Sunday, July 22, 2012

Week Ending July 22

Mon - 9.5 miles (1,600') easy. Horsetooth summit via the Rock trail, then down to Bluesky TH on 38e for 3.5 more with Dana to Towers and back. Bombed the descent from H'tooth to Bluesky as I was running late.

Tues - noon: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls loop. Took a big digger 100 yards up the trail, landing rather painfully (and bloodily) on my chin. Came home and could barely chew, my jaw was so jacked from the fall. Ouch. 
PM: 5.5 miles track. Warmed up a mile with Alistair, then workout was 2k open followed by 8 x 400 on 70-73 secs rest. Still missing a step it would seem: 77, 75, 76, 75, 74, 74, 74, 74.

Weds - 7.5 miles (1,500') hard. Short on time, I went hard up Horsetooth and came down hard on Wathan/Soderberg.

Thurs - Noon: 11.5 miles (2,500') easy. To Soderberg TH on 38e/Shoreline, then Towers - Secret Trail - Westridge - Rock - Horsetooth Summit - Audra - Southridge.
PM: 6.5 miles easy with folks from FCTR. 

Fri - Noon: 8.5 miles (2,000') easy. Horsetooth summit (Southrdige/Audra) - Wathan, Soderberg.

Sat - 25 miles (6,000') hills. From my campsite near the South Mount Elbert TH, ran down to meet Mike Aish, now-retired pro track runner, marathoner and Olympian who's decided to take a stab at the Leadville 100 - a bucket-list race for him. We went from the Twin Lakes aid area to Winfield and back. Although the run in and of itself was pretty crap - dead legs from the get go - the chance to run with Mike was thoroughly entertaining. We had a couple of stops on top of Hope and at Winfield, and essentially hiked the return climb, but it was good to work through some fatigue. Running time from Twin Lakes and back was around 3:55; a good bit under Ryan's time from last year. But that doesn't say a whole lot, given relative conditions. Nonetheless, it was good to get a feel for where race pace will be.  

Sun - 16.5 miles (1,200') easy. With Mike from the campsite above TL to the Colorado Trail where we joined the course at the true South Elbert TH. Cruised conversationally all the way to the Fish Hatchery in about 2:05. This run felt tons better than yesterday, but it was mostly cruiser stuff on some very friendly surfaces. Leadville is definitely a running race with all the forest road and buff trail, so it's key to be training that right now if I'm going to do well there. Thinking I'll try and stay off the vertical a bit next week and get some miles done in Redstone Canyon. Good stuff again with Mike.

Total: 95.5 miles (15,800')

I went pretty easy through the early part of the week, mainly due to time constraints. I then struggled a fair bit on Saturday, but these are the weeks you have to grind out with the race getting close. I've now seen the full Leadville course with the Twin Lakes to Fish Hatchery section filled in, and wow, it's a whole lot of high altitude running, with two big climbs and three smaller ones. This one will be interesting.

It was fun running with Mike this weekend. He's a super-talented runner, who has a 2:13 marathon to his credit and Olympic-standard 10k speed, so it'll be good TV to see how it unfolds for him at Leadville. He's definitely there to compete, so we'll see. The roads will definitely be good for him.

Off to Salt Lake City next weekend for some fun and games at the Speedgoat 50. Hope I bring my climbing legs.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Week Ending July 15

Mon - 7.5 miles (1,800'). Horsetooth summit: Audra/Southridge. Legs felt good for the first time since WS100. Pushed both ways. Fun outing.

Tues - AM: 7 miles (1,800') easy. Horsetooth summit with Brian Stef. Up Rock/Vintage/Bushwhack to South Summit, down Audra/Southridge. Super hazy again to the north and west. Smoke from Wyoming, I assume.
PM: 7.5 miles track. Workout was 800 open, then 3 x mile with 2:40 stationary rest. I felt tonight like I was starting to get my running legs back a bit, but I still couldn't hang on for the full workout. Another couple of rounds and I hope to be back running sub-5:20 mile repeats with a reasonable degree of comfort. Splits: 2:36, 5:23, 5:26, 5:30.

Weds - AM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Quick Falls loop.
PM: 7.5 miles (1,800') easy. Horsetooth summit late in the day. Perfect evening. Southridge/Audra.

Thurs - AM: 11.5 miles (5,200') Longs Peak (14,250'). Met Brian and Adam super early (3:20) for a pre-work trip above 14,000 feet. Left the East Longs TH at 4:20 and took the standard trail to the Chasm turn-off with a few shortcuts below Goblins. Pace was casual and I was happy to slot into Brian's hike/run rhythm. Chasm turnoff at 49 mins, then full Loft route to the summit, which we hit at 6:35 (2:15). Awesome sunrise on the way up, clear morning and very little wind. Took Keyhole/Jim's Grove down (1:26) for a 3:41 RT or 3:51 with summit time. At my desk working by 9:30.
PM: 9 miles (1,900') easy. Took an easy-effort ride up Towers with the FCTR group. Legs were unhappy to be going again after the Longs effort, but started cooperating with a mile or two of warming up. Starting to feel good about reloading the effort. Got to keep moving.

Fri - Noon: 7.5 miles (1,800') easy. Horsetooth summit. Southridge/Audra.
PM - 3.5 miles easy with Dana. Bluesky TH to Towers and back. 

Sat - AM: 17 miles (6,100') mountains. Mummy Mania. My third crack at this classic traverse, which takes in six peaks of the Mummy Range. The standard route goes from the Chapin Pass trailhead, some seven miles up the Old Fall River Road and then follows the range of peaks from Chapin to Mummy in a horseshoe line before dropping all the way down the southeast slopes of Mummy to the Lawn Lake trail. I just about have this route dialed now, but still managed to make a couple of egregious line choices that cost me somewhere in the order of 30 minutes. Nonetheless, I was still able to chop 53 minutes off my time from last year and set a new standard at 5:37.

Chapin, Chiquita, Ypsilon, Fairchild. Four of the six Mummy Mania summits.

South and southeast face of Mummy Mountain.
Some notes for future reference:

I again cut south too early for the Chapin summit (12,454'), hitting the false summit to the west and requiring additional rock hopping to the east. A better line here is probably worth four to five minutes. Chiquita (13,069') as always was very straight forward, but the cairn'ed route is best avoided as it is somewhat circuitous. Ypsilon  (13,514') is also very straightforward, but again the correct line - avoiding the false summit to the south - is worth a few minutes. Ypsilon to Fairchild is the crux of this route. I chose to explore firmer rock on the north side of the connecting ridge / saddle between the two summits, rather than hop the choss on the south side as I have on my two previous Mummy Mania outings. This was a definite error that left me negotiating some low class five sections, adding probably 10 minutes to the trip. I also chose to take the west ridge up Fairchild (13,502') and ended up having to down-climb to get around some dicey exposed rock, and then skirt east before being able to ascend the boulders for the gentler summit slopes. All told, I probably gave up 15 minutes tooling around between the two summits. Fairchild to Hagues (13,571') I nailed, skirting a little ways east 300 feet below the Hagues summit for a much easier and quicker walk-up ascent. Hagues to Mummy (13,425') was textbook too. However, my descent off Mummy was a disaster. From the summit, I felt like I saw a reasonable scree descent down one of the steep gulleys on the southeast face. I figured that rather than take the standard Black Canyon drainage route, I could save myself significant time by heading directly for the Roaring River and Lawn Lake Trail. I'm not sure I hit the correct gulley - or maybe the view from the summit was deceptive - but as it turned out I ended up committed to down-climbing some very sketchy rock with limited choices, which meant extreme caution and many lost minutes. Once on trail, I ran quite hard for the TH.

