december, week one

30/30/30, version 2.0

dec 1st: 30 minutes of runnin’. got done with orientation a little early so I hustled home, threw on the running gear and headed to Lake Pueblo State Park, an 11 minute drive from the house. I had the whole damn Park to myself. After a quick ½ mile of flat trail I dropped into one of the canyon trails and soon enough was down by the lake. I spotted the high/steep point that Andrew and I had seen the day before, and sprinted toward it, scrambling the last 100 feet or so to the top. Most trails in this area (that I’ve seen so far) contain at least a few quick, steep inclines around 100 to 200 feet long. Definitely different than the FoCo trails. I trudged to the highest point in the park and enjoyed the sun setting behind the Sangres, casting a pink glow on Pikes 50 miles to the north. Good first day.

dec 2nd, 3rd and 4th: 30 minutes of runnin’ each day. Decided to explore what the new neighborhood had to offer. We’re a stones-throw from the mighty (well, I’m sure it’s mightier come spring and summer) Arkansas and the train yards, so I dropped down a steep little hill off our street to the river path below. Each of the three days I tried ascending back up a different route. I discovered that concrete river embankments are killer for hill repeats. Each evening I started with an easy jog, then scampered up the embankments (not sure it’s legal…), jogged back down, then repeated this about five or six times before ending the stroll with a few hill repeats back up into the neighborhood. A quick-and-dirty way to get some climbing in–and within a ¼ mile of the house.

dec 5th: topped-off my first week as a state employee with a 30 minute ride on Maria (the bike!). It’s been a while since I’ve actually pedaled for something other than commuting, but with the river path so close, I’m excited to do some exploring. The path (paved) is rarely busy and follows the river all the way to the Lake/Reservoir, about 9 miles west of town. Definitely looking to do a bike-trail run-bike combo in the near future. Great first week in the ‘Blo.

dec 6th (saturday): ditched town for the day and headed WSW to Pueblo Mtn Park. The drive itself was beautiful, and the park was quite…empty. I realize it’s December, but where is everyone? I drove around a bit to get a lay of the land—are they closed? Do I have to pay someone? Apparently the answer to both questions was ‘no’. The park has about four or five trails ranging in length from 1 to 2 miles long—nothing crazy—so I picked one and headed out. I was surprisingly short on breath and ended-up hiking at least ½ the outing. After reaching the top of the park—maybe 400 or 500’ above the entrance—I noticed that there was access to a trail that left the park heading west, and decided to scope it out. I entered San Isabel National Forest, a behemoth swath of land which includes something like 11 counties, and the Sawatch, Collegiate and Sangre mountain ranges. I bounded off onto the Squirrel Creek trail, and quickly gathered that it had been awhile (a few months at least…maybe more) since another human had tread on it. The trail was a bit…dodgy…and was pretty overgrown with brush and numerous fallen trees. This wasn’t the smooth red carpet trails I was used to up in FoCo, but I kinda liked it. Running was difficult because one had to stop/duck/weave frequently, but man—the silence. I saw a fair amount of animal scat (see pictures), and, mixed with the lack of (human) footprints and heavy silence, I realized I was the only human within 5…6? miles. Definitely a feeling I haven’t had in a while. My first thought after this realization (thanks to evolution) was fear,  but I figured I was well stocked with food/water and was being animal-cautious, so decided to keep moving. I kept an eye on the sun, and turned back well before sundown. In all, about 3 hours and about 8 miles. Not bad. I spent a lot of time stopping, taking in the view, the silence, and enjoying the day. Good recon for future adventures.

dec 7th: It’s been a week since my first Pueblo outing with Andrew, so I thought I’d head back to the Lake to explore a little more. This time I decided to take Maria out for a spell, and rode the River trail up to the dam. Round trip was about an hour and 15, maybe 17 or 18 miles total. It was 65 and sunny and once I got thru some of the walkers in town I was able to punch it a bit and even got to climb for a ½ mile or so. Great to get back on the bike, and in December no less.

in conclusion: In all an enjoyable week of exploring my new surroundings and beginning a consistent groove for the month. Glad I mixed it up with some close-to-the-house running, some dirt, a nice day trip and a couple rides. Feelin’ good.

pueblo mtn park

pueblo mtn park

into no-man's land

into no-man’s land

mtn lion scat

mtn lion scat

wild beast poo

wild beast poo

hiding mushroom

hiding mushroom

LPSP Reservoir dam(n)

LPSP Reservoir dam(n)

elk herd

elk herd

airplane camping

There’s (posh) car camping. There’s (hardcore!) backpacking. Then there’s airplane camping, which is a weird beast that fits somewhere in between the previous two. You ain’t bringin’ the big stove or the cooler full of beer because you ain’t got room in your one check-able bag. So it’s not like car camping. but unlike backpacking, you do have room for the big tent, the nice sleeping pads, and a neti pot (a must!). Plus, there’s room for my ‘minimal’ amount of running stuff.
You see, we’re going camping (for one night) and running (for one day) in/around/thru the Grand Canyon, but we don’t have time to drive there. So we’re flying. Then driving. Then camping.     …airplane camping. (trademark!)

We can check a 50 pound bag:

48.5 lb bag...with neti pot

48.5 lb bag…with neti pot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And we don’t have to hike with it on our backs.
#seeyouontheNorthRim    #R2R    #netipot   #airplanecampingTM

I’m excited (see daily planner):

north rim to south rim (~24 miles) in one shot

north to south rim (~24 miles) in one shot; (un)official R2R run report coming soon…

oct 7th thru oct 23rd, 2014

october 7th
arthur’s rock, lory state park
3.5 miles, 1:30, +1400′ vert. arthur’s rock with mackey, sarah and Andrew and another perfect, late afternoon day in colorado. haven’t been up there in a while. enjoyed the view for a while and descended a little before sunset. magic.

october 9th
toward the Perch
3.5 miles, :40, +600′ vert. perch #68. quick, fast jaunt on a cool autumn morning. trees are poppin’. focused on relaxed speed on the descent.

october 13th
Mill Creek trail, Towers Rd, Lory SP and Horsetooth Mtn Park
14 miles, 3:30, +3500′ vert. never felt good or comfortable during the run. probably started a bit fast, legs felt heavy after about an hour. i lost interest on my way back to the car (was going to add a quick 3.5 mile leg up to arthur’s rock but didn’t), then decided to sit down and enjoy the silence and landscape for awhile with about 2 miles to go. it was a bit of a strange outing. realized that, while I love/need time in the hills/woods, i rarely sit still for long–choosing to run through the landscape rather than sit. because my body was tired and knees were shot, I decided to take the last few miles slow and even stop (as mentioned above) for about 15 minutes. I was slightly disappointed by the effort but did enjoy the break toward the end. 14 miles is still a lot, anyway. and I’d rather be well rested with solid knees for the Canyon rather than risking it today.

october 19th
well gulch and timber trails, Lory State Park
8 miles, 2:20, +2000′ vert. started with a hike up well gulch and the timber trail switchbacks with Kels and Maya, then double-backed to the top after hiking most of the way back down with them. was feeling tired and unmotivated today–and most of the week–especially after last monday’s outing. But after a slight kick in the pants from Kels, I headed back up and enjoyed the quick pace on the descent. another fantastic fall day.

october 21st
the perch
6 miles, 1:10, +800′ vert. Perch #69 for 2014. enjoyed a fast ascent and an extended, quiet sit-down on top, enjoying the view while the weather’s still perfect. I wish it was autumn forever.

summary: I kept thinking that the Rim-2-Rim run this month would be motivation enough to get me back into a solid, consistent training rhythm, but that wasn’t the case. It’s actually not about motivation at all. I’m extremely excited and lucky to have the chance to run in the Grand Canyon this week, and am quite motivated to run well. But on the day-to-day level this month, other priorities have meant sporadic outings with little-to-no focus. Perhaps my body is rested enough from Leadville, and ready to get back into things, but I don’t think I’m mentally ready to commit to a new training plan–which requires a focus and…well, committment…that I’m not ready to give. I suppose this is a great time of year to rest–certainly my natural inclination during November and December. I’m hoping to keep my fitness level up though, so come January, if I’m “feelin’ it”, I can get back into a schedule. The Canyon will be amazing, and maybe that will get me rollin’ again. Not sure…
I’ve also had a stronger-than-usual desire to slow down and even stop during runs. It’s incredible how Lory can get so silent when my legs stop moving and I stand still, letting the silence take hold. Perhaps late fall and winter will be more run-and-stop/sits. Happy middle ground hopefully.

