Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday, 02/28/10 Green Mountain

I brought a variety of warm running clothes with me to work, just in case I decided to go up Green after work. I was on the fence, but in the middle of the day, my friend Bruce gave a call to see if he could join me. Bruce is a bit new to Winter trail running, so I sent him on a pre-run trip to seek out Microspikes. He stopped at REI and they were out, but he got maybe the next best thing, a pair of Yak Trax Pro.

Driving into Boulder, it began to snow quite hard and visibility became a bit reduced. Had Bruce not gone out of his way to meet me, I may have bailed, but since he was there waiting, I was committed.

This was Bruce's first time up Green, so I figured I would take him up the most fun and efficient route, Amphitheater/Saddle Rock/Greenman. Although it had not been snowing long, it was snowing hard and was accumulating quickly on the trail, maybe 1-2 inches in spots. The pace was casual and I was glad to be out in the falling snow, it was so quiet and tranquil, it felt as though we had the mountain to ourselves (we did).

We made it to the summit in 54, chatting all the while. The descent was also casual in the fading light (39).

143 miles/52,120 vertical for the month (since Feb. 10th).
15 full trips up Green (+4 partial summits = 19 visits)
3 x Bear
3 x S. Boulder

Saturday, 02/27/10 Green, S. Boulder, Bear

In the morning, Allison and I got out for a great trip up Green Mountain. We left Sierra behind and were eager to go up Amphi/Saddle/Greenman for a change. As we were approaching the TH, we noticed our good friend Steve (tippy Steve) running across Chautauqua, so we intercepted him and joined forces.

Immidiately, Allison started getting ahead, putting in an effort to minimize her losses while I hung back chatting with Steve. About 3/4 of the way up, knowing that we were losing ground to Allison, I decided to run the gap between her and Steve, but not long after I started, I bumped into Tony, so we chatted for a bit. Steve kept on cruising and now I had both of them to (try) catch.

I re-passed Steve on the stairs (buried now with snow) and pushed a bit to try and catch Allison, but she had already been on the summit for ~2+ minutes or so when I arrived there in 50. We waited a minute or two for Steve and we all continued down the other side with expectations to bump into Brandon. We eventually saw him ~1/2 mile down trail on his first of two laps, stopped momentarily to chat and continued on at a steady jog.

What a great morning, cool, yet pleasant temperatures, no wind, re-assuring sunlight, great company. Truly invigorating.

Afterward, we hurried home, where Allison had to get ready to go to a baby shower and I ate a second breakfast, in anticipation of a hike up S. Boulder/Bear with Dave (Hale), as he was visiting town with Emily. Once they arrived at the house, Allison and Em were off to the shower and Dave and I left to meet Homie and Joey at the S. Mesa TH.

The day was warming and I was hot at times, being over dressed (as usual). Spring was in the air and mud and slush were the rule lower down, but then the trail became nice and packed, a night and day difference over the previous day.

We took it very easy and I even forgot that I had been up Green that morning. I was content to hike at an easy pace and enjoy conversation with good friends and felt as though I could have gone on for hours more, it was just one of those days to spend it outside.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday, 02/26/10 Bear Peak/S. Boulder Peak

Got out with Allison and Sierra today for a casual hike up Bear/S. Boulder. Trail conditions were surprisingly lousy, as the peaks got 4+ inches up high and we were the first ones up both peaks on the Shadow Canyon route, so I was regretting not wearing gaiters and microspikes (we opted for Yak Trax since it was a casual day and I expected better conditions).

The weather was perfect though, crystal clear blue sky, warm sun, no wind. The snow was very sticky today and built up majorly underfoot. I had many near face plants on the upper sections above the saddle, doing a reverse guy on the wet floor sign due to lack of traction. Allison took a scary looking crash through the rocks on the way down, but fortunately was OK.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday, 02/25/10 Green Mountain, Flagstaff Mountain/Green Mounntain

Got in a bit longer than normal run today with 2 trips up Green, the second involving a trip over Flagstaff.

First Lap: Amphi/Saddle/Greenman

Hoped to feel better than I did and go a little quicker, but was also pacing myself for at least two laps, so I just decided to listen to my body and hang back a bit, just going moderate. The trail was packed nicely (thanks John, Kraig, Tony) and the weather was excellent, temps in the mid 40's, some sun. It just felt good to get out on a "warmish" mid-day. Ran the descent casually quick, made a pitstop at the car and swapped out my wet shirts, hat, gloves, had a bite and a drink.

Ascent: 40:30
Descent: 24
RT: 1:04:30

Second Lap: Flagstaff/Ranger on the up/Greenman/Saddle on the down

I originally intended to do my second lap on the same route, as I normally prefer steep, but I was feeling not so peppy, so I decided to take the longer, but less steep Flagstaff/Ranger route. Trail conditions varied from ice to dry to packed snow to some sloggy sections and I just took it super casual. Once I crossed Flagstaff road for the last time, heading toward the cabin, it started to snow pretty hard, leaving a fresh coating of snow on the trail. I alternated between jogging and powerhiking, totally content to just burn some calories and get a little exercise.

Spent little time on the summit and headed down Greenman/Saddle, avoiding the Amphitheater normal route in favor of continuing down Saddle Rock trail. It took a little longer (~2 minutes?), but it was fun to run a trail that I often overlook.

Flagstaff: 28:30
Last Flag crossing: 33:30
Ranger Hut: 37:??
4 way: 1:03
Summit: 1:08
Finish: 1:33

Wednesday, 02/24/10 Green Mountain

Trail conditions today were excellent on the Gregory/Ranger route. The snow is packed very well, mostly continuous all the way to the summit and the temperature was much warmer than on Monday. It might have even been a touch too warm (not that I am complaining), but I was once again over dressed, anticipating the big chill that never came once the sun dropped and was feeling a little bogged down with heavy shoes, jacket, stuff in the jacket pockets.

The snow was hard packed, but was just the right temperature and consistency to clump up and stick to the bottom of my Microspikes, adding about a pound of extra weight with each step. It felt as though I was "running" much of it on my heels, or dragging each foot plant to scrape it off. Not very efficient, but was a great workout for stretching the achilles. Pace today was moderate for the lower 3/4 and on the high side of moderate or lower end of hard on the upper 1/4.

Sierra was lagging some, as she has been getting up Green/Bear/S. Boulder much more than I have. Time for a doggy rest day on Thursday, while I get in a longer run.


Cabin: 17:45
4-way: 37:28
Summit: 41:23
Down: 25:30

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monday, 02/22/10 Green Mountain

Headed up Gregory/Ranger with Sierra. The trail had seen a good bit of traffic, but was not consolidated all that much. Conditions made the going slow, so I just went with it, hiking mostly on the up with some running thrown in. Casually jogged most of the down.

While on the upper section, the setting sun illuminated the fresh snow draping the trees and was really quite amazing. Even though it was cold, the sun cast a warm glow, more mental than anything. The sun set around the time I made the summit and with the setting sun, my core temperature dropped, enthusiasm plummetted and all I could think about was a hot shower and warm food.

For the last 10-15 minutes coming down, I waffled between going faster to get down sooner and going slower as to not trip in the waning light. I never needed my light, but contrast was minimal. I was glad to be done.

Up: 55
Down: 32

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, 02/21/10 Local Run

~5.5 miles
46 minutes

I had planned on running Green after work, but unfortunately, last minute adjustments to my schedule foiled that plan.

After dinner, I sat at the computer to catch up on a few blogs and felt like a fat, lazy slouch compared to all my fellow bloggers, so, 16 degrees, dark and snowy night be damned, I suited up and headed out the door into the darkness for a little mental redemption if anything. I ran a combination of single-track, unplowed paths, plowed paths, neighborhood streets, sidewalks etc.... At first, I wondered what I was doing out in the loose snow and lousy weather, shouldn't I be sitting on the couch watching the Olympics snacking or something?

