Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I did a training run on North Table Mountain. This mountain is an extinct volcano that was active when dinosaurs ruled the earth, or as my wife says, when I was a junior in high school!
I like to run in new and interesting places. I like to tackle trails where angels fear to tread. However, I found a trail that was so mean and nasty, I will may not go back.
It hurt going up and it hurt going down. It just plain hurt. I ran 5.1 miles at an average pace of 10.43 min/mile. Here are some photos. Is this a place where you would like to run?
When you see this sign, stay in your car and keep driving.
It is always nice to know where you are and where you are going. I actually knew neither.
I really don't think any self-respecting mountain lion would be caught dead in this place!
This is a very serious sign. The Sahara Desert looks like a tropical rain forest compared to North Table Mountain. Colorado has three seasons: snow season, mud season and fire season! One spark and this place goes up like a tinder box!
I thought this sign was hilarious! It looked to me that a guy had fallen off his bike and he was trying to catch it!
Let me translate this for you - this sign actually says, "Abandon all hope ye who enter here "
Here is the start of the trail. This is only about a 10% grade. In Colorado we have a name for such a trail - we call it "flat".
I think this is an interesting shot. The bridge is flat. This photo shows the rate of ascent. Not too bad of a grade. I am still running strongly enjoying the warm sunshine at this point.
The trail is pitching up here. Still no problemo. It was disconcerting that it looked like I was running toward a cliff.
Here it is - the killer hill. This bad boy is a 30% to 40% grade. A 30%to 40% grade means when you go forward 10 feet, you go up 3 to 4 feet. There is no way to do this without it hurting.
This hill was 2 miles long! A pair of bicyclist tried to make it up this hill. They couldn't do it. They dismounted and tried to push their bikes up the hill. They gave up. I kept running. I got to the top of the hill and ran on top of the mountain. When I started back down this hill I fried my quads because I had to put on the brakes.
My car is the last one in the parking lot. I still had a long drive to get home. When I got home I could barely walk.
I am really happy with a 10:43 min/mile pace. What is even better is that I am not seriously injured and only lost one toenail. The blood from the torn toenail only stained my sock and did not get onto my shoe. I consider that a success.
I have met my match. Thanks for reading my blog.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
I really enjoy reading the blogs of Spark runners that have done things I haven't done. I try to imagine what it would be like to run with 30,000 other runners. I think that running a race along an ocean would be fun. I like to hear about races where people push strollers or wear costumes. I wonder what it would be like to run with people that are having fun in nice sunny places.
I live in a different world. I am a born mountain trail racer.
I have raced on glare ice and in deep mud. I have had to dance over roots and rocks. I have bounded up slippery dirt stairs. I have had to push through willow bushes that stung my arms and face. I have raced in freezing temperatures and icy winds. I have crossed a finish line smeared with sweaty blood and needing a few bandages. I run races that are at 9,000+ feet of elevation over rough terrain. Most of the time there are only a handful of participants at these races.
I sometimes think my blogs about running and racing are remote, and not very accessible. I wonder if anyone reads my blogs says, “I know exactly what he is talking about.” I count on the support of my SparkFriends, even though I am an oddball runner. On my last blog “Up” I mentioned that I ran a "pokey" 11:36 min/mile pace for 3.25 miles. The fact is that 11:36 min/mile pace up a 20% grade at an elevation of 11,000 feet is actually blazing fast! It just sounds slow.
I could register for lighter races. I even know how to find these races.
Here is one that is on Sunday, April 10th.
3rd Annual Flying Pig 5K Charity Run/Walk
Fee includes tee-shirt, individual picture, AND pigs in a blanket” pancake breakfast
Even though flying pigs are cute, a race is a race. There is a starting line and a finish line separated by 3.11 miles. There are many races like this one every weekend. I keep thinking I should run a “fun” race. I just don’t want to.
I like mountain runners. These people are friendly, relaxed and usually very fit. There is an easy camaraderie before, during and after the race. The race is against the mountain and we are not competitors, we are a team.
The good news for me is that the race organizers always have a few bandages at the finish line.
Thanks for reading my blog.
Sunday, April 03, 2011
I found a good place to train for the Mount Evans Ascent - Mount Evans! I decided to scope out where the race will start. The race starts at Echo lake on Squaw Pass. Squaw Pass is plowed and I could easily drive to Echo Lake. The Mount Evans Road branches off Squaw Pass. The Mount Evans road is closed. I parked at the base of Mount Evans. To my surprise, I could see that part of the Mount Evans road was partially clear.
Mount Evans Ascent Race Course.
I did not intend to run but I had my running stuff with me. I found a cranny and changed. It was a bit cold and windy but I had two shirts with me. I layered the two shirts and wore my running shorts. I was plenty toasty.
I started from Echo Lake at 10,600 feet. I ran the mile from Echo Lake to the start of the Mount Evans road. I climbed over a snow bank and hopped the gate blocking the road. Oh my, that is a steep road. I ran until a wall of snow blocked my path. I started at 10,500 feet and ran 3.25 miles to an elevation of 11,000 feet.
This was really hard! My pace was a pokey 11:36 min/mile. Although it was windy and cold, I could feel the blazing sun baking my skin. I kept thinking of a line from the poem High Flight "Up, up the long delirious, burning blue". The good news is that I had no trace of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema.
This short little run taught me a few things:
(1) I got to start hitting the weights really hard. I found running up this road feels like a continuous leg press.
(2) I have lost 12 pounds since I starting training. I need to accelerate this weight loss. I need to drop another 30 pounds.
(3) I have to find a good place to train that is 10,000+ feet that is not covered with snow.
(4) I need to run hills and more hills.
(5) I got to get faster and faster -then faster.
(6) This is easy one - I got a hydration belt. I have been getting very thirsty on long runs.
This is a Nathan Trail Mix Titanium Belt with 10 oz Flasks
I need to get lighter, faster, stronger and improve my endurance. Did I miss anything?
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