Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I declared war today.

Yeay med tent
While I've had seven months to grumble and groan over last year's disappointing performance on Pikes Peak, today was the first day I could actually do something about it.  Clicking the 'submit' button not once, but twice, felt like a declaration of war against the pile of rocks that lives just a few miles to my west.

After a surprising 2:44 in 2009, I decided to put all my eggs in the Ascent basket last August.  Three hours, twenty-one minutes later, I found myself sucking down O's and belligerently snapping at medical staff.  My grand blowup began early - likely at the beginning of the W's - but the wheels didn't fall off until A-Frame.  Mile splits of 20, 25, and 43 minutes ensued.  Carnage.

I had it all planned out.  I was going to click off a sub-2:40 Ascent, hop in a car and pace JT in Leadville that night.  I had even tentatively planned on drinking the Leadville Kool-Aid.  A sub-2:40 would have been fast enough for me to walk away from the Ascent and give this 100-mile craziness a shot in 2011.

The taste that bonk left in my mouth, ate at me.  I did make it out to Leadville to pace JT.  I did fall in love with the idea of the race, the atmosphere, the challenge...but in the back of my mind, I knew I still had a score to settle with my 14,110' backdoor neighbor.  At the same time, I felt I wanted to mix it up at least a smidge, so I began thinking about the round-trip.  I was soon talked into the double, and it's been on my mind ever since 2011 came around.

The game plan now is simple.  I'm going to crush the Ascent.  I'm going to come back the next day and see if I can beat my old Ascent PR on the way up.  A strong performance on Pikes in August will allow me the 'closure' I need to tackle Leadville in 2012.  That mountain is in trouble - today I just made it legal.

Incline super easy yesterday.  10 miles easy today (8:35's) on the Santa Fe.  Giving the legs one more day to recover before I hit up 1000's around the rez on St. Patty's Day.

Part of my training routine will include this - at least it will tomorrow!


  1. Rock n roll then. Sub 2:40. Be sure to run through the W's as hard as you can.

    More seriously - any idea why it came apart last year? I can't recall if we discussed that other than it was just a bad day.

  2. Great advice GZ. Establish position early, right?

    I'm starting to gain perspective on what happened last year. Not sure if I can sum it up eloquently here, but I can sum it up. I was not as dialed in as I thought and likely was out over my head. I didn't think this initially - my strongest case against that was the following:

    In '09, I was up to Barr Camp in 1:09 in the BTMR and 1:05* at PPA. (actually 1:15 but it's 10 minutes from PPA start to BTMR start) I had a fine BTMR, and while I struggled a bit at PPA it wasn't disasterous.

    In '10, I was up to Barr Camp in 1:07 in the BTMR and 1:08* at PPA. In my mind - at least at the time - I was MUCH more conservative in the first half of PPA. I had figured that coming through Camp three minutes slower (in slightly better shape) kind of guaranteed that I had run the first half properly.

    Looking back, I now think even that was a little aggressive for the shape I was in at the time. It eliminated my margin for error just as it had in 2009, but in '09 other factors didn't combine to bit me as badly. In '10 I'm sure there was a bit of dehydration, lack of nutrition, etc going on. When the wheels came off, they just came off suddenly.

    I wasn't wearing a HRM for the majority of either season - something I've changed this time around. I'm focusing on those details that just so recently I had shunned.

  3. GZ, I forgot to add that I read over your Pikes debacle entry, Matt's advice, etc. Very helpful.

  4. Interesting. I am sure there are actual reasons as to why we have bad days, but they are sometimes hard to pinpoint. A bad day in a 5k you are off 15 second. A minute in a 10k. Maybe 20 minutes in a marathon. It can be a helluva lot more at the hill.