Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February 23, 2011 - Sick.. AGAIN!!..

I started feeling a little "off" last night and I was hoping it was nothing a good night's sleep wouldn't cure.. Well, I woke this morning with a 102degree fever and a sore throat.  What a bummer!!.. I went to the Dr and tested negative for Strep & Flu.. so I am hoping this will pass quickly.

With that in mind, I am starting to think I will push out the R2R2R.  This week was suppose to be the start of my intense canyon training, now it looks like I am going to be bed ridden for at least the next few days.. My thought would be to move it to April 8-9 or April 16-17.. My only concern with that is it often starts getting hot around then.. but I am thinking I would rather come in fully prepared than under-trained.

One big negative with moving my run out is that I won't be able to come back and run Zane Grey 50miler on April 17th.. I guess those are the breaks..

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February 21, 2011 - Camelback "Mountain" II

I was down in Phoenix for meetings, so I thought I would give Camelback "Mountain" a go.. I was unsure how smart this would be considering I had so much trouble with my Hip Flexor the last time I ran.. but when I am in Phoenix, I can hear that dang trail calling me.. so I figured I would give it a shot..

After changing quickly into my short shorts and NB 101's, I headed to the Cholla Trail Head. When I got there, I saw the Parade of people hiking that thing.. it was pretty crazy. My first thought was "it's pretty cool that so many people are getting up this thing today".. but my second thought was, "don't count on running too fast".. what can you do.. Just Run...

I wanted to start out pretty mellow to test my hip .. and after about 5min of ducking and dodging people on my up, I had gained enough confidence in it, that I started to push a bit.. Even though I had several stops waiting on slower hikers, etc, I made it to the top in a respectable 18min 57sec. Not too bad.. now I had to traverse the "busier" side.. Echo Canyon.

I decided right off, to just relax and go with the flow of "traffic".. by the time I got about half way down, I was way off pace, but the trail seemed to thin-out, so I pushed the pace between "slow-spots".. When I got to one-third left, I had caught another runner from behind and I don't think he liked it much. He was shaved-headed, super ripped and was now taking the down hill VERY aggressive. As he recklessly jumped and slid down some of the steeper sections, I couldn't help but stay right on his tail.. Over the final 100m, he broke into some kind of stride that resembled a wild animal.. he was hopping down the choppy wash-boards like a gazelle.. That's when I put on the brakes as I knew one misstep and I am going to lose a good portion of my face.. I got to the end in 17min 22sec... My bald headed friended was slumped over and peeking back at me with a subtle smile.. I'll give it to him, I pride myself in running technical downhills fairly well, but this guy just put it on me.. When I turned around to head back up Echo, I looked over my shoulder and saw that my new friend's smile had turn upside down... I guess that was my consolation prize..

The way back up Echo was a lot less dramatic and a lot more painful. Once again, navigating hikers was as much or more difficult than the actual climb. I got back to the peak in 19min 59sec.
On my way down, I took it fairly easy until I got the more runnable sections. At that point, I pushed the pace as much as the traffic would let me. During the Cholla descent, my NB 101s had burst open on both feet (see pics below). In certain sections, my feet would actually hang out the sides.. I have never demolished a shoe like this before. Though I REALLY like the 101's and their predecessor 100's, I only had maybe 20miles of solid runs on these things.. Honestly, I blame the "blowout" on the rough, technical grade of Camelback.

As I hop by people with ripped up shoes, short shorts, and no shirt.. I near the finish. With about 20m to go, I pass a couple of 16-ish year old girls who started giggling as I stride to the finish. Then after I pass them, I hear a LOUD whisper, "Nice Short Shorts".... followed by more giggles. Hey.. at least they noticed.

"Demolished" Shoes - Thankfully RunFlag replaced them Free of Charge!!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

February 19, 2011 – Mt Elden “Beat Down”

As the sun was just coming up, I stepped out the front door greeted by several inches of snow & whipping winds… so why not go run up Mt Elden where the snow is deeper and the wind always blows harder..

