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, April 29, 2012

2 PR's on the Greenland Trail

My wife, my son and I got our last full lap of training in this morning.  Each of us had different runs planned.  My wife just wanted to go at her steady pace.  My son wanted to go out easy then push the last 3 miles.  I had other plans.  So us boys gave her a 10 minute head start, then #12 (probably should be called #13 now as he had a birthday a few days back) headed out - I waited another 5 minutes, then set off.

I never caught him.  My wife, with just over a mile to go - I finally got by her.  She took a few seconds off her best time which she set 2 years ago - with a torn ACL in between and not a lot of running since.  We are all excited for how she did today.  #12 ducked in just under 64 minutes at an 8 min per mile average.  That too was about a minute faster than what he did last year.  After he told us he ended up taking it easy for the first 3 1/3 miles, then went to work on the hill / saddle section and kept on going.

So, both of them are primed for new PR's next Saturday.

As for me, backing up to Friday first - I still haven't figured out how fast to go for the first 3 miles.  I did a 7:55 avg a few weeks back and that felt good, so Friday I went out at 7:45 avg and felt heavy and sluggish.  So much so that the next 2 miles which were planned on going slow - I slugged along and by the time I did those the avg for those 2 was almost 10 minutes.  The last 3 miles I needed to redeem myself - at least get some mental confidence.  So I was able to push and even though I was still feeling sluggish I did the last 3 miles at a 7 pace.   That made me feel better, but still didn't have an answer for early race pace / plan.

As for this morning, a different plan.  Wanted to alternate miles / speeds.  1st mile race pace, next mile easy, next mile race pace, next mile easy etc.  So, first mile was a 7:30 for about 3/4 of it - way too fast so I backed off and went back to a 7:45.  Recovered on the next mile.  3rd mile was able to do 7:50.  Then the 4th mile which takes a decided turn uphill I was again in slug mode.  By the time I started the 5th mile I was laboring but managed to work hard and crest the top of the saddle at an 8:20 avg for that mile.  A little disappointing but I think I chalked it up to starting out too quick and maybe not eating enough breakfast.

The 6th mile starts downhill - I good time to regroup today, on race day it will be when I really need to start to push.  Today I took it easy and my body thanked me for that.  As I started mile 7 I pushed again, aiming for 7 min and was successful.  Beginning of the last mile I had just passed my wife and I slowed down again for a 1/2 mile.  I was feeling better and for the last half mile I went all out and did a 6:30 average.  That was a pleasant surprise.

With such a wild range of pace I'm not actually sure if today was all that productive for me.  I'm left still not really knowing how fast I should set out on the first section.  I'm quite comfortable with the last 3 miles - knowing I can do that easily at a 7 min avg mile pace - likely faster.  But if I go to fast at the start then the middle couple of miles is going to be a struggle.  

Race day crowds will be a factor - especially at the start with over 400 people squeezing into basically 2 1/2 tracks almost immediately.  If I want to get a great time then I am going to need to start out fast, just so I don't start too slow and end up getting stuck - which will likely result in chasing, trying to get back on schedule for the rest of the way.  I want to stick to a plan.  I function better with a plan.  However, 400 people will also have a plan.  That's a lot of plans and none will be the same.  Oh the madness - especially in my now 44 year old brain.

I'll be back there 3 more evenings this week - trying to get something figured out.  I need to beat into my head "don't race people, race my own race".  I may or may not. 

I guess I'll find out on race day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Greenland Trail Final Training Plan

Less than 10 days away and I am getting anxious.  I need to stop looking at the entry list and giving myself crazy ideas of a top 10 finish.  Top 25 maybe.   I need to run (on race day) with tunnel vision - meaning, I'm not there to race anyone else.

I need to be focused on setting my own pace, pushing when and where I know I can, surviving the sections that usually give me grief.  If I stick to my plan and don't let other runners have an influence on my strategy - then I should be able to say at the end that I was "happy with how I ran" - which should be more important than "happy with how I placed".

I know the course quite well.  In the past 8 weeks I have run all or parts of the course on 13 different days.  I'll be there again this evening (3 x Hill repeats), again on Friday and Sunday (a lap each time working on the first 3 and last 3 miles), then next week probably 3 more days doing some of the sections of the course.

I've never tapered for an 8 mile race before - but I've also never trained so much for an 8 mile race.  I think that I need to take it a little easier this week and next.

So, I think I should be prepared, therefore I need to "trust the training".  Like the fact I can't control who or how other people run, the weather is going to do it's thing also.  The super long range forecast so far looks okay.  Meaning no signs of a cold front coming in next week.  So the course should be in good shape.  Wind is usually a factor, but having been there so many times - I think I am also prepared for whatever blows on race day.  Unless the crap hits the fan that day.

Physically - knock on wood - I'm feeling quite good.  A sore arch is just about all but gone, knees are best they have been in a long while.  I really think that my (almost) daily stretching and leg strengthening exercises have really helped. 

I'm ready for race day now - just have to be patient.  Still got some running to do before race day.   Other things will keep me busy and someone I know also turns 44 this weekend - groan.  Now I just replaced my anxiousness to run, with a "sheesh - it sucks to get old" feeling.

With that - a wacky birthday song video - You Toob is frightening.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Barr Trail Mtn Race sign up details

Just checked the Race website and they have finally posted entry details....because it is one of the lowest costing races around - especially for my kid - and even though it has taken a while to post entry details...... My son and I will likely sign up and do it.

Below is the scoop (taken from the registration page) on entry info:

General Registration will open on May 7th at 7:00am MDT
General Registration (400 slots):
$30 before June 1st
$40 after June 1st

Runners Aged 10 -> 14:
$10 before June 1st
$20 after June 1st

Runners Aged 15 -> 17:
$15 before June 1st
$25 after June 1st

PR's on Barr, Greenland Trails

Quite happy with my last 2 runs.  2 new PR's, neither of them were something that I anticipated or even set as a goal as I started out on each of them.

Friday, early evening I set out on the Greenland Trail to work on race pace for the first 3 miles, then take it easy on the 2 miles in the middle, then push again on the last 3 miles.  I was pleasantly surprised to get through the first 3 miles in a quicker time than I had set for myself - even backed off the effort just a bit.   Still was faster than I have done that stretch before.

The middle 2 miles I backed way off and just plugged up the saddle at a smooth and steady pace.  Cresting the top with 3 miles to go I turned it back up some more and felt strong throughout.  I made an effort to not watch the watch - instead going by feel.  This stretch, like the first 3 miles - I also felt like I could have put more into it. 

When I crossed the 8 mile / finish line, and looked at what I had just done - those last 3 miles were a little faster than was the plan - but also resulted in beating my previous best overall time by about a minute.  Very pleased with that - definitely think I could go faster.

Moving forward to Sunday morning, the goal was go from the PPM start line, head up to Barr Camp, trying to run it all the way.   Due to the outstanding weather the trail was packed, yet I managed to maintain a good steady pace and for only the second time - ran the whole way up without walking.  Not only that, but clocked in at Barr Camp in 1:52:30.  I'm fairly certain that is my quickest time - was at least 7 minutes faster than the other time I ran the whole way up.

Took it easy on the way back down, enjoying the sunshine and trail conditions - along with even more crowds who were also enjoying just a beautiful Colorado day.  15.2 miles on the day.  My last big run before the Greenland Trail race in a couple of weekends.  My focus between now and then will be back on that Trail, working on the different sections - trying to improve.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Just a nice run

My last couple of posts have been a little less about running and more about life / stuff.  Thanks to GZ and Sean for referencing and linking to them in their own blogs - my blog page reading stats have bumped up a bunch this week.

While those posts, (scroll down - you'll see them if you haven't already) were just me "trying to keep it real's, yo" - read that sentence as though you are a middle aged white dude from New Zealand on "the streets of the hood".  You're right, doesn't fit and sounds a little wierd.

Anyhooo..... this is a running post.  A little bland, nothing too clever, just a recap on a run yesterday afternoon.....

It has been a while since I did a training run with the legend (in his own mind).  He's been playing Soccer each weekend and getting plenty of exercise playing and practicing for that.  But 2 weeks from tomorrow we are running the Greenland Trail 8 miler.  Very different than running and chasing around a soccer field.

So yesterday I picked him up after school and we ran the course together with the only purpose / goal - to help him remember it and remember also what it is like to run 8 miles.

He did good.  We held a nice steady pace throughout the whole 8 miles, including the hills.  We chatted a fair amount as we went along, side by side most of the way.  Our pace maintained between 8:40 to 8:55 min mile averages the whole time, finishing just under 1 hr, 11 mins.  We could have gone faster, but we didn't need to or want to - which made it a successful run.

We are going to try do it together a couple more times before race day.  I'll be back there (while he is at Soccer practice) later this afternoon getting another lap in. 

So, todays run, although the same course as yesterday's, has a different purpose than yesterday - today I'll be working on the first 3 and last 3 miles, working on a specific plan and pace together for those.   Yesterday was "just a nice run".  Today - the result is yet to be determined, but hopefully will be as fruitful as yesterday's - in a different kind of way.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

(Running) Core Values

This might won't be too deep.  I am after all just a knuckle dragging guy that is very ordinary and plain, most would accuse of being boring.

I don't drink, don't smoke, don't stay up late often and don't ever drive over the Speed limit don't get out much (to things like movies or nice restaurants).

I am married and we have 3 kids, a dog, a cat and a horse.  My kids are spoiled, we probably watch too much TV and don't take enough family vacations.

If you asked me what our "Family Values" are it may take a while for me to come up with a decent list - that is actually true and not just wishful thinking.

Before the end of this month I will have a birthday - it sucks to get older.  I don't necessarily have many regrets in my life, but if given the opportunity to be younger in order to do more stuff and do it better - that I would take.  It would be nice to be 24, 28 or thereabouts again.

Aside from doing fun stuff w/ my family - I enjoy running, especially on trails and usually I run alone.  For me, running has consequences both positive and negative. 

On the positive side, there is: better health, actually getting faster and stronger, enjoying the Colorado scenery and achieving some goals.
On the negative side: it hurts sometimes usually,  it takes up time that I could be spending with my family, it costs money to enter races and running shoes aren't cheap either.

I think I may have a mid life crisis soon.  Maybe that is an excuse to go buy a fancy shmansy sports car.  My wife wouldn't let me do that, rightfully so.  Maybe my planned / expected mid life crisis is more of a realization that I am getting older and so is my family - so if time and stuff with them is neglected - then I will never get it back.

So, some priorities for me, with my family, have been going through my mind recently.  I'm trying to do things with more of a clear perspective on the "bigger picture".  Being a self confessed knuckledragging niff norf - I'll fail at times, probably often.

Times that I will not fail (hopefully) will be when my family is fully the #1 priority.  Then, when I can get out for a run - to run w/ a clearer purpose, be done and then come back home.

In the past couple of months I have been trying to run more purposed, meaning each run has a reason / goal.  Sure I am training for races and so my runs are training: hills sometimes, tempos for others, as well as some long endurance building runs.  But less "just running".

I'm running less days each week, but running a little longer on each of those runs - this has resulted in running only 4 or at the most 5 times a week.  I've got up to 50+ miles for 2 of the past 3 weeks.  This week though is looking like only about 30 to 35.  It's a little difficult to accept that mentally, but I think I am okay with that.

The other "core" thing that I have been working on is my core.  That midsection thingy / part of me that stores Ice Cream, jelly beans and chocolate quite well.  I've cut back some (not much - but at least it is some) and have been working on core-strengthening exercises.  I've found that is helping me feel and also run better.  I'm also weighing less than I have in a while.

