Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Back From The Whirlwind!

I don't remember the last time I took a whole week away from blogging. This week was a whirlwind and I was so busy, I just didn't have time to sit down to write a blogpost. But it's been a good busy whirlwind!

I survived last weekend's Prairie Dog Torture Fest, but I was exhausted until the middle of the week. I didn't even run until Wednesday and then only about 6 miles. I needed a ton of sleep and my legs hurt.

I think I was just tired and a little stressed from trying to finish up preparing for my health coach exam, and my body is still not sure what it's doing when it comes to training.

On Tuesday morning I went over to the local community college to take my health coach exam in a proctored setting. It's for the ACE certification, American Council on Exercise, which is one of just a few reputable organizations out there. I heard there was a very low pass rate for this exam.

It was 150 questions and I had 3 hours to do it, and I used up a good portion of that time! It was tough, but I passed and I was so relieved. I have taken a lot of these computer based tests over the past 8 years, the NCLEX to get my nursing license, two nursing certifications in Critical Care and Oncology, and the ACE exam, so far. I don't like those tests, I have a hard time sitting still for that long.

It's expensive to keep up these certifications with all the continuing education you have to do, but I like it, it keeps me current because there's always new research, especially in cancer, you can hardly keep up with it from day to day!

I have one more to take when I'm done studying for my certification as a Cancer Exercise Trainer. That's through ACSM, American College of Sports Medicine, and it's been a good 25 years since I was in school studying exercise physiology and ten years since I was a personal trainer, so I have a bit of catching up to do.

Of course a celebration was in order. I am limiting myself to one beer a week. It's working. I am now down to 122 pounds, that's 10 pounds of nursing and stress fat that I have lost so far. Another 5 and I'll be happy. But the beer deserves a mention, because in my beer taper, I was craving an Isolation Ale, and when I went to the liquor store, they were out! It's a seasonal beer and it won't come back until next winter. Bummer.

I decided to give this spring beer from New Belgium a shot. Spring Blonde, it's called. It was good. It's more like a lager but has a citrusy flavor too. It would be a good beer to drink on a hot day. Unfortunately hot days are few and far between, as we got another cold snap with snow and ice at mid-week. Just in time for a visit from Florida. Hung, a runner from Orlando, whom I know from Badwater and North Coast, was coming to visit.

Hung and I ran together a bit all day and through the middle of the night last year in the howling wind and cold along Lake Erie, and he contacted me to tell me he was coming to Colorado. I offered to show him around Fort Collins, he was visiting friends in Longmont, Denver, and Greeley too, with the idea of moving to Colorado at least temporarily. He wanted to check out the area.

It wasn't exactly an ideal day for running. We ended up going out for lunch and I showed him around town, and then we drove up to Horsetooth Reservoir so he could see where the trails were, 9 degrees with who knows what kind of wind chill was a bit much for a Floridian!

I also attended a fascinating and entertaining lecture at the university by one of the Veterinary Oncologists there, about where we are with animal research and how it is applied to benefit humans. After the lecture I stuck around for the reception and talked to about a dozen people I've known through my time at the hospital, colleagues, patients, and people in the community, it was nice to see all of them.

Funny, none of my former coworkers or bosses were there. They must be too exhausted from dealing with all the B.S. to have time to attend an event that's relevant to what they are supposed to be doing.

I had a bit more energy by late in the week but couldn't motivate myself to do any real hill or speed-like workouts. And here it is Sunday.

I was originally going to run the Frost Giant 5K today up in Estes Park, but I felt like an easy 20 miler might be better for my body. I think I made a wise choice.

I've run a few times now with Emma and when we ran together on Friday she told me that a group was meeting up at Redstone Canyon on Sunday morning. That sounded perfect for me, Redstone Canyon is only a 13 mile out and back, but I could add on by running in several directions.

I felt good on the run. I wasn't pushing the pace, but I could definitely feel a difference both uphill and downhill, I am carrying less weight. I ended up running twenty miles about a minute per mile faster than my last flat twenty miler about a month ago.

Redstone Canyon is southwest of Fort Collins. It's about a 13 mile out and back up this county road that passes through some beautiful scenery: rocks, cliffs, desert-like vegetation along with juniper, ponderosa pines, and cottonwoods along the creeks. It also gives close-up views of the west side of Horsetooth Rock.
I rarely run there anymore. I used to run Redstone Canyon all the time, before we moved to Arizona. I forgot what a challenging run it is. It's just not very long.

I got up there early so I could get a few of my extra miles in. I first ran up to the Horsetooth Mountain Park trailhead, which is on the road and climbs a good steady hill. I headed back down when I got a text from Emma that she was on her way with the others. When I got back to my car there was a large group of people assembled at the road, from Emma's group.

I hung back with Emma and a couple of other women and took a lot of pictures until they turned around. I got up to the end of the county road where there is a gate that blocks you from proceeding along the road, and started heading back down. I was surprised to be moving as fast as I was. I felt good, but I ran out of water on the way down.

I got back to the bottom of the road, got more water out of my car, drank a little, and took off back up the Redstone Canyon road to finish my last 3 or so miles to get 20. I probably got about 900 or 1000 feet of vertical in each direction, so while it wasn't a lot of climbing, there are some pretty good hills in there.

It took me three hours and 20 minutes, and my last 20 miler took about 20 minutes longer. I feel like I'm making progress.

I have two weeks until the Pemberton 50K. I haven't been doing a lot of miles or long runs, certainly don't have anything resembling leg speed, but last year I ran it in just over 5 hours. I was doing a lot more miles at the time, but I did weigh a bit more. I'm curious to see what happens this year.
Oh yeah, how silly of me, almost forgot to mention, the Broncos are going to the Superbowl. The girls are excited.


MJ said...

I'm very interested to hear that there's a Cancer Exercise Trainer cert program - I think that's a hugely needed specialty! (IMHO as a cancer survivor w/family & friends who are too) Hope you write more about it.

Congrats on all your recent positive changes, wishing you the best on your new path/journey!

Alene Gone Bad said...

Thanks for your comment, MJ! I will write more about it in the coming weeks and months. I'm very excited to be free to pursue this, yes it is extremely needed!! I'm glad to hear that you are on the other side of that experience, wishing you continued good health and happiness!