Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weekly Summary: Jan 24-30 & Jan Totals

Mon-AM: 14 miles (2:20) Bear & Green, 4200'
Great run up my two favorite mountains. Fern Canyon is in excellent shape right now with great Microspike conditions above the Nebelhorn Saddle. Legs felt good the whole run.
PM: 8 miles (1:02) Kittredge Fields
Jogged to the field, did 6mi barefoot, and jogged back.  1st half with Jocelyn.

I guess Scott missed me at Outdoor Retailer last week. Both our schedules have been busy and we haven't been able to run together as much lately. Photo: Jenny Uehisa.
Tue-AM: 14 miles (2:12) Bear & Green, 4200'
Wonderful clear morning. Met Joe at the mouth of Fern (he started from Cragmoor, while I started from home) and had an excellent jaunt up the mountain. Breezy on top of Bear but there was a nice wind-shadow just barely on the east side of it. Joe turned back at the top of Green for another trip back over Bear and I ripped down the perfectly packed Greenman trail to go to class. Great run.
PM: 8 miles (1:03) Kittredge Fields
Easy 6mi of barefoot on the turf, mostly w/ Jocelyn.

Wed-AM: 14 miles (2:20) Bear & Green, 4200'
A bit tired today, so took it easy; beautiful morning.  Ran with Aaron for a bit on the Mesa trail before heading up Fern Canyon.
PM: 8 miles (1:04) Kittredge Fields
4.5mi barefoot after stopping by the store for some apples.
Some of the nasty steep terrain above the Nebelhorn Saddle on the climb to the summit of Bear Peak. This steep, luge-like trail is perfect for a sharp pair of Microspikes.
The out-of-focus nature of this shot is appropriate considering what running this kind of grade typically does to one's vision.  Terrain like this facilitates the +1700' in ~1.3mi stats on this route. 
Despite its steepness, reaching this final stretch of talus that leads to the summit post always invokes a feeling of relieved satisfaction in making it up this burly peak yet again.
Thu-AM: 14 miles (2:18) Bear & Green, 4200'
Yesterday's warm temps shrunk some of the ice/snow on the trails, almost to where spikes are becoming too much--except for the steep upper reaches of Bear Peak.  Microspikes are still great up there.  The warm weather continued this morning--Front Range winters are ideal.
PM: 8 miles (1:07) Kittredge
Was back late from a water conference in Denver, but still got in 4.5mi barefoot.

Fri-AM: 14 miles (2:07) Bear & Green, 4200'
Feeling jazzed by a little extra sleep and temps in the upper 60s (!) I cranked through this run feeling great.  Split a 27:05 from the Mesa to the summit of Bear which I guess, technically, is a PR, but I know I can go a good bit faster.  Afterwards, had an acupuncture session with Allison Suddard.  Need to start hitting those more consistently now that I'm training hard again.  I'm sure they'll factor into post-Rocky recovery.
PM: 8 miles (1:02) Kittredge
Easy 6mi of barefoot down at the field with Joe.

The summit of Bear Peak on a 68F January day in Boulder. The Green Mt summit is under my nose.
The shadow of Bear Peak projected into Bear Canyon, which separates it from Green Mt to the right.
One good reason to run up a peak every day is for this view of the Continental Divide.
Sat-AM: 14 miles (2:19) Bear & Green, 4200'
Started out feeling a little slow, but once I got in Fern Canyon I found a good rhythm and bopped my way to the top.  Really good energy towards the end of the run. Ran into Jeff in the Gregory lot as he was heading out for a virgin hike up Green with Isabelle.
PM: 8 miles (1:03) Kittredge
Totaled 5mi of barefoot around the fields.

Sun-AM: 14 miles (2:14) Bear & Green, 4200'
Got out with Scott and Joe for a final circuit of the local peaks before I take a week or two race-enforced reprieve from them.

-Miles: 146
-Hours: 22h 11min
-Vertical: 29,400'
  • For January, I ran 748 miles/111h 28min and climbed 119,400' vertical.  Summited Green 32 times and Bear 9 times.
These past seven days have kind of been a mostly Joe G-inspired revelation regarding the beauty and merit of the Fern Canyon trail on the northeastern slopes of Bear Peak.  Before this week, I think I'd run up Bear Peak via Fern a total of only four times, and the reason for that was my general derision at the notion of it actually being considered a "run".  The snow conditions on the route earlier in the week (before the considerable melting of the past few days) helped change that perspective in my mind (the packed, smoothed surface made maintaining a running cadence quite a bit easier, with the help of Microspikes, of course) and I'm now sold on the merit of negotiating such steep terrain on a nearly daily basis.

There are a number of reasons I think Bear Peak/Fern Canyon is worthwhile:

1) From my doorstep it allows for a ~14mi/2ish hour loop that has less than 2mi of pavement but still allows for a long, leisurely warm-up via a traverse of the Mesa Trail.  When I typically hit Green Mt first, for the past five months I have been usually contrivedly adding on a paved "warm-up loop" through the University Hill district that has generally raised my mental ire (traffic noise, cigarette-smoking college students, etc.) but allowed my legs to wake up before the climb up Gregory Canyon or Amphitheater.  Running the Bear-Green Loop has totally eliminated the need for this and my mood has noticeably brightened, mostly because dirt in the form of the McClintock Trail is a 5min jog from my door.

2) While undoubtedly steep and totally on the edge of runnable most of the way, it is runnable and makes most anything else feel easy and mellow in comparison.  For instance, the climb of Green Mt on this loop is a nice little 14min/1000'/1mi pop via the Green-Bear trail that now seems almost pleasantly trivial.  After just one week on the route I've already begun to develop different "gears" dictated by my energy levels and managed to still keep them all running.  That is, I can have an off/bad day on Fern and still run almost everything.  It's not necessarily default-hard.

3) Running down Bear's West Ridge is, for some reason, way more pleasureable than running up it, which is good because the views are spectacular.

4) I think the skill of negotiating super-steep terrain by seamlessly switching back and forth between a power-hike and uphill tap-tap trot is valuable for any mountain runner interested in taking techy, direct routes that aren't always 100% runnable.  For instance, on the Fern trail there are about three short little segments that require to briefly fall into a hike--the first little crude log "ladder", the super-sharp rock upper-body "push-up" step just above the Nebelhorn Saddle, and the 30-40yard section of plate-y talus ~5 1/2min from the summitpost.  It's a good skill for racing (where hiking steep stuff can happen a lot if one is interested in self-preservation over the course of racing 100 miles) and just general mountain bipedal travel.

5) Two summits every day (of which Bear Peak is objectively more aesthetic).  Enough said.

So, post-Rocky, I will probably continue to keep this loop in very regular rotation.  And now, just because, a little track from The Walkmen that has been dominating my mind for the past week.


Patrick Thurber said...

ah, that was such an underrated walkmen album!

John said...

I ran up Shadow Canyon to Bear summit a couple of weekends ago thinking I would go down Fern; I took one look and was afraid to descend and went back the way I came. What's the grade percent there?

David Hill said...

Nice, you kept it under 150 the week before race week. Also a post about Udo's Oil would be cool - when and how you take it, your perceived benefits of it, etc. Thanks and good luck at Rocky.

ludO) said...

In France, we have a walker too :
Thanks for what your are and good vibes at Rocky.

Reego said...

Yo, just moved to Boulder on Friday from San Diego. Ran for an hour and 37 mins in the light snow this morning. Any recommendations for the cold tomorrow in terms of staying warm? It's going to be by far the coldest weather I have run in! I'd like to keep my miles up around 90 miles a week, so not looking to take a day off. Prob going to sport a balaclava, but those are a pain cause my nose runs like crazy and it makes it difficult to spit too, and also any recommendations for keeping the hands warm? Maybe use hand warmers in my gloves? Whats the coldest weather you have run in?


Josh said...

Thanks for including some of the details on your climbs.. I finally found a 800'/1.4m climb nearby; Not nearly as fortunate as you are with respect to the number of mountains out here in VA! At what grade/steepness do you decide parts of a trail must be power-walked? Maybe around 15 percent and up?

jun said...

Stellar pics man. Looked gorgeous out. Too bad the weather turned for you. I doubt it will really change anything in regards to your workouts though. Good luck at RR100.

mtnrunner2 said...

I think Nebelhorn must be German for "That which is mistaken for Bear Peak but really means you're only halfway up Shadow Canyon, sucker".

Geoff said...

Dave and i did mesa to fern, up to bear and over to green a couple weeks ago and it was the same type of reaction: "ef yeah, this is the way to go". that was my first time "running" up fern but certainly not the last.
have fun down in texas this week and hopefully once you are good and recovered i should be back into the swing of things and we can get out a bit together.

Show you said...

Ran for an hour and 37 mins inside the lighting snow this morning. Any recommendations to the chilly tomorrow in conditions of staying warm
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