Friday, December 28, 2012


As my preparation for Bandera kicked off in October, I thought I'd give streaking (not the naked running kind) a shot in order to mix it up and add a new dynamic to my training.  I've always had great respect for those that run every day.  My experience has been that there are just some days where running is not appealing or even possible due to a whole host of excuses reasons.

So starting on 10/30, I committed to running every day through the end of November with the streaking parameters being a minimum of 5 miles/day outside and on trails. The weather during the entire month was near perfect and made the challenge easy.  I had many long runs that I would have preferred taking a rest day after, but overall 11/30 came quickly.

When December rolled around, my daughter encouraged me to keep it going.  She said, "wouldn't it be cool if you ran for 62 straight days since you'll be running 62 miles at Bandera?"  Yes, that would be cool, but that would mean streaking until 12/30!  The new challenge was on.

Now that I'm just a few days away from completing it, here are my thoughts on streaking:
  • It's quite a silly endeavor that most people (even many runners) just don't understand the point.  I too was there prior to this experiment.
  • Streaking for 62 days is peanuts.  There are people that have been running every single day for 40+ years!
  • I love it!  For me, the motivation it produced was huge and lead me to one of my best training blocks ever. Every day the streak continued, the desire to keep it going swelled.
  • The last three weeks of snow and very cold morning temps accompanied by blustery wind, have been where the rubber meets the road.  There were days where I had no clue how to fit in the run.  But when I did, the satisfaction experienced after a simple 5-7 mile run was amazing.  And then it was on to the next day.
  • The runs that I typically would have bailed on were probably my favorites.  One dark and early morning, I ventured out into the thick fog.  When do we ever get fog in Colorado?  It was so thick that my headlamp barely lit up the trail in front of me.  I couldn't stop laughing as I was completely disoriented the entire run.  I could see no lights anywhere to help me set my bearings.  Another day I began running at 5am just as the snow started to fly.  The dry trails quickly turned white.  The flakes produced long streaks of light as they whipped past my headlamp. By the end I was tromping through two inches of snow in near white-out conditions.  Awesome!
  • More than any other benefit, the discipline and mental strength gained from persevering and "finding a way" through each day can only pay off in races (and life!) going forward.  During every ultra, there's a point when some obstacle seems insurmountable.  The battle then rages and one side of my brain screams that the best option is to pack it up and try again the next time.  Streaking didn't give me that option as I had to find a way to run.  I hope that mentality is ever present during the obstacle-ridden Bandera experience.

The streak will be broken on 1/1 as I rest, hang with the family, and probably watch some football.  But I'm guessing a new streak will be started at some point in 2013.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Indian Creek - Back Again...

While the snow stays away, it's off to Indian Creek to play...

That had been my motto during the last six weeks of fantastic trail running weather.  I ventured back over the first weekend in December to take advantage of a 68 degree day!  My partner in crime was Jim P, and we thoroughly enjoyed cruising the Roxborough and IC trails until we parted ways so I could suffer for a few more miles than he was planning.

I did almost the same loop as the previous week, but counter-clockwise.  That is definitely the way to go!  After knocking out the Roxborough SP road (sans traffic), you're immediately on fun singletrack.  By the time you start to fade late in the run, you're treated to long descents down the Ringtail & Sharptail trails.

Run Stats

Make no mistake, our early AM start was COLD!  We could have done without the blowing wind and clouds filtering the sun.

JP chomping some calories on Carpenter Peak
As we descended from Carpenter Peak towards Waterton Canyon, we kept looking up to spot some low-flying plane.  The roar was unmistakable   Well, we were mistaken, because the noise was simply the wind whipping through the powerlines overhead.

Thankfully, the wind died down as we cruised the Round Up trail.
At the top of Round Up, we said farewell as Jim made his way over to Ringtail and I started down Steven's Gulch.  At the bottom, I encountered more creepy cabins.

The most remote port-a-potty in CO.

Instead of heading south up the Indian Creek #800 trail, I took a new one over to the Colorado Trail.  Good move!

This new to me trail climbed up to a ridge with very nice views to the east and west.

This is how you know you've hit the CT.  While I would have liked to take Lenny's bench up on the offer, I didn't rest all that long.

The temps were climbing fast now.  I had to pinch myself a few times for a reality check that this was a December day!

I finally connected back to the Ringtail trail and welcomed the long, slow drop.

A comforting sight when you're tired and ready to wind things down.  I skipped the Swallowtail loops this time since I was already over my planned mileage.

Last shot of the rocks before the 4 mile stretch on Sharptail.

My take-aways this time around:
  • I ate regularly the entire run and felt just fine.  A good reminder that 100-150 calories every 30 minutes or so makes all the difference.
  • I brought plenty of water and only ran out when I arrived back at the parking lot.
  • Run this loop counter-clockwise.
  • My endurance is definitely coming around.  Funny how that coincides with eating.
  • Jim P is a great running partner!