Posts Tagged ‘training’

What happened to April and May?

The last couple months have been a bit of a blur. Work, directing Quad Rock, and trying to keep up with training for Bighorn has really consumed every possible free minute of my time over the last couple months.

So let’s see where I left off……

I’m sponsored by Vi Endurance. My good friends Mike Poland, Michael Hodges, and Alan Smith started this company and I think they’ve made an excellent product that I’m happy to use and recommend. I’d really like to see their new business succeed so I really hope that I can run well and do a good job representing them.

I haven’t had any time to write up any full trip or race reports but here’s the quick recap:

5/5 Towers PR in 31:31

5/7 Round Up – 32.25 miles on Round Mountain running a series of ascending repeats to each mile marker and back. I knocked 20 minutes off of my time for this run last year and successfully ran negative splits on every mile segment up and down.

4/19 New mile PR in 4:55 down the VBM section of Towers in the morning and later that evening I ran a new Horsetooth Rock PR in 25:42 – almost 2 minutes off my time from last year.

4/22 Horsetooth Half Marathon PR in 1:24:56 the day after the Crosier Triple.

4/28 Placed 2nd in the Fast and the Furriest 5k with Ashley.

5/3 Almost sidelined with an injury. I woke up with sharp pains in my left hip and upper quads and could barely put weight on my left leg. I tried to hike/jog to loosen it up at the evening Towers run but could barely manage a walk.

5/4 Emergency trip to Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists. I’ll post more about this later to give them a proper thank you.

5/6 PR at the Colorado Marathon in 2:51:27.

5/12 Directing the Quad Rock 50 with Nick.

Quad Rock consumed a lot more than I really had planned for. Running 50 miles is definitely easier than directing a 50 mile race. But on the other hand, the final result of pulling off a successful race was just as rewarding as running an ultra. I’m already looking forward to next year’s race.

In hind sight, I’m not sure it was a great idea to add in the Horsetooth Half and Colorado Marathon road races. I’m glad I was able to squeeze these into my schedule to knock out a couple new PR’s. But I definitely paid more for those PR’s than I had originally intended and the two races really put a dent in my Bighorn training plans. Despite the fact that I finished the marathon with a very good time, it still wasn’t a great run. I had no idea how to pace myself and started out way too fast and ended up dying at the end. Someday I might find the time to fully focus on road training to seriously race a marathon but I won’t attempt this again during prime trail running season. And since we can run year round on trails here in Colorado, I’m not sure if that will ever happen.

Looking forward to Bighorn, I’m not sure what I can expect to run on race day. I’ve just managed to get in 2 decent training weeks after recovering from the Colorado Marathon and Quad Rock. I feel like I could really use one more good training cycle to really sharpen up to race 100 miles. But even if I haven’t timed my training to hit my optimal peak condition, I know that I’m faster and stronger than I was last year. Hopefully that will be enough to compete for a top finish this year.

Up next…. Blue Sky Marathon registration opens on June 1st. Time to get back to work!


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 Madness Animal House Fundraiser

For the past year I’ve been volunteering for Animal House helping to take some of their more active, energetic dogs out on runs a couple times every week. And over the past few years, I’ve continued to find fun and interesting ways to challenge myself and push the limits of my running ability. But other than running local 5k charity races and chipping in a few bucks for dozens of different Teams In Training, Fight for Air Republic Stair Climbers, or any other odd fund raiser like Runners Without Borders and the HPBT, I’ve never actually organized a fundraiser myself. Running is definitely an effective way to raise money so I figured I’d finally put my miles to good use and try to raise some funds for Animal House.

The plan is pretty simple. I’m putting my entire running volume up for pledging for the month of March.

My goal for March is to run as much as I possibly can.

My biggest month of mileage so far has been 500.5 miles. I think with a consistent focus on daily volume over the full 31 days of March, 600 miles should be a reasonable target to aim for.

And just to make sure I don’t get lazy and run a ton of easy road miles all month, I will welcome pledges for total vertical feet or specific challenges. The only restriction is that I won’t be running very fast this month so pledges related to any speed performance at races or time trials won’t be very helpful.

I will consider any reasonable challenge for volume and difficulty. And I’ll probably even consider most unreasonable challenges for volume and difficulty too:-)

My only rules and limitations are that I need to stay healthy and uninjured to continue to run every day, I need to keep up with my full time work schedule, and all miles will be outdoors – treadmills don’t count. I won’t be doing any huge 24 hour or 100 mile efforts that will require too much time to recover from. My longer runs will be around 30-40 miles and I probably won’t run any single day over 50-60 miles. I also plan to keep up with my volunteer running and will aim to get out with the shelter dogs for at least 3-4 runs per week.

Here are some stats for a frame of reference for pledges.

Largest Month: 500.5 miles
Largest Week: 222 Miles
Recent volume: Feb – 273.25, Jan – 274, Dec – 322, Nov – 328.75, Oct 405

Vertical PRs:
Largest Month: 89,667ft
Largest Week: 43,935ft
Recent Volume: Feb – 25,380ft, Jan – 32,503ft, Dec – 42,294ft, Nov – 59,876ft
Greyrock: 6 loops. 45.25 miles, 15,361ft, 13 Hours 59 Minutes
Sanitas: 13 loops. 40 miles, 17,339ft, 14 Hours 24 Minutes.

Some ideas for pledges:

  • Cents per Mile (i.e. 5 cents would be $20 at 400 miles, $25 at 500 miles, $30 at 600 miles)
  • Flat Donation for a specific goal (i.e. X dollars for 500 miles, X dollars for 600 miles, etc.)
  • Dollars per 1,000 Vertical Feet (i.e. 50 Cents per thousand would be $20 at 40,000ft, $30 at 60,000ft, $45 at 90,000ft)
  • Dollars per local Peak (Horsetooth, Arthur’s, Greyrock, Round Mtn)
  • Dollars per mile or per dog that I run with from Animal House

Feel free to be creative and set limitations if you need to place a cap on your maximum donation.

If you’re short on funds and still want to contribute to the cause, come run with me!

I already have several offers to help drag me out for 5am and 6am starts before work. With the volume of miles I’ll be running, I’m sure that at some point during the month, I’ll have an opportunity to run with anyone who wants to join me.

To send me a pledge or invite me out for a run, email me at:

I will publish all pledges and fundraising totals in a Google spreadsheet online here. My mileage and vertical will be recorded based on the measurements from my Polar G3 GPS. My daily running log will be updated regularly on Attackpoint and I will post regular blog updates with my weekly progress.

Click here for a current list of pledges and progress.

Countdown to Hardrock

Wow, I can’t believe May is almost over. It’s been almost a month since I’ve had time to post any updates here. I’ve been too busy trying to keep up with work in between training and have been spending all of my spare time obsessing over weather reports, snow levels, maps, and split times.

Overall, May has been a great month. Unfortunately our record snow pack conditions have prevented me from getting up in elevation very far so I’ve tried to concentrated on increasing the quality of my training with a little better effort on my long runs, speed work, and strength training.

I started the month with a great 50 mile run with Victoria at Collegiate Peaks.

Victoria at the Collegiate Peaks 50 Miler

Got a couple good back to back long runs in with Nick’s Crosier Triple Bagger and the Round Up with Nick, Alex, Rob, Slush, Cat, and all the rest of the usual FCTR suspects.

Round Mountain Round Up

This weekend I got out to do some exploring to see how far up I could get from Dunraven. I made it up to 9750ft almost to Donner Pass before getting bogged down in solid shin deep snow. Hopefully the 80 degree days on the forecast this week will melt this off – I may make another attempt to get up and over the pass next weekend.

9750ft on the Donner Pass trail.

And here’s a really good reason that I should never attempt any solo route finding and probably shouldn’t ever enter the Barkley Marathons or any other race that requires the use of a map and compass. Nick and I tried to make it up Crosier via the Sullivan Gulch trailhead today just to try something new and have fun exploring. The trail disappeared after a mile and we spent the next several hours wandering around in circles in the fog. We "found" the trail again just by dumb luck. Our original plan to get in a nice 15-20 mile run ended up at 5.5 miles in just under 3 hours. Fail.

(Click here for a larger map.)

I’ve still managed to keep up with a regular running schedule with Animal House. This month I’ve been working with Mickey but he already has someone interested in adopting him. If it falls through, I’ll post more info about him later.

Mickey from Animal House.

Tomorrow is the start of the final count down to Hardrock. Next week is hell week. I’ll be running more than I plan to work to put in as many long, hard miles, as I can. After that I’ll scale back down to another 100 mile week before winding down a very gradual 3 week taper. If the race were next week, I think I could run it. So I’m feeling really good about having one more opportunity to push some quality training and several weeks to sharpen, taper, and rest up to be ready to go on July 8th.

Greyrock 6 Pack

Ever since Eric and Terry finished the full Greyrock Quad back in 2008, several of us have been talking about attempting the full “6 Pack” to complete 6 full summits in one day. I never completed the full Quad after taking a few nasty falls and skipping one summit. So the full 6 Pack seemed like the perfect way to redeem myself from the failed Quad attempt and it fit right in with my Hardrock base training plan.

