Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday, 05/27/13 Bolder Boulder

6th/408 in 41 y/o age group
383/20188 Gender Place
427 overall

Had a great time today despite not running my best race.  I went into it with realistic expectations, knowing that I am dealing with a few physical ailments/injuries and also went into this with about 0 specific preparation.  Still, I hoped that I would be able to pull off a magic sort of day and surprise myself, but I knew very soon that it was not to be.

Aside from not having done any specific preparation, my biggest hindrance was having pulled something in my chest last week hauling large flagstone pavers to the back yard.  One in particular was too big to handle on my own and I knew it as soon as I lifted it out of the van, but I was committed.  Sure enough, something went pop.  This has really limited me to shallow breaths and the impact from running hurts a good bit.  Even throat clearing is impossible when running.  I have a laundry list of excuses, but this is the main one I can lean on this year ;).

As always though, it was a great time and I was satisfied to at least break 40 minutes, get a bonus t-shirt and am happy to have placed in my age group.  I got to chat with a bunch of friends and acquaintances, Bill W, Shad M, David P, Gerald B, Ben K, Jeremy P and others.  Even busted Nick P. poaching schwag at the expo.

I debated heading to Green to absolve myself of my road sins, but for the first time ever after running BB, I headed home in favor of some quality family time at the beach with Homie and family.

Bill and I

Post race (note the awesome shirt ;).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Monday, 05/20/13

Picked up my Bolder Boulder packet at Runners Roost with upgraded tech T.  Prior to running this race for the first time in 2009, I figured an A qualifier would be a slam dunk, but soon came to learn that for an aging trail runner who prefers technical trails, 18% grade or steeper, it was not so easy. 

Last year I really surprised myself and shuffled over the line with just 5 seconds to spare to FINALLY get an A qualifier.  I realize that my 37:55 is laughably pedestrian, a truly bad day for most of my running friends, but for me, just earning the right to line up at the front of a race of this size is an achievement in and of itself. 

Like most years, I am also managing to go into the BB with little to no specific training or speedwork, just planning to give it all I have on the day with just mountain running in my legs.  It is also impossible to taper for such an event, falling on the tail end of Memorial Day weekend, where the temptation to run peaks is just too great.

Oh well, I am eager to give it a go, I really enjoy this particular race despite the fact that I really despise flat road running (it helps tremendously that my company pays for it, as I would be too cheap to throw down the $50).

Any of you faster guys or gals out there want to pace me ;). 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday, 05/14/13 Mishap on Green

Had a great run up Green this afternoon.  Started from Chautauqua taking it really easy, then 10 minutes in, I started to get into a groove and started pushing a bit.  Never felt like I was going too hard, but the ascent was just flowing well and I made the summit in 39 minutes, not a PR, but not too bad considering the very slow start and how easy it all felt.

I skipped up the summit rock and past 2 college age guys sitting just a few feet below the true highest point (between the true summit and the summit cairn).  Surprised by my somewhat decent ascent time, I wanted to rip the downhill and see if I could get back to Chautauqua in under or near an hour, but as I turned to head down off the summit rock, there were two more guys coming up.

For some reason, instead of waiting and working my way around them, I started working my way down the North side of the summit rock, which is easy to get to a step half way down.  To reach the ground from that step, it either requires a short face in downclimb, or what I thought was an easy 5 foot jump to the NE.  I hopped off, but in mid air, I had a moment of hesitation and questioned where and how exactly I was going to land.  The best option was a large embedded boulder which is where I originally planned to land before I would once again have to hop the remaining foot or two to the ground, but my speed and trajectory were just a touch off and before I knew it, I came off the mid-way boulder and came crashing to the rocky ground below.

It all happened so fast and it was startling what an impact such a minor fall provided.  I was in shock, pain, disbelief and it brought back memories of really eating shit over the handlebars of my bike .  I let out a series of loud and involuntary F bombs and the guys on the summit peered over to ask if I were OK.  I tried to play it cool, but I was in a bit of shock and quite embarrassed.  I spent a bit taking inventory, trying to determine if this was something I could shake off, or if I needed some help or not.

Adrenaline had fully taken over and I knew I should not linger.  I slowly started gimping down Greenman, eager to get to the large snowbank below the final switchback I had passed on the ascent.  I stopped to clean up a little (if you see a bunch of bloody snow in the trail, that was me) and kept on moving, as I knew I had to take advantage of this adrenaline high.

I hobbled my way back, oohing and ouching the whole way, having to explain my bloody self to the occasional hiker.  I felt like a real idiot.  The car was a welcome sight and I got down just barely faster than I made it up (an accomplishment, as I was thinking I may have to head to Flagstaff road and hitch a ride).

