Business Travel and Triathlon Training: Denver

Last week, I hit the road again, this time for the Planningness conference in Denver, CO. Finding time to train, regardless of how busy I am while traveling is becoming critical as Ironman Arizona draws closer and the time left to prepare gets tighter. From all I’ve heard about Colorado, I figured it wouldn’t be too difficult a place to accomplish this. The only challenge I thought might present itself would be the fact that I would be staying in Downtown and wouldn’t have access to a car.

I arrived at the Denver airport at around 3:00 p.m. and caught a cab from the airport to downtown, driving across some surprisingly flat terrain and recall quoting Lloyd Christmas to myself, saying “that John Denver’s full of shit, man.” Where were all the mountains?

Arriving at the Sheraton downtown, I checked into my room and asked the front desk for the best running routes around town. I was told to make my way over to the Cherry Creek Trail right next to the Denver Convention Center where I would find miles of trail following Cherry Creek.

I started my run out of the hotel lobby and made it to the trail in just a few minutes. When I got to it, I was pleasantly surprised with a creek just below street level that had a nice bike/pedestrian path with ample room for runners, walkers and cyclists… and there were plenty. The people of Denver were out in full force exercising, commuting, and just enjoying the nice Fall weather. Heading Southeast on the trail took me upstream and I continued on the trail for 4 miles until I arrived at a Whole Foods.

I decided to stop into the Whole Foods for a gel and a water bottle that I could carry with me because seriously, Denver is DRY, my throat was parched. Another thing about Whole Foods in Denver is that I discovered my people. If I cruise the Whole Foods in Irvine, CA near my home, I feel out of place because my car, clothes, cosmetic surgery experience, and Whole Foods bill itself just don’t matchup to those around me. But in Denver, this didn’t feel like the case, the guy behind me in line had ridden his bike to the store and had just purchased the largest bag of granola I have ever seen.

After paying for my goods, I ran out the door and headed back downstream and back to my hotel. In total I got in a 9 mile run and really enjoyed the whole experience. Were I to have had a car, I would have tried to head out of town for a trail run in the closest mountains 10 or 20 miles away.

The next day I was fully engaged in the Planningness conference (which if you happen to be a strategist, digital strategist, or just love to learn and do cool stuff, is the best conference you could possibly attend) so I didn’t have time to train. After enjoying an amazing dinner after the conference, I headed back to my hotel room and logged into USMS.org (United States Masters Swim) and checked out the “Places to Swim” link for pools and Masters teams in Denver. I found the University of Denver pool on the list and checked their schedule to make sure I would be able to get a lane at the times I was available.

After day two of the conference, I caught a cab to the University of Denver, paid a $10 guest fee to get into the fitness center and found my way to the pool. It is a great looking Olympic 50 meter by 25 yard indoor pool that is part of the same building housing a bunch of other sporting facilities, including a hockey arena, full gym, basketball courts, volleyball courts, and with soccer and lacrosse fields just outside… very cool.

Once I made my way to the pool, I jumped in, only had to share a lane with one other guy and managed to get in 4,000 yards before needing to had back into Downtown Denver to grab my bags and head for the airport.

Training in a place far away is never quite as convenient as home, and there always seem to be distractions, but Denver is definitely a place that you can pull it off.

The next installment of Business Travel and Triathlon Training should be about Chicago in a couple weeks. That should be a fun one, as I will have to train extra hard to make up for all of the food I am gonna eat in that town.

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