Tag Archives: training

I’ve decided that it MAY be possible to overdo it…

Hi, everyone!!

I hope everyone is enjoying the fact that Spring has finally (cross your fingers!) sprung, and is getting in some good training… we certainly have over the past 10 days or so!

Backing up a week and a half to Friday April 10, I was out with Keith doing some training… first, a bit of kayaking, followed by a couple of laps of Tubbs Hill, and then a quick, hilly bike loop, including the massive Potlatch Hill scheduled. On the second lap of Tubbs, wearing the wrong shoes, and with no ankle braces on (Note to self: “Idiot!), I hit an uneven spot wrong, and rolled my (already bad!) left ankle over 90 degrees… yup… the malleolus (cool name for the ankle bone) was touching the ground. Keith was right behind me and he yelled “Holy S**t!” when he saw it.

Of course we were also at the farthest possible point away from our transition zone (the parking lot). Acting responsibly and with admirable restraint to avoid further injury, I sent Keith on ahead while I cussed and rolled around, and then got up, and under doctor’s orders, completed the run, jumped on a bike and did a 15 mile trail ride. See? Perfectly reasonable!

Now, considering that the next day my ankle was swollen to the size of a large orange and I couldn’t walk, and I had a race in a week, I must admit that on second thoughts, I possibly could have chosen a different therapeutic technique…

Sunday wasn’t much better. I did get out for a bike ride Monday, determined that my training wouldn’t suffer more than it was already with all the Adventure Sports Week administrative preparation, and it was okay on the bike, but running was an absolutely not on the menu.

By Thursday, most of my inner circle were mentioning, in that special tone, that I “really need to be careful, and not overdo it…”, which, when translated, means “what the hell do you think you’re doing planning to race in 2 days on a bad ankle in a tough race? Are you more insane than everyone thinks?”

Now, my only saving grace was that my original partner Christine was still not fully recovered from her knee injury, and I wasn’t able to bribe another girl into slowing down and racing with me… they all wanted to go too fast for an old, injured guy who was generally too slow to begin with, so I was going to be racing “solo,” which means either “lonely,” or “has bad breath,” in AR circles.

When Friday finally arrived, I had listened carefully to all my counselors and phyisicians, and with thanks to all of my concerned friends, relatives and smirking teammates, I did the reasonable, responsible thing and ignored them all. So, off to Montana we went for the revamped Grizzlyman Adventure Race – check out www.grizzlymanrace.com for some of the fun.

Andy, Jeni and I loaded up our gear and started the trip after the mandatory last minute, “can’t do without” stop at REI, and my stop to get my kayak for the weekend… LOTS more on that coming up!

Now, Jeni and Andy had raced the inaugural race last year when we were hosting Regionals, and so, naturally had to pair up to hopefully repeat their 2008 successes. I was on only one leg, so naturally, the race was on like Donkey Kong! (and for those who don’t know us, there’s not a competitive bone in our bodies, especially between Andrew and myself; it’s practically a Buddhist retreat when we get together we’re so laid back… anyone buying this load of Automaker bailout?

We were staying at an absoutely wonderful resort called “Paws Up,” which besides its amazing amenties, service and beautiful furnishings, had the delightful added bonus of being yards from the Start/Finish line, and had showers, a kitchen, satellite TV, a hot tub, a washer/dryer, and more, more, more!

Because we had our own kitchen, we stopped at Albertson’s and purchased our own fish, veggies, breakfast etc for the weekend, and then checked in for the race.

They were kind enough to give us our maps and UTMs at check in, allowing us several hours to plot and set our courses, but before that, we wanted to hit the river to give Andy a chance to do some whitewater, and Dave a chance to play with his new, fast, wobbly hard shell… ah ha, you say, the excitement is making you all atingle? Yeah, me too.” Huh?” you ask? Okay, let’s back up a couple of weeks…

In preparation for the race, Morgen, Jeni and I had paddled this stretch of river a couple of times, but this time, there were a couple of “minor” changes, such as the fact that the river was running VERY high and fast (Class IIIish), and Dave, despite his love for all things paddling, and his extensive experience on whitewater, had only run it in a (relatively) stable, two-person inflatable.

Well, for those who might not have risked life and limb in a skinny boat on a deep, fast, rocky, rapids-filled river, a (relatively) stable two person inflatable, and a skinny, wobbly fast, one person Prijon 10 footer aren’t exactly the same animal.

We put in at “Round Up” on the Blackfoot River, and within about, oh, 12 feet or so, I knew that I was going to be in for some “fun and games,” otherwise known as “terror and possibly death” during our practice run. The worst thing was that Chip, our intrepid kayak guru, was going to charge an extra drop fee if a relative had to bring my kayak back…

The word that comes to mind to describe the next few miles was “pucker factor,” and that was for the poor souls watching from shore!

As it turns out, I lived through the first couple of miles of the river, and was actually getting a bit cocky about my obviously natural, God-given “abilities,” when Murphy (of Murphy’s Law Fame) made his way onto the river to join the party… the problem was that my kayak was only big enough for one, so one of us was going to have to get out. That one turned out to be me.

