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.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Greenland Trail PR

Late yesterday I did the 8 mile loop - was the 3rd time in the past 3 days.  It also took my weekly miles up to 50 - first time in about a year for that and was also 37 miles in the past 4 days.  I've been working throughout March in increasing weekly mileage by adding 5 miles per week.

The previous 2 days were just about completing it.  Wednesday was the day after getting up to Barr Camp so I was a little weary.  Thursday I did it w/ my wife at her pace.  So going into Friday I was both ready to go hard - but also weary after a long week.

I started out and the first mile was "wobbly" - wanted to be at 8 minutes but with that "weak like my legs are mush" feeling, it ended up being 8:20.  I pushed on and felt better as I did, picking up the pace a little but not really getting the average down much.

3 1/3 miles in to the bottom of the hill climb I was still at 8:20 average but was able to get up the hill (about 1 mile climb) and be only down to 8:30 average.  I series of mostly ups rollers, with some down rollers for the next 2/3rds of a mile and I hit the 5 mile overall mark at an 8:28 average. 

3 miles to go, mostly downhill but w/ 1 climb and some traversing around the saddle.  I pushed and was able to do those last 3 miles at a 7:05 average.

New PR - beat my time from the 2010 race by 40 seconds.  I am especially pleased because it came at the end of the week - on weary legs - and with 5 weeks to go till race day (we signed up last night) - I should be able to improve.

Rest day / kids soccer day today - then back at it - probably a Greenland / Spruce (leaning more towards Spruce Mtn and open space) long run tomorrow.  Probably backing off the 50 miles this next week also to help the body.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Run - Mental vs Physical

I am not really a deep thinker.  I spend most of my "deep thinking moments" on the potty - sorry if that was TMI.

When I am out running - the times when I don't take the ipod, which is about 50/50 - is the other time when the deep thinking moments take place.  Admittedly, I struggle to stay on a train of thought when I am running, be it due to the surroundings or whatever.  I could be running thinking of the family, or something work related - when for no apparent reason my thought process is interrupted.  Be it by running into a tree, falling over or just rounding a bend in the trail.  But when I run - my mind runs too.

So, yesterday I was wanting to run up Barr Trail to A-Frame.  Didn't happen.  I tried.  I failed.  I started at the Cog depot and went out slow and steady.  Within a few minutes I was done.  At least mentally.  Physically I was feeling okay - going up the W's was having a definite physical impact, but I was really physically okay.

My brain / mind checked out.  I was done. 

Mental failure 1, Physical achievement 0.

It was about then that the internal argument started.  The (mental) compromise I came up with - was to keep going but only go to the sign for the "bottomless pit" - about halfway between Barr camp and A-Frame.

Mental failure 1, Potential Physical achievement 1.

That lasted all of 3 minutes.

Mental failure 2, Physical achievement 0.

How about just going to Barr Camp?  Sure.

Mental failure 2, Potential physical achievement 1.

That plan - at least mentally - too lasted only a few minutes.

After a considerable amount of walking, some running, some more walking, then running etc - I finally settled into a rhythm and did make it to Barr Camp.  Mentally beat, physically not the greatest either.  I made it but sat down for a few minutes and wondered: was that worth it?

Was it really mental versus physical?  How much does one impact the other positively or negatively?  Is being mentally "strong", better than being physically strong?  I dunno - seems like the little green guy from Star Wars (Yoda for those who can't figure that out) would have an opinion on it.  It's probably really not that important to anyone else. 

I have a theory - involves not just mental or physical. 

Along similar lines of the concept of "if it quacks like a duck and looks like a duck - then it probably is a duck", goes my theory:

In order to maximize your natural ability and succeed in whatever you do - in this case, running - being mentally able to deal with what lies ahead, as well as what you are doing now - requires more than being physically able.  There is a "formula" - for lack of a better term with ingredients including, but not limited to: Ability, Competitiveness / Desire, Experience, Fatigue and likely Diet - all contribute to the mental and physical "games".

