Sunday, March 18, 2018

Running through the seasons

Boulder has been transforming itself from a wintry town to a burg of burgeoning springiness. This has been a real treat for those of us who like variety through our days and miles.
During one late February run, we found quite the interesting character along the trail.

 Ten days later, it was warm enough for Connie to don shorts - 
and for all of us to be all smiles at the top of our hill repeat run.

 Last weekend, Connie and I had a stellar long run under Colorado blue skies at the Rez.
'Twas the kind of day and run where you believe anything and everything is possible.

So, of course, believing anything and everything is possible, I went and signed up for a half marathon - to be run one week from today.  I, not at all race-ready, have a few reasons for signing up: 
1) I need a long run anyways so why not get in 13.1 supported miles.
2) It's in Fort Collins and I'm in the mood for a change of scenery.
3) It's the "Spring Equinox" half marathon and the race shirt boldly proclaims it to be the "Spring Equinox" - which happens to be my birthday (most years). Yup, it's all about the shirt ;-)

In the meantime, snowbanks are shrinking and bulbs are poking up all 'round town.

Another sure sign of spring? Our ten-week Bolder Boulder training plan starts up this week. Woof!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Working Through It

The grunge is hanging on a bit, but improving. Winter is still here and, well, being wintry. But gosh darn it, I gotta run! For all the same reasons that have always been there: to see the sights, to get out from behind the desk and breath fresh air, to sweat, and for my sanity.

So yesterday, Taz and I ran one of Taz's  favorite places - CU South. It's a former gravel pit now owned by CU, and mostly undeveloped save for CU's cross-country course, a hodgepodge of additional trails and CU's tennis courts. Best of all, dogs can run free. Yesterday happened to be a frosty foggy day....thus the very happy foggy doggy the minute the leash came off!

Coming into today, running buddy, Connie, and I knew that a change in the weather was moving in on us. Our only concession to the forecast of dropping temperatures and light snow was that we planned to start at a extraordinarily late 8:30. It turns out that the temperature really dropped - reading a mere 11 degrees when I headed out the door, and the light dusting of snow became several inches of snow.  But as I told Connie when she texted at 7:30 to be sure the run was still on: "I'm layering up right now. It should be pretty." And indeed it was - quiet, frosty, and lovely.

...and so we run on...

Sunday, February 04, 2018

The best-laid plans...

I came into the new year committed to upping my training level. Perhaps I was a bit over optimistic given that it's mid-winter and weather is always the X factor when it comes to running on the roads and trails around Boulder. Sure enough, we've had weekly doses of ice and snow which has resulted in multiple days of less than desired mileage and certainly less than desired quality.

This past week, however, winter grunge struck. A ticklish throat had been toying with me for a few days then landed hard as I started in on what was supposed to be a 2-hour run Saturday - hard enough that I turned back toward home 20 minutes into the run. I hoped that giving myself an easy day Saturday (yesterday) would allow me to bounce back quickly from the grunge but, nope, today is even worse...sort of a cold, sort of nauseous, brillo-pad-feeling in my head, and excessive fatigue. Blech. Two miles of running this morning - on more snow - did me in.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm just being a wimp when I call a run short because I'm not feeling tip-top. Today, I'm pretty sure the grunge is the real deal. When I returned home at two miles, I discovered Paul was at our house with cinnamon rolls. Three hours later and my cinnamon roll is still sitting there. Perhaps I should check for my pulse!

Friday, January 26, 2018

AIEEEE Flashback!

It's January. 
A few days before my first-born's birthday. 
Packed snow and ice on the roads. 
The wind is blowing. 
And it's trash day.

