Monday, July 12, 2010

Running among the Gods

Western view of the Garden of the Gods
Today's run (Garden of the Gods): mileage unknown (approx 2 mile)

The trail behind our hotel turned out to be a bit of a bust. I followed it about a quarter mile before it dropped off sharply near a sign that said private property. I was reluctant to trespass and a little skittish about the local wildlife. The concierge mentioned that there had been a bear sighting in that area recently. I didn't feel brave enough to find out if it was true.

We headed to Garden of the Gods this morning and walked around the Ute/Bretag/Palmer trail and the Perkins Central Garden trail. We watched some brave climbers at the top of a rock face and couldn't believe their bravery or their sanity. I decided to go for a run while my family continued their walk. I followed the same basic trails that we had walked and completed a loop that took me a little less than 20 minutes. The altitude definitely affected my stamina and while it wasn't anything close to rigorous it was one of the toughest 2-milers I've run. The challenge of the run was nothing compared to what I saw -- the most majestic rock formations and views of looming mountains surrounded by forests of Ponderossa pines and juniper trees. Absolutely incredible.

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings
Later we visited the Manitou cliff dwellings where we climbed through authentic structures that have stood for a couple of thousand years. At the risk of sounding like a travel agent it was amazing to experience and lots of fun.We had lunch in Manitou Springs and walked around the town, had lunch at an Egyptian diner (not a typo) and had fun observing all the neo-hippies walking around. We capped the day with a drive up the Pike's Peak highway which goes 19 miles to the top of Pike's Peak. I'll admit that I endured more than enjoyed that drive. The sheer drop off the dirt road measured almost two miles at some points. But it was incredible. Scary as heck but incredible.


Nearing the summit at Pike's Peak
It was a really fun day and more fun will follow tomorrow. We'll return to the Garden of the gods, visit the uS Olympic Training Center and do a few other things. I'm planning to take a trip the the Colorado Running Company at some point. Why not, right?

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