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.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

15 days between marathons - what am i doing?

Pikes Peak Marathon was August 18th, the American Discovery Trail Marathon is Labor Day morning.  15 days between 2 polar opposite marathons.  PPM has 7800' of ascent and descent, peaking over 14,000' elevation.  ADT has a net loss of about 1100'.  ADT runs on hard packed gravel and concrete - wide open trail.  PPM is about 90 % singletrack, not to mention roots, rocks, step ups, step down, sharp turns.  ADT is point to point, PPM is an out and back (better described as an up and down).

The training for the two races is completely different.  For PPM a boatload of vertical, lots of long runs and several drives to the Summit of Pikes Peak to try to get used to the lack of oxygen.  For ADT - ummm, I have done nothing specific for it at all.  That's because the motivation for the 2 races is completely different too.  Pikes was my goal race of the year.  ADT is a race I signed up to run a 9:07 - 9:08 average per mile pace so as to finish within 2 minutes of 4 hours.  It will be my first time as a pacer. 

The only things the 2 races have in common are that they are both marathons and both local to the greater Colorado Springs area.  It's a bit of a shame that the 2 races are so close together on the Calendar - because I would like to give them both a good effort.   As of now I am leaning towards just doing ADT next year and giving it my best effort in the hopes that I can get a Boston Qualifying time (3:25).  That would mean I would not do PPM.

So this week I ran a tempo 8 miler on Monday, a 10 miler yesterday at 9 minute average and today I ran the 13 mile loop of the Falcon Trail (clockwise).  I think I am carrying some decent overall fitness from PPM into ADT - so I am basically relying on that to get me through the 26.2 miles on Monday morning.  I am also banking that it will be a good training run for the 50K that I am thinking of doing the last week of September. 

If I make it through the ADT marathon okay - I will likely commit to the 50K - which I have never run that distance before, and as a result I have no idea how I will do.  But I guess that is part of the draw towards doing it.

ps - my time today on the Falcon Trail was 1:58 - a new PR for the clockwise direction, but over 5 minutes slower than the counter clockwise lap I did about a month ago.  I'll tack on a couple of short, easy runs this weekend - giving me 40 miles on the week - and that will be the extent of my training for ADT.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Greenland Trail - A Pesky PR

This is an 8 mile loop on dirt with 540' or so of elevation gain - this has been a combination of nemesis / fitness test for me in the past few years.  I set my PR on the trail August last year - a few weeks before Pikes Peak Marathon.

This morning I went with no intentions of going zippy - just wanted to do a moderate 8 minute average for a 64 minute "shake the cobwebs out" run.  I have run 3 times since PPM - each time was just an easy jog, near 9 minute average.

Started out the first mile at exactly 8 minutes and all seemed good.  The first 3 1/3 miles are a gradual grade up, mindless at times and often times I have gone out too fast - and subsequently have hit the crapper by the time the last few miles roll around.

I didn't look at my watch again until just before 3 miles in, I thought I had been maintaining the same effort as mile 1, but was surprised to see my average was down to 7:52.  Hmmmm, I thought - maybe I should see what happens if I kept going like this.

Kipps saddle is the meat of the run, a decent climb up with just a couple of flat spots.  I kept going and by the time I reached the top of the saddle, with 3 miles to go - I was 40:20 in to the run.  I have been able to do 7 minute miles from here to the finish before.  So, I was encouraged with the possibility of coming close to the 61:16 PR I had set a year ago.

I pushed forward, feeling strong.  The 3 miles begin mostly downhill, then with 3 flat and slightly uphill traverses across spread out amongst more slightly downhill trail.  At 1 1/4 miles to go the last downhill goes for 1/3 of a mile - leaving just under a mile of rolling terrain - that is also more downhill than up.  But it always seems like a long, tough mile when working to get through it in a hurry.

2 miles to go and I was tracking well, not sure what I could finish up with, but sensing I was now tracking a new PR.  I slowed just a bit on some of the flat traversing sections - wanting to keep a bit of energy to push the last 3/4 mile.  As I came down the last hill I had lost track of math - not really surprising - but I knew I had a shot of getting under 61 minutes for the first time ever.

As always - that last mile was wearying, but I managed to find another gear and grind out a solid effort, crossing the 8 mile mark and finish line in 60:30.  46 seconds better than ever before.  The last 3 miles in 20:10 - really close to a 5K PR pace. 

