High in Colorado

High in Colorado
Photo: Mandy Lea Photo

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Week in Review: February 24-March 2—Snow, Ughh

Monday, February 24th
AM—17 Miles—2:28—2,300’—Last Dollar Road
I decided to skip the usual 3.5 mile warm up on the flat valley floor today. So, I just parked near the beginning of Last Dollar Road where the first climb begins. I ran around 8:30 pace for most of the two-mile and 500 feet climb. I held 5:30-6:30 pace for the 1.5 miles while descending into Deep Creek. I can tell my turnover is starting to come around because the 5:30 pace didn’t feel nearly as strenuous as it did even just a week ago. After one more climb (900 feet over 3.75 miles) I reached the end of the winter maintenance section of Last Dollar Road: time 1:04, distance 7.75 miles, and 1,700 feet ascent. From here I decided to keep heading up the snow-covered road for another 1.5 miles; punching through snow and moving at 12-20 minutes/mile. When I got back to the dirt road I made the return trip in an easy 1:03. 

Tuesday, February 25th
AM1—3.5 Miles—0:50—1,300’—Jud Wiebe Loop
Fun early’ish morning outing with Ben. The first couple tenths of a mile were dry, somewhat rocky trail that my legs would love to run all day long. It felt good to finally get some footwork in, regardless of how brief it may have been. We hiked most of the steep sections due to icy conditions and no spikes. Near the top of the climb we were able to start running a bit. The descent was pretty fun; a mix of packed snow, icy sections, and completely dry trail made for a stimulating stretch of running. We really opened up the pace a little once we hit the final stretch of road heading back into town. We wrapped up the run with about a quarter mile of 5:15 pace and even topped out at 4:20 pace for a short time.  

AM2—17 Miles—2:49—2,400’—Last Dollar Road and Deep Creek Road
My goal for this run was to take it easy, super easy. This proved to be more difficult than I imagined. On the climb up to the airport I really had to concentrate and keep looking at my watch to stay above 9 minute/mile pace. I didn’t want to go any faster than that pace on any uphill and I didn’t want to drop below 8 minute/mile pace on any downhill. I pretty much wanted to finish this run and have my legs thinking “is that all we’re going to do today?” The entire run passed by without ever really feeling like I exerted myself. Oh, I saw a herd of about 100 elk crossing through a snow-covered opening in the valley. Of course, I didn’t take my camera today. 

Wednesday, February 26th
AM1—5 Miles—1:00—1,600’—Jud Wiebe Loop and Tomboy Road
Easy loop around Jud Wiebe with a short out-and-back on Tomboy Road before hustling back to the Taco to feed to parking meter and get a quick drink of water. 

AM2—7 Miles—2:01—2,550’—Cornet Falls, Jud Wiebe Loop, and Tomboy Road
After a twenty minute intermission I headed back out for some more miles. I decided to head up and see what Cornet Falls looked like. This short half-mile RT section took a while since some of the slight inclines in the trail were ridiculously icy. The falls proved to be worth the effort. It was pretty cool to be standing at the base of a frozen water fall that still had water flowing through the center of the ice. I did a loop of Jud Wiebe after getting down from the falls. My legs wanted a few more miles. So, I did about a three mile out-and-back on Tomboy Road before calling it a day. Tomboy was a bit of a slog since the sun had been pummeling the snow all morning, but it was still fun. 

Thursday, February 27th
AM1—9 Miles—1:24—850’—Lawson Hill Loop
Ben and I headed out for a nice loop on the River Trail, Boomerang, Jurassic, Lawson Hill, and the Valley Floor. I might be missing a trail or two on there. We had a couple stretches where we pushed the pace pretty hard and some where we took it pretty easy. Overall, we put in a pretty good effort given the snow conditions in parts of the run. As we were running along the Valley Floor at a decent pace I called Kim to arrange meeting for a run as soon as I got back to Ben’s office. This will be a fun, fast loop when all the snow disappears. 

AM2—3.5 Miles—0:56—1,300’—Jud Wiebe Loop
As soon as Ben and I parted ways I took off towards Jud Wiebe. Kim had already headed up for a second lap before I got there. My challenge was to chase her down. I started out pushing the pace pretty good on the climb. Even after running with Ben my legs felt fresh and ready to climb. About ½ to ¾ of the way up the ice got pretty bad so I fell into a hike. I eventually spotted Kim and joined her for the rest of the ascent/descent. The conversation was great. I tried to keep talking on the uphill since she wasn’t used to the elevation and I didn’t want to make her first run at elevation any harder than it had to be. I’m looking forward to following her progress as she trains for her first 50 miler, the Leadville Silver Rush. 

Friday, February 28th
AM—8 Miles—1:24—300’—Bike Path and Valley Floor
I took off down the bike path for what should have been an easy day out. However, I decided to try returning via the Valley Floor trails, which had just been hit with 10 inches of fresh powder. After postholing for way longer than I would have liked through shitty snow topped with fresh snow I decided to get off the groomed trails and make a break for the bike path. A fraction of a mile of knee-deep postholing and one leap over a river finally had me back on pavement (never thought I would say that). Then I cruised back home. 

Saturday, March 1st
AM1—6 Miles—1:14—850’—River Trail, Boomerang, and Valley Floor
I was hoping to do the loop Ben and I did on Thursday. After an easy run along the river and a hike up Boomerang I realized this wasn’t in the cards. The Jurassic Trail was buried in hip-deep snow. So, I did a quick trudge to the top of a small hill above Jurassic (also in hip-deep snow) before descending Boomerang. Once back at the River Trail I did a short out and back on the Valley Floor where I broke trail the entire way. Fun, easy day. 

AM2—3 Miles—0:40—400’—River Trail and Bear Creek
I headed east on the River Trail in hopes that I’d be able to sneak in 5-6 miles. This stretch of trail proved to be shorter than I hoped (it ends around the Town Park). So, I took off up a hillside that some people were sledding down to explore a bit. It didn’t take long to end up in snow up to my mid-torso. After slogging through this for longer than I’d like I decided to crawl on all fours in an effort to stay atop the snow. Luckily, this worked. Exhausted, I returned to the River Trail where I noticed another trail offshoot that looked well-packed and was heading up. This connected to the Bear Creek Trail, which I followed for a short while before returning back home. About as exhausting as a three-mile outing can be. 

Sunday, March 2nd
AM—4.5 Miles—0:52—100’—River Trail
My legs felt like going all day, but my mind just felt like a short, easy day. So I took a short, easy day today.

Time— 15 hours 41 minutes
Elevation Gain— 13,950 feet

February Totals:
Time—51 hours 51 minutes
Elevation Gain—41,350 feet

I finally feel like my body is getting used to my current work/running schedule. I’m working from 4:15pm to 12:45am. So, I usually get to bed around 2am or so, wake up around 6-7am, and hit the roads/trails for some running. It’s actually a really great schedule for running, especially once summer rolls around. I’ve found standing for 8-9 hours a night at work to be great for my recovery from 20+ mile runs. I can do a long run in the morning, go to work, stand all night, and it just seems to make any potential soreness/fatigue disappear. This is definitely way better than sitting on my ass at a computer in a cubicle all day long. 

This week I nearly doubled my vertical from the previous week. Ben showed me a short, sweet loop (Jud Wiebe) that packs 1,300 feet of vertical into 3.5 miles. So, I utilized that loop several times this week in an effort to get my steep climbing legs back. I decided not to bump up my mileage this week due to the jump in vertical. During the next few weeks I’ll be working on integrating vertical runs with faster-paced runs in hopes of getting both faster and stronger. In the past I’ve always just been strong on climbs, but slow as hell. My goal is to become better at both. 

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