Monday, May 13, 2013

Leadville Training Trip Day 2 or In search of non-snow covered trails.

I woke up feeling good this morning. No ill effects from the altitude or yesterday's leg stretcher. I grabbed some Super 8 coffee (did I mention that it's not so super?), and headed out in search of the trail around Turquoise Lake. I jumped in the rental car and rolled out to the Sugar Loaf Dam where  you can access the trail that takes you to May Queen.
 The lake is still frozen and, sadly, the trial is still covered in snow. I drove out to May Queen Campground to get a feel for what the aid station will look like and to try to find the start of the next section. The campground was mostly free of snow, but all of the surrounding trails were still buried. I decided to head back to town, stop in the Leadville Race Series storefront to get a map, and then pick out a section to run today since the snow was harshing my chi on running the first leg. I also wanted to try to get a better idea on how to find the elusive "boulevard" stretch that I found out I wasn't actually on yesterday. I got a map and some beta on how to find Mosquito Pass, which I heard is a good facsimile of some of the bigger climbs on the course. I have pretty much given up on running most of the actual course since it all seems to covered in snow. I haven't totally given up yet. Now that I have a good map, I'm going to head up towards the Fish Hatchery and try to find some access to the higher sections tomorrow afternoon. I'll run in town somewhere first and then hope to do some hiking up there later. I brought gaiters. Sooooo, anyway. I decided I'd run 10 miles along the lake on the road, and then hit Mosquito pass after for 8 miles or so of climbing and descending. The run along the road was scenic and I got 10 miles in feeling good the whole way. I walked some of the hills because I figure I'll be walking most of the uphill sections on race day. I was happy with an 11:30 avg for the ten miles since it had some good elevation gain.
 You can see the snow still piled up on the sides of the road. Once you get off the road, there's lots of snow in most places.
 I drove up to the area for that climb on Mosquito pass, but I got shut down by snow again. My little rental car isn't exactly good for this kind of exploring, but no worries I'm just here to get used to running at altitude anyway, so I drove back to town, refilled my hydration pack, and jumped on the greenway loop and knocked out another six miles. I felt pretty good the whole way. As I got about 3 miles out of town, the clouds started threatening to dump some cold ass rain on me. Lucky for me, the 3 miles back to town were downhill. I ran my fastest miles of the trip and felt pretty solid. I beat the rain back to town, and I was happily stretching back in my Super 8 palace as the rain pelted the ol' rental car down in the parking lot. Check out these clouds and the view from the last few miles today.

With two good running days under my belt out here, I'm feeling good about running at altitude. I have been able to maintain my normal pace on the flats and downhills. The climbing is a little bit of a different story, but I don't think this race is going to be about speed. It'll be a test of patience and will. I think I can handle that. I'll step up the hill training at home and work in some more hiking to get those muscles ready. But, before that, I have a couple more days out here to get some good training in-- snow or no snow. 

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