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

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Good Weekend of Running

Falcon Trail
After a "wet your whistle" run on the back entrance into the USAFA last weekend, I was planning on taking on the full loop if weather held out for the weekend.  Sure enough, we had nothing but a dusting of snow and I was not about to let gloomy gray weather hold back this fun time.  So Saturday morning, I parked up in the Peregrine neighborhood and slithered through the iron curtain for some more sweet trails!  Kathleen had to work, so it was a solo outing.  It was cool in the mid 30's and there was an inversion over town, so up high it almost appeared as fog.  About a half mile in, I thought my day was over as a hiker coming up the road toward me was screaming for his pit bull "Turtle" to stop - which he did not.  Great, I thought, 'Runner mauled by pit bull on USAFA' - nice headline for the news...  Lucky for me, Turtle just wanted to jump up shoulder high and lick my face, all while almost knocking me down.  So, a few muddy footprints on the chest and on with the run...
 Top of the backside climb - looking across to the rim where I dropped in

After dropping in from the rim and navigating the gates through the horse pasture, I hopped on Falcon trail and headed clockwise for the backside climb.  Might as well get the two biggest climbs on Falcon out of the way early, at least that was my thought.  It was quite cold on the back of the Academy in the shade and my glasses fogged frequently from the thick air steaming each breath.  Aside from a few ice flows and a bit of snow, the trail is mostly clear even around back.  I attempted early on to gauge my effort as this is a stiff effort for me this early in the year. 
 Cadet grounds across the valley - not part of the Falcon loop tour

After passing the Stanley Canyon trailhead at the high point, the sun started to peak out now and again, and with it, came the wind ~ pleasant...  Aside from the chill, I got into a nice groove on the second half of the loop, even "tapping the brakes" a time or two knowing that the final 2 miles are straight up.  I was astonished to see golfers out - that had to feel great on a cold day, let alone the fact that the greens are brown!!!
 Up on the north side - looking out at the Inversion sitting over town
(That is Cheyenne Mountain on the far end of the city)

 Stopped for some history - or to catch my breath...

Stopped to check out the cabin in the lower meadow after crossing Academy drive.  I even remembered to catch both sides of the sign this time!  There was quite a fair amount of bike traffic considering the cool conditions and I had to negotiate a few passings on the east side of Falcon, especially tricky as the singletrack is, for the most part, very narrow on the east.  Luckily, all the bikes I encountered today were piloted by qualified trail users, not wobbly neophytes ready to leave chainring scars on your leg from panicking and tipping over right on top of you.  But I digress...
 Finally at the BX - still looking foggy over town
 Blodgett Peak
 Top of the singletrack climb and onto the dirt road - 
looking across to the high point from 10 miles previous

I had a pretty decent climb going on the way out until I hit the first steep switchbacks on the dirt road, then I cramped on my right quad.  While favoring that, I soon cramped on the left hammy - what the heck???  (A couple hours later the salt "harvest" on the rim of my visor could have adorned an entire bar's stock of margarita glasses....)  Time to start stashing some S-Caps even though it is cool I guess.  By the time I reached the top, the last of the day's sunshine was being engulfed by cloud cover.  Oh well, I got a little bit of time with some rays, so life is good.  The loop ends up being 17 miles as I had expected and the elevation for the route is just over 2500'.  Unfortunately if your legs are toast, 600' of that is in the last 1.5 mile climb out.  All in all, a good run and a new preferred way to run the Falcon Trail.

Shoes - Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel XC


Sunday run on Santa Fe Trail
 Gray again...and cool

This morning, we headed over to the Santa Fe Trail to get in a little different run (for us) - a relatively flat run, with more continuous leg turnover.  It was once again gray and drab looking, with a south wind that was quite sharp.  That meant we would have a headwind on the return trip of the out and back run.  It also meant I would be running on the USAFA for a second day, this time farther east.  Despite the "atmospheric un-pleasantry", there were a lot of folks out on the trail today.  I guess they were all taking the weather guy seriously on the pending winter storm warning for tomorrow...
 Cruising with some tunes - very rare for HT
 Kathleen enjoying the run......
....... and getting a little friendly with the "camera man"

Kathleen turned back at the overpass for Stadium Drive but I continued on a way as I have been making a concerted effort to bump up my weekly mileage.  This will be aided by the impending time change - extension of daylight is a good thing!!! 
 Some ducks enjoying the beaver pond
Asked a nice stranger to snap a group photo - 
don't know where the goofy look came from...

Today was a nice change of pace run for us.  Different from what we normally choose to run but good in its own way.  It was nice because everyone was happy on the trail - usually you have at least a handful of grumps, but not today.  Hope you enjoy your week - Happy Trails!

11 miles, 600' climb
Shoes - K Saucony Xodus
S Saucony Mirage

13 comments:

Jill said...

Good to see Kathleen smiling this week :).

I've never seen that pioneer cabin before, very cool!!!

We're getting a little snow in Denver as I sit here and type - blek! I'm a little more than ready for spring...today I endured nasty winds on my bike and it was cold. Oh, and tell Kathleen I got the bike trainer she sent me the link to, went to Performance and picked it up and it works like a charm. Thanks!!

Ramping up your mileage...hum, something must be brewing! :)

Jennifer said...

Looks like some great running as always! Mmm, Dirty Woman's Ranch, sounds intriquiging...Some place I am not sure I want to ever visit. However the Academy is looking like some nice running terrain. Cheers! Thanks for yall's great support during my first ultra, I really appreciate all the tips and good will you have sent my way!

ajh said...

Are you getting a storm? We have no school and the strom changed from8 to 16 inches to 20 inches to now 24inches. It was supposed to have stopped by now but it so hasn't. I think the while state is closed, worst storm of season. Oh well, it will end some day right?
Happy running.

Christi said...

Congrats on a serious weekend of running!

funderson said...

Ah the lovely single track...thanks for the lovely pics

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Glad to see K's smile this week! : ) Cute lil' cabin!

Generation X (Slomohusky) said...

I just finished a 7.5 mile run in shorts and a short sleeve T. Your Santa Fe Trail run looked chilly! At least you looked dressed for the cold. I keep forgeting Spring actually starts for us around Presidents Day! When does it start feeling like short sleeve T running attire for Colorado Springs?

Footfeathers said...

Are those white, bunny slippers on your Sunday run?

runningredrocks said...

More awesome runs.. that wind!! Again.. ugh.. right?!? It will be interesting to see what the impending weather brings tonight! It will be more interesting to see what it will be like in Salida on Saturday!! Steve.. have you decided to run Saturday? You are welcome to drive w/ us if you'd like, but you probably wouldn't want to stick around til the we are done the FULL.. "but".. you could change your mind and decide to run the FULL :))) YOU are certainly prepared enough for it w/ all of the miles you have been putting in! Anyway.. we will be leaving super early Saturday if you do want a ride :)

HappyTrails said...

Tammy - can I come, too???!!! :-)
K

HappyTrails said...

Hey Tim - Yes - those are white bunny slippers with the ears cut off ;-) Granted, not as cool as moon shoes...

Footfeathers said...

Touche my young Jedi.
I wore those neon pillows for my 10 mile "recovery" run on Sunday. Felt like I never got out of bed, they were so soft and cozy!

Average A said...

You two are the cutest! Great running!

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