Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Running Against the Wind at the Boulder Reservoir

I wrote this post a few weeks ago, but haven't gotten around to sharing it until now. 

Over Martin Luther King, Jr weekend, Woody and I both had a three day weekend. On Monday we wanted to head up into the mountains for a snowshoeing trek, but when the temperature took a nose dive with high wind gusts up there and it was going to be the 50's in Denver, we changed our plans last minute and decided on an hour long warm but windy run around the Boulder Reservoir instead of a 3 hour plus cold and windy snowshoe trek in the mountains. 

We watched the weather reports before leaving home - there were occasional high wind gusts in Boulder, but the temperature was already in the mid-40's. It was our first time running around the reservoir so we did a little google searching and saw there'd be no protection from weather. Even knowing this, we figured it would be a close to home adventure; a chance to run on a different trail, and we could deal with some wind gusts.

The truth is, it wasn't so much gusts, but rather a consistent onslaught of really strong wind. For about five and a half miles. Even around 50 degrees, it didn't feel that warm and the wind howled across the open space and hit my ears like a freight train. The first uphill was a test of will, a woman jogging down with her dog looked at us and said "good strength training today!" That was exactly it. Strength training.

Perhaps due to our unfamiliarity with this particular trail we had a bit of trouble navigating it as there were very few directional signs past the trailhead and some parts of the trail seemed to be closed for wildlife nesting. After getting pushed out onto a dirt road from the trail and stopping for a few minutes to look at the map on my phone, we finally saw other runners coming down the road and decided we were probably in the right place. 

When not battling the wind, which actually reached comical levels a few times, we did enjoy the beautiful view of the mountains. The loop we took was just around 5.5 miles. Based on where we started, we traveled along some trail, some dirt road, some paved road, and finished off back on the trail. While it wasn't really the trail we had envisioned running and the wind was a formidable opponent, it turned out to be a great workout - physically and mentally. Another benefit: it can get pretty windy around here in general, so this was good practice in case it's really windy on a race day! And the change of scenery was much needed.

Even with the wind we saw a handful of other runners and some people out for a nice Sunday morning walk with their dogs and kids. It is not a stretch to say that I was surprised the kids and dogs didn't get blown over!

We had parked at Tom Watson Park which is across a road from Coot Lake (which I'd actually characterize as a pond), adjacent to the Boulder Reservoir. When we got back to the parking lot we found many more cars than when we had left. Turns out it's a popular meeting place for cyclists and cross country teams. Which isn't a surprise as there are endless roads, hills, and beautiful views to enjoy!

If You Go:
- Wear sunscreen (it's an absolute must without any shade - plus, we're in Colorado!)
- A generally good idea when heading out on a trail or driving somewhere to run: throw a few layers in the car so you can dress appropriately once you arrive and know the conditions.
- Park at either Tom Watson Park off 63rd Street or at the Boulder Reservoir Park off 51st Street (restrooms are available at both; looked like there's a fee to park at BRP though)
- When you're done, you're not far from the Celestial Seasonings factory and store - where you can stock up on Fast Lane to get you going before your morning workouts!
- For a great post-run brunch, head to Foolish Craig's on Pearl Street downtown. Good food and a great alternative to the perpetually long line outside Snooze.

What kind of weather do you love running in the most? * Have you gone on any running adventures lately?

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Looks like a beautiful place to run even if it was windy. I hate running in the wind, I just remind myself it makes me a better runner.