Saturday, April 30, 2011

Running in Paradise

Easy six miles through the woods, down a WWII-era runway, past pill boxes, a wrecked airplane and the biggest darn crab I've ever seen.

Time:  54 minutes
Distance:  6.1 miles
Pace: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Overcast and humid

Palmyra Atoll is located approximately 1,000 miles south of Hawaii.  That's 1,000 of nothing, save for Kingman Reef, between the Honolulu Airport and the crushed coral landing strip on Palmyra.  That's a long way to go for a run.

View from base camp on Cooper Island northwest toward Strawn Island
The running route starts at research base camp on Cooper Island and heads east on an old WWII two-track, past North Beach and connects with the east end of the runway.  From there, the route takes one down the runway to the two-track that leads back to base camp.  The loop is 2.5 miles, almost on the nose.

The running surface -- well, the islands' surface is crushed coral. Instead of having to watch out for rocks and roots, the chief trail obstacle here are crabs. There are three types of crabs to watch out for -- hermit crabs (everywhere), big fiddler crab-looking crabs and the Big Daddy of 'em all, the coconut crab (these crabs actually eat coconuts and can get to be the size of basketballs).

A coconut crab refuses to let a certain trail runner pass
The coral reefs here are among the best on the planet. Because there is so little direct human impact (save for climate change), the reefs are very healthy and resilient. Bleaching events and disease do happen here, but because the reefs are so healthy and the human impacts relatively minimal, they recover quickly.  There are places with 100 percent coral cover. Went for a dive today in an old channel dredged by the Navy during WWII. Saw about 20 manta rays...big ones, too, with 10-foot wing spans. 

There are several scientists here doing all sorts of research project, from seeking to spot the extraordinarily elusive beaked whale, to shark tagging, climate research and more. Because the ecosystem here is so intact, it's a great place to study how things work.

Thou Shall Ensure This Place Remains for Future Generations!
Check the Garmin map of this run, here.  Click on aerial view to see the atoll.  Incredible.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Remote Running

Two days off due to cramming for a last minute trip here.  Atoll ultrarunning, my new hobby.

Palmyra Atoll.  Note the unnaturally straight line in the center left of the pic.  The runway.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Flatiron Vista - Tempo

Post-work, squeeze-it-in-on-the-way-home-from-work, between-rain-hail-and-brimstone from the sky tempo run around Flatiron Vista.

Time: 45 minutes
Distance: 6.2 miles
Effort: Hard
Body: Good
Weather: Cloudy and cool

Every minute counted today, so I ran pretty hard from the get-go, setting off on the early winding climb from the Flatiron Vista parking lot off Highway 93 up into the woods. Maya was setting pace, although the check-everything-out route she ran must have added an extra mile to her day.

Settled into a steady pace in the low 7s on the climb, then picked it up through the rocky flatish stuff on the west side. Paused at the gate to double check the leash rules, dashed past a pride of mountain bikers and cruised down and up the Dowdy Draw Trail and ran a quarter mile up the Springbrook South Trail.

At the place where the Springbrook Loop begins, there were signs saying leashes were required. I wasn't in the mood to hold Maya back, so we turned around and headed back up Dowdy Draw. Rounded out the loop back to the truck via the Flatiron Vista North Trail. Ran the last couple miles in the 5:30-5:45 range.

Average pace for the run was 7:16, but it seemed harder with the rocks and modest ups and downs.

A whopping 523 feet o' elevation gain.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Apex Loop

Nice late afternoon loop through Apex Open Space en route home from the Boulder office. As a special treat, the sun made an unscheduled appearance.

Time: 47 minutes
Distance: 5.29 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Mostly cloudy and warm(ish)

Squeezed this run in between the end of an early-starting workday and picking up the kids. Apex Open Space is incredibly convenient for these rushed runs. The parking lot is just a couple hundred yards off my regular commuting route.

Glad to see the sun poke through the clouds just as I was setting off. Made it warm enough to run in just shirt sleeves, a far cry from the sleet/snow runs of the past two days.

Ran a nice loop through the park using the Apex, Sluicebox, Grubstake, Pick-n-Sledge and Argos Trails. Got some nice turn-over going through the rollers on Grubstake and on the Argos descent. Good stuff.

1,210 feet o' elevation gain.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Beaver Brook - Gudy Gaskill Trail

This has got to have been the LAST snow storm run of the first half of 2011! Conditions were lousy, but the vibe was great.

Time: 1:23
Distance: 8.01 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Good
Weather: Blizzard and chilly

Late afternoon run on Beaver Brook trail from trailhead on Mt. Vernon Country Club land near Ralston Elementary School in Genessee.  Started and ended with heavy, wet snow falling (these are the kind of conditions people who were glasses HATE).

Run starts with some double-track which leads to an access point for the Beaver Brook Trail. This section has some great views down into Clear Creek Canyon. Ran the Gudy Gaskill loop, which takes one around a small mountain (more big views down into the canyon).  Once back on the Beaver Brook Trail, I headed east to add on a couple miles before looping back to the trailhead via some old service roads and a couple of unmarked, but well-trod social trails.

There are some impressive forests and meadows hidden away on this little used parcel of open space and conservation easement lands (thanks Mt. Vernon!).

Ran this one with Maya. Perfect running companion today...hung close, waiting when she got out of sight on twisty sections. Fun!

Weekly Round-up - April 17 - 23rd

Feeling like I'm getting back to some consistency, despite a couple unscheduled days off this week. Nice mix of miles and quality.

Sunday:  Beaver Brook Parcel; 14.3 miles; 2:28 - Mid-day slog in chilly, windy conditions. Ran from Old Squaw Pass Road parking area down to reservoir and then explored the northwest part of this Forest Service/Clear Creek Open Space/State Land Board-owned collection of public lands. Eventually dumped off on Beaver Brook Canyon Road and ran this steep, narrow road up and over a ridge, then strung together a series of old mining roads to drop down into a new subdivision high above I-70 right around the intersection with Highway 6 at Clear Creek Canyon.  2,563 feet o' elevation gain.

Beaver Brook Reservoir. Run started at the cleft on the center horizon.
Looking down on I-70

Nice pair of ponderosas on Clear Creek County Open Space Land 
Not exactly OSMP-quality signage, but it works.

For a stretch of the run, I was tracking the elusive Colorado Yeti. That's my print on the right.

Upper meadow on a plateau above the reservoir
Monday: Washington, D.C.; 11 miles; 1:25 - Another trip to D.C. An early afternoon arrival meant I had the evening for a nice long run. Ran from hotel in Rosslyn area of Arlington along the Potomac, over Memorial Bridge then down the National Mall, through Capitol Hill and back.  The river was over its banks in one spot covering the bike path that runs along it. 206 feet o' elevation gain.

Tuesday: Arlington, VA; 10.51 miles; 1:22 - Ran three miles from hotel up the Custiss Trail bike path to Washington & Lee High School. Ran a 200-400-800-1600-800-400-200 ladder.  Felt very solid for the whole thing. Never had to dig deep.  The middle part went pace-wise like this 800 (5:35), 1600 (5:34), 800 (5:30).  Couldn't believe how easy it all felt (albeit, I only did one ladder). 3 miles c/d en route back to hotel in the dark. Sea level sweet it can be. 295 feet o' elevation gain.

Wednesday: Off - travel day.

Thursday: Off - (insert excuse here).

Friday: Alderfer-Three Sisters; 5.24 miles;  51 minutes - Squeezed in a brief dog run during an otherwise busy work day. Ran the outer loop from the lower parking lot. 846 feet o' elevation gain.

Saturday: Alderfer-Three Sisters; 18.25 miles; 3:12 - Woke up at 5:40 a.m. to a few inches of new snow with more still falling. Bagged plan to drive to Buffalo Creek. After going back to bed, remembered that Steve F. and Steve G. were running at Alderfer this morning. Pried the covers off and was soon parked near the start of the Dedisse Trail on the south side of Upper Bear Creek Road. There were a herd's-worth of footprints, including a couple sets of Newton prints, in the fresh snow, so I knew a group was up ahead. Started the climb at a steady pace, planning to follow the prints until I caught up.

At the top of the Dedisse climb, ran into Andrew A. He let me know the group was putting along not far ahead. After a brief chat to catch up, I was off. Caught the group of six or seven just past the lower Alderfer parking lot. I ran with the group for a while, but ran off the front as we climbed Evergreen Mountain. Did an extra circuit of the summit loop as the rest of the group made their way up. The rest of the run played out much the same. I was eager for the incentive to do the out-and-backs required to get 18 miles on this trail system, so I hung with the group, but usually ran ahead at a bit quicker pace and paused at trail junctions. We ran pretty much all the trails in the park, save for the Sisters Trail. Good amount of time on feet. Conditions were lousy. Probably wouldn't have stuck it out without the accountability implicit in a group run.  2,880 feet o' elevation gain.

Week Total - 59.13 miles; 9 hours and 19 minutes.  Mileage was relatively low thanks to the two days off. Still, happy with the week. All the niggles of late are under control. Energy was good. The track workout was a big mental boost given all the injury crap of late. Need to get the long run mileage back up. Better weather will help with that.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bergen Peak - Upper Loop

Running on tired legs today, but still made it up and around the snowy upper loop on Bergen Peak.

Time: 1:22
Distance: 8.14
Effort: Moderate
Body: Fair
Weather: Sunny and cold

As I looked yesterday at my Friday work calendar, I had exactly one spot - 10 a.m. - when I could squeeze in a run, so I booked it. Fast forward a day, and exactly at 10 a.m. I was greeting Jason P. at the wind-swept lower lot at Elk Meadow Open Space.

Jason is an accomplished local Evergreen adventure racer/ultrarunner - 7th at Hardrock last year, 24-hour orienteering champion...the list goes on. It's amazing the quality of athletes lurking seemingly around every corner in our fair state.

We set off, running counter-clockwise up through the meadow trails up to the Meadow View/Too Long intersection. I was feeling sluggish, no doubt the effects of two days on Green Mountain in Boulder (combined w/ far too much time off of late). Still, we held a respectable, if uninspiring, pace up to the junction with the Summit Trail (44 minutes). Jason had extra time, so he set off for more ups and a trip to the summit of Bergen Peak. Maya and I continued down the Bergen Peak Trail.

There was a good five inches of snow on the upper portions of the loop. It will melt fast, no doubt.

Finished off the run with a jaunt south on Meadow View to Sleepy S and back to the car.  My back was feeling a bit tight on the descent. Might be time for a day off, or a very easy day. Don't want to give back the progress I've made this week.

1,757 feet o' elevation gain.

And, if you haven't seen this story by Charlie Engle on the Barkley Marathons in the current issue of Runner's World, check it out. Jason is mentioned in the piece several times. The accompanying videos are pretty cool, too.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Timing is Everything

Easy jog/slog in the snow/slush on the backside route up Boulder's Green Mountain.

Time: 1:18
Distance: 5.43 miles
Effort: Easy
Weather: Sunny and cool

An hour or so post-lunch, I started thinking about running. Maya was with me at the office this morning, so I had to find a place where dogs could run off-leash and wouldn't be too muddy. The location also had to be in town, since JP and I commuted together this morning so she could attend a symposium at CU.

I dropped JV a note, since I knew he regularly runs the peaks with his dog, Sierra. Was the backside route on Green Mountain a designated off-leash area?  He quickly wrote back confirming that it, indeed, was and he and Scott Jurek were planning on running that route at exactly the same time I was hoping to get out. A plan was quickly hatched. Timing is everything.

Forty minutes later, JV, Maya and I were waiting at the mouth of Gregory Canyon for Scott to show up, which he did within minutes of my arrival.

After introductions, the leash came off and we headed up. Maya didn't know what to make of the group run vibe. She's never run with more than one person. Should I run up front? Should I run in front of Jim? How about brining up the rear?  She decided on all three, plus a lot of exuberant dashing up snowy hills. Her favorite spot, though, appeared to be right on Scott's heels.

