Time: 58 minutes
Distance: 7.34 miles
Weather: Mostly sunny, early wind
Post-work run starting at the Flatiron Vista trailhead off Highway 93, en route home from work in Boulder. Started off with gale-force winds howling straight into my face. The wind was relentless, with gusts that seemingly stopped you in your tracks. I put up with these character-building conditions until I entered the ponderosas on the plateau above the parking area. Once in here, the trees provided some shelter before, miracuously, the wind eased and nearly disappeared. It was that abrupt. One minute the wind was constant and screaming, the next it was gone.
With the wind having given up for the day, the fun began on the flat trail in the woods. After a couple of miles, I dropped west down the ridge on the Dowdy Draw trail and cruised over to the Spring Brook South trail. As I was climbing up Spring Brook, I saw my favorite sight...a mountain biker cranking up the hill about a quarter mile ahead. Ahhhh...something to chase. I was pressed for time and promised myself I would turn around exactly at 4:35 p.m., no matter what. I caught the rider at one point and asked to pass. He mumbled something up upping his pace and pushed ahead, staying just out of reach. I wasn't going all out by any means, just a steady, great-feeling uphill pace. With 30 seconds to go before my hard-stop turn-around time, he surrendered and pulled over. He gave me a confused look when I appeared 30 seconds later running downhill toward him. I was smiling...inside.
Retraced my steps back toward the Dowdy Draw/Flatirons Vista trailhead. As I cranked up Dowdy Draw, I caught a runner who turned out to be a Nebraska guy on a recovery run from the Lincoln Half Marathon, where he'd run a 1:12. We chatted as we ran down the Flatirons Vista North Trail. I bid him farewell as he headed over toward Marshall Mesa and I ran straight to the truck, hopped in and sped home to pick up jP and CP.
Fantastic run. Legs felt great. More importantly, I was totally there mentally...in tune with the trail, feeling the fitness groove and craving more time and more miles. Amazing what a little sun and shirt-sleeve-only temps can do for a guy.
Average pace: 7:51. 660 feet of elevation gain.