Sunday, September 18, 2011

Last stop before home: Silverton, CO

I've spent a lot of time here over the years. My now ex-husband has an art gallery there over the summer and I used to go visit. It has been several years since I've been there and it was good to be back. Silverton is an old mining town that is now inhabited by about 300 residents and sits at 9,300 feet elevation. Silverton is home to the Hardrock 100 mile endurance run.

I pulled in on Thursday night after driving all day from Golden. I got rained on here and there and the weather was supposed to be cold, rainy and possibly snowy on Friday.

I got up and went to the local Silverton Movement Center and took a Kettlebell class. Marianne is the owner and she is great. I've taken spin classes there in the past. 
The weather turned out better than I thought and I got in 2 hikes. The first one was along the Animas river with Taos (Ken's dog - used to be ours). We were happy to see each other! She is a good dog. I have done a lot of runs along here, because it is so beautiful! Also, the Silverton marathon runs along here as well, which I did several years ago. We did about 4 miles.

The Animas River and my new pink hat

Little slice of heaven

I miss that Taos dog. She is so sweet and can run like the wind.

Lots of snow on the mountains already

Afterwards, I did some small town shopping (Mountain Calling outdoor store going out of business) and eating (Avalanche Cafe - yummy!)

It rained for a little mid-day, but cleared up in time to enjoy a little more Silverton outdoors.  I went on another short hike with Kenny, Taos and Elvis. Elvis is possibly looking for a home - we may be taking him.

Taos and Elvis

This hike was along the snowshoe trail, which I have run before as well. It is in a beautiful forested area, but crosses a lot of runoff streams and can get pretty muddy when it has been raining. It wasn't bad today, though. People have built some wood crossings to deal with some of the bigger ones.

A cool little structure is out there - not sure what it is?

Looking down into Silverton past old mining remains

After that, I went back to Avalanche Cafe, had some tea and got caught up on email. I went back to Bill and Cindy's house, where I stayed both nights, and got ready for the return trip home. I drove out early on Saturday morning, looking forward to the reunion with Dallas.

The drive from Silverton to Durango was rainy and foggy. Ken reported that it was raining and snowing on Saturday in Silverton, so I just missed the bad weather. The leaves are turning - a sign of Winter's approach.

Colorado, it is hard to leave you! I'll be back. Dallas and I are thinking of doing Pike's Peak Ascent or Marathon next year (in Colorado Springs) and there is word of a 50 miler brewing in Silverton next year.

I'm a Mountain Girl, for sure.

About an hour before you arrive in Tucson, in Mammoth, AZ, the Corker's One Stop comes into view. I've never stopped there.

All I can say is that there may be another Corker out there, but not another Pinkcorker. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More Colorado trails with Julie

After driving out of Colorado Springs, I headed to Golden, where my friend Julie lives. Like my friend Kathleen, I met Julie about 3 years ago via email - she had found my trail running blog. She was coming to Tucson to visit her family for 6 months while her husband was on a sabbatical and wanted to know about some Tucson trails. We ran together off and on while she was here. I say off and on because a month or so after she arrived, I shattered my wrist on a trail run and had to get a plate and 9 screws installed! I was out for about 5-6 weeks, but got in a few more runs with her after that before she left.

Now, every time she comes to visit, sometimes once or twice a year, we go running (usually Phoneline trail; I'll get her out on Bear Canyon loop one of these days).

I decided it was time to go visit her, and along with Kathleen, the 'tour of Colorado' trip was born. Of course, we wouldn't be trail running, but Julie said that we could go on a few hikes, so that is what we did.

First one was behind her house on some trails she regularly runs - about 4.5 miles.

Roo dog was so cute.

Later that day, her husband Mike made us homemade pizza, which was gloriously delicious!

The next day, we went into Boulder and did a few trails (I have no idea what they were called - it was a maze of beautiful trails).

The Flatirons are obscured by the stormy clouds.
She would be one of the many great reasons to live in CO...

The little guy in the tree was seriously checking us out.

A lot of the trails were 'closed off' due to heavy bear activity. I was told that the hunting laws had changed in regards to bears in CO and thus, more bears this year. I think we went for about 4 miles and finished in the drizzling rain and cold.

Boulder is really pretty.

We had lunch at 'Next Door' and shopped on Pearl St. (Outdoor Divas!!!) but I was restrained, and didn't buy anything.

After coming back to Golden that afternoon, I headed to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre and got in another short hike - 1.5 miles -  and took in the views.

I would love to see a concert at this place someday.

Momma appeared like she was going to charge me for a second.

After walking down 400 steps to get to the Visitor's Center (I parked at the top of the Amphitheatre) I walked back up the 400 steps and went back to Julie's house.

