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Cool Running - Shawnee Mule Trail

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

On Saturday, July 30th, I really wanted a nice easy run. I wanted to run while it was warm. I wanted to run at a "low" elevation of 6,000 to 7,000 feet. What I found was a difficult and dangerous trail along Dinosaur Ridge called Zorro. Zorro started off easy and became a rocky nightmare. I was too stubborn to turn around. See my previous blog "Clumsy and Fearless - First Aid Kit Required" for a description of the "nice easy trail" called Zorro.

Why was I looking for an easy run?

Because on Wednesday, July 27th, I ran 10k on a very steep trail; in the cold; in the dark; while it was raining; at nearly 10,000 feet of elevation. I ran the the Mule Trail near Shawnee, Colorado. Here is the story.

This is not really a trail sign but a warning to watch out for road apples.

At least the sign says "welcome" while advising that you could run into large foul-tempered beasts. There were no warnings about snakes or unexploded artillery shells, which is a plus.

I started up the trail at 8:00 PM. I took a photo of my car before I started up the hill since I knew it was going to be dark before I got back.

Hopefully, if my wife reports me missing, they would find my Corolla and send a mule after me. She only reported me missing once, but that is a different story.

The trail starts at 8,650 feet of elevation and climbs 1,155 feet in 1.1 miles! FYI - that is steep. The average grade was 20% to 40%.

This steeper than it looks in the photo. The trail starts off in a gentle climb and gets really steep.

The temperature was 52 degrees F. You can see the mule prints on the trail.

The trail is getting steep. Again, the trail is steeper than it looks in the photo. The trail tops-out at 9,805 feet. I still have a 1/2 mile to go to the top.

There are some mule signs on trail. This hill is not easy. I have a technique where I fall forward going up a steep hill. As I am falling forward I catch myself with my next step. This technique is called "falling uphill". This technique allows for a fast ascent but requires extreme coordination and lightning fast reflexes. There is evidence that I am deficient in both these characteristics, so "falling uphill" could easily become "rolling downhill". No guts - No glory. I am getting good at running up hills. I am also passable at applying bandages.

The hill is relentless. My mantra is simple, "step, step, step..."

I took a photo from the trail looking down at Highway 285 where my car is parked. This is shows what an 1,150' climb looks like.

I am on top of a mountain and it is getting dark. I need to run 2 more miles before I can start down.

I hopped this gate and kept running. The little spots on the photo are rain drops. I am wearing shorts, shirt and a waterproof shell. Stream is coming off of me!

I get to the end of the trail and turn around.

This is what it looked like as I started back. The trail is about to pitch down. The trail is muddy and rocky. It is also getting dark.

I took a detour down another trail so I could make sure I ran 10K. What the heck - in the middle of the wilderness was a porta-potty! I have about 2 miles to go and it is dark.

How did I do?

I did great! I covered 10K over bad terrain and steep hills in 1 hour, 6 minutes and 51 seconds! My pace was 10:44 min/mile at an average elevation of 9,558 feet. This was everything I had and then some. This exhausting run is why I was looking for a nice easy run the following Saturday. That is when I found the Zorro trail that ate my lunch!

I think I will be ready for another run tomorrow. Yesterday I lifted weights and did cardio on my elliptical. I am feeling better but the Shawnee Mule Trail and the Zorro Trail beat me up pretty badly.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LMB-ESQ 8/5/2011 7:53PM

    I am so jealous of your scenery! And at least this trail looks like a trail! I wish it was only 52 here, would sure make running (and everything else) easier!

Do you take your pics while you're running? Or do you stop? Or go back over afterwards?

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BARBIETEC 8/5/2011 5:02AM

    wow ! I think I burn calories when I read your blogs... All of those hills!!! :)

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TYKXBOY 8/4/2011 7:05PM

    That is some impressive hill training! And you finished in the dark! Glad you didn't need your first aid kit for this one.

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KKINNEA 8/4/2011 4:38PM

    I would have worried about animal leavings causing me to slip! Also, I can barely fall uphill on asphalt and you're doing it on a trail - amazing!

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CBAILEYC 8/4/2011 1:10PM

    I love your run reports! Here's to yet another great run tomorrow. Enjoy!

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LINDAKAY228 8/4/2011 1:04PM

    Very scenic. Glad you didn't run into any "foul tempered beasts" LOL! Awesome job on the run and not first aid kit required.

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GRATEFULBOB 8/4/2011 4:48AM

    emoticon you have some great scenic places to run emoticon

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MEGA_MILES 8/4/2011 4:33AM

    Impressive! emoticon

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ELYMWX 8/3/2011 11:39PM

    Good running tomorrow, Bruce...

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Clumsy and Fearless - First Aid Kit Required

Monday, August 01, 2011

When I was a kid my mother would not allow me to go near glass displays in a department store. For some reason she thought my close proximity to breakable objects might result in serious injury or at least major expense in terms of broken glass.

She may have had something there.

I lost count of the number of stitches I have had at 172. I cannot really estimate how many times I have visited emergency rooms. However, I have only been hospitalized twice due to injuries. When we were first married, my wife was puzzled why I regularly bought first aid kits. She know accepts these purchases as a necessary expense.

On Saturday, July 30th, I was in Denver for a meeting. I had my running stuff with me. I decided to do some "low" elevation running at 6,000 feet. I live at 8,500 feet in the Rocky mountains. The problem with running at high elevation is that your lungs give out before your legs. Without going into details, there are some compelling physiological reasons to train at a variety of altitudes.

I knew about a series of trails on Green Mountain near Denver.

Hayden Park has been around for a while and ranges in elevation from 6,100' to 6,900'. This park is near some pretty busy roads including Colorado 470 and Interstate 70.

Hayden Park gets funding from Jefferson County. The Park is actually operated by the City of Lakewood. Hence, the porta-potty!

This is a deluxe porta-potty with a barrier fence to keep the porta-potty from being blown away. Winds along the front range can be pretty intense.

The warning signs at parks always tickle me.

This sign notifies visitors that Prairie Rattlesnakes live here. The sign goes into great detail to explain that the harmless Bull snake also lives here and resembles the Rattlesnake. I wonder who is going to try to determine what type a snake is about to bite them. "Oh gee, I don't need to run away, that is just a harmless Bull snake."

A big Prairie Rattler is 4' long and has a really bad attitude. No wait - I think that is a harmless Bull snake.

Here is another sign that I though was unique. Evidently this area was used as an artillery range in WW II.

Just FYI, I did not step on an ancient artillery shell or get bitten by a snake, harmless or otherwise. I am not that lucky.

I decide to cross the street and run Zorro trail.

This sign is to enlighten speeding motorists that the people they just clobbered were hikers.

The Zorro trail looked inviting. Zorro was not shown on the Hayden trail map. In retrospect, I think there may have been a good reason Zorro was not on the Hayden trail map. The trail sign is cracked - first clue.

Start of the trail is smooth. The trail grade was between 10% and 30%. I started up the trail at 5pm. The temperature was blazing hot at 97 degrees F. The sun was beating down. The temperature was one degree cooler than than the ambient air temperature of hell.

I am running along pretty well at this point. I am dripping sweat but I am not even breathing hard. The trail climbs up the Dakota Hogback and rises 700 feet in about a mile. The Dakota Hogback is also called Dinosaur Ridge.

The trail started to get a bit rocky about 1/2 way up. Rough hewn stars on a trail are seldom a good sign - second clue.

The trail had some steep parts that required erosion control barriers. By now all the sun block I had put on had been sweated off. The sun is beating down on my neck right here.

This is s steep stretch over some difficult terrain. So far so good.

When I got to the summit, I found the trail was extremely "technical" and ran along the edge of a cliff! I put little dashes on the photo to show you the trail.

Here is what the Dakota hogback looks like. The trail is on the very top of the ridge. The views are pretty spectacular.

This is a view looking west toward I-70.

Looking east you can see Denver. See the bridge over the highway? Hayden Park is not far from that bridge. Eventually, I am going to have to run to that bridge.

Running on the edge of an abyss is actually draining. Particularly if you happen to be a world-class klutz! Here is were I fell. I tried to mark the photo where my foot landed and were my hand landed. I was about two miles into my run and still trying to keep up a decent pace. I caught myself with my right hand. I smacked my hand on a sharp piece of limestone. The good news is that I did not go over the edge.

The bad news is that I hurt my right hand. This hurt really badly. It felt like I slapped my hand down on a red hot straight razor. I still had a long way to go and my hand just wouldn't quit bleeding. I was happy that the blood was bright red, which means it is heavily oxygenated. My lungs and heart are working great. Balance and judgement are suspect, however!

On the way down, the trail surface got a little better. Note the position of the bridge - I have dropped quite a ways.

The downhill path is still challenging. There was some bad real estate on the way down. It is really hard to run on this stuff. I am still dribbling blood leaving a trail that Rattlesnakes, or harmless Bull snakes, can follow.

Zorro trail dumps out on a paved road that is marked for bicycles and pedestrians. Everybody assumes this little figure marks the pedestrian part of the road. I think it marks the spot where somebody fell off Zorro trail!

I had to run about 1/2 mile back to the car on pavement. Ordinarily, I hate pavement. After running Zorro trail, the pavement looked good to me.

I made a clumsy attempt to bandage my hand. The first aid kit in the car was badly depleted. I cleaned the wound with water and Windex wipes. I slathered on anti-biotic cream. I covered the gash with band-aides and gauze; and wrapped this make-shift dressing with white tape. I did this mostly so I would not get blood on my wife's car.

On Sunday I went to REI and got a small, but well equiped, first aid kit. I can actually carry this with me.

I bought the REI Hiker kit that is rated for 2 people for 3 days; or one very clumsy runner for one run. The REI Hiker kit cost $22.50 but includes almost everything I need to patch minor wounds.

So how did I do?

Not all that great. I ran 5K (3.11 miles) in 39 minutes at an average pace of 12:30 min/mile. I know this is horrible. But I really didn't want to take a nose dive over the cliff and become one of those little white figures on the road!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKOFFWIN 8/11/2011 9:59PM

    I really gotta make it a habit to get my A double S over here and read your blogs regularly! Because once again, just like the last time I was here, this was great entertainment!

A first: While I am deeply committed to (or ought to be committed for) the content of my own blogs, I've never shed blood for one of mine. You not only have bled bright red for yours here, but you also have photographic evidence to prove it! I gotta "hand" it to ya Bruce; that really IS commitment!

The "is it a dangerous Rattlesnake or a harmless Bull snake that is about to bite me?" thing had me literally laughing out loud! :-)

But in the "I'm as crazy or maybe even crazier than you" dept, the last time I saw a Rattler out in the wild, I was so charmed by the snake (yes - I know it's supposed to be the other way around) that I had to get close enough to take a close up photo of the "no doubt about it" dangerous snake, without the benefit of a zoom lens.

Lucky for me, my shutter speed was an instant faster than the Rattler's strike, or I wouldn't have got such a nice shot of him all nicely coiled up in the classic Rattlesnake pose. Also lucky for me, was that the snake, who clearly didn't like being photographed, bit my camera instead of my face, which was directly behind my camera.

But not so lucky for me, was that my wife punched me in the face, for doing yet one more thing on a long list of so many through the years, to scare the living sh*t outta her again! (she lives for the adventure - she's just too proud to admit it)

But this is your blog Bruce, so I'll stop my rambling now, except to say keep up the great work, and please don't fall off any cliffs - because you are just too amusing to not have around!


Comment edited on: 8/12/2011 12:54:03 AM

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MARYANNGI 8/4/2011 1:13PM

    Since clumsy is part of my vocabulary (several scars from knives & sprained ankles), I think the first aid kit is a must. Love the pics and your great sense of humor.

And your time sounds great to me since I don't run - yet.

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ELYMWX 8/3/2011 11:11PM

    Bruce, great pix, but that pedestrian looks kinda like a chalk outline to me... Also, I don't think that Windex wipes are OSHA approved for that use, but I guess any port in a storm...

Now the question is this: would your mother recommend that you clip the kit onto your running belt?

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STRIVER57 8/3/2011 3:19AM

    as a clumsy (runs in my family) and not fearless runner, i'd consider hiking that trail (though i too had trouble finding it on the pix). i have enough problems worrying about the cobblestones along the Seine and the Canal St Martin where I run. and if i ever get up to that pace on plain ordinary roads, i'll probably jump up and down and then come to spark to send out a zillion woohoos. so obviously i think you did great.

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SUZWARNR 8/2/2011 5:59PM

    That was quite the trail run you shared with us. Sorry you hurt your hand. Hope it's feeling a bit better now. I wonder if some people are more prone to aches and pains than others. I'm tired of getting them myself!

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CHANGE_4_ME 8/2/2011 11:15AM

    Great blog! Spectacular views! I would not consider this a running trail. Glad you did not take a nose dive off the cliff. Your comment about your mom made me smile and think of my own son. When I remarried (2009) my son was 18, we decided not to have a unity candle or any candles in the wedding, due to the simple fact we were afraid he'd accidentally burn down the church or set one of US on fire. LOL Gotta love him though! Have a great day!

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LINDAKAY228 8/2/2011 8:59AM

    In the heat and the elevation and the type of trail I think the pace is pretty good! Not something I would be able to accomplish. I would hike that trail but couldn't run it LOL! But hopefully one day I will be able to run those kind of trails. You're amazing.

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TREEBW 8/1/2011 11:28PM

    I think most of us would consider that a scary hike! Not a running trail!!! Though- I am afraid of heights, and would have stopped at the snake sign to turn around:-)
Glad you are ok!

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LKEITHO 8/1/2011 10:52PM

    Glad you came thru without going over the edge! I hope the hand is feeling better. Looks like a nice little first aide kit - I hope you don't have to use it any time soon!

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GSCOTTC 8/1/2011 8:50PM

    I love reading your blogs to see if you return from your runs alive! Another great read.


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LMB-ESQ 8/1/2011 6:23PM

    Ummm... Bruce? Half of your pictures where you say there's a trail, I don't see a trail. Even where you put the little dashes. The views are spectacular, I agree! But I still don't see a trail. I do like your first aid kit though... and your sheer guts and determination!

And I'm glad you didn't fall off the cliff or slice your hand right off.

