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Winter in Boulder

February 22, 2013

It seems quite a chunk of time has passed since I’ve done any run blogging.  I’m ok with it.  A few times over the last couple of years I’ve felt guilty not posting more often but I now realize that is pure ridiculousness.  The simple truth is that we all have the same amount of time in the day and writing about my outdoor adventures just hasn’t been a high priority, or maybe a priority at all.  But, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been getting out there.

This sometimes happens:


There is a great misunderstanding about mountain climate among non-front rangers,  those unfortunate souls who life outside of the utopian weather bubble that straddles the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.  Most people think mountains and equate winter with some frozen, frigid hell.  Not the case here in Boulder.  We’ll have a 2-3 day stretch of legit cold, sometimes accompanied by a few inches of snow, then, BOOM, right back to spring.  The legend of year-round sun is holding up and there have been quite a few days in January and February where I’m out on the trails in shorts, worried that I might be overheating a bit. No joke.

My winter, so far, has been an athletic mix.  I’ve cut back quite a bit on the running, both frequency (3-5 times a week) and duration (runs of more than a couple hours have been rare) but I’ve added in some more intensity (running uphill, faster-paced stuff) and have gotten back to more strength and core work.  I’ve gotten in maybe a dozen sessions on the indoor rower, some circuits, and am returning to my push-ups and pull-ups throughout the day.

Gotta stay fit to be able to handle this:


Thanks to John Lacroix’s “Fat Ass” events, I’ve gotten some adventurous, mountain trail time.  More on those on my Races and Journey Runs page but, in short, John organizes interesting, challenging routes, usually with lots of technical and vertical trail, often longer than advertised, and we start out as a group and see how long we can go before getting lost, too tired to continue, or otherwise deterred.  Many of the events have only a few finishers, and in some nobody finishes the proscribed course.  I’ve had my ass handed to me on each of the runs but finished the three I started, in respectable fashion if I do say so.  Other than those, which take us all over the place, my running has been fairly tame as I stick to the more familiar, local trails in and immediately around Boulder.

I joined the Boulder Track Club’s newest sub-group, the “Mountain-Ultra-Trail” (MUTs) runners.  The leader of BTC is Lee Troop, multi-time Olympian in the marathon, and super nice, supportive guy.  Friend (and realtor) Greg Nash is the MUTs coach and a few of my local run buddies are part of the group.  The group trains twice a week – and by “train” I mean runs so fast that I am immediately at the back of every session.  I attended a few tempo runs and a couple of hill repeat sessions and, while I certainly got in good workouts, I found that it isn’t for me.  At least not for now.  There is a ton of value in doing hard efforts, even as an “ultra” runner, and I am continuing to incorporate intensity in my runs at least a time or two each week.  But, with the MUTs, I was unquestionably the slowest person in the group, always finishing a 3-4 mile run in last place, often 4-6+ minutes behind the front-runners.  It is worth noting that I’m the slowest person, not the slowest guy, as the women in the group also smoke me.  It was demoralizing but, more importantly, I wasn’t really doing anything I couldn’t do on my own (running really hard, essentially by myself).  Since I wasn’t adding to the group and found myself coming home dejected, I’ve backed off and plan to return only if/when there is a bit more diversity in the, uh, “talent” of the runners within the group.

Lee Troop, winning the Austin Marathon last week:


So, I’m back to doing my own thing.  I meet up with a motley crew of runners on a day to day basis – some friends who compete with some level of seriousness (but not in training), a cadre of former elites who now have a lot more going on in their lives than running and, thus, are happy to run easy with a laser focus on the social end of the experience, and random stragglers who come out for group runs.

And there’s a lot happening outside of running.  Story is walking and quite proud of herself.  She has teeth and eats anything we let her (broccoli and brussel sprouts are among her favorites).  Sagan is the perfect kid age – bubbling over with excitement over Legos and snow and, most recently, episodes from the original Twilight Zone.  He already is growing up enough to be too manly to bring stuffed animals to school on “stuffie day” and always wants the door locked when changing clothes but he’s kid enough to cherish snuggle time.  I’ve directed much of my energy to business pursuits, which I’m enjoying for the first time in years.  And Al and I are in full-on re-nesting mode, with the imminent closing on the new house and all that goes with the transition.

These are mine:


Life is good, maybe the best it has been in many years.  2013 is shaping up to be a whirlwind of activity, travel, adventure, and growth.  I’m ready to go get it.  (For full disclosure, I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee today so the enthusiasm might be overstated.)





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