Sunday, November 29, 2009

Week Ending Nov. 29

Mon - 0

Tues - 10.5 miles (2,700'). 1:36. Horsetooth - Westridge - Spring Creek - Wathan - Horsetooth - home. Never run this particular route before, but it's definitely a great and relatively pain free way to get some good climbing done on limited miles. Felt great today, like really good.

Weds - 10.5 miles (2,700'). 1:41. As yesterday but slower. Wanted to at least try and save something for what I hope will be pie day on Thursday.

Thurs - 7 miles. 3 mile warm up, 4 mile race. Pie secured.

Fri - 10.5 miles (2,700'). 1:41. As Monday. Legs were complete molasses. Little bit sore in achilles/lower calf area. Ground it out.

Sat - 20.5 miles (4,900'). 3:29. Rock to Rock to Rock. Home - Horsetooth - Westridge - Mill Creek - Howard - Arthur's Rock trail to parking lot - East Valley - Mill Creek - Westridge - Horsetooth - home. This was a tough workout on tired legs, but I got it done safe in the knowledge that I've got an easy week coming up.

A new Horsetooth/Lory route for me, and it was all about racking vertical. Three climbs and three descents with 3-4 miles of rolling. The climbs go 1,200', 1,000', 1,500'. Went from my house into the park and then straight up on the Horsetooth trail (1,200') to the Westridge traverse for two miles of rolling, then the loose, rocky descent on Mill Creek into Lory and then up Howard (my favorite trail in Lory - killer reservoir/hogback views) to Arthur's Rock (1,000'). Straight down on Arthur's Rock trail all the way to the parking lot, and then short stint on East Valley to the Mill Creek connector for the 1,500' haul up Mill Creek and back down to upper Horsetooth parking via Westridge and Horsetooth hiking trail.

I figured about 19 miles out and back from the parking lot with a touch under 5k of climbing. I didn't bother hitting the peaks but with that added on, the run would be closer to 21 and probably 5,800'. For a legitimate FoCo R2R2R I guess you'd need to tag Horsetooth both times and Arthur's in the middle. Next time maybe.

Sun - 14.5 miles (3,000'). 2:18. Horsetooth Big Loop. Went easy on this one. Legs felt way better than yesterday, but still kind of sluggish.

Total: 73.5 miles (16,000')

Not quite sure why I decided to work in this four-week block of hills, but every run I've done in the last 28 days - with the exception of the turkey race - has involved at least 1,500' of climb, with a cumulative total of 55,000'. Partly I want to be fit and ready to race at the Ghost Town 38.5 miler in January - and hills are the quickest way for me to achieve that - but mostly I just enjoy the trails I run on and they happen to be very hilly ones.

So probably going to jump in and do the Xmas Classic 4 miler here in FoCo in a couple of weeks - see if I can beat my time from Thursday - and then gear up for the big Boxing Day run in Saltwood back home. Easy week upcoming. Hard work begins in January.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey 4 Miler

It was all about the pie this morning. This was my third consecutive run at the Fort Collins Thanksgiving Day race and in the first two years I had failed to pull off an age group top three, missing out on the age-group pies. This year I was determined to bring something extra to the Thanksgiving table.

Based on my recent run at Dublin, Mr. Mcmillan seemed to think I was in sub 22 shape, so 5:30s were the goal.

Got out for a three mile warm-up with Frank Antonelli and was back to the start area in time to play official photographer for Alistair's big race, which was a third of a mile from Oak & Mason, up to Mountain and then around to the finish on College.

We got to the start just as the gun went off, so Alistair (and Dana) had their work cut out for them from the get go. Undeterred, Alistair put in a strong run, munching up the competition as he went, finishing with a strong kick. We've been chatting with Alistair all week about the race, so he was pretty psyched to finally be running. He was a proud little chappy as he crossed the finish line, although I'm pretty sure he prefers trails.

Cruising the middle meters

Easy tiger, save it for the kick!

Look at that kick!

The race proper was five minutes after the kids' run, so I quickly stripped down and headed over to the start. According to the PA, close to 4,000 people were registered for the race (3,400 finished), which is huge for Fort Collins. And not only is the Thanksgiving Day field the biggest of the year in town, but it is also by far the most competitive with lots of ringers from out of town racing for a prize purse of $5,000.

Stripping down after Alistair's race.

