Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Skyrunning for Non-runners

Yesterday I ran up Quandary. Well, run is what some of us call it. I have a few runner friends who were suddenly shocked to realize that those of us who "run" 14'ers and other steep stuff don't actually maintain a 7:15 pace all the way up. In fact some of the fastest "normal" people who do it have a pace nearly three times slower than that. We're going about a 20:00 mile. So about 3.0 MPH.

The conversation ends about then, and they no longer consider me a "runner" whatever that means. That's fine. If they want to get into it more seriously, I invite them to head on up to someplace like Leadville Colorado, at over 10,000' of elevation, find a steep incline treadmill and hop on. Set it to 0% inclination and flip the speed to 8.0 mph, about a 7:30 pace I think. Not all that fast, really, if you actually run. Now, every 3 minutes or so bump the elevation up 2% and let me know when you fall off the back of that thing.

If you're open-minded and want to keep the experiment going, set it at 4.0 mph and 0% and repeat the experiment. How high of an elevation can you go and maintain that speed? Repeat again, this time at 2.0 mph. It's a very different world. Yes, there are a handful of extremely fit people who can run a lot faster at that inclination, but even Kilian Jornet walks on some steep grades.

I did 1:52 from the lower lot. Strava timed it at 1:48 from whatever starting point their segment overlapped my path. That gives me #9 on their list. Not that bad, really. I have done it quite a bit faster in the past, around 1:30 from the little trailhead sign. I was testing my fitness for Elbrus Race 2013. Taking into consideration the nearly mile long combined stretch of slippery snow patches, and that I had just gotten to Summit County the day before, I think it's not that bad.

In fact, for training for Elbrus Race 2013 I think I'm way ahead of where I was this time of year for 2010.