Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).

Thursday, March 28, 2013

CPTR Recon Vacation in B.V.

Ahh . . . Spring Break!  Our family took advantage of a few days off to head up to Buena Vista, Colorado for some rest and relaxation, which of course meant plenty of swimming, x-country skiing, and even a little running.  Originally, I had booked this trip back in January as a chance to get out and run some of the CPTR course.  Indeed, my original plan had been to spend an entire day doing the 25 mile loop, to get a feel for it.  Unfortunately, an injury in early February had me sidelined for several weeks and only in the last few weeks have I been able to get back into a regular routine that involves more than just swimming. 
We spent several day at the Mountain Princeton Hot Springs Resort a few miles south of Buena Vista.  In an effort to be polite, I'll just say that the resort is "up and coming,"  Set slightly below the Chalk Cliffs, the views from the hot springs are spectacular.  That said, some of the rooms (including the one we stayed in) are still in need of renovation.  No big deal, they just weren't up front about that when we booked the room.  As a result it's a bit of a letdown when you get there.  I wouldn't have a problem with that if they let you know in advance that some of the rooms are much better than others.  This puts a strain on their employees that have to deal with folks that arrive excited to stay at the resort and then have to deal with their disappointment that it isn't quite what they'd expected.  That said, they are clearly working on  making some upgrades to the place and once that's done, I'm sure that these problems will subside.
Enjoying a post run soak in the River with Maya and Lily
 We arrived at the hot springs on Sunday afternoon after stopping off at Adam's Mountain Cafe in Manitou Springs for "brunch."  After checking into our motel room, we went down and spent a couple of hours enjoying the hot springs.  There are two main pools at the springs.  One is a "soaker" which stays at about 102-105 degrees.  The other is a "recreation" pool that's kept at 90-95 degrees.  It includes a lap lane which I was able to use a couple of times during the trip to get some swim workouts in.  These pools lay next to a river where you can go and sit, enjoying a mixture of springs and river water.  The temperature is more variant in this part, but by moving some of the stones around you can get the temps just to your liking.  That first evening, we met a nice family with a daughter about the same age as Lily and we spent some time chatting with them while a touch of snow fell softly around us.  Having just arrived, we ate dinner at the lodge that night.  Not super fancy, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Mountain Princeton from the parking lot of our Motel
On Monday morning, we decided to head into Buena Vista for a light breakfast before going x-country skiing.  I checked out the CPTR starting area before we headed to a shop called the Trailhead to rent cross country skis.  For about $40.00 we outfitted the whole family and then we headed west about 20 minutes to the Collegiate Peaks Campground where we spent about 3 hours skiing.  There was no one else out on the trail and it was great to enjoy a beautiful ski beneath the snow-covered peaks.   Maya is proving to be quite the cross-country skier and Lily, well she is a trooper!  This was only her second outing on skis and she must have fallen down fifty times. And as anyone who has learned to ski remembers, once down, it's always a challenge to figure out how to get back up.  That said, she maintained a mostly positive attitude and I was very proud of how hard she worked to try something new.  Late that afternoon we arrived back at the shop to return our gear.  Boots returned: Check!  Poles returned: Check!  Skis returned: 7 out of 8 skis?  Turns out one of them didn't make it into the car for the ride back to town.  So, after a quick return trip to the campground, we located the forgotten ski and got it back to the shop  By that point we were sufficiently hungry so before heading back to our resort for a soak in the springs, we dined at Eddyline Brewing enjoying Pizza and Beer! Considering what a small town Buena Vista
Mid-meal photo at Eddyline Brewing in Buena Vista
is, I was very impressed with the Brewery.  We did a sampler of six of their beers, and all of them were well crafted and unique in style.  Being a bit of a hop head, I particularly enjoyed their River Runner's Colorado Pale Ale, but there were several other offerings that were also quite enjoyable.  Melisa really liked their Kickin' Back Amber Ale, and one of the best crafted beers was the Innerglow Red Chile Porter.  Unlike a lot of chile beers that are based on a pale ale, this one was built on a smoky porter which lent itself well to the rich, deep burn of a red chile.  It had a smoky, creamy mouthfeel, and the chile left a warm finish after each sip.  An extremely well done beer.  In the end, my hop head tastes won out however, and I left with a six pack of their Crank Yanker IPA which I'll be enjoying over the rest of spring break.  The Wood-fired Pizza was fantastic as well.  I enjoyed a more traditional "Margherita" Pizza with pepperoni added on, while Melisa had a chicken pesto pizza with Green Chili's.  In truth, each of the Pizza's on the menu looked fantastic.  By the time we left, we were plenty full and looking forward to an evening soak in the hot springs.
CPTR course
 Remembering that the original purpose of the trip (at least for me) was to run a portion of the CPTR course, I determined that Tuesday would be a good day to accomplish this.  In the morning we went to Salida (about 20 minutes away) for Breakfast and to walk around the town.  Although this was only my second trip to Salida, I must say I'm quite fond of this little town.  They have a superb downtown area with shops, nice restaurants, and an outdoors culture that embraces both biking and kayaking lifestyles.  We mulled about town for several hours enjoying the shops at the fresh spring day,  but by mid-afternoon, I found myself standing on CR375, just north of Buena Vista, ready to run. 
Since I haven't been running a lot, my plan for the day was just to run a little of the course and get a feel for what it would be like.  I figured I would do a lot of run/ walking and I was fully prepared to walk should my right calf start to have an issue.  As it turned out, I did do a lot of stopping to check the course directions on my phone.  The course is run on a lot of trails, and while these are marked, it was definitely a challenge to keep all of the directions straight.  Several times, I found myself running along and hoping I was on the right path.  Eventually I would come across a sign or marker that indicated that I was.  When I returned home and looked at a map of the course, it turns out that I followed the course for the most part, and only missed one of the turn offs.  This took me off of the course for a mile or two, but that didn't really matter for my purpose.  I mostly ran to get a sense of the terrain, climate, etc.  I don't need to see the entire course so long as I understand what it will be like overall.  Now I feel like I can go into the race with a sense of what it will be like.
From the course, looking back at the Collegiate Peaks, certainly one of the most beautiful views for a race.
I've heard the course described as lots of short "ups" and "downs," and after running even this brief portion, I would agree.  What is also true about this course is that the views are absolutely spectacular.  Even though the battery on my phone was near death, I found myself snapping several shots of the collegiate peaks across the way.  I spent about an hour along the course before finally turning around and heading back down the trail.  Being downhill, the return trip was faster taking only about 45 minutes to complete and since I was only running with a watch, I don't know exactly how far I ran
but I would estimate it somewhere between 8.5 to 10 miles.  What's better, my calf didn't act up and I felt good the entire time.  Of course, it didn't hurt that once I was finished, I was able to go back and alternate soaking in the river and the hot springs! That evening we made a return trip into Salida to a place called Currents Steak and Seafood. It just so happens that Tuesday and Thursday nights are "Sushi Nights!"  As you can tell by this picture, Lily really enjoyed it!
Post Sushi and Grilled Cheese at 'Currents' in Salida
So I'm actually feeling pretty good about my chances of participating in the CPTR this spring.  Although I'm going to continue limiting my run mileage during the next few weeks, I'll shoot to complete a long run each weekend leading up to the event.  Melisa is still training for Colfax so we agreed that we can do a long run together which will be mutually beneficial.  Barring any recurrence of my injury, I'll definitely be going for the 25 mile distance on May 4th, and if I'm having one of those days where everything is going great, I may even decide to go for the 50 mile distance. I recognize that it will be a run to "survive" at that point and that's still a pretty big if, but you never know!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

From "2" to "Du"

I'm sore today.  My legs (including my calves), back, arms, and neck all have a dull ache.  But this is a good thing.  A week ago, I posted about my run/ walk at the local track and the fact that I managed to make it a couple of laps without stopping.  As the week progressed, I managed to get 2 swims in again on Monday and Wednesday.  Nothing too crazy, just a couple of solid swims of about 1 mile each.  Since I've been swimming in the last few weeks, I notice that much of my comfort in the water is returning.  Then last Thursday, I had some time, and so I went for a short bike ride of about an hour or so.  Again, no problems on the bike and I could even sense that my aerobic conditioning hasn't completely evaporated in the last few weeks.  It maybe isn't where it used to be, but I didn't feel completely spent after the ride either.
So, on Saturday, I joined our local Tri club out at the university for a "practice" duathlon.  The team wanted to test out some new timing equipment in advance of the Ordinary Mortals Triathlon by staging a workout that included a timed 5k run, a 12 mile ride, followed by another 2 mile run.  My plan was to mix in some walking/ running, and to feel free to quit early when I felt I'd had enough.  This was my first time joining a club workout so I arrived a few minutes early and had the opportunity to meet a few  of the members.  Everyone was very friendly and welcoming and there were about 16 people total involved in the practice.  I unloaded my bike from the Element and put it in the transition area where they were also testing some new racks for the upcoming triathlon.   It was a slightly cooler day, but it felt really good to be outside enjoying the fresh air.  I got a timing chip and placed it on my leg and waited for practice to get started.
16 athletes  toed a pretend start line, and we were off running.  I immediately found myself drop to the back of the group, but that was fine.  This was a workout for me, not a race.  While running still feels a little strange, and I was very attuned to my right calf, just waiting for any sign of trouble.  After about a quarter mile, I settled into a steady pace and even passed a few folks that maybe started to fast.  The route we were running was basically the same course as the run portion of the Ordinary Mortals Triathlon.   It consists of several hills and runs around the CSU-Pueblo Campus.  My original plan was to run for about  5 minutes, followed by a minute of walking.  However, after 5 minutes, I felt absolutely fine.  I decided to run another 5 minutes, and still, no problem.  When I next looked at my watch, I'd run about 13 minutes, which was a good two minutes longer than  when I'd hurt my leg a few weeks back.  Very encouraging.  I decided to keep running and vowed to stop if my leg bothered me at all.  That never happened.  After 30 minutes of running, I found myself back at the transition area, and  ready for the bike.  Since this was a "practice," I took my time getting changed out of my shoes and preparing for the bike portion.  Once I'd started I felt surprisingly good, and decided that I'd open it up a little on the ride.  I kept my cadence high through most of the ride and enjoyed practicing riding in the aero position.  In the end I managed an average of about 18 mph which isn't too shabby for an early season ride.  Returning to the transition after several minutes, I hopped off the bike, and made my way  back out to run.  In my heart I wanted to run a little faster, but my head decided that it was probably best to hold back, considering that I'd already been at it for over an hour. When all was said and done, I finished the two mile loop at about the same pace as I'd done the first three, which was somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 minutes/ mile.  In total, the workout took a little over an hour and a half.   I was extremely satisfied, because I'd managed to complete the whole thing without any sense that my calf muscle was in trouble.  I won't say that it's completely healed, but I have to believe some significant progress has been made towards recovery.

So today I'm definitely sore, but thank goodness it's not from injury.  I'm still going to continue swimming and ensure that I have plenty of rest between run days, but I may try to get a longer run done while we're in Buena Vista next weekend.  This was supposed to be my "reconnaissance" trip to check out the Collegiate Peaks Trail Run course, and my feeling now is that I'll still do it (I won't try to run  the whole thing however).  It does give me hope though that I can get some base mileage up in the next 5 weeks to attempt the 25 mile event.  I will take Saturday as a positive sign that this "could" happen, which is much better than where I was before.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

2 miles

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming
Two miles.  It isn't much, but it's a start.  That's how far I managed to walk/run today at the track.  In truth it was mostly walking.  I walked a half mile to "warm up" after stretching.  Then I alternated between walking and running every 100 yards for the next half mile.  More stretching and then I walked another half mile.  Finally I managed to run for about a half mile, before calling it quits for the day.  I wanted to run more, but I didn't think it was worth pushing it.  My leg feels okay though.  Maybe a little bit of soreness, but hey, that's the most distance I've covered on foot in a month.  How do people go forever without walking or running?  I can't imagine a life without this and I've only been off for a month.  Well sort of.  If you look at my BT calendar, you can see that most of my workouts have been at the pool.  I'm still hoping that I can get to 25 miles and do part of the CPTR by May, but it doesn't seem too likely given the slow recovery.   In the meantime, I'll keep swimming and with any luck, I'll start to look something like this:
Have a great week and thanks for reading!