So, that's where I am - at least for today.  Trying to be a better knuckledragger person, with a core that matters, that core being 4 people at home - whether they all will admit it or not: who love me for who I am and who look up to me to set an example for them.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Colorado Springs local race updates

* Finally the Barr Trail Mountain Race has a small update on their registration.  Not really worth clicking on that link as all it says is that registration opens May 7th and links for that will be up during the week before.  No prices or any other details.  I've got to admit - really thinking about not caring about this race at all.

* Got an e-mail tonight from the American Trail Runners Association - I think I probably signed up w/ them when I signed up for last years Road Ascent on Pikes Peak.  Seems like this years race is much different.  Only a 10K, starting at the Toll gate and finishing at Crystal Reservoir.  Their website has not updated this yet.  I don't think I will do it.  Here is the section of the e-mail I got:

Hill Climb on Pikes Peak Highway:The 2012 Pikes Peak Road Ascent, co-produced by ATRA and the Triple Crown of Running, Inc., will be held on Sunday, October 7, and will include approximately 1,650 feet of elevation gain over 10 kilometers. The event will start at the Pikes Peak Toll Gate and run UP the Pikes Peak Highway to finish at Crystal Reservoir. Registration will open on May 23.

* Another race I will likely not do this year is the Summer Roundup 12K - just because I am doing less races this year. But I ran the course tonight - while Soccer practice for Mr Fartypants was happening just down the road. I thought I took it easy - at least for the first mile or so, as well as not pushing to hard coming back down the hill. But I just checked previous times and I was only a minute slower than my best time (2010 raceday). A nice surprise.

Weekend losses = lesson (re)learned

My wife and I have 3 children - I love them all, for many similar and different reasons.  Are they perfect?  No.  Are they the best kids in the world?  No.  Do they do what they are told?  Sometimes....... maybe.  Are they keepers?  Yes.

I want many things for each of them as they grow older.  The obvious things like good health and success in what they do are a given.  I also want them to be teachable.  Sure they learn things at school, at home, from their friends, from the TV and online.  With that there are things I really don't think they need to know now at the various stages they are in life.

But if they can always be teachable - meaning able to learn lessons from things that happen or that they do, particularly if they apply what they learn to being better at whatever - then I will be happier.

My son shed some tears this weekend.  Been a while since I have seen him cry and was the first time I had seen him cry after a soccer game.  He played hard, he played well, his team also played really hard and well - they dominated the opposing team that was bigger and faster than them.  But they lost, on a fluke goal, scored with an assist by the strong wind and a missed call by the ref.

They deserved to win, they were more skilled than the other team and wanted it more.  I wanted it more.  I too was frustrated by the time the game ended.  Not just because they lost and they deserved a better result.  But because my kid put everything he had into the game, in our opinion it was the best he ever played, yet the result wasn't favorable.

And so, in the car for the ride home, he sat in the back, head under his jacket, he cried.  When we got home, he went alone to his room, closed his door, cried some more.  We have learned that our kids sometimes just need to cry - get it out.  Makes them feel better.

After he was done, while I had been thinking of what more to say to him: Blame the wind, blame the ref's, the other team looked like they had kids way older than they were allowed, my son's team didn't have any subs - so all 11 players played the entire game - and wore out.  Plenty could be said - surely I could say something to make him feel better.

I gave him a hug, a big hug.  He cried a little more.  He hugged me back.  I kept hugging cause I didn't want him to see that I was maybe crying a little too.

And then he farted - hug was instantly over, tears replaced by laughter.  Teachable moment was gone and was replaced by a need for payback. 

However, I didn't really need to say anything else then - although later we did talk some more.

The lesson - I dunno, can go in all sorts of directions here.  The one I choose: hug the ones you love.  Sometimes a hug is better than any words or other actions.

Friday, April 13, 2012

My Mother in Law Running Complex

As far as I know, anything and everything is allowed in the Bloggy world.  You write about what you do, what is going on, what you think, whatever and whenever you like.

And so with that - my Mother in law is what I am about to write about.

She left this morning, my wife took her to the airport at 4:30 am.  Upon my wife's return - as I was about to leave for my day, I asked her what she is going to do all by herself all day, with me out of the house at work, the kids off to school.

The reply: "whatever I like cause my shadow won't be with me every waking minute of the day".

With that being said, (and just in case my wife - or God forbid - Mother in Law ever read this),  I replied back - "then, have fun!"

Got me thinking while I was driving - I know, amazing that he can think and drive at the same time - too bad everyone else on I-25 can't do the same - anyhow...... why do we act different when others are around us?

Which then soon lead to running thoughts - why do we run different when we run with others?  Maybe some people don't.  I do - especially when in a race, but even when out for a run on a trail and I come up alongside someone, or vice versa, or when someone comes by the other way - I find myself trying to look like I am running better, stronger, faster than when no-one is around and I am by myself.

I can be (trying) to run up Barr Trail - particularly on the W's which really cause a hurting on me - and I look around and don't see anyone around, then I hear voices or turn a corner and see someone and immediately start moving at a quicker pace - sometimes from a walk to a jog, other times from a jog to a slightly faster jog.  Admittedly - I try to put on a better impression of (my) reality.

I usually like to run by myself.  When running with others I find I run a little different - be it slower, faster, with better form (less knuckledragging), with people I know, or around people I don't know.  Does it have to be that way?  Why does it happen?  Why different?

It's not that I really care (too much) about what other people's reactions are to me when I am running.  I know when I am out driving around and pass another runner I often times will think or say something about them or their style.  "Wow, he is speedy", or, "wow, she could probably do with running a few more miles". 

So, if I am responding to other runners - then they are possibly responding to me - therefore I am likely to run differently when seen by another runner.

I finish a race and look at the results - first area I look is what place I came in.  Should I really care?  I guess I do, because I do enter races (the likelihood of me ever winning anything ain't gonna happen - but if it did I would care about 1st place).

It's probably not wrong, or right - or maybe just a little of each.   I would love to say that from now on - I will run no differently with or without a shirt on people watching me.  But I probably will, or won't - or something, now I'm getting myself confused - must have been the text I just got from the wife saying that her Mom will be coming back for another visit this Summer.

I guess what I am saying / writing - is that I have a Mother in law running complex.  Could be worse I guess.   I could have a complex about the way I smell during or after a run and I really don't care about that at all.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Greenland Trail Green light

Hill repeats on tap for later today.  Not sure what is going on in the space between my ears - but I am looking forward to it.

Not that I am expecting anyone else to show up - but anyone and everyone is invited.  Parking / leaving the County Line Rd trailhead (of Greenland Trail) at 5 pm, will jog the mile across to Kipps Loop - then push up 1.5 miles (about 280 ft), ease back down - then up 1 mile (about 200 ft), back down - then 1 more up of 1.5 miles, back down and then back to the trailhead.

Should end up being 10 miles, probably in some wind and could be a little muddy due to last nights (somewhat epic, if not - at least interesting) thunderstorms.

From there, it will be home for (my son's) birthday cake.  Maybe that is why I am looking forward to running - cause after the run I will eat cake, washed down with ice-cream. 

I should be fat, fortunately I'm not.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday Tu doodlings

Some random stuff.....

This past weekend was a (3 game) Soccer Saturday and a long run Sunday.  Soccer speaking: my 3 kids played in different parts of the state at different times of the day - with varying results.  We made it to all 3 games which made for a long day.  The last game of the day, our little one (age 6) played goalie the first half - then forward the second half, scoring the decisive goal - her first ever.
I know I am biased but of everything we saw on Saturday - our goalie was the cutest.

* I am embarking on another 50 miles of running this week.  Did 20 on Sunday, will do a slow and steady 10 today, then 2 more tens on Thursday and Friday - one of which will be Greenland Trail hill repeats.  I did 40 miles last week and I think my body is doing okay with only running 4 times each week - gives me some rest and also results in the 4 days to be somewhat more focused / purposed to run.

*  A health / body note: seems like my (right) knee has regained most of it's strength although not all flexibility.  Throughout the past Fall and Winter it would regularly swell up each couple of weeks.  In an attempt to stop that I have been much more focused on doing various stretching and core strengthening - on a regular basis - and have been very pleased to see a result of stonger knees.  Got a little bit of a cranky PF thing going - but not too severe.

* I'm starting to wonder about the Barr Trail Mtn Race.  Last year it was run w/ a new RD and even though I didn't do it due to my knee surgery - I was there to watch my son do it and noticed and heard / read grumblings from some unhappy runners.   I'm curious what will happen and if things will be better this year from an organizational standpoint - but with no registration information posted despite the website saying it would be by now - I am left to wonder.

* My son turns 13 in a couple of weeks.  Words could be written to describe how I feel about that.  I'm not sure what the best word(s) are.  I'm a little frightened that the bond we have may grow thinner as he grows up.  I've not ever been the Father of a teenager before and haven't read (or looked for) the book that gives my wife and I the answers on how to raise a 13 year boy.  We each have our ways we like to do things, some things we do well, others we don't.  I guess we will try hard and take each day as it comes.  We don't know what lies ahead and what to expect - I don't know how much I'll post on the bloggy about it either.

* On a lighter note - my Mother in Law is in town.  We will leave it at that.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pikes Peak Treeline Run

I got a little high on Sunday.

12, 092 feet maximum elevation - according to the Garmin.  I started about 5800 feet below at the starting line for the Pikes Peak Marathon - 10 miles on the trail to get there, 10 miles back - taking with me a little sunburn and a weary, tired body.

Training for the marathon hasn't started officially - but yesterdays run / hike goes in the bank. 

I made the turnaround right near treeline - took some photos....
The Summit - approx 3 more miles of trail, + 2000' & 16 Golden Stairs to get up there.

The trail was quite snow covered above Barr Camp

These people were blazing their own trail down from the Summit

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Greenland Trail Hill repeats

I was planning to do this run on Tuesday but didn't due to snowy weather and was interested in taking 2 days rest after Sunday (19 miler) - my left foot arch is giving me some minor grief.

Wednesday's weather was much better, but woke up to 10+ inches of snow at my house, drove near Greenland on my way in to the Springs and figured about 6 inches average on the trail.  With a good sunny day I knew a good meltdown was in store - but still expected to (literally) run into it later in the afternoon / early evening.

The plan was to park at the County line trailhead and jog along the old road a mile to the bottom of the hill where the race goes up the longest / steepest section of the loop - then go up a mile at a decent clip, amble back down - then do it twice more.

Trail conditions varied, mix of snow covered, muddy spots, sticky spots and dryish.  Probably slowed me somewhat on the upwards journey each time, but I was pleased later to look and see faster times for each mile as I went (9:01, 8:37, 8:27).

On race day, I'm figuring that if I can go up that mile in under 8:30 I will be doing fairly well.

I'll probably do these again each week and likely tack on a 1/2 mile to the top of the saddle again as I get closer to race day.  Will probably also do several more laps of the whole course to get better at each section.  Also leaning towards doing a weekly steady tempo run (on Friday afternoons possibly) - set a time / pace per mile and stick to it the whole way.

I think it is accurate to say that this race is starting to consume me - I have and will put a lot more training into it - hopefully it will result in a good time on race day.  2 years ago I came 11th overall (217 finishers) - my best finish / place in any race ever. 

I'll be a little disappointed if I don't get a similar result / place.  But then I have to tell myself that ultimately I can't control that too much and are really only responsible for how I do.  I need to focus on training, pushing hard and running a smart race based upon training when the day comes.  So, I will throw myself at it and hope / expect to do well.

8 miles total on the day.  No further damage on the foot, but still niggling at me.  While running I did take some photos - nothing really scenic, moreso just to show the trail / conditions......

