Sunday, March 27, 2011

March 26, 2011 – Elden Up Over & Back

After completing my first full week of running in over a month, I decided to go for my first true long run.  I was a little worried about how it may go, but I had built up enough confidence over the past 7 days that I felt like I could at least get through it.

So a small group including myself, Jared Scott, & Paul Saladino decided to conqueror Mt Elden.  The route we agreed to was starting on Elden Road at the “Gate” climbing up to the Summit (~2,500ft over 5.5miles) then heading down the backside via Elden Lookout Trail (~2,500ft over 3.5miles) to the backside parking lot.. then turn around and do it again.  Total miles are about 18 and we would ascend about 5,000ft. No doubt this would test my fitness.

We got started around 1:30pm.  The idea was that it would be warmer.  Unfortunately, it was still in the 30’s and the wind had began to gust.  If it’s like that at the bottom, then you are pretty well guaranteed that it is going to ugly at the top.

As we moved up the road, we tromped our way through mud, snow, ice, and the occasional dry patch.  It felt really good to get out with some of the guys again.  As we chatted, the top quickly approached and before I knew it we were at the first tip ready to run the 1mile across to the summit. The wind was KNARLY!!.. I would love to know what the gusts measured.  If I had to guess, I would put it above 50mph.  We got to top right at 50min.

After a quick break at the top, where it was pretty darn cold, Paul decided to head back, while Jared and I went down the South Side.  The first 5minutes was pretty snowy.. several times I stepped off the trail and found myself in mid thigh level snow.  After getting through the snowy section, it was pretty smooth sailing.  We rolled the technical sections fairly well and got to the parking lot in 32min 18sec. 

After a quick fueling stop, it was time to turn around and do it in reverse…   

We kept the moderate to steady pace up Lookout Trail.  In my opinion, this trail is probably the steepest most technical “trail” in Flagstaff.  The run turns into a real muscular challenge and about midway up an aerobic one as well.  I am amazed that Jared is able to keep a consistent conversation going because my heart rate is starting to climb as we hop up the trail.

At one point, we take a quick pit stop to take in the view and “temper” the effort.  Jared has a race in Boise next weekend and this is my first hard effort in a month, so neither of us wanted to dig to deep during this run.  As such, we kept the pace very relaxed over the last mile or so.  The footing and snow helped a lot with that as well.  I think we were on pace to go well under 40min, but the last 400m we were once again post holing and trying not to slide off trail. We ended up getting to the Summit in 45min 19sec. Not bad considering the conditions and the relaxed attitude.

With the most difficult sections completed, now we just had to roll our way down
Elden Road and the day would be done.

After getting pretty much blown off the top of the mountain, we began the decent at a steady clip.  Once again, we didn’t want to dig to deep so we kept it at a conversational pace.  The running felt really easy, which was a good sign for me that I may not have lost as much fitness as I had thought.

We ended up getting back to our cars from the summit in 44min 28sec.  Our total running time was 2hrs 52min 30sec.  Not my fastest time for the route, but considering the conditions and the focus on keeping the effort moderate, I was VERY happy with the run.

For the first time since my Marathon Training in December, I am feeling like I am heading in a positive direction with my running.  Though being sidelined for the last month was painful and frustrating, maybe it was just what the doctor ordered.  I am really excited about getting back to form and the training that comes with it.  Next week will be a good test as I have several workout planned… and for the first time in a while I am really excited about it..    

Jared Scott braving the elements - gloveless & with a short-sleeve shirt

I am trying to get a little extra altitude via the towers

Paul Saladino explaining to us how cold it is at the top

The view from midway up Elden Lookout Trail

Jared Scott taking in the view.. and aHammer Gel 


  1. Are you still running Zane Grey? Looks like the competition is getting pretty stiff, would be nice to see you mix it up with them.

    Either way, good luck on your training.


  2. I just heard that Dakota Jones & Geoff Roes are flying-out which adds to what was already a deep field. Unfortunately though, I won't be racing.. I am still climbing my way back up the "fitness ladder" and I don't think I would be ready in just 2 weeks.. BUMMER!!..

    Thanks Tim.. and good luck to you too!!