27 June 2014

The 12 Week (no, 11 Week) Countdown Begins...

“She began to feel the sense of wonderful elation that always came to her when beauty took hold of her and made her forget her fears.” 
― Madeleine L'Engle
Section 16
I realize that it's been more than a month since I last posted. I blame the fact that school is out, the summer weather is here in force and well, I just can't seem to bang these out like I used to. This one took a whole week to finish, hence the modified title.

I realized back on Friday the 13th that I was exactly 13 weeks out from Run Rabbit Run. Yikes! With the rough racing season I had this Spring and the Achilles I've been babying for the past couple of months, I was primed for a mini-freakout. In order to calm my fears, I contacted Ian Torrence and asked him to set me up on a 3-month plan so I can get my training dialed. One of the reasons I wanted to use him was his "less-is-more" approach to training. Quality over quantity. He gave me duration of runs rather than distances, with differing intensities, depending on which energy system is being trained. 

Got the plan this weekend and I love the diversity of workouts and how they fit into my current schedule as a mom with young kids. There's a good variety of workouts for endurance, stamina, speed and hills to keep things interesting. I know that I'd be prone to do more hours/miles in fear that I won't be prepared, so having Ian's guidance will be helpful in the coming weeks. 

The past few weeks I've started getting more vert into my training. I'm calling them Friday Fourteeners. I've gotten out on a few -- namely, my hometown mountain of Pikes Peak and Mount Yale about two hours away. Two weeks ago there was still a little bit of snow up on Pikes above 12k feet, but not enough to slow down the ascent too much. Got caught in two hailstorms and questioned whether to continue both at Barr Camp and again around 13k ft when the clouds started rolling in again. Thankfully, no lightening when I was above treeline, so tagged the summit after all. 

The only redeeming aspect of climbing the W's...the views
Barr Camp water refill
Holy Hail, Batman
Back to sunny skies at A-Frame
The 12,000 ft obligatory shoe selfie
First of a few snow fields remaining
Despite a few scattered dark clouds, decided to press on
My favorite view on the trail
Smellin' the barn
Hail moved in again for about 20 minutes then moved away
Yale was virtually clear of snow and fairly easy -- 4.5 hr round trip with an fun little class 2 scramble at the top, marked by cairns. Enjoyed the views of the Sawatch Range and the Elks and could even see Pikes off to the east as well.

Cairns marked the way through the talus
Above treeline and destination in view
The water stash
Enjoying the views to the southwest

View from the saddle
Adding a rock to the cairn
The summit from the false summit
The Sawatch Range sure is perty
This week, I went up the backside of Pikes via the Crags Trail. At 7 miles, it's shorter than the popular 12 mile Barr trail, but it's steeper and includes some class 3 scrambling at the top. The last time I summited via this trail was Oct 2012, before I started ultrarunning. 11 ultras later I smashed that time by about 2 hours and didn't find that scramble at the top to be nearly so hard as the first time around. Got hailed on again, in four different storms, all as I was descending down to treeline. Thankfully, no lightning.
Looking west toward the Sawatch Range
Getting above treeline gets me giddy
Heading up toward the saddle on the left
From the saddle, the summit can be seen
Unlike last time, altitude didn't keep me from running this section

The main downside of the Crags... traffic noise
The summit atop a big pile of rocks
The scramble
What I saw from the summit... precip headed our way
The big event on Sunday
There was no thunder or lightning, so I headed back down
Got pelted by BB sized hail -- 4 different times
Saw the Eightmile fire in Canon City
Ran this descent, unlike last time
The other thing I'm preparing for is Camp Hardrock. I'm heading down to Silverton on July 5th to help out and get in a few jaw dropping run/hikes on the course. I'm planning to camp my first few days and it'll be my first time solo camping. I got a nice little 2-person tent and a 2-burner stove and thinking about what to bring for food. I'm really looking forward to getting down there again this year, catching up with friends and making new ones while I'm there. 

This year's race is going to be very exciting with a stacked men's field that is sure to be competitive. Kilian finally got in and I suspect he's the favorite to win it. But with former winners Seb Chaigneau and Julien Chorier, along with Prez, Joe and Timmy in the mix, it's going to be interesting to see who ends up on the podium. I'll get to see some of the action on Friday and plan to be at the finish when the first runners arrive Saturday morning.  

So as I'm distracted with RRR100 training and preparing to leave for Hardrock, I'm getting some quality family time with the kiddos, who will be back east with Dad visiting Grandma while I'm gone. So proud of my 7YO who hiked to the top of the Incline with me a couple of weeks ago. He doesn't have the grit that I have (yet), but met a pretty mama that got him motivated to keep going through the "gut" of the Incline, which is the toughest part. 

His crush and motivation to get to the top
Enjoying some energy chews
Topping out of "The Gut"
He did it!
Running down the Barr Trail
He learned what a digger is too
Wow, that's a lot for just a month of no racing! I'll finally get this blog out of my drafts and into the oceans of internet now that I've been editing and adding for the past week. Hope you enjoyed and I'll be back with my post-Hardrock report!

Happy Trails,



  1. Glad you are posting again. Love your reports and your antics. And your photos!. Gotta make my plan for measly 50k in Oct.

    1. Lori, I miss y'all... won't probably be joining y'all until the fall, but should be able to catch a run with you before your ultra!