Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Livening up the routine
Today's run: home to the course, run the low berm, the four times up and over jawbone hill and around back to jawbone. After the fourth jawbone, I headed to the eastern berm then decided to go off the beaten path a bit to take a closer look at the South Boulder Creek trail open space and cow pasture where, whoohoo!, the year's first calf (and mamas and friends) were watching my every move. I do declare, spring can't be too far away now!
Monday, January 30, 2012
Only in Boulder
This is one of my all-time favorite signs, posted at many Boulder bike path underpasses. It makes me smile every time I see it. I'm pretty sure ice does exist; I guess there just isn't room on the sign to say Ice May Exist...here...now...
At this particular underpass, another sign might be useful - to offer the warning: Tumbleweeds May Exist. For some reason, this is a very popular tumbleweed gathering place. Whenever I pass through here after a windstorm, I usually end up spending some time clearing tumbleweeds to reduce the chance of a surprise tumble attack on an unsuspecting cyclist. Even if there hasn't been a windstorm, more often than not, you'll find at least one straggler like this fellow I found today.
Beyond the question of existence, today I was reminded of another Boulder phenomenon: bike paths and trails throughout the city. Running the five miles home from my volunteer job, I traveled over 1.5 blocks of a country road, 3 blocks between my house and the Bear Creek bike path - and everything else was on paths and trails, most of that following alongside creeks. Along this particular route I've been led down the path by an owl, had a great blue heron fly up in front of me, seen deer, foxes and raccoons scamper about, and even spotted a snapping turtle. Today's sightings were a bit more commonplace: crows, bluebirds, woodpeckers, squirrels, cows - all surrounded by the sounds of birdsong and wind...the roar of the city muffled in the distance, even though I was running right through the heart of it.
Interesting how piling on the miles of running can be simultaneously fatiguing and uplifting.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
16 miles. Hungry!
This morning involved a little over 3 hours and 16 miles of running.
1st hour: west and south; every uphill (of which there were many) into the wind.
2nd hour: met up with friends; the wind died down; the hour went quick.
3rd hour: north and west; wind picking up but could smell the barn.
And what a smell!
When I walked in the door, the aroma of coffee and fresh-baked scones enveloped me - as did my family.
All of us together for breakfast - a rare treat, a fine morning!
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Birthdays and races
Given that Mr. Devon had plans to celebrate with friends all day today, I celebrated (?!) the day with a cross-country race. Not having done much speedwork since early Autumn, I was not expecting much but knew the race would be a fun one, with a small field, close enough to home to run to/from as a warm up/warm down, and well-managed with Boulder Running Company as a primary sponsor and the Durdens in charge of the timing. Much to my surprise, I ran the slightly over 4 miles of lightly snow-covered curvy hillyish course in 36:40, picking up speed throughout, being passed only once and I passed her back. I'll take it!
After the race festivities, I trotted home, got (razzama)Taz and had a lovely walk/run around the neighborhood. A wonderful start to my 27th anniversary of being a Mom!
Thursday, January 26, 2012
According to my running logs, in August, 1999 I discovered the Brooks Adrenaline. I am now on pair number 58. A pair of my running shoes tends to follow the life cycle of: running, walking, gardening. Once all my shoe cubbies are full, I send pairs off to the local elementary school or to one of the running stores for donation to various charities.
One of my shoes, however, was confiscated by Jester when he was a pup. He was told in no uncertain terms that shoes were not to be toys. Unfortunately, it was too late for that particular shoe, having been thoroughly attacked by Jester dog. We left the chewed-on shoe in the backyard for Jester and there it remained for his amusement for the rest of his life (and he never touched any other shoe!).
Now we have Taz - and one of his first discoveries in our backyard was that shoe. In the month since Taz has been part of our family, he has completely dissected the shoe whittling through all of its layers. 'Tis definitely his most favorite toy...and the only shoe he's tackled. Socks, however, are another story!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
After a training spell of logging hundreds of miles, doing countless hill repeats and pushing through tempo run after tempo run, one day you may notice a shift, if lucky, to a higher level of fitness. I think I may have just experienced such a shift. Not a major jump, but an encouraging inching up to a higher plateau.
What are the indicators you might ask? In my case, in this instance, they are:
- markedly less jiggling when I run
- more energy (this morning after my 12 mile run, I found myself tapping my foot to some music on the radio - rather inconvenient since I was trying to shave my legs at the time)
- my 2 hour 23 minute run felt like a short outing (it helped that Amie was with me for 90 minutes of it and the last 16 minutes of it were with Taz)
- continually looking for excuses to get up, get out, get at 'em
Hopefully this means: a) my cutback week is working; and b) my planned continued build-up will go smoothly!
