Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Beast

The only way to describe this week is it was a beast. I'm tired thinking about it! It actually might have been the best mental training possible. Running 100 miles has nothing on what it took just to stay alive this week. Monday through Wednesday seemed like a dream. Just easy days with Robert. And then came Thursday...daycare closed. James' daycare moved to a new facility so they had to shutdown from Thurs until Tuesday. That meant 5 days of me with both boys. It was honestly the hardest thing I've ever done...and that's not just because I was left pushing a 70+lb B.O.B. to get my runs in. 
Night hike

The double B.O.B. is a Beast in it's own right. That's the only way to explain it. As I heaved that damn thing up Mt Carbon I just kept reminding myself how easy it would make running up the ski hill in a couple weeks seem. But we did have fun. We played at the lake on our run, we rode our bikes, painted, baked cookies...okay yes anything possible to  keep the monster busy. I absolutely love James' energy, but if only I could contain it or channel it and use it at appropriate times. Balancing an infant and a James is a ridiculous task. But watching James love on Robert and want to be able to play with him was worth all the exhaustion, headaches and tears. 

Friday my legs were screaming from the 16 miles I'd run over the past couple days with the Beast so when Dan called to say he was coming home early to go camping for the weekend I was thrilled to have an excuse for some short runs. But let me tell you camping for the first time with an infant and a James is no easy task. 

All worth the hell of both boys at home

Training-wise it was a bit of a disappointing week since I wasn't able to get in a long run. While Pike's was a long run in terms of time on feet I'm definitely a bit worried about two weeks in a row without a real long run. I still have a couple more weeks and my overall mileage wasn't too bad so hopefully it will all come together before I have to start tapering. 

Week August 17 - 23

Miles: 54.5
Hours: 9.5
A little driveway art

They got to go nuts in the old classroom before they moved

Insisted on wearing his backpack for our after dinner hike

The Beast

Dinner getting used to the camper

Yes, I built a sandbox at the camp site for James

Leadville weekend!!!!

Camp site

Sunday, August 23, 2015

PIke's Peak Ascent Race Report

Since I didn't get into Leadville Dan and I decided this was our opportunity to run the iconic Pike's Peak races. Dan was going to end his season with the marathon and I'd start mine with the ascent. Dan has been rehabbing his knee since Never Summer and while he most likely could have finished the race...slowly...he decided it was best if he didn't run. He would have finished only to not run for 6 weeks or so while he started his knee rehab over. It just wasn't worth it. So that left me to run the ascent.

I worried all week I wasn't ready for a race like this. Would my legs hold up? Did I have the endurance? The speed? Would my stomach hold up? What I didn't ask was if I was ready to race? I kept telling myself this is a training run? It will help with Run Rabbit. But I never prepared myself to actually race. As it turns out the months off of racing left my racing mindset just as out of shape as my body. 
This is what happens when Dad watches the boys!

The only thing I read about the course was not to waste your energy passing in the Ws and not to redline there. I took this to heart a bit more than I should have. I'm not sure my heart rate ever broke 100, I was never out of breath, my stomach never went south and all I kept thinking was "man I'd really like to be running more". Needless to say my performance was seriously sub-par for my capabilities. I was really disappointed at the end of the race. But really I have no one to blame but myself for not being mentally race ready. It was a good experience though. I know I need to work on my mindset before Run Rabbit or I'll end up with the same results. The good thing was at the end of the race, at over 13k feet my legs felt amazing! I started powering uphill more with no fatigue. Hell I chugged a PBR with a quarter mile left, at that point I figured why not, and then sprinted into the finish. So I know my legs have it. I know I'm strong enough for Run Rabbit the biggest question is endurance. 

Overall though it was a fun and very well organized race. I didn't run well, but I learned a lot that will better prepare me for Run Rabbit and I dusted off the cobwebs. Better to have a lackluster race at Pikes than RRR right? Now it's time to step up the training and get serious...both mentally and physically. 

Week August 10 - 16

Miles: 59.0
Hours: 12.5

Thursday, August 13, 2015

White Shoe Boxes

Last Friday I sat in the back of my Uncle's car next to Robert and listened as the lyrics heaven let your light shine on me played on the radio. We were heading to celebrate her amazing life and the legacy she was leaving behind. I couldn't help but think that I was pretty sure my Gram's light was shining down on me at that moment. I can only hope that I can reflect some of Gram's light onto others. 

