Mon - AM: 7 miles (1,800') easy. Markedly different conditions than the freeze of the previous two weekend days for this jaunt up the mountain. I was sweating buckets in my tights, even in the early dawn and at my usual trundle. There was still a good crunch of snow on the ground, but it was packed in enough that the ice underneath wasn't a factor. Every day I can get out on the mountain is a good one, but I'm enjoying the warmer ones just a little bit more these days.
PM: 4.5 miles (1,500') easy. Snuck in a quick lunchtime Horsetooth summit (50) to gather some inspiration for a talk I was giving later in the day for an SOS Outreach session.
Tues - AM: 9.5 miles intervals. On the docket at the cemetery for the morning was: mile, 2 x broken 1.5 mile (3x800 w/15 second cruise between each 800), mile. All on 4-5 min stationary rest between reps. Perfect morning with temps in the high 20s and a snow-free trail to run on: 5:28, 8:16 (2:47, 2:46, 2:43), 8:16 (2:48, 2:44, 2:44), 5:15. Cruised the 8s for the most part, then gave McCullough 15 seconds on the last mile to see if I could squeeze a little extra effort out of myself by chasing. Did the hard work through the first 1,200, getting on Chris's shoulder, then got kicked down as usual over the last 400. Good morning.
PM: 7 miles (1,800') easy. Timed this one terribly, getting out just as the rain/sleet/snow started coming down. Rain turned to mush halfway up the mountain, then fluffy snow by the summit. Climbed up the north gap despite the wet, then got off the summit lickity split due to an eery electrical buzz circling around my head. I've been zapped by static on top of Horsetooth before, and this brought back unpleasant memories. Kinda cold and miserable coming back down, but another one in the books.
Weds - 7 miles (1,800') easy. Got out at noon and most of the snow from the night before had already melted off. Good bit of mud out there right now, but nothing a few days days of sunshine won't clear up. Super easy going up as I was feeling a little worked from Tuesday's efforts.
Thurs - AM: 11.5 miles (1,400') hill tempo. Out and back on Centennial Rd with Garcia. Huffing a bit up the hills, but felt really smooth on the flatter stuff: 7:30, 6:12, 6:40, 5:30, 4:59 = 30:51. Finished up with a mile and half cool down. Another gorgeous spring-like morning in the Fort. Getting the work done.
PM: 7 miles (1,800') easy. Jogged up Horsetooth at a super casual pace, and necessarily so. Legs weren't giving me much after the morning session.
Fri - AM: 7 miles (1,800') easy. Horsetooth summit. Started out in the rain with Danny. The rain transitioned to snow halfway up the hill, and then didn't let up for the rest of the day. It's turning into a pretty wet winter. The snowpack for the South Platte River Basin is at 148 percent of the median right now, which hopefully means reduced risk of wildfires this summer - or at least fires in March like we had in Lory last year (followed by five feet of snow). Anyway, nice easy morning on the hill and a total sock-in on top. A rare daylight Erskine sighting on the way up. He was coming down from his 16th summit of the year, while I was heading up for number 54. I won't be beaten in 2014.
PM: 4.5 miles (1, 500) easy. Snow was ankle to calf deep by the time I got back on the hill towards the end of the day. The going was decent though, so I was able to get up and down in good time. Had a blast on the feathery descent.
Sat - AM: 24 miles (4,600') easy. Repeated the Horsetooth - Redstone - Horsetooth yo-yo from a few weeks back, tacking on a bit of extra distance by routing around Milner Mtn Rd rather than 38e to get to and from Redstone. I was the first one up the hill this morning, so aside from my tracks from late yesterday afternoon the snow was totally unconsolidated. Getting up the hill became something of a slog with the slippery, slushy, postholey footing, which set the tone for the rest of the run. Originally I had wanted to inject some speed on the six miles of rolling dirt road up and down Redstone Canyon, but my legs were simply not interested and this one quickly became about nothing more than getting the mileage in. By the time I hit the hill for the second time, the snow had melted significantly under the bright sun, resulting in muddy and slushy conditions with intermittent postholing thrown in. I slogged my way back up, tagged the summit and then creaked down, returning home via the grim reaper on a pair of pins that were happy to be done. Not a particularly pretty outing, but it's in the books and that's what counts.
Sun - AM: 11 miles (3,100') easy. Double Horsetooth (58 & 59) via the three-way. Thought this one might be a bit better than Saturday, but alas the legs were still giving me nothing. Slogged away and got it done though. Up on Southridge/Audra, down in deep, wet snow on Wathan, then back around and up on the Rock Trail. It was absolutely gorgeous out, almost summer-like, which of course brought the hordes out. The parking lot was full and there must have been 40 cars parked up 38e. Total madness. You suffer through winter waiting for the weather to turn and then as soon as it does you begrudge everyone for being out there.
Total: 100 miles (21,100')
I was Captain Slogworthy this weekend, but that's alright. The pins go in and out as you build the spring mileage, but just so long as they're on when you need them to be - which is what the taper is all about - then all should be well with your running world. And that's all I've got to say about that.
Really looking forward to the weekend in Salida coming up. I'm thinking the three-hour mark could be in jeopardy, conditions allowing. Right now, the race is reporting a good bit of snow on course, and while most of that will melt out by the weekend, I'm still expecting the usual mix of snow, slush and slop up high, with largely dry trail below 8,000'. Pretty standard conditions.