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 some of my all time favorite events that I have completed and others that are still on my list and I’d love to hear about yours too! I included some great beginner friendly races plus some epic events worthy of mountain goat status. Please post links to any events or adventures in the comments section below. Happy training!
Abominable winter obstacle run, February 2nd:
Looking for some adventure this winter? This 4ish mile winter obstacle course includes snow tunnels, walls, a log carry, lots of steep hills and deep snow and even a sledding section, but watch out for the Yeti in the woods! Finish to hot chocolate, a “mountain man” contest and more winter fun. Learn more HERE.
With cooler temps, mountain snowfall and winter right on our heels, 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.
It’s been a hot week here in Colorado. With temperatures topping out over 100 degrees, many forgo their outdoor training and recreational activities. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite places to hike, run, ride and paddle to beat the heat this summer so you can head out into the great outdoors without overheating. Please share yours too in the comment section below.
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 Mnt 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 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).
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 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!
Back in 2010 I decided to run my first marathon. Unlike most people who pick an “easy”, flat road course, I decided to go the opposite direction and chose one of the toughest ones in the country: The Leadville Trail marathon.
With the starting line at over 10,000 feet, course elevation gain total over 7500 feet (including a 13er summit) and loose, rocky terrain I had my work cut out for me.
When race day arrived I thought I was prepared. I had been trail running for over 10 years at that point, fit in all my long runs and did several 14ers for high altitude training.
However, I distinctly remember my greatest weaknesses on the course: my power hiking skills and ability to run long, sustained climbs. I had done a ton of trail running to train but very little power hiking. “Why hike when I could run?”, I wrongly assessed.
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!
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.
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).
This is a follow-up post from my late summer post “2 Tough workouts to help you conquer steep hills“. There are many ways to format your hill training workouts depending on your fitness and goals. My last post focused more on training for an endurance event (half marathon or longer) where you would be encountering long hills (1/2 mile or longer). This post is more relevant to the everyday runner, OCR athlete and all looking to improve fitness, strength and running form (and more specifically for trail running)!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Before I had kids I was trail running almost daily. I live in Colorado where I am surrounded by steep and rocky trails, and after my 2nd son was born I was wondering how I would keep up my favorite past-time with a double jogging stroller.
Well, I am here to tell you that trail running with kids is easier than you think! Here are 7 tips to help you get back out on the trails:
#1. Get a good stroller.
The word “good” is relative in this sentence. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a stroller; sometimes a second hand stroller might be better for trail running; the trail is going to beat it up.
Ensure the stroller has knobby tires, front shocks and good suspension; it is important for the snow and ice.
Stroller Hack: If you can’t afford or don’t want to pay for a new stroller, but want to ensure your stroller is ready for stroller trail running regardless of the climate. Switch your wheels out. Purchase knobby tires from your local bike shop for the back tires and purchase a BOB front wheel. It is significantly cheaper than buying a new stroller.
#2: Strap em’ in and lock it up.
You may be thinking “of course”, but you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t strap in their kids. On a trail that is rocky or with any kind of incline/decline make sure that they are in tight! If you have a front tire that has a swivel option, make sure that it is locked. This will ensure that when you hit bumps or rocks the front tire goes straight over them, giving you and your kids a smoother ride.
You’ve conquered all of the beginner trail runs across the front range. Now it is time to raise the stakes a bit and try out some more technical terrain. In this post, we will highlight our 5 favorite trails appropriate for intermediate trail runners.
These runs were chosen because of their proximity to the greater Denver metro area (all within 20-40 minutes). There are many more amazing trails to explore further west (Conifer, Genesee, Idaho springs) north (Boulder, Longmont, Fort Collins) and South (Monument, CO springs) which we hope to cover in future posts.
Please share your favorites in the comment section below!