Staying safe in Colorado’s rattlesnake country

Staying safe in Colorado’s rattlesnake country

With warmer weather here and summer approaching, rattlesnakes are on the move and making their way out of hibernation dens.
Both bull and rattle snake encounters have been on the rise recently due to the toasty temperatures with sightings at Green Mountain and North Table Mountain parks just this week.
Due to this news, it would be easy to become fearful and avoid heading out on the trails.  However, rattlesnake bites in Colorado are fairly rare.
I grew up in the foothills right in the heart of rattlesnake country and in my 30+ years (my parents started me young) of hiking, trail running and mountain biking these trails I encounter a handful of rattlers a year and have been struck at just twice (one time in my teens I was wearing headphones and didn’t hear the warning sound of the rattler just to the side of the trail).
With my firsthand experience and work with Jefferson county open space and city of Lakewood park rangers, I’ve compiled a list of all you need to know about how to avoid rattlesnake encounters and what to do if you do see one of our slithering friends.

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5 exercises trail runners should be doing everyday

5 exercises trail runners should be doing everyday

You love to run.  Or maybe you don’t.  Wherever you are on the spectrum, if you are planning on adding more mileage or training for an event, you need to make sure that your body is adequately prepared to take on the additional stresses running places on the body.

What do we mean by this?
Strength and conditioning!

Many runners neglect to strengthen the muscles they use when running.  And not only those muscles, but the opposing ones too. In order to prevent injury and run at your best, you need to ensure that your body is strong and your training plan is well balanced. We like to refer to this as “pre-hab” work.
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Embrace the brrrr! Tips and tricks for winter running

With cooler temps, mountain snowfall and wintry weather back in force, many new trail runners are wondering if and how they can continue enjoying the trails throughout the season.  Well, I am here to tell you that now is not the time to resign to the boring old “dreadmill”.
Trail running during the winter is possible and in fact, can be quite the adventure.

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The weekend warrior and the future Olympian: Pi-yo is good for everyone!

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The winter Olympics are a myriad of acrobatics.  It is truly amazing what these athletes can do in the air and at high speeds.  We can attribute much of what they can do to their training on the snow, however; it is how they train off the snow that can make the difference between a gold medal and a career ending injury.

Most professional athletes these days include cross training components in their training and many swear by pilates.
The question is:  Do these alternative methods of training work and what can they do for me?  

It is so easy to get stuck in a routine; I have trained people who have been doing the same exercises for 10 years using the same weight and others who swear by doing only cardio.  However, just like anything in life our bodies need balance and moderation when exercising. By doing too much or one thing (like cardio or exercises for the same muscle groups), we can develop muscle imbalances, which can lead to pain, poor posture and alignment and injuries.  

TAKE A BREAK feature

Even our day to day activities can lead to these muscle imbalances: sitting in front of a computer screen at work, driving, and even recreational sports like tennis, golf or racquetball.  All of these activities put our bodies in a very forward position, meaning that our shoulders slouch down, our neck rolls forward, our spine rounds and we stop using our core muscles.

The result?  Tight chest muscles, tight hamstrings and weak/tight hip flexors, weak back muscles, and a weak core.  Translation: Low back pain, chronic headaches, poor posture, and increased risk of injury to the knees and shoulders.  

By incorporating pilates and or yoga into your exercise routine, you will help to undue some of the damage you have done to your body over the years and learn some techniques to increase awareness and improve posture and core strength.  Not to mention perform better in your sport of choice!

Here are just some benefits of practicing pilates/yoga conditioning found in various studies:

1.   Strength and stabilization:

Pilates training focuses on strengthening the bodies stabilizing muscles within the core (scapulae, torso and pelvis).  Doing so has been proven to reduce stress to the joints and reduce the risk of potential injuries due to muscle imbalances. View 3 pilates based core exercises you can try today HERE.

Young smiling girl doing sporty exercises outdoors
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Insights on the ultra training journey

Training for an ultra is not all sunsets and rainbows, it’s a tough endeavor not for the faint of heart and takes a level commitment that the average person cannot fathom. There will be times when you will contemplate throwing in the towel, wonder why you even subjected yourself to completing to this crazy thing in the first place, question your training and if you are really ready to undertake something so daunting.

As you run into the unknown, consider that you are not alone. This is the process all ultra runners go through and not just when training for their first ultra. It is a journey and like life and the very earth we tread on, full of ups and downs: small hills to challenge us, massive peaks to overcome and then the peace of a calm valley when things just seem to click.
If you are taking the leap into uncharted territory and going ultra this year, continue reading. L2S coach Sara Spolrich, who has run the gamut of ultra events and adventures from completing the Appalachian trail solo to 48 hour lapped events, has shared some insights to help you along the way.

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Back on track

Back on track

Sometimes life throws you a curveball (or several) and training just doesn’t happen.

Sometimes the only thing to do when this happens is double down and welcome the opportunity to start fresh.  Build back your fitness from the ground up, literally.

It’s time to get back on track and we all know that for any kind of goal, whether it be weight loss, training for a race, or saving money consistency is king.

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The best places in the front range to hike, run, ride and paddle to beat the heat!

The best places in the front range to hike, run, ride and paddle to beat the heat!

It’s starting to heat up here in Colorado. With COVID restrictions easing, people are flooding to local parks and trails, eager to spend time in the wilderness.
Check out our recommendations of places close to the Denver area that you should visit on a hot day for your outdoor adventures.
And please share your favorite places to stay cool in the comment section below too!

