Sunday, June 28, 2009

White Ranch Park - Trail Runs

Ran 16.5 on trails today at White Ranch Park. Located near Golden State Park, part of Jeffco Open Space Recreation. Web site below. with trail maps, descriptions an directions.

White Ranch Park Web Site

My original plan was to do 15 long run, easy. The description for Rawhide Trail looks easy (flat rolling hills, easiest of the trails at the park) I didn't want a lot of elevation so I could rest my calfs some, but needed the miles. I wanted to do something new and run in an area I hadn't run before and Alicia wanted to do a long endurance run also, so she suggested this trail in this park.

I met Alicia at the trail head about 8:15, the parking lot on the West side of the park, 2nd one in. It was really pretty there this morning. Temperatures in the 50's, no wind blue skies, a nice view of the city over the mesa from the parking lot. I took a couple of pictures with my phone camera, but they do not do it justice, so I'm not posting them.

The Elevation at the parking lot is 7400 feet, so it's an increase from Denver, but not way up like Georgetown or Mt. Evans for sure. The total elevation gain/loss for the loop is 1300 feet each way. So total about 5000 feet elevation gain and loss for the day. Not bad.

There are bathrooms on the east side of the trail, so that was our first stop off the trail. The trail starts off with some easy downhill single track with some step drops and goes into the shade for more downhill down to 7100 feet. After about 0.6 miles, you cross a little creek and start going up. This part really reminds me of Pikes Peek. Climbing and switchbacks, roots and rocks. Luckily I had my trail shoes. When you get to the top of this climb, there is a great view with a lake in the distance. This view is so good, I stopped there every lap (3 times). OK maybe the climb helped me want to stop a bit too. Then you run along a ridge with some up and down a couple of other nice views. There are a couple of other peaks that you get to and then you reach the North Side). There is a bench here with a nice view of a Valley and Longs Peak in the distance. I wish I had a camera. The view through the bench to the Peak was perfect. This is the peak elevation point, 7554 feet.

It was at this point I stopped my watched and waited for Alicia to finish the climb. I forgot to start my watch again and so my total mileage and time is about 1.3 miles off. You can see it in my Garmin plot, the straight lines.

As you head west you go downhill again and it feels so good. It's still shaded for a while. The trail is in pretty good shape throughout even with all the rain we've had. The trail here is soft and nicer so it's a gentle downhill. You come out of the trees into a really nice meadow for a while and then back into the forest. You run down to a road where there are some campsites, this road is actually the trail. If you do this route make sure you look at the signs, it's well marked but there are a lot of other trails you could veer off on. Once on the road, you go through a series of 4 hills. The hills dip down to a gully/gulch and then there is a long slow climb back out. The grade isn't too bad and it is a nice workout and seems easy compared to Mt. Evans last week.
As you finish the last hill you can see the parking lot and you are back where you started. A 4.5 mile loop with 1300 elevation gain and loss, a good workout. 1 Down, 2 to go...

Alicia did well, she had done a really tough brick workout North of DIA (of all places) yesterday and had done a lot of biking and running in the heat. She wanted an hour and a half easy run. This was not easy and she had not done the trail work or elevation that I have, but she was still pretty close to me the whole way. We both re-fueled. I filled up my water bottle and had some GU.

My calfs were doing good, I did feel a few pains in each at different points and my right was pinging me more than the left. I rubbed Traumeel on each before the run and then at the pit stop at the car, I rubbed them down again and really rubbed in the sore points.

On the second lap, Alicia told me she was feeling the fatigue and told me not to wait, to go ahead, she was going to take it easy. So I pulled away from her and ran through the second lap. I was starting to feel it a bit on the second one too. The hills seemed steeper and clipped a couple of rocks and even rolled an ankle a bit, but that's trail running. I didn't mess up my Garmin on this lap and did it in 50:50. When I finished, I ran back to meet Alicia, she was only about a half mile behind me, and then finished with her, to get some extra miles.

Back at the car, I refueled and Alicia had her post run shake. She was done and I was going another lap. I ditched my shirt in the car, because it was getting hot in the sun and it was drenched and salt covered and starting to bug. I put some more Traumeel on my calfs, had some GU and a Granola bar. After a couple minutes of discussing the route, we said goodbye and I took off again.

On the third lap, I really felt it, and it reminded me a lot of Pikes Peak after Barr Cabin. I had to take a few walk breaks and then a few more. I was more cautious as the fatigue was setting in. I thought this is it, when I finish this lap, even though I'd be a bit shy of 15, I'd count it as 15. I ended up being 52:20 on this lap, not as much slower as I thought.

I got to the car, and I just didn't feel Done, it was a nice day, I was here, my calfs were holding out, why not go another short loop. I looked at the map and decided to give wranglers run a shot, telling myself even if I walked it all, it would be good. Wranglers starts out on Rawhide and cuts about 3 miles off of it with a short cut to the bottom of the 2nd hill on the west side. The shortcut part is tough to run though, skinny trail with high grass and uphill most of the way. Once back on the road, I ran/walked on each of the uphills. This time when I got to the car, I felt done and I was.

As I drove home, with the AC blasting, all sticky and salty and sweaty, I thought about what nice run it was today and a great workout and how good it felt to finish without injury or pain.

I would definitely recommend this for someone training for Pikes Peak. You can pick your distance by adding laps and get a lot of elevation without the constant climb. Not so good if all you want is uphill with no downhill though. Would have been a good tune up for the Balarat Trail Race I did last month.

Garmin Watch Data for Run

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