Sunday, March 6, 2011

Training Week 2/28-3/6

Before I forget (because this topic is to forgettable, after all), there's a new race being planned for September that aims to get all the elite trail runners worldwide on the same trail and on the same day for a "championship event."


There's been talk of such a race for a while. Now it's on the books.


I thought we already had a series of championship races? Aren't they called USATF national championships (maybe that gets a third yawn)? I've been hard on the USATF before, but the fact of the matter is that USATF holds national championships at every level of ultra distances--from 50K to 24-hours. If elites don't like the USATF races because elite turn-out is so bad and they want to run against "the best," they could change all of that by showing up. Right?

Why am I being a bit snotty? Because we have some existing championship races that have so much potential but aren't being given a chance. I happen to personally know the organizers of both the 100-mile (Burning River) and 24-hour (North Coast) USATF national championships. I ran in the 24-hour national championship in 2009 and also ran in the 100-mile event that eventually became the 100-mile national championship for 2010 and again this year. They are excellent races with organizers who would love to have as many elites as possible. They even have prize money on the table and the organization and capacity are there to host a huge field. The best way to get USATF national championship events beyond just a name is for the best to show up. Nuff said.

But I do really hope big cash doesn't eventually invade ultrarunning, because then the sport will have been betrayed. I guess if I were an elite I'd feel different.


This column pretty much sums up my feelings about mainstream pro sports and, in particular, the NFL. But really it goes much deeper, exposing societal problems as a whole.


Ted at the summit of Green Mountain in Boulder, elevation 8,130 feet.
Not a bad week of training. I hit some good quality and ended with 71 miles and nearly 11 hours of running. On Saturday and Sunday, I did some awesome trail running with Ted F., a good friend from Cleveland who stayed with us en route to Steamboat Springs for business. Ted and I used to run together every Saturday morning in South Chagrin Reservation. It was great seeing him, spending quality time in Colorado's wondrous nature and getting updates on some of my pals back in Cleveland.

Monday - EASY
AM: 51:10/6.5 miles on the treadmill at home. Noah came down stairs and kept me company for the last 2 miles of my run and we had fun together. Overall, I felt really good--minimal soreness and tiredness from the weekend miles. Felt pretty fresh for a Monday.

AM: 1:08:32/9.4 miles on the HOA treadmills. With absolutely zero lighting at the local high school track this time of year, I am going to stay away until we have more sunshine in the morning and will instead opt for the treadmill. After a 10-minute warm-up, I maxed out the treadmill with 3x1 mile at 6:00 each, followed by 1x800 at 3:00. First interval was kind of hard but I felt better for the second and third miles after the oxygen was flowing.

Wednesday - EASY
AM: 46:44/6.05 miles around the neighborhood. I had an early-morning meeting so this run had to be "short." Went easy pace and felt pretty good. Last mile was my fastest and required the least amount of effort--always a good thing.

Thursday - TEMPO RUN
AM: 1:08:22/9.55 miles in Parker. After a 1-mile warm-up, I ran 5 miles at 6:17, 6:15, 6:14, 6:18, and 6:32. Not happy with that last split, or with the fact that I didn't achieve my goal of 6 miles at tempo pace. I went out too fast; my pace should have been around 6:25-6:30 to start. I wanted that 6th mile but was trashed and basically jogged home. All at ~6,100 feet with 2,700 feet. It hit me that I'm training everyday in an area 5,000 feet above where the Eisenhower Marathon will be run. Advantage indeed.

Friday - EASY
AM: 1:08:57/9 miles on the Tomahawk loop in Parker. My foot was a tad sore when I woke up but got much better during my run. This isn't uncommon a day after a hard tempo run or intervals. 2,400 feet of combined climb and descent.

AM: 49:16/7 miles on the treadmill at home. I knew later in the day Ted I were heading to Castlewood Canyon for some trails so I thought I'd hope on the 'mill and crank out a few marathon-pace miles. Miles 1-3 were in a very manageable 22:14. Miles 4-6.5 were 6:44, 6:38, 6:29, 3:11 (6.5) and 3:59 (7/cooldown). Very easy workout and I could have cranked out many more miles if not for the fact that Anne had to leave for work.
PM: 1:48:34/10 miles in Castlewood Canyon with Ted. Man, it was great to see Ted! We had a fantastic time in Castlewood Canyon, which is about 10-15 minutes from where I live. We circled the canyon via the Rim Rock Trail, hitting the spur to the main entrance, and then returned via the the Creek Bottom Trail. We added on a few miles on the dirt road and then called it a day.
Total miles for day: 17.0

Bear Peak in Boulder. Taken Sunday during our run.
AM: 2:32:17/9 miles at Green Mountain in Boulder. Yeah, I know, not a really impressive pace--but a really good time. Ted and I decided to make this a relaxed run/hike. So we got to the summit of Green, hung out up top for a few minutes (views pretty awesome despite a cloudy day), and then headed down via the Gregory Canyon Trail. We had a great time and capped it all off with brunch at IHOP in Boulder. Ted did great and we were running at 8,000 feet on Green. I am planning to head to Green in a few weeks and hammer it to the top to see how fast I can get to the summit--and then hammer down Flagstaff Road. I felt very good the whole time on Sunday, and I have to give it up for my new Kahtoola MicroSpikes--they were awesome on the icy sections of the trails. One of the best products I've ever bought.

Totals for the week:
  • 71.0 miles running
  • 10 hours, 50 minutes of running
  • 9 total runs
  • Stretching, yoga exercises, core strengthening and push-ups.
For the year: 570.56 miles

My goals for this week are:
  • 75-80 miles
  • Quality intervals
  • 6.5 miles at tempo pace
  • Potentially that Green Mountain outing on Saturday or Sunday.

Now for the video portion of this post. I have the unusual distinction of having lived in three Rust Belt states--West Virginia (right outside of Pittsburgh), northern Indiana and, of course, my beloved Cleveland, Ohio. I've seen the effects of NAFTA and the disintegrating steel industry. My dad spent his career in the steel industry in sales. A big part of me is a huge champion of the unions, and yet another part of me doesn't like what the unions now stand for. I believe deeply in American industry. At any rate, the other day I heard "Allentown" by Billy Joel and it nearly moved me to tears. I didn't understand what this song meant when I was kid, but as an adult now, who's seen empty, crumbling factories, I get what Joel is saying. This song is very profound and sad...and it should be heard by this nation during these troubling times when we can't even supply our own energy. The days of the kid who served during the war, returned home, and then worked for 30 years in the factory, made a good living, retired with the gold watch and pension and provided for his family in a way that ensured a better future for his kids seem to be over. If we give up our commitment to American industry, what do we have left? And what would the American Dream then be?


  1. Let me know when you take that hard crack at Green - but I ain't going again until the ice is a lot better.

  2. Thanks for that reference to the Bill Simmons article. Scary parable for those who understand what he is talking about.

  3. George: I am in! Regarding running on ice, MicroSpikes are incredible. I was cruising over ice and at first it was kind of unnerving. But the teeth are long enough that they dig in nicely and really give you excellent footing.