Hanging On

Hope Pass 2
I have been woefully neglectful, oh blogging world. Not writing. Not reading. Taking a break, I suppose. But life does not wait, and one must keep up. Or try, I suppose. So much has happened. So little has changed. It’s a total pendulum swing, and sometimes, I’m just trying to hang on.

So, in the spirit of hanging on, here are some shots from my long run this past weekend. Hope Pass, it is. Or, as my husband says, “Hope to not Pass out at 12,000 plus feet.” I was seriously slow on the uphill, wondering is it really possible for me to complete this 100-miler thing within prescribed cutoff times, and cruising fast (well, I hesitate to use that word in association with me – let’s just say not-slow) on the downhill. Stunningly beautiful run. Difficult run. Up and down, literally. Up and down, figuratively. Kind of like, well, life.

And since I seem to be thinking in mottos, here are some more:

Enjoy the beauty. Hope Pass 4

Embrace the harshness. Hope Pass 6

Be attentive (sorry, sort of a little hiccup here, but had to slide in a picture of the 2 big white dogs). BWDs

Go with it. Hope Pass 5

Be with it. Keep on, hang on. If it were all that simple…

Snowshoe Death March, I Mean, Race

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Well, yes, indeedy.  My “little” snowshoe race of 18 miles was yesterday.  I did 11. 5.  I knew it would be hard, and that I probably would be slow, but I don’t think I expected it to be quite as grueling as it was.  Common sense will tell you that you need to do/practice the activity in order to race the activity, but I thought I’d been running enough recently that it wouldn’t be too bad.  Hmmm.  I’ll try and remember that for the next snowshoe race.

Nonetheless, it was a great group of people – hubby Bill was the head houncho race volunteer standing out in the wind for hours, his client and friend Kevin organized the race with no race fees(!) and tons of swag, Tania got her first race in after several years off (and she completed the 18), and Carol let me hang out in her car with warm dry clothes and a cozy blanket while I waited for everyone to go the entire route.

Today, I will be a slug.  The temps here in Denver today are way too warm for January (can you say climate change?), and I might manage a short spin on the bike outside.  And the 2 big white dogs are jonesing for some romp-time – they would have loved the race – perhaps I will have to work on a dog/skijoring/snowshoeing contraption for future human/dog activities in the snow!

Leadville 100 Trail Race

It has been awhile since I blogged.  Actually, it has been since July 2012, right about the time I completed my first ultra trail race, Leadville’s Silver Rush 50. 

Running the Silver Rush 50

Running the Silver Rush 50

It was epic – a long, long time on the trail, at just about perfect temperatures, fabulous co-participants, an even more fabulous set of self-proclaimed athletic supporters, what seemed to be an unending supply of energy, if not speed, and no nasty thunderstorms until the very end (and at that point I didn’t really care about anything, except finishing – as long as I wasn’t struck by lightning, I was getting over that finish line, regardless of what the sky was throwing at me). 

Well, now I’m in for an even more epic adventure, and this one is going to be twice as long – I registered for Leadville’s 100 mile trail race in August of this new 2013 year.  Some say it’s easier (wider forest roads instead of steeper, more technical singletracks), some say harder (it is, after all, twice as long).  I will be running and/or stumbling for more than 24 hours, running at night, running on full, running on empty, running with pacers, running with others, running by myself, running towards, running away, just plain running for a helluva long time. 

Not quite sure just what I have gotten myself into.  Certainly, a bit, or more, of some pain.  Hopefully, a bit, or more, of some nirvana.

And recently, on my little yak trak snowy run at Brainard Lake,

Chilly post-run me!

Chilly post-run me!

attempting to pick up some speed in short dabs of intervals, in chilly, windy conditions, I realized (again) that I run because, well, as trite as it sounds, because I can.  I am so incredibly blessed – to be able to run physically, to be able to run lifestyle-wise, to be able to run mentally, to be able to run, period. 

What a journey this will be.  I will post more when I can – stick with me, if you like – it might be interesting, and even, kind of fun!

Taking the day off…

I’m tired.  So, I’m listening to the body, and the brain, and I’m not running today (or hiking, or biking, or pilates, or yoga, or working out…).  Harder than you might think to stop, even for a day.  Especially, since the Silver Rush 50  is about three weeks away (yikes!).

It’s not that I’m not occupied.  Instead of two big white dogs, we currently have three.  New guy is Walden (affectionately called “Waldo”) – he is a foster and is under two years of age, and just like our two big white dogs, active and happy.  Quite the scene here really.  Quite the chaotic scene.

And the Celestial Massage business is cranking too.  A little surprising with the beginning of summer – typically folks take time off what with kids out for summer, but we have both been humming along.

So, perhaps all the activity is a good thing.  I certainly don’t have time to fret about the race and I find I’m adopting a “c’est la vie” attitude towards it.  We will see if that holds.  In the meantime, get some sleep for me and send me energy – I have a feeling I’ll need the extra boost!

Running high

It was past time to get up to elevation.  And that I did, starting at 11,600 feet, for two of my recent runs.  Running may not be the operative verb, however – it was more like fast hiking, and sometimes more like a death march, on the steeper, higher sections of Mt. Bierstadt.  One day was windy and bereft of humans (aside from my husband, a family who were some of the nicest people I have encountered in a long time, and the two big white dogs, who don’t qualify as humans, of course, but who often provide better company).  The other day held bluebird skies and a smattering of snow on top.  Unfortunately, those gorgeous conditions prompted about five gazillion other folks to attempt a summit push, and it felt like a highway (but certainly a very picturesqe one).   That day there were two other actual runners out there – one who grunted as he passed me on the way up, the other who screamed past me on the way down while casually inquiring, “You training for Pikes Peak (marathon)?” like we were chatting at sea level.

It was good to be up there.  One, because I need to experience the difficulty of moving around in thin air, and hopefully accilimate to it so I can move faster through what little of it is there.  Two, it is truly beautiful, even with the multitudes of people scrambling around.  There is something about the crispness of the air, the clarity of the views, the sense of belonging to the earth and the air, as you push on it and through it.  My pictures do not do it justice, at all, but here are a few…

The lake at the beginning of the trail

Non summit trail – the road (far) less traveled…

Lake with Bill and Sascha and Yoder

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.