I find trail running to be a magical experience. I live behind Eldorado Canyon State Park just outside of Boulder and have a plethora of trail runs that I can start and finish at my house such as Eldorado Canyon Trail, Walker Ranch, Rattlesnake Gulch, Fowler Trail, Dowdy Draw, Mesa Trail (and all the branches), and South Boulder Creek Trail.
I’ve run them all – many times – in many different permutations. Since Amy and I own a lot of property that is adjacent to Colorado State Park land and Boulder Open Space, I’m very respectful of staying on the trails as it makes me crazy whenever someone comes off of the Eldorado Canyon Trail or Rattlesnake onto our land.
I have a standard 60 minute out and back run on Fowler trail. I used to be able to stretch it to 90 minutes if I ran on Denver Water Board land up to the private property boundary. With the opening of Goshawk Ridge I now have a great new 90 minute loop. In addition, the trail system now connects up with the Spring Brook Loop and all the Dowdy Draw improvements. I think I just got another 15 or so miles of trails to play around with, along with links to other trails that I previously had to run on the road to get to!
One of my favorite things about trail running is the serenity. After about five minutes on the trail, I don’t even notice that the world – outside me and the trail – exists. No cars, few people (I saw more deer today than I saw people), occasional wildlife (including – er, eek! – snakes), and periodic magical and mystical surprise moments.
I also don’t ever care about my time or pace on the trail run. I just run. I’ve never met a hill I couldn’t run up, but I’ve met some that I had to walk down because of my “racehorse ankles” (Amy loves to chide me about my thin ankles). I don’t look at my watch – I just pay attention to my breathing and heart rate.
I’ve had a hard time getting in a consistent gear since running the Huntsville Marathon. I had some great runs at the end of 2008, but then twisted my ankle hard in mid January and have been struggling to get in a groove for the last few weeks. After the last few runs, I’ve found that groove. And – I’ve found some great new trails. Thanks Boulder Open Space!