Thursday, March 31, 2011

Towers Road

After a couple long days of meetings, I was itching for a trail run today.  A Towers Road time trial was not really on the radar until seeing Nick's post this morning and how all the FCTR are tearing up the hill lately.  This has sort of become the benchmark workout of the trail run group with biweekly races up to the towers, but also a workout that I have almost always opted to avoid.  For some reason I can climb quite well on singletrack, but going up the road just wears on me mentally and physically.  So that being said, my PR (set a couple of years ago) was somewhere north of 40 minutes.  I figured I should at least go under 40 even if I decided to wimp out on the pain level I wanted to endure today.  The plan (which worked well on a Horsetooth Rock time trial 2 weeks ago) was to go out easy and progressively up the effort as the climb progressed.  Well with the wind situation today, I ended up sprinting whenever there was a brief pause in the massive headwind and just trying to maintain upright forward motion when the winds picked back up. Easily 50mph or more wind gusts.  So it wasn't pretty, but I got up to the towers in 39:19.  I let it fly back down the hill with a nice wind-aided 22:41 descent, also a PR, which included a 5:36 mile split.  I guess I am going to have to make this a regular workout.  It's borderline "no fun" level on the workout gage indicates that is must have some benefit.

Todays run:
6.77 miles round-trip, 1684 feet climbed, GPS data here
Start/Finish at Soderberg Trailhead

The rather uninspiring finish line.

About 3.4 miles and over 1600 feet of "fun".

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Recovery Week

Recovery week I guess.  Ran just twice this week (both easy road runs) leading up to today's return to the trails.  I was sort of hoping the extra rest would have me flying over the trails today.  Not really the case.  Probably the rocky terrain of Devil's Backbone and Coyote Ridge weren't the best for the nagging PF and tweaked ankle.  Oh well, it was my best option for getting some bigger miles today and "R-E-S-T" is just a bad 4-letter word.  Still a great morning out there (actually it was dark for almost the first 3 hours).  I could have easily kept chugging away a lot longer, so at least that was a good sign.  I will just kick things back into high gear and accept the fact that my days of ever running completely pain-free are long over.

Today's run:
Coyote Ridge TH - Devil's Backbone TH - Blue Sky TH - Coyote Ridge TH
28.25 miles, 3723 feet climbed, GPS data here

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tumbling into Spring

Hobbled my way through another 5K20 workout this morning (5000 feet, 20 miles).  I like to think I know these trails in Horsetooth and Lory parks well enough that I can almost run them in the dark.  Well with the headlamp batteries fading well before any hint of morning light, I took my best tumble of 2011 down the steep wooden steps of the Horsetooth Rock Trail.  I still slogged my way for about another 4 hours and 17 miles, but I can barely walk on my right ankle now.  A great morning out there on the first day of Spring and completely dry trails.  Hopefully, I'll be able to get back at it soon (with new batteries in the headlamp).

Great seeing so many FCTR at the March Mileage Madness.  I guess I would have been better suited running in the daylight with you all yesterday.  Thanks to Alex for letting me crash your post-run BBQ on a "zero" day for me.

Today's "run"
Southridge-Audra Culver-Horsetooth Rock (with summit)-Soderberg-Spring Creek-Wathen-Westridge-Towers-Mill Creek-Arthurs Rock (with summit)-Valley-Sawmill-Loggers-Carey Springs-Towers-Herrington-Stout-Spring Creek-Horsetooth Falls

20.66 miles, 5146 feet climbed, GPS data here

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Brooks Cascadia 6

First run in these new shoes today along my regular Foothills Trail and Reservoir Ridge Loop.  I won't go into a full shoe review, but I'll just say this was the best run I have had in months.  A new PR on this training run and over 11 minutes faster than I ran it two weeks ago.  I've been battling a nagging PF the last couple of months and forgot that I can actually run fast downhill.  Just some very dull heel pain near the end that didn't slow me a bit.  It was definitely time for new shoes as my gore-tex North Face winter shoes (overkill for this "winter") were pretty well worn out at over 500 trail miles.  I've been running in Cascadias since version 2 and I would have to say that Jurek made some nice adjustments to this version, most notably a cool lacing pattern and gusseted tongue making for very nice fitting upper.  They also lightened this shoe by an ounce from the last version putting it right there with the lighter (non-minimalist) trail shoes on the market.  I'm going to try running with my orthotics in these Cascadias to relieve some pressure on the PF and see how it goes.  Seemed to work very well today. 

