Sunday, June 13, 2010

Week Ending June 13 (WS - 2 Weeks)

Mon - Took the day off in an effort to get into a tapering frame of mind.

Tues - Noon: 6 miles easy (500') valley trails.
PM - 6.5 miles easy (1,200') at Reservoir Ridge with the trail running group. Must have been close to 20 of us out. Much to everyone's delight, there was a big bull snake at the trailhead.

Weds - Noon: 14 miles (1,700'). Blue Sky/Indian Summer, out and back from home. Went out in full heat gear and suffered through a very sweaty, sluggish run. If I'd been swimming, I think I would have drowned. Felt super slow and super heavy. I don't much like running Blue Sky during the summer months as the snakes tend to congregate down in the valley there. Saw two today and enjoyed my first snake scream of the year when I was caught off-guard by a big grass snake that darted out right in front of me on Indian Summer. Less than a mile later I was stopped in my tracks by a small rattler (fourth on the season). Saw that one early enough that it didn't cause me to jump out of my skin. Snakes everywhere recently.

Thurs - AM: 7 miles (1,800'). Up Towers easy (38:40), then some BS'n at the top with Dan, Pete, Kyle and Victoria. Down at tempo. Easier first mile on tender hamstrings, then harder as I warmed into the descent. Never really run the descent hard, so the 18:31 (5:26 ave) serves as a baseline for any future efforts. According to Jonathan Vigh's website, Dan Turk has the descent FKT at 18:14.
PM: 6.5 miles easy. Social run w/FCTR at Pineridge. More than 20 turned out again.

20+ in attendance for the last few FCTR runs. Good stuff.
Heading out to Pineridge. Pete (black) in full Western States combat gear. Alex (foreground) checking on his troops.

Fri - 6 miles easy on the valley trails.

Sat - 8.5 miles (1,900') on the Horsetooth race course to scope conditions for Sunday's race. Trail was in decent shape despite incessant rain/drizzle. Got home to find the race directors had decided to postpone the event. Really disappointing as this was going to be one of my last hard efforts before States. Ah well, maybe I saved myself an injury. Still planning on letting loose on Towers this Thursday to see if I can dip into 28:xx land.

Sun - 21 miles (5,100'). 3:20. I was pretty disappointed that the race organizers decided to cancel the Horsetooth Trail Half (I'm still trying to figure out why exactly) as I wanted to get a good hard effort in today. Rather than recreate a race effort over the course, I headed out and ran half the course (which was in great shape) and then continued on to run a fairly standard Horsetooth/Lory long-run route. Not exactly heat-acclimation conditions given that it was in the 50s and raining, but I layered up nonetheless in a bid to get a bit of a sweat going with a slightly harder effort than I would normally impart on a run of this type.

Anyway, went: Home - Horsetooth - Westridge - Mill Creek - Howard - Timber - Well Gulch - Overlook - Arthurs - Valley - Sawmill - Herrington - Spring Creek - Soderburg - home.

Total: 75 miles (12,200')

Pretty much where I wanted to be for the week in terms of mileage and such like. The run today was just so-so. Still feel like my hamstring is not quite right, but it is definitely better than it was last weekend. With a very easy two weeks upcoming, I feel like it will be good to go come race time.

It seems that the conventional wisdom among a lot of the guys I'll be running against at States is to go with a two-week taper, which has had me second guessing the easier week this week, but really I am more than comfortable with the longer taper as I just don't see the benefit of extra work this close to the race. Based on previous taper experiences, I know that my body takes a full three weeks to really start feeling good after a heavy training block. Typically, I feel kind of flat after that second week of taper and then really good through the last week, so I'm not going to mess with what has worked for me in the past.

With a last longer run with significant elevation gain in the books, I think I'm over the mental aspect of over-thinking the taper. Right now, I am 100 percent focused on rest and maintenance. I'll probably go hard up (and down) Towers on Thursday and then just run by feel for the remainder.

We take off for California either Friday or Saturday and will take our time road-tripping out there. Ideally, I would like to leave Friday to get to Squaw late Saturday so I can get a 14-15 mile run on the course on Sunday. The week before will be about having fun with the family, scoping out some logistical stuff at aid stations while scouting a few more sections of the course.

Lots of chitter-chatter about the 'Big Four' on the interwebs. I count at least 20 guys (beyond the favorites) who'll probably be thinking top ten, with probably ten of those thinking they've got a shot of going top three. Honestly, I'll be very surprised if more than two of the favorites make the top five.