With about 1/3 of a mile to go before our take out point, I made my biggest paddling error to date; as it turns out, whitewater paddling has its own set of techniques for sudden steering emergencies, such as when a giant rock rudely appears in front of your boat, leaving you seconds from impalement. It also turns out that I wasn’t aware of these little secrets, and they weren’t included in the “God-given” package.

It seems that if you turn sharply to avoid a rock, and let the nose of your boat get to shore, the faster current in the middle of the river grabs the back end of the boat and encourages it to hurry downstream at ever-increasing rates of speed, with you following along sideways, if you’re lucky.

Oh, did I mention the large, until-now-hypothetical, giant, man-eating rock that had suddenly popped up feet in front of me? Yeah, well, hypotheticallness went out the window, and I hit it. Sideways. Hard.

Physics dictates that if you’re moving sideways at a large rock, and your boat suddenly stops, you, the now useless paddler will continue downstream, usually leaving the boat in the process.

So, one minute I was paddling blithely along, and the next I was doing a headstand (literally) on previously mentioned large (and now, I found out, HARD) rock, with my paddle between my legs, and my boat, now being piloted by Murphy, already several yards downstream, and accelerating, to the faint sounds of Irish laughter.

Somehow I noticed this as I was contemplating my rapidly approaching “demise-by-drowning,” trying not to drop my Aquabond paddle in the process, all while trying to keep my bleeding head above water, with increasing difficulty.

Thankfully, Jeni and Andy were about 50 yards downstream, and were rapidly shifting into “save his ass because he’s got the car keys in his paddle jacket pocket” mode…

The next few moments were truly, with no exaggeration, the scariest I have experienced in my AR career. I was even having difficulty getting my feet downstream, My paddle suit was now filled with water, and with the speed of the water, my next landfall was going to be in Idaho, on my way to the Pacific Ocean.

Thankfully, Jeni and Andy managed to intercept my run to the sea, and while I held on to the back of their kayak, we were even able to rescue my happily bobbing boat, drag it to shore, dump it (with a fair degree of difficulty) and haul it up to the road, coincidentally within a few feet of the take out point.

Emergency abated, adrenaline shakes in full attendance, we dried off, and headed back to our briefing meeting (where I was laughed at, for some unknown reason,,, AR racers sure do have a strange sense of humor…  🙂 Most popular comment was “Damn! Cool!”). After learning about possibly transferring blood-borne diseases while climbing barbed wire (O’m not kidding!), we loaded up to stage out kayak and bike gear, and then headed back to Paws Up to get our maps done while I cooked dinner and stopped my rapid breathing.

After the normal pre-race ritual of rushing around madly getting our gear in order, we went to bed at about 1:00 a.m., planning on a 7:00 a.m. wakeup for final prep for the 9:00 a.m. start.

Of course, we were all up and going by 6:15, doing final prep, map checks and breakfast. We headed over to the start at 8:30, where excitement was running high.

At 9:00, the shotgun went off (literally… this WAS Montana, after all) and we were off and running (literally) 3 miles to the kayak transition. Oh, Joy.

I may have forgot to mention that I had been suffering from a slightly tweaked ankle? Well, that first uneven run was the first trial, and to my pleasant surprise, it was no more than excruciatingly painful… it looked like I might survive after all.

My strategy for race day ankle prep had been the result of weeks of detailed research using the most high tech modalities available to Adventure Racers: Duct Tape.

Yup, I duct taped it up right over my sock. Tossed on an ankle brace, and The North Face “Rucky Chuckys” and I was off.

After my normal “smooth” kayak transition (this time, I was using a dry suit, Michelin Man-sized PFD, football helmet, GPS, airbags and close-ground helicopter support… I also tied my paddle and boat to my wrists to make sure we arrived at the TA at approximately the same time) I set out into the river, determinded to play it cautious and safe… drowning would result in possible disqualification, according to the race rules.

I made it all the way to the first rapids, about twenty feet downstream, before the first adventure happened: My spray skirt (likley improperly installed by the operator) flew off, and I began to take on water in fairly exciting quantities. Let me share that 6 inches of river water in the bottom of a little kayak has derogatory effects on its manouvering capabilities…

About 1/2 way down the 5 mile course, paddling what was now basically a submarine, I was forced to beach and dump my kayak, resulting in an impressive final showing, leaving me about 20 minutes behind the leaders… ah… I love kayaking! When I arrived (why am I always glad to be done with the boats?) Jeni and Andy were already dressed, had eaten lunch, taken a nap and were heading out onto the trekking/running/orienteering section of the course (well, okay, no nap or lunch, but after making sure that I was alive and they still had a ride home, they left me in the dirt, and set out, maps and compasses in their hot little hands.

Now, I do have to say that a drysuit makes the transitions a bit easier, so I wasn’t any further behind when I grabbed my new “Black Diamond” trekking poles and headed for the hills. Aye, verily, I speak the truth.

