Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekly Round-up – August 16 – 22

An easy post PPA week, with a total of about 26 miles in five runs. I was surprised at how my motivation to run had dropped off following the PPA. I was jazzed to run the Sunday after the race, but just didn’t have the mojo for most the rest of the week.

Here’s a breakdown of the week:

Sunday: 8 miles, Elk Meadow Open Space

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: 4 miles, Elk Meadow Open Space

Thursday: 6 miles, O’Fallon Park with Denver Trail Runners group

Friday: 3.5 miles, Elk Meadow Open Space

Saturday: 5 miles, Elk Meadow Open Space

By far the hardest of the runs was the Thursday run with the Denver Trail Runners group. This was the fourth time I’ve run with this group, second time this year. The DTR meets Thursdays for group runs at open space parks along the Denver foothills. From what I’ve seen, DTR attracts a healthy number of runners, with 20-30 people seemingly being the norm during the summer. The group sets off on runs en masse at a modest warm-up pace, then quickly and naturally breaks into different pace groups. The two times I’ve run with this group, I joined the lead group of runners, running at what for me is a steady tempo pace.

For the Thursday run at O’Fallon Park, a City of Denver Mountan Park located about 3-4 miles east down Bear Creek Canyon from downtown Evergreen, we started out of the parking lot to a trail that led up a heavily-wooded draw, emerging at the top into a sunny meadow, still green in August after one of the wettest summers I can remember. From here, the race was on as our lead group of runners took off to get in some miles before returning to the parking lot to reunite with the rest of the group an hour later.

O’Fallon Park is connected to a Jefferson County Open Space park called Lair O’ The Bear via the Bear Creek Trail (BCT), a rolling and fast trail through the north-facing hills far above Bear Creek. We ran two miles or so out on the BCT, including a steep trail detour to a panoramic overlook with fantastic views of Mt. Evans to the west and the foothills and distant peaks to the northwest. After turning around and retracing our steps on the BCT (and pausing numerous times for a courteous string of mountain bike riders), we hung a left on an unsigned trail and chugged up a steep double-track that climbed up and over an exposed hillside offering another unobstructed view west toward Mt. Evans.

Here we paused to re-form the group, which got strung out during the hard climb, before flying down the other side of the hill to reunite with the BCT. Back on the rolling BCT, the pace increased again and we made our way to another unmarked double-track, this one leading north along a ridge top that soon would have us directly above the parking lot where we parked our cars. After a screaming, edge-of-control decent down a rocky, eroded trail, we were back at our cars.

O’Fallon Park has a nice set of trails. The other times I’ve run here, I’ve never seen more than one or two people on any of the trails, other than the Bear Creek Trail. The park, with its series of small meadows and wooded hills, is a beautiful place to escape the summer’s heat.

All the other runs were at Elk Meadow Open Space in Jefferson County and done on variations of the Meadow View trail.

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