I have sporadically run with the Boulder Trail Runners (BTR), a group that holds various runs all week long at various times. It's a great way to meet other runners, learn new places to run and improve your running since there are always faster runners to chase. The group includes regular Boulder people like me (i.e., pretty darn fit) and many world class runners (i.e, super fast). This is typical of Boulder; you run into the top athletes in the world out on a run or a bike ride. I hadn't run with BTR for awhile but I have become interested in stepping my running up a notch so I can complete an Ultra-marathon this year(a trail run longer than a marathon). When BTR announced that they were holding an Ultra-marathon seminar after the Thursday Night Happy Hour run this week, I decided this would be my jumping point to get back into running with the group.
I hadn't been on the Happy Hour Run in many months. I've been running mostly by myself or
with Jesper on the rolling hills of Gunbarrel. In contrast, the Happy Hour run is usually pretty fast, up pretty steep stuff and long (60 to 90 minutes). It provides an opportunity for me to push myself in pace, hills and distance beyond what I normally would do out by myself. So last night, I showed up in my winter running clothes. There were about 6 or 7 skinny runner looking dudes standing there, and another more normal looking guy. No other chicks. The skinny runner looking dudes looked FAST.
At 5:30 pm, with our head lights on, we took off from Eben G. Fine park up to Sanitas Valley Trail and then up onto Dakota Ridge Trail. The skinny runner looking dudes took off fast and kept that pace. Me and the other guy, Charles, struggled to try to keep up. The trail ascended and it was icy. I was killing myself. We finally regrouped at a trailhead before the trail turned up to Mount Sanitas. The skinny runner looking dudes were patiently waiting for me and Charles. No complaints. But Charles and I had decided on the way up that we were slowing the faster runners down too much and it was not good for them to be standing around in the cold waiting for us. So, Charles and I split off and did an alternate run that ended up being 1:08, with a few stops along the way. Here's roughly the run we did, mapped through MapMyRun:
Later at Sherpas for the seminar, all the skinny runner looking dudes came in together and sat at one table. Then the speakers were introduced and, what do you know, the skinny runner looking dudes WERE the speakers! Dave Mackey (Ultra Runner of the year twice), Charles Corfield (3rd in last year's Leadville 100), Anton Krupicka (1st in last year's Leadville 100), Ryan Hafer (winner of last year's Pike's Peak Ascent) and Peter Bakwin (ultra-runner extrordinairre, along with his super fast wife Stephanie Ehret, with many wins). Those were the guys I was trying to keep up with! Sheez...
The seminar was informal but very informative. The skinny looking runner dudes, and a super fast dudette named Darcy Africa (one of the, if not the, fastest female trail runners in the world), gave the earnest group of about 30 attendees lots of great tips about ultra running. Now I just need to select a couple of races and plunk my hard earned cash down so I am committed. Oh that and run more with BTR!