Saturday, February 9, 2013

2013 racing and training goals

I recently had the privilege of helping a friend with pacing duties at the Rocky Raccoon 100 in Huntsville State Park, an hour north of Houston. Micky is a veteran distance runner, and he has lofty goals for most of his races. Just two weeks prior, he ran a marathon in Phoenix in 2:55, and wasn't happy with it. Micky and I met at a race, the 2010 Silver Rush 50 in Leadville. We were both using that race to gear up for our first Leadville 100 five weeks later. After the race, we exchanged numbers and have been racing and training together ever since.

Houston skyline
My duties were to consist of pacing from miles 60-100, texting Micky's friends and family updates on his progress, and meeting him every 20 mile lap with his personal items. This was to be my first time in this type of role, as usually I am the racer. I was excited to be there and I wasn't alone. The crowd was buzzing with energy too. A lot of warm hugs and words of encouragement are shared prior to the 6am start. 3-2-1...and they're off. The energy is infectious and I quickly remember why I love racing. A flood of adrenaline sends goose bumps to my skin and butterflies to my gut. I have the itch, the drive. I want to race.

This year, just like Micky, I too have lofty goals for my racing schedule. I have outlined my season around four major races.
  1. HITS half Iron-distance triathlon. May 18th in Grand Junction, Co.
I really wanted to get a long tri race in this year as I have not raced a triathlon since my 2009 Ironman Arizona finish. May would be hard for me to commit to the full Iron-distance, but I do think that the half will be the perfect season kickoff. Breaking the 5 hr mark would be an ideal goal. I believe that in my triathlon days I was a more well rounded athlete. This HITS race will keep me honest, and force me to swim.
  2. a.Hardrock 100. July 12th-14th in Silverton, Co.
Hardrock would be a honor to be able to try.Ultimate goal is to finish before the 48 hr time limit. I have a backup plan for this race because I am 12th on the "first timers" wait list. That's close enough for me to gear my training for that specific race right now. It wont be clear till May or June if I will get in. If I am not brought to the entry list, my backup plan is the Grand Mesa 50.
  2. b.Grand Mesa 50. July 27th in Grand Mesa, Co.
The Grand Mesa was a great race last year for me. I used it to get my final miles in before Leadville. A challenging course just a few weeks out from Leadville is the perfect approach.
  3. Leadville 100. August 17th in Leadville, Co.
 I will then toe the line for my fourth start at Leadville. Goal for this one would be another under 25 hr finish, but just to finish is the mission. I love this race. I love this town.
  4. ING NYC Marathon. November 3rd in New York, NY
My final race of the season will be the New York Marathon. I grew up back east and watched many a NYM finish from behind the barricades in Central Park as a young adult. This will be my first official marathon and I think a 3:10- 3:15 is a reasonable time after an already long season. I would love to be able to just enjoy this one.

Unfortunately, Micky rolled an ankle at mile 36 and could no longer go on. He has had a prior injury to that ankle, and there was no "walking it off" this time. I spoke to him a week after the injury and he is healing his wounds. I need him to be well to pace me at Hardrock, this July.
I was only able to run 2 miles in Huntsville State Park, but I came home with a lot more... a renewed drive to race.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


**UPDATED 1.15.2018**
I wrote this post as my first 5 years ago. As I was tracking out new terrain today on my shoes, I thought about this post. Its crazy how some things are completely different and some haven't changed a bit. Ken and I were out just a few days ago on our snowshoes and pretty similar to 5 years ago, it was impromptu and fun. 

Fun is a relative term. If you have ever spent half a day with me, you've probably heard me say this; "Fun is relative". Some chose the more popular "fun" activities, like skiing, biking, reading(per my wife), or lounging in our local Hot Springs. But, again, fun is relative. There is plenty of "fun" for all.
The definition of fun:

1.amusement: a time or feeling of enjoyment or amusement
2.something amusing: something that provides enjoyment or amusement
the best training partners, under 7 miles...
This now brings me to the most recent "fun" I encountered with a friend, yesterday. Lets call my friend Ken, simply because well, that's his name. Ken and I have been friends almost as long as I have lived in this mountain town, 13 years. We have biked countless miles together, some seasons more miles than others, and we both share a love of cheap beer. Ken and I set out on an impromptu snowshoe outing on a secret stash of trails/ranch roads in North Glenwood. Nothing out of the norm for us. The day is perfect and so is the trail. But... that's not enough for me.Yes, I was having "fun", but there must be more "fun" out here somewhere? As I check our surroundings, I spot more "fun"! "How are you feeling back there?" I ask Ken. Ken says "good??" with a bit of hesitation. I think he's on to me. "How bout we bushwhack up to the top of that ridge?". Ken obliges, with more hesitation. I am now experiencing more "fun"! I hurry to find a good gap in the sage to navigate to the base, hang my snowshoes on a limb as a reference point for descending, and start my push up. It is muddy(understatement), and the snow slushy(and another...), and there is no clear path which shouldn't surprise anyone reading this, if you know me. Suddenly, I can feel the excitement, adrenalin rushes, and I surge and scramble upwards making my own trail in the direction of the summit. This is "FUN"! I look over at my two best training partners, Cori and Jessy, and their experiencing it as well! Running, diving, digging in the mud as two chocolate labs do best. "FUN" screams across the face of Jessy. It's addictively contagious, and I push even harder, managing to eek out a grin proving that this must be "fun"! I pause to check my surroundings, take in a quick view, search for a hole in the sage to find the next line up, and look back for Ken. He is below mumbling explicits at first, then they aren't mumbles. I spot him, and his body language says it all, not "fun". Seriously, how can this not be "fun"? I wait. He catches up. We talk. He has a half dozen reasons why this was a bad idea, and only one has any validity. He is not having "fun", and that is good enough. We agree that he will head back down, and I will push on for more "fun". I know, I know, not the best idea, but reason gets pushed aside for "fun". We part. I scramble up with a purpose, and eventually reach the rocky outcropping that I had viewed from below, 2,000+ vertical feet above our starting point.
view from the ridge of West Glenwood Springs
Wow. Views. Silence. I rest and praise the dogs, snap a few pics, and head back trying to follow my original line. A little sketchy in spots, but otherwise fast and "fun", I bound down. I can't help but to anticipate my next visit to this rocky ridge line. It's only going to get warmer, and drier, and I might just be faster. Maybe I wont be, but one thing is for sure, it's gonna be "fun!"

Update: Ken made it home safely. I caught up to him about a mile from our start. He appeared to be having "fun".