Cliffs of Dover

It was sunny and calm today, which meant no beanie, no jacket, shorts but no sweats for my run. I headed down the trail with the goal of turning around on the footbridge at the south side of Monument Valley Park, right around Bijou Street. This is the lowest point of what I consider Monument Valley Park… the trail continues south through another park; and I’ll probably get back to running that at some point mid-to-late summer. Maybe sooner.

On the way to the park, I was listening to Eric Johnson’s Cliffs of Dover. I even came up with an entry for Hanna’s run pun game (though it’s a song title instead of a movie): Cliffs of Rover. Which means I started out too fast, of course.

When I turned back north, I was at 2.5 miles and not really enjoying the thought of the 2-mile slog uphill back to the start point. I ended up walking a little bit around 5K for some water… I always walk aid stations I’m “stopping” at, so I figure the justification works…. a little. On the downside, it pushed my pace from 11:30-40 or so to up near 12-min/mile.

As I crossed back over to the east-side-of-the-river trail at Uintah, I gave myself permission to quit at 4 miles or the Nielson Challenge marker, whichever came later. But as I crossed over the Nielson marker, I figured… meh, I’ll just make the push and finish where I started.

Today’s Stats
4.32 m
51:52 mm:ss
12:01 avg pace

Today’s route

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Stone to Popsicle

This morning was clear and sunny with temps around 40°F (~4.4°C); finally some nice weather again, I thought. I stepped out on the porch, and wind hit me… Brr! Another bundled up run for me.

I ran the same route today as I did on Friday. I ran it because I knew the stretch between the stone bridge and the Popsicle Bridge, running north, is a huge mental hurdle. I commented that I should run it more often to get over that hurdle… I didn’t get through the run without walking a little bit, but I did tell myself no walking the stretch between the stone bridge and the Popsicle Bridge.

Weirdly, when I finished up, I was .2 miles shorter than Friday’s run. Somewhere along the way, I lost a couple of tenths. And I was slower at the shorter run! If I keep improving in this direction, I’ll be back on the couch in no time!

Today’s Stats
3.19 m
37:04 mm:ss
11:36 avg pace

Today’s route

Final February 5K

It did actually snow Wednesday, but only after it made me look silly by getting out before the sun came out and made things nice. As the 3-4 inches of snow fell that evening, I wondered if I’d even get in a run today. But it was sunny and 43°F (6.1°C) when I left for the park… oh yeah, and windy. Windy enough to put a cold edge on outside. You’d think it was winter in Colorado or something.

I picked my route today based on what I guessed would be clear of snow. I did the loop around the park with my turn around the Mesa bridge. I started out going south, which meant a long slog up the east side of the river. I usually run down that side, not up it; and it’s a major mental block for me to run north on that side (though both my half and my 10K were both out-and-back runs along that part of the trail). I had to take a couple of walking breaks. I think I’ll try to run that side going north more often, maybe I can get over that mental obstacle.

I rounded the turn around at the Popsicle Bridge doing an 11:40 pace; and knowing I had about half a mile to go, I thought I’d do some penance for walking: see if I could drop that pace to 11:30 by the time I was finished. So I set about trying that…

Speaking of goals, let’s talk about how I did with my

February Goals
In my January Wrap Up, listed these goals for February:

  • Keep up the consistency
  • Finish runs without walking
  • Running the loop
  • Push 3+ miles
  • No further injuries

How’d I do? Well, I think I may have set the bar too low, because I managed to achieve all of these. The loop is shorter (by a mile) than I’d remembered. The only one of these I struggle with still is finishing runs without walking. As I push my distance, I can continue to work on this one.

I impressed myself a few times with my pace. I’m likely never going to be a fast runner (the fastest pace I’ve ever consistently done was around 8 min/mile, and I was 18 and a smoker and running strictly under duress). I’m no longer 18 (but also no longer a smoker) — but you can see I’ve never been too speedy.

Here’s a table comparing last month to this month.

Category January February
Activities 15 12
Longest Run Time 29:29 mm:ss 47:55 mm:ss
Distance 24.43 mi 35.35 mi
Avg Dist 1.63 mi 2.95 mi
Avg Active Time 19:07 mm:ss 34:42 mm:ss

I didn’t do any “extra” runs this month.

March Goals

  • No further injuries
  • Keep up the consistency
  • Four-mile runs
  • Run 5 miles
  • Finish runs without walking
  • Hope to Achieve: Expand the loop to the entire length of Monument Valley Park

Spring time in Colorado usually brings heavy wet snows; but if February’s harsh cold snaps didn’t keep me home, March’s weather shouldn’t be a big factor if I don’t let it. Even though I ran outside MVP, and probably will do more of that for variety, the MVP loop is a convenient goalpost. I already have some thoughts for post-March goals, things I’ve thought about while out running.

Today’s Stats
3.21 m
36:49 mm:ss
11:27 avg pace

Today’s route

Racing the Weather

What a difference! Monday and yesterday were sunny and warm. Today, I was convinced the only sun I was going to see was right after sunrise before the clouds consumed it. The clouds are down over Pikes Peak in a posture that usually indicates snow’s coming — also there’s a winter weather advisory for today, according to my Big Brother Device. (As an aside, isn’t that term just stupid? In winter, will we ever have anything but ‘winter weather’? A winter weather advisory might be worth noting in June or something… but in February? I guess government meteorologists have to justify their fat paychecks somehow).

Anyway, I opted to head out for my run early to beat the snow in the forecast. It was chilly, around 30°F (-1°C); but the wind made it seem much colder. I didn’t have to worry about puddles of/and mud today, so there’s that. (An update since I finally got the route data: now it’s very sunny out there (but still windy) and the summit of Pikes Peak is starting to break through the clouds. It looks like the joke’s on me. Oh well).

I ran down to Mesa/Cache la Poudre bridge, crossed over to the west-side-of-the-river trail and headed back north. As I neared the Uintah underpass, where I’d planned to cross back over to the east-side-of-the-river trail, I was still feeling pretty good. Figuring I could always walk if necessary, I decided to continue on the west side of the river. While this would mean some backtracking along the north side of Monument Valley Park around Boddington Field, it also meant I wouldn’t have any steep hills at the last bit of the run.

As it turns out, I didn’t need to walk at all (which is a great win). And I impressed myself with this pace. And it turned out to be a sniffle over 4 miles… what a great run!

Today’s Stats
4.13 m
47:55 mm:ss
11:36 avg pace

Today’s route

The #1 Hazard

Today was gorgeous: 50°F (10°C), sunny and cloudless. If I hadn’t planned to run anyway, it’s the sort of day that would’ve lured me out. The secondary trails were no longer covered in snow: there were patches of soft snow, slush, ice, mud and puddles, along with a few solid surfaces. My calves were mud splattered within the first half mile.

For variety, I opted to turn north at the top end of the park and run along the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail toward Goose Gossage ball fields. I didn’t get quite that far; I turned around at a PPGT mile marker.

I was sore before starting out today: I spent a solid two hours at an indoor archery range yesterday putting about 120-130 arrows downrange (my archery buddy/coach/mentor/idol has a competition this weekend and wanted some prep time), and my legs were sore already. But that still didn’t keep me from starting out too fast. I’ve never been able to reign myself in at the off; but I wound up running my usual 12-min pace.

The drawback to beautiful days like today on the trail, especially after a week and a half of super-cold weather, is the number one hazard of trail use in Colorado Springs: cyclists. They were out in packs today unsurprisingly. What did surprised me is there were three that displayed some consideration: two that announced they were coming up behind me and one warning me of some icy surfaces.

Today’s Stats
3.48 m
41:50 mm:ss
12:01 avg pace

Today’s route

Another in the Books

Well, a bit after I got home on Wednesday it started snowing and dropped about 3-4 inches on us. So that meant more Core Workout (thanks, Hanna) on the secondary trails. There was a lot more to wade through today, not as much packed down as the other day.

It was sunny and relatively warm (around 32°F/0°C)… warm enough to be a little muddy even. Today’s run nudged me over last month’s run distance (by .1 mile). But my pace today was surprisingly good.

Now for a couple of days without running (not sure if I’ll rest exactly)… One more week of February runs to go.

Today’s Stats
2.18 m
24:25 mm:ss
11:13 avg pace

Today’s route

Almost Waited Too Long

I was hoping the snow would be over for a bit — and it might be, but there’s snow in the forecast for this afternoon. I watched the clouds move down the eastern slope of Pikes Peak with my fingers crossed there’d still be sun out when I went out to run.

I finally opted to go early for my run; but as I got to the park, the clouds moved in and covered the sun. The temp wasn’t too bad, though; so I opted to run the loop around the north side of the park. The concrete part of the west side of the trail was cleared, but that’s only around half a mile. The rest of that side was packed snow. Not an easy run, but I felt great. I opted to quit at 2.5 miles, but I didn’t let myself walk at all today.

I was pleased with my pace though. And I’ve almost run as many miles this month so far (22.36m) as I did in January (24.43m); so I’m pleased with my progress too.

Today’s Stats
2.5 m
28:42 mm:ss
11:30 avg pace

Today’s route

Heat Wave

It’s a heat wave… the temp today is in the mid-30s (°F — about 1.7°C). Compared to last week’s single-digit temperatures, this is a most welcome heat wave. Looking out the window in preparation for my run, I saw blue skies and sun… which doesn’t particularly mean warm.

I opted not to run yesterday because it still was pretty cold, barely edging into the double-digit range, which means I have to double up on runs.

I was not surprised to find the trail covered in snow… the parks department had made a half-hearted attempt to clear the main trail; they couldn’t be arsed to do any of the secondary trails in the park, so the first half mile was kind of treacherous and slow. It’ll probably not get much better by tomorrow.

I wussed out opted to quit at 2 miles.

Today’s Stats
2 m
23:47 mm:ss
11:52 avg pace

Today’s route

Okay, That’s Cold

Okay, so I didn’t go out to run at 8:46 this morning; but when I did head out around 11:15, the temp on the Big Brother Device had only risen to 7°F (-13.89°C).

I left thinking I was only going to do a mile — I didn’t have any expectations beyond that. It was almost cold enough that breathing hurt. I dug out my balaclava so I’d have something other than Santa’s breath on my cheeks and set out. The sun made a valiant effort at cutting through the clouds as I finished up my first mile; it didn’t really help much since the wind coming out of the south was frigid (rare that happens here). I ducked under the stone bridge and ran along the river bed, which is about 30 ft lower than the trail — I thought it might block some of the wind (it didn’t block much). As I ran, I noticed my exhaled breath frozen on the balaclava… cheery.

On my way back north, the wind was to my back and I didn’t really feel it, so I kept my pace as I wound back through the park. I avoided the running up the hill quandary by running another .75 miles instead — showed that hill! — and planned to quit at 5K or the start point, whichever came later. I was careful about my post run stretching in the cold. I’ll do a better job this afternoon ifwhen I can actually feel my toes again.

All in all, it was a good run… It’s the sort of day that I’d normally say Screw it, I’m staying in. Is the moral of the story that ignoring good sense is a win?

Today’s Stats
3.15 m
37:29 mm:ss
11:55 avg pace

Today’s route

Testing My Resolve

This morning when I woke up, it was clear outside; I even saw the summit of Pikes Peak briefly out my window before the fog rolled in and used nature’s Gray Out on it. As the morning moved on, I was able to see the fog freeze to the trees and pine needles as the world turned into what I woke up to on Monday.

February seems to be testing my resolve to stay consistent.

Random thought: When it’s overcast and cold outsite, it’s hard to remember to drink water.

It was around 19°F (-7.2°C) when I got to the park, and I’d seen some sporadic snow flurries on the way over. Despite that, it was a relatively pleasant run. I even sort of ran up the hill at the end…

Today’s Stats
2.45 m
27:59 mm:ss
11:24 avg pace

Today’s route