Friday, July 26, 2013

Best summer ever?!

I would probably have to say best AND busiest. Since the last post a lot has happened. Rapid fire style:

-1 week trip in CO coaching soccer, which actually felt like a paid running tour for me. Ran in the Springs, Golden, and the great Flatirons behind Boulder.

-Closed on our new home and moved in, well kind of. True Hinshaw style we are ripping everything out and putting new in: carpet, hardwood floor, removing popcorn ceilings, new paint - EVERYTHING MUST GO! Gonna be great when it's finished though...

-Moving day was followed immediately by a 1 week guiding trip through the Chugach, Wrangell-St.Elias Nat. park, and Valdez.

-4 days in Seward for the 4th of July. Met one of my running heroes, Rickey Gates. Saw him smash the 32 year old record, but get 2nd to local phenom Eric Strabel.

-Ran my first 'road' marathon, the Hatcher Pass Marathon. 4000 feet of climbing over the course with the only downhill being the last 1.5 miles.

-Tons of time with the family in the great Alaskan Summer. It has truly been un-freaking-believable! 70's and low 80's even, day after sunny day. Plenty of time to play and just hang out with my amazing wife and boys.

-Lot's of big runs in the mountains preparing for my second 100 miler, which is only 2 weeks from today!!! Freaks me out but I think I'm ready. My training this summer though possibly lacking in overall volume, has been made up for with overall quality. I feel strong on big runs, without any real recovery time necessary even after tough outings. I think it is healthy though that I am scared at the prospect of running 100 miles again. It will happen, and it will again be one of the coolest things I have done.

Crow Pass Crossing tomorrow and then the taper. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Yes, that's right. It is officially summer. The weekend of the 18th saw fresh snow, but the weekend of the 25th was 70˚. It happens that fast up here. In the whirlwind that was the last 3 weeks I have finished another season of coaching high school soccer, completed another year teaching high school, changed to my new school, packed up 2/3 of our home, and squeezed in some great runs, not as many as I should at this point in the training schedule, but you get it in where you can fit it in.

Here are the totals for the weeks:
3:29, 21.31miles, 2805'
(not a great week, but we'll call it a mini taper)

7:22, 40.08miles, 5351'
(decent, included an uphill race and a great run in the heat)

8:00, 32.74miles, 4715'
(ok but should have been better)

The highlight of the last several weeks is two-fold: getting off school, which gives me tons of time w/ my amazing family (wife and 2 boys), and some great 70˚+ weather. We had 4-5 days of extreme sunshine for this time of year. It easily erased both the standing water in my yard and the memories of a horrible spring.

On May 23rd I ran Kal's Knoya Ridge Run. The conditions were poor on the trail with so much mud my legs were caked by the time it was over and I had to shower with my shoes on so I could see to untie them. I bested my last year's time by 2 minutes, which placed me in the top 25 of a race for the first time ever. It was my best finish with 33rd overall. I ran comfortably hard the entire race and was able to pass 3 people in the final climb. Pretty happy with the effort as I also ran back down afterwards at a decent clip to make it an all around training run. My buddy Jared ran this as well so it was a fun day out.

Two days later I ran a great 13 mile run up into the front range of the Chugach from my house in the heat of the day. Great training as you never know what race day will hold.

Last week was ok with 3 decent runs, 2 of them being a hard and long-ish. On Wed. I ran up Wolverine Peak, an almost 5 mile climb followed by 5 quad busting, toe bashing miles back down. It's always great to tag a summit though. I left the trailhead a little after 8:40 and it was 73˚ and sunny. This run was completed 'Ashland style' ie. shirtless. It was awesome to be out peakbagging late in the day without the crowds, the mountain almost to myself. There were some sketchy muddy sections on the descent but I cruised through without a hitch.

2 days later I hit the historic Crow Pass Trail for what I planned to be 24 miles from the Eagle River Nature Center out to the river crossing and back. Crow Pass is a prime example of brutal singletrack trail. Twisty, rocky, rooty? yes. Thorns, blowdown, widow makers? check. River and streams crossings? yes. Moose and bear danger? You betcha. It is the complete Alaskan Trail experience. In fact, if you crave this experience you can race in the Crow Pass Crossing, a 25 mile crossing held each July. Anyway, I love training on this trail because rarely is a trail rougher, so if you can feel comfortable cruising here, anywhere else will feel tame. The only thing the trail from the Nature Center lacks is lots of elevation gain.

I was running along, making decent time when I rounded a corner and SCRUNNCH! my left ankle rolls outside onto itself. Yowch! Unfortunately but fortunately this happens about once a year. Unfortunate bc now I was 8 miles out on the trail and would have to get back. Fortunate bc once I worked through the shock, pain, and disappointment, I would probably be able to ease back into running by the end. Each time this happens it feels like a major injury, but usually I can run again after walking then jogging for a bit. This time it didn't feel like this would be the case so grabbing a branch for a crutch and turning around I called it a day and began to gingerly limp back to the Nature Center. The further I went to more it loosened and by the end of the run I was once again clocking 9:30s down the final 2 miles of trail, albeit on an unsteady ankle. In addition to the ankle roll I whacked my head on an overhanging log and got quite a knot. I also came home with scratches all over my arms and legs. Once again the Crow Pass trail had chewed me up and spit me out, but I feel tougher for it.

Now into the next week...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

spring is here! (training week 13)

Officially spring has touched down in Southcentral Alaska. After May 5th's 3 inches of snow in town, the sun has been out regularly, but more importantly the temps aren't dropping below freezing at night anymore. This makes for rapid melting of the remaining snow. The giant piles in parking lots and empty lots is shrinking daily. Roadside clean-up is in full swing and green grass can even be seen in places. Soon the trees will green with buds and then BAM, summertime.

What this means for running is a return to the trails, albeit soggy ones. This week was not my best. The previous week left me with a tweaky calf so I took it easy so as not to make a tweak become an injury, and it largely worked.

Tuesday morning's 'run' was spent on the bike logging a quick but hilly 8 miles. Wednesday I made my first pilgrimage up Flattop Mountain, Alaska's most climbed peak. Early morning temps kept the snow crusty and dangerous. Though mildly tempted by the glissade tracks off the peak, it only took one look at the slope to determine, "I don't want to die today." The initial slope off of the top is 60˚ and the snow could best be described as razor blades on concrete, so I gingerly backtracked down the kicked steps to the top. Even though the entire run was snow covered, my up time was only 2 min. slower than my record up time, set on a dry trail. It was great to bag a peak before most people were awake for the day. Thursday I headed out to Turnagain Arm Trail for 5 miles on singletrack. It was exhilarating to be back on a wooded, snow free trail. Though muddy in parts the miles ticked off quickly and left me recharged back at the truck. My thoughts turned to Resurrection Pass and my desire to be physically and mentally ready to break 24 hrs. on that run.

The weekend was packed, so pushing Saturday's long run to Sunday AM was a no brainer. However as the weekend developed into Sat. night something wasn't right. It hit 2am Sunday morning as my wife, my 5yo son, and I began to spend the next several hours dueling with a nasty flu bug. Put simply it wasn't pretty. Our single bathroom was a war zone and the next day was spent drowsing groggily and playing movie after movie for the boys as that was all my wife and I could do without passing out. Monday I took off work to recover and yesterday's run was bypassed as well. Today, after 5 days without a run I'm feeling rested, recovered, and ready to roll. Tonight's agenda is a run-dinner-run sandwich for 13+ miles. Gotta get it where I can fit it.

2:45, 20.28 miles (only 7 running), 3035'

 My boys get their ride on at the Charity Walk, a fundraiser for the high school team I coach. It's like a carnival for free. Z's first time on a horse. Yeehaw!

My 2013 Yearbook Staff celebrating the end of the year at the Moose's Tooth. This is most likely my last yearbook as next year I am taking a new job teaching Photography at King Career Center. I love yearbook and love all the kids I've had on staff. Gonna miss 'em.

My little man and his cousin at the inaugural Cougar Kickers Soccer Camp. A one day camp to give back to the community on our brand new turf facility. Shirts designed by yours truly. Sweet!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

the animals are testy (training week12)

We are in the process of buying a new house and that plus coaching, kids, and training makes for a busy spring. So this week was a little mellow bc as soon as I decided I wouldn't be running Sluicebox, I slept in the next day. However the day after that I hit the track for some speedwork. This time I pumped out some 400 meter repeats after a 4 mile warm-up.

The weekend back to back (b2b) was a tough one. I ran the first on Sat., heading out at 9:30pm. Running that late after a long day was difficult, but I got out and got it done. My left calf was a little tweaky, so the next day I cut the planned run by about 25%, running at 8pm Sun. night.

So beside all of the fun spring weather in Alaska, this is also the time when one has to really be alert for wildlife. Seagulls are beginning to bully the Ravens from their winter haunts; the bears are awake and hungry, lumbering through the cities outskirts in search of food; and the moose are either calving, browsing their first spring alone, or feeling the effects or burgeoning manhood. The later is what I encountered on my run Sat. night. I was running down Campbell Airstrip Rd which is on the east side of Anchorage and flanked on either side by parklands. A largish bull moose appeared who was giving me the stink eye from first glance. I stopped and he took a couple steps toward me. I retreated back up the road a bit and he reluctantly crossed. Even though he was 30-40 yds away any time I made a move he would whip his head around and size me up. After a few minutes I realized I would not be able to get past this guy on my own. I waved down the next car and asked if they could drive between me and the moose as I ran by. The obliged and as I passed I was glad I hadn't tried to pass alone. As we came alongside him he lowered his head, stamped the ground, and did a couple of 360s. He was pissed! I think he really wanted at me. The driver of the car commented out his window, "He's not very happy!" which was putting it lightly. The rest of the run went off without a hitch but I'm ready for the upper elevations to melt out so that I can return to the woods with a bit more confidence as the animals move up into summer feeding grounds. It's coming, slowly but surely.

5:37, 32.44miles, 2129'

Thursday, May 2, 2013

change of plans/rolling on (training week 11)

I'm into the 40 miles a week range and I'm feeling good about the running. Spring is always such a busy time with wrapping up the school year, coaching soccer, and family goings on. Add to that selling and buying a house this spring and I feel fortunate to have been able to carve out the time to get the runs in. It helps immensely to have a supportive spouse and lots of daylight this time of year. Most of my runs are in the early AM and this time of year there is light whether I run at 5:30am or 9:30pm, which really helps as I don't like to take time away from the family.

Health wise I'm injury free with just minor tightness after runs in the usually places, but really no muscle soreness, even after multihour efforts. I have also really been testing myself as far as running in all conditions. The 20 miler long run on Saturday was first thing in the AM with no food since the night before and I didn't bring any food/water on the run. It went off without a hitch: plenty of energy and no issues. Followed that up with a 10 miler Sunday at 9pm after a long day with the family and immediately after a BBQ. Completely opposite conditions but the run was great. Managed 9:16 pace with a ton of climbing thrown in. Sweet.

So for changes: I am not going to be doing Sluicebox 100 in June. I'm bummed, but it is the right choice. Too many things were stacking up against it: cost, moving/remodeling, week long guiding trip right up to the day before...just isn't right for this year. I look forward to doing it next year though. My big races then will be ResPass 100, where I will try to break 24 hours, and Equinox Ultra (40 miles). I am also planning on adding the Hatcher Pass Marathon to my schedule, which I couldn't do before because it was the week before Sluicebox. It will be my first official 'road' marathon. The course is up and over Hatcher Pass on a gravel/dirt road. Should be great.

Had I known I wouldn't be doing Sluicebox I would have put my name in the lottery for Mt. Marathon in Seward on the 4th of July. This storied race sees runners climbing from sea level to 3022' and back on a super technical trail, 40˚ incline much of the way. One of my favorite trail runners, Ricky Gates, will be running it this year and it would have been awesome to participate at the same time, but's all good.

As we keep rolling on towards summer, I'm getting stoked!

April 22-28
7:34, 43.89m, 2110'

day2 pub run
day4 speedwork - pyramids on the track, 100-400 and down then 100-200. then my IT got tight
day7 great 10 mile

all my workouts can be found at movescount search for worm.

My boys are too fun!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Is it spring yet? (training week 10)

Finally, towards the end of last week we started to see some sun, warmer overnight temps, and some legitimate melting! I think it is actually spring. The trails are crunchy and rough in the mornings and soft and wet in the afternoons. I have been sticking to the roads/multiuse paths lately to get my time in. I am still struggling with motivation to run but it is getting better. This week I switched my long runs back to Sat/Sun and it was much better, not having to stress about trying to fit it in on Friday.

7:01, 40.89, 2505'
day2: doubled up with am run and pm pub run
day3: cold one
day4: convinced myself in the am that I would run in the evening and slept in. the run didn't happen that day.
day6: good 21.5 mile long run. took it easy and felt great the next day
day7: cranked out 8 miles on the dreadmill in the evening bc the day got away from me

So not much excitement but life is filled with the in-between.

 I teach yearbook at Service High School. They came in on Wed and are LEGIT! Students are really digging it this year. Cover design/photos by yours truly.
 Seniors at our school get to participate in "Senior Fun Day." They get breakfast at school then bussed to Kincaid Park for a BBQ, Karaoke, hanging out, prizes, inflatable games, and all around good times. Here's a photo strip of me with a couple of my students. We gots our stunna shades on.
Baby Z turned 2 on Sunday. What an amazing little guy. He really is our miracle baby. So much fun wrapped up in one little hurricane of emotion and activity. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Monday, April 15, 2013

back in the saddle... (training week8,9)

After 2 weeks of crud I eased back into the running over the past to weeks. Spring in Alaska this year means lots of new snow, sun during the day, but frigid still overnight. That has made it much harder to be motivated to get out of bed in the morning and get my run on. The snow has also made for good skiing so I have foregone some of the long runs instead opting for some splitboarding. I am still basing my training loosely on mileage, but mostly on time. I figure if I can get the time in I will be ready when stuff melts out enough to run...which I hope happens soon. They are actually calling for more snow later in the week...bleh!

5:17, 16.87, 2361'
shorter runs on M,T,W. 2:15 of splitboarding in lieu of long run on Sat.
also practiced with my jv soccer boys on Monday. man, that killed my knee.

7:30, 29.19, 4626'
runs on M,T,W w/ :45 of soccer on M,W as well. Friday was my big day with a 2 hour run in the AM followed by a 2 hours of splitboarding in the afternoon. was hoping to get out Sunday splitboarding as well but ran out of time, not light though as the sun is currently setting around 9:30!

This week I am switching my long runs back to Sat/Sun instead of Fri/Sat. Since the runs have gotten longer it is too difficult to get them done on Friday when I work. I will switch it back once school gets out.

Here's a pic from splitboarding on Friday afternoon. Sweet sun and snow, was blowing like crazy up top and cold though.

Monday, April 1, 2013

the creeping crud, PLUS 2012 recap & 2013 plans (training w6,7)

I ran my 20 miler two weeks ago with a head cold. I felt fine and the run went great, but two days later, BAM! chest cold. I have bronchial asthma so as soon as a cold settles into my chest I am out of commission. This was a bad one. Two weeks of hacking, no energy, hit-by-a-truck feeling, cold. In the weekend between I had my Wilderness First Responder recertification, a 24 hour classroom/scenario course. It was brutal but I made it through.

This past weekend I decided to jump right in on Saturday for a scheduled 24 mile run. I made it as far as the front door in my running shorts before I called it. It was 530 AM, cold, and I could still feel a rattle in my chest. What's two more days off? So this morning I went on my first run in 16 days. It went pretty well so I think I am ready to ramp back up into the training.

