Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Life in Chaos

The next great Colorado ultrarunner!
After a month of being sick and Christmas and all the craziness of the past few months Dan and I have been back to logging great miles, playing with the boys and just enjoying the monotony of daily life. Ah but in our household that seems to only be able to last so long. I think we made it three weeks if I'm counting right! Then one night Dan and I got to chatting about what would be best for our family and if now was the time to make it happen. This wasn't a totally rash decisio, we have been discussing it for awhile, but not in terms of yep lets do it now. I mean who wouldn't want to live within a 1/2 mile of a trail so we could run more? Somewhere that has more activities for James? And so Dan looked at me and asked "Are we totally crazy for putting our house on the market while both trying to train for a 100?" Some might question which part of that he was referring to as crazy. So when in doubt create chaos. That seems to be how we live best. Needless to say nearly half our house has been packed up and is in totes in a shed, everything except the 50 pairs of running shoes that are typically piled next to every door in the house and James' toys that we'd be lost without.

I ended up not getting as many miles in this weekend as I had hoped, but I still had a solid week of running. Old man winter finally hit this week as well bringing snow every couple of days and nearly 2 ft on Sunday. I was really thinking I would run outside on Sunday until Dan asked if I was taking snowshoes and I realized that the snow was even too deep for microspikes. It ended up being a treadmill kinda week which sucks, but treadmill running is better than no running. I also managed to keep my Green Mountain summit streak alive by bagging the peak on Tuesday. Other than that it really was a treadmill kinda week. If I never see another treadmill for a long, long time I will be very happy!
Sitting like a champion!
James made great strides this week as well. We have been working on getting him to sit for so long now and he's been so close. This week he did it! He is still pretty wobbly and doesn't hold it for too long, but if he can sit for long enough for me to take a picture that's enough for me! The best is him just sitting there looking at you like "what are you all looking at of course I can sit by myself?" I love to see that look on his face. I also love to see all of our hardwork paying off and to know that he really will do everything, it'll just take time. I also think the added calories we're putting in his bottles are really helping. He's been way more active and alert.

Once again we're bringing on the chaos and testing ourselves to see how we get through it all. In the end this is the best thing for not only our running, but most importantly for James. We're so excited for what this great adventure will bring to our little family!

Lovin' the bear rug
Week February 18 - 24

Miles Running: 35
Hours Hiking and Running: 5

Monday, February 18, 2013

Courage, Discipline, Wisdom, Integrity, Compassion

Happy Valentine's Day!
For quite a while I taught snowboarding at Keystone working with a group of "at risk" kids. The program is called Snowsports Outreach Society (SOS) and is an amazing program! In fact I can't wait to get back to teaching. I taught the Learn to Ride program, it's a 5 week long program where we have a lesson once a week. Each week we focus on a different word, courage, discipline, wisdom, integrity and compassion. We have to give definitions of the word and then discuss how we used that word during the day or where we saw it. It was a great way to teach not just snowboarding, but life lessons as well. This week I've been thinking quite a bit about these words, as I've totally missed teaching, and how they are so intimitely entwined in my life.

Courage: Without courage I never would have toed the starting line at Leadville in 2012 and I certainly would not be counting the days until I get to do it again! Courage guides us all through life. It keeps you pushing yourself and without it nothing great would ever be accomplished. Courage is something I hope James learns from Dan and I. That he faces all the challenges I know will one day come his way and meets them head on with a heart full of courage.

Discipline: Seriously couldn't even begin to think of running an ultra without discipline. The time it takes for both Dan and I to train means we have to really make a plan and stick to it. It means early, early morning runs, it means probably not going to too many concerts, or parties and not as many days riding so we can get our runs in. It also means being disciplined about making sure we still get in all of James' PT and speech exercises.

Wisdom: All I can say is I've got a load to learn. You learn a load from a DNF, but mostly I learned I need to learn more!

Integrity: Regardless of what I do in life, whether I finish Leadville or not, if I stay true to myself than I have succeeded. I want James to see that in me and to always stay true to himself. One of my SOS grommies once defined integrity as "what you do when no one else is looking". Pretty smart for an 8 year old. The bottom line is without integrity who are you really?

Compassion: One of the things I fell in love with most about ultras is the sense of compassion. You don't leave someone on the side of the trail. Even if it costs you the race. You always reach out your hand to fellow competitors because you never know when it might be you on the side of the trail. This was something I never really saw in the road marathon world. In fact I distinctly remember running the 2007 Chicago "heat wave" marathon. People were dropping all over the place and I remember one person going down right in front of me and what did I do. I stepped over them and kept going. I mean at the aid station another 1/2 mile down the road I told one of the volunteers someone went down, but I never stopped. I never want to be that person that just steps over someone during a race again. James has also taught me compassion in a way I never thought possible. He has taught me compassion does not equal pity. When I take James to his cardiology appointments at Children's I always get this look of pity. I feel like people look at me like "oh you have to go there, you poor thing", but I don't see it that way. But then there are those who get it and give you a look of compassion instead. I can't explain the difference, but its there and you know it when you see it.

I got in some good miles this week and am slowly working up my weekend mileage to be able to handle back to back runs. Saturday I got in 10.6 miles, half of which I managed while James napped. If I'm going to get the miles I have to multitask and take advantage of the time I get. Sunday I got in 16 miles in Buffalo Creek. After I got off the main Buck Gulch loop the trail was pretty icy and the snow was covered in sun crust which made for slow going, but still managed a decent time. My legs were definitely feeling a bit tired by Sunday night, but if I can keep building from here things will be looking good come August.

Tickles from Daddy!
This week we also finally saw a dietician at Children's about James' weight gain, or lack thereof. So now all three of us are on protein shakes! Okay so for James its more of a add some extra calories and nutrients to his bottles in the form of formula added to the breastmilk, but that's a lot like a protein shake in my mind.

I've also been in discussions with RDS about some new ways to bring awareness and funding for Down syndrome research. I'm really excited about the projects we will be working on and I really hope to be able to change the picture of current funding. Funding for Down syndrome research is so ridiculously low compared to many other disabilities (or capabilities). If I can do a little bit to help change that statistic I'll be stoked!

Week February 11 - 17

Miles Running: 43.1
Hours Running and Hiking: 8

Monday, February 11, 2013

Run Within Yourself

One of the things I love most about running is it's you against yourself. As long as you run within yourself you will be sucessful. Sure during a race you're also racing against others, but mostly they're just there to push you to do better. I love pushing myself to PR, sometimes to a fault. Easy days can be so hard for me, especially when I'm running well. I set goals for myself in terms of beating my previous time or running farther than I have before. Sure its nice to place high or win a race, but I didn't run great at the marathon I won and have actually felt so much better after races where I PRed. I worked my ass off to qualify for Boston and when I crossed that finish line in Anchorage in 3:35, 17th place, that was one of the best feelings I've had running.
James and I on a hike!
So shouldn't that same principle apply to kids? Why give me a questionaire at James' 9 month well baby appointment about his development? This was the first one where honestly no he's not even kinda doing most of the skills listed. We all know he's behind in motor skills and speech so can we just skip that part? Lets talk about how he's doing compared to where he was at 6 months. Lets discuss his progression and what we're doing to help him. I'm sure this questionaire may be beneficial to typical kids or kids who haven't been diagnosed yet and need the help James is getting. But that's the thing, James already qualifys for EI. Okay, okay so maybe its more that I need to just learn to let these things just roll off my back. In the grand scheme of things filling out this form isn't that big of a deal. And I can't shelter James from the harsh realities of the world where everyone is compared to everyone else.

This week was all about consistent running. I didn't get out on a long run, but ran almost every run around 7-8 miles. I explored Green Mountain, which has not been my favorite place to run. Although I discovered I can run Green Mountain from my office with only a handful of steps on pavement. So I guess I can't complain about having that kind of acess. Not many people can walk out of their office onto a trail for a solid run. I guess this really means no excuses for getting my workouts in!

It snowed all weekend so Sunday's long run was cut short. It wasn't terribly cold, but after an hour my eye lashes were freezing together and the fun of running in the snow was losing it's edge. But mostly it was so much fun to run through the light snow, putting down some fresh tracks on Conifer Mountain and exploring a new loop. All in all a good week of running!

Week February 4 - 10

Miles Running: 40.4
Hours Running and Hiking: 9

Monday, February 4, 2013

Confidence Boost

This week Geoff Roes wrote an article for irunfar about the importance of confidence for getting faster. Confidence or lack thereof is often my own worst enemy. And I would totally agree with Geoff, sure I can do hill repeats and a whole host of other training elements to get faster, but when it comes down to it I'm really only going to get faster with confidence. This week was certainly all about increasing my confidence.

Last weekend Nick had asked me to come along on a run with the Runners Roost Mountain Running team. Needless to say I was a bit nervous all week anticipating Saturday's run. I was excited to meet some new runners and run with some good runners, but none-the-less quite nervous. I'm not a sponsored runner and I haven't run with a team of any sort since college so I just wasn't sure if I would be able to keep up. I know I run pretty equal to Nick (he beats me on the ups and I catch back up on the flats and downs) so I figured I would be okay, but you never know.

I ran my typical weekday runs decently and took it pretty easy on Friday so I would be fresh for Saturday. Saturday I met up with everyone at Pine. We all started together and headed up Buck Gulch. About a mile into the run I realized I was doing alright. I stayed steady on the climb up and found myself at the back of the front pack. Once we started heading down, I felt like I was holding back a bit even. Nick and I charged the big downhill and I heard one girl say "I don't even know how they do that!" I would have liked to get in a few more miles, but everyone was doing either 7.5 or 18+ so I just stuck with the 7.5 mile loop. I definitely felt good being able to keep up with the running team and it gave me loads of confidence going into the 2013 season. Plus I got to meet some cool people and its always fun to run in a group. Sunday I carried this new found confidence with me on a quick loop of Conifer Mountain. As I started up I felt great, like it was super easy. So I kept pushing it and kept feeling good, so I continued to push it. I'll have to double check my times, but I'm pretty sure I PRed that loop too! Certainly a good feeling to feel that good and be running this well in the pre-season. I'm certainly ahead of where I was running-wise last year.

My confidence boost also rolled over into James-land. Lately I've been worried that maybe I don't work with him enough or hard enough. Or if I do the right things. Well Monday we had PT and Anne was amazed at how much stronger James had gotten. She said she expects he will be sitting on his own within a month or so. I was so excited! But she also said she can tell I work with James more than most of the other parents. That she can see how I follow through with his exercises and what a big difference that makes for him! So yeah, all around this was a confidence boosting week!

Week January 28 - February 3

Miles Running: 29.1
Hours Running and Hiking: 6