Run: Saturday, October 3nd - Upper Bear Creek Road
Distance: 18.14 miles
Effort: Moderate on way out; hard on way back
Weather: Sunny and cool
Met Steve F., Steve G. and Caroline S. bright and early this morning for an 18-mile run from the Evergreen Lake House to the caretaker house in the Mount Evans State Wildlife Management Area and back. It was brisk at the start and I was under-dressed. Guess I'm a little out of practice in dressing for chilly morning weather.
We set off just after 7 a.m. and ran the 6+ miles up the paved and relatively flat Upper Bear Creek Road. Beautiful views of Mt. Evans and Mt. Rosalie greeted us as we emerged from the canyon into the wide-open meadows around Tallgrass Spa. With the mountain looming before us, I started thinking about running next summer from the lakehouse to the summit of Mt. Evans. I figure this run would be in the 30-35 mile range, with a combination of pavement, dirt roads and trails (through the Mt. Evans Wilderness Area). Epic.
We hung a right on the welcome dirt and gravel of Yankee Creek Road at 6 miles, ran 2 miles up to the turn-off to the Elk Management Area. After a mile of steady climbing, we turned around the the caretaker's house. We gained about 1,000 feet over the first 9 miles. In the first 9 miles, we averaged an 8:30 - 8:45 pace. Steve and Steve had other plans for the return. Both are training for the NYC Marathon, 4 weeks from now. So, a "progression run" was in the offing.
For our return 9 miles, the plan was to get -- you guessed it -- progressively faster. We ran the first 3 miles averaging about 7:15. Their plan was to run the next five miles at around a 6:20 pace. Since this was to be my longest run since...oh...June, I set my sights a little lower. I ran the next five in 6:41, 7:19, 6:57; 6:47 and 6:36. I caught back upto the the Steves (Caroline had turned back a bit earlier.) with about a mile and half to go and we jogged it in together.
It was great getting out early on a Saturday and getting the weekend's long run in early. A full weekend of family and great weather awaits!