Desert Vibes

Desert Vibes
Photo: Ben Clark

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Week in Review: March 31-April 6—Goodbye, Telluride…



Monday, March 31st
AM—16.5 Miles—3:09—3,000’—Valley Floor, River Trail, Jud Wiebe, Tomboy Road, Mill Creek Road, Bike Path
I started off with a slow warm-up on the Valley Floor where I promptly slipped and fell in the mud less than 0.1 miles from the trailhead. The snow conditions were good with the exception of one or two places where I kept falling through. Once on the River Trail I picked up the pace a little; stomping through mud puddles all the way. I ran most of the ascent on Jud Wiebe except for a few bulletproof ice patches. A few switchbacks from the top I stopped to chat with a pretty gal sporting a southern accent. I only stop for two things while running: friends and hot girls. The descent on JW was a fun, muddy shit show. Tomboy Road presented an opportunity to add on a few more miles before the soft snow became too annoying. I decided to take the bike path back rather than the Valley Floor trail since it was late enough in the day that I knew I’d be punching through every other step. When I reached Mill Creek Road I headed up it for another three mile addition. After that, I cruised the last few miles back to the Taco. Not as long of a run as I would have liked, but I just felt too exhausted to run much more.

PM—3.5 Miles—0:37—300’—Sunshine Mesa
Really easy shakeout run. On my way down I passed a truck that stopped for me. They apologized for not stopping sooner to keep the dust down, which was the nicest gesture I’ve ever received from a passing car on a dirt road while running. Turns out their son is an ultrarunner living around Austin. That explains the kindness towards a runner…

Tuesday, April 1st
AM—19 Miles—3:29—2,650’—Illium Road
Legs felt tired, but not sore today. I took off up Illium Road from where the blacktop ends and hovered around a 10-11 minute pace. This felt painfully slow, but it was all I could do today. Around the six-mile mark I crossed Highway 145 and continued to the town of Ophir. Eventually, the soft snow on the road to Ophir Pass had my legs begging to get back on the dirt road. So, I turned around and began the 9.5 mile return to the Taco. I wanted to add on some more miles, but my legs were tired.

Wednesday, April 2nd
AM—12 Miles—1:53—1,300’—Illium Road
A nice and easy day.

Thursday, April 3rd
AM—10 Miles—1:37—700’—Illium Road and Sunshine Mesa
Another nice and easy day. Hoping to have some pep in my step tomorrow after a few easy days.

Friday, April 4th
AM—20 Miles—2:55—1,500’—Sunshine Mesa, Illium Road, Sunshine Mesa
Overall, this was a pretty easy effort, medium-distance day. I had a few stretches where I went at a moderate effort, but not many. I stayed around 9:15 minute/mile pace on the first three-mile ascent of Sunshine Mesa before cruising down around 7:50 pace. The outward stretch of Illium Road is where I used most of my effort—staying around mid-8 minute pace. I ran close to the same pace for the return trip. My second lap on Sunshine Mesa was almost identical to the first lap. Everything felt great today. I contemplated adding another 5-10 miles, but decided not to in favor of having fresher legs when I get out to the desert on Monday.

Saturday, April 5th
AM—13 Miles—2:02—1,100—Sunshine Mesa (x2)
I gave the first ascent a moderate effort before coasting back down to the Taco for a drink. The second lap was at a snail’s pace.

Sunday, April 6th
AM—6 Miles—0:59—350’—Illium Road
This was my last run in Telluride for a while. It was cold and gloomy, which made it easy to basically take a rest day. So, I had a little shakeout run before heading on a whirlwind tour of the desert. I figured I should have fresh legs for Zion.


Weekly Totals
Miles—100
Time— 16 hours 46 minutes
Elevation Gain— 10,900 feet


Well, that’s three 100-mile weeks in a row. I took this one pretty easy; getting about 5k feet less vertical than usual. I also kept the pace really mellow in every run this week. Running on nothing but dirt roads the past few months has been mentally exhausting. I found myself digging deep for motivation on most days and typically putting off starting my runs until as late as possible. That being said, I’m happy that I’ve managed to get out for a run every single day since moving out to Telluride. My last day off was the day that I moved here, February 5th.

Fortunately, today is my last day in Telluride for the foreseeable future. After work tonight I’m hitting the road to get a head start to Zion National Park. I can’t really say that I’m sad. While Telluride has a hard-to-beat location it certainly lacks in having a warm, welcoming vibe. Most of the people here just suck—and that’s stating it nicely.

Anyways, my plan is to spend a few days there before heading off to Las Vegas to explore Red Rock Canyon and Bootleg Canyon a little. After that I’ll spend a few days at the Grand Canyon, where I’ll debate until the last possible minute whether or not to run R2R2R a week away from a 100km race. Next, I have the long drive to Boulder, where I’ll spend a few days running, scrambling, and getting acupuncture. Last, is a trip back to the Missouri where I’ll visit family for a while and run the Free State 100km near Lawrence, KS. That’s all the planning I’m comfortable doing for now…

I’m excited to get back to trails, mountains, and scrambling. Dirt roads are just too boring…

No sunshine today

Running around Ophir, what appears to be the town for people who are rich, but not rich enough for Telluride...

The only thing that made running on dirt roads for two months possible is the views