Trips to the mountains are always special, this last one up to Colorado especially so. 50 miles of quality running at altitude at the inaugural Quadrock 50 http://gnarrunners.com/quad-rock-50/ at Lory State Park in Ft Collins, CO. The course profile says it all:
Run a clockwise 25 mile loop, then turn around and retrace your steps counterclockwise for over 11,500’ of elevation gain/loss. I started conservatively with a healthy respect for the altitude. 2am wake-ups and 5am starts will do that to you! Breakfast consisted of my usual serving of Spiz, an Espresso Chip Bonk Breaker Bar, a banana, and copious amounts of coffee. We were treated to a fantastic day, just cool enough for a short sleeve shirt, arm warmers (by DryMax – and you will be able to get your own pair soon!), Drymax socks, and a thin pair of gloves. The aid stations kept us very well fueled with refills of EFS liquid shot gel to fill our gel flasks, which worked great! I ran a good amount of loop 1 with first time 50-miler Scott Tucker from Pearl Izumi who is celebrating his 50th birthday year! At the halfway start/finish point at 4:13, I intentionally took a legitimate 100-miler aid-station break and washed down a Peanut Butter and Jelly Bonk Breaker Bar with a can of Starbucks DoubleShot Espresso, YUM! This was about a 4 minute pit-stop, but it was worth it to practice getting in a healthy dose of 400-500 calories, rehydrate, and let the heart rate come down a bit. I peeled off my arm warmers and headed back out with a slightly larger water bottle than on the first loop.
Loop 2 started climbing IMMEDIATELY, and I took my time here to let my stomach digest and to safely get by the oncoming runners who were finishing their loop 1. Here I linked up with local runner Mike Hinterberg, who turns out is also running Western States for the first time this year. He knew the course cold and was a great asset to pace and learn from. He distanced himself from me for good somewhere after the Horsetooth Aid station at mile 40, where Meredith (who got 4th place overall in the 25-miler!) was waiting to crew for me: with cold beer in hand no less! I was happy to finally hit the last climb, downhill and roll in to the finish on the flats, breaking 9 hours in 8:55. That put my loop 2 split at 4:38. Solid day in the books.
After a quick change of clothes to keep from getting chilled, we hung out for a Colorado-style BBQ before heading back to Boulder for a great night sleep after Beau Jo’s pizza for dinner of course with the lovely Michelle Lapuente! Sunday morning we hit the Boulder YMCA for an easy swim, caught some breakfast, and then walked around Pearl Street (graduation weekend for CU-Boulder) for a bit until driving to Denver for a quick visit with our friends Bret and Lisa and their WONDERFUL twin girls, who treated us to homemade bison burgers for an early dinner before catching our 8:30pm flight back home.
This coming week finds us out in California early in the week for a work conference and then for a 3-day Western States training camp out on the WS course over Memorial Day weekend. Totally excited to put in 3 back-to-back 20 to 30 mile days in the canyons, with Aliza, and see Meredith endure a 4 mile swim at Folsom Lake. After that, it’s 4 weeks until GO-TIME!!!!
Thanks for reading, and thanks for the continued prayers and support!!