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DLEDBETTER11 8/1/2011 4:11PM

    Considering the grade - I think that time is admirable! No brownie points for the trip fall crash though (I had to hobble 4 miles back to the car on a broken foot/ankle once after a trail run).


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KKINNEA 8/1/2011 2:52PM

    Hilarious as usual! Hope your hand is healing up. The views are terrific - I would trade a bad gash for falling over a cliff any day! I like TRILLIUM22's equation - you may need to buy stock in a first aid kit company!

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CBAILEYC 8/1/2011 2:22PM

    Cliff falling would have been very very bad. So would getting blood in your wife's car! Congrats on avoiding both!

I'm glad you're relatively alright.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 8/1/2011 2:05PM

    What a run! No stitches?

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TRILLIUM22 8/1/2011 2:05PM

    Sounds like quite a run. So you think 2 hikers for 3 days = 1 speedy dog, when it comes to first aid kits. Good luck on your runs and I think that moderating you speed to stay safe is a good idea. emoticon

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    Wow, so glad you didn't fall off the cliff. I guess that's the bright side plus you got to experience some beautiful scenary. Hope the hand heals quickly!

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When in doubt, run uphill!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

There is a small group of crazies that put on the "Run Uphill" trail racing series.

This is the eye-catching logo of the "Run Uphill Racing" group. The only issue that I have with this logo is the little stick figure is smiling. That just doesn't happen!

I am always looking for a new place to run. On Monday, July 25th, I decided to go to Pine Valley Ranch, which is a popular part of the lavish Jefferson County Open Space Park system. Jefferson County, Colorado, is a affluent suburban county. I live in Park county, which is right next to Jefferson County. Here is the vital statistics:

Park County has 2,210.69 square miles and is roughly the sIze of Delaware. Delaware has a population density of 442.6 people per square mile. Park County, Colorado, has a population density of 5 people per square mile. I had a feeling that this place was getting too crowded!
Jefferson County has 778 square miles and a population density of 683 people per square mile! In other words, Jefferson County has a tax base that Park County can't touch. A huge tax base is the reason why Jefferson County has lavish facilities at 36 open space parks, Five people per square mile is the reason why Park County can manage one porta-potty at a few trail heads.

At any rate, I live close enough to Jefferson County to take advantage of the high-dollar facilities that the good people of Jefferson County so generously provide. Here is a photo essay of my run at Pine Valley Park.

There is a really cool building at the park. I really don't know what the building is for. I think the building is there to hold up the park sign.

This is a shot of one of the rest rooms. This is a "green" facility that turns waste into compost. I am not sure what is done with the compost and I don't want to know.

These are some of the ginormous picnic pavilions at the Pine Valley Park. I think you could feed an army here! Perhaps the park management uses the compost on this grass. Your guess is as good as mine.

The North Fork of the South Platte River runs through the park. The "No Tubing" sign is a good idea. This is a very fast river.

There are three nice bridges over the river. The river is running very high due to runoff from a record snowpack.

Here is an aerial of the race course that the "Run Uphill" club holds at Pine Valley Park in May. The distance is 7.7 miles but there is a lot of uphill segments. Hence the name of the club.

The park has a confusing trail layout. Some trails are wheelchair accessible, which is pretty cool. Some trails are marked "Hiker Only". I noted they didn't say "Runner Only". There is also a lake with great fishing. I don't fish much because I usually fall asleep and feed the fish my bait.

I grabbed a trail map and put it in the pocket of my running shorts. I didn't want to get lost. Besides I started running at 8:00pm. It was likely to be dark by the time I got done.

Pine Valley Trail is relatively flat and is traveled by people enjoying themselves. I don't want to go that way. I turned down Narrow Gauge Trail because my goal is to beat the tar out of myself. I succeeded.

Here is a sign down the trail about 1/2 mile. See there are no other people on this trail. I think that is a good sign.

These clouds are kind of pretty. The clouds would be very pretty if they didn't mean rain, thunder and lightning.

Over the bridge and into the woods. The trail is about to get interesting.

Cool little bridge along the trail. This is pretty flat and I am humming along at 6:04 min/mile pace. The flat stuff lasts about 1/4 mile. Then the trail gets steep - like 30% steep!

I wonder why photos never do a trail justice. This is really steep here. The trail is nice and smooth. My pace had fallen off considerably. The good news is that Pine Valley Park is at a "low" elevation of 7,450 feet. 7,450 feet only costs you about 30% in blood oxygen saturation.

Oh No! A fork in the trail. No worries. I just pull out my trusty trail map and ..... rats! I lost it. I got to get back before dark. Eenie meenie miney mo....

Buck Gulch Trail looks pretty inviting.

Strawberry Jack Trail looks a bit steeper. Which one would you chose? I decided to take Strawberry Jack because it roughly headed back toward the parking lot. This may have been an error.

Strawberry Jack bent around and climbed a mountain. When I checked the trail map back at the car I found that both Buck Gulch and Strawberry Jack trails go off into oblivion. There was no right choice.

I ran through the Buffalo Creek burn area. In 1996 this area was on fire. It looks pretty good now.

There were no strawberries on Strawberry Jack trail but there were some wild raspberries. When I took this photo it was starting to get dark.

By the time I finished running it was bitch black. Here is a rock in the middle of the trail that I did not trip over. I was at the top of Strawberry Trail as the sun started to set. I decided to turn around and go down the way I came up. I thought that back tracking was a lot safer then trying to dead reckon my way back to the base in the dark.

How did I do?

I ran 5.2 miles in 45:34 at an average pace of 8:45 minutes/mile. My fastest pace was 6:04 minutes/mile. Granted the trail was at 6,800 to 7,450 feet in elevation, which is lower than I usually run. The maximum grade was 35%. However, the average grade was a more manageable 13%. I think all the trail running and biking is starting to payoff. I am losing weight and getting stronger.

Now if I can just stay healthy and keep from hurting myself, I think I will be ready for the Leadville 10K two weeks from now.

Thanks for reading my blog.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BARBIETEC 7/31/2011 8:33AM

    WOW!... The first thing I thought when I red Strawberry Jack "Are there any strawberries ?" hehehe..

I guess I would have stop running and start eating if there were :)

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WALKOFFWIN 7/29/2011 3:19PM

    Great Blog Bruce! I love your dry sense of humor, (don't know what the building is for. I think the building is there to hold up the park sign. etc), and your photos really add to the experience of reading about your trail runs. Nice shot of the sky, btw.

You have no idea how much I can relate to returning on a trail in the dark! Since I would (and will be) late for my own funeral, I have gotten late starts on many trails and what went up during daylight, had no choice but to come down during night... and in the dark.

For me, "an early start" means leaving the summit half an hour before sunset!

I even have a list of mountains that I have hiked down in the dark, and I don't recommend it. And yes, I know I'm crazy - because my wife has been calling me that for years! Lol ;o)

She also calls me several other words that I can't write here, if she gets stuck with me for a long nighttime descent from summit to trail base!

Anyway, I'm glad I stopped by to read this, and thanks for posting!


P.S. If you are wondering what this emoticon really is, it's "his and hers" hand held light bulbs for when I forget the flashlights! Lol :o)

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ANMRUNNER 7/29/2011 2:13PM

    Wow, your runs are always amazing!

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LINDAKAY228 7/29/2011 12:35PM

    Loved the pics! Sometimes I do crazy things like that except my running isn't good enough to run up that. But I would love to hike it. Someday I hope to run trails like that too because I like trails so much better than streets. But I still have a lot of training to go. We are a little below 6,000 feet where I live and some of the trails are at between 6,000 and 7,000 feet.
Thanks for sharing!

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KKINNEA 7/29/2011 12:07PM

    I was a little worried you would be lost in the dark on steep trails - love the "Run Uphill" club. That would be my slowest time ever.

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TRILLIUM22 7/29/2011 8:42AM

    Sounds like a great run. The mom in my cringes at the running after night in the dark, esp with those rock, but I guess your a grown-up. We don't have scenery like that in St. Louis.

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CAROLCRC 7/29/2011 8:05AM

    Love your picture blogs. I agree - the camera flattens hills really badly... I've tried before to get picture of my favorite uphills, but nothing seems to do them justice.

Would love to get that logo as a car magnet....

Comment edited on: 7/29/2011 8:06:23 AM

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L3DESIGNS 7/29/2011 3:51AM

    great pics!

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SWIMMERM0M3 7/28/2011 11:04PM

    I concur with the "officially crazy assessment," but at least your trail runs are seldom boring. emoticon

Thank you for the entertaining blog. It must feel great to tackle and conquer these challenging runs...and come back in one piece to write about it.

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LKEITHO 7/28/2011 10:27PM

    Great pictures, and a great park! Glad you didn't have any trouble finishing in the dark.

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CLCCOOL 7/28/2011 10:25PM

    Way to go! Beautiful pictures!

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TOOTHFUL99 7/28/2011 10:09PM

    Awesome pictures! I don't know if I'd be out there after dark, though. That would be scarey!

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LMB-ESQ 7/28/2011 9:36PM

    The verdict is in. You are officially crazy. You run uphill, at elevations I can barely comprehend, in the dark, you take pictures, you go alone, and you do all this at a 6 to 9 minute pace. I am lucky to hit 16 minutes on a track or a flat trail.

You also write very amusing blogs. Thanks for the entertainment!


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MEGA_MILES 7/28/2011 9:06PM

    That makes me want to move to CO.

Congrats! Very nice run and really beautiful territory.

