Mandy and I love watching Extreme Weight Loss. During our fitness journey last year, we watched it every week and we both would always want to go workout after each episode ended – even if we had gotten one in that day already! This season, Chris and Heidi Powell had all of the participants stay in Colorado and many episodes featured them working out at Red Rocks Amphitheater. I have a customer in Boulder and so when a meeting was scheduled for this week, I knew I had to make time to come to Red Rocks.
The last time I visited, I met up with our awesome friends Molly and Zach and we tried to go check out Red Rocks at night. Unfortunately, the guard caught us in the parking lot and politely asked us to leave. Womp womp. This time though, I made sure that I was within the visiting hours and I set off on my epic stairs workout. When I walked in and saw all the stairs, I set my goal to run up and down ten times. After my first lap, I envisioned myself curling up in a little ball and crying for the foreseeable future. I had WAY underestimated the layer of difficulty that the altitude would present! It definitely felt like my lungs were being ripped out of my chest. I struggled through five stair runs and then started the final portion of my workout.
Starting at the bottom, I snaked my way through all 70 rows all the way up to the top. Across the row, up the two stairs at the end, and back across the next one. I didn’t realize how many people were cheering my on until I got close to the top and I could hear their voices over my headphones. There was a pretty large group of people checking out the amphitheater at the top and as I turned to run each row, there were a few shouting words of encouragement at me. Pretty awesome! The workout was tough but well worth it – I definitely need to see a concert at Red Rocks sometime. It is such an incredible venue!
Some of my coworkers had told me about a hike that they took before our meeting and encouraged me to do it in the morning before heading to the airport. The Mt. Sanitas trail is very popular in Boulder and they assured me that they had casually hiked up and it had taken them 45 minutes. I gave myself an hour just in case and headed off to the trail after a wonderful breakfast at The Buff Restaurant. Side note: if you are in Boulder, GO THERE.
I had decided to train run as much as possible to get a little Spartan training in at the high elevation. I started up the steep back side of the mountain and it was a fantastic trail. It was a mix of climbing on my hands and feet, natural rock stairs, and a steep dirt trail. I got winded quickly, but the view on the way up to the peak as the sun rose was really, really pretty.
Once I hit the peak, the trouble began. My ascension had only taken 30 minutes but I apparently got on the wrong trail from the summit. Lucikly the (wrong) trail that I had gotten on was flat and dirt and I was able to cruise along at a fast pace. It wasn’t until a half an hour had passed without seeing anyone else that I realized I wasn’t heading in the direction that I thought I was. Then the trail ended. Just flat out stopped. Here I was in the middle of the woods – alone, no phone signal, and no clue where I was. I was pushing up against the deadline I had set for myself to get back to the hotel and I was totally lost. I said a prayer that I would get myself found again and sprinted off on the path I had just come. Finally after a mile or so, I found a fork in the trail and took off down the path that I hadn’t been on before. Another 30 minutes or so later, I finally came out on a road and my phone picked up service again. Victory? Not quite.
I pulled up my map and realized that I had a two mile run/sprint down the mountain road to get back to my car. Ouch. I sucked up the burning in my muscles and the pain from the blisters that had formed and set off. Glad I run with my head up though because I ran right up on the little guy shown below. Is that an elk? A deer? I don’t know but it was really cool. I ran right up to him and he didn’t flinch at all. Just kept eating his leaves and let me run right by.
Finally, I got to my car and got off to the airport. My leisurely 45 minute hike had turned into a scary “get-lost-in-the-woods-and-have-to-run-for-your-life” sprint. I had been gone for almost two hours, but it certainly made for an unforgettable experience!