Defn: a human male displaying evidence of devolution - exhibits distinctive "caveman-like" tendencies. This man often dribbles in public places; cannot drink a beverage without spilling it on himself, the floor or someone else; may also run into objects like lampposts & bushes; has a definite "sloopish & short legged" running style that is slow and low to the ground, often resulting in the dragging of knuckles.

These throwback neanderthals, along with their questionable diet, should clearly be avoided.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tossing the Gumboot

As noted in this blog - I was born and raised in New Zealand.  There are a few things that were part of life growing up.  2 of note were Rugby and Gumboots.

New Zealand is hosting the Rugby World Cup, here is a link for the official website - for those interested.  It kicks off next Friday (Sept 9th).  20 international teams competing including Australia, South Africa, USA, Canada, England, Ireland, France, Argentina, Japan, Fiji, Tonga.

I am going to follow it online as it is seemingly a fairly big deal back in NZ and I am curious to see how things go, although I have no idea how any team will do.  I played in High School and then for a couple of years afterwards - got knocked out a few times, had a great time.  I was probably more fit during that time than I have ever been, including training for a marathon.  Although it was a different kind of fitness to play rugby than to run races.

Here is what I think is the official video preview.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post: Gumboots.  Everyone I knew when I was growing up had gumboots.  We wore them at home on the farm, to school, to birthday parties, to the beach, up the Mountains - we wore them everywhere.

A fun activity became "gumboot tossing", in fact, there is a town in New Zealand, Taihape (pronounced "tie happy" for those who need to try), has a Gumboot Day - which has among other events that day - a gumboot throwing contest.

Here's a brief video of that....

The thing with throwing gumboots - if you were like me - was that I never really knew where it was going to go or land when I threw it. So, to the point of this post, aside from injecting a little bit of "kiwi" into the blog - tossing the gumboot for me is like what am I going to do for running now that I have finished "my races" for the year. I don't have much of any ideas aside from still wanting to run, mostly just for fun and because it is good for me.

I have no races planned in the near or distant future and I am okay with that. The busy ness of kids school and everything that goes with that, along with soccer for the kids - and everything that goes along with that - will keep me busy. But I am looking forward to finding and making time to get out and run.

One more video - involves running (sort of). Enjoy - but don't watch if offended by the "f" word.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pikes Peak Road Ascent Race Report

Overnight I have gone from "not wanting to do that again", to "I don't need to do that again".  Once was enough, I think I am glad I did it, but for an hour yesterday I was ready for a long jump off a short switchback.

Race started at 8 am under cloudy skies and mid 60's.  I got there early, parking less than 100' from the start line.  That was a bonus.  By race end it was definitely into the 70's with full sun.

The course can be broken into 3 sections.  First section was from the tollgate, gained about 1600 feet over about 4 1/2 miles.  I started out slowly and steady - it had worked the weekend before for the Ascent.  I ran steady, walking only through the aid stations.  Sun came out and it started warming up.  Just before getting to the high point overlooking the reservoir the first bikers came through - 4 of them - started in Manitou also at 8 and they were on the way to the Summit.

As the day wore on, the bikers came by, many offering encouragement.  Was a little odd that there were 2 completely different races going on at the same time, on a closed road. 

The middle section around the reservoir was a good chance to catch the breath, stretch the legs and enjoy the views - going across the dam I looked South of the water up at the Peak - very serene and pretty.  Took a mental picture.

The next 3 miles or so there was only about a 200' elevation gain so it was nice, I settled into a steady pace and ran with a couple of people for most of it, even chatting at times.

Around 7 1/2 miles would have been a good place to stop - if the finish line was there, that would have left me much more happy than what the next 4 miles did to me.  Those last 4 miles were tough and mentally it didn't take long to take it's toll on me.  I was still able to run, but the definite lack of training, especially lack of endurance slapped me around.

Was about a 1900' foot climb over the last 4 miles or so, all but about 3/4 miles was paved and some of it was freshly paved blacktop - so the heat coming off the sun was quite energy sapping.  I resorted to walking - a lot.  Probably over the last 3 miles I walked at least half of it. 

About a mile and a half from the finish I could hear the announcer at the finish line.  I'm sure he is a very nice man, but I just wanted him to shut his mouth and let me suffer alone.  Finally I finished.  It was a very different feeling from the Ascent finish line where I was happy, excited and dead tired.  Here I was just dead tired and more happy that I was done, rather than what I had just done.

A day after the body feels okay and I am over the race for the most part - reminded that less then 7 weeks ago I was getting my knee scoped.  One of the reasons I signed up to do the race yesterday was that it was linked to several other events including the GOG 10 miler, Summer Roundup Trail run and the Ascent / Marathon.

