Sunday, September 21, 2014

9/8 to 9/21

9/8, Monday - Off

Hadn't taken a day off in a while, figured it was well earned.

9/9, Tuesday - 2nd Flatiron, Green Mtn, Bear Pk, South Boulder Pk, 14 miles, 4,800', 3:38

Started under overcast skies already threatening rain at Chautauqua and jogged to the base of the 2nd and scrambled up the Freeway in a relaxed yet purposeful 14:41 while a slight rain began, but never enough to wet the rock to a dangerous extent. Continued up and finally found the secret social trail connecting the back of 1st/2nd Flatirons to the summit of Green. Made it to the top of Green in 59:24. Paused for a minute to tag the true summit up the short boulder scramble, but the views were hidden in the clouds, so I continued on my way. 16:32 to Bear Canyon, then 35:34 to the summit of Bear. As I traversed the saddle to South Boulder, a wonderful inversion layer developed to the North with swirly clouds blanketing the rolling peaks stretching back to the Divide (wish I brought a camera). I descended to the South down Shadow Canyon to get some more miles, but it was sort of terrible. It seems like Shadow Canyon is just a gully with an old trail now destroyed by last year's flood debris. Horribly technical to the point that its not even fun, and with the rain, the rocky steps were annoyingly slick. But, I can't really complain since I didn't volunteer for trail clean-up. Mesa Trail was the rolling trail I was looking forward to getting some practice running some miles on a tired mind and set of legs. Even snuck a 7:25 mile in there. Vacant trails today; saw maybe 10 people outside of the always populated half mile radius around Chautauqua. I think its the technicality in Boulder that slows me down. At 14,000ft I'm gaining about the same vertical feet per hour as I am at 8,000ft, I think its just the lines I like are 5th class scrambling or super rocky and thus slow me down. I should probably be faster 6,000ft lower in elevation though...

There was a moment at the top South Boulder Peak where I looked out over and through the clouds blocking my view of the Continental Divide. I realized I could still picture and name most every peak in every direction. Geez, I've had an awesome last few months, discovering some amazing places. I could physically see a ton of my summer training stretching out before me. I could see (or at least identify relative location through the mist) Boulder Canyon, all of the Boulder mountains, all of the Indian Peaks and Longs, and that's only a part of what I was lucky enough to explore. All of the miles of trails, tens of thousands of feet of scrambling and innumerable hours spent discovering the Rocky Mountains.

9/10, Wednesday - Freeway x 2 + West Face, 3 miles, 2,000', 1:19

Chautauqua to the base of 2nd felt surprisingly good despite yesterday's effort. Up Freeway in 11:43. my fastest ascent in a long while. Jogged back down and found a shortcut gully to get to back to the base of the 2nd without having to loop around some nonsense switchbacks. Second lap in 11:15 feeling more competent on the rock than I have since May when I was scrambling daily. Effort felt more like a 14 minute scramble, so that's a nice sign of improved fitness. Talked to some guys at the top who wanted to know other routes to free climb, so I took them up the West Face of the 2nd. I then learned that they had tried to solo the Southwest Face on the First a week ago while on LSD. That makes my soloing seem really safe! Left that group to do...whatever great next decision they had up their sleeves. Night was hot on my heels, so I ran back down with some pep in my step.

9/11, Thursday - Boulder Canyon, 9 miles, 500', 1:08

Fast as I could muster, trying to break 1 hour through the cold and rain. What a new path this is (sarcasm). Half mile warm-up to the 28th street underpass, then consistent 7:00's till Eben G. where my pace slowed to 7:40's . Immediate U-turn at the end trying to hold 6:20's back to 28th, where I took the last  half mile as a "barely-counts-as-running" shuffle back home. So ~8 miles at around 6:50 pace, and was able to come in right under 1 hour at 59:12 (excluding warm up and warm down). I still think this time can be bettered as I was actually a minute off my PR ascent. Probably on a perfect day I could potentially go 55 or 56 minutes. Alas, I likely won't be doing this again before Bear Chase. Good workout nonetheless. I'd like to get a little bit faster next year, I really wish I could maintain 6:45-ish pace. I'll look to start doing that some time in November after my break.

9/12, Friday - Off

Sore right peroneal tendon so I took a day off. Feels about like when I had some soreness in the left posterior tibialis earlier this summer. Stretch and compress the calves, roll the feet and I'll be good.

9/13, Saturday - 2nd Flatiron, Green Mtn, 2nd Flatiron x 3, 9 miles, 4,600', 3:30

Was planning on getting in a bit more distance, but I really didn't feel like running today. Just an off day where I felt really tired and slow, some days just are. After the first lap of Green I just decided to do some more scrambling then get uncomfortably tired. Last 3 reps on the 2nd were Freeway, a downclimb of Freeway and Dodge Block for the final just to spice things up. Foot felt much better after the day of rest.

9/14, Sunday - 2nd Flatiron, 3 miles, 1,400', 2:12

Easy hike with some friends up the 2nd (for the 8th time this week!). Legs felt like stone and energy was at rock bottom so I just left it at that and went home to some football.
Taking flight on the 2nd Flatiron. It looks intimidating, but once you've done it once, you can't believe you were ever scared.
Week Totals:
Miles: 40
Vert: 13,143
Time: 12h1m

Two weeks till Bear Chase! Good week of training. Though the stats don't really express that versus how it felt. Scrambling is probably the hardest workout for the least stats to show for it. Freeway is about 0.2 miles but an anaerobic pace is about 50 min/mile, but it also feels like an all out mile on my lungs and heart! Ended up getting 8 scrambles of the 2nd this week too. In the end, you know how hard/easy you worked based off of how you felt, and that is what matters more. Stats are only a reference, and I feel good about things. I also might not be respecting my 31 mile effort a week ago as much as I should be.

9/15, Monday - Streets, 7 miles, 360', 1:02

Easy run around North Boulder neighborhoods. Haven't run in a city in a while, the lights sure screw up your rhythm and pace with all the stopping. Eat & Run by Scott Jurek talks a little bit about trying nasal breathing on runs so for mile 6 I tried it. Not coincidentally it was my slowest mile, but it definitely started to get a bit easier as time went on, though any incline was especially hard. Wore the Luna's to avoid any un-needed compression of the pinky toes. I think it was my slightly more narrow Trail Glove's that were pinching my little toes inwards and thus the peroneal tendon soreness last Thursday.

9/20, Tuesday - Creek Path, Mesa Trail, South Boulder Creek, 20 miles, 2,000', 3:30

The last long run (probably). This loop actually works quite well as it only is on road for about 1 mile, though does contain about 30% pavement, most of which is bike path. Started from my apartment and ran the creek path West, turning South onto the Flagstaff mountain trails. After a brief stop at Chautauqua to chug some water at the drinking fountain I pressed on further South via the Mesa Trail for 5 rolling shaded miles then headed downhill being roasted by the 85 degree temps without any cover to the East to pickup the South Boulder Creek Path which eventually connects back to the creek path, and thus home. Tried wearing my Altra Provision shoes which are normally my road/gym shoes since they have a bit more cushion. They definitely help keep my feet less "hamburger" feeling, but drain water slower. Other than that it was just a long run. Real hard one today, high temperatures and started feeling tired. No water, one gel, two beat legs. Probably should have brought some water. Time to start the slow taper! Oh, and there was a deer spine/leg left behind by some bear or mountain lion on the Mesa trail, yikes!
20 mile loop!

9/21, Wednesday - Creek Path, 5 miles, 200', 0:38

Easy run to Eben G. Fine park then back home on University. Legs felt really good considering how they felt yesterday. Lovely evening.

On another note, I'm starting to get really frustrated with people listening to music while on the move. Today for instance, I'm coming up from behind someone on a single track trail. I do the usual "on your left" and...nothing. I dart around a few seconds later where the trail widens and, yup listening to music. Even walking around campus at school, you see cyclists wearing Bose noise-canceling headphones weaving through skaters who are texting and have headphones on! It's just ridiculous. Its not the listening to music part (well, kind of but I'll get to that later), its just that some people have deliberately made themselves oblivious to their surroundings. The other thing, is people playing music out of speakers on trails! I've seen stories online with people hiking 14ers with boomboxes and I have personally seen dozens of "outdoors-men" (there are quotes there for a reason), using their iPhone speaker to play music outloud. I know I sound like I'm a bitter 80 year old man, but I feel like a lot of things these just defy common sense. I also don't particularly enjoy music on runs/hikes myself besides that which I sing (which I try to reserve for when I'm far away from anyone else), so I suppose I am biased against music. Ok, that's my two cents on that.

9/22, Thursday - Off

Didn't plan on taking today off, but school had other plans.

9/23, Friday - Off

Sick. ugh. It was inevitable since everyone at school is getting it. Hopefully its cleared by next week. Plenty of school stuff yesterday anyways, so I'm not even sure I would have gone had I been healthy.

9/24, Saturday - 1st Flatironette, The Spy, North Arete, West Face, Freeway+,  4 miles, 2,200', 2:30

Woke up feeling ten times better than yesterday, thank god. Met up with Kendrick and we did an easy linkup of a few scrambles. Started off with him thundering up the initial climb as my recovering lungs burned and my heart raced to the point where I just hiked the last bit to the base of the rock. No need to push things right now, especially coming off of a cold. The 1st Flatironette is a clever way to skip the friction-y first pitch on the 1st. That then connected to "The Spy" a fantastic rib of rock some 8 feet wide with decent exposure on either side. A few feet of hiking and we then joined the North Arete of the 1st Flatiron and followed that to the summit. After Kendrick showed his version of the downclimb, which did not jive with me at all despite being much quicker, we headed over to the West Face of the 2nd. We then did one "easy" lap of Freeway+ (which is the name I'm giving to Freeway plus the final pitch of Dodge Block). I felt like crap on anything uphill which I've got to assume is just me recuperating from my cold. Jogged easy back down to Chat. I brought a pack with water/tissues (didn't know how my cold would fair) and a pair of rock shoes in case Kendrick lead me onto something harder, but it seemed like our scrambling skills match up very well, running shoes were entirely secure all day (climbing never exceeded ~5.4). I probably would have been fine sans pack, but I didn't feel like risking it. Most important though, was that aside from predictably low energy, I didn't feel sick at all.
Kendrick reaching for the sun on the top of The Spy
Looking back at Boulder from just beneath The Spy on route to the North Arete.

Sunday, 9/21 - AM: 2nd Flatiron, 3 miles, 1,300', 3:40

Another guided tour on the Freeway with some friends.

PM: Flatironette/Spy/North Arete, 3 miles, 1,600', 1:08

I repeated the route Kendrick showed me yesterday with decent success. The only hitch was going too high on the 1st Flatironette meaning I had to bushwhack down a bit to get on the Spy. I will also henceforth call it Spyronette as to not write it all out. Felt much better running than yesterday, could have done more but it was getting dark and I shouldn't be pushing right now.

Week Totals:
Horizontal: 41
Vertical: 7,700'
Time: 11h31m

Not a bad week considering I got sick and got hit with a bunch of homework, but still sort of meh. And so the countdown begins. Good final week, punctuated by a dehydrated and calorie deprived 20. Now is time for resting and waiting. Five days till the Bear Chase 50!


  1. Days off?? What?? Lol. Solid two weeks there, I know your going to kill the bear chase 50!

    BTW knocked out 20 miles on Sat, can't wait to start adding in some elevation gain. Really getting pumped for some ultras around here.

    1. I figure the hardest part will be miles 30-40, too far out to see an end but far enough in to be hurting. If I can get passed that I got it for sure...Hopefully.

      Nice! Trails or Road? Fueling? Time? How'd it feel?

  2. Yeah I can see 30-40 being rough, got to get into the pain locker and just fight through.

    Combo of road and flat dirt. I used two two Clif shot gels but I should of had a couple more. Took me about 3 hours and change so around 930 pace, not bad with some walking in the later miles. How did I feel?? My body was wrecked and I didn't run for four days after lol. But it was a huge accomplishment for me, mentally it felt amazing.