#60HikesDenverChallenge – Bear Creek Park

(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 #16 – Bear Creek Lake Park: Bear Creek Trail
Completed: 5/2/17 | Number Completed: 13/60
Mode: Running
Location: Morrison/Lakewood, CO – C-470 & Morrison Exit (CO – 8)
Distance: 4.42 miles
Difficulty: easy
Type of trail: Hard packed dirt, balloon configuration
Exposure: half of the trail is in the shade
Facilities: Pit toilet restrooms along the park (none at the trailhead)

 

My Experience:
There’s really not much to say. I wanted to get a run in after track practice and drove a few miles to Bear Creek Lake Park, parked in the free lot, and ran the trail from the book.

This trail isn’t all that special. Submersed in the middle of the city, it’s a nice escape from the hustle and bustle without a far trek. The trail system can get a little confusing, but, there only so many miles, that if you did get off track, you’d just loop right back to the main park. There are also lot of trail races here and I’ve done a 10k around the lake.

To follow the trail from the book, park in the free lot just north-west of the C-470 and CO-8 (Morrison Rd) intersection. Carefully cross the street, and hang a left on the biking trail. This takes you under the highway and is the walk-in access to the park. Follow the sidewalk until the bridge, crossing over the river and make a quick left on the trail. This leads you through a parking lot (a paid access lot), across the street and you’ll enter the Owl Trail on the other side. Parallel the river until the Fitness Loop Trail (a looped trail that used to have exercise equipment). This is will loop around, giving you views of the lake, Mt Carbon and the area camping. It will reconnect to the Owl Trail and you’ll retrace your steps back to your car.

Pros:
-Close to town
-Easy miles (unless you add in Mt. Carbon)
-Lots of other things to do
-Dirt trails making it a nice soft surface

Cons:
-Crowded
-Not that scenic
-Can still hear the noise from the roads

Tips:
-Tip avoid crossing the major street from your car, you can drive into the park, and pay a few bucks to get in. State parks passes don’t work here.
-There’s a lot of stuff to do in the park: camping, horse back riding, water sports
-If you’re a runner, check your local racing calendar for races inside the park. A great one is the Bear Chase Series.
-To actually get a HIKE in, add Mt. Carbon into your journey.

Overall:
A lot of tourists flock here for some reason, same with locals. No offense to them, but there’s much better, scenic, more relaxing places to camp and visit not far away. For people coming from out of state, you’ve already come this far, just drive a bit longer and go into the mountains! If you’re a local, yes, run here, play here, etc. It’s a great, close by area to squeeze in some activity to a busy life. But if you have more time, just add a bit more to your travel time for a much better place to play. As for being in the 60 Hikes Within 60 miles of Denver book…. It’s not much of a “hike.”

Bear Creek Lake, Mt Carbon


Gear Reviews: LEGEND Compression Wear Recovery Socks

Some of you might know, I am a Legend Compression Wear Ambassador. I was contacted last year by one of their team members after they saw my blog. Super flattered, of course I accepted it! Back in June, I was the first Legend Compression Ambassador of the month! Woot!

While compression socks are not a new thing, LEGEND is focusing on the right way to compress. Their hashtag, #rightnottight hones in on their graduated compression technology (instead of just being a super tight sock). They want all athletes, from the elite to the casual jogger, to perform at their best and extend the life of their legs and live their own Legendary life. #BeALegend

The recovery socks are 20-30 mg of compression and meant for post-exercise and travel. Key features:

Why I love the Recovery Socks:
1. They are super comfy!
After a race, I’ll a throw on my recovery socks, memory foam sandals and be good to go for walking around the expo, heading back home in the car, or sitting on a plane.

2. They are the perfect amount of compression.
They are not too-tight and I can wear them to bed, something I can’t do with regular compression socks.

3. They are not just tight on the calves but on my feet as well.
I’ll wear them even just after a long day of standing. I also get plantar fasciitis regularly and these socks are tight around the feet to help relieve some of those symptoms.

4. They really do work! 
I bring these socks whenever I am doing a relay race, traveling, or when I know I have a bunch of days of hard running in a row, like a Cross Country Camp. I’ll wear these after each run or while sleeping and I really feel like my legs are a lot less sore. Without them, I would never be able to complete some of the hard running events I do.

Tips:
1. Think outside the box. These socks aren’t just for after a race,  you can wear them to keep your legs fresh while traveling, after working on your feet all day, or sitting at the desk.

2. Buy a pair of strap sandals. Or anything that you can put your whole foot in (i.e. not thong-flip flops). That way you can still wear the socks and not have to put on stuffy closed-toed shoes.


You can find the LEGEND Compression Wear Recovery Socks HERE.
Only $42.50, they are a worth it!

Click HERE to get $15 off your first LEGEND Compression Wear Order!

Don’t forget: #BeLegendary


Your turn: Do you have a favorite compression gear brand? Would you try LEGEND?

Five Reasons I love the Redemption Capri (gear review!)

If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that I am a Skirt Sports Ambassador. I wrote about it a while back and still love being a part of the movement. In addition to the message it sends women (#RealWomenMove) about getting out there and accomplishing dreams and goals, the products themselves are very well made and fit all body types – and that is pretty awesome! They are made for women, designed by women and the company is great about taking feedback into consideration (they even have a “sewing room” where you can submit ideas and if others like it, you’ll see it made!).

One of my favorite products is actually not even a skirt, it’s the Redemption Capri! Here’s 5 Reasons Why:

1. They are very adaptable – and work for multiple types of sports!
I love supporting and showing off Skirt Sports when I’m outside, but one of the activities I enjoy the most is rock climbing. You can’t wear a skirt climbing, even if there are shorts underneath. Frankly, it’s not safe – the skirt can get caught in so many places – and it looks quite ridiculous when you’re belaying. I CAN wear the Redemption Capris on the rock wall! No risk of fabric getting caught in an ATC (belay device).

Running in them (and other activities) is perfect as well! I am always working and coaching in them.

2. They come in multiple fun patterns
I have the Tantrum and the Safari Print. It also comes in plain black, Frolic print, and Enchanted print. See Skirt Sports to see all their patterns.

3. They slightly compress
I LOVE this about these capris! They aren’t actual compression grade capris, and it could be that I bought too small of a size, but they feel slightly compression-like and  that is great for running!

4. Not too hot and not too cold
I wear these for running when it is between about 40 and 70 degrees. They keep you warm on those chilly runs when it’s not quite cold enough for pants. They are also  lightweight enough for the hotter days. Anything over 70, they are a little too thick to wear and I get overheated. Now, if you’re just wearing them out and about, they are just fine in hot weather. 😉

5. The back pocket comes in handy!
There is a small, zippered pocket in the back. It’s perfect for keys and a credit card/ID. They do have a new product out called the Pocketopia Capri that is almost the same as the Redemption but with MORE pockets. I find my Redemption Capri just fine, in terms of pockets. If I need extra storage, I have a handy-dandy run belt from SLS3.

If you want to check out the Redemption Capri, you can find them online HERE or stop by the store in Boulder, CO!

#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: