Sunday, February 15, 2015

Skinned Knees

4:30 am...time for hillsprints
I swear Mother Nature is out to test me on Sundays. Every week its this constant tease to see if I can suck it up and finish my week's training or if I'm just going to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a book. After yet another Sunday blizzard run, my eyes frozen shut, the front of my pants no longer looking black and my pony tail a frozen icicle slapping my neck, my miles are in and while today's tempo run lacked anything that even remotely resembled a tempo I can proudly say I beat Mother Nature for another week. 

This week was painful. I recovered more slowly from last weekends race than I expected, I'm sure the lack of sleep I've been running on had nothing to do with that. I battled through my training runs though. Another 4:30 am hill sprint workout. For some reason at 4:30 in the morning a foot of snow doesn't look so deep and it seems reasonable that you would tie your shoes on the edge of the treadmill and head outside. It honestly did sound like a good idea when I walked out the door. I slogged my way through mud and glaring sun on Green. And Dan and I went for a 19 mile date run on Friday. Friday was actually the best I felt all week. And then Saturday was nice enough to go for a family run. All in all it was a good week of training, I hit my miles and workouts, but it was not an easy week. My legs just felt like they had a lot more taken out of them then I expected from the race. I'm already ahead of last year in terms of miles and vertical so I'm pretty happy with where my training is at right now. Especially since I have a late race this year.
snowy morning run

The past couple weeks I've been thinking a lot about one of my dear friends. She has always been this source of strength for me. She's handled every challenge that comes her way with grace, confidence and a smile. She has held my hand through every step of my journey with James. She made me realize that sometimes its not about hoping or praying for a healthy kid or for things to go your way. Its about having the strength to handle the unexpected. Its not that I don't wish every day James was healthy and I didn't worry about his heart or his immune system, but that was the card he was dealt, all that matters is how I handle it. No one sails through life down the easy road. And if you do you're probably missing out on a lot of things. So instead of continuously looking for things to get better if you look for the strength to handle these situations the rocky bumps will be better. You'll learn to love the look of skinned knees and scars, the oxygen tanks will one day make you laugh and you'll learn to cherish little moments in hospitals when you glued red hearts to your faces with vasoline. I know right now she is a pillar of strength as she waits for decisions to be made and that no matter what the outcome she will continue to be strong for herself and her family because if there is one thing I know about this amazing woman...she is strong. And I will continue to always look to her for strength. 

Mr Attitude
So Friday when I got the news that James didn't get into daycare I had my short-lived pity party before I told myself to suck it up. We weren't getting anywhere by being upset about it. It's just hard not to feel like you didn't let him down. Because I didn't want to inconvenience myself to camp out overnight James didn't get in. I know in some ways that sounds totally ridiculous, but at the same time there just aren't a lot of options that work for us. Getting in to this one preschool was about the only option that I could make work. Now I'm left to figure out how we're going to get James enough therapy. It's just not my personality to pray for James to get into a certain school. That's just not me and not something I'm comfortable doing. Instead I'll buck up and figure out a way to get him the therapy he needs and give him the same opportunities he would have in a public preschool. It's not the easy road and will definitely take some fighting and finagling on my end, but I'm determined to find a way to do it. 

you're better than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can -Ken Chlouber

Week February 9 - 15

Miles Running: 50.8
Hours Hiking and Running: 9.0
Vertical: 7200 

Monday: 5 miles, recovery run with Dan at Matt-Winters

Tuesday: OFF

Wednesday: 4 miles hill sprints 10 x 30 sec in an early morning blizzard

Thursday: 7.3 miles, Green Mountain

Friday: 19 miles, with Dan, Green Mountain, hogback and Matt-Winters, legs felt much better

Saturday: 7.5 family run at Bear Creek

Sunday: AM: 4 miles family run at Bear Creek; PM: 4 miles of neighborhood laps in another blizzard
Ralston Creek Half Marathon finish line

Green Mountain summit

Green Mountain summit...again

Valentine's fish and chips

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Drink Water

Celebrating Wear Red Day for
Congential Heart Defect Warriors
This week was painful for everyone involved. It was a hectic week to begin with. Not a lot of appointments, but I had some big work meetings and some other work nonsense that sort of popped up over the weekend and snowballed into what made for an even crazier Monday than usual.