Chatted with Steve Cathcart and Pete Stevenson at the start - about three deep - and got some form on the elite field. Nuta Olaru, Alisha Williams and Nicole Feest seemed like favorites in the women's field, while I can't say I recognized too many of the names Steve threw at me from the men's field. Turns out the speedsters were there in full force. In all, twelve guys would run sub-5:00 minute miles to finish under 20 minutes.

I was determined to go out at a sensible pace today as I have a terrible habit of gunning it from the start in shorter races, when the best strategy - for me - is to work up to my racing pace rather than working back to it. Far less stressful aerobically, and it so much better to be accelerating through the opening minutes than slowing through them.

Having learned at Dublin that elite women make good pacers, I settled in behind the lead pack of five ladies through the first mile (5:22), which felt pretty comfortable, and then coming to the turn into City Park just before the two mile I edged ahead of the lead ladies and settled into a good rhythm. I was running solo here with a large pack close behind and a sprinkling of guys within reach ahead. Second mile came in at 5:34, or 4 seconds up on the goal. I was still feeling good so kept the effort right there.

Soon after the start. I'm next to the kid in orange, already settled in behind two of the four women that would be in contention at the end. Alisha Williams foreground, Nicole Feest behind (412). Photo Sonja Wieck's father-in-law.

Coming down Mountain Ave. I could hear the pitter-patter of the women's race behind me, all the while getting updates from spectators as they cheered the lead action on. I picked up Frank pretty close to mile three, which split at 5:24 (16:22), and felt the girls getting closer. I knew they'd be kicking it in soon, as money was at stake, so I was debating internally if I wanted to be childish and try to out-kick them if it came down to it or take the more dignified approach and let them get on with it.

By Mason Road, maybe a quarter mile from the finish, Romanian Olympic marathoner Nuta Olaru made her move. It was pretty weak to be honest, but it was enough to get by me and also to string out the other two girls with five meters between first and third. Rounding the last turn onto College, I decided to accept my second chicking of the year and cruised to the finish. While I probably wouldn't have beaten the winner across the line anyway, I did have the fourth place woman sprint by me in the last ten meters. Doh.

How it shook out in the women's race, with me third white shirt back. Adriana Nelson (fka Pirtea), Nuta Olaru (2nd), Nicole Feest (4th) behind me, and Alisha Williams (3rd) on the fence. Photo Sonja Wieck's father-in-law.

My last mile was a 5:42, but the general consensus among GPS-carrying runners after the race was that mile three was slightly short and mile four slightly long, so those splits were probably more like 5:30 and 5:36, which means I ran a very evenly paced race.

It was definitely fun to get the pole position on the women's race, which was an absolute barn-burner. Adriana Nelson caught and out-kicked Olaru for the win, Olaru and Alisha Williams finished one second behind the winner in a photo finish and Nicole Feest was a second behind them. Phew! The winning time in the men's race was 18:52 by a guy from Alamosa called Aucencio Martinez - fast.

I finished two seconds over my goal in 22:02, which last year would have been good enough for pie, but with far more runners this year I had a feeling when I crossed the line that pie might be eluding me once again. I got to Old Chicago just at they were sticking the preliminary results on the window.

Second, 35-39! Ah, yes, the pie was mine.

Pie and a Guinness. Mmmm.

Ladies from the Fort Collins Running Club tucking into Bloody Marys at 10:30 in the morning. Gotta love Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Boxing Day Run - A Classic

Now working the second iteration of their Emergency Website, after a year of the original Emergency Website, the Saltwood Boxing Day Run (BDR) continues to be a study in how not to manage a running event, and yet it remains one of my favorite - if not favorite - races on the running calendar.

The race starts and finishes by the Saltwood village green, takes you on a three-mile spin around local farmland and woodland, and includes a number of steeplchase-like obstacles. Race HQ is the village pub, and it's four or five deep to get to the bar after the race. Love it!

2008 start.

The three years I have run the BDR, the timing has been something of a shambles and each year Stuart, the race director, seems to quite comically come up with new-fangled ways to mess up the results, stubbornly dismissing tried-and-tested methods of race timing.

In 2006, race organizers managed to list a majority of the 1,000+ finishers in the official results, but by no means all of them. They used the fairly orthodox finishing chute method, but rather than rip tabs from bibs, there was a guy with a ratty notebook at the end of the chute scribbling numbers as they walked past him. Needless to say, many numbers failed to make their way into the notebook and, by extension, the official results.

For the 2007 race, the organizers chose to do away with the ratty notebook, deciding instead to radio finisher numbers to Stuart in Nottingham (hundreds of miles away) as they crossed the finish line. This method was not a success, and apparently the back-up video of the finish line was a disaster too. The results were maybe 70% complete. And then there was last year: the bullhorn fiasco.

The finish line chute was done away with - why, I don't know - and race numbers were bullhorned to somebody somewhere (maybe Stuart in Nottingham) as finishers crossed the line. Inevitably, as the hordes started filing through, the bullhorn operator and scribe quickly became overwhelmed and only a scattershot of finishers were captured in the results - maybe a 50% success rate. Again, the back-up finish-line video was a failure.

I finished fifth last year, so my result was recorded before the system broke down.

Matt finished top 20, but his result was never recorded as the bullhorn system had begun its downward spiral!

And this year? Well, the newest results-capturing system has recently been expounded upon through the (second emergency) race website: "We are using bar codes this year! We didn't want to revert to a slow funnel, even though it has been the most reliable system in the past."

Brilliant!! Why revert to your most reliable system when you can try something completely new and hatstand instead? I can't wait to see how the bar-code system will work. Will there be a guy with a bar-code scanner scanning us as we cross the line, or will we be picked up and thrust across a grocery store checkout as we finish? I'm almost as excited to find out how this unique system will work as I am to get to Saltwood to toe the line for the fourth annual Clark and friends Boxing Day outing in the 35th running of the BDR.

At the end of the day, despite the fact that we all go out and run it as hard as we can, the race is not really about the race, it's about getting out with family and friends on bloated Xmas stomachs to romp around the great British countryside. In fact, the organizers, true to the history of the event, refuse to call it a race, referring to it simply as a 'run'.

An aside on the registration procedure: You email Stuart your details and he emails you a Word doc attachment of your race number with instructions to print and "plasticize" it - the first year we received these instructions there was much discussion (and chortling) about how best to plasticize our numbers. Stuart then requests payment be put in the mail, relying on the honesty of the British public to follow through with ex post facto payment. I would imagine that the payment rate is about as successful as the various timing systems - patchy, at best.

Nephews William and Thomas in the pub with their plasticized numbers

No number for Alistair, so we went bandito. Race organizers were none the wiser.

If you ever find yourself in or around Kent on the day after Christmas, don't miss out on this gem!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Week Ending Nov. 22

Mon - O

Tues - 9 miles (1,900'). HTH 8-mile course, easy. 1:20 total, 1:07 on course.

Weds - 9 miles (1,900'). 1:19. As Tuesday. Effort felt harder, watch said otherwise. Splits: to '2 mile' 23:00, Towers 16:35 (39:35), Herrington 7:42 (47:17), Horsetooth trail 13:27 (60:44), parking lot 5:51 (66:35).

Thurs - 14.5 miles (3,000'). 2:17. Horsetooth big loop. Sloppy and snowy.

Fri - 9 miles (1,900'). As Tuesday. No watch. Started this one out as an easy run, but the legs felt good and wanted to go faster, so they did.

Sat - 6.5 miles (1,600'). Horsetooth FKT attempt.

Sun - 22.5 miles (4,600'). 4:05. Beautiful morning in Fort Collins, so great to be out running some long hard miles with good friends. Pete Stevenson, Nick Pedatella and Jason Ostrom met at my house and we did the Horsetooth/Lory grand tour. The big loop is 21 miles w/ 4,500' starting and ending at the upper parking lot: Soderburg - Horsetooth - Westridge - Mill Creek - Howard - Timber - Lory service drive - East Valley - Sawmill - Loggers - Herrington - Towers - Herrington - Spring Creek - Soderburg.

Coming down from Arthur's Rock on the Timber trail it was super icy and pretty treacherous - so very slow going. The lower valley trails coming back into Horsetooth are still pretty sloppy, but not too bad. Everything else was patchy snow and ice, but mainly dirt and all runnable. We took it pretty easy today, but it felt great to get out for a longer run.

Total: 70.5 miles (14,900')

Stepped up the mileage a bit this week, while continuing to hit the hills. Felt strong and fit on the long run today, which is great. Will probably try and come in with similar numbers next week for three weeks of solid hills and then take it easy the next week. I think it's going to be important to remain restrained on the training front until the new year as all three of my possible goal races for 2010 are mid to late summer.

Running the FoCo 4 mile Turkey race on Thursday. I'm hoping to hit 22 minutes, but as usual have no idea how my road fitness is, so who knows. The sponsors put up a significant purse that goes eight deep, so there are always plenty of speedsters and it's typically a big field. Fernando Cabada won last year's race in 18:59, and Olympic marathoner, Nuta Olaru won the female race in 21:25. My goal is to finish top three age group so I can bring home a pie. The age-group pie has eluded me the last two years, so this year I mean business!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Horsetooth

Had a go at lowering my fastest time to the top of Horsetooth today by way of the slightly longer, but faster Southridge service drive. Despite some significant patches of ice and slop on Soderburg and Southridge, I was able to cut my time by 10 seconds on the up and a minute overall.

Today's route is probably the quickest way up the mountain, although there is a third option which is to come up on the backside of Horsetooth on a connector piece of singletrack (Audra Culver) about two-thirds the way up the Southridge route. That stretch has good footing and might be a bit shorter, but it's also pretty twisty. Six of one, half a dozen the other probably. Still, worth a stab if the snow stays away.

I got up and down in 42:51, with a climb of 26:05 and a drop of 16:46. The descent included about 10 seconds at the top getting my breath, and an ass-flop on icy rocks, but it was faster than the 17:37 I did coming down the hiking trail last time out. To beat Jonathan Vigh's fastest known drop of 15:23, I'd need to shave a minute and half from today's time. I figure the conditions were worth a minute both up and down, so I should be able to give it a close run in dry conditions. Beyond that, a goal of sub-40 seems like a good motivator to run hard every now and then through the winter.

Bench - 4:59
Wathan - 19:49
Summit - 26:05
Descent - 16:46
Total up/down - 42:51

Watch started and stopped at trail map by toilets: Soderburg - Southridge - Horsetooth.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week Ending Nov. 15

Mon - Off

Tues - 9 miles (1,900'). HTH course in 58:32. Legs felt good heading to the park, so I decided to time-trial the Horsetooth Mtn 8-mile race course. Earlier in the year, I raced the course in 53:57, and today I was hoping to get around in under an hour at tempo pace. I probably worked a little harder than tempo to get around in 58:32. Based on how I was feeling, I definitely feel like I've lost a step or two from the summer, but not a huge amount. This sets up well for a big winter of base miles, followed by some spring sharpening and then more miles as I build to whatever 100-mile race becomes the focus for 2010. Splits: Service drive to trail: 7:35, 2-mile point: 19:30, to Towers: 35:00, to loop end: 53:05.

Weds - 6 miles easy (1,600'). No watch. Straight up and down Horsetooth from home. Coming back down the service drive, heard the familiar sound of a rattler rattling. Not quite sure what had him stressed, probably me, but until I get bitten by one of these bad boys (knock on wood) I will continue to find them fascinating. Very surprised to see snakes out this late in the season, but I guess they're a bit confused by the mild autumn weather. This one was in the rocks to the side of the trail probably looking for a hole for winter - definitely wouldn't have seen him if he wasn't rattling.

Thurs - 8.5 miles easy, w/1 mile of downhill silliness (2,200). 1:17. Home - Soderburg service drive - Spring Creek - Towers - Westridge - Horsetooth - Home. I nearly always run down Spring Creek, but went up today. Turns out it is one of the better climbs in the park. Probably 1,000' from bottom (intersection w/Soderburg) to top (Towers) in just over 2 miles with a good mix of grunt and steady. Anyway, so I'm out on an easy run, enjoying the day when a young guy comes flying by me towards the end of my run - right at the top of the Horsetooth Rock Trail where it intersects with Wathan. I didn't recognize him and chatted for a bit, but he was in a definite hurry so I let him go and wished him well. As I went by the Westridge turn-off I decided his pace down the technical singletrack looked fun, so I decided to play trail race and hit the gas. He probably had two switchbacks on me at the top of the drop, and it took me until the last switchback before Soderburg to catch him (half a mile). Silly but fun.

Fri - 6 miles easy (1,600'). No watch. Straight up and down Horsetooth.

Sat - 6 miles easy (2,000'). West White Pine.

Sun - 14.5 miles easy, but hard (3,000'). 2:30. Horsetooth outer loop. Yet another slog, breaking tracks in the snow. There had already been traffic as far as Towers from Westridge, so it could have been worse, but Mill Creek, Loggers, Sawmill were all untouched, as were Stout and Spring Creek after I hooked back in off Towers. Managed to complete the planned route without wussing out, so success of sorts, but 20 mins slower than last week and way harder. Felt pretty drained when it was all said and done. Getting tired of the snow already.

