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.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Running the rebound race

I'm not too familiar with what exactly is a rebound relationship - aside from thinking it has something to do with: being in a relationship for a while, then for whatever reason that relationship ends and before you know it - you jump back in almost immediately into another relationship - sometimes a little recklessly or even foolishly.

Enter the running variation of a rebound relationship......I don't think I am alone in experiencing the following: finish a race that you had invested a long amount of time, sweat and hard work into - but you don't do so well.  You don't finish how you expected.  You did just "okay".  It leaves a bad taste in your mouth, or an empty feeling in your gizzard.  You are left with a need for a "second chance", "redemption", "payback".

So you (me) start to look for another race to get "revenge" on your last performance.

I finished the Stump Jump 50K just 4 weeks ago with the feeling of not achieving what I wanted.  I would even admit that I was flat out frustrated.  2 days later I found the "rebound race".
I didn't immediately sign up, I wavered back and forth between committing to do it and bailing on it.

I kind of trained for it - if you count one 25 mile meandering run in the foothills a couple of weeks ago.  But I didn't commit to being fully prepared for another lengthy race - just 4 weeks after my last one.  I gained a few pounds in the past 4 weeks.  Took about 6 or 7 days that I didn't run at all.  But last Saturday night I signed up for it - but not the 50K.

I will be running the 50 miler.  My first ever 50 miler.

This will be 18 miles further than I have ever run before.  With over 11 1/2 thousand feet of gain, it will be the most vertical I've ever done.  And of course the length of time to do it - of which I have no idea how long that will be - will be by far the longest time running (shuffling, walking, staggering) I will ever attempt.

If and when I finish - the only rebound I will likely be thinking is rebounding from one tub of ice cream to another.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fall running fun

The past 3 or so weeks I have managed to get out to really enjoy some trails and the thoroughly intoxicating splendor of Colorado at this time of year - right in my back yard.  I love this time of year with the colors changing, first snow and pretty, pretty scenery.  I am fortunate to live where I do - nature's playground.  Photos are from Mt Herman, Limbaugh Canyon,  Stanley Canyon, Rampart Range, Emerald Valley Ranch and beyond.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Stump Jump 50K race report

I don't really feel like writing a race report.   Not just because I didn't have the race that I wanted to - but because me whining and complaining about my race is not worth it, instead it is rather futile and meaningless when it comes to the fate of my fellow runner. 

Falling over 4 times during the race, getting stuck in the early part of the race for miles at a time behind trains of 20 to 30 runners at a time on slow and narrow single track, getting lost and off trail - twice, once for over 15 minutes - getting a ridiculously silly looking series of scratches that begin near my belly button, goes up across my stomach and ends below my armpit - looks like I was swiped by a bear (it was really just a bramble branch about as thick and mean as barb wire fence - but just a flesh wound - with a pretty display of blood that I had for 3 1/2 hours out on the trail).

I finished the race with a grumpy mindset - one that I carried for the final 3 hours after getting lost and finally finding my way back to the trail.  I was a grump due to falling short of a time goal (5 1/2  hours) that in hindsight was easily attainable if I hadn't gone off trail - it also would have been in reach if I started out smarter, meaning further towards the front of the field instead of over 100 places deep for the first 8 to 10 miles.   I finished the race feeling grumpy and yet not feeling sore or even very fatigued.  So much so that I have run each of the days since (no more than 4 miles at a time).

I finished the race and within 2 minutes was thinking about trying to find and sign up for another 50K or even a 50 miler in the next month or 2 (I probably won't).  I finished the race and  I wanted to get out of Chattanooga and away from the race quickly so as to drive back to Nashville and hang out with my sister and her family.  I didn't stick around to pick up an age group award - instead just drove the 2 1/2 hours in stinky, dirty, bloodied running clothes.   I just wanted to get the race out of my mind.  I did have a good visit with family for the next few days before flying back to Colorado on Monday night.

When I got home I checked my email - first, one with the final results: 5 hours, 35 minutes and change.  35th overall out of 323 finishers.  1st in my age group.  I knew these things before I left the race on Saturday.  I didn't know about what was in the next email.........

I never did meet Gary Jacks.  I shared a trail with him on Saturday in Chattanooga Tennessee.  Some time after I had finished my race and already left the area - tragically, Gary did not finish that race.  He passed away while still out on the course.

I know now that I will not ever forget this race, and while I doubt I will do that race again, one thing I will do is forever to be grateful to finish a run, and I hope it will be every run - no matter how far, no matter how long, no matter how sore, or tired, or hurt.  If I finish every run - I will try to remember Gary Jacks and remember that he didn't get to finish his last run.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tip Toe-ing along the Taper Trail

Race Day is 3 days away.  Gulp.  I'm not ready.  I mean I am ready to run - I just don't believe I am ready to run my best.  I peaked perfectly for the North Fork 50K early this Summer - having a great training cycle leading up to it, being as fit as I ever have been.  I had been smart with eating, training, recovering between runs and I went in to the race quite confident of getting a good finishing time.  It worked out well and I ran a 5 hr 21 min race - a bonus was finishing 5th overall - completely unexpected but thrilled to grab.

That race was not my goal race of the year though - this one on Saturday is.....or was....or still is....but I just can't see myself pulling off a similar time as I did in June's race.  I'm not sandbagging - I don't even know what that means as I am a middle of the pack runner who happened to finish 5th in June - but that's because a bunch of fast runners were not in the race - plus I finished well over an hour behind the race winner.

My realistic goal is try beat 5:30.  If I do that then it will because the course will be kinder than it looks, the weather will be good and I will run a smart race.  That all may be possible - but when you add in the key ingredient that I have not trained as well for it as I did for North Fork - then I can't see myself doing as well.

I hate "The Taper".  My mind is soft and it often leads to thoughts like those expressed above.  Whether they are true or not, whether it is because instead of running 10+ hours a week during the real training period - that shrinks to just a few miles in this past week - and I begin to feel lazy, tired, heavier and quite honestly - completely full of self doubt for the upcoming race.

So - this taper trail I have been on the past 10 days or so - despite the mind games - has been one in which I have tried to stay out of a funk - and get some good runs in.  I did, for the most part.  Sure the runs were not as good as they could have been, certainly when comparing to the 2 weeks leading up to North Fork.  But they have served their purpose and now I am as ready as I can be.

I fly out tomorrow to Nashville - will run 4 miles or so when I get to my sisters house.  Drive to Chattanooga on Friday and run the race on Saturday.  I'll see how the race plays out, suffer a bit, try my best and really be grateful that I can and will be able to run.

A couple of Sundays ago I was in the midst of a 3 1/2 mile training run that was a ridiculously hard run - on a winding, dirt road that apparently was once named in the Guinness Book Of World Records as the windiest road in the world - that being the road up Cheyenne Mountain from the Zoo to the Summit.  I got a ride to The Will Rogers Shrine 1.4 miles past the Zoo.  I then ran the next 3 1/2 miles and 1700'+ up to The Broadmoor's Cloud Camp (excuse the shameless plug).  During the run with each step as my legs were crying out, as my eyes were drawn towards awesome views below - I had the thought that I really should be more grateful that I can run.  That I enjoy running.  That I am healthy.  That I choose to run mostly on trails and get distracted by squirrels, butterflies, flowers and some of the prettiest scenery around.  I'm grateful that I have people that care about me, that love me.  They could care less if it took me 5 1/2 hours to run a race or 15 1/2 hours.  They would still say I did great - and mean it sincerely.

Life is fickle, running is fickle some days more fickle than others.  I have no idea how Saturdays race will go.  I'll finish most likely - I may or may not do well (according to my goal of 5 1/2 hours) - afterwards I will eat to much, gain some weight I'm sure and run a whole lot less than I have been doing in the past 6 or more months.   A few days after the race I'll start running again and look for some runs to do strictly for fun - with no training purpose in mind.  And I will be more grateful for where I live, where I can run, that I am loved, that I enjoy the hurt of the run, the joy of the run, and the happy place it puts my mind into. 

And I will not taper.  That messes with my mind too much.

Sunrise from Cloud Camp - yeah I was spoiled and got to spend the night there.