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.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Barr Trail 7.8 miles sign training run

As mentioned in the last post - in these last 3 weeks leading up to race day I will be on the trail for almost all of my training runs.  Started this morning at the race start line and went up almost 6 miles to the 7.8 miles to the summit sign.  That for me has always been a good measuring point, always gives me a better idea than the top of the W's and No-Name Creek checkpoints.

Of course there is still soooooo much more trail to cover between there and the summit, the wheels fall off more times than not - but, it is a round trip just shy of 12 miles, certainly better than running 12 miles on a flatter surface (although that often sounds more appealing during the W's).

I had been perusing the pacing calculator last week and had some splits in mind for todays run, which I was hoping to do at, or very near to, race day effort - on the uphill part.

The results - about 20 seconds ahead of the goal at the top of the W's, about 20 seconds behind at No-Name Creek and about 25 seconds behind at the 7.8 sign.  So, I am pleased with that, but not banking too much on it - because in reality I was giving a strong effort knowing that I was turning around and not having to go the extra 4500 or so feet up.

I turned and came down and a slightly faster than moderate pace.  The W's on the way down were crowded and it also seemed like there were so many more rocks sticking out trying to get me. Fortunately I made it through unscathed for the 11.75 miles, 3100' gain - and finishing it just under 2 hours, 10 minutes.

Monday, July 29, 2013

PPM pre-taper taper week

With now less than 3 weeks till race day -  I am ready to start a taper - but really need this week to get some more tough training runs in.  So, cutting out a day from running this week and next - going from 5 days a week to 4.  Building in an extra recovery day each week will hopefully help balance the training.  My goal is to get to the start finish line healthy and in one piece.

So, not really tapering - more like 4 very course specific runs for this 45 mile week.  In fact, almost all of my runs in these 3 weeks will be on the course. 

I drove to the summit this morning and had an 8 miler on tap.  My goal - down 4 miles at an easy (10 min avg) pace, then work hard on the 4 miles back up, trying to keep the average under 20 min miles.

What I can't simulate is all the other runners being on the course on race day.  The reality is on an out and back course, or more properly said in this case: the up and down course - is that you get to see all the other runners in the race.  Some places on the trail are just not suitable for 2 way traffic - traffic that is in a hurry, at high altitude, on rocky sections of decomposing granite.

I can't train for that really - so I don't really bother thinking about it.  I just need to be as smooth and steady through the other runners, those coming down when I am going up, likewise with those going up while I am maneuvering down.

Today there were a good amount of people on the trail - lots of hikers and no doubt other runners getting some high altitude training in.  I've said it before and I'll say it again - the 16 golden stairs are almost as tough going down as they are going up.  They require a lot of focus, rock hopping and oftentimes I am using my hands for balance on the side rocks to get through. 

Below there though it opens up and today I was feeling peppy so I switched to cruise mode all the way down to tree-line and then the 3 miles below the summit sign.  That next mile below there is another section that really requires focus with lots of rocks, roots and the shadows are always an issue for line of sight.

I slowed through these and eventually made it down 4 miles, approx. 2800 feet below the summit.  It's a tough transition to go from downhill to uphill in this fashion - today my legs immediately were complaining.  Slow grind gear was engaged - and I plugged forward.

After about a 1/3 of a mile I started to get into a rhythm and managed to make some better progress.  I was pleasantly surprised to be able to run significantly more than I have in recent memory for the next 3 miles - so much so that my average pace was under 20 min miles. 

But then came the stairs and I slowed noticeably.  Changing my mind that even though they are hard to go down through - they are definitely worse to go up.  But I made it eventually and summited in a time under my goal of 2 hours.  A successful training run in the books.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Running Problems - solved

I don't think a trail runner would stoop to making something like this.

Of course - watching that video then brings this to mind - which I have posted before - but still brings a smile to me... And then this video kind of reminds me what it is like to run down Barr Trail on Pikes Peak = this one being on a bike in Chile. Which then leads to actual downhill running - Emelie Forsberg in New Zealand. Ahhh running - so simple every child that learns to walk, wants to run - some grow up to be better runners than others. Others supply products to runners....

Happy Friday

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The USAFA Falcon Trail

This trail is becoming a favorite of mine.  It's a 12.9 mile loop, with close to 1400' of elevation gain.  Approx 98% singletrack (you cross a few roads every now and then) and has a few rocky spots that require focus and concentration, but is mostly smooth.  It's quite popular for mountain bikers, runners and don't be surprised if you see people riding horses on the trail sometimes.  It offers awesome views of the Air Force Academy including the chapel, the golf course and backs right into the Rampart range foothills. 

As a civilian, access to the trail is not allowed until 8 am - and I was at the gate today then, ready to do a lap.  The weather was good, 70 degrees when I started just after 8:15.  Cloud cover had the humidity level up a bit, but not too bad.  I think the faster direction to go is clockwise, my nemesis is counter clockwise because of an ascending climb that seems to take forever that begins less than 2 miles into the loop.

My previous best time (for either direction) has been 2:14.  I usually run through the parking lot at the end of the loop to round out the distance to an even 13 miles.  Today - I wanted to push, believing that if couldn't break 2 hours then I should be left on the trail as food for wildlife.

And so off I went, counter clockwise, with a couple of bottles in hand, keeping the first mile at a smooth 8 minute pace - it is slightly downhill and a good way to start - easing into the run.  It was a good opportunity to see how my body was feeling after Mondays Pikes Peak effort of 6 1/2 hours (26 miles).  I was glad there was no soreness in my legs.  A good start.

2 miles in and the climbing had begun - I focused in moving smooth and steady.  In every previous run I have struggled on this 1 1/3 mile long climb because it's such a mind numbing section to do in oppressive heat because it is quite exposed - today however, there was a bit of a breeze and the sun was not bearing down so hard.

Approx 3 1/3 miles in and my pace had slowed to an 8:49 average - pleased with that because I was hoping to be at 9 or faster.  Then a downhill stretch that takes the trail close to the Academy chapel, followed by another climb - less severe than the first - but still needing effort to achieve and maintain pace.

My plan on the climbs (5 noticeable ones in this direction) was to be slower, but steady and smooth - while trying to not redline and bonk out later.  At the end of the second climb the trail comes past an overlook for the chapel - about 5 miles in - and this was where my pace had slowed to a 9:02 average.  Again I was quicker than I was expecting.  Encouraging signs so far and a gentle downhill followed for approx. 3/4 of a mile before the 3/4 mile climb to the high point of the trail - the parking lot to the Stanley Canyon trailhead.

My desire was to be there as close as I could be to an hour - 62 minutes being my initial target.  As I approached the halfway point I fueled up quickly and at 6 1/2 miles my watch read 59:20.  A 2 hour loop was reachable now - with the finish being 800' lower than the high point I was now at.  There were still 2 tough climbs to go, and of course 6 1/2 miles - but the downhill sections, especially near Stanley Canyon were long and smooth.  A chance to drop my average - which was now up to 9:08 per mile.

I was feeling okay, no real big fatigue in the legs and I felt like I had fueled well so far.  I was also feeling confident I could go sub 2 hours, maybe even pull off a 1:55 if I pushed it.  So, I dialed up the effort a bit.  The miles clicked off and the average dropped below 9, then below 8:50 before I got to the fire station where 2 or so weeks ago I had spent 15 - 20 minutes trying to recover from dehydration and exhaustion on a 2 lap / 26 miler.

Today - I shuffled by, barely even glancing at it, instead looking at my watch and then the quite mean uphill section just past the fire station that is possibly the steepest part of the trail.  Fortunately it is less than 3/4 mile long.  Unfortunately it beat me up and I slowed dramatically.  But I eventually made it to the top and had just over 3 miles to go.

Some tired math in my head resulted in me thinking that if I could push a bit more now, then not only could I get under 2 hours, but 1:55 was reachable.  I dialed up the effort as the trail eased downhill.  An 8 minute mile resulted.  My quads were now reminding me of the 7800' descent they had carried me just 3 days earlier and I was getting weary.  I began to wish for company, someone to push and motivate me to keep moving.  The memory of last years PPM descent came to me where for long sections of trail below tree line it was just me running alone.  I couldn't rely on anyone else but me to stay focused and keep pushing.

2 miles to go, one more climb that was looming, my math was telling me that sub 1:55 was possible - especially if I could navigate the final climb because at the top of that it was only a 1/2 mile to go till the parking lot.  I struggled and pushed, fatigue a factor now, as well as a desire to be done.  I made it to the top of the last hill, overlooking the Football stadium, but I didn't even glance at it.