Everyone differs, so one persons "formula", is different than another's.  All I know is there are sometimes that you can achieve success (based upon what YOU would consider success), without all the ingredients of the formula being optimal.  But then there are other times, the result is defintely considered a failure. 

If the formula was perfected - it may result in succeeding in the physical achievement, but if there is a mental failure - is it really successful?

Yesterday afternoon I made it to Barr Camp - at the time I could care less as I was more frustrated with a lack of being mentally in the game.  Was left to wonder, if I was mentally stronger - just how much better of a runner could I be?

Then I remembered I needed to run 6 1/2 miles back down the trail.

Mental failure 3 - Physical achievement 1 (but I made it back down okay - so that score ended up being a 2 and I am ready to go running again today, so lets bump that up to a 3.  Therefore the final score is 3 to 3.  In other words, a tie and I am nowhere near further along mentally or physically than yesterday.

Eh, time to find something to read and go sit on the .........

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Ramblings - Jousting

For every season - there is a time to vent.  That may be Biblical, or not.  It may be practical, or not.  It may be necessary - well I am the one responsible for this blog, so I get to vent.

* Children have no concept of time.  It may just be my own (children).
* Stupid people who do stupid things at stupid times for stupid reasons - should be shot put in a room where no-one else can talk to or has to deal with them.  (not going into detail - and not thinking about my children here).
* When is the Barr Trail Mountain Race going to post registration details?
* I am jealous of Anton Krupicka's travels / adventures in New Zealand
* It's still March, supposedly the snowiest month of the year.  I don't remember the last time it snowed or rained.  The forecast doesn't have any incoming precip either.
* Tim Tebow is no longer a Denver Bronco - I am soooooo done with listening to anything and everything about that topic.  I am a sports fan.  I will watch, listen to and try to learn and understand almost anything if it is a sport kind of thing.  But when it becomes so talked about and beaten to death - I quit.
* And then there is the rising price of gas.  Thanks (he says sarcastically) to those responsible for that - from someone who fills up at least twice a week.
* I have 2 questions to the people who stand on a street waving a sign (for taxes or a fast food place) while dressed as either the Statue of Liberty, or Uncle Sam, or a giant Chicken: 1) do you dress up for Halloween?  2) When you were younger, did you really want to be doing that "when you grew up"?

* This is not necessarity a vent topic - but I have watched some of the Full Metal Jousting stuff on the History channel.  I'm not sure how or if it is a sport - but regardless of what you call it - this is quite the watch....

* I am done with my venting

Friday, March 23, 2012

Waldo Canyon Run - (com)Pressed for time

Ran a new PR for the 7 mile Waldo Canyon Trail yesterday afternoon.   Here's a backstory on it.......

I guess I am a little difficult to buy Christmas and / or birthday presents for - according to my family.  I really don't usually want or need much of anything.  They ask, I answer: "Eh, I dunno".

This past Christmas they asked, I answered and I said "one of them backpack thingys that can hold water with a straw sticking out of it".

Christmas morning - much to my surprise - despite me picking it out - I got a Camelbak.

Since then I have worn it on most runs of about 6 miles or more.  Not just because one gets parched while running, but I have used it to carry some added weight - sometimes up to about 8 extra pounds.  The thought behind this is to run with more weight and therefore requiring effort in training - so that when a race or reason to go faster comes around, I would go faster, cause I would be lighter.

Part 2 of the backstory is some new socks.  I've been reading / researching Compression socks for a while and finally bought some last week.  After the Sunday 18.25 miler and a Tuesday 8 miler this week I have put them on to "check out if they work" - for recovery. 

Yesterday was the first time I tried them on to "check out if they work" - for running.

So, I ran Waldo - for the first time without any water, backpack or added weight, and with my sporty new socks.  The goal in mind - push hard and see what happened.

3 things happened.  #1.  During the run, especially the climbing, I felt that feeling of my teeth feeling like they were bleeding.  Not sure if that is something that only happens to me.  Kind of hard to describe.  Doesn't hurt, just feels weird.

#2. Almost as soon as I finished the run and since then my lungs have really felt worked, evidenced by some decent coughing fits.

#3.  Took just over 4 minutes off my previous PR.  Don't know if it was the socks, I am sure carrying a few pounds less definitely helped.  I am certainly pleased with the effort and result. 

My legs do feel good today also.

Friday Fun song.....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The future of soccer

So, I have 3 kids that play soccer - I am very much hoping it that it will not lead to a career choice like these 2 videos.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A long run

Even though the Pikes Peak Marathon is 5 months away - one of the big things that comes with it that is most overwhelming to me is the length of time it will take to do the thing. 

Sure, there is climbing (a lot), crowds (likely 800 +/-), and even possibly some racing (depends on how the race goes for me).  But, I have never run more than 4 hours and the race will definitely take me much more than that.

So, I know I need to train to be on my feet and moving forward for large lengths of time.  I'm not 100% certain of how long is too long, or is there a minumum amount I should do "long runs".

While pondering this yesterday - I did a decent long run.  18.25 miles w/ just over 1400' elevation gain (and loss).  I took my time, took some photos, noticed the most painful body aches during and after the run were my hips, followed by my knees, then ankles.  I have been working on stretching and strengthening those areas - and will continue to do so.

The scene of the run:  Parked at Spruce Meadows, ran over to and did a lap of the Greenland Trail (as the wind was picking up from the South), then back through Spruce Meadows over to Spruce Mountain - where the wind was really howling, then finally back to Spruce Meadows.  A couple ticks over 3 hours by the time I was done.  All in all - definitely a long run - longest I have done in a while.

As mentioned, photos taken along the way......
South end of Spruce from Greenland
Pikes Peak from Greenland Saddle

Greenland Trail - looking North

Always trains going by

Even a few ponds along the way

Getting closer to Spruce

Rugged Rock formations

One of my favorite views from up on Spruce

Windy Point at South end of Spruce - Pikes in the distance

The rock formations along the South end of Spruce

Friday, March 16, 2012

Geeking out on PPM / PPA stuff

3rd post this morning - Hmmmm, I think that is a record for me.  Hmmmm - I'm not being very productive.  Hmmmmm - It's Friday and a high in the mid 70's today, I should be outside anyway.

Stats on sign up stuff is posted.  Just under 3 1/2 hours to fill the Marathon field (including 61 minutes for wave 2).

My age group (40-44) has 130 entered.  This is where I need to (often) remind myself that the competition is not so much with others, it is with the Mountain:

3 years ago w/ my oldest daughter by the Summit House
905 people have signed up for the Marathon - there's sure to be some who won't make it to the start line.  According to what I've read, likely to be some speedy dudes added.....
Kilian Jornet
Anton Krupicka
Not likely to make it - at least not past the Cog Railway station
154 days and several hours to go, I'm likely to stare at the website countless times for many hours before race day.  Seems a long way off (duh - it is), between now and then all kinds of things could happen - probaly should run a lot between now and then, but right now it seems like lunch is my priority.

Friday Fun song

Heard this song on the radio a day or 2 ago - here is a "live version".

Bit of a catchy wee ditty.  Pretty cool name for a band too.

Greenland Trail

Before the real focus of Pikes Peak Marathon training kicks in, the Greenland Trail race takes place in about 7 weeks.  So I got a (8 mile) lap in yesterday afternoon.

A big difference in trail conditions from when I was there 2 weeks ago when the majority of it was snow covered - some places about a foot deep.  Yesterday, almost all the snow was gone and only just a few muddy spots.

However, it's that time of year where the wind blows seemingly more there than many other areas around, probably because it is so exposed and a little higher elevation.

One day it could be coming from the South, other days from the North - some days both.

I was still feeling the effects from Tuesday's jaunt up to Barr Camp, so started out easy into the wind.   Seemed like a recent horse event had left plenty of souvenirs on the trail - hoofprints.  Tricky on the ankles - need to work on strengthening those.