River level was about 2950 feet… CP 1 was at 5280. Straight up. The Mountain Goats wore climbing harnesses.

About 1/2 way up the hill, I caught up to J & A, and we finished the CP together. CP 2 was down into the valley, and back up to another little hill… this one at 4970. CP 3, you ask? Why not. This beauty was a few miles away, and staggered in at a quaint 5800 feet… through snow.

Why stop now. when there was another mountain in sight? CP 4 was down, down, down, then just when we were having fun, meandered back up to 6200 feet, through LOTS of snow. The other detail conspicuaosly absent was a set of well maintained trails, leading from one CP to the other.

All kidding aside, the views were awesome, the challenge was perfect, and all in all, the start to the day was “epic,” to use an overdone expression.

Now, when navigating to the top of a mountain, you can’t be truly lost, as you can more or less keep going up until you run out of hill, but heading down to a distant check point at a 30 t0 35 degree grade, through 3 feet or so of snow is a bit of a different kettle of fish. Now the real navigation started.

Somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd checkpoint, A&J and I had parted ways, and somehow I snuck ahead, gaining a slight advantage heading down the mountain toward CP 5.

Using a bearing on a distant mountain top, I was able to come out within 150 yards of CP5, which was our first random gear check. From there, we had to negotiate a series of ridges and valleys to CP 6, and then continue down to the final running CP before making the 2 mile run back to the original TA for the biking section.

I was feeling pretty good going into the bike, and had made up a lot of ground on other racers, so I left the run-bike TA in about the middle of the pack, despite my kayaking adventures.

The weather had warmed up to about 70 degrees, making it a warm day for racing, and to keep in the spirit of the “Tour of the Neighborhood Peaks,” we headed up hill. And up hill.

3 hours later, all bike CPs claimed, I made my only Nav error of the day, taking one path too soon on my way back to the finish, and ending up riding up hill for 8 minutes to a dead end before realizing the error of my ways and making to the finish.

As it turns out, even with my little misadventures, I finished 4th as a solo, in a time of just over 9 hours.

Jeni and Andy came across the line to some of the loudest cheers of the day, just 35 seconds before the 10 hour “official” cutoff, finishing 5th as a co-ed team.

We showered, went to the awards dinner at the Lubrecht Experimental Forest. They had a great raffle, nice food, good swag… all in all, this is a terrific race, and I highly recommend it to all AR enthusiasts! They also have an accompanying “sprint” race. After the festivities, we headed back for some much needed and deserved hot tubbing and relaxation, and a day of recovery, right? Well, almost.

I’m not sure if I have mentioned, but I am taking Mountain School, and one of the little outings happened to be this weekend at Stevens Peak, coincidentally only 2.5 hours away on the Idaho-Montana border. It was also a mandatory outing if you wanted to successfully graduate, so instead of sleeping in, I got up at what I thought was 3:30, and headed up to join my class on day 2 of the climbing (the did mostly self arrests etc on Saturday, which I had learned from Matt Wilson).

Well, Murphy, obviously miffed about not sinking my boat during the race, showed he was not a morning person… it turns out the alarm clock in my room and “real” time were about 30 mintes off, so I was a 1/2 hour late out of the gate. Add to that that the parking area was a mile further away from the trailhead than normal, due to the snow, and suddenly I was about 50 – 55 minutes behind schedule.

Now, I had planned on arriving at the trailhead about 45 minutes early to allow myself a relatively easy 2.5 hour hike in and still give me time for some oatmeal before gearing up and heading up to the summit on a rope team.

This pipe dream out the window, I had to bust my hiney up the hill, carrying a 50 – 55 pound pack, up a very challenging climb in just over 2 hours. Even in the summer, it took 2:20…

I got there right as they were announcing the teams, and, of course, I was put on the first team out. Everyone else was already geared up, and there I was, pretty tired from the race and the climb in, and no break.

In a completely humble and truthful confession, I have to say that that climb in, especially the final huge headwall, was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I bonked, still 500 vertical feet or so from the summit, trying to kick steps into knee/thigh deep snow, with a heavy pack, and I was as close to being “done” as I can remember… If someone else had been there, I would have just let them bag me and tag me, and have the forest service pick my carcass up come spring, which is still at least 2 months away up there… there was still 10 feet or more of snow on the slopes.

I finally resorted to self-bribes, such as “10 steps, and I could have a 5 second break…” which I did for the final 20 minutes, until I crested the blessed ridgeline, and did my best to trot into camp.

I was also pretty dehydrated from the race, and a little low on electrolytes, as I was feeling a bit crampy… I sat down to put my crampons on, and so fast it made my head spin, it seemed like every muscle in my body siezed up with massive cramps. I couldn’t even bend to do my crampons because my abs cramped up.

The only thing I could do right them was stand up, and one of the instructors actually had to help me with my crampons as I tried to cram in some calories and some fluids. I headed up after my all ready assembled rope team, and we worked on our rope team skills, team arrests etc. for a couple of hours before heading toward the distant summit.

