Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fortnight Ending April 21

Week Ending April 14

Mon - noon: 7.5 miles (1,900') easy. Horsetooth South Summit with the Wesir. First south summit in a while. Down via Slush's Slit.

Tues - PM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls loop.

Weds - Noon: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls loop.

Thurs - PM: 3 miles (700') easy. Mini Falls loop from the parking lot.

Fri - Noon: 3.5 miles (700') easy. Last miles of Lake Sonoma out and back with Burch, Yassine, Jake, Bill, Todd and Cassie. Good to see the last couple of miles of the course to refresh the memory, and hilariously comical to watch Yassine leap over a rattler and hear Cassie scream full force and stop dead in her tracks. I would see (and jump over) another, smaller version the next day on the race course.

Sat - 50.5 miles (10,000') race. Lake Sonoma 50 (6:53, 10th). Race report coming, but kind of blah race, if I'm honest. Legs flat all day.

Sun - AM: 11.5 miles easy with Jake. Same loop as I did after last year's Lake Sonoma with Meghan and Thornley on super scenic rolling roads: vineyards and quaint bridges galore. Kinda creaky to get going and heavy legs for all of the run, but opened up a bit as we found our stride.

Total: 86 miles (15,300')

I was really hoping to run something in the 6:45 range or better at Sonoma, but ended up finding myself in damage-control mode from about mile 20 onwards after a start that was simply too aggressive on a set of pins that felt weirdly off and leaden. Nonetheless, you take the lessons learned (run within yourself early) and move on. Hopefully, I'll get a race report up for Sonoma in the next day or two. Kind of wishing I'd not taken things so easy in the days leading up, as I think the one-week taper thing does more damage than good - I should know better. My general rule of thumb on the taper is that the legs will feel awful the first week, regain some pop on the second week and feel awesome and ready to deliver after the third week. So for me it has to be all (three weeks) or nothing, I guess.

Week Ending April 28

Mon - Off

Tues - 5 miles (1,500') easy. Horsetooth north summit in full-on winter conditions, ski goggles and everything. A burly wind on top and even the start of a cornice with all the driving snow. Complete sock-in and easily the harshest conditions I've faced up there all winter ... er ... spring.

Weds - 5 miles (1,500') easy. Horsetooth north summit in deep, deep snow. Had to plow through waist deep powder to get the summit. Put in some tracks on the summit ridge that would trench out nicely over the next few days.

Thurs - 8 miles (2,200') easy. Falls loop, then Horsetooth north summit. Up with a handful of folks from the FCTR crew. Came down postholing via Audra and took a full on superman fall trying to shortcut in front of Wesir as we stomped the descent. Fun times.

Fri - 10 miles (2,700') slogging. Horsetooth north summit (49) with Wesir, then slogging on Westridge & Spring Creek through still virgin snow to mark a section of the Horsetooth Marathon course. Several days of thaw and freeze had put a couple of really nasty crust layers in the snow, which made for some pretty painful tracks. Almost reneged on my Grim Reaper promise, but Brian guilted me into making the turn for the extra 200' of vertical - an unnecessary in-the-neighborhood turn that I haven't missed since the start of this year's 100-mile cycle.

Sat - 5 miles (1,100') easy. Snuck in a quick 5 on crunchy trails on the Falls loop before Dana took off out of town for the weekend.

Sun - 28 miles (2,500') race. Horsetooth Trail Marathon (2:58, 1st). Decided last minute to jump in on this one for a variety of different reasons, but mainly because I love the Horsetooth Half event and thought it would be cool to celebrate the 40th anniversary by running the inaugural full marathon, which essentially goes from my house to the New Belgium brewery via Horsetooth Mountain. I mean, c'mon. Descending Towers (miles 5-8) my legs were feeling like they did at mile 30 in Lake Sonoma the weekend previously. Needless to say, the final 18 miles were a lesson in slog'baggery.

