Tuesday, November 5, 2013

GrassRoots Events and the US Champs

So much has changed since moving back to Colorado Springs at the end of our road trip.  The original plan was to move back to the Springs so I could go back to school.  Then, in October, I went out to Moab to work a TransRockies Event and met Chris Martinez.  Before I knew it, I was co-owner of GrassRoots Events and applying for permits for the Behind the Rocks 50/25 Mile.  I have always wanted to be a race director and it will be great to work with Chris and have him teach me everything he knows.  

We have already been really busy creating our newest race, Behind the Rocks 50/25 mile on March 29th, 2014.  Even though it is advertised as a 50/25 mile, the race is actually 53 and 28 miles.  The race will feature Behind the Rocks trail, Hunter Canyon Rim, Hurrah Pass, Jacksons Ladder, and Amasa Back.  I believe this will be one of the best early spring races on the calendar and will give runners a chance to enjoy great weather and views of the snow capped La Sal mountains.  Like all GrassRoots events, this race will have a great after party!

This past weekend we traveled to Moab to run the US half marathon trail championships.  I ran the marathon last year so I knew the course well; plus, I spent a week on the course earlier in the month.  I came into the race not sure how I would run, especially after some poor races leading into the event.  I did have some confidence because I started training with Joseph Gray a few times a week, and we had completed some really tough workouts together in the previous two weeks.

We arrived in Moab after midnight, on Thursday, and decided to get a room to avoid a late night tent setup.  I picked up Joe the next morning so we could go and preview the last few miles of the course and see the creek section.  I decided, while on the run, I didn't want to get my shoes wet and tried to walk across a small pipe.  I almost reached the end when I started to slip and then fell on the pipe.  It bruised and scratched up my left quad but nothing too serious.  I guess the whole incident could have been avoided if I had just packed two pairs of shoes,  lesson learned.  

I was happy to discover that the race would be starting at 9 a.m.  I was able to sleep in a little.  I started the race fast due to a short downhill but slowed down after a few minutes.  I was in fifth place until the top of the first climb.  Then, at mile five, I was able to close the gap on the third and fourth place runners.  The three of us jockied positions until the single track on Hunter Canyon Rim around mile 7.  This section is really technical and the downhill allowed me to put a few minutes on the other two guys and bring back over a minute on Jared Scott.  

Here is a video of the race:

I moved past Jared, around mile 8.5, just at the bottom of the rim trail.  He caught back up and put a small gap on the next uphill.  I tried really hard to keep up on the hill but I just can’t climb like he can.  I was able to close the gap he put on the uphill on the downhill road and Amasa Back trail sections.  With a mile and a half to go we were running side by side on the creek section of the course.  Now you don’t just cross the creek a few times you actually run down the creek for a little over a half mile.  We were right together until the end of the water section when I decided it would be faster to run through the water and Jared ran up on the bank.  I lost 15 seconds and he pulled away even more on a short uphill out of the creek.  I tried to push the last road section to the finish.  I was closing the gap but I ran out of time.  Overall, I was really happy with the race and it was so much fun fighting it out with Jared over the last four miles.  Danelle did a great job of organizing the race and designed a very challenging course.  

After lunch at the Moab brewery, we headed back to Colorado Springs so I could run the third race of the Fall Series on Sunday.  I was sixth overall in the series and wanted to race even though I had raced the day before.  On the warm up I didn’t feel too bad and was hoping the race would go better than planned.  I finished fourth overall and moved into third in the series.  I didn’t feel too fatigued, I just didn’t have the motivation to push too hard.  That evening, I registered for the Bootlegger 50k coming up this Saturday.  It’s going to be a fast race and should be a great event!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Don’t Fence Me In 30k


After spending a week in Colorado Springs at my parent’s house, we started the best part of our six month trip by heading west.  In February, we spent ten days in Moab.  We decided that we hadn’t seen enough in February and another stop was needed.  Once we arrived we realized it wasn’t going to be as quiet as it was the last time so we headed to the La Sal Mountains through Castle Valley.  This gave me a chance to explore an area of Moab that we had never seen.  We made a trip into Arches, one afternoon, to explore the Fiery Furnace.  What an experience!  We had so much fun climbing through the canyons and challenging our climbing skills.  We did have one scare when Malachi decided to take his own route and almost fell down a twenty foot slot canyon.  After the scare, he was pretty shaken up for about an hour but quickly recovered and was once again pushing his limits.  We also spent a day in Canyonlands at Upheaval Dome.  I ran most of the primitive trail that afternoon but it left me wanting to see more of what Canyonlands has to offer.  It seems like when I spend time in Moab it always leaves me wanting more.

We left Moab after spending six nights and headed north to Montana.  We made a quick stop in Lava Hot Springs, ID for some much needed soaking time in the hot pools.  My legs had been feeling pretty tired from the training but after a few hours in the pool I felt much better.  Lava Hot Springs had so many great areas to run and I really enjoyed the next morning’s run.  We arrived in Missoula and spent a few days at my sister’s house.  Missoula was awesome and the trails in the area were some of the best I had seen in a while.  They have a great outdoor community and I now know why they have such great runners.  We then traveled to Helena in order to recon the course for the upcoming La Sportiva Mountain Cup race.  After looking for a place to camp for a few hours we decided to stay off Rimini Rd just a short drive outside of Helena.  I spent three days on the course getting to know the trails before we headed up to Glacier NP.  Glacier was awesome even though most of the trails and roads were still snowed in.  We ran up to Avalanche Lake and Mt Brown Lookout while we were there.  Even though we didn’t get to see much of the park this has to be one of the best NP in the country and we are already planning a trip back sometime in the next few years. 


After spending a few days in Glacier we headed back to Helena for the Don’t Fence Me In 30k.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel after running 200 miles over the previous two weeks and not really giving myself a long enough taper.  On the first climb my legs felt flat and I was a little worried it would be a long race.  I decided to just run my own race and settled into fourth place behind Mike Wolfe, Jace Nye and Jason Schlarb.  I moved into second place on the first downhill and could see Mike just under a minute ahead of me at the 11k aid station.  By the next aid station, at 19k, people on the course were telling me Mike was between a minute and a minute and a half ahead of me.  I was pretty excited about the update because I figured the last 11k of the race suited me well due to the flat and downhill sections.  The next climb wasn’t marked at all and I lost a minute or so due to a wrong turn.  After the wrong turn, Jeremy Wolf and Jace were less than a half minute behind after not seeing them since the 11k aid station.  I used the flat ridge section to gain a little bit of time on both before the last climb up Helena Mountain.  I ran the last downhill easier because I never saw Mike over the last section and didn’t want destroy my legs with the next cup race two weeks away.  I finished second overall six minutes behind Mike.  I was happy with my race but I am still unsure how I lost so much time to Mike over the last section.  I plan to work on pushing myself harder towards the end of a race after losing so much time to Mike.  The race was well organized and run on some great single track around Helena.  I plan on coming back again next year because of the great experience. 

We spent two more nights in Helena so I could do a long run the day after the race and then headed back to Missoula for another night at my sister’s house.  The original plan was to head to Washington to explore the Rainier area but changed them because we wanted to see more of Glacier NP.  We are now camping at Hungry Horse Reservoir for the next eight nights so we can explore Glacier a bit more.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Back to Blogging...Again

So much has changed since the last time I blogged.  In May of 2012, I decided to quit my high stress job in search of a different lifestyle.  I wasn’t sure what the plan would be but I knew that I didn’t want to go back to the schedule I had before.  I was always gone and away from my family.  I spent most of my life in hotels and around people I didn’t care for.  This was very difficult for not only my family but also for me.  I struggled every morning when it was time for work. 

Our first stop in Moab.

I never felt this way before getting back into running.  I loved my job and enjoyed going to work every day but something changed once I started running again.  I didn’t want to be inside anymore and wanted to spend my time outdoors with my family.  Every spring, while working, I would get spring fever and my motivation for work would decrease even more.  I started sharing my feelings with my family and we all decided at that point that we needed to make a change. 


Since May we have been able to travel the country and we are currently on a six month road trip.  We live in our truck camper and even though we only have 60 square feet we are happier than ever.  We have gotten to know each other on a different level than when I had a job and my children are blossoming because of it.  They were always great kids but this trip has taught them to be more responsible and harder working.  Denise has been homeschooling them since May and they have learned more than they ever could have in public school.  Some parents say they couldn’t spend that much time with their kids but we love it and will be sad in August once the trip is over. 


In February, we left Pueblo and have seen so much of the country already.  We have seen 15 states and have spent time in the Smoky Mountains, Washington DC, South Carolina, Alabama and Texas with a few other short stops along the way.  We have planned our travel schedule around some of the La Sportiva Cup races.  I have already run two of the races and am excited about the others.  The current plan is to head west in the next few days which we have been looking forward to since we begin heading east.  Being out east has taught us a lot about ourselves and our country.  The Smoky Mountains were great but the rest of it was way too horizontal for our liking.  The kids want to climb rocks and run mountains and I feel the same way.


I know in 2012 I committed to get back to blogging and failed but this time I am going to make it a priority.  I plan on writing races reports, La Sportiva product reviews, and updates on our trip.  The next four months are going to be crazy.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Final Numbers and Top Five Bests of 2011

With 2011 coming to an end, I was thinking about this past year's numbers and experiences. I finished the year with a total of 4766 miles (91.6 per week) and a few minutes over 540 hours (6:48 per mile). During the summer before Chicago, I put together 13 consecutive 100+ mile weeks with 4 weeks at 485 miles and I had PR's in the 5k (15:08), 10k (30:33), and the marathon (2:22:05). This was by far my most successful year in terms of miles and PRs but most importantly, I think it was the best year of experiences. Here are what I consider to be the most memorable moments, in terms of running, of the year:

5. Classic 10k- 7th place, 30:51
This race always, for as long as I can remember, has had great depth in terms of competition. Finishing 7th and running under 31 minutes is a testament to that. My goal was to finish under 31 minutes and I ended up running 18 seconds faster than the previous year.