I have included a link so you can see some of the amazing photos:

Mtn School ’09 – Stevens

We were the first team to the summit, and on the way back down, we got to glissade (en Francais for “Slide on your butt”) down several hundred feet of great snow.

We broke camp, and did the long hike out, which presents challenges of its own, especially if you have bad ankles/knees. I, along with most everyone else, was pretty glad to finally reach the parking lot and be able to ditch the pack, and get out of the mountaineering boots.

We gathered as a group for dinner at the famous “Snake Pit” restaurant in Enaville, and then I headed home for a blissful shower and bed, trying to replenish fluids and electorlytes.

Monday was a much more recreational day, having a chance to play a free game of golf followed by a great dinner at Beverley’s in the CDA resort – www.cdaresort.com – (Thanks, Andy!!).

Tuesday, I felt almost normal, though I could tell I had done some work, so what do we do? We go out for “a little training run.”

Yup. Relaxed, easy pace, a few miles, recovery on our minds… hah! Surprise!!

15.5 miles over VERY hilly terrain and almost race pace let me know that my legs and mineral levels needed another day for recovery. The last couple of miles were brutally hard, especially the downhills, but we finished up in style, smiling and faking it the whole way. I’m not sure if you remember, but AT and I do tend to puch each other a bit, all to “help each other be all that we can be…”

I was/am beat. I have to admit that at this moment, I would say I maybe overdid it a bit, all things considered, but as my idol Forrest Gump said, “Toughness is as toughness does…” or maybe it was “stupid is as stupid does,” which, no doubt, some of you will say equates to the same thing in this case.

Stairs into the house were a problem, but hopefully tomorrow I’ll feel good enough to get out and bike a bit, though I’ll likely give running a day or two off.

All in all, an awesome week, if you can overlook the ankle, kayak, cramps etc, and looking back, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing if I had to do it again!

So much of the growth we experience in this sport (and life?) we learn from the challenges and difficulties we face; “Adversity introduces you to yourself.”

It’s through facing this adversity that we find out what out limits are, often only to realize that we are capable of more than we thought. If we don’t push our limits, how do we ever grow and get better?

Yes, there is often (almost always, actually) some pain involved, but suffering is optional… it doesn’t have to be fun to be fun! As the mountaineers say, “it isn’t always fun, but it beats growing up!”

I wish you all good training, and looki forward to hearing from you/seeing you soon, and to spending some time with you at Adventure Sports Week… tell your friends! 🙂

Good training, all!



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A great training weekend!

Well, my post is going to be upstaged a bit, since Jeni’s race certainly takes precedence, but a week earlier, we got together for one of our best training day(s) we’ve had in a while…

Friday morning, J and I left for the drive to Missoula, complete with inflatable kayak in the back of her baby Subaru, play boat on top, paddles, bikes, running gear, camping gear etc. for 2 days of adventure.

We met Morg at “Trails End,” a great gear shop on Front street in Missoula, and after a bit of mandatory shopping, we headed northeast out of town toward the Blackfoot river and the Ubrecht Experimental Forest, site of the upcoming Grizzlyman Adventure Race.

Now, as balmy as it was in Spokane/CDA (ha ha), the mountains in northwest Montana still had snow… we went to drop Morg’s car off at the pull out point of the river, and his little pip squeak front wheel drive got STUCK. Did I mention Subaru’s are the bomb? Yup… we used Jeni’s baby to tow his WPOS out of the slush.

We put the boats in at “Round Up,” and after a lightning fast twenty minute transition as we figured out wetsuits/kayak suits etc, set out on a great paddle down the class 2-2.5 rapids of the Blackfoot.

It was a magnificent, sunny day, with temps in the mid-40’s (maybe even 50!) and with tons of ice along the banks, a few icebergs, tons of deer and bald eagles, it was a beautiful paddle, with just enough rapids to make it exciting and interesting!

For those who haven’t done it, paddling whitewater, especially kayaking,  is substantially different than flat water, and even different than rafting, so be ready for some excitement and fast hands.

We pulled the boats out at the exact right spot (part good guess, part sort of knew where we were) and literally PULLED them up a bit of a bank… say, 50 feet or so, muddy, and straight up. (Step, step, dig in, grab dirt, heave kayak 2 feet, repeat…)

After that, we lost Morg for a couple of hours as he went off to be gainfully employed, so J and I biked back to the forest and the race start at Paw’s Up! Resort, about a 10 mile, hilly trek through snow, mud, dirt and lake Winnapawsocki… (There was a puddle in the road that was so wide there was no way around it, and so deep it was over the bottom brackets of the bikes, so wet feet you had – twice).

We reserved a house for the race, looked around a bit, and biked back, as it was starting to cool off as the sun dropped.

We set up camp on the bank of the river and got our fire going just as the sun went down. Morgen joined us a bit later, and we shared Jet-Boiled dinner, snacks, and, in general, had a great evening… the stars were amazing, and even though it was down in the 20s, it was a blast to be away from everything.

