High in Colorado

High in Colorado
Photo: Mandy Lea Photo

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Week in Review: May 28-June 3

Monday, May 28th       
AM—13 Miles—2:33—2,900’—Flagstaff and Green
A pretty horrendous run up Flag and Green. I chose to come down Bear Canyon via West Ridge and Green Bear to tack on a few more miles. Legs felt absolutely horrible so I needed the extra downhill miles to make me feel a little better about myself. Oh well, it’s always a good day when you can get to the summit of Green.

Tuesday, May 29th     
PM—8 Miles—1:09—1,050’—Creek Path, Red Rocks, and Sanitas Valley
After yesterday’s horrible run I decided to keep it pretty flat to see if my legs had any life in them. So I did a five mile out-and-back up the canyon on the Creek Path and averaged about 7:15 minutes/mile. The perceived effort felt more like normal than the past few days. I decided to head up-and-over Red Rocks then up-and-down Sanitas Valley. The small climb in Red Rocks felt like I was climbing up Shadow Canyon or something. I pushed on anyways and hit the ~1 mile climb up Sanitas Valley in 8:29 minutes. The return trip was slow and painful since the tape I had on my heel blister came off on the climb. I ended up barely walking the climb back up Red Rocks. It was a definite relief to finally get my shoes off.

Wednesday, May 30th   
PM—10 Miles—1:53—2,600’—Green
As I was leaving work I made plans to meet Alex at the Gregory TH for a run up Green. I ran up 6th street to save some time and get in a decent warm up since my legs have been feeling like crap lately. I averaged 7:30 minutes/mile on the warm up, but my legs just didn’t feel good.  Regardless, we began our ascent up Gregory Canyon. Once I got my breathing under control my legs seemed to feel a bit better. I was still a little timid on my right ankle after rolling it on Monday so I slowed pretty significantly on the more technical sections of upper Greenman (both on the ascent and descent). We saw a bear on our way down Gregory, which was pretty cool. First time I’ve seen a bear in the wild here in Boulder and of course I left my camera at home. Oh well, next time…

Thursday, May 31st   
PM—10 Miles—2:01—3,100’—Flagstaff and Green
Met up with Jon (guy I randomly met in the coffee shop at Leadville last weekend) for a nice run up Flagstaff and Green via the middle route. My legs were still feeling pretty crappy so he dropped me on the steep section of upper Greenman. He seemed to enjoy the greenery that trails below 10,000 feet provide. After chatting on the summit for a bit we descended down the back side. The pace was fairly casual on the flat, easy sections and the pace was a little quicker and more fun on the steeper, techy parts. Of course, no visit to Boulder is complete without a stop at Mountain Sun. Looking forward to getting up to Leadville and joining Jon on some more runs.

Friday, June 1st   
AM—3 Miles—0:26—200’—Creek Path
Early morning shakeout run with Jon before parting ways and heading to work. I love running along the Creek and feeling the brisk early morning air.

Saturday, June 2nd       
AM—20 Miles—5:00—5,000’—Partial Ring the Peak Route
I decided to join the Team CRUD runners for their annual Ring the Peak run. It surely wasn’t what I expected. After some emails back-and-forth with the organizer it seemed as though everyone would go out at a casual pace and shoot for a finish of 17 hours or so. Right from the start I could tell that wouldn’t be the case. Everyone who knew the route took off like bats out of hell. On any other day I would have followed, but after a week of mentally preparing for a casual 62 miles I couldn’t force my body to move fast enough to keep up. So I just went at my own pace, which happened to be 15.5 hour pace through 20 miles and decided I had enough for the morning. The leaders came through the 20 mile station in 12-13 hour pace, I believe. Next time I’ll be more prepared mentally to go kick some ass.
PM—4 Miles—0:57—2,100’—Manitou Incline Loop
Once my roommate and I got back to the car he opted to go eat and drink beer while I figured seeing what the Manitou Incline is all about was the best decision. At first sight the Incline is daunting and it just gets worse the further up you go. I ran the first ~1/4 mile until the steep section started and then fell into a power hike for all but the last 200 meters or so. Eventually I topped out in 34:54. Not bad I guess for having just done 20 miles and 5,000 feet of vertical earlier. The run down the Barr Trail was a blast especially with little, if any, tread left on my shoes after 500+ miles on them.

Sunday, June 3rd    
AM—14 Miles—3:29—3,800’—Manitou Incline and Barr Trail to Barr Camp
Rolled out of the Subaru around 7:30 AM and started making preparations for heading up towards Barr Camp where we would decide whether to keep heading up or turn back. After yesterday’s 20 miles of carrying the weight of a small child on my back I decided to go minimal on this outing. This meant packing a few gels in my pockets and tying a jacket around my waist. I hit the Manitou Incline with the intent of breaking 30 minutes but missed and hit it in 31:13. I’m pretty sure that if I had a week or two to practice I could hit sub-25 on it. The rest of the trip up to Barr Camp was just a hike, which I found to be rather boring since my hiking skills are horrendous unless I’m hiking up stairs. After some R&R at Barr Camp we made our way back down at a slow trot. The drawstring on my shorts broke so I had to hold them up with one hand the entire way down to prevent them from dropping to my ankles. No doubt, this made for a miserable descent. I kept feeling like I was some ghetto rapper out deciding to run trails for the first time…

Time—17hours 34minutes
Elevation Gain—20,550 feet                                                                                                                                    

Not the mileage I was hoping for, but it felt good to get over 20,000 feet of vertical again. I’m starting to feel like my legs might be recovered from the effort at Zion. This is the first true week in my training push for the Leadville 50 in July and ultimately the Leadville 100 in August. Moving forward, my main goals aren’t that much different than usual: lots of miles (100+/week) and lots of vertical (25k+/week). The only difference is that I intend to start doing a bigger portion of that volume above 10k feet. I’m pretty excited for what the next 5-6 weeks leading up to the Leadville 50 have to offer. 

Ring the Peak Trail Marker

Sun Creeping Up Over the Mountains

First Good View of Pikes Peak

Manitou Incline

Looking Back at the Climb I Completed

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