Friday, May 27, 2011


I care about many things in my life, but I am passionate about a select few. My family, friends and fitnessing! When do I cross over from just caring about something to becoming passionate? For me, this threshold is crossed when my inner drive takes over and slams the pedal to the floor, removing my mind and hands from the wheel and charging my heart with the responsibility of steering. The new operator proves more than capable and extremely passionate, providing me with a clear, focused path of working towards and excelling at my goals.

I am truly passionate about my summer racing goals and achieving a full mind and body conversion into ultra distance racing. I have had a small taste of the level of commitment it takes to compete in a long distance race (32 mile trail run), provide the body a short recovery time and race another distance event (street marathon at elevation). I am pleased with the results and happy with how my body has held up over the those 4 weeks. To be honest, the most difficult part of the last 2 weeks has been controlling my compulsiveness to get out and run and bike as much as humanly possible. My typical training platform. Therefore, tapering for a week, racing and then recovering was a hard 12 days. My passion can work against me at those times, luckily my coach and mentor was reminding me of the greater goal.

My current training designated last week as a cycling ramp up with more focused efforts and intensity. I have been riding all year, but nothing that would classify me as tour ready. Therefore, I was quite surprised when I did my first legitimate road ride up Deer Creek Canyon and took nearly 4 minutes off of my previously recorded best time. I was shocked and excited, renewing my cycling vigor and affirming how much I love to ride. Steering that passion towards the two huge mountain bike races I have this summer in Leadville and Laramie.

With a huge work load at the office and not much time, on Thursday I got after my running again. This was my first speed work in many weeks and it felt great. Getting out for 8 miles and clipping off 6:20's at Wash Park on a glorious day. Genius.

At times, driving along a parallel road, having simultaneous endurance goals can be trying, heading in the same direction with my passion powering full speed ahead. Can my heart can handle it, loving and sharing the best of times with my beautiful wife and boys while cruising along my euphoric world of ultra running and cycling?

B.S. this is what I am built for and my passion will be my guide and dictate my greatness.

Dialed in and focused...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Inspirational Guest Post

The following email landed in my inbox from one of my best friends.  I was so pumped to read through his note and can't wait to follow his journey back to greatness.

"I woke up this morning to the sound of a familiar alarm noise.  My first reaction is to shut it off and dive deeper into the pillow, but I chose to make a stand today.  I have trained and competed at the collegiate level in lacrosse and that has shaped who I am as an athlete.  However, in recent months (maybe years) I have drifted in and out of fitness for thousands of reasons.  Most recently, I have relied on two crutches: the time demands of 3 kids and fear.  I had hip surgery just after turning 35 to correct a physical issue that had torn my labrum and accelerated arthritis.  Since diagnosis in October 2009, I have been cruising in neutral without any real drive or kick.  I was afraid to get into a regular training routine because I felt bad for myself and I need to "protect" my hip.  The truth is I will probably need hip replacements, but my level of activity will not dictate this certainty or the timing of when I go back in for upgrades.

I have known Joe since 2003 and we have gone fitnessing (his word trade marked) on multiple occasions and in multiple theatres (he pronounced: theee-aye-ters).  In fact, the last time I would consider myself fit was when Joe helped me train for the 2004 Boulder Back Roads 1/2 marathon.  My goal was to beat my wife's time of 1hour 49 minutes that she had posted as her best time, but I was just happy training for something.  Joe had me on a regular running program and he joined me on most of my outings.  We would talk during the whole run...THE WHOLE RUN.  I was amazed at how he could do that.  Joe would even say hello to every passing runner.  They would smile, and say hello back.  I would get the smile ("Aww...look at that guy about to die") and Joe would get the "hello".

Joe's blog is fun to read because I know it is 100% accurate, especially when he gushes over how good of a wife he has.  He has officially gone off the reservation, but I take inspiration from his efforts and goals to fight my own first battle...with my alarm clock.  Today, I went against what 99% of my body told me to do and I did not hit snooze.  Instead, I got up and listened to a concert of pops and cracks coming from all my joints as I put on my over priced athletic gear.  Laced up, satellites found, heart rate monitor on, I embarked on my first 6 am training run. 