Training for what? Well, I am planning on two 100 milers this year, with some other races thrown in for good measure. My current race schedule for 2013 looks like this:

May 23rd: Kal's Knoya Ridge run (8.5k, 4300') completed this for the first time last year. It's a blast!
June 29th: Sluicebox 100 (Fairbanks, AK) this is my first goal race. I'm shooting for finishing.
July 27th: Crow Pass Crossing (24mi) running easy as a final long run before tapering for...
August 9th: Resurrection Pass 100 (repeat of last year) I hope to better my time of 25:37 from last yr.
August 24th: Lost Lake run (16mi) ran w/ a team last yr. & might again this yr., maybe...
September 21st: Equinox Ultramarathon (64k) had a great time at this last yr. Hoping to be up for it.

My goal for the summer is to complete the two 100 milers and finish with Equinox. The other races are if my conditioning and health allow. There is a new race, Kesugi Ridge, in Denali State Park September 7th that looks really interesting, but I really want to be ready for Equinox so I'll feel it out.

On a side note, thought I'd post my 2012 totals here for the record:
Mileage: 1573.33
Training Time: 298:53 hours
Elevation: 133,468 feet

These totals are for running ONLY, no other activities are factored in (ie. hiking, biking, ski touring, swimming). Also, this is only for runs recorded via GPS and recorded on Garmin Connect or Movescount. There were several outings without a watch that were not recorded.

What's funny is to contrast this with my recorded totals from 2011: 185 miles and 21,228'. I have been running trail races since 2003 but have never trained. Amazing what one can do with proper preparation.

HE IS RISEN! Happy Easter.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

the new norm? (training wk3,4,5)

Another week down with no end in sight...well, I can see the end, but it's a long way off. Getting behind on the posts so I'm just gonna crank this one out with the numbers and minimal details. Feel free to post with questions if you want more info.

6:45, 37.51mi, 2984'
day1,3 - run w/ 2m tempo on 3
day2 - 2 laps on Hilltop

5:45,  32.77mi, 2939'
day6 - 14 mi long run included 6mi run with soccer team at a quicker pace

7:17, 36.23mi, 2126'
day1 - snowshoeing w/ Dan after soccer, banged my knee
day5 - ran from my house (South Anchorage) to my buddy Matt's house (Eagle River). great conditions: sunny, mid 20's, trail everything from snowy singletrack to dry tarmac to windblown powder to slushy overflow. ran with a head cold and felt fine on the run. busy day Saturday nixed the run and Sunday woke up with a chest cold. have now been dealing with that all week.

So that's what's been happening. Oh yeah, it's been soooper cold this past week. It's been getting up to 20s and low 30s with sun during the day, but getting down to single digits at night. Creating really icy conditions on the trails and very hard to get motivated to run in the AM. Had my best icy face of the year so far:

Haven't run yet this week bc of my congestion. Next week's write up will be short. Oh well. A week off to get healthy ain't no thang.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

a shock to the legs (training week2)


I am attempting to get back into a regular running routine and my body is taking notice, specifically my legs. My overall fitness feels pretty good, but my legs have been shocked by this weeks' workouts. I do notice that I tend to be much more aware of myself when I am training regularly. Hard to explain but my time seems to be more intentional when I know there is an ultimate goal. I am working on not wasting the minutes, but being (mentally) present daily wherever I am; whether it's with my wife, the boys, at work, or at play. My life is much more rewarding this way.

day1&2 were a wash with travel back from Phoenix and a day at home with the family.

day3 I ran 3 miles in the morning on the dreadmill, and 4 miles in the evening. My body was still cold after spending time in PHX and I couldn't bring myself to run outside.

day4 splitboarding lap at Hilltop

day5 up super early, 4am, to get in a 2 hour run. I intended to run another hour on the dreadmill but it didn't happen. My morning run was difficult: 4-8" fresh snow, still snowing as I ran, 1300' climb, cold, mostly unconsolidated trail. It was good to work hard though.