Little Grammy as we so affectionately called her outlasted everyone living to 97! That's a full life and a life that will be very missed. She was honestly the sweetest, nicest woman you could possibly ever meet. She not only never said a bad word about anyone, but she always saw the best in them. I'm not nearly that good of a person, but maybe if I try I can be half as nice, that would still be pretty much up there on the sweet scale. 

The one thing she taught me above all others though was love. My Grandpa passed away long before I was even born. But as long as I knew my Gram's she always wore her wedding ring. I don't think I've ever known another widow to wear their wedding ring every day for 46 years. That's true love. I might not have known my Grandpa but he must have been a pretty special man for her to never even think twice about finding love again. And they must have had a special relationship for her to feel that way. I look to her for guidance on days when Dan or I are being particularly 'awesome' and I need that little reminder about true love. She is a strong and amazing woman. 

Though she be little she is fierce 

Every year a couple weeks before Christmas a white shoe box would arrive in the mail. Inside the box was perfectly folded sheets of wax paper protecting these delicate cookies. My favorites were these little butter cookies with raspberry jam. I have tried a million times to make these cookies and I can't even get close. Gram's were perfectly pale, the jelly perfectly cooked and they never spread out, there were literally the perfect cookie. Mine are always slight odd shaped and golden brown around the edges. Maybe in another 60 years I'll have them perfected. I'll never forget that white shoe box that was packed full of Gram's was my favorite part of Christmas.

I'll never make perfect cookies like Grams, my apple pie will never be as flaky, my tomatoes never as plump and my grass never as green, but I will try every day to show my family as much love as she showed me.

Week August 3 - 9

Miles: 52.5
Hours: 9.5

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Kazoo Bands and Badasses

After last weeks dismal miles I was in a panic to get my training back on track. I feel like the days are ticking by toward Run Rabbit and a long run hasn't happened since Cheyenne. So this week I made it my priority to run and get in my miles at any cost. I hit the treadmill with a vengeance at the beginning of the week. Tempo runs, incline workouts, speed workouts, all followed by hiking with the boys afterwards. I figure pushing a double B.O.B. up the mini mountain in our neighborhood has got to count for something. My legs certainly would tell you it counts!
Top of Mt Pritchard lap 10!

Thursday was my best bet for a long run. So I loaded Robert into the B.O.B. and trudged up our mini mountain...10 laps for 20 miles and 3500 ft of vertical, one feeding break and one mention of a crazy neighbor. Seriously one older man came chasing me down on his moped to ask what I was doing. Yes, I'm your crazy neighbor who is training for a 100 mile race by running this 2 mile loop. Someday I'm sure I'll be that old neighbor watching the young kids from the porch and thinking they must all be crazy.

The crazy neighbor was quickly forgotten though when Sunday I was pushing James up Mt Carbon and a guy came up from behind calling out "wow, you're a badass running like that". I think badass is a much better way to close the week than crazy neighbor so I'm sticking with it. 

James raced his Ironkids event on Saturday, although I was a bit disappointed that they changed the format from last year so it was just a fun run. No bike. We've been working so hard on the Strider bike to get him ready. Oh well, we'll find another race for him to rock his bike at. 

In other news James learned to play the kazoo at Adam's Camp...he hasn't stopped playing it either. And Robert's starting to let out a couple smiles, but mostly just grunts his disapproval at us. I'm pretty sure he's siding with my neighbor that I'm more crazy than badass.

Week July 27 - August 2

Miles: 64.5
Hours: 10

Post race celebration!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Adam's Camp 2015 Race Report

This past week we were back to Adam's Camp. I was selfishly a bit worried about my running and how in the hell I was going to handle two kids all myself. The week before I had just begun to feel like I was getting my running legs back and my mileage up when Adam's Camp week hit, which was going to mean a 0 was entirely possible. But it's Adam's Camp and is so good for James so I had to just be willing to go with it. 

As always James was a total rockstar at camp! I was blown away by how his communication exploded even more than it already has been lately. Literally almost anything I said all week he tried to repeat. When he wanted to get picked up, which is most of the time since Robert has come along, after his initial attempt of grunting didn't work he would have verbalize half sign "I want up please". For those counting that is a four word sentence! That is amazing! He also finally started understanding that in order to jump he has to bend his knees and blast off. Thank you for the rocket ship concept! How did I not think of that!

Basically every day at Adam's Camp James had 30 minutes of music therapy, speech, OT and PT. By noon the poor kid was seriously exhausted. We would make the hour drive home, desperately hoping he didn't sleep too long in the car. Then the next several hours were a fight between James, Robert and I to keep Robert quiet long enough to get James down for a nap. I managed to get James down for a nap a couple times, but not nearly enough. 

