Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bolder Boulder 2011









Yesterday I ran the Bolder Boulder 10K for the 5th year in a row for my 9th and 10th running of the course. I ran a slow 43:09 in the AB wave starting at 7:02 am then jogged back to the start to run in the MB wave with Micah and Maddie and many Blevins students on my BBRacers team at 8:27. I love this event, because it exudes many wonderful things about running. There are some 56,000 participants (making it the second largest running event in the country) from around the world and from all levels of running - beginner to elite. The event takes over the entire Boulder community for the day and there is a sense of excitement, fun and fitness that just makes running seem cool to all who are there to witness it. We have done this race as a family every year since we moved to Colorado. Last year, Ean said was her last because she couldn't face the craziness of the crowds again. She came back again this year though as an EMT and not a runner. Micah and Maddie did run again and Maddie set her 10K PR with a time of 1:29:59. Micah enjoyed his time on the course with his headphones on and sauntered in to the finish in just over 2 hours. We stayed to watch the elite race finish and for the Memorial Day tribute before heading back to pick up Ean after she finished her EMT duties. This is the perfect start to summer and a great day to be a runner in Colorado.





Saturday, May 28, 2011

Down Hill Mile #3

Thursday was the 3rd running of the monthly Pineridge Downhill Mile. The Malmbergs, Jenn and Sam, set the new men's and women's standards which makes them King and Queen of the uphill and downhill Thursday Night Trail Time Trial events. The times for all three runnings are below. Next running of the PDHM will be June 23. Keep working on that leg speed and we'll see you there.


3/31
4/28
5/26
6/23
Alex A.
6:03
5:38
--
5:19
Alex M.
5:45
5:54
5:35
5:39
Brian S.
--
--
--
5:44
Brian W.
7:00:02
7:00
--
--
Cat
6:19
6:11
6:17
6:05
Celeste
6:45
--
6:44
6:54
Chris H.
7:00
--
5:54
5:45
Dave
5:08
--
--
--
Erin
--
8:35
--
--
James
6:15
--
--
--
Jenn M.
--
--
5:33
--
Jennifer S
--
7:25
--
--
Joselyne
--
7:01
--
--
Marie
--
--
--
6:38
Mary
6:39
6:39
6:34
6:28
Matt
--
7:20
--
--
Michele
8:05
--
--
--
Mindy
7:58
--
--
--
Molly
8:35
8:20
--
8:47
Nick C.
--
*
6:15
--
Nick M.
5:10
4:58
5:00
--
Pablo
6:29
6:13
--
--
Pete
5:22
*
5:21
5:13
Sam
--
--
4:49.7
--
Sarah
--
--
--
5:20
Shawn
6:35
--
6:15
5:57
Slush
5:45
6:20
--
5:18

Friday, May 27, 2011

Alternate

I got this note from Medtronic Global Heroes:


Dear Alex May,
Thank you for applying for the 2011 Medtronic Global Heroes program.  On behalf of Twin Cities In Motion and the Medtronic Foundation, it is our pleasure to inform you that you have been selected as an alternate for the 2011 Medtronic Global Heroes program.
We received many remarkable stories of runners who are managing a chronic disease while continuing to lead an active running lifestyle, and your story certainly stood out among the more than 150 applications from around the world.
A committee from Twin Cities In Motion carefully reviewed all applications, balancing a selection of 25 women and men who represent a variety of conditions, medical devices, hometowns and preference for either the marathon or 10 Mile race.
As an alternate, you would be able to run your designated race on October 2, 2011 should a 2011 Global Hero withdraw from the event.  If you do not hear from us, we will follow up with you by August 15, 2011 to confirm that no openings have become available for alternates.
We hope you will consider this opportunity and let us know if you would like to participate.  
Congratulations on your many achievements.  And many happy miles ahead!

So, I might be running the Twin Cities Marathon in October as a representative for people with Diabetes using an insulin pump.  And I might not.  I am honored to have been selected as an alternate.  Thanks to all of you who are rooting for me.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Round Mountain

Round Mountain Summit
After two weeks of easy running and recovery, I went out today for one of the hardest runs I have ever done. Round Mountain is a 4.5 mile 3000 foot climb off of Hwy 34 between Loveland and Estes Park. I have run Round a couple of times and it is a nice trail and a tough climb. The plan for today's run from the mind of Nick Clark was to run up to the first mile marker then back down, then up to the second post and back down, then up 3 miles and back down, then 4 up and down and then on the 5th trip run all the way to the summit. The totals for this training run are 29 miles and over 9000 feet of climbing.

We met at the trail head at 5:30 am amidst a wet fog and mixed hail and snow. A surprisingly large group showed up for the early start in such cold and wet conditions (The FCTR are a hardy and commited group). The first couple trips up went smoothly and it was nice to be able to come back to car to make wardrobe adjustments and grab something to eat and drink.

Laps 3, 4 and 5 got progressively harder and I mostly hiked the last trip up to the summit. On my 3rd trip up, on a particularly slippery, rocky section, Scott passed me heading down and said with total sincerity, "This is the most awesome thing ever." I repeated this statement to myself many times over the next 19 miles and was thankful to be reminded why I do these things.

Mr. Awesome
As I worked through the last section of switch backs to the top, I felt the same way I have in the top miles of Pikes Peak (dead legs, dizzy and working hard for every step) even though I was at much lower altitude. I was glad to finally make it to the summit after 24.5 miles of running. I took some pictures, put on my jacket (it never did warm-up), ate some fruit snacks and headed back down the hill for the final time. Alex A. and Pete met me on my way down and ran with me back to the trail head. My total time for the 29 miles was 7:59:15 which is a long time to be running up and down a mountain, but it went by surprisingly quickly. Pete and I hiked back up short way to run the last half mile in with Cat (one of only 5 to complete the full ladder). It was great to be out running on a beautiful trail with so many great friends. It was definitely the most awesome thing ever!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Summer's coming and the Teva Mountain Games

School is out on May 26 (only 10 school days left- not that I'm counting) and the weekend after that will be our first family camping trip of the year.  Ean, Micah, Maddie, Shadow and I are headed out to the Teva Mountain Games in Vail from June 3-5.  This will be our 3rd trip to Teva and it has become one of our favorite events of the year.  Last year we found a great camping spot just outside of Vail between Minturn and Leadville, so we'll camp there and spend all day Saturday and Sunday in Vail Village enjoying the festivities.  The events include kayaking, climbing, road and mountain biking, fly fishing, dog diving, road running, trail running, music and just about every outdoor sports company you can think of giving demos and giving away free stuff. 

Last year Ean and Maddie ran the mud run which is a crazy spactacle of costumes, water and of course lots of mud.  This year they decided to stay a bit cleaner and run the Rocky Dog Trail 5K with Shadow.  Micah has expressed some interest in possibly doing the Juniors edition of the Cross Country Mountain Bike race which consists of a fairly technical 7 mile loop on the ski hill.  I will again be running the 10K Spring Runoff Trail Race which is actully closer to 6.5 miles and it goes up and down the Vail slopes 4 times on very steep trails.  It is a fun race which usually brings out some top gun trail runners like Matt Carpenter and Ricky Gates.  I am hoping my higher training volume and the next three weeks of more time in the hills will help me run much faster than the 1:10 that I ran last year.
This will be our first of several trips to the mountains this summer to camp, run and enjoy the many great things about living in the Rockies. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Colorado Marathon

Going in to yesterday's race, I knew I was not in sub 3 hour marathon shape. The last time I trained seriously for a road marathon was six years ago and my training then included weekly track workouts, regular tempo runs, and course specific long runs with the final miles at marathon pace and faster. In the last few months, I have done no track workouts (except for a painful set of four 300s with the Blevins track team) only a couple of short tempo runs and not much of anything specific to the race course which consists of 17 miles down Poudre Canyon followed by 9 miles of rolling and flat highway and bike path. What I have done is lots of slow miles on trails, some hills and few races. I ran 1000 miles between January 1 and April 3 and then I tapered pretty well over the last three weeks. I was tempted going in to yesterday's run to just enjoy the long run down the canyon and not worry about pace or finish time, but I made up my mind on Saturday night to be serious and give the marathon a fully committed effort.

I woke up at 3:15 am on Sunday, drank a cup of coffee, ate a bowl of cereal and put on some warm clothes for the trip up to the starting line. I got on bus #4 and arrived at the start at 5:15 am with an hour to go before the gun. It was not as cold as I thought it might be (32 degrees instead of the forecasted 24). I visited the porta-potty (no line) and then found a place to relax and get my stuff together. After a while I decided to find the truck where I could put my drop bag and I ran in to Cat, Celeste, Felix, Dan J., Lindsay, JZ, Pascal, Nick M and Dave S. It is nice to be in a race with so many friends. Everyone was feeling positive about the day as we waited for the start and watched as the canyon began to light up with the early morning sun.

