High in Colorado

High in Colorado
Photo: Mandy Lea Photo

Monday, May 28, 2012

Playing Catch Up: Weekly Running Reviews from April 30-May 27

Week in Review: April 30-May 6
Monday, April 30th     
AM—None—Accidentally slept in
PM—14 Miles—2:25—3,000’—Flagstaff, Green, and Creek Path
I’ll admit it. I went out today chasing numbers. All I needed was nine miles to put me at 1,000 miles year-to-date and 14 miles to put me at an even 300 for April. So I decided to chase the numbers in style and summit a few mountains along the way. I couldn’t really believe how great my legs felt on the climb up Flagstaff and Green. I chose to take the middle route up Green (Ranger to Greenman to the summit) due to some high winds that I felt were unavoidable had I taken Ranger all the way up. I ended up running every step of the way from my door to Flagstaff to Green and back. This was the first time I’ve ever ran all the way up Green solo without stopping or hiking. It seems much easier to make the run with company. I took a casual approach to the descent (following the same route) in an effort to not break, twist, sprain, roll, etc. anything less than two weeks before my 100 miler. I ended up descending the backside of Flagstaff to Red Lion and took the Creek Path into town where I added on a few cool down miles. Once again, the frigid waters of Boulder Creek were waiting for me after the run.

Tuesday, May 1st     
PM—4 Miles—1:00—1,600’—Sanitas
My legs were extremely lethargic as I took the easy way through the Red Rocks area towards Sanitas. It seemed to take everything in me to get up and over this pathetic little climb. I stopped at the 4-way intersection, caught my breath, and began the short descent to the Sanitas TH. Once I began the climb up Sanitas my legs felt a little better—only a little. I ran into Rick about 3-5 minutes into the climb and talked to him for a bit. Once I got going again my legs felt recharged and I hammered out the rest of the climb with relative ease. I topped out in 22 minutes flat, which is pretty slow compared to my only other time I have for this route, but still faster than most people (I think). I took the East Ridge and Dakota Ridge trails back down and moved pretty slow the entire way. My pace grew even slower after slightly rolling my right ankle a few times on the technical terrain. Usually I make up quite a bit of time on the descents, but I didn’t really want to push it today with my race so close.  Another soak in the Creek to top it all off.

Wednesday, May 2nd
PM—6 Miles—0:49—1,650’—Flagstaff
When I got home from work today I was very tempted to take the day off from running, but I quickly changed into my running clothes and hit the door before I could get too comfy. From the start my legs had the pop that just lets you know the run is going to be fast. So I headed out with the intent of PR’ing the Flagstaff ascent and roundtrip. I hit Panorama Point in 11:14 (2 seconds off my PR) and felt great. There were a few instances on the ascent that my legs started feeling a little tired, but I kept pushing through and held a solid pace. I hit the beginning of the last big climb in 25:00, which gave me confidence that I was going to both PR and break 30 minutes. I hammered out the staircase, trying to keep my breathing somewhat in control. After the last road crossing I just gutted it out and finished off the last set of stairs to the top, which I reached in 29:55 (new PR by 48 seconds). My next goal was to turn around and hit the roundtrip in sub-50 minutes. There were a few times on the way down where I looked at my overall time and figured my sub-50 goal wasn’t possible. I hit Panorama Point in 42:30 and figured there was no way to get down in 7:30. Regardless, I just put my head down and picked up the pace as much as possible. When I finally hit the gravel road that leads to the Viewpoint TH I pinned my ears back and sprinted to the finish in 49:41 (another new PR and the first time I’ve broken 50 minutes on this 6-mile, 1,650 vertical feet route). This will likely be my last hard run before next Friday’s 100 miler. Soaked in the creek after the run.

