Sunday, December 13, 2009

Week Ending Dec 13

Mon - 6.5 miles (1,500') to top of Horsetooth and back. It was bitterly cold out and the conditions underfoot where terrible for running, but I just couldn't face the mill, not that I really gave it much thought. Having grown up in the UK where it's frequently wet, but rarely snowy, heavy snowfalls are still something of a novelty to me. Sure I had plenty of nasty winters in New York, but in the city snow is just annoying and nasty. In the mountains, it takes on a much more serene and peaceful beauty, so I was actually pretty excited to get out into my neighboring and untouched winter wonderland for a short trip up to the top of Horsetooth and back. The last scramble to the top of the rock was interesting under heavy drifts, but the snow was so light and dry I could just brush it away to expose the rock where necessary. Little hairier on the way down, but no major issues. Sun kept trying to poke through, but never really did. A monochromatic afternoon.

Tues - 7 miles (1,500'). Up Horsetooth, down Wathan back on Spring Creek/Falls. Fresh couple of inches overnight and continued frigid temperatures, but I still couldn't face the mill. The sun was partially out, so the decision was an easy one.

H'tooth from Wathan.
Don't usually bother, but decided to take a quick peek at the falls.
Worth the detour.
I had my own frozen falls going on (sorry, pretty gross).
But not as gross as Monday!
Wednesday was more glacier than icicle.
Thursday was cold, but not beardcicle cold.
Friday I was dressed for the 14 degrees the weather man was talking about, but with the sun it couldn't have been more than a couple of degrees below freezing. Ended up seriously over-dressed: long johns and everything.

Weds - 9 miles (2,150'). 1:50. HTH course from home. My Highgear watch found an extra 250 feet of climbing today than it has in the past. I think it was because I was moving at a decidedly slower pace than I usually do on this route, so it was better able to pick up the smaller bumps in the trail between readings. Ridiculously cold again today, although the sun helped significantly. Feet were frozen to the point where I thought frostbite might be an issue, but I started getting feeling in the toes towards the top of the first climb so decided to continue on rather than head back. Followed my tracks from Tuesday to Wathan and then cut new ones on Westridge. Probably six inches of sink with four inches compacted on each footfall: one hell of a workout. Followed what I thought were big cat tracks for a while off Herrington. The animal was clearly hunting out a resting spot as tracks led from one shelter to another. Towers had been plowed which was a very welcome surprise after my slog across the ridge. I think there was some kind of controlled burn going on somewhere up Stout beyond Herrington because the air was pretty thick with smoke.
H'tooth from Herrington. Can you see the trail?
Double the work on the ups.
Cat tracks? Maybe, maybe not. Kind of look like deer tracks from the photo, but definitely weren't. Snow was so fine and dry, the prints weren't great, but there were definitely pads and claws on the foot.

Thurs - 17.5 miles (1,200'). 2:13. Couldn't face any more trudge, so opted for roads. Out and back to end of Redstone Canyon on snow-packed dirt road. 17:30 to Redstone, then 7:54, 7:52, 7:10, 7:54, 7:50, 7:42, 6:50, 6:57, 6:48, 7:05, 7:16, 7:14, 7:16; 19:44 back up the hill. Neglected to bring any fuel or water on this run - not quite sure why. Started running out of gas about half way back on Redstone. Views of back side of Horsetooth from Redstone are pretty awesome. Yeah, I know, overkill on the pics.

Fri - 19 miles (1,500'). 2:29. As Thursday, but tacked on a bit extra with Milner loop. Been a while since I put two days like this back to back on roads. I'd be lying if I said the last few miles of today's run didn't hurt - they did. Seems my body is just not made for roads. I also got a reminder on Redstone of one of the many reasons why I hate to run roads. Coming around a blind corner I had to dive off the side of the road (into a snow bank) to avoid being hit by a truck. Also a good reason to leave the tunes at home. I was so unmotivated to do this run, however, that I felt I needed music to help get it done. 17:14 to Redstone, then 8:00, 7:58, 7:59, 8:22 (including dive into ditch), 8:10, 8:06, 6:55, 7:17, 7:26, 7:17, 7:06, 7:16, 7:30 & 32:00 slog home via Milner.

Sat - 6 miles easy (500'). Milner.

Sun - 7 miles. Xmas Classic 4 mile race. 23:03. Two mile warm up with Pete and Alex, then mile cool down.

Total: 72 miles (8,300').

Some tough miles in there this week with heavy trudge miles Monday through Wednesday then longer road miles Thursday and Friday followed by a a slippery road race Sunday. Picked up a bit of focus to my training on Wednesday as I finally decided to get off the fence on Bandera, which I have now committed to running. This will probably be my one and only shot at trying to qualify for Western States. If I don't finish top two and secure a place there then it's on to other running goals for the year. Figure I'll give myself two weeks of solid mileage upcoming and then taper down for two weeks before the race. Also got my appos in for Hardrock and Wasatch. If it all pans out then this could turn out to be a heavy 100-mile year. Of course, I could miss out on both lotteries, not finish top two at Bandera, and still be looking for a 100 miler to run. Whatever happens, I don't think it will be Leadville as I would much rather do the up and down version of Pikes Peak which is the same weekend.


  1. I took a look at Bandera - looks like you should have a good shot at the top 2. But you never know who may decide to show up. I guess you will be a little tired for ghosttown then, but I reckon you should win since the faster folk are dropping like flies (I'm out as well).

    I figure I'm 0-2 on lotteries so far so maybe third time will be a charm for Hardrock...

  2. Nick - hope you're not injured. What's up with Ghost Town?

  3. Great shots of the beard. I just spent 58 minutes longer than usual looking for a new header photo of a xc skiier with frozen spit/snot. Guess I was looking in the wrong place.

  4. Those are some of the best snotsicle shots ever.

  5. I'm not sure exactly what is going on - but I havn't been able to run more then 3-4 miles since the first week right after Thanksgiving and even that was pushing it. Even after taking a bunch of time off after 5-10 minutes of running my shin/calf gets very sore to the point that I can barely run...not sure exactly what is going on but I suspect it may be a stress fracture. Unfortunately it will not be until Jan. until I can see a doctor due to travel.

    Anyway, good luck at Bandera and ghosttown!

  6. Nick - Hope it's nothing serious. Rest up and give it the time it needs. A bit of forced rest is probably a good thing anyway after the season you've had. Time to hop back on the bike maybe.

  7. Nice job avoiding the mill!
    Agreed, the backside view of HT from Redstone is one of the best, underappreciated views around town.

  8. Hey, I saw your comment about the snotcicles on Lucho's site and thought I'd pop over.

    Awesome, and interesting, to see the Harrietsham 'end of '09' event on your race list. Such a list of long, far and wide evenst for this year and next and your last race of the year is 5 miles up the road from here.

    You visiting England for Christmas?

  9. Hey Chris - yeah, I'll be heading home this weekend. Grew up in Canterbury and my parents still live there. I think the Harrietsham race is all but sold out, but you should look to run the Saltwood Boxing Day Run if you're around. One of my all time favorites.

    Got some fun routes planned for the Christmas visit including a run from Canterbury to Ramsgate via public footpaths. Did Canterbury to Deal last year on the North Downs way. Got lost somewhere along the way and ended up having to run roads the last six or seven miles into Deal.

  10. thanks for replying.

    We have plans over christmas getting together with family so probably cannot get down to Saltwood (Dover?). I know the RD for the Harrietsham run, used to belong to same running club - Larkfield AC, so I might ask if he can squeeze me in.

    I know Canterbury well but, I come from just outside of Maidstone myself, that North Downs way to Deal run sounds great fun, did you run back too?

  11. Saltwood's near Hythe. Nice little village.

    Maidstone, hmmm, guess that makes you a Kentish Man - Man of Kent myself.

    On the North Downs, nah, met my parents at Deal Pier. I was pretty much done - it was a good 24/25 miles.

    Hope to see you in Harrietsham.

  12. Nope, I'm a Man of Kent too, born on the 'undefeated' side of the Medway!

    I know Deal Pier pretty well, fished there many a time!