Sunday, February 12, 2012
Organizing a 5K Race
I have the ball rolling for hosting a 5K race at Beaver Ranch this summer. I am working through the details with the executive director of Beaver Ranch. I really enjoy running in Colorado mountains and particularly enjoy running at Beaver Ranch. I have been thinking about hosting a race at Beaver Ranch. The proceeds would go to maintaining the Conifer Community Park at Beaver Ranch.
I took this photo yesterday. There is a reason that there are no mountain races in February around here. I am really shooting for a race around mid-July. The snow may be gone by then.
There are a few options for a race at Beaver Creek.
Option 1: The Happy Beaver 5K
There are two USA Track and Field certified 5K courses at Beaver Ranch. One certified course is a hybrid trail and road race circuit that has some easy sections. This hybrid course starts at 8,100 feet of elevation and has only one pretty steep hill. The hybrid course in not a "gimme" but is as easy as a mountain race gets. I call this course the Happy Beaver.
The steepest hill on the Happy Beaver course is at the beginning and climbs from 8,094' to 8,245' in 1/8th mile . This works out to about at 23% grade. The good news is that once you climb this short hill you get to turn around and come right back down. The rest of the course rolls up and down at about a 10% grade. This type of race makes for a happy race. Here is the Happy Beaver Logo:
If I decide to host the Happy Beaver race, every runner would get a nice green T-Shirt with the a sweet beaver logo. The Happy Beaver is for runners of all fitness levels, well sort of. Even the Happy Beaver race would tend to attract very fit high-altitude mountain runners.
Option 2: The Mean Beaver 5K
The other certified course is a bit more challenging. The Mean Beaver course is a 100%, rock and rut, kick your butt, up hill both ways, hope you don't get lost, true trail racing course. As a matter of fact, it is downright mean! Hence the name, "Mean Beaver." Here is the Mean Beaver Course:
This is the "official" USTAF certified course. Since this course is quite steep, and the USATF assumes a flat track, this course is somewhat longer than 5K.
This is the course that I created. My version is actually a little more challenging. The start and finish are at 8,147'. The grade at the start is +10%. The "CC"s on the map stand for "Cross Country" and indicates areas where there are no trails. It is just you running through the forest. (BTW - The course will be well marked and easy to follow. Not easy to run - but easy to follow!")
The Mean Beaver gets progressively steeper reaching +25% then drops off very quickly (-35%) onto Valley Trail at about the 1K mark. You then climb out of the valley on a trail that has a +45% to 60% grade that takes you to the highest point on the course of 8,530' . You then drop down a brutally steep downhill section (-65%) to Chapel Trail. Chapel Trail is a -15% and would be a good place to roll. Unfortunately, Chapel Trail is rough, rocky and pasted on the side of a hill.
You then turn right on Black Hawk Trail and up a long 50% grade. (Tired yet?) At this point you are panting and your legs feel like lead. After you reach the summit, you get to come right back down. You drop to the low point on the course down a -40% grade to 8,060'. You hit the Horse/Walking trail at the 4K mark. Now you can fly! You have one more Kilometer to go. Of course, it is all uphill to the finish line from the 4K point. This is one Mean Beaver!
Anyone that finishes the race before dark gets a black or blue t-shirt with the Mean Beaver logo. I also considered this gruesome fellow below as an unofficial mascot:
Question: Which Race - Happy or Mean Beaver?
I really want to host a race that is fun. I run a lot at Beaver Ranch so I am familiar with the challenges. Even though the Happy Beaver is a partial road race, the Happy Beaver is no push over. I don't like running on pavement, but that is just me.
Which race appeals to you?
Parting Shot: Snowy Photos of the Mean Beaver
Here is a photo of the main building that I would use for registration. This building has very nice restrooms. Runners know how important a pre-race pit stop can be! I took this photo on February 11th, 2011. The snow will likely be gone by July. May is too early for the race. We have three seasons in the Colorado Rockies: Snow Season, Mud Season and Fire Season. May is still in Mud Season!
This tree is at the turn from Chapel Trail onto Black Hawk. This snow is deep. But I wanted to get out and check out parts of the Mean Beaver trail.
This is Chapel Trail. Runners would be flying down Chapel Trail getting ready for the climb up Black Hawk. Just imagine this same scene all lush, warm and green and you have an idea of the beauty of this course. Lots of winter snow = lots of summer green.
