There’s 3 weeks and a day to go to the Columbus Marathon. I’m in Denver this weekend visiting friends. I asked about trails in the area to do my schedule long run this weekend and a friend suggested both Chatfield Lake and the High Line Canal. A bit of web research turned up the website of South Suburban Parks & Recreation. This had a map of all the trails and how they connect along with some suggested loops. One of the loops was 7.5 miles connecting 4 trails and I decided that would be a good base of operations, with options for adding additional mileage both north and south.
I parked at Reynold’s Landing not long after sunrise and decided I would first head south to Chatfield Lake and perhaps circumnavigate it to get a lot of mileage in before the above-mentioned loop. It was about 5 miles to get to the dam and I could see the lake was large and would be a lot of miles. I knew the trail went all the way around, so I did the top of the dam first, heading east, then worked through the park. I stuck to the main trail, since the park had no maps indicating the layout and I didn’t want to get lost. From the GPS track, I could have made it a shorter route, but it ended up being about 10 miles all the way around the lake, then another 5 back to the truck. So I had 20.5 miles in by the time of my first water and food break. This was a bit of a miscalculation on my part, as I would have preferred that loop to have been about 2 or 3 miles shorter, but everything worked out.
I wanted another 6 miles or so, so began the 7.5 mile loop, thinking I would just go 3 miles in and turn around. But as I got started, I decided I might as well do the entire loop and if I needed to walk at the end, that would be fine.
I covered the marathon distance in 4:53½ and enjoyed seeing the High Line Canal trail (essentially no water in the canal this time of year) and the various parks that I went through. I walked most of the last 1½ miles and I’m definitely tired but happy to have that long workout out of the way. Everything is shorter from here on out, including the race.
Here’s an image showing my entire route:
and this shows the loop I did for the last 7.5 miles: