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

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Chugging Along

Oops... it appears we missed the month of March.  Well, not really, but apparently we missed the urge to put up a post in the month of March :)  We are still getting out on the trails, albeit less mileage for Kathleen, but we are still out chugging along.  And it certainly helps that the weather has been unseasonably phenomenal in Colorado for this time of year.  Before we get to the weekend's activities, here are a few images from the prior month:
Group photo from a great run at Cheyenne Mtn State Park -
65 degrees on March 4!
 It has been nice enough that we have been out on the bikes too
 Since Daylight Savings Time, I have been chasing "daylight" quite a few nights post-work
Sunset on the Grandview Mesa - Palmer Park

Greenland Trail - Saturday

Now for current events, we headed out to Greenland Open Space on Saturday morning.  I have still been hitting some tempo training, and some harder trail outings, and have been thinking about taking another crack at the Greenland 25k race.  Twice previous, I have crashed and burned on lap 2 after going out over my head here.  So I have been training in an attempt to go out hot, and then hold it for both laps.  I have been encouraged by the fitness I carried over the winter months, and had a couple recent runs last weekend that had me salivating for a little redemption up north: - a first ever sub-7 pace tempo run and a 3 1/2 minute PR on the Falcon Trail at the US Air Force Academy.  So one of my goals for the day was to test the legs on Greenland and decide if I was in.  The weather forecast was for calm Saturday and WINDY Sunday - they lied.  We arrived at the parking area with some nice wind already pasting the hillsides, but there is a good chance for that on race day too, so it was put up or shut up.
Climbing the Kipps Loop switchbacks, overlooking Spruce Mountain Road - 
Kathleen in the center of the photo

Kathleen had no idea when I took the above photo that from my vantage point, I could see 2 runners on the climb below her.  Even in her post-RAI-dying-thyroid-slower state, they never caught her on the climb (or at all for that matter).  She was stoked later when I pointed it out! ;-)
Spruce Mountain from Kipps

Lap one for the course starts out an old doubletrack road that is quite sandy.  It is a gradual climb to the base of Kipps Loop (mile 3.5), which then switchbacks to the high point on course (mile 5).  Off the back saddle of Kipps, it is mostly descent to the finish, if you are on the 8 M course.  The 25k and 50k go most of the way back to the start, before doubling back over the Greenland trail to the dirt road and repeating the Kipps Loop.  So lap 2 of the 25k (and 3 & 4 of the 50k) are slightly different than lap 1.  Both previous attempts at this race, I have cramped badly on lap 2, especially coming off the saddle on the descent, which is where you make up time from the climbs.  Saturday I guessed at the turn point (off a little) and hit it at 59:40. 
Great to see Kathleen running!

At the trail junction going back out, I waited for Kathleen coming off the hill as she was finishing the loop out to the trailhead for a nice 8.1 mile jaunt.  She was running great and enjoying the day - 75 degrees in March at Greenland is pretty sweet!  After seeing her off, I headed off for lap 2.  I was pushing pretty hard into the headwind heading out and I was curious to see how I would hold up.  I hoped to simulate the race to see where the fitness was at, of course always hoping for race day to show with NO STINKING WIND.  I was pretty excited to hit the saddle at the top of Kipps on round two at low 8 average pace, and dropped off the back ready to let it roll in to the finish.  Much to my surprise, the legs held out really well until the flat straight heading in to the start.  About half mile out, I had the first alarm go off for calf cramp, shortly followed by more of the same.  However, I was close enough at this point that it didn't matter.  I was short of race distance at 15.12 (race is 15.54) but my time of 2:00:25 put me at a 7:58 pace, cutting 25 seconds per mile off my best race pace there.  Sweet!  So there was only one thing left to do - drive home, log on , and enter.  (Well, that is after BBQ at Broken Bones BBQ in Monument -pulled pork and sweet potato fries - and a Starbucks stop!!!)  So I guess that means I'm in ;-)

Shoes - K Nike LunarGlide
S Saucony Peregrine

Sunday - Red Rock Canyon
 Kathleen running sweet ridgeline singletrack - Codell Trail

Today we got a late start (again) and headed over to Red Rock Canyon Open Space.  It was already mid 70's when we rolled in, so the gusty winds were actually helpful in keeping us cooled off - which is weird to mention on April 1...?   Both of us were fairly tired and had lead in the legs, so it was a day to enjoy the scenery, kick up a little dirt, and be glad to have sweet trails to run.
 Climbing the Quarry Pass Trail
 Nice view of Red Rock Canyon, and the Garden off to the north
Kathleen hits the top of Roundup Trail
 It is funny how light angles change perspective - the water looks like Gatorade from here...
... but just brown from here!  One of the old mining ponds.

