Monday, May 20, 2019

The Ass Kicker Run: Boulder Skyline Traverse (5 peaks, 18 miles)

As I sit here writing this, my quads are burning. As in, the type of burning that doesn't let you sit down on the toilet seat without grimacing. This is the reward I get for the ball busting run I did on Saturday with Jeanne, my trail wife. It was the last big run before taper starts for the Dirty 30 50k coming up on June 1.

I really don't know why it's called the Dirty 30 (probably because there is dirt and it's just over 30 miles and it rhymes). I like to think there's some dirty hidden surprise I will find on the trails when I run the race. Like your dad's old Playboy magazine. I'll let you know how that works out.

Before I tell you about the nut busting run from Saturday - let's review the weekend long runs I did to prepare for this dirty event:

12 miles, 15 miles, 18 miles, 20 miles, 21 miles, 22 miles, 16 miles, 18 miles

All of these were done on trails with significant vertical. And, all of them were done with a longish run the next day (8-10 miles). My weekly mileage was 45-50 miles.

Moving onto the testicle busting run.

For our final hurrah, we chose the Boulder Skyline Traverse. This is a run known to locals, but not one that you'll probably find in many guide books. It is a point to point, that can be done north to south or south to north. The ascent and descent are fairly close regardless of which way you do it. We chose to start on the south end. In total our ascent was 5,823 and the descent was 5,858. All in all, you run up and down 5 mountain peaks over the course of 18 miles. I am not sure, but that might be why my quads hurt.

All I can say is thank God for my watch because it has a navigation option that is spot on. Without that I would have ended up in a bouncy house in someone's backyard. Or a brewery. Then maybe my quads wouldn't hurt so bad.

After leaving a car at the finish point (Mt. Sanitas Trailhead) we drove down to the Mesa Trailhead in south Boulder. I tried to shove some oatmeal and a banana down my throat. But, early morning eating is not my forte. After leaving some turds in the pit toilet (cause inquiring minds wanna know) we were off (7:45 a.m.). We started climbing immediately, which meant some power hiking. That gave Jeanne enough time to tell me about her in-law's bed bug infestation. The things you learn from friends on long runs!

The up was relentless. We veered into Shadow Canyon, which is a never ending trek over boulders and streams to the top of South Boulder Peak. In total - 3,000 feet of vertical over 3.5 miles. On the way up we caught up to a  woman hiking solo. I thought she was talking on the phone. Turns out she was yelling things to herself so that she would keep going. I know I have done that. "Keep going and you can wine later!"

How is this a trail?

Finally, we reach the summit of Boulder Peak I took a GU - I was a bit late as I try to GU every hour or so.

About 8,549 feet
We head down with our sights set on the next one - Bear Peak. This is a pretty well known hike in Boulder - in fact it is the run that Dave Mackey was on when he fell and had a rock crush his leg - leading to the eventual amputation of the leg. But now Dave is out there crushing it once again, running ultras everywhere and even being given the distinction of Leadman.

It's a pretty short jaunt up to the top and we get there at about the 2 hour mark - but only 5 or so miles in. 2 hours to go five miles! I am proud of that 24 minute mile!!

Top of Bear - 8,459 feet

From Bear Peak looking at Green Mountain

Next, it's onto Green Mountain. We took the saddle from Bear to Green. It was crowded going up a it was no mid morning. I love listening to people's conversations on the trail. Overheard two ten year olds.

Boy 1: I ate so much cake and pizza
Boy 2 : Dude! Did you get a sugar rush?
Boy 1: Yea man and I almost barfed.

Sugar rush? At ten are you really looking for a rush from things? What's next Fireball?

