Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bolder Boulder 10K

Another week, another 10K, which is funny because I generally don't really like 5Ks or 10Ks.  Of course, Big Hill last week was a trail 10K, which is much more tolerable.  Bolder Boulder, on the other hand, is a road 10K and one with 50,000+ participants to boot.  Considering I don't really like 10Ks or large groups of people, it's not really a natural choice for me and I didn't initially plan on running it.  Hell, I had honestly forgotten that it was even going on the same weekend we would be on a family vacation to Denver.  

In preparation for that vacation, I had emailed my friend Mike (our host for Quad Rock a couple of weeks ago) and asked him for some running route suggestions in Denver.  He clued me in on some good routes and also casually mentioned Bolder Boulder.  I checked out the race website and was surprised to find that registration was still open (and, actually, they took registrations race day morning, which is just insane to me for a race that big).  Really, Bolder Boulder is the antithesis of everything I like about trail and ultra running, but it is a well known event and Boulder is a cool town.  After some deliberation, I decided I wouldn't mind seeing what the whole thing was like first-hand, so I went ahead and registered.  

To handle the masses of people, you are placed in one of 92 waves with staggered start times.  The idea is that you'll end up running with a group of people of similar speed, which will avoid massive traffic jams, throwing of elbows, cussing and general malcontent as always happens when large numbers of runners attempt to self-seed.  For the most part, it seemed to work very well.  Based on my time from the Missoula Marathon last year (the only non-ultra qualifying time I had), I was placed in the BA wave, which is the 5th wave to start.  This was good, since it meant I would start at about 7:04 AM, be done running before 8:00 and we could hit the road back to SoDak fairly early in the morning (the later waves didn't start until after 9:00 AM).

In order to hopefully make the race day go a bit smoother, I opted to drive up to Boulder from Denver on Sunday afternoon to pick up my race packet rather than braving huge lines on race morning.  This may or may not have been a good choice.  As soon as I hit Boulder, traffic was bumper to bumper and it took me longer to drive around downtown and find a parking spot than it had to drive the 30 miles from Denver.  The downtown area was absolutely stuffed to the gills with people in town for the race and I found myself wondering why in the hell I had decided to do this.  I did eventually get my race packet and made a quick escape back to the relative calm of Denver.

After that experience, my biggest concern for race day wasn't the race itself, but finding a decent parking spot for Shannon and the kids.  With that in mind, we got up at the buttcrack of dawn and drove into Boulder and paid a fairly ridiculous $20 to park on the University of Colorado campus, within easy walking distance to the finish line at Folsom Field.  The start line was about a mile walk from there, which was fine with me.  I was just glad to have a good parking spot at that point.  

As for the race, I had absolutely no expectations going into it.  I hadn't even thought about running it until less than a week ago and I was primarily there for the experience.  Not to mention that I have done absolutely zero speed training this spring.  Basically, the plan was to just start running and see how things felt and go from there.  At precisely 7:00, the first wave took off and like clockwork they kept herding us forward until my wave was at the front and on our way just past 7:04.  Immediately, I felt like crap.  My legs felt heavy and tired and my stomach didn't feel all that agreeable.  I immediately began wondering how many porta-potties were located along the course and where they might be (luckily, I never had to answer that question).  Overall, I felt tired and suddenly "just a 10K" felt like a very long ways.  I spent the better part of the first 5K just trying to get into some kind of rhythm, and I would for short stretches, but then I would have stretches where I felt like crap again.  It was like a microcosm of an ultra playing out on a much smaller scale.  I ran between 7:20 and 7:40 pace for those first few miles, which is not spectacular at all considering I had run a trail 10K, with many more hills and less smooth footing, at around the same pace the week before.  

After hitting the halfway point, I finally found a groove and was able to stay in it for the remainder of the race.  I dropped my pace to sub-7:00 for the last couple of miles and started passing a bunch of people in the process, which is always fun.  I still didn't feel great, but I felt tolerable.  Up a couple of short hills and we were in Folsom Field for a final half lap to the finish.  I ended up running a 45:15, a solid 6 minutes slower than my 10K PR, but I was totally fine with that.  After getting herded like cattle through the finish line, past the chip removal and into the indoor track where I got a free Michelob Ultra (not my beer of choice, but I'm not one to turn down a free beer), I finally emerged back outside where I was able to locate Shannon and the kids fairly easily.  Back to the car and back on the road for a 6 hour drive home.