January 21, 1993, one week before my eldest's 8th birthday.
Roads are completely covered with packed snow and ice (much worse than today).
The wind is gusting up to 90 mph (much worse than today).
I am walking to work in the wee hours of the morning when a gust catches me and blows me right over. I am pretty sure some damage has been done. I get up, look down at my arm and see that my hand is drooping at a right (or so very wrong?) angle to the rest of my arm. I am a little over a mile away from home and a little less than a mile from work. There are no lights on yet at any of the nearby homes so I continue to walk, unsteadily, toward the office. Hark! I hear the sound of a vehicle and stand out in the street to flag it down. It's a trash truck, and the fellows take one look at me and get me into their truck as I ask if there's any way they can contact my husband. Thus the now infamous phone call was made. Upon answering the phone, the first thing Kendall hears is "This is Western Disposal. We have your wife."  Broken arm #3 is in the books. 
Note: Broken arm #1 was while playing wall-tag baseball in 4th grade; I was so surprised I'd hit the ball, I tagged the wall a bit over-enthusiastically. Broken arm #2 was while cross-country skiing and I came downhill out of the woods onto a bare patch - inspiring Kendall's older brother's inscription on my cast of "Next time let Kendall go first." And broken arm #4 was just stupidity on my part when I got engrossed in watching a very well played pickup basketball game while I was cycling home from work and rode right off the bike path.  I have yet to break an arm running and would very much like to keep it that way. To say I ran cautiously today, is an understatement!

Back to January, 1993.  I had a tradition of making and decorating my kids' birthday cakes and I was not to be deterred by a measly broken right arm. My eldest had requested the Starship Enterprise and I was determined to create the Starship Enterprise - 'cuz that's what moms do!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

2018 is well upon us!

Happy 2018!

 On this snowy day in Boulder, Colorado, let me start this post by introducing you to our new granddog, Barley, a little fella who has brought many smiles to our new year.

Unbelievable, it is three weeks into the new year and this is my first post of 2018. Well, let this end that drought!  2017 was an interesting year running-wise for me. (Actually, it was an interesting year all the way around, but let's talk about running, shall we?) It was one of my lowest mileage years, yet I covered an extraordinary amount of territory with highlights all along the way.

Since 1990, I have only had 5 years of less than 2,000 annual miles - and one of those years was last year, 2017, with just 1,844 miles. But during the year of 2017, I also checked off 19 states in my quest to run a trail in every state of the Union. This quest has proven to be a glorious journey. During 2017 the trail quest took us from the southeastern states to Hawaii to Alaska and hopping around the midwest. We learned that packing 13 states into one trip was a bit much, that running one or two trails every day in one state (Hawaii) is a great way to visit a state; that it's o.k. to skip a few days of running if you're sailing on a small ship through the Inside Passage of Alaska and have the great fortune to run trails every now and then when stopping at tiny towns and national parks.

Traveling as much as we did dropped my running mileage a bit. A quad problem I had been trying to run through for 18 months decided it was tired of being ignored, also making it difficult to run and exacerbating the situation by affecting my hips. My mileage really dropped off at that point and I needed to turn my focus toward rehab, hip strengthening exercises, and mobility work.

And now we have a new year. Quads are happier - not perfect, but happier. And Kendall and I are putting together our travel plans for the year. We're thinking mid-Atlantic states in the spring, some of the southwestern states we've yet to do in May-ish, northeastern states in late August, and, of course, a few trips to Petoskey thrown in here and there. I'm saving Colorado for the grand finale'. In the meantime, I'm slowly (hopefully adequately cautiously) building my mileage back up. As part of this build-up, I also hope to keep a better record of my running progress with much more frequent blog posts than I've been managing over the past year or so.

We had a snow day here in Boulder today.  Taz heading into and tackling today's run pretty much summed up my heading into 2018 and tackling my running goals for the year.

 Taz, the statue. 
I put the booties on him and he did not move an inch 
until I tugged on the leash and coaxed him out the door

And Taz, once out the door and in the wild & wooly winter weather
booties gone (he lost them in less than a block)
and running free

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A milestone reached!

This weekend, my lifetime mileage reached the grand total of 74,716 miles - or just over three times around the earth's circumference! I haven't actually traveled around the earth's circumference, but my running has taken me on a marvelous journey.

From my early days of running (skinny, pre-momhood)
Me on the left, good friend Joyce on the right

To running with kids...
5-month old Devon & Bolder Boulder

3-year-old Paul & Kickoff Classic

...and dogs...
Loki at Lake of the Clouds

Jester ready to run in Boulder

Taz and snow RUN!

...and running buddies

The female gang - Anita, Connie, me & Randall (and Mister Taz)
...and cold

The fellas (AndyE & Joe) in the warm days...

