SO today I did the 8.4 mile loop at Apex, in Golden, near Heritage Square.
It was tough. It was hot. I had to walk a lot of the uphills. Running on the downhills made my knees hurt. I ran out of water. I almost got hit by bikers - several times. I started to wonder if I was really cut out for this burro racing thing. I started to feel discouraged and out of shape.
And then I listened to the forest and creek and the birds and smelled the mountain air and watched the miles disappear behind my running shoes, took a deep breath, and kept on going. Yes, I had to take breaks. Yes, my legs will be sore tomorrow. But I did 8.4 miles!
Bonus: I saw a family of elk up there - two babies, a big dad, and a cow. They were dappled in the shade when I was on the "Enchanted Forest" portion of the trail. It was pretty magical.
And the biggest news of the day... BIG BIG news! I got a burro!!
With the help of the lovely Bill Lee of Laughing Valley Ranch, I have secured a burro! Bill is quite the Summit County/ Park County character. He does storytelling, Santa Clausing (with a Reindeer!), and serves as the resident "Mountain Man" for lots of festivals, etc.
He also happens to do the long course at Fairplay EVERY year! He says the long course is considerably more grueling than running 100 miles in one day, which he has also done. AND he also happens to have a bunch of burros that he often lends out to amateurs like me. http://www.laughingvalleyranch.com/.
Tomorrow morning I head up for a practice run with Bill - he is going to try to match me up with a burro of similar speed (or slowness). He asked me if I wanted to run from Loveland down to Idaho Springs with him - a half marathon with one of his burros - just for practice. Luckily he also offered me the option of running 3-4 miles with him and the burros. More like it. SO tomorrow is the big day! I'll make sure to take pics of the next step in the adventure.