Quad Rock 50 recap

I did it! My third Quad Rock 50 mile finish in three tries. My official time was 13 hours, 56 minutes, and 57 seconds, just three minutes under the limit. I prepared less for this race than I have in 2019 and 2021 because I'm aiming to peak at the end of September and looked at it as mainly a long training run that I might finish or not. My longest run so far this year was 18 miles. I joked with the race director afterwards that my plan was to run myself into shape in the first 25 miles and then build on that. I was mentally prepared to not finish and also prepared to push myself if a finish was within reach.

In the first half of the race, I stayed well within my limits and left the Soldier Canyon aid station, the turn-around, with an elapsed time of 6 hours and 15 minutes. The climb up Timber Trail was warm and I cramped severely on the following descent down Howard Trail. I arrived at Arthurs Rock aid station only seven minutes before the time check. Dropping out at Arthurs had crossed my mind on the descent and the thought was lingering a bit as I hobbled in, but the friendly volunteers filled my tank up with pickles, popsicles, and encouragement, and I found myself good to go again. I headed out towards the Mill Creek climb and was racing, slowly, against the clock all the rest of the afternoon.

After I got to the top of Mill Creek, I had to resupply quickly and then get over the rest of the Westridge Trail climb and down to and through the Horsetooth aid station in 65 minutes. Again, thoughts of dropping tempted me during the technical part of the descent. I felt better during the runnable last 1.5 miles and made it to the aid station with four minutes to go. Not enough time to change socks and shoes as I'd planned, only enough time to grab more drinks and food and regroup with two other runners.

The final climb is not as hard as the penultimate climb, and after that it was mostly a matter of managing my effort well. At the last aid station, with 2.3 relatively flat miles to go and 30 minutes left, I was pretty confident I would make it in under 14 hours. I ran the downhills quickly and didn't dawdle on the flats, coasting just a bit to the finish line.

Honestly, I could have kept going. I was feeling composed and fairly energetic at the finish. I'll be building on this for the next 16 weeks.

Bear training weeks 15-17 recap

It's another three week batch post! My day job, home projects, and running are pretty demanding right now. It's hard to find time to do one of these posts each week like I did last year. I hope the situation changes!

I finally feel like I'm getting into something like racing form and am enjoying it. I'm doing one intense hill workout each week and they are paying off; I have more energy going uphill up longer weekend runs. In four of the past five weeks I've done one long run with at least two Quad Rock climbs, and in the past three weeks I've added one more run with a single QR climb. The only Quad Rock climb that I haven't done recently is the first. I'll try to get to that next week. Here are the numbers for the last three weeks!

Week 15:

  • 32.4 miles running and hiking

  • 7 hours, 4 minutes

  • 3,422 ft D+

Week 16:

  • 47.5 miles running

  • 10 hours, 2 minutes

  • 6,808 ft D+

Week 17:

  • 51.3 miles running

  • 10 hours, 46 minutes

  • 7,234 ft D+

I spent the weekend of week 15 in Tucson with Ruthie enjoying some sun, warmth, and food. I ran in Tucson's Mountain Park, we hiked in Saguaro National Park, did some birding around the city, it was great to get away from the cold and snow in Fort Collins. I like Tucson and want write more about it soon.


Saguaro cactus in Tucson Mountain Park

Running conditions here in Fort Collins change from day to day in April. One of my four-hour runs was on dry, dusty dirt, and the next was on snow and mud.


Arthurs Rock on April 15


Arthurs Rock on April 22

Quad Rock is in 13 days. I'm not planning to do a long taper, instead I'm going to treat it as a very long, volunteer supported training run. I'm going to run hard next week and try to bump my vertical above 8,000 feet, and then will back off early in week 19, but still end up over 60 miles distance and 12,000 ft D+ for race week.

Bear training weeks twelve, thirteen, fourteen recap

This is another attempt to catch up on three weeks of running in a single post. Week 12 was a rest week. I didn't run very much, but did it on dirt, with hills and friends. On Sunday we went to Red Mountain Open Space, crossed over into Wyoming for a few miles, and saw a large flock of Mountain Bluebirds.

