Sunday, July 25, 2010

Week Ending July 25

Monday - 2 miles (500') hike/jog at Horsetooth with A-dog.

Tuesday - 16 miles (5,000'). Longs.

Wednesday - 9 miles (2,300') easy. Horsetooth/Audra loop.

Thurs -

am: 6 miles easy on valley trails

pm: 6.5 miles easy with FCTR at Pineridge, followed by beers, kebabs, and tear-inducing jalapenos at Alex's house.

Fri - 10 miles (2,000') easy in searing heat. Horsetooth - Westridge - Towers - Bluesky - 38e - home. Heat killed me. 95 degrees out at midday.

Sat - 11 miles (1,000') easy on Picture Rock trail near Lyons. I was down in Lyons to satisfy my trail work requirement for Wasatch. Got there early to sneak in a 90 minute run before the 8:30 trail-work start.

While I'm glad I was able to get out and perform some trail maintenance as a means of giving back a little, and also as a way to get a better understanding of what goes into creating and maintaining trails, I resent somewhat being required to do this in order to run a race I'm paying good money to run. In my mind, voluntary work should be just that: voluntary. Being a father and husband, volunteer time is hard enough to come by as it is, and so I've had to find opportunities to volunteer in the running community where it's possible to involve the whole family. Directing the Fort Collins Running Club's Tortoise & Hare series has worked well in that respect. Trail maintenance is definitely not a family activity if you've got young kids. Anyway, rather than bitching, I should probably just avoid such races in the future. Western States has a similar requirement, but they were at least willing to accept the work I do for the FCRC as satisfying that requirement, which was greatly appreciated.

Sun - 20.5 miles (4,400'). 2:50. Towers interval workout with Jason Ostram. Hard effort on the 1.3 mile, 750' climbs up to Loggers, then easy around and down on Sawmill and Valley trails x 5. Loop is just under 4 miles, and those last couple of climbs up Towers were real grinders, especially with the morning getting progressively hotter. Towers splits went: 11:06, 11:21, 11:19, 11:23, 11:13. Recovery splits: 20:34, 22:03 21:31, 21:50, 20:58. Swan Johnson: 4:20, 3:37. This one hurt, but I was happy to get up at a consistent pace for all five climbs. Wanted a fastest effort on the last one, but the combination of fatigue and extra heat left me a few seconds short. Probably try and crank out another one of these on slightly more rested legs in two weeks as one of my last long, hard workouts before Pikes.

Total: 80.5 miles (15,200')

This was a solid week with a couple of really good longer climb workouts in there. I still don't feel particularly zippy, but I do feel strong. To go under four hours on Pikes, I figure that I'll be able to get it done with, at worst, a 2:35 climb which was my Ascent time last year. I feel fairly confident that I'll be able to get close to a 1:25 on the down portion with my longer distance strength and strong, reasonably zippy down-legs. With a 2:30 on the up, which I also think is possible, the A goal is 3:55. Others seem to think I'll be lucky to get under 4 - and that's why we run 'em.

Next week is going to be busy and potentially exhausting. Justin Mock talked me into running a 5k down in Louisville on Wednesday as the first leg in our three-part head to head. Quite comically, I will be running in the 'elite' race, so I am simply hoping to avoid coming DFL in addition to finally posting a 16:xx. I think I got it in me this time. Might just try and hang on to Justin for as long as possible and then hope to not die too badly through the last mile. That way I can at least say I tried to make a race of it.

Anyway, the day after the 5k will be the biweekly romp up Towers, which I will probably end up running harder than planned. And then Saturday, it is Karl's hike-a-thon out in Utah which features a whopping 12,000' of climbing over 31 miles. I like my chances better there than I do on the roads on Wednesday.


  1. There's nothing wrong with being DFL. I know what it's like.

  2. Oh dear, I take it the burro race didn't go so well...

  3. Impressive workout today! Funny that our miles and vertical were almost identical despite two very different runs. Will you reverse it next time and go up Sawmill and down Towers? Sawmill is always a tough climb for me, I think because I almost always do it late in the run. Speedgoat sounds like a fun one. Go get em'.

  4. I am a little mixed on the trail work requirement for races. Since everyone doing the race presumably runs a lot of trail in training it makes sense to somewhat force people to get out there and give back that otherwise would not. At the same time, I don't see the point of making someone like you drive down to Lyons to work on a trail that you don't run just to get the time. I did mine last Friday in an area I actually run so I did not mind it - other than the fact that it was 90+ degrees.

    Good luck at the 5k on Wed. - after your comments at HR you better just hope you don't get chicked :)

  5. Rob - good seeing you out there. Doubt I'd do those intervals in the other direction as the purpose was to get good uphill leg turnover, and that is way easier on Towers. Agreed that Sawmill can be a kick in the arse on the back end of the Big Loop. You looked good though - still cranking.

    Nick - yeah, I emailed multiple people here in Larimer County about trail work opportunities and heard back from very few. Saw the Lyons opportunity pop up on the BTR list and just decided to get it over with.

    I see where you're coming from on encouraging people to give back, but we're talking about volunteer work here. I don't know if forcing people into volunteering is the right model. Prodding might be a better option, like an entry discount for trail work.

    And yeah, I fully expect to be chicked on weds - will be the first of the year if it happens.

  6. Agreed, it isn't really volunteer work if you force people to do it. Kind of like when people do 'community service' when they are really doing it to keep there butt out of jail.

  7. On paper, I kinda like a volunteer requirement, along the lines of NMP's comments. Mostly to me it suggests more grassroots/blue-collar/old-school back-to-nature caretaking than just plunking down hundreds of dollars for entry, especially as we're seeing some races creep closer to an Ironman sort of budget.

    That said, you have some very good points, as you're probably the poster child for why their system is somewhat *broken* -- you do more than enough stuff for the running community in general already! I think an open-ended, suggestive, "on your honour" system would be more efficient, to encourage running or physical activity volunteering, but not necessarily *enforcing* very specific trail maintenance requirements. (Not everyone even lives by a nice network of officially maintained trails, in addition to your other points).

    Good stuff, excited to see what you throw down (or up, but not literally!) on Towers, as well as the 5k.

  8. My wife Nan is doing the 5K in Louisville on wednesday too, should be a fun fast race to watch. I'll be rooting for her to do something in the 16's also, and I'll root for you to not get chicked by her...but she's in pretty decent shape so you may have your work cut out for you (in addition to the other elite women who will I'm sure be there).

    Look forward to perhaps meeting you there. And good luck in speedgoat too, I know a bunch of guys doing will be fun to hear how the race-hiking goes. (maybe Karl can make that an official sport name, like race-walking, since you can't technically call it running right?)

  9. Aaron - I think the last (only) time I was in the same race race as your wife (FoCo 4 mile turkey run), I edged her out by a few seconds in what was a very competitive field in both the M & F races. I'd have my money on Nan if I were you, as I'm almost certain she's in better road shape than I am, plus I'm heading back up Longs for a hard effort tomorrow morning. Maybe I'll use her as a pacer then if she's looking to go sub-16.

    On Speedgoat, I'm a little dubious about the 12k claim. That equates to 775' of elevation change per mile, which is absurdly steep for a race that long. I'll be wearing my Highgear altimeter watch, so we'll see how much the total climb really is. If it turns out to be as steep as advertised, then there will for sure be plenty of race-hiking and out-of-control descents too. Fun stuff!

  10. Mike, not much gonna happen on Towers with Longs tomorrow & the 5k Weds. Got to try and save something for Saturday. Hope to see you out there knocking out a sub-33.

    And your points re: volunteering/racing are well taken. Just wish there was a better way to encourage trail/running volunteerism. If the trail running community was as well organized as, say, the mountain bike/equestrian communities when it comes to volunteering trail time, there might be better options. I guess we just don't have the same access issues they do, so don't feel the need to be as politically visible.

  11. I'm surprised that Wasatch was that strict about your volunteer requirement. They accepted my time from working on the Blue Sky races. I don't see how the Ft Collins Running Club is any different since they are also a non-profit and donate funds to local organizations. If you need to bank some extra hours, could you pick up the parking lot and trail on your side of Reservoir Ridge on your way to the social run? I don't know if I'll have time to get out early enough today to hit that end of the trail. If you do that every week and help me look for trash out on the run, you'll have enough hours to run as many ultras as you want.


  12. Thanks, Scott!

    Pete, to be honest I didn't really pursue the FCRC thing, as the page detailing the volunteer requirement seemed to be pretty specific about it having to be trail work. You have a much more legitimate claim with the Bluesky races considering much of the proceeds go to trail maintenance in the park system.