As I roll out of bed before sunrise… stumble down the stairs.. and hobble my over to my running gear, I am reminded that I have had pretty big week of running. Probably the best week of training that I have had since last November. On Monday, I ran a 10miler which included a 10x1min Fartlek on the somewhat technical & hilly Soldier Pass Trail. Wednesday, I ran a Hill Circuit at
that leaves you sore no matter what shape you are in.. Both workout went VERY well, but now I am wondering if I can pull off the elusive 3 quality workouts / runs in one week.. in a few hours I will know. Buffalo Park
Route: The route planned for the day was a very challenging one that I haven’t done in about 18months. I would start at
run to the Pipeline Trail. Then hop on the Pipeline Trail, which is quite rolling, to Forces of Nature Trail. This trail is a rocky, winding single track, which connects me to Fat Man’s Buffalo Park Loop. The footing is about the same on Fat Man’s. I would then run to Elden Lookout Trail, which takes me to the Summit of Elden. From the , I will head down Elden Road to the Gate, where I have water & gel waiting for me. At that point, I turn around.. and do it again in reverse. All in all, this run includes ~5,500 of climbing and ~5,500 of descent… and covers about 28miles. The trails range from super technical to smooth dirt road. A great mix…. and a tough day of running. Summit
I started my run around 6:40am at
. As soon as I got going, I had made the decision to run hard early and see how long I could hold on. I figure this will help prepare me for the Grand Canyon Single Crossing in May, where I hope to employ the same strategy. I figure that is my best chance at not only getting the record, but squeaking a “victory” over Jared Scott who is an animal on the S.Kaibab climb out of the Canyon. Buffalo Park
On this day, I also decided to wear an iPod. I have NEVER worn one running before, but I estimated that I would be running for 4hrs and I thought it might help keep my mind busy. In all honesty, I have always been “anti-iPod” when running, but one of my buddies Andrew Lemoncello, a 2008 Olympian wears them on some of his long runs, so I thought.. “hey, if an Olympian puts them on occasionally, why can’t I”… By the end, I had decided that I actually liked it for a change.. I won’t wear it on every run, but it will be nice to mix in occasionally.
Back to the run….
I rocked the 5miles over to Elden Summit Trail in 36:50. Now it’s time for probably the toughest part of the run.. the Elden Summit climb.. I ended up covering that portion of the run in 36:54. If not for the all the snow and ice covering the final 400m I would have been several minutes faster..
Now time to run down the road. Pushing through the Mega-Wind at the top, I cruised the downhill pretty steady and got to the gate in 37:24… and reached the half-way mark in 1:51:10. That was a lot faster than I expected to run, but since I had put so much effort into the front half, I wondered if I would be able to sustain over the second half.. only one way to find out.. get to runnin’!!
I started my way back up Elden Road and I could definitely feel a little bit of tiredness. I focused on finding a good groove.. and before I knew it, I was at the top of Elden again.. my time up the road was 48:20… not bad at all.
As I braved the snow and ice.. falling about every 3 to 4 steps… down Elden Lookout, I started thinking I should easily go under 4 hours.. maybe even under 3hr 50min.. just need to keep moving. I hit Fat Man’s
Loop from Elden Lookout in 29:21…
Now the homestretch..
As I am pushing my way over the rocking portions of Fat Man’s, I am starting to feel the accumulation of a tough day. I keep telling my self.. only 30min.. only 20min.. etc..
I am still hoping to get under 3hrs 50min as I get back of
. I can see on my watch that it’s going to be close.. with about 300m to go, I begin to really open my stride.. with 200m left, I break into 5k race pace.. with 100m, I go into full-blown, Carl Lewis, open-hand sprint… and finish the day in 3hrs 49min 26 (finally split from Elden Lookout = 40:34) Buffalo Park
What a confidence builder!!.. After a rough couple months, I finally feel good about the direction I am headed.. I have another tough week next week.. so I just need to keep consistent.. and listen to my body… and run.
The Peaks from the top of Elden
Top of the Elden Lookout Trail - Snowy & Gnarly
The view going down Elden Lookout Trail
The view going up Elden Lookout Trail