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).

Saturday, April 27, 2013

CPTR Race Plan

Next Saturday morning, I'll be on my way to the starting line of the Collegiate Peaks Trail Run.  I have been preparing for this event for most of the last 5 months and it has been an interesting experience.  I will say at the outset that I'm still apprehensive about this race in the sense that an  injury at the beginning of February derailed a good chunk of my training schedule.  At that point, I didn't really imagine I had any chance of completing the race, so I'm very happy that my recovery has gone so well.  And, although I have recovered, my run mileage has dipped significantly since that point. 

It's on the increase again now, but I've simply run out of time to do much more on that front.  I'm hoping that a good dose of cross-training in the form of swimming and cycling will help to counter some of what I've missed in running.  At any rate, I feel I've trained enough that I have to attempt this event.  As I've noted before, the 50 mile race provides the option of "dropping out" after 25 miles and converting to a 25 mile racer.  Since I've done a number of runs longer than 20 miles (including a long run of 33 miles last weekend), I do feel capable of doing that much at least, and I have a sneaking suspicion that if I'm under the cut-off time by a fair amount, I'm going to want to try for 50, and see what happens. 
My Goal
#1: Finish the Race and have fun- Having never done an "ultra" before, this is really my only goal.  I don't have any expectations of a podium finish, or anything of the sort.  This endeavor is really only about me seeing what I can do from an endurance standpoint.  I know that it will be difficult, and I know that it will take me all day.  That's pretty much all that I know.  I also want to have fun.  While running 50 miles and "having fun" may seem like contradictory experiences, this is what I signed up for.  I wouldn't do it, if I wasn't planning on enjoying it at least a little bit.
The Week Before
Sunday: In the morning, I'm going to do a run of about 6-7 miles with my wife.  I've been helping her train for the Colfax Marathon, and so I'll run one leg of the long run with her.   After that, I'll switch over to a mountain bike and continue to pace her through the next 12 miles or so. 
Monday: Rest (core work)
Tuesday: I plan on heading to the pool and doing an easy swim.  No more than about 1200-1600 yards total.
Wednesday: Rest (core work)
Thursday: Rest.  This will also be time for me to pack my gear (see below for my gear essentials list):
Friday: Rest (a late meeting on Friday afternoon has delayed my departure until 4:30 or 5:00 in the afternoon which means I won't arrive in Buena Vista until after 8:00 or 9:00.  Not the way I would like it, but that's the way it is.
Saturday: Race morning.  Since the race starts at 6:30, and I need to pick up my race in the morning, I will likely arrive at the start around 5:45.  This will give me time to get settled, get my transition set up, and be ready for the race.  Breakfast will be something along the lines of a banana and a bagel with peanut butter. I also must REMEMBER THE SUNSCREEN!
The Race
Although my goal is to "finish,"  I will have to be mindful of my time in order to be ahead of the cut-off times built into the race.  If I opt for the 25 mile race, this will be a non issue, but it will be more important to pay attention to these on the way back during the 50 mile race.  My plan is broken into sections and is based largely on a consideration of the elevation profile for a given distance.

Miles 1-3:  The first part of this race is done almost entirely on pavement.  Since it's the start of the race, the temptation is to go fast through this portion.  However, it's way too early in the race to "bank" any minutes so I don't think that's the best strategy.  For this portion, my plan is to run at a steady pace between 9-10:30 minutes per mile.  I won't plan on walking at this point however, so in a sense, I'll still probably be a few minutes ahead of schedule as I cover this distance.
Miles 4-6: This portion of the race has some of the first real climbing in it (and it's actually a part of the course that I've run for the most part).  There are a lot of "ups" and "downs" so pacing kind of goes out the window at this point.  For this part of the race, I'll walk the really steep parts and run the downhill portions.
Miles 7-10.5: CPTR has two major climbs in each direction of the course (for a total of 4) and this is the first one. If my memory serves me, this section can be run slowly, and that's what I will try to do.  It's likely that I will try a 5 to 1 ratio of walking and running on this portion.  I'm not sure that I will be tired, but I may want to save some energy for later in the race.
A view from the trail!
Miles 10.5-14: The majority of this portion is downhill with the occasional uphill.  I plan on putting some time in on this portion and will hopefully be able to "bank" some minutes to use on the return trip later in the day.
Miles 14-18: Lenardy Hill is  the name of this second climb and it's the elevation high point for the race (only 9400 feet).  The course directions describe this section as "all runnable, but for most, a bit of a grind."  That being the case, I would imagine I will mix some running and walking into the mix again. 
Miles 18-25: This last portion of the loop looks to be mostly downhill.  This is good for making up some minutes, but is also going to be a bit hard on the quadriceps (in truth, I'm more concerned about the downhill than the uphill portions of this race).  Pacing should be better however, and if I've executed the first 18 miles well, I hope to be at the turnaround well under the 5:45 cutoff.  If I'm having a great race, I would hope to be a full hour ahead of this time and finishing the first 25 miles somewhere between 4:40 to 5 hours.  If I'm within about 15-20 minutes of the cutoff, then I will probably call it a day, as it's doubtful I would be able to make the rest of the cutoff times on the way back.
Turnaround/ Transition:  Depending on conditions, there are a few things that I plan on having at the car for the turnaround (the race allows 50 mile participants to pause at their vehicles for any needs before turning around for loop #2).  First will be a fresh pair of socks, and a clean shirt.  I did this for my 33 miler, and it was refreshing to have some clean items to wear.  I also plan on having something cool to drink so I'll need to have a little cooler with me.  I will also pack solid food like a peanut butter sandwich (this usually tastes pretty good on a long run).  Sunscreen, water, and my foot kit* round out my necessities.  The other items that I will pack will be more weather related.  While I'm hoping for a nice day, the opposite could be true.  If that's the case then some of my needs may change.  The important thing is to have some options.  I would hate to stop running just because I was lazy and didn't bring some type of needed gear.  Overall, I hope to spend about 5 minutes in the transition, and certainly no more than 10.
*[foot kit- contains band-aids, moleskin, neosporin, etc. and is useful for fixing foot issues such as blisters, hot spots, etc.]
Miles 25-32:  I could be wrong, but it seems to me that these miles are probably the biggest "key" to finishing the 50 mile race.  Psychologically and physically, they represent the greatest challenge.  Having just left the comfort of the aid station and the finish line, this portion is uphill and takes you from the lowest point to the highest point on the course, over these miles (about 1500 vertical feet of gain).  The last 2-3 miles look to be some of the steepest of the race.  This is where you get to spend some of the minutes that hopefully have been "banked" in the first half of the race.  There are also two cut-off points in this portion of the race.  The first is at 28.2 miles (must be reached within 6hrs, 30 minutes of the start).  The second is at 32.1 miles (must be reached 7hrs, 30 minutes into the race).
Miles 32-36: Since this was a "grind" but runnable going up, the downhill should be runnable as well.  This will also be the point at which I cross the threshold for the longest amount of running that I've ever done (passing at about 33 miles).  From there it will all be new territory for me.  I am hopeful that I can run the entire length of this portion as it is a good opportunity to earn some minutes on the way back down.  Psychologically, I think it should be a point where it becomes apparent that finishing the race is going to happen.  There is one cut-off time here at mile 35.4 (8hrs, 15 minutes into the race, this should be about 2:45 p.m.).  
I switched out for black shoelaces: My way to remember Boston!
Miles 36-39.5:  This is another uphill portion of the race and the elevation gain is about 780 feet.  It is shorter and not quite as steep as the previous hill, and there look to be a couple of sections of downhill on the way up. Mile 38.3 has a cut-off time (9 hours even).
Miles 39.5-47: A mix of mostly downhill with a short but steep climb from mile 43 to 44.  The last cut-off time before the finish is here at mile 44.3 (you have to reach this section by 5:00 p.m. or 10hrs, 30 minutes into the race). Hopefully, I will be well past this point, or even finished by the cut-off time.

