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.

 

 

Lake Dillon SUP triathlon:

July 14th, 2018
I did my first “off-road SUP triathlon” this past July.  The event entrails a 2 mile standup paddle board across lake Dillon, 12k mountain bike and 3.5 mile trail run.  The course is simply gorgeous with views of the surrounding snow capped peaks and fields of vibrant wildflowers.
I surprised myself with a 10th place finish overall for women (although I had a frustrating start after being boxed in at the back of the SUP section- note to anyone planning on doing a race like this, start in the front row!) and slugged through the 5k after not running for over 4 weeks due to a stress reaction in my calcaneous.  This race was something of a bucket list item and now I’m hooked!  I am shooting for a top 5 finish this year and hopefully some multi-day SUP adventures and longer races as well.
Learn more HERE

Longs Peak:

I’ve completed many Colorado 14ers but this one has always eluded me.  It is considered one of the tougher peaks on the list and takes much more time as it is longer, more strenuous and considerably more dangerous.  The copy from the official National Parks website sums it up pretty well “In the summertime, when conditions allow, thousands climb to Longs’ summit via the Keyhole Route. The Keyhole Route is not a hike. It is a climb that crosses enormous sheer vertical rock faces, often with falling rocks, requiring scrambling, where an unroped fall would likely be fatal. The route has narrow ledges, loose rock, and steep cliffs.”
More about Longs Peak

Grand Canyon “Rim to Rim to Rim”: 

I backpacked down the Grand Canyon with my family when I was just 12 and it was the experience of a lifetime.  We stayed in the lodge in the Indian reservation at the bottom for several days, exploring the area, taking day hikes down to the Colorado river and to play in the aqua marine waters of the Havasupai falls.
Sometime in November 2018, we are planning to do a self supported run from south rim, up the north side of the canyon and back again.  This would also be my first official ultra at full 46 miles and over 11,000 feet of elevation gain.

Cat Bradly, Salomon athlete and women’s winner of the 2017 Western states 100 mile endurance race recently joined our women’s winter trail running clinic and told us about some of her experiences during her attempts and eventual success of achieving the FKT  (fastest known time) in November for this route.

I will definitely not be going for an FKT but I hope to knock this adventure off my list this year.

Read a detailed firsthand story of the run HERE
 More about Cat Bradly’s R2R2R FKT (that’s a mouthful)!
Cat running in the Grand Canyon

 Run 1000 miles:

This is a slightly more conventional goal.  A friend told me about her resolution last year to complete 1000 miles (running) over the year.  This works out to just under 20 miles a week, an achievable goal but still enough to require some planning and provide some accountability.  I believe consistency and discipline are keys to success and I hope to reach and surpass my 1000 goal in 2018.   If you’d like to join me, check out the L2S March PI challenge (3.14 miles a day through the month of March)!

Imogene pass Run:

I knocked this event off my list back in 2011 however this popular high mountain race is a top priority for trail runners across the world so I thought it was a worthy add to the post.  Registration opens in early June and it is rumored that if you aren’t quick you could lose the chance for a spot within minutes.  Starting in Ouray, Colorado the scenery looks like something out of the Sound of Music.  After the initial road out of town you begin climbing and don’t stop until you reach the top of the 13,114 foot pass, just over 7 miles in.

The last 10 miles are an exhilarating downhill on a dirt road into the town of Telluride where a cheering crowd and post run festival will await you.  If this event has been on your radar I will share my top training tips I give to all of my athletes:  Focus on improving your power hiking and do a handful of long downhill runs to prepare your structural system for the sustained pounding.  Check out my post with tips and recommendations for long climbs to get some ideas of great places to train locally.

Learn more about the Imogene Pass run HERE. 


One of our group summits of Mount Bierstadt

~ Lauren Jones
L2S founder and adventure coach

L2S organizes training programs and outdoor adventures for Colorado women.  We just launched our 2018 “Race team”!  Join us to train for and complete some of the above events and adventures with us this year!  Learn more about becoming a member and our programs now HERE.

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Back on track

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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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Trail running tips for stroller pushing parents

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.

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You can even trail run with kids in the snow!

 

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Best Colorado races for new trail runners

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.

So we’ve made it easy for you!!    We handpicked the best trail races suitable for beginner to intermediate trail runners in the front range and central mountains.   We didn’t include races in Colorado Springs, the Western slope or southwest Colorado so feel free to share your favorites in these ares in the comments section below.

Happy training!

Elk Meadow trail race, June 3rd 2017:

  • 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)

Learn more HERE. 


Xterra Phillip S Miller Park,  August 6th 2017

  • 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.

Learn more HERE.

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Best trails near Denver for intermediate trail runners

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!

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Lauren’s Super Fun Short Format Hill Repeat Workout

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)!

 

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2 tough workouts that will help you to conquer steep hills

2 tough workouts that will help you to conquer steep hills

Are hills your nemesis?   Maybe you just can’t seem to catch your breath on the ups or are tentative on the downs.  Try out these workouts to improve your skills and fitness so you can conquer those hills with confidence!

Stair add-ons:

You need to find a location that has multiple flights of stairs.  An office building, stadium or if you live in the Denver metro area Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Stair work is one of the best ways to improve cardiovascular fitness but more importantly it helps to improve your motor skills and turnover (or cadence).

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3 multi-trail adventure runs in front range Colorado

3 multi-trail adventure runs in front range Colorado

I love a good adventure.  In fact, you could say my thirst for discovering new trails and desire to see what is around that next bend has been a driving force in my trail running career.

Finding a trail system (or multiple) that have sections of varying lengths you can link together is a great way to add mileage as your fitness level and skills on the trails increase.  Check out my recommendations in the front range for beginner to advanced trail runners and please share in the comments below your favorite multi-trail adventures in Colorado!!

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The long road ahead: Why a long slow climb can make you a stronger, more efficient runner and the best long roads to train on in Colorado

In exactly 5 days I will be running the Leadville trail marathon.  I am not going to lie, I am terrified.  I ran the event back in 2010 and loved every moment of it but due to some health setbacks I wasn’t able to train for the event as I had hoped this time around.

However, there is one silver lining:  I know the course.  Not only by memory but I took the time to really do my research this year.  I calculated the average grade for all 3 long climbs.  I looked at the finishing times for women the previous years and figured out what pace they were able to manage during certain sections of the course so I know what I am up against.  And I have been training based off of this data.

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After finishing Leadville back in 2010

Back in 2010 I distinctly remember my greatest weakness on the course:  my power hiking skills.  I had done a ton of trail running to train but very little power hiking.  “Why hike when I could run?”,  I wrongly assessed.

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Best Denver area parks for beginner trail runners

Best Denver area parks for beginner trail runners

Trail running is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and for one main reason: it is so much fun!   We are fortunate to live in a place with a myriad of park systems and literally hundreds of miles of trails right in our backyard.  However, not all front range trails are suitable for beginners.  Steep climbs, descents and technical terrain are a veteran trail runner’s delight but those new to trail running may find themselves beyond their ability level and at higher risk for injury.

So how to know where to start?  We’ve compiled a list of the 7 best trails in Southwest Denver (within 20-30 minutes of Denver proper) for runners looking to hit the trails for the first time.

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South Valley Park
90 South Valley Rd., Littleton Read more

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