The event (a fat ass put on by Sherpa John and his Human Potential Running Series) was sort of in three parts. The first part was a 10 mile section of trail that took us from the Devil's Backbone Open Space in Loveland to the southern tip of Horsetooth Reservoir. In this section Tony, Chuck, and I just chatted and tried to keep an eye out for the trail so we could find our way back. I dictated the pace for the most part and kept it at what I perceived was easy. We got passed by quite a few runners, but I am guessing many of them did a shorter distances as we didn't finish behind that many people. After a few miles Chuck realized we were on the trails from the Blue Sky Marathon, which was reassuring to me because we didn't print a map. Then I got to run on the famous slanted rock trails everyone talks about from that race. I didn't particularly enjoy that section in either direction. In that same section, Nick Clark passed us wearing some brand new looking Altra Lone Peak. It kind of made me jealous that I wasn't wearing mine. After a bit of climbing, my tummy got briefly upset, but that was the only few miles of discomfort the whole day. The last few miles into the ten-mile aid station were gently downhill and muddy.
The second part of the event was the climb up Towers Road and summit of Horsetooth Mountain. Along Towers Road -- wicked steep, by the way -- we caught up to Trevor and Robbie and chatted for a long while. We eventually made a wrong turn and missed the trail, continuing to ascend Towers Road instead. Then we made another wrong turn and kept going up Towers Road, toward the towers, duh! Robbie got us back on track and we ended up doing kind of a lollipop loop at the top. The trails in the section were very muddy and icy and not particularly fun. Tony, in fact, twisted his ankle and that kind of previewed the rest of his day. Once we made our way down from the top, we hit several junction points in the trail and were not sure what to do. We ended up waiting at one such junction for about 5 minutes for some other runners to catch up and show us the way (we had not come in this way and were confused!). Just before we arrived back at the aid station (this is an out and back event), Tony started giving indications that he was not feeling well and would call it a day. We took a long pit stop and he confirmed he was done when we arrived back at the aid station. At the aid station, I met two gentlemen (Jason and Brandon?) that recognized me and said they had read my blog when training for Leadville. That made me feel good since that is why I put the information out there. I know that I am just a mid-pack runner, but one of my gifts is analyzing the heck of things. If people benefit from that, then I am happy to share it!
Tony stayed behind to catch a ride to the start as Chuck and I resumed our quest to finish the event in the final leg back to the start. In my mind, I figured that "gentle downhill" into the aid station from earlier would feel like a monster climb back out. That's usually how the cruiser downhills feel. While it was tough in spots, we kept a much better pace than I expected and probably ran 95% of this. It was at this point when I decided to hit a few gels just to keep the energy up. We pretty much kept a steady effort the rest of the way mixing in a little hiking and mostly running, matching the grade. This was the heat of the day and the wind picked up a bit and my drink rate probably doubled. I had gone through about 70 oz in the first 22 miles and maybe 50 oz in the last 10 miles. As the miles ticked by, I was fatiguing and my the effort level to keep the pace felt like it was increasing. I knew it was mostly downhill to the finish and was happy to "cruise" in, but it is these waning miles that usually leave me wondering how I can ever run 50 miles or 100 miles. The reality is that your mind is way more powerful than your body. I set out to run 32 miles and the whole day had been framed with that in mind -- pace, nutrition, mental exertion, etc... -- so that was all I had in me that day. Tony, Chuck and I headed to Oskar Blues for some BBQ and beers afterward. It was great run and a great day hanging with very good friends.
The best news is that while I am certainly tired and a bit sore, this felt like the easy effort I was hoping for. I should be good to resume training this week and can knock one more confidence building event off the stack.
|Thursday||7||Light Hill Work|
|Saturday||32||Headless Horsetooth 50K|
|Total||55||6600 feet vertical|