Monday, January 28, 2013

Don't Call it a Comeback

Our lil frog prince!
Ah finally I feel like I might have put this horrible flu/norovirous nonsense behind me! I still forced myself to take it easy all week and not push too hard. I took off Monday and Tuesday to let myself heal up a bit as well. So like any good runner what do you do when  you take a few days off? Sign up for another race of course! So I finally registered for Quad Rock and I'm super excited to head back to the Fort for some running. I spent so much time doing geology work around Horsetooth it should make for a fun run.

James rocked his ENT follow-up appointment and we don't have to go back for a year! Wahoooo! First time I've heard that in well, yeah first time! His sitting has also improved dramatically, especially with the correct posture. I definitely feel better that I haven't ruined his sitting ability for life and that hopefully soon he'll be able to sit on his own.

Friday Dan and I ran the hogback at Matt-Win. It wasn't a fast run, certainly not the prettiest either of us has done, but man was it a fun run. It was a gorgeous bluebird day and we just ran a casual pace so we could chat the whole way. We planned upcoming races, training, strategies, just endless random conversations. Its been awhile since we've had a run like that. We both just finished grinning ear to ear.

Saturday and Sunday I felt like the social butterfly of Conifer running! Saturday I was running at Meyers and ran into Larry and Kay. I hadn't seen them in forever so it was nice to chat for a bit and make some plans for running. Running-wise I kinda fell into that zone on the uphill where all of a sudden I realize I'm at the top and hadn't really pushed it much the whole way up. Sunday I headed to Pine Valley to get in a bit longer run. I did my normal Buck Gulch loop and added a bit on Homestead. When I got back to the junction of Homestead, Skipper and Strawberry Jack I ran into Nick. We made some plans next weekend. Looking forward to a good run with some company. Quad Rock is going to be here before I know it so I need to get on some of these longs runs. At least my overall mileage was back up this week. And even better is the fact that I actually felt better and stronger the more miles I got on my legs.

Week January 21-27

Miles Running: 30.5
Hours Running and Hiking: 6.5

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Monsters Under the Bed

Look who showed up in Wisconsin!
We all have our own monsters that hide under the bed or in closets. They aren't always out there for everyone to see, but we all know they're there. They often haunt us when we're lying in bed after a long, exhausting day staring at the ceiling and dwelling on the aftermath of the day. The "am I doing enough" monster has currently taken up residence under my bed, right there next to my slippers. I constantly wonder, sometimes its more of a worry...am I running enough? running fast enough? have I done enough long runs? were my long runs long enough? should I have pushed that hill more? relaxed the downhill? am I spending too much time running? is my running cutting into time I should be doing PT with James? am I hurting James by running? am I doing the right PT? should he have more private therapy? should I quit work so I can do therapy with him all day? should he have a private speech therapist? Its endless. 

I have to remind myself to be realistic. Yes running cuts into time I could spend working with James, but he can't just do PT all day. That's totally unrealistic. I'm also a bit crazy if I don't run. I know I'm a better person, a better mom when I run. But sometimes you still second guess yourself. And I know James will learn how to do everything. He's on the James curve. Just like a typical kid you can't push him too hard. He needs to just be a kid too. But sometimes I still doubt myself. I never want to be what is holding him back.

I also remind myself everything in moderation. I can't run 100s all the time. But one a year...okay as I write that I do feel a bit crazy...did I just say running one 100 mile race a year is moderation? I still have my downtimes from training in the winter. While some weeks it is so hard not to run as many miles, I know I need those weeks mentally, physically and to spend more time with James. That way it makes up for the weekends I run all weekend. Are all of James' toys helping him? Probably not. Sure I know there are PTs who say the bumbo is terrible for our kids. But really 5-10 min a day isn't going to ruin his ability to sit for the rest of his life. I'll get there, just like James will. We'll meet at 6th and Harrison on August 18th. No James won't be walking to the finish line to see me, not this year, but that's okay. One day he will walk up to me as I finish another 100 for RDS and he'll give me one of his famous monkey hugs and that just might be one of the best days ever. I can't stress on how or when we'll get there, but we will.
James making progress with some peas

