Winter is coming? Last Monday, it felt like it was already here because it snowed a majority of the day, but wasn’t cold enough to stick on the roads. That’s the kind of snow I can like. “That’s Colorado for ya!”, is said a lot around here and I kinda wanna smack the person that says it. Once October hits, you can expect snow at any point (in the metro area); I think it snowed on the 5th the year that we moved here (2013). It did already warm back up and is supposed to be in the mid-70s today.
Thursday, October 5th – 4.1 miles with Belmar Run Club at Runner’s Roost – Lakewood
I’ve been wanting to check this run club out for some time, but just haven’t. I haven’t had great luck with CO run clubs; they always seem cliquey and I always end up alone in the middle, or alone in the back. Who goes to a run club to run alone? NOT ME. I do all of my runs alone (not by choice) so I’d really like to at least have one run a week where I can run with someone. The two guys I met at the Baby Bear Chase 10K preview run were supposed to be there but didn’t make it. I thought: Oh great, I’ll be running alone. Again. I was committed to going so I drove to work (instead of taking the train) so I would be able to make it on time. I changed clothes before work and got there with plenty of time to spare. I started chatting with a women, Karen, who just moved here with her husband, from Houston, 7 weeks ago; that was ONE WEEK before Hurricane Harvey. How crazy is that?! They’d managed to sell their house just before that happened. When we started running, I actually ended up running with her husband, Dutch. We were running in Belmar Park which has a nice 2 mile loop, and I wasn’t sure if I was just going to do one lap or two. Of course I did two, and of course I ran it much faster than I’d planned. Running and talking can be very therapeutic and make the miles fly by. After the run, they traditionally go to Rocko’s Cantina for beer and food, so I went. Overall, It was great and I made new friends! I plan to go back this Thursday!
Post run… Shortly after this pic, a big lab came over and made a home in my lap
Friday, October 6th – Mt. Morrison: 3.5 miles; 2100′ of elevation gain
I have previously written: I suck at hills. I just can’t run them out here and I really want to get better. I need more elevation/climbing training so I decided to hike up Mt. Morrison before I had to be at work at 10am. I woke up at 5am, got ready, and drove 10 minutes to the trail-head right by Red Rocks Amphitheater. Have I mentioned that we live in an AWESOME area surrounded by all sorts of awesomeness?? We do.
It was almost 6am but it was still really dark. I needed my headlamp for the first 45 minutes or so. As soon as you get on the trail, it goes straight up; there are only a couple little flat parts on the whole trail. It was REALLY creepy being out there by myself; some have seen mountain lions out there and someone died over the weekend from a rattlesnake bite on a nearby mountain. I was the first on the mountain so I didn’t know what I might stumble upon (including homeless folks who are here for the weed), so I carried a pretty big knife in my pocket.
After about 30 minutes, it was light enough to go on without the headlamp and I just kept chugging along. It looked like a storm might roll in and was really foggy; you could see fog/low clouds on top of Mt.Morrison. When I got to the top, I was in the clouds because i didn’t have a 360 degree view of Denver/Golden/Boulder as I normally would have. I was able to finish, head home to shower, and get to work before 9:30am. I felt like I’d already tackled a whole day!
There was actually some rock climbing / bouldering involved towards the top.
Saturday, October 7th – Woods Mountain (12,940′) Hike: 6.5 miles
I had a 7 mile trail run on the training log but figured that this hike would be a sufficient replacement. Plus, this would help with my goal of being better at hills/altitude. I was a little sore from Mt. Morrison, especially in my quads, but it was a good sore. We knew it was going to be a windy day, but didn’t know how windy until we saw snow blowing off the tops of the Grays and Torreys 14ers, as we were driving down I-70. We’d intended to hike on Loveland Pass, but it was completely exposed and we knew it would be very windy there. So we got off one exit sooner to the Herman’s Gulch Trailhead.
I was suddenly in a grumpy mood and didn’t want to deal with the wind/cold (aka I was being a baby). I said I would go as far as I wanted to and turn back when I didn’t feel like going any more. I also didn’t think I was prepared for a summit because of how sore my quads were.
The trail started off below treeline which blocked a lot of the wind. It was gorgeous out and we had a spectacular view of the snow-covered mountains. Each mile, I told myself that I would just keep going to see how I felt. When we reached the base of Woods Mountain, I still felt great so I kept going! You basically have to make your own trail at that point because it was covered in snow. The wind looked and sounded much worse than it actually was! We’ve been on the side of a 14er before (La Plata) where we had to bend down so as not to be knocked over by the wind! I’ve seen people knocked over before!
We got to the top, snapped a few pictures, started back down, and found a pile of rocks to sit and have some lunch. Summiting big peaks makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something amazing and gives me such a boost of energy! 12K’ wasn’t so bad and felt much easier than a 14er.
Once we hit some of the snow-covered sections, I took off running! I am a pretty good downhill runner and am able to move my feet pretty well. It’s such a rush to slip and slide down a mountain, but still be able to maintain control.
Once we finished, we stopped in Idaho Springs for a burger and beer. What a great reward that was!
Thanks for reading!