Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Week That Was...December 12-18, 2011

Way delayed in posting this incredibly important data. Not an impressive week. Took a biz trip to D.C. Didn't run for three days in order to clear the system before a blood test.

Monday - Upper Bear Creek Road - 9.4 miles; 1:15 - Tempo run. Ran from the lake house with Steve F. for a couple miles before letting him dash on ahead. My legs were floundering due to the 17-mile tempo(is) run the evening prior. Got about 4.5 miles up the road when I met up again with Steve. Turned around and ran three miles of tempo with (OK, a few feet behind) him. Legs protested a lot, but held pace (6:18; 6:14; 6:08). Interesting experiment to run hard on such tired legs. Felt good (mentally).

Tuesday - Off - Travel to D.C.

Wednesday - Off - D.C. Needed to take two days off in prep for a blood test related to last summer's brachial plexus neuropathy.

Thursday - Off - Traveled home.

Friday - Hiwan Roads - 5:13; 43:24; 524 feet o' elevation gain. Easy run through one of the local subdivisions.  Got the blood test in the a.m.  Results at January doc appointment.

Saturday -  Mt. Falcon Open Space - 16 miles; 2:56; 3,122 feet o' elevation gain.  Hooked up with Woody A. for a 6 a.m. start. Plan was to run the v1 route (Woody was planning to double it.)  We ran steady the whole time on snow-packed trails. Conditions were very good, with just a bit of ice here and there.  We doubled the Ute Trail figure eight in hopes of finding Jaime Y. who was planning on running the same route, but started an hour later. We never came across him. I was pretty pooped by the time we got back to the lower lot. Watched with great respect as Woody set off again for the long climb back up to the picnic shelter.  Went home and took a nap.

Sunday - Elk Meadow Open Space - 5.71 miles; 51:17; 844 feet o' elevation gain. Ran the Meadow View+ route from home. Easy.

Overall, a rather unimpressive week. That said, the Monday Upper Bear tempo w/ Steve was a lot of fun.  And, the Saturday Mt. Falcon expedition with Woody was challenging and satisfying.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Week That Was...December 5-11, 2011

Pretty happy with the week, minus the unplanned days off (the increasingly common refrain...I know).  Good quality efforts with some light intensity on Monday, more on Wednesday, a solid mountain run on Friday and a long, hard 17-mile tempo(ish) run on Sunday.

Strangely, I have been enjoying the road miles, something I have had a definite aversion to for years. I think I'm liking mostly because they aren't snow-covered, as the trails are up here. That said, I'm really enjoying the steady and quick turnover on the roads.

Anyway, this is what last week looked like:

Monday - Treadmill - 1:15; 10 miles - (all at 1 percent grade) one mile warm-up, then 8 miles at 6:58 pace followed by a 1-mile cool down. Felt great on this one. Started saying, I'll do 5 miles at the 6:58 pace. Got there, and said....OK, a 10K. Hit that. How about 8 miles. No problem. Could have gone for a lot more.

Tuesday - Off 

Wednesday - Neighborhood loop; 1:09; 9.06 miles - Started from the house in the dark. Ran hilly route through a couple of the local subdivisions all while listening to Lucho on Endurance Planet describe smarter workouts than the one I was doing. Did make me up the intensity throughout the run, though.  811 feet o' elevation gain.

Thursday - Off

Friday - Green Mountain - Bear Canyon Loop. 1:47; 9.01 miles - Ran from Chautauqua to the top of Green Mountain via the backside. Great snow conditions on the Green trails - packed, dry snow, very little ice. Hit the summit rock in just over 41 minutes (disappointed with the time given the effort I put in). Headed back down to the four-way and cruised through a knee deep snow trough down into Bear Canyon. Only a couple handfuls of people had been down that trail since the last snow. Made steady progress down the canyon to the Mesa Trail and back to the car. Felt darn tuckered after this one. 2,849 feet o' elevation gain.

Saturday - Evergreen Lake - Hiwan Hills Loop - 1:09; 6.69 miles - Easy jog from the house down the Peoples' Path to Evergreen Lake and back via Hiwan Hills 'hood. 799 feet o' elevation gain.  Still feeling the Friday mountain run.

Sunday - Golden and Clear Creek Bike Paths - 2:02; 17 miles - Long tempo(ish) run starting in downtown Golden. Wound my way around the Coors plant and picked up the Clear Creek concrete bike path. Ran it deep into Wheat Ridge and returned. Started around 4 p.m. and was quickly running in the dark. Decided to make this a pretty hard run. Average pace for the 17 miles was 7:09, including a one-mile w/u and c/d. Pretty happy w/ this one.  461 feet o' elevation gain.

Yesterday, Monday, I had plans to meet up with Steve F. in the a.m. for some tempo work on Upper Bear Creek Road. I was feeling a bit wrecked from Sunday night's long run, but still kept the man-date. I warned him at the onset I likely wouldn't do the tempo work. After the four mile jog up the road, I changed my mind. Decided to see if I could make the tired legs go. We ran three miles of tempo (6:18; 6:14; 6:08). Legs weren't happy, but I sure was after it was over. Felt good to push through the fatigue.

Took today off.

Must admit to being a little bummed I shelled out the bucks for the Leadville 100 now that the Run Rabbit Run 100 is being offered. I really enjoyed the Run Rabbit Run 50 in 2010. Fantastic terrain around Steamboat Springs. That said, I'm still very much looking forward to the Leadville experience.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dog Tired...




View to the west from the Elk Meadow Dog Park.

