30 May 2013

Postholing, PRs, Parties and Prez

“If it's in you to climb, you must -- there are those who must lift their eyes to the hills -- they can't breathe properly in the valleys.” 
- L.M. Montgomery

I'm finally back into the swing of things now that I'm recovered from Quad Rock. Summer is here and motivation to get outside is at an all-time high. I've been enjoying some runs both here and afield as Sheila and I tick off the final two weeks to Bighorn.  

We headed up to Denver last week to run the trails at Mt Falcon. I particularly love the Parmalee, Old Ute and Devil's Elbow trails there and it's nice to get out of the rut of running the same ol' same ol' around here. Spotted Scott Jaime, cruisin' down the Castle Trail as we were going up. Good day and great summer weather that we immensely enjoyed.

Sheila used the "burst" feature on my camera to capture the best trail running snap of me on the fun, techy section of the Castle Trail. 
My new publicity photo
I also hit the Barr Trail a couple of times in the past week. Last Friday, I went up 9 miles (past treeline) to my special lounging rock before I headed back due to schedule constraints. It was in the 80's in the Springs and even at 12,000 feet, no sleeves were needed. 

I went back again yesterday with the summit in mind. There was a chance of thunderstorms, so I got out early for one last big hike up before my taper begins. I've been doing low HR training, keeping it in zone 2 or low-mid zone 3 on the climbs and it seems to be paying off.
PR to Barr Camp
Once I got above 12k feet, the snow was pretty much covering the trail. It was slow going those last two miles. I've only summited Pikes via the Crags Trail, so this part of Barr trail was all new to me. I kept seeing off-course footprints in the snow indicating that people-in-the-know were taking shortcuts. At the bottom of the basin, the majority of the prints headed straight up to the summit. I prefer a good climb, so I followed suit. 
Barr Trail
The Basin "shortcut"
In short, I got spanked. Big time. I was sucking wind, postholing up to my knees, and about half-way up got nauseous from the altitude. When I couldn't make it to a rock to rest on, I just stood there with my forehead on the top of my poles to wait it out. The fear of a sudden storm or drop in temps was at the forefront of my mind, since I was moving at a snail's pace. I'm still not at home in the mountains -- particularly above treeline where I feel so vulnerable. Hence, why I insist on going up there and learning how to manage the scarier aspects of mountain running. 

It was one of those times when I knew that no matter how awful I felt, I had to keep going. Suck it up, Buttercup and get it done. Slowly, I slogged my way up and to the right, in the direction of the Summit House. I think that was my first 52 minute mile. 

Once I got to the final scramble, I put my poles away and had a blast going up the rocks. Now that's the kind of hiking I love...both hands on deck.
The funnest part of the whole course
I was rewarded with a nice view of the city
Recovery meal
I was so late in getting to the summit, I hitched a ride back to my car in Manitou. Next time, I'll be seasoning my quads by running down. 
First peak-bagging of 2013
I also had another micro-celeb encounter. You know him as Dakota, I call him Prez because a) I'm too lazy to utter 3 syllables, b) I don't like his more common nickname and 3) he is aka el Presidente, so it's totally legit. He passed me on the trail just after I started and I totally recognized him from his backside. Now, before you raise your eyebrows, I've apparently seen enough running videos to recognize his gait from behind. (Does that make me a superfan?) My suspicion was confirmed with a glance at the parking lot and spotting his signature red pickup. 

I figured I'd see him coming down from the summit a few hours later and sure enough, he came bounding down just below A-Frame. I said hi and he stopped to chat for a few minutes. It was a lovely little break in what became a long day of solo hiking. Wishing him strong legs and a happy heart as he pursues his mountain running adventures this year.

The writer and his impulsive commentor
Besides running and preparing to move into our new home, we celebrated my son's 6th birthday with friends. My bright and curious lego-loving boy is at such a great age of discovery right now. Being a mom is awesome!  
Favorite gift? The suitcase for his imaginary travels
Happy Trails,


1 comment:

  1. Great training, Shelby.....You'll be ready for all those high pacing duties you're doing this Summer ;-)
    Good luck with the new home, Bighorn and see you in Silverton!