Total: 50 miles (12,200'). Another week of hills.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

West White Pine Mountain

West and East White Pine Mountains behind a stand of aspen.

Headed back out to Buckhorn Canyon this morning for a run up West White Pine Mountain - across the canyon from Lookout Mtn, which I ran/slogged with Pete last weekend.

It had snowed a bit the night before, but I wasn't too concerned about that, and was just hoping there wasn't too much crusty accumulation from weeks prior as there was on Lookout last weekend. I think I finally learned my lesson today.

Taken from 44H & FR100. FR100 takes you up to the saddle then cuts up to the west summit (left).

The first couple of miles up FR100 - pretty much jeep track - weren't too bad as I was able to get into the tracks of a hunter's ATV that had been through before me. However, once I hit the ridge it was fresh powder on top of really rutted, deep and crusty nastiness. I gave up on the run and hiked the last half mile to the summit (10,305'), which offered some nice glimpses of mountain-scape through the trees to the south and up the Poudre Canyon to the northwest.

Much like last week, I gave up on a planned longer loop and came straight back down for 6 miles and 2,000' on the morning. Not the greatest workout, but it's always good to be out in the woods.

Mummy Range.
Lookout left, Signal right. The Donner pass trail will hook you into both summits from Box Prairie.
Estes' Twin Sisters made a brief appearance.
Looking northwest out to the Poudre Canyon.

Although I'm done with Buckhorn for the winter, I'll definitely be back in late spring to log some serious miles up here. Box Prairie begins at 8'300' and offers quick access to some solid 10,000'+ miles if you head South out to Lookout, Signal and beyond. The trail up West White Pine continues north up to Old Flowers Road, offering some short, long and longer loop opportunities.

Through the lower elevation stuff today, and on Lookout, there were some nice aspen groves, which would no doubt be stunning for an autumn run.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lotteries, lotteries and more lotteries

Thanks to Brownie for the heads up on the Hardrock registration, which is now online. Last year, the chances of getting in through the complex Hardrock lottery for folks like me who have just one entry in the hat was 18%. I expect the odds to be as bad or worse for 2010. Drawing for Hardrock is early February.

Speaking of terrible lottery odds, the final tally of entrants for the Western States lottery is 1,690. Total slots available: 400, with 125 places offered to various runners who qualify to run the event without having to go through the lottery. Assuming 100 take up that offer, that leaves a total of 300 spots available in the lottery, which by my elementary statistics calculations equals a 17% chance of getting in. I'm sure that if I had advanced statistics skills, I could then go on to offer a percentage chance that I will be drawn in one, both or neither of the lotteries, but I don't so I won't. Suffice to say, the odds are against. Drawing for WS100 is 23 days hence.

And on to the third lottery (!). This year, the Miwok 100k race committee has instituted a lottery for their event, so if you want to get in on that race, the entry period opens up Friday and closes two weeks later, with results being posted Dec. 1.

Phew! Kind of frustrating to have to wait on all these lotteries to get an understanding of how my 2010 season will shape up, but that's the way it is, so best to just roll with it and keep running. If I were a gambling man (!), I guess I'd be betting on the old pulse-and-a-check standby, Leadville, to be my 100-mile event for 2010. We'll see.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Week Ending Nov. 8

Mon - 6 miles (1,500'). Six-mile Horsetooth/Audra route. Easy, no watch.

Tues - 6 miles (1,000') easy. 51:30. Soderburg to Sawmill - Loggers - Carey - Towers.

Weds - 6 miles (1,500'). 55:08. As Monday. Legs felt very good today, so went with a bit of a quicker tempo on the climb.

Thurs - 14.5 miles (3,000'). 2:10. Horsetooth Big Loop: Home - Horsetooth - Wathan - Westridge - Towers - Mill Creek - Loggers - Sawmill - Nomad - Towers - Stout - Spring Creek - Falls - Home. It was so nice out, I decided to get out for a couple of hours. Felt good, but still a bit of residual fatigue in the legs from Dublin over the last couple of miles.

Fri - Off

Sat - 12 miles (2,800'). Lookout Mountain with Pete.