A gang of family & friends for my 60th birthday 60k run

Not to mention amazing races ranging from...
USATF XC championships 2015
My first Boston 1991

Better than races, the sights and sounds of all of the places I've had the good fortune to run through.

Exotic locations
Australian garden trails

Alaskan bog trails
Hawaiian Kilauea lava trail

And mountain tops
Manitou Incline - Colorado
Appalachian Trail in Tennessee -
Smoky Mountain National Park
Black Mesa - Oklahoma's highest point

Coast to Coast
Oregon Coast Trail
Morris Island Lighthouse run with Randall - South Carolina

Loooong runs right through the middle of the U. S. of A.

And a run I never tire of - along Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan

Would any of this be possible without the man of my life, Mister Kendall?
I don't think so! I am one lucky woman with very happy feet!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Splendid Michigan Autumn

Our autumn trip took us to Michigan - and what a fine trip it was.

On the way to Michigan, we found a stretch of road we had never traveled before - and considering we've made the Colorado-Michigan road trip almost every year at least once a year since 1975, that's saying something! This road happens to be the Loess Hills National Scenic Highway in western Iowa - a lovely diversion from I80.

While in Michigan, we enjoyed a wide variety of activities, including a run on a trail I've been eyeing for a few years now. I learned about the North Central State Trail the year before I turned 62 - and it just happens to be a 62-mile-long trail. I had hoped to run the entire length during one of my visits back there, but never had a block of days when I could do that (figuring it would take two or three days). This trip, I decided I really wanted to check out that trail even if I didn't run the whole thing so I picked a lovely stretch that goes between Indian River and Topinabee along Mullett Lake - which offered up a thoroughly enjoyable run. 
I'm ready! What are you waiting for?!

After the run, we continued on to Mackinaw City and enjoyed a walk along the beach with the magnificent Mackinac Bridge in full view (accompanied by a Taz who was determined to herd every wave that made its way to shore).

Most of our other runs were in and around Petoskey - and they were mighty fine too!
The trail along Bear River - always a favorite
Yes, I'm a good dog

Coming back to the trail after a wave-herding romp near East Bay Harbor

Bay View Woods trail is calling one antsy Taz

Really? Another picture?!

And a plain ol' run along the waterfront ain't bad either!
The best run as far as Taz is concerned is when we find our way to a secluded stretch of waterfront where he can run and run and run. It takes about 30 minutes of laps back and forth at top speed before he slows down enough to come back to to me. Great entertainment!
One last chance to herd the waves before the car trip back to Boulder

Of course there was much non-running fun as well.

Applefest in Charlevoix (down the road from Petoskey) started off our northern Michigan vacation. For the return trip to Petoskey, we took the back way via the Ironton Ferry. I tell ya', there's fun at every turn Up North!

Being close to peak leaf peeping season, Connie D tooks us on a tour of some of her favorite autumn roads along with a hunt for historical sites - including a 200-300 year old "Crooked Tree." (Crooked trees were intentionally mis-shaped to use as navigational aids between what is now Mackinaw City and Grand Rapids).
The good weather called us to Petoskey State Park's trails that took me and Connie D up Mount Baldy for this glorious view

And, speaking of the State Park - it got downright balmy while we were in Petoskey and the beach beckoned! Kendall and I rendezvoused with some of my high school buddies for a relaxing afternoon jazzed up a bit with a very quick swim (the waves were great!) and a fruitless discussion with Connie D about why she should join me in the swimming adventure.

Jumping into the waves
Connie D pleading her case about not swimming today

No trip to Petoskey is complete without a trip to Bill's farm market. This photo was from our third trip - the day before starting back to Colorado. Had to stock up on some fine Michigan apples!

 Even a trip to the dump brings a smile - thanks to a variety of sculptures including Tire Man.

And while we were in Petoskey, we had the pleasure of watching our front yard tree turn a fiery red.

Of course, during the trip back to Boulder we couldn't just do a boring straight-through drive. Let's just say, if you ever happen to find yourself in Sac City, Iowa be sure to take a look at the world's largest popcorn ball!

All in all, a very fine trip indeed!