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.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pikes Peak Marathon - why did I watch these?

Registration for Pikes Peak Marathon starts March 15th, 1pm Mtn time - for those counting, there is 199 days to go till race day.

(The Ascent sign up starts a little earlier in the day)

Some days I look forward to it, getting really psyched up about doing it - other days I watch videos like these, get a little light headed.....

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Winter Series 2 Race and lesson

The nuts and bolts: I ran w/ #12 - his time was 29:16 for 4 miles, officially I was 3 seconds behind him - got stuck in traffic in the end.  His time was 24 seconds faster than last year, overall average pace was 7:19 per mile.

He still is in 2nd place for his age group after 2 of the 4 races - is way behind the 12 year old in 1st, comfortably ahead of 3rd place (10 yr old) by 2 minutes net time.

I'm not really happy about the outcome, I would like to say I am over it, meaning pleased - but it has taken me over a day to at least try and move on and look forward to the next race.

It's not that my expectations were not met - I was kind of expecting 29 flat.  The race just didn't pan out how I wanted.  Selfishly speaking - I felt like I could have smoked him by at least a minute.  Several times throughout I made a conscious decision to slow down and ease back to him.

After thinking about it for the last day and a half, I've blaming myself for him not doing better.

The race started fast - that was the start of the problem.  We went through the first 1/2 mile well under 7 min pace.  First mile was 6:50.  From then on - I sensed that he was just holding on for dear life the rest of the way.  It didn't matter what I said or didn't say.  Or if I ran behind, beside or ahead of him - the average pace slowly but steadily eased back - with that we got passed by more and more people.  I should have made him start slower.

Through 2 miles and the turnaround in 14:15.  On Tuesday this is where he took off, on Saturday I could tell he was spent.  For the next 2 miles I got more and more frustrated - looking back - I was frustrated at myself more than anything.  In hindsight - coming back in 15 minutes is still good and I really should be proud of that.  He did gut it out - I could tell he was having a bit of a miserable time for those last 2 miles.  Then he also managed a good kicking sprint at the end.

It is a lesson on "what if".  That will be applied for the next race (5 miler).  The "what if" then will be: Dad kind of holding him back at the start.  Prior to the race we both will be establishing the realistic goal finish time - figuring out what pace to run it - and start it, slowly.  For the first mile at least, hopefully 2 or 3 - we will maintain that pace, then see what the final section brings us.

Bottom line - it's not that I expect great things for my kids, but I do hope for great things.  I need to provide the opportunity for those things - be they great results or great efforts.  In the end - doesn't matter what they can or can't do - they are still my kids, they can run and play, they are smart and fun, they don't have any funky diseases (unless you count a noticeable amount of flatulence) - I hope they can be accused of having parents who care about them.

Now, when was our next training run together?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Running with the Legend

Those who have children or know children - who every now and then do something good or right - and have it go to their head - may relate to this.

My son is a legend in his own mind - when it comes to running.  Sure, he has done some memorable achievements like the Barr Trail Mtn Race - taking about 15 minutes off the age group record.  (Okay so I am just as proud of that as anyone is).   He also ran the Slacker Half Marathon at age 11 at an 8:30 pace (1 hr 51 mins).  He has a 5k PR of under 21 minutes - wait, stop - I'm starting to brag when this is supposed to NOT be contributing to his ego.

But as it's now only 3 months till the kid turns 13 - he is starting to display signs that he can do no wrong, at least in his own mind.  When his sister's cry because of him picking on them - it is of course their fault.  When he neglects a chore or responsibility at home - because "I didn't know", or "I didn't hear that" - to him it is a viable excuse.  He can do no wrong.

Getting back on track - I had the priviledge of running with the legend yesterday for 4 miles.  We called it a training run - getting ready for the Winter Distance Series Race #2 this Saturday.

It's a 2 mile out and 2 mile back course - going up North, back South.  Elevation gain of less than 60 feet.  Paved in places, packed hard trail in others.  The wind was blowing from the North yesterday and we started in 35 degree temps.  So, not pleasant to run into.

