Recreation, Rethinking, and Reinvigoration

At the moment, I’m on a plane flying back from a great weekend in the Rockies with my dad. After […]

By on May 28, 2007 | Comments

At the moment, I’m on a plane flying back from a great weekend in the Rockies with my dad. After two months of working myself ragged with the home purchase and then renovation, I was in desperate need of some rest and relaxation. Mission accomplished.

After flying into Denver Friday morning, my dad and I headed up to Leadville. First on the schedule there was the procurement of a massive amount of the comfiest clothing ever from Melanzana. I offered my sis and up-and-coming (if not already here) ultra phenom, Amy Sproston, to bring back oodles of the stuff. Some of the goods were simply deliveries, others were gifts in thanks for both of their hard work on my house. While at Melanzana I couldn’t help but pick up my very first running skirt. I’ve wanted one for years and finally took the plunge. We’ll see how it works out (1) once I’m back east (Wyoming is not the best environment for a guy to try wearing a skirt) and (2) it’s not a bazillion frickin degrees!

Post-shopping spree dad and I stopped for a snack and Mexican mocha at my favorite Leadville coffee shop/breakfast joint/cafe – Cloud City Coffee House. During my two weeks in Leadville last summer I’d never tried the Mexican mocha. It was way yummy. Well sated, we wandered about Leadville for awhile before trying a brew at my other favorite Leadville establishment – Rosie’s Brewpub. Their 100 Mile Wheat is much improved from last summer and the Mt. Massive Malt Liquor is as tasty (and potent) as I remembered. After a respite at the hostel, we enjoyed pizza at Mountain High Pizza, some Jameson at the Silver Dollar Saloon, and a beer at Rosie’s. I finished the night with a tasty treat – Rosie’s rootbeer and Jaegermeister.

Waking up refreshed from a night at the Leadville hostel and a tasty breakfast at Cloud City, we shipped off. Rather than head straight to Cheyenne, I decided to transit Rocky Mountain National Park. Good choice. The mountains were much more spectacular than I expected! We also saw a ton of wildlife and got SNOWED on! :-D

Fast forward to race morning. I suck. Rather, I’m in sucky endurance shape. I went out well controlled and still degraded early and markedly. By mile 16 or so, I’d more or less settled on running a single marathon rather than the double. My feet were dragging by mile 18. On the flat along I-80 I was just plane slow. Despite having a four tenths of a mile lead on him at the turn around, fellow double marathon entrant and east coaster, Steve Noone, caught me at mile 20. I hung with him for around 4 miles and then fell back. By the end I’d run 7 minutes slower for the marathon split than I did during the double last year. Blah. If the race had been a mountain 50, I likely would have persevered, but the prospect of running another 26 miles did not excite me.

My performance at the Rocky Mountain Double Marathon, er…. Wyoming Marathon leads me to confirm that I will NOT run the Vermont 100 in July. Not gonna happen. I’m still not 100% on which fall 100 I’ll run, but San Diego is currently at the top of the list.

While I am disappointed that I’m not in better shape, especially since I had hoped to train hard and bust out this year, I am not frustrated in running and not willing to throw in the towel. Today’s run proves it. Upon waking I wasn’t too sore and kinda wanted to go for a recovery run. Unfortunately, our hotel was on a I-80 frontage road… not something that I’m excited to run on. Bright idea time – drive to Boulder and run there! So dad and I drove to downtown Boulder. I set off planning to run an easy, flat 5 miles on the bike trails or low on the hills. Ha. After gently climbing a trail paralleling a stream, I hit the Flatirons. I headed north – up onto the Red Rock trails, which had gorgeous views, and dropped down the other side where Mount Salinas presented itself. I had about 5 or 10 minutes until I should turn around to meet my dad within an hour, which is the outer limit I had told my dad for my return. I headed up the gradual path with plans to turn around part way up. No way. I had to go to the top of the gradual trail. Of course, when I go to that point, I wanted to head up to the top of the mountain. This trail was much steeper and I was already 50 minutes into the run …. dad would understand, so I kept heading up. Once on top, I might as well head back on the trails on the other side of the mountain, right? Right. Once at the bottom, I cruised (<7:00 pace) back downtown. Lovely run... and dad did understand. In addition to enjoying the run and being pleased at getting a workout in the day after a marathon, I'm psyched that the day after a decent effort I wanted to run further than planned and had fun doing it. This bodes well for my training going forward.

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.