Sunday, January 31, 2010

Waterton Canyon - Colorado Trail Long Run

Time: 3:30
Distance: 21.7 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Fair
Weather: Sunny and Cool

After reading JM's post from last week about a tempo run up and down Waterton Canyon, I figured this would be a great place for a long run. JM indicated that the canyon dirt road was in good shape ice-wise, so a plan was up the canyon, hop on the Colorado Trail and do enough of an out-and-back to get in about 25 miles. Ahhh, if things had only been that simple.

I got to the Waterton Canyon lot around 7 a.m. and quickly headed out up the canyon's packed dirt road. I pushed the pace a little on the way up (400 feet elevation gain over first six miles) and hit the pavilion at the dam overlook right at 48 minutes. To get to the Colorado Trail, one keeps going up the now steadily climbing road past the pavilion. At the Colorado Trail sign, glorious singletrack begins. The first couple of miles climbs up via a series of snowy/icy switchbacks to a saddle between two big hills with views of the canyons and mountains to the west.

Here, one has two options, head southeast toward Roxborough State Park, or continue on the Colorado Trail. Since the Colorado Trail here drops down a south-facing slope, I couldn't pass up the chance to run on snow and ice-free trails. Unfortunately, the snow and ice was back the minute the trail snaked around to the north and west sides of the hills. The going wasn't too bad for the first two miles, then the trail dropped down into a drainage where the snow was still pretty deep and not well packed. I slogged another mile or so on the crusty, uneven snow before surrendering and turning back.

I ran back to the sunny saddle and took the .3 mile spur up to the Pike National Forest's Indian Creek Trail, which links into the Roxborough trail system. I did a 3-4 mile dash through this forested area, which dropped me back into Waterton Canyon just above the dam. I was very happy to see the canyon road again. The slog on the snowy trails took its toll. Twas hard and slow going.

After a brief stop to use the facilities (Brandon, of Team Shart fame, would love Waterton...there's bathrooms every two miles in the canyon) and eat a final gel, I headed back down the canyon at a good clip. I ran the first couple of miles around 6:15 pace, before falling apart and slowing down. Ran the final few miles at an average pace of 7:30.

The return down the canyon was quite a bit different than the ascent. I must have seen 10 runners and an equal number of walkers/bikers. The sun was luring folks out. I even ran into another of Waterton's denizens, a couple members of the big horn sheep herd that lives in the area. This guys wasn't at all shy, but his comrade perched high on the rock outcroppings above kept his distance.

Ran today in a new pair of La Sportiva Crosslites, my second pair. I really like this shoe. Decided on the way home, though, that the new Crosslites were lonely, so I stopped by Runners Roost in Lakewood and picked up a new pair of Brooks Cascadias (15 percent store discount for members of the Denver Trailrunners group...just ask). Hope to break out these shoes now and then to give tired feet a little break, especially with all the hard surfaces I've been running on this winter.

Finally, great article from Running Times about the relative advantages of handheld bottles vs. packs for carrying hydration/food.

Here's the nut of it:  "When the one bottle, two bottles and pack were measured against the no-load control, the hydration pack, even though it greatly outweighed the bottle or bottles, did better than the hand-held options based on performance data of heart rate, perceived exertion, VO2 and ventilation rate (ease of movement of lungs). The only category of measure where the heavier pack scored lower than the single- or double-bottle method was the respiratory exchange ratio, which measures how much carbohydrate the test subject burned."

Research done by the High Altitude Performance Lab at Western State College here in Colorado.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Quarterhorse Road - Elk Meadow Loop

Time: 50:00
Distance: 5.37 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Poor
Weather: Sunny and Cool

Way easy recovery run though part of Elk Meadow. Didn't feel very good. Left knee is stiff and achy from banging it Tuesday coming down a long, icy ramp from the CU football stadium down to Boulder Creek. Every run since, I've been able to work it out and forget about it. Today, the ache hung around. Most uncomfortable on the downhills.

Average HR:  134.  Average pace:  9:19

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Time: 1 (ish)
Distance: 8.1 miles
Effort: Hard
Body: Fair
Weather: Indoors

Cold. Gray. Foggy. Treadmill.

One mile warm up at 7:53 pace, then did 4x1 mile at 5:56 pace with 800m recovery at 8:00 pace. 1.5 mile cool down at 8:00 pace. Highlight of the time on the mill at Buchanan Rec Center was taking my ear buds out after the last mile repeat and discovering that the ol' codger next to me was trying to sing some sort of experimental jazz thing. Nonsensical and odd. People are great.

Average HR:  156.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bergen Peak

Time: 1:57
Distance: 10.52 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Fair
Weather: Cool and mostly sunny

The call of Bergen Peak was finally too much for JM and he was lured this morning to Elk Meadow Open Space for a 10.5 mile loop of said peak. Following a late-night e-mail exchange, we arranged to meet around 8 a.m. to run the mountain together.

With snow in the forecast and a still-blue sky above, we set off around 8:15 a.m. and ran the Sleepy S - Elk Run - Meadow View - Too Long - Summit Trail route up. The plan was to run steady, but at an easy pace. We tagged the summit sign in about 1:05.

The descent down the Bergen Peak trail was sketchy and slow, with long stretches of ice-covered snow. Neither of us had any traction devices today. We managed to make it all the way down to the intersection with the Meadow View Trail without falling. Yet, somehow my first steps on Meadow View led me to slip and fall on the last bit of ice. First time I've hit the deck this winter. Funny to make it down such a treacherous section of trail only to take a digger  right where the trail levels out. Live and learn.

We made quick work of the last couple of miles back to the car running at a low-7s pace.

It was great catching up with JM, who's been running very strong this winter. Safe to say I wouldn't have tackled Bergen Peak today after yesterday's hard run up Green were it not for his rare winter appearance in this part of the foothills. Thanks, JM, for getting me out the door this a.m.

Average pace: 11:08. Total elevation gain: 2,339. No HR monitor today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Green Mountain

Time: 1:54
Distance: 11.21 miles
Effort: Hard
Body: Good
Weather: Cool and partly cloudy

I took Monday off after Sunday's sufferfest.  So, I was ready to run today. Today's plan was a run from the office to the summit of Green Mountain and back. 

If Sunday was a day when I knew right away I was in for a bad day, today was the opposite. As I stood in the sun at the front of the office waiting for my watch to locate satellites, I could tell today would be a quality and fun run.  And, it was.

Ran up Pearl Street to 6th and up 6th to Baseline to the Gregory Canyon trailhead. This was to be my second run up Green Mountain via the Gregory - Ranger route. Hit the watch at the trailhead sign and slid my way up the first 20 meters of trail before hitting bare dirt again. Ran without traction through to the lodge. I paused here to put on traction and continued up the icy trail. I felt good the whole way up, running steady and power hiking a few short stretches. Hit the summit marker in 41:46. Was hoping to break 40 I have something to aim for. Descended in 25:11.

Splits: Trailhead to Green Mountain Lodge (1.32 miles, 978 feet of elevation gain):  18:47; Lodge  to West Ridge Trail junction (1.16 miles, 1,134 feet of elevation gain): 18:53; junction to summit (.18 miles, 273 feet of elevation gain): 3:48.

Total elevation gain for the run:  2,867. Average HR: 153. Average pace: 10:10

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bergen Peak Double

Time:  4:15
Distance: 22.62 miles
Effort: Easy Pace/Hard Effort
Body: Poor


Every once in a while a run just hurts. I'm not talking about the occasional bad day where things just don't click and you get through it. I'm talking about one of those runs where survival is about the best one can hope for.

Today was one of those days.

The morning started off pretty leisurely...breakfast, The New York Times, goofin' with the kids. A far cry from the up-at-dawn long runs I've been doing most weekends. My plan for the day was two circuits up Bergen Peak, the high point in JeffCo's Elk Meadow Open Space. Knowing I wanted to get in 24 miles or so, I decided to run the Bergen Peak Trail Race route twice, once clockwise (the race route) and once counter-clockwise.

I left the house feeling a bit off, mentally and physically. It was cold, cloudy and windy at 10 a.m. when I left the house. I just didn't have much desire to run this morning in those conditions. Still, I found the motivation in the recognition that I only had a couple more long runs to prepare for the Moab 50K next month. So, out the door I went.

I parked at the upper lot at Elk Meadow, figuring I would use the truck as an aid station. I set off for the first 11.5 mile loop with a belly full of water and a gel in my pocket. I headed down the Sleepy S trail to the lower lot and began the long climb up Painters Pause. About 1/4 mile into the trail, the wind picked up, blowing straight into my face. The steady onslaught made it feel like I had to run just to keep from being blown backwards. The New York Times was calling.