We enjoyed our run today - 8 miles and we were done!  And with the carryover from yesterday, we were also quite hungry - and what better way to cure that than to hit Rudy's BBQ which is only a block away.  We could smell the smoker when we were on Codell Trail and I thought about it the whole run!!!  Smoked turkey, green chile stew, and potato salad hit the spot.

Shoes - K Brooks Pure Flow
S Brooks Pure Grit


Jill said...

Kathleen looks so cute out there in the Greenland open space; I could have easily mistaken her for a coyote though :).

So good to hear K is running and it appears running strong. Makes me smile :).

So Greenland it is! I am assuming you're doing the 25k? It's going to go well, all those wheatless calories and your new Grits and you will be flying on that course.

Looks like snow tomorrow here in the morning. HUH? Record high one day, snow the next. Gotta love Colorado!

Happy April! :)

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

K, it's great to see you out there enjoying the run and I like your running shirts! S, that's a nice pace for a 15 mile training run! Looked at the Greenland race photo gallery - they do fun, unique pics! Thinking about Rudy's peach cobbler would speed my pace up!

Johann said...

Great to see you two out on the trails. I still think you are the two most blessed trail runners out there. Kathleen is a great inspiration. Awesome about Greenland, you'll ace it this time I'm sure. All the best and keep it going!

HappyTrails said...

Jill - Make that a pink coyote! And no snow yet! And yes, Steve will be flying at Greenland this year. He is as fit as I've seen him in quite a few years.

Johann - Thank you for your kindness! I don't feel too inspirational when I am just barely shuffling along but keeping going keeps me going! :-)

Tina - I snatched up a few tops from Skirt Sports recently when they were having a half-off sale. They have some really cute prints!

Knuckledragger said...

Welcome to April, March was overated anyway :) Way to commit to Greenland with A) a really awesome "pre-race" throwdown run. And B) signing up the day before the entry fee went up. Craig

Christi said...

I love Rudys! My son used to work there and bring me stuff all the time. I haven't had any in awhile. Now I need to cure the craving you just gave me!

The weather has been awesome except for the wind. I love seeing you guys occasionally. I saw Kathleen running the other day but I always realize its you guys after I am long past ya. One of these days I will stop and say hi!

Have a great April!

ajh said...

Great pictures but no pictures of the new cats????

Happy Feet 26.2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Happy Feet 26.2 said...

thanks for the link on my blog. I like that quick workout too.

so happy that Kathleen was able to enjoy the day. oh happy day!

I'm curious about the cramping....what do you use for electrolytes?? sounds like you are ready for a super, super race. I'm excited for you!

HappyTrails said...

Craig - Now you know why Saturday was on the schedule - needed to get that entry in ;-) I am sure I'll be out there a time or two between now and race day.

Christi - interrupt us any time we're out and about!

Ginny - S-Caps are my go-to electrolytes - 1-2 per hour. There is something atmospheric in that area that gets me, as I have cramped badly on several mountain bike rides near there as well.

T Z said...

I'm stoked for you, Steve. I bet you give a few youngsters a clinic out there at Greenland. Glad to hear that K is running well too. +1 on the kitty pix.

Johann said...

I have some tough mountain challenges lined up in place of Pikes Peak. 8 Sept - 50km Mont-Aux-Sources Challenge. 22 Sept - 4 Peaks Mountain Challenge. Plus a few smaller races as well.

Alene Gone Bad said...

So glad to see you've been out running in this gorgeous weather, and Kathleen's been able to be out there too! Those trails look so nice, I want to come down and run with you!

Meg said...

Yeah! It makes me smile to see K back out on the trails and I giggled at the pink arrow! I had to really squint to see the runner!!!
It looks like spring has sprung in Colorado, enjoy!

Terzah said...

You guys really do the best runs (and you also take the best pictures of them). Steve, good luck in Greenland this year--this is the year you will nail it, I think. And Kathleen is looking fantastic. What an inspiration!

Ace said...

See you at Greenland. At least at the start. The way you're running you'll be done with your race before I'm done with the first lap! Awesome.

GZ said...

Very stoked to see the K of the HappyTrails posse out and about.

Generation X (Slomohusky) said...

The best "chugging along" pix I have ever seen. Keep kickin'! Happy Easter as well.

Kathy said...

Yay! So great to see Kathleen back out there! How is everything going??
Gorgeous pics - some windy days but we've really been spoiled lately, haven't we??

Meg said...

Just had to tell you that I laughed out loud at the "seasoned citizen" comment. WOW, I really am one of those now, aren't I?
Rock on!

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