Sunday, November 25, 2012

A day of Thanksgiving from the top of a mountain

I couldn't think of a better way to spend my Thanksgiving morning than on top of a mountain thinking about all I have to be thankful for from the past year. Okay, it could have maybe been better if my boys were with year. Certainly at the top of my list this year is James. Shortly after James was born I mentioned that he had taught me patience and love. In the ensuing months he has brought more laughter and smiles into my life than I could have ever thought possible. He has this way of lighting up a room and melting hearts. While James, with his Ds diagnosis, may not have been what I was expecting I couldn't be more thankful for what I have been given. In the few months we've shared with James he has altered my view of the world. I have never been a super career-driven person, but I can't deny my type A personality. James has shown me that there are so many more important things out there and we need to stop and enjoy each one of them. What do we really have it we don't stop to enjoy life? I am also thankful for the wonderful Ds community we have been introduced to. We have met some amazing people who have given us incredible support. I hope to be able to return this support and continue to be an advocate for Down syndrome research. I also couldn't imagine having gone through the last month of my pregnancy and delivery without Dan's cousin, Kelle. She gave us so much support and comfort; we knew she wouldn't let anything happen to our lil grommie. Having Kelle there when the pediatrician came in with the Ds diagnosis was something I will forever be thankful for, probably more so than she'll ever know. That's what family's for right? We are so lucky to have such an incredible team of doctors and therapists, especially at Children's. I couldn't imagine not having access to this kind of care. The doctors are truly concerned about James and not just whatever specialty they are, but James and our family. Its an incredible place and I am so thankful for this resource.

While this year has been the year of James I am also thankful for the time I got to spend with Robert. While I wish we could have had many more runs together I will forever be grateful for the laughs, the tears and all the moments we shared. I will be thankful for the lessons he taught me about life. I will cherish every moment, I will keep my head up to watch the sunrises and sunsets, to soak in the beauty of the mountains. I will force a smile even when it hurts and I will always try to offer up words of encouragement to others around me. These are the things I remember the most about Robert and will carry with me forever. I am thankful to Rob's family for sharing such an incredible person with me. But in all honesty, yeah I'd be a hell of a lot more thankful if Robert were still here and we were busy planning our next training run and race.

While I wish there didn't have to be guardian angels I'm so glad James has some very special guardian angels watching out for him. I know Maggie and Robert are among those sharing their huge hearts with James and helping him heal his heart. There are no words to express how thankful I am to know James will always be in good hands.

This week as I ran each step I reminded myself that I am so thankful I have the ability to be out here. I thought about all those who can't do this, who can't run to the top of a mountain and I ran harder for them. And talk about incredible runs! Tuesday I got in my first two a day in awhile. At lunch I introduced Matt to trail running. I love getting people stoked on something I love so much!

Thursday I had an amazing adventure run. Nick, who I met at Buffalo Creek last week, inviting me to check out some new trails near his house. Now these trails aren't technically open to the public yet, but it was a holiday and it called for a special run. We tried out several trails, crossed a stream, ducked the ropes and ended up climbing some mountain. What amazing views we were treated to! I'm so excited for these trails to open up so we can officially run them! And great to have a new running friend too!

Saturday I was beginning to feel a cold coming on so opted for a shorter run. I still felt like I had something in me though. So determined to break 40 minutes I headed out to Meyers. As I was leaving Dan reminded me to "run within yourself". I told him I felt a PR within myself! I took off running and pushed it, the whole way up I kept reminding myself "run within yourself, run within yourself" but also to continue to push myself. With less than a half mile left I glanced at my watch and knew it was going to be close, actually I really wasn't sure I could make it under 40 but knew I had to push it and not give up. I pushed it all the way back to the parking lot and when I hit stop on my Garmin it read 39:52! I've been working for at least a year to see that! It was great to see all the hard work pay off and know that I am capable of attaining goals that seem slightly lofty.

I am so thankful for all the wonderful people I have met this year, you are all truly special and will be in my heart forever. 