There was a lot of heavy, slushy snow left on the trail as we splashed our way up at an easy pace, which was more than fine with me as I was still feeling yesterday evening's Mesa-Bear Canyon-Green run.  We hit the summit at around 44 minutes and spent five or six minutes chatting atop the summit rock.

Soon, we were splashing our way back down, with globs of slush splattering left and right with every step.  Good times.

2,388 feet o' elevation gain

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mesa - Bear Canyon - Green Mountain

Late afternoon run from Chautauqua to the top o' Green Mountain via Bear Canyon.

Time:  1:41
Distance: 9 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Fair
Weather: Cloudy and Cool

Solid run...decent distance and elevation gain. Body held up well and felt best when moving (which is sorta the whole idea behind running, so things worked out pretty well).

Felt relatively good on the ups. From the Chautauqua parking lot, headed up McClintock to Mesa, Mesa to Bear Canyon and Green Bear to the four-way, then up to the summit of Green. Tagged the summit marker in 1:07, 39 minutes and change from the sign at the start of the Bear Canyon trail. Just focused on running a sustainable pace. Never red-lined it.

Came down the backside of Green. Cruised pretty hard down to just past the ranger cabin, then slowed it down after the flatish stretch. My quads definitely were letting me know I haven't run hard downhill in a number of weeks.

Wrapped it up with a nice jaunt through the Chautauqua meadow back to the truck.

The hardest part of the run was the first 100 yards, which is about how long it takes until all the muscles are warmed up, the joints are oiled and the engine stops knocking.  Once the back loosens up...good to go.  More progress.

2,686 feet o' elevation gain.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Over a Bear and Up the Elephant's Back

Very nice evening out-and-back run from Bear Creek to the summit of Elephant Butte, which included a newly discovered stretch of (shhhhhhhhhh) secret trail.

Time: 1:30
Distance: 7.76 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Fair
Weather: Cloudy & warm

Busy day at the grindstone but managed to finally get out for a few miles in the early evening.  I was keen to hit some dirt somewhere other than Elk Meadow, so I drove a few miles over to Upper Bear Creek Road and parked in a dirt lot by the Evergreen Golf Course (owned by the City of Denver).

With Maya running beside me, I ran over the bridge over Bear Creek (Maya opted for the more direct, through-the-creek route) and started the climb up the Dedisee Trail to Alderfer-Three Sisters.  After a couple miles, the Dedisee Trail intersects with the Hidden Fawn Trail. As I approached that intersection, I started wondering if there was a way to skate around the north side of the Sisters rock formations.

Near the intersection I saw a faint trail heading northwest and decided to check it out.  With Maya leading the way, the faint track turned into a fully-evident trail.  And, sure enough, it led around the rock formation and intersected with an old fire/logging road just southeast of the intersection with the Bearberry Trail in the old Blair Ranch parcel.  Perfect.

From there, I ran the Mountain Muhly horseshoe to its apex on the west side of the park. Here, I picked up a cairned social trail that I knew would lead to the well-maintained, but unofficial, trail up Elephant Butte on Denver Mountain Parks land.

Hit the highpoint on the Butte's summit in 49:05. Paused for a few minutes to soak in the views of Mt. Evans and let Maya catch her breath.  We soon were headed back down, retracing our steps back to the truck (with dog pauses at Buffalo Creek and Bear Creek for water breaks).

1,503 feet o' elevation gain from creek to summit, 1,723 feet on the day.

Solid run. Felt pretty good the whole way. Body cooperated, with only mild discomfort. Progress.

Yesterday was an easy Meadow View Loop dog jog at Elk Meadow from the house.  5.63 miles in 52 minutes with 730 feet o' elevation gain.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend Running and Not Running

Great Saturday morning run at Pine Valley Ranch/Buffalo Creek. Tough day mentally on Sunday.

Time: 2:25
Distance: 15.25 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Fair
Weather: Sunny and warm

With a 5:30 a.m. Saturday meet-up time, Steve, Lori, Maura and I were running up the Buck Gulch Trail at JeffCo's Pine Valley Ranch just a bit after 6 a.m.  Once we started climbing up out of the Platte Valley, the temps started climbing into perfect running temp territory.

