Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 By the Numbers

As this blog is mainly a training and racing log, I figured I'd just lay the year out in numbers:

Jan: 252 miles (33,700')
Feb: 189 miles (33,500')
March: 488 miles (70,000')
April: 482.5 miles (72,700')
May: 439 miles (79,500')
June: 334 miles (49,000')
July: 279.5 miles (64,400')
August: 302.5 miles (50,100')
September: 237.5 miles (53,200')
October: 301.5 miles (44,600')
November 373 miles (52,900')
December 418 (52,250')

2010: 4,100 miles (655,850')
Avg: 342 miles (54,654')

Weekly Mileage and Vertical Gain, Jan to Dec.

42 (2,000')
85 (9,900) – Bandera 100k
40.5 (4,500') – Ghost Town 39 Mile
53.5 (8,100')
53 (9,600') – Trudge 22 Mile
25.5 (4,900')
34 (1,600')
--------------------------------- WS Build
51.5 (7,700')
78 (19,300')
113 (22,700')
100 (10,800') – Salida Marathon
117 (19,600')
100.5 (13,500') – Antelope Island 50k
116 (11,900')
107.5 (20,000')
110 (15,100') – Fruita 50 Mile
108 (18,500')
129 (14,700')
102 (19,600')
75 (15,000)
103 (20,200') – Jemez 50 Mile
116 (21,000')
100 (17,400')
------------------------------------ WS taper
75 (12,200')
52 (5,100')
120 (18,000') - WS 100 Mile
----------------------------------- WS Recovery
16.5 (2,600')
54.5 (15,400')
----------------------------------- Pikes Training
55.5 (11,500') – Barr Trail Mountain Race
80.5 (15,200')
72.5 (19,700') – Speedgoat 50k
91 (16,500')
----------------------------------- Pikes Taper
49 (6,100')
51.5 (11,000') – Pikes Peak Marathon
----------------------------------- Wasatch Training/Pikes Recovery
100 (16,500')
----------------------------------- Wasatch Taper
50 (7,700')
113 (29,000') – Wasatch 100 Mile
----------------------------------- End Season Rest
26.5 (6,100')
41 (8,000')
28 (4,000') – Bacon Strip 10 Mile
50 (6,200') – Silent Trails 10 Mile
---------------------------------- Marathon Build
81 (12,200')
74 (10,800')
86.5 (15,400')
80 (10,000') – Heart Center Half
91.5 (13,200')
102 (15,000')
76 (14,200') – T-Day 4 Mile
100.5 (6,700')
100 (11,500')
67 (10,750') – Stella born
106 (12,700')

More Numbers:

655,850 Feet climbed
54,654 Feet climbed per month (average)
12,612 Feet climbed per week (average)
4,100 Miles run

1,797 Feet climbed per day (average)
626 Miles Raced
342 Miles run per month (average)
124 Vertical miles run
78(.8) Miles run per week (average)
40 days off
36 Towers ascents
35 weeks at or above 10,000’ of climbing
26 Horsetooth summits
25 Races
20 Weeks at or above 100 miles
11(.2) Miles run per day (average)
10 weeks above 18,000' climbing
9 wins
8 Hard-top races & 8 ultras
7 Green Mountain summits
6 Races longer than 50k
5 Ultra wins
4 second place finishes
3 Races in Utah
2 Longs Peak summits
1 baby

Freakin' (Vertical) Beer Mile, Dude!

Yesterday was the 20th Towers session of the year, so to cap of a great season on the hill, we set out to conquer the infamous beer mile. Traditionally done on a track, we figured it would be much more exciting and generally more hardcore if we did it on the Fort Collins Trail Runners' track: The Big Hill.

Pete's nutrition plan hangs from his neck.

The route went from the Nomad intersection to the Loggers intersection, which according to various GPS devices is exactly, or just a touch over a mile with 700 feet of vertical climb. To add to the general epicness of the event, we received our first real snow dump of the year in the 24 hours prior, and it was still coming down as the silliness got underway, oh and the thermometers were reading a chilly 10 degrees.

The Beer Mile Start

There were three race divisions among the 10 assembled runners: men, women, relay. Competing in the boys' race were myself, Pete (who had been playing up his drinking prowess for weeks), Alex, Slusher, and Bryan; in the girls' race Celeste, being the only entrant appeared to be the odds on favorite; while in the relay, the remaining girls (Marie Helene, Mary, Ean and Jennifer) would run the course together taking turns on the beer-consumption aspect of the race.

Beers were placed at quarter mile intervals up the hill, and a finish line was marked off in the snow at the Loggers signpost. At the top, Pete described the quarter mile penalty lap (a further quarter mile of running up the hill) that would be mandatory for anyone who blew chunks.

From the gun, Pete managed to live up to his pre-race talk by getting his first beer down a good ten seconds before Alex and I. By the quarter mile mark, I had pulled within five seconds of Pete, who appeared to be in a spot of early trouble. Despite some thunderous belches, I was finding that the beers were going down well, and that the running-with-a-gut-full-of-beer part was actually not too bad. I out-drank Pete by a landslide on beer number two, and headed out for the halfway point with a clear lead.

Official photographer, Mindy, was manning the third aid station (with perhaps the brightest headlight known to man), and she had an appetizing line-up of beers on offer. I was probably halfway done with my penultimate beer by the time the second bead of light appeared on the scene. To mine and Mindy's surprise, it was Alex, not Pete, followed soon after by Slusher. There was chatter of rainbow arcs and snow tigers at the second aid: Pete was clearly in trouble.

With the third beer down and a big lead, it was just a question of keeping the frothy mess down during the big half-mile climb to the finish. Ean was at the final beer station, camera in hand, and let me tell you that last beer was a true pleasure. As I was finishing up my 48th ounze of frothy Coors nastiness, Alex pulled in with what looked like a commanding lock on second.

Look at that form!

Alex nears the finish line

Belching all the way, I crossed the Loggers finish line with my lunch intact in a standard-setting 18:25. Alex crossed in 19:50, breaking the 20 minute mark comfortably. Third overall, in perhaps the most impressive performance of the night, was Celeste who had posted a strong back half to overtake her husband Slusher between beer three and four.

Performance of the night. Celeste outruns, outdrinks and outplays her husband.

Bryan in fourth

Slush in fifth

Indeed Slusher ended up being edged out by Bryan for fourth in an exciting slow-motion sprint for the finish. The relay team posted an impressive sixth-place finish and then we all hung around at the top waiting for Pete to finish off his penalty quarter and claim his wooden spoon.

Just the one beer for Jennifer!

If you're going to make one Towers appearance the whole year, I guess you should make it this one. Marie runs a strong leg for the relay team.

Alex and Ean

The descent on the cushy carpet of snow, in a semi-inebriated state was quite the ride, and more than a few spills were taken by most.

Back at Soderberg safe and sound.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Horsetooth North Summit FKT

Rob had emailed a couple of days ago about bringing around some of his wife's homemade goodness and getting out for a run at Horsetooth, or more specifically for a hard effort to the top of Horsetooth. I, of course, agreed (to both the food and the run), and so at noon today it was off to the races.

Rob is convinced that the fastest way to the top is to go hiking trail as far as the second Southridge merge, then Southridge to its end where it merges back with the hiking trail. My fastest two times have both come by taking Southridge the whole way, which of course has led me to believe that despite being 0.2 longer, it is in fact quicker because of the more predictable footing and lack of switchbacks. Today, I decided to take another go at the (2.34 mile) hiking trail route, as that was what Rob was doing and, well, it's a more engaging route.

With the weather as perfect as can reasonably be asked for in late December (sunny, still and in the 40s) there would be no excuses.

From the get go, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go full on, so eased into things at a strong, but controlled effort. Half way to the Soderberg bench, I decided that I felt good enough that I would give it a proper go. Went past the bench in 4:43 (12 second PR) and rejoined the Rock trail in 7:43 (17 second PR) feeling like things were nicely under control.

The crux of this particular route is the .8 mile stretch of singletrack before the second merge with Southridge. I used to time myself on occasion during longer runs on this stretch and had an 8:22 PR from last year, so figured today that if I could get to the Southridge intersection in anything under 16 minutes I'd be well on my way to a summit PR. Again, feeling largely in control and comfortably under the blow-up zone, I went past the intersection in 15:53 (for a 10 second PR on that .8 stretch alone). From there it was the loose grind up Southridge, a quick sprint across the flat section past the Wathen turn and then the last .5 effort up the rockiest and hardest part of the ascent.

Last time I TT'd The Rock I imploded on this section and dropped to a walk near the top after running the 'wall' entirely too hard, but this time I got through the rocky wall at a controlled effort and was able to keep the torque on my wheels such that I could grind a steady run the whole way to the base of the rock. After dodging a few kids on the summit scramble, I topped out in 23:50 for a huge 1:36 PR.

I am now convinced that I was wrong about the Southridge route, and that in fact it is quicker to take the more technical, but shorter route up the hiking trail. But I'm also going to give myself some credit and say that the PR is part route and part fitness. My PR for the hiking trail all the way is 26:17 from last year, but that is most assuredly slower than today's route (not 2:27 slower, but definitely slower).

