July 22, 2013

Eldorado Canyon Trail Run

View from where I parked the first time.
What a weekend! Whew! So my week didn't go exactly as I laid out in the last post. I pretty much didn't run any until Saturday when I woke up at 5 A.M. to drive the hour-ish out to Eldorado Canyon in the boonies. It felt like the boonies, anyway. I was just driving along, eating my hard-boiled eggs and sipping (chugging) my coffee, enjoying the amazing sunrise when all of a sudden I hit what appeared to be a dead end. The nicely paved road came to an abrupt stop and switched to this tiny dirt road that looked like it didn't lead anywhere other than sketchville. The voice on my GPS told me 'Onward!' so I drove on, at 11 mph (I'm not even kidding) on this tiny single car width dirt road. And then just when I was about to turn around and head to Louisville to run Coal Creek Trail, a sign for Eldorado Canyon appeared. I passed the entrance to the part, greeted with a beautiful sight of the rocks, spring, and mountains. I parked at the first lot I came to that looked official enough to be the trailhead, got my things together, and started down the road. Then I prompted returned to the car realizing I needed to be at the completely other end of the park. Doh! It was early...my brain wasn't fully functioning yet!
Entrance


I took a quick look at the map at the Visitor's Center to get my bearings, noted that the trail gains 1000ft in elevation when I was already at 6000, looked around to make sure there weren't any other cars or people lurking around, and made my way up the steps to the trail. And promptly stopped five minutes later to catch my breath. And then continued on a couple hundred feet. And then stopped to catch my breath.

I will spare you, but it continued on like that for a whole mile. Plus, as you can see, I stopped maaaany times to take pictures because it was just so dang beautiful out there! These pictures do not do it justice for the early morning light. You could hear tons of hummingbirds zipping around. I think they are the only bird I actually like. How do you hate a hummingbird?! Answer: You Don't.

These stairs annoy me by just looking at them!
Just a bunch of those awkward stairs for a bit, winding up switchbacks. You could hear the spring through the first mile, which was comforting to me, and also made me need to stop for a nature call...

I was alone out there for a long time, which made me a little uneasy because it's a completely foreign trail to me and I wasn't feeling at home. Eventually two women runners came from behind and I let them pass me and followed them running for a little bit until I couldn't breathe again. Damn altitude! They did breathe a little life into me though and it was around then that I finally got my crap together and started hustling more. At about 2.5 miles, I decided to turn around so I didn't trash my knees from climbing on these rocks and hills, and I ran 90% of the way back to the Visitor's lot. So much fun but some technical/steep/rocky downhills. There were way more people out when I was heading back down. Most were hikers but I passed a few runners. I passed one lady who told me 'DON'T TRIP.' Well thank you...now that's all I'm going to think about for the last mile down the mountain!
Beginning parts of the trail still out in the open.
Trail turns down into a cool (temperature) forest. Very pretty.

Flowers.
Selfie!


Switchbacks


Entering Boulder County or something

Where does the trail go?

Pretty cool spiral looking tree

Yup, another selfie but BY ROCKS!

Thought MAYBE this was poison ivy. I was no girl scout...


Umm, where did the bird go if all his feathers are here?

Continental Divide off yonder...



I tried to take a picture but started freaking out about a bee...you're welcome.





I tried to zoom in as much as I could so you could see downtown Denver!!


Sweaty.




Okaaaay I know I took a lot of pictures...especially of myself....

Whole30 starts on Saturday for me! Anyone joining?!


OKAY! Now that the whole photo thing is over...

So I ended up having a great time at Eldorado and I can't wait to go back and go farther! I was EXHAUSTED that night after the 5am wake up, the trail run, and standing outside most of the day watching some friends do their first crossfit competition in Louisville (they all crushed it BTW). I think I was so severely dehydrated from the elevation and the sun...good lesson for me. I just cleaned the house, ran to Costco for yummy paleo/Whole30 foods and lounged until the boyfriend's soccer game! I just love watching that man play soccer!

