Monday, December 26, 2011

Week Summary: Dec 19 - 25

Mon-AM: 1:13, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Up and down 1st Saddle. Nice morning.

Tue-AM: 1:14, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Same as yesterday; all hiking, but put in a solid effort, which I haven't done for a while.

Wed-AM: 1:29, 2600' ~ Green Mt.
Up 3rd access and down 1st/2nd access.  Getting to be some super icy spots on the mountain.
PM: 1:14, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Up and down 1st Saddle. Timed it perfectly as light snowflakes chased me all the way down the mountain and shortly after I got back to my bike and returned to my apartment the snowstorm had started in earnest.

Thu-AM: 2:12, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Woke to epic amounts of snow (18-24"?).  The streets were a total mess, so I ran (!) to Baseline before slogging up and down the 1st Saddle route. Took me 1:05 to get up but an incredible morning on the mountain with snow dumping down. Running the down would've been very tough even if I'd wanted to because there was so much snow. Also ran the 9min back to the house on the streets; shin was good!

Fri-AM: 2:11, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Up 3rd access and down 1st Saddle. Ran the 14min to Chat and then wallowed my way to the summit, breaking fresh trail all the way from the base of the 2nd Flatiron to upper Greenman. Slalomed/fell/ran my way down the mountain in 19:45 before also running the 12min back home on the streets. Shin felt really good.
PM: 1:43, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Up and down 1st Saddle. Biked to Baseline with snowshoes and poles on my back, which I used for the hike up and down the mountain. Only my third time ever snowshoeing, and it was...interesting.  The Kahtoola Flightdecks actually handle impressively well, but they're a pretty small platform. Wore the snowshoes so that I wasn't at all tempted to do any running.  Gorgeous evening.

Sat-AM: 1:34, 2800' ~ Green Mt. (Descent Time Trial)
Up 1st Saddle and down Greenman-Saddlerock-Amphi.  43min worth of running.
PM: 1:32, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Up and down 1st Saddle with the snowshoes again. Was unavoidably delayed in hitting the road for Nebraska, so went for another trip up the mountain. Remarkably warm afternoon made for some very good packing conditions on much of the trail and I got the stowing/strapping/pack strategy dialed for the snowshoes and the poles so that riding a bike isn't an issue at all.  Felt way more confident and nimble with the s-shoes and poles today when compared to yesterday.

Sun-AM: :35 ~ Pastures/Hills, Nebraska
Awesome cross-country run through the hills and hollows on my family's farm.  There is zero snow at home right now, which combined with the middle-of-winter lack of vegetation (grass, brush) made for excellent conditions to strike out in whatever direction I wanted and run fell-style over the hills.  My shin seemed good for about 30min or so, but then the last 5min might have been a touch too much for it.

Hours: 13h25min
Vert: 21,000'

The Third.
Finally above the boulder field.
Back of the Third.
Avalanche (!) on the slab.
View from slab: First & Second Flatirons and Boulder.
Seated on the top: much steeper than it looks here.

And if you have a little angst (go to 1:00 on the first vid to get to the music); I can never get enough of The Walkmen but understand it can be an acquired taste:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Morning Green Descent

Got out pretty early this morning before hitting the road for what is sure to be a long day/evening of driving home to Nebraska to see my parents for Christmas.  I ran the 15min of streets to the Gregory lot and then trudged to the summit via the First Saddle route.  For some reason I wore my absolute dullest pair of Microspikes (the "spikes" are worn down to flat nubs) this morning, so I wasn't getting great purchase in the punchy and somewhat loose snow, but I was still impressed at how relatively well the trail had set up overnight, even compared to yesterday evening.  This was enough to convince me to go for a fast time on the descent via the standard frontside route of Greenman-Saddlerock-Amphitheater, inspired by Homie's antics of the past month or so.

I took off strong right from the top and it was a total kamikaze blast careening through switchbacks, leaping down drops and swinging around trees all with very little concern for catching a toe or tripping on anything; I was anaerobic pretty much the entire way down, with the unstable, soft footing definitely making me work harder than usual.  I've actually never gone all-out on a Green descent, snow conditions or not, so didn't really know what to expect, but summit post to Amphi/Baseline junction post was 14:08 with another 6 seconds to the Gregory lot pavement for a 14:14.  I would say that I was taking some pretty wild risks and was definitely out-of-control at times, but with all the deep powder everywhere it never felt that risky.  I only thought once or twice about how heinously unpleasant it would be to miscalculate a footplant, hyperextend a knee and break my leg again; the only split I dared take my eyes off the trail to glance at my watch for was an 11:32 at the Saddle Rock/Amphi junction.

Trail conditions were definitely not perfect, especially on Greenman where it's still quite loose and unconsolidated and I think just a fresh, sharp pair of Microspikes alone would've easily carried me under 14min this morning as I was definitely losing time sliding out on turns.  With a perfect packed track I think sub-13 might be possible.  I'm super bummed that I'm driving to Nebraska today and will miss the next few days of what are sure to be stellar trail conditions, but so it goes.  BRING IT, HOMIE!

A couple pics from the uphill portion of the morning:

Longs Peak.
Sunrise reflected on the NE ridge.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Week Summary: Dec 12 - 18

Mon - off

Tue-AM: 1:19, 2500' ~ Green Mt.
Up and down 1st Saddle.  Kind of a test outing.  I could feel the shin a bit hiking, but it definitely didn't make it worse.  Rather, like usual, a little activity seemed to actually make it feel a bit better.

Wed - off
LA screening of Unbreakable at Occidental College in the evening.

Thu-AM: 2:23, 4000' ~ Mt. Baldy (10,064')
Couldn't resist the chance to get into the San Gabriel Mts with Dominic, Jorge, Chris and Katie as the local tour guides. Though not my first time in the range, the Gabes are impressively steep, high and rugged, especially considering their extreme proximity to L.A.

Fri - off

Sat - off

Sun-PM: 2:08, 2600' ~ Green Mt.
Up 3rd access and down 1st/2nd access with Jocelyn. It was a remarkably warm day, so I started back to the hills a day early. We took it easy, enjoying the spectacular weather and laying down fresh tracks through slushy snow. Shin felt notably better than it typically has the past two weeks.

Hours: 5h50min
Vert: 9100'

A week of semi-random outings with the emphasis being on really just trying to take it easy on my shin.  By the end of this week I could feel discernible improvement and I think it's ready to get back out there with some consistent hiking before I tentatively dip my toes back into the waters of easy jogging. I'm determined to stay smart this time around.

Also, I have a new post over on my RT Blog.

Baldy summit with Chris and Jorge. Photo: Jorge Pacheco.
Descending from Baldy summit to Devil's Backbone with Jorge. Photo: Dominic Grossman.
The Hallway.

And here's a catchy little Christmas tune, if you give it a minute: 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Week Summary: Dec 5 - 11

Mon-AM: 1:39, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Up 1st Saddle and down ASG. Particularly crisp morning at +5F or so and with a cold cloud hanging over the mountain.  Ran to the base of Amphi, hiked to the top through some thigh-deep snow at times, and then ran all the way down and back home.  Shin was definitely a little sore this morning and it's time to back off and inject a little more rationality into the progression.  Hopefully I haven't set it back too much and I can get it to calm back down without completely taking time off from the mountain.

Tue-AM: 1:55, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Up ASG and down 1st Saddle.  Morning started out cold again at +5F or so, but warmed nicely into the 20s.  Ran to the base of Amphi, hiked up and down, and then ran home via the streets.  Shin was off-and-on, not sure what to think, but do think it's probably time to shift the balance of my activity back more towards hiking for the next few days.

Wed-AM: 1:55, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Up and down 1st Saddle. Ran to and from Baseline again with basically all hiking while on the actual trails/mountain.  All of the snow is falling off the trees now, laying down a new layer of snow on the trail.

Thu-AM: 1:43, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Up and down 1st Saddle.  Nice warm day at +30F or so with brilliant sunshine. The single summits have been giving the shin a measure of rest and it seems to be slowly improving. ~28min of actual running today (to and from the trailhead) with nice tacky trail conditions making the Microspikes work like magic on the steeps.

Fri-AM: 1:52, 2800' ~ Green Mt.
Up and down 1st Saddle.  For whatever reason, the shin felt a little twingier than usual this morning, so the running was limited to the first 15min to the base of Amphitheater.  Hiked everything else, even the streets back home.  Frustrating to not even be running downhill right now as the winter trail conditions on Green are currently at least equal to the best I've ever seen. Temperature inversion today made things chilly back down in town.

Sat- off.

Sun- off.

Hours: 9h15min
Vert: 14,000'

Overall, a frustrating week.  I'm quite disappointed with myself and my oh-so-predictable lack of discipline.  Last week I had some great momentum going with the shin's health, but I took that tiny ray of hope and unconsciously used it as an excuse to overzealously accelerate the run/hike ratio.  In hindsight, things are always so crystal clear, which only exacerbates the self-loathing.  Looking at least week's log of activity is almost painful in its ridiculousness.  I mean, 13hrs of running?!?!  What's wrong with me?

But, so it goes, and I like to hope that I have (re- re- re- re-) learned my lesson.  The days off at the end of this week weren't out of necessity--I probably could've hiked, no problem--but rather frustration and desperation.  In November I was given a promising taste of my shin's current ability to heal itself--given the opportunity--and that is the basis for my current plan: give the shin a few days to calm down completely and then hopefully be granted the opportunity to try once again to ease back into things, this time with more patience and caution.  At this point, my sanity depends on it.  I have a strong foundation of basic fitness and still plenty of time--now it's just a matter of enforcing a controlled execution in the return to running, and paying such a sentiment more than lip-service.  I just have to remember that an injury that's been giving me fits for 11 months (!?!?!) now isn't going to magically be completely back to 100% in a matter of days; and I have to treat it that way once it starts showing improvement.

Fresh coat on the Flatties.
Single-digit temps the first half of the week.
#168 on the year.
Longs Peak peeking through the clouds.
Greenman trail in winter -- packed-out trench.
Worth a listen: