After so many years of trying to stay in shape while juggling a family and many other demands, I finally figured out what really motivates me to get out the door. Its not an inviting sunny day, a directive on my workout plan or the threat of a race. Its most definitely getting together with friends and doing something fun after the workout — coffee, breakfast, beer or in today’s case, shopping at a popular biannual factory sale of fabulous, incredibly discounted handbags. Dangle something fun in front of my nose and I’ll hit the trail for an hour in anticipation of my reward!!!
Today’s carrot was shopping at Maruca’s biannual factory sale following our workout. Our eager group of runners assembled at a home in Littleton to carpool up to Boulder for an hour run on the Tom Watson Trail. The views of the Flatirons and Boulder reservoir were spectacular and we enjoyed lovely cool weather. After a little bagel picnic in the park, we headed over to the Maruca headquarters to take our place in line. Twice a year, this manufacturer of really cute handbags, totes and zipper cases holds a factory sale. The rock bottom prices attract a long line of customers. This was the first time I was able to go and was so excited to see all the goodies!
Being a resourceful shopper, I dipped into the box of remnants and came home with a bag full of scraps and cording So far, I’ve sown together some coordinating pieces and drafted some patterns to make my own pocketed zipper bags. Tune in later for some photos of my creations!
Sweeping Views of the Snow-capped Front Range and Pike’s Peak
I am always amazed when I have the opportunity to try a new running trail and today was such a day. Shari Zimmerman, a member of my running club, knew about the East West Trail in Highlands Ranch from her son who lives nearby. And several weeks ago, when she described the beautiful mountain views and the lovely hilly trail, our group was eager to check it out. And today was the day!
The East West Trail is tucked in the stunning Back Country neighborhood just past Mountain Vista High School on Wild Cat Reserve Parkway. It is a soft surface trail approximately 19.5 miles long stretching from Red Stone Park to Ridgegate Parkway with future connections to Lone Tree and Parker. We carpooled the 20-30 minutes from our homes in Littleton and Lakewood and parked at Red Tail Park just off 2674 Pemberly Avenue. When we arrived, the park full of school children and the sun was shining. A another warm blue-sky Spring Colorado day! By 8:05 am, the 10 of us had hit the trail.
We knew from Shari’s description that the trail was an uphill climb for almost a mile. And she’s wasn’t kidding! With a pounding heart, I jogged and walked up the steep grade in about 12 minutes and at the top, was greeted with a sweeping view of the snow capped Front Range and clear views of both Pike’s Peak to the south and Mount Evans to the West. Wow! Vistas like this just make me love Colorado and appreciate my good fortune to live here. After catching my breath and reading some of the trail signs, my companions and I continued on the public trail for another 20 minutes and turned around.
Along the way, there were narrow dirt paths shooting off the main trail with signs warning nonresidents to stay off the private property. I wondered if my sister Pam’s residence in Highlands Ranch would qualify her (and her guests) to use these trails? For today, we enjoyed the wide, well maintained public trail. On the way back, most of us were able to run a bit faster. – a real treat! After an hour on the trail, we met back at the parking lot and all headed to Pierre Michel French Bakery for breakfast. What a delight to enjoy French pastries, omelets, quiches and coffee at this lovely local restaurant!
After I got home and did a little more research, I was happy to find that there is a East-West Trail Half Marathon and 10k on June 10. I will have spend some more time training on that big hill before I register!
This morning I met my running group for a lovely sunny Spring run on the Two Brands Trail in Hildebrand Ranch Park. This newer trail in Littleton is accessible from my neighborhood of Trailmark and from a parking lot on Deer Creek Canyon Road. This time of year, the grasses are low and the rattlesnakes have not yet appeared in the relatively cool weather. A perfect time to hike, run or bike this five mile loop! Today’s idyllic four mile jog brought to mind another similar expedition in June 2015 which followed a Seattle-like rainy May in Colorado. That morning, we reveled in the sea of colorful wildflowers and ambled much of the way taking photos and posing — until we saw the bear tracks on the trail.
Fortunately, we didn’t see the bear tracks until after we turned around. We’d run about 30 minutes out and had turned around to head back down the hill to our cars. I was the first to see the bear paw prints in the dirt and alerted the others. Geez — there was bear somewhere nearby and it had trotted along the same path we had run on for about a quarter of a mile! We knew the bear probably wouldn’t bother us as long as we were noisy. So we talked and concentrated on finishing our run — fast! We all laughed how normally we might slowing down on the last leg of a run but not today. Being one of the slower runners in the bunch, I focused on keeping a brisk pace and not being the last one. Nothing like a bear to motivate a slow jogger!
Whew! We all made it to our cars safely with a load of beautiful photos and a lot to talk about at our post-run coffee klatch!