Sunday, March 16, 2014

Salida Run Through Time Marathon

Spring in in the air.
Outside it is beautiful and fair.

Snow is still on the ground here.
I will not worry or fear.

I will run hard and ever fast.
To try and be the opposite of last.

Yesterday I went down to Salida for their annual Run Through Time Marathon . It was my 7th time running event. All week I had several people prodding me on for the race and asking how I’d do. I answer truthfully: I was unsure but was hoping for a sub 3:20 time. Little did I know I would miss this goal by 7 seconds.  During the last few weeks I had talked at length with training partner Marco about his goals for the race. We both knew he was fit and I was predicting a 3:18-3:21 finish for him. The race started promptly at 8:00 am. The temperature hovered just above freezing. The top group went out controlled just trying to warm their muscles up. While warming up we chit chatted. There were 4 previous winners in the race Josh Arthur, Nick Clark, Ryan Burch, and myself.
There seemed to be little pecking for position… we were letting it sort out on its own. By the time we got 2 miles in, heading up S Mountain, the positions in the race were falling into place. Nick led by 15 yards, I took it a little easy behind him, Josh was waiting to pounce right behind me.



Around mile 4 Josh passed me caught up to Nick and their race was off. I knew I had to run my own race. My speed was lacking as I’ve run, well actually jogged, on way too much ice this winter. It is only in the last 2 weeks that I’ve started incorporating speed back into my workouts. I stayed back running a controlled pace. Marco caught up to me in fourth at the aid station (near mile 8). I was feeling ok, not perfect but decided to start cranking up the long hill. Soon I realized that I had inadvertently dropped Marco. Periodically I could still see Nick and Josh running neck and neck about ¼ of a mile ahead. I knew that today my race was for 3rd. I kept rolling and was able to maintain a 30-40 second lead over Marco.

Overall, I felt decent but was running at a near tipping point threshold. It was a gamble… how long could I maintain the pace. Mile after mile clicked by 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, all the way to the mile 21 hill. I still felt decent and ran up at a slow controlled pace which I was convinced other runners could not exceed. At last I topped the hill with about 5 miles to go and it hit me… I had reached the tipping point. I started cramping and felt like I was near to passing out. I ran down the hill and onto the serpentine single track. I slowed my pace and drank some electrolyte mixture to try and regain my composure. Slowly over the next mile I started feeling a little better… not much better but enough that I could at least maintain my pace. At a long switch back I suddenly heard Marco call out to me. He was about 30 seconds back and running hard.

I maintained my pace ever trying to increase it. Yet, like in a nightmare, I felt like I only got slower. I got to the last aid station with 3 miles to go, all downhill. I still had enough liquid and felt like I could make it the last 3 miles. I rushed through the aid station and ran downhill. The downhill has many tight switchbacks on which I would look up and see Marco ever decreasing the gap between us. I poured on the coal running at my threshold as if on the edge of a knife. I was close to falling off. 400 yards left and I gave it my all. I ran and crossed the finish line taking 3rd by only 21 seconds. My final time was 3:20:07 Marco came through and I congratulated him. It was a great race for 3rd.

Overall, I was quite pleased with my run. My endurance was decent, while my speed could use some work. I’ll continue to improve and I’ll be ready for my 50+ mile race at Dessert RATs

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Future is Now: Running in Hoka One One

Well I've been busy in Leadville. Teaching is going well and so is running. It has been a snowy winter here. That is to be expected as I’m living at 10,000 feet.  In early February I ran the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile race near Houston. For an early year race I was quite pleased with it. I ran 19:40. Can’t complain. This last week I signed with Hoka One One. They make some amazing shoes with maximum cushion and support. Personally, I need some support and I know my feet thank me into any long run.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Moving to Leadville!

Hello to all. I realize it was a little lame to say I’m back to blogging and then not have the slightest update forever. Part of the problem was I could not edit my blog at home and part of the problem was I was busy applying to jobs across Colorado. The job application process was physically draining and mentally tiresome as I sent out over application after application every week. Low and behold I accepted my dream job teaching high school social studies in Leadville.

This is a great opportunity. I’ll be living and training at over 10,000 feet and teaching students about what I am passionate about: History.

With the application process came added stress and less training. I’m in good shape but not nearly in ultra-shape. I did run a 10k in Leadville this last week and had great success with it. I broke the course record by a little over 30 seconds and averaged 5:41 on my way to a first place finish in 35:23. Results are here:

The course starts and finishes right where the Leadville 100 starts and finishes and mimics the first and last 3 miles of the course. There is about 1.5 miles of pavement and 4.7 of dirt along with a complimentary 300 feet of gain and lost. I went out fast just trying to maintain a lung burning pace. It worked as I finally got my first win of the year.

Now it is time to hunker down, explore Leadville, and have a blast teaching!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I'm back to blogging!

I’m back to blogging. I had to take an extended reprieve from it simply for time issues. I spent the last 2 years busy earning my teaching license and my Masters of Education. When I was not working my full time job I was busy with school, or running, or living life. There were of course plenty of interesting blogable adventures, stories, and races to share but the time eluded me.

This spring Lynnette, my wife and girlfriend, gave birth to our little Katrina. She is now 3 months old:

I have high hopes for this coming season with races already stacking up. Next week I’ll be running the Black Canyon Ascent – a 6 mile uphill run that gains about 2000 feet. The Course Record is right at 40 minutes even. I hope to run fast. In preparation for some of my races this year I’ve been doing repeat miles. Up until last week I was doing the miles on the treadmill. I’ll run 3, 4, or 5x1 mile. My breaks between miles have remained constant at 7.5 mph for 2 minutes which translates into a ¼ mile break at 8 minute pace. January and February miles were a about 5:20 pace. Finally by March I was running low 5 minute mile. Then in April I did a lifelong dream: I ran my first sub 5 minute mile on a treadmill: 4:58.

In the last few weeks I’ve also picked up 2 knew sponsors in addition to SportHill. . They are V Fuel and Barlean’s Organic Oils V Fuel makes great energy gels that are easy to digest. Also they are one of the few gels around that also has fat to help with the fuel absorption into the body. Check out Barlean’s website. They have flax seed, chia seed, coconut oil, other needed oils, greens, etc. I’ve been using their products for the last few weeks for recovery and nutrition. Even their fish oil which is all natural without sugar tastes great… For those of you who are worried that the fish oil might taste fishy… it does not. Great product check it out.

Stay tuned for updates.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sage Burner 2012

The Sage Burner 25K (Actualy GPS at 16.5 miles): Website and results are here.

A Monday race... granted it was Memorial Day but it still was a little different. I figured overall competition and numbers at the race would be down. There were only 120+ people who competed down from over a usual 200+. My goal for the race was simple run a new course record. I did not check the CR before running but i figured it was about 1:55 (it was 1:57:30). After a quick couple minute warm up, seeing old friends and new faces, and a few starting line instructions the race was off. I wanted to warm into the race while going up the first hill while also testing the waters and see who would be competing with me. By 5 minutes into the race. I was surprised that with the initial warm-up all but one had dropped and I was left with only Dane Michele on my heels. He would not budge. I thought of a race strategy to unsettle him. First I noticed he would not voluntarily pass. He was content to give me the lead and let me set the pace. We pounded down a single trace (The Ridge) and he remained stoic giving little as too his plan. At the bottom of the single track I slowed up to a painfully slow jog and let him have the lead. He started hammering up the next hill with me close on his heels. I realized then that I was faster on the uphills, but did not attempt to pass. At the top of the hill Dane continued to hammer downhill. Unlike the uphill portion where I could easily match stride with stride I was now pushing it to remain within close proximity. I realized that Dane was running the downhills better, whereas I was running the uphills better. With this knowledge I was ready to take the lead again and run like the wind. I passed Dane and rolled over undulating terrain which was neither predominantly up or down hill. I hammered through an aid station (about mile 4) just ahead of Dane. I continued on building a 6 second lead until I ran up to a closed gait. I stopped and fumbled with the latch on the gate. I knew my lead was gone so I took the few seconds to relax and relish the easy of the moment.

Once again I headed off just a stride up on Dane. Once again I increased my lead by just a few seconds. We yo-yoed as my lead would go from one stride to 5 seconds ahead and back again. I continually pushed the pace not sure if I could hold on. This eventually gave me an 8 second lead. But then came the long downhill down to the Josie's aid station near mile 9. On the downhill Dane caught up but did not want to pass. We ran through the aid station in 1:00:41. I knew that the longest continuous uphill followed the aid station so I once again dropped the hammer and pushed the pace up the next single tracks: Buddy Bear, Broken Shovel, and Josho's. I was unsure if i could continue the staggering pace but kept at it. I was determined that I was going to drop Dane and win. The risk paid off as I pulled away from Dane and started building up a lead. I averaged 10 seconds per mile faster for the next 3 miles and built up close to a 30 second lead on Dane. I continued hammering with the goal to finish. The last 2 or 3 single tracks disappeared and I crossed the finish line setting a new CR of 1:51:30. Dane finished 31 seconds later.

The race was solid. My legs felt great despite hammering in the race and running a long training run just 2 days prior to the race. A friend of mine, Allen Peoples, also ran a great time in the race. He was 17th. After the race we scarfed down left over Chinese food from the day before, watched a movie, and then scampered up Mt Emmons 12,391 up near Crested Butte. The Sage Burner was a great race and benchmark. I know where I am at physically and look forward to the Hardrock 100 in a month.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Moab Red Hot 55K

Moab: I had been looking forward to racing Moab. The race I knew would give me a decent benchmark of my fitness. Lynnette and I drove down Friday night ready for a relaxing weekend. The morning was cold around 20 degrees but with a clear sky promising warm weather later in the day. I started with just shorts and a singlet figuring I would warm up. The first few miles found inviting patches of sun intermixed with cool numbing shading. I thought how the cold would soon be past but it seemed to go indefinitely. Finally by the first aid station near mile 5 I was starting to warm up. I was in first place by this point but only by a few seconds. I clicked off the mile up to the overlook somewhere 10 miles into the race. Down below the racer’s cars still lined the road for quarter mile looking like the mini Hot Wheels I used to play with.

I continued to cruise as my body resounded. I was eating and drinking well but did not feel as strong as other years. I know my base is not as good as previous years but I could still race well. Midway at mile 17 or so I had about a 1-2 minute lead. Not very much really. Soon I was on the most adventurous and enjoyable part of the course: the slick rock trails of Gold Bar Rim. I ran up and down the slick rock jumping cracks and boulders and bounding down drops. I followed the trail ribbon mostly successfully but my tired body was finding it difficult to follow it precise. At one point 20 yards off course I had to down climb a 10 foot rock section. Around mile 24 my lead was abolished as both Kevin Koch and Eric Bohn passed me battling it out for 1st. I could just watch. A mile later, Karl Meltzer passed me as well. My rough patch between miles 23-27 was finally over. I started running with a purpose again hopping to chase down one of the lead runners. The fantasy served to help keep me running with speed.

I crossed the finish line tired but knowing I had raced well and was content with my effort. My training right now must continue through May to be a fine line of putting in the miles amongst school and life. For now a winter and spring foundation must grow as speed and fitness await for the summer.
Up next: Salida Marathon

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2012 Starts

It is a new year: 2012 and it is almost 10% over. I’m busy student teaching at the Gunnison Middle School finishing up my year. Student teaching should pay off in the future with an actual job. My days are spent teaching, running, and doing homework or lesson plans. I’ve been able to balance life, training, work, school, and school work, not an easy task. Lynnette has been amazing doing extra work around the house and baking to help keep me fueled and going. I’ve been training a good deal in preparation for the upcoming races this year.

Tentatively I’m planning on racing the Moab 55K (about 34 miles) in 2 weeks. It promises to be a great season opener as a well as a benchmark that will inform me what shape I am in. I’ve only had two-3 hour runs (about 24 miles) in training this year so we will see how hard Moab will be. Come March there will be the Salida Marathon. April will not disappoint with the Fruita Fifty. May offers the Black Canyon of the Gunnison 10K race. June will bring both warm weather and a potential North Face 50 mile race in Virginia. July will come and usher in THE RACE: The Hardrock 100. After July the summer will be filled with more training, a little school, a lot of mountains, and either the Leadville 100, or an attempt at the Colorado 14ers Record… or maybe both. We will see.