The hips don’t lie… {trail running}

We’ve been spending a lot of time on the trails lately. If the weather isn’t good enough for biking and trail running we compromise, find a more technical trail and hike it. Sometimes we run a bit but Chris strongly prefers biking so usually its just hiking. Besides, I like having an excuse to not run up some of the more technical trails!

This week we headed to Green Mountain {aka, William Frederick Hayden Park} and Lair o’ the Bear. We’ve been to Green Mountain multiple times but haven’t seen all the trails yet. Lair o’ the Bear was something new for us. A little more online research would have been useful but it was a fun little jaunt.

Green Mountain

Before we could do any biking we needed to put new brakes on Chris’s bike. That’s the beauty of running…no replacing anything. Of course, that is also kind of the downfall of running, but I digress. What I’m getting at is the fact that we got a bit of a late start to our afternoon outing. It became more of an evening outing.

Trail running at Green Mountain
…Denver, what is with this nasty haze you’ve acquired?!

Chris had plans to ride the entire loop around the park and I was going to veer off on a shorter loop. If all went well we would end up at the car around the same time. We parked at the main southeast lot and from there you have two options – up switch backs with the rest of the people or around the corner and straight up the side. We opted for the straight up option.

Trail running at Green MountainTrail running at Green Mountain

My legs made it about a half mile on the steady uphill before they gave up. After steady climbing the trail turns and heads straight up. In a quarter of a mile you gain about 200 feet. Doesn’t sound unbearable…but when it’s on extremely rocky trail? A bit harder. I made it up the first half of this stretch and gave myself a break. The rocks were just the right size to be a complete pain – too big for gravel, too small for boulders. They just slid around. Chris wasn’t loving it either – its rather difficult to ride on ground that keeps moving around!

Trail running at Green Mountain
…part of the switch back, not much easier to run down, nearly face planted a few times…

After that first big climb it was a mix of up and down. The loop I ran was shorter than I expected so headed up the trail Chris was coming down so I won’t miss him and made it back to the car just in time to stretch before he showed up. Perfect timing. It was a great run. I spent about 50 minutes running and I think its safe to say I got about 4 miles in – according to the mile markers and a quick check on

Not a speedy fast run by any means but there was a fair amount of climbing, a bit of hiking and I did stop for photos a few times. I’m really glad I broke up with the Garmin – we would not have enjoyed this run together!

Trail running at Green Mountain

While I was pretty peeved to be leaving so late for our run/bike the sunset turned out to be quite pretty. I guess Denver’s haze has its perks…a colorful sky without a cloud in it! The best part of trail running is the fact you can get away from the city. Even with a main road running right along the park it didn’t feel at all like I was just a stones throw away from suburbia!

Lair o’ the Bear

When we got up Saturday morning the first thing I felt were my hips. Holy buckets. Shakira was right – the hips don’t lie! The run at Green Mountain got me about 800 feet of elevation gain and some steep down hill {Which my back didn’t feel at all! Yay!} and apparently my hips need a little strengthening.

Rather than go all gung-ho on the trails again I decided to take it easy. We had heard of Lair o’ the Bear a few times and after deciding White Ranch and Golden Gate Canyon had far too much climbing we decided to check out Lair o’ the Bear. It was a bit of a drive into the foothills but the temps were playing with 60 when we left Denver so snow really wasn’t a concern.

Trail running and mountain biking at Lair o the Bear

Turns out the trail did have some packed snow on it, but nothing major. At times something like Yaks Traks would have been handy but I survived. However, we should have done a bit more research before leaving the house. From what we gathered {if this happens to be your research I want to admit this is an assumption we have not verified} there is another park a ways up – Pence Park – that the trail leads to and we may have been better off starting there? Or at least creating a run/bike/drive loop from there.

Had we spent some time Google-ing we probably would have found that dropping Chris off at Pence Park to start the mostly downhill {It’s along a river, kind of has to go downhill – or so we figure.} ride while I drove down the Lair o’ the Bear for a short recovery run would have been a better choice. Live and learn. We’ll give it a shot next time.

Trail running and mountain biking at Lair o the Bear

We did loop through the trails right near the parking lot at Lair o’ the Bear and had a bit of fun. It wasn’t nearly as crowded as I expected for a Saturday. The parking lot was pretty full but the trails were relatively empty. Of course, a good portion of the trails near the parking lot here hiker only so for all I know they were packed.

I had a lot of fun with this run. Chris and I started out together – me running, him on his bike – and we managed to stick together for the majority of the time. I was able to keep up with him on the uphill but he got ahead on the downhill.

Trail running and mountain biking at Lair o the Bear

While the trails near the parking lot – without any out and back – got us only about 2 miles in I enjoyed it. There were switch backs, some steeper climbs, fun downhills and flatter, rolling terrain. And it was all along a the Bear Creek.

Trail running and mountain biking at Lair o the BearTrail running and mountain biking at Lair o the Bear

The frozen creek was really pretty and from my experience running along this same creek in town I think its safe to say these trails would be really beautiful in the summer time! Even with the creek being froze there were critters all around. If we can figure out the Bear Creek Trail and how it links to Pence Park this place has some potential.


The hips don’t lie… {trail running} — 5 Comments

  1. Running on an 800 ft. elevation trail – go Heidi! 😀
    And yeah – I think the layer of haze around Denver is from all of the commuters! Shane and I had to drive to Centennial this week, and the traffic through Denver was really bad – even though it was only 4:00.
    Paige @ Your Trainer Paige recently posted..Friday 5My Profile

    • You’re probably right – we had the joy of driving from Boulder to Denver at 5pm today! Not recommended! I guess the haze of winter is better than the smoke of summer…right?

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