Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Apex Park... my chocolate run

In the past few weeks I've been enjoy a well deserved rest and it has been quite freeing. By "rest" I don't mean that I'm not running; I just don't currently have any structure to my running. I haven't done any soul-killing filler runs. I call those shorter, bread-and-butter, squeeze-in-before/after-work-but-don't-really-look-forward-to-them runs "filler runs." Instead I've just been running when I feel like it and going to some of my favorite destinations for longer runs. I don't plan out the mileage, I just bring enough food and water for a couple of hours and see how I feel.

While running today at Apex Park in Golden I was thinking about how this style of running is like eating an all-chocolate diet. And if you don't like chocolate it's like eating only tenderloin. And if you are a vegan it's like eating a lot of fruit? I really don't know what vegans look forward to. At any rate, I've been enjoying it immensely and relishing it because I know I can't live on chocolate alone. I've already got my training schedule mapped out for my first 50k in June and it looks overwhelming. I've got a lot of miles ahead of me and a lot of filler runs.

Today, though, I finally started feeling excited about the upcoming structured schedule instead of feeling overwhelmed. My body surprised me and though I had a lot of stomach distress I managed to run farther and faster than I thought I could. Going in to this season I am a lot tougher both mentally and physically than this time last year. Last year I was preparing for a road marathon that I was not excited to run. This year I'm preparing for a few challenging races on some of my favorite trails.

And as I ran at Apex Park I realized that I will never grow weary of these trails. If we moved to Golden and these runs became my filler runs, I would be the happiest girl in the world. In Apex Park you can find relief from the relentless sun and blistering heat of the lower parks. You get to experience rocky climbs, pretty pine forests, and trickling creeks. And you get a lot less of those crusty dusty boogers that form from running in the more exposed, dry parks. 

The only downside for me is that sometimes I get nervous about mountain lions. The first time I explored Apex I didn't even think about it, but then when I went running there with Kristen before Thanksgiving we saw a mountain biker whiz past with a readied knife. The only explanation I could think of is that there must be mountain lions in the area. Even if that isn't the explanation, I can't stop thinking about mountain lions when I'm running in the more wooded sections. Since my trusty dog hates trails, I can't bring her on longs runs. Embarrassingly today I brought a knife. Maybe it was a false sense of security that surged through my veins, but it was security nonetheless. 

Confession: at one point I realized that having the knife was not enough. If I actually got attacked I wouldn't be able to get it out in time to fight off the lion. So I got it out, opened it, and ran with it in my hand. When I heard a rustling up the trail I felt a shot of adrenaline only to realize that it was just a woman hurtling down the trail towards me. I tried to shut the blade in time but once it's open it locks into place and takes a few seconds to figure out. After that I decided that running with an open knife was more likely to hurt me than any mountain lion.

Here are some pictures:

Funny looking deer friend.

This is December, folks.

The only snow I've seen in a while.

I must have seen at least 30 deer throughout the day. If I was a mountain lion I know where I'd be.

View of the city.

Green Mountain in the distance where we often run.


  1. Looks like a wonderful day! Which 50k?

    1. Golden Gate Dirty Thirty. You should do it too! After American River you would have 2 months to recover. Harder terrain but less miles. http://www.goldengatedirtythirty.org/