Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday, 03/31/11 31 miles on the mountain bike

31 miles
157 avg HR
182 max

Had an excellent ride on the mountain bike today.  Headed into Boulder, up Flagstaff and then down the "Angry Ranger Trail".  This trail is super steep and fast and it was a true test of my skills, especially hopping over all the new logs, rocks and branches laid down in the past few days.  I scared off a few baby eagle hatchlings and then was chased by a ranger for a bit, but he had no chance and eventually my dog Sierra and I were long out of sight.  Phew, a close call indeed.

Ha, just kidding of course, no Angry Ranger Trail for me.

Today was a routine mountain bike ride on Davidson Mesa, Mayhoffer-SingleTree, Marshall, Dowdy Ditch, Spring Brook Loop, Flatirons Vista, Coalton, Switchbacky Flowery something or other trail, Coal Creek.  It was pretty windy, windy enough to scatter the trash cans throughout the area, but it was a constant wind from one direction and very predictable, so it was easy to deal with (it being very pleasantly warm helped a lot too).  I felt great today and despite the wind put out a nice and steady effort and my technical skills were spot on (for me on an aluminum hard tail at least). 

Much of the ride my HR was in the mid to upper 170's which felt very controlled and would have been conversational pace if I had somebody to talk to.  Odd, that often I feel like I can easily chat at such heart rates, where there would be no way I could do that running up Green.  TT/PR efforts last year had me in the low to mid 170's and I can only spit out a forced word or two in such a situation.  Says something about my training and history I guess that I adapt in such a way on the bike.

I am enjoying riding these trails on the mountain bike so much, I hardly miss running.  It makes for awesome low impact cross training and I will try to keep doing it a few times a week even once I am back to running (at least that is what I say now, but it sounds like a solid plan).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday, 03/26/11 Shanahan Hike

Allison and I took the girls and Sierra for a nice hike today, starting from what I have affectionately nicknamed the "F YOU!!" trailhead on Stony Hill Rd. (just South of the Bear Creek TH, in a very expensive neighborhood) that I learned about from one of the best Ultrarunners in the country who happens to hold the RRR record, Miwok record and zillions of other CRs/wins who shall remain nameless ;).

The offbeat trail leads to the Shanahan Trail just below Mesa, where we then continued to the Slab, down Fern, right on Mesa, straight up the "road" past the right turn to continue on Mesa and then on a lesser travelled trail back to the trail that leads back down to the F YOU trailhead.  The girls had a great time and enjoyed taking in the sights and sounds.  It was a beautiful day to get out, but I was secretly wishing I could go tearing up Bear Peak at full effort.  Eventually.

Signage at the "F YOU!!" trailhead.  I don't really see this as legit, as you are immediately in open space as indicated by the signs 10 feet to the right of this sign.  I interpret the sign as "Go away from our fancy neighborhood, we don't want you riff raff here in our back yard as we are soooo snooty and rich, that we live in Boulder AND have our own trailhead that we just can't bear to share".  Lame.  I would be interested to know more about this if anybody knows for sure.  Either way, I am not too worried about it.

Allison, Amelie and Sierra

I get Isabelle

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wednesday, 03/23/11 Eldorado Canyon Hike

Dave and Emily came to visit and since it had been so long since Dave and I had hiked together, I took a chance with the achilles and we headed over to Eldo for a hike up Rattlesnake Gulch.  We parked at the usual spot where the road turns to dirt, headed in via the informal social trail to Fowler and then Rattlesnake Gulch.  From the historical hotel foundation, we headed up to the ridge and then on up from there, enjoying the warm sun and lack of wind.  We had a blast scrambling, deliberately taking the most difficult lines head on (class 3 with little to no exposure).  Once at the high point, we spent a long time snacking and chatting. 

Heading back down to the ridge was a bit of a navigational challenge as always.  Even though I had been up there a handful or more times, it is always a little hard to backtrack exactly and find the proper ridge.  Just a degree or two off and you will miss it completely and be in for a steep and miserable bushwhack. 

It was awesome to get back on the trails and catch up with Dave as it has been so long and we had to much to talk about.  This was the first day since the twins were born where I did not have a real time limit, so it was cool to not be in a hurry and I did not look at my watch or concern myself with time the entire afternoon.

I feared that the steepness of this route would re-inflame my achilles tendonitis, but I was fine afterwards and fine now 27 or so hours later, so I feel like I am making huge progress in that department.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday, 03/20/11 "Where has JV been?"

As my 2 or 3 loyal readers have probably observed, I have not posted in about a month, so I figured I would give an update as to where I have been and what I have been doing.

First and foremost, I am injured and secondly, I have been spending (and enjoying) a lot of time with my baby twin daughters.


After dealing with an increasingly sore right Achilles tendon since last April, I have been getting increasingly desperate to do whatever it takes to get it healed up. Way back in October, I went to see Jeremy Rodgers for his opinion. After a quick assessment, he assured me that it was no big deal and suggested that wearing a night splint and icing would take care of the problem within a few weeks.

Unfortunately, this was shortly after our twin daughters were born and I could really only focus on taking care of them, as we were pretty much in survival mode and I just could not get around to taking care of myself. Of course, with any free time I had, I ran whenever I could squeeze it in, as we enjoyed warm weather and dry trails most of the way through December.

Once January came (along with snow and cold), I resolved to start wearing the night splint, icing and scaling back my hill running. I thought I was taking it easy, with some flat runs, easy hikes up Green or Sanitas and just general scaling back. On Feb. 18th/19th I ran Green twice, easy on the 18th, then a touch harder on the 19th thinking I was feeling better, then followed that up with an 8 mile run with the babies in the Chariot. After this, I was hobbling for a few days and my Achilles felt worse than it ever had.

I then decided to just stop doing anything and took 2 weeks completely off (this was facilitated by a minor unrelated surgery that required 5 days of inactivity). I was feeling a little better, but every morning, the Achilles was very stiff/somewhat painful and would tighten up after just a half hour or less of sitting still, so I knew it was still very much present.

On March 5th, I decided to give biking a try, as I correctly suspected that with proper pedaling style and cadence, it would probably do more good than harm. Since then, I have ridden 9 times, 7 rides on the mountain bike and 2 rides on the road bike, which I have actually been enjoying immensely. Though I miss running the trails, running friends and local peaks very much, I am surprisingly (or not so surprisingly) content and fulfilled riding the bike, as I have been discovering some great new trails.

From my house in Louisville, I can quickly link up with the Coal Creek Trail, head West into Superior and then link up with the Meadowlark Trail or Mayhoffer-Single Tree Trails and then put together a variety of loops via Marshal Mesa, Dowdy Draw, Spring Brook, Flatirons Vista, Coalton etc….

Most of these trails make for fast cruising, but a few throw in some moderately technical challenges to keep you on your toes. Though I rarely go out for a ride with specific intentions, many of my rides have turned into epic battles with fellow cyclists, sometimes just myself and one or two other riders coming together at an intersection, or more likely it is me riding in seek and destroy mode, my chase instinct kicking in with just about every rider I see. Not sure what it is about cycling that brings this out in me, but I wish I could harness some of this attitude to bring to Pikes Peak.

Speaking of Pikes Peak, I decided to forego the Ascent this year, as I was just getting pretty burnt out with it and frustrated with not living up to my expectations there. In lieu of the Ascent though, I went ahead and threw my hat into the ring for the Pikes Peak Marathon. I feel like my downhill running has improved significantly in the past few years and eagerly look forward to the Marathon as an entirely different challenge. I am hoping that a later start to my training and a more casual approach may yield a more reasonable result on the mountain, but we shall see. I’m not sure what to predict there, as I have never run the entire downhill, but would like to think that 5 hours would be a reasonable goal. Hopefully I can run a round trip or two before August and get the feel for it and come up with a more specific and ambitious goal.

Most recently, I had another appt. with Jeremy and will be seeing him a few times over the next few weeks. We are now pursuing a more aggressive approach to the Achilles rehab and he is hopeful that we can get it knocked out if I am diligent. He confirmed that the biking that I am doing (spinning lower gears, not standing up on the pedals etc….) is indeed a good way to maintain/build some fitness while helping my Achilles by increasing blood flow (I was very pleased to get the green light from him on this).

I’ll try to not let another month go by without posting (though I will admit, have been enjoying the break from blogging).