Saturday, January 31, 2015

January 25 - January 31

1/25, Sunday - Trails - 8 miles, 1,900', 2:04
Ran to the 3rd and scrambled the first pitch and a half before aborting due to the torrents of running water. The first gully had a measurable depth of water pouring down along with the occasional ice pellet shower - a fine recipe for disaster. Ran around a little bit more, but without microspikes any ascending or descending movements were near impossible. Did the last 1.5 miles barefoot on a grass field given the nice weather.

1/26, Monday - Green Mtn - 10 miles, 3,000', 2:10
Up Gregory-Ranger down Saddle Rock with the Rocky Mountain Runners. Took a hard fall going up on a sheet of ice, but the carnage was minimal at worst. Super warm day and night, I was fine in shorts and a t-shirt even going downhill in the dark. I was probably stopped for 10 to 15 minutes of the time waiting to regroup, but didn't bother to pause the watch.

1/27, Tuesday - 2nd Flatiron + Green Mtn - 9 miles, 3,000', 2:09
After jogging from home I bumped into Mark Oveson in the parking lot, a pioneer of many local routes, (notably the "Fast Pfiffner" and the "Kasparov Traverse"). The scramble and subsequent grunt to the summit felt quite groggy, a lot of hiking for sure. On the brightside, the timing of my scramble perfectly coincided with when the sunrise bathes the normally "red-ish" rock in rich a crimson, making the whole experience feel oddly divine, if only for a few minutes.

1/28, Wednesday -2nd Flatiron + Green Mtn - 9 miles, 3,000', 2:06
Felt fairly tired until I stepped onto the rock and a normal energy level took over. I still ended up hiking most of the way up to Green due to ice, 40% grade of the social trail and general laziness. Standard pleasant day on the mound.
Scrambling up the Freeway looking to the South Block of the 2nd and 3rd just beyond.
June-uary in Boulder!
1/29, Thursday - 2nd Flatiron + Green Mtn - 9 miles, 3,000' 1:56
Super sore legs this morning - not that I would expect much else - still, I managed to have good overall energy. After not hardly scrambling for a month, I finally felt regained a flow in continuous movement which makes the perpetual crawl so fantastic. Clocking in at 10 minutes flat up the Freeway I was reminded of just how fun redlining the route is. On the right day with the right route I'd like to think sub-9 is possible.
Behind the 1st Flatiron and Sunset Flatironette at sunrise. Getting up early to run is getting easier with view like this.
1/30, Friday - 2nd Flatiron + Green Mtn - 9 miles, 3,000', 1:54
The goal for today was to put in an all out effort on the 2nd, so I purposefully took it easy on the jog up and gave myself a minute to re-oxygenate my lungs and legs before the attack. I got the time at 8:41, a PR by 20 seconds. Finished up to the summit and trotted back home.

I'm currently taking a fairly in depth course on electromagnetic waves, which has made each sunrise I've seen this week far more technically intriguing than I would have predicted. Obviously, there is some sort of refraction taking place given the angle of incidence. I haven't studied wave equations besides uniform plane waves (and I highly doubt sunlight is TEM), but it would seem that the transmitted frequency has a significant dependence on the attenuation and thus the dielectric, conductivity and permittivity properties of the atmosphere (which is not the case with a TEM wave). Interesting stuff!

1/31, Saturday - 2 x Green Mtn - 13 miles, 5,200' 2:57
Despite being the last day the 3rd was open until July it was cold and dreary enough that I said nay to scrambling. So instead I did two laps on the mountain, using the Amphitheater/Saddle-Rock/Greenman trails for the ascent and descent on both laps. First lap was up in 41:30, second was 46:55; taking the descents as easy ~25min each time. One water bottle, one gel, energy and legs were great the whole time.

Week Totals:
69 miles
21,900' climbed
15:17 on foot

This was one of my best weeks of running ever, by several aspects. It was easily the most consistent and the best I've ever felt physically producing this level of climbing and miles. Most important though, is that I don't feel overstretched like I often do after a big week - often I'll need to take a couple days easy if not completely off. Right now I feel completely in control and ready to take on another week of the same.

