Bear training week four recap

Week four was my first rest week. My body wasn't crying for rest, but I want to set a groove early, and also catch up with family and friends outside of running.

  • 4 hours, 37 minutes running and skiing

  • 18.7 miles

  • 2,425 ft D+

We had snow and it's sticking. I skied around Pineridge on Wednesday and took my medicine ball to the barn to work out in the snow while my daughter checked up on her horse.

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Breaking trail at Pineridge

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The gym

Sunday I went up Towers Trail to get some hills and sunshine. It's snowy up there. I saw signs of someone skiing (tele, I suspect) the slopes adjacent to Towers.

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Top of Towers Trail

Bear training week three recap

Here are the running numbers for week three.

  • 7 hours, 52 minutes

  • 39.0 miles

  • 2,402 ft D+

Tuesday and Wednesday I ran after dark, a rare thing for me. Friday I did a speed workout, doubling the volume of hard running from week two. I slowed things down on the weekend with back-to-back two hour long runs Saturday and Sunday.

Next week I'm going to run a bit less, do more strength and conditioning and projects around the house.

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Sundown at Lory State Park

Bear training week 2 recap

I ran five days last week, rode my bike another day, and did core strength workouts twice. Here are the running numbers.

  • 8 hours, 24

  • 37.1 miles

  • 4,669 ft D+

Saturday I went for a big slog at Horsetooth and Lory State Park with other runners who are training for Quad Rock in May. The trails started out in a runnable state, packed powder and a little ice and frozen mud. With mild temperatures and sun the conditions degraded quickly. The last hour or so of my run was through heavy mud and puddles of melted snow. That's just how winter trail running goes around here.

Live music 2022

I went to multiple live rock concerts in 2022 for the first time in years and it was all a result of my 17 year-old daughter's prompting. In July she was visiting a best friend in Montpellier, France. Her friend's parents went to see The Smile, Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood's band, in the Arènes de Nîmes. My kid discovered that the band would be in Denver in December 2022 and insisted I get tickets. I did. And then we started looking into which bands were playing at Red Rocks at the end of that venue's season and found tickets to see King Gizzard's long-delayed Red Rocks debut. I got tickets for that, too.

I hadn't been to Red Rocks since the 20th century (Lyle Lovett in 1998, if I remember correctly). All the good things about this venue remain, particularly the views over the plains at thunderstorms or the Moon. King Gizzard was amazing. They took some selfies, referred to us affectionately as "cunts" (they are Australian millenials), invited us to "get fucked up and love each other", and then rocked everyone's socks off for 3 hours. Here's the set list and a full recording of the show. They kicked off with "Mars for the Rich", which is increasingly appropriate.

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Moonrise from Red Rocks

Getting to Red Rocks and back from Fort Collins is a slog. Denver's Mission Ballroom is much more accessible. I relaxed in the passenger seat while my daughter drove and we killed some time in a River North pub. In the line for the door my daughter and I met a couple from Kansas City who were there for their second show and who had all kinds of stories and advice for navigating the venue. The Mission Ballroom has less than half the capacity of Red Rocks and feels more intimate. We were seated, not on the floor, but could easily see the band. The band played a bunch of yet unreleased songs and treated us to an extra heavy version of Bending Hectic in the encore. We were super satisfied!

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Denver's Mission Ballroom

These shows were great musically and a great chance to connect with a teenager in the context of different adult audiences. The King Gizzard crowd was young, like 5-10 years older than my kid, and exuberantly high. The Smile's audience was about 10-15 years older than that and much more subtly high. If you're a parent of a high school junior or senior you may know what it's like to go to shows like this. The chance to have candid conversations about partying and intoxication and the consequences is something you have to seize if you can. Find a band you all like and do it!

We don't have anything on our future concert schedule except They Might be Giants in May, but we're looking. The two of us are the more natural late night rock-and-rolling team of the family and are looking forward to more.

Station identification

Hi, my name is Sean Gillies, and this is my blog. Blog is short for "web log". I write about running, cooking and eating, travel, family, programming, Python, API design, geographic data formats and protocols, open source, and internet standards. Mostly running and local geography. I live in Fort Collins, Colorado, and sometimes in Montpellier, France. I work at Planet Labs PBC. I appreciate emailed comments on my posts. You can find my address in the "about" page linked at the top of this page. Happy New Year!

Bear training week one recap

Am I going to do those damn recaps again in 2023? Indeed, I am!

