A drop-dead gorgeous day for a little 7 mile trail run from Georgetown to Idaho Springs this morning. I didn't run particularly well; I had a few minor issues here and there and decided just not to push it; I didn't particularly want to mess up something that could hinder my newly registered for Portland Marathon... and I was still experiencing a little glute pain, especially when I sit (i.e., the car ride to the mts.) so didn't feel like forcing something that hurt too much later.
Catching my breath proved to be a constant struggle from the beginning where the road climbs about 800' in the first two miles. Bad calf tightening early so I stopped to stretch those and to loosen my shoelaces when my arches started cramping. We were still on the road from Georgetown to Guanella Pass and I was walking a lot; it's so steep. Dennis took off and unlike last year where he constantly turned back to see if I was still there, he just climbed and climbed, waiting for me at around each mile. He's becoming a great hill climber. When he was waiting for me at about mile 2, I told him I was having problems with the altitude today and feeling really light-headed. I hadn't been eating much the past couple days (as not to gain 50 lbs. in my exercise-hiatus where I spent a lot of time stretching my glute muscle). I stopped here and took a Tylenol and took the picture to the left. Gorgeous view here of the city of Georgetown and the valley it lies in.
About mile 2.5, you can either stay on the Guenalla Pass Road or you can hang a right and hit the jeep tail...and the jeep trail is what we took. It's really rocky here and you really have to be careful with your footing. I continued with my run/walk combination; my legs were still not loosening up and felt it smart to just nudge along at a snail's pace. Reached the top at about mile 3.5 and elevation 10,100' - we've climbed about 1600' in this time. I can feel the thin air; it's really bothering me more than usual at this altitude. We start running down finally; it feels so good. I start following Dennis' footsteps but the rocks are protruding everywhere and I'm afraid I'm not going to see one with him directly in front of me so I veer off to the right and run along the end of the trail.
We get to this area where there's a fireplace and a large chimney; I guess you could camp here but there's really no level place to pitch a tent. I don't think it's designed for camping, not really sure why this chimney is here. But it is. This is Dennis next to it. We hopped off the trail and ran up this knoll where you could see down onto the highway and to the tiny, cute little town of Silver Plume which was our destination.
We started down again and hit the single lane trail. This section is actually really cool and the most fun part of the run; the trees are thick and the rocks are less cumbersome so not as much negotiating around them. You do, though, need to still constantly watch your footing as there are a lot of large tree roots. Dennis ran in front of me and wasn't that far ahead but there are points/fingers along the trail where you can take a side detour trail and as I followed the main trail, I didn't see him anymore and I thought maybe he took one of these side routes. I took this one for just about a minute before I realized that most likely this was not the correct trail so got back on the main one and started calling Dennis' name. No sound. A little panicky, I continued to run on and again, stopped to call his name. Still no answer. Okay....don't worry, Jill. I finally found him stopped a couple minutes later and let him know never to let me out of his sight again :).
We reached Silver Plum at mile 7 and wandered around a bit. A very interesting little town now; almost a ghost town but at one time was a silver mining town< The Town of Silver Plume>. I believe there are about 190 residents with a few of these Victorian homes sprinkled throughout. There is one convenient-type store there right off the highway, which is hit or miss if it's open (There are no set hours; sometimes open, most times not) so last year when it was not open, we walked back to the "other" road in town and found this charming little bakery. Right there in the middle of this ghost town was this bakery with the best smelling bread and home-made stuff. The little town store was closed today so we walked back to see if the bakery was open and it was. Last year we were there, it was a lot warmer and I guzzled some kool-aid; hit the spot. No Kool-aid found today and not needed as it wasn't as hot but I got some water and ate a couple bites of Dennis' cookie. Yum. The place is for-sale; I hope whomever buys it keeps it operating; it's a wonderful hidden treasure for sure.
As we left town, we stopped at the stream which runs smack through the center of town; it was flowing faster and higher than I've seen it in awhile- most definitely higher than last year as I sat higher on this rock. We stuck our toes in it last year but I refused today - too cold but I did put my hand in and yeah...fresh snow melt IS cold!
We left town exiting via the "residential" street instead of the main street and couldn't help but laugh at this house with hot pink trim; Dennis said it matched my hat so had to have a picture. Yes, a house that matched my soul! It's a pretty cool town; I took a ton of pictures just because,as a photographer (which I don't claim), you could do a lot of damage here.
We ended up running the side bike path along the highway on the way back, due to time and due to the fact I don't think I could muster up the strength to do the strenuous route back that we just took. I was tired and my legs were wobbly. It's only about 3 miles back to Georgetown, all downhill, on the bike path so a lot quicker for sure. The Georgetown Loop railroad was moving up the mountain as we headed down <Georgetown Loop Railroad.> We ended the 10.5 mile run (though Dennis' watch said 8.5....we're not sure who was off but I never once stopped my watch and Dennis must have stopped and restarted about a couple dozen times!); split a nice turkey sandwich with a Bud Light w/lime at a great stop in Georgetown. It was so relaxing to sit outside this little cafe in town and toast to the beginning of trail running season. It's so short-lived so we need to soak it up while we can. I forgot how much a 16oz beer can leave you a little wobbly in altitude, especially as light-headed as I already was. THAT was fun :).
A perfect day!
10.5 miles run