After the trail turned west toward the mountain, the hills provided some relief from the wind. The trail soon turned upwards and I hit the turn-off for the Too Long trail. I made steady progress up this trail and was greeted by five mountain bikers out tackling the alternately clear, then icy trail. I was surprised to see bikers on the trail. Conditions were far from optimal. For a runner, traction wasn't required, especially on the ascent. But, I'd hate to be a biker coming down some of those icy stretches.

I hit the Bergen Peak summit sign in about 1:15, (by best time for the whole round trip on the race route from this summer was something like 1:33...I was puttering up the hill today) sucked down a gel and returned to my car via the Bergen Peak and Meadow View trails.

After a quick refueling, I retraced the route I took down from the summit, climbing the Bergen Peak trail and the summit trail Again, I tagged the summit sign, sucked down a gel and headed back down, this time via the Too Long trail.

I felt pretty good on the descent...all the way down to the lowest point on the trail, just below the lower lot. The slog back up Sleepy S to the upper lot about did me in. This was the survival part. I wanted to be done. The fun was over. I just focused on constant-forward-motion, knowing I could and would finish running, not walking.

Four hours and 15 minutes after I started, I was back at my truck and done. I survived.

Here's to feeling a hell of a lot better on race day (any race day!).

Elevation gain: 4,996. Average pace: 11:16. Average HR: 144.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Elk Meadow Loop

Time: :52
Distance: 5.75 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Fair
Weather: Cool and mostly sunny

Easy paced run around Elk Meadow. A few big wind gusts buffeted me toward the end. Makes me wonder what the wind will be like for tomorrow a.m.'s long run. Here's to a calm morning...

Average pace:  9:05.  Average HR: 142

Friday, January 22, 2010

Elk Meadow - Troublesome Gulch Loop

Time: 1:10
Distance: 8.01 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Fair
Weather: Cool and mostly sunny

Easy lunch-time run with Steve F. We met at the lower lot at Elk Meadow and ran trails up to the Buchanan Rec Center, around the paved path in Bergen Park, down the trail through Troublesome Gulch and completed the loop via the climb up Lewis Ridge Road. Nice easy pace punctuated by some good conversation.

Average HR 134. Average pace: 8:46. 788 feet of elevation gain.

For some reason, was thinking about running pet peeves doubt spurred by experiencing a few of them today. I reckon I'll have to assemble a master list, but here's the first three, all of which were part of today's run (but did not detract from the overall fine vibe of the outing):

1. People that run/ride/walk around icy or muddy sections of trail and turn perfectly good singletrack into braided, ugly multiple tracks. 

2. Dog crap on the trail/people that still don't clean up after their dogs.

3. Drivers that won't move over on a wide-open two-lane road with great visibility to give runners a wide berth. 

Got any additions to this nascent list?

Also:  Anton K. launches the Green Mountain Project - 100 ascents of Green Mountain in first 100 days of the year

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Green Mountain

Time: 1:12
Distance: 5.8 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Fair
Weather: Cool and cloudy

Morning run up Boulder's Green Mountain with Brandon, another Colorado blogger I've been following for a while. After a quick introduction, cut short by the morning chill, we were off. We took the Gregory-Ranger route up, which is a route I hadn't run up before. I like this route better than the Ampi-Saddle-Green one. Today's route is much more runnable. Plus, I like that you get several good glimpses of the Green summit during the approach.

Trail conditions were reminiscent of a Tale of Two Cities...the best of times and the worst of times. A fair bit of the trail was melted out, with lots of bare ground. The bad part was that the parts that weren't melted were icy.

We started up Gregory at an easy pace and conversation dwindled as heart rates increased. We passed a descending Anton K., but, due to our extraordinarily blistering uphill pace, we blew right past him with just a quick greeting. We made steady progress up Gregory to the ranger cottage, after pausing at a bridge to strap on traction devices. From here, it's a long, steady climb with the same mix of icy and clear trail. Hit the summit in 45:52. After a few minutes enjoying the view and chatting, we retraced our steps back to our cars.

On the descent, we talked about how cool it is that there's this community of runners/bloggers out there with so many folks willing to share learning, ideas, training advice and whatnot. And, there's the added benefit of meeting other similarly inclined runners for excursions like ours today up Green Mountain.

