Missed Miles

There are so many things I should have written about this past year — actually more like two years — and I’m super irritated at myself for not having done so. I finished the Dead Horse 50 miler last November. I’ve run tons of incredible new trails that deserved stories … including one where I almost tried to chase a bear. We bought a Jeep Gladiator Rubicon and are totally decking it out as an adventure vehicle. We’ve gone camping to Steamboat Springs, Leadville, Fruita, Zion and even took a road trip to Vegas. My first, and with any luck last time there (yup so surprise that I wasn’t a fan). There was a really shitty month. REALLY shitty. But we’re going to just leave that one in the past.

There really is no sense in crying over missed miles so I’m just going to suck it up and try again. I know I know I know … I decide I’m going to write again. I decide I’m going to train again. So I pick a race, I post on here a few times and then I fall right back into radio silence. You don’t have to believe me when I say this time is going to be different. Hell, I’m not sure I believe me but … this time IS going to be different.

There are some really cool upcoming adventures in the works. There are some really cool ones I’m going to write about even though they have come and gone. So let the Running Trail Tales begin again.

Dead Horse Training: Weeks 2, 3, 4 … hell pretty much all of it

So here’s the high level summary of my Dead Horse training the last two and a half months:

Total planned mileage — 480
Total actual mileage — 316

Well crap. I knew I was a tad bit off but didn’t think the shortage was quite that big until I sat down and actually added up numbers. I suppose that’s why I made a plan that broke down mileage weekly that I could have, and should have, been looking at on a far more regular basis. Oh well. I suck at this set-in-stone training stuff.

Regardless, I’ve had some kick ass fun trail time! I summitted two 14ers; Pike’s Peak and Bierstadt. I ran two 50ks (race reports to come on those soon. No, really I promise. Soon). I climbed the Manitou Incline. And I explored a bunch of new state parks and trails. Yeah I know. I really wanted to take my Dead Horse training seriously but what’s the point if I don’t enjoy the miles along the way. At least that’s the lame excuse I’m making for myself because I should have enjoyed 164 more miles!

Race day is in just a little more than two weeks. So I guess that means I should be in taper. Which is probably a good thing because I’ve also got a cold and feel like total crap. I won’t lie … I’m kinda’ thinking this thing may turn into a DNF but I’m gonna give it all I got.

Dead Horse Training: Week 2

Two weeks of training done! Like actually done done. Miles hit. No cheating. Well sort of. I swapped Thursday and Friday and a couple miles here and there, but at the end of the week, I had run my planned total of 40. Probably the highest week milage I’ve done since Antelope Canyon 55k in March.

Dead Horse: Week 2 — plan to actual

I’m settling into a little bit of a regular schedule already which is nice. Mondays are awesome to have as a rest day. Tuesdays are a super short run so I tend to do those solo. Wednesdays, my mid-week long, I run with a small group first thing in the morning. We usually do a 6.5 mile loop and I tack on after where needed. Thursdays … so far this is my struggle day (I’m even writing this on a Thursday evening and have yet to run today’s miles) but since rest-day Fridays tend to be less chaotic in my world, I keep it as backup. Saturday long I can usually find group run options and Sundays there’s always someone looking as well.

This past Saturday, however, I had no takers on company. Seemed most everyone around here was running Leadville, crewing Leadville, pacing Leadville or spectating Leadville. With 16 on my day, I decided to get creative and leave from my house in waves. Five miles with Quesa, our bulldog boxer mix. Four miles with Relic, my little man border collie and my daughter Sierra (yup. successfully getting her out there again). Five miles with Ellie, our border mix, and Sierra’s bf Kenzie. And the final two with Hendrix, our non-running, couch potato white swiss shepherd mix. I couldn’t have asked for a better hodge-podge mix of running partners.

Sunday I ventured to new-to-me Roxborough State Park with a couple running friends. There are so many trail options around here I seriously think I could do a different one every weekend. I can’t imagine ever not being in total awe of where I live and run.

14 weeks to Dead Horse.

Dead Horse Training: Week 1

This past week started my official training for the Dead Horse 50 mile. It’s been a long time since I’ve worked off an actual plan and I’ve got to give myself kudos for hitting it pretty damn close. I really wanted to get eight on Sunday but I ran with my kid’s boyfriend and he only wanted five so we compromised. It was either that or run alone and though I’m improving on the self-kicks-in-the-ass, I still prefer company.

Here’s the summary of mileage — planned and actual

And some basic stats:
Tuesday — Evergreen Mountain, 778 feet of elevation gain, 14:52 pace
Wednesday — Elk Meadow, 719 feet of elevation gain, 13:41 pace
Thursday — Flying J, 922 feet of elevation gain, 13:21 pace
Saturday — Lair O’ The Bear, 1,686 feet of elevation gain, 15:12 pace
Sunday — Lair O’ The Bear, 896 feet of elevation gain, 14:12 pace

My pace is super slow these days. Granted I’m running trails that require a fair bit of uphill hiking and most of these runs include a variety of doggie stops (pausing for bikes, poop breaks, etc) but I would like to up the speed a bit. Dead Horse has 4,500 feet and, I think, a 12.5-hour time limit so though there’s no need to be speed racer, I don’t want to even risk not making any of the cut-off points.

And here are some pictures from the week:

And my absolute favorite pic.

This was at Lair O’ The Bear which is one of the many nearby parks. I’ve only run it a handful of times and there’s a side trail that I’ve always wanted to try and I’m so happy we did. We found such an incredible view at the top. Man I love where I live and run.

15 weeks until Dead Horse.

Week 16: It Begins

Guess what I did. I made a training plan for the Dead Horse 50 miler! Yes an actual plan. Like days and weeks and stuff that include how many miles I’m hoping to … I mean I’m planning to … I mean I’m GOING to run! I even registered for a 50k in September to use as a training run.

It’s funny how things change. I used to be ridiculously OCD when it came to training. I followed plans. I avoided certain foods and alcohol, and I certainly never ever shorted the Garmin. #parkinglotlaps But somewhere between road and trail I turned a little type B. I stopped picking clothes and pre-filling the hydration bladder the night before a long run. I drank beer the night before a race. Hell I drank beer mid-race in a few. And I kinda liked it. At least during the “training part”. But come race day I missed goals. I hurt. I failed. And it sucked. So this training stuff is going to be a challenge but I’m ready.

My plan officially started today and I stuck right to it! Good thing day one was a rest day.

Sixteen weeks until Dead Horse. Let the fun begin.

I’ll Tri Again Tomorrow

Well, ready or not (definitely not) the Evergreen Sprint Triathlon is tomorrow. I swam once. I rode once. And I ran — eh — here and there. BOOM! Trained! Ready to rock it. Seriously though … I may die.

Just so I knew exactly what I am getting myself into, I drove the bike course today. With a starting elevation of 7,133 and a 1,536 foot gain, it’s far different from the Florida riding I rarely participated in. I wonder if I’ll be the only idiot walking my bike up the hills.

At least the swim is short and easy, plus it’s wetsuit mandatory for added buoyancy. The last, and not to mention only, time I swam in a wetsuit was the Augusta half iron back in 2012 so I hope it’s not too weird. Best part of this whole race though is that I get to swim in the Evergreen Lake which doesn’t allow swimming any other day of the year. To be totally honest, that was the primary reason I registered for this race. May have been a tad bit smarter for me to consider doing it NEXT year instead of with a mere few weeks notice but I’ve never been the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to going into races unprepared.

I think I have everything

So wish me luck. My kid and her bf will be there as my cheering squad so if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram keep an eye out for updates. And of course, assuming I survive, there will be a race report.

Beating a Dead Horse

I wanted to write this post on my birthday but somehow I got distracted … for two weeks. I figured an annual milestone is always the perfect place to make life goals and adjustments. Actually the only thing I find more asinine and cliche is to do so on New Year’s Eve but at this point I’ll try anything to get my butt back in gear.

I need some accountability. Because apparently I’m not a good enough self-motivator these days. That said there are two things that typically get my ass in gear; sheer embarrassment and an over-achieving race. I know I just registered for the tri in a few weeks but I can fake my way through that one. So, that said, today I registered for a 50-mile race in November and this week I’m starting to actually track mileage. Thankfully my friend Miriam gave me super cute training journal for my birthday! Maybe, I’ll actually even make a training plan (WHAT?! Who am I?).

20 weeks until the Dead Horse 50 in Moab!

contemplating Moab

Tri-ing Again

I can’t remember the last time I did a triathlon. Two. Three years ago maybe. I haven’t been on my road bike since we left Florida … almost a year ago. I’ve been in the pool once … last week. And I’ve been inconsistent at best on the run. Seemed reasonably sane then that I should register for a triathlon that’s a mere three weeks away. Right?

