It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog, but that doesn’t mean the shenanigans have stopped. From skinning/skiing at Loveland/Absin, to romping around the snowy Boulder hills and even a jaunt out of the bubble to Fort Collins to run the Quadrock course. The spring has been fun so far, but nothing to write about until now 🙂
As ultrarunners we’re know for doing many silly things, so when the Rocky Mountain Runners proposed a nice multi-lap day on Mt Sanitas in Boulder, I figured it’d be good Hardrock training so why not? Mt Sanitas is one of Boulder’s icon hills, sitting right on the edge of town, rising 1300ft in less than a mile and a half, a full loop only covering a mere 3miles. The plan was to run ten loops (30miles, 13000ft of elevation gain) on Saturday 4/12, but for some reason I decided to try and make it an even dozen, just because.
I arrived at the trailhead at 5:35am to get a warmup sunrise lap in before the rest of the crew arrived around 6:30am, off I went at 5:43am. The morning air was calm and warm, and soon I was down to tank top, shorts and gloves. As I descended off the summit for the first time on that day a warm glow lit up the clouds to the east. I returned to my car to resupply at 6:25am, a 42min first lap, a bit faster than I’d anticipated doing. So I grabbed a new water bottle, two gels and off I went back up again, rinse and repeat.
The main Mt Sanitas trail is a mixture of steep rocky stairs with a few flat smooth runnable sections thrown in for good measure, while the descent off the East ridge trail drops quickly down on loose and rocky footing before leveling off for a nice smooth run down the Sanitas Valley, this would be the day’s route. I felt good the first six laps, strong power hike uphill (25-27min) and bombing the downhill (16-18min). As I started up lap #7 I could tell the fatigue was setting in and the pace was slowing, but I just continued along at a steady pace. The next few laps found me leap frogging with several other lappers who had started with the main group at 6:30am, it was good to have company on these last laps to help push me forward. With my legs tiring I opted to make #11 my final lap, so as I crested the summit and plopped down on the rocks at the top for the final time that day a smile crept across my face. It had been a beautiful day, on a beautiful, but challenging mountain and my legs had held up well. I cruised down the rocky East Ridge one more time, reaching the trailhead at 2:49pm, 9h06min after starting, average lap time of around 50min.
People always ask if doing laps/repeats of this nature is boring, to which I answer, no, but it offers other challenges and advantages. Logistics become very easy when you stop in at a basecamp every 45-60min, people of different paces can all run ‘together’ and share a challenging experience, whether you complete 1-4 laps or 10-11. And while I knew the footing and route very well by the day’s end, each lap offered up a new experience in how I felt, people to chat with and new subtleties that were not apparent on the previous laps. That being said, I’ll be ok not summiting Mt Sanitas for quite some time now, ready to explore some different terrain and get back to some skiing. Miwok in 3weeks and Hardrock in 13weeks, but who’s counting? Thanks to Vfuel for powering these crazy adventures and keeping me fueled and bonk free all day and to Hind apparel for their continued support. Run fast, run healthy, but mostly run happy.