Jemez – my longest 50k ever

On Saturday, I ran the Jemez 50 again.  The course had changed this year to be closer to town since Los Alamos is so dry that it’s already been put into stage 2 fire restrictions.  The weather was warm in the morning and I started in a T-shirt.

Joe P was there along with my friend Mike and his friend Grace.

You can see all the dust in the air and this is a paved road; it was ten times worse once we got on the trail.

The first 15 miles are climbs to the ski resort.  It was getting warm, but we made it in 3 hours and 25 minutes, only 5 minutes slower than my goal.

A fresh shirt felt great.

Over the next mile, the course goes up over the double black diamond ski run.  I started to bonk with the sun beating down on me.

I should have been bombing down the big hill on the other side, but I was really slow.  Mike made it in 15 minutes before me to the aid station.

I may look OK, but I wasn’t feeling good – my feet hurt to run and I was cooking in the sun.

Mike was way ahead of me by now and had time to pose for pictures.

By the time I saw Tracy again at mile 30, I was at a crawling pace.  The race always has a choice to switch to the 50k, but normally the choice is made at mile 20 – this year, the choice was here and it was an obvious one since the 50k finish was only 2 miles away.

I’m all smiles as I crossed the finish line.

Everyone seemed happy to see me and I was happier to see them.

Week 2 in BV

We are in our 2nd week in BV.  We’ve been doing something outdoors every day.  The terrain is rough and it’s tough on Izzy so I got her some socks for walking on gravel.  They work great until we find a river.

Every morning we go to the dog park at sunrise.  This was the view on Monday morning.

Monday afternoon, we hiked a longer trail on the other side of the river.   The new trail goes a little higher up so we got a bigger view of BV.

 

Today I went back to Avalanche Trailhead for my last big climb before the Jemez race this weekend.  I wanted to break my 1:22 time to the saddle, and I did with a 1:10.  I felt great and can definitely feel myself becoming acclimatized.  I climbed the little peak to the right which took me over 12k feet.  I decided to run down and made it in 38 minutes.

 

Getting some climbing in

The last two days, I’ve given the dogs a break since they seemed spent.  I’ve still gone out and climbed a lot to make sure I’m acclimatized for the Jemez race this weekend.

Yesterday, I went back to the same trail and climbed to the saddle in 1:22, which I thought was good until I looked on Strava and saw the record was 50 minutes…

I had hoped to pick my way up the east ridge of Mt Yale, but as you can see it was snow covered.  I then turned East to the unnamed mountain and started to climb.  However, once I cleared tree line the cold winds were miserable so I just decided to run down.  I made it in 44 minutes which makes the 50 minute record even more impressive.

Today I drove to St Elmo, which is an old mining town.  The drive was beautiful and the town is mainly summer homes and a general store.  I was looking for the Popular Gulch trail which is part of the race I’m running in August.  I found the trailhead and started up 1,000ft of switchbacks along a creek.  Once I reached the top, the trail flattened a bit and opened into a beautiful mountain valley.  I hiked through the valley and started switching up the northeast face and again encountered deep snow around 11,600ft.  Once again I turned back and ran down the trail.  My reward was a calorie rich ice cream cone from the general store.

I was almost at the town when I came across this little guy looking for sunshine.  The road I was following doesn’t have a lot of traffic, but I shewed him away to keep him safe.

Tomorrow is Yoga in the morning and a trail run on the east side of the river in the afternoon.

 

First few days in BV

Over the past few days, the dogs and I have explored some of the trails around BV.  On Wednesday, we climbed up the bike trail across the river and took the Whipple trail back down.  Great views of Mt Princeton.

On Thursday, we went 10 miles West of town to the Avalanche Trailhead.  We hiked the CT and  climbed up 2600ft to the top of the pass.  Tomorrow, I’m going to go back without the dogs and do the same hike, but continue West and see how far I can get up the East ridge of Mt Yale.

The dogs are crazy about “mountain gerbils” – they want to dig at every hole.

There is still lots of snow and Darby and Izzy don’t know what to think about it.  Both dogs love to stick their heads in it and Darby also rolls in it like a polar bear trying to dry itself off.

