#60HikesDenverChallenge – Deer Creek Open Space Park: Meadowlark Plymouth Creek 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 Edition.” 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.)

So far, as you can see, I got after it in January – I’ve gotten SIX trails done from the book! February has started off a little slower as I battled a bad cold, my schedule drastically changed, and I race directed my first race. I’m left with two more weeks of February and I haven’t checked a new one off! Here’s the most recent one I got at the end of last month….

Trail #17 – Deer Creek Open Space Park: Meadowlark Plymouth Creek Loop
Completed: 1/28/17 | Mode: Run/Hike
Location: Ken Caryl Deer Creek Canyon Rd. and Grizzly Rd.
Distance: 2.5 miles (we did 2.9)
Difficulty:  Challenging! Gradual climbs will some steep spots. Icy in the winter
Surface: Hard packed dirt with some bigger rocks in parts
Exposure: Lots of shade

My Experience:
FINALLY! Finally an actual HIKE! The past ones have been super flat and I wouldn’t call them hikes, but this one got the legs burning and the heart pumping. We did run it, of course, but it had some great climbs for hiking as well. We got to the trails as the sun was starting to go behind the mountains making it shady and chilly in spots, but the trail winds and curves around valleys, popping in and out of the beautiful sunshine. It was a great run. Neither Ben or I had been down to the Ken Caryl area before and it was well worth it.

Pros
-Beautiful
-Challenging
-The main loop is 2.5 miles but you can take a side path to other loops to add on the mileage
-Quite and away from the city
-Not that crowded, at least on a Saturday late afternoon in January

Cons
-Icy spots during the winter (but still able to run on it)

Overall
This would be a great place to take people from out of the state but that don’t want to travel far. This area is about 20 minutes from where I live, but well worth the drive to get a run in. There are more trails in the area as well that I can’t wait to check out!


Check out the book I’m getting all the trails from:

(Blog Related) Movie Review – Desert Runners

My blog is not turning into a book or movie review blog but I do like to tell you about things that are related to my blog’s theme. Periodically I’ll review running, outdoorsy, fitness, or travel books and movies.

Being on a Dean Karnazes kick, there was mention somewhere (maybe I saw it on his website) about the movie “Desert Runners.” I think I might have misunderstood because I thought the movie was about him doing the desert marathons. It’s not. While he does have a 30-minute segment in the special features, the movie follows four people as they prepare and attempt the Grand Slam of the Desert Ultramarathons.


mv5bmtk4ntaznjizn15bml5banbnxkftztcwmzy3nzu2oq-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_“A diverse cast of non-professional runners attempt to complete the most-difficult ultramarathon race series on Earth. Their dramatic journey takes them across the World’s most picturesque yet brutal landscapes, pushing their bodies, hearts and spirits through a myriad of external and internal obstacles. DESERT RUNNERS delves into the mindset of ultra-athletes, and the complex ways in which human beings deal with both heartbreak and triumph.” – IMDB

The Desert Ultramarathon Series is comprised of four ultramarathons through the world’s toughest, most brutal deserts. The Grand Slam means doing all four in a single year. Each race is 250 km and takes 5 days. You are required to carry a backpack with all the items you need. Although I don’t have any desire right now to do an ultra race,  these events seem very appealing when it comes to the camaraderie and outdoors aspect. The fact that you spread out the 250 mile between five day and ou get to travel, on foot, into parts of the world not many get to see – that is all what makes these races look cool.

I really did enjoy the movie (except the part where they show the camera all their feet and disgusting foot ailments – I hate feet). It was very interesting and inspirational. My favorite “character” is the woman Samantha who was the youngest person and first woman to get a grand slam title. She overcomes a very scary situation, perseveres and continues on.

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The extras with the film were almost more enjoyable than the film itself. The film director and cinematographer interviews are super interesting because they had to be in just as good of shape as the athletes to get all of the footage. There’s also an interview with Dean Karnazes about how he prepared for his grand slam (the first to do so) as well as fun view on how to pack your bag for a race like these!

I highly recommend this movie to any ultra runner, or any runner for that matter, if you’re looking for a run-spirational movie (see what I did there?).


Not available on streaming or DVD rental via Netflix, so I checked out my version from the library. The version I watched was the Director’s Special Edition and had the extra content including the interview with Dean Karnazes. You can find it for purchase on Amazon (affiliate link):

Visit the Desert Runner Website

About the races


Your turn: Have you heard of this race series? Done any of them? Would you do one of them??

#60HikesDenverChallenge – Denver: Washington Park

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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 Edition.” 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 #18 – Denver: Washington Park
Completed: 1/25/17 | Mode: Running!
Location: Denver – Virginia Ave. & Downing St.
Distance: 2 miles (I ran extra and got in 3.25)
Difficulty:  Easy, peasy
Surface: Hard packed dirt on the outer trail and a mix of concrete, asphalt, and dirt inside around the lakes and fields
Exposure: Lots of shade from GIANT old trees!

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My Experience: 
It’s well known to people who know me that I hate driving. I hate driving in Denver even more. So when I needed to run an errand for work in Denver, I decided to kill two birds with one stone. The only trail in the book that is in Denver proper is Washington Park. Now, I’ve run here before, a handful of years back on a first date with a guy I met while trying out online dating. I remember making two full loops around the park (about 5 miles total) and thinking it was a lovely run. Coming back to this park, I can’t help but reflect on the terrible online dates I had back then, but also on how in-shape I was, being able to easily bust out 5 miles on a whim. The three plus miles I did this past week was pretty exhausting, but I digress.

Wash Park (what the locals call it) is a little bit of nature amidst the busy city. While you can still hear and smell the cars, there are giant old trees around every corner reminding you just how old Denver is. The trail encircles a few ponds, large fields, and tennis quarts. This is a super popular place for summer activities. Think volleyball, running (duh),  kite flying, paddle boats, and more! A lot of races happen here as well.

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Pros
-Flat
-Lots of surfaces to choose from (hard packed dirt and concrete/asphalt)
-Can get a lot of miles in here depending on how many loops you want to do

Cons
-Can hear/smell/see cars
-Can get crowded especially on the weekends and in the summer
-Traffic around and to/from here can be a nightmare
-Limited amounts of “good” parking

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Tips
-If you’re driving into the city, I’d visit during the week when there will be plenty of parking. Side street parking gets tricky.
-Depending on how many miles you’re trying to get, you can do the outermost loop (like I did) and then add some miles by going around the little ponds to create variation.

Overall
Although I’m still unsure as to whom this book would be intended for, I’m going on the assumption that people who live in Denver would buy this book to experience trails close to home (within 60 miles). I’m not sure this place needed to be included, not would I call it a “hike.” Sure, it’s a great city escape and lovely place to run for the locals, but I wouldn’t come back, driving 30 minutes, just to run here.

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Check it out (affiliate link):

Check out some of the other popular cities:
Seattle:

Washington D.C.

San Francisco

AND LOTS MORE! 

Compression the Right Way – LEGEND Compression Wear Ambassador

legend-ambassador

“How many things are you an ambassador for!?” That’s my boyfriend asked me when I got my Legend Compression package in the mail last year.

legend_2017ambassador_logoIt’s true, I am an ambassador for a lot of companies. Yes, I get a lot of perks, but every single one of the companies I am very passionate about;  I won’t apply if I’m not. With LEGEND Compression Wear, I got an email asking if I wanted to join their Ambassador program. They were looking for bloggers and avid runners.

Hey, that’s me!

It couldn’t have come at a better time! I was super excited that my blog was starting to get noticed and I definitely need the compression gear to help battle these persistent injuries of mine. (Injuries is such a harsh word, more like troublesome spots.)

LEGEND Compression Wear’s mission is “to improve the performance of every athlete – from the casual jogger to the competitive triathlete.” I love this because it means you can be better, and achieve goals, no matter what level you are. They “promote the notion that LEGENDS are created from great people, great courage, and great accomplishments.” Hence: #BeaLegend

6f1edc61-01d3-4b29-beec-e4cd08de8c41They have compression products for just about every sport as well as everyday wearable compression.  The difference between LEGEND and other compression companies is that they focus on #RightNotTight. The hashtag comes from “Compression is Right not Tight!”. This is focused on their compression performance socks and leg sleeves which feature a 15-20 mmHg level of compression. From their background in the medical field, they’ve  seen that this is a more therapeutic level of compression which is better for you during training/competition. It’s a misconception that compression socks have to FEEL tight to be working.

I love their website because you can shop by sport, ailment, body part or everyday wear. I have the compression socks, sleeves and recovery socks. My favorite product if by far, the recovery socks. They are perfect for lounging in for long periods of time (whereas regular compression socks might be too tight for long wear). All the LEGEND compression products I own are great for running and climbing (yes, seriously, you’re on your toes a lot and thus contracting your calves!).

My recovery socks

My recovery socks


Check them out online and you can get $15 off with this link.