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.

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