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Boulder is a city. Most of us live in cities. I’m finally becoming reaccustomed to doing so. Boulder, in many ways, however, is not a lot like other cities. It is the meeting point of the mountains and the plains, so its mountains–the iconic Flatirons, Green Mountain, Bear Peak–carry a certain abruptness, a certain drama that make them especially compelling.

Nevertheless, I spent most of the first month of my residence here dwelling on the fact that Green and Bear aren’t Pikes. That Boulder isn’t Manitou or Colorado Springs. Pikes Peak is the ultimate in dramatic topography that the Rocky Mountains has to offer: 8000′ of vertical–Kansas-esque plains, and then BOOM, alpine summit. And, also, for whatever reason, it seems the human spirit tends to gravitate towards the familiar (i.e. the Pikes Peak region, for me).

(The Flatirons on Green Mountain’s face–much how they looked this morning.)

However, the past week has represented a turning point in how I feel in relation to my new surroundings. I’ve been taking some down-time since Leadville, but this week the running has began again in earnest. From the upstairs graduate student computer lab in CU’s Guggenheim Hall, there is an in-your-face view of Green Mountain. I can run to its trailhead from my doorstep in less than 20 minutes, a perfect amount of warm-up. From Guggenheim, Green Mountain seems so close as to be able to reach out the window and touch it, rearrange its features.

Instead, this week I’ve been letting it rearrange me. I’ve been up Green each of the last six mornings. It has been good to finally go about learning the idiosyncrasies of the mountains most immediate to my current existence. My preferred route up Green is so rugged, so varied, so challenging, that I don’t anticipate tiring of what it has to offer, and I relish the opportunity to learn every stone and perfect every foot placement on its ascent. Because, for now, Boulder is definitely home.

27 responses to “Boulder”

  1. I’m jealous. After I get done with my Nutrition degree and complete the Sports Science master’s program I want to move somewhere where there are mountains. The Black Hills of South Dakota are on the top of my list, as is CO.

  2. GZ says:

    I love the “rearrange me” line. Very nice.

  3. Charlie says:

    who, or what is “chickenwing?”

    Glad to hear your running again. Any more race plans for the year?

  4. ~stubert. says:

    There are lots of high mountain peaks to explore just west of Boulder. They are getting pretty socked in for the winter but next spring/summer you should definitely check out some really good running to be found (and a wide variety of routes and loops) in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Some very interesting, challenging stuff up there. They don’t top out at 14+ but definitely approach the high 13s in places.

    Hope to see you out there.


  5. Mike Alfred says:

    Can’t wait to move there…

  6. Tuck says:

    Welcome back to the web.

    If you have any time, and could post a discussion of what went into the MT100, and how it’s working, a lot of folks would probably be interested. Your post on Minimalist Shoes is a cult classic… 😉

  7. JeffO says:

    Longs Peak, at least to the Keyhole, tends to be runnable in winter. It’s not easy footing, but that makes an otherwise easy trail more challenging.

  8. metroseen - says:

    Boulder is a great place! Here are some cool videos to watch… http://metroseen.com/metro/boulder

  9. connor says:

    Intimate knowledge of a trail is a treasure. Keep on enjoying the mountains.

  10. Danimal says:

    I am afraid I have missed that post on minimalistic shoes, where can I find that, thanks for help! And Anton, good to hear from you and that you seem to be in good spirits.

  11. JenRunner says:

    Good to see you back posting. Your writing is so brilliant I find myself emotionally pulled into every post- whether it be into the surroundings you describe, your thoughts on competition or lifestyle. Your writing is a true talent…of which you obviously have many.

  12. Anton,

    What are you studying? MS/PhD?

  13. Danimal, search his blog for Puma and it will take you to the post.

  14. brownie says:

    You sellout! I can’t beileve you ditched The Roost for an apartment!

    Come back and visit us slowpokes in Manitou sometime.

  15. Anton says:

    Most the time I can’t believe it either. I love summer. I need to get down to Manitou ASAP…aren’t those lazy-ass CRUDers gonna start doing long runs again sometime soon?

    I’m getting an MS in the Geography dept focusing on hydrology, working on an acid mine drainage problem, among other things.

    Check my blog archives from 2007, I think, for the minimalism post.

  16. Pablo R says:

    Yes… Anton, your thoughts on the MT100’s would be appreciated.

  17. brownie says:

    CRUD has their party on Oct 24th. I’ll save the pink dress you get for your Pb DNF. They start their Saturday morning runs the following week.

    They’re selling the MT100’s at CRC now.

  18. I grew up in Boulder. I graduated from Fairview High School in 1983 and live at the foot of the NCAR building for 18-years. After living in California for basically my entire “adult” life I returned to Boulder last month and spent an entire day walking around my old stomping grounds. So much has changed in Boulder and I struggled with trying to understand why “my” old bowling alley is now a “Best Buy” but most of what makes Boulder so special remains.

    I ran the first Bolder Boulder in 1979 (I think) and my next run after that was in 2007 when I had decided to run the San Francisco Marathon. Looking back, my only regret is that I lived in such an amazing place for so long and didn’t run. Of course living in the Bay Area affords me many trails and year round running weather but Boulder is special.

    All I can say is enjoy your time in Boulder, run those trails and enjoy the art of movement.

    All the best,


  19. Tony, One question about Mt. Manitou, how often would you do that run, or a run like that?

  20. Anton says:

    All three of the “8ers” here in Boulder are very comparable to the elevation gain–~3k’–of Mt. Manitou down in the Springs. I’ve rarely ever done “just” Mt. Manitou and have only done the Incline itself a handful of times (the Incline goes up Mt. Manitou). My preferred route up Mt. Manitou is Longs Ranch Road which goes up the “back” side.

    As for frequency? I like doing vertical nearly every day, definitely five or six days a week, mostly because I like standing on top of a mountain and that defined goal makes a lot more sense to me than running around a few blocks or an out and back. I’ve done at least a ~3000′ climb 18 out of the last 20 days.

  21. Amazing! Everyday? Then I have a long way to go. Thanks!

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