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

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hangin' with the Pinkcorker

Almost four years ago, during a snowy, frigid, blizzard-y weekend, Steve and I 'discovered'  the world of running blogs, more specifically trail running blogs.  The absolutely first blog on the radar was Renee's "Pinkcorker". She and I seemed to be kindred spirits.  We have been blessed to have met and become friends with some amazing blog friends but Renee was the first.  We have cultivated a friendship via email over the past years.  Six months ago, she emailed and said she would be traveling to Colorado to visit a friend who had lived near her in Tuscon and asked if she could stop and finally meet and visit with us for a few days on the way.  You can probably figure out what we said - "Of course!  Come on up!"

Renee jumped into the world of ultra running a few years back and our original plan, six months ago, was to take her on a few of our fabulous local trail runs.  Those plans changed when she unexpectedly decided to do the splits on a trail run in the Tuscon mountains and tore a ligament near the upper area of her femor earlier this summer.  Her 'splits injury' combined with my current inability to run long caused by the Graves, required a creative change of plans.  Renee's injury rehab has progressed well and, although she is unable to run, she is able to fast hike and bicycle.  She is learning to ride and is becoming best friends with her bike.  I was a cyclist WAY before becoming a runner so a bike ride always rates high on the desirability scale.

After getting our house guest settled in at Happy Trails Central on Saturday evening, we began plotting our plan of attack over the next two days.  Sunday morning, after renting a mountain bike for Renee at a local bike shop, we headed north on our ride on the crushed granite Santa Fe Trail.  With the combo of a long drive from Tuscon and altitude adjustment, a more mellow ride was on the docket for her and the Santa Fe Trail fit the bill.  We squeaked out 25 miles that consisted of constant girl chatter, beautiful weather, and our lovely mountain scenery.  Steve escaped our non-stop chatter by slipping away earlier in the morning for a nice, peaceful 17 mile trail run at Red Rock Canyon/Section 16/Intemann Trail area.

Renee is all smiles riding through the U.S. Air Force Academy on a gorgeous day.
I love my bikes!  Despite not spending as much time on them the last few years, riding still feels so natural and a part of me.
The Santa Fe Trail is a beautiful multi-use trail.

After our ride and Steve's run, we got cleaned up and headed over to Manitou Springs for some post ride/run grub at one of the best local eateries - Adam's Mountain Cafe.
Then, after the grub, we hit up The Mate' Factor for an iced peach yerba mate' tea.
Played tourists and wandered Manitou for a bit, then drove through Garden of the Gods on the way back to the house.  Renee commented that it felt like deja vu - everything seemed so familiar because of reading about and seeing pictures of everything on our blog!  She even recognized our house before she saw the address because of seeing pictures of our xeriscape garden out in front!

Most out-of-towners seem to be intrigued by the Manitou Incline and Renee was no different.  Way-back-when, the Incline was on her list of 'must-dos'.  Although running is not an option for her right now, hiking is so we headed out for a grand hike up the Incline this morning.  We took it slow and although she questioned her sanity in undertaking such an arduous effort with her current fitness level several times during the climb, she's a tenacious ultra runner and perservered.
Finishing with a smile despite low-lander oxygen depletion

Connecting to Barr Trail.  I was thrilled to see that the Aspens on the left were NOT changing...... yet........

We fast hiked down Barr Trail.  Renee was excited to see part of Barr as she and her hubby and a group from their Tuscon trail running group are thinking about coming up next August and doing the Pikes Peak Ascent/Marathon.  If I can get completely back on track, the Ascent has been on my list of 'things to do someday'.  Hmmm, combined with a quite a few local friends who are doing the Ascent/Marathon next year, the Tuscon group coming up might provide the extra motivation to really train for it.  We'll have to see..........

We wrapped up a whirlwind day with lunch at Coquette Creperie, a repeat visit for Mate', a stop at a Chef's Catalog (kitchen store), the Dutch bakery (I needed to get a treat for Steve since he had to work and couldn't come out and play), Title Nine, The Colorado Running Company, and Criterium Bike Shop (Renee needed a jersey she had spied there yesterday).  Whew!  We had to blaze home, get her packed up and out the door so she could drive to her next destination near Denver and arrive before it was completely dark.

After hugs all around and waving good-bye, we realized again, that our interest in trail running has afforded us the opportunity to meet extraordinary people - Friends - over the past few years.

Happy Trails to everyone this week!
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