Staying safe in Colorado’s rattlesnake country

Staying safe in Colorado’s rattlesnake country

This is a timely yet unfortunately necessary post.  Over the weekend, a Colorado triathlete was bitten and later succumbed to the venomous bite of a Prairie rattlesnake on a trail in the popular Mt. Galbraith Park.  A favorite hike for us locals but also known for its abundant bull and rattlesnake populations.
With cooler weather here and winter approaching, many rattlesnakes will be on the move to start heading towards their hibernation dens. This means that as the temperature drops at night, more and more snakes will become active during the day.
Due to this sad news, it would be easy to become fearful and avoid heading back 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’ve encountered on average 1 rattler 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 rangers and open space experts, 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.
Our 14er training group hiking Mount Morrison in July. We saw a 6 foot long Bullsnake on the trail that day….

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Running high: 5 tips for your next high altitude adventure

If you’ve ever experienced altitude sickness (aka Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS), you know that it is not to be triffled with.
Nausea, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and shortness of breath.  All classic symptoms of this condition that can impact anyone at any time, regardless of  physical fitness or acclimatization status.

With the popularity of high mountain races (Leadville trail run series, Spartan Breckenridge obstacle course races, etc) and summit chasing, learning how to prevent and mitigate AMS can mean a more enjoyable and successful experience.

Check out our 5 helpful tips for your next big adventure into the high mountains:

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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 front range trails for beginner trail runners, take 2

Trail running.   It’s the leg burning, heart pumping activity that can be so exhausting yet so exhilarating at the same time.  If you are just getting into the sport, imagining running up those steep, rocky trails that must be only meant for hikers seems like an intimidating endeavor.   Knowing where to go is key so that you can train your lungs and legs for those high grade climbs and technical descents.   After mastering our second round of trails appropriate for beginners you will be ready to to conquer any adventure this summer!

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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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Tips for choosing the right trail shoe

Have you ever ran on a trail that had a lot of gravel and loose rock where it felt like your feet were slipping out from underneath you, kind of like a car on slick ice?

I like to use the analogy of our body as a car when talking about trail running.  Your backside is your engine, your quads are your breaks and the type of “tires” you put on your feet will determine how well your body manages different trail conditions.

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Choosing the right trail shoe can make or break your trail running experience, we hope these tips help to “steer” you in the right direction!

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“Me and My Buddy” workout for trail runners and Obstacle course racers

This is a workout taken from Daily Outdoor Workouts, one of our sister sites.  Enjoy!

ME AND MY BUDDY

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.   – Helen Keller

NEEDED: 
A “Buddy” AKA:  A rock, log or hand-weight that is 10% or more of your body weight.

COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING WITH YOUR “BUDDY”

Standard Strength warm-up and then….

  • 3 mile hike/run
  • 50 walking lunges
  • 50 overhead presses
  • 50 russian twists
  • 50 ground to overhead squats

—->  The workout can be completed in any order, just don’t drop or put down your Buddy the entire workout!
—->  If you are really looking for a suffer fest, repeat the workout twice!

*A note from Lauren: 
I came up with this workout when I was training for the Warrior Dash World championships race last summer.  We drove up to Guanella pass (near the base of Mnt Bierstadt, a front range 14,000 foot peak) and I completed this workout at altitude.   Whether you are training for an OCR event or just love trail running, this workout will help you gain strength and fitness to run stronger, longer!

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