Running in the mountains, I've learned, is just as much about attitude as it is about altitude. This has become more apparent to me as we near the end of the SIXTH month of snow here in the Yampa Valley. I've written, on a few occasions, about the challenges of running in the snow and cold, but didn't expect it to still be relevant this late into the year. Sure, on the valley floor, I could run an ultramarathon next to the roads but the amount of snow that still remains on top of my beloved foot trails is nothing short of ludicrous.
Last year, I bagged my first running summit of Storm Peak on June 25th, while attempting a thru run to Fish Creek Falls. I was denied the thru run 3 miles after the summit, on Mountain View Trail, by snow in the trees that completely obscured the trail. The route finally opened up a couple weeks later. This year, it could be August before the route is open. Oh well, what can you do? (Run short routes, with less vertical or travel to run long routes!) There's no contesting Mother Nature. Thus, the need to keep the attitude correct. When the weather gets nasty, you still go out and grin and bear it and remember how good the run makes you feel in spite of the adversity. After all, when you are running hard, you put yourself into a state to deal with adversity regardless of what the weather is doing. Here's how I dealt with this week's challenges:
4/24 - 5.5 miles. Great, easy 2 miles with Katy followed by a couple more miles of up tempo running at 6:30 - 7:30/mile. Road run.
4/25 - 5.5 miles total, broken down into 2 miles of road, .5 mile 100' road climb , .5 mile deep snow/slush 100+' hill climb and descent, 2 mile road. Air temp: 34 degreesF. Nice and tough run between the weather and conditions which consisted of rain, sleet, snow, wind and spray off the vehicles driving down Highway 40.
4/26 - 7 miles, 1000' cumulative vert. in first 3 miles. Made it to the top of Laurel Lane (700') in 24:00 from the house (2.4 miles). More gnarly weather as winter continues through the end of April.
4/27 - Managed to get out to Mad Creek Trail just after 1 p.m. to scout it out. Ran the 2 miles (600' vert.)out to the barn with Benihana but the trail is still about 30 -40% covered in snow. It was fun though and I did a little UK-style fell running before turning around. It was awesome to be out with the dog again.
4/28 - Splitboarded at the ski area. The sun came out finally (just for one day) and I took advantage of having the day off by skinning up to the top of Pony and again up to the gondola. The ride down the lift line and then in the woods a little bit was super good, untouched spring slush. Concentration was good, too, but I got chastised by Lance at Slope Maintenance for riding through an area closed off for logging. I didn't see any closure signs so I just went for it. My mistake. Ended up hiking 7.9 miles and at least a couple thousand feet of vertical. Great cross training workout and just a beautiful day to be outside. Total time on the mountain was about 3 hours.
4/29 - Around 6 or 7 miles. Legs felt like lead from the previous day's mission.
4/30 - Went to Rangely to wheel. Too cold to run. Rest.