Come autumn, there’s no where I’d rather be that in the Rocky Mountains, where aspen trees are golden, fresh snow dusts the 14ers and blue skies are guaranteed.
The best way I know to celebrate this spectacular time of year is to run trails with some great friends. A few weeks ago I went to Marble, Colorado with friends Sari, Joy and Wendy to run the Lead King Loop, a 16-mile race on dirt roads through the Lead King Basin.
This year’s race also served as USATF Colorado 25K Trail Championships, which drew out some speedy racers, though our focus was on merely enjoying the day. We all had low expectation as far as “race performance” was concerned for various reasons: I was battling a head cold, Joy had just given birth 7 weeks earlier, Sari was tired from a heavy week of training for the Adventure Racing World Championship in Tasmania and Wendy is an avid hiker and cyclist who runs only occasionally.
But nevertheless, we all had a great day, with Sari even scoring 5th against a stacked women’s field. I was just happy to finally be at a race–only my second this year–after a busy summer spent traveling for work or family activities.
Since being competitive is less of a priority these days, I could really just enjoy this run–and stop along the way to snap a few photos.
Groovin’ on Aspen’s Government Trail
Last weekend, Sari Anderson and I joined Trail Runner magazine associate editor Ashley Arnold for a run from Snowmass to Aspen, Colorado along the famous Government Trail (home of the Golden Leaf Half Marathon).
Sari had placed second at this year’s Golden Leaf race, but was happy to return so soon for a “fun run” at an enjoy-the-view type of pace.
The opening miles were a slog up the ski hill from Snowmass Village, but once we got on the rolling singletrack that is the Government Trail proper, we found ourselves in a golden, glittering hallway of aspen trees.
We three have vastly different running strengths, race different events train very differently, and yet we still had so much in common. We spoke about Ashley and Sari’s upcoming races, training strategies and our common issues with eating a healthy diet. It seems we all have a particular vice–whether it’s cereal for dinner, ice cream for dessert or a pastry every morning–we all have something we could do better.
And what about abs? Does the post-pregnancy flab ever disappear? Ashley, a cross-fit enthusiast as well as kick-ass trail runner, told Sari and me some of her favorite ab-busting drills that should do the trick.
Upon reaching the run’s end in downtown Aspen, we found our husbands ready to hand off the kids and take their turn on the trails. Having ticked off yet another stunning day in the mountains with great women, I was relaxed and free to enjoy the rest of the day’s activities.