Getting Things Going: The focus for the week was to get healthy. As such, I kept the running very mellow... 30min / day Monday through Friday. It definitely paid off. By the time Friday came around, my energy was still a bit low, but I felt solid enough to commit to a Long Run on Saturday.
Elden Up Over & Back
The Route: Up Mount Elden Road (~2,500ft of climbing up forest service type road)... then down Mt Elden Lookout Trail (~2,500 descent down rocky single track). Once I get to the bottom, I just have to turn around and do it in reverse. This route is about 18miles + I would tack on 3miles in total since I was starting from my house.
I was lucky enough to have some company for the run... Brian Tinder (coming off his Sedona Marathon victory) and Eric Bohn (coming off his 2nd Place Finish at the Moab 55k). Both these guys are running really strong right now, so the plan was to just let these guys pull me along.
We started the run at my house and completed the 1.5mile warmup to the "Elden Road Gate" in 10min. Then the climb started. We kept the pace conversational. The weather was warming up quickly as such the ice towards the bottom was already getting slushy.
Pushing our way up the mountain, we skimmed across giant sheets of ice and crunchy snow. When we got to the top, we were greeted with gusts of wind that had to be in the 50 to 60mph range. Pretty knarly. We got to the top in 50:30. Not too bad considering the conditions.
We "Gel -ed Up" and made our way down Elden Lookout trail navigating the post holes and deep snow / ice for at least the first mile. At that point, conditions were clear except for the occasional ice patch. We hopped over the rocks and roots.. before we knew it, we had made it to the Elden Lookout Trail head in 37:45.
Once again, we through down some gels and peered back towards the trail we just descended... back up we go. At this point, I could really feel my energy lagging. My guess was that my body was still recovering from being ill for nearly 2 weeks. Despite how easy the first half felt, this run might turn into a real dogfight..
As we grinded our way up the Mountain, I had no pop in my legs and I had the kind of tired feeling that radiated over my entire body. I was gassed. I decided to pull back a bit at that point and not push too hard. After making that decision, Eric & Brian quickly closed the gap and we went most of the way within 30seconds of each other. As we neared the top, Eric hopped by me and pushed through the snowy / icy sections. I just tried to stay with him and before I knew it we were at the top in 44:41.
At the top, I started getting a lot of cramping in calves.. which worried me a little, but after a mile of running with caution down the road, my body seemed to rally and I was fine the rest of the day.
Other than the near slips on the ice, the descent was very mellow and uneventful. We got to the gate in 43:00... and then cooldown to my house in about 11min.
The total run was 3:17:17. Considering where I have been over the past couple weeks... A perfect day.
Eric Bohn Enjoying the Cool Breeze at the Top of Mt Elden
Some of the Wildlife at the Top (Brian Tinder)
The View of the Dry Southside
The San Francisco Peaks from Elden