Sunday, September 18, 2011

Easing back in

Worked my way back to 55 miles this past week. My IT-band doesn't hurt during running anymore - even on steep downhills - and it only feels sore if I sit for a long time (like I do every day as a grad student).

Monday: 8 miles, Foothills trail, my usual haunt. Ran within a few feet of a large pack of mule deer. I think they're becoming accustomed to me whizzing by at 6AM.

 6:30 AM, good morning Fort Collins.

Tuesday: 8 miles, same time same place. I took the camera and photographed the sunrise under the stratus clouds just starting to roll in. Not half an hour after this beautiful shot the rain started to fall and the sun was choked out by a thick cloud deck. Looks like the Seattle weather finally found me.

 7:00 AM, not so good anymore. Well, rain is always good around here, I guess.

Wednesday: 8 miles, Foothills trail. This crisp morning the landscape was bathed in thick fog, though it wasn't too deep since the full moon was shining bright above. The lichen-covered rocks and twisty pines were eery silhouettes until sunrise, when the fog began to glow pink and orange. Absolutely beautiful. Also did 15 miles on the mountain bike in the afternoon. The clay mud was so thick that it kept clogging up the wheel at the front fork.

Thursday: nada. Busy day with classes, colloquia, and research.

Friday: 8 miles, Foothills trail. A clear but unusually cold morning filled with mule deer. I think they start their feeding a little later on the days when it isn't sunny. Reminds me of winter in Seattle, when getting up for a morning run in the dark overcast was nearly impossible.

Saturday: 12 miles, Foothills trail and Reservoir Ridge trail. I added four miles to my usual route, extending the turn-around to the Reservoir Ridge loop just south of the Cache la Poudre Monument. I really like this area - the trail runs the ridge line through Ponderosa pine, thick shrub, and very tall grass before spilling onto this very prominent peak at the break in the Dakota Hogback. The trail is wider, the grass is shorter - and there is a short hill on the reservoir side that makes Widowmaker on the Lower Woodland course look like a joke.

Sunday: 11 miles, Blue Sky and Rimrock trails. An out-and-back along the heavily-trafficked Blue Sky (tons of mountain bikers) with a diversion into the Rimrock Open Space. There's a colony of prairie dogs guarding the entrance to the open space, and they were on full alarm as I and a group of bikers passed through. The varied landscapes on this run are striking: rich, pink and red soil trails on the west side of the hogback, full of green grasses and shrub; on the east side of the hogback, large red slabs, cacti and succulents, and sparse short grass. It's like going from the Methow Valley east of the Cascades to Arizona.

Total: 54 miles, ~8000ft of vertical.

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