High in Colorado

High in Colorado
Photo: Mandy Lea Photo

Monday, July 30, 2012

Week in Review: July 23-29

Monday, July 23rd
PM—8 Miles—0:57—700’—Creek Path and Red Lion
Headed up the Creek Path and made the decision to keep going up the Red Lion route to the top of Flagstaff. Lightening soon put an end to that plan and common sense dictated I sprint my ass back down.

Tuesday, July 24th        
AM—5 Miles—0:36—300’—Creek Path
Early morning shakeout run.
PM—4 Miles—0:44—1,000’—Panorama Point and Red Rocks
I didn’t really feel like committing to any particular route. So I ran up past Panorama Point, turned around, and ran around Red Rocks for a bit. Legs felt solid throughout, but I kept the effort easy in anticipation of an early morning run up Green with Tony Molina.

Wednesday, July 25th   
AM—10 Miles—1:52—2,600—Green via Back Side
My legs felt solid and peppy on the warm-up run up 6th street, but soon into the climb on Gregory they fell apart and I resorted to hiking most of the ascent. Not really the time trial I was hoping for. Just goes to show that you can’t really plan time trials. Most of the time PR’s just seem to happen on days you least expect.
PM—12 Miles—2:13—3,250’—Green via Long Canyon and West Ridge
Wow. This was just one of those runs where it felt like I could run uphill indefinitely. I hit the 7-8ish mile and 3,000’ climb up Green in 1:18 and felt great/easy the entire way. Took the descent pretty casual and came down the middle route before descending Flagstaff back down to Ebin G Fine Park.

Thursday, July 26th
AM—5 Miles—0:41—300’—Creek Path
Really easy shakeout run. Legs felt fine, but I didn’t want to push too hard after yesterday’s double dip of Green.
PM—8 Miles—1:13—1,150’—Red Rocks, Dakota Ridge, and Creek Path
I wanted to get in a little climbing without overdoing it. So I ran up-and-over Red Rocks, did an out-and-back on Dakota Ridge, and then hit an easy five miles on the Creek Path. I’m trying to keep my legs a little fresh for pacing Jonathan at Grand Mesa this Saturday, which I’m pretty stoked to do.

Friday, July 27th

Saturday, July 28th            
AM—16 Miles—2:53—400’—Grand Mesa Pacing for Jon
Ran in an area with some pretty amazing scenery, but essentially no vertical. I took a nasty fall about 6 miles in where I think I broke one of my toes and nailed my shoulder on a rock upon hitting the ground. Thought I was going to be pacing 27 miles, but Jon ended up having a second pacer for the last section. Guess I’ll just have to make up the miles tomorrow. I really enjoyed seeing a new area of the state.

Sunday, July 29th  
AM—30 Miles—4:57—5,400’—Backside Loop (Flagstaff, Green, Walker Ranch, Eldorado Canyon, Mesa)
Another one of those runs where I wish I could have run uphill all day long. This route took me up Green via the middle route after first ascending Flagstaff. I then descended the west Ridge and took the road to the first jeep roads before hitting the Walker Ranch loop. I rode out the Eldorado Canyon Trail before eventually making my way back home by way of the Mesa Trail and 6th Street. About 50 yards past the old 4-way on Green I took a pretty bad fall that made me seriously question continuing the route (mainly due to popping the top off a water bottle and losing all of the contents). I pushed on anyways and had one of the best runs since living in Boulder. I nailed every climb and never wanted them to end. If it weren’t for the weather, I likely would have climbed Green again at the end of my run to see if I could hammer out the front side. Yes, my legs felt THAT strong.

Time—16hours 08minutes
Elevation Gain— 15,100 feet                                                                                                                                               
My legs felt pretty solid this week. With the exception of my early morning Green run on Wednesday I seemed to nail all of the climbs in my runs with minimal effort. I feel like I made some significant gains this week regarding both the physical and mental aspects of my uphill running. In the late stages of my 30 mile run on Saturday there were definitely several climbs that would typically reduce me to a hike, but I pushed through the urge to stop running and hammered them out.