This is a lot steeper than it looks. I had on my snow shoes and it was still hard to get traction.
This is at the summit of Black Hawk. The trail goes up. Then the trail goes down. The trail is never flat.
The trail is dropping to the low point on the course. This is a bad place to trip.
After this bridge it is easy running on a wide rolling trail.
"Easy" running is a relative term. You still have to climb a 100' to the finish line.
Thanks for your input.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Part 1: New Shoes
Yesterday, January 28th 2012, I went down to Boulder Running Company to get a new pair of shoes. I had called ahead to verify they had my shoes, which are Nike Zoom Vomeros in 13D.
I wanted black Vomeros. The only pair that they had in my size were Red and White. I plunked down the $130 for the Vomeros. I also ordered a a pair of Nike Pegasus +28. The only pair they could get in size13 were blue.
The Vomeros are a real cushy ride. The Pegasus are more durable. I wanted the Vomeros for rehab. The Pegasus comes in a trail version that I was temped to order. Although I do 95% of my running on trails, I have never liked a trail shoe. Somehow they feel clunky.
Part 2: Packed Out Shoes - I had No Idea
When I got my new Vomeros home I compared them with my old Vomeros. I had no idea that my old shoes were so darn packed out. There was over 1/4" difference in the height of the cushion material.
This photo shows the huge difference between the old shoes and the new shoes. I did a quick calculation and determined I had over 650 miles on my old shoes! I needed to retire the old shoes a long time ago. Vomeros are a very soft and break down quickly.
I had no idea my old shoes were in such bad shape.
Part 3: TIme to Go Running - Ugly Calf and All
Today, January 29th, the temperature got above 20 degrees F. I put on my running shorts, a long sleeve shirt and light windbreaker. WIth trembling hands I laced-up my new shoes. I really wanted to run. In August I had torn my right calf during the Leadville 10K. In September I broke my left foot falling down the stairs after my injured right leg gave out. Here is a photo of my torn calf.
I took this photo a few days after the race in August.
The following photo shows what it looks like today.
The little knob of torn muscle is still there. The huge gash is now just an indentation. The muscled stitched itself back together across the tear. When I run my fingers down my leg through the indentation I feel rough ridges of bumpy muscle tissue. It is really hard to describe. You may be able to see the ridges in the photo. The good news is that it doesn't hurt and my calf works just fine. It is kind of a bit ugly though.
I have had my share of injuries but I have not been hurt like this before.
Part 4: At The Track - Cold and Windy
I decided that I needed to run on something flat. The only place that is flat here in the Colorado Rockies is the high school track. When I got to the track it was 23 degrees F with a 20 mph wind from the West. The conditions have been very dry and sand was blowing around.
Here is a shot of the track. You can see the tracks of the sand on the track surface. This stuff comes off the nearby highway. Getting a face full of this coarse sand in the snoot does not feel good. I almost gave up before I started.
I got my new shoes on and I am ready to go. I hate running with anything on my legs. I did wear a headband and gloves though.
This is a lot colder than it looks.
I had some company. The deer were trying to figure out what the heck I was doing. To be honest so was I.
I took it pretty easy. I sort of followed the Couch-to-5K week one program. I ran 60 seconds and walked 90 seconds. I covered 2 miles in 23:10 at a pace of about 11:30 mins/mile. I feel pretty good about this run. I ran slowly on purpose and resisted any impulse to go faster. I iced my foot when I got home. I think I can start the long way back. I know I need to stretch a lot and cross-train. It felt pretty good to run.
Part 5: Princess Half Marathon and Tutus
Annette has her plane ticket to Orlando for the Princess Half Marathon that is Sunday, February 26th. She is flying into Orlando on Thursday, February 23rd and leaving Monday, February 27th. Her friend and running partner Lindsey is going with her. Annette submitted a qualifying time from a recent 10K that puts her in a corral that is reasonably close to the front. Her friend Lindsey, cousin Anne and the other women in the group do not have qualifying times so they will be in the last corral.
Annette has decided that (1) she is going to start the race in the last corral with Anne and Lindsey, (2) she is going to stay with Anne and Lindsey during the race, and (3) she is going to wear a tutu!
This is the line-up of the official Disney princesses.
Thanks for reading my blog!
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Part 1: That is going to leave a Mark
On August 14th I severely tore my right calf during the Leadville10K. This race is also known as the "NOX 10k" since it is a hilly trail race at 10,152 elevation. "NOX" stands for "No Oxygen". Standing at the starting line I was in the best shape I had been for 20 years.
This is a photo of my mangled calf. The good news is that after 6 months, the calf has pretty much healed.
On September 11th I hurt the heel of my left foot trying to run/limp down the stairs to answer a phone. I slipped and "surfed" the last five stairs and banged my left foot very badly. This injury has been nagging me for months. I have had to curtail my running. I used to run no matter what. Regardless of injuries or weather I would be out there, as the Nike commercial says, just doing it. I am having a little trouble getting over the memory of intense pain associated with running 6.22 miles over rough terrain with a severely torn calf muscle.
Part 2: Missing Football Games
I officiate high school football. Due to my injuries, I had to sit out 5 games. In 12 previous seasons I had never missed a game. This season the pain just got to be too much. I still worked 17 regular season games. I was happy when the season ended. I then got a call to work a quarter-final playoff game. Being selected to work a playoff game is an honor. I couldn't turn it down.
Part 3: Television
This season I worked three games that were televised locally. I also worked one game that was nationally televised. This is a record for me. I hate to say this, but my fortunes as an official have greatly improved since I lost 80 pounds. The notion is that coaches are used to dealing with very fit players and respond better to fit officials.
The guy in the stripes is me. This was a televised game. I work at the umpire position a lot. This means most plays come straight at me! I was clobbered twice during this game. This game was played on September 16th. My foot and my calf still hurt like heck!
Part 4: The Princess Half Marathon - Pink Tutus
Background: My wife’s cousin Anne invited my wife to run the Disney Princess half marathon on Sunday, February 26, 2012. My wife, Annette, is a serious high-altitude mountain runner. Annette accepted Anne’s invitation. Anne planned a big event with several of her friends. Anne and her friends have come up with costumes that include pink tutus and “team” shirts. Annette is really fussy about her running outfits and is aghast that she is expected to wear a tutu. Anne is my wife’s best friend. Annette really wants to see how fast she can run at sea level. Annette also knows that when the race starts she is going to run!
Anne came to visit a before Thanksgiving. Annette took Anne to the top of Kenosha pass to train on the Colorado Trail. The elevation is over 10,000 feet. Anne told me she ran about ¼ of a mile and was completely out of breath. She loved the scenery. Anne is also asthmatic. She has terrible episodes triggered by her allergies where she lives in Florida. She was pleased that at high elevation in Colorado she had no asthma attacks whatsoever. There is far less plant life at 10,000 feet and what little there is was dormant . Anne wants to move to Colorado. She said she would gladly trade her asthma for cold, snow, wind, rocks and thin air.
Part 5: Who is That Speedy Woman?
Annette is getting ready for her Princess Half Marathon. I came home one day and found her running in place tethered to a post by a monster resistance band. She had a chair in front of her with her laptop playing some exercise DVD. I think the DVD is either Kenpo or P90X. She also does yoga and lifts weights.
She also runs. Her minimum workout run is 5 miles. She mostly runs 10 miles. About a month ago, I was coming home from work and I saw this woman blazing down the road. It took me a while to realize it was my wife! Annette has always been a good solid distance runner. Her nickname is Putt-Putt because she always kept a nice even pace. When she got home I asked how far she ran. She told me she had run a little over 8 miles. I asked her how long it took her to run the 8 miles. She looked at the clock and said, “A little less than an hour.” That meant she had run better than a 7:30 minute per mile pace for 8 miles at 9,000 feet of elevation over hilly terrain in freezing temperatures! She also told me that when I drove past her she had decided to sprint the last ½ mile. I guess we can’t caller her Putt-Putt any longer! She told me later that she had dropped 7 pounds! And she wasn’t heavy in the first place.
Part 6: Still Gimping Around
While Annette is getting leaner and faster, I feel I am getting softer. My darn left foot is healing so slowly. The last time I went running was on December 11th, 2011. I only ran 2.5 miles. Even though my pace was a gentle 12 minutes per mile, my foot could not take the pounding. Fortunately, I have not gained weight but I feel spongy. Right now it is very cold and icy outside. I can put on my boots with Yaktrax and go walking with my Beagle, Lucas. That is all about the exercise I can handle right now.
Thanks for reading my blog.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Part 1: A Little History
I tore my right calf muscle during the Leadville 10K on August 14th. This grade 3 tear happened at the beginning of the race. I ran the 6.22 mile race stopping nine times when I couldn't stand the pain. I finished the race in 1 hour and 12 minutes. After the race I could barely walk.
Part 2: Six Weeks Later
My right calf is still swollen and still hurts a bit. My calf is healed enough that I can run in short bursts. I managed to run 1.10 miles in about 10 minutes and even sprinted the last 200 yards at 6:15 minute/mile pace. I couldn't stand to go much over a mile. But I was happy I could go a mile!
Then I hurt myself again.
Two a weeks ago, I was flying down the stairs to answer my work phone. My right calf gave out and I "surfed" the last four stair with my left foot. I hit the ceramic tile at the bottom of the stairs really hard. My left foot exploded in pain! I think I broke my foot. I hope just bruised it. Whatever I did to it, my left foot hurts really badly when I run.
Why am I running?
Part 3: Football Referee - The Guy You Love To Hate - That's ME!
I started officiating high school football 12 years ago and have worked over 400 games. This season, due to my injured calf, I have cut back to only 21 games.
I have to work these 21 games. There is a huge shortage of officials and there are no substitutes. When I started officiating, my "rookie" class had 29 new officials. Now, 12 years later there are 4 of us left. That means the attrition rate is 86 percent! Only 14 out of 100 officials stick with it.
I am hurt. But if I am not on the field, there will be a great big hole where I am supposed to be. I can't even take an Advil. I need a clear head.
Why is there a shortage of officials? I can just speak for myself. First, the modest game fees that I am paid do not cover my expenses. It costs me about $1,000 every year out of my pocket. I have to buy all my own uniforms and equipment. I wear out shoes very quickly. A new pair of officials turf shoes costs over $150. Association dues are $125 a year. I spend a ton of money attending off-season training clinics. Driving to the games burns a lot of expensive gas. What do I get for my $12,000 investment? I will tell you:
(1) I have been spit on by fans.
(2) A coach ran up to me during a game and screamed in my face that a seriously injured player lying on the ground was my fault. I know the coach was upset but his tirade still hurt.
(3) I have lost track of the number of police escorts I have had while leaving a stadium.
(4) Coaches scream and holler at me. I have to answer in a calm talking voice.
(5) Players and coaches make lots of mistakes. If I make a mistake, just one, I am labeled by fans and coaches as a horrible human being and a lousy official. I have been told so on many occasions.
(6) I have been "booed" by 10,000 people simultaneously for making a good call they didn't like.
(7) I have to break up fights like this one:
This is a photo from the Denver Post. I was the referee for this game. I am not in the picture. I am intercepting six players that wanted to join the brawl. The guy throwing the flag is my back judge, Tim. Tim is 6'1". The official in the middle of the battle is my umpire, Scott. Scott is 6'7". Comparing the size of the players with Tim and Scott should give you an idea how big these players are. Breaking up fights like this is strenuous. I noticed that SparkPeople doesn't list an exercise that includes jumping between battling football players and pushing them apart.
(8) Coaches holler for flags to be thrown on the opposing team. Coaches have fits when their team gets a flag. They say things like "They are holding my linebacker! That is right in front of you! Can't you see that!" I have a lot of forbearance and rarely throw a flag on the coach for this behaviour. But as all of you know, coaches that make such comments are in violation of Rule 9, Section 8, Article 1 items b, c and d. This rule states that a coach shall not (b) disrespectfully address an official, (c) attempt to influence an officials decision or (d)indicate objections about an officials decision. The comment, "They are holding my linebacker! That is right in front of you! Can't you see that!" Is actually two unsportsmanlike fouls, which is a 30 yard penalty and results in the ejection of the coach for two games. Since almost all coaches have a very tenuous grasp on the rules, they have no idea that I can toss them out of the game. In 400 games, I have never ejected an abusive coach.
There is always a first time.
Working games with a torn calf and a broken foot, my forbearance is getting thin. The next coach that questions my integrity, judgement or eyesight is history!
I work these games for the players. There were officials working games for me when I was player. There were officials working games for my sons when they played. It is called "paying it forward".
Even hurt, I am not slow. Yesterday at a Junior Varsity game, I raced the Umpire down the field at the change of the third quarter. We had to run 98 yards to reset the ball. My Umpire had a slender athletic build. He was also 30 years younger and 30 pounds lighter than me. I beat him by 4 yards! Surprised us both!
Thanks for reading my blog.
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