This week's Saturday Morning Long Run took me - and my awesome running buddies - to St. Mary's Falls and Stratton Open Space for a total of 9.5 miles and 2 blisters.
This was my first adventure to St. Mary's Falls but it certainly will not be my last. That trail is amazing! It has everything: hills, steps, shade, prickly-desert-plants, water, invisible rocks waiting to trip you, and views that make every uphill feel like a gift.
Round trip from parking lot to waterfall the route is just over 6 miles, granted we added a bit to that with an off-trail detour into the bush (more commonly known as "getting lost"). In order to feel prepared for next weekend's Garden of the Gods 10-Miler we decided to add another few miles at Stratton, taking us to 9.5 miles in all. With a blister under each foot - thanks to the amazing Hoka's whose one and only flaw is that they eat socks for lunch - I was more than happy to call it a day. Even so, the whole run felt doable which gives me some confidence going into next week's race. Blisters are temporary battle wounds and the fitness gained is well worth it!
Stratton was the first place I ran after moving out here, I ran in the mud in road flats (needless to say, I felt like an idiot). Every time I go back there I look at it as a way to measure progress. Even when the hills are uncomfortable they are infinitely easier than that first run, when I swore over and over again to myself that I hated running and would for no reason take up trail running (yeah, that hatred lasted for less than a week).
With another long run under my shoes, I'm feeling ready to tackle the first leg of the Triple Crown next week. it may not be fast or pretty, but I can trust myself to get it done.
At the top of the falls yesterday - pretty lucky to have this just a few minutes from my front door!