Mon - 5 miles (1,500') easy. Horsetooth north summit.
Tues - 3 miles track. Last day of the summer Tuesday Night Track series was, as always, celebrated with a fun relay carnival. Workout was 800 open, then 800, 400, 200 & 100 relays. As was the case last week, I felt absolutely terrible aerobically and not much better physically. Four-person relay teams for the 8-4-2-1.
Picked up the baton in second as the anchor in the 800, with Justin Liddle way off the front in first and Mike H a good bit back in third. Not feeling especially motivated to run hard, I cruised the first lap taking periodic looks over my shoulder to check on Mike who appeared to be closing quickly. By the last bend on the second lap he was on my shoulder ready to kick me down. Normally this would be a no contest as Mike has far superior sprinting speed than I do, but he'd worked hard to get on my shoulder so I figured I might have a chance. Half way down the home straight, I'd given up a couple of meters, and egged on by others I decided to give it a shot just as Mike was gearing down. With five meters to go, I was on Mike's shoulder and it looked like it was going to come down to a lean. We dipped into the line, both falling and scoring some nice track rash. Consensus had it that I out-leaned Mike by a greying beard hair. For the 400, I received the baton in second or third, two or three seconds ahead of Ruth - a D1 (Baylor) sprinter (and fellow Brit) - and ended up trailing her by five meters at the next exchange. To say that I was smoked would be an understatement. The 200 and 100 weren't much better. Looking forward now to the real work of the Tuesday Morning Cemetery workouts, beginning next month, where I'll look to claw back some fitness before beginning the 100-mile training cycle all over again in January.
Weds - 5 miles (1,500') easy. Horsetooth north summit.
Thurs - 5 miles (1,500') easy with the Thursday morning crew - Mike, Lee, Celeste, Ziggy and Slusher - for another beautiful sunrise over the plains.
Fri - Off
Sat - AM: 3.5 miles (2,000') peak-baggery. 5,934', 5,930', 6,176'. Did a bit of early morning 'peak cleaning' on some nearby, but tricky peaks that require exposed periods of 'not being on public property,' or - as Scott likes to put it: 'light trespassing.' Best done under cover of darkness in my experience. Unnamed 5,934' is in fact the closest ranked peak to my house, but requires such blatant trespassing in plain view of 38e - a busy road around the south end of the reservoir - that I've been putting it off and off and off. For this morning I had a very short window before Alistair's soccer game, so I had to keep things local and easy. For those familiar with the area, 5,934' is the high point on the hogbacks on the southeast side of Horsetooth Reservoir. I parked at a pull-off on 38e and then basically hoofed it up the hillside as quickly as possible, tagging the high point (right next to a large antenna), then getting out of dodge just as the pre-dawn was beginning to break. Up and down in 25 minutes. Glad to have that one out of the way.
The next peak that needed cleaning up was 5,930', which sits to the north of Goat Hill (Larimer County's lowest ranked peak) on the other side of Hwy 287 to the east of the turn-off for Hwy 14 and the Poudre Canyon. Parked up at Ted's Place, crossed 287, shimmied around the closed KOA campsite gate and headed straight for the cliff band below the peak, jumping one barbed fence in the process, and working hard to get out of sight of the road as quickly as possible. Once above the cliff band, there was a small gully to negotiate, and then it was a straight shot for the summit with nice views east out to the plains. Came down via a small drainage along the barbed fence line, keeping me out of sight of the road nearly the whole way back to the KOA gate. Booked it across 287, jumped in the car and sped off for the easternmost and lowest ranked peak in the Poudre Canyon: 6,176'. 45 mins RT.
For 6,176' I parked up at a pull-off to the southwest of the peak and made my way up towards the saddle, noting that the land was marked as state land trust, and deciding halfway up to cut directly for the summit on steep terrain rather than waste time hitting the saddle. The wind was blowing hard on the grassy summit, so I didn't linger long, taking a few seconds to check out the look up the Poudre before descending steeply on the southeast slopes heading in a straight line for the car. 40 mins RT.
PM: 16 miles (2,000') easy marking the Blue Sky Marathon course. Phew, I think this is the longest I've run since Wasatch and towards the end there I was doubtful I would actually make it back to the trailhead. It's going to be rough for sure when I decide to get back into some training. Thankfully, I have little motivation to do so right now.
Sun - Off. Great day RD'ing the sixth running of the Blue Sky Marathon. Lots of smiling faces, with just a fantastic day for running, racing and hanging out. Very rewarding.
Total: 37.5 miles (8,500')
Another week with little to no focus. Had fun grabbing a couple of peaks that have been taunting me for months - nay years - with their proximity and difficulty of access. Now those ones are crossed off the list, I can focus on the Cache La Poudre and clearing the long list of peaks up our very own 'Wild and Scenic' river. But before that happens, Mike and I will be looking to bag a few of Larimer County's northeasterly peaks on the way back from the Silent Trails 10 miler up in Wyoming this Saturday. Carpool spots available if you want to join in the fun. Predicting a Personal Worst at Silent Trails.
Speaking of fun, the Chubby Cheeks committee sat down this weekend at the O'Slushers house post Blue Sky to discuss dates for the fourth - yes fourth - annual running of the Chubster. For those unfamiliar with El Chubbo Grande, it's one of three races that make up the Front Range Grand Slam of Fat Asses. With the fate of the other two races currently in jeopardy thanks to flood- and budget-related woes, this could serve as The Championship event for 2013/14 - perhaps the deepest field ever assembled .... yawn. Anyway, I am happy to announce that after much back and forthing - and lobbying - the date of Dec 7 has been chosen as the golden day. As always, I'll be hosting from my house and we'll be offering four distances: The Big Boy 50k, the Marathon, the Junior Varsity 20 Miler, and the Bad Boi Create Your Own Course and Distance. Flagging will be light to non-existent this year after getting a slap on the wrist last year from the Powers That Be for being overzealous on the flag-hanging front. Bring a map.
Looking a little further afield, Pete and I will be working with the state and county to settle on some dates for next year's Gnarful trail racing series. We're looking at May 10 for Quad Rock, not sure for Black Squirrel (not Tour de Fat weekend this time around), and also not sure yet for Blue Sky, with the addition of a Towers 10k somewhere in the midst of all that uncertainty. So, we'll have a 10k, a half marathon, a marathon and a 50 miler to offer. We're giving serious consideration to the creation of Gnar Wo/Man award for the runner(s) that score the fastest cumulative times across the series. More to come on that soon.