Scatter my ashes here...

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

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Turkey Trot

We ran the Turkey Trot on Thursday morning. I thought I'd feel bad, I was up for several hours in the middle of the night, which is becoming routine. I even told Dennis around 2 am that I was turning off my alarm and to go to the run without me if I was still sleeping in the morning.

I woke up early anyway, around 6 am. It was cold and gray, and I felt ambivalent about running the race, but I knew it was the only way I was going to run. Otherwise I'd sit around the house like a zombie all day.

I didn't feel too bad. I went out at 7:30 pace and surprisingly managed to hang on to that pace the whole way, finishing in 29:55, just under 30 minutes! I didn't feel my hamstring a bit, but I couldn't accelerate much in the last mile. I thought I slowed down in the middle but I guess I didn't. My 3 mile split was 22:35.

Dennis ran well, he was happy with his run. We talked to a few people but we didn't stick around in the cold. We went home to the girls, made blueberry pancakes and sat in the hot tub. Later I took a nap, and later we went over to Austin and Melissa's for dinner.

We made a big bowl of fruit salad and brought some wine. Melissa cooked an incredible dinner, turkey and everything you could imagine in a Thanksgiving dinner, including homemade ice cream. It was a perfect evening. We talked for a while after dinner and then wrapped everything up early, since both Austin and I had to work Friday.
I think this is the best Thanksgiving wine ever. Merlot Raspberry from Mountain Spirit Winery in Salida.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pink Ice

It's official, winter is here. Ice is a sure sign.

Yesterday I walked out onto Howes street after my 3:00 massage appointment with Cindy and wished I had my camera because the light reflecting on the buildings was perfect for a painting. Driving home I saw the clouds over the foothills and I knew I had to get home to my camera and get over to Riverbend Ponds before sunset.

There was a huge pink cloud to the north over Wyoming and the formations in the clouds to the west had such interesting shapes and textures, I knew that the sunset would be spectacular and I was right.

Ice is already forming on the ponds! It didn't seem that cold to me, but the temperature has been in the 20s in town. I'm sure it's colder out here in the early morning hours.

It's Thanksgiving week. Dennis and I will be running in the downtown Turkey Trot on Thursday morning. We're going over to a friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner. I haven't decided what I'll bring. Whole Foods was a nightmare yesterday when I tried to go in. I changed my mind and I'll try to get over there early this morning to beat the holiday feeding frenzy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Winter is coming soon, the reliable front range wind is back in Fort Collins.

The trees are bare, the grass is dry, and the geese are taking up residence in the marshes, flats and cornfields with their deafening honking noise.
The low sunlight makes all things look slightly yellow this time of year.

Over the past week I've been making an effort to get outside even though I have little energy to move.

I went to Riverbend Ponds, Horsetooth Reservoir, and Dixon Reservoir this week. I only ran a total of about 20 miles for the week.

Exhaustion continues. Thyroid labs were perfect, I've never had labs that came out as good as this. So it has to be something else. I made an appointment with my primary care PA this week, to see if there is something else I can do to get better. I also have another appointment with Cindy, the massage therapist.

Work is a factor, there's no denying that my job takes something out of me that goes deeper than being on my feet for 12 plus hours without a break. Usually it's not this busy, but the past two weeks have been crazy. Last week I had an unusually perceptive student with me who asked, "How do you keep your head straight when you do this work? How do you stay mentally healthy?"

She recognized right away the stresses of our job, the responsibility for people's lives when they are really sick, