Lake Isabelle

Lake Isabelle

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Friday, 06/25/10 Birthday Run up Quandary Peak

Quandary Peak
06/25/2010
East Ridge from Monte Cristo TH
5.4 miles/3,370 vertical
1:39:57 RT (1:03:34up/36:23 down)

To celebrate my birthday, Allison and I decided to go to Breckenridge for the day to enjoy some time outdoors in the morning, get some lunch afterwards and take advantage of cooler temperatures than the high 90’s forecast for home.

We left the house a bit later than normal, but I was on the trail by 10:10am and started off at a quick, but reasonable pace with Sierra leading the way up the dusty trail. There were a few fallen trees to negotiate that cost a bit of rhythm. The morning was perfect, sunny, warm, calm and although there were a surprising amount of cars at the trailhead for a weekday morning, we had the trail completely to ourselves until above treeline. At this point, I got a warning that there were some goats on the trail up above, so I paused to put Sierra on leash as to not take any chances of her practicing her herding skills. Putting her on leash happened to coincide with the first patch of snow and she was determined to make the most of it.

I let her soak it up for a few seconds, but ended up having to coax her along the trail with promises of more snow near the summit. Although Sierra was moving well, it was a bit awkward running with her on leash, as it was hard to push and really get into a groove. We finally passed the goats near the false summit before the final steep pitch, but the wind was blowing just right and despite passing within 20-30 feet of the goats, fortunately, she did not even notice they were there.

Once a safe distance beyond, I let her off leash and I was able to get into a better groove. Thinking that I had gone too slow in the beginning, combined with 20+ minutes of awkward leash running, I figured that I was not even close to PR pace. As I approached the summit, I realized that it might be closer than I first thought, so I upped the tempo a bit, but was once again deceived by the convex nature of the summit. I efficiently negotiated the final snowy pitch and then sprinted along the final flat section to the true summit, topping out in 1:03:34 (avg HR 169/178 max) but was about a half minute shy of PR.

I took a few minutes to wait on Sierra, chat with some hikers and take in the day, completely comfortable in a t-shirt and shorts. I was eager to cruise the downhill, as this was where I hobbled and limped in pain just a year ago, not knowing how close I was at the time to topping off my stress fracture to the point that I would spend the remainder of summer 09 in a stiff boot. I made quick work of the upper section and felt super solid in every way, effortlessly gliding over technical terrain as if it were a paved road. I pushed hard at times purely for the exhilarating fun of it and backed off at other times to be sure that Sierra was still in sight. I made it down to the trailhead in 36:23 (avg HR 154/max 169) for a total time of 1:39:57, shaving a little over 2 minutes off PR, which felt great, especially since I knew that without the dog, I could shave a few more minutes on the up and the down.

An excellent way to celebrate another year of life.