Over the past week, just about everyone who had originally planned to attempt the full 6 Pack had either backed down or cancelled due to injuries, illness, and family obligations so I was a bit worried that I would spend the majority of my day solo. But thanks to our amazing FCTR group, I spent the full day on the hill in good company with friends. Nick, Sam, Bard, Victoria, Kristel, Ashley, and Steph all made it out for the 5am start. Slush, Jenn, Laura, Cherylin, Dave, Brian K, Gregg, Alex A, Brian, Aaron, and Eric all made it out later in the morning. Somehow I missed Chris out on the trail but found a note on my windshield that he’d run a lap sometime in the afternoon. And Mary made it up to meet Eric and I just below the summit of our last lap and jogged back to the finish with us. I’ve lost track of who ran what but most people ran 1 to 3 summits. Nick managed to get in 3 summits plus one partial lap excluding the final leg to the top before his 7 hour time limit was up. Eric joined in on my 3rd lap and completed 4 full summits.

For springtime in Colorado, the weather was actually pretty nice. We had some high winds at the top early in the day and later in the afternoon some nasty dark clouds blew over and started spitting snow. But as soon as we were half a mile from the trail head all layered up in warm clothes, the sun came back out and the skies cleared.

Here’s a video clip that Eric took of Steph, Dave, and I at the top on lap #3:

I was pleasantly surprised at how well I managed to hold together both physically and mentally for the entire day. I started the run extremely tired from a pretty big 2 weeks training push. On Friday, I barely managed to get through an easy recovery jog with Misty and was at the end of my rope barely able to stay awake and focus while trying to finish up my project deadlines for the end of the month. So it was pretty rough getting up and going for the 5am start but having good company to start with and a goal to catch the sunrise at the top helped get me off to a good start. I finished the first lap in just under 2 hours and took a short break at the trail head and headed back up just behind Nick, Sam, Slush, and Steph. I was feeling the fatigue from an early start after a hard week and since it was going to be a very long day I let them get ahead of me and decided to take my time. I finished this lap in about 2:10 and then took an extended 10 minute break to eat and refill water at the trail head. Eric, Steph, and Dave joined me for number 3 and we kept up a brisk social pace to the top. I finally got a little spring in my legs on the way back down Meadow and had fun cruising the final switchbacks down and finished this lap in just under 2 hours. After a quick 5 minute break at the trail head, I headed back up to grind out number 4 with Eric and Aaron. After a fun 3rd lap, this 4th trip up started to feel like work. But considering that just a couple years ago, I was completely beat after 3.75 laps I felt pretty good about my condition. And no matter how hard or tiring a run like this gets, it’s a great feeling to cross over into something new. After we cleared the meadow junction and made our way to the top of the 4th summit, every step would be a new furthest distance for me on this hill. I made it back to the trail head to finish the 4th lap in 8:38 – 10 minutes faster than the 3.75 laps I finished in 2008. The last two laps were a slow grind but I was still able to hike the steep sections fairly well and even managed to jog a couple of the easy switchbacks. The downhill off the summit was the worst part. There wasn’t any bend or spring left in my legs so I just had to be patient to slowly and carefully pick my way down the really technical sections. In the final descent off of the 6th summit, I managed to pick up the pace when the cows could finally smell the barn. I tried to imagine that if this were Hardrock, I’d only need to do 55 more miles of the same climbing to get to the finish. Honestly, that sounded downright horrible but it at least seemed doable.

The full Greyrock 6 Pack ended up at 45.25 miles with 15,361 vertical feet in 13:59:50. This ended my final 13 day vertical binge with 64,475 feet in 201.75 miles. On Thursday, I maxed out my 7 day vertical total over 40,000 feet. The full month of April ended up with 408.5 miles and 89,667 vertical feet. This included a 40 miles of Sanitas laps with 17,339 vertical feet and two other relatively easy 30 mile long runs. I slacked off a bit and didn’t keep up with my weight training as much as I should have. But I did manage to get a few good quality speed and hard hill workouts mixed in with the long slow miles and set a new 18:20 5k PR.

Overall I feel really good about my training progress for Hardrock. I’ve done some long hard trails that are probably much steeper and more technical than I really need to train on for Hardrock. But I think the long days and hard miles have really improved my strength and endurance. Spending 14 hours out on the trail on Sanitas and Greyrock this month really didn’t feel that bad. For May and June I hope to start getting up higher in elevation on the weekends and will start to mix up my training a bit more to add some more quality with a combination of uphill, downhill, and some flat speed work.

Here are some photos from the 6 Pack: