Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Mountain racing season is just around the corner! Just two months away! I already have two of my favorite races scheduled, which are the Long Scraggy and Lake George Flatlander. I have participated in both these races since they were first held.
Race 1: 4th Annual Long Scraggy
Saturday April 28th, 2012
Distance: 4.25 miles
Elevation: 7,900 feet
Maximum Grade: 25%
My Best Time: 42:56 @ 10:05 min/mile (2010)
My Best Finish: 5th
My friends, John and Lisa, are hosting the 4th Annual Long Scraggy Ranch Run. This course climbs 700 feet in first 1.2 miles. I want to get my pace into the solid 9 minutes per mile. The problem is that the first 1.2 miles takes a lot out of you.
Race 2: 3rd Annual Lake George Flatlander 5K (BTW, Not Flat)
Saturday May 5th, 2012
Elevation: 8,010 feet
Maximum Grade: 20%
My Best Time: 27:36 @ 8:52 min/mile (2010)
My Best Finish: 4th
Last year, I ran both the Long Scraggy and Lake George races with a sprained knee and was slower than 2010. If I can stay healthy, I think can be faster in 2012. With my level of clumsiness, staying healthy is a bigger challenge than racing!
Thanks for reading my blog.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
PART 1: I Don't Do Exercise Classes
I have never been much interested in taking any kind of exercise class. Many years ago, when I last belonged to a gym, the only exercise class that was available was called Aerobics. Ninety percent of participants were women dancing to music dressed like Jane Fonda. Even 30 years ago, I had two left feet. I decided to pass on aerobic classes and stick with doing the aerobic weight circuits and stair climbers.
Back in the 1980s Jane Fonda was selling a bazillion aerobic VHS tapes. She even released her workout on vinyl records.
Ok, I am showing my age. The Jane Fonda era soured my view of group exercise. But last week all that changed. For the first time in my life I participated in group fitness classes. Things sure have changed. These classes were fun.
PART 2: Kettlebells
Kettlebells originated in Russia over 300 years ago and were first used as counterweights on market scales. The Russians measured trade goods in poods. A pood is equivalent to 16.38 kg, or 36.11 pounds. Kettlebells are still manufactured in poods. No one really knows when the Russians started throwing around Kettlebells for exercise. Suffice it to say, Kettlebells have been around for a while.
I started a new job in January. I now work in an office instead of being a road warrior. A guy at work, named Steve, is a Kettlebell instructor at a nearby fitness center. He talked me into taking a class and gave me a coupon for five free visits. I have not been able to run lately because the weather has really sucked. I needed to do something. I figured, "what the heck". I'd give it shot.
The guy with the blond hair is Steve.
On Monday, February 13th, I took my first Kettlebell class. I got there a little late and noticed that everybody was dressed like me. Jane Fonda spandex was no where to be seen. I got to tell you, I loved it! The class lasted 40 minutes and was brutal! Sweat poured off me! I kept up with the instructor by sheer force of will. This Kettlebell routine worked muscles I didn't even know I had!
On Wednesday, February 15th, I took another class. This second routine was quite different from the routine on Monday. I did get sore. But not too sore. I think there may be an infinitely number of different ways to workout with Kettlebells. I am hooked!
I bought a 26 and 35 pound Kettlebell from the fitness center. They have a trade-up program. Kettlebells cost $1.50 per pound. I can trade-in the 26 pound Kettlebell for a 44 pound Kettlebell just by paying for the 18 pound difference, which works out to $27. The fitness center gave me 10 more free visits because I bought two Kettlebells.
I need to get some new shoes for doing Kettlebells. Trying to balance on one leg while pressing a Kettlebell is tough to do on my nice cushy Nike Pegasus.
PART 3: Spinning
The Kettlebell class is only twice a week. I figured I would try spinning. On Friday, February 17th, I took a spinning class during lunch. I found this class really strange. Quite a few guys were wearing full team racing outfits. I did not have my cycling shorts, nor my cleated shoes with me. I will bring these items in the future. I was there early and asked the instructor how to set up the spinning machine.
This is a photo I got from the fitness center website.
Other than falling off my bike with startling frequency, I am a pretty decent mountain biker. I was determined to keep up with the spinning instructor. I can't remember much about the class. The instructor was a very fit and very young . His choice of music was horrible. I did everything he said. Things like "accelerate", "out of the saddle", "add resistance", back in the saddle", "80% effort", "full effort". This went on for an hour. Some participants took breaks.
I know that spinning is good for me. The intensity level is great. I plan to do spinning once a week. I really like the Kettlebells. I am hoping that this cross-training will make me a better runner.
PART 4: Fighting a Bad Cold
Friday night my throat started getting sore. By Saturday morning I had a full-fledged chest cold. This darn cold is going to put my new fitness activities on hold for a while. My wife was in a class all day Saturday. I was on my own. I rolled out my two secret weapons to fight a cold: Nuwati Herbals Healer Tea and chicken soup.
I have a great recipe for chicken soup that I got from a doctor. The soup really works.
SPECIAL CHICKEN SOUP TO FIGHT FLU AND COLDS
Chicken soup recipe from Dr. Stephen Rennard, Chief of Pulmonary Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center:
1 5 lb chicken
3 large onions
1 large sweet potato
12 large carrots
6 celery stalks
1 bunch parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Clean chicken, put in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil.
Add onions, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips and carrots.
Boil for 1.5 hours. Skim fat off as develops.
Add parsley, celery and cook an additional 45 minutes.
Remove the chicken, put vegetables in a food processor, chop until very fine and add back into broth. Serve.
The soup tastes great and my entire family likes this soup very much. Unfortunately, I didn't have a lot of the key ingredients. As my wife was leaving for her class, I told I was going to go get ingredients. She said, "You need to stay home and keep your germs to yourself!" She was right, of course. So I did the best I could with what we had. Here is what I came up with:
BRUCE"S CLEAN OUT THE FRIDGE CHICKEN SOUP
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Salt and Pepper
I didn't measure anything. I just threw stuff in the pot until it looked right.
This is the pot boiling on the stove. I simmered this soup for about an hour.
I also drank a lot of Healer Tea. This stuff is pretty harsh but clears up a stuffy head. The ingredients are Green Tea, Rosehips, Cayenne, Elderberries, Juniper Berries, Marshmallow Root, Coltsfoot, Feverfew, Horehound, Licorice Root, Slippery Elm Bark, Spearmint, While Willow Bark and Wild Cherry Bark.
I don't know why the tea works. It just does!
So I ate soup and drank tea. I also drank tons of water. My father-in-law had this same cold and it took him over a week to fight it off. I hope my "treatments" will help me get over this cold faster.
Tea and soup ready to go. I put honey in the tea. The soup is really good.
Thanks for reading my blog.
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.
Get An Email Alert Each Time SPEEDYDOG Posts