This route can go under five hours for sure with the correct route choices.

Splits with 2011 in parentheses:

Chapin: 31 (39)
Chiquita: 55 (1:03)
Ypsilon: 1:16 (1:34)
Fairchild: 2:26 (2:45)
Hagues: 3:19 (3:57)
Mummy: 4:01 (4:49)
Lawn Lake/Black Canyon intersection: 4:56 (5:39)
Lawn Lake TH: 5:37:22 (6:30) 

Sun - AM: 17.5 miles (1,300') easy. Redstone Canyon with some folks from the Fort Collins Running Club.
PM: 4.5 miles (1,500') hiking. Horsetooth summit with Alistair and my dad. Up the Rock Trail, down Audra/Southridge. 

Total: 105.5 miles (24,200')

Managed to grind out a pretty good week, with recovery from Western States feeling like it is pretty much complete. Any week with 13 summits in it has to be considered a success, regardless of other stats. Perhaps the most encouraging part of the week, however, was the rapidity with which I seem to be readjusting to working above timberline. Last week on Hagues, I was feeling a bit out of sorts with the altitude; this week with Hagues as my fifth alpine summit of the morning I really wasn't thinking about the altitude factor with the exception of a low-grade headache. This all bodes well for Leadville - where incidentally we'll be camping and scouting next weekend. Three more big weeks and then a shorter two-week taper (maybe 2.5 weeks) and I think I'll be good and ready for a stab at this Colorado classic.

The Pearl Train coming into Dusty Corners last month. Not sure who took this, but it popped up on Dana's Facebook thingy the other day.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Week Ending July 8

Mon - 6.5 miles (1,600') easy. Horsetooth summit via Southridge/Audra, down on Rock trail. Easy up, sore WS quads still on the way down.

Tues - 6 miles track. Workout was: open 1k, then 6 x 600. No watch for these, just wanted to get the legs turning over. Still plenty of residual in there from Western States.

Weds - AM: 6 miles race. Jumped in on the FireKracker 5k to see what I could churn out on trashed legs. As it turned out, I couldn't churn out much. Miles went: 5:35, 5:50, 5:35. :43 (17:43). Assuming that the last .1 was long and third mile short. Worked reasonably hard here for very limited results. Two years ago I went 17:17 on shorter rest after WS, so figured I'd be in that ballpark again, but my quads this time around are remaining stubbornly sore and not allowing for much fluidity in my running.
PM: 2 miles hiking with Alistair above Lily Lake in Estes Park.

Thurs - AM: 10.5 miles (1,400') easy with Mike on Bluesky.
PM: 6.5 miles easy with FCTR at Pineridge.

Fri - 7 miles (1,600') easy. Horsetooth summit. Audra/Culver.

Sat - 16 miles (5,000'). Hagues Peak (13,571') from Lawn Lake TH. Had originally planned to tag Tileston and Bighorn (two ranked Larimer 11ers) on the way back down, but the mountains were socked-in below 11,000 feet so route finding would have been super challenging. Decided instead to take some extra time on top of Hagues enjoying the cloud cover and views of the Glacier Gorge section of the Continental Divide to the south. A full Mummy Traverse next weekend, I think. Still a good bit of soreness in the quads on the last few miles of the descent.   

The scene at Lawn Lake (11,000') later in the morning. Fairchild (13,504'), Hagues, Mummy (13,425').
South face of Mummy Mountain from Slopes of Hagues Peak.
Fog was swirling above the 11,000' cloud base. Mummy almost enveloped on the left. Longs sits above it all to the south.
Fairchild in the fog. Fairchild, Hagues saddle below.
Continental Divide/Longs from Hagues.
Continental Divide behind east ridge of Fairchild and Crystal Lake.

Deer and fawns enjoying the lush timberline summer.

Sun - 2 miles hiking. Headed down to Horsetooth falls with Alistair to enjoy the moisture and explore the creek.

