Friday, October 19, 2012

trail run

I got a State Park pass this spring, with the idea that I'd go trail running at some of the parks by my house.  My foot had different ideas.

I'd been building up my time and distance with my doctor-prescribed run/walk program and was up to nearly 4 miles.  I had a friend in town for GABF and she had running on her schedule.  We decided to go for a trail run at Castlewood Canyon State Park.  I looked at the topo map and decided it wasn't that bad.  I've also seen photos of other run groups there and it looked pretty.  I decided to take the creek trail at the bottom of the canyon.  How bad could it be?

We got there at 9:30 AM and narrowly escaped a pack of kids, presumably on a field trip.  We decided to not take our phones (for photos), debated on clothing (I decided the canyon bottom could be shady and cold so I wore a long sleeve shirt over my short sleeve shirt), got our Garmins rev'd up and took off down the trail.

Funny thing.  The park name had "canyon" in it and we were running along the creek at the bottom of the canyon.  Only the parking lot was at the top of the canyon.  That meant our "run" involved a whole bunch of stairs at the start of our run to get to the bottom on the canyon.  Which also meant that we had to go up the stairs at the end of our run.  Oops.  I think my friend was thinking about killing me at this point and we were only 3 minutes in.  I am such a good friend.

View from the scenic overlook, taken after our run.
Once we got to the bottom, it was really pretty but also pretty tricky.  The trail was singletrack with a ton of large rocks sticking out of the ground.  And in some cases, boulders we had to scrabble up, down, around, or over.  (Jumping over was my favorite.)  My orange Newons were probably a terrible choice.  Easy for my friend to follow but with the lugs on the bottom, they were a bit unsteady.  I tried to twist my ankle twice but thankfully my closed-eye balance exercises actually did something and my ankles were nice and strong.
The trail only got wide and level in one place, a meadow upstream of an old dam.  But it was thick/loose gravel/sand, so it wasn't the easiest stuff to run in.  I did my best to maintain some semblance of running where I could, sometimes darting around or over rocks.  I definitely had to slow down for most of the climbing and any sort of scrabbling.  And as a bonus, my calf acted up and my whole left foot when numb at the end of the run.  That made things interesting.

It was actually a super fun run, probably one of the best I've had all year.  It was challenging and not boring.  Dodging all those rocks keeps your mind occupied.  Plus, the canyon and fall colors were so pretty.  For longer distances, I probably would go do the rim trail or try a different park.  But for something quick this was definitely fun.  Even if it was the slowest 4 mile "run" of my life.
The orange Newts are back!

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