Monday, December 27, 2010

Blue Sky Trail in Shorts on Dec. 26

Twas the day after Christmas and the trails were all dry.
Ean, Mike, Jill and I headed out on Blue Sky.
They strapped on their helmets, I laced up my shoes
We headed down the trail while others pressed snooze,
It was a beautiful morning, bright, warm and sunny
It was wonderful to be out on the trail with my honey.
We sailed passed Indian Summer and flew over the rocks of Devil's Backbone,
And after 2 hours of going the group was getting tired and ready to head home.
The trip back to the trail head was a little slower and more subdued
It started getting colder and everyone needed food.
We made it back to the start with only minor scrapes and one flat tire,
the strength and endurance of the group was enough to inspire.
The day on the trail was a great way to extend the holiday cheer,
My in-laws can't wait to see what's in store for next year.

Ean and Jill as we started out from the Blue Sky Trail head
Ean and her Dad in Devil's Backbone
Merry Christmas to all and to all keep on running!

Monday, December 20, 2010

El Chubbo Grande

I started the holiday break yesterday morning at 7:00 am running from the Clark driveway, with temperatures in the mid teens heading in to the park to run 31+ miles with a collection of runners from all over the front range.

It was an all around fabulous day on the trails on a course designed by Mr. October himself that covered pretty much all the trails in HT and Lory especially the really steep ones. There were 46 runners that started between 7:00 and 9:00 am and ran between 20 and 32 miles.

Mike Hintergerg came up from Denver and we ran together the whole day (7 hours 19 minutes) even though Mike could have easily run the course a couple hours faster. My Garmin battery died about 3 hours in and I lost track of hours, minutes and miles and just enjoyed the nice December weather, the beautiful views and good conversation with Mike about school, 2011 racing plans, family, blogging and whatever else came up. I made some decisions about long racing goals for next year namely the Black Hills 100K (can't pass up the opportunity for a PR) and the Leadville 100 mile. Mike and I both marveled at how 7+ hours (a full school day) and lots of tough miles could pass so quickly and enjoyably.

looking back at Horsetooth Rock from the top of Aurthur's Rock

Mike coming down to the bridge on the Howard Trail

Standing atop Authur's close to the halfway point of the course

I felt pretty good all day which I was pretty happy about since this was by far my longest run since Lean Horse in August with more vertical (7500 feet+) in 31 miles than Lean Horse had in 100. The effort level was more long training run than racing and I was fine with this. We cruised along and it was great to pass and be passed by other friends on the trail. Pete flew by us coming down the Timber Trail and went on to post the fastest 50K time of the day (5:44). We ran off and on with Blue Sky Marathon winner Jenn Malmberg who was just enjoying an easy day on the trails. We enjoyed a great aid station stop at mile 22 hosted by Chris with a welcome spread of cookies, pretzels, water and chocolate. Rob Erskine having started 45 minutes after us caught us here and we ran on and off with him to the finish.
The last climb from the valley up Sawmill, Carey Springs and Towers and the run across West Ridge was challenging and we saw several more runners from here on down Wathen and Spring Creek. I was glad to cross over the bridge below Horsetooth falls that marked the home stretch of the course. We met up with a jovial group of runners in the last mile that included Mary, Brian, Marie and Celeste.
Back at Nick's there was lots of good food and drink and many great tales of adventures on the trail. I couldn't ask for a better day.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Warm December and the Christmas Classic

With temperatures is the 50s and even 60s this week, it is hard to tell that it is December in Colorado. I took the day off with Ean on Thursday and we had a nice run in Horsetooth and Lory in shorts and t-shirt, no hat or gloves. It was great. It almost felt like December in Southern California- except I hear they are having temps. in the 80s.

This morning I ran the Christmas Classic 4 mile race. This is one of my favorite local races and I have run it every year since we moved to Fort Collins- today was my 5th. Every year this race has always been on a cold and snowy day. Two years ago it was in the teens and snowing and the entire course was covered in ice and fresh snow. That year, Maddie was the only competitor in the kids race- probably because all the other parents thought it was cruel to bring their little ones out in such conditions. Maddie still had a good time running the short course with Mr. and Mrs. Claus by her side.
This morning was a very different story with clear skies, no wind and temperatures comfortably in the high 30s and 40s. I ran a pretty solid 26:42. This was 34 seconds slower than my Thanksgiving 4 mile time, but it is a slower course and it came at the end of a 70 mile week for me. It was good enough for 9th place overall and 2nd in my age group- first going to Mr. October himself, Nick Clark.
I am really enjoying the warm weather and some good running for this time of year. My goal is to continue to build a good base with some faster quality stuff and hills that I can turn in to some speed in the spring and run my fastest marathon in May.
I love the New Balance Minimus prototypes that I am wear testing right now. I wore them for the first time on Wednesday at the park for 12 x 400m. The run totaled 9 miles with warm-up and cool down and the shoes (almost slippers really) felt great. My calves were pretty sore for the next couple days from being used more heavily. I ran an easy 6 miles with them this afternoon and felt good. I am excited to continue to run in them as much as possible over the next few weeks and see what that will do for my leg and foot strength and running form.
This will be the last week of school before the Christmas break which will be kicked off with the Chubbo Grande 50K. More and more this is looking like it could be the event of the year.

Monday, December 6, 2010

T&H 10K

Ean and I, along with 49 others ran in the Tortoise and Hare 10K this morning on the Poudre Trail out and back from Lee Martinez Park. It was a mild December morning and we both ran reasonably well. Ean ran a 10K PR and was the first to finish. This will certainly move her up in the series standings where she was tied for 4th and now is probably 1st or 2nd. I ran 42:33, which was a long way from a PR for me, but was only 9 seconds slower than the T&H prediction of 42:24. I felt pretty good about this considering I ran a pretty solid 15+ miles on the Blue Sky Trail and Devil's Backbone on Saturday. After the run we all went to Avo's for the Fort Collins Running Club holiday brunch. Lots of good food and good people.
In less happy news, my name wasn't pulled in the 2011 Western States 100 lottery that was held yesterday morning. I wasn't too surprised since they pulled only 219 names from over 1500 entrants. This works out to less than a 15% chance which as a math teacher, I know is not too good. I was not surprised, but still disappointed. This is the one race more than any other that I really want to run. I'll try again for 2012. But now I need to figure out my 2011 goal ultra race. I'm thinking more and more that the Black Hills 100, held the same day at WS could be it.
More immediately, I registered today for the Christmas Classic 4 mile held next Sunday by the Foot of the Rockies. This is one of my favorite local race and I am planning to beat Santa for a 4th time and claim my free socks.
December 18 will be the Chubby Cheeks 50K with many friends and some of the ultra running greats coming up from Boulder . I think I'll go with the 7:00 am start since it looks like it might take me 7 hours or more.

Friday, November 26, 2010


What I am thankful for this Thanksgiving:

  • I am thankful for my wonderful wife and two children who got out of bed on Thanksgiving morning when it was 8 degrees outside and ran the Fort Collins Thanksgiving 4-mile race.
  • I am thankful for my health that has allowed me to keep running through the onset of type 1 diabetes over 10 years ago and not only run but accomplish new goals that I thought impossible at the diagnosis of the condition.
  • I am thankful for running and the joy that it brings to my life and the opportunities it provides for fun adventures and traditions like running a race on Thanksgiving morning. This was our 5th consecutive Fort Collins Thanksgiving race and I have run a race on Thanksgiving morning 18 out of the last 20 years.
  • I am thankful for my friends and the great running community that I live in. I am thankful for all the friends that I saw at the race and those who stopped by or stayed for dinner yesterday and that even though much of my family is far away I can still sit at a holiday table surrounded by good people with common interests and enjoy a good meal.
  • I am thankful for where I live. It is deeply comforting to know that after I finish this post, I can lace up my shoes, head out my front door and within a 5 minute jog down the street I will be running beautiful trails and breathing cold, clean mountain air.
  • I am thankful for the challenges ahead. My goals to run a sub 19 minute 5K, a sub three hour marathon, and a mountain 100-miler in 2011 keep me motivated and help me to keep getting back out on the trails to see what I can do.

Happy Running and Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Back to Soapstone

I went back to run the Soapstone Prairie this morning with a group from Fort Collins and Boulder. It turned out to be a really nice day with much less than the usual amount of wind, comfortable temps and even some sunshine. We started from the Soapstone entrance station and headed west into Red Mountain then up in to Big Hole Open Space, WY for a short section before heading back into Soapstone and around back to the car. I had planned out a 21.5 mile loop, but ended up running 25.5. The pace was comfortable and I felt great. It was a really nice run on a bunch of great trails with a nice group of people. Soapstone is closed Dec., Jan and Feb, so this was a nice last run of the season on what are probably some of my favorite local trails.