In 5 minutes or so, I started to warm up nicely and settled into a steady rhythm. I really began to enjoy the conditions, as it was so quiet and peaceful and I was perfectly comfortable. Though I never felt particularly fast with all the bulky clothes and unsure footing, I felt as though I could have run for hours, but unfortunately needed to get back, so I pulled the plug at 46 minutes.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday, 02/20/10 S. Boulder/Bear

After a gut busting breakfast at the Original Pancake house, I had to get out for a few peaks to burn off the guilt.

Sierra and I started from the S. Mesa TH, headed up Homestead to Shadow and went up S. Boulder first. I went a solid moderate pace, but the piffy fresh snow, a bit of waiting on Sierra and a social stop after bumping into some acquaintances all added up to a somewhat slow ascent. Oh well, it was crappy footing and I was not very determined.

I took a few minutes on S. Boulder to put on my jacket, changed into a dry hat and warmer, dry gloves, snacked, drank some water and then headed over to Bear. Even with the Microspikes, I was slip sliding all over and just took it really easy. There were some tracks up the steepest approach to the summit of Bear, which I assumed to belong to Homie (I called him before I left, but I had missed him by a while). I contemplated heading over to Green, but I just was not feeling a strong enough pull, so I called it a day.

I took the descent super casual and cautious, as conditions were slick, with the middle section being hard rock under unconsolidated powder snow. Hiked a bit with my friends who I caught up to on the Homestead Trail and soon continued on.

Once I arrived back at the TH, I got a message from Allison stating she was just starting up the trail down near Eldo (the apparently un-named one on the left ~.25 mile before getting into the town of Eldo), so I headed over there where we put in an extra hour of running into the canyon via the Fowler Trail. It was snowing hard and I was pretty cold and low on energy, so I eventually bailed while Allison added on the Goshawk Trail. Great day in the snow.


S. Boulder: 1:05
Bear: 1:18
Finish: 2:01

+ an extra hour in Eldo

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday, 02/19/10 Green Mountain

Got out with Brandon and his sister Natalie today. The few inches of fresh snow overnight made condtions extra slow, but it sure was pretty out.

Easy hiking most of the way, I ran a bit on the upper section, but it seemed almost pointless to try.

Contemplated a seconds lap (briefly at the start), but opted for Larkburger instead.

Up in 1:02

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday, 02/18/10 Green Mountain

Who would have guessed? Another trip up Green? I was planning on running up the front side again, as Allison was planning something shorter and we were going to meet up later. At the last minute, she decided to join me and was following me up the trail. We walked casually and just enjoyed a great morning. My legs were a little tired from the previous day, but not bad. It just felt good to go easy, so I went with it.

Surprisingly no Tony sightings today, but had a surprise Kraig Koski encounter back at the car.

47:31 up Amphi/Saddle/Greenman (still in awesome condition)
45ish down Gregory/Ranger (Gregory sucks, as it is a mix of ice/rock, but is great above)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday, 02/17/10 Green Mountain

Pushed a bit today up the front side (Amphi/Saddle/Greenman). The snow was in perfect condition for microspikes, nice and packed, very little dry ground or rocks. I felt OK all things considered, but struggled a bit near the top, though I am not surprised at all, as it is only February and I have not been training consistantly (or at all) for several months. Took the descent casual, the conditions again were a major treat. Another blanket of snow to maintain already good conditions would be greatly appreciated.


1st jct: 6:45
Scott's 1st overlook: 15:48
Saddle/Greenman jct: 20:48
Summit: 36:29
Descent: 24:58

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, 02/15/10 Green Mountain

Took Sierra up Gregory/Ranger after work. Forgot my Microspikes, but luckily Allison had a pair of Yak Trax in the car which actually worked well in the current conditions.

My pace was fairly casual on the ascent, mostly on the high side of easy, low side of moderate with a bit of waiting on Sierra early on. I upped the pace a little over the last few minutes, but was never feeling all that peppy.

I spent a little longer than normal on the summit, taking in the views and taking a pee. I was just about to start down and noticed that Sierra had found something, a doubled over Tony, who had just ran the ascent up the front side in 32:11. Nice work!!

We ended up jogging down together, cruising at a moderate clip, enjoying good conversation. The ~28 minute descent seemed to pass much quicker. Thanks for the company.


Cabin: 18:36
4-way: 39:11
Summit: 43:09
Descent: ~28? (estimate)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saturday, 02/13/10 2 Laps on Green

After a huge meal the previous night at Ted’s Montana Grill, Brandon and I decided that 2 trips up Green were in order.

The first lap up/down Gregory/Ranger was a bit overcast and breezy near the summit. Trail conditions were great most of the way, except for a few freshly drifted sections, but I made Brandon break trail, so it was no problem.

The pace was mellow on the first ascent and also mellow on the descent (Brandon was gracious enough to wait up on me as I was a bit cautious on the down).

After a short break at the cars, I felt great and was raring to go, especially after changing into lighter shoes and ditching some of my warm clothing, as the sun was now shining bright and warm.

We went mellow to the cabin, then I upped the pace a bit to the summit, feeling enthused to be running up a peak with my HR up, though not moving particularly quick.

Though not fast, I felt full of energy and might have done a 3rd lap if I somehow could have avoided running back down, as the second descent down the steeper front side was a bit tiresome on my un-trained legs.

Great day out, thanks Brandon for the great company and added motivation.

Ascent 1:

Cabin: 20:14
Summit: 47:??
Down: 31:29

Ascent 2:

Cabin: 23:00
Summit: 47:18
Down: 28:48

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday, 02/12/10 Green Mountain x 1.3

Kind of an odd day on Green. Allison, Sierra and I started off from the Gregory TH hiking like any other day. Bumped into Tony, exchanged a brief pleasantry or two and kept on our way. Near the end of Gregory Canyon, Allison decided to check for her car key, which turned out not to be in any of her pockets. We searched and retraced our steps, but had no luck. Back at the car as I was about ready to run home and get the spare key, a woman offered to give me a ride home as she was kind of heading that way.

As I was heading back into Boulder, I got a call from Allison stating that a guy had found her key on the trail, about where we had discovered it missing (must have fell into the snow when grabbing the dog leash). He was generous enough to hike it back to the TH to find her (we had talked to him earlier, so he knew of our predicament) and scrubbed his own hike. It is times like these that re-affirm my faith in humanity.

When I finally returned to the TH, 1:20 had elapsed and we were now tight on time, as the delay was throwing off our plans for the afternoon. I set off running, figuring I would bump into Allison and Sierra near the summit, but ended up bumping into them at the top of Gregory. I kept running, assuming that she and Sierra would turn around soon and I would just meet her at home.

Adrenaline started to wear off around the ranger cabin and my sore (ceasing) legs and less than fit body started to balk at my pace. I backed off some and kept plugging along to the summit, enjoying the perfectly packed trail and reasonable conditions.

I spent little time at the top and started cruising down. Just below the 4-way, I bumped into Sierra all by herself and was a bit shocked by this. We kept running down the trail and I was relieved to see Allison, knowing that Sierra was just ahead of her and not WAY behind me. I accompanied Allison back to the summit, where we hung out for a while, thankful we were not in the blustery looking high peaks.

The descent was a little slow and I was freezing and bonking a bit after being out for longer than I intended, but it was a fun time despite the long setback and we were thankful to have found the car key.


