life run

Start of Spring, Start of Spring Training

By on March 20, 2015

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant:
If we did not sometimes taste adversity, prosperity would not be so pleasant.
Anne Bradstreet

I’m not sure how winter passed by so quickly, but now it’s spring! We had a pretty mild winter here in Colorado, with a lot of snow but more days with 50+ degree highs than normal. My motto for the winter was pretty similar to the post office’s, “neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”. And with most days in the 40s (and even a couple all the way up in the 70s), it was pretty easy to stick to that motto. In the 90 day period between the start of winter and the end, I ran almost 700 miles (698) and 68,400 vertical feet. Just looking at those numbers makes me tired! But surprisingly, just like the spring, I feel like I’m just hitting my stride and I’m ready to start the real training season.


Taking a nap surrounded by flowers at Island Lake

To kick off spring, and official training season, I’m on my way to an 80+ mile week. My first 80+ mile training week ever. I have run more than 80 miles in a week before, but that week always included a 50+ mile race. No races this weekend, just lots of running.

I started the week in Chicago with my family to celebrate my parent’s birthdays and Saint Patrick’s Day. We did a ton of speed walking (even the slower members of my family still walk faster than the average person) and a ton of eating, but I managed to get in a 5+ mile run every morning. Those runs usually revolved around getting a morning cup of tea at David’s Tea, which I’m really missing now that I’m back in D-town. I continued running once I got back to Denver and am ending the work week with about 44 miles. This weekend is where the big miles really come in.


Moose is ready for summer too…he loves smelling the flowers!

On Saturday I’m slated to run 25 miles with “as much elevation gain as I can find”. That’s a direct quote from my training plan. Since I’m officially in training season, I officially need to start doing long runs that mimic my races. Since I’m slightly sadistic with my running, that means lots and lots of elevation gain. So I’ve planned a route that has 6,888 feet of elevation gain in 24.4 miles! Since ALL of the route is on the ski slopes at Beaver Creek, I’m starting the run very early tomorrow morning so I can hopefully be done before the lifts start running. The added benefit of running so early is that the snow will be frozen and easy to run up instead of the slush that it will turn into by midday since the forecast is for a high of 50+ degrees. If you want to check out the route you can see it here on Strava.


Flowers blooming in September along the Teton Crest Trail

After my run I plan on spending the rest of my Saturday lounging in the sun (maybe get a nice tan started?). On Sunday, Jason and I have another epic adventure planned. Piney Lake is one of Jason’s favorite spots but it’s a little challenging to get to in the winter because the forest service closes the road. Well now that Jason has trail running shoes and spiffy new trail running hydration vest, we’re going to hike/run along the snow road to get to the lake. It shouldn’t be too difficult because snowmobiles are allowed past the road closure and it hasn’t snowed very much recently so the trail should be packed down (unlike our adventure to Maroon Lake). Even though the trail shouldn’t be a problem, it is still somewhere between 8 – 11 miles to the lake (I’m not exactly sure where the road closure is because there is mixed information online) and includes 2,100 feet of elevation gain. The route for this adventure can be found here on Strava. That will make for a total of between  40 – 46 miles for the weekend and about 9000 vertical feet of gain. My total for the week will be a whopping 84 – 90 miles and about 13,000 vertical feet. Next week will be another big one and then it’s time for a rest week!

Well that’s how I plan on welcoming spring. I’m counting down the days until the flowers really start blooming in the mountains (they’ve already started down here on the plains). One of the best parts about living in Colorado is that you can chase spring for about six whole months as it climbs higher and higher in the mountains. Some of these pictures were taken last year on Labor Day weekend, and flowers were still blooming like crazy in the higher elevations!


Running through the flowers in Ice Lake Basin