If you’re lucky enough to be in the mountains, you’re lucky enough!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

on the Comeback Trail...

On Monday morning, Tammy and I headed over to the Incline for a quickie climb and subsequent descent down Barr Trail.  I met Tammy through blog world around the Greenland race time.  As it turns out, we live only a few miles from each other.  How cool is that???!!!  I still wasn't feeling really stellar on Monday (but NEVER like to miss out on potential FUN) and have been hesitant about publishing anything about our outing - not wanting to jinx myself and have a relapse - LOL - until I was positive the sinus crud was gone, which I wasn't sure about until this past Thursday.  It's all good - the crud is gone so here is a short recap:
We headed out early and had been keeping our fingers crossed for a peak of sunshine, but alas, the sunshine proved elusive.  Here we are at the top of the Incline on a cool, cloudy-foggyish morning.  Tammy just completed her first 50k trail race in May and is now preparing for the Pikes Peak Ascent in August.  I am hoping to try to keep up with her on some of her training runs on the mountain between now and then!

It was a beautiful morning in spite of the cool and clouds - quiet with an aura of mystery.  I was thankful to have strapped my windbreaker on my pack at the last minute - the breeze felt a bit brisk on the way down and the jacket made things a bit more comfy.  Tammy and I each commented how lucky we are to live in this area with an endless array of beautiful trails to explore.  We finished off the morning with an obligatory stop for a mate' tea in Manitou. YUM!  We gabbed the whole morning and got to know each other a bit better.  Tammy is neat and I will look forward to future outings with her. It was a great way to kick off the new week!

Training Day at Buffalo Creek

Our friend Tim is training for the North Fork 50 Mile race that is coming up in a few weeks.  He was wanting to get some more training out on the course, and since you don't have to twist our arms to get out on the trails at Buffalo Creek, we agreed to meet him there Saturday morning for a run.  Mind you, I have not run anything abundantly strenuous in a month and Kathleen was just coming off a heinous sinus outbreak, so we weren't sure what to expect.  We were starting at the Pine valley Ranch Open Space which is the race start area and we would get to see the remaining three trails in the Buffalo Creek area that we have never been on by bike or foot - cool.  After a very brief third of a mile warmup, the course gets right to business with an 1100' or so climb on the Buck Gulch Trail.  We then headed across the Skipper Trail and ran into several mountain bikers (we would see many on the day) as we made our way across to Strawberry Jack.  There was a group of gals on bikes and, much to Tim's horror, they commented on how colorful our outfits were!!! They were the first of several comments -  LOL.  Not again...

It was also here that a tremendous camera snafu occurred, thus leaving much of the said wardrobe documentation uncaptured.  I tried to catch a series of shots of Kathleen and Tim coming out of the forest on Skipper and inadvertently had switched the camera to video mode.  Oh well, as we continued on, it would seem all three of us were at times not having one of those blissful days on trail, where all the planets align and you run as if there were no gravity...  Not today.  So we headed down the Gashouse Gulch, one of our  favorite bike trails and looped over to Baldy.  Baldy is steep and it was starting to get really hot.  If you recall from past visits to Buffalo Creek, there have been several large fires and there are mass miles of trail that are very exposed.  Several periods of "power hiking" were in order on Baldy but by the time we rounded out the loop back to Gashouse, we knew that 4.5 miles of mostly descent awaited - and we needed it!

Captured a little video descending the Strawberry Jack Trail.  Mt. Evans is on the horizon, one of Colorado's Fourteeners and home to the highest paved road in the US.  They had a "little" event going on over there the same morning!
After the last outing with no photos of ME, Kathleen made sure to catch me coming off the descent of Strawberry Jack near the finish.  You can't tell from the photo, but I was tired of running at this point.  It was probably a good day for not having lots of photos, but it still was a very good run.  We finished just past 17 miles and 3000' of accumulated vertical.  Run profile is posted below. This was the hardest effort we have run in a month, so we were happy to survive it and still feel alive!  It was 86 degrees when we finished and we were baked.  So we hopped in the river for a cold soak and that helped us cool off and calm the muscles a bit.  Good times.  Always.
Shoes - K Asics 2150 Trail
S - LaSportiva Wildcat
T - LaSportiva Crosslite

Sunday Recovery Run
Kathleen runs past our favorite local "bar"

Legs were most definitely feeling the 17 miler from yesterday, so we did a local run today - a little more "urban" than yesterday's.  we ran the dirt paths over Flying W road and around the front of Ute Valley Park for some easier spin.
Ute Valley
Cruising the front side of Ute, taking it easy...
Kathleen with Blodgett Peak in the background

We took it easy and did a nice 8 mile run.  We slept in and by the time we got out, it was nearing 80 again.  That may seem reasonable to some of you from warmer climes, however, you must factor in the we are 6800' closer to the sun and when it gets overhead, it is relentless.  It was a good week to get back at it a bit and hopefully, start building some consistent weeks again.  Happy Trails!

Shoes - K Asics 2150
S - New Balance 905
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