Pete, Karen, Dan and Peter on the ridge overlooking Red Mountain Open Space

Marie and Brian running the Cheyenne Rim Trail
I ran with Ean on Saturday in Horsetooth over some more of the CC 50K course, had a tough run up Towers on Thursday night and couldn't get through the speed work I had planned on Tuesday. It was still a good week of about 62 miles with a lot of hills. The plan is to take it pretty easy for the next few days so I can run the Fort Collins Thanksgiving 4 miler well rested. I won't be in the running for an age group pie, but I would love to run under 26 minutes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Snow, Arthur's Rock and Western States

We had our first snow in Fort Collins this week and with highs in the 40s the past few days, it feels like winter is here. I ran home from school on Wednesday night and ran back to school on Thursday morning in the snow. This was the first time I've done the run commute this school year, and my plan is to keep it up as part of my weekly schedule. Tuesday, Ean and I did some repeat 1000 m on the dirt path around the park. My plan was to run 5 x 1000 at 4:00 min each with a 3 minute recovery jog between each 1000. My times for the 1000s were: 3:52, 3:50, 3:50, 3:51, 3:54. This adds up to a 19:17 5K and it felt pretty good. I was tired on the last repeat, but overall the workout was pretty comfortable. This gives me some hope that my 2011 marathon goal of a sub 3:00 is not too far out of reach.
I put my name (and my $370 - yikes!) in for the Western States lottery. Chances are less than 20% of getting in and there are plenty of other good races to run in June if I don't make it, but I'm hoping it happens. The lottery is held on December 4. We'll see what happens.
Ean and I went for a great run in Horsetooth and Lory today. We ran from Soderberg, along the valley and up Mill Creek and Howard to the top of Arthur's Rock. We had the whole park mostly to ourselves and the north facing slope on Howard through the trees was a winter wonderland. We went down the Timber Trail and back along the valley to the car. I ran a very comfortable 18 miles doing a few out and backs to reconnect with Ean who ran 15 miles for her longest trail run ever.
We had an interesting encounter with a one antlered buck as we got back to the trail head. We were out for longer than we had planned - 5 hours, but it was a nice way to spend a Sunday together.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Warren Park 5K T&H

Nick C. giving Tom the "Go" photo by Felix Wong

Ean, Maddie and I all ran the second race in the Fort Collins Running Club's Tortoise and Hare Series this morning. A record setting 45 people showed up to run. Nick Clark, with his amazing math and timing skills, put on a great race and all had a great time. The T&H algorithm predicted that I would run 19:42, but all I could manage was 20:12 and 38th place--my legs were a bit stiff from yesterday's trail run. Ean and Maddie had a much better day tying for 3rd place and both receiving ribbons. After the run, we all enjoyed bagels, coffee and a beautiful view of the mountins at Rocky Mountain Bagel Works. After breakfast, we went to the Runner's Roost where I turned in my entry to the Colorado Marathon--now I'm commited-- and Ean bought a new pair of Brooks trail running shoes to train for and race the Red Hot 33K in Moab, which will be her longest race yet.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bobcat Ridge

It was another beautiful day in Northern Colorado. We had sunny skies and a high of 75 degrees. I went for a really nice 14 mile run in Bobcat Ridge Natural Area. I ran the D.R. trail to Mahoney Park, came down the Ginny Trail, ran the out and back on the Eden Valley Spur and back to the car. I ran easy with plenty of stops to let horses go by and take pictures. It was a nice run on an unusually warm November Day.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


What better way to start Halloween than a 5K with the family at the park just down the street. We all ran yesterday in costume and had a great time. I was hoping to run under 18 and after going out a bit too fast and struggling to maintain pace in the last mile, I finished in 20:04. A bit disappointing, but it was good enough for 3rd place in the 30-39 age group and 10th place overall. Maddie placed 3rd in the kids race after running the 5K and then she was awarded 3rd in the costume contest for her homemade Mario costume. Shadow and Ean (dressed as the Green Lantern) ran a solid race and Micah completed the whole course in full gorilla suit.
After the race, I went for a nice cool down jog in Pineridge with Don and Nick and then we met the family and some others back at the house for a nice post race breakfast and pumpkin carving on the deck. It was a beautiful warm fall day.

Monday, October 25, 2010


I went for a great run Saturday morning at Soapstone Prairie. This is a Fort Collins Natural Area opened just last year. Ean and I met up with Mary, Jennifer and John and drove 25 miles north of Fort Collins on CR 15 to Soapstone. It was a cold, windy and rainy morning, and we were the only visitors to the trail head. Soapstone borders Red Mountain (Larimer County Open Space) and Big Hole Open Space (Cheyenne, WY). There are 50 miles of trails within the three open spaces making for numerous possibilities for great runs including a 34 mile perimeter loop.

We headed out on a loop to the west on some great trails that rolled along the hillside, through the valley and up and over the ridge. All the trails are smooth, undulating single track that make for great running. The landscape and views were awesome even on this cold, grey fall day.
John and I did a 6-mile loop via the outside of the Mahogany Loop, the Valley Trail and the Towhee Loop. Then we ran back up the Towhee Loop and met up with the rest of the gang and ran the inside of the Towhee Loop and the Mahogany Loop and back the trail head for a total of 12 miles. After some snacks and warmer clothes at the cars, Ean, John and I headed back to Fort Collins while Mary and Jennifer headed out for another 10 miles on the Pronghorn Loop.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

2011 and the Black Hills 100

With my last real race of 2010 behind me, I have been thinking lately about my running and racing goals for next year. I'm registered for the Red Hot 50K+ in Moab in February and I will put my name in to the lottery for Western States when it opens next month. I am planning to run the Colorado Marathon in May and finish in under 3 hours.
Another great race option is the new Black Hills 100 in South Dakota put on by Jerry Dunn and friends- the same crew that puts on Lean Horse. Jerry's new race promises to be more challenging and rugged than Lean Horse and very scenic. Jerry is working with Ryan Phillips and Chris Stores to put on this race and they have put together a great web site with videos and the beginnings of an official race soundtrack with original music. The date for the first Black Hills 100 is June 25 which also happens to be the the same day as that other 100 mile race out in California.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rock and Roll Denver

I ran the Denver Rock and Roll Marathon today along with about 14,999 of my closest friends. This was the largest marathon in Colorado history and despite a complete lack of any real marathon training, I was glad to be a part of it.
This was my first road marathon since Boston in April of 2006 and I signed up back in June as a marathon trial run before attempting to go sub 3 at next year's Colorado Marathon here in Fort Collins. I had planned to do some marathon training (tempo runs, track intervals, fast finish long runs, etc) in August and September, but with the late addition of the Lean Horse 100 to my race schedule and the continued troubles with plantar fasciitis, training never happened. I did go out for one easy long run 3 weeks ago and I ran the Crossroads Half a month ago, so I knew I had the fitness to complete the marathon, but no speed to run it fast.
My plan going in to the race was to go out easy at 7:45-8:00 min pace and see how I felt after 15 miles or so. I was prepared to be happy just enjoying the day and running anywhere close to 3:30.
I arrived at the start line by 6:00 am after a 4:15 departure from Fort Collins. I was too relaxed about getting in to the starting corral and missed the wave one start, but thank goodness for timing chips, I started with wave two and set off at a comfortable pace. My first couple of miles were in the 7:30 range and I worried a little about starting off too fast. I felt pretty relaxed and in control and I was really enjoying running through the early morning streets of Denver with the flow of so many runners.
I continued to run 7:25-7:45 miles as we wound through town and all of Denver's major parks. I knew that at mile 15 we would enter Washington Park and continue to run through and around the park until mile 20. I decided to try to just keep my current pace through the park and then I hoped to pick it up at mile 20 and push it in to the finish. I ran 7:30-7:40 all the way through the 5 miles in the park.
At mile 20 I was still feeling pretty good and 6 miles felt very doable. I ran mile 21 in 7:23 and mile 22 in 7:27. Going in to mile 23 I was losing my ability to keep pushing, but with less that 4 miles to go I was confident I could hold on. Mile 23 went off in 7:29. Mile 24 was painful as we went all the way up and over a long overpass and once we got almost down the other side, the course did a U-turn and went back up and over again. This was my slowest mile of the day 7:50. After this, I was ready to be done and pushed on. In the final mile, when I was really starting to drag, I caught up with Aaron Nelson from the trail runners and we pushed each other in to a much better finish than I would have had on my own. I ran hard all the way in for a 3:23:13 and my 4th fastest marathon.
After the race, I ran in to and caught up with several friends who had run the race as well. Kemp, my former neighbor and an all around good guy who unfortunately moved to Lakewood last spring ran a 3:29 which was fast enough to earn him a trip to Boston 2011. Mike Hinterberg ran a 3:03 for his fastest marathon ever by 4 minutes. Aaron held on after a tough run and finished just seconds behind me. Sarah Brown finished her first marathon accomplishing one of her life goals. There were many other Fort Collins friends who ran well in Denver and it was great that in a race of 15,000, I could look around and see so many familiar faces.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pineridge Tortoise and Hare Race

Today was the first race in the Fort Collins Running Club's Tortoise and Hare series. Nick, who organizes these races, and I went out yesterday afternoon to flag the course in Pineridge. It is a 3.75 mile full loop of the Pineridge Natural Area, my backyard and regular running grounds. This morning, Ean, Micah, Maddie, Shadow and I all headed over to Pineridge for the race. The race is free to all FCRC members and includes a breakfast at the Bagel Shop after the run. It was a cloudy, wet, and cool morning and we all quickly realized that we were underdressed. All except for Shadow who was very excited to be out for an adventure and for him the cool temperatures made it even more perfect.

There was a bigger than expected group of runners at the trailhead and Nick was busy getting people registered and calculating the handicapped start. Based on previous T&H race times or a prediced finish time, runners are set out one at a time, with the slowest starting first and the fastest leaving the start line last. Ean, Maddie and Shadow headed out at 8:00 am and Micah, who did not want to run, was put to work as a course marshal. I jogged around to try to stay warm and wished I had brought gloves. I was sent out at 8:19 and took off pretty fast. I went through the first two miles in close to 6:30 each and felt pretty good. I passed a couple of runners that had started ahead of me and got passed by two who had started behind me. When I hit the gentle uphill and single track on the south end of the course, I slowed considerably. I passed Ean, Maddie and Shadow and we exchanged some encouragements. I ran steady, but not very fast along the Timber Trail and hit 7:30 split for mile 3. With less than a mile to go, I tried to push and hoped to pass a few runners that I could see ahead of me. I passed one on the down hill back to the resevoir and one on the stairs back up to the parking lot and finished 21st out of 30 runners. My time was 26:01 and I felt pretty good about it. It gave me some renewed confidence for next Sunday's marathon after a couple weeks of very little running.

I jogged back a short distance and found Ean and Maddie and I took Shadow while the girls had a sprint finish up the stairs to the finish-- Maddie won.

We cleared out fast and nearly filled Rocky Mountain Bagel Works where Nick announced the winners and enjoyed bagels and coffee and time to talk with friends. I talked with JZ about his 50 mile race last weekend where he successfuly ran a qualifying time for the Western States lottery. We also discussed his plans for running the Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim next weekend. This is a run that I have been wanting to do for a while and I wish I could join JZ and Eric Lee next weekend for what sounds like a great adventure. Maybe next time. . .

Monday, September 20, 2010

Crossroads Half Marathon

I ran the Crossroads Half Marathon this morning in Fort Collins and it went better than I expected. I signed up for the race back in May or June when I decided to run the Denver Marathon. I knew that running a half a month out from the marathon would be a good check of my fitness and tune up for the marathon. I had planned to have been running focused marathon training with tempo runs and track intervals following my recovery from the Grand Mesa 100, but after my DNF and decision to run Lean Horse, my training plans changed and I did almost no speed work. In the three weeks since Lean Horse I have been taking days off and running easy 3-6 mile runs only, so I had no expectations of being able to run any kind of fast time at the half. My plan was to go out at a comfortable 7 min pace or slower and see how I felt after a few miles and go from there. A time of 1:35-1:40 sounded reasonable and would still be a good marathon tune up.

I woke up feeling alright this morning, ate a waffle, drank two cups of coffee and drove down town for the start. It was a cool, foggy morning that felt really good for a run. I saw a few friends at the start, jogged a good warm up, ran a couple strides and lined up for the start. I went through the first mile in 6:24 feeling pretty good, but worried about how this fast starting pace would affect me later. I ran miles 2-9 pretty steady in 6:38-6:50 per mile. I was definitely pushing, but I felt reasonably strong and hoped to keep it going through the final miles. A sub 1:30 finish looked very possible if I could just maintain the pace. I went through the 10K mark in 41:58 which was faster than my Bolder Boulder time this year. After the first 4 miles through neighborhoods around New Belgium, the course turned est on to the Poudre Trail and followed in out to the intersection with Spring Creek. I have run these paths many times and felt very comfortable cruising along at a steady pace.

My legs started feeling heavy in the middle of mile 10 going through Edora and Spring Parks and my pace fell to 6:58. We turned off the Spring Creek Trail on to Remington just before mile 11 and I knew I was slowing down. I tried to keep pushing knowing that I just need to keep the pace under 7 minutes for 2 1/2 more miles to go under 1:30. I hit mile 11 in 7:14, my slowest mile of the day, and started to lose the will to push for the sub 1:30 finish. Mile 12 was 7:08 and I tried to ramp it up for the last 1.1 miles. There was a little down hill coming in to Old Town and I was able to step up the pace a little, but I didn't have a lot of kick left. Mile 13 beeped at just under 7 minutes and I didn't look at the total time as I crossed Jefferson towards the finish. I pushed to finish strong, but I didn't think 1:30 was possible and there was no one close enough in front of me to try to catch. I ran in to the finish strong, but controlled and hit the stop button - 1:30:06. I was frustrated with coming so close to 1:29:xx and missing it. I'm sure I could have taken 7 seconds off my time somewhere, but I didn't. On the other hand, I did run faster and stronger than I thought I could with an average pace better than 6:52 per mile. I have run 15+ half marathons, and never had a bad one. It seems to be the perfect distance that is not too long yet not long enough to require a really fast pace.

By the finish, the sun had come out and it was a beautiful fall day in Fort Collins. I grabbed some water and a bagel and cheered on the finishing runners. Cat from the trail runners came by before long pushing a running stroller with one of the kids supported by Dennis' Athletes in Tandem organization.

