Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Week 1 Ultra Training: Mt. Quandary

Well, here I am, heavily into week 1 of ultra training - only 60 more weeks to go. I think it's going well. I really have nothing to gage this level of training, other than it has to be more than the 14 miles/week I have been logging so I thought it was the perfect time to tackle a little Rocky Mountain trail running. Let's start off ultra training with a little lung bursting climb to the top of Colorado - at the most perfect time of the year here: Autumn, when the Aspen trees are turning their vibrant yellow.


Old, abandoned house - probably from the gold rush days. These old houses intrigue me, as does that whole era. Reminds me a lot NE Iowa where I spent a lot of my childhood.

In all honesty, I really didn't know if I was going to climb to the top of Mt. Quandary, it just happened that way. Twin #2 and his friend wanted to go climb a 14er and fortunately was able to land my aunt's condo in Breckenridge for the night (thanks, J :) ), so Mt. Quandary was picked since it's close proximity to town. I figured I'd maybe just trail run some of the trails, you know - for my ultra training - but I had no plan and I just set off. The boys wanted to climb up the back side of this mountain, the more technical side (that kid will put me in an early grave, I swear!!) so I just blindly set out on my own. I knew this trail was only about 3.5 miles to the top but I didn't think I'd actually GO to the top (3800' up in 3.5 miles, ugh), so I made a PB sandwich, tucked it in my Camelbak, and off I went.

Here I go, let's get this ultra training underway!

The Aspen trees are simply amazing - I picked the perfect timing for their leaf-turning yellows. Not as vibrant in Denver right now, but the mountain's Aspens turn sooner .

This is how the trail started out: Nice, dirt packed, and full of pine tree shade.

It wasn't long after I took off before I realized I was not on the trail, I was on the road, RUNNING, but never did see the trail head. Note to Kovas: I easily get lost! Eventually, I asked someone where it was and I had gone about 3/4 of a mile too far. Opps. Get on the trail and I'm enjoying the dirt and watching for tree roots so I don't trip. 2nd not to Kovas: I am not very coordinated.

Pretty soon, the trail turns rocky. Uck. And STEEP. Double uck. I'm really not able to RUN the entire time now and resorted to the run/walk process I did on Pikes Peak when I ran that race last year. Ok, whatever, I was still getting in a workout!

Holy Crap!!! About 1.5 miles in, there isn't even a trail, it's just solid boulder field ROCKS!! I seriously think to myself I need to stop and go back down. I'm not even close to running now ... stumbling would probably be a better fitting word. The rocks were NOT fun, they hurt my feet, and they were loose so when you stepped on them, they slide all over making you lose your balance. And fall. I seriously thought I should turn around and head back for safer ground.
But then I saw views like this and ahhhhhh.....I can't turn around. yet.

Oh good lord, the boulders are getting larger and it becomes a climb and my HR has to be hitting 350! I got way off the so-called "trail" when I saw some people coming down way off to the side of where I was. I slipped on a rock and I totally wanted to bag the thing and go back down. But.....something was nagging at me and that stupid, "I don't quit" of marathon's past was suddenly at the forefront of my mind. "GO AWAY!!!" But it couldn't and somehow I decided I needed to continue on, I had to get to the top. I stopped for a few minutes and ate half my PB sandwich and while I was sitting there, some guys coming down stopped and talked to me for a bit and told me there were some mountain goats just up ahead. That got me moving....I felt a little burst of energy and just before the ridge, I spotted them: two of the most magnificent mountain goats!


Literally, I was like 10' from these guys. So very, very cool!

I'm not sure how I made it, but somehow I did - and the total geek I am, got the ole Garmin to prove it - 4.29 miles (with the added .75 miles lost at the start - and 14, 287' up in the air). I've RUN up Mt. Evans (14, 114') and Pikes Peak (14, 255') but this was by far more difficult. The scrambling over boulder fields really did me in! Thank GOD for that PB sandwich is all I can say (I was FAMISHED when I got back to the condo and ate about 8 billion calories - man I've never been so hungry)!!

At the top!
Total dork pose!

Spent about 10 minutes at the top and then I just wanted to get down. Coming down proved to be more taxing than going up. Those unstable boulders were just KILLING my feet (I literally could not walk "normal" for 2 days, the bottoms of my feet hurt so bad!).


My pals the mountain goats, still hanging out on the ridge. I felt bad disturbing them, but they were right on the "trail" (I use that term loosely - there wasn't much of a trail up this high) and I had nowhere else to go.

Notice the snow on some of the peaks? Though Denver's been having unseasonably WARM temps in the mid 90's (a good 20 degrees warmer than norm), the high country is starting to see signs summer is over.

Donning one battle wound (that I can publicly show....the other is a monster black bruise on my arse - owie!), I made it down alive in about 5 hours and 20 mins (which included the 3/4 mile lost and the 10 minutes on the top). I ran a tiny bit when I got back to the dirt trail, but honestly my feet hurt sooooo bad from those boulders, even walking was excruciating. I got a lot of toughening up before I tackle that 50 but Mt. Quandary was a good start. Man, I hate to brag but I am blessed to live in such beautiful country, with mountains that want to murder me....and make me stronger for that task at hand (Ahem, I paid my time when I lived in Alabama for a few years).

Week 1 complete! (and my heel held up "OK" - a little rough going down that beast, but not excruciating. YAY).

The rest of the pics below are taken on a bike ride the next day around Vail Pass. The bike was heaven for my wounded feet. Enjoy a little bit of heaven from Colorado to you!





Week 37:
Running: 28 miles
Total 2010 miles: 1246.21
Total 14er's climbed: 1
Swim: 1 mile
Bike: 26 miles
Wt Training: 1 1/2
HCC: 1 1/2

60 comments:

HappyTrails said...

Very nice Ms. Jill - that was awesome being so close to the Mountain Goats!!! Nice photos of the fall colors. Only one complaint - the pics don't blow up!!! :-)

AM-GoalsfortheWeek said...

Those pictures are fabulous! and are those the actual mountain goats you 'ran' into? I feel like you're in a Disney version of a Runner's Mecca! wow. did you see Julie Andrews out there too?'-)

Kerrie T. said...

Wow, wow, wow. Great pictures and an exciting run! Can't wait to follow your ultra training!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! You are BA! The pictures are super cool, good start to Ultra training! You definetly are blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the USA, I am envious! After a while the corn fields all look alike around here!

Meg said...

You are doing some rugged training, girl! I'm happy for you, those sites look like so much fun. I like the house, too. It's amazing to think about the history behind places like that. Happy First Training week, it sounds like you're off to a great start. BIG hugs!!

Christina said...

Beautiful pictures. I can't believe you saw mountain goats.

Slomohusky said...

Go Jill Go!

L.B. said...

Mountain goats? That's so awesome. Great pictures. Awesome that you've started training for an ultra. It'll be tough to top this run, at least because of the cool pictures you took :)

Char said...

That was some seriously insane running. Those boulders! And mountain goats! I'm impressed.

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Note to Jill: Continue ultra training on less technical terrain. :) Awesome scenery, wildlife and it's good to hear that, for the most part, your heel held up well. Great start!

Kate said...

Fantastic pictures! I especially love the one of the abandoned house. And what a run. Wow...you rock. I'm with anonymous...hard to get excited about the corn fields, although our area certainly has some scenic spots, too.

LMC said...

Great job Jill! I totally get that "had to get to the top" feeling. Happens to me on every mountain hike. CO is beautiful this time of year! We saw mule deer, elk and fox during our many hikes out there last week. You are lucky to be able to train in such a gorgeous space. One week down, 60 to go. Good luck!!

Julie said...

Hi Jill,
You are such a freaking rock star! That was an imressive start to Ulta trail training! I want to visit Colorado in the fall! Check out the Aspen trees and gorgeous everything:) OMG...I would be in heaven! That old house is so beautiful and holds an important part of Colorado history. I am a big history geek...stuff like that intrigues me too:) Thanks for sharing this wonderful post Jill! Hugs:)

C2Iowa said...

Great job Jill. I am green with envy -- you live in an awesome place. Loved the pics! Nice about the heel. btw- kids are supposed to make you feel that way -- My folks tell me that it is carma or natures revenge -- whatever -- I was a "good" kid. ha ha ha

Jamoosh said...

Beautiful run to say the least. I despise going down mountain trails, mainly because I am a dork.

Jamie said...

Dang those are some amazing pictures! I know those have to be some hard runs, but well worth the effort to run with those views surrounding you! Good luck with your ultra training...

Ewa said...

It seems you are turning into a mountain goat yourself. That trail was sure a killer. Congrats on braving it.
What a wonderful time to run in CO now. I love aspen.
Was that old house for sale? :)
Keep posting about your beautiful runs. What are your training plans for when the white stuff falls?

ShutUpandRun said...

OK so this post is why ultra running is so cool. You would never see mountain goats, boulder fields or views like that on a normal "street" run. Love it. And excited for you. Which ultra have you chosen?

Christi said...

Great pics!!! We do live in a very gorgeous part of the country!

Kenley said...

Wow, that is some awesome stuff Jill. Ultra running is something else. I love it when a 5k turns into a 10k, half marathon turns into a full, then a 50k, ........the distances go and go and you just want to see how far your body can go. Good thing those were mountain goats and not mountain lions. We have a few of those lurking about over here. Be careful. Thanks for sharing the story and the fabulous pics. BTW, what model garmin do you have? Take care Jill!

misszippy said...

You are bad ass taking that on! And so soon after returning to running--impressive! Such beautiful scenery. How did the boys fare on the other side?

onelittletrigirl said...

Badd ass battle wounds :) Love it!

You really snapped some great photos too!

marathonmaiden said...

only 60 weeks to go hahaha! i LOVE all those pictures. you were in such a stunning place! do you get to go there often? i totally would if i was close enough. we definitely don't have that kind of scenery here

Marlene said...

What an adventure to embark upon SOLO! Incredible views... totally worth it!

Emz said...

ok
completely freaked.

I can't wait to see what my legs look like after this.

YOU ROCK JILL!!

Heather said...

What a workout! Thanks for the sharing those pictures, makes me want to visit Colorado. :)

Runners Fuel said...

WOW! Great workout. I love the pictures!!

ann said...

amazing pics! congrats on getting week 1 going!

Whitney said...

I can't belive how close you got to those mountain goats! So awesome!

Running and living said...

This was a great week for you, things are coming together. I loved the post and the pictures - made me want to do some trail running (after my marathon, of course)

ajh said...

Love all the pics. You are one adventurous lady. You can't get mad at your son - he got it from you! Love that you saw those mountain goats so closely! Have you ever seen them like that before? You rock getting ready for an ultra! Go Jill!

Velma said...

Just amazing!!! I want to go there now.

lindsay said...

You so earned all the overeating!! Dang woman, I know you said it was tough but those pics really do speak 1,000 words. Insane! All very cool pics. I definitely need to come visit (yes so I am inviting myself, southern etiquette at its finest)!

funderson said...

I'm so jealous! I've never seen a goat in all my travels...

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

Awesome job with the trail running/hiking! That hike looked so beautiful! I can't wait to get up in the mountains to see the changing colors!

Suzy said...

Wow, oh wow is that a beautiful place! Great job with the hike. You were wicked high as well...how did you breathe?

DRog said...

AmAzInG!!
I saw your post last night but was heading to bed so had to save it:)

-Awesome Aspen Gold
-The second pic of the abandonded house looks like a painting..thats super cool
-Only ONE wound?!?
-Nice Trail Run / Climb / Hike

You seem really happy:)

Im most struck by the fact that since I have beeen following you I notice you are able to take advantage of what Denver and CO has to offer in the Mountains and the Outdoors. When I lived in Denver for 4 years I didnt do as much as you have over the past 8 months!
Derek

Abby said...

Ultra training! I think I missed that news - which one are you doing?

Your photos are amazing... definitely makes me want to come to Colorado and tackle some of those peaks.

Jamie said...

that is tough! seriously I hiked around there a few years ago and about died, not sure how you run that! nice work!

mtnrunner2 said...

Looks beautiful. Fall has been great in the mountains, and so has the weather.

Did you see Horton when you were there? http://climbing.about.com/b/2008/09/12/horton-the-quandary-dog.htm

When I was on Quandary in 2006 he was running up and down the trail all day. I hope he's still around, though he might be getting old for the 14er hiking gig.

Jennifer said...

Look at those colors! Great pictures!. I do say Jill when you decide to do something you go at with such enthusiasm and fury it's spectacular! I love it! Ramble on woman! Hugs!

Robin said...

Wowzer! Amazing. Beautiful. Tough.

You ARE my hero!!! *hugs* from Orlando!

Glenn Jones said...

Wow. I am sooooo totally jealous. What beautiful scenery! And fall colors? Wow. How beautiful.

And I'd give my left - well you know what - to see mountain goats! We have bighorn sheep around here - but I've never seen one in person. How cool!

Andrew Opala said...

Ok, here's the plan Jill - you can run to Boston, and you will not make me do this for my training!

Nice dork pose!

BTW, when I saw the picture of your watch after the goats, my mind quickly tried to convince me that one of the goats had that watch on its leg.

Petraruns said...

Jill - that is SO unbelievably beautiful there ! Can't get over it. Gorgeous!

William Plock said...

Amazing pictures Jill!

chris mcpeake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chris mcpeake said...

Awesome pics. Man you get to run some great routes

Anne said...

And we get 59 more weeks of this scintillating training?!

Adam said...

I love hiking up 14ers!!! I've never ran up one though - I have to think that would be even MORE awesome.

Wait - you did pikes peak? did you do the half or the full? That is a bucket list race of mine.

Molly said...

WOW! It is amazing to me how you can just go and take a run like that, with the terrain, and beauty, and GOATS! So happy for you that you're back at it! : )

Black Knight said...

How many beautiful pics! You are living an adventure. Nice goats, I am sure you know that they are the mascot of the Welsh rugby team: Taffy proudly march, leading the band, around the millennium stadium before every match.

ERG said...

Wow! The views were spectacular! You are MUCH more ambitious that I, though, to run on those rocks :). This will be a fun adventure to see unfold.
60 weeks of training? Incredible.

elaine said...

When are you going to write a book? That was such fun reading.

saundra said...

Great job, Jill. Nice photos and I like the new site design.

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

What a fun thing to do - ultra running and mountain climbing!

shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama said...

Jill you are so lucky. that was gorgeous! I have a real love/dislike relationship with rocks. I mean we are not really on speaking terms after my big fall but since I know I will be re-visiting them in no time I have to admit, they sure are beautiful!

Ouch! Nice war wounds!

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