Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday, 05/28/12 Bolder Boulder/Green Mountain

Bolder Boulder 10k
avg. HR 176/189 max
174 vert.
276/46,527 Overall
4/443 Age 40 Males
Bolder Boulder Splits
Garmin Data

Ran the Bolder Boulder this morning and set a 10k PR (4th BB10k, 5th 10k ever) in 37:55.

Parked at Rob's house again this year, just blocks from the start and immediately went on a desperate quest for a bathroom.  I high stepped it into King Soopers, but was mortified to see the janitor cleaning it with several people in front of me waiting.  After a few minutes, I had to keep moving and found an empty bathroom at nearby Moe's bagels and took full advantage (very sorry Moe's, I owe you some patronage soon).  Feeling much lighter and quite peppy, I headed back to the car where I met Rob for a warmup.

Started in the AA wave and was positioned near the front and was able to hold my position well.  I soon started picking people off in my wave and then was passing people left and right from the A wave that started a minute or so earlier.  I felt about as great as I could have expected and even though I was pushing hard, felt as though I was running sensible splits.  I was happy to have only got passed by maybe 2 or 3 people the entire time which was quite a difference from the previous years (well, except for the time I started back in the K wave under somebody else's bib, but that was ridiculous).  Not once did I feel like backing off the effort, but I consistently felt driven forward and inspired to keep pushing as hard as I could.

I made it a point the entire way to run the tangents as efficiently as possible and was quite shocked that I was one of the very few who did this.  I could not understand why anybody would take one 90 degree right corner tight, then drift far left, only to take another 90 degree right just up the road a ways.  Oh well, I guess that is the bike racer in me and not so much the focus in road running.

As I neared the stadium, I knew that I would beat my 38:59 BB PR (on the older/faster course in 2010), but was unsure if I would sneak in under 38.  Motivated by qualifying for the A wave next year, I was gassing it for all I was worth to the stadium and around the metal track where my heart rate topped out at 189 (which is pretty high for me now).  Cruised across the line and started to dry heave from the effort.  Fortunately, nothing came up and was able to walk it off quickly.

Made my way out of the stadium and chatted with many familiar faces as I waited for Rob to finish.  We then collected as much schwag as we could and then headed back to the creek path for the walk back.

Though my time certainly did not stand out, I was quite happy with my performance all things considered.  I had a few quality runs with the baby jogger leading up to the race, though not very often or specific.  I never did anything intentionally to prepare, nor did I really think about it all that much.

I also wore my Newton Distance shoes today and feel like they really performed well.  I just simply had a great day, but I also thinking that they helped a bit.

Green Mountain via Bear Canyon (from Bear Mountain Dr.)

8.54 miles/2,532 vert./1:38 (57 up)/161 avg. HR Garmin Data

After the race, I headed over to Dave's house to pick him up for a run up Green.  I was admittedly a little worked over, nothing too sore, but just feeling it a bit and was hoping to not slow Dave up too much.  Fortunately, he was just getting over a stomach bug and claimed to be low on energy (I think he was just being nice to me), but we maintained a decent conversational pace all the way up.  On the descent, Dave opted to go hit Bear/SoBo, but I had to call it a day as I had to get home and I was just not feeling like doing anymore.  Was probably around a 18 mile day with the warming up and trip back to the car.  I'm a bit spent now and have to go chase 20 month old twins who are just waking from their nap.  Hopefully they take it easy on their old dad.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday, 05/25/12

Not sure where to start since I last posted, but have been getting in some very satisfying runs locally.  Fitness is pretty good, I think, at least good for my usual laps on the local peaks.  I even managed to eek out a 49:19 round trip PR on Green Mountain from the Gregory lot, which was a surprise given how slick the conditions were that day.  I still think I can drop that some with better conditions.  I am at the point where I get tempted to be somewhat greedy with my fitness and push things too much, but I do not want to peak too soon or risk digging myself into some sort of hole like I have done in past years.

How that will translate on Monday for the Bolder Boulder I am not really sure.  I don't really care all that much either, as road 10k's (or road anything) are not really my thing, but I hope to at least feel that I pushed my hardest and come up with something quicker than I normally run while pushing 80+ lbs of baby jogger.  That however will be a tall order though, as I feel like I truly run better when pushing babies around.  Either way, work once again graciously paid my entry fee (along with 75 other co-workers), so I feel like it would be hard to pass up such a fun race.  I'll also have 4 free hours after the race, so I am hoping to hit the trails and cleanse myself of my paved sins.  Ideas include continuing my run without breaking stride to the top of Green and back, or perhaps boogying up to Brainard for a lap on Audubon.