With only 142 finishers yesterday that left decent odds for me to get some bling - not sure what that might be but looks like I came 2nd in my age group for a couple of the combined results.  Not bad for a running season on a gimpy leg.
Finishers shirt, medal and timing chip

Sunday, August 28, 2011

PP Road Ascent - brief

4 seconds between 1st and 2nd at finish.  (winning time 1:21:44 = 7:03 pace = smoking fast).  142 finishers.  Same mountain as last week, but so different. 

As for me - Tough slog, especially the last 4 miles.  Hot.  2:21:36.  And I am spent.

Report on Monday.

Friday, August 26, 2011

PP Road Ascent pre race thoughts

I am probably equally as excited as I am clueless about what to expect for the race Sunday morning.

It is the same Mountain as last Saturday - yet it is so completely different: course, climb, setting etc.

For comparison purposes....
PP Ascent: 13.31 miles
Road Ascent: 11.6 miles

PP Ascent: 7815' climb
Road Ascent: 3675' climb

PP Ascent: First mile or so, paved road, rest Mountain trail
Road Ascent: First 10 miles or so, paved road, last bit dirt road

PP Ascent: 1700+ finishers
Road Ascent: Capped at 700 entrants

PP Ascent: my finish time 3:49 and change
Road Ascent: I have no idea but guessing around 2 1/2 hours?

At the same on time this Sunday as the running race is taking place, cyclists are riding from Manitou Springs up the highway, past us runners all the way to the Summit.  The road is closed for all other traffic (aside from support vehicles).  Curious as to when the bikers start passing.

I feel a little like I stole my result from last Saturday.  Less then 40 miles of running training over a 2 1/2 week period.  It's not that I am now overconfident for this Sunday, but I am half expecting the wheels to fall off - big time.

I'll attempt to start off slow again, the first 1/3rd of the course is quite steep, the last 1/3rd is also.  The middle section is actually quite flat around the reservoir - so I'll try to run that well and if I have anything to push the last 4 miles or so.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One for the road (PP Hwy)

Possibly suffering from the Altitude effects from Saturday's Ascent - I just signed up for the Pikes Peak Road Ascent this Sunday morning.
Why do it?  Thanks for asking.
1) Inaugural race.
2) Linked to the GOG 10 mile race and the Ascent - awards for completing.
3) Because it is up Pikes Peak - not to the top, just Glen Cove.
4) Because after this - races take the back seat to kids school, soccer, stuff.
5) Because I am a sucker for punishment.

Monday, August 22, 2011

PP Ascent post race thoughts

It hasn't taken too long to go from "what was" = this years race, to "what could be" = next year.

After the Ascent it was smooth sailing getting the transportation off the Summit back to Manitou - collected the shirt, ate and then wandered very wearily back to the car.  As I got to the car my phone was ringing and it was my son.  He had already tried calling several times.  I could tell on the phone he was excited for me, I was just as excited to tell him how I did. 

The age group limit is 16 to enter - he is itching to do it, in 4 years time - if all goes well, we will do it together.  Or, more likely, he will beat me by a country mile.

I had intentions of getting to the start of the Marathon Sunday morning - but had the best nights sleep in a long time and didn't make it.  Sunday was a day spent at the Air Force Academy watching kids soccer tournament games - with a eye on PPM results on the B berry.

Physically I felt surprisingly well all day - no pain at all and really no aches either.  I even felt like I could have run - I didn't.  I did 45 minutes on the Elliptical this morning - even that felt okay.

School starts for the kiddos today, Soccer is in full swing with practice each night of the week.  Games coming up in Vail, Salida, Pueblo, all over Denver, Ft Collins, Grand Junction - and here in the Springs.  It will be a divide and conquer effort between my wife and I to shuttle our kids all over the place.  The oldest two are playing competitive soccer = Lots of time commitment.

Running will take a back seat - with one race possibly sneaking in there to try out.  I haven't signed up yet, but I am leaning towards doing the Pikes Peak Road Ascent this Sunday.  It is the inaugural race and it is tied into the Ascent / Triple Crown Series.  I am thinking I'm up for it.

As for next year - well it is still a year away, but as I was driving this morning I couldn't help but keep looking up at the Peak and thinking what could be.  I might have "runner's high". 

I am still enjoying the achievement of Saturday.  After we got home from soccer and school shopping yesterday - I put the finishers medal on for a few hours.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pikes Peak Ascent 2011 Race Report

That went well....

I really was unsure how I would finish today - given my lack of being able to train.
Having not done the Ascent before I knew I couldn't control the Mountain, nor the crowds of runners (over 1700 finishers) and decided that my best chance was to be as steady as possible on the 13.31 miles climb up 7815 feet to the Summit.

