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

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Warm w/ a Relapse...But a good ending!

Thursday Night Sneak
With temperatures in the 70's this week and a wee bit more daylight, I ventured over to Garden of the Gods Thursday evening after work. Kathleen was in the midst of a relapse of her crud, so it was solo again :-( It isn't quite light long enough for a run of any length after driving across town, but I don't want to burn out my stash at Palmer Park. A nice view from just west of the "big" rocks, with the sun starting to trim behind Pikes Peak.
I was not out long but got to push a little "carbon" off the legs from last weekend's racing. The onset of cramping toward the end of the race left a bit of lactic sludge hanging out in the muscles, so it was good to push a bit through before the weekend. This is a shot coming off the Niobrara trail with some good rays still to be caught!
Surprise - it's green! It seems that it was just cold and snowing (probably because it was) and we went straight to warm and green - nice. Heading back to the trailhead and slim on daylight.
With the sun setting behind the Sleeping Giant, it was time to call it a day. It was nice to get a little blood going and squeeze in a sweet evening at the Garden!

Who exactly invited La Nina?

Speaking of relapse, what's up with the weather??? So, for the past 9 weekends, we have had - 1) a cold front move through, and 2) some form of precipitation. Saturday would hold true to that pattern. They claim it to be a La Nina (who invited the little girl anyway???!!!) pattern that is repeating after each 5 day block - those 5 day blocks have conveniently been M - F! Saturday dawned with fog, drizzle, and a cold wind. Though the clouds temporarily broke a few times, they did not exit noticeably until about 6 PM. It seemed to be a bit better south, so I took off for Red Rock Open Space. I have not run there in a while anyway, so it was a good fit. There was a bit of sun when I arrived - here is the view to the north looking over Garden of the Gods.
I started out by climbing up to the top ridge to access the Section 16 connector and make my way over to the Intemann Trail. There was a nice break in the clouds over the city and there appeared to be fog continuing farther east.
From Intemann trail, there are great views down into Red Rock Canyon.
As I headed out onto Intemann trail toward Manitou, I was running just below a cloud formation and it got somewhat cold for a bit. The 50 degree temp was not very comforting with the strong upslope winds. I am going to have to do some time with this section of trail because it always kicks my butt. It is a string of sharp ups and downs with some technical running thrown in and, for some reason, I have trouble pacing it well.
As I was heading back down into Red Rock, I had a great view of the old quarry, and the swanky Cedar Heights area in the distance, high above town. The wind was kicking a bit more and I was looking to wind down and start heading in for the day.
Before I finished though, I got my first "rubber-leg" treatment of the year - you know the feeling as the adrenaline hits everything EXCEPT your legs?!?! While not poisonous, this bull snake is still intimidating enough to startle you and has obviously had some good meals early season. I'm guessing he was a good 4 to 4.5 feet long and nearly 3" diameter in that section under his head. So I let him have his space and cruised in to the trailhead to finish a nice day on the trail. I was able to get in about 10 miles and enjoy the gray day!

Back to the Garden...and the SUN!
Sunday was one of those days - crisp, blue, cloudless skies and low 70's made for a great morning to hit the trails back at the Garden of the Gods. Good Morning Pikes Peak! And guess what...
... recognize this person??? After several MIA reports were filed and Dr's fiddled with a plethora of crap, er medicine, that hasn't worked, Kathleen hit the trails with me today for a while. It was only her second "meaningful" run in six weeks. What an awesome day to get back at it! This photo is just as we're getting started on the Dakota trail, with Cathedral Rock poking out in the background.
More action on the Dakota Trail - didn't even have to find a post to prop the camera for this one - woohoo!
Still running! I was sooooooo glad Kathleen got to run today. She was able to get in about 5.5 miles, and although she coughed a bit, she actually had a real nice run.
The BIG ONES - as seen from the north: l-r, North Gateway, South Gateway, Cathedral Rock, and Sleeping Giant. The Garden was basking in the sun today and the park was packed!
Out on the backside of the Sleeping Giant, I paused to allow a fence post to take my picture - how kind! (Plus I was a bit hot on the climb and needed a breather - going from 50 to 75 takes an adjustment!)
What a view - it is no wonder this is the most visited attraction in the Pikes Peak region - approximately 1.7 million per year. (Glad they weren't all on the trail today!!!)
Some of the local "residents" were out on the trails today - this group of desert bighorns was not too concerned about me running by. I stopped to watch for a minute and saw about 15 sheep on the hillside. Only one bothered to look up the whole time I was standing there.
Out on my last loop of the day atop the Ute Trail, I had a much clearer view of Red Rock Canyon than was available yesterday. Perfect day for a run, with a bit over 10 miles of fantastic trail - it was warm enough that I even took my first ice bath of the year to chase off the remainder of the kinks from Greenland - brrrrr! Happy Trails and have a great week!

Shoes, as always for Steve, Asics Gel Trabuco
K- Montrail Odyssey
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