Once I got home and started to clean up, the pain really starting to sink in.  An hour later, I was surprisingly still bleeding, but fortunately I don't think I need any stitches.  It is my kneecaps however that hurt the most and I can't bend them and can hardly stand or walk.  I don't think anything is broken (I hope), we'll see what tomorrow brings.  I'm hoping I can escape this with just a day or two off and a lesson learned.

When I walked in the door at home, my 2.5 year old daughters were telling me I need to go to the doctor and get a cast (since they have each had broken bones in the past few months).  This was pretty cute and really helped make light of it all.

This is the best picture I have of where it happened.  The rock just behind the dog on the right side of the photo is the one I tried to hop onto, but could not stick the landing.

Both knees have some bumps and swelling

Both my hands got it good too, thought I may have sprained my wrists at first, but they are just a bit strained.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thursday, 05/02/13 Bear Peak, Microspikes in May?

I recently learned that OSMP lifted the leash restriction on the Fern Canyon Trail from the Mesa Trail junction to the summit of Bear Peak.

When there is a leash restriction on any given trail, to me this means that the trail is essentially closed to us, as it is nearly impossible for Sierra and I to have a good time (especially on a trail as steep as Fern), as she is not much of a leash dog and I am not at all a leash dog runner.  It may work for some, but not for us, as she has pretty much spent her entire 10 years off leash (aside from city/neighborhood stuff).  Occasionally I chance it depending on the trail and time of day, with my head on a swivel, but that really takes away from the enjoyment.  

So, with Fern Canyon back as a legit option, Sierra and I got out for a very casual lap on Bear this morning to enjoy the snow and get in some quality time together on one of our favorite trails of yore.  

There was at least a foot of fresh snow, with a set of tracks ahead of us (up/down it looked like), so the going was pretty slow with a lot of slipping, stumbling and wallowing.  From the saddle to the summit, I probably got 50% extra vertical due to all the slipping.  Microspikes went on and Microspikes came off multiple times, sometimes they helped a little, but mostly did more harm than good with all the balling.

All the way to the saddle, I was overdressed and was wishing I had worn shorts and a lighter shirt setup, but then above, I was pretty darn cold, as I was soaked from the snow, the temp was probably in the low 30's or even upper 20's and I was moving slow.  Not to mention there was a dark grey cloud conveniently parked right over the peak that made it feel quite wintry.

Not sure what it was that they were worried about in Fern Canyon a few years ago to prompt them to make it leash only and what specifically has changed over that period of time, such that it is now OK for dogs to be off leash.  Both Sierra and I observed closely, but perhaps it is buried in the snow.

A little sloppy at the start and was mostly mud on my way down

Happy doggy smiles

Serious balling, this was not even the worst of it

Nearing the saddle

Plugging along

Is this May or December?

Yet another new sign on the trails, awesome.  I have to wonder if one who is ignorant enough to deface rocks and trees, is cognizant enough to observe and obey such signage?

This is getting to be a big hike for an old dog

Frozen bell bottom cuffs.  Gaiters would have been a wise choice today.

On the descent, Sierra was attacking the fresh lines through the steep and deep just like a powder skier, almost submerged with a huge grin on her face.  It was awesome and I was so happy to be enjoying the day with her.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesday, 05/01/13 Deez Nikes

I have been fortunate enough to be testing shoes for several magazines over the past few years and have found it to be an amazing experience, to test and review shoes long before they hit the market.  I not only enjoy getting to keep what has become a near unlimited buffet of trail and road shoes, from the most minimal 3 oz shoes, all the way up to the maximally cushioned Hokas, but I truly enjoy the process and consider myself to be a full fledged shoe geek.

Unfortunately, I don't really have the time or energy to go beyond the magazine reviews and post here on my blog (especially since all of that information is readily available in said magazines and elsewhere), but I just received two pairs of Nike trail shoes that I am particularly impressed with that I wanted to preview here.

Since I have started testing a wide variety of shoe brands in 2010, Nike quickly rose to the top of my favorite list, despite the fact that all I have gotten until recently have been road shoes.  The fit, comfort, cushioning, quality etc.. are unparalleled in my opinion and I am excited to finally be testing some Nike trail shoes.

First is the Nike Zoom Wildhorse.  I have been running in these since last week and I could not be more impressed.  In my opinion, it is the perfect balance of light weight (9oz or less I am guessing), cushioning, comfort, protection, responsiveness and traction.  I am truly impressed.

Next is the Nike Zoom Terra Kiger.  I just got these today and have yet to run in them, but if the Wildhorse is any indication, I expect that it will be similarly awesome.  Upon first glance, the upper is a bit different and the lugs are a little smaller and in a different pattern.  Initial impressions just wearing the shoe around the house, it seems to be equally comfortable and light.

If I had to come up with a complaint, both shoes have this rounded heel that seemed a little tippy at first, but not a problem once I got used to it.

Release date or toe/heel height?

Crazy colored sole.

Mmmmm..... Sticky rubber.