Sunday, August 22, 2021

Running Buddy Potpourri

My how times have changed!

Twenty+ years ago I started running with the Satboys - a run every Saturday morning followed by breakfast with lots of jolly joshing throughout. Over the years, folks moved away, others hung up their running shoes due to injury or age or both. Now there are four of us left in town with a mix of walking, easy running, and me who is still running a fair distance at an occasionally fair pace. But each week still has a Saturday, and each week those of us who happen to be in town look forward to meeting up once again.

After retiring and doing my run to Michigan, a running buddy from our pre-motherhood days contacted me to see if I'd be interested in training with her and a neighbor. Thus my gang of women running buddies was born and has since grown to five of us.  But with this group, too, age, injury, and life's demands impact running ability and schedules.

Two running groups, two bunches of unique individuals, and yet here we are united in ever-lasting friendship.  This past Saturday highlighted this miracle bond of perambulation.

Just as the sun was coming up, Connie and I arrived at Davidson Mesa to do a mile-repeats workout. A soft haze to the west and ruby red sunrise to the east greeted us - a simply lovely start to the day.









 As we started our mile repeats, the differences between me and Connie became instantly apparent:

  1. Connie had stripped down to a singlet; I was thinking maybe I should have left my jacket on.
  2. Connie immediately put many many yards of distance between us. She is incredibly fit this year!
  3. Connie was focused on the workout, the pace, the miles; I was pulling out my phone/camera to get a photo of how darned fast that woman is these days!






At some point during that first mile, Anita arrived at the mesa. She is rehabbing a swollen knee with strict instructions to avoid high impact activity - so she walked. For those of you who have entertained thoughts of going for a stroll with Anita, you might want to bring your jet packs along. The speedy Swede knows how to cruise! 


After the mile repeats, I headed off to join the Satboys: Phil who was walking with his dog, Oliver, and Joe who was going for an easy few miles. I was late to the rendezvous spot (I had warned the guys that this might happen and to start without me) - so I took off running to try to catch up with them. I gotta tell you, seeing a Satboy running toward me always brings a smile to my face - and today it was Joe, cresting a hill along a floral-lined country road. (When he saw the camera he shouted "Ha! Proof that I do still run!")









And once again proving that no matter how few or how many of us there are, the Satboys still crown the day with the post-run/walk reward of breakfast with a heaping helping of chitchat and laughter.


 Running buddies. The best gift that running has ever given me...

Saturday, August 07, 2021

Warm Memories Run

 A couple of days ago, Kendall and I were winding our way back home through the northeast corner of Boulder. As the car turned a corner I realized we were near the north trailhead for the Teller Farms trail - which my Satboys running buddies and I had run darned near a kabillion times in our heyday of running. I asked Kendall if he would mind letting me out of the car so I could hop on the trail while he ran errands then come back to pick me up at the south end in an hour or so. Kendall, being the fine fellow he is, said sure.

This was a much needed run. The senior statesman of the Satboys passed away this week. Patrick was wickedly funny, full of stories, had an opinion on most everything and loved sharing those opinions. A mighty fine running buddy indeed. I had not been on the northern stretch of the trail since the 2013 flood had washed out a chunk of the trail and a rather necessary bridge. This day's run would very much be a run down memory lane.

The highest point of the trail offers stunning views. In fact, the moment I crested this hill during a run in the late 1990s with the Satboys and feasted my eyes upon the magnificent Continental Divide with hot air balloons drifting along above the flatirons I came to the realization that I would be turning down the offer I had just received for a job in New York City. On this 2021 summer day's version of the run, the western view was shrouded in smoke and haze...a rather fitting loss of brightness given my mood.

Continuing my run, I noticed a few changes. 

A bench had been added near the top! I wondered how fast each of the Satboys would sprint to get first dibs at the bench given the strenuousness of the climb they had just completed - and never failed to whine about (after racing each other to the top).




And a microwave/cell phone/communications/whatever tower now stands above the water tower that had always marked our high point - with a fence all the way around both of the towers. This would have posed a serious dilemma for the male members of the Satboys (i.e., usually all but me) who had what one might refer to as a ritual of taking a bit of a pee break behind the water tower. Not only is there a fence guarding the area, hawks were also keeping a close eye on the activity below them.

