Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dream Catchers

Family Easter hike!
 It is one thing to write fanciful memes about pursuing dreams on your walls, but if the words aren't backed by actions they will remain lifeless script. The best way to teach a child to chase their dreams is to let them be a part of chasing your own" -Stephanie Catudal

If there is one thing in particular I wish I could teach James, instill in him it's to chase his dreams. No dream is too small or too big and every dream is worth chasing. A banner hangs on James' wall that reads "Dream Big" but just like the running quotes that line my computer screen won't make me faster or help me finish a race that banner won't make James dream big. It's just a simple reminder to him when he wakes up that today is a great day for dreaming.

Flying J

I also don't want James to think that Dan and my dreams of crazy long runs up mountains have to be his dreams. But I do want him to see our passion. I really believe that seeing your parents' passions helps create the drive within you. There are definitely days when I worry that running for hours on end is taking time away from James, but I also know that as he gets older he'll learn from our passion, our adventures and our dreams.

I think too often parents think they need to devote their entire life just to their children to be good parents. This isn't to say they aren't good parents, but often they give up their own dreams and goals, they don't make time for themselves. Maybe I'm delusional, I'm sure I must be to run 100s, but I honestly think you can have both. You can have dreams and be a good parent. Or maybe I'm just rationalizing my need to spend hours running trails.

Hoppy Easter!
This is also why we take James running with us. He doesn't have to be a runner, but when he's out there he gets to experience what we experience. And based on his cheers and laughter I'm pretty sure at least right now he's loving it! 

Dan and I had off Friday and daycare was open so we took advantage and headed to Buffalo Creek for a long run. Dan had just ordered a new water filter and we were looking forward to trying it out.

The filter is the Sawyer mini filter. It's super lightweight and small so it fit in our vests easily. You basically fill the bag and squeeze it through the filter into your bottles. The bag is a bit small so we had to refill it several times to get enough water.

Filtering water
Filling the bag for the filter
We headed up Buck Gulch out of Pine Valley and wound our way down Sandy Wash to Nice Kitty. We really like that new trail. It's really runnable and give spectacular views. We re-filled our water bottles before we headed up Nice Kitty, there's a great spot right by the bridge.Then we headed down Shinglemill and Morrisson Creek, re-filling again before heading up Baldy and back to Pine Valley for just over 30 miles and about 5000 ft vertical. We both actually felt really good after the run and managed 10 mile runs on Saturday for somewhat of back-to-back runs. I definitely feel better about Quad Rock after getting that run in. It really felt good to get in a solid week of running with relatively high mileage. Bring on race season!

Sandy Wash
Week April 13 - 20

Miles Running: 61.1
Hours Hiking and Running: 12

Monday, April 21, 2014

Double Trouble

Mt Falcon
Oh what a week! With a really quick trip to Wisconsin planned I knew I'd be lucky to get in a run at all while I was traveling. I tried to squeeze in as many miles as possible before I left. One day I met Dan at Apex for a quick run before we picked up the boy. As we started heading around on Grubestake we ran into Allisa from the Salida marathon and talked her into finishing the run with us. It's definitely nice to meet other people to run with. Nick's been super busy with his new job and Dan's schedule is always so crazy so I was glad to run into her. 

Thursday meant I needed a long run before I left for Wisco. After raging a war in my head with where to run I settled on a double at Falcon. I knew I could do another Bear Creek, but Run Rabbit Run is no flat course. I need to start pushing my limits and especially my vertical if I'm going to do well. I tried to keep a pretty easy pace on the first climb and made it to the picnic tables in 36 minutes. Parmalee Gulch was in great condition. It finally smelled like spring and the trail was nice and soft under foot. There was a bit of snow still on the back side but nothing terrible. As I headed back down I passed another girl who looked like a pretty solid runner for the second time. I couldn't help but wonder if I wasn't the only one on this crazy journey. I got back down, refilled my water bottles, slammed a coke and headed back up. 

Pizza Man making fans!
The second climb was much slower and it took me a solid 40 minutes to reach the picnic tables. In nearly the same spot I had seen the girl twice already we passed each other for a third time. This time she made a comment about how we must both be running the same thing. So apparently I am not the only crazy one out there. Of course I was a bit jealous that she had around 20 minutes left and I didn't even want to think about how much more I had left...about 8 miles! Thankfully the clouds rolled in as I neared the top of Mt Falcon for the second time so it cooled off nicely. Overall I felt good for a tough 20 miler. It also made me excited for long runs and to really start training, not just logging the miles. 

Friday as James and I headed to the airport Dan decided I couldn't be the only one to put in a tough long run, so he headed to Falcon to repeart my steps. Apparently he should have followed my line a bit closer...ah but chicks dig scars. James rocked the flight! We even got numerous compliments on the second leg about how good he was. Of course the chatterbox sitting next to us pretty much sealed the deal on making James look like a rockstar! 
Nothing beats a cardboard box!

We met the whole fam for dinner at Pizza Man which was probably the highlight of the weekend for me. James and Parker were so cute together! They had a blast! And are quite the entertainers as well. As they were playing at the window Cait and I looked down at the street and saw this heard of people waiting for tables just staring up at the two of them. I wish I could have seen what exactly these two were up to, but I have a feeling they are going to be quite the pair growing up. 

Airport fun!
On the way home James and I were hanging out in Minneapolis waiting for our second flight. I was trying to get him to burn some energy and the people at the gate were loving him. One girl started signing with him after she saw me sign a bit. Another woman, who James kept crawling up, just lookd at me and said "my good friend has a 10 year old, he's an amazing kid". It's funny how I knew exactly what she meant with that simple line. No one around us would have had a clue and I could tell no one else noticed James anything different about James. I have a feeling he's going to break a few barriers with his heart warming smile and infectious laugh!

