Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Tima

Tima is 10 years old today and has been on the trail with my family and I since she was 8 weeks old. She's probably the best running partner, big sister to our 2 legged children, first child and friend I could ever ask for.
Not only has Tima been on most every run I've done, she's been in a few races with me as well. In fact, she is, by far, the fastest dog ever to run the Muddy Sneaker 20k raced in Naples, NY every April. I think in the photo below we ran about a 1:35 that year.

Tima's been a little bit of everything for us, and certainly a quiet, subtle protector. When Maureen was pregnant with Riley, Tima would opt to hike with Maureen instead of run with me. We'd go seperate ways on the trail and Tima would always go with Maureen staying very close and always situating herself between Maureen and anyone else on the trail. I remember once seeing Maureen&Tima far ahead on the trail and in an attempt to be funny I said in a low, mean voice "Put that dog on a leash!" Tima spun around, took a stance I've never seen before and let out 2 very deep barks at me. As I got closer and calling her by name her stance became wider and her barks became deeper. I slowly approached her and after she sniffed me for a second or 2 she finally relaxed and gave me that "You're an idiot." look.

My all time favorite story with Tima happened around May/June 2004 when we lived in Flagstaff, AZ. Once a week Tima and I would go up to the ski resort there, Snowbowl, and do either 1h/1e or a 30 minute Tempo up the ski slopes. On this particular day I was Tempo running perhaps better than I've ever run before. We would usually start around the 9,500' and would finish shortly before getting to the top of the runs where the chair lifts end at 11,500'. But this day we had made it to the top of the runs with another 2-3 minutes left. This area is roped off so the people taking rides on the chair lift don't go beyond a certain point. With my mind set on climbing for the full 30 minutes I went under the rope, then under another rope which took me to the top of Mt. Agazzi - a place they didn't want anyone to go incase sudden lightning came to the area. As I charged through the crowd, under the rope, and up the last bit of trail, I can hear, who I assume, is one of the Snowbowl staff yelling at me to not go any further. "Fuck him." Tima told me, "We're in the zone." So I kept going. We made it to the top in what I still consider the best 30 minutes of running I've ever done, took a little breather and took in the view for a minute or 2 and began our way back down ready to run through the crowd and staff with our head down and just keep going mind set. Before I'm down, but I'm in sight of the crowd I can already here that I'm being yelled at, but I just ignore it all and keep going. I'm under the first rope, now through the crowd and then half way under the 2nd rope when I notice a woman runing towards me yelling "Stop - police." Without looking, I'm calling bullshit on this in my head thinking there's no way there's un undercover cop up there. But, this woman really pissed Tima off this time and Tima stopped turned and let out one of her really deep barks which caused me to turn around very quickly. What I saw was an under cover police woman holding out her badge and scared to death of Tima. I grabbed Tima and the woman and another person on the Snowbowl staff approached me talking some kind of ridiculous bullshit. I can't even remember what they said because I was in deep thought trying to figure out how I was going to avoid the $500 fine that I very well could have been given. My quick thinking left me with just one thing to do - DON'T SAY ANYTHING, DON'T MAKE ANY EYE CONTACT AND PRETEND YOU CAN'T HEAR/UNDERSTAND A WORD THEY ARE SAYING. It took me all but a half a second to get myself into full character when I started hearing what these people were saying to me about trespassing, fines I will receive and asking me "Who do you think you are? You think you're a big shot? You trying to impress these tourists? They don't care who you are, they think you're an idiot for running up there when we have storms moving in." After a bunch of questioning with no answers and no eye contact they started talking to eachother saying that I was faking and that they had spoke to me in English, Spaniish and French, so they knew I must be faking. I was just laughing inside thinking what a bunch of idiots - 3 languages and they conclude I'm faking. But, they were right I was faking. Now Tima is starting to get a little bored and started to wonder off a bit. Remaining in character I used my tongue to "cluck" twice at her, something I've never done with her before - and she immediately turned around and came back to my side. This was amazing I thought - Tima is right in character with me! After a few more minutes of tougue lashing from the poilce woman and staff member Tima started to wonder off again - I "clucked" twice and she came back again. Well everyting started to change now - they started talking to eachother like I wasn't there. I think they had bought it! I heard them saying that one of them would ride down on the chair and meet me at the bottom where they would issue the fine. I heard that and took off for my second best run of all time. I knew they had the chair lift on the slowest speed and it took 25 minutes for them to get down. I think I descended the 2,000' in 15 minutes, got in my car and never saw anyone! Tima made my day with the way she fell into character right along side of me.

This is the kind of story that I never get tired of telling - this is the first time I've written it down, but Tima prefers me to tell it while we're our running with friends. She gets a good chuckle out of it.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Week 17 - 13,200' (236,080')

Maureen took this photo last week when she was in Woodland Park.

