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..." ♫

1 comment:

HappyTrails said...

Dear Renee - we had a blast! Meeting you felt like a reunion, of sorts. You pegged it perfectly - "new old friends'. I always felt like we were kindred spirits and I think I was right! We will look forward to meeting Dallas, hopefully in the not too distant future. Have a great remainder of your weekend!