Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Running Mount Howard

I don't write about running very much, which is funny because it used to be the main thing I did. I ran six days a week at times, scribbling frantically in a running log, keeping track. A short run was five miles, and a slow run was eight minute miles. I loved running, and it was my identity for a long time.

But as can happen when you identify with just one thing, I started feeling a little burnt out. There were other things I wanted to do, like hike, and swim, and kayak. I made friends who did those things, and I didn't want to desert them to run when I could be with them, learning new things. I had knee surgery after my second marathon and stopped running as much. I still run, but it's one of many things I do.

The other day I was in the mood to run, so I headed for the dirt road that climbs to the top of Mount Howard. The summit is over 8,000 feet and you start at about 5,000, and it's about four miles (I never measure my runs anymore). There are some level sections and then brutally straight up ones. I soon decided I didn't feel like trying to run to the top. I could power hike and be up there almost as quickly, so I did.



Usually I snowshoe this route in winter, and it was much faster to hike. I was at the top in no time. I took a quick victory lap around the main trail, wondering if the tram employees would wonder from where I had appeared (the tram hadn't started running yet for the day). Then I ran down.

It took kind of forever, because there are steep sections with little rolling rocks, and I wasn't all that serious about running anyway. It was just an excuse to get up there and back. I didn't write down my time or worry about how long it took. That's how running is for me these days.


Nowadays, the intrepid friends I trained marathons with are just running for fun too. Maybe it's an age thing, or we've just proven to ourselves all we really need to. I started out at age 14, running through sprinklers in the neighborhood without a watch. Interestingly enough I have circled back to that kind of running. I like it.

13 comments:

  1. Even though I like running with my watch, I like the kind of running you describe too. Your run looks gorgeous! I'm jealous you have those mountains right out your door. I've got a mountain outing planned for Friday and it's going to take all day with the driving to/from the Trinities.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That last picture!! Oh, how I want to run there :)

    "Maybe it's an age thing, or we've just proven to ourselves all we really need to." Yep. This exactly. Very much how I feel about running lately.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Unless I'm training for something specific (which I haven't been in awhile) I don't run with my Garmin either. Whoa - you do some pretty intense climbs! I'd be hiking Mt. Howard instead of running for sure (or more likely I'd be one of those tourists on the tram! :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha. I take the tram a lot. It's great to get up to 8200 feet in 30 minutes!

      Delete
  4. Fun. That sounds like my kind of run.

    When I first really got into cycling, I was very focused — followed a loose training plan, did intervals, did eight-hour rides in the worst weather (in Juneau) ... and still had a mediocre goal race (2007 Susitna 100) and ended up injured for the next four months. I consider that my failed experiment with competitiveness. Even though I've completed dozens of races since, my outlook is different now. Every outing should be an adventure in its own right, not just a means to an end.

    I still don't think it has to be all or nothing. You can turn on Strava and still frolic through the hills. You can entirely run for fun and still race once in a while, also for fun. Obviously you know this, but it might be a fun experiment. Enter one of your local trail 50Ks. Run it just like you ran Mount Howard. I bet you'd enjoy it. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess most ultras do involve power hiking these days. I never really enjoyed competition even when I came close to winning. I have had issues since my trail running fall and haven't really pushed it much. So, something to think about. I'm more of a solitary runner ultimately

      Delete
    2. Ugh, I've fallen so many times since I moved to Colorado. Just one of several issues that have taken my confidence to an all-time low. But I've always considered my on-foot adventures to be similar in nature. Sometimes I call it running, sometimes I call it hiking. No difference ... :)

      Still ... 50K races are a lot of fun. You spend plenty of time running alone but also have a chance to meet new people, commiserate, enjoy full support aid station buffets, and discover new trails. I definitely think they're $60 worth of fun, and you usually get a shirt out of it. This is what I miss the most about the Bay Area ... the weekly organized trail races. For whatever reason there aren't that many here on the Front Range, even though I'm pretty sure there are more trail runners here than all of Northern California.

      Delete
  5. I've missed reading your blog! It used to pop up in my email but hasn't for a while. Glad you are writing, running, living life in a way you want.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It doesn't pop up in my email either, so I just check back on it from time to time to see what's new! It is always a great. I do the same time for the Firefly blog.

      Delete
    2. Not sure why that happened..I dont follow blogs by email so I can't say. Maybe I need to refresh the email link?

      Delete
  6. No organized races within 4 hours here and driving...ugh. I might be intrigued if some were closer.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I may not be remembering Mt Howard the best, but my memory says who the heck would run up there?!?! Wow.

    ReplyDelete

Hello out there. If you liked this post, please leave a comment so I keep writing!