I still have two more weeks in my training push for the Leadville 100 before starting a week-long taper going into the race. My short taper has been the topic of some debate amongst friends. However, I feel much more prepared going into a race on a solid training push versus heading in on a 2-3 week taper stretch with short, shitty runs that essentially serve no purpose. I think recovery is one of my strengths, which means that a 5-7 day stretch of tapering seems to be more than sufficient to have my legs as close to 100% for race day.

Maybe this “lack of tapering” will all blow up in my face and I’ll be greeted by people with shit-eating grins waiting to say “I told you so”—who knows? Right now all I know is that running is what makes me feel strong. Tapering doesn’t. It’s that simple. Isn’t the idea to feel as strong as possible leading up to a race? If so, I say do whatever makes YOU feel your best come race day…And I’ll roll in on my “mini” taper.

Grand Mesa
Walker Ranch
Walker Ranch
Bottom of Walker Ranch Loop as I crossed over to the Eldorado Canyon Trail
Relaxing by the Creek after my 30 miler. Beer in hand and view of Green Mountain in the distance.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Where the Hell Did the Last Month+ Go?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a month since my last post. However, due to running three races (Estes Park Marathon, Leadville Trail Marathon, Leadville Silver Rush 50) in five weeks the last few months of training have either been tapering or recovering, which no one really wants to hear about anyway. With this race schedule I’ve been lucky to even get in a 60 mile week—far from my typical training week—and I honestly just wasn’t too thrilled to post about those dinky weeks. So I didn’t.

That being said, I have enjoyed some great runs over the past month. I’ve explored new areas like Indian Peaks Wilderness, tagged Grays and Torreys for the second time, raced in Leadville twice, and ran my familiar Boulder trails. I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves on what I’ve been up to the past month or so…
Sixth place finish at Estes Park Marathon (Photo: Michael Hodges)
Camping at Twin Lakes the night before the Leadville Trail Marathon (Photo: Rob Timko)

Fancy rainbow (Photo: Rob Timko)

Pre-race beers to calm the nerves (Photo: Rob Timko)

Lucho dropping some knowledge on the Leadville 100 course (Photo: Rob Timko)

Finishing the Leadville Trail Marathon...Miserably (Photo: Rob Timko)

Still miserable...But check out those damn quads :) (Photo: Rob Timko)

Leadville Trail Marathon
Indian Peaks Wilderness on 4th of July

Indian Peaks

Indian Peaks

Indian Peaks

Leadville Silver Rush 50

View from top of Grays
View of Torreys from Grays

So now I’m entering my big training push leading up to the Leadville 100 on August 18th. This has been my goal race for the year all along. I feel that the Leadville Marathon and 50 have taught me a great deal about how to prepare, what to expect, and how to succeed in a 100 mile race at that elevation. Let’s just hope I’m right.

Over the next four weeks I’m essentially doing a total overhaul on everything from training to my diet. My training is naturally going back to what I’m comfortable with; 100+ mile weeks with ~25k feet of vertical (these weeks have been gone for some time now due to races). I’ve started spending my weekends around the Leadville area in order to get comfortable pushing my body above 10k feet. Each run feels more and more natural and effortless.

My diet is definitely an ongoing experiment. I’m trying to adhere to a total vegetarian diet and almost vegan diet (with the exception of some dairy and eggs) in an attempt to finally get back down to my ideal racing weight of 150ish pounds. I’m not certain that I’ll stick with this diet after Leadvillle. I guess that all depends on training and race performances. All I know is that after Week 1 of this change in eating habits five pounds melted off me with little effort.

I’m hoping that everything comes together for the Leadville 100 and leads to a solid finish. Of course, until August 18th gets here I just have to take things as they come and prepare one day at a time. I’m pretty excited to spend more time up in Leadville. That town just keeps growing on me.