Mountain Runs and Trail Races

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So I’ve been in the mountains and desert way more than behind thecomputer. A sign of good living. Hence, it’s been a while since a post. Here are some galleries from my runs in the high country of the San Juan Mountains around Durangon andSilverton Colorado. No epics or super fast times to report but just gorgeous views, good folks and getting my lungs and legs in shape for steep climbs up to 14,000 feet above sea level!

Hardrock and Handies Peak. This was my first Colorado Fourteener. Mt. Whitney, last year, is the only other 14,000 foot peak I have stood atop. Gregory and the Grouse Gulch Aid Station crew ran up Handies before we had to prepare for the Hardrock 100 runners later in the afternoon. Some of the runners would end up crossing over the peak in the dark with lightning and hail. This frightening environment was enough to make some drop out of the race or at least get a little more connected with their spiritual side. I staid up until 2:30 AM to see the last runners come through. I just wanted to stay up for them and experience what they’re going through in a very slight way. At bedtime, I was glad I didn’t have 57 miles to run through the mountains and a decent bed was in the back o my truck. Volunteering at Hardrock was a great experience that I hope to repeat. All of the runners were inspiring and showed just how gnarly and beautiful the Hardrock can be. I have a lot of respect for anyone that even attempts this beast. The Ultra community is so great.

Hardrock Course Sweep and Ice Lake. Gregory and I also volunteered to sweep (pick up trail markers) for a portion of the Hardrock 100 course. We shuttled Matt and Garrett to do the last stretch and then Gregory and I drove over the gnarly Ophir Pass road, not too gnarly for a Ford Taurus sedan though! We then then ran to South Mineral Creek Road, past Island Lake and Ice Lake, where I had ran a couple days before. The water in Ice Lake was bluer than anything I’d seen.

Speedgoat 50K. I met Marco Zuniga at the Jemez Mountain Runs back in May. He is from El Paso but lives in Durango now. I offered to crew him at the Speedgoat and he enthusiastically took me up it. I had never crewed and wanted to support Marco and check out an elite level race. Marco, a very young 41 year old, had the fueling plan dialed with switches between hydration belt and pack to stay as light as possible. All of his training and hard work paid off and he had the best race of his life, he says. I believe it as he ran with Timothy Olson and other elites (beating out a few) throughout the day, was in high spirits whenever I saw him cruise through the stations and the speedgoat himself, Karl Meltzer, was really excited for him when he came in at 6:00:58, the first masters and 12th overall. Way to go Marco! Glad I could be there.

Engineers Mountain (July 30, 2013). Although this is a popular trail, it is fairly short and easy to approach from Coal Bank Pass and one that I wanted to do after seeing it on the map. I had been camping at Lower Hermosa campgrounds and had done a long 20 miler yesterday. I figured this would be a good addition for back to back training runs. It wasn’t too long but had good climbing and high altitude (12,968 ft. at the summit). It gave me a chance to try running with trekking poles as well. The poles were great on the up hill and seemed to help with tired legs and joints. I saw a lot of people on the trail but no one on the summit. The summit did require a steep hike up scree and a little exposed, climbing section. It was well worth it though. Bombing back down was great too!

That’s about it for now. I’ll be heading back down in the desert for work and play. Hopefully I’ll be back up in the mountains soon!

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