Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).

Monday, March 17, 2014

Chatauqua Park Run

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting.
                                                                                                 - Ralph Waldo Emerson

This past weekend the family headed up to Boulder to watch one of the local high school teams play for the state championship (they won!).  The weekend before I had managed both a 13 mile run as well as a 40 mile bike ride.  Unfortunately when last Monday rolled around I found that I'd come down with a fairly debilitating cold which resulted in having to take the rest of the week off.
So I was quite excited on Sunday morning when I had not only the opportunity to run again, but I found myself back in the Boulder area.  For the day's run, I decided to head up to Chatauqua Park for a bit of trail running.  It's a place that I used to run fairly regularly in college, but I would guess it's been at least 15 years since I last had the chance to run there.

I left the hotel a bit before 7:00 and made the trip into Boulder, turning left onto Baseline Road and heading straight up and west towards the park.  When I pulled into the lot I was surprised to find that there was only one other car there.  I always figure since it's Boulder I'm going to see tons of runners out and about.  During the entire run, I saw very few people and only two other runners.   It was a cool morning, but not terrible, and within a few minutes, I was plenty warm.
A few long shadows remain as the sun rises on Chatauqua Park
The rising sun cast the flatirons that sit just below the park in a beautiful, golden light as I worked my way up towards the Mesa Trail.  Chatauqua Park has dozens of trails and I chose the Mesa trail in hopes that I might be able to connect with one of the other trails and find myself near the NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) which perches just above South Boulder.  Unfortunately, I must have made a wrong turn somewhere as I found myself doing more hiking than running along a narrow trail.  It was still fairly icy and snow-packed and after a few minutes of hoping to reach a better route, the trail had almost completely disappeared.  I surrendered and turned back down the way I came.  The trails throughout the park are very diverse.  Some are wide open trails, while others are made completely out of rock.  There were also some patches that were frozen solid, and I was glad because I imagine that a few hours later, they would be a muddy mess.   It does make for a nice mixture of technical and non-technical trails.

Clear Trails, Rocks, and Mud all make up the trail system at Chatauqua.
After winding my way back down along the Mesa (and stopping to take a picture of some deer crossing the trail), I turned west and headed back up towards the flatirons again.  The next trail had a bit of climbing, and I soon found myself at the very bottom of the second flatiron.  It's quite a sight to look up and see the rocks rising a few hundred feet directly above you.  I was so close to the rocks that at times, my Garmin would lose its satellite signal and it would be a minute before it picked it back up again.   I turned north and began a descent back towards the park entrance.

When I got back down to the bottom of the trail, I turned west one more time and ran along the bottom edge of the park.  I reached the end of the trail, and crossed onto the road that snakes its way up Flagstaff Mountain, but turned off it almost immediately towards the Gregory Canyon Road.  Here I was able to see some of the damage from the floods that took place a little less than a year ago.  The road up to the trail head was really broken up and a huge gash tore its way across the entire road at one point, causing me to run down into the crevice and back out again.  I ran a bit further until I'd marked about 5.5 miles and by the time I made it back to the car, I'd covered a bit over 6 miles.   Not the long run I'd originally planned for, but I just had to take the opportunity to get a trail run in on a clear Boulder morning.
Signs of the catastrophic flooding that took place in Boulder less than a year ago.
One thing I didn't do very well was pay attention to my Heart Rate.  During the run I averaged about 144 bpm which is a bit higher than my Maffetone levels.  I also managed to get it as high as 169 bpm at one point.  Chalk this up to the elevation changes and notice that this run had about 1400 feet of elevation gain, compared to my typical 200 feet.

When we got back into town later on Sunday afternoon, it was still such a beautiful day, I decided to go ahead and do a "recovery ride."  I did a nice, easy 20 miles or so which was great.  Next weekend, it will be back to a long, slow run again here in the flat lands.   I'm probably scheduled for a third Maffetone test, but I think I'll put that off for a few days since I've only had a chance to do one long run since the last one.
A "selfie" while running and hoping I don't trip on a rock in the process!

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