By the way, the picture above was from an earlier, more dramatic plateau shift. This picture was taken July 18, 2007 on the Mountain-Bay Trail in Wisconsin - 43 days and 1,035 miles into my run from Colorado to Michigan, and only a few days after finally figuring out how to properly/fully fuel my body throughout the day. What a difference! Nothing was going to stop me now!
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
A typical Tuesday finds me running hills ending at the rec center, enjoying an exercise class, then running home - or, running errands which today would include a visit to the downtown library. This morning I awoke with a squirrely stomach which resulted in me missing my exercise class. Around 11 a.m., I was settled enough to venture out into what was now a snowy morning.
I decided I would zigzag my way to the library - and zigzag I did, turning a 35 minute run into a 78 minute run with jaunts down streets I seldom traverse. It was a delight! I often keep up a running (so to speak) commentary in my head as I cruise along, especially on these wandering runs. This morning's included:
- froze toze (for some reason, my toes were especially cold this morning)
- whimsical (upon spotting a lawn with various logs standing about topped with critter statuary)
- interesting (in response to a sculpture that looked rather like a huge ship's anchor entrenched in a front lawn)
- cool (for the treehouse pictured above - one of the niftiest treehouses I've ever seen)
- school or house? [right next to] house or apartments?
- huh (provoked by the tree sculpture of dolphins - quite unlike most tree sculptures around town that tend toward western themes or critters found in the Rockies)
- ugh (for a huge squared-off brick monstronsity built within a bungalow-filled neighborhood)
- snow globe (as the snow thickened but kept its gentle touch)
Monday, January 23, 2012
Elastigirl where are you?
Volunteering done, I set back out for home but just couldn't run through the drooping undies situation so hopped on a bus instead. Funny the things that can disrupt a run. Raging blizzard, run on; droopy drawers, fuhgeddaboudit.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
First Real Run!
It was a big day today in VaughanMiller land. Taz went for his first real run - and he was great! We walked to the end of the driveway, I asked him to sit, I said "OK" and off we went for 23 minutes total. Along the way he responded just the way he was supposed to to "Get over" (the command I used with both Loki and Jester to get them further to my left) and to "Leave it" (whenever he got to interested in something we were passing in the road...like tar balls...the things that puppy loves to chew...).
I had given Paul a quick call to let him know we would be trotting by his house so he came out and performed Official Photographer duties, capturing the momentous occasion for all to see. I do believe there is a four-legged running buddy in my future!
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Big week. Lookin' good!
from the South Boulder Creek Trail.
Picture by Mary F.
This week's schedule was, shall we say, "challenging" what with 15 miles on Wednesday, 20 yesterday, 10 today and snow, ice and wind interspersed throughout. I was a bit nervous about successfully making it through the miles but having completed today's 10, it's looking pretty darned good. I need only complete a short easy run tomorrow and this week, the "big" week before the cut-back week of my 4-week training cycle, will be in the books.
This morning's run started out a bit creaky, feeling all 20 of yesterday's miles, but true to form, 55 minutes into my run my body was (finally) warmed up and running happy. Making the run even smoother and quicker, it was a positively lovely morning in Boulder: Gorgeous sunrise, fantastic venue (South Boulder Creek trail complete with cows, deer, kingfishers, and hawks), and delightful company for the last 5 miles of my 10 mile run. Topped off with breakfast with the Satruns gang of walkers and runners, you just couldn't ask for a better start to the weekend!
Friday, January 20, 2012
Wind at my back
The wind blew all last night and into the morning - thus prompting a route change for today's run. I had thought I'd be running today's 20-miler north and east from Boulder to Longmont. What with the wind blowing big from the north and west - and the being fed up with running into the wind - I plotted a new course that would take me a scant mile northeast then 19 miles due east, i.e., with the wind at my back. Ahhhh....
A new map, that showed a straight line east along Baseline Road, was handed to Kendall with instructions to meet me in 4 hours or slightly less at County Road 19. (Baseline, by the way, was so-named because it runs along the 40th parallel which also was the line of demarcation between the Nebraska and Kansas territories in 1854.)
Now back to the run and the high- and low-lights:
- the wind was at my back!
- the route involved all roads, and increasing traffic on the east-most miles where I had expected less traffic
- some small town life and lots of farmland
- the wind was at my back and I was running in shorts!
