Thursday, January 16, 2014

Week Ending Jan 12

Mon - 7 miles (1,800') easy. Nice easy jog up Horsetooth in well-packed snow on the main trail.

Tues - AM: 7.5 miles intervals. Underfoot conditions on the cemetery loop were not good, so pretty much ran to effort and disregarded the watch this morning. Workout was mile, 800, 800, broken mile (800, 800), 1.5 mile lamppost fartlek.
PM: 7.5 miles (1,800') easy Horsetooth summit. Gorgeous day out with still great packed snow on the main trail.

Weds - Noon: 7.5 miles (1,800') easy. Snuck a quick summit of Horsetooth before running the kids around for the afternoon.

Thurs - AM: 10 miles (1,400') hill tempo. Out on Centennial with the Thursday morning group: Mary, Celeste, Ziggy, Scott, Becca, Lee, Marie and Katie. Nice easy run out as usual, then back at a controlled half marathon - 10 mile effort. Net uphill for the first three miles, then down for the last two: 7:32, 6:40, 6:35, 5:20, 5:15 = 31:22.
Noon: 7 miles (1,800') uber easy with Stefanovic who was back on break (and grossly out of shape) from his studies in Boston. Snuck a north gap ascent in as the rock was largely ice free. Beautiful view of blue fog sitting over the valley east of Boulder. Out towards the plains smoggy/dusty air was trapped low and looking nasty.

Fri - 7 miles (1,800') easy. After watching the wind howl from my office all morning, I finally summoned the courage to get outside and tag the peak. Went up the main trail to stay out of the wind and then struggled mightily to stay on my feet once on top of the rock (9). Everything has iced over thanks to the sun and wind, so it was very careful going on the descent.

Sat - 8 miles (2,000') peakbaggery. Woke with a burning throat and pretty much feeling like death, but decided to go ahead and meet Andy as planned for a morning tagging peaks up in the Red Feather Lakes area. We started from the Mount Margaret Trailhead with the winds whipping around pretty fiercely. There wasn't a huge amount of snow on the ground, but enough windblown accumulation to make things annoying. On the north side of the Red Feather Lakes Road, there are three ranked peaks semi-circling Windy Gap Lake, with two more on the south side of the road. Those were the goal peaks for the morning. First up was 8,522', a nice rocky lump composed of the solid, weathered and uber-featured Sherman Granite familiar to the area north of Fort Collins and the high plains of Laramie. To get on the peak, we followed a National Forest fence north to its northeast corner, before heading east and up to get the fun, rocky summit. The land out here is nice and open, so the views from each of our morning's summits were stellar.

8,522' on a different day. Photo: Joe Grim (from LoJ site)
From the top of 8,522' we checked out the lay of the land for the next two peaks, noting a steep snowy descent to the saddle with 8,356', which from our vantage point had a particularly aesthetic appeal to it, and then a good bit of cross country around Windy Gap Lake to get to 8,388'. The descent off 8,522' offered a little spice to our morning due to the steep, slabby and snow-covered nature of the terrain, but we picked and slipped our way through comfortably enough. By contrast, the southwest facing rock of 8,356' was dry, featured and fun to climb. It went quickly. The route off was again largely dry and we were soon making our way around the frozen Windy Gap Lake and heading up some pretty torturous terrain to get on 8,388'. Deadfall, heavy brush and the deepest snow of the day all made for a tedious - even if short - ascent. The summit rock had a nice hand crack to the top, which Andy geeked on for a while and then we headed southwest off the rock through heavy brush for Lone Pine Creek and the road. By the time we hit the asphalt, I was really beat down from the crud invading my body, so we called it there and ran the mile and half back up to the car into a nice steady headwind. Got home and was essentially dead to the world for the rest of the weekend.

8,356' from slopes of 8,522'.
Sick and wanting off the windy 8,522' summit. Windy Gap Lake to the right. 
Sun - 1.5 miles (400') hiking. Woke up feeling absolutely terrible. Aches, temperature, cough, burning respiratory system. There was no hope of a run today, so I nixed plans for a longer one and tried to convince Alistair to hike with me. The winds were howling again, so it was a tough sell, but I did at least get him to the trailhead. We didn't get far though, both of us not really enjoying being out, so we headed back down and into town to watch grown men collide into each other at full speed while chasing after an oddly shaped ball. I used to do that for fun too. How odd.

Total: 63 miles (12,800')

Picked up the nasty flu-like cold that's been doing the rounds this winter towards the end of this week and it put me on my back for much of the weekend and the first part of this week, but I'm finally feeling like I've kicked it to the curb some five days later. Good riddance, I haven't been sick like that in a while.

The sickness put to bed any plans of a longer run this past weekend, something I need to start getting on top of these next couple of weeks if I want to have any chance of competing in Costa Rica at the Coastal Challenge early next month. I've been tooling around with runs in the 7-10 mile range forever, it seems, and basically avoiding longer efforts. Time to start getting a little more serious.

Successful racing or not, we're really looking forward to the trip out to CR. Dana's mom is going to come out and join us, which should hopefully give Dana some good time to herself on the beach or in the jungle while I'm out running in the mornings. The 90+ degree temps are going to be a pretty rude slap in the face, but it'll be the same for most everyone I'm sure.


  1. It was adventurous but quite enjoyable.............
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