On Easter Sunday, I took to the Colorado Front Range trails around Red Rocks Amphitheater for a final long run before racing the Northface ECS 50K in DC on April 18th.
I haven’t been running trails recently after re-aggravating an Achilles injury a few weeks ago. I have been supplementing my fitness with cycling, and mixing in brick workouts on the spin bike followed by short park runs.
Needless to say, I was overly excited to get back on the trails and link together an ambitious 18.5-miles of trails close to home. I covered a course that was first introduced to me during the Human Potential Running Series Monster Marathon Fat-Ass run last November:
As you can see above, my first time on this route was on a bitter-cold & blustery day back in November. I covered 27-miles that day in about 5-1/2 hours. I had a different plan on Easter Sunday, as my training intent was to log miles over rolling trails, and not do too much exhaustive climbing.
I started the run in the Stegosaurus Lot on Highway 93. The route combines the trails of Matthews/Winter Park into Red Rocks Park, across Dinosaur Ridge, circles around Green Mountain, and finishes on Dakota Ridge.
I’m awful with remembering which trails I take, so I immediately made notes in my phone when I returned to my car:
Red Rocks Trail – Dakota ridge – Zorro – Green Mtn Trail – Summit Loop – Box ‘O Rox – Zorro – Dakota Ridge
Check out my Strava details for more accurate course directions.
I adjusted the Monster Marathon course by removing the Mt. Morrison summit, which would have been unnecessary climbing for the race course specific simulation that I was hoping to achieve.
After two and a half hours of running, I returned to my car exhausted, yet completely satisfied. I was dialed-in and focused throughout the run, felt strong and confident with my footing and my pace, and was challenged significantly by the final climb of 700-ft in the last 2-miles on Dakota Ridge.
All in all, this is a fantastic route to bank some trail miles over varied terrain. Oh and linking all these parks together makes you feel like you own the front range!