We ended the trip with a sushi dinner out with her kids that night and I got on the road the next morning to Silverton. I'm hoping she'll come to Tucson in the next year to visit her folks and I can take her on Bear Canyon loop!

Thank you Julie for a wonderful trip. I am so glad I finally made it to your little corner of the world. :)

Oh, the mountains! I'm in love. Next stop - Silverton!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A few days with an old 'new' friend

Sometime around the beginning of 2008, I was contacted by Kathleen from Colorado Springs, CO. Her and her husband Steve were looking to start a trail running blog and they asked me a bunch of questions about my blog.

After many emails with Kathleen, it was clear that we really connected as friends. She was so easy to converse with and she seemed like a really beautiful person. We have kept in touch with each other on a fairly regular basis over the last 3 years by email (only). In addition, we've been reading each other's trail running blogs and really got to know each other! I had thought about coming up to visit them a while back, but finally my trip to visit her and her husband Steve was planned for September, 2011.

Of course, the purpose of the trip was to go trail running, and that wasn't happening because of my injury. I still decided to go, knowing that we would find plenty to do!

I arrived Saturday night and felt like I had always known them! After several hours of easy chatting, we headed off to bed. Steve had planned a trail run for the morning and Kathleen and I decided to rent a mountain bike for me and go bike riding!

We went on the Santa Fe trail, which is a fairly mellow multi-use trail near the mountain bike rental place. However, being a 'low-lander', the elevation of Colorado Springs took my breath away, making even small hills a cardio experience!!!

Kathleen is Colorado Springs' 'Fashionista'

The view in all directions was beautiful.

It was fun - can't wait to get a mountain bike! We did about 25 miles total on the out and back. We went through the Air Force Academy and through some really pretty areas. I love Colorado Springs!

Based on previous posts on Kathleen and Steve's Happy Trails trail running blog, I wanted to do the Manitou Incline.
The Incline (to the highest point) is about 2,200 feet elevation gain in 1.1 miles.

At the steepest part, the grade is 68%. Kathleen says it is about 3,000 stairs (uh, I believe her now!)  I had been doing some training on the Catalina high school bleachers in Tucson, and knew I could do at least 1,500 stairs, so I was fairly ready.

It was everything that it was billed and more. With the low oxygen, at parts I would hike up 10 steps and have to stop and catch my breath! My legs handled it okay, but my lungs revolted...

Kathleen stayed ahead, but periodically waited for me.

The railroad ties became a little crazy after a while.

I wanted to look back, but felt like I would fall over. So, I sat down for a moment to snap a picture.

I finally made it to the top - victory!

We took the Barr trail down, for a total of about 4.5 miles.

My legs felt good and I had no issues with my injury. What great fun! Kathleen is just an awesome person to spend time with.

Colorado Springs - wow! We ate at Adam's Mountain Cafe and Coquette Crepery (both in Manitou Springs), went to The Mate' Factor, finally visited Title 9 Sports in person (I have always ordered from them online), went to the Colorado Running Company (tried on the Hokas!), got in some good exercise, and even fit in a quick visit to Garden of the Gods.

And, best of all, I finally met Kathleen and Steve in person, both of whom I would call good friends and good people. 

As I drove out of town on Monday night, headed to Golden to visit my friend Julie, I shed a few tears - I was sad to be leaving my new (old) friend Kathleen. I'll be back, though, probably next year, to do Pike's Peak Ascent (or marathon) and maybe run some of the many beautiful trails in the area. Kathleen, ♪ "Happy Trails to you, until we meet again..." ♫

Monday, September 5, 2011

Saguaro Labor Day 5k

Yesterday, Dallas and I rode 30 miles on the El Tour de Tucson course - 15 miles out and 15 miles back (uphill on the way back). I have offically signed up to do the 40 mile option, which is on November 19th. I will be doing it on the Gary Fisher hybrid bike, given to me by my friend MaryEllen last Summer.

I have really enjoyed the cycling and I'm so glad I can try some new things as I heal up.

Today, I did the 5k race instead of the 8 mile race I had signed up for originally. I knew I could walk the 8 mile course (I had done it a few weeks ago) but I figured it would take too long so I walked the 5k. It was a little hard 'walking' into the finish, instead of running, but I was happy to be out there on my feet!

Total time: 40:22

I was proud of that. It was a 13 min/mile average. My second mile I averaged 12:36 min/mile! I walked the entire thing. After 2 miles, I heard a gal say, "I've been running the whole time and I still can't pass her!" So, it was fun to know I could at least walk really fast. No pain as a result, either. I'm healing!

My friend Christian ( put this on my FB page:
"Love the Saguaro Labor Day Run 2011 photo. Lean, mean racing machine. WAD UP AZ!?"

Made me feel good! Thanks Christian!

I will try to run towards the end of September and see how things feel. I'm confident I will be back at it before long. I sure hope so! I miss the trails.