So, would I do it again?  Probably not.  That's not to say that there is anything wrong with Bolder Boulder.  In fact, the level of organization is mind boggling and, from my perspective, things seemed to flow very smoothly.  The course is fairly nice, Boulder is a beautiful town and the race seems to be the focal point of the weekend.  It was a cool thing to experience, but once is probably enough for me.  Like I said before, road 10Ks with masses of people just aren't really my thing.  I'm glad I did it this once, though, just to see what it was all about.

Now, back to the trails.  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Big Hill 10K

Remember in my last post when I said it's becoming tradition for Ryan and I to run a 50 in Colorado on Mother's Day weekend?  Well, another developing tradition is to come back to SoDak and run the first race in the Black Hills Trail Running Series the weekend after that 50.  

Of course, being able to race the week after a 50 depends heavily on being able to recover from said 50.  Recovery from Quad Rock went about as well as I could hope for.  I took Sunday off completely and ran a flat, easy five on roads on Monday.  My hips were really tight and I had some general fatigue, but nothing really hurt.  Tuesday I started getting back into my normal routine and by Wednesday I felt almost normal.  

The bigger question outside of how well I would recover was how I should structure my weekend around the trail series race, the Big Hill 10K.  I had, perhaps with great confidence, scheduled back to back 20 milers for this weekend back when I sat down and hammered out a Bighorn training schedule a few months ago.  The intent all along was to train straight through Quad Rock as much as possible, but in reality I wasn't sure how recovery would go and whether or not I'd have to cutback a little in the week following Quad Rock.  

With recovery going seemingly well, I decided I'd like to try and get in those back to back long runs while also running the race, so I developed an ingenious grand master plan.  As luck would have it, the Big Hill trailhead is about 6.5 miles south of the Tinton trailhead just outside of Spearfish.  My plan was to start out at the Tinton trailhead, run the 6.5 miles of the Tinton trail up (and it is predominantly uphill) to Big Hill, arriving there in time for the start of the race.  I'd then run the race and then run back down Tinton to my car for a total of 19-20 miles.  Perfect!

All in all, the ingenious grand master plan went well.  I ran the first 6.5 very, very easy, even walking a few of the uphills along Tinton that I would normally run on shorter excursions.  I arrived at the Big Hill trailhead, ensconced in a fog reminiscent of Quad Rock last Saturday, with about 20 minutes to go before the race started.   My bright yellow Boston shirt is fairly easy to pick out of the crowd.

Runners in the Mist
Photo courtesy of Mark Warren

As I chatted with a few other runners and waited for the race to start, I eventually cooled down a bit.  My legs didn't stiffen up too bad, but all the heat I had generated on my run up the hill dissipated fairly quickly and I was getting pretty cold by the time we finally started.  But, it didn't take long to warm up as I found myself cruising the first downhill portion of the race loop at just over 6:00 pace.  A far cry from my blazing fast 13:23 average pace at Quad Rock a week ago.  I like to keep my legs guessing.

Race Start
Photo courtesy of Mark Warren 

The race itself was a 10K loop (which actually turned out to be more like 6.7 miles) on one of the four Big Hill loops, which are popular groomed cross country skiing trails in the winter.  For the most part, there's actually not much single-track as most of the trail system is old logging roads that have grown over.  Every once in awhile, there's a distinct track to follow, but other times we were just running down a wide grassy path through the aspen and pines.  Being highly popular cross country ski trails, there aren't a lot of steep hills along the loops.  The trail is fairly rolling in nature with more gradual ups and downs than most of the other runs in the trail series.  Actually, thinking back on it, it was this relatively gentle rolling nature that drew me to Big Hill for my first ever foray into trail running a few years ago.  I haven't run there since, having found the appeal of "purer" (is that a word?) single-tracks like Tinton and the Centennial.  But, I digress...

Typical Big Hill Trail
Photo courtesy of Mark Warren

As for the race, it went just about the same as how all the trail series races go.  The really fast guys took off in a small pack right away, leaving myself and the other handful of kinda fast guys in a middle pack.  This middle pack eventually spread out a bit over the course of the race until it was just myself and another local, Carlos, within sight of each other.  Carlos and I leapfrogged each other a couple of times early on before Carlos pulled a ways ahead on a long downhill.  As the course looped around and started heading back up toward the trailhead, I would reel Carlos in bit by bit on the steeper uphills, but he would maintain or slightly improve his lead on the flats and short downhills.  I drew closer and closer throughout the second half of the race, but ultimately ran out of real estate (I was running out of steam too, quite honestly) and Carlos finished about 5 seconds ahead of me (I believe we were in 6th and 7th, although I never checked for sure).

After catching my breath for a bit and chatting some more, I decided I'd better head back down the trail before my legs stiffened up too much.  The return trip to my car along the Tinton trail went really well, aided by the fact that 95% of it was downhill.  Thanks to the extra race mileage, I ended up with about 19.8 miles for the day with a nice little tempo workout in the middle of it.  Best part is that, one week after running 50 miles, I don't feel at all like I just ran 50 miles a week ago.  I love it when a plan comes together.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quad Rock 50

Seems that traveling to Colorado to run a 50 miler in May is becoming something of an annual tradition for Ryan and I.  Last year, it was the Collegiate Peaks 50 in Buena Vista on Mother's Day weekend.  This year, the inaugural Quad Rock 50 in Fort Collins, again on Mother's Day weekend (did I mention our extremely understanding wives??).  Hanging out at the QR finish line on Saturday evening, still caked in sweat and trail grit, Ryan was already plotting our adventure for next year.  Can't say for sure that it will include Colorado again but, regardless, that's getting a little ahead of ourselves.

We heard about QR back in November or December and it immediately moved to the top of our radar.  For one, it's relatively close (a 5 hour drive from Spearfish).  For two, the course looked like a beast (more on that later).  For three, the timing was good.  I had already locked in on the Bighorn 100 as my big target for the year and QR fell 5 weeks before Bighorn, making it a perfect long tune-up race.  For four, I knew some people in Fort Collins, all of them acquaintances from the blogosphere.  One of those acquaintances, Mike,  was so gracious as to offer us a place to crash for the weekend.  Many thanks, Mike!  And, speaking of understanding wives, thanks to Mike's better half J for putting up with three strange trail runner dudes from South Dakota for a few days.

So, QR it was.  Ryan and I initially recruited a couple of other locals, Nathan (who had ventured to Collegiate Peaks with us last year) and Andy to come along with us.  Unfortunately, Nathan was sidelined with some hamstring issues so he couldn't make the trip.  We decided to leave on Thursday, giving us a chance to just chill on Friday.  This worked out well, since Mike clued us in on a local group run and potluck on Thursday evening, which was a great way to stretch the legs after the car ride and meet/run/drink/dine with some of the Fort's local trail runners, including Alex and QR co-directors Nick and Pete

After wandering around the Fort Collins/Loveland/Longmont/Boulder metroplex for most of the day on Friday, it was time to finally face the task at hand on Friday evening.  At some point on trips like this, I inevitably have an "oh shit, I actually have to run a race in the morning" moment.  That moment came on Friday evening as I stared at the random pile of crap I had shoved into my luggage before leaving South Dakota and tried to determine if I had everything I would need the following day (or if I was even sure if I knew what I would need).  The primary concern was the weather.  It was a balmy 85 when we hit the Fort on Thursday, but a cold front blew in and the forecasted high for race day was around 60 with a 30% chance of showers.  A bit cooler than what I had planned for, but I figured I'd be okay so long as those showers didn't become a steady downpour, as they sometimes do (they didn't).  

It seemed as though I had the requisite gear to run 50 miles, but for some damn reason I couldn't shake the thought that Saturday wouldn't be my day.  Why?  To be honest, the course was starting to intimidate me a bit. For months, I've barely even thought about this race.  Now that it had snuck up on me and I was staring it straight in the face, I was starting to wonder what I had gotten myself into.  Much of the talk at the potluck on Thursday had revolved around the course and its challenges, namely 12,000 ft of elevation gain over the 50 mile route.  That's a shit-ton.  I've been running a decent amount of trail miles this year, but was seriously doubting that it was enough for a beast of a course like this.  And if I couldn't survive this, what would that say about my chances at Bighorn?  Pete had mentioned on the QR website that in order to finish the 50 mile race, you had to hit the turnaround at 25 miles knowing that you would be going out for a 2nd loop...the thought of stopping and taking a 25 mile finish couldn't be an option.  I tried mightily to think that way, but I just couldn't really convince myself that I would be able to make that turn on Saturday.

