What to do in between marathon weekends?  High altitude hiking – of course 🙂

Bounced back quicker than normal from Saturday’s Indy marathon, so packed in training runs Tuesday, Thursday & Friday.  Felt good physically but still needed a mental boost before Vegas.  Nothing fixes my head, like a hike in our high peaks.

Woke sluggish on Saturday so switched ‘hike day’ to Sunday – opting for one last long run before Vegas, a 20 miler.

Sunday – no more excuses.  Up and on the road – hike destination: Chasm Lake, just past Allenspark in RMNP (Longs Peak trailhead). Over 2,000ft in vertical gain – can’t think of better cross-training for marathoning 🙂

Hit the trail & hiked at a quick clip while in treeline (first 2.3 miles).  Later start than normal (8am) but no fear of afternoon lightning this day – woes of summer hiking in Colorado, not so much in November.

As topography migrated from lodge pole pine to willow shrub to tundra, wind noticeably picked up.  A polar front from Alaska would be blowing in tomorrow afternoon – strong 30mph headwinds preceded the cold, gusts > 50mph.

Hiking across tundra & boulder fields, took it all in stride.  Big smile on my face enjoying the day’s challenge.

Just past the Longs Peak intersect, terrain changed from tundra to rock.  Welcomed windbreak provided by the mountain’s rock face, then an unexpected gust – literally knocking me down (hiking almost a 1,000ft above treeline now).

Started anticipating upcoming gusts: crouching low, holding tight to boulders during the irregular yet intermittent blasts.

COLD but WOW, what a head fix.  EXACTLY what this marathoner needed – thin air & being small in my high mountain surroundings.  Helps to re-center & put things in perspective.

Sun shining, watched snow funnel off Longs in the wind – visually dancing, wisping vapor.

2 short runs next week, Grand Canyon heli tour on Saturday, then marathon #15 down the Strip in Vegas Sunday night.

Life is good, really really good.

 

 

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