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SHAPEUPNOW1 7/28/2011 8:58PM

    That looks like painful fun!! Your pics really tell the story. I am in Albuquerque so I not too far away. Kudos!! emoticon

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NTSOHLTHNT 7/28/2011 8:03PM

    Awesome, just awesome! Thanks for sharing!

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KMCLAUCH 7/28/2011 7:50PM

    Impressive! Way to go!

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Running the Beaver Ranch Trail - No Beaver Anywhere

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mountain runners have a saying:

"The closer you get to Heaven the more it feels like Hell!"

I am training for the Leadville 10K that is scheduled for August 14th. I am really trying hard not to hurt myself again. About a month ago I started to rehab my left knee. I had partially torn my ACL by stepping in a hole while running on Webster pass in April. I ran a couple of races on my wobbly knee and did not do well. About the time my knee started feeling better, I injured my back! As a result of my injuries, I missed the Mount Evans Ascent on June 18th . I could not run a step from May 29th to June 26th. Completely out of shape, I started running again doing the C25K program.

Sheesh, as I wrote the above "story of my life", I started thinking all this stuff sounds pretty pathetic.

I am trying to train smarter. I started riding my bike a lot more on pretty easy terrain. I started doing a lot more stretching. I was taking it easy with my running by doing sensible interval training on the nice soft track at the local high school.

All this sensible stuff just sucked! I hit technical trails on my bike. As a result I managed to get a few minor flesh wounds. But the hard trails were fun! If it ain't fun, I have a hard time getting motivated.

I knew my conservative running schedule was not going to help me get up the hill at the Leadville 10k. This race starts at 10,000 feet of elevation and goes up from there. I hit the trails. I ran the Flying J trails and had an enjoyable 5k run in beautiful surroundings.

I got new shoes a couple days ago and had to break them in right. I headed for Beaver Ranch. First, let me say I am fine and didn't break, bang or destroy any critical body parts. The following is a photo essay of my training run.

Beaver ranch is not a high-dollar part of the Jefferson County open space park system. This is a normal Park County low-dollar trail that is "technical" because nature is trying to push out the invaders and nobody is fighting back!

There is a porta-potty at the trail head that is reasonably clean. Beggars cannot be choosers. Compare this to a typical Jefferson County facility.

This is the modern restroom at the Flying J. However, lots of people use the Flying J, justifying the cost. The advantage of Beaver Ranch is solitude.

Here is my trusty Corolla all by its lonesome.

A silent winter warrior stands ready to do its duty. Rusty and beat up,this truck is worth its weight in gold when the snow starts to fly.

My new shoes are ready for action!

Nike Zoom Vomeros are not trail shoes. I find trail shoes are too heavy in size 13.

This is a nice set of trails. However, trying to find the overgrown routes can be a challenge.

This trail map does not say "you are here". The map does show "P" for parking or porta-potty. Really doesn't matter which one.

This is a new and welcome sign. I think this blew the entire yearly budget.

Of course, I got a good idea why this sign is here. The trail looks inviting to a 4x4.

Obligatory sign warning of bears and mountain lions.

I find it interesting that there are no beavers at Beaver Ranch. There is a beaver up on Kenosa pass that we have named "Bridgestone". Bridgestone is bent on flooding the Kenosha valley and depriving Denver of its water source. Bridgestone is a brave little rodent for taking on the mighty Denver Water Board! Now if Bridgestone could dam the Colorado River California would become a budget wasteland and Vegas would become a desert supported by gambling and prostitution. No wait... never mind.

Back at No Beaver Ranch there is even a trail head sign.

Not pretty but effective. The scenery is pretty. We have been getting lots of rain. The fire danger is low and everything is nice and green.

One runner (moi), 65 degrees, 8280 feet elevation, light breeze, crystal clean air, new shoes, great scenery, good legs, hydration belt, wild flowers in bloom and birds singing. Does it get better than this? I think not!

About a mile down the smooth trail is this rustic bridge. At this point I am flying down the trail at an 8 min/mile pace. The nice smooth trail is about to go bye-bye. The new shoes feel great.

Gracious, these stairs are new. Is there no end to the lavish spending on improvement?

I am curious why the stairs are wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. I suspect half way up they starting running out of money and had to economize. Just a theory.

Up the stairs and up the hill. My pace is about to get a lot slower.

I took this shot in attempt to show that the trail is sort of steep at this point.

There are a few more steps up the trail a bit.

There is a Frisbee golf course along the trail. I think that is weird.

Now the trail gets interesting.

Steep and rocky. My pace gets even slower.

This is a long and treacherous uphill stretch. I decided to go up the hill. There is an option to go around the hill. Still have to climb but it is a lot safer.

There is a part of this trail that is so overgrown that it disappears for 1/4 mile. This is not "technical".

The down hill is steep and has a few hazards.

