Monthly Archives: April 2013

Skydiving, a half-marathon run 8 days later — how do I match my past 2 weekend activities?  How ‘bout climb a 14er?  Wait, I’ve done that.  How ‘bout climb a 14er in winter?  Yeah, that’ll work.

Joined a new hiking team called HardKore Hiking & set my alarm at 3:45am Saturday morning for a trailhead meet-up at Quandary Peak, just south of Breckinridge (2 ¼ hours way).

Because of xtreme high altitude conditions, Ro spent Friday nite & Saturday day at Camp Bow Wow.  Xtreme?  Heavy mountain snow, moderate to high avalanche warning & summit wind chills at or below zero.  Just your average Saturday in Colorado 🙂

Missed the camaraderie of my friends John & Annmarie, but realize they also have other lives, so today was about forging new friendships – AND climbing a 14er in winter!

Crampons, poles, snowshoes, extra layers (shirt & socks), goggles, food supplies, sunblock & bottled water (Camelbak lines freeze in these conditions – yeah, even with insulator coverings).  Check, done, ready to go.  2 ladies dropped off pace fast, said our goodbyes – now we were 7 (one ‘no show’ – originally supposed to summit with 10).

After tree line, found ourselves hiking as two separate groups of 4 & 3.  Maintained position most of our climb to the false summit at 13,200ft.  New Hampshire marathoner Alex summited first – kicked Brandon, (Minnesota) Matt & my butts.  Quick pace, super efficient stride.

15-minute water & rest break at the false summit – studied the peak ahead.  No visible trails today, so our choice was GPS or ski mark remnants of backcountry skiers past.

Alex started to chill so once again, she took the lead.  Not that this was a competition, but as one of 2 older guys and newbie to the group – didn’t want to lag behind.  Lucky for me, hills are my friend.  Don’t get me wrong, I think the same way everyone else does, but I dig in mentally & can maintain a strong steady pace uphill.

Found myself out front for much of the climb but jeez my lungs were burning.  Brandon caught & passed me with a ¼ mile to go. ARGH!  5 minutes back I summit 2nd.  Last summer, Quandary was my least favourite of six 14ers Ro & I completed.  This day however Quandary soared #1; the Rockies in winter are AMAAAZZZING!

SUCCESS!  Wisconsin pharm researcher Brandon dug a summit snow shelter as protection from the bitter wind.  Matt & Ed joined 10 minutes later; our final 3 hikers (Krista, Alex & Stephen) summited another 10 minutes back.

What else makes this Team ‘HardKore’?  We summit parked for 30+ minutes & ate lunch.  Windchill below zero.  Crazy!

A majority of folks packed sleds to enjoy a quick ride down.  I took the opportunity to trail run down the mountain, using poles as rudders to steady my pace & balance.

An hour half back to treeline, found myself all alone so caught a 20 minute nap on the snowpack.

High altitude, snow & sunshine – BEST combination, FAAANNNNTASTIC day!


WATCH my YouTube video ‘Quandary Peak 14,265ft’


FULL Colorado weekend – group hike on Saturday, half marathon on Sunday.

Not a lotta consistent training this month but a goal is a goal – one race a month (minimum) until completing a marathon in 2013. Set my alarm for 5a.m. – up and out for my 2nd half marathon of the year.

Downed my morning oatmeal & honey, walked Ro & set the GPS for Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins – an hour fifteen north of my Louisville home.  (Last minute) bib pickup from 7-8am, directly before our half marathon start at 830am.

After another snowy week, completely lucked out with sunshine & 50 degree race day temps.  Warm enough to run in shorts & a long-sleeved dry wick.  Wore my Red Sox’s cap – supporting victims & families of Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing.

For religious reasons, I rarely enter races on Sunday – so today’s run, the 1st in Colorado after Monday’s bombings, was certainly unique.  Started off with 26.2 seconds of silence, then moments later saw our runner pack wave forward (didn’t hear a gun start – guess I was that far back :().

HILLS – have never run so many hills in all my life.  However after adjusting mentally, I found today’s course to be an advantage.  Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University so our field was crowded with college runners.  One key advantage for us older folks – we’re stronger mentally & the young guns can’t run hills.  Running UPHILL, they’d drop down to a walk.  Running DOWNHILL however, they’d not only catch me but fly right past me.  Actually started to look forward to the next monster mountain ahead – just so I could pick off another young gun again 🙂  Additionally, volunteers flooded the hill tops and cheered each successful runner’s climb.  Mighty nice.

Didn’t stop for water until mile 10 & then again at 12 miles.

Finish line ahead but couldn’t believe the ticker – under 2 hours, my goal time.  WOW!  Seriously?  and with sooo many hills?  Cut more than 5 minutes from last month’s Moab finish.  Top 25%.  Crazy nice surprise.

2 (maybe 3) races to go before Alaska.  1000% gonna do this thing!



Results courtesy of Runlimited Timing Results on &


Place     Div/Tot         No.        Name           Nettime

===== ======== ===== =======  =======

451       28/48            1006     K R Haga    1:59:41



More than a foot of snow over Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday…again.  What to do on the weekend when your dog has cabin fever? HIKE.  And even better – how ‘bout a group DOG hike? 🙂

Friends John & Annmarie joined Lisa & me (our new Louisville-based member) for a Saturday morning group hike leaving from NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) in Boulder.  This was not just a group hike – it was a group DOG hike.  Joining Ro today was Fred, Penny & Karma.  Within 10 minutes on Mesa Trail, I was effectively guilted into ditching Ro’s leash – and boy did he have a BLAST!   Initially, he looked confused – ‘Dad, my leash is off” – but then ran wildly in circles, leaping through snow & chasing Penny (the dog closest his age – both a year-half old).  Snow, water, mud – first with our pack, then Ro’d get confused and join other hikers’ dogs ‘til I’d call out to rejoin his posse.

A mile half to Chautauqua & Karma (Annmarie’s Jack Russell) was shivering uncontrollably.  Her little body was no match for the deep snow on today’s trail.  Annmarie & Lisa headed back to NCAR while John & I forged ahead to Royal Arch.

(NOTE: We all discussed first. I jumped out of a plane with Annmarie 7 days ago, gonna road trip together to Yosemite. Desert her on a local day hike? Come ‘on, get serious. Just calling it out.)

The trail UP deteriorated quickly — snow & ice slowed our pace.  That said, what a great Colorado workout!  And all happening the day before my 2nd half marathon – FAAANNNTASTIC!

Took a few minutes to enjoy the summit view overlooking Boulder.  Chatted it up with 4 other hikers, all with Northeast ties. Boston was today’s common theme – my Red Sox cap spurring conversation around Monday’s marathon bombings.  Trail ran down with Ro, inspired by my newest sports hero Kilian Jornet.

HIKING in Colorado — the ultimate weekend go-to activity in sun, snow or mud.  LOVE LOVE this place!



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