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The Road to Bandera Part 2: The Grand Canyon to Boulder Skyline Traverse

I hate the word failure, I have done my best to get that word out of my vocabulary. The only failure would be to not learn from an experience. After not finishing rim to rim to rim I felt a lot of regret, disappointment, shame. I knew I could have finished it, and that weighed on me for a while. I was determined to learn from this and do better in future mountain adventures. An objective that has been on my radar ever since I moved to Colorado is the Boulder Skyline Traverse. This involves summitting the 5 main peaks just outside of Boulder: South Boulder Peak, Bear Peak, Green Mountain, Flagstaff Mountain, and Mount Sanitas. From the South Mesa Trailhead to the summit of Mount Sanitas it is 16 miles and you can either work it out so you get transportation from one end to the other, you can run back along the skyline for a total of 32ish miles or you can run back along the Mesa Trail which makes it about a 25-27 mile trip. Here is my training from the disappointment of the Grand Canyon to redemption on the Boulder Skyline.

Monday November 7th: 7.5 mile trail run in Mesa Verde National Park

Tuesday November 8th: 9 miles with 5 X 1 minute hills and 4 X 5 minute tempo

Wednesday November 9th: 5 mile recovery run

Thursday November 10th: 7 miles easy with 6 X 20 second strides

Friday November 11th: 1 hour hike

Saturday November 12th: 14 mile long run with 10 X 1 min @ 10k effort

Sunday November 13th: 1 hour recovery run

Weekly total: 49 miles of running - 8 hours of training

The two weeks after I returned from Arizona were a f*cking rollercoaster emotionally. 2022 has been a doozy. I am so grateful for all the good things in my life, my health, my friends, my family, the adventures I have had... bottom line, you can have all of this and still be crushed when it comes to heartbreak. I have so much love for my ex and we tried so hard to work through things and it was in these two weeks that we spent time together and then decided to go our separate ways again. All of the feelings of when we broke up and she moved east last spring came flooding back. I had forgotten how overwhelming these feelings can be. My running has been a great outlet for me throughout my life.

Monday November 14th: 5.4 mile easy run at Sloan's Lake + strides

Tuesday November 15th: 10-5-10 tempo - total of 8.5 miles in an hour

Wednesday November 16th: 8 mile recovery run

Thursday November 17th: 55 minute bike with Max and Bryan.. COLD AF! I do not like winter biking...

Friday November 18th: 60 minute easy run in the snow with Jon and Seth + a few laps at Eldora!

Saturday November 19th: 16 mile long run - this one got a little spicy as I needed to get back in time to watch Allison race at NXR so I pushed the pace and felt really good

Sunday November 20th: Easy 6 miles

Weekly total: 52 miles of running - 8 hours of training

Unfortunately on my snowy run on Nov 18th some snow got into my shoe and formed a little ice ball that irritated my left big toe to the point of a massive blood blister. When I first saw it I was convinced that it was frostbite! Luckily it didn't impact my running.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that I really enjoy. I am still trying to grapple with how we can celebrate time together and giving thanks while also acknowledging the horrific/traumatic origins of this holiday and what it means for native people. One of the traditions that I appreciate is Turkey Trots! I signed up for the Broomfield Turkey Day 5k and put together a team of friends, athletes I coach (both adults and high schoolers). We had the biggest team in the event and we ended up winning the team competition!! I was an above average athlete in high school with sub par training habits. Looking back I know that if I had taken running more seriously I could have done much better in cross country. My high school 5k PR was 17:10. I broke 17 minutes for the first time at the age of 30, last year I improved to 16:45. Going into this 5k I knew I was fit and wanted to go big. I shot my shot and went for sub 16! The first half mile was downhill on pavement and so many went out faster than me, but gradually I picked them off, by mile 1 I was in 5th, mile 2 I had moved up to 4th, and I caught 3rd soon after. He tried to stay with me and so I used some of the racing tactics that I use with my high schoolers and I put in a surge to break his spirit a little bit and get a gap. It worked and I took 3rd. 1st and 2nd were two very strong runners, the guy who won went on to run a 2:16 marathon at CIM 10 days later. The last mile was a grind with a steady uphill until the last quarter mile which is downhill. I pulled back second place a little but couldn't close the gap entirely. I came across the line and later found out that my official time was 16:01.2. Agonizingly close to breaking 16, but a 44 second PR on a fairly tough course at altitude.

Monday November 21st: 6.7 miles easy

Tuesday November 22nd: 5 X 3 minute tempo - 8.35 miles total

Wednesday November 23rd: 5 miles easy - I scouted the 5k course

Thursday November 24th: 5k in 16:01.2 + 1 mile WU, 2 mile CD

Friday November 25th: Off - 2 mile walk

Saturday November 26th: 7.6 mile easy run on trails at White Ranch

Sunday November 27th: 18 mile long run at Centennial Cone

Weekly Total: 52 miles running - 8.5 hours of training

I went to bed the night before Thanksgiving feeling like I might be coming down with something.. I woke up on Thursday, tested negative for covid and went out and ran a huge 5k PR. But I did get sick, and I spent the next 2 weeks recovering.. I luckily never got really sick and managed to stay consistent with my runs and go to Mexico as planned for my good friends Ashley and Noah's wedding. Though it turns out spending 4 days partying, staying up late, and generally not taking care of oneself is a good way to prolong a cold. It also turns out that running in Mexico is not easy. Every community is gated and the main roads are not built for running on. I managed to run a total of about 20 miles in Mexico and played a ton of beach volleyball, spike ball, lifted Noah in a chair during the Hora for the longest 2.5 minutes of my life.. spent plenty of time in the hot tub and had a lot of fun. So long story short, even though the running didn't go to plan, I still had a decent amount of activity and there are times when our training can be put on the back burner to prioritize other things.

Monday November 28th: 5.7 miles easy at Sloan's Lake

Tuesday November 29th: 5.6 miles easy (scheduled for 9 but cold was kicking my butt)

Wednesday November 30th: 13 miles total with 8 X 3 min @ 10k + 8 X 1 min hills

Thursday December 1st: Fly to Cabo - ran 7 miles easy with lots of loops and out and backs

Friday December 2nd: 11.5 hot/humid miles on random dirt road in Cabo..

Saturday December 3rd: Wedding!

Sunday December 4th: Beach volleyball for hours!

Weekly total: 43 miles of running - 6 hours of training

I have PRed at every distance from the mile to 50 miles since turning 30. But when it comes to alcohol... I feel my age. After 4 days and nights of drinking and staying up late I was in rough shape coming home from Mexico. I ended up taking my third straight day off from running as I was not feeling up to it. As the week went along though I put in a ton of quality work and got some insane vert through a solid Wednesday workout and the Boulder Skyline traverse on Saturday.

Monday December 5th: Off

Tuesday December 6th: 10.5 miles with 4 X strides

Wednesday December 7th: AM 8-6-4-2 hills - 9.5 miles total on Chapman road, PM 1 hour uphill skiing at Winter Park

Thursday December 8th: 5.8 mile easy run

Friday December 9th: AM skiing with Johan and Sapan, PM 1 hour easy run

Saturday December 10th: Boulder Skyline! 27 miles of running and hiking, 8,000 feet of climbing - 6 hours!

Sunday December 11th: 90 minute backcountry ski with Rocco, 3 mile walk, 30 minute recovery spin on my new stationary bike

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