Monday, October 4, 2010

Running for the fun of running

Well, just like that, there will be no 2010 Rock 'n Roll Denver Marathon for me. I kept procrastinating with my entry and then finally the race capped out. Honestly, it's probably all for the better. I'm still not 100% and deep down I don't think I am really into doing a race if I'm not at my best.

So at least for the next few months I'll be dedicating myself to running for the fun of running, moving into our new house in November, and basically trying to get healthy. Right now I feel like an old man. My objective is to feel like a young buck by Christmas, clicking off my usual baseline 70-mile weeks throughout the winter before starting the build-up in March. I'm working back up to it and am developing a new training regiment that will have me in peak condition by the time the Leadville 100 rolls around in August.


Tantalizingly terrifying

More immediately, this Saturday I'm planning my second Pikes Peak ascent (and hopefully descent) with Henry, one of my excellent Leadville 100 pacers who I've been meaning to connect with since the race. Henry lives in Boulder and has done several 14'ers. We hit it off really well at Leadville on the hardest section of all--the climb up the backside of Hope Pass and the long descent into Twin Lakes. I'm excited about taking on Pikes with Henry.

You're above the clouds.
My first Pikes ascent was in early June, when there was still quite a bit of snow up top. It was an incredible struggle post-holing through waist-deep snow and negotiating icy ridges and snow-covered switchbacks above 13,000 feet. By the time I reached the summit (14,110 feet), I was totally spent. Never have I felt such acute exhaustion save the final half-hour of the 24-hour national championship last October. The exhaustion you get from high-altitude exertion is unparalleled. It's as if you've been completely deflated. Above 13,000 feet, you are moving in slow motion. That day in June, I felt like Pikes had kicked my ass. This Saturday's summit is about having fun on one of America's greatest mountains, pushing my limits and summiting an amazing 14'er before the snow comes. I hope to run back down, covering 27 tough miles. Then, and only then, will I turn my attention to the other 14'ers--with Bierstadt, Evans, Longs, Grays and Torreys among those I'm eyeing.

Pikes Peak is a most spectacular geological marvel. I think Tony Krupicka has done a great job of describing Pikes' appeal:
After any trip back down to Manitou Springs and Pikes Peak, I often come away with some rather grandiose future plans. Something about that mountain really draws me to it. Actually, it's pretty obvious, really. It's gigantic, its aesthetic as a summit is undeniable, and it's so close.
Once you get above timberline and have a clear view of the summit, you are awestruck by the enormity of the peak. It is, as Tony says, colossal. You are astonished by how expansive and huge the peak is, how visible it is, and yet how far you have to go. In some ways, it is tantalizingly terrifying.

As of this writing, the summit of Pikes Peak is snow-free. I'll continue to watch the summit cams and, if snow does come, I'll make a decision as to whether the expedition happens or not.

Stay tuned for a report on my Pikes summit. 


I'm a huge fan of film director PT Anderson, a creative genius who has an incredible ability to bring out the best in actors. Actors like John C. Reilly, Don Cheadle, Philip Symour Hoffman, Philip Baker Hall, Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, Luis Guzman and even Tom Cruise owe a huge part of their success to PT Anderson. It was Anderson who managed to resurrect Burt Reynolds' career for a short time (Reynolds turned in one of the all-time great performances as Jack Horner in "Boogie Nights"). The man is a miracle worker. "Magnolia," which came out in 1999, had huge expectations as it followed Anderson's masterpiece, "Boogie Nights." "Magnolia" delivered in a big way, telling nine seemingly disparate yet connected storylines (a la "Nashville") and ending with an incredibly bizarre scene--frogs falling from the sky. The ending invites your own interpretation, but clearly there are biblical themes at work. In the scene below, we see the first of the frogs falling from the sky.


  1. That's the spirit Wyatt. Set the goal and enjoy.

    I have been struggling with getting some consistency into my own training but after putting a plan together yesterday I am focused on not just building the mileage up but want to actually enjoy the process of doing so. This is something you cannot force but one thing I will be doing is not being overly strict with the schedule e.g. run by how I feel so some days maybe shorter, longer, more intense, easier and I intend to leave all the gadgetry at home e.g. HRM, GPS and just run free on some of them also.

    The plan like yourself is to build up to to 70+ miles by christmas and plan 2011 during the time being.

    Hope it goes well and look forward to seeing how your training goes.

  2. Running for the fun of running – now that’s the way to do it! I was forced to miss a 50km race later this month because I was sick. I also think it’s for the best as my body can get some needed rest. I’ve got one more main goal this year at the end of November. Enjoy the months ahead!

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