Monday, July 25, 2011

Weekly Summary: July 19 - 25

7/19 - Off.  Blah.  Should've run.

7/20 - :36.xx. ~200'v.  Stagecoach.  Ran the trail down towards the lake and back.  Worked hard on all the uphills and recovered on the downs.  Good, short effort.

7/21 - Off.  Second day this week that I didn't run simply because my attitude sucked after work.  Like most people, I hate my job most days.  Unfortunately, it affects my running way too often.  Not winning!

7/22 - 2.0++ miles.  19:00.  ~150'v.  Stagecoach.

7/23 - 9 miles.  1:17.24.  2500'v.  Spring Creek Memorial Trail Run.  My second time running the Spring Creek race was just as fun as I remember it being the first time.  The newspaper reported that 180 runners showed up to run to run either the 9 miler or the 5K race.  It was another gorgeous, sunny morning and I was definitely eager to run this race again.  I had a bone to pick with the course after getting lost last year and  I was also excited to see if I could better my previous time.  The race had the same fun, trail run vibe and I was really glad to see my friends Bronwyn and Derek running this year.  There were all sorts of runners on hand.  A couple of fast guys from Ft. Collins and one from Denver (the eventual winner), joined a few of Steamboat's speedsters at the front of the pack and visitors and locals alike all lined up for this annual romp through the woods.   At the start, I went out a little hotter than I usually go and settled in behind the lead pack before watching the fast guys get smaller and then, disappear altogether.  The first mile is relatively flat (slightly uphill) but miles 2 - 4 feature two very steep, unimproved single track climbs through the aspens with several downed trees to climb over.   I kept the tempo quick, hiked the severely steep sections and was only held up by having to re-tie my shoes a couple times.  Once on the dirt road up to Buffalo Pass,  I still ran a steady pace and made it to the Dry Lake parking lot in just over 45 minutes.   I felt like I had pushed it a little hard on the ascent but I was stoked to be starting the 5 mile downhill part of the race.  I picked a fast pace and tried to just let gravity do the work as I ran my way down the course.   The trail was in great condition, tacky and fast.   Thus far, I had pretty much run the entire race by myself.  With a couple miles to go, I was caught from behind by Greg Joyce (whom I beat by 30 seconds last year!) and I could tell that he was running stronger than I.  Once we hit the wider part of the trail, I moved to the side so he could pass and I tried to hang with him to the finish.  He just had too much left and I slowly drifted further behind.  I dug down deep to finish strong and still managed a big smile on my way to the finish line.  I was the 10th runner across the line (6th, 30-39 year old) and kept my Running Series streak of top 10 finishes alive. I bettered my time on the course by 1 minute and 49 seconds but still felt like I faded too much in the end.  I'm sure that my endurance was much better last year because I had so many long runs under my belt.  This year my short distance running and focus on speed helped me keep my legs turning over fast even though I didn't have the "deep miles" lungs and legs.   Big up to Derek McClung who ran a respectable 1:28.14, getting in under his 1:30 goal just a week after riding 114 miles in the Tour de Steamboat.  Awesome job, buddy!  Bronwyn's 1:44 on this gnarly course is nothing to sneeze at either.  Next race:  Aug 6 -  Mt. Werner Classic (12 miles, 4775'v.).

7/24 - 1:10.xx.  ~400' v. Stagecoach.   Fantastic sunny run around the south shore with Katy.   The wildflowers are off the hook right now!  Katy's longest run in a while and it was just wonderful being out with her for more than a couple miles.

7/25 - 10+miles.  1:35.xx.  ~500'v.  Stagecoach.  Out and back run from the house down to the dam and then about another mile or so.  Wanted to get in a longer run in preparation for Mt. Werner in a couple weeks. 

Weekly Totals:  ~30 miles.  ~2950' vertical.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bi-Weekly Summary: July 5 – July 18

7/5 – Off.

7/6 – 7.2 miles. :57.33. ~250’v. Stagecoach. Ran down to the lake from the house and then about 1.2 miles on Elk Run Trail, which runs along the southern shore of Stagecoach Reservoir. First, you run downhill for about 2 miles along the county road. Once you hit the trail (crushed gravel and very easy to run or ride a bicycle on), the elevation levels out mostly with some small rollers.

7/7 – 3.04 miles. :33.19 ~450’v. Stagecoach. Climb/descent on Stagecoach Mtn. single track.

