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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Indian Summer and Trails

Hope everyone enjoyed that teaser from Thursday - those first couple bone-chilling mornings bring the shock of the impending months of winter home pretty hard.  However, with some nice weather on tap for the weekend and some improvement in Kathleen's running, we had plans to break away from the close confines of Ute Valley.  Saturday morning, we headed up to Spruce Mountain Open Space to take advantage of some blue skies and nice trails.  While it was windy, as always at Spruce and Greenland, it was not snowing sideways AND windy, so we did not complain .... much.
Pikes Peak from afar
Kathleen heads across Spruce Meadows
Enjoying the trail just in front of Spruce Mountain

Luckily we had headwind all the way out Spruce Meadows trail, so in theory we would have tailwind and downhill heading back out - nice!  While the temps were clawing their way up toward the 60 mark, the 25-35 mph winds left the arms raw if uncovered, so the sleeves remained in place the entire run.  Still beats snow.  Or 16 degrees.
Kathleen on the lower flanks of Spruce...
...Followed by Steve
Looking out toward Larkspur and the Continental Divide's snowcaps
HT on Windy Point - camera blew over twice...
Looking off the rim to Greenland Open Space
Textures of Fall

We made our way up onto Spruce Mountain and did the upper loop, then made our way down and headed back across Spruce Meadow.  We were soaking up the awesome day and not really paying heed to the windy conditions.  It was great to be out on the trails, especially with Kathleen running well!  We made it back to the Spruce trailhead - 9 Miles Pain Free for Kathleen, longest such endeavor in well over 2 months!  I was itching for a bit more, so I proceeded down the road and over to Greenland Open Space for some extra miles.

Standing guard over "Norman" (remember City Slickers?)
D&RG making frequent coal runs, Spruce Mountain  in background

I was not sure when I got into Greenland if I would be ambitious or not.  A full loop on Kipps would put me over 18, but after the 2.5 mile start straight into the wind, I took the shorter loop and finished with 15.  It was such a great run - we just wanted to lounge in the sun and continue soaking in the brilliance of the day!

Shoes - K Asics 2150 Trail
S - Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel XC

A "Garden" variety run
Aspen-framed splendor!
The Big View

Although we were being cautious about the condition of Kathleen's legs, weather again lured us away from home to run.  We headed down to Garden of the Gods Sunday morning to get in a sun drenched cruise through the labyrinth of trails that weave their way through the magnificent spires.  It was a repeat performance on blue sky and sun, minus the gale force winds.  Excellent!
The Kissing Camels
Kathleen on Palmer Trail
Some daring folk perched on Sentinel Rock
Cruising down from the Siamese Twins
Someone is getting her legs back...
Trails with a view - Nice!!!
Up, up, up onto Niobrara trail
Parting shot - the Valley View

It is certainly hard to beat a run in the Garden of the Gods - unless of course it is the second long run in a row PAIN FREE.  Kathleen peeled off at 8 miles - in her words, "content in being patient and not greedy with increasing the mileage too quickly".  She was comfortable the whole time, which made me wear a huge smile on my last loop!  I celebrated by meandering through another 4 mile circuit and we were "forced" to celebrate at Starbucks afterward.  WooHoo!  Not certain at this point as to the length of Indian Summer's visit, but we have extended an open welcome for any length it desires to stay with us - "we'll leave the light on"!!!  Happy Trails for sure!

Shoes - K Asics Trabuco
S Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel XC

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bye, Bye Fall

Pining for the lovely days of 60 degrees and sun....

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Time Capsule: Dinner, Running, and a nice Fall Week!

Here is some of what we have been up to the last week - grab a chair and some popcorn, as there will be a FEW more pictures than usual!!!
Happy Trails and Happy Texans! 

Saturday evening we headed up to Denver to have dinner with Tina and her husband.  He was in town for a conference and Tina decided to run the Denver Rock'n'Roll Marathon since the dates coincided.  Pretty handy way to get in a destination marathon - and we tend to believe it would be hard to beat a Colorado one.  We had a great time getting to know them and they are both wonderful people.  Tina ran a great marathon, by the way - Congratulations!  We could certainly see them as Colorado folks...some day....  Hopefully, they enjoyed their time here this past week!
On the Trail again... and it's a good thing!

Sunday we hit the trails again - we stayed close to home just in case K's leg acted up.  So no better place to run than Ute Valley Park.  It was a pretty near perfect fall day (again) and we were soaking it up! Since most of you know what we have coming up for the next several months in terms of running weather, we have to capture ALL of the fall sun we can!
Cruising some Slick Rock at Ute
Pikes with some snow on the north face!
The arch - and why were we leaning backwards??
Fall colors are peaking
Watch your step
A collage of Fall color paints the bluff
New trail heading around the west bluff...
So, as you can see from the great scenery, it was another fabulous fall day in the Rockies.  Kathleen squeezed out 7 miles, which is awesome.  I made another lap around the park to eek out 11 miles and called it a day.