Camp was another great week and a great way to add in some extra therapy this summer since we're on a kind of therapy break. James seriously did great and came along so far in just 5 short days. We're so lucky to have this resource and can't wait to go back!

Then Friday came was the end of camp week and Dan was heading up north for the Never Summer 100k (race report coming soon). So after a week of basically having the boys on my own I would be really on my own for the weekend. I frantically searched for things to do. Staying home was not an option. I needed something to do that included the stroller since it would contain both boys. Perfect a 5k in Conifer! So we went and raced the local 5k. Robert isn't really strong enough to run with yet, so we were resigned to a fast hike. But I still hiked strong and it was great to get out of the house. 

Well I managed...I got through the week and weekend...we're all alive, I managed a few runs and we all got fed...not anything amazingly nutritious but calories none-the-less! Next week time to really start ramping things up!

Week July 13 - 19

Miles: 56.5
Hours: 10.5 

Week July 20 - 26

Miles: 38.2
Hours: 7

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

And Then There Were Four...

My excuses for not posting much lately include that I've been busy managing this...

and taking care of this...

I will be better about posting...well I'll try...

Robert Patrick joined our family a couple weeks ago and well it has been a whirlwind. Unlike James Robert sprinted into this world in a short 2 hour labor.Thankfully Auntie Kelle raced in just as fast so she could be there to deliver Robert. 

We've been adjusting quiet well to our new new life. James is completely in love with Robert and with being the big brother...maybe too much. There have been a lot of hugs and sloppy kisses being given, boops to eyes and noses, fist bumps...occassionally to the chin, maybe a gracious finger to be sucked on...not sure I even want to know where that finger was prior to its re-purposing as a pacifier. 

So Robert will be a tough kid with an even tougher immune system. It could be worse...James could be the jealous type. But so far he wants to cuddle when I'm feeding Robert, help carry him to the car, cover him in blankets and give him cups of "water" to drink. All in all its been a smooth transition to a family of four and one that has overfilled my heart. I'm so proud of how James has handled the transition and am so excited each day to see the interactions between James and Robert and all the love James has for Robert. 

My doctor told me to listen to my body in terms of getting back to running. The nurse said no walking for 2 weeks. Well lady first of all you see this toddler who has just pulled all the nitrile gloves out of the boxes and onto the floor, is playing peek-a-boo in the curtains, pushing all the buttons on the bed and is pulling the trash cans out of the cupboard? no walking? you must mean because there is no walking in my house...just running and chasing. Well okay I won't walk...I'll just run! So after 4 days off my body was screaming to get out for a run. That's just what I did. A nice easy 4 miler. 

I took it easy the first week and have been building back my mileage by adding 10 miles a week. I'm basically bound to the treadmill and hiking Robert up and down the hill in our neighborhood. I've been feeling good...a nine month taper will do that for your legs though. My endurance is definitely lacking and my climbing has a long ways to go before Run Rabbit, but overall I think I'm in way better shape than I was after James was born. 

Week June 15 - 21

Miles: 13.5
Hours: 3

Week June 22 - 28

Miles: 7.5
Hours: 2

Week June 29 - July 5

Miles: 20.0
Hours: 4

Week July 6 - 12

Miles: 30.5
Hours: 6

Friday, June 19, 2015

Dan's Quad Rock 50 Race Report

Cheering for Dad
I love Quad Rock, so as we were planning our race schedules this year this was a tough one to let go. But I knew it would probably be a struggle for me to get through even the 25 in May, much less at the re-scheduled June date. And as much as I hate running in the heat it was still a bit sad to watch everyone else run these beloved trails. So needless to say this year was Dan's turn to run Quad Rock...and what a year for that.

We knew it would be hot, everyone knew it would be hot, its Fort Collins in June...that just means hot. But I'm not sure how many people were really prepared for the heat. It has been a crazy spring and went from snow to 90 seemingly overnight. But we knew what to expect. We got up to Fort Collins Saturday afternoon, took James on a short hike around Horsetooth and packed Dan's gear. The early 3:00 am wake up call came Sunday morning and Dan was ready to go. Sandra picked him up, I waved goodbye and hoped I could catch a few more minutes of sleep. Being left to watch James all day by yourself is no easy task, pretty much a toss up between running Quad Rock and being on toddler duty...Quad Rock easily winning the quiet, peaceful side of that argument. 
3:45 am gearing up

James must have known what the day was bringing because he was up and at 'em early and ready to go. We headed to the Horsetooth AS at mile 10 to go meet Sandra and Dan. Sandra arrived about 1-2 min ahead of Dan and both were looking good. Granted it was only mile 10 and 60F...everyone was still pretty much looking good. James was in heaven cheering for every runner that came through. And by the time Dan left and we were packing up he was in full blown toddler tantrum mode that we were not staying. After Horsetooth we headed to Arthurs at mile 17.5. James was ready with his cowbell making sure no runner was missed as he ran up and down the trail cheering. Dan came through still on a great pace; we loaded him up and promised to see him at the turnaround. By now James was getting the hang of it so no tantrum leaving.

As we waited at the start/finish, mile 25, James shoveled sand into the fire pit, through a fit when he wasn't allowed to play with the charcoal, and the temperatures rose. Dan came through at 5:25, basically right on his target, but with the heat there it was going to be tough to keep up that pace. We covered Dan in ice, down his back, in his pack, his hat, literally wherever you could get ice we tried to put it. We refilled calories and fluids, James gave lots of hugs and kisses and cheers and then Dan was back at it, heading up into the mountains. 
25 mile turn-around

While Sandra and Dan headed out into the heat of the day James and I headed back to the cabin for a nap...well according to my plans we were going to nap...according to James a 20 min nap on the ride was sufficient. This was about the time the day was turning for all of us I guess. After a failed attempt at getting James back to sleep we were back waiting at Horsetooth. By now it was really hot and runners were much fewer and farther in between. In case Dan stayed on pace we got there early, but as expected he had fallen off so we were waiting awhile. 

Of course this ended up being the highlight of my day as we met a young girl, Margo, waiting for her mom. She was immediately taken with James, I mean  how could you not be. But she was in love and James loved playing with her as well. At one point James was on her lap and just looked at her and asked where Dad? I was ecstatic that he had verbally asked, he signed Dad as well, but it was a verbal question. It took her a couple seconds and then she said he's coming, he's coming from up there and pointed up the trail. James smiled and kept looking for him. Margo looked at me and said you know he's kinda hard to understand, but if you just listen you can totally get what he's saying. I knew she had no idea how the impact her innocent words had on me, but it was all I could do not to cry and hug her. If only all kids and really adults for that matter, could take the time to listen and get James and what all he has to say. I was never sure if Margo knew James was delayed at all or how to explain Down syndrome to her so I just let it go for the day. Just let them have fun and be innocent kids without any of the extra labels. 
Arthur's TH the finish line is in sight

When Dan finally made his way down the trail James was ecstatic showering him in hugs and cheers! Margo was amazing as she immediately became the babysitter in charge, making sure James didn't run into the parking lot or throw rocks at any of the dogs while I geared Dan up for the last 10 miles. I can't tell you how much easier she made things by spending a bit of time with James so we could get Dan in and out. Dan was definitely looking a bit more ragged as the heat had taken its toll, but he had 10 miles, there was no way I was letting him quit now. While we waited it had been a steady stream of reports on people who had dropped and what I was hearing was the drop rate was somewhere around 40-50%. The AS was littered with runners dropping or debating dropping so I just wanted to get Dan back on that trail. 
Guess I need to find some toddler
Pear Izumis!

Then it was back to Arthur's, at mile 48, where James pet his first real horse. He was definitely taken aback at how big it was, but not too scared. We listened to more numbers being called out over the radio of drops and the rate was now definitely about 50%. I got a message from Sandra's sister that she had  just finished in 3rd which was totally amazing! She had pushed hard all day and deserved a podium finish for her effort! Dan came through and we pushed him off toward the finish line you could see in the distance. He seemed less than pleased that this wasn't already the finish line, but it was at least in sight. 

The finish line was crazy...there were so few people left. Normally at this point its full of weary runners drinking and the music kicking into gear. But there were so few runners finishing even James wasn't too excited by the finish...there was no one to cheer for. Dan came through a few minutes later, about an hour behind where he had wanted to finish, but that was what seemed par for the day. Nearly everyone that had finished previously was an hour behind their times which tells me Dan was right on where he wanted to be. And regardless finishing a race in those conditions with a drop rate that high is a huge accomplishment. And really the heat wasn't anything a little hamburger, beer and a nice shower couldn't fix. All in all it was another great Quad Rock, easily one of the best run races I've every ran or crewed. I can't wait to be back next year. It also got me really excited to be able to get back to training soon. Some 14 weeks until RRR100...time to step it up and get excited about racing again.

Week June 14 - 20

Miles Running: 28.5
Hours Hiking and Running: 6
25 mile turn-around

Heading back out for the 2nd lap