Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, 08/09/2011 Grays (14,270) and Torreys (14,267)

Grays and Torreys from Bakerville
13.96 miles
5,071 vert.
12:45 pace
164 avg. HR
Garmin Data

Was looking to get in one last solid high altitude run in before Pikes and decided to head up for the usual lap on Grays and Torreys. I have ascended from I-70 a few times running, where I got a ride back down from the summer TH, hiked the round trip a few times in various seasons and ran the round trip once with GZ, Justin and Claude back in 2008, where my splits equaled 2:50 (but overall time was a bit more than that with stops and such). So aside from getting in a good workout, I figured that 2:50 would be a good goal number to shoot for.

Unable to sleep, I was up at the crack of 4:30am and took my time getting ready, as there was really no reason for an alpine start with a stellar forecast and a quick round trip planned. Headed out the door at 5:2? and started my run at exactly 7am. From the first few steps, I had a feeling that I was not at my best and within a quarter mile, I knew that my legs were just not all there. I quickly recalibrated my intentions and decided that I would just not push too hard and run at a more comfortable pace and just enjoy the morning.

I arrived at the summer TH in 32 minutes which was a bit slower than normal and kept on up the trail, now passing large numbers of hikers and hearing the usual comments as I passed (all positive and encouraging). I never felt bad early on, just not quite 100%, but I was now feeling a bit better and warmed up. My splits were just a few minutes off of PR and I contemplated digging in and chasing numbers, but I was really enjoying the steady cruise and I just had a gut feeling that not killing myself was the right thing to do at the time even though I had more to give.

At the last moment, to make the run a bit more interesting (and perhaps to avoid a discouraging comparison of my 1:29 PR up Grays), I decided to summit Torreys first (which I think adds a few minutes vs. topping out on Grays first). The traverse over to Grays from Torreys was relatively mellow (18 minutes vs. the usual 15) and I rolled over the top with just a short pause, with hopes of making up some time with a good descent. My coordination and footwork were solid and I easily cruised the upper sections and made it down to the summer TH in 37 minutes, never pushing too hard, but never letting up either.

Once back on the dirt road for the remaining 3 mile descent, I pushed at times, though backed off intermittently as my mind wandered (most of the time going ~7:15 pace, but saw low 6 pace over the last ½ mile). I felt great and relatively fresh by the time I got back to the car which was encouraging and felt as though I could have gone for much longer. Even though my total time was 2:58, several minutes of that was from short summit stops, pausing to mess with gear, washing my hands in the creek etc….., as I never stopped my watch. Moving time was 2:52, but I think realistically it is more like 2:54 or 2:55, so I was not too far off of my initial goal. In the end and I think I was ultimately better off for it by not beating myself up and to focus on pacing, fueling and thus feeling so much more fresh at the end.


Start in Bakerville: 0:00

Summer TH: 32

Torreys: 1:40

Grays: 1:58-59

Summer TH: 2:36

Finish: 2:58