Thursday, February 28, 2008

Green Mountain

7 miles
2,500 vertical (2,800 for the day)
42:10 up from Gregory TH
164bpm average

Great day out, spring is in the air. Started off thinking I was going to go fast, but quickly realized that I was not really able to get my HR up and my legs felt a little tired. I just plugged along at a hardish medium effort, getting in a good workout, but listening to my body and not trying to over extend myself. No sense in making things worse.

There was also quite a bit of snow, ice, slush today even though it was over 60 degrees (it is going to take a while for this to melt out, even if it did not snow again anytime soon). Even though I wasn't feeling great today, I was somewhat pleased with my time, as I was 5:40 faster than last time I ran this route on Feb 2nd where I thought I was giving it a good effort. My splits were 17:45 at the ranger hut and 38:?? at the 4 way jct before the summit.

Once at the summit, I did a immidiate u-turn to go meet Allison and Sierra who were not far back. Allison made it up in 54 minutes which was quite good I thought, as she was managing the dog.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sanitas x 2.5

9 miles
3,100 vertical

Got out for 2 and a half laps on Sanitas today. First lap I took a bit wide going up Dakota ridge and up the East side. Went moderately easy taking 29 minutes at an average HR of 145. Did another half lap on the S. Ridge while waiting for Allison, then she, Sierra and I did another very casual lap. All in all a great day out, except for Sierra rolling in poop. We just gave her a nice bath on Sunday and she was all shined up and fluffy. Apparently dogs do not like being clean and just can't wait to get into feces or animal carcass. She earned herself a merciless high pressure hosing and shampooing in the back yard in the fading light. She never seems to learn, but we have since made up. Unconditional love.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


~4.5 miles
~1,500 vertical
19:50 up/15 down

Chipping away at my Flagstaff time. 24:44 on Feb 6th, 20:53 on Feb 13th, 20:06 last week and now I did a 19:50. I was pretty happy with todays effort, as the conditions were probably the worst of all 4 trips. I started off doing my best to avoid the big patches of sticky mud, but even so, managed to accumulate several extra pounds of mud per shoe. I felt like a fly on fly paper. I was sure that I would not have a PR for the month, but I just kept plugging along. I felt pretty good despite the poor condtions and things quickly started to shape up. The trail turned from mud and slush to all snow after the first road crossing. Even though I did not have studded shoes, the snow for the most part provided a somewhat solid grip. At each "toe off", I would lose a bit of traction, so efficiency was not the greatest, but I never felt as though I was going to slip and bust a$$ like on recent trips. The snow was a real hinderance for the final few hundred feet from the last trail junction to the top, but I managed to keep a good tempo and made it to the finish in 19:50. Still not a time to be proud of, but I worked for this one and I am happy that I am starting to see progress. Can't wait for the trails to fully dry out so I don't have any excuses.

Weekend Wrap Up

Saturday 2/23

House chores galore, plus I am spanked from the run the previous day. 2 miles of hiking and 200 vertical. Just a walk to get the dog out really.

Sunday 2/24
~5.5 miles
1,850 vertical feet

Hiked/jogged Sanitas from Scott Carpenter Park via the West side route with Sierra and Allison, came down the S. Ridge. Went easy.

Friday, February 22, 2008

S. Boulder Peak/Bear Peak (Bill Loop)

~10 miles/~3,500vertical
167 bpm average for S. Boulder ascent
54:44 up S. Boulder, 10 minutes to Bear, 1:48 total

Hooked up with Dave at the last minute for a trip up S. Boulder. We started off at conversational pace, but I was quickly panting and finding myself giving quick one word responses and waiting for just the right moment to say anything more than one word. Dave makes it look so easy and talks casually, you forget how hard you are going, until you glance at the HR monitor. We kept this up until the log steps 1/3 of the way up Shadow, but he slowly kept creeping ahead. There was not much I could do and did not want to completely blow, so I just maintained my own pathetic rhythm. Dave got the summit in 51:?? and I was about 3 minutes back.

He then talked me into making a loop out of Bear. 10 minutes later, we were on the summit of Bear and hardly paused as we took off down Fern. Lots of snow and ice the entire way down. I was going fairly quick I thought, but still cautious enough to not break my neck. Dave of course kept getting ahead, but would graciously wait periodically.