Total: 61 miles (11,500')

Two weeks then with relatively low mileage and two longer races. Neither race did much to inspire confidence in my overall fitness and durability, but by the same token, the Sonoma race suggests that I'm in similar shape to last year when I felt like I peaked in May, rather than in June for Western States as intended. So with that said, I feel like I am in a decent place with regards to Western States and the Grand Slam, especially if I can get a really solid block of training taken care of in May.

In other news, registration for the sixth annual Bluesky Marathon (Oct 6) and the (new) Black Squirrel Half (Aug 31) have opened up for those interested in a couple of really fun local trail races later in the summer/early fall. Registration discounts are available for those who sign up for both through the Black & Blue Double option. And while Quad Rock is officially sold out, we have had emails from runners that can't make it and are looking to transfer entries, so if you're looking for a late entry into either the 25 mile or 50 mile race then sign up for the wait list and we'll get you transferred over to the start list. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Week Ending April 7

Mon - AM: 8 miles (1,900') easy. Horsetooth north summit via north gap. Tired.

Tues - AM: 10.5 miles intervals. Workout was: mile, 800, 800, mile, 800, 800, 2 mile fartlek (all cemetery, except the two mile, which was City Park route) with 2 - 3 min standing rest between. Mike, Brian and Garcia to work with this morning. Ran pretty much as a pack for the first half and then I tagged onto Garcia's coattails for the rest. This seemed like the first really good morning for running we've had at Jane's all fall/winter/spring, and for whatever reason the running felt really good. First mile as always served as a warm-up, and felt pretty casual, so I was pleased to see a 5:25, then went 2:36, 2:37, 5:15, 2:38, 2:38, 11:13 (5k/marathon effort on the hard/easy). For as comfortable as these reps felt, I was super stoked with this workout. I've kind of been slogging through these intervals all winter a little frustrated with the effort/result, so today felt like a mini breakthrough. I didn't feel like I was overexerting and the numbers came in a little better than they have been. I'm going to call that progress.

In other news, Jane Welzel - who organizes these workouts and the Tuesday Night Track workouts in the summer - was recently inducted into the Colorado Running Hall of Fame. I can't think of a more deserving person in the Fort Collins Running community for this honor. Not only is Jane a five-time Olympic Trials Qualifier ('84-'00) with a 2:33 PR and a former U.S. national champ in the marathon, but she is also a tireless supporter of the local running scene with an enduring passion for the sport that many a former elite would find hard to match. I think it would be fair to say that Jane serves as a huge inspiration to many a runner in Fort Collins, myself included. Very well deserved, Jane. Congrats!

Jane crushing it at the CSU track on a Tuesday Night. Photo pilfered from The Coloradoan. See the Q&A here.
PM: 5 miles (1,100') easy. Falls loop. Tired, but had to push a bit as I was under the gun to get the kids off to activities.

Weds - AM: 8 miles (1,900') easy. Horsetooth north summit via north gap. Killer inversion morning, with Milner's summit just poking up above the clouds and Longs basking in full morning sun high above the cloud base. Lingered on top for a good 10 minutes soaking it in.

Thurs - AM: 10 miles (1,400') hill tempo. Centennial out and back with Mary, Celeste and Ziggy. Back in 31:30 at a good steady effort. Feeling a little tired, though.
PM: 7 miles (1,700') steady. First time back on Towers in a while. Good turnout for the first spring session of the year - probably 25-30 on the hill. Feeling kinda sluggish from the morning session, I started out jogging and eased into a tempo kind of effort by halfway. Ended up running 32:30, which ain't too shabby given the relative effort and heavy legs.

Fri - Noon: 8.5 miles (2,200') easy. Horsetooth north summit (South/Audra/Gap/Wathan) with an out of shape Stefanovic. Good to get back on the hill with Bryan.

Sat - AM: 19.5 miles (5,200') easy
. Quad Rock training run. We got a great day for running and a decent one for hanging out; we did both in great style. Had a good 50 - 60 runners show up for the run, with an impressively big group on the Horsetooth north summit on the first lap. I ran a loop and a half, then tended to all things barbecue. Fun times.

