Deer Creek Training Run
I’m definitely back in the ‘build’ phase again, feeling mostly recovered from Wyoming. I planned to do a good long run today with some climbing and technical trails to start getting ready for Leadville and the 100k in Utah. I hopped on mapmyrun.com and scoped out a route that would give me between 20-25 miles, convoluted though it was:
I got a later start at around 1:30 under dark and cloudy skies. A typical day in the Denver foothills. The first part of my route circumnavigated a large area called Elk Meadow. I was looking forward to it because it would be the flattest part of my run and give me a good 2-3 miles to settle in. What a letdown, I ended up walking most of it. The very narrow (8-10 inch) trail was eroded in several spots with a ‘V’ shape, and due to our very wet spring, the grass on either side was anywhere from waist to shoulder high. I just couldn’t get into a good rythmn and so just walked as fast as I could.
With that over with, I had some climbing to do and ended up running all of it probably a little faster that I should have – I’m sure to make up for being held back earlier. Then I had 2 miles of descending through a valley along some double track that had been mowed recently. That was a real treat and I enjoyed being able to run out in the open a bit.
I had some hard climbing up some paved roads to get to the entrance of Deer Creek park at the 10 mile point of the run. Once I was there, I refilled my camelbak and set out on some very hard extended climbing up rough singletrack. I ran steady and kept a good pace going for a few miles, entertaining thoughts of running the entire 10 mile loop without stopping or hiking any hills. My legs had other plans as they finally gave out near the top of Red Mesa and I just had to shut it down for 30 seconds or so and shake them out. I got a lot higher than I thought I would have in one shot, and switched to power hiking the steeper stuff and running everything else for the next few miles.
I had some fun with my new phone and tried out the video capture on a sweet section of trail. It turned out kind of Blair Witch. The original is a lot better than the YouTube version, but oh well. The reward for 5 miles of hard climbing:
As I was about to start the Plymouth Mountain loop, the rain that had been threatening all afternoon decided to make an appearance. I stopped and put my camera away where it would be safe in the deep recesses of my pack, tightened the straps down, cranked down my shoelaces, and set out. It was time to RUN.
turista no más
This was the crux time as far as training is concerned. The previous 3 hours were just a prologue, I have to go that long just to get beyond what my body feels is normal. Only then can I start to work on the things I need to improve. Navigating steep/rocky descents on tired legs, staying flexible, nutrition, hydration, speed, and consistency. I didn’t end up running as well as I would have liked, but I felt good to still be moving pretty well this late into the run. I was holding back just a bit as well, I wanted to make sure I would recover quickly and have this run be a stepping stone to higher ground rather than tearing me down again.
I ended up with around 23 miles in a little over 5 hours. I was satisfied with the effort considering the loaded pack I was running with, the climbing, and technical nature of the trails. Very good training.