Thursday, September 4, 2014

End of Summer Update

The summer has rolled on quickly and now that I find myself near its end, I realize how much has happened in such a short amount of time.  And so far, next summer is shaping up to be even busier.

First, as mentioned in the previous post, I finally moved to Boise at the beginning of July.  I came out without knowing when and where I might find employment.  We had money saved up for a potential long-term unemployment, and I spent my first couple of weeks in Boise on the job hunt.  I had a couple of major helping hands, and by the end of the month, I was offered and accepted an archaeologist position with URS.  The next day, we traveled out to Eugene for some Track Town racing!

Elizabeth ran her first marathon, running under her goal time and generally being awesome.  My achilles cooperated just enough for me to gut out a 17:08 5K and a win over a running flapjack.  That brought home the pancakes, so to speak.  Those who beat the flapjack received a "year's supply" of Krusteaz pancake mix or other Krusteaz products.  I'm not sure I would quantify what I received as a year's supply, but it was cheap as free, so I shall not look this gift horse in the mouth.

Another fun fact: before we left Eugene, we grabbed coffee and breakfast burritos and hung out at Spencers Butte, home to the challenge course where Elizabeth used to work as well as some very large trees that she loves.  I decided that was a great time and place to propose.  Thankfully, she said yes.  So yeah, we're getting married next year!

I will eat his brethren for breakfast.
Somewhere in there, we also spent a couple of nights in the Owyhee Mountains southwest of Boise.  We camped outside of an old mining town called Silver City, which we spent some time exploring.

Silver City, ID.

I started with URS at the beginning of August.  I spent a lot of the month on a project in eastern Idaho.  We were based out of Idaho Falls, with a short stay in Lima, MT.  The Centennial Mountains form the border between Montana and Idaho there.  I want to go back and explore.  The country isn't particularly high, but it is rugged and empty of people.

Living in a cabin in and RV park down by the river (Snake River, that is).
Sunset from Lima, MT.
Labor Day weekend, a group of us went backpacking in the White Cloud mountains northwest of Ketchum. Our ultimate goal was bagging Castle Peak, which, at 11,815, is the highest peak in the White Clouds and also the most prominent in the state of Idaho.  The climb involved a steep traverse of a gully that was mostly Class 3 with some Class 4 near the top.  

Castle Peak.
It snowed above 10K feet Saturday night.
Going up.  Photo: Monica Hubbard.

Terrible view.  Photo: Monica Hubbard.
Kim, Noel, Monica, Elizabeth, me, Landon, Katie, and of course, Stanley Dog.  Photo: Monica Hubbard.
Out of the mountains and on to Ketchum for burgers.
And with that, summer seems to be nearing its end.  I have spent a couple of weeks in the office, but I am on my way out to Washington on Sunday for a three week project on the upper Columbia River.  From there, I guess we'll see where things go.

As for running, I have been slowly easing back into it.  I definitely lost some fitness over the last couple of months, but the achilles, while not 100%, is good enough to let me get in a few miles.  I forgot how difficult it is to work running into a fieldwork schedule.  I have to be a little more dedicated to that.

I have scrapped all my racing plans for the rest of the year.  Between the injury and my work schedule, it doesn't make sense to spend money on registrations.  I also have an itch to just be outside.  Running can be part of that, but not all of it.

I will see how I feel in the coming months.  I did recently think that maybe it's time to consider a 100-miler.  It sounds stupid and horrible, but lately the challenge has seemed a little more acceptable.  I wonder if suffering through something like that might finally cure me of this need to compete.  

I'm open to whatever opportunities and challenges come my way.  I'm happy right now.  That's what matters.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I finally did it.  I made the move to Boise.  After spending most of my life as a resident of southeastern Wyoming (lots of bouncing between Cheyenne and Laramie), I am now beginning a new adventure in western Idaho.  While moving to a larger city and searching for employment is somewhat daunting, I have one extremely good reason to be here.  And she is more than reason enough.  What I have experienced over the past two weeks leads me to believe that everything is in its right place and will work out just fine.

