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Mountains Beyond Mountains

February 28, 2019

The drive to Boulder, CO went fairly smooth. After a few days at my parent’s house in Michigan we spent three days on the road. Each day on the road typically went like this: 22km morning run. Stretch, shower, play with kids. Lunch. Pack car just after noon and start driving. Drive three hours, kids typically slept that block. Stop at random public library (great place to stretch legs and kids can play with toys). Another two hours of driving. Dinner stop. Try and drive another hour or so until we get to a hotel.

That schedule made the 19 hour drive manageable.

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One of the first things I noticed about Boulder is the amount of athletes and outdoor enthusiasts here. On our third day here Marie and the kids met up with a group of moms that do hikes. We drove to the parking lot where the mom group was meeting and there were guys doing strides, getting ready for a workout. I noticed the coach was Lee Troop (2:09 Aussie marathoner) and went over to say hi. I started my own run and then a couple km later I saw another group of athletes doing a fartlek workout. I noticed Kathy Butler (Canadian/British Olympian) and stopped to talk to her for a bit. Both Lee and Kathy were very welcoming and had some good advice. Towards the end of my run I passed the Roots Running group, another elite run team here in Boulder.

On top of all the elite running groups there are a lot of people biking and running on the sprawling trail network. Apparently they are having a cold February and you’ll see a LOT more bikes once the weather is a bit nicer.

A week into Boulder I had a epic long run. I met up with Dewi Griffiths (2:09 Welsh marathoner) who was finishing up his training camp in Boulder. He stays with Steve Jones (2:07 Welsh Marathoner) and trains with Jonesy’s group, The Boulder Harriers. We set off for a 35km run and after a few km we started to head up the mountain (Boulder Canyon). We kept climbing (Four Mile Road) and then the road got really steep (Poormans). By this point the six of us were spread out and I was losing contact to Dewi. I looked up and thought “there might be another 4 or 5km of this” and started to slow drastically in order to survive. At that point Matt Hensley (not the skateboarder) passed me and let me know the climb was done in about 300m. After we crested the top we headed back down (Sunshine Canyon) and then Dewi and I ran the last 10km out towards the reservoir and back at a pretty good clip.

The hilly runs will be good to toughen up the legs for my next marathon (more about that below). I did another pretty hilly run (Lions Lair) with Tyler McCandless (2:12 marathon) on Monday and then yesterday’s run with Luis Orta (63:09 Half) and Jeff Eggleston (2:10 marathon) still had some good climbs.

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Parking lot shot before heading up Lions Lair (Mt Sanitas)

As I mentioned, it’s been pretty cold here but we’ve also had a few days around 13C. With the mountains so close and lots of great hikes we’ve been trying to get out but it’s been a little cold most of the time for long hikes with the kids. When we have gone on a hike I’ve counted it as a weight session as I have Louis on my back most of the way.

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One day we drove up Magnolia Drive (made famous from Running with the Buffaloes) and had lunch in the mountain town of Nederland. The first 8km or so of Magnolia is VERY steep, the mini-van was working hard. After the killer part it’s rolling with decent climbs. When I asked some of the runners if people actually run the first section I found out that it’s pretty much only trail runners and people who don’t know that it’s customary to start at the 5 mile mark (once the road is unpaved and has levelled off some).

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The start of Magnolia Drive.

As I mentioned, I’m here preparing for a marathon. Specifically, the Hamburg Marathon on April 28th. I picked Hamburg because it’s known as a pretty fast course and they are supposed to have a 2:12-2:13 group. Although nothing in my training so far points towards 2:13 I’m happy with how my body is feeling. I think that once I’m acclimated to the altitude and I have some solid weeks under my belt that I’ll be able to progress. We will see where that progress takes me and what type of goal time I’ll end up choosing two weeks out from race day.

Theoretically by race day I’ll know what the Athletics Canada standard for the Olympics will be. If that standard seems faster than what I’m ready for I’ll most likely shoot for it anyways.

Thanks again for tuning in.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Martin Dixon permalink
    February 28, 2019 9:07 pm

    Jones still running? Heard he was a while ago.

    • reidcoolsaet permalink*
      February 28, 2019 9:11 pm

      I’m not sure. He was biking beside us in a fartlek workout the other day.

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