Ranger cabin: 17:56
4 way: 38:30
Summit: 42:53
Summit again: ~54

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday, 02/11/10 Green Mountain

Met up with Aron for a trip up Green today around 11:30am. The sun was warm and trail conditions were improved over yesterday as the warm sun and additional foot traffic helped to pack things down. Not to mention I wore the Microspikes which helped over yesterday. We took it super easy, enjoying the warm sunshine and good conversation. Spent a good long time on the summit enjoying the calm and warm sunshine. We took the descent pretty easy, jogging mostly, but never too fast.

It was all I could do to keep myself from turning around and doing another lap, as my foot felt great (I even forgot what I was "favoring" the entire time) and it was so rejuvenating to be outside again. Erred on the side of caution though and headed home.

Up: 1:03
Down: Don't know/don't care, but was probably in the mid to upper 30's.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday, 02/10/10 Green Mountain

48:18 up
36 down

I was down at the Tech Center yesterday and today for a work related class. The class yesterday went until 4:45pm, timed perfect for an epic battle through traffic to get home. I pity those that are "forced" to do such things because of unfortunate circumstances in their life. I couldn't imagine sitting in a car for hours per day, ouch.

Fortunately, today we got ahead of ourselves with our class lessons and got out a good bit earlier than yesterday. The sun was shining bright and hiking/running Green in the fresh snow weighed heavily on my mind. My foot has been feeling better and I had chosen Thursday as my day to get out to give it a little test, but could not resist bumping that up a day with my bonus afternoon.

I zipped home, changed quicker than superman, recruited Sierra to join (not hard to do) and we were out the door.

I started off at a light jog and before long decided to stop and put on my Yak Trax (got a deal on them and figured I would try them, but they were mostly useless today and I regretted not opting for the Microspikes which are far superior). I then stopped for a pee and then stopped to adjust some layers (I overdressed big time). Because of all this and the fact that I was not sure if I was out for a run or a hike, I was having a tough time settling into a good rhythm.

After the second bridge, on the steep section under the powerlines, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye, turned and noticed it was Tony quickly running me down. He slowed for a short bit, then continued on at his pace (his second trip up Green for the day). I upped my pace so I could try and chat a bit, but was quickly winded trying to talk and decided to back off. No need to push things too soon. He of course glided away, looking very smooth and effortless.

I alternated running/hiking at a moderate pace, mostly dictated by lack of fitness and lack of traction. I did not spend much time on the summit before I cautiously jogged/walked back down. Though conditions were not optimal and I was feeling the month off my feet (and the additional ~5-7lbs), it felt awesome to get out on the trails and breath in some long awaited fresh air. I still can't wipe the grin off my face.

Heading back up tomorrow, can't wait!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday, 02/04/10 SuperFlag

28 miles

Awoke to grey skies and a dusting of snow and really held little hope that I would be getting outside much today. Around mid morning, the sun burned through the gloom, melted the snow in about 30 minutes and conditions seemed quite pleasant.

I was itching to get out for a ride, so I dusted off the mountain bike and spent a good 30 minutes getting ready. Once out the door, the riding conditions were quite pleasant as the sun was warm and the roads were dry except for a few spots of melt water.

My pace was solid, but I never really pushed, making it to Chautauqua in around 32 minutes. I knew the climb was going to be a slog on the mountain bike, so I just unzipped my layers, geared down and settled into a steady rhythm. I was quite warm on the ascent and full of energy, but by the time I hit the “Super” part of Flag, my lack of fitness (and lack of lunch) was becoming increasingly apparent.

The summit arrived just before my watch clicked over 46 minutes (45:56 from the bridge), an all time PW (personal worst), running or biking, a full 8 minutes slower than my running PR. To my credit though, the road was sandy and wet, I was on a heavyish knobby tire mountain bike and I am fat and out of shape (excuses excuses).

At the summit, I found a dry patch of ground facing the sun and just relaxed for a while, it was so nice just to be out enjoying the fresh air. I froze on the descent, taking it super careful, as the sand is almost as slick as ice at speed on a bike.