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

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Solo Run

It was an odd morning - for some reason we slept in, which we rarely ever do. That meant no time for Kathleen to run before she had to head off for work :-( So I headed over to Ute Valley Park to get some turnover in the legs on great trails. Though crisp, the sun was out strong today and felt really good on the run.
Cresting the hill on the western rim of the park and enjoying the sun's rays to the fullest. I often wonder what people think when you stop running to take some pictures? I guess before we even started a blog we still took photos while out riding or running but we know others who have no pictures of themselves out doing what they love. I guess we like to have some "documentation" for our hard work!!!
From the southern rim of UVP, this photo is looking northwest toward the Air Force Academy which sits at the base of the mountain on the far right. We might run there tomorrow on their fantastic Falcon Trail system.
Looking up the trail, ready to crest the hill and drop into the valley.
If you live here and get tired of looking at this massive mountain, you need to have your pulse checked. Pikes Peak is awe inspiring and if you would like to be humbled, come run up the face of it via Barr Trail - we'll even cheer you on!
It was a long week and I needed a good run today - UVP served up just what I was looking for! The family I have worked with for 18 years lost another member of the family Monday - second funeral in 6 weeks and that is a drag. So it was good to get out and enjoy the fact that we are healthy, we can run the trails, and life is good! When you think about it that way, every day is a good day! Happy Trails!

Shoes - Montrail Odyssey

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The MEGA Post!

We started our week off great with a visit from our friends A & J from South Carolina. They used to live here but migrated home to the south to be closer to family quite a few years back. They were on their annual pilgrimage for some snow sports and came down to visit and have dinner with us. It was awesome as usual and we can always pick up the conversation right where we left off with them. Their visit put our week on the right track from the start - always great to share time with friends!


Saturday at Red Rock Canyon

We hit the trails Saturday at Red Rock Canyon Open Space and were greeted by some fantastic bluebird skies for our run. Though a bit on the cool side, the conditions were really unbeatable for February in the mountains - we're pretty spoiled!
We have tried many times to get a good photo passing through this slot in the rocks on Contemplative Trail and today the light was perfect for it! There is only a small window when the sun is actually overhead as it is such a narrow passage.
Kathleen making the transition from Contemplative to the Roundup Trail. Last year at this time most of Roundup was snowpacked and icy - this year it is dry. We hope that is not a bad sign!
Rounding the switchbacks and up onto the Roundup trail with an awesome vista of Garden of the Gods in the distance. You could see for miles with the clear skies and cool air - it was a postcard day.
Getting a little balance for the plunge off the slickrock - you better know where your next footstep is planning to land going off this one!
Once up on the top of Roundup, we had great views down one of the canyons.
One of the remnants of the quarry that once occupied this land. Notice the climbers on top of the rock in the upper left - vertigo anyone?!?!
Kathleen descending off the dirt road portion of the Lion Trail - this road is the transition from the red rocks into the more desert terrain on the east rim of the park. The landscape at RRC is very diverse.
Once you reach the Hogback Valley Trail, it is sandy trails, Sagebrush and Yucca - voila, you're in the desert!
Kathleen heads off the Hogback Trail and down to the trailhead to finish out the run. We had a great day in the sun and enjoyed the trails at one of our favorite parks. There were not many trail users today - really odd for a sunny day, but Happy Trails nonetheless!

Shoes - Both - Asics Gel Trabuco

Sunday at Cheyenne Mountain State Park

It was another warm day today and a perfect day to hit Cheyenne Mountain State Park for a run. We got things started on the Zook Trail and had to get a shot of Kathleen sporting the new Livestrong gear - with Steve's mom being a two-time cancer survivor and Kathleen's mom currently battling cancer, we're big on the Livestrong Yellow. (Plus we're Lance homers!!!)
It really started warming up on our first big climb on the Blackmer Trail. It was just unseasonably warm today and we were loving every minute of it! The trails are a little trashed on the upper reaches from being wet and having a lot of bike traffic - we're bikers, too, so we won't soap box too much, but STAY.OFF.THE.WET.TRAILS. How hard is that to figure out?????
It was a good weekend on the trails for both of us - we are both coming out of the energy-lag we were in and starting to feel some motivation to run more.
Cruising on the Boulder Run Trail.
Kathleen weaving through bare scrub oak on the Soaring Kestrel Trail - once again it was as if we had the trails to ourselves today - won't complain about that!
Negotiating the rocks on the Coyote Run - and soaking up that Colorado sunshine!
Blackmer Trail wandering through granite boulders and lodgepole pine.
Kathleen crusing the Coyote Run!
High atop the Sundance Trail looking west to Cheyenne Mountain. Blackmer and Cougar's Shadow Trails run through the dark pine forest that is visible right at the base of the mountain. Turkey Trot and the bottom of Talon trail run through the valley below. This is an awesome park and we really enjoy having it so close to home!
Stop for a group photo at the finish of a perfect trail run - Good Times! We spent a couple hours on the trails and had an awesome day in the "winter" sun!

Shoes - K - Montrail Odyssey
S - Asics Gel Trabuco


Congratulations to Levi Leipheimer and the Astana Cycling Team for a great win at the Amgen Tour of California. Nothing like having Lance Armstrong as your number one domestique! As cycling fans, we're looking forward to Lance racing this year - he brings the level of excitement and intensity up a few notches at the races. Plus it is all great publicity for the Worldwide Cancer Initiative.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bluebird Day at Palmer Park

Sun and decent temps called us out for a longer run today. We headed over to Palmer Park to log some good quality trail miles. There are a lot of really neat rock formations at Palmer and this is the marker for one of the named rock areas. We cannot verify the age but can tell you they are cool formations!
Steve running down a steep little hill on Sentinel Point. There was a lot of trail traffic today with the sunny skies - especially after yesterday's weather. There were tons of bikes on trail today, certainly more than we have seen in quite a few runs. Everyone is getting cabin fever!
One of the things we enjoy about Palmer Park is that, while it is an urban park, there are many places in the park that appear to be remote and detached from civilization - perfect for peaceful trail runs!
Some of the trails on the north facing rims were still a bit covered in snow but there was no real mud to speak of. Kathleen is cruising along the Grandview Trail in this photo.
Next we were off to part of the Cheyenne Trail that we have not run before. We appeared to be the first foot tracks on this section, all the other traffic had been bikes. We funneled down through the canyon and out around the Palmer Point Trail. We were having a great run but both of us were feeling pretty tired - must just be that time of year.
By the time we hit the Kinnickinnick Trail and were in the home stretch, it was definitely feeling like nap time! Find a nice spot beside the trail in the sun and take a little sleep time - well, maybe not!
Kathleen finishing strong - what awesome trails we get to run! We are very fortunate to have so many great places to run so close to home. It was a very nice run today as we squeezed out a little over 11 miles. If we can keep that up during the blah months, we'll be running well by spring and have a great base of miles for the start of the warm season. Hope all is well with our fellow runners and Happy Trails this week!

Shoes - K Montrail Odyssey
S - Montrail Odyssey

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Foggy morning

It was quite foggy and gray when we got out for our run this morning. Not quite what you would call a motivational sight for runners but we needed to at least get some leg turnover, so out we went. It was hovering in the single digits with some ice/snow mix blowing so it was difficult to keep the glasses clear - we decided on staying mostly on the multi-use dirt paths around our neighborhood.
Kathleen is running along Flying W here - there were not many tracks in the snow yet but we did see a couple brave runners out.
We did get in a few trails along the outer bluff of Ute Valley Park...
... and ducked in to the front side of UVP for a few minutes. We stopped frequently to clear ice off the glasses - don't want to trip and fall on a cold morning. We saw some people out for a quiet hike and their dog ran with us for a minute, so we had a little pacing partner!
It was almost a black & white landscape - pretty cool how the color stands out!
The trail heading back up toward our house - the fog was more dense closer to the mountain. We got in a pretty mellow run, but the scenery was cool and it was quiet and peaceful on the trail. Weather man is calling for sun tomorrow - we'll keep our fingers crossed!

Shoes - K Nike Air Terra Ridge w/screws
S Brooks Cascadia 2 w/screws


We had some of our regular "visitors" stop by this afternoon. Our local herd of mule deer came through to forage our yard - and the bird feeder! They make their rounds and are really not too scared of us if we're by the windows. This gal below was standing on our front porch looking in our window - they are fun to watch!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Outdoor Stairmaster

Why do pictures make all things hilly look flat??? It's NOT flat!!!

Deb and I headed over to the Manitou Incline this morning for our mile long, 2000 foot elevation gain outdoor stairmaster workout. It was SUPER DUPER windy today - 38 to 60 mph - yuck - BUT, THANKFULLY, the Incline/Barr Trail ended up being sheltered so we were happy climbers! I did it last Monday by myself and with ipod induced speed managed to tie my fastest time ever - that time coming about 5 years ago - a 32 minute mile! YAHOOOO! Certainly not close to the really speedy folks but fairly respectable. Today, being the chatty day with Deb, was not speedy but a good climb with good company! I reached the top a few minutes in front of Deb and walked to the side to take in the spectacular and expansive views to the north and east. I was suddenly startled by a mournful coyote howl and looked in the direction the howl was coming from. It continued, long and mournful. Well, it wasn't a coyote. It was a very normal looking lady whom I had passed on the way up. She threw her head back and continued her howling, in a very convincing, genuine coyote sounding way. Hmmmmm. V.E.R.Y. I.N.T.E.R.E.S.T.I.N.G. Now, I am prone to bouts of silliness at times but her howling seemed a little extreme, even to me. A little hoot or even a short howl MIGHT be a possiblity but the prolonged nature of the howling got me worried. A little panic set in as I began to wonder whether or not I had missed the memo requiring a long coyote howl when reaching the top of the Incline. I scratched my head and my palms started to sweat as I awaited Deb's arrival to the top and listened to the Coyote Lady. What if Deb let out a coyote howl when she reached the top??? If she howled, I would know I had definitely missed the boat, as she is not as prone to bouts of silliness as I am. My relief was magnanimous when she crested the final step with her normal "Deb look" and no head thrust back and howl emanating from her vocal chords. We didn't linger at the top, choosing to quickly leave Coyote Lady, who was now in a rather meditative looking state, and hightailed it down the trail. The run down Barr was uneventful but rich with our girlie chit-chat. Days spent with friends are always rich and memorable (Coyote Lady making it all the more memorable today!) and I strive to treasure each one. Happy trails to all this week and maybe cut loose with a little gleeful hoot and holler while out enjoying the trails!

K - shoes - Asics Gel Trabuco

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Gray day but it's all good!

It was cold and gray when we headed over to Garden of the Gods for a run this morning. Most certainly today was one of those days when the Chamber of Commerce was hoping we would post no pictures - but we do get one or two cloudy days in Colorado! The Peak always looks cool ringed with clouds - it almost makes it look more massive than it normally does. We have had no snow for quite a few weeks, so our trails are mostly clear. It was supposed to snow today but most of the day was just gray, with few flurries starting around 6 PM.
The red rocks sure stand out on a cloudy day. This is a good vantage point on the Palmer Trail, with the red spires against the gray skyline.
Here Kathleen cruises another section of the Palmer Trail, with some pink highlights to brighten the day!
Kathleen descending the back side of Cabin Canyon trail above.
Steve on another section of Cabin Canyon.
We had intended to get in 12 miles today, however, we both felt like laying down on the side of the trail to take a nap after about 40 minutes! So we did an 8 mile loop and called it all good for the day. We both have had decreased motivation to get out the last two weeks, so it must be the mid-winter blahs!!! It was a good run, we made it outside, and we are healthy, so life is good - Happy Trails!

Shoes - K Montrail Odyssey
S - Asics Gel Trabuco

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Howard Thurman


We also finished our exhausting car shopping journey on Saturday. After the Explorer was totaled, we have been narrowing our search for a replacement that was both safe with long-term reliability, as we like to keep our vehicles A LONG TIME. We were down to the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot - we came home with this nicely maintained pre-owned Honda as our newest adventure transport! We hope for many years of trail access from this vehicle. (Plus it holds LOTS of stuff AND we could sleep in the back if needed!!!) :-)
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