And the Winner Is...

...the Colorado Marathon on May 9. Hands-down. I have just heard too many good things about it, and the course was just too enticing (hello, all that sexay downhill)....and then of course there was the unanimous comment vote, duh. So I am happy to say that I am all registered up, officially ON with my marathon training and of course, super-excited about it.
Really, who can pass up a marathon course like this?!

I also registered for the Platte River Half Marathon on April 11, which fits perfectly into my marathon training, and is also supposed to be a great, great race. Plus I know a few other local runners who are doing that one, so there is the added benefit of having running buddies in the crowd. (I do love seeing familiar faces at the start of the race. Plus, it comes with lunch at the Buckhorn Exchange afterward. Denver's oldest restaurant. And did you see those animal heads? Win-win-win.)

I've had a couple nice runs over the past few days--a good 8.85 (eh, we stopped a little short of the 4.5 mile turnaround on the out-and-back)-miler on Saturday with the HRRC group out at Chatfield State Park. There were actually 5M and 10M races going on there at 10:00a that day, but I decided that I didn't feel like racing (or paying money for a meh race experience) and ran with the group at 8:00a instead. I was glad I did. It was a good run, and the longest I've done since the Evil Stress Fracture last fall.

This morning, I had a nice early morning 5-miler with another running buddy, and though I was very, very tired (methinks a cold is coming on, sore throat and stuffy head ensued this afternoon) I am glad that we did it. I was tired, but it wasn't so bad that I wanted to quit or even considered a shorter run. Just kind of blah. Anyway, I think I'll rest tomorrow, hope it's not a cold in the works, and hit it again on Thursday morning.

And finally, I am weighing whether or not I will use an actual Training Plan for this round of marathon training, or just kind of make up my own thing based on what I know I need to do to be ready....maybe more discussion on this to follow sometime this week. (I know, it simply doesn't get more exciting than that!)


The Race(s) Is On

I have officially registered for some 2010 races. If you pay any attention to my little box over there on the right entitled "Upcoming Races" you'll notice it has been shifting and changing quite frequently the last couple of weeks. And, if you don't pay any attention to that box, well, here is your recap.

My plan for this year was to have a good, solid race schedule planned out early in the year so that I could:
1) take advantage of the lower prices on early registration fees
2) pay up now, so that I can't back out later or pussyfoot on the training
3) pre-plan so I'll not have to think about or decide which races to run later on, when I am tired and busy and braindead

I have sorta half-assedly started to accomplish this task. I know I will run a spring marathon. I'd like to run one in say March or April, but unfortunately there aren't any conveniently close to Denver that don't require gratuitous travel to particpate. Therefore, my choices are either the Colfax Marathon or the Colorado Marathon. They are on consecutive weekends, so I can't do both (nor am I sure I am even capable of that, having never actually completed a full marathon before). I have to decide which one soon, as I want to hit goal 1 above, plus the CO is capped and usually fills up early. But I'm having a really hard time deciding which.

-Conveniently located in Denver--no travel required
- Race is later (5/16) which means an extra week of training time or more importantly, an extra week of slacking off before starting training
- Registration Fee $90

- Course is entirely city streets...and not the most beauteous parts of Denver at that
- Hilly course (see elevation profile)
- Notoriously bad race t-shirts (cotton)

Colfax: I don't like the look of your midsection one bit...

- Downhill course (see elevation profile)
- Beautiful scenery through Poudre River valley, "fastest and most scenic marathon in Colorado"
- Race is sooner (5/9) which means I am a week closer to starting my training and getting it done

- Nastay Logistics Requre Extra Brainpower: Will have to drive up to Ft. Collins night before so can catch bus to race start at 4:00AM; will have to go alone (so hubs can keep track kids) or arrange familial situation to allow travel and spectating
- Must wake up before 4:00AM
- Point-to-point course
- Registration Fee $105

Colorado: Ooh, me likey! This downhill whore has marathon prey in her lusty sights...

Anyway, in the meantime I have managed to register for the Denver Marathon in October again (early reg was only $70, can't beat that and it seems so far away that I am not really grasping the reality that I am now committed to doing more than one marathon in 2010) and the Platte River Half Marathon (reasonably priced, caps entries, and the only local Half before whichever full marathon I decide to do) in April, which runs along my favorite trail. I've also managed to fill in some other 5K, 10K, 5M and 10M races along the way. Give me another week and I should have this planning done. Or not.

SO, share your vote on which marathon I should do in the comments. (OBVI, being the downhill whore that I am, I am leaning towards Colorado...but the lazy side of me just dreads all those pre-race and raceday logistics....)


The Downhill Whore Lives

I know I have said it before, but on Saturday's run I re-discovered that I am indeed, still a downhill whore. The group run took the fun trek up to Daniel's Park. Depending on how far you go (all the way up to the Park, vs. stopping short at some point along the way; being the whore I am, you know I like to go. all. the. way.) it is 2-4 miles of uphill.
elevation profile the run up to Daniel's Park

I started the morning by running from my house to the rec center where we all met--1.3 miles. The air was cold and I have been trying not to use my inhaler anymore, so when we set out my lungs were feeling those hills a little. I set off at a slow pace as we started climbing. I had a few patches of run/walk (yeah, did you notice the 5% grade patches in that little map above?), but I always picked it back up to run. Why? Because I knew what was coming after the turnaround of the out-and-back, and I needed my legs and body to be warm for the hardcore downhill boning I planned on doing. I refused to stop and quite frankly, I would have clawed, crawled or even done the Snake up that hill if it meant I could run back down it. Indeed, a tried-and-true Downhill Whore.

Run totals: 8.53 miles, 1:35
To illustrate the downhill whoriness of it all, my splits:
Mile 1 - 11:08 (big uphill at the start, took it slow warming up)
Mile 2 - 9:40, best pace of 6:19 (oh crap, I better hurry up or I'll be late...followed by, oh crap maybe I shouldn't have sprinted)
Mile 3 - 12:04 (fu%k that's a big hill)
Mile 4 - 10:55 (fu%kedy fu%ck this hill SUX)
Mile 5 - 9:48 , best pace 7:50 (almost there...turning arond...and now...GIVE IT TO ME BABY)
Mile 6 - 8:33, best pace 7:10 (wheeeeeee!)
Mile 7 - 8:50, best 7:32 (oh yeah oh yeah oh yeah, I love the downhill)

**hourlong break while we meet/eat/listen to Muscle Max presentation**

Mile 8 - 15:33 (walking back home, carrying newly-acquired Muscle Max papers and water bottle)
Mile .53 - 8:30 (damn these papers are a pain, I could be home already if I didn't have to carry these stupid things; curse you Muscle Max!)

On another note, now that I've got myself calmed back down from my Downhill daydreams, Lam had a great post about resolutions--for those of you that set them this time of year and those of you that don't, I suggest reading his take on the power and reason for resolutions. Whether you set them in January or continuously throughout the year, here's to getting going...especially if it's downhill.


Conquering the Treadmill Beast vs. Yaktrax

So it did indeed snow yesterday, as promised by the weather forcasters. When I woke up it was actually clear--but as I looked out my back windows to the full mountain view, I could literally see the front rolling in over the foothills (it was pretty cool-looking, if I were clever, I'd have taken a photo of it...or better yet, video...but alas, I'm not clever). Within an hour, it had arrived and was lightly flaking down in the Ranch. So, clearly this meant I would have one of two runs: a snow-glory run in the Yaktrax or treadmill make-out session at the rec center. Only time and 9News would tell which it will be...so, to please the few readers I have and keep you reading, I offer two delicious bloggy nuggets for consumption today.

A Sample of the Treadmill Workouts in This Month's Runner's World
"Race Simulations - Do it to train for the course
Some treadmills offer simulations of famous races, like the Boston Marathon and Bolder Boulder, to let you mirror the topography indoors and practice the hills in a condensed run.
The workout - if your treadmill doesn't have your race as a preset course, you can use a race's elevatin map to time your ups and downs on the treadmill to mimic the course. For instance, say you know there's a killer hill two-thirds of the way into a 10-k you've entered. Hit that "up" incline button at the same point in your treadmill run, and get used to the feeling.

Inside scoop - Don't let yourself be surprised on race day. When you get to that hill, you can think that you've done it before--and it felt much worse when you were in your basement."

M2Marathon's Puke Threshold Treadmill Workout
Select the "hills" program. Set treadmill for 50 minutes. Select a difficulty of level 10 or above (out of 20). Set the speed to whatever is your tempo pace (or choose 8MPH if you are treadmilltarded, like me). Cover up the display. Start running. Absorb yourself in the tv show Heroes, of which you know nothing about and have never watched, in Closed Caption, and try to figure out what the hell is going on and who's who. Don't stop or slow down at all, because that would involve pulling your attention and eyes away from Heroes in order to punch the treadmill buttons, and then you'll miss out on something happening that you already don't understand and will become ever more desperately Lost (another show which would probably work for this workout as I have no clue WTF it is about or what is going on) and unable to fully absorb in Heroes (this is a critical element of the workout). Ignore pukish feeling--right when you think you will surely hurl, the incline will go down and the feeling will subside...untl the next time. Stop running 50 minutes later, when the treadmill slows down and Heroes is over. Wring sweat out of shirt and ponytail (it's ok, they have papertowels and disinfectant spray you can lightly douse the sweatpool with). This workout is particularly effective if you execute it 30 minutes after eating dinner. Good luck runners!

Description and Photos of the Heavenly Winterlands Running Animal That is the "Yaktrax"(runningus yaktraximus)
Yaktrax are rubber and metal coil contraptions you strap on your shoes to give you traction thus allowing one to [more] safely run on packed snow. Note: you cannot run on plain pavement in them. Nor do you want to walk indoors on your mother-in-laws new tile floors (or your own wood floor) in them. The box tells you this, but I also know from experience, which I will not go into at this point. Just trust me on that.

Yaktrax Exhibit 1.0 - do not walk on your wood floors in them.
A link to someone who knows a lot about Yaktrax

Yaktrax Exhibit 1.1 - they are a little effort to get on, but completely worth it

Yaktrax Exhibit 1.2 - do not attempt to climb trees in
them--just stick to the running
Again, if I were clever, I would host a Yaktrax giveaway at this point. Also, if I were rich. However, as is obvious by the lack of giveaway1, I am neither.
1 - Yaktrax, a note to you if you are listening: if you want to send me a free pair to raffle off to blogland readers, I will gladly host a giveaway


Resolved to a great 2010 in which I will myself to learn to love the treadmill....starting, now

Ah yes, for the fun and functional recap/resolution/goals post!

2009 RECAP

  • I think I mentioned, but I will get my full marathon in 2010. fo reals. dammit! And once that's done, I'd like to do another. Or two. We'll see.
  • I resolve to learn to like the treadmill again. (Not just tolerate it, but like it. Yeah, them's strong words.) Concurrently inspired by RW article (the one in January with the treadmill workouts...no online posting?) and scared by another, I vow to make the mill a part of my training arsenal. I've abstained for over 3 years; it is time to get treadmill nastay again in 2010!

  • Run, train, and race without breaking or injuring anything. I accept that this may mean I run slower than my ego likes.

  • Reduce the sugar consumption. I eat pretty healthy already--lots of veggies, fruits, legumes, variety, home-cooked--but the large, gaping Sweet Tooth that is actually probably more like the entire Sweet Lower Mandible has got to get whupped into shape. The running counterbalances in terms of calories, but dang that sugar is just not good for me and I feel soooo much better when I go without. So I resolve to do better this year. Not sure what that will mean for my steady PB (ok, maybe I am really referring to the PB M&Ms) addiction, but we'll see how that plays out. One has to make small allowances, right?!
  • Resume daily meditation practice. When I am doing yoga alot, this kind of takes care of itself. And actually, many days, running is for me a meditation. But I'd like to work back into the sit-on-the-floor-in-silence kind, cause, well, it gets my deep juices flowing and my brain is happier and more creative. Plus the deep breathing helps me with my running breathing. (It all circles back to running, it always does)
  • More pictures in my blog posts. Yeah, all text is boring. I know. (And believe it or not, mitigating boring-ass text is actually kinda what I do for a living. Go figure why I don't do it here. I'll claim it is respect for image copyrights or something noble like that, but it is really more a function of laziness.)
  • No, it's not running-related...but who out there doesn't think
    mother-daugher pouty faces are cute?!

  • TBD - I like to leave space to add a mid-year goal or two. I think ahead like that.
1-Anyone who knows me personally, knows that this is only a portion of my 2010 goals and that the balance of them are laid out all business-nerd-style in a master listdocument divvied up by categories and sections and timeframes and crap. But on this blog I pledge to only bore with running nerdiness, not my other more general nerdiness. You're welcome.