The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'


…a few unphotographed trails

It’s been a long week. And a busy one at that! I haven’t had much time to sit and update. But as I’m sitting here “updating,” I realize I have nothing of importance to report! Unlike all my other posts which are extremely important!

I guess the most important thing is that I’ve been running. And since this is a running blog, I should mainly report on that. I put in 36 miles this week as I build some base miles for Boston training, which will officially begin on January 22. That gives me one more week at mid-30 miles. Then, upwards of 60+ in the subsequent weeks. I’m excited for this training, and hope for health the entire way.

This week allowed me to explore some new trails. Neither of which I got pictures for. I always tell myself to take a picture, but obviously forget if I’m not posting any! Earlier this week, I ran at Betasso Preserve. A few miles up the Boulder Canyon. It was super windy, hilly, icy, and definitely snow-shoe worthy! Up to my ankles in soft, dry powder. So soft, dry, and slippery that I took a fall right on my hip. Maybe that explains the bruise. It was a slow run at 6500 feet elevation, but a great workout!

Yesterday, my long run was at Hudson Gardens, south of Denver. The bff is racing a 10 miler there next weekend and she wanted to preview the course. There is a really nice path behind the gardens that runs for 8 miles along the Platte River. Again, it was really windy, especially on the turn around when we were coming back south. What is it with the wind in January?!

Today was an easy recovery run with my favorite 4-legged running partner. The boy is 7 hours ahead in England this week, so I’m in charge of the dog is in charge of me. My only defense against him is to run him. And even then, I don’t hold much weight. He usually gets what he wants when we are in the same room together. This includes, but is not limited to petting, belly rubs, treats, and any kind of attention. When I do “get onto him” for annoying me, he looks at me like “Really? That’s all you’ve got?” {sigh} He’s just too cute.

This week: More running!!!


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…the 2012 goals in her head

Happy New Year!

A new year for new goals! Running goals that is…

Drink more water
Because we all should. But I’ve become bored with water, so I need to add lemons or limes or experiment more with flavored waters. Or just suck it up and drink it.

Pilates or yoga. Light weights and more abs. Tone up. Because I don’t think the swimming thing is going to happen yet.

Because I feel better. And foam roll. And ice. And take better care of me.

Explore a 30 miler
After Rim Rock, I was tired. But I briefly thought what if I could have run a few more? When I told the boy this fleeting thought, he suggested a 30 miler. Not a huge ultra, but something of a new challenge. Surely there would be some 30 mile races in Colorado. So, I’d love to look into it and just see what some possibilities might be for the end of 2012.

Leadville Half Marathon
The boy is so good about challenging me and offering food for thought. After we both read Born to Run, we discussed the possibility of running one of the races in the Leadville Series. Nothing like the 100. Or even the 50. I’d be surprised if I could run much farther than a few miles at the 13,000 foot elevation, but the half marathon looks rather appealing.

While I typically do a decent job of tracking all of my miles, I want to explore a different mode. In the past, I’ve been a slave to spreadsheets. I don’t mind spreadsheets. In fact, I like them very much. But in 2012, I want to utilize some of the online mile trackers that will also allow me to connect with other athletes. Enter Dailymile. I subscribed a while ago, but because of my Type A- personality, didn’t want to begin entering info until January 1st. You can follow my daily runs by clicking on the dailymile link on my right sidebar.

Boston Marathon
April 16. Patriots Day. I’ll be there for Round 2. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to run this epic course again. I know what to expect and perhaps my training will produce a time better than my previous there.

More trails
Get out of my routine and out of my comfort zone with the same old trails and paths I run. It’s time to expand my knowledge in an area abundant with trails.


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…Heil Valley Ranch

After last weeks Thanksgiving Day trail run, I was antsy for another. Despite another few inches of snow that fell on Friday night, and into Saturday morning, I grabbed my Yak Tracks and headed northwest.

Just north of Boulder is a popular mountain biking/hiking area called Heil Valley Ranch. It is a 5,000 acre Open Space, with several multi-use trails. While I’ve heard it mentioned many times in relation to trail running, I’ve not actually made it out there. Until Saturday.

I left my place just as the snow was tapering off and the sun was starting to show its pretty face. An half hour later, I’m at the trailhead strapping on the Yak Tracks. I’m definitely going to need them today!

With a quick look over the map, I decide on the Wapiti Trail; a 2.5 mile section that connects to several loops on the back side of the ranch. I know I’ll at least get a 5 miler with an out and back, but depending on how I feel, I’ll connect to another 2.5 mile loop, Ponderosa Loop.

I set out at a slow pace, as I make my way uphill, trudging through snow. I’m quickly feeling the 5900 feet of elevation. Combined with all of the high knees I’m doing, to get above the snow, I’m winded! And a little shocked! Shouldn’t I be in better shape than this? I remind myself to keep it slow, enjoy the run. This is good for me and I’m becoming a stronger runner through this.

While there is a lot of snowfall, there is some exposed rock. I occasionally slip, but the Yak Tracks keep me from some potential falls. A few times, the Yak Tracks slip to the side of my shoe, depending on how I’ve hit a rock, but with a quick adjustment, they are righted and I’m off again.

I meet up at the Ponderosa Loop and, despite the 800 foot elevation gain (I’m now at 6700 ft), I am feeling pretty good. My breathing has adjusted to the pace and the ups and downs of the trail. I opt to keep on going, even if for another 1/2 mile. Now, the trail is completely covered. No mountain biker or cross country skier has dared to go beyond this point. So, the fun begins, with making my own trail!

I go on for another mile, and at 3.5, I turn around. The run down is much quicker, though my ankles take a small beating as I find my footing on the snow-covered rocks. I was pretty sure they would be sore today, but they fell okay!

As I’m careening down the trail, I hear the gobbling of some nearby turkeys. And, I get this view:

Heil Valley is a great trail run in the snow! I wonder how easy it would be to traverse on a dry day. I’ll definitely be revisiting, so I can explore some of the other loops as well.

7 miles/1:22/11:51 pace


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…the Hewlett-Gulch Trail

Better late than never, I’m posting about Thanksgiving!

After discussions of a trail run the weekend prior to Thanksgiving week, the boy and I finally followed through with a Thanksgiving morning early afternoon trail run.

We had previously decided on the Hewlett-Gulch Trail; a mountain bike/running/hiking trail that lollipopes its way through 6 miles in the Poudre Canyon, just northwest of Fort Collins in the Roosevelt National Forest.

I was excited to trail run, since I hadn’t done that in a while. But, I got a little nervous when I saw the recently posted signs about mountain lion and bear sightings in the area. The bears, not too concerned about. The mountain lions, most definitely! Because they are watching you when you don’t know. Because they are stalking you, without a sound. Because they’ve been coming down from the mountains a lot in the last few years and attacking people in neighborhoods. The neighborhoods where I work! So, if they are confident enough to do that, then they are confident enough in their own environment to stalk and attack me! A helpless blonde! Good thing the boy and the boy’s dog were with me. Hopefully, they would be attacked first. Then, I would get help.

The trail starts out at a low 5680 feet elevation. I found the trail to be pretty gentle, which is probably what I needed in returning to the mountains. There are numerous streams to cross; where I find out that the boy gazelles over them, without hesitation. I, on the other hand, have to stop at each one and evaluate each rock that I will step on. Oh Type A….

After about 2 miles up the canyon, the wind picks up and the clouds come out, putting a little bit of a damper on this 60 degree day. It’s wet, and snowy, and muddy. The boy’s dog is flinging up mud and splash-back is covering my front. And now, my mind starts playing games with me, as we come into a dense area, surrounded by trees, undergrowth, and the like. I start to hear sounds in the bushes and branches. They don’t belong to the boy’s dog, who is in front of me. I’m convinced it’s a mountain lion stalking me. I mean, why wouldn’t it be?

I get a little paranoid and turn back around 2.5 miles, for a 5 mile total. I’m fine with this. I don’t want to die.

I did like the trail for something short and easy. Not a lot of uphill, although I’m told it gets fairly steep in the section we didn’t run. I’d love to run it in its entirety another time.