Sunday, March 20, 2011
Green Double Double Mesa
On a gorgeous day, wanted to do something longer on trail. I signed up for CP, and was thinking about GC, so it was high time to at least do something in the 5+ hr/30ish mile range. Had some good overall weeks lately but no really good long runs, and had some concerns about a longer run with a right leg injury thing acting up a bit.
Was able to procure the car for part of the day, but wasn't able to make it up to Ft. Collins for the social run. Heard about GZ's mission to head uphill straight from his house -- that sounded like fun, but I didn't know how many miles I was good for. So I decided to head to the general Chatauqua area which could give me plenty of options: Double Mesa, Green, or Double Double Mesa.
How about all of the above?
First things first: an H2 pulls into the parking lot. Stickers on the back of the truck make various proclamations about the occupant's love of running, microbrew beer, and hard-rock Devil's music. Said music is blasting from the speakers, so all evidence points to one person. I introduced myself, joking about the loud music. It was good to finally meet him:I remember finding Brandon's blog a few years ago when googling the Silver Rush run, and back then it was apparent that his site was thorough about details. Also enjoyed his Boston training cycle and 'won' a mini-contest about guessing time (I was glad to be wrong about the final time!) in which he sent a Boston pint glass to my house. (So I still owe him a beer!)
I was planning on heading down Mesa and he was heading up Green, then Bear. I asked if he minded if I followed him up Green, having never been up there before. He was cool with that so we headed up the hill that everyone in Boulder has climbed dozens or hundreds of times before. It was nice to finally get up there, just as steep as advertised. He pointed out some of the other routes along the mountain as we headed to the top:
Then we headed down, a fun descent with little/no ice. At some point, he checked Twitter and found out where George was. I didn't even know where I was. But soon enough we were down at the Mesa intersection, where he was going to head up to Bear. I decided to stick to my original Mesa plan, and parted ways. I'd keep my eye out for GZ near some of the intersections, but didn't see him.
Saw plenty of other folks, though. Not enough to really clog the trail, as there are few blind corners and most of the trail is sufficiently wide. Despite (and provably, because of) the crowds, I really do think/agree that this is a classic trail run. The first (and sadly, only) other time I had been out here was part of what I called a 'triple double' from Ft. Collins: double-digit mileage from the run, and triple-digit from cycling from Fort Collins and back, irrespectively. That run I did on the Sunday before Bolder Boulder, which is absolutely the best weekend day of the year to do this run, as everyone else is either casually or non-competitively not running that day.
But today was also a beautiful day out, now shirtless-able. I don't like the boring, hot couple miles towards El Dorado (reminder: there's no fresh water there), but I like the mental break of cruising downhill. With the Green diversion (including a short summit break), it was now around 3 hours.
Helped some guy with the map who was interested in running the trail, then turned back to slog up the gravel. My leg was sore and stiff, protesting much, but after a few minutes it felt better. I realized that this return trip would put me solidly over four hours on the feet (with breaks), so it could be a decent day and I could call it good.
But running back started to feel alright. Not fast, but consistent. Got all the way back, hit the car, grabbed some more water and called the wife. She was still good so I checked if I had a few more hours. No problem. Headed out again. Saw some people again, couldn't remember which ones. Had I seen anybody 3 times already? I still like the trail enough that I wasn't bored. But, inexplicably (or perhaps, very explicably, given my history), I took a short 5-minute wrong turn/detour down Shanahan at a 3-way intersection, which I continued down until I saw some folks, verified my mistake, and turned around.
For food, I had a PB&J sandwich that I finished already, and I hit the grocery store the other day and picked up some bars that were on sale, as they didn't have gels. I didn't notice that some (but not all) were protein bars. Predictably, those took about 5 minutes per bite to swallow, and just sat in my stomach. Ugh. I was alright but could've used something different at the El Dorado turnaround, especially some quick salt. Good news: dug through my pack and found one more half sandwich, score! Bad news: it was partially mashed into my non-functioning cell phone. D'oh!
But the sandwich helped out (as sandwiches are wont to do), and I turned around for the last time. Still not fast, but happy to be in that cruising mindset where you just keep moving consistently. Definitely got through some mental and physical roadblocks, and enjoyed the final quad-pounding road downhill to the car. Over 6 hours on the feet, 5.5ish running. Just what I wanted! Cautiously optimistic as my leg actually felt better as time went on. I can't pretend to understand this stuff.