Week six (of 19) is done.
12 hours, 36 minutes
9495 ft D+
I did some tempo running on Tuesday, a hard hill workout on Wednesday, and 35+ miles on the weekend. Saturday and Sunday I reigned myself in and kept those miles comfortable in an effort to keep building my aerobic base. It's tempting to get sucked into measuring my fitness by how fast I can climb Mill Creek or South Ridge one time, but most of the races I'm running this year will be longer and slower. Running at an average pace of 13:45-14:30 minutes per mile for 9-10 hours, as I did, feels so slow, but if I can do that for 50 miles on the same terrain I will achieve my goal of finishing Quad Rock in under 12 hours. I can't finish in less than 12 hours alternating between hard running and walking to recover. I really do have to increase the pace I can run all day long. Running even one minute per mile slower at Never Summer would get me an excellent 16 hour finish.
Saturday, while heading north on the Westridge trail my eye was caught by this shiny thing hammered into the ground.
The forest up here is being thinned in an effort to make the park less susceptible to catastrophic fires. I guess that the photo point is part of a plan to monitor what happens to the undergrowth afterwards.
On the subject of trees, I stopped below Horsetooth Mountain to snack and trade an empty bottle in the front pocket of my vest for one stashed in the back and noticed for the first time this little stand of aspen trees.
Natural aspen are rare at 6500 feet on the Front Range. They're more common above 8000 feet. I wonder if these are remnants of an older wild stand or are descendents of trees planted by early 1900s homesteaders.
At the end of my run the sun came out again and I stopped to remove a layer and admire this view of Horsetooth Mountain. Now that's a nicely thinned forest. At the bottom of the photo you can see piles of dead wood that will be burned later this winter.
There was ice on the usual spots Saturday and without traction I crashed twice, bruising my right elbow and the heel of my right hand. Nothing serious and it didn't hold me back on my second long run today.
Next week: rest, family time, letting my body adapt to all the work of the past three weeks.