I'm off to a new start here at the ecotone between the Rockies and Great Plains in Denver West. Not only a new year but a new place, although it's a return to where I was born. What's new though is that other than my first year and a half, and a few months here in the 1980s, I've never lived in a big city. Fort Collins, Iowa City, Fairbanks and many smaller towns in between. But with some 3 million people (and that's not including Boulder-Longmont, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs) in the metro area, this place is huge.
Despite that, what's appealing about the Front Range is that the Colorado Lottery pays for recreation and development of open space and trails so at least in this part of the city you're never far from areas where you can get away. For example, I can run about 1.2 miles from my office and be up on a ridge with miles and miles of trails with the bonus of great views of the foothills, plains, and even the city. And my new digs are only a 1/4 mile from bike paths that connect throughout the city. Along the foothills you have choices like Waterton Canyon, Roxborough Park, Deer Creek Canyon, North and South Table Mountain, the Apex Trail, and of course the Mesa Trail near Boulder. I've already been taking advantage of access to these and others too.
Even though one of the best things about our house in Alaska was being away from everything, and now I'm in the thick of it all, I can get used to being around lots of people. Traffic is another issue. I simply try to be out at times to avoid it, and so far that seems to be working.
As for running the past few months have been fairly to extremely stressful. So from Thanksgiving until this week I've just taken a let's just get out the door approach to it all. No real workouts, only putting in the time. That's fine for base work, although my training volume hasn't been anything great either. I've been at about an hour a day on average, but did get a good 9 hour week in Fairbanks between Christmas and New Years. However, I just found out yesterday that I have zero speed. I attempted some threshold reps at Crown Hill Lake, on gravel paths that were kind of muddy, and could only manage 6:30s but it felt like 6:00s. The key will be to just keep plugging away, and hopefully by mid-late spring get back into gear.
Meanwhile, here's the racing schedule going into March. XC Nationals is the only event in the first half of the year that feels actually meaningful. The others are just for training incentive and fun. I'll probably do a half marathon in April or May, and by then I plan to be doing a fair amount of trail running to get ready for the summer season here. If I can get in, the Pikes Peak ascent in August is another primary goal race for 2015.
1/17 - Frosty's 5 mile (Littleton, CO) - Road Runners Club of America state championship
1/31 - USATF Colorado 4K XC (Boulder, CO) - Tune up for nationals
2/7 - USATF National Championsips Masters Division (Boulder, CO) - primary goal race
2/15 - XC Ski race somewhere, probably Frisco, CO distance to be determined
3/8 - Snow Mountain Stampede 50K XC ski (Granby, CO)
3/15 - A St. Pattys Run in Denver (7K) or Fort Collins (5K)