- there is a lot of uphill involved in getting out of Boulder country (word of the day: "undulating")
- despite mapping out a one-road run (after leaving my neighborhood) I managed to get onto a different road 16 miles into the run. Fortunately, Kendall had just seen me, had pulled to the side of the road to take some pics, and noticed that I veered right at the "Y" rather than left (since left said 168th rather than Baseline and right said nothing and most all traffic went right). All that crewing experience from the run to Michigan paid off big time today. The route deviation put me on a road parallel to Baseline (I didn't even know I was off Baseline until after the run), and gave me a bonus .5 miles.
- the wind was at my back and I was running in shorts AND I was clocking a steady diet of 11 minute miles!
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Let's see...which shall I choose
Once home, I had the pleasure of cleaning house - one of my least favorite activities on this planet - but I had put it off way too long. As I was scrubbing the kitchen floor I was thinking:
Scrub floors or run in 100 mph winds?
Scrub floors or run in a blizzard?
Scrub floors or run in subzero temperatures?
Guess which one I picked every time?!
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Mid week and windy!
Last six: Headwind. Oof!
After the run, Taz happily greeted me -
delaying the need for a shower
since he licked a lot of the sweat away.
Left: Taz when we first adopted him.
Right: Taz one month later (yesterday)
Then: oh dear oh dear what's next?
Now: oh boy! oh boy! what's next?!
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Nothing that basketball and an ice bath can't make better!
The start of this morning's run: 8 degrees, ice/snow-glazed streets. The running so crappy that 20 minutes into the run, spent dodging ice and traffic, I said screw it and walked the rest of the way to the Rec Center where my exercise class was to be held. I got there early since I didn't do my full run and as I approached the door was wondering what the heck I was going to do to kill the time before class (assuming all the aerobic equipment would be in use). Opened the door and said "Aha! Basketball!"
I checked in, got a basketball, and spent the 30 minutes before class running/dribbling a circuit around the court, shooting at each of the 6 baskets until my shot dropped then running/dribbling to the next basket. Great fun and a most effective mood enhancer. All the gloom from the traffic-dodging icy run had disappeared and I was in fine fettle for the exercise class.
After class, I shot a few hoops with a friend then headed out for part 2 of the run. As per yesterday's post, I had hill drills scheduled for today. The temps had risen substantially and the ice had melted from the unshaded bits of the asphalt roads so the going was much easier. However, since I had so many frigging layers of clothes on due to the early single digit temps, I felt like an overdressed hippopotamus trying to high-knee, skip and bound up the quarter-mile of hill. After the second rep I decided to bag the hill drills and just run hills. So up and down I went sticking to the west-bound (steep) hills since those were the most ice-free surfaces, and managed to zig zag my way to 7+ miles of hill running. Not bad.
Once home, I did what I should have started doing many miles ago: got in an ice bath. It was the most effective sore/tired leg therapy I used when preparing for my Michigan run and I was long overdue in this training cycle. It was tough getting in, but I sure had some happy legs when I got out!
Monday, January 16, 2012
Volunteer day and pondering the week
When not reading or shelving, I was cogitating on my week's running schedule. Good lord Mildred what have I gotten myself into?! This is the third week in my four week cycle where the first three weeks of the cycle build up, then the fourth week backs off a bit. Here's what is on the schedule for the week (gulp):
- Monday (today), 8-9 easy miles running to/fro AINC
- Tuesday, 7 miles including hill drills (high knees, skip, bound x3 each) followed by exercise class followed by 2 mile easy run back home
- Wednesday, 15 mile run
- Thursday, 6 miles rolling hills followed by exercise class followed by 2 mile easy run home
- Friday, 5 easy miles
- Saturday, 20 miles
- Sunday, 10 miles
It's possible I'll move Saturday's workout to Friday and Sunday's to Saturday and run short/easy on Sunday in order to better coordinate a run with my usual Saturday running gang. Regardless, the 15-mile mid-week run + back-to-back 20-miler/10-miler has me nervous. But I figure it'll show me if I have what it takes to get ready for my March 20th 60k!
Sunday, January 15, 2012
The Cows Are Back!
Winter is definitely pointing toward spring in Boulder now; the cows have returned to the South Boulder Creek Trail! Between the cattle sighting, the quiet morning, and the warm-enough-to-not-have-to-wear-tights weather, the run was fleet-footed and smile-filled. An excellent outing to cap my 66.5 mile week!
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Falling in love again
Highlights: almost balmy temperatures, headwind only over a couple of the miles, rolling dirt roads, hardly any traffic, tumbleweed country, views of foothills and plains, glimpses of snow-covered peaks, and running alongside cattle, horses, sheep, llamas, and buffalo! And for the grand finale - a pickup by Kendall and Hedwig (the motorhome we got for the run to Michigan) followed by a scrumptious lunch at Hygiene's one cafe'.