The temperature marked a distinct difference for this day's run. Teller had earned a reputation as our coldest running venue. In fact, it was Schaef, the leader of the Satboys, who introduced me to the term "carmometer" when he described how he watched the temperature dropping as he drove from Boulder to Teller. We had many a Satboys run at Teller with zero degrees in the air - but never a run with 92 degrees like I was currently sweating through.

Continuing south, the familiarity of the trail began to wrap itself around me - lots of hills (maybe longer?), lots of single track ruts (maybe deeper?), prairie flora,

grasshoppers jumping up my legs, birds singing, prairie dogs chattering, and the welcome sight of the ponds (maybe bigger?). 


It was good to be back on an old familiar trail - but the laughter, trash talk, and camaraderie of the Satboys was sorely missed. I was lucky to be brought into the gang - and very lucky to have been the beneficiary of Patrick's friendship.

Satboys and families - a pre-Boston gathering at the trailhead

Satboys AndyE, me, Patrick & Joe after my 60k 60th bday run

Tuesday, August 03, 2021


 I have never had delusions about becoming a triathlete. I am much too timid on a bike and am much more of a thrasher than a swimmer. Besides that, I absolutely love love love to run so if I am going to spend my precious free time athleticizing, then I choose running! (Unless, of course, I am at a beach, then bring on the wave thrashing, the rock & shell hunting, and the boogie boarding - though I will undoubtedly run there first!)

That said, today was most definitely a multi-sport day - actually a quadathlon - but no biking or swimming involved. Today's event stages were:

  1. Dog run: run with Taz via a circuitous route to Paul's house where Kendall was to meet us and Paul, K, Taz and Barley were to head out on a walk. I stayed behind at Paul's for stage #2 in my quadathlon.

  2. Weed pull: I have a limit on how much bindweed I can stand and Paul's front yard had exceeded that limit. Paul's compost barrel is now overflowing. Stage #2 is done!

  3. Real Run: run an even more circuitous route back home. The challenge here is to convince my legs that they are, indeed, capable of lifting after however many weed pull squats they have just been subjected to.

  4. Apple toss: our apple tree is loaded - and it turns out that apples love to fall off the tree long before they are ready to eat - thus the need to toss them into the compost barrel. My record today for a single toss was 7 apples - three in one hand, four in the other - from 10 yards.  Given the number of apples on our tree, I suspect I will have plenty of opportunities to hone that skill and break that record!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Ja Ja - It's been a while

 I have a whole lot of catching up to do with this blog - a late May/early June trip to Michigan, our VaughanMiller family back together again in mid-June after 19 months without a Sasha in the house, creeping out of COVID-19 seclusion with many family and friend visits (mostly outdoors, small groups,  but visits none-the-less).

But! In the meantime, this weekend's running was so much fun I figured I'd skip over the catching up exercise (perhaps to post later) and revel in the weekend runs. I'm not 100% sure why I am so excited about these runs, but I suspect it is due to equal parts of running shoulder to shoulder with running buddies again and, well, actually running rather than slogging/jogging/dogging. So many of my runs over the last many months have been me and Taz lazily cruising around the town - he sniffing at every opportunity and me sightseeing, head swiveling every which way as we clop clop down the streets and trails. 

This weekend offered up a distinct change in the routine.

Saturday: a meet up with Connie and Anita at the South Boulder Creek trail for a 5 x 5 minutes hard/2 minutes easy interval workout. As usual, Connie was off in the lead, but Anita and I were right on each other's shoulders as we pushed through the 5-minute surges. An excellent workout indeed!

Connie cruises ahead (far, far ahead!):

A quick pic during our 2-minute rest interval with South Boulder Creek in the background:

A warm-down pic of a flower-filled meadow. We talked about those flowers. It turns out that what is often referred to as "queen anne's lace", is known as "dog biscuits" in Sweden (Anita's home country) and as "cow's breath" in the southern United States. 
I hereby dub this meadow: DogCowBiscuitBreath Meadow.

Today/Sunday: Connie and I ran to Longmont via a combination of country roads, trails and the LoBo trail - a run we've done several times in the past (but almost exactly 2 years since we last ran this together). Today's run was by far the most entertaining with many interesting tidbits. 

  • To start off with, our first mile or so was along a road that was under construction but still open to traffic. No daydreaming here!
  • Early in this stretch, we saw a new trail/bike path! And a mile or so further, we saw where that new trail would come out! Next time we will be on that trail and avoid the road all together!
  • Also along this stretch is a farm that is always full of surprises. Today, oreo cows (alas, no pics) and alpacas!
  •  From here we zig and zag on trails and onto the roads of a golf club neighborhood where a fox very kindly posed for a photo.
  • Upon leaving that neighborhood, we typically pick up trails again but what's this?! A trail closed sign?!?! What are we to do? Fortunately, a map attached to the trail closed signage highlighted a detour route which took us briefly through another neighborhood, a quiet little park and onto a section of the LoBo trail that our usual route bypasses - and it's a lovely stretch of trail with trees  to the right and views of the foothills and Continental Divide to the left.
  • The rest of the run continued along the LoBo trail, a soft easy running surface that offered up two little surprises today: a frog that Connie's foot narrowly missed (whew!) and a bright green caterpillar that I totally missed seeing but sharp-eyed Connie (who apparently had decided to carefully watch her foot placement after the frog incident) had spotted. Out came the camera once again.








  • The LoBo, trail after winding its way north/northeast, veers solidly east signifying that we are on the home stretch. I don't know what got into Connie at this point but we seemed to be moving quicker and quicker and quicker, dropping our pace by about a minute per mile. As Connie sped up I had a head to heart talk with myself saying I was not going to allow myself to ease back and be lulled by Connie's swishing ponytail. Nope! Nope! Today I was going to stay on her shoulder and my little feet somehow picked up the pace as well. A great finish to our 12 mile run!
  • Speaking of finish, spouses and Taz were waiting for us at the finish line (park) - as were the magnificent metal ants. Another photo op!


Sunday, May 02, 2021

May Day Weekend!


May has had a very fine start! Davidson Mesa was our chosen venue for a tempo workout and running buddy Connie and I were greeting with a stellar view of gleaming snow-covered Longs Peak. This was quite a change from the foggy morning we had encountered a week ago when almost our entire gang of women training buddies ran an informal 5k time trial on this very same mesa. The weather may not have been glorious, but the company sure was. Hooray for vaccinations! [Note: I have been searching for a name for this group of women - "women" sounding so very formal. This outing led me to start referring to our intrepid crew as "The Foggy Runner Gang." We'll see if it sticks!]


 Prior to that foggy day, we had a few April snow storms - much to Taz's delight (I wasn't quite so enthusiastic). They, of course, presented challenges - but also the opportunity to try out my newest pair of trail shoes (I find trail shoes to be a dandy form of footwear for traversing snow/ice-covered streets and trails). And so y'all get to see a few obligatory happy Taz snow photos!




And Taz and I had the pleasure of one very wet run in rain turning to snow. I'm not quite sure if Taz is licking the rain from my face or if he's getting a drink. It was really really wet!

Half way between the Saturday foggy run and the Saturday brilliant sunny snow-capped view run, Connie and I had a trail workout which offered us snow up above and puddles down below. The running conditions were actually quite perfect: not too cold and not too hot and even not too wet!

Today's run, this second day of May, was another of my Sunday tranquility trail runs. In addition to the joy of a long run, fresh air, and calm environs, I was treated to spring blossoms peeking out along the trail.


And I even managed to finish up my run just as the rumble of thunder rolled in. Whew!


 Happy May y'all!

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Spring Arrives 2021

Author's note: I should have posted about my Relay / First Day of Spring / Birthday run the weekend of the run. But I didn't. Then Monday happened: the mass shooting at our neighborhood King Soopers just a few blocks from our home, 10 people killed, an entire community devastated. Afterward, posting about my run seemed so inappropriate. But as I tried to work through my numbness from Monday's shooting, I realized how important it is for good to overcome evil, for light to shine through the shadows, and for moments of joy to peek through the curtain of sorrow. Thus I post about what was a very joyful first day of spring.

