A week and a half ago I tried to do a 35 mile run. It was one of those days that I felt too good for my own good. To make a long story short I made it 30 miles then had to stop. It was not exactly what I was hoping for, but I learned a valuable lesson about hydration and how to not go out too fast.
This past wednesday I took a bit of a risk and jumped my long run distance up by ten miles. I have a 50 mile race coming up, and although it might seem unorthodox to do this long of a run prior to race day, for me it is a matter of confidence. If I can run 40, I know I can make it 10 more.
But back to the trails. For this run I got to hit up some great mountain trails just west of Colorado Springs. I went through the Garden of the Gods, caught Rampart Range Road up to the Williams Canyon turn off, added on the Waldo Canyon Loop, then met up with some friends for a loop of Red Rocks and Section 16. Here is the map for anyone interested in trying out some of the trails: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/169798632#. Once again my garmin lost signal a few times so the map is actually 2.25 miles short of the true route.
This is the standard view on Rampart Range Road. I normally get washed over with dust on the weekends, but today was a pleasant vehicle free morning run up the road.
The climb up Rampart is always a good one, not too steep but pretty solid the whole time. It also offers up some great views of the city and the mountains to the south of Manitou.
At just under 8000 feet I reached to Williams Canyon turn off. This small trail starts just past a radio tower. I find it to be one of the more rocky and technical trails in the area, but if you can get past that it also gives you some of the most striking views of any trail around.
About halfway down the Williams Canyon Trail there’s another turn off to the west. This connection will take you up a short single track where you can then catch the Waldo Canyon Loop. Waldo is one of the more popular loop trails in the area so I always try to run it on weekdays when I don’t have to worry about passing hikers on the narrow trail.
After finishing up the waldo loop and heading back down Williams I cut back through Manitou to meet up with fellow runners Dan Kraft and Peter Maksimow, they agreed to keep me company while the miles piled up in my legs.
We took a circuitous route through Red Rocks in order to catch the Paul Intemann Memorial trail. I’ve always been a big fan of the trails in Red Rocks. It’s really fun to wind through all of the big red stones and deep valleys.
After running south on the Intemann trail the three of us took the steep route up the Palmer Red Rock loop.
For me the climb up that loop was final big effort. After that it was mainly smooth sailing down high drive and then back the way we came through Red Rocks.
Although this run is too long to do on a regular basis it did allow me to link up a lot of really great trails with barely any street running. And for anyone who hasn’t run in these areas hopefully these pictures will be enough to entice you to check them out. If you have any other questions about the trails I ran on this week’s long run feel free to stop by the Tejon store. I’m always game to talk trails.