Tomorrow starts a new week of training and I'm going to try my best to stick to what's laid out, and maybe give my Altras a try. I'm debating if I have enough time to be able to adjust to the zero drop and use them for long training runs...we'll see. I need to start testing out the S! Caps on my runs too to see if I can handle it!

Also, I JUST signed for the Almaden Hills 50K in San Jose, CA...November 2, exactly when I need to run a 31! Woo, excited! It will be my test run before the 50 miler with challenging climbs and lots of elevation gain and loss. Supposed to be a beautiful course too.

K that's all I got!

Happy trails!

July 17, 2013

The Holy Grail

This past weekend, I wrapped up Week Two of Ultra Training. I ended up skipping one of my weekday runs replacing it with a leg heavy crossfit workout.

So the week looked like this:

Monday - 3 and crossfit
Wednesday - skipped
Thursday - 3 and crossfit
Friday - crossfit with rowing
Saturday - Workout at Ikea
Sunday - 8 glorious miles

Sunday was AWESOME! I started out around 9:30am on a gravel-ish 'trail' not far from the house. It's about a 3.6 mile loop, or 3.1 depending on where you turn, and I somehow made it into a 4 mile loop because I am directionally challenged and went the wrong way a few times.

Hey, it worked out.

The first four miles were fairly uneventful. I wasted a lot of energy swatting away horse flies...those things are ruthless! I even had bug spray on but it didn't phase them one bit. Probably because I was sweating buckets and all the spray washed off. After the four miles, I stopped back at the car to refill my water bottle and stopped for a potty break at my friend's house right down the road. Thank goodness for her! She bascially had to push me out the door to do the last four.

I got out there and decided to just road run to avoid more flies. I had a secret time goal in mind after seeing my time for the first four miles. I forgot that the road has a pretty decent gradual hill. But I powered through, hauled butt on the last mile and made my time goal with five minutes to spare! Woo hoo!

Then I went home and took an epsom salt bath to help with the tightness and knee pain, drank some chia fresca, and powered on through the day!


This week so far:

Monday - PT
Tuesday - crossfit, pretty cardio heavy
Wednesday - **update, I did not run or go to crossfit thanks to BOTH knees and my hip. Two steps forward, two steps back, eh?! Annoyed.

Kinda scrapping this week in the books with the exception of Saturday and Sunday. Man I hope my body gets back on board!

Going for eight or nine miles on Saturday, and then three on Sunday. I'm going to try to find somewhere new to run on Saturday before I go cheer on some friends from Anchor competing in a crossfit competition! SO exicted for them!!

This week has felt a little like Christmas because I bought a bunch of running supplies that I kiiiinda needed?!



Excited to try these!




Rebound Racer Sports Bra by Moving Comfort...they have THE BEST workout bras!



Fiona Sports Bra by Moving Comfort

Darn Tough Socks, heard really good things about them, they seem comfy

Injinji Socks, pretty comfy just gotta get used to the toes

And last but not least.... DRUMROLL.......


Ta-Da! Altra Lone Peak 1.5 in the house!
 
So I have basically phased my La Sportivas out of my running. I still love them and they have a place in my closet, to be pulled out for certain trail runs, but I've been favoring my Salomon Speedcross 3's more (they're more cushy).

I was looking online for another trail shoe to train in along with the Salomon's and I was debating on Hokas.

For those who are not familiar, Hoka One One shoes are supposed to feel like running on clouds...that's how cushioned they are. They are pretty dang pricey too.

The problem with Hokas (for me), other than the price tag, is that I am already prone to rolling my ankles and I worry about being that high up. The padding is definitely appealing but I am already a pretty bad heel striker, especially when I'm tired, and the Hokas seem to make that even easier to do.

I want to improve my running form, not enhance the problem and hide the symptoms with a super cushioned shoe.

I hope I am making sense.

Instead of going with Hokas, I went the completely opposite direction to a shoe that helps promote a proper footstrike AND also maintains some cushion!! The Holy Grail, people!!!

Altra is a different kind of shoe company, creating zero drop footwear that 'offers runners the world's first fully cushioned, foot-shaped, training shoe without an elevated heel. This unique platform allows for a more natural foot strike and a more efficient, comfortable ride.'

So here I am, with my Brooks Ravenna 4's that have a 9mm drop and my Salomon Speedcross 3's that have a 10mm drop, trying to transition to a Zero Drop shoe.

Yikes.

Let the calf burning begin!

Just Kidding.

Kind of.

The deal with this shoe is that I will definitely have to SLOWLY transition. As in, do my Sunday shorter 'trail' runs in these bad boys for a few weeks until my body adjusts to the different muscles being used.

My hope is that I will love these shoes dearly and eventually be able to race in them and they will solve all my problems and bring world peace.

I'll let you know how it all goes!

July 05, 2013

You can do anything for 14 hours...

My first week of Ultra Training - Take Two is almost complete. I ran three miles on Monday, three on Tuesday, and I was scheduled for three on Thursday and seven on Saturday. Since I had Thursday off and a busy schedule this weekend, I figured I would swap my Saturday run with Thursday's. I pondered where to run that wasn't on the road and the suggestion came to go to Barr Lake State Park, about ten minutes away from the house. We looked at a brochure we had at home and saw that there is a trail that goes around the lake for close to nine miles of distance. I figured, eh, I'll just do the nine!

I haven't gone that far since Mother's Day.

On Thursday morning I found myself digging up the camelbak and slowly getting myself together to head to the lake. I don't think I woke up until 8-something. Amateur. How many times in the past have I yelled at myself for not waking up at the crack of dawn in the summer to beat the heat?! Will I ever learn....

By the time I got to the lake it was 9:30 and already close to 90 degrees and H-O-T-T. It felt so hot that I spelled it with an extra T. Yeah.



I bought these Under Armour pants the other day at Dick's and thought I would give them a shot on the long run. Mine are neon yellow and awesome. Under Armour says they are compression fit and heat gear, designed to keep you cool. Well, all that is fine and dandy until the hot sun is beating down on your butt. Literally. I could feel the heat of the sun on my butt. Otherwise, I think the pants got the job done. I was comfortable and I love anything compression related for running. I might have to go get me another pair.

I was uncomfortably sore yesterday when I set out for the nine miles from the two runs and one crossfit workout of the week. I think my body is punishing me for leaving Cancun.

I decided that I would take the first two miles extra slow since they were two more than I planned on doing anyway. In hindsight, maybe I should have given myself the last two as freebies. Either way, I ended up moving at a snail's pace the entire nine miles. My body never fully loosened and I thought I was going to die from the heat and thirst, rationing out sips from my camelbak. I also experimented with baby food as a means for calories instead of the gels. It was disgusting. I'm pretty sure I made the same face as I make when I eat a gel though...so I call it even.

Does anyone else have the problem that I have? I took in the baby food about an hour in and I wasn't THAT hungry, but after I ate it all I could think about was food. I partially think it's my coping mechanism for long runs, start thinking about all the food I can have when I'm done...

And considering how many trees are at Barr Lake and the fact that I rarely found any shade....ugh. I just kept hearing my crossfit coaches telling me "You can do anything for fourteen hours" anytime I started to ponder the feat of 50 miles and all the training leading up to it....(my gym people and probably other crossfit people will understand. Any time we have a workout that folks complain about, they say 'you can do anything for twelve minutes..etc. Did I just say folks?!).

The trail was mostly okay. It's made up of dirt and rocks and some sections are a little too rocky for my liking. And chunks of the run smelled foul because of the low water. The cool thing is that I think I saw two golden eagles flying.



Can you see the bunny?


Cactus?!
Thought about hopping on him.
The trail was RIGHT NEXT to the train. Scary.

So after I finally got home, feeling disgusting with salt in my hair and dirt on my legs, I took a cold epsom salt bath and then a hot shower and pulled on some sweats. Either the compression, the epsom salt, the cold water, the nine miles loosening the junk, the chia fresca I drank, or a combination of above left me feeling not so bad today. Minimal soreness so far, which is awesome since I have three miles tomorrow morning (before the heat sets in) with my lady friend.

Happy belated 4th of July and enjoy your weekend!!!