I pushed on - it wasn't easy, but trail running isn't easy if you are in a hurry - which I was.  Finally to the parking lot and 12.9 miles.  I ran a weird little loop of the parking lot to bring the total distance to 13 miles.  My 2nd half of the course was a zippy 53:30 for a total time of 1:52:50.  A new PR and feeling good about my improving fitness.

All in all - I am encouraged about where I am at physically after a run like today's.  I took over 21 minutes off my previous best time on the trail.  That's much, much better than I was hoping for and is a welcome surprise.  But I am quickly reminded that it was less than 1/2 the distance of my goal race, and about 6400' less gain than PPM has.  So, I think I am safe to say that I may be fit enough to do a Trail half marathon - but as for a full marathon such as Pikes Peak - I'm not there yet, and not much time till it gets here, whether I am ready or not.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pikes Peak Competitive Entries posted

I was just perusing the PPM website and saw that the comp entry bio's page is not filled out yet (update - now it is, with some impresive resume's in there) - however, on the Marathon prediction page there are a few names showing up - notably, Anton Krupicka on the list (prediting a 3:50 time). 

Whereas for the Ascent predictions, comp entry names are up there too - I don't recognize any "notable names", aside from Chris Siemers.

Race weekend is getting closer.....heart beating a little faster.....gulp.....heart rate still spiking's still 3 1/2 weeks away......heart rate trying to calm down.....oh yeah it's Wednesday today! what's for dessert?.....trying not to think about the race.......

Finisher shirts and medals pictures are posted.
Oh, and bib numbers are assigned. (#193 for me)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Classic 10K and Pikes Peak training run

Back in early Spring I did some volunteering and as a result got a free race entry to the Classic 10K (This years results).  I pr'd my 10K time in it last year (43:20), this year I treated the race as a measuring stick of where I am in my fitness.  Despite not doing any specific training for it I went into it with a plan to hopefully pull off a new pr. 

I had recovered well from the Barr Trail Mountain race the Sunday before and didn't adjust any training runs during the week - my goal race is the Pikes Peak Marathon - the Classic 10K would serve as a tempo run / measuring stick run.

Saturday morning dawned with cloud cover and humidity nearing 90% - not what we are used to here in Colorado.  Needless to say - a very sweaty run was on tap.

My race went well - almost exactly to my plan, which was to start slower and each mile increase my average pace by 5 seconds.  So, first mile was 7:14.  2nd mile 14:10.  Mile 3 exactly 21 minutes.  From there I managed to maintain on or thereabouts the 7 min mile average through the last 1/2 mile - when I put my head down and pushed to try to beat my goal time.  I was really just hanging on for the last 3 miles - I am not built to run 7 or sub 7 minute miles.  But I pulled it off.

Success - albeit by only 10 seconds, but still a new pr of 43:10.

And then there is the reality of the marathon now less than 4 weeks away.  Recently on the race homepage they have put up a video covering the Ascent from 2010.  Then it rolls into a video from last years marathon - goosebump worthy viewing (at least for me). 

So, with a few more weeks of tough training runs before a taper time I am really looking forward to - I set out this morning to do an Ascent.  I loaded up with my Camelback - more water than I thought I would need for the run, but it ended up being just enough. 

One of my favorite things to do is to be on Pikes Peak to watch the sun come over the horizon.  This morning was just as beautiful as always.  However as the sun was coming up I was already walking.  The extra weight of the water was weighing me down and I was tired, resorting to walking before even getting to the top of the W's.  I managed to keep moving, trying to walk / hike / jog, but I was struggling.  I got to Barr Camp finally and it was quite depressing to see 2:05 had already passed - way, way slower than I wanted and not giving me much hope for an Ascent time quicker than when I had done it 2 weeks ago (4:11 then).

I had been drinking my water though and eating steadily on the way - plus I was carrying a new (to me in the past couple of months) hydration product called Skratch (which has a nice and down to earth u tube ad).  So as I shuffled through Barr Camp I wasn't feeling great - but I still had feeling in my extremities, so I shuffled forward. 

2 weeks prior I had struggled a lot from here on up - taking almost 2 hours 10 minutes to get from Barr Camp to the Summit.  Today, I surprised myself and did it just under 2 hours.  Pleased with a total time just under 4:05.  With that somewhat success, I almost fed myself donuts from the Summit house.  But I didn't - instead refueling with some better food and beverage - then I let the altitude get to me and decided - "eh, why not run back down instead of hitch-hiking".  So I did.  I took my time, not wanting to trash my legs too badly and especially not wanting to take a tumble.

