Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Lee Gulch

Lee Gulch is a pretty little creek that runs through my neighborhood. Littleton has some great trails that cross at Lee Gulch and both are right by my house. Indeed, my wife chose this house for the kitchen; I chose it for the running trails. I can run for dozens of miles on nothing but manicured trails throughout the South Suburban area.

Today is Christmas as I mentioned in my last post and I went for an easy 3 mile run. In 6 inches of snow, that turned out to be a bit of an effort especially climbing up the hill back to the house. I was so proud of my neighbors as I went for my run at 2:00 PM hoping for the warmest part of the day. For most of my run, I was not breaking new trail; dozens of tracks and ski trails criss-crossed the fresh powder even as the snow continues to fall. No wind, just crisp air and the sound of the creek rushing through its courses. For a suburban neighborhood, this feels pretty exotic.

Testing a hill

Yesterday I ran about 3 miles to the base of "Jackass Hill" ... OK, but I didn't name the thing. It is the hill near my house that I think would make for decent reps. I paced up it in 4:07 and was AT (or even a bit past AT) to do it. Just one rep, so I'm off the ground.

Today, snow is falling pretty heavy for a white Christmas. "The closest thing to heaven is a quiet Christmas morning in the Colorado snow." That song was written for today. A little later, I'll pluge into it for a run, but I don't like running in below freezing weather... it sparks my athsma. I'll watch the day and head out when it is warmer...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Starting from scratch

Every year, about this time, I've slipped from my trianing habits. Not since I retired from the elite ranks have I trained all year. I don't like running in freezing weather and I don't find it easy to just run... I like goals. So as winter snow rests on my training grounds, I get the itch for a goal. And my favorite goal is immortal Pikes Peak. So... to goal setting:

To start, I should revisit past achievement:
  • 2006 Pikes Peak Ascent in 4:31. Hmm, not so good especially when I remember how I ran that same ascent as a 13 year old in 3:08. My son is 13 now... too bad they don't allow kids under 15 into the race. I admit, I was not at all consistent in my training for this one.
  • 2005 Pikes Peak Marathon in 5:15. Now that was a nice run. I only had one problem that day. I ate some food at Cirque but I think I needed more fluids when I did that... I had about a ten minute stretch there where I had fierce leg cramps. I was all but incapacitated for a while and couldn't even walk three steps without stopping to stretch. With a little more care, I could have clipped another five minutes I bet.
  • 2004 Pikes Peak Marathon in 5:20. Not bad at all. I know I trained pretty well that year; considerably better than the year before. I did have a shut-down above tree-line that I did not have in 2005 because of how I managed my heart rate. By keeping my heart rate in the fat-burning zone in 2005, I was far stronger for the last bit above tree-line.
  • 2003 Pikes Peak Marathon in 5:45. Ouch. I remember that first marathon of my life. I scampered up the first section and then... well, I guess I don't remember much above Barr Camp. Except pain. Still, I ascended en route faster than I ran the Ascent in 2006. The lesson here is obvious. In 2006, I think I ran on most Sundays... otherwise I ran not at all. Never do that again [;-)

I like to set three tiers of goals. Tier 3 is "keep myself honest" and is something that I know I can do if I will just keep focussed. Tier 2 is the 100% personal effort goal and is something I think I can do if I meet Tier 3, I suffer no serious mishaps and give a 100% effort on race-day. Tier 1 is the high hope goal and is something I think I can if I meet Tier 2 and the conditions around me are favorable.

Tier 3 Goal: Run 5 days per week with a long run of over an hour every week. Experiment with nutrition and master heart rate pacing.

Tier 2 Goal: Complete the Pikes Peak Marathon in 5:00.

Tier 1 Goal: Contribute to a team that wins the Open Division of the Colorado Relay while running first leg.

OK, so there it is. The goal setting for 2008. The rest of the posts in this blog will be about my runs, races and experiences.