This was a great run, and the hardest I have gone in months. I felt pretty slow and out of shape, but I guess most people feel that way running with Dave no matter when and I also have to remind myself that I am barely through my second week of anything resembling "training". It will come.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

S. Boulder Creek

~8.5 miles
~500 vertical
1hr, 8 seconds
152 bpm average

For kicks today I thought I would run some flat trails. I started at the S. Boulder Creek TH, ran Southwest to the Mesa trail, South to the S. Mesa TH, crossed Eldo road and ran the ditch back to 93. From 93, I continued East along the ditch for a while, then looped back to the 93/Marshall road jct and followed 93 back to the car. I ran at a good pace, but nothing too crazy. I would run fast for a bit, then catch myself started to slack off, where I would again pick up the pace. It is hard to maintain a steady effort on the flats. On steep hills, I am used to just having to gun it to try and defy gravity. Downhill can be a controlled freefall, but the flats take some practice to maintain good cadence. I did feel as though I was maintaining good form, cadence etc.... Need to do this once per week at least, I think it will help make me a better runner.


~3.5 miles
1,200 vertical
20:06 up
167 HR

Fun run up Flag today. Wore the HR monitor on the trail for the first time since last spring. Once I am fit, I don’t really bother with it, but this time of year, it is interesting to monitor my progression as I increase my fitness. It seemed to take me a long time to warm up today, maybe 1/3 of the way until I got into the 160’s, then was in the 170’s for the final ¼ or so and feeling pretty good. There was still a good bit of soft mud and ice on the trail, but it was definitely better than last week. I thought it would be a given that I would go under 20, but came up just shy at 20:06. The detours around the mud and ice (no studs today) definitely slowed me down a good bit. I think if it were totally dry, that would have saved me a good minute or more. Excuses, excuses, I just have to face the fact that I am a bit out of shape. It is so fun this time of year to train hard and shave large chunks of time. It is only February after all and a year ago, I could barely get down the stairs, so I am just happy to be out and feel minimal to zero discomfort.

It is funny how your body needs to warm up more and more as you get older. Even as recently as a few years ago, I never really needed a warm up. In my 20’s, I could literally go from sleeping with my HR around 30, to 180 or 190+ bpm in a matter of minutes. Max HR really drops dramatically as well. I can no longer reach or maintain the high numbers I used to and my max hr has dropped roughly l bpm per year. I am slow to catch on to this and each year I have to re-program myself to take account of this fact. Despite all of this, I seem to become faster, fitter and more efficient each year, it just takes a bit more work and requires you to be a little smarter.

Monday, February 18, 2008


4 miles total
20:12 up

George and I got out for a great run today up Sanitas. Started off at a quick pace, but then settled into a good conversational pace. Bumped into Allison, Sierra, Stevo and Terri about 1/3 of the way up. Funny, all the days I run out here in the cold by myself, today I meet George and then bump into my wife, dog and 2 friends. When it rains it pours I guess.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Brutalized on Bross

Mt. Bross 14,172
~10 miles/~3,800 vertical
7.5 hours
Jeff Valliere, Dave Hale, Scooby, Shep and Sierra

Our plan throughout the week to do something involving Decalibron looked better and better as the week progressed. The weather reports were calling for reasonable temperatures and relatively light wind, SWEET! (1st lesson… don’t believe any predictions for light wind anywhere near Bross).

We got a bit of a later start than we would have liked at 8:35am from the winter road closure just below the junction of 415 near the Paris Mill, but none of us on 2 legs were very eager to face the wind. It was obvious that the winds were a bit stronger than predicted, but we were hoping for the best. We start up the roughly 3 miles to Kite Lake through unbroken wind drifts and fresh snow. I was kind of hoping for some easy cruising along the road, but the deeper than expected snow and 30+ mph headwind made getting to Kite Lake a bit of a workout in its own right. Emily started off with us on skis, but the strong wind gusts were nearly stopping her in her tracks and she opted to turn back about a mile below the summer trailhead.It took us nearly 2 hours to reach Kite Lake where we took a 20+ minute break to fuel up for the upcoming climb.

