Friday, August 7, 2020

Week in Review (July 28 - August 3)

Tuesday (18,933 steps) - Work in the office. No running today, just the regular walks. Big excitement was Pika spotting a coyote on our evening walk. Otherwise... nothing.
Wednesday (40,692 steps) - Work from home. Actually did THREE ten minute videos - the same "magic" three that I did years ago when I got thin. (Abs, upper body and lower body). North Table with Tyler and Mike! It was CRAZY windy on the mesa, but stifling hot everywhere else.

Action shot!

It was Colorado pint glass day at all the breweries, which is why we had picked going to North Table, we thought we would be able to get our glasses at New Terrain. However, they were already out. We went to Odyssey instead - aren't the glasses nifty? Ben met us there after work.

Thursday (19,337 steps) - Work in the office. Picked up cheesecake after work because apparently it is National Cheesecake Day!
Walk at the lake - although we only went for the "small" loop because it was getting late and I still had ALL my packing to do.

I was able to get all my packing done while Ben made dinner. Excited for a weekend out of town!
Friday (10,320 steps) - We were up relatively early (although not as early as if I had to work). Ariel and I took Pika for a walk while Ben started to load up the car. We actually got out right when we planned, at 9:00. The drive was, of course, VERY long. We stopped along the way for Pika to take a few breaks, and stopped to get tacos in Ridgeway. By the time we got to Heather's it was basically dinner time. We settled in and watched the humming birds and had some food.

This was soooo delicious!!
We took Pika for a walk on the trails behind Heather's house. So pretty!!
Finalized everything for our race, yes, a RACE.
Saturday (52,134 steps) - Bridal Veil 30K
After the race we sat on the patio and had a few drinks. I finally got an order of sweet potato fries. Once Ross finished we decided we should head out. Ariel had left with Heather, so it was just me, Ben and Pika left. Initially we were trying to find a bakery that had cupcakes, but the two in town that were open didn't seem to actually know what they had, and we got frustrated. Stopped at the grocery store and got some cheesecake instead. Heather made a delicious pan of nachos for dinner.
We sat on the patio and chatted for MANY hours. It's been a long time since we socialized with anyone "new."
Sunday (11,071 steps) - Our only plan of the day was a drive over Imogene Pass. We took Pika for a walk and waited for Heather to get off work so we could head out. We all loaded up into Josh's truck, which was quite an accomplishment with 5 adults and Pika. I had never been on Imogene Pass, and I was a tad surprised to learn it was basically a Jeep road. We probably never went over 10 mph, and the road was super sketchy. I also learned that Ben is almost cripplingly afraid of heights - especially if he is not the one driving. More than once he got out of the truck and walked behind because he felt more comfortable.

The views were truly amazing and we were able to see a bunch of sights that we had not seen during our run, and from across the valley.

We barely made it to the summit before the weather came in. We had about 6 minutes to take pictures, have a snack and drink a quick beer before we heard thunder and figured we needed to get off the mountain.

Sure enough, within a minute or two of getting back in the truck it started to rain, and quickly turned over into either hail or snow, we couldn't really tell.
We were still taking it super slow down the other side of the pass on the way to Ouray, and took time to get more pictures.
It is still "snowing" and I think that is why I'm squinting at the camera

We got passed by a group of ATVs, and not more than 5 minutes later, we came across an accident. The last vehicle in line had somehow rolled over. 
Both Josh and Ben have EMS and medical backgrounds and they quickly sprung into action. The vehicle had been driven by an elderly couple and they helped them out of the vehicle and did an assessment. The man was 88 years old (!!) and had hit his head and possibly fractured his arm. The couple couldn't leave their vehicle up there since it was not a rental and they didn't have a way to tow it down. Josh ended up driving it down and Ben drove the truck down. By the time we got to Ouray it was HOURS later than we planned. None of the restaurants in town would allow dogs so we had to keep going to Ridgeway. We got pizza and beer from Colorado Boy and then headed back to the house.

I took Pika for a quick walk since I knew the sun was getting ready to set. I managed to have a tree branch stab me in the foot, so there was some emergency medical work done. Ouchie. We stayed up VERY late chatting with Josh on the balcony.
Monday (13,163 steps) - Slept WAY later than planned. Guess that's what happens when you stay up until almost 2 am. Heather convinced us to go for an "easy" run (that wasn't easy). She is lucky to have such a diverse and beautiful trail literally in her backyard.

Heather made a ton of food, so  I had a delicious plate of curry and spaghetti squash before getting on the road for the VERY long drive home.
If possible, the drive home seemed twice as long as the drive there. We were all a little cranky and tired, but we managed to get home before 9. Instead of cooking, we picked up pizza. Longest shortest travel/vacation weekend ever (I know I say that after every weekend, but this seemed especially short).

  • 165,650 steps
  • 29.2 miles run
  • 30 minutes of cross training (!)

