Monday, January 31, 2011

But, it's warm inside...

If it's cold enough to cancel school tomorrow, I figured it was cold enough to run indoors. the treadmill!

Time: 58 minutes
Distance: 7.25 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Inside

Set the machine (my nemesis) at 1.5 percent grade and warmed up with two miles at 8:27, then did four at 7:30 and a final mile at 8:27 (although I did the last quarter mile at 5:27 pace...I was just so ready to be done). Walked for another quarter mile to cool down.

I have not been able to lose myself in treadmill runs, at least in busy gyms with TVs blaring. I tend to have better luck keeping my head in the treadmill game when I do intervals (i.e. mile repeats)...when I have a specific workout plan.  Gotta get on that. May have to give it a whirl tomorrow, if I can convince the kids to hit the pool (and assuming it's not too cold to have the rec center open!).

Spent another 20 minutes doing squats, curls and some shoulder work while standing on the Bosu ball. I reckon not many people use the Bosu. I get a lot of stares when I use it. I like it because the balance work works all the little stabilizing muscles while your pushing weight with the major muscles.

On another front, I've been following the whole Contador doping case. I'm pretty burned out on believing these guys' protestations of innocence (yeah, I believed Floyd Landis for far too long). Setting aside whether or not Contador is innocent, this whole incident should make us all think about what the hell we are putting into our bodies. The fact that any meat has clenbuterol, or any other unnatural substance (calling Taco Bell!), in it once again brings into question our entire food system.

Makes Michael Pollan's overly-simplistic, but appreciatively-memorable, montra even more relevant: "eat food, not too much, mostly plants (and burritos)."

I may have taken a liberty or two with that quote.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Four miles up and down Evergreen Mountain with JP, jP and CP. Nice hike on a cloudy, but warm(ish), day. Kids were solid the whole time. They wanted to climb straight up the mountain, though.  "What's with these switchbacks?"

Check out NY Times story on the Antarctica marathon. Rickey Gates didn't make it to the race...plane from South Pole station cancelled due to weather.  Read what he did instead - here.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mt. Falcon - v1

Early morning group run around the full complement of trails in JeffCo's Mt. Falcon Open Space park.

Time: 2:26
Distance: 14 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Fair
Weather: Brilliant

Rolled into the Mt. Falcon parking lot at 7:02 a.m. and found motley group of runners standing around...waiting. Glad the the Two Minute Rule wasn't in effect, or I would have been running alone most of the morning.

The group, which consisted of me, TG, PG, JY WA and BF started out together, but soon spread out as the Turkey Trot Trail turned upwards. Mt. Falcon starts in a pretty unforgiving fashion, with the steepest climbs in the park appearing within the first three minutes of starting out.

The plan for the day was to run a route known as v1 (version one). Not sure why it's called that, but it works. This was my second time running this route. The first was a humbling experience back in October with Scott J.

We quickly spread out as we each found our warm-up paces. We climbed steadily up to the picnic shelter with TG and BF setting a solid pace. I hit the shelter in 34:30.  I was not feeling pep this morning.

After regrouping, we made quick work of a couple short out-and-backs on the left and right side of the trail before climbing up to near the park's apex and running a series of looping trails to the south and east.

I never found my legs this morning. I think I may have left them on Green Mountain yesterday. Felt this morning like I was suffering pretty much the whole time, save for the final 2.5 mile descent down the Castle Trail.

Beautiful morning with the warm temps. Trail conditions were fair. There was quite a bit of ice on the upper portions of Turkey Trot and on the loop trails towards the east. Still, a great run with a solid group of friends.

Even though I felt sluggish today, I had the most solid week of running since October. The left heel is definitely feeling better, making running much more appealing (and possible). For the last three nights, I've worn a night splint. That seems to be making a significant difference.

Also, on Friday morning I had my first-ever acupuncture treatment. The therapist did a whole mess o' needle insertions in areas on my left calf, aimed at getting all the stuff that's tight in there to let go. The calf muscles seem to be pulling on the heel, leading to all the pain I've been having there. She also did a bunch of work on my right ab to see about easing the muscle tear/discomfort that's been plaguing me in that area. I ended up with a lot of new soreness in my calf, which she told me to expect (and which eased a lot overnight). Not sure yet if it's helping the heel pain or not. I'm going to go back another time or two to let it play out. I'm really keen to get past this seemingly chronic injury. Would be very nice to run pain free. Starting to see some daylight now.