When we reached the top, the dogs were on alert for any wildlife.

Afterwards, we went to happy hour for beers and dinner.  The dogs were exhausted and soaked up the sun.

Today, we went back to the same trailhead and went the other direction.  We did a 5 mile out and back to the river.   The trail rolls a lot, but in total we only climbed about 800ft.  Izzy gets hot and likes to lie down in creeks.

We are in BV

Yesterday was a long day…. The dogs and I drove straight through from Austin to Buena Vista.  The dogs were as relaxed as ever – Darby on her bed and Izzy sleeping on the seat.

Izzy would sit up every time I slowed down to see if it was time for a break.

Darby just slept and barely opened her eyes.

In BV, I strung up a leash dog run until the fence gets put in.

We went for a walk along the River Park.  The dogs got to swim and play in two huge fenced in dog areas they put in.

End of April

Last week, Tracy had a work thing in Denver so I decided to go along.  We stayed downtown at the Ritz, and it wasn’t too shabby.   On Thursday, Mike and Tina picked me up and we went for a hike in one of the parks near the Front Range.

Way in the distance, you can see downtown Denver.

This weekend, Preston and I ran the 30k Tangle race.  Preston did great and my first two loops were fantastic, but I had nothing left for the 3rd loop.  Preston ran with a sprained wrist from football.

On Saturday, I have a trail marathon out at Reville Ranch.  This is usually a tough race, due to the exposure and warm temperatures this time of year.  However, the forecast looks promising this year.

On Monday, the dogs and I drive to Buena Vista, CO for the summer.  We are staying in the same house we rented last year.  I’m excited to climb all the 14k foot peaks in the area.  I found this cool map that shows all the summit trails.

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April

April has been beautiful in Austin.  This weekend Tracy had the Texas rowing championship.  I ran down and met her on Saturday and on Sunday we all met at a restaurant for brunch.

Tracy is in the bow of the boat.

Izzy and Darby have been getting a lot of exercise.  The problem with spring is all the animals are out which makes the dogs crazy.  They can’t get over their instincts to terrorize little creatures.  Izzy still checks this spot for turtles.  All the exercise means that the dogs hurt themselves.  Izzy can be seen below with a wrapped paw due to a swelling between her toes.  Darby also has a mouth issue – it looks like she bit her lip so hard that she almost put a full hole in her cheek.

Spring is here

Tracy took her sister to Mexico last week to celebrate Jenn’s birthday.  The dogs and I spent a lot of time together and did some grilling.  Izzy loves to eat anything and it’s pretty funny to watch her nibble on scraps of corn on the cob.

I put in 50 miles last week in an effort to get back in shape for the spring races.  I’ve got a 30k, trail marathon, and the Jemez 52 miler coming up in the next 6 weeks.  On Sunday morning, I did a long run to the pool and back and had to cross the creek at “stoner falls”.   The moon was setting above the trees.

RIP Barbara Skelding

Mom passed away on the 14th.  We’d known the day was coming and I’m so thankful that all of us got to spend time with her before she got bad.  Per her wish, we spread her ashes in the flower garden of the pet cemetery where her dogs, Teddy and Freddy, are buried.  Here’s a picture of Barb’s resting place.

Here’s a link to Barb’s obituary: http://obits.mlive.com/obituaries/grandrapids/obituary.aspx?n=barbara-skelding&pid=188473286&fhid=5484

At her service, we played a video all the kids made for her 80th birthday and her favorite song by Kid Rock.  Here’s a link to both:

A cold January

The first weekend in January was the annual Bandera race.  I was shooting for 14 hours, but missed by 26 minutes.  I consider it a wash since the course was 2 miles longer than previous years.  I finished in the top third overall and 3rd in my age group.

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain
14:26:10 13:47:11 63.40 4.60 21.03 9,140.42
hours hours mi. mph mph ft.

A few days later, I went to visit my mom.  It was freezing in Michigan but I spent most of my time visiting with mom and watching Downton Abbey.

This last week, I was back in Austin for the big freeze.  Once again, the frost weed was out and I took some great pictures.