On Labor Day, I ran to Morrison to pick up Julia’s car at the Park N Ride, where she’d left it prior to Grand Traverse. I enjoy point-to-point running, particularly when there’s an errand to run. I took the opportunity to explore the paths around 6th Ave and got lost for a bit in a condo complex.
In the afternoon, there was lots of smoke in the air from fires in the Pacific Northwest, visibility and air quality were poor.
Morning Run to Pine Ridge Road. I was real close to not getting out of bed, and originally intended to run up Lookout Mountain Road, but my laziness squelched the time needed to accomplish that. After the hour long run, I biked in to a doctor appointment, then to work a mile away.
Biked home from work. The best part of biking from work, is that the trip is so short and downhill that I don’t have to shower when I get home. Free time!
I was going to go to November Project, but since Julia took the week off from running and I prefer to bike to Denver for NP when I’m solo, I ended up cancelling plans for 2-hours on my bike and an hour running Clovers. Becuase of the 6AM Clover start time, I would have had to push my departure time back 15-minutes, calling for an alarm in the 4 O’Clock hour. Instead, I decided upon a leisurely run to North Table Mesa to do hill repeats on the access road, code name: The Grinder. The road is a smidge over half a mile long and pretty steep.
I thought I’d do 6 repeats, then by number 5 I was content and it was getting late so I was close to calling it quits, but gosh darn it I said, work can wait, and I did a 6th lap. I really felt stronger with each repetition. Each time, I got more comfortable with the length of climb and got my headspace dialed in.
When I began each climb, I’d say “Boing Boing”, and I’d spring up through my knees like they were two springs in sync. This seemed incredibly strange, but it actually worked. I felt bouyant and efficient as I progressed up the climb.
I biked 5-miles to PlayGldn. Sorry guys, I was a smidge late (2-mins). I hadn’t biked there before and underestimated the additional time needed for the uphill route. We ran Hard Frontz. KG is back in full running form since completing the Trans Rockies run, and he was pushing the tempo on the hill. The rest of the crew fed off of KGs energy, as we all tried to keep up. It felt great working hard. Group workouts like this disguise the effort and the camaraderie makes for great motivation to keep pushing.
After the workout, I biked from PG to work (5-miles). And then biked home from work (3.5-miles).
I ran 7.5-mile run to Pine Ridge Road, finishing up at Pangea coffee. I enjoyed a coffee date with Julia before carpooling to our offices.
Throughout the summer, it was easier to log more running miles on the trails, simply because of the trail network available on South Table Mesa. With my road running options, I have a few routes to chose from of 3, 5, or 7 miles. While I never had a problem commuting for 1h15min on the trails through the summer, it’s difficult running for more than an hour on my road commute home.
I checked out some alternative routes and found 9 and 11 mile options, if I head south towards Green Mountain before hopping on Rooney Road. I tested the 9 mile option after work today, though I won’t be repeating the route any time soon. I didn’t think of it while planning the route, but it involves running alongside 6th Ave, I-70, & C-470 for most of the early miles. While this may look fine on the map, the noise of the speeding cars and trucks on the road is less than ideal for run commuting.
I look to my run commute as a way to decompress from the work day and be enlightened by the views and serenity. While it was easy to capture this while trail running, it’s more of a challenge when confronted with street crossings and noisy vehicles.
I’m excited for the weekend, and have plotted out a route to integrate Saturday’s destination into my running plan. With intentions to run 30+ miles, chill in Boulder, cheer on Ultra Jim in his 24-hour race in Longmont, and see my parents and sister’s family – I’ll be able to knock out 30-miles in the most efficient manner possible – point to point! My goals for tomorrow 6:30/mile pace, 160 bpm, and 180 spm. It’s all math, baby!
More specifically the route travels: Ford St. – Hwy 93 – Hwy 170 – Cherryvale Rd. – Arapahoe Ave. – 75th St. – Jay Rd. – 26th/Folsom St. – Pearl St.