Here are some names to consider (in no particular order):

Leigh Schmitt (M7, 17:49)
Tsuyoshi Kaburaki (M2, 16:52)
Andy Henshaw (2nd American River)
Zach Miller (M6, 17:34)
Phil Kochik (2nd Ice Age)
Rod Bien (3rd Miwok)
Josh Brimhall (not really a 100-mile specialist, but means business this year)
Erik Skaden (M8, 18:22)
Ian Sharman (24th at Comrades (6:02, beating Wardian) and only other Brit besides myself in the race)
Lon Freeman (2nd Mountain Masochist)
Nick Lewis (2nd Leadville '09)
Troy Howard (2nd Hardrock '09, 3rd fastest time ever)
Andy Jones Wilkins (M10, 18:46)
Mark Lantz (M9, 18:45)
Chikara Omine (2nd Bandera '10)
Victor Ballesteros (11th last year, 18:50)
Gary Robbins (HURT Champ, taking down Roes' CR in the process)
Oz Pearlman (he'll be the fastest magician in the field)
Michael Arnstein (2nd JFK '09)
Rob Evans (recently profiled by Scott Dunlap as a "Faster Master")
Justin Angle
Ian Torrence

And others, I am sure.


  1. Nick,
    Where's your name on that list? In a nod to experience, I'd have to add Craig Thornley to play for the Top 10.

    -Bryon who adds to the chatter ;-)

  2. Solid week, don't overthink the taper if it works for you! Plenty of ex phys literature refers to 20+ days for training benefits to be realized, so you're right in maintaining/getting the body fresh and having the money in the bank already.

    Bummer about the trail race, is it possible the county forced (or strongly suggested) postponement? The mud down here in the flats has been pretty clumpy.


  3. Bryon - thanks for stopping by. I'm guessing that most people who read this blog don't need me talking even more about myself, but yeah, I'm looking to be in the hunt for some top-ten action.

    Mike - I think the decision was based more on the potential for some serious overnight rain, which is understandable, I guess. I wouldn't have called it though. The upper trails are always solid regardless of how much moisture comes down. Service drives get sloppy, but a bit of mud never hurt anybody.

  4. Three weeks is smart - if anything it is better to be a little less trained and well rested than getting in some extra training and being tired at the start.

    Looks like a fast field and I'm sure it is going to be all out from the gun with ~10 guys going out too fast and the winner being whoever can keep it together for the whole race. Most of the rest will probably blow up and be outside the top 10 by the end. Running a smart race will be key for a top spot.

    Speaking of the "big four" - I saw Tony out with some guy who has won states a handful of times this AM....wonder if he got any good tips

  5. So for the less initiated, who are the big 4 (or does typing their names jinx something :) )? Koerner, Roes, Krupicka, and the Spanish kid?


  6. Nick - so that would be Jurek then?

    Got it in one Kyle, with the Spanish kid being favorite in my book.

  7. Yeah, I guess he is in town doing some altitude training - not sure what for though (UTMB?)

  8. That combat gear looks pretty rough.

    Thanks for the break down on the rest of the croo beyond the Spanish kid and those other guys.

  9. Hey Nick -
    I think your taper is spot on. Besides you know what works best for you. I think the biggest trick is to eat right during your taper i.e. not too much. I can't wait to see this thing unfold in person!

  10. Nick,

    Thanks for the Bighorn briefing on Tuesday. I was also a little bummed out about the race postponement also but got over it when I did my 1st run up Round (Sheep) Mountain instead. Loved it! The sub 2hr goal for the HT half might be tough 8 days post-BH, but at least the field will be thinned with the favorite gone to do some little event in California. "The hay is in the barn".

    Rob (not from New Zealand)

  11. Scott - yeah, tapering back the calories is possibly the hardest part of all. Been craving (and eating) a lot of junk recently for some reason. Need to cut that crap out.

    Rob - Have fun out there. Was checking out snow reports this weekend, and it seems you guys will be dealing with some good slop, but the post-holing shouldn't be too bad. I'm kind of jealous as I think I'd rather be out in the Bighorns than the Sierras, but I guess this year is about feeding the competitive half. Sounds like you're ready, enjoy the flora, fauna and geology.

  12. Nick- your my pick as the darkhorse who takes WS- your mad and daring enough to win it all. Your resume is strong- especially when the competition is tough. Take it.-Brad

  13. Thanks, Brad. I'm going out there to give it my best shot. We'll see what happens.