Thursday, January 31, 2019

Today's Run - Thursday, 1/31

6.2 miles. Once again cold, icy and dark. Starting to really struggle with the cold and dark. Getting time for some trail running.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Today's Run - Wednesday, 1/30

Not much to report except that I ran 6.2 miles in 54 and change and it was cold, dark and icy. The conditions this time of year just aren't inspiring.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Today's Run - Tuesday, 1/29

7.3 miles on the treadmill this morning. Woke up and it was 7 degrees and super icy outside--no thanks. So opted for the 'mill. After 2 miles of warm-up, turned up the speed to 8.6 (6:58/mile) and held that pace for 3 miles and then upped it to 8.8 (6:48) for the fourth mile, and then did a one-mile cooldown. Felt good.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Today's Run - Monday, 1/28 - Jim Walmsley falls into the Leadville "Road Race" Trap

Snowing like crazy when I woke up and eventually got on the treadmill for 4.1 miles in under 36 minutes. Mondays are almost always easy and short. Felt good--no issues from yesterday's 16 miles on concrete.

We got way more snow than the forecasters said we would. I had two shoveling sessions, which is good exercise so I'm not complaining (though the commute into work was horrid). When I shovel, I always pile as much as I can around our trees so they get water. In Colorado, "we need the moisture," as the saying goes.

Final note: Walmsley has fallen into the trap of thinking of the Leadville "Trail" (as he air-quoted it in his recent Ultrarunnerpodcast interview) 100 as a "road race" (my eyes are rolling). It is worth repeating: the Leadville 100 has served as a day of public reckoning for many great ultrarunners over the years. As he eyes Carpenter's course record (which he absolutely has the ability to beat), I really hope Jim's view of the course will change to one of profound respect when he does his recon this summer, because it is a course that will destroy you. The course's runability, combined with the altitude and--oh yeah--those mountains, will put a hurting on any runner who fails to bring respect to the starting line.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Today's Run - Sunday, 1/27..."Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" Followed By Too Much Concrete

After dropping the boy off at the bus stop for his ski club, we went back home and I chilled for about 90 minutes in front of the TV (while eating some full-fat yogurt), for some reason glued to "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." Yesterday, I happened upon the original "Wall Street," an iconic film from 1988 that I hadn't seen in some time, and so today I decided to watch the second installment, which I had never seen.

The original "Wall Street," as noted above, was/is iconic. It's a disturbing telling of the materialistic lust of the 80s. Who can forget what the antagonist proclaimed at a shareholders meeting in the movie: "Greed is good" (it was actually a pretty good speech, especially when he talked about the US's crushing trade and fiscal deficits and the lack of accountability among many management teams). Few times in cinematic history has there ever been a villain quite as cutthroat, with a few parts "art of war"-type philosopher (that's just enough to make you wish you didn't like him), as Gordon Gekko. Among the greatest cinematic villains, Gekko ranks in the top 5...on my list anyway. He says really cool stuff like, "If you're not on the inside, then you're on the outside." What guy doesn't find that kind of stuff cool?

Gordon Gekko, a legendary cinematic villain. Source: New York Times.

Unfortunately, in the second installment, Gekko, who is now out of prison and still cutthroat but this time with a peeler and not a full-on machete, wasn't given the platform to show his malicious wares that he had in the first "Wall Street." While the original film was/is a classic, the second one is overall entertaining (especially Gekko's run-in with Bud Fox) but is a swing and miss. It needed way more Gekko.

I just think that when you capture lightning in a bottle the way Oliver Stone did with Gekko in the first "Wall Street," it is pretty hard to keep that lightning in said bottle and then unleash it a second time.

As I was watching both movies, I was reminded that in the end the bad guys do usually lose. In this world, that's hard to remember because so often it seems the good guys finish last.

After getting through the first 90 minutes of "Money Never Sleeps," I went out for 16.1 miles, most of it on concrete paths in our town. Beat the ever-living sh%t out of my legs, too. I would have gone to the trails but still too much snow.

Then recovered with some "Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview."

Ended the week with 60.2 miles. Not bad.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Today's Runs - Saturday, 1/26

First day with two runs in a short while. Got out this morning for 8.5 miles. Still pretty icy and cold in Parker. The snow doesn't seem to be melting...…

After lunch, got on the treadmill for 3.6 miles in a little over 30 minutes. Easy pace.

I'm going into tomorrow with over 44 miles on the week. Around this time of year, I like to start putting in 60+ mile weeks (except on weekends we ski).

I put in for the waiting list for a 3-day expedition to summit Mount Rainier. I found out a few days ago that I will likely get into the expedition if I am willing to have 2-3 weeks' notice. I have some big work stuff going on this spring so will play Rainier by ear.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Today's Run - Friday, 1/25; The Wasatch Speedgoat

Really awesome article about a living legend: Karl Meltzer, known as "the Wasatch Speedgoat." In 2006, Karl won six very stout hundred-milers, including Hardrock and Wasatch. I love that the author, Andy Jones-Wilkins, is on what feels like a mission to tell the stories of the greats.

Karl is, in my opinion, clearly one of the greats. Even at age 50 now he's still getting after it. As mentioned in the article:

"Looking back on that season now, 13 years later, Meltzer made several observations. First, he said he never did any training runs longer than about 15 miles. Mostly he just ran on feel and went from event to event. Additionally, while he worked hard on his climbing, often hammering 2,000- to 3,000-foot ascents, he kept his training steady. 'I knew I just needed to keep it even keel. I knew the fitness was there.' Finally, Karl felt like he had momentum on his side and he wanted to take advantage of it, 'You just never know what might happen, so I just kept it going'.”

Really good stuff.

6.2 miles in about 55 minutes this morning. Was very cold (15 degrees), very dark and very icy/slick. Main goal this morning was to stay upright.

Planning to go 18-20 mile on Sunday.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Today's Run - Thursday, 1/24

7.1 miles in about 56 minutes this morning. Despite icy roads, I decided to get after it a bit and did 4 half-mile intervals, each at about 3 minutes. 2-minute recoveries. Just too icy to go much faster. Felt pretty good this morning. Really stoked about the spring...Yikes, it's only January!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Today's Run - Wednesday, 1/23

Got out the door at 5:25am for 6.3 miles in about 55 minutes. A chilly 18 degrees. I didn't realize until I got to work this morning (in Denver) how much more snow we got in Parker Monday night/Tuesday morning. Where we live in Parker is about a thousand feet above Denver and it showed in how much snow we got. My biggest focus on my run this morning was, quite honestly, staying upright. When I got into a neighborhood that is about 150 feet above where we live, I noticed even more snow.

All good.

Last night, I signed up for the waitlist for a 3-day expedition to summit Mt. Rainier. At this point, I would say my chances of being selected for a 2019 expedition are slim to none as all slots are full. But it is something I really want to do. Long-term, would love to climb Denali.

On my runs, I think a lot about the issues of our time. My viewpoint is just that--my viewpoint, my opinion, how I see things. What I most love about running is that it seems to have magical powers as far as giving me the "time" to examine things from different angles and really deconstruct what I'm thinking about. All that said, I really feel that as a country we are fighting over the wrong things and getting fired up about stuff that really doesn't matter. We are fighting over symptoms of a much larger problem and not coming together to address the problem. Even the littlest of issues get blown up on social media and before you know it we're feeling crisis, division and despair.

We should set the bar much higher as far as what really matters and what really deserves our time and attention.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Today's Call - Tuesday, 1/22; My UROY and UPOY Picks

With there being a blizzard in the making, I hopped on the treadmill for 7.4 miles in 61 minutes. Got on at 5:25am--good. Pretty much a steady-state run, staying at the same pace the whole way. Felt pretty good, though a little sore from last night's upper body weight session.

Here are my picks for North American Ultrarunners of the Year and Ultra Performances of the Year:

  • Female: Courtney Dauwalter
  • Male: Jim Walmsley
Note: Some say it was a weak year for male UROY, as Jim had only 2 ultra wins and a DNF at UTMB, but he was/is clearly the top male ultrarunner in North America. I actually applaud Jim for maintaining a reasonable race schedule.
  • Female: Camille Herron - Desert Solstice 24-hour (162.9 miles)
  • Male: Jim Walmsley - Western States 100 course record (14:30)
I really think Camille's 24-hour record will stand for generations. It is an insane record.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Today's Run - Monday, 1/21

With it being MLK Day, and my employer (University of Denver) being closed, I slept in a little later than usual ('til 6:30am) and, after enjoying some coffee and full-fat yogurt, got on the treadmill. Meanwhile, my son was still asleep. Decided to run about 5 miles and kept the first 4 at a very easy pace of 8:10. For the last mile, I jacked the 'mill up to 15% grade and power hiked at 15 minutes/mile with a few jogging intervals at a higher pace mixed in. That last mile was a grinder and my heart rate got up to over 140, but overall I handled it well. I am clearly out of shape with climbing!

My hope is to put together a solid week, which means 60+ miles. We do have some nasty weather rolling in tonight so tomorrow morning may be another run on the treadmill. I am very grateful to have a nice treadmill that gives me what I need.

I am feeling a bit mal-content of late. Not sure what's going on. At Copper Mountain all weekend, I kept daydreaming about running the Colorado Trail (it runs through Copper). I still feel very pulled to the trails--just not to the Leadville Trail (anymore). That said, every time we take the Copper Mountain/Leadville exit off I-70, I can't help but think back to the many memories I have of my "Race Across the Sky" finishes. It is getting time to settle on a 100-miler in 2019.

This past weekend, I also found myself talking with one of the lift operators at Copper, a nice guy in his mid-20s, I'd say. He stays in the Edge, which houses Copper employees right there in the Center Village, and pays about $340/month. He spends about 36 hours a week on the mountain operating lifts and the rest of the time skis and hangs out. I told him he's "living a dream life." Not a bad existence...…. My one regret in life is living way too responsibly in my 20s. If I had it to do over again, right out of graduate school I would have dirt-bagged for a few years. I told my son he's allowed to dirt bag but only after he gets his college degree and only if he limits it to 2 years (unless dirt-bagging is part of his chosen profession).

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Runs - Saturday, 1/19 and Sunday, 1/20; Weekend at Copper Mountain

Spent the weekend at Copper Mountain with the family. MLK weekend is typically the busiest ski weekend of the year in Colorado and we certainly saw it--long lines, everywhere, including in the back bowls. Got out for a very tame pre-ski 4.1 miles each morning. Despite being in an absolutely stunningly beautiful area of the Rocky Mountains, the diesel fumes from the buses at Copper are always a bit tough to endure when out for a run. Even in super fit Colorado, I got a whole bump of stares from folks driving into and through the resort.

Anyway, nice to get out for a few miles before hitting the slopes. Skied the back bowls on Saturday, hitting several black and double black runs and even went off the cornice (though I went off a bit easier section). Tamed it down on Sunday, though we still hit a few black run. The bottom of the Mine Dump run really threw me for a loop today--bumps got huge (as in the size of a Volks), steep and deep.

All in all, a fun weekend.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Today's Run - Friday, 1/18

Another 6.2 miler and felt like crap. Definitely fighting some kind of bug. Ugh. Going up to Copper Mountain tonight for a ski weekend. Might use that time to really dial back the mileage and give my body a little reset.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Today's Run - Thursday, 1/17; Walmsley Denied

Another less than stellar run. 6.2 miles. Definitely not 100% but good enough to get out and move the legs a bit. The Garmin is still saying I'm in "unproductive mode." Years of experience tell me to just keep showing up daily and maybe don't push it too hard as I fight whatever it is I have right now (a bug?).

I saw that Jim Walmsley didn't get into the Leadville 100 via the lottery. Seems like a missed opportunity for Leadville. If Jim is in that race, all of a sudden it's world-class again. All eyes are on Leadville that Saturday as you'd have a legit run at Carpenter's legendary course record. It's certainly a good argument that, if Jim really wants into Leadville, he could certainly practically jog his way to a token via one the race series events, such as the marathon, but that may not align with what he wants to do this summer (note: Leadville Marathon is 2 weeks prior to Western States). Athletes of his caliber choose their own path and so I really think not letting him in was a missed opportunity. We'll see what's next.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Today's Run - Wednesday, 1/16

6.2 miles this morning. Another sub-par run and my Garmin is now saying I'm "unproductive," which means something is likely up. I haven't been feeling 100%, so will monitor closely.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Today's Run - Tuesday, 1/15; An Epic Day in the Blogosphere

Was feeling a little soreness from Sunday's weight session so only got in 6.2 miles in abut 55 minutes this morning. Was cold as a well-digger's ass, if you ask me. For some reason, I love February in Colorado as by then we're starting to get more daylight. These dark mornings suck. Bring on February!

Today something epic happened. The "syncrobloggers" made an appearance and it was fun. For you new kids on the ultrarunning blog train, today we saw this, this, this and this. I personally feel that back in the day those were four of the best ultrarunning blogs out there. Who can ever forget Lord Balls' thoughts about the sport we all love(d) as told through an enlightening conversation with Inside Trail Matt, aka "Guy"? I wonder what happened to ITM? Or how about when AJW nearly set the shed on fire with his blog about DNFs? Nevermind when AJW posted a critique of "Unbreakable," pointing out muling that may or may not have been happening on camera.

Those are just a few examples of the amazing content--content that actually had substance to it and, yes, occasionally got others pissed off--that was being put out there on a daily basis back in the day, when people actually read and commented on blogs and didn't have to display their lives in shallow Instagram and Facebook posts. Just click on those links above and read some great long-form content until your heart is happy.

So today was a good day, my friends. Here's to hoping the ultrarunning blog returns!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Today's Run - Monday, 1/14

Very easy 4.1 miles in 37 minutes on the treadmill this morning. I don't think my heart rate ever went over 115.

Woke up pretty amped up about a busy week at the office (dare I say the stress level was elevated), so I was tight when I stepped on the 'mill. One of the gifts of early-morning running, though, is that it provides an opportunity for me to mentally organize the day, set my priorities, problem solve, map out conversations I need to have, think about what's important (mainly the art of listening) and basically wrap my head around big issues my team and I are grappling with. So by the time I stepped off the 'mill, I was in a better place and able to engage the second I walked in the office.

I don't know what I would do without the gift of running and the discipline to wake up early and get after it. I think about all the folks who wake up in the AM, rush out the door and walk into chaos at work, completely in reactive mode. Not saying I work in chaos; I don't. But lots of people do. By not moving/exercising in the morning, they are not allowing themselves time to plan out their thoughts and actions for the day.

Was a little sore this morning--but not too sore--from yesterday's weight session.

All good.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Today's Run - Sunday, 1/13; Thoughts on the Obesity Epidemic

After dropping off the boy at the bus stop for his ski club early this morning, we drove back home and I lounged for about an hour before getting outside for some miles. I am letting the winter get to my head when it comes to motivation to move. But it's not winning the battle; I am getting out there daily and getting after it. I especially enjoyed shoveling the deep snow yesterday (seriously).

16.3 miles in 2 hours and 19 minutes on icy roads and paths. Slow. I started to fade in the end, not because of lack of fitness but rather because I think the cold got to me as I started the long, steady climb back into my neighborhood.

Then in the afternoon the wife and I went to the gym and pumped some iron. For me, push-ups, arm stuff, shoulder stuff, and some leg stuff (including single-leg squats). When we left the gym, I felt like I'd tightened the bolts pretty well. Will keep at it this winter.

My watch, a Garmin 935, is now describing my fitness as "peaking" and telling me that with my VO2 max of 56 I could run a 2:56 marathon. Hmmmmmmmm. About 4 years ago my VO2 max tested at 63, which is actually pretty damn good for a guy in his 40s. Back to the 2:56...… I don't know. I think the watch is full of it, or does it know something I don't? Or do I mentally limit myself? I am kind of eying the Pueblo Marathon next month but am not going to force anything. The fact is that I have yet to run 20 miles all in one go in several months. Before I allow myself to register for that race, I need to have two 20-milers under the belt. Would be kind of cool to get a Boston qualifier, though.


So I read this and a few other articles on the subject. Essentially Americans are getting heavier (fatter) but not any taller. Maybe the most depressing obesity stat I know of is this: Today, Colorado's adult obesity rate is about 22.6%--the lowest in the nation. And yet if you took Colorado's obesity rate today and applied it to 1995, Colorado would be the most obese state in the nation. Go here to see for yourself.


Seems no one is immune from the obesity epidemic--not even the military, where about 1 in 5 soldiers is obese. If you read that article, essentially you'll see that the military is taking a page from  big collegiate athletics and will be focusing its menus more on foods that are closer to the source.

Yep, you can't just exercise yourself to weight loss. And yet there are all kinds of snake oil salespeople out there pushing that message.

As informed as I think Dean Karnazes is on this subject, I have to disagree with his "solution." Focusing on outcome--losing 50 pounds--and not process will get us no where. Whenever someone throws a big outcome out there--with no process--I cringe.