snow in the big hills; Longs Peak from top of Towers Rd

snow in the big hills; Longs Peak from top of Towers Rd

photo 3-2

rocky mtn national park from up near the Alpine Visitor Center

 

sept 15th thru oct 6th, 2014

sept 17th
Timber Trail, Lory State Park
8 miles, 1:43, +1400′ vert.  i love this trail–it’s got a little bit of everything. in the 40-50 times i’ve gone up it i’ve never broken :50 on the ascent. I think i’ve gone between 50 and 52 minutes about 10 times but never lower. i think my PR is somewhere around :50.15. Today’s ascent: :46.28. #recoveryisimportant.  After the ascent I hiked a bit and enjoyed the fall scenery. Only saw one other person during the outing–such a great park with awesome trails and possibilities.

sept 24th
Turquoise Lake Trail, Leadville
5 miles, 1:20, +300′ vert. great hike/run with the fam. fun to be back in Leadville as always. the fall colors were incredible (see below).

sept 30th
Perch #66 of 2014
6 miles, 1:05, +800′ vert. Pushed it a little too hard on the ascent (and descent) and had to catch my breath at the top for a few. perfect afternoon for running though: 60 and cloudy. trying to find a steady, consistent block of training the next three weeks in preparation for the Canyon.

oct 2nd
Towers Road, Horsetooth Mountain Park
7 miles, 1:23, +1750′ vert. great afternoon on the hill with Jay-pop. We decided to have at it and pushed it from the start. At the two or three checkpoints I’ve mentally marked, I noticed we were better than PR-pace, so at the 3/4 mark I put the “leather strap” in my mouth and pounded out the last mile. my previous PR hovered around 49 minutes, so I was a bit surprised when I stopped the clock at :45.49. J-Bone was right behind me in :48.21, both of us PRing–awesome! Enjoyed the chat and easy jog back down. Two PRs in the last couple weeks (bettering previous marks by about 10% each) has shown me the importance of rest and recovery after such a taxing event like the LT100.

oct 5th
Arthur’s Rock TH to Towers Road, HMP & LSP
11.5 miles, 2:15, +2300′ vert. another beautiful day on the hill–perfect fall day. PR’d the roundtrip journey by about 15 minutes–gotta be happy with that! pushed it into the red zone for the last half hour or so down the mountain. body feelin’ good.

oct 6th
Perch #67 of 2014
3.7 miles, :45, +600′ vert. great outing with kels, sarah and mackey. started from the trailhead and after the turnaround focused on descending fast/efficiently with good form. quite an enjoyable day.

in summary: I was pretty sporadic with training in the last few weeks, but: a) each outing felt great (because of so much rest) and I was able to push and move faster than I have in a long time; b) I have been enjoying getting back to ‘old reliable’ routes when I feel up for it; c) the last few days have given me a nice push back into a little bit of a rhythm. I’d like to spend the next two weeks solidly building for our Rim-2-Rim adventure in the Canyon.

—————————-

Late September in and around Leadville/Twin Lakes:

1012804_627684964016051_7061877589183301586_n 1044202_627684967349384_3564810229105999673_n 10007428_627684820682732_2122732223511632078_n 10409704_627684827349398_1915307036374381466_n

Top of hope pass looking north toward leadville.

much of the LT100 is on the Colorado/Continental Divide Trail -- good choice!

much of the LT100 is on the Colorado/Continental Divide Trail — good choice!

nice lookin' hope pass selfie, if you ask me.

nice lookin’ hope pass selfie, if you ask me.

 

the view that greeted me when i cleared hope pass, looking south

the view that greeted me when i cleared hope pass, looking south

king elbert

nearing hope pass, Mt. Hope

nearing hope pass, Mt. Hope

still snow to cross above 12,000 ft

still snow to cross above 12,000 ft

week of june 16th thru june 22nd, 2014 (mm 85)

Monday

much needed rest

Tuesday

7 miles, 1:19, +900′ vert. perch #50 on the year. nice steady jog after yesterday’s rest. legs still feeling a little tired after last weekend’s effort but that’s to be expected. hoping for another solid week before resting a bit next week. 2 months til the start line.

Wednesday

11 miles, 2:31, +2700′ vert. Towers Rd. Was planning on going another few miles but after the first go I met up with Harvey the Rabbit’s friend, ascended again, then participated in a very fast descent. That guy can fly down hill! 62 years old my a–! It was really hard keeping up without the Cadillacs (Hokas) but I hung in there. This workout told me two things: a) my fitness level is creepin’ up, but b) I gotta go harder during workouts (even the easier ones like today). Having a little interval here and there is good. Leg speed needs to continue to increase. May try running the Bacon Strip loop (rollers, 10 miles) or more of the Blue Sky trail, which will simulate about half the LT100 course.

Thursday

8 miles, 1:36, +1200′ vert. perch #51. feeling very sore/stiff/tired this morning after yesterday’s towers effort and battle rope session with Bro and Taya. glad to get in a ‘bonk’ workout though. hopefully a night session later today.

6 miles, 1:10, +800′ vert. perch #52. night run with duder and taya to try out the new head torch and hydro pack. both worked great, though a little tickering and adjustment time will be necessary. the Ultimate Direction pack is pretty barebones but is really form fitting and comfy. water sloshes in the pack a bit but i stopped noticing after while. the headlamp is insanely bright, even on the 2nd of 4 settings. i think we’ve found a winner for the early morning start and last 1/3rd of the race in Leadville. Looking forward to testing these guys out on the race course in a couple weeks. It was a little difficult, buying/trying a new item at this stage in the game, with only a few hundred miles of training left, but the pack i’ve been using for a few years finally started to come apart. if the UD pack doesn’t work I can always go back to the old Nathan (just a new one). It’s nice having a little less weight/bulkiness though. We’ll see. energy was a little lacking on the run and legs were a little sore, but it’s always fun hiking/running at night. The world is reduced to the area that your headlamp illuminates in front of you. Fun to stop every once in a while and turn it off to look up at the stars. 

Friday

2 miles, :22, +50′ vert. nimbus 3000 run with Maya around the neighborhood after waking up very sore and exhausted. thought better of heading up to the perch and kept it easy.

Saturday

4.5 miles, 2:10, +1000′ vert. one of the most enjoyable outings i’ve had in a long time. Kels, Maya and I hiked up well gulch then connected with timber and ascended the switchbacks. it was late in the day, after rain, thunder/lightning and the lighting was perfect for pictures–so kels took a bunch and we meandered our way through wildflowers, creeks and waterfalls. a great way to celebrate the first six months of 2014.

Sunday

22 miles, 4:52, +6000′ vert. Towers Rd Trifecta.  Felt like I got shot out of a canon today. body felt pretty good and responded well to the high amount of vertical gain. three ascents: :52, :44.15 (PR by about 20 seconds) and :55. pushed it on the last two descents as I was feeling pretty good still. intentionally ran out of water with 4 miles to go and only ate one pack of sports-jelly-beans and half a mango lassi just to simulate a bonk run. Despite the lack of calories I felt great and pushed the entire way. happy with this one. time for a rest week!

Weekly Totals

60.5 foot miles, 12,650′ vertical gain (209’/mile), ~14 hours.  Best training week I’ve had in a while–certainly the most miles I’ve put in, in a non-race week. A great continuation of last week’s Leadville weekend. Glad to feel good during yesterday’s effort despite putting in about 100 miles in the last 9 days. 

All photos courtesy of Kelsea MacIlroy:

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 1 photo 2 photo 3