Saturday, August 23, 2014

8/18 to 8/23

8/18, Monday - Easy Bike, 15 miles

Actually put forth a concerted effort to not put forth effort. 

8/19, Tuesday - Longs Peak (14,255') & Mt. Lady Washington (13,281'), 15 miles, 5,700'

Hooray! Up and down the Keyhole with Andrea! Most importantly was that Andrea finally got to the summit after nearly 5 years of wanting it. We actually made pretty good time to the summit too, ~3:30ish - though Andrea was certainly fading at the finish. Given I overestimated the time we would need, I grabbed the summit of Mt. Lady Washington on the way down. The mountain itself is a bit too loose for comfort, and composed of a bunch teetering monumental rocks. The only actually commendable property of the mountain was the view of the East face of Longs from the summit (see picture). Nicked my shin while off balance but other than that it was just frustrating to have to go so slow - though I'm fine going slow if means not breaking my leg(s). Met back up with Andrea at the Chasm junction and we jogged it back down to the parking lot.
Basically a view of every feature of the East & North face of the massif.

8/20, Wednesday - High Lonesome Loop, 16 miles, 3,400', 3:17

This was a toughy after Longs. My first foray into actual "long" distance, high altitude mountain running was this loop a little over a year ago. This was Katie's last day in CO before heading back to the East for her school. Not feeling like dealing with a pack, we chugged a bunch of water before we left. I felt really good on the ascent, easily jogging up grades I normally hike. The weather started to turn a bit as we got to the Continental Divide Trail, high winds and low lying clouds. I gave Katie the windbreaker I brought since she had on only a tank-top; I was good enough in my long sleeve shirt - it was probably like 40 degrees and very windy. We made it across the divide and dropped back down to the warmer trees at King Lake. The descent was longer than I remembered and I started to fade a bit heading down, but I was determined enough to suffer through it and make it back to the car. Definitely riding the edge today in terms of going light, but I would make the same decision again. We also made pretty good time all things considered - then again, I don't think we ever stopped for more than a few seconds. I think with a bit of forethought and nutrition this could go in 2:45 for me - though I was disheartened to learn that the FKT is 2:10(!).

8/22, Friday - North Table Mountain, 7.5 miles, 1,100', 1:03

I've contemplated doing this loop for about a year now and finally checked it out; its a clean loop around a nifty mesa in Golden, CO. Really, I was just testing to see how my legs felt and I ended up feeling really good averaging 8:30's on what is a somewhat hilly loop - and finishing with a couple of 7 flats. Certainly could probably go faster, but the pep was really inspiring that I'm game for my Saturday plans.

8/23, Saturday - Pawnee-Buchanan Loop, 27 miles, 7,400', 6:37

Whew, what a day. Started from Brainard Lake and cruised the short section of road before stepping on dirt at the Mitchel Lake trailhead. I felt really good for the first two climbs, staying really consistent with all running before (obviously) power hiking the final grunt up to Buchanan Pass. The pass was completely socked in with clouds and heinously windy. I passed one girl  on the downhill towards Cascade Creek, but she caught back up when I had to stop and re-tie my shoe. Oh no, it's going to be Four Passes all over again - not. I distanced myself from her shortly after the start of the uphill to Pawnee Pass. There was one section about 3 miles past Buchanan pass where the trail was difficult to follow under a field of fallen trees that seemed to be the result of an avalanche last winter. The final climb up the wall that composes Pawnee I probably tried running three times, really just not worth it (see picture). Pawnee Pass was less cloudy but equally windy. On the descent I could tell I just didn't have the "pop" in my legs to crank the downhill with any coordination so I went reasonably casually. It started legitimately raining (rather than the cloudy mist that was present all day) for the last two miles. I finished with actually a much faster time than I expected - expecting around 8 hours. New marathon PR (by like 2 hours). Good to see some serious progress in the "long-distance-mountainous-high-altitude-marathon" category. Maybe if I don't do Longs, High Lonesome and North Table the week leading up I can go sub 6 hours - but then again, I do these things more so for fun than time (I think). It did feel easier than Four Passes & Tonahutu, but that could be fully dependent on the circumstances under which each was ran. Statistically speaking, Tonahutu should be the easiest.Whatever, it was fun/hard.

Probably the hardest part of the day was the concert 5 hours afterwards....Loooong day!
Yes, there is a trail up that wall of rock...somehow
Week Totals:
Miles: 66
Vert: 17,600
Time: 18:04

A quintessential week to end the summer (my definition of summer is when school starts - which is Monday - not September, 21). I actually moved pretty quick on High Lonesome, North Table and Pawnee-Buchanan - which is a nice change of pace from the more common plodding along.

1 comment:

  1. That is a monster week. Some serious vert in there. Congrats to Andrea for hitting the summit! Man Saturdays run looked epic, definitely a solid way to close out the summer.