Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 30, 2011 - I'm Back Baby!!.. Kinda... & Tentative 2011 Race Schedule

After 9 days of ZERO activity due to what I am calling the "Death Virus", I finally went out for a run.  I made it a whopping 20min.. and needed a nap afterwards, but it felt good to get out and move my legs.  I am planning on a few more short runs, then hoping to get back after it... The plan is to listen to my body and come back as slowly as necessary... typically coming back slowly is not one of my stong suits, but after going through this, I don’t want to breathe any life back into the “Death Virus”…


The plan is to break the year into 3 parts.  In the Winter / Spring, I plan on focusing on the “Ultra” Distances.  My focus will be on breaking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim record, which currently stands at 6hr 59min 57sec by Dave Mackey of Boulder, CO. 

In the Spring / Summer, I will focus on getting some “wheels” and running some shorter local races.

In Summer / Fall, I will go into full blown Marathon Training.  My hope is that I can recruit a couple partners as running with quality guys will be a huge boost. My focus race will be the Chicago Marathon.  My hope is to go sub2hrs 20min…

After Chicago, I might consider running the North Face 50mile Championships depending on where my mind & health are.

Summary of “Planned Races”
Race Name:                                         Date:
Sedona Marathon                                 February 12th
Mesquite Canyon 50km                        March 12th
GC R2R2R                                          April 1st
Zane Grey 50Miler                               April 16th
GC Single Crossing                              ?? – When Road Opens to NRim         
Gaspin in the Aspen                              June 18th
Snowbowl Hill Climb                            Mid July
½ Marathon – TBD                              Late Aug / Early Sept
Chicago Marathon                                October 9th
North Face 50Mile Champs                 December 3rd

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22, 2011 - SICK.. What a Bummer!

I was really hoping to get in a good 30miler this weekend, but unfortunately I have been fighting a wicked cold for the past few days.  I am SUPER BUMMED.. I haven't been sick in about 18months, so I guess I was due.  Feeling like garbage definitely makes me appreciate "good health".. I think the hardest part has been taking what will be my 3rd Day Off in a row from any excercise.  It's amazing how addicted one can get to running.. both physically & mentally.

Hopefully, this junk will pass soon and I will be back on the trails...

Running Times Article - Grand Canyon R2R2R

The Link below is to a Running Times Online article about Rim to Rim to Rim Record attempts.. They actually included my attempt last year (page 2).. pretty cool..

Sunday, January 16, 2011

January 15, 2011 – Starlight Run in the Grand Canyon

My oldest son had a basketball game in Flag at 11:45am, so it was a VERY early start to the day.  I woke up at 3am and was on the road by 4am.  My plan was to run down S. Kaibab to Cottonwood Campground & back.  That would give me ~31miles and a little over 4hrs of running.

When I got to the Canyon, I quickly grabbed my gear and headed for the trail.  Head-lamp on and stars shining brightly, I started thinking.. “hmmm… with no sunlight for the next hour or so, this is going to be a very tricky run to down S.Kaibab.”  As I headed down, I was navigating the ice, rocky terrain, tight turns, etc with caution.. as such, I was basically hiking / jogging.. there was no way at this pace I would have time to get the full run in.  Once I made that decision, I relaxed and just focused on getting to the bottom safely.  Just shy of the river / bridge, the sun came up, which gave me a jolt of energy.. I ended up getting to the bottom in 1hr 23min - - my slowest time EVER… but I have never ran it in the dark before either.

I quickly made the 7min run over to Phantom, filled up my water bottle and headed back.  On my way back to the bridge, I decided I wanted to focus on pushing the pace on the trail up.  I could still feel Thursday’s Camelback run in my legs, but I figured it would be good to run with some soreness & tiredness in my legs.  I pushed the entire ascent very consistently.  Halfway up, I saw one of my buddies Ace Baty who was running his way to Ribbon Falls.. always good to see a familiar face on the trail especially after such an intense trip down to the river… after a quick chat, it was back to work.. I ended up finishing the ascent in 1:17:48 (1st Half = 37:50; 2nd Half = 39:53) - - My fastest time this year.  Still more than 5min slower than my fastest time last year, but I am still feeling good about steadily improving.. compared to where I was at last year, I am several minutes faster.. so hopefully by Spring I will be running faster.. time will tell..

By the way, I made it to the basketball game with time to spare.. and my son played a GREAT game!!    

My Veiw as I Head to the River

The Sun is Almost Up!!!

Is that the Colorado or Willy Wonka's Chocolate River

January 13, 2011 – Camelback “Mountain”

I was in Phoenix for work, so I decided to run up one of my Phoenix favorites.. Camelback.  There are 2 trails; Cholla & Echo.  Echo = 1.2miles one-way & Cholla = 1.5 miles one way.. each one-way trip includes 1,264ft of elevation change.  The trail ranges from technical to down-right “unrunnable” (for me at least)…

It was a super beautiful day.. 75degrees and clear.  I was able to sport the short-shorts and no shirt, which is a great feeling in January considering that I have been wearing gloves, jacket, and a hat for the past 3months..

As I got started on the Cholla side, I began passing the “multitudes” of winter hikers.  Many of them are sporting Camelbacks, rugged-hiking boots, and an I-Pod… most of them look at me in my skimpy shorts, NB 101’s.. and nothing else… with looks that range from.. “what a dork”.. to.. “that guy is going to hurt himself”.. I am usually too busy drooling from the steep climb.. and focusing on each “technical” step to pay much attention.. The time seem to fly-by and I got to the top in 18min 50sec - - a new record for me.

Then I careful took off down the Echo side… hopping from rock to rock.. Things went pretty smoothly excluding a few runs off trail down some “mystery” washes…My goal for each descent is to “not fall”.. I achieved that goal.. and  I got to the bottom of the Echo trail in 17min 13sec  - - about average.

After a quick drink, I headed back up the Echo trail… I was working pretty hard up each steep section and trying to keep a consistent push during the few flat sections.  Up the final steep climb, I shifted to a power-hike.. cutting the trail and going into full blown boulder-hopping.. huffing & puffing, I got to the top in 19min 25sec - - another new record.

Heading down the first section of Cholla is a bit tricky.. gravel, steep drops, and a “trail” that consists of blue dots on a giant rock face. Once down that, the trail is very runnable, so I put it in cruise and hit the bottom fairly quickly.. 18min flat. 

All together, that was my fastest Up-Over-and-Back on Camelback.. which a positive sign that I am starting to get my “steep legs” back.. just need to keep climbing.  


Monday, January 10, 2011

January 9, 2011 - Mt Elden Run - - COLD!!

My training this Winter has been pretty consistent so far.  Coming off an intense Summer & Fall, my focus has been on having a lack of focus… Meaning, I really want to “just run”… nothing too stressful until mid February.  I have been running about 1hr per day during the week and then doing a good long run on the weekend of at least 3hours.

This weekend, I ran from my house to Mt. Elden Summit.  The total run is about 24miles.  This time of year the terrain can be anywhere from snowy.. to muddy.. to icy.. The first 5miles I ran on snow packed trails full of “foot-holes” and slush.  Considering how rough the terrain was my split for this section was a steady 7min pace. For the next 1.5miles leading to the “Elden Gate”, it was pretty smooth sailing as this is entirely on pavement.  Once I got to the gate, I started to make the 5.5mile 2,395ft ascent up Elden Road.  During the winter this dirt road is typically snow plowed to the summit.  As such, at the bottom it is usually muddy.. and at the top it is usually icy.  This trip was no different.  I made the trip up at a good clip… I got from the gate to the summit in a shade over 50min.  Considering the footing, I was pretty happy.  That’s when things got interesting…..

At the top you run about 1mile to get from the first set of towers to the second.  This is the most exposed and has some of the craziest weather.  When I crested the “lip” coming into the first towers, I was blasted in the face with wind gusts that seemed to be 50mph plus… I figured, “hey, I have come this far, why not finish it up”.. Making the 1mile trip over to the summit, I was pelted with ice in the face and hit a few gusts of wind that I would pick me up and throw me over the side.. pretty crazy.  I made it to the top and quickly turned around and headed back down. I was happy to get past the “lip” and head back down the road, but as I started to head down the road, I noticed that my fingers were in serious pain.  I am sure anyone who does “winter sports” has had this experience and will think I am a wuss, but man, my fingers hurt.  I shook them hoping to get some blood flow… then I was breathing on them.. at one point, they hurt so bad, I considering “taking a leak” on them.. not sure if that is something Bear Grylls would recommend, but they hurt so bad it sounded like a good idea.. Thank goodness this was unnecessary, as the lower I got, the warmer the weather turned.. and I can still say that I have never intentional urinated on my fingers…

The rest of the run was a lot less of dramatic… I was happy that I kept a consistent pace and finished the run in just under 3hrs.

Fuel:    18oz of Water with 1.5 scoops of Perpetuem – consumed over entire run.
            1 Hammer Gel at 2hours   

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January 3, 2011 - First Canyon Trip of 2011

On my first Canyon trip of 2011, I was reflecting on my last trip of 2010.. two weeks before.  To say I was “humbled” might be an understatement.  A few days before the trip, I received a txt from my buddy Jared Scott that he had run the leg from the river to the rim in 68min 30sec… That is SMOKIN’ fast.  With that in mind, I wanted to come back with a strong performance as well… didn’t happen.  Instead, I finished the last couple miles from Cedar Ridge doing the “Death March” all the way to my car.. humbled.

Now in retrospect, it seemed to make sense.. I am coming off of road marathon training, which doesn’t correlate directly to fast canyon running.  This time I had more realistic expectations.. just run the whole time.

I decided to carry my 18oz HandHeld waterbottle filled with 2 Hammer Gels, and 2 more Hammer gels that I would eat at the bottom and the other at “Midway” on the trip back up.  I left my Yak Trax in the car, which turned out to be a mistake…

On the trip to the River, it was VERY snowy & icy.  As one of my training partners, Rob Lloyd, likes to say.. “I looked like Brian Boitano”.. This lasted til Skeleton Point (about Halfway down).. then there was just an inch or so of snow to contend with.. which is no big deal.. My total time to the River was 57:02.. not bad considering the conditions.

After the downhill, I made the quick trip to Phantom to get a refill and quickly headed back to the bridge.  On the trip up, my focus was on running conservative & consistent.  I felt really solid the entire time, but was slowed from Skeleton Point to the top due to the ice and snow.. Regardless, I posted a solid 1:20:38 from the bridge to the Rim..

At the end, I felt the run was great.. and as always, it's awesome to be in the Canyon..
Pre-Run View of the South Rim