Two Classic Trail Runs in Boulder, CO + podcasts

Just like the last couple weeks (aside from when my friends were in town) I really had no interest in getting on the bike this past weekend. The downside of that is I’m probably, definitely losing cycling fitness. But one of the upsides of trail running instead of riding is that I’m done fitness-ing for the day HOURS earlier. When I ride, sometimes I’m not home until 3 p.m., and when I run, sometimes I’m back home by noon if I pick a trail closer to home—which is exactly what I did on Saturday and Sunday—and suddenly I have what feels like a whole entire day ahead of me. 

I’ve been pretty good about finding new trails in the forests, open spaces, and state and national parks near me, but I didn’t have it in me to coordinate a great big expedition. Most weekends I really love doing that because it feels like a fun adventure exploring my state and all its magical mountain trails. But, I don’t know, I think sometimes it would be even better if I had someone to coordinate these things with. Or someone to coordinate it for us. Someone who would wake me up in the morning with coffee and a plan, telling me to just get dressed and get in the car; that the plans were already made and I only had to show up. One day. Anyway.

SATURDAY: Betasso Preserve, 8.3 miles

After several cups of coffee I brewed myself, I headed to Betasso, a Boulder classic and one of my new favorites after running it for the first time a couple weeks ago. It’s closed to cyclists on Saturdays, so I was excited to experience it without rounding every corner with hesitation fearing I’d getting knocked over by a biker taking a turn at 20mph. Betasso has just the right mix of sun and shade, so even when it’s 90* with no clouds in sight, it still feels manageable when the day is heating up.

What made this run even better was listening to Mario interview Nate Jenkins on The Morning Shakeout. Mario and Nate competed against each other in college cross country, then Nate went on to become a professional runner after college, placing 7th in the the 2007 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon.

For a good portion of the podcast, they reminisced on college races and it brought back so many great memories of my own racing in college. I really miss those days. But what really encouraged me to download the episode was Nate’s battle with Runner’s Dystonia, a physically and emotionally debilitating condition that I have also battled since 2012. It ended his career as it did mine.

And the discussion was so comforting because it was the first time in eight years I’d heard a professional runner talk about this disorder. It’s so rare and not many people understand its effects, so as I ran/walked through the woods, I got lost in his story and the similarities we share. More importantly, he made me feel hopeful. A little over eight miles later, I was back in the parking lot totally exhausted, but thankful for that conversation. I’d felt like I just went to therapy.

SUNDAY: Walker Ranch, 8.4 miles

Sunday was the same deal: I stuck close to home and drove to Walker Ranch. It’s another Boulder classic that is super popular on the weekends because it offers a lot of bang for your buck, meaning: you don’t have to drive very far or go very high to get out of town and enjoy amazing views. There’s also a good mix of sun and shade at Walker Ranch, too, which was really nice because I didn’t start until close to 10 a.m. And I also had to park a half mile down the road because the trailhead was totally packed. Park rangers were out there turning cars around and directing them to the overflow lot, which I really appreciated. I know some people get all bent out of shape when they can’t get a spot, but this trail is FREE to explore, it is beautifully groomed, and the state could easily charge for it and make a boat load of money. Because of that I try to be polite to the trail staff.

This run was great and one of my favorites in awhile, and I was absolutely covered in salt by the end. My face and chest and arms were caked in white and the gas station cashier looked at me funny when I walked up to pay for my Gatorade. I didn’t care; they’ve definitely seen crazier in Boulder, that’s for sure!

^^^ I’m choosing to see those as blond hairs, not gray. 

It also went by pretty quickly because I listened to podcasts the whole way. The only thing is…I can’t remember which ones! So, below I’ve linked some of my favorite episodes that I listened to in the last week or so:

This Mind Muscle Project episode with Kara Saunders — I love Crossfit and have followed the sport and its competitors it for years

This Ali on the Run interview with Jenny Simpson

All of the Today Explained Episodes — seriously, every single one

The latest Work Play Love Podcast

This SYSK episodes about Hurricanes — as a former Floridian, it’s truly fascinating

This CyclingTips episode about COVID and threaded bottom brackets

I usually opt for podcasts over music during whatever I’m doing, which is why I get through so many every week. I love learning and listening!

I’m hoping to get out for more trail runs this weekend and maybe even a bike ride. Hope you all are having a great week. What are you listening to these days?

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