Last, this song (amongst all of Savant and Infected Mushroom's music) has been stuck in my head all week. This one's chorus seemed particularly fitting to week defined by early mornings and running up a mountain. Infected Mushroom is one of the seemingly few electronic acts that doesn't just produce catchy garbage.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

January 18 - January 24

1/18, Sunday - 2nd Flatiron, 1st Flatiron, Green Mtn, West Bench - 6 miles, 3,300', 2:41
Starting from Chautauqua I warmed up with a mellow scramble of Freeway on the 2nd before heading over to the 1st. The base was covered in snow so I skirted around on the 1st Flatironette and the Spy before hopping on the North Arete. Summitting Green I tried hopping around someone on the snowy summit block, lost my slick footing and cut up my thumb. Sort of a bummer because I was hoping to explore some climbing routes in the Amphitheater. I ended up getting to the top of the West Bench and downclimbing "West Bench Direct", 5.2. So in essence I can onsite downclimb 5.2 but I fall on class 2+. Great.

I got around to watching "Valley Uprising" this evening; I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys being in nature. Besides the obvious story-line of climbing lore in Yosemite, it delves into various ideologies and approaches to climbing that I myself frequently contemplate. Given my novice qualifications as a climber - we'll just say scrambler how about - these ethics seem to apply to all outdoor recreations. The quote that resonated with me was "the summit is nothing, how you get there is everything. Beyond a pseudo-philosophical experience there is some phenomenal climbing that simply must be seen to believe.

1/19, Monday - AM: Amphitheater Exploration PM: BRC
After some investigation, I determined that fingers just bleed a lot and my thumb was generally fine. I played around in the Amphitheater enjoying some 5.4 crack climbs. Totally different technique than shimmying up slabs. Afterwards some friends and I went to Boulder Rock Club to test our mettle above 5.4. I really enjoyed it and am planning on getting a membership to a gym to work on my technical work in a safe environment.

1/20, Tuesday - AM: Green/Flagstaff trails - 10 miles, 2,400', 2:09 - PM: Creek - 5 miles, 170', 0:45
I hadn't run with Kory since freshman year when he dragged me up Boulder Canyon at his "conversational" pace - the pace was not so easy for me. We joined his friend Jack for a run up most of Flagstaff and Green but summiting neither (!?!?!?). I suppose they don't have the same summit fever I do, so kudos to them for being fine with whatever. On the other hand, I care (arguably too much) about standing on the top. That's just how it is.

Sort of a funny story, when I got back home I was in the mindset that it was Monday and class started at 12. Of course, it was really Tuesday (MLK day off), so at about 10:30 I jumped into action. Unfortunately at about 10:25 the toilet had clogged and overflown so the bathroom was shut down. Being covered in sweat and mud I was in no condition to go to class. I flew out the door to the rec center a mile away on my bike at 10:40. On the hill to the rec I then found my tires to be about 50% deflated, making my already fatigued tired legs work even harder! Somehow I managed to race through the morning's tasks and was sitting in class at 10:55.

1/21, Wednesday - Green Mtn 10 miles, 3,000', 2:40
Oh boy, this was a hard one. I was feeling a little under the weather, the trails were ice emblazoned with a dusting of powder on top - and I was just downright tired. Naturally, I chose the iciest and steepest line up, which I floundered up in what should be my slowest time ever. Hiked almost everything uphill that was non-road. Just get it done.

1/22, Thursday - Off
Full on sick today. Hadn't taken a day off since Christmas, so it was well warranted.

1/23, Friday - Off
Still sick.

1/24, Saturday - 2nd Flatiron + Green Mtn - 5 miles, 2,600', 1:45
After the sickness, I played it safe distance wise and drove to Chatauqua. Tackled an extra spicy scramble up the Freeway which ended up still having a solid helping of snow on the upper ramparts. I almost turned around after the scramble, but the sickness was seemingly less and less apparent as time went on, so up to Green I went. Great snowpack up top led to snatching another couple Strava CR's on the Greenman/Saddle-Rock descent route. At 18:40 I still think a couple minutes could get knocked off. Hopefully, this illness is meeting its demise today.

Week Totals:
38 miles
15:32 time on feet

2 completely off days, 3 days with zero running (still got some good exercise climbing on Monday though); definitely a so-so week in terms of miles, vert and summits. Such is what happens with sickness.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

January 11 - January 17

1/11, Sunday - Green Mtn - 6 miles, 2,500', 1:33
Up  Saddle Rock, down the Amphitheater. The trail is starting to dry out just a bit; enough that I only used microspikes for half of the descent. I'd like to start running from home more to consistently round off the vertical gain above 3,000' as well as get in some more flat miles where I can go faster than 8 min/mi.

