Monday, July 20, 2009

Longs Peak run

On Saturday (7/18) I went up to the Longs Peak area to get in a good run/hike at altitude. I couldn't have asked for better weather or scenery.

I left Boulder around 1:30p and hit the trail at the Longs Peak ranger station at 2:35p. The trail up to tree line passed quickly and it was warm enough that I soon had my shirt off. The one major downfall of this trail (at least up to the turn off for Chasm Lake) is the amount of horse poop. Maybe I'm missing something, but it's definitely not ok to leave your dog's mess on a trail, so how is it ok to leave massive piles of horse poop in the middle of this trail?

Once I got above treeline it was much cooler and the views of Longs and the surrounding peaks were spectacular. I made it up to the Chasm Lake junction at 3:45p. After a short break to eat some Gu and put my shirt back on I headed off towards Granite Pass. As usual it was super windy at the pass so I kept moving toward my destination at the start of the boulder field, arriving at 4:29. About 5.5 miles and just under 2 hours into my hike. I took a break for 15 or 20 minutes to enjoy the perfect weather and incredible views.

I ate another Gu and headed back down the trail. At this point I still felt great, but I had 5.5 miles to go. I started running back down the trail and hit the Chasm Lake split off at 4:59. I still had plenty of water and food and felt pretty good, but my left knee was starting to bother me a bit. By the time I was about a mile from the trail head, I had to stop running and walked most of the way back due to some pretty sharp pain on the outside of my left knee. I reached the car at 5:39p, 3 hrs and 4 min after starting.

I'm pretty sure I really irritated my IT band on the way down. I'm not completely sure what did it though. I've been upping the mileage in my hikes/runs to about the 10 mile distance over the past couple weeks so it could be too much too soon? Anyway, two days later, my left knee is still bothering me and I'm pretty sure I strained my left hamstring as well since I must have changed my stride once the pain started. The symptoms are pretty well in line with ITBS since the pain is on the outside of the knee where the IT band runs, it hurts most when bent at a 30 deg. angle, and it hurts worse going down hills/stairs than up. I've got an appointment to get it looked at tomorrow and I've been doing ice and ibuprofen for now, but I think the hiking is going to have to take a break for now. More time to boulder I guess.

Here are the stats for the hike/run.
Starting Elevation: 9,400 ft.
Finish Elevation: 12,400 ft.
Net Elevation Gain: ~3,020 ft.
Distance: 11 miles
Time: 3 hours 4 minutes (about 2 hours up, 1 hour down)

For another Boulderite who's been doing some trail running on Longs see Peter Beal's blog.

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