Shoes - K Asics Trabuco
S Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel XC

Here are some pics that Kathleen took from near our home on a midweek run.
Blodgett Peak and the colors of fall

One of our local trails
The neighborhood park

Thursday evening we had a visit from Tim on his way to Cuba, New Mexico, to participate in the Deadman Peaks 50 Mile race.  He got there just in time as our work was being finished to re-establish hot water in the house, after a few day hiatus from such luxury rudely interrupted our week!!!  We were going to be taking care of his dog, Pippit, while he was gone, so he crashed here Thursday night and headed out in the wee hours of Friday morning.  It was a good trip for Tim, as he ended up winning the race ahead of Colorado Springs' own Brooks Williams.  Congratulations Tim!!  He will be heading out to Salt Lake in two weeks to run the Antelope Island 100k - stop by his blog and wish him luck!

Saturday morning, we awakened to gray skies and a cold wind - guess it really IS fall after all...  We needed to get in a quick run before Kathleen left for work.  We did a nice 4.5 mile route - pain free for K, I might add - and then she was off to work.  I rested a bit, then headed over to meet some folks from Team C.R.U.D. for a run at Garden of the Gods.  The sun decided to come out of hiding, which was very nice!  Brownie had tossed out an invite to join them for their Saturday run, which was way cool since I am far from an "ultra distance runner".   I was not able to hang around after for the pizza eating contest, which looked like it ended up being pretty competitive.  It was definitely cool to be running with some multi-100 mile race finishers - maybe some of it will rub off....  I left the camera in the truck since I was the "new guy", so I may have to snag a pic or two from one of the guys that ran who had a camera.  We ran 7.5 miles in the Garden.

Shoes - K Asics 2150 Trail
S - Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel XC
Flying W Ranch

Sunday we waited a bit to get out - we had sun but along with it, gale force gusts of wind.  Some upper level disturbances have been keeping a little weather instability stirred up and with it comes the winds!  You may get tired of seeing Ute Valley, but we're thankful to have such great trails close by while Kathleen nurses the running legs back into action.  So off we went into the windy day to get a few miles in the legs.
Kathleen hugging her new best  friend - the foam roller might get jealous!
Very Steep drop in - why do the pics look flat???
Fall holds on a bit longer
There she runs - woo hoo!
Catching some fall rays
HT, Close Up

Kathleen made a pass on the frontside of Ute, then headed out and back up toward home.  She was able to run 5.5 miles today and ran a total of 4 days this week- pain free!  Just keeping the fingers (and toes) crossed that the gradual climb out of the pain cloud will continue.
Pikes Peak - more snow than last week
Sweet singletrack
Hole #13 on the Disc Golf course by UVP - "The Big Ugly"

Got a shot of hole 13 on the DG course that runs along the east edge of Ute Valley - no one out today, which was very odd.  For whatever reason, this hole is marked as The Big Ugly!  Finished out the run with 11 miles, so had two good days of running for the weekend after ZERO midweek runs for me.  But, since I average out to be a 2-3 day a week runner, that's "par for the course" I guess!  Thanks for sticking with me this long - it was indeed a good week.  Happy Trails!!!

Shoes - K Asics 2150 Trail
S - LaSportiva Wildcat

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Autumn in the Garden

Welcome back, fabulous Fall!  After a few cool days, our weather has returned to lovely Indian Summer the past few days.  This morning, we awoke to azure blue skies and crisp but comfortable temps to kick start our day. 

We decided to head over to Garden of the Gods for our run - Steve decided to start from home, and I,  not able to complete any real distance of late, met him at the main Garden trailhead area. 

 On the bike path, heading into the Garden
 The red rock of Kissing Camels mixed with a little Fall yellow and still lots of green
 Tentative but good
 Steve savoring the awesome weather
 Magnificent Pikes Peak temporarily sans snow
 Relishing a good day
 Red Rock Canyon
 Steve snaking through the juniper trees
 It is always picturesque in the Garden
Brown but still lovely
A Happy "Happy Trails" duo

Steve ended the day with a nice 16 miles and I ended up with around 6.5.  I was tentatively happy as today was my second run this week where I didn't encounter any crippling pain.  I am nervous, though.  My doc thinks it is a long time structural issue that is the main culprit behind my ITB pain.  And because the irritation and inflammation has been slowly building over the years, it may take some time to ease up.  We'll see.  It has been 2 months since it really flared and came crashing down and about 3 weeks since we started working on a possible remedy.  Fingers crossed that we start seeing some sustained improvement soon.  Although I try to keep a positive and sunny outlook on the situation, I have had a few low moments which have prompted a re-evaluation of things I like to do - it might be time to expand our repertoire just in case the trail running thing needs to slow down for awhile (it's pretty slow and minimal as it is - how can it slow down any more???!!!).  So some new things (mostly old things re-visited) Happy Trails might engage in for a refreshing change of pace and scenery or out of disgusting necessity:
1.  Occasional snowshoe outings
2.  Occasional XC ski days - might even give Biathlon a try one day
3.  Possibly more biking - unfortunately, right now, my heart is just not there - plus it aggravates the ITB - but who knows.
4.  Learn to swim - this one may not be optional - time will soon tell
5.  Get the creative juices flowing again and drag out the paints, brushes, and canvas
6.  Read more
7.  Laugh, have fun and enjoy life, whatever happens, whatever comes our way.
Happy Trails to everyone this week!

Shoes - K Brooks Cascadia
S - Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel XC
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