So, I started about 2/3rds back at the start line, knowing that the slower through the W's should in theory help out later up.  13 minutes to Hydro Street later I was definitely smack in the middle of the pack.  Onto the W's and wow were they packed, walking much more than running / jogging up them.  The calves were barking for sure, knee and lungs were good though.  A few times the train of people even came to a stand still - I was grateful, not just for the quick relief but I was still expecting it to help out later.

Top of the W's in 47:18.  This was by no means quick, but I felt the best physically there than any other time from memory.  Although it was still crowded - a lot - I was able to start jogging more. Up to balanced rock and then No Name Creek I was steady, jogging when I could and walking the steep and crowded sections.

After no name, and the steady climb for a 1/2 mile or so after - it "flattened" out and I was able to jog a lot more frequently and this is where I really started passing people and made good time.  Got to Barr Camp and entered the buffet section.  Bananas, pretzels and fluids aplenty.  I was a little hungry and knew that my body was needing fuel.  I forgot to hit the split timer on the watch until I was halfway through my second banana - but was surprised to see 1:55:06. 

Barr Camp to A-Frame was new territory for me, didn't know how steep it was, the terrain or anything.  I tried as hard as I could to stay steady, going with the "jog when you can, walk when you have to" mindset.  It worked well.  Tried not to look at the watch much, but it was hard not to as the mile marker signs slide slowly by.  A mile or so after Barr Camp the 1st guy from Wave 2 passed me - I realized that was one of the few times I had been passed since the W's. 

A-Frame aid station and fill up time again - moreso for the water bottle, I was glad I made the choice to bring it as the higher up the hill the longer time in between aid stations.  Yet the higher up the hill it seemed the more cheerful the awesome volunteers were.  There is absolutely no way I (or most others) could have done this without their help.  Thanks to them.

3 miles to go - I looked at the Garmin but forgot to hit the lap time.  I was still doing okay, heat and effort were noticeably in full effect.  I looked up, oops.  Dumb thing to do, not only did I see the train of people above me, there was the Summit way, way, way up there.

Most people were walking, I walked a lot too.  I thought of the mental effort I had read about required to get up the rest of the way - I also remembered that I had been able to start training only 2 weeks ago, so to be this far up was a bonus.  Tempting as it was at times to pull over - I plowed on, was even able to run at times when I could.

Last aid station was just below Cirque, I looked up again, dummy - stop doing that.  Back at it, jogging was more difficult as fatigue really was setting in, but in the few sort of level sections I pushed and still was able to pass people.

And then came the 16 Golden Stairs.  In a lame attempt at sarcasm - thank you Mr Barr for putting the most difficult part of your trail at the top of Pikes Peak. 

"Just keep moving" was the goal - I did, barely at times.  About 2/3rds of the way up "the stairs" some spectators were calling out that it was only 4 minutes to the top.  That seemed to get the train of people moving and we started bunching up.  I'm not sure if a photo or video of what I then did was taken - but it was either stupid or really stupid.

I started sprinting and on a left turning corner I sprinted up over some rocks on the right side / outside of a group of 5 or 6 people.   I yelled out as I passed them "Lets finish strong!  Or die trying".  Very soon after I passed them I was gasping, light headed and ready to lie down - but the crowd was great and I crossed the finish line a few steps later.

Every now and then it is great to exceed expectations (set for myself).  I would have been happy to beat the average finish time of 4:21.  I really thought the best I could do was 4 hours.  I was kind of expecting maybe 4:30.

To see 3:49:38 as I crossed the finish line bought a little sweaty, sticky tear to my eye. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pikes Peak Ascent: Training and Goals

I've decided to put down my training plan and then my race goals.  If for no other reason than should I do the Ascent next year - to NOT follow the plan I did this year.

On June 23rd I found out I had a torn meniscus in my right knee - surgery also later revealed significant tissue damage due to Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

Surgery was July 12th.  On July 23rd after being cleared to exercise - I started carefully using a stationary bike, then an elliptical.  Did those for a while - with the purpose of trying to build some general fitness, all the while not trying to have my knee hurt any more than it did.

On August 4th I got on a treadmill and walked / jogged / shuffled a mile - taking 16:45 to do so.  The next day I did another mile, in 13:45.  With 2 weeks to go before race day I had 2 miles of training completed. 

At this stage, my race goal was simply to beat the cut off time of 6 1/2 hours.

Sunday, Aug 7th my (12 yr old) son and I drove to the Summit of Pikes Peak and managed carefully to go down the Barr Trail 3 miles to the A-Frame Shelter.  It took us just over an hour, purposefully being careful on the knee.  The trip up took us 70 minutes.   After that, my race goal moved to 6 hours.

On Tuesday (Aug 9) I ran 3 miles on the treadmill at max (10%) incline, increasing speed as I went - was okay - giving me confidence.  Thursday came around and I decided to get back on Barr Trail.  This time from the race start line and go up the W's, maybe even further.

I posted about that run and was deliberately vague.  I was out for 4 hours but didn't write how far up the trail I went.  Time to come clean.  I went all the way up to Barr Camp - took me 2 hours and 5 minutes.  I rested there for a good chunk of time and then came back down for the 4 hour round trip - total distance: 10 1/4 miles.

I realize it is silly to do this - but that put me on track for about a 4 hour Ascent.  (I did in my post say that I was on track for less than 5 hours).  Was that my new goal?  Honestly - no.  4 hours would be ridiculous, however - 5 hours was the new goal.

Next 2 days no running, still using the bike and eliptical.  Sunday, Aug 14th I did another building block run - 10 miles, on rolling roads and managed to maintain a 9 min mile average.

Monday - drove up to the Summit again - went down 3 miles, then back up 3 miles, the return trip up in 60 minutes flat.  The top mile is definitely the hardest, I struggled for sure.

The legs are tired, in fact I decided yesterday that I should not run anymore till race day.  I did 45 minutes on the Eliptical this morning, will ride a few miles on the bike tomorrow, then nothing this Friday.  So, a brief recap - total (running) training miles 37 1/4.

That leads me to Saturday, race day and my goals.

Honestly, I will be disappointed if I don't beat 5 hours.  Probably be a little miffed if I can't beat 4 1/2 hours.  I would like to think that 4:21 is doable - that being the average time. 

Here is where I go nuts...... I give myself a chance of actually doing the thing in 4 hours. 

I have broken the race into 4 sections.  I am going to be yelling at myself going up the W's to not push it, even positioning myself at the start line to be slowed by the crowds.  If I take that as easy as possible it may give me a chance after No Name Creek to run and pick up the pace.

So, my second section of the race will be No Name to Barr Camp - the so called "flat section".  If I can - I expect to run 2/3rds to 3/4's of that.  If I get to Barr Camp in 2 hours - depending on how I feel, I will know if I can attempt to beat 4 hours total.

The next section is a mystery to me: I've never been from Barr Camp to A-Frame.  From what I have read and heard - it ain't pretty.  I'll make sure at Barr Camp to fuel up and try to gut it out.

A-Frame to the Summit..... I don't expect this to be done in an hour like I did 2 days ago - but I do hope to be able to run in spots - even if they are little spots.  The 16 golden stairs may kill me, but if I can keep moving through them and make it to the top - I will be very happy.

Next post will be my race report on Saturday night.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A little over the top (of Pikes Peak)

I don't know if I would have run this run today - if I was doing a "normal" training for the Pikes Peak Ascent.  Mind you, I'm not sure if there is a consensus as to what "normal" training is.

This is my first Pikes Peak Ascent, it's a race I have thought about for 2 or 3 years and commited in my mind to do a year ago.  I'm repeating myself from earlier posts, but never have been so unprepared physically for such a "goal" race.  I have not had much of a choice, knee surgery 5 weeks ago, started running 11 days ago.   Training has indeed been limited.

And yet, I couldn't be more excited about this Saturday.  I will probably post later this week a goal time.  At this stage, I am still quite clueless as to what to expect for a finish time.  But this afternoon I went up to the Summit to get a run in - to both train and to see what I could do.

I got to the Summit about 4pm, skies were looking a little precarious but I hoped for the best and trotted down the Barr Trail.  I saw a 1/2 dozen hikers coming up between the Summit and Cirque - then no-one til I was on the way back, 5 minutes from the top.

So, I basically had the trail to myself.  I'm okay with that - although on race day I expect that to be very very different - not sure what to expect above treeline.  Able to pass people?  Being passed by people?  People passing out?

I went down 3 miles - took it easy as the knee still doesn't like downhills - but kind of surprised myself that I was down 3 miles in just under 40 minutes.  The Garmin put me at 3 miles about halfway between the "3 miles to go" sign and the little turn off trail to A-Frame.  Yet on the return trip it gave me 3.06 miles.  Could be an altitude thing or the multitude of switchbacks.

Took a few minutes at my turnaround to empty the shoes, drink some water and look up - way up.  I told myself to try not to do that on Saturday.

2 Sundays ago my son and I had done the top 3 miles in 70 minutes, today I wanted to beat that.  I did.  Total time up was 1 hour on the button.

Saw a few Mountain Goats on the way down - got quite close especially on the way up, just above treeline - those things are huge.  At the very top a couple of guys were just starting their way down.  I'm certain they are running this weekend, thinking about it they looked very similar and I know there are brothers running one of the races.  (I just checked race website: Marc and Oscar Casal Mir - from Andorra).  Quite possibly could of been them.

As I passed them one of them asked me (phonetically speaking) "did you come from Maan ee toe?" - "no" I managed to say - "just 3 miles down".  The other one responded "Ow, that is goot"

I thought it was too.  And I wasn't even struck by lightning.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Those who run in circles shall be known as big wheels

Saw that on a bumper sticker many many moons ago.

Wanted to get another building block of training in for the Ascent and was able to do that this morning.  So, I mapped out a lap on the rolling country roads where I live.

90 minutes and 10 miles later - I am spent.  But I did it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pikes Peak Ascent bold prediction

Not for me, but for the winner.  I voted on GZ's poll for Rickey Gates.  Last year in the week before the Barr Trail Mountain Race I was slogging up the W's and he came cruising up past me.  I didn't know who he was until race day.  I have kind of followed him and his blog since.

Michael Aish was my next choice - for the only reason that he and I were born in New Zealand.  Got to support the Kiwis.  (not the fruit, but the natives).

Just now I was looking at results from the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon - I ran this 2 years ago so have kind of kept track of it since and would like to do it again one day as it is a fast course. 

Anywhoooo.... Mario Macias won today w/ a time of 1:02:50.  That's a 4:57 per mile pace. 


Now I realize that the Ascent is a completely different race - but if that record (2:01:06) was to ever fall, I would give Mario a fighting chance next Saturday.

Friday, August 12, 2011

PP Ascent training - Mystery of the W's

Not sure where to start, finish or how much to write in this post.  I will say that I can barely move today.  I'll also say that I'm not racing anyone else in the Ascent - nor should anyone be motivated to beat me.  Many people will beat me, but I think I will beat a few also.  I have always thought of myself as someone when running  as "not good enough to win, but good enough to be ahead of the middle of the pack".  In other words, not great, but better than average.  There is a competitive side in me to do well and there has been a few (small) races that I have won things in my age group (40 - 44).

There will never be any chance of me winning anything in the Pikes Peak Ascent, or marathon - should I ever choose to do that.  After running last night, coming back down Barr Trail in steady, cool rain, seeing a picture perfect rainbow over Cameron's cone, running past Alpine flowers and rugged mountain rocks - I figured out to forget racing as much as possible and instead just enjoy running on the mountain trails.

Knee and various other body parts issues that come with arthritis and getting older aside - as long as I can move, I want to be able to enjoy this running thing.  Last night I did.

I have no idea how long it will take me to do the Ascent.  Despite the knee being scoped out just over 4 weeks ago.  I have been able to run for a week now - not a lot, but enough to know that I can and should be able to beat the cut off time of 6 1/2 hours.  Last night I wanted to try find out by how much.

Running to the top of the W's was supposed to give me an idea - I could take that time and use that as a split in the PPA prediction calculator.  So, I started at city Hall in Manitou just after 4:30 and ran up the street. 

4 hours later I made it back. 

During that time there was a good amount of running, there was also walking, resting, sitting, getting rained on - sure there was heavy breathing, some aching and considerable effort put forth.  After 4 hours on my feet I now have a better idea of what my Ascent time will be.  My top of the W's split put me on track to beat an Ascent time faster than 5 hours.  I have decided as I type to not put down any more splits or where I managed to get to (further than the W's). 

For the few people that read this - enjoy the mystery.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Someone lost their what?

On my way home tonight I saw the following on a sign posted near where I live.....
(I blanked out the phone #)
I've seen signs posted before for lost dogs, cats and other household pets - but never a Yak.

Here is a Yak for those of us not really sure what to be looking for....

No running today, knee was a little stiff and swollen - hopefully due more to running the 3 days prior than to silly arthritis.  I did do 45 minutes on the Eliptical just to get a sweat worked up.

Will attempt to run tomorrow from PPA start line to the top of the W's.  I really have no idea what to expect for a finish time for the race.  Hoping tomorrow may give me some indication.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Running with Sheep - New Zealand Tails - Pt 2

I meant to finish this story a long while ago, but didn't.  Part one is here. 

Warning - this is a little graphic.

In summary, sheep escaped, I chased it, never could catch it - didn't expect or plan on it, but the beast died before I could catch it.

I mentioned in part one that I was living at a camp, my Uncle (9 yrs older) was the head honcho.  Was his idea that I take care of the sheep that day.  So, being that practical jokes, payback and tricks on each other was part of life... I decided to try to prank him with the sheep.

The camp had a decent sized kitchen, in the back were storage lockers - similar to what you see in schools where you can hang up coats etc.  It was nearing the end of the day, everyone had left the kitchen and gone their separate ways.  

Don't ask me how I came up with the thought - but here is what I did.

Grabbed a wheelbarrow and rolled the dead sheep into it, wheeled it up to the kitchen and managed to jam the thing into my Uncle's locker.  Took considerable effort to stuff the thing in there.  I set it up so that when my uncle would come in in the morning, when he opened the door of the locker he would be staring face to face with the sheep.

