Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday, 06/27/11 Green Mountain

Up/Down Front 4.01 miles/2,272 vert./1:01:19 RT (34:21 up) Garmin Data

Met Brandon for a lap on Green today.  The plan was for me to give him a head start, maybe 5 minutes or so, as to be close by the top, but we got our wires crossed (my fault) and he ended up with a bit of a larger jump on me than anticipated.  Going up seemed like a bit lot more work than last week and the stats confirm that I worked 2 bpm harder to go 47 seconds slower.  I am sure the fact that it was in the mid 80's (vs. low 60's and rainy last week) played a huge role.  My throat got pretty clogged today too and I am beginning to re-think that I might have exercised induced asthma, as I get this maybe 2/3 of the time on harder runs.  Or maybe I am just more susceptible to poor air quality (there seemed to be smoke in the air from that Lefthand fire and I did wake up this morning with a very sore throat).

So, met Brandon on the summit and took it super casual on the down.  Hung out at the lot for a few, met up with the family, where I took over possesion of the girls so Allison and Sierra could take their turn.

Oh, a few shots I took on my drive into work this morning:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday, 06/25/11 Gross Res. Baby Jogger Run

9.4 miles/1,464 vert./1:25:38/Avg. HR 141 Garmin Data

I had been floating the idea around for a while to get up to Gross Reservoir with the baby jogger and today I talked Allison and the girls into it.

We headed up SuperFlag and parked on the E. side of the Res. and headed S. on Gross Dam Rd..  Aside from the initial uphill, it was a steep downhill for 2 miles (with plenty of loose dirt and washboard) until we crossed the creek.  Then it was a longer than expected uphill to get to the reservoir, where Allison soon became a bit impatient, thinking it was a bit too hot for the girls and too long for them to be out.  It was pretty warm and it took us ~50 minutes to go about 5 miles, so in the interest of time and efficiency, I left Allison and the girls to wait while I hurried back for the van.  I was moving well on the downhill (low 6 pace), but then the final 2 mile climb back to the car was a scorching grind with no shade and ended up taking me 35 minutes total.

Once we all reunited, we had a nice picnic near the canoe/kayak ramp, while we watched the ranger harass all the riff raff who came through (PFDs?, ID?, fishing licenses?, etc....).

About to start

Plenty of riff raff to harass (I actually applied for the job in the Spring 2009, glad it did not workout, I guess I am not quite "tough guy" enough).  You can see the very tough and athletic looking water cop just to the right of the pickup truck.  I'm being a bit harsh for whatever reason, but he was actually a pretty nice guy.

I was pretty darn tempted to take a quick swim while the water cop was out of sight, but the fine is pretty stiff from what I understand.

Friday, 06/24/11 Bear Peak

Up Fern/Down W. Ridge/Bear Canyon 8.07 miles/2,856 vert./1:42:26 (49:03 up)/142 avg HR Garmin Data

Was not able to get out on the trail until after 10am and by then things were warming up nicely (or not so nicely).  My legs felt a little heavy still and I was not digging the heat at all.  I was also trying out a new pair of shoes, new fuel belt and new camera, so I was a bit pre-occupied by all of this and kept the pace pretty mellow.

Love the new PI Peak 2 shoes thus far, very light, comfortable and sturdy.

Here are a few shots:

S. Boulder from Bear



I stopped numerous times on the descent for wildflower shots.  I was initially was impressed with these, until I turned around and found, what is for me, the Holy Grail of wildflowers finds.....

My favorite wildflower of all time, the Columbine

A bee is hiding in there, I tried for a better shot but it would not cooperate.

Bear from upper Bear Canyon

Dinosaur Mt.

Finally got my revenge after having my picture taken numerous times...

Thursday, 06/23/11 Local Run

6.7 miles/159 vert./7:53 pace/144 avg HR

A reasonably mellow run with the jogger from the house, but felt a bit labored at times with the warm temps and was feeling my long bike ride a bit from the day before.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wednesday, 06/22/11 Bike to Work Day

Once again, work offered up 3 $50 gift cards for longest commute and such, so I got motivated to put in a long ride to work and win $50.  I did all the prep Tuesday so I would not have to carry anything for work and hit the road at 5:23am, just as it was getting light enough to ride (safely). 

Headed N. from my house to Baseline, Baseline to SuperFlag and out to Gross Res. and followed the pavement until it turned to dirt.  Headed back into town, took 6th/4th St. to N. Broadway, Lee Hill to the top, down to Lefthand, 36 to Nelson and then in to work in Longmont, arriving a few minutes before 9am.  It was a perfect morning, clear, cool, no traffic, lot's of wildlife (luckily not in the road).  I felt great for not having ridden in ~2.5 months, but kept the pace fairly casual for the most part, though I cranked the final 10 flat miles feeling stronger as the ride progressed.  Had I not had to go into work, I would have kept going for a few more hours in the mountains, it was just one of those rides that I did not want to end.

I ended up with 67 miles on the day, 6,282 vertical feet, in 4:13 with an average HR of 139.  I still do not know if I won the $50 yet, but at this point, it would not matter either way, it was such a great day to be on the bike, the money would just be icing on the cake.

Also, I got a new camera for my upcoming 40th birthday, a Canon Elph 300 HS.  It is barely larger than my cell phone and has way more firepower than my old camera, so I hope to have it with me more often.  One of the many cool features is a 24mm wide angle lens.  At first I could not really tell the difference, but a few test shots revealed a big difference in the amount of "scene" it can take in vs. the old camera.  I'm pretty stoked on it, as I am a picture taking fiend (especially taking pictures of the twins).

Picture from the back deck using the new camera (24mm)

Same framing using the old camera (35mm)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday, 06/20/11 Green Mountain

Up/Down front 4 miles/2,276 vert./53:58 RT (33:34 up) Garmin Data

What a great run this evening!  Perfectly cool temperature, a bit of rain, overcast sky and I felt great, absolutely 0 achilles anything and no excuses.  I had no plan, just figured I would get on the trail and just run according to how I felt and it just so happened that I felt better than I have in a long long time.  I did not really pay attention to splits, just ran what felt smooth, flowing, comfortable and never really pushed too hard, just rolled with it.  My breathing was relaxed and my legs were rock solid. 

The summit came way too soon, where I was wishing I could have doubled the vertical and feel I would have maintained that same pace no problem.  This was one of the rare days lately where I wanted more instead of seeing the summit as an end of the suffering.  The down went really well too, I just cruised and felt very on top of things.  This was my fastest ascent and RT of the year, which I feel good about, but most importantly, the fact that it felt so easy was a huge confidence boost.  I was starting to feel a bit down on myself about lackluster training runs, but now I am realizing those poor runs were much more influenced by heat and poor timing (not to mention the achilles and inconsistency, but feel I "only" have inconsistency and thus timing to deal with).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

2011_06_18 S. Boulder Peak

~7.5 miles/3,000 vert./1:29:44 (50:33 up)  Garmin Data

I was getting ready for another baby jogger run and at the last minute, Homie called to invite me to run S. Boulder Peak, as Lori had offered to walk the girls with the jogger.  Score!  Thanks Lori!!!

I was having trouble getting my watch to get a satellite reading at the S. Mesa TH (not the first time at that TH for some reason) and told Homie to get started while I futzed around for a few minutes waiting for the watch, but finally gave up and started running.  1:45 in, I messed with the watch and flubbed it all up, so I stopped and waited another minute or two and it finally came to life and I was on my way.  I figured Homie was long gone, but I gave chase anyways, hoping that he would not have to wait too long for me at the summit. 

Despite the heat, I felt like I was moving reasonably well early on, but as the terrain steepened, my legs were starting to feel a little sluggish.  I also tripped and fell in front of a couple just as I started up Shadow.  It did not hurt, but I was embarrassed and knew they were thinking I was a dumb runner trying to go too fast (I have had an audience for ALL of my crashes on the trails over the years, go figure).  As a result, I was a bit pissed and sprinted up a very steep section and dug myself into a bit of oxygen debt. that I am not sure I really came back out of.  I finally caught sight of Homie about half way up Shadow (he had slowed to wait for me) and it took me a while to catch and pass him.

All the while I was doing watch split math, adding 1:45 to everything and knew I would sadly be very close to not breaking 50 minutes for the ascent.  I even dropped my bottle at the end to get after it, but really did not have much left to give and was suffering.  I ended up with a somewhat disappointing 50:33.  I jogged back down a ways to grab my bottle and meet Homie, then chased him back to the top.  We went a decent pace at times on the down, taking the Mesa Trail variation to look for the girls, but they were hanging out at the TH in the shade.

Anyone having trouble with blogger comments?

For the past few weeks (month?) I have been having a heck of a time commenting on blogger. I type up a nice and thoughtful response (or not), choose my google account under the "comment as" drop down. Then, one of 3 things happens.

1st scenario: I type a nice comment, select my google account, typically 3 or 4 times, THEN I get a jumble of letters/numbers for the security code (which I normally screw up at least once), then my comment will post.

2nd scenario: I type a nice comment, select my google account, then it dumps me over to the google sign in page, even though I am sure that I am signed in (can check gmail, post pictures to picasa, post or edit on any one of my blogs etc....). When this happens, I lose the comment that I had just typed and am then a combination of being frustrated and/or out of time to do it again, OR I type it up again (if it was a short comment) and still get kicked to the log in screen and lose it again.

3rd scenario: It works fine.

What gives? This happens on both my work and home computers, so I am guessing it is some sort of blogger setting or glitch, but I can’t really figure out a pattern or cause/effect as it is so random.

Does this happen to anyone else? Any thoughts or ideas?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday, 06/17/11 Boulder Creek Path

10.01 miles/538 vertical/1:13:28/7:20 pace Garmin Data

Headed to Boulder today with the girls for a run up the Boulder Creek path, starting from Scott Carpenter Park and ran up canyon to the point where the path came to an end.  Was feeling decent today, totally enjoying the run even though it was not on technical singletrack over mountains.  I actually have come to completely enjoy these runs with the girls in the jogger.  I enjoy their company and sharing the outdoor experiences with them, not to mention it is an awesome workout pushing a 65-70lb (and gaining) jogger, especially uphill with a headwind as was the case today.  Got going at a decent clip coming back down, clocking a 5:54 mile as I chased, passed and then distanced myself from a fast looking runner (the shocked look on his face when I passed him, pushing a double baby jogger and wearing a goofy sun hat bigger than Brownie's was priceless).  Effort today was on the high side of moderate overall (hard at times, mostly on the down and easy toward the end as I cooled down and tacked on another .6 for an even 10 miles).

Wednesday, 06/15/11 Golden Bear Peak

Golden Bear Peak, 13,010 ft.
4.35 miles/2,012 vert./3:39 Garmin Data
Partners:  Allison and Sierra

Parked on the West side of Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnel and started a bit before 8am.  As suspected, there is still a lot of snow in the basin, but made for easy Microspike cruising when frozen.  We headed directly up the partially melted steep hillside to the ridge just S. of the true summit of Golden Bear.  The true summit was just a short and easy walk from there.  Our plan was to head over to Hagar and the Citadel, but unfortunatly that was not in the cards today.  We just took our time, enjoying the clear (but a touch windy and cool) morning.  Headed to Silverthorne for some to go lunch, picknicked in Keystone by the river and then drove home over Loveland Pass and walked around up there for a bit.

Allison and Sierra starting off.  Allison's first peak in ~18 months

Looking down at the tunnel

Can you spot the 3 skiers?

(OK, tilted, just a little.... ;))

Loveland, Loveland Pass, Torreys, Grays

Golden Bear, Hagar (mostly hidden), Citadel

Hagar, Citadel

Looking down toward the tunnel on our way back

Sierra TEARING back across the valley after investigating some distant chirps

Sierra above Loveland Pass

A Basin


Sierra LOVES cooling off in the snow

Slow start to the wildflower season with all the snow, but I found a few

Tuesday, 06/1411 Green Mountain

Up/Down front 4.08 miles/2,425/1:31:50 RT Garmin Data

Easy hike with Allison in the evening.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday, 06/13/11 Green Mountain

Up/Down back 5.41 miles/2,330 vert./1:01:03 RT (37:36 up) Garmin Data

Solid effort today, but a piss poor result for the perceived effort.  I felt like I was moving well, early splits were encouraging, but things came a bit unraveled on the upper section.  My throat got all clammed up and it was like breathing through a straw.  It was also 90ish degrees at the start which was a bit oppressive.  Figured I would nail the descent to compensate for the crappy ascent, but that too was slower than hoped (smashing my knee on the big rock that fell in Gregory Canyon a few years ago did not do me any favors).  Still, it was great to be out.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Saturday, 06/11/11 Eben G to Chautauqua

~7.5 miles/1,200 vert./1:18 (as per Rob's Garmin Data, as my 305 had a dead battery even though I was sure it was fully charged)

The girls and I met up with fellow blogger Rob Timko and his wife Laurie (who recently moved here from NJ) at Eben G. Fine Park for a mostly casual run up to Chautauqua/Enchanted Mesa/Bluebell Road.  This might become a staple jogger run for getting in some vertical as it is smooth (paved or smooth gravel), though next time I may add on Sanitas Valley, or do this route twice (depending on how long the girls can hold out).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday, 06/10/11 Green Mountain

6.69 miles/2,463 vert./1:16 RT (51:42 up) Garmin Data

Met up with Scott J at the Gregory lot and headed up Gregory/Long Canyon/W. Ridge.  Scott and I talked the whole way up, but I was at my max conversation pace much of the time aside from a few rollers on W. Ridge.  Bumped into GZ at the 4-way jct. (planned) and we continued on to the top together, where we hung out for 6:57 (forgot to stop my GPS watch after I took a split).  Lot's to chat about and catching up to do with both Scott and GZ, great company on a great day.  The trip down I got a pretty good cramp in my abdomen and was having trouble holding pace, which seemed fast for some reason (even though it was 2-3 minutes slower than normal "fast" pace).  I think it had to do with talking, the cramp and maybe still feeling my long day at altitude on Weds. (even though that was a slow day).

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wednesday, 06/08/11 Mt. Argentine, Edwards, Ganley, McClellan

Mt. Edwards (13,850)
Argentine Peak (13,738)
McClellan Mtn.(13,587)
Ganley Mtn. (12,902)
Start: Bakerville
Partners:  Aron Ralston, Joe Grant, Sierra
15.89 miles/6,314 vertical/8:36:08 Garmin Data

With an extra day off of work this week, a good forecast, great partners lined up and Allison’s encouragement for me to get away for the day, I could not wait to the high mountains for the first time in more than nine months.  My intent was mainly to just get above tree line, have a good time and get re-acclimated, not really caring where we went as long as it was Sierra friendly and I did not have to wallow in snow. I have previously climbed all of these peaks, but they were all new for Joe and Aron had only climbed Edwards.

Aron had afternoon commitments, so to be sure we had plenty of time for his goal peak, Mt. Argentine, we got a cracking early start, meeting at Neptune in Boulder at 4am after just a few hours of fitful and broken sleep. Despite the early hour, we were all quite chatty and interesting conversation ensued about a wide variety of topics, which made the drive go by quite fast.

We started up the Stevens Gulch Road a bit before 5:30am, walked to the 3rd curve in the road and headed up the generally N. facing slopes to get above tree line. The hillside is steep, but fun and we did a great job of avoiding the increasingly prevalent patches of rotten snow. Above tree line, there is an (avoidable) initial steep pitch of somewhat loose scree and talus, but beyond that, it is smooth sailing on rolling class 1 grassy tundra. Snow along the ridge was frequent, but generally solid and made for reasonable walking if desired, though we avoided it in general unless it was necessary to cross.

Even though the pace was very casual, the looong ridge seemed to pass quickly as we enjoyed the morning, took pictures and continued interesting conversation. Due to time constraints, once below the final slopes to the summit of Edwards, Aron decided to side hill toward Argentine Pass and skip Edwards (since he had climbed it before), where Joe and I continued to the summit with the intent of meeting back up with Aron on the 2 mile traverse.

Joe and I spent a moment or two on Edwards taking pictures and pointing out peaks near and far, then we boogied toward Argentine to catch Aron. Our pace was quick and efficient, but somewhat casual at the same time (as I was in hiker mode for the day, carrying a large and overloaded pack).  I found myself pushing hard over the final few hundred vertical to get to the summit of Argentine, trying to catch Aron and Joe and was pretty much maxed out with the added 20+ lbs. (we all summited within seconds of one another).

The trip back was enjoyable but seemingly a bit longer than we all remembered. I felt fine, but was a bit parched by the end having only carried 3 liters of water for Sierra and I. The weather could not have been better, as it was warm enough for just a light fleece pullover, sunny, crystal clear with hardly any wind.

I figured that I would be sucking wind after 9 months not going higher than S. Boulder Peak at 8,500 feet, but was pleasantly surprised to feel very good all day, as high as we went and considering we were above 13k for several hours (with no ill affects during or after).  I was not sure how Sierra would do either, after being so gimpy last fall and only having made weekly trips to Green Mountain.  Last fall, I was afraid that her days in the mountains were over because of the way she was having such trouble simply getting up and down the stairs, but she was awesome today and only lagged a just a little bit toward the end (which she would have done even at age 2), but I think that was mainly due to the warm sun and running out of water.  It meant so much to me to spend time with her in our favorite place.

What a great day with great company. Hopefully I can get out there again soon, as there is no better place in my mind than the high mountains of Colorado in June.

Our route outlined in red (descent variation in green)

Aron as we reached tree line


Torreys (r. of center), Grays (l)

Sierra could not have been happier cruising her favorite terrain

Grays and Torreys from Edwards

Still PLENTY of snow

Joe taking a few shots with Square Top in the background

Grays/Torreys/Edwards from just above Argentine Pass