Tues - Noon: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls loop.
PM: 10 miles track. First Tuesday Night Track session of the season. Big group. Workout was 1,000 open, then 2 x (1,000, 400 rest, 600, 100 rest, 300) with 400 between sets. Had pretty dead legs from the weekend and truth be told, I just don't have the turnover right now to even pretend to be able to keep up with the big boys at the track. That's something I'd like to remedy a bit after Leadville with lots of high intensity shorter reps and less weekly mileage - maybe take another shot at that sub-2:30 marathon. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Today's workout went: 3:23, 3:15, 1:56, 55, 3:21, 1:57, 53. 4 mile w-u, 1.5 mile c-d. Not even close to where I would need to be to go 2:29, but I think I can get there with focus.
Weds - Noon: 7.5 miles (1,800') easy. Straight up and down Horsetooth via Southridge - Audra. Slow and super easy. Felt a bit worked from yesterday's track session.
PM: 5 miles (1,000') easy. Falls loop. Zipped around pretty good considering the effort it took to get up Horsetooth six hours earlier.
Thurs - AM: 11 miles (1,300') easy. Bluesky, Indian Summer with Slush, Celeste, Sarah, Kyle and Al_Wesir.
PM: 10 miles (2,000') hills. Towers steady. Started out pretty easy, then upped the tempo as I made my way up the hill. Was 18:00 at Herrington (PR + 1:30), then essentially stayed on second half PR pace from there. Felt pretty knackered for most of the up and most of the down. Ho hum.
January: 330 miles (45,200')
February: 445 miles (58,500')
March: 501.5 (79,600')
April: 430 (66,800')
May: 387.5 (70,700')
Total: 2,094 miles (320,800')
Avg: 419 miles (62,525')
2012 Summits (71):
Horsetooth (7,255') (33)
Green Mountain (7,335')
7,098' (Poll Mtn range)
7,260' (Ziggy Point)
8,415' (Leila Peak)
Table Mountain (7,074')
5,773' or 'Aggie Peak'
Green Ridge (7,402')
Spruce Mountain (7,781')
Storm Mountain (9,918')
Sullivan Stump (7,778')
Lily Mountain (9,786')
Crosier Mountain (9,250') (4)
Lookout Mountain (10,626')
Longs Peak (14,259')
Mount Elbert (14,443')
Aizkorri (1,528 meters)
Aratz (1,443 meters)
Aitxuri (1,551 meters)
Fri - AM: 15.5 miles (1,100') easy. With Lucho, Rob, Amy and Nate in Leadville. Dam Road to May Queen and about a mile further on Colorado Trail, then back. This section of trail will be a suck-fest on the way back to Leadville in August. I need to run Fish Hatchery to Twin Lakes and then I think I'll be familiar with the whole course. I actually think I'm going to run those roads a few times before race day, just to pick up some landmarks to help break up the monotony of the race.
Sat - AM: 10 miles (4,400'). Whitney Peak (13,271'). Mike and I had originally planned on climbing Mount of the Holy Cross, but the seasonal closure on Tigiwon Road was still in effect, so we opted to head down from where we were camping on Homestake Road to climb Whitney Peak - an elegant 13'er with relatively easy road-side access. At approx 9,100 feet on the Homestake Road, there is a trailhead (set back and not immediately obvious) for Whitney Lake. The trail runs a little over 2.5 miles up to Whitney Lake at 11,000 feet through beautiful aspen groves and occasional meadows of wildflowers (not yet in bloom).
From the lake, the views of Whitney Peak were Colorado'fully majestic, and while the true summit could not actually be seen, the spiritual notch summit of the mountain was in plain sight and quite striking. After some debate, we decided to head up through heavy tree cover in the general direction of the southeast ridge. Approximately 800 feet of directionless bushwhacking later and we popped up above timberline with a clear line of sight for the summit. Perfect. The route was largely a class two talus field walkup, with a few spots of easy class three. The views of Mount of the Holy Cross, its lakes, tarns and especially Halo Ridge from the top of Whitney inspired major enthusiasm for future outings in the Holy Cross Wilderness.
No trip with Mike would be complete without at least some directional doubt, and indeed below treeline on the way back down we managed to get completely turned around in search of the lake, wasting a good 45 minutes slopping around in marshes, climbing deadfall and generally wondering where the hell we were before finally finding the lake and zipping back down the trail to the car. According to the summit register, we were just the second party up in 2012, which is one of the best reasons I can think of to enjoy Colorado summit views from vantage points under 14,000 feet.
|Lake Whitney, Whitney Peak to left. All pics: Mike|
|Mount of the Holy Cross southern ridgeline with peak far right.|
|Descending SE ridge, before the drop down to the picture below.|
|Descending towards treeline.|
|Whitney Peak and SE ridge to left.|
Dana dropped Mike and me off above the small town of Red Cliff on Hwy 24 from where we planned to run to Vail to meet back up with her, the kids and other friends at the Teva Mountain Games. The road up towards Shrine Pass was an absolute joy to run, so Mike and I set a good honest pace while enjoying the Holy Cross couloir views from on high. About seven miles in at a little under 11,000 feet we cut left on Lime Creek Road before hanging a right onto Bowman's Cut-off Trail in the direction of Two Elk Trail and the Vail Back Bowls. We got snarled up a bit in snow and deadfall on the north-facing slopes on Bowman's Cut-off, but were rewarded with killer views of the Gore Range from the high point of the run at around 11,700 feet. Running late again due to the snow and deadfall, I told Mike I'd meet him back in Vail before setting off with a general idea of what I needed to do to get there. After climbing one of the Vail back bowls to the Vail Mountain ridge, I made one wrong descent attempt into thick trees and snow, reascended and then ended up shooting straight down the Highline ski run at max pace. Just as I popped out, Mike emerged on the service road and we hit the remaining two or so miles together back into Vail. Good little outing.
Total: 105 miles (18,900')
It feels a little weird to be in taper mode right now given the relatively light mileage in May, but hopefully that will make me one of the more rested guys on the start line in Squaw in a couple of weeks. Ultrarunning is such an obsessive, compulsive sport that it seems to me that guys find it immensely difficult to take their feet off the accelerator when it comes to sharpening for a goal race. Not me, I relish the taper and take it seriously. The one and only goal for me in the last three weeks before a big race is to get to the start line with a fresh pair of pins.
My training hasn't been optimal this year and my racing has been just okay, but I remain confident that I can race hard in California and perform well. I know the course, I know how to get from Squaw to Auburn in one piece, and I know how to ride the highs and lows. I keep reminding myself in moments of self doubt that 100 miles is a long way to run and the shorter-distance form book goes out the proverbial window on race day. Just as it has been the last two years, the cougar is the goal, and I believe I can make that happen regardless of who else is running. My only concern is to run the best race I can, get to Auburn as quickly as humanly possible, and then start tucking into AJW's Sierra Nevadas just as soon as I can.
One more week and then the family road trips out. Fun times ahead.