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

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Something Old.... Some things New

Great day at the Garden
Sunny skies and INCREDIBLE views!
Kathleen cruising the Dakota Trail

Saturday we hit the trail early at Garden of the Gods.  Weatherman was bringing in 90 degree temps to our area for the long weekend, so no holiday weekend sleep in....  Since most of our runs suffer from sun exposure, and the Garden is no exception, we had to beat the heat (and the crowds!)  Plus, after seeing a nice sized prairie rattler on the trail last Sunday on my run, we did not want to increase the likelihood of reptilian encounter.  It got hot pretty early, however, and the snakes were in hiding!
Steve dwarfed by the Siamese Twins Arch
A little video to survey the landscape 
(Kathleen had stage fright - no commentary...)
Kathleen coming onto Niobrara Trail
Steve almost to the top of Ute Trail

We were able to get in a fantastic run at the Garden.  We are very fortunate that we still have a fair amount of green on the landscape - usually we are a pretty dull shade of brown by this time of year!  Kathleen clipped her run off at 9 miles, due to some IT/hip issues left over from a couple of LONG technical descents on our vacation runs.  I stayed on for an extra frontside loop and was able to do 12.5 miles.  All in all, it was a great  day for the trails!

Shoes - K Saucony Guide TR
S Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel XC

Bear Creek Lake Park

Sunday, with some spare holiday time, we made a little trip up to Morrison (suburban Denver) to run trails at Bear Creek Lake Park.  There are several new races being held there in October and we wanted to snoop around the area.  We had been reading a bit about it on Laura's blog as she is prepping for the 50k.  As Denver is generally hotter than we are, we headed out with the sun just on the horizon this morning for the 1 hour trip north. 
Kathleen rounding Turtle Pond

The plan was to run the half marathon course, just to see what the area was like, and of course, to get some new trails in!  Most of the course was singletrack or doubletrack, with very good footing and not much in the way of technical snares.  The first half winds in and out of the trees along Bear Creek and Turkey Creek, with lots of different birds and thousands of grasshoppers.
Looming on the horizon ... Mt Carbon
Bear Creek Lake from top of Mt Carbon Loop
(notice the green swath along Bear Creek leading down to the lake)
Denver Skyline over Steve's shoulder

We climbed up and over Mt Carbon and headed down the back side toward the golf course.  There are some nice views of  suburban Denver in all directions and one thing is evident - they need some dang rain.  IT.IS.BROWN.  Wow - we did not realize how much we have benefited from our rains in the Springs. 
Another one...?

On the backside of the course, there are three stream crossings.  I thought maybe these would be 5 to 6 strides and you are over at this time of year.  Negative.  These are full on sloshers, as seen in the photo above.  You stride out of these and have water oozing from your shoes and socks for quite some time!  We both wore Drymax in anticipation and happy to report that we have no blisters from running the next 6 or 7 miles with wet shoes.
Kathleen finishing the last climb strong!

We made our way around the last part of the course, which was far less scenic, and it was getting blazing hot out there.  We were glad to roll back in to the trailhead and start the cool down and also glad we started early.  We were able to run 13 miles - Kathleen finished a little gimpy with the hip/IT  issue - but was encouraged to be able to complete the loop.   This is a very nice course, for sure, and will be quite fast for the front runners in the various race distances.  PLUS, we had a great time discovering yet another new trail area.   We followed up the run by meeting up with Jill (and one of her boys) at Wahoo's for fish tacos - NICE!

Shoes - Both Asics Trabuco

Meanwhile, back a few weeks...
Still thinking about our trip to Snowmass/Aspen area a few weeks back.  Lots of good times there and a lot of time spent on the trails.  If only one could afford to live there.....  Just one cool thing we didn't get to post from one of the runs we did on Rim Trail:
Steve & Kathleen on the Rim Trail
Poem carved in stone on Rim Trail

Up on the Rim Trail, near the Yin/Yang Circle that we visited last year, there is this monument with a poem carved in stone.  It was hard to read in the overhead sun - here is the inscription:
Quietly the spirit and beauty of the mountains
fill my heart
I open to the awe
and sense of discovery.
I feel free and alive and at peace.
Nearby I hear God saying
Do you want to play?"
Stark King 1945-1996

Of course our answer was, "Why, yes, thank you!"


T Z said...

TZ's top 10 comments.
10. Nice pics, as always.
9. Glad to hear Kathleen's ouches are getting better.
8. We love water crossings. Cools them barking dogs down.
7. Why so brown when it seemed like the creeks were up?
6. Love the Garden of the Gods. Hard to take a bad picture there.
5. Kathleen did great on her lines. She seemed to recite her "OK" with great conviction.
4. Any race plans in the near future for you guys?
3. No pics of this yummy refueling you speak of....just saying....
2. Did you have to change running shorts after seeing Mr Rattlesnake?
1. So glad to read your post. I'll now call off the SAR squad!

misszippy said...

I think that if I keep reading this blog, I'll be asking to move in with you guys soon! So beautiful.

HappyTrails said...

Steve's top 10 return:
10. Love pics - however Nikon is dying :-(
9. Kathleen was at least 75% better - sweet.
8. I'm a wuss and can't run fast with wet shoes...
7. Colorado = Alpine Desert.
6. Agreed - Garden photos are a no brainer.
5. Perfect.
4. Maybe a couple trail HM's if we get motivated.
3. No time to take pics when the fish burrito was inhaled without taking a breath....just saying....
2. No attire soiling - That is a spot where you expect to see them, so it gives you Jello leg but just keep running...
1. Colorado Tourism Board already sent SAR to make sure we were going to populate the net with colorful images this week!

Thanks for the fun TZ!!!

Anonymous said...

Nice weekend runs :) I ran the Garden Friday, Red Rock Sat., and my long run yesterday. No snakes is always nice... I've seen just a few too many... as 'many' as three in a run in my Garden runs...

Anonymous said...

Hey Kathleen.. I see you got the Saucony TR's :) How do you like them? I'm on my third pair.. Don't have the new year's model though... just came out a couple of weeks ago, but I don't need them quite yet, w/ the other new running shoes I just bought. I've been really happy w/ mine!!

HappyTrails said...

Hi Tammy! I like the Saucony TR just ok. In an effort to try to find a shoe that CRC carries so I could give them my shoe business, I tried them. I'm truly an Asics girl and they aren't able to carry them, bummer. The Sauconys just don't fit and feel quite right on my foot. Plus the heel sits a bit higher in comparison to the forefoot compared to the Asics. What size do you wear??? My favorite lineup of shoes is my Asics 2150 Trail and the Trabuco. My feet are just completely happy in them! :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh.. I'm sorry they're not quite right for you... I wear a 9 1/2... bigfoot! :) I think that is why I like them.. as, they are nice and wide. My next TR shoe, I think I will try to Asic's too, as I have always been happy w/ their running shoes, just have tried the TR yet..
I'm heading out for a short 3 mi. jaunt in the Garden.. about all I can handle after yesterday's run...:)
If you guys are around today you should come by the Rock Ledge Ranch... they are having the Ole Time Baseball game.. at 1pm. Jonathan is playing :)

ShutUpandRun said...

Just gorgeous. Next time I take a trail run I'm coming to your blog for ideas...I don't get south that often, but your Denver/Boulder runs would be perfect.

ajh said...

Wonderful post again. Love all the pics! That is quite a stream crossing! I would also avoid reptilian encounters. I have been seeing many more snake skins and no longer jump at them. Truthfully probably because I am on my bike and at least a little distance away! It is gorgeous here this weekend after a very hot start to school. Today I had an awesome bike ride with clear blue sunny skies and temps in the high 60s! Yes!

Johann said...

You run the most amazing trails! Beautiful photos! You are very lucky indeed. Here in Johannesburg things are slowly turning green. Spring is here for us and we move out of our dry winter. Have a great week!

HappyTrails said...

Tammy - Darn - I wear an 8.5. You could have scored a pair of your faves! :-)

Jennifer said...

I agree with Kathleen (misszippy), when can I move in... do you have a spare bedroom? Great pictures! I wish we had more dirt trails, it would help with my shin no doubt. Cheers!

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Funny - stage fright and then TZ's comment about conviction! You get everything you need here - humor and beautiful CO!

I'm sorry you haven't been feeling great, K, and hope you completely heal soon. Take it easy!

Average A said...

Seeing this makes me want to go to the Garden of the Gods even more! I know I've probably said this a billion times on your blog by now, but it's so true! You two have such an amazing life -- I love it. :) I hope you two never wake up feeling blase about where you are. If you do, I'll be willing to trade San Francisco for a while, and that's a big statement!

Thanks for your well-wishes again on my SF adventures. I didn't actually meet any new runners at the 5k this weekend, but I'm thinking of joining that running group to get to know some of them in a more social setting. One other local runner, Ron (from Punk Rock Running), has invited me to run some races with him & his running team, and also introduce me to some runners he knows in the city. I'm excited that he's been so willing to tap me into resources here and hope to meet him face-to-face soon!

Enjoy your week. :)


Ace said...

I love that Rim Trail picture; most excellent!

Amy said...

I love the pictures, the video and the story, it's all great!!!


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