Not a lot of people are taking the obesity epidemic seriously--even though it's eventually going to bankrupt this country. These days, we all pay for each other's bad habits.

As a guy who lost nearly 60 pounds--about 40 pounds on diet changes alone and the last 20 from running (daily)--I feel like my viewpoint is one of personal experience. It all starts with what you put in your body. Every Saturday, when I go to the grocery store, I see what I believe is the truth behind the obesity epidemic in this country--at least the epidemic among suburban folks. I see carts full of processed foods--garbage like Texas Toast, frozen pizzas, frozen dinners, boxed this, boxed that, etc. Oh yeah, and lots of sugary drinks. I see the truth every Saturday.

Not saying what I buy is all perfect. It's not. I love my Tostitos, too (but in moderation). I have my vices. I'm just saying that the truth of the obesity epidemic, at least as I see it, is on full-display at grocery stores--you just have to look in people's carts (and maybe your own, too). The truth is also on display every morning when I drive by McDonald's and the drive-thru is backed up. Same with Starbucks, where folks just gotta have that 400-calorie latte.

A few weeks ago, I was pumping gas at 7-Eleven going into work and saw more than a few people coming out with big sodas and packs of donuts. Not judging. That was me back when my diet consisted of KFC, Wendy's, daily mocas, etc.--along with Marlboro Lights.

The larger issue, as I see it, is that we are busy and we make deals with the devil to create convenience, meaning we buy lots of processed foods. And yet I don't think we're as busy as we think. I think we have more free time than ever? Back in the day, you had to hunt and gather and get your shelter solid or else you and your family were dead.

We need to eat like our great-grandparents did--lots of veggies and, if you eat animal by-products, make sure the animals were raised the way they should be (e.g., grass-fed). The problem is that this way of eating isn't cheap.

Off my soap box now. This is a topic that evokes my passions!


The thought of a 100-miler this summer is getting more and more palatable. I really think it could be the Burning River 100.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Today's Run - Saturday, 1/12

Got our first proper snow of the winter and so got after it a bit this morning. Actually, I almost opted for the treadmill but then I remembered how strong running in the snow will make you. I am really trying to rebel against life's comforts--they make us weak! So I suited up and hit the road and local trails. 8.3 miles in 71 minutes. Ran a few trails with some deep snow in places. Beautiful morning.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Today's Run - Friday, 1/11

7.1 miles in just under 56 minutes on the treadmill this morning. When the treadmill got down to 21 minutes remaining, I decided to give myself a little challenge - cover at least 3 miles in those final 21 minutes. So I jacked up the speed a bit to 8.7 miles per hour (6:53 pace) and got it done. I would describe the pace for those final 3 miles as comfortably hard and nothing I should be feeling tomorrow as far as ill effects.

Really happy it's Friday. Look forward to relaxing a bit this weekend!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Today's Run - Thursday, 1/10; Thoughts on Mindfulness

After a nice little break over the holidays, life is starting to get really, really busy again. The demands on my time are immense, to the degree that I have to actively seek out conscientiousness and mindfulness.

In my job, one of the things I really try to impress on my people is to feel empowered to pause when feeling overwhelmed, to step away and reflect, and to gather information before responding. The benefits of pausing and reflecting, even in the face of what feels like a crushing deadline, far outweigh the drawbacks associated with reacting! In this world, that is not easy. The struggle is real. We are bombarded seemingly every second of every day with "information" and it's hard not to be in constant reactive mode, divorced from your true inner self, which I believe can be a catalyst for depression.

We have to be very intentional in finding moments--even moments in chaos--to pause, reflect, take stock of our thoughts and feelings, and gather information before responding. The key is thoughtful response, not impulsive reaction.

Again, not easy. I have to work so hard on this every day.

But this is an area where I feel I have improved a ton in the past few years, though I continue to have struggles now and then. And now I'm not only holding myself accountable but also helping others to do the same.

Running is great for all of this! But there is more I want to do. I am considering taking my efforts toward greater conscientiousness to the next level. I am intrigued by the thought of a silent retreat.

6.3 miles in a little over 54 minutes this morning. Really struggling to get out of the house in time for at least 60 minutes. The comfort of my cup of coffee and computer screen is winning me over. Need to take back control! It'll be much easier to get outside when the temps warm up and there's more sun in a few months, but I can't wait that long. Discipline!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Today's Run - Wednesday, 1/9

Felt pretty good this morning. After a few miles of warm-up, ran 2 miles in about 12:40. Felt good throughout and was holding back a bit. Took a half-mile breather and then put in a mile at 6:45ish pace. Legs responsive. This early in the year, just easing into more focused workouts.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Today's Run - Tuesday, 1/8

6.5 miles in a little over 54 minutes this morning. Got out the door late--need to move faster! Legs felt fresh but I held back a bit to save it for tomorrow, when I plan to do some focused work. Was very, very dark this morning and a bit gusty.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Today's Run - Monday, 1/7; Opinion on Goggins' Book

Monday is always easy and usually a treadmill day. Hopped on the 'mill this morning for 4 miles in a little over 36 minutes. Wanted to keep the heart rate very low--mission accomplished. All good.

Finished up Goggins' book. Despite my initial praise, I would say this book was solid yet flawed. My main beef is that it seems Goggins spends the first 80% of the book speaking about the merits of his approach and mental outlook and yet in the end he more or less says it all came crashing down on him, when his body rebelled on him to the extent that he thought he was dying. The answer to his ills was then....stretching? Not sure I finished the book "buying" what he was selling. He doesn't seem like a particularly happy guy who forged strong relationships over his lifetime. Maybe it's just me but, without strong relationships and happiness, life ain't much.

So I kind of took what happened to his health as his central thesis being fundamentally undermined. A fun book. A pretty good book. I love his commitment. Definitely inspiring. But a flawed book. Personally, I feel like it could have gone through a few more edits. While I am no Puritan, I also think the cursing in the book is over the top.

A few posts ago I was very critical of Runner's World. I will say that in its latest issue RW did a nice job with its articles on Rob Krar and Dave Mackey.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Today's Run - Sunday, 1/6

What a beautiful Sunday. Not too cold and very little wind. This time of year, it's hard to be motivated going into a long run. 17.1 miles in 2 hours and 22 minutes, good for about 8:19 pace. Ran the whole thing at MAF and felt good, though my ankles were a bit achy (nothing new there). After running the Legend loop, I turned west and then went down to the Cherry Creek Trail and then back up into my neighborhood (a long, steady climb that only gains about 400 feet but is a grinder). A solid effort today and I'm happy with it. Unless I'm mistaken, I'm pretty sure this is my single longest run since Leadville, which is crazy. My goal is to crank out a 20-miler by the end of this month. After showering, out on my CW-X socks and went down to Egg and I with the wife for lunch. Missing my son, who is up at Copper Mountain today skiing with a group of kids.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Today's Run

Beautiful and cool but not cold Saturday morning. Woke up with a stiff lower back. Too much sleep (about 10 hours, which I thought I needed but maybe my back didn't)? After about a 2.5-mile warm-up, did seven quarters at 84, 84, 87, 80, 86, 87 and 88. Recoveries in between were quarters, as well, except for the second recovery, which was a bit longer due to a loose dog (didn't want to zip too fast by it). People who allow their dogs off-leash in Parker...ugh. Form started to break down a bit on the sixth quarter. Lots of work to do to get faster and more efficient (and stronger!) but, overall, a solid session as I start to build. Weird indigestion thing that's been plaguing me the past few years appears to be better but is still there.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Today's Run

6.5 miles and about an hour this morning. Was planning to do fast quarters but ran into Mike about a mile in and we joined up for a chatty run. Good to catch up with him and discuss the hot topics of who should get the male and female UROYs and UROYs. Still battling this crazy heartburn thing but it might be better today. Legs so-so. Will plan to do my quarters tomorrow morning. Was reading Goggins' book last night and he heavily intimated that his first 100 was harder than anything he endured during Navy SEAL training. Not sure I buy that. But it's quite a good book.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Today's Run

6.7 miles in a hair over 1 hour on surprisingly icy roads this morning. Overall felt decent but went slow to stay upright. Wasn't expecting so much ice as it was warm enough yesterday, I figured, to clear away the muck. Still a bit of a winter wonderland in Parker, though. Been battling a nasty indigestion thing the last 24 hours and it plagued me on my run this AM. No fun and no clue where this came from. A mysterious bug? Will plan to get after it with some fast quarters tomorrow.

Now on chapter 6 of Goggins' book. Very good listening. Not for the faint of heart and very hard-edged.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Today's Run

While I am not sure if this is feasible/sustainable, I am going to try to start posting quick recaps of my daily workouts. Again, this may fall off in time but I'm going to give it a try. Here goes.....

With it being 7 degrees and icy outside, got on the treadmill around 5:25am for an hour (I will run in the extreme cold but not if it's ice AND dark at the same time). Worked out next to my wife, who was cranking it out on the cycle. She had the fan all to herself so I got a bit hot while running! Opted for the "cross-country" workout on my treadmill--a bit over 58 minutes and 7.1 miles with the incline going from 0% to 6% the whole way. Not easy! Listened to David Goggins' awesome new book, Can't Hurt Me. Legs felt better than decent but not great. Need to get back to being more efficient in the morning and aiming for at least 60-65 minutes of running before work.

Interestingly, yesterday my Garmin, based on how it's reading my fitness, projected a 3:00:04 marathon time. As I have run some sub-3s in my day and know what they take fitness-wise, not sure I believe it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year's Resolutions and 10 Things About Ultras I Wish Would Come Back

So long, 2018! On the running front, one of my more memorable experiences happened in July, when I was in New York City for business and spent days running to and around different parts of the city (in absolutely sweltering humidity). This is a photo of the 9/11 Memorial. I can't remember which tower this is, but the experience was powerful and deeply emotional, as you can imagine:

During my trip to NYC, I remember texting my wife that running is such a gift because it provides an easy way to explore and experience different places. Had I been in a car, there is no way I could have seen as much of NYC as I did on my own two feet!


Today, as I type this post, I'm feeling more and more motivated to finish a 100-miler in 2019. For me, success toward this goal requires three things:
  1. The right timing. Due to work commitments, whatever 100 I run in 2019, if in fact I do run a 100, can't happen before July or else I run a huge risk of burning the candle on both ends (and in the middle, too).
  2. My family's support. A must. I can't embark on training for and finishing a 100 unless I have my family's support. Fortunately, I always do.
  3. An ironclad commitment to finish. This is the one that's TBD as of yet. If I realize the commitment, then that commitment will fuel my daily progress toward training for a 100 and my resolve to ultimately finish the race. For me, commitment drives process, and process, when well-executed and fueled by commitment, drives positive results. Motivation is nice but is in no way a factor in the big picture. Motivation comes and goes. Commitment is what counts.
Which brings me to the so-called "News Year's Resolution." Seems everyone is putting their resolution(s) out there today. Many of them are really inspiring! Anecdotally speaking, I'm seeing some old ultra friends who have been out of the sport a few years start talking about coming back into it. Love it!

It's not like I don't also have things I want to do in life, on the run and in work. I have lots of stuff I want to do in 2019, including getting my stress levels more stable. Stress, I think, has been a huge drag on my athletic performance over the past year. It's not "negative" stress per se. I've just got a lot on me and I need to learn to handle it better. A lot of that comes down to the choices I make. My choices need to revolve around 1) more simplicity and 2) greater clarity of purpose.

Anyway, whenever someone puts a resolution out there--and most resolutions are very outcome-oriented, e.g., "this is what I will achieve in 2019"--my question is always around process. The desired outcome is great, but what are the steps you will take to achieve it? If all there is to a resolution is an outcome, then how do you define progress toward the outcome? What are the daily actions, the milestones, and other indicators of success and/or need for tweaks to approach to achieve goal? 


On my run this morning, I was thinking about the ultra community and basically how I've lost some of that special connection to it that I once felt. My connection to the community is still there; it's just not as strong as it used to be, and a lot of that is probably attributable to where I now am in life. I started running ultras in 2005, when I was in my very early 30s, and there are some things I definitely miss about the "good old days," namely:

1) Blogs. Back in the day, it seemed everyone running ultras had a blog and the universe of running blogs provided for great daily reading. Blogs I most loved to read included but were certainly not limited to those by Anton Krupicka, Karl Meltzer, Fast Eddy, AJW, Nick Clark and Geoff Roes. There are still some great blogs out there that are updated almost daily (examples here and here) but it seems blogging is no longer cool? I have also seen a trend where there has been more centralization of written "media" within the ultra world. It was a lot more fun back when everyone had their own blog and put their own content out there, on their own terms, on an almost daily basis. Those were fun days and I wish they'd return because ultimately we humans love great stories. This was once one of the more popular ultra blogs and I have let it tail off. Maybe I need to step up my content creation?

