Eleventy-eleven (2016 running retrospective)

Mile 1111: Dec 31

Mile 1111: Dec 31

As the big odometer in the sky prepares to roll over once again, it’s time for a look back on the year of running.  Yes, I’ve done lots of other stuff besides run this year, but running is the thing I keep the exhaustive stats on.  Bear with me.

It was a good year in terms of raw stats: 1111.1 miles for easily my second biggest year ever and it didn’t even feature any major races to contribute to that.  A lot of the initial push of training was in prep for pacing Ben at Bighorn.

Looking through the year, I see a lot of friends, fun, exploration, and adventures to go along with all those miles.  Thanks to all my stalwart compadres for doing what you do and here’s to plenty more where that came from in 2017!

Mile 15: Jan 9th, Marshal Mesa area during the Southside Fatass

Mile 15: Jan 9th, Marshal Mesa area during the Southside Fatass

Mile 69: Jan 25th, Mt. Sanitas summit. My 10-year running anniversary!

Mile 69: Jan 25th, Mt. Sanitas summit. My 10-year running anniversary!

Mile 104: Feb 7th, Bear Peak with Ben.

Mile 104: Feb 7th, Bear Peak with Ben.

Mile 132: Feb 17, Stout Month at Southern Sun after a cold Night Run

Mile 132: Feb 17, Stout Month at Southern Sun after a cold Night Run

Mile 164: March 5, White Ranch explorations

Mile 164: March 5, White Ranch explorations

Mile 227: April 3, Green Mountain

Mile 227: April 3, Green Mountain

Mile 305: April 23rd, Red Mountain Open Space (crossing state lines)

Mile 305: April 23, Red Mountain Open Space (crossing state lines)

Mile 405: May 14, Quadrock sweep/crew

Mile 405: May 14, Quadrock sweep/crew

Mile 440 (ish): May 21 (3am): Road 68J was a muddy mess on our way to Nederland

Mile 440 (ish): May 21 (3am): Road 68J was a muddy mess on our way to Nederland

Mile 483: June 1, Jason's farewell night run

Mile 483: June 1, Jason’s farewell night run at Chatauqua

Mile 533: June 7th, Sourdough Trail. Ben demonstrates proper falling technique on the Sourdough snowpack.

Mile 533: June 7th, Sourdough Trail. Ben demonstrates proper falling technique.

Mile 555: June 18th, pacing at Bighorn.

Mile 555: June 18th, pacing at Bighorn.

Mile 586: June 18th: Powering up to Dry Fork

Mile 586: June 18th: Powering up to Dry Fork

Mile 630: July 9, Somewhere above Meredith, CO (where?)

Mile 630: July 9, Somewhere above Meredith, CO (where?)

Mile 635: July 13, Fern Canyon

Mile 635: July 13, Fern Canyon

Mile 649: July 17. Pagoda Peak, RMNP.

Mile 649: July 17. Pagoda Peak, RMNP.

Mile 677: July 27, Welcome to Wheeler Basin!

Mile 677: July 27, Welcome to Wheeler Basin!

Mile 706: Aug 8. Blue Lake, Glacier Gorge, RMNP with Peter

Mile 706: Aug 8. Blue Lake, Glacier Gorge, RMNP with Peter

Mile 733: Aug 12, Challenger Glacier. This is a very heady spot.

Mile 733: Aug 12, Challenger Glacier. This is a very heady spot.

Mile 749: August 22, Clark Peak, Rawah Wilderness with Brian

Mile 749: August 22, Clark Peak, Rawah Wilderness with Brian

Mile 820: Sept 10: Black Squirrel Half Marathon. Beer me!

Mile 820: Sept 10: Black Squirrel Half Marathon. Beer me!

Mile 922: Oct 27, Mt. Sanitas Swoop trail.

Mile 922: Oct 27, Mt. Sanitas Swoop trail.

Mile 944: November 6. Ouzel Creek above the falls, Wild Basin, RMNP

Mile 944: November 6. Ouzel Creek above the falls, Wild Basin, RMNP

Mile 984: Nov 24, Louisville Turkey Trot

Mile 984: Nov 24, Louisville Turkey Trot

Mile 995: Nov. 29, RMNP Tourmaline Gorge

Mile 995: Nov. 29, RMNP Tourmaline Gorge

Mile 1027: Dec 7.  Wasn't bad once we got moving and could feel our fingers again.