James had been hit with the stomach bug Saturday night and well lets just say Dan and I have yet to avoid it once it hits James. A week later I have finished somewhere in the realm of 40 loads of laundry, learned how to remove grape juice puke stains from couches, cleaned out nook and crannie of the house I never even knew existed, and cloroxed everything that could possibly be touched by human hands. I doubt my house has ever been this clean. 
a beautiful day to play outside

Its a wonder I managed to get in as many miles as I did, but I guess 4:00 am wake-up calls help with that. So my training seemed to stagnate as I approached my first race of the season. I had no idea what to expect in such a short race and now I really had no idea how I would even hold up to attempting to run fast. Plus I also had to do something to salvage my weekly miles which meant getting decent runs on Friday and Saturday before the race. 

First race as a PI Champion Team member
Sunday blew in with a gust...literally. Dan turned in bed and asked "Is something moving in? that's really windy." I tried my best to ignore it and just kept thinking well maybe in Arvada it won't be as bad. Wrong. The first 8 miles were a total struggle just to stay upright. I started off running strong but into my third mile I knew it just wasn't going to be my day, so I backed off and just tried to enjoy the race. Even with the 40 mph headwinds it wasn't that bad...until miles 6-8. I swear it felt like I was running on a treadmill and I wasn't sure I would ever make it out of the tunnel. I nearly stumbled a couple of times when I got blasted with even stronger gusts. I couldn't look up to enjoy the view, I couldn't look around to see where I was, all I could do was stare at the bike path beneath my feet. Which by the way I probably need a new pair of shoes. After staring at them for so many miles I'm pretty certain I know every single thread that is pulling apart. Finally on the big 'climb' we hit one switchback with the wind at our backs. It was like a little bit of heaven. I didn't even need the wind not to be pushing me uphill, I mean I wasn't going to complain, but not having it blast your face was an amazing feeling. I finally started cruising again and my running felt like what it should. It was still too late to salvage a good race, but at least I could finish feeling decent about it. But seriously that race will probably rank as one of the most painful races ever...and that includes 100. I swore to myself this year I would not complain about the last 6 miles at Run Rabbit if it wasn't this windy. So the first race of the year is in the books and I'm pretty sure I only have up to go from this one. 
a Toddler 2 tantrum...

This week James also moved up to Toddler 2! Its a transition room for preschool so I've been excited about it but also nervous to see how he would do. They would finally start working on potty training with him. Which I knew he would need a week or so to adjust to going at school, but I guess I just wasn't ready to hear he wouldn't go at all. It's just frustrating. I also knew it would be a rough week since he was still getting over being sick and would have to adjust to a new room and new teachers. Granted he knew all these teachers and had been sneaking into the T2 room lately, but still it's different being a part of it. Overall though James did great. He sat at the table to eat (this is a big deal because in Toddler 1 they had to corner him into the table to make sure he would stay there), he went on walks and learned about groundhogs day, gravity and ice. Well at least according to the sheet I got at the end of the week that's what they learned. Its tougher dropping him off in this room though when the other kids all call him by name and come up to me to tell me about their day. They're all twice the size of him and eat with forks and just so many things I feel like James isn't doing yet. He'll get there I know. I feel like that's my mantra these days. But with every room we move up the distance between James and his peers seems to grow. And so we had some growing pains this week. One of Liza Howard's posts rang true with me this week as she talked about pain as well. And so I'll drink water and keep running so that I can keep moving forward.

