Monday, January 24, 2011

4 Weeks 'til Moab

Me, Phil, Cherilyn, Kemp, Brian and Don at the
Blue Sky Coyote Ridge Jct.
Photo by Lysette

Eight of us met at the Blue Sky trail head this morning for a nice long run to Devil's Backbone. We are all running the Red Hot 33K and 55K in Moab next month and were looking for a good training run that included plenty of miles, a few hills and lots of rock. Blue Sky, Indian Summer, and Devil's Backbone provided it all. It was great to see Kemp and Lysette who came up from Golden for the run.

It was a nice morning and even though the thermometer at the house said 16 degrees when I crawled out of bed, the sun was out and it was warm enough for shorts when I got to the trail head.

I felt great as soon as we started down the trail towards Loveland and was happy to cruise along and talk to Phil about shoes and upcoming race plans.

We regrouped at Coyote Ridge before heading down to the valley and up the Indian Summer Trail. The group split up a bit at this point as some were planning to run the loop and head back while others were going further. The trail condition on Indian Summer was in great shape and the views across the valley were spectacular. At the south end of the loop, Don headed back while Cherilyn and I continued on to Devil's Backbone. I always try to convince myself that I like the challenge of this part of the trail. In all honesty, I really struggle with the rocky uneven terrain and I spend a lot of energy trying to keep up a decent running pace without falling on my face into the sharp red rocks. I know it is good preparation for the slick rock in Moab. There were a lot of people on the trail as we got closer to the Devil's Backbone parking lot. We made a quick stop at the keyhole and then ran on to the trail head.

Kemp came in just behind us and we took a quick break to eat and fill water before turning around and heading home.

The run back went smoothly. We met up with Joselyne on the way out of Devil's Backbone and then ran back over Indian Summer, picking up Kemp's lost glove along the way, and then back down on to Blue Sky. I had a mild, low blood sugar moment heading up the last real hill towards the Coyote Ridge Trail, but recovered after choking down a Gu and a Tiger's Milk bar. I felt strong over the last 2.5 miles and we got back to the cars in 4 hours and 10 minutes with 21.5 miles on the Garmin.

This run was a great finish to an awesome week of running. I ran a 3 x 1 mile interval workout at the park on Tuesday and a 4 mile marathon pace tempo run on Thursday. There were the relaxed, fun, social night runs with the trail runners on Tuesday and Thursday. Saturday morning, I ran to Maxwell trail head and met up with the Fort Collins Running Club for a good 10 mile out and back on the Horsetooth Half course. I got out for easy 8 - 10 mile runs around the park and Pineridge on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. My legs are feeling less tired now than they did a week ago and I was able to finish the week with a total of 85 miles.

I am looking forward to another solid week of running with another chance at Towers on Thursday and the Frost Giant 5K/10K double next Sunday in Estes Park. I am going to work hard to get out for some short morning runs next week too, so I can keep the mileage up without having to go out for 10+ miles every evening.

I turned in my registration for the Horsetooth Half yesterday and I'm anticipating a big course PR. Looking to future races, I am thinking about running the Bighorn 50 mile again instead of the Black Hills race in June. I'd love to run Black Hills, but the timing is tough and it would be great to go for a course PR at Bighorn, too.


  1. Nice mileage Alex! I just wrapped up my highest mileage week ever today at 70 miles...not sure about 85! But I'm encouraged as well as my legs feel pretty strong today. I'll see you at Towers on Thursday.

  2. Blue Sky trail looks like it cleared up nice in the picture. I'm seriously considering Black Hills 100 if Hard Rock lottery is unsuccessful. Bighorn weekend is no good for me this year (but I will go back someday).

  3. Great to run "with" you yesterday. Even if I don't end up running with people, it's always nice to have some motivation to get out there. :)