Really stupid...

If an idea is good, it's on the verge of being stupid. ~ Michel Gondry

I have always had this theory… get a group of people in a room, throw out a bunch of ideas and at the end of the night, look at your list to find the most idiotic and that's the one you should do.

This blog was spawned from one very stupid idea - run the Leadville 100. I gave that a shot in the summer of '07 - completed 73 miles - and survived. The blog lives on...

RunStuRun has moved to

Thursday, December 31, 2009


I ran. I ran until my muscles burned and my veins pumped battery acid. Then I ran some more. ~ Narrator

Thurs: 00:34, 3.51 miles, Neighborhood recovery run

For my last run of the year, I just spun around the neighborhood in windy, cold conditions. Not much to say about that aside from, "It was great to get off the couch." All in all, I am very pleased with how the last few months of the year have gone and that I was able to log 1153 miles for the year. Considering I was injured for most of the year, that is not too shabby. Here's how it stacked up:

  • January - 0 miles: I was busy skiing, trying to recover from the wackiness that ended up plaguing me all year and well... just not running, I guess.
  • February - A few. Not many, however: I know I got out for one run on the Mesa trail and definitely hit the treadmill a couple of times but didn't write anything down so whatever I actually ran, did not make it into the final tally. Less than 20, for sure.
  • March - 28 miles: Sporadic, at best. I injured my knee in late February and that pretty much put the kibosh on any real running for the month. Plus, my abs were still kicking me in the ass (don't ask).
  • April - 102 miles: Actually started ramping it up a bit and started visiting Janet Runyan for coaching. Two good things that go great together.
  • May - 156 miles: Actually did a race in May too. Go figure.
  • June - 79 miles: Abdominals came back with a vengeance and I throttled back the miles, got an MRI, and got on the schedule for a procedure to help with the problems.
  • July - 51 miles: Going the wrong direction mileage-wise but the right direction health-wise. Sometimes one takes what one can get.
  • August - 105 miles: Ramping it back up and another race under my belt. The Wild West Relay was mellow and fun.
  • September - 137 miles: Able to keep things moving in the right direction. Relentless forward progress.
  • October - 139 miles: Got in some good runs in October and paced Chase Squires to a 3rd place finish in the 24-hours of Boulder race. (Mostly, he did it on his own.)
  • November - 172 miles: Really finishing up the year strongly with solid runs throughout the month despite crazy weather.
  • December - 182 miles: The trend continued in December with solid running over the course of the week and fairly consistent weekly mileage. Logged several 20+ days and ended up with a solid month of training despite some crazy-cold weather.

All in all, this wasn't quite what I had hoped to achieve this year but sometimes you have to just roll with it. My goals for 2010 include: Staying healthy and injury-free (gotta get cracking on that one), doubling my mileage for the year (see #1), getting in some fun racing throughout (one race already teed up for February), doing several adventure runs (Kokopelli Trail and R2R2R are both on the list), training monthly at higher altitudes ("Define 'higher'," you say?), spending a lot of time on the LT100 course in July (running each section, doing back-to-backs and putting in "real-time" training on course), and finishing in the top 50 at the LT100 in August (this actually may change in the scary direction if things go well throughout the year).

Thanks to Patagonia and nuun for providing great clothing and awesome hydration. I highly encourage all of you to look first at these guys when gearing up and seeking solutions for your outdoor activities.

And I definitely couldn't do any of this without the support and encouragement I receive at home. Rach not only keeps me moving in the right direction but provides me with unbelievably yummy sustenance to enable me to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Yea Rach!!!

Here's to a new year and new adventures.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Run, ski, ski, run...

Frickin' marvelous. ~ Steve Willett

Sun: 1:00, 6 miles, treadmill
Mon: 4:00, ski @ Crested Butte
Tues: 4:00, ski @ Crested Butte
Wed: 1:19:14, 9.5 miles, treadmill/track tempo run

Instead of trying to cram a bunch of running in at the end of the year to reach some arbitrary yearly mileage (don't hold me to not doing that in the future, however), I decided some skiing was in order. After getting in a nice recovery run on Sunday (and feeling pretty great, actually, after Saturday's effort), I jammed over to Gunny early Monday morning and met up with Dad, Donna and my cousins David, Dianne and their daughter Reagan. (Wow, that was a lot of Ds.) The skiing wasn't particularly awesome but it was good to see everyone. I then gorged myself at Donita's, hung out with Dad a little bit (Donna was wiped out after chasing Dad and me around all day), then did it again on Tuesday. Slightly better conditions on Tuesday and a storm rolled in late in the day so hopefully conditions improve.

I jammed back home Tuesday evening and was greeted to an awesome dinner/snack made by Rach. Too awesome.

I had a bunch of work on which to catch up today so just hit the gym late to do a quick tempo run. Felt great to get back with the program (albeit somewhat abbreviated). Looking forward to starting the year off with some skiing and then have a long run planned for Sunday. As always, frickin' marvelous.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mixing it up...

Snow run shot courtesy of Sean.

Security is mostly a superstition; it does not exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. ~ Helen Keller

Sat: 3:17, 21.5 miles, Boulder Backroads course avec snow

Yesterday's skiing turned into a movie due to single-digit temps coupled with 40+ mph winds and a desire to keep Dad and Donna from freezing their tuchuses off so we went to a movie instead. Invictus, though somewhat charming (thanks mostly to Morgan Freeman's portrayal of Nelson Mandela), was entertaining at best. The secret service/bodyguard sub-plot felt really tacked on and Eastwood has handled shooting more adeptly in other efforts (which is saying a lot, considering I am not really a fan of his work). However, Dad and Donna enjoyed themselves so mission accomplished. Sometimes you have to take one for the team.

So I mixed things up even more by moving my Long, Slow Day to Saturday this week so that I could run with a buddy of mine with whom I am hoping to do a lot of adventure running this spring and summer. We have a few grandiose plans (including the John Muir Trail, the Kokopelli Trail and a full assault of the Colorado Trail in '11) and he is actually starting to get excited about another attempt at the LT100 this summer. So that means I may have some company along the first half of the event but am down one pacer if he decides to go for it. One takes the good with the bad (and I kid... I'd love for him to give it another shot). So I headed down to Boulder amid flurries, gray skies and cold temps to get a long run on.

We met at Sean's place then drove out to the Boulder Res to run on the Boulder Backroads course. This is a notoriously difficult marathon course spiced up this morning by snow-covered and icy roads. Relatively fresh snow, to boot, so while it did provide some relief from the pounding one can be handed by frozen pavement and hardpacked conditions, it married this to sloppy footing and loss of traction to which I am becoming accustomed. This was not going to be a record-setting pace day, however.

We had the benefit of a crew today in the form of Sean's father-in-law, Dave, who graciously not only drove us to the start/finish but placed drop bags along the route so we could resupply water and other goodies, loaned me his YakTrax (which I didn't end up needing but were good to have along) and hung around after his shorter run to drive us back to Sean's. Dave rules!

Overall, I felt pretty great and we managed to keep an average pace in the low 9s despite the conditions. The weather even broke for us within a few miles of our start and it ended up being a gorgeous day. No wind, sun shining... good stuff. We were shooting for 20 miles but mis-estimated the turn around spot on the out-and-back section of the course and ended the day with 21.5. Some minor aches and pains in the last couple of miles but those were to be expected given the poor footing we experienced throughout the run.

I am testing a couple of recovery techniques and will let you know how they work. Added full-leg compression stockings to the immediate post-run regimen and took an ice bath when I got home. I know this isn't ideal (should tee that up immediately post-run) but thought I'd see if it appeared to have any positive effect when delayed. I tossed the stockings back on after the bath as well so now am I not only super sexy but well... I don't really know how to finish that sentence.

Rach filled me full of amazing curry she just made up from whatever we had in the house and now I am feeling quite sated. Great Boxing Day for sure.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Continued progress...

Cold Stu.

What do you mean you don't have a quote? I've said a lot of funny stuff today. ~ Rach

Tues: 00:41, 4.88 miles, Boulder Creek Path Surges
Wed: 1:22, 10ish miles, Treadmill/Track Tempo (The GPS mapping of this one is amusing.)
Thurs: 00:37, 3.75 miles, Eldora Skate Ski

Continued recovery. Still experiencing some glute trouble but overall, still running strongly. Despite a hectic week, I have managed to get out and about consistently and I have to say, it feels great.

Ran on the Creek Path again on Tuesday and not only got so excited to start my surges that I goofed up my schedule and came to the realization that I have a difficult time running slowly on the BCP. After a slightly clunky warm up, felt better and better through 3 surges then tweaked my foot a little somehow. I walked briefly which make it go back to normal for a bit until I started to run again. Pain, walk, repeat. The third time was the charm and I finished the run strongly.

Hit the gym late on Wednesday for a tempo run. Pressed for time, I started on the treadmill for 20 minutes of warm up at a 10:00 pace. Felt great and my heartrate was super low so I headed to the track for what ended up being 52 minutes of tempo. Started with 8s then gradually picked up the pace. I lost track of my laps but ended up in the 7-mile range for the tempo. Then I took off the shoes and did a cool-down mile barefoot for a total of 10 miles (estimated). Was really pleased with the results, frankly.

Today I mixed things up and went to Eldora for a short skate ski. It was really cold (6°F) and SUPER windy and with the combination of fresh snow, blow-in and the temps, I wasn't quite as on it as last time I went up. Fun nonetheless and good to get out.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Catch up...

Vanity is the enemy of funny. ~ Rach

Thurs: 00:38:28, 4.54 miles, Boulder Creek Path recovery
Fri: 00:32:54, 3.73 miles, Eldora Skate Ski
Sat: 00:40, 4.25 miles, Treadmill surges
Sun: 3:36, 22.5 miles, Niwot/North Boulder LSD

After Wednesday's effort, things started to settle down a bit in the injury department but I didn't feel 100% the rest of the week, that's for sure. Still had some good runs and got in a bonus skate on Friday so I ended up with just shy of 50 miles for the week. Not too shabby all things considered.

Thursday, I just did a quick, recovery run and felt decent. Ran in Boulder on the Creek Path and actually logged some quick splits given the continued crankiness I was experiencing in my right leg. Far less uncomfortable than the previous day but still there a bit for sure. Felt like I was constantly adjusting my gait to try to smooth things out. Overall, however, I was super relaxed and spun easy mid-8s without feeling like I was pushing things at all.

On Friday, I normally take the day off to rest but had to get outside to clear my head so went up to Eldora for a quick skate ski. My second day out on the twigs was MUCH better than my first. I am sure I still resemble a spastic turtle or something but I was actually able to glide uphill and felt like I improved a ton from my first effort. Hopefully it just keeps getting better.

Saturday, Rach and I went to see Les Contes d'Hoffman, presented by The Met. Amazing performance by an outstanding cast. Really enjoyed it. I even had time to jam up to the Rec Center and get in a quick run. Still felt some residual effects of the injury but much better. Just did 30 minutes of warm up at a 10:00 pace then 5, super easy 1x1 surges. Relaxed and fluid.

I got up early on Sunday and headed back down to Boulder for the weekly big run. Met with the group after spinning around on my own for about a mile then we headed out on a Niwot loop. Super leisurely pace for the first few miles then the group split and we started rolling 9s. I felt okay, never completely great and felt that my heartrate was up a bit from the week before (though at the end of the day, it wasn't up by much, really). I was starting to feel it by mile 15 or so but had stretches of decent recovery/feeling okay in the last 7. With 2 to go, we were really moving (mid 8s) as this seemed to be the only way I felt okay. We got stopped by a light with about 1 to go and that pretty much ended it for me. I pretty much just noodled it in and actually walked the last 1/2  mile or so. Was just a bit done by that point, which, given the week, was not too demoralizing. Ended up with about .25 miles less distance than last week with a longer warm up and about 10 less minutes so all in all, I am pretty happy with it.

Today, I planned to go ski with my buddy, Caleb but had problems sleeping due to an achy knee so I decided that it would be best to just rest it today. I have done something 6 out of the last 7 days while recovering from an injury so I decided to be smart for a change and take the day off to try to recover a bit. I ended up with over 50 miles for the second week in a row, which, at this time of the year, is not too shabby.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I told him that a player on a streak has to respect the streak. ~ Crash Davis

Wed: 1:27, 10.55 miles, Gunbarrel tempo

Never mess with a streak. Don't call it out. Don't switch things up. If it ain't broke, fix it and it soon will be.

I opted for a double dose of stupid and actually paid attention to my form while running on the treadmill. Bad idea #1. I have a bit of a loop in the pick up phase of my left-foot stride. Gotta fix that nonsense, right? Also, I have a bit of a chicken wing effect going on with my left arm so I dedicated a solid 15 minutes to trying to get that straightened out. These adjustments (which were quickly abandoned, I'm sure), coupled with idiot maneuver #2, did me in.

For my second dose of dipshittery, I decided to test drive some Pear Izumi Peak XC shoes I wore a few times last spring to see if the changes I have made in my stride over the past months made them worthy of a second look. Though I am sure these are awesome shoes for the right person, I just need more stability and volume than they seem to provide and this, along with my self-diagnosed changes to my wacky stride made my right glute extremely unhappy – with a vengeance. Seriously though, if you are in the market for a super light trail flat, these are quite nice. (I'll sell you a pair of lightly used size 10s super cheap. Hell, if you want them, drop a note in the comments and I'll give them to you.) And from now on, I am calling any inefficiencies in my stride "style" unless someone who knows better tells me they need to be fixed.

In any event, my hamstring and glute started getting cranky towards the end of my surges yesterday and by the evening, I was paying dearly for my misguided experiments. Nothing lots of stretching and a good night's sleep couldn't cure, right? Guess again. Woke up with some serious cranky butt and stiffness down to my mid hamstring.

What goes well with impeded range of motion? Tempo work, of course. I jammed down to Boulder to meet up with the crew for the standard Wednesday Tempo run. I gave myself 25 minutes to make it to 63rd/Jay where we were to meet up for the start and was spinning easy, albeit hobbled 9:30s then I took a wrong turn. Bonus. So I started my tempo solo and managed to get back on the right track. Made it to the start with seconds to spare and actually was feeling better (this isn't saying much) when we started the "real" tempo. Spun mid to high 7s to start then worked down to low 7s. Actually, ended up feeling pretty good about the effort given the complications. I figured out a couple of techniques to lessen the ouchiness and learned a valuable lesson about change. Resist it at all costs.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On a bit of a roll...

You never will get where you’re going if you never get up on your feet. ~ Jules Bass

Sun: 3:45, 22.75 miles, North Boulder LSD
Tues: 00:55, 6.15 miles, Treadmill surges

You have to love the satisfaction that comes with having an amazing run. Sunday was all about satisfaction as I logged the most distance and the best relative effort since I ran the Las Vegas Marathon back in December 08. Seriously, an awesome run on the roads between Boulder and Longmont.

The day started poorly with my sleeping through my alarm. So my pre-run prep was less awesome than I had hoped it would be. I got all the critters fed, grabbed a PB&J and bolted for Boulder to meet up with the group at the Cottonwood Trailhead. Temps had risen markedly since last week's freeze-a-thon and I started in shorts, a Cap3 Patagonia Longsleeve and a wind vest (which was quickly shed as Chinooks blew in from the southwest). We warmed up at a very leisurely pace on snowpacked and icy trails then moved to surface streets and on to the hardpacked dirt roads around the Res.

The group thinned as we made our way north then back east to hook up with pavement again on 63rd street. This is where we parted ways for good with just Rebecca and I heading north for the remainder of the day's adventure.

I felt super relaxed and just settled in for what turned out to be a very consistently paced run. Rebecca and I logged sub-10s pretty much all day and worked our way north, eventually turning back east on St. Vrain then hooking back up with 65th. By this point, the wind had picked up significantly and worked to push us back up to Wyoming but I was feeling great and kept up the pace to finish strongly at a solid 9:56 pace and average heartrate of 144 (that's pretty low for a Stu). That translates to about a 4:24 marathon pace. Not too shabby for a very low effort kind of a day.

And I eclipsed 50-miles for the week (6 was skate skiing), which is kind of a happy milestone to reach this early (or late, as the case may be) in the season. So I am hoping to finish the year strongly and am really looking forward to what lies ahead in 2010.

One thing I recognized as I ran into the increasing winds is that running in the wind is a lot less frustrating than riding in the wind. It is probably due to the relatively low speeds one travels while running and what the loss of 20% (for example) feels like vs. losing that same 20% of one's calm-day speed on a bike. Big difference.

And today I hit the gym because the warmer temps have turned our roads to slush and I wanted to add some upper body weights to the mix. Did a 30-minute warm up (10:00 pace) then did 10, 1x1 surges and a 5-minute cool-down. Ended up with 6.15 miles in 55 minutes. Generally felt pretty relaxed. Maybe a bit fatigued from Sunday but not too shabby. Then I hit the weights and jammed back home to get some work done. A good start to what I hope will be another great week.


Monday, December 14, 2009


It never always gets worse. ~ David Horton

In my never-ending quest for inspirato, I stumbled across this amazing race report from Garett Graubins, sub-20-hour finisher at the '09 LT100. Great race. Killer report.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fabulous run...

Fan-fucking-tastic. ~ Aurora Greenway

Sat: 00:45, 5.05 miles, Neighborhood loop with some surges

Couldn't be happier with today's run. I was planning to go skiing this morning but those plans fell through so I slept in a little, did some work around the house (hopefully our pipes will no longer freeze when the temps drop below zero), then got out for a great run around the neighborhood.

It was a little chilly (~25°) but I opted for the tough-guy approach and tossed on some shorts, a long-sleeved Patagonia Cap 3 shirt, a wind vest, knit hat and gloves; laced up my screw shoes and got after it. I felt awesome from the first step and just noodled my way around the 'hood then did some surges. Felt so great I decided to toss in a little extra time and ended up with an average pace of just under 9-minute miles with a pretty low average heartrate. This... is good.

Loved being back outside after so much time logged indoors over the past week. Perhaps that was part of my boost. Maybe it was all the amazing food Rach has been making me lately. I'll take it any way I can get it.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Round and round...

Deep e deep dow do dee do do ~ Hamster Dance

Tues: 00:55, 6.00 miles, Treadmill surges
Wed: 1:37, 12 miles, Treadmill/Track tempo
Thurs: 1:00ish, Not terribly far, Skate skiing

Words can not really describe how nice it was to get out of the hamster maze yesterday. The temps here have been incredibly low of late and yesterday, they finally started to break from their single-digit (or lower) rut and climbed into the mid teens. It wouldn't have mattered as I was bound and determined to get outside for some fun in the sun but seeing 12° when I pulled on the skate boots at the base of Eldora lifted my spirits for sure. More on that in a moment.

I have been stuck in the gym but have been making good use of my time and spinning some solid efforts. On Tuesday, I warmed up for 30 minutes then did 10, 1x1 surges at an increasing pace. Felt a bit woozy to start after less-than-ideal nutrition for the day and a massage but a gel picked me up and I was able to finish the full workout with gusto. Then I did a circuit of upper body weights and called it an evening.

Wednesday featured the addition of wind to the frigid temps as well as client meetings in Denver so it was back to the gym for a tempo workout. I tried to mix things up a bit to fight off the boredom associated with running on the 'mill and track and ended up having a great run. Started on the treadmill with 30 minutes at a 10-minute pace, then went into my tempo slowly with 2 miles at 8:00, and 1 mile at 7:30. Then I moved to the track for 35 minutes at 7:00 then cooled down for 10 minutes at 10:00 on the treadmill for a total of 1:37 and 12 miles. Felt great but I was definitely getting pretty sick of running in circles by the end.

So that brings us back to Thursday. This was the first time I have skated since college (about 18 years) and I was definitely rusty. The wind was howling at the Rock but the nordic center there is hidden in the trees so once one gets going it isn't that big of a deal. I fell pretty much immediately (whoa those skis are skinny!), got up, fell again and broke the grip on my pole. Hmmm. Not an auspicious start but I was committed so I went in and got some rental poles and got back after it.

"Graceful" is not the adjective one would use to describe my form but in the next hour or so, I managed to quickly improve to the point where I was able to glide some uphill and didn't eat it any more, which was nice. Just worked on staying upright, getting used to standing up on toothpicks and trying to not look like a total kook. Two out of three ain't bad, I suppose. Had a lot of fun and am excited to get my pole fixed so I can get back after it.

Looking back at the past few weeks, I definitely have had some days that were better than others. All were productive, however and, though occasionally suffering, really have enjoyed myself. Some days feel a bit more like suffering than others but really, post run or ski, I feel way better about well... everything. That's why I do it and why I encourage others to just go spend a little time getting the old heart pumping. It soothes what ails ya.


Monday, December 7, 2009



When I was your age, we had to walk 5 miles to school. Snowin' in the summertime. Uphill both ways. ~ Someone's Grandpa

Thurs: 00:40, 4 miles, treadmill easy
Sat: 00:40, 4.75 miles, treadmill with surges
Sun: 1:55, 13 miles, treadmill/track easy

I have been grossly negligent about posting this past week. Perhaps the cold weather has slowed my mojo or something. Apologies all around.

The treadmill and I have become friendly this past weeks as the temps have plummeted. Thursday, I hit the gym for a post-tempo recovery run and felt great. Really nothing to complain about or remarkable about the effort aside from its genuine lack of any issues. Just jumped on, spun through 4 miles or so, then went home. Good stuff.

I took Friday off then headed up to the Basin with Pete on Saturday morning. We were greeted with chilly temps and fresh corduroy which I used to my advantage spinning blazing laps on my AK Maidens. Not really what the skis were designed to do but they do it admirably. Tip those puppies up on edge and they just accelerate away from you. I hit the gym on the way home to say hello to Mr. Treadmill again and busted out 4.75 miles in about 40 minutes with 5 sets of 1x1 surges. Again, felt awesome.

Sunday, Rach and I headed down to the shelter early to help out with the bunnies and it was cold. And snowy. And windy. Not the best combo. The plan was to drive back home, then jam down to Boulder for a long run but that simply wasn't in the cards with temps and conditions that were not much better than those found at home. So back to the gym for more treadmill action. Spun 8 miles at a leisurely 10-minute pace then hopped on the track for 5 more. 13 total in a bit less than 2 hours. Didn't push it at all and felt smooth. Boredom was the only battle I had to fight, really.

So I'm hoping we get back into some more normal "cold-up-top, warmer-down-below" style weather soon or I am going to have to break out the balaclava and mittens. Running indoors serves its purpose but is not the best companion long-term. I did get my skate boot back from Larry today so I envision some skinny skiing in my not-too-distant future.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Trigger pulled...

Got my hand in my pocket and my finger's on the trigger. ~ Beastie Boys

Wed: 1:30, 10.5 miles, Boulder tempo on snow

Just signed up for the Moab Red Hot 50K event February 13th. Pretty excited, to be honest. Looking forward to getting back out there and doing an early season event.

Yesterday, I headed down to Boulder and did a run on mostly snowpacked and icy roads. Warmed up for 30 minutes then did 1 hour of tempo. Didn't feel like it but I churned out 10.5 miles total. Pretty sweet effort for a Stu. Janet worked on a couple things with me to try to get me to ground my left side a bit more to open up my right hip and, though it felt a bit wonky and ended up affecting other parts of my bod, did seem to make everything feel "easier". Easier is good, for sure.

Was going to head up to Eldora for a few turns today but the schedule booked up and we lost water in the kitchen (stove went out last night, ugh). So I'll stick around the house, get some work done, try to get the water back up and running and then head to the gym later for a quick run (most likely). It's 5° out right now and my screw shoes are frozen so I'm guessing I'll opt for the wuss route today.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Links, snow and walls...

He may have driven us into a wall, but at least he didn't blink. ~ Jon Stewart

Fri: Golf @ Deer Creek
Sat: 00:40, 4.19 miles, Snow trails and surges
Sun: 3:30ish, 18ish, LSD bonk-a-thon

Where'd the time go? After last week's efforts, I tossed in some golf with my pops then got back on the running plan for a nice little jaunt on Saturday near the house then a long, slow run on Sunday that was pretty awesome for the first 2+ hours then turned south quickly. Headed out from the Cottonwood trailhead in Boulder and made our way north to Jay then up past the Res and on to the Eagle trailhead. It was a beautiful day for a run and there were tons of people out enjoying the cool, clear weather. I ran for a bit with Janet Runyan along the Eagle trail until she turned around to head back home. The group split apart as we headed west and by the time we reached the Foothills trail, I was running comfortably with Art Ives, a top-10 Leadville finisher.

Art and I made our way south along the Foothills trail, up and over the ridge to Sanitas and then back down to Eben G. Fine Park where we went our separate ways. I needed to get in 3:10 for the day so jammed up and over the flank of Flagstaff and back down to Chautauqua. This... was ill-conceived and given my lack of water and food, quickly made for the rapid approach of the proverbial wall. So I sucked it up and kept going since my car was on the other side of town and I wasn't about to let a little thing like 6 miles get me down.

I made my way over to the Boulder Creek bike path and started to work a run/walk cycle that eventually got me where I needed to go, albeit much more slowly than I had anticipated. But that is what happens sometimes, particularly in ultras... you have to just suck it up and keep moving. All told, it was a good run and I learned a lot. Plus, I wasn't too destroyed the following day as I was able to rehydrate and get some calories moving quickly. A good day of training, for sure.

I took Monday off then didn't manage to get out for a run on Tuesday so I am really interested to see how today goes. There is snow in Boulder so it could be a total cluster but I'll go give it a whirl and report back soon.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ski, run, run, run...

If one could run without getting tired I don't think one would often want to do anything else. - C.S. Lewis

Tues: 2:00, ski, A-Basin, 00:40, 4.5 miles, treadmill surges
Wed: 1:30ish, 11.4ish miles, Boulder tempo
Thurs: 00:36, 3.45 miles, Casa recovery

Crazy week. My mojo has been thrown off a bit by the holiday but that does not seem to have affected my running. Which is nice. I have continued to be consistent and even tossed in some turns at the Basin on Tuesday for good measure.

Tuesday featured early morning snow sliding with Caleb, a buddy who hadn't skied since last March when he suffered a broken leg while skiing at the Basin. So it was a celebration of sorts, welcoming him back to the world of tele turns. A-Basin still has really only one run of man-made open but it was fun to get out there and spin a few laps. It wasn't too crowded on Tuesday morning so we just burned vert until we felt like we had explored the one run enough then called it good. Caleb is a two-time Leadville runner and has logged a bunch of really cool marathon experience as well. He has done a lot of the major events (Chicago, New York, Boston, San Fran) and logged a PR of 3:02 at New York two years ago (if memory serves). I definitely am putting that one on the list and may just toss my name in the lottery for next year's event for good measure.

