Thursday, January 30, 2014

Week Ending January 27

Mon - 10 miles (2,500') easy. South Horsetooth summit via Slush's Slit and then around on Westridge - Spring Creek. Another beautiful day in The Fort.

Tues - AM: 7 miles intervals. Not much in the tank for this morning's work. Ran with Chris, but the effort/split relationship was not a good one for me. Worked way too hard for these. Maybe some lingering cold stuff going on, if I really want to reach for an excuse. Or just getting old. Workout was 3 (1,200, 1,000) around City Park Lake, with the kilos as fartleks: 4:08, 3:25, 4:04, 3:23, 4:00, 3:20.
PM: 5 miles (1,500') easy. An easy jog up Horsetooth to shake out the morning workout.

Weds - 7.5 miles (1,800') easy. Casual Horsetooth summit on icy trails.

Thurs - AM: 10 miles (1,400') hill tempo. It was cold this morning and the roads on Centennial were an icy/snowy mess, which made for challenging running trying to maintain an effort coming back. Out easy to the turn, then back with Jason in approximately 33 mins.
PM: 4.5 miles (1,500') kinda hard. Retained my title on the VBM. Undefeated in all four renditions, as it happens.

Fri - 7.5 miles (1,800') easy. Grabbed a morning ascent of Horsetooth with Danny in the new snow. A little slippery, but I knew where all the icy spots were hidden. Back down the hill with neighbor Mike and his big plott hound.

Sat - 12.5 miles (3,400') easy. Double Horsetooth summit (21 & 22): Southridge - Audra - Rock - Wathan - Spring Creek - Soderberg - Rock - Audra - Southridge. Super casual double up and down via the cheat three-way route.

Sun - 15.5 (1,500') 5k/10k Frost Giant double. We stayed up in Estes Saturday night with Danny and his family at a cabin that one of Danny's colleagues had graciously opened up to us. Elk burgers were on the menu, which is fitting while in Estes, a town that is overrun by Elk. We were in town for the 35th running of the Frost Giant races, the fourth year in a row for me. The morning starts out with a 5k at 11:00 and a 10k at noon. Both races are a mix of hilly road and tough cross country, all at 7,500 - 8,000 feet.

There was a good group up from The Fort and surrounding areas, so we got out for a jog of the 5k course to assess conditions, which aside from the wind - always a factor in Estes - were pretty good. Getting ready, I bumped into Joe G who'd indicated the day before that he might be coming up, doubling down on the double with a 30k snowshoe race the day before.

The race got out with me, Mike - who'd beaten me the last time we raced on Thanksgiving - and Joe off the front in a small pack. The pace felt a lot more reasonable than it has in past years. Half a mile in on a slight downhill, Mike put in a little surge and it was just me and him at mile 1 heading up into McGregor Ranch. I kept on the gas all the way up the hill to the high point in McGregor Ranch and then let it go on the downhill across the pasture. This was enough to establish a comfortable gap on Mike, such that I could cruise the final mile back to the finish reasonably comfortably for 18:44. This was a few seconds off of last year, but 50 seconds off my best from 2011.

We jogged a bit between races to stay limber, then got things underway for the 10k, which starts with a steep climb up into some neighborhood roads. It looked like it was just me and Joe off the front for this one. We ran together for the first mile, and then I got a gap heading up to McGregor Ranch. The gap on Joe stayed essentially the same for the remainder of the race and I was content just to get around. The underfoot conditions were especially challenging on the 10k part of the course, with the usual off-camber grassy hillsides in addition to some really awkward sections of ice on the low point of the field to pick through. It felt like hard work. I popped back out on the road in 34:35, which meant I needed to run under 5:30 through the last mile to register something under 40 mins. I gave it a go, but came up a few seconds short (40:08), running another personal worst unfortunately. This one two minutes slower than last year and four minutes off my best. Maybe the course was longer? The cross country section seems to change a bit every year. Or maybe I'm just getting old.

Longs money shot from the Estes Trail Gazette
Post the 10k. Podium in various orders for both races.
Total: 79.5 miles (15,500')

So, another base-building week of fairly easy, but hilly mileage in the books.

I've been up in the 100s for weekly mileage at this time in years past. Not this year. I think I can time a better peak for Western States if I stay conservative on the mileage through the end of February; save the heavy lifting for March, April, May. I think I've been fitter in May than June the last couple of go arounds.

Off to Costa Rica early tomorrow for a 10-day run vacation with the family. I'll be competing in the Coastal Challenge stage race, but should be done each day by 10:00 or so, which will mean lots of quality time on the beach with the kids. Six days of camping for three-year-old Stella should be interesting, but hopefully fun.

This is the 10th running of the 6-day, 230km race, so the race organizers have been busy putting together a field of international runners that I'm looking forward to running with and competing against. Ian Corless has the details on that. Having never run a stage race, I'm not really sure what to expect in terms of recovery and getting after it for six straight days, but I'm sure I'll figure it out. Fun times.


  1. Wow! Someone has really been chasing some summits this month. I'll catch up eventually. Have a great trip!

  2. Great effort Nick - congrats. RC

  3. Whitstable Parkrun! I'm a fan from Dover... When are we going to see you race a UK Ultra please Nick??? :)