June 22, 2010
Mike, Ning, and I decided we needed a run that would give us some hills, some decent distance and get us up high. The North Longs seemed like the perfect fit as it’s now snow free, a good solid climb (7+ miles and +/- 3,000 feet of gain), and gets us up to about 12,000 feet. We all have races coming up, Mike and Ning have the Leadville 100 in August, and I have the Silver Rush 50 next month with a tentative Leadville try in August given the 50 goes well. So we need to be running!
We made it to the trail head at about 8 am, geared up and hit the trail. We had planned to play it by ear as far as how much we’d run up to the pass, I wasn’t thinking it would even be an option to run a climb like that – for me, it’s historically been a stretch. But we just kept it low and slow and about a quarter of the way up, we all realized it was a possibility, so we just went for it. It really wasn’t too bad until we got above tree line and the trail steepened as the air got thin. But what a beautiful trail!
The trail winds through dense forests, crosses a number of streams (great for filter stops), and then spits you out in the Alpine Tundra with Longs Peak and Storm Peak towering overhead. What a place to run! We were even greeted by a few marmots as we neared Granite Pass! And we made great time! Nothing super fast or anything, but Mike hit the pass in 1:57:30ish, I came in at 1:58, and Ning was right behind at 1:59:30. We had dreamed that a sub 2 hour time would be incredible, so we were pumped! And that included three filter stops, a pee break, and Ning stretching out her legs, so we were very happy with the time!
We then decided to head back and run up to The Loch in Loch Vale which would add another 2.6 miles to the day. But on the way down, about 15 minutes into the descent, my stomach started to churn. I still have no idea why, but think it was a mix of a few things (going slightly anaerobic on the ascent, not eating well the past week, and being a bit dehydrated coming into the day). But it put a halt to my running. I told Mike and Ning I’d just meet them at the bridge at the start of the trail so they went on and I walked for a bit. This was the first time I had walked more on the descent then on the way up! Strange! After some seriously massive burbs, things began to settle down a bit and I was able to run strong to the base of the hill. But I still wasn’t out of the woods, as after crouching down to filter out of Glacier Creek, it started acting up again. So I just walked to the Loch – hiked it hard, but only ran a quarter mile of it. I then took my time back to the trail head while Mike and Ning shot over to Haiyaha on the way back, adding another mile or so. I just needed to stop moving so my stomach would settle down. Now I really feel for those who have these stomach issues when they run! Every once in a while, mine will get a little off on a run, but never this bad… not debilitating, but certainly not pleasant.
So I made it back to Bear Lake at 4:26 from the gun… Nothing blazing by any stretch, but a great day out and the best climbing I’ve ever done! So all in all, another great day in the hills!
Tickle a gnome and he’ll take you home; tickle a bear and he’ll brush your hair!