Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Weeks in Review (April 12 - April 25)

Somehow this got away from me last week, so I'll just combine a few weeks. Blogging wasn't always this complicated...

Tuesday (18,573 steps) - Took another rest day. I did, however, do a long yoga video instead. Turns out, even if I complete a super slow ultra, I'M TIRED. No plans for the evening, but found out that it was "National Grilled Cheese Day," so A and I went to Village Inn for dinner. I was thoroughly UNIMPRESSED. I also ordered soup - which was lukewarm and had a hair in it. Sandwich I had to send back because the cheese wasn't even melted. At least it was a kids eat free night, so that made it sorta worth it.

Wednesday (20,028 steps) - Skipped a morning run (again) and did a lower body video. After work we went to run club. Totally bamboozled by Runner's Roost with a mini ceremony at the start acknowledging A's accomplishment at 24 Hours of Palmer Lake. They gave her an honorary MUT Roost team shirt, a hat and buff from Salomon, a Nothing Bundt Cake, a package of Oreos (because she loves them, of course), flowers, AND a season pass to Elitch's. I wish I had the foresight to videotape it. It was so unexpected and touching. I love my running community so much!!!

Heather finally started to run a bit this week and we jogged over to the track and did three miles. Such a fun night. We went to dinner at Noodles with Dan and Heather.
Thursday (20,439 steps) - A dry and unseasonably warm morning (no jacket!) and I decided to run along the lake since we have a bunch of snow in the forecast and wanted to get in some dirt before it got muddy.
Got a few minutes of yoga in. A had gymnastics and Tokyo Joe's for dinner.
Friday (19,596 steps) - Normally a rest day, but really want to get a run in before the weather hit, so I did a short loop around the neighborhood. Another day where no coat was needed, but I could definitely tell a cold front was coming in.
Almost stopped at the store after work, but people were already preparing for the Snowpocalypse, so we just got some dessert at Kneaders instead. In bed early.
Saturday (18,514 steps) - I had my alarm set with the intent to go to the Runner's Edge group run and get anywhere between 8 and 12 miles in. Within minutes of waking up I received the email that the run was canceled due to weather. So instead, I went back to bed and didn't get up until almost 9. LAZY. A and I watched TV for a few hours, gorged ourselves at IHOP for a late breakfast, and then went to see Kung Fu Panda 3. Eventually went for a 5ish mile run in the basement inferno. Also did a lower body video and some stretching. Went to bed early because I had a headache all afternoon that I just could not shake. Snowed all day, and all night.
Sunday (17,775 steps) - Pretty much the only other day in the foreseeable future that I didn't have to wake up early. Sadly, I just could not sleep past 7. Such a failure!! Looked outside and saw it was still snowing, and we had a decent amount of accumulation overnight (although no where NEAR what other areas around town got). A made Andes chocolate mint chip pancakes for breakfast. Did an upper body video, and then we went roller skating for a bit.
Picked up pho for a late lunch, and then binge watched TV and napped until I went out for a short run.
Only one area was slushy, the rest was relatively dry. Only in Denver can it snow for 36 hours straight and the roads be dry almost immediately. Not complaining, it was great. A joined me for a yoga/stretching video, but otherwise, most of the evening was spent on the couch. LAZY WEEKEND.
Monday (9,708 steps) - Alarm set, but didn't feel like getting up, so I didn't. Man, I'm really taking this taper business seriously. With Heather being injured, we are no longer running the marathon, and I certainly don't need to run a ton for a half. Instead, I'm catching up on all that sleep I've been missing lately. Took A to school a bit early, and then went to Runner's Roost for about an hour for the Boston Marathon viewing party. It was a lot of fun and I was wishing that I didn't have to go to work. Nothing else.
Tuesday (16,061 steps) - Slept in. Again. This is getting way too easy to do. Did a loop around the neighborhood after work. Nothing else.
Wednesday (15,312 steps) - Slept in, but only because I had plans of going to run club. BUSY day, most of which did not involve actually being at work. A had her awards ceremony in the morning (for being in the art show):
Had a secretary meeting that ate up my lunch hour, then I had to go to my lasik pre-op appointment. Everything still looking good for Friday! Traffic was a nightmare getting A after work, as well as driving into Denver for run club. We still got in a few miles and of course had a great evening. We went out to dinner with Heather at Noodles & Company (again).
Thursday (23,838 steps) - Since I haven't been running, and wouldn't be getting a long run in over the weekend, I actually got up and did 7ish miles before work.