5 miles in for a little over 45 minutes, then I was feeling nice and loose so I pushed the last 3 miles and did those in just over 22 minutes.  Final time was 67:14.  Not bad, definite room for improvement - which should come as I spend more time there.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pikes Peak Marathon - I'm in......

.....subject to the official entry list being updated

I just finished the sign up, entered a finishing prediction time of 6:24:58 (1 second faster than yesterdays post / guess),  they took my money and now I am in a state of: 1 part excitement, 1 part nervousness, 1 part freaking out, 1 part passing ou...................

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

First Barr Camp run

With sign up for the Pikes Peak Marathon tomorrow, I want to enter a realistic goal / finish time for it.  What better way than to run some of the course and then use Matt Carpenter's Pace Chart to give me a decent idea of a time to project / expect / dream of.

With an early tease of Spring for the past few days and the Mountain looking big and inviting......
..... I got a mid afternoon start yesterday.  I parked by Manitou City Hall, the start line for the race - in order to get accurate split times.

I then ran up to Barr Camp.
I have been to Barr Camp several times - so that was not a first.  Yesterday was the first time I ran the whole way.  A couple of exceptions - there are a few step ups that require a literal big step up.  There were also a few slickery sections where it was necessary to shuffle over the ice / snow.  Melting was in progress, still some ice though.

It wasn't a fast running pace - but there was no walking.  Plus, I made it to Barr Camp with a few seconds to spare before 2 hours.  Admittedly my earlier split times at the W's, No Name Creek, the 7.8 mile sign - all had me at a faster (projected) pace to summit.  But entering the time into the Skyrunners pace calculator - gave a projected summit time of 3:56.

While honestly hoping for a little better, I am quite excited because that is less than 8 minutes from my Ascent race time from last year.  According to the Pace Chart - the average Marathon time for a 3:56 Ascent is 6:24:59.  That will be what I enter tomorrow afternoon. 

If all goes to plan - I will beat that prediction on Race day.

After resting at Barr Camp for a few minutes I made my way down, went fairly easy until I came to the trail from the Incline where a guy joined the trail right behind me and pushed me a little faster.   It got my competitive juices going and I picked up the pace during the upper W's until I dropped him.  Then I eased back down into Manitou. 

Round trip time of 3:06 (watch was stopped at Barr Camp) - total distance 15.3 miles.  Very pleased with that. 

A few more photos from the down journey.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Ramblings - Spring Fever

Been a while since I rambled with a purpose.  This has no purpose, form or structure..... so, it may not be considered rambling, rather it may be construed as a cry for better medication.  Okay, so I don't actually take any kind of medication - but maybe I should.

It's Spring, at least that is what the temperatures have been saying for the past week.  With Spring comes wind, melting snow, mud, Daylight savings (groan), longer days and sometime soon - green grass and pretty flowers.  I like Spring.

* In a post last week that referenced hip's - I did a search for hippo's - I think I already knew this, but they are some big beasts.  Cool and funny looking at the same time.

* Pikes Peak Marathon sign up day is this Thursday - 1 pm to be precise.  I wonder how fast it will take to fill up (seems like an hour or less is likely) - which leads me to think about what if I don't get in?  I guess plan "B" is "just" the Ascent.  Some of the speedy people have already signed up (those who were award winners from years past).  I'm still tossing around what to enter as a realistic prediction for myself.  6 hours is I think the goal.  Not sure if that is realistic, optomistic, or just stupid.  I am having a bit of a hard time wrapping my head about being on that Mountain for 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 hours.

* Speaking of running - my wife and I are tossing around the idea of having our children pay (out of their own money) to run in some races.  Specifically to see if that will drive #12 to train more for a race when he has to throw down the coin.  The Greenland Trail race is coming up in May, he and I are not yet signed up to do it, but we might throw that concept at him. 

The thought behind it is twofold.  One - we don't think he trained enough for the past set of Winter Series races.  Sure, he came first in his age group, but I saw a lack of commitment / effort - whether it was due to weather, being a "pre-teen", realising he was likely to win - so backing off from full effort.  May have been some or none of these things.   Maybe it was "just because".  Maybe I expected better.  I definitely want to be sensitive to not burn the kid out. 

The other thought on (his) "pay for play" concept is: to see if it can be a lesson learned about some grown up stuff - he turns 13 next month (sheesh)..... there comes a cost of being able to do things.  Will he try harder because he paid for it?  Will he be more focused in training - when he has to answer for himself more?  What is he willing to pay for?

I'm trying to not come across as a heartless taskmaster - I don't think I am.  It's not like we taught him to swim by throwing him in a lake and watch him sink.  I guess it is a reaction to what I see in not just him, his sisters or their friends - whether they get it from the kids they hang out with or the TV they watch, or the society we live in - but I see a lack of responsibility of owning up to ones own actions, mixed in with a sense of entitlement because they are spoiled.   I / we are likely to be as much at fault for that.

Meaning - if they do something wrong - they don't think it's entirely their fault.  Or, if they don't get to do something - then it's the person in authority who is at fault - they are the "bad guy".   Mix all that in with "just because you are cute / smart / good at something / better than someone else at something - doesn't mean you are entitled to "_______" (fill in whatever fits).

* I guess that was a rant more than a ramble.   Comes from a sometimes cranky, middle aged guy who probably expects too much not just for his kids, but others also.  Maybe this Daylight Saving thing doesn't let me get enough sleep.

* Moooooving along.... back to a ramble about running...... I got 11+ miles in yesterday afternoon at Spruce Meadows / Mountain.  While I like what the Barr Trail and Waldo Canyon can and will do for training for the PPM in August - when I just want to run, take my time and enjoy some trails, some hills, some open spaces, some nice views (and when the wind is not too unbearable) - I will take and make an opportunity to run there all the time.

I want a pet hippo.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Waldo Canyon

I have 3 local trails that I sort of use as a "fitness test".  Each trail is different, running each trail gives me good feedback on "where I am at" with my level of general fitness and ability.

The 3 trails are (in order of difficulty - easiest first).....
* The Greenland Trail - an 8 mile loop with full wind exposure, a wide open trail, just over 500' of elevation gain.  Is not easy as it takes me well over an hour and has a good mix of steady uphills and downhills.  If the wind is not blowing - is an enjoyable run.  Add in wind - not so nice.
* Waldo Canyon - 7 mile lollipop shape, single track, a mix of running in the trees and some exposed areas, some (small) creek crossings, just under 1500' elevation gain.  Good effort is required on the uphills.  Well over an hour for this run for me too.
* Barr Trail - I usually start from the Cog Railway, go up to Barr Camp.  Of course it requires the journey back down.  But the journey up is about 6 1/4 miles w/ just under 3600' elevation gain.

+ Greenland trail is a tough one in the Winter / Spring / Snowmelt / Mud / and (usually) howling wind season we have going right now.
+ Waldo still has it's icy spots, but recent warmth is really putting a dent on those.
+ Barr Trail has a lot of ice and snow still up near Barr camp - likely to run into that for another couple of months in some shape or form there.

Yet I am trying to do them all, some more consistently and frequently than others.  Barr Trail once a month, Greenland once in a while but will increase as the May 5th race is approaching.

That brings me to Waldo Canyon where I did back to back days 2 weeks ago, then back to back days Monday and Tuesday this week - Spring like weather conditions :)

On Sunday afternoon I did a moderate paced 13 miler - so I was curious to see how Waldo would treat me the next 2 days.  Answer - not bad, in fact, quite encouraging results.  Monday I took 2 minutes off my previous best time, then yesterday I took another 70 seconds off that.  I went clockwise round the loop on Monday, Tuesday the opposite direction.  Still some slick spots in places that slowed me down a little (but did not take me down fortunately).

So, I guess the point of my post is - I am happy with improving fitness.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Weekend wrap up

2 family achievements / milestones this past weekend.
* Happy birthday to my wife, made more memorable by her father showing up unexpected for a few days.  I knew he was coming - managed to keep the secret. 
* The Winter Series awards Dinner took place on Saturday night - #12 gets a 1st place medal for the 10 to 14 year old age group. 
He's the short one
He told me later that he really wanted a trophy, instead of a medal.  However, he did wear the medal proudly around his neck this morning as he got on the school bus.  He was rocking it.