Saturday, Morg was up and gone early to a meet, and after we packed up camp, we headed back to town, got some directions, and set off on a “little” bike ride that took 2.5 hours, over a honkin’ big mountain, and a part so steep I didn’t make it (which pissed me off wonderfully, I must say). It was actually great to have a LONG ride over a mountain, since my mountain has been unrideable since December… and the downhill after was pretty exhilarating!

To finish it off, we hiked up Mt. Sentinel (the one with the big “M” on it).

After that, we had a nice lunch at the Iron Horse, looked at a couple more gear shops (I got a Thermarest! (Thanks, Jeni!!)) and headed back to CDA…

This weekend, we’re going to do a similar thing with a full-time Morg, we hope, and hopefully get two days of paddling in as well.

The race is only 2.5 weeks away, so time to put the rubber to the road, so to speak…

Good training, everyone, and I can’t wait to see you all!


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Oh, where oh where have we been?

Hi, Everyone!

I am SO sorry for taking so long in between posts… this past month has been on of the busiest on record, with Great West Gymfest and getting everything in gear for Adventure Sports Week 2009, which is now onlu 91 days away!! Yikes!

First off, just to ease Thomas’ concern, my training has seldom been better… I mean, you never know when someone’s going to ask you to PQ with them… 🙂

Snow biking and snowshoeing are two of my new favorite hobbies, as well as the normal running, and I’ve been getting in plenty of all three. EZven though the mountain isn’t open for riding yet, there are plenty of hills to keep your legs “stimulated,”  and I don’t feel like I’ve lost much since last fall. It will be interesting to see when I can ride the mountain again and do a solid hour uphill how I fare, but now, I feel pretty good, and the bike-run or bike-run-snowshoe bricks have been most enjoyable!

One of the other cool factors has been getting back to the aerobic base training, which I disliked last winter (at least at first) and looked forward to this year… let’s just say I’m a believer. Morgen and Lizzy (new FARTlette Lizzy) came over a couple of weeks ago, and after we did a good bike, we ran the Loop. Morgen was really pushing the pace. I hadn’t tried running fast (well, fast for a 47 year old) in almost two months, and even though he was trotting at almost a minute per mile faster than I had been training, I had no problems keeping the pace, and even after the Big Hill, my recovery was excellent. We ended up less than two minutes off my “record” time for the hilly 6 miles, with no real effort at all. I’m fairly confident I could have broken my mark, so a good start to the year.

Corey Haustein and his wife Michelle are my right hand people for ASW, and are both Ironpeople. Corey is training for the Deepwater 50 miler at ASW in June as his qualifier for Western States, and along with Keith, we did a snazzy surprise 18 miles a week ago on a pretty difficult track, so running is feeling pretty good right now.

One of my plans for the next few weeks is to do a one day “runabout,” similar to the Aussie tradition of a walkabout… I’m going to leave the house at sunrise, and run/jog/hike/speedwalk as far as I can until sunset, and then have Lisa come and pick my carcass up off the road somewhere. This was a suggestion from Dean Karnazes in his new book 50/50, in which he tells the story of running 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days in 50 different states.

It is a great book, I must say. He has a very engaging, “every man” style of writing, that almost makes you beleive that he’s normal, instead of the freak of nature-fittest man in the world that he is… At this time, he is tentatively scheduled to attend ASW, and I’m psyched to meet him in person!

This past Sunday, a group of 6 of us, including Christine, my race-mate for Grizzlyman, her husband and another friend, Andy and Jeni did a 7.5 hour snowshoe OVER Bernard Peak and down the cutline… 4000 feet vertical up, chest deep snow, awesome!

Last night I started Mountain Guide School, which promises to be awesome… I’ll keep you in touch, but it’s like I’m back in Grad School! It is a robust curriculum, for sure!

Alright… more later! Keep in touch, and good training all!

PS… Keep me in mind, Thomas! I can carry your water or something!  Lol!

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Pleasantly Lost…

It’s been a busy couple of weeks here at “Adventure Sports Week Central!

Note the new name… we put in a bid for “AdventureWeek.com,” and found out that for only $15,000 it could be ours… thus, after several milliseconds of thoughtful deliberation, we decided that another choice would have to do for our new, updated website.

The new website is located at www.adventuresportsweek.com, and while this only a temporary stop while our new “permanent, hi-tech, “not-old-school” (thanks, Rick…) site is finished, it has quite a bit of updated info, including the fact that we are now hosting 24 races in 10 days, including a kayak/canoeing race, a distance swim, a duathlon… yes, if you can dream it, we’ve got it. Please check out the website… BTW, it seems to work best at this point in Internet Explorer, though I’m working on fixing that for the seventeen MAC and Mozilla users out there…  🙂

I am fully in to winter training now – more than ever before – and I am really enjoying it. Over the past couple of weeks, we have gotten in several good snowshoeing treks, including a great 5 hour hike up to 6000 feet above Boulder Basin, in 10 feet of snow.

