Friday, April 16, 2010

Running and Life: March/April Update

Since race season is now about to ‘officially’ start, it’s time for me to become a little more regular with my posts. So before things get too crazy I’ll ramble on a little bit and bring everyone up to speed on life since my pre-Salida Marathon post.

2010 Salida ‘Run Through Time’ Marathon

No need to sugar coat this one; I didn’t show up on race day. I mean this was a seriously bad race. It was definitely my worst race performance of the last two years or so.

You know it’s a bad sign when you’re walking parts of the first big climb of the race (about 5 miles in) with legs so heavy that it feels like you’re running with ankle weights on.

I truly thought my legs were 100% recovered from Rocky Raccoon about 5 weeks earlier, but clearly this optimism wasn’t founded on reality. In fact, with 3 more weeks having passed since the race, I can still admit that I’m probably only at 85-90% of peak strength even now.

Some of the details of the race and course: Because of recent snow storms and ensuing snowmelt, the course was muddier and sloppier than anything I had ever run through in Colorado. The only time I’d ever encountered mud worse was at the Bighorn 50 miler last June in Northern Wyoming. That course was also a sloppy mess due to the sheer quantity of snow melting off in the high country.

Back to Salida: At mile 17 the real fun began. This was when the race left the jeep roads and hit the real trails, and the ensuing deep snow. Having already been suffering on completely run able terrain, you can imagine the death-march that ensued once the race got difficult over the last 9 miles. I was dehydrated and my legs were cramping but as with any long race, even though it doesn’t seem like it at the time, the finish line eventually comes and the suffering subsides.

When all was said and done, I finished in 4:11.xx; my second slowest marathon time ever. This was good for 18th place. To add insult to injury, my buddy JT was out until the bars shut down the night before and still beat me by nearly 16 minutes…

… talk about a great segway into the weeks following Salida.

Motivated Again!

After that humbling experience I decided I need to get back into consistent training again. A fire was definitely lit. The very next weekend I proceeded to do an extreme 4+ hour trail run in blizzard conditions with my friend James. We were literally breaking trail through the snow, and at times it was waste deep. Getting this one under my belt inspired me and boosted my confidence.

Next I decided I would attempt my first 100+ mile week starting the Monday after. I was able to accomplish this goal after logging a 56 mile weekend which included a solo run from Colorado Springs to Cripple Creek (elevation 10,000ft), followed by a nice 19 miler on local trails around the west side of Colorado Springs (Garden of the Gods and Manitou Springs included). In the end it was good for a 101 mile week and I didn’t feel too much worse for wear afterwards. My next week included a long weekend tempo run of 25+ miles, but a total mileage of only 50.

I’m trying to be smart and let my body dictate the mileage… I’ll run a lot of miles when I’m able to, and not so many when I’m hurting. The main thing is that I stay injury free leading up to the Hardrock 100 in mid-July. For those of you who are unfamiliar, I STRONGLY recommend you check out their website to get an idea of the magnitude of this race. It is widely considered the hardest ultramarathon in the world:
General Health Update and Race Schedule

Lastly, here are a few more tidbits on what I’ve been up to:

I was sick with a pretty nasty chest cold during my training the week immediately following Salida, but was surprisingly able to push through it and run anyway! There were a couple runs where I got to coughing so violently that I gagged myself and barfed… but through all of this I did confirm a theory of mine: My running truly benefits and improves my recovery times from sickness. Granted, I still have Cystic Fibrosis and get terribly sick with my lungs filling with thick mucus, BUT the intensity and duration are cut in half if not a quarter of what they used to be. This is yet another blessing I’ve discovered since I began to ‘Run to Live’ a few years ago.

Something else I am totally psyched about: I was recently interviewed for a running documentary that is slated to be released late this year called 'Why Run?'. While racing in Leadville last August, my mom met the woman who is creating the movie and they got to talking for a while in the finish area while I was out suffering on the course. Amelia, the producer, was interested in talking to me about my story and we finally were able to get our schedules to match and get me in front of the camera! I have no idea how much or how little of my story she will use, but we had an hour and a half long interview. I'm very excited to see the finished product!

Finally, tomorrow is the Desert R.A.T.S. Trailrunning Festival in Fruita, CO.
I will be competing in the 50 mile event, looking to improve on last year’s time of 8:49.xx minutes. This year’s field is much more elite, so I will be surprised if I improve upon my 6th place finish, but who knows? The course is stunning with half of it being on a canyon shelf high above the Colorado River, while the other half is run atop the high mesa another 1000+ feet above. It’s this kind of scenery that helps to divert your attention from the inevitable pain you experience while running 50 miles!!

Two weeks later, I will be racing the Collegiate Peaks 50 miler in Buena Vista, CO. Last year, a hurt knee forced me to drop at the 25 mile mark of this race, so I have a vendetta to settle with the course this year!

I’ll be sure and post updates for both of these events… and I’ve got to say, it sure feels good to finally be in race season again!



reubengregory said...

hey man. i met you a couple years ago at the estes park marathon and then randomly ran into you in early parts of the denver marathon (2008?). anyway, i was looking at desert R.A.T.S. results and thought i recognized your name. so i'm glad to have found you again.
your running the past couple years is fantastic, i have been reading your blogs this morning instead of working. you're very inspiring. great job, especially at rocky raccoon. i almost signed up for collegiate peaks but decided my hill training wasn't near ready for it. i'm signed up for the golden gate dirty thirty and my longest race yet, the leadville 50 in july (when you're running hardrock!).
i would love to run with you sometime, but i'm no way near the level you're at. i had an injury (non-running) last year which set me back most of 2009. i PR'ed in the denver marathon last year and just PR'ed at horsetooth half last weekend (20th overall!). so, i'm finally back at it. this will be my first year for ultras and i'm pretty pumped. are you ever outside of denver running? or maybe i can come for a run down in your trails sometime. it might have to be slow, recovery run for you...
well man, i hope to hear from you again.
take care.

brownie said...

Great post, especially the part about me crushing you at Salida!

BLOS said...

Let me know about the running documentary when it comes out! That is very cool. On-on to BV and Collegiate Peaks!

Brooks said...

Dude, I was just thinking about you a few days ago during a long run and was wondering what you've been up to... congrats on the recent PR's and gettng back in the saddle. I was going to look for you on Facebook one of these days anyway!
When you get a chance shoot me an email so I have your address!