On July 28, we tackled Mt. Elbert. The highest mountain in Colorado and not only did we go for a hike, but just like a couple weeks before, we jogged as much as we could on the way up, and ran as fast as we could on the way down.
We woke up at 4:00am and hit the road. We stopped at the gas station to pick up some Krispy Kremes, but it was under construction and we had to settle for some crackers. By Idaho Springs, we decided to stop by McDonald's. Who doesn't love a HEARTY Mc.Donald's breakfast? I absolutely LOVE the egg and cheese biscuit, the hash brown and orange juice. It's perfect.
We had friends waiting for us to start at 6:00am, and we knew we'd be late, so we texted them and had them start. We got there almost 45 minutes late, got ready and started at 7:00am sharp.
|At the trailhead|
While the trail started with some steep switchbacks on the Colorado Trail, we stuck to a nice slow jog. It was absolutely GORGEOUS. This is when it hit me, I gotta come back and run along the Colorado Trail much more often. Anyway, after the steep switchbacks, it got nice and flat (or so I thought so. It was actually downhill and I realized this when I struggled to run it on the way back). After a mile or so, unfortunately, we take a turn and start going up... but I know I'll be back to run the Colorado Trail a little more.
|To Mt. Elbert...|
After another mile and a half, we reached treeline. We had been on the trail for a little under an hour and we reached one of the people in our group that had started at 6. We had passed SO MANY people. I guess my man is used to it, but I'm not. Like I mentioned last time, I'm NEVER the fast one on the trail, but I guess my running legs have been amazing to me this year. It puts a smile on my face and gives me the energy to keep going. Obviously, as a good triathlete, I get competitive and I wanna beat everyone to the summit.
Above treeline, we passed Chuck's other two friends and just kept going up. This is where we started some other switchbacks, and while I hate them when I'm hiking, they seem much more friendlier while running, makes it less steep and you get up them WAY faster than when hiking. I did a mix of power-hike and jog. This was followed by a nice flatter saddle-type-thing before a VERY steep section. We had no option but to just walk up it. We talked to a guy that had just come down and was jogging, he said apart from him and us, there was only one other runner on the mountain. This other runner he was talking about was pretty crazy, cause we saw him start as we were getting ready, we saw him come down right before we hit the summit and later in the afternoon (way later) we saw him just running around on the roads... I wonder if he EVER stopped running.
My goal was to hit the summit within two hours. I had read about the route and on the 14.com website, they said it was a 9 mile roundtrip, so given the elevation gain, I figured I'd be right around that, but I hit 4.5 miles and I was not on the summit... I hit 4.5 miles somewhere around 14,200ft at 2h8m. So I was off by 8 minutes, but kept pushing for the summit. The summit was at 4.8 miles and I reached it in under 2h20m, so not too bad for someone that JUST got started with trail and elevation running.
|Good enough in my books!|
I did a little research and the fastest ascent of Mt. Elbert was recorded by Sid Hayes in 1987. He summitted in 1h13m. The second fastest was Roger Briggs, also in 1987 in 1h37m... I'm sure that with a little bit of practice, I will get closer to AT LEAST the second fastest. That guy Sid, just sounds like he's not from this planet.
Anyway, we took the summit family shot and waited for the rest of our group for an hour and 20 minutes before we started going down.
|We are a handsome couple... just saying! :)|
The man and I ran down... I walked the steeper sections since they were a little gnarly, but once past that, before the switchbacks above treeline, I ran as fast as I could. It was SUPER fun, just like the other time and I can't seem to get enough of it, I wanna do this more. I passed quite a few people that were going up, and it seemed dumb, since the sky seemed to get slightly stormy as I was coming down... I warned those that were still a long way from treeline, but no one seemed to listen.
I got back to the car and had done the whole thing in 3:40 minutes... and also, got a nice little blister. I seem to get this same blister over and over again when I run downhill on trail. Surprisingly, it only bugs me while running, but not while walking.
Chuck and I sat in the car and had some beer. We waited for a while before it started pouring rain, and one by one the rest of our party started showing up. Both Chuck and I were back before noon, and the last one of them showed up at 3:30pm. It was a LONG wait, but we were dry, warm, and beered up. I feel bad for those who got rained on and were cold, but oh well.
Now, the man wants to take me to do Humboldt Peak and traverse over to Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle. It seems like a long day, and it wouldn't be a trail running day so I'm trying to talk him into doing something else. But who knows, maybe we can run to the first one, do a safe traverse and run all the way down. With the storms brewing early in the day, we may just have to run anyway. :)
On to the next adventure...
"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go." -T.S. Eliot