Really happy with the time, not expected nor planned for - but I will take it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

After Pikes Peak marathon - it's time to run forward

“Things may happen and often do to people as brainy and footsy as you” - Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

My goal race of the year is in the books.   I didn't run as fast as I wanted to, but I won an age group award and that was one of my goals.  It's too soon for certain - but as of now - I don't think I will do it next year.  Of course, I may change my mind.

Instead I may focus on a Boston Marathon Qualifying time - which for my age group is 3:25:00.  I ran a 3:25:34 PR a little over 2 years ago - which gives me hope of the potential of a BQ.   But that is next year, between now and then I have a couple of other events shaping up.

I signed up to pace the 4 hour group at the local American Discovery Trail Marathon on Labor Day.  I have not run as a pacer before, but I am actually looking forward to it and feel quite confident of running a steady 9:08 - 9:10 pace for 26.2 miles on a course I have run before and run on parts of it very frequently.

That run will be a training run however, as I am looking further ahead to a race in late September that will take me longer than I have ever run before.  50 kilometers.  It is after all only 5 miles longer than a marathon, should be easy to do that.  I am kidding of course.  I expect 31+ miles on a hilly (Over 5000' gain) mountain trail to be just as tough as the PPM, possibly tougher.

I have recovered well from this past Sunday.  My quads were fine by Tuesday and really didn't hurt much at all on Monday.  Any residual soreness I have had has been my right calf - still occasionally spasms, a little wierd.  I went for a 3 mile hike up Mt Herman late on Tuesday, taking my time and enjoying a new (to me trail) that gained almost 1700' in less than 1 1/2 miles.

My first run since PPM was this morning, 3 1/2 miles at 9 min pace - which felt very comfortable - on the Santa Fe Trail.  So I am looking forward to easing back into running, building on my current fitness and trying my hand at my first "ultra" distance in about 5 weeks.

Oh yeah, then a week or so after that I have my gall bladder surgery scheduled.  That should be fun too.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Monday, August 19, 2013

2013 Pikes Peak Marathon Race Report

The day arrived clear and calm - I was prepared to run, to hurt, to suffer, to finish.  The night before I had dropped off my kids and asked them each to give me something to write on my arm that might help me in the race.

From my youngest - "Just breathe"
My oldest daughter - "Don't fall"
My son - "Love it"
I wrote them all on my right forearm in black ink - so that whenever I looked at my watch I would be reminded.

The gun went off and I settled into a comfortable pace along Manitou Ave and made the turn onto Ruxton Ave.  As the climbing began I felt good, dialing the effort back a bit as we went past the Cog Railway and then Hydro St.

As we hit the steep paved section just beyond Hydro Street most of the people around me immediately went to walk / power hike mode - as is my custom, I kept running - albeit very slowly.  Power hikers easily passed me.  But I have learnt that the sooner I start walking the more frequently I will walk later on up the trail.

As we turned onto the trail I was feeling good, the temperatures were nice but I could feel them warming and wondered how warm it would be when I came back down.  This prompted me to remember to drink plenty of fluids throughout the race.

As we continued up through the W's there was not a lot of changing positions, most runners kept in single file.  Occasionally the train would pass a runner, or a runner would go past the train.  I had made a mental note of my desired splits - I thought I was capable of a sub 3:20 summit time.  When I crested the top of the W's I was almost a minute ahead of my initial split goal - and feeling very encouraged, more importantly though I was feeling like I had not expended a lot out of the tank.

I quickly repeated to myself what was written on my arm - the note that stuck out then was "Love it" - so far I was loving how things were going.   I was also reminded to keep breathing.  When I looked at "Don't Fall" what came to mind was to focus and stay focused.  A long, long way to go.

As I approached the Aid Station at No-Name Creek I ate my first snack - a home made Helen Bar which has become my go to food while running and crossed the split timing mat at 57 minutes, under a 3:15 summit pace and still feeling good.  Loving it, breathing and focused.

As the trail now entered the Aspen groves I knew there was a few long switchbacks that help gain elevation quickly over the next half mile or so - but then after that the flat section of the trail comes.  That was good motivation as I continued forward.  Still running, mostly with a now familiar group of other runners whom I had been with for the last couple of miles.  We would leapfrog past each other occasionally - but for the most part everyone had their eyes forward, heads down and were pressing on well it seemed.

The next place of note for me on the trail was Bob's road aid station where I had another Helen Bar and stopped to refill my water bottle with water and a packet of Skratch Hydration.  Unfortunately I had trouble getting the packet open and had to stop for about 30 seconds - nevertheless I got it done and filled and kept on going.

Next landmark for me came shortly after, the 7.8 miles sign.  In preparation for the race I had determined that once I reached that landmark I could estimate it would take me 2 hours if all was going well to reach the Summit.  Unfortunately I forgot to look at my watch as I passed the sign - remembering when I had already gone by it.

On towards Barr Camp next and this next section was a tough one to keep focus on as there is a lot of flat, even downhill running parts of the trail.  It's tempting to open up the gas a bit, it's also easy to lose focus and allow the opportunity to regroup breathing and heart rate go by.  I went through this section average at best, all too soon it ended and the grade increased.

I got my focus back and kept working, still running and making good time, eventually getting to the Barr Camp Aid Station in 1:40 1/2 - still tracking a sub 3:20 summit time.  I ate again and kept going, still being able to run.  I was feeling okay as I entered this next 2 1/2 mile stretch below tree line that is always a tough one.  It's now above 10,000' feet and has been a really tough stretch of the course always in the past. 

I was determined to keep running it as much as I could.  It gets a little rocky in places, step ups become more frequent and running rhythm is choppy at best.  By now I was starting to pass a few more people - it always gives me motivation to pass someone.

About a mile past Barr Camp is the Turn off for Devils Playground - a trail I have never been on, although would like to one day.  Today was not a good day to go exploring though.  I kept repeating my mantra's "Keep Breathing", "Don't fall" (Stay focused) and "Love it".  Love it was losing it's appeal a bit by now but I managed to run more than hike as much as I could.

And then it happened.  Last year at A-Frame I stepped up on a rock and a shot of fire came across my right calf.  This year it came 4 miles from the Summit.  I have no idea what it is, cramps, fatigue or something to do with the compression socks that I was wearing.  At first it wasn't untolerable - but certainly was recogniseable.  I had been fueling well - much better than last year.  I just don't know what causes it - it has only ever happen in this race to me - each of the past 2 years

It remains a mystery why it happens - I hope to figure it out one day.  The result of it happening was that I had to decrease my effort and push forward.  Every time I tried to dig a little deeper and push forward with more effort the fire in both calves would flare up.  Fortunately I was near the A-Frame aid station so I drank most of my remaining fluids, hoping that would help.

As I got to the aid station I gagged down a gel, chased by a few grapes and refilled my skratch bottle.  I was to A-Frame checkpoint just under 2:27 - ahead of last years time and still ahead of a sub 3:30 summit.  Adding to the calves firing now my lower back was hurting, stiff and uncomfortable.  I had reached survival mode. 

Above tree line I managed to jog for a while but quickly resorted to hiking as the calves kept firing with any attempt at increased exertion.  I ran when I could, hiked more than I should and kept pressing forward.

Just below Cirque is the last Aid station before the summit.  I tried to eat my last Helen Bar and got half of it down, stopped to refill my bottle with water and Skratch and then kept moving.  A dozen or so steps after the aid station I threw up - having never done that before while running it was a new experience, not a happy one.  I didn't feel any better after it but was commited to keep moving forward.

I had little to offer for the next mile to gain the Summit - I managed at times to run for a few steps, but was walking mostly.  I held out some hope that once I got to the turn-around I could make up some time - but the closer I got to the top the more my legs were burning and now my stomach was feeling incredibly tight.

The stop and start effort through the 16 golden stairs - due primarily to the 2 way traffic - was frustrating because I just wanted to get to the top and begin the descent.  Finally I made it to the top in 3:31 1/2 - 2 minutes faster than last year which seemed promising at the time, but I knew that I was in for a tough struggle in getting down.

Survival mode was in full effect, I was able to pass people but I didn't have any push in me.  Each time I tried my calves kept on firing out and with a tense stomach area that may or may not have been contributed to with the gall stones - I just couldn't "go".
    I reached A-Frame, quickly looking at my watch and by now I was slightly behind my time from last year.

I was frustrated but couldn't do anything about it.  I drank 2 cups of water - best water on the mountain as they filter it out of the stream beside A-Frame - and grabbed some grapes. 

With me feeling like crap now I needed to at least stay upright, so I took it carefully through the rocky sections, still occasionally passing people but nowhere near as many as the previous year. 

Slowly the miles ticked off, I went through Barr Camp, drinking more water and was able to get down some more grapes.  Below Barr Camp my calves were worthless and the few noticeable step down rocks caused fire ups that made my knees wobble and I thought I was going to buckle and crumble a few times.  Fortunately, I didn't and managed to keep going.

I tried to stay positive, trying to convince myself that I was still "loving it" - I really wasn't.  I hurt.  I kept breathing but the stomach was tight, couldn't get any good deep breaths and I was so ready to be done.  I was checking my time as each mile slowly went by - I already knew that I would be slower than last year, and was in danger of falling behind a 5:30 finish time.

That became my motivation, that and the finish line where I could just lie down.  2 guys passed me near No-Name Creek - I tried to keep up but my body revolted at the idea of trying any harder.

Every now and then I would pass someone, giving me a brief push of adrenaline - but that was short lived as I still had several miles to go.  I entered the W's, the temps were warmer now and I had been hearing rumbles of thunder on and off for the last 1/2 hour - so it felt a little humid too. 

As I turned off the W's the last aid staion was there and I passed a girl - the eventual 9th place female finisher - a guy volunteer yelled out "don't let a girl beat you!"  He was outnumbered by other volunteers there and was roundly boo'd.

It was the home stretch and I came to the pavement, just over a mile to go.  All I had left was fueled by a desire to just finish.  I found another gear and pushed forward - getting closer and closer to the finish.  As I did the crowds increased and so did the encouragement.  A huge boost and much appreciated.

Finally I turned onto Manitou Ave and crossed the finish line 5:24:48 - good for 77th place overall - almost 6 minutes slower than last year.

After a few minutes in the tent, admittedly a little frustrated with the time I had posted, I managed to get up and wander across to check the results.  To my surprise and joy - I had finished 5th in my age group!  That made a tough day feel so much better.  I loved it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Running the Pikes Peak Marathon on Sunday

What that means (to me) is an opportunity to overcome mental limitations, to push myself harder than ever before - and then, only to push beyond that.  It is an event where expectations are high, desire is great and the challenge is huge.  It's tough, it will hurt, it is not easy at any time during the race.

I have trained hard and well for the race.  Sure I would like to not have had a sprained ankle 3 - 4 months ago, and needing to have surgery to remove my gallbladder soon after the race has impacted me some too.  But I am not looking for, or wanting to use excuses. 

I have pondered obsessed needlessly over race splits, other runners, other runners previous race results, other runners predictions, and wasted too much time considering what I need to do in order to "beat" them.

I have experimented with food, hydration, training runs, shoes, clothes, sunscreen, sunglasses and sleep.

I have had many people express interest and support - hoping that I do well.  Their well wishes and encouragement has been well received and I truly appreciate it, and them too.

I have met some great people, fellow runners, on the trails - chatting sometimes with them, sharing stories and some of the details that I know about the race.

I am grateful that I have the experience of completing the race before. 

I know the trail quite well.  I know what it is like to be really lightheaded above tree-line.  I know what it's like to go through the 16 Golden Stairs with a few hundred other people.  I know what it is like to fall on the trail - going up and coming down.  I know that it hurts.  I know what it is like to reach the summit and realize that it is only halfway through the race.  I know that coming down the mountain is a completely different race.

I have had some really good training runs - that point towards a really good result.  I have had some frustrating and miserable runs - that point towards me not even bothering to show up.

But, I will show up on Sunday.  I will run.  I will try to run smart.  I will try not to race anyone else (at least going up - coming down may be a different story).  I will try to stay focused throughout the entire race. 

I know what it is like to finish the race.  I know what it is like to cross the finish line knowing that I have given my best effort.  Last year that was a finishing time of 5:19:05.  This year I want to finish knowing that I have given my best effort - if that translates in time faster than last years - I'll be happy.

I would like to win an age group award.  That requires beating some other runners.  I know that I can't control or impact any other runners - so I need to remember that and run my own race, in essence ignoring everyone else.  If I do that - and it results in a shiny trinket, then I will be happier still.

If I don't - well there is always next year.