We’ve also managed to get in some good bike rides, and a few good runs, and even a winter “brick” this past weekend…

I’m starting to train at night for when Thomas calls me and says “hey, we need you at Primal Quest in two days…” so into the dark we go…

On Saturday, I got in a nice run, and then when Jeni arrived, we did a 90 minute bike ride, and then loaded up our snowshoes and headed up to Sandpoint, where we treked up Gold Hill, starting at dark.

We climbed to the summit in near perfect conditions: 26 degrees, no wind, clear as a bell. The view of Sandpoint and Schweitzer to the north, and even Mt. Spokane to the south was amazing! Clear, crisp and beautiful!

On the way back down, the trip got a bit more “interesting,” as we missed one of our tracks, and ended up heading down a snowmobile track southwest, instead of a snowshoe track northeast…

Well, in the spirit of adventure, and of not wanting to end up in Sagle, we headed “off-track,” and made our way into the bush, following the tracks of the moose, elk and deer, who assuredly knew the way back to the car, right?

Well, let me tell ya, animals obviously don’t drive.

Now, when you’re on a peninsula surrounded by water on three sides and you can see the North star, you’re not really lost, but we were for sure on paths that no human has walked since the last ice age or so, give or take a month…

To make a short story long, we ended up at the top of a near-vertical, 700 foot cliff. Now, supposed “right thinking” people would have back tracked, and followed the snow machine track until they found “civilization…” Ha! Pshaa!

Trail? We don’ need no steenking trail! The car was down there (WAY down there!), and with confidence born of years of training and a desire for dinner, we descended the “short way,” following the tracks of the increasingly fewer animals, hoping they weren’t Lemmings.

90 minutes later, we reached the road, less than a mile from the car, with nary a broken bone between us!

The next morning, we stacked a cord and a half of wood, did another 90 minute bike ride, and a 2.5 mile run before Jeni had to leave.

In the afternoon, I went XC skiing for the first time in 25 years or so. It’s amazing how much your body forgets, no matter what your brain tells you… it took a good 45 minutes to get the feeling and the flow back. I skiied for 2.5 hours, covering about 12 miles or so, and then snowshoed in to meet Corey, Michelle and their kids, who were winter camping at Farragut.

All in all, it was a great weekend, and yes, Thomas… I’m ready when you call!

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Great Snow Training to “welcome” Winter…

Hi ho!

December 27th… after a marvelous fall, it’s been snowing for 10 straight days… 5 feet… help! Glub, glub… record 24 hour snowfall, record 5 day… send St. Bernard!

Yup. After no snow until basically 10 days ago, I’m rapidly running out of room to pile the snow. At least until today, it had been cold enough that the snow was dry and light. Today, it warmed up a bit, and now, we have HEAVY, wet snow (and LOTS of it!), black ice, and an all-around mess. Now, I like snow as much (probably more) than the next guy, but this is getting ridiculous!

Even so, we’ve managed to get in some cool, original, tough workouts.

I’ve been getting in quite a few six mile runs, trying to rehab the hip, but it had all been on roads, so not too adventurous. On the 23rd, I had to go downtown to take some pictures while running for a big article that came out in the Coeur d’ Alene Press today (the 27th), and called to Keith to join me for some training… (very nice article on Adventure Week 2009, BTW)

We decided to run around the college and then try Tubbs Hill, which, we found was between 6 & 18 inches deep. Let me tell you, THAT was a workout! Two miles of rolling, uppity, rough trail is hard enough, but add in the snow, and it’s a K.A.W!

After that, our Durango promptly broke down in the Rite Aid parking lot, so I got to run over to Derek’s to pick up Fritz and Becky’s truck, which has been a lifesaver.

Later that evening, Jeni came out, and the morning of the 24th, we went snow biking.

One of my biggest worries with winter’s arrival was losing all of the progress I had made on cycling over the past year, but now I know that’s not going to happen.

We set out about 8:45 a.m., temp about 14 (yes, it sounds cold, but it’s actually a great temperature to workout in! Trust me!) and headed for the mountain. Now, this is the mountain that’s a pretty stiff workout when dry, and when we arrived, it was blocked off for all vehicles except snowmobiles, and covered with several inches of snow all the way up the cuddly little 15 degree grade. Imagine riding in thick, soft sand. Cold, white, slippery sand… uphill.

Oh, and my back brake was frozen, as were my gears, and I was stuck in whatever I was in.

We made it exactly 1.1 miles up the hill in 25 minutes, and I’m pretty impressed with us! To steal a quote, “it was as intense a workout as you can imagine, going 2.5 miles per hour!”

This was just plain hard work. Tough, slippery, rutty… fun, huh?

The way down was also a bit of a rush. Jeni discovered the right technique: She put her feet down and actually glissaded/skied her bike down, while I tried to keep my feet on the peddles. She kicked my butt.

The only negative after that (besides the fact that it started snowing again) was that I was hopelessly stuck in mountain climbing gear the 3.6 mile mostly flat/downhill ride home. I was able to keep my revolutions up to a sizzling 724/minute, while topping my speed out at about 4 mph…  not fun, but I didn’t have to pee bad enough to unthaw my gears!

