bridgeHeil Valley Ranch presents a runner with pine trees.  Not aspen.  Fall still shows herself though in the slow, burnt-orange grasses.  Trail runners feel entitled to watch the change of seasons, to heighten their discernment of the dimming light.  Upside down from spring growth, life is pausing toward winter death.  Trail runners know the color of this pending cessation.  They’re not satisfied until they smell the air, and feel it on their skin.  My running has kept pace with the fall cycle, winding down until my legs are in preservation mode.  Immersion in the season with a mountainside view makes everything okay.

I’ve determined if I’m to be running less for the next year or so, I’m going to take more advantage of the trails, to add quality to my runs.  So I drove out to Heil Valley Ranch, the trailhead off Greer Canyon.  There’s actually another, newer trailhead, just past the turn off Left Hand Canyon.  I didn’t run this new trail but it looks to catch up to the original trailhead.

I always start on the Lichen Loop.  It might add a few meters but mostly it adds a nice warm up hill.  And it’s prettier than the gravel road start.  This joins Wapiti for a 2.5 mile climb.  I saw mule dear half way up.  My legs loosened up at the top where I ran the 2.6 mile Ponderosa Loop.  Got in about 8 miles in all, my longest run in quite some time.

I knew switching jobs would impact my running, so while I’m not happy about it, I expected it.  Today it became obvious that if I’m to run less, I need to make the most of Boulder County’s trails.  Quality runs only.

I’ve could have titled this blog post, Two Weddings and a Deferral.  I’ve been to weddings on the previous two weekends in a row.  And then I had to make the painful decision to cancel a trail race I had planned for next weekend.  Problem was, driving to Utah for the three-day race meant taking off Wednesday through Friday.  Work is like college finals right now and I can’t afford to miss a single day.  The only good news is that I was able to defer my registration to next year.  So I’m running that Grand Circle Trailfest event eventually.  Maybe a year when my personal running is in a growing season.