Week January 14-20

Miles Running: 17.8
Hours Running and Hiking: 3

Monday, January 14, 2013

Goals

So this week Dan's been giving me an earful about my sub-4:30 goal at LTM. Yes I completely understand it is an absolute beast of a goal. Maybe even totally ridiculous! But that's how I make my goals. For every race I like to have 2 goals, one that is crazy absurd (big buckle at the Leadville 100) and one that is still a reach, but a more attainable reach (finish the Leadville 100). I started this tradition at my first marathon. It took me nearly 3 years to achieve that crazy absurd goal, sub-3:40 to qualify for Boston, but I did it. So yeah, maybe I sub-4:30 is an insane goal for this year, but it keeps me pushing. And if I achieve that goal in 3 years...I'll be damn proud of myself. If this year I go sub-5:00 I'll still be pretty damn proud of myself, but I'll also know there is still something there driving me to do better, to run harder, faster, push the uphills more. Its what I like best about running, you race yourself. You can always push just a little harder than you did last time.

Now to even think about making either of these goals a reality its time to run! Blast this crazy flu season is getting to me. Decided not to push it like I have been this season and try to actually get over being sick before I ran. Got in a few miles...then the freezing cold temps that make me question why I ever thought, and still often think, moving to Alaska would be a good idea!

Week January 7-13

Miles Running: 13
Hours Hiking and Running: 3

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ringing in the New Year

What a New Years week! James got his ear tubes on the 31st to help with possible hearing loss. Needless to say the 31st and 1st were pretty much a wash for running. Dan pushed me out the door to get one New Years mile, but that was all I was able to manage on sleep deprived legs in the freezing cold. With New Years came came registration for the famed Leadville 100...are they still not asking "are you sure" when you click register? Apparently not, and I am now officially entered for my second running of Leadville. Back when I originally heard about this silly race I decided I needed to try it once in my life, what happened to that thought? I guess its the same thing thats going to get me to the starting line of the legendary Hardrock 100 one of these years.

After we got through James' subsequent ear infection, yes apparently it is possible to get your first ear infection right after you get tubes, I was able to get in some more miles. Dan and I went and explored North Table on Friday. It's been nice to get back to our Friday "date runs" and especially to check out some new trails. We did the big loop around the mountain to check out all the possible trails. The first climb was pretty good and then it mellows out for most of the rest of the run. Sunday I ran my standard Buck Gulch loop at Pine Valley. Pine is usually warmer and drier than our house so I figured the trail would be clear. Not so! It was warm when I started, but the temperature quickly dropped as I ran. The trail was also completely snowpacked in beautiful Colordao champagne powder. While this is great snow for riding, not so much for running. Screws definitely helped but it was slow going. Each step send you bouncing in another direction. Still loved being out there. Other than the crazy guy shooting off the side of the forest service road near the junction of Buck Gulch and the Skipper trails. I heard and saw him as I approached so was careful not to be in his line of fire. But seriously dude, know the area you're shooting in and be smart about it!

Signing up for Leadville has certainly gotten me into training mode and I'm excited to get back into more of a routine. I'm ready to run more focused runs and as much as I love just going out for a run I need to get in specific runs. Leadville here I come!

Week Dec 31 - Jan 6

Miles Running: 21.1
Hours Running and Hiking: 4.5

Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 Epic Trail Run

2012 was quite the run. I would probably go as far as to say it was an epic trail run. Every trail run has peaks and valleys and 2012 was no different. We had some massive peaks to climb, ones that took every ounce of energy and perserverance we had, but when we got to the top...incredibly rewarding. Sometimes you work so hard to get to the top you begin to wonder why you started the climb in the first place. And then you top out, you take a deep breath and enjoy the benefits of your hard work. Before long, you don't remember how bad it hurt on the climb up and you're just ready to do it all over again, just so you can get those rewards.

After all we've been through many would probably say its one of those years you're glad is over and are looking to 2013 to be better. But I can't say that. I won't say that. 2012 was filled with hills and mountains, countless ups and downs, there were twists and turms, rocks and roots. I stumbled, fell and shed quite a few tears and some drops of blood on the trail. But there were also miles and miles of smiles, beautiful vistas, amazing mountain tops, gorgeous lakes and endless laughter. I made some great new friends and also lost friends. While there were rocky times the ones I'll remember the most are the great ones. I'll remember standing atop Hope Pass more than what it took to get there...both times. I'll remember laughing along the trail with Rob more than losing him. I'll remember holding my boy for the first time more than hearing all the diagnoses. I'll always remember 2012 with a smile and think of what a blessing this year has been.

