Not quite halfway through the year – Updates!

Hiking at the Apex Trail

I was going to call this post “quarter year updates,” but then I did the math and realized that wouldn’t be quite right. Where did the months go? I haven’t been able to write on a consistent basis, but here’s just a random, popcorn list of what’s been going on:

Work/Career

Golden Mountain Guides
-Many of you know I own a climbing guide business, Golden Mountain Guides, with my boyfriend. We are just starting year two of business!
-The year is starting off better than last year, but not as good as we hoped.
-We’ve hired a couple new guides and we’re doing anything we possibly can to market our business (and researching new ways.)
-YOU can climb with us if you want! Check us out online or when you visit Golden, CO

3W Races
-Still going well! I have been assistant race director a few more times and we’re amping up our marketing plan.
-Our next race is this weekend, the Skirt Sports 13er/10k/5k on June 4th!

Coaching
-Track season is was kept me busy and off of the blog. I was at Green Mountain High School again coaching the long and triple jump.
-It was a great season. Many athletes made it to the state competition and I had two jumpers just inches away from qualifying for state. INCHES! Keep in mind only 18 people go to state in either competition and they were inches from it.
-With my triple jumper, she had a great jump of a distance that would have put her in state but it was disqualified due to win. My long jumper has one more year and I’ll get him to State for sure next season!

The Coach V Rap

Cross Country Season coming up…
-During track, we got word that the head coaches wouldn’t be able to coach next year. That left the head coach positions open (and the scary idea that any new person may not keep me around). However, two of my friends and fellow assistant coaches got the job. Yay!
-With the switch around, I get to stay for jumps coaching during track season and it left another spot open on the cross country coaching staff as well. I have officially accepted it and will be moving from Golden HS to Green Mountain for BOTH the cross country season and track season in 2018!
-I love this idea of being at the same school for both seasons, but it wasn’t an easy decision to make. The kids and other coaches at both schools are amazing.
-Summer running for cross country starts in June and then the season starts in August.

10Hikes.com
-I landed my FIRST freelance writing job with this company!
-I have been writing about the top 10 hikes in the Denver region and having a blast on the beautiful trails.
-I’m super excited about this and will be doing the best job I can. Follow me on Instagram for my latest hikes.

Hiking at Beaver Brook – a new Colorado fave!

Personal Running/Fitness

Running:
-Since the beginning of the year, I have been trying to get my running back up. It’s been hard, so difficult,  mostly due to motivation.
-For the first few months of the year, I was running about 2 to 3 days a week. I bumped it up and up and now I’m up to running about four days a week, on average.
-A lot of this is due to having a few goals in mind (I’ll announce soon!)
-It’s also due to finding this AWESOME app, Zombies Run! It’s a blast and I find myself thinking about when I can “play” next, i.e. run!
-I just ran the Bolder Boulder and will be doing Ragnar Trail Relay in Snowmass in a couple of weeks.

Bolder Boulder

Other Fitness:
-I started lifting again! I am training for something great and I starting lifting weights, doing plyometrics and other strength training. It’s fun, I’ve missed being a gym rat, but I’m pretty much starting over again and that is hard and disheartening.
-I do CrossFit every once in awhile (my boss at 3W Races also owns Trailhead CrossFit, so I work out there sometimes) and did the Murph workout for the first time. I have been reading (listening to book on tape actually) Lone Survivor in honor of Memorial Day and the Murph workout is in honor of Lt. Michael Murphy. It was a brutal work out and I’ve been sore for days now. Learn more about the Murph WOD here.

#60HikesDenverChallenge:
-Still going strong, although I’ve only done 14/60 hikes, I’m still trying to knock them off this year. I still have a few that I’ve finished but haven’t written about yet.

Other/Random Happenings

-I’m sure you all heard about the massive hail storm in Colorado, right? Well, I got stuck in it while driving on the highway and accumulated more than $8,000 in damage on my nice new Jeep. I miss my Jeep and can’t wait for it to be fixed and back!

Poor Ginny (yes, that’s my car’s name).

-I’ve been trying to hang out with friends as much as possible but it’s very far and few between with everything going on.

-I turned 30 somewhere back in there. I didn’t do anything too exciting, just hung out with family and a few friends. I did get a Zombie cake though and tried a zombie themed escape room! We didn’t escape but it was pretty awesome.

-I did get to have a little fun a few weekends ago for my boyfriend’s Sister’s bachelorette party! #Being30WhenEveryoneElseis25orYounger

In the limo


Now that I’m all caught up; what have you all been up to?

#60HikesDenverChallenge – Green Mountain and Hayden Trail Loop

(For 2017, I have a goal of getting through all 60 trails in the book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Denver”  You’ll see these posts all year-long. You can find a lot of info on each of the trails in the book, but I’ll highlight some things each time in addition to including my experience and opinion on the trail. The number below is associated with how they are labeled in the book if you have it.)

Trail #22 – Green Mountain and Hayden Trail Loop
Completed: 4/3/17 | Mode: Running!
Location: Alameda and Union, Lakewood
Distance: 3.3 miles
Difficulty: Hard, steep climb
Surface: Hard packed dirt with a few bigger rocks in parts
Exposure: No Shade
Facilities: Port-o-potty at Alameda Trailhead, no water

View into Golden!

My Experience:
I have run on Green Mountain more times than I can count. This is the place where I had my first trail run experience many, many years ago and a place I still love to this day. This is also the place that I just about lost it when I saw some people cutting the trail. Green Mountain does get used regularly and it hurts me to see the signs of overuse or people disrespecting the “rules” of nature. In fact, I just drove by the last week and the signs  were marked RED indicating “OVERLY MUDDY CONDITIONS, use not recommended,” and yet the parking lot was still packed. Come to find later in the week, when the trails were finally dry, there was bike tire ruts baked into the trail – NOT FUN for the ankles!

I look grumpy…but I was just squinting.

Anyway, I’ve run all over this mountain, just about every trail that there is. There are all types of trails here: long easy runs, steep hill climbs, a mixture, etc. Plus, it’s close to where I work and live (I coach track right across the street), making it super convenient to get a trail run in without traveling far. About a week before I completed the exact trail from the book, I inadvertently did the trail in reverse as I just ran around aimlessly. I went back to repeat the trail from the book, just because.

Quite the challenge, going the direction the book recommends takes you up, UP and UP for a whole mile without relenting. Not going to like, it was pretty tough. I ran most of it with a little bit of walking, took in the views at the top and ran the downhill (my favorite part) back to my car.

Awesome views of Denver!

Pros:
-All types of running can be found
-Good views in the distance
-Plenty of miles of trails! The full loop is over 6 miles, but can add trails in between.
-Wildflowers for a brief season in the spring

Cons:
-Not particularly beautiful on the trails
-Some parts have really loose, smaller sized rocks, making footing super tricky
-Crowded
-Overused
-TONS of bikers!
-There can be rattlesnakes

Access Road Trail on top

Overall:
While I do really love running here and I do so multiple times a week,  I wouldn’t recommend it for out-of-towners. The trails and park itself aren’t that spectacular to look at. There are some great views of Denver and the nearby foothills, but the whole mountain is brown/yellow in color most of the year.  If you’re looking for a great trail system to get some miles on without going too far out of the city, this is the right place!

Sometimes it’s green…


Join me in my #60HikesDenverChallenge:

Stay on the freaking trail!……please.

I just about lost it the other day, guys. Just about flipped my lid, gone ballistic, hit the ceiling. Lost it.

There I was, deep in the throws of a runner’s high, jogging along, minding my own business. As I stepped to the side to let a biker pass, I looked up ahead. In the distance, I saw a handful of people off the trail, down the side of a steep, grassy hill. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I thought, “Maybe someone slipped and the others were helping them out.”

I kept on running and they got back on the trail. I was getting closer and closer to this group of people and as I rounded the last turned toward the parking lot, I look to my right and find them off the trail again.  They were cutting that last little bit of trail back to their car.

Seriously!?

First of all, they literally only cut off less than a tenth of a mile. Second, THERE’S A FENCE! A WOODEN FENCE purposely put up so that people WOULDN’T cut the trail right there. Both ends of their “I don’t give a fuck”  trail, their shortcut,  is fenced off. AND, their car was at the other end of the parking lot, where the REAL trail spits you out.

I rarely have outbursts but aloud said, “Stay on the trail, people. If we keep doing stuff like that we’ll not have nice things anymore.”

The just looked at me and kept on walking through the tall grass. I wanted to say so much more, but unfortunately, I don’t think it would have made a difference and I probably wouldn’t have done it appropriately. I can’t even express how much this bothers me.

Seriously, if people keep doing this, over and over, we wouldn’t have any trails or beautiful grass fields to hike and run through. It would be all one giant dirt hill and that wouldn’t be any fun. It would be boring and ugly, not to mention all the plants and animals that would be lost. This particular trail is Green Mountain in Lakewood. It is a great place to train on while being really close to work. It’s across the street from where I coach track. Talk about convenient. But just because it’s near the city, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be treated just like all the rest of the trails.