On the 26th, to celebrate my birthday, Lisa and I did a nice 2 mile run/walk, as we always do, and then I ran the Loop. After that, we headed into Spokane to meet Jeni.

We parked along the Bloomsdaycourse at Spokane Falls Community college, and after narrowly missed being run over by a trash truck heading down the hill, we did Doomsday Hill three times in a row, with part of the second leg in the waist deep snow along the side.

We headed back for the college, but took the wrong turn into the parking lot, and ended up at the bottom of a hundred yard high, 60 degree angle hill, crotch deep in snow (on me… mid torso on Jen!) from our car.

In true Adventure Racing fashion, we started up the hill, slogging/tromping (we’re still searching for the correct word here) up the big, steep, snowy hill.

All in all, just a really fun, tough couple of workouts, and something we’re looking to repeat! We showered, headed for town, and I got to do some birthday shopping at REI and B&N (yay my new Jetboil!) and then race back home.

For New Years, I think we’ll snowbikeup the mountain as far as we can go, take our snowshoes and tromp to the top, and make lunch with our Jetboils on the top of the mountain.


I’m also looking to try out my new/old cross country skis. After twenty years, I’m kind of looking forward to it. I used to be a “real” skier, so hoping it comes back, It’s great exercise!

I’ve been thinking about hosting a winter race next winter; possibly a winter triathlon with snow shoes, mtn. bike and run, or a “Quadathlon,” adding CC skiing… sounds kind of fun. What do you think?

Despite my complaining, I’ve really enjoyed getting out in the snow so far, and look forward to a bunch more good workouts, using the white stuff as the main resistance.

Hope everyone is keeping their training up, and Lisa and I are really looking forward to seeing you all at New Years, or shortly after.


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Filed under Adventure Week, cycling, gear, humour, Trail Running, training, uncategorized

A couple of weeks training, and winter’s arrival

Sorry it’s been so long since I posted… we’ve been busy getting Adventure Week 2009 going, and boy, has it been going!

Things are really underway, and we hope to have the online registration up within the next day or so, and the facilities are really shaping up.

We’ve had some great news with the addition of Ian Adamson to the list of stars who will be competing at Adventure Week 2009. Ian, while not exactly coming out of retirement, is quite excited about coming and “bouncing around in the wilderness” with us for a few days!”

We are now up to twenty races, with the addition of the Duathlon -the “Dual-X” – which will be held in conjunction with the XTERRA.

Training over the past couple of weeks has been trying, at best. I think I mentioned how I ran into a tree a couple of months ago, skewering myself right on the hip flexor? Well, three weeks ago, I went out for an 18 mile run, which actually went very well, except that my hip flexor was sore afterwards. On the Monday following, I did a 12 mile loop, and at the 10 mile mark, my leg fell off. My hip flexor seized up so bad I couldn’t run or lift my leg more than about 6 inches.

Surprisingly, it didn’t really hurt to walk, but I was forced to walk about a mile and a half before I could stagger in the last 1/2 mile. After that, it’s been touch and go. I’ve only been able to run a couple of times a week, and never pain free. Going up hill is the worst, which, where I live, makes it a bit difficult, since we live on the top of the hill.

Oh well… it seems to be getting slowly better, but I can’t do much more than 7 or 8 miles.

I was able to ride up until a week ago (December 13) when winter finally showed up for real… we had a good 10 or 12 inches that first weekend, and the temps dropped into the teens and even lower, bottoming out at zero. Not too bad, really, but this past Thursday, the main event happened! Since then we’ve received over four feet of snow. We had more than three feet in the first twenty four hours, which was a record.

The only good news was that it was so cold, the snow was pretty light, so shovelling wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

I did get in a couple of nice runs in the sunny, cold days, and it was really quite pretty with all the snow.

Shoveling is good hard work, as is chopping wood, so that’s been helping. I miss being on the bike, but hope to try some snow biking this week. I also dug out my old cross country skis, and while I may need some new boots (feet having grown) I’m looking forward to getting out at the park.

I don’t know if you saw it, but Vince from Aquan Sports has organized a really cool ocean kayaking trip to Baja, where you get basically everything included for $599 I believe… all you need is a carryon and a paddle, and they take care of the rest for five days! Wish I could make it! If you’re interested, please let Vince know.

We’re really starting to get fired up about next June, and will be looking for some help in the months leading up… please let Dave know if you want to be a part of this special event, and what you’re willing and able to do!

Thanks to all, and I wish you all blessings, peace, happiness and joy this holiday season.

Merry Christmas!


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Filed under Adventure Week, communication, cycling, gear, Top Teams, training, XTERRA-Farragut

‘Tis the season to be running…

I’ve managed to get a few good rides in this past couple of weeks, as our beautiful November continues, including a ride into town in the midst of our first real taste of winter yesterday, but the writing is in the snow, so to speak, and tomorrow’s ride with Jeni, Eddie W and Michelle H (a new AW helper, and ex XTERRA athlete) could be it for the trails.