day6 went out during nap time for an hour on the dreadmill, got eight and a half minutes in and my little guy decided he wasn't gonna nap that day. Went in and got him squared away and did an easy CrossFit body weight WOD. 2 rounds for time of 35 squats, 35 knees to elbow, 35 squats, 35 situps, 35 lunges, 35 squats. Afterwords my thighs were pumped, weird to see them so huge. I have been feeling that workout for 3 days now.

day7 rest

Not a super crazy week and actually less mileage/time than last week.

On Friday, after worship practice, my boys and I witnessed a burning mobile home. R thought it was cool to see all the fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances, but it was sad to see someone's home being burned. We took the opportunity to thank God for what we have, and pray for those affected by the fire. It is important to seize those teachable moments.


 Fur Rondy parade in Anchorage

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

3 days in the desert (training week 1)

Feb 11-17

This past week began my first in training for my races this summer. As it stands now I am going to attempt two 100 milers this summer. The first being the Sluicebox 100 in Fairbanks at the end of June. The second will be Resurrection Pass 100 the first week of August. I am also planning on running the Equinox Ultra again in mid September. I considered racing a 100 out of state this year, but I decided not to spend the money to travel and instead will be running the only 3 summer ultras Alaska has to offer. This will give me a chance to gain some more experience in the ultra world before attempting to run a Hardrock qualifying race, Hardrock being my ultimate goal race....someday.

day 1 was a flop, recovering from food poisoning.

day 2 got 5 miles in pushing my youngest son, Z, in the B.O.B. I felt pretty good considering I was pushing him thru soft snow conditions on the multi-use path.

day 3 splitboarding up the local ski hill, Hilltop. It's a quick roundtrip that usually takes me about 40min. 360ish feet of climbing.

day 4 rest

day 5,6,7 in Phoenix.

I have traveled to PHX every President's Day weekend for the last 8 years. I coach with the Alaska Northstars, a select soccer team, taking players to showcase tournaments in an attempt to get players seen by college coaches. Last year on our trip to Portland, I discovered Forest Park and enjoyed running there last month. This year I did some research and found a couple of really good places to run within the Phoenix area. On Friday I 'ran' in Phoenix Mountain Preserve. It is a great network in and around a mountainous area right in the midst of the PHX metro area. It was actually a pretty brutal trail to run in regards to elevation and trail surface. Also, I was out in the heat of the day, which was around 75˚. I had a 6 mile route planned that proved to be pretty ambitious and instead ended up doing 3.75 in an hour on the "circumference trail" (local name) or 302 (park name) I chatted with a grizzled and tan desert/mountain man on the way up the first peak, Piestewa. He gave me some good info and I had a great time. The trail was actually super technical with loose rocks, steep grades, and continual up and down.

The next day I ran in the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve. This area contains a great set of manicured trails visited primarily by locals hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. It was almost sundown when I got there and I headed out on the Dixie Mountain Loop. The trail was very runnable and I saw no one. This was in contrast to the previous day when I saw many people on the trail, but only one other runner. As I contoured around the back of Dixie Peak the sun had officially set and the trail was plunged into the flat light of dusk. I made my way down the trail to the parking lot.

On Sunday I went back to the Sonoran Preserve to try to finally get in a good run. Today I had no time constraints and timed it so that I was in the cooler part of the day before dark. I ran comfortably and really enjoyed the desert scenery. I finally felt like I got a good run in, completing 7 miles of trail in just over an hour.

Until this trip I always dreaded going to PHX. The heat is a nice change from the Alaskan winter, but the sprawl, traffic, and lack of things, um, natural don't appeal to me. Finding these two desert gems though have me looking forward to trail running there again next year.

The sweetest part of the trip though wasn't actually on the trip, it was the next morning as my wife and I were bombarded in bed by my two boys. The look on their faces as they wrestled and cuddled was the best homecoming reception ever.