Monday, August 29, 2011

A Taste of the Black Hills 100

I came across this today.  Oh, the memories!  I highly recommend this one to all of you planning your 2012 schedule, especially if the Hard Rock or Western States lotteries don't turn out in your favor.

Monday, August 22, 2011

2011 Pikes Peak Marathon

Well I was certainly humbled by the mountain on Sunday as it kicked my butt.  Not the race I was hoping for but I'm sure over time I will come to appreciate my number of PPM finishes more than the times on the clock, and this was my third finish.

With all the compiled data on this race, it's easy to overanalyze things, but I think in the end it just wasn't my day.  It all started by not waking up until 4:30 (in Fort Collins) and having to hop in the car, speed down to Manitou Springs, pick up my race bib, and jump into the start line.  I got all this done with just a few minutes to spare, so in a way I was just glad I got to run the race this year.  Unfortunately, I had no breakfast and forgot my gels.  At least I had a water bottle, but it would turn out that I couldn't get myself to drink enough of the aid-station Gatorade.

All excuses aside now, we had absolutely perfect weather this year.  No need to even carry a long-sleeved shirt.  I decided to take off a little faster than usual at the start, in hopes of not getting caught in too much traffic on the climb through the W's where everyone gets funneled into some narrow single-track.  It was still crowded, but I did run more of the W's this year than in past years (still not sure if that was a good thing though).  I was easily under sub 3:30 ascent splits (my ascent goal) through the Bottomless Pit Sign, but I never really felt that great from the start.  It was then a pretty steady meltdown for me all the way to the top.

Hitting the summit turnaround (Photo: Kevin Hurd)

I find it quite interesting that my time from Hydro Street to the "2 to summit" sign was within 1 minute of the time I ran it 2 weeks ago on a conservative training run (half of that in the dark via headlamp).  I felt great that day and could have easily pushed a good pace to the top.  I was nearly an hour from there to the summit yesterday, although I'm sure at least 10 minutes of that was me hugging a rock while letting others moving much better than me pass by.  I just seem to do my best running when I am relaxed and it is just me and the trail.  I get really anxious with all of the passing and being passed in a crowded race like this, and it really wears on me.  Maybe that is why I don't race much and tend to favor smaller ultras where I know I'll be by myself more than not.

I hit the summit in 3:52 and thought maybe if things turned around for me I could break 6 hours for the marathon.  I just felt crappy the whole way down, however.  I even walked down Ruxton Street to the finish because I was afraid I might throw up on a spectator if I ran.  I obviously got behind on my fueling and hydration.  My finish time of 6:25 was about the same time I ran 3 years ago on the back side of a "Double" (ran the Ascent the day before) and in a snowstorm.

So what draws me to Pikes Peak?  It is because it is "Pikes Peak".  Ms. Arlene Pieper, the first official women's finisher at a U.S. marathon at Pikes Peak in 1959, sent us off with the "ready, set, go".  The singing of "America the Beautiful" before the race still gives me goosebumps every time.  They call this race "America's Ultimate Challenge" and this challenge, along with it's storied history, great volunteers, and true camaraderie between competitors will always keep bringing me back.

My overanalyzed race splits:
Ruxton 3:21 (projected 2hr32min Ascent)*
Hydro 10:38 (2:49)
Top of W's 37:33 (3:07)
No Name Creek 56:52 (3:14)
7.8 to Summit Sign 1:18:35 (3:18)
Barr Camp 1:42:59 (3:23)
Bottomless Pit Sign 2:00:53 (3:28)
A-Frame 2:33:58 (3:36)
2 to Summit Sign 2:58:54 (3:40)
1 to Summit Sign 3:22:00 (3:45)
Summit 3:52:54
Finish 6:25:06
*Projected Ascent times from Matt Carpenter's pacing calculator

I guess the rumors of Matt's demise were grossly overrated.  At age 47, he made it a record-tying 6 straight wins for the marathon and 12 total.  The man is truly inspirational.  Came across this great post-race perspective from Matt via GZ's blog.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pikes Peak Trial Run

Two weeks until my third Pikes Peak Marathon and I thought it was a good time to reacquaint myself to the Barr Trail Highway.  I took a pretty relaxed run/hike from Hydro Street to the "2 miles to summit" sign and was hitting the splits (based on Matt C's pacing calculator) right about on a 3:30 ascent pace (my best is 3:40).  I was feeling like a had a lot left in the tank for those last 2 miles to the summit.  I did run the W's which I don't think I will be able to do in the race.  I just don't think it is worth the extra effort to get ahead of the masses at the start.  I'll probably only lose about 5-10 minutes to my running pace to No Name Creek anyway.  And, of course, the real race doesn't start until A-frame (timberline).

Don't know what shoes I will be wearing.  Wore the Hokas today, but they are done.  A great shoe when new, but no durability for me.  The medial side of the shoe is mashed, the treads are worn smooth and falling off, and I took a sharp rock right up through the EVA foam.  Only 400 miles on them, so not too happy for what I got for $170.  In my opinion, not a good shoe for an overpronater, even with orthotics.  Looks like I'll be running in my worn out Cascadia 6's (500 miles) tomorrow.  Oh yeah, I don't like those shoes either.

It sounds like Matt Carpenter will be racing the marathon again this year, which I am very glad to hear.

Today's run:  Pikes Peak Marathon Course from Hydro Street to "2 to summit" sign and back.
19.65 miles, 6162 feet climbed, GPS data here

Awesome morning just below 13,000 feet.

My turnaround point today.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July Summary

177 miles, 6.4 vertical miles

Trail 154 miles, 6.3 vertical, 11 runs, 33 hours
Road 23 miles, 0.1 vertical, 6 runs
Track 0
Treadmill 0
Weight Lifting 4 workouts, 4 hours
Rest Days 14

First month below 200 miles this year but still pretty solid on the vertical.  Kind of a slow recovery from Black Hills and more recently some other chronic "niggles" have flared up forcing a lot of rest days and keeping me from doing any real speed work.  At least I can still trudge along the trails.  Rather than taper for Pikes Peak in 3 weeks, I think I will just ramp up to it.