Monday, September 30, 2013

26- I'm sick

I am sick. As much as I tried to fight it, I now realize two things: 
1. I am not under the weather, I'm sick. 
2. I was not under the weather before, I was sick. And running yesterday probably made it worse. 

So I've spent all day today struggling to move around because I'm as sore as one can get, drinking tea and doing what sick people do: rest. 

I'd like to talk about running, but I'm sort of waiting to get the official race pictures to write my race report. So, since I'm still beating myself up for not doing as well as I wanted (by a whole hour), I decided to plan my 2014 race schedule and hoping I can find a good 50k in the fall to redeem myself. 

While I haven't found a good race to run in the next couple of months, I did come up with a rough draft of what my race schedule would look like in 2014. If any of you readers out there have any suggestions, please do share. 

Jan - March: Potentially run some easy fun runs. Nothing too hard, just fun stuff to stay entertained. 
April - Desert R.A.T.S. Marathon on Saturday, half marathon on Sunday
May - Still debating between Collegiate Peaks 25 miler or Greenland 50K
June - Dirty 30 maybe? Definitely Leadville Marathon (I intend to work my way up to running long distance at elevation). 
July - Haven't found anything that I'm dying to do. And July is extremely hot. 
August - Transrockies
September - Run Rabbit Run, 50-miler (Courtney wants me to do this... I think I can)
Oct - Dec: Sort of the same as the first 3 months of the year, although running the North Face Endurance Challenge in SF would be fun. I'd run 31 miles on the same weekend I turn 31, so that'd be fun. 

Note that the general idea is to run races in Colorado. I sometimes forget all the places there are around here to run and all the amazing events we have that I tend to look into running bigger events out-of-state, but I'd like to stay home as much as possible (except for SF in December, but that'd be my bday gift from me, to me). 

Anyway, I'm out of tea so I should probably go make some more. Race report to come soon! 

27- Race day

(I wrote this yesterday, but posting today)

Today was race day and against everything I had hoped for I woke up still with that damn cold. Colds are weird, they don't really get you THAT sick that you have to stay in bed, but they get you sick enough that any movement makes you tired.

So here's some highlights of the day but wait for a full race report to come (maybe later today, maybe tomorrow):
- Running with a cold sucks
- Running 31 miles while battling a cold is STUPID (with capital letters)
- Bear Chase is an amazing race with amazing volunteers
- I have the best partners in crime when it comes to running ridiculous amounts of miles.

- My partners in crime kick some serious ass
- I did my nails two nights before and I managed  to race and keep them "unchipped" (unrelated, but somehow I always chip my nails when I run?!?).

Post-race nails. Perfect!
- I FINALLY got to meet Mr. CO-Runner whose blog I stalk on a daily basis.I get some good trail run ideas from there.
- I tested my mind to new limits and realized that it's important to have some people (runners) to look up to and inspire you every step of the way.
- I came home to realize my puppy-dog can hold it for 14hrs. Good boy, that was torture for sure, but with an early morning start and my hubby-to-be out of town, he just had to make some sacrifices of his own  to show his support. (I gave him some real love after though).

Puppy love
- I don't look good after running 31 miles in the sun, with a cold.

Red eyes, sun burnt and sick. Good times. 
Now, expect to see a race report soon! and FYI- officially under 4 weeks til our wedding day. Yeeepeee

Saturday, September 28, 2013

28- What sounds better? Kilometers or Miles?

I woke up today still slightly under the weather. I hate it. I'm supposed to feel PERFECT right around now.

Regardless, I jumped in the shower, had breakfast and drove to Runner's Roost Lakewood to pick up my race packet. Changing distances was easy and free, so I went ahead and switched to the 50-miler. Wait, what? Yes, you heard right.

Listen, it's not that big a deal. With the course changes, the loop is 10.3 miles long with 650ft of gain. The 50k race requires athletes to complete 3 loops. That means, 50-milers complete 5 for a total of 51.5 miles and 3250ft of gain. Can I do this? Honestly, I don't know. But I want to make sure I'm eligible for awards. You'll say: "Yeah, keep dreaming". But last year, there was only one girl in my age group. This year,  there's Courtney also. But I'll settle for third. Overall, there was 28 women... so I'll settle for top 30.

