Friday, July 21, 2017

Week in Review (July 11 - July 17)

Tuesday (10,729 steps) - Barre with Gabi! Thankfully, it didn't feel quite as impossible as last week. Hopefully I have not lost ALL my strength. Gymnastics and Taco Tuesday.
Wednesday (22,255 steps) - Barre Sculpt with Kelly. D'oh. This is so hard. I know it's probably helpful to take this class, but sheesh. Skipped run club (for the first time "on purpose" in ages) so that we could meet up with FRXC for a run at Apex. I hadn't run with that group before, but I managed to meet someone who claimed they would be running slow. (And I clarified what my pace and "slow" meant, so I felt good about it). However, slow was a bit faster than I expected, not to mention, first run since Chase the Moon, and SORE/TIRED from barre. Either way, it was an overcast night, lightly rained and PERFECT weather for a trail run.


Had a great time (A did too!) and the group leader said that A was officially the youngest person to come out for a run, and he wanted a picture of us for their Facebook page. 
Photo cred: FRXC / Bryan G.
Thursday (14,708 steps) - Belmar run club! Tired after back to back barre classes and a tough trail run, so I just walked with Dulce and Matilda.
Bought beer for the first time since getting back from vacation. Although it may sound delicious, it sadly was not.
Friday (11,046 steps) - A was spending the day with Ang, and then she invited us to stay for dinner! She is a fantastic cook and we really enjoyed our meal. I don't recall doing anything else...
Saturday (25,886 steps) - The forecast was for a million degrees and sunny. Our aid station was the mile 8 turnaround, and I initially thought I might run 12-14. My ankle has been bugging me for a while, so after 5 miles I opted to turn around. Good thing, as it started throbbing about a mile after I headed back. The route was in Golden on the Clear Creek trail and was mostly downhill on the way out. Pretty pleased that it wasn't as bad as I feared it would be on the way back. 10 total was plenty.
Stopped at the store on our way home, then just had a little time before heading to Nikki and Calvin's birthday party at the park. Posting this pic because I'm actually in regular clothes (wearing the sunglasses).
Left the party at 4, then went to the music store to exchange A's viola - she grew and needed a bigger one. Then we headed down to Berkeley to visit Sully at his new running store! So happy for him, it's really a cute store! (Although I'm not sure any guy would be happy with me using the word "cute" to describe their work).
Sunday (19,002 steps) - Out the door by 5:30 for the Donor Dash 5k. Not going to write up a separate recap on this one though. Parked at the high school by 7, and immediately ran into Laurie in the lot. Took a bit of time to find the tents to pick up our bibs, we had all received free entries from the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank (what a deal!) Found Ang and the girls, took some pictures before the start.
The Donor Dash is a huge event - tailored towards families. With that in mind, we lined up close to the front since there were a ton of people walking and lots of strollers. We saw Jandy just before we started and she jumped into the corral with us. A decided that she was going to run with Jandy and I said something to the effect of "have fun with that." Sure enough, they bolted right out of the chute. I did my best to take it easy and hope that I wouldn't need to walk. The first mile was meh, I briefly chatted with Michael, who was definitely taking it easy. Walked through the first aid station, said hi to Shari and Tony. I struggled a bit in the second mile, even took a second walk break. Hit the second aid station at mile two, and shortly after that I saw Jandy running into the finish, and only a minute later, saw A. Oh geez, I still have forever to go. I ran pretty strong the last mile and finished, thankfully, at under an 11 minute pace. Found Jandy and A, then we backtracked the course to meet up with Ang and walk her into the finish.

Me
Official time - 33:39 (pretty much my fastest 5k in years, sad)
Overall place - 783/4511
Gender place - 322/2675

A (KILLED IT)
Official time - 26:31 (she officially beat my 5k PR!!)
Overall place - 249/4511
Gender place - 66/2675
A with Jandy
There was a big celebration after the finish, which involved the release of a ton of balloons (white, green and blue) - I'm sure it's not great for the environment, but it looked pretty cool.

Went home for breakfast, then we met up with Jessa at Tokyo Joe's for an afternoon snack and to catch up a bit.
Monday (20,199 steps) - We had such a good experience with FRXC on Wednesday that we decided to head to another run club - the North Table Mountain Monday night run club. The route was a 4 mile loop, which I was pretty familiar with (other than the first 1/3 of a mile, since we were starting at New Terrain, and I had never been there.
Within the first 3 minutes we were in the very back again.

This group also waits at every junction.
The two miles on the way down were really great, and we were NOT the slowest on that section - hooray! There were supposed to be beer specials, so I ordered one (and a root beer for A), but it seemed to be full price. It was delicious though, and the perfect way to recover from a trail run. We sat outside on the patio and chatted with people for at least 45 minutes after the run. Super fun night!
Stats:
  • 123,825 steps
  • 25.5 miles
  • 2 barre classes

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Chase the Moon 12 Hour Endurance Run (Race Recap)

Highlands Ranch, CO
Friday, July 7 - Saturday, July 8
Ultra Marathon #24
Weather - Perfect!

Probably not my brightest idea ever to sign up for a 12 hour run the same week we got back from a two week overseas vacation. But since I've never been accused of making wise decisions, this should not surprise anyone.

The Chase the Moon 12 hour race is one of my favorite summer events. Running in the summer is the most miserable ever, but since this race is at night, it is actually bearable. Plus, I actually get a "LONG" run in.

Sadly, I again had to work all day before the race. I still wasn't sleeping well (I'll blame jet lag), so I was ridiculously sleep deprived even going into the race. I also shouldn't have taken a tough barre class as my legs felt like lead before I even started.

I picked up A and we started the drive to Mountain Vista High School. I expected the traffic, so I was not surprised that it took over an hour. We still arrived just after 6, which gave us plenty of time to set up the tent (ok, A sent up the tent, I was not involved) and pick up my bib. By the time I got my ankle taped (still bothering me a bit after rolling it at Dirty 30) and loaded up my pack, it was time for the pre-race announcements. Pretty much the same old, same old, so I had time to use the bathroom before heading out.
Race started right on time at 7:00, and I ran the first 4 minutes or so with Jandy. The race starts with a decent climb and I know better than to even pretend to run up that with a 11 hours and 56 minutes remaining. I would spend the next few miles yo-yo'ing with a handful of runners, never really maintaining a steady pace. I have a pretty decent handle on running ultras now, and I typically walk most of the uphills and run the flats and downhills. By the time I arrived at Outlaw (the only aid station on the 10.3 mile loop), I told Lisa and Pete (who were volunteering), that I was already so tired that I felt like I had already run 30 miles, not just 4. Ugh. I usually loosen up after a few miles, but I never felt good during this race.









I didn't need my headlamp until the very end of the loop, but since it was paved, I figured I would wait to mess with it until I had gone through the start when I would be walking the uphill. I ran into Jandy, who was walking with A. A would join me for about a mile of run / walking, until the course split off.
Free race pic from Twain Wilkins
My second loop was pretty uneventful and it felt WAY better than the first loop, although again, never actually "good." I had to fill up my pack at Outlaw, which is crazy. Only 16ish miles into the race and I was already almost out of fluids.
Third loop was also pretty uneventful. Saw lots of creepy birds with red eyes. One woman told me (as I passed her) that my pace was "amazing." Never heard that.... ever. That's about it. As I was coming onto the road for the downhill into the start/finish I finally saw Jandy! We agreed that we would run together for the next loop. She is such an amazing person to run with during ultras (the same gal that I ran with ALL of our Palmer Lake 24 hour race).
Photo: Twain Wilkins (Ignore my crazy eyes)
We were in and out of the aid station quickly and I told her that my main goal was to beat my time from previous years. We were both struggling and not running much of anything. A few miles in and we actually saw a skunk on the course! The last 4 miles back to the start/finish were miserable, but I had remembered that from previous years.
Sunrise with a mile to go!
We both decided that even though we had time, we were not going to do a small loop for more miles. I ran over 35 minutes faster than I ever had, for a huge course PR.

Of course, as my friend Dave went out for a little loop, I immediately had regrets that I had opted to NOT run more. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

Ah well.
Team at the finish! (left to right: Mike, Ben, A, David, Jandy, Me, Syd, Sue)
Official time - 10:47:17
Loop 1 - 2:17:05
Loop 2 - 2:38:39
Loop 3 - 2:47:03
Loop 4 - 3:04:30
Overall place - 28/77
Gender place - 8/29
Division place - 5/12 (speedy folks in my age group!)
Garmin time - 10:47:18
Miles 1-5: 11:41, 12:46, 13:09, 14:23, 14:33
Miles 6-10: 13:00, 15:16, 13:17, 13:34, 12:40
Miles 11-15: 16:10, 15:10, 14:52, 13:51, 13:52
Miles 16-20: 13:16, 18:33, 16:45, 16:39, 16:29
Miles 21-25: 18:17, 13:23, 15:52, 15:19, 19:25
Miles 26-30: 16:11, 16:03, 16:00, 15:20, 15:48
Miles 31-35: 17:24, 17:51, 17:07, 17:35, 17:54
Miles 36-41: 17:50, 19:38, 18:24, 18:52, 17:45, 15:52

Thoughts:
  • Pretty sure the course was a bit different from last year. There was only orange flagging on the big loop, which helped alleviate confusion. I believe the small blue loop was the same? Not really sure.
  • I didn't have any issues with the distance between the aid stations, which were well stocked with typical aid station food. My favorite of the day was salted watermelon, pickles, and of course Mountain Dew.
  • Race shirt is burgundy and glows in the dark!
  • Medal is nice, no mileage designation this year, which is fine.
  • Finish line had Flippin' Flapjacks pancakes again, which is a delicious way to end the race. I started thinking about pancakes with about an hour to go, and I'm sure that helped me to run faster, haha.
  • Super fun event, I really like that it is always run the weekend of the full moon. Will run this one again for sure.

"Week" in Review (July 5 - July 10)

Wednesday (16,231 steps) - I had slept like the dead the night before, I guess two days with no sleep will do that! Going back to work was a bit of a shock to the system. Denver run club! It was 101 degrees out... A and I suffered through three miles.

We both "test drove" the new Cliftons - I didn't really love them... too much arch support (especially since the shoe is supposedly neutral? Cashed in my free pair of New Balance trail shoes that I had won at the Trail Sisters event - going to give the new Hierro style a try. Should be a good "in between" shoe (from the 1210 to the Vazee Summit). Had to stop at the grocery store on our way home since we have NO FOOD. By the time we did laundry (you know what's worse than the stink of race clothes? Race clothes that have been in a Ziploc bag for nearly two weeks) and made dinner, it was already time for bed.
Thursday (17,884 steps) - Barre with Gabi! Hooray for her finally being back! Between her taking time off for her wedding and honeymoon and me being on vacation, it  had probably been a month since I last took her class. About halfway through I really regretted taking this class, since I have a big race coming up. Amazing how hard barre can be just taking a few weeks off. Bah! Belmar "run" club. We were late (stupid traffic!!) and we only walked (taper, you know?)

Andy made patriotic jell-o shots!

Photobombed!
Went to Rocko's after for Dulce's fundraiser (and also, who can say no to nachos?)
Friday (53,682 steps) - Chase the Moon right after work - recap coming.
Saturday (51,734 steps) - Finishing up Chase the Moon.
As I've gotten older, I now can't even make a drive home from these events without napping. This time, it was in the King Soopers parking lot. Home to shower and have lunch, then napping. I think we were in bed before 8:00. Party animals!
Sunday (18,778 steps) - Drove down to Lakewood for the RMRR July trophy series event at Stone House. Thankfully, it was only 2 miles, as I was still SO SORE from Chase the Moon. I was impressed I managed a 12:10 pace, and A had an AWESOME day, getting 2nd place overall (and clicking her fastest mile - 8:15!).



We had ice cream and chatted a bit with teammates before a long overdue trip to Target and then a trip later in the day to Home Depot to buy an air filter and curtains for the living room. The cats have slowly been destroying the blinds in the living room, and now that they broke off SIX blinds, it was time to replace.
We have an odd size window, so faux wood was out of the question without a custom order. Finally hung up all my medals from the last 6 months that have been piling up on my night stand.
Monday (11,202 steps) - A went to Ang's for the day. Stopped at Sprouts to buy burgers (that were on sale!). The end.

Stats:
  • 169,511 steps
  • 45.9 miles run
  • 1 barre class

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Day 13 and 14 - Alpe di Suisi to Venice to Geneva to Reykjavik to New York to Denver...

July 3
Days 13

We left the Airbnb just after 6am. The car was due back by noon, and they charged $64 an hour if you were late returning it. After the fiasco we had getting there, we weren't risking it. We had programmed the gps to get us back to the Venice airport.

In yet another shocking turn of events, the gps routed us on some super sketchy one lane road that was obviously not the right way to go. WTF with all the directions being off??

Anyway, we managed to find the autobahn, and we made the drive in just under 4 hours, speeding along at a glorious 130kmph most of the way. We had opted to return the car at the airport instead of where we rented it near the bus station.

We found the garage where we had to return it, but accidentally drove past the return area for Avis. In an incredibly frustrating turn of events, the floor where the returns were was only one way. Yet it wouldn't go full circle, one way. Which meant we would need to exit the garage and then come back up. Only you need a ticket to exit the garage because they also rent cars from the same location. BUT HOW DO YOU GET A TICKET IF YOU HAVE ALREADY DRIVEN PAST WHERE YOU NEED TO GO AND THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH THE EXIT WHICH IS ONE WAY. For the first time, I finally broke down and started crying. We had so many problems the last few days and this was apparently my breaking point.

Maureen walked across the building to talk to the Avis people, got us a card, then we had drive around and come back up. Returning the car took another half hour. Luckily we were not charged for anything additional (which reminds me, on our drive back to Venice a BIRD flew into the windshield - luckily it did not cause any damage).

We were all "over" our trip by now, and opted to spend our last few hours at the airport instead of lugging our bags around Venice.

Our flight to Geneva left right one time, and was short, only about an hour. On to the NEXT problem. The hotel we had booked was actually across the border in France, about 5 miles away. They were not going to be able to accommodate us checking out at 4 in the morning (plus we were concerned about border crossings), so we had to spend the night in the airport.

There was a Swiss Chalet where we spent about an hour having beer (or wine for Maureen) before we tried to find chairs where we could stay for the night. Maureen and I found a little shop that would give us alcohol to go, which we hoped would help us sleep.
Third glass is for... A?
Steps - 11,778
Miles - 0

July 4
Day 14

We (or at least "I") did NOT sleep. Our flight was supposed to start boarding at 6, so we started heading to security around 4:30 (since Maureen still had to check a bag).

We had breakfast at the gate (stupid small coffee and a croissant) before boarding our flight to Reykjavik.

That flight was about 4 hours (?) long. I have absolutely no recollection of how I passed the time, but I think A and I watched Netflix.

Arrived in Reykjavik with about 2.5 hours to catch our next flight. We got through customs with no issues, got our boarding passes from the Delta counter, then picked up a ridiculously expensive wrap (to share) and a souvenir for our neighbor who was watching Batman and Robin while we were gone.

The flight was almost 6 hours to JFK. I watched Patriot's Day (and I was surprised at how emotional it made me) and most of The Girl on the Train. Dozing off in the middle of the movie was the only "sleep" I would get.

Arrived in JFK on time, and headed to customs. The line was INSANE. In the tradition of "things that only happen to me," I got a black "X" on my receipt. That meant that we had to go in a special line. I assumed this was random and they would ask more questions. Well the only question we were asked is if we bought anything. (Outside of food, we seriously only bough about 4 magnets and a patch). I then was hit with another "additional screening" - which meant we had to go in a tiny room with no windows or bathroom, and no cell phones allowed! After about 75 minutes, finally released, without ANY questions being asked of me, or an explanation of why I was flagged.

We exited the airport and opted for a taxi instead of Uber to take us to La Guardia for our last flight. We found some cheap pizza by the slice and a salad bar for dinner. Our flight actually landed about 40 minutes early in Denver, about 8:00.

Light rail took over an hour (presumably because of all the 4th of July chaos in the city), and then we still had to go to Maureen's house to get our car. It was after 10:30 before we got home.

LONGEST DAY(S) EVER EVER EVER (EVER).

Steps - 18,402
Miles - 0

THE END.

Day 12 - Alpe di Suisi half marathon (Race Recap)

July 2
Day 12

Alpe di Siusi, Italy
Half Marathon #166
Weather - brisk, perfect!

Well as you can imagine, "sleeping" in the rental car did not go well. Being higher up in the mountains, it was chilly, and we had not dressed properly for it. Not to mention, three people trying to get decent sleep in a Ford Fiesta? Didn't happen.

Once the sun came up, we decided to drive down by where we had seen the expo. Didn't look like that was where the race was going to be, so we drove back up by where we had spent the night. Turns out that we had parked about 10 feet from the race start. Finally, a stroke of good luck! We parked right next to the start line, then went to a cafe to have some breakfast. I was able to get on some wifi and was able to get back in touch with our Airbnb host (who didn't seem to understand how we had so much trouble finding her) and Francesca, to see if we could meet up. Picked up my packet (which included 4 apples and an apple corer, random), then back to the cafe so I could change into my race clothes in the bathroom. As you can imagine, I was not incredibly optimistic for how the race was going to go.

Francesca had run part of the course the week before and said that it wasn't incredibly technical, and thought it wasn't quite as tough as the elevation profile would lead one to believe. I was a bit nervous for this race, the cutoff was 3 hours, and about 1900' of climbing. That's right around the time I finished my Eagle course preview, which had a pretty similar elevation change. Ugh. I hoped that the cooler temps would help me out.
We lined up for an incredibly late 10:10 start and headed out. The first few km were on the road, and I surprised myself with running a sub 11 minute mile. I wanted to bank all the time I could. I took of my windbreaker early, cursing myself for wearing it in the first place. We started some climbing, and I was able to pass quite a few people. We got onto some single track and I tried not to stop too often for pictures, knowing that I was running against the clock.





There were also more aid stations than I thought there would be, which helped a lot. The screaming downhill was really nice, and we looped around to a fork in the road for the second half. I had been running near Francesca for some time, I would catch her on the uphills, then she would blast by me on the downs. We decided to run the second half together, which turned out to be great. We had a decent amount of climbing to go, and since she was first-hand familiar with the course, she was able to give good insight on where we were and how much more climbing we had to still do.
More cowbell at the halfway point!
 





We had a 1200m out and back section and did not see Maureen. I was a bit worried about her as she gets out of breath very easily on the climbs and I know she was also very concerned about the time limit. Francesca and I were running strong, and we knew that we would have no trouble finishing in time. We thankfully had a full mile downhill before the finish - where we saw A. She had spent the morning at the finish line and going for a run up to the ski lodge on the course.

We finished in just over 2:40 - a time I'm very pleased with!
Garmin time - 2:40:43
Elevation gain - 1,834'
Mile 1- 11:00
Mile 2 - 13:07
Mile 3 - 14:33
Mile 4 - 10:17
Mile 5 - 11:33
Mile 6 - 11:27
Mile 7 - 12:29
Mile 8 - 17:19
Mile 9 - 14:07
Mile 10 - 11:25
Mile 11 - 10:39
Mile 12 - 12:02
Mile 13 - 9:29 (!!)
Mile 13.1 - 12:54 (cruel uphill right at the end)
Francesca headed off to find her cousins, and we waited for Maureen at the finish, who squeezed in at 2:55. The post-race party was nice, lots of food varieties and some cheap beer.
At about 2:30, we finally headed up to the Airbnb and restaurant, and got the keys. After showering, I took a much needed nap. We went back up to the restaurant for dinner - and had a great "last supper" of pizza and pasta.
View from our dinner table
A ran from the village at the bottom up to the tallest chalet in the picture while we raced!
Had to pack up all our stuff (yet again, so tired of that!) and then in bed as early as we could manage, we had yet another early start.

Steps - 33,274
Miles - 13.1

To be continued...

Week in Review (July 11 - July 17)

Tuesday  (10,729 steps) - Barre with Gabi! Thankfully, it didn't feel quite as impossible as last week. Hopefully I have not lost ALL my...