What is really defined as a "mountain run?" There is probably some sort of minimum elevation before a "hill" is considered a "mountain." With my runs in Ohio, I have ran up a ton of hills, probably the biggest hills in the area, but running here in Boulder has showed me what a true mountain run is. It is something that makes your heart beat to the max, jumping out of your chest, has your lungs crying for air, and that's not to mention the 3 miles of steep uphill your legs are charging up. That is what I would call a "mountain run." And I have finally been able to run a mountain.....
Magnolia Road 5 miles uphill on Sunday, Green Mountain via amp/saddle/greenman on Monday, and Green Mountain via gregory/ranger on Tuesday is probably the hardest three consecutive days in my short running career. All that plus being introduced to a higher altitude has been a pleasant shock to my body, both mentally and physically. Breathing is not a big issue, like people over exaggerate about, but nonetheless I have felt a difference, especially the first 15 minutes or so of running. After a while, I can find a nice rhythm and it is not much of an issue. Today's run I hardly felt a difference.
Mentally, running up a mountain, is tough. Breathing is full force most of time and the heart rate rarely drops. As for the legs, they burn and yearn for a level spot or downhill, but sparingly get one. My mental tactic: forget about the legs and focus breathing. I have felt these types of feelings in my legs, nothing new (I mean, 20 400's isn't a joke). If I can settle into a nice rhythm, running up Green Mountain will be easier. How easy can it get though!
Today, in Boulder, I did not run up Green. I decided to explore a new section of trails, mainly the Mesa Trail, which heads south (or north pending on where you start) along the east side of the Flatirons. It was gently rolling with long, gradual inclines and declines, nothing too big. As I turned around an hour into the run, I felt a sense of freedom and came back about 8 minutes faster. I was running free, in the shadows of Green.
I talk as if I am an expert, but truly, I have ran a mere 3 "mountain runs." (every time I write mountain run, it sounds a little goofy, there has to be a better way of wording that!!) Someday this will be an everyday thing (hopefully) and it won't be a big deal, but right now, this is a start of something new.
(the true mountain runner - Matt Carpenter)