A return to mountain trail running
Last weekend's race was a turning point for my running fitness, but this week was even more rewarding with a bit of a rekindling of my passion for running long miles in the mountains, albeit doing so in February. Everyone has doubts, ups and downs, etc... and on a run at the beginning of the week I questioned if I would rather be doing something else. Mainly I was questioning trail ultra vs shorter racing and training. Saturday, my doubts were turned around.
Monday- 12M, 1:51, 1,000Ft Climbing. Ran from campus to the mesa trail and out to shadow canyon and back. A bit tired from the weekend's race.
Tuesday- 13M, 2:22, 3,200Ft Climbing. Ran from home to Eben G Fine, up panorama point to Flagstaff mtn, to green mtn lodge, up greenman to Green Mtn (1:21); back down ranger to green mtn lodge and home the same way.
Wednesday "Triple Run with Fitness Test"- 8M, 1:04; 550Ft Climbing. Ran wonderland trail.
PM: 4M, :28. Quick run from work.
PM2: 4M :29. Another quick run, as I had to do a timed 1.5M under 9:24 for my fitness test. This was my last fitness test in the AF. I managed to gut out the max pushups (57) and sit-ups (54) in a minute to finish my career with a perfect 100% on my fitness tests. My pecs and abbs were sore until Sunday.
Thursday "First Green Time Trial of the Year"- 14.37M, 2:27, 3,000Ft Climbing. My first "Time Trial" workout up green since April. While I didn't jog, I didn't run this at maximum effort, more like a medium-hard effort. I ran the couple miles from North Boulder Park to Chataqua, up to Gregory Canyon TH and the start. I ran up Gregory Canyon to Greenman to the peak of Green Mountain in approximately 42:45. I could have run a few minutes faster, but still, I have some work to do to get back into 36:04 shape. I ran from the summit down bear canyon. The trail form the 4 way intersection to the power line ridge does not mirror the actual trail during summer and the route is "exciting", with the apex being two 30-40 foot straight down descents. Once down bear, I ran mesa trail then home. Fun.
Friday- 10M, 1:16, 400Ft Climbing. Ran on the Boulder Creek bike path with part of the run with the CU AFROTC Cadets doing their PT/Run.
PM: 4.5M, :35. Felt good on an easy loop around Boulder.
Saturday "Basic Boulder Marathon"???- 23M, 4:18 4,500Ft Climbing. Friday night I decided I would run up Flagstaff Peak (not exactly a prominent peak), Green Mountain, Bear Peak, South Boulder Peak and then down Shadow Canyon to the southern terminus of Mesa Trail and back home via the trails along S.Boulder Creek and Boulder Creek.
I got started on this run a little before 6AM. I ran with 4oz or so of Wilberry Liquid Shot EFS by 1st Endurance and my hand water bottle. My legs going up Panorama Point were less than spry, but warmed up and felt better by Flagstaff. Alpenglow is a drug, with the effects on my psyche immediate as soon as it illuminates the mountains I am running. I made the short detour to hit Flagstaff's "peak", then over to Green Mountain Lodge.
I was blessed with a 1/2 inch dusting of snow overnight to improve traction on the solid snow and ice pack across all of Chataqua Park. All week I have run without my spikes, as I misplaced them in my recent move. No spikes has slowed a few runs down a bit, but overall the running has been pretty good on the dry snowpack as it has been staying pretty cool (40s).
Nearly every time I run up Green Mtn via Greenman, I get "Stairway to Heaven" in my head at the long staircase near the summit. I made Green Mtn in 1:28, about 7 minutes slower than earlier this week, but I was a bit tired and taking it easy for the long effort ahead.
On the way to Beark Peak I hit my only "trusted" water stop, which is Bear Creek. With SO much snow and cold weather, I only had one realistic place to fill my hand water bottle and even then I had to lay completely down on the trail and reach down to the water. On my first attempt I managed to scoop tons of dirt, weeds and mud. Back down again on my second attempt I got a better fill, but got weeds in the the bottle. On my 3rd attempt I got what I thought was a good one. I looked at the water and saw a snake/worm like organism swimming around with a hairy body, not good. Finally, totally snowy and cold, I got a debris free fill. I had to make the creek water last for a while and I was a bit grossed out, so I put the bottle behind my back tucked into my pants for a while before I drank it.
As always, Bear Peak was awesome fun and the views from the top are truly wonderful. I made my way down and over to the final short climb to the tallest peak, South Boulder Peak. On my way to SoBo, I decided I would mark my time from Eben G Fine to South Boulder Peak and see if GZ would add this route to his “Fastest Known Time” listings. My split from Eben G Fine to SoBo was 2:10. 2:10 is nothing to brag about for the approximate 8.6 mile route. I am confident a lot of people could and have run faster, if anything it is a bit of a February benchmark for me for right now.
The descent down Shadow Canyon was scary. I finally hit terrain, steep icy/slick snowpack, where I really "needed" spikes. It wasn't until Shadow Canyon that I saw another person... pretty cool. It took a lot of effort to actually keep a running pace and not fall. I managed to get down this steep canyon with only one full on fall to my butt, which luckily didn't hurt. Once down, I ran to the south east corner of the park via trails I usually never run. I started to head back north via mesa to blue stem which I took to Hwy 93. From the Hwy I planned on running S. Boulder and Boulder creek trails home, but at this point I was really getting tired and was happy to settle for a run on 93/Broadway home for about 23 vs at least 27 via the creeks. I did manage to turn a corner and start to recover once on the roads running the last 7 miles at 7:30ish pace.
After the long run, I ran into Adam Chase and was informed the route I chose, besides taking mesa all the way back vs Broadway, makes up "The Basic Boulder Marathon". Cool. I look forward to doing it again. I would also like to do this run and add Mt. Sanitas, which would cover pretty much all the peaks spanning the front range of Boulder.
Sunday- 14M, 2:07, 750Ft Climbing. Ran at 5:30AM on wonderland north to the tunnel under 36 and on the trails towards Boulder reservoir. I startled a horse by the trail, then stopped and gave him some petting and a taste of my salty, sweaty glove. Back home the same way.
PM: Did an 8 mile ski tour up to Ouzel falls in the south part of Rocky Mountain National Park with Maggie and Felix. It was great fun skiing down the trails with Felix on my back, he had a blast. Anyone looking for a 8-10 mile awesome trail run, I would highly recommend the trail to Ouzel falls and lake as it is packed out perfect for spiked running.
Great week, felt good. I'll normally do a tempo once a week, but more of the same for the next month.
13,400 Feet Climbing
8 Miles Ski Touring
35 Miles Biking (to work and back and around town)