More on goals – an ultra

I like to think of goals as either primary or secondary. The secondary goals are ways to help attain the primary goals. Artificial to be sure, but helpful for me.

The 200 K elevation goal is a secondary goal. I already talked about some primary goals – mainly enjoying the high mountains. Another primary goal which I am at least considering is becoming adept at distance running in the high mountains. Maybe even a shorter ultra.  I’m somewhat conflicted about this goal. At the most basic level, I enjoy running in the mountains, and would like to get better at it. The reasons to hesitate with the more ambitious goal of an ultra, even a short one:

(1) First, two lesser concerns – age and genetics. The fact that I’m 55 is less of a limit that one might think. Genetics (the fact that, despite certain genetic advantages, I’m not naturally an elite endurance athlete) ditto. Even with those limitations, I could accomplish a lot. Certainly running a decent 50K is possible with dedication. But my age does make recovery a bit more of an issue. Though ironically genetics helps there, I think. I’ve managed to progress very quickly from hiking only to being a decent mountain runner. But at the moment I’m seeing my progress stall, and I think that part of the reason is age related slower recovery.

(2) Other life responsibilities – this is the big one. Career and Kassidy.

(3) Do I want it enough to make the necessary sacrifices? I’m not sure. “Sacrifices” might include less hiking, as well as less time for other leisure activities. It will also mean a lot of early morning runs in the fall and winter (much harder than in the summer), running in the dark, maybe a lot of boring treadmill running, etc.  Also perhaps a little less “vertical” – but that’s not much of a sacrifice, more a matter of properly ordering priorities.

We’ll see. The “tests” – can I build up to a fall trail marathon (tentatively aiming for Moab), and can I sustain my training over the winter so that I’m not starting from scratch next March? If I can pass both tests, I’m aiming for the Dirty Thirty next June. And then maybe an attempt at Nolan’s 14 next summer – not with the goal of summiting all 14, but perhaps summiting nine, ending with Columbia.

With no hikes planned for the next week, I hope to start concentrating more on my trail running.

8/13/15 Square Top 13,794

Climbed it with a meet up group. Perfect weather. My fourth 13er of the season. Now I need to focus on other life responsibilities for the next week. Next adventure a week from Saturday (DeCaLiBron). Tentatively planning Father Dyer on 8/25, and hoping that Kassidy will be up for a 13er on Labor Day weekend – maybe Mt. Flora? Huron I hope in September, and a few more 13ers in the fall.

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Goals

My mountaineering/running/fitness goals have changed a bit over the year. Not at the most basic level – I want to spend as much time in the high mountains as possible, climb mountains, and maximize my fitness. But I have a number of ever changing secondary goals. One of them is to gain 200,000 vertical from March through October. At this point I’m on track to easily exceed that goal, perhaps even hitting 250,000. (At 165 K now; I can hit 250 if I average 34 K per month through the end of October.)

Goals can have positive and negative consequences. They can be great motivators, and this goal has been that. But they can also have downsides. In this case, I think that perhaps my passion for vertical is interfering with my running. Specifically, I think I should be doing more miles and less vertical when running. Today, for example, I ran Flagstaff/Green. Eleven miles, almost 3000 vertical. It was a great run, but I think maybe I would have been better off longer with less elevation gain.

8/10/15 Spalding 13,842 and Evans 14,265

Solo. Climbed these from Summit Lake, so it was an easy/quick couple of hours. Alone on the summit of Spalding. Very nice ridge walk from Spalding to Evans. Met a couple of people who came over the Sawtooth, and some people with a dog who was too scared to keep going. Wonder what happened to the dog. Came down via the NE face – lots of loose rock.

Summit Picture:

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Marmot (Maria’s totem animal):

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If I count them despite the limited (about 1800 feet) elevation gain, that’s seven 14ers and three 13ers in just over 6 weeks.

On 8/8 Maria and I had a nice hike in the Mt. Evan’s Wilderness, about 9 miles and a little over 2000 feet of elevation gain.

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For some reason, I wasn’t feeling as strong as usual, so I canceled my planned Sunday run.

8/4/15 Audubon 13,229

What should have been an easy hike ended up being pretty tough because of very high winds. Didn’t see a soul until I was about 1/3 of the way down. Had the extremely windy summit to myself. Initially planned to climb Paiute as well but bailed on it because of the wind.

So far in 2015 I’ve climbed seven 14ers (plus one repeat) and only two 13ers, which is contrary to my original plan for the summer. I’m hoping/planning for more 13ers going forward, but also a few more 14ers. Evans, Huron, and DeCaLiBron. Depending on whether you count Cameron, that’s 5 or 6 more.

7/31/15 Bierstadt 14,065

Climbed it today with Kassidy. It’s a lot easier in the summer. 🙂 Also more crowded. Kassidy did great, despite being a little low energy this morning. The round trip took us almost exactly 5 hours. Took lots of pictures; I’ll edit this as add them when I download them from my phone.

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So …

Obviously I haven’t kept this up. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had plenty of fun in the mountains, hiking, running and backpacking. Maybe I’ll have some more detailed updates later, but for now, some (not all) of the highlights:

6/13-6/14 Backpacking Mt. Evans Wilderness (with Maria) – Roosevelt Lakes. Beautiful Sunrise:

sunrise

6/20 Leadville Heavy Half Marathon

Leadville Finish

6/27 Quandary 14,265 (solo)

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7/3 Yale 14,199 (with Maria)

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7/4-7/5 Backpacking Missouri Gutch (with Maria)

Our camp.
Our camp.

7/5 Belford 14,203 (with Maria) – early start from our camp site – had the summit to ourselves. Beautiful hike down via Elkhead pass and upper Missouri Gulch.

Alpenglow on Missouri.
Alpenglow on Missouri.
Maria on the summit
Maria on the summit
Summit
Summit

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7/12 Sherman 14,035 (with Kassidy) (and Sheridan solo)

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7/19 Elbert 14,439 (solo). “Ran” it. 2:07 to the summit which was quite fast.

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7/23-7/26 Hiking (and Mission Wolf) with Kassidy

Kassidy at the Sandunes, after hiking down from Mosca Pass
Kassidy at the Sandunes, after hiking down from Mosca Pass

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And PLENTY of other hikes and runs.