When my life disintegrated over a decade ago, I wrote a group of NOLS friends for comfort.  One of them, an African from Tanzania, told me to make sure to drink water.  Reading his email, I almost smiled.  What a useless thing to advise someone in my situation.  And yet, in retrospect, it’s as good advice as any.  Words don’t fix anything.  They don’t soothe a loss.  There is nothing that can be said and nothing that can be done.
You simply keep living, and you try to make peace with the pain.
Drink water.
 The only real use of running ultramarathons is that they allow us to practice endurance.  They ask us to tolerate adversity and uncertainty.  We keep moving forward despite physical and emotional pain.  And we hope the exercise gives us the grace and fortitude to do the same through life’s actual trials. - Liza Howard

Week Feb 2 - 8

Miles Running: 41.7
Hours Hiking and Running: 6.25

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 7 miles early early AM; warmup, hill sprints  30 sec, 1 min, 2 min, 1 min, 30 sec, x2, cool down

Wednesday:  6 miles early early AM

Thursday: OFF

Friday: 8 miles easy

Saturday: 7 miles moderate, feeling better

Sunday: 13.4 miles; Ralston Creek Half Marathon

4:00 am is never too early to run

Leadville we handle the stomach flu

I swear it's like spring...more beautiful days in Colorado

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Challenge

Matthew-Winters from the hogback
People ask me, 'What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?' and my answer must at once be, 'It is of no use.'There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behaviour of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron... If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won't see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to live. That is what life means and what life is for. ― George Mallory

As I debated my race schedule this year I thought a lot about if I had to do another 100 this year. Dan was debating it, Sandra wasn't doing one, Allisa wasn't doing one. So why do I need to do one? Or do I? It was a decision that circled around my head for quite some time before I finally decided to do it. I'm still not sure what was the final deciding factor. Maybe it's all the Leadville videos James has been insisting on making us watch every night. Or maybe it's the challenge I'm seeking. Can I do it one more time? You can gut through most races if you have to, but a 100. That's a different beast. If your head isn't there, if you're training isn't there, if you don't really want it then it's not going to happen. In the end I decided to run Run Rabbit Run again which means I'll face that challenge of if I can will my body to keep moving a little bit longer, a little bit farther. I may not have a good answer as to why I want to run another 100 and why I'm actually really excited for it and am loving the training, so I guess it comes down to loving the challenge. I've never backed down to the question Do you think you can do it?
Red Rocks

This week my training seemed right on track. I was excited and ready to go. I also managed my fourth week in a row of hill/speed work. That must be some sort of new record. But I can feel each work out getting easier, so I suppose I'll just keep doing it. I also got in my first long run of the year. My legs felt great afterwards, but the run itself felt like a struggle. It wasn't the most scenic route out there and I was running by myself so maybe that was part of it. But overall I felt good and was glad to get back at the miles. 

James decided he had apparently had enough of being healthy for a few months which meant Monday was a quick trip to the pediatrician for more antibiotics for a 'nasty bacterial infection' and a bad ear infection. Just as we were on the mend from that Saturday James started getting really clingy which is never a good sign. I knew deep down that it would likely be a long night. The stomach bug hit around 7:30 that night so Sunday ended up being a long day sitting on the couch snuggling and watching Leadville videos, but hey if nothing else I was extremely motivated to run by the end of the day. Here's to hoping we just got all the nastiness out of our systems in just a condensed time and now we can move to spring! One can always dream!
Pre-stomach bug cookie making

Week January 26 - February 1

Miles Running: 53.8
Hours Hiking and Running: 8.0

Monday: 7.3 miles, easy effort Apex run. Front side trails in great shape, but Enchanted Forest and shady parts on top pretty icy.

Tuesday: 6 miles, warmup 8x30 sec hill sprints, cool down, felt so much easier and faster paced than the first time I did this workout a couple weeks ago.

Wednesday: 5.5 miles, super crazy windy run with Dan and James at Bear Creek. Pretty tough workout pushing the stroller in the wind.

Thursday: 6 miles, fast treadmill miles in the early morning.

Friday: 18 miles, Green Mountain and Matt-Winters for a little elevation and mostly dry trails. Legs were heavier than expected on climbs, but overall felt good and no tiredness after. Must mean it's time to step it up.

Saturday: 4 miles, Flying J, was going to take the day off, but had a feeling that Sunday might get crazy, which it did.

Sunday: 7 miles, Flying J, felt great and glad to get the miles in.
Green Mountain summit

our lil baker!