Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday, 09/27/11 Green Mountain

Up 3rd access/NE/Greenman, Down Greenman/Saddle/Amphi
4.7 miles/2,462 vert./1:26:06 (42 up)/147 avg. HR Garmin Data

Got an e-mail from Tony in the morning expressing interest in meeting up for a lap on Green. We met at Chautauqua at 4pm and just as I was pulling in the lot, Aron surprised me by calling to say he was on his way, but we were I was anxious to get moving in order to get home on time, so we loosely planned on crossing paths on upper Greenman.

Headed out of Chautauqua at a light jog, busy catching up, as we have not run together all year due to Tony’s back to back injuries and/or conflicting schedules. Headed up to the 3rd access trail at a fast hike, then continued to power hike/crawl the informal trail/bushwhack/obstacle course from just W. of the back of the 3rd to the upper section of the NE ridge (where I slowed us down by getting us a little "off route" through more deadfall than necessary). 

Made the summit in 42, hung out for a few, then headed back down Greenman/Saddle/Amphi at a casual walk. Bumped into Aron below the log stairs and encouraged him to push hard and catch us on the down. Bumped into JP on lower Saddle Rock and chatted with him for a moment.  Unfortunately, Aron was unable to catch us as we hiked, but chased us down in his truck by the time we got to Chautauqua where we hung out and chatted for a while. A great fall evening with great company.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday, 09/26/11 Green Mountain

Up Amphi/Saddle/Greeman  Down NE/1st access/Saddle/Amphi

3.76 miles/2,364 vert./1:23:11 (52up)/116 avg HR Garmin Data

Met up with Aron and Jim P. after work for a very casual lap on Green.  We kept our eyes peeled for bears, but I think we were yapping too much and making too much noise.  Beautiful evening, fall colors, surprisingly cool for such a warm day and most of all, great company.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday, 09/25/11 Davidson Mesa

7.36 miles/230 vert./1:02/8:27 pace/133 avg. HE

Mellow run with the babies in the jogger after work.  Was quite warm for a late Sept. evening.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday, 09/24/11 Local Run

Easy dog jog/baby jogger run.  4.09 miles/42:21/10:22 pace/114 avg HR

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday, 09/23/11 Bear/SoBo Night Run

Fern Canyon from Cragmoor 5.88 miles/3,300 vert./2:06 RT/136 avg. HR Garmin Data

Met Brandon at the Cragmoor TH at 8pm.  Headed up Shanahan/Fern at a casual moderate pace.  Legs felt a little heavy from the double baby carry the previous day, so it was good to keep the run/hike mellow (not to mention, despite having a great lighting setup, I am a bit clumsy at night on trails as steep and technical as Fern).

Made the summit in 52 and hung out for a while taking in the awesome view of the Front Range lights.  I suggested hitting up South Boulder Peak, since we were so close and all and Brandon was game.  13 more minutes and we were taking another long break on the summit without the lights on, letting our eyes adjust and taking the in the perfectly calm and warm evening, felt more like July than late September.  On the way back to Bear, I suggested heading over to Green, but Brandon was not feeling it after his month long hiatus.  I was bummed at first, as I really wanted to extend the run, but was kind of glad to be done by the time I got home.

It was great to have Brandon's company and conversation, which made the outing much more enjoyable and I was not constantly wondering what might be lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce and eat me.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday, 09/22/11 Green Mountain

Up/Down back 5.31 miles/2,352 vert./2:13 (1:20up) 123 avg. HR Garmin Data

Super easy (well, as easy as it can be carrying twins and dealing with a leashed dog (for a while)) hike up/down Green with Amelie, Isabelle and Sierra.  Started off the hike with a bit of a thrill, as there was significant rustling in the bushes on the left side of the trail about a minute into the hike up Gregory.  It sounded like multiple bears, but I could only see the back of one, maybe not even 10 feet away.  Instead of being enthralled like last time, I was scared $hitless and got the hell out of there.