The first thing I did when I hit the morning air was pick my finish line, so that I would have an end goal to focus on that would force me to finish strong. The first 10 minutes were brutal.  I felt weak, tired and a debate to stop or continue on was raging in my brain. Things slowly got better from there.  My stride opened up and I found my rhythm.  Eventually, not really that long after leaving, I could see my finish line and I was glad to have defined the location where I would let myself stop.  When I finished I felt great.  Not because of my distance, time, average heart rate, or calories burned, but because I broke the snooze cycle and got uncomfortable.

I ran my half marathon in 1 hour and 42 minutes because Joe helped me understand what people can achieve through exercise.  Right now my only goal is to keep kicking my alarm clock's ass - the fitness will follow."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Colfax Marathon 2011

The Colfax Marathon is growing and becoming a more organized and fun event for all.  The nasty weather could not even hold us down. I had competed in the marathon in 2009 and thought that would be the last year for this local event.  Not enough people wanting to enter the pain cave and run an urban marathon at elevation.  Too difficult to post Boston Qualifying times and set personal records.  But through the use of social media, great national and local partnerships, the Colfax Marathon, Half Marathon and 5k are gaining steam and plan to be here to stay.  Kuddos to all the organizers.

Heading into the week, the forecast showed sun and 70s for race day.  This was definitely not the case as Saturday's rain just kept hanging around.  All too often, I was checking the hourly forecast trying to determine the conditions. kept pushing the rain out further and further and the temps did indeed drop to nearly freezing.  It is difficult to come to the realization that you have no control over this facet of the race, you never do.  MOVE ON, get dressed and get to the start line. 

For me, the beauty of this race is the simplicity of the logistics. No travel, hotel rooms or stress regarding race prep nutrition.  Sleep in my own bed, wake up at 5 am, ride my bike with my training partner Heath, eight blocks to the start line, lock 'em up and race.  Pretty slick set-up.

Start line temperature was right around 37 degrees and a drizzle, bad, but not terrible.  The start corral included participants from the half, full and relay marathons; making it hard to gauge who your competition will be.  So you have to saddle up to run within yourself and hope for the best.  We took off at a solid pace and were passed by so many people right out of the gates, it felt like we were in a 5k.  I looked down and we were already at a 6:15 pace, 200 meters into the marathon.  I backed off the turbo boosters and let the other racers fly by, telling Heath that they would all come back to us or be handing off to a relay teammate. 

The first 9 miles just cruised by and our pace was right on and felt easy.  We were joined by another marathoner, Jason Romero and he liked our pace and the fact that I was continually telling stories and trying to keep the mood light.  The rain picked up as we neared Invesco Field and the third relay exchange.  At this spot we were fortunate enough to see some the Singh family of Garfield St.  They really cheered us on and gave the perfect boost for a couple uphills sections.

Then at mile 12, still clipping along, the emotions quadrupled as I saw my awesome wife, Nicole and my two little boys cheering and ringing their cowbells as loudly as cowbells can ring!  It was unbelievable to see them on the race course and cheering in this relatively lonely race.  Heath was a little bit behind me know, but his wife, daughters and mother were cheering at mile 12 as well, such great support.  I picked up my pace with the new breath of running life that my legs had gathered from seeing the family.  From there, we did a 6 mile lollipop route through Lakewood and HOLY CRAP, Nicole, Rocco and Sawyer were still there cheering and screaming, braving the rain and cold.  I stopped for 4.36 seconds and gave them cold, wet kisses. This was really the boost I needed with 8 miles to go.

I held the moderate downhill pace for another 2 miles and then we hit a steeper downhill back into Invesco.  At this point, Heath was a few hundred yards behind, doing unbelievable.  But I was also running with two other marathon competitors.  So when the hill dropped hard, I took off.  Leaned back, got my feet underneath me and let it all hang out for the nearly mile descent.  I dropped both of the other competitors and did not look back.  We did some running on the Platte and Cherry Creek paths that led us to downtown and only 3 miles to go.  I knew I could dig deep and drop my pace instead of fail and slowly gut out the finish.  So I did, throwing down 3 more sub 7 minute miles including a super steep uphill out of downtown.  My good friend Jeff joined up at mile 24 and gave me the low down of some other runners I could likely catch if I hunkered down.  A great boost of energy and I was able to pass two more people within the last half mile.  Finishing in 2:59:01, for a personal record and 11th place.

I am quite pleased with my time and progression as a runner.  Racing a marathon at elevation and still dropping a half minute.  This course also had 1900 feet of vertical gain, yikes.  My buddy Heath, finished with a real solid 3:06 for his first marathon and a Boston Qualifying Spot.