Skirt Sports 13er Training: Weeks 1-2

Remember when I used to do training recaps? You know, when I was training? That seems like about a million years ago. But I’m finally training again, albeit slower and with less mileage than before, so it’s time to bring back the training recaps. Plus, it gives me something to blog about, and I really need to get back on a more regular blogging schedule.

The Skirt Sports 13er (don’t forget, you can get a discount to join me by using code SKIRTAMB15) is June 4. Normally, I’d do a 12-week plan for a half, but since I’m coming back from injury, I decided that 16 weeks would be better for building my fitness and preventing another injury. I’m also making a serious effort to thoroughly warm up before each run and finish with some sort of strength or core work and foam rolling, and I’m keeping with my nightly 15-25 minutes of yoga. Here’s how weeks 1-2 went down:

Tuesday, Feb. 14 –First day of training!
Fartlek run — 8 x 1-minute at 10k pace with 2-minute recoveries. Total mileage, including warm-up and cooldown: 7 miles.

img_35371
Skirt and short sleeves in February! What?!

Wednesday, Feb. 15
3-mile recovery run

Thursday, February 16
Rest day

Friday, February 17
Had the day off, hooray! 5 miles, finished with a few strides

Saturday, February 18
9 miles! Longest run in a loooong time

Sunday, February 19
Rest day. Taking three rest days in one week felt weird, but Monday and Thursday were scheduled rest days, and I felt like the ol’ hamstring needed one the day after the long run. I’ll start taking Sunday rest days again, I think. That works best for my body.

Week 1 Total: 24 miles

Monday, February 20
4 recovery miles

Tuesday, February 21
Same 7-mile fartlek workout as last week. It was SO windy out. My paces were absolutely ridiculous: super fast when the wind was at my back, super slow when running back into the wind.

img_3543
Clearly had a tailwind here — see how my skirt is plastered to my legs?

Wednesday, February 22
3 miles easy. Super slow. I was exhausted and felt like crap, so I was not sad to only run three.

Thursday, February 23
5-mile easy run on the treadmill. The gorgeous, non-Februaryish weather was gone, and it was windy and snowing out. I knew that if I ran in the cold, all I’d want to do when I got back would be take a hot shower, and I’d likely skip my strength workout, so I ran did an alternating run/strength workout in my basement.

img_3547
No, this picture isn’t staged at all! Why would you ask? …

Friday, February 24
Rest day

Saturday, February 25
10 miles!!! I went to a “writing marathon” at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on Saturday morning, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to do my long run in Denver City Park after. It feels pretty darn good to be back to double digits!
img_3550

Sunday, February 26
Rest.

Week 2 Total Mileage: 29

I’m hoping to get back to six days of running this week or next. Just gotta play it by ear and see how my hamstring feels. Either way, it feels great to be running consistently again and to have a goal on the horizon.

What are you training for these days?

Ever had to come back from an injury or other setback? Tell me about it!

Race Recap: Loveland Sweetheart Classic 2017

Before last weekend, the last time I had raced was in June, at the Skirt Sports 13er — and even then, I didn’t really race until the last couple of miles, when I realized I could place. Then I got injured in July, and moved and started a new job in August, and continued fighting that injury, so I hadn’t raced or trained hard for months.

Nevertheless, I decided to race the Loveland Sweetheart Classic 4-Miler last Saturday. My hamstring was feeling about 85% of healthy. I love this little race (this was my fourth time running it), and I figured that even though I’d have a slow-for-me time, it would give me a good baseline for getting back in shape for this year’s 13er. So I registered, and last Saturday morning found me lining up in the Loveland High School parking lot, enjoying the unseasonable warmth and getting re-familiarized with pre-race butterflies.
img_3485

One of my injury-healing (and -preventing) strategies is doing a thorough warm-up, so I did some dynamic stretching and ran an easy mile, returning to the start just in time to hear the National Anthem. Soon, the gun went off, and so did the runners. I wasn’t really sure how to pace myself, since the only fast running I’ve done recently is a few strides and a couple of fartlek workouts. I figured I’d just go by feel, playing it by ear and not paying too much attention to keeping even or negative splits, since the first mile-ish is downhill and the last mile-ish uphill.
img_3489

I ticked off the first mile in 6:50, feeling pretty decent. I picked it up a little for the flat second mile (6:42), passing a few people and high-fiving a few spectators (high-fiving little kids mid-race is the best. If you don’t usually make time for it, you need to start). Mile 3 is when I started to feel my lack  of fitness, and it was also my slowest mile (6:53), I guess thanks to a slight headwind? That’s when I started mentally repeating the mantra that got me through the end: “Just gut it out.” I knew that a race this short, even with minimal fitness, was mostly a mental game, and I just had to, well, gut it out.

img_3518
Don’t be jealous of my beautiful race face. (Photo courtesy of the Loveland Road Runners). 

