Run: Slow Trail 16M and CU Rocky Mountain Shootout

Activities3 Comments

With the family out of town, I put out a call for a Saturday AM run. Justin responded with an offer to run and then watch the CU Rocky Mountain Shootout. I was game. Never been to a XC meet. The race started at 9 AM so to get in a good trail run beforehand, he suggested we meet at 6:30 at the race parking lot. That’s the earliest I have run — evar. OK. I didn’t sleep well for some reason so I was up and ready to go. We met in the darkness in a grass field which would later become the overcrowded parking lot for the event. First 2 cars there!

We headed off south and then crossed Highway 93 and went out on the Mesa Trail. It was a brisk 30+ degrees. Gloves were required. Saw a bunch of deer along the way. They are always out there in the early AM.

We got to the South Mesa Trailhead and continued across to Dowdy Draw and then up into the Spring Brook Loop trails. I had never been back in those parts. Nice singletrack trails weaving through the trees. Good moderate inclines but never anything you couldn’t run. We wove around and ended up coming into the Fowler Trail which leads into Eldorado Canyon State Park. The views when entering the park from this direction are great and take you by surprise. You come through this cut in the rock to unveil the park. Nice touch! We headed back out the park’s front entrance and made a straight line path back to the race course so we could catch the start of the Shootout.

The Shootout is a cross-country race. 6K for girls; 8K for guys. Mostly collegiate runners but anyone can sign-up in the open division and run with them. So if you want to get your ass kicked by some fast CU guys and gals, this is your race. Girls went out first and team star Jenny Barringer was out in front. She looked like she was just sailing past us. When I calculated her pace from her course record time today, she was running like 5:10. Wow.

The guys went next and the pack was much tighter for a while. We moved around the course and watched from a couple vantage points. I think Justin knew the names of more people in the race than anyone there.

Planned on taking more video on our run before the race but my fingers covered with my gloves and I was just zoning out trying to keep pace with Justin. He said he was going to have an easy run but he put me through my paces out there. My legs were sluggish from the start after several days of hard runs and yesterday’s 20M run. But I got out there and followed it up with another 16M today. Feels great to be able to do those back to back. My HR was in the top of the slow range for most of the run. I wasn’t monitoring it during but my legs were dictating the pace today. Anyway, mostly captured some of the Shootout.

Thanks for the run and race, Justin. Hope I wasn’t too slow for you.

I went 16.04 miles with an elevation gain of 1,531 feet in 02:15:28, which is an average pace of 08:26. View my GPS data.