Thursday, March 5, 2009

South Boulder Peak: A Spring Trail Run to Test Your Fitness

I've been slowly ramping up my running mileage now that spring is just around the corner (although with the current weather we have been having, someone will have to tell all the plants that it is not here yet). Normally, I tone down my mileage during the winter for a couple reasons:
  • to telemark in the backcountry
  • to give myself some time off from running
  • and give my psyche a break so that come spring I'm ready to go.

As spring begins here along the Colorado Front Range, I'm beginning to add a few more climbs to my trail runs and to see where my body has gotten to over the winter. Backcountry skiing really helps keep me in shape as it is a great cross-training exercise for trail running, gets you up high in the mountains for altitude training (I spend about 10+ hours a week training above 10,000 feet), and allows you to enjoy your normal trails and runs in a different season.

So, to test how I am doing this spring, I ran from my house to the top of South Boulder Peak the other day and back. I thought I would do just fine up to the base of Shadow Canyon, as that is part of my usual winter training run down low, and then have to speed hike the steeps to the top. I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself still going (albeit at a slow pace) up the canyon for most of the way. I had to speed hike a few sections in the heart of the canyon up the steep rock stairs, but I was able to pick up the pace for the last bit to the saddle and then the final climb to the top of the peak. The run back home was long and my feet started to get sore from the rough mileage, but I was really surprised and happy.

Looks like this summer is going to be a good one for running mountains... of course, the next day my quads were really telling how I was doing.

South Boulder Peak from South Boulder Creek Trailhead

  • Start - End Elevation: 5,645'- 8,549' (8,549' max elevation)
  • Round-Trip Length: 12+ miles
  • Skill Level: Strenuous
  • Trailhead: 1401 South Foothills Highway. West of Highway 93 at Thomas Lane, approximately 0.5 miles north of the intersection of Highway 93 and Eldorado Springs Drive.

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