My legs felt OK after an intervening rest day, so I headed out again for a run on Tuesday to North Table Mountain. I'd been itching to run the east side trail that cuts through a gap in the cliffs and then circles back to the west side. I nearly circled the entire mountain, mostly on the North Table Loop. That section is totally new to me, and it was great. I cut across on the Cottonwood Canyon Trail, which the map says is new, but seems complete to me.
This is the beginning of the descent down that loop, which heads to the southeast corner of the mountain, and runs along the Clear Creek valley that is occupied by Coors Brewing:
The trail first runs high above Highway 58 and Coors, but in spite of this it's pretty darn scenic, and cuts along below some great cliff bands. The entire mountain is capped by hard rock that results in rugged rocky terrain and cliffs for the upper 25-100 feet of every slope. This is looking back down the second canyon over from the highway:
I've got to hand it to the folks who built this trail, because it's graded perfectly for running, and I didn't break cadence once in a mile uphill, other than to get a couple of shots. I tried to stay ahead of this mountain biker, but he caught me at the top:
There's a tiny waterfall headed down the Mesa Top Trail:
It was getting near sunset so I high-tailed it for the second half of the run, making it back to the car about 15 minutes after sundown with plenty of light to spare.
Distance was 8.81 miles, time 1:39, and elevation gain/loss 1,155 feet. Shoe: MT110.
The patellar tendons were feeling it after my run (the right more so), but with some ice and a day of rest I think they'll be good. As long as it doesn't carry over from one run to the next and build up like last summer. If it does, I'll back off. Even at this relaxed rate (running ~40% of the month) March will probably be the most I've run since last July (maybe 120 miles, but that's OK).
This time, rather than being a ramp-up, in terms of number of days this is pretty much the top of the ramp.