Better Ned than Dead

All worth it.

All worth it.

I’m a slave to the training.  When the training plan says, “jump!”, I say “how high?“.  In this case, the the training plan answered “31 miles!  And make it snappy!“.  Ideally, this would have been the first of two training races to prep for my upcoming hundred mile debut.  But it’s hard to find a decent 50k trail race at short notice in the middle of April amidst all my other life complications.  Plus the weather has been spring-like with quite a lot of late-season snow and rain. Sloppiness all ’round.  Plan A and B were both deemed untenable.

No matter, Nate and I teamed up for a little self-supported, spur-of-the-moment ultra action with a run from downtown Boulder to downtown Nederland.  How hard could it be? Continue reading

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Winter Training

My custom running stats confus-o-gram.  The important part on each panel is the thick white line showing 2015 compared to previous years.  This graph is more motivating than I like to admit.

My custom running stats confus-o-gram. The important part on each panel is the thick white line showing 2015 compared to previous years. This graph is more motivating than I like to admit.

It’s been pretty quiet around here for the last few months.  You might think I’ve been doing nothing in particular, but the truth is I’ve been training (relatively speaking) like a fiend and been super-busy besides.  Twelve weeks ago I officially started my training plan for the Bighorn 100, my first hundred mile race and what probably counts as my (first?) mid-life crisis. In effect, the last couple months of 2014 were unofficial training as well, but the spreadsheet and weekly mileage goals started in the last days of December.  Here we are with three months down, half-way through a 24-week program outlined by Bryon Powell in his Relentless Forward Progress book.

The training has been beset with various problems here and there – weather, minor injuries, travel, and other forced-rest days or weeks, but things have been going well.  I’ve had to move some things around and I haven’t always gotten the mid-week miles in where they were supposed to be (or at all sometimes), but the big weekend runs are mostly intact, but that sort of thing is all part of the plan.  Those of us with lives, jobs, families have to put training third at best.  I do what I can and sneak my increasingly-time-consuming training in where it (mostly) fits. Continue reading

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Segmentation Fault

Colorado Trail or Forest Moon of Endor?  The climb at mile 2 was really quite lovely.

Colorado Trail or Forest Moon of Endor? The climb at mile 2 was really quite lovely.

Another weekend, another big training run.  The weather has been nice lately, so Ben and I scheduled a little exploratory run on the Colorado Trail.  Yeah, yeah, Colorado Trail in spring… you’d think I’d have learned my lesson there.  We got a semi-early start and biked up Waterton Canyon seven miles to the start of the “interesting” part of the easternmost segment of Colorado Trail.  In fact, the canyon road was lovely and cold in the early morning.  Running it would have been nice enough, but we had bigger plans.

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Spring Break Well Broken

IMG_0894

South Window on Day 3.

Having kids was a conscious decision. We knew that it would cramp our wild-and-crazy style for sure, but genetic imperatives are strong. Kids happened, and with them came the dramatic reduction in the number of crazy adventures we had. Or at least the type of crazy adventures changed. Sure, kids are, in the best of times, their own reward and certainly all the cliches about them are true. I love being a dad (usually) and wouldn’t trade it for my old lifestyle (usually).

Day 0: Taking minors across state lines for outdoor purposes.

Day 0: Taking minors across state lines for outdoor purposes.

Enough philosophy.  Long story short: we took our first 6+ hour drive as a family of four, taking minors across state lines for outdoor purposes, and it was great.  Joe hiked like a champ and finally really “got” the hiking thing.  “Dad, I want to see what’s around that corner!”  Ella is tough enough that she can hike a bit on her own, but still small enough to be carried when time is of the essence.  Camping went well (even if the campground itself wasn’t the most exciting in the world) and we even suffered an unexpected extra day in Moab with aplomb.

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Southside Half-ass

This is why you run Gosshawk Ridge counter-clockwise.

This is why you run Gosshawk Ridge counter-clockwise.

For the fifth year in a row, Boulder-area ultrarunners ushered in the new year with the informal Southside Fatass 50k race.  And for the fifth year in a row, my conditioning would not be nearly the level to run a 50k in the first days of the January.  Yes, I’ve been running pretty hard lately, but my longest run in the last four months was only 13 miles.  I’m definitely not in injury-free ultra shape quite yet.  However, thanks to the geometry of the course, it was pretty feasible to hit the more interesting, western half of the large loop and skip the boring eastern half at the beginning and end.  So I decided to join in the fun anyway with a 33k “half-ass”.

[For those of you keeping score at home: Marshall Mesa, Community Ditch, Dowdy Draw, Springbrook, Gosshawk, Fowler, the steep climb up Rattlesnake Gulch, then back down hitting the other half of the loops before finishing Dowdy and the long Flatirons Vista trail and back to Marshall via Greenbelt Plateau.] Continue reading

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2014 Year in Review (Another 1000-mile Year)

Dowdy Draw, December 27, mile 1034

Dowdy Draw, December 27, mile 1039

Somehow, without really meaning to, I’ve thrown down a pretty big year.  In the middle of December I logged my thousandth mile for only the second time ever.  Heck, in the middle of November, I logged my 900th mile for only the second time ever!  The first time this happened (2008) was after a huge year with two ultras and the major training load that went into them.  This year… I’ve had some fun in the mountains, but haven’t had any concrete goals.  Yet here I am with my biggest-mileage year ever.

Looking back, I see that it’s been a year of pretty consistent, modest mileage all year long.  Registering for my first 100-mile ultra (next June!) in October kept the motivation level high for sure, but running has become more of a lifestyle for me than it has in years past.  Certainly I’ve been extremely busy all year with teaching, family, and everything else.  Running has become my social life, my therapy, and my personal time.  That’s not so bad as lifestyle choices go.

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The tag end of summer

Looking wintery up there, but still mostly dry trails.

Looking wintery up there, but still mostly dry trails.

Some might call it a mid-life crisis, others would call it some winter training motivation and both groups would be right.  In any case, gentle reader, I bit the bullet last month and signed up for my first hundred mile race.  Time to officially join the big buckle club or die trying.  The summer of 2014 was a reasonably good one and I’m pretty pleased with my conditioning.  If I can keep that shape through the winter, I might, maybe, be able to finish 100 miles under my own power.  In any case, the motivation factor of spending good money on such a far-off, nervous-poo-inducing endeavor is enough to keep me in the shoes and breathing hard.

Devil's Thumb and the lake of the same name.  Farewell high country for this season!

Devil’s Thumb and the lake of the same name. Farewell high country for this season!

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