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.

Erin Go Braugh 7.77k – Post Race Recap 2017

2013 to 2017!

This is my 5th time running this race – I absolutely love it! I even request it off so that I can run it (or I would probably be stuck working it). I would have to say it’s my favorite 3W race.

I’m not quite sure what it is about this race that I love so much – there’s a lot of good things:

  • The course is super fun (a hilly lollipop 4.8 miles = 7.77k), dirt and concrete
  • Cute swag (green shirts with fun phrases like “Kiss me I ran 7.77k”)
  • People always seem to be happy and in a good mood.
  • Dance and costume contests!
  • ALL YOU CAN EAT LUCKY CHARMS! (In case you couldn’t tell, I love Lucky Charms. In fact, I’m eating this year’s race leftovers for dessert right now.)

Heath (a 3W friend), Me, Ben and Luke

This year was no exception and I even got to run it with Ben! #thosethatruntogetherstay together (except that I left him behind when he started to walk due to knee pain #feelingguilty). We started off together and it wasn’t until about 5.77k that Ben had to walk.

I was feeling pretty good and asked him a few times if he wanted me to stay with him. He assured me I could keep pushing the pace I was going. Before I knew it there was another runner beside me, keeping my exact pace. He was super nice and kept pushing me to keep going. If I slowed, I’d see him look over his shoulder, silently saying “come on! Hang in there!”

Wearing ALL the colors!

With just a half mile left, Chewey I learned later, was audibly speaking, “Almost done! Keep going!” We sped around the corner and over the bridge into the finish. Everything hurt but I felt very accomplished. Chewey greeted me with a high five as we waited for Ben to finish just a few minutes later. It turns out, Chewey is trying run 54 races in a year while dealing with Type 1 diabetes! The Erin Go Braugh was his 24th race and he was such a sweet person and truly inspiring.

Friends of Erin Go Braugh (Chewey is on the right)

Once Ben came across the finish line, we got our Lucky Charms and hung out with our friends. I didn’t place in my age group this year (last year I was 1st) but I was 4th! For this course, I ran my second fastest time. Next year I want to beat my Erin Go Braugh PR!

If you’re ever in Colorado in March, I highly recommend running this race. Next year, it’s even going to be on St. Patricks Day!

Race Website

First race of 2017 – Highland Ranch Six Pack Series – 5k

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It may have been my first race of 2017, but it wasn’t planned out. In fact, I still don’t have a race schedule planned out for the year. The only other race I know I’m running FOR SURE is the Erin Go Braugh 7.77k on March 11th because I never miss it. A lot of this is due to my up and down motivation for running in general, but that’s a whole other story.

Last weekend, “my boss” (she hates that word, but for the sake of my readers, that is who she is; she is also my friend), asked if I could help out at the Six Pack Series in Highlands Ranch and just time part of it. She suggested I run the race and then take over the timing while she announced awards. That sounded like a good deal to me! I then added on shadowing the course-set guy because in a couple of weeks I will be setting the same course.

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My friend Jen and I

So after getting up early, walking the whole course, I ran the 5k! I had no goals, none whatsoever, just to run and feel the sun on my face, the burn in my legs and feel my heart pumping. BONUS, a friend of mine and fellow cross country coach, decided to come run! I had no idea (and she was just hoping I would be there). It was such a good surprise and nice feeling to have a good friend on the course. She is also coming back from a non-running stint due to other reasons.

When the whistle was blown, I took off at a nice comfortable pace. For the first mile, three of us ladies were sticking pretty close together, one to my right and one slightly behind me. The first place woman was way in front of us, so it was us three trying for 2nd and 3rd place. I’m not sure when the lady behind me fell back but at about a mile and a half we hit a hill and the other lady pulled ahead, leaving me in third.

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I decided then that I wanted to hold that 3rd place spot and kept up my pace. I reached the turnaround, cheered on by fellow 3W Ambassador (a team of 50 runners that run and promoted 3W Races), and kept pushing, telling myself there’s only less than half of the race left.  My friend was running the 4 mile and I saw her after the turnaround (as she was about to turn). I yelled out to “come catch me”, hopefully giving her a boost of energy. I knew exactly where I was on the course, having set it, and kept counting down the half-miles in my head.

Finally, I rounded the last corner, finish line in site, and pushed it in for the finished! I maintained my 3rd place and felt pretty great! (My friend finished 1st overall in the 4 mile, almost catching me in the 5k).

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For my lack of running and being on my feet that morning, I’m pretty proud! This race gave me a huge motivational boost in my running.


Six Pack Series Highlands Ranch (new series starting Fall 2017!)

3W Races – 1 mile to half marathon races all across the CO Front Range!

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

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(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

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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.

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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.

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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!


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