Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bergen Peak - Ups

Late afternoon run from the house to the summit of Bergen Peak. Solid effort, but well short of a PR.

Time: 1:47
Distance: 11 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Average
Weather: Mostly sunny & Humid (for CO)

After a late morning and afternoon spent shopping with JP, this kids and my folks for the myriad essential things (Clorax wipes!) kids need in order to go back to school and picking up some fresh fish for tonight's feast, I headed out for a jaunt up Bergen Peak, Evergreen's centerpiece.

Ran the mile from home on the roads to the lower lot and clicked the watch and set out on the Mallory route - Sleepy S - Elk Ridge - Meadow View - Too Long - Summit - Bergen Peak. Knew a PR wasn't in the offing today, so just planned to run steady and see where things ended up. Hit the summit in 57:44, a couple minutes shy of my PR. Never pushed it hard the whole way up. I know I lost a few minutes on Meadow View, where I typically run hard on PR efforts. Just cruised it today, enjoying the trail and the feeling of self-propulsion. 

Ran pretty easy on the downs, returning home via Meadow View and the neighborhood access trail.

On the menu for the evening...tequila-lime grilled tilapia, grilled asparagus, heart of romaine salad, fresh strawberries and cantaloupe and New Belgium's 1554 Ale. Every meal should be like that.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Bergen Peak - Upper Loop - Easy

Time: 1:19
Distance: 8.62 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Average
Weather: Cloudy & Warm

Late afternoon run from the house, up through the backyard and into Elk Meadow Open Space. Took Sleepy S to the Bergen Peak Trail and ran the upper loop clockwise, coming down Too Long and closing the loop via Meadow View.

Legs felt decent, but the rest of my was only average. Glad to be back in Colorado. Maybe the body just needs a day to readjust to our fabulous climate.

Off to see Lyle Lovett tonight at Red Rocks (for tonight's show it's dubbed "Green Rocks"). Won free tickets via a give-away by the Colorado Conservation Trust, which will have a booth at tonight's concert.  The concert is sponsored by e-Town. Should be a good one.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Catching Up and Misc.

Monday - Elk Meadow Open Space

Time: 50 minutes
Distance: 4.5 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Poor
Weather: Sunny & Warm

Recovery run, but hoping for more. Legs were leaden. Time was fleeting. Not fun.

Tuesday - Arlington, Virginia - Bike path, Potomac Heritage Trail, Donaldson Run, Roads

Time: 1:22
Distance: 10.27 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Cloudy & Humid

Started around 7:30 p.m. intending for a pretty hard effort. Ran the first 5K in 21 minutes on the bike path parallel to I-66. Made my way down to Roosevelt Island and continued the tempo pace on the gravel and boardwalk path that encircles the island. After leaving the island, jumped on the Potomac Heritage Trail and ran this singletrack along the Potomac River up to where Donaldson Run tumbles over a series of akimbo slabs of rock, creating one of the coolest waterfalls I've seen. 

Ran up Donaldson until the trail petered out and dumped me out on some residential streets. Thanks to a decent sense of direction, I found my way back to my hotel's neighborhood and stopped at Washington & Lee High School to finish up with a little track work. Ran a few mid-tempo 400s and did 800 meters of barefoot running on the artificial turf field inside the track.

Wednesday - Arlington, VA - Bike Paths, Roads

Time: 1:17
Distance: 9.11 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Fair
Weather: Sunny, hot and humid

Another post-work run in the heat and humidity of the East. Didn't feel great on this run. Quads were sore at the onset (prior to yesterday, it's been a while since I ran tempo on pavement) as were the calves, no doubt from the barefoot running.

Ran on the I-66 bike again, this time headed west to the Four-Mile Run bike path. Ran this for several miles before hitting the city streets and winding my way back to Washington & Lee High School again. Did a few 400s, including one barefoot.  A running club was there today doing speedwork.

Other Stuff

I registered several weeks ago for the September 18 Run Rabbit Run 50 in Steamboat.  Looking forward to running that race. Jaime is in. Patrick G. has a run-down on the competition, including a heads-up that Geoff Roes is running.

Speaking of Run Rabbit Run...interesting dialog on about the race, which is closed, being added to the Montrail Ultra Cup roster.  

Good Vermont 100 race reports from AJW and Colorado's Andy Henshaw.

Enjoyed following Matt Hart's efforts to set a new FKT on the Colorado Trail. He came up short, but put in a hell of an effort.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park - Longs Peak

A before-the-crack-of-dawn assault on the northern-most Front Range fourteener, Longs Peak. 

Time: 4:32
Distance: 14 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny & Warm

The stars definitely aligned for this run. Brandon was considering a run up Longs Peak and I was camping in Rocky Mountain National Park and planning an early Sunday morning run. Around 7 p.m. Saturday night, the plan was set. Meet at the Longs Peak Trailhead at 4:15 a.m. and go for a run.

Longs Peak from a viewpoint along Highway 7 

I'd been up Longs once before, perhaps 10 years ago. A friend, Becca, and I hiked it one sunny October day in a year when the snows were way late. We started mid-morning, around 10 a.m. and finished the hike in the dark, mercifully coming across a pair of hikers that had the good sense to bring headlamps. We weren't so smart. And, as I recall, it was hard.

Fast forward a decade and Brandon and I are signing in at the trail register and heading up the trail in the dark (with headlamps) with plans to hit the summit in 2.5 hours and, for me, to be back at camp in time for a late breakfast. 

Brandon led off, setting a steady pace up through the forest with his new, super-bright headlamp illuminating the rocky and water bar-laden trail ahead. We passed several groups of not-terribly-friendly hikers (was it the early hour? Was it my stinky hat?) as we made our way up and out of the trees into the sub-alpine zone. As the trees disappeared below us and the sun began to crack the eastern sky, the hikers we passed got friendlier, which was a good thing because we were passing a .surprising number of hikers. These people had to have started their hikes before 3 a.m. That's way more impressive than running up a trail!

We soon hit the Chasm Lake junction and started cruising up the long, flattish sections bound for the Granite Pass trail junction. I was feeling really good this morning. Everything was clicking. Legs felt good,. The altitude was a non-factor.

Through this section, I took my turn leading the run about the time the sun began illuminating the sheer face of Longs. I gapped Brandon a bit in this section as he slowed to document the scenery and the morning in pictures and video. This was just as well as I managed to trip and hit the dirt, bloodying my elbow and hands and scrapping my left leg. No major damage, but I was happy to have this happen out of sight of other people.

We regrouped at Granite Pass and made quick, steady work of the switchbacks leading up to the Boulderfield.  On the approach to the Boulderfield, we came across Paul Smith, who was out training for Leadville, fresh off an impressive finish at Hardrock.

After a quick break at the privy here, Brandon and I set off on the slog up to the keyhole, where a phalanx of people were hanging out marveling at the views, the majesty and the accomplishment of getting this far. After a brief pause for the same, we made our way over to the Trough for the haul up to the Narrows.

At the Keyhole on a bluebird sky day.

Heading over to the trough just past the Keyhole

The Trough was tough. Looking up, it just looks hard...steep...rocky and daunting. Once in it, it's not so bad. The distance shrinks quickly with each step. Before we knew it, we are standing at the entrance to the Narrows. I remember thinking here how easy it would be for some altitude-affected person to lose their equilibrium here and take a fatal tumble.

Fortunately, we didn't have any such problems as we made our way to the last climb to the summit - the Homestretch.

Marching up the Homestretch

Via a series of cracks in the rock, we finished off the climb, meeting at the lip of the precipice and ran the last 30 meters over to the highpoint on the huge, rock-strewn and flat summit.

A few people called over to us inquiring about our ascent time and were suitably impressed with our 2:27 run/climb. Although tempted to point out that there are many folks that climb this mountain way faster than that, we kept our mouths shut and congratulated others on the accomplishment that is climbing this mountain.

The Summiteers

After 15 minutes or so on the summit and some more good conversation with Paul, we headed back down the way we came. The return down to the Boulderfield was uneventful, save for getting to hear a woman at the Keyhole marveling at the fact her cell phone had full bars! She called her mom. "Guess where I am!" Sigh.

Met a really nice FoCo runner just below the Keyhole. Forgot his name, but he knew from Brandon's blog that a run was in the works on the mountain today. 

By the end of the Boulderfield, Brandon and I were both very ready to run again. Even though it was only around 9 a.m., the sun was up and it was warming fast. I was glad we started this run so early. It was looking to be a hot one.

Down in the trees, about 1.5 miles above the finish, we came across Kraig out for a run. Learned later that Homie (whom I've yet to meet) also was on Longs a bit later this day. Definitely a small world.

Got back to the campsite just after 10 a.m., just in time to pack things up and head into Estes Park for some lunch while JP hiked up to the beautiful Odessa Lake from the Fern Lake Trailhead.  Another great weekend in the mountains.

Read Brandon's excellent write-up, complete with pics and video here.

Elevation gain: 5,542 feet.

Most of the pics courtesy of Mr. Fuller.