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Bridal Veil 30K (Race Recap)

Telluride, CO
Saturday, August 1
Weather - Perfect mountain weather

Every race I had on schedule for the year (which thankfully, wasn't many to begin with) had been cancelled. I had not run a race since the 100K I ran in January in Texas. When our friend shared a small trail race that was happening in Telluride, we jumped at the chance for a long weekend in the mountains. Initially, while the race director was finalizing permits, we were simply put on a wait list and not charged for the race. About 3 weeks prior to the race we were sent emails asking to confirm/pay. Woo hoo, a real live in person race!!

Race Day

I had my alarm set for 4:10 am for our 6:08 start. It was not a surprise when I woke up at 4:00 before my alarm went off, after tossing and turning for most of the night. I figured that a little more than an hour was enough time for me, Ben and Ariel to eat breakfast, get dressed and gather our stuff. Heather's house was only a 15 minute drive to the gondola where the start line was.

One of my biggest sources of anxiety on race day is running late and not having enough time to do all my morning rituals. With all the new COVID-19 requirements, we were not allowed to arrive more than 10 minutes before our start time. Our start times were in waves of no more than 8 people, starting 2 minutes apart. Ugh!

Needless to say, we were parked MAYBE 15 minutes before we were supposed to start. I desperately needed to use the bathroom, but the ones onsite were not open and there was no port-o-potty. We also still had to pick up our bibs and sign waivers. I saw Laurie & Ross and briefly said hi, but unlike every other race I've ever done, there was literally NO time for pre-race chatting. I barely had enough time to pin my bib on my skirt and take a selfie with Laurie before we were heading out.
I had remembered to get the gps going on my watch but neglected to load the route in when I hit start. Immediately I was a bit panicky as everyone but Ben in our wave was running the 10 miler, which was a completely different course. With the low number of participants, I was SUPER worried about not knowing where I was going. The first volunteer I saw that was telling us where to go assured me the course was marked and off we went. After less than a half mile I saw a bathroom that appeared to be opened, so I stopped and used that - yay for running water!

Once I came out, I couldn't figure out where to go. I saw Ben and he was wandering around with his phone out with another gal. He called Heather and let her know that we were lost in the campground and couldn't figure out where to go. Thankfully, we saw a few others that started later than us and appeared to know where they were going. (We later found out that due to last minute permit changes they were not permitted to flag anything in town. Frustrating, as we ended up wasting time and doing close to a half mile extra trying to figure out what we were doing).
The lower two miles in town were on a very nice groomed path (once we actually found it). There was not a ton of gain, but oh boy did I know that was coming. The course came to the base of the switchbacks heading up to Bridal Veil, which is where Heather was volunteering. I briefly chatted with her and let her know about the problems we had in town, then began to tackle the climbing.
The road up was dirt and kinda rocky, which reminded me of 4th of July road or the road to the Grays and Torreys trail head. It was not that steep and I was actually able to pull off a little running in this section. It was, however, not very interesting, and the time that we started was apparently prime time for the jeeps to start their drive up Black Bear Pass. Thankfully it did not get nearly as dusty as Rubicon in Tahoe, although I certainly had flashbacks and a small amount of PTSD.

Finally, I get to the top of the falls where the house is - and the small aid station. There was a decent selection of pre-packaged snacks, so I had my water bottles filled and grabbed a small KIND bar, package of pretzels and gummy bears and headed out. 

It's mildly disconcerting when you know you are dead last in a race and also WAY out of your element. I have said it many times that I really struggle with big/steep climbs, and my weaknesses are only enhanced when we get really high up in elevation. 

Turning the corner behind Bridal Veil was when the truly amazing famous Telluride mountain views started. I knew I was "wasting" time taking pictures and I didn't even care. There were more wildflowers than I've ever seen, and everything was just so picturesque. Not to mention the grade was very steep and I was struggling anyway.

Marmots are so adorable!!!!

I thought I saw some people in front of me and for a while I was really excited that I might actually catch up to someone else in the race. Sadly, they turned out to just be random hikers. Le sigh. I trudged along, wondering how on earth I was going to be able to cover nearly 6,000' of climbing in such a short distance (because remember, the first two miles of the course were nearly flat). I came across another group of hikers near some small alpine lakes. By this point, I'm only about 8 miles in and I'm dying. I swear I had been working on my climbing this summer, yet it felt like I was barely moving going up the mountain.
Wow was it pretty up here!

At one point, I saw a guy behind me that looked like he was just out for a leisurely stroll. I stopped on a climb to take a picture and catch my breath and he asked me how I was doing, I told him I was definitely tired and asked if he was just out here for fun. That's how I found out I was being followed by the course sweeper. Yikes, I haven't had that happen in a LONG time.
He was very nice and said if I wanted to chat that was fine, or if I wanted to be left alone he would hang back. I've actually missed chatting with random strangers during a race, so even though I felt junky and I was embarrassed at how slow I was moving, we talked and that really helped to pass the time. (Turns out the sweeper is basically an elite runner than WON Ouray 100 the year Ben ran).