For those doing the race (and / or the Ascent on Saturday) I wish you all the best.  Do your best.  Run hard and run with excellence.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The 4 letter word that will most impact my Pikes Peak Marathon

The 4 letter words that will be used this weekend for the Ascent on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday are sure to be plentiful, colorful and in many cases unrepeatable.  These are 2 tough mountain races that really test strength, mental focus, character, stability, endurance, and in many cases: humility - and these are often before each runner reaches the starting line.   After the starting gun goes off: 4 letter words let loose.

I have run both races, the Ascent 2 years ago and the marathon last year.  After running both races and each year doing better than I anticipated in regards to a finishing time - I am going into this years race with an uneasy feeling. 

Before I describe that feeling, let me write what it is not: it is not a lack of preparation.  I have trained hard, I have trained well.  I may be in the best running shape of my life, certainly recently anyway.  While I have had some disappointing training runs, I have had plenty of training runs that point to a good result on race day.

It is not a lack of confidence.  This comes from preparation.  I feel better prepared this year going in to the races and that gives me more confidence.  It helps tremendously that I have done both races, that I have put in many hours and miles on the race course itself.  I am more familiar with the course than ever before - so much so that I have begun to notice a couple of "new rocks" on the trail above tree line.  They weren't there a few weeks ago, either erosion from recent rains and snow up top, some animal or someone has caused these rocks to move from one side of the trail to the other.

So, the uneasy feeling I have that I mentioned above?   That comes from the 4 letter word that is likely to impact not just how I do during the race, but also before the race.  It may even prevent me from starting the race.  The 4 letter word: Bile.

For those reading unfamiliar with Bile - a definition: "a clear yellow or orange fluid produced by the liver. It is concentrated and stored in the gallbladder, and is poured into the small intestine via the bile ducts when needed for digestion. Bile helps in alkalinizing the intestinal contents and plays a role in the emulsification, absorption, and digestion of fat".

A week ago I woke in the middle of the night with noticeable stomach pain.  I thought it may have just been gas, indigestion or that I ate too much before going to bed.  After about an hour I eventually fell back to sleep, waking the next morning feeling fine.

Wednesday night / Thursday morning - I woke again, this time the pain was worse and seemingly not going to get any better.  I couldn't get comfortable, it was miserable.  I got up, I walked, I sat down, I lay down, no matter what I tried the pain intensified.  Finally, I drove 15 minutes to the hospital ER.  After 2 hours I was eventually released.  During those 2 hours I was put on a drip that included morphine and a couple of other things, I gave a urine sample, had my blood checked, was x-rayed and had an ultra sound.

Diagnosis: Gall Stones.  My gall bladder is diseased. A definition if you really want to read it is here.  My gallbladder needs to come out.  Fortunately they said it wasn't critical that it came out then and there.  But these stones don't pass and the gall bladder doesn't heal itself.  Sometime soon I will be having surgery. 

The cause: my Bile couldn't keep up with my diet.  Honestly that one surprised me when the doc told me.  I am eating more healthier than ever before.  But apparently not enough.  Specifically the things that cause this are fatty, greasy, spicy foods.  Things I eat that fall into these categories are pizza (cheesy and greasy), ground beef (meatloaf is a favorite) and of course ice cream.  Even though my diet has been decent - it has not been good enough to prevent this from happening.

So, while I wait to see a surgeon, my diet has undergone some changes, and continues to do so in an effort to avoid another flare up - before the race.  Gone is dairy (cheese, milk, ice cream), pizza, ground beef, ham, desserts, any kind of spicy stuff.  I am scrutinizing everything I eat that has fat in it.

The result: I feel quite weak at times, almost always nauseous, hungry and yet often hesitant to eat anything in case it sets of my gall bladder and ends me in emergency surgery.  And then of course there is this race coming up that I have been preparing for.  I asked the ER doc if I can run and he in essence said - maybe.  "You can try, but I don't know how much running you can do.  If it hurts - stop".

So, I left the ER, slept for a few hours, got up a little groggy - and ran.  If anything I wanted just to sweat out the morphine and other stuff in my system.  I started slowly and it was uncomfortable - my whole stomach area was tender to touch (still is).  But it didn't hurt to badly - so I kept going for a few more miles.  Eventually I felt better, turned around and ran back to my car - got in 7 miles.  For that moment - it felt manageable, not comfortable, but doable.  I have run twice since (Saturday 11 miles and this morning also).