Thursday, May 3rd  
AM—None—Acupuncture Recovery
PM—None—Acupuncture Recovery

Friday, May 4th
AM—None—Acupuncture Recovery
PM—None—Acupuncture Recovery

Saturday, May 5th      
AM—None—Acupuncture Recovery
PM—None—Acupuncture Recovery

Sunday, May 6th   
AM—None—Acupuncture Recovery
PM—None—Acupuncture Recovery

Time—4hours 15minutes
Elevation Gain— 6,250 feet                                                                                                                                                
Not very many miles this week. I decided that since I would be tapering anyways that I may as well take several days off to let my intense acupuncture session fully heal before heading out to Zion to try to run 100 miles. I hate tapering…

Week in Review: May 7-May 13
Monday, May 7th     
AM—None—More Rest
PM—None—More Rest

Tuesday, May 8th  
PM—3 Miles—0:36—800’—Red Rocks and Dakota Ridge
Since this was my first run in five days and I’m mid-taper I decided to take it very easy and just get in a little climb at a slow pace. Nothing notable about this run.

Wednesday, May 9th
PM—2 Miles—0:16—100’—Creek Path
Still tapering…

Thursday, May 10th
PM—2 Miles—0:16—0’—Roads in Virgin, UT
After driving for 11+ hours I had to get out for a quick run to get my legs moving. Damn, it’s hot out here…Tomorrow will likely be brutal.

Friday, May 11th  
AM—51 miles—13:59—5,600’—Zion 100 Mile DNF
Obviously, a pretty disappointing outing that ultimately resulted in a DNF at the midway point. Race report to be posted soon.

Saturday, May 12th      

Sunday, May 13th   

Time—15hours 8minutes
Elevation Gain— 6,500 feet                                                                                                                                                
This was my last week of tapering leading into the Zion 100 mile run. Even with the disappointment of the DNF at Zion I believe I learned more than I would have learned with a successful finish. Perhaps the DNF will serve me better in the long run?

Week in Review: May 14-May 20
Monday, May 14th     
AM—6 Miles—0:58—1,650’—Flagstaff
Just a nice-and-easy run with somewhat lethargic legs.

Tuesday, May 15th  
PM—10 Miles—1:57—3,200’—Flagstaff and Green via Middle Route
Felt surprisingly strong on the ascent and ran every step of the way (even the few steep sections on upper Greenman). Took the descent at a casual pace down Ranger.

Wednesday, May 16th
AM—None—Acupuncture Recovery
PM—None—Acupuncture Recovery

Thursday, May 17th
AM—None—Acupuncture Recovery
PM—None—Acupuncture Recovery

Friday, May 18th  
AM—None—Acupuncture Recovery
PM—None—Acupuncture Recovery

Saturday, May 19th      
PM—11 Miles—2:06—3,400’ –Flagstaff and Green via Middle Route, Down Gregory Canyon
I was pleasantly surprised at how well my legs responded when I called on them today. I ran every step of the way from my apartment to the top of Green. The steep stairs on Greenman don’t really seem too bad any more. Yeah, they suck, but they’re over before you know it.

Sunday, May 20th   
AM—17 Miles—4:13—5,100’—Flagstaff/Green/Bear/SoBo and Back on Mesa
Since this was my first long’ish run after Zion I decided to take it pretty easy. So I joined the Church group for part of their outing. My legs felt like going a little faster than their pace so I would run ahead of them and stop to wait at trail junctions or summits. It took way too long to cover the distance/vertical than it should have

Time—9hours 15minutes
Elevation Gain— 13,350 feet                                                                                                                                                
This was a very mellow week of running since I’m still recovering from my 51 mile outing and DNF at Zion. I had a post-run acupuncture session and a few days off to try to fully recover. Towards the end of the week my body was feeling pretty good.

Week in Review: May 21-May 27
Monday, May 21st      
PM—6 Miles—1:04—1,650’—Flagstaff
Pretty lethargic legs on this one. I ended up hiking most of the upper portion of Flagstaff since it seemed to take everything in me to keep my legs going at a running cadence. I took the descent really easy as well. This is the first time I’ve gone over an hour on the Flagstaff roundtrip in a LONG time.

Tuesday, May 22nd    
PM—6 Miles—1:02—1,650’—Flagstaff
Another rough day on the trails. I’m beginning to think that I’m not fully recovered from Zion. My legs have been feeling like crap the past few days.

