Met up a week ago with a group of guys for their regular Thursday night run. Even though the weather was fairly unstable, there were still something like ten of us. My secret hero, 20 time finisher of Hardrock, Kirk Apt was there quietly, in his normal laid back demeanor, collecting things out of his car for the run, as I chatted with the other guys gathering around. Beginning at 5:45pm, I should have been smart enough to carry a headlamp but figured no one else had one and, so, we would likely be back to the cars with some lingering light.
Three of us led the group on the climb up to the first ridge and gradually opened a gap to the point where I couldn't see the rest of the group behind. Being in my mediocre state of fitness, I was probably working about 20% harder than the other two just to stay on with them. Since these are the trails right next to my little place, I had a vague understanding of where we were (I had only run them about five times) and felt like we were a bit far away from the parking lot to make it back before darkness. As luck would have it, a brief storm rolled in with high winds, especially up on the ridges, rain, and a distinct drop in temperature. What started as a simple hour jog was turning into a miniature epic adventure. It was frustrating trying to balance the need to descend fast in the dark during the storm while keeping aware of my recovering foot/ankle injury. I was freezing by the time I got to my car and just hopped in and drove home to a hot shower.
This weekend (yesterday), I met up with one of the guys from the group and another fast roadie guy for a longer run over in Fruita in the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness, specifically, the Rattlesnake Arches. I figured this would be a good enough test for next week's 50k. It was 25 degrees at the start and I overdressed a bit but was comfortable enough. I didn't want to hold back the two so I was working pretty hard to hold the pace with them. I didn't bring any water or fuel, figuring it'd be a sub three hour run. About half way into the run we came to the arches and did a bit of sketchy down climbing, pausing mid way on a ledge situated directly under one of the arches. It was one of those perfect images with the morning sun highlighting the blue sky over colorful mesas, all framed by this incredible giant arch. The canyons block out all residual sound from the rest of the world, so the silence is almost heavy at times and serves to punctuate the visual beauty.
We finished up the run at nearly three hours with just over 4,000 ft of climb. Aside from becoming more tentative on the rocky descents late into the run with my foot placement as my form deteriorated a bit, I felt great right to the last step and determined I'll be ok for the 50k. I did manage to scratch my eyeball when a branch smacked me (had the Rudy Projects on my head for some dumb reason). Hurts like a mf and I'll probably be blind and have to wear a stupid eye patch the rest of my life.
The week overall was very nice. I've dropped some extra lbs and the running is improving daily. Got some good work done. The Ultra Adventures site is ready and should be up at some point today www.ultra-adventures.com. I signed the contract for the new job and mailed it off after looking it over and thinking about it for a week. We spent some time exploring up on Colorado National Monument and then Grand Mesa (11,000 ft just 45 mins from my door), where it was 20 degrees at 1pm with about eight inches of snow already.
Heading off to Sacramento Tuesday morning and then up to Redding for the 50k and heading back to CO on Sunday.
|Pippit enjoying the sunset walk yesterday.|