Post skiing, I hit the gym for some surges on the treadmill and felt great. Good, solid warm up then 5 strong, 1-minute surges. Apparently the skiing treated me well as I felt awesome and just cranked through the workout in good form

Wednesday, I got up early and headed down to Boulder for a tempo run. I forgot my Garmin and iMapMyRun didn't work for me so well but I survived the technical difficulties to pull together a pretty amazing run. I warmed up really slowly then chased through the group to log over 11 miles total in about 1:30. Considering the warm up (~50 minutes, 4+miles), that is a really fast tempo for a Stu. I was pretty much done by mile 11 and coasted in the last half mile for a really solid tempo run. Too fast, yeah. But good to get things moving and sustain for that duration.

Today featured a quick recovery run. It was a gorgeous day up here and I was treated to virtual silence throughout the run. With everyone indoors watching football or whacking down enough food to keep an African village well fed for a week, I had the roads and trails to myself. I put it on auto-pilot and just ran at a slow, comfortable pace throughout. Headed up through Mountain Meadows and unconsciously, turned onto one of my favorite trails near my house. It was snowpacked and icy but that didn't seem to bother me much at all as I worked my way through the forest, the tempo of my footsteps providing the rhythm to carry me up and over hills and obstacles along the way. The trail became progressively less traveled as I made my way through the woods until I was breaking trail through 6 inches of untracked snow left over from our last storm. I popped out on the main thoroughfare and headed back towards my house. A red-tailed hawk was circling lazily overhead, ducking courageously through the tall pines until it drew the attention of a single crow who quickly made its way up to make its challenge. They danced, providing me ample entertainment to carry me over the last hill effortlessly. I made it home shortly thereafter, energized from the time spent out among the flora and fauna of the Colorado high-country.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This is pretty awesome...

To know the road ahead, ask those coming back. ~ Chinese Proverb

Just sayin' is all.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Hydrate or die...

Simplify, man! ~ Recycle Center Guy

Spent the day today waiting for a delivery which finally arrived about 3:00. Then I got to move a bunch of building materials around and stash 2400 pounds of stove pellets in our garage. Good, good times. Now we're definitely set for winter, however and I can also finish up work on the shed. SO psyched.

So today, since I have no running to report, I'll toss another review your way. Today's product review: The many awesome flavors of nuun.

I discovered nuun sometime last spring and thought it sounded like a great idea. It removes all the crap packed into common sports drinks: the waste, the high fructose corn syrup - the unbearable taste - and slams it into a compact treat that is not only yummy, but is super convenient. nuun comes in a wide variety of flavors to appeal to virtual any taste. My current favorites: Cirtus Fruit, Cucumber Mint, and Banananuun. nuun doesn't rely on artificial sweeteners (actually, all nuun is sugar-free) so it is a perfect compliment to your hydration/nutrition regimen.

nuun is portable and super easy to use. You just drop a tablet into 16oz of water and watch it go to work. It turns any available (potable) water source into an instant sports drink. Another upside to nuun is that its mix of ingredients keeps one from having to rely heavily on salt tabs during long runs. Sweet! One less thing to have to keep track of when my brain is run-addled anyway. I love being able to re-use bottles without adding to the landfills and being able to create great tasting sports drinks on the go. Each tube contains enough tablets to make 12 bottles of electrolyte drink and costs a LOT less than the equivalent volume of sports drink.

Full disclosure time: I was so thrilled with nuun after first trying it this spring that I contacted them to see if they had room on their roster to sponsor an athlete such as myself. For the '09 season, I was a proud member of their pro program. In 2010, I am happy to announce that I will continue to fly the nuun flag!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Slow and low...

Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. ~ William Faulkner

Sun: 3:00, 18 miles, LSD road and trails

Ah, the long slow day. Time to reflect, mingle and just keep putting one foot in front of the other for 3 hours or so.

Today I met up with the group in Boulder to get in some time on the old feet. I parked at the mall then jogged over to Pott's Field for the meet up. After a short delay, we were off, making our way through the mostly abandoned Boulder surface streets on a crisp, cool Sunday morning.

We headed west and ended up at Eben G. Fine park at the mouth of Boulder Canyon then meandered up to Chautauqua. Enchanted Forest to Mesa to Bear featured mixed running with variable conditions. Many areas were completely dry but north-facing sections were icy. If you are planning to log longer hours Mesa-west, traction might be advisable.

One item of note: there were TONS of runners out today on Mesa. Many traveling in packs and most who really appeared to know what they were doing (vs. casual runners). Boulder is a running town but this was an interesting phenomenon, even for Boulder. Great to see groups of people out there getting after it for sure.

After jamming back down Bear Canyon Drive we worked surface streets again to Martin Park then jumped back on Boulder's extensive network of bike paths. With about an hour remaining in my scheduled run, I headed back north flying solo and picked up the tempo to try to log a full 18 miles in the 3-hours scheduled. Mission accomplished.

I learned some things today: I can sustain a mellow pace for a significant amount of time; public restrooms are available at the Chautauqua dining hall if you need them; miles tick off quickly when running with a large group (I actually knew this one); I sweat like a hypertensive gorilla even when it is cold out (um... I knew this too).

All in all, it was a very good run. I did have some lingering issues later in the effort with the spot between my shoulder blades catching fire and some slight abdominal and sciatic nerve involvement but post run I wasn't completely wiped out nor do I feel damaged in any way. I even had the energy to do a little more work on the house I started yesterday. Project finished. Bring on the snow!


Friday, November 20, 2009

The road to success...

Get your motor runnin'. ~ Steppenwolf

00:32, 3.27 miles, slow recovery

As we roll into winter months here in the high country, the ability to log miles on trails pretty much goes away. Fortunately, I am close to Boulder/Denver and trails down there stay relatively clear year-round (traction is a plus so I plan to get a lot of time with screw shoes or yaktrax) but one does tend to log a lot of miles on the slab during the course of winter training. Interestingly enough, I have been running on pavement quite a bit of late anyway as I have started running with a group of people who spend a lot of time on the blacktop.

Last year, I purposely started running longer-distance street races in an effort to become more efficient, get my average pace up and get in some late-season racing to jump start my ultra dominance in 2009. We all know how well that worked out as I was injured most of this year and only got in a couple of races. Alas, I do not blame the pavement and still believe that training on roads does help in many ways to translate fitness, efficiency and consistency to the ultra-distance scene and here I am, a year later, approaching the slab with a keener eye for how quickly to ramp up mileage and pacing.

Bryon Powell has a great summary of why he believes road running is great for trail running if you are interested in checking out his post on the subject.

I am not sure what you would call yesterday's run, to be honest. It certainly wasn't on pavement (mixed snow, ice, some hardpacked dirt roads) but it wasn't trail running either. It was a bit chilly and given that I was moving at a very relaxed pace, I piled on the clothing a little bit. I felt better as the run progressed as well - starting out feeling a bit clunky then, by the end, feeling much smoother. All in all, it was good to get out for a quick spin and enjoy the time I get to spend in our beautiful surroundings. I recommend you do the same.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009



They need dip-tet boosters yearly or they develop lockjaw and night vision.
~ Dot

1:30, 11 miles, tempo

Got my run on this morning then went to the doc for a check-up and tetanus shot. All appears to be doing well with the bod and I didn't even feel the shot. That nurse was a magician, I tell ya. Either that or she faked the whole thing and is selling my tetanus medication on the black market.

Ran tempo this morning and almost missed the train. Started at around 75th and Jay in Boulder and leisurely ran up to the starting point only to remember that I forgot to slather on the Body Glide. This... ladies and gentlemen, is a problem. So I started my tempo early and jammed back to the car then pushed the pace up Jay to meet with the Wednesday tempo crew. I made it with seconds to spare (well, or a few late) and ran a progressively faster tempo for just under 5 miles at which point I shut 'er down and jogged back to the car. Good, solid run for me and I really felt great throughout.

Took Beep-kitty to the vet this morning as she had some follow-up surgery from a lump we discovered last week that proved to be cancerous. Dr. Bock felt like the procedure went really well and that he got good margins. The lab results should be back in a day or two then we'll know for sure but she seems to be recovering nicely at this point.

I also got my old G4 desktop back from the shop and it is in need of a power supply. That's $400 so the old girl may get repurposed as a liquor cabinet or a planter or something since that is about $100 more than the stupid thing is worth. (Purchased in '03 for ~$3000 - lovely.)

Tomorrow work and a quick, easy run.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Screw shoes rule...

Remember, if you are puking, you are running well. ~ Timmy Parr (2009 Leadville 100 Winner)

00:55, 5.67 miles, 10x1minute surges

I may make it through this winter after all. Finally got out today on my new screw shoes and they work great. Definitely a TON more traction and less distracting than YakTrax. I suppose they aren't quite as adaptable as the YTs and your mom will KILL you if you wear them indoors but as far as hooking up a fear-free snow run, these things rule.

Headed out in nice temps (35°, bluebird) and did a warm-up jaunt around the 'hood. Just explored a little to see what was open and stayed on plowed but snowpacked roads. Felt fine, just cruised. Then I headed back to the Beav' for ten surges. These went fairly well. The Beav' isn't exactly flat so that, coupled with the conditions, made it a bit of a challenge. But I like challenges. Like the time I tried to pick up Daryl Hannah at a juice bar in Telluride. But that is another story...

I am working on the race schedule and believe I am going to forgo the short, fast-paced races for longer events. Targeting the Moab Red Hot 50K on February 13th as my first of the season. Should be super cool (if I can still get in). Seeing what happens for the remainder of the year as well with the big event, Leadville, being my main focus. Trying to get a feel for how much I should be racing vs. doing big, fun, self-supported, adventure runs. I definitely want to toss in a 60/40 Pbville jaunt in July so put that on your calendar. The first 60 miles of the course on Saturday, sleep in Twin Lakes, the run the last 40 on Sunday. Should be good times.

I also want to give a big shout out to Russ Bolig at Podium Custom Footwear. Totally hooked a brotha up on some insole fixes. These things are working very well and just needed a little attention and Russ made it happen and I didn't even miss out on any training runs. Thanks, Russ!

Tomorrow, tempo. Gonna get my fast on.


Monday, November 16, 2009


Keep your icy feet away from me, Mr. Freezey.
~ Akbar... or Jeff... I get those two guys mixed up

Seriously, my feet are like bricks of ice. Gotta get that situation fixed pronto. Rach, go boil some water or something...

Well, today I just feel like going for a run. But it is supposed to be my rest day and realistically, I need the rest, so run I will not. I may just kick the new cat around a little and hope that the impact doesn't shatter my feet.

It was pretty nippy up here last night. 3° to be exact. Which, as defined by Webebster* is nippy. So that makes 3 + 8 = horseshoe. Math... who gets that stuff?

So instead of a thrill-a-minute, action-packed tome about tromping around the woods for 17 hours, today, I'll pick something to review and well... review it, for your reading pleasure. See, I got your back.**

Today's review: The Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover - Mmmmmmmm Pufffy

My new favorite garment of the year is the Patagonia Nano Puff Pullover. That is a lot of words but there is some serious alliteration in there so we can forgive them. It is not only fun to say, but fun to wear and has kept me toasty warm in a wide range of conditions. This awesome jacket proves that good things DO come in small packages as it is amazingly lightweight, packs down to a tiny, easy-to-store bundle, and keeps you warm and dry even when wet. This is the advantage to Patagonia's PrimaLoft One insulation over Down - well, that and no birds are harmed - and it gets the stubert seal of approval. The outer shell is even made from recycled material so that makes, like, three thumbs up which means I need to go out and find a third thumb somewhere. Where's Walter Sobchak when you need him?

Just yesterday, I was removing a foot and a half of snow from our driveway and, as I am known to do, misjudged the wind direction a bit with the snowblower resulting in a seriously coated Stu. No problem for the Nano Puff... I stayed toasty warm. It's like wearing some sort of magical anti-coldness cloak. Now, if I could only get them to make one for my feet...


*Webebster is a completely fictional reference book made up by the author to cement a punchline. I cheat. Sue me. Webebster did.

**Yes, though occasionally I misspell "contemplate", I am not a complete moron and do know that "I got your back" is not correct grammar. Punctuation and where commas and shit go when tossing quotes into sentences, I really need to brush up on that but right now I am in the zone and as I discovered when I startled our cat one time while he was playing with a piece of tinfoil or something, you should never disturb someone who is in the zone... particularly when your nose is within clawing distance.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started. ~ Steve Prefontaine

1:36, 10 miles, treadmill/track, steady

Today was a bit less than awesome on the running front. I did get the driveway mowed, however, so that was nice. Then I went to the gym and jumped on the treadmill for 1:20 (8 miles). Felt pretty shitty, really... just couldn't get relaxed or feel any sort of solid rhythm. So I switched over to the track for another 16 minutes or so (2 miles) and called it good. Felt a lot better on the track so maybe next time I'll start out there then move to the treadmill. Or just strap on some snowshoes and go wander around the woods for 3 hours like I was supposed to.

All in all, it beat sitting on the couch all day so there you go.

So speaking of getting off the couch, here is a video of a Frozen Flash Mob in Grand Central Station:


Back and forth...

Gas brake honk. Honk honk punch. Gas gas gas. ~ Homer Simpson

This week featured some great runs and a lot of commuting to Boulder for running and film festival activities. I am reminded, again, that I do not miss my commute. Surprised? I doubt it.

This year's festival showcased a lot of great adventures and environmental movies. As a member of the jury, I saw most of these over the course of the past 4 months during screening events to select which movies would ultimately be shown at the festival and would win awards. Some highlights included:

  • Swift. Silent. Deep.
  • No Impact Man
  • First Ascent: Point of No Return
  • Signatures
  • Reporter
  • Making the Crooked Straight
Thursday, I did do a quick run around the neighborhood. Broke out the Vibram FiveFingers for the short spin and I still really like these friggin' things. Definitely a cool addition to the gear list. Though I don't ever envision doing anything more than a few miles at a time in them, I do believe that they help reinforce solid mechanics, improve foot and lower-leg strength and stability and provide a nice way to break up training so that a routine run becomes "something different". I'll probably work in a little barefoot time in my indoor workouts over the winter (*cough* today *cough*) to help offset the monotony of treadmill and short track laps.

Yesterday, I bailed on the snow to go to the gym and do surges on the treadmill. Mellow XC course for 30 minutes (10-minute pace) then stepped it up for another 10-15 to get in some nice, smooth surges. Felt great, actually. Since we got another foot overnight, I am heading back today to do my long run. Eldora opens this week so I'll be hitting the XC trails soon and may toss in a snowshoe race or two this winter just for kicks. We'll see how things progress.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009


We have the technology. ~ Narrator

1:28, 10.77, 55 minutes tempo

Tempo runs can get a little interesting. Today's was mellow at the start, then smooth and awesome, then pretty miserable. Typical, really - but the wheels really came off about 45-50 minutes in. Especially when I tried to keep up with Art who was spinning 6:40s. Not pretty.

I parked just over 2.5 miles from the start and warmed up on the paths and roads of east Boulder. Then we did a few strides and queued up for tempo - splitting into about 3 groups. This is the third week I have come out to run with this group and it is a lot of fun to get in some good miles with other runners. My group started second to last with Art chasing and moved along at a pretty steady 7:30ish pace. Fairly sustainable from my perspective. About mile 3 I was feeling solid and kicked it up a notch to about 7:15s.

Overall, I wasn't feeling super red hot today. I was still wearing the effects of Sunday's long run and yesterday's massage left me feeling a bit clunky. I ran alone for the next couple of miles then heard Art rapidly approaching so I slowed a bit to let him catch then tried to keep up as we ran past my starting point and across Valmont. He actually toned it down a bit from his standard 6:40 pace (I think) but I was unable to match that for long and soon turned back around to finish up my scheduled 55 minutes (poorly) then run some semblance of cool down.

All in all it was a great run. I was able to push myself and run very relaxed, just wasn't quite able to keep up with someone faster and vastly more experienced than I. Nothing to be worried about for sure. Just part of what one has to experience to get better, stronger, faster.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Location, location, location...

Perfect practice makes perfect. ~ Vince Lombardi

1:05, 6ish, surges

One of the things I love about living where we do is our proximity to interesting people and terrain. In the winter, running in the high country becomes somewhat challenging as trails disappear beneath drifts of snow, the wind kicks it up to eleven and the temps drop. The Boulder/Denver basin, however, sees many days of sunshine and warmer temps that allow runners to get out and enjoy a wide variety of trails and safe running circuits. You can ski in the morning then drop down to Boulder and get in 20 miles in the afternoon. No sweat. (Well, maybe a little sweat.)

Today I headed down early to drop our kitty off at the vet then got a little work done and ran a few errands before heading out to Janet's for our regularly scheduled training session (just a portion mapped there... forgot my Garmin). I warmed up in shorts and a Patagonia Capilene 1 T-Shirt (yeah, it was lightweight t-shirt weather) then worked with Janet on surges. Felt pretty great, actually. We worked on getting me to initiate the stride from my hips instead of my feet and I felt like I was really starting to get it. Sweet!

Then I went to Shirley for a great (if brutal) massage, picked up Beep and jammed back up to the hills. I did pick up some screws while down in Boulder to make some screw shoes. Probably not a bad addition to the gear list... just in case.


Monday, November 9, 2009

GoLite HydroSpeed pack review...

So much time, so little to do. ~ Willie Wonka

And on the second day, Stu rested. Mondays are typically my rest days so I just kicked it today. I did head to the gym for some circuits but other than that, I laid low. A little sore from yesterday's adventure but I think most of this is from jumping in the car immediately after running and sitting at a desk most of today. Gotta knock that off.

So in lieu of a long, boring talk about lifting weights, I thought I'd entertain you with a brief review of a hydration pack I have been using for a couple years: the GoLite Hydrospeed Lumbar Pack.