With that, our thoughts (and our legs!) turn to running, and it seems to be the “flavor of the week” for many FARTS… What a week as far as FART mileage!

Kelley has been running 6 miles per day–every day–for almost a month now, and is really committed to it. Well done, Durbo!

Andy is working toward his first 50k distance, and is up to over 15 miles in training.

Jeni just emailed, and did a great 8 miles today in her workout, too!

Keith M (who Dave got started back into fitness!, I’m happy to say!) is up to over 14 miles himself (!), and is looking like he’ll be up for a race in the spring, too!

Peggy just completed an amazing 100 mile race in Arizona a couple of weeks, ago!! Way to go, Peggy! I have attached the url for the story of her race, so check out the account of what it feels like to run 100 in one day! Now THIS is a real run, for all of us “pretenders…”


Continuing the trend, Sheena is running a marathon in California with her Dad next weekend! Way to go, girls! I’m so impressed!

Trying to help keep the male end up, Dave is trying to keep up with Andy, and Peggy emailed to tell me that she knows I’ve got a “50 miler in me.” I’m not sure about that, but after talking with Thomas this week, and hearing all of the great stuff everyone is doing, I’m working on getting into some sort of shape, just in case a sudden marathon/50k/Primal Quest comes up, and someone needs a runner…

I’ve been roughly paralleling Andy’s training as he works toward his 50K, and though I did a pretty quick Loop last Saturday, I’ve been doing more long slow “base” training, including a 1/2 marathon a week or so ago.

I set out today to match Andy and do a 25k… 15.5 miles, and it was another perfect day: overcast, no wind, no precip, mid 30s. So, with new tunes on the Ipod, two water bottles and a GU pack, off I went, hoping to average 9:30/mile, which seems to be an okay “run-long-way” pace.

The difficulty was that the route I chose was pretty robust, especially on the way back home, as I hit the half way mark right around Bayview.

I was feeling pretty good–really good, actually–at the 8.5 mile mark, and decided to add a little extra bit to the run by going through Farragut before heading home.

At the 13 mile mark, I was still feeling okay, though the right hip flexor started twinging, and the hardest part of the run was still to come. I ran through it, and it faded a bit, and I was thankful that the ankles were holding up well. So far, so good.

So far, I was able to maintain my goal pace as I started on the “uphill” leg toward home, and then, I had a revelation about 3 miles later… there’s a BIG difference between 13.1 miles, and 18 miles. There’s even a big difference between 16 miles and 18 miles, especially when the last two miles are uphill.

Going up the biggest hill, with two miles to go, the quads began to lose their “smooth, effortless rythym” (few would call my “original” running style “smooth and effortless,” but I can dream of being Kenyan, can’t I?). Yup. The few seconds I had gained on my pace evaporated, and, for the first time, I was huffing and puffing. Until then, I had managed to keep my heart rate under 132, even up the the other hills, but it was up to 150 all of a sudden.

Finishing the last big hill, I still had 1.35 miles to go, and for sure the legs were feeling it. I was able to finish okay, but was glad when the 18 mile “finish line” arrived.

This was the farthest I’d run in one go in a fair while, and though I was feeling it, I was able to maintain the 9:30 pace, finishing in just over 2:50.

Last week I was confidant that after my half, I could have completed an entire 26.2, but let me tell you that the legs have a mind of their own, and they’ll let you know it–suddenly–at somewhere between 16 and 20 miles. At that point, it doesn’t mean a hill of beans how easy the first 13, 15, 16 or even 18 was… the second “half” of the race starts there, and will take all you’ve got from there to the finish.

It’s a funny thing, as I’m playing with pace and distance: I can easily run faster, as I did the 13.2 last week in under 9:00. I could probably manage 8:30, but I’m unsure for how long. If I was going to run 50 miles or more, I’d probably run slower (somewhere around 12:00 min/mile, maybe) My last marathon was in exactly 8:00, and my fastest was 6:40, but I was WAY younger for both. (I don’t FEEL like I’m going slower… the effort feels the same, but I just don’t go as far in the same amount of time!)

The one good thing is that I’m only moderately sore, though I presume things will tighten up a bit later. I hope it wears off quick, as we have a big ride planned for tomorrow morning!

Now, just a note to keep things in perspective:

~ Dean Karnazes– “Karno” –the Ultramarathon man, has run over 300 miles in a single go, and has completed 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 different states… (he’s currently running the ‘Last Desert’ race in Antarctica, and is planning on coming to Adventure Week for the Deepwater 50 miler!)

~ Hailie Gerbresellasie holds the World Record of 2:03.59, which equals a pace of 4:43.8/mile!! (He’s currently NOT planning on AW, though I might email him and see if he wants to visit North Idaho)

The feats of the supermen aside, I am so proud of all of us for the great work and the great mileage! Congrats to Peggy, and good luck to Sheena! Keep it up, everyone… I can’t wait for our next group “training run” during the Christmas-New Year’s week!

I wish you all good training, and keep running!


Filed under races, training