Monday, April 9, 2012

"Run Free"

The past few weeks of running has been a mixed bag of tricks! Dan and I finally got back out to segment 2 of the Colorado Trail. After the winter apart if felt wonderful to lace up the 101s and roll across the hills of this segment. Its one of our favorite local trails and we both felt great being back out there. There are few things better than feeling the dirt under you feet, breathing the fresh air, and being surrounded by this beautiful landscape. Driving home that afternoon we noticed signs for a prescribed burn the following week. We commented that it didn't seem like the best time for a prescribed burn with how dry it had been and no sign of precipiation  anytime soon. We were hungry though and continued home without thinking anymore about it.
Segment 2 Colorado Trail

The following weekend I was visiting family in Wisconsin and got to run the Ice Age Trail. The Slinger Trailhead is about a mile and a half from my parents house, which makes it an incredibly convenient trail to run. Saturday morning I took off for the trail surrounded by a heavy fog. I love these runs that are so different from anything we get in Colorado. Within minutes my skin was covered in that stickiness that comes with the humid Wisconsin weather, but since it was relatively cool it felt great. The trail is super soft and winds through forest and corn fields. My right leg was not feeling great which was a huge disappointment because I wanted to be able to just keep going all day. But it took several miles to shake out the shooting pain running down the outside of my right leg. Thankfully that pain hasn't returned. All in all it was a wonderful run on a trail I wish had been there while I was growing up, but better late than never.

As I was finishing packing my suitcase to head back to Colorado late Monday night Dan rang. It had been crazy windy that day, welcome to springtime in Conifer, and the prescribed burn we had seen signs for had gotten out of control. It jumped the containment lines and before anyone could respond the fire had grown to over 100 acres. By the time Dan called me evacuations were underway. I quickly began thinking of the things we needed to pack in case we were evacuated. When it came down to it, there really wasn't much I could think of that we needed to bring. We ended up being just across from the evacuation area, but it made for a tense week. I drove around all week with a tote filled with important documents, computers, pictures and a few irreplaceable items, my wedding dress and my dog. Tuesday night the smoke got so thick you couldn't see the bottom of the driveway from our living room windows. Obviously our running was cut way back. By that weekend evacuations had been lifted, 27 homes burned and 3 people had died. It certainly made having a week of low mileage not seem so important.

We quickly resumed our mileage the following week. At this point I'm definitely noticing the extra 20 lbs on my frame. My times have slowed, although not as much as I would have expected. I long for the days where I can cruise downhill again. The downhills are the most uncomfortable part of running these days, which has been quite frustrating. I'm used to just letting go on the downhills and running free. I know in relatively short time I'll have that feeling again though. I've also had a few Braxton Hicks contractions while running. One on a relatively easy 6 miler. After about 5.5 miles I found myself doubled over, eyes welling up and wondering why I was struggling to breathe. After a couple minutes of walking I was able to finish out with some easy running. Its definitely been mentally exhausting trying to accept the fact that running at over 8 months pregnant I just can't run the way I would like too. Of course I know this is only temporary and pretty quickly I will be back to flying on the downhills, pushing the uphills and overall feeling great when I run.

This past weekend I convinced Dan that despite the recent setbacks of running pregnant I could keep up with him for one more long run. Saturday we ran an easy run at Reynolds Ranch to see if we could see the burn area. We couldn't see the main burn area, but as we creseted the top and curved left I smelled the smoke. Just off to the left of the trail was a tree still slightly smoldering. It was amazing to see how far embers had jumped to hit this area. Then Sunday we set out on a long run in the Buffalo Creek Wildness. I absolutely love this area. Its the trails I've trained on for years now and where my first ultra took place. I definitely felt the added weight on my knees and ankles, and certainly did not get enough calories on the trail, but all in all our time wasn't too far off my average time for this area.  All in all its been a good couple weeks getting back on the fresh dirt, covered in mud and climbing up some hills! 

Dan on Segment 2 Colorado Trail

At week 30 on Segment 2 Colorado Trail
Hearing about the passing of Micah True also puts things in perspective. It makes you appreciate all the little things you do have. In my case I can still get out there and log some miles. Running may not be as easy as it was even a few months ago, but its more than quite a few people out there can say. Living the legend of Caballo Blanco Run Free and Live Simple...

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