Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thursday, December 31 - The Ridge - Hiwan - Home

Time: 45.02
Distance:  6.23 miles
Effort: Tempo
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny and cool

Had to drop JP's car off to (finally) get snow tires put on it.  Ran home via a roundabout route through The Ridge and Hiwan neighborhoods.  Ran tempo effort.  Average pace was 7:14 over a hilly course with 907 feet of elevation gain (and a significant amount of downhill too).

Wednesday, December 30 - Hiwan - The Ridge Loop

Time: 1:28
Distance:  10.01 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Fair
Weather: Sunny and cool

Out the door this morning at 7:15 a.m. to meet DW for a loop through the local 'hoods. Met DW at his place in the Hiwan neighborhood. Together we ran an easy-paced seven miles on the hilly roads of Hiwan and The Ridge subdivisions. It was a brisk, but beautiful early morning. 935 feet of elevation gain.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday, December 28 - Hiwan Hills - Downtown Loop

Time: 1:19
Distance:  9.89 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny and cool

Late afternoon hilly loop from the house through the El Pinal and Hiwan Hills neighborhoods.  From Hiwan Hills, I dropped down to Bear Creek, ran through downtown, did a quick loop around the south side of Evergreen Lake, up through Dedisse Park and back home along the People's Path parallel to Evergreen Parkway.  Finished the run in the dark.

Pushed the pace here and there, but just aimed to run a steady, consistent and moderate effort throughout.

1,195 feet of elevation gain.  Average pace was 8:04.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday, December 27 - Elk Meadow Open Space

Time: Who cares?
Distance:  2.6 miles
Effort: Hike
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny and cool

Late morning hike with visiting family, ages 7 - 72.  Great to be out on the trails with the gang.  Kids loved being pulling through the woods on their plastic sled.  And, a few of us got a respectable workout doing the pulling.  A great way to end what J & C are calling "the best Christmas ever!"

Saturday, December 26 -- North Evergreen Neighborhoods Loop

Time:  2:31
Distance:  17.07 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Cool and dark

After a great day eating, ice skating and hanging out with family, I stole out of the house around 3 p.m. for a long(ish) run.  I decided to do a loop through the three major neighborhoods of north Evergreen - Hiwan, The Ridge and Soda Creek.  

With all the roads snaking through these neighborhoods, there are innumerable options for stringing together loops of varying lengths. The roads were a mix of packed snow and bare pavement.  The route was pretty darn hilly, with a total of 2,025 feet of elevation gain over the 17 miles.  I ended the run on the snowy trails on the east side of Elk Meadow Open Space.  Got home just as the last vestiges of daylight were disappearing behind Mt. Evans. 

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24 - Elk Meadow Open Space

Distance:  3.97 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Cool and dark

Snuck out late afternoon after a final trip to the grocery store in preparation for a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day feast with family in from far flung places (England, Kansas, Arkansas, Texas).  Tough to get out, given time constraints and the desire to spend as much time as possible with people you don't get to see nearly often enough.

Ran a short loop through the neighborhood, including the Sleepy-S, Elk Run, Meadow View loop in Elk Meadow Open Space.  Trails were, of course, snow-packed.  It was really nice to run on the snowy trails under the light of the moon.  One of the many splendors of a snow-covered landscape is how little moonlight you need to run at night, since the snow reflects all available light.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday, December 22 - Upper Bear Road - Stagecoach Loop

Distance:  11.23 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Fair
Weather: Cool and dark

Late (too late) afternoon loop here in north Evergreen.  Ran from home, down Evergreen Parkway, up Upper Bear Creek Road, then up Whittier Gulch and Greystone Road to Stagecoach Road and back home through the southern park of Elk Meadow Open Space. 

With the winter solstice having just come and gone, I was hoping those two extra minutes before the sun set would permit me to complete this run before darkness set in. As has been the case too many times since the time change, I overestimated my speed and underestimated the rate at which the sun would set.  Ended up running about half of this run in the dark. At least I had the good sense to wear a reflective vest.

Felt pretty good, but there was definitely some lingering fatigue in the legs from Saturday's 35-miler.  Pushed the pace a bit on the middle section on Upper Bear Creek Road, which only gains about 300 feet over five miles.  I ran those miles at a 7:15 - 7:25 pace.

Average pace was 8:09 with 1,377 feet of elevation gain.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday, December 19 -- HIghline Canal

Time: 5:35

Distance: 35 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Cool and sunny

Today's run was the longest run I've ever done...35 miles.  Left the house around 5 a.m. to meet up with Steve G. for a long run on Denver's Highline Canal Trail.  This mid-December run is an annual tradition with Steve and Kris L.  Well, it's a budding tradition since this is the second annual Winter Highline Canal 50-mile Run.  My plan was to run 30-35 miles, figuring biting off 50 miles at this stage of my training wouldn't be wise (and, I don't know that I could have made it another 15 miles, without entering the realm of pure agony).

Steve and I dropped my car at the 22-mile mark and headed over to the Highlands Ranch area where we hooked up with Kris, Phil K. and Thad, a friend of Steve's who was joining us for the first 13 miles.  We set off together right around 6:30 a.m., with the morning light just beginning to kiss the eastern sky.

Our goal was to keep the pace easy, with a target pace of 9:20. Steve's wife, Kathi, was going to meet us at a couple of spots along the route for reprovisioning.  The first 12 miles or so went quick and before I knew it we were at the Goodson Rec Center in Greenwood Village. We picked up some food, dropped some gear with Kathi and headed off. The sun now was up and the air was beginning to warm. It sure felt good to be running in shorts again.

Around the 20-mile mark, the dirt path along the canal turned to pavement.  Kathi met us again around mile 23, near the location where I'd parked my car a few hours prior.  My plan was to run a few more miles with the crew and turn around and run back to my car.  Soon after setting off from rendezvous #2, I decided to aim for an even 35 miles.  So, seven more miles on the pavement.  When the Garmin clicked 29 miles, I said farewell to Steve, Kris and Phil and returned to my car.  Those three were going the whole distance...50 miles. I managed to hold a low-to-mid 9 minute pace back to the car, but the last three miles were pretty damn uncomfortable. I was ready to be done.

Just over five and a half hours after we started, I was back at my car and pining for a burrito and the protein dosage it would provide.

I'm glad to know I can run for 35 miles, since the February Moab 50K is right about that distance (34 miles). The catch, of course, is that the Highline Canal is flat and the Moab course most certainly is not.

Can't wait to hear how the last 21 miles went for Steve, Kris and Phil.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday, December 17 - Soda Creek Loop

Time: 36 minutes
Distance: 4.71 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Cool and sunny

Racing back up the mountain to pick up J & C at the end of the second of two day-long meetings, I was very tempted to call it a night and get home. But, I had my running gear in the car...I had 30-40 minutes of available time...  Yes.  I am going to get in a couple of quick miles.  I ran a hilly loop through part of the Soda Creek neighborhood in Evergreen.  This high-end 'hood has a nice variety of options for loops.  Today's route was a mix of paved and dirt roads in the southern end of the subdivision.  Felt good to get out and dust out the cobwebs resulting from working into the wee hours last night.  654 feet of elevation gain.  Average pace:  7:47.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday, December 15 - Whitter Gulch Road

Time: 51:33 
Distance: 6.29 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Cool and sunny

Mid-afternoon run up Whittier Gulch Road from Stagecoach Road to Squaw Pass Road.  Total climb was 1,514 feet over 3.17 miles on a mix of pavement (1 mile) and hard packed dirt/snow.  Running at moderate effort, I made it to the stop sign at the top (9,260 feet) in 33:41.

Perfect day to run.  Sunny.  Only chilly.  No wind.  Great day.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009 - Boulder Loop

Time: 1:05 minutes
Distance: 8 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Very Good
Weather: Cool

Quick afternoon loop in Boulder up Mapleton, over the hump to Eben G. Fine park, up the ridge to the first picnic area on Flagstaff Road, down Flagstaff and Baseline to Broadway, through the CU Campus and back to the office via Folsom.  Body felt great today.  Felt like I wanted to push it, but kept things moderate to keep heart rate down.  1,484 feet of elevation gain.  8:11 average pace.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday, December 12 - Elk Meadow - Hiwan Loop

Time: 45 minutes
Distance: 5.5 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Fair
Weather: Cool

Quick late afternoon easy run up the Elk Meadow trail that parallels Evergreen Parkway.  Returned home via Bergen Parkway, Hiwan Drive and Bergen Peak Drive.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday, December 10 - C&O Canal - Crescent Trail

Time: 1:33
Distance: 12 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Cool

After a busy day at the HQ in Arlington, VA, I dashed back to my hotel, threw on the running clothes and hit the streets.  As I ran across Key Bridge over the Potomac River toward Georgetown, a cold wind was howling.  Once across the bridge, I dropped down to the towpath along the old Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and headed toward Maryland.

As I left Georgetown behind, the wind died down, the traffic noise faded and I settled into an easy 7:50 pace groove. I followed the towpath to just past Fletcher's Boathouse where the Capital Crescent Trail, a paved rails-to-trails path that runs all the way to Silver Spring.  I followed the Crescent Trail for about 2.5 miles to the run's six-mile mark.  I turned around here and retraced my steps back to the hotel.

I was really surprised at the number of bike commuters using the Crescent Trail.  There also were a surprising number of headlight-wearing runners on last two miles or so of the portion I ran.  I reckon I passed 10-12 runners headed the opposite way. I was passed at one point, as the trail climbed from the canal to the bluffs above.  I was so tempted to go with the guy, What made this especially hard was that I was passed on a climb. My mental conversation went like this:  "I run in the mountains!  I shouldn't be passed on a hill at sea level, right?" I managed to resist the temptation (and perhaps embarrassment) of overtaking him and stick with my plan to keep the heart rate low, since I've decided to do some focused work on building my aerobic base.  

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 9, 2009 - Washington, D.C.

Time: 1:41
Distance: 12.6 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Cool

Got off the plane today in Washington, D.C. thrilled to see the sun and to not be immediately chilled to the bone. With temps in the 40s, I knew right away a long run was in the offing. 

After work, I ran from my hotel in the Rosslyn 'hood of Arlington, VA, which is right across the Potomac River from Georgetown, bound for Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The first couple of miles were along the west side of the river. There must have been some big rains around here because the river was lapping at the top of its banks.  I quickly made my way over Memorial Bridge, by the Lincoln Memorial and then onto the sidewalk that parallels Lincoln's reflecting pool.  I continued down the mall, past the WWII memorial and the Washington Monument.  

After I crossed 14th Street, I was running straight at the Capitol building. The light atop the dome was illuminated, signalling that Congress was in session.  I made my way past the many museums of the Smithsonian. As I approached Capitol Hill (it really is a small hill), I paused to have a look at the brightly lit congressional Christmas tree.  Beautiful.  Now on the Hill, I ran down East Capitol Street about a mile and a half and did a quick loop around Lincoln Park.

After a brief stop at a friend's house, I wound through some side streets and ran by a row house on Maryland Avenue, NE that I lived in for eight years in the 1990s.  Was surprised to see that the little Baptist church that used to be next door had been torn down and replaced by a couple of new row houses.  After passing Stanton Park, I made my way to Pennsylvania Avenue and ran that to the ellipse in front of the White House.  I paused here to join the phalanx of tourists and gaze at the White House Christmas tree.  (Not nearly as nice looking as the congressional tree).

Next I made my way back to the Potomac River and ran the bike path past the Kennedy Center and into lower Georgetown.  Once in Georgetown, I ran along a stretch of the C&O Canal towpath before hoping on Key Bridge to cross the river and return to Rosslyn and my hotel.

It was really nice to run again in shorts.  Took it easy on this run. My goal tonight was to run easy, keep the heart rate low and get in some miles. Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7 - Treadmill

Time: 50 minutes
Distance: 8 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Indoors

Dear Climate:

You've made your point that Mother Nature is not to be messed with.  We get it. She can, at any time, drop some weather on us that will disrupt our lives, plans and, in some cases, our safety. Sure, we sometimes forget how cold it can get. I know we in Colorado often are spoiled by our relatively moderate weather. Still, we haven't forgotten how to be tough when we need to be. And, you've forced us to exercise our toughness. So, enough with the frigid weather already. Please bring back the sun, and temperatures above least along the Front Range.

Thanks to your cold air, I yesterday confined my run again to the treadmill at the Buchanan Recreation Center in Evergreen.  I managed to warm up after about 1/2 mile of easy running, then ran six miles at a 7:24 pace. I cooled down with another  mile or so.  Despite the chill outside, I felt pretty good, but the time on the 'mill went slooooooow. I am eager to get back outside to run, especially since I bagged a long outside run on Sunday due to the cold.

So, again, bring back the sun and a bit of warmth.  Please.  Some of us have miles we need/want to run...outdoors!

Your Friend,


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday, December 5 - Hiwan - El Pinal Loop

Time: 42:32
Distance: 4.98 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Cold

With darkness settling in, I was resigned to the fact I had let the day slip by as household chores had filled what was a pretty decent day. Yet, about the time the clock hit 5 p.m., I was struck by a dose of motivation.  Fearing the feeling wouldn't last, I quickly threw on cold weather gear (including reflective vest) and headed outside to bang out a few miles on the cold pavement.

Ran through parts of the Hiwan and El Pinal neighborhoods, taking note of the collection of X-mas lights dotting both neighborhoods.

Managed just under five miles with 609 feet of elevation gain. Glad to have gotten in a few miles, but disappointed I let the day slip away.  Will have to make up the mileage on a long run tomorrow.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday, December 3 - Treadmill

Time: 1:30 (estimated)
Distance: 10 miles
Effort: Hard - 5 x 1 mile
Body: Very good
Weather: Indoors

After three long days of meetings in a windowless conference room, I was eager for a hard run. After today's meeting, I headed to Buchanan Recreation Center here in Evergreen for a treadmill tempo workout. Ran 5 x 1 mile at a 6 minute pace with 800 meter recovery between intervals, plus one mile warm-up and one mile cool down.  Felt great for all five 1-mile sets.

iPod was blasting with a mix of Fountains of Wayne, Descendents, All, Bob Mould, Bouncing Souls, Armchair Martian and a half dozen other power pop ditties.  Made the time go by quickly.  

Typically, I find treadmill runs virtually intolerable. Today, though I really enjoyed it. I think having a plan for what I wanted to accomplish helped. Plus, I was eager to blow out the doors after those days sitting on my arse in meetings (albeit highly productive meetings).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday, December 2 - Elk Meadow - Hiwan Loop

Time: 54;07
Distance: 6:32 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Cold/Fresh Snow

Knowing today would the the second of three all-day meeting days, I decided to get up early and get in a run pre-work. Alarm went off at 5:45 a.m. Looked out the window and noted the three inches of fresh snow. And, it looked cooooold!

Managed to pry myself out of bed and slip on cold weather running gear. With headlamp in hand, I stepped out into the eerie silence that accompanies the fresh, new and pre-dawn world of the mountains in winter. For the first mile, with the wind gnawing at my cheeks and ears, I questioned the decision to get out of bed. After a mile, about the time I stepped onto the snow-covered Painter's Pause Trail in Elk Meadow, I was glad to be out. Suddenly, the focus that was devoted to the chill, now was redirected to the plethora of critter footprints that crossed the trail every 10-15 meters, to the squench...squench...squench...squench sounds my shoes made in the snow and to the muffled sounds car tires made on the normally noisy Evergreen Parkway.

These sights and sounds stole my mind away as my legs churned up the steady climb and short descent to the Buchanan Recreation Center ponds. I soon was winding my way through the Hiwan neighborhood. I was greeted first by a fox, then several men and women up early shoveling their driveways. Bad weather always seems to make people more friendly, at least when they are home safe.

It's supposed to be even colder tomorrow morning.  May have to jump on the treadmill for the first time this winter. That means another way early morning.  Ugh.