Epic Run Day

\Not everyone wakes up in the morning and says “Damn, I need some miles today,” but today that is exactly what I needed. After a yummy breakfast at Main Street Bagels I set my sites on climbing up the Grand Mesa. Conventional routes were out. Seriously, too much traffic and not enough space for the bulki. So instead we chose a seasonally closed route known as Land’s End.

It’s a mostly dirt scenic by-way that climbs up a west face of the big flat-topped mesa on the east end of the Grand Valley. If you’ve ever visited here, you can’t miss it.

The route traverses several biomes common to the Colorado Plateau as well as multiple geologic formations so unlike climbing up the Colorado National Monument (south) or the Bookcliffs (north) there is great variety as you make your merry way along the road. And, probably the best part of this ascent is that the road remains closed until June 1st (although there has been recent road maintenance work completed).

Near the top, while I was feeling very strong, I was also keenly aware of two things. First, that I was running critically low on water. The first two-thirds of the ascent there isn’t any, and while there is near the top still some snow and plenty of runoff, I neglected to bring water treatment. I had about six more switchbacks to reach the brow of the Mesa. Bummer.

Second, near the top shaded spots still have snow and there is lots of mud. The road surface was very soft in places and this was requiring me to really push the hell out of the bulki. So I saved the top for another day. It’s melting fast and drying quickly. Next time I’ll be better prepared.

I am particularly proud of one thing above all on this run, and it is not its length or elevation gain. When we left the parking area near the gate Aral was in a foul mood. He was trying everything and anything to get me to turn around. By the time we got to the first series of switchbacks (maybe two miles in) I had him cheering me onward. Nap time occurred on the way back down after ample time playing in the dirt.

So far I haven’t written a word, but plenty of kinks got worked out in 20 miles of running. I plan on knocking out a few tonight and then some more tomorrow. The little guy is out cold, which is what happens when you mix ample amounts of sunshine, fresh air, and play time into their diet. I’m tired, but not devastated. Honestly, I haven’t felt this fit since August of 2009. And this go around I’ve been spending a lot more time and effort trying to recover which is helping.

Bulki Running

This here is a running post. Every once in a while I get out and nothing, or almost nothing, gets in my way of turning over a few miles on the pedometer. Those days are good, really stinking good.

A long time ago, when I’d hit the trail, I’d see people struggling to push their brood along, and all the requisite gear that necessarily must come with, in baby joggers of one variety or another. I would chuckle to myself and speed on past. Yeah, I had no idea the workout I could have been getting back then.

Pushing your child and all his stuff in what amount to a three-wheeled sled while trying to maintain a running pace is not for the faint of heart. I hate to look down at my GPS watch because I know what I’m going to see there is my struggle to maintain even 75% of my usual pace. It can be a little disheartening I suppose.

Today’s loop stuck to mostly paved roads, sidewalks, and the River Trail. I mostly walked through downtown, my thighs were screaming after their two-mile wake up call to Main Street Bagels¬†and I had a danish in my stomach to contend with, but pacing picked up again all the way back to the apartment.

After some serious playing out in front of the bagel shop, we got back underway. Aral fell asleep which means that I don’t have to gasp for air trying while to have a conversation with him and pretty soon my mind began to wonder like it does when I’ve got a really good cadence going. I was thinking that this sort of running a) could be its own sport and b) probably deserves a better name for it than “running with a baby jogger”.

The setup, at least for most of the joggers that I’ve seen, is very much reminiscent of a dog sled or pulk. Yeah, there are three wheels instead of runners and you’re pushing it, not pulling; but the set up is largely the same. Think the Swiss style schlitteln or better the northern-Sami style bulki.

“Yeah,” I thought to myself, “I’ve got something here.” I already take my jogger and my little boy pretty much anywhere I could take a mountain bike. What could possibly stop this from becoming the summer equivalent of single-stage dog sledding endurance sports like the Iditarod. Maybe I could run the length of the Tour Divide?

Things were getting out of hand inside my head. I was devising alterations that I would implement to extend the range of our Chariot CV1. Adding some much needed luggage space. Ways I might narrow the wheel base to make it more useful on single track. Calculating how much water I might need to cross long stretches of northern prairie highlands with my young charge tucked inside.

Well, this folks, this right here is “brain soup”. All the cool things I think about when I’ve found flow state and there is nobody telling me all the things that cannot be done. It is an awesome place to be as an author, it is an amazing experience to be in this frame of mind.

Anyone want to go run with me?