“Stay on trail.” There are signs, they are clearly visible, and there are FREAKING FENCES!

Staying on the trails isn’t just a silly “rule.” On a well-used trail like this one, it’s the only thing from keeping the whole thing from eroding out. Don’t even get me started on social trails or walking parallel to a trail when it’s muddy. (Singletracks becoming double, and getting wider and wider every year.)

This is an example of erosion at Green Mountain after people walk to the side during the mud. Before you know it, the grass in between will get worn out and it’s not twice as wide. Then the process repeats.

Walk through the mud people. Better yet, if it’s really, REALLY muddy, just stay away!

And I totally understand that some cultures just don’t have the same values for nature and our planet as others, but then again why are you even out on the trails in the first place!? Language is not a barrier when THERE’S A FREAKIN’ FENCE!

I don’t know why this makes me so mad. Maybe it’s because I can see the signs of overuse, not picking up trash, and trail cutting in the areas nearby to where I live. They have even closed down a popular Evergreen park because people wouldn’t pick up their dogs’ poop. (Oh, I could go on for hours on poop bags. You KNOW you are not going to pick it up on the way back; don’t leave it there. At that rate, just let your dog poop out in the open. That’s better for the environment than a plastic bag!)

This is not from the trail I was on. Maybe it needs to be, because clearly a fence is not enough.

With more and more people moving to Colorado and visiting every year, it’s important to educate people. Just saying “don’t do this, don’t do that” isn’t enough anymore. Deep in my heart, I’d like to think people want to do the right thing but don’t because they can’t see the effects of their actions, or out-right don’t know, they don’t follow the “rules.”

Hmm… maybe I should have stayed on the conservation biology track. Or maybe I can help out on my own through my blog, social media, and word of mouth.

Excuse me, I’ve got some brainstorming, planning, and work to do.

#SorryfortheRant

#LeaveNoTrace

Sign at a different park.

#60HikesDenverChallenge – Elk Meadow Open Space Park: Sleepy S Loop

evergreen-elk-meadows-open-space-sleep-s-loop

(For 2017, I have a goal of getting through all 60 trails in the book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Denver”  You’ll see these posts all year-long. You can find a lot of info on each of the trails in the book, but I’ll highlight some things each time in addition to including my experience and opinion on the trail. The number below is associated with how they are labeled in the book if you have it.)

Trail #19 – Elk Meadow Open Space Park: Sleepy S Loop
Completed: 2/22/17 | Mode: Run/Hike
Location: HW 74 and Stagecoach Blvd
Distance: 2.5 miles (we did 3.75)
Difficulty:  Relatively challenging! Gradual climbs will some steep spots, flat open areas and fun downhills. Can be icy in the winter.
Surface: Hard packed dirt with a few bigger rocks in parts
Exposure: Lots of shade

20170222_121753

My Experience:
After some pretty busy and stressful weeks, I was begging to get outside and check off a trail from the book. I hadn’t done ANY for the month of February. On a particularly warm, sunny day in what’s supposed to be winter time, Ben and I ventured up to Evergreen again to check out another trail in the book. There are three trails in Evergreen in the book. I’ve already done the Evergreen Lake Trail, and now I have one more trip to Evergreen left – not that I mind, Evergreen is beautiful!

This trail was very fun, beautiful and challenging! It felt like we were in the high country but only 30 minutes from home. The trail varied between inclining and declining as it wound in and out of tall evergreen forests. The smell of the pines was great for the senses and satisfied my need for the outdoors.

20170222_124402

Pros:
-Beautiful views
-Tall trees lining parts of the trail; creates a very peaceful run
-The Sleepy S Loop is only 2.5 miles, but there are a lot of other side trails to take to add on the mileage.
-Trail is hard packed gravel with only a few large rocks to avoid
-Enough inclines and declines to get in a workout without being too challenging

Cons:
-Can be very crowded with people and off leash dogs. (There’s a dog park across the street from the trail head, but the trails themselves are NOT supposed to have off-leash dogs, however, people seem to not follow rules.)
-Can be icy during the winter; there is a lot of shade.

20170222_121423

Overall:
I really want to come back here and run to the top of Bergen Peak. That trail looks enjoyable, steep but fun (you can see the trail map on the picture at the top). I really liked the wooded parts of the trail; It felt like I was up in the high country of Colorado without having to travel far at all.  I highly recommend this trail for a great run or hike no matter if you’re from Colorado or just visiting!


Pick up your own copy: