Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday, 05/28/10 Grays/Torreys

9 miles/3,600 vertical
Sierra and I
2:34:58 RT
Grays Ascent #20
Torreys Ascent #19
14er Ascent #220

Woke up before my alarm this morning and decided to get going early with the intention of avoiding getting seared by the sun and post-holing. The road to the Stevens Gulch TH is passable and in good condition for just about any car, aside from a few lingering patches within sight of the TH, the road is snow free and smooth (relatively).

We got to the TH a little after 6am and futzed around for a bit, not in too big of a hurry. Started from the bridge at 6:30am and I was amazed at how much snow had melted since last week. The trail was dry for the first few hundred feet, then was mostly snow, but was well frozen and easy to walk on. Last week, I followed the bulk of footprints lower through the valley, as not many, if any had stuck to the actual summer route. Today however, I tried this again and it was a big mistake and gave me a newfound appreciation for “trap door” snow.

After a slow start through the willows, I made it to the well tracked trail just below the sign under Kelso’s slopes. From here, the trail conditions improved dramatically and post-holing would generally not be an issue for the remainder of the day. I jogged a few sections, but mostly hiked, as I was a little sore from running Evans yesterday. I knew this going in and it was my intention to go somewhat casual no matter what and just get in a short altitude workout.

Since the trail to the saddle was well tracked, I decided to go up Torreys first while the snow was still frozen. I was wearing Microspikes which helped quite a bit, as well as the well formed footprints from those who had gone before me. The wind was a bit gusty through here, so I took it slow and careful, as I did not have my axe and a fall could potentially be a bit of a setback.

I plodded on what snow remained on Torreys, mostly staying on top and spent little time there, as the wind was a bit cold. The trip to Grays was a bit easier than last week and the trip back to the TH was a cruise on the still hard snow, finishing a few minutes after 9am.


Stevens Gulch TH: 0:00
Saddle: 1:08
Torreys: 1:23
Grays: 1:43
Stevens Gulch TH: 2:34 (avg HR 139/max 161)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday, 05/27/10 Mt. Evans

Mt. Evans 14,264
Mt. Evans Road from Echo Lake gate/NE Face Route
Partners: Tony (his version), Brandon (his version)
~19 miles/3,700 vertical
2:11 up/26 on top/1:24 down
Evans Summit #26
14er Summit #218

We were all itching to get up high for some good altitude training and after throwing around ideas earlier in the week, Tony suggested Mt. Evans to avoid the snow that is still blanketing many of the usual high country trails in order to get in some actual running instead of post-holing. This sounded great to me, as the road is still closed (opens tomorrow) and I could use it as good practice for my upcoming race there on June 19th.

We met at Neptune in Boulder at 6am and Brandon was gracious enough to drive. We took our time at the “trailhead” (or roadhead?) and eventually got going a few minutes before 7:30. We jogged together at the start, trying our best to re-adjust to running at such an altitude and generally went conversational pace (albeit a bit labored at times). Just before the 2 mile marker, Tony pulled off to take care of some business in the woods and I just kept trotting along, knowing that he would catch up eventually.

Trying to keep my road running to a minimum, I jumped off the road just before the “bristlecone” switchback near tree-line and cut up the steep hillside. Running this road can be a bit monotonous, but it was an excellent altitude workout. At around the 4-5 mile mark, the wind started to pick up in earnest and was mostly a headwind to Summit Lake. I was very glad to have packed the extra shirt, hooded wind breaker and hat/gloves and soon pulled over to put it all on. Some gusts were strong enough to nearly stop me in my tracks and many threw me well off my intended line. I called upon my years of cycling experience and tried my best to get aero. Though it helped a bit, it really just resulted in a sore lower back.

Tony was planning to stick to the road and I was going to take my chances with the snow on the NE face. Tony was quickly catching up at this point and I paused a bit before heading up-slope to talk about maybe meeting on top depending (vague “plans”). I started up the snow and was glad to find that it held my weight, yet was soft enough for kicking perfect steps and I was completely sheltered from the wind. I was planning to piece together patches of bare ground the best I could, but the snow ended up being more efficient and preferable. This section only took 27 minutes to the parking lot going at a steady, but not too intense pace, then four more minutes to the true summit (2:11:29 @ 159 avg HR). It was now 9:38 and the wind was cranking, so I dropped off the true summit and found shelter from the wind in one of the old/roofless summit buildings.

Tony arrived ~18 minutes later (sticking to the road is MUCH longer and windier), where he tagged the top quickly (new 14er for him) and I then talked him into descending the snow with me. The snow descent went quick, 9 minutes to the road, then we fought wind for a few miles down the road until it finally subsided (1:24 descent time @ 157 bpm average….. you actually have to push a bit to get down this road).

Brandon was not planning to run to the summit, but opted to run to Summit Lake and back, so he was long finished and changed by the time we returned to the car. We hung out for a while recounting the day, re-fueling and having a good time, in no hurry to get back down to the heat.