As noted in an earlier post, I had registered for CU's Relay for Life with the intention of running a COVID-safe solo "relay" on the first day of spring, circling a field near our house 16 times, once for each skin cancer surgery I have had. A two-foot snow storm earlier in the week left mounds of snow, ice, ice water, and mud on the path I had planned to run. Thus I concocted a Plan B and laid out a loop of just about the same distance right next door to the field I had planned to run on. I figured I would run the first loop around the field, 14 loops on the neighborhood loop, and the final loop around the field. In the end, that's just about what I did except I went onto the field path for the 12th loop just for grins.

The big surprise of the day was the appearance of several of my running buddies, joining in as the run progressed. And Paul, Barley, Kendall and Taz were on hand for many of the loops as well. This was the first time I had run with a "gang" since the pandemic started. What a treat! And I am pleased to say that my Relay efforts raised over $3000 for the American Cancer Society!  This was a very good day - a beautiful morning and a very joyful run. Let's let the pictures tell the story:

Taz is thrilled - he's running with Randall and toward Amie
two of his most favorite people on the planet!

Ready to head out for the run














More buddies arrive during the morning - left to right:
Paul/Barley, Connie (you can tell by the shorts), me/Taz, Amie & Anita


The Paul & Kendall cheering section!
Can you believe it?! Kendall even brought pom poms!

Had to get a picture of running buddies on the trail loop - it's such a beautiful venue.

The obligatory selfie (left to right: me, Amie, Anita, Connie)
Finishing lap number 16!

All done! Time to celebrate!

Post-run treats! Thank you all for such a successful and joyful Relay, First Day of Spring, and Birthday!

Post-run back at the house, Kendall and Paul continued the birthday-portion of the celebration:

Kendall presents the cake (spice cake with peanut butter frosting
- just like my mom used to make for me!)

Kendall's gift to me: a puzzle using a photo of me and running buddies!
What a delightful surprise!!!

Our post-birthday-lunch walk and family selfie.

Thank you all for being a part of my life.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

New Quest - Worthy Cause


On several occasions in the past, I have participated in American Cancer Society's Relay for Life - a fundraising event held all across the country to raise money for cancer research and for support services for cancer patients and caregivers. My original impetus for joining a Relay team was a friend's breast cancer diagnosis which happened right when I first heard about Relay. This diagnosis was just the most recent encounter (at that time) with the ravages of cancer. Kendall's mom died of breast cancer two days after Kendall and I found out we were pregnant with our first child. The smile on her face and her reaching out to hug Kendall from her hospital bed when he told her the news was the last time we saw her conscious. Yes, cancer hits home.

Kendall and his mom (Barbara Miller) at our wedding






















 Since my first Relay as a team member, I have captained and co-captained Relay teams - each one a unique and powerful experience. Typically, Relay is a grand and boisterous event held at a running track. Lots of teams, tents, food, music, activities - and throngs of people all supporting the worthy cause of fighting cancer. 

It starts with a Survivors' walk circling once around the track then team members start their laps. 







For me, the most powerful moment is when the luminaria, dedicated in honor of or in memory of individuals, are lit and their names are read. So many luminaria, each snuggled right up to the next, all the way around the many people affected by cancer. For one of my Relays, each member of Kendall's family (his siblings and their children and grandchildren) decorated luminaria in memory of his mom.



This year, I once again decided to participate in Relay for Life. Losing two friends to cancer in January and enduring my 16th skin cancer surgery in February got me rolling again with Relay. I officially registered with the University of Colorado Relay for Life event scheduled to be held in April. However, because of COVID, I will be "relaying" on the first day of Spring (new life! new hope!) as a socially distanced one-person team. I had originally planned to run 16 laps around Taz's YaYa loop (see my blog post from February 9th) - one lap for each surgery. However! We got a couple feet of heavy wet snow a few days ago and the conditions of that loop currently range from barely runnable to unrunnable due to packed snow, ice, ice water, and mud (very slippery mud I might add - I was just out there today - yikes!). I now have a plan B which is to do one lap around YaYa to check on current conditions and if not vastly improved, move to a nearby loop on neighborhood streets. (YaYa is a 0.9 mile loop; the neighborhood street loop is 0.85 - close enough.) It will be a different sort of Relay - but the cause remains oh-so-worthy.

If you would like to donate to Relay for Life, my fundraising page is:

Sunrise at 2016 Relay for Life ... the challenge continues ...