Sunday, February 27, 2011

Week Ending Feb 27

Mon - 24 miles (2,700') easy. 3:09. This was a repeat of a run I did with Burch a few weeks back. From my house, the route goes roads to the Devils Backbone trailhead in Loveland (12 miles) via Masonville/Hwy 34 and then straight back north on the Bluesky trail: high route to the keyhole, then lefts through the Loveland-side loops, Indian Summer and then the long way home once back in my neighborhood. Nearly all the climbing on this route comes in the return 12 miles. Hit the trailhead in 1:20 flat (6:40s) at what felt like a reasonably relaxed pace, then switched to jog mode, coming back in 1:49.

Building on Sunday's 19 mile run, a still sore foot/ankle, and presumably some residual fatigue from New Orleans, my legs felt pretty beat towards the end. I took that as an opportunity to put in a late-race effort by upping the tempo through the last two miles of trail before the climb back up to my house. Redstone: 15:45; Hwy34: 62; Backbone: 1:20; 38e: 2:52.

Tues - AM: 8 miles intervals. Met up with Jane's early AM group to get a bit of turnover back into the routine. Wasn't expecting great things given 19 & 24 mile runs the previous two days, but did manage to elevate the heart rate which I guess was the only real goal. Workout went: fartlek mile, fartlek cross country hill mile, mile steady road, 1,200, 1,000. Ran with Chris M for these, which meant I was working a little harder than originally planned. 3 mile warm up with Scott, Sarah and Celeste, then:

1.05 mile fartlek - 6:21 (6:03 pace)
1.18 mile CC hill fartlek - 7:13 (6:06)
mile - 5:34 (5:34)
.75 mile - 3:54 (5:13)
.62 mile - 3:17 (5:17)

PM: 9 miles (2,300') easy. Haven't run this one since before Western States last year when it was pretty much my daily lunchtime route. Figured I'd launch back into the short-mileage vert racker and see how things felt. Physically I was pretty tired, but really this was a mental exercise to see if I've got the desire to go out and do what I did last year in getting ready for States. Jury still out on that one. Anyway: Soderberg to bench - Horsetooth down to Falls, then Spring Creek - Soderberg - Rock trail - Audra Culver - back up to Horsetooth via Southridge - Rock to Soderberg - long way home (aka: Horsetooth/Audra long).

Weds - AM: 11 miles (2,500') easy. 38e - Bluesky - Towers - Secret Trail - Westridge - Rock - Audra - Southridge - home long way. Legs felt reasonably spry which was a surprise.
PM: 5 miles (1,050) easy. Falls, long way home.

Thurs - AM: 10 miles (1,400') hills
. On Centennial to 5 mile marker on HTH course. Out easy in 39:44, back @ conversational-steady w/Tim in 34:47.
Noon: 5 miles (1,050'). Falls, long way home.
PM: 4.5 miles in Louisville on Coal Creek Trail with PI teamates Josh and Tim.

Fri - AM: 5.5 miles (800') easy. In Boulder with PI product line managers, photographer, and others for a slippery run on the lower Boulder mountain trails from N-CAR.
PM: 6.5 miles easy on Coal Creek Trail with Ian, Scott, Josh and Tim.

Sat - AM: 11 miles easy. With PI team for run and photo shoot at Boulder Reservoir.

Sun - AM: 11.5 miles (2,800') easy. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Loggers - Mill Creek - Towers - Secret Trail - Westridge - Rock - Soderberg - home long way.

Total: 111 miles (14,600')

The WS build is officially on. Front loaded the week in anticipation of a lower mileage weekend with meetings, eating and boozing at the Pearl Izumi team summit. Managed to squeeze in a few more runs than anticipated Friday and Saturday, but really nothing but mileage padding. Anyway, happy to come in at over 100 miles on the week, although was hoping for a little more vertical.

So the summit was a huge success and as usual the folks at Pearl were fantastic hosts. A lot of great things in the works with regards to product and racing. First and foremost, the Peak II is now in full production and will be available from retailers in the very near future. I've run in most all of the prototypes leading up to this release and I have to tip my hat to Mike Thompson, the PI run shoe dude, for really listening to the feedback from the ultrarunning team in developing and modifying this shoe. While it is called the Peak II, it is essentially a complete overhaul of the original Peak with the only real similarity being the focus on keeping the shoe light. Unlike some of the other lightweight trail runners currently on the market, the Peak is built to last. I put over 600 miles on one of the protos and can honestly say that if I hadn't given the shoes back to Mike for inspection, I would have put them through many more miles before donating. But durability is just one part of the picture. The shoe rocks on many fronts, but more on that when they're on the market.

Tim Olson rocking the Peak II. Photo, Eric Wynn.

An earlier iteration. The upper material has changed, but styling is essentially the same.

In addition to Pearl Izumi fun and games, we had a great presentation from Robert Kunz, researcher/developer-in-chief at First Endurance, whose products I am again excited to be using in 2011.

Highgear also sent Dale Fleckenstein down to present on the excellent range of products those guys have in the offing. Like Pearl, Highgear has listened, and I am super excited for the launch of the new Axio HR, which will combine the features of two existing watches (Axio Max and Alterra) to produce a really great mountain running watch that will also include a heart rate monitor and associated data. The launch on that is this summer, but perhaps more exciting (for GPS junkies) is the 2012 scheduled launch date for the Highgear GPS watch, which will combine the mileage tracking capabilities of GPS with all the great vert tracking capabilities of the Highgear altimeter technology. Exciting stuff.

Axio Max Steel - the heavier 'street' version.

Eric Wynn was there all weekend snapping some great pics, which I am looking forward to seeing more of as they become available. The guy is quite the talent.

And finally, check out these short video interviews with teammates Scott and Darcy on running extreme distances while maintaining balance as parents, spouses and career professionals. Both these guys are class acts and great ambassadors for the sport.

Anyone else smelling spring?


  1. What's tougher in your opinion?
    24 on trail w/~3000ft
    or 24 on pavement ~flat.

    I did a bunch of pavement this week
    and I am afraid.

  2. Matt - given an equal effort, I would have to say 24 miles on pavement is way tougher, especially as relates to recovery, but more miles in less time is always a bonus. Mentally, I typically dread pavement long runs, but rarely give long trail runs a second thought. You're right to be afraid, but turnover is good.

  3. Sounds like you aren't sure if you want to go all out for WS? Or are you just questioning if that is the best training approach.

    Good stuff on the highgear GPS. Hopefully they do it right and make a good garmin alternative.

  4. Nick - no, definitely going all out for WS - just not sure I have the stamina/desire to pump out 100 mile+/15k'+ weeks for the next three months. No doubt in my mind, however, that volume is the best way forward in training for mountain 100s. I hope to keep a focus on turnover too, with at least one session per week focused on speed.

  5. Nick,

    another question for you. For my marathon training i have felt that long runs on hilly (for England) muddy trails would be harder than long runs on the road, but you think from the above posts that pavement poudning is tougher? Is this mental as you don't enjoy it as much or the physical effect of the harder surface meaning it is actually tougher on flat tarmac?



  6. Alex - yeah, from a recovery and motivational standpoint, road running - for me - is definitely harder. That said, muddy trails can be quite the motivation sapper too.

    If you're training for a road marathon, then I'd definitely recommend getting on the road and turning your legs over at a faster rate - with a focus on sustained marathon paced efforts. Hilly and muddy trail runs are great for stamina (and mental callusing), but no replacement for speed.

  7. i agree. my long run is in the mud (18 miles (so far twice), with a further 2 18 milers and 2 20 milers to go in march) with a 10-12 mile marathon paced tempo effort in the week and a shorter faster fartlek-interval session as well.

  8. Nick,

    Simple gear question. What are your favorite shorts/shirt combo from PI. Do the Fly short have a decent pocket for gels, etc?

    By the way, enjoy you blog. As a CSU grad., always a trip down memory lane reading your posts. Used to run and climb out at Horsetooth and beyond all the time. Will have to get back to the Fort some day. Seems like a great environment for ultra runners these days.

  9. You call 24 Miles which takes 3:09 hours of running easy? That's amazing ;). That's a lot of running stat you have here. It's amazing for me when I see people like you obsessed for running. I'm still having hard time running as much as I want.

  10. Brian - I like the new infinity short with the big zippered back pocket. The pocket on the Fly shorts is somewhat problematic for gels, so I wouldn't go that route if you're looking at PI shorts for longer distances. On tops, I like the Fly singlet but the Phase tech top is probably my favorite T.

    And, yes, I consider myself very lucky with the Horsetooth access for many different reasons - not just running. We have a good little community of trail runners out here right now. It's been fun being part of that growth. Make sure to look us up next time you're out here.

    Stephen - I guess 'easy' is a relative term. On being obsessed, I like to think of my running as more of a passion, but I guess it's a fine line.