At this point, we still did not have a plan, but were thinking we would go to the Democrat/Cameron saddle and determine how much we wanted to bite off. We worked our way slowly up the center of the valley and though it was a clear day, it was obvious that the winds were absolutely howling up high. The possibility of multiple peaks just did not seem to be the best idea. Moments before we were about to engage the steeper slopes of Democrat’s standard route, we spied that nice, low angle snow gulley between Bross and Cameron as climbed by Kiefer and Jamie Princo last month.

At the spur of the moment, we cut hard right and headed for the gulley, deciding to go up over Bross, then descend Dolly Varden Gulch. At this point, for some reason, I was starting to feel a bit fatigued, so I handed over the duties of trail breaking to Dave and he happily obliged. It was obvious to me at this point that my performance was lagging and I was not sure why. I was feeling unusually tired and low on energy. I kept coming up with excuses to take a break and rest, and would be thankful when Dave stopped so I could rest for a moment and catch my breath.The higher we went, the more intense the wind became. The whole time I just wanted to bail and head back down, but I did not want to let Dave down, and I knew I would regret it later .

Once on the summit plateau, the wind was absolutely raging. Dave got a bit ahead on the final stretch and he stopped to remove his snowshoes where the snow ran out near the summit. I caught him as he was stashing them under a rock and he and the dogs seemed a bit desperate. I stooped to remove mine, but the wind was just so crazy I could not even deal with removing them, yet they acted as sails on my feet and it was nearly impossible to walk.Oh well, I’ll just clank over the rocks the best I can to the true summit and not worry about it (normally I really baby my snowshoes avoid every little rock as to not dull the points). I tag the summit, collapse on my poles for a few seconds to catch my breath and we start our way down. As if someone flipped a switch, the wind has subsided. I quickly take advantage of this momentary lull and remove my snowshoes and decide to carry them for a while. Seconds after, the wind switch got flipped back on and the wind was hammering with renewed vigor.It took all my might to hang on to the snowshoes and I staggered like a drunk sailor across the wide open and exposed summit plateau .

Finally, Dave and I decided we needed to attach our snowshoes to our packs so we could use our poles on the steepening loose talus leading to the top of the continuous snow slope that would lead us down Dolly Varden Gulch. Doing this was no easy task under the circumstances and we were both feeling a bit desperate, as were the dogs. In this moment of desperation, the wind took hold of Dave’s glove and carried it off to Alma. Fortunately, he had extras, but it was still a bummer.Reaching the snow at about 13,700 feet in Dolly Varden Gulch, I thought we were home free. Dave and the dogs took off down the snow at a fast rate, but I was having a terrible time staying upright. One step would land on hard crust, the next I would post hole, all the while getting thrown about by the constantly furious wind. After taking a few less than graceful falls (resulting in a few choice words ) I decided that it would be best to put my snowshoes back on, as difficult as it might be.

It was a slow process, as the ground blizzard was reaching epic proportions and I could hardly see my feet, even while kneeling down.The snowshoes helped, but it was a huge workout getting down this seemingly endless snow slope, even with the tailwind. By the time we reached the bottom at 11,600 I was completely tapped. Neither of us had anything to eat or drink since Kite Lake and I was mentally and physically drained. I would have been tired on a good day, but I felt like absolute crap from the start and the hours of staggering in survival mode really took its toll on me.

Once out of the wind, I laid down for a few minutes, forced down some hammer gel, Vitamin I and warm drink. This was the most worked over I have been in a long time, and we still had 3 miles of trail breaking. Luckily, I got a second wind (no pun intended) and started to feel a bit better. I was able to break trail for a while, but I somehow convinced Dave to lead for most of the way.Interesting conversation made the trip out go fast, but the final half mile seemed to drag on forever. Once in sight of the car, I was quite relieved and was already starting to forget how brutal the day was.

Today was a great lesson. I’m not really sure what I learned, other than I am a big wimp and I will never be even half as tough as Ken Nolan.For most of the climb, I was asking myself why we do this? I still can’t quite figure that one out, but fortunately, I have a short and dulled memory and am already planning to do it again .Pictures:

Marshall Mesa Run

~5.5 miles
~400 vertical

Allison, Sierra and I got out for some easy jogging around the Marshall Mesa area in the afternoon. It was warm and sunny, and due to the melting fresh snow, very muddy. If I were organizing a race here, I would have called it the "Franken Foot 5 miler". Each shoe would accumulate about 5lbs of mud which added a bit to the challenge, at least the challenge of running somewhat smooth and efficient like.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Flag and Green

~7 miles
~2,700 vertical
20:53 up Flag/59:14 total to Green

I snuck out of work 30 minutes early (with the boss's permission of course) and had all kinds of ideas in mind, as it was over 60 degrees. I'm trying to avoid steep trails for a while as part of my kneehab, so I figured I would take a long route up Green via Flag. I was pretty motivated, mainly by the great weather, as I am having a huge bout of Spring fever. I worked pretty hard to get up Flag, hoping for sub 20, but the mud bogs, ice and snow all conspired against me (along with general lack of fitness) and I made it there in 20:53. Oh well, 20 sounds better than 21, so I was happy with that. It felt great to get the blood pumping. From here on, I just maintained a casually steady pace, down the road to Flag, past the Ranger hut, then took the Greenman trail to the sweet new section of trail. Conditions were mostly terrible, as the soft snow meant for much slipping, sliding and occasional post holing. I was on the cusp of a good fall just about all day. I made it to the summit just under an hour (59:14) and turned right around. I thought I would cruise the descent, but as I descended Greenman, to Saddle Rock, to Amphitheater, conditions just got worse and worse. It went from wet snow, to slushy snow, to glare, water polished ice and I got no respite until I made it to the Gregory lot. I had studs, but they are starting to dull. although they still helped tremendously. I made it down to the car at a snails pace of 34:58, even though it seemed like I was going pretty quick. Conditions will be even worse after it freezes and snows tonight as they predict. Time to stick to some lower "dryer" trails for a while, and/or the treadmill. It was an awesome day out and I am feeling great.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sanitas from the West

~5 miles
~1,500 vertical
32 minutes up/56 minutes total.

Started at 4th and Mapleton for a bit of a warmup, cruised along the trail that paralells Sunshine. It was quite snow covered and icey as it is North facing, so it was a bit time consuming. Up Sunshine along the road for a bit, then ascended up the trail. The South facing hillside was completely dry and made for some enjoyable, albeit slow ascending. There were occasional patches of snow along the way to the summit and I arrived there after roughly 32 minutes of taking it pretty easy. I took the descent off the East side very cautious, as it is a complete skating rink and went even easier through the rocky sections. I opened it up a bit more on down the smooth valley trail, as I needed to be home by 6. Felt great.

Monday, February 11, 2008


1.5 miles
16:07 minutes
871.2 Virtual vertical
146 bpm

Hardly worthy of a mention. I was going to do nothing today, but at the last minute got on the treadmill for a short workout. Had to go to Pearl and test some shoes. Today marked 4 consecutive days running and my knee is great. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Mt. Falcon

7 miles/2,000 feet
30:36 up, easy on the down

After a morning spent cleaning house and waiting for the day to warm up, Allison, Sierra and I got out for a great outing at Mt. Falcon. Kevin was there to meet us on his mountain bike and it was good to chat with him for a while. Allison got a 5 minute head start, then I spent 7 warming up. We kept in touch with our two-way radios and her early report of her location has me scrambling. I was debating how hard I wanted to push, but her stunning progress got me motivated to go fairly hard, as I was not sure I would even catch her by the top.

As I neared the junction (getting to this point is normally just over half the time), I catch Allison and Sierra. I reach this turn at 16:39 after giving them 12 minutes, she was a bit off on her estimates. From here to the top, the gradient subsides a bit and you can really cruise fast (if it is dry). There were very few dry stretches for the entire route, lots of pig slop mud, deep slush, off camber snow. Toward the top I was rewarded with a sweet stretch of packed snow, which I used to really up my effort in hopes of going under 30 minutes (not that it really mattered). I arrived at the shelter in 30:36. Even though I was 4 minutes off of a "soft" PR, I felt great out there splashing in the mud and slush, working on turnover and form and enjoying a perfect February afternoon!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

General Thoughts

The last year has been constant ups and downs with my knee injury. For that entire year, I have constantly remained optimistic, thinking that I have to be just about out of the woods. I finally got fed up, as I realized that optimism and reduced training were not enough to cure my patellar tendonitis. In early January I finally broke down and made an appt. with Jeremy Rodgers at Colorado Sports Chiropractic in Louisville, upon the advisement of my friends Steve and Claude who have received successful treatment there.

After 6 visits, I feel that I am on the right track to getting better. I'll admit that I was hoping for an instant cure, but I am realizing that I have to continue to be patient. Specific strengthening exercises, a chopat knee strap, DMSO cream and gait modification seem to be helping, but the results are not as immidiate as I had hoped. My knee is feeling stronger, but I am still occasionally feeling delayed onset pain after hill workouts (that is about all I can bring myself to do).

The fire is burning deep to get out there every day and pound up and down the hills. Not getting out is not due to my laziness at all (as I sometimes fear or accuse myself of), but the conservative attitude I have developed regarding my knee, compounded by the cold weather, short days, new 8-4 work schedule etc... have really cramped my recreation time as of late.

I always debate whether or not I should get out for a hill run, as I fear that even though I might feel great on that day, I might be setting myself back in the long run regarding my overall objectives. I debate whether or not I should be putting in base now, or just holding off until I am 100% sure I am over it and fully ready to achieve my 2008 goals.

For the past year, I have felt as though I have been floundering in no-man's land. I have had flashes of form, dusting old PR's by minutes, at lower heart rates, then completely coming unglued at Pikes Peak, my favorite race and most important objective of the year. Inconsistency has been the theme.

My optimism remains high and enthusiasm for the season is building everyday. Hopefully I can put my doubts to rest this year. As my doctor Jeremy says.... As we get older, we have to really carefully consider what the difference is between an injury, and the body's normal reaction to the intense demands we put upon ourselves.

Green Mountain

6.5 miles
2,500 vertical
57up/2hrs RT

Allison, Homie, Sierra and I got out for a nice hike/run up Green today. The weather was relatively warm, low 50's, but a little breezy and cool at the top, but overall quite nice. Took it quite easy on the up and down which was fine by me. I went a little faster for the last 14 minutes, but ended up being quite slow with all the drifted snow and postholing. Working on maintaining good form and cadence which is fine on the smoother, low angled, dry sections of trail (rare), but a bit more difficult to execute on the snow, ice and steep.

Friday, February 8, 2008


2 miles
1,161.6 virtual vertical

Not much today, hardly worth mentioning, but that was all I could really squeeze in. Goofed around with different cadence and how it affects HR. 156 bpm average overall. Felt a little sluggish, maybe I just never got warmed up.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


3 miles
1,200 vertical

Ran some errands in Boulder. I was all dressed and ready to run, but the sun had set behind and ominous cloud, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped dramatically. Screw it, i'll just head home and call it a day. At the last minute I took a right on Baseline, and before I had time to talk myself out of it, I was running up Flagstaff. Snow, ice and mud all the way, but it was a great time. No wind, and not very cold once I got going. Glad I didn't bail.


3 miles
11% Gradient
1,742.4 effective vertical feet

While munching on Skittles and Reeses after lunch, George reminded me that it is only 190 (now 189) days till Pikes Peak. I was debating going to Boulder, running the mill at work, or just bagging it all and going home to prepare for Caucussing.

Well, the weather was not particularly warm, and my knee is acting up, so I figured I would be best off to do some uphill on the treadmill and avoid any down.

The first 7 or 8 minutes were sheer torture and my HR was only 148ish. I just wanted to jump off and quit. Not that it was that hard, just boring. I started to get into a groove and bumped up the speed to 6, then 6.5, then gradually up to 7mph at 11%. This was a great workout and I was comfortably turning it over at an 86 cadence at 178bpm. I did this for around 8 minutes, then dropped it down to 6, then bounced all over the place between 6 and 7.

My knee was hurting a bit running on the treadmill the entire time, but did not hurt much afterwards. On the trails, I don't feel it at all while running, but then it hurts afterwards. What's up with that? I think when I am outside, I am more focused on better things and it is more dynamic running on the trails. Boring as it may be, I just need to do this any day that I am not inclined to go to Boulder and get outside.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Green Mountain

7 miles, 2,500 vertical
47:55 up/30 down

Took Sierra for a nice jaunt up Green today. Lots of ice on the trails, drifted powdery snow on the upper ridge along Ranger Trail, so conditions are pretty messy right now and the going was slow. Went very easy, trying to not aggrevate the knee. Bumped into Paul and Kate near the summit of Green and chit chatted for 10-15 minutes, nice to see them. No wind today, but it never really warmed at all, the snow and ice added to the ice box effect.