2,878 feet of elevation gain.

Friday, January 28, 2011

What Slides Up, Must Slide Down

Sixty-plus degrees in January? Couldn't ask for better temps for a slippery dash up and down Boulder's Green Mountain

Time: 1:14
Distance: 5.5 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Average
Weather: Amazing

Mid-afternoon run up Green Mountain starting from Baseline, about a quarter mile down from Gregory Canyon. In the spirit of mixing things up a bit, I decided to run up the frontside today. I hadn't been up that route since May of last year.

I left the traction devices in the car figuring I wouldn't need them. Bad call. There still was a lot of slippery, icy sections on the frontside. I recall thinking that after experiencing all the various snow conditions on Green's trails -- grabby powder, ice, frozen snow, slush, icy slush, perfect snowball snow, and so on... -- I have a much deeper appreciation for the urban legend about Inuit peoples having so many words for snow. While it may not be true that the Inuit have over 100 names for snow...there probably are 100 different types of snow conditions on trails this time of year.

Anyway, moderately tough conditions on the ascent. Lots of slick spots in all the wrong places - namely the steep, rocky parts in the dense woods. So, I ended up walking a bunch of sections and carefully hoping from rock island to rock island.  Hit the summit in just over 39 minutes...39:12.

Chatted briefly with a couple of summiteers, tagged the marker and was immediately off down the backside. A fair amount of snow and slick conditions from the four-way down to the ranger cottage. Good conditions from there down. I really enjoyed the rocky technical sections today. Feet and brain were hyper-synched. Felt like I was floating through the tough stuff.  Good feeling.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

There's Nothing There in the Dark...

...that's not there in the light. It's just that you can tell ice from snow much better when the sun's out.

Time: 1:26
Distance: 9.75 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather:  Clear and Cool

Great early evening cruise on a route that offered a little of everything...pavement, dirt shoulders, singletrack, double track, dirt road and paved bike path. Felt really solid this whole run.  Maybe some of the fitness is starting to return.

Ran down Lewis Ridge Road and up through the Hiwan neighborhood before dropping down into Troublesome Gulch for the trail climb up to Bergen Peak Drive. Ran through Bergen Park, past the rec center and into Elk Meadow Open Space.

Darkness was fast approaching, but couldn't will myself away from the Meadow View Trail singletrack. By the time I hit the Too Long Trail intersection, it was pretty much dark. Visibility, though, was decent on the packed snow sections. The white of the snow reflected just enough ambient light to enable me to keep up a respectable pace through these sections. Trouble was, when I hit the dirt sections I was relying on my trail memory to tell me where the rocks were.

Made it through the bulk of the run without incident, with the pace dropping the darker it got. At the bottom of one hill, just after a final pair of switchbacks, I planted my right foot on a patch of ice and had one of those jolt-yourself-awake moments. One second I was jamming along, eyes seemingly half-closed, with Drag the River in my ears, the next second I was wide-eyed and enjoying a rush of adrenaline as I fought to regain my balance.

Yeah, the near slip-and-fall shook me up a bit, but, man, did that brief adrenaline rush feel good.  Jogged the last mile with a huge grin on my face.

Drag the River - from FoCo

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kissing the Sky

An amazing day along the Front Range -- moderate temps, sunshine, brilliant blue sky and no wind. Perfect day to run 1,635 feet uphill.

Time: 1:23
Distance: 8.25 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Brilliant

Two-thirds of the way through the climb up the eastern side of Bergen Peak, just over the crest of a hill that is the climb's steepest section, one is treated with a full-on view of Mt. Evans and its brood of surrounding thirteeners. 

Bergen Peak from Elk Meadow. Photo from early January.
Engulfed in the deepest blue of blue skies, the mountain today looked almost unworldly...too beautiful to be real. But, of course, real it was. Bathed in white and dominating the western skyline, Mt. Evans looms large as the backdrop (and water source) to the Evergreen vicinity.  

Clearly, I was particularly struck today by the peaks to the west. The perfect weather and the stillness on this windless, sunny day seemed to make everything that much more vivid.

The run, too, was sublime. I brought the climbing legs. No fatigue felt on the steady 1,635-foot climb up the Bergen Peak Trail to the intersection with the Summit Trail (43:18 from home). The trail was snow-covered, but the snow was still grabby.  Almost no ice. Good winter running conditions.

Jogged down the Too Long Trail and completed the circle via Meadow View.

Got home exactly on time for my next conference call. The flow was happenin' today.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One On...One Off

Wanted to run hard today, but really just found the running hard.

Time: 55 minutes
Distance: 6.61 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Fair
Weather: Cloudy and cool

Started with a one mile warm up running from the house up the neighborhood access trail to the upper parking lot at Elk Meadow. Jogged up to the Sleepy S junction and started a 5.5 mile series of running one minute hard, then one minute easy.

Tried to keep the effort on the hard ones honest, running a consistent effort up or down whatever the trail terrain. Given the undulating nature of this loop, my paces on the hard minutes were all over the map, from 9:20s to 5:30s. A nice variety.

The first couple of hard ones were haaaaard, particularly with most of the trail snow-covered. After the second one, I considered just jogging the rest of the loop. Kept at it, though.  By the middle of the run things began to feel better and the hard minutes came a bit easier.

After completing the loop, I jogged back down Sleepy S and cut through the woods to pick the kids up at their school, which borders the open space. We walked home together. Nice close to the outing.

Left heel was not happy with today's run. It was pretty sore following the outing, and my left calf also was very tight...probably the result of a changed gait to deal with the soreness.  Soaked my foot in an ice bath in the evening. Feels better.

I'm going to try some acupuncture on the heel on Friday. Interested to see how that goes and whether it helps at all.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Treadmill Blues

Sometimes running without going anywhere can be a welcome change. Other times...not so much.

Time: 1:05
Distance: 7 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Fair
Weather: Indoors

Busy day = post-dinner trip to the rec center's row o' treadmills.

Ran six miles at 1.5 percent grade in 50 minutes. Cooled down with a one-mile powerhike at 14 percent grade.  Was really eager to get this one done.

I was one treadmill over from a LOUD TALKER.  She was chatting away, LOUDLY, with the guy next to her. Despite three treadmills and all the foot-slapping and machine noise that goes with them, plus the fact I was wearing headphones and blasting Slobberbone, I still couldn't drown out her VOICE.  I think she was communicating at some specific sound frequency that can penetrate anything.  She may well have been surreptitiously testing a new CIA vocal weapon on us unsuspecting fitness buffs.

Fortunately, she wrapped it up (completed her experiment?) before I did.

Followed up the run with 20 minutes of weight work, most while standing on a Bosu Ball, and then a few planks.

A rockin' gem from Slobberbone:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rampart Range Road - Up-n-Down

Was in the Springs to drop off my nephew at Colorado College after a long weekend visit up this way. Got in a late afternoon cruise up Rampart Range Road from the Garden of the Gods state park.

Time: 1:31
Distance: 11 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Average
Weather: Clear and cool

After dropping WA off at Colorado College in Colorado Springs on Sunday, I headed west from campus and made my way to the Garden of the Gods state park and parked at the first parking lot I found, which was near the terminus of the 60-mile Rampart Range Road.

Since it already was 4 p.m., I knew my daylight time was, at best, fleeting, so I quickly suited up and set off running up the dirt Forest Service Road.

The plan was to do an out-and-back to get in some decent climbing and a solid tempo effort descent.

The road, which switchbacks moderately up through the foothills, was almost completely snow-free. I ran up about 5 miles to just past a radio tower. Here I saw a couple of orange marking tape pieces tied to some shrubs on the left side of the road. The tape marked the entrance to a sweet-looking bit of singletrack that snaked down, I believe, Williams Canyon.  I think this was part of the Ponderous Posterior 50K course from the previous weekend.

I jogged down the trail about a quarter mile, wishing I had more daylight left to explore. It's funny the feeling I got as I started down the trail. Uplifted. Excited. There's just something about new trails...

But, darkness was threatening, so I ran back up to the road and headed back down. I set the legs on autopilot and ran the 5.5 miles down at a low-to-mid 6s pace. Felt good to run fast, particularly with the aid of gravity. Had to turn on the headlamp for the last half-mile or so.

I'm really eager to explore the trails down that way. Other than the Barr Trail, I haven't had the chance to experienced the Springs-area trail offerings.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Green Mountain Circuit

Late afternoon loop around Boulder's Green Mountain. Trail conditions were much improved from earlier this week.

Time: 1:13
Distance: 5.2 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather:  Clear, breezy and cool

Was feeling pretty perky this afternoon, but was crushed for time. Ran from the mouth of Gregory Canyon to the trailhead. Realized about halfway up that I'd forgotten the Microspikes.  Oh well.  Got to the trail sign and hit the watch.

Ran up via Gregory and Ranger.  An easy 17:25 to the ranger cottage. Had to do a couple hand-over-hand climbs up the slippery, steep rock sections. Other than that, the traction was fine.

The climb up to the four-way was uneventful...just steady jogging, a few short sections of powerhiking through the drifts and a final slippery slog up to the four-way.  From there, it was just the usual dash to the summit.  Hit the split at 43:29.

The winds were howling up top, so I tagged the summit marker and headed down the frontside.  I remember thinking it would be darn-near a miracle if I didn't crash and burn on the traction-less descent.  I slid around a lot, but never went down.  Had a couple of close calls, though.  A fun challenge, to be sure.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Twas a Cold and Blustery Day...

Easy loop through the Soda Creek 'hood, that is if you don't count the freezing 40+ mph wind gusts.

Time: 48 minutes
Distance: 5.44
Effort: Easy
Body: Average
Weather:  Clear, windy and cool

Crammed this one in between work deadlines. Jogged with Steve F. on a mix of dirt and paved roads through the Soda Creek subdivision. Good hills in here, and it's always nice to not have to run on pavement. Just wasn't in the mood to run on snowy trails at Elk Meadow today.

Had to run head-on into some serious winds while cruising west on a couple of roads. Brutal. Snow felt like sand as it pelted us. Temps were pleasant when we were in the sun and out of the wind. Would have been happy to be wearing tights. Legs (and other things) got mighty cold when the wind was blowing.

Evergreen elk heard was grazing in Elk Meadow Open Space this morning. Stopped to snap a couple of pics.  I love it when this many animals hang together in the meadow. Reminds me of the Great Migration of the Serengeti (threatened by a proposed road, by the way).

Evergreen elk heard grazing at the base of Bergen Peak in Elk Meadow Open Space

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mesa - Bear Canyon - Green Mountain

Late afternoon run around this classic Chautauqua-area route. Despite poor trail conditions, a solid run.

Time: 1:45
Distance: 8.39
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Clear and cool

Got a somewhat late start, heading up toward the Mesa Trail from Chautauqua around 3:50 p.m.  The dry dirt/pavement heading up along the Chautauqua meadow was deceiving.  As soon as I hit the Mesa Trail, it was clear that trails conditions were going to be challenging today.

The intermittent mix of fall-on-your-ass ice, dirt and mud certainly made things interesting.  There was not enough ice to warrant wearing traction devices, so I carefully plodded across the slick spots and picked it up on the dirt.

At the mouth of Bear Canyon, I stopped to strap on the Microspikes to navigate the quarter mile of icy steeps. Soon, though, the trail leveled out a bit and the ice was less of a problem, so off came the Microspikes. The rest of the cruise up Bear Canyon was typical, which is to say great. My favorite Boulder trail.

Once at the four-way below the summit of Green Mountain, I hung a right and climbed up to the summit, tagging the marker in 1:08.

With darkness fast approaching, I put the Microspikes back on and jogged down the backside of Green, suffering through the same dirt-ice-dirt conditions. I finally yanked the Microspikes back off a quarter mile or so past the ranger cottage and picked my way down carefully from there.

It was just about dark by the time I got back to the truck at Chautauqua.

Those trail conditions were about as bad as it gets.  Too little snow for tractions, too much ice for carefree running.  Bring on the snow (or a whole lot o' sun)!