With those thoughts swirling through my head, sleep didn't come all that swiftly on Friday night, but it did eventually come.  Morning came quicker, at 2:45 to be exact.  As I got dressed and gave my gear one last check, the sense of trepidation remained.  Honestly, I don't even remember if I was this nervous immediately before running my first 100 at Lean Horse.  Of course, Lean Horse was a known quantity....a course that I knew I could run well on.  This was a totally different situation.  Standing in the dark at the starting line, I felt totally unsure about what was about to transpire.  Confidence was nowhere to be found.  It seemed to me to be a lot of worrying for what was supposed to be a simple training run.  As much as I was dreading it, it was probably merciful when Nick finally counted down from 10 and sent us on our way.

So, back to the course.  As I've alluded to already, the route is comprised of two 25 mile loops through Horsetooth Mountain Park and Lory State Park.  In conjunction with the 50 mile race, there is a 25 mile option. Everyone runs the first loop in the clockwise direction.  After reaching the start/finish line at the 25 mile mark, the 50 milers turn around and run the loop again, counter-clockwise (essentially making it an out and back course).  As I also mentioned, 50 milers have the option of calling it a day at the turnaround and accepting a 25 mile finish.  The total elevation gain for the 50 mile race is in the vicinity of 12,000 feet, which comes in six big climbs (three on each loop, obviously).  The entire route includes precious little flat running....it's basically go up, go down, repeat (actually, it says something similar right on the race shirts).

Once the race was underway, it was time to stop over-analyzing things so damn much and just run, and it turned out to be a great relief to be underway.  I had lined up somewhere in the middle of the pack and was somewhat unprepared for just how congested the trail would be early on.  I was basically forced into running the pace that people immediately around me were running and it seemed very slow, much slower than I probably would have started off if left to my own devices.  But this was a training run for a 100 miler.  I kept telling myself to treat QR as if it WERE a 100 miler and run accordingly.  In retrospect, being "stuck" back in the pack was probably the best thing that could happen to me as it prevented me from going out too fast and consequently crashing and burning later on.

Almost before I knew it, we were atop the first big climb at the Towers aid station, about 7 miles in.  I grabbed a drink of Coke and a PB and J wrap and was on my way.  As for fueling, I was gun shy about trying the EFS gel they had given us right before the race as I'd never trained with it, so I was sticking with the trusty ol' Hammer Gel between aid stations and making a concerted effort to eat some "real" food at each aid station.  Leaving Towers, I was still "stuck" in a bit of a crowd and went with the flow down to the Horsetooth aid station.  Upon arriving at Horsetooth, I was immediately greeted by a familiar face in Rob, who ran the inaugural Black Hills 100 last year.  Funny how a seemingly inconsequential thing like seeing someone you recognize can give you a boost in a race, but for some reason it always does.  I grabbed another Coke and a turkey/cheese wrap (this turned out to be my food of choice for the day) and headed up the hill feeling great.

Climbing back up towards Towers past Horsetooth Rock was the first time where the field really started to spread out and I felt like I could maneuver a bit.  I started to pass a few people here and there, but still didn't feel like I was really pushing all that hard.  I did a lot of walking on the uphills, even though there were several sections where I most certainly could've run.  I didn't have a heart rate monitor on, so I basically judged my HR by feel and tried to keep from pushing it too high.  After reaching Towers, drinking some more Coke and eating another wrap, it was down Mill Creek toward the Arthur's Rock aid station.  I noted a few steep, straight-shot descents (i.e., no switchbacking) along this stretch that were going to be a pain in the ass (or legs, more accurately) going back up the other direction.  Oh, and speaking of the other direction, by this point in the race my mentality had changed completely.  The fear of not being able to make the turn at the halfway point was virtually gone.  My legs felt great, my stomach felt great and I was in a groove.  I still had a long way to go before even hitting the turnaround, but quitting there no longer seemed like a probability, or even really an option.

The Arthur's aid station is back down in the valley where we started, just up the road from the start/finish line.  But of course it would be too easy (and short) to just haul ass down the road to the start/finish.  Instead, it was back up the trail for the third an final climb of the first loop.  It was on this climb that I hooked up with another runner, Jason, who seemed to be going about the same pace as me.  Well, actually, I seemed to be pushing a bit faster on the uphills, even when just hiking, and he seemed to run the downhills a bit faster, but working together we stayed pretty close to one another.  At the top of climb, we hit an old road and it was here that the leader of 50 miler, Ryan Burch, came cruising by, running the uphill in the opposite direction steady and strong (he would go on to win the race and, consequently, he also won the Collegiate Peaks 50 last year, so he's won every ultra I've ever run in Colorado).  As we continued the long descent toward the start/finish line I saw Ryan and then Mike not too far behind, both also looking nice and strong.  And when I say long descent, I mean lllloooonnnngggg descent.  At some point, the trail emerged from the timber onto some open, brushy slopes that afforded a view of the start/finish area down below.  Of course, upon seeing such a sight, my immediate thought was "hey, almost there!".  Wrong.  You can see, and hear, that damn turnaround point for a solid few miles as you switchback down the hill before you finally get there.  But, get there I eventually did, hitting the turnaround in about 5:25, over a half an hour ahead of pace for my totally arbitrary goal of 12 hours for the full 50.  Of course, I knew I would slow some over the 2nd half, so sub-12 certainly wasn't in the bag just yet.

Immediately upon hitting the turnaround, I was greeted by Alex, who had just finished the 25 mile race a little over an hour before and was now volunteering.  He grabbed my hydration pack and refilled my water while I rooted around in my drop bag for a fresh shirt and refilled my gel flask.  All in all, thanks to Alex's help, it was a fairly efficient turnaround and I was back out for my 2nd loop before the 5:30 mark.  Jason had left the aid station right before me and we ended up hiking (and running a bit) back up the hill as we chatted about the race and other events we've done.  This was a great way to kill the time and made the long climb back up go by much faster than it would have if I was alone with my own thoughts.  We ran fairly strongly back down to Arthur's together but then got separated a bit when I took a bit of a walk break after Arthur's, on relatively flat trail, to finish eating my wrap.

Now it was time for what would be the hardest climb of the day.  Several hours into the race and facing the steepest ascents along Mill Creek.  Early in the climb I walked when it felt appropriate and managed to run a few of the mellower sections, but when the grade increased it was nothing but a slow hike.  For the first time all day, I felt like I was really working hard, even while just hiking.  But, when I hit a downhill grade, I still found it easy, and comfortable, to resume running, so I was still making somewhat decent progress.  Eventually the trail topped out and I found myself cruising back down into the Towers aid station for the third time.  Only one more big climb left.

After Towers, there's a bit of fairly technical trail near Horsetooth Rock and I was able to run this comfortably, if not carefully.  My quads still felt perfectly fine and I was able to move my feet quickly enough to account for the terrain.  When the trail hit the wider, totally smooth trail lower on the descent it felt heavenly and I was able to open up my stride and just cruise for a bit for the first time since....well, all day, really.  As I hit the Horsetooth aid station, I glanced at my watch and saw that I was 8:49 into the race.  I fleetingly wondered if Ryan or Mike had finished yet (both were gunning for sub-9) and, as it turns out, Mike was finishing at almost that exact moment, with Ryan not far behind.  Leaving Horsetooth, Rob told me I had just a few miles of climbing left and then mostly downhill for the last 7 after that.  Music to my ears.

The climb up Spring Creek was fairly slow going as my legs were definitely starting to feel the elevation gain.  I was walking several grades that I could easily run under normal circumstances, but let's face it, there is little "normal" about running an ultra.  At some point, I glanced up to my right and realized I could see Towers Road and then saw a couple of people running down it, which led me to believe I was nearing the Towers aid station again.  Wrong.  Like the turnaround, that glimpse of the road was deceiving as the trail parallels it up the drainage for quite a ways before I finally caught site of the aid station and the top of the climb.  Once back at Towers for the fourth and final time, I was a bit disappointed to find that they were out of Coke and Mountain Dew.  They did still have turkey wraps, but I was tired enough from the last ascent that I didn't really feel like eating and, with only 7 miles to go and a long downhill on Towers Road ahead, didn't feel like wasting the time to walk a bit and eat.  It was obvious by this point that sub-12 was practically in the bag, but I also thought I might be tantalizingly close to sub-11.  So, I grabbed a handful of gummy bears, shoved em in my mouth and started pounding down Towers.  As I had arrived at the aid station, I noticed Jason sitting and eating.  I wondered if he was feeling alright, but assumed he was and that he would probably catch back up to me eventually.  Turns out I was correct on both accounts.