The next morning I was there when my uncle opened the locker door.  Laughter ensued.  He was impressed.  I was too.  It was great.  Sheep propped up staring right at him.

2 things happen to dead animals after a given length of time.  I was not aware of either.

Apparently their bowels release - wow, did they.  I cannot type the word to describe the smell or how it made us feel - doing something like blurphgamoolicyukaa.  The other thing is that rigamortis sets in.  I had a tough time trying to stuff the beast into a locker - I, we, no-one could get the thing out - it had bloated up and got so stiff that it bent the walls and door frame.

After considerable effort, remember we had shorn it the day before so it was slicker than frozen snot still.  Nothing to grab onto.  Finally, we decided to cut it out.  Don't go blurphgamooling on me when you read the next part..... we cut it out with a chainsaw. 

The smell before was nothing.  10, 20, 50 times worse when you chainsaw through a sheeps torso.  This happened well over 20 years ago - I can still smell it, see it in my mind. The beast still torments me.

Going at 10 percent

As Monday wore on the effects of Sunday afternoon became more noticeable.  Not the knees, but my quads and calves.  Twisted mind of mine maybe, but it felt good to feel the burn.

Hindsight from Sunday on the Peak - was good to know what the altitude (lack of) felt like when trying to run.  I'm guessing we ran (very slowly & gingerly) down about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way - to the A-Frame.  Then going up, probably ran 1/4 to 1/3.  The big thing was lack of water in the last 2 miles.  We ran out so the last 10 minutes I think dehydration + altitude = a bit wobbly.

Monday evening I got on the Stationary bike and did 10 miles, was able to get a good sweat up and pushed as much as I could.  Felt good.

Running plans for the next 10+ days before the Ascent are shaping up - although nothing really set in stone.  I kind of have things mapped out as to what I want to do - which would be as much as possible, without getting hurt or cooked.

This morning woke up stiff in the hips, lower back - arthritis flaring up maybe?  I got on the Treadmill, set the incline for 10% and ran.  42 minutes later, 3 miles completed.  Not great, but good for where I am at physically.  Will try to do similar or better tomorrow.

Thursday I would like to get some work on the Barr Trail - top of the W's maybe.  Friday I would like to get back to the Summit and get back down to A-Frame and back up. 

I had not used the i-pod in so long but remembered it this morning - first song up Foo Fighters "walk" - the theme song for my Ascent training.  Finished with AwolNation "Sail".   I like the song more than the video.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

2 down, 14115 to go

As of this (Sunday) morning I have run a total of 2 miles since my arthroscopic knee surgery 3 1/2 weeks ago.  1 mile last Thursday on the mill - for a 16:45 time, then another on Friday in 13:45.  I was cleared to start exercising July 21st and have most days gradually done more and more.  The Stationary bike was my staple to begin with, then went to the Eliptical.  Somedays I even did both which resulted in over an hour of exercise for the day.  I've been itching to run though.

With a little race up a 14,115 foot Mountain coming up on now less than 2 weeks - I feel the need to train.  So with 2 weeks on the bike and eliptical to try and gain some base training, I launched into the running last Thursday.  1 mile a day is not much of a launch, but I had to start somewhere.  While most people taper prior to such an event - I don't have a choice but to try and put miles and time on the legs.  Wobbly at times, swollen and achy also.  But overall I have tried hard to ease back into it and not pushed too hard so as to have a setback.

Yesterday, after some lengthy mowing and weed wacking around the house in the morning - my family and I went to Spruce Mtn and did a leisurely 6 mile hike, in just under 2 hours.  Aside from a fun family time, we all came out unscathed, my knee included - and celebrated ice cream style in Palmer Lake.  I was quite pleased with the climb up and down, plus 2 hours moving on my feet - that I felt like I am ready to ramp up the running some more.

So today I decided to do a 10K.

This was not your Grandmother's 10K.  This one took some driving to get to.
Pikes Peak
Drove up to the Summit, then proceeded to walk the majority of the way down, mixing in a few sections of careful jogging, to the A-Frame Shelter, just below timberline.  Going downhill is when the knee aches the most and I felt it getting less functional and more swelling as I went - but really not too bad.
Made it down to A-Frame in 1 hour and 5 minutes.  I have run up to Barr Camp before from the Cog railway, but never any higher.  I have been to the Summit of the Peak before, but never ventured too far down Barr Trail.  Today was a first.  Just over 3 miles and 2200 feet down, including going past Cirque which is mind numbing and nearly bowel moving to look over the edge behind the sign.
1500 feet straight down
Did I mention the Mountain Goats just below the Summit on the road up to it, they were kind of cool to see.
There was a Mountain Goat of another kind that I got a picture of at A-Frame.

#12 and me
 My son came along, we had a great time - moreso going down than going up.  But go up we did
Summit view from A-Frame
I'm so proud of what my kid can do, we ran some, hiked some, rested briefly at Cirque and made it all the way back up to the Summit.  Total time up - including the run, hike, rest - was 1:10.  To be only 5 minutes slower going up than going down made us feel really good.  We celebrated at the Summit house with a 1/2 dozen donuts - 3 each.  Good stuff.  No problems with the knee on the way up, that might have been because we both were feeling our lungs wrapped around our eyeballs.  No-one passed us going up, in fact we passed at least a dozen people.

Overall, 6 1/4 miles (we will call that a 10K), 2200 feet down, then 2200 feet up.  Total time 2:15.  Definitely 2 weary bodies, eased by being topped off with donuts, very happy and not really too sore. 

What does this mean for the Ascent in 2 weeks - I don't know, but I'm feeling stronger each day.  There is no way I won't finish it - lightning strikes aside.  I don't how fast, or slow, I'll do it.  But the thought came to mind on the slow drive down Pikes Peak Highway - is that a week after the Ascent is the Pikes Peak Road Ascent (from the Toll gate to Glen Cove), that won't be easy at all - may be just as tough as the Ascent - but I am wondering if it is something I could do. 

First things first - I've got 14,115 feet to get up again.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pikes Peak Topless Video

There are several cameras that show live video feeds of the Summit.

Pikes Peak Cam - located in the Springs, not working, is apparently "in the shop".
City Panoramic Cam - also located in the Springs has "unexpected technical issues"
Cog Railway Cam - located at the Cog depot at the start of the Incline and Barr Trail - doesn't show the Peak
Then there is the Cam in Woodland Park that is pointed at the Peak - that seems to be working, but upon closer inspection: the Top of the Peak is cut off.

Pikes Peak is therefore topless.  Were you looking for some other video?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Diagnosis: Arthritis. Prescription: Running

Was confirmed today at Dr appt that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, it is apparently a quirky kind in that it comes and goes for no apparent reason.  Food, exercise, sleep habits - not really a contibuting factor either positively or negatively. 

I may have some other types of arthritis, as further symptoms (on wrists, fingers, lower back) are displaying possibilities of other different types (there are many types of Arthritis apparently).  Rather than throwing drugs at it - I elected to get some further tests (blood work) to try to give the doc more data to determine whats up - instead of throwing things at the wall (like drugs) to see if they stick.

So, it's a month tracking how the body does.  Running is encouraged, along with biking, swimming.  I'm all for that.  I'd far rather know what is going on than just (somewhat) blindly try to treat it.  Exercising is not likely to hurt or increase it.

So, run, bike and possibly swim, I will.  In fact - got on the treadmill this morning and did a mile, 3/4's of it sort of jogging.  I cranked up the incline to 10% because it actually felt better than it being flat.  16:15 for the total mile.  During and afterwards no real problems with pain or swelling. Progress - slowly and surely.

Pikes Peak Ascent here I come, smells like Bacon up there......

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

PP Ascent musings

Pulled this chart below from the official website for the Ascent regarding why people have already pulled out from the event.  Injury (combining accidents, injury, medical issues and surgery) is number 1.  #2 is Not running due to no reason given.  Huh? Of course the 4 people pregnant, 2 getting married makes me wonder if there is any overlap of those reasons.

Reason                          Cnt
Active duty military              1
Another race                      2
Bike accident                     1
Car accident                      1
Family situation                  6
Illness                           2
Injury                           20
Injury - achilles                 2
Injury - ankle                    4
Injury - back                     4
Injury - broken arm               1
Injury - foot                     1
Injury - groin                    1
Injury - hip                      1
Injury - knee                    12
Injury - leg                      2
Lack of training                  4
Medical issue                     5
Moved                             1
Not Running (Reason not given)   22
Pregnant                          4
Schedule conflict                 3
Surgery                           1
Travel                            2
Wedding                           2
Work                              3
Total pulled:                   108

177 people have signed up to do the Double (Ascent on Saturday, Marathon on Sunday). I can't wrap my brain around doing that - kudos and good luck to them.

I really have no clue what my finish time will be. I'm reasonably certain I will finish. Although having not being able to run in well over a month and still not quite able to run now - in other words, very little training will take place before the Start. Some might say that I have no shot at finishing. I will finish.

Along those lines - Cut off time to finish is 6:30. Average male time to finish is 4:22. So, in my (somewhat) competitive nature to be above average - my goal is 4:21. Splits (from Matt Carpenter Skyrunner Website) for that are: Top of W's = 52:28.  Barr Camp = 2:12:35.  A Frame = 3:05:50

I would love to get a couple of training runs in prior to race day on Barr Trail.  1st choice is to see how long it would take me to get from the Start line to the top of the W's.  I would also like to drive to the Summit and walk down 2 miles, maybe even the 3ish to the A Frame, then try to run back up.   They may or may not happen - I need to be able to run at all before I take on any of those.

And then there is the YouTube videos.  One to psych me up

And one to freak me out

Less than 16 days and 20 hours till race start.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back on the PP Ascent training wagon, slowly but sweaty

17 days and 20 hrs - at time of starting this post - till the start of the Pikes Peak Ascent.  My mind is definitely thinking of it more and more - especially after seeing the competitive entry list yesterday.

I'm not looking for excuses for myself as I think it will be a somewhat decent achievement to complete it 40 days after getting the knee scoped.  But on the other hand - this will be the toughest run / race of my life for which I will be the least prepared.  I love it when a plan comes together.

I've been trying to come up w/ a training plan to get myself as ready as possible.  I'm working first on general fitness.  I want to try and get as physically fit as possible - I think that's the best thing for me and will help the most on race day.  I don't think it is very smart to just run, run and then run some more - for fear of re-injuring the knee or something else.  Running will come, not yet though. 

Been on the Stationary bike for almost 2 weeks.  Limited range of motion on the knee at first made it difficult to get the pedals turning.  The first week I mananged no more than 4 miles at a time.  Saturday I went 6 miles.  Then on Sunday I went 10.  Was happy with that.  Range of motion is improving although by no means am I comfortable yet.  Still icing it quite frequently.

The Elliptical is not my friend, not sure why.  My feet sometime go a little numb after a while.  But it gives a good workout without putting a pounding on the legs like running does.  So, I did 30 minutes on it yesterday, then 45 minutes today.  Felt good to get the sweat factor up and no noticeable swelling afterwards.

So, I will keep doing the Elliptical for a few more days.  May start on a treadmill soon - walking at first, adding incline to it.  I'd really like to be running by this weekend.  Ideally on Barr Trail.  Will see how it goes between now and then.

Was looking on YouTube for a music video about "Climbing up a Mountain".  This is more suited for a 1st grader but (sort of) catchy - in an annoying way.

pm..... 10 miles on the Stationary bike while watching the rain, lightning etc bucket down outside.  Knee is swollen somewhat and quite stiff. A reminder to myself that I need to try and not overdo this attempt to get fitter.  Ice and a wrap along with freshly home-made Blueberry muffin - makes one feel better.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pikes Peak Ascent Competitive Entries

Was looking over Pikes Peak stuff - trying to figure out how and if I am going to make it and ran across the Ascent competitive entry list with Mario Macias predicting a 2:03.  7 predictions to go under 2:10 include Max King, Michael Aish. 

Full prediction list has 40 people thinking they can go 2:30 or better including Tommy Manning, Simon Guterriez, Alex Nichols, Rickey Gates, Peter Maksimow.

Some Competitive entry bios

Is a possible course (2:01:06 Matt Carpenter) record ripe for the taking?  Makes me want to be at the Summit for the finish of these guys - would be incredible to see a few of them challenge it.

My guess is Rickey Gates for the win.
Fellow Kiwi Michael Aish - I've never met him - to come in second.
Mario Macias - 3rd
Max King - 4th
Simon Guterriez - 5th

As for me - don't wait at the top, I just want to beat the 6 1/2 hour cut off.  (But 4:30 would be ideal considering unable to train for 2 plus months prior).

Rocky Mountain State Games - 5K

There were 34 sports / events for this - the 5K was one of them, some other events included Archery, Bowling, Cycling, Golf, Karate, Lacrosse, Rugby, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Wrestling.

Maybe I don't pay attention to the News or read enough Newspapers, or maybe there is not much advertising for this, but with an event name that includes  "State Games" - this being the 10th year, I'm wondering why there isn't much fanfare about it. 

Then again - it might be me living under a rock.

In any case - 5K at Memorial Park - on a picture perfect day, with no other races on the Pikes Peak Road Runner Website scheduled that day - and with a $12 entry fee for 16 year olds and under - I would expect there to be more of a turnout. 

116 finishers.

#12 talked me into (him) running it.  Instead of the normal 0 to 14 year old age group - this one went up to 12.  Bonus.  21st overall.  He clocked a 21:52.  1st in his age group.  I probably shouldn't write that 2nd in his age group was 45:10.  Meh.  He got a nice big medal and he was happy with how he did.  Me too.

Soccer starts this week, so running (races at least) for him is on hold for a while.  But he has had a good run (literally) the past 5 weekends.

In the spot reserved for bragging about my goes....
10K in Nashville Tn                    50:12, 1st in age group
12K Summer Roundup             1:04:54, 2nd in age group
Barr Trail Mountain Race        2:25:29, 2nd in age group
Classic 10K                                47:52, 3rd in age group
Rocky Mtn Games 5K                 21:52, 1st in age group