Made it down in a bit under 2:25 for a total time just under 6:30, totaling 26 miles and 7800+ feet of elevation gain.  I did stop my watch at the Summit for 10 minutes and then back in Manitou to get myself an ice-cream from Matt Carpenters Frozen Custard Store.  I restarted my watch for the final 1/5 of a mile as I delightfully inhaled the frozen goodness, walking back to my car.

So, all in all a good couple of runs, but like I mentioned earlier in this post - my body is weary with training.  It's good and necessary though and runs like today's should pay off on race day I hope.  Still not sure what kind of effort and time for the race I am capable and able to pull off - so that is why I have several more tough training runs to do - in hopes of being as best prepared as possible on race day.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fall off the wagon Wednesday

My favorite day of the week is Wednesday.  Some people call it hump day.  It's the day stuck between the weekend past and weekend to come.  For me, I call it "Fall off the wagon Wednesday".

It starts out like any other normal day - I get up, I run (today was 12 miles), eat breakfast, and go to work and spend a day getting work stuff done.  By the end of the work day my anticipation level is almost redlining with delight - because on almost every Wednesday night I go to my friends house and we eat dinner.  And then usually we go for a 1/2 hour walk, have a cup of tea, we chat, sometimes we watch a movie.  We hang out and it is good.  And then, it happens: we fall off the wagon:


Some weeks for dessert we have fruit, last week it was strawberries - with heavy whipping cream.  Other weeks it has been cake, or pie, or brownies.  Ice cream is often included - and let me tell you - it is good to fall off the wagon into a messy bowl of deliciousness.

I get to bring the dessert most nights - tonight I am actually making it and it is peach cobbler and I can't wait.  There will likely be ice cream involved also.  I'm drooling a little thinking about it.

It helps a little to take a break from what is going on in my life - not just with running and training hard for Pikes Peak - and I think it keeps me sane.  I am eating quite well and responsibly for every other meal of the week - and feeling quite healthy and my fitness level is improving.  It's a healthy wagon to be on. 

But in just a few hours I am belly flopping off this wagon into a bowl of awesome.  I can't wait.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Barr Trail Mountain Race Report 2013

Pre race I slept better than most times before a race - probably due to low expectations.  I had ran 50 miles the week before, 80 in the past 8 days - these numbers are way, way high for me.  I was a wee bit tired going into the race, so I had no clue as to how I would do.  I chatted and jogged a bit with George pre race and by the time the race was ready to start I had decided to just run by feel, trying to stay mentally in it and remember throughout that it would be good training for PPM coming up in 5 weeks.

I surprised myself and did really well, setting new PR's up the W's, through No-name creek, the 7.8 miles sign and got to Barr Camp just under 1 hr 30 minutes - first time beating 90 minutes to get there from the Cog Railway start line.  My only rough patch going up was at the 1/2 mile to go to Barr Camp sign when I got the wobblies in my legs for not having eaten anything the whole run.  So I walked for about 3 or 4 minutes while eating some food.

That helped quickly and I ran the last couple of minutes to Barr Camp and turned around to get to work on the descent.  At this stage I was capable of getting close to a 2:15 finish.  I ran strong for the next 2 1/2 miles and thankfully my ankles, knees, hips, gut and noggin were all behaving responsibly - it was fun to cruise and push with a tough, but makeable time target ahead.

Then just before no-name creek aid station my race ended.  I caught up to another runner who had just fallen hard and she needed help.  So, we jogged the rest of the race together to the finish.  She showed great courage and determination to finish despite falling a couple of other times in those last 4 miles.  I was trying hard the whole way to point out to her all the rocks, roots and bumps in the trail, where to slow down, when to start singing, when to cry a little louder, I learnt one of her favorite songs was "all I do is win, win, win" or something - I'm not familiar with the song (or winning) but it got us through a few miles and we eventually crossed the finish line.

After the race I enjoyed some good pizza and watermelon at the awards ceremony, watching GZ take 10th overall and 1st Master, hanging out with him and Brad who took 12th overall (2nd Master) 

In slowing down I saved a good trashing of my legs and as I type this I feel better than I ever have after running up to Barr Camp and back.  So much so that I did an easy 3 miles this morning - something I have never done after a tough race like that one.