Shoe Review Update (12/23/2011):
Kind of late with this update, especially since the Cascadia 7 release is just over a month away, but I've done a lot of running in the Cascadia 6 and have more to say about the shoe.  I have loved the fit and feel of this shoe and its slightly lighter weight over previous versions.  I have never had the upper hold up before without wearing a hole in it somewhere over the runnable life (500-600 miles) of the shoe, but the Cascadia 6's have held up.  My only complaint with this shoe is the tread.  The new circular lug design works great when new, but wears out fast (200-300 miles).  I've run the shoe tread just about bald.  I'm glad to hear the 7's are switching back to a tread similar to earlier versions.  I'm looking forward to the Cascadia 7 in February.
Today's run
Out and back from Maxwell TH to Michuad Lane TH on Foothills Trail with a loop around Reservoir Ridge.

13.02 miles, 2348 feet climbed, GPS data here

Foothills Trail along Horsetooth Reservoir

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Daylight Savings?

Didn't realize it until I switched on my Garmin watch and saw that I was getting an hour later start than expected.  What really stunk was that I couldn't switch my headlamp off until 6:45.  So I did a short run (shorter than planned) from Coyote Ridge to Devil's Backbone and back.  Very mild, damp, and foggy which made for perfect running conditions.  I guess it is a good sign when a 4 hour run seems too short.

Todays run:
Coyote Ridge TH - Devil's Backbone TH - Coyote Ridge TH  (Indian Summer spur both ways to get as much climbing as possible)

21.01 miles with 3066 feet of climbing, GPS data here

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spring Fever on the Rock

Sunny, 60s, little to no wind.  I had to get a quick trail run in today.  The answer:  Horsetooth Rock time trial.  My last go was late December with a somewhat dissappointing 31:05, but still a PR.  It seems like every time I have tried this I am "red lining" on the 2nd mile and walking short sections that I usually run when I go easier.  So today the approach was to keep the pace borderline comfortable, no walking (except the last 0.1 miles to the top), and try to turn it on near the end, especially if sub 30 was within reach.  Today's result: 30:18.  A new PR and I definitely could have pushed harder and got the sub 30 today, but I am learning.  The slower first mile (10:40 as opposed to 10:14 last time) definitely paid dividends on the steeper singletrack later on.  It was hard to peel myself off from the summit as it was absolutely gorgeous up there today.  I finished off the run with a good steady effort around Westridge, Spring Creek, and the still completely dry Horsetooth Falls.

Today's Course:
Horsetooth Rock summit via short (2.34-2.35 mile) route (singletrack with Southridge service road shortcut near top)/Westridge/Spring Creek/Horsetooth Falls

7.69 miles, 1980 feet climbed, GPS data here

Beautiful day on the Rock!

Sub 30 next time.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Another 5K20

I didn't even make 4K vertical feet for my 31-miler last Sunday, so I picked the vertical back up this morning in Horsetooth and Lory Parks.  Over 5K vertical in a little under 22 miles (another 5K20 workout).  Some pretty significant "luge runs" made things a little cumbersome in places, but 95% of the trails are in really good shape.  I got an Arthurs Rock summit, but was short on time for Horsetooth Rock this time.  I also experimented with Honey Stinger energy chews instead of my normal GU gels.  I actually was enjoying them the entire run (Pomegranate Passion, yummy), which I could never really say for GU.  I hope these can help me fuel myself better at Black Hills than I did at Bighorn last year.

So I know of at least 6 wildlife cameras situated on the trails of Horsetooth and Lory now.  I ran by all 6 of them this morning, setting off the flashes on 3 of them as I was running by in the early morning darkness.  It makes me wonder what the researchers are doing with all their trail runner pictures and/or videos.  Maybe we could talk them into forwarding them to the FCTR group and we could have a monthly contest on who gets caught on camera the most times.  Great stuff here from the camera project at nearby Bobcat Ridge, but I am not aware of any public postings from the Horsetooth and Lory cameras.  It's pretty amazing to see the diversity of wildlife we have in these hills.

Today's run:
Horsetooth Falls/Spring Creek/Herrington/Stout/Sawmill/Valley/Overlook/Well Gulch/Timber/Westridge/Howard/Arthurs Rock (with summit)/Mill Creek/Spring Creek/Soderberg/Horsetooth Rock

21.65 miles with 5167 feet of climbing (GPS data here)

Sunrise from Well Gulch Trail.

Scramble to Arthurs Rock summit.