Runcation: Day 8 Aspen, Colorado Smuggler Mt.

Ever since arriving in Aspen, I’ve felt like a giddy kid who can’t wait to play! After my jaunt down the Rio Grande Trail yesterday (you can read HERE if you missed it), I set out to tackle Smuggler Mt. Road. This is a staple run for locals and visitors as it’s short, steep and sweet. It’s only 3 miles round trip, but with its 1,050 ft elevation gain, you always feel like you get a good workout. The best part is the fantastic view you earn once you reach the top.

Photo of running up Smuggler Mt. in Aspen

So happy to be back Aspen! Starting my run at the base of Smuggler, an old silver mining road. The starting elevation is 8,007 ft.

Running up Smuggler Mt. Road in Aspen

Up we go!

Running up Smuggler Mt. Road in Aspen

And go…It was so nice the road had recently been graded so it was soft and smooth at the beginning of my run.

This trail is used by every kind of person imaginable and it’s often a funny social scene. It’s an especially great place for young, athletic, dog-loving people to meet–kind of like Aspen’s healthy version of “Happy Hour.” This morning I noticed a lot of single, buff guys heading up, but way more female friends hiking up, kvetching about their lives. I was hoping some of them would meet! Me? I was totally in my happy place, buzzing because I was back in the ‘hood doing what I love doing. Continue reading

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Runcation: Day 6 and 7 Aspen, Colorado

Arriving in Aspen after six days of traveling through the blazing desert, and leaving our drought-stricken California behind, we were stunned by the dazzling green hues of the Colorado Rockies as they welcomed us back. Aspenites had suffered through an unusually long, soggy spring here, and now they were being rewarded for their patience. We were also the fortunate recipients of Mother Nature’s gifts, which made us giddy, as did the numerous friends we bumped into immediately after arriving. No matter how long we’ve been away, Aspen will always still feel like home to us.

DowntownAspen

After spending the following morning cruising around and visiting with friends, I was itching to get out and run. Okay, I was also turning into a grumpy mom (gasp!) because I hadn’t had much alone time, nor had I gotten any exercise yet.

It was 1:00 pm when I started, the heat of the day, but since it was only 84 degrees, compared to 109-118 where we’d been just days before, it felt lovely.

Every run I’d done in the past week had involved significant hills (you can read about my runs in Palm Springs, the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE if you missed it), I opted for a mostly flat 5 mile run along the Rio Grande Trail. This was one of my old favorites when we lived here and I wanted to journey along the Roaring Fork River once again. I left my peeps at Explore Booksellers, then I ran down to the post office, then hopped on to the Rio Grande Trail right behind it.

RioGrandeSign

RiverTrailView

Aspen is 7,890 ft. so my legs and lungs still felt the altitude as I cruised along the trail, but it was easy to forget about them as I looked out at this.  Continue reading

Runcation: Day 5 Arches National Park

After running in the Grand Canyon in the morning (you can read about it HERE if you missed it), my family and I loaded up our car and headed toward Arches National Park, seven hours away. Although it was an epic day of driving, I was still buzzing from running on Bright Angel Trail. Throw in the vastness of the West—especially the exquisite desert landscape of Monument Valley— this mamacita was feeling nothing but gratitude.

Photo of Monument Valley

Monument Valley

We arrived in Moab late in the evening, had a quick bite to eat and visited with friends who graciously hosted us in their bed & breakfast for the night. The 109 degree heat did little for our sleep, but we were still eager to spring out of bed the next morning to drive into Arches National Park, just five minutes away.

I had been to Arches before, but I was still wow’ed by the scale and beauty of this desert gem. Each of its spires, arches, pinnacles and fins looked as though a sculptor and painter had worked their magic, using chisels and the stunning palette only the desert can offer. In reality, these formations were created by millions of years of water and ice, extreme temperatures, and underground salt movement.

Photo of Arches National Park

Photo of Arches National Park

We drove through much of the park, stopping often to take pictures. At one scenic pullout, I decided to stretch my legs and do a micro warm-up run while Jeffrey and Olivia took pictures. After sitting in the car for so many hours yesterday, my body was happy to move.

Becky Aaronson Running at Arches National Park

Doing a micro warm-up run while my husband and daughter  took pictures of the landscape.

My peeps then agreed to drop me off at the trailhead to Delicate Arch while they continued to scout around the park in the car. I told them I’d try to hurry since we hadn’t eaten breakfast and I knew they were starving.

The brochure describes the trail to Delicate Arch as “A difficult 3-mile trail with an elevation gain of 480 ft; no shade, open slickrock with some exposure to heights.” It also recommends you take at least one quart of water per person.

