Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bergen Peak - Summit

After a day off to again rest the back, twas time to test things out again and see where things stood.

Time:  2 hours (AM) 2:06 (PM)
Distance: 4.06 miles (AM) 11.44 miles (PM)
Effort: Easy
Body: Poor
Weather: Mostly cloudy and cool

The AM time/miles was a hike up Elephant Butte with CP. We had a great time in the morning sun hiking to the top of this rocky, bulbous geographic protuberance that rises from the banks of Bear Creek and looms above the meadows at JeffCo's Alderfer-Three Sisters Open Space.

1,444 feet o' elevation gain.

Elephant Butte from the parking lot at Alderfer-Three Sisters
CP signs the register at the top of Elephant Butte
Looking west towards Mt. Evans from the summit. A weather front was building on the divide.

Looking southeast back down to the Alderfer meadow.
Maya. Must have more hiking!
Late afternoon (after a nap and much lounging), I snuck out for a run up Bergen Peak. My back/whatever was still aching, but was feeling better than Friday (Saturday was a day off). So, time to test things out again.

Was never able to run without some amount of sharp pain, just a lot of background aching. Ran through the lower meadow in a counter-clockwise direction up to the junction with the Too Long Trail. Once again, the legs felt solid and aerobically all was well. Flew by a mountain biker about 100 yards up the trail and continued motoring on trying to ignore the discomfort.

After much deliberation during the climb, I opted to go all the way to the summit and hung a right at the Summit Trail junction for the one-mile ascent to the mountain's apex.  There was still a good amount of ice in the trees on the mountain's east side. I tagged the summit sign and turned around for the descent.

About a quarter of the way down, I had slowed to a jog. Just not feeling good. Then, the mountain biker I passed about 45 minutes prior passed me (he must have been crawling up Too Long since he didn't do the Summit Trail). Being passed put a bit of life in my legs as I picked up the pace to keep the biker in sight. After about 3/4 mile, though, he was gone. I slowed back down and realized how tired my glutes and lower back muscles had become. I felt like I had just run 35 miles.

I shuffled my way back down to the Meadow View Trail and back home marveling at the amount of fatigue I felt after just 11 miles.

2,270 feet o' elevation gain.

The good news is that nothing hurts worse than before I started. The bad news, obviously, is that things are no better. Damn frustrating.


  1. Hey Jim,
    I've seen you on GZ and Rick's blogs and thought I'd drop-by. Curious how much hiking you mix-in to a program that looks awfully mountain running oriented.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Matt - Thanks for the comment. I do very little hiking, not so much by design...more by default. I just don't have time to much more than my daily (when healthy) runs. I'd love to do more hiking, but am reluctant to surrender runs to do so. That said, with my first 100 looming this summer, I appreciate that building in some hiking sessions would be useful. And, I am hoping to get in a few more hiking miles this summer with the kids!

  3. Jim P. - That outing looks fun, and I've contemplated the Butte many times. So do you simply go down the dirt road past the 3 Sisters lot?

    Just curious, did you manage to get the PF behind you?

  4. I think all of those injuries would go away if you just got rid of the winter header picture and put up a nice summer shot.

    Planning on running the Skyline traverse April 9th then 50k from my back door the following morning if your interested.

  5. MTR2 - from the upper lot head north to the Mountain Muhy Trail. Look for a social trail about 50 yards down MM Trail on the left. Follow it to the top of the Butte. It's actually a well-maintained unofficial trail. There's another good social trail access point much further up the MM Trail - near its high point -- so you can make a great loop out of it.

    Gangels - I tried to change the damn image, but I couldn't make it work with another. Time to give it another go. Will give me something to do while I lay around whining about aches. Might join you for one of those expeditions. Will be in touch.

  6. It's common knowledge that any vertical done with your kids counts as double. Not because it's double the effort, but because it's double the benefit ;-)