Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Old Friends

I miss you ol' friend
Over the past six months I have learned to make friends with Green Mountain and Mt Falcon. Green is convenient and Falcon is a tough climb so both warrant places in my running log book. And they both have their places in my heart... Running sideways through the wind, sliding off snow drifts, and chigger bites on Green. Jumping over rattlesnakes and soul-crushing climbs on Falcon. It's always fun to make new friends, explore new trails, but I've found myself missing my best friend...Apex. So when I heard a few of the trails were re-opening after last fall's floods I was ecstatic!
Dan at Apex

I was finally reunited with my BFF last week. I could still tell you every little section that was graded, every rock that was now covered or uncovered. Even though with the trails that are opened I had to run my normal route backwards my feet still knew every step and I felt like I just casually danced up the trail. I seriously can't stop smiling, even now, thinking about how much I love to run these trails.

Aside from the fact that I love the trails at Apex and have so many amazing memories from those trails, it's the perfect training ground for me. I literally have no excuse not to run when I have to drive to the trailhead twice every day to drop off and pickup James from daycare. Falcon will still remain a weekly run, but not having to add the extra 30 min of drive time to my every day runs makes it much more manageable to get in some real miles.

James ready for his WDSD run!
This week I also ran my 21.3 mile World Down Syndrome Day Virtual Run. The timing meant my options for trails were pretty limited. So I sucked it up and headed to Bear Creek. I don't mind running Bear Creek as a family, but 21 miles by yourself is rough! I'm pretty sure I would have quit halfway through if I wasn't running for RDS. But I made it! Sunday the weather warmed up so Dan and I took James out for his 3.21 times 2 WDSD run! Overall the run was a huge sucess! I was really hoping for more participants, but it was the first year and I know the run will just keep getting bigger and bigger. I'm really excited about the possibilities!

Speaking of RDS Dan and I decided on our goals for the year. We decided not only would we each be running another 100 miler, but we would each race 321 miles for RDS. Our featured races will be Leadville 100 for Dan and Run Rabbit Run 100 for me. Then we'll finish out our 321 miles at the Chicago Marathon!

Week March 17 - 23

Miles Running: 43.8
Hours Hiking and Running: 8.0
Rockin' our crazy socks!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Who I Am Part II - World Down Syndrome Day

Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale -unknown

I am love
Gooooood morninggggggg Rocky Mountains! Yep, that's how our day starts every day! James standing at the edge of his crib, smile stretching from ear to ear and eyes sparkling in the morning sun just waiting for my Gooooood Morningggggg Rocky Mountains cheer. Then his arms stretch overhead waiting to get picked up.

Every day is filled with it's own challenges. Whether it's fighting the oxygen tank that still gets turned on every night, fighting to get my hair back from James' way too strong grip, working on the escalating frustration from lack of communication or walking or the still endless doctors appointments. Every day is also filled with it's own rewards. The amazing smiles, the bursts of laughter, excited clapping after sucessfully putting his cup back on his tray or after sucessfully uttering "uh-oh" after launching his cup across the room, watching James manuever himself down a few stairs or learning a new sign.

tell me what it is that you see, a world that's filled with endless possibilities and heroes don't look like they used to they look like you do -the alternate routes

I am miles and miles of smiles
We've now settled a bit more into our new world of challenges and rewards. I still can't say it's butterflies and rainbows, but it's become a world perfectly suited to us...full of chaos. Yelling, screaming and laughing at outdoor volumes at all times, James chasing the dog around the house with his walker, mini waffles being shoved in one of the many running shoes laying around, frantic searching the house for one of the seemingly always lost Colorado Buffs. James just seems to fit into the chaos Dan and I already seemed to have going, so it was a perfect fit. James has also taught us to embrace the chaos.

to give in such a way that has no end, we are love, we are one, we are how we treat each other and nothing more -the alternate routes

I am a superhero
In the past year James has come a long ways. He is full of personality, stubborn, determined, funny and energetic. He has learned to cruise over everything, climb up anything, have fabulous dance parties, drink from a straw and pant like a dog. He's had 3 surgeries, 2 sleep studies,4 hearing tests, countless ear infections, viruses and colds, no allergies, too many therapies to count and spends every night on oxygen. And through all of it he laughs and smiles. He cheers when we walk into the Sie Center every week and goes crawling off in search of his speech therapist.

I hope for James that everyone who meets him sees him for his smile and laughter, for his determination and sense of adventure. I hope for him a life full of fun adventures. I hope for continued days of laughter. I also hope he learns to control that little grip of his and his affinity for grabbing the little hairs on the back of my neck. So today we celebrate how far James has come and all the possibilities the future hold for him. Keep rockin' it lil grommie!

Who I Am (22 mo)

19lb 1oz

Favorite Song: Lose Yourself to Dance -Daft Punk; 5 little monkeys
Favorite toy: boombox, mirror, wood rings
Favorite food: buffalo short ribs, cheese
Favorite place: Winter Park
Favorite activity: being outside and feeling the wind on his face, especially running
Favorite animal: dog
Signs: milk, more, dog, bath, head


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Salida Trail Marathon Race Report

Friday afternoon we loaded up the family car and headed south to start the season. This year it was a perfect Colorado blue sky day and we couldn't wait to hit the trails. I can't explain why I like the Salida trails so much, but I look forward to them every year and this year was no different. Well except I was finally getting to run the marathon. We quickly settled into our house for the weekend and took James out for a quick run up the first little hill on the course. We were officially ready for the race.

Saturday morning when I woke up the cough I'd had since Wednesday had not gotten any better as I had so hoped it would. I honestly contemplated not starting, but I knew I could finish. It wouldn't be fast and it wouldn't be pretty but one way or another I'd get back to the finish line in Salida. So I laced up my N1s, threw on my ultra vesta, pinned on my bib and I was ready to go. I don't normally race with a vest, but after trying the vesta on a long run I wanted to see how it felt in a race.

It was definitely colder than I anticipated so I welcomed the first couple climbs. There is a small climb right off the bat. The last time I ran this race I was 7 months pregnant and redlined pretty hard here. I had this memory of this giant hill, but it wasn't as bad as my memory had served. I kept a pretty easy pace heading up to the first aid station to avoid any coughing fits. There were a couple women I recognized at the start and was hoping to finish relatively close to. I kept them in my sites with the hope that I could reel them in on the downhill. Before I knew it I was in front of both and had lost sight of most runners. This is where I tend to find my groove. I'm not caught up running too slow or too fast, I can just keep my own pace and get in my zone. 

The section between the first two aid stations is awesome. It's singletrack rolling hills with great views. I kept expecting more climbs in this section so I didn't push it quite as hard as I could have.

By the second aid station I realized my water bottles still didn't need to be refilled, a clear sign I was not consuming enough. All my calories were in my water so if I wasn't drinking enough I wasn't getting enough calories either. I made a mental note to consume as much as I could on the way up Turret road. Dan had warned me that the first mile was easy to overdo with such a runnable grade. I kept my pace pretty even through this section and walked some of the steeper grades. While I definitely had the legs to run the whole section I was able to save my lungs a bit. I hooked up with a couple guys here and together we walked and ran the four miles or so to the aid station before the out and back section.

The refueling helped and after refilling my water bottles I was ready to run up to the turnaround. As I counted the women ahead of me I knew I was either running super slow or there were a lot more fast women here this year. I had convinced myself not to look at my watch. I wanted to keep a steady pace that I could breathe comfortably at without worrying too much about time. Turns out while I was running slow there were a load of really fast women. It would have taken my absolute best day to even come close to the podium on Saturday. I was feeling stronger a the turnaround and cruised easily back to the aid station. As I cruised in I saw a green shirt coming up the road. So I decided to chug a bit more water and wait a few seconds for Dan. We exchanged high 5s before he headed up and I started down. I was excited he was doing so well to only be about 10 minutes behind me.