Near the County Line Rd trailhead

Soon after the start of going up the hill

I'm standing at my turnaround point - 1 mile from the bottom of the hill

Back at the top of the hill - about to go back down to the bottom / where I started

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Snow on Pikes Peak pictures

Good Spring snow storm on the Peak yesterday.  I was up in Woodland Park earlier today and got a couple of photos from near there and one on the way (near Garden of the Gods).

Picking up the Slack - er

Signed up the wife, #12 and myself for the Slacker half marathon in mid June.

About this time of year, 3 years ago, my wife said to me out of the blue one day something along the lines of "I want to run a 1/2 marathon".  I said something like: "good for you, I used to run a bit, maybe I should run with you".

And so we started running, sometimes together, other times not.  We picked out the Slacker because it was almost all downhill - and because neither of us had done any running in many years - we needed all the help we could get.

On race day we did the whole thing together and beat her goal of doing it in 2 hours.  It was fun and we were hooked - the running has continued since.  (Albeit w/ a knee surgery for each of us that forced some time off).

The next year (2010) we did it again - this time with our son.  I went on ahead of them while they ran the first few miles together until he got itchy feet and took off (eventually winning his age group).  I did really well for the first 12 miles - with an elevation drop of about 2200'.  The last mile winds it's way through Georgetown and has some rolling sections.  I don't know exactly how long that last mile took me but I blew up and walked at least a third of it and came to a complete standstill a couple of times.  My legs were shot.  I still finished in 1:36 something - still is my 1/2 marathon PR.

We didn't do it last year - but we are heading back this year and all 3 of us are looking to PR.  Not sure if it will help w/ Pike Peak marathon training but it is about 8 weeks before that - so it shouldn't damper training too much.  I have revenge / redemption and a new PR goal to aim for - especially on that last mile.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spruce Meadows and Mtn run

I figured out today that yesterday was April Fools day.  Easily leads me into my next statement: Colorado Weather Forecasters probably should have a convention on that day each year. 

My wife and I moved to Colorado about 16 years ago and it hasn't taken me that long to figure out that Spring time here is often windy.  When I watch or hear a forecast saying something along the lines of "tomorrow will have "X" % chance of rain or snow and it will likely be breezy" - I usually take the "breezy" prediction to heart - but wonder if the forecaster has or will look out a window to see if they got it or get it right.

The point - I got up to run early Sunday to beat the prediction of strong winds.  A couple of weeks prior I was on Greenland Trails and Spruce Mountain for 3 hours getting beat up by the winds.  I was expecting more of the same or worse on Sunday.

I had decided on a day at Spruce Meadows and Mountain and parked in the meadows parking lot and was on the trail before the Sun came up.  No cars there, nor at Spruce Mtn, nor Greenland. 

The other thing missing: wind.

I was okay the forecasters had it wrong.

I went North through the wide open meadows area - not having run that section before, was a lot narrower trail than nearby Greenland Trail and Spruce Mountain where I was heading.  Was also quite sandy.
Spruce Mtn way up on the left.
After crossing the road 3 times, taking it easy on the trails that were also fairly flat, I came up to the North end of Spruce Mtn and took the Scouts connector trail to the base to the (US Forest Service) road leading up to the top of Spruce.

Still a few snow spots around

Signs of Spring

I would like to climb up this one day but it is probably not allowed
It was nice to get into the trails around the base and then up on top, still little to no wind at all and it was warming quickly.  Once up top I did a lap - coming back and then down the service road again.  Going back along the trail to the North end parking lot, then because I wanted a little more climbing, punishment, work - I went back up to the top and did another lap.

Spruce Mtn Trail
By this time the parking lot was filling up, the wind was a little more noticeable - yet when I got to the South end I chortled a little. 
There was no wind at "Windy Point".
Finished my lap, then back down onto the Spruce Meadows trail and across to the Meadows parking lot.  I was hoping for a tail wind on the way over.  A slight breeze helped as I pulled in - did a couple of laps of the parking lot to bring the total distance up to 19 miles.  A good days work and I was done before 10 am.