It was a pleasant run, and I did a bit on the trails, although they were still muddy from the snow we had over the weekend. Bah. Gymnastics and Tokyo Joe's after work.
Friday (11,381 steps) - Last run in glasses!!!
Run around the neighborhood and then dropped A off at school and then went to Heather's house so she could take me to my lasik appointment. Everything went well and the remainder of my day was spent dozing on Heather's couch.
We picked up A after school, ordered pizza and started on the Cherry Creek Sneak after party decorations.
Saturday (15,765 steps) - Up earlier than we needed to be. Stopped at IHOP for breakfast on the way to my post-op appointment. It's crazy to me that 24 hours after having LASERS in my eyes that I'm cleared to drive... Everything looked good, yay! Headed up north for a quick jog (yes, I was cleared to do this), then took A to her very first soccer game I haven't had much of an opportunity to watch her play, but, she is really good!
Quick stop at home for showers and taking care of the kitties. Stopped at Elitch's to pick up our season passes, then headed back to Heather's house. More party decorating, and a trip to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner. My eyes were pretty tired so I rested a lot on the couch.
Sunday (14,208 steps) - Up EARLY for the Sneak party! People started dropping by around 7 am. There was still quite a bit to do, getting food ready, taking out the trash, etc. Ended up partying until about 1 pm. I am too old for this.
Runner's Roost team picture!
A and I went to Elitch's, having enough time for a few roller coasters
THEN, headed over to Green Mountain for Roost Lakewood's "Trails and Ales." I wasn't really prepared for a run (no running sunglasses, no sports bra, no trail shoes, no water). I did a short 2 mile out and back - and it was GORGEOUS.
A went with Maureen and Colfax for a hike up to the summit.
A is one of the tiny people along the ridge - she ran down
We then went to Westrail Tap & Grill for a beer and THE MOST GIANT PLATTER OF NACHOS EVER.
So exhausted. Pretty much went to bed as soon as I got home.
Monday (14,283 steps) - Enjoyed getting sleep and didn't get up early. We have been having wasps sneak between our storm door and main door, so after work we made a trip to Home Depot to get something to seal up the doors better. Our neighbors came over and helped, but turns out that what we really need is some gorilla glue. We will have to go back another night to get this fixed.

Stats:
Week ending April 18
  • 124,633 steps
  • 18.8 miles run
  • No cross training
  • 120 minutes of strength/stretching
Week ending April 25
  • 110,848 steps
  • 19 miles run
  • No cross training
  • 5 minutes of strength/stretching
Everything Else
  • I'm obviously taking this taper business seriously. Back to back ultra weekends DRAINED me. Not hitting quite the mileage I should, but I really needed a break! 
  • Lasik is nuts. It's so weird to be able to see without contacts/glasses. Using eye drops every twelve seconds is annoying, but I'm quickly adapting and becoming addicted.
  • Other than that, "goal" marathon is this weekend! Plans obviously have changed a bit with Heather now being injured. We may do a marathon, we may do the half. It's looking like it will be a last minute decision.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Week in Review (April 5 - April 11)

Tuesday (18,075 steps) - Very short 2ish mile run in the morning. Didn't have a ton of time since A goes to school early for student council on Tuesdays. It was warm enough to skip the jacket though, so that was nice. Did a butt/thigh video and an arms/shoulders video.
Wednesday (26,968 steps) - 4 windy miles. It is light enough to hit the trails on the way back! Yay!!

Picked A up at soccer and got to watch her play for a few minutes.
Can you spot the surly one?
We still went to run club, even though A wasn't feeling up to running. We still did a mile because A really wants to join the "100 mile club" again.
Thursday (21,352 steps) - Up early AGAIN because I had to take my car in to find out why my check engine light was on. I also needed to get a new windshield, so that was fun. I did a short run during lunch. I have been spoiled running in my neighborhood because I had already forgotten how annoying it is to stop at.every.single.street.
Gymnastics after work.
Friday (18,531 steps) - REST DAY! Had to bring my car in AGAIN because the check engine light was back on. More testing, they didn't charge for the visit today, just a wait and see if it comes on later. Big announcement at work that my favorite attorney was promoted to Denver managing director! Hooray! Pizza and brownies for dinner, finish packing and in bed early for our race.
Saturday (116.221 steps) - 24 Hours of Palmer Lake.
Sunday (46,336 steps) - More 24 Hours of Palmer Lake.
When we finally got home I took a shower, napped for a few hours. We went to IHOP for a very late lunch. Chipotle for dinner. Zero things.
Monday (12,443 steps) - REST DAY! Did 15 minutes of yoga/pilates before work. Uh, nothing else.

Stats:
  • 259,926 steps
  • 79.7 miles run
  • No cross training
  • 33 minutes of strength/stretching
Everything Else:
  • EXHAUSTED. Well, I tell you what. Back to back weekends of ultra marathons and travel is tiring. Wish I would have had a staycation day to use. On the agenda for recovery week is lots and lots of sleep.
  • Ugh. Tired of car expenses! I have been enjoying not having car payments, but it seems that every few months I'm having a substantial car expense. This is the only vehicle I've ever bought new (had almost 7 years now), and the longest I've ever owned a car. What's your experience with deciding when it becomes too expensive to fix? I love my car, and don't want to get rid of it, but...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

24 Hours of Palmer Lake (Race Recap)

Saturday, April 9 - Sunday, April 10
Palmer Lake, CO
Ultra Marathon #17
Weather - All 4 seasons

The 24 Hours of Palmer Lake event is a low-key, "family-friendly," almost fatass style event. The registration cost me only $28, and A, being under 12, was free. I asked her if she wanted to come (we would be able to set up a tent), and she could run as much, or as little, as she wanted. She seemed PUMPED. So I signed up.

The weeks leading up to the race were filled with anxiously checking the weather (forecast of rain), and both of us having colds. By the time race day rolled around, things were as good as they were going to get.

The race started at Palmer Lake, near Monument. I had been there only time, it was the start of the American Discovery Trail marathon I ran in 2014. We left the house by 6 in hopes of arriving with enough time to set up our tent/home base, and get ready to run. We met up with our friend Jandy, and sure enough, we had time to do all those things and were ready to go when the event began at 8.

Minutes to race starting!
A, Jandy and I lined up near the back. Our motto for the day was "slow and low, that is the tempo." The course was a small (0.82 mile) loop around a beautiful lake. The terrain was packed dirt (albeit somewhat rutted from cyclists) and FLAT AS A PANCAKE. We started by doing a slow jog, and never really sped up. The altitude in Palmer Lake is just under 7,300', and that, coupled with the flat terrain made it more difficult than I would have imagined.
Rainbow bagel tights, not to be confused with her donut ones
Lake in late morning, before the weather rolled in
We jogged the first few loops in our hoodies and then as we warmed up moved on to just tee shirts. The weather was bizarre. Hot on one side, cold on the other. AND CRAZY WIND. But not everywhere... how could there be so many weather variables in such a small space?

Anyway, loop after loop after loop. Jandy and I stuck together almost the entire time. Which wasn't something I was expecting at all since she is substantially faster than I am. A had a plan to complete 2-3 loops at a time, then take breaks. Jandy and I just kept moving, but moved into a run/walk much sooner than either of us would have hoped. I believe the first beer was cracked by 10 am.
Me (in my beer skirt), Jandy, and A
Double digits!

Angry clouds rolling in
Half marathon done!

We had some really strange weather roll in early afternoon. There was a lot more wind, some hail (we think), some rain (but nothing major). This went on for a few loops. I was relieved that it never developed into a major storm. That would NOT have been fun.
20?!?! (watch dead by this time) 
Really bizarre rainbow
Dusk
Marathon!
After A went to bed, the real struggle commenced. There were over 100 starters, and probably 15-20 that were out at night. Jandy and I talked and talked and talked to pass the time. There were salamanders that kept appearing on the trail, so that was something that took our mind off things as well. I even picked one up and moved it off course!

