Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday, 07/29/10 Grays and Torreys (PR!)

Grays and Torreys
12.5 miles/5,600 vertical
Partners: Nate Bahrenburg, Dan England

For my weekly installment of 14er running, Nate and I, along with Dan headed up to Grays and Torreys. Both Nate and Dan are preparing for their first Pikes Peak Ascent. After an enjoyable drive getting to know Dan and talking about mountains and twins/kids (Dan has twin girls), Nate dropped me off in Bakerville and I got running at 7:22am as he and Dan continued on to the summer trailhead.

After some recent lackluster training runs in the mountains, I was not sure what to expect today and certainly did not have my hopes up for a great run, I just figured I would take it one step at a time and see how the run would unfold with no real expectations. I left the heart rate monitor at home and figured I would time my run, but not really get too focused on splits and just enjoy the day.

I felt good, but not great running up the road and just enjoyed the warming up process. The air was cool, but not cold and I was thankful that the sky was overcast, perfect running conditions. I was having recollections of our run 2 years ago, where Justin and I started off WAY too fast and was in no danger of doing that again today. I reached the TH in 30:58, stashed some bottles and was on the far side of the bridge at 31:30, feeling much stronger than 2 years ago and ready to up the tempo a bit on the upper half. The trail was quite wet from recent rains which required some puddle and creek dodging, but it was actually kind of fun. My feet were moving quick and accurate, I felt great and was moving toward that level of bliss that can only be achieved on those perfect days when everything comes together.

Eventually, I caught and passed Dan beyond the Kelso cutoff, then Nate, not too long after. The trail steepened and instead of trying to fight it, I just leaned over and settled into a good power hike. Occasionally I ran, but was concentrating on shifting gears frequently, keeping as efficient as possible.

As always, the watch sped up with altitude and I was not entirely sure where I would end up. It seemed more and more likely that I might be able to sneak in under 1:30, but it all just seemed too good to be true. I dug in over the final ~500 vertical and hit the summit in 1:29:29, a full 4:03 faster than my run with Justin 2 years ago. It all just felt too easy. I am inclined to say I could have pushed harder, maybe at times, but I’m not sure pushing harder would have led to running a faster ascent. I paced myself really smart today, conditions were perfect and my head was in exactly the right place. If only every day could be like today.

I’m trying not to put too much stock in what I did today, just like I try to not let a bad day get me too down either. It is what it is, but it sure does feel good!

Oh yeah, the rest of the day….. I waited on the summit of Grays for Nate, who was not too far back. We hung out waiting for Dan, who we still could not see and decided to head over to Torreys without him. I went fast, but was not really knocking myself out and made it to Torreys in a few seconds over 16, waited a few minutes for Nate and we headed back down to the saddle, where we bumped into Dan. He did not want to hold us up and decided to bail on Torreys, but we encouraged him to go for it, as we were not in any hurry. Nate and I decided to wait for him at the car, then wait at the saddle, then before we knew it, we simultaneously decided to accompany Dan back up Torreys. From there on it was very casual, conversational pace hiking up and running down (maybe just under an hour back to the TH? I did not really look).


Bakerville: 0:00
Far side of bridge at summer TH:  31:30
Grays Summit:  1:29:29 (57:59 split from summer TH to Grays)
Grays to Torreys:  16


  1. Nice! Hope you have this kind of day at Pikes.

  2. Yes - nice, when it all comes together. Well done.

    I still shake my head at the memory of those folks smoking at the top of Torres and telling us running was bad for our knees.

  3. I remember that run. YOU took off so hard and I didn't know any better, so thought that was the pace we were supposed to go at. I'd love to get back out there, but don't think it'd be worth on a weekend with so many hikers out.