Hope to make the jaunt up Green a regular part of the training regimen. 

Total elevation gain: 2,479.  Average HR:  151.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bergen Peak - Upper Loop

Time: 1:32
Distance: 9 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Cool and clear

Late afternoon run in Elk Meadow Open Space. I was feeling the desire to get back on trails and get a bit of elevation gain. Started in the lower lot and ran up Sleepy S to Elk Run to Meadow View and Too Long. I opted not to do the one-mile out-and-back to the summit and instead completed the upper loop by coming down via the Bergen Peak, Meadow View and Sleepy S trails. Hit the junction to the summit trail in 49:25, which is about six minutes off my PR. Picked up the final 3/10s of a mile to get an even nine miles by doing cool-down loops in the parking lot.

Ran an easy effort today, staying easily out of the red zone. Average HR was 144.  Elevation gain was 1,730 feet.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Bit o' Speedwork - Boulder

Time: 41:18
Distance: 5:96 miles
Effort: Hard
Body: Fair
Weather: Cool and cloudy

Abbreviated workout today as a result of a crowded work schedule. Dashed out between conference calls. Did a 1.5 mile warm up at about 7:11 pace from office to the Boulder High School track, located across Boulder Creek from the school. Plan was to do 5x1-mile, but due to time constraints I only got in 2x1-mile (5:50 and 5:39). About half the track was still snow covered, although someone had shoveled a one-lane path. There still was a 15-meter section with slushy snow. Took a bit more circuitous route back to the office and got in another two miles at a 7:10 pace.

Good hard run. Would have liked to get in another three repeats at the track, but was happy to get the last two miles at a tempo pace.

Average HR - 151; Max: 173 - at end of second mile repeat.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Elk Meadow - The Ridge - Hiwan Loop

Time: 1:07
Distance: 8.68 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Dark and Cool

Didn't get out until o'dark o'clock again this evening. Ran from the house to Elk Meadow and ran trails up to the Buchanan Rec Center and then wound my way through Bergen Park and The Ridge and Hiwan subdivisions before completing the loop on the uphill slog back home.

Felt very good on this run. Ran at moderate effort and held it through the whole run, on the ups and the downs. Average pace was 7:46. Average HR was 151. 1,379 feet of elevation gain.

There are times I really like running at night. I think this is, in part, due to the fact that the darkness changes the scene a lot, making the same ol' routes a bit of a different experience. There's also the sense that because you can't see what's more than 15 meters ahead, there's a bit more adventure afoot. And, everything is just quieter. Other than the occasional car, or the itinerant dog-walker, the lone runner may well be the King of the Mountains.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Upper Bear Creek - Yankee Creek - Willow Creek

Time: 3:31
Distance: 23.6 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny and Cool

Another early morning weekend long run with Steve G and Chris A. Starting at 6 a.m., we ran together up Upper Bear Creek Road.  Chris turned around at about the six mile mark to get a start on weekend plans. Steve and I continued on to the gate at the Mt. Evans State Wildlife Management Area at the 9-mile mark. We parted ways at about the 11-mile mark where I headed up Yankee Creek Road, a narrow, hilly and windy road that heads southwest, to get in a few more miles.

I climbed a couple of miles on Yankee Creek and then took a left up Willow Creek Road and ran to where it ends at a gorgeous looking piece of private property.  I returned then to Yankee Creek and ran it to it's end at another hunk of private property - Indian Creek Park Ranch. Looking at these ranches on Google Earth makes me even more want to explore this area. Wish I knew the families that own that ground.

On the return down Yankee Creek, I ran out of water. I was only carrying a handheld today. I just couldn't deal with another cold morning carrying my leaky North Face hydration pack (it leaks at the place where the tube and bite valve meet). Luckily, there's one place on Upper Bear where one might be able to get water. The well-known Tallgrass Spa. Undoubtedly, the women that work there like nothing more than having dirty, sweaty runners pop in for water. To my surprise and great pleasure, they were welcoming and hospitable. In just a few minutes I was out of there with a water bottle full of cucumber water. Can't beat that.

I finished the run by picking up the pace down Upper Bear, sipping fancy cucumber water the whole way. I won't run with anything less ever again. Might be time for a massage, as well. It's been two years.

2,077 feet of elevation gain.  Average HR - 141. Average pace 9:12.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Elk Meadow - Quarterhorse Loop

Time: 1:08
Distance: 7.32 miles
Effort: Way Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny and Warm

Super easy loop through the Elk Meadow dog park and the main part of the open space. Goal was to keep the heart rate low and get in a few miles. Average pace was a way-chilled 9:22 at HR average of 138.

Now Things Get Interesting...

Registered this morning for the San Juan Solstice 50 miler, also known as the Lake City 50.  Should be an epic and very challenging race for me. And, there's a lot of big names in the race.  JM has a preliminary run down and early race predictions.  Brandon also is in.

The race sports something like 12,000 feet of elevation gain.

I've done some backpacking down in this area. It's dramatic, gorgeous and big. Can't wait!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Washington D.C. - Tour de Tourist

Time: 1:30
Distance: 12.02 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good

Great run this evening.  After a long day at the work HQ, I bagged a group dinner in favor of a little mileage.  Ran at an easy, warm-up pace from hotel, located in the Foggy Bottom 'hood, down to the Lincoln Memorial. My plan today was to do a long tempo-pace run with a few hill repeats.

Picked up the pace on the east side of Abe and ran across Memorial Bridge to the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery (I still get a kick out of the notion that the cemetery was placed on Robert E. Lee's front lawn).  I turned around here and ran back across the bridge, past Abe, over to the Jefferson Memorial (paused long enough to visit Tom and read his words on the memorial's walls), then by the Washington Monument and down the National Mall to the Capitol.  

Spent a little time on the Hill doing hill repeats.  Did five of 'em on the 2/10 mile hill at about a 6:20 pace with easy jogs in between.  A couple of the security guards appeared to think I was nuts. I then ran back down the Mall and over to the Treasury Building and past the White House.  Cooled down for about a mile as I ran through the Farragut and Dupont Circle 'hoods.

I wore the heart rate monitor and averaged 146 over the whole run.  Pretty happy with least I think I am. Average pace, including the warm-up, cool down and hill repeats, was 7:32. The tempo parts appear to have been averaging around 6:50. Garmin says 2,827 feet of elevation gain. Not possible. It also says I started at -741 feet. Weird.

Great run at sea level.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Time: 48 or so
Distance: 6 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good

Hit the treadmill at my hotel in Washington, D.C. late this evening for an easy run.  Did six miles.  One mile warm-up at 8:00 pace and five miles at 6:58 pace. Used the heart rate monitor for a change.  Average heart rate for the last five miles was 148.  Max was 157.

I hope to get outside tomorrow night, perhaps a run on the National Mall here in D.C. Bummer that I'm missing the beautiful weather back in Colorado. It's still cold here.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Morrison Double Loop

Time: 3:12
Distance: 20.67 miles
Effort: Easy/Long
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny and Cool

Returned this morning early to Morrison to run a version of the same run I did last weekend with Steve G. et al. Decided to add a bit more trail running and vert to the loop we ran a week ago. And, unlike last weekend, today was a solo run.

I parked again at the Morrison exit off C-470 and ran Rooney Road and the paved bike path north to Green Mountain. I used the pedestrian overpass to get to the Green Mountain parking lot, crossed the road and climbed the hogback on the Zorro Trail.  I then followed the hogback ridge to the park-and-ride lot adjacent to I-70. Here I crossed the road to Matthew-Winters Park and ran a couple different trails through the park and into Red Rocks, which eventually dumped me out on one of the park's paved roads. I ran the road to the top of the amphitheater.

There were about 30 people working out on the steps at Red Rocks.  Each person seemed to be in their own little exercise worlds.  Some doing step-ups.  Some doing calisthenics.  Some chatting with friends.

After a quick dash down the steps, I ran out of Red Rocks, through Morrison and did the same sidewalk and road loop through Lakewood's Bear Lake Park as we did last weekend, only in reverse.

Felt decent for most of the run, but got tight in the hips and my feet were aching by the end. Even ended up with a lovely blood blister. Not sure why...ran in well-broken-in shoes. Must be all the pavement...

Elevation gain: 2,487 feet.  Average pace:  9:19


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Genesee Park

Time: 1:03
Distance: 8.01 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny and Cool

Early afternoon run in Genesee Park, which is located on the south side of I-70 right when you crest the top of Mt. Vernon Canyon and get your first full-on view of the Continental Divide.  Parked in the Genesee park-and-ride, did a quick warm-up loop around the office park there, then headed up the road into the park.

