Friday, August 10, 2012

Pre-Leadville THoughts

Pardon me visitors, it's been two months since my last confession blog entry.

My wife and I, now being freed from the shackles of parenthood (our kids have fled the coop, for now at least) have decided to spend the summer in Sedona. It's hot, but then again Toronto ain't Antarctica either, but if you get up early, the temperature is fairly cool (less than 25C) until around 9AM. For longer run,  I go up to Flagstaff where it's much cooler, especially up in the mountains where it can be down right nippy. Sometimes I leave here and it's 25C and sunny and by the time I get to the trail head, it's 12C, covered and windy.

Somewhere around the saddle
Actually, those mountains are a big reason I was so eager to come. Mount Humphreys' trail head starts at 9,300 feet and climbs up to 12,600 over 5 miles. That's a profile very similar to the climb over Hope Pass. Not quite as steep, but the trail is nastier. I don't always go up to the very top because the last part from "The Saddle" to the summit is just a grind, but I've been there 5 times and climbed to at least 11,800ft on each occasion. From the saddle, one can then come back the same way or go around the long way following the Weatherford/Kachina trails, an added 15 miles of fun.

Going to the top, with a small group from the Sedona Running Company

Weatherford trail

19 miles of fun
There are some nice climbs around here as well, Wilson Mountain (+2400) and AB Young (+1800) to name a couple, although the altitude tops at around 7,000 feet. Still, that takes a toll. The rest of the trails I've done are rolling hills, with very little flat.

What I'm trying to say is: I've never done so much climbing. Last Spring, I remember wondering if poor sea level Torontonians like me could ever train to run uphill. Well, last time I went up the Humphreys, I actually ran most of the way up to the saddle. Most, because some of the trail is not really runnable and also I did have to take some walking breaks in the steeper parts above 11,000. I climbed to the saddle in 1:15, more than 15 minutes faster than my previous hiking time. I remember the first time I went up and I got passed by a runner, I couldn't fucking believe that guy was doing that. What a difference a few weeks can make.

Going up Wilson Mountain near Sedona

So I think I'm as ready as I can be, considering where I started at Xmas. On January 1st, I was 20 lbs overweight, still under the shock of my puking-fest at the Grand Canyon in October. One can only do so much in 8 months. I still feel I can build on what I have now and improve even more, but there's just no time. Running here is just a joy and when I think about going home, my heart sinks a little. Running is running and it shouldn't matter where you do it, but to me it just does.

On top of Wilson Mountain, looking at the Humphreys in the distance
What can I say, it ain't just the same as looking down the Down Valley Parkway from the Crother's.

We're leaving for Colorado next Wednesday. I will drop off Michelle and the cat at a pet-friendly hotel in Denver where they will wait for me. She broke her ankle hiking a few days ago, and I don't think Leadville is where she wants to be. I'm surprisingly not nervous about the race, either because I'm stupid or maybe because I know I've done pretty much everything I could to get ready for this race.

1 comment:

Derrick said...

I'm surprisingly not nervous about the race, either because I'm stupid or maybe because I know I've done pretty much everything I could to get ready for this race.'re not stupid. You're ready!

Great pics!