Sunday, April 11, 2010

101 Days of 2010: April 5-11 Week In Review

Saturday marked the 100th day of 2010, so it is appropriate that this weekend has contained some running that has allowed me to take stock of my fitness and preparedness for racing.

On Saturday I continued my progression of the weekly long run with a rather ambitious circuit on some of Boulder's most sublime stretches of trail.  The morning started with the usual jog up through the streets to meet Jeff at the Gregory Canyon trailhead for a run up Green Mountain.  To my surprise, Brandon and Tim were along for the ride as well, with Brandon taking a liberal head start.  However, after making efficient work of Gregory Canyon, the ice on the Ranger Trail proved to be too gnarly for Tim's soles and Jeff and I continued to the top alone, slowed somewhat by the slick early-morning conditions.

At the top, Brandon, Jeff, and I took some time to chat it up, eyeball the incoming clouds, and get good and chilled.  After the 4-way junction, I was on my own; next destination: Walker Ranch.

(Saturday's route: 6h16min, 43 miles, 9000+' vertical = one big loop)

There were several good reasons to include Walker Ranch in this run.  A) It has to be one of the higher-quality trails in Boulder County (depending on one's criteria of course), B) After weeks and months of almost pure vertical in my training, it was time to get some sustained, faster-than-12min-pace running in my life, and C) On a run this long, Walker has to be visited in order to reduce the amount of repetition in the course of the route.

(The dissected terrain of Walker Ranch, as seen from the summit of South Boulder Peak.)

I joined the 7.8 mile loop at the Ethel Harrold Trailhead off of Bison Drive and turned west, headed around the curcuit in a counter-clockwise direction.  The Walker loop is defined by its "rolling" nature, but growing up in Nebraska, to call the terrain in the area merely "rolling" is euphemistic at best and probably more accurately described as cruel.  The buffed singletrack path takes one in and out of three separate drainages associated with the upper reaches of South Boulder Creek.  Each ascent/descent offers ~700' of vertical change, usually in less than a mile but all with excellently maintained tread.  This sort of profile compares favorably with the Miwok 100K course.

(Some of the pleasing sights in Walker Ranch: South Boulder Creek/Eldorado Canyon. Photo: Richard Ryer)

One hour and 27 minutes after entering Walker I stopped at the Eldorado Canyon State Park Visitor's Center for a refill on water.  I'd been running for just over three hours and 21 miles and the day's cloudy, humid conditions required rehydration.  After a quick tour through the hamlet of Eldorado Springs, another 700' climb-in-one-mile, and a traverse back across the base of the mountains on the Mesa Trail, it was time for the crux of the day's run: another ascent of Green Mountain.

Somewhere over the course of the previous four and a half hours and 6000+' of vertical, my legs had lost a little of their early morning pep.  I struggled through the dry trail in Gregory Canyon, but still managed to get to the cabin in a respectable 16:40 from the trailhead.  The sun's warming rays, however, had transformed the Ranger trail from ice into slush and my legs were not happy.  I tried--in vain--to channel the strength and power that I'd felt during last weekend's four-lap endeavor, but ultimately it was all I could do to eek out a 38:55 ascent, 25 seconds slower than the initial climb with Jeff earlier in the morning.  Down the hill, a couple miles of barefoot around Kitt, and another successful long run was in the legs.

(Those four successive 700' climbs in the middle ain't trivial, especially when bookended by my 112th and 113th 2010 ascents of Green Mt.)

This morning was one of those pleasurable days where you get more than you'd orginally bargained for.  I woke up feeling starved (not unusual the morning after a long run), but neglected to even tuck a gel into my shorts, thinking that my legs would be satisfied with nothing more than a typical ascent of Green Mountain.  Happily, the combination of the absolutely fantastic weather and the usual post-long run boost (tomorrow will be when the fatigue truly hits) was enough to convince me it was a Three Peak Day.  I certainly paid for my lack of food or water on this run (however, there was plenty of snow to eat up on South Boulder Peak), but all was made right with some Teahouse French Toast with Jocelyn and my visiting college buddy, Martin (fresh off a respectable 2:37 outing at the L.A. Marathon a few weeks ago), after the run was over.

(Three Peak Sunday: Green, Bear, and South Boulder.)

Due to the casual nature of this morning's outing, I did bring a camera, though:

(Self-portrait on Bear Peak's West Ridge Trail.)

(Glacier travel on the West Ridge.)

(Looking confused on a bluebird day on 8549' SoBo Peak.)

(Running down Shadow Canyon is often more of a controlled fall.)


(Excellent trail leaving Shadow and heading back over to the Mesa trail.)


