July 22, 2013

Eldorado Canyon Trail Run

View from where I parked the first time.
What a weekend! Whew! So my week didn't go exactly as I laid out in the last post. I pretty much didn't run any until Saturday when I woke up at 5 A.M. to drive the hour-ish out to Eldorado Canyon in the boonies. It felt like the boonies, anyway. I was just driving along, eating my hard-boiled eggs and sipping (chugging) my coffee, enjoying the amazing sunrise when all of a sudden I hit what appeared to be a dead end. The nicely paved road came to an abrupt stop and switched to this tiny dirt road that looked like it didn't lead anywhere other than sketchville. The voice on my GPS told me 'Onward!' so I drove on, at 11 mph (I'm not even kidding) on this tiny single car width dirt road. And then just when I was about to turn around and head to Louisville to run Coal Creek Trail, a sign for Eldorado Canyon appeared. I passed the entrance to the part, greeted with a beautiful sight of the rocks, spring, and mountains. I parked at the first lot I came to that looked official enough to be the trailhead, got my things together, and started down the road. Then I prompted returned to the car realizing I needed to be at the completely other end of the park. Doh! It was early...my brain wasn't fully functioning yet!
Entrance


I took a quick look at the map at the Visitor's Center to get my bearings, noted that the trail gains 1000ft in elevation when I was already at 6000, looked around to make sure there weren't any other cars or people lurking around, and made my way up the steps to the trail. And promptly stopped five minutes later to catch my breath. And then continued on a couple hundred feet. And then stopped to catch my breath.

I will spare you, but it continued on like that for a whole mile. Plus, as you can see, I stopped maaaany times to take pictures because it was just so dang beautiful out there! These pictures do not do it justice for the early morning light. You could hear tons of hummingbirds zipping around. I think they are the only bird I actually like. How do you hate a hummingbird?! Answer: You Don't.

These stairs annoy me by just looking at them!
Just a bunch of those awkward stairs for a bit, winding up switchbacks. You could hear the spring through the first mile, which was comforting to me, and also made me need to stop for a nature call...

I was alone out there for a long time, which made me a little uneasy because it's a completely foreign trail to me and I wasn't feeling at home. Eventually two women runners came from behind and I let them pass me and followed them running for a little bit until I couldn't breathe again. Damn altitude! They did breathe a little life into me though and it was around then that I finally got my crap together and started hustling more. At about 2.5 miles, I decided to turn around so I didn't trash my knees from climbing on these rocks and hills, and I ran 90% of the way back to the Visitor's lot. So much fun but some technical/steep/rocky downhills. There were way more people out when I was heading back down. Most were hikers but I passed a few runners. I passed one lady who told me 'DON'T TRIP.' Well thank you...now that's all I'm going to think about for the last mile down the mountain!
Beginning parts of the trail still out in the open.
Trail turns down into a cool (temperature) forest. Very pretty.

Flowers.
Selfie!


Switchbacks


Entering Boulder County or something

Where does the trail go?

Pretty cool spiral looking tree

Yup, another selfie but BY ROCKS!

Thought MAYBE this was poison ivy. I was no girl scout...


Umm, where did the bird go if all his feathers are here?

Continental Divide off yonder...



I tried to take a picture but started freaking out about a bee...you're welcome.





I tried to zoom in as much as I could so you could see downtown Denver!!


Sweaty.




Okaaaay I know I took a lot of pictures...especially of myself....

Whole30 starts on Saturday for me! Anyone joining?!


OKAY! Now that the whole photo thing is over...

So I ended up having a great time at Eldorado and I can't wait to go back and go farther! I was EXHAUSTED that night after the 5am wake up, the trail run, and standing outside most of the day watching some friends do their first crossfit competition in Louisville (they all crushed it BTW). I think I was so severely dehydrated from the elevation and the sun...good lesson for me. I just cleaned the house, ran to Costco for yummy paleo/Whole30 foods and lounged until the boyfriend's soccer game! I just love watching that man play soccer!

Tomorrow starts a new week of training and I'm going to try my best to stick to what's laid out, and maybe give my Altras a try. I'm debating if I have enough time to be able to adjust to the zero drop and use them for long training runs...we'll see. I need to start testing out the S! Caps on my runs too to see if I can handle it!

Also, I JUST signed for the Almaden Hills 50K in San Jose, CA...November 2, exactly when I need to run a 31! Woo, excited! It will be my test run before the 50 miler with challenging climbs and lots of elevation gain and loss. Supposed to be a beautiful course too.

K that's all I got!

Happy trails!

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