Wednesday, May 23rd  
AM—9 Miles—1:24—1,650’—Flagstaff and Down Red Lion
I met up with Tony Molina for a nice early morning run up Flagstaff. We took off at a casual pace. Eventually he picked up the pace a bit and my legs just wouldn’t respond when I tried to follow. We took the 5.5 mile descent on jeep roads pretty easy and coasted back into town. My legs felt slightly better than they did the past few days. I enjoyed the company on the run as well.
PM—11 Miles—1:37—1,350’—Creek Path, Red Lion to Flagstaff Road Out-and-Back
This was a fun little run in the rain. In an effort to not destroy any muddy trails I decided to head up the Creek Path to Red Lion and see what the jeep roads were like. The roads were pretty firm so I kept chugging along up to Flagstaff Road and eventually hit the top with about a 9:30 minute/mile pace for the 5.5 mile 1,350’ climb. Not bad considering I never pushed hard at all. I just coasted back down the same way and enjoyed the raining falling down on me the entire way.

Thursday, May 24th  
PM—4 Miles—1:01—1,650’—Sanitas
Legs felt like absolute crap on the way up-and-over Red Rocks. When I got to the Sanitas TH they felt a little better. On the ascent I probably “ran” 30-40% and power hiked the rest. Honestly, it probably would have been faster if I just power hiked the entire thing when you consider how slow my running pace was. I took the descent super easy since my legs didn’t really feel right. I didn’t think pushing the descent was a bright idea with all of the ankle-breaking terrain. Some days you just don’t have it…

Friday, May 25th  
AM—5 Miles—0:38—300’—Creek Path
This was just an easy run up Boulder Canyon to where the Creek Path ends near Four Mile Canyon. With an acupuncture session in the afternoon and the drive to Frisco after that I only had time to sneak out for a quick run this morning.

Saturday, May 26th      
PM— 8 Miles—1:39—1,800’—Meadow Creek in Frisco, CO
My parents were in the area visiting for the week and decided to stay in Frisco. So I spent the weekend with them and naturally brought my running gear. I headed out from Frisco at 9,100’ and made my way up the Meadow Creek trail for about 4 miles up to 10,900+ feet. I wanted to top out at 11,000’ at least, but the trail started a descent/flat section for the foreseeable future and I told my parents I would be back in ~1.5 hours for dinner. So I headed back. I had some stomach problems on the descent (altitude induced maybe, but not sure?) so I would run for a bit, stop and let my stomach settle, walk a bit, then run some more, and repeat. This type of running did allow me to take a lot of photos, though. It was noticeably harder to breath/run at this altitude, but with more exposure through the summer I think I’ll be ready when Leadville rolls around…

Sunday, May 27th   
PM—13 Miles—2:35—3,600’—Flagstaff/Green, Down Bear Canyon, and Back on Mesa
Definitely not the 20-25 mile run I intended. When I got to the Green Mountain Lodge I ran into Peter, Jorge, and a few others who were gathered for Fred Ecks wedding. So I decided to stick around a bit for the festivities. After about an hour and forty-five minutes I grabbed a few cookies and started making my way up Green. By this time I was starving so I decided to just descend down Green Bear and Bear Canyon where I would ride Mesa back. I took most of the run pretty easy.

Time—11hours 2minutes
Elevation Gain— 13,650 feet                                                                                                                                                
Hopefully this was the last recovery week after Zion. My plan is to be back at essentially full training volume next week. We’ll see if that happens. I didn’t get as many miles in as I hoped with my parents in town visiting, but it was worth it to see them. I did get my first dose of high country running in this week, which has me wanting more already. I’m looking forward to getting pretty high (figuratively) this summer in preparation for the Leadville 50 and 100. Should be the beginning of a great summer of running.

And now, loads of photos...

Getting pretty high on my first high country run of the summer in Frisco, CO

Stream crossing on the Meadow Creek Trail in Frisco

Meadow Creek Trail

Felt like I was running Tough Mudder or something...Only thing missing was a bunch of drunk, fat frat Chads...

Peak One (I think) lurking behind the Aspens

I can't seem to take enough photos of Aspens

Looking down at Frisco on the way down the Meadow Creek Trail

Scoping out Leadville so I know what to expect later on this summer

Obviously, the best named restaurant in Leadville...
Some of the mountains around Leadville. I sure do hope that the 50 and 100 mile races tag a few of these.