4. Pony Express 15+ mile- 1st 1:27:48
I didn't plan on running this race until a few days before and looking back on it now, maybe it wasn't the right thing to do before Chicago. The race has hosted some great runners in the past, though I don't think they had put the same effort into the race that I did. Either way, I broke the course record by almost six minutes and ran sub six minute miles on dirt at 9000ft.

3. Evergreen 10k- 4th place, 30:33
The race was the Colorado State Championships for the USATF Grand Prix this summer and it brought out some great competition. I was really excited to see how close I was to the 1st and 2nd place finishers; at the beginning of the year, I never thought I would be able to run this fast. It was, again, an 18 second PR and only a couple of weeks after running sub 31 at the Classic.

2. Eugene Marathon- 1st place, 2:22:05
While growing up, I always dreamed of running on Hayward Field's track. I never thought I would win a marathon while doing it. It was such a great feeling to run into the stadium and onto the track. Even though I really wanted to run sub 2:19, I was on pace until mile 22, it still didn't take anything away from winning a marathon in Tracktown USA. It was also great to be able to spend a week in Oregon and see all of the running history that Eugene had to offer. (We even got a tour around Eugene Running Company from owner Bob Coll. He had great pieces of running history.)

1. Watching My Kids Run
This summer, the kids joined the Mercury Track Club here in Pueblo. It was their first taste of competitive running and it was awesome to see how excited they were to compete. Kylah qualified for USATF Junior Olympic Nationals in both the 800m and 1500m. She finished 10th overall in the 1500m with a time of 6:20.14. While Malachi didn't qualify for Nationals, he was able to qualify for the Regional meet. He came up a little short but he ran a really tough race. A few weeks after Regionals he ran Run 4 Trails 5k in 22:26 and finished second overall. As a family, we finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th. The kids followed up track with a successful cross country season. Kylah, again, qualified for Nationals by finishing second at the regional meet. We opted out of taking her. Because the kids loved running, we were able to go on long family runs on the weekends that we will remember for ever.

I just hope 2012 brings some great new experiences!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Back to Blogging... Bandera Thoughts

After coming up short at Chicago this year, I planned on running CIM in December with hopes of running sub 2:19. After a few weeks, though, I realized that I needed to change my plans due to a lack of motivation. Even though I have enjoyed the past two years of training, I began to get bored with the same training schedule and the flat training surfaces on which I had been running. Shortly after bailing on CIM, I registered for the Bandera 100k and almost instantly I became excited about running and training again. I will have to admit that the first time I ran over three hours I had a rough time of it. I felt horrible the following day. Although, as the weeks progressed and I continued to increase my long run, I started to feel like I was just getting warmed up at three hours.

I have run a number of long runs since in the mountains. It has been a nice change to hit the trails again. My favorite training run for Bandera was two weeks ago. I met up with Peter Maksimow and the Incline Club and we ran the Longs Ranch loop. After that I continued through Manitou to Crystal Park; Peter drove because he didn’t want to run on the roads. We jumped onto the the Intemann Trail and then up over Section 16 where Peter turned around. I continued onto High Drive and then the 666 trail where I hit Captian Jacks and back down High Drive then the Intemann Trail. From there, I headed down Crystal Park Road where Peter and Nora cheered me on. I was able to get a few extra miles on the Manitou roads before calling it a day. The run totaled 34 miles in 5:15 with over 8,000ft of elevation gain. Due to some over indulgence the night before, I struggled with some stomach issues. I won’t let that happen in Texas. These types of runs have kept me motivated throughout the week because I am looking forward to the next long run.

My family will be joining me for the trip to Bandera; I hardly ever travel without them. Their ability to crew me during the race gives them a sense of involvement in my running. This time will be easier than ever because we just purchased a new truck camper for our Tacoma. It might be a little different sleeping at a rest stop along the way but we are all excited for the new experience. Fortunately, my brother Jordan and his wife Jessica will be traveling with us. They have more experience traveling than we do; they have been traveling the country in their modified Honda Element. Jordan will be running the race as well. He has been training for the 50k. He and I have been training together and it has been awesome to have a training partner. With the new treadmill, he and I are able to run together during some of our tougher runs.

As far as Bandera goes, the field is looking really strong. And, with a National Championship on the line, I am confident a few of the guys are going to leave everything out on the course. I am a little nervous with the distance. I have only run 50 miles twice before and I haven’t had a good race at that distance so the extra twelve miles seems a little mind boggling. The biggest issue has always been my stomach, but I think I have figured that out over the last two years. Hopefully my stomach will cooperate. I believe I am a totally different runner than I was two years ago. My last ultra race was in June of 2010 and I did absolutely no training for that one. I only decided to run Golden Gate 50k a few weeks before the race. Before Golden Gate, I ran the Moab 55k in 2009 so I have really only run one ultra in three years. Since then, I have improved my speed and endurance. Even with this change, I really only have one goal and that is to finish Bandera. I plan on going out easy and then depending on how I feel during the last 50k I may start to pick up the pace. With my focus in 2012 being ultras, I feel like I will be more prepared come early spring. Either way, I just want to have fun and gain a little more ultra experience.