Sunday, June 5, 2016

Tailspin

Ever since Quad Rock I've felt like I've been in a tailspin. I had kinda forgotten that the week after a 50 you really can't get back to hard training without really risking injury. So mentally I was frustrated that I wasn't really training. I was running, but it was all easy recovery runs. No matter how much I told myself this is just how it is I was still frustrated...exactly why you need to remember this upfront. 

As soon as my legs started feeling better the kids started dropping like flies...stomach bugs and strep ran rampant through the house and it was really a week of just trying to survive. 

I went to Meyers one day to do a time trial and see where I was at fitness-wise. Every step felt harder than I thought it should be, I was breathing hard, my heart rate skyrocketing and my time 2 min slower than my PR. Dan reminded me I was less than 2 weeks out from Quad Rock and still probably not fully recovered, but my mind instantly went to Mosquito Pass and if I'd be up to snuff to get my ass up the pass. About an hour later I found myself sitting in the Children's urgent care listening to what I already knew...James had strep. Really the only reason we even went to urgent care was I knew it was strep and didn't want to wait until the next morning to get him on meds. I woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and with lymph nodes that could have passed for watermelons. I guess that might account for the terrible run. That pretty much shot any chance of real training for the rest of the week. 

Finally three weeks out and I feel like I'm back in the groove. I didn't do any structured training but tried to get the mileage up. I got in some great runs, saw two rattlers at Apex, marked the North Fork 50 course (well nearly 23 miles of it) and cheered on Dan at the NF 50k. All with Dan in NYC for the week and playing single mom. We all survived the week so mostly if call it a success! Oh and Dan rocked the 50k especially for having just got off a flight the night before and a week of a lot of work and not much running. He's in much better shape than he gives himself credit for right now so we'll see how it goes at Never Summer but I predict a huge PR. 

One more week of hard training before LTM and then we'll see if I was able to do enough. There's only one way to find out and soon enough I'll be in Leadville ready to prove if I got what it takes to run hard, throw down and give it my all and hopefully in the end walk away with a golden coin! 


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Quad Rock 50

I suppose I should get to writing a few things down about this race before I totally forget them. 

The week leading up to the race I actually tapered pretty appropriately, thanks Sandra for making me run with you and not go a bit further like I had originally planned. I wrote up some splits, printed a elevation profile to sleep on...it worked in college before exams and I'm fairly certain I remember learning osmosis is a real thing. So in my mind I was actually more ready than my lack of long runs suggested. Really I had no idea how the day would go, I just hadn't really tested myself yet. 

Post-race recovery run, but aside from the snow this is pretty
much what the course looked like all day
The morning of the race it was cold, drizzly and foggy. Since my oh so accurate weather app called for a slight chance of rain and high of 63 I figured it would burn off. I'd be too hot in my shell so I left it in my 25 mile drop bag and had a little chat with Mother Nature. It was a bit strange without the 25ers lining up at the same time so I felt like I was starting way too far forward. But when we started my time was right where I wanted it. But I felt off. I still can't really place it but by the time I got to the top of Tower I could just feel things weren't clicking. I mean it was freezing cold, raining, I couldn't work my bottles to get calories or fluids, I missed the boys and my legs felt dead. Really after that about all I remember from that first lap is my drop bag missing from Horsetooth, normally not a big deal but it had my pump. They finally found it in someone's car and I was forever grateful! Then as I fumbled trying to assemble and pump around mile 19 I got passed by what felt like 20 women and all I could think was this has to be like child birth. So miserable you forget the whole thing and go back for more. I contemplated dropping, but I couldn't have two DNFs in a row and really at worst it was going to take me what 6 more hours. 

I came into the turn-around, dropped my pump and milk, picked up my shell because it was still drizzly and freezing up higher and immediately took off. I knew the other girls were only a few minutes ahead of me, but I didn't care. I honestly told myself this lap is about having fun and feeling good. So I did just that. I started sucking down calories, VFuel in my water, and since my hands were starting to swell I took a couple Nuuns and immediately felt better...shock calories and electrolytes work when you bonk. 

And then as I made that first climb out of the start/finish I finally started feeling strong again. I still didn't care what place I was in or what my time was I just kept hiking and running and feeling better with each step. I made it up that first climb and down to Arthur's pretty easily. When its not hot out that section is so much easier. Then a tough climb back up to Towers and I think I still have nightmares about this section from the first year I ran it. But I still just kept feeling strong. I think I passed one or two girls on the way back down to Horsetooth, but I really wasn't paying attention. At Horsetooth Sandra was leaving just as I came in the the volunteers started telling me the top 4 girls were just ahead of me. I laughed saying I wasn't racing and they just looked at me and said well we want to see a race and not being one to back down to a challenge I figured lets see what I've got. Afterall it was only 10 miles or so left. I took off at a good pace along the flat section and did my best to power up that last climb. I knew 10 miles that late in the race was still a long ways so I didn't try to overdo it. Looking back I had the legs so I should have pushed this climb a bit harder, but hindsight is always 20/20. 

