SUMMER TRAINING PART 3

Waterfall in Mummies
To kick off the month of August I decided to partake in a leisurely run to Lost Lake. I started in the Comanche Peaks Wilderness at the North Fork Trailhead. There was a good bit of elevation gain and once I was at the lake I impulsively decided to start exploring the Mummies. The adventure took me to some hidden gems of the northern reaches of the park, highlighted by an upland waterfall and a heavily snow covered slope. I noticed a small peak in the distance and surmised that it must be Mount Dunraven, so naturally I tagged the summit quick before descending the south slope of Mummy Mountain. I jumped out on the Black Canyon Trail near Lawn Lake and started running again toward McGraw Ranch. Once I hit the Cow Creek Trailhead, I got very lucky and hitched a few rides back into town. Although I typically would have liked to run the full 35 miles, I thought it best to stop at 25 being so close to Leadville 100.
Lost Lake
On the forth Apryle and I hiked to Finch Lake and Pear Lake, wrapping up my adventures in Wild Basin for the summer. This was a leisurely 14 mile hike on a day when I was feeling a little off my game. Nonetheless it was great to check a few more trails off my list for the summer. The trails leading out of Wild Basin are some of my favorite in the park even though I was not able to get down to that area much throughout the summer.
Pear Lake
Early morning on the 10th, I met Craig in the parking lot of the library and we headed over to the Longs Peak trailhead. We hit the trail very early and reached the summit in a solid time, especially considering it was Craig’s first fourteener. Additionally it was a special moment for a certain article of clothing that garnered a cult following since its discovery back in 2007, the blazer. The blazer was purchased at a goodwill in Tiffin, Ohio and worn at the State Cross Country meet and into the Atlantic Ocean.  With the summit of Longs Peak the blazer is most certainly become    the most well traveled discarded garment in the lower 48.
Craig and I with the Blazer on Longs Peak
The next day I made the drive down to Leadville to run the 10000-meter race, what better way to tune up for a hundred than by running as fast as you can for 6.25 miles. After sleeping on the ground next to my car, I was well rested and ready to tackle the first of two races in Leadville for the week. As expected I ran the first 3.12 in an okay time considering it was all downhill, but it was basically status quo (everyone running 3 minutes slower than their outbound time) on the uphill 3.12 back to the finish. I ran a pretty pedestrian 39:28, good enough for 6th overall. But more important than time or place, the race ignited the fire in me to compete in the event in which I had dedicated all my training to once again this year, the Leadville 100.
Great Sand Dunes
On the 17th I finished my second Leadville in a time of 23:41:42, significantly faster than last year but still well off my goal time. I allude to the race further in an earlier post. After spending eight months in the paradise that is the Rocky Mountains, I had to make the difficult drive down to Austin, Texas for Physical Therapy school. After taking my last jog in mountains to West Creek Falls, I wrestled with the idea of backing out of my decision to attend grad school and just continue working at the RMNP. I felt very fortunate to have landed a dream job, but at the same time I felt fortunate to make the cut for PT school and in the end I knew that it was best to take on a new challenge.
School in Austin, Texas
The trip down to Austin was highlighted by a trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. This was the first time I got a look at the Sangre de Cristos and the San Juans to the west. To quote John Muir the mountains were calling, and I must go. Unfortunately for me they were calling and I was going in the wrong direction. Nonetheless, the Dunes were an amazing place, unlike anything I had ever seen before. Apryle and I trudged to the top of High Dune and I reveled in my final adventure in Colorado.