Looking forward to Pikes Peak Marathon coming up.  890 other runners and I are counting down the days.  I am encouraged by my improving fitness, I'm not where I want to be yet, and the journey there has many miles, many hours and a few tubs of sweat to go.  But today I feel good.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Barr Trail conditions for the race this Sunday

I was curious to see what yesterdays flash flood on nearby Highway 24 did to the Barr Trail, in light of the race coming up on Sunday.  I had already planned on running up to Barr Camp this morning, so it was both a training run and a "check the trail conditions" run.  Happy to report that the trail is in good shape and is dry almost the entire way.  No washouts or damage that I could see along the entire course.  The small stretch of water in the little creek bed about 1/5 mile below Barr Camp is a little wet - but no problem at all.

As for my run, I started a little below the Cog railway and went up about a 1/2 mile above Barr Camp - so as to get 14 miles in for my round trip.  Slow and steady on the way up, then easy back down.  Feeling definite weary legs from prior running days, round trip of 2:48 ish, 3900' elevation gain.  I had signed up to do the race with my son - but he has bagged out - his soccer addiction is consuming him, or his texting addiction, or just because he is 14.   Whatever, if he trained and ran it he would probably have beat me anyway.

I have not run the race since 2010 - when I did a 2:20 and change.  I'm hoping to get close to that this year but will be okay if I sneak under 2:30.  I'm feeling tired, not fully fit and treating it as training for PPM 5 weeks after where I am hoping to be in "peak" condition.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tough training runs for Pikes Peak Marathon training

Going into the 4th of July weekend it was 6 weeks to race day and my longest run to date had been 13 miles.  I had run that distance 4 times in June - that being a base building month - but for whatever reason I was not able to expand my long run distance beyond 13 miles.  Now, July is here and even though I think I have a fairly smart training plan mapped out - it is ambitious for me.

So, the opportunity to go longer happened on Thursday - 2 laps of the 13 mile loop of Falcon Trail on the Air Force Academy - nothing like doubling your longest distance to (recent) date.  My goal was simple: finish.  I knew I would have difficulty on lap 2 - and I did, taking 40 minutes longer than the first.  More on that in a moment or two.

Lap one was comfortable and I was joined by Steve (Happy Trails), we took it nice and conversational the whole way.  As I started on lap 2, Steve continued with me for another mile plus before he had to turn back for his rest of the day plans.  After saying goodbye, my slog began and I quickly ran out of water in the next 4 miles - with 8 to 9 miles to go I knew I needed to be careful - so I dialed it way back and tried to not overheat. 

I eventually made it to the Stanley Canyon parking lot and a family graciously gave me 20 ounces of water.  For the next 2 to 3 miles the trail went mostly downhill and I continued to take it easy, mixing in a bunch of long walking breaks.  I quickly ran out of water again and walked very slowly for another approx. 2 miles before staggering into a fire station alongside the trail.  I must have been a mess as I entered, the firefighters allowed me to sit and stay for 10 - 15 minutes and I drank close to 40 ounces of water and ate their food.

Finally, feeling a little better I left, walked up the last of the steep hills and was then able to run the last 3 miles - slowly, but effectively.  26.25 miles on the day, with that bit extra added on for the 2 small detours off the trail, just under 3000' gain and almost 5 1/2 hours on my feet.

Friday was a running rest day - but that and the 2 weekend days involved some numbing cross training: that being painting the exterior of my house, roller and brush style.  Up and down the ladder several hundred times for 4 to 6 hours each day.

My two weekend runs are usually light runs - Saturday was a 3 mile jaunt on the treadmill at 15% grade - doing minute intervals.  Not exactly easy, in fact I was a sweaty mess long before I was done.  Then on Sunday I did an easy 10 miler - out and back on Santa Fe Trail.  This run was longer than my usual Sunday run too.

And then there was today..... another ambitious run.  The highest I have been up Barr Trail in the past many months was the "1/2 mile to Barr Camp" sign.  Today - like last Thursday - I was looking to about double it.  With an early start I planned on going up the entire trail and doing the Ascent.  This time I carried a water pack and more food - I was not going to run out today.  But with the extra weight, not to mention 7900' elevation gain over the 13 miles - my goal today was simple too: finish.

It wasn't pretty - well the trail was, but I wasn't - and I walked most of the top 4 miles, finally summiting in 4:11.  No problems with running out of food or water though.

