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.

Monday, July 16, 2012

PP Marathon Training - A Frame

This past weekend was 5 weeks till race day weekend.  So, training has been needs to have been in full swing.  Things were going good according to plan the Saturday before was a great hike to the Summit and back with my son.  The 8+ hours, 25 miles of hiking and climbing over 7000 feet did take a toll on me, so I took the next day off. 

Woke up Monday morning and was wandering around the house for a while getting going with my day - bent over to pick up something and my (lower) back went out.

Don't know why or how it went out - but it hurt like crazy - to the point that I was short of breath and of course couldn't hardly stand up.  A trip to the Chiropractor helped the back into place a bit, he recommended that I take more calcium (he calls it Nature's "muscle relaxer") - to help with the pain in the lower back muscles.  Wednesday I saw the Chiro again and it also improved some more.  Gradually over the next few days the pain got less.  I gutted out a couple of slow runs during the week.  Continued to do lots of back stretching and by Friday I could stand up straight and take full breaths without hurting.

With that - I was ready to go again, so I met up with Steve (Happy Trails) at 6am in Manitou Springs to run up a good chunk of the Barr Trail / Marathon and Ascent course.  The plan was to watch Steve suffer as payback for prior runs near gun shooting ranges run with Steve at least up to Barr camp, assess the situation and probably go on to A Frame.
I'm quite familiar with the trail up to Barr Camp, but really need to get more familiar with the 2 1/2 miles from there to A-Frame.  So, we took it easy (sort of) and got going.  It was good to run again w/ Steve as our last run was before the Waldo Canyon Fire, (he and his wife Kathleen were evacuated for several days but fortunately their house was spared).  So, as the day started and we got rolling we had plenty to talk about.

I didn't take a camera with me, did carry a handheld water bottle - trying to figure out if it would hurt or hinder on race day.  More on that later.  Steve did take his camera and writes a great post  (click on his link above in this post) on our run along with thoughts on the Waldo Canyon fire and impact.
Early on in the W's - notice my nice clean shirt, more on that later too....
Fortunately my back wasn't complaining as we began the tough early stretch up Ruxton, through the W's and beyond.  Steve lead early and then let me pass soon after to set the pace.  Lots of people already on the trail - much more than the past weekend.
We made good time up to Barr Camp - just under 1 hr 55 mins.  The last few miles my back was acting up again - not allowing me to really run with any kind of strength.  But we still managed to keep it more of a run than a walk.  Was a good and productive effort I think overall.  We rested for a bit at Barr Camp - which was already very crowded at 8 am.  I was out of water so Steve filled me up - then he set off back down as a necessary precaution to keep his head / belly from getting worse.  The altitude is a great equaliser / showing no respect for anyone - Steve made a good choice to turn around.

I must of got a second wind after the rest stop at Barr Camp and was able to run at least 2/3rds of the way up to A-Frame - taking just under 50 minutes to cover that stretch, easily my best ever time and I really hope to do that on race day.  With 10 miles in, I was even tempted to go a little higher - but instead decided that I should work on getting familiar with running the stretch down to Barr Camp.

WARNING / WARNING / WARNING / WARNING - I'm gonna post a photo that has got nothing to do with anything, WARNING / WARNING / WARNING - below that will be photos of what happens when you are running at full speed, downhill, on rocky terrain and.......... (if you get grossed out, exit now).

An Ice Cream Burger - the next photos are a different kind of hamburger.
A brief rest at A-Frame and then I started down.  The trail is very technical in several places, lots of rocks and roots of various sizes.  It's really hard to go at a decent speed for any length of time as the moment you come to a somewhat smooth stretch, you then come to a rocky step down, or up or sideways.

So, my first half a mile down was kind of slow, was maintaining a decent pace, but not too fast.  It's a series of switchbacks that gradually get longer as you go further down the trail.  The long one is about 3/4 mile long and in several places allows you to pick up speed, so I did, glancing every now and then at my watch to see my average pace was getting much faster.

At 1.15 miles down the trail, at close to full speed, I stopped running.

I then started crying.  Not just because I had ruined one of my favorite shirts.
In a display of spectacular and memorable wipeouts - I crashed, harder than I ever remember before.  I walked the rest of the 9 miles down.  Training day was over.

I stopped several times on the way down the trail - sympathetic passers by helped me wash out the wounds, provide Neosporin and bandaids.  Those didn't stick on for long and were mostly too small.  The Neosporin seemed to help a lot keep things clean.

My water bottle was in my left hand, that protected that hand.  The rest of my body took some good hits.  (If you have made it this far to look at the pics - here, you can have them).

Lessons learned:
1) Considering running covered in Bubble wrap.
2) Considering not running down a trail.
3) Consider not looking at your watch while running down a trail
4) Consider not running.
5) My back doesn't hurt so much any more.
The morning after - this one hurts the most.
(ps - 20.15 miles on the day w/ 5656' elevation gain and 5hr 38 mins of (sort of) forward progress - the journey down took longer than the journey up).


  1. 6) Consider not reading Craig's post at lunch break when you are eating fresh made salsa....

    Thanks again for the invite as it was a good effort. Glad to get out and run with you, however I don't think this is proper protocol for race training ;-) I bet there was a lot of commentary on the way down!

  2. Plenty of "Oooh's" and "wow, are you okay?". At the Cog Railway, 3 boys (approx 7 yrs) had the following conversation w/ me: Them (after looking at me and my bloody shirt): "WOW, what happened to you? Me: "I got into this huge fight with a Yeti!" Them: "WOW, that's awesome!" Me: I KNOW! But did you see my friend come through? I think the Yeti may have got him?" Them: "No, we didn't - what did he look like?" Me (by now very tired): "A Yeti is this huge, big, white, hairy thing". Them: "If I had a friend who was a Yeti, I wouldn't fight him". End of conversation.

  3. This is exactly why I wear the fingerless bike gloves.

  4. Got some of those gloves this morning - of course I can't get the one on my right hand with all the bandage in the way.