Thursday, March 29, 2012

The National- Sorrow

Long day with some depressing music.  I'm digging this band pretty hard right now.  I think a run up in the hills after work is in order.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Summer Adventures-Planning Stages

Continuing on the subject of my previous posts, I've been day-dreaming about mountains non-stop this week.  Naturally, that got me thinking about what I want to do with my weekends in the coming months.  That, and a pretty sweet invitation for an amazing climb has me itching to climb mountains.

However, my desire to kick ass at Big Horn has not waned.  I have about three months to get back into it and get ready.  My next couple of months, therefore, will have to be pretty focused on running, especially since most of my mountaineering plans need to wait until a little later into the summer due to snow. 

Hey Big Horns!  I'm going to run 50 miles through you!
And on the running front, I've changed my race schedule a couple of times in the past weeks, and I plan to do it again.  I have yet to register for the Collegiate Peaks 25M next month down in Buena Vista.  I had wanted to do a progressive race distance build-up to Big Horn, starting with a 25M in April, 50K in May, and then Big Horn in June.  However, I may opt out of Collegiate Peaks because I procrastinated and missed the early registration deadline, and now race entry plus pre-race dinner is over $80.  Also, the course seems to be primarily graded forest roads and two-tracks which aren't the most challenging or inspiring things on which to run.  Maybe I just need to go somewhere (Fruita, Moab, Durango?) and have a weekend camp.  Spend two or three days just camping out and running trails.

I believe I am still planning to get down for the Jemez trail race.  I have been trying to find someone to go down with me, but so far that's been to no avail.  That race is supposed to be pretty brutal, so, in other words, something right up my alley.  That would be my 50K before the 50M at Big Horn.

Oh, hey Caballo Mountain.  I've heard so many stories about you.
June gets busy.  Pilot Hill is the 9th with Big Horn the following weekend.  Then I have a week or so off before heading down to the Grand Canyon for Bret and Janelle's wedding on the 30th.  Lunde, Janoch, and I are trying to get set up to do some camping/hiking/exploring/running in the days before and after the ceremony.  I've never been to the Grand Canyon, so I am really looking forward to that.

Hey, Pilot hill.  I'm going to run up you.  Again.

Yes, please.
After that, things open up a bit.  My friend Elizabeth has invited me on a trip to climb Mt. Rainier some time in July.  I'm really thinking yes to that.  Bone up on my mountaineering skills and see one of the great mountains in North America.  Seriously, why the hell not?

Seriously, why the hell not?!
I have also recently decided that, seeing how there are all these 14ers in Colorado, I probably should start climbing them.  I don't have any big races planned for July or August, so I'm open to some adventuring and such. 

Mount Zirkel Wilderness?  Yes.

Rawahs?  Yes.

Never Summer Range?  Yes.

Of course my beloved Snowy Range.

A Teton adventure? 
September gets busy again with a race pretty much every weekend.  So, I should get my mountain climbing in when I have the chance!

That's it, for now.  I am looking forward to it.  First up, some camping this weekend with Lunde.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

End of Winter Ennui: What's Next?

I've been working on the anxiety thing the past week.  Still not quite right, but I have felt less anxious and more able to breathe the last couple of days.  I just need to relax and focus on getting things done.  Obviously, the running has suffered the past couple of weeks, and I still have that thesis (the one I should have written two years ago) that sure could use my attention.  I am also formulating some plans for racing, adventuring, and just generally being outside.  I am trying to rectify what my life is with what I want my life to be. 

I've felt trapped the past couple of months, and I don't really know why.  That has fed the anxiety.  I am keenly aware that after nearly 29 years on this earth, I still have no clue what it is I want to do.  I'm wondering if I'll ever know.  And what I'm trying to do is get comfortable with maybe never knowing.  Who the hell says you have to lock into one thing and go with it forever? 

