What I'm trying to say is...I turned 30!!!!! And, to celebrate the milestone, we headed west for desert yellow pastures, soaring mountain peaks, thin, dry air, and sun so bright and wonderful you can't help but smile and be happy as a clam.
Naturally, we headed for even thinner air. Our hostess supreme for a couple of days, Julia, took us on a 3ish hour hike up a mountain to see some glacial lakes and we started our adventure at the trailhead for the Fourth of July Trail, a short drive outside of Nederland, Colorado. BTW, Nederland is adorably cute...and they have a bar that puts on a $2 PBR happy hour each day...hello!
With Julia, and our trail scout, Charlie
The hike was so beautiful and challenging enough for these flatlanders. We climbed from 10,000ish feet to a good ways above 12,000 feet, to Arapahoe Pass. I know we started on the Fourth of July Trail, but then followed a different trail system the rest of the way up. Julia and Geof were in charge of navigating. I was in charge of using up the camera battery, and drooling over the landscape.
On top! Arapahoe Pass, super chilly, super beautiful, super rocky, and there was a dude climbing DOWN to where we were after having skiied some gnarly backcountry routes higher up...that's hardcore. He was hiking down the mountain in his ski boots...
Okay, so there is some running content in here. We did a couple runs, but mostly kept it low key as I was still letting some post-50 miler blisters heal up and generally wanting to recover like a champ. We stopped over in Lakewood to watch some of the Bear Chase 50 Mile run on our way out of town. Super hot day, and peeps were looking pretty beat up from it. It appears to be an entirely exposed course with great views of how far you still have to go and plenty of demoralizing sun and cotton mouth. I felt pretty thankful to be on the spectating side of things that day :)
Oh, I have great news! Well, first I should let you know that things didn't go so well with my first date with Montrail's Rogue Racers. I mean it was fine and all, but I didn't fall in love at first footstrike. In fact, not at all. I fell in 'like' with them. My first pair were too small, so they immediately got shipped back, and I simultaneously ordered a new pair in a 1/2 size up. Couple days later, round two. This time they fit just fine, but I still only liked them. I waltzed around in them for a couple hours in the apartment, but ultimately I knew it wasn't meant to be. "It's not you, it's me." I held onto them a few days more, still stewing over them. I also tried a pair of the New Balance WT101s that peeps are hog wild over...awful. I slipped them on, stood up, and slipped them off. Definitely not the shoe for me. I'm of the mind nowadays that you shouldn't have to 'break in' a running shoe, it should work immediately if it's the right shoe for you. My Wildcats are the right shoe :) So, back to the virtual store those shoes went. Defeated and saddened by my shoexperience, I resolved to not cheat on my Sporty Cats again.
Then, we went to Boulder.
I cheated so bad on my Sporty Cats, and they were in the car the whole time it happened! ;) We skipped up to Boulder Running Company to check out their trail shoe selection Thursday afternoon and, be still, my beating heart, we were in heaven! There were so many trail shoes! So many pretty runner things! Though I only ended up trying on two pair of shoes, both of which made my heart flutter. But only one had me singing sweet melodies as soon as I laced them up. Enter: La Sportiva Quantum. Read about them HERE on iRunFar.com, and HERE. I really wanted to try its sister shoe, the Electron, but they only stocked the Quantum. They are awesome!
My new pretties, layered in Red Rocks dust :)
A little jog outside the store sealed the deal. I then wore them on our three hour hike the next day, and again on an hour run around Matthews/Winters Park, next to Red Rocks on Saturday. They handled the dry, sandy, dusty, and rocky steep stuff extremely well. They were a tad iffy on super slick/wet surfaces (rock-hopping across a waterfall-fed stream), but no worse than most of my other shoes. They fit like a sock and fail to rub any spots in the wrong way. I will put them to a real test during my long run this weekend. My only beef is that the tongue slides to the side because it's a tad long. I may cut it down because of that.
No worries, I am NOT replacing my Sporty Cats; my Quants will simply be a new addition to my running shoe line-up :)
Training is coming along quite nicely! We are about to close out Week 10, wowza! JJ100 = 6 weeks away :)