Evergreen Lake is what made me fall in love with this town the first time I stumbled upon it two years ago. It’s a small lake but it’s always full of life. Summertime sees the water covered in paddle boats and SUPs and winter turns it into an outdoor ice skating oasis. The 1.4 mile trail that runs the shoreline is a favorite for dog walkers. Though on the average day you aren’t allowed to swim in it (unless you oops off your paddle board that is), turns out once a year you can … for the Evergreen Sprint Triathlon. How ever could I resist!

It’s a 750 meter swim (wet suit required given the water temps). A 12 mile ride the first seven of which are uphill (ugh). And a three mile run. What could go wrong?

Running Social

Running saved my life. Well not literally but if you are one of the few lingering people who used to read my original MySpace blog (yup MySpace) you know I started running at a time I needed something for me. I was still somewhat newly divorced, with joint custody of my daughter, and desperately trying to figure out who I was if not a wife and full-time mother. I was numbing all my kid-free lonely nights with happy hours, bad dates and vodka. Lots of vodka. And I was getting far too complacent with it all when a friend’s fork in the road led me to the pavement.

Fast forward a decade. I’ve run multiple marathons and ultras. I tried and loved the tri thing and worked my way up to a half Ironman (a full is still bucket list!) I joined running groups and made amazing friends that turned running into happy hours and best of all somewhere on the trails I found me.

When we decided to move to Colorado, I was excited to find a running group and explore what I knew were going to be endless trail options. Running has no doubt become my social existence and it’s a great way to meet new people. But a couple years of not really giving running my all, followed by a last few Florida months of limited trail time led to my westward arrival a tad bit out of shape. And of course we have hills here! That I have to run UP … with almost no oxygen. I knew I needed to get over it but I admit I was embarrassed. Mortified to met up with a group only to have to walk way more than I could run. I got out on my own a few times but I was playing it safe with meadow trails and I really wanted company.

A few weeks ago I put a post on a local trail group looking for someone to help me keep from getting lost! Slowly. I got a lot of “welcome to Colorado” comments and one offer from a girl who lives nearby who was willing to show me some of her favorite local trails. I met up with Sarah a few days later and was thrilled that she didn’t mind humoring my need to hike most of the up hills. Since then we’ve run together a few more times and even got Don and Ellie out there with us one morning!

 

Today Sarah and I met up with the Denver Trail Runners. She’s run with them a couple times and was really eager to run the trails they were running. Though the group introduction was brief and the time it took before 90 percent of the group had left me in their dust even briefer, the run was amaze-balls! Seriously gorgeous. I can’t even begin to explain how much I love it here.

That’s me in the front. And when I say front I mean only in front of the couple people who were nice enough to bring up the rear with me. We were going down hill at this point. I know because I was actually running and not sucking wind trying to get up hill.

And this is me pretending that I’m running up the mountain and actually having fun doing so!

 

I know it will take time before I acclimate to the different environment but I’m done being embarrassed! I may be the caboose for awhile but it’ll definitely be worth it.

Small Town Living

I grew up in Washington, DC. A small city, in many ways, but a city nonetheless. I had museums and monuments. Restaurants and bars (that I started going to way too young I might add). But most of all I had culture. A melting pot mecca of art, humans, music and more.

Moving to Tampa in my early twenties was an adjustment. It was a city but it wasn’t. Downtown after 5 p.m. was a ghost town and the Florida suburban sprawl meant most people just commuted back to their little cookie cutter subdivisions complete with self-contained nightlife. I never felt at home in any of the areas I lived in with the exception of the small town feel of Davis Islands.

I have to admit, the plan to move to a town of 9,000 made me a little nervous. Though I was in love with the beauty of Evergreen from the moment we stumbled upon it last summer, living here was bound to be a tad bit different than I was used to and I secretly kept the mere thirty minute drive to Denver in the back of my mind as emergency escape. We’ve been here right about a month now and it’s been a whirlwind. If I was worried I’d be bored, I was wrong to be. From the abundance of incredible trails to the surprising calendar of town sponsored events, we’ve been pretty much nonstop with no need to go “down the hill” to the big city.

Over the next few days, I’ll be catching up on some tales of what we’ve seen and done. From the Dam Duck Derby to moving the teenager into her CU Denver Dorm I’ve been anything but bored. But first today we’re heading off to the Evergreen Fine Arts Festival for just another beautiful day in small town America.