Antelope Island 100 with a 14:34! A deceptive 14th at the uber competitive Lake Sonoma last month. I have a feeling things are setting up nicely to challenge Clark's WS/HR record. This may be the perfect tune up he needs.

The Repeat Offenders-

Ryan Burch- the defending champ had a solid start to '13 taking 3rd at Moab and 5th at Salida. A sub-par performance at Lake Sonoma increased the fatigue he had been experiencing. It was an interesting last month to say the least. The ball could bounce either way on this one. However, home field advantage rules in his favor. The friendly confines of his backyard trails hope to give him that spark.

Jim Rebenack- the 2012 silver medalist was 7th at Chuckanut this year. It's amazing how much this guy flies under the radar. Watch him move through the pack in stealth mode once again.

Jason Koop- took the bronze after racing a ton before Quad Rock last year. This year he only has a 50K under his belt. Will the fresh legs speed his steps this year?

The Other Contenders-

Paul Terranova- Having a great '13! 3rd at Bandera, 2nd at Nueces, 1st at Hells Hills, 1st at Squawk Mtn. He knows the course and looks to make an impression this weekend.

John Anderson- no 2013 stats. Won the North Fork 50k last June. Solid and tough, don't forget about him.

Troy Howard- 1st at the Destin Beach 50K in February. Tons of experience.

David Ruttum- he's my sleeper of the bunch. Went sub 7 hours at the Leadville 50 and ran a 7:01 at Collegiate Peaks in the past. Will be interesting to see where he lands on Saturday but he may quietly surprise a few.

Sam "Man of the Hour on Towers" Malmberg- No one has been faster than this guy on one part of the course. 13th at Moab this year. I really want him to have a break out 50M performance and turn some heads. Will it be this weekend or at Pikes Peak 2014? Why not now.

Who will be the new Queen? A quick look at the ladies field:

The Repeat Offenders-

Jenny Pierce- reigning queen. No 13 results.

Kris Klotzbach- bronze medalist. No 13 results.

The Other Contenders-

Kerrie Bruxvoort- 1st at Zane Grey. I'm picking her for the W.

Anita Ortiz- has the pedigree. No results in 13.

Becky Wheeler- no results in 13.

Kristel Liddle- the hometown girl was 4th last year. Looking to make some noise this year, she's 2 for 2 taking gold in both her races with a CR at Antelope Island 100M.

Alyssa Wildeboer- 3rd at Terrapin Mtn 50K this year.

Katherine Metzger- 3rd at Cedro Peak this year.

Meredith Terranova- 1st at Squawk Mtn this year.

Francesca Conte- 13th at Lake Sonoma this year.

There it is! Who am I missing? ...Be gnarful out there...

29 April 2013

Lake Sonoma 50

Getting ready to start! Photo: Montrail

Oy babushka! This one didn't go as planned. Here's the text that I sent to family and friends post race: Tough day! hour off goal time. legs dead from the start. cramp mgmt the last 12 miles. lovin life now- great people, food & drinks. thx 4 all the support!
I'm finding it's much easier to blog about my races that don't go as well. Take Moab and Salida this year. Went to race, had fun, did well, went home. Not very exciting or personable is it? Lake Sonoma was a little different.

My week leading up to the race was sick! Quite literally. Monday-sick. Tuesday-sick. Wednesday-8 miles. Thursday-9.6 miles. Friday-3.5 miles. Each of these runs I was lethargic and slow. Nonetheless I was optimistic thinking about the race. I was feeling much better than Monday and Tuesday and I had put in some great training after Salida. Or was it a bit too much too close to Sonoma?

After Salida I put in a 60 mile recovery week. Then I put in a 90 mile week. I topped this with a 106 mile week. 99 of these miles were run in HTMP culminating with a 30 miler that Saturday. My taper week was a more than needed 85 miles but I was simply having too much fun...woops! That Sunday I ran a mellow 7 miler and felt worked. The next week is outlined above. I'd say my result was a combination of recovering from being sick and simply enjoying what I enjoy...which made me a bit tired on race day.

Coming into an AS. Photo: Maria S.

It was awesome to escape the snow a few days and run in shorts and a tee. Great to see a new place and hang with so many runners I rarely get to see outside of races. Friday afternoon a large group of us toured the last few miles of the course to visualize the homestretch. Despite eight hours of shuteye I woke up race morning feeling tired.

The race started and immediately 40 people shot off in front of me. I knew within those first few miles I was in for a long day. I've experienced this at a number of races- States, Leadville, Pocatello, etc. I knew it was going to be a grind. The first half of the race I was able to fake the fatigue. I cruised to the turn in 3:26 (8:15's)...knowing the return was going to be much more arduous.

