Sunday, April 15, 2012

Back in the Saddle

I left the steel-toes at home. The shiny ones are getting used more now.

This week was a total surprise. I expected a lackluster return to training in earnest, and this week blew me away. My leg speed isn't great, but I can blame altitude, right? I'm living alone until Samantha comes out for her internship, so I've just been bumming around, immersing myself in a town known for it's serious athletes, eccentrics, wild college kids, and outdoor enthusiasts. I've been called all of these things, so looking like less of a tourist should have been easier. In the past seven days, I surpassed my highest mileage training week and my longest training run of last Summer's Boulderian(is that a word?) adventure. Work has been sparse, but it'll pay the bills for the time being. I came to run, find out what I can live with(and without), and help people along the way. Not a whole lot of need for monties*
My first view of the mountains. Hazy airplane window at DIA.

AM - 10 miles. The plan was to be out the door by 7am. Of course, I left at 8am. Even an awesome new trail playground can't get my lazy ass out of bed. Left my place and plodded through CUs campus and up the hill to Boulder Mountain Park for some much overdue mountain running. Gregory Trailhead up the Flagstaff trail to the overlook. I think it's called the summit, but it's not pointy. I feel like summits should be all pointy and what not. Crossed the road and took Gregory Canyon down. I think more of this run was road than trail, but I don't have a car or I get a nice warmup in.

This run didn't feel as difficult as I remember. Granted, it was slow and steady and gawking at deer/vistas, but the whole thing only took an hour and fifty minutes. It's probably because it was 45 degrees instead of 95(the last time I climbed it while training for Pikes.) I really wanted to head over the the Green Mountain summit, but I don't want to bite off more than I can chew in these first weeks. I'm coming from low volume training weeks, and getting too excited could spell disaster. Perhaps tomorrow.
View from Mt. Flagstaff. Not the greatest quality with the phone,
but my camera might pull my shorts down.

PM - Rented a Boulder B-Cycle and got a workout just getting to and from work. Fell asleep early. I thought I was secure enough to ride around on a red rental bike with a huge basket on the front, but the stares were just a bit too much. Did get some wicked air off of a bridge on the Creek Path though. A search for my own temporary cruiser has begun.

AM - Call it 10 I guess. 3.5 to the Rec Center, then an interval workout with the track club. 2x3min, 3x2min, and 4x1min with rest intervals of 60-90sec. 3.5 back home. The hard intervals were 5k pace or so, which felt good. The group is full of great runners and cool folks, so I think I'll join on a longer term basis. Another great advantage is how early the morning sessions are. It could help nip my inherent laziness in the bud and keep me from sleeping in 2 days a week. I felt great running with a group. Though nobody could ever replace the comeraderie of my college friends, the guys and girls helped me get my hobbyjoggin' ass movin'. Beautiful morning for a group run with the Flatirons in the background.

Noon - 3 miles - Had a couple errands to run, and I'm too impatient to wait for a bus or walk. Bikeless and carless living will be good for training, but I may have to find a pair of shoes to reserve for situations where stank** must be minimized. Perhaps socks are in order...and longer shorts for the trips to the store. Boulder's a cool town, but not all are cool with the cheek chillers.

AM - 12 miles - Left the apartment, cut through CU campus, waved at the Frank Shorter statue, climbed some stairs near the stadium, and headed for the Gregory Canyon trailhead. Either I'm getting tired, altitude is getting to me or that trail is one tough bitch. I assume a combination...and that I'm slow. The views through the mist were as great as I remember from last Summer, but with more snow remaining on the peaks. Parts of the Ranger trail still had snow on them, which made me think of the painful ass cheek sliding that would occur if I were to lose my footing. I'm not sure if it was the extra feet of climbing, but I got tightness in my chest for the first time since my arrival. Oh well. I came out here to suck wind and train, so suck wind and train is what I shall do. No time to feel sorry for myself.

PM - 4 miles - Headed east on the Boulder Creek Path and circled around on some of the city's greenways. Also hit up the old freeride trails at the research park. The small singletrack hills could make for an interesting workout in the future. My pace was erratic, so bailed on the remaining miles of the run. I intended to use it only as recovery from the AM, so I didn't push it. Pace ranged from 6:40- 9:00.  on flat ground. My legs must have been fried.

...all I ate today was a bowl of oatmeal, a GU, and a large quarter pounder with cheese meal (Large, of course), so maybe I should get my shit diet together.

14 miles - I woke up feeling a bit tired, which is weird since I slept well for the first time since moving. Felt a bit sluggish on the plod through campus, but I remembered a few streets that would lop off the boring street miles to the mountain park. I ran a whole mile next to the same bus as it sped up and slowed down to pick people up. It was kind of fun chasing it, and it helped wake my legs up. I opted for the Flagstaff trail since the canyon was a bitch the day before. Shed my shirt once I hit the trail and started to feel a bit better. I'm not too speedy on these trails, but even at a crawl, I know I'm strengthening my legs, heart, and mind. I continued to zigzag up the trails, then reached the Flagstaff Nature Center(or whatever). I found a little trail to May's point, a large rock formation that protrudes from the pines and allows for an unobstructed view of the distant snow covered mountains. I sat on the rock cross legged for a bit, enjoying the last of an old ass stash of pre-production Expresso Love GU. The air was so cold I could see my own breath, but the run and the sunshine kept me warm as I wondered how the hell I got here, and how far I have to go.

I played around on a couple small loops on Flagstaff, then headed over to Green, where I too Greenman to Saddle Rock and back down to Chatauqua. Total elapsed run time was 2:40. I've decided to never stop my watch since I forget to restart it 9/10 times. Came home fairly exhausted and hungry.

AM  - 14 miles(estimate) - 2.5 to Chatauqua, Then met up with my long lost pal Ely (with retriever Archie in tow) for some shuffling on the mesa trail. After catching up and chatting on the Mesa, we took a hard left up into Fern Canyon. To call it running would be a stretch for me. It wasn't a full on heel-toe hike, but those rocks certainly got the better of me. Having Ely up ahead making it look easy kept me from standing around. We finished the canyon, I rambled off my list of excuses, he listened intently, and I suggested we tag the summit. Why would I want more ass beating? That's the beauty of running. It only takes seconds to let the lactic acid dissipate, then you forget just how much it hurt. Onward and upward we went, clawing at rocks and trees on the steep climb. Ely killed it on the way to the tip top, and he and Archie were waiting for me for a minute or so. We had a seat on the rocks and tucked out of the hellacious winds, gazing out over the range and plains. The return trip was much more enjoyable, as it tends to be. I've got some work to do to get my technical trail legs back under me, but I'm cool with that kind of work.

AM - 2 miles...not counting it in the total, but I did my "coach's workout" since my Saturday mornings are reserved to help some other folks exercise. Special Olympics track and field practice.  My scrounging for part time work hours has been fruitful, and my old internship supervisors have been wonderful about staffing me for great programs. I get payed(closer to "peanuts" than "cashews," but it's the best job I've ever had) to coach runners and field athletes with developmental disabilities on a beautiful track, soaking up the sun. Woe. Is. Me.

PM - 11 miles - Mountain Park again, but just did a little exploring and no summitting today. Looked around on the flatirons and royal arch trails. Maybe I'll become jaded in due time, but I liked seeing all the people in the park. As my friend Evan once told me, humans are animals too. I'm also one of the newest transplants to this growing area, so I'm the very last one who could bitch about the parks being busy(I'm sure someone moved here this week, but whatever.) Ominous thunder and clouds loomed over the mountains as I pushed my way up the trail, but it held off until I got home. Just barely.

3 miles - I've never woken up on my 6th consecutive running day without any aches or pains. I thought about taking my morning, running 20 miles, and nailing a 100mile week right off the bat. I decided not to. If I were only here a short time, or my race were in a month, I would have crammed it in, bragged about it on facebook, and taken a nap. Instead, I decided that I'd rather build off of an 80 mile week than recover from 100. The nice little cruise around town to run errands was all I needed to keep the mojo going. I went to Denver with Jen and Jayden to check out the city and see the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Great cap off to my first weekend back out West.

Now, I'll sit on my balcony and read a book

miles: 83
elevation: Garmins suck at measuring elevation, that's how much
enjoyment: quite a bit.

*monties: I just made you scroll down here for a "Madea" reference. Hellerrr!
**stank: noun. hellacious stink that, due to its atrocity deserves a modified syllable.


  1. You know the garmin has an auto pause feature that stops the watch when you aren't moving but then starts back up when you start moving again ;)

  2. I'm too slow for that! it auto pauses all the time when I'm still movin'!

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  4. I decided to move to Boulder about a month before you announced the same decision on your blog, but I'm still 5 or 6 months away from actually getting there. By the time I arrive, you'll be one of the locals complaining about us johnny-come-lately types crowding up the trails...

    Good luck on your adventure!

    p.s. Auto-pause once got me at a marathon. I thought I had managed to squeak under a nice round finishing time, but was actually 30 seconds over due to stopping to stretch a cramp (for which the watch of course paused). Doh!

    1. If I'm still around, I promise not to be a "I was here first-er!" Since it's a college town(and just the nature of the place I guess), it's got quite a transcient population. More out of state license plates than CO it seems.

  5. hey! congrats on the move! give'em hell! knock'em dead! lock'em and load'em!

    don't never use no "th's" neither,

    1. "th's" are for people with time to mess around with such 'ings!