Week November 19-25

Miles Running: 36.3
Hours Hiking and Running: 8.5

I'm trying out a new training blog site that details each run. It more of a way to track my mileage and details about each run. Check it out:

Well sweet potatoes didn't go any better than oatmeal...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Although the odds be great or small...

Our little jailbird!
 It felt great to get my mileage back up this week. Also a bit strange that I no longer feel quite normal if I don't get in at least 30 miles in a week. I'm not sure what that means for my mental status, clearly something is not quite right up there. Although there could be much worse things than a running addiction.  Dan also got back at it this week, after a short hiatus due to a cold and busy work schedule. With the shorter days he's pretty restricted to running through downtown or the Cherry Creek bike path, but really anything is better than a treadmill!

Monday I worked from home with James and that afternoon he fell asleep so I was hoping to hop on the treadmill for a quick run. I laid him down, yes on his back and vertical, in his crib and went to change into my running clothes. By the time I got back I realized James had learned a new trick! Of course being James he has only mastered rolling from his back to his stomach and then proceeds to get mad when he gets stuck on his stomach. Its amazing to watch him progress and get stronger. I swear he seems to get stronger each day...interesting that I hope to be getting stronger each day as well. I guess us 5%ers have quite a bit in common!

Sunday I went out for my first long run since GT50.  So I of course made my way to the tried and true trails of Buffalo Creek. Since this is a prime spot for mountain biking its not terribly common to see other runners. But as I parked my car I saw another runner, Nick, getting out of his car. I ended up starting just ahead of him, but he caught up to me quickly. We ran together for a bit and then I fell back on the climbs, I was just not feeling the climbs for some reason. Or maybe that reason was due to the previous night's celebration of an Irish victory and subsequent loses from K State and Oregon. I did catch up to him on the flats on downs and was really only 10-20 seconds behind him for most of the climb. My goal was to keep him in sight the whole time. It was nice to have someone to run with especially since I was feeling tired and struggling a bit on the climb. He's training for Hardrock and had DNFed at Leadville so definitely someone fun to chat with.  At 4.5 he turned off to finish the Buck Gulch loop and I headed right toward Gashouse. Shortly after leaving Nick my stomach started to fall apart again, blah I hate these stomach issues. I decided to cut the run a bit short and just did and out and back on Gashouse for almost 16 miles. Still a good run for the first one in roughly 5 weeks. I was also surprised to see that for not feeling all the great I was still on my pace for 3 hrs for the whole 18 mile loop.

Week November 12 - 18

Miles Running: 31.5
Hours Running and Hiking: 7

Monday, November 12, 2012

Good Morning

With a crazy schedule of doctors appointments and business meetings I decided to get back to morning runs. The time change also helped out with this. When I drop James off at daycare its already quite sunny. I was surprised how many more runners were out in the morning than I typically see in the afternoon and everyone was full of smiles and "good mornings". It certainly put a pep in my step throughout the day and I think I'll be returning the morning runs to the schedule more often.

Friday morning I was greeted with the gorgeous alpenglow that only a sunrise can bring. As I drove into work it made me wish I was cresting a mountain top somewhere to take in this site. You can't help but smile as you lay witness to such a sunrise. Knowing the day hold the promise of a great run...just get through the morning, get your work done and get your feet on the dirt!

After a week of beautiful sunrises I was slapped in the face by Ol' Man Winter on Saturday. I partly deserved it though. Instead of running right away in the morning before the storm really moved in I decided I wanted to wait until it started snowing. By late morning a light snow had started so I bundled up and headed out. As I crested Conifer Mountain I was surrounded by low lying thick clouds. I couldn't help but think how peaceful it was running in the light snow, not a sound to be heard. And then hmmm...that sounds quite similar to thunder. No it can't be, must be someone doing some crazy thing to their house or yard. Not sure why you would be working like that in this weather, but it must be something other than thunder right? There it was again, distinctly thunder this time. And by this time the light, peaceful snow had turned into little ice balls, much more hail-like than snow-like. Ice balls pinging off your face is most certainly not the most pleasant feeling. I hadn't worn a neck gaitor because the snow was pretty light and it wasn't that cold. As the thunder got worse I began to wonder if Dan would come out looking for me. Turns out he did, he just couldn't find me. I finally made it back to the house no worse for the wear, but maybe next time I'll double think waiting for the snow to start.