Hitting the trail! Burch, Yassine, Meltzer and more. Photo: Monarch Running

The second half started along with the shufflin'. Shortly after the AS at 30 miles runners began to pass me. Topher, Victor, and a few others. Aerobically I was fine. The breakdown was purely muscular. No pow, no zip, no nothin. I continued my solo jog until mile 38 where I somehow had caught up to Victor at the AS. He decided to pace along with me for a few miles. Other than 5-6 miles with him I ran solo all day. Cassie cruised by us around mile 44, Victor attempted to pace with her while I knew what was in store for me. The last twelve I could have cramped up at any time. The footwork was tedious. I really had to focus on taking perfect steps to avoid cramping my quad, calf, and hammy. Total lower body convulsion management. That was the game I played. (The second half I averaged an 11 minute per mile shuffle). And I won by making it cramp free to the glorious finish line! Oy babushka!

And then I cramped up trying to untie my shoes and changing into my jeans. It was so awesome! Foot cramps are the best. After the 30 minute ordeal of changing clothes while cramping I made it back to the post race. Tamales, cold bevs, foldable chairs, and friendly faces all smiled at me in unison. The run was done. Time to talk, laugh, eat, drink, and enjoy the sunshine and 70 degrees.

Sonoma showcased the great community between runners within the sport. So much positivity surrounded the event. Despite my tough day on the trails I have nothing but fond memories laughing, talking, and hanging out with so many fun friends.

Yassine, Burch, Clark. Photo: Cassie Scallon

07 March 2013

A Run Through Time Preview: The Table is Set

Salida beckons! It's that time of year to kick off the Colorado any weather marathon racing season. Here's a look at the boys who hope to have a bit of SPRING (pun intended) in their stride. Alphabetically:

Josh Arthur- Dooper gave me some insider secrets on this guy. Crushed it at Collegiate Peaks 25 last year. Will he be the King this year?

R Bur- After missing Salida for the first time ever last year he's hoping to run back in time and reclaim his title from 2008. Coming off a PR at Moab he returns to his childhood training ground looking to light up Tenderfoot "S" Mountain; the first summit of his life over 30 years ago.

Nick A. Ragua- Fresh off the Fire and Water win a few weeks ago, he's itching to defend the crown. Will his winners tan shine through on Saturday or will he simply hold up the white flag? Despite the Grand Slam this is undoubtedly his focus race.

Bill Fanselow- don't know his current fitness level but he always shows up ready to race. Methodical, he will calculate his way to the front.

Travis Macy- Clark informed me of this contender. One to watch.

Aaron Marks- probably the first time he's been in the odds. However, he's been experimenting with a number of changes in his training regimen. At 5 AM each morning he's doing some intensive visualization training. No longer going by Slow Aaron, he's rebranding his blog and taking on the new moniker, Moderate Marks. Look for him in a Favre jersey, Oscar the Grouch beanie and pink calf warmers.

Sean Meissner- not sure if he's back to the US yet. International racing in Nicaragua and Copper Canyon the past few weeks. The cooler temps may be a welcome relief from the heat. How will he handle the snow after all the strolls in the sand?

Timmy Parr- recent additon to the Parr household. Will 2013 see his 4th W at Salida? Baby wants a win.

Nick Pedatella- on the list but not sure if he's running. This race is a bit short for his skillset. Will this race be the eventual tie breaker as he goes head to head with Big Nick during the Grand Slam?

Marco Peinado- I want to see him knock one out of the park. Not sure of his current stats. Batter up.

Jesse Rickert- a Gunnison legend. Parr should have the lowdown on him. Has he been doing laps on Signal Peak? If yes, look out.

Jacob Tiernan- Zeke's brother? If so, I will throw him in the mix. We'll call him the darkhorse. Giddy up.

Brendan Trimboli- after a HUGE PR at Moab he should have a ton of confidence coming into Salida. He's starting to dial it in. Look for another solid performance as he steps up his game.

This edition should see it all! Mud, snow, slush... looks like manpris weather. Let the games begin. And finally, a new rendition of one of your Top 40 Country favorites: "I was gonna keep it real like chill and only jog a mile or two...but it turned into an Ultra when I started running with you...more hits later...for now enjoy the speculation.

11 February 2013

The First 6 Weeks of 13

Jan. 1- 18, Horsetooth 1, Arthurs 1, Double 1
2- 10, Aggie Peak 1
3- 14.3, Arthurs 2
4- 11, Horsetooth 2
5- 10.1
6- 11.2, Horsetooth 3
6 days- 74.6, 12:14

7- 10.2
8- 11, Track 1
9- 15
10- 10.2, Towers 1
11- 10.3, Aggie Peak 2
12- 21, Horsetooth 4, Arthurs 3, Double 2
13- 4
Week 2- 81.7, 12:36

14- 7.1
15- 9.2, Aggie Peak 3
16- 9, Track 2
17- 10.5, Horsetooth 5
18- 13.6
19- 23.2, Arthurs 4
20- 12, Horsetooth 6
Week 3- 84.6, 14:06

21- 16.3, Horsetooth 7, Arthurs 5, Double 3
22- 15, Aggie Peak 4
23- 16, Aggie Peak 5
24- 8.3
25- 10
26- 3, National Guard Timed 2 Mile
27- 17, Horsetooth 8, Arthurs 6, Double 4
Week 4- 85.6, 13:27

28- 12.1, Aggie Peak 6
29- 12, Arthurs 7
30- 11
31- 7.1
Jan- 368.7, 11.9 avg
Feb 1- 9.2,
2- 26, Horsetooth 9, Arthurs 8, Double 5
3- 20, Arthurs 9
Week 5- 97.4, 15:40

4- 5
5- 11.2, Horsetooth 10
6- 8.3, Aggie Peak 7
7- 11.1, Towers 2
8- 11.1
9- 18.1, Horsetooth 11, Arthurs 10, Double 6
10- 14, Arthurs 11
Week 6- 78.8, 12:53

Overall a fun start to 13! It's been more soul running than focused training with specific workouts. I've been running more vert compared to previous years. Keeping a balanced approached to my Arthurs and Horsetooth summits- making sure I get quality dirt time in both parks. The illustrious Aggie Peak is tabulated for mere grins. Having loads of great days in the backyard!

Looking forward to Moab! It will be a great early season benchmark to assess the fitness. Gonna be a great race with a lot of speed toeing the line. A great way to kick off my race season- see you out there!

12 January 2013

A Look Back at the Year that Was

The daily log has been tallied. Here's the overview from 2012.

January- 310.6 miles, 2 days off, 10.0 daily avg.
February- 252.7 miles, 3 days off, 8.7 daily avg.
March- 328.2 miles, 3 days off, 10.6 daily avg.
1st Q- 891.5 miles, 8 days off, 9.8 daily avg
Races: New Year's Day 5K, Superbowl 5K

April- 316.4 miles, 3 days off, 10.5 daily avg
May- 260.1 miles, 4 days off, 8.4 daily avg
June- 263.5 miles, 9 days off, 8.8 daily avg
2nd Q- 840 miles, 16 days off, 9.2 daily avg
Races: Cheyenne Mtn 50K, Quad Rock 50M, Dirty Thirty 50K, Western States 100M

July- Basic Training
August- Basic Training
September- 151.2 miles, 3 days off, 9.4 daily avg.
* Return to regular running 09/15 after Basic Training*
3rd Q- 151.2 miles, 3 days off, 9.4 daily avg.
Races: None

October- 292.8 miles, 2 days off, 9.4 daily avg.
November- 258.1 miles, 2 days off, 8.6 daily avg.
December- 317.3 miles, 5 days off, 10.2 daily avg.
4th Q- 868.2 miles, 9 days off, 9.4 daily avg.
Races: Bluesky 26.2, Heart Center 13.1, Turkey Trot 5M

Totals- 2750.9 miles, 436:46 time running, 36 days off (not counting BT), 9 races, 3 wins, 6 podiums, 262.5 race miles, $643. in race entries

Local Summits-
Horsetooth Rock- 28
Arthur's Rock- 17
Towers Time Trial- 15
Round Mountain- 4
Crosier Mountain- 2
Bobcat Peak aka Mahoney Mountain- 2
Grey Rock- 1
Alexander- 1

Boulder/Golden Area Summits-
Bear Peak- 2
Green Mountain- 2
2nd Flatiron- 1
Windy Peak- 1

Estes Park Area Summits-
McGregor Mountain- 1
Dark Mountain- 1
The Needles- 1

14er Summits-

Memorable and Meaningful Moments-

03/22/2012- My first sub 30 on Towers!

05/12/2012- Quad Rock. Outstanding inaugural race in the backyard. Awesome friends, good food, decent fire.

06/23/2012- Not my best day...but awesome to finish WS with the incredible support of my fam and Meissner. Definitely a day to remember.

Basic Training- 5 mile "long" runs on the track. Obstacle courses. Mud. Awesome.

09/16/2012- My first run returning from Basic Training. Indian Peaks Wilderness. Devils Thumb Loop. 16 miles. Home in CO once again...above treeline! I ran in my clunky Asics from BT sporting mid calf length white cotton socks...amazing tan line.

09/22/2012- Indian Peaks. St. Vrain Glacier Trail. Continued post BT runners high. Running up to a high alpine lake. Taking a swim. Rewarming and soaking in the sunshine on a huge flat rock. This one spoke to me.

10/07/2012- My return to racing at the Bluesky Marathon. All smiles on this one. Two days after my B-Day. Hometown trails. Lots to celebrate.

12/01-02/2012- Two consecutive shirtless running days in DECEMBER!

In other news...Registration has opened for Salida You can't beat running a great dirt marathon for $50. that includes a shirt and meal.

Longest run of 2013 today! Out with Hanson and Clark for 21. Ringing the Rocks in the New Year at Lory/HTMP. Cold. Fun. Beardsicles. Earcicles.