Although my quads still felt relatively good, I did have 43 miles on my legs, so the descent down Towers and then back onto the trail wasn't exactly blistering fast, but I was able to run fairly comfortably given the circumstances.  Jason did catch up with me as we neared the bottom of the descent and at some point he wondered aloud if we could break 11 hours.  I told him I'd been thinking about that myself, but that in order to do so, we'd both have to really kick some ass over the final few miles.  I did some quick calculations in my head and, assuming my GPS mileage was accurate (it was), we would've needed a few solid 8:00ish minute miles to come in under 11 hours.  Turns out, neither of us really felt like kicking quite that much ass.  But, as we came off the hill and onto the nice, smooth, gentle trail through the valley, I did get another chance to open my stride up a bit and pulled ahead of Jason.  At this point, it wasn't so much that I was trying to gap him, I was just ready to be done and had a bit more push left than he did.

Although the valley trail is easily the flattest part of the course, I did find myself taking a few short walk breaks here and there.  I knew sub-11 was out and my new goal was to beat my Bighorn 50 time of 11:15 from last year.  A totally, ridiculously arbitrary goal, but something to shoot for none-the-less.  I cruised straight through the Arthur's aid station with two miles to go with a few encouraging words from Alex as I passed by (I would say "flew by", but let's face it, I wasn't really flying).  Eventually, the finish area came into view and before I knew it I faced that somewhat surreal moment that comes at the end of every ultra when, finally, after hours and hours of running, the finish line is right there in front of you.  I had somewhat jokingly told Andy the night before that my goal for the race was to finish before my Garmin battery died.  Turns out, that battery has at least 11:11:51 of time on it, because that's what it read when I hit the stop button (my official time is 11:11:21...not sure where the 30 second difference comes from, nor am I all that worried about it).

I grabbed my finisher mug and immediately noticed that Nick was conducting the awards ceremony down at the picnic shelters, so wandered down there where I quickly located Ryan, Andy and Mike and heard about their extremely strong runs (10th and 11th in the 50 for Mike and Ryan, respectively, and 25th for Andy in the 25).

Hands down, the best paced 50 I've ever run.  Standing around the finish, my legs felt relatively fine.  Tired, of course, but not shot.  Could I have gone another 50?  Well, we'll never know for sure, but I'd like to think that the answer is yes.  Running this course faster than Bighorn, and with a bunch more elevation gain thrown in, has restored all of that confidence that I was severely lacking early Saturday morning.  Not really sure that things could have gone any better.  All that worrying for nothin'.

All in all, a great trip and a great race.  The organization was top notch (Nick and Pete know a thing or two about ultras) and the volunteers were outstanding (again, it's obvious when the volunteers are runners themselves).  The course is a beast, but it can be tamed (sounds corny, but whatever).  Definitely a worthy early season goal race or a great training run for other races such as Bighorn, Black Hills, Western States or Hardrock (of course, when choosing amongst those four, one must ALWAYS consider Black Hills first #notbiasedatall).

Huge thanks to Nick and Pete for putting this thing together, to Rob, Alex and all of the other volunteers for, well, volunteering and, again, to Mike and J for the lodging.  Much appreciated!

EDIT:  Meant to add this before, but spaced it.  Garmin Connect link to my GPS data from the race.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April Summary

Miles: 347.8
Time Spent Running: 54:39:06
Runs: 35
Rest Days: 2
20+ Mile Runs: 4
Lookout Summits: 8

I was down about 30 miles from March.  I've been running the same volume/week, so that's basically a function of one fewer day in the month plus an extra rest day because of how my running schedule played out over the month.  My miles/run average was almost identical.  The number of 20+ milers was down by 3.  Again, that's partly due to how the schedule played out.  It's also due to one of those 20+ mile runs being a 40 miler and another being a 28 miler, so more volume in single long runs and fewer back to back 20+ mile runs.  The number of Lookout Summits was the same.

May will probably be similar to April.  It will definitely have more rest days, as I plan on taking the day before and after the Quad Rock 50 off.  How Quad Rock affects my mileage the following week remains to be seen.  Last year, I was able to bounce back from the Collegiate Peaks 50 very well and continue on with training.  Hoping for similar results this year.

Obviously, Quad Rock is the big test run prior to Bighorn.  If I can get through QR unscathed, I'll be on the downhill trend of my training....just a couple more weeks of (hopefully) high volume training after QR before it'll be time to taper.  Yikes.