Distance was 24.96 miles, time 6:55 (moving 5:27), elevation gain/loss 3,804 feet, avg. pace 16:38 (moving 13:08), and best pace 7:06.
Running 1 or 2 times per week for a while now, this run pretty much kicked my ass.
The first part of this trail was what I expected: rolling hills and somewhat open terrain. It's a very popular MTB trail so bikes were plentiful but the mood was mellow, and on the uphills we kept passing the bikes.
Nice views of South Park at the beginning:
T got a nice shot of us headed across the low point of the run. Blessedly, I almost look like I know what I'm doing (red shirt):
The trail heads up on the green ridge to the left of center:
I lagged behind somewhat on this run except for maybe the uphills, where I kept chugging away provided the slope was moderate. I did well on the upills, and got left behind on the downhills and while taking photos.
But that's OK, I typically run in a fairly easy fashion and they checked up on me to make sure I hadn't run into a tree or something.
After the open areas, there was a bunch of running through woods, as the trail gently headed uphill, mostly after crossing the road to Jefferson Lake.
Near treeline, about a mile from the pass it started to get cold and windy:
Mount Guyot is the pyramid-shaped mountain:
Guyot is visible from Breckenridge (to the right) and is maybe the most prominent mountain aside from Bald Mountain, from that town.
T on the very open, broad pass:
I ran to the top of a little ridge to look at Mount Guyot and peer over the other side, and even though there was no sign, we had hit the top of the route. There were some Jeep roads below on the northwest side, and some signs of some kind, but we were chilled and not really interested in having to climb back uphill just to check it out. We headed back towards the West Jefferson Trail turnoff.
Amazingly when we dropped down onto that trail, the wind was gone, it was sunny, and we began to thaw out:
This was where my body started to feel the run. I usually take downhills pretty easy, but T is a downhill monster and pulled ahead along with Karl. I was feeling pounded already. I settled into my usual downhill long-run jog.
I also do my solo runs with lots of stops, so continuous running is always tough.
Eventually we came to a campground (Jefferson Creek) and took a break, and there was a pump to refill the bottles (quicker than filtering).
We missed the trail around the campground and decided to take the road for the 1/2 mile to where the trail intersected again.
This cowboy even gave a tip of the hat and a "Ma'm" to T as he rode by. Gotta love the American west:
From this point on there was significant amount of walking, especially uphill. As I told them, I felt like my legs had been pounded with a jackhammer.
But as you can see, there are a lot worse places to walk.
And I think there was a photography class hiking up to near this viewpoint. Go figure!
Running up a bit of incline towards the end my legs loosened up again, and I was able to run for the last mile and a half or so.
Man, that run hurt. And it was "only" 25 miles.
Afterwards we joined up with T's husband who'd been hiking with the furry one, and we dropped by Hog Heaven to replenish. Some non-ironic conversation about Ayn Rand and the Atlas Shrugged movie occurred, and there was also more law-abiding highway driving by The Cowboy on the way back. Inconceivable!
Sometimes I question why I ever bother to run over 20 miles; usually while I'm in the middle of it. My legs were way too tight the two days after, and it's Thursday and I have not run yet. But it was still a good time in the hill country. Thanks, folks :)