Mon-AM: 14 miles (2:13) Green Mt., up Back/down Greenman, 2800'
Drunken sloth pace today. Getting passed by women pushing babies in strollers on the Creek Path. 42min to shuffle up the hill, and then nearly fell asleep on the summit rock. But, what else should I expect after a 60mi/16,000' vert weekend?
PM: 6 miles (:53) Creek Path+barefoot at Kitt w/ Jocelyn

Tue-AM: 15 miles (2:16) Green Mt., up Back/down Greenman, 2800'
A bit peppier this morning, but still tired and sleepy. Lots of graupel on the mountain after the early-morning storm. Finished up with 2mi of barefoot on the Kitt Fields. Knee was a bit twingy/achey towards end. That, combined with lots of class/school-work, meant it was time to be careful and take the evening off. The old me would've probably soldiered on and made things worse.

Wed-AM: 15 miles (2:08) Green Mt., up Back/down Greenman, 2800'
Felt good this morning. Rest finally kicked in. 39:30 up the hill but that was slowed a minute+ by the 2-3" of new snow up there.
PM: 8 miles (1:02) Goose Creek+2mi barefoot at Kitt
Legs felt great, but I should've been doing homework instead.

Thu-AM: 20 miles (3:03) Green Mt. and Bear Peak+barefoot, 4500'
Awesome run; this is what happens when I decide speedwork is dumb. 35:15 up the Front of Green, but I was on PR pace without trying before I hit the postholes and snow on the Greenman trail. West Ridge of Bear had seen only one other runner since it snowed yesterday, but it was never too bad until the last 10min through the rocks. Descended Shadow instead of Fern because I was worried about traction. 2mi barefoot at end. Watch said 4700+' climbing, but I only count 4000' with the big climbs...not sure if I want to start counting the 100-300' rollers on the Mesa trail as legit vertical...they certainly sting enough.
PM: 8 miles (1:00) South Boulder Creek+1mi barefoot
Nice jaunt with Jocelyn, Alex, and the Mold-sauce.

Fri-AM: 15 miles (2:14) Green Mt., 2800'
Up Back down W. Ridge-Flag Rd-Gregory. Ran easy with Moldy, but of course his shoes were slipping everywhere on Ranger so we bailed onto the road. Great to catch up and chat with him.

Sat-AM: 43 miles (6:16) Green-Walker-Eldo-Mesa-Green, 9000'
Had to run to the grocery store afterwards for some Nutella so I could refuel.

Sun-AM: 20 miles (3:04) Green-Bear-SoBo Loop, 5000'
Up Back of Green in 38:15; 24:10 for West Ridge of Bear.
PM: 6 miles (:51) Creek Path with Jocelyn and Martin

-Miles: 170
-Hours: 25h 00min
-Vertical: 29,700'
2010 Summits (Day 101)
-Green: 114
-Bear: 4
-SoBo: 1


Anonymous said...

Is that the route the pioneers took when they decided to turn around and settle Boulder because the ascent was too much? sheeze, nice job!

Stuart Swineford said...

Solid run! What do you use to map your data?


Kevin said...

That's a decent week of mileage, time and elevation for most people. Looks cool.

R. Logan Brooks said...

You always inspire. What a gift.

Aaron said...

That's simply freaking amazing in my humble opinion. I dream of the day I have the ability to run that entire loop without injuring myself. At this point I have to content myself with 8-12 mile portions of it. What a GORGEOUS day that must have been out there on that trail. I love those trails. Thanks for sharing.

sonja said...

Congrats! That had to feel good!

Brett said...

Tony, do you think you have a shot at the SJS50 course record (7:59:XX)? This training run was 1 hour 44 minutes faster, with 7 fewer miles, 3,500 feet less elevation gain, and at a slightly lower overall altitude.

I bet Matt would tell you it wasn't his best day when he set the record, and didn't the Skaggs brothers do the 2nd fastest time (8:45:XX) essentially doing it as a hard training run together?

Anton said...

I just use MapMyRun afterwards to get a visual representation of the route and profile--I don't use a GPS. As a result, the distance is probably a bit underestimated.

As far as I can tell (having only run short portions of the course) Matt's SJS50 CR is ridiculous. You underestimate the effect of altitude on overall pace. Thirteen miles straight in the middle of that race you're above 12K' running along the Continental Divide. With his VO2 Max, this kind of stuff is Matt's bread and butter. It is SO HARD to run fast at that altitude; any slight little incline slashes your pace drastically. Also, altitude drastically slows one's pace on those big 4000' climbs in that race. So, the run I did yesterday is impossible to compare with Matt's CR at San Juan.

Kyle and Erik have, I think, the 4th and 5th fastest times at 8:58. They were relatively casual that day, as you have to be when you run the entire race with another person (double the bad patches, double the stops, etc.), but were definitely racing. It was Erik's first 50 miler, though, for what that's worth. Mackey has run 8:44 and I think Nate McDowell has gone 8:49 or 50.


Unknown said...

The other factor for SJS is the snow. Kyle and Erik's time was crippled by a huge amount of snow on the course that year. All the elements have to be in your favor to crack 8 but doable in my opinion for you. If you can take down an Uli record then why not a Matt?

BUT I don't think your running SJS Tony, are you? I see your name but something tells me after Miwok you may be in Cali on SJS weekend prepping for something else...

Was out in Boulder yesterday with Josh B. and Nick C. Were hoping to see you and tag along but knew you were going longer... we coulda used a tour guide with all those damned trail junctions up there.

Anonymous said...

Nice run Tony, I was thinking about you as I did 3 laps of Green mtn. The first lap without Microspikes, that was a mistake with all the transformed snow/ice. Just wondering why you didn't complete the loop by going up Bear Canyon-Green Bear (instead of going all the way back to Chautauqua)?
Also, I think I saw Fast Ed and his group stopped at the base of Amphitheater when I was finishing my 2nd lap.

Barry Bliss said...

Good job, bro.

Anton said...

You gotta drop me a line or something. It woulda been fun to run with you guys.

I went all the way back to Chat because I wanted the full ascent of Green. Nice big 2500' climb instead of the more gradual approach of Bear Canyon. Nice work on 3 laps! That's a tough one.

Jeff Valliere said...

I like the 1st video on SoBo. Wha wait, where am I? This ain't Green Mountain....?!?

I was regretting not joining for more of the run, but I am in taper mode, not to mention the skating rink trail had me feeling a bit reserved. Nice one!

GZ said...

Yeah - that is a big big run. Damn. Well done.

So, I think I recall, that as you were closing out 09, you had a bunch of Green summits in those closing days of Dec. I could go back and check, but I am too lazy. I am guessing you are at something like 140 Green summits in the last 120 days?

I am a bit blown away by how little you appear to carry. I get the water thing, since you can get away with that up there now this time of the year ... but that is a long time with a lot of effort without fuel.

Brandon Fuller said...

If you two ladies would have stopped gabbing the whole way up Green, you may have caught me.

Anton said...

I just went back and looked and from Nov 22nd to Dec 31, 2009 I went up Green 21 times, with a week of that spent at home in Nebraska. So, after this morning, 136 summits in the last 143 days. As for fuel...I think my metabolism is a little different than most, plus, I'm used to bonking and don't always actively avoid it I guess. I did eat 5 gels on Saturday's 6hr run after having a single piece of bread for "breakfast" immediately before the run. I could've afforded to eat another gel on that run but was more psyched on eating another Nutella tortilla afterwards rather than a gel during.

How big of a headstart did we give you? Just kidding, dude, I'm psyched to see you tear it up at Boston in a week. sub-3 for sure. You're going to surprise yourself.


Jeff B. said...

Just thought you would like to know that you came up in conversation at a local 50K this weekend. Several of the women commented on how good you look without your shirt on. Keep the pictures coming for their sake. Good luck in Marin at MiWok! The work will pay off.

Brett said...

Yea did not mean to say Matt's CR was anything short of phenominal...but considering he accidentally fueled himself that race on curled milk (tongue in cheek) I dare say he would tell you in the right weather the time could come down more.

I'll be thrilled if I can do Mattx1.5.

Anonymous said...

Any words of encouragement for someone battling injury?

What did you do to keep your sanity and believe that you would get healthy again one day?



Anonymous said...

5 gels in 43 mountainous miles... Excuse me, I just fell out of my chair. I'd still be out at Walker Ranch crawling on bloody knees on that fueling level.

BTW, what's your schedule for getting to/back Miwok. I was thinking we could share the parking expense and ride to/from denver. I'm heading out Fri at 1220p and returning Sun at 215p.

Bill said...

I enjoy your blog and dream of running and writing half as good as you.

If you don't mind me asking... What kind of watch are you wearing to measure elevation gain/loss?

Anton said...


Thanks for following along. I wear a Highgear Axio Max, which measures altitude via barometric pressure.

Unknown said...

When it comes down to it, that is an incredible average per day (24M+) and just this past week. 4 weeks of 152,168,170,170. I will say one thing, you are consistent at best. And have stuck to the old school of thought of not increasing your mileage over 10% per week. No doubt you are ready for MiWok physically. Now to get your mind in the same frame and you will lay down a good race. Just a few more weeks of taper :). What taper!