  • 4 hours running

  • 19 miles

  • 2,156 ft D+

In week 13 I bumped up my volume and intensity of running. I spent some time at the weight rack at my local gym, tried hard to pick up my knees and run better, and got some hills on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

  • 8 hours, 20 minutes running

  • 41 miles

  • 4,058 ft D+

Week 14 was complicated by heavy snow and brutal wind, but I got to the gym for some lifting and yoga, and did back-to-back hilly long runs on the weekend.

  • 7 hours, 52 minutes running

  • 37.8 miles

  • 5,522 ft D+

A few weeks of paying attention to running better seems to be paying off. I'm finding it easier to not shuffle and my knees feels fine despite the increase in workload.

Bear training weeks nine, ten, and eleven recap

I'm catching up on three weeks of running in this post. I'm making progress. Poor weather, knee pain, and a return of last summer's PACs complicated my training a bit. I'd like to have run a little more, but have been mixing in more high quality speed workouts and have been consistent with weight training and yoga. While not in the same form that I was when training to peak in May 2019 or July 2020, I'm not in terrible early season shape. Here are the numbers.

Week nine:

  • 6 hours, 15 minutes running

  • 30.1 miles

  • 2,441 ft D+

On Sunday I got out for a hilly run in the snow.


Snowy Howard Trail with large mammal tracks to the left

Week ten:

  • 5 hours, 7 minutes running

  • 28.3 miles

  • 1,122 ft D+

Week 11:

  • 4 hours, 56 minutes running

  • 25.8 miles

  • 2,208 ft D+

On Saturday local trails started opening up again and I got a nice long run on dry dirt. It was wonderful.


Horsetooth Reservoir in transition from winter to spring

Bò kho sandwich

Last might I cooked thit bò kho, an aromatic beef stew, from the recipe in Mai Pham's "Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table". The process starts with making colorful annatto-infused oil. The red-orange color is provided by caratenoid compounds named bixin and norbixin. Annatto pigment has long been used to color cheeses, junk food, and other things.


Bright red annatto-infused oil

This morning I put leftovers on a roll and sprinkled it with cilantro, mint, onion, and stewing juice. It's a very satisfying breakfast sandwich.


Stewed beef and carrots with herbs on a roll

I played with the "food" setting on my new phone's camera and got some colorful, but flawed photos. The setting has a limited focus area that I haven't learned to drag around properly.

Bear training week eight recap

Week eight was a planned rest week. I spent four days traveling to San Francisco for work, took Friday off to decompress, did some heavier than usual weight training on Saturday, and went for windy, muddy, short run today.

  • 1 hour, 26 minutes running

  • 6.9 miles

  • 856 ft D+

I only ran once in SF, up the Embarcadero and Telegraph Hill, but I did push hard on the steps to see where I'm at. I've been in better shape!

The hotel had bikes and I took one out on two different evenings. On St. Valentine's day I rode to a restaurant on Union Street and back, stopping at Fort Mason for some photos.


Golden Gate Bridge at dusk from Fort Mason

I will be running in earnest again next week.

Bear training week seven recap

I had jury duty on Tuesday, was sick Thursday and Friday, a light week.

  • 4 hours running

  • 18.5 miles

  • 2,103 ft D+

Saturday I felt better and did an easy run with some strides. Today, Sunday, I did a hilly run at Lory State Park. Everything below my neck feels good, but my head is full of snot.


Frozen Horsetooth Reservoir in warm February sun

Next week I'll be in San Francisco for week. I'll be running, but nothing big.


I turned out to be only a spare juror yesterday and was released, my duty done for the year.

Honestly, I think a trial by jury of your peers is a great idea, but also the whole process is run by people very invested in the status quo and who use a good amount of propaganda to keep us all feeling good about participating.

Bear training week five and six recap

Week five was the first week of my second training block. Still just working on my base. I got back to indoor heated yoga with real humans for the first time since 2020. I'm lucky that the last locally owned big gym in Fort Collins is still holding on.

  • 6 hours, 8 minutes running

  • 31.5 miles

  • 1,827 ft D+

Snow was still sticking around on week six. I went to yoga again on Friday and then did a long run with two good climbs at Horsetooth on Sunday.

  • 7 hours, 45 minutes running

  • 36 miles

  • 4,715 ft D+


9:30 a.m., just below the summit of Horsetooth Mountain


I have to go to the courthouse first thing in the morning for jury duty. It might last one day, or three, or who knows how many. I probably won't be able to do any open source stuff for a few days. I'll be running and catching up on family responsibilities outside of the courthouse until my service is over.