Athletics Magazine

Vertical Miles

By Brisdon @shutuprun

Yesterday Jill and I went on a leisurely trail run:


She wanted to get in some “vertical” miles (aka ball busting climbs), so we chose Walker Ranch outside of Boulder. If you think this looks easy, go buy a ticket to Denver, call me and I will take you here. Then you can cry and beg for mercy.

Hey Jill, is this “vertical” enough for you?


It may only be 7.5 miles, but this loop kicks one’s ass. Altitude + major climbs = no joke.



Not sure why this sign is lying down.
Probably got assaulted by a horse or someone dismounting a bike.

On a run like this, you do not know how to dress. I brought about nine changes of clothes in my car (wedding dress, bikini, pasties) because when it is 50 degrees, sunny and calm at my house (5,000 feet), it is 40 degrees, cloudy and windy 30 minutes away (7,200 feet).

You can tell by the elevation map, that we started high and immediately descended 800 feet to the South Boulder Creek. I listened for the roaring water, but there was no roaring water because everything was frozen. Frozen or thawed, this image is a spectacular one.



I only tripped over one puddle:

When you do a run like this one, you have to get over yourself and realize you will be walking some steep parts (to avoid passing out and having your body blow up) and your paces will be several minutes slower than a typical flat road or treadmill run. But, let me tell you – do a run like this a few times a month and when you get on flat road, you will haul ass.

Despite hills and wind – trails, pushing myself and running just makes me happy. Plain and simple. Makes Jill happy too,



A couple of announcements:

  • If you want to sign up for the Colorado Colfax Marathon (May 19), do so before January 30th and it is only $79 (vs. $90). Use promo code AMBBET.
  • Tom Campbell, Assistant Principal at Reedy Creek Middle School in Cary, North Carolina, has organized a virtual run – the Buddy Up Against Bullying 5K (March 16) to raise awareness about bullying and to make efforts towards prevention. Check out the blog and how to download a bib for this event HERE.
  • A reader let me know that an interview I did with Runner’s World UK has been published in the February 2013 edition. The article was about Sherry and running safety. Let me know if you have a copy or know of a way I can get a copy of it.

What do you think is tougher: speed work on flat surfaces or grunt work on hills? I think they are both challenging in their own way. I actually find doing intervals at the track tougher than steep climbing and hill work. I think my body is built more for slow, difficult climbs than speed.

How much do you add in speed/hill work to your marathon or half marathon training? I add in lots of hills (my motto has become what Olympian Frank Shorter said “Hills are speed work in disguise” ). I love my Yasso 800s and tempo runs, but I always feel these make me injury prone.

Have a great weekend!


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