He had signed up and was going to make the drive, and was looking to find a person or two to make the trek with him. In my head, I was like “heck yeah!” but I was trying to be realistic and wasn’t sure if it made sense in the midst of that LA trip and the big trip Laura and I had planned for August (more on that later!). When I mentioned it to Laura, though, she did not hesitate in telling me I should go.
It didn’t take me long to figure out her master plan: let me go run around in the mountains of southwest Colorado, then I’ll fall in love with it, and we’ll eventually move there. Well, in short – I think she can raise the “Mission: Accomplished” banner. I LOVED every part of this trip, from riding with Chris and Hayley, scrambling for a last minute camping spot, the run itself, exploring the San Juans, and being tourists in NE Arizona…
But the big takeaway? I loved the feel of SW Colorado – everything was so green. The trails were so soft. The small towns seemed to have a pretty good internet connection – so why can’t I work from there? Hmm… Stay tuned! The Pacific Northwest certainly made its case when we made our trip out there, as well.
Anyway… The run! Oh, the run. To my Phoenix trail running friends – think of Mount Ord with gorgeous scenery and a rocky scramble at the top. That’s pretty much it. It’s a little shorter on mileage, but similar in elevation – so you can count on it being a bit steep. It’s no joke, especially if you’re not acclimatized to the elevation.
And boy, was I not acclimatized! I did what I could for the first couple of miles, but after a while, I resorted to short bursts up the mountain with short breaks in between to catch my breath. It was really all I could do. It worked out pretty nicely, though, as I was able to stop and (literally) smell the flowers – take a few photos here and there, and just overall enjoy the run.
The rocky scramble wasn’t too bad – it was rather exciting moving past other people moving up and down that same section, and finally getting that spectacular 360-degree view at the top. The run down the mountain? Pretty dang fun, too! To a point, at least. For me, that lack of acclimatization came back again with just a couple of miles left. I was moving at a decent clip without a ton of effort but came to realize that I still felt short of breath. I even found myself run/walking a bit as I got into town. Never would I have thought that’d happen – but I didn’t want to make myself pass out or anything.
For the first time at the end of a race, I laid down at the finish in the grass to begin the recovery process. I eventually found my way to the free (!!!) beer tent and waited for Chris and Hayley to come in as well.
Heck of a good time. Would I do it again? Maybe! Would I consider some of the other runs in the area? Certainly! Maybe one day I’ll even be acclimatized to the elevation, and this sort of run won’t take so much out of me. Maybe one day…
Feature Photo Credit ?: SweetM Images
Also published on Medium.