Saturday, November 9, 2013

WRIAD

Conversation on a run - October  22, 2013:

Me: With no races on the schedule for the fall, I was thinking it would be fun to go out for some long run or hike or something.  .  . maybe somewhere warm.

Mike: Yeah, me too.  How 'bout the the White Rim Trail (103 miles) in Canyonlands National Park outside of Moab on mountain bikes . . . in a day?

Me: Uhhh, I haven't been riding my mountain bike at all and I'm kind of out of shape, but that sounds like fun.  Why not?

10 days later:


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What's Next?

It's been almost a month now since my 91 seconds after the cut-off finish at the Western States 100.  I've rested, recovered and  had plenty of time to think about what happened out there on the trail between Squaw Valley and Auburn.  There are still some unresolved questions, the biggest is, "Will I put my name back in the lottery and try to go back out to California for another shot at the buckle?"  All I can say for now is, "We'll see."  In the meantime there are some more events on the calendar.  Next week, I'm heading to the great Northwest with Nora to visit the Testermans and see where Nora grew up.  It is going to be a fun trip with visits to Nora's family and friends, sailing, rowing, visiting Seattle's famous sites and the flagship REI store, of course, an overnight on Guemes Island, kayaking in Port Townsend with the Randalls, a trip to Portland to visit my friends Ed and Vickie and their new twin girls, Sky and Sylvia and Nora's sister Jill - looking forward to the famous food trucks.  And of course... a trail race.  The day after we arrive, we are going out to Bellingham, WA for the Chuckanut Mountain 30K.  Jill, best friend Mari and I are all registered for this final race of the Bellingham Trail Running Series.  Nora and I thought it would be fun to do a trail race during our trip when we planned it back in March.  Nora's racing plans changed to allow time to recover from a recent surgery and I didn't really count on how little running I would feel like doing after spending more than 30 hours on the Western States course.  I have run maybe 5 times in the 3 1/2 weeks since WS and all my runs have been less than 6 miles.  Well, I'm not really that worried about it.  It is always fun to run in beautiful new places and the cut-off time is generous . . .  I haven't been doing much running lately, but I have gotten out on my road bike a lot more than I have in the past several years.  On the last day of school, after talking with a colleague, Katy Williams, over several beers about the Fort Collins ProChallenge Experience 108 mile Bike Ride, I signed up.  Why not?  I figured it would be a good idea to have something to train for after WS, Katy said she and some friends were doing it and it sounded like fun.  That ride, which is farther than I've ever ridden and includes some serious climbing and 30 miles of dirt roads in the mountains is now 18 days away.  I have gotten out on a few rides in the last couple weeks.  I did the 46 mile Rist Canyon/Buckhon loop on Sunday and this morning I rode a 62 mile loop through Masonville, past Carter Lake and back up through Loveland around Boyd Lake.  With the trip to Washington, I won't get much more riding in, but I think/hope it should go okay.  It will be tough, but I enjoy a challenge.  I do plan to get back to running this fall, and what better race to get back to it with than the trail race that is nearest and dearest to my heart, The Blue Sky Marathon.  This is the race that some Fort Collins Trail Running friends and I dreamed up and started 5 years ago and it is now a staple on many Front Range trail runner calendars.  For the past 5 years, I have captained the Indian Summer North Aid Station and loved it, but this year I am going to hand that task over the the very capable hands of my daughter Maddie (who has also worked this aid station every year for the past 5 years) and my partner Nora who volunteered with me last year.  Race management has been handed over to the Gnar Runners (Pete and Nick) who I am sure will continue to make Blue Sky (Along with the Quad Rock 25 and 50 and the new Black Squirrel Half) the best trail running events in Colorado, or maybe the whole world even.  Pete and Nick graciously offered me a spot to run Blue Sky this year and I am honored to take it.  This event I am going to train for and I look forward to putting in an honest effort at running a race that I will be proud of.  After that . . . I don't know.  Yeah, I think I'll want to run another 100 next year.  I really would like to figure out how to run a good 100 mile race and the only way I can do that is to keep trying.  There's one out in Washington that looks pretty good and so many others that would be fun to travel to.  I'll let you know when I figure it out.  Summer is not over yet, and there is always more running to do.
July 7 Training ride with Mike, Nora, Jessica Diana and Lara   Photo by Mike