This is the beginning of the descent. The trail profile is all up then all down. The trail does not "roll" up and down. Legs feel like rubber here

This is looking "up" the downhill section. I wanted to get a good shot of the roots. The way I get these shots is to go over the trail once I finish running. I slowly jog or walk parts of the trail to take photos. My photos tend to be of the beginning and end of the trail. I often don't want to do the trail all over again. Carrying my camera helps me cool down.

How did I do on my run? I ran 4 miles in 42 minutes. My average pace was about 10:30 min/mile. With my left knee pretty much healed, I could roll on the downhill sections. My fastest pace was 5:42 min/mile. The steepest part of the trail was a 45% grade. I felt pretty strong during my run. However, I am a long way from be able to do well during the Leadville 10K. I still have a little time to train.

The parking lot is actually pretty big.

This gives me an idea. I think I could organize a trail race here at Beaver Ranch. There is ample parking. I can rent another porta-potty. I have five grown children that can work the race. I have a canopy and long folding table for registration. We have several laptops and printers to help with registration. The trail has just a few technical parts but could be routed to minimize the difficult terrain. My daughter is graduating with a degree in communications and would know how to advertise and promote the race. We have big water jugs. My wife likes to do this sort of stuff. The trail is wide with only a few choke points. I know where to get bib numbers. I know everybody around here and could get sponsors pretty easily. The course is almost exactly 4 miles. 8,200 feet of elevation is not ridiculously high. My good friend John organizes the Long Scraggy trail race and could give me pointers.

I would have to think up a name like the "Beaver Ranch 4 Mile Trail Race". There are tons of good charities that are hungry for money.

Would any of you be up for a trail race?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ITSHOWYOULIVE 7/28/2011 12:12AM

    If I lived, or were visiting in, Colorado I would LOVE to try your race :). Warning: I would be the last across the finish line and would make you wait a bit for me, but I would do it for the views alone. Lovely run and AWESOME times. Glad the knee is cooperating and doing much better. Cool shoes too :). Happy trails :). (Now I've got Happy Trails to youuu stuck in my head-lol)

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SUZWARNR 7/27/2011 6:23PM

    I always love reading your blogs. But no, I would not be up to a trail race. No trail running for this girl. I'll stick to the roads. :) But good luck with your 10K. I think the idea of organizing a race sounds like a cool idea. Take it and "run" with it.

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BARBIETEC 7/27/2011 5:04AM

    I loved this blog! Looking at the pictures made me run it with you!!!!

how awesome!!!!

You are rocking it!

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DLEDBETTER11 7/26/2011 4:57PM

    Sooooo Jealous!!!We have one trail and it is so dangerous (100 ft. drop offs into the river).

Love the pictures!

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ANNIE7205 7/26/2011 1:51PM

    I live in WI, but have an aunt and uncle in Colorado that I keep meaning to visit. I can't promise anything, but I would definitely consider it.

Beautiful pictures!

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KKINNEA 7/26/2011 12:47PM

    Sure, I'll come out and run really slow! Keep us informed!

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NOELLIEMAE 7/26/2011 11:06AM

    I would SO come to your race :) sounds like a good excuse to get back home anyway :) I was notified I have to move in a year.... With all your BEAUTIFUL pics you making me seriously consider trying to get a gig out in Colorado Springs instead of staying on the East Coast or heading to TX..... mmm.... Colorado Mountain air.... looooove it!

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BLACKROSE_222 7/24/2011 4:15PM

    I might just consider a trip to come to that. It looks beautiful!

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CBAILEYC 7/23/2011 3:17PM

    1st) Congrats on not hurting any vital body parts! WooHoo!

2nd) OhMyGoodness! I always envy your runs because they're simply beautiful. If I were closer, I'd be all about your No-Beaver trail run! It looks great. Keep us update if you go forward with this. Good luck!

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SWIMMERM0M3 7/23/2011 2:16PM

    Thanks so much for the entertaining blog. It is essays like this that help inspire me to keep putting on the running shoes, hitting the pool, and lifting those weights, but not necessarily at the same time. emoticon

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WALKOFFWIN 7/23/2011 1:44PM

    Good luck with your ambitious plans for the race, thanks for the educational and entertaining trail photo blog, and here's to wishing you get and stay healthy, and enjoy running well.

From a former warrior who now rides on two wheels, instead of pounding on two bad knees,


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NORAB52GOOD 7/23/2011 1:39PM

    Corolla owners unite!!! Love mine still (since 2001). emoticon

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LMB-ESQ 7/23/2011 1:24PM

    You make it sound fun! I'll come! Oh, wait... I don't live anywhere near Denver. But if I ever visit there, I know what trail I'm checking out!

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DRPOOH63 7/23/2011 1:13PM

    Great pics. Thanks for sharing and good luck on your run.

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ELYMWX 7/23/2011 12:06PM

    TL;DR, except for the most important thing: "I am fine and didn't break, bang or destroy any critical body parts."

