Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Picture of Recovery: Exploring New Mexico

This past week my Leadville training plan called for a recovery, a scant 36 miles of running. I don't so much have a problem with running low miles during the week but on the weekends I do like to head out for some multi-hour romps through the wilderness.

I thought I'd take the opportunity of my scheduled short runs to get out to rediscover some of my old haunts that I visited in my backpacking days. There are several trails that the GeekGrl and I once hiked that I have longed to run but I've always been hesitant to throw myself out into the New Mexico hinterlands for 25 to 30 mile efforts by myself.

So, this weekend I had a couple 10 milers on tap and wanted to head for new ground and higher average altitudes. Saturday found me at the Santa Fe Ski Basin heading out onto the Windsor trail. My plan was 10 miles but I also wanted to see if I could get to one of the mountain lakes without getting too far off plan. The Windsor trail starts off above 10,000 feet and never goes lower. The trail is very runnable most of the way and I was able to reach Spirit Lake less than six miles down the trail.
Windsor Trail

Single track through the mountains and a quick rest at Spirit Lake.

San Pedro Parks
The next day was Father's day and I wanted to spend time with the GeekGrl and both of us needed 10 so I drove her out to about the flattest high altitude running that can be found, San Pedro Parks Wilderness just outside Cuba, NM. It was another glorious day and at a starting elevation of 9300 feet the air was cool and clean.

This run starts with a mountain lake within the first mile so our destination was simply a trail intersection about 5 miles down the Las Vacas trail from where we started. San Pedro Parks has the “Parks” part in the name because of the several highland marshes that exist along the several watercourses. The entire Las Vacas trail is incredibly runnable with several small stream crossings and a few “parks” where you have to splash through some shallow mud/water for a hundred yards or so.

We had a fantastic time running through the woods.

At our turn around point we had a leisurely break lounging about in a sun drenched meadow.

I couldn't have asked for a more restful weekend. Next weekend is the Leadville training camp and as much as I am looking forward to that I really want to get back to put some bigger miles on these trails.


  1. What a beautiful run! I love the pictures. I love those just run to enjoy running days.

    You guys look great and very happy!

    I will be excited to hear about the Leadville training weekend it looks tough, but then again I have never trained for a 100 miler. :)

  2. Have fun and be safe at Leadville training this weekend!