Sunday, May 23, 2010

Summer Heat is Here...

Greyrock Hiking

Foothills / Bike Path Run

Finally, we had a weekend on tap with ample sunshine and warm temperatures. J had to work Saturday afternoon, so we thought we'd take a quick trip up to Pingree for a night of camping. This was not to be, as a lousy chunk of metal cut my tire just north of the cement plant on 287, ruining those plans, as we weren't going to risk 20ish miles of dirt/snow/mud in the dark on a donut spare tire. There are few things as disheartening as unpacking a car full of unused camping gear, but c'est la vie.

Speaking of gear, on the way out, we planned a quick stop at the Go-lite warehouse sale. That took us more time than planned, as there were a ton of awesome deals. I bought several things I've been thinking about for a few years, but have been too cheap to buy: a decent daypack with waist straps (half the price of other one's I've looked at); a running bottle-holder pack; a sun visor; and a thicker waterproof/windproof jacket. All of these are nice luxuries, granted, to help prevent the backaches/headaches/hypothermia I've had, respectively, on various trips.

Well, I had planned a light hike on Saturday and long run on Sunday, but changed those up so J and I could hike on Sunday instead. I hadn't thought of much of a route, but I've finally learned a few things year-over-year: the first long hot run of the year is tough. The last couple years, I've gotten excited about good weather right about this time of year, only to be crushed with dehydration, etc. This time, I figured on taking it easy, but spending a fair amount of time on my feet. 7 hours seemed like a good number.

Since I hadn't planned on running Saturday, I still had a bit of tightness from pushing speed on already-sore legs a few times earlier in the week, plus a medium-ish tempo on Friday. Anyway, I kept the pace dreadfully slow, around 9.5-10min miles off the bat, and headed south and then west to Maxwell, Pineridge, and the Foothills trail. I mixed trails with the dam roads, and then dropped in for a loop at Reservoir Ridge, before heading East back into town. I did some extra road miles here and then hit the Poudre trail, alternating with some of the dirt along the way.

Keeping my eye on the Poudre, I thought about dipping in for a bit, but it's blowin' right now with all that snowmelt, and nobody was in it. Finally, I reached the last footbridge before College, where a couple guys were near the rope, getting ready to jump in. I paused and watched a guy drop in, then fight quickly back to shore as the current pushed him downstream. It seamed reasonably safe, and I had company, so I took a few jumps, which felt awesome, and chatted with the guys a bit. One was a newly-minted CSU graduate, ready to travel to Guatemala and Mexico for some volunteer/mission work; and the other just moved here from the Republic of Benin (noted to self to look it up later). I had a great time chatting with them and had some great shared philosophies, and I stalled a good 20-25 minutes before running again.

Headed East to the end of the Poudre trail, tacking on all the optional little dirt loops around the ponds, etc., and headed to the Environmental Learning Center, before zigzagging back home...mostly...but then ran past it, so I could get a Mint M&M Blizzard at Dairy Queen. Mmmmm! I figured I'd walk the last mile home and enjoy the day, but I got too bored with walking, so I ran home while eating my Blizzard, and was happy that I handled that without getting sick. So I was on my feet for a good 7 hours or so in the heat, but I did waste a fair amount of time fooling around, too. Overall, though, I felt better as the day went on, and my legs actually loosened up.

Played a bit of softball/baseball, just hitting around Saturday night -- that was great, hadn't done that in years! -- then got up early for a hike up Greyrock with J.

This is my favorite time of year for that hike, as next month I'll be too anxious to get up to the higher peaks, which are still covered in snow. We were making great time on the meadows trail until we missed a turn somehow after cutting partly into the meadow. We followed a steepening social trail for awhile and thought about dead-reckoning/bushwhacking up to the front side, but the downed timber and boulders just got thicker. Begrudgingly, we turned around and lost a good 45 minutes or so, but headed back down to the meadow and the actual FS trail.

Great views and weather on the top. A good number of people and dogs out already, and even more as we were descending. Saw a couple bull snakes on the way (in addition to a couple yesterday while running)...and at least one (other) guy with a couple Go-lite branded items with him.

Anyway, got a bunch of time outside on my feet this weekend, slow but fun and my legs are feeling even better. Can't wait to camp this weekend, and get up to some high stuff all summer.

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