Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week Summary: Feb 20 - 26

Mon-AM: 1:16, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Up 1st Saddle, down 3rd access. Ran into Scott, Jenny and Walter on the summit (or rather they ran into me as I was sitting up there), so I spent almost a half an hour on top. Was pleasantly surprised to find decent snow conditions on the lightly-traveled descent that made for minimal frustration. All hiking.
PM: 0:16, Streets
Did a little test jog on the Tight-ish and twingy, so wasn't super encouraged.

Tue-AM: 1:15, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Up and down 1st Saddle.  Some pretty significant drifted windpack on sections of the trail. All hiking. Also, acupuncture.

Wed-AM: 1:22, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Up ASG-ish, down 1st Saddle. Horrible punchy, slippery windpack due to nearly 90mph gusts with lots of sand-blasting of exposed skin with ice crystals, courtesy of said wind gusts. Tough morning on the mountain for sure. Tossed in a minute or two of shuffle-running here and there on the descent. Shin responded not completely unfavorably.

Thu-AM: 1:17, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Up and down 1st Saddle. Crazy conditions on the trail. Deep slush down low, postholed slush up high, all covered in an inch or so of new snow. Dead calm, though. Like yesterday, 95% hiking with a few steps here and there on the descent of running-like motions.

Fri-AM: 1:01, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Up and down 1st Saddle. Hiked the up but ran the entire descent (17min from the summitpost to the bottom of Amphitheater).  This was enormously encouraging, and a lot of fun. Walking downhill sucks. Got some acupuncture afterwards.

Sat-AM: 1:18, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Up and down 1st Saddle. Ran from my doorstep, hiked the climb, and then ran from the top all the way back to my front door, so, ~40min of running, but split up. Shin seemed to get better as the run went on. Was very proud of myself for exercising some restraint on this gorgeous 60F day and not getting out for an afternoon ascent. Even though I would've (obviously) limited myself to just hiking, I'm trying to be smart.

Sun-AM: 1:19, 2800' ~ Green Mt.+barefoot
Up and down 1st Saddle. Really great outing. Shin felt even better today. This run was an exact repeat of yesterday except that I snuck in some small bits of running here and there on the uphill and then did 8min of barefootin' around the cemetery on the way home. It's been over a year since I've done any barefoot running and it was pretty glorious to free the toes once again, even if it was on frozen, lumpy, dead grass. I feel like the very specific strengthening that this activity offers is something that has been missing from my shin rehab, but this is the first time that confidence in my shin and (relatively) appropriate weather conditions have coincided since I broke my leg last summer.

My trip up and down the hill today was notable in that, for some reason, my legs were working particularly well.  I didn't feel like I had exceptional power, but for the same usual effort I was minutes faster than what has been normal, even though I felt like I was going the same pace.  A big part of that was that this morning's trail conditions were fairly tacky and fast after yesterday's warm temps (trail conditions were terrible most of the week because of the wind).  At any rate, I managed a 32:25 ascent (to the tippy top) paired with a 14:32 descent (with no pause on top) for a 46:57 roundtrip from the Gregory parking lot.  I was doing a fair amount of pussy-footing on the way down because there are starting to be some semi-treacherous icy sections, so I could see shaving maybe another minute off of this with just some sharper spikes and a more focused effort.

Hours: 9h04min
Vert: 18,100'

I was sort of just going through the motions all week, feeling like my shin was in a sort of frustrating limbo between being fine while hiking but questionable while running.  As has been the case several times over the last 13 months, a little bit of running seemed to be exactly what it needed to get over the hump, though, and now I'm hoping to just maintain this running volume (no increasing) for a good chunk of time as I start adding in some evening strictly hiking sessions. At this point, I really am grateful for any amount of running I am able to do pain-free, so I'll take it.

#60 Thursday morning. Bear Peak across the canyon in the clouds.
First Flattie from the back with a fresh dusting.
La Blogotheque delivers again. The astute may recognize this as the track playing in my section of Unbreakable; I love The Walkmen. I mean, come on, that's some pretty gnarly whistling.

The Walkmen - On the Water from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Week Summary: Feb 13 - 19

Mon-AM: 1:28, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Up ASG and down 3rd Access. Microspikes felt somewhat inadequate after yesterday's monster grip from the KTS Crampons, but the trail is really in pretty much perfect condition right now. Mostly running. Incredible scene on the summit with a cloud blowing off of Green's south summit and Bear Peak sticking up through the mist into the sunshine. Truly spectacular.

Tue-AM: :39, 500' ~ Amphitheater
Could tell from the start that the shin was off, so after heading up Amphi for about a minute I turned around and walked home.

Wed- off

Thu- off

Fri-AM: 1:16, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Felt terrible. All hiking. Acupuncture afterwards. Also, had a productive meeting at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine in the afternoon. Came away feeling optimistic.

Sat-AM: 1:13, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Felt only slightly better than yesterday. Feels like my legs forgot how to operate. Shin was ok, though. Hiking.

Sun-AM: 1:08, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Shin felt good this morning. Did a very little light jogging on the way down. Like three minutes.

Hours: a few
Vert: some

This stuff is way more fun and inspiring than anything I've been doing in the mountains lately.  I recommend taking a look.

Delta Spirit - Trashcan from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Week Summary: Feb 6 - 12

Mon-AM: 1:28, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Up First Saddle, down Amphi-Saddle Rock-Greenman. After a tired and lack-luster ascent I forced an up-tempo descent of 14:37 (summitpost to Gregory pavement) despite very unconsolidated and sub-par snow conditions and tired legs.
PM: 1:32, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Same route as this morning, but didn't push the descent. First double-run in a long time, and it might not have been a good idea with all the snow creating unstable footing. Gonna take a commenter's advice and just try to consolidate some gains this week, baby the shin a bit more.

Tue-AM: 1:42, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Up First Saddle, down ASG. 3-4" of fresh powder this morning made things even more difficult and put the totals well over three feet on top of the mountain. Climbed with a pair of trekking poles, nice to take some stress off the legs.  Shin isn't entirely happy with the unstable surface that all this new snow provides. Gotta be careful.  Acupuncture with Allison.

Wed-AM: 1:30, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Up and down ASG. Stuck to the standard path this morning and while it is starting to get well-packed, drifting snow on Greenman made for continued loose and unstable footing that put some very unwanted strain on the ol' shin. Felt much better on any solid surface, so I may venture up Flagstaff Rd tomorrow while I'm waiting for the trail conditions to set-up.

Thu-AM: 1:47, 3000' ~ Green Mt.
Up Flagstaff Rd to Green West Ridge, down First Saddle. Shin felt really quite solid on the uphill road surface--the snow has obviously been some unwanted stress for it.  Much of the 1.5mi or so between the top of Flagstaff Rd and the Green summit was hiking on poorly-packed trail. Acupuncture with Allison.
PM: 1:42, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Up 3rd Access and down First Saddle. This was a wallow-session breaking trail up the mountain in snowshoes. Took longer than I'd expected (~1:05 ascent from Chautauqua), so I had to hurry on the downhill more than I wanted to so I wouldn't be late for the Unbreakable screening at the Dairy Center, which the shin didn't seem very happy about (the hurrying, that is).

Fri-AM: 1:17, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Up ASG and down First Saddle. Ended up running everything today despite being uncertain about the shin. Trail is finally setting up nicely into a mostly solid packed trench.  Descended fairly quickly with Gavin (who was doing seven laps today to celebrate his birthday) in ~16min. Super jealous; really wish my shin could handle a whole day of doing laps on Green.

Sat-AM: 1:25, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Up and down First Saddle.  Another few more inches of fresh snow this morning relegated me to a hike on the uphill, which was fine. Shin still feels frustratingly uncertain when running. Incredibly scenic morning on the mountain with inversion clouds, frost and fresh snow on all the trees, and a bluebird sky higher on the mountain. Really wish I'd brought the camera this morning.

Sun-AM: 1:18, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Up ASG down First Saddle. Shin seemed OK on the run to the trails and the Kahtoola Crampons really seemed to help a lot with a stable foot push-off when running the packed trails uphill.  The crampons' super-aggressive grip took some getting used to on the downhill, though; definitely no sliding or "floating". Another inversion day that had me in a t-shirt and gloveless on the mountain but freezing in a jacket down in town.