Sun - 12 miles (1,800'). Bobcat Ridge with Jason Ostram. Got an email out the blue from Jason. Turns out he's trying to get back in shape for some ultra racing next year - former Montrail runner and knowledgeable about all things No. California ultra. The Bobcat loop, with its long and steady climb on Ginny and exposure to the elements is, according to Jason, much like the WS100 trail. Should I get into States, then I'll be hitting some two loopers at Bobcat on a regular basis, especially when it's hot out.

Total: 56.5 miles (12,100').

Probably a little more mileage than I need to be running right now, but the weather was so great all week that it almost seemed criminal not to be out there enjoying it. Felt great to be back running hills after the taper for Dublin. Hills are my bread and butter, and I find that I respond well to them so it'll be more of the same for the next couple of weeks. No stress, just getting out and enjoying the trails when the weather is good.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lookout Mountain Trudge


Lookout Mountain from the ranger station. Photo: Pete Stevenson

From the top. Peak porn. Photo: Pete Stevenson

I had my suspicions that we'd be dealing with some snow on Lookout (10,626') today, but was hoping the mild weather through the week might have taken care of the big snow dump from the other week. I was wrong. Lookout Mountain is heavily forested and lightly traveled, and because we were coming up the north side, the snow was consistently significant above 9,000 feet and we were cutting tracks, which made for a very tough workout.

Lookout Mountain can be accessed from the south from the Dunraven trailhead (off the Drake - Glen Haven - Estes road) or from the north via the ranger station on the Buckhorn Canyon Road (44H), which is off Stove Prairie, and if followed long enough will take you all the way to Pingree Park.

I tried last winter to come in from Buckhorn, but couldn't find the trailhead, which considering today's conditions was probably a blessing in disguise. There are a ton of great running opportunities from the Buckhorn ranger station, with West and East White Pine Mountains on the north side of the road and the Donner Pass trailhead from the ranger station, which will take you all the way over to Signal Mountain. If you want it and have the legs, it will also take you into Rocky Mountain National Park or over to Dunraven. Pete and I were locked on Lookout for today, but likely would have had a much better time of it on the south-facing slopes of West and East White Pine. Next time.

The route up to Lookout is fairly straightforward, although there are multiple opportunities to take wrong turns if you're not paying attention. The mountain is riddled with forest and mining roads, in addition to jeep and ATV tracks. The mountain is apparently a favorite among motorized trail enthusiasts. We had it to ourselves today, and it didn't take long to find out why.

Not a whole lotta fun! Photo: Pete Stevenson

While the low trails from the 8,300' trailhead were essentially clear, as soon as we started climbing, the snow accumulation got heavier and heavier with some very brief interludes of dirt where the sun had managed to carve out some spots. The early going up to and through a beautiful stand of Aspen wasn't too bad, and we were able to maintain a run, but cutting trail through the snow drains you pretty quick. As soon as we were dealing with consistently calf-deep snow, running became too much of a chore and it was trudge time for the final three or four miles.

Dismantled mine about halfway up
Pete working the final push.
Seconds before, Pete was submerged to his waist in a sinkhole.

While the trip up is only 6 miles and 2,500' of climbing, on this particular run it was brutal. In the summer it would be great to take a go at getting up in under an hour, today we were well over two. Getting back to the car, Pete and I agreed that although we'd only run 12 miles it felt like 25.

video
So much easier running downhill in the snow. Video: Pete Stevenson

As with most lower-elevation Front Range peaks in and around Fort Collins, the views of Rocky Mountain National Park were outstanding and worth the trip. Originally, we had planned a loop to take in Crystal Mountain for 18 miles and 5,000' climbing, but neither off us wanted to break trail any further, so we followed our tracks back home, getting down in under an hour.

Always worth the effort. The view to the south is better from Signal, but pretty sweet from Lookout. Twin Sisters, Meeker and Longs.

Photo: Pete Stevenson
We had planned on a big loop with a bag of Crystal Mtn. (2nd peak) on the way, but opted to head straight back down.

Signal Mtn in the foreground (just peaking up above timberline), Mummies behind. Photo: Pete Stevenson

Looking southeast to backside of Horsetooth.

While it's never too much fun running in this kind of stuff, I am a firm believer that pushing through and getting it done is worth at least five in the bush come spring. Next time I'll take on the more friendly West White Pine and hopefully explore a few of the other lower-elevation peaks in the area.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Week Ending Nov. 1

Mon - Dublin Marathon. 26.2 miles.

Tues - Off, but not too sore.