Running-wise, things are not great.  It took me several days after Bighorn to feel recovered enough to even attempt running, and that running was short and lackadaisical.  Two Wednesdays ago, I went for a six-miler in Cheyenne.  I felt great, ran quickly and fluidly, and was looking forward to getting to Boise so I could start the next training upswing.  The following day, my last in Wyoming, I stopped at Happy Jack on my way home and forced myself through 40 painful minutes that ended with me unable to move my left heel.  The next day was just as terrible, and just like that, I was a pedestrian once again.  The culprit?  My old nemesis, my left achilles tendon.  What aggravated it, I can't say.  It's just there now.  

I've been on the bike most mornings trying to do something.  Elizabeth and I escaped the sweltering Boise heat this past weekend with an overnight backpacking trip into the Sawtooth Range.  The hiking didn't cause the achilles to flare up too badly, so I ran a short 30 minutes on it this morning.  It wasn't 100 percent on the run, but felt like it loosened up over the duration of the run.  However, my ankle is again feeling inflexible, and with every flex, I can feel the crepitus in there.  So, more stretching, icing, calf raises, and biking for me.  Sigh.

Hopefully the running thing will come around.  That would be a nice piece to add to this wonderful Boise puzzle.

Elizabeth and me ready to get our hike on.
Ragan in front of Mt. Regan.
Helluva sunset at Sawtooth Lake.
Mt. Regan in the morning.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bighorn 50K

After last year's humbling (and demoralizing) experience on the Bighorn 50 mile course, I chose to step down in distance this year and registered for the 50K.  While it should come as no surprise, it truly is astonishing how much easier it is to wrap one's mind around 31 miles as opposed to 50.  My attitude this year regarding preparation and the race itself was much improved.

The key word in that last sentence is preparation.  I did not adequately prepare for last year's race.  This year, I drew up a training plan that began in earnest in April that focused on an increase in threshold training, climbing, and higher mileage weekends to go along with a tempered increase in overall mileage.  Formal workouts were primarily poached from Jack Daniels' marathon training plan, particularly his segmented threshold workouts which I feel mimic trail racing.  Climbing workouts consisted predominately of biweekly forays to Fort Collins to join in on Thursday evening Towers time trials as well as some jaunts up Pilot Hill and, more recently, a return to the Silent Trails course and my old friend, The Bitch (Death Crotch).  All told, I logged around 300 more miles by race day.

Monday morning Chris and I did a quick tune-up workout of 3x1200 at the Central High track.  3:59, 3:52, and 3:44 intervals made me feel like I was heading into the race in a good place.  After a couple of easy days, Chris and I drove north Friday morning, convening with the Frenchs in Sheridan.  The House of Fuller was quiet that evening with Josh, Jeff, and Nate on the 100 mile course with Cassie, Tina, and Jason G. in support.  Unfortunately, none of them would make it past the halfway point.  That was a common theme in the 100 this year.  The rate of attrition was high.

Jeff, Johnna, Chris and I hopped on the bus heading to the 50K start at East Dry Fork early Saturday morning.  It was shaping up to be a beautiful day in the Bighorns, though by the 8 a.m. start, the temperature was already rising.  A warm day was something I was not excited about, but I had my pack with plenty of water and made sure I stayed on top of the electrolyte pills.

On the bus up to Dry Fork.
50K start.
The 50K starts with a climb to the top of East Dry Fork Ridge.  Immediately, my calves tightened up on me.  I walked most of that first climb thinking, "Really?!  It's really going to be one of those days?!"  Jeff passed me and said, "Don't worry, your calves will loosen up once we get to the top of the ridge and it flattens out."  El Jefe was right.  Once we got to the top, the topography mellowed and I was able to open up my stride and get a little rhythm going.  Rhythm is the most important thing when running long distances.

View south from East Dry Fork Ridge.
Heading toward Riley Point.
We came off the ridge at Riley Point with a fairly gnarly descent through a marshy meadow that was hell on the ankles.  I went a little fast down that section and burned a little too much energy.  I just get so excited to descend.   I got into Cow Camp feeling decent.  I tried not to dilly-dally in the aid stations this year.  Of my 11:35 on course in last year's 50M, nearly an hour and half of that was spent sitting at aid stations.

The climb from Cow Camp back into Dry Fork still sucked.  That climb is a little deceptive.  It's not steep, but it is five or six miles of gradual uphill.  And by 10 a.m. it was getting very warm in the bottom.  I rolled into Dry Fork about 2:15 into the adventure.  I changed my wet socks and shoes, but was having some lower stomach cramping that convinced me to chill for a bit.  I spent seven minutes at Dry Fork.  That was too long.

I took it easy coming out of Dry Fork in order to get my stomach settled and hopefully find a rhythm again.  Once on the road going down to Upper Sheep Creek, I found that rhythm and kept it going over The Haul and down into Tongue River Canyon.  My legs were a little trashed by the time I pulled into Lower Sheep Creek.  I topped off my water and started the slog into the heat of the canyon.

Just out of Upper Sheep Creek at the base of The Haul.
Top of The Haul.  The flowers were out in full force.
Beginning the descent into Tongue River canyon.  The finish is about 10 miles away.
Another 50K runner and I traded places for the remainder of the race.  Once through the last aid station and on the road, I opened up and put a gap on him.  I ran well for a couple of miles before my wheels fell off.  The last two miles or so were miserable.  My legs were trashed from the descent and every step was painful.  The other runner caught and passed me with a mile to go, and I didn't have anything to counter.  I jogged it in for the remainder, crossing the line in 5:21:51.  I went into the race wanting to run around five hours, so I was pretty satisfied with the result.  After the race results were tabulated, I finished ninth overall and third in the 30-39 age group.  That was good enough to bring home one of the coveted Bighorn rocks.  It was a nice birthday present to myself.  31 miles for 31 years.  There is a nice symmetry to that.

For the most part, I feel satisfied with the result.  I trained well and raced well.  As with all races, there are things I have reflected on that could have been different.  Or I could have made a different decision here or there.  The main thing I am contemplating is what do I actually need to carry?  I wore my pack this year so I could have all the water and food I needed on me so I wouldn't have to waste time at aid stations.  I was also afraid of the heat, especially after what happened on my last long training run down in Fort Collins.  I scared myself into thinking I needed more than I really did. The pack was too much.  My shoulders were brutally sore after the race, and I could move more efficiently without the added weight.  This ultra thing; it is a continual learning process. 

The southeast Wyoming crew ran well in the 50K.  We placed Chris 3rd, me 9th, Jason R. 10th, Jefe 11th, Nathan 14th, and George 19th, with Johnna bringing home a rock with a 28th overall/3rd in her age group run.  A great run in the Bighorns!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pilot Hill and Weeks Ending June 8 & 15

June 3 - 7M/:55.  Quick post-work run at Happy Jack on my way back over the hill.  Ridge-Headquarters-Summit loop.

June 4 - 7M/:50.  Warm-up to the Central High track where Chris and I did 8x400m with 40sec/100m jog rests.  Hit the quarters in 75, 76, 77, 75, 75, 73, 72, 67.  Felt good to run that 67.  Cool down back home.

June 5 - 6.5M/:50.  Relaxed morning run on the Greenway.

June 6 - 4.5M/:34.  Easy morning run around Western Hills.

June 7 - 19M/2:16.  Pilot Hill 25K.  I started off the quickest I ever have at Pilot Hill.  I usually take the first couple of flat miles easy to build-up for the climb.  Chris took it out with Clarkie on his shoulder, so I tucked in behind Nick and just tried to stay with them.  We had a southeast wind hit us in the face for the first miles which added difficulty.  By the lower aid station, I lost contact with Chris and Nick and decided to settle in for the climb.

2014 Pilot Hill start.
Taking things out.
Hungry Dogs and the boss.
I didn't feel great climbing, but I've felt worse, and I kept Chris and Nick in sight all the way up.  I did make my fastest ascent of Pilot Hill, 1:02:34, which is 1:01 faster than my previous best from last year.  A minute is a good improvement, but I was eyeing my watch hoping I might be closer to the hour mark.

Back down on a beautiful day.
By the time I started down, I had lost sight of the two in front of me.  With Nick and Chris up front battling it out, and me about three minutes behind by that point, I choose to relax on the descent and protect third place.  As I made it back down close to the bottom aid station, fourth place had been steadily gaining on me.  I wasn't feeling chippy at that point, and thought, "dammit, dude, don't make me work too hard to beat you.  Please?"

Thankfully, he didn't.  I did pick things up a little over the last mile to keep a 30 second cushion on fourth place.  My descent of 43:24 was 41 seconds slower than last year, and my finish of 1:45:58, while a course PR, is only 20 seconds faster than last year.  Overall, I am somewhat disappointed in this race.  I thought I would have a little more gas in the tank at the end.  However, this was not the goal race, and while I did begin backing off this week, the taper is for Bighorn, not Pilot Hill.

June 8 - 7M/:59.  Stayed in Laramie Saturday night so I could partake of the Pilot Hill after party (and Jefe's delicious beer).  Stopped at Happy Jack in the morning on my way home.  Sluggish and stiff run on Ridge-Headquarters-Summit loop.

Week: 51M/6:23

June 10 - 5.5M/:49.  Post-work run at Happy Jack.  Felt terrible.  Quick out-and-back on Ridge and Headquarters.

June 11 - 5M/:40.  Easy run on the Greenway.  

June 12 - 9M/1:05.  Met Chris at Central for a 30 minute tempo run down and back on the Greenway.  Kept the cruise control on 6:00/mile pace.

June 13 - 4.5M/:31.  Quick run through Western Hills.  Legs loosened up finally.

June 14 - 11M/1:33.  Conservative Silent Trails loop with Chris.

June 15 - 7M/:55.  Cool morning.  Hit a Ridge-Summit-Secret-Forest-Aspen-Pole Creek loop.  Felt good for parts, not sharp or coordinated going down Secret.

Week: 42M/5:33
YTD: 1070/148:20

This week is easy.  Hay is in the barn for Bighorn.  I'm getting excited.  It will be a great time visiting with friends while running through beautiful mountains on my 31st birthday.

*Photos: Wendy Perkins for High Plains Harriers*

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Week Ending June 1

Mon. May 26 - Left Jackson around 11:30 and spent the afternoon driving back to Cheyenne.  I was going to go for a short run when I got home, but I was starving and three nights of sleeping on the ground left me a little sore.  I chose to eat and chill instead.

Tues. May 27 - 8M in 1:04.  Easy run up at Happy Jack on my way home from work.  Trails are still sloppy in some places but are drying out quickly.  I ran out Ridge Trail to Headquarters/Overlook, out Browns Landing and in on Summit.  I generally despise running in the evening, but I want to start getting on the trails more (running the Greenway everyday is not the best training for 32 miles on mountain trails), and it's very easy to stop at the Jack on my way back over the hill.  Plus, it allows me an extra hour of sleep in the morning, and rest has become a pressing issue lately.  I'm old and tired.

Wed. May 28 - 11M in 1:16.  2M warm-up, then 8x5min at tempo pace with 30 second jog rests in between, 2M cool down.  I felt like I struggled on the last one, but I covered seven miles in the 40min of tempo.  I am satisfied with that. 

Thurs. May 29 - 5.5M in :45.  Quick out-and-back on Ridge/Headquarters/Overlook.  My calves were trashed from the previous day's workout.  Something about the Merrell flats I've been using has a tendency to destroy my calves.  I thought I had been getting used to them, but I guess one week off from using them for a workout or two brought me back to ground zero.

Fri. May 30 - 5M in :39.  Quick and easy morning run on the Greenway.  Calves are still pretty tight.  Lame.

Sat. May 31 - 10.5M in 1:30.  Silent Trails loop in the morning.  My calves were still a little tight, so I took the course conservatively.  The Bitch is still there in all its glory, but the long runs and Towers time-trials are certainly helping my climbing.  I am now mediocre at it.  But still pretty bad.

January: 169 (20:48)
February: 108 (14:32)
March: 200 (31:15)
April: 208 (25:37)
May: 270 (40:19)
Year to Date: 954 (132:31)

Sun. June 1 - 24M in 3:52.  Chris and I once again went south for the last true long run before Bighorn.  We went out Blue Sky, then hopped over the hogback via Rimrock Trail to Coyote Ridge, came back up-and-over, then out to Devil's Backbone and back in on Blue Sky.  

Blue Sky Trail.

Coming up out of Coyote Ridge Natural Area on the Rimrock Trail.

I refuse to participate in anymore of Chris's selfies.

Around the Laughing Horse Loop on the way back, mile 17 or so, I started to overheat badly.  The temperature had risen past 80F during the run, and the 80% humidity, coupled with a stifling lack of air movement (first time in my life I begged for wind), made for a suffocating few miles.  Most of the trails there are completely exposed, so we found one small shady spot on the trail and sat for a second.  I popped some endurolytes and ate the rest of the salty snacks I had.  

Avoiding heat stroke.
I cooled off in the shade for a bit and then hiked a mile or so down the trail to a small stream crossing which was thankfully in the shade of a large cottonwood.  I soaked my hat and shirt in that beautiful cool water and was able to pull it together for the last few miles.  And as is the ritual, Chris and I went directly to the nearest Chipotle for calories in burrito form.

Week's Total: 64M (9:06)
Year to Date: 978 (136:23)

*Photos: Chris Schabron*

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Grand Teton NP and an Easy Week

I did not recover well last week from the mileage I had done the previous weeks.  I'm not really sure why.  I put in 31 miles by last Thursday and then decided some hiking over the weekend was as ambitious as I felt like being.  My run Thursday night along the Canyons trail at Curt Gowdy was particularly blah.  I had nothing in my legs.  And I picked up a couple ticks to boot.  Ticks are the worst.

I took off Friday for a rendezvous with Elizabeth in Grand Teton National Park.  While those mountains, as usual, were stunning, seeing her overshadowed the brilliant peaks.  Every moment with her is amazing.  I am forever gone over her.  Gone over the moon.  Gone head-over-heels.  Gone, man, gone.

Taggart Lake and Grand Teton.

Altar inside the Chapel of the Transfiguration.  I don't hold any specific religious beliefs, but I can understand having a spiritual experience in a place like this.
Sunset at Jenny Lake.

Teewinot and Jenny Lake.
Hidden Falls.
Los osos grises near Jackson Lake.
Teton Range, Wyoming.
I'm putting in a few miles this week and next, including a planned 24-mile run this Sunday.  Pilot Hill is next Saturday, and a warm-up and cool down around the race will give me 20+ for the day.  Then it's taper time for Bighorn.  The hay is in the barn.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Weeks Ending May 11 & May 18

Mon. May 5 - 5 miles in 39 min.  Easy recovery run on the Greenway in Cheyenne.  My foot was a little banged up, but it seems to have worked itself out.

Tues. May 6 - 11 miles in 1:19.  2 mile warm-up, then 6x5 min at tempo pace with 3 min jog rests.  The first one was a little sluggish, but then I got moving.  Covered seven miles during the workout.  2 mile cool down.  The Greenway is a really great place to do tempo workouts.

Wed. May 7 - 9 miles in 1:05.  Recovery run through Western Hills, the Greenway, and around both Lions and Frontier parks.

Thurs. May 8 - AM - 5 miles in 42 min.  Very easy morning run in the prairie east of Laramie.

PM - 9 miles in 1:20.  Went down to FoCo for a Towers session.  2 mile warm-up before hitting the climb.  The lower portion was sloppy with mud, and the rain they had down there all day made for one humid evening.  Made the climb in 36:30 and descent in 27.  Still not climbing it great, but I can tell it's making me stronger on other runs and on less severe climbs.

Fri. May 9 - 5 miles in 40 min.  Easy recovery run.

Sat. May 10 - 20 miles in 3:12.  It was obvious that I had run Towers about 36 hours before.  Chris and I started from Tie City and went out Upper UW, Headquarters, and Browns Landing.  Those trails are still very snowy and what isn't snow is running water and mud.  We took off down Blair Wallis, hit FR 700 toward Twin Mountain, then came around onto the Trudge loop.  We then went back in toward Reynolds Hill on Cowtrail before turning around, climbing up Blair Wallis to the Summit trail head, and back into Tie City.  I was feeling beat this whole run, and the last three miles were a struggle.  But, we got it done.

Sun. May 11 - Woke up to that wonderful blizzard.  Foot of snow.  Chose to stay inside and have a second cup of coffee.

Week's Total: 64 miles (8:57)

Mon. May 12 - 6.5 miles in 52 min.  I got stuck in Cheyenne thanks to the weather and didn't get out until late in the afternoon.  Cold, but the streets had cleared of snow.

Tues. May 13 - 11.5 miles in 1:21.  2 miles warm-up, then 4x10 min tempo segments with 2 min jog rest.  I ended up running around Lions Park since the tunnels of the Greenway were flooded from all the melting snow.  Cold morning, and I had to jump over ice patches on the path.  I felt sluggish, but came to find that I was hitting the tempo segments in ~5:40-5:45 pace.  I'll take that.  

Wed. May 14 - 9 miles in 1:07.  Recovery run around the old 'hood (Monterrey Heights), the golf course, and the new 'hood (Western Hills).  

Thurs. May 15 - 9 miles in 1:02.  2.5 mile warm-up to the Central track.  Then 12x400m with 100m jog (40sec) between.  Ran these between 78-80 seconds, which wasn't as fast as I wanted, but the 20mph wind hampered me a little.  On the cool down, my lower left leg/calf/achilles area was very tender and had me a little concerned.  I've had issues with that spot in the past.  I spent the following couple of days heating, icing, massaging, and stretching the hell out it.

Fri. May 16 - 8 miles in 1:00.  Easy out and back on the Greenway.  Left leg was still sore, but felt better.

Sat. May 17 - 10 miles in 1:14.  Another easy run.  Went down around the Capitol and both parks.  Humid morning, but no wind was unbelievably refreshing.

Sun. May 18 - 20 miles in 2:56.  Chris and I went south to FoCo for some trail fun since Happy Jack is still under snow.  We ran the entirety of Blue Sky down to Devil's Backbone, then came back and added Indian Summer.  I felt leaps and bounds better than I did on last week's long run.  It got warm by the end, and the trails get pretty busy in the late morning.  Chris had an off day and didn't feel as good as I did.  He fell hard around mile 19.  Really hard.  Poor kid had a bad day at the office.  That happens.

Week's Total: 74 miles (9:31)
Year to Date: 869 miles

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Lake Lowell Half-Marathon, End of April, Focus Moving Forward

It has been several weeks now since I raced the Lake Lowell Half, so maybe I should say a thing or two about it.  Lake Lowell is way the hell out in Nampa, and the weather wasn't great.  It was significantly cooler that morning than it had been the rest of the week I was up there, and the wind was howling out in Idaho wine/ag country (or whatever it is they are cultivating out there).  Reminded me of Wyoming wind, which is not a welcome thing ever, let alone on race day.

Now that I am writing this, I realize there is not much to say about this race.  I led from start to finish, fighting the wind on my own every step of the way on the first half of the out-and-back course.  The course was pretty flat and has the potential to be fairly fast on a less windy day.  I settled into a comfortable 6 minute per mile pace and just went with it.  At no point did I feel like I was struggling or working too hard.  Which is good.  That means my threshold fitness is coming around.  That will be beneficial for some ultras this summer and maybe a marathon this fall.

Somewhere around mile 8?
The second half of the race was much easier with a tailwind.  I finished in 1:20:11, which beat second place by just a hair under 10 minutes.  I thought, "Idaho has some faster folks somewhere, right?"  Looking at the results from The Race to Robie Creek, I think I found them.

Bringing home the bacon.

I also get the impression that, while I know there is a strong outdoor and running culture in Boise, it's not on the level of that which exists along the Front Range.  1:20 ain't winning shit in Colorado.  That said, I can't wait to get up there and become a part of it.

