Sunday, September 7, 2014

9/1 to 9/7

9/1, Monday - Boulder Canyon, 9 miles, 500', 1:13

Easy/slow-ish up and down the canyon. Up in 36:17, down in 34:52. By my standards this isn't really a hill so I feel awkward using the terms "up" and "down", maybe its just my deranged conception of what running is. Finished up just as it was getting dark, detouring through campus where there is enough synthetic outdoor lighting to read a book at night.

I'm thinking fairly seriously about the Bear Chase 50 on September 27. Prices don't increase until the 14th though, so I have time to think it over before I make a rash decision - but I do like rash decisions. I penciled in a rough training plan leading up to race day. I'm confident I could finish the distance, but I want to finish with (some) pride and not on my hands and knees while hallucinating like I'm on lap 5 of the Barkley.

9/2, Tuesday - 2nd + 3rd Flatirons, 5 miles, 2,200', 2:23

Easy up the usual freeway route (18 minutes-ish) on the 2nd before doing the 5.2 West Face of the 2nd. I originally planned on hitting the summit of Green subsequently, but I had been procrastinating scouting the 3rd for about a month now. So, I bushwhacked over to the back of the 3rd to check out the Southwest Chimney which is the downclimb from the standard East Face route. Its definitely a very involved downclimb of about 200' of 5.4 climbing, the crux move for me is downclimbing a super exposed slabby section that is actually pretty easy going up, but less so going down staring down the 1,000' foot face as you smother your feet on the rock. Anyways I scouted around a fair amount and the actual face looks like a great climb to check out later this week or next week. I hate to say it but I'm reading for snow - in Boulder only though, above 10k' is insane in winter. Heat brings want of snow, and snow brings want of heat I suppose.
My route highlighted in red, picture from Google.

9/3, Wednesday - 1st Flatiron, 3 miles, 1,500', 1:35

Deliberately easy effort today, because, see tomorrow. Hiked up to the base and did some off route creativity before hitting the top in ~35 minutes and downclimbing in ~9 minutes. Simply gorgeous evening out. I was able to get a wave from a couple guys on top of the 3rd while up top. It won't be long till I either need to start going in the morning or stashing a headlamp in my pocket; back down before dark, but just. I haven't been getting up on the ol' slabs with nearly the frequency I was last spring, so I'm still a little rusty.
Lifetime summit #10 of the 1st

9/4, Thursday - Boulder Canyon x 6, 31 miles, 2,300', 4:51

In all honesty I had never run more than ~15 miles below 9,000ft. All of my longer efforts have been at 10,000ft to 14,000ft, so despite this statistically not being new territory, I was a bit apprehensive as this is the first time I've expected myself to maintain an actually moderate pace. My course of choice is albeit a wee bit droll, logistically ideal. I would run to Eben G. Fine Park (2.5 miles) and then complete 6 repeats of the 4.5 miles to the end of the Creek Path up Boulder Canyon and back. Eben G. and the end of the creek have portable toilets and Eben G. has a drinking fountain, so all I had to carry was a gels, of which I brought three - and I would never be more than ~5 miles from my apartment if I blew up. This day was to be a huge determinant as to my plans for the Bear Chase.

I left my apartment with already heavy legs from days passed, I find flatirons do this to me so its my own fault in planning that wrong. I wish I had a whole bunch to say about such a long - my longest ever - run, but in all honesty, I don't. Its basically one long blur going up and down that blasted hill. Next time I do something like this I'll be sure to pick a different route - perhaps one that doesn't end up being essentially a marathon of hill repeats! Check out that sinister looking elevation profile below! All in all it was a huge learning experience. I think one main thing is adding a bit of cushion to my shoes. I wore my Merrell Trail Gloves which are terrific on technical trail, but the accumulated impact sure tired out my feet. Something like a Lone Peak, Fresh Foam, Peregrine  or dare I even say....Hoka could actually have some utility. Okay, Hoka is overkill, Do I have a 50 in me? I think I could with actual preparation and a more dedicated approach to nutrition throughout. For a 50, I would be tapered, in cushier shoes and be eating every 45-60 minutes. Though my legs were without a doubt the limiting factor today, heart/lungs/cardio were  fine the whole time.

Hey pace, please come back down! I want 8's not 11's!

9/5, Friday - Easy, 3 miles, 100', 0:30

Guess what, I'm sore. Also I'm officially registered for a 50!

9/6, Saturday - Easy, 2 miles, 4,500', 0:20

Started off super tight, but things seemed to loosen up by the end. It must just be that I've never maintained an honest run for that long before so my calves/quads weren't quite used to it. Given that the Bear Chase is completely runnable, I still think I should and have time to put in one more 25 to 30 mile effort hopefully next weekend.

9/7, Sunday - 2nd Flatiron, Green Mountain, Bear Peak, South Boulder Peak, 12 miles, 4,700', 4:38

Nice outing with my friend Zach who I haven't ran with in...actually exactly one year. Ironically, also on a Sunday, where I woke up the next morning in serious pain due to a surprisingly sudden stress fracture in my foot. I was superstitiously apprehensive about it being so eerily similar, If I wake up injured I'm going to be very angry. Started from Chatauqua and jogged timidly up the initial 500' to the base of the 2nd. It was his first time up, but he was able to eat up the 700' of semi-technical slab with ease. Grabbed the sneak trail over to Saddle Rock and stood on top of Green soon thereafter. Grumbled over to Bear and South Boulder before hitting Fern Canyon back down to the Mesa trail which rolled along back to Chautauqua. No water, 2 gels. Zach was a bit out of form after a Boston Qualifying marathon last year sort of let him take an extended break from running so we took it pretty easy. My legs were still pretty stiff at first but loosened up and felt surprisingly lively on the rolling 3 miles on the Mesa trail back to the car.
Cruising up the 2nd (Photo: Zach)
Top of South Boulder Peak with Longs/Divide in the distance (Photo: Zach)
Top of Bear (Photo: Zach)
Week Totals:
Miles: 66
Vert: 11,500'
Time: 15:27

I think I'm ready for a 50. Its scary though; its a big number. Like when I map something on Google Maps and its 50 miles away I think "Thats kinda far away", and that's driving! Like its about 50 miles from Boulder to Longs Peak! This picture illustrates that distance (Longs is that big fella' on the right). Still, there is something inexplicably alluring by it. My times and general training seem to match up with that of others who can do 50's, but in the end, you really don't know until you've succeeded or failed. Here is to enjoying the adventure - where ever it takes me!


  1. Holy crap!!! I'm super stoked you signed up for the Bear Chase. I just posted about my need for a true trail race, now I have to do it if you signed up for your race. Thursday 31 miles is an epic run. You better be sore after that or I would seriously contemplate my training lol

    1. Oh yeah I was pretty stiff legged before I even got home. Things seemed to loosen up pretty quick with the easy days, but tagging 3 summits on Sunday has got me pretty tired now. Hoping to get in my last 20+ effort on Thursday or Saturday before I begin tapering. Yeah, I've only raced once in the last 3 years, so I am pretty anxious!

      With your races that far away, your probably at more risk of overtraining/injury than undertraining - that's a nice a place to be in. Happy Trails!