Two weeks ago I went up to Windsor Colorado to ref the inaugural Wild on Windsor triathlon, which was put on by 5430 sports. The race went great, very clean, well organized and therefore easy to ref. Being away from home of course I had to take the opportunity to get in a run in a new and unfamiliar place. Windsor sits in the flat, farm country of Colorado but is extremely close to Ft. Collins, which sits up against a lower part of the front range. You just can't be in central Colorado without trying to get is some mountain trail running so I started my Google search and came across this entry about the Blue Sky Trail just outside Ft. Collins and a brief half-hour from my hotel.
I didn't intend on going more than 10 miles but was having such a good time that I ended up with 16. Just like my erstwhile tour guide I started my run near the Horsetooth Mountain Park at the southern end of the Horsetooth Reservoir. From that point the trail, at least for me, was difficult to find, and I spent a bit of time just wandering around. Right where I parked I started at the inlet bay trail, which is a little short gravel trail around a tiny part of the southern end of the reservoir. The beginning point of the Blue Sky Trail is over by the south east section of trail to the left of a few houses where there is a small single track heading off the main trail. You follow that to a tunnel that heads under the road and onto the Blue Sky Trail. If you find yourself heading towards the bar or bead and breakfast or anywhere else you are going the wrong way. Once on the trail it is easy to follow because it is well maintained and heads straight down a large valley and there are no side trails. The run was great because it was gently rolling for the most part with only a few climbs so running the entire length is fairly easy. If you are ever in the Ft. Collins area it is definitely worthwhile.
This weekend was the New Mexico Marathon, one that the GeekGrl did last year while I was off somewhere probably for work. I am not really all that excited about running a road marathon in my own town but this one has a cool hand painted ceramic finishers medal and it starts about one mile from my house so how could I pass it up? The New Mexico marathon is a scenic marathon too. You get a bit of everything Albuquerque has to offer, beautiful mountain vistas, dramatic views of the Rio Grande valley, a run along the famous Bosque trail and a finish line right next to Albuquerque's Old Town.
Because I have spent this entire year about 15 to 20 pounds heavier than last year I have spent the year obsessing over the idea that I'm not is good shape. Nothing has proven otherwise to me. This run helped me see that while I may be a bit slower I am in excellent condition. I planned on taking the run easy because I wanted to head out for more miles after the marathon. I really expected to turn out something near 5 hours but I ended up running a 4:17 and still felt good. I headed back out looking for the GeekGrl in order to run back in with her. I ended up getting in 34 total miles and broke my 50K PR by 26 minutes. Despite all the miles being on road I still felt pretty good after all of it and still could have gone further even at 34 miles of almost continuous running.
The results of the weekend make me feel pretty good about my current endurance fitness and my chances at finishing another 100 mile race. Oh yeah, I sent in my application for the Javelina 100. The race is October 31st but there is no guarantee that I will get in; I'm on a waiting list right now.
If I don't get in then maybe I'll try and register for the Ozarks 100 with a couple of ultra-running friends. In either case at least now I'm feeling like it is at least a realistic goal.