Thursday, September 28, 2006
All this angst over running seems a bit silly, though. In the grand scheme of things, whether or not I can run 20 minutes or 20 days, or whether I have a few bumps and bruises is really quite trivial. A whole lot of people are having to deal with a whole lot of very serious issues. This run is nothing. Well, not really nothing. It is my dream, and that's the point.
Why spend however many years on this planet if you cannot dream and pursue those dreams? I've been running regularly since 1978. Very near the beginning of that running career I read a book about a trans-America run and the seed was planted. I've always enjoyed road trips all over the country and, since a child, I've loved sightseeing on foot. As my love affair with running continued to grow through the years and as I approached the time when I could retire from CU, I began to think that I might actually be able to spend the time to do a cross-country run. A couple of years ago a running buddy mentioned a friend of his who had run across the country at age 60 (read about it in "In the Long Run" by Annabel Marsh) and I told AndyE that a cross-country run was something I'd always wanted to do, I just hadn't figured out from where-to-where. Then I started tossing out ideas when out from my mouth came "...or I could run from here to Petoskey..." And there you have it!
Then it just became a matter of planning: when is the earliest I could actually be ready to pursue such a quest; how much time will I need to train; how do I bring my family around to this idea; what route; what will I need; etc., etc. Just another project for this project manager. But oh so exciting. An ordinary person pursuing a maybe not quite so ordinary dream.
We all have them, dreams. With a little luck, a bit of gumption, and a large helping of stubborn sprinkled with optimism each of us can pursue our dreams.....and wake up smiling - a good thing for this world of ours.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Running as a yardstick
- left hip yells 'youch' each time my left foot hits the ground. And it's not really the hip; it's a wee bit lower and further back. On my right side, that part of my hip/glute sort of caves in; on my left side, there's a lump there.
- head got more achey, I think in part because my neck and back are so tight. I'm thinking I might have given myself whiplash (generous person that I am) when I bounced after hitting on my hip and then landing back down on my back and back of my head/helmet.
- stomach chimed in with some squirreliness; pr'y a combination of the owie hip, headache, and angst over the whole situation.
Impact so far on training:
- yesterday was supposed to be 16-17 miles but was only 11 because I wasn't able to go for a second run.
- today's early run was supposed to be 2.5 hours but was only 20 minutes (just long enough to run to the post office and back).
- today was supposed to be a 2-run day (morning then to/from BCOR tonight). There will be no run to BCOR tonight.
- no BCOR for two days in a row now, missing upper body work last night and cardio tonight. I did have the pleasure of a lower body quads/glutes/hammies BCOR workout on Monday the day after the marathon - that should have offered enough pleasure to last a while ;-)
- this week was supposed to be mid-to-upper 70 miles but is looking rather pathetic at the moment. grrrrr.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Really stupid tradition
...no broken bones (I don't think), but one shattered picture frame (it was a gift with a picture from my retirement party - sorry Dennis!), a banged up hip (that's what I landed on), a screwed up hand (that was gripping the picture when I fell), and a whacked head (the back of my head, inside a helmet thankfully, hit the curb). So, after coming off the marathon in mighty fine shape, I'm not feeling too tip top at the moment. Stupid Stupid Stupid.
Looking at the bright (but still really stupid) side of things, I fell because, as I was dismounting, my shorts got caught on the bike seat. They got caught on the bike seat cuz they're so darned baggy now since I've been losing some very much unwanted pounds.
Time to go rest my head and get my hips off this hard desk chair....
Monday, September 25, 2006
Slow Fun & Happy
- run the first 10 miles conservatively
- push solidly through the next 10 miles
- count on your training for the last 6.2 miles
First, I was successful at being conservative with the first 10 (actually 12) miles with the help of a woman I hooked up with who was easy to converse with and easy to just run quietly next to (thank you Hillary from Ft. Collins!). Miles 12 to 17 were run solo and pretty much on cruise control. Mile 17 is my traditional Backroads gut check point. It's the furthest east point on the course and is where we do a 180 degree turn and start heading back to the finish. On a bad day, it's where one would start a long and arduous westward (uphill) shuffle; on a mediocre day, it's where one regroups, and digs in for the long road back; on a good day, it's where one begins to pick up the effort to see how quick the last 9.2 miles can be covered. On this day, I made the turn, did the gut check and my body answered back with a suprised "Wow! I feel great!" From mile 17 to the finish I got passed by one young long-legged fellow whom I passed back around mile 24; other than that, I did all the passing. I cheered for the course marshalls, bantered with the aid station volunteers, marvelled at the views of the Continental Divide, watched in awe as parasailers floated by, charged the hills, hammered the downhills, ran my fastest mile at mile 25, and crossed the finish line with a smile 26.2 miles wide. I felt like I could run forever - and that, folks, is what this year's training is all about!
Saturday, September 23, 2006
I'm running a marathon tomorrow. If it weren't right here in Boulder, I may have forgotten all about it. I'm also running the new Denver marathon in October - and I'm not really sure which weekend it's on and I've no clue where the course is. Both marathons are training runs and this non-hyped approach to prepping for them is rather novel for me. As the press for Boulder Backroads has picked up the last few days, I have had to remind myself that, no, I don't really need to rest for the marathon and, no, I don't really need to do the pre-race carbo-load thing since I supposedly should be eating enough for high mileage all the time anyway, and, absolutely no, I don't need to be wondering how many women have registered in the 50-54 year old age category. Something that really pointed out the change in direction my running has taken the last few months was this week's cut-back in mileage (planned as part of my 4-week training cycle) - I've had to be very conservative with my daily run miles during the week given tomorrow's 26.2 since I want to keep my mileage under 50 for the week. Since when did 50 become my low water mark?!
Friday, September 22, 2006
Non-running training regimen
Mark wants me to pay particular attention to what I do to recover after long runs and to make note of what works. Holly has offered to help me build a more structured regimen of non-running activity to help ensure I'm doing all that I can do to build up to the summer in the healthiest way possible. This is definitely unchartered territory for me after many years of putting all my eggs into the running basket with the limited amount of non-work, non-mom-stuff time I had. But I'm in a new world now, being retired and empty nested. Time to build a new bag of tricks!
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Of mouse and woman
A mouse in the house? I do not share my house with a mouse. One must leave the house, me or the mouse. So out of the house, me or the mouse? Not knowing how to roust the mouse, I left the house today I dost.
First departure: to run. ahhh....to run. For over an hour. It was lovely. I came back a much happier human.
Second departure: to help out my husband in his school library, labeling and shelving books. Bonus: his school is at the harvesting end of their "garden to table" project and the school cook happens to be a gourmet chef. Said chef invited me to partake of lunch there today: pasta with spinach pesto (fresh picked sparkly clean spinach from the school garden) and caesar salad.
Third departure: yet to happen. My current layover at home (sending my dog ahead of me wherever I go in the house, making lots of noise) has included cold-fighting activities (downing some EmergenC, drinking a cup of echinacea tea), doing a cold water wash (clothes for Sunday's marathon), checking email, IM'ing with my younger son, and this blog entry. Next I'll pack up some of the paperwork I was going to do today, a book, some other reading from my 'pile,' and head off to the library. So far, the mouse is winning!
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
A little of this, a little of that
So! Today I went out for some running in the sunshine around CU's cross-country course with Jester dog. Sweating out the cold felt mighty fine. Then I got the urge to tackle our lawn conundrum. The grass is getting too long, but we can't really mow it because so many apples have blown down from our apple tree, but it's difficult to pick up all the apples cuz the grass is so long. Today I took on the apples. After a whole lot of raking I then brought out the snow shovel and wheelbarrow. With rake in one hand scooping onto the shovel I then lifted shovel-fulls of apples single-armed up into the wheelbarrow (thank you BCOR!). Five wheelbarrow-fulls later, we now have an apple-free yard and I did some more sweating out of the cold. (btw: we have been eating the apples as well. I'm a big fan of apple crisp and they're decent apples for crisps. I'm toying with the idea of trying to make apple butter. Other suggestions are welcome!)
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Moving off the plateau?
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Quintessential Rocky Mountain Autumn Run
Catch a ride with Kendall the rest of the way to Gold Hill (elevation 8300 feet).
Run Gold Hill Road to the Peak to Peak Highway, soaking in the mountain vistas, speckled with aspen gold.
...getting a bit breezy
...getting a bit drizzly
...getting a bit snowy
...getting a bit blizzardy
My how I love running in Colorado!
Friday, September 15, 2006
- Getting the newspaper in the morning is turning into quite the festive occasion. This morning, there were THREE boxes from Gatorade waiting on the doorstep: one with a 3-gallon cooler, one with four water bottles and a smaller cooler, and one with a bazillion cups. Gatorade has really come through. Thank you Chuck!
- Being so excited about the Gatorade delivery, I went right out for my run - in time for the sunrise, the autumn-gold grasses waving in the breeze, hawks soaring on the thermals above, a fox pausing to watch me go by. A grand early morning 90 minutes.
- Gulped down some oatmeal (not the easiest thing to gulp, by the way) and hopped on my bike for the ~4 mile ride to my massage appointment. Most of the ride is down 30th street which also happens to be the bulk of the route for the Bound bus. Many a time I've cycled this street playing leap frog with the Bound, which inevitably pulls away from me as we continue to the furthest point north. Not today; today I BEAT THE BUS! I will ignore the fact that there is a strong possibility that the bus driver did not know he was in a race, and that he is required to let off passengers at requested stops - the last of which allowed me to go ahead for good. Bottom line is, I BEAT THE BUS!
- After beating the bus, Magic Fingers Beggsy worked me over. I walked in there with some pretty serious alignment issues, and walked out of there with a nice smooth, even gait (and a bunch of exercises to add to my training regimen). Thank you Holly!
- Got home to find an email from Mark with some tweaks to my running schedule. I'll be alternating weeks with a long hill run one week and a long tempo run the other week, and every couple of weeks I'll be doing back-to-back long runs. Looking forward to it. Thanks Mark!
I've decided to head to the hills for tomorrow's long run and get in some autumn aspen viewing whilst running. If any of you Colorado readers out there have suggestions of where to run 18-20 miles in the high country (on not too technical a trail), do send them my way!
Thursday, September 14, 2006
"I like your shoes; they sparkle!"
Early sparkle: When we went out to get the paper this morning there was a box waiting at our door - filled with 32 21-ounce packages of powdered Gatorade! How did this come to be, you might ask. Well, when we went to son Paul's first college cross country meet on Sept 1, I was cheering for Knox women's team runners as they passed by - as was another nearby woman. We got to talking and discovered we both had freshmen boys running for Knox. We walked and talked; she spotted my Boston shirt and asked if I had run it. I said yes and she replied that her husband really wanted to run a marathon but work or injuries always seemed to interrupt his training; however, since he was the president of Gatorade, they got to go see Ironman Hawaii and weren't they tremendous athletes. "Indeed they are," I replied. "You say your husband is the president of Gatorade?"
We talk a bit more, our respective husbands joined us, and introductions were made all around. Then the little voice in my head says "It's now or never Paula" so I pipe up with "You're the president of Gatorade?" Chuck nods affirmatively and I come back with "I was going to write to you." Chuck asks if it was for a good thing or a bad thing and I answer that it's for an adventure I'm planning for the summer of 2007 and proceed to describe my run to him. He jumps in with "You're going to need a lot of hydration!" and starts asking questions about my support crew (my family), distances, etc. then says "We'll take care of you." And lo and behold, two weeks later I've got enough Gatorade at my doorstep for a gallon a day every day I'm running next summer!
More sparkle: I got up enough gumption to send a piece I wrote about running partners and a request to publish the chronicles of my run (or any other aspect of it they're interested in) to one of the running magazines. Got my fingers crossed on that one.
Even more sparkle: I did my weekly 3 mile hill run today - another run up the NCAR road but this time I came down via a new (to me) trail. Two new trails in one week!
Additional sparkle: Kendall had mentioned that his library (he's an elementary school librarian) was falling behind on shelving - so I actually worked a bit today shelving books. A couple hours of work, and the retirement luster is still shining.
End-of-day sparkle: Today is the last day of this session of BCOR. We did our cardio fit test yesterday (2 x 1-mile repeats composed of 1/4 mile up/down/up/down). Both of my times last night beat my fastest time from the first week. On both occasions, my second repeat was slower than my first, but last night's was only 4 seconds slower (vs. 22 seconds the first week). Also, this time the fit test was the day after a 3-hour run. Could it be I'm getting fitter? In any case, after tonight's session, we're going out for a bit of partying then get a week off before the next session starts up. My quads, glutes, and hammies are all thrilled with the idea of a rest week!
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Change in routine
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Anatomy of a Three Hour Run
I had been cogitating hard on which route to run. After last night's showers, I ruled out some trails that have a high post-rain mud factor. Additional trails were ruled out because of mountain lion (and mountain lion kill cache) sightings. And still other routes were ruled out because of lack of water refills along the way. I finally decided on an easterly route that would eventually take me to the Boulder Creek Path which I could run west as far as I needed, and then south as far as I needed before coming back home in three hours. One block out the door, the warm air and bright blue sky captured me and I decided to head south and west (more away from town busy-ness than the originally-planned route). As I ran I devised a route that was basically a cobbling together of several of my standard shorter routes. I was pleased with the plan. Then, about 10 minutes later, as I approached a "T" intersection of bike paths I spotted Benji and Amie running east from the "T" where I was going to turn west. Amie (who was a few steps behind Benji and another runner) yelled out "Which way are you running?". I thought a split second and yelled back "Whichever way you're going." Third running plan of the day... We join up and head to the CU cross-country property where Amie leads me on an hour-long loop-di-loop course while we chat away. That was one quick hour of running - a great start to my 3-hour run.
After parting ways with Amie, I head south from the CU course and move on to the South Boulder Creek trail, where I remember I'm in the midst of a three-hour run so take a gu and drink heartily. At the point where the South Boulder Creek zigs east, I zagged west so I could add a bit of distance, avoid some mud, and refill my water bottle at a gas station. As I run the back way around the circle drive leading to the gas station, I realize I'm going past an office building I've been in before - and that I know has a drinking fountain and rest room. Thinking that those facilities would be much more pleasant than the gas station, I stop in, drink, refill, empty, and zoom back out again. On to the next phase of the run.
I've recently become aware of a pedestrian path between two neighborhoods that avoids a busy road so I head for that. And as I come out on the east end of that path, I spot what looks like an open space gate at the end of the next bit of the neighborhood. I run there and lo and behold, there is an open space path that then turns into a single track trail that runs along the west bank of South Boulder Creek where I thought there was only a path on the east bank. A new trail! Always a good running day when one finds a new trail! I follow that north until it ends at the bridge that crosses the creek and I get back on the main trail and continue north onto the Bobolink trail, then a little jog through a neighborhood to the Centennial trail, more neighborhood, then the Boulder Creek trail where I head west.
It was on this north and west section where I noticed I was more plodding than running. At that point I resorted to a number of tricks to get some rhythm back in my legs:
- singing Yankee Doodle (which, when done with gusto, works out to a 9 minute pace...go ahead...go to a track and try it!),
- counting (back when I was training for a qualifier for the 100th Boston, I worked on cadence, trying for 180 footfalls per minute, and got it so ingrained in my head that I can now just start counting and arrive at that cadence by the time I've counted to 10)
- thinking of my BCOR coach (yeah Josh) telling me to lift my knees, run strong, swing my arms
It was getting a bit warmish and I was definitely fatiguing so was glad the bulk of the run was behind me. Now for the slightly uphill grind to the finish. A mile more on the Boulder Creek Path then onto the Skunk Creek Path, past the grazing goats in the Research Park (Boulder's version of lawn mowers), then a choice: do I wind my way easterly, southerly, westerly and back home? or do I cut through some research properties, through a parking lot, across a median and onto the straightest shot home. I opt for the latter realizing I'm really pooped. I drank a bunch more then tried to pick it up a bit on the straight-shot street. From the street, it was onto the Bear Creek path and into the underpass that takes me to my neighborhood. I glanced at my watch: 2:54. From the underpass to home the shortest way is shorter than 6 minutes. Okay, suck it up. I stayed on the Bear Creek path into the neighborhood then looped back around to my house, and clicked off the watch as my toe touched the driveway: 3:00:33.
The aftermath - pretty darned good actually. I hosed my legs down with cold water, followed by a shower and lunch. Then it was off to the post office via bicycle to mail a package to my college boys, then vacuumed the house (including cobwebs that have pry been there since my folks last came to visit - for my dad's 85th birthday - and he's approaching his 95th), then did a cold water wash and ironed a whole bunch of shirts. It was at this point in the day that I was thinking a "Music for Household Chores Hour" would be a good addition to our local radio station's lineup. There are some tunes that are great for rockin' out those chores with.
Now! Hungry again! Later!
Monday, September 11, 2006
I came home winding through neighborhoods, then spent most of the rest of the day just diddling around. This diddling must stop. I simply must get up my nerve and start writing letters to potential sponsors. When I write, I tend to let the idea, plot, words, nuance... all simmer together in my brain until a lovely little ditty bursts forth. Well, the ditties don't appear to be bursting; it's time to force the issue.
Although the day was rather ho-hum, the evening was fruitful. A thunderstorm rolled through and just as it calmed down, it was time to run to BCOR where we gave our glutes and quads a dandy workout, wrapping that up just as another storm was beginning to move in. I actually took a ride home tonight, being a lightning wimp. Now it's time to enjoy the post-exercise buzz and some more of Kendall's green chili.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Upon arriving back at the house from the store, I unloaded groceries while Kendall cooked up a batch of green chili. (While I was at the Buff game yesterday, he was perusing the farmers' markets in Denver for chilis, stocking up for the winter.) We got all that done - and a load of wash going - in time for the Bronco game. The game was not so great, but the bean and rice burritos smothered with a fresh batch of green chili were most excellent!
During the second half of the game, the most astounding thing happened. Both Kendall and I started in on sewing projects! Neither one of us would even remotely be mistaken for seamstresses, but there Kendall was, fixing pockets on a couple of shirts and I was repairing a dog blanket. (My sister-in-law, who is extraordinarily skilled with a needle, made us a blanket out of squares of old sweats. It is the handiest dog blanket since it can - and needs to - be washed so often. A few of the squares were ripped up so I put in new ones. Fortunately, only Jester dog will be getting a close look at my stitching prowess or lack thereof...)
After the sewing project and another load of wash, it was time to return to the kitchen - this time to bake a cake in honor of a birthday boy. I must have music when I bake; this afternoon it was Big Band music followed by the sound track from Moulin Rouge. A somewhat unusual selection for my baking accompaniment, but it worked quite well for the mixing and beating.
To finish off the day, I have a choice of ironing or reading. I'm thinking I go with the book; one can get too carried away with this domesticity thing doncha know!
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Drizzling & cool outside; a shorts, long-sleeve t, rain jacket & gloves kind of day.
Headed west and north towards the up/down number streets west of Boulder's "Hill" neighborhood.
Always, watchful eyes for mountain lions that have been reported recently.
Plenty of hills, no lions, lots of worms; head back towards home.
7 a.m., back home, ditch the jacket, rendezvous with Phil & Joe, head south and west to the mongo fartlek loop.
More hills (no fartlek), Joe & Phil up ahead, me straining to keep up.
Back to home, 2 hours 57 minutes on my watch.
Quick change into dry clothes then walk up to the neighborhood pancake breakfast. Yum!
Next up: CU Buffs vs. CSU Rams at Mile High Stadium. Go Buffs!
Friday, September 08, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Socializing on the trail
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Did I mention...
....driving the route from North Platte to Boulder took roughly from lunch time to dinner time; running it will take roughly 10 days. However, I will get see sites like this scrap metal insect hive spotted along the route near Julesberg, Colorado.
Notable events of the last 24 hours:
- yesterday I baked - something I used to do very frequently but less and less so as my job progressed. It was a delight to get back into it!
- tonight a glorious golden orb of a moon lit the way as I ran home from BCOR (glutes and hams today - such a treat after doing 4x6 minute hill repeats this morning!)
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
- 8/31 p.m.: "concrete tour d'hotel at nightfall" (Lincoln, Nebraska)
- 9/1 a.m.: "lost in Lincoln" (but we still made it to Elmhurst IL in time for Paul's 5 p.m. college xc debut!)
- 9/2: "hotel -> Paul/campus -> hotel. Good thing Paul was tired from his race"
- 9/3: "Galesburg...creaky...."
- 9/4: "Nebraska farm road drills"
Also on September 4th, we meandered off the interstate and onto a likely route for the Boulder-to-North Platte portion of next summer's run. Lots of farmland, a pony express station, a portion of the Lincoln Highway, feedlots, hawks, corn, some good road, some not so good. Traveling along, looking at road shoulders, evaluating traffic levels, passing through towns with double-digit populations, seeing a whole lot of sun and very little shade....it all became very real. Just prior to this back-road exploration, I read a plaque in The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument (a fine museum that pays tribute to those who passed through Nebraska via the Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, California Trail, Pony Express, the first railroad, the Lincoln Highway (the first transcontinental highway)):
The cowards never started
The weak died on the way
Only the strong arrived
They were the pioneers