I waited all day for my 5 miles. It wasn’t so bad at first, the waiting. I lazed in bed, tweeting and pinging until my niece, who was sleeping in her baby bed across the room, woke up and crawled into bed with me. I read her You Can’t Bring a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum for the third time in two days, and we snuggled until she said, “Tia how about we get up.” So we did, and soon the whole family was trekking into Old Town for a diner breakfast, Colorado-style (huevos rancheros). The morning mosied by, first playtime then swimtime and naptime. Sometime between the swim and the nap I started to get restless–it was runtime.
Temperatures had warmed up to 40 degrees as the sun shone like a show-off. Lucky me, still in Lafayette, CO instead of in NYC where the temperatures were at zero and holding. I changed into my aspirational capri tights (aspirational because they are just a little too tight for me still) and two blue tech tees (one short-sleeved, the other long). Got my route from Little Brother–I had to drive a bit to get to the Coal Creek trailhead but once there I could run a peaceful out and back towards Louisville. Trail running! How western! How outdoorsy! How un-urban! Naturally, since I was running unescorted off the [Manhattan] grid, I had a fear I would get lost, even though I had been assured it was an obvious path. Yes, dear readers, you know what comes next.
The path itself was beautiful, well-groomed dirt sections alternating with paved sections. It curved delicately along Coal Creek, it arched up and swooped down like a supine woman stretching beneath a sheet. There were snowy, muddy patches but mostly it was clear, with sure footing. It was bordered by patch forests, and after a while I was running along the back of peoples’ property. (How cool would it be to have your house abut an actual running trail?) I ran over a couple of cute footbridges and through a field riddled with cutie patootie prairie dogs. A couple hopped across the trail, but most of them stood stock still and called to each other with a strange gulpy chirp. Running chick coming through! She’s a city girl, watch out! Then the trail took me across a street, around a switchback and up a hill. The path split, and I could hear my brother’s advice echoing in my head “Use the Force.” Oh no, wait, not that advice; this advice: “Stay to the left.” So I went left, which took me into some gazebo picnic area and the end of the trail. I retraced my steps, and was now thoroughly dazed. I had completely zoned out during my run and had absorbed little in the way of landmarks. All I took in was a general impression of beautiful and altitude sucks. So, I ran in what I though was a part of the path I hadn’t yet gone; when I got to another street to cross I thought, Hhmm, let me turn around here. I looked up, and there were the snow-capped Rocky Mountains stoically asserting themselves from hundreds of miles away. The sky was as blue as blue as blue, and fields rippled golden and brown between the two.
I continued on, running up another hill and switching another back, until I was moving quickly along a dry, windswept ridge that looked down over a farm, and shared the hint of the developed areas of Lafayette. I thought I was running back the way I came, except none of the terrain rang the faintest bell. I started to worry. I ran back the other way, to sort out the intersection to the gazebo area–had I missed a trail there? No. So I ran back along the ridge until finally I got angry and stopped. I asked directions of two people out for a stroll. I had to go back down the hill, re-switchback, and cross the street again to head back towards where my car was parked. Does twice up and down the same hill count as a hill workout?
Finally headed in the right direction, I tried to relax and enjoy the rest of the run. And suddenly I remembered–I’d been here last year, with my brother, as part of a long run. Cool! That made me happy, to think I’d run this way before with someone I love.
The rest of it was uneventful, except that I greeted a dozen dogs, had to slow up through the snowy, muddy parts to avoid slipping, and felt less weary than when I began. Why? Had I finally warmed up, had my heart and lungs finally accepted the fact that they weren’t going to get any more oxygen? No matter. I ran my 5.38 miles in 50:32 and returned home. Average pace 9:23; fastest mile 8:55, slowst mile 9:57.