Friday, November 7, 2014

Get Swoll

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass with aging.  This process begins in your 30's and speeds up as we enter our 40's and is particularly fast (3-5% per decade) for inactive adults.  I hit the 40 mark this past summer (and celebrated with a 1745 mile bike ride down the coast).  After we returned to Colorado from our amazing 6 weeks of biking and enjoying the beach, I got busy with the new school year, coaching cross country, projects at the house and . . . a wedding . . . which was amazing:

So life has been wonderful and pretty full (which is my excuse for the absence of regular blog posts). Running, training and fitness have been further down on my list of priorities.  Then back a couple months ago Micah, my 17 year old son who is quickly approaching adulthood, asked me if we could hit the gym together for a workout.  Glad for the opportunity for some quality father/son time and eager to combat my own muscle atrophy I quickly agreed.  Micah and I have been meeting at Raintree Monday and Wednesdays for 8 weeks now to do some cardio and go through some sets of upper and lower body exercises on the machines and free weights.  It has been a lot of fun and after some pretty acute soreness the first couple weeks, we are both noticing some increases in strength and overall fitness.  Last week we added a Tai Chi class to our routine and that's been a whole new learning experience- more on that in a future post.  I'm not quite at the strength level that I had when I was personal trainer and spent 10+ hours a day at the gym and was 15 years younger, but I think that I could get back there and I'm hopeful that the added strength will provide a needed boost to my running.  And I have been running more lately too.  Nora and I signed up for the Red Hot Moab race in February and we have committed to getting out everyday through the winter to prepare.  It was a rough start, but over the past couple weeks, I feel my running legs coming back to me.  I may be in my 40s now, but I am pretty confident that some of my best running and racing performances are still ahead of me.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Bunny Beach

Day 6 - We rode on from our lunch stop in Cannon Beach another 20 miles and stopped for groceries in Manzanita. We set up camp in Nehalem State Park at our first hiker/biker site of the trip. We met Jason and Roman, brothers ~30 years old and 13 years old who are cycling down the coast together on a tandem from Astoria to Crescent City. We shared a picnic table with Rod who had ridden with friend to the Oregon coast from Virginia and would be finishing his 72 day 4500 mile journey the next day in Astoria. 
We walked down to the beach to see the sunset and were amazed by the wide expanse of perfect sandy beach (a 7 mile stretch, we were told).  Back at camp, we made a good dinner of cheesy rice which we enjoyed with some fresh veggies we had picked up at the market and a loaf of bread from the Cannon Beach bakery. We all slept well that night. 
In the morning of Day 7, Mari and I woke early for a run on the beach before a breakfast of coffee and oatmeal and then back on the bikes to return to 101 and continue south. We rode in to the Tillamook Cheese Factory for lunch and ice cream and cheese samples and made contact with my friends Ed and Victoria to discuss plans to meet up for dinner. 
They were driving home to Hillsboro (just west of Portland) from Crescent City, CA and were taking the coastal route to see us. We decided to adjust our camping plans from Cape Lookout State Park to Webb County Park in Pacific City, which turned out to be across the street from Pelican Pub and Brewery, recommended as a good place to stop by Steph from her Portland to San Francisco ride a few years ago. It was a good choice. The last 15 miles of the ride included a giant climb 
into a socked-in point above Cape Lookout. The sun came out as we dropped down the other side to Sand Lake road and into Pacific City.  55 miles for the day and 2000+ feet of vertical.  The county park had 10 tent sites and a hot shower and was right next to a Laundromat where we washed our stinky bike clothes for the first time on the trip. The camp hosts explained that 10 years ago someone had dropped off some bunnies at the camp and they have been doing what bunnies do ever since, so the campground was hopping with rabbits of all sizes. The little girls camped next to us brought carrots and told us that they come to camp at the "bunny beach" several times a year and it is their favorite. 
Nora's sister Jill drove out from Portland to camp with us and bike and camp with us the next day. Ed and Victoria and their beautiful 14 month old twins Sylvia and Skye met us at the brewery for dinner and it was great to talk and laugh and catch up. 
Day 8 began with a beautiful bunny-filled morning with fresh blueberries and Voodoo doughnuts that Jill had brought from Portland. Our extra miles the day before meant a shorter day, which was good because it was our windiest day yet with a couple more good climbs along the scenic Three Capes portion of the bike route. We had a very windy, sandy lunch on the beach in Lincoln City and then continued on with one more climb over Cape Foulweather. The book warned of a big climb and 60+ mph winds but as we braced ourselves for it at wayside lookout, a nice woman pointed out spouting gray whales and told us about a protected one lane road that bypassed the climb with spectacular views of the coast. We took this route and were very thankful for the tip. Our campsite at Beverly Beach State Park was just a few miles further along and it was protected from the wind by beautiful tall pines and tucked away next to a quiet creek. 42 miles for the day. We took a walk down to the beach and then roasted hot dogs and vegan pups on the campfire. It was fun to share our adventure for a day with Jill who decided to ride back to her car in Pacific City instead of taking the bus as she had originally planned. 
Day 9- We rode out from Beverly Beach, said our farewells to Jill and turned south while Jill headed north. We turned off of 101 and traveled parallel to the highway through the pleasant seaside town of Newport. After Newport we had nearly 30 miles of windy coast before we stopped for lunch in the small fishing town of Yachats. We were all feeling really hungry and enjoyed a hearty meal of fresh salmon and slumgullion (clam chowder with shrimp and cheese!). After lunch we rode up to the entrance of the seal caves for a rest stop. We decided not to pay $14 each to ride the elevator down into the caves, but we tasted the fudge and enjoyed a little protection from the wind. Next we had a long ride down into Florence where we picked up groceries, wine and stove fuel for the next couple days at a well-stocked Fred Meyer. Back on the highway for the final 6 miles to the campground, we were waved over by a friend of Mari's who was on a road trip with his family and had been following our travels on FB. We had a fun roadside visit with Hakim; then continued on to Jessie M. Honeyman State Park. This is another one of Oregon's beautiful state parks with a really nice Hiker/Biker site and friendly rangers and hosts. The campground is in the woods on the edge of a vast expanse of sand dunes that stretch 47 miles along the coast from Florence to Coos Bay.  We paid for two nights at the Hiker/Biker site ($30) and set up camp with the relaxed knowledge that the next morning we had nowhere to go and nothing to do except relax and enjoy the park. 62 miles.
Day 10- rest. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Cookies at Cannon Beach

We had a nice night on day 2 camping on the Hood Canal at Potlatch State Beach after 70+ miles of cycling. 
Day 3 was a long tough stretch of cycling through mountains, forests and the towns of McCleary, Elma and (very congested) Aberdeen. At the end of the day, we had pedaled 80 miles of back roads, hilly passes and freeway. We arrived at our camping spot at Twin Harbors State Beach after 6:00 pm tired and sore. We showered and slept well and set out on the 4th with a shorter ride to Bush Pioneer County Park.
It was a very nice ride without too much traffic and some nice views of the coast. We had lunch in Raymond with fresh Rainier cherries from a road side stand. 
We celebrated the 4th of July in the small-town feel of Bay Center, which appears to revolve around oyster farming. Splurged on picnic food - roasted hot dogs & veggie burgers over the fire and then enjoyed several informal fireworks displays all around us. It's interesting to spend the 4th in an area of reservations where firework stands were abundant. We lit some sparklers and teeny tiny fireworks at the beach. We somehow fell asleep amongst the thunderous booms late into the night.

Yesterday, we rode across the harrowing 4-mile Astoria Bridge over the Columbia River and into Oregon! 
Celebrated the state crossing with a delicious spread and beers at Fort George Brewery in the seaside town of Astoria.
After lunch, a short ride took us to our camp spot at Fort Stevens State Park, a sprawling and very crowded site for holiday campers. We squeezed our 3 tiny tents between RVs and full set-ups (our neighbors had a mini fridge & TV)! A brief walk along the bike paths helped to stretch the legs and we ended at a beautiful sandy beach - site of a 1906 shipwreck.
 Besides swarms of thirsty mosquitoes, it was a nice last evening with Bill & Ann before we parted ways this morning. We're on our own...
Our ride so far today took us through the beachy resort town of Seaside where we stopped for coffee and a scone.
We are now having a leisurely lunch in Cannon Beach on a perfect summer day on the Oregon Coast.
Only 20 or so miles to go this afternoon to our camping spot at Nehalem State Beach. We've decided that biking down the coast is a pretty good life.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Doughnuts in Quilcene

We biked up Nora's parents' (Bill and Ann) driveway in Anacortes yesterday morning and began our 1700 mile journey down the coast.  Nora, Mari, Bill and I rode south off of Fidalgo Island and across Deception Pass Bridge to Whidbey Island. 
We stopped for lunch in Oak Harbor and met up with Ann who had followed us in the car. After lunch Bill took the car and Ann joined us for the remainder of the ride to the Port Townsend ferry. We pulled into the dock just in time to board the ferry across the Sound to PT. 
It was a beautiful sunny and unusually warm day in the Pacific Northwest and the 34 miles we rode made for a great start to the trip.  
In Port Townsend we stayed with Nora's sister Shelly and her husband Jeff and their enthusiastic 5 year old son, Soren. 
We had a wonderful dinner and visit with the Randalls and enjoyed a good night of sleep- our last in a bed for a while. This morning we set off at 8:30 after oatmeal
and fresh berries and Shelly and Soren rode with us for the first 9 miles on the Larry Scott trail. Our destination tonight is Potlatch State Park after 64 miles of rolling treed roads. We are stopped for lunch in Quilcene where Bill met us with doughnuts and lunch. 

It's cloudy and much cooler today, which is welcome relief from yesterday's sun that left us all a little fried :-(. So far I am loving the pace and routine of bike touring. Many adventures to come...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

PCBT 2014

Twelve years ago, I bought this book in preparation for a three day ride from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz.  My riding partner got sick on the second day and we didn't finish the ride, but it was still a fun trip and ever since, I've wanted to do the whole thing.  A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to meet someone who was also interested in the adventure of a long bike trip down the coast.  We've spent over a year now talking about it, planning, organizing, collecting equipment and now it is time for the journey to begin.  We're heading out to Anacortes, WA where we will meet up with the rest of our riding team.  Mari, Nora's longtime and closest friend, who is also a bike enthusiast (she doesn't even have a car!) will be riding the whole route with us.  We will begin on July 1st leaving from Nora's parents' driveway to head south down the coast riding between 25 and 80 miles each day, camping and staying with friends and at hostels and enjoying the views  along the coast until we reach my parent's house in Laguna Beach on August 3.  We will post pictures and stories along the way.  It should be quite an adventure.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bolder Boulder #8: New gear, the Blevins BB Racers and training on the track

Maddie at Bolder Boulder 2011

Monday May 26, Maddie, Nora and I along with the 20 other members of the Blevins BB Racers team will be lining up in Boulder to run America's #1 10K.  This will be the 8th year in a row that Maddie and I have run the race in Boulder to celebrate Memorial Day and the beginning of summer.

Race packets arrived yesterday and I'm excited to add another Bolder Boulder t-shirt to my collection.  The good people at Bolder Boulder this year asked me to test some gear from race sponsor Helly Hanson and post my thoughts here.  The gear includes a pair of shorts, a tech-T and a long sleeve tech jersey.
Its always fun to get some free gear, and this is all good stuff.  The shorts are long enough that I can wear them to track practice and the tops are a nice material with a contoured fit.  Helly Hanson is also supporting the BBRacers Club by providing jackets for the coaches.  

Last night was the first Tuesday Night Track workout at CSU with the amazing Jane Welzel.  We ran 6 x 800 meters with a 400 recovery after each.  We all started the first one together to find runners of similar pace.  I only made it on to the track for the tail end of Jane's instructions, so I ran the first 800 with no warm-up.  It was rough and I slogged through a 3:09. I teamed up with Dennis and Mike and we groaned at the prospect of running 5 more.  We did it though coming through at 3:09, 3:13, 3:05, 3:07 and then Mike asked me to make the call on #6.  I said that I'd love to think we could go sub 3:00, but I didn't think I had that in me.  "How about another 3:05? . . . Let's try to get as close to 3 minutes as possible."  Mike was in and took off.  We went out hard and I started to fade on the back stretch of the second.  Mike pulled out in to lane 2 and encouraged me forward.  I pushed around the final turn and we finished in 2:57.  Nothing stellar, but definitely the fastest (only) 800 I've run in the past year.  It was a good night at the track- great to see and catch up with some friends and good to be humbled a bit by my current fitness level.  Lots of work to do to get back to true racing fitness,  but I am on the right track.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March Mileage Madness #4 is happening Sunday!

We're on for Sunday and it looks like the weather and trail conditions are on our side.  We'll have starts at 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 depending on your pace and distance.  Plan to be back at the house for BBQ/potluck around 1:00 pm.  There might be a few course markings out there, but check out the route descriptions and map (23 mile map and description, 36 mile map and description) and print and bring them with you if you're not familiar with the trails.  There are a couple places to fill water at trail heads and park entrances, but there will be no aid stations, so carry what you'll need.

Bring whatever you like for the post run festivities- food, drinks, something to BBQ.  .  . We'll fire up the BBQ around 1:00 and hang out and eat and drink and enjoy the afternoon until about 4:00.

Send me an email if you have questions or leave a comment below.  Feel free to leave a comment with your start time and planned distance too.

Lots of other pictures and stuff here.

See you Sunday!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March Mileage Madness is on! **Date Change

The 4th annual MMM run around the reservoir will be happening on Sunday March 23.  Spring is coming and it is time to start putting in some longer training miles.  Look here and here for event info, course descriptions and stories and pictures from past years, and some reports from others.
Check back for more details soon.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Hesitating Beauties take the Mount Taylor Winter Quadrathlon

I was very excited (and relieved) after watching some video of the ski portion of the Quad when Nora suggested that we compete as a team in the Pairs Division.  I could bike and run and she would ski and snowshoe.  The perfect solution and so we became the Hesitating Beauties and we were on our way to a one of a kind event in Grants, New Mexico.
The Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon consists of 13 miles of uphill road biking, 5 miles of running up a dirt road, 2 miles of uphill cross country/back-country skiing and a 1 mile snowshoe to the top of 11,301 foot Mt. Taylor and then . . . you do it all again in reverse.  The pairs and teams took off an hour after the solo competitors and we were a smaller group.  It had been a while since I'd competed in a bike race and I hadn't even been on my road bike in months, so I decided to be conservative at the start.  The first couple mile took us through the town of Grants and out on to the road leading up Mt. Taylor.  The top 15-20 riders rode as a pack which I guess was okay.  I was unsure of the etiquette in this race recalling my triathlon days where drafting on the bike was strictly forbidden.  A few of us in the pack talked about this and it seemed no one was really sure so we just rode on taking turns pulling up front.  Once we hit the hill about 4 miles in, the pack started to split up and I was surprised for a while to find myself out front. As the climb steepened and my unconditioned legs tired, I got reeled in and passed (but not dropped) by a few riders. The climb was tough, but the scenery was nice, the sun was warm and it felt good to be out on the bike and hanging in with the lead group. The last 3 miles were pretty steep and I started to look forward to arriving at the transition and getting off the bike to run. I was the 5th rider in from the team/pairs start, quickly found my running shoes, shed my helmet and gloves, grabbed a cup of water and chuck of banana and headed up the road.