We finally crested the top of the saddle and he pointed out the next aid station. Holy shit it was all the way across the valley. That meant that we had to go all the way to the bottom. AND THEN BACK UP AGAIN. Ohmygod.

Luckily, even though I had been questioning my life choices and knocking on death's door for the better part of 3 hours, the mostly gradual descent down was quite lovely and I was able to jog down a bulk of it. This is the section where the wildflowers REALLY popped. Even though I was with the sweeper, I still took a few pictures.

Can you see the switchbacks? That's what I had to climb up next...

We parted ways at the junction to Wasatch trail, as he was headed back into town and someone else would be sweeping the next section I had to do. Garrett, the sweeper, had told me that I had already done the steepest climb. So wtf when he got just out of eyesight and I saw the next section I would be climbing. I was nearly ready to cry when I saw how steep it was, and that I still was expecting to do nearly 2000' of climbing. I felt like I was pretty far behind on calories at this point. I'm usually really good about eating when on course, but this one was different because I was constantly trying to catch my breath, and with poles it's tricky eating. I did stop briefly to dumb some dirt out of my shoe and made sure to eat a few gummies and pretzels when I could.

This climb was grueling, make no mistake. Once I got through the lower section, it really did seem to get a bit better. I did start to see a few more hikers in this section, although they were of course all coming down while I was trying to not die going up.

FINALLY, I could see the top of the gondola on Gold Hill, which is where I knew the aid station would be. I got to the top and saw a few guys with a small table. I apologized for having them wait so long for me to get there. Two kids headed down to sweep the course, the volunteer filled my bottle and then I broke down my poles and put them in my back. I knew at this point that all my climbing was done and I was really looking forward to getting down as quick as possible. 
The run down was STEEP, as it was going down the See Forever and Telluride ski trails. I saw Ross when I was maybe a mile or two down right as it had started raining, and he was pulling out his rain gear. I asked how he was doing and he said "I'm going to finish!" and I kept on, telling him I would see him at the finish line.
My legs actually felt really good, and even though it was steep and pounding downhill, I was doing pretty well, outside the fact that I had a crippling cramp on my right side. This unfortunately continued the entire descent, so I kept having to stop and walk briefly. As the town got closer, I knew I was almost done, and thankfully quicker than what I had estimated my finish time would be.

I saw Pika, Ben and Ariel at the finish line and I was SO happy to be done.

Heather and Josh were hanging out a table next to the finish line, and I was eager to join them for a beer. I should have been hungry, but after over 6 hours of being out there, I actually wasn't. 

Official Time - 6:35:42
Garmin Time - 6:35:50
Garmin Pace - 20:11 (woof)
Elevation Gain - 5,656'
Max Elevation - 13,001'
Mile 1 - 15:19 (not bad with a bathroom break and getting lost)
Mile 2 - 14:36
Mile 3 - 16:05
Mile 4 - 2003
Mile 5 - 19:30
Mile 6 - 21:55
Mile 7 - 28:32
Mile 8 - 28:28
Mile 9 - 26:30
Mile 10 - 29:13
Mile 11 - 17:45
Mile 12 - 19:10
Mile 13 - 32:05
Mile 14 - 32:17
Mile 15 - 22:23
Mile 16 - 11:50
Mile 17 - 11:13
Mile 18 - 10:54
Mile 19 - 11:05
Mile 19.62 - 11:11
  • This race was cheap!! Only $75 for the 30K. I believe the 10 miler (which is what Ariel ran), was maybe only $60?
  • Shirt is ok, I should have gotten a smaller size, but usually women's shirts are way too fitted. Got a cheap medal, but since it is the only medal I've earned since November 2019, I am fine with that.
  • Aid station food was fine, I don't expect much at this type of distance anyway. There were only two of them, so if you run, be sure you have enough to support yourself for about 10 miles of high elevation/climbing. (For me, I'm pretty sure that was 4ish hours?)
  • Course markings on the mountain/trail sections was actually FANTASTIC. I was definitely nervous when the sections in town weren't marked, but once we actually were out there everything was good.
  • I didn't love the chaos of how the start was coordinated, but if that's what it takes for an event to happen, I'm all for it.
  • Chip timing, plus the racejoy app for tracking during the race was a nice touch. 
  • I likely wouldn't run this again, simply because it's soooo far away (over 6 hours from our house), but I would definitely recommend if you want to run a challenging and beautiful course!!

Week in Review (July 28 - August 3)

Tuesday  (18,933 steps) - Work in the office. No running today, just the regular walks. Big excitement was Pika spotting a coyote on our eve...