I have 3 local trails that I sort of use as a "fitness test". Each trail is different, running each trail gives me good feedback on "where I am at" with my level of general fitness and ability.
The 3 trails are (in order of difficulty - easiest first).....
* The Greenland Trail - an 8 mile loop with full wind exposure, a wide open trail, just over 500' of elevation gain. Is not easy as it takes me well over an hour and has a good mix of steady uphills and downhills. If the wind is not blowing - is an enjoyable run. Add in wind - not so nice.
* Waldo Canyon - 7 mile lollipop shape, single track, a mix of running in the trees and some exposed areas, some (small) creek crossings, just under 1500' elevation gain. Good effort is required on the uphills. Well over an hour for this run for me too.
* Barr Trail - I usually start from the Cog Railway, go up to Barr Camp. Of course it requires the journey back down. But the journey up is about 6 1/4 miles w/ just under 3600' elevation gain.
+ Greenland trail is a tough one in the Winter / Spring / Snowmelt / Mud / and (usually) howling wind season we have going right now.
+ Waldo still has it's icy spots, but recent warmth is really putting a dent on those.
+ Barr Trail has a lot of ice and snow still up near Barr camp - likely to run into that for another couple of months in some shape or form there.
Yet I am trying to do them all, some more consistently and frequently than others. Barr Trail once a month, Greenland once in a while but will increase as the May 5th race is approaching.
That brings me to Waldo Canyon where I did back to back days 2 weeks ago, then back to back days Monday and Tuesday this week - Spring like weather conditions :)
On Sunday afternoon I did a moderate paced 13 miler - so I was curious to see how Waldo would treat me the next 2 days. Answer - not bad, in fact, quite encouraging results. Monday I took 2 minutes off my previous best time, then yesterday I took another 70 seconds off that. I went clockwise round the loop on Monday, Tuesday the opposite direction. Still some slick spots in places that slowed me down a little (but did not take me down fortunately).
So, I guess the point of my post is - I am happy with improving fitness.