Genesee Park is the first, oldest and largest of the Denver Mountain Parks. The first part of the park was acquired in 1912, another addition in 1937 and a final 10 acres in 2007.  The park is 2,413 acres and home to a bison herd, which can often be seen as you cruise by on I-70.

I followed the paved road to a gate, then ran up a snow covered road to the 8,284-foot summit of Genesee Mountain. I then retracted my steps and ran a dirt road west back to the Chief Hosa lodge, built in 1918 and also owned by the city/county of Denver.  I then hopped on the north side of I-70 and ran the 3/4 mile back to the Genesee exit.

Twas a good, brisk run and a bluebird blue sky day.  The 45 degree temps allowed for shorts. 685 feet of elevation gain.  7:54 average pace.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Green Mountain

Time: 1:03
Distance: 4.17 miles
Effort: Hard
Body: Good
Weather: Cold, Cloudy and Snowing

Got into the office early, worked a couple hours, then jumped out at 9:30 or so for a quick run up Green Mountain. Parked at the base of Gregory Canyon behind what had to have been Brandon's Hummer. After a too-brief warm up from Flagstaff Road to the trailhead, I slipped on my three-year-old pair of Yak Trax and ascended Green via the Amphitheater - Saddleback - Green Mountain route. 

The trail was in pretty good shape due to all the cold weather we've been having, keeping the trail from melting and icing up overnight.  So, traction was good the whole way up, with just a few 20 meter spots where snow had blown over the trail making the going a bit mucky. Hit the summit rock in 39:53.  Returned via the same route in about 23 minutes in order to get back to the office in time for an 11 a.m. conference call.  Made it with two minutes to spare. 

With a cold front moving in and a light snow falling, I had the trail pretty much to myself. Saw one guy at the summit studying a map and a woman hiking near the Gregory Canyon trailhead.  Other than was sublimely quiet and beautiful in that gray winter monochromatic way.

2,282 feet of elevation gain.

2010 Race "Plans"

Been thinking a lot about 2010 races I am considering running.  Here's the list:

February 13 -- Red Hot 50K (registered)

March 13 -- Salida Marathon
April 18 – Spring Desert Ultra 25/50
May 1 – Collegiate Peaks 50
May 1 – Greenland 50K
June 5 - Dirty 30 50K
July 18 - Barr Trail Mountain Race
June 19 – San Juan Solstice 50
June 19 – Mt. Evans Ascent
July 3 – Leadville Marathon
July 17 – North Fork 50 -- Pine, CO
August 21 – Pikes Peak Ascent
August 22 – Pikes Peak Marathon
September 25 – Golden Leaf Half Marathon
October - Blue Sky Marathon/50K

Work and family schedule undoubtedly will limit the number of races I enter, but right now I'm looking at all of them to discern what's possible.

In May, I really would like to run either the Greenland 50K or Collegiate Peaks 25/50. Which I one I enter will likely depend on whether or not I get into the San Juan Solstice 50. Registration is tight for that race and takes place next Friday. Obviously, whether or not I get into San Juan will affect all June plans, and perhaps those in July.

A new Front Range ultra, the North Fork 50, was just announced yesterday.  Field is limited to 150.  The race will be run on the trails of the Buffalo Creek area in the Pike National Forest and begins at JeffCo's Pine Valley Ranch Open Space.  I've run and mountain biked on all the trails of this course. The trails in this area are great for running...not too steep, scenic, good footing and fun.  I would really like to run this race.

In August, I think I'll go for the double at Pikes Peak this year. I'm still chasing three hours for the Ascent (missed it by six minutes last year), and I'd make that my focus and just run the Marathon for the sake of doubling. And, a return to the Golden Leaf Half in Aspen/Snowmass is almost a certainty.  It's a really well-run race with good food, a great course and a fabulous post-race gear giveaway/drawing.

I figure I'll look to firm up plans following the San Juan registration.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bergen Park Intervals

Time: 35 minutes
Distance: 4.3 miles
Effort: Hard
Body: Fair
Weather: Cold and Cloudy

After a day in front of the computer, and just before picking up the kids, I squeezed in a quick trip to Bergen Park to do a few 1.1 mile repeats on the cement and asphalt loop that encircles the park.The loop has a bunch to turns, including a sharp "S" turn in one spot, plus a couple of small hills (Garmin says five feet gain in one direction and 68 feet of gain going the reverse direction - going to have to check that again). Body wasn't as up for this as was the mind.

Did a one mile warm-up, then two miles at tempo pace around the 1.1 mile loop (6:38 and 6:52).  Average pace for the two laps was 6:01 and 6:13.  Closed it out sooner than planned with a one lap cool-down.

Should have taken it easier last night on the treadmill.  Turned today's planned "quality" run into an abbreviated struggle. Still, glad I got out. At least I have a baseline from which to build.  I imagine using this loop somewhat regularly as a fitness check. Wonder how much easier it would be to run this at a lower elevation.  We are at about 7,600 feet here.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Time: 1+ hour
Distance: 6.5 miles
Effort: Hard
Body: Fair
Weather: Indoors

Busy day + kids = evening trip to the rec center to hit the treadmill. 

Did a two-mile warm up at 8:12 and 7:00.  Then did four miles, first at 15 percent, second at 13 percent, third at 11 percent and fourth at 9 percent.  Cooled down for half a mile. Felt good to sweat, but there wasn't much pep in the legs at the steeper grades. 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010 - Red Rocks - Bear Creek Reservoir

Time: 2:58
Distance: 20 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny and cool

Up early for another Steve G.-organized long run. Met up with the group at the dirt parking lot near C-470 and Morrison Road.  We were joined today by Christine A., Lori B. and Ian Adamson, who works with Steve at Newton Running.

We set off around 7:30 a.m. running north on Rooney Road past Bandimere Speedway, under and back over C-470 and over the Dakota Hogback on West Alameda Parkway. We then ran up and through Red Rocks before dropping back down into Morrison. We spent the first part of the run catching up on everyone's 2010 running plans and naming our top five favorite races. No one could top Ian's top five...his top races involved exotic locations around the globe, a world record (most miles paddled in a kayak in 24 hours...263.4!) and podium finishes in the world's most grueling adventure races. 

After dashing through Morrison, we ran a loop on roads, paved bike paths and golf cart sidewalks in and around Bear Creek Lake Park, a 2,600-acre park in Lakewood that contains three lakes (Bear Creek, Little Soda and Big Soda Lakes) and miles of dirt and paved trails and roads.

Felt good this whole run. The pace was easy - average pace was a mellow 8:55, with 1,489 feet of elevation gain. Yesterday's day off made a big difference. Thanks to Steve, Ian, Chris and Lori for the great run!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010 - Upper Bear Creek Road

Time: 2:27
Distance: 17.8 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Fair
Weather: Sunny and cool

If ever there was a testament to the motivational value of running partners it was this morning's run. When the alarm went off at 5:40 a.m. this morning, I happily would have rolled over and went back to sleep were it not for a commitment I made to meet Steve G. for another jaunt up Upper Bear Creek Road.

With a peanut butter sandwich and a tall glass of chocolate milk and 4.5 hours of sleep under my belt, I ambled over to the Evergreen Lakehouse and met Steve just before 7 a.m.  On the agenda was an 18-mile run up Upper Bear to the gate at the Mt. Evans State Wildlife Management Area. We were joined by Andrew A., whom I learned is -- in addition to being a very impressive runner/triathlete -- a very selective connoisseur of only the finest offerings of the World Wide Web. A rare trait, indeed.

We ran the out part of the out-and-back at an easy pace, hitting the turn-around at 8.77 miles in 1:16. We did the return a bit faster, chatting the whole way. Average pace was an easy 8:12 with 1,303 feet of total elevation gain.

Legs  were heavy today, with some noticeable soreness over the last three miles or so.  I chalk it up to too-little sleep and a pretty hard run yesterday. Day off tomorrow.

Overall a great day to be out.  Temps hit the 40s around the time we were finishing. A beautiful day, this first day of 2010. Doing this run with Steve and Andrew was a great way to start a new decade.  Thanks, guys!

Later in the day, the family and I returned to the Lakehouse for the annual Polar Bear Plunge, a fundraiser for Drive Smart Evergreen, a local non-profit dedicated to improving the driving habits of mountain area residents. 

We had a great time watching the local color as dozens of bathing suit-wearing, costumed and cross-dressing locals took the plunge. The most inspiring of the plungers was a disabled woman whom was lifted from her wheelchair by friends and family and together they made the leap into the frigid waters (see pic). Too cool.