Actually, that's a lie. I did read it - love the pics! I've had an evil thought a couple times, thinking I could organize a run/kayak duathalon on Gabriola Island... The only problem is, none of my kids are grown up!

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MOMONTHERUN1 7/23/2011 9:43AM

    That is an amazing trail. The scenery is gorgeous!!! You can do this race and I love those shoes.

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LINDAKAY228 7/23/2011 9:43AM

    Looks so beautiful there! I'm not quite up to running that technical and uphill trail yet as I am fairly new to running but do a lot of hiking and would love to hike there and maybe someday run. Thanks for sharing such awesome pics. Good luck if you do set up your trail race.

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MEGA_MILES 7/23/2011 9:38AM

    Looks like a great place. I definitely like the places that are more rustic and deserted over the plush busy places.

I think your idea for a race is great. Now go do it!! emoticon

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Running on Hot Concrete - Ouch!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I posted on my status yesterday that I was burning alive because the temperature was 75 degrees. Some of my SparkFriends from warmer climates were amused at my heat wimpiness. I live at 9,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains. The temperature should not get so high here!

Here is what I am used to.

I took this photo on February 6th. The temperature was a comfortable 20 degrees F. I run in shorts at any temperature down to 20 degrees F.

I had to go to Denver yesterday. I took my running stuff. After my appointment, I decided I was tough enough to run on the High Line Canal trail during the heat of the day. Temperature was 97 degrees F when I stepped on the "trail". I figured that the low elevation of 5,876 feet would make up for the blast furnace heat.

Bad idea!

First, I had forgotten to bring any means of hydration. I have a great hydration belt and a hydration vest.

This is a Nathan Trail Mix Waistpack. This hydration belt holds two 10 ounce bottles.

This is my hydration vest. I use this vest on long runs and bike rides. This is an Ultimate Direction Wasp that holds 64 ounces of fluid. So I had a total capacity of 84 fluid ounces that was all at home 45 miles away.

I warmed-up, slugged down some Gatorade, made a pit stop and started running. Dang it was hot! I also found that most of the trail was concrete. I almost exclusively run on dirt. Concrete is a very hard surface.

Even though it was hot, I was a little faster than a few days ago. I did 5K in 30:28. Afterwards my feet were sore and my left knee hurt. I suspected my shoes were toast. While running on dirt I had no issue with my shoes. My log showed I had 436.82 miles on my shoes. I took my shoes over to the Boulder Running Company and had them checked. My shoes were totally wiped-out! Nike Zoom Vomeros are not long-lived shoes.

The shoe fitter at the Boulder Running Company told me that Nike Vomeros are made to be as soft as "Marshmallows". I knew the shoes would break-down quickly.

The Boulder Running Company in Littleton had to get the new Vomeros sent from the Boulder Store. I am leaving to pick up my new shoes now. Even with my new shoes I am going to avoid concrete. I admit I am a heat wimp and concrete wimp!


Thanks for reading my blog.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOELLIEMAE 7/26/2011 11:15AM

    bahahaha!!! Tough run my friend :) 450 ish miles is just about the perfect time to replace the shoes... Hope you like your new kicks!

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CBAILEYC 7/21/2011 4:38PM

    Nothing wrong with avoiding concrete if you can! I always find the trail to be much more.. better somehow.

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BARBIETEC 7/21/2011 10:59AM

    wow you run fast! I loved your before and after pictures!!!

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GRATEFULBOB 7/21/2011 5:27AM

    the heat does stink , how was the humidity? here in nj i feel it makes it hotter and harder to run.

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LMB-ESQ 7/20/2011 11:21PM

    LOL I don't know why this strikes me as funny. My mother (mother nature, that is) taught me to stay off of hot concrete when I was about5 years old. That was when I got burned playing jacks on the sidewalk. Then again, I live in a climate where the common saying is, "don't like the weather? Wait 5 minutes."

Here's to trail running and new shoes!! emoticon

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TEDDYBABE 7/20/2011 7:21PM

    Kudos on the new shoes. Wish I could say I felt sorry for you about the heat..... but ... sigh... It's an appreciation lesson!! lol We haven't been below 97 for the last month!! Averaging 100 to 101. It's a ridiculous year. But I agree about the concrete. I love my dirt also. Speedybabe.

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ELASTI-GIRL 7/20/2011 7:09PM

    I'm with you: Trails please!! Way to go on a tough run, though. Have you thought of trying VFFs? (www.vibramfivefingers.com). Where I used to replace shoes every 4 months, my VFFs have lasted me over 2 years, injury free. You sound like a minimalist runner, so it might be up your alley.

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KKINNEA 7/20/2011 6:04PM

    Hye they canceled our race here in MN so I think it probably can be too hot! Can't imagine running in shorts in 20 degrees - 40 is my limit!

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L3DESIGNS 7/20/2011 6:01PM

    Enjoy your new shoes... And I agree about avoiding hot concrete...

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