First this is not my photo nor was it taken today but it is a photo of Deception Peak.
I was up at 5:30 this morning, too excited to sleep and eager to get to Santa Fe where I was meeting the Striders for my first high elevation mountain trail run of the year. I was a nervous on my drive, we were starting at over 10,000 feet and running to 12,400. I had no idea what I would feel like since I have only been at elevation 3 days and that was 6,000 feet.
It was great to see the friends from last summer, Jim, Eric, Miriam, Gabe, Caroline, and make three new friends, Maryann Max and Andy. The start of the trail is super hard, straight up from 10,238 feet to 12,409 in about three miles. It was super rocky, there were boulder fields and quite a bit of snow. There was nothing that resembled running, it was purely hiking. I will post the splits at the end, but it took 1 hour and 18 minutes to go 3 miles and I was in the front group.
The Winsor Trail is a steep climb that takes you to the boundary lines of the Pecos Wilderness, where you turn and go up Raven’s Ridge Trail. It is an unmaintained trails with several high and low points along the way. At times we lost the trail, had to scramble over rocks but the views were spectacular!
When we got to the peak it was about 30 degrees, it was 46 when we started. The wind was intense and we huddled behind some rocks for a couple minutes to take in the views. But the wind and cold were outrageous and we hit the trail to Tesuque Peak which is the site of a hard core half marathon. Once off Tesuque Peak it is all downhill for 5. 5 miles. I felt fantastic. I felt really strong today. In talking with Gabe he too said he was nervous about today, but that the club had been training for 8 weeks working up to this height. I think some people did not have a very good day, the cold plus elevation was pretty heavy. But I loved it and I felt terrific.
On the way down Maryann took the lead. She is fast. Last year she outright won the Caldera Marathon. I was being cautious at first staying with the group but then just let go. I kept Maryann in my sights for most of the 5 miles. I stopped twice to tie my shoes thinking someone would come up behind me but no one did and I lost her. I reached the bottom of the Alpine Vista Trail and was just energized.
I did not take any water or food with me. I was the only one who didn’t but I also did not need it. We ran a total of 9 miles and it took 2 hours. The last bit felt fast, but controlled and strong. After checking my GPS I ran pretty much the pace I ran in the Brooklyn 1/2 marathon which is pretty freakin’ great on a rocky dirt access road between 12,000′ feet and 10,000. For fun I wore my heart rate monitor. I will post the rate because I have an 18:00 mile where my HR was 162 and I have a 7:30 mile where it is basically the same!
Maryann and Max planned a 20 mile day because they have a marathon coming up in a couple weeks. They ran their final 10 on the road that goes back to Santa Fe.
I did a couple of chores in Santa Fe and drove the 50 miles back to Abiquiu when I realized I was starving. It was now 3pm and I only had one piece of bread with coconut oil and black strap molasses at 6:00am. Unfortunately the dogs got into the refrigerator and ate about $100 of food so I went to Bodes convenience store just 6 miles up the road and got a BBQ pull pork sandwich AND a ground beef, cheese and chilli burrito and ate them both! Yes I ate a pile of meat and about 3 pounds of food and boy was it just what I needed. I could go run again.
Average Pace with average HR
1 18:36 63
2 27:25 137
3 25:12 138
4 12:00 136
5 8:00 147
6 8:21 154
7 7:48 160
8 7:42 159
9 7:36 161
9.5 7:30 102 (monitor fell down)
For comparison my HR average for a 9:00 mile is 145-150 at sea level and 7:00 pace is 170 give or take.