It was an amazing afternoon, clear, calm, perfect temperature, both of the girls and I had an amazing time as  we laughed, chattered and made all kinds of nonsensical noises.  The leaves are slowly starting to change and is looking/smelling more and more like fall.

Spent a few minutes on the summit taking pictures and drinking water.  Bumped into Alex Robertson whom I met on Cyclone/Carbonate 3 years ago (he recognized me and introduced himself, as I probably stand out a bit carrying twins ;)).

Took it easy on the down and made a lot of noise as I got closer to the TH, as I did not want to see that bear again.



All smiles

Surrounded by beautiful girls


Tuckered out


Starting to see some color

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday, 09/20/11 Green Mountain

Up/Down Front 4 miles/2,283 vert./53:59 (33:52 up)/167 avg. HR Garmin Data

Solid run, was hoping to go a little faster on the up, but just did not really have the legs.  Pushed somewhat, but did not really dig too deep.  The descent was quick, but somewhat conservative.  Great evening, nice and cool with a bit of sprinkles near the summit.  Since I saw the bear last week, I have been on the lookout as I cruise the lower half of the mountain, simultaneously wanting to see one and hoping not to surprise one while moving fast.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday, 09/19/11 Green Mountain in 1.24 miles

Up Front (kind of), Down Front (a little bit more)

2.99 miles RT/2,282 vert./58:32 (37:52up) 155 avg HR Garmin Data

For kicks and something a little different (and partially inspired by GZ's joking at the party last night about me liking the steep stuff), I just felt like hiking in the woods and was able to explore some new territory that I had not yet seen (much of it within shouting distance of the usual route).  Started up Amphitheater at a very easy jog/hike type of effort.  About 90 seconds or so before topping out on Amphi, I spotted a relatively clear way up the steep hillside to the left and started doing an ascending traverse in a SW direction.  Scampered over and around some large rocks, up a nice stable boulder field and eventually reconnected with the Saddle Rock Trail below the 1st Flatiron jct..  From there, I crossed the spring and immediately headed up the fall line toward the NE ridge trail.  This by far was the steepest climbing of the hike and I was wishing I had gloves and microspikes.  I could not even go up on my toes and had to cut the side edge of my shoe to not slip too much.

I continued up Greenman after NE for a few minutes, then after the "snow fence" and the two micro-switchbacks, I beelined for the summit, never crossing the trail again.  This was by far the worst section and I got pretty scraped up crawling up and over deadfall and through/under a lot of bushes (I also got completely covered in burrs which took some time to extract).  I was happy to see 1.24 miles on my watch, a full .76 less than the normal route.  I still think I could shave another .1 or so with some work, but I will at least wear gloves and maybe long sleeve/pants next time.

Descended standard NE ridge route.

Thinking about it a little more, this ascent was a little shorter than Sanitas with ~1,000 more vertical.  While on this hike/run, I kept thinking about the terrain that I love most and I narrowed it down to ~2,000-2,500 feet of vertical gain per mile (on a trail with good footing) is my absolute favorite.  I am still dreaming of a 5 mile long incline.

Sunday, 09/18/11 No running, but lot's of eating

Brandon and family hosted the second annual runner/blogger gathering at their palatial estate in Longmont.  Many of the usual suspects showed with their families/significant others/dogs, GZ, Justin, Lucho, JP, Jim P, Nick P, Nick C.  It was great to catch up with everyone in person, where we did not talk about running once, we just discussed work, politics and religion ;).  My only regret was that I did not get to chat with everyone a bit more, but I was getting pulled away often for baby duty, hopefully we can all catch up more on a run soon.  Thanks again to Brandon and Kim for hosting, we had an awesome time.

"So, what do you think of the NYSE performance these past few weeks?"

"I follow NASDAQ personally"

GZ bowing down to Sir Nick

JP explains the fine art of baggage pickup after an Ironman/week long business trip.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saturday, 09/17/11 S. Mesa Baby Hike

5.19  miles/1,107 vert.

Easy hike with Allison, Sierra and the girls from S. Mesa TH, Mesa, Big Bluestem, Mesa, Shadow Canyon S. Spur, Homestead.  It was hot, then cold/rainy, then warm again which had us constantly debating which way to go.  Amelie lost a hat on Big Bluestem, so I did end up getting in about a half mile of running as I ran back down to search (legs were a little worked from recent baby jogger pushing).  I originally was pushing for a SoBo RT, but was glad to have stuck to the lower/easier trails as I felt like I needed an easy day.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday, 09/16/11 Coal Creek Path

8.24 miles/315 vert./1:03/7:41 min/mi/150 avg. HR Garmin Data

I had to pick up some bike parts at Joe's Bike Shop in Lafayette, so figured I would make a run out of it.  My legs were a bit tired from yesterday, so I originally planned to just run the 2.2 miles there, then back.  Once I got running though, I felt surprisingly good, so after running my errand, I headed down to the Coal Creek path and made a nice loop.  Like last night, I contemplated going a bit longer, but I had to get the girls home and ready for bed.

Thursday, 09/15/11 Davidson Mesa

7.4 miles/217 vert./52:51/7:08 pace/avg. HR 161 Garmin Data

Started from the house around 5:45pm and it was quite cool and even sprinkling a bit, perfect for a run.  Felt like pushing a bit more than normal and even though the numbers hardly reflect it, this was a somewhat hard run from my home out to Davidson Mesa and back.  I wanted to tack on a few extra miles, but it was quickly approaching the girls bed time and I had to get them home and ready for bed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tuesday, 09/13/11 Green Mountain/Bear Sighting

Up/Down Front 4 miles/2,281 vert./1:01 (37 up/23 down) 142 avg. HR Garmin Data

I felt somewhat sluggish and my legs were a little heavy, so I paced myself accordingly and ran a mellow-ish/moderate effort on the up, then easy on the down, stopping occasionally to do a little impromptu trail work on upper Greenman.

I was running on lower Amphitheater, ~30 seconds or less from finishing my run at the Gregory lot, when for some reason, I averted my normally focused gaze from the rocky/technical trail, looked up the hillside to my left and saw a reasonably large bear (certainly larger than most people at least and a lot bigger than I). Yes, that is right, my first bear in Boulder OSMP and 3rd that I have seen in Colorado.

I stopped a 'safe' distance below and watched it chewing on some low hanging fruit and it seemed to not be at all bothered by my presence. After about a minute, it sauntered down the talus to the trail (diagonally away from me) and began walking up Amphitheater, so I of course followed (again, at a 'safe' distance).

After it had walked about 50 or so feet up the trail, it ambled off into the bushes on the left and found some more berries to eat. Now only about ~30 or so feet away, I carefully peeked at it, very much on alert, but at the same time, feeling a surprising sense of peace. After a few minutes (seemed like longer), I felt as though I had intruded enough and headed back down the trail, giddy and excited about having seen this amazing animal up close. Almost back at the TH, an older woman was walking up the trail asking if I had seen the Bear that some people in the lot had informed her of. I told her of its location (still VERY close to the trail) and advised her of an alternate route. At that point, she did not care about her planned hike and just wanted to see the bear.

I offered to join her for the minute or so walk back up the trail, where it was still there, now on its’ hind legs, trying to reach something that smelled good up in a large pine tree. We watched for a few more minutes and I was comforted by the fact that I could run much faster than this lady. She snapped a few pictures with her phone (none of which came out, despite our proximate distance and largely unobstructed view) when her phone made a beep that caught the bear’s attention. The bear then made some sort of loud huffy hiss noise and pounced a bit. I hardly saw any of it, as I was focused on getting out of there.

Fortunately, the bear was just telling us to go away in a nice way and that is exactly what we did. I bid adieu to the woman and ran back down to the Gregory lot, where I stopped to tell some climbers about the bear, but soon heard a woman yelling and screaming just up the trail, so I ran back up a short way to find the woman running down. She stated that she had gone back up to try and fetch her poles that she ditched in the trail (and presumably catch another peek at the bear), when it started walking down the trail straight toward her and it freaked her out a bit.

