Showing posts with label Colorado Springs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Colorado Springs. Show all posts

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring vacation kickoff run

Today's run (street): 3.6 miles

My spring vacation starts today and with weather reports calling for afternoon rain I thought it best to go out early. I woke up after a decent night's sleep with a mild cough. It's just another phase in this annoying cold that I've been suffering since Monday. Knowing that I had busy days ahead, including some travel, I decided early on to ignore this cold as much as I could. I worked long days, went out at night and ran or elliptical-ed every morning. This seems to have worked. After a cup of coffee my cough seemed to recede and I made my way outside.

It's still cold for mid-April and I dressed for my run appropriately. I've noticed that over the last few weeks my Saturday runs have been so-so but my Sunday runs have been good. I'm not sure why but anticipating that this morning I aimed low - three or four miles tops. I wore the new Mirages that continue to feel great. In terms of comfort I still prefer the Kinvaras but I like the way these new shoes move with my foot and land me ahead of my arch. Without really trying I maintained a mid-9 pace that felt easy and fluid. I'm hoping I'll have a window on Sunday to cover 8 or more miles but the rain may interfere with that plan. Since I'm on vacation I'll have numerous opportunities to run long distances. The half marathon looms large -- two weeks and a day from now.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Running again at sea level

Pike's Peak at sunset

Exploring the Manitou cliff dwellings

Nearing the top of Pike's Peak

The Emerging Runner visits the Colorado Running Company

Weight room at US Olympic Training Center. Fence (above) was put in to prevent athletes from sneaking in after hours to train

Western view of the mountains at night

Along the regional trail at Bear Creek. A big deer stands guard

Picked up this pebble in my shoe during the Bear Creek trail run (actual size)

Rotating sculpture at America the Beautiful Park

Hawks circling at the incredible Garden of the Gods Park

Balanced Rock at GOTG

Early morning view of the Helen Hunt Falls

Today's run (street): 4.2 miles at 9:27

For me, the worst part of any vacation is the travel to and from our destination. The flight into Denver was punctuated by long periods of moderate turbulence and I was very happy to touch down a mile higher than where we'd started. We prepared for our return but spent almost as much time at the airport as we did on our flight due to a two hour, weather related, departure delay. By the time we had settled back in at home it was close to midnight and we were all asleep within minutes of shutting off the lights. Even though I was still on Rocky Mountain time I woke up early and went out for a run. I was curious to see if the richer air would yield any performance benefits. The lower altitude did present easier breathing but the high humidity (compared to what we'd experienced throughout the week) offset that advantage. I ran 9:18 for my first mile this morning and lost about ten seconds on the second and third before picking up the pace on the 4th. The breathing part was easy but I was tired. I guess I can claim travel fatigue but I'd rather blame the humidity. It was the first run I'd done on the street since last Saturday and I did miss the surface of the trails, even the tough ones.

We covered a lot of ground during our Colorado explorations. After our trek through Bear Creek Park on Thursday morning we headed to the America the Beautiful Park that features a huge revolving sculpture that serves as the worlds coolest water sprinkler. The kids took off their shoes and enjoyed cooling off under the hot sun. After dinner we returned to Garden of the Gods park to check out some areas we didn't get to on Monday, including Balanced Rock where we took lots of pictures. We saw so many deer in the park that night that my kids began to roll their eyes every time my wife and I would announce another sighting.  Friday morning we returned to the Helen Hunt Falls and spent some time scrambling on the rocks and enjoying the views. The visitor's center had many articles about tourists falling because they didn't heed safety warnings. Despite that danger, it's a place that we'd love to visit for days if we had time.

Oft ignored sign at Helen Hunt Falls
 It's nice to be home but the memory of our trip will last for a long time. We probably took 500 pictures between our three cameras and my iPhone. I'm looking forward to seeing the photo book my wife is making. I may head to Stillwell tomorrow to return to the trails once more. The vegetation may be different and there will be no mountains in the distance but it's my trail running home and I miss it nonetheless.

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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