Maya wondering if that noise was a squirrel.

You Never Write...You Never Call...You Never Post...

Slowly setting back into the running routine. Consistency is getting a wee bit better, but still struggling schedule-wise.

Quick recap of the fortnight that was:

Monday, November 21:  Off

Tuesday, November 22:  Drove to Woody Creek (just down-valley from Aspen) for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23:  Rio Grande and Sunnyside Trails - 20.81 miles; 3:31; 3,711 feet o' elevation gain.  From the rental house, I ran up the gentle grade of the Rio Grande Trail, which is an old railroad bed, to Aspen. As I was running along the Roaring Fork River in town, I saw a sign pointing to a singletrack trail that climbed to the east. Sunnyside. The trail, aptly named for it's on the sunny side of the valley (less snow/mud!), beckoned me with an alluring coo.

So, I started climbing. Glorious. Big views. Nice temps. I figured the trail would climb for a while, then drop down Smugglers Mountain and back to town. To make a long story short, the trail never dropped, but the sun did. After slogging through snow, abandoning an ill-fated attempt to bushwhack down in hopes of meeting the family at the pre-arranged time/location (I already was 30 minutes behind schedule), I finally admitted my trail sense was failing me and I turned around and ran back down the way I came. I was a good hour and a half late.  And, it was now dark. The plan was to meet at the Aspen Recreation Center. I had to ask directions from a guy driving a Ritz Carlton Hotel van. "Where's the rec center?," I asked. "Just a quarter-mile up Maroon Creek Road," he replied. Turns out its quite a bit further than that. The good news is, he picked me up as I was slogging up the road and gave me a ride the rest of the way.

By the time JP returned from the rental house to pick me up (they gave up and went home), I was a muddy, bloody (lots of fun traipsing through brambles during the aborted bushwhack attempt) and starving mess (no calories on this run). Definitely learned a few things about admitting defeat sooner and not digging oneself deeper into an already head-height hole. I had a lot of apologizing to do.

Thursday, November 24:  Rio Grande Trail - 6.01 miles; 51 minutes; 361 feet o' elevation gain. Headed south on the Rio Grande Trail from the rental house. Easy, recovery pace (definitely feeling the previous day's run). Three-mile out-and-back. Didn't get lost.

Friday, November 25th:  Rim Trail, Snowmass - 6.4 miles, 1:18, 1,100 feet o' elevation gain. Dropped CP and jP and my nephew off to ski at the upper village at Snowmass. Put on the running shoes and headed out from the skiing parking area. Found a trail that headed up and took it. Turns out it accessed the Rim Trail, a great ridge-top trail the runs along the spine of the mountains surrounding parts of Snowmass. Snow and mud were prevalent, but not too bad. Topped out at an interesting polished granite circle with a yin/yang symbol in the center. Wasn't expecting to find that on a trail run.

Steve HappyTrails makes good use of granite yin/yang thingy during warmer months.  Photo credit: HappyTrails
Saturday, November 26th:  Off. The whole family went to Ajax to watch the Women's World Cup ski race. Today was the giant slalom. (The slalom race was the next day - Sunday.) This was a LOT more fun than I was expecting. Very exciting to watch the skiers fly down the mountain, weaving in and out of the gates.

The finals were rip-roaring fun to watch. A large timer told you what the skiers' splits were at different points, so the excitement would build as racers vied for the best combined time of their two runs. American Julia Mancuso made the podium with third. Lindsey Vonn was 12th. 

The gang awaits the final giant slalom runs.
By the second runs, the bottom of the mountain was in the shadows.
Another highlight was I won a free parka by answering a trivia question shouted out by the race announcer:  "How many world cup victories does Lindsey Vonn have?" I threw up my arm...I was called on...and with great authority (I was guessing) I shouted, "Three!"  Right. Who knew?

Sunday, November 27th:  Troublesome Gulch/Elk Meadow - 9.62 miles; 1:25; 1,123 feet o' elevation gain. Easy jog.

Monday, November 28:  Treadmill - 8.25 miles. Squats/leg press, etc...

Tuesday, November 29:  Upper Bear Creek Road - Tempo - 10.01 miles; 1:16; 334 feet o' elevation gain.  Met up w/ Steve F. We jogged up five miles, ran down one mile then started the tempo portion of the day's program. Ran three miles at 6:02 pace. Felt very solid. Could have done (one) more.

Wednesday, November 30:  North Table Mountain - 6 miles; 59 minutes; 874 feet o' elevation gain. Easy run.

Thursday, December 1:  Off

Friday, December 2:  Flatirons' Doorstep Run - 7.37 miles; 1:15; 1,269 feet o' elevation gain. Post-work run from Chautauqua up to the Mesa Trail, over to Bear Canyon and down. Then ran a bunch of trails just above the 'hoods to get back to the mesa just south of Chautauqua. Lots of snow. Finished in the dark.

Saturday, December 3:  Alderfer-Three Sisters - 6.10 miles; 1:08; 914 feet o' elevation gain. Figured it was time to give Maya a double dose of fun - trail run and fresh snow. A good eight inches of fresh powder greeted us. Maya loves this stuff. Me...not so much. She runs full speed and buries her snout in the powder as she cruises along. It's heart-warming to see that kind of joy from a dog. Slogged out six miles in the snow, breaking trail in a lot of places. Very cold out.

In other news, due to the fact that kisses from JP were getting fewer and fewer, I gave up the no-shave November facial hair on Saturday. No one, including me, missed it.