Tony wrote a great article here about Skyrunning.  I could not agree with what he said more and really makes me wish we had more similar things here, as we certainly have the terrain for it.  Not sure what is holding us back in the U.S. though, lack of passion/interest for this type of niche sport?  Legal concerns?

I love this approach though and it makes me think a bit about my own motivations and how I see myself as a "runner".  I use the term very loosely though, as I don't really see myself as such, but more of a cyclist (though I don't bike much anymore)/mountain climber who loves to get up (and sometimes down) a mountain as fast as I can.  The steeper the better too, as I am most at home when I have to use my hands on my knees or even move forward on all 4s for balance at least.  I feel like if there were more races on steeper terrain, I would probably place a bit better.  However, that still does not get me around the fact that a). I don't really even like to race that much.  b).  I hardly have time for it now with my life circumstances.  c).  I am also too cheap to race and usually just prefer a day in the mountains to enjoy as I please.

Allison and I were able to temporarily escape the confines of twin parenthood for 26 or so hours on Tues/Weds for a trip to the Springs as a guest to the USAFA Graduation.  We joined our great friends Dave and Emily (Dave is a professor there) and got to see President Obama give the commencement address and watch the Thunderbirds fly.  Also rendezvoused with Brownie for a few minutes, but regretfully only had a few minutes to chat.

Following the graduation, we headed over to Dave's staple training hill, Mt. Herman.  It is short, only ~3+ miles RT with 1,600 feet of gain, but most of it is super steep and the trails are not particularly well established or manicured.  I was especially envious that it was not tightly regulated with leash laws, no dog signs, no closures or any other restrictions or regulations.  No worries about fou frou jumping prebble snails or rare and endangered orchids.  Good stuff.

Today we got out for a full lap on Green with the girls and Sierra.  It was the perfect day for it, nice and cool, mostly overcast, but with some sun to warm things up from time to time.  Everyone had a great time and we let the girls out of their carriers a few times to let them explore and pick dandelions.

I'm really hoping to get up high next Thursday or Friday, hopefully with Homie.  No solid plans yet, as I'll have to feel things out on the home front and consult the forecast, but would love some company if anybody happens to be free.

1,100 USAFA grads marching in

Obama walking to the stand.  I was quite surprised that they let him walk out on his own, I expected him to be flanked by the Secret Service.

Snipers at the ready.  I found it interesting to check out all the sniper positions on the buildings and nearby hillsides.

Drone on display

Brownie in the very center of the picture (the shorter of the two guys in blue shirts)

Obama enthusiastically saluted, shook hands with each and every grad for ~2 hours.

The Thunderbirds buzzing the stadium as the grads toss their hats.

Allison, Emily and Dave on the summit of Herman (~9,100 ft.)

Kiefer and Shep too.

Steep and gravelly on the descent (of course I selected a pair of road shoes with no traction).  It was harder to walk this trail at a hiking pace and be braking, so I would either let them get a bit ahead and run to catch up, or just run ahead and stop frequently.

Amelie at the ranger cabin

 Isabelle picking dandelions (yes, probably illegal in OSMP)

Spending time on the summit.

A few new shoes to test as well:

Icebugs Pythos2.  Tough time of year to test these, but I can't wait to put them to good use next Winter.

Merrell Mix Master.  Though initially skeptical, these are awesome shoes.  A good compromise "minimalist" shoe that is not too light with too little protection, but not bulky and overbuilt either.

Adidas something or other.  Comfortable and well cushioned, but are somewhat heavy.

Adidas Tempo 5.  Planned to give these to Brandon, but he snoozed and I have since been putting in some solid trail miles in them (despite the fact that it is a road shoe) and have since become attached.  Super light, comfy, good forefoot protection, great cushion for the weight and that Continental rubber outsole grabs like magic.  Hopefully more shoes companies work something out with Conti soon.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tuesday, 05/08/12 Green Mountain via Bear/Long Canyons

10.19 miles/2,958 vert./1:40:53 (1:02:08 up)/avg. HR 143  Garmin Data

Wow, what an amazing run up Green on some great trails that I do not visit often enough. The evening was perfect, temperatures in the low 60's to upper 50's, sunny and somewhat damp trails from the recent rain (lower down) and snow (higher up).

Started from Chautauqua and headed S. on the Mesa Trail to the mouth of Bear Canyon, then up. I was not pushing at all, but my pace seemed to be much better than my low heart rate and very low perceived effort would otherwise suggest. It was just one of those runs where everything comes together and you feel like you could run indefinitely and just did not want it to end. At every junction, I debated taking the longer way.

From the summit of Green, I was originally planning to head down one of the shorter routes on the front side, but felt a strong urge to visit Long Canyon for some nice cruising. I even came across quite the mess of a deer carcass right in the middle of the trail, which made me pause momentarily and look over my shoulder.