Other Stuff:

Good run on Saturday in Breckenridge from our weekend rental condo (with friends from CA). Ran up Boreas Pass Road a couple miles and looped back via Illinois Gulch. Eager to explore that area more.  6.05 miles in 51 minutes.  On Sunday XC skied about 5K on the Breckenridge Nordic Center trails. Only fell once.  Really enjoyed the change of pace. Would love to do a lot more XC skiing.  Kids took skiing/snowboarding lessons on Sunday. The numbers were off for their small-group lesson and they both ended up with private lessons. So cool when things go your way...

Registered Saturday morning for June's San Juan Solstice 50. Race registration was mangled by problems with the IMAthlete site. I can only imagine the frantic morning the RD had trying to straighten that out and deal with all the frustrated runners trying to register. Took about two hours to sort out. Glad I cancelled a morning run and stuck it out.  I really enjoyed running that race last summer. Looking forward to tackling it again. Goal is to go under 10 hours.  Ran it in 10:41 last year.

I'm interested in a few other races, but am reluctant to invest in more until I can pack on some consistent, pain-free miles. Left heel is still harping at me. Right lower ab also is still telling me to take it easy. Can't wait to get past this crap.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Arlington, VA - Steady

A steady, but chilly, run through North Arlington, Virginia on the snowy and icy bike paths, sidewalks and roads, plus a few laps on a local track.

Time:  1:06
Distance: 8.53 miles
Effort:  Moderate
Body:  Fair

Moderate-effort run from my hotel in the Rosslyn 'hood up the Curtiss Trail bike path to Washington & Lee High School.  Was prepared to do a series of mile repeats. Unfortunately, track was covered in a layer of snow and ice. There were a handful of runners making the best of the conditions, so I joined in.

I managed to eek out a mile in 5:51 and an 800m interval in 2:50 before throwing in the towel. It was just too much work with the feet slipping a bit with each foot lift-off and running from lane to lane to try and find the most reasonable amount of traction.

Cruised back to the hotel through the Clarendon and Court House 'hoods, marveling at how much the commercial areas along Wilson Boulevard have been spruced up since I moved away from this town. Everything that was old then is new today. Vibrant restaurant blocks, a Whole Foods Market, tons of new apartment buildings, a fine bike shop, an Apple store...  That said, I miss the funky, hole-in-the-wall hipster bars that used to be the draw.  Most of them have been squeezed out.

Other stuff:

Got an e-mail confirmation from the Wasatch 100 folks that they had received my entry fee check. Next up...February 5th lottery.  I gotta say, this whole lottery thing sucks. I totally get that races have to limit the number of runners...and the number of runners hoping to run many races is growing steadily. It's just frustrating that you have to wait for lottery results to know what you'll be doing next summer. (I is what it is...and there's a lot of reasons why it is what it is.). Plus, for many folks, it means they have to develop contingency plans in the event that their number doesn't come up in lottery X or lottery Y.  For exhibit #1, see Tony's latest post.  I guess there's some solace to be had in the fact that for some races, even the top elite guys have to wait for lottery results with the rest of us.

I'm scratching the Moab Red Hot 50K off my 2011 race schedule. Work travel intervened and forced a change of plans. Plus, with recent injury issues, I haven't done a run of more than 13 miles since November.  That issue, plus a family trip with out-of-town friends next weekend up to Breckenridge, will keep me away from the Ponderous Posterior 50K, as well.  Sigh.

Really eager to watch what this guy does in 2011.

Decent article in Running Times on what new(ish) Boulder resident Scott Jurek is up to.

Another Running Times article...this one on Roes.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

White Ranch...In the Snow

Early a.m. slog through new snow, limited visibility and the eerie silence that comes in those conditions.

Time: 2:01
Distance: 10.45
Effort: Easy
Body: Poor
Weather: Snowing

At 7:15 a.m., JP sat up in bed and said, "Jim, it's 7:15 a.m.!" I had just enough time to utter an expletive before my phone rang. Todd G. was calling, politely inquiring as to where the hell I was.

I was supposed to, at that moment, already be running up the Belcher Hill Trail at JeffCo's White Ranch Open Space with Todd. Instead, I was just leaping out of bed uttering vague apologies about setting my alarm, but failing to turn it on.  After a bit of hemming and hawing, we decided to scrap the morning run, knowing that with the poor road conditions, it would take me too long to make my way down I-70. My company didn't promise enough scintillating conversation to warrant waiting.