Top of Green - 8,150 feet
We topped Green and I quickly ate half of my turkey/cheese sandwich and we headed down towards Flagstaff Mountain and hopefully away from the crowds. We cruised down for quite awhile through shaded single track trails of pine needles before summitting Flagstaff.  There is no actual ta-da! summit on this one, so we just guessed it. We dropped down into the city of Boulder, stopping at the park to refill our water. There were birthday parties going on and I strongly thought about stealing some pizza, but ate the rest of my turkey sandwich instead because I am not a thief.

We were at about 14 miles at this point and headed towards our final summit. We actually had to run by my car, which was a huge tease because I really wanted to just get in it and drive away. But we had one more trail to conquer - The bitch - Sanitas.

I've hiked Sanitas multiple times, but never tried to run it and never after already climbing a zillion feet. It is a very rocky, VERY steep trail. As in, you gain 1,300 feet in about 1.5 miles. It hurt a lot and felt never ending. Plus, it was once again crowded. We reached the summit and were rewarded with a gorgeous view of the Boulder Valley and more crowds. Snapped some photos and headed on down to the car.

Finished product:

18 miles
~5,900 vertical gain
~6 hours (total time with stops)

I can't recommend this run enough if you come to Boulder. But plan for it to take most of the day. You see a vast variety of terrain from the views are awesome - not just of Boulder but you also get views of the Continental Divide to the west. However, hit me up if you want to do this route because it is very easy to get lost. There are some pretty good directions HERE.

Where'd you run/race this weekend?

Favorite run fuel? I do lots of Roctane GUs mixed with real food like a sandwich. I also really like my Nuun and Saltstick

Would you do this run with me?


Friday, May 10, 2019

Hey Future Self! Are You Listening?

In eighth grade the teachers told her to write some letters to her future self. That was four years ago, and this week, as a high school senior, my daughter got those letters back. I'm not crying. You're crying, as they say.

Her: One of the biggest thing I learned is you need friends who make you happy.

Me: Have you ever had a friend that sucked the life out of you? Or a friend that was selfish and self centered? Or the kind who stabbed you in the back or was all about the drama? These people can make us miserable, yet we hold onto them sometimes for fear of letting go of the past or because we don't want to be lonely or because we think we don't deserve better. Well, we all do. Deserve better.

There is no shame in letting a friendship die or in walking away from someone in order to take care of yourself. I've done this a few times. It's hard but it's worth it. My life would not be what it is without my core group of friends who always have my back and who would move a dead body for me and dig the grave if I asked them to. You know who you are!

Her: I have always felt so pressured to be the most athletic person that I could be because people were always asking me, "Do you run with your mom?" I realized that I have no shame in not being interested in sports because that is just the type of person that I am.

Me: I felt a bit bad reading this wondering if she felt pressure from me. I never meant to pressure her, but I know the value of moving your body and in finding a team of support. I know just by my running all the time she probably thought I expected that of her and that she disappointed me if she didn't do it. That was not at all the case, but I can see where the 8th grade brain thinks so. I'm glad she learned self acceptance along the way (and I bet she starts running one day, just wait and see).

Well, it doesn't look like I forced her to do this 10k

Her: I think happiness is a mixture of the best thing in life. Great friends, doing what you love and without a doubt loving yourself.

Me: Okay, yeah, she nailed it here. I can't say it any better at 52 then she did at 13.

Her: I am truly hoping that in high school you have a sense of self love because 18-year-old-Emma, you are an amazing person.

Me: And, yes, she is.

Just reading her words really made me think of what I would tell my future self in four or five years.

I would tell that I hope she was brave and kept on even when the odds were not in her favor or when people were critical and judgy. I would tell her she better have reached for those things she wanted even though she was afraid of rejection. I would tell her I hoped that she had remained fearless and continued to do things that took her breath away and scared the shit out of her. There's really no other way to live in this 52 year old's opinion. And, I'm sure I'll feel the same way at 62, 72 and until I croak (<or die very peacefully with a glass of chardonnay in my hand).

What would you tell your future self?

Have you ever written these kinds of letters?

Do you think your kids feel pressured to run or be athletic because of you?