I waited as long as I could before I took off my warm-up pants and jacket and put them in my drop bag. I jogged across the road for one last potty stop in the bushes (no line) and then found my spot on the starting line. A young man played the national anthem on the trumpet and Steve Cathcart commented on the perfect weather and wished us well. I took off with the gun a little too fast, but quickly set in to my planned 7 min per mile pace. I was surprised when my watched clicked off the first lap in 4:16 and then I remembered I had set it to metric units when I was marking the Blevins 4K course on Friday. I switched it back to miles just in time to press the lap button at mile 1 (7:03).

The first 3 or 4 miles didn't feel quite as good as I wanted them too, but I stayed relaxed and told myself that I just needed time to warm-up. I did start to feel better in miles 5-7 and it started to get warmer in the canyon too. I pulled off my long sleeve shirt and tied it around my waist and kept a comfortable pace. I carried 5 Gu's with me and ate one every 30 minutes for the whole race. I have never been quite so exact with my fueling strategy and it worked really well. I never had that big drop in energy level that I have had in many of my previous marathons.

I passed the Grey Rock Trailhead at mile 9 and looked down at the side of the road just in time to see my name and a couple others written in the dirt. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was for me and this must of been written by Pete and the other crazies that had been out running repeat laps on Grey Rock the day before (Pete ran 6).

I hit the half marathon in 1:31:23 with my calves starting to get stiff but otherwise still feeling really good. I knew that I'd be coming to the bottom of the canyon in the next 4 miles and I hoped I could keep up the 7 minute pace when the course flattened out. As we came out of the canyon approaching Ted's Place, the course livened up with more spectators and larger groups at the aid stations. I passed Felix who was still looking strong at mile 17 and we exchanged some encouraging words. I made the right turn on to 287 and was glad to still be moving at a steady pace since I knew this was the least pleasant section of the course. I started to pass half marathon runners and many cheered as I went by. I saw Scott and Jenn jogging out on the course to meet up with Cat and Celeste just before I made the turn up 54 on to Bagel Hill. The short up hill here felt good and helped stretch out my calves. I was very glad to see friend and colleague Molly Watkins at the mile 19 aid station at the top of the hill. I handed Molly my gloves and long sleeve shirt and headed down the hill towards Laporte feeling lighter and ready to take on the last 7 miles.

The muscles in my legs were getting very tight, but other than that I felt great and was still not working that hard to keep up the 7 minute pace. I started to slow down a bit as I moved on to the bike path as I had expected, but I just needed to maintain 7:30 pace to achieve my sub 3:10 goal. There were lots of half marathoners on the path now and I had to weave back and forth on the trail to get though, but I didn't mind since they were all very encouraging and it made the miles go by faster to have so much company. I caught Nick M. at mile 24 and I knew he was having a rough time since he had been aiming for a sub 3. I hoped he would hang with me for the final 2 miles and he did pull out a strong finish just over a minute behind me.

Just past the mile 25 marker is the last aid station and in a tree just off the course was Maddie May. She saw me, yelled, then jumped out of the tree to run with me for a good 150 yards. Ean, Micah, Pete and Kyle were all at the aid station cheering and passing out water.

From here I knew I had just a mile to go and I could see that I could be really close to 3:05 if I could hold the pace a little longer. I pushed with all I had and my legs were just about done, but I knew that the finish line was close. I turned off the bike path on to Linden and did my best to sprint to the line. I finished in 3:05:21 feeling good and very happy to be done.

My splits:
1K 4:16
mile 1 7:03
mile 2 7:01
mile 3 6:43
mile 4 6:55
mile 5 6:55
mile 6 7:03
mile 7 6:57
mile 8 7:09
mile 9 6:43
mile 10 6:47
mile 11 6:51
mile 12 6:46
mile 13 6:57
mile 14 7:00
mile 15 6:53
mile 16 6:59
mile 17 6:55
mile 18 6:56
mile 19 7:08
mile 20 7:01
mile 21 7:04
mile 22 7:23
mile 23 7:08
mile 24 7:11
mile 25 7:07
mile 26 7:24
mile 26.2 3:14

I hung around the finish line for a while and talked to friends and put on warm clothes and then walked/limped back to the mile 25 aid station to find Ean and the kids.

Maddie ran the Healthy Kids 1 mile race at noon along with Alistair, Stella and Sandice. It was fun to watch and cheer for all the kids as they ran their hearts out with all the intensity that I had seen on the marathon course earlier in the day.

This was probably my best marathon even though it was a couple minutes slower than my 2005 race in St. George. I ran a pretty steady pace and felt in control the whole way. This race proves that I am in the best running shape of my life which I can build on going in to the summer ultra season. This race also made me feel confident that with the proper speed and pace work I could definitely run a sub 3:00- next year? . . .this fall?