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Western States Story on Podcast


Mile 0.1 Feeling Good  photo by Brian Stefanović 
A couple days after the race, I got a call from Gary David of Elevation Trail saying he had heard about my after the cut-off finish on the track and wondered if I'd be interested in talking to him about it.  I said "sure" and we had a conversation via Skype a few days later and he posted as an Elevation Trail Podcast.  Here it is:  http://elevationtrail.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/seconds-count-a-finish-or-not/


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Into the finish line... Just a tad late

Alex dug deep (and I mean deep) and had an amazing finish  into Auburn with a sprint in from Robie Point that didn't seem possible after 100 miles on his feet, but Cat, who never ceases to amaze me with her tenacity and endless dedication to bringing Alex home, along with a few amazing random volunteers, kept him focused. And we picked up Maddie along the way, so she got to run around the track like she's been wanting to do for the past 4 years when she watched Nick's finish with Alistair. Unfortunately, we were a bit late and even with the enthusiastic cheers of the stadium crowd and a group effort, he crossed the finish line in 30:01:31 (give or take a few seconds) and we couldn't be prouder.





Final stretch...

Alex & Cat made it through the Hwy 49 aid station 2 min before the cutoff of 9:20. Emotional time! We are heading to meet him at the high school/race finish; needs an 11am finish, so here we go!!

Thanks for all of your thoughts and support from afar...


Rucky Chucky river crossing

We met Alex & Cat down at the river crossing at 4:15am and marched up the hill to Green Gate together. Got in right at 30-hour pace time on the clock and sent them off into the final 20 miles with lots of positive vibes. Here's to a strong finish!




Saturday, June 29, 2013

Foresthill reunion with crew

After a full day of hanging out at Foresthill (mile 62), Cat, my mom, and I met Alex at the Bath Rd aid station and walked him up a tree-covered hill onto a soft dirt path into the Foresthill aid station - greeted partway by cheerful Maddie and Bill. Made it into the aid station @9pm and after a full pit stop, complete with a magical cooling towel, pineapple juice, clean, dry socks, a full leg massage by Dr Bill (it's always a good idea to travel with 2 veterinarians!), and lots of hugs and well wishes, we sent him off with his faithful friend and supportive (also notoriously tough) pacer Cat into the darkness and down to the Rucky Chucky river crossing. 75 degrees at 9:25pm. Still quite balmy, but a welcome reprieve from the high temp of 102 today. Alex said the bottom of the valley felt like a sauna, so guess we can't complain. My dad and I are off to Green Gate and hoping to walk them up from the river in pre-dawn. Will update again then... Please keep Alex in your thoughts - we are going to get him on that track by the 30-hour cutoff.
Maddie cooling off...

Robinson Flat Aid Station

We met Alex at Robinson Flat aid station at Mile 30 at 11:30am. Right around 24 hour pace and he looked good. He was happy to have a wet towel draped over his neck & head. We are now hanging out at Foresthill where Cat will join as Alex's pacer at Mile 62, seeking shade and reveling in any slight breeze as it's currently 93 degrees. You can always check Alex's status on the course at the Live Webcast on http://www.wser.org/. Runner #274.

Here are a few pics from the past few hours:








WS100 - And he's off!

3am wake-up call. Arrived at Squaw ski area in 50 degree weather - perfect running weather. 3:45am breakfast at Squaw with Cat & Nora and chatted with a guy from PA who is out for his 1st 100 and Cat & Alex dispensed veteran advice. Rest of crew: Joan & Donald from Laguna Beach, CA, Bill & Ann from Anacortes, WA, and Maddie May from Fort Collins, CO (the most seasoned crew member here) joined us for the start. And Alex took off with ~380 fellow runners up the first 3 miles to High Camp and beyond..





Next stop: Robinson Flat @ mile 30. He runs; we drive all the way around for 3 hours. Ah, the life of a crew member. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Off to California

We're packing up the car and leaving tomorrow morning to drive through Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and on to Lake Tahoe, California for the Western States 100 which starts at 5:00 am PDT on Saturday morning.  I may not be quite as well trained as I'd like, but I'm fit, healthy, rested and ready to experience the race I've been dreaming about for over 20 years.  I've got a great crew that includes my wonderful daughter Maddie who has been with me at all three of my previous successful 100s; my dedicated mom, Joan, also an experienced 100 mile crew member and pacer; my adventurous step-dad, Donald, ready for his first 100 mile experience; Bill and Ann Testerman, who just returned from their own ultra adventure walking the entire Camino de Santiago in Spain, are driving down from the San Juan Islands in Washington to support and crew; the Amazing Cat Speights, who less than three weeks ago finished 2nd in the Bryce 100 in Utah will be pacing me from Forest Hill (mile 62) to the finish; and my partner, best-friend and true love, Nora Lee Testerman who I met one year ago at this race starting a new and wonderful chapter in my life.
There is live tracking of the race at http://www.ultralive.net/ws100/webcast.php and I am #274.  My goal is to finish before 5:00 am Sunday for the sub 24 hour silver belt buckle.  Nora will be posting here throughout the race, so you can check back for updates.  Thanks to all of you for the support and encouragement over the past few months.  Here we go.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Running with Shadow

photos by Celeste
For over 6 years now, Shadow has been my most dependable, most enthusiastic and most supportive running partner.  He is always ready to go regardless of the temperature, the time of day (or night) or the emotional heaviness around the house.  We ran the Fast and the Furriest 5K at CSU a couple of weekends ago and had a great time with many of our friends, K-9 and human.  We finished in 20:43, not bad but a bit slower than our last run 2 years ago.  He is 7 1/2 now and I get the feeling he is slowing down a bit, but he still approaches every run with puppyish excitment.  He also seems quite happy to curl up at my feet after a long day and keep me company.  He runs for the sheer joy of it and he loves those in his pack unconditionally.  He is my best role model of what a runner and friend should be.  Thanks Shadow.  I look forward to many more joyful miles together out on the trails.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March Madness Updates -- Route Changes

Never fear, the March Madenss run is on for this Sunday, 3/24, as planned.  Due to the Galena Fire in Lory last week and the closure of the state park, we'll have to make some adjustrments to the route.  The run will start and finish at my house and we can still run up County Rd 38E to Horsetooth Mountain Park and then there are lots of options.  My plan is to run to Soderberg and up Towers to Stout, Falls, Rock trail to the Summit, Westridge, Spring Creek, Stout, Towers back to Soderberg then back out 38E to Centennial and out to the top of the "A" Trail, down through Maxwell, Pineridge and then home.  I have no idea how many miles or the vertical, but it will be a good run and if you're looking for more, there are all kinds of possibilities in Horsetooth or down Blue Sky or out on the Foothills Trail or whatever else you can come up with.  Just make sure you're back at my place in the afternoon in time to enjoy some BBQ and beer.  The weather for Sunday looks cold, which is hard to imagine as I sit here in Tucson where it is 90 degrees, so dress accordingly.  There will not be any support on the trail, so carry the water and food that you need.  Send me an email if you have any questions or post comments here to let others know your route and start time plans.  And remember fires and cold weather can't stop the Madness or trail running in the spring.  See you on Sunday!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

NOLA 2013


I signed up for the New Orleans Rock 'n Roll Marathon last June on National Running Day.  Good friends Scott and Celeste had announced they were going and I'd always wanted to visit New Orleans so I embraced my newly found freedom that enabled me to decide to fly off to Louisiana the following February without asking for anybody's permission and signed up.  I had been running well and breaking all my PRs so a fast marathon at sea level seemed like an easy thing.  I put down an expected finish time of 2:50 (my PR is 3:03).  The race was 9 months and thousands of miles away and I had bigger more immediate things to think about, so I filed NOLA away as something fun to look forward to way off. 

Well, life went on and February came with a trip to New Orleans with 10 wonderful friends from Colorado.  We flew south on Friday morning leaving fresh snow and single digit temperatures for the warmth and humidity of the Big Easy.  We arrived at the rental house to meet Brent who had told us "No need for a deposit, just bring cash," so we were a little nervous, but it all worked out fine and the house had a lot of character and was located conveniently less than a mile from the race start in the French Quarter, just a block from Bourbon St.  In explaining the house and the neighborhood, Brent gave us the friendly advice, "When you go out the front door, go left to party.  Go right and you'll get killed."  We always went left.

