Monday, June 30, 2014

Trail Running Chautauqua

Trail running is big here. I mean, big. There are all sorts of trails throughout Colorado – some more suited for hiking or mountain biking, some paved, and many miles perfect for running. My running life started in the urban jungle of NYC, where the extent of my trail running was the bridle path in Central Park.

Trail running for me is not something I’ve done much of. Woody and I did venture outside of the city to Rockefeller State Park last spring when we actually had access to a car for a weekend and then we randomly ran through rainforest-like terrain in Florida instead of on the beach this past March – wearing the same Oiselle jacket for both runs. Now, my trail running consists of the gravel path in Washington Park. I need to break out of this urban park trail running rut!

As we’ve now lived in Denver for a year, I made it a mission to get us on a trail. A real trail. Thankfully, I have awesome Oiselle teammates who seem to live on the trails around Boulder. So, I enlisted their help.

Twitter convo

I know Chautauqua fairly well, and as it’s also pretty easy to get too, we decided to try the Mesa Trail. I did a little research before we went but still wasn’t entirely sure what we were in for. All I knew was that a lot of people run this trail and that we should be ready for a steep climb right out of the gate (that’s just how things work at Chautauqua).

Chautauqua Park - Mesa Trail-001

Well, I was definitely right about the start. Beyond what you can see in the picture above, we were faced with a pretty steep, rocky climb. I promised Woody I wouldn’t take pictures along the way, so this is all of the trail I have to show you. We did just about 5.25 miles total. I believe the Mesa Trail runs just under 7 miles from end to end, so we didn’t even get half way, but we still got a great workout.

What I loved most about the run:

  • There was a lot of shade, which is ideal in sunny Colorado
  • There were a lot of people on the trail, but everyone was respectful. Walkers moved to the side (all you need is a nice “on your left”) and runners greeted each other
  • The terrain was diverse so we never got bored and always had to pay attention
  • The few times I looked up from the ground (I’m a klutz and convinced I’m going to crash and burn) all around were stunning views of the Flatirons, front range and miles and miles of open space

Chautauqua Park-flatirons

Hopefully before the snow comes again I can get out for a few after-work trail runs near Boulder, and a few more weekend on the weekend with Woody. It was challenging, fun and I felt like I had really accomplished something by the end. For once I wasn’t the one hiking, watching a runner fly by and thinking to myself “wow, that’s hardcore.” I may not have been flying by anyone (yet) but I definitely felt good about what I did.

Chautauqua Park - Post Run-001

I’m heading back to Michigan to celebrate the 4th at our family cottage – where we’re also celebrating its 60th anniversary! I haven’t been there for the holiday since the 50th. Needless to say I’m quite excited, even though I’ll be sharing a bathroom with 33 other people. That aside, It’s going to be great to catch up with family I haven’t seen for a long time, relax, hang out on the boat, and stuff my face with s’mores and cherries! A retirement party is also on the schedule. An action packed weekend is ahead!

What are your favorite 4th of July traditions? *  How do you like your marshmallow – burned to a crunch or slightly browned? * Any holiday travel tips?


Lisa said...

As much as I love living in NYC, I wish there were more opportunities to hike. I think people take for granted that there's a difference between walking (a lot) and hiking.

Hope you had a wonderful time with your family. Haven't had a s'more in forever but would like one right about now!

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