Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013

I love digging into my running data and at the end of the year I spend a lot of time compiling various stats, reflecting on the year and thinking about what I want to accomplish next year.   Here are some of my 2013 Stats:

Total Miles – 2,050 which is about 500 short of last year but on the upside this was the 3rd year in a row over 2k.
Days run – 231, I am kinda disappointed with this one I should be running more often.  Worse is how many Saturday/Sundays I missed over the year. 
Runs beyond 20 miles:  18 the last few years I have been averaging 12 really long runs per year.

03/09/2013 Run Through Time - 26.2 - 4:56:44 (AKA – Snowathlon) 
05/19/2013 Colfax – 26.2 - 3:31:30 
06/02/2013 Deadwood – 26.2 - 3:37:27 
08/18/2013 Pikes Peak – 26.2 - 7:03:03 
08/24/2013 Ram Run – 3.1 -  0:22:13 
09/29/2013 Bear Chase – 52 - 10:00:33 
10/21/2013 Denver – 26.2 - 3:41:19
Marathons:   5 marathons are now the most I have completed in a year. My best was 5 minutes slower than last year.  3 Marathons were Sub 4hrs before this year I only had 3 sub 4hr marathons.
Ultra Marathon: 52 miles in 10 hrs.  Longest run for me, last year my longest race was 31.5
5k: Slowest 5k in years but it was the weekend after a 7hr marathon

Current Streaks (both were in jeopardy this last month)
46 months of 100+ miles

36 months with a long run beyond 15 miles

It’s been a great year and I have really grown as a runner.  I finally feel like a real ultra-marathoner now, 50k just doesn’t seem harder than a marathon.   I surprised myself a few times this year when I had good performances shortly after long races.  I am looking forward to building on this momentum and doing some amazing things in 2014.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weekend out with the Mile High Track Club

Saturday: Ran with the running club. I decided to not run 18 with the guys because I don’t even have a race on my calendar. I ended up doing 10 miles around 8:05 pace with some other people (made some more friends).

Sunday: Today was my return to the trails. It’s been about 2 months or more since my last trail run. Bad news is that soon the trails will be runnable with too much snow on them. Today we ran about 8 miles @ 11:55 pace on slightly snowy trails.

That’s me in the front rockin my shorts in the snow. I think it was in the mid 30’s for the entire run, my hands get cold but my legs are usually fine.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

2013 Denver Rock n’ Roll Marathon

26.2 miles – 3:41:19 (8:27 pace)

Pre Race 
The Denver marathon has been my proving ground for years. Back in 2009 this was where I ran my first marathon in a time of 5:19 that I am still upset about. Every year since I have run either the full or the half, this race is my yearly benchmark to compare the years. I plan on continuing to run this race every year and I sign up for it super early to save money. This year I signed up before I set my goals for the year and that is why I ended up running it 3 weeks after my first 50 mile race. Expectations were low, I told everyone that I would take it easy and run somewhere around 4hrs. 

First 10 miles 1:24:51 (8:29 pace) 
The early miles went perfectly to plan just enjoy the race. I ran what ever felt comfortable, I had my watch but I wasn’t checking times or pace. I have run the half or the full for 5 years in a row now but this was the first time I was soaking in the course, marathon atmosphere and the beautiful fall weather. I read every marathon sign, joked with other runners, jammed to the live music and laughed at all the crazy costumes. I knew I was running about 8:30 pace but I didn’t have a clue what kind of a finish time that would be I only knew that 9:09 was 4hrs, usually I study up on pace times. In the back of my head I only had one concern my feet, which started to hurt around mile 4 or 5. The last few months I have been having foot pain on some of my longer runs and a lot during and after that 50 miler. I am not talking about the bottom of my feet, which were also sore. This is pain feels like is coming from the tops of my feet. I got to see my wife and kids at mile 6 and then again at mile 8. They were eating breakfast in the grass and not ready for me so I went way off course to give them hugs and high fives (not the first time I have gone to them). 

11-20, 10 miles 1:25:12 (8:31 pace) 
Mile 11 was tough because of a short but steep hill. Normally this hill would have been cake but at 8:30 pace it was the first time I felt out of breath in the race. Luckily my parents, brother and niece were at the top of this hill cheering me on. At mile 12 we split off from the half marathon crowd it seemed like for every 10 HM runners 1 runner went down the full marathon route. The race contained 15,000 runners and only about 3,500 were running the marathon. With so few people I was able to relax even more, the fall colors were just amazing. My feet continued to hurt but they never really got any worse than a mild discomfort. Nearing mile 20 realized how easily I had coasted through first part of this race. I saw my training buddy around this time and he was happy to see how well I was doing so close to that 50 miler. He said “Allen you are doing great, go get em’ and finish strong”. I think this is about when I decided I had enough fun and now it was time to race. 

Last 10K, 6.2 miles 51:16 (8:16 pace) 
Running through the park I started passing tons of many people. I had only slightly picked up my pace but at the same time people around me started dropping like flies. A few of the people that I passed chased me down and suddenly I was leading my very own pace group. I was the expert on the course and marathoning. I was asking how people felt and letting them know what was around the next corner. Our group continued to run low 8:20’s for the final few miles passing people like crazy. We lost a few people in our group along the way and near the end we were down 3 strong runners. They kept saying “don’t let us hold you back if you need to go then go”. I told them about my day and my crazy year of races, they were both running their first marathon and very impressed that I was even running this race. I asked them if they felt good and that we should start our kick even though a big hill was right in front of us. We ended up running mile 26 in 7:59 even with the big hill. At the top of the hill we took about 2 minutes to recover before I said “it’s all downhill from here lets go now”. I left the group behind and ran the last .42 miles @ 5:57 pace!!! (.42 mi because I ended up with 26.42 mi). At the finish line I waited for my mini pace group to finish. They both said that because of my kick they also pushed themselves to have awesome finishes. 

Post Race: 
Even with the hard effort over the last 10K I felt great at the finish line and then at home the rest of the day. My foot pain never really got worse or better from about mile 4 mark. Monday at school I didn’t really feel sore except in my back a little. 

This wasn’t the first time I collected runners and formed a pace group in fact it seems to be happing more and more often. I set out to have a fun day and I did just that but even better I helped make some others day a little better. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

2013 Bear Chase

52 miles 10:00:33 (11:33 pace), 3400ft of climbing
15th overall, 3rd in age group

Last year I ran my first ultra-marathon a 50k and although it was a great accomplishment I didn’t feel like I was an ultra-marathoner. This year my #1 goal was to run a 50 mile race and I have been preparing for this race since that 50K (April 2012). Everything that I have done this year has been with this race in mind. I have sacrificed race times in order to turn them into training and build up for this race.

The course was 5 – 10.3 miles laps around a lake near Denver. Each lap had one big climb and some short but steep hills. Because of flooding the course had some extra sections on the bike path traded in for trails that were under water.

Lap 1 – 0 to 10.3 - 1:44:38 (10:03 pace)
The race started before the sun came up it was dark windy and about 45F. I decided to wear my jacket for this first lap. Once the sun came up I was a little warm but it was only a few miles until I was able to ditch the jacket at the finish line. One of my major worries of this race was the creek crossing every lap. When I got to the creek instead of crashing through the water like everyone else I skipped across some rocks and kept my feet dry. During this first lap I stayed calm and took in my normal amount of fluids like any other run. The only slowdown of this lap came from when I needed to stop and use the bathroom (too much coffee). One of the benefits to the multiple loop course was that I didn’t need to carry much. I drank my 20oz bottle of Gatorade and only ate a little at the aid stations.

Lap 2 – 10.4 to 20.7 - 1:56:43 (11:13 pace)
My sister met me at the finish line with a new Gatorade bottle. Again during this lap I only consumed that bottle, 40oz for 20 miles is pretty normal for me. Again at the creek I skipped across the rocks and kept my feet dry. The last rock was over 2 feet from the bank and wondered if I would be able to keep taking the dry route later in the race. My stomach hurt a lot this lap and again I had to stop and use the bathrooms at the top of the climb. I only ate one of my granola bars because they made me feel like I was going to puke. From here on out I relied on aid station food only usually 1 piece of watermelon and a quarter PBJ sandwich. 20 miles when so quick I didn’t really think about the distance.

Lap 3 – 20.8 to 31.1 - 2:02:40 (11:48 pace)
At the finish line I stopped for a few minutes to put on sunscreen and reapply body glide. My sister had another bottle of Gatorade ready but looking at it almost made me puke. Instead I started using the race sports drink, it was almost clear and it had a really light flavor. The temperature was rising and I started to drink more even though it hurt every time, during this lap I finished my bottle off twice. I also kept up eating a piece of watermelon and quarter PBJ sandwich every 3 miles. In the middle of nowhere and unmarked was the marathon split 4:45 not a bad time. I coasted into the finish line relaxed and feeling pretty good except for my stomach. This was the finish of the 50K I ran 5:43 which is about 12 minutes faster than my 50K PR. Only difference is I felt nearly dead that day and today I was ready to run another 20 miles.

Lap 4 – 31.2 to 40.5 - 2:05:27 (12:04 pace)
This was the lap I was worried about, at mile 40 I would have a pacer but first I had to get to mile 40. All of the 50K runners had finished and now it was a lonely road. The runners left running were so spaced out that I didn’t see anyone for the first 4 miles of this lap. My mind was getting loopy and I missed a turn and headed down the wrong path. I turned around mad at myself for adding distance to already long course. I almost fell in the creek while hopping across the rocks but I stayed dry for at least another lap. My fluid intake increased again this lap I was now filling up my bottle every aid station, that’s 3 20oz bottles for this 10 mile lap. My stomach hurt but I knew that in the grand scheme stomach problems was small problem compared to energy issues. It was weird watching the miles click off on my Garmin into unknown territory. My only comfort was that a few weeks ago I had run Pikes Peak in 7hrs. I knew that I could run for 7hrs and on this terrain I could run a lot more miles in that same time. I was taking salt tablets every hour so when it was time for a salt tablet at hour 7 I realized I was just shy of 38 miles. I thought to myself “12 miles that’s nothing”. I got a second wind and picked up the pace. Suddenly I was passing people left and right. I thought that I was moving up in the standings but then I figured out that I was lapping people (but it still felt good).

Lap 5 – 41.6 to 52 - 2:11:15 (12:37 pace)
Every lap it was hard passing the finish line and heading out for another long lap. This time was different all my family and friends were not there, my kids each made signs. I didn’t stick around long because I knew that I still had a job to do. My training partner Laura came out to be my pacer for the last lap. A pacer can’t carry any of your stuff or you they are basically there to keep you company and keep you motivated. Coming up to the creek I was thinking “I don’t know if I can make the jump” but like all the laps before I skipped across the rocks and made that last long jump to the shore without getting wet. A mile or two later I stopped to get a rock out of my shoe and found that it wasn’t a rock but a giant hole in my sock under my heel. Like the last lap I was drinking a ton of liquids, one bottle per aid station so again 3 -20oz bottles. At this time I was doubling up on my salt taking one tablet every 30 min instead of 1 per hour. By the 5th lap I knew every turn every hill of this course. We walked up the big hills and ran all the downhill and the flats. My quads were now starting to complain, my feet had been hurting for the last 15 miles. Like the previous laps I killed it the last few miles. Again passing tons of people but only moving up in the standing 1 place. The people I was passing did not look like me they looked broken and beaten many of them were limping some siting and stretching. The last mile I realized how close I was and I decided to not stop and run all the way to the finish even over that last big hill. I felt euphoric the pain was gone and I knew my family was just over the hill waiting for me to cross the finish line. My son ran with me the last 50ft to the finish line where the rest of my family was waiting. It was an amazing feeling.

This was my goal race of the year and I couldn’t have imagined that it would go this well. Compared to the people I was running with I think I was really well prepared. I finished 15th overall and 3rd in my age group. One of this things I am most proud of was my never give up attitude, the thought of quitting didn’t even cross my mind in those 10 hours.

So if anyone one was keeping track that was 10 – 20oz bottles or 200oz consumed during the race. That just the liquids I can account for I also drank random cups of water at aid stations while they were filling my bottle. I was a little concerned about this but I knew that I was also consuming lots of salt too.

This is the lake that we looped around, notice the trees that seem to be out in the middle. Interesting note: Most of my trail runs are on that mountain in the background.

Here I am at mile 31 looking strong

My awesome spectators

My son and I crossing the finish line. He thinks we won the race

My Age group award – Cool race mug with a gift card
Check out those feet, that’s not a tan line that’s 10hrs of trail running dust

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ram Run Race Report

5K – 22:13 (7:07 pace) 

I started student teaching at a new school and on Monday this week I was beat and broken from the Pikes Peak marathon. During the week I was asked 100’s of times if I was going to do the ram run coming up in a few days (a school fundraiser). Each class I taught had a couple kids running and half the teachers were also running. I figured sore or not I better be a good sport and join in with this awesome active community. The race is put on by the cross country team but it seems like half the school shows up to run, football, soccer, swimming, wresting, tennis, cheerleading, and middle schools it was really amazing seeing the participation from all kinds of different groups. 

I said I was going to take it easy but I know myself better than that… 

Mile 1 – 6:42 
This was a very hill course and although the race stated with a half mile hill the second half was very downhill. For me still in recovery mode this downhill was the hardest part my lower back and calf’s begged for me to slow down. But my breathing was very comfortable and in control. 

Mile 2 – 6:56 
Most of the downhill was over and this mile had a lot of up and down. Each up I could feel myself going into the red zone and then recovering on the downhill. For my slightly sore body this section was much easier than that huge downhill but I could feel myself slowing down. Looking around I was the only adult in sight, these kids were awesome. I probably did awesome in my age group. 

Mile 3 – 7:31 
The start and finish were close so we had to make up all that downhill. This mile was up flat up flat over and over. I passed some kids and one of them chased me down and said “Hi Mr. Peoples” very excited I said “How are you doing” back and then dropped him
. After the race he came and found me and told me how awesome I ran up those hills and I of course congratulated him on his awesome run as well. 

Last 0.1 – 1:02 (8:24 pace) 
They saved the biggest hill for the end. No one around me was able to hold pace going up this last hill. I was just happy I didn’t half to walk, I heard from many of the other teachers that they had to walk that last stretch. My lungs burned and my muscles cried in pain, it felt like I was on top of Pikes Peak again. I hit the finish line and felt like I could hold myself up. 

Altogether it was a great experience. I think I made a lot of great connections with a lot of students. I made sure to talk with to principal so she could see that I am here even when it was optional (please hire me next year). I was pretty happy with my time its slower than I have been 5K’s running but after talking with students and teachers they all agree that this course is slower by 0:30 a mile than a flat fast course. I took my watch but I didn’t look at it once during the race, it was nice running to run without any time pressure. Still I gave this race all I could for the condition I was in (I can’t take it easy) maybe next year I will run it on fresh legs. 

Looking at the Garmin data the race climbed 228ft and dropped 300ft in the 3.1 miles. 
Sorry no pictures this time. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

2013 Pikes Peak Marathon Race Report

 26.2 – 7:03:52
7,815 ft of elevation gain

Before I ever ran a marathon I dreamed about running the Pikes Peak marathon. I thought that running my first marathon would get me closer to this goal but really is just showed me that I wasn’t even close. For years it’s intimidated me from signing up. I knew that this year had to be the year that I finally Challenged Pikes Peak. Earlier this year I ran 2 road marathons in 3:31 and 3:37. This race took me nearly twice as long to finish. Get ready for some really slow running stats and some pretty race pictures.

Start - elevation 6,300ft
The race started in town on paved roads just after sunrise. It was about 60F and the sky was very clear if the weather stayed nice it would be about 45F at the summit. One thing I knew about Pikes Peak is that the weather can change on the summit very quickly. I was prepared for anything my backpack contained a jacket, winter hat, gloves and food. In addition to this extra weight I also carried a 20oz hand held bottle. I wasn’t planning on setting any records my goal was to survive and maybe run under 7hrs.

Here is the start, the turnaround is on the summit of the peak in the distance

No Name Creek – 4.3 miles – 1:06 – elev 8,800ft
The race started on an incline and quickly climbed out of town. It only took about a mile until I had to walk the first time. Once we hit the single track there were so many people that you just went at the pace of the pack walking or running. Earlier this week heavy rains caused flash floods and the trails were in a v shape from all the water that drained over them.

This is called “rock arch” it’s a really cool formation that you run through during the race

Barr Camp – 7.6 miles – 1:56 –elev 10,200ft
After no name creek there were actually some sections of flats and even a few downhills. This was because we were transferring mountains. I knew about this before the race and ran this section pretty good. Also during this section I ate my first and last granola bar of the race.

The peak was haunting us from the distance

A Frame – 10.2 miles – 2:51 –elev 11,950ft
Leaving Barr camp I felt the first signs of trouble. I hadn’t been drinking or eating very well and when I tried I felt very nauseous. The next stop was called A Frame because it was at shelter that looked kinda like an A. More importantly it was at tree line, trees don’t live above 12,000ft. Approaching tree line I really started having trouble breathing. My walk breaks became long and longer but looking at my watch it looked like I was way ahead of pace for 7hrs this was about to change.

Note from the trees – “you guys are crazy we wouldn’t go up there”

Summit – 13.3 miles – 4:19 –elev 14,115ft
The last push to the summit above tree line was the hardest. A few miles ago I was needed walk breaks to recover and now I was walking full time and still not recovering. Other than to let runners coming down pass me (very narrow) I didn’t stop moving. I was breathing so hard just walking I was worried that I would have to be carried off the mountain. Luckily I wasn’t the only one feeling this way and it looked like a line of zombies walking and crawling up the mountain. I hit the summit 19 mins behind my goal pace. Coming off the summit I had given up on the 7hr goal.

Here is a cool picture of the summit and the sign that says “1 mile to summit – 13,700ft”. This last mile took me nearly 30 minutes to complete.

So close…

A very happy (or delirious) me ready to descend

I didn’t stick around on the summit very long I knew that as soon I got down a little I would feel better. I was really happy to have made it to the top because I knew I could run down without too much difficulty. 4.5 hrs into the race and I had only consumed 1 granola bar, a few hand fulls of grapes and about 40oz of Gatorade because my stomach hurt so much. I made a conscious goal of drinking my entire bottle before the A frame stop (20 oz. in 3 miles). At A frame I filled up my bottle and again promised myself that I would drink it all before Barr Camp, I continued this at every aid station and I started to feel really good. The uphill challenges your cardiovascular system and the downhill tests your body. The pounding hurt and after a few miles my feet, knees and quads felt fried. I ran pretty conservative because of how much my feet hurt. In the last few training long runs I have been getting some weird pains in my mid foot which might be the start of an injury. Anyways as I ran down I started picking up runners who would then run with me. With about 3 miles to go we had about small pack of 6 runners when a lady went blasting by us. I don’t know why that flipped a switch in my head but I followed her craziness down the mountain. We left the group in the dust it was the fastest I had run all day (around 9:00 min pace).