My legs were heavy for the first couple miles, but I loosened up and caught three of the four teams/pairs that had started ahead of me. The run continued up a wide dirt road that turned in to mud, snow and ice in the last two miles. I ran in to the run/ski transition where Nora was waiting and quickly snapped into her skis and headed out on to an icier, steeper and more extreme ski course than anyone was expecting.  

Nora of course took it on like the champion skiier that she is, smiling the whole way. . .  with maybe a couple of falls and some cursing here and there.  After successfully navigating the ski course up, Nora strapped on her snow shoes and raced the last mile to the 11,301 foot summit of Mt. Taylor where she took a moment to enjoy the view before turning around and flying back down the slope to clip back in to her skis.  Downhill skiing is where Nora truely excels and after the race, she modestly shared that she passed 23 other skiers on the downhill.  When she got back to the ski/run transition, I was ready and waiting and took off to run the 5 miles back to my bike.  I was looking forwad to the long down hill bike ride where I could push a big gear, tuck in and fly back to the finish, but I was instead hit with some fierce afternoon headwinds that I fought for most of the 13 miles back down to Grants. 

I rolled in to the finish for a combined time of 5 hours 28 minutes which seemed pretty respectable.  I found Mike and Jessica in the beer tent and enjoyed a Santa Fe brewing State Pen Porter while I waited for Nora to get shuttled back to the finish.  When Nora arrived, we watched the finish line for Chris and Steph (the instigator of this whole thing) who showed up all smiles after a long day on the race course.

Nora and I checked the results and found that we placed 3rd overall in the pairs division.  We stuck around for the awards and proudly collected our yellow race caps and glass trophies. 

We left Grants victorious and drove two hours to Santa Fe where we showered and enjoyed a delicious Valentine's + 1 dinner at the Blue Corn Cafe.  It was a super fun weekend exploring a new place, competeing in a unique event and hanging out with some good friends. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Winter Running, Snowshoeing, Skiing, and some changes to the plans

I got out last weekend for my first races of the year, first races since Thanksgiving actually, and now my legs are very tired.  I decided on Friday to drop from the 30K snowshoe to the 11.4 mile race which is an out and back on the Sourdough trail just above Nederland.  I have done the 30K race three times, but this year I really didn't feel that I had the fitness. I drove up to Nederland on Saturday morning with Jessie, who was going out for her first snoeshoe race (and her second time out in snowshoes).  When we got to the trailhead at 8:30, it was already sunny and warm and only a little breezy.  Snow condidtions on the trail looked pretty good- packed down and pretty well covered.  I took off at a comfortable and relaxed pace in the back 1/3 of the pack.  I slowly moved my way up keeping the pace very easy.  It was a really beautiful day out on the trails and I was remined of how much I enjoy snowshoeing.  I felt better than I expected to, so as I got close to the turn around at mile 5.7, I decided to count the runners coming back to see what place I was in.  #1 was a good mile ahead of me, then the 2nd, 3rd and 4th runners came along.  #5 was a little further back, probably only a quarter mile ahead and then I hit the turn around in 6th place in 1:20.  I ate a couple fig newtons and filled my water.  The guy behind me that I had passed a little ways back came in to the turn around right after me, and we left at the same time to head back- mostly downhill to the finish.  I tried to stay in the moment running back and just enjoy the time on the trail.  I tend to spend a lot of time (and mental energy) late in a race or long run counting down the distance to the finish.  Today I decided on really trying to just enjoy each moment of the run instead of only thinking about how long it would be before I was done.  I did pretty well with this for a while and vowed to keep running (and living) in the moment as a ongoing goal.  I took a couple of falls on the way back.  Once I caught my front crampon on a root and later the front of my snow show in a deep rut of snow.  Both times I was able to get back up pretty quickly with no damage done besides another tear in my tights.  The forgivingness of snowy trails is another reason I like snowshoeing.  In the final 3/4 mile, I heard another runner closing in behind me and then I saw the guy that had left the turn around with me on the switchback just above.  I was a little frustrated to be getting based in the final mile, but wasn't too worried about it.  I kept running, but moved to the side of the trail to let him pass, but he didn't.  The trail flattened out and opened up and I picked up my pace and opened up a the gap behind me.  With less than a 1/4 mile to go, I saw the 5th place runner ahead (and apparently having some difficulty with a snowshoe, but still having a good time).  I passed him and ran on to the finish in 2 and 1/2 hours for 5th place.  I was awarded with a pair of socks from the raffle (I can always use more socks).  I changed in to dry clothes then hiked back up the trail a bit to run in with Jessie.  I got back home with time to enjoy the last bit of a beautiful warm January day and take an easy bike ride round Fort Collins.
Sunday it was back in to the mountains for the Frost Giant double in Estes Park.  This was my 4th consecutive trip to Estes in January to run a 5K and a 10K in quick succession.  My legs were tired from snowshoeing, but it was another beautiful warm day and there was a big Fort Colling crew in attendance.  I was considerably slower than last year in both races, but I had a good time and felt like maybe all this running and racing would be a good start to getting back in shape.
I decided not to go up to the Snowys this weekend for another snowshoe race and stayed in Fort Collins instead for some good XC skiing around Pineridge with Nora and Shadow.

I'm starting to feel a lot better on the skis although I still have a long way to go.  When I realized just how far last week, Nora and I decided to do the Winter Quadrathlon as a team instead.  I will bike and run and Nora will ski and snowshoe.  It will be a lot of fun to compete as a team.
Today Nora and I joined the FCRC at Fossil Creek Park for the 5K Tortoise and Hare Race.  It was 0 degrees at the start and pretty icy on the course, but many of our friends were there enjoying the morning and there were bagels and coffee after.
Looking further in to the future, Nora, Mari and I have put together the plans for our day by day route for the bike tour in July.  We'll average around 50 miles/day, do a lot of camping in beautiful places on the coast, stay with friends, and enjoy the journey.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A New Year

2014 -- Here we go.

Here's a little glimpse in to what I have in store this year:

  • Snowshoe racing - in less than three weeks, I'll be strapping on (or lacing up) my snowshoes for  the 30K Sourdough Snowshoe Race in Nederland and then again a week later for the 10K Snowy Mountain Range Snowshoe Race in Wyoming.  Snowshoe racing is a great off season challenge and a fun way to stay fit in the cold snowy days of winter.  I'm always hopeful that some snowshoeing fitness will carry over to running and racing in the spring. 

  • Winter Quadrathlon - I was looking for a new challenge for 2014 so when Steph said she was doing this race and Chris and Mike, I thought why not?  The Mount Taylor Winter Quadrathlon is a 13 mile bike ride, 5 mile run, 3 mile cross country ski and 1 mile snowshoe to the top of 11,301 foot Mt. Taylor in Grants, New Mexico and then all the same in reverse back down.  I'm a little nervous about the skiing part since I've only been out on the skis a couple times and I don't really know how to go down hill, but I have an exellent ski insturctor and I'm not too proud to ski pizza style all the way down.

  • Bike tour of the Pacific Coast - This summer, Nora and I will be teaming up with Mari to ride Highway 1 from the Testerman house in Anacortes, WA to my mom's house in Laguna Beach, CA.  We're planning to take 4 or 5 weeks to complete this 1700 mile ride, camping and staying with friends along the way.  This has been a longtime dream for all of us.  It is going to be amazing.

  • Wedding!!! - Yep on August 30, Nora and I are tying the knot and it is going to be quite a party.  I am so thankful to have met such an amazing person to spend the rest of my life with.  The plans for the wedding are coming together and we are really excited for the big day. 

2014 will be an amazing year, full of adventures and new beginings and I'm sure there will be surprises along the way.  I'm looking forward to all of it and I'm thanful for the wonderful people that I will get to share it with.  Here we go.