The next test was to find food that I could eat that didn't do me in - a science experiment on my body began and is continuing.  So far: turkey, fish, chicken, pasta noodles (just boiled in plain water with no sauce), potatoes, bananas, apples, blackberries, raspberries, toast, orange juice, eggs, raisins, oatmeal, brown rice, grapes, spinach, romaine, peas, corn.  That's about all I have tried so far.  If anyone has gone through a similar experience as this and has food suggestions for me - I'll take them.

I need to carb up - not just before race day, but now too as my energy levels are quite low.  Last night I had pasta noodles, ground turkey and peas - that seemed to give me more energy for a 6 mile run up on the peak today. 

If I can hold on till race day I am hoping adrenaline will help.  I realize the mountain could do me in just as easy as my gut - but I want to give it a go and race the thing.  My race expectations are lowered but my ambitions are still high.  I am not sure where that will leave me.  But if you are out there on the trail on Sunday and a keeping track of 4 letter words - listen for "BILE!!!"

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Running for miles and hours

I have a friend that rides a road bike, a lot.  He also rides a mountain bike but his "thing" is biking on the road.  He occasionally races, he trains a lot - covering hundreds of miles each week.  He eats well, he recovers well.  He loves to bike as much as I love to run.  We hang out frequently and often talk about training, biking, running and life.

One thing that is different with us is how we measure our training.  He measures training by hours.  I measure it by miles.  Each has merit.  Each gives results that bring satisfaction, data to review and journeys to remember.

One thing I have noticed more with my running schedule and subsequent logs - is that I go into each week with a rough mileage goal for each week.  But by weeks end I often look at the hours and minutes and then compare with previous weeks. 

Due to a 6 week long break from running due to a very frustrating ankle sprain, I have only been running for 12 weeks since.  With 2 weeks to go until the Pikes Peak marathon - my running miles and running hours will drop off as I start to taper.  But looking back at the past 12 weeks this afternoon, I have noticed something......

Without going into too much data overload - as I started back running, for the first 7 weeks I gradually built up my miles each week and with that the hours also built up.  At the end of 7 weeks I had just run a 40 mile week, having run 5 times and it took me about 6 hours, 20 minutes.

Week 8, I added another 5 miles to the weekly total - but the time to do this went to up to 9 hours, 11 minutes.  An almost 3 hour increase difference.  The next week I added 5 more miles, the running time increased an additional hour.  For the remaining weeks from then till now, I have been running 45 to 50 mile weeks with running time being between 9 hours and 10 1/2 hours (aside from one "easy / recovery" week).

Why the bump up in hours?  Simple answer is increased vertical running.  In the past 5 weeks while running 25 times, my average distance has been 9 1/2 miles, it's taken me an average of 1:52.  (Certainly has not been speedy running).  I have also run up over 47,000'.  That results in the extra time on the trail.

Why post all this info?  Because I am looking for an excuse as to why yesterday it took me well over 4 hours to run 20 miles on Pikes Peak and be frustratingly almost 15 minutes slower than I wanted to be.  Yesterday I wanted to be speedy, I wasn't.  Yesterday I ran for a longer amount of time than I thought I should have.  I was frustrated.  I felt okay, I had enough fuel and fluids.  The weather was perfect.  The trail wasn't too busy (for a Saturday).  I just didn't achieve what I not only wanted to do, but thought I was capable of doing.  I was a little defeated - especially mentally.

My lesson that I learned: running up Barr Trail to A Frame and back is hard, it is over 5600 feet of climbing and Pikes Peak never takes a day off from being unrelenting.  I learned and relearned that any amount of confidence I may have going in to the race needs to be tempered with a huge and healthy dose of respect for the mountain.  Not to mention that the race has another 6 miles and 2200' of going up and down more than I did yesterday.

I have some confidence that training will pay off, along with being mentally prepared, running a smart race, being properly fueled and hydrated will all contribute to some measure of success on race day.  Each finisher will have one thing in common, running the race requires completing roughly 26 miles.  One thing will be different for almost every runner: time taken to complete.  I'm just hoping that the 46 hours of running, walking and hiking during training over the last 5 weeks pays off.

I have no idea how long that will be for me - earlier last week I was thinking great things, but after yesterdays run - a slower time than last year is possible.  Come race day - who knows.  I guess that is part of the adventure and journey and that journey is guaranteed to take me a while, hours and hours.