Wow, what a way to start the spring season! We couldn’t have had a better weekend with fantastic weather, great trails, and good company to run with.
I started the weekend with a nice run along the Poudre river with Rocket from Animal House on Friday evening. And I just heard today that there is an adoption application pending and possibly one more family interested in him. I plan to take him out on the Tuesday evening social run at Reservoir Ridge again but am crossing my fingers that he won’t be there when I stop by the shelter tomorrow. There are plenty of other dogs who need help and it’ll be great to know that Rocket has a permanent home.
Rocket taking a short break at Lyons park by the Poudre river.
Top of the first climb of the day on Horsetooth. Drew, Ross, Brian, me, and Sam.
And to top off the weekend, I headed down to Boulder to rack up some vertical feet with a few repeats up Bear with Eric and Tressa. We finished 3 full laps up Fern plus another trip about 3/4 of the way up to get to my goal of 20,000 vertical feet for the week. In 2010 I only had 3 weeks where I exceeded 20,000 feet of climbing and that included the Wasatch 100. This week was my second week over 20,000 in a row so I’m feeling pretty good about the start of my Hardrock training. And despite the fact that trudging up Fern on Bear peak is ridiculously difficult, spending the day with friends with gorgeous weather and spectacular views made the time fly by. I had no idea how long we were out until I got back to my car. It took almost as long to run 18.5 miles on Bear on Sunday as it did to run the full 36.5 mile loop around Horsetooth on Saturday! I was pretty wiped out from the effort but in a good way. After 2 hard weeks of training, I’m a bit worn out and tired but nothing is hurting and I feel pretty good about tackling one more big push through the end of the month.
We had about 50 runners out for Mr. October‘s inaugural El Chubbo Grande Fat Ass 50k. With 3 start times, 3 routes to choose from, and no less than 38 opportunities to get lost, we had runners spread out all over Horsetooth and Lory parks. Everyone was in good company out on the trails and a friendly face was usually only a couple switchbacks away up or down the trail. Running conditions were ideal with clear dry trails and temperatures in the mid-30’s.
I had a blast enjoying my favorite trails with old and new friends and winning the 50k was icing on the cake. I’ve had a pretty good year of running accomplishments with decent results at Ghost Town, Jemez, Western States, and surviving the full Grand Slam series. But I never imagined that I could actually win such a prestigious and competitive event like this. I’m definitely going to bask in the glory of holding the El Chubbo Grande 50k course record for at least a couple days …or until Nick gets around to running the course himself to set a proper FKT.
I think the real key to my success this weekend was adopting some of Nick’s training strategies. About a week and a half ago, I stopped shaving. It’ll be several more months before I can really pull off the scraggly mountain hippy look but I’ve definitely seen some positive results from merely a quarter inch of facial hair. I have a few more weeks to keep growing my hair out for Ghost Town so I’m feeling pretty confident about my chances there next month.
I’ve also made some adjustments to my pre-race fueling strategy. Nick swears by glazed donuts before every race but I really believe that little chocolate donuts are a far superior pre-race fuel.
I started out with the 8am wave hoping to finish the course in 6 to 6:30 to give myself enough time to make it back to the potluck and beer by 3:00. On the first climb up to Horsetooth Rock, I fell into pace with Dan Brillon and we kept each other company on the trail all the way to Arthur’s Rock. We made it to the top of Horsetooth in good time and started catching up with runners from the 7am start on the Stout loop. This was quite a bit faster than I had expected to run but I felt good and just kept cruising along. At Arthur’s Rock, Dan decided to take the marathon route while I continued on up the Timber trail to the north end of Lory Park. I met up with Jen Malmberg, Alex, Mike, and Rob on the way down to the valley trail. On the next mini climb up to the Overlook Trail around mile 20, I finally started losing some steam. But Chris and Nick were waiting with an aid station set up at the Arthur’s Rock trailhead and I grabbed a quick water refill and a cookie and headed off down the easy stretch through the valley to recharge before the final beast of a climb up Sawmill to Westridge. My legs were getting pretty tired here but at this point more runners were converging into the final homestretch to the finish. It was a great mental boost to meet up with friends along the toughest section of the course. At the top of Towers, Sam finally caught up with me and took the lead for a few miles before he decided to take a turn at the Waterhole marker instead of the Wathan trail. I caught up with Tim Long just as we started the final big descent down Wathan and Tim stayed right behind me pushing me through to the finish at Nick’s house. (Tim claims that I was pulling him but I’m pretty sure he was doing the pushing.) My final time was 5:44 – a full 16 minutes faster than what I thought would be a good time.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to run a good hard long run and finish strong. This was my longest run since Wasatch and while I didn’t run an all out race pace, I kept up a pretty hard tempo effort at the end of the run. It felt really good to run well again. This event was just what I needed to get out and run a more challenging route at a bit faster pace than I’d normally run solo.
Nick really outdid himself on this one. This Fat Ass race/social run was organized better than many other official races I’ve seen. Mary’s design work was a very nice touch on the start/finish banner and her full course map was incredibly helpful. We may have cursed Nick’s course design once or twice on the way up Sawmill but the route was the perfect way to give our out-of-town friends the grand tour of our favorite trails. And it was a fun way to make the trail system into a new challenge for those of us who run here regularly. And of course, the post race at Nick’s house was a fantastic way to end the day. I really hope we can turn this into an annual tradition. Thanks Nick!
My GPS ended up at 23.4 for this run but the GPS tool I used to pull the profile came up with just over 24 miles. My GPS is usually a bit shorter than most maps or Garmins so it’s probably safe to say that the official route will end up at about 25 to 25.5ish depending on what mapping or GPS technology you believe in.
Total vertical for this route ended up at 6,100ft. With the final grunt up Nick’s hill, the official route should come out around 6,500ft as advertised.