New Orleans is a pretty amazing place.  In modern homogenized America where there is the same Barnes and Noble/Starbucks/Taco Bell/Walmart on every corner, New Orleans is completely different.  In some ways, it feels like being in a different country.  There is a different culture, different rules (bars never close and you can walk the streets with open containers of alcohol), different smells, and a different climate.  On Saturday, we walked down to Cafe du Monde for chicory coffee and fresh beignets.  We wandered the French Market and I got some real gator jerkey to bring home for Micah.  Later Justin took us to Audoban Park for nice run and then we went to a great little Greek restaurant for lunch.  We ate in and tried to get to sleep early on Saturday night (not so easy when there is a party going all night just accross the street at Club Tango).

Sunday morning we were up early and finding our way through the morning cleanup routine (that includes sweeper trucks that spray Febreeze) to the race start.  I lined up in corral 1 with Cat, Scott, Justin, Kerri, and Eddie and waited for the gun.  Back in June I had predicted a sub 3 hour finish, but I stood at the starting line knowing that I was maybe in shape to run 3:15 if I had a very good day and ran smart.  Running smart meant not going out hard and trying to hang with Scott and Justin who both had faster goals and better conditioning.  The gun fired and I took off with the pack and focused on staying relaxed.  It was a beautiful cool and sunny morning and I ffelt pretty good.  I ran on my own for those first miles, but Cat and Scott were in sight not far ahead.  Justin was already gone.  My splits for the first miles were all 7:10 +/- a few seconds and I felt in control and relaxed.  At about mile 5, I met up with Cat and watched as Scott faded off in to the distance ahead.  Cat and I ran together for the next 13 miles and had a nice time talking about Western States plans for June and her very full ultra racing and pacing schedule for 2013 and beyond.  We ran pretty consistant splits of 7:08-7:11.  There was a 7:20-something somewhere in there when we ate and a 6:59 at mile 10.  We ran throught the 13.1 mile mark at 1:34 and we rolled along well.  At mile 16, we went over a bridge and much to my surprise (since I hadn't looked at a course map) Lake Ponchatrain opened up ahead of us.  This section was rolling and windy and the late race fatigue was setting in.  Cat and I got separated here and I had to really start to focus to maintain the pace.  At this point I knew that if I could keep the pace under 7:30, I could finish in 3:10 so why not go for it.  As I approached the turn around I saw Justin and then Scott running the other way.  They both looked good and we exchanged cheers and encouragements for a strong finish.  I was glad to make the turn around at mile 19 and know that I was heading back toward the park and the finish line.  I saw Cat not far behind me, running well.  There was a bit of a tail wind for the run back along the lake, but it did little to relieve the late race fatigue that was starting to hit me hard.  I kept pushing along and kept the pace under 7:30 and thought about the mental toughness training benefit that this would have for the ultras coming up on my race calendar.  After the turn away from the lake there was just 4 miles to go and it really took all I had to keep going.  The final mile in to the park to the finish line was much longer than I thought it should be and I crossed the line in 3:10:01 (chip time).  Justin and Scott were at the line waiting and Nora and the rest of the gang were cheering near by.  Cat finished just behind me less than a minute off her marathon PR and took 2nd in her age group.  Scott had finished 5 minutes earlier hitting his prerace prediction exactly and Justin took the race of the day title with a first time road marathon of 2:59:41!!!  Awesome.  Nora had also had a great race with a 5 minute half-marathon PR of 1:47!  Good runs all around. 
 
 
We hung out at the finished and cheered in the rest of the gang before we took the trolley back to the house to clean-up and eat to prepare for one last night on the town in New Orleans.  Our night included a lot of rain, dessert, a jazz show and Preservation Hall and some crawfish pie.  Some of the gang contiued on from there, but Nora and I opted to head back to the house and get some sleep before our early departure Monday back to snowy Colorado.

If you're looking for a fun destination race in February, I would reccomend NOLA and I'd say don't miss the beignets and always go left.

