Saturday, May 31, 2014

5/27 to 5/31

5/27, Tuesday - Mt Sanitas, 1:30:56, 5.5 miles, 1,800ft
I brought my friend Nir out to a Mt Sanitas run - his first mountain run (excluding a textbook sufferfest up Bear Peak where little running was done), however short Sanitas is. Definitely got him to the "I cannot run, I cannot go faster, I can't do this" for the last 300 vertical feet, but he did really well nonetheless. We started from Canyon and 6th so we got in a bonus climb of the Red Rock fins as well. After the 3 days relatively off (I went whitewater rafting in Utah), my legs still felt sore walking around for reasons unknown, but they bounded well up the hill when the command was given. The heat finally seems here to stay now, which simplifies what to wear immensely.

5/28, Wednesday - South Boulder and Bear Peaks, 2:31:35, 9.2 miles, 3,400ft
Finally got around to checking out Shadow Canyon after work and physical therapy today. It started off very well, running the first 1,000ft continuously...then came the canyon. Shadow Canyon is truly a gully akin to a creek bed full of basketball sized loose rocks. Its not quite as steep as Fern, but since they both start and end at essentially the same altitude there isn't much besides their scenery by which to distinguish them. Personally, Fern Canyon is the most aesthetic route to the summits of Bear and South Boulder Peaks - though Shadow Canyon seems a bit more runnable. Hit South Boulder Peak in 1:18 and got over to Bear Peak in 1:33, not a time to be super stoked about but also not one to be disappointed in. I hit a major bonk while heading back down to the South Mesa trailhead. I had probably eaten like 500 calories and about 2 gulps of water throughout the day (Strava says I burned 1,200 calories), I had to take some hiking breaks on spots I would normally have higher expectations - even on some downhills! Finished up under a picturesque sky sparsely spotted with clouds accentuated by the setting sun - really, really, really regret not bringing a camera on this one (or food and water).

5/29, Thursday - Boulder Canyon, 1:15:05, 9.2 miles, 450ft
Up and down the ol' Boulder Canyon again, trying to go fast. Started off with a 15:00 2 mile, then jogged easy until I hit the canyon where I did my best to hold sub 8's on the way up before rocketing down at 6:30 with a guy I later found out runs D1 somewhere in Connecticut. The same guy also said that based off of how we were "comfortably at 6:30 pace" I should have a 5k of 15:00. I'll be sure to keep that in mind next time I run 18:30! Dropped another 7:30 before settling into my warm-down slog back home. I'm still not satisfied with the type of paces I've exhibited lately, but I suppose patience and persistence will be key to changing that.

5/31, Saturday - Mt Quandarry, 3:54:51, 7 miles, 3,500ft
Woohoo, back up to 14,000ft! This was the definition of a slog, Mt. Quandary's East slope is truly a steady ramp all the way to the summit. Started of at 6AM from the winter trailhead... only to find out later that the summer trailhead is passable now. Oh well, only half mile farther roundtrip.
Early morning sun on North Star Peak (I think its that one at least)
The night's freeze allowed me to coast through the trees pretty easily. Finally being borderline underweight pays off, as I only broke through the crust only every 30 steps or so. I passed a couple groups and then it was me leading the charge up from treeline.
Couldn't ask for better weather
A big ol' ramp!
Temperatures were pretty stellar most of the time, I was perfectly comfortable in my running tights and t-shirt nearly all day. I was trying to break 2 hours on the ascent, I thought I was close to getting it, then I crested a ridge and saw another 500ft left to go and abandoned that idea. Most of the climb consisted of kicking in steps into the windswept snow. Grabbed the summit in 2:30. The summit was a different world from the climb, gusting winds prompted jacket, gloves, hat and well, things you would normally wear on a snowy climb.
Summit post. Finally.
The wind wasn't strong enough to stop me this time!
Always worth it
I didn't linger long up on the icebox summit; I snapped a few pics and started running down. I should be clear that on the ascent I ran I think the first 0.2 miles of dry trail and then walked. The run down was an absolute thrill, total freeform downhill running. I saw the next group behind me around 12,800ft, a lady asked if I was training for the Hardrock 100. What!? Yeah, okay, probably not, though the question was a compliment in itself.
This was the view I had while running back down! Unbelievable!
From about 12,000ft down to 11,000ft the snow was steep enough and hard enough that I was able to get some sweet glissading (I think thats what you call it). Basically you run and then slide on the snow like your skiing so you only take like 3 steps every 30 ft. Only fell once, though when you fall you just find yourself sledding. Getting back to the trailhead was borderline miserable, but I was so pleased with the day nothing could dampen my high spirits. I postholed up to my waist probably 10 times - that is really annoying. Anyhow, made it back to the car most pleased.


  1. Awesome week. You totally have me on a vertical kick right now. I'll have to make my way up to CO some time to experience these runs for myself.

  2. Thanks! If you ever find yourself up here let me know and we'll run a 14er!

    1. Oh my, my measly 2600 elevation is nothing compared to your 14k, I would most certainly die lol.

      I followed you on twitter, love to pick your brain about trail running and elevation training.