Unfortunately, Steve was not feeling well, so he turned around to catch a cat nap back at the car to see if he could pull things together and still get in some decent miles (he did).  The three of us quickly made time/distance plans and I set off solo running ahead at a bit quicker pace.

The plan was to run about 2:20 and meet back at the cars and decide then what to do next.

I headed up Buck Gulch to Skipper, then hopped on Homestead to Miller Gulch, a two track.  I ran Miller Gulch over to the second Gashouse Gulch connector and made a small 1.5 mile loop, popping back on Miller Gulch at the first Gashouse turn-off.  I continued cruising down Miller Gulch, a really nice, rolling, soft-surfaced old logging road, to the junction with the Homestead Trail.  I hung a left and ran Homestead back to the Strawberry Jack Trail and ran that back to Pine Valley Ranch.

The Miller Gulch/Homestead Trails junction.
The Homestead Trail passes right through a couple really cool rock formations.
I ended up back at the Pine Valley Ranch parking area about 10 seconds after Lori and Maura, who had run a 2-mile shorter version of the route I did.  I opted not to tempt fate too much and called it a day. My back was pretty tight from the descent down Strawberry Jack...nothing serious, but enough warning signals to make the call pretty easy.

So, Maura and I headed back to Evergreen and Steve and Lori headed out to catch a few more miles.

I really like running in the Buffalo Creek Area. It's easy to string together runs of 15 - 50 miles. And, the trails are all runnable, soft-surfaced and scenic. Tough to go wrong.

1,981 feet o' elevation gain.

On Sunday, I was flummoxed by the ferocious wind that was blowing all day. It started about 3 a.m. and never relented. I managed a one-mile walk with the dog in the morning and another in the late afternoon, but was so chastened by the conditions, I bagged running for the day. Thought about a quick trip to the rec center for a treadmill run, but I was mentally shut down. All the injury crap of late was getting to me. Just tired of aching. I really have no acute, can't-run-on-it pain. Just a bunch of background discomfort...just enough to zap energy and mental fortitude and make me wonder when in the hell will I feel like running hard again.

Good thing there's IPA, or IBA - India Black Ale.

The latest find:

This gem of an IBA is from Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Good to know there's good beer coming out of Milwaukee.  Perfect combo of hoppy bite and the smoothness of a mild porter. Good stuff.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Short Jog and a Close-by Fire

Extremely windy conditions and a tight schedule led to a short job at Elk Meadow. Shortly after I got home, a neighbor pointed out a fire just north of Elk Meadow.

Time:  33 minutes
Distance: 4 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Fair
Weather: Warm & Very Windy

Easy jog in the southern part of Elk Meadow to test out the back. Interestingly (at least to me), the discomfort yesterday switched sides. Weird.

Anyway, felt it the whole jog. Legs felt spry, though.

Got home and took the kids up to the buried hill-top water tank up behind our house to look at a growing fire on a south-facing ridge immediately north of Elk Meadow Open Space.  Judging from what we could see, it appears the fire started along Highway 103 (Squaw Pass Road).  We saw a couple of trees burst into flames. Scary sight.  Lots of smoke now, all local fire crews have been called in to help.  This could be very bad.

Seems unlikely the fire would jump the road and affect Elk Meadow and the forests of Bergen Peak, but with the extreme winds we have up here today, one never knows.  We'll be closely watching this one.

Elk Meadow in the foreground. The Promontory subdivision is directly to the right of the fire.
Evacuation notices have been issued.

jP and CP looking down on Elk Meadow from buried 2 million gallon water tank west of our house.
Thanks to all the firefighters working this, and all the other fires this season.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 April?

Realized today that there's no rocks to trip on while running on a treadmill, so I figured a trip to the rec center would be a safe bet.

Time: 54 minutes
Distance: 6.5 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Fair
Weather: Indoors

The local rec center has happy hour on Wednesdays from 3-6 p.m. ($3 entry, no beer) and it was snowing out. So, to the treadmill.