Total: 62.5 miles (9,600')

Had planned to get out Sunday for a longer run, but that never happened due to life and other circumstances. Probably good to give the legs the day off though as there was still some residual Western States soreness in there on the Saturday Hagues descent.

That leaves me three or four weeks to ramp things up to get ready for Leadville. I'm in desperate need of some extended above-timberline action, as I was definitely feeling the lack of oxygen on Hagues this weekend. It's always tough to carve out the time with the extra driving involved, but I'm sure I'll find a way. I'm thinking a Mummy Traverse for Saturday or Sunday which is an uber-classic RMNP route that I always enjoy, and then maybe a couple of family trips to Leadville and other spots in the coming weekends.

I just took a look at the Speedgoat start list - which I haven't done in months - and wow, all of a sudden it's a massively competitive event. I'm not sure I'll be in the best shape to compete, but it certainly looks like it'll be a fun weekend.

Ho hum, time to start getting after it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Four Weeks Ending July 1

Week Ending June 10

Mon - AM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls loop.

Tues - Noon: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls loop.
PM: 7 miles track. Workout was 2k open, then 8 x 400 relay with partner (i.e. 70-75 secs stationary rest between intervals). Steady for the 2k, then started pooping out on the 400s towards the end: 6:46 (3:23, 3:23), 75, 73, 71, 73, 74, 75, 76, 76 w/ an extra 80 tacked on at the end with Sarah for her last rep. 2 mile w-u, 1.5 w-d.

Weds - Noon: 7 miles (1,900') easy. Horsetooth summit via Rock Trail, descent on Audra - Southridge - Rock. 

Thurs - AM: 10.5 miles (1,400') easy with Mike and Sarah on Bluesky. Blah this morning. Super easy.
PM: 7.5 miles easy. Overdressed heat session at Pineridge with the FCTR folks.

Friday - 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls 

Sat - AM: 18 miles (1,800') race. Pilot Hill 25k.
PM: 5 miles (1,500') hiking. Horsetooth summit with Alistair, Stella, Kenny, Amy and their boys.

Sun: Nada. Cancelled planned 20 miler up and down Storm Mountain due to wildfires. Forced evacuation in afternoon.

Total: 70 miles (9,600')

Week Ending June 17

Mon - 4.5 miles easy. On roads to Jax to pick up food.

Tues - AM: 7.5 miles easy w/Sarah on roads and bike path.
PM: 4 miles track. Ran easy with Sarah and Dennis due to smoke and general lack of desire: mile, 4 x 800.

Weds: Off

Thurs: 10 miles (3,000') hills. Horsetooth Mountain Park was off limits due to the fire, so no Towers. Ran Round Mountain (8,250') with Tina instead. Up in a steady and surprisingly easy 52:10. Stopped about 400 meters from the top to watch a black bear forage under rocks for food. Totally disinterested/unaware of me. Easy down the first two miles with Tina, then took off.

Fri: 7 miles (1,800') easy. Snuck into Horseooth for a quick summit. Bull snake on Soderberg on the way up. Watched the firefighting effort up Redstone for a bit before getting zapped by surplus electricity in the air from an electric storm 10-15 miles off to the west. Scared the bejesus out of me. Zapped three times before I could get off the summit. Scurried down and fine once off the rock. 

Sat - AM: 7.5 miles (2,400') hills. Hiked up Twin Sisters (11,420') for Alistair's first legitimate trek above timberline. Up in a relatively zippy (for a five year old) 1:45, then down much easier as the mileage started to take its toll on the boy. Still, very little complaining just some old fashioned dragging. Above timberline we cut straight for the summit and had fun talus hoping together.

PM: 3 miles (600') easy. Quick bench loop. 

Sun - 8 miles easy (900') in the desert outside of West Wendover, NV. Leppy Hills Trail. HOT. 

Total: 51.5 miles (8,700')

Week Ending June 24

Mon - 4 miles (600') easy. Roads around Alpine Meadows (CA).

Tues - 4.5 miles. Bike paths from Squaw Valley. 

Weds - 5.5 miles (800') easy. Up the Five Lakes Trail. 

Thurs - 4 miles (500') easy with Timmy, Jorge and Connor around Alpine Meadows. 

Fri - 4 miles easy on bike path from Squaw Valley with Jake.

Sat - 100 miles (17,000'). Western States.

Sun - OFF.  Ultra drive back home. 

Total: 122 miles (18,900')

Week Ending July 1

Mon - OFF

Tues - OFF

Weds - OFF

Thurs - OFF

Fri - OFF

Saturday - 7 miles (1,800'). Horsetooth summit with Burch and Stefanovic. Some gimp behind the right knee and in the right hip, but otherwise decent. Moderately sore quads on the descent. Went super easy.

January: 330 miles (45,200')
February: 445 miles (58,500')
March: 501.5 (79,600')
April: 430 (66,800')
May: 387.5 (70,700')
June: 297.5 (48,500') 

Total: 2,391.5 miles (369,300')
Avg: 398.5 miles (61,550')

2012 Summits (81)
Horsetooth (7,255') (38)
Mount Elbert (14,443')
Longs Peak (14,259')
Whitney Peak (13,271')
Twin Sisters (11,420')
Lookout Mountain (10,626')

Storm Mountain (9,918')
Lily Mountain (9,786')
Crosier Mountain (9,250') (4)
Pilot Hill (8,829')
Mount Ethel (8,471')
8,415' (Leila Peak)
Buckhorn Mountain (8,341')
Round Mountain (8,250') (2)
Spruce Mountain (7,781')
Sullivan Stump (7,778')
Green Ridge (7,402')
Green Mountain (7,335')
7,260' (Ziggy Point)
7,098' (Poll Mtn range)
Table Mountain (7,074')
Arthurs (6,780') (5)
Palisade (8,225')
Milner (6,893')
Alexander (8,144')
5,773' or 'Aggie Peak'
5,740' (1)
5,740' (2)
Reservoir Ridge (5,735')
Goat Hill (5,604')
Aitxuri (1,551 meters) 
Aizkorri (1,528 meters)
Aratz (1,443 meters)

Sunday - 14 miles (1,400') easy. Bluesky with Slush, Sarah and Celeste. Legs were okay for the first eight, and then kind of sore and disinterested.

Total: 21 miles (3,200')

Catching up here with the training data for the three weeks before and one week after Western States. As usual, I went with a three-week taper and for the most part think I was well rested going into the race. With the fires, evacuation and other sundry stresses, things weren't quite as relaxed as I would have liked them to be, but with all the distractions I didn't waste a whole lot of mental energy worrying about the race in the lead up. In fact I was very relaxed and somewhat nonchalant about the whole deal, which for me is not the best place to be. I like to be slightly nervous before a big race to help focus the mind, but whatever, it seemed to work out decently in the end.

Had a super easy, but very busy week immediately after the race, but am now back in the regular swing of things. The running these last couple of days has been okay, but I have some good soreness left in the quads it would seem. That should be done with by the end of the week and I'll start getting back after it in preparation for Speedgoat and Leadville.

The fire here in Fort Collins ended up burning on over 87,000 acres, which is a huge swath of land, but thankfully it is now 100% contained. That is to say they have a full perimeter on it, but not that it is fully out. That will require some significant moisture from the heavens, something we have been sorely lacking unfortunately.

On a positive trail running note, the trails of Horsetooth and Lory were very minimally impacted by the fire, which means the Quad Rock course will remain exactly the same for next year. We have set a tentative date of May 11 (permits pending), so get that in your calendars if you're thinking about coming out. The Bluesky trail also has not been impacted by the fires, so the fifth annual Bluesky Marathon (Oct 7) will go ahead as normal this year.