While it wasn't the most inspired course, and the weather wasn't great, which can't be helped, it was a well-organized race and they sure gave me a helluva lot of swag for not running all that fast.  My main prize was a free pair of Pearl Izumi shoes.  I went to Shu's Idaho Running to claim my prize in the form of some Trail N1s which I am thoroughly digging thus far. 

I hate to speak of times my feet can't run, but I think on a day with no wind and some fast dudes, I can run a 75, maybe 74-minute half right now.  And something about the half intrigues me.  I think it could potentially be a very good racing distance for me.  A nice combination of endurance and speed.

But, first things first.  Bighorn is looming on the horizon.  I have been stepping up the mileage and incorporating workouts lifted from Jack Daniels.  I am combining one or two of his marathon training workouts a week with Towers every other Thursday and a renewed focus on those pesky long runs on either Saturday or Sunday.  Those runs are, from now on, all on dirt and hopefully include some climbing.  Last week's 15-miler was up and down Pilot Hill.  I may do the same thing this weekend.  Or head south and get into the Quad Rock course.  

I did boycott the last two days because the weather was nothing short of bullshit.  Rain, snow, colder temps, and the wind.  My god, the wind.  I am not running in that anymore.  The result is that my planned 70 mile week just turned into a 50-55 mile week.  That's okay, because I had already gone up the previous two weeks (hitting 60 last week).  I was probably getting ready to make the mistake of trying to go up in mileage three weeks in a row.  I already know from years of experience that I don't handle that well.  So I will go up next week and the following week, in which I am gunning for 80.  I haven't touched 80 in nearly eight years.  After that, it's a matter of maintaining for a week or two before tapering for Bighorn.

Also, I think the gauntlet may be thrown down at Pilot Hill this year.  Chris is in great shape.  He destroyed Towers last week.  I climb like dog doo, but I think another month of miles will put me in a pretty good position.  And there's always the boys from down south.  They are tough as coffin nails on that course.

March 3-9: 42 miles
March 10-16: 45 miles
March 17-23: 42 miles
March 24-30: 52 miles
March 31-April 6: 52 miles
April 7-13: 44 miles
April 14-20: 54 miles
April 21-27: 60 miles

March Miles: 200
April Miles: 208
Year to Date: 684 (as of April 30)

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Running behind as usual.  The past couple of weeks have been busy but productive.  I have been running more, working a lot, and travelling.  And I found some inspiration to re-engage in my academic life.  That finally has a beginning.

March was considerably more productive running-wise than February.  I got 200 miles in for the month and am accumulating a nice mileage base.  I have started throwing in a workout or two every week; focusing on longer, marathon-oriented type threshold work, a form/plyo/short speed workout, hill climbing, and the weekend long run.  

I have been down to Fort Collins twice for a Towers time-trial.  The first one was productive.  I made the ascent in 35 minutes and felt like it got easier as I continued up.  The second one did not go well.  From the start, I knew I did not have anything in my legs.  I forced myself halfway up and then turned around.  I'll give it another go in a couple weeks.  

I am heading up to Boise this coming week for a visit, a job hunt, a show, and a race.  And an anniversary.  From what I've heard, it is actually spring in Boise.  That sounds lovely.

The race I mentioned is the Lake Lowell Half-Marathon.  Elizabeth and I will be heading out to Nampa Sunday morning for what will hopefully be a race of PRs for the E&R household.  It sounds like her training has been going well, and I feel like I am in a better place training-wise than I was for Horsetooth two years ago, which has been my only other half-marathon.  The course is fairly flat and an out-and-back, and Nampa sits at ~2500 feet above sea level.  That should work in my favor.

Elizabeth and I met up in Moab a couple weekends ago for three nights of camping, a couple of beautiful hikes, some semi-successful camp dinners, and a little touristic sightseeing.  I love the canyons.  I love that woman.

Being tourists.
Needles District-Canyonlands NP.  La Sal Range on the horizon.
Confluence of the Green (L) and Colorado (R) Rivers.

Newspaper Rock.
Neck Spring Canyon hike.
Elizabeth enjoys the Island In the Sky view.