Hi guys,

I ran the Brook Loop on July 5th (5 miles, 1000 vertical feet). My next pure run (not in an adventure race or a scramble) was on July 23rd where I sprained my ankle badly. Then I ran the Pearl Street Mile on the 24th. I just did my fourth run in the last five weeks this morning. I figured I bet start running to get ready for the Pikes Peak races this weekend. Here's my crash program: run this morning, do the Third Flatiron Time Trial tomorrow, then the Eldorado Springs 4-miler on Thursday, rest on Friday, Pikes Peak Ascent on Saturday, Pikes Peak Marathon on Sunday, hospital Monday and Tuesday, and I'm ready for our weekly ride on Wednesday, then the West End 3K on Thursday. Easy peazy, lemon squeezy... (what movie?)

That sounds reasonable, doesn't it? 15 miles of training in the five weeks leading up to the race weekend where I'll run 40 miles and climb 16,000 vertical feet over two days. Yeah, that sounds about right. If you're a complete STUPID IMBECILE! I'm committed though and I know I'm in for an ugly, ugly weekend. But I'm completely relaxed about it. I mean I have no reason to expect anything from these races except an injury. If I get away healthy, that will be a success. I have no pressure. Originally, I wanted to break three hours on the Ascent and was just going to jog/hike the Marathon. I won't just go easy on the Ascent even with my lack of training. That isn't my style. I'll go hard and give it all I've got, but it might not be much. I told as much to Sheri the other day and she acknowledged my lack of running, but shrugged it off immediately. She said, "You're really fit right now and you're strong. This race favors that more than a regular running race. You'll be fine on the Ascent. Heaven help you on the Marathon though. Maybe you can just drop out of that one. One's enough."

She's a good coach and knows that dwelling on my lack of training would only damage my psyche at this point. But, I thought, "Am I fit? Why does she think that? I'm last in every stage of the Tour de Boulder and most Tour de Superior stages. I ran my slowest Pearl Street Mile, reflecting my lack of training." I went out this morning to run the Brook Loop mainly to see if the new shoes I got from Sportiva would suffice for the weekend races. I needed to pick a race shoe from my stable. I also wanted to get a little indication of my running fitness, but I wouldn't go all out. Running all out would just be depressing. No way I could turn in a good time. I got up at 5:45 a.m. and was moving sluggishly and almost just said the heck with it. After a stop for gas, I didn't start running until 6:15 a.m. I set a good tempo pace, but didn't make it hurt too much.

I love this course, it climbs pretty steadily for the first 20-25 minutes, but the angle varies a lot and there are a number of short rests, two that actually go downhill. This helps me keep a reasonable pace on the steep sections, knowing I'll get a bit of rest. I didn't look at my watch until I hit the Shadow Canyon junction. I told myself with this effort, I should be under 16 minutes. Anything over would be depressing and would be a bad sign for this weekend. Anything under 15 minutes would be very good. My best to this point is 13:14 when I set my PR for this loop (and current course record) at 37:29. I had only gone under 40 minutes one time before (38:30 and the course record at the time). Earlier this year I couldn't break 50 minutes. Breaking 45 minutes takes a substantial effort. Breaking 40 minutes is balls to wall, serious pain, start to finish.
I hit the junction at 14:11 and knew things were going well. I was a minute off PR pace, but I never thought about that. I did start thinking that a sub-40 was possible though. How could this be? On no running? Does biking really help your running? I didn't think that fitness would transfer very well. I worked it pretty good on the road and crossed the creek right at 21 minutes - still about a minute down from my PR. My ankle is still in bad shape and I couldn't afford to twist it. Hence, I took things pretty conservative on the descent, but that's relative to a PR effort, not a casual run. I was going pretty hard on the smooth sections and careful in the rocky sections. I worked hard on the final stretch and finished in my 3rd best time ever: 38:48. This probably doesn't translate too well to a 8000-foot marathon, but it gives me a little bit of confidence. At least I'm not way out of running shape. Now if I can just avoid twisting my ankle in the TTT and the 4-Miler, I'll be ready to go.

I don't recommend this training strategy, though. It can't be right. Do no running at all and then do three hard efforts on three consecutive days, take one day rest and do two monster efforts on consecutive days. But if it works, I'll have write a book about the latest fad training strategy!