Sunday, October 2, 2011

Week Summary: Sept 26 - Oct 2

Mon-AM: 1:25, 2500'
Green Mt. up and down Amp-Gman. Shin was more tight today than usual.  Too much running with it over the weekend. Exhausted all day after too many days in a row with little sleep.

Tue-AM: 1:20, 2500'
Green Mt. up and down Amp-Gman.  Beautiful fall morning.
PM: 1:26, 2800'
Green Mt. up 3rd with Jeff. Shin only allowed me to hike on the way down (probably much to Jeff's frustration), but our slower pace allowed Aron to catch up with us back down in the parking lot. Perfect fall evening.

Wed-AM: 2:36, 3000'
2nd Flatiron+Green Mt. Cruised up the 2nd Flattie w/ Buzz and then continued on up to the summit.
PM: 2:19, 4000'
3rd Flatiron+Green Mt. Hit the Third with Jenny and then continued on up to the summit.  Summer-like day pushing 90F.

Thu-AM: 1:31, 2800'
Green Mt. up and down Third. Got out with Scottie this morning and showed him the hiking skills I've been honing.  It's frustrating, I think I'm actually in fairly good shape right now (cardiovascularly), I just can't quite run! Awesome overcast, cool fall morning.
PM: 1:24, 2800'
Green Mt. up and down Third. Nice hard effort this evening, 40:45 from Chat. Not sure why the vert is consistently more on this route--I guess there are a couple of rollers on the route that add up?

Fri-AM: 1:50, 4000'
Green Mt.+2nd Flatiron. Went up and down the 3rd route, climbed the 2nd Flatiron then went up to behind the 1st Flatiron and down Saddle-Amp.  Ran all of the descents today, which was definitely notable. Ridiculously agonizing massage with Jeff Staron in the afternoon. I can say with certainty that I've never been in more prolonged acute pain than when Jeff works on my shin.

Sat-AM: 1:05, 2800'
Green Mt. up 3rd and down front with Jeff, Homie and Brandon. Awesome morning out with some great guys.  Ran the whole Bluebell Rd approach and then the whole way down, too. Shin seems to be moving in the right direction?
PM: 1:04, 2800'
Green Mt. up and down 3rd. Super-encouraging outing, best my shin has felt since it started acting up again. Maybe all the massage pain yesterday was worth it? Time trial type effort on the way up.

Sun-AM: 1:06, 2800'
Green Mt. up 3rd and down Gman-Amp. Shin continued to feel good, same as last night.  Ran a good bit of the approach to the 3rd and then ran all the way down. Still some twinges and favoring for sure, but hugely improved from just a couple days ago.
PM: 1:04, 2800'
Green Mt. up 3rd and down G-SR-Amp.

Hours: 18h10
Vert: 35,600'

The week started out a bit shaky after probably overdoing it on the shin last weekend, but I still got out for a lot of hiking vert.  The back end of the week has been quite good since the massage with Jeff Staron on Friday.  The shin is still superficially sore to the touch from his work, but the function is far improved.  Now is the time to just try and remain disciplined and not negate any healing with my zeal for the mountains.  This is especially tough because the absolutely stellar autumn weather continues here on the northern Front Range.  This next week will be interesting as I'll be down in Rico, CO on the west side of the San Juan mountains.  This is certainly an incredibly scenic area--part of the best in the state, in my opinion--but I'll probably be spending most of my time underground in a mine...hoping to tag some early early morning summits, though.  There look to be plenty of enticing options right from town, even if it requires charging up some interpretive fell-lines.

Longs Peak.
Upper Greenman colors.


R. Logan Brooks said...

Great news at least for a few of the outings. It has gotta be frustrating when you know how much effort you have put in to staying positive and the extreme patience you have shown to steer away from your natural urges to just run. I'm stoked for you though because it seems like a new refreshed set of legs and hopefully shins are on the horizon for ya. I would definitely continue with the massages though, if they work into the budget. Take care man.

Robbie said...

Hi Anton,
I am curious to know just what `Climbing` the Flatirons entails; is it climbing purely as in the act of gaining altitude or is it climbing graded routes? Having never been to Colorado, or any of the other States for that matter, I am interested in hearing what varied terrain you get through on your daily sabbaticals in the hills. All the best.

Ben L said...

Good to hear you're tagging some summits again. Have you still been doing the grass barefoot runs you mentioned in the FAQ or is too much for your shin?

Anton said...

Robbie - The classic routes on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Flatirons are all in the 5.0-5.6 range and ~800-1000' over several pitches. At least half of all the climbing is high 4th Class with only a few pitches on each route in that 5th Class range. So, I'm comfortable soloing the 3rd and the 2nd but not the 1st, which has a couple 5.6 pitches on its standard East face. Climbing the 1st on belay feels silly because it's so easy but I'm not currently confident enough to solo it. 1st and the 3rd both have downclimbs which I'm not currently comfortable doing, so I rap off the backs, but the 2nd is a walk-off at the top if you skip the summit Pullman Block (which I do). It's really just "scrambling" but with crazy exposure (almost 1000'), so it's a bit of a head game soloing them. I'm not a terribly good climber. At all. I have friends who scramble each of these faces in less than 10min, in running shoes (with sticky rubber), no problem. They're basically running up the rock. It's a matter of mentally dealing with the immense exposure. I'll usually hit a Flatiron and then continue on to the summit of Green via trail. Or summit Green and then do a lap on a Flatiron at the bottom.

The Flatirons contain some of the finest moderate climbing in the country and because I have technical climbing in my past I decided it was just criminal to not be getting out on super-quality rock in what is essentially the climbing center of the universe (Boulder, CO). Soloing moderate stuff is a very primal and pure way of being on the mountain and I feel a natural extension of mountain running.

Ben L - I've been sticking to the vert because I'm still hiking most of the uphills (to be nice to the shin), but will gravitate towards some flat barefoot running in the evenings again once I feel I'm getting in sufficient vert (3-5k') in just the morning run (instead of splitting up the vert btwn morning and evening). If things keep improving, it shouldn't be long.

Alex Gillespie said...

Good luck with the injury recovery. Can I ask what you will be doing down a mine?

Tory said...

Hey Tony, I have a question about race tactics as compared to your recent bout of hiking. You've said previously that, when healthy, you run EVERYTHING during training. After your more recent training block (i.e. these hikes around Chautauqua and up Green), would you be more likely to hike something like Green Mt. in a race? Just looking at your recent hiking PR (34:30) versus your running PR--30:low(?)--, it appears that there isn't really THAT much different between running and hiking, at least on the Amphitheater-Saddle Rock-Greenman route up.

Unknown said...

What kind of massage are you getting? I have achilles tendonitis that just won't go away, maybe some massage would help.
best of luck on the recovery

MV said...

Hi Tony:

So glad you are back out on the trails. I know those injuries are frustrating and I wish you a continued quick recovery. I am organizing a fat ass race in Vermont. With your blessing I would love to call it The Green Mountain Ponderous Posterior. I love the name but wanted to ask your permission since you organize the original Ponderous.

PatrickCT said...

Anton: it's great to hear about your continued recovery...Unknown with the achilles issue - you need to try Eccentric Heel drops...

mtnrunner2 said...

Great pictures, the sunset in particular.

It's really tough to keep the muscles loose, especially when you're ramping up after a hiatus. I've been spending about 20-30 minutes each day on deep tissue on the legs and just barely making progress. But it's defninitely helping.

JKjaer said...

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All the best,

mike_hinterberg said...

Curious: what will you be doing in the mines near Rico?

Scott McMurtrey said...

happy recovery hiking. those colorado colors are looking nice.

Anton said...

Mike - I'm helping out a fellow grad student with a project that is very similar to my masters thesis work (understanding mountain/mine workings hydrology through isotopes and tracer tests in order to come up with a hydrologic control solution to acid mine drainage). Until recently, most AMD sites were treated with expensive and intrusive water treatment plants. If we can understand the hydrology of the system there is usually a way to keep the water from becoming contaminated via a cheaper and less-intrusive hydrologic control. The project in Rico is interesting because while all the usual agencies are involved (EPA, USGS, Division of Reclamation and Mine Safety) BP is picking up the entire tab (instead of taxpayers) because they happen to have liability at this particular site (a whole 'nother discussion).

So, I was down there helping with the tracer injections (using both organic dyes and inorganic salts) and the subsequent extensive water sampling (ultimately, this gives us information about flow paths and water inflows and outflows). All of it was made even more challenging by the first real snow of the season!

Maila M said...

i love the last picture showing the sun rays over the darkness. it reminds me of a lot of things happening mountain shoes vast.

Anton said...

Tory - sorry I missed your question. Short answer: it depends.

Long answer: racing, to me, is all about maximizing speed while moving efficiently in the mountains. In sub-100mi races this usually means running almost everything. As long as the footing is good and it's not absurdly steep (~1200'/mile seems to be about my threshold), I'll probably run it. In 100mi races, I'll hike stuff a lot more because running those steep grades will come back to haunt me in the last 30mi (and just plain becomes nearly impossible the last 30-40mi).

Depending on speed, I think hiking is not always more efficient than running (it can be harder to hike really fast than to run slowly). What the last couple months have taught me though, is that--if the correct technique is developed--hiking fast can be very efficient, especially as the grade gets really steep.

In the future, I don't think that I'll be hiking much more than I already have been in races, but I think that I'll now be covering those hiker grades quite a bit more quickly/efficiently. And I plan/hope to be doing races that will have A LOT of hiking-type terrain (Hardrock, UTMB, Wasatch, etc.), so I guess I'll be hiking more because I hope to be racing harder courses.

The other thing that I'll take into the future (even after I become completely healthy) is continuing to consistently seek out terrain in training that requires hiking. It's an activity that, in order to be effective, needs training just like running and whereas in the recent past I would probably avoid routes that I wasn't capable of running, I've now found myself very much gravitating towards those kinds of routes not just because of my shin limiting me to a hiking stride but because steep/hiking terrain is often home to the more interesting and aesthetic lines up a mountain.

mike_hinterberg said...

Thanks for the insight about your work. My brother-in-law is a geotech engineer at Tetratech, so he tells me a bit about various remediation projects. It's not my field, but I'm always interested in the health of Colorado and the West, as well the history of corporate liability versus externalized environmental costs.