Week April 7 - 13

Miles Running: 38.5
Hours Hiking and Running: 8

Hey Parker, this is how you ride in a cardboard box!
Ok James I have a plan...
Who needs pants for dinner?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

First Quarter Progress Report

James using the treadmill in his own way!
Somehow it is already April...someone please tell me my little baby is not about to turn 2! I'm not sure how that has happened or where the past 3 months have gone. But I figured it was a good time to look at where my fitness and training is compared to last year. I have run nearly 300 miles more than I had at this time last year. Last year I didn't keep real good track of my vertical until the end of the year, but despite the treadmill miles I logged this winter I'm pretty confident I've still ran more vertical this year than last. 

The really crazy part is last year I felt confident that I would finish Leadville. I felt great and like my training was going really well. It's strange to have a slightly different perspective on that now. I still am confident I will be ready for my races this summer. I need a 30+ mile run in the next week or two, but otherwise I'm sitting pretty well. I also really need to get my butt in gear and start doing hill workouts. I definitely feel good going into the season this year. I've been putting in the training and I'm excited to see if it will pay off.
He looks peaceful now...but this is just his launching pad
for climbing onto the ottoman!
This week was a typical Colorado spring week! Another foot plus of snow...heavy, wet, muddy snow. So Dan and I took to Bear Creek for our long run on Friday. Even that was pretty muddy and we ran probably half of the 20 miles with an extra 5 lbs caked onto each foot. It was great to get out Friday for our long run and be able to relax a bit over the weekend. I spent the rest of the week running up Apex. The climbing legs are coming back! Each day I had a faster split to the top with less exertion. As always i'm disspointed at how much I lost over the winter, but I can tell I'm gaining it back faster than in previous years. I also hit 50 miles in a week much earlier than I did last year. Hopefully the mileage I put in last fall combined with keeping up with my strengthening exercises will keep me healthy enough to continue with this higher mileage through the summer.

It's hard to believe how much James has progressed in the past three months as well. His communication has come so far. It makes me feel good that I made the right decision to drive out to Children's once a week for private speech therapy. It's been a challenge to lose nearly half a day each week with all the driving, but he has finally caught on to the conception of communication, learned some signs with consistency and is babbling away telling his own tales of craziness...not to mention calling Dan "dada" and even "dad" once in awhile. The kid's growing up and becoming a little boy, one that is often full of piss and vinegar as toddler boys so often are!

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as thought nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle -Albert Einstein
Week March 31 - April 6

Miles Running: 53.0
Hours Hiking and Running: 9.0

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spirit of the Ultra

Nice Kitty
There's a certain kind of spirit that Leadville holds. It's in the town and it's in the race. I remember my first trip to Leadville...I was moving there for the winter. Rent was cheaper than Frisco so my sister and I decided Leadville would be our winter home while we worked at Copper Mountain. There is something about the little town that instantly grabbed me. It doesn't have a main street lined with cute cafes and gift shops, there aren't fancy spas or restaurants. But what Leadville lacks in amenities it makes up for in heart. It has character, determination, grit. All the characteristics of the 100.

Leadville 100 was the first 100 I ever heard of, the first 100 I ever witnessed and I knew it would be the first 100 I would try. I also thought I would try it once and that would be good enough. Well try turned into finish. And finish...well finish has turned into finish faster. As the season is getting underway I've been watching endless you tube videos of Leadville and I am already excited to run it again. I'm excited to get to experience the race pacing and crewing this year, ultimately I think it will help by eventual big buckle attempt. But it's hard to think about not standing at the starting line this year. I know I realistically can't run Leadville every year, nor do I really want to. I need to experience new races. But there's this draw, this pull at your heart begging you to come back.

I can picture all the trails. Winding around Turquoise Lake as the sun rises, the spectacular views from Sugarloaf as the day begins, rolling along the Colorado Trail beneath Mt Elbert for a moment contemplating a quick turn off for a summit attempt, watching Twin Lakes getting bigger and bigger as you make your decent, meandering through the meadows before that climb up Hope. I can picture the last clearing before you see the tents and llamas that mark Hope, the steep decent before you pop out quickly on the road only to turn around and do it all over again.

I realized this week that Leadville is completely entrenched in my heart. And I know I will be back to race again. Not everyone feels the same way about Leadville, but everyone has that race that holds a special place for them and that keeps drawing them back.

It felt so good to get back in the groove of running Apex all week. I could tell I haven't been running enough climbs, but I could tell I was gaining it back quickly. Thursday I ran the same loop nearly 2 minutes faster than the day before. My week day runs weren't as long as I like most to be, but I was a bit time crunched and at least I got in more vertical than I've been getting recently.

Overall though this week seemed to be a bit of a catch up week in terms of work and life. I had a million little things to finish up so my week day runs were all a bit shorter than I would like. But Dan and I did manage a date run on Saturday. We've been meaning to check out the new Nice Kitty trail in Buffalo Creek. We did a loop heading up Nice Kitty to the Buffalo Burn Trail, CT and back down Shinglemill and Morrison Creek. The trails were in great condition. We hit a few icy patches on the CT, but otherwise it was all dry trail. Definitely excited to have some new loops. As much as I like my 19 mile loop at PVR sometimes it's nice to mix it up a bit.

James has become even more proficient in his climbing abilities. Time to mount the TV to the wall so we can get rid of the TV stand I guess. He also has decided that Michael Franti is just as good as Daft Punk for Sunday morning dance parties! It's hilarious how he has favorite songs. Let it Go...definitely up there as a favorite. 

Week March 24 - 30

Miles Running: 38.0
Hours Hiking and Running: 7.5

Pure determination

Just shallaxing