Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spring blooms

Wild irises, South Boulder Creek trail, May, 2001

After a somewhat lethargic winter, it was time to pick myself up, shake myself off, and frolic with gusto in the springtime sunshine. Some of this involved the intellectual (Conference of World Affairs - one of Boulder's all-time best events), some modicum of workplace effort (writing for CU), a bit of manual labor whenever I craved dirt under my fingernails (built a wood chip path to our new front porch and put in two vegetable gardens), and, of course, a revived running effort.

I tackled the running portion of springtime life from two directions:
  1. I signed up for two marathons: Mickelson Trail in South Dakota - a rails-to-trails trail through the Black Hills that I've wanted to run ever since I first heard about it; and Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota which has been on my marathons-to-do list since I first started compiling a marathons-to-do list. The first of these, Mickelson, is a mere 11 days away now and Grandma's follows two weeks later! After South Dakota and before Minnesota we're coming back home to celebrate Kendall's birthday here in's possible I'll do a last-minute sign-up for the Estes Park marathon for that in-between weekend. First I have to see how Mickelson goes...being my first marathon since training for my run to Michigan... In the meantime, I've got my mileage back up in the 50s and 60s (miles per week) with a fair amount of hill work and tempo runs under my belt. Best of all, I've been able to head out and run wherever my legs want to explore for however long it takes to get there and back. Lovely lovely runs this spring. And, to top it all off, this past Saturday I ran my 60,000th life-time logged mile! The cherry on top? I still want to go out for more!
  2. I started training with a couple of women who are serious about their Bolder Boulder prep. I've been friends with one of the women since the early 1980s and we did a lot of training together back before we had kids. We're quite compatible - strong but not extra speedy runners, and, (very important) we don't treat our runs together as mini competitions. We've had some excellent speed workouts over the past several weeks, with our final one today. 5x1k at 10k pace, and pulled each repeat off right at pace or a few seconds under. It will be interesting to see how everything comes together for the Bolder Boulder (which is Monday). My #1 goal is to beat my age (59), even better would be to beat last year's time (57:04), and more amazing would be to run in the 55 minute range which I haven't done for several years but training indicates is within the realm of feasibility (a stretch but...).
As an extra bonus, I volunteered to head up a Bolder Boulder training group of staff/teachers from our neighborhood school (where Kendall teaches). I got an idea of their goals and fitness levels, then handed out individual training plans for them to follow and logs for them to keep. We walked/ran, ran easy loops, graduated to hill drills and hill repeats (making each one sing one line from do-re-mi after running back down to make sure they had their breath back before heading up again) - and they were always ready for more. It was great! Today was our last session and I couldn't believe what all they were saying to me: "Having that log really helped. As soon as I saw two empty days, I got myself out the door." "I never would have tried those hills on my own; I never thought I could do something like that!" "Now when I run hills I just think about 'high knees' and I'm running right up it!" "I didn't believe you when you said when you're feeling yourself getting tired and running slowly, speed up. But it works - it gets me going again!" "What you said about consistency is the key. It makes all the difference." "I ran 1 hour without stopping to walk once. I'm ready!" I always thought the getting outside bit was the best thing about running - but listening to all of them talking today, that really really made my 30+ years of running worth it!

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