We decided to go easy and just survive the first 2 miles - then turn around and come back with tempo.  First 2 down at an 8:30 average pace - difficult due to the wind, but not too bad.

We were chatting throughout - mentioning how I was feeling the effects of 10 miles the day before and he was feeling 8 miles on the Greenland Trail (with his Mother) on Saturday - while I was home with my knee wrapped up.

We get to the turn around - had talked about trying a 7:30 pace back for the 2 miles.  That was slightly slower than the average he did the race last year.  We turn, with the wind at our backs now, instantly better and easier to run with - we pick up the pace - and he is gone.  Huh?

I thought we were training together, I thought we wanted 7:30, not sub 6:30 pace.  You gonna be like that little boy?  I can keep up, my 5K PR came on the same day as yours - and was 20 seconds faster.  I'm not competitive (okay maybe just a little) - but you're not about to beat me.

A mile and a half later I caught him - I was spent, he was "slowing down, waiting for you Dad cause you have the car keys".  Yeah right - I had him in my sights all along and was just waiting to beat him at the line.  We eased up and cruised in the last 1/2 mile.  Ended up being a 7:20 pace average for the 2 miles - greatly affected by a slow last 1/2 mile.

The moral of the story - when running with a legend, if you can't keep up - cheat.  If he cheats, beat him fair and square.  If you can't do either - brag on him: cause he is your kid.

He may not ever be more than a legend in his own mind.  But, this Saturday - I get to run with that legend, I'm gonna try and keep up.
From Race #1

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Drinking from the Bathtub / King of the Mountain

My son is told me the other day his goals for the year. 
1) Run 500 miles.
2) Drink 365 bottles of water.

#1 seems a little ambitious.  He doesn't have a Garmin watch to track what he does - although maybe I should get him one so I know where the pre-teen is, or who he is with.   We are trying to track his runs - through mapmyrun etc.  As I mentioned, 500 is ambitious - but if it doesn't hurt him (too much) - then I consider it far better than spending 500 hours this year playing the Wii, watching TV or something along those lines.

#2 we talked about a little - as we all need to drink more water.  Somehow we got to wondering how many bathtubs of water that would be.  We also decided not to try it (drinking out of the bathtub - especially if someone was sitting in it).

Moving on.....
Hopefully I can do the Super Half Marathon in a week and a half - planning on it, wanting to do it, but yet to sign up for it though as I want to see if my knee is going to be doing it's (stupid swelling) thing, before I drop $60 on it - I'll decide the day or so before.

Did a race specific - I think - training run for it late yesterday, as I want to be as ready as I can - if I can do it.  1/4 mile easy warm up, then 3 miles at 7:30 pace, 1/4 mile recovery, then 3 miles at 7:45 pace (was wanting to do it at 7:30 - but it wasn't happening), followed by 1/4 mile recovery.  Then another 3 miles at 7:30 pace, 1/4 cool down.  10 miles altogether, on the upper Northern section of the course.  Weary today as a result - but I think it helped.  Still not sure if I can manage a 7:30 pace the whole 13.1 - but that is the goal.

Been thinking more about some runs to do in NZ - if we go.  There is this one - the King of the Mountain Race.  "Only" 2600 feet up and back, 2.6 miles each way.  It ain't the Pikes Peak Marathon - but looks a little similar.  Here's a map of the course.
Yellow Dots go up, blue dots come back down
And here is a video

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rough week in the (rear) Mirror

Getting old sucks - with it comes aches and pains, sometimes more than others.  I'd like to think that as I have got older, I have gotten smarter and adapt better - or give up quicker so as to not prolong the inevitable, be it pain or otherwise.
I was only able to run twice last week - it started out so promising getting some good speed work in on Monday (7 miles).  On Wednesday I went up Pikes Peak to Barr Camp on the trail - the run initially started well on the W's, fastest I had done those in several months.  Then the wheels fell off, but I stubbornly kept going and made it up to Barr Camp.

