|Sunrise from my apartment (February)|
Training runs and hikes ranging from January 2013 to May 2013
|Greenhouse from Eagle Cliff Mountain|
Though I was surrounded by countless peaks I really failed to take advantage of much winter mountain running. My first summit after moving to Colorado was Deer Mountain off of Trail Ridge Road. It was a relatively easy jog to the top, but the snowy patches added an element of difficulty. From my apartment the round trip was 16 miles, with about 3000 feet elevation gain. I next ventured out to Lumpy Ridge and found quick winding little trail up to Gem Lake. This eventually became a weekly jog once the weather warmed. I believe it was about a 13 mile round trip from my apartment and I always liked to better my time ascending to the lake. I believe my best was right around 22 minutes, I still never really mastered the art of uphill trail running.
|Longs Peak from Deer Mountain (January)|
In March I finally tackled the short steep hill to the south of my apartment, Eagle Cliff Mountain. This was a great little ascent if I needed to tack on an extra two miles to the end of my run and wanted a bit of a challenge. As the month progressed I had to do some pet-sitting in Boulder and got a chance to run Mount Sanitas and Green Mountain. Sanitas was a fun run and clear of snow. However, the last mile of Green gave me some trouble because I am an extremely weak “snow” runner. Back in Ohio, I loved post holing through a few inches because I did not have to worry about sliding down a mountainside. However, in Colorado I became much more cautious running mountainside in the snow.
In April I started ramping up mileage on the trails and added a few new adventures. I explored more the trail network around Lumpy Ridge, like Balanced Rock, McGreggor Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. Additionally I put in a 17 mile day at Crosier Mountain running from the Glen Haven trailhead to the Garden Gate trailhead and back. Headed down to Colorado Springs and ran a half marathon in the North Cheyenne Canon. I was appallingly slow, about 35 minutes off my personal best. However, it was a difficult course and solid measuring stick for my training.
April was a fairly snowy month and May started with about 20 inches and a park “snow-day”. However, as I headed to the Buena Vista for the 50, there was no snow in sight. A week after my first 50 mile race, I continued the trend of firsts by partaking in my first snow mountain hike. This was added a unique component to my training and made for a tremendous resistance workout. Aside from stressing some rarely used muscle fibers, I caught my first glimpse of the majestic west side of the park. In the middle of the month my old friend from high school Craig moved to Estes Park. Craig accompanied me on many hikes throughout the summer, but on his second day in town, we hiked to the top of Twin Sisters.
After realizing that I would not make it to Cow Creek trail via my current route before night fall I scrapped the plan and started traversing hills heading south. Eventually I came to a high point in which I spotted Aspenglen Camp Ground and knew that if I followed the creek leading toward it I would run into Old Fall River Road. Traversing the rocky and tree strewn terrain was no easy feat but I managed to make good time and avoid any injury. Luckily, my plan worked and just as night was falling and I was dehydrated and fading I reached a trail that lead to the Fall River Entrance Station. Thankfully I have great friends and both Apryle and Craig came to give me a ride back to the apartment.
It was a rewarding winter and spring season, I visited a lot of new places, met a lot of new people and ran a lot of miles. The weather was changing and summer was approaching, bringing many new opportunities to explore new places and higher summits.