After a short drive to the Y (Schultz Rd/Elden Rd), I hopped out and got to running.  The conditions weren’t too bad.. in town the temperature was a fairly warm 31 degrees.. a slushy snow was falling pretty steadily.. and the roads were covered in slush..  I quickly ran to Elden Road gate (which signals the start of the climb), I was surprised that there were no foot prints, tire tracks, and no plows being “warmed-up”.. so it looks like I get to “trail-blaze”.. On the run up, the snow amounts on the road ranged from a 3inches to 10inches.. I felt a bit like Rocky training to fight the Russian in Rocky IV.. except I didn’t have a cool trainer yelling words of encouragement.. I only had the wind throwing snow pellets in my face. 

Once I got to the top, I decided to only go to the first tower.. as it was COLD & WINDY!!!.. Forgot to mention, that I was only wearing shorts.. what was I thinking??.. From the gate, that ~4.5miles took about 50min.  Pretty slow… but considering the conditions, I was pleased that I got that high on the mountain.  The only negative was that I started feeling “tight” in my right hip flexor.  This was probably thanks to doing nearly 50min of “high knees”.. so I stretched a bit hoping it would subside.

After the stretch & taking a few quick pics, I headed back down the mountain.. It seemed like the wind had picked up a notch.  I started having trouble seeing thanks to the icicles forming on my eyebrows and frozen snow on my eye lashes.. Further, my legs were starting to sting.. They began to take on the color of canned beets.  Not a good sign. So in response to the cold, I pushed the pace hard until I got down to a lower / warmer altitude.  It must have been quite a sight seeing me practically sprint down the mountain in shorts, with frozen legs, an ice covered face, and soaking wet.. what a goober!..

The Road Up:

The Road Down:

Once I got 2/3 of the way down, it was noticeably warmer, but the hip flexor issue had really started to become a problem.  I figured I had about 2.5miles to get back to the car and at this point and I was in full-blown “limp mode”.  I slowly crawled back to my car doing the 2inch shuffle. I was feeling SUPER frustrating and Beat Down.  My total time running was a brutal 2hrs. 

As for the hip flexor, I am hoping that with a couple easy runs and lots of stretching, things will straighten out quickly.  I guess time will tell.

For those who have never seen it.. below is the Rocky IV Training Montage.. It was a lot cooler in the '80s

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February 15, 2011 - NPR Segment on Running R2R2R

Recently, the local NPR station did a cool segment on running the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim that will air across the Southwest.  The spot included interviews with Ian Torrence (Ultra Legend), Dave Mackey (Current Record Holder), and myself..

Link to "Running Grand Canyon Ultimate Challenge":

Sunday, February 13, 2011

February 12, 2011 - Sedona Marathon

Well this weekend, I went to Sedona to run the 6th Annual Sedona Marathon.  For those of you who haven’t run in this event, I would highly recommend it.. The organizers do a great job and offer cool prizes.. The course is WICKED tough.. but the scenery is beautiful.  I ran this race last year and had surprisingly good results… Last year, I hadn’t been training much, so I came in with hopes of running around 3hrs.  I ended up winning the race and running it in 2hrs 44min… which was a course record.  Honestly, I was pretty shocked..  This year, I felt like I was in good shape, but no doubt, still recovering from being sick.  This week was my first full week back, so I didn’t know what would happen on race day.

Sedona Marathon Profile.. OUCH!!:

During my warm-up, I felt pretty good.. loose, but I had a good amount of energy. By the time, the race was ready to start, with my adrenaline finally pumping, I started thinking about the course record.  The first mile I ran with one of my running buds, Brian Tinder.  We kept it pretty relaxed and were chatting quite a bit.  Other than a gal sprinting by us in the first 200m.. then 20m later, falling back behind us.. (was she doing wind-sprints???).. we had already put some space between ourselves and the rest of the field.  At mile 2, I started to get the “itch” and decided to pick up the pace… that’s when “course record” started echoing in my mind… so I figured “what the hell”.. I might as well go for it.  I started to push the pace fairly steady.  Despite the difficulty of the course (Hill.. after Hill.. after Hill), I was able to keep my pace between 5:50/mile & 6:05/mile fairly comfortably.  By the time, I hit the dirt road section of the course, I still felt pretty solid and decided to continue the push.. Before I knew it I was at the Half Marathon in just under 1hr 19min… now for the second half of the race…

After the turnaround, I remember hitting negative splits last year and I was already ahead of last year by 4min.. so I am starting to think “sub-2hrs 40min”.. As I worked my way over the next few miles, I started to physically feel the wear-and-tear of the first 13miles.. I had also worked up quite a lead due to my fast start, so my mind started to wonder a bit.  Before I knew it, I was back on the pavement with about 9miles left to go.. still with a chance to break my record, but a sub-2hrs 40min was probably out of reach.. Also, at that point, my body was pretty tired, and I started calculating how fast I would need to run to maintain a lead..

I ended up dragging myself through the rest of the race… each hill feeling longer than the next.. I finished in 2hrs 50min and in 1st Place.  Brian held on for 3rd place and ran 2hrs 59min.. nearly 10min faster than he ran last year!!..

All in all, I was happy with the race.. Hey, a win is a win.  Now, I am looking forward to the next 6 -7 weeks of some intense Grand Canyon training…

Sunday, February 6, 2011

February 6, 2011 – Mt Elden… then Mars Hill

For my first “real” run since being sick, I decided to run Mt. Elden Rd from the Y (Schultz Pass Road / Elden Road – junction) on Saturday, which is about 14miles round trip and almost 2,500ft of elevation change.  I considered heading to the Canyon, but I am still not feeling 100%, so I decided to play it cautious.

I got started around 8am and ran the 1.5mile Road Section to the “Gate” as a warmup in 10min 58sec.  Once I hit the dirt road section I decided to start pushing the pace a bit. I felt good, but my legs were still “heavy” and my body still recovering from my bout with the Death Virus.. all things considered, I felt good.  From the Gate to the Summit is 5.5miles.  The footing was really good for a majority of the run.  There were a few icy sections but a majority of the road was great.  I ended up getting from the Gate to the Summit in 46min 16sec.  A solid time.. My fastest time last Spring was a high 42min.. so I am still trying to get back to that point, but I am pretty happy with the effort and outcome.

After briefly taking in the view, I began to head back down… out of no where, the wind started to really pickup.  Each gust brought with a bit of sting, so I decided to push the pace a little until I got to a lower elevation.  Before I knew it, I was at the gate in a split of 41min 11sec. 

The final paved 1.5miles, I pushed pretty hard and covered this stretch in 8min 45min (5:50/mile pace)… always nice to finish strong.. My total time = 1hr 47min 12sec.. A super-solid run.

On Sunday, I decided to do a recovery run up Mars Hill (500ft of Elevation change in 0.5miles).  The weather was really nice, so I was looking forward to getting out and just running for as long as I felt I could.  Once I got to Mars Hill, I quickly figured out the footing was going to be “slick” at best.. actually, it was like an ice skating rink almost the entire way.. At one point, I did the slipping-sliding.. herky-jerky.. thing where you try to catch yourself, but was unsuccessful.. I ended up sprawled out on the ice face first.. it probably looked hilarious.. I quickly bounced up.. looked around.. and proceeded to “slide” my way back home… With Yak-Trax or Microspikes, this might be runnable.. without some kind of traction aid… better bring a helmet!!..

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February 2, 2011 - Running for Vinny

I recently received an email from a CoWorker, Willy Davison and Family about financial assistance for their son Vinny. He was born very prematurely and thus has had to deal with a lot. In an effort to help Vinny & his parents, I have decided to run the Sedona Marathon on Feb 12th in his honor and use the event as a fund raiser by asking people to make donations via the website they set up (link:

I am posting this on my Blog in hopes that folks reading this will be willing to make a donation. All of the money raised will be used to "relieve financial stresses and to access the resources that will give him & his parents more life". Further, I would encourage you to send this to anyone else that may be interested in contributing to this great cause.

Quote from Willy: "We're not very good at asking for help, but are quickly realizing that Vinny needs us to be his voice in this situation."

Link to place donations