Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The 14'er and Take Your Pick....12, 13 or 15 Miles

Cliff, Whitney, Jason and two of their friends hiked Mt. Elbert (elevation 14,433'), Sunday. Their total roundtrip was 8.5 miles. It is the highest peak in Colorado, highest in the Rockies, and second highest in the contiguous United States. I didn't go. So, I can only tell you what they told me. The trail was good...as in well maintained...but, it was steep! Their research online named this climb a Class I (easy). However, this was Whitney and Jason's third 14'er and they said that it was far from easy. The temps up that high was possibly in the 30's or 40's, but they had plenty of sunshine. Descending was harder than hiking up. They felt they did not have complete control of their footsteps. You can imagine trying to walk down a sliding board.....I'm sure it felt much the same except that you had loose rocks to traverse, also.

Their plan, once at the bottom, was to stop in Leadville, CO for lunch. But, Leadville was having some sort of festival and finding a place that wasn't overly crowded wasn't happening. So, they headed back here to Dillon. Good thing I decided to cook dinner early because they came in tired, limping, quiet and HUNGRY! I cooked a huge pot of chicken pilau (pronounced per-lo), string beans, salad, pickles and for dessert....punch bowl cake (strawberry and angel food cake mixed with lots of other goodies). They feasted, then crashed. Ha!

Here are some pictures from their hike:

On their way up....hiking through an Aspen grove.
Coming through the tree line.
Steep and rocky. That's Whitney in the middle
and her friend Suzan in the yellow top.

Jason found some snow or ice or both.

Cliff and Jason, resting.
A view on the way up Mt. Elbert.

Another view and probably their destination.

Twin Lakes in the background.
They made it! This was Whitney and Jason's third 14'er and Cliff's first.
P.S. I have a couple of videos that Cliff took, but for the life of me can't get them to load here. I'll keep trying and post them at a later date, if I can figure it out.
12-mile run route. Dillon to Keystone.
I had my long run yesterday. Twelve miles. I was worried. I was having flashbacks of the eight-mile run last week that ended with me hugging the toilet. I wondered if I was truly acclimated or if running that far at an elevation of 9100' was a mistake. But, I had to try. My half-marathon is in two weeks. I started out feeling bad. I was feeling lethargic and my stomach was feeling a little nauseous. For the first one to two miles, I was breathing hard and I started thinking that maybe I should cut this run to ten miles. However, I started warming up and my breathing settled. Now, mind you, this run was an out and back and the out was almost all uphill. The uphill portions were not very steep at all, but enough to take what energy I had right out of me. My legs grew very tired. But, the scenery was gorgeous.

I ran from Dillon to Keystone and back. So, I had the mountains on my right going out and on my left coming back. The path mostly ran beside a river and because of all the rain we have had lately, the river was running extremely fast. The sound of the rushing water was so soothing that I almost didn't mind how tired I was becoming. Again, the oxygen up here is not as plentiful for this low country girl, so I'm sure that was a big part of my lethargy. The run back to Dillon was much easier as it was almost all downhill. It was a gentle descent.....that was surely welcomed and was also good training for my half. It is supposedly all downhill.

Cliff was flanking me on his mountain bike with oranges and Gatorade and some of his special brew that he uses on his bike rides. I can't remember what it's called. Normally, I don't like it, but yesterday it was like manna. I also had my favorite GU gels - Espresso Love.  I am quite ashamed of myself because Cliff was being so good to me and I was in such an ill state that I may have smarted off at him a couple of times. But, thank God, when it comes to him.....love is blind. He overlooks my moods and he even picked up a rock for me out of the river. Bless it!!!

Remember that steep, steep hill I told you about the other day that was at the foot of the condo? Well, yes, I had to climb it at the end of this very tiring run. I'm so sorry, but I just couldn't run another step. I felt like crawling, felt like lying down on the path for awhile, felt like leaning up against the rock wall, felt like crying, felt like lassoing a rope around Cliff's bike and having him pull me up and I felt like I was just not going to make it. But once again, walking very slowly, I couldn't stand up straight, I couldn't talk and I could barely breathe, but I made it!

Now, the distance is not conclusive and this makes me crazy. I am detail oriented and I want my mileage to be exact. My Garmin watch said 12 miles. I had to run around the condo parking lot to make it an even 12. Ha! See, I'm telling you....it has to be dead on. And then, when I checked the Map My Run app on my phone, it said I had been 13.37 miles. OMG! So, I did what any runner would do that has to know for danged sure their exact mileage....I went to Google Earth and measured the path and Google Earth said it was over 15 miles. OK.....now I am truly going crazy. For my peace of mind and to put this thing to a rest, I am calling it 12 miles. Although, for the records, I believe that due to a test Cliff and I did on my Garmin and the Map My Run app a few weeks ago, that the actual mileage is closer to the Map My Run app because of the amount of points it plots on the map. Technical stuff that I know not much of......and to keep my sanity, I chose to go conservative and use the mileage on the Garmin watch.

Here are a few pictures I took while running:

They actually have golf courses up here. It is beyond me! This bridge ran through it.

View from the bridge.


And, Cliff took this one. He got up close and personal.
Most likely, this is where he picked up my rock.

So, the adventure continues and I'll post again soon. Stay tuned.

Have a Happy Day,


  1. Good on ya', girl!!! I just got back from home/Colorado, and look forward to catching up reading here in there next few days. I did one of the 14ers, too, but we drove it - spent a day on Pikes Peak, in low hanging clouds! Hope the high altitude running gets a bit easier. XOXO

    1. Thanks Tanya....too bad you couldn't have been here for the half-marathon. I hope, one day, to hike Pikes Peak. It has special meaning for me. My family and I used to live in Colorado Springs while daddy was stationed at Ft. Carson. I remember lying in bed looking out of the bedroom window and watching fireworks go off on the 4th of July, when I was just a little girl. I'm sure the altitude will get better...at least it seems to be getting better everyday. Talk soon!

  2. Good for you. Beautiful pics.

  3. Gorgeous picture, both from the hike and from your run. So nice when we can run in a different place looking at some nice landscape. That's it, I'm officially jealous ;)

    1. Thanks Sara! You are just going to have to plan a trip to the U.S.

  4. You are nominated - http://myfirst5k.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/i-guess-im-inspiring/ - Congrats!

  5. I love that you ran around the parking lot to make sure you got your exact mileage. And then you ran more than you planned.

    1. Thanks Carol. Sometimes I wonder if my need for detail is a curse. HaHa!