I think things changed for me about a month ago when I spent a couple of nights partaking in the Banff Film Festival.  Two nights of films of people pushing the limits, pursuing their dreams, living outside the box of society made me want to ditch my possessions and take off for the hills.  However, as a member of this society, I feel some anxiety and pressure to conform.  I think social media exacerbates this feeling.  With things like Facebook, we are all keenly aware of what the majority of our peers are doing with their lives.  And most of mine are pursuing careers, getting married, buying houses and cars, having children, and then there is me, and I have none of those things.  And what I am attempting to balance within myself is the desire for those things, because that does exist on some level, with the fact that at this point in my life, I truly don't want those those things, nor am I in a position where I feel like I would even be able to have those things.

I want to explore, to make something meaningful out of my life, but I wonder what that could be and if it even really matters.  Perhaps it's merely the pursuit, the journey that's important.  Much too early to be concerned with the destination.  That was pretty damned cliche.

All this was a lead-up to what has been on my mind concerning the kind of running I want to do.  Since the beginning of the year, I have found that I was running in much the same way as I have always run: miles on flat pavement in town with a focus on building some speed.  But why?  I'm not interested in racing on the track or the roads.  What I need is time on my feet in the mountains.  But, I've been thinking that what I want is more than simply trail running.  While absolutely fun, I think my focus does not need to be squarely on running.  I want to climb mountains, boulder, hike, camp, backpack, snow shoe, etc.  I want to get into the woods and do anything, everything.  I want to run and if I see some cool rock formation, I want to climb it.  I want to spend multiple days with a 50-pound pack touring the countryside.  I want to look at peaks on the horizon and then climb them.  I want to set up a base camp and make forays into the wilderness from there.  I want to be outside!

Maybe this is all just a big pipe dream, and we'll see if I actually have the wherewithal to do it, but with this spring weather beginning to roll in, I just have this itch that needs scratched.

And hopefully, by doing some of those things, I can chill the hell out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Guess what I did last week...


I got sick last week (thanks, Trudge!) and didn't run.  Then I got really anxious about things for no reason (and felt like I couldn't breathe).  Then I drove to Boise and hung out with the Knights, attended the NCAA indoor track championships, went to some hot springs with some naked people, ate a bunch of food, then drove back. 

I'm still not in a good mood...

What the hell?

And, surprise, it's warm out (finally!) but the wind is howling. 

I'm just going to bitch about everything...RIGHT NOW!

My parents close on their new house today (in fact, they are doing it as I write this), and they are signing off on an offer on the old place today as well.  Seriously, they put the house on the market on Thursday and they have an acceptable offer in three days.  I didn't think that kind of thing actually happened.  Good for them.

How does this affect me, other than requiring my packing prowess and hulk-like strength to help them move?  I guess at the bottom of it all, I'm a little sad about it.  It's a good move for them.  A newer house in a better location with a heck of a lot more functional and usable space.  This will more than likely be the last house they ever buy.  And it's not like I "grew up" in the old place.  I was 15 when we moved in there.  While we didn't move around as much as other military families, that house was the one we had, by far, been in the longest.  While I have been out of the house for most of those 14 years, I don't was always home.  I guess I'm just a little sad about that.

I'm coming up on my 29th birthday this summer.  I feel like I am terrible at being an adult.  I thought I was making some strides toward being better at it, but my anxiety the last couple of weeks makes me question that.  And seriously, what do I really have to be so anxious about?  I'm such a bad adult that I don't have any real responsibilies outside of work.  I don't have a significant other, or kids, or pets and the only thing I own is Chuck the Truck (which is broken again, awesome).  Which is good, since I'm not particularly well-versed at taking care of myself. 

I can't even write a thesis for pete's sake.  Seriously, it's just another paper.  Just sit down and write it!  I believe I should be intelligent enough to do that.  Though I wonder about that sometimes, too.  Turns out, I may not have the greatest self-confidence in the world.  Or perhaps I simply lack a backbone.

Also received word today of another stark reminder of the helpless mortality we all face.  Jesus man, I really have to wonder why sometimes.

I realize I am being overdramatic.  That's always been most of my problem.  With consideration to the rest of the world, I'll shut up.  I mean, I'm going to complain about what should be, on paper, a pretty worry free life?  How self-absorbed am I?  Welcome to the pity party.

I just need to calm the hell down. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Weeks Ending Feb. 26 & March 4 & THE TRUDGE!

I've been a little on the complacent side the last couple of weeks.  I got some running in, but not nearly as much as I should have.  The end of February/beginning of March is always a rough time in Laramie.  One day, the weather will improve and one may think that winter is turning the corner and spring is coming, only to have the weather turn terrible for days on end, crushing all hopes and spirit.  And as usual, that happened again this year, and as usual, I didn't want to run in that crap.

Things were bad enough this year that we actually postponed the Twin Mountain Trudge.  That, in eight years, has never happened.  The race, which was supposed to happen Feb. 25, was postponed to March 3, and even that almost didn't happen.  It's not that it was even that cold, but we did get a couple of decent snowstorms through the area and our old friend the wind bore down on our heads.  Six inches of fresh snow coupled with 40-60mph winds (we had gusts up to 95mph in the area) creates horrible ground blizzards and ices the roads so bad that I-80 was closed for the better part of two days.

When Alec went up to mark the Trudge course on the 24th, it not only took him nearly 10 hours, but by the time he came back around on the loop, his markings had been blown away and his snowshoe prints blown over.  He also couldn't get his car down the Blair Road and came back to find it drifted in.  He called us and told us no way.  We spent Friday evening calling and emailing folks to tell them not to even try to show up for the race.

So thanks to the wind, we didn't Trudge on the 25th.  I wasn't too heartbroken since I was mentally checked out that week.  Just wasn't into it.  I ran a total of 21 miles on three days that week.  I'm probably being a sissy-la-la, but I don't want to run in 60mph winds.  It's not tough, it's stupid.  Period.

Here's what I did Feb. 20-Feb. 26:

Mon. Feb. 20 - 4 miles in 30 min (7:30 pace).  Slow recovery run on the Greenbelt.  I was pretty sore from running and painting the previous day.

Tues. Feb. 21 - 10 miles in 77 min (7:42 pace).  Tuesday Night Hills.  Seriously not feeling it this night.  Warm-up run to the hospital, then 6xhills in 1:59, 1:54, 1:57, 1:59, 2:00, 2:00.  I took three minute rests.  Cooldown run home.  Very blah.

Wednesday and Thursday we had snow and wind.  I stayed inside.

Fri. Feb. 24 - 6.5 miles in 46 min (7:04 pace).  Friday form workout with El Jefe and Patrick.  2x form drills followed by 5x2 laps in outside lane (360m) with one lap jog rest.  Hit first four in 69 sec with 60 sec on rest laps with the last 2-lapper in 61 sec.  Cooldown run home.

Week's Miles: 21
Running Time: 2:33
Year to Date: 370 (44:47 running time)

Mon. Feb. 27 - 5 miles in 36 min (7:12 pace).  Morning run on the Greenway in Cheyenne before heading back to Laramie.

Tues. Feb. 28 - A.M. 3 miles in 20 min (6:40 pace).  Morning run on the Greenbelt.  A dusting of snow hid some ice under the interstate overpass and nearly took me down.  Some day, I will be able to go an entire run and feel confident in my foot placement.

P.M. - 9 miles in 63 min (7:00 pace).  Tuesday Night Hills.  Once again, it was pretty icy and dicey out.  The wind picked up during the run, which is always so helpful.  Given the weather conditions and a lack of ambition, we decided that only four reps instead of the usual six were in order.  I hit them in 1:53, 1:56, 1:51, and 1:49 with three minute rests.  Cooldown run home.

