Trail Running in the Midwest

So, I took a trip to visit my 94-year-old mother.  Yes, that’s right, folks, I did not make a typo.  She is 94 years old, fiercely independent, and still in her own home, living by herself.  When I’m at her house and insist on still going for long runs, she accepts the fact that this is what I like to do.  She’ll sometimes comment about her bad knees (aw, it’s the knee issue once again), but really, I always figure that since she had both knees replaced in the last decade, she managed with her own joints for over 84 years, so genetically I can’t be in that much of a troubled world, no?  In fact, she won’t even flinch when I tell her the number of hours/time I need to be out there pounding the pavement.  But when I said I wanted to find a trail for running, she was a bit flummoxed.  And trails to run on in Kansas are a little bit harder to find than in the foothills and mountains of Colorado, for obvious reasons.  But the trail I did find was quite lovely.  Elevation is not a factor, so running in the Midwest seems considerably easier, and according to my perceived effort, it was, at least on the lungs and the heart rate.  And in May, before the summer heat and humidity hit, temperatures are practically perfect.  And there is shade!  Lovely, sizeable, green trees shading the path – what a notion.

That being said, and although it was great to see my mom and revel in her fantastic longevity, I missed dry, high, vista-laden Colorado.  Missed the two big white dogs, and the husband, too.

So, the next long run is scheduled for two days from now, and it will be in Colorado.   Boy, I’m a lucky soul – not only can I run, I do, and I can do it most anywhere, but it is probably best in the place I call home.

Starbucks is my motivation

 

Starbucks is my motivation.  Well, it is, sometimes.  And yes, it is trivial.  But it is what I think about on long runs, on occasion.  Kind of pathetic really.

The Big C

Lately, however, I have been thinking about other matters.  Far weightier ones.  Like the great client/friend who told me recently that she has metastatic melanoma.  I think of her, and the terrific challenges she faces on a minute by minute basis.  She doesn’t fret about 50 miles – she worries about chemotherapy, custody of her dog, how her nieces will handle her untimely death, assisted suicide.  I think of her, and instead of crying, I run harder, I run faster, I run more.  I run, well, because I can.

My endeavor seems, in the grand scheme of things, fairly mundane.  I wonder how I will face the issues she now is grappling with.  I hope it will be with the strength and humor she has.  I hope.  I wonder.  I don’t know.

So, what is your motivation?

Ah, Boulder

You gotta love Boulder.  Its inhabitants can be a little odd, as can its government, but it is a beautiful place.  One of those gorgeous places is the Mesa Trail up at Chautauqua where I ran today.

So, although this was a solo run for me today and I was not escorted by either of the two big white dogs, I got scolded for having a dog that wasn’t mine chasing deer:  Inhabitant –  “YOUR dog is chasing deer.”  Me – “Not my dog, ‘ma’am.”  Inhabitant  – “Oh.” (Very pursed lips.) “Well.  It’s not good.”  Hmmm….

And what happened to that little scree field across the trail that you had to navigate?  Maybe I’m wrong, but if my memory serves me right, you had to do a bit of scampering.  Apparently, Boulder government determined it was hazardous to your health and wellbeing and like a giant, plucked away all those pesky little pebbles and just moved them right out of the way.

Ah, well, aside from those realities, the run really was beautiful.  I had forgotten how green the foliage can be (perhaps it was the rain yesterday?).  And, I felt great!  Aside from the tweaked knee (this, to be clear, is not a running issue – alas, it was those evil high heels worn last Saturday night), the uphill surges dictated by coach Adam actually felt good, I felt relaxed, yet strong.  Perhaps it was the beauty.  Or maybe the massage I got today before the run.  Or maybe just because it was a run, simple as that.

Sauntering Sascha

Watching one of the two big white dogs, Sascha, running, or more accurately, sauntering, through her agility obstacles, I was struck by her lack of speed.  The other dogs zoom around like little frenzied dirvishes, springing and leaping and skidding and such.  But Sascha is careful, somewhat cautious.  She’s got speed – I’ve seen her turn it on and rip about – but here in this moment she is thinking, maybe planning, moving through, with care.

She is kind of like me, and the way I run.  Methodical, slightly cautious, slow, long, in it for the long haul, but with the ability to pick up the pace, if needed.  Never going to be the hare, but something more than the tortoise.

And, like me, the girl knows how to recover!

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Sascha in the bed

Cheyenne Mountain Trail Race 25k

Two days ago, no, now it’s been three, I did the Cheyenne Mountain Trail Race 25k in Cheyenne Mountain State Park outside Colorado Springs.  Nice race!  Great organization, friendly folks and fantastic weather.  And other than a little bit of off-stomach, I felt great, ran smart, and came in second in my age group (Female 50-99 – ha!).  The woman who beat me, well, besides the fact that I never saw her, was a phenom and finished fourth or fifth out of the women overall.

It was cold to start.

But got a bit warmer and was perfect running weather for the majority of the race.  Bill was my premiere athletic supporter and took lots of pictures.  My finish:

Not sure how they measured the course, but the 25k (15 miles), according to my GPS, was almost a mile long.  So really, I ran a 16-miler.  No matter, we all ran the same course!

After the race, we booked it down to Pueblo to relax with some friends camping at Pueblo State Park.

I managed to actually go for a “recovery” mountain bike ride the next day, and I only biffed once.  My little toodle on the bike morphed into quite a ride with Bill, Becca, Alexey and Sean encouraging/hassling (depending on your perspective) me to go further.  Legs were quite wobbly when I got done!

No big white dogs on this trip, however.  Sadly, Cheyenne Mountain doesn’t allow dogs on the trails, and so they got to go to dog camp instead.  They didn’t seem to miss us in the least.  And, two days later, they are still snoozing off the rambunctious mayhem I’m sure they created!