Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday, 10/15/09 Boulder Skyline Traverse

S. Boulder Peak, Bear Peak, Green Mountain, Flagstaff, Sanitas
16 miles
6,250 vertical

Ran a 3:07 today from S. Mesa, over S. Boulder, Bear, Green, Flag to the top of Sanitas. I took 20 minutes off my PR, so I was a little happy with that, but felt surprisingly crappy most of the way and hoped to go faster, so I was not happy with that. I should have quit before going up Sanitas, but no pain no gain right? I ran out of water, struggled bad and was a total mess for a while after and it was a struggle to go retreive my bike and drive home. I might write more tomorrow.

Slightly Expanded version:

My old PR of 3:27 in May of 2005 was a bit soft. I have done this route many times, but always with a group, with the dog, with snow, ice etc…, so I knew I would be able to go much faster on my own. I parked my car at Sanitas and rode down to the S. Mesa TH in commuter mode (crappy town bike, bike path, civilian clothes/shoes) in 30 minutes. It felt like a good warm up and I was hopeful that I would have a good day, especially since my legs felt extremely springy in the morning when running up the stairs or whatever.

I felt OK for the first few minutes, but knew by the mouth of Shadow that I was putting too much effort into a slow time (21:20) at that point. As Shadow steepened, I knew I was in trouble. On the larger rock step ups, I just did not have the strength to power over them and I wavered a bit with each large step. I was 4 minutes ahead of PR at the mouth of shadow, but lost 2 of those minutes by the saddle.

Feeling better on the flats and downhills, I pushed a bit harder, but not really hard, just trying to be smooth and efficient. I knew I would come close to PR, but my plan to go under 3 was probably out the window. I mentally gave up a few times, but I had to get back to my car, so I just continued to plug away.

Coming off Flag, I finished off the last of my 3 x 7oz bottles and was really thirsty. At the base of Sanitas, I knew I should just bail to the car, but I got here at 2:40 and thought that if I really suffered and dug deep, I MIGHT be able to pull off a sub 20 minute ascent, which when I am fresh, I always do with hardly any concerted effort.

After a few steps, I knew that this was a pipe dream however and each step I took, I contemplated stopping. I pushed on though, thinking that to improve, you have to suffer along the way. My HR was through the roof, but I was hardly moving. I made it to the top with an abysmal time of 27 minutes for a total of 3:07:51, my slowest Sanitas trip ever, on my own, while trying to go “fast”.

Heading down, I had nothing and it took me 18 minutes back to the TH, then I was regretting parking at 4th and Mapleton, as it seemed like a monumental walk. I got in the car, rolled down the windows and began to drink the lukewarm water from my bottle, but I was hardly able to do it. I got out and laid down in the grass, panting in a fetal position, trying to get my wits about me so I could go get my bike and drive home.

Driving was a task and it was all I could do to stay awake going to the S. Mesa TH, where I took a short doze before loading my bike and continuing home. Once home I felt better after having lunch and dinner within the span of an hour. I guess I have a long ways to go fitness wise, much more than I was hoping. Not sure if I just had a bad day, or am that out of shape, or had a bad day because I am out of shape.

Either way, it was a fun run and I will probably do it again sometime soon and shoot for a better time.


Towhee/Dirt Road 13:55
Start of Shadow 21:20
Saddle 48:55
SoBo 55:45
Bear 1:06:16
Bear Creek 1:24
Green 1:43
Flagstaff 2:07
Boulder Creek 2:31
Start Sanitas 2:40
Sanitas Summit 3:07


  1. It almost sounds like you are training for something. You BASICally ran all the mountains out there.

  2. JV, when you said you felt it on Thursday I had to come read what you did. That sounds like a big effort and most likely just a plain "bad day". You're in solid shape...we all have a day like that but generally it doesn't end in a PR!