Mile High? Try Almost 2…

Going way back on this, think it has been four days since last blog.  Surprising, but I ended up having better things to do than blog once I finally got home Friday evening.   It has been an interesting couple of days though…

After taking Wednesday off in Oakland, made it back to Denver on Thursday.  Had originally planned to re-run the Cherry Creek Trail in an attempt to get it right the second time around, but ended up stumbling into an offer I couldn’t refuse.   I ended up getting the email address of my second cousin Josh Gross who lives outside Boulder.  I gave him a shout and it was my lucky day as he had a free afternoon and was willing to come to Denver to pick me up.   I probably hadn’t seen him in almost 20 years, but I see his sister here in PA pretty regularly and have heard about his exploits.  In a nutshell, he is an outdoor beast – pro rock climbing guide, Rocky Mountain National Park Patrol, and master of every other piece of extreme gear (bikes, skies, hang glider, etc.).  Essentially he’s the guy all other normal guys hate, doing all the stuff for a living that every other dude usually only reads about in Outdoor Magazine because he’s either too broke or chicken to give it a try…

The Mesa Trail - I’ve confirmed these trails actually exist in real life, not just on the glossy pages

He suggested we run the Mesa Trail, which sounded great to me.  The Mesa Trail turned out to be the trail I always thought was photo shopped into all those running magazines and trail shoe advertisements.  Unbelievable (unless you live in Boulder, you lucky SOBs) – groomed trails through cool hills, with every “degree of difficulty” you could imagine.  No wonder endurance guys and gals come here to train – with these trails and the altitude factor, I could see this being mecca for runners.  Anyway, Josh and I set off around 2pm – I figured that even though I was 8 years older than he was I would have no problem holding my own since he was a climber, not a runner per se.  Well, he was no dummy – our “run” lasted about 15 minutes, before we conveniently began to subtly start climbing.  First jogging, then hiking, then no-kidding climbing.  About an hour later we reach the summit of Bear Peak, almost 8,500 feet above sea level.  Needless to say, even though we were “hiking”, the heart rate monitor though we were banging out 6:15 miles.  The descent was much faster, with a mix of running and hiking.  Overall 7.8 miles, total time 2:18:00.  Holy cow – definitely found some thigh muscles that don’t get used running straight and level.  Did not feel a single pang of guilt when we met Josh’s wife for a big greasy burger afterwards.  An awesome experience, will add Boulder to my list of places that I will consider living after I win the PowerBall.  Thanks Josh – I don’t think I will be able to return the favor from the cool perspective if you get back east, but we’ll try to find something to challenge you (might take something on the order of Mt Kilimanjaro though…).

Bear Peak (the high part) - Josh Gross’s “homecourt” advantage

Left Denver Thursday evening for what can safely be described as a “long one”.  Denver-Dallas-Oakland in the cockpit, then straight to Oakland Int’l for Oakland-Denver-Washington DC-Harrisburg back in the cheap seats.  Left at 10pm EST, got back to the house at 6pm.  The next day.  Yawn….  Did not run on Friday, think I can be forgiven.

By the time Saturday rolled around, the thighs were in full mountain climbing pain.  This was a job for the pool – up to the HydroWorx tub, set the treadmill at a very easy pace and just started running.  With the Masters on the flat screen (perfect, since you can’t hear it over the sound of the resistance jets – no sport can be appreciated on “mute” better than golf), ended up going for 75 minutes.  Hit the thighs with the massage hose afterwards, hurt so good.  Despite being exhausted, definitely left the pool feeling better than I did when I got in.

Put in 6 easy on the roads today.  Plan on hitting the track tomorrow morning, wanted to be fresh.  Have read a bunch lately about making your easy days truly easy, so this was part of my new recovery program.  More on this later, but it actually felt good to go at a slower pace.  The legs did feel a lot better today than yesterday, so I think tomorrow will be a good session.

It’s good to be home, will enjoy what hopefully will be a productive week.  Added a fun race to the schedule on Wednesday evening – a road mile down in Maryland that a little birdy told me just might have a little “grade” to it.  With my recent downhill training I think I should be ready to go…

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About Nick Berra

I am a 45 year old masters runner from Central Pennsylvania. I have been participating primarily in track events since turning 40 in 2009. This season has produced marks that I have not run in several years, I believe primarily due to starting a strength and flexibility program here at Elite Athletic Performance - I've felt stronger and faster than I have in a long time. That, coupled with lots of underwater running, has kept me healthy and fit - at this age those are things I no longer take for granted... I run USATF events with a team out of Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Track Club. They are a great group who have played a big part in making the sport enjoyable for me again. I also run local races for HydroWorx Track Club, supported by HydroWorx here in Harrisburg PA. Their underwater treadmills and training center has proved to be a crucial part of my training, rehabilitation, and recovery programs. I set personal records in the 800m (1:56.06) in 2010 and in the 1500m (4:02:63) and mile (4:23.48) in 2011. Despite the fact that I am not getting any younger, I nearly PR'ed recently and set the M45 indoor world record in the 800 meters at the New Balance Armory in New York City. I ran 1:56.10, besting the 9 year old record by less than a second. I feel like there are still more big things to come... I am married and have two daughters. I am an assistant XC coach at my alma mater, Cumberland Valley High School here in Mechanicsburg PA. I am also a 1991 graduate of the US Naval Academy, currently working as a pilot for FedEx after serving 10 years on active duty flying in the Navy. Beat Army! Beat Army!
This entry was posted in Aquatic Fitness, Cross Country Running, Deep Tissue Massage, Hydrotherapy, HydroWorx Exercise Pool, Resistance Therapy Jets, Running, Underwater Treadmill and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Mile High? Try Almost 2…

  1. Suzan says:

    Hi Nick, We have been waiting for this post! Sorry to hear you are in pain, my money was on the younger guy all along. But of course this is Mom speaking. It is wonderful to know that you two finally got together and enjoyed a great day. Don’t forget the Traumel, it is my body cream of choice! And aren’t you glad Madoline is no longer a vegetarian? I’m sure Melanie and the girls would love to visit Boulder sometime to check out the trails and shopping. Hope to see you over Easter. Suzan

  2. Brian Ober says:

    Damn, that’s a little like taking BP in Yankee Stadium – as far as ultra trailrunning goes. Krupicka, Jurek, Roes – all the demigods – train there extensively. According to Tony’s blog he did Bear 29 times in 2010 and nearby Green Mountain a staggering 296 times!

    • Nick Berra says:

      I don’t know who those guys are, but I could get used to running out there.  I’m guessing I will have been the only guy training in Boulder for the Westminster Main Street Mile though…

  3. Laurie Desroches says:

    Funny, have a similar pic with the Flatirons rising above the trail.

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