As long as I can

Tablet and Lost Wonder Hut Feb 2013 014The 2 big white dogs and I were out galavanting around with my hubby and friends this weekend up at and around the Lost Wonder Hut. They totally plowed through, sometimes staying in the ski track, but often forging ahead and post-holing over and over (talk about some heavy-duty interval training!). My friend Alexey turned to me after a particularly difficult uphill section and said, “So how long can they keep this up?” I began calculating their ages and what I presumed to be the end of their best fitness ranges and then I thought “I don’t know – they could keep this up for years.” And why not? If it’s fun, and they aren’t destroying their bodies, how could I deprive them of what they love, and of what they do with such joy and abandon? So my response was, “As long as they can.”

And I think that is my philosophy too. Some people like to tell me that long-distance running is potentially dangerous and injuring-producing and bad for me and hard on the joints and all sorts of other horrible things, and then they ask “How long are you going to keep this up?” My response will be the same as for my dogs – “As long as I can.”

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Another backcountry ski trip…

This weekend, we go on another backcountry ski trip to the Lost Wonder Hut. The 2 big white dogs have rested all week and are raring to go.  I’m psyched too, except I probably won’t get my marathon training miles in.  My plan, way back before the ski trip got organized, was to do 7 miles on Friday, 8 miles on Saturday, 15 miles on Sunday.  Instead I will ski approximately 2 miles with a heavy pack on on Friday, unknown miles on Saturday (all dependent on conditions, dogs, cold, weather, etc., etc.), and 2 out with a somewhat less heavy pack on on Sunday.

So, we got running-woman-copia  versus Dawn Patrol skiing

I realize that I could just dump the running and consider the skiing as a sort of cross-training. Or, I could get totally gonzo and force my husband to leave early Sunday so I can get back home and get a run in, although it would be nowhere near the miles I “should” be doing.

So I have myself a bit of a quandary. Most likely the running miles will go out the window, and I will not be the worse for wear, but you get in the running mode and you always wonder if some time off will hurt, right? I’m not the only runner out there who gets a bit too into it, am I? Perhaps, I’m just a bit too neurotic. Perhaps I just need to ski and be happy that I have the opportunity to do so.

I believe the skiing will win out. Back to the miles on Monday, here’s hoping!

A Wild and Precious Life

Vagabond Feb. 2013 100

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day

Well, I know what I did this past weekend ~ I got to commune with a fabulous crew of friends, and dogs, at Vagabond Ranch.

As is often the case, the 2 big white dogs took prominence:Vagabond Feb. 2013 075

But some fun was had by the humans too.  Vagabond Feb. 2013 071We skiied and snowshoed, we played in the snow, we ate, we soaked, we spent time just being in the wilderness.  Vagabond Feb. 2013 089We laughed, and we lived life well.  I’m not sure if that is a good enough plan for this one and precious life, but it is, at least, a start.

What is your plan?

Aside

Butternut Squash Salad – delicious!

winter-squash-salad_300[1]

I am not one to often share recipes online.  I figure people can pretty much find what they want, and so much of good food depends on the quality of the ingredients and the care of the cook.  But this one is too good not to post!  Made it this week and I just can’t get enough.  Yummy, pretty, filling, healthy, vegetarian.  Enjoy – http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/butternut-squash-apple-feta-salad-00100000094066/index.html

Finally, a comfortable run

Today, a solid seven days after the snowshoe death march, I mean, race, I finally had a comfortable run.  I took a day off from running the day after the death march, ahem, race, but started up again on Monday.  So six miles on Monday, four miles Tuesday (with speed work and crazy wind), Pilates reformer class on Wednesday, seven miles marathon pace on Thursday (I am doing the Boston marathon in April, and am attempting to train for that, as well as this crazy ultra), four miles Friday, and eight miles today.  And it took until today until I felt good.  Not sure if I needed more recovery post death march, I mean race, or if I just needed to get some consecutive training days in to adjust, or what.

I did manage to take the 2 big white dogs for two of the runs.  At some point, I’ll figure out how to take some decent video of them running and post it so others can see the joy and power they exhibit out there.  It is inspiring!  But for the time being, you just get pictures of them after a run, like this one:

Y and S asleep, post-run

Y and S asleep, post-run

Now, the only problem, is sore feet.  It’s nothing major, and I do know aches and pains from lots of physical activity over the years, and because of my work as a massage therapist.  Thank god, I got one of these!

The BEST foot roller!

The BEST foot roller!

Tomorrow, 14 miles.  At least, that’s the plan.  Will keep you apprised.

 

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!

Psyching Out

So, there is a reason for having a recovery day after a speed workout. I know that, but instead I opted for a moderately intense Pilates class, and then later in the day, a short, but fast run. Ugh. That run did not go well. Legs were like logs. And then, so quickly, came the negative self-talk. “You’re struggling with this, and you think you can do a hundred?,” my addled brain provokes.  “Are you nuts?” Psyche out!

I should leave that psyche out for my competition. Except my biggest, and sometimes only competitor, is me. And me – all parts of me – need to be on the same page. At least most of the time.

Does this hapoen to you? If so, what do you do to combat it? And why is it sometimes so hard not to run?

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!