Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bandera 2011 Preview

Well, not really a preview, but more like a rambling of my thoughts heading into the first stop on the 2012 Redemption Tour next Saturday (1/7).

Last year - Mile 43 - Boy did it get bad from here to the finish.

My 2011 Bandera 100k Splits
1st 50k:  4:54
2nd 50k:  7:16
Difference:  2:22

The brutal numbers above tell the story of my second half blow up.  Most runners add an hour or so during the second loop.  Not 2:22.  My goal is to simply shave that 1:22 off and finish in sub-11 hours.  I hope to have a good day and drop it even lower.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for this beast of a race.  I've reviewed my race report and what I learned last year.  Now it's time to put the adjustments into play and go have some fun.

The field is deeper this year than it has ever been with a bunch of CO guys & gals toeing the line. N Clark, D Mackey, D Bowman, J Schlarb, D James, T Olsen, Y Diboun, J Ricks, T Braje, L Howard, and D Africa are just a few of the name I recognize.  It's too bad the course is two loops in the same direction as it would be fun to see these folks pass by at some point to witness how the race is shaking out.

I'm also looking forward to spending some time with my aunt, uncle & cousin after the race.  If I get lucky my aunt will make the Texas shaped waffles again.  And you can be sure I'll show a little restraint and take a picture of the delectable waffles first!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Lights Run

One of my favorite running traditions comes in the month of December when I skip an early morning outing in lieu of hitting the streets at night to take in the Christmas lights.  As a family, we always make several driving trips around the neighborhoods to see the lights, but seeing them by foot is the way to go.  I load up the iPod with some Christmas tunes and I head out the door for an hour or two.

A sweet place for a Christmas lights run is McArthur Ranch.  This neighborhood to the east of Highlands Ranch and is primarily horse properties with lots of land.  There is a nice four mile figure eight loop to run that is half paved and half dirt roads with non-existent car traffic.  With houses spread far apart and no street lights at all, the Christmas lights are spectacular.  They jump out of the darkness and just look awesome.

This tree is over 30' tall. 
I didn't take a lot of pictures since any night pictures I take all come out blurry and uninspiring.  Maybe if I ran with a tripod strapped to my back, I could actually get some nice shots.  Case in point below...

I just couldn't hold the camera still to capture this wagon.  But each shaky effect was a little different.
One of my favorites, but the pic just doesn't do it any justice.
With most Christmas lights still on display, there's still time to see them on the run.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Back On Track

Saturday's run at Mt. Falcon was a success. My knee gave me some intermittent aches during the first lap, but then went quiet during the second. I felt great running that last three downhill miles. What a difference a week makes!

Jim P met me for the first lap. It's always a pleasure to share some miles with Jim.  Jaime came out too and we had planned to meet on the trails. I have no idea how, but we probably passed by several times and never actually saw each other!

At one point during the second lap, I stopped the watch and sat on the small bench coming up Parmalee.  For about 4-5 minutes, I soaked in the sun and mountain views. By that time of the day, I was enjoying cloudless skies and windless 50 degree weather.  Simply glorious.

Post run I couldn't have been happier as I walked around the house completely pain free.  That was until about two hours later I walked into AND connected my bum kneecap with the edge of a door!  The next 5 minutes were spent rolling on the floor writhing in pain.  I've never done that before, so why now!!  How could I possibly be such a klutz?  Right back to day one of this stupid injury I went...limping around the rest of the night.

Thankfully, my newly induced pain went away on Sunday and has not returned.  I'm back on track with Bandera training as I start heading into a taper for the next three weeks.  I feel a bit like I've been tapering already, but you won't find me complaining.  Funny how a minor injury can make you so thankful for what you previously took for granted.

Friday, December 16, 2011


I just eclipsed 3000 miles yesterday and celebrated with a few fist pumps during my early morning trail run.  My daughter told me a few weeks ago, that I needed to get busy in order to pass 2011 miles for the year, and I assured her that I was well past that and on my way to a new milestone.  When I ran 2700+ last year, I thought for sure I couldn't get higher.  I guess I was wrong.

Knee Update

After taking a few days off to rest, I started running towards the end of last week.  At first the knee felt okay, but it would get really stiff and sore at night and especially getting out of bed in the morning.  I attempted a Mt. Falcon Double last Saturday and got through the first loop okay.  About 5 miles into the second, the knee started complaining loudly and I couldn't finish the entire thing.  My tail was definitely between my legs as I shuffled/hobbled back down to the lot.  I had some serious doubts about Bandera at that point.

This week involved another rest day and just light running, mainly on roads.  I feel I've made significant progress in healing up, but tomorrow's jaunt back at Falcon will confirm or deny that.

6:00 a.m. for the first lap.  8:45 a.m. for the second if anyone is interested in one or the other.  I'm planning on cruising at a slower to moderate pace and I believe the trail conditions will almost guarantee that happens.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's better to be disappointed among friends

So was the slogan for the Hardrock Lottery Run last weekend.  About thirteen hearty runners gathered at Todd G's house to head into the foothills behind Ken Caryl Valley for a snowy trek through the trails.  After the run, we'd all stick around for some food & drink while the results of the lottery were being announced via Twitter.  

The odds of getting into Hardrock are minuscule.  They operate on a ticket system and I had just one lonely ticket out of over 1300.  I didn't expect to get in, but like the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it only takes a single golden ticket to win a tour of one of the most amazing places on earth.  With that slim bit of hope, I don't think anyone was immune to disappointment when the bad news dropped.  

Back to the pre-lottery run.  With over a foot of fresh powder in most places and temps hovering just above single digits, this was one challenging run!

Here's Todd leading us up...and up...and up!

Our feet & ankles disappeared often.

Patrick with his frosty feet on display.

Half the group waiting at the summit.  We had to start running again to stay warm.

I didn't get into Hardrock, but my knee sure whacked one on the descent of the run!
On the way down, I saw Rick Hessek slip and fall into a pillow of powder.  As I came upon that spot, I proceeded to do the same, but my variation to his acrobatic move was to catch a large rock with my knee.  Ouch.  The pain radiated, but I started running again and it subsided a bit.  Upon returning to Todd's house, I could feel it stiffening up and swelling.  It wasn't until I got home that I saw the half-egg protruding from my knee cap.

I don't think it's injured beyond a bad bruise.  I'm walking okay today, so I hope to test it a bit after another day of rest tomorrow.  Bandera is too close to risk not letting this small setback pass.

During the lottery, it wasn't all disappointment.  Brian Fisher got in, as did another guy named Gary from the Springs.  For the rest of us, we look to next year and facing the astronomical odds yet again.

Thanks Todd for organizing the run, opening your home, reading off the tweets, and giving us a place to laugh and sulk!