Hike, run and ride:

Deer Creek Canyon Park
Lakewood
The trails in this park are diverse, challenging and rewarding.  From the lot/trailhead, take the Plymouth Creek trail to the Plymouth Mountain trail around to the Scenic View trail lookout for a tough 6 mile out and back route.  For most of the route you will be in rich and thick pine forests.

Windy Saddle Park:
Morrison
Park at the Lookout Mountain Nature center and take the Lookout Mountain trail to the Beaver Brook trail.  This trail boasts 9 miles (one way) of exciting terrain including aspen groves, open fields, thick forests and some rocky scramble sections.  The higher elevation offers cooler mountain air for an exceptional long run or hike (no bikes allowed).

Getting through a rocky section at Lair o’ the Bear park.

Lair o’ the Bear Park
Morrison
From the lot/main trailhead, take the Bear Creek trail.  The first 1.5 miles is a wide, flat dirt path along the creek and then you begin to climb on single track into a thick and fragrant pine forest.  The entire trail is 6.2 miles one way and is shaded most of the time. This is a beautiful trail system close to town that provides an opportunity for a great long run, hike or ride!

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Quick tips and resources for purchasing a used mountain bike

Quick tips and resources for purchasing a used mountain bike

Here is a great post from our very own coach Brie. We call her the “Gear Guru” because she knows her stuff.  If you are in the market for your first mountain bike, going the used bike route can be the best option to really learn what works for you without the expense of investing in a new bike with all the “bells and whistles”.

It can be intimidating walking into a bike store, only be to shown $5000 bikes.  Seriously….you could buy a car for that!  Good news, you don’t NEED to purchase a $5K bike to get a good bike and get out and enjoy some trails.

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Best trail races and events in Colorado for beginners and adventure seekers

Best trail races and events in Colorado for beginners and adventure seekers

We are fortunate to live in a state with so many beautiful trails and a myriad of trail races to choose from.   If you are new to the state or just getting into trail running and looking to take on your first trail race, choosing the best one compatible with your fitness and ability level can be a daunting task.

Our 2018 lineup has been broken down into four categories including our favorite races and events for beginners and also those seeking a little more adventure and/or quad busting action.  Check out our recommendations below and happy training!

Beginners:

Xterra Phillip S Miller Park,  August 5th:

  • Includes a 5k/10k and 20k course options.

The 5k course contains just 300 feet of climbing, enjoy rolling hills with short climbs and quick descents, perfect practice for those new to the trails.   The trails are smooth and wind through bushes and brush with occasional scenic views of Pikes Peak and Castle Rock.
There is plenty to do for the entire family at this venue post run.  The Philip S. Miller Park’s outdoor space includes a playground with 60-foot slide, a 200-step challenge staircase, a turf field, and the Headrush Towers—40-foot and 80-foot towers that kids can climb up, repel down, or even free fall from.

Elk Meadow trail race, June 2nd:

  • Includes a 5k and 10k option

The trails at Elk Meadow park are relatively tame and any climbing is done gradually through a series of switchbacks winding through the thick evergreen forests.  The 5k course will mainly keep runners along the base of Bergen peak where you will run through beautiful open meadows filled with yellow and green grasses and wildflowers.  The elevation here is the greatest challenge so make sure those lungs are ready for the higher altitude (around 8000 feet).

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2018 Resolution Adventure Bucketlist

2018 Resolution Adventure Bucketlist

When most people set New Years resolutions they set goals like “eat healthier”, “lose 5lbs” or “exercise more often”.  While quite vague, these goals also lack a certain element of excitement to me.
My resolutions take a different shape, in the form of various adventures and races I’d like to accomplish before the year’s end.  I’ve compiled a list of my 2018 bucketlist goals and I’d love to hear about yours too!   Please post links to any events or adventures in the comments section below.

Zion trail half marathon:

April 20th, 2018
I’ve got a bone to pick with this race.  I completed the run back in 2015 when the storm of a century blew in the night before the event and was forced to trudge through ankle deep, thick, heavy mud and an anticlimactic course.  The route was changed last minute due to the poor conditions and so we were unable to experience the adventurous terrain and views as advertised.  The original course included a 1500 foot steep and rocky ascent complete with a section where a rope was included, right down my alley!
I finished in 4th place just seconds behind a women that I was neck to neck with for the last mile.  I want to go back this year with an improved strategy, experience the full course and go for a top finish!
My race report last year HERE. 

Pic of the cool part of the course I didn’t get to do in 2015. Photo credit: Fast Cory

Taking my son up his first 14er!

I did my first 14er when I was about 9 years old.  My dad took us up Mount Sherman, a great peak for beginners and kids as it is never too steep nor technical.  My 6 year old Wyatt has been on many adventures with us (including several 14ers in womb), has done several 5k’s and kids trail races and is excited and ready to train to summit this same peak over the summer.  We will take the West Slopes from Iowa Gulch route which is an easy class 2 with just over 2000 feet elevation gain over 4.5 miles.  I can’t wait to share this amazing experience with him!

Skyline traverse:

Boulder, Colorado is where I discovered my love for trail running.  In previous posts you can read about my many misadventures spending countless hours exploring the myriad of trails, more times than not getting lost while learning how to navigate and master steep terrain and long technical climbs and descents.

This summer, I’d like to complete the Boulder Skyline traverse where you summit 5 of the most iconic peaks rising from the flatirons and beyond.  This run is a doozy, at 16.4 miles in length, you will gain over 6,300 vertical feet.  It is not an adventure for the faint of heart, or weak of legs for that matter.  The run is best done with a running buddy or group as you will need a shuttle (leaving one vehicle at either Mnt Sanitas or South Mesa trailhead) and make sure to pack plenty of snacks, water, first aid and toilet paper.

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