Hiking and Trail Running, Mediocre Athlete-Style

Every month or so I head to Colorado for work. This time around, I brought Jason with me so we could attend my boss’s housewarming party (I use the word “house” loosely, as 12,000 sq. ft is less of a “house” and more of a “Xanadu”). We spent the 4th of July hiking and trail running in Colorado Springs. That may sound impressive at first until I tell you that I both fell on my ass in true Mediocre Athlete fashion and we got horribly lost and ended up going twice as far as intended. Never go hiking with us unless you want people to stumble across your squirrel-eaten carcass months later.

Jason and I drove over to Colorado Springs (we held our breaths as we passed the Focus on the Family Visitor Center exit so we wouldn’t get our souls stolen) and parked at a 6.5 mile trail head so we could do a hike/trail run. We had an 18 mile run scheduled for that day but figured we could manage to do a 3 hour hike/jog in the high elevation (around 7,000 feet) and trail terrain and call it good. It was a hot, sunny day and the trail was virtually deserted. We ran when we could and walked when we felt like our hearts would explode.

I snapped a picture of Jason as he tried not to look like he was drenched in sweat:

I made him take a picture of me before we ventured on:

It's not a fanny pack, I swear

After a little bit, we stopped so I could do the requisite “self-portrait attempt” with my long monkey arms. 10 times out of 10 this results in me cutting off the top of Jason’s head in the photo (stupid 11″ height differential). Here’s attempt #3:

He gave up and crouched down to my height

We ran a bit further and came across a little foot bridge that took us over a tiny stream trickle and some rocks:

The roaring waterfall

Foot bridge over the mighty rapids

Since it was so hot outside, I splashed some of the cold water on my arms and neck. When I turned around, I saw a little butterfly. “OMG, NATURE! MUST TAKE PICTURE!”

Jason patiently waited for his dorky girlfriend. When I was ready to leave, he jokingly said, “Don’t slip and get swept away by the strong current.” I was like, “Hurr durr, I won’t,” and then promptly slipped on the rocks, fell on my ass, and slid a few feet down towards the foot bridge. It was so ridiculously inept that I couldn’t help but laugh:

Then: “Wait a sec, I didn’t sit on the butterfly, did I?”

Thankfully, I did not have a squished butterfly corpse smeared across my ass. After laughing heartily at me for a few minutes, Jason helped me up, cleaned me off, and we finished our trail run.

From that trail head we drove over to the Garden of the Gods, a park that has a bunch of cool rock formations and lots of intersecting trails. We got a map at the gift shop and decided to do a 4 mile loop. While running, we came across a couple who offered to take a picture of us in front of some rocks. It turned out pretty ridiculous:

We so tiny!

We had to dodge a ton of horse crap on the trails because a bunch of dooshers were riding horses and couldn’t be bothered to clean up the giant dung piles their animals left behind. Running amidst steaming horse shit on a hot, sunny day aren’t my ideal hiking conditions, but to each his own.

Jas and I tried to head back to the car to complete our 4 mile loop, but since all of the trains intersect and run into each other like one huge clustermuck, we ended up on the wrong trail and went in the opposite direction. This happened roughly 4 or 5 times, and we both got crabbier and crabbier. My stomach started to get upset due to lack of calories combined with the elevation and heat. At one point we came across a deer and I considered mauling and eating it for sustenance, but since we had only been wandering around for a couple hours, I figured I should wait a bit longer before resorting to drastic measures.

You lucked out, deer. Next time it's venison for you!

We kept getting turned around and had to double back multiple times. I was sweaty, stinky, and tired, and I wanted this stupid trail run to be over. (Jason later told me that I had “murder” in my eyes. He knows me well.) Finally we gave up trying to make sense of the 50 random trail paths and hiked up to the road, and we ran along it until we were able to get our bearings and figure out which parking lot we needed to head towards. Our 4 mile run turned into about a 9 mile nightmare, and we ended up running probably about 15 miles total. I convinced myself that it was good training for Canada.

Jas and I got back to the hotel, cleaned ourselves off, and drowned our “we suck at hiking” sorrows in various fried foods at a nearby New Orleans-style seafood restaurant. Nothing like immediately replenishing the calories you burned plus an extra thousand! The hike went as expected for us: it started out fun but got mucho sucky towards the end, but we were still glad we did it and can laugh about it now. (Come to think of it, that’s usually how races go, too.)

2 Responses to “ “Hiking and Trail Running, Mediocre Athlete-Style”

  1. teresa says:

    Glad you can keep the butterflies and deers from becoming extinct!

    Great job finding fitness during your travels!!! tn

  2. Rebecca says:

    Haha, we try. ;P

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *