Tuesday, April 24, 2012

June Camp

Wanted to post a quick Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp update.

I had reported a few months ago that the June 8th-14th session was full, but since then I decided to add a 4th session in August. I have recently had a few people switch from the June session to the August session so I now have 2 spaces open in this June session that I was turning people away from most of the winter. I don't think there is a bad time for running in Juneau in the summer, but if there is a best time it might just be mid June. The days are longest this time of year, and the weather tends to be really nice. If you've got this camp in the back of your mind, but not totally certain you want to go for it, I highly recommend grabbing one of these remaining spaces in the June session. There's a reason why this session was the first to fill up in the fall, and now  there are two spaces waiting for a couple lucky folks. Check out the camp website for more info:  http://www.akultracamp.blogspot.com/

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Slow Return To Shape

Not once since I began trail racing in 2006 have I taken as much time off, and been as out of shape as I was this winter. I know it sounds crazy to say that I took the winter off as I was preparing for and "running" the Iditarod Invitational, but in terms of having my body in shape to run, and run hard, this is the lowest point I have gone to in 6 years.

I have now been back at consistent running for just over 3 weeks and I'd be lying if I said the process of getting back in shape hasn't been very gradual. Any other times in the past few years that I've taken time "off" it's been less than a month and I could pretty much start back up and be back in the swing of things in two weeks or less. This time though, I didn't do any typical running for about 3 full months. All of the running that I did in preparation for the ITI was in deep snow, mostly with snowshoes, and mostly hiking. Even during the 350 mile race I probably only ran 80 miles. And so now, 3 weeks into everyday running, I am beginning to feel a little bit back in shape, but I'm also aware that I have a long ways to go.

This past Friday, Joe and I decided to tag South Arapahoe Peak. Typically, even when I'm "out of shape", I can bust out a run like this, and feel fine as long as I don't push it too hard. Not this time though. The combination of the altitude (we topped out over 13,000 ft.) and the vertical gain (a bit over 5k) had me completely wiped out from this sub 4 hour outing. I felt like I had been racing for 4 hours (even though our pace was VERY SLOW), and several muscles in my legs were sore for a couple days after. A nice little reminder that I am still very much out of shape. 

I'm still hoping to be in decent shape by May 12th to put in a good effort at the Transvulcania 50, but certainly Hardrock is the ultimate goal for the next several months. I'm very glad that I still have almost 3 full months before that beast. In some ways it even feels kind of nice to be where I'm at right now, and have so far to go to be where I want to be. Not that I would need any more motivation than simply preparing for Hardrock, but knowing that I have so far to go, somehow makes the whole process feel more exciting, and more likely to be a positive experience. 

Overall my hope/plan is to just keep building and feel a little stronger each week. I've done that for the past 3 weeks, and if I can continue to do that for the next 12 then I think I might just be where I want to be by July 13th. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Irunfar Column

Many of you are probably aware that I've begun writing a column on Irunfar. My first piece was published on March 28th and I will have a bi-weekly column that will be published every other Wednesday. Watch for the next one on April 11th. Also, for those of you that are interested, everyone who comments on the article from March 28th will have a chance to win a huge lot of great running gear from Montrail, Mountain Hardwear, Clif Bar, Ryders, Drymax, and Udo's Oil. Check out that column for all the info.

I intend to continue publishing regularly on this blog, with more or less the same style I have for the past few years. I'm even hoping that this bi-weekly writing assignment will increase the creative thoughts running through my mind, such that I may even end up writing more stuff here as a result. 

At any rate, thanks so much for reading, and stay tuned for more.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Home In The Desert

I've spent the last 10 days in Southern Utah with Corle and Elle. Nothing like some desert sun to get my mind and body back into the swing of everyday running after 3 full weeks off in the wake of the ITI. We got snowed on the last day of our trip, but otherwise it was perfect weather everyday.

I've now run 9 of the last 10 days and am beginning to feel really good (although I haven't done anything over 10 miles yet - I intend to increase the mileage in this next week). Despite running a 350 mile race just over a month ago, I really feel like I took most of the past 4 months off. I've got a freshness in my body that I haven't had in a long time.

Also, if you've never taken a small child on their first backpacking trip you are missing out on one of the great pleasures in life.

Here are some photos from our travels to Goblin Valley, Capitol Reef, Escalante, The Needles, and many places in between: