Saturday, January 29, 2011

Feeling Too Good

I hadn't run for almost two week, not counting a three mile jog last night, because I've been busy and had a mild cold, but today with the temperature at about 60 I decided it was time to make up for it. I took the motorcycle out and headed to Eldorado Springs. It was certainly a shorts and t-shirt afternoon.

With rested legs it was fairly easy to run uphill. The first hill was 2.2 miles long with a 3.5 percent grade. I came off of that and started onto another climb of about two miles at 4% grade. Things leveled out for a while as I entered Eldorado Canyon, but from there I started up Rattlesnake Gulch. This climb was something over 2 miles and an average of 9% grade. I was cold by the time I reached the end of the climb and my IT bands were starting to act up. I forgotten all about them for the past few years. I was 9 miles into the run at the turn around point and on my way down decided that I was not going back the way I came.

I was able to make it back to the motorcycle with just a 4 mile return and 1800 ft of vertical. I was pleased with the run overall especially that I was able to run it all; I stopped for pictures but I was moving most of the time. I was surprised that I was out for six minutes shy of three hours, but almost nothing was flat.

There is a road at the bottom of the valley

I generally look worse in photos on a run

These rocks are the same as the ones in the photo below

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Life under the Bell Curve

Colorado Staircase

Snow Pack


Green Mountain from Bear Peak Summit

Boulder County to the Divide

Running is one of those sports that we all can experience in a way not unlike the top athletes in the sport. If I hit a softball and can run to first base, in that moment my experience is not all that different from a professional baseball player. If I struck out every time I was at bat or the ball went by me every time it was hit toward me I would only experience the negative. Running is different; as long as I can stretch one foot out in front of the other my experience in the moment is basically the same as a world class runner. It's sad that the experiences people could have are suppressed by their tendency to compare their ability to others, whether it's physical, academic, or otherwise.

Yesterday I ran to the top of one of Anton Krupicka's favorite summits (elevation gain 2674 ft), Bear Peak, the neighbor of Green Mountain behind the Flatirons of Boulder. I ran up Shadow Canyon from Eldorado. There are places I had to power hike and almost crawl, but for the most part when I'm in the zone of choosing between snow, rock, ice for the next foot plant and I'm breathing and sweating surrounded by the forest, it's the same experience. Only when I put him next to me and feel inadequate by immediately lagging behind, do I notice the difference.

Most of us go through life with roughly the same capacities as everyone else. There is the handful that go through life at the extremes under the bell curve and we shouldn't measure ourselves by them; we should do what we can without comparison. Anybody else under the fat part of the curve that we find ourselves competing with should be seen as friends who are helping us to seek our limits and do our best.