A year ago I pledged, "I will not: run any races, wear a watch, keep any kind of running log, or plan any workouts. However, I will: jump lots of sagebrush, splash in many a stream, glissade as much as possible, and only run when I feel like it. I want to run for running's sake." Since the year has expired, I feel compelled to reflect upon the how well I adhered to my intentions and what the results were. Looking back I can honestly say this was the greatest summer of running I have ever had. Without the obligation to race, there were no tapers or recoveries, I could run freely, and I did! I shared many a mile with a cadre of fellow ulta hounds and saw amazing country. It was a special summer, spent enjoying the Elks with some stellar people. Below is a highlight reel of a few runs I took this summer.
|"Uncle Al" on The Woody Creek Trail|
Woody Creek Trail - I kicked off the summer with a retracing of one of my first ever long runs as an ultra runner, the Woody Creek Trail. I shared an early season venture into higher country with my brother Alex Tiernan, Megan Lizotte, and Travis Baptiste. Not to be thwarted by the large stores of late snow, we post holed our way to the southern exposure of the highest ridge before descending into the beautiful Hunter Creek Valley. This seldom used trail is a blast to run!
|Joseph enjoying the views of Hay Park|
Hay Park Trail - For the last two years I have joined Joseph King in running from his house up Capital Creek to Carbondale, via the Hay Park Trail. It's a net downhill run with spectacular views, both great reasons to run this route! Only minutes from my house, running this trail reminds me how fortunate I am to live in the Elk Mountains.
|South Maroon Summit|
South Maroon Peak - The Maroon Bells are iconic mountains that are rumored to participate in more photo shoots than any other peaks in North America. Their allure is inescapable and that is why I try to reach their summits each summer. This year I never made it up North, but I had an enjoyable run/hike/run attack on South with my good friend, Dave Bowman.
|The boys (Dylan Bowman, Pete Gaston, Alex Tiernan) enjoying some good banter atop Buckskin Pass|
The Four Pass Loop - Sage Canaday recently lowered Ricky Gates FKT for the Four Pass Loop. His 4:27 is an outstanding accomplishment! My running of the four pass loop this summer was all about camaraderie, not about speed. Dbo, Uncle Al, T-Bap and I rolled over the four passes that encircle the "Bells"laughing along the way. I love this Aspen classic!
|Jonathan and Leora Jordan|
East Maroon - Gothic - West Maroon - I can vividly remember when Jon Garcia was a senior in high school, he confided in me that he had a crush on a sophmore 400 meter runner name Leora. I encouraged him to pursue the relationship and over a dozen years later I found myself sharing some trail miles with the happily married couple. Running East Maroon trail to Gothic, one of my favorite singletrack trails in the Elks, and back over West Maroon Pass, I understood why so many tourists have ventured these same paths.