Mile 4 ends with a mild uphill push, then a rewarding downhill sprint to the finish line. I managed to pass one more woman just after my watched beeped for mile 3, and then I was alone until the finish. I pushed it hard, hitting mile 4 in 6:47 and finishing in 27:36, good enough for fourth place.

img_3490
Gasping for air after the finish

After catching my breath for a few minutes, I jogged back along the course to meet my friend Christine and run her in, so I finished the day with just over 6 miles. We wandered around the post-race expo, I got a free post-race massage in the hopes that it would keep my hammy healthy, and then we stuck around for the awards ceremony. Since the overall top three women were excluded from age group awards, I took first in the 30-39 category (and my time was faster than all the 30-39 men. I like to brag). My prize was a handmade medal and a $15 gift certificate to Runners Roost. I was stoked, since I need new running shoes!
img_3491

After the awards, I took a baby-wipe bath in the bathroom (races with access to indoor bathrooms are the best), put on clean clothes, and headed to the Loveland Fire and Ice art festival with J.

img_3496
Snowman ice sculpture, part of the “ice” bit of the festival. 

Overall, I’m satisfied with how this race went. I ran hard but didn’t get reinjured, and I feel like I have a good baseline now as I build fitness for this year’s 13er, which I do plan to race (if you want to race with me, use code SKIRTAMB15 for 15% off!). Time to start training harder (but smarter)!

Have you raced lately? How did it go?

What’s your favorite local festival/event? We’re pretty darn excited to live closer to artsy things..

Updates

I made it just under a month between blog posts this time.  I’m getting better! My new goal is to post once a week, which was what I averaged back before this whole move-and-start-a-new-job thing.

Thanks to those of you who answered my poll in my last post. Sounds like you mostly want to hear about the things I started this blog to talk about — running and adventures. So that’s where I’ll keep my focus, with occasional side topics. I’ll try to keep it apolitical, as most of you were not interested in reading about politics. I need a politics-free zone in my life, anyway. My colleagues and I get so fired up that we decided to institute a “Trump jar” in our shared office this week to make ourselves talk about something else.
img_3463

So yeah. I will find other places to share my political opinions and keep this blog focused on… not that.

And on that note, let me give you a few quick updates so we’re all caught up as  I get back into this regular blogging thing:

  • I’m a Skirt Sports ambassador again! I am so honored to represent this company for another year. And good news for you: since I’m an ambassador, you get to save! Use code 1SSCAPT20 to save 20%, even on sale items!
    ambassadorstamp
  • I’m slowly but surely (I hope) recovering from the hamstring injury that has kept me sidelined since July. It’s still not 100%, but it’s getting there. I ran 8 miles yesterday, which was the longest I’ve gone since getting injured. For long-time readers who remember my training posts with 70-mile weeks and 23-mile long runs, it probably sounds crazy that I’m thrilled to have run 8, but man, it felt good! Hopefully I’ll be back to my high-mileage self before TOO much longer.

    img_3465
    Yes, this was February. I love Colorado. 
  • Related (I think): I’ve been doing yoga religiously. I started a 21-day challenge on January 9 and stuck with it, then spent a week doing other videos, and now J and I are starting the same challenge again. I never thought I’d be a daily yoga-er (“yogi” sounds much more advanced than I am), but it’s helping me sleep and I really think it’s helping my hamstring, too. I’m SUPER excited that J is doing it with me now, too.
  • That healing hamstring is a good thing, because I have a race this Saturday! I’ll be running the Loveland Sweetheart Classic. Last time I ran it, in 2014, I took second (read about that here), but this time, out of shape and working back from injury, I just want to enjoy myself (it’s a great little race) and use it as a benchmark and a starting point as I get back into shape for….
  • The Skirt Sports 13er in June! I’m already signed up. And I also have a 15% discount code for that, so you should sign up, too — code SKIRTAMB15 — and we will party. If all goes according to plan, my hamstring will heal completely, my weekly mileage will be back up to 50ish by the 13er, and then I can REALLY train for something — I don’t know what yet –in the fall.

    27021117043_715c1338d0_h
    Flashback to last year’s 13er. Isn’t it pretty? You should come run it with me.
  • I’m on Strava! Late to the party, I know. But let’s be friends! (Do you get “friends” on Strava? “Followers”? Whatever, let’s hang out on yet another online platform.)

Do you feel caught up? Cool. I’ll try not to drop off the face of the Internet planet this time.

I’m also waaay behind on blog reading. Again. What are you up to? What have you written lately that I must read?

Are you passionate about politics, or do you avoid them?

My Blog Is Having an Identity Crisis, and I Need Your Help

I’ve had this little blog for 2.5 years now. Sometimes I post regularly, and sometimes, as in recent months, posts are few and far between. One thing has stayed consistent, though: the blog’s focus on running. I was happy with that focus for a long while. I like chronicling my training and writing race reviews and reflections. When I got injured, though, and had to scale back my running, my blogging scaled way back, too.

A large piece of my motivation to start this blog in the first place was my firmly-held belief that if I’m going to be a decent writing teacher, I need to also be a writer. And lately, I have not written much at all. In addition, as I’ve watched the political and ideological turmoil in our country lately, I’ve also wondered if writing only about running is really the best use my wee corner of the Internet machine. Running is just one aspect of my life, and while I fully intend to continue writing about it, I think I’d like to broaden my blogging to incorporate more of the things about which I’m passionate. However, according to my WordPress sidebar, 1176 people follow my blog, and the first thing I teach my students about writing is that you must consider your audience.

So, audience, I need your feedback. What would you be interested in reading about here at Rural Running Redhead? Please take 30 seconds to click through this survey, and/or comment with any feedback that you have. Thank you!

My 2017 Goal: Stability

As I’m sure you could tell by my sporadic-at-best blogging, 2016 was an exciting but tumultuous year. A year ago at this time, J and I had decided to pursue a major change in our lives, seeking new jobs and a new home on the Front Range. Of course, no teaching jobs are posted in January, and we didn’t want to tell anyone about our plans until we had definite plans, so we spent several months feeling anxious, unsure, and unstable.

Then came April and May, the big hiring months in education, with the juggling act of applying, interviewing, and still being decent teachers at our then-current jobs. After what seemed like endless interviews (but really wasn’t that many), we both got hired, and then came goodbyes, and guilt, and excitement as the school year ended and summer began.

IMG_2992
Here’s a pic from our only camping trip this crazy summer, because what’s a blog post without any pictures?

Summer 2016 ushered in more instability, as Jordan’s new job sent him from training to training, we got our house on the market and started shopping for a new one, and I hung out in an odd place of mental limbo, wanting to do all I could to get ready for my new job, but not really knowing what to do, as I didn’t know anyone and had only a few resources. I also got injured for the first time in my running life, and, as I wrote about here and here, being injured only added to my already-turbulent mental state.

Although summer doesn’t technically end until mid-September, for us it ended in August. We moved into our new house in Milliken and started our new jobs, kicking off an exciting-but-stressful fall. For the last five months, our work-life balance has tipped almost entirely to the “work” side, as is to be expected when starting new jobs. I’m certainly not complaining — I love my new job and am grateful to have it — but that lack of balance has made settling into our new home and community happen much slower than we expected. In fact, we just this week have finally started hanging pictures, which has done wonders for making our house finally feel like home.

Being nearer the mountains also makes me feel more at home. 

2016 was a good year for us, but it was certainly a stressful one. As I look to 2017, I’ve realized that I don’t want to make resolutions, or set lofty goals. I’ve had enough big changes lately. Instead, I want 2017 to focus on one thing: stability. I want to work on continuing to make this house feel like our home, through painting and completing lots of the other projects that need done. I want to meet people and build friendships  in our new community. I want to finish out this school year and immediately start working on making next year better, now that I’ll know how things are done and what is expected at my new school. I just want to stabilize, and then, as ’17 goes on, maybe look at making changes or setting goals.

27021117043_715c1338d0_h
Pic from the Skirt Sports 13er in June, one of my last longer runs before getting injured.

That same concept applies to my running life, too.  I’m knocking on wood here, but I think I’m finally recovering from this injury. I’m still taking it slowly, as I’ve thrice set myself back again by pushing too hard, too soon, but hopefully, I’m on my way back to normal. I literally need to focus on stability: strengthening, stretching, and foam rolling my muscles to keep this injury healing and prevent others from popping up. Although I’m eyeing the Loveland Sweetheart Classic four-miler in February, and I’d love to do some trail runs/races this year, I’m not signing up for or committing to anything until I’m completely healthy –stable –again.

I’m certainly excited for 2017 and looking forward to what I’ll learn and experience this year. Once I have a stable foundation, in all parts of my life, who knows what will happen next?

Do you have any resolutions/goals/words for 2017? Share them in the comments!

 

 

 

The Never-Ending Injury Saga

Once again, I’ve disappeared from the blog world for a while. Getting settled into a new school is definitely time-consuming, and then add settling into a new house and buying a car, along with normal life stuff, and time for blogging has disappeared. But today, I’m on Thanksgiving break, and we’re not leaving to visit my parents yet, so I’ll ignore my giant bag o’ grading for a few minutes and catch up with you instead.

The other reason I haven’t been blogging is  that this is a running blog, and my running life has been mediocre at best. Way back in July, I strained my hamstring, and it’s refusing to return to normal. When I first did it, I took three torturous weeks off, and eased back into running. I’ve pretty much stayed in that “easing back in” stage, as every time I try to go fast, go uphill, or go longer than 6 miles, my hamstring flares right back up, and I’m back to taking several days off.

img_3284
Pic from my last seven-miler, before my most recent flare-up

It’s intensely frustrating. I’m out of shape, and slow, and squishy, and my main form of stress relief has now become a form of stress in itself. As I wrote in this post, running is a huge part of my identity, and now, even more so than when I wrote that post, I feel like a part of me is missing.

HOWEVER. It’s almost Thanksgiving, and I’m well aware that I have plenty for which to be thankful. I have a wonderful family, including a dad who talked me through removing a dead mouse from my bathtub while J was out of town (that was traumatizing). I have an amazing husband who loves me and whom I love. When I can run, I have some pretty fantastic views.

img_3249
from my Insta

I have a warm house, a new (to me) car that will be much more reliable than my old one, and a job I love. In the grand scheme of things, I’ve got it pretty darn good. And that’s what I need to remember.

I know that even though this injury seems to be dragging on forever, it is temporary, and eventually, I’ll get back into shape, lose the injury-induced fluffiness, and be able to race again. In the meantime, I’ll be more diligent about my rehab exercises, listen to my body when it says “too much!” and focus on all the good I’ve got going on. (When I start complaining, please remind me that I said this).

How about you? What’s going on in your life? What do you have to be thankful for?

Best of… Things Lately

Best book I’ve read: Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz. We went to Denver’s Lit Crawl a few weeks ago — a bunch of bars and bookstores on the same street held book and poetry readings and it was amazing — and Schantz was one of the authors we heard. I bought the book after the reading, and it’s fantastic. It won the Colorado Book Award in Young Adult books this year, and I can see why. It’s sad, but so good. Probably not a good choice when you have to be alert and teaching teenagers at 7:15 a.m., because it’s hard to put away, but well worth the read.

Image result for fig sarah elizabeth schantz

Best cookbook I’ve read: Paleo Takes 5 or Fewer by Cindy Sexton. I don’t really eat Paleo, but I like to use Paleo recipes because they’re so healthy, and this book has been my go-to for weeknight meals since I bought it about a month ago. It also has some not-for-weeknights (at least not for me) meals, but what I’ve made has been delicious and easy.

Image result for paleo takes 5 or fewer

Best (or at least most useful) way I’ve spent a Saturday: Refreshing my first aid and CPR skills. That’s how I spent yesterday, and although it made the weekend seem nonexistent, reading articles like this one remind me that it’s super important. I hadn’t gotten re-certified since high school, so it was definitely time.

Best husband: Pardon me if this one’s too sappy,  but my husband is the best. He cleaned the whole house while I was gone yesterday (including scrubbing under the stove. This new house is gross) AND painted more samples (we have a winner!), and today he finished controlling the jungle that was our yard. We now look like civilized people, from the outside at least. He’s the bomb.

Best vacation idea: Did you see that the Backtreet Boys are doing a residency in Vegas? I’ve never cared about Vegas before, but now I’m pretty sure I have to go and realize the biggest dream of 12-year-old Cassie’s life.

Best student quote: I’m teaching The Great Gatsby, and we’re watching the Leonardo DiCaprio movie as we read. During the scene when Gatsby comes in, dripping wet, from the rainstorm, one of my students blurted out, “Whoa! He’s moister than an oyster!” I feel like that might be some dirty thing kids say now, but I’m going to believe it’s innocent and hilarious.

Best season: It’s fall. I’m happy. Bring on the pumpkin, pretty leaves, and perfect running weather!

What’s your recent “best of”?

Long Overdue Coffee Talk

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? The last time I blogged was almost two months ago. Moving and starting a new job have meant that every recent spare moment was… well, nonexistent. This is a perfect chance for a “coffee talk” kind of post. When my real-life friends and I get together, we can pick right back up where we left off, even if it’s been weeks or months since we last talked. I’m hoping that my re-entry into the online world will work the same way. So, if we were having coffee…

I’d tell you that although our schedules have been packed, I haven’t regretted making this move for one minute. Being able to see the mountains on every run, every drive to work (or anywhere), and out the window of one of my classrooms makes me insanely happy. And the amenities and things to do here are fantastic. We’ve been going to a farmer’s market every week (ironic that there wasn’t one out in farm country where we used to live), we just signed up for delivery from a local dairy, we’ve been out to dinner a few times at decent restaurants, and once I’m 100%  over that injury I blogged about last time, we’ll be able to explore some of the much-closer-now trails.

img_3190
Exploring Milliken

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that speaking of that injury, what an adventure that’s been. When we last talked, I told you I thought it was my piriformis, but a little more research made me suspect it was actually a hamstring strain. When I finally went to the doctor (for something else, but I figured I’d ask, as long as I was there), he confirmed my suspicions. And he told me no running for three weeks. THREE WEEKS.  I thought I’d go crazy, but it was right when we were moving, and my new job was starting, so I was busy enough that I didn’t feel TOO stabby.

Now, I’ve been slowwwly easing back into it. I can still feel little twinges if I run too fast, especially uphill, and certain strength exercises really bug it, so I’m just being very careful, running slowly and keeping up my stretching/foam-rolling routine. I’m loving running and exploring my new town. I’ve found a couple of “lakes” (more like ponds) and several parks, including a kick-butt fitness park that’s just 0.6 miles from my house. Bodyweight strength work in the great outdoors? I’ll take it.
img_3151

img_3181-1
I still love Skirt Sports, if you couldn’t tell 

I’m really hoping that my hammy gets back to 100% soon so that I can get on the trails. I also learned, right after we moved, that a trailhead for the Poudre River Trail (a popular multi-use trail here in NoCo) is a mere 10-minute drive from our new house, so once I build my mileage back up, I’ll have easy access to it for long runs.

If we were having coffee, you’d probably ask if you could come see my new house soon, and I’d tell you sure…  but don’t judge. We like the house a lot, but it needs some love. It was built in ’03, so it’s not old, but the previous owners neglected some maintenance, and we’re playing catch-up. Plus, we’d like to paint and get new carpets. “One thing at at time” has been our motto. If it wasn’t for this whole job-having thing, we’d get a lot more done.

IMG_3191.JPG
All our walls look like this right now —  playing the “what color should we paint?” game. 

If we were having coffee, I’d also want to tell you all about my new job… but imaginary Internet coffee is not as detail-friendly as real-life coffee, so you’ll have to be content with vague answers. Suffice it to say that I really like it, but I feel like a first-year teacher again: always busy and more than a little confused. Part of the newness is that I’m travelling: the school has outgrown its building, so I get a cart, not a classroom. That’s been an adjustment, but I’m starting to get my feet under me again, so hopefully those feelings will dissipate soon and I’ll feel more like the 10th-year (!) teacher that I really am.