He also mentioned that next year he wants me to do the "Long Series" with him.   Something to look forward to - neither of us have done those 4 races before (7 miler, 8 miler, 10 miler, 12 miler).  So, I guess it worked out for him that we ran together for this past 4 race series.

Next run together will be the BTMR - hopefully will get a lot of training runs in for that this Summer.  The Greenland Trail 8 miler in May is another race that we will likely do - but may end up racing each other instead of doing it together.

I got a couple of runs in - notably a muddy 13 miler Sunday afternoon, on the Santa Fe Trail, North from Baptist Road to up and around Palmer Lake (very wet & muddy there), then back. 

I'm going to gradually add in some more miles - last few months have been 30 +/- per week.  I'll bump it up to 40 by the end of the month hopefully.  Getting a little Spring fever yesterday and today - will try not to overdo it and overwork the knee. 

Focusing on my hip strengthening / stretching the past few weeks - seems to be helping overall.  I've recognized some noticeable improvement in running more comfortably, recovering better with the focus on the hips.  Hopefully will continue to see improved form and feeling.

No, not Hippo running, running with better hips.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Greenland Trail - I am a niff norf

My wife and I have the occasional conversation where we both agree that I am not that smart.  I proved that again yesterday afternoon when I attempted a loop (8 miles) of the Greenland Trail.

It was about 47 degrees, nice and warm - the sun was shining when I started out about 4:15pm.  That was probably the highlight of my experience.

Actually it really wasn't too bad - but I still should have probably not tried it.

There was just a skiff of snow in the parking lot, a little muddy to park.   The first 3 1/3 miles are a gradual upgrade - nothing steep - just constant.  I wasn't in a hurry to do a lap, was expecting to run into a bit of snow, probably some muddy spots also.

I wandered over onto the trail where they start the race by the gate - almost losing a shoe on the way in the mud.  That should have been a clue.  I didn't take the hint.  The first 3 1/3 miles are a gradual upgrade - nothing steep - just steady.   That first mile was all mud.  It is an old service road with noticeable vehicle tracks on either side - yesterday those tracks were running water, mud in between.

One understands water falls out of the sky in the form of rain.  One didn't stop to think that it falls sometimes in the form of snow and collects on the ground - only to melt when sunlight is applied - so thinking ahead of the first mile to the possibility of a lot of melting snow on the ground - thought didn't happen, can't say I was thinking at all during the first mile.

After about a mile, surprise, surprise - slushy, wet, melting snow covered the trail - and did so for about 80% of the next 6 + miles.  What wasn't snow covered was swamp mud.  At least the sun was still shining.  Did I mention the wind blowing?  Oh yeah, there was that too.

I was able to maintain a blistering 10:00 average pace for the next few miles, including the climb up the saddle - then for the 3/4 mile traverse across the saddle was faced with much deeper snow - over a foot deep in places, a little crusty on the top - but soft enough to result in postholing - which was great for the exposed shins - of course I was wearing shorts.

At 5 miles in, 55 minutes had passed, but I was at the top of the saddle - it was a net downhill of about 300' for the last 3 miles, a couple of uphill sections thrown in for good measure.  Much less snow from here on - aside from a few areas where the scrub oak had caused some decent drifts.  Still a lot of mud for the rest of the way.

The legs, ankles, feet were quite achy, 2 days earlier on Spruce Mountain had an impact also I'm sure.  But I picked up the pace and did the last 3 miles in 25 minutes.  So, a round trip of 80 minutes.  My slowest lap ever.  I don't expect it to be like that on race day (May 5th) - can't imagine having up to 1000 people trying to make there way around there - some 1 lap, others 2 laps, a bunch of people will do 4 laps.

Lesson of the day - that's easy - should have run it earlier in the day - to avoid the postholing.