I learned a few obvious lessons today. First, after seeing the aggressive rattlesnake on the trail on Saturday and reading Joe’s report of the mountain lion stalking him recently, I was reluctant to wear my headphones before the run. I really only wear them, maybe 10-20 percent of my runs and that is only listening to NPR or other various podcasts on a low volume, but for the most part, I want to be fully in touch with my surroundings. As if the first two things (the snake and Joe’s run in with the lion were not enough), this was the final straw. I am not sure I would have heard the bear either way, as I just happened to look up and see it munching, but had it been a few minutes later, I could have surprised it in the bushes next to the trail, where every millisecond would count. You need to be able to hear what is going on around you.

Second, even though I thought the bear was un-bothered by my presence and I did keep a respectful distance, I should have just paused to look once and kept going. I felt bad that I had gone back up with the woman and ultimately caused it a bit of distress, or at least annoyance with us. I know they see a lot of people on these trails, but keeping it to a minimum for them is much to their benefit and is really not safe for us (though at the time, the temptation to watch was great and it seemed quite benign, like a large dog or something).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday, 09/11/11 Week in Review

Tuesday, 09/06/11


Wednesday, 09/07/11 Bike

Evening mountain bike ride towing the girls.  7 miles/150 vert../45 min

Thursday, 09/08/11 Bike

Ran some errands with the girls towing them behind the mountain bike.  Extended the ride a bit as it was so much fun and was a perfect day.  15.55 miles/662 vert./1:49

Friday, 09/09/11  Bike

Had so much fun pulling the girlies in the Chariot the past few days, that I decided to tow them on the road bike and go a bit further.  Messed around shooting some video too.  24 miles/800 vert./1:43

Saturday, 09/10/11 South Boulder Peak/Bear Peak and Bike Ride

Sobo/Bear 7.23 miles/3,259 vert./2:55

Allison and I had a rare day off together and an even more rare day without the babies, as the grandparents offered to watch them for a good part of the day.  Along with Sierra, we headed up Homestead to Shadow on a perfect day.  We went a casual pace and spent a good amount of time at water stops for Sierra and had some nice long summit breaks.  As we neared the end of Shadow Canyon on the descent, the girl that was walking about a minute ahead of us, turned back to warn us of a rattlesnake in the trail.  I had everyone stay put while I went ahead to check it out, and sure enough, there was a small, but VERY pissed off and aggressive rattler in the middle of the trail in strike position.  From a safe distance, I tossed a few pea size rocks in it's direction to scare it off, but that did nothing.  After a few minutes of observing and taking photos/video, it was evident that we either go back up over Bear Peak and down Fern Canyon/Mesa (something I almost voted for), or get a long tree branch and coax it off the trail.  I was able to move the snake off to the side and hold it at bay while the ladies and dogs passed.  This would have been quite the scare had I been running, as the snake was in a very shaded area/blind curve where I would have been going quite fast.

Very pissed off snake!

Another trail hazard (which is why I try to avoid running on these peaks on very windy days)

The wind blew this down a few years ago on a Winter day, one where I bailed very nearby on the same day.

Perfect day

After our hike, we loaded the girls into the Chariot and went out for another 90 minutes or so of biking around Louisville/Lafayette.  After 4.5 hours of outdoor activity, I was bogging down a bit towing the trailer.  It is a lot of work towing ~70+ lbs on a bike, harder than running I think, as you pedal your ass off and feel like you are getting nowhere sometimes.   14.3 miles/364 vert./1:23

Sunday, 09/11/11 Bear/SoBo

5.84 miles/3,296 vert./1:24:47 (40:59 to true Bear Summit/9:50 to SoBo/8:54 back to Bear/25:13 back to Cragmoor)/163 avg. HR Garmin Data

In addition to having a headache and generally feeling out of it, my legs felt heavy and tired all day at work, a direct result of a week and a half of carrying two babies at a time, pushing babies in the jogger, pulling babies behind a bike etc., it was finally catching up with me.  I debated just skipping my run, but it was too nice of a day and I can never pass up a free opportunity to get outside.  Not to mention, I needed it more for my head than anything.

The run turned out better than I expected.  I went a moderate to almost hard pace at times, never really pushing, but just letting the run come to me and I felt like I was making decent progress despite my initial reservations.  I also thought quite a bit about the events 10 years ago....

10 years ago today, I, along with the rest of the nation, watched in horror as the tragic events in New York, DC and Pennsylvania played out on live TV.  The entire day, though crystal clear, calm and perfect, contrasted heavily with the events on the East coast and seemed like a nightmare.  After spending almost the entire day glued to the TV set, I could not take it anymore, so I called my lifelong friend Joe, who was living in Boulder at the time, to see if he wanted to escape for a hike up Bear and S. Boulder Peaks to regain at least a shred of normalcy.

The hike up Fern Canyon from Cragmoor was eerily quiet.  You don’t really notice on regular days how much noise pollution there is from planes, cars, buses, trains, loud people yapping, etc…., but on 9/11/01, there were no planes flying, no horns honking and the difference was a stark contrast to every other day. 

There were a surprising number of people on the trails for a late Tuesday afternoon/evening (seems like many were out for the same reasons), most of whom we saw in Fern Canyon and we stopped and exchanged friendly words with everyone.  A rare time where we were all feeling a bit more compassion for those around us and shared a need to restore faith in humanity.

We continued over Bear and on to South Boulder Peak, where we sat on the summit for more than an hour, all by ourselves, remarking how silent it was, each in our own meditative thoughts, occasionally sharing a word or two.  Tears may have been shed.

As the sun began to set, we collected ourselves and began the long walk back home.  Though we could never entirely forget what had happened that day, just getting outside and connecting with our natural surroundings really helped to begin the healing process.

And so it was today, I ran the same route and it was a real boost mentally and physically.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Monday, 09/05/11 Green Mountain

Up Back/Down Front 4.83 miles/2,343 vert./1:12:06 136 avg. HR Garmin Data

It felt like summer was back and my legs were pretty heavy from a long weekend of vertical baby hauling and a few runs thrown in.  Not being one to pass up an increasingly rare opportunity to get outside, I plodded up Gregory on tired legs.  Took a minor diversion over to the Realization Point TH to get a Garmin split to the summit.  Bonked a bit after the cabin (damn, I meant to put that gel in my pocket) and eventually made it to the top in 46.  Took it easy on the down.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sunday, 09/04/11 Green Mountain and Royal Arch

Green Mountain:  Up/Down 1st/2nd Access/Greenman from Chautauqua 4.33 miles/2,588 vert./1:06:55 (40:24 up) Garmin Data

Royal Arch 3.23 miles/1,494 vert./1:41 Garmin Data

What a perfect afternoon/evening, warm but not hot, cool but not cold, sunny, calm and starting to feel/see a hint of fall.  The trails were crazy crowded with people of all types as they usually are in September when the students are back, so there was quite a bit of crowd dodging lower down, but for some reason this all adds to the enjoyment on certain days.  This is becoming one of my favorite routes.  A nice smooth warmup, then steep and technical rocky trail with many switchbacks, to the back of the First Flatiron, them some very steep and technical off trail running, routefinding and then a quick finish on the Greenman Trail.  Though I have done this route many times, more and more I am getting every step dialed through the "off trail" section and hardly even have to think about where I am going anymore.  I like that this route is a bit more of a challenge than the usual routes.  I started the run fairly conservative, trying to determine if I was feeling the weekend of double baby carrying/pushing.  I felt it a little, but mostly, I felt light and springy not having two babies strapped to me and upped the pace as I went and it turned into a reasonably solid effort.  The descent was somewhat mellow, never really pushing, just cruising and enjoying.

After my run, I met Allison, Amelie, Isabelle and Sierra at Chautauqua where we sat in the soft grass watching a wedding while snacking on pretzels and formula before taking a hike up to Royal Arch.  We heard from numerous people descending of a bear(s) along the way, so we took our time, trying to catch a glimpse.  At one point, we could hear something heavy moving around in the bushes in the drainage below the trail, which we were sure was a bear, but were unable to get a good look.  It had been a while since I had been to Royal Arch and it involved a bit more climbing than I remember, but I was very happy with it, as it was a perfect day, I felt great (as it is so much easier carry "just" one baby) and was in no hurry to get home, since home was with me on the trail.  The girls got a lot of compliments as always and I continue to be impressed with how well they handle these outdoor adventures, as they rarely if ever fuss.  It gives me such great joy to watch them, as their big blue eyes dart around taking in their surroundings, completely absorbing the environment, making cute noises, reaching out to touch things, grabbing on to me....  I am convinced that they will soon come to love nature as much as we do, if they are not there already.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Saturday, 09/03/11 Green Mountain Full Double Baby Carry PR

Up/Down front 4 miles/2,282 vert./1:45 RT (57:56 up) 135 avg. HR Garmin Data

OK, a PR was a given, since I have never done this before....  ;)

Day 3 in a row of baby duty, combined with cooler temperatures, had me itching to get in a bit of a longer hike carrying the girls.  After juggling conflicting naps and eating schedules, we finally got out the door a little after 2:30 and got on the trail at 3:02pm.  Heading up Amphitheater was a bit of a grunt and even though the temperature was relatively cool, it still felt hot having a baby on either side of me.  I did not go super hard on this, as to not make the girls uncomfortable, or risk injury to any of us, but it was a deliberately swift walk with the loose intention of getting to the summit in under an hour.  My HR stayed in the ~150s for the climb, but it felt like more than that, probably because my body is just not used to such an effort and was regulating itself a bit.

Both Amelie and Isabelle really seemed to enjoy themselves and did not fuss once, they just looked around, smiled, chatted and slept occasionally.

The descent was a bit of a challenge carrying that much weight down the often steep trail, as the impact is much more static (vs. the more dynamic stesses of the ascent).  I was super careful to not take a fall and not put too much force on my joints, yet was surprised to have made it down 10 minutes quicker than I went up.

Of course we got a lot of attention and comments from the large number of hikers on the trail as I passed.  I sort of felt like a circus act or something, based on the attention we got and felt like one of those "only in Boulder" anomalies.

As fun as this was though, I think I will seek out less steep routes when carrying 2 babies, as it is just plain hard on the steep stuff.  I enjoy the challenge, but I think over time, this could be detrimental for my joints and ligaments.

Amelie (front), Isabelle (back)

Friday, 09/02/11 Boulder Creek Path

6.2 miles/243 vert./53:08 Garmin Data up/Garmin Data down

Rob T was itching to settle a bet he had with a friend who said there was no way he could run a 5k at sub 7:30 pace, but did not necessarily specify whether or not it could be downhill, so Rob figured he would give it a shot on the gentle slope of the Boulder Creek Path.  We had been talking for a while about getting out for a run, so I offered to help pace/encourage him as I tagged along pushing the girls in the Chariot.  We started from Scott Carpenter Park a bit after 5:30pm and headed 3.1 miles up at a casual warm up pace, with a convenient turn around spot exactly at the top of the rise before the underpass/dirt section of the path.

We made good time heading down and Rob seemed to be handling the pace just fine, running somewhere in the 6+ minute range for the first mile and banking a bit of time for later.  Our watches seemed to not be in perfect sync, but I had 7:13 pace and 22:23 for the 5k, though his stats differed just slightly.  Either way, he did it with ease.  Nice work Rob!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday, 09/01/11 Green Mountain

Finally attempted the double baby carry up Green today with Isabelle in the baby backpack and Amelie in the Ergo Baby worn on the front.  For this trial run, we drove up Flagstaff to the Realization Point trailhead for just the upper half of the mountain via the Ranger Trail.  Both of the girls did great and did not fuss once, so maybe next time we will start from the bottom (which I considered today, but was not practical with the dog and dog leash requirements).

Untitled from Jeff Valliere on Vimeo.