Friday, March 22, 2013

Resort Running: Colorado Springs

I am currently on a flight home from Colorado Spring, CO where I attended a conference at the Broadmoor. The Broadmoor is an expansive, breathtaking resort, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. I had never been there before and I was blown away by how beautiful the property and surrounding area was.

I arrived on Wednesday afternoon and I had a few hours to myself before the networking reception and dinner. I used this time to visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, which was located on a mountain about 2 miles away from the resort. I hadn’t researched the area beforehand so I was very pleasantly surprised when I learned that there was a zoo so close by.

The zoo’s main attraction was the giraffes. There were about 8-10 of them, and visitors were allowed to
Zebras at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
feed them. After spending a few minutes admiring the giraffes, I made a bee line for the zebras. There were two of them and they were adorable. At first they didn't do much other than stand there, but then they started running around and playing, which was fun to watch. I think I hung out there for about 20-30 minutes. I loved watching all the little kids come up and say “zebra!”

After procuring a plush zebra from the zoo gift shop, I returned to the resort.  I scoped out my running route for the following day. It would be laps around the resort lake. I wasn’t going to be too adventurous and leave the resort for safety reasons. But had I been there longer, and able to run in daylight, I probably would have tried to tackle some hills.

I’ll pause here and take a moment to recap my marathon recovery. I woke up on Sunday and my legs didn’t hurt. There was some minor soreness in the left quad, but it felt as if I had run a 10K or a 10-miler. I was more sore after the Love Rox half marathon from the hills and staircases, and I’ve even been more sore after some 10Ks. On the one hand, I was glad because this meant I could probably jump right back into training. On the other hand, it indicated that my legs could have carried me much faster than they did during the marathon, and I didn’t run it to my full physical ability.

I had a massage scheduled for Sunday, and the therapist spent the entire hour on my neck and back.  The original intent was for this massage to help speed recovery of my legs, but I didn’t feel like I needed that.  What I needed was to relieve the tension that I had built up over the past week due to pre-race anxiety.

By Monday, I felt like my legs were good to go, but to be on the safe side I waited until Tuesday to run. I did 4 easy miles, and it was as if I had never raced. When I think about it, my average marathon pace of 8:45 is my easy run pace, so it wasn’t much different than doing a 26.2 mile training run.  Wednesday was another easy 4, and everything still felt good.

Thursday morning, I set out for my run around the lake. According to my Garmin, each lap around the lake was 0.7 mile. The resort is at about 6,000 feet of elevation so I expected it to be hard from a breathing perspective. It was 36 degrees, completely dark out, with a little bit of wind.

I would have loved to have started my run later so that I could enjoy the beautiful sunrise over the mountains, or so that I could even see the mountains. But I had to be on a call at 7:00am before my conference started, so I had no choice but to go early.  During the first five minutes, I found that I wasn’t able to breathe as deeply as I could at home. But I either quickly got used to that feeling, or it was all in my head to begin with. Once I got going, I didn’t even notice the altitude affecting me.

I ended up running a 10K around the lake, which was 9 laps. During the last lap, I stopped in at the fitness center to foam roll and stretch. How convenient! This was one of those runs that felt better and better the
The lake at the Broadmoor, Colorado Springs
more I got into it. During the final lap, I was finally able to see a bit of light on the horizon and I could start to see the mountains around me. The resort has an outdoor heated pool, so there were some people swimming outdoors, in the 36-degree weather in this heated pool. That was fun to run by.

There were a few people walking around the lake while I was running around it. At one point, I came right up behind a group of 3 walkers and announced myself as I passed. One of them said “You were so quiet I didn’t even know you were coming!” That was a real compliment to me because I use to be a foot-slapper. You used to always be able to hear me coming. My coach observed my foot slapping the first time I went running with him and he told me to not do it. Of course it wasn’t instantly corrected by him telling me that, but over the past two years, I have become a midfoot striker without really trying, and it’s softened my stride significantly. And since then, I’ve only had one injury (knock on wood) which was a minor calf strain.

After the run, I jumped on my 7:00am call and then spent the rest of the day at the conference. At the conference, I met four other marathon runners. This was an education conference with nothing to do about running, but it just shows how popular marathoning has become.  Everyone had a different story. There was
Introducing myself and my company at the conference
the guy who was trying for all 50 states, the trail runner, the highly competitive marathoner, and the “I run St. George every year” marathoner. I was the “I just ran a marathon on Saturday and six miles this morning” runner!  I ended up leaving the conference a day early (today) due to a storm forecast for Colorado Springs which was disappointing. I highly recommend the Broadmoor for anyone who is looking for a luxurious getaway.

Speaking of 50 states, it’s not a goal of mine to run or race in all 50, but I thought it would be interesting to put together a list of all the states I have run in, not counting the hotel treadmill. Plus I’m on a plane and there isn’t much else to do:

- Arizona (Phoenix, Scottsdale)
- California (San Diego, San Francisco)
- Colorado (Colorado Springs)
- Delaware (Wilmington)
- Florida (Miami, Orlando)
- Maryland (Bethesda, Annapolis)
- Massachusetts (Boston)
- New Jersey (Jersey Shore)
- New Mexico (Albuquerque)
- New York (New York)
- North Carolina (Nags Head)
- Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, York)
- Illinois (Chicago)
- Tennessee (Memphis)
- Texas (Houston)
- Washington DC
- Virginia (Northern, Richmond, VA Beach)
- Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

- London, UK
- Sienna, Italy
- Toronto, Canada


  1. Love hearing about your trips! Glad you are feeling better post-marathon. :)

  2. Glad you had a good time on your trip. Great pictures!