113 - 1,400' on Shut-In.
114 - 2,000' on dirt roads - Long run - 16 miles in 2:09 with 2 x 4 mile, 1,000' climbs. Did the first climb at 9:15 pace and the second one at 8:55 pace.
115 - 1,400' on Sleepy Gap trails.
116 - 1,900' on Shut-In.
117 - 3,000' up only on treadmill with a 7 mile at AeT in 1 hour. See this post.
118 - 1,500' on dirt road with 6x800 w/ 125' for each 800. 4:02, 3:55, 3:43, 3:41, 3:38, 3:29.
119 - 2,000' on Shut-In.

I felt strong this week and suprised myself with some of the paces I'm keeping on the quality days. Thursday's 6x800 is a good example of still getting a feel for where I'm at. I think reps 3/4/5 were almost perfect, exactly what I should have been doing. The last rep was just me getting out a little pent-up energy. I will definately start out with a little harder effort the next time I do these and try to keep my high/low much closer. My long run on Sunday went well considering my lack of (stupid) preperation. I was slightly dehydrayed when I started the run and didn't bring enough fluids with me for the 80 degree temps. So, I can atleast say I was able to do a little "suffering training."
I am noticing that my weekly milage is increasing a little and my running time is decreasing telling me that my training paces are getting quicker. 7 weeks until Evans and all is going well. Can't say what will happen on race day, but I'm much further along in training than I thought I'd be at this time.

Race Spectator

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

7 miles/6% at AeT

First - Thanks to Jim P for the new header photo. Jim took that a few years ago after finishing the Mt. Evans Ascent. Must have been an easy run for him with having such a steady hand at 14,200' after a climb like that ;-)

Had a nice little AeT treadmill test today to narrow down a little better what paces I need for Evans specific hill intervals and tempos.
After a pretty good warm up I was suprised to see my HR settle nicely at the low end of my AeT going 7mph @ 6% grade. Thought this was a good place to start and fully expected to need to pull back to 6.9mph later in the run to keep HR within AeT. As it was, I had no problem staying within my AeT at this pace with an average HR right in the middle.
Felt pretty comfortable throughout and legs were very strong, but I don't expect to be anywhere near this 8:34 pace up on Evans. Factor in the altitude and how much easier a treadmill is and I'm still thinking that my original thought of a 2:15 up there is pretty close.
The positive side to all this, though, is that I will be able to train at much faster paces here between 2,000'-6,000'.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Week 16 - 13,200' (222,880')

106 - 1,400' up/down on Shut-In.
107 - 4,000' up/down on Bent Creek Rd/Shut-In on 2 seperate climbs of 1,900'/2,100'.
108 - 1,400' up/down on Shut-In.
109 - 1,000' up/down around neighborhood.
110 - 2,000' with 8x800 at 6% on treadmill. 3:57,3:57,3:57,3:57,3:54,3:54,3:54,3:50.
111 - 2,000' up/down on Bent Creek Road(dirt) with a 3 mile uphill Tempo gaining 800', followed by a 2 mile uphill Tempo gaining 900'.
112 - 1,400' up/down on Sleepy Gap Trails.

I really enjoyed this week getting in a good amount of vert on my long run Sunday, then hitting back to back quality days with 800's and Tempos. I can feel my body picking up some speed right away. I wanted to TT hammer the 3 mile uphill Tempo yesteday, but showed some discipline staying within my AeT and just adding another Tempo instead. In hindsight if I would have prepared for this I would have done the 2nd Tempo on the same 5% hill rather than the 9% hill just so I can keep the legs moving faster on these quality days. That said, my long run this weekend will probaly be closer to 2,000'-2,500' of vert instaed of the 4,000' I did last week. Training for Evans takes complete precedent over any vertical goal right now ;-) I really don't mind, it's alot of fun running fast on 5%-7% grades. After all the steep stuff I did the first 13 weeks of the year, 5% almost feels flat to me.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Week 15 - 13,870' (209,680')

99 - 2,500' - up/down on Shut-In.
100 - 2,000' - up/down on Bent Creek Rd and Shut-In.
101 - 2,600' - up only on treadmill.
102 - 2,770' - up only on treadmill with 3x1 mile, 1200, 800, 1600 at 6%.
103 - 500' - up/down on neighborhood streets, with Kayle in stroller.
104 - 1,700' - mostly up, and a little down with 6x800 at 7%.
105 - 1,800 - Streets, Kayle in Stroller and treadmill.
What a great week I had with Kayle my, soon to be 5 years old, daughter. Kayle's school is on Spring Break this week so while Riley's school doesn't go until next week it was all about fun for Kayle and I. I spent Mon/Tues on the treadmill while I set her up with some movies. Then, on Wed. after 10:00 on the mill I got off and looked around the garage for the B.O.B. jogging stroller we used to have. I was certain we had passed that on to some friends a few years ago, but couldn't help to take a look. I was right, no stroller, but there was this one that has 4" plastic wheels that Kayle uses to put a few stuffed animals in and take for walks. I took it for a little test spin and it seemed ok withOUT my 40lb daughter in it so I asked her if she wanted to try it out. The stroller was fine and I had one the most enjoyable runs I've ever had. The best part of all is that Thur/Fri Kayle was out in the driveway in the stroller ready to go! Pushing our kids in strollers might be the best running partners we could ever ask for - the conversation, the singing, the questions - I completely forget I was pushing a crickity, old stroller with an alignment problem.
As for running, this was kind of an "easy" week, perhaps one that I needed as I get to really start ramping it up. This was also a bit of an experimental week figuring out where I'm as far as speed goes. Next week both kids will be at the Grandparents and I'm ready to make the most of the extra time I'll have for training.
Also, last summer I did 150,000' in 100 days. On my 100th day of 2011 I went over 200,000'.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Week 14 - 16,150' (195,810')

