Monday, April 18, 2011

April 16, 2011 – What A Weekend!!

Friday Run - I started off with a Canyon run on Friday morning before work.  The plan was to get up early, drive to the Canyon, run a Rim to River & Back with Jared Scott, and drive to work.. all before 9:30am…

To get this done, I got a really early start.  Jared and I were heading down S.Kaibab a little after sunrise.  A beautiful sight to say the least.  As we made good time down the trail, we came to Cedar Ridge and noticed a lady lying in the middle of the trail covered in a mylar blanket.  We stopped and asked her what was going on.  Apparently, she was heading down and broke her ankle.  At this point, no one was going to get help, so we ran pretty hard back up to the top and Jared called the rangers.

After a few minutes of laying out the situation, Jared hung up the phone.. and behind us stood a ranger.  Now that is service!!!.. I was amazed at how quickly he had shown up.  He told us he would take it from here.. so we began to retrace our steps down S.Kaibab.. Once again, we came upon the lady.  She was AMAZINGLY calm.. maybe she was in shock..??.. but she was unbelievably relaxed and polite. 

After informing her that the Ranger would be there in a matter of minutes, we decided to run to Tonto and back to the Rim as I still had to get to back to work. 

We hammered our way back up the switchbacks making great time.  As we closed in on Cedar Ridge, a chopper was landing to pick up the injured hiker.  Apparently, she had a full blown broken ankle and needed immediate medical attention.  Once the helicopter left, we finished the run.

At the end of our run, we both had a sense of satisfaction that we were able to lend someone a hand when they really needed it. 

Saturday Run – A few weeks ago, I decided that I wasn’t going to race the Zane Grey 50miler.  As such, I offered to pace one of my buddies, Brian Tinder.  A very deep field was scheduled to run, so I was really excited to see him mix it up with some of the Ultra World’s top athletes.

The plan was to hook up with Brian at the mile 33 aid station.  From that point, we would hammer our way through to the finish.

Brian rolled into the aid station a few minutes slower than he had originally expected, but he looked really good.  Spirits were high and I thought he was ready to close the race out strong. 

We were making good time through the first 3miles from the Aid Station… then Brian hunkered over and started making this horrible, deep gut, throw-up sound.. but nothing was coming out.  Brian had a case of the dry-heaves.  The temperature was hovering around 90degrees and it was SUPER dry.  Rut-roh. 

He tried everything.. water, gels, etc.. but nothing seemed to help him, so with about 7miles to go, we went into a full-blown walk just trying to get to the next aid station.  For a while, I tried to be encouraging.. but having been in bad places before, I didn’t want to be annoying, so I just shut my mouth for a while.

Once we started hitting the really exposed areas, we talked our way through it.. Brian was still stopping pretty regularly to dry-heave.. and I am feeling pretty damn worthless.. because there is nothing that I can do, but… be there.

We finally got to mile 43, and Brian decided that was enough.  I know he made the right decision.. Live to fight another day.

My wife & kids were waiting at the finish, so I went ahead and ran the final 7miles, which was actually pretty enjoyable.  It allowed me to reflect a bit on the weekend.. and how rewarding it was.… Not because of the miles covered, but due to the feeling of lending a hand to a lady in need.. and to be with a friend when he needed me.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 14, 2011 - Top 5 Ways To Tell You Are Getting "Serious" About Running

Top 5 Ways to Tell You Are Getting "Serious" About Running...
(#5) You often refer to food as "Fuel".

(#4) When traveling, you are the one person that get's sore, because you are not in the kind of "shape" necessary to sit for hours on end.

(#3) Your shoe collection is on par with Imelda Marcos.

(#2) You're a Man.. and you are obsessed with your weight.

(#1) 90% of your shorts collection consists of shorts that are at least 10in above the knee.

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 9, 2011 – Snow Rules the Weekend in Flag

Well after another solid week of training (+80miles on trails ; 2 Solid Workouts), I am starting to feel really good about the direction of my fitness and my training.  I was hoping to get a Canyon run in this Saturday, but due to the weather and the “threat” of a government shutdown, I decided to stay local.

Between Friday night & Saturday afternoon, Flagstaff got about 12in of snow!!.. so I figured I would break out the snow shoes.. So after shoveling snow for about 1.5hrs, I ended up running up Mars Hill over Lowell Observatory Mesa.. down the back side to the train tressel and back.  It’s about a 10miler including the 1mile to & from my house.. The  fresh powder definitely added some difficulty.  Other than a few cross country ski tracks at the base, I was trail-blazing the whole time. I finished the entire run in 1hr 36min, which I was really happy with considering the conditions. 

We are suppose to have some really nice weather this week, so I am hoping the trails will be clear soon.  Snow is awesome.. but that amount in April is tough to smile about..

Thursday, April 7, 2011

April 07, 2011 - Top 5 Ways To Tell You Are Running A Lot of Trails

Top 5 Ways To Tell You Are Running A Lot of Trails:

#5 - You are sporting at least 1 open wound – Scratch, Blister, or Gash (Bruises count too)

#4 - Your Road Shoes are looking more & more shiny everyday

#3 - You have at least 1 toe-nail that has gone goth (aka, the dreaded Black Nail)

#2 - Your quads have grown such that wearing “skinny” jeans is now impossible.

#1 - Your Ankles are covered in “Perma-Dirt”.  The kind of grime you need a power-washer to remove.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April 02, 2011 – Elden Up Over & Back from Buffalo Park

As I roll out of bed before sunrise… stumble down the stairs.. and hobble my over to my running gear, I am reminded that I have had pretty big week of running.  Probably the best week of training that I have had since last November.  On Monday, I ran a 10miler which included a 10x1min Fartlek on the somewhat technical & hilly Soldier Pass Trail.  Wednesday, I ran a Hill Circuit at Buffalo Park that leaves you sore no matter what shape you are in.. Both workout went VERY well, but now I am wondering if I can pull off the elusive 3 quality workouts / runs in one week.. in a few hours I will know.

Route: The route planned for the day was a very challenging one that I haven’t done in about 18months.  I would start at Buffalo Park run to the Pipeline Trail.  Then hop on the Pipeline Trail, which is quite rolling, to Forces of Nature Trail.  This trail is a rocky, winding single track, which connects me to Fat Man’s Loop.  The footing is about the same on Fat Man’s.  I would then run to Elden Lookout Trail, which takes me to the Summit of Elden.  From the Summit, I will head down Elden Road to the Gate, where I have water & gel waiting for me.  At that point, I turn around.. and do it again in reverse.  All in all, this run includes ~5,500 of climbing and  ~5,500 of descent… and covers about 28miles.  The trails range from super technical to smooth dirt road.  A great mix…. and a tough day of running.

I started my run around 6:40am at Buffalo Park.  As soon as I got going, I had made the decision to run hard early and see how long I could hold on.  I figure this will help prepare me for the Grand Canyon Single Crossing in May, where I hope to employ the same strategy.  I figure that is my best chance at not only getting the record, but squeaking a “victory” over Jared Scott who is an animal on the S.Kaibab climb out of the Canyon.

On this day, I also decided to wear an iPod.  I have NEVER worn one running before, but I estimated that I would be running for 4hrs and I thought it might help keep my mind busy.  In all honesty, I have always been “anti-iPod” when running, but one of my buddies Andrew Lemoncello, a 2008 Olympian wears them on some of his long runs, so I thought.. “hey, if an Olympian puts them on occasionally, why can’t I”… By the end, I had decided that I actually liked it for a change.. I won’t wear it on every run, but it will be nice to mix in occasionally.

Back to the run….

I rocked the 5miles over to Elden Summit Trail in 36:50.  Now it’s time for probably the toughest part of the run.. the Elden Summit climb.. I ended up covering that portion of the run in 36:54.  If not for the all the snow and ice covering the final 400m I would have been several minutes faster..

Now time to run down the road.  Pushing through the Mega-Wind at the top, I cruised the downhill pretty steady and got to the gate in 37:24… and reached the half-way mark in 1:51:10.  That was a lot faster than I expected to run, but since I had put so much effort into the front half, I wondered if I would be able to sustain over the second half.. only one way to find out.. get to runnin’!!

I started my way back up Elden Road and I could definitely feel a little bit of tiredness.  I focused on finding a good groove.. and before I knew it, I was at the top of Elden again.. my time up the road was 48:20… not bad at all.

As I braved the snow and ice.. falling about every 3 to 4 steps… down Elden Lookout, I started thinking I should easily go under 4 hours.. maybe even under 3hr 50min.. just need to keep moving.  I hit Fat Man’s Loop from Elden Lookout in 29:21…

Now the homestretch..

As I am pushing my way over the rocking portions of Fat Man’s, I am starting to feel the accumulation of a tough day.  I keep telling my self.. only 30min.. only 20min.. etc..

I am still hoping to get under 3hrs 50min as I get back of Buffalo Park.  I can see on my watch that it’s going to be close.. with about 300m to go, I begin to really open my stride.. with 200m left, I break into 5k race pace.. with 100m, I go into full-blown, Carl Lewis, open-hand sprint… and finish the day in 3hrs 49min 26 (finally split from Elden Lookout = 40:34)

What a confidence builder!!.. After a rough couple months, I finally feel good about the direction I am headed.. I have another tough week next week.. so I just need to keep consistent.. and listen to my body… and run.

 The Peaks from the top of Elden

Top of the Elden Lookout Trail - Snowy & Gnarly

The view going down Elden Lookout Trail

The view going up Elden Lookout Trail