So, in 5 days I have run 52+ miles, gained about 12,000', been on my feet running or walking (not including ladder / painting time) for about 11 1/2 hours - plus I had a rest day in there.  For me, that is a tough training block that I am glad I am done with.  Hopefully it will bank well for race day.  I still have a lot more work to do though.  But next up: a nap.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Heart rate is overrated, or over-inflated

I've had a Garmin watch for about 3 years and it came with a heart rate monitor that I have only just started using in the past couple of months.  I think I am ready to unplug it, not because I don't like it - but because I don't like what it says.
Wearing it on most runs recently a common occurrence on each and every run has got my attention.  I usually start my run with a resting heart rate of about 80 to 90 - but then for the first 1 mile, sometimes a little longer, it spikes up to near 190 and stays there for a mile or more.  This can be on a flat trail or on a steep climb like the Manitou Incline. 
After that initial mile long spike it will then suddenly drop back to about 120-140 or so depending on the terrain that I am running.  For the remaining time in a run - be it 4, 8, 12 or whatever miles the heart rate will slightly climb but not usually get back up much over 150.
What do I do with this info?  I have no idea.  Is it a quirk or a glitch with the HRM or Garmin?  Is my heart about to burst in the first mile of every run?  It happens on my slow and easy runs of 9 ish mile pace too - fwiw.
I'm wondering before I start on a run I should maybe do jumping jacks to get the heart rate up or something.  I like the idea of the data it provides - I think it should help me understand a little bit more or my running / effort.  But, is it really accurate and helpful?  Or maybe I should just unplug it? 

26 long slow miles on the docket for tomorrow, 2 laps of the Falcon Trail at the Air Force Academy.  Wondering how my heart will like that. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Barr Trail 1 minute repeats x 50

Fresh off the month of June - getting a less than desired 152 miles in - Sunday June 30th marked 7 weeks till Pikes Peak Marathon race day.  July for me is the crucial training month.  Due to the 6 week layoff for the sprained ankle that kept me from running at all until mid May - I really focused on June just getting that stronger and getting into better overall fitness.  I am less trained than where I was last year at this time - but hoping that will translate into being a little more "fresher" when it comes to race day. 

I have a lot of work to do to get to the start line.

Ambitious month ahead - 2 x 26 mile training runs planned on the Falcon Trail at the Air Force Academy, 2 Ascents of Pikes Peak planned, 2 races: (Barr Trail Mtn Race & Classic 10K), lots of running vertical, lots of high altitude running and in the neighborhood of about 200 total miles.

One of the most ridiculously hard training runs I did last year was 1 minute repeats going up Barr Trail.  Starting at the Cog Railway (BTMR start line) and going 1 minute running as hard as possible, then 1 minute recovery (try to walk forward rather than keel over), rinse and repeat.  I did 40 minutes of this last year, twice.  That was enough for me.

I had conveniently forgotten how tough it was - so this morning I thought I would do it for 4 miles up, then 4 miles down.  For those familiar with Ruxton Avenue - the first 1/2 mile or so on the paved section just above Hydro Street is actually steeper than most of the Barr Trail.  1 minute into my run, I was ready to roll over and tap out.  The second minute (which was the recovery minute) into my run I couldn't breathe, couldn't see straight and couldn't move forward at all. 

60 seconds is not a long time, especially when trying to recover - it ended way too soon and I ran again.  Hard, hurting, suffering, desperately looking at my watch counting down the seconds till that next minute passed.  It finally did, I was spent.  I managed to walk / shuffle forward for another minute.  The pattern continued, I made it up the W's in about 29 minutes, kept going, and going, and slowing, and going.

Finally, an hour after I started I had gone 4 miles - a blistering 15 minute per mile average.  I had gained 2600' and was a wobbly mess.  I took a minute to catch my breath, drink some fluids and then start back down.  Again the plan was 1 minute run, 1 minute walk, and continue all the way back to the Cog Railway.  I need to get my body used to the downhill pounding for PPM.  It's really 2 races in one: the 13 miles up gaining almost 8000 vertical feet, followed immediately by coming back down the same trail.

It wasn't easy and it certainly wasn't pretty, running almost as fast as I could downhill, almost out of control at time - for minute long sections, then braking to a slow walk for a minute.  Doing this (hopefully) didn't trash my legs too much, yet also helped with the needed quick tempo foot placing, especially over the several rocky sections.  Back down in 40 minutes.  All told: 50 x 1 minute on, 50 x 1 minute off.  That's a math equation I don't want to see again soon.

A very tough training run, I'll be doing similar ones again on the trail - but not often, they hurt too much.