Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday, 11/28/09 S. Boulder and Bear Peak

Thought I would spice things up today and go up S. Boulder Peak first, then Bear from the S. Mesa TH with Allison and Sierra. The trail is mostly melted out to the saddle, then Microspikes were helpful to from the saddle to the summit of SBP. Made SBP in 1:15, Bear in 1:30, took a ~10 minute stop here before heading down. 2:46 total at a casual pace.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday, 11/27/09 Door Bustin' Bear and S. Boulder

~7 miles
~3,500 vertical
42:11 Bear
54:54 S. Boulder
1:29:07 Total

I just can't get enough of Fern Canyon lately or this warm weather, as it must have been around 70 today and I was comfortable in shorts and a T.

Started from Cragmoor. The ice on the lower section is slow to melt, so it takes a little finesse to work through the initial ~3 minute connector trail (if it is not ice, it is sloppy mud). Hit the Mesa trail in 10:20, Slab at 14:4?, Saddle in the mid 27 range, where I sat for a 30-35 second Microspike installation break. The snow on the upper section was nice and tacky, coupled with the Microspikes made for magic grip. Tagged the post in 42:11, took ~20 seconds to remove the spikes and clip them to my HPL-20 pack and kept rolling over the summit, making a quick tag without even looking at my watch.

Did the short class 3 downclimb, and was cruising across the talus a ways when I looked at my watch again, 44:15. At the Bear/SoBo saddle, I once again sat for ~30 seconds to put on the spikes. Took off running (mostly) to make the summit in 54:54 and did an immidiate U.

Back to the saddle in 3:??, removed the spikes again for the trip to the Bear post. Once there at mid 1:03s, I sat again for a rushed but sloppy spike install job, so it took me a while to get them fixed up and secured properly, as I would be heavily relying on them for the steep trip down the N. ridge (I did not get moving again until 1:04:3?).

This was by far my favorite part of the day. I was jacked on adreneline, it was warm and the snow was mostly perfect for a fast descent. I ran as fast as I could safely go, contemplating my conversation with Homie last year about a helmet being a good idea for certain descents. I deliberately pinballed and swung off and around various trees, skipped over rocks, scratched down bulletproof ice and cruised to the far side saddle in 7:55, where I made my last Microspike stop for the day (~20 seconds to remove and pack away).

The remainder of Fern was pretty quick, but I really slowed to a crawl on the most treacherous bobsled ice sections. The run back to the TH seemed fast, but the time did not reflect it, mostly I think because of the ice in lower Fern and the ice/mud over the last stretch to the TH. Definitely one of the most fun runs in a while.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday, 11/27/09 Bear Peak

Met Brandon for an early morning run up Bear before I had to head into work. We went a fairly casual pace, which was great, as my legs were not feeling much zip after going a little hard yesterday. I'm totally digging the uppermost section of Bear right now with the Microspikes, as I can cruise faster than I can in the summer (well, maybe I don't have the fitness for the up, but the down is very fast and fun). I would love to get conditions like January 2007, the perfect packed trough with the Microspikes, I think I could set a descent PR, hopefully we get a few good storms to make that happen.

Up in ~53, hung out on the top for a bit, then took it mostly easy on the down for a total of 1:37 RT (total, not stopping the timer). Thanks for getting out Brandon, it was great to have company this morning.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday 11/25/09 Bear Peak/S. Boulder Peak

~8 miles
4,500 vertical
42:43 up Bear
2:59 total

Got out with Allison and Sierra today for a trip up Bear/S. Boulder from the Cragmoor TH. Went my own pace up Bear and made the summit in 42:43 which I was happy with considering the time of year, my fitness (lack of), trail conditions and I was not putting too much into it (steady tempo, but not really digging).

There was some ice dodging/negotiating between the start and the saddle, but conditions were mostly good. At the saddle, I put on my Microspikes, as they make a HUGE difference on the completely ice covered upper section and are way better than screw shoes in those conditions.

After topping out, I turned around and put the Microspikes to the test, making it down to the saddle in 7 minutes, where I met Allison and Sierra and went back to the summit with them. Allison topped out in 1:12, we took a break on Bear, enjoying the views and the sun, then headed over to S. Boulder, and then back the way we came.

After just one flat run, it felt great to get back onto my home turf. Even running flat stuff with friends, I feel very little motivation or enthusiasm for it. No surprise there, it is no mistake I gravitate toward the steep and technical trails.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday, 11/24/09 Flat Run

~12 miles
90 minutes

Ran with JP and Brandon from S. Public Road TH, through Louisville, out to McCaslin Blvd. on the far side of 36 and back (Coal Creek Trail?). Pace was moderate mellow, but I was having a tough time seeing at times and was pre-occupied as my stomach was upset and I needed an outhouse (that I could not find). I think the chicken chile and fresh salsa we made last night was not sitting well. Though not my type of running (flat/non-technical), I had fun running with these two. Once back at the TH, I sped home to the comfort of my own toilet.

Saturday, 11/21/09 Burning Bear Peak (12,070)

6 miles
2,575 vertical

Allison, Sierra and I were joined by Pete K, Dave and Emily, Shep and Kiefer for a mellow trip up Burning Bear Peak in(near) Mt. Evans Wilderness. The first ~mile was on trail, then was a fun bushwhack up the ridge to treeline in several inches of snow. I used microspikes as a convenience more than a necessity, but everyone else did just fine without. The dogs had a blast in the snow and the weather was perfect, warm, clear and sunny. For the 10 minutes to the summit from treeline though, the wind was howling and seemed pretty bitter. I toughed it out to the summit, then hid behind some bushes to put on a bunch of layers. Up in ~2.5, down in ~1.5 for a ~4hr RT. Easy pace with lots of breaks.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday, 11/20/09 Sanitas x 2

6.5 miles
2,600 vertical

20:08 Ascent 1
18:58 Ascent 2

Met Brandon today for two laps on Sanitas. The plan was for me to pace him to a sub-20 ascent, we came really close, I had him at 20:08 by the time he tagged the pole, which I think tied his PR, or was within seconds of it one way or the other. I think we went a bit to fast over the first steep section, hard to tell for sure. Good effort though, especially so soon after his 40 minute 10k PR.

We went pretty conservative down (19:45) the East side which was a bit icy near the top and very muddy down lower, taking no chances of a repeat performance of yesterday.

For lap two, I started off pretty moderate, then bumped into Adam Massey who was preparing to do some bouldering, so I stopped to chat with him for a bit. I then chased down Brandon who had got ahead and stuck on his heels for a while. I gradually upped the pace and made the top in 18:58. Brandon was not far back and we spent a few minutes on the summit before a casual descent of the S. Ridge (I did not get the time on the last descent, but I am guessing 17 or 18?). It was a nice, warm, sunny day and was a treat to wear shorts just a week before Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday, 11/19/09 Walker Ranch

11.5 miles
~2600 vertical

Allison, Sierra and I headed out to Walker for a lap. Decided for whatever reason to go clockwise, maybe thinking it would be better to ascend the steep section in icy conditions instead of descending it. Six of one, half dozen of another.

The trail was mostly dry for the first rolling section, but as expected, it became snow/ice covered for the switchbacking, North facing descent through the trees, so I put on the Microspikes which helped tremendously. Once down near the T junction, I removed them, as I knew they really would not be of much help for a while.

Here the trail became extremely muddy. Not the type that sticks to your shoes, but really slippery stuff, so viscous that it created an odd form of levitation unlike anything I have ever experienced and I could barely stay upright on level ground. I was tiptoeing gingerly, but still having a majorly tough time, so I decided to step up to the right onto the grassy buffer. In an instant, I was down on the ground, the wind knocked out of me with my shin smashed against the only substantial rock within a 100 foot radius. I was not even going fast, just gingerly making my way through, but I went down so hard and quick, like the guy on the "Wet Floor" sign, but sideways.

I let out a loud barrage of expletives and tried to shrug it off. I examined my shin and it was bloody and starting to swell instantly. For a moment I thought it was broke, but I knew better deep down. I paced for a bit, debating whether or not to keep running, wait for Allison and hike, or just make my way back to the car and lick my wounds.

Forward I went, at a slow and even more cautious hobble. Conditions improved, as did my leg, so I decided to not let it ruin my day. The remainder of the loop was mostly snow and ice, plenty of mud and a little dry ground. Microspikes went on/off several times as necessary to aid progress. The final climb back to the car was entirely dry, so I upped the pace from hard easy to mid moderate, finishing in a glacial 1:18:20. I then backtracked 2 miles (down, across the river and a good part of the climb back up to the far parking lot) to meet Allison and Sierra who were taking their time. By the time we got in the car, I was cold, hungry, beat up and ready to be done.

My shin is still throbbing as I write this. This was my first crash trail running in years and certainly my most painful. It was also probably the first one that nobody saw, as the few times I have gone down in the past were due to me being momentarily distracted by others on the trail.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday, 11/18/09 Sanitas

Went Sierra pace today, waited several times, bumped into a friend and chatted for a bit, even backtracked to make sure Sierra was still coming (she had made a doggy friend). The trail is melting out well though, any remaining snow/ice is not a factor on the up, but wet shoes slow things a bit on the down, though I was going slow anyways.

20:22 up
17 down

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday, 11/17/09 Sanitas

18:46 up
13:55 down

Still some ice/slush. More of an issue on the down, but should be gone in a day.

Monday, 11/16/09 Sanitas

Met up with Aron for a lap on Sanitas. Though he has run Leadville, he is not big into running, so we just hiked today, which was fine, as it was good to catch up (plus conditions were pretty icy in many spots). We spent most of the ascent talking about his upcoming movie. Sounds pretty cool, can't wait to see it.

Coming down, it got pretty dark on us, so we went slow and cautious as to not die on the ice. We did get to see a herd of deer on the trail which is unusual and there was hardly anyone out there which was cool. The view of the city lights was an added bonus. Time to start carrying the headlamp.

28 minutes up.
26 down

Monday, November 16, 2009

Saturday, 11/14/09 Green Mountain

Hiked Green with Allison and Sierra. 60 up via Gregory/Ranger. A little less coming down. The snow was picking up in earnest, making for a nice walk.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday, 11/13/09 Flagstaff

Did a nice loop, up Flag, around the back and down Gregory w/Allison and Sierra. Jogged most of it, fairly casual. 55 min. Started to snow really hard as we topped out, then heavy snow all the way home to Louisville.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday, 11/12/09 Green

~14 miles
~3,300 vertical

What an amazing day, sunny, warm, perhaps a touch over 70? I really enjoyed that loop Brandon, JP and I ran last Saturday, so I loaded up my MP3 player, remembered my bottle of water this time and headed over to Chautauqua. Today was one of the best runs I have had in a long time, one of those days where everything just clicks, weather, energy levels, enthusiasm, cadence, foot placement. Though it was certainly not one of my fastest runs (I really don't have the fitness to expect much more right now and I am totally content with that for now), the feeling of moving efficently, almost effortlessly at times was there.

Started at Chautauqua and ran through the park toward the Gregory TH at a slightly quick "warm up" pace. Arrived at the far side of the Gregory lot at 4:45 and terrain then dictated pace up Gregory Canyon. Made the Ranger shack in 21:??, 4 way in 39:3?, summit (top of the rock) 43:34, then immidiately back down the West side, straight through the 4 way to the top of Super Flag, arriving there at 56:20. Headed down the road, hopped the guardrail on the outside of the first switchback and negotiated the informal trail that cuts off a short bit of distance. Turned off the pavement to cut down the backside of Flag at 10 even (1:06:20). Splits beyond here become fuzzy, as I quit really paying close attention to my watch and just cruised and enjoyed the views.

The fence ducking was executed without a hitch and I got less dirty than last time (not that I cared). I made quick work of Canyon and was tempted to just plod once I hit the dirt, but kept the pace decent and upped it some when I saw a fit looking runner ahead. I passed him and was surprised, I am sure he was taking an easy day, as I got a good gap as I passed. I'm sure he would have dusted me in most circumstances.

The grind up to Flagstaff road was a bit tougher than last time, but I was able to run all but a few steps. Once I topped out, it was a fast cruise back down to Chautauqua, where I really poured it on for the last few minutes, sneaking in at 2:08:59.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday, 11/10/09 Sanitas

Met my friend Wayne for a trip up Sanitas, then met our friend Steve near the summit and we all walked down together. Went up at Sierra pace, a very relaxed 21:54.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday, 11/09/09 Sanitas

3.5 miles
1,300 vertical
24:53 up (Sanitas Valley/Dakota Ridge/East Side)
14 down S. Ridge to car at 4th/Mapleton

Went somewhat easyish to moderate today, up the valley to the first access trail to Dakota Ridge, up Dakota Ridge and up the East side. Took it easy coming down as it is starting to get dark at 5pm, enough light to see, but contrast is starting to get fuzzy. It will not be long till I need a flashlight for the descent. Hopefully the widespread paving/construction of all roads leading from work to Sanitas will end soon, I am counting daylight minutes now.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Saturday, 11/07/09 Green

The weather is still unseasonably warm. It was tempting to go to the high mountains, but even more tempting to not pack gear, not get up early, not drive far and not hike in snow, so I met Brandon and J.P. for a local run from Chautauqua.

The warm weather has really put the melt on the snow, as the trail was mostly melted all the way up to the summit, with only some inconsequential patches to negotiate. From Chautauqua, we ran up Gregory/Ranger to the top of Green, then West to SuperFlag, down Flagstaff road to the Amphi road jct. and headed down the backside of Flag to Red Lion, bike path to Eben G, then up Flag to the jct. with the main trail and back to Chautauqua.

Went mostly easy to moderate pace, except for the beginning where Brandon took it out hard. I was having trouble with the liter of water I just drank at the car (forgot my hand bottle, so I carried it all in my stomach instead). Felt great to be out on such a nice day and was great to run with Brandon and JP.

Brandon's much better than mine blog post.

Friday, 11/06/09 Sanitas x 2

2 laps on Sanitas, 18:14 for the first lap, then hiked with some friends for the second. 2 extra miles beforehand.

8 miles
3,000 vertical

Super warm.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday, 11/05/09 Bear/S. Boulder

Went casual today with Allison and Sierra. Amazingly warm, 77 degrees, shorts and t-shirt most of the hike, wore my Go Lite wind shirt up high as there was a bit of a breeze and still feet of snow in spots.

Started at the Cragmoor TH. The trail is mostly dry to the saddle, then above the saddle mostly ice and packed snow all the way to the summit of Bear and over to S. Boulder. Allison used studded shoes which worked fine and I opted for Microspikes on the upper section. Some sort of traction set-up is a must if you want to move efficiently and reduce your chances of a nasty spill.

1:10 up Bear
3:00 RT

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday, 11/04/09 Sanitas

After yesterday's hack and wheeze sufferfest, I decided to take it a bit easier today and promised myself that if I saw any competition at the start, I was going to ignore them and go my own pace. Luckily, I saw nobody and started up the trail very casual compared to yesterday, going on the low end of moderate until I got past the first steep section. I then slowly eased up the pace to moderate, then flirted with the high side of moderate over middle and upper section and felt like I was moving pretty well considering the comparable lack of hard effort. My throat felt a world better than yesterday and I never hacked, coughed or spit once. I was surprised to make the top in 18:23, a full 23 seconds faster at a much lower percieved effort. I felt like I could have held conversation most of the way today, whereas the day before, I could hardly remember my name. What a difference a day (and a reasonable start) makes. Went down the East side at a quick, but not too pressed tempo.

Up S. Ridge: 18:23
Down E. Side: 14:51

Tuesday, 11/03/09 Sanitas

Ascent: 18:43
Descent: 14:00

My plan was to warm up on the first section of trail and then go moderate, but as I got to the first trail junction just below the 2nd bridge, my timing could not have been more (less) perfect as I arrived there at the same time as a fit looking runner, going at a decent pace. If at work, I might have paused and said “no, you first”, but I decided to speed my stride and edge onto the now merged trail ahead of him.

Now I have committed myself and I up the pace a bit. I am going too hard for my planned “warm up” and feel as though I am really sucking wind. To make matters worse, this guy is matching me stride for stride. I almost said screw it and let him pass, but my ego would not allow it. We hit the steepest initial steps and I transition from running to long hiking strides, as is normal for about 10 steps in this section and he is now 10 feet behind and falling back a foot or two with every step I take. It is not long before I have him completely out of site, but I keep up the pace as to take no chances. Once I am sure my gap is in minutes, a fade a bit, semi deliberate, but mostly because I started off too fast and I don’t think my body was up for a real push today.

I make the summit in a disappointing 18:43, which seemed outlandish for the effort I was putting into it. My throat was also trashed, there was something about the air quality, dryness, temperature or something that has me hacking up a lung. It felt as though I was sucking on a metallic lozenge and it only got worse through the night, earning me a spot in the guest bedroom (it felt as though I was drowning when I laid down and I would panic myself awake gasping for air).

On the way down, I passed the guy who initially kicked me into gear after I had been descending for 2:30, so I am guessing he ended up being 5-6 minutes back.