Saturday, August 29, 2009

Juneau To Roberts

Last week before I left Juneau I was able to complete a mountain run that I'd been planning for several weeks. I was pretty stoked when the weather finally cooperated the day before I left town and I had most of the day off from work. The specific route will only be of interest to those who know Juneau so I won't go into too much detail about that. To keep it simple I went up the Mount Juneau trail and came down the Mount Roberts trail, remaining on ridgeline the entire way over Olds Mountain, Clark, Sheep, Roberts, and Gastineau.

I thought that if things went well I might complete this loop in 7 hours. I ended up doing it in 4:56!

I didn't feel very good for the first 2 hours, but somewhere near Olds I began to loosen up and my body and mind finally got into alignment with each other. After the climb down the backside of Olds I really hit my stride and was cruising really strong the rest of the way. Climbing up Clark felt like it only took me a few minutes (was probably 20 minutes in reality). The climb up Sheep required about 1,000 feet of steep snowfield. Much of it was so steep that I needed to climb on all fours to use my hands for extra "traction." It probably took 30 minutes for this climb, but somehow I felt stronger at the top than I did when I began the climb. From there I was back on established trails and I knew I could cruise on down to where I had started as long as my legs held up. 80 minutes later I was back at the trailhead and feeling as strong as I had felt all day.

All told it was probably no more than 20 miles but likely had about 8,000-10,000 feet of climbing. Certainly one of the most satisfying runs I've ever done.

My body is stronger in the mountains right now than it has ever been. I have really high expectations for the Wasatch 100. I'm trying not to feel too confident, but it's hard not to be optimistic when I've had so many runs this summer in which I've climbed 5,000 or more feet and felt really strong. I haven't always felt great on my flatter, higher mileage runs, but almost every time I've gone into the mountains in the past 2 months I've come down even further amazed with the strength that I've coaxed into my body.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Coming Around

I've been in Colorado for the past week now. The first few days at elevation were tough. Got in some decent runs near Boulder (elevation about 6,000) but my lungs and heart were feeling pretty bad. I'm now in Crestone (elevation 8,000) and feeling much better. I ended up deciding on 3 full weeks of acclimatization and I'm pretty stoked about that. Last year before Wasatch I had 2 weeks and I think that was enough, but only with a day or two to spare. If things go as they went last year I should be feeling almost completely adjusted with about a week still to go before race day. I won't do a whole lot of training in that time but it will be nice for my piece of mind to feel like I'm ready to roll more than a day or two before race day.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Hopped on the ferry on Friday and ran the 33 mile Chilkoot Trail with some friends yesterday. 8 hours total time. A mellow pace for me but I was the only one in our group who had ever run more than a marathon. It was fun to run with some folks who were pushing their limit and get a good long run in.

I didn't feel very good for the first few hours but I finally got in a groove about 4 hours in and pretty much felt stronger when I finished than any other point of the day. Perhaps next summer I'll go back and go for the fastest known time on the trail (6:47). I think I could easily do it under 6 hours, and maybe as fast as 5.

At any rate, it's all about Wasatch training right now. This past 2 weeks has made me feel very good about where I'm at in my training. I've done a great mix of hills, distance, and even a little tempo stuff and I've felt pretty good on almost all of it. I hate to get too optimistic, but things sure are coming together at the right time for a good run on September 11th.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Alpine Addiction

I don't think I have ever been this tired from so little mileage.

Over the past 3 weeks my mileage has been hovering around the 70 mile per week range, but over 90% of this has been climbing up and down steep mountains and traversing mountain ridges. I've seen more of the alpine surrounding Juneau in the past 2 months than in the previous 2 summers that I lived here.

Right now I'm addicted to the climbing. My body is thrashed (in a good way) from climbing 4,000 or more feet almost everyday for 2 weeks, but I'm finding it very hard to not climb to the high country each day after work. Last weekend I did a 3 day fastpack and got myself into some areas I previously only had heard of, but didn't think I could actually get to so easily. It's really amazing just where you can go on a mountain ridge if you just get up there and do it.

There have been some misadventures. More than one outing this summer has ended after dark without lighting, but it's been fun to push the limits and really see what's up there in the alpine where so few people go. I think tomorrow or Monday I'm going to try to put in a flatter, higher mileage run, but we'll see if I can actually force myself to do so with the mountains right there above me.