Hours: 11h59min
Vert: 25,200'

A weird week in that 12 hours, ~74mi and 25k' of vert hardly even felt like training.  I guess an extra 8hrs and 10-15k' of vert makes a difference.  Hopefully not inflicting those extras on my shin this past week saved me from overdoing things and I'll be able to start adding back in more consistent evening sessions on the mountain again this coming week.  This week was almost all running, though.  About two hours or so of it weren't running.  I'd still like to regain the confidence I had in the shin last weekend in L.A., and that will be my primary objective this week.  It was amazing to be able to run without worry or concern (it's something you sense almost innately in your stride), even if just for a few days.  Continued acupuncture, strengthening exercises, more stable running surfaces, and reasonable training loads will hopefully get me there.

Upper Greenman trail early in the week.
Hazy and cold down low Sunday morning.
Sunny and warm on the summit.
On repeat this week:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week Summary: Jan 30 - Feb 5

Mon-AM: 2:50, 4500' ~ Green Mt. + 3rd Flatiron
Ran to Chautauqua, stashed my pack, and went up Green via Gregory-Ranger and down the Skunk Ridge. Back at Chat, I retrieved my pack before soloing a quick lap on the Third with Buzz.  By far the crux of the route was descending the access trail from the backside of the Third--death ice. Finished up by running down to Basemar for lunch.

Tue-AM: 1:30, 2900' ~ Green Mt.
Up First Saddle and down Skunk Ridge.  Running (as every morning has been for the past week+).  Managed a snappy 32min ascent despite having pretty tired legs. Acupuncture with Allison afterwards.
PM: 2:14, 4000' ~ Green Mt. via Third Flatiron + extra lap to the Third and back to Chat
Really fun afternoon on the mountain. With the Third closing tomorrow for six months for raptor nesting, I couldn't resist one final scramble up its classic East Face. Biked to Chat and started hiking hard to the base with a rope and rock shoes in my backpack. Soloed the Third in a comfortable 26min (Dave and others can blitz this 900ft/5.2 climb in 9-10min when motivated) and then did the three-pitch rappel off the SW corner. Stashed my backpack before continuing to the summit of Green via the standard route to the NE ridge and Greenman. Hiked back down the same way to get my pack before hiking back to Chat. After I'd biked home and took my pack off I saw that the top was unzipped and that my harness, locking 'biner, and belay device had fallen out...WTF?!?!  Immediately hopped back on the bike, retraced my route to Chat with eyes peeled, and then hiked hard all the way back up to the backside of the Third looking for my harness.  Nowhere to be seen. I did tally another 1200' and 38min of hiking, though (and a little jogging). In this short time someone else must've been psyched to score Camp's sick super-lightweight harness. A really frustrating end to an otherwise stellar day.

Wed-AM: 2:14, 4400' ~ Bear & Green
Jogged up to Chat to meet Jeff before heading over on Mesa to Fern Canyon to the summit of Bear and then coming back over Green and descending the 1st/2nd Access.  Today was definitely a test of the shin and I think it passed, just barely. Each of the last three days have had longer-than-necessary efforts, definitely going to back off the next couple of days before L.A. this weekend. Put in steady efforts on both climbs--Fern is such a beast, super-sustained, perfect. This is just a perfect mountain loop that I've missed so much. Even so, possibly the highlight of the morning was finding last night's wayward harness just sitting on the bench at the Chat Ranger Cottage. Yes!
PM: 1:16, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Up behind First Arete and down First Saddle. Got a late start so needed the headlamp on the downhill. Very nice pink sunset on the summit. Hiking.