Monday, March 4, 2013

March Madness 2013

The 3rd Annual March Madness run, potluck and celebration of Spring will be held this year on Sunday March 24.  Course options (9, 23 and 34 miles), start times (7:00, 8:00, and 9:00am) and food/BBQ plans (bring something to BBQ or a sidedish or drinks to share) will be the same as last year.  Check out much of that info here.  There is one minor (or maybe major) change and that is the start/finish line and BBQ/potluck location.  All of that has moved to my house which is across the street and two houses down from the previous location.  Send me an email if you need directions.  I will post some more info in the coming weeks.  I hope to see many of you there.  Invite your friends, challenge yourself, come out and enjoy a spring day of running the trails and sharing good food with some of the best people around.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Snowshoeing and Skiing in Vail and Pb


After a pretty smooth drive from Fort Collins to Vail on Friday afternoon, Nora and I pulled into the Village, found registration and picked up our race numbers and goodies for the Vail Winter Mountain Games 5K and 10K snowshoe races.  I went in to the bathroom to change from work clothes in to tights and winter gear for the race and then we rushed back to Golden Peaks for the start of the race with about 15 minutes to spare.  No problem .  .  . except that when we got there, I realized I had left my race # in the bathroom at registration and there was no time to go back and get it.  I had a moment of panicked stress and then decided to let it go and trust that it would work out.  And sure enough, the wonderful people at the start looked up my # and gave me a timing chip -- all good.  Nora and I got our snowshoes on and had a full 90 seconds of warm up and then we were off up the slopes in the waning light of the mountain sunset.  The 5K is 2 loops on the lower part of the mountain and the 10K is one of the lower loops followed by a big climb and longer loop higher on the mountain.  I ran the 10K last year and remember it being pretty tough.  This year, I took it out at a casual pace still trying to warm up after 3 hours in the car on I-70.  I got through the first loop okay and then just tried to keep up a steady hike on the big climb that followed   At the top I looked out and enjoyed the sight of the lights in Vail Village below as evening turned in to night, flipped on my headlamp and started the awkward snowshoe run back down the mountain.  I got passed on one of the steep down hill sections (I still haven't figured out the proper downhill technique on snowshoes) but then regained my position on the next climb.  There was one more long downhill section on very packed snow at an incline that I could run pretty steadily and then I could see the lights and hear the announcer at the finish.  1:00:59 (about 6 minutes faster then last year) and I was done.  Nora was at the finish taking pictures and "warming up" my jacket for me.  Nora had finished the 5K (her first snowshoe race) in just over 36 minutes and took 1st in her age group.  My finish was good enough for 3rd AG, but we were too cold to wait around for the awards and they said they'd send them to us.  Check out the Results here.
After changing in to warmer clothes, we celebrated our victories with nachos and a burrito at La Cantina, Vail's finest parking lot restaurant.  And then walked back through the village to see the Flobots live.  We watched for a while, enjoyed the music and people watching and then headed up to the Blue House in Leadville for the night.
On Saturday, we had a relaxed morning with pancakes before heading out in to the falling snow and backdown the mountain to Vail where we met up with Chris and Steph for some Mountain Game event spectating.  We watched some mixed climbing on the big wall, but opted not to try it ourselves, saw some finishes from the Ski Mountaineering race that had begun that morning and watched some of the practice and qualifying rounds for the telemark big air and bike trick competitions.  After some lunch, Nora and I went out to the Vail Nordic Center and I got my first cross country ski lesson.  Nora is a good teacher and was very patient and after an hour or so of putzing around on the skis I began to sort of get the hang of it.  I have a ways to go, but it was a lot of fun and this is definitely a sport that I'd like to get better at.  After about 4 miles on the golf course, we went back to the games and got some coffee and hot chocolate and then took a test ride on some fat tire snow bikes.  This is really fun, because with tires that are 6+ inches wide, you can ride through or over anything.  Later we watched some of the finals in the tele big air and bike tricks as skiers and bikes flew over a big jump with bursts of flames.  Fun stuff.



 







 
 






Sunday morning in Leadville was cold (3 degrees), but sunny.  After breakfast we took the skis out the   Mineral Belt Trail that does a big loop around Leadville and is groomed throughout the winter.  It felt great to get out on the skis again and I felt a little less awkward than the previous day.  I'd love to go back and ski the whole loop sometime and maybe the loop around Turquoise Lake.  It's funny, I never thought I'd be sad about winter being almost over.  Hopefully we can get back up to Leadville soon.

Friday, February 8, 2013

off to the mountains

Nora and I are heading to Vail in a couple of hours to spend the weekend enjoying some fresh powder and the Winter Mountain Games.  We are both racing in the snowshoe event tonight and tomorrow Nora is going to give me my first xc skiiing lesson. 








Also, I got my race # and confirmation for NOLA.  Pretty sure I won't make my predicted time, but the race is just 2 weeks away and the taper is on.




Monday, February 4, 2013

Last Long Run

The New Orleans Marathon is now less than three weeks away and if the popular training wisdom is true, I've put in all the work I can to be ready and it is time to taper.  On Saturday morning, I left the house with Nora a little after 10:00 and ran west up CR 38E.  We ran up to the south dam together where Nora took a right and ran across the dam and I continued west to run the loop around the reservoir following the March Madness (coming up on March 24 - more info soon) route.  It was a good 23 mile long run with a few stops and a very casual (yet still difficult) pace.  It was a beautiful warm day and I enjoyed the time to myself out on the trails. 
Saturday night, Maddie and I went to our 7th Butterfly Kisses father daughter dance.  This has been a February tradition since we moved to Fort Collins and it was so much fun to dress up, go out to a nice dinner and dance the night away with Maddie- you should see us doing the electric slide.

photo by Micah May
Sunday morning I ran the Fort Collins Running Club Tortoise and Hare 5K at Fossil Creek Park.  I was tired and sore from Saturday's run, but I figured it was good marathon training to run hard on tired legs, so I gave it what I had and ran 20:39.  It was not amazing, but not terrible either and it was fun to be out running hard with the tortoises and hares - and there was free coffee and bagels after.
Based on the training that I've done, past marathon experience, and some optomistic thinking, I am setting my marathon goal for NOLA at 3:15.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Good Start to a New Year of Running and Racing

I began this year on the Big Island of Hawaii enjoying warm weather, clear oceans and some wonderful relaxing time with Nora and her family.  While we were there, we did a little running-it was wonderful to be shirtless and sweaty in January- and Nora, Jill and I hiked from the visitor's center at 9000 feet to the summit of Mouna Kea at 13,789 feet on New Year's Eve.  But moslty we slept in, relaxed, snorkeled, visited the volcanoes, kayaked, swam, shopped at the farmers market, ate amazing tropical fruits, and enjoyed the slow pace and lack of responsibilities that accompany a vacation on the island.

Rainbow Falls with Karen, Nora and Jill

Summit of Mauna Kea with Jill and Nora
 
Best Sign Ever
Team Testerman
Papayas, bananas and dragonfruit, oh my

The bay at Milolii
Shelly and Soren at the Halema'uma'u Crater overlook


Halema'uma'u Crater at night


yellow tang
CO trail runners
 
We got back to the mainland on January 6 and it was quickly back to the reality of work and a road marathon on the calendar in February that I was terribly undertrained for.  I did get out and run as much as possible and have managed three long runs, a trip to the track, some speed work at the park and a tempo run on the bike path.  On Jan. 19, Nora and I went out to the Bacon Strip and I ran two solid laps keeping the pace for the last 14 miles sub 8:00 and miles 19 and 20 (bike paced by Nora) were 7:06 and 7:23.  Not too bad.  I am particularly encouraged by this past weekend's running.  On Saturday I ran a steady 25 miles on the bike paths with Cat keeping the pace casual and close to 8:00.  Then Sunday, Nora and I along with a big Fort Collins crew: Nick, Scott, Mike, Kristel, Sarah, Jessie, Rob, Cecily, John and Lane went to Estes Park for the Frost Giant double.  I ran the 5K in 21:44 taking the first couple miles pretty easily- feeling pretty stiff from the previous day's run and then the 10K in 46:23.  Not only were these times good enough for 5th place in my age group, they were close to or faster than my times at this race in 2011 and 2012.  So maybe I'm in better shape than I thought.  I'll take it.
 
Final mile of the Frost Giant 10K
photo by Lane Eskew
Nora leading the pack up the hill towards
McGregor Ranch in the 10K