After a brief week of post-race blues, I think I’ve found my next adventure. It’s an insatiable feeling not having the next goal defined and set in stone. My mind wanders incessantly as I scan the internet and deliberate. My mental stamina runs out quickly as I tirelessly cross-reference my Google Calendar with Running in the USA
search results for marathons, 50K, 50-Milers and everything in between.
More on that later, but first the week in review:
Julia and I reintroduced ourselves to the Rocky Mountains. Camping, hiking, and visiting our favorite pit stops along the open roads of Colorado. Our weekend excursion to Crested Butte began with an impromptu creation of a hip, new, hat style:
Mullet Visor Patient Zero
Get em while they’re hot kids! Or rather while it’s hot outside. This multi-purpose, all weather, sun-protecting visor is all the rage among the ever growing community of mullet-aficionado-mountain-athletes. Love the mullet party in the back, but need to settle with all-around business for your 9-5? With the #MULLETVISOR, you can slip into the mullet party mindset any time you want with no long term commitment!
But wait there’s more! For a limited time only, the founder and creator of the Mullet Visor is offering FREE instructions on how YOU can make your very own #MULLETVISOR
- Get Hat.
- Cut off top of hat.
- Install buff (AKA Neck Gator) around the snap back.
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
So Julia and I touched base in Salida, Gunnison, and set up camp in Crested Butte for 18 hours of off-the-grid bliss. We hiked a bit, read our books, soaked in streams. Everything was wonderful.
Julia at Boss Lake.
Dan in Boss Lake.
I’ve been pretty active soaking in Clear Creek in Golden because it refreshes my legs and soul. During our trip, I made a point to get in to the Arkansas River in Salida, the Slate River in Crested Butte, and Boss Lake at Monarch Pass.
It’s no coincidence that I’m reading the book “What Doesn’t Kill Us” by Scott Carney. I’ve actually met Carney, who came to November Project in Denver a few times back when he was conducting research for his book. His story centers around the training methods of Wim Hof and his ability through controlled breathing to influence his health, regulate his immune system, and even withstand freezing temperatures.
I’m three-quarters of the way through the book and am giddy over the number of connecting themes that parallel my life. Notions of ultra-endurance performance, in-depth analysis of surfing legend Laird Hamilton, and an interview with November Project founder Bojan Mandaric. All in the name of uncovering the body’s capability to respond to stresses from external temperature swings.
One tidbit that resonated with me is the introduction of cold water to your showering routine. I’d tried this a few times before, but my body just locks up under the chilling flow of the shower head, hoping to keep the cold focused on one spot.
“Embrace the shock in a cold shower.” Scott Carney, What Doesn’t Kill Us.
This phrase, is so simple, but drastically changed my perspective of cold shower stints. Now it’s buzz, cold here, shock cold there, vroom this feels so great. The purpose of shocking the system is welcome and exciting.
After a rejuvenating weekend away, we eased back into the work week with some local hiking.
South Table Morning Hike.
I purchased new trail sneaks: New Balance Vazee Summit. They are light, supple (more flexible than I’m used to, leading to light and quicker foot strikes), with a mesh upper that lets my foot move around and slip a bit on loose terrain. They’ll take some getting used to, definitely won’t replace my Nike Wildhorse’s as my primary racing shoe, but I think it’s a good mixup for my feet to endure. Tested them out on the Honeymoon Incline, but I think they’ll be best for flatter trail-commuting runs.
On Thursday morning, we took the PG crew over to a busy Red Rocks Amphitheater. Doing the same thing over and over sucks, so the thought of repeating laps on the stairs for 50-minutes was daunting. Tying variations of that thing into a circuit and repeating it is manageable. I did four climbing variations up the bleachers of Red Rocks:
- Hands on knees slow climb
- Five-aside shuffle
- Fast feet
- Upward bounds.
One set took about 10-minutes and boom I had my workout. 5 sets, 50-minutes, making 20 reps of the Amphitheater. The last two garnered harder output levels than the first two. I managed to piece together a solid workout. The sweat was real.
#MULLETVISOR (See instructions above)
Gosh, what else happend this week? Julia and I went to the Rockies game on Thursday night. It was a work event organized by my company. Unfortunately, our seats weren’t close enough for us to really pay attention to the game! The taco stand was delicious though.
I was off from work, so I enjoyed a leisurely morning of coffee and reading. I ventured up the road of Lookout Mountain for 10 fun miles on my feet.
Later in the day, I dragged Julia out to the base of North Table Mesa. We skipped the uphill part, and stuck to a flat trail along the east side of the mesa.
East North Table Mesa Mountain
After the run, we dipped our legs in the refreshing waters of a local drainage ditch.
My friend, Brian, did a fantastic job organizing a fun run for the November Project crew at Staunton State Park, just south of Conifer, CO. He provided us with two distance options, course maps, a marked turn-around point, and even reserved the pavilion for us to gather for post-race snacks.
Many of us had never been on the trails of Staunton and let me tell you they were buttery smooooooth.
After the gathering and lazing at home most of the afternoon, I had an itch for some more miles. I’d thought about running trails again, but instead laced up my road shoes and headed up Tucker Gulch towards Pine Ridge Road for an 8-mile out and back. Running around in Golden you’re almost always going up or coming down, whether it’s road or trail. There is no flat running here! I had a bit of a revelation on the second half of my trip, while I dropped 350-feet in elevation over 4 miles:
Raise your knees higher.
Hmmm. That’s it? I’ve been seeking improvement to my downhill running economy, and I think I’ve found it. By leading my stride with my knees, I raise the knees ever so slightly higher which translates into a more fluid gravity assist, rather than a heel-first rolling downhill. It felt right in the moment, so I’ll continue to be cognizant of this form feel, as it may be particularly helpful in managing trail descents.
I alluded to it earlier that I may have selected my next race. Since, it’s still up in the air as I figure out the logistics, I won’t spill the beans quite yet. Tune in next week for a full helping 😉
Endurance Changes Time,