Steamboat’s Yampa River

Bib pickup for tomorrow’s trail marathon cutoff at noon.  3 ½ hours door-to-door, Louisville to Steamboat Springs.  Early Saturday a.m. trek, breakfast stop in Georgetown (fave diner tradition).

Arrived at BAP, aka ‘the Little Red House’ on Oak Street with an hour to spare.  Steamboat-based Honey Stinger sponsors 2 races: Mountain bike Saturday, Trail marathon Sunday.  ALL proceeds to charity – the ultimate giving-back event.  10 minute walk to Howelsen Hill ‘Start’.

Last Saturday, ran my first 2017 trail race at Echo Summit (Lake Tahoe’s high Sierras).  Tomorrow would trek-up another ski summit.  Similarities: high elevation, 4000ft+ vertical gain.

Bridge-walked over Steamboat’s Yampa.  Early dinner/early to bed.

RACE DAY: UP UP UP Howelsen Hill, one of Steamboat’s 2 major ski resorts.  Unlike last week, first 7 miles were a CLIMB.  ALSO caliber of runners today, a HUGE notch up.  Pushed hard, lotta energy expended before Angry Grouse (First Aid Station).  Refueled, breathed deep, settled in.

UP UP UP thru evergreen & Colorado Aspen.  BIG HIKE up Stairway to Heaven, series of switchback climbs thru No Mo’ Blues & Wild Rose, HALF-marathon turnaround/2nd Aid Station.

Again, stopped/refueled/breathed.  So different from road marathoning/super humbling.  Mentally ON all race or risk tripping/going down hard.  first-HALF GOAL: under 3 hours.

[7-hour time limit today, an hour faster than last weekend’s ultra finish.]

5 miles to Cow Creek (Aid Station to Aid Station).  ALL downhill, fastest splits of the day.  Flew past tens of runners (June’s REVEL Rockies training).  ‘On your left’, jumping over rock.  ‘On your left’, bending with tree-limbs as I hugged mountain curves.  11 miles in, 15 minutes under the 2 hour-mark.

Mile-half on dirt road, water stop – then 6 ½ miles of warm trail UP.  More hike than jog.  Switchback return’d UP to Aid Station 2, ran outta water this leg.  Refueled, good 5 minute stop.  7 miles-ish to go.  Not a lot left in the tank but well ahead of goal.

2 miles up/over Quarry Mountain then DOWN.  Steep rocky drop: ‘Little Moab’, but remainder of the course, easy rolling trail.  Let gravity carry my heavy legs forward.  Exposed meadows last 3 ½ miles, quarter-mile past the rodeo grounds – marathon SUCCESS!

2nd trail FINISH in 8 days.  Just under 6 hours.




88 HAGA K R  5:52:18.29  Louisville CO


POST-MARATHON:  Strawberry Park Hot Springs.  Surrounded by Aspen, soaked for HOURS in 104-degree mineral water ❤




Cache la Poudre Canyon Marathon

After last weekend’s marathon fail in Boulder, wasn’t sure when I’d next long-run.  Down a day depressed, whole lotta sleep – then like most, licked my wounds & got back on the horse.  Short run Tuesday, 8 miles Thursday…head back in the game.

Thursday morning identified a last minute race addition on the Maniacs calendar – only an hour-half from my home.  Late registration thru Friday night.  Done; meant to be.

Laid low Saturday, short hike in Eldorado Canyon, bed by 9pm, up again at 3:15am.  Quick shower, walked/fed Ro…on the road north by 4am – marathon meet-up at 530am in downtown Fort Collins.  Late instructions, Race Director greeted participants – in particular, a large Fort Collins Running Club contingent – all car-journeyed to the Canyon, parked at Picnic Rock Rest Area (mile from the Finish), then van-pooled another 2,000ft UP the Canyon to today’s high-altitude start: milepost 94 on Poudre Canyon Road.

Super scenic landscape.  15 miles course-shared with the Colorado Marathon.  Lotta memories there – race where I finished my 50 State Quest.  Cool temps ‘til the sun rose – but not as cold as last May…was literally snowing last time I ran this route 🙂

Start time: 713am…yep, that specific (daybreak)

Pre-race pic; pretty much on my own after the first 4-5 miles.  Course spilled between large canyon walls, Cache la Poudre River on runner’s left…saw maybe 2 vehicles total.  Surrounded with views of the Rockies ALL day.  Quiet & isolated.  BIG smile.

(last 10K) Picked off by a few runners but finished 12th overall (super small field).  4:30 finish, not bad at 7,000ft.  AND for the first time ever, won my Age Group & scored a bobble-head.  Marathon 72 RE-DO SUCCESS!

No marathons for 2 weeks but…maybe/might have located another last-minute race, just 7 hours away in Nebraska.  LOL>


Cache La Poudre Canyon Marathon – October 16, 2016

20 Keenan Haga  4:33:07



Have become super sensitive with my run schedule since April.  Learning balance.  Consistent training & rest, now a key part of active marathoning.  PR goal this Fall – leg fatigue or re-injury would limit that.

Ever since my first Fall snow hike 4 years ago, Steamboat has always tugged at my heart.  Returned the following year for my first (& only) Half Ironman.  It was there I was humbled by my first open water swim – BIG difference from lap swimming at the gym.  HA!  Steamboat Springs was also my initial 50 State finish destination.  3 hours from home however; added Fort Collins last minute to better share the experience with family & friends.  No regrets…but still love me some Steamboat, not missing Sunday’s 26.2.

Been heating up all week, start of our 4 month summer season.  Not a hot weather runner – but who doesn’t love summer?  14er hike   season 🙂  Left Ro with Ash on Saturday, drove US36 to Denver, I-70 West past the Divide.  Snow garnished the landscape just past Idaho Springs.  Last hour-half north from Silverthorne, summer heat gave way to snowy meadows as I upped elevation & crossed Rabbit Ears Pass.  Haven’t seen winter precip since my Evans hike last month.  Kid giddy.

Bib pick-up, light dinner, 8pm hunkered down.  Early start tomorrow.

Steamboat Marathon


Pre-dawn parked downtown, caught the marathon Start bus.  Point-to-point course, 8100ft elevation.

Chilly arrival, almost an hour early – watched the sun rise over Hahn’s Peak.  double WOW!  Fought the urge to double-shirt & slabbed on extra sun block.  Temps would soar +30 degrees by Finish.

Small marathon field – less than 300 – & similar to Coeur d’Alene, jacked with elites and tri-athletes.  Another high altitude training hub.  Hilly start, first 4 miles.  Long slope decline thru 8 – fairly flat going forward.  A few rolling hills but nothing to wake the quads.

sub-2 first half, another fade to the Finish.  Heat cooked.  Flagged down an aid truck at 18 but changed my mind & waved him on.  Followed a group of young runners next 2 miles, then iPhoned Ash at marker 20 for inspiration.  Last miles to town, a mix of jog, walk & slog.

I live in altitude (5600ft) but add a 1000ft & my lungs beg for air like a flatlander.  Not enough high altitude marathoning in my war chest.

Stopped digesting water at 24.  Rinsed my mouth last 2 aid stops for hydration – anything swallowed, I spewed on the highway.  Physically I’ve got this – mentally, I still struggle in heat.  Determined to succeed.

Last half-mile finished strong.  Medics applied ice [to the] back of my neck, poured water over my head.  Hot, dehydrated – up and on my way in 20 minutes.  Not pretty – I get that – but it’s all a process.  Thin air & summer heat, not a strength…yet.

McDonalds splash bath, 3 hours open highway.  Colorado marathoning: home before dinner, still gotta walk the dog 🙂


Steamboat Marathon – June 5, 2016

K R Haga        Louisville CO       5:07:30



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