Getting ready for bed but I want to blog this while my knees still hurt. I ran up and down a 7 mile trail this morning on 14K foot Mt Bierstadt to prep for the Imogene Pass trail run in September. And to be honest, my knees don’t hurt that badly. At least not in a manner I’d associate with real pain. It’s more like they just won’t operate without coaxing. I feel like the tin man in need of oil. And indeed I did self-prescribe lubricants. Two Avalanche Ales for lunch at the Motherload Tavern in Breckenridge. And it was hard to count the glasses of wine tonight as I kept refreshing them.
I’m really happy I hiked this trail today. It was Rob Graham’s idea for a training run and I am now much more confident that I’ll be able to make the cutoff times for the 10 mile run up Imogene Pass. The 7 mile drop into Telluride should be doable as well but no doubt will be the source of most of the post race pain. All I can do at this point is take comfort knowing that gravity will smash my frame against the rocks with less force at 170 lbs than the 187 I started the year out at. Rob and I started out at the Guanella trail head which begins above tree line around 11,500 feet. The route started off flat and we ran for nearly a mile before the incline moderated our pace to a power hike. We figure we maintained about a 2.5 mile an hour pace – which might sound slow but not after you throw in the altitude, steep plane and rocky terrain. The trail was packed with hikers, 100s of them. It was difficult to find a free rock to sit on at the summit with the crowd. It reminded me of those penguin videos with thousands of birds packed on a beach.
We waited to run on our descent until the hikers cleared and the loose gravel thinned to hard packed clay. With free range and traction, we let loose our legs and soared downward until our muscles were exhausted. I know I won’t be able to handle a downhill pace like that for 7 miles at Imogene, just another good reason for this practice run. But I also don’t expect to have to serpentine down the 4×4 road into Telluride like we had to on these single track switchbacks. I actually enjoy the challenge of committing my footfall among the rocks as the momentum forces quick and sure decisions. But the friction takes its toll. The heat begins in the soles of my shoes and rises up my thighs. And when the pain begins to shoot into my hips, I ironically begin hoping for a short uphill for the relief it could offer.
A comment on my last running blog, I felt much stronger this past week. After 2 years of my brother advising me to take supplements, I finally acquiesced and bought some protein mix to take after workouts to enhance recovery. I was tentative because some labels I read on supplements warn against consumption if you have heart ailments. I was diagnosed with tachycardia arrhythmia at 24 – which isn’t as serious as it sounds – but I have to be careful about drugs. And quite frankly I find specious anything ingestible that isn’t regulated by the FDA. So I mixed this protein powder with smoothies or Gatorade this past week and felt stronger between runs. It didn’t hurt that the weather cooled off this week.