Thursday, May 31, 2012

Week Ending May 27

Jumping ahead a bit, on Memorial Day/Monday I got to Mount Bierstadt, a 14,060-foot mountain, with Scott Williams and Bob Sweeney. I'd been wanting to summit Bierstadt for well over a year, but either life circumstances or the weather always seemed to get in the way. Not this time! Scott and I arrived at the Bierstadt trailhead via Guanella Pass at about 7:15 a.m. and met Bob there. The weather was a mixed bag. On the good side, the sun was out in full force and the sky was clear. On the bad side, the wind was quite hostile, with gusts of 30-40+ miles per hour, and the temperature was in the twenties. It was a good thing we bundled up. I had on most of my winter running gear, including my windproof/waterproof North Face gloves.

That said, we went right after it, reaching the summit in about 85 minutes. In most areas, the trail was in excellent shape. However, there were a few icy, but small, snow fields to contend with, and of course the wind added to the adventure. We put on our spikes about halfway up. Spikes were nice to have, but not required.

The views from the summit were incredible. Despite a wind chill in the teens, I marveled at the Sawtooth connecting Mounts Bierstadt and Evans and at the spectacular view of Grays and Torreys peaks, two notable Front Range 14'ers, off in the distance. Even better, I had a good descent, moving smoothly and feeling strong, though my quads were slightly tired. The stats on the adventure were 7.45 miles in 2:04, with 2,800 feet of climbing to an altitude of 14,060 feet.

There are few better feelings than standing atop a 14,000-foot mountain! The perspective you are afforded is almost life-changing. Here are some photos from our adventure.

View from the parking lot. Bierstadt to the right; Evans to the left. The sawtooth is in the middle.
This photo doesn't do the size of those two mountains any justice.

Bob gearing up. He's been on a 14'er kick lately.

Not sure what that pointy peak is. I heard it's a 13'er.

Grays and Torreys are to the right. They're the twin peaks.

A nice view of Grays and Torreys (in the middle).

Kind of a bad view of the Sawtooth, but you get the idea.

Don't know who this is, but this shot was from the summit. Mount Evans is off in the distance.

At the summit.
Yeah, I know--I'm not much of a photographer. Had the weather been better, I'm confident I would have taken some better photos.

Here's how the week went:
Monday: super-easy
AM: 4.5 miles in 37 minutes on my treadmill. Very easy pace. Legs didn't fully wake up until about 3 miles into my run.

Tuesday: easy
AM: 9.75 miles in 1:13 on the trails and a few roads in the Parker hills. Felt much better than yesterday, even as I slept poorly last night.This is usually my interval day but I decided to push my speedwork back a day to allow my legs one more day of recovery.

Wednesday: intervals
AM: 10.5 miles in 1:18. This was an excellent interval workout at the Legend High School track with Scott. After jogging a mile from my doorstep to the track, I did 3x100-meter striders to warm up and "wake up" the legs. Then I went right into my repeats, running 4x800 meters at 2:45, 2:47, 2:47, and 2:47 (400-meter recovery in between) and then 3x400 meters at 1:22, 1:20 and 1:19 (200-meter recovery in between). Very pleased with those last two 400s as they show I got stronger and faster. Cooled down on the trail loop behind the school.

Thursday: easy
AM1: 9.9 miles in 1:18 on the trails and a few roads in the Parker hills. Felt a little beat up; the outside of my left shin was sore. Not too worried, though.

AM2: 4.1 miles in 34 minutes on my treadmill. I had a few extra minutes before having to jet off to work, so I did what I always do when I'm alone and have some time on my hands--I ran.
Friday: tempo
AM: 10.25 miles (7 at tempo) in 1:12 on roads in the Parker hills. Still feeling pretty beat up, which translated to slow legs, bad turnover and an overall labored tempo run. Splits were pretty bad: 1) 8:48 (warm up), 2) 6:36, 3) 6:20, 4) 6:24, 5) 6:28, 6) 6:17, 7) 6:26, 8) 6:35, 9) 7:57 (begin cooldown), 10) 8:01, and 10.25) 1:56. My tempo splits were 15 seconds slower than they should have been--a sign that I'm tired and may need an easy week.

Saturday: long/road
AM: 15.25 miles in 2 hours on the Tomahawk and Legend High School trail loops. Besides nasty and annoying winds, my breathing capacity was horrible, and I was also quite tired and flat. Not sure why I couldn't breathe well--smoke from wildfires, allergies, tired? Rather than doing a second workout later, as I usually do on Saturdays, I decided to take the rest of the day off. Exceeded 1,000 feet of gain.

Sunday: long/trail
AM: 15.75 in 2:04 at Hidden Mesa Open Space. The wind from the south/southwest once again sucked. But Hidden Mesa is a fairly enjoyable place to run so I had a good time. I felt much better than yesterday and my breathing capacity was excellent. Unfortunately, I got dehydrated when I ran out of water with about 2 miles to go. Climbed about 1,300 feet.
Weekly totals:
  • 80 miles
  • ~5,000 feet of climbing (estimated)
  • Total training: 10:18
  • 8 total runs
  • Averaged 7:44/mile
  • Lots of core work and push-ups. Also incorporated some upper-body weight-training.
Year to date mileage:
  • 1,400 miles run
  • 118 miles biked
  • 6.55 miles walked

For this week (week ending June 3), my main goal is to get ready for a solid training run at the Golden Gate Dirty Thirty. I was a late entrant, getting into the Dirty Thirty via the waiting list only two days ago. I'm putting zero pressure on myself for the Dirty Thirty. It's a tough course and my legs are feeling it a bit from some solid training of late, so my goal is to be strong over the distance and on the climbs and descents and have some fun. But most of all, my goal is to put in a solid training run that gets me one step closer to a strong performance at the Leadville 100.


  1. Wow - great job on the miles! You are getting awesome prep for Leadville.

    It is strange to hear about ice and snow in a blog post with the temps in my area already at 100 degrees!

  2. Cory: Thanks for your kind words. I need to do more climbing and I will in June and July. That day we did Bierstadt, the temp was around 80 degrees in Denver. It's not unusual at all for the mountains to be 30-50+ degrees cooler, with snow, sleet, etc. to contend with. At last year's Mt. Evans Ascent, it was 90 in Denver, while at the Evans summit the temp was around 20 degrees with high winds. Crazy!


  3. Careful Wyatt, you might end up a "Mountain dude"!

    Stay healthy man, good week!

  4. Bob is apparently making the 14er rounds with everyone.

    Solid week. Have a blast at Dirty Thirty, fun race.

  5. My biggest takeaway from all this is that you have cool names for mountains out there in Colorado. Bierstadt is German for "Beer City".

  6. Gotta love Colorado. I hope there's some Internet streaming of the Leadville race this year. This stuff fascinates me (not enough to actually run it, though). Love your blog.