Dan made a comment that we're ultra runners because we have short-term memories. And seriously there is no way you would ever run a second 100 if you remembered only the low points. Of course I think its more that you never really forget the low points you just find a way to remember them in a better light.

The year started off running pregnant. It was not the best running I've ever done, but it certainly made me feel so much better. Dan and I raced the Run Through Time Half Marathon and while it was not my best race it was wonderful to be out in this gorgeous place with Dan. And he was amazing when I began to fall apart on the trail. Dan and I logged countless miles on the CT. We ran there just before the North Fork fire came through and nearly evacuated us from our house. And yes, for maybe a month Dan was faster than me. I'm sure he'll never let me live this one down! Sure I was running with an extra 18 lbs strapped to my stomach, but still... I managed to make it through a month of bedrest. Anyone who knows me knows this was a feat in and of itself! A week after James was born I headed out for an easy 2 miles. A couple weeks later I ran Buck Gulch at Pine Valley and spent a moment leaning against a tree crying and wondering how in the hell I was going to run 100 miles in a couple months. A week later I did the same run and it was easier, a week later I did 18 on that trail. And I knew Leadville just might be possible. I logged mile after mile on the treadmill while James slept. I woke up early on Saturday on Sunday mornings to head out for long runs, okay I take that back, I tried to wake up early. And then race day was upon me. In the end I was not quite ready, but just to line up at the start of the almighty Leadville 100 Trail Run was huge! After Leadville I had this burning in my heart that got me running some of the best times of my life! It was like I was running on a cloud, everything felt easy and good. I just kept pushing it. So I added another race and ran the Glacial Trail 50 for Rob. Not only did I need to erase a DNF I needed to finish a race for Rob. It wasn't the performance I had hoped for, tough in over 3" of rain, but I still squeezed out a 2nd place finish. The rest of the year was business as usual. Dan and I ran when we could, which wasn't as often as I would have like. But I did meet some new running partners and explored some great new trails.

I've had some great highlights running this year. Despite not finishing Leadville just having the cojones to toe the starting line 3.5 months after giving birth to James is itself an accomplishment. Dan and I also managed to raise nearly $5000 for Research Down Syndrome. And hopefully bring a bit of awareness to RDS. I don't regret anything that happened during the race, but I do regret not getting Robert to the finish line. I'll never forget running Hope Pass with Robert. The view from the top is one of my most treasured memories and I will never forget it.

I look forward to where 2013 takes me, the mountains, the peaks, the valleys, all of it. I've learned that no matter how hard you try to prepare you're never fully ready for what tomorrow brings. So in 2013, despite my type A personality, I'm going to take it as it comes. I'm going to run hard, live hard and love hard.

2013 Goals:
  • Finish Leadville 100
  • UROC top 20
  • Gashouse-Baldy Loop sub-2:40
  • Leadville Marathon sub-4:30, okay this is VERY ambitious, sub-5:00 is a more realistic goal
  • Run as many 14ers as possible
  • Run the Four Pass Loop
  • 2000 miles for the year
  • Continue to be an advocate for James and Down syndrome research
  • To give James all the opportunities I can and never be what holds him back
  • To Run Hard, Live Hard, and Love Hard
"I know I was born and I know I will die, the in between is MINE...I am mine" -Eddie Vedder

"All we really have is our memories. Go make some." -Bernie Boettcher

In the end its not just about the memories, its about the memories you brought to others and how those memories make people feel. Memories often fade, not all, but most. What doesn't fade is how you felt. I still remember some of the moments Maggie and I spent together, "gluing" those red hearts to our faces, but what I really remember is how she made me feel like such a special little girl. I just always remember her willingness to take time to teach me how to play volleyball or take me out to dinner. I remember her making Tom and Ben sit at a separate table to eat one night because it was "Girls Night". I may not remember what she said about playing volleyball, but I remember she made me feel like I could do anything I put my mind to. So don't just make memories, share those memories.