If we were having coffee, we’d probably try to set up a time to see each other again. I’m going to put in a real effort to blog at least once a week again now that we’re a little more settled, and if you want to see me in real life, here are some events that I’m going to try really hard to make it to (weeknights are hard):

  • Skirt Sports’ Women Run the World (second Tuesdays, next one October 11): Skirt Sports just started doing these this summer, and I haven’t made it to one yet, but I’m going to try. The Facebook page describes them as “fun, inspirational nights of fitness & networking with other cool chicks in the community, while listening to three powerful people give 10 minute TESS talks on a message they want to share with the world.” If you’re local (especially if you’re more local than I am), you should go!
  • Boulder Running Company and Skirt Sports Ladies’ Night (October 20): My goal is to make it to either this one or the WRTW event, and maybe, maaaaayybe both.
  • Sole Mates 5k and Brewfest (November 5). I can’t believe I’ve lived here a month and a half and haven’t yet made it to Shoes and Brews, the running store/brewery combo in Longmont. Although I won’t be in fast shape (no speedwork until the hamstring is at 100%), this would be a fun way to get to Shoes and Brews, meet some local runners (I live in Milliken but teach in Longmont), and support a good cause (Habitat for Humanity).
  • And, in the farther-out future, I’m thinking about running the Colfax Marathon again. Maybe.

If we were having real-life coffee, I’d apologize profusely for going on and on about my life and not hearing anything about yours, and I’d have to confess that I haven’t read a single blog since we moved the first of August. So please, tell me what you’ve been up to!

Anybody going to one of those events? And/or are you a member of a running club in Longmont, Loveland, or Greeley? I’d kinda like to join one, but going in without knowing anyone is intimidating.

 

Injury and Identity Crisis

I’m one of those lucky runners who, for whatever reason, can put in lots of miles without getting injured. I try to be smart about it — not building too quickly, strength training regularly, listening to my body if something hurts — and it works. At least that’s what I thought.

IMG_2613

A few weeks ago, for no apparent reason, my left butt cheek started hurting in the middle of a fartlek run (insert butt-and-fartlek jokes here), and the pain didn’t stop, despite my stretching and slowing down. I have no idea why this would happen now, when I was running less than half the mileage I run when I’m training for a race, but the pain was there, and it was persistent.

Some Internet research told me I had hamstring tendinitis, and I found stretches, strength moves, and general advice on how to treat it. I’ve been doing it all religiously: stretching, strengthening, foam rolling and rolling on a tennis ball, taking short walks to keep it loose, taking several days off running and resuming with short and easy runs (no hills or speed), and even getting a massage, but still the pain persists. I can run 4-5 miles, but 5 is the most I’ve run in over a month. Frankly, it’s starting to mess with my head.

FullSizeRender (5)

I know I should be grateful that I can run at all, and that this happened when I don’t have any races on the calendar. Plus, I’ll be so busy soon with moving and starting a new job that running long shouldn’t be my priority anyway (but I will have this new town to explore…).

But there’s a huge part of my identity that is distance runner, and even though it’s been only a few weeks, I feel like that part of my identity is misplaced. Sometimes I toy with the idea of just moving on from that identity — becoming someone who works out purely for health reasons, with less cardio and more strength training and yoga — and for a minute, that seems like a great idea. After all, I’m certainly not a professional — it’s not like I’m paid to run long. There’s no logical reason for me to keep doing it. In fact, it would probably be healthier to go the other way.

photo 5 (8)

But then I see an ad for a race, or a post in a Facebook group about an epic trail run coming up, or my trail shoes sitting by the door, looking sad because I haven’t taken them out lately, or even the “4.00” on my watch at the end of yet another short, slow road run, and I think, “No, the just-for-health exerciser is not who I am.”

I realize this post is a complete pity party, and if you’ve made it through my word vomit thus far, thanks for sticking around. I feel like I should end this on a positive note, especially because I know, in the grand scheme of the world, that this is not that big of an issue and probably doesn’t even warrant its own blog post. But I feel grumpy and negative right now. Here:

Commiserate with me: Tell me about an injury and how you recovered/are recovering. Or give me a magic piriformis-healing bullet. 