7/8 – Off. Awesome dinner and martinis at Cottonwood with Katy.

7/9 – 8.? Miles, 1:06.41. ~1000’v. Howelsen Hill 8 Miler. Super fun beginning to the trail running races in the Steamboat Springs Running Series. It had been raining pretty regularly for the past three days and I knew it was going to be a bit of a mudfest on the course. The Howelsen Hill 8-miler course starts at Olympian Hall at the base of Howelsen Hill and runs out toward the rodeo grounds before jumping on the trail and climbing slowly out to the Bluffs. After the first 1.5 miles, the course changes up and climbs on the Lupine Trail which is a tight, meandering single track in the scrub oak. These 2 miles of climbing up to the top of the quarry were my favorite part of the race. I was slowly catching a runner in front of me and felt strong the whole time, while maintaining a solid pace. By the time I made it up to the quarry, I had caught one more runner and was able to pass him on Eye to Eye, just as the race topped out in elevation. Once I knew it was all downhill to the finish, I picked up my pace considerably and was rocketing down the trail. The trail was moist, tacky and fast through the aspens. I was keeping a sharp eye out for orange flags on the left hand side of the trail because I didn’t want to take a wrong turn and there are many opportunities for that on Howelsen’s extensive trails system. I got to a trail 3-way and there were no flags to be seen! I stopped and ran back and forth a few hundred yards but didn’t even see a footprint in the mud. I had to laugh to myself and I waited about 30 seconds until the next runner came down the trail. We teamed up and chose the one trail that goes the most directly downhill. About a quarter mile later, I just decided to bomb down the trail and find my own way to the finish. Approaching Blackmere Drive I saw more flagging and got back on course. I was having a blast and felt so exhilarated as I crossed the finish line. I found out after the race that just about everybody lost the course at that same spot and it makes me wonder if the race director kind of did that on purpose to make it a free-for-all to the finish. (Kind of like the Dipsea Race in San Francisco.) Anyway, it was an incredibly fun run on a nice, cool, overcast Steamboat summer morning. Next race: SPRING CREEK MEMORIAL 9-MILER, July 23rd!

7/10 – Off.

7/11 – 4.41 miles. :51.02. ~750’v. Silver Creek Trail. Hard to easy effort on a soggy Silver Creek. Ran out to the Wilderness Area boundary and back. Fun, challenging terrain. The climbing in the first 1+ mile is as hard as you want it to be. I made it a little hard on myself, plus running in the wet, low brush ensured wet feet.

7/12 - Off.

7/13 - 7.94 miles.  1:09.50.  ~450 v. Stagecoach.  Up tempo trail run down to dirt road and Elk Run Trail near the dam.  Nice evening run along the lake.  A little buggy but not too bad.  A little cloudy so not too warm and just a little breezy.  Yeah.  That was a nice run.  Good up hill back home, too.

7/14 - 11.23 miles.  1:35.44, ~450 v. Stagecoach.  Stagecoach reservoir loop run.  From the house, downhill to Elk Run Trail and then around the lake to the dam.  Ran the dirt road and then trail back up to the house from there.  Long run but pushed the pace rather than taking it slow.   Warmer and sunnier than yesterday. 

7/15 - 4.92 miles, :50.14, ~200 v. Stagecoach.  Stagecoach Reservoir out and back.  Dirt trail to dirt road across the dam.  Nice easy effort to recovery from yesterday's run.

7/16 - 5.50, 1:34.51, 1500'v.  Devil's Causeway.  First time for me to go to the Causeway.  It's a good trail to run but definitely steeper than most of the other runs I do.  Plus, this one starts at an elevation of 10,250' so the air is already thin.  The initial section of the trail, runs along an open meadown (amazing wildflowers today) before ducking into the woods and beginning to climb.  There was still plenty of snow and I had to make my own way across some sizable fields of snow before the final, steep 700+' scramble to the top.  Once on top the Causeway, the vast open terrain that is the Flat Tops can be viewed in every direction and the thought of future runs through the wilderness seem limitless in possibility.  I ate a quick lunch (turkey/veggie wrap) and relaxed for about 15 minutes before resuming the run down.  The descent was incredibly fun, especially glissading down the snow fields and cruising through the forest.  Views of beautiful alpine lakes and epic mountain tops were everywhere.  From the trailhead ledger, I ran the ascent in :52 and the descent in :42.  This was an amazing run but only whetted my appetite to run more Flat Top routes. 

7/17 - ~3miles.  Boulder Creek Bike Path.  Beautiful but warm morning run along Boulder Creek with Katy.   We ran the bike path next to Canyon Blvd. toward Nederland.  Alot of people out using the path but really no surprise in Boulder.  Great to be out with my girl, even for a short run. 

7/18 - Off.

2-week Totals:  55.24 miles, ~5050 vertical feet 

Really fun and productive two weeks of running.  Felt healthy and did a variety of runs with plenty of hills, steeps, rollers, trees, shade, sun, water and views.   Looking forward to doing the Spring Creek Memorial Trail Run this coming weekend.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Weekly Summary: June 27 - July 4

6/27 - 6/29 - Off.  Took a few more days off from running to move into the new place and get settled in Stagecoach.   It wasn't easy though as I soon discovered that there are trails EVERYWHERE in the area. 

6/30 - 1.9 mile.  Roadie.

7/1 - 4.x mile, xx:xx.  ~200'v.  Short run on the gravel path down to the Fire Station near the lake with a little side trip around a single-track loop I found along the way.

7/2 - 7.03 miles, 1:34.01, ~1500'v.  First time running on the old Stagecoach Ski Area was a blast.  I'm able to hop on a single track trail just a couple hundred yards from my front door.  From there, I stayed on the single track but found a bulldozed road that meanders around the mountain.  I got to check out a couple of the abandoned ski lifts.  There seems to be a multitude of trails to explore so I'm excited to get up there more often and become more familiar with my new "backyard."  On this day, however, I was more interested in summiting, so even though I did out-and-backs on a couple trails, I mostly kept working the climbs.  I developed a terrible headache that seemed to get worse as I got over 9000'.  It forced me to turn around before I had intended but after descending a few hundred feet, I definitely felt better.  It's funny how changing altitude can still have an adverse effect on the body regardless of fitness or acclimatization. 

7/3 - 6.28 miles, 1:19.01, ~1000'v.  Silver Creek Trail.  Just a short 6 mile drive down a dirt road from my house and I'm at the Silver Creek trailhead.  This trail is a new discovery for me.  It's a long, wooded trail that crosses the Sarvis Creek Wilderness Area.   I'm not sure exactly how long this trail is end to end (I'm estimating about 12 miles).   I only ran the first 3 miles of it because I forgot my water bottle and it was a very warm day.  After the initial climb, on technical single track, the trail enters the Wilderness Area at mile 2 and follows a deep valley as the trail traverses a north facing mountain side.  Fortunately, there were many streams flowing and I was able to keep cool by dunking my head and hat a few times and taking the occasional drink.  (I figured it was better to risk the discomfort of giardia than die of dehydration.)   This is a very "runnable" trail once you get past the initial climb.  The single track is perfectly smooth and either rolls or climbs very gently, but stays pretty much around 9000+' of elevation.

7/4 - 10.05 miles, 2:06.09, 2000'v.  Morrison Divide Trail to the "Muddy Slide." Just a few miles down Forest Road 270 from Silver Creek Trail is the northern trailhead for the Morrison Divide Trail.  This awesome double track (motorized vehicles allowed) climbs through the woods (classic Colorado pines and aspens) for 5 miles up to an amazing erosion feature at 10,250' known to locals as the "Muddy Slide" or just "The Slide."  I ran the trail as an out-and-back, but the trail continues south and back down to Lynx Pass.  Again, I found this trail to also be very "runnable" and smooth, although there were a couple of downed trees, a few technical sections and, at lower altitudes, water crossings.   The first mile or so featured a chance to do both uphill and downhill running but this section of the MoDiv Trail is hallmarked by a long, steady climb/descent through the forest.

Weekly Totals:  ~30 miles, ~4700'v.

Managed to bump up the mileage and vertical feet thanks to a long weekend.  I'm super excited about living in South Routt County now and looking forward to a multitude of trail running opportunities.  Sure, the trails right here in the Stagecoach area are amazing but what really excites me is being within an hour's drive of the Flattops Wilderness Area.  I bought a topographic map of the Flattops the other day and the number of trails, the distance they cover and altitude they reach is truly EPIC.