Wednesday, November 30, 2011


It's been hard to tell if I've been making any progress in my mountain running pursuits lately. A full week of runs out here usually leaves me feeling like a slug with shoes. Fortunately, I took it pretty "easy" last week. Easy on the running anyway. Not easy on the dessert eating. It takes a good amount of over eating to feel uncomfortable even in pants with an elastic waste band (running tights). I pulled it off yesterday though.

It had been 5 and a half hours since I ate lunch in Ft. Collins, but I still felt bloated, heart burny and not at all graceful plodding up Green Mountain. We were a few minutes late, so Nick and I missed the first hill repeat with the gang (Becca, Leila, Ryan K, and Donnie). It was just as well. I don't know if I could have done a 5th repeat. Anyway, the point is, despite feeling gross and not energetic, I still felt way better than I did the last time I ran Green Mountain. For one thing, I didn't have any fits of wheezing. Also, my walk breaks were shorter.

So the main trail up Green Mountain, where we do repeats, is 1.25 miles long with 730ft of elevation gain. No, we don't do repeats up and down that entire length. If I could do that, I'd be like…Anton. The repeats start 0.3 miles from the top, next to some trees. Or maybe they're large bushes. Anyway, it's the largest vegetation out there. Over the 0.3-mile climb, there is 260ft of elevation gain. In comparison, the super hard hill repeat I used to do in Kansas, Ogg Rd, was 0.5 miles long with 190ft of elevation gain. I never thought I could consider Ogg Rd to be easy, but I just might some day.

Well, I know I said it was a pretty easy week in terms of exercise, but Sunday was actually a pretty hard day, and I learned a lot too! I was really excited to go on my first hut trip. A hut trip consists of traveling several miles to a hut in the mountains. The hut is pretty much a cabin, without running water, which you share with up to 15 other people. I was a little anxious about the lack of running water part. Nick managed to trick me into thinking I would have to go to the bathroom in a snow cave. LOL. But it turned out they actually do have outhouses, like you would see at a park. And there were even cool posters of animals to look at while you were taking care of business. Bonnie (Nick's stepmom) wasn't fond of the one containing the snake poster.

When we first started talking about hut tripping with Nick's dad and stepmom, I was all gung ho about doing LOTS of snowshoeing. The farther the trek the better, I thought! I was a little bummed to find out we were headed to the Sangree M. Froelicher hut, which was only 3.5 miles from the trailhead. Only 3.5 miles?! How boring! I soon discovered that 3.5 miles was a LONG way. Here is a scale of difficulty for your reference. I was at level 6.

  1. Walking without snow.
  2. Running without snow.
  3. Snowshoeing (in snow, of course).
  4. Snowshoeing uphill.
  5. Snowshoeing uphill, carrying 20lbs.
  6. Snowshoeing uphill carrying 20lbs after eating a sausage breakfast sandwich and drinking coffee when you're a person who doesn't drink much coffee because it makes her stomach upset. Also, you don't eat meat very often. Ok ok, make your meat eating jokes. Haha, very funny.
So, I pretty much felt like barfing most of the way. And my back and shoulders hurt a lot. I think the trekking poles helped in the snow, but sometimes they made things worse. Like when the snow is 3ft deep on the sides of the trail, the poles get stuck and you exert just as much strength pulling them out as you would gain from their support. 

Well we ended up being all by ourselves in the hut, which was cool with me. I'm not much of a socializer anyway. And I'd rather not sleep next to a stranger if I can avoid it. It turned out to be a really good workout and a good learning experience. I'll definitely have to think hard about whether or not I want to try the 11-mi trek out to the Skinner Hut this winter. It would be good training for all the ultras I have planned for this spring though!


  1. Nice work on those repeats!!! && maybe you don't have mountain asthma after all! Notice how I still haven't made it out to those yet... uhmmm...scared :)