track workout

I signed up to get the Sunrise Striders bi-weekly emails that prescribe various speed workouts in an effort to a) get faster and b) do something besides running slow miles every time I go out.  Since I no longer live in COS, I'll just be an honorary strider and try to go it alone.

Tuesday's run was of the recovery flavor and I had some stuff to do after work so I opted for another day off after the Ascent. 

Last night I got the email for Thursday's workout that prescribed yet another easy run in Ute Valley Park but for those who are actually training for something - you get to go run 5 x 1000m cruise intervals.  Ok! Sign me up.... but what the hell is a cruise interval?  I did a quick Google search and figured that I would aim for a low 9 min pace for a tempo type run in interval form.  I poked around on my Garmin and found that I could set it to count off the intervals for me and accommodate warmup/cooldown and rest between intervals.  I dialed in the 5 x 0.62 mi intervals with 1 minute RBI and set my alarm for 5am.

Upon waking, I realized that it was not quite as bright at 5am as I was hoping.  I dug my headlamp out of a bag and threw it on to illuminate the terrain on the way over to the track.  I jogged easily to the track at the middle school near my house, dropped my water bottle, and hit the button to start the workout.  I went out at a pace that felt great for about 400 meters and struggled the second lap and a half to finish the first interval.  That one minute of rest felt like 15 seconds and I was back at it again.  The second set hurt worse than the first, but I still held a low 9 min pace.  For the third, I attempted to up the cadence but shorten my stride with little success.  The last two kinda clicked off as I zoned out watching the traffic spill out of the nearby neighborhoods. 

After the last interval, I jogged the 3/4 of a mile back to my house and walked the dog around the block since he was rather upset that I went without him.  Ended up with 5.25 mi in 58 minutes.  Looking forward to see what next Tuesday's workout is.

PPA Recap

After taking a year off, I was pretty stoked to be running the PPA again this year.  I've focused a lot on trying to lose some weight and also spent much more time at higher altitude this summer than I had in years past.  Going into Saturday, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was excited to get back on the mountain.

I rolled out of bed at 3am Saturday morning; a good 90 minutes before my alarm was set to go off, but I was already feeling amped so I got out of bed and made some coffee and hung out for a while.  I made the drive down to COS to ride over with some friends and we were at the starting line just in time to watch the first wave head out.

I chatted with a few folks and then warmed up and took a spot about middle of the pack on the far left side for the start.  Once the gun went off, I cruised down Manitou Ave and up Ruxton at a pretty easy effort.  The clogging at the start of the trail and first switchback seemed much worse this year than before.  I stopped several times and counted to 5 before I could take a step forward.  I continued up the W's at a pretty casual pace and let people by on multiple occasions.  I think I hit the top of the W's at around 58 minutes which is a little slower than I wanted.  Things started thinning out after the W's and I continued with the casual pace with the aim to really crank it up above No Name where things flatten out.  I made it to No Name at around 1:27 and refilled the water bottle quickly before continuing.  Once things flattened out, I started running and ran a good portion of the trail all the way over to the foot bridge that starts the final climb to Barr Camp.  I felt like I was the only one running but moved by quite a few people in this section and latched on to a group to follow up to Barr Camp. 

I pulled into camp at 2:25 a few minutes ahead of 5:00 pace.  Nice!  I made a quick stop to refill and then headed up towards Bottomless.  The stretch between Barr Camp and A-Frame always seems to take longer than it should and this year was no exception.  I let a few people go by on the way to Bottomless, but once on the long switchback toward A-Frame, I started reeling some people in and coming across the first few trail casualties on the side.  I never pushed the pace, but tried to stay in contact with a small group that was moving well.  I pulled into A-Frame at 3:34 (wtf?) and started to get worried about going sub 5 or even beating my time from 2 years ago.  Again I quickly refilled the bottle with some watered down Gatorade and headed out.  I hopped in behind a chatty dude who was moving at a very comfortable pace, but it wasn't long before I made a move around him.  Once above treeline, the terrain seemed to level out a lot.  In years past, the death march started here and it was just a slog to put one foot in front of the other.  This year, however, I really started moving well and picking people off at a good clip.  I think I was putting down 25-26 min miles for the first two and was only passed by two people on the traverse over to the Cirque.  I hit the Cirque aid station still feeling great and grabbed a handful of grapes.  For some reason, those are the best tasting grapes in the world.

I moved past a few more people between the Cirque and the 16 Golden Stairs.  Once on the stairs, things started moving a little slower.  Those first few switchbacks are pretty brutal and once past those, I decided it was time to make a run for it to finish sub 5.  I hit the slight downhill and ran a few more switchbacks before coming around the corner and realizing that I wasn't quite as close to the finish as I thought.  I dialed it back and felt like I couldn't move.  I recovered for a couple of switchbacks and finally found another running gear to power up the last few switchbacks and stop the clock at 4:58:06. 

Immediately, I was relieved to get the 5 hour monkey off my back but after things started soaking in, I really felt like I left a lot on the bottom 3/4 of the course.  I checked my A-Frame to Summit split (1:24) and had to go all the way up to the 4:15 - 4:30 finishers to find a large sample of finishers that also ran that split.  I have never moved that well above treeline and was a little disappointed that I didn't move as well lower on the course.  I guess, there's always next year.  Hopefully, I'll be a few more pounds lighter and will be afforded the opportunity to spend as much, if not more, time above treeline in the weeks leading up to the race.

Last run before Pikes

Got up early and headed down to Manitou again on Saturday. Left the parking lot at Memorial at about 6:20. After last week I really wanted to focus on dialing it back a little bit in the W's so that I could run more above No Name Creek. I'd hoped to get to Barr Camp feeling fresher than I had last week and maybe even a little quicker. Mission accomplished. I ran into Barr right at 2:25 after going up the W's about 3 minutes slower than last week and I felt better too.

Jogged down and soaked in the creek for a few minutes at the park. I think all the work is done and now I just need to get through the short work week and get to Manitou feeling rested on Saturday. Can't wait!

whole 30 wrap-up

I made it 29 and a half days.  I drank two beers last night with my steak and asparagus as we had some friends from out of town over for dinner.

Overall it was a pretty big success as my weight went from 197 to 184 in the 30 days.  Since I had been eating mostly primal leading up to the Whole 30, I didn't have a ton of cravings to get over for crappy food.  Eating out on Whole 30 is a big pain the ass, but I managed a few times at Ted's Montana Grill and Chipotle/Qdoba, but even then I was constantly worried about getting some type of veggie or soybean oil somewhere on my plate.

I probably flirted with "sex with your pants on" which is how Whole 30 refers to adapting junk foods to fit within the guidelines.  I fueled a few 14er hikes with "Lara Balls" which are just dates, nuts, and coconut shredded in the food processor and formed into balls.  Addictive little nuggets for sure.

I don't really miss dairy save for some heavy cream in my coffee but even that seemed to taint the cup of black java that I have grown accustomed to over the past month.  The only thing I really missed was beer and I would ideally like to keep that to a minimum for the next 10 days.  I may be able to crack into the 170s before Pikes but if it doesn't happen before then, it will after. 

putting hay in the barn... or something

Got out last Tuesday before work and had one of those rare days where you can just keep running well beyond your normal quitting time.  I hopped onto some new trails in Deer Creek Canyon Park and ended up going over 8 miles on the day and almost 1800 ft of climbing. 

Ventured back out on Deer Creek trails on Friday for a quick trip to the top of Plymouth Mountain.  I wanted to see how long it took purely hiking to the top versus the run/hike mix I usually do.  Turns out power hiking got me up there slightly quicker which I guess is a good thing since that's what I'll be doing more of on race day.  36 minutes to the top and 1:05 total with 1680 ft climbing.

Sunday I was up at 4am and in the parking lot at Memorial Park a few minutes after 5 to head up to Barr Camp.  I took my time to let the sun come up a little more so I could see since I didn't bring a light.  I jogged away from the parking lot at 5:20.  I took it nice and easy up the road to Hydro and settled into a hike up the first steep climb.  Felt decent when that was over and kept a good pace going to the top of the W's.  I slowed down a little bit going over to No Name and hit a bad patch above No Name and wasn't able to really push it going across the faster and flatter section of the course.  Definitely ran a little hot through the W's and paid the price higher up.  A lesson better learned in training than on race day.   Made it to Barr Camp in 2:27, emptied a bottle of water into my pack, stretched, and headed back down.  I hiked a lot of the first couple miles down and was then able to resume running all the way back down to the park.  Finished in 4:10.

Plan for the upcoming week is at least one trip up Plymouth and then head back down to Manitou on Saturday morning.  Debating whether or not I should go up to the summit and run around above tree line or make another trip to Barr Camp.

i suck at blogging

I keep meaning to post something here and there but never get around to it.  A lot has changed since I last posted here.  We are now residents of Castle Rock, which is awesome.  I work in the Littleton area, which affords me a nice view and occasional trips to run around on the foothills in Deer Creek Canyon Park before work.  My wife and I are expecting another kid in October and I'm feeling decent about Pikes in a few weeks.

I've hiked/jogged on far more 14ers this summer than I have in summers past.  I've knocked out 3/4 of the Decalibron on an outing in late June.  Followed that up with a run up to Barr Camp and back.  Two weeks ago, I tagged the summit of Grays, but skipped Torreys due to lack of time.  Yesterday, I went up Bierstadt at a fairly encouraging pace.  I'll probably focus the next couple of weekends down on the Peak. 

In other news, I'm going into the race the lightest I've ever been going into Pikes.  Thanks in part to a Whole 30 which I'm on day 22 of today.  I was eating mostly Paleo leading up to starting the Whole 30 so I'm sure cutting out beer and cleaning things up is helping.  I have a bunch of leftover quality CO micros from my daughter's first birthday party, but they will have to wait for another couple weeks.

pawtoberfest 5k

I was pretty excited when we originally registered to run the Pawtoberfest 5k to benefit the Pikes Peak Humane Society. When I woke up this morning and saw the weather, that excitement quickly diminished. The wife decided to stay home and keep the kiddo warm but I didn't want to let the rego money go to waste. I threw on some decently warm clothes and grabbed my rain jacket on the way out the door. When I got to the start, it was still snowing pretty good so I tried to find shelter while waiting for the start. We got directed to the check-in tent on the other side of the park and they funneled us right across the grass which was oversaturated so my feet were soaked before the race even started. I briefly th0ught about grabbing my bag and getting in the car and heading home but I decided to stick around.

Once the race got started, I settled into a decent jog and finally started warming up. I didn't have a watch with me and didn't see a clock at the line so I have no clue what my time was. Probably over 30 min if I had to guess, which was fine given the conditions. Ready for the 70 degree weather to come back next week.