Friday, March 7, 2014

Top 5 Running Memories: Rocky Mountain High

We were in Estes Park, Colorado for a family gathering. Estes Park is the on the main road leading into Rocky Mountain National Park. My run was a simple trail run in the National Park. The day before I had been mountain biking and during the ride was tracked by a Mountain Lion. On this day I told Mary exactly where I was running and exactly how long it would take me. I gave her a 2 hour window. 15 minutes to get to the trail head, 90 minutes to run, 15 minutes to return. I got up early and headed to the trail. The day was beautiful and clear. The run was going great and because it was 90 minutes I didn't take food or water. The course I had chosen was a loop. At the 45 minute mark or so I started to get nervous because I hadn't seen my turn for the loop. Remember, this is Rock Mountain National Park, it was not a Sunday hike type trail. I continued on and realized at an hour I was not where I wanted to be. I decided to back track. As I was heading back up the trail a group of hikers was coming down. The last in the group was a Park Ranger. He asked where I was going and then said, no you are not, those clouds you see are about to open up with a huge thunder storm and you don't want to be anywhere close to it. He gave me an alternate route. Within 5 minutes it was raining, with lightning so close I could feel it. I ran the route he gave me. What he failed to tell me is that it was adding 10 miles to my run. 2:30 hours now and I'm still running. I finally started seeing some signs for a trail exit which I took. At the 3 hour mark of my run I found a bus stop. I sat down and waited, hoping the bus was running. It seemed like hours but it was only 15 minutes later the bus came. Luckily it was a free bus in the park. I hopped on it, and took it to my car. I showed up at the lodge 2 hours late. Needless to say, it's been held against me for 12 years now. Each time I go out of the house I have to give Mary a window and If I'm late the story of Rocky Mountain High comes back and haunts me.

In the end though I loved the run. I bonked hard, froze, got lost and lived to do it again.

It's a good life….
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