Still, I knew (and JP helpfully pointed out) that I would stew the rest of the day on my failure to show up if I didn't quickly haul myself out of bed and get to the trailhead.

So, I grabbed an energy bar, threw on the winter running gear and hopped in the truck for sketchy drive down to Golden and White Ranch.

There were two cars in the lot when I arrived, and two sets of footprints leading off up the Belcher Hill Trail.  I followed the prints, made in the two fresh inches of powder, up to the first trail intersection.  I figured one of the sets of prints had to be Todd's.  The prints went right, so I went left and continued climbing Belcher Hill. I figured, if I was lucky, I would run into Todd somewhere along the way.

Entrance to the Belcher Hill Trail at White Ranch Open Space

I slogged up Belcher to its apex at the upper junction with the Mustang Trail (3.7 miles, 1,738 feet of elevation gain).  This is a solid climb...good distance and lots of vertical. From the top, I descended down to the upper park road, crossed over and continued descending down to the Rawhide Trail intersection. I hung a left here. After about a half-mile on this old ranch road, I saw a runner coming toward me with a familiar gait.

After a quick greeting, Todd and I turned around and followed my footprints back up to the top of Belcher Hill.

We descended via the Mustang Trail, which has got to be one of my all-time favorite trails in the JeffCo park system. It winds over hills, through canyons and across meadows in an area of the park that feels very remote, despite being just a hop, skip and a jump from Highway 93.

We soon were back on the Belcher Hill Trail, winding our way back down to our cars. We encountered a few hikers and another runner on the way down.

As I write this, the snow is still coming down heavy, at least up here in Evergreen. It will be a while before the trails at White Ranch will be runnable again. Glad we got out before the snow got deep...

2,416 feet of elevation gain.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Friday, Saturday...Ouch

A couple decent runs around the home range. Took a hard fall on the Dedisse Trail. I had forgotten what it feels like to hit the deck hard. No mystery now...

Time:  51 minutes
Distance:  5.62 miles
Effort:  Easy
Body:  Poor
Weather: Sunny and warm (for winter)

Easy late afternoon run around the Meadow View Loop in Elk Meadow Open Space. Started via the backyard route. Trail was mostly snow-free. Where there was snow, it was well-packed. No issues at all. Body was not feeling well. The crud was trying to take me down.  Started last night. I decided to run through this one. Doesn't feel like it's going to take hold...more of a glancing blow, I think.

Time:  1:52
Distance: 11.24
Effort:  Easy
Body:  Fair
Weather:  Cloudy and warm (for winter)

Got out mid-afternoon, jogging down the street with my Wasatch 100 payment form and check in an envelope gripped in my right hand. Ran over to the local post office to ensure it was post-marked this weekend. Made the last pick-up by about 45 minutes.  The crud was still threatening to take me down...but I decided to duke it out.

I'll worry about what I've gotten myself into with that race once I hear the lottery results.  The drawing for race participants takes place on Saturday, February 5th.  Fingers crossed. Note:  Sunday is the last day to register for the lottery (GZ!).

From the post office, I jogged over to the Troutdale neighborhood and jumped on a series of social trails and made my way over to the Dedisse Trail, which I followed down to Upper Bear Creek Road. I jogged up the road about a mile and hopped a fence to access a north-facing, snow-covered fire road that climbs steadily up to Alderfer-Three Sisters Open Space.

I after breaking trail in the 3-4 inches of heavy, wet snow for about a mile, I hung a left on the Mountain Muhly Trail, cruised past the old Blair homestead and climbed up to the intersection with the Bearberry Trail. From here, it was an easy jog up a series of big Zs to the intersection with the Sisters Trail. I hung a left, climbed up next to the Three Sisters rock formation, then zipped down to Hidden Fawn, over to the Dedisse Trail and started descending back towards Upper Bear Creek Road.

I was in a total fog after the steep switchbacks on the Dedisse of those moments where you snap out of it and a half-mile has gone by without you noticing.  Unfortunately, the incident that shook me out of my fog was a coordinated attack by a pair of football-sized rocks.

The first rock, the more aggressive of the two, jumped up out of the snow-covered trail and grabbed my right foot, which sent me plummeting toward the ground. Being a deft and dexterous feller, I almost was able to limit the incident to just touching down my hands.  At the last second, though, I realized I was doing to have to gently hit the dirt/snow. That's when the second rock (a nicely-pointed one) sprung into action and moved to the exact spot where my left knee was going to touch down.

As the first rock smirked, my left knee smacked into the second rock and my sunglasses sailed into the snow. The rocks then high-fived each other and lay innocently back down. Meanwhile, I hopped up and quickly assessed the damage.

It hurt. I soon was laying across the trail waiting for the pain to ease.  Once the worst was over, I wiped off the sunglasses and struggled back to my feet. I hobbled the rest of the way down the trail to Upper Bear Creek Road. As I limped along the roadside, I contemplated calling for a lift home, but feared doing so would mean a very tight, sore knee tomorrow.

The day's carnage.

After about a quarter mile, I sucked it up and ran it off...ticking off the last three miles home along the People's Path, which parallels Evergreen Parkway.

It's been a while since I went down like that.  A good reminder that it ain't all fun and games.  Sometimes it's bloody and painful, too.  Actually, now that I think about it, that kinda makes it more fun...

1,663 feet of elevation gain.

Calling the Lottery Gods

...or maybe I should call this post "Oh, Sh**!"

Friday, January 7, 2011


Naturally, the just-past holiday season meant exploring a few new (to me) Colorado microbrew gems. Below is a pic of my fave recent discovery, an IPA from Tommyknocker made with black rice and called Hop Strike. I haven't been a big fan of TK's beer, but this one was damn good.  I think it previously had only been offered on draft and in growlers.

Fave beer of the 2010/2011 holiday season.

Following the last snow, a large bit of the Evergreen elk herd came down from higher elevations to graze in the open areas around Elk Meadow Open Space, other local parks and, of course, local neighborhoods.  This large herd (probably about 60 animals) was in our yard just before the end of the year.

Today, the herd was grazing in the open areas of Bergen Park.  Lots of chirping and a few bugles as I strolled up to take a few snapshots (cue thoughts of camera-touting, know-nothing runner getting mauled by an elk).

Part of large elk heard grazing in Bergen Park in Evergreen.

Kicking Off 2011

Another catch-up post to keep the log up-to-date.  Here's the run-down on the first six days o' 2011.

Saturday, January 1 - 6 miles in 55 minutes. Easy run on the roads of the Hiwan and The Ridge subdivisions with DW. Good to kick off the new year with a chilly run with a good friend.

Sunday, January 2 - 12.23 miles in 2:07.  Breckenridge.  Had to cruise up early to Frisco to pick up my son who stayed overnight with some friends at a condo there. I had planned on running the bike paths around Frisco, but they weren't plowed.  Should have guessed...I guess.

Drove over to Breckenridge and parked at the east end of downtown and started running. I cruised up through the completely empty downtown (it was about 6:30 a.m. and -12 degrees!).  Ended up running up through a couple neighborhoods of condos and mountain houses up towards the ski area. I soon left the dense development behind and ran up Spruce Creek Road. This relatively lightly-travelled road eventually dead-ended at a big snow pile at the Spruce Creek Trailhead on national forest land.

This trailhead accesses Francie's Cabin, one of the Summit Huts Association huts, some great lakes and several 13'ers.  I ran up a well-packed xc ski trail for about 1.5 miles to the intersection with the Wheeler Trail.  I paused for a bit here to take in the amazing views around me (listening all the while to the distant BOOMS from ski area avalanche control work).

I then turned around and ran back to the car. Cold morning!  The hot tub and pool and the Breck rec center that followed was much welcomed!

Monday, January 3 - 8 miles. Treadmill. A busy day meant an evening run on the treadmill at the Buchanan Rec Center. Did two miles at 8:00; 3 miles at 7:00 and three more at 8:00.  Easy.