WORST CASE: If I'm not feeling it, I'll stop at 3 loops and get my medal for a 50k.

Strategy (WARNING- dorky data crunching): Well, that has to change too. I was aiming for a sub-6hr 50k and that means I need to run 11:20 min/mile average. I don't think I can run 50 miles at 11:20. So to hit my goal of a sub 6hr 50k yet have enough fuel to run 50 miles, this is what I engineered... 10.3 mile loops at 1h57m each, that means 11:21 min/mile average. I'd finish the first 31 miles in 5h50m42s which would mean PR for the 50k. At that point, continuing on to the 50-miler I can slow down to run an additional 2 loops in 2h15m each. That means 13:05 min/mile, so significant slow-down. Keeping that pace will have me finishing 51.5 miles in 10h20m-ISH. Again, PR for the 50-miler. SCORE! That gives me an additional 30min buffer to still finish my 50 miles in under 11 hours... so I can actually add an additional 1:27 min/mile in the last 20 miles. SCORE!

Anyway... Wish me luck!

Friday, September 27, 2013

29- Race postponed

I was catching a cold yesterday and I had a sore throat and body aches.  I drank as much Emergen-C as I could and worked my best to not get sick. I worked 8 hours today, mostly on the field. It was cold and rainy all day and got back home to nap. 

I am still feeling a little off, but figured I could sleep until 6pm and then go to REI to get GUs and to the store for some healthy dinner/breakfast items. It was hard to even think about doing that since I was feeling so under the weather, but my race was tomorrow. 

At 6:45pm I happened to check Facebook only to find that due to today's rain the race would be postponed to Sunday. Really? 


The good, the bad, the ugly of the rescheduling: 

1. The good: I have an extra day to recover from my cold and overall from being tired. I got obsessed with watching Transrockies videos last night and didn't go to bed til 1:30am and got up at 6:00am. That made me tired today because I'm used to sleeping 8 or more hours. I'll make sure I rest. 

2. The bad: I've been mentally prepping for a while. I'm ready for it to be over and I was sorta liking the fact that it was EXACTLY 4 weeks before my wedding. Now it's 3 weeks and 6 days before... not the same ring to it. And lastly, I won't get as muddy as I was hoping to get. I like getting muddy in trail runs. 

Yeah... no dirt. no gain
3. The ugly: I had committed to work with Without Limits on Sunday, and as I transition careers, it sorta sucks to lose the money since I don't have an established salary. And also, it ruined my Sunday afternoon of football with Kev and Court and with the jalapeno margaritas at Cantina Denver. This truly infuriates me. 

On a happy note:  I will have tomorrow to REALLY think about strategy. 

Also, did I mention my wedding is in 29 days? 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

30- Ramblings on Life

First of all let me apologize for being so absent lately... a lot has been going on. So let me get to it, but I promise I'll keep it brief.

Today is September 26 and our wedding is October 26 so T-minus 30 days (hence the number 30 on the title). Yeeepee!!! I will write every day as I count down so I don't get overly annoying on Facebook. I need to vent in public and this is my space, so I do as I please.

Last weekend was my bachelorette party and Lindsay got me EVERYTHING I wanted: some girl time, cupcakes, rice krispy treats, a bachelorette sash and a veil (ok, and a few other things I will not share with you, only with my man in the coming weeks, hehe). Thanks friend, you are the best!!

Pretty ladies before opening gifts and going out! 
The week before last, it rained the most ever in Boulder. And when I say ever, I mean EVER. In 5 days we had the same amount of rain we usually get in a year. That's a whole lot of rain... The Monday after the relay I was trashed, but returned the rental car and walked the 2 miles home. Little did I know, that'd be the last time I walked on the bike path...

On Tuesday I got up, went to Denver, had my wedding dress fitting and went  to buy my wedding band... it was gloomy and it was somewhat drizzling. Later that night it rained harder and on Wednesday it rained all day. Sometimes we had heavy rain, sometimes not so heavy. Thursday the same. Friday the same. On Saturday it was gloomy all day and it only rained in the afternoon, but Sunday we had some heavy rain again. I really don't know what to do with rain.

Unfortunately, once it was all done, we realized that most of Boulder County took a hard hit. All the roads up the canyons are destroyed and the bike paths are all under water. Lots of homes were flooded and a lot of people completely lost them.

What used to be a bike path with no creek is now a river
As Boulder recovers a lot of local races cancelled due to several reasons that have to do with the flood, but people are trying to move past this and would like to have most regular activities go back to normal. Lucky for me, my 50k coming up this weekend is still on with some changes to the course. The Bear Chase people put on some amazing races so while I'm disappointed I won't be able to compare last year's race with this year's race, I still think it will be awesome. It's just SLIGHTLY different.  But more about that tomorrow.

New course for the 100k, 50 mile, 50k, half marathon and 10k races
Today, I've fighting off a cold and messing with all home remedies available and I hope I get over it fast... I got a race to run on Saturday and lots of work on Friday and Sunday.

On a last note, if you'd like to make a donation to the CO floods, there are several places you could do so. But if you click here you can get a pretty cool t-shirt out of it. I'm getting the long sleeve one for pre-race warm ups. :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Running Across Colorado

It was this time last year that me and 11 other clowns jumped into 2 different mini vans and ran from Breckenridge all the way to Snowmass.

This year, I did it again. The only difference is that this year there's not a lot of hard evidence since I forgot the one and only most important thing one is supposed to bring to a relay race: my camera.

The weekend started off with the Broncos-Ravens game. Let me tell you: IT WAS AWESOME. Yes, we CRUSHED the Ravens. That always feels good. We arrived at Randy's house in Frisco for the 4th qtr to some amazing dinner and to get to meet the whole team. I, the team captain, went over some rules and gave my team their tshirts and goodie bags.

Go Broncos! 
Friday morning started off at 10am for us with our first runner heading out. My brother Antonio, myself and Linds were runners 1, 2 and 3 and we all struggled with heat.  It was hot and we ran our longest runs. The other 3 runners had nicer weather with some cloud coverage. After that we handed the baton (slap bracelet) to the other half of our team and we stopped at Bob's in Avon for food. Service was... bad. But we were hungry, so we put up with it.

Start line in Copper Mountain
After dinner we went to Edwards to try and nap for a little while and at 11pm we started our second legs. Brother Antonio and I had our shortest runs then. It was mid 60s and it was slightly drizzling so we both had some great fast runs. I was pleased with my run. Our other runners had great runs at night as well, but we were pretty tired afterwards and just drove out to Glenwood to sleep once more.

Antonio getting ready to start his night run
At around 4:30ish in the morning we got a call from our other van saying they were almost done. The early wake up call is horrible, but Antonio got ready fast and was ready to go. Even though his last leg was mostly uphill he had a killer run and showed up 5ish minutes ahead of schedule and I wasn't even ready. As I finished putting on my reflective vest I sprinted off on my run.  I had done that exact same leg 6 years ago on my first relay ever and it was horrible. I was dreading it, but I was passing people left and right and ended up having a killer run. Even better than my night one EVEN THOUGH it had 800ft of elevation gain... I still managed to maintain an average pace under 10 minutes per mile. I felt great. And then I immediately had a beer.

Beer at 9am tastes better
Lindsay chose coke...

...lots of it. 
The people in our van finished their runs strong. And we handed the baton to the last 6 guys. We had breakfast in Basalt and then headed over to Snowmass for a nap and to meet up with the rest of the team around 1:30pm on Saturday. Once our last runner started his run, we headed to Snowmass Resort to wait for him, we enjoyed a couple drinks and had our champagne bottles ready.

Team, this is your captain speaking. 
Robb finished strong and we followed. And we celebrated. With champagne, with pictures. We then drove to Aspen and celebrated more. With beer, pizza and a pool party. We then went out and celebrated more with dinner, drinks and deep fried oreos. That's right: fried oreos.

Finisher's picture with fake medal
And since there's NOTHING better than fried oreos. I think this is where I stop writing and I let you daydream about the fried oreos.

Off-roading by foot and by car!

Friday August 30 was my last day at work... at a job that I was no longer fulfilled by as a professional, as a passionate outdoors person, as an athlete and overall as the person I've become.

Things change, people change. And things (the job/company) changed, and people (me) changed. It was time to move on.  So not only was I going on a holiday weekend on Friday, but I left the office without looking back. 

The drive down to Lake City was long. Lake City is a small town in southwestern Colorado so aside from the fact that it is indeed really far away, trying to leave the metro area at 4pm on a holiday weekend added a good 2 hours to our drive. For some reason though, I was relaxed and nothing seemed to worry me. We arrived at our campsite late, but we put up our tent, laid out our sleeping bags and I fell asleep almost immediately. 

We woke up on Saturday to have breakfast and hit the road. We arrived at the trailhead, changed and off we go. We wanted to trail-run in that beautiful country that is southern Colorado and try and summit two 14ers: Redcloud and Sunshine Peaks. The traverse to the northeast ridge of Redcloud was absolutely stunning with a few runnable miles. While it was definitely lacking oxygen and above treeline, it was what I call enjoyable. I was simply running at a comfortable pace, slowly gaining elevation but blasting some good tunes in my iPod.

Amazing trails
Once we gained the ridge it was harder to keep up the jog, but I was still feeling good to keep a decent pace while hiking up. We arrived at the summit before we knew it (after 4 miles), took a quick picture and continued on the ride heading south. The single track on the ridge was stunning. Amazing to run on again but we could see clouds building up. As we started climbing again we heard this very loud thunder... it was somewhat scary and while I tried telling my man we should just go down, we were 5 minutes away from the summit and the storms were still fairly far. I know it's stupid, but the storm WAS far and we just went for it fast, snapped a pic and got off the summit fast.

Quick Redcloud summit shot
Ridge between Redcloud and sunshine 
Sunshine summit shot. (family shot) 
The way down was supposed to be a fast single trail run, BUT it turned out to be all scree. It was steep and basically a big pile of rocks. It was taking a while to get off that mountain and our puppy seemed to be slowing down. After a while, we saw his paws were bleeding. We stopped to take a look and his pads were completely "broken". That broke our hearts and I pulled out my First Aid Kit, we fixed as possible and tried to continue on. He could barely walk so chuck had to carry him. We did get rained on and took longer than expected, but it was worth it. Once we hit tree line and the actual trail, we booked it down and Levi would walk on the trail much better than in the rocks.

My hero rescuing my hurt pup
After that crazy hike/run, we wanted to go over to Silverton for food and camping on the other side of the pass. Cinnamon Pass is a 4-wheeling mountain pass which Chuck was beyond excited to explore... in my car. I, of course, freaked out. But in the end it was worth it. We finally got to use my 4-wheeling car for what it was built.

The jeep doing its thing! 
We camped that night at this awesome ghost town called Animas Forks on the Silverton side of the pass only  to find out we had to drive over the pass back to our trailhead for our Sunday run. After a ride over the pass that really got my heart rate going, we arrived at the trailhead for Handies Peak. Levi had to stay in the car so chuck and I set the goal to summit in 1.5hrs and be back in the car in under 3hrs. Off we go.

Handies Peak playground
Again, it was amazing country and there was a very runnable trail. Handies was shorter than Redcloud and Sunshine therefore it was slightly steeper, but leaving the pup in the car kept me motivated and pushing hard. We summitted in 1hr and 28mins. We spent a couple minutes there and had a snack before heading down. The way down was AMAZING. I ran again with some loud music and a big smile in my face. We were back in the car 2hrs and 32mins after we started.

Handies Peak summit shot! 
Needless to say, the third time up the pass to go back to Silverton was somewhat less stressful (I think I was getting used to it), but I must say, I do like paved roads. Our hurt puppy does too, I'm sure. After an absolutely delicious meal at Handlebars in Silverton we drove over Red Mountain Pass (craziest paved road EVER) to get to Ouray. You basically drive on hwy 550 which stretches quite a ways, but the 12ish miles around the actual mountain pass is called the Million Dollar Highway. And it's pretty epic. 

After all the hiking, running and driving in crazy roads we were pretty spent. We visited the Ouray Brewery for some beers and food and camped one more night just outside Ouray. On Monday we started our trek back home. It was an amazing weekend.

The Durango-Silverton train made an appearance- I LOVE trains!