I was also testing a new pair of shoes (new shoes always make you go faster right?), the Puma Faas 900. The Faas 900 is a road shoe, with very little traction, but it has amazing cushion, stability and control and I found it to perform very well on this run.

Also noted 3 OSMP maintenance trucks/and crew as far up as they could drive on the Green W. Ridge Trail, presumably working on the new Green/Bear trail (which looks like it might be ready fairly soon).

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sunday, 05/06/12 Green Mountain Middle Route PR

6.27 miles/2,443 vert./1:05:17 RT (39:14 up) avg. HR 158 (165 for the ascent)  Garmin Data

I set a new PR tonight on the middle route. Legs were somewhat heavy all day and I debated taking a rest day, but decided to run anyways since it was nice and cool (and I had a pass to get out after work).

Started off feeling a bit sluggish and bogged down as expected (especially since I had filled up on a free pizza buffet that miraculously showed up at work) and I did not warm up at all until about the mile mark at the top of Gregory. I then started to feel marginally better on the short downhill/flat to the cabin (15:50 ish), arrived at the Greenman/Ranger jct. in 19:30, then Greenman/Saddle in 24:50. I was going at a hard effort, though not quite TT effort/pace and knew I was not at my best this evening, though it was at this last junction where I really flubbed. I did some faulty math and erroneously determined, that even if I set a PR split to the top, I would not even break 40. This thought discouraged me some and feeling slightly deflated, I backed off the pace a bit, still moving OK, but my resolve had eroded.

On the steep rock steps, just below the spot where the NE Ridge route meets the trail, I saw that I was at 31 and change and realized that I was ~90 seconds off on my previous estimates and that I might actually have a chance to break 40/PR.  I then upped the pace again, giving it about all I had and saw 37 mid between the 3rd and 2nd to last switchbacks and was sure I would finish 38 high, but the stopwatch got away from me a bit on the final stretch and I stopped my watch at the post for a 39:14 PR. I had mixed feelings and was happy that I PR'ed, considering I did not feel all that snappy, but also felt a little regretful that I backed off like I did in the middle and squandered a good 30 seconds or so.

I decided to backtrack the descent for a 1:05 RT 10K.

Overall a pretty good run though all things considered. 

Lessons of the day: 

  • Pizza before running Green Mountain is not the best idea. 
  • I need to improve my simple math skills while running hard.
  • 7 oz shoes are no faster than 10 or 11 oz shoes if you are having a good day.
  • I descend faster and with more confidence in a well cushioned/better protected shoe.
  • Salomon XR Mission shoes have a jacked up arch that causes arch blisters.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thursday, 05/03/12 Update and New Shoes

Have been getting in some great runs as of late on Green, Bear and SoBo, a few baby jogger runs and some biking here and there.  I have also had some great company, in the form of Dave, Brandon, Aron and have bumped into a few other acquaintances on the trail which is always fun.  Fitness is coming along and I am close to about a minute off my Green PR and I feel like I am about where I need to be at this point in the season.

I even had a rare and elusive GZ sighting on Green last Friday (flipping me the double bird no less) and about jumped out of my shoes in shock.

Shoe testing has been quiet for the past few months.  Just as I thought I was running out of shoes and might have to run barefoot, the new round of test shoes have recently started to pour in.

I got these Nike Free 4.0 V2 s back in January (along with the 3 below).  I have to say, these shoes are about as comfortable as any shoes I have ever put on my feet.  I wear the 4.0 every day, as they are like wearing slippers and are super easy to get on/off, are light and have a unstructured heel cup that does not press on my Achilles all day long.  My only complaint is that the nifty out sole collects rocks, wood chips, etc....

Nike Free Run 3, a bit more cushion and structure than the above 4.0.

Brooks Glycerin 10, somewhat heavy neutral road trainer (11+ oz. I think?), but I really like them.  Super great cushioning, great fit, enough traction/cushion/protection that they are great off road and they really look cool.

Nike Lunarglide 4.  Feels pretty light and has a lot of cushioning, super comfortable.  Only gripe is that the heel cup is a bit overbuilt and the heel feels kind of higher than normal.

Newton Distancia,  ~7.8 oz. neutral trainer.  I had a pair of Newtons a year and a half ago, but traded them off to Justin, as I was at the height of my Achilles pain and they really aggravated it on .5 dog jog.  Now that I feel good, I am eager to give them a second chance.

Puma Faas 900.  Have not run in these yet either, but just wearing them around the neighborhood, they feel amazing, perhaps runner up to the Hoka Bondi B for cushioning, majorly stable too.  When I wear Pumas though, I just cant help but to think back to the break dancing days of the 80's and the fat laces ;).