Was quite slick and icy above Balanced rock - the Yaktracks helped, but what I really needed was a cheeseburger or something as I was hungry and felt really weak.  Made it back down after nearly 4 hours, 13 1/2 miles and 3700' elevation climb.  My waggin was draggin.

Recovered okay on Thursday and was ready wanting to run on Friday afternoon, but as the day progressed my knee decided again that it was time to start hurting, swelling up and that was it - shut down - no running for the next 3 days.

An annoying pattern is really taking hold - every 12 to 15 days this happens, regardless of what kind of running has happened in the days prior.  Doesn't seem like weather, diet, sleep habits or anything else I can pinpoint "instigates" the onset of it.  It's just a funky type of Arthritis.  After 2 to 3 days it rights itself and I am able to function much more normally again.

I'm starting to think that I can't really plan too far ahead for races etc.  Seems like the "cycle" that it is on will allow me to keep doing the Winter Distance Series races - which are every 2 weeks, next one is this upcoming weekend.  But the Super Half Marathon looks a little dicey.

I'm really not a complainer - this Blog is my place to vent though.  So, for those who made it this far - I'm done venting for now.  We now return you to your normally scheduled programming.....

New Zealand trip next Christmas conversation has popped back up on the home front.  Cost is the biggest obstacle of course, time away from home / school / work / responsibilities is also a big factor.  Still is far enough away to dream (and save some $$$)

One thing that will be a priority if and while we are there - is some serious trail running.  Only 10 minutes (drive) from where I grew up is this trail - that I would often run to, then run around and then run back home.  I would meet up with it from a different starting point than is described on the web linked page above.

NZ has some "guided walks" - hiking or "tramping" as it is called there on that are on my list to run.  Below is a video produced by one of the walking tour groups.

Also on the list, the Routeburn track - video is a promo of a race there.

I'm thinking after watching these videos - my knee ain't hurting so much - I'm going for a run.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tempo / ladder / speed / fartlek / run / thingy

I read a book last year which stated something along the lines of "If you want to run faster, then you need to run faster".  Being one to appreciate common sense - not necessarily practicing it - I am trying to run faster, by running faster.
Yesterday (Monday) afternoon I did a tempo / ladder / speed / fartlek / run / thingy - with the dual goal of trying to go faster, while not throwing up - but sort of trying to get close.

Started near the Bijou bridge on the Pikes Peak Greenway and did a warm up mile, then a mile at a 7 pace, followed by 3/4 mile at easy pace.  Pushed then for another 3/4 mile at 6:50 pace. 

So far so good.  3 1/2 miles, was handling it okay, turned around - now heading South & slightly downhill.  Next 1/2 mile at recovery pace.  Time to turn it up - next 1/2 mile at 6:35 pace.  Took the next 1/4 mile at a dawdle - trying to catch my breath and count my kidneys. 

Time for a full effort: the next 1/4 mile did at a 6:25 pace.   Almost busted a foo-foo valve on that one - but survived and the next 1/2 mile was at a pace or feeling to be described as "trying to stop the feeling that my teeth were bleeding".

With a mile and a half to go I then decided to push again for the next mile - did that in 7 minutes.  Finally the last 1/2 mile to recover - "pushing myself in a wheelbarrow" pace.

So, mission accomplished, I think. 
I ran faster.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Winter Series Race 1 Report

Was a bit of a mixed bag.  We got there w/ time to spare and had some nice warm up on the trails.  Decided against YakTracks.  Due to fantastic weather we went shorts and T-Shirts. 

We started fairly easy on the pace, making our way along 1/3 mile of paved road before jumping on the trails.  As we hit the trails we were doing okay, averaging a little slower than 8 min per mile pace, gradually started climbing and were soon on the slick stuff.  1st mile was 8:05 and #12 said he was feeling good.  I was right behind him and everyone was slowed I think by a combination of the crowd and the slickness.

But we were passing people, in fact we both kind of kept a mental note and think less than 5 people passed us for the whole time we were on trails, all the while we kept clicking off people, in one case actually jumping over someone who in a split second fell in front of us.  We had nowhere to go but over him. 

Mile 2 was slower, more uphill, more effort and fell back to an 8:30 average.

In hindsight - we probably should have had put on better traction especially for downhill spots.  I was looking for a handrail at times, feet sliding out and almost wiping myself and others out.

Mile 3 we were laboring a bit as we traversed across the trails back to the parking lot.  We managed to pick up speed and were cruising.  The whole way around I was able to keep up with him, never more than 10 feet behind and at times when I could I came up along beside him.
Finally, we saw the finish line and picked up the pace even more - after 3.3 miles we crossed in just over 26 minutes.  We were spent, was definitely more slick than we expected, but still a good run.   Checking the results his time was about 1 1/2 minutes slower than last year - much more slick spots this time around.   Don't know if it slowed us down too much, but he was happy with his effort, so am I.  2nd in his age group.  Surprisingly  - I'm 6th in mine.  Not sure what that is all about - some of the speedy guys in my age group must have run the longer race.

So, we will mark this down as a good run together.  It was nice to keep up with him - but better to run with him and be able to throw a little encouragement his way during the journey. 

2 weeks till race #2 - the 4 miler.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Waldo Canyon Winter Run & Photos

Had been a while since I: 
A) Ran like a tourist (taking photos of what's between Point A and B - instead of just getting from Point A to Point B).
B) Ran in Waldo Canyon
C) Ran in (lightly falling) snow and 20 degree temps.

So, I did all 3 yesterday afternoon.  Waldo Canyon is not my favorite place to run - mostly due to being a decent drive from my house.  But add a little snow to pretty it up, taking away all but only 1 other person and her dog on the trails - it was a fun little 75+ minute adventure. 

A friendly 1300 ft elevation gain over 7 miles.   Snow was light and sporadic.  Mostly just a dusting everywhere.  A few spots where it was a little slick - wore the Yaktraks moreso for the downhill, shaded, slick spots.  Here's some pics.....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter Distance Series 2012

Signed up to run w/ #12 just now.  Seems like he is looking forward to it just as much as I am.  His motivation / goal - beat the 14 year olds and win his age group (10-14).  My motivation / goal - try to keep up with him.

First race is this Saturday.  After an early morning Soccer game w/ #11 - we should get to Cheyenne Mtn State park just in time to run the 3.3 miles on the trails.  Hopefully it won't be too icey for everyone.  Don't really want to wear the trusty Yaktracks - as usually at least 1/2, if not more, of the course is usually snow and ice free.

I'm not a fan of photos of myself - especially running - but here is the best of the worse over of the last couple of years of the two of us running together (this one at Race #2 in 2010)

I used to not be able to sleep well the night before something important - like a race or Christmas.  Nowadays - I do better.  But when it comes to sleeping the night before any one of my kids has something big - I don't sleep well at all.

The weather forecast looks like it should be okay, we are almost ready to get after it - so with a little more training for the both of us - we hope to do well.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Old fashioned Horsepower

Got to thinking about horsepower in the last few days.  No, not this type of horsepower - although it was fun to watch.

On Friday afternoon I was driving Northbound up Powers Blvd (in Colorado Springs) and noticed on the other side of the road a TV crew filming traffic coming Southbound.  Nothing too terribly odd about that.  Kept driving and about a 1/2 mile later saw an odd sight, 5 horses towing a makeshift trailer, which was towing a smaller trailer, which was then towing a smaller trailer.  Didn't pull the camera out quick enough, couldn't be bothered to turn around for a second look.

My wife saw the news report later.  Here is a news photo of it.
The driver is on his way across the country to the East Coast looking for (logging) work.

Having grown up around horses in New Zealand and (my wife) having a horse - those beasts can be impressive.  If you have never seen the movie "Man from Snowy River" then this scene capures some amazing, albeit frightening footage of horses in full stride.

We had some similar topography around home growing up - I never rode a horse like the guy in the movie did - there were times that we did ride in some pretty hair raising places.