Any which way, 23:50 is now the new trailhead-to-summit standard.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Week Ending December 26

Monday - AM: 7.5 miles (2,000') hard. Horsetooth - Southridge - Audra - North Summit - Horsetooth - Soderberg - Spring Creek - Falls - Home. It was just me and Alistair at the house this morning, with Dana, her mom and Stella at the hospital in Lafayette. Called my neighbor Brad to see if he would be willing to watch Alistair for an hour so I could celebrate the birth of my daughter with a trip to the top of Horsetooth. Brad obliged and I stormed up to the rock (didn't don a watch, but would guess that I was close to PR pace). It was supremely serene on top. I broke the silence by shouting Stella's name at the top of my lungs - yeah, I know! Bumped into another neighbor on the way down and pulled a few markers from Chubby Cheeks as we went.
PM - late afternoon: 6.5 miles (2,500'). Green Mountain via Gregory/Ranger w/ jog from Chautauqua. 35:03 up from Greg TH. After hanging with Dana and Stella at the hospital in Lafayette for a few hours, I couldn't resist the urge to go summit Green Mountain, which was sitting smack dab in the middle of the view from the hospital window. I told Dana that I needed to go yell Stella's name from a second peak on her second day on this earth. Dana bought it and I was off. After feeling spry summiting Horsetooth earlier in the day, I figured I would try and get up Green at an up-tempo effort. While I wasn't 'killing it,' I was by no means jogging. Made a note to take splits on the way, but only got the cabin (15:10). Hiked second half of the grunt past the four-way. As promised, I yelled to Stella from my perch atop Green. The descent was slower than the ascent due to darkness and a very weak headlight.
PM (2) - Evening: 6.5 miles (1,650'). Met a group from the trailrunners in the Horsetooth parking lot at 11:15 for a late night eclipse-watching jaunt to the top of the rock. We went at a social pace and lucked out with a close to cloudless night. Stopped on the way back down on Southridge as the full eclipse was getting into high gear. The mist completely cleared to reveal bright stars, an orange moon and a handful of shooting stars: Quite the show. Back home at 1:15.

Tuesday - PM: 11 miles (1,100') steady state. 1:16. From my house to Arthurs TH and back via 38e, campground and valley trails. 18:00 to Soderberg, 40:00 O&B from Soderberg to Arthurs, 18:21 home. Ran comfortably hard most of the way, though started out relatively easy coming down the hill to Shoreline - ran almost an even split coming back up versus the down. Steady on the valley trails.

Wednesday - Noon: 8.5 miles (500') easy. To Arthurs and back from Field of Dreams TH.
PM: 5 miles easy @ Pineridge.

Thursday - AM: 11.5 miles (2,300') easy. Jogged down to Soderberg to meet Pete, Crystal and Dan T for a jog up Towers (38:30), then cut back home on Westridge/Horsetooth. Beautiful sunrise/full moon morning. I don't always run in the morning, but when I do, I prefer to run on mornings like this.
PM - 7.5 miles easy with FCTR @ Pineridge.

Friday - Noon: 12 miles track. Workout: 3,200, 1,600, 3,200, 1,600, 3,200 w/400 jog between intervals; 2 mile w-u (16:00), 1 mile c-d (8:50). The 2 mile intervals were at projected marathon pace, and miles @ 10k: 11:41 (5:53, 5:48); 5:30; 11:33 (5:46, 5:47); 5:32; 11:29 (5:45, 5:46).

I really, really didn't want to do this session, but drove myself to the track anyway as I knew once I was there, there was no way I would back out. Jogged out a two-mile warm-up feeling stiff and slow, while thinking about other workouts that might be easier. I felt uncoordinated for most of the workout, especially the miles. Anyway, the idea behind this workout was to transition between a short-course effort and long-course effort in a bid to make the 5:50s feel easy. For the most part the MP stuff felt good, given how I was feeling pre-run, but the 5:30 miles felt harder than I would have liked. Just a few more visits to the oval, then I can leave it all behind and resume a full mountain jogging schedule.

Saturday - 8 miles (1,650') easy. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Sawmill - Loggers - Herrington, Spring Creek, Soderberg - home. Easy Xmas morning jog at the park before the craziness of presents and gob stuffing commenced. Broke the 4,000 mile mark on the year.

Sunday - AM: 21 miles steady. 2:19. Overland, Poudre trail, Spring Creek trail. Ran 7:00s to warm up on the 5.5 miles of Overland, then slotted into 6:30s for the remainder. Felt relatively easy for the most part, but form starting breaking down through the last four or five miles and I had to start working a little harder to keep a steady pace. Probably do this run four weeks out from NOLA with the bike path miles at MP as a final hard long workout. Perfect morning.
PM - 1 mile around Lily Lake above Estes Park with Dana. Cold, windy and snowy.

Total: 106 miles (12,700')

Still not sure how I'm feeling about 5:50 pace for NOLA. I kind of plucked it out of thin air early in the process and have been trying to train around that number to make it happen. If I don't get my fitness there and still decide to go with it, things could get pretty ugly through the last few miles. I'm hoping the weather for the Littleton 10 miler on Jan. 15 will comply and allow me to get an honest read on my fitness as there really is nothing else of any distance on the CO running calendar that I can race before February.

