Monday, January 26, 2015

My Book, Red Rocks, Gavin McKenzie Interview, Science And More

My Book, Red Rocks, Gavin McKenzie Interview, Science and More

Well, my book "The Best Front Range Trail Runs" has finally hit the market, and I've noticed it at a few stores around town. Pretty excited, but I could not have done it without the support and contributions from fellow runners (and my wife). Thanks everyone! For those wanting to know what trails are covered, here is the list:
Front and center at Boulder Bookstore!

Fort Collins:
  • Greyrock Mountain
  • Lory State Park
  • Horsetooth Mountain
  • Blue Sky to Indian Summer
  • Sheep Mountain

  • Hall Ranch
  • Heil Valley Ranch
  • Boulder Valley Ranch
  • Mount Sanitas
  • Mesa Trail
  • Green Mountain
  • Bear Peak
  • South Boulder Peak
  • Bobolink and South Boulder Creek
  • Spring Brook and Goshawk
  • Marshall Mesa
  • Flatirons Vista
  • Walker Ranch
  • Eldorado Canyon
  • Skyline Traverse

  • Barry Lake
  • White Ranch
  • North Table
  • Golden Gate Canyon
  • Centennial Cone
  • Apex Park
  • Bergen Peak
  • Three Sisters
  • Green Mountain
  • Bear Creek to O'Fallon
  • Mount Falcon
  • Chatfield Reservoir
  • Cherry Creek State Park
  • Deer Creek Canyon
  • Strawberry Jack to Buck Gulch
  • Buffalo Creek
  • Carpenter Peak
  • Castlewood Canyon
  • Greenland Pairie

Colorado Springs:
  • US Air Force Academy Falcon Loop
  • Barr Trail and Pikes Peak
  • The Incline
  • Rampart Reservoir
  • Talon Loop/Cheyenne Mountain State Park

High Mountains:
  • Lumpy Ridge
  • Mount Audubon
  • High Lonesome
  • Heart Lake and James Peak
  • Ben Tyler Gulch

There are plenty of photos, maps, and other stuff, but really, the best are the stories and notes from all of the local runners who contributed. 

One of the challenges for training for something like Nolans or the high mountains is that you need to get in tons of vertical gain, while also working on nutrition, hydration, etc. The Skyline Traverse in Boulder is classic and makes sense, but since I work in Boulder, it is really hard for me to motivate to drive there on my off days. There are some really good alternatives near Denver when the snow melts, and I have been trying to hit up a few, but there are not big sections of vertical trail without doing laps. I've done the M5 challenge a couple times now, and that works great, but lately I've been looking for alternatives. Right now, one of my go-to "runs" is Red Rocks. I've come up with 4 different loops all ranging between 1 mile and 3.5 miles and 557' gain and 800' gain. Although it sounds unexciting, the time flies by and the workout of the constant up and down really gets to you. Last week I did 20 miles and 9,530' of gain, and this morning I did 19 miles and 8,720' gain. Nothing special, but solid work and only 5 minutes from my house. Plus the people watching on each lap is pretty good, so the time goes by really fast. The reason I like this is because it has the same ratio of miles/vertical gain as Nolans, which is roughly for every mile, you gain 500' repeated over 100 miles and 44,000' gain, so if nothing else the grade is roughly equivalent.

 Sunrise at Red Rocks

An alternative, and one that gets you up into the thin air, is running the Mount Evans road. The road is closed, and the first two miles are snowpacked, but most of the rest of the road is dry and windblown, so no traction or flotation is necessary. I ran the road a week ago, but didn't make the summit due to insanely high winds. Still, a killer run at altitude with no one around - the only time you will get all of the Evans massif all to yourself.

I caught up with Gavin McKenzie and did an interview with him about his 2014 season, Nolan's 14, and his upcoming plans. Great guy, humble, and a tough-ass runner.

There have been a couple other articles on this same topic, but basically, your mouth will sense when food is coming, tell your brain it is coming so don't worry, no need to bonk, even before your stomach even gets any of the calories and starts to process them. Key take away - swish your mouth with soda or carb drink at aid stations (or drink the stuff too) and get those carb receptors firing!

The above herd of elk live right by my place, and I see them all the time. However, when it is dark out, and my headlamp flashes across a hundred eyes in the dark, it still freaks me out for a second.

More articles on diet, nutrition, fats, carbs, and the whole mystery that science is beginning to unravel: here and here.

Went up to Area A and Area B at Mount Evans the other day. Long haul in on snowshoes, but for those wondering, one can climb right now as long as the wind and temps are right. I'll probably make a trip up there soon.

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