High in Colorado

High in Colorado
Photo: Mandy Lea Photo

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Week in Review: March 3-9

Monday, March 3rd
PM—2 Miles—0:18—50’—Zion National Park Campground
After being on the road since 7:30am I had to get the kinks out of my legs. It was everything I could do to hit 11-minute pace for the first mile. Things loosened up a bit on the second mile, which was exactly what I was hoping would happen.

Tuesday, March 4th
AM—39 Miles—9:44—6,450’—Partial Trans Zion
I’m in the process of doing a little write-up for this. It should be done in a few days. In short, Ben and I covered 37 miles of the 48 mile route before he became uncomfortable with the weather and decided to call it. I didn’t feel like making him and Sarah drive around and wait another few hours for me to finish. So, I reluctantly called it too. We had two miles to get back to our last crew point at the Hop Valley trailhead. I pushed these miles pretty hard since our effort had been super mellow all day and I still had plenty in the tank.

Wednesday, March 5th
PM—1 Mile—0:11—150’—Telluride Roads
The drive back to Telluride was pretty awful. Our vehicle of choice, a Land Rover Defender, is not the most comfortable thing I’ve ever ridden in, especially after having run 40 miles the previous day. It looked like I wasn’t going to get out today, which meant I would have taken my first day off since arriving in Telluride on February 5th. However, I decided to run an easy mile in all of my work clothes during my lunch break. The lone mile felt surprisingly good. 

Thursday, March 6th
AM—15 Miles—2:21—2,000’—Last Dollar Road
I parked at the Valley Floor trailhead and took off from there.  With a bit of fatigue in my legs and tightness in my hamstrings I decided to keep the effort easy today. For the most part, I never really looked at my watch on this run. I just let my legs and body decide what pace they wanted to go. It was amazing shirtless running weather today, but I kept my shirt on since I felt noticeably fat after three days on the road eating fast food.

Friday, March 7th
AM—10 Miles—1:16—650’—Sunshine Mesa Road
I dropped the Taco off at Telluride Tire for a little work and decided to use the waiting time to sneak in a run. To be honest, I didn’t feel like running at all today. The first 2.5 miles kind of sucked and passed in a painfully slow 22:20. From here, it was a steady climb up for another 2.5 miles. During this stretch my legs finally accepted what was being asked of them and came to life. I disposed of this 2.5 mile stretch with 500+ feet of climbing in 20:45. On the descent I tried to stay at a comfortable pace that felt sustainable for longer than the five mile return trip, which happened to be around 6-6:30 minutes/mile for most of the way. The last 1.5 miles was straight into a fierce wind that was blinding me by hurling snow in my face. I would hit 6:30 pace briefly then get hammered by the wind and drop off to 7:30 pace. Fun stuff. It was a pretty good feeling to have such a good run when my body and mind were in no mood for running.

Saturday, March 8th
AM—8 Miles—1:14—200’—Valley Floor Loop
Really mellow day. I took off down the River Trail to the Boomerang Road junction. From there, I continued another two miles or so along the valley floor on crappy snow that I kept punching through. Once I reached the end of the valley floor I looped back towards town on the paved bike path before rejoining the River Trail for the last 1.5 miles. I was tempted to keep on running, but decided to just call it a day instead.

Sunday, March 9th
AM—15 Miles—1:58—1,400’—Last Dollar Road
This started out as a pretty easy run. Once out of town I cruised along the bike path towards Last Dollar Road at about 7:30 pace most of the way. When I hit the two-mile climb up to the airport my legs felt pretty good and the effort felt pretty easy considering I was running a sub-9 minute/mile pace for most of the climb. I took the descent to Deep Creek really slow; actually running close to the same pace that I ran the ascent. After turning around I just leaned into the climb back up to the airport and knocked it out in no time. At this point I gave up on going under two hours for the run and just cruised back down to the bike path. Once I reached the bike path I was surprised to find I had a shot at sub-two and decided to go at a moderate pace versus coasting back home. My legs were a little tired, but I managed to stay around 7:15 pace for most of this stretch with a half-mile of 6:30 pace. I was happy to see my watch say 1:58 when I was finished.

Time— 17 hours 05 minutes
Elevation Gain— 10,900 feet

Not too shabby of a week. I basically ran 90 miles and 11k of vert in five days. That’s about all of the analysis I feel like doing for now. I’m tired…

One of the many great views in Zion National Park

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