92 - 2,000' up/down on Shut-In.
93 - 2,000' up/down on Shut-In.
94 - 2,550' up only on treadmill.
95 - 3,000' up/down on Bent Creek Rd. w/ 3 x 2 miles with 930' - See this post.
96 - 2,000' up/down on Sleepy Gap trails.
97 - 2,000' up/down on Shut-In.
98 - 2,600' up/down on Shut-In w/ a Double TT - 23:04, 23:11. When I raced myself 3 weeks ago (see this post) I lost by just :01, today I lost by :07. No worries though, I'm quite happy with a big :50 improvement on this Double TT in just 3 weeks.
Today's little TT was fun and I wanted to get in one more power type session in before I start to concentrate a little more on Mt. Evans specific stuff. The past 9 weeks I've run no less than 10 hours a week and averaged just under 16,000' of climbing per week. Now I'm ready to concentrate on gettng faster. My goal to this point was to work on power as much as possible. 10 weeks ago I struggled on the steep portions of my staple run, often hiking. Now I can even feel a little spring in my step as I run these sections. I've gained alot of power and lost some weight so I think my biggest improvement over the last 9 weeks is the power to weight ratio. It was just 8 weeks ago that it took me 27:00 to run what I ran today in 23:00, and I could only do it once 8 weeks ago! My legs have still not seen a sub 7:00 pace in a long, long time (except for some short downhill sections), in fact, I'd have to estimate that my average pace per mile over last 9 weeks is right around 10:00. That said, I have my work cut out for me. Up to this point I have done what I enjoy and have practiced what I do best, now I will need practice what I'm not so good at so I can make the most of Evans!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

3 x 2 miles with 930'.

I was looking forward to my legs coming back around this week so I could head over to my favorite 3 mile section of the Blue Ridge Parkway that's been closed all winter and do a 2 x 3 miles with 900'. I woke up this morning and felt pretty good so thought today's as good a day as any to go have some fun. As I was making the kids lunches and listening to the radio, the local news announced that my favorite section of the Parkway is now open again. I decided I didn't want to run on that road that has no shoulder with traffic, especially since a few other runners/hikers/cyclists had it to ourselves for so long and got quite spoiled.
So, I decided I'd make the drive a little further up the Parkway to where the high point of Bent Creek Rd(dirt) goes under and do some work there.
Parked and made the 16:00, 2 mile, 930' descent down as a warm up (and recovery between reps), then let the fun begin. My first goal for these reps was to be under 20:00 for all 3. My 2nd goal was to go a little faster on each one. I came pretty close to obtaining both goals, but still have some work to do on pacing with this kind of work - 19:45, 19:35, 19:51. I was working pretty hard on the 6th mile, but was still feeling strong, so I'm happy with the run.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Week 13 - 21,450' (179,660')

85 - 1,400' up/down at the DuPont 12k. See this post.
86 - 3,300' - 2,100' up/down on Shut-In, then 1,200' up only on treadmill.
87 - 4,000' - 2,100' up/down on Shut-In, then 1,900' up only on treadmill.
88 - 3,300' - 2,100' up/down on Shut-In, then 1,200' up only on treadmill.
89 - 3,250 - up/down on a road with 4 x .9 with 650'. See this post.
90 - 3,100 - 1,900' up/down on Shut-In, then 1,200' up only on treadmill.
91 - 3,100 - up/down on Pilot Rock and Shut-In.

A big week for vertical as well as time on feet, about 13 hours and felt pretty good most of the time. About 25% of the vert was up only on the treadmill, so I still had about 16,000' of descent on my legs and I thought they held up really well.

Some photos below of the run I took this morning. I drove up to the Mt. Pisgah parking lot at 5,000' and hit one of my favorite climbs, 2.75 miles with 2,000 of climbing. But, to do this I need to run down the trail first - this is easily one of my least favorite downhill runs. The reward is I get to finish it with a favorite climb. A frosty morning.

The Pogues on the IPOD and nasty descents don't mix well with me.