Monday, February 22, 2010

A Snowy Weekend

I spent a good part of the weekend inside doing homework for my Master's class, grading papers and preparing for the shool week. It was snowing when I got up Sauturday morning and it got heavier throughout the day. It continued to snow today and we've got about 10 inches of accumulation. This afternoon, I'd had enough of sitting inside infront of the computer, so I grabbed my snowshoes and my dog and we headed out to the trails. We trotted down the snowy street and I strapped my snowshoes on once we got to the park. We ran the full loop along the Timber Trail and around Dixon Resevoir. We saw a couple of skiers and lots of ski tracks and the conditions were great. Pineridge was quiet and beautiful under all the new snow. Shadow and I got into a pretty good rhythm after he figured out he needed to stay behind me and avoid stepping on the back of my snowshoes. We saw Mary and her dog just starting out on their run on the west side of the resevoir. We exchanged some observations of the beauty of the afternoon and the magic of running on the snowy trails and then continued on our ways in opposite directions. I started to get really cold as we headed south in to a bit of a headwind and Shadow started to have trouble with snow building up in his pads. I pulled on my neck warmer and Shadow and I removed as much snow as we could from between his toes and headed home. The loop ended up being almost six miles and took us just over an hour. We had a great time, but were glad to get home to dry off, warm up and think about a hot dinner. I am definitely ready for warm spring days and clear trails, but it was good to get out and enjoy a snowy day on the trails.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Moab Red Hot 50K+

At the packet pick-up on Friday night, a Moab local told us that this has been the worst winter they have had in 40 years. Race officials said that there was some snow on the couse, but that is was mostly runnable. Saturday morning the sky was clear and the temperature was in the low 20s. I was feeling good as I rode to the start with Kemp and Andy. Andy and I talked about our time goals for the race. Andy said he'd like to finish in under 7 hours. I said I'd like to finish faster than last year (5:52). Kemp, running his second 50K, said that he was going to win.

Kemp and I went out together and breezed through the first 4 miles in under 35 minutes. I walked a bit going up the second steep climb and took off my long sleeve shirt as I was already sweating. I continued to run well throught the fist aid station at mile 5 and on up to the course high point on the ridge and then we hit the snow. Miles 9-12 were all in shin to knee deep snow. It was tough, slow and exhausting. Mile 13 brought aid station 2 and end to the post holing. I immediatley felt better and clicked off some good miles out of the loop and back to aid station 3 where I filled my water bottle and continued down the hill that we had come up at mile 4 in the snow and was now thick with mud. Things started to get rough at mile 20 going up the hill on the slick rock. I went through mile 21 and aid station 4 feeling pretty wiped out, but still moving steadily over the rock and ice. I started looking for the last aid station a few miles later when Eric Lee showed up taking pictures and passing on the bad news that the jeeps carrying aid station 5 couldn't get past a "wall of ice" so there would be no aid for another 5 and a half miles. I looked at my 1/4 full water bottle and let news settle in and I kept going. I was moving pretty slow by now and at one point I sat down on the rock to shake some gravel out of my shoe- wow I wish I did that sooner. At mile 29 I passed the wall of ice and arrived at the aid station. I took my time there, filling my bottle, eating a chunk of banana and a handful of potato chips. They said there was just another 2 and half miles to the finish and I knew most of that was down hill. I started feeling better soon after leaving the aid station and a few minuted after that, I saw Ean, Maddie and Shadow hanging out beside the trail. They ran up to meet me full of energy and ran with me towards the finish. After a few minutes, they trailed back and with energy levels rising, I picked up my pace and ran on down the trail towards the Colorado River. I called out to Micah who was sitting on a rock about a quarter mile from the finish and watched as he got up to meet me down the trail. I was glad to finish in just over 6 hours and 4 minutes which was 12 minutes slower than last year, but not too bad considering the course conditions and my recent injury.
This was a good early season ultra to give me a push towards doing the training necessary for the races ahead.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The year so far

My running in 2010 started out well. I ran 23 miles on the Blue Sky trail on New Year's Day and kept putting some good miles over the next three weeks. I ran the Hardwater 30K Snowshoe race in Nederland on Jan.9 and surprised myself with a second place overall finish. Last weekend, Jan 30, I ran the Twin Mountain Trudge 11 mile race outside of Larimer, WY. I had a rough start and struggled through the deep snow on the back side of the loop, then ran the second half much stronger, passing several runners to finish 7th overall. I have been taking it easy for the last couple of weeks to rest my left foot which had been showing signs of early stages of plantar fasciitis. It has been feeling better with the help of rest and lots of stretching. I am looking forward to the Red Hot 50K+ in Moab next weekend. I have not put in all the training that I had hoped for, but at least I will be well rested. It will be nice to run 33 miles of snow free trails and slick rock, hopefully under blue skies and mild desert weather.