Posts Tagged ‘march madness’


So 2012 is in the books. In regards to my own personal running accomplishments, it was a fairly uneventful year. 2012 started off well with a PR at the Moab 55k. Later in the spring I ran a couple more PR’s at the Horsetooth Half and the Colorado Marathon. But despite my faster finish time at the Colorado Marathon, I can’t say that I ran very well. I didn’t adequately prepare for a hard road run, went out too fast, crashed at the end of the race, and barely held on for a slight improvement from my 2010 marathon time. And the hard road racing definitely compromised my fitness for Bighorn so in hindsight the half and marathon PR’s really weren’t worth the cost. I ended up finishing Bighorn in decent shape and made it through the Steamboat 100 in the fall. Both races ended up being good personal learning experiences and were worthwhile adventures to share with some really good friends.

My best highlights of 2012 were really from being part of the accomplishments of other friends and volunteering with the Animal House shelter.

Running with dogs

Animal House had a record year with over 500 adoptions.

In 2012, I ran 589 miles with 48 different dogs:
Alphie, Amber, Angelina, Ashley, Badger, Bogi, Bonnie, Brad, Charlie, Chuck, Dale, Dexter, Elliot, Fig, Franklin, Fudge, Gravy, Harley, Jack, Joah, Joey, Jordan, Kenny, Kit, Lilly, Mac, Marvel, Meadow, Mylee, Nikita, Oskar, Oso, Potatoes, Red, Rocky, Ross, Samantha, Sapphi, Sasha, Scout, Tanner, Tiger, Tigger, Titan, Wheeler, William, Zara, and Zipper. I’ve collected photos of most of them here.

I spent the majority of my time over 232.5 miles working with Scout. After a very long wait, he finally found the perfect home. I heard that he has been doing very well living on a ranch in Wyoming continuing to improve with his training, going on long trail rides with horses, and finally getting to be a normal family dog lounging around on his owner’s bed.

My other favorite running partner, Ashley, finally got adopted in July after almost 9 months at the shelter. She and I ran the St. Patrick’s Day 5k, Fast and the Furriest 5k, and the Fire Hydrant 5k together. She was the first place dog at the Fire Hydrant 5k and 2nd place overall.

1st Dog at the Fire Hydrant 5k in 18:15.
(Photo from the Fire Hydrant 5k)

My own dogs still get out on a regular basis. Baxter joined me for 672.5 miles and Sheba even managed to jog 327 miles. Based on their adoption records, Sheba just turned 12 and Baxter is only a year younger. Baxter has slowed down a bit but still likes to get out to for normal 3 to 7 mile runs with me. But Sheba has really started to show her age. She still insists on joining Baxter and I every time we head out for a run but most days we only jog/walk about half to 3/4 mile away from the house before heading back home. She’s still fit and strong for her age but it’s been taking longer for her to get up and down the stairs. She slipped and fell down the stairs once last week – she was fine but it still makes me worry. I’ll probably need to cut more time out of my running schedule to make sure we can still get out for slow, easy walks on a regular basis this next year.


Thanks to Scott‘s encouragement, I used my March mileage to raise over $3,500 for Animal House. The Otter Cares G3 Challenge program gave each of their employees $200 for charity and gave them a challenge to team up and go out and use the funds to raise more money. To make the program a little more competitive, Otter Box offered a fairly substantial bonus donation to the charity team that raise the most money. Scott used his funds to start both Cat and I on our fundraising runs, organized a benefit show with his band, and recruited a dozen more Otter Box employees to raise funds for Animal House. We didn’t win the overall prize but our fundraising for Animal House came in second and Otter Box generously chipped in an extra bonus for our efforts. I think the grand total from everyone’s donations came out to over $13,000 for Animal House …I don’t know the exact dollar amount but it was a lot. It was really incredible to see how the the entire fundraising project just snowballed with more and more people joining in to donate, volunteer, or simply help in any way possible.

