Running in the White Rock Hills east of Boulder today, I could see the smoke from the High Park fire crest the foothills. From my south side vantage point, it looks as big as ever. And it was a fitting backdrop to today’s 10 mile meltdown. I might not have gone except for the tough talk I wrote in yesterday’s blog. And then there’s Amy. Gadget Girl was planning an early morning triathlon up near Horse Shoe Lake. She said she wouldn’t do it if the smoke up there was too bad but I ran in to her kids this morning who said she was competing. If you think about it, there are thousands living in the path of the High Park Fire smoke who don’t have a choice. Rather than back out, Gadget Girl demonstrated her triathlete solidarity with the fire victims. I had to run then too.
The air looked hazy but this far south I couldn’t smell it. I could taste the trail dust which is fine. I was prepared for the heat with my camelbak running vest and a 70 ounce water reservoir. Not to mention sunscreen and a hat. Interestingly, of the few others I saw on the trail were two athletes, one biker and one runner, wearing light wind jackets. I have to assume they were intended to block the sun and maybe there’s some super high tech gear out there I don’t know about yet. It looked odd in 101° heat.
I ran slow to be cautious but committed myself to ten miles by going out 5 on this out-and-back route. I began walking bits of the trail after 6 miles. Long enough walks to replenish fluids and rest my heart. I found it surprising how fatigued my legs felt. It didn’t seem like I could fully blame the scorching sun for my slack pace up those hills. I might have lost some of my conditioning. I probably walked half of the final four miles. Clearly, I’m not acclimated to this level of heat.
The final three miles are pure hills. Massive rolling hills. Nearing mile 9, I began cursing the sun so colorfully my every 3rd word F-bomb paled in comparison to my really bad words. Staring up at the water tower hill I considered selling my salvation to Satan for a downhill homecoming, but my vision of entering hell showed me it would be an up-slope slog.
I probably wouldn’t be here now if not for the refreshing recovery provided by the chilled natural Cabana Lemonade I drank at Big Daddy’s Bagel Shop while they prepared me a smoothie. I drank that puppy down faster than the vodka jello shots at Jen & Kelly’s Halloween party. Today’s run was more than I bargained for. It came down to survival and I walked a bit – maybe only averaging a 5 mph pace. But I’ll be back out there tomorrow. For now it’s all I can do to walk outside to my grill every 30 minutes to baste my slow-cooking pork spare ribs.