 

Mountain Adventures Photo Dump

If you’ve read my blog long (or if you know me in real life), you know that I’m a mountain girl to the core. This summer, unfortunately, has had a serious dearth of mountain time — selling and buying houses and getting ready for new jobs is time-consuming — especially for Jordan. His new job is at a brand-new school, so his summer has been full of meetings and trainings. Finally, last week we got in some mountain time. I took a lot of pictures.

IMG_2951
I need more quaky trees in my life. 

I went to the Western slope for Fourth of July weekend; J couldn’t come because of the aforementioned working, but I knew that if I didn’t go, I wouldn’t see my grandparents until Thanksgiving (my parents will come see me, but my grandparents don’t travel anymore). While I was there, the weather refused to cooperate, but we hiked a little anyway.

IMG_2940
Super rainy, but super green!
IMG_2941
The wildflowers were gorgeous!
IMG_2946
The rain made a cute little waterfall. We were soaked by the time we finished, but it was fun! Thank goodness my mom had an extra pair of waterproof pants; all I packed were running skirts, and I would’ve been freeeeezing. 

The Thursday after the 4th, Jordan and I went camping in Rocky Mountain National Park. A few weeks prior, we had looked at the calendar and realized that if we wanted to camp at all this summer, it had to be that day. So we booked a campsite in RMNP’s Glacier Basin campground (the last site available!), and we headed up bright and early Thursday morning.

We started our day at Lumpy Ridge. It was really ugly.

IMG_2973
Hello down there, Estes Park!

IMG_2975

IMG_2978
This is Gem Lake, not quite 2 miles up the trail. So pretty. So filled with tourists. We didn’t get a very early start on our hike, since we had to drive from Fort Morgan, so we got to hike with all the tourists who do things like sit in the middle of the trail to take breaks and feed the ground squirrels. Too bad there are no “Don’t feed the wildlife” signs in Rocky. Oh wait, yes there are. EVERYWHERE. 
IMG_2980
Around 3 miles in, the tourists tend to disappear. Ah, peace!

IMG_2981

 

We didn’t do the whole Lumpy Ridge loop because of our late start, but we loved the part we did. I’d like to run the whole loop (about 8.5 miles) sometime. (I didn’t do any trail running this trip, because I’ve been fighting piriformis syndrome, which is stupid. But at least I  could hike!)

After our hike, we headed down into town, ate the lunches we had packed, and did the tourist thing for a while — wandering into shops, stopping at a new-to-us brewery, etc.– before we headed back into the park to set up camp.

IMG_2984

IMG_2986
This pretty lady was our dinner entertainment. She obviously had a fawn somewhere, but the baby didn’t make an appearance. 

IMG_2989

IMG_2990
Not a bad view from the campground, right?

The next morning, we were able to start our hike earlier, of course, so it was quiet and peaceful most of the way. Our campground was just across the road from the first big park ‘n ride in the park, and a trail to Bierstadt Lake starts from that lot, so that’s where we began our day.

IMG_2992
Beirstadt Lake. No, I’m not wearing white knee socks. That’s my natural skin tone. 
IMG_2993
Mill Creek

IMG_2994

IMG_2998
We were walking along and heard a noise behind us on the trail, and here came this fat bird (grouse?) waddling down the trail, clucking softly. Pretty sure he was saying “Pardon me, humans. Just passing by.”

IMG_3002

 

We went up to Bierstadt, along Mill Creek, and back down through Hollowell Park, where we caught the shuttle back up to the campground. We had originally planned to go up to Cub Lake, but were afraid that we wouldn’t make it back in time to break down camp before we had to be checked out of the campground. Sometime, when my butt is completely better, I’d like to start at Hollowell Park, run up to Cub Lake, and catch the shuttle back from Moraine Park. Any of my trail running friends want to come along?

Once we were back at camp, we cleaned up a bit (another baby-wipe bath. This seems to be a theme on my blog lately…), broke down camp, and headed back into town — just in time, as a typical Colorado afternoon thunderstorm rumbled through not long after we got to town. Before we knew it, our mini-vacation was over and we were driving back to the plains (and getting excited that soon, our drive will be less than half as long).

What’s your favorite hike/trail run? Bonus points if it’s close-ish to my new home.

When was your last mini-vacation?

 

%d bloggers like this: