The weather was beautiful yesterday, so I took a break from writing a fascinating paper about Portuguese Foreign and Defense Policy to go for a trail run. On Friday, I ran seven miles at one of my old stand-by trails, Red Rocks Trail, and even though I was a little tired from a fairly hilly run the day before, I decided to make the drive on Saturday to Evergreen, Colorado to run at Three Sisters/Alderfer Open Space. The drive out to Evergreen almost merits a special trip in of itself, as it sends you about ten miles into the edge of the mountain pass on I-70. From I-70, you take the Evergreen Parkway exit and drive by amazing views of the Continental Divide and the Rocky Mountains. In Evergreen, which is charming and I plan on spending a Saturday afternoon in sometime this summer, you pass by pretty Evergreen Lake, then take Buffalo Bill Road up past the high school into the countryside. (Side note, I am extremely jealous of the kids who go to this high school. They have a sweet life.) Anyway, in total, it’s probably about a 40 minute drive from southern Denver, but it is completely worth it.
On Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the main parking lot was not too full, which was shocking because many times the Open Space trails are ridiculously crowded on the weekends. As I started my run, I remembered that one of the reasons I love running at Alderfer/Three Sisters is because it’s one of the few trail runs that I have found where the first mile is not spent running straight up a hill. Instead, the first mile of the run is spent on pleasant, flat trails, so you actually have a chance to warm up before hitting any major hills (mountains!). Plus there are so many different trails it’s like the equivalent of a “Choose Your Own Adventure Book” in trail form. For my run, I basically headed over the Three Sisters on the Ponderosa Trail, ran into Dedisse Park, and then cut back up on Sisters Trail. I hit the major incline on Sisters Trail about 30 minutes into my run, and it was definitely challenging given that I had run a hilly trail the previous day. Overall though, it was a good run and I felt great afterwards. A black squirrel crossed my path at one point during my run and I chose to interpret that as an omen of good luck! By the way, if you look in the picture below you can see the three rock formations that I am assuming gave the area the name “Three Sisters.”
Next Monday I have the Bolder Boulder, so this was probably my last big week of running for a few weeks. I slacked off a bit earlier this week, and I need to run an easy eight miles today to reach my weekly mileage of 40 miles, but next week I look forward to a lot of easy runs. After the Bolder Boulder I will probably take a week off of running – well, that’s not realistic, but at least two or three days!