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.