Throughout the year I try to get out for a good run at least twice a week before work. That means an 'alpine' start of 5:30 a.m. During the summer, early morning is the time to beat the heat and a pleasant time of day to run. In the winter it’s a different matter. Especially right now when the temperature inversion plaguing the Grand Valley has plunged it into the deep freeze. With temps in the single digits, 'cool' running is an understatement. Frigid would be a more accurate description.
But running in the dark on a snow packed trail is actually pretty cool and I’m not just talking about the temperature. For starters packed snow is a great surface to run on as it makes for relatively fast travel and the trail is easily and well lit by headlamp. And at times when there is a full moon, it’s almost bright enough to run without. The views are great too. The city lights twinkle down below as we run along the ridge from Widow Maker to Lemon Squeezer and on towards Kurt's Lane. Later in the winter we will be rewarded with running towards the sun as it rises over the Grand Mesa.
Cool runners work their way up the hill towards Widow Maker.
I admit there are times when I wonder how cool this cool running really is. Like after a fresh snowfall, when finding the trail is hit and miss, and it's a tough workout akin to running in sand. (If you ever see bizarre tracks in the snow seemingly wandering aimlessly in the Lunch Loop area, you know who it is.) Or an icy and treacherous trail results in a rolled ankle. Or when it takes the majority of the day to warm your frozen body, despite wearing ski gloves, several pairs of socks, numerous layers of clothes and a balaclava. But overall the pros outweigh the cons. Getting outside, whatever the weather, there is never a day when I regret a cool run.
An icy Lemon Squeezer results in a fall, as shown by the abnormal headlamp trail.