1/12, Monday - AM: Streets, 4 miles, 200', 0:30 - PM: Green Mtn - 6 miles, 2,700', 1:39
Easy miles preceding the first day of classes for spring semester. Casually around campus on super icy sidewalks. In the evening I joined the Rocky Mountain Runners group for their weekly group ascent of Green. Meeting at 5:30, the sun was well set when we started off. The pace felt reasonable, I felt much more capable on the uphills than when I went with them in June.

1/13, Tuesday - Flagstaff Mtn + Green Mtn - 13 miles, 3,500', 2:42
Starting from home I took the creek path to some unconventional route up Flagstaff, by which point the snow was really picking up. Decided to take the Flagstaff road to back behind Green and take the West Ridge up. Amphitheater back down and through campus back home. Excluding some isolated sections of steep, this route was mostly in the 10-15% grade range, so I was able to run just about every step.

1/14, Wednesday - Green Mtn - 10 miles, 3,000', 2:10
From home, up the Gregory/Greenman/Saddle down Saddle/Amphitheater. Fairly lazy effort, but the new snow provided just enough traction to not have to wear spikes at all. Crossed paths with the Long Ranger coming down, cool to see him in the flesh even if it was brief.

1/15, Thursday - Green Mtn - 10 miles, 3,000', 1:41
With the sun out, the clouds absent and a surprising amount of energy today was a great day. I thought I was going to be on pace to break 40 minutes on the ascent of Green, but ended up with a 42:30, still a PR by 2 minutes though, so I'll take it. The descent was super well packed snow with plenty of traction until I got into the Amphitheater. No spikes again today. Thundered back down the streets through campus to clock in well under 2 hours for the trip. The improving fitness is getting me really excited!
Green Mountain summit #10 for 2015
1/16, Friday - Creek Path - 6 miles, 400', 0:49
I suppose I spent all my energy yesterday. Plans got sequentially demoted from Green to Flagstaff to Sanitas to Boulder Canyon, then I just turned around. Nice to have an easy day I guess.

1/17, Saturday - (95% of) 3rd Flatiron - 4 miles, 1,900', 3:29
Hiked up to the 3rd with Brian, hoping to tag the 3rd in this brief weather window. Trying to get some sun we traversed way south and ended up on a super exposed arete. Brian doesn't scramble much so between the cold wind and the dizzying exposure characteristic of the flatirons we elected to not bother with the final friction-y pitch so as to not have to downclimb it. Longer time than expected, but it was easy pace and fun.
First time making this move in climbing shoes. Waaaaay easier than with running shoes
Brian coming down the back of the 3rd
Week Totals:
60 miles
17,100' gain/loss
14:30 on foot

Summits: 16
10 Green
2 Bear
2 South Boulder
2 Flagstaff

Saturday, January 10, 2015

January 1 - January 10

1/1, Thursday - Flagstaff Mtn, Green Mtn, Bear Pk, South Boulder Pk x 2, Bear Pk, Green Mtn - 21 miles, 8,700', 6:38
Started from Chautauqua and blazed up the Crown Rock trail to Flagstaff, then over to the top of Green, paused only to don microspikes and sludged through only vaguely broken trail of Green-Bear. Bear Peak West Ridge was literally the worst. Wet snow that melted into your shoe immediately despite it being freezing cold. Basically post-holing the entire way up. Touch and go on the summit of Bear to South Boulder where trail conditions got even worse! Some minutes of knee deep slog later and I was atop South Boulder. In order to qualify my second ascents of Bear and South Boulder, I descended the entirety of Shadow Canyon. I very much enjoyed Shadow packed with snow far more than dry. Re-ascending was horrible, especially since I knew I had barely broken trail to S. Boulder so I had to do that again. I finally met some other people on Bear which lightened my spirits just enough to make it down to Green-Bear without screaming curses at the snow. On the final grind to Green I was at maximum sloth, I even got passed by a hiker for the first time ever. About 5 seconds from the summit Scott Jurek descended past me, so that was cool. The darkening sky made the decision to skip a second round of Flagstaff, so I descended the middle route. Got to about the Saddle Rock junction when I rigged up lighting system by propping my iPhone up in my UD race vest water bottle holster and using the LED flashlight. It actually worked really well besides that you couldn't turn and look using only your head - its definitely a super substitute for not having a head torch (and of course having a phone). Aside from dealing with choppy and crappy snow, I was pretty happy at how my legs and lungs felt; big day, but I didn't feel completely annihilated.

1/2, Friday - Mt Sanitas - 3 miles, 1,450', 0:38
In between running some errands I snuck in a quick tag of Mt Sanitas. I was just coming from the eye doctor and thus my eyes were dilated; this meant that even with sunglasses the sun reflecting off the snow was nearly painful.

1/3, Saturday - South Boulder Trails - 7 miles, 1.100', 1:14
I originally set out for South Boulder Pk and Bear Pk via Shadow, but must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. The thought of 3,200' didn't sound too thrilling to my legs so I just rode the trail back down then did another loop across the street on the Dowdy Draw trail. Ended up being a very fulfilling run.

Week Totals:
Miles: 58
Vertical: 23,900'
Time: 17h31m

Summits: 8
Flagstaff: 1
Green: 2
Bear: 2
South Boulder: 2
Sanitas: 1

Well, I think that's a new personal best for vertical gain in a week. Happy to say I had 12 summits this week too, but only 9 count for my 2015 count.

1/4, Sunday - Green Mtn - 6 miles, 2,800', 1:22
I was really trying to run every single step today (something I've never done), though at a certain point there was so much drifted snow that I was slipping, falling and post-holing. At that point running was akin to a treadmill so I ended up frustratedly hiking a couple brief sections. Otherwise, I really think I would have made it. After a brief tag of the summit boulder and strapping on the micro-pokers I took a hard descent, clocking in at 16:08, a PR by 4 minutes. Pretty happy with the run as a whole.

1/5, Monday - Loveland Skiing - 6:05, 17,700'
Easy and fun day out with an old friend I hadn't seen in over a year. Skied some fun, bumpy and steep stuff before lunch then we exchanged our respective skis or board for the afternoon. It was fun to have to really put forth effort on blue runs. Skiing will always be my number one, but trying to figure out the mechanics of a board on mild terrain was a nice change of pace.

1/6, Tuesday - Copper Skiing - 4:56, 22,700'
Decent day for me, but a generally terrible day nonetheless. What started out as a great day of skiing with my sister and her boyfriend turned sour when her boyfriend's brand new skis (like the first day of use) were stolen during lunch. He is one of the most passionate people I know when it comes to skiing, it was pretty crushing. I - and I think everyone - likes to think highly of where they are from, that the people are good, trustworthy and kind. It tarnishes the whole community when stuff like this happens. Granted, this is one of the first times I've heard of this (personally, that is). I just hope this is some improbable misunderstanding and that things can be set right again.

1/7, Wednesday - Green Mtn - 6 miles, 2,800', 1:31
I was honestly going to take a rest day, but given the cloud inversion the pull of the mountain was insurmountable. Felt good to essentially coast up and down the mountain without too much effort. Nice sunset and a decent cloud inversion.

1/8, Thursday - 2nd Flatiron - 3 miles, 1,300', 1:30
Crazy day. Temperatures were in the mid-50s so I was expecting a fun slushy day in shorts. Getting to wear shorts proved to be the only positive aspect of the day. The entire trail was a sheet of ice. I was honestly looking for foot holds (pockets of ice or rocks poking through) with each step. I had to use my hands in several spots - normally smooth trail. Freeway went fairly well all things considered. I had to work around some significant sections of ice at the beginning, then it was just avoiding all of the water draining down. I had contemplated continuing on to Green, but the thought of descending the shady north side of the mountain was terrifying. Hanging onto branches, hopping between rocks or sliding on all fours desperately clawing at the ice with my hands to self arrest I finally made it back down.

1/9, Friday - AM: Track - 4 miles, 0', 0:40 - PM: Green Mtn, 6 miles, 2,800'. 1:21
In the morning I did a track workout with a friend, followed by a box jump workout. Good fun. After picking up my new headlamp, I had to try it out in the evening for a quick lap of Green. Somehow PR'ed my ascent of Green in ~44 minutes despite being my 2nd run, icy and dark. Looks like I could potentially break one hour on this route, which would be a cool goal.

1/10, Saturday - AM: Eldora Ski - 4:35, 16,300' - PM: Streets, 4 miles, 150', 0:32
Skiing conditions were quite icy, but it was a warm day to enjoy. Got home and put in some easy miles.

Week Totals:
Miles: 28
Vertical: 9,940
Time: 4:47

Vert: 56,682
Time: 15:37

Summits: 11
Flagstaff: 1
Green: 5
Bear: 2
South Boulder: 2
Sanitas: 1