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.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weekly review 10/23 - 10 29

I am missing long runs on the weekends - instead it is kids Soccer, off to Salida today for a game, back home over 8 hours later - #6 (game jersey for runner #12) scored twice and also played goalie for a bit, stopping 2 shots in a 6 - 0 shutout :)  Before the long drive home we got all sugared up which made for a loud and boisterious journey back.  That's enough about the kids - looking back at the past week.....

Monday - 8 miles on the Santa Fe Trail from Sth end of Monument, up and around Palmer Lake and back.  Slow pace up, then a tempo 5k back and was able to average a 7:20 pace for that.  Not blazing speed, but positive progress.

Wednesday was play day on Spruce Mountain.  6 1/2 miles in the snow - most fun running in who knows how long.  I wouldn't mind doing that again - maybe this next week (hello approaching Wednesday snow storm).

Thursday 4 1/2 miles along Cottonwood Creek.  This was a trail I have not run on before.  Started at Cottonwood Creek park, down the trail to Union, then back up, past the park up to Austin Bluffs, turned around and back down to CC Park.  Moderate pace, was a little weary after some effort in the snow the day before.

Friday afternoon I was planning on running the 1/2 marathon course of the American Discovery Trail Marathon.  Less than a 1/2 mile into it the trail was fenced off and no access, grrrr.  So, had to bail on that idea and instead ran South a 1/2 mile and then West under I-25 and up into Bear Creek park.  Having not run in there much at all I just kept on making right turns for the most part and ended up going all over the place, on mountain bike trails, wider trails, crossing 21st Street, some minor climbing, across sports fields, up, down, round and round - then finally back to America the Beautiful Park where I had started - totalled 8 miles.  Aside from not wearing trail shoes - was a good, somewhat surprising because it was not planed - but worked out quite well run.

Saturday evening after 7 hours away at Soccer games did an easy 3 miles on the Treadmill to bring the weekly total up to 30.

Kind of thinking that 30 mile weeks are good right now, don't want to do less - but with no upcoming race incentives - don't need to do more.  So, just banking miles and maintaining semi fitness.  I learnt 2 things this week - 1) although it is kind of nuts - running in snow is a lot of fun.  2) Sometimes a planned (eg: Friday) run - if not possible can still be worth it if you go looking for it - for which I am glad I did.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Snow day on Spruce Mtn

Spruce Mountain (near the Greenland exit on I-25) is possibly my favorite place to run 5 to 7 miles.  There's a few trails around the base and a loop up on top of the butte (or is it a mesa?).

I have not run there during (or after) a snowstorm - but yesterday I went during the storm.  8+ inches of snow, less than 800' of climbing and 6 1/2 miles at a ridiculously slow pace - yet a more than ridiculously awesome and fun time.

There are a few sounds that I really like to hear.  My youngest daughter giggling, my oldest daughter playing the piano, my son ripping off a primal belch - okay maybe not so much that one, but it is impressive.  Another sound I like is listening to snow crunching under my feet.  I found myself yesterday at times actually holding my breath while running in the snow so I could hear it underfoot.  I had a good time, enjoy some pics......

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

10 year old "problems"

My wife passed this story along to me.  She was the car pool driver for my oldest daughter's soccer practice yesterday.  

They had dropped off 2 girls, with one more to go before my wife and daughter came home - driving away from the 2nd girls house, my wife turned right onto a road she was familair with to get to the last girls house. 

That girl said "You know you you can go left to get my house".  My wife responded: "I really don't do well with Subdivisions".  The response: "I really don't do well with math, multiplication is okay, but subdivisions are hard for me too".

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Looking at 2012 - through dusty glasses

One of my delightful children woke us up somewhere around "dark-thirty" during the night.  Bad dream, needed to climb into our bed to hide from "the monsters". 

2 things as a result - 1) lets skip Halloween.  2) Couldn't go back to sleep - started thinking about running / running events / 2012 running events.

If all goes well - meaning if my knees, my rheumatoid arthritis, my life, all behave themselves - I'm thinking that I want to take on the Pikes Peak Marathon as the #1 goal race of the year. 

Up until last week, I was thinking that I would be aiming for the Ascent - hoping that proper training for it would result in a better result than this year's efforts.

Then last Thursday I went up 10 of the 13 miles of the race course, then back down.  My knees seemed to do okay, quads on the other hand are still tender 5 days later.  The seed has been planted.

Another seed that is looking for dirt is the Leadville Heavy Half Marathon, in late June.

In keeping with the "dusty trail running" theme - the Greenland Trail Races in early May.  Either the 8 mile, 25K or (gasp) 50K are possible - kids soccer may determine if and what happens that day.

Lastly - although there likely will be more races - will be one that my son and I will target together: The Barr Trail Mountain Race.  This past year- in his first attempt - he beat the 10-14 year old age group record (as a 12 year old) by over 17 minutes.  Unfortunately, a 14 year old beat him by almost 6 minutes.  So, we have a "revenge" race in mind.