Nowadays - I would prefer to run in those places.  Riding a horse - especially like that in the movie - takes some effort (and other things) - running takes a different kind of effort.  A different kind of horsepower.  

Each person that runs has a different speed, ability, mindset, reason, goal to run for.  I have mine - I'm okay with what I got and what I can do with what I got.  Sure, it would be nice to go faster, win something, be competitive each time out there.  But I ain't.  I have my own horsepower - that is okay.  I am still a runner. 

When my body cooperates and I can put together a good week of running like this past week - I feel my "horsepower" is something to be proud of and happy with.

I ran 30 miles - made up of the 5K Rescue run last Sunday, followed by a good effort on a 12 miler on Monday, then a somewhat icy, but good hill effort 6 miler on Spruce Mtn on Wednesday and then on Friday evening, around dusk - another 6 miler, but one that I actually stretched into a 10K - which ended up being only 45 seconds slower than my best ever time at that distance.  Ended up the week w/ 3 more miles w/ my son in Fox Run park.  That was really icey, really was not very much fun but it was good to run again w/ the "thoroughbred" if you will. 

Today (Sunday) was different - my horsepower was not there as my knee began swelling up.  I tried to run 15 miles, I didn't and I cut my run short.  But I had the horsepower to run 12 miles.  They were slow miles.  I was in some mild discomfort.  If I was a horse - you would look at me and say that I was lame.  I probably am.

I'm a runner though - I'll take a day or two of rest.  Then I will be back running again.

I don't believe in reincarnation - if I did - I'd choose to be a horse.  I wouldn't choose to be a fainting goat.  (Look it up - when startled they freeze up and fall over - or watch the video).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A change of pace

The upcoming (4 race) Winter Distance Series just got potentially faster for me.  I was originally planning on running it w/ #11 - but she has indoor soccer games on two of the race days.  So plan B now goes into effect - I run with #12.  I'm looking forward to it - with curiosity.

I hope I can keep up.  I don't know if I can.  It's not so much a case of fitness - as I have a good base.  It is more of a case of ability.  I expect this year to be where he beats me more often than not - especially on the shorter distances (10K or less).

We will do some training together and have set a goal to at least beat his last years times.  That may or may not result in him getting any awards - which he really wants to.  Last year (when he was 11) he was beat out by three 14 year olds to come 4th overall - and was bummed about that because the year before - he actually came second - with slower times.

So, the mindset for him - at least what I have anyway - is that he / we learn that he cannot control much, if any, of how other people run - he is responsible for him.  I guess I am also.  I am also responsible for bragging on him - which I will do regardless of how he does.
In a few months the boy becomes a teenager - great googily moogly.  Not that the earlier part of his life was any less important - but this upcoming stage is needless to say - insert the appropriate word here: important, frightening, interesting, scary.

He's a good kid - does some questionable things at times - but don't we all.  Hopefully me spending more time w/ him out on the trails will be worth it.  I think it will.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Rescue Run 2012 (and Barr Trail 16 miles)

This was the third year our family has done the (5K) race - but this time was the first time for #6.  She ran w/ Mom - and did a 47ish time.  Here she is mid race, all smiles....

I ran w/ #11 - finishing w/ a 31ish time - good for 3rd in her age group.

Then there was #12 - he did the 10K, coming in under 50 minutes and taking 1st in his age group.  His secret - doing it with his eyes closed, while apparently outrunning Santa.

A nice easy start to the year.  I kind of needed it as (meant to post this the other day) a couple of days ago I ventured 8 miles up Barr Trail and then back.  Taking 4 hours.  The snow up higher kicked my butt - literally.  The mile and a half above Barr Camp took me 45 minutes - most of the time trying to stay on the trail - not an easy task and it looked like very few people had ventured higher recently - so it was a challenge to stay in the limited amount of tracks - if I missed a step I was up to mid thigh or higher in the soft, white stuff.  Kind of fun, but truly exhausting.  After turning around, trying to get any kind of momentum resulted in 2 things - face plants and laughing at my silly self.  The further down the trail the easier it got but by the time I got back down to my car - my waggin was draggin.