Sometime around 1 am I was offered a ski shot of bourbon. I have no idea why I took one. I don't drink liquor, ESPECIALLY bourbon... but apparently, the best decisions are NOT made at this time of night after being on your feet for billions of hours.
I'm in black. I don't think the others are still running...
I wasn't even really tired, or that cold, but I was a bit concerned about driving home early in the morning so I opted to take a very short break around 4 am. It was so damn windy that I didn't want to go to the tent, so I sat in the car. (Related: how on earth did A sleep for seven plus hours with the win and noise?? In addition to the rain flap moving around the train went by like a billion times...)
Sunrise!!!!
A's final loop at 7:20 am - they let her "break the tape"
All the kid's got trophies (She really earned it!)
A completed the second most miles of kids. The winner did 36 miles (and was the winner last year as well)
This is how we kept track of loops. Super official, right?
It's funny how long 24 hours is, and yet how I can barely remember any of it. We celebrated a LOT of milestones with A. Her longest run, her first double digit run, first half marathon, first 20 miler, first marathon, first 50k and finally - 32 miles. Yes, A completed 32 miles. She took plenty of breaks to play Minecraft, play on the swing set, chat with the volunteers, nap, etc., but she did it. Honestly, I was really surprised. She had the best attitude all day long, smile on her face, saying goofy things, giving other runners high fives and cheering them on. This is a day I will remember for a LONG time.

Stats:

  • Miles completed (me) - 66.42
  • Miles completed (A) - 31.98 (we rounded up, ok?)
  • Beers consumed - I *think* five. Not entirely sure on that number.
  • Shots taken - just one shot, around 1 am. Not the best decision I ever made. Bourbon is gross.
  • Pieces of cold pizza eaten - 6? Pretty much all I ate. I had a brownie or two, a couple handfuls of chips, 2 gels and one bite of a very stale Honey Stinger waffle.
  • Stories traded with Jandy - hundreds. Seriously, we pretty much talked the entire time.
  • Breaks taken - Two. One at 11 pm when A went to bed (rested my eyes for about 20 minutes), and a second break around 4 am, which I think was about 50 minutes.
  • Memories made? LOTS.
Lastly? What did A think of the whole experience?


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Week in Review (March 29 - April 4)

Tuesday (25,300 steps) - 5ish miles in the morning. I was really surprised at how much snow and ice there still was on the sidewalks. Glad I didn't slip and fall and break my neck, especially since it was pretty dark still when I was out.

A got her team soccer jersey!
After work A had her last archery class and I did a lower body video.
Wednesday (25,060 steps) - Air was very chilly on my run, another 5ish miles. Still icy, but not as bad as the day before. Man, when we get a blizzard it really takes a long time to melt! Remembered to stretch after my run.
I had to run early because I had my LASIK consult at 8. Good news, I'm a candidate! Now I just have to wait a few more months to have enough money in my HSA account to fund it. Excited!! A and I went to run club, but decided not to run. It was very windy and lightly snowing, and well, we just didn't feel like it. I finally had collected all the goodies I wanted to give A as a "things you might want when running your first ultra." Special thanks to Runner's Roost, not only for helping me get the items, but for stealthily ringing everything up so A didn't see. Fun times!
Thursday (24,179 steps) - "Taper" time! Only a 3 mile run (no ice), and then I did a pilates/yoga video after.
A had her first "real" gymnastics lesson and seemed to enjoy it. Finally finished packing for our Moab trip!
Friday (19,613 steps) - Up early (AGAIN) so we could be on the road early. We left the house just after 6, with a stop at Dunkin' for coffee and donuts. Drive to Glenwood Springs wasn't bad, although we hit a little bit of snow on the west side of the tunnel. Part of the reason for our early departure is that I was dying to hike Hanging Lake, and every other time I've been in the area the lot has been full (it's pretty inaccessible), so I was hoping with it being a weekday and chilly, that we would be able to hike it.

We arrived at the lot and it was practically empty. Score! It was, however, super chilly. I was wearing two shirts, a hoodie and a jacket, plus a beanie and gloves. A was wearing similar. The first 1/4 of a mile or so is a paved sidewalk along the river. The hike to the lake itself is only a mile. I figured round trip it would take about 2 hours. Immediately there is some decent climbing, but nothing technical.
About 1/4 of a mile in, we came across an incredibly icy section. There was nothing just snow-packed to get footing, no rocks to step on, nor anything to grab onto to get up. We spent a few minutes slipping and sliding to get to the next section. If only that had been the sketchiest section! The remainder of the trail was super slippery and I kept thinking... "probably not the best idea to be doing this the day before a 50K..." We had a great time and took a ton of pictures. And Hanging Lake was totally worth the climb. After getting our pictures we hiked the remainder to Spouting Rock.








We were able to run a teeny tiny section that wasn't icy


I've already printed this one!
Behind Spouting Rock
Now for the hard part... getting down. If I thought it was slick on the way up, the way down was insane. A was in front and her shoes had much better traction than mine. We crab-walked down a lot of it and every time I though "hey, this is fiiiiine..." my feet would slip out from under me. The trail was literally a sheet of ice and we "bobsledded" down most of the way. So amazed neither of us felt into the creek or hurt ourselves. We laughed and laughed and laughed and had a great time. So happy we did this!

After we got to the bottom we had a snack and then drove into Grand Junction, where we stopped at Chili's for lunch. From Grand Junction, it was only about a 90 minute drive into Moab - and we took the scenic route through the canyon to get there.
Had to pull over for this one!
We arrive at the Gonzo Inn just minutes before Heather arrived. After checking in to our room I went to move my car and the check engine light was on. NOT GOOD! I kept turning it off and restarting it, but it was still on. Dang! Don't want to get stuck in Moab (as much as I love it). Figured we would deal with it later, and headed to get our packets. Pick up was totally low key, just got a bib, timing chip, tee shirt and trucker hat. Stopped at a service station, as they were closing, and they said I could come by on Saturday and they would be able to read the code to see what was going on with my car.

We headed to the Moab Brewery for dinner, and surprisingly, there was no wait. By the time we left it was PACKED though. Quick stop at Walker Drugstore to get some drinks, and then we were in for the night. Our friend Ben was coming in from Denver and was going to crash on the floor of our hotel room. We went to the pool with A for a bit, had some beers, and in bed by 10:30ish(?)
Saturday (75,984 steps) - Behind the Rocks 50K.
I hadn't been hungry immediately after finishing, which was weird. After finishing my beer we headed back to the hotel. I met up with Heather and A at the pool. While Ben and I were running, Heather and A had done some hiking.

After cleaning up, we were STARVING. A was a bit exhausted and said she was full from lunch, tired, and didn't want to eat. We ended up going to the Mexican restaurant across the street. Delicious! A few more beers and I'm pretty sure I was in bed even earlier.
Sunday (21,301 steps) - Did NOT sleep well. A was super fidgety and I woke up at least eleventy-billion times. So much for "sleeping in." We wen to the hotel lobby for breakfast, packed up our stuff and then headed out to Negro Bill canyon to do the hike to Morning Glory bridge. This was A's request, as we had hiked it a few years ago when we came out and she remembered/loved the water crossings (all 18 of them!). As the hike progressed, it was obvious that A wasn't feeling well. I wasn't carrying any food on me since we had just eaten breakfast, but she took a caffeine free GU and seemed to get some energy back. Beautiful day for a hike!










By the time we had finished it was already after 12. Packed up the car, and then went to Zak's for the pizza buffet. Man. I haven't had pizza in ages, and it was delicious. By the time we finished lunch it was 2:00, and it was time to head back. A slept most of the way back to Denver and we made fantastic time, getting back around 7:45. So crazy not to hit any traffic or weather, AND I drove the speed limit the whole time. A went to bed really early and I stayed up to watch the season finale of the Walking Dead.
Monday (18,152 steps) - Yoga/Pilates video before work. Quick jog by the lake, just to get the juices flowing.

Stats:

  • 209,589 steps
  • 49.2 miles run
  • About 5 hours of cross training - between the two hikes
  • 77 minutes of strength/stretching
Everything Else:
  • Gas light went off before we did the drive back (thankfully). I still have an appointment this week to get it looked at. I know I need a new air filter, so maybe that was part of it. Also finally getting my windshield replaced.
  • Last week of #alltheactivites - A will still be doing soccer two days a week after school, but as for "evening" activities, we are down to just run club and one night of gymnastics. The last month or so has felt very overwhelming.
  • Finally got a pay raise! 2%, and it was retroactive to the first of the year. Exciting stuff!