A run that reminded me of why I love love love running!
Friday, January 13, 2012
First, wind in the face.
Then, wind pushing me from behind woohoo!
Next, wind pushing me cross-ways watch-out-I'm-blowing-off-the-road.
And finally, wind from the rear right quadrant until Kendall cruised along and offered a ride.
Another run done.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
- Home to the library to return a couple of books. As I danced my way along the ice-covered streets in the frigid temps of early morning, one book in each hand as I slip slided along, I got to thinking, maybe returning books on this run wasn't the most brilliant idea I'd ever had. Ah well, made it there in one piece, dropped the books in the slot, then
- Zig zagged my way to the Rec Center for exercise class - turning onto whatever street I saw that had been sanded, discovering a fair amount of false advertising along the way. Oh sure, sand the upper half of the street then leave us peds to our own devices as we hit the slick lower halves of said streets.
- Got a good working out of glutes, shoulders, tris, and abs at exercise class then layered up for another outing.
- Left the Rec Center with Amie and another zig zag run looking for sanded surfaces that would end us up back at the library after 35 minutes of running. Once again, running with a buddy went quickly; having 20 more degrees and softening ice helped as well.
- From the library, I called the family and asked if they might be in the mood to walk toward me with Taz dog for a rendezvous in the park. They thought that was a fine idea and my day's running ended with a bunch of running in circles with the puppy in the fenced-in ball field in our neighborhood park. Taz dog sure loves to run...full tilt when off the leash and, thankfully, at a lovely trot right by my side when on leash.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Some folks today might have been pondering on whether to add a bit of chocolate to their morning coffee, or whether to bump the thermostat up to 70, or, perhaps, whether to wear calf-high rather than ankle-high boots. The ponderings my brain occupied itself with took a slightly different twist. For example:
- I wonder if my snot will freeze before or after it hits my neck warmer.
- How long will this cliff shot blok take to thaw in my mouth?
- What will happen once my shoes fill all the way with snow?
And, of course, the usual question when I set out on an unmapped run: which way should I turn now to get the full 2.5 hours in? Today's route selection considerations also included: which way avoids roads & traffic (and, consequently, avoids running on ice in traffic) as well as, once I turn back west how to I keep from going east (and into the wind) again?
Yep, it was another snowy run in Boulder. And it happened to fall on my mid-week longish run day. Fortunately, as I was pulling out all the layers I was going to wear, I got a text from Amie who was heading out and wondering if I'd like to meet up with her. The company sure did make the first hour go faster and easier. After parting ways with Amie, I turned east and, thus, away from home and the temptation to end the run early. Since east was right into a frigid wind, I did a bit of zigzagging until I got onto the Bobolink and South Boulder Creek trails. Trail running today meant breaking trail through several inches of new snow - but it also meant no worries about cars. Well worth it. Not only were there no cars, but very few people period: no cyclists and only three other runners. Quiet, frosty ...a quintessential Rocky Mountain January run. (And perfect prep for a 60k run that might very well be on a day just like today!)
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Building up an appetite
Joined other season ticket holders for breakfast and conversation with
CU's Women's Basketball Team coaches. Very fun!
Ran from breakfast (where I only had some blueberry cornbread and
chai tea) to a hill for a few form drills then on to my exercise class.
Exercise! Weights and cardio and friends.
Ran with a couple of friends after exercise class, including 4 x 90 second pickups.
Ran to the bank.
Ran toward home and rendezvoused with Devon and Taz.
Officially introduced Taz to a neighbor and visited a bit.
Arrived back home around 11:30 where I finally had a chance for a proper meal. Hungry!
Monday, January 09, 2012
What's with this slow revving up business?
My usual Monday routine is to run to my volunteer job (reading for the Audio Information Network of Colorado - a broadcast reading service for the visually impaired), work for an hour, then run home...lots of route choices going and coming. It just so happened that Kendall needed to take the car to the repair shop early this morning so I asked if he could drop me off at AINC on the way. I can't remember the last time I got a ride in; what a wimpy start to the day! Howsoever, it turns out I was probably a wise wimp. By the time I finished reading, the sun was starting to soften the ice and it was certainly light enough to spot and avoid the major icebergs along the bikepaths and trails.
It took a while to get into the flow of the run, but once on dirt trails, with temperatures rising, the sun bright, and views of the foothills dancing alongside me, my mood and feet lightened considerably. To help ensure I got all of my scheduled miles in, I called a friend about an hour into my run and arranged a rendezvous which further spiced up the morning. A couple of chatty miles with Amie finished up the run - then mister Taz dog and I went out for a walk in the neighborhood. A delightful conclusion to the morning's perambulations!
Of course, no blog entry is complete without a picture. This is what caught my eye this morning - a morning when the town was still buzzing after yesterday's Broncos-Steelers wild WILD wildcard game.
Sunday, January 08, 2012
This morning's temptations: warm bed, good book, puppy and a steaming cup of coffee - vs. 15 degrees and ice-glazed streets.
The temptations won out until 10 a.m. when I finally got myself layered up, trail shoes laced, and booted my butt out the door.
The first two miles were on roads and concrete bike paths that offered up plenty of slickness and not much fun. From 1/4 miles to two miles my head and training plan were battling it out: "too cold, too icey" "gotta get the miles in" "stiff and slipping" "time on the feet" "grumble" "suck it up." Then I arrived at the South Boulder Creek trailhead and fell in love with running again. Grippy snow-covered trail, glistening fields, blue sky, quiet. A few minutes into it and I felt like I could run all day. Bonus: a running buddy came along the trail offering good company for a few miles. Double bonus: I finished the run in the CU cross-country property where husband Kendall, son Devon and pup Taz were out for a morning walk. The last four minutes of the run were with a dog at my side. As so often happens, a blech run turns good.
Saturday, January 07, 2012
Oh dark 30
Met the gang at 7:30 a.m.. It helped to have company, but my legs never did loosen up during the run. Nor did I get warm...at least not until after breakfast when I was able to sink into a warm bath, complete with bath bubbles. Thank you thank you thank you to whosoever invented bath tubs! Ahhhh...
Trivia of the day INVENTOR OF THE BATH TUB (according to wiki answers):
"John Michael Kohler invented the first enameled bathtub when he enameled a cast iron horse trough in 1883." This masterpiece was apparently advertised as "horse trough/hog scalder, when furnished with four legs will serve as a bathtub. "
And according to Wikipedia, the process for enameling cast iron bathtubs was invented by Scottish-born American David Dunbar Buick (founder of the Buick Motor Company).
In any case, this scalded hog is grateful for the luxurious invention!
Friday, January 06, 2012
Aloha 2011 2012
I'd best sum up 2011 (mostly from a running perspective, since that was the genesis of this blog, eh):
- I ran every day of 2011
- Total 2011 miles run: 2,649
- Stayed injury free. Woohoo!
- I ran more races than is usual for me in one year:
one 10k (my annual Bolder Boulder, 6th 59-year-old female out of 224),
one 15k (1st 50-59 female),
2 marathons (Deadwood Mickelson Trail which I've wanted to do since the inaugural 10 years ago, placing 1st for 55-59 females - and Grandma's which I've wanted to run since I started running marathons 30+ years ago, placing 20th in my age, running it 13 minutes faster than Mickelson two weeks prior - both fantastic events!)
- Reconnected with a training buddy from pre-kid days which led to greatly improved training quality through the spring and summer
The morose months that followed brightened considerably on December 17th when we adopted a four-month old pup from the Boulder Humane Society (rescued from a shelter in Tulsa). Now named Taz, and believed by our vet to be a purebred Australian Cattle dog, he has been a delightful addition to our family. So far, runs have been no longer than 1/4 mile but he loves his walks and gets extraordinarily excited when he does spot a runner. I'm looking forward to many a mile with Razzamatazz VaughanMiller!
Looking forward to 2012. I've got a plan. A big plan - not a monumentally big plan like 2007's, yet a big enough plan I felt a need to resume blogging. On March 20th, 2012 (the first day of spring and, coincidentally, my 60th birthday) I am planning to run 60 kilometers somewhere around Boulder. I'll be developing several potential routes so I have options to handle whatever weather is thrown my way. I've experienced everything from blizzards to clear trails on my birthday runs; who knows what Mother Nature has in store for the first day of spring this year. I just want to be ready...fit, healthy, happy, and with a route laid out for any possibility!
For those of you interested in training plans, my plan, in general includes Tuesday hills (drills or repeats), Wednesday mid-long run (10-to-15 miles), Thursday rolling hills, Saturday long run (16-to-30 miles), and Sunday mid-long run (8-to- 15 miles). The Saturday/Sunday mileage combo will grow over the next 9 weeks from 24 to 45 miles. Any and all suggestions for training plan improvements would be appreciated!