The first few miles were downhill-ish and had the only snow I saw of the day. I was freezing at this point and Dan had said it would be about 4 miles before I warmed up. Those four miles seemed to go on and on as I tried to warm up. I was determined not to let anyone pass me on the second half while still maintaining my steady pace. Slowly one by one I started picking off people. Once we hit warm dry trail I started pushing the downhills. I knew there were a few more hills coming my way and my lungs didn't have much uphill left in them. One girl almost caught me back on the climb at mile 21, but as soon as we started down again I regained the gap between us. On this climb the only guy to pass me in the second half took me here. I was able to keep him in my sights, but never catch back up.

I sort of remembered, but had tried to forget the last climb. You slowly wind right around the mountain back to the first aid station before being able to bomb down lil rattler to the finish. You watch the whole climb as you wrap around the hill. It's so disheartening. So I put my head down and refused to look at anything other than the dirt right in front of me. And before I knew it I was at the aid station ready to head back into town. I passed several half marathoners on the switchbacks. As I got to the bottom I looked around...there wasn't a marathoner in sight, no one to catch and no one to catch me. So it was a relaxing cruise into the finish. My GPS measured the course a bit long, 26.7 miles, but so it goes with trail runs. Plus it just meant an extra half mile on some awesome trails.

 Week March 10 - 16

Miles Running: 43.0
Hours Hiking and Running: 9.0

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cabin Fever

Ah I'm just so ready for dry trails, longs runs in the sun, shorts and a t-shirt. By the end of February cabin fever is really setting in. It's been super windy lately and that is the one thing that really forces me onto the treadmill. And I really don't want to run another mile on that thing. The cabin fever only gets worse when you have those super nice days like Sunday only to watch the snow and ice return a day later.

This week was all about finding the trail of least resistance in terms of mud and ice. I was not so sucessful. Green mountain was a mud pit, Flying J a skating rink, Matt-Winters is only half open, Falcon is an interesting combo of mud and ice and the list goes on and on. As the week wore on it appeared Sunday was going to be one of those perfect Colorado blue sky days! So like any other running couple with a kid we called our babysitter.

Bear Creek was probably our best bet for really runnable terrain so we just headed there. It was the perfect day. The trails aren't great there, but we did have a great run so I can't complain too much. I'm still a bit worried about Salida. After 18 miles my legs were feeling it a bit and the thought of another 8 miles and 3,500 ft elelvation gain is a bit daunting.

Dan's speech therapist has had us working on getting James to pant for dog rather than "woof" since "woof" is a bit hard. Well he's nailed the panting! Whenever he sees Seamus he immediately starts to pant. It's pretty darn cute! I also took James to the Ds clinic this week. The PT said he really is on the verge of walking. He just needs to trust himself to let go. He's also gotten so fast with the walker that slowing down to learn a new trick doesn't seem as fun to him. We'll get there though, probably sooner rather than later which is a very scary thought. 

And the best news of the week...Apex is opening some of it's trails 3/14! Ah I am so excited to be back at my park. No more excuses not to run!

Week March 3 - 9

Miles Running: 40.1
Hours Hiking and Running: 7.5

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Next Frontier

The last week in February always means a short trip to Alaska for work meetings. I was so excited when it looked like it would be warm enough to be able to run outside! This is always a crazy week with more traveling than anything else so I knew I had to just run every chance I had and hope to get in some decent miles. 

Monday I had such a great day at Falcon that after James' speech therapy appointment on Tuesday I headed straight to Falcon. I had a late flight to Anchorage, yes I planned it that way so I could get James to speech and a run in before my flight. I was planning to get in a long run, but as I got up to the picnic tables the storm was starting to move in. By the time I got to the lookout tower there was barely any visibility and the temperature has dropped significantly. I opted just to head down which was good because with a mile left I was so cold I was totally shivering. 

I got into Anchorage at 12:30 am and was asleep in my hotel by 1:00...I love that about Anchorage! It must have been the time change because when my alarm went off at 6:00 I was awake enough to hit up the treadmill. I didn't trust myself on the trails with so little sleep. Then it was off to Fairbanks for the day. Thursday I just had to head to the coast. When I woke up it was already 34F so I threw on a headlamp and took off for Chester Creek Trail that I ran to the Coastal Trail. I've logged so many miles on the Coastal Trail that as soon as I made the left off Chester Creek and headed toward Earthquake Park I felt like I was at home.

Friday morning I landed back in Denver and Dan called asking if I wanted to meet him for a run. I had planned on taking the day off, but I couldn't pass up a run with Dan. So we met at Matt-Winters to step foot on some dry trails! I was pretty amazed at myself for being able to get in my miles while on the road.

What a week! Thankfully while I was in Alaska I was on the go from 8:00 am until 11:00 pm every day with a run beforehand. This was the longest I've been away from James and not having time to think about it probably helped. Sometimes I still think about what our life would be like if Dan and I had moved to Alaska a few years back. Alaska holds a special place in my heart so getting to run the coastal trail this week definitely was what my running needed. At the same time I'm pretty sure the adventure Dan and I are on now is just as exciting as those we would have found in Alaska. And who knows what the future holds. Maybe one day we'll still get to move up to the last frontier. And no we have no plans to move any time soon...but I doubt I'll stop thinking about it any time soon either.

Week February 24 - 30

Miles Running: 46.3
Hours Hiking and Running: 7.5

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dreaming of Dirt

This is always the worst time of year for me. Goal races seem like forever away, days start to get longer, but its still cold and storming and trail conditions tend to be terrible! I miss my dirt! I'll agree to wear pants and long sleeves a bit longer if I can run a dry trail. I get so disheartened...the thought of another treadmill mile is horrifying, but the thought of 12 min miles slipping and sliding and getting pommeled by 30 mph headwinds at Flying J sounds just as miserable. 

Dan and I had been hopeful for good weather so we could get in a long run together before Salida. We got a babysitter, mapped our route and loaded our packs. We got in about a solid half a mile before we hit the ice at Pine Valley. I knew there would be snow and ice in patches, but I didn't expected the whole trail to be covered...it's a burn area after all! We finally hit the junction with Homestead planning to head right out to Gashouse and then back up Baldy. Without a single track down Homestead and knowing we'd be breaking trail the entire next 12 miles or so we opted for an alternative. We decided to go back the way we came up and then up Strawberry Jack and then tacked on a few more miles along the river. For 3 hours of running I would expect a bit more than 15 miles, but we worked for every step of those 15 miles. 

So frustrating to know Salida is right around the corner and not feel like I'm even ready for a marathon right now. Salida is meant to be an early season training race to see where you'e at for the season and force you to get in a long run and some quality miles. It's still hard not to be overly competitive and want to do really well. I've still got time to get in some quality miles and I need to stop being so pessimistic about this race and just run.

Aside from PVR I logged miles on the dreadmill and slid my way around FJ. I think I say this every February, but I promise never to take for granted a dry trail again. My legs are really getting antsy to turn over and really push it on the trails. Next week I'm on a mission to find some dry trails that are hopefully not to windy. 

After a month of fighting with specialty pharmacies and insurance companies I finally got James his next RSV shot. I seriously can't believe how hard it is to get done something that seems like it should be so simple. Definitely thankful for a helpful pediatrician who helped take over a lot of the paperwork and phone calls for me. James has solidified his use of "dada" and usually always yells "dada" when asked who his favorite is. At least he's making progress with communication. It's amazing how much progress I've seen in such a short period of time. He's getting so much closer to walking. A few times I've gotten him to forget what he's doing while cruising and let go of the table. He only stands for a few seconds before he realizes and sits down, but we're getting there. His OT commented that his nystagmus has been worse since he got hand, foot and mouth and may be causing issues with his depth perception which makes him leery of standing on his own. We see the ophthalmologist soon so we'll have it checked out. Gotta get this kid running so he can lead dada across the finish line in Leadville in a few months. 

Week February 17 - 23

Miles Running: 42.0
Hours Hiking and Running: 6.0