8/22/15

Boulder Train-cation: day 5


Day five of our train-cation included a little cycling and a lot of running.

Karel and I started our morning around 8:00am with a 24 minute run, starting from the park at the base of Sunshine Canyon. We ran down 4th street and made a big loop that included a lot of up and downhills. 
We kept the effort super easy since we had two more workouts on the daily to-do schedule. 


Our friends from our cabin cycled down to the park and we all started our ride toward Flagstaff Trailhead.



The climb to our look-out point was around 3 miles. It included several switchbacks but nothing too steep (except for at the beginning of the climb). It was an absolutely beautiful climb as you could see all of Boulder during the climb. When we got to the top, we enjoyed the view and then it was time to make the descend back to Boulder. 






Karel and I rode back to our car at the park on the base of Sunshine Canyon and the guys continued on with their ride. Karel and I ended up with a little over 1 hour of riding and 1500 feet of climbing. 

We put on our run gear and off we went for our first long run in Boulder. 



We choose a new path, the Boulder Creek Path, which was another amazing trail/road running route. 

Karel and I started the run together with a 40-minute EZ, slower than Ironman-effort pace. Karel ran with a 4-bottle flask and I ran with two bottles. I always tell my athletes to never ration their hydration and to drink frequently during runs but I didn't take my own advice on this run. I didn't realize how far I was running before we ended up at our turn-around and after quickly going through 1 x 10 ounce flask with 80 calories of Clif hydration, I found myself needing to ration my other 10 ounce flask (with Clif hydration) to make it back to a water fountain. 

Karel and I ran a bit up 4-mile canyon before making our turn around. Our next set in our long run main set was 30 minutes at IM effort...then 20 minutes faster than IM effort. 

I really enjoyed the trail and all of the beautiful sights during our run but the way out to our turn-around was tough because it was slightly uphill. I managed to stay with Karel for another 1.5 miles before I let him go to continue on with the set and I choose to run/stop and take pictures and to make sure I didn't risk a health issue by running with so little hydration/calories. 

I enjoyed my stop breaks while still managing to hold sub 8-minute miles on the trail and when I got to a water stop, I decided to just run EZ as the last few miles were not ideal with so little nutrition/hydration. 

I met up with Karel after around 90 minutes of running and we both jogged easily back to the car. 

Here are a few pics from the run:

















Karel ended up with 1 hour and 50 minutes of running and I finished with 1:40. Added to our 24 minute run before the bike, we both were exhausted...but in a good way.
The altitude still has an effect on how were are training but we are happy with how we are performing and recovering. But above all, we are having a lot of fun and really enjoying this train-cation. 


On our drive up to our cabin, we made a stop to say hello to a few furry friends that we spotted on the side of the road. I wonder what Mr. Lama would think of all of these friends? 




After a bit of recovery (food, hydration and rest), we all headed out to Avery Brewing for a well-needed post-workout meal. 



You better believe that our group enjoyed this beer list. Karel got two different IPA's and a brisket sandwich with a side of roasted carrots. 


I ordered the veggie tacos - which was amazing!!



This train-cation has been so much fun for me and Karel but even more so, to enjoy food, training, fun and laughs with our friends. 



Our friends/athletes, Kristen and Trent also joined us (we stayed at their house for the first 3 days of our trip - and I love their three furry children). 



After hanging out at the brewery for a bit (what a great vibe!), it was time for Sweet Cow ice cream. 

Karel got the dutch chocolate and berry sorbet and I got the oatmeal cookie and chocolate covered pretzel. 



So good!!!




When we got back to the cabin, I did my daily blogging on my little outdoor table and we enjoyed the cooler air outside before it was time for bed. 


Stay tuned for day 6 of our train-cation. A long, windy, flat ride followed by watching stage 6 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Fort Collins. 
Thanks for following along! 

8/21/15

Boulder train-cation: day 4



Thursday was our big ride day. And by big, I mean BIG! 



Karel and I thought it would be "fun" to finish our ride with a climb back to our cabin on top Sunshine Canyon.....the 6.5 mile descend was a lot of fun to start but it was a little reminder of what's to come at the end of our ride. 



Staying on top of Sunshine Canyon has been a treat for every ride that we do, we start and finish at Centennial Park Trailhead and the drive up and down is absolutely beautiful. 


Thankfully, my descending skills have improved greatly since moving to Greenville so I have felt really confident going down the mountains (but nowhere near Karel's descending skills).  



We waited a few minutes for our friends to get ready and then we were off to Old Stage road to start our ride. 



The ride through Left Hand Canyon was absolutely beautiful. Tall rocky mountains and a flowing creek to the side of the road. 



A few of the guys went a different route and then heading up to Ward and Karel, Adam Baskin and Chris and I started our long climb up to Ward.

The climb was steady. It wasn't steep but it wasn't flat. It kinda felt like a false flat for a good 8 miles or so and then it kicked up before the final push to the town of Ward. 

I found myself settling into a rhythm with the guys and I was able to hang for a mile....and then another mile..and then another mile. 

The guys were averaging around 10-13mph so I did the simple math and I guesstimated that this 10.5 mile climb would take us/them around an hour-ish.

I told myself, one hour of suffering was on the table and I was up for the challenge. The effort was steady but the lack of oxygen was definitely the biggest limiter for me. 

There were several times when I was uncomfortably breathing but I told myself to just hang on. I was constantly playing games with myself (mentally) and just convincing myself that I was ok...when clearly, by my breathing, I was not comfortable.
But, I was hanging on and was determined to make it until I couldn't make it anymore.

I kept an eye on my Garmin 810 and when we were getting close to 50 minutes, I could feel the road pitch-up and I was really having trouble staying on Karel and Adam's wheel (Chris had dropped back around 9 miles into the climb).

I let the guys go but I could still see them in sight and before I knew it, I was at the general store in Ward and I could finally rest my legs on the ground. 


Holy cow. I couldn't believe I just did that. 



Out of everything in the store, a pop-tart sounded the best...and for some reason, it tasted amazing. 


Karel was so proud of me...it took me a bit to gather myself but I finally pulled myself together.


We took a quick bathroom stop....
  


Chilaxed a little in Ward...




And then it was time to climb some more. 



After our stop, we had 5 more miles of climbing and we finally got our reward.....




10,300 elevation. 



And we got a few pictures to prove it! 




What an amazing experience. Here are the stats:
From the bottom of Left Hand Canyon to the Lake: 19 miles, 5400 feet of climbing,
1 hour and 32 minutes of climbing



And what goes up...must come down. Weeeeeeee. 31 miles of descending (with a few rollers).
It took Karel 1 hour and 11 minutes to descend 31 miles.

The wind was a bit sketchy at times as we were descending to the town of Nederland  but the roads were open and the views were breathtaking. 


After we re-grouped before the descent into the town, Karel and I went ahead so that we could get a head start since we had one last climb back to our cabin (the guys had the van parked at the park).



The descend into Boulder was unreal - big rocky mountains.
I just love being on my bike....and being so close to nature. 




I forced myself to keep a positive attitude for our 6.5 mile climb back to the cabin on Sunshine Canyon road but I could tell that my body was tired.
2200 feet of climbing in 6.92 miles and in barely under an hour later, Karel and I were finally done with our BIG ride. 



Just a snapshot of our ride.
Total elevation gain: 13,000!!!
And boy, did we feel it! The scenery is amazing here but I can't wait to get back to my oxygen in Greenville, SC next week! 

After a recovery snack and recovery meal, Karel and I rested as the guys headed to Pearl Street Mall and around 5pm, Karel and I found some energy to get to downtown for some food. 



What a great group!



Karel and I ate at the same restaurant where the guys ate an hour earlier. We all ended up at The Lazy Dog.



I got the hummus plate with a Caesar Salad  and Karel yummed over wings and a local IPA. 



What an amazing day on two wheels. I was so proud of my body and I didn't once forget how far I have come with my cycling skills and my love for riding my bike. 

Stay tuned for day 5 of our train-cation. 50 days until the 2015 IM World Championship and the fun continues with a 3+ hour run/bike/run workout for me and Karel.