Mile 1027: Dec 7. Wasn’t bad once we got moving and could feel our fingers again.

Mile 1100: Dec 26, Community Ditch

Mile 1100: Dec 26, Community Ditch

Mile 1111: Dec 31

Mile 1111: Dec 31

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Pie-burner!

Some pie-filled, spandex-clad idiot spoiling another nice view of Spruce Lake.

Some pie-filled idiot spoiling another nice view of Spruce Lake.

Turkey trots are all well and good, but what I really need is a post-Thanksgiving bit of exercise to burn off some of the pie.  In this case, it was a social run with the “Denver Run Crew” (none of whom were from anywhere near Denver) up in RMNP (also not Denver). No matter.  We ran and were a crew, and it was lovely.

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A Proper Mountain Run

We're the height of alpine fashion!

We’re the height of alpine fashion!

Normally, winter comes to the Colorado high country like a door slamming.  But not this year (or at least not yet this year).  It’s early November and highs are still in the 50s in the mountains there’s hardly a hint of white even on the highest peaks.  I can sit here and grumble about it being unseasonable or I can take these looking-forward-to-ski-season lemons and turn them into extra-late-season-trail-running lemonade.

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High times in low gears

Nice aspens on CR68J

Nice aspens on CR68J

Ben has a new cyclecross bike and I spent the summer building my gravel grinder. Instead of the traditional end-of-summer mountain run, why not get out for a little Indian Summer wheeled idiocy? Early this summer we did an all-night run from Boulder to Nederland as ultra training. So we put together a bike version of this, though in the daylight so we could actually enjoy it. Ben #2 joined us for the first half of this on a bluebird Saturday in downtown Boulder.

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The Best of Intents

img_3379The first snow has fallen in the high country and season’s first frost obliterated our tomatoes last night. Summer is officially over and I’m relishing a season well-spent. I’ve always thought I understood the expression “halcyon days of youth”. But now I wonder exactly who’s youth it refers to. Seems I’m having a pretty halcyon time now.

The kids are getting older and tougher. Both of them love camping and I’m pleased that we managed a whole nine “intents” nights this year. I suppose we could maybe cram in another couple, but it’s getting cold at night. Continue reading

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Squirrel!!!!

Beginning the climb. Lots of people to overtake.

Beginning the climb. Lots of people to overtake.

Running a half marathon is not like running an ultra. For one thing (at least for me), it’s not the pinnacle of an entire season of training, emotional and physical preparation, and logistical ponderment. I’d registered for the Black Squirrel Half Marathon on a whim, so it’s supposed to be whimsical.  After a summer of much bigger adventures, I should be able to toss off a quick 13.1 miles with no trouble at all. Completely casual, right?

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Lucky Thirteen

I pulled #13. I know the rules.

I pulled #13. I know the rules.

Some problems have multiple solutions.  Three months ago, Levi talked me into signing up for the Gold Rush Bike Rally.  It’s a wildly-varying course with lots of climbing, some pavement and smooth dirt road, some loose gravel and sand, more dirt, steep descents, more pavement, and even some “moderate singletrack”. So what kind of bike would be best, hmmm? My road bike would clearly be the wrong answer here and my mountain bike would be drastic overkill for most of it. Accordingly, I got to work and built a middle-of-the-range gravel grinder bike specifically for this race (and other subsequent fun); modest off-road capabilities while still having decent efficiency on the smooth stuff. Low gearing for the climbs and the best brakes I could reasonably put on there for the descents. Would it be the right answer for this truly all-terrain race? Only one way to find out…

Ascending Switzerland with a good group of gentlemen.

Ascending Switzerland with a good group of gentlemen.

Other people’s solutions varied wildly covering pretty much the entire spectrum of bikes. Milling about at the start on Sunday morning in North Boulder, mostly I saw cyclecross-type bikes which looked a lot like mine (though were undoubtedly fancier and pricier) with a heavy sprinkling of mountain bikes. However, there were a cadre of big, puffy fat bikes (drastic overkill?) and even a couple people on tri bikes (aerobars!). My bed was made, time to go lay in it. Heck, it’s only 35 miles and 4500’ of gain. Shouldn’t take more than a morning. What’s the worst that can happen?

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