Sunday, February 28, 2010

Benihana and I ran hills and flats for more than an hour this morning. Not sure of the exact duration of our run as I did not wear a watch and only casually glanced at the time when we left. I'm happy with the effort and pace(s) I ran. I could feel yesterday's workouts in my legs, so I started out slowly. A little over a half mile through Whistler Park before I made my first climb, a steep 80 footer up to a nice plateau where I could run a even tempo for about 3/8 mile. Repeated the flat section out and back twice, then did the uphill and downhill to complete the loop. Then, repeated the flat section 3 times and worked the hill again. Ran back down to Whistler Park and, feeling good, Benny and I continued to lightly jog around the neighborhood. We stopped on two occasions to meet and greet with some neighbors and dogs and continued moving until I was sure that I had put in at least an hour of running (by estimation).

The weather was high overcast but not too cold, about 22 degreesF when I left the house. (Yes, I do think it's a little messed up that I don't think 22 degreesF is cold anymore.) The trail conditions were packed snow, with plenty of snow and alot of ice on the roads around the neighborhood.

Another cool note: A few mornings back, Benihana and I saw two huge, bull elk in the area we run in. Saw them again this morning! This time Benny was off the leash, but to my surprise (and delight) he did not try to chase them. [Although, he was intrigued, to be sure, and disappeared from my sight a couple times to check his friends.] It's always a concern of mine, when we are trail running, and Benny sees another animal because I don't have the heart to keep him on a leash. He's a friendly dog and wants to play with everything that moves. Unfortunately, on our many runs in the mountains, this can and has meant everything from chipmunks and squirrels and birds to deer, cows, sheep, moose and bears. (I once caught him in the air, mid-stride as he took off down the trail after a bear)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

too tired to write

Just a quick note on today's shred session. Rode with JD, Becca, Justin and Kari and later teamed up with Adam Sando. The lifts I rode: Gondola, gondola, Sundown, Sunshine, Storm, Morningside, Pony and two laps on Thunderhead. Not too shabby. Rode for close to 4 hours with the tired legs to prove it. Looks like Adam and I are going to hike tomorrow, so I may not run so robustly in the morning. If at all.

just like starting over...

Left for Mad Creek trailhead this morning about 6:45am only to find the parking lot blocked off with a sign on it that read: "Voluntary Closure, Elk Migration Route, U.S. Forest Service." Shit. I had already felt like I was striking out all morning.

First, woke up not all that motivated and slightly congested. Still, I manned up, got my layers on and rounded up the dog. Then, passing the bank thermometer downtown, I got more good news. 2 degrees F. Damn. This meant it would be subzero around the Mad Creek area, known to some locals as the coldest place in Routt County. Sigh. The things we do for love, right?

Since I got shot down at MC, I drove another 1.5 miles up Elk River Road to the Red Dirt trailhead. The parking area was plowed of snow, so I pulled over and parked. Benihana and I climbed over a snowbank to get to the trailhead. I slipped on my MicroSpikes and started slowly hiking for a minute. I began a moderate jog pace up the hillside as I made mental notes about the trail condition. Although, Red Dirt and Mad Creek trailheads are close to one another, MC definitely gets more use. The climb up RD is more intimidating, while MC is a nice long, gradual ascent. Which is why I wanted to run it! To make RD even more challenging, it is not packed out by snowshoers. It's packed out by elk and deer. This means post-holing (punching through the snow deeply) and uneven footing and sections where you must break your own trail. Normally, it's challenges like this that really get me jazzed for a run. I like it when it's tough. But today, it was just tough.

I managed a solid 45 minute effort. Very intense at some points. Maximum heart rate that I monitored was 166 bpm on the ascent. Without checking the topo map, I'd say 750' vertical, maybe 4 miles in distance. My breathing was labored, at times, and had trouble finding my rhythm for most of the ascent. Even the downhill, my favorite part, was tough. The loose, deep snow had me all over the trail. I'm surprised I managed to stay on my feet the entire run!

More than anything, I'm just glad I went out and felt good enough to put in the effort. The numbers aren't impressive but I did just come off a nasty bout of illness and my body is still rebounding.

Going to go snowboarding now and stay active the rest of the afternoon. Should sleep like a baby tonight and, hopefully, go for a longer run tomorrow, probably on the bike path where I can get my legs turning over faster.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Still sick. No workout. Spent the day bent over the engine compartment of 2002 Chevy Blazer, taking off intake manifold in preparation for changing the gasket. It would have been nice to go for a run after that. Tomorrow morning's expected temperature is -9F. I doubt my throat will be able to deal with huffing and puffing subzero air, so it's safe to say a morning run is out of the question. Sigh. This cruel joke of all this is that I recently finished reading "Once a Runner" (great book) and I am so motivated to go running. Maybe tomorrow afternoon! Day by day, bub.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

easy, bub.

Tried to go snowboarding today, but after my first run down to Pony Express, I started coughing while riding the chair up. As I dropped in for my next run, I kept coughing, now uncontrollably. That was it. I couldn't even catch my breath. I was so pissed because the conditions were as good as they've been all season. Stupid cough. Left the hill, got on the bus, went to the store, got some cough medicine, went home and went to sleep.

Eight hours later, I still feel like shit. Throat itches and cough will not subside. Hating it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

away we go...

Not a very auspicous beginning to my blog about mountain running, my running has been curtailed the past week due to some tough cough and congestion. I've still been getting out, but the workouts haven't been super productive. I'll start with a little background info...

We've got your typical February weather for the Central Rockies: plenty of snow and ice and temperatures from -5F to teens in the morning, daytime temps in the 20s and 30s. The trails I've been running are snowbound and I've been running in Kahtoola MicroSpikes for traction and plenty of layering and Gore-Tex.

Going back to last Sunday, I enjoyed a beautiful early morning run where I just ran for an hour without really paying any attention to pace or effort. Just enjoyed the crisp, cold air, the sound of my footfalls and the company of my canine cohort. Felt great and spent the afternoon snowboarding deep powder in Fish Creek Canyon, a short out-of-bounds hike from Steamboat Ski Area.

Worked a full day Monday and didn't feel like running that evening. I could feel something was off Tuesday morning and by the late afternoon, I knew a cold was inevitable. I went for a 47 minute hill workout that evening and took the next two days off to let my body recover. Friday morning, did an easy half hour before work but it just got me coughing for the next couple hours, as the cold air seems to have done a number on my throat. This morning, feeling a little better, I went for a medium-hard one hour run, half on hills and half on road. Cough still persists but the legs are working well. Well enough to go snowboarding and slash some deep snow for a few hours this afternoon. Looking forward to getting everything back to normal in the next couple of days.