Miles 47-50:  One big challenge here will be the fact that after nearly 46 miles of running on trails, the last few miles back to the finish line are done on pavement.  I'm not sure how that will feel on tired legs, but I can't imagine it will be the most pleasant.  If I've raced well, I'm hoping that I have plenty of time to finish.  That way, I can do more walking as needed.  In truth, I would imagine that the last 14-15 miles will be a challenge no matter what the terrain, just given the sheer amount of mileage covered.  Physically, there's absolutely no reason I can't cover 50 miles total; it will be the psychological challenge that is really the test.

Essential Gear:
Although the gear needed for this run isn't as exhaustive as it would be for a triathlon, there are several things that I'll need to bring to prepare for a number of contingencies.   Here's what I'm bringing with me:

Conclusion: About 3 blocks from the finish line is the EddylineBrewery, and this is where I hope to begin my recovery, with a dinner of pizza and maybe a beer or two.  From there it will be back to the hot springs for a nice soak, and then to bed (rather early, I would imagine).  Stay tuned for a race report sometime after the race!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Looking back at the last 3 years

I started this blog in 2012 as a way to keep track of my exploits in endurance sports and my experiments in the brew keg, amongst other things.  While I do write occasionally about the beer, it's the swimming, biking, and running that I seem to write about more.  Today I spent a little time looking back at my training log for the last three years.  I began a regular training log in January of 2010, and it's cool to see the accomplishments since back in 2009 when I first made the decision to do a triathlon.   Here are the highlights:
The first year I entered into triathlon was 2010.  I signed up for just one event, a sprint triathlon in Loveland, scheduled for late July.   Triathlon was an entirely new experience.  I purchased my first road bike that year, tried open water swimming for the first time, and logged several miles of running.  I also voraciously read everything that I could about triathlon and got linked into web sites like Beginner Triathlete and Trifuel, two sites that I still frequent to this day.   On July 24th, I completed the Loveland Sprint Triathlon in 1hr, 19m, and 23s.  I was 79th overall (out of 316), and 10th in my age group (out of 25).  The best portion of the event was the run which I
completed in 20:26, the fourth fastest in my age group.  I absolutely loved the triathlon experience, and it wasn't long before I'd registered for another.  The Boulder Sunset Triathlon was a slightly longer event that I finished in 1:43:55.  Unlike Loveland, it was held in the afternoon, and the event itself was delayed by a couple of weeks due to a fire in the Boulder area that year.  I remember the day as being especially warm, so I was happy just to finish, especially since I did a same day "commute" from Pueblo to and from the race.  Nothing like 140 miles of driving to get you ready to race!  The final highlight of 2010 for me was a 5k that I ran for my daughter's school.  I ran it in 19:52, which was the fastest I'd done in a number of years.  Even more exciting, I wound up notching my first and only overall road race win.   Not bad for an old guy!  Here's a chart of 2010:
Volume totals for the 2010 campaign

 In 2011, I intended to better my efforts from the previous year, as well as step up to the Olympic distance.  My "A" race would be the Cherry Creek Streak, an Olympic distance held at the end of July.  I also decided to add two new sprint triathlons in preparation for the event.  The first was going to be the Summer Open Triathlon in Longmont which would take place in mid-May.  That event was changed to a duathlon however after high levels of E-coli bacteria were found in the lake water.   A few weeks later however, I did my first triathlon of 2011 at the Greeley Triathlon.  The race is only a couple of miles from my parent's house, and I was able to complete the short sprint race in 1hr, 4min, and 8seconds.  This was good for 32nd overall and 1st in my age group.  My first triathlon podium!  In July, I did the streak with another great result.  The bike ride for this Olympic event was slightly shorter.  I wound up with a 2nd place finish including 1st in my age group for the 10k.  However, I suddenly found myself at the end of July with no more races on the calendar.  I wasn't sure what to do to stay motivated. On a whim, I decided to sign up for the American Discovery Trail Marathon (ADT), to see if my summer of training would pay off.  The ADT would be my first marathon in a dozen years.  Five weeks later, on a beautiful Labor Day morning, I ran from Palmer Lake into Downtown Colorado Springs.  My unofficial goal was to finish the race in under 4 hours, which I managed by a mere 55 seconds, finishing in 3:59:05.  Thank goodness, or that would have hung over my head forever! I promised myself that I'd never have to do another marathon again (famous last words) 2011 looked like this:
2011: Highest amount of biking and swimming during the past 3 years.
At the end of 2011, I heard about a new Triathlon series called HITS.  Originally, there were no events scheduled for Colorado during 2012, but then a venue was added for Fort Collins.  It looked to be a great, albeit difficult course.  The bike portion was scheduled climb up into the mountains west of the city.  I signed up and looked forward to moving up to the 70.3 distance, realizing that this would be a whole new challenge.  I also found myself signing up for a Spring Marathon (Colfax) in spite of myself.  In terms of events, I completed a number of races in 2012 including 9 road races.  I also wound up competing in 4 triathlons in 2012.  Two of them were short sprints, one Olympic event, and then the HITS race, my "A" race for the year.  I didn't try for a PR during the Marathon in May, but I felt much better after running it than in my previous two marathons. In July, the HITS triathlon wound up being relocated to Sterling, as a result of some major forest fires in the Fort Collins area, including one that decimated the area where the bike portion of the event was supposed to be held.  The event in Sterling was well run, but it was an absolute furnace during the running portion of the race.  I had hoped to finish the event in about 5:30, but that evaporated in the scorching heat, which reached close to 100 degrees that day.  After much suffering, I finished in 6hrs, 5 minutes.  This was second in my age group, but with only two people total in my age group, it didn't really mean anything.  Despite the slower time, I was very pleased with the way I executed my race plan for the day.  It also convinced me that I wanted to keep racing at this distance in the coming year, knowing that it would be easy to get a true PR if the weather conditions are better.  2012 looked like this:
2011: Less Swimming and Biking than 2011, but a lot more running
So now it's April 2013 and I haven't done a single race yet this year.  That will change in a couple of weeks, but even at that I plan on doing fewer races.  Officially on the calendar at this point are  an ultra, a half marathon, a 10k, a century ride, and at least one half-Ironman.  Beyond that I hope to add a 2.4 swim race and another 70.3 distance.  Instead of racing, I'll spend the summer building my bike and swim fitness, and backing off of the running a bit.  With fewer races, I anticipate being able to build my overall volume this year, which I hope will serve me well in the long term.  Since I started the year with an injury, my volume to date is lower than I'd expected, but by staying healthy, that should start to change.  Here's 2013 so far:
The Ultra training reveals a lot of running miles.
Knowing that I'll get more swimmng, biking, and running in during the summer months, I shouldn't have any problem covering more distance in 2013.
For most of my adult life, I've pursued endurance events of one sort or another, but in 2010, I began these pursuits with a renewed sense of purpose.  I "officially" began this journey on January 1st, 2010.  In that time, I've covered a lot of ground:
Yellow=Running, Orange=Biking, Peach=Swimming
I imagine that the totals here are nothing compared to some folks.  But for me personally, it represents a lot of dedication and commitment.  Since 2010, I've run 1,550 miles, biked 3,727 miles, and covered another 130 miles in the water.  That's a total of about 5,408 miles.  Another six hundred miles would be like crossing the United States from coast to coast, twice.  Not bad for an old guy!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Random notes from the past week (March 31 to April 6)

Training Distances for 2013 (so far)
 Random items from the past week:
1) Swimming is starting to pay off:  Although it's only April, I'm already close to half of the total amount of swimming  that I did during all of 2012.  I will probably pass the halfway mark in the next few weeks, and we haven't even gotten to the summer yet, which is when most of my swimming occurs.  The work in the pool seems to be paying off as I feel more efficient at the same level of exertion.  This week it was also nice to be back in the pool at a "normal" elevation after a couple of days of swimming up at Mount Princeton Hot Springs.   The swimming highlight this week was on Tuesday morning when I did a main set of 10x100 at a pace between 1:40-1:47.  This was a good 10 to 15 seconds faster per set than I'd been doing previously.  I believe that the progress has been largely due to improved technique.  I've been working on keeping my head down, proper rotation, high elbows, and especially the "pull."  My hope is to continue swimming 1-2 times each week through the rest of the month and into next month.  By the time the pool opens in June, I should have plenty of swimming under my belt.
Paceline Practice
2) First group ride: On Thursday evening, I joined about 10 other cyclists for a group ride out at the "test track."  This is a little used road east of town that is great for cycling.  The group was a mix of cyclists and triathletes and we rode about 25 miles and practiced riding in a pace line.  I've watched enough cycling to understand the purpose of a pace line so it was fun to have the opportunity to experience it a little bit.  Of course, our pace line was nothing like those that you see on television, but you could definitely notice a difference when drafting off of another rider.  An added benefit to riding with others is that I wound up riding a lot harder than I would have, had I been out for a ride by myself.  The plan is that the group will continue to do rides once a week if the weather holds up.  Thursday evening was absolutely beautiful.  The temperature was in the sixties and seventies!
3) Good Beer: Nothing makes for a great week like some great beer.  I enjoyed a lot of fantastic beer this week.  On Tuesday evening, Melisa and I went to Shamrock Brewing and enjoyed a couple of beers.  One of their beers was a double hopped Irish Red that although isn't my favorite style, was still very good.   It had a sweet taste like brown sugar or maple syrup, and a nice boozy finish.  It was about 9% abv which was a little rough the next day, but still, very tasty.  Later in the week, I "accessed" one of my Crank Yanker IPA's from the Eddyline Brewery in Buena Vista.  It has all of the hoppy aroma and flavor that you want from an IPA, but it is well-balanced.  I will definitely be purchasing some more of their beer when I'm up there again next month.  Last night, we were up in Parker and prior to dinner, my brother offered me a pint of his home brew Chile beer.  Let's just say that he did a great job.  The chile flavor came from Jalapeno and there was also a hint of lime in the beer.  The chile wasn't overpowering and the finish on the beer was pleasant and warm.  And for a lighter style beer it had a medium-bodied mouth feel.  Not too heavy, but not so light as to feel inadequate.  Well done, Brother! I told him that we should think about turning the abandoned Applebee's in Parker into a craft brewery! And now it's Saturday.  As I write this, I'm into my second beer of the evening.  The first was a Euphoria Pale Ale from Ska Brewing in Durango.  It was a nice copper colored ale with a pleasant, hoppy, bitterness.  A strong hoppy flavor for a pale ale, which was nice.  At this very moment, I'm enjoying a , I'm working on a Shift Pale Lager (my favorite beer from 2012).  I'll finish off the evening with a Colorado IPA from Fort Collins Brewery that I picked up this afternoon, while I cook a pizza on the grill.
Strava Map and Data
4) Long run Saturday:  Melisa is training for the Colfax Marathon, which is perfect since I'm still planning on running the CPTR in, gulp, 28 days!  This gives us a chance to do some running together.  This morning we left the house a little before 9:00 a.m. and enjoyed absolutely pristine conditions.  We ran a 3-4 mile loop near the house for the next two and a half hours and got a solid 13.6 mile run accomplished.  I felt very good and I actually felt better at the end of the run, than I did halfway through.  This run makes me feel 100% confident that I can do the 25 mile version of the CPTR, and I still have a glimmer of hope to do the full distance if I'm feeling good.  I also tried the STRAVA app on my phone for this run, and was very pleased to see how well it worked.  Tomorrow, I'll use it for a bike ride.  There is a ride called the "Spring Fling" out at the test track tomorrow.  The Great Divide Bike Shop in Pueblo sponsors the event and it includes the opportunity to "demo" several of Trek and Specialized Road Bikes.  In truth, I'm not in the market for a bike at the moment, but I'm hoping that I might get to test a carbon bike, just to see what the difference is.  Uncle Kenny and Alan are also going to check it out, so it should be a good time.  I'm planning on riding over to the event in the morning.
Well, my glass is empty, and there's pizza to make.  Hope your past week was as good as mine, and if not, hope your next one is!  Thanks for reading!