21 March 2011

March Madness, Spring, Friends

  I had a great weekend, 2 days with some fun times running, good friends, fun family time and beautiful weather.  It seems there's always a weekend like this, around this time of year, where everything just seems perfect.  This is one of my favorite times of the year.

 My FCTR buds for the March Madness run

  Saturday was the March Madness collection of Horsetooth circumnavigational routes hosted by Alex.  I intended to do 25-26 that day, but ended up doing 30, bagging Horsetooth Rock, the Towers, and Arthur's Rock in a nice scenic route that had a little over 5000 ft of vertical gain in it.  There were thoughts of trimming something from the route to reduce mileage but in the end I didn't want to trim any of the peaks out.  It's great to have the fitness to be able to add on to your mileage like that and great to have a group of friends to push you a little bit further than you had planned on pushing yourself.  Between the beautiful, sunny, not too hot, no wind day and the companionship and camaraderie of my fellow Fort Collins Trail Runners it was one of my best days on the trails in recent months.  It only got better coming down the street to the cheers of 30 fellow runners and families for beer, food on the grill, a table full of potluck food.  Sitting around the deck listening to tales of others' runs, exchanging training tips, and picking the brains of more experienced ultrarunners was a great end to the day.

  The Fort Collins Trail Runners really are an awesome group of runners, supportive, welcoming, sometimes enabling ;-) and fun!  I have had so many experiences with this group where more experienced, stronger, and faster runners have been willing to share a run with me, share advice with me, and show sincere interest in how my training and races have been going.  Never have I felt looked down upon or left out as a slower and newer runner in this community.  A friend of mine expressed in his blog how the company and the camaraderie that this wonderful running community fosters and attracts, the shared community experience, makes all the pain/work/effort of long distance running worthwhile.  To me that is so true.  Some think running is a solo sport, I think they might not be doing it right.

 Ross and I with the fast guys on top of Horsetooth Rock

  On Sunday, continuing the more experienced runner theme, I ran up Towers Trail with a fast runner I work with.  He's never been up the route and wanted to see the lay of the land.  I showed him the trail, he gave me some pointers, and we overall enjoyed a bit over an hour of good conversation and great weather.

  Sunday afternoon I enjoyed a day at the zoo with my wife and our girls.  The weather again was near perfect, the girls (and my wife) loved all the animals, and it was just a fun afternoon.  Even the animals themselves seemed to be enjoying the spring weather as it seemed many were out and active.

  The end of my weekend had me taking Stella out on her first trail run.  She had been asking me to take her running but it was always phrased in a "some day when ..." form so I wasn't sure how serious she was.  This morning I left my hat (a hat my wife knit for me for Christmas) stashed along the trail as I forgot to pick it up on my way back down the hill, so needed to go look for it after going to the zoo.  I asked Stella if she wanted to go and she was quite enthusiastic.  My hat was off of Towers a little over a mile from the Soderberg trailhead.  Stella walked 3-4 times on the way up to the hat (it was there, yeah!) and then she asked to keep going up!  We went maybe 0.1 miles further up, and then turned around.  She ran the entire 1.1 miles or so back to the car without stopping once, just chatting away.  I'm not sure who was grinning more when we were done.

  And to really top it off, I logged my first 60+ mile week this week with 63.0 miles counting the trip with Stella.  At 3 months to Big Horn I am feeling pretty confident about the 50 right now.  Confident in finishing upright, that is, no idea what my time will be.

  I hope spring is treating you as well as it is me, instead of playing favorites.


  1. I agree whole heartedly with everything you said. The group we run with is what keeps me excited about going out for a run. After reading your post about Towers, I realized I am the same way. Towers is tonight and I have been pumped all day just thinking about it. . . and out weekend in Moab coming up. All good stuff.