After seeing the parking lot swarming with tourists, I could see why they made this hike seem challenging. There were parents slathering up their young children (we’re talking 4 and 5 year olds), who had no idea what they were getting into; overweight German tourists wearing flip-flops and carrying no water; Japanese tourists covered from head to toe with protective sun gear—hats, long-sleeved jackets, leggings, face-masks, along with huge professional cameras; groups of Chinese tourists, elderly couples with walking sticks, young lovers on dates…

It was 90 degrees at 7:45, which made the run what you might imagine, a bit harder than normal, but still quite fun. I was completely amused by the sea of humanity making its way up the trail. I was in my own little Zen world, enjoying the challenge of scampering up the slickrock, zigzagging past everyone, chuckling at kids throwing tantrums like Veruca Salt, “There is no arch! You told me there was an arch just around the corner. There is no arch!” Parents trying to bribe their kids, “Ok, if you take 100 steps on your own, and count each one of them, I will carry you the rest of the way.”

Photo of Becky Aaronson running up to Delicate Arch

This photo cracks me up as it perfectly captures my experience. Love the flip-flops on the woman on the left!

I scampered up rocks and around scrub brush here and there, and enjoyed every moment.

ArchesTrailSign

When I got to the top, people were taking turns striking a pose under the arch. One woman couldn’t get enough of it and became an “Arch hog,” doing pose after pose while her boyfriend snapped pictures. You could feel the collective disdain after all these people had hoofed it up here in the heat. Me? I was just giddy and enjoying it all.

ArchesReachingDelicate

After one woman did her “downward dog” yoga pose under the arch, I asked her if she’d snap a picture of me striking a pose (what the hell, might as well join the absurdity).

Photo of Delicate Arch

My cheeseball Delicate Arch photo moment.

Becky Aaronson running at Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

Then I headed back down…

That is after I squeezed past the big group of Chinese tourists completely blocking the path around the corner.

Photos of Chinese tourists at Arches National Park

The beginning of the road block up ahead

Photo of Becky Aaronson running on the trail to Delicate Arch

This is my “running on the moon” picture. So.Much.Fun to run in the desert!

I may sound like I’m complaining, but I’m not. I LOVED this little run and was happy I could squeeze it in before we headed to Aspen. It was like a sweet little exclamation point to my morning.

Stay tuned for my next Rocky Mountain High running adventure…this runcation only gets better!

Happy Trails!

xoBecky

Running While on Vacation: Day 3 and 4 Grand Canyon

After spending three days in Palm Springs (you can read about it HERE and HERE if you missed it), we loaded up our car and headed to the Grand Canyon, seven hours away. For about a half a nano-second I contemplated trying to squeeze in a quick run before getting into the car, but decided instead, to keep it simple and enjoy a day of rest. My body doesn’t usually hold up well running four days in a row anyway.

Heading from California to Arizona

Heading from California to Arizona

We arrived at the Grand Canyon late in the afternoon, and ventured to the rim right after checking into our hotel. This was my first trip to the Grand Canyon, and even though I’d seen a bazillion photographs of it over the years (my hubby is a professional photographer), I was completely unprepared for the sheer awesomeness of it. A lump immediately formed in my throat and my eyes brimmed with liquid happiness. “Wow,” is all I could mumble as I gazed out, stunned by the beauty before me.

Photo of the Grand Canyon

GrandCanyonVert

Needless to say, the park’s jaw-dropping beauty made my heart pound as I thought about the prospects of running here. It would have to wait until the next morning though, as picture taking and a late dinner with my family was on our agenda, not to mention a highly recommended prickly pear margarita!

The next morning as my husband, Jeffrey, and daughter, Olivia, headed to breakfast at El Tovar Lodge, I ventured to Bright Angel Trail. From the first step, I knew this run was going to be extraordinary (at least once I made it past all the mule poop).

Photo of running near El Tovar Lodge along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Running along the rim near El Tovar Lodge before heading to the Bright Angel Trailhead. Photo © Jeffrey Aaronson

Photo of mule poo along Bright Angel Trail

A trail of mule poo at the beginning of Bright Angel Trail

It was already blazing hot at 7:30 in the morning, but running downhill into the canyon was pure bliss. Step after step I kept thinking to myself, I can’t believe I get to be here and do this! I took it slow so I could enjoy every step and look up often to take it all in; the vastness, the stunning hues of the canyon walls, the “wonder” of this natural wonder. With every breath, I felt nothing but joy and gratitude about being able to experience this remarkable run.

Photo of Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon

The view near the top of Bright Angel Trail

Photo of Becky Aaronson running down Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon

Pure Bliss!

Photo of Bright Angel Trail

Looking into the Canyon

The view along Bright Angel Trail

The breathtaking view along the trail.

One of the funniest things that happened was Continue reading

Running While on Vacation: Day Two

I have to admit, it wasn’t easy getting out the door this morning to run. Logistics are never simple when you have others to consider and one car to share. My hubby was fabulous though, as always, offering to drop me off wherever I wanted to go. That was my problem though; I couldn’t decide where I wanted to run.

There are so many options in Palm Springs! Should I run the Tram Road with its 2000 ft. elevation gain in 3.7 miles? Or should I run at Indian Canyons, which has lots of flatter options, but an admission fee and limited hours in the summer. Should I run the Bump and Grind Trail in Palm Desert? After putzing around too long, I finally opted for the nearby South Lykken Trail, just off South Palm Canyon Drive.

It is similar to the North Lykken Trail, which I ran yesterday, yet different. This one has a steep 1-mile start, but then flattens out a bit so there are lots of small rolling hills as you continue upward. Once again, it was already 90 degrees at 7:45 so I was cautious about pushing it too far. On top of that, it was also smokey from a nearby wildfire. I was the only person on the trail today.

Here are a few pictures…

PS_LykkenSouth

PS_LykkenSouthElevation

PS_LykkenSouthTrailSign

PS_LkkenSouthCactusView

PS_LykkenSouthCacti

PS_LykkenSouthSelfie

Overheating and getting low on water. I decided to go 2 miles up with an elevation gain of about 1200 ft., then head back down, making it a 4 mile trail run. Then I finished the last 2.25 miles of my 6.25 mile run on the road.

PS_LykkenSouthTrail

This is about where a HUGE BLACK KILLER BEE was pacing me, right next to my ear. I definitely picked it up here!

PS_LykkenSouthPoolCoolOff

And then, a whole lot of aaaaaaahhh. Cooling my tired dogs in the pool after my run. And yes, that’s ANOTHER latte freeze (thank you sweet hubby).

Tomorrow we leave Palm Springs and head to the Grand Canyon. I’m super excited about this! Stay tuned for my next running adventure…

Happy Trails!
xo

Running While on Vacation: Let the Adventure Begin

Keeping running fitness going while on vacation can be a challenge, but making it a priority and incorporating it into your overall travel plan will at least give you a fighting chance. If you’re lucky like me, your peeps will be supportive and understanding of your need to at least log a few miles every day.

Before packing up our car yesterday, I knocked out a quick 3 miles in our neighborhood, even though I had a bazillion and one things to do to get ready. It may not seem like much, but those few miles gave me an extra sense of Zen while riding in the car for 3 1/2 hours as we headed to Palm Springs.

Eating healthy while traveling can also be a challenge. I packed our family lots of healthy snacks for the road like snap peas, carrots and strawberries, but somehow we all migrated to the not-so-healthy salty popcorn. I guess that’s part of the fun of being on vacation though, right? That’s just one more reason to make running a priority.

Day One of Our Trip: Palm Springs North Lykken Trail

PS_LykkenTrailhead

For my first run on our vacation, I kept it short and sweet. I was already sweating bullets at 7:30 this morning when my husband and daughter dropped me off at the North Lykken Trailhead, as the temperature had already reached 90 degrees. I knew I was getting a late start, but when you’re on vacay, sometimes you just have to roll with it. I loaded up my Camelbak Flashflo with 50 ounces of water and electrolytes and set out.

The North Lykken Trail isn’t a long one (only a couple miles), but it’s steep with lots of rocks to scramble over, especially on the way down. My daughter snapped this picture of me as I headed up the trail.

PS_LykkenTrailRunner

PS_LykkenTrailVert

Here it flattened out a bit before getting steep again.

PS_LykkenTrailSign

This is some of the gorgeous red rocks and desert landscape that I got to run along this morning. Never mind the wildfire that is blazing on the mountains in the Morongo Valley in the distance. Thankfully the smoke didn’t head our way at this point.

PS_LykkenTrailCactusRocks

PS_LykkenTrailView

Here I am near the top, trying not to overheat. Below is the town of Palm Springs and the windmill farm in the background.

PS_LykkenTrailRunPortrait

PS_LykkenTrailRunNoWater

Near the top, I came across this sign. I don’t think I’ll be trying this Long Valley trail quite yet–at least while the temperature is still scorching. I drank 50 ounces in the span of just a couple of miles and still felt overheated. Thankfully I had a swimming pool and a frozen latte waiting for me after I finished (it’s vacation after all, right?). The temperature reached 118 degrees today and it’s supposed to be the same tomorrow. Regardless, I’m already looking forward to my next run. Until then….

Happy Trails!
xo Becky

Santa Barbara Girls in Motion Running & Fitness Camp

I’m so excited to be coaching my Girls in Motion running and fitness camp again this July! Sharing my love of running and empowering young girls is truly one of the highlights of my summer!

All the details of this week long camp are below. I still have space available for girls ages 6-12 who want to join the fun and be inspired. For those who sign up with a friend or sibling, I’m offering a $35 discount for both girls. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. Here’s to a fabulous summer ahead of fun, fitness and flower power!

Girls in Motion Running Camp Flyer