Thu-AM: 1:48, 5000' ~ 2 x Bear Peak
Biked over to Cragmoor, ran to the summit, descended Fern all the way back to Mesa, summited again, and ran back down to Cragmoor. Mesa-Summitpost: 28:48, 27:50. The second lap was down the Fern connector to Mesa (not past the Slab), which is ~1min shorter, so both laps were essentially the same (splits were the same from the double posts at the mouth to the top). I finally broke my Microspikes last night (actually wore through a link!), so was rocking super-sharp new spikes above the Nebelhorn Saddle, which was absolutely incredible on the ice luge conditions up there. 16min descents on both laps. I was feeling great and would've gone for round three but had to get to an acupuncture appointment with Allison. Probably a good thing that I didn't have the time. Stay smart.
PM: 1:11, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Up behind First Arete and down First Saddle. Another late start meant I was finishing in the dark, but my legs felt super strong. Hiking.

Fri-AM: 2:00, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Winter! Up and down First Saddle. This was one of the more difficult Green ascents of the season. It took me exactly an hour to wade my way to the top, through a fresh foot+ of powder and wind-packed waist-deep drifts on upper Greenman in the dark at 4:30am before flying to L.A. Above the NE ridge I was having a really hard time seeing anything as it was snowing so hard my headlamp beam was just reflecting snow flakes. Even at the end of the run I feel like my body hadn't woken up yet. Definitely some accumulative fatigue from the last two weeks of vert.

Sat-AM: 2:25, 5100' ~ Mt. Wilson & Mt. Harvard (L.A. Front Country)
Up and down Mt. Wilson Trail from Sierra Madre/Little Santa Anita Canyon (900' trailhead) with Dominic and Katie. Mellow climb for the first ~40min or so and then things really got fun, climbing ~2000' in the final two miles before joining the old Mt. Wilson Toll Road to the summit. Really sweet trail. TH to summit parking lot (5700') in 1:20:50 (7.5mi). Bopped up to 5440' Mt. Harvard on the way back down and then goat-footed it down the front before rejoining the trail and finding some really nice flow on the Cali carpet for a :53 descent (including the summit of Harvard). Incredibly good day for the shin. Zero pain. Also, shirtless in February.

Sun-AM: 2:26, 5800' ~ Mt. Baldy
Up and down Bear Canyon from Baldy Village (4300') with Dominic and Katie again. Started off slow and creaky, feeling yesterday's run a bit in the hip flexors and hamstrings. Just didn't have good pop or strength all day really. Eventually found a rhythm, though, and ground out this remarkably sustained, long climb. It's just a really good, direct line up the mountain; not a lot of messing around. Hit a 1:37:22 ascent from the Bear Cyn Drive/Baldy Village junction to the summit plaque (~6.4mi). Waited around for Dom, just enjoying the super clear day on the summit and then descended in :49. Again, really nicely-flowing singletrack with stunning views the whole way down. Awesome mountain. I've been really impressed with the 1010's performance this weekend, too, on mountain trails. Soaked in the frigid stream afterwards before some pretty stellar french toast at the Baldy Village Lodge.

Hours: 19h54
Vert: 39,500'

Ended the week just short of three different round numbers with ~99mi, almost 20hrs, and nearly 40k' vert.  That's a lot.  The shin really seemed to solidify itself over the weekend.  Both runs it felt really, really good.  Never noticed it.  I had a blast on two exceptional mountain ascents in the San Gabes.  They're a really scenic, steep mountain range with totally legit climbs. This weekend was by far the most fun I've had running in over a year. Really a pleasure.  This next week I'll look to maintain this volume while shifting some of my evening outings to running, hopefully (evenings were hiking-only this past week).  Even though running up big mountains shirtless in L.A. had me jonesing a bit for the simplicity of summer, I'm still really psyched to get out in the bounty of fresh now here in Boulder.

Oh yeah, January stats:
  • 65h22min 
  • 122,200' vert 
  • 301mi 
  • 39 Greens
Summit of the Third Flatiron, Monday morning. Photo: Buzz Burrell.
Bear Peak Thursday, with weather coming in.
Running up Mt. Wilson Trail Saturday with Dominic. Photo: Dominic Grossman.
Of course, I had to scout a goat route off of Mt. Harvard. Encountered a few thorns. Photo: DG.
Final ridge leading to summit of Mt. Baldy (San Antonio, 10,064'). 
Almost to the top of Mt. Baldy. Photo: DG.
Photo: DG.
Photo: DG.
Cattle Canyon and the Pacific beyond, during the Baldy descent.