The Animal House fundraising team. (Photo by OtterCares Foundation)

Pacing and Crewing

Quad Rock 50

I almost forgot to add this to my 2012 highlights. I think this photo sums up what it’s like to crew for 200 runners in one day.

Nick and I obviously concerned about something going on during the race. (Photo by Alex May)

Despite the huge amount of work that it took to put this race together, everything went extremely well for a first year event. Nick has been a great partner to work with and we both owe the success of our race to the fantastic community of trail runners that we have in our area. I don’t think we could have had a better group of volunteers or runners.


I was fortunate to get out onto the Hardrock course pacing Jason Koop from Grouse Gulch to Cunningham. He stayed strong and consistent and finished with a 4 hour PR. Any year that I don’t have a chance to run the race myself, I’ll always try to get out to pace, crew, and/or volunteer. The course is spectacular and Hardrock is a really amazing event to be a part of in any way.

Jason Koop on the way to Cunningham at the Hardrock 100.


The Vermont 100 was my favorite trip of the year. It was great to have some time to catch up with Mom back in New Hampshire and I had a blast crewing with Mindy and Celeste and pacing Scott for the last 30 miles of the race. Watching both Scott and Cat completely blow away their goals was a highlight of my year.

Scott finished in 20:56.

Cat wasn’t far behind Scott finishing in 21:40. And yes, she beat my Vermont 100 PR.

Nolans 14

I can’t say this was my favorite adventure. I’ve decided that I really don’t like 14ers. Anything above 13,000ft is just a crappy pile of rocks and falling on my ass in scree and banging my ankles and shins on sharp talus just isn’t my idea of fun.

But Eric is a real mountain goat at heart and has been working on finishing Nolans 14 for several years. He’s been a huge help pacing and crewing at many of my 100 milers and I’m glad I had the opportunity to try to repay the favor. And I don’t think I’d fully understand or appreciate the magnitude of his accomplishment if I hadn’t spent two nights out on the Nolans route with him.

Eric’s full trip report is online here.

But he left out a couple minor details. The first night out heading over Missouri, Belford, and Oxford went fairly smoothly. We had a gorgeous full moon and were able to hike most of the climb up Missouri without lights. But the descent off of Oxford was incredibly steep straight down a grassy slope. A thin layer of frost and loose hidden rocks under the grass made it incredibly slick. I was having a tough time keeping my feet getting down the hill and Eric told me that he wanted to stretch his legs out a bit and was going to just run ahead to treeline to take a short break while I made it down. So yeah, he dropped me and had a good ten minutes to rest while he waited for me to catch up. He had already covered 7 14ers and I had only made it over 3 …of the easy ones.

The second night out over Princeton wasn’t nearly as pleasant. It was horribly cold and windy climbing up the exposed ridge that seemed to go on forever. Eric was having a tough time keeping steady forward progress on this climb …and understandably so since this was his second night out with only a short 45 minute nap. But he was still walking upright and I had to convince him to get his hands down onto the rocks for better balance …which is exactly what I had been doing crawling up after him for the past couple of hours already.

The way down was even worse – down a nasty chute of loose scree and talus, across boulder filled tundra, and some bushwhacking to finally connect with an old trail down to the road. But other than a wrong turn on the road that added a half mile tops, Eric never lost focus. I, on the other hand, let myself get frustrated and lost my patience. In the original rules for the Nolans 14 challenge, pacers are not allowed but I can honestly say I was absolutely no help to him as a pacer on either night out. In case of an emergency I did have a set of maps that I could have used but Eric navigated the entire way and other than a few sections where we were each just picking our way through rocks and bushes, Eric led the entire way. I don’t think I was even very good moral support on the second night out and I took lousy pictures.

Eric on the Princeton summit. We paused just long enough to get a quick photo. Yup, it’s another pile of rocks and it’s damn cold and windy.

The Bear

The Bear was one last ultra weekend to end the season. I went out to help crew and pace Steph for her first 100 mile finish. Chris and Kristel were there to help pace so we were able to split up into reasonable sections. After sending Kristel off for her final leg with Steph and handing over crew duties to Chris, I was able to jump in for a few more miles to pace Andy in to the finish. Nick, Rob, Victoria, and Alan all finished well too. Rob ran an incredibly strong race and finished well before I arrived. And as usual, Nick had already gotten in a decent night’s sleep by the time I got to the finish.

Steph cruising along already 40+ miles into the Bear 100.

Andy running down to the finish at Bear lake.

Andy crossing the finish line.

Steph finishing strong.

Victoria’s 1st 100 mile finish!

Alan finished the Rocky Mountain Slam. Bighorn, Hardrock, Leadville, and the Bear in one season. Damn impressive!


I was fortunate to get an entry into Hardrock again so this will be my primary goal race of the year.

I also won a lottery entry into Massanutten but have decided to drop it in favor of running the Pocatello 50 in June. I know I can finish multiple 100’s in one year but I really want to improve and do well. And Hardrock isn’t a race to take lightly. I’ve done better in past 100’s when I’ve been able to fit in a good quality 50 mile race and Pocatello looks like an ideal course and perfect timing to prepare for Hardrock.

I’ll also be running the New Orleans Marathon in February. Since I really didn’t feel like I ran well at the 2012 Colorado Marathon, I thought it would be a good idea to find time to put an honest effort into running a road race. February seemed to be ideal timing to allow me to focus on track and road work during the winter months to avoid cutting into any quality trail time later in the spring.

Plans for the 2013 Quad Rock 50 and 25 are already well under way. Registrations are rolling in and I’m really looking forward to building and improving on our success from last year.

This next year I’m going to try to do a better job publishing more photos and information about the shelter dogs I run with and I’m going to take more time out to try to get more dogs out to local running events. Several dogs have found homes just from the small effort I’ve made to promote them in the past year. I can definitely do a lot better.

I haven’t made a final decision about another March fundraiser. I will probably find a way to do something to raise funds for Animal House this year but am not sure if I’ll have enough flexibility with work to put that much effort into running for a full month. And I’m not sure if I’ll be physically up for the challenge.

And I need to follow through with a couple thank you’s for Vi Endurance and Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists. My friends at Vi Endurance have been incredibly supportive in this past year providing me with a ton of great product and helping to design an ideal race fuel that I can confidently use. Getting sick and struggling through races without any calories hasn’t been much fun but I think I’ve finally figured out a product and system that works. So I am incredibly grateful for their help. And Terry and his team of PT’s has put me back together more times than I can count now. I wouldn’t have been able to run the Colorado Marathon this year, let alone set a PR, without their help. I’ll take some extra time to write up more details about Vi and Colpts as soon as I have some time.

701 Miles for Animal House

I made it through the month and couldn’t be happier about the results. For my own running, I exceeded all of my goals for mileage, vertical, and speed and remained injury free and healthy.

We’ve raised $2,555.54 for Animal House …and there may be additional company matching funds that will bump this total up even more once they are confirmed later this week. I originally figured I’d bring in a few hundred bucks for the shelter so this completely blew away my expectations.

701 Miles beat my previous largest month by 200.5 miles.
91,240 Feet beat my previous highest month by 1573 feet. And that was my best month of training for the Hardrock 100!
30 sub 6 minute miles may have been more than I’ve run in the entire past year. And my last mile was a new PR on the Pineridge mile and second fastest mile ever in 5:10.
143 Miles run with the Animal House dogs
100.25 Miles with Baxter
62 Miles with Sheba

Rocky, Joah, Harley, and Alphie are just a few dogs I’ve run with who found new homes this month.

I’m pretty tired right now and am ready for a rest and recovery week. But I don’t feel in the least bit over trained and a couple nagging tendon pains on my Achilles and knee that have bothered me for months are gone now. Overall, running 701 miles this month hasn’t been too bad – it just took some extra motivation to get up for early weekday runs, stay out a bit later each evening, and put the long hours in on the weekends to get it done. Fortunately, I have an incredible group of friends who came out to run with me almost every day this past month. We’ve also had the most amazing weather with clear, dry trails and sunshine almost every day. It seems like summer has arrived early here on the front range. And in the past week, Mary, Mindy, Kristel, Alex, and Jennifer have all helped treat me to dinner every day of the week. So I can’t really say this has been much of an ordeal. If I didn’t need to balance my time with a full time job and a new 50 mile race to direct, I’d do this again in April.

The meadows below Greyrock. Spending time out on these trails in this weather sure didn't suck. (Photo by Kevin Hurd)

It’s been fun watching the donation numbers grow throughout the month and it’s been nice to see people get involved. In addition to donations, several people have considered volunteering. And thanks to Slush, we now have about 20 Otter Box employees putting their company fund raising incentives to use for Animal House which puts them in the running for a very generous bonus donation from Otter Box.

The latest report of pledges is included below. Here are the options for final payments.

  1. Submit your donation online here.
  2. Mail your check to:
    Animal House Rescue & Grooming
    1104 W Vine
    Fort Collins, CO 80521
  3. Hand off your donation to me this week if it’s more convenient. I’ll be out at the usual Tuesday social run and Thursday Towers Time Trial.

Checks can be made out to Animal House Rescue & Grooming. If you send your donation directly, you can make a note that it is for my March Madness Run and email me at to confirm. Some people have already submitted donations and rounded up and I’d like to keep track of the actual final total – every bit counts to help Animal House win the bonus donation from Otter Box.

Additional 501(c)3 info and tax ID for Animal House are online here if you need it..

After a few days of rest and recovery and some much needed down time to catch up on miscellaneous things like laundry and grocery shopping, I’m looking forward to getting back to work with more focused training for the Colorado Marathon and Bighorn 100.

And there is still more work to do to find Ross, Titan, Lilly, Scout, Samantha, and my favorite here, Ashley homes.

Relaxing with Ashley at the Animal House Anniversary BBQ today. (Photo by Kevin Hurd)

March – Final Weekend

It’s down to the last two days and I only have 71 more miles to go to hit 700.

As of the end of day today, pledges are up to $1831.09 and there are still a few bonuses left to get by Saturday.

Tomorrow I plan to finish up the last of my vertical on Greyrock and depending on how many miles I get in on the hill, I’ll have about 50 miles left to finish on Saturday. For my final day this month, I plan to just run from Animal House to run laps with the dogs until I’m done. I’ll start the day at 7:30am when they open and will take Scout out for a longer solo run first. So any time after about 10am, I’ll just be running loops around the ponds behind the shelter. This will be the easiest way to break up the day and get out with as many different dogs as possible. And if anyone wants to drop in and run a few miles with me, I’ll be easy to find since I’ll be within 2-3 miles of the shelter at all times.

I’ll tally up the final pledges Saturday evening or Sunday morning and will follow up with more details to collect payments. Anyone who has pledged donations can send checks directly to Animal House, donate online, or give me the donation to bring to Animal House sometime in the next week.

On Sunday Animal House is hosting their 5th Anniversary Celebration BBQ. I plan to be at the BBQ ….not running. Event info is on the Animal House Facebook page here. I would love to see anyone who has supported me this month out for a run on Saturday or anytime at the BBQ on Sunday.

And mark your calendars for Scott’s benefit concert on April 9th. The Swashbuckling Doctors will be playing at Avo’s at 6:30pm.

6 Days Left – This Just Got Interesting

So I’ve made it through the 3rd full week of March. The good news for this week is that Joah got adopted by the family who Celeste met out at the St Patrick’s Day 5k.

Full stats for the month are updated here.

Right now I am pleasantly surprised at how good I feel.

Yesterday I ran the full 50 mile of my new Quad Rock race. I didn’t think it would be right to expect other runners to complete a course that I designed and hadn’t run myself . I won’t lie – the course is pretty damn tough. It was a brutal 12 hours and 24 minutes out on the trail but the weather was incredible and I had good company to keep me going all day. Justin met me for the 6am start and ran most of the first loop back to the Arthur’s Rock trailhead. Brian and Kari met up with me at Horsetooth and ran 30 miles out to the Soldier Canyon start/finish and back. And Steph came out for the full second loop.

Heading towards Arthur's Rock on the Quad Rock 50 route.

After finishing the full 50 miles yesterday, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to run today …or even get out of bed. But after sleeping in and getting off to a late start with an easy dog run with Sheba, Baxter, and Mojo, my legs felt surprisingly good. I split the rest of the day up with a couple runs at the shelter with Scout and Ashley and finished the day with a nice run around Pineridge with Mindy and Lindsay for another 25 miles.

With 540 miles so far this month, other than being a bit slower than usual, I feel fine. So right now it looks like 700 miles for the month might be within reach. I just need to run 20 miles per day Monday through Friday and spend the full day Saturday finishing off the last 60 miles. With what I’ve done already, that seems perfectly reasonable.

And there’s a bit more at stake here. Scott was the original instigator of this fund raising challenge. In addition to setting an example with his Doctors without Borders and ALS fundraising events, this brainstorm started with a donation from his employer Otter Box. Otter Box allocated funds for each employee to give to whatever charity they liked. But rather than have employees simply donate the money, they encouraged each employee to use the funds to raise even more money for their cause. And to make it interesting, Otter Box is offering a substantial bonus donation to the employee who raises the most money. Scott is also putting together a fund raising concert with his new band and Cat has joined the cause with donations from her 24 Hours of Utah run this last weekend. Between the 3 of us, I think we have a pretty good shot at winning the Otter Box donation for Animal House.

The weather looks good this week, I have plenty of friends to run with every day, and Mary and Mindy have coordinated to start bringing me food every day. I’m actually not starving and have been managing to stay pretty healthy cooking for myself this month. But this dinner from Mindy and Mary sure was a nice surprise this evening. Cutting out some cooking time should give me time to get out for at least 3-5 more miles each evening.

Thanks Mindy and Mary!

If anyone needs to put a cap on their original pledge or wants to throw in a bonus for 700 miles, email me at

Week Ending March 18th

Ok, so it’s actually the 19th. I was just too tired to post anything by the official end of the week.

I think as of today, I’m starting to get tired. Thanks to Slush, I managed to get out for an easy jog this morning with Baxter and Sheba and at least got my legs moving. But after work, I was still completely wiped out and cut my evening run short to take a little extra recovery time.

As of today, I’ve run 400.5 miles with 50,133 vertical feet. Total pledges so far are up to $792.20!

This last week started off pretty well. I was tired and definitely a bit slower than usual but most of the week really felt just like any other normal training week. On Tuesday I managed to get a decent speed workout in and cost Celeste another $3 in sub 6 minute miles. On Thursday I made it over to Horsetooth to run a good set of repeats on the rock trail with Steph. And I even managed to squeeze in some weight training.

The incredible warm spring weather we’ve had this last week is probably the reason I managed to get through the week so easily. Every morning has been warm with an incredible sunrise. And each evening I’ve been out, I haven’t had any trouble staying out on the trails just a little bit longer each day.

Tuesday evening at Reservoir Ridge with Scout.

The weekend started off with the Sharin’ O’ the Green 5k at O’Dells in Old Town. Celeste and I each took a dog from Animal House. Friday morning, we ran with several dogs to try to find the best match up for the race and decided that I would run with Ashley and Celeste would run with Joah.

Celeste with Titan and Ashley.

I had a chance to run with Ashley a few weeks ago and initially I thought she might be a bit difficult since we didn’t really seem to connect. But after working with her this weekend, she’s one of my all time favorites. She’s fairly quiet and reserved and I think she just takes a little longer to warm up to people. She is really very sweet and eager to please. I’m surprised that she hasn’t been adopted yet.

When we arrived at race check in, the O’Dells parking lot was packed. They sold out the race with 1,000 more runners than last year’s race and the parking area where the start/finish was staged was about half the size they really needed for such a large crowd. Ashley seemed a bit nervous but handled it all pretty well and stayed glued to my leg the entire time. Since this was my first time at a race with Ashley, I decided not to get up in front on the starting line and Celeste and I thought we might be able to just squeeze by the timing mat off to the side of the crowd. We were only about 20 feet back and off to the side of the starting line but after the gun went off, it still took me almost half a minute to get to the timing mat. From the start, we were stuck in the crowd and had to walk to the 50 yards out of the parking lot to the road where I thought we might be able to find some space on the outside of the lane. Unfortunately they only sectioned off half a lane and had volunteers telling everyone to say inside the cones. Ashley and I had to cut and weave our way back across the crowd to find an open spot to run on the grassy incline on the side of the drainage ditch. It took us the first half mile before we could really start running and even after that we had to dart and weave our way through traffic until the last half mile to the finish. I was amazed at how well Ashley ran. She could have run faster and pushed the pace the entire time but never got out of control to pull too hard. And she didn’t have any problem dodging and weaving through heavy traffic. Our first mile ended up being pretty slow at 6:31. I pushed the second mile as hard as I could – I was determined to get at least 1 more dollar from Celeste out of this race. Ashley and I ran the 2nd mile in 5:49. By the 3rd mile my legs were burning but we were running back against the crowd of walkers and joggers at the back of the field and people were yelling that we were the second dog. So I pushed a little harder to see if we might catch them. We ran the 3rd mile in 5:50 and crossed the finish in 19:08 just 23 seconds behind the lead dog. The race didn’t have any awards for dogs but I was still pretty happy with Ashley’s second place finish. With a better position on the starting line, that other dog wouldn’t have had a chance.

Ashley and I kicking it into the 5k finish. (Photo by Kevin Hurd)

It was really after the race where Ashley really got to be a star. After regrouping with some of the other FCTR runners, we headed over to the St Patrick’s Day Parade to walk with the Animal House team. (And no I didn’t log this in my mileage). It was crowded, hot, and noisy and the streets were a gauntlet of little kid’s grabby hands. This would be a nightmare for most dogs but Ashley wasn’t in the least bit phased by all the commotion. Any time kids would ask to pet the dogs, she would stand or sit down calmly. I was really amazed at how well behaved and tolerant she was. She still needs her fair share of training work just like any other young dog but whoever adopts her and puts the time and effort into working with her is going to end up with an incredible dog.

Ashley working the crowd at the St Patrick's Day parade.

Showing the kids how to pet a dog nicely.

Joah bonked by mile 2 of the 5k so Celeste let him ride up on the float.

After the parade, I made it back over to the shelter to get Scout out for a nice 10 mile run. Overall, it was a pretty good holiday for the dogs!

It looks like Ross has finally found a home but Ashley, Joah, Titan, Scout, and many others are still available. The best news of this week is that Harley is going home with a couple of our local ultra runners. I can’t think of a nicer couple to adopt her.

So that was only Saturday ….Sunday was an even bigger day with our annual FCTR March Madness run around the reservoir. Scott and I decided to meet at my place to get a few bonus miles in before the start. We wanted to get in at least 40 miles and needed all the time we could get.

You can find a bunch of other great posts about the FCTR MM Run from Alex, Nick, Ryan, Rob, and I’m sure a few others who I haven’t found yet.

I’m exhausted just thinking about the day but to sum it up, it was another fantastic day. I ran into a bunch of good friends and some new runners along the way. And the May’s were excellent hosts as usual with an awesome BBQ potluck gathering after the run.

FCTR on the Stout trail. Starting the day with a fun social run.

Scott staring out strong charging up Audra Culver to Horsetooth Rock.

Nice view of Longs Peak from the south ridge of Horsetooth.

Zeke, Burch, and Nick catching up with us on Horseooth Rock.

Still having fun on the way to Arthur's Rock.

Steph - just stretching. Ugh.

The last hill of the day. On top of the A behind the stadium.

Scott in Pineridge just 1 mile from Alex's house. This pretty much sums up how we felt at the end of the run.