Weds - 4.5 miles easy. Up to my favorite place to run in Canterbury, Blean Woods, for a recovery number. Felt great all things considered, but did choose to drop a 4-mile loop from the plan because it was completely pointless.

Thurs - Travel day. Watched a record four and a half movies crossing the Atlantic. Gunning for five next time out.

Fri - Off

Sat - 10-11 miles (2,300') at Horsetooth with Ryan. Nice to be able to get a run in with Ryan before he heads out to NZ for six weeks with Megan on their delayed honeymoon. He's been up in Pingrey for most of the summer so has been getting a ton of great 10,000'+ running done up in the mountains at Rocky. Great base stuff for next year. Ryan and I are about as evenly matched as it gets on both road and trail, which should make for some fun racing next year. Chances are good that we'll be racing at Moab in Feb, Salida Marathon, San Juan 50, Jemez Mountain 50 and others, I'm sure.

Anyway we got out this morning for a romp around a very snowy Horsetooth. Service drive up to Horsetooth hiking trail was decent, as was most of the trail up, but as soon as we hit Westridge, the snow was deep, soft and somewhat crusty, and we were the first in. Somehow we managed to get off 'trail' and ended up bushwhacking through thigh-high drifts, trees and all manner of silliness before finally re-finding the 'trail' 45 minutes later. Kind of funny to get so lost up there, considering I know the place like the back of my hand, but lost we were.

Ended up on the move for a bit over two hours, but didn't cover much ground because of the silly conditions. Nothing quite like a workout in deep virgin snow. Mercifully, the sun was out and warm, so there was zero cold factor in shorts and long-sleeve T, despite having to wade through all that snow and slush. Definitely felt some background aches from Dublin, but generally felt good.

Glad I opted out of the Basic in Boulder, as that sounds like it was much the same but twice the distance. Next time.

Sun - Nada.

Total: 42 miles (2,300')

Only ran three times this week. Dublin pretty much marked the end of my season, so I have been able to take zero days this week without too much internal angst. I plan to continue through the next couple of weeks with very casual mileage before beginning preparations for next year, which will include the laying of the all-important winter base, but until then it's time to kick back and heal up a few niggling aches and pains, put on some winter pounds and catch up with the world outside of running. Spent all day Sunday clearing out the garage and then putting it all back together again. It is now officially ready to receive cars through the winter. Next up is a tiling project around the fireplace.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

October Spending/Miles

Easily the lightest year of the month on the mileage front. With an expensive trip to Dublin, my average cost per mile bumped up a few digits, but at $0.94 remains below a dollar per mile. I don't foresee any major expenses over the next two months, so I should be able to keep the cost per mile below a dollar. That said, the mileage will likely be light through November, before the ratchet comes into effect in December, so the average could creep up again in November.

Miles will be well over 3,000 for the year, which is encouraging, and should end up somewhere in the 3,300-3,400 zone - easily a personal record. Despite a really light climbing month, I have so far scaled the equivalent of 14 Everests (sea to summit) this year in vertical gain.

October Spending


Oct 6 - Track and back - $3
Oct 8 - Compression shorts - $9.60
Oct 10 - 100 miles to nowhere - $11
Oct 11 - Brooks T6 Flats - $67.95
Oct 12 - Track and back - $3
Oct 19 - Track and back - $3
Oct 26 - Dublin entry - $100
Oct 26 - Lon to Dublin - $90
Oct 28 - Hotel - $40
Oct 28 - Beers, food, Dublin travel, etc - $80

Totals:

Spending ................ $407.50
Mileage .................... 191 (12,500')
Spending per mile .. $2.13

YTD Totals

Dollars:

Jan ......... $456
Feb ......... $284
March ...... $30
April ........ $318
May ......... $498
June ........ $366
July ......... $106
August .... $178
Sept ........ $50
Oct .......... $407.50
To date .... $2,685.50

Miles:

Jan ................ 265 (33,000 feet)
Feb ................ 259.5 (40,350 feet)
March ........... 302 (32,050 feet)
April ............. 247.5 (31,300 feet)
May ............... 513 (67,000 feet)
June .............. 268 (46,150 feet)
July ............... 228 (50,650 feet)
August ........... 282 (56,700 feet)
September ..... 309 (39,000 feet)
October .......... 191 (12,500 feet)

To Date ......... 2,865 (408,500 feet)
Monthly Ave .. 286.5 (40,850 feet)

Spending per Mile: $0.94