I really wanted to run Hwy 93, as it’s the most direct route from Golden to Boulder. I’ve biked it a few times, and wanted to see how my feet would handle the terrain. I left home at 6AM on Saturday morning, so there weren’t many vehicles on Highway 93 at that time of morning. Though, I excitedly accepted the honks from our Golden friends who were heading up to race in Eldorado State Park and run the trails at Hall Ranch.
As I ran in the shoulder against traffic, I was reminded of a conversation with Julia and MB from the night before, and how we can’t seem to schedule trail service hours into our hectic working/running/traveling schedules. Passing all sorts of litter on the road side, I was reminded that we don’t need a scheduled “excuse” to give back to our playgrounds, but rather we can be stewards any day and every day. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the wherewithal to start picking up roadside trash today, but I am motivated to start proactively sweeping the trails that keep me active.
The route was net downhill, with most of the 1,500 feet of climbing in the first half. I wanted to push the pace at altitude, with the hope that it will translate into success on the hills of the Tussey Mountainback 50-miler, which rests at 1,000-ft above sea level.
The Eldorado Springs Corner Store was a refill spot for my 1L bladder. This came 14.5 miles in, so I considered it a midway point of the day, and gladly departed the highway for the more runnable Boulder roads. At this point, I was 1h50m, about 15-minutes off where I planned to be. I wasn’t discouraged, just accepted the fact that I was running on tired legs and hoped for a boost from drink, food, or scenery over the next half.
That boost never came to heed. I enjoyed the open roads that are well traveled by cyclists. I ate some fun-size Snickers bars hoping to spark my energy. Maybe I was lacking caffeine, maybe I should have drank some Coke, maybe I should just call it a day?
Argh! I pitter-pattered along Jay Road, hovering around the Marathon distance and wondering if I should just call Julia for a ride. I ran out of water with 5-miles left and deeply considered quitting.
There was no feat of perseverance or grit happening here, I just kept moving forward. I’ve come to appreciate this phrase, attributed to the grueling mountain adventures that I’ve witnessed and participated in this summer.
I made it to the coffee shop and Julia at 31.3 miles after just shy of 4-hours of running. The frozen Gatorade that Julia had waiting for me was the most refreshing treat imaginable.
The result: G-B Anchor Legs
This run ended up being far from what I hoped or expected. My legs were worked all morning. I couldn’t even power my legs quick enough to render a 150 bpm Heart Rate. My legs were anchors, stiff from a hard week of running and climbing.
While I didn’t complete this 31-mile route nearly as strong as I would have liked, I am pleased to have gotten through a tough effort. This is just where I expected to feel, given the accumulation of heavy training, over the last 5 weeks. In an effort to encourage myself I’ll lay this out there:
- Wk 5 – 31 miles to Boulder in 4-hours.
- Wk 6 – 38 miles in Aspen in 5-hours.
- Wk 7 – Katy Trail Marathon (PR) in STL.
- Wk 8 – 12-hours running through the night w/MB at Leadville.
- Wk 9 – Stinger Trail Marathon (3rd Place).
The goal is to get all the hurt out of my system during training so that race day becomes an effortless celebration of my hard work.
Meanwhile, Ultra Jim was running his first ultra distance race by means of a 1-mile loop in a 24-hour endeavor. Julia and I zipped over to Longmont, CO to catch Jim as he had 93-miles completed and 3.5 hours remaining to reach his goal of 100-miles. Seeing Jim, his supportive family, and our friends dropping in to cheer, showed the true spirit of ultra racing and the magnitude of which an individual goal can impact those around you. Congrats on the buckle, Ultra Jim!
Finally, since we’ve barely been on the Front Range for a weekend all summer, we stopped in at my sister’s in Louisville for some family time:
My parents joined us and we (I) feasted on a takeout Thai dinner.
It’s back to R&D on my ever-lasting dream of constructing a lightweight hydration vest out of old tech-Ts. I’m feeling confident on the prototypes thus far.
Endurance Changes Time,