Monday, July 25, 2011

The Taper is On! (Well Sort of)

“The first question which you will ask and which I must try to answer is this, ‘What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?’ and my answer must at once be, ‘It is no use.’ There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behavior of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron. We shall not find a single foot of earth that can be planted with crops to raise food. It’s no use. So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.”
--Sir George Mallory, also known as Mr. Mount Everest (quoted in 1922).

Before I talk about my training for the week, I want to shine the spotlight on my good friend, Ted Friedman, from Cleveland. Ted is running in his second 100-miler (Burning River) this coming weekend and he's once again raising lots of money for The Gathering Place, a cancer support community. Ted lost his dad to cancer 11 years ago and, like many, believes deeply in the good work of The Gathering Place, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping people touched by cancer. Last year, Ted raised $10,000 for The Gathering Place through his 100 Miles for Life initiative. Most of us have in some way been touched by cancer. My sister-in-law is a cancer survivor and we lost my grandfather to melanoma many years ago. You can support The Gathering Place through Ted's run by going to his website. Also, click here to read a great interview Ted did with the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Ted and Tami, if you're reading this, put Anne and me down for a donation!

L-R: Ted, me and Kenny at the 2008 Mohican 100.

Another solid week of Leadville 100 training in the books! Totals for week:
  • Total miles for the week: 90
  • Total time running: 12 hours, 30 minutes
  • Total vertical: 7,000 feet
  • Total runs: 9
  • Average mileage per run: 10 (a little on the high side)
  • Yoga stretches, core strengthening and push-ups
Total miles for the year: 2072.91

On Saturday morning I got up and, for some reason, dreaded the thought of driving 45 minutes to run trails in the "smaller" mountains. I wanted to run, but I really wanted to spend time with my family on Saturday, not a combined 5 hours in the car and on the trail. So, I gave myself a "break" and ran 20 miles in the Parker hills. Let me tell you; it was not an easy run. For one thing, the Parker hills are just that--hilly. It was also a bit on the warm side. I was feeling the heat in the last 5 miles. Total climb for this run was 1,200 feet and it was all between 6,100-6,400 feet.

On Sunday, I woke up "recharged" and headed to Apex Open Space in Golden for 17 miles. After a little bit of a wild goose chase with my GPS, I found Heritage Square shopping center, where I parked and then proceeded up the rather rocky Apex Trail. This was my first time at Apex Open Space, so it was all new to me. I really liked the Enchanted Forest Trail and the Sluicebox loop. When I got to the top of the Apex Trail, I ran a few relaxing miles on Lookout Mountain and checked out the Buffalo Bill grave. Then I headed back down. Total climb for this run was 2,600 feet and topped out at about 7,600 feet.

Right now I'm a little tired, which is what you'd expect at this stage of a 100-mile training program. The good news is that I'm not "too" tired. Overall, my energy is pretty good--otherwise I wouldn't have been able to do runs of 20 and 17 miles, respectively, over the weekend.


My nutritional plan for the Leadville 100 is pretty much finalized. My primary fuel is going to be Hammer Perpetuem. I'm going for a few "test" runs to work out the kinks with Perpeturm and make double sure it's going to work for me. If I experience any issues at Leadville with Perpetuem, I'll have Gatorade on hand. Gatorade, while not the first choice for many serious endurance athletes, just tastes really good to me. I'll also have Hammer gels and Endurolytes on hand. Soup will be a major source of fuel and electrolytes late in the race. Of course, I'm going to try to eat "real" food as much as I can, but that's not always easy at 10,000+ feet.


My plan this week is to get to 12-14 hours of training. This will include about 75 miles of running along with some cycling and maybe, if time permits, swimming. I think it's a good idea to start the process of allowing my legs to heal and strengthen from all this training. A slight reduction in mileage together with some cross-training may just deliver what I need. So, call it a taper if you will. My "real" taper begins in earnest next week.


"Dreams," by Van Halen (listen)

World turns black and white
Pictures in an empty room
Your love starts fallin down
Better change your tune
Reach for the golden ring
Reach for the sky
Baby just spread your wings

We'll get higher and higher straight up we'll climb
We'll get higher and higher leave it all behind

Run, run, run, away
Like a train runnin off the track
The truth gets left behind
And falls between the cracks
Standing on broken dreams
But never losing sight
Spread your wings

So baby dry your eyes, save all the tears you've cried
Ohh that's what dreams are made of
Oh baby we belong in a world that must be strong
Ohh that's what dreams are made of

Higher and higher who knows what we'll find
And in the end on dreams we will depend
Cause that's what love is made of


Get 'er done!

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