An awesome day out with great company.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday, 05/25/10 Green Mountain

Ran Green via Amphi/Saddle/Greenman today.  After feeling a bit sluggish (crappy) the previous day, I was not sure which way things would go today.  I had it in my head that I would go moderate at most, but start off easy and just feel it out.  Started up Amphi really casual, but even going casual with a low HR, I arrived at the 1st jct. in 6:30 which was not too bad considering.  My legs felt surprisingly good, so I upped the intensity a bit, but was still not at all committed or really pushing.  Hit the Saddle/Greenman jct. in 18:37 and was buoyed by the time, so I continued to ratchet up the tempo.  I was sure I would be in the 33 range, so I did not dig too deep, but as I got closer, I knew a sub 33 was in the cards.  I cranked hard through the final steps and switchbacks, but again missed PR by seconds.  I was not at all bummed by this though, as I was only 2 seconds off last trip, but was six beats per minute lower and my percieved effort was comparatively easier as well.  Easy at the start, moderate in the middle, hard near the top, might have to play with this combo a bit soon and I am sure I can PR on the right day.  I turned around to backtrack my ascent route and pushed somewhat hard on the down, feeling like everything was clicking well.  Excellent day on Green.


Gregory lot: 0:00
Amphi/Saddle: 6:30
1st jct.: 12:ish
Overlook: 14:14?
Greenman jct.: 18:37
Summit 32:41 (avg HR 168/max 183)
Descent: 20:34 (avg HR 157/max 171)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday, 05/24/10 Bear Peak

Woke up 20 minutes late this morning and was in a fog, just felt 1 step behind and out of sync all day.  Dogless today, I had ambitions to do something a little more than the normal Green Mountain dog jog, but the cranking wind all afternoon did nothing to snap me out of my malaise.  As I walked out the door of work, I contemplated just heading home and blowing the run off as I was getting tossed about in the wind, but figured I would head to Bear and see how it went.

Within a few steps up the Cragmoor connector trail, I knew I was not feeling it and almost bailed, but I was in a wind shadow and it was reasonably nice out, so I just plugged along at a steady pace.  Just going up the peak was a bit of an effort, the steps seemed larger than normal, but I never put much into it, just kind of put my head down and focused on one step at a time.  Made the saddle in 26:30ish, not great, but not terrible either.  I normally love the steep upper section, but today both my mind and body balked at the gradient.

The wind picked up toward the top and it got a little cold, so I just used the cold as an excuse to skip heading over to SoBo.  Coming down, it felt as though I had 2 left feet.  Back at the car, I was glad I got out, but even more glad to be done.  Just one of those days I guess.  Heading to bed early hoping to recoup.

Up: 40:27 (avg HR 159/max 172)
Down: 27:18 (avg 130/max 156)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday, 05/23/10 Green

Easy day with Sierra up/down Gregory/Ranger.  I think she was a bit tired still from Grays/Torreys and it is getting a little warm for her, especially without the snow, but fortunately, there were plenty of good water stops to be had.

Up: 38:54 (avg HR 140/max 160)
Down: 29:43

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday, 05/21/10 Grays/Torreys/Grays

13.4 miles
5,000 vertical
4:51 RT
Sierra and I

After running a PR on SuperFlag yesterday and a near PR on Green Monday, my primary intent for this trip was simply to enjoy the day with Sierra and get in a little acclimatizing before the Mt. Evans race on June 19th, as it has been over 2 months since my last foray to 14k.

I was up at 3am and anxious to go, but it was way too early to do anything. Not sure if I went back to sleep or not, but I was up for sure at 4:19am and took my time futzing around the house getting ready. Out the door by 5:15am, I took my time, stopping for food along the way and made it to Bakerville by ~6:30. I was not sure what to expect, but knew from recent reports that the normally too rough for my car road to Stevens Gulch had been graded and much of the snow along the way had melted, so I figured I would see how far I could drive and spare myself some boring road slogging.

I made it exactly 1.3 miles up the now very smooth road before my efforts were thwarted by a significant snow bank just beyond the Grizzly Gulch junction. There were some deep ruts, but also lots of sticks, branches and rocks, indicating previous toil, so I opted to call it good enough and park.

Sierra and I started up the road at exactly 7am and once past the initial short (frozen) piles of snow, the road was pretty much dry for the next mile or so. Eventually, the road became primarily snowpacked (still rock solid ice early in the morning), with deep ruts, more sticks, rocks, logs and the occasional car part. At the creek crossing just prior to the private cabins just before the summer TH, there were several SUVs parked on the side, a red VW Jetta with Missouri plates stuck in the creek, and a hopped up Jeep with chains also stuck in the creek next to the Jetta (tried and failed to get around).

I chatted with the Jeep guys for a few as they shoveled and strategized and we made mention of the nerve of the people in the Jetta (more to come on that). I made it to the TH in ~27 minutes and took a 3 minute break before continuing onward. The bridge that crosses the creek here is typically ~10 feet above the water, but is now acting as a dam, as the snow and ice has really piled up here over the Winter/Spring.

Within 5 or 10 minutes above the bridge, I was now in full sunlight and though it was still before 8am, the snow was quickly starting to soften. I did not posthole through the valley, but it was softening enough that I would break through the crust an inch or two and was a bit inefficient.

Above the Kelso cutoff at 12,300, the snowpack quickly transitioned into Winter like conditions which became increasingly slow and tedious. There were several people far ahead that I was gaining on and at times I was thankful that they had broken trail, but it soon became a choice between stepping in their knee to thigh deep postholes, or creating my own.

For the most part, I opted to step in their footprints to take the guesswork out of it and occasionally ventured off to see if I could stay on top. Sometimes this worked, as I am lighter than the guys ahead today, but either way, very slow going. Perhaps the snowiest I have ever experienced on these peaks in any season on the high slopes.

As I neared the summit of Grays, I spotted 2 college aged guys in gym shorts starting down (though it was windy and cold on the ridge). I was immediately sure that they were the owners of the red Jetta and expressed how impressed I was that he made it up the road as far as they did, but sympathized (I actually thought it was very funny) with the fact that they were now going to need to be towed out for a few hundred dollars as a consequence for their youthful bravado. They also admitted to hitting something in the road losing all their coolant and overheating just prior to getting stuck. Oops.

I made the summit in a casual 2:10 from the car (avg. HR 136/max 156) and took an 11 minute break, just as a guy on a snowboard dropped off the summit. The trip over to Torreys was a bit slower than normal due to the punchy/variable snow and I was really careful to not drop a leg in too deep. Once I neared the saddle, snow conditions improved marginally and I deliberately stayed well away from the monster cornices to my right. I spent a few minutes on Torreys chatting with the snowboarder who arrived there just after I and then made quick work of the descent back to the saddle. I debated what would be the best way out, ultimately opting for the longer, but safer re-ascent of Grays, as the descent from the saddle showed no signs of recent travel (I had an axe and Microspikes, but erred on the side of caution).

The re-ascent of Grays was a bit of a slog, but not as bad as I had envisioned. The wind died down and it quickly got warm a few hundred feet off the summit, forcing me to stop and shed some layers. The blazing sun reflecting off the snow was oven like and the snow was quickly beginning to soften, but Sierra and I made the most of it, as we played and chased one another, whooping, barking and having a great time in the fluffy snow. The lower we went though, postholing became increasingly frequent, typically only shin deep, but with the occasional trap door that would stop me in my tracks and require me to extricate myself. I debated if I would have been any better off had I opted to bring my snowshoes, but I am convinced they would have been troublesome in the wet snow. Such are the joys of Spring.

Back at the summer TH, my thoughts returned to the guys with the Jetta and started to feel a bit bad for the hours of mental entertainment their misfortune had bestowed upon me. Sure enough, the car was still there and I remembered that we all make stupid mistakes from time to time. I took pity and offered a ride into town, but one had already hitched a ride and there was nothing I could do. Oh well, my intentions were good (eventually).

All in all a great day. I was quite content going casual and was very happy to get up high after a long absence. Sierra and I had such a blast together; it was, as always so much fun to see her romping in the snow with a huge grin. It will be a while before this route is truly “runnable”, but I hope to check it out a few more times before the Mt. Evans race.


Start 7:00am
Summer TH: 7:27-7:30
Grays: 9:10-9:21
(HR 133/max 154 Grays to Torreys)
Torreys: 9:49-9:52
(HR 134/max 151 Torreys to Grays)
Grays: 10:18-10:21
Summer TH: 11:22-11:25
(HR 116/max 135 Grays to car)
Finish: 11:51am

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday, 05/20/10 PR on SuperFlag/Green Mountain

Met up with Brandon at Chautauqua and we had a nice warm-up over to the base of Flag, catching up on things as it seems like a while since we have run together.

Started our watches at the bridge and within a few strides, I knew I was going to have a great run.  I started off fairly hard, but never really felt as though as I was over-extending myself, just took a few minutes for everything to start to sync up.  I focused on fast cadence and consistency and was doing my best to use the entire road as traffic dictated.

Around the halfway point, my quads were starting to feel the effort, but I think it was more to do with running on pavement and not having taken a down day for a while, but my cardiovascular system was feeling excellent, especially in the cool, overcast and somewhat humid conditions.  I knew I would be close to PR, so I kept slowly upping the tempo, until I was hitting a full on sprint past the final swichback.  I stopped my watch at the "Leaving Boulder Open Space" sign at 37:41, gasping for air, but feeling that absolute highest of runners highs.

I jogged back down to meet Brandon, who was not far back and accompanied him back up to the top.  From there, we jogged at a moderate pace over to Green, down Greenman/NE Ridge/Saddle Rock (all the way skipping Amphi), then back to Chautauqua.

This was one of those runs where I just felt great and everything was just clicking.

Splits:  SuperFlag 37:41 (avg HR 172/max 183)
Green from SuperFlag: 16:36 (avg HR 157/max 175)
Descent back to Chautauqua: 34:00 (avg HR 127/max 163)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday, 05/19/10 Green Mountain

Casual lap on Green.  Up Amphi/Saddle/Greenman in 38:19 (avg HR 154), down Ranger/Gregory in 28:33 (117 HR).  Spent some time on the descent tossing a few logs and branches that seem to keep re-appearing at the apex of several turns.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday, 05/18/10 Green Mountain

Up Gregory/Ranger with Sierra.  My legs felt great and I was again itching to go fast, especially in the cool and humid weather.  Reluctantly though, I went Sierra's pace which was fairly casual today.  About ~2 minutes from the summit, it began to storm, so we tagged the summit quickly and kept motoring down the front side (no rules Euro style) as the storm intensified.  You would think a little flash/bang would inspire Sierra, it sure gets me going, but she goes even slower for some reason.  Lot's of waiting.

Up in 38:57 (avg HR 151/max 170)
Down 22:54 (avg 127/max 157)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday, 05/17/10 Green Mountain

I felt decent today and it happened to line up with me not having Sierra to wait for.  I was not entirely sure as to how much I was willing to dig, but figured I would put in a harder than normal effort up the front side of Green and see how it goes.  Parked at Chautauqua and warmed up the longer way up and over ski hill and then down to the Gregory TH.  There was a large group of college students approaching the Amphitheater Trail and I just missed starting before them, as I took a detour to throw out some trash I found along the way (had to cross the lot as the can on the Amphi side of the lot is now missing). 

First obstacle was the 6 or 7 college students (and dogs) who were well spread out across the trail.  I cleared my throat a few times and did the rock kick scuff hinting, but nothing.  They were busy in their own world.  I carefully contorted my way through, saying "thanks" before they knew what was happening, to be polite and be a smartass all at the same time, but still got bumped by one of the guys (90% his fault/10% mine).  I heard one of the gals yell "how bout an on your left next time" in a real smartass way as I bounded up and around the corner.  I seriously contemplated a "how bout you get the F@#K out of the way next time", but said nothing and kept moving.

I deliberately kept my pace in check, as I typically run the Amphitheater section a bit too fast.  It took some willpower to hold back, but I made the Saddle Rock junction in a very controlled 6:05, about where I wanted to be.  This seemed to be a good strategy, as it provided a good warming of the legs and I felt pretty fresh above.  I kept going at a reasonable effort, moving strong, but never feeling like I was totally killing it either.  Made the overlook in 14:2?, then the Greenman junction at 18:28.  I rolled pretty good through the flat/downhill section, concentrating on shifting gears well on all the undulations and variation of gradient.

I knew I would be close to PR, but was not too worried about it, I just was looking to get in a solid run.  I upped the tempo slowly throughout, but it felt like a very sustainable rate the entire time and I never felt like I was digging too hard, until I hit the final few switchbacks.  There was a touch of snow dodging, but I was impressed with how much snow has melted and it was hardly an issue.  I sprinted all out over the final homestretch, trying to dip under PR, but missed it by 4 seconds.  I was a little bummed to come so close, as I easily could have picked that up early on, but was buoyed by the fact that I felt as though I could have held that tempo for twice the distance, whereas last year, I was pushing much harder and was on or over the brink of implosion.

Still full of energy, I made a last minute plan to head down via Bear Canyon/Mesa Trail.  I was feeling strong still and pushed all the way back at a solid pace.

Splits on the up:

Amphi/Saddle Junction: 6:05
1st Overlook: 14:2?
Greenman Jct.:  18:28
Summit: 32:39 (avg HR 174/max 183)

Splits on the down:

4-way: 2:05
Bear/W. Ridge jct.: 8:28
Uppermost bridge: 12:06
Mesa: 24:28
Finish at Chautauqua: 45:52 (avg HR 156/max 171)

Sunday, 05/16/10 Green

Met up with Tim today for a lap on Green.  Went fairly mellow up Gregory/Ranger, waiting on Sierra and Pippit.  All of the snow has melted, including most of the lingering patches of old snow before the 4 way, but the trails are still wet in spots.

43:57 up (143 HR/159 max)
31:28 down (111 HR/132 max)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday, 05/15/10 3.25 Laps on Sanitas

Last night I was all packed and ready to go "run" Grays and Torreys, but a faltering forecast and Winter weather advisories (thunder/lightning too) inspired me to save it for a nicer day.

I called Homie to see if he could get a morning pass and he suggested that we go keep Scott Jaime company for a few laps on Sanitas, which sounded great to me.  We met at 9:30 and debated what would be the best way to find him.  We figured he would most likely be going clockwise, so we went counter, but had no luck.  We then started up the S. Ridge going clockwise and bumped into him ~1/4 of the way up.  I introduced myself as something like "JV from the blog world/friend of George Zack" or something silly like that.

Scott had been going since 5am and was on his 8th lap, but was still moving pretty well.  We chatted about all things running through his 9th and 10th lap and also linked up with Garrett Graubins for the last lap who had just run the skyline traverse, followed by an extra lap on Sanitas and was going run back to S. Mesa on the Mesa trail.

It was great to meet and chat with these guys and of course, as always, great getting out with Homie.  Hopefully this will be the first run of many with these new friends.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday, 05/14/10 Green Mountain

Hiked Green via Gregory/Ranger this morning with Allison and Sierra.  The trail is melted out to the cabin, but there is still plenty of coverage above, including several fresh inches of snow that fell overnight on the upper ~1/3 of the mountain.  It was cloudy/foggy most of the time on the upper mountain and I was a bit chilled.  It seemed as though it was pouring ran underneath the trees (most of the time), but it was just the fresh snow melting off.  At the 4-way, the sun teased for a moment, then on the summit, we basked in it's full warmth for nearly half an hour before starting back down into the murk.  Sunny and warm by the finish of course.  Super slick, but very fun.  I am really enjoying the snow, especially since I know it will be gone by Sunday.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday, 05/13/10 Allergic to treadmills and pavement.

Seriously, I hate them both.  Sure pavement is great for getting around in the car or on the road bike and I guess a treadmill is a necessity if you have kids and can't leave the house, but other than that, I have trouble wrapping my head around the concept of clomping along, each step being identical to the last.

