Monday, May 30, 2011

Week Ending May 29

Mon - Noon: 9 miles (1,900') easy. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Loggers - Carey Springs - Towers - Herrington - Spring Creek - Soderberg - home long. Quads were tingly sore, but really not bad at all. I kind of like that post-race soreness anyway.
PM: 5 miles (1,000'). Falls easy.

Tues - Noon: 9 miles (1,900') easy. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Loggers - Carey Springs - Towers - Herrington - Spring Creek - Soderberg - home long. A little lethargic, but generally felt decent. Really no soreness to speak of.
PM: 9.5 miles track. TNT workout: 800, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 800, 600, 400 w/200 jog between 4, 6, 800s; 400 jog before and after 1,000. 3 mile w-u, 2 mile c-d. Didn't get after these at all, but still got some turnover. Digits: 2:51, 80, 2:04, 2:50, 3:38, 2:53, 2:09, 72.

Weds - Noon: 11.5 miles (2,600') easy/worked the downs. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Loggers - Carey Springs - Towers - Secret Trail - Westridge - Rock - Audra - Southridge - home long. Tired legs, but worked the Audra/Southridge descent.

Thurs - AM: 14.5 miles (3,700') hard downs. Double Towers with Pete and Slush. 5:30 start for this one. Plan was to go easy on the climbs, hard on the descents. First climb was 39 minutes or so, second about the same. Pete was on a mission on the first descent, dropping a 5:09 middle mile. I was in no shape to be keeping up with that kind of lunacy, but ran at a steady clip. Second down was a little calmer, but still a good hard-to-steady effort. Legs seem to be holding up well post-Jemez.
PM: 6 miles easy at Pineridge with FCTR. Opted out of racing the downhill mile (6:15). Nice BBQ with family and friends in the park after.

- Noon: 11.5 miles (2,600') easy/worked the downs. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Loggers - Carey Springs - Towers - Secret Trail - Westridge - Rock - Audra - Southridge - home long. Some heat at least. Worked up a mighty sweat with the jacket, hat and gloves. Pushed the Audra/Southridge drop.
PM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls long. First rattler of the season coming down Soderberg, just below the bench. No girly screams, but certainly an extra few beats to the heart rate.

Sat - AM: 24.5 miles (3,600'). 3:35. Bluesky to Devil's Backbone from home w/ Indian Summer both ways. With Jason O. Felt flat pretty much the whole run.

Sun - AM: 5.5 miles (1,800'). 3:00. Pete and I tried to scout the Sullivan Gulch route up Crosier Mountain. Trail tapered out at the top of the gulch (1 mile & 920'), and then we got completely lost for a couple of hours in the fog. Visibility was terrible, which made route finding with no trail very challenging. Once we re-found the gulch, we decided to put our tails between our legs and head back down to the car. Instead of the planned easy 18 miles with two summits, we got 5.5 miles and cold, wet feet. Was feeling tired heading up the gulch as we were getting going anyway, so no biggie on the lost mileage. Still got 3 hours on my feet (got to count for something).

Just as the fog was lifting, we headed back down Sullivan Gulch. Mission failed!

Total: 110 miles (20,000')

Week petered out a bit on Sunday, but that's alright. Felt better the first half of the week than I did the second half. Probably some delayed fatigue from Jemez after getting back into things too quickly early in the week. Either that or it was the extra push on the downhilling Wed, Thurs, Fri. Will probably look to go fairly easy this week then hopefully push out a steady effort at the Dirty Thirty 50k in Black Hawk on Saturday.

Camping in Minturn Saturday night with the family after the race, then will check out the Teva Mountain Games in Vail on Sunday. Hopefully get to see some of the 10k action in the morning. I might find some time for a run, but we'll be up there for the kids events, so if no run, I'll just call it the beginning of the taper. To be honest, I think I'm mentally there already, so I'm not going to sweat missed runs from here on in. The work is plenty done.

Take a look here for Scott's account of pacing Jemez last weekend. Possibly the longest 14-mile run report you'll ever read, but plenty of good comedy in there.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Week Ending May 22

Mon - Noon: 9 miles (1,900') easy. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Loggers - Carey Springs - Towers - Herrington - Spring Creek - Soderberg - home long.

Tues - AM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls Long.
PM - 8 miles track. First Tuesday Night Track workout of the summer season. A low-volume session, which was fine by me with Jemez upcoming. 3 mile w-u, then 800 'featured event' at 2:47, followed by 4x800 on lap rest: 2:33 (75, 78), 2:37 (80, 77), 2:37 (79, 78), 2:36 (80, 76). Ran with Chris, 2 Brians and Dave for the four 800s, which helped push the pace a bit. Mile c-d.

Weds - Noon: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls Long.

Thurs - AM: 10 miles (1,200')
. Out and back to high point on Indian Summer from Bluesky TH with Alex, Brian S, Celeste, Kyle, Sarah, and Slush. Wet out, but the mud factor wasn't bad on Bluesky. Slush starting dropping some sub-7 stuff on the way back, which was a touch hotter than I was planning, but all good.
PM: 6 miles (1,800'). To top of Horsetooth at a steady pace (27:40) with 8 others from FCTR on a very wet night. Summit was completely socked in. On the way down Wathan to check out the waterfall, Steph asked me how to improve her downhilling. Blabbering on about running harder in training to gain confidence, I caught a rock and went flying. Didn't have a chance - straight over the handlebars. "Um, yeah, so don't do that!"

Fri - PM: 4 miles (600') easy
. Easy from Jemez finish to final aid and back with Nick P.

Sat - AM: 50 miles (12,000'). Jemez 50.

Sun - 0 miles. Had planned to break up the trip coming home with a jog on a trail somewhere, but got a late start so forewent the jog.

Total: 97 miles (19,500')

Got to be happy with this week. Obviously, Jemez was a huge confidence boost with just a few weeks of training left until Western. My legs feel really strong right now, and overall I'm feeling a level of fitness and durability that I've never felt before (knock on wood).

All that's left to do now is to not get carried away. Got to keep plugging for two more weeks and then get rested in the three weeks leading up to WS. I still plan on running the Dirty Thirty down in Black Hawk the weekend after next, but as nothing more than a long, hard training run. I Will Not Get Carried Away. I want to double up that weekend with a similar type of run the next day, so will need to leave something in the tank.

Still waiting for the sun. In the meantime, I'm forced to look silly on my easy runs by layering up as I try to run around in an uncomfortable sweat in preparation for the canyon heat. No time (or desire) for saunas or any that other heat prep stuff.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Jemez 50 2011

Another Jemez 50 in the books, and another solid ass whooping to file away.

This year's race was a similar, yet entirely different experience from last year. The route, of course, remains incredibly challenging, the scenery inspiring, and the race organization exemplary. However, the run itself turned out to be more of a time trial than the race it was last year when Ryan Burch and I battled all morning for top honors.

At the base of Caballo Mountain, 10 miles into the race, I could sense that I was in for a good run. Coming back down the mountain from the summit, I had already built a 10-minute lead on the rest of the field, and so by Pipeline at mile 17, right before the steep scree-like drop into the Caldera Wildlife Preserve, I started getting pretty focused on splits and trying to shave minutes on my segment times from last year.

Top Caballo. Photo: Rachel Graznow

I knew I needed to find 19 minutes to take down Kyle Skaggs' course record from 2008 - the year he re-wrote the record books at Hardrock, redefining the sport of ultrarunning (as a racing pursuit) in the process - and a further eight minutes to dip under eight hours.

At the turn onto the cross country section of the course, I was six to seven minutes up on my 2010 time, meaning that I had to find 13 minutes over the top of the two remaining 10k'+ peaks (Cerro Grande and Pajarito) and the bomber descent to the finish to set the new Jemez standard. I remembered that I'd had a bit of a bad patch last year on the climb out of Pajarito Canyon to the base of the final 2.5k' climb up Pajarito Mountain, so figured I could be a little conservative on the Cerro cross-country grunt and still make up some good time by Pajarito.

I pulled into the Pajarito Canyon aid station with an exact match on last year's split over the big grunting off road section, which I was happy with because I had chased Ryan pretty hard coming down off Cerro Grande last year. With the four-mile climb out of the canyon ahead, I knew it was time to start turning the screw if the course record was going to happen. Running alongside the river, I passed Hardrock champ Diana Finkel coming the other way on a training run. She gave me some good encouragement, which was nice, and I plugged on out of the canyon through the aspen and the big burn scars from the 2000 Cerro Grande Fire. The Pajarito aid came quicker than I expected, and four minutes faster than last year.

Ten minutes up, nine to find, 18 miles to go, and one mountain left to climb.

My mantra in the early stages of the race, after I'd decided that I was feeling good and ready to push out a hard effort, was to run everything but Cerro Grande (which is simply not runnable given the grade and rough terrain). I ran all of Caballo, versus 80 percent last year (netting a measly two minutes) and hiked Cerro as planned. However, Pajarito once again dropped me to my knees, and I ended up hiking most of the really steep stuff. So a Fail on that particular goal.

When I did finally hit the top, after a bit of re-routing up high and a couple of insignificant wrong turns, I was psyched to bomb the descent to the ski lodge, where training partner Senor Slush (conveniently in town for his niece's graduation) was waiting to pick up some pacing duties.

Cruising into the lodge aid, a young lady told me that Scott was in the can. I hadn't planned on stopping there, so asked her to tell Scott to catch me up once he was ready to start running. A couple of turns into the rolling and shaded double track and Scott was on my shoulder. I explained the formula: 12 minutes up, seven to find, one 3,000' drop to negotiate, 14 miles to get it done. Scott got right to work and pulled me along at a faster clip than I probably otherwise would have run. I had to back off on the small climb up to Pipeline, dropping into my grind gear, but otherwise was happy with the new effort level. We picked up another three minutes in the 2.9 miles to Pipeline.

