Zen On Dirt

A week away

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After Old Pueblo, I’d decided that my shin splints had healed up enough to start running again. I didn’t actually feel like running all that much, I was pretty stoked on riding bikes at the time, but I knew that I’d put some good work into building up some running adaptation and I really didn’t want to lose it because I definitely have some running plans for the summer.

So for a few weeks, I got my running shoes on and my butt out the door two or three times a week for little three to five mile runs. After the first two runs, I could run without getting sore. After a couple more after that, it became fun again.

Then I got the call from my parents. Could you come watch the dog in Boulder for a week?


My dad was headed to Germany. My mom was headed to DC. My Boulder-based brother was headed to California and Huck, well, Huck is a bit of an ornery 12 year old hound dog with a fear of men, a habit of biting people in the calf, chasing bikes and runners, and trying to kill any golden retriever he comes across. He’s a sweetheart. Seriously.

But, putting him in a kennel would have sucked for everyone.

I think when I offered to fly up and work in Boulder for a week, my mom finally saw the value of the fully mobile job.

I flew with a carry-on and my computer. No bike. No half-dozen pairs of bike shorts and jerseys. No clothes to cover any weather situation. I did pack a pair of pedals and shoes and helmet, you know, just in case, but I was able to go up there with no actual intention of riding bikes for a whole week.

I remembered back in the training days when a week off the bike would have seemed torturous. It would have ruined all of my race training plans. I would have lost all of my fitness.  I would have paid the fee to fly the bike, or just driven, just to have two wheels to spend my days on. But no, a pair of running shoes. Some shorts. A shirt.

Five days in Boulder was actually pretty okay. Especially when I was ready to embrace my alter-ego as a trail runner. Variety is pretty awesome.

The flight from Tucson to Denver is as scenic as it gets. Our house is in the upper left neighborhood. Tumamoc, my ‘let’s get a ass-kicking in 40 minutes’ run is the switchbacks up the hill in the upper middle, our Pima trails are to the left of the baseball diamond and track, then underneath and across the road, the Greasewood trails, to the bottom center, the closed off road/bikepath through the neighborhood, and the bottom right, the Behind the School trails that take us over to Starr Pass Blvd.


And then you fly over Reddington Pass, the AZT, and on into Colorado over the Collegiate Peaks, Salida and Beauna Vista, a flyby of Pikes Peak, and then the suburban sprawl that is the Front Range of Colorado. No work was done on the flight. Nose prints were left on the window.

My second day in Boulder started with some clouds and proceeded like this. The bad weather definitely increased the chances of a solid rest week. I should be grateful. Plus, any moisture that keeps Colorado from burning down this summer is welcome in my book. Huck and I timed our walks between the squalls. I spent the rest of the time looking out the window and shaking my head.


The Southern Sun was visited. I rode my dad’s townie across town, seeing which restaurants had changed, what things had stayed the same. Double chocolate stout on nitro was consumed. As well as nachos. The ride home, as like most rides home from the Southern Sun, was not done entirely sober. The more things change…


Once the weather cleared, I actually got motivated enough to do some running.

A run up Sanitas left me in a conga line of people to reach the peak. I’ve never been one to complain about busy trails…but even I got frustrated with the non-stop line of humanity. Do you people not have jobs? My personal trail system by the name of Starr Pass/Tucson Mountain Park has left me spoiled, big time.


The next day, I thought things through and went to a lesser known trail recommended by Kurt from his running days. Given that it was a beautiful Saturday, I figured Sanitas would be an even bigger zoo than it was on Friday afternoon. The Hogsback was a total win. A handful of people. A perfect 6 mile lollipop from my parents house. Some quality uphill to remember that I no longer lived at altitude. And a sprint back to the house to make sure I didn’t miss my flight home.

Home. Home to my love(s). To my spinach plants. To Alexis and I’s pit flower from Old Pueblo. To my bicycles.


And Scott. Home is where Scott is.


Home is where the heart is, and right now it’s pretty stoked to be in Tucson.



One thought on “A week away

  1. My doctor recommended a golf ball muscle roller for my shin splints, great tool for massaging, worked surprisingly very well helped and me recover faster than any other treatment! trust me you’re going to want to check it out!

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