Spring is here!
I woke to the smell of rain. I was born in the Pacific Northwest and the fragrance of precious rain will forever be a visceral experience that instantly transports me to a different time and place. Thus, it was completely fitting that our weekly Saturday Morning Run took us on a trail that we haven’t visited since the ice and snow of winter settled onto the backbone of the mountain many months ago.
Beth and I were the only ones to show for the Saturday Morning Run around Kohler Mesa. Seeing that it was just us chickens, we headed up the street from the parking lot at Bear Creek Elementary to the trailhead. The streets were empty, the trail was all ours, and we owned it.
A mile into the run we hit the one and only “up” section. This is a steep hill that doesn’t do anything except gain elevation at a really fast pace. I used to hike this trail with my dog several times a week (before I started running) and I was always winded by the time I reached the top. Today though, we were so intent on our conversation that neither of us could be bothered to shut up and just BREATHE while we ran up a large, long hill. Our pace slowed, we timed our words to our exhales, and managed to sustain a “conversation” pace the entire way up the hill to Kohler Mesa.
We reached the top and my heart was pounding hard. Too hard. “I have to walk for a minute”, I gasped to Beth, and being the sweetheart that she is, she agreed to walk to give me a minute to bring my racing pulse back into aerobic range. We ended up walking a good five minutes until we reached the Mesa Trail, at which point we commenced running the rest of the route. Now that we were on the flat Mesa Trail, the only thing left to do was dodge rocks, watch for mountain lions, and head back down to the trailhead.
We finished our little 5-mile loop in 51 minutes, chatted for a few more minutes, then said goodbye as we went our separate ways. I was glad the run had been a shortened version of our “regular” Kohler Mesa loop, because my lungs have lost their massive capacity for trail running in the Foothills of Colorado. I’ll have to build up again, and Spring is a perfect time to let the lungs out of their winter “hibernation”.