Hmmm… how do I begin? It seems as though each weekly recap begins with a “Wow, did I really do all that this week!?” This weeks activities far surpassed previous weeks endeavors. I’ve embraced a less-focused-training month in June and have enjoyed playing on more trails, while adventuring with friends and family. As reflections are typical for this USA-centric holiday weekend, I’m grateful for the magnificent landscape of this country, whose enormity can make us feel teeny-tiny amidst the plains and the hills, for my healthy and capable body that avails me to explore along the streams and toward the mountain peaks, and for the unconditional love and companionship I share with Julia through long car ride goofiness, spectacular trail runs, and coffee-infused mornings with our books.
My Aunt Lori, Uncle Kenny, Cousin Keagan, and her boyfriend Andy were vacationing in Colorado for the week from Cape Cod. Kenny is a fiend for 14ers, having cut his teeth in the Sawatch Range outside of Salida, CO last summer during our wedding weekend.
We saddled up early for a picture-perfect day of trekking to the summit of Mt. Bierstadt off of Guanella Pass in Georgetown, CO. I tried my best to not act as “tour guide” for the trip, having only a few 14ers under my belt and not being particularly keen on navigational skills. As such, I ended up leading our group astray less than a mile into the journey at the first and only stream crossing on the trail to Mt. Bierstadt. I managed to loose sight of the trail continuation on the far side of the stream crossing, as I focused on 3 hikers making the crossing a ways upstream. Three-quarters of a mile and a half-hour later, our group had bushwhacked back on course, a bit soggier than planned.
I spent most of the hike with my Aunt Lori who entered the day with strong doubts about her preparedness and ability to summit the 14,000-foot peak. I give her credit for putting in time at sea-level running hill repeats in an effort to prepare for her “vacation” hikes! Despite her best efforts the altitude got the best of her and forced her to bow out around 13,000-feet. Not too shabby! Lori turned back towards the trail head, as Kenny and I surged on to catch up with Keagan and Andy at the summit.
After summiting, we basked under the blue sky and bottomless views, many pictures were taken, snacks eaten, and we began to scramble down through the boulder field. Kenny took a moment to acknowledge a relished sense of serenity. A hundred feet below the summit, there was silence. Quiet and peaceful. Void of the chatter from fellow hikers mulling on the summit, sans noise of any kind, except for the gentle breeze flowing into your ears. This was his spot.
I’m grooving deeper into my trail commute. At first I didn’t think I could handle 10+ miles a day on trails, but I can feel my body adapting to the trail work and getting stronger to boot. Not to mention the bliss above it all…
I didn’t sleep well prior to our early wakeup call for Monday’s 14er, and I exuded symptoms of over-tiredness around the office and at home.
This is the first time in a few years that I actually had an office to bike to on Bike To Work day. Faithful readers of this blog may note that I work from home on Wednesdays, however, today I made an exception and fully commit to the BTW festivities along the road from Denver to Golden.
The day began at 5:16AM with the footsteps of MB outside our backdoor. Together, we basked in the crisp morning air, cycling along 32nd Avenue towards the sun rising behind Denver. We made it to November Project at Civic Center Park with time to spare. In the spirit of the cause of the day and bringing it’s awareness to others, MB kept his helmet and padded spandex on during the workout… enhancing his artistic freedom while coordinating “Bojans” and “Donkey Kicks.”
I won’t delve into all the goodies I picked up along my cycling route from Denver to NREL in Golden. Let’s just say I was well fed for the day. Great work by all the volunteers and public services that put on an exciting and fulfilling Bike To Work day each and every year in the Denver region.
Following an afternoon work lunch picnic and an A+ dentist appointment, I was back home and itching to explore. I headed out for a leisurely trail run toward Chimney Gulch. As soon as I hit the climbing portion of the trail, I turned right along a flatter path leading to the rock climbing access on the side of Mt. Zion. The trail parallels the river from above and then descends at an old railroad track marked with a ‘No Trespassing’ sign. I turned around and descended along the gravel path on Clear Creek. It was a welcome change of scenery from my South Table traverses. All systems felt good, it’s been a beautiful week of running so far.
Regarding my running training, the big-picture shows June & July as base building period, just banking miles, building up volume. Right now, I’m not worried about workouts or paces, I’m just trying to log miles, gain comfort on the trails again, and best of all enjoy the day-to-day process. I’ve changed my outlook a bit in that I’m not looking for massive amounts of vertical. Chasing vert each day doesn’t benefit the runner I hope to become. Plus living in Golden, I climb enough. Have I mentioned that there are no flat roads? I have no need to get excessive on steep stuff that wrecks my body and minimizes my recovery time. For me volume and consistency tied with playing and enjoying the process are the elements towards long term gains.
I had kind of a lackluster day with PlayGldn on the hill today, I think last weeks excitement of returning to Dino Ridge had worn off. Nonetheless, we mixed up our typical routine and made our “fastest mile” attempts. We stretched out our standard hill section from 0.7 to 1.0-miles, marking a moderate downhill mile. That extra bit past the gate was grueling. A new challenge for certain, and a good test of sustaining effort.
I took an easy run with Julia along Clear Creek. I needed to clear my head about training and running, yes, while running. I get burdened by the minutia of the running world that encompasses my life. I just wanna run, progress, compete, and enjoy. Meanwhile, the social channels advertise this contrived running lifestyle complete with life quotes, pace accomplishments, and thoughtless free-advertising. What is real life any more?
After clearing my consciousness, I dropped the hammer… rather the credit card, and set in stone two of my next three races. I registered for the Steamboat Stinger trail marathon held in Steamboat Springs in mid-August and the TNF50 CA, my annual 50-mile exodus in San Francisco now happening in November. Oddly enough, I’m holding off until late July to sign up for my A-Race: Tussey Mountainback 50-miler. Not that I don’t think I’ll make it to the start line, but I like to register as late as possible before the price increases, just to be on the safe side of training/fitness/health.
Time to Road Trip. Part two continues here.