Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday, 10/30/10 Basic Boulder Mountain Marathon

I was pretty sure that I would be unable to participate in this years Basic Boulder Mountain Marathon (otherwise known as an end of season BTR social run), but at the last minute, got confirmation that I could get out for a few hours.  Knowing that a few hours would not be enough to complete the entire circuit, I elected to stash my car at the Cragmoor TH (major thanks to Brandon for picking me up) which enabled me to at least join in some of the fun.

We started off from Phil's house around 9am, where we headed toward Flagstaff at a very casual/conversational pace and it was great to catch up with friends new and old.  It was a little crazy how many prolific runners were out to celebrate running in Boulder on such a fine day.  Tony Krupicka, Dave Mackey, Scott Jurek, Geoff Roes and Nick Clark to name a few, plus more than a handful of very fast local guys and gals, too many to try to name.

Once we passed Flagstaff Road, Dave and I inadvertantly got a small gap on the group behind, but never deliberately upped the pace, as we were just cruising along at the high end of conversational pace (for me at least) but Dave was having no trouble, nor was Tony, whose voice we could hear chatting away a little ways back over all the other voices.

Dave and I topped out on Green together, less than a minute ahead of the group.  I asked if he wanted to wait, but he elected to keep on going, so I led the way back down.  We kept a pretty casual pace down Green-Bear and Bear Canyon, just chatting away and joking a bunch, enjoying an absolutely perfect fall day.  Once we hit the Mesa Trail, we headed South and at Shanahan, I said bye to Dave and another guy named Scott? that caught up to us and back tracked a bit to chat with the group behind.  I got in front of Jurek and went along at the casual pace they were going, behind him was Geoff, Nick, Ryan Cooper, Johannes and a handful of guys I did not know.  Before long, we caught up with Dave again who stopped for a nature break and we all just cruised along in sync to the Bluestem Trail, then down to the East end, where I very reluctantly had to bail at 10:55am, missing out on the ascent of Shadow Canyon/SoBo/Bear where I was guessing the intensity would pick up a bit.

Eager to get home and score points for being timely, the hardest running of the day was my trip back to the Cragmoor TH.  I was pushing fairly hard and managed to get back there in 13 minutes.

Though I was a little bummed to bail early (as I was feeling great and wanted to go the entire distance) I was elated to get out for part of the run at least on such a perfect day.  Cruising along with some of the superstars of the sport/great friends made for a day I will always remember.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday, 10/28/10 Green Mountain

Went with Allison, started from halfway (we were short on time), up Greenman, down Ranger.  Though a long ways from her previous fitness, she is getting her energy back and jogged the flatter stretches and hiked fast on the steeper stuff, then we ran back down to the car.  It was pleasantly cool and sunny and the high mountains to the West are dressed in a nice thick, new coat of white.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday, 10/27/10 Eldorado Mountain

After a few days off tending to babies (not to mention the hideous wind), I was driving toward Boulder intending to run Green, but turned toward Eldo at the last minute with the intention of running up Eldorado Mountain.  I parked where the road turns to dirt and took the back way to the Fowler Trail and then up the Rattlesnake Gulch Trail at a very easy pace.  About 2/3 of the way up the trail, where it switchbacks near the bench and signs, I got off the trail and headed up the steepish hillside onto the NW ridge.  This worked OK, but seemed a bit long and I think was slower than my normal route of staying on the trail, almost to the tracks and heading directly up the very steep hillside at the log fence.

I was cold to start, but since I was going uphill, I was maintaining a decent temperature in shorts, t-shirt and a thermal bike shirt, but once on the ridge, the wind was pounding and I was glad that (reluctantly at the last minute) I stuffed another light long sleeve shirt and light windbreaker into my jersey pockets and frantically put them on.  I kept going along the rough ridge, often times getting thrown off balance.  I came down with a bad case of "ice cream headache" from the freezing temperatures and hammering wind and was really wishing that I had a warm hat and/or balaclava.  Puddles in the rocks were frozen solid, which helped assure me that it truly was cold and I was not just being a wimp (OK, I was being a little bit wimpy).  Each step I contemplated bailing, as this was the most uncomfortable I have been in recent memory.  I tried working my way up on the steeper and more over grown leeward/East side of the ridge, but progress was painfully slow and at times dangerous, so I alternately took my chances with the wind.

With low motivation, I was just not on top of my game and my coordination, recollection of the route and navigational abilities were a bit off and I constantly found myself taking more time than necessary to route find around obstacles.

I tagged the summit and paused for not a second and started working my way down.  As has happened to me before, the terrain slowly lures one a bit far to the right on the descent, but I was leery of this and only had to make one minor correction through some rough bushes to get back on track and re-find the start of the NW ridge.  My descent was slow and cautious as I tried to not get blown off and make a bad mis-step into the talus or take a ~15 foot fall.  I bailed off the ridge a bit earlier than on my ascent which made for a more efficient line back down to the Rattlesnake Gulch Trail.  The remainder of the run back to the car was relatively warmer and pleasant, even though the wind was still cranking up intermittently.  This was really more of a hike/bushwhack with a jogging approach.

Up: 1:07
Down: :53

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday, 10/24/10 Green Mountain

Driving to Boulder, I was feeling sluggish, low on energy and lacking sleep.  I was mentally into getting out for a run, but my body was just not feeling all that into it.  As soon as I laced up my shoes and got on the trail though, everything seemed better and I was feeling springy.  I headed up Gregory/Crown Rock up to the Flagstaff trail at a quick pace, but not really digging too deep.  Once at the top of Flagstaff, I looped around on the Ute trail, crossed Flagstaff road and then over to the Ranger Cabin.  I hung a right up the Long Canyon Trail, SuperFlag, W. Ridge to the top of Green and was just feeling really solid.

Feeling great at this point, I was itching to crank it down Bear Canyon and Mesa Trail back to Chautauqua.  My footwork was spot on and I was in that zen like state of focus and concentration, feeling as though I was flowing down the trail like water.  As I got to the Bear Canyon/Mesa Junction, I could see a runner going fast a minute or so down the trail and in an instant, I got that competetive surge of adreneline and was in chase mode.  I had already been going near my limit on the descent, but I upped the intensity even more and caught the runner just before the Mallory Cave jct. and kept pushing the pace even higher, dropped quickly across Skunk Canyon and punched it up the other side.  I could see the runner hanging tough just seconds back, but I was on a mission to crack him and push to a PR descent back to Chautauqua.  I could see I was opening a gap and just kept rolling it, gaining a few minutes by the end.

I hung out until until he rolled in and we exchanged compliments on a job well done and chatted for a while.  He admitted that I spooked him, kicking him into competition mode, but he blew on the climb out of Skunk Canyon.  I gave him credit for a good fight and he certainly pressed me into giving it all I had.  All in all, an awesome day out and I felt spot on, totally in the groove.


Gregory TH to Flag:  17:20
Ranger Cabin:  26:04
SuperFlag:  43:08
Green:  57:43

Green to Bear W. Ridge jct.:  8:24
Wood Bridge getting into Bear Canyon:  11
Mesa Trail:  23:04
Finish at Chautauqua:  42:13

RT:  1:39:56 (plus ~7 minutes of warm up/cool down)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday, 10/22/10 Green Mountain

Met up with GZ at Chautauqua for a run up Green.  Went up the front side at an easy conversational pace and then back via GreenBear/Bear Cnyn/Mesa, going easy and chit chatting the entire time.  The foliage is awesome right now and the rain on the way down added to the beauty.  As always, it was great to catch up with George, wish we could do this more often.

Up Amphi/Saddle/Greenman: 41 from Gregory (another ~5 from Chautauqua?)
Down Bear Canyon/Mesa:  52

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday, 10/21/10 Bear/South Boulder

I was able to sneak out of the house for a bit this morning on the pretense of looking for a furnace filter at McGuckins, yet soon found myself at the Cragmoor TH, ready to get in some quick fresh air.  After 4 days off, I felt decent at the start, but my lack of sleep over the past few nights feeding and changing Amelie and Isabelle was quickly creeping up on me.  I stubbed my toe and almost fell twice on the way up, as I was feeling a bit lethargic.  I just backed off the pace a bit and went back and forth between the high end of moderate and the low end of moderate.  I was a complete dope on the downhills/technical and it took all of my concentration to not fall off the edge of the mountain.  It was still awesome to be out on a fine Fall day and have a little time to myself.


Bear:  43:57
Bear to SoBo:  10:44
SoBo to Bear:  9:30
Descent from Bear:  27:06
RT:  1:31:17

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday, 10/16/10 Green/Bear

Had another awesome run on yet another perfect Fall day.  Started from 6th/Baseline and jogged easy up to the Gregory TH.  Started my watch and headed up Amphi/Saddle/Greenman at a casually moderate pace and topped out in 35:50ish.  Not content with just Green on such a day, I continued on over to Bear at a similar trot, just cruising along and enjoying the sunshine on my face.  I could have kept going all day if I had enough water, gels and enough time, but I had to get back.

I cruised off of Bear quickly, but not really pushing at all, just on auto pilot, relying on my well choreographed memory of the trail, not to mention my foot accuracy was bomber today.  Once on the Mesa Trail, I upped the tempo a bit and cruised it back in to Chautauqua.  The trails were quite packed today, I think it is homecoming or something, Boulder was an absolute mess.


Green: 35:50ish
Green to Bear: 37:20 (Start W. Ridge: 9:45)
Bear to Chautauqua:  38:15 (Bear Saddle 7:5?, Mesa Trail 16:55)

1:51:25 RT

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday, 10/15/10 Green Mountain

What an amazing day, mid 70's, crystal clear blue skies, not a bit of wind, snow capped peaks and brilliant fall colors.  Best of all, Allison joined me.  Certainly one of the best of my 120 something trips up there this year, days just do not get better than this!

Start of Long Canyon

Mt. Audubon

James Peak

Longs Peak

Bear Peak

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday, 10/14/10 Green Mountain

Brandon and I met up at Chautauqua around 8:45am for a trip up Green. I was going to suggest going up the front, but I know Brandon prefers Gregory/Ranger, as it is a little less steep. My legs were feeling decent and I was feeling like pushing a bit, so I started off quick, intending to break 35 and hopefully PR. I made it to the Ranger Cabin in 15:13, 10 seconds slower than PR pace, but was not too worried. I thought I carried my momentum well into the second half, but my gut feeling told me that I was slowly losing a second or two here and there. I was moving well, but as I made my way through the final switchbacks before the 4-way, I was doing a little mental math and was sure I would not be close and got a little discouraged. Hit the 4-way in 31:46, 23 seconds behind, but pushed hard to the top, recovering 5 seconds, topping out in 34:57, 19 seconds slower than PR, but my second fastest time on that route ever, so I was generally pleased with that all things considered.

After taking a minute or so to catch my breath, I headed back down the trail to meet Brandon a little ways down and followed him back up to the top. I was starting to get anxious to go see my twins and was a little bit more worked over than usual, so instead going over to Bear Peak as previously discussed, we bailed on that idea and just casually jogged back to Chautauqua via Bear Canyon/Mesa Trail chatting it up. It was great to catch up with Brandon, as it has been too long and awesome to push hard and get in a good effort.


Cabin: 15:13
Greenman/Ranger jct.: 18:46
Flat spot on ridge: 23:08
4-way: 31:46
Summit: 34:57
Descent to Chautauqua: 50:19

Wednesday, 10/13/10 Mesa Trail Hike

Allison, Sierra and I got out for a nice, several mile hike on the Mesa/Bluestem trails from S. Mesa TH late in the afternoon. The weather was sunny and pleasantly cool and even a bit chilly as the sun set behind the peaks, but we appreciated the fall colors and temps. Allison is really getting her energy back and is eager to get up Green Mountain again and get in a bit more vertical gain. I am super impressed with her hiking energy, just two weeks after delivering twins.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, 10/12/10 Bear Peak Night Run

Started off up the trail from Cragmoor at an easy jog, a bit after 6:20pm and it was a bit damp from the recent rain and pretty dusky due to the cloud cover. At the slab, I dug out my new Fenix LD-20, 205 lumen light for a bit of assistance and it soon became a necessity once into Fern Canyon. The air was very calm, the temperature was perfect and I found myself to be a bit over dressed with light tights under shorts and 2 shirts. I have been up Bear and a few other peaks at night before, but this was my first solo trip. I’d be lying if I said that I was not at least slightly on edge about what might be lurking in the shadows and even heard “something” on two occasions, but just passed it off as paranoia. Once on the summit, I shut off my lights and just took in the utterly amazing views of the lights along the front range and enjoyed the peacefulness. I quickly chilled and was now thankful for the clothes I was wearing and added a light windbreaker, beanie and glove liners for the descent. The Fenix light is awesome and even though I typically have trouble in the dark, I did OK with the help of this light. It is even a bit too bright on the highest setting and found it to be perfectly adequate on the medium setting. The ground was damp, so my shoes were always a bit wet/muddy, which make traction a bit of an issue at times, so I took it very cautious. Once past the Mesa Trail, I clicked my light to the brightest setting and opened up my stride a bit.

Though I thoroughly enjoyed this night run, I would hope to change two things next time. Having company would be great to make the outing a bit more enjoyable, along with a decent headlamp to compliment the handheld light. I hope to do something like this again soon, let me know if you are interested.

48 up/31 down

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday, 10/11/10 Green Mountain

I got out of work a little early, as I had to run a few errands in Boulder and just barely had enough time to squeeze in a lap on Green, as it has been a few days since I have been out and I could not resist such a perfect fall day.

Went up Amphi/Saddle/NE Ridge/Greenman.  Started off at a very moderately casual pace, and hit the first split in 6:15, which felt surprisingly easy.  I was moving well and it was all feeling effortless, so I upped the pace to the higher side of moderate for a bit, just rolling with it, but not really feeling inclined to dig in.  As I approached the summit, I pushed reasonably hard for the final 4 minutes.  Headed back down the exact same way, not pushing at all, just letting my feet flow.  This run felt awesome, awesome to be outside, awesome to feel good, awesome to connect with my surroundings and awesome to be a dad to beautiful twin daughters!!

Up:  32:27
Down:  18:50

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday, 10/08/10 Bear/S. Boulder

I was mentally into going fast, but my body was having none of it.  Started from Cragmoor again shortly after 10am and intended to put in a hard effort up Fern, but after arriving at the Mesa Trail in a disappointing 10:05 at what felt like a harder effort than 2 days ago (was nearly a minute faster at a much lower perceived effort on Wednesday), I decided to bang a right and back off the intensity a bit and just cruised over to Bear Canyon/West Ridge to the summit of Bear.  Bear Canyon is awesome right now and really looks like fall (thanks for the tip Tony).  Made a casual trip to SoBo and back, then down Fern back to the car and bonked on the way down, making me a bit sloppy(er) and slow(er).

Mesa Trail:  10:05
Mouth of Bear Canyon:  15:20
W. Ridge Jct.:  36:40
Bear: 1:01
SoBo: 1:11
Bear: 1:21
Saddle: 1:29
Finish: 1:49

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday, 10/07/10 Green Mountain

After many months of being pregnant, a month in bed, culminating with giving birth to twin girls, Allison decided that it was time for a trip up Green Mountain.  To make things easier, we drove up SuperFlag and took the W. Ridge Trail to the summit which was shorter, with much less elevation gain.  She took it easy, but still did great all things considered, as it will take her a while to get her strength and fitness back.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday, 10/06/10 Bear/S. Boulder Peak (PR)

After a few hours of holding my girls at the hospital, I was itching to get out to stretch a bit and get in a good run.  I headed over to the Cragmoor TH with no specific intentions, just get out there and see how things unfold.  It was a little after noon and the clouds parted shortly after I started and made things feel warm and a little humid, where the humidity helped a bit with the breathing.  As soon as I started up the trail I knew it was going to be a good day.  My legs felt super solid and my lungs were good, so I upped the intensity to the low side of hard.  I crossed the Mesa Trail in ~9:20ish I think, passed the slab at 13:15, Fern jct. at 14:57 and the saddle in high 24.  I knew these splits were close to PR, maybe a little behind, but my effort seemed very controlled.  I powerhiked with my hands on my knees for the upper 1,000 feet and ran some when I could, sprinting to the pole and tagged it in 37:57 and scampered the final rocks to the true summit in another :33 for a 38:30 ascent, just a few seconds shy of PR.

Anxious to get to the girls next feeding, I boogied very quick and smooth over to S. Boulder, my feet very precise and my legs not the least bit fatigued, crossing the saddle in 3:30 and tagging the summit in 9:15, certainly a PR split.  The trip back to the saddle took 3:30, then I re-crossed the summit of Bear in 7:57, another PR in that direction.  Having a complete blast with it and feeling as though I was walking on air, as if I could do no wrong, I ripped the descent, each step in perfect sync, which almost felt choreographed. 

I made the very technical, ~1,000 foot drop to the saddle in another PR of 6:57, the Shanahan/Slab junction in 12:4? and the Mesa Trail in 16:39.  I knew it would tough to beat my descent PR of 21:30 (set in January with perfect bobsled run conditions) down to Cragmoor, but I still kept pushing hard and finished in 22:55 for a 1:18:37 RT.

Though I missed my ascent PR by a very small amount, I was very pleased with the perceived effort involved and doing it with such inconsistent training, but super stoked on the remainder of the splits I put together.  More and more, I am totally into pushing the technical downhills.

Part of what made my run awesome today, was wearing a new pair of Keen test shoes (that I don't think are on the market yet).  They are a super light, minimalist trail racing flat with bomber traction/grip.  I loved the feeling of being so stable and low to the ground, but still having decent protection.  I think I am on to something (Tony, I now get it..... ;)).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Monday, 10/04/10 Green Mountain

Tried to sneak out for what I hoped to be a quick run, but at the last minute, Sierra guilted me into taking her, so it ended up being a slow hike, but I enjoyed having her along regardless.

48 up
35 down

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday, 10/02/10 Green Mountain

Sierra and I got out for an amazing run up Green via Gregory/Ranger today.  The weather finally seems to be cooling off and it felt so refreshing, pleasantly warm in the sun and pleasantly cool in the shade.  I went what felt like a super easy pace waiting for Sierra as she sniffed and took her time, but my mood and overall state of body and mind were in such a place, that had I been alone, I would have been floating up the trail.  The state of happiness, peace and contentment on today's run was above anything I have ever felt, I could just not stop smiling and wanted to tell everyone I passed about my recent good fortune.  I have heard so many times before, that kids change your life for the better like you can't imagine, so I had high hopes and expectations that turned out to be far beyond what I dreamed.  I bumped into Aaron ?, who I met a many months ago on Green, but we recognized each other right away.  We stopped for a nice conversation near the top of Green and talked kids and trail gear for a while.  Nice to bump into you Aaron.

Up Gregory/Ranger:  39:08
Down " ":  27:20