This actually was an easy call. After the run in the sun yesterday, I couldn't bear a cold, snow run today.

Started very, very slow and worked my way up to 7:30 pace over the first half-mile. Ran 3.5 miles at 7:30, then one at 7:00, another at 7:30 and a half mile cool-down of jogging, butt kicks and knee lifts (I felt really cool doing those on a treadmill in a crowded gym).

Hip/glute/illiac crest/whatever was achy at the start, but eased up as the run progressed.  Still feeling it, but it was better today than yesterday, due, I'm sure, in part to the chiro/ART/massage session this morning.

No new pain/aches and the old ones are easing.  I'll chalk that up to some continued progress.  Fingers and toes remain crossed and I'm knocking continuously while I type this one-handed.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

North Table Mountain - Windy

Stopped off on the way home from work at the new(ish) west trailhead off Highway 93 at JeffCo's North Table Mountain Open Space to take the body for a test drive.

Time: 1:02
Distance: 6 miles
Effort: Easy
Body: Fair
Weather: Sunny and warm (!!)

The hip/back/gluteus medius thing was a bit better today, so I packed the running gear before heading off to the Boulder office early this morning.  Squeezed in a quick hour-long jaunt on North Table Mountain in Golden.

Ran from the relatively new west trailhead off Highway 93.  The run begins with a steep climb up a service road to the mesa top.  From there, I headed southeast, with the wind howling out of the west, following an old two-track which led me to a break in a cliff band. It didn't feel right, but I descended anyway, thinking a trail might continue east along the grassy flank of the mountain.  Bad choice. The trail switchbacked down to a parking lot on land owned by the Access Fund Foundation, a land trust set up by the Access Fund to protect key climbing areas.

This 29-acre parcel on the south side of North Table Mountain is known as the Golden Cliffs Preserve.  Here's a bit of beta on this nice little chunk of private (but open to the public) land surrounded by open space on three sides (from here):

1995 Golden Cliffs Preserve, Colorado Working with a major donor, the AFLF was able to acquire and subsequently protect 29 acres of important open space on the south slopes of the North Table Mountain mesa, just north of the City of Golden, Colorado. The landowner had become concerned with liability at this highly popular area. This complex, long term protection project involved three separate parcel donations, subsequent annexation of a portion of the property, extensive public planning and approvals including rezoning of the property, and eventual trailhead infrastructure construction. The result was the creation of the Golden Cliffs Preserve, a crucial open space preservation project. The Preserve abuts City of Golden Open Space to the west and Jefferson County Open Space to the north, which collectively provides a network of trails interconnecting the broad open lands of North Table Mountain. Perhaps best know as on one of most popular rock climbing destinations along the Front Range, the Preserve is visited by more than 30,000 climbing enthusiasts, hikers and nature viewers annually. The Access Fund invests a substantial amount of money into parking, kiosk and signs, trail improvements, and has a vault toilet installed. The AFLF maintains long term ownership and stewardship of the Golden Cliffs and provides open public access.

I was up for some more vertical, so I went down to the lot, glanced at the trailhead sign and headed back up to the mesa top and retraced my steps back to the service road I ran up initially. From there, I headed east and north on a couple other trails, eventually dropping down the north side and picked up the North Table Mountain Loop trail that cuts through the meadow on the mountain's west side.

That trail led me back to the parking lot, right at six miles.

My back felt solid, but the gluteus muscles were still barking at me, as is my left iliac crest area, but things definitely were much improved from Saturday's sufferfest.  Five hours post-run, things feel better than they did pre-run.  Reason for optimism?  We'll see.

Headed tomorrow a.m. for a repeat visit to Sara (chiro/ART/massage) over at Nick's Pro Fitness.

1,143 feet o' elevation gain.

Monday, April 4, 2011

One Step Forward...One Step Back

A couple runs, some treatment, a fall and a couple more days off.  In other words, more of the same.

Eager to get back to regular, pain-free running, I made an appointment  Thursday with a local chiropractor/massage therapist that a woman at a local health club highly recommended (and who had her office inside the club).   

Just prior to the Friday appointment, I dashed out for a quick run around the Meadow View Loop at Elk Meadow Open Space.  With Maya on a leash, we ran the 5.63 mile loop in 47 minutes (658 feet o' elevation gain).

A few minutes later, I was showered and sitting on a massage table explaining the bedeviling collection of aches that had enveloped pretty much the entirety of my left mid-section. 

Over the next 45 minutes, she poked, prodded and pressed her way into discovering which of my muscles were the offenders causing my 2+ weeks of crappy running.  During this time, she used a combination of Active Release Therapy, massage, cold laser treatments (supposed to reduce inflammation) and adjustments (hips) to try to realign my then-misaligned pelvis and sooth my inflamed muscles (muscles with names like gluteus medius, periformis and others I can't begin to remember).

When I stood up at the end of the session, I was still sore, but felt better for the work.  I finished the day with a long course of stretching and ice.

Next up was an early Saturday morning rendez-vous with Woody and Joe Z. at Mt. Falcon for a go at the v1 (version one) route, which is essentially running every trail in the park starting from the lower lot.

Just past the prescribed hour of 5:30 a.m., with headlamps illuminating the trail in front of us, Joe, Woody and I set out up the Turkey Trot trail.  The first steps felt good, a definite improvement.  I remember thinking I was on the mend and pain-free running was just around the corner.  All good…until it wasn’t.

After about a minute of running, I decided to take the headlamp off my head and carry it instead.  In the 10 seconds it took to move the light, I managed to catch my left toe on a nice, big rock, which sent me lunging forward into the darkness.

Before I knew it, I was flat on my back, head facing downhill, taking stock of the damage. Naturally, all the torque from the fall was centered on my left side.  And, of course, I fell on my left hip.  Yep, in a split second, I undid all the good the chiro had done in 45 minutes the day before…and made things worse.


Well, no point in wallowing in self pity when a beautiful sunrise and 14 miles of excellent trail lay ahead.  The only catch was I had to get my ass up off the ground before I could start running.

With a couple of grunts, a couple dozen yards of walking to shake off the effects of the impact, we were off, chugging up the early steeps on Turkey Trot.

After a lot of early lingering hurt from the fall, I settled into a manageable level of discomfort and stumbled up to the picnic shelter in 36:18 (including time spent laying on the ground). 

After re-grouping, we ran the rest of the v1 route, pausing at major junctions to stretch and take stock.  Pain-wise, things were manageable, but stopping was not a good thing. Stiffness would set in almost immediately.  Over the course of the run, descending became the hardest part.

By the time we returned to the picnic shelter for the final descent back to the parking lot, I was resigned to watch Woody and Joe disappear before we even got to the second bend in the trail.  I brought up the rear, running down the steady downhill at a sorry 8:50 pace.

Shortly after turning left to finish up the descent down the Turkey Trot Trail, I passed Tim L. and Jeff, who were headed up.  We all paused to exchange greetings.  Tim asked if I was running with the two guys ahead, I sheepishly admitted I was, fighting hard not to offer unnecessary explanations about why I wasn’t actually running with them.  (Jeff – good to meet you at long last!) After a couple of minutes, I continued on and found Woody and Joe soaking up the view of Denver and beyond from a grassy vantage point.

We wrapped up the run together after disdainfully pointing out the rock that grabbed my toe two hours and 35 minutes and 14.23 miles prior. (2,897 feet o' elevation gain).

The rest of the day was a rough one.  If I owned crutches, I would have used them.  Man, was I sore.  I walked a couple of miles after I got home and later that evening to keep the circulation moving and spent the intervening time laying around reading and playing games with the kids.

Woke up Sunday morning still hurtin’ somethin’ fierce.  Day off.

Got out of bed this morning in a bit better shape.  Went back to the same chiro/massage therapist late morning for a repeat session.  The knots from Friday were mostly still gone, but new inflammation from the fall was obvious.  So, more prodding, cold laser treatments and a hip adjustment were on tap.  Taking the day off and focusing on ice and stretching to see how things go.  Plan to visit the chiro again on Wednesday.