Wed. Feb. 29 - A.M. 3 miles in 20 min (6:40 pace).  Morning run on the Greenbelt.

Noon - 7 miles in 48 min (6:54 pace).  Lunch run on the Greenbelt in what turned into somewhat decent weather.  I wore shorts and the sun was out, but the wind was again a-blowin'.  Surprise, surprise.

February Miles: 190
Running Time: 22:28

Thurs. March 1 - 5.5 miles in 37 min (6:43 pace).  Ran Greenbelt to Curtis, Curtis to 9th, 9th to Garfield, and Garfield home.  Nice little morning run, even with the single digit temp.

Fri. March 2 - 6 miles in 39 min (6:30 pace).  Friday for work with El Jefe and Patrick.  2x form drills followed by 5x2 laps (360m) with one lap jog rest.  Hit the first for in 69-71 sec and cranked the last one in 57.  Damn, it feels good to open up like that once in awhile.  Cooldown home.

Sat. March 3 - 11 miles in 3:33:04 (19:22 pace).  TWIN MOUNTAIN TRUDGE!  As Patrick mentioned after we postponed two weeks ago, you cannot stop the Trudge, you can only hope to contain/survive it.  While the weather and roads were better a week later, they weren't that much better.  The course still had mid-shin to knee deep snow for the majority of it, and once again, the wind was howling up to 60mph.  What was originally a start list of 50 people was whittled down to 23 thanks to conflicting schedules and Alec's ominous emails.  We all couldn't wait for the start since standing around in the wind was nothing short of frigid.

Starting, with the wind to our backs.

A visual example of the wind.

Unlike in years past, I was actually in shape for this race.  Or at least I was fit aerobically.  I hadn't really done anything in the mountains since the Snowy Range Snowshoe races the beginning of January.  I probably should have.  I actually felt pretty good on the first half of the course.  My only issue was that my pants, once again, kept falling off my ass.  I eventually had to stop and tie them into the waist strap of my bag.  Equipment malfunctions really piss me off.  The very next day, I bought some new snow pants that have both belt loops and cinch straps (since the pants I am now pitching had neither).

I started to fall apart on the Devil's Loop.  I made sure to get some calories down the hatch, and kept sucking down the water.  It was a nice, sunny day up there, even with the wind, and I feel like I was a little less pissed off this year than I have been in past years.  I did curse some here and there, but I was just tired.  My toes got pretty cold on Skeleton Trail, and of course, we turned back into the wind which stung the face with snow and dirt and made running all but impossible.

Starting Devil's Loop.  I was still feeling good at that point.

This picture demonstates my pants falling off my ass.

I just went with it for the most part.  There was no such thing as running, and I just bore down and trudged.  A couple of miles from the finish I cramped really badly, especially in my hamstrings from pulling my legs out of postholes.  I got out into the open for the finish, and fought the wind with what energy I had left.  I did manage to "run" into the finish.  All I wanted at that point was some dry clothes and to get the feeling back in my toes. 

I had originally signed up for the 22-mile double loop, but I declined to continue.  One of that was more than enough.  I climbed into Josh Fuller's little Scamp camper, changed, ate some soup, got my toes warm, and then drank one of the tastiest PBRs I've ever had in my life.

Survivors' Dinner Party at The Library.  So many tasty calories!

*Photos by Wendy Perkins*

Week's Miles: 50
Running Time: 7:56
Year to Date: 420 (52:43 running time)

Gear: Asics Sky Speed (173 miles) Saucony Peregrine (193 miles)

And with that, I am off.  Since the weather appears as though it's actually going to cooperate for once, I am hopping in the truck and heading up to Boise for a few days.  I'm going to stop and camp at City of Rocks on my way up, and then hang out with the Knights, and hopefully do a little spectating at the NCAA indoor championships and even more hopefully, do a little trail running.  Man, I sure could use some trail running.  Winter, BE GONE!