I went down to the Bolder Boulder office this morning to run my 2 miles on the mill and finally get my qualifier out of the way.  I was hoping to get into the A wave so I could at least toe the line with all my friends, but after I did the math, I knew I would have to actually put in a few training runs on the track, pavement or treadmill to accomplish this.  Oh well, an AA qualifier with no effort in my mind is way better than actually training in a manner that I don't like to get an A. 

Going into the office, I felt ready to put in a good effort and accept whatever happened, but still harbored illusions of running two 5:43 miles with no specific training.  I have done it before on the track, but for some reason can't seem to keep up with my legs on the mill.  Not to mention I never feel motivated while staring at a wall indoors.  I warmed up for a bit, testing a few different paces and cross checking with my HRM.  5:43 pace at first seemed tolerably fast, but I just knew that there was no way I could hold that.  After my warm up, the lady checked my time/distance and I was off (at 1% grade to account for wind resistance).

I started off around 6:00 pace and immidiately took it down to 5:43.  It felt fast, but my HR was hovering a bit below 170 which was reasonable.  In just over a minute though, a mucus plug of phlegm built up in the back of my throat.  I hacked and ugggghhhmmmed!!!!! a bunch of times, but it was like breathing through a fun straw.  I struggled with it for a bit and then remembered the GZ/Team Snot trick and started casually hacking a clam and then acting as though I was wiping my nose and would deposit it into my shirt.  Though it seemed like 40 minutes, I bailed off the 5:43 pace after only a few minutes and conceded that I just didn't give a shit about the A wave.  Even at a pace in the low 6's (comfortable for me on a track with no training), my HR was slowly creeping up and I was very uncomfortable, mainly because I was on a treadmill and had a hack clam lodged in my throat.

FINALLY, I crossed my imaginary two mile finish line in 12:13, a far cry from the 11:26 I needed, but enough under the 12:25 I needed for AA.  That really sucked.  Afterwards, I was feeling itchy and tingly which only added to my theory that I am truly allergic.

I headed over to Flagstaff, where I changed into clean/dry clothes and ran up SuperFlag.  I figured the treadmill work would make for a good warmup, but if anything, it threw me off just enough that I felt as though I just could only plod up the road.  I started off easy and attempted to ratchet up the pace/intensity, but it just was not my day.  I just figured I would cut my losses and run it easy, then enjoy the snow over to the summit of Green.

I topped out in a disappointing (but not surprising) 45:30 and then got on the W. Ridge trail to Green where there were only one set of hiking boot footprints.  Though I was not moving fast in the fresh and slippery snow, I felt infinitely better mentally at least and felt like myself for a short while.  At the 4-way, I passed a familiar face (turned out to be Jim P who was standing there waiting for a hiking buddy).  We spent a few minutes on the summit chatting, then I carefully jogged my way down, trying to not twist anything in the very slippery snow.  Below the Ranger Cottage, the snow had turned to ankle deep slush and I just had a blast sloshing through it (although for some reason, I hopped the creek).

2 miles on the mill in 12:13
Run up SuperFlag in 45:31 (avg HR 161(173 max))
W. Ridge 20:34 (avg HR 157(174 max))
Down Ranger/Gregory 28:40 (avg HR 132(159 max))

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday, 05/12/10 Spring Storm on Green

All day at work, I was chomping at the bit to get outside and play in the fresh snow.  I knew from Homie's morning report that the snow would be significant, so I was well prepared with full winter running gettup (except for gaiters and microspikes).

Took it easy up Gregory/Ranger, stopping to take pictures and let Sierra go nutty in the fresh snow.  If there was ever a being on this planet that can't get enough snow and cold, it is Sierra for sure, as evidenced by her puppy like energy, non-stop sprinting and telltale, ear to ear perma-grin.  Went down Greenman/Saddle/Amphi to survey conditions (a bit worse than Gregory/Ranger).  It goes without saying that the Friday night TT (if anybody shows) will be a social run, no hope for any PR's for a few days at least.

Up: 45:52 (avg HR 147(max 162)
Down: ~32 (avg HR 109(max 132)

I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday, 05/10/10 Bear Peak

Started from Cragmoor, up Shanahan to Fern. Went pretty easy up to the saddle waiting on Sierra and was itching to go faster. From the saddle, I upped the effort to moderate, feeling decent,but never really pushing. Took it really easy on the down, waiting often for Sierra, as she was getting a bit tired and as usual, lags behind majorly below the Mesa Trail for some reason (I think she is more motivated on singletrack).

Cragmoor: 0:00
Shanahan jct.: 2:56
Mesa: 10:46
Saddle: 28:30
Summitpost: 42:15
Summit: 42:51 (avg. HR 157/max 178)
Descent: 32:12 (avg. HR 125/max 148)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday, 05/09/10 Green Mountain

Took it super easy today, partially planned, partially dictated by Sierra, who found it to be a bit warm and was lagging at times, so I was just content to take it easy and not push her.

Went slow on the down as well, stopping to let Sierra roll around and savor the last remaining patches of snow near the 4-way.  Bumped into Buzz on the descent, chatted with him for a while.

