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Folsom FieldIt’s all about Ellie this week.  We fly down to Austin today so she can join her Papa on a trip to NYC.  They have tickets to a couple of plays and her cousin Rachel from New Mexico is also going.  It was quite the girl’s night last night as Karen and Brit helped Ellie pack.  I’ll work the week in Texas and fly back home with her a week later.  Austin is expecting a high of 104° this weekend, with humidity to match, so running will be a survival event.  Regardless, I’ll find a day (maybe next weekend) to sneak down to the Greenbelt for a trail run.  The Save our Springs Alliance is selling this pretty cool map of the Greenbelt online and at area stores for $6.  Maybe I’ll take a dip in Barton Springs to cool off.

I ran 10 miles on the LoBo Trail Saturday and another 10 on the Mesa Trail today.  Twenty miles in two days.  It’s nearly as hot this weekend in Boulder as in Austin.  I ran early this morning to escape the heat, because yesterday’s noon-time run wiped me out.  Today’s run was further enhanced by a Bloody Mary at the Chautauqua Dining Hall, along with my après-run brunch of a Caprese Omelet.

Yesterday’s run was miserable.  I even walked a bit on the return.  Today though was nice.  You can’t not have a great run on the Mesa Trail.  Keith, Steve and I left Longmont for Boulder at 6:30am to beat the heat and allow for our day schedules.  I still have to pack for my 5pm flight.  We met up with some other teammates who plan to run the Epic Relay with Keith and Steve next weekend – Brian and Kevin.  Both strong trail runners.  Kevin has to be because his wife Beth publishes Boulder County’s most popular running blog, Shutupandrun.

Launching from Chautauqua Park at 5700 feet, the trail rises unrelentingly to 6292 feet in the first mile and a half.  To figure out the grade, convert everything to the same unit of measure.  Let’s go with feet.  The rise was 592 feet.  Done with the rise.  There are 5280 feet in a mile so the run was 7920 feet.  592/7920 gives a grade of 7.5%.  That’s a decent incline, but one that most runners are capable of running – assuming they are acclimated to running at an elevation one mile above sea level.

I’ll spare you the math from here on out.  The next eight tenths of a mile is down a 5% grade and then back up a 10% grade over the next three quarters of a mile.  This is the high point of the run – assuming you turn around after 5 miles like I did.  The trail has a couple more 150 foot drops followed by intense 10% inclines (reversed on the return); otherwise it smooths out for some nice running.  There are a number of trail intersections.  The signs either say Mesa Trail with double arrows or have a single arrow pointing to South Mesa Trailhead, which is about 7 miles from Chautauqua.  This is my first run on Mesa Trail since the mud, snow and ice of the spring.  Great trail conditions now.  Get out there.