We hit the pavement with about a mile to go still very much downhill but now without any obstacles I really took off. Suddenly my quads quit hurting, my knees were fine, my blisters vanished and I felt like I was floating on air. This was one of those rare occasions were I hit my runners high during the race. I kicked in the last half mile about as hard as I have in a flat marathon my Garmin recorded 6:45 pace for the last 0.75 miles. Perhaps I am better suited for road running. Coming down the mountain I figured my finish time would be 7:30 but the fast last few miles landed me near my 7hr goal at 7:03.

Here are the stats, they aren’t pretty. Maybe we should call it run hiking?

That was by far the hardest race that I have completed. I came very close to hitting my goal time of 7:00. 7hrs isn’t a great time it’s probably a middle of the pack time. I set that as my goal because it’s the qualifying time for wave 1 in the marathon. They have different standards for veterans than they do for first timers.

So that’s ends that chapter and I can check Pikes Peak off my bucket list. I know I am only in my 30’s my I have a long list of adventures to complete. I am sure that I will run this marathon again someday but not for a while because this race is always same week as Leadville which I plan on pacing next year and eventually running someday.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

High Elevation Training

23.3 miles – 4:39:57. The trailhead where I started my run was at 10,000 ft. I could defiantly tell the difference in the lack of air from the start. The trail was really nice, not to technical and most of the time the grade was runnable. I was running small ups and downs until I hit the big hill (see elevation chart) and then I climb and climbed. I had originally planned on running 20 miles but when I got to 10 miles I was so close to the top that I couldn’t turn around.

Once I finally turned around at 11.6 and admiring the 360 degree views I had a 6 mile decent that beat me up worse than the climb. Miles 18-23 had more small uphills and down hills but I was so dead that I could barely run any incline. But I eventually make it back to my car on Kenosha pass exhausted and hungry. This was one of the hardest and most rewarding runs ever the scenery was beautiful.

And now for some pictures

This is the trail head – 10,000 ft and yes that is the south park that you are thinking of

Wide open spaces, I didn’t realize at the time but I would be climbing that mountain in the distance.

Creek Crossings. Most of the pictures I took in the trees were too dark to post but I am glad this one came out nice.

Here is what I saw at 10 miles and now you can see why I couldn’t turn around yet. Just up ahead was the very top. This was near 12,000 ft the wind was blowing hard and it was about 50F perfect for keeping snow around in July.

Elevation Profile. Until I looked at this later I didn’t realize how hard that big climb was compared to others. Overall I climbed 3,300 ft.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

2013 Mickelson Trail Marathon Race


Pre Race
Last year for our vacation we went to Disney world which was great but we can’t afford that kind of trip every year so we decided to go on a road trip to Mt Rushmore this summer. This week was more about having fun and enjoying the scenery than performance. We left on Tuesday and spent the week camping, hiking and sightseeing before the marathon on Sunday. My favorite part of the vacation was the cave tour at the Jewel cave. At one point we were 400 feet below ground level, I am a little closterfobic so this was a scary and exciting adventure. It rained on us most days so I didn’t run much because I was conserving all my dry close for our daily activities.

We had a 45min bus ride to the start followed by 1hr of waiting for the race to start where I learned from the locals everything about the course. The first half is nearly all up hill, gradual uphill but un relenting The second half of the race was downhill one last climb around mile 18. I decided to run the first half at 8:30 pace and save some energy for the downhill. Also I wasn’t sure how my legs would react in the later miles. It has only been 13 days since I ran the Colfax marathon in 3:31, my shortest time between marathons.

0-13 miles (8:33 pace)
It was hard holding an 8:30 pace in the first half of the race and it was getting warmer with every mile. I was sweating like crazy and my hat was so saturated that it was dripping off the bill. A few times I went into the red zone and I was worried that I would be toast in the second half of the race. The scenery was beautiful we ran through the black hills county side on a dirt trail with zero civilization. The frogs in the creek were so loud at times and I saw deer more than once.

14-20 miles (8:12 pace)
After 14 miles of uphill I was very ready to run some downhill. My plan was to recover and just coast downhill the next few miles. My pace immediately changed from 8:30’s to around 8:00. During this time my cardiovascular system did recover, I didn’t feel so hot and I wasn’t sweating as noticeably. My stomach had been starting to hurt. It came on so gradually it’s hard to pinpoint when it started but I do remember some minor discomfort in the first few miles of the race. Once I went downhill the jarring really aggravated my stomach. The last hill on mile 18 was vicious it was over a mile long and on the other side the downhill was so steep that I had to put on the breaks. I could only run up and down this hill at around 8:30 pace. At the bottom of the hill my stomach was really in knots and my feet hurt from slamming into the ground.

21 – 26.2 (last 10k - 7:52 pace)
Now we were back to the gradual downhill and it was easier to pick up the pace. After looking at my watch I started thinking “I think I can get under 3:40”. This was the motivation I needed to get going and my pace dropped into the 7:50’s. Every water station I stopped at made my stomach hurt a little more but I was sweating so much that I couldn’t pass up any liquids. The last few miles I was afraid I would puke with every step. For some reason today I was mentally tougher than usual and I finished the race strong even kicking in the last 0.2 to the finish.

Because of the course being uphill the first half and then downhill the 2nd half I had a huge negative split.
1st Half Marathon – 1:51
2nd Half Marathon – 1:46

Post Race
We didn’t stick around long after I took a shower and then we started our drive back to Denver. On the way out of town I bought a half gallon of milk. 2 hrs of driving later and it was gone! During the drive I also drank a Gatorade and some soda. By the time we got home I felt pretty good, I have some tired muscles but other than that I felt fine.

The entire race was on an old railroad line and in many places the rails were still visible.

Here the trail went through the old train tunnel which was very cool

Sunday, May 19, 2013

2013 Colfax Marathon Race Report


0-10 miles (7:53 avg Pace)
I wasn’t really sure what time I wanted to shoot for today. But I knew that I had to start fast enough to give myself the opportunity to run a PR. During this first 10 miles I felt really relaxed and comfortable. It felt like the effort wasn’t too hard to continue throughout the marathon. I hit my first challenge of the day when my calf cramped around mile 5. No not the calf muscle again, I wasn’t happy about this and I was just about to speed up and go to my PR pace. The calf cramp wasn’t too serious it locked for about a half step and felt funny for about a half mile. But this was only the start of my calf problems because the same thing happened around mile 8. This is when I got passed by the 3:30 pace group.

11-20 miles (7:58 avg Pace)
The 3:30 pace group was way ahead of their target so I decide to run with them for a while with the plan of going ahead of them in a few miles. The first half of this race has a lot of up hills followed by a long downhill from 16-20. Going up one of these hills I lost the 3:30 pace group completely. I could see them up the road and on the downhill I gained on them very slowly finally catching them at mile 20. It took 5 miles for me to catch the pace group. Again during this section I kept having calf cramps. Each time this happened I would slow down a bit and wait for the pain to dissipate (felt like a charley horse) it was very frustrating.

20-26.2 miles (8:33 avg pace)
My family was at mile 20 and I had just caught up to the 3:30 pace group. I was feeling good and I was thinking I could still get a PR. When I went to take some salt I realized that I had lost my Ziploc with my salt tablets. The cramping got much worse and now it was both calf’s taking turns cramping. The 3:30 pace group left me in the dust and I slowed significantly. For the first time in the race I felt out of breath and the temperature was rising. These last miles were extremely difficult, I didn’t look at my watch once the last few miles. I knew I was dead meat but I was hoping I could make it to the finish.

-I finished in 3:31:30 which isn’t too bad and only a few minutes behind my PR.
-Even though I didn’t get a PR I still feel like I am in the best shape of my life. Muscle cramps limited my pace at times but my cardiovascular system was hardly in any difficulty.
-The last 4 miles I averaged 8:45 with the slowest being 8:54. I am pretty happy that this is my survival pace. A few years ago my dead man walking (or running) pace was 12:00-14:00 per mile.
-Thinking back a few month this really puts the difficulty of that trail marathon into perspective (4:56 vs 3:31)
-The last 3 road marathons were 3:27, 3:26 and 3:31 in all 3 of those races my calf’s were my limiting factor. If I want to get any faster I am going to need to strengthen those muscles.

Colfax History
I have now run this race 3yrs in a row and I plan on running it every year than I am able.
2011 - Marathon #4 - 4:28, 2 minutes off my current PR
2012 – Marathon #8 - 3:27, Huge PR of 27 minutes
2013 – Marathon #11 - 3:31, 5 minutes behind my current PR

Finally some pictures
Shirt, bib and finisher metal

My favorite Spectators

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

One day makes a big difference

Today I tried to run 9 miles at Goal pace. Problem was I didn’t really know what that was, I ended up running 9 miles @ 7:52 which is a little slower than my goal. I should have taken 5 minutes to plug it into a calculator.

One day later and we are back to spring. This picture was taken close to the same spot as that snow picture I posted yesterday only 30 degrees warmer.

Last week was an unplanned off week for me, I have been running 60+ MPW and last week I racked up 15. It was a perfect storm of snow days, sick kids and sick me. Speaking of snow today I ran in 3” of freshly fallen snow. It’s snowed like this 3 times in the last 8 days here in Colorado. Some of the ski areas were closed have now reopened.

This morning’s run. (I thought it was supposed to be spring)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

2013 Run Through Time Marathon

I have wanted to run this race for years but I had been too afraid of the terrain and possible bad weather. This is the earliest marathon available in Colorado, most are in May-June. But this year I was determined to not chicken out and $50 for a marathon is a steal. But I got more than I barged for in this adventure.

The marathon had 4 aid Stations at miles 8, 13, 20 & 23 so I am going to use that to break up the race report as well.

Miles 0-8 (10:47 pace)
The race started just outside of town at the base of the mountains at an elevation of a little over 7,000 ft. It was 32F and snowing lightly, not enough to build up on the ground. I felt overdressed in my pants, jacket, ski hat and gloves but I knew it would be colder once we climbed into the mountains. After doing an easy 2 mile loop we took left and went straight up the mountain (2.5 miles – 500’). After that we ran on a rollercoaster type trail to the first aid station. I felt pretty good for this entire section.

Miles 9 – 13 (12:04 pace)
At this aid station we turned off the single track and ran up a very steep dirt road (4mi – 1400’). I knew that the bulk of the climbing would be done at mile 13 so in the back of my mind I knew I would be fine one I got to the top. As we climbed this road the snow got heavier and heavier and the temps plummeted. I started this section off strong but then my calf started to cramp. I was in freak out mode, 10 miles in and I was already cramping. I walk/ran most of this section in 2:00 minute cycles or as much as I could take without cramping. Near the top we were running in snow 2-4’’ deep with temps below 20F. The course peaked out around 9,000’ elevation. Now it was time head back to civilization.

Miles 14 – 20 (11:15 pace)
Now back on single track I was happy to have some downhill. The terrain was difficult and big rocks were hidden by the freshly fallen snow. The good news was my calf was fine the bad news was my knees were destroyed. They ached from running and slipping around in the snow, every step felt off balance and you weren’t sure how your foot would land. Everything I was wearing was soaked and very cold most worry some were my feet, I could feel cold water squish though my toes with every step. In my mind I stayed positive and continued onward.

Miles 21-23 (11:58 pace)
Running downhill is about at tough on your quads and going up and mine had about had all they could take by now. As we dropped in elevation the trail got easier to run (only wet now). I was running at a nice even pace and even pushing the pace a bit trying to keep up with a small group. Suddenly I felt very ill I was light headed and was about to puke, I think I just push myself too far into the red. I walked a bit and took an S-Cap (sodium) which supposedly can calm your stomach as well as replace electrolytes. I never puked (never have during a race still) and after a short time I was off on my way again.

Miles 24-26.2 (10:10 pace)
That sick feeling was horrible and I wasn’t about to do that again, so I held myself back to an easy pace for the rest of the race. Seeing the town down below me at the bottom of the mountain was an awesome feeling. In the last mile I saw about 4 spectators and 0 fellow runners running in the race. At the finish line there was only one elderly couple, one the husband calling out numbers and the wife writing down the times. No cheering section, no completive sprint to the finish, no metal but still extremely rewarding. The post race food was hot potato soup, which tasted like that best thing the world.

-I reached my goal of sub 5:00:00, although this near cause me to puke because I was pushing so hard near the finish.
-After reflecting back on this day I realized something that I was very proud of. I had some major hurdles/setbacks to overcome such at the snow, cramping, terrain, the climbs, frozen feet, knee pain and nearly puking. But quit never entered my mind, I know I can overcome any problem I encounter during a run.
-I have entered this mentality that every run even a race is training. The next day I was out the plan of testing my mental and physical limits. I made it 10 miles because I ran out of time and had to take my daughter to gymnastics.
-I saw a cactus surround by snow (not running related but interesting to me)
-Still I think I could have done better, pacing this kind of race is near impossible and I could have been better prepared. I think I can do better and so I will be back next year to beat my time.

And finally some pictures. I have to say I am a little disappointed with my pictures. I don’t have any of the really snowy sections. I do remember talking them but maybe I just thought I was taking pictures.

In town looking up at the mountains we are going to climb which was a little intimidating.

This is about 2 miles in getting ready to climb those mountains ahead on the left

Mile 4 on the first real climb of the day

Mile 7ish, show is starting to stick to the ground

Mile 10, snow is getting heavier

I think this around mile 15, I thought took two pictures here one of the trail (apparently never happened) and this one looking out at the nearby mountains

Mile 22, this is taken at almost the same spot as the picture above (mile 4) but now you can’t see the town below.

