If you’re lucky enough to be in the mountains, you’re lucky enough!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Twenty Years Ago Today!

Happy Anniversary My Love - 20 Years!!!!

"Pre" - Steve
"Pre" - Kathleen
Getting Closer - Steve and Kathleen at the Royal Gorge, Colorado - 1987 -
digging that wild hair on both those kids, eh?
A Definite Item - Late Fall 1987
December 31, 1988
What a way to celebrate New Year's Eve - The day I married my best friend and the love of my life. Kathleen has brought more to my life than I could have ever imagined and every day I find something new to love about her - twenty years later!! It does not get any better!
Hard to imagine we were only in our early twenties - mere babes.
From day one, I had that "feeling" that she was the one. I still feel it today - thanks Kathleen and I can't wait to see what the next 20 years brings our way!!!!

Happy Trails and Happy New Year everyone and thanks for sharing a trip down memory lane!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Morning run at Ute Valley Park

Took a snapshot when we were getting ready to run this morning - this was from 8 o'clock. These are our favorite weather spots we watch on Weather Channel. Of course, we started at 8:30 so it was up to 9 when we left and we were treated to some beautiful sunny skies! We got a treat this morning and were able to run with our friend C during some of her off-season recovery time. We have been friends with her and her husband, P, for years. She is one of our local elite runners and a mother of 4 - WOW!!! :-)
The girls running on the top of the bluff.
A "chilly" group photo at the finish (of course, Kathleen forgot to take her "spy" mask down for the photo :-0 ). We had a great time running today and the sunshine helped out a lot with the cool start. Including our to-and-from home, we ended up with a nice 7.25 miler - plenty for us after two long-ish runs on the previous days. Definitely Happy Trails at Ute Valley on a beautiful morning and we enjoyed the company!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Red Rock Canyon/Intemann Trail Combo

It was mid-30's (yahooo!), mostly gray skies and spitting some snow flakes when we headed over to Red Rock Canyon for a quick jaunt this morning.
To our great delight, the sun ended up gracing us with its presence for much of our run today. It is wonderful being able to wear shorts and a skirt the end of December!
We did a loop-de-loop through Red Rocks and caught the connector trail over to the Intemann Trail. There are virtually endless route possibilities in this area. I would guess an epic 50 mile loop would be quite easy to piece together - too bad our legs and lungs can't handle that type of exploration! That's ok - we'll just do it piece by piece, 10 miles here, 15 there and eventually sample it all.
Steve winding through the woods on Intemann. The sun was hiding at this point and the wind had whipped up pretty good making the temp feel a bit more brisk than when we started.
We never tire of our local scenery. We are SO lucky to live here! So much to see and sample so close to home.
Back in Red Rocks, heading down into a narrow little canyon.
The sun is back out, smiling on us!
The last little push out before a nice descent back to the truck and 10 fun miles in our legs. We both have this long Christmas weekend off from work and are loving it! We will be getting in some good outdoor exposure and fun quality family time. Good times!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

It was a beautiful day and what a fitting way to celebrate Christmas - a great trail run at Garden of the Gods! Pikes Peak was crowned with clouds, but aside from that, crystal-clear blue sky reigned the day.

The trails were in awesome shape and with temps in the 30's to start, then into the 40's later in the day, it felt downright balmy after a couple weeks of brisk temps.
Running past the Siamese Twins arch, had to stop and get a photo of the Peak through the keyhole...
... and with some awkward footing, got a group photo there as well!!!

Finishing strong on the trails with a little over 10 miles for the day. A great day and a lot of runners out on the trails. We were headed for Steve's sister's house to have a family Christmas tradition - Lasagna. What a meal after a good run, topped off with Chocolate Espresso cake - mmmm - Happy Trails!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sun and Section 16

Yep, we are pretty sure we are related to Randy, from the greatest Christmas movie ever, "A Christmas Story" - at least related by how we feel in all of our layers of clothing we've dressed in when heading outdoors this week. I bet if we fell down, we would roll around helplessly, like him! LOL! :-)
We donned our Randy suits and headed over for a quick jaunt around Section 16. The windchill was hovering around 2 degrees - hey, the sun was out and it felt warmer than our Incline outing last weekend. It was all good. We are adapting, in that it didn't feel too bad, and are acquiring our "winter skin". It's all perspective. The 30's we are expecting around Christmas is going to feel wonderful - Yahoooooo!!!
In the photo above, we are on our way up and looking northeast. The rocks in the distance are Red Rock Canyon.
We had a lot of snowpack on the route. Here is one of the dry sections that gets some sun exposure.
We are close to the top and looking east across the canyon.
Another one of the dry sections.
Now the payoff for the hard work climbing up (1600 feet in 2 miles). Let the descent begin!
Steve at the bridge crossing the creek. The waterfall coming down through the big boulders on the right was frozen solid. This area is deep in the trees and is not getting much sun action during the day. It was brisk. The snow surface and traction in the more shaded areas was stellar, though. Because of minimal sun exposure, these shaded areas don't start to melt out during the day and then re-freeze at night, thus creating the glassy, icy surface. A definite traction bonus.
Heading down the canyon on High Drive. This is one of the few sunny areas along this portion of High Drive. It is a one-way dirt road through the canyon that is closed to cars during the winter. It is a beautiful area! We ended the day with just over an hour of trail running - as long as the temps continue to hover close to zero, we will have to be happy and satisfied with shorter outings. Regardless of the shorter run duration for us at this time of year, it is always so refreshing and invigorating to still be able to get outside and enjoy our ability to be able to run at all and savor the beauty of nature that surrounds us. Happy Trails and Christmas Blessings to all this week!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cold morning run...again!

We're in a bit of a cold snap here, but we figure if we can at least get out for some shorter trail runs, it sure beats riding the trainer in front of a TV!!! We headed out early as the sun was just peeking out over the rim in Ute Valley Park. Here is Kathleen cresting the ridge with some sunlight starting to stream over the bluff. We needed some 'solar energy' to get us going. Ute Valley had seen enough sun during the week, even with our cold temps, that we did not have to wear screw shoes - bonus!
Steve starting to "warm" up after the first climb. It was really nice out this morning as the forecast was for a gray day with snow - which we got an hour after we finished. It was good to be forced to start early and get some nice sunshine. The trails are in really nice shape for this time of year and we are glad to be able to still get out for trail runs - road running is NOT for us!
Someone was in the Christmas Spirit and hiked all the way up to the ridge to decorate this tree - very cool.
You don't see me...you really don't see me!
That is what this doe was thinking as I was taking her picture from less than 10 feet. We had several spectators lurking in the trees as we descended from the rim into the valley of the park. We were just glad the bears aren't out right now and it was too light for the mountain lions and coyotes!!!
We did somewhat of a variation on the Ute Valley race course and knew we could not be out long in these temps. We have read a fair amount about limiting your outdoor exposure in the low temps - anyone out there having any input on that subject, feel free to let us know. Kathleen is almost to the top of the steep climb, getting ready for a little downhill reward!
Finishing strong on the climb - not much farther to run. We did about 6.5 miles of fine trail running. It was refreshing to be out enjoying the trails!
Who are these people???
We realized when we met with Tim on Thanksgiving that most people would never know what we looked like when not disguised behind hats and sunglasses. So we had a friend snap a photo of us after church tonight and thought we would post it on the blog. Happy Trails and hope all are well and ready for Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I-T-S C-O-L-D!!!

We're not usually real keen on exercising outdoors when it is sub-zero, but we ventured out to the Manitou Incline today with the mercury at 5, and wind chill -10. That is COLD. The trainers are set up in the living room, but they'll have to wait because we wanted out of the house! So we bundled up in wool, Sporthill 3SP, and screw shoes and headed out the door.
Since the climb up the Incline and the run down Barr Trail encompasses about an hour or so total, we figured we could endure the cold for a short period and get in a hard workout. Here is Kathleen preparing to face the brutal midsection of the climb - 68% grade!
Summit at last! It was snowing lightly the whole time and we only saw 5 people on the climb - usually the hill is buzzing with eager victims!!!
We stopped BRIEFLY for a photo on the summit - 8600' and quite chilly. The "sun" teased us a few times but was little comfort today. Yesterday we ran in sun and 52 degrees - what a difference a day makes!
Yes, that is Steve doing some Eskimo trail running...
... and Kathleen following suit!
It got cold running downhill so Steve had to throw on his wind shell - good thing as a little color helps against the bleak grayness of the day.
One of the brief moments of sun peaking out on the descent of Barr Trail. It was a good first test for the screw shoes this year as the traction was almost better on the snow than it is on the decomposed granite surface when Barr Trail is dry. It was a good, quick workout and sure beats sitting on the trainer for an hour! Looks like we have an entire week of this weather ahead of us - oh boy! Have a great week!

Shoes S - Montrail Continental Divide w/screws
K - Nike Air Terra Ridge w/screws

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Palmer Park trails

We had not been to Palmer Park since before the Fall time-change, so we decided to head out on the trails there today for our run. We had high winds today ahead of a huge cold front moving into Colorado and Palmer has some good areas to find shelter if it gets out of hand. We were treated to an awesome view of the mountains sprawling out along the western edge of the city from this vantage point atop the park - very nice!
Kathleen cruises along the Grandview trail as Pikes Peak surrenders it's summit to the pending change in weather - brrrrrrrr! It was great to get a sunny day when we know a drastic change was on the way. We were out to maximize the rays and get as much trail under foot today as possible.
Dropping off the rim into one of the park's valleys, this normally sandy trail is holding onto its snow and won't get much sun to change that for a while. The cold air radiating up from the snowpack brings a reminder that "warm" is relative at this time of year.
Climbing back up out of the valley floor, we had a great vantage point to look over the park's stables. Didn't see any horses out on the trails today, but there were a lot of bikes - everyone wanted their day in the sun before the cold hits tomorrow. Forecast is for a 30 to 35 degree plunge in the expected highs for tomorrow!
Gotta love the deep blue sky and sweet singletrack!
We have not ever ventured up on the Templeton trail, so today we decided to climb this rugged trail to the rim of the park.
The vistas are spectacular as the trail meanders around the flanks of massive rock cliffs, and tempts you to have a peek at the scenery spread out before you rather than the tricky footing right in front of you!
Kathleen navigates the twisting, rocky terrain while enjoying the splendid sunshine and azure skies!
The wind was really beginning to bite as we neared the end of our run and we were glad to be close to our day's finish.
One last stop for a group pose high on the rim of Templeton trail and then a steep drop in to the floor of the park and a short jaunt to the trailhead. We finished with a sweet 10 mile run and a smile glued to our faces to get such a great day in mid-December. Nothing better than Happy Trails!
Shoes S - Asics Gel Trabuco
K - Montrail Odyssey
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