Wednesday, January 4 - 6.06 miles 1:22.  Green Mountain, Boulder.  First jaunt of the new year up Boulder's Green Mountain. Ran from the Gregory Parking lot. Noted that a car with Alaska plates was getting a ticket just as I was heading up Gregory Canyon.  Temps were perfect. Ran in shorts and a heavy tech shirt. No traction needed on the ups. Ran easy up the backside. Summited in about 44 minutes. Used traction on the descent. Had to take a detour near the intersection with Greenman due to some tree removal work being done by some OSMP workers.

Thursday, January 5 - Had my second PT appointment with Richey Hansen at High Altitude Spine and Sport. More work today on my right hip/adductor/lower ab and left calf/foot. I'm making very good progress. The Active Release Therapy and Graston work he's doing is showing very solid results with me. The raging pain in my left heel is nearly gone...just post-run achiness that goes away overnight - and even that seems to be easing. Lower ab tear/strain/whatever also seems to be getting better. Still too fragile for core work, but I regularly have runs now where I don't think about it. Cautiously optimistic on that.  I highly recommend Richey...very knowledgeable, listens first, knows his sh** and explains everything.

Had plans for another Green Mountain jog, but took PT's advice to give the foot/ab a rest post-treatment. Wasn't an easy decision...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Closing Out 2010

I've been negligent of late in keeping the blog up-to-date. Since this is a training log for me, I am doing a quick dump on the last week or so of running in 2010.

Thursday, December 23rd - 9 miles in 1:24.  Alderfer-Three Sisters.  Starting at the Dedisse Trailhead on Upper Bear Creek Road, I ran the outside loop of A-TS. This route has about 1,300 feet of elevation gain, great scenery and a nice mix of steep, rocky ascents and buttery-smooth, fast singletrack.

Friday, December 24th - 7.28 miles in 1:05. Meadow View Loop - Plus in Elk Meadow Open Space.  Easy cruiser.

Saturday, December 25th - 6.54 miles in 54 minutes. Easy holiday cruise around the basic Meadow View Loop in Elk Meadow Open Space.

Monday, December 27th - 8.62 miles in 1:24. Bergen Peak Upper Loop in Elk Meadow Open Space. 1,700 feet of elevation gain. Felt redeemed after this run as my last time up this route left me spent. Fitness is coming back, slowly. Started from the house and run up to upper parking lot via neighborhood access trail.

Tuesday, December 28th - 7.68 miles in 1:15. Evergreen Mountain and Alderfer-Three Sisters. Starting late (4:11 p.m.) from upper lot, I ran up Evergreen Mountain (took a few pics along the way) and paused at the summit to gaze at the Mt. Evans group to the west.  Full-on, beautiful view of this Front Range sentinel. High-tailed it down via the Evergreen Mountain Trail East, across Douglas Park Road and into Alderfer-Three Sisters. Ran up and over the hump by the Three Sisters rock formation.  Though darkness was upon me, I opted tack on a couple additional miles on the Bearberry Trail because I knew the trail was smooth (not much to trip on) and connected up to a similarly-smooth double-track. Pitch dark by the time I returned to the truck. Perfect. 1,300 feet of elevation gain.

Upper Meadow at Alderfer-Three Sisters - Evergreen Mountain in right-center

Looking west toward the Evans Group from the summit of Evergreen Mountain

Evans Group

Looking down the Summit Trail on Evergreen Mountain

Thursday, December 30th - 12 miles in 1:36. Upper Bear Creek Road. Met up way early with Steve F., Steve G. and Laurie to beat the expected afternoon snow. Ran 6 miles up this relatively flat road at an 8-8:30 pace. Picked it up on the return with 7 minute first mile, three at between 6:15 and 6:30 and an easy 7:30-8 minute mile as a cool-down. Ran the tempo stuff alone due to the need to stop for a bio break (what! doesn't anyone wait anymore?). This was my first attempt at any faster-paced running in a couple of months. Felt pretty good, all things considered. Lower ab was a bit tight, but OK.

Friday, December 31th - 6.05 miles in 1 hour. Meadow View Loop in Elk Meadow Open Space. Ran in fresh snow. There were a handful of footprints running from the upper lot to the junction with the Elk Ridge Trail. After that, I was following just two fresh sets of runner footprints. It twas very cold! I was wearing four layers up top, a pair of tights and a pair of running pants, gloves, a light face mask thing and a hat.