A group heading up in the early stages of the first Horsetooth climb
First Endurance and Pearl Izumi supported the run.
Mary Boyts, an integral part of the Quad Rock team, tries on a pair of PURPLE Trail N1s! All above pics, Shannon Price.
Summit pics. Pilfered from Silke Koester's excellent webpage
Sun - 15 miles easy/steady.
Up early to mark the Tortoise and Hare 12k course, then another 8 miles between 6:30 and 7:00 pace on the bike paths. Last race of the 2012/13 season - been a good one with record attendance. First and second today (actual time) were Karen and Sarah: showing the boys how to get it done. 

Total: 91.5 miles (15,400')

Another week in the books, and it was good one. Despite feeling a little tired and lackluster, the running came easily enough. A good workout on Tuesday, a strong double hill tempo on Thursday (AM/PM), and a fun hilly Saturday morning in Horsetooth has me feeling decently confident that I can post a PR over in California this weekend at the Lake Sonoma 50. Anything faster than last year (6:49) will be considered a success, and overall placement will take care of itself. I'm guessing a 6:50 or better will be needed for a top 10 spot.

If anyone is looking for a place on the Quad Rock 50 start line, we have a couple of people looking to transfer slots, so sign up for the waitlist and you'll get transferred over to the entrant list. In other news, registration for the Bluesky Marathon opens April 15. Pete and I have taken over the management of the event and in celebration of all things Fort Collins trail running, we have decided to DROP the entry fee. We still can't compete with Salida for the state's cheapest marathon, but we're close. A paltry $65 gets you entry if you sign up early. And get this ... we're offering entry into the inaugural Black Squirrel Half Marathon (yes, you read that right) for an additional $34 if you sign up for both at the same time. If my math is correct, that means you get to run the half and full (Black and Blue Double) for under $100. Blimey. We're working on the webpage right now, but Double registration details are available on the Bluesky Website. The date for the BS HM is August 31st and the course is a full outer loop of Lory, heading up Timber and down Howard. Should be a pretty fast course. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Week Ending March 31

Mon - Noon: 7 miles (1,800') easy. Horsetooth north summit. Up South/Audra. A bit chilly out still, but a good trench pretty much the whole way up made for quality snow running. Strong sun meant that the melt was on despite air temps at or below freezing.
PM - 4 miles (800') easy. Quick Falls loop before picking up Alistair from the bus stop.

Tues - AM: 9.5 miles intervals. City Park segments. Workout was: mile (3 hills, slightly long), mile fartlek (1 hill, short), 1,200, 1,200 fartlek, 1,000 fartlek, mile fartlek (3 hill, long) w/standing rest of 3-5 mins between intervals. Good group (Brian, Mike, Ben) to keep the effort honest: 5:36 (5:28), 5:19 (5:25), 3:55 (5:16), 4:01 (5:23), 3:19 (5:20), 5:33 (5:25). Pushed the hard segments of the fartleks as much as possible, mainly by trying to hang on to Ben. Searching for that non-existent leg turnover.
PM: 7.5 miles (1,900') easy. Horsetooth north summit. South/Audra. Started out at a really lethargic effort after the morning workout, but felt good once warmed up. The snow is melting quickly, so good and sloppy out. Got halfway up the north gap before turning back due to ice. Up the standard route.

Weds - Noon: 8 miles (2,400') easy. Horsetooth north summit. Up southridge/Audra, down Wathan/Spring Creek/Falls. Trails are a day or two from being completely clear, but mega sloppy right now, which is always a refreshing change here on the desert Front Range. Up via the north gap, which was almost snow and ice free, then down a slushy Wathan. Took a peek at the falls, but not much action despite the melt. Gorgeous out, felt great and super fluid. Fitness feels good right now.  

Thurs - AM: 12 miles (1,400') hill tempo. Centennial out and back w/Mike, Celeste, Ziggy and Scott. Came back a little harder than planned, but nothing too crazy. Splits coming back were: 7:22, 6:14, 6:30, 5:30, 5:00.
PM: 5 miles (1,100') easy. Felt pretty worked from the morning session, so backed off on heading up the hill in favor of a really easy Falls loop. Trails are now essentially clear and dry.