When I ran Leadville in '07, I alternated between the GoLite Rush and a lumber pack that a buddy loaned me from Ultimate Direction. The UD pack suited me very well for cooler, shorter segments and I grabbed the Rush for the long, warm trek between Treeline and Twin Lakes and outbound over Hope Pass. Honestly, now I would go with the HydroSpeed and a handheld for every section unless it was blazingly hot (and even then, might opt for the lighter set-up regardless). This was what I used on Sunday's 4-hour run and it was about perfect.

The HydroSpeed is a comfortable, lightweight lumbar pack that is designed to carry two bottles. The UD pack I mentioned earlier (no longer available) had a similar set up: Two bottles, two good-sized pockets and a secure bungee strap for a jacket, spare bottle or whatever else you might need to bring along. The HydroSpeed is even more awesome. GoLite (as you may have guessed) engineers their gear to be very lightweight without compromising comfort or stability and the HydroSpeed fits the bill nicely. The bottle sleeves are positioned well (when cinched-down as much as I like it, they make bottles easy to access but a little tough to remove) and the overall carriage is super comfy and easy to adjust. The dual pockets are perfect for carrying the necessities and I have crammed cool weather gear, food, camera, keys and an iPod in there without feeling overly burdened at all. The pack rides low on one's hips and the buckle system is very easy to get adjusted to fit snugly without excess wobble.

The pack utilizes the lightest weight clips and buckles but they have held up very well through a LOT of abuse over the past two years. It even has an iPod headphone port and key clip. It does not feature a whistle buckle so if you live in kitty or bear country (or just for safety's sake), you will want to pick up an emergency whistle to attach to the straps.

The pack weighs in at a scant 450g and retails at $50. This has been my go-to pack for two years now with my Rush relegated to only my longest, unsupported, no-access-to-water-type adventures.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Weekends are good...

Chase atop Green. With mountains.

Slipped my mind. ~ Dean "The King of Empty Promises"

4:04, 16.19, LSD

This was an action-packed weekend. Got up early on Saturday to do a quick run in the 'hood. The trails around the house are still snow-jammed so it was slow going but fun to get out and give them a go. Ended up with just under 4 miles in 40 minutes.

Rach and I then met my Dad and Donna for a screening of Puccini's Turandot. The Met has been broadcasting their performances to theaters across the nation (world, maybe) and they are pretty awesome. The screening we attended was completely packed so that bodes well for the program to extend for years to come. Good stuff.

Sunday, I met up with Chase for a long, slow run in Boulder. Beautiful day for it, too. We started out at the South Mesa trailhead and rocked the Mesa Trail north to Chautauqua. Then we headed up Gregory Canyon, Green Mountain and back down to Mesa via Bear Canyon, then south to Bluestem and back to the trailhead in a mellow 4 hours. My longest run for quite some time. Felt awesome and was good to have some company. Just what the doctor ordered.

Also, here is a video of our new kitty, Nino, who has some interesting quarks: She likes peanut butter, chili, yowling, potato chips, hostile occupation of the bunny magic dream cottage, refusing to recognize our right to exist, being a meezer, catching mice, watching Rach shower (me too! go figure) and... drinking from the tap.

Looking forward to more fun and/or games this week.


edit. GPS info for this run.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Crash, boom, bam...

You take the good, you take the bad... ~ Alan Thicke (Who knew?!?!)

This has been a pretty stellar week for some of us. Others, not so much. I'll start with the some and move on to the others...

After Sunday's long run, I thought I would be a little worked. However, Monday morning I felt awesome and hit the gym for some weight-training and just to get the blood flowing again. Did about 10 minutes on the rowing machine then circuits. The gym is not my very favorite place to be but if one is efficient, one can minimize the time spent. Plus, the Gilpin County Rec Center is very nice and rarely crowded. So it's all good.

Tuesday, someone decided to kick the blower into high gear and it was howling up here. So I headed back to the gym to run on the treadmill. Just put it in cruiser mode for about a half an hour warm-up (10:00 pace on an XC course that didn't ever really tax me) and then stepped it up for a whole boat-load of surges. Amazingly, these felt awesome. Yes, I was working pretty hard but was able to stay relaxed, even at a quick clip. 50 minutes total for somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 miles.

On Wednesday, I headed down to Boulder early to meet up with a group that does tempo runs every week. I parked a few miles from the start and got in a good warm up, did some short strides with the group then we split into 3 or 4 packs for the tempo work. I was in the last group that consisted of Tim, Rebecca and me and we chased the rest of the runners. I am guessing there were 10 people total including my running coach, Janet Runyan. Fun to finally get to actually run with her.

I pretty much just stuck with Tim for the first 4 miles (where he stopped) and we spun low 7s for most of that period. We would catch other runners then they would take a shortcut and meet us farther along the route so we all got to run together for at least a little while. After Tim dropped off, I kept going for a full 50 minutes of tempo. Ended up back at my car in sub 1:30 and a total of 11 miles. I did about 25 minutes warm up, 50 at tempo and about 10 cool-down. This was actually a really great run and I felt awesome throughout. Covered lots of miles in a short period of time. Good stuff.

Wednesday night was when things took a turn. First, we found out that Reggie, my buddy John's 13-year-old bulldog, had gone missing. He had been sick for quite awhile and was really old for a bulldog and his body was found the next day. He apparently had just wandered off to find a place to die. Very sad for John and the Reg-man will be sorely missed. He was awesome. Then Thursday, Luke, Pete and I went up to the Basin to get in some runs. On run #3, when we weren't even really skiing that fast, Luke caught an edge and went down like a sack of potatoes. Spiral fracture of his left clavicle. Super drag. He handled the whole thing like a champ, though. We look forward to his recovery so he can get back to the business of kicking our asses all over the ski area.

I hit the gym on the way home for a few circuits and decided that I could take the day off from running since I skied and lifted. Off again today then a short run tomorrow and long again on Sunday. Starting to really feel great and I'm looking forward to putting some races on the schedule soon.

Be sure to get your passes lined up for next week's Adventure Film Festival in Boulder. A lot of great movies to check out. Don't miss it!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Snow becomes water...

The slow one now will later be fast. ~ Bob Dylan

One reason I have very little tolerance for people who complain about the weather here in Colorado is that it so frequently changes. Yes, we might have gotten nearly 4 feet of snow last week but that certainly wasn't going to stick around very long. And rest assured, it hasn't.

After my foray to the gym on Saturday, I headed to the valley early Sunday to help Rach clean runs at the Bunny shelter then jammed up to Boulder for a long(ish) run. I read trail reports that indicated heading west, into the foothills might not result in the most fluid of forward motion so opted for an easterly route.

Temps were just about perfect and cloudless skies accompanied my as I started the day's adventure at the South Boulder Campus trailhead and ran south on very muddy roads, eventually intersecting with Broadway (or Highway 93 at this point). I felt great and though I had forgotten my Garmin, used the iMapMyRun app on my iPhone to track my progress. Pretty cool, actually, if a bit of a battery hog. Marshall road to Bobolink to the South Boulder trail... all ticked off quickly as I maintained a steady pace and felt strong.

Phase two of the run switched from dirt to slab as I made my way North and eventually hooked up with the Boulder Creek bike path and headed back West. I was running for time so had no real agenda regarding route and decided to run up the flank of Flagstaff then make my way back to the start. I definitely started feeling the pavement as I made the switch back to dirt and settled into an alternating power hike/run up to the saddle and back down to Chautauqua.

Rolling back down to Moorhead, I had problems keeping the pounding at bay but once the roads flattened out I settled into a steady pace and actually felt pretty solid. A brief stop to say "hi" to Houseboy Bob who was busy pushing his custom buggy around the front yard then on to the finish. Final tally: 17 miles and 2:40. Not blazing speeds but as always, good times.

I definitely felt the run after getting home and probably should have taken some extra measures to stave off soreness before getting back on the road. Some ab involvement and my hips were a bit sore. I was not as fatigued as I thought I might be the following day and it was great to see the bod kick into gear and recover. I even headed back to the gym today for some weight and plyometric training. It was good to get some activity in the legs today and I plan on adding these types of activities to my regular regimen. Setting my goals for 2010 pretty high so I'll need to keep things moving throughout the winter months to accomplish everything I am aiming for. This was more than a little tough last year so I'll have to stay focused and plan to come out of the winter months in stellar condition to hit the ultra circuit hard.

This week I have runs scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (though this may be replaced by some skiing) and again both days on the weekend. Drop me a line if you want to join in the fun and/or games.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

One in the bank... of many children... ~ Jane's Addiction

Hit the Basin up this morning for the kick-off for the '09-'10 ski season. I was a little rusty on the first run for sure and my new liners, courtesy of Larry's Bootfitting, will take some getting used to (yes, they are STIFF), but otherwise, it was a good first outing.

Luke and I didn't last very long - not due to any physical, out of shape-ness - but due to the ever building crowd of snow sliders flocking to one of only two mountains open for business. We made about 6 runs before calling it a day and Exo was actually spinning at a much faster tempo than normal. Our final foray into the maze was a 15-minute affair... only an hour or so after catching first chair. Alan is promising more terrain will open soon and with Keystone set to turn next week, the crowds should thin a bit.

I hit the gym on the way home to log some time on the treadmill and do a few surges. Temps climbed today which resulted in a squishy mess on local roads and trails. I definitely would love to get a treadmill at some point. Plop in a movie and bust out 15 miles. Sounds like a great combo to me.

Tomorrow is the date for the annual New York Marathon. This one is definitely on my list of "must-dos" as it is not only enormous but would be really cool to run through all five boroughs. Fred Lebow started the event back in the early 70s (if memory serves). There is a pretty good movie that goes into a lot of interesting detail about the event: Run For Your Life. The New York Times published an article recently about a man who created his own NYC marathon by walking around his block 75 times. I like DIY.

Tomorrow I have a long run on the schedule. Definitely not "planned" yet as I have no clue where it will be but probably will end up somewhere in Boulder. Unless you have other ideas...


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Deja vu...

I hear digging but I don't hear chopping. ~ Homer Simpson

Seems like we have done this before. When I got home, there was an additional foot and a half of snow in the driveway. That makes for 3+ for the first day of the storm that is still puking snow. Good stuff. Got the car a little stuck in the driveway, busted out the snow blower and took care of that action post haste. I have to get the snow tires put on ASAP as the stock ones just aren't cutting it any more.

And on a completely unrelated note (and at the risk of sounding anti-social), neither Rach nor I can figure out how we ever survived without Caller ID.

Just sayin' is all.


Get off the couch...

These boots aren't made for walkin'.

Hit 'im with your purse, you pussy! ~ Fan

First big storm of the year rolled in yesterday and deposited (as of last viewing) a foot and a half of fluffiness at our casa. Good stuff. Got up super early (after a pretty crappy night's sleep for whatever reason) to mow the driveway and jam down to Boulder to get in a run. Met up with a cool crew of people and we spun laps at IBM.

Slushy goodness and driving snow throughout but that didn't seem to get in the way too much of doing about 40 minutes of tempo. Ended up with over 10 miles for the day, which was pretty sweet. Seriously, running in the snow is just awesome. You stay totally warm. You don't eat shit every three minutes. And you don't have that stripe of frozen road grime and slush up your butt all day long. Beats riding for sure.

Had to drop the car off for some work and walked from there to try to get some food. First attempt (Noodles) aborted due to a power outage so I ended up at Pei Wei. Good eats, though I was really more in the mood for Noodles. Wandered over to the Mac Store to find it closed for rennovations so have parked it for now at Barnes & Noble. Going to try to get some work done and hopefully the car will be done before all the bozos head back up the canyon. There was a bus stuck in the narrows this morning and one of the guys driving in front of me thought 20 was the appropriate speed all the way down. It's all good, however. Just the standard wackiness.

More to come...


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trimming the fat...

How bodybuilders/Hollywood actors get ripped quick (without annoying shrinkage.) ~ Annoying Internet Ad

Now RunStuRun is 40%* more efficient. Just type in "" to get the latest goodness. Yeah, you too can set a new PR.


*Estimates of efficiency gains are approximate and not guaranteed.

No business like snow business...

Cause one man's ceiling is another man's floor ~ The Beastie Boys

There is just something exciting about a snow storm... particularly one that comes whistling in and pounds you with fresh flakes during your long solo run. Not that 2.5 hours is particularly "long" but conditions do play a major role in how long that feels and how fast one can cover the distance during the planned time.

I used this handy tool for judging what to wear, added a couple of items for backup and to combat what I knew were going to be challenging conditions, and headed out the door under heavy clouds, falling temps and intermittent snow showers that quickly turned to full-on blizzard activity. I was in the zone, however... so much so that I blew through one important turn that I missed due to the trail being covered with fresh pow and my not really paying attention. So I went another way.

The beauty of running familiar territory is that when you do blow a turn and find yourself staring at an adamant "no trespassing" sign, you can just take another route, knowing that eventually, you'll be back on common ground. So I dropped down an old mining road that eventually spilled me out with minimal bushwhacking to the Beav'. Crisis averted, on with my run.

So instead of doing the planned, clockwise loop, I modified my game to roll counter-clockwise - actually the more familiar direction of the two. I power-hiked up to Little Hope then dropped off the back side and into the system of mining roads and singletrack trails which have become my regular stomping grounds. Little Hope feeds to Ski Thing which then heads around the shoulder to Sofa Spring and Funky Boss. A quick, steep climb follows to the shoulder summit and I dropped down Tupperware, fed back to the Casa Trails on which I started (but now hooked into a different section) and headed up to try to find Dan the Man without success. Too much fresh had fallen between my last venture in these woods. So plans changed again, I hit the Fire Station and worked my way back around to Saddlebend, Diver Down, then back up to the other end of Dan the Man to Ladybug then home. I am sure that other people have names for these trails, or perhaps they just refer to them all as one bulk item. Either way, they are a blast.

I actually felt great for most of the run. At times, the going was slowed a bit due to the conditions and by the end I was tired and getting pretty chilly. Temps throughout were in the mid 20s and I was relatively comfortable most of the day with just long pants, a long-sleeved Patagonia Capilene 3 Crew, and gloves but donned a hat and my Patagonia Houdini Jacket when the snow was really coming down. One interesting equipment issue I had early on was with the gaiters (which actually look a lot more like spats) I was wearing. I actually really like them for times when I am sure that dirt and debris are going to be a problem but the string that runs under my foot (to keep the gaiters in place), kept collecting snow, ice and detritus. Eventually, one broke and I removed the other one without further incident. Makes me better understand why some manufacturers go with a Velcro attachment.

All in all, it was a pretty awesome day for a run.

In other news, we got a new kitty about 3 weeks ago. She is a Siamese short hair, is nuts (though that may be redundant) and her name is Nino. She likes to drink out of the faucet and is slightly less aggressive about it than this kitty. I'll post photos soon. We also are saddened by the death of one of our long-term foster bunnies, Rosie le Rose who died late last week. She was a sweetie and will be very sorely missed. Rach does such an awesome job taking care of the little guys and providing them with lots of love and tenderness. Rosie responded in kind and was a welcome addition to our family. We'll miss her tons.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Exploration, discovery...

Whoot, there it is. ~ 95 South

There are many things to appreciate about levering oneself off the couch to go out for a run and I was reminded of one this evening when I braved the elements for a fun trot around the neighborhood trails. Snow started coming down as I pulled on my trainers, grabbed a hat and headed out the door. By the time I reached the woods, it was pounding. And windy. And awesome.

I kept a nice, mellow pace and made my way down familiar singletrack, already dusted with fresh, heavy flakes. Getting out, no matter what the conditions, has become a favorite pastime and I have grown to really enjoy traveling familiar byways in anything nature throws my way. (Check with me again in a few months when it is like, 3° out.)

As I approached my final descent back to dirt roads and the asphalt ribbon of the Peak to Peak, I glanced to my right to discover a new trail - one which I have passed without noticing at least 50 times. The conditions were just right so the snow coverage made this new trail stand out from the pine-needle-covered ground. Otherwise, I would have missed it.

This deviation was not part of my agenda but I had to see where this new trail would take me. I knew it couldn't lead me too far astray and had to intersect with familiar territory fairly quickly given the area in which I was running. After running along for a few minutes, enjoying the undulations and twists of the route, I ran into a mountain biker heading the other direction.

The other funny thing about getting out in all sorts of weather is that when you do meet up with other adventurers, they are always just as happy about being out in the conditions as you. "Great weather for it, huh?" said SeƱor Mountain Bike. "Indeed," I concurred. We chatted briefly and I introduced myself. Now, I'll call this trail "Dan the Man" in his honor. I'm sure it has many other names but that's how I'll refer to it... in my own mind, at least.

So not only did I get in a run but I experienced some rather inclement weather and, in fact DUE to that weather, I found a new trail among those which I have been running for years. That, to me, is bliss.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Ten ways to solve that problem...

Not mine, I assure you. © The New York Times

That was my favorite arm.
~ Douglas

Toenails, or lack thereof, are a fairly common thorn in the side of distance runners. I think I eventually lost 3 during my first attempt at the Leadville 100 and another has finally grown back after last year's Denver Marathon. Some runners lose toenails mid-event - dumping nails out of their socks and continuing on their journey. Losing toenails just seems to be part of the wackiness those of us who enjoy running for hours on end have to endure.

Apparently, there is a small group of endurance athletes who have taken drastic measures to ensure that they no longer have to endure the pain and hassles of toenail loss - permanent removal.

Though this is not a route I believe I would take, it is an interesting, albeit drastic, solution to a common problem. Thoughts?


Monday, October 19, 2009

They figured out a way to make it tougher...

Train don't run out of Wichita... unlessin' you're a hog or a cattle. ~ Owen

There are so many logistics to consider when promoting an event. I flirt with the idea of promoting a race up here from time to time but know there are a lot of hurdles to get over before one can have a successful race. Add trains to the list of hazards to consider. The Des Moines Marathon thought they had this covered. Alas, they were wrong.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pace Chase...

I didn't feel so bad 'til the sun went down. ~ The White Stripes

Headed out to the Res around dusk to run with Chase during his 24-Hours of Boulder effort. I just missed him when I arrived so got to spend some time with his lovely wife, "Saralee" while we waited for him to come back around. It was a beautiful night without a cloud in the sky. Perfect weather for a run.

Chase's other crew member, Duane, had headed out "just to the top of the hill" and ended up doing a full lap. Nice work off the couch, Duane! I took over pacing once they returned to base camp and we headed out across the dam for the first of two laps (for me).

The course is an out/back that starts on pavement by the main Res center, runs east past the boat dock, across the dam then back west across the spillway and up to the north-side trailhead where it turns around at the second aid station (adorned last night with many great jack-o-lanterns) and heads back. Pretty cool in that you get to see the front-runners hauling ass on what is really a very flat, fast course. Chase was spinning great splits during my stint as pacer and we alternated running/walking for 3.5 hours or so.

I hung up my shoes after 2 full laps (15+ miles), defrosted my thoroughly dysfunctional hands (why I didn't wear my gloves is beyond me) and headed home. Chase had completed 9 laps (64+ miles) when I left. He was gunning for a full 100 miles and was still on track at midnight. Hoping to hear more later today and I'll post information when I get it.

All in all, it was fun to get out for a nighttime run with a bunch of other lunatics. If you have never taken some part in a 24-hour, lap-style event, you should give it a whirl sometime: as spectator, crew, pacer, team member or solo runner. They are a lot more spectator-friendly than traditional ultra events for sure.


UPDATE: Just got word that Chase did 12 laps, 85.7 miles total. Hung it up at about 6:00 this morning after 21 hours. Had visible bruises on the soles of his feet - Yikes! Nice job, Chase. That is a proud effort, rolling all but about 22 miles of that solo.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Run, rest, repeat...

...and proud we are of all of them. ~ Maude Lebowski

Killer week on the trails. Missed out on a run on Saturday due to some water turning from liquid to solid in the old house pipes but managed to get that all fixed up in time to get in a great run on Sunday. Rach and I did get to go see Tosca which was simulcast from The Met. These events are just awesome. Definitely go see one if you can.

Sunday, I just spun around the neighborhood trails for two and a half hours. Snow flurries kept me company throughout and it turned out to be a great run. Finished it off with about 15 minutes of "barefoot" running in the Vibram FiveFingers KSOs and I must say, I really like these puppies. They do really poorly in the snow but otherwise are quite kickass.

Took Monday off then hit the Casa Trails again on Tuesday for a quick warm up then a series of 45 second to 1 minute surges. Really felt great. Working on a lot of new tricks after spending time with Janet Runyan and Matt Nasta last week. They are hosting a workshop on the 24th in Boulder. Anyone seeking to get some great gait analysis and mechanics assessment should definitely check it out. Worked on relaxing from my head down with particular focus on my feet, neck and arm swing. Feels great.

Wednesday, I hit the Betasso trails for some tempo work. My warm up was mellow but resulted in a PR for the loop then I kicked it into high gear for 40+ minutes. Betasso is a challenging loop somehow. Just steep enough to put the ouch on a person without a lot of flat terrain on which to coast. I felt a little hammered after the run and headed down to Boulder for the last night of jury selection for this year's Adventure Film Festival. Mark the calendar (November 12-14), it is going to be a good one.

Tonight's run can only be described as "effortless". Took the KSOs out again for the duration of the run and just did a fun little Popsicle loop out my back door. (Well, front door, we don't really have a back door at my house.) Just felt amazing. One has to be a bit careful with foot placement while running on trails with the FiveFingers but everything just feels right. Posture, stride length... everything seems really put together. One tends to run a lot "lighter" with these anti-shoes and I definitely could feel the difference. Part of the run was on fairly hardpacked dirt which definitely took a little getting used to and I don't think I will be replacing my regular shoes anytime soon but I do plan to make "barefooting" part of my regular regimen.

So all in all, I am feeling rather awesome when it comes to getting my run on. And just in time for winter! This weekend should be a blast as I am pacing an online friend at the 24-Hours of Boulder race. Only know him through his blog and a few emails/messages back and forth. Should be fun. If you have time, spin out to the Res on Saturday after 9:00 to cheer on all the ultra runners. I'll be there after dark if that works better for you.

I'll let you know how that goes.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Get your adventure on...

Give 'er. ~ Anon

I have been a member of the Adventure Film team since its inception and this year's festival is shaping up to be a great one. We have been screening films non-stop for months and are getting down to the final few weeks before the Festival which hits the screens of Boulder November 12-14. This year's crop of films will surely honor the legacy of our fallen leader, Jonny Copp.

So mark your calendars, save the date, follow Adventure Film Festival on Facebook or AdventureFilm on Twitter and come out to check out the awesome movies we have lined up.

Hope to see you there.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Keep at it...

The longest journey begins with a single step. ~ Lao-tzu

Apparently, running marathons has somewhat transient benefits for most runners. It seems that in recent years, the marathon has become a mainstay on everyone's bucket list - well... life list, since running a marathon with any style whatsoever would not be feasible once one got to bucket-list time (for most people, at least). This Wall Street Journal article explains the phenomenon where people binge to get fit enough to run their event, then dump the regular workouts for less strenuous pastures.

Though marathon training or ultradistance running is not usually an exercise in moderation, one certainly can use an event such as a marathon to jump start a lifestyle change that can lead to improved health (both physical and mental) in the longer term. I know I rarely regret going out for a run, however brief. Give it a shot.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Good eats...

Mmmmmm... purple. ~ Homer Simpson

In addition to whacking down nuun by the truckload, I have been experimenting with some new food selections I picked up from Christopher McDougall's book, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. In the book, he mentions iskiate and pinole on numerous occasions and hypes their collective awesomeness for endurance sports. Since no recipes were provided, I was left to my own devices to find information about how to prepare these tasty treats.

So I turned to my buddy, the internet, and found a couple of references to iskiate or chia fresca that turned out to be quite awesome. Here is one recipe:

  • Combine 8oz of water with the juice of 1 lime and a couple tablespoons of sugar (or your favorite sweetener)
  • Shake or stir until the sugar has dissolved
  • Add 2 teaspoons of chia seeds
  • Mix, drink, feel the pow-ah
The Terahumara use iskiate to fuel their day-long treks and I must say that it is not only delicious but does provide what appears to be a pretty slow burn fuel for longer jaunts as well as a tasty, post-run recovery drink. Chia seeds (yes, the same stuff used to make entertaining Chia Pets) are high in protein and anti-oxidants and can be purchased at many natural food stores or online.

Pinole proved to be even more elusive in both where to find the stuff and how to prepare it. In Born to Run, McDougall mentions the use of pinole as a pre-run favorite as well as being used mid-run to help refuel. Caballo Blanco (Micah True), a gringo who has lived among the Terahumara for many years, takes dried pinole with him on long runs. Pinole is made from dried maize which one grinds into a fine powder and toasts to produce a very complex carbohydrate that is perfect as an energy source for long efforts.

Discovering a recipe for pinole was even more difficult than iskiate so... I made one up using regular corn meal. Two actually. I toasted the meal until golden brown then added some sugar and cinnamon to one batch and added some salt to another to see if either of these did the trick. I even tried eating it a variety of ways: Dry (not so great), mixed with water as a thin sports drink (the corn meal I used was a little too coarse for this to work well), just dumping some in my mouth and washing it down with lots of water (again, not the best plan while on the move). I actually did recognize the benefits to eating pinole even though my delivery methods were less than ideal. The meal tends to swell up in one's stomach, producing a feeling of fullness and my energy levels seemed to stay higher with less spike-and-crash sensation one can experience with other, high-carb food sources.

Undaunted, I contacted the source, Caballo Blanco, for more information.

One of the many things I love about the ultrarunning community is its openness and willingness to provide assistance, guidance and support to others. Shortly after my first ultra race, the 2007 Leadville 100, I contacted the winner, Anton Krupicka for advice. I'd never met Anton (unless you count the brief encounter we shared on the flanks of Hope Pass - he was running back toward the finish, I was still on my way to the turn around), but he quickly responded with a reply (run till your feet bleed then run some more). Micah was no different. Shortly after sending him an email asking for advice about how to prepare Iskiate and pinole, Micah replied with several recommendations for each.

For iskiate, he recommends soaking the chia seeds in water, juice, sports drink... whatever you like until the seeds get plump with the soaked liquid. Then drink them down. I have found them to also be good just tossed in a salad, on oatmeal, etc.

To make real pinole, one starts from whole maize that has been toasted and ground to a fine powder. This can be made into a cream of wheat type meal or can be mixed in water like a sports drink for on-the-go nutrition/hydration.

So I am off to find some maize. Or it can be purchased here:, though Micah says the fresh stuff is way better.

And on that note, I am going to grab a snack.


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