Up via Gregory/Ranger:  40:26 (avg HR 149/max 167)
Down the same way:  ~29 (avg HR 113/max 144)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Saturday, 05/08/10 Green/Bear/S. Boulder/Green

Started up Amphi/Saddle/Greenman.  My legs were not all that peppy and I was a bit slow to warm up, so I just kept the effort low and eased into it, never pushing at all, just gearing low.  I was surprised by the crowds out there today (probably increased by the recent CU graduation, as many seemed to be college age with parents, though there was also the expected hikers and runners out there).  Took a moment to eat some Chomps on the crowded summit of Green, but did not linger, as it was cold and I had some ground to cover. 

I felt OK on the down and by the time I got to W. Ridge, I felt nice and warmed up and enjoyed the gentle climb, just cruising along at a moderate pace, listening to my bodies cues and enjoying the morning.  Tagged the true summit of Bear and did not skip a beat, straight over to S. Boulder, then back to W. Ridge/Green/Bear, back up the summit of Green and down the way I came.  By now, the summit and trail was a true mob scene, as I had work my way through the mess, all the while trying to not look like a jerk trail runner in a hurry.


Gregory lot 0:00
Green 36:58
W. Ridge/Bear Canyon jct. 46:46
Bear Summit 1:12
S. Boulder 1:22
Bear again 1:32
W. Ridge/Bear Canyon jct. 1:48
4-way 2:01
Green again 2:04:??
Finish Gregory lot 2:28 avg HR 155(176 max)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday, 05/06/10 PR on Green

As I suspected on Tuesday when I ran Green via Gregory/Ranger in 36:32 at a low HR with the dog, I knew it was time to put in a good run on this route and try to beat my old PR of 35:3? (or something like that, I would have to dig into my records).

I spent the day running errands, cleaning house, laundry, mowing the lawn and clearing the yard of branches from the big wind storm the other day, so it was 4pm or so by the time I finally started and the weather had gone to crap.  I warmed up through Chautauqua, utilized the outhouse and got down to business.  I started off hard but controlled up Gregory Canyon, pushing, but also being careful to not blow it too soon or slip on the sloped rock sections, as the rain was coming down pretty steady.  I made the cabin in 15:03 and mentally shifted gears for the upper section which always seems to hurt a bit worse.

Soon, the steady rain turned to heavy snow and I was happy to be wearing my light windbreaker (though I was completely soaked).  Hit he flat spot on the ridge in 22:53 and was wondering if I could get to the 4-way by 30ish.  I was becoming super cold and contemplated bailing, but knew that if I pressed on, I had a PR in the bag, it was just a question of how much. 

Made the 4-way in 31:23 and was hoping for sub 3 on the final section (have gone 2:23 or so there before), but it was not to be and I hit the top in 34:38.  I was secretly hoping for something in the 33 range, but was stoked for a PR on that route, especially after grunting through the snow there all winter.  It was nice to really roll it.

I spent no time on the summit in the blizzard conditions, just long enough to tag and turn and then headed down Greenman/Saddle/Amphi.  I was cautious through the snow (I punched through bad yesterday) and then hit it pretty hard, mainly to keep warm, but still played it cautious due to the wet and slippery conditions.

Up Gregory/Ranger
Cabin 15:03
4-Way 31:23
Summit 34:38 (avg HR 176/183 max)

Down Greenman/Saddle/Amphi
22:06 (avg HR 155/174 max)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday, 05/05/10 Green Mountain

I was waffling whether or not I wanted to get out or take a rest day, but I am a sucker for nice, calm (relatively) Spring days, so Green Mountain it was.

Today was the same as yesterday, same route (up Gregory/Ranger and down NE Ridge), with Sierra, except there was no wind and I made it a point (as did Sierra) to just go super easy and make it an active "rest" day.  Today I was careful to keep close tabs on efficiency, HR, foot placement and just keeping HR low and not worry about time.  Made it to the cabin in 18, 4-way in 38, summit in 41:53 (avg. HR 141/max 153).  Took it easy on the down, again cleaning the trail of branches from the recent wind storm and really cleaning up a tree that fell next to the trail.  Down in 31:28 (avg HR 102).

Tuesday, 05/04/10 Green Mountain

The wind was hammering all day, 70+ in some spots, but the forecast indicated that it should die down in the afternoon.  As I leaned on the door to leave work, I knew this was not the case and could barely force the door open and when it slammed shut, I thought something might have broken.  Hmmm...  what to do?  Bail on the run and get some stuff done at home?  Alter my plans?  I thought I was going to be dog free and wanted to go hard today, but a mis-calculation looking at Allison's work schedule meant I was committed to a doggy friendly route.  I considered SoBo/Bear via Shadow, but knew the wind is typically bad on the approach on such days.  Fern Canyon?  No, gotta have the dog on leash and the upper ridge will suck in the wind.  There were really no great options, so I just stuck with the usual.

Heading up Gregory Canyon, the wind was in my face big time, so I just accepted it and pressed on.  It was warm at least and my energy level was much better than anticipated, as I felt like I was dragging all day at work.  I waited some for Sierra and slowed occasionally to call her name and make sure she was focused.

Despite the major wind, Sierra delays and the heavy klomper waterproof test shoes I was wearing, I made it to the Ranger Cabin in a very relaxed 16:33 (was only in the low 150's on the HRM to this point).  From the cabin, I upped the effort just a bit, as fast as I could go and not completely drop Sierra, though I still never really felt as though I was pushing beyond moderate.  Made the 4 way in 16:42 (33:15) and the summit at 36:32 (162 avg. HR/179 max).  Though having Sierra along requires a little waiting and some distracted focus, she did quite well and even rallyed at the end and was right on my heels the final ~2 minutes while I pushed somewhat hard.

Because of the wind, I decided to not backtrack, so we scurried down the front side (NE Ridge route) which, as expected, was much more sheltered and was the sane choice (22:54 for the down at 138 avg. HR).

Today was one of those days where I knew I just had it.  If it were not for the dog alone, I know I would have set a PR for sure.  Without the wind, dog and with light shoes, I would have killed it.  Hope to have another day like this soon with nothing holding me back.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Monday, 05/03/10 Green Mountain

Took it pretty easy up Amphi/Saddle/Greenman, just a light jog really.  Did some trail work on the descent, filling in a hole in the rocks near the top I have been eyeing for a while (first time I have seen it since October or November) and ridding the trail of some mis-placed (or placed) logs and sticks that just did not jive.  There is still a surprising amount of snow on the upper few switchbacks "Greenman Glacier" as Tony put it.

Up in 38:36 (avg. HR 151/169max)
Down in 28:16 (avg. HR 122/148max)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday, 05/02/10 Green Mountain

Hit up Green today after work with Sierra.  It was colder than I had hoped and threatening rain did nothing to add to my motivation.  My mind and body were just not all that into it today, but I have an MP3 full of podcasts to catch up on and a dog that really needed exercise (I'll opt for a run up a mountain to avoid taking the dog for a 10 minute walk around the neighborhood).  Listened to Hal talk about WS100 on Endurance Planet (great interview) and some Adam Carolla (lots of laughs as always).

Went pretty easy on the ascent, 10bpm easier than yesterday (150bpm/175max), though I was 2:2? faster (39:58).  The descent was miserable, I was pretty cold and bonked hard about 1/3 of the way down.  I knew I should have packed a gel when I left the car and it was all I could do to lift my feet over rocks and other obstacles.  I fantasized about food the entire way down.  This seems to be what happens when my weight dips below 140, I just don't have the reserves I typically rely on.  Good lesson.  31:36 on the down (110 avg hr/126 max).

Saturday, 05/01/10 Green/Bear/S. Boulder

Got out with Brandon (who has a more detailed write up from the day) for a run up Green via Gregory/Ranger, then Green/Bear/W. Ridge to Bear, then S. Boulder, back down W. Ridge, Bear Canyon, then Mesa Trail back to Gregory TH.  Most of the snow has melted save for the occasional and inconsequential patch up high.  Went moderate for the most part, with some easy thrown in, but hit it pretty hard up W. Ridge, running this section in 20 minutes from post to post.  Great day out.

Zion National Park Trip, 04/23/10-04/29/10

Zion National Park


Allison and I had an excellent trip to Zion National Park where we met Homie, Lori and their two daughters Mia and Anya. We shared a camp spot the first two nights near the river in the Watchman Campground and then the remaining nights again near the river in site 74 of the South Campground (which is located to the North of the Watchman Campground).

Friday, April 23rd

Today was mostly spent driving. We dropped Sierra off with the Roachs early and were on the road from Boulder around 6:30am. I made a last minute car change the previous night, as we were going to drive Allison’s Corolla for better fuel efficiency, but instead decided to take the Element, as it is AWD and has brand spankin new tires. This turned out to be a great call, as I-70 up to and past the tunnel, along with Vail Pass was a total mess. Many cars on the uphills were spinning their tires in place, while vehicles on the downhill were sliding off the road in front of our eyes. Once beyond Vail though, we just dealt with occasional wet roads and a short lived snow squall near Richfield, Utah (though we had a major headwind much of the time).

When we arrived at Zion, we found out that both campgrounds were full and I was kicking myself for not making a reservation at the Watchman for the first night. We lucked out however when I spoke with the campground attendant, as there happened to be a last minute cancellation and our timing was perfect.

Saturday, April 24th

We spent a good part of the morning moving from our shared campsite we scored the previous night, to Homie’s reserved spot a few sites down in anticipation of meeting them later that evening.

Eventually, we jumped on the free shuttle bus to the Temple of Sinawava stop, where we walked the easy, but scenic riverside walk 1 mile upstream. We had originally hoped to work our way a bit up the Narrows, but it was closed due to the particularly high amount of runoff this year. We then walked back down the road to Weeping Springs, where we were surprised to bump into Buzz (Burrell) as we were jumping on the shuttle. We chatted with him until we got off the bus at the Grotto, where he headed up Angels Landing and we hiked up to Upper Emerald Pool.

Great White Throne

Sunday, April 25th

Allison and I headed over to the Kolob Canyons and hike up the Taylor Creek Trail to Double Arch Alcove, where we were surprised to find no double arch of any sort, just an alcove, but it was still an amazing hike. We continued for another mile beyond exploring up canyon, finding a really cool waterfall and did some interesting bushwhacking.

After dinner, Homie and I decided to sneak away for a quick run up Angels Landing, mostly as a recon trip for a fast run later in the week. We went what was mostly a relaxed pace and had the entire trail to ourselves, except for passing a few tourists on the lower part of the trail heading down. Up in 29:50, down in 21ish.

Double Arch Alcove

Monday, April 26th

Allison and I had a great hike up Observation Point, the weather was perfect, the trail relatively un-crowded and the views were amazing. We took our time up and down, taking a zillion photos and a ~90 minute lunch break at the point overlooking the valley. On the way down, I took a quick run into Hidden Canyon and then caught up to Allison a little later.

Echo Canyon

Looking down on Angels Landing
Upper switchbacks up Observation Pt.

Tuesday, April 27th

Angels Landing TT
~5 miles RT
~1,500 vertical
25:25 up
18:04 down
43:29 RT

Homie and I snuck out of camp early to catch the first bus at 6:45am where we chatted with Bill (Wright) and Loobster who were on their way to do some huge and crazy climb.

We worked in a ~2/3 mile warm-up beforehand by getting off the bus at the Zion Lodge and hit every bathroom along the way, lightening our load as if it were race day or something (maybe it was the Mexican dinner we had the night before?).

We started our stopwatches at the Angels Landing side of the bridge (as instructed by Buzz) and I hit it hard immediately. The first ~1/2 mile or so is pretty much flat and I think I was going a bit too fast here. I bogged a bit as the trail started to steepen and was not feeling 100%, questioning whether or not it was a too fast start, or maybe I was not fully recovered from the Grand Canyon just over a week prior (it was probably a bit of both). The trail quickly steepened (now all paved cement sidewalk) and I was keeping a good pace which was quite the calf workout.

I crossed the bridge at the mouth of Refrigerator Canyon at 9:43 and upped the tempo along the now rolling path. I came to Walter’s Wiggles at what I think was 14:43 and took 2 minutes or less ascending all of the ridiculously tight and steep switchbacks, arriving at the junction at Scout Lookout at 17:01. From here, the trail becomes a bit more interesting as the ridge narrows and exposure increases.

I moved along fast and efficient, but all the while quite cautious and aware of the proximate exposure. There are chains along the way and cut out steps in the rock which were occasionally helpful to have there, though I really never relied on them. The summit seemed to be slower to arrive than the previous trip and I hit the true summit at 25:25, which I was not too happy with, as I felt as though I faded a bit over the last stretch and was not as accurate with the route and scrambling as I had envisioned.

Gathering my wits and breath back along the ~30 seconds of summit plateau, I knew that I had to be even more careful on the descent, as a slip could have dire consequences in spots. I again went fast, yet cautious, occasionally using the chains for balance, as the super-computer was firing at full capacity. Once back at Scout Lookout, I opened up the throttle a bit, shifting gears quickly through all the tight switchbacks (you still don’t want to screw up any of these) and really sprinted the final flat section, thinking each corner was the last. The bridge finally came into view and I stopped my watch at 43:29. Buzz had told me that the FKT for the RT was his 45:??, but I am not entirely sure that is the case, as I still think my 43:29 is a bit soft and certainly others have gone faster. I’m sure on a better day, with more practice on the route, I could shave off another 2 or so minutes.

Homie put in an excellent performance as well, finishing in 47:56 which I was quite impressed with, as he seems to be the fittest I have ever seen him.

We headed back to camp and rallied Allison and Mia (who is 5) for another lap on Angels Landing which was to be a first for both of them. We did not get started until about 10:45am and it was warming a bit and certainly much more crowded than our previous 2 trips when we had the trail mostly to ourselves. Mia marched up the trail at an impressive pace for a 5 year old, never seeming to tire.

Looking up Walter's Wiggles
Looking back down

At Scout Lookout, Mia and John put on their climbing harnesses and tied in to a short rope. Mia soon announced that she did not want the harness, so off it came. I led the way, followed by Mia, John and Allison. I took a bunch of pictures, as John spotted her closely. It was quite crowded in spots and Mia passed most people ahead, men and women of all ages and fitness levels, it was inspiring to watch. We spent a long time on the summit as many people expressed how impressed they were at her efforts.


Not too close!
Start of Observation Pt. trail
Looking back at route from Angels Landing summit

Walter's Wiggles from afar

John roped Mia up for the descent as it was a bit trickier to spot her, while I walked ahead, taking more pictures and making it a point to never use my hands. We parted ways at Scout Lookout, where they descended and Allison and I walked up the trail toward the W. Rim.

Wednesday, April 28th

Observation Point Run
~8 miles RT
~2,200 vertical
38:46 up
~35 down

On our final day, John and I again headed out on the first bus for a run up Observation Point. Like Angels Landing, the trail is paved with cement and has many switchbacks, but not as tight and a bit more runnable. I started off at a moderate effort up the initial switchbacks, as my stiff calves and quads slowly warmed up. I gradually eased into the effort and was soon feeling much better than expected, though certainly not 100%. Passed the Hidden Canyon jct. in 6:??, then entered Echo Canyon at 12, Observation/East Rim jct. in 20. The following long switchbacks became more and more challenging, as the gradient steepened, the wind was very strong in my face much of the time and I was feeling the effort in my legs, especially on top of the previous day’s efforts. I topped out below the mesa in 33, where I started the long rolling segment out to the actual Observation Point that wends it’s way just below the crest. My goal was to break 40 minutes, just an arbitrary guestimate I made while hiking it 2 days prior and really pushed through the final segment, making it to my destination in 38:46. I waited a bit for Homie, taking in the views and we then jogged down in an easy 35 (including a few stops).