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


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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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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Grip strength workout for Obstacle course race training!

This is a workout I put together for our sister site.  It’s a perfect workout to build upper body and grip strength needed to conquer the monkey bars, rigs, rope/wall climbs and cargo nets for your obstacle course race.  Plus, working out on the playground is fun!!



Set of monkey bars

Walk/jog 1 minute
20 arm circles each direction
20 straight leg lifts each leg
10 pushups
repeat 1 time

Monkey bar set (1 of each):
Hand over hand
Skipping a bar
Crawl using feet (video demonstration below)

Hanging set:
40 Pop-ups
30 hanging bicycles (video demonstration below)
20 knees to elbows
10 burpee pullups



Monkey bar “crawl”:

Hanging bicycles: 

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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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“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!


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

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


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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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.

leadville marathon pic
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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