Throughout the whole second lap I tried to stay really steady with taking in as much VFuel and Nuun as I could and I really think that helped my climbing. My stomach also felt surprisingly good. The first lap my bottles were filled with EFS and my stomach wasn't terrible but it wasn't great either. Once I had gotten through all the EFS and was onto just VFuel I did feel incredibly better. One of my nutrition goals this year was to try to stick to one type of sugar throughout a race. My EFS on the first lap was pre-mixed with Heed and so I had multiple sugars going on. I can't say for sure that this is the reason my stomach felt good, but I'll definitely stick with this plan for Leadville. 

After I left Towers for the last time I knew I had to push. I felt like I knew every step of the course...and really at this point I probably do. Looking back at my splits I think I still held back here a bit more than I was capable of, but I was still pushing pretty hard. As I started up that last mini climb shortly after you turn off Tower Road I saw I was catching up to Sandra. Shortly after the climb I passed her, wished her well and figured she would be chasing me down the whole rest of the way. I zigzagged through the last few switchbacks hoping to get a glance of the next woman. I could see a couple people ahead but couldn't really tell if any were women. At this point though I was so done. I knew it was about 3 more miles to the finish and I was so ready to be done. So I just kept pushing. I finally checked my watch, for the first time the entire second lap and while at this point I was anticipating a finish around 11:30 I was surprised to see a 9:49 on my watch. I rubbed the screen thinking that might change the time, did a quick calculation and realized that I might just have a shot at a PR after all. I quickly covered my watch back up and just went back to running. The meadows was pretty uneventful, I could see a couple people ahead of me and while I was closing the gap I knew I needed another few miles to over take them. Finally I popped out onto the road and made the quick turn into the parking lot and through the finishers shoot. 

I finished with a PR of 10:21, but what I was most proud of was coming back from a bonk and making up all my PR time (24 minutes) on the second lap. My first lap was exactly the same time as it had been the last time I ran which meant I took almost a minute off per mile in the second half of a 50. That's pretty huge for me and at least shows I'm making progress in running a steadier race. Probably the biggest frustration was finishing 5:30 out of first! Seriously the top 4 women were withing less than 6 minutes of each other. Its a bummer to miss the podium, but this wasn't my goal race and I need to be sure to remind myself it's not just about the podium...well except for the Leadville Marathon next month, that is ALL about the podium. Overall I was pretty happy with the race. There's a lot of room for improvement and I learned a lot, but still finished pretty respectfully. Plus I had fun despite the dreary weather and finished with a smile. The hardest part really was not having the little grommies there to greet me at the finish. It was definitely too cold to have them out, but its tough not seeing their happy faces at the finish line. 





Sunday, April 24, 2016

Spark

Well it certainly seems like Mother Nature is not on my team this year. Hopefully we can kiss and make up before races kick off or it could be a rough race season. My training hasn't been terrible in terms of mileage, in fact I've logged the most miles I ever have at this point in the season, but I've struggled to get my long runs in. Most have been a hodge podge of treadmill, trail, bike path and dirt road miles all smushed together throughout the day to total 20 miles. It's not perfect and definitely makes me nervous going into Quad Rocj that I don't have the endurance I need. Hopefully we've seen the last snow we have to measure in feet for the year! 

As nervous as I am I'm excited to get out there and see if I still have it at all. I feel like I have no idea how fast my legs will be able to keep pounding out uphills, how my new dairy free stomach will handle the race, and I'll be honest I have done a terrible job practicing nutrition. 

In the home front things have been crazy busy. The winter of sicknesses has continued and I'm ready to see the end to the snot faucets that have been turned on here for months now! I seriously think we're single handedly keeping Kleenex in business. Rob has started crawling which adds an element of....excitement...to our routines. It can definitely be hard sometimes watching how easily Rob learns new things when James struggled for months to get it. Literally one afternoon Rob just pushed himself to sit, over one leg not up the middle just like he'd been doing it all his life. I think we worked for 3 months to get James to push up any way he could and it certainly wasn't the prettiest most correct PT-wise push to sit you'd ever seen. But none-the-less it's still fun to watch Ribert explore and discover his new world now. 

James meanwhile had his annual Ds clinic visit. Overall he did great and everyone was so impressed with how well he was doing. We're going to increase his feeding therapy to weekly and maybe someday he'll eat something besides bread or maybe even actually chew some food. By the time we got to PT he was pretty exhausted though and only somewhat interested in riding a bike and a scooter. So Pat Winders asked if we should just do his run test because she knows he likes to run.  I agreed that it was probably a good idea. As soon as we took James into the hall and told him he could run his eyes lit up and all his energy returned. He beat the run time they're looking for by 4 seconds! Over a 75 ft dash that's a lot of time! And he didn't stop we ran throughout all the halls on the 2nd floor of Children's with Pat and I chasing behind as James laughed and ran eyes sparkling with excitement. She just looked at me after and said he really loves running, he just lights up when he's doing it. I don't ever want to push him to be a runner, but I guess it's in his blood. 










Monday, April 11, 2016

Sunshine Daydreamer

It's official this family thrives on sunshine! We are all much better people when we get our daily doses of vitamin D. April is the 3rd snowiest month in Colorado and it's a tease...70 one day 2 ft of snow the next. This week delivered nothing but sunshine. 




For me I always need to start my weeks out strong or they tend to fizzle before they even get started. So Monday at 4 am I charged my incline workout and then followed that with 6 min hill repeats that afternoon. All week was spent on trails trudging up and down Apex and Falcon. Dan and I did get 3 runs together which was awesome! We haven't had that for awhile. 



On Falcon Friday I finally got a solid long run in and am feeling much more confident about Quad Rock. Four more solid weeks of training and then taper time. It's still my first real race in what feels like forever so I need to make sure my head is on right as well as my legs being trained up. I think the positive thing is I have no real idea how I'll do so I'm focused less on the other competition and more on myself. If I can string together another good 3 weeks of training I'll be pretty stoked! 








Sunday, April 3, 2016

I Will Get It


Well last week's snow definitely put a damper on running this week! Of course it was only made worse by the mid-week snow! It was such a tease to see a few weeks if warm weather only to be slapped in the face with multiple feet of snow! 

Thursday I said screw it and threw on my microspikes to charge up Green Mountain. I actually found myself wishing it was colder so I was running on snow covered mud. I needed to get out to a trail that day, but man it was brutal conditions. I still hit some decent mileage for the week but it seemed like nearly every run was cut short so I'm still disappointed with myself and getting frustrated that my training will never get there. I'm usually pretty ok with my treadmill miles, but at this point I want to set the thing on fire! 

I even thought about getting away from 100s for a bit until I could get my training back where I need it to be. And Dan reminded me if I can't get my head in the right place I'll never make it out if Winfield. That it's not much more training than you need for a 50, but you need to be mentally all there. 
I mean really, what don't baby cow boots go with?

Maybe that's also what James has been trying to tell me all week as well. Of course he's not helping with his toddler-paced way of life. This week everything has literally been mama I will get it. Seriously how can I say no to a five word sentence and the little dude's fierce desire for independence? I put on his shirt only te receive a no mama I will get it. So shirt off, roll it up put it in his hands and watch him pull it over his head and then fish for the arm holes. Then pants and socks and shoes and coat. I appreciate the message and his desire to do it himself, but goodness things take forever these days! But at the end of it, that crazy toothed grin is plastered on his face as he admires his work with a I did it! Once again James I'm going to listen to your toddler wisdom and hopefully come August there will be to huge smiles saying I did it!
boys and their trucks

I would choose a piezometer to have James run to!

family fun run!


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Baby Cows and Pockets

Keepin' it real
Lately my life seems to revolve mostly around baby cows. I mean who doesn't love a cute baby cow, but I'm pretty sure James thinks he's getting a baby cow for his birthday. He's apparently well on his way to learning about disappointment and my failure as a mom. We are not getting James a baby cow for his birthday. The obsession started because I refuse to let him watch cartoons or kids shows in the mornings or before nap. So when I need to calm him down and drink his milk I let him watch cooking or home improvement shows. My theory was he would never like them and wouldn't get hooked on TV. Backfire. For awhile we were obsessed with Pioneer Woman, but we got over that and were had switched to Fixer Upper, mostly because I have a secret obsession with that show and really want Joanna to come decorate my house. Well one week this new episode was on...as soon as James saw the kids feeding the baby cows he was obsessed! Now nearly every waking moment is spent talking about baby cows. We only want to wear our night diapers because they have sheep on them and he thinks they look like baby cows.Needless to say I've been on a hunt for toddler underwear with baby cows in the hopes that they'll make him want to wear them. 

Snow days call for a trip to Big R to buy baby cow boots 
In between watching the feeding of baby cows I have been trying to get in some training. This is the most structured training I've done since college and I'm just hoping it'll pay off. I've added 4 am hikes on the treadmill at 15% incline a couple days a week, home pilates routines, more hip exercises and have been trying to keep my mileage above 50 mpw, really I'd like to be more like 60-75, but that just hasn't been happening. And the consistency looks more like a toddlers emotions. I can't say it's all been pretty, but I've been mostly able to stick with it. Rob was sick again last week so my mileage was back in the hole. I was hoping the longer days would help with training, but the sunshine was quickly replaced with multiple feet of snow.

Overall I feel like having two kids is absolutely insane and I was way less prepared than I was going from zero to one. But I'm slowly adjusting and when Rob's not sick and actually sleeps I can get a fairly good routine going. He's also finally started to roll...I swear this kid is so lazy. He's just starting to think maybe being mobile wouldn't be so bad. One of these days he'll get there, but I'm not pushing it. James meanwhile is on fire. His sentences have become sentences like "Mama, get it" "Get ball Daddy" "I want Roar please" sound just like any other toddler eh? And he recently discovered pockets which by the way are frickin' amazing! Who knew? You can stick your hands in them, you can fill mom's pockets with loads of goodness, the options are really endless. 
because why not?


Trust me dude we all feel the same way at this point

It seemed more like Christmas than Easter anyways

More snow day small town fun

Mama said no candy...

Cheese

Bro hug


James ate his first bite of cake...but don't expect him to actually touch it...



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Spring Fever

It finally felt like we've broken through that winter barrier and dirt has returned to the front range. I know there is plenty more snow in our future this year, but at least now its the kind that will actually go away after a day or two. It felt really good to get in a solid week of trail running as well. Conditions aren't perfect, but seriously who am I to complain about a few patches of mud and ice!

I've continued with my early morning 15% grade treadmill hikes, my mileage is consistently higher this time of year than it ever has been before, and I finally got a legitimate long trail run, Falcon Fridays are back! This week I was able to get over 10,000 ft of vert which is the first time that's happened in quite awhile. Overall I really feel like my training has been going well. This is the first time I've stuck to a structured training plan so we'll see how it goes. I feel like I'm running better than I have been, but Quad Rock will really be the first test to see if it pays off or not. 


Its no secret that its been a struggle to balance work, life, kids, running, all of it, but I feel like I've been making progress and getting things somewhat settled. Of course now I feel like with the coming of spring also comes the spring cleaning, mostly the yard, and I'm sure I'll be falling behind again here soon. But for the moment I feel almost caught up which is where I want to be heading into the main training season. 


On the home front I've finally gotten James into private OT. After 5 months on one waiting list I finally found another good program that takes insurance and has openings! Score one for the good guys! I'm excited and I really think this will help a ton! At least I'm hopeful. Especially because James' behavior has become more challenging. I knew this was coming and I know its common with Ds, but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with. I started working with his teachers quite a bit and we've implemented some new strategies to try to make him more successful at school. He is talking a ton, using lots of 2-3 word sentences, making requests, telling you what he wants and doesn't want so its definitely an exciting time for him. Oh and he learned to jump...lord help us on that one! We pretty much have to jump every where we go now. Its cute, but makes forward progress excruciatingly slow!

Robert is growing into his own as well. Dude finally learned to roll, it wasn't something I was worried about because he was doing more advanced skills like sitting, but just funny how lazy he was! Once he realized the joy of rolling you could see the wheels spin like "oh I don't have to just lay here all the time" and he's definitely trying to move himself into new positions and is thinking about maybe crawling at some point in the maybe not near but not-to-far future. 

This week was also another low-sensory morning at the Children's Museum, which is quickly growing to one of our favorite things. This time James remembered where we were an opened up a bit quicker and Rob was able to participate in more things so it was fun watching both of them explore the exhibits in their own ways. Of course as we were getting ready to leave the museum had just opened up to the general public and I realized just how important these low sensory mornings are. I took James up to the art studio to pick up our art that had dried and coming back down he freaked out about being on the stairs with other kids. He didn't throw a tantrum or cry, just sat at the top of the stairs shaking his head furiously until no one was on them anymore...then we walked down like nothing had happened. He never would have been able to launch rockets because even on low sensory day getting to the back by the rocket launcher is a struggle with the noise. But once we got back there and were all by ourselves launching rocket after rocket he was in heaven. Had it have been crowded he would never have explored the Big Backyard or Box Canyon, he would have sat in the corner covering his ears and crying. So I am so grateful they do these days so James and others like him can explore and enjoy this amazing museum like any other kid. 

And of course in our true family fashion we left the museum, did a quick shoe change and went for a stroller run before we got home!  A successful day for all of us!