Fri - PM: 9.5 miles (2,500') easy. After work with Burch. Horsetooth summit via Southridge/Audra, North Gap, then Wathan, Herrington, Stout, Spring Creek, Falls. Trails pretty firm the whole way around. Beautiful late afternoon weather.

Sat - AM: 29.5 miles (7,700') long. Horsetooth Extravaganza. With Lory closed and a long run close to home on the docket, Burch and I decided to see if we could cover as close to every inch of singletrack in the park as possible without too much back and forthing. I think we ran a pretty efficient route to get the job done, but there might be some alternative turns to make the route even more precise. For those who know the trails (and care), route went: Southridge - Audra - South Summit - Rock - Westridge - Towers - Spring Creek - Wathan - Rock - North summit - Rock Trail - Soderberg - Spring Creek - Stout - Herrington to Spring Creek o&b - Herrington - Towers - Herrington - Loggers - Carey Springs - Towers - Mill Creek - Loggers - Sawmill - Nomad - Towers - Stout (right) - Sawmill - Loggers - Towers - Stout (right) - Spring Creek - Falls - Grim Reaper. Fun morning at a steady effort (4:45) on solid legs. Lots of people out running the trails, which is always great to see.

Sun - AM: 16.5 miles (4,300') easy. Becky Wheeler was down on the Front Range in search of a little dirt, so we got out and ran around Horsetooth for a few hours. Good to see Becky back up and running after she broke her foot last year at Collegiate Peaks. Some titanium and a few screws, and she seems to be back on the road to fitness. Becky will be among the favorites in the strong women's field at Quad Rock next month. Others to look out for will be returning champ Jenny Pierce, last year's runner up (and local legend) Steph Lynn, Anita Ortiz, Kerrie Bruxvoort, Meredith Terranova, Alyssa Wildeboer, and (The) Kristel Liddle, among many others.

PM: 4 miles (1,100') hiking with Alistair and the neighborhood kids to top Milner Mountain - upon which we live - and back, from home after a beer - maybe two - too many at our Easter party. Sch'wacked from the spring on Hilltop. Fun outing.

January: 345.5 miles (51,900)
February: 309 (47,900')
March: 438.5 (68,800') 

Total: 1,093 (168,600') 
Ave: 364.5 (56,200')
2013 Summits
Horsetooth (7,255') (39)
Arthurs Rock (6,780') (2)
Turtlehead (6,324')
Maderas Volcano (4,573')

Total: 114.5 miles (25,000')

This ended up as a pretty solid week: couple of quality workouts, biggest mileage week of the year, heavy vertical, big long run - pretty much ticked all the boxes. Probably go by feel a bit for the next couple of weeks as I try to ride that line between onward progress towards summer goals and the desire to find a bit of freshness for Lake Sonoma on April 13. But essentially plan to run through Sonoma and keep the eyes on the prize.

What else? Got down into the lower valley section of Horsetooth a couple of times this weekend to take a look at the southern part of the burn area, and while it all looks very barren without the long, dry grass, it was super encouraging to see regrowth already poking through. Give it another couple of weeks and I'm guessing it will be hard to tell from afar that there was even a fire down there. Very little burn in the trees, which is fantastic.

Quad Rock is now full in both the 25 and 50 mile races, but we do have a waitlist and I'm sure spots will turn over through April given our refund policy, so get on that if you want to run. The QR training run is set for this Saturday and is open to everyone, registered runner or not. We've had to move it from Lory to Horsetooth due to continued trail closures in Lory, but same idea: get together with a bunch of trail runner folk, run for a few hours, kick back, eat some food, drink a beer or two, shoot the breeze, take the new PI E:Motions for a test ride if you want, go home. We'll meet at the main Horsetooth lot at 8:30 and do a 13 mile loop on the Horsetooth section of the course and then reverse for 26 (or just stick at 13). All abilities/paces welcome and likely to find company. More here.