Sunday morning wasn't much better. I threw on a few layers and headed out thinking it can't be that cold. As I opened the door I was greeted with a pretty cold draft. I was only wearing capri lengh tights, so I just pulled them down a bit and told myself to stop complaining it wasn't that cold. The wind turned out to be pretty brutal and I cut my run a bit short. When I got home I checked the weather to see just how cold it was...turns out it was a solid 5F with the windchill. Pretty chilly for early winter! Looks like winter is here to stay for awhile at least so time to pull out the rest of the winter gear and get used to these chilly temps!

Week November 5 - 11

Miles Running: 26.1
Hours Running and Hiking: 5.5

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


James cheering on the Irish

It was a week full of firsts for us. James' first Halloween, first attempt in the exersaucer, first attempt of solid food. I also managed a PR at Meyer Ranch. All in all not a bad week. James made a perfect moose and while his legs still don't quite hit the ground in the exersaucer and he can't totally hold himself up, he seemed to have a blast with it. The solid food, oatmeal, was maybe not the highlight of the week. While James seemed unsure of it at first on the second go he decided it was better to just throw up on me than to even attempt to swallow it.  

In between Halloween parties and birthday parties I managed to squeeze in a few miles. Including a PR at Meyer Ranch. I don't get a chance to run there too often any more so it was great returning to the old stomping grounds. I didn't feel great on that run, not terrible either, but when I looked at my watch and realized I had PRed and almost broke 40 min I was pretty excited. I guess I'm going to have to make a point of getting back there soon so I can cut off the last 30 seconds and officially
break 40. 

Sunday night I took Seamus out for a sunset hike. It was a gorgeous night for a walk with the dog. Perfect temps and beautiful sunset...great end to the week. All in all work was really busy this week and the motivation to get out on good training runs still wasn't really there. Next week is the registration for the Leadville Marathon...who's in? Time to buckle down and get running!

Week October 29 - November 4

Miles Running: 17
Hours Running and Hiking: 5

Sunset hike with Seamus

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Five percent

Along the Narrow Gauge Trail
Five percent...I prefer to think of five percent as the top. If you finish a race in the top 5% it means you were in the at the top, one of the fastest in the race. I think this is how James views 5% as well. Maybe its also because we're both on the shorter side of things. When James was born he was below the 5% for weight and length, he still is, but I like to think it means he's in the top 5% of us shorties. His cardiologist also said there was about a 5% chance his heart would close on its own. Well as of a few weeks ago the report from the cardiologist, with high 5s included, was his heart was doing just that. So I guess James is just a 5% kinda guy...I wonder what other things he'll be in the top 5% of...
The boys playing on our rock

This week I had been hoping to up the miles a bit, but with Dan on a luxury spa vacation (aka. business trip to Salt Lake) it definitely made getting the miles in a bit tough. Its still my down month though so I have more of a run when I can, run when I want to attitude. So I mostly ran without a watch and got in the miles I could. I also got back to do some of my strength training exercises, which is great for my knees, and got in some good hikes.

Sunday Dan and I decided that since James is now off oxygen during the day we would take him on one of our favorite hikes. We loaded up the boys and headed to Buffalo Creek to hike the Strawberry Jack trail. It was a gorgeous day with a bit of that crisp fall air that seems to warm your heart. This was a hike Dan and I used to take Seamus on every Friday. We referred to them as our beer hikes and it was a great way to kick off the weekend. We would sit on our rock, let Seamus run around and enjoy a delicious beer. Sunday we traded in our beers for hot chocolate, and watched Seamus run around while James played with his favorite ball. As we sat there and watched our little family we thought about what the future held, about all the hikes we would continue to go on and the adventures we would pursue. And we thought about the previous few months and all we had been through as a little family. And mostly we just smiled and laughed.

"In this great future we can't forget the past, so dry your tears I say" -Bob Marley

Week October 22-28
Miles Running: 17.5
Hours Hiking and Running: 5.5

Hanging out on our rock

Bear Hug!