I had Scott scoot ahead as we got close to the aid station to fill my bottle with ice and coke. I had gotten a fill of coke instead of water at the Pajarito aid, and it was going down well and offering up some good energy. Up to that point, I had been through three EFS Liquid Shot flasks (1,200 cals) and was feeling kinda done with the gel thing. So aside from a few nips of EFS in the last four miles, I ran the final 14 miles on liquid sugar alone.

Out of Pipeline, I knew we had to get up the powerline hill - the last significant climb of the day - before we would truly be howeward bound on the 10-mile descent to the finish. Again, I made it a mission to run the entire thing, knowing that I had dropped to a walk a few times on this climb last year. I got a big rush once we hit the top and jetted off at a ridiculously fast pace - 5:40s, according to Scott's GPS - in search of the turn onto the singletrack. I was foiled by a last little grunter that I'd forgotten about, which forced me back into my grind gear, but by the time we hit the singletrack turn, the digits - according to our best calculations - looked to be telling us 7:15s over the last 10 miles to break the record.

Early in the descent on some of the smoother and less technical sections, Scott was giving me real-time pace readings in the 6:40s. This meant I definitely had a shot, but that it would be close as there were still a number of short hills to get up and the trail would become slower as the turns increased - not to mention that I had 40 miles in my legs already.

We hit a mix of seven and eight minute miles all the way down the drop into town, depending on the number of uphill gear changes we had to make. The mental calculations were coming thick and fast as Scott reeled off the mile splits, and it became increasingly clear that the record was within reach, but that it was going to be tight. I kept feeling like I was slowing, but Scott kept giving me seven to sub-seven minute pace checks. I honestly thought he was lying to me to keep me motivated, but by the final aid station with two miles to go, the calculation was easy: cover the last 2 miles in under 19 minutes for the course record.

The pace ground to a crawl coming out of Rendija Canyon on the final set of switchbacks, but I knew I had enough left in the tank to get the job done. That was until we found ourselves off course and looking for flags. Do what? Fortunately, the panic was short lived and Scott had us back on track after a detour that cost a precious minute or two. With a mile to go, we had - I think - eight minutes to get the job done.

We hit the final rock scramble back up to the finish with 8:07:low on the clock. I knew the course record was 8:08, but had no idea what the exact time was in terms of seconds, so wanted to dip under 8:08 to be sure. Making the final turn onto the home straight, I could see 8:07 on the finish-line clock and knew then that the record was going down. Soon after crossing the finish, the announcer declared a new course record by thirty seconds. I lit up a huge smile.

I had to work hard for this one, so the payoff felt great. Last year at the Wasatch 100, I had been chasing Kyle's splits all morning, and really thought I was going to go under his former course record. But then I took a massive wrong turn at about mile 40 and had to give up on that idea. This year at Jemez, I managed to stay focused and get the job done.

This run was particularly sweet for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I love everything about this race: the course, the people, the exemplary organization, and the immense challenge of humping up and down those mountains. But perhaps almost as significant for me was taking down Kyle's course record (only one left now, I think). Both Kyle and Tony were redefining the sport just as I was getting into it four or five years ago, changing the calculations on what was possible in long-distance mountain races. Never in a million years did I think I would be toppling or even getting close to their times.

In my mind, Kyle's Hardrock run of 2008 remains the biggest game changer the sport has ever seen, and probably will ever see. Obviously that one still stands, but I know there are a number of guys out there looking at that 23:23 and thinking that it's within reach. I won't be setting any standards at Hardrock this year, but I do believe that with a focused effort I might have a shot next year, if I can get back in.

To finish, a word of thanks to the Koehn family who were unbelievably hospitable in opening up their home to Nick and me this weekend. Post-race steak, beers and jacuzzi - I mean, c'mon. You guys are awesome!

Our wonderful hosts for the weekend.

Also, a tip of the hat to Brendan Trimboli who ran a very well-measured race to finish in second in his first ever 50 miler, and also to the other three Colorado boys who made up the top-five Colorado sweep (Ben Dunn, Nick Pedatella, Corey Hanson). It should also be noted that Corey broke his finger about two miles into the race, but still finished up the race in a strong sub-10 hour showing. Now that's ballsey.




First Aid........41:10..............42:10
Guaje Ridge...26:53 (1:08)...26:56 (1:09:06)
Base Caballo..32:27 (1:40)...30:22 (1:39:28)
Top Caballo...33:00 (2:13)...31:39 (2:11:08)
Base Caballo..15:45 (2:29)...15:11 (2:26:20)
Pipeline..........31:32 (3:01)...31:04 (2:57:24)
Valle Grande..31:15 (3:32)...29:02 (3:26:27)
Top Cerro.......???????????...40:17 (4:06:44)
Paj Canyon.....1:21 (4:53).....41:12 (4:47:57)
Pajarito Base..44:16 (5:37)...40:34 (5:28:31)
Pajarito top....32:25 (6:10)...30:04 (5:58:35)
Ski Lodge.......18:14 (6:28)...19:59 (6:18:35)
Pipeline..........25:37 (6:54)...22:15 (6:40:50)
Rendija Cyn....1:12 (8:06)...1:07:55 (7:48:45)
Finsh...............19:56 (8:26:17)..19:01 (8:07:46)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Week Ending May 15

Mon - Noon: 9 miles (1,900') easy. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Loggers - Carey Springs - Towers - Herrington - Spring Creek - Soderberg - home long.
PM: 8.5 miles (800') easy. Bluesky to Arthurs and back.

Tues - AM: 10 miles track. This workout was Sarah's suggestion and ended up being a nice mix of speed and stamina: 4 (1,600, 400). It's always so hard to get cranking at six in the morning, but then it's also great to be done with your workout by seven. Digits: 5:41, 75, 5:31, 75, 5:24, 75, 5:20, 73.
PM: 7 miles (1,600') easy. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Herrington - Spring Creek - Soderberg - home long. Dead legs, sore throat, crappy run.

Weds - 8 miles (1,900') easy. Falls - Spring Creek - Wathan - Rock - Audra - Southridge - home long. Holy hail batman. Hailed pretty much the entire run - think there might have been a mix of snow in there too.
PM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls long.

Thurs - 11 miles (1,500') hill tempo. Scared off the trails by two days of rain, my Thursday morning running partners outvoted my pitch for Bluesky in favor of our winter road route: the HTH 5 Mile Out and Back (HTH5MOaB). It was wet, kinda windy, but generally pleasant enough. Out with Scott, Sarah and Tim in a casual 40:38, then back in 31:25 (7:25, 6:17, 6:36, 5:40, 5:25). Doubled back to run the last half mile back in with Sarah.
PM - 8.5 miles easy. On the bike paths with the FCTR crew for the Thursday social run.

Fri - 13 miles (2,000') easy. From Bluesky TH, Bluesky - Valley - Arthurs TH - Arthurs Rock trail to summit - Howard - Mill Creek Link - Valley - Bluesky. Hot. Nice cruiser run.

Sat - 25 miles (3,700') easy. 3:31. Out and back from home to Devil's Backbone in Loveland via Bluesky. All three Loveland-side loops with Indian Summer both ways, then home long. Ran easy with Alex M to the Loveland Ridge, picked it up a touch coming home. Just the warm up for the main event tomorrow.

Sun - 30 miles (10,000'). Round Mountain ladder workout. 5:22 run time, 5:34 total with stops at TH. Okay, so Round Mountain (8,500') is an approximately 3,000' foot climb to the summit over the course of 4.75 miles from the trailhead. Conveniently there are mile markers to the summit, which when combined with the steady and steep climbing nature of the rocky singletrack makes for a great training hill. The plan for this particular morning was to out-and-back from each of the four mile markers, finishing up with a final run at the summit for 29 miles and just under 10k' of climbing (9,750'). As usual, we had a good group show up for the early 5:30 start, despite the socked-in snowy conditions. The goal going in was to run at a steadily decent clip all morning with a slight uptick in effort as the run progressed. An uphill pacing session, I guess. I took splits at each and every mile marker - up and down - to try and make sure I was sticking to the plan.

The up splits: Mile 1 <+580'> (12:43, 11:43, 11:14, 11:24, 11:16); mile 2 <+780'> (12:55, 12:25, 12:15 , 12:24); mile 3 <+460'> (11:41, 11:25, 11:07); mile 4 <+580'> (12:32, 11:45); final .75 <+480'> (10:49).

The down splits: Mile 1 (9:26, 8:45, 8:23, 8:43, 9:02); mile 2 (8:53, 8:19, 8:07, 8:10); mile 3 (10:03, 10:18, 10:17); mile 4 (9:15, 8:56); final .75 (8:21)

Ran the final summit lap in 57:21, a good 7 minutes off my PR, but given the previous 20 miles and 6,500' of climbing and descending, I felt like it was a pretty solid effort. Pooped out on the final 3/4 of a mile to the summit. Total climb on the day, including bonus climbing on the down laps, was exactly 10,000 feet (per my Highgear altimeter). Warmed down with a final half mile out and back to hit 5 figures on the climbing front and a nice round 30 miles on the morning.

The Round Mountain Ladder: 29 miles, 10k'. Courtesy: Pete Stevenson

Final descent. Photo: Rob Erskine.

Punch drunk on vertical: Mr Awesome (Slush). Photo: Alex May.

Pete showing off the Hardrock beard. Photo: Rob Erskine.

Total: 135 miles (24,400').