2) Anton. Anton, you made ultrarunning so damned interesting not only in your daily training and race performances but also in your blog. For those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about, here's one example of the epic content Anton would put out there when he was racing ultras and running 200 miles per week. He has a "new" blog that he still updates with awesome content but I miss his daily posts.

3) When Western States was the biggest race in the world. I still think many hold Western States to be the "Super Bowl of Ultrarunning," but I definitely think UTMB and Hardrock are gaining ground, which saddens me. UTMB is, in my view, overrated--the weather is almost always bad. Hardrock? Badass for sure. Call me old-fashioned but ultra is about running, not hiking, and Western States is a course that pits the best runners against each other. I realize people are gonna read this and get all fired up defending UTMB.

4) When the focus was on story-telling and not just showing, telling and impressing. I miss the stories shared via blogs, message boards and even the Ultralistserv. Nowadays it's just short-form content pushed out through social media accounts without much depth. A lot of it to me is all sizzle and no steak. I miss the steak.

5) When Runner's World magazine actually told good stories about ultrarunners. I have been a subscriber of RW for 15 years and this year may not renew. Its decline is saddening to me; the magazine to me now lacks soul and depth. It used to be RW put out some really interesting, albeit controversial, content on ultras, such as this article about Scott Jurek from 2010 (which pissed a lot of people off), that article about Rick Trujillo and his feud with Matt Carpenter from 2008 (again, which ruffled feathers), the infamous Dean piece from 2006 (which started a near civil war in my running club at the time) and several others. Back when RW actually had depth to it, it was a decent magazine that got people in the community talking. Nowadays it's mostly about pushing fluff and how-tos.

6) Marathon & Beyond magazine. The loss of M&B was, in my opinion, crushing. It put out such great content, such as this awesome article about Matt Carpenter. It was a very scholarly magazine that probed deeply into and geeked out on important topics.

7) When you could actually enter a race the day of. Back in the day, you could oftentimes show up on a Saturday morning and register for your race right then and there. No more. Nowadays, we have lotteries requiring contingency plans and advanced planning out the wazoo.

8) The (perceived) innocence of the sport. I'll be honest: I worry PEDs and cheating have infiltrated ultra in ways few want to imagine. Let me be clear: I have zero facts to back up this concern. And it could be the sport has always been infiltrated by PEDs and cheating. I really don't know. But I do know that it's very naïve to assume that people use PEDs only when money is on the line. I think ego is a much bigger driver of poor decisions than money.

9) When longevity trumped flashes in the pan. Ultra has always had epic talent come and go like the wind but it used to be that longevity was more appreciated than it is today. Rather than get all lathered up over who's crushing it here and now, I think true greatness is measured by longevity and that's why in my book the greats are those who excelled for years and years and actually trained in ways that sustained and built on excellence (e.g., Scott Jurek, Ann Trason, Yiannis Kouros, Tim Twietmeyer, Meghan Arbogast Laws, Darcy Piceu, Karl Meltzer and Hal Koerner to name a few).

10) When we were individuals, not brands. Seems today everyone has to have a brand and use social media to push it out. That's a really exhausting proposition, my friends. Brand ambassadorship has gone overboard. I get the power of brand. I really do. It's not like this blog wasn't at one time influenced by a desired personal "brand." I could easily be a brand ambassador now but why? Who cares what I like, use, etc.? I just miss the days when we were like-minded members of a cohesive community who enjoyed running a long way and didn't focus too much on pushing brands on each other. 

In re-reading my 10, I've noticed 6 are "media"-related. Interesting (to me, at least).

Don't get me wrong. It's not like I don't love some things going on today. I think we are in a golden age of ultra (and extreme sports) filmmaking (Billy Yang's work is exhibit A--quite possibly the most talented storyteller in the sport today). I think Ultrarunning Magazine is still a very strong curator of great content. We have awesome podcast shows, led by, Trail Runner Nation, Billy Yang's show, etc. And I think iRunFar's pre-race and race-day coverage of the major races, especially of Western States, is exceptional, though I'm not a fan of how it's now the home base for folks who I wish were blogging on their own platforms. Still so much to love. But there are things I miss and quite frankly wish would come back.

Here's to a great 2019!