I signed up for my first ever attempt at a 100 miler, the 2023 Bear 100, and this past week was week one of a 36 week plan. The time on feet and mileage all go up from here. I might do 20 hours and 100 miles or more in a week in July. Week one's numbers are a step up from my November and December running.

  • 7 hours, 56 minutes

  • 36.8 miles

  • 4,268 ft D+

This weekend I did back-to-back 2 hour runs for the first time since last August. I did a long slow slog on the bike path yesterday and then a hilly loop at Horsetooth Open Space today. I saw nobody in the park away from the trailheads, only birds. On Spring Creek I ran through a large flock of chickadees and at the Towers crossed paths with a Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) which seemed to be doing stooping exercises. From on high it would tuck its winds and dive headlong toward the ground, pull out of the dive, coast back up, and then repeat. Larimer County encourages Golden Eagles to nest at Horsetooth by closing a stretch of the Spring Creek trail each spring. I would love to hear about some breeding success this year.

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View from the Towers-Mill Canyon-Spring Creek junction

Running in 2022

I planned to run less in 2022 and because of a random health issue I had to skip some big training weeks and did even less running than I had planned.

The numbers for 2022:

  • 302 hours, 28 minutes running

  • 1,423 miles

  • 186,739 ft D+

  • 6 heart clinic visits

I recovered in time to run and finish the Superior 50 and learned more ultra-marathon lessons. Photos from the season are on Flickr in an album named Running 2022.

I'm looking forward to a much bigger 2023 season. More about that soon.

Flying over mountains

Looking out the window at the landscape below remains the best part of flying. My family and I went to Boise, Idaho, last week and the views were extra good. I've driven from Fort Collins to Cody, Wyoming, and Idaho Falls, Idaho, for Thanksgiving in years past when I had more time than money, but I'm done with that. BOI-DEN-Fort Collins (last leg by car) takes 5 hours, maximum. Traversing Wyoming on the ground via I-80 (Wyoming alone, not counting the CO, UT, ID legs) in Winter takes 2d6 + 4 hours.

I was on the north side of a 737-900 leaving Boise at 7 a.m. Friday and got some superb early morning views of the Lost River (ID), Teton (WY), Wasatch (UT), Uintah (UT), Rawah (CO), and Never Summer (CO) ranges.

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Utah's Uintah range.

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Colorado's Rawah range.

House to Horsetooth

Planet Labs, my employer, suggests people take a Friday paid day off every month. I used mine in October to go on a little adventure that I'd been thinking about for a couple years: running from my house to the summit of Horsetooth Mountain and back again. I spent eight and a half hours on the trail, including many stops for photos, water, and food, covering 33 miles and 4100 feet of elevation gain. Horsetooth Reservoir, 7 miles long and half a mile wide, was my primary obstacle.

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Horsetooth Mountain from Centennial Drive, 5 miles in.

The first four miles were on the Spring Creek bike path and dirt in Pineridge Open Space. Beyond that was seven miles of road shoulder to go around the south end of Horsetooth Reservoir and reach the upper Horsetooth Open Space trailhead. I drive this road once or twice a week, but had never run it before. It's fairly busy, so I ran strictly on the left and kept a close eye on oncoming vehicles. Waving and mouthing "thanks" when drivers give me extra room is my standard practice.

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13 miles in, 10 minutes from the summit.

From the Horsetooth parking lot, I had 10 miles of peaceful single track, mostly all to myself. I took it very easy, only using a little speed to reach the Lory State Park visitor's center at the north end of Horsetooth Reservoir before closing time, 4 p.m., to buy a Coke and refill water bottles.

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View west from the top.

I found the smuggler's route from the vistor center through to the north Horsetooth boat ramp, saving me from three additional miles of road shoulder, ran the road back along the reservoir's east shore to Maxwell Open Space, and then through Maxwell to Pineridge and back down the bike trail. Overall it was half road, half dirt.

To cap things off, I ordered Sichuan and Wuhan style noodles from Beijing Noodle (awesome place, closest restaurant to my house) using my phone's browser on the trail, and then carried the takeout boxes home on foot while drinking a beer from the store next to the noodle shop. It was such a satisfying day. I'll be thinking fondly about this adventure for a while.

Twitter's problem

Twitter's biggest problem now is its owner's narcissism and right-wing radicalization. Josh Marshall calls out Musk's scapegoating of minorities and other ugly shit:

We’re hardly four weeks into the Elon era on Twitter and he’s already cueing up a storyline in which he tried to placate the Blacks and the Jews and the gays but they betrayed him and set out to “kill Twitter.”

Musk isn't Tony Stark, he's the Donald Trump of batteries and rockets.