Despite all that downhill I still ran the second half slower (about 1 min slower)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Injury Update

My Calf has been slowly getting better, today was the fastest I have run since the injury 9mi @ 8:45 pace and it felt ok but not great. I got home and iced the whole area, made sure I didn’t miss a spot…

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Waterton Canyon

I have been really sick all week, no running at all until today. Luckily I got in my 20 miler last weekend before the flu hit our family.

Q: What do you like to eat out on your long trail runs 

A: I like the espresso cliff shot if I am going to eat gels but that seems like a rare occasion these days. Lately I have been experimenting with real foods on my long runs. Apples, beef jerky, almonds, licorice and granola bars to mention a few.

Here are some pictures I took last weekend on my long run in the canyon. I see big horn sheep often but never this many and never this close.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

2013 RMRR 10K - DNF

It was really cold when I arrived at the race I think 10-20 degrees. I got my race stuff and sent my sister on her way, her 5K started a little earlier. I ran a 1.5 mi warm up and then did some strides, I was feeling good I was feeling fast. In the back of my mind I had a secret goal that wasnt making public not even to myself to run sub 40:00. I kept telling myself “I am just going to take this as a tempo run” (like I always do). While standing around waiting for the start I was feeling warm so I striped down to my shorts and tee shirt. I kept my hat and gloves which saved me later.

Mile 1 - 6:10, feeling great
When the race started it had warmed up to about 25 degree but if you saw me you would have thought it was in the 50’s or 60’s. I exploded off the line into screaming pace, after the first half mile I calmed down and settled into a comfortable grove. I felt really good and really fast I was starting to believe that I could get that sub 40 today.

Mile 2 – stopped dead in my tracks
I started off the second mile feeling pretty good I was running near 6:00 pace for the first half of this mile and then bam. I get a sharp pain in my calf and in a few painful steps I was stopped. I sat down and tried to work out the pain with light stretching and massage.

Struggling to come to terms with my DNF
I tried to walk it off and then did a light jog and cycled between the two neither of which were helping. A few times I had to stop running because it was getting worse. I hate quitting and I was willing to make my injury worse just to finish. Finally I came to my senses and decided that it wasn’t worth it and turned around and accepted my DNF. That was a hard thing to do, I only have one other DNF I am still mad about that one too. I think I was about 1.75 miles out and that I was in DNF mode now I had no problem walking all the way back.

Not out of the woods yet
Walking was painful but I was able to keep moving without any breaks. There was only one problem with walking… I was starting to get cold. It was below freezing and I left my pants and my jacket at the starting line. As time went on I got colder and colder until I had no choice but to run. I ran about a mile not stop and hobbling along the way. Even while running I continued to feel colder I was getting worried. Eventually I made it back to the park and put on my jacket and pants and then got into the car.

I am not sure if it was a cramp or a pull, the muscle wasn’t locked like in a cramp so it was a cramp. Currently I can barely walk across my house. I have already done the roller once and I plan on doing some icing later (once I thaw out). I will play it day by day but I hope it heals quickly.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Review

2012 has been my best year of running. The end of the year is one of my favorite times because I get to analyze all my data for the year. I will probably spend the rest of the week or longer comparing various stats to previous years. Once that is done I will have a firm set of goals for 2013.

Total Miles - 2,521 miles (Avg 6.8 miles or 9.5 miles per day run)
Total Time - 380:42:41 (9:03 pace)
Total Days - 267 days run (73%)

Racing: I love to race, it’s what motivates me to keep training when it’s cold or when I fell too tired. This year’s race has been wonderful nearly every other race was either a PR or a 30+PR. If you remember last year many of my race reports were filled with excuses why I didn’t perform as well as I could have.

1-21-12: 5 miles – 32:09, 3rd in age group, 30+ PR
2-12-12: 3.1 mi – 19:47, 4th in age group 9th overall, 30+ PR
3-4-12: 3 mi – 19:45
4-28-12: 50K – 5:55:30, First 50K = PR
5-20-12: 26.2 – 3:27:27, PR
5-28-12: 25K - 2:38:40 (really tough terrain), 17th place overall and 4th in my age group
7-8-12: 2 mi – 12:49
7-21-12: 3.1 mi – 41:30, ran with my sister
9-22-12: 26.2 mi – 3:26:55, PR
11-4-12: 9 mi - 59:21, 2nd overall, PR
12-2-12: 4.5 mi - 28:25, 3rd overall, 30+ PR

Long run Days:
Days where I ran 20 miles or more: 13
Days where I ran 14-19 miles: 26
Days where I ran 10-13 miles: 69