Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Triathlon training takes teamwork

Dana Desplanques, David Fraser, Lisa Lieb and Jason Smallheer are happy to have found each other.

All are taking part in the triathlon training program offered three nights per week at the Durango Community Recreation Center with coach Arthur Razee.

At last week's session, Desplanques, 34, sat with Razee and went over her logbook. Fraser and Smallheer swam, while Lieb ran for one and a half hours on the treadmill.

Desplanques is preparing for the Fort Lewis College Tri-the-Rim (500-yard swim, 12-mile bike and 5K run) on April 15. She has been with the group for only three weeks.

"I'm also training for the Steamworks Half-Marathon while raising money with Team-in-Training for the leukemia and lymphoma society," Desplanques said. "My son, Keenan, was recently diagnosed with leukemia."

With Desplanque's two children and a full-time position in information technology at Fort Lewis College, the hardest thing about triathlons is finding the time to train.

Fraser, 27, just rejoined the training program after taking several months off. But time away didn't mean time off from training. Fraser is preparing for the Arizona Ironman on April 8, and the Las Vegas Silverman on Nov. 12. These torture sessions consist of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle leg and a 26.2-mile run.

"I've done several shorter races, century (100-mile) rides and marathons, and the Ironman is just a matter of putting it all together," Fraser said. "This is a fun way to train because it's motivating to have a group of people working out together and sharing a common interest."

While Durango was covered in powder two weeks ago, Fraser fled to the warmer climes of Tucson for extensive training.

"I'm excited for the challenge of the Arizona Ironman and putting my body through such a test," Fraser said.

Lieb, 36, did her first triathlon in Durango when she was only 12.

"We swam in the old city pool next to the Fairgrounds," Lieb said. "This year I want to qualify for the National X-Terra Championships."

Lieb has recently endured three knee surgeries for torn ACLs and a meniscus repair, but she's not letting that stand in her way. Her knees aren't as strong as they used to be, but Lieb is hoping they'll hold up for the upcoming races.

Smallheer, 32, who works at Durango Mountain Resort with Fraser, has been in the program for two years but missed most of last year with a broken back.

"Right now I'm just trying to get back in shape again," Smallheer said. "Triathlon is a tough sport, and it's hard to train in Durango during the winter."

Smallheer's evening workout consisted of three 800-meter swims plus a 1,500. While he is comfortable running and biking, Smallheer has a little difficulty with the swimming.

"I tend to sink in the water." Smallheer said.

Coach Razee lectured his students for a few minutes about water intake, the dangers of too much ibuprofen and measuring wattage (power) using a computerized bicycle trainer.

"I'm hoping to get my Level 1 coaching certification soon," Razee said. "I just want to keep on learning more so I can keep on helping everybody in their training."

For more information on the triathlon training program, call Razee at 385-0634.

18-mile Grand Canyon run turns into 25-year tradition

Leo Lloyd III, 44, celebrated his silver anniversary in the Grand Canyon with 30 friends last weekend.

Lloyd has returned every year since with friends and family to run down the South Kaibab Trail and up the Bright Angel Trail in a single day.
It has been a 25-year love affair for Lloyd, but this one isn't with his wife Susie.

Since 1982, when Lloyd was a sophomore at Fort Lewis College, he has traveled to the South Rim every year to run down the Kaibab Trail to the Colorado River and back up the Bright Angel Trail.

An 18-mile trek is typical training fare for a marathoner, but those runs don't usually include a total elevation change of 9,000 feet.

The National Park Service has posted signs discouraging hikers from trying to travel from the rim to the river and back up in the same day, but this has never stopped Lloyd and his companions.

Paul Pixler, former philosophy professor at FLC and noted author of Hiking Trails of Southwestern Colorado was Lloyd's mentor, inspiration and companion during the first run.

"Pixler had done it by himself the year before," Lloyd said. "He still went to the Grand Canyon every year until 1985 when he was in his mid 60s."

After Lloyd graduated FLC in 1985, he remained in Durango and worked as an EMT. While he settled into a routine with his new wife, who also graduated from FLC, Lloyd's love for spending part of spring break in the canyon remained.

Mayor Dale Garland, who was training for ultramarathons at the time, also accompanied Lloyd on many of the runs until the mid 90s.

"It's just been a wonderful tradition for me," Lloyd said. "I never know who is going to come along each year."

While this year's attendance saw a high of 30 individuals, Lloyd has also made the trip with as few as one other person: Susie.

Brett Gosney, who is training for this year's Hard Rock 100 Endurance Run in Silverton, joined Lloyd in the Canyon this year. Chris Nute, Outdoor Pursuits Director at FLC, was also along.

Besides many of Lloyd's friends, who came from as far away as Connecticut, Lloyd was also fortunate to have two other generations along.

"Kendall, 14, my oldest son, did his first trip this year, while my Dad, Leo, who's 68, made his fifth run," Lloyd said.

"It was perfect weather this year," said the elder Lloyd. "Couldn't have been better," agreed his son. "It was cool and clear and just magical."