Another big week (biggest ever in fact) with just three more to go before I start a gradual three-week taper for WS/HR. Today's workout was maybe not the best idea with Jemez just around the corner, but got to keep my eye on the dueling Western States/Hardrock goals. Will definitely take things easy this week in getting ready for Jemez.

Looks like Kilian ran well for the win at the NF100k in Australia against some decent competition this weekend. Tony is running again, and most everyone else on the WS100 start list looks to be in killer shape. Gonna be a barn burner.

Switching things up this week for the Towers workout with a run at Horsetooth Rock. We'll meet at the Upper Horsetooth parking lot at the usual time (a few ticks before six) with the usual handicapping. Choose your route: 3.3 - 3.6 miles & 1,500' climb depending on your route choices.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Towers Updated


A hot evening with no breeze made for sightly challenging conditions. We had a few dinged up runners and then others tapering for big races, which meant there weren't too many PRs on the day, although Mike Hinterberg made up for that by rolling out a very impressive 31:10, by far the fastest ascent on the evening. Six new runners this evening pushed us over 100 total ascenders for the year. Keep 'em coming!


14 TTs in '11: Alex M (gold* for perfect attendance)
13 TTs
in '11: Pete
12 TTs in '11: Mary B, Nick C,
Brian W
11 TTs in '11: Slusher, Cat S


More terrible weather greeted our turnout of 22 runners. Rain, wind and lightening this time around. Nonetheless there were many PRs: Brian Stefanovich, Chris Hinds, Doug Nash, Marji Nash, Dave Seabeck, Lane Eskew and Pete (the beard) Stevenson. Alex showed up too, as he continues his quest for the perfect-streaker season.

perfect streakers:

13 TTs in '11: Alex M.
12 TTs
in '11: Pete, Brian W
11 TTs in '11: Mary B, Nick C
10 TTs in '11: Slusher, Cat S


Hail and general nastiness for the 10 that assembled. Alex May keeps his perfect Towers season alive, and a no-show from Pete means he is the only perfect streaker left in 2011.

6/2 (Horsetooth):

A bit of wind and lots of sunshine made for a pleasant evening on the rock, with a total of 22 runners taking in the awe-inspiring views of the Divide to the west, the plains to the east, Wyoming's high plains to the north and the Bluesky valley to the south. Redstone Canyon on the back side of Horsetooth was gorgeously green after the recent bout of moisture.

5/19 (Horsetooth):

A wet day up on Horsetooth this evening. Apparently the FoCo crew do okay in the snow, but not in the rain. Just nine showed up to brave the elements and enjoy the non-view from on top of Horsetooth.

A no show from Slush means that we are now down to two perfect streakers:

10 TTs in '11: Pete and Alex M.
9 TTs
in '11: Brian Walter, Mary Boyts, Scott Slusher.
8 TTs in '11: Cat, Nick C.


Even though it snowed the first two days of May and has snowed this week, for Towers last Thursday it felt like summer. The stellar conditions helped 10 of the 28 starters set PRs and allowed for a little more linger time at the top.

Jenn Malmberg seems to run faster every single time she sets foot on the hill, meaning the women's fastest known time gets reset pretty much every two weeks. The new standard for the women is now 34:05, which according to the Towers to marathon conversion chart is a 3:02/03 marathon equivalency. Currently, the data are showing 33:40 as the sub-3 hour marathon standard (revised up with the recent addition of Boston/FoCo marathon times). After a slightly disappointing Boston, Kyle proved that he's got a sub-3 in there somewhere with his impressive new PR. Other PRs:

PRs: Jenn M, Kyle F, Dan Bla, Doug N, Dustin, Elizabeth, John F, Mike N, Rob B, Ron M.

Perfect Streakers List is down to three: Alex May, Slush, Pete.

Note: We'll be changing things up next week (5/19) with a run at The Rock. Horsetooth upper parking lot just before 6:00. See you there!

Towers to Marathon Scatter Plot (Courtesy Alex May)
2011 Times & All-time PRs through 6/30/11:

Jan-May times here

Alex A(8)...38:07..38:32....................................40:53
Alex M(14).36:57..44:15..34:38...33:02.....56:09.42:34.38:33
Brent W(4).37:49..
Brent B(2)..36:32..
Brian K(1)..37:12..
Brian S(7)..39:55..44:30..32:50...33:12..............39:55..42:30
Brian W(12).44:52.46:36..40:45...39:06....56:55..48:00
Chris C(2)...35:53.......................30:59
Chris H(6)...40:11..42:28.............37:43..............40:11
Chris K(3)...43:21..
Dan B(1)......41:21..
Dan Bla(5)...44:56..44:56
Dan J(5)......35:58..
Dana (1) ......43:58............................................43:58
Dave S(5)....39:24.......................32:40....40:03..39:24..40:37
Dave T(3)....44:47.......................37:52........................45:00
Diana H(3)...42:09..
Eric B(1)......29:37..
Jean Marie(1).54:00.............................................54:00
Jeff K(4)......37:43..
Jenn M(6)....34:05..34:05
Jenn S(3)....51:12..
Jenn B(1)....54:30..
Jenn G(1)....46:54..
John F(2).....40:58..40:58
John H(1)....49:46..
John W(1)....36:00..
Mary B(12)*..42:30
Michelle D(1)........
Mindy Cl(4)...54:44...................................57:34
Mindy Ch(1)..50:00..
Mike C (2)......39:08..................................39:08...........39:11
Mike L(6)......40:30..
Mike Le(1)....44:00..
Mike H(2)........??.........................38:00
Mike Hint(2).31:10...........28:02....................................31:10
Mike T(1).......45:06..
Mike M(4)......41:14..
Mike N(1)......35:45..35:45
Nick C(12)**..36:22
Nick M(3)......34:55..
Nick Med(1)
Phil A(1)...........................36:14
Rob B(1).......41:15..41:15
Ryan B(5).....30:58........................29:30
Sam M(3)......28:32......................................................34:41
Sarah H(3)....36:10..
Sarah S(1)*
Shaun (2).......44:15.....................37:30.............44:15
Steve (1)G....58:30..
Tom K(3)......40:55.......................................................40:55

(H) = Horsetooth Rock TT
^ = Base of the rock
~ = One peg
gold* = didn't get time or didn't get to top

No. of 2011 TTs in parentheses after name.

Towers Top times:
Sam Malmberg: 28:32
Nick Clark: 29:26
Eric Bergman: 29:37
Dakota Jones: 30:30
Steve Folkerts: 30:36

Masters - Scott Slusher: 31:00

Jenn Malmberg: 34:05
Stephanie Lynn: 35:28
Sarah Hansen: 36:10
Cherilyn Sackel: 37:07
Amy Hartley: 38:14

Masters - Tina Stoner: 40:27

Horsetooth Top Times
Nick Clark: 23:50
Sam Malmberg: 26:04
Scott Slusher: 27:25
Pete Stevenson: 27:41
Mike Hinterberg: 28:02

Jenn Malmberg: 29:40
Stephanie Lynn: 30:25
Mary Boyts: 33:44
Maire-Helene: 35:03
Kate: 35:06

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Week Ending May 8

Mon - AM: 7 miles (1,600') easy. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Herrington - Spring Creek - Soderberg - home long.
PM: 7.5 miles (1,900') easy with Duncan C and Ryan B. To top of Horsetooth via hiking trail and back on Wathan - Spring Creek - Falls. From my house to the summit of Horsetooth via the hiking trail, it is exactly 3.15 miles (1,500'), or 5k, (per Ryan's GPS device). Got me thinking about putting on a 5k race one of these days...

Tues - 10 miles track. Jane's Tuesday morning workouts are done for the winter, so it was to the track with Kyle and Slush for a ladder workout (400, 800, 1,200, 1,600, 1,600, 1,200, 800, 400). Legs were kind of heavy and I really didn't feel like pushing myself into the pain cave at six in the morning, so went at what felt like a 10k (ish) effort throughout. As is typical, I sped up as things loosened: 83, 2:44, 4:07, 5:24, 5:25, 4:01, 2:41, 78.
PM: 8 miles (2,050') easy. Horsetooth summit via hiking trail, then back on Wathan - Spring Creek - Soderberg - home long.

Weds - AM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Easy jog on the Falls loop. Home long.
PM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls long again.

Thurs - AM: 11 miles (1,250') steady. Ran out and back on Bluesky/Indian Summer from Bluesky TH with Sarah, Slush and Brian. Notched the effort coming home on the last two miles. Beautiful morning out.
PM: 11 miles (2,100'). 31:18. Towers w/4 mile warm up. Went out relatively easy with Slush and upped the effort to relatively hard toward the end.

Laura, Cat and Scott in various stages of Towers recovery.
Photos: Pete Stevenson.

Fri - Noon: 7 miles (1,600') easy. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Herrington - Spring Creek - Soderberg - home long. Thought this one was going to be a slog, but ended up feeling great. Love it when that happens.
PM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls long.

Sat - AM: 25.5 miles (7,800'). Crosier triple Bagger. This one is becoming a rite of spring/ early summer for me. Third year in row knocking out this big-vert workout. The route includes three summits of Crosier (9,250'), with out and backs from each of the Devil's Gulch trailheads. Climbs of approximately, 3,200' (5 miles), 2,300' (4 miles), 2,000 (3.75 miles). A total of 13 runners from the Fort Collins Trail Running group turned up for the early start, with six completing the three bag, three the two bag and the rest enjoying a beautiful day on the mountain with a more reasonable single summit.

Courtesy: Pete Stevenson

Crosier was clear of snow the whole way up, thus marking the march higher as the peaks begin to open up. Crosier has perhaps the best views of any of the lower-elevation peaks in the area, covering the Estes Valley and all surrounding peaks from Meeker to Mummy, with even a shot of Evans and Pikes off in the southern haze. The snow-capped peaks on this windless, bluebird morning were particularly stunning.

Told to look 'epic,' this was the best our first group of summiteers could come up with:
Sarah obscuring Longs, but giving Meeker some love.

Heat training (80 degrees by the time we were finished).

Towers Sam.

Slush. Now that's epic!

Coming up the meadow from the Glen Haven trailhead.

In keeping with tradition, I hit each of the three .6 (500') summit slogs at an increasingly fast pace on each successive summit. Last one just about did me in. Splits:

First ascent: 1:02:15 (summit spur: 8:55)
First descent: 36:47
Second ascent: 46:30 (8:07)
Second descent: 32:59
Third ascent: 45:21 (7:49)
Final descent: 48:49

Total running time: 4:32:33
Total outing time: 5:33:13

Great day on a great mountain. Next week is a 29-mile single summit of Round Mountain, which will wrap up three consecutive weekends of silliness on some of our closest-in and favorite 8-9k peaks. More on that later.

Sun - AM: 20 miles (2,700'). Bluesky from home with Indian Summer (outbound) plus two of the three Loveland-side loops. Home long. Went easy, and slogged a bit, but generally felt decent. Hot again. No snake sightings (yet).

Total: 122 miles (24,000')

Big week on miles and vertical, which has me feeling strong. After working through some pretty significant fatigue the last few weeks, this last week was a breath of fresh air. Legs felt great, the running was easy and no real long-run fatigue to speak of. Just got to keep that rolling for a few more weeks (seven to be precise).

Interesting race weekend with some quality times posted at Miwok in the Marin Headlands. Dave Mackey gets it done again, but Mike Wolfe, and Hal Koerner were right there. All three of those guys look to be in great form as they get ready for Western States next month. As does training partner Ryan Burch, who dismantled Andy Henshaw's course record at the hilly, high-elevation Collegiate Peaks 50 on Saturday. Haven't spoken to him yet, but he's got to be super stoked with his run. Clearly Ryan is in great form right now, but as he always says, 'still need to piece together two good 50s.' Confident that will happen next month for Ryan, and also have a feeling that Western States is going to be a deep race in general this year.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Western States/Hardrock Double

When asked pre-lottery by friends if I would run Hardrock should my name be drawn, I was pretty emphatic in stating that I would absolutely turn down the spot. The reasoning behind this fairly logical answer was not one of charity for others who might be better prepared for the immense undertaking, but simply because running such a beast two weeks after (hopefully) running full bore at Western States sounded incredibly painful and potentially dangerous, not to mention stupid in terms of UTMB preparation.

Then my name was drawn. And all bets were off.

I quickly rationalized that this would be a great chance to test my mettle in a way I have yet to test it. And besides, the chances of being drawn in the lottery are so slim that I may never get another chance at it. Then I saw the list of starters and felt further compelled to send a check for $250 to race director Dale Garland.

The event has never really been about the racing, but more about the experience. However, as regular readers of this blog might have gathered by now, I like to race (regardless of my chances of winning), and clearly the 2011 event has the potential to be one of the more competitive ones in the race’s history.

A taste of the competition:

Karl Meltzer (5-time winner)
Scott Jurek (‘07 winner, 7-time WS winner, US 24-hour record holder, and on and on)
Jared Campbell (defending champ)
Duncan Callahan (2-time Leadville winner)
Diana Finkel (3-time winner, 2nd overall last year)
Darcy Africa (2nd last year (4th overall) and winner of multiple 100 mile mountain races)
Nathan Yanko
Pete Stevenson
John Anderson
Matt Hart
Dakota Jones
Kevin Shilling
Glenn Mackie
Christian Johnson
Garrett Graubins
Nick Coury
Ryan Cooper
Jeff Browning (31st on the wait list - would be a great addition to the start list)

Up until about a week ago, I really hadn’t given the race much thought. Western States is absolutely my goal race for the summer -- no ifs, ands, or buts about it -- but now that I’ve started getting up into the mountains a bit more in my training, and the prospect of some high-alpine running starts to open up with the changing of the seasons, my mind begins to wander towards July and the San Juans.

I paced Nick Pedatella over the last 30 miles of the course last year just two weeks after racing Western States and, quite frankly, it was a slog. I got altitude headaches, we got lost for an extended period of time in the middle of the night, and Nick fell in an ice-cold stream at 4 in the morning and was borderline hypothermic for hours. I was ready to hand over the pacing baton to Ryan at mile 90 but he didn’t show, so I had to slog up the last huge climb (they’re all huge) to 13,000 feet over Little Giant without expressing my desire to sit down and stop (which is not good pacing etiquette).

Not so little, but definitely a giant.

My immediate post-pace thoughts are documented here, and as you might deduce from the prose and video commentary, I was far from enthusiastic about the event at the time of writing. But time has a way of romancing the pain and frustration. And I’m now fully excited at the prospect of covering the 100.5 miles, 34,000 feet of climbing, and 13 major passes of the Hardrock course…I think.

Of course I have goals for the summer, who doesn’t? As far as the WS/Hardrock double is concerned, there is but one goal (well there are multiple goals, but for fear of being ridiculed I’ll just mention the following): beat AJW’s impressive double from 2009, which I assume is a record:

Western States: 18:46:51
Hardrock: 28:09:09

Combined: 46:56:00

And then there’s UTMB, but I’m putting those thoughts off until July 9.

This summer promises to be epic.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Week Ending May 1

Mon - Noon: 7 miles (1,600') easy. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Herrington - Spring Creek - Soderberg - home long.
PM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls long.

Tues - AM: 7.5 miles intervals. 2.5 mile w-u, 2 mile c-d. Last session of the fall/winter season for Jane's group before we reconvene in two weeks at the CSU track for the famed Tuesday Night Track workouts. Anyway, workout was mile, then 4x800 in the cemetery: 5:29, 2:42, 2:42, 2:40, 2:38 on two mins rest. Feel like I've lost a step or two since Feb, but to be expected as the focus shifts to the hills.
PM: 7 miles (1,600') easy. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Herrington - Spring Creek - Soderberg - home long.

Weds - Noon: 11.5 miles (2,500') easy. 38e - Bluesky - Towers - Secret Trail - Westridge - Rock - Audra - Southridge - home long.
PM: 7 miles (1,900') easy. Straight shot from home to top of Horsetooth with Pete. Home long way. Legs finally feel like they are getting into the uphill groove. Need to start getting into extended climbs and stop messing around with rolling climbs. Always feels better that way.

Thurs - AM: 12 miles (3,800') hill repeats. Pete lit up the bat sign for a punishing hill ladder workout on the Horsetooth hiking trail. Slusher and I responded, but also spotted on the trail were Victoria, Ashley, Rob, Dennis and Mike. From the intersection with Soderberg, the workout went 3 x 1/4 (+185' each), 2 x 1/2 (+380'), 1 x 3/4 (+550'), 1 x 1 (+680'). After the first three quarters I had to push through some pretty serious burn, but got 'em done: (2:42, 2:41, 2:38); (5:42, 5:38); (8:40); (11:28). Finished out with a summit of Horsetooth on what was a clear and beautiful morning, then home long with Mike and Dennis.
PM: 6 miles easy. Social run with FCTR. Ended with a timed downhill mile. Failed to start my stopwatch, but pretty sure I went 3:58 or so.

Fri - PM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls long.

Sat - AM: 28.5 (9,600'). Greyrock 4 Spot. Another hair-brained idea from Pete. Three full ascents of Greyrock, and a fourth to the meadow. The original plan was a full six pack (which Pete completed), but because of time constraints, I had to cut it down to four summits. I ran out of time again on the day, so had to forgo the final 2 miles of scrambling to and from the summit. Ran the first summit in the dark with Sam, where we almost got blown off the mountain, then picked up Slush for the second summit, soloed the third and fourth, running the final descent with Brian K. Felt good all day on this Hardrock simulator, with my climbing legs feeling a whole lot better than they have for the last couple of weeks. But then I always find sustained climbs easier than rolling type stuff. Good turn out from the FCTR crew, with Pete, Sam, Bard, myself, Victoria, Steph, Kristel and Ashley turning up at 5, and then Jenn, Cherilyn, Laura, Slush, Brian K, Brian W, Alex A, Greg, Aaron and Chris H all being spotted throughout the morning. There was even a guest appearance from Ryan's bride Meg who was out for a hike.
January: 440.5 miles (45,850')
February: 304.5 miles (39,200')
March: 469.5 miles (67,100')
April: 427 (62,000')

Total: 1,641.5 miles (214,150')
Avg: 410 miles (53,538')

Sun - 10.5 miles. Jogged a stiff 6 miles on the Poudre bike path, then paced Sarah over the last 5 miles of her half marathon, which she rocked (1:25). The 6:30s felt surprisingly comfortable given the effort the day before, which was nice as I was bit worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up. Had fun watching my dad run with Alistair in the kids race after the marathon.

Alistair in orange hitting the straightaway, dropping his granddad in the process
Checking out the competition.

Closing it out.

Total: 107 miles (23,000')

Good week. Got a little confidence back on Saturday after cruising the Greyrock workout with relative ease. I never felt particularly tired and the climbing was easy. Prior to Saturday, a lot of my hilly runs have been big old slog fests, so it was a very pleasant surprise to feel the glide back in my legs. More importantly, there was no real recovery to talk of. After a few easy miles on Sunday morning, my legs felt great and ready to go

May is hopefully going to be a big month with lots of climbing and, of course, lots of quad-pounding descents. And then, if the sun ever comes out, there'll be the miserable midday layered sweat runs to prepare for the heat in the Western States canyons. But first will be Jemez, the defense of my crown, and hopefully a stab at Kyle Skaggs' record.