The post race at the park was warm, sunny and friendly. I talked with some friends about their races and the beautiful weather, cheered on some more finishers, checked the results (39th OA, 4th AG) and headed home.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Runnning with the Mind of Meditation and Yoga

I spent Labor Day weekend at the Shambala Mountain Center in Redfeather Lakes at the Running with the Mind of Meditation and Yoga Retreat. I had read about this retreat a couple years ago and had been interested in going. The trip this year was a birthday present from my mom and as it fell three weeks in to the school year, it seemed like the perfect time to get away to the mountains for some running, meditation and yoga. The center is on a beautiful 600+ acres in the mountains just north of Poudre Canyon. It was a very peaceful weekend with 50 like minded runners and instructors that were interested in learning about and sharing the benefits of meditation and yoga in all aspects of life and the connections to running. Some of the most significant ideas for me came from the Buddhist teachings about unconditional joy, being mindful, following the middle road and basic goodness. I came away from the weekend with the desire to continue a practice of meditation as a means of developing a greater balance and sense of peace in my life that I can share in my family, my teaching and my running.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A good day in South Dakota

Finished Lean Horse 100 in 23:16:19 and placed 23rd overall. Lots of great running, a few rough spots including passing out at the aid station at mile 76, and a great finish.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to School

School started this week and is off to a good start. I'm teaching 7th grade this year which means I have many of the same students that I had last year which is nice since it means I don't have to start from zero in building relationships and teaching expectations and classroom procedures. Kids seem glad to be back at school and although I had a great summer of adventures, it is nice to get back to a routine.

I have not been running any significant miles for the last several weeks since I was tapering and recovering from Grand Mesa and then tapering again for Lean Horse. I ran the Eldora 11K trail race a week and a half ago and although I wasn't incredibly fast, I felt good and had funon the trails. I had a dissapointing run at the Mountain Ave. mile last Thursday with a very painful 5:40. It wasn't that long ago that I ran mile repeats faster than that, but I really have been doing no speed training for the last couple years so I shouldn't be too surprised. I had a couple of good runs this past weekend. Ean and I ran the Indian Summer loop on the Blue Sky trail on Saturday and I went out and ran a semi tepo run on the Bacon Strip 10 mile loop (1:16:54) on Sunday.

My plan is to just keep running easy for the next week and a half and hope that getting to the starting line at Lean Horse pays off. Last year I ran Pike Peak the weekend before Lean Horse and was part of a 6 x 6 ultra team at the Wild West relay the weekend before that. I think all the downhill running in those two events took a lot out of my legs and I paid for it in the last 17 miles of the 100.

My mom is coming out to be a part of my Lean Horse crew again and Ean is in great shape to pace me through the final miles. I'm looking forward to the trip to South Dakota with the family and the run through the Black Hills.

Maddie ran the Mini Muddy Buddy in Boulder on Saturday (that's her on the left flying over the wall in the front of the 9 year old wave in the picture above) and we all had a good time cheering her on. There was talk of all of us running the Muddy Buddy next year with me and Micah as one team and Ean and Maddie as another.

Cross Country starts next week and I'm excited to coach the Blevins team for the 3rd year. Fall is a wonderful time in Northern Colorado and I love the afternoon runs with the team.

Monday, August 2, 2010

DNF at Grand Mesa and another go at Lean Horse

After successfully completing over 200 running races including 20+ marathons and ultras, I dropped out after 17 hours at mile 60 in the Grand Mesa 100.

The day started well with a beautiful 12 mile loop on the Craggy Crest Trail above the Mesa even though I got off course for a quarter mile with a few other racers. As the day went on, it was clear that course finding was going to be a challenge and by the time I hit mile 26 with a couple of runners in the 50 mile race and Garry who was also in the 100 I knew I was terribly off course.

We struggled through following course markers for a part of the course that we shouldn't have been running until much later until we got to an aid station where volunteers contacted the race director who said Garry and I could complete the section we were on and continue the course and then run the same section later. I spent a of energy being worried and frustrated about being off course, but I tried to get over it and keep going. Losing the course meant missing an aid station at mile 37 where I was to meet Ean and eat and resupply, but I was able to send her a message with one of the 50 mile racers (thanks Jasmine) and I now wouldn't see her until the top of the big climb at mile 56.
The section leading to the 4000 foot drop was through rough cow pastures that weren't always marked and the descent was hot and painful on rough over grown trails. I reached the bottom of the descent (mile 50) at 6:00 pm feeling dehydrated and low on energy. I spent several minutes eating, drinking and refiling my hydration pack before heading up to the 5.5 mile, 4000 foot climb, determined to make the top before dark since my headlamp was with Ean and the next aid station.
I did make it, but the climb was brutal with the last 3 miles climbing more than 900 feet per mile. I had a lot of thoughts about dropping, but I tried to wait until I completed the climb before making any decisions. I got to the top at 9:00 pm and was very glad to see Ean who was waiting with food, a chair and warm clothes. It felt good to eat and rest, but I was feeling more and more like my race was done. After sitting and debating with myself for 30 minutes, I decided to run down the road to the Lands End aid station 3.5 miles away and make my decision there. I felt a little better once I got going, but I couldn't imagine trying to continue to route find the difficult trail in the dark. I also saw Paul Grimm who told us that Karla and Felix had dropped out at the bottom of the climb due to health concerns and course challenges.
I got to the Lands End aid station (mile 60) at 10:30 pm and told them I was done. It felt great to get off the trail and know that I could spend the night in a warm sleeping bag, but it was very hard to give up when I knew I probably could have gutted it out and finished. It is a choice I will have to live with.
After a few days at home, I decided I still want to finish a 100 mile race this year and so today, I registered to run the Lean Horse Hundred in South Dakota on August 28-29. I did a couple of night runs this week to work on getting over my struggles with continuing to run when the darkness tells me I should be in bed and I ran my fastest Colorado 5K (19:59) this morning at the Human Race in Old Town Fort Collins. I am feeling that a sub 24 hour race is well within my reach on Mikelson Trail in 4 weeks.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Colorado Trail Trip Report

I had a great trip on the Colorado Trail. I completed 11 sections of the trail for about 197 miles of backpacking, hiking and running. Here are a few pictures and I'll post a full report of my adventures in the next couple days.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Heading out on the Colorado Trail

Well, it looks like it is really going to happen and I am as nervous as I am excited. On Friday morning, Ean will drop me off in Waterton Canyon in Denver at the Northern end of the 470+ mile Colorado Trail that winds its way through some beautiful mountains all the way to Durango. My plan is to spend eight days on the trail to end up near Buena Vista on Friday the 9th.

I will hike/run/fast pack the first three days covering about 84 miles carrying my sleeping bag, tent, food, etc. On Sunday evening, I will meet up with Dan, a runner friend from Fort Collins, at Georgia Pass. On Monday, Dan and I will continue on the trail carrying only food and water for the day, while Dan's wife Carol will drive to meet us at the next stop with our gear.

Here is my daily plan:

July 2 segments 1, 2 Waterton Canyon to FS-550 28 miles

July 3 segments 3, 4 FS-550 to Long Gulch 29 miles

July 4 segments 5, 6 Long Gulch to Georgia Pass 27 miles

July 5 segment 6 cont. Georgia Pass to Goldhill 21 miles

July 6 segments 7, 8 Goldhill to Tennessee Pass 38 miles

July 7 segments 9, 10 Tennessee Pass to Halfmoon Creek 27 miles

July 8 sements 11, 12 Halfmoon Creek to N. Cottonwood Creek 40 miles

July 9 segment 13 N. Cottonwood Creek to Chalk Creek 23 miles

Total 234 miles

Monday, June 28, 2010

A week of recovery

A week after Big Horn, I am feeling fresh and strong. I took it real easy this week, running only 43 miles and doing some cycling. It was bike week in Fort Collins and on our drive home from Wyoming last Sunday, we decided as a family to leave the car in the driveway all week.

We stayed on track Mon-Friday which meant riding with Maddie the 5 miles each way to track practice, Ean and I rode to the Tuesday night run, then to the Trailhead Tavern and then home in the dark. We rode witht the trailer to do our shopping at Sam's Club and we rode to the Gadrens at Spring Creek for the Bike and Jazz Concert on Friday evening. Wednesday was Bike to Work Day and there were an amazing 57 breakfast stations set up throughout the city where cyclists could stop in between 6:30 and 9:30 for a free breakfast. Since Micah and I had no work to ride to on Wednesday morning, we decided to ride around and eat all the free breakfasts that we could. Micah drew out a plan that included 32 breakfasts, but a little math showed that we would have to ride and eat very fast to complete that route. We left the house at 6:15 to make the first spot by opening and continued through town eating pancakes, bagels, breakfast burritos, muffins, cinamon rolls, fruit and coffee (at one spot, I topped off my coffee with raw milk from a cow that stood a few feet away) for three hours. We ate 16 breakfasts (we took some to go) and had a great time. The paper reported record participation in the event this year with over 6000 people out riding to where they needed to go. I love Fort Collins.
More later.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Big Horn 50

I celebrated my 36th birthday yesterday by running the Big Horn 50 mile trail race. It was a tough run and a long day. I had hoped to cut half an hour off last year's time to finish in 11 hours, but I was not quite in the shape that I needed to be and I finished in 11:31:45. All in all it was a good day and I toughed out a few rough patches. The weather was nice and the course was beautiful even though the trail was a bit muddy.

The day began with a 3:15 am bus ride from Sheridan to the finish in Dayton and then up to the start at the Porcupine ranger station. I woke up feeling pretty good. Maddie sang me happy birthday, Micah wished me a good run and Ean drove to the bus. I got a little sleep on the way up to Porcupine and we got there with enough time for me to wait in the porta potty line right up until the 6:00 am start.

I ran with fellow Fort Collins trail runners, Terry, Tim and Adam for a while. This was Adam and Tim's first 50 and Terry a veteran of many ultras including Hard Rock was along to encourage Tim through. The first 5 miles were very marshy and muddy, but not nearly as snowy as I expected. We all laughed and had a good time mucking through the marshy parts of the course and enjoyed the beauty of the early morning sun.

I felt good through the early miles and kept right on my goal pace. I arrived at the Foot Bridge Aid Station at mile 18, the first drop bag location, in under 3 and half hours. It felt great to rinse off my feet and put on dry socks and shoes. I filled my water, ate a PB&J and headed across the bridge and up the first and biggest climb of the course fondly referred to as "the wall". I caught up with Adam after a few minutes and we walked and talked our way up the climb, admiring the fields of wild flowers. I pushed on ahead and made it to the top in just over an hour, but I was feeling pretty spent. From the top of the wall, the trail rolls along for a while though a wooded area and I took this whole section pretty slow.

I went through the next couple of aid stations pretty quickly and started feeling a bit better. I passed Marie who was running the 100 and her pacer Paul just before Kerns Cow Camp at mile 28. Marie seemed to be doing well and I had a chance to talk to Paul about his summer racing schedule which includes the Western States 100 next weekend, the Badwater 135 two weeks after that and the Furnace Creek 508 bike race in the beginning of October.

I had a short stop at Cow Camp and continued on to the second drop bag location at Dry Fork (mile 34.5) You can see the aid station from over 2 miles away across the valley and it is a long slow gradual climb to get there. I passed Kiwi Rob running the 100 with his wife Cecili pacing. He said he was having some ankle trouble and just hoping to make the cut offs. He still seemed in good spirits and encouraged me to "keep going mate". I found out later that he had made it to the turnaround in 12 hours and in 20th place then twisted his ankle in the mud just after 50 miles. Rather than drop, he walked all the way to the finish and made it just under the cut off in 33:36- very impressive.

I kept up my steady pace and walked the final hill into the aid station in just under 8 hours. The aid station volunteers were very helpful with getting my drop bag, filling my water and offering me a chair. It felt good to sit down and I checked my blood sugar with a test kit I had in my drop bag. It was a perfect 111 and I was feeling good. I stuffed my hydration pack into my drop bag, decided not to change socks and shoes, walked into the food tent for some pretzels and a tortilla roll up with turkey and avocado- it was great- and walked out on to the road glad to have less than 18 miles to go.

I continued on to Upper Sheep Creek feeling tired but still able to maintain a reasonable mix of walking and slow running. After the Upper Sheep aid station at mile 39, there is the last real climb of the day which is very steep but not nearly as long as the wall. I walked the whole climb and was very glad to get to the top of the ridge knowing that there was only about 11 miles to go and it was all down hill.

This is the part of the course that I felt great on last year and made really good time. The course travels down a green hillside and along a stretch that looks down the valley all the way back in to Dayton. I didn't have the legs left to run as hard as I would have liked here, but I kept on going glad to be getting closer to the finish.

Terry flew past me just before the Lower Sheep Creek aid station with about 8 miles to go. The trail smooths out here a bit and I hoped to stay with him, but my legs didn't quite have it. The lst section of trail runs along the Tongue River and is really nice and runnable. I enjoyed this section and smiled and waved and a kilted man playing bagpipes on the side of the trail. Before I knew it, I was at the cheery Tongue River Road aid station. I filled my bottle ate a little and checked the sign on the way out that said there was only 5 miles to the finish.

The last 5 miles run along a dirt camp ground access road that rolls through some farms and horse properties in to the small town (population 658) of Dayton, WY. I went through the first mile on the road in about 9 minutes, but couldn't keep up the pace all the way in.

I was glad again to see the home stretch aid station where a volunteer met me in the road with a grape otter pop and the news that it was only 1.7 miles to the finish. I walked just long enough to eat my otter pop which tasted really good and then ran the rest of the the road in to Dayton, crossed the bridge over the Tongue river and crossed the road in to Scott Park. I saw Ean and Maddie as I rounded the corner and Maddie ran out to meet me. Micah jumped out of the car and the three of us ran the last 100 yards in to the park while Ean snapped some pictures.

It felt good to finish and it was very nice to have my family there to greet me. I took off my shoes and stood in the river to wash off 52 miles and 11 and a half hours of mud from my legs. The cold water felt great and Shadow came in to join me.
We stayed at the park for a while and enjoyed the picnic and watched our friends finish their 50 and 100 mile adventures. It was a great day, I enjoyed the run and a the trail and the whole experience. I couldn't think of a better way to spend my birthday.