So anyway, I was able to get out and run pretty much what I wanted this week with my mother and father-in-law staying with us. M-in-L will be back for a week early in the new year, so I should be able to keep the momentum going for the most part. Will run either the Resolution 5k Jan. 31, or the New Year's 5k Jan. 1 to get a read on fitness. Hope to take the tail-end of next week a little easier so I can toe the line with somewhat rested legs.

Went over 4k miles on the year on Christmas Day, so the only goal remaining on that front is to out-run GZ who is currently tracking very close to me on the 2010 mileage front.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Week Ending Dec 19

Mon - Noon: 6 miles (500') easy. Valley
PM: 6.5 miles (1,550') easy. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Herrington - Spring Creek - Falls. Set some markers for The Chubster.

Tues - Noon: 6.5 miles (1,500') easy. Southridge - Horestooth - Southridge. Set cairns for Horsetooth section of Chubbapalooza
PM: 14 miles track. 3 miles warm up, then 2x4 mile @ MP with one mile jog between; 2 mile c-d. First four were right where I wanted them to be effort-wise, but had to work for the last two miles on the second set which has me worried and thinking I should be stepping back and looking at maybe 5:55 pace for the marathon. First four went 5:50, 5:47, 5:46, 5:50 (23:13), but lost focus on the second four and my pacing was all over the place: 5:55, 5:46, 5:54, 5:45 (23:20). Not a great workout as far as confidence is concerned, especially after a crappy race at the Xmas Classic on Sunday, but I'm hopeful that things will start to fall into place in January. Ultra training is so much easier - no worrying about pacing and numbers, just go out and run a bunch.

Weds - Noon: 6.5 miles easy (1,200'). Valley - Sawmill - Loggers (O&B to Mill Creek) - Stout - Towers - Swan Johnson. Set more course markings for the Cheekmeister with Rob.
PM: 5.5 miles (1,200') easy. Soderberg - Spring Creek (O&B to Herrington) - Soderberg. Yet more course marking for the Cheeks of Chubbiness.

Thurs - Noon: 4.5 miles (900') easy. Falls Loop. Final cairn creations for The Chub.
PM: 10 miles (1,900'). Towers TT. 31:10. Put in a reasonably hard effort on a cold night. Yet another impressive turn out from the hardy FCTR crew. Twenty on hand in sub-zero conditions. I've been in this medium-hard zone on Towers for a while now. I know what a full-on effort feels like and I just haven't wanted to take myself there in the last couple of months - probably because it hurts so damn much. Maybe when there is light again I'll take a stab at Sam's record, but I don't think anyone will touch it until the spring.

Friday - PM: 7.5 miles (2,000'). Finished the last touches on the Chub markings. Bumped into Rick Hesseck at the TH and ran the route with him. Horsetooth - Soderberg - Audra Culver - Horsetooth - Soderberg - Spring Creek - Horsetooth Falls.

Saturday - el zippo.

Sunday - el zippo grande.

Total: 67 miles

So the weekend didn't happen from a running perspective, but I still came out of it feeling like I'd run a solid 100 miles. Wowzer!

Got to make the most of it while my mother-in-law is in town helping out with Stella and Alistair in order to keep the mo going for NOLA. Had planned a peak-mileage week of 115 or so for this last week, but won't go chasing mileage this week to make up. Will continue with the vague plan I'd had for the rest of the training block, which is to focus more on quality over quantity. Hadn't had a day off of running in 67 days before Saturday, so the forced rest was probably a good thing. Still finding it hard to get out on the roads, but I am at least getting to the track on a weekly basis.

Here's a link to an interview I did with my buddy, and fellow Brit, Terry Chiplin a week or two ago. Terry owns and operates Active at Altitude, a fitness-focused inn at 9,000' up in Estes Park, and he has just started another business, Running Vacations, that looks to have all kinds of promise.

Monday, December 20, 2010

All's Well that Ends Well (and other hackneyed cliches)

So I hope you all had great weekends. Mine, in abbreviated form, went something like this:


5:30pm: Receive phone call that my heavily pregnant wife (37 weeks) has been involved in a car accident on the way home from her last day of work before a planned eight-month maternity leave. She has been rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. I experience a moment of sheer panic, then scoop up Alistair, jump in the car and head for Lafayette, which I think is south of where I am. I figure out the directional details on the way.

6:30pm: Alistair and I arrive at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Lafayette to find Dana safe and sound, but seriously shaken up. All baby vitals, we are told, are as they should be. The wave of emotion is immense. I learn that Dana was rear-ended at high speed on I-25 and that her stomach slammed up against the steering wheel. All manner of thoughts - mainly negative - run through my mind.


12:30am: sent home by on-duty doctor after the decision is made to keep Dana at the hospital for further observation, after being assured and reassured that the measure is purely precautionary. To bed at 2:00am.

6:00am: Get out of bed after a very restless night and get ready to start runners in the 7:00am wave of a 50k running event that has been in the works for months, and which begins and ends at my house.

7:00am: Get call from Dana that the doctor has requested that she stay under observation until 6:00pm because of a three-minute heart deceleration on the baby's chart during the night, meaning the original plan to head down to Lafayette to pick her up after starting the 8:00am runners has been ditched until further notice.

8:30: Cancel my ridiculous plan to get out and run some miles on the Chubby Cheeks course.

10:00: Head out to Arthur's trailhead with Alistair to hang out with Chris Hinds who is manning the back-of-the-pick-up aid station in high spirits. Enjoy a beautiful morning and early afternoon with Alistair and Chris, and random runners as they file through.

1:00pm: Head back to the ranch to greet runners and play host, while trying to maintain a positive attitude and demeanor.

4:30pm: Kick out the stragglers and head back down 287 to Lafayette.

6:00pm: Arrive at the hospital with Alistair to be told that everything is fine, but that Dana needs to stay in for further observation. Sent home. Drive hour back.

8:00pm: Get Alistair in bed, post some pics from the race, then get call from Dana that the doctors have decided to play it safe and induce (three weeks early) ... just as soon as I can get back to the hospital.

9:00-11:00pm. Arrange a sitter for Alistair (thanks Amy), wait for Dana's mom to get in from DIA after having just arrived from Las Vegas. Hot foot it back down to Lafayette.


12:30am. Arrive at hospital. Dana is put on Pitocin drip to begin the process of inducing labor. Crash out on sofa and grab three hours sleep.

9:30am - Amniotic sack is broken and labor begins in earnest.

1:37pm - Dana pushes out a beautiful, healthy baby girl. Tears, hugs and kisses all around. Mother and baby are both in remarkably great shape, and I thank my lucky stars for the great fortune of having such a beautiful family survive what could have been a heart-wrenching Friday. Re-learn the old cliche that nothing in life should be taken for granted.

2:00pm - Describe to my daughter the dramatic view from our hospital window of the Boulder Front Range Skyline.

4:00pm - Kenny and Amy arrive at hospital with Alistair who beams from cheek to cheek when he catches sight of his baby sister, Stella Mae Clark.

So this, of course, is a weekend that I will never forget. Thanks to everyone on Saturday for the positive thoughts and well wishes. I like to think that the positive energy in some way contributed to my family's immense good fortune. I could and maybe should have ducked out of going ahead with Chubby Cheeks on Saturday, and that was certainly my plan as things developed on Friday, but with the way things played out, I was somehow able to host the event as planned (if not run) and then come out the other end on Sunday with the most positive of all possible outcomes.

Destiny, Karma? Yeah, I don't know, I generally don't buy into any religious or metaphysical philosophies and tend to take most things at rational face value. I guess I subscribe mostly to the pool-ball philosophy on life, and consider our presence in this world ... universe ... space, as being massively random. If I had to believe in a god, I think mine would be a Random Number Generator.

The digits were picked in my family's favor this weekend and for that I am most assuredly thankful.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Some Chub Pics

Forty-six starters, 42 official finishers, 4 MIA. More in a day or two (maybe). Some pics (or go here for much better pics from Jeff O and here for pics from Rob):

7:00am wave

8:00am wave

9:00am wave

Dan B heading into 'Arthur's Aid'

Marie & Celeste taking a break at Arthur's Aid

Looking down the valley from Arthur's Aid

Your short-course Top American

Followed closely by Dakota J.

Darcy & Dan post race

Slush takes the costume award


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Week Ending Dec 12

Mon - Noon: 8 miles (1,650') easy. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Sawmill - Loggers - Herrington, Spring Creek, Soderberg - home.
PM: 5 miles easy at Pineridge with Alex M.

Tues - Noon: 6 miles (500') easy. Valley.
PM: 11 miles track w/Sam. 3x2 mile @ marathon pace w/400 jog between. Intervals went 11:40 (5:50), 11:37 (5:48), 11:16 (5:38). Pushed the last mile of the last interval just because, but otherwise these were pretty comfortable. Probably not quite comfortable enough to bang out 26 at that pace, but close. 3 mile w-u, 1.5 c-d.

Weds - Noon: 7.5 miles (1,500') easy w/Terry. Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Towers - Herrington - Spring Creek - Soderberg.
PM: 6 miles (500') easy. Valley.

Thurs - Noon: 8 miles (1,650') tempo'ish. 64:00. My original plan for this run was 10.5 miles out and back to the 3-mile marker on Redstone, w/ the 6 miles on Redstone Canyon Road at tempo, but having watched the wind gust all morning I just couldn't face the thought of battling for a hard effort in the canyon. Instead, I decided to run a more sheltered and hilly trail route in the park at a tempo-like effort with a jog from my house. Managed to get the heart rate up if not necessarily the leg turnover. Will call this one a strength session.
PM: 6.5 miles super easy with FCTR/FCRC for the 'Christmas Lights Run.' A 500' vertical beer mile was plotted and will occur Dec 30 on Towers, in lieu of the regular TT. This is a must-do end of year FCTR event. I love my chances of bringing home the gold. All comers welcome.

Friday Noon: 9 miles (2,000') easy. Soderberg - Horsetooth - Falls - Spring Creek - Stout - Loggers - Carey Springs - Towers - Herrington - Spring Creek - Soderberg. Another gorgeous afternoon for a cruise.
PM: 6.5 easy on Spring Creek bike path.

Saturday AM: 15.5 miles (3,700') easy w/Pete. Horsetooth - Southridge - Audra - Horsetooth North Summit - Horsetooth Rock - Soderberg - Spring Creek - Stout - Herrington - Spring Creek - Mill Creek - Loggers - Carey Springs - Towers - Herrington - Spring creek - Soderberg - home. Ran the Horsetooth section of Chubby w/Pete before heading our separate ways at Loggers/Mill Creek. Set a few cairns and other directionals for Saturday. Trails are currently in great shape and ready for some runnin' action.

Sunday: 11 miles. Ran the Xmas Classic 4 miler in 22:31 (5:27, 5:35, 5:45, 5:44), which was a pretty lackluster 42 seconds slower than two weeks ago at the T-Day race. The course is much slower with hills and tons of turns, but still. Legs had nothing from the get go and my breathing was all over the place. Just one of those days. 4 mile w-u, 3 mile c-d. Race report to come.

Total: 100 miles (11,500')

We've pretty much got things in place for the Chubby Chubster next Saturday. Pete and I did some cairn marking and other things out there yesterday and the trails are in fantastic shape right now; some ice in places higher up, but largely clear. Forecast currently looks good, so it's full steam ahead. I'll get out and make sure all the missable intersections in Horsetooth are flagged this week, and will hopefully be able to recruit someone to get the Lory stuff marked. I still expect at least 50% of runners to get off course, but just so long as people have maps, life will be good.

Not much else going on. Plan to bang out another 100 mile week next week and then back off a bit so that I can take a stab at finally running a respectable (for me) mid 16 min 5k time at the Resolution Run on Dec. 31.

Towers Time Trial this Thursday at 6:00 from Soderberg. Final Towers run of the year has been scheduled (12/30) as an end-of-year celebration, which will involve approximately 600' of vertical gain over one mile, and the consumption of 4 cans of 5%+ fizzy beverage.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Chubster

Pete has a description of the 50k course (with pictures) up at his blog. Feel free to study it carefully and print out for the run. A text-only version of the route goes like this (copy and paste into a text doc, print and bring to race):

1. From Nick's house (look for banner over driveway half a mile up Overhill Drive on right) take Overhill Drive to 38e, left and then quick right into Horsetooth Mountain Park (.7)
2. Take Horsetooth Rock hiking trail (by the facilities) from car park (.4) (1.1)
3. Right on Service Drive to Southridge service drive (.2) (1.3)
4. Left on Southridge to Audra Culver (1.1) (2.4)
5. Left onto Audra Culver trail to Horsetooth Hiking Trail (.7) (3.1)
6. Left onto the rocks at end of Audra. The trail is somewhat undefined up the rocks but re-emerges. Follow to north summit of Horsetooth (scrambling required to get on summit) (.4) (3.5)
7. There may or may not be a trivia question on summit that needs answering for proof of summit tag.
8. Reverse steps past Audra turn-off, following Horsetooth hiking trail (look for 'foot traffic only' signs) down to Soderberg service drive (1.5) (5.0)
9. Left on service drive to Spring Creek trail intersection (3-way) (.5) (5.5)
10. Right on Spring Creek, making a left after .4 to stay on Spring Creek on the left side of the valley to Stout (1.0 total) (6.5)
11. Hard left on Stout up the ridge (1.1) (7.6)
12. Left on Herrington (.2) (7.8)
13. Right on Spring Creek (1.1) (8.9)
14. Cross Towers Road and continue straight on Mill Creek trail, being sure to take a left after 1.8 miles to stay on Mill Creek @ intersection with Loggers (3.0 total) (11.9)
15. Marathon and 50k take a left at the Milk Creek Link intersection (shortly after you enter Lory State Park) to Howard trail (.3) (12.2); JV course takes a right down to south valley (.4). At south valley, JV course heads right, reconnecting with other courses, but water will be available .1 up the trail to the left at Arthur's TH, if needed. Pick up directions from no. 23
16. Left on Howard (2.1) (14.3)
17. Right at Timber for scramble up to Arthurs Rock summit (.2) (14.5).
17.5 Marathon route follows Arthurs Rock Trail down to the Arthurs TH (1.3) from the summit. Pick up directions from no. 23
18. 50k route backtracks from summit and continues on Timber, making a hard right after .8 onto single track. Follow Timber all the way down to picnic area at intersection with West Valley Trail. Water is available from a pump at the Visitors Center 200 meters up the service road (north) from picnic area if needed (4.5 total) (19)
19. Right on West Valley to Well Gulch (.9) (19.9)
20. Right on Well Gulch to Overlook (.4) (20.3)
21. Left on Overlook to Arthurs Rock trail (1.6) (21.9)
22. Left on Arthur's Rock to TH (.3) (22.2). Basic aid (water and potentially a few other bits and pieces) will be available at the TH.
23. Right on South Valley to Nomad. Just before you enter Horsetooth Mtn Park, there is an unmarked trail intersection. Continue to the right/straight to enter Horsetooth Mountain Park(1.5) (23.7).
24. Immediately after entering Horsetooth, take the right fork (Nomad) up the hill to connect with Sawmill which should be followed up the hill to the Loggers intersection (1.1) (24.8).
25. Right on Loggers to Carey Springs (.2) (25)
26. Left on Carey Springs to Towers Road (.5) (25.5)
27. Right on Towers Road to Westridge trail (.9) (26.4)
28. Left on Westridge to Wathen (1.5) (27.9)
29. Left on Wathen to Spring Creek (1.2) (29.1)
30. Right on Spring Creek, being sure to head left at 3-way by the creek to stay on Spring Creek after .4 and then staying straight at .8 towards Horsetooth Falls (.9 total). (30)
31. Left on Falls trail all the way back to the parking lot (1.0) (31)
32. Out of the parking lot, left on 38e, quick right on Overhill back to my driveway and the finish (.7). (31.7)


The 50k route will be approx 32 miles with somewhere in the neighborhood of 7,500' of climbing (yowzer); the 'marathon' looks to be about 25.5 miles with approximately 6,500' of climb; and the junior varsity (or el Chubbo Pequeño) route clocks in at 21.5 miles and 5,500' of vertical gain. Pete has marathon data here.

By popular local demand, we will be doing three separate starts (from my driveway) @ 7:00, 8:00 & 9:00 (12/18). With the three starts and three route choices, hopefully ya'll can figure out the right combination to get you back to the finish (my house) between 2:00 & 3:00 for tall tales, Pearl Izumi giveaways and whatever food, beer and wine you bring to the table.

On the 50k route, I think faster runners will be clocking a time close to 5 hours at a steady effort, which means mid-pack runners will probably be closer to 7 hours (is my guess). Pete (a 19-hour WS finisher) ran a 28-mile version of the course (6,500') at what he described as a slow-to-steady pace in just over 6 hours. I ran the JV version at a similar effort level in just under 4 hours . I know those time examples are somewhat subjective, but it should give you an idea of what to expect in terms of getting it done.

Chubby Cheeks 50k

Map splicing, dicing and arrowing by the multi-talented Mary Boyts.

22.5 mile (JV) topo & elevation profile

Marathon elevation profile minus 1.3 to and from my house (150' down at start, 150' up at end). Google map tracks here.

For 50k profile, insert longer and not quite as steep descent from third climb, followed by one mile of flat, 600' foot climb and descent over 2.5 miles, then pick up from bottom of third descent. Almost complete data is available from Rob's webite.

Expect to get lost, so please print out a map and bring the above directions. There will be light flagging at key intersections indicating a turn. If you reach an intersection without flagging, assume to head straight, but check map to be sure.

Water will be available at 19 miles & 22 miles in the 50k, at 16 miles in the marathon, and at 12.5 for the JV.


No whining, no bitching and no blaming the race director for getting lost.

This is a self-timed race ('group run' if asked by someone in a uniform), please bring a watch.

No performance enhancing drugs (Brownie).

Be extra nice to your heavily pregnant hostess, but feel free to launch volleys of smack talk at your host.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Week Ending Dec 5

Mon - 6 miles (500') easy. Valley trails. Super windy.

Tues - Noon: 4.5 miles easy. Falls loop.
PM: 13 miles track w/Sam. Had to really talk myself into this one, which made getting it done all the sweeter. Target was 4(5x400) @ 5:00 pace (75) w/200 jog between intervals and 400 between sets. (78,77,74,74,75); (75, 74, 73, 74, 74); (75, 74, 74, 74, 75); (74, 75, 75, 75, 75). It was an effort to get up to pace as always, but once I found it I was able to stay there through the workout. It's a mind game with that many intervals, but certainly one worth playing - and not just for the fitness payoff. 4 mile w-u, 1.5 mile c-d. Another one in the books.
Jan: 252 miles (33,700')
Feb: 189 miles (33,500')
March: 488 miles (70,000')
April: 482.5 miles (72,700')
May: 439 miles (79,500')
June: 334 miles (49,000')
July: 279.5 miles (64,400')
August: 302.5 miles (50,100')
September: 237.5 miles (53,200')
October: 301.5 miles (44,600')
November 373 miles (52,900')

2010: 3,682 miles (603,600')
Avg: 335 miles (54,790')
Weds - Noon: 9.5 miles (1,200') easy. Overlook/Valley.
PM: 3.5 miles easy on bike paths before FCRC board meeting.

Thurs - Noon: 6 miles (500') easy. Valley.
PM: 10 miles (1,900') steady. Towers. Warmed up on the valley with 3 miles then Towers steady/hard in 31:03. Given that this felt like a much easier effort than two weeks ago when I went 31:13 on a hard effort, I was pretty surprised to see the low 31 summit. Felt more like a 33 effort. I think I could be hitting some pretty good fitness here.

Fri - Noon: 12 miles (1,500'). Soderberg to Lory Visitor's Center via Overlook on way out. A windy 60 degrees out. Really?
PM: 5 miles steady. Pineridge.

Sat - 26.5 miles (1,100'). 3:06. From Maxwell lot by the stadium ran the Horsetooth Half course and then continued on bike paths to west end of Spring Creek, with an added and somewhat inexplicable detour on North College by Lee Martinez Park. Cruised the hills on Centennial/23 through the first six or seven miles, then tried to up the pace for the last 17 on the flat bike paths. Ran 6:40s and bonked a bit towards the end. Jogged the last two. Had maybe two sips of water and no fuel, so not that surprising. The hard surface worked my legs, and both hamstrings felt like they were ready to cramp almost from the get go. Not a very comfortable run.

Sun - 4.5 miles easy setting up T&H course. Legs felt fine after yesterday's run, which was a pleasant surprise.

Total: 100.5 miles (6,700')

Legs felt good this morning despite the 26.5 pavement miles yesterday. Pretty happy with the week. Some speed, a hard hill workout and a solid long run, plus, of course, the all-important 100 mile week. Now switching the Tuesday track focus from leg turnover to progressively longer marathon/LT paced intervals for the second half of the training cycle.

We had 51 show up for the Tortoise and Hare 10k race this morning, which is a record number for the three years I've been doing it. Had me in a bit of an organizational tizzy, but it pretty much went off without a hitch. It's kind of hard to deal with 51 separate starts in the space of 20 minutes.

Also had 21 runners for Towers on Thursday night, which ain't half bad for a hard night run up a nasty hill in December. I believe there are 50 or so trail runners from Fort Collins descending on Moab in February for the Red Hot 50k. Trail community is thriving in the Fort right now.

Didn't recognize too many names off the WS lottery. Mike Foote was about it, so I'm expecting the field in 2011 to be a little weaker than 2010, but then of course the three guys who beat me this summer are all planning on running and they, clearly, are the guys to beat right now.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Heras Wins

Miguel Heras wins 6:47 (unofficially)
Roes + 4 mins
Mackey + 8 mins
Dakota + 21 mins
Schlarb + 26 mins

Roes in lead at 45.5 miles

Roes leading at Tennessee Valley
Heras +30 seconds
Mackey + 2.5 mins
Dakota ('hurting' but he gave it a shot. Good on ya bud.) +4 mins

Koerner a drop.

6.5 miles to go. Dakota seems to have hit his wall, but went balls out. Gotta love that. Lot of people were talking about Heras pre-race. Obviously an unknown Stateside, but looks to be the real deal, and said to be motoring. That said, Geoff is the best closer in the sport. I do believe we're in for a thrilling finish. Mackey putting up a strong run.

Dakota, Roes top two through 30 miles

Dakota Jones and Geoff Roes 'running easy' and together in front through 30 miles. Mackey 'working' in third + 30secs.

Mackey + 30 secs
Heras +1 min
Schlarb + 3 mins
Lorblanchet +4 mins
Owen +6/7 mins
Skaggs + 7 mins
Euro (Sal)
Zach Miller
Bragg +12 mins
Flaherty ('Mackey took off on the hills,' says Flaherty, who adds that his 'legs are cooked from the downs') + 16 mins
Schmidt + 18 mins
Steidl + 20 mins

Brad Seng runs into tree at mile 20 - bloody nose, but still going.


Anna Frost
Hawker + 3 mins
Semick + 12 mins
Vaught + 16 mins

Mackey, Roes Build Gap

At Mile 20, a pack of three have formed up front, according to a recent call from roving reporter Justin Mock who is live on the scene in heavy rain:

Flaherty (2:26 recent marathon)

Half a minute back, it's:


Two mins after that:

'A bunch of Euro guys in Kilian speed suits,' reports J.Mock
Michael Owen

5 mins after the lead guys:

Steidl ('it's not my day,' he tells Mock)

10 mins:



Anna (minute back)
Kami (5 mins)
Vaught (10 mins)

North Face 50/Western States Live Tracking

Western States lottery today - not sure when exactly. Here's what appears to be transpiring out in San Fran through 9 miles, with a 'huge pack' at 13.1 according to the Twitterverse (throw a blanket over them, 22 within a minute of each other!):


Other notables

Dave James (:7:25)
Andy Skurka (:7:20)
Brett Rivers (:8:09)
Brooks Williams (:8:09)
Ty Draney (:8:24)


Hawker (1:08:27)
Frost (1:08:40)
Zajac (1:10:08)