Life happens, I know that, so things may change.  Kind of just wanted to put some goals / events out there for me to aim for.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week in Review 10/16 to 10/22 Climbing the Mountain

First of all - New Zealand wins the Rugby World Cup!!!  Didn't get to see any of it.  Was 2 am in the Mtn Time Zone when they played it in New Zealand.  I was more interested in sleeping.  I think it was replayed on TV this afternoon but I was at a kids soccer game (3 - 0 winners!).

This past week was looking for a while like a little to maybe even no running week.  The past weekend I got ill, which left me unable to eat much of anything at all - resulting in very little energy.  Finally started to feel better on Wednesday and was able to eat more.

Thursday rolled around and I was feeling better - as well as having a desire to still try to get 30 miles in for the week.  Maybe 3 days in a row of 10 milers?  Or maybe a long run, then 2 smaller runs?  Or maybe just run and see what happens?

The (Pikes) Peak was calling my name and just before noon I answered - stopped at Safeway for a couple of Energy bars, which are like bagel loaves.  Ate one of those, along with a snickers, grabbed a gatorade and drove over to Manitou.

Didn't get started till after 12:30.  From the start (at the Cog Depot) I first wanted to get up to Barr Camp, maybe even try to go to A-Frame.  I started out fairly easy and walked probably too much during the W's.  Was mid 60's so I did work up a good sweat and was actually feeling quite tired.  Finally started to get my energy back after about an hour or so.  Continued to eat another energy bar and hydrate - stopping briefly to take photos along the way.

As I got to the "flat section" - about 5 miles into my journey, the Summit looks so far away.
Finally made it to Barr Camp, about 6 1/2 miles - running time was 1:51.  Actual time was longer due to photo and fueling stops.  Checked in there and ate some more.  Decided I had time and desire to go for A-Frame.  Was still in the 50's, no snow yet.  I did put on my gloves though as I could feel the temperature was naturally going to be cooler as I got higher up the trail.

I had only once gone higher than Barr Camp (from Manitou) - and that was during the Ascent Race.  This day I paid attention more to what was around me.  I also noticed that the altitude really started to get me for the next couple of miles.  On one stop, I found a new friend.
Cute little guy came within 2 feet of me as he was enjoying the sun radiating off the rocks. 

Started to get into snow, packed and icy in spots about a 1/2 mile from A-Frame.  Resulted in lots more walking, which in turn helped with breathing better.  Got to A-Frame and the total distance I had travelled was just under 9 miles.  Looking up and knowing on a decent day it would take at least another hour to Summit, with the sun getting closer to going behind the Peak / Summit, yet still wanting more - I decided to go for 10 total miles.

Above tree line the snow was thicker (up to 8" or so) in many spots.  Some places the trail was hard to find.  But it was fun.  Hard work, but fun.
At about 9 1/2 miles I lost the Sun, still in just a T-Shirt, shorts and gloves - it got cold.  I had warmer gear in a bag I had brought with me - but didn't put it on (probably should of, still sniffing from a cold now). 

Finally got up to the sign: "....elev 12,700'....Summit 2 miles. 
I had really slowed down - the last mile took me about 40 minutes due to snow and fatigue, mixed with altitude.  3 hours 20 minutes for 10 miles - just over 6100 feet of climbing.

I did some math as I turned and started down - had a pipe dream to get back down for a round trip time of 5 hours.  Getting back to tree line was slow going with the snow and I was out of food, almost out of water, nearly out of gas.  But I plugged along, slip sliding away at times - still having fun.  I knew I was in for a long day.  Had already been long, but was really worth it.

As I was getting closer to Barr Camp I managed to get into a better rhythm - not fast, but out of the snow and ice, past most of the rocky, root sections - trying to do math in my head as I was moving to figure out what I needed to be doing to beat 5 hours - then I bit the dust. 
Fortunately when I went down I still had my gloves on.  The left knee took the worst of it, scraped up my forearm some also and got a couple of scratches on the garmin which is a bummer.  If anything it made me mentally focus more and after I pulled myself together for a few moments I got back at it.

The closer I got to the bottom the more I realized I need to go faster - the last 3 miles I had to go 7 minutes per mile - which is nice that it is all downhill but not nice that it is not a smooth, straight trail.  I did it, with 14 seconds to spare.  Just under 5 hours for the 20 mile round trip.  5 hours of moving time.  Almost 6 hours of actual time.  A few nice war wounds, lots of pictures - and a really enjoyable afternoon.

Briefly: I got my 30 miles in for the week.  The next day (Friday) a 2 1/2 mile shake out - quite sore - run.  Then Saturday morning before kids Soccer games a slow 7 1/2 miles. 

So, what started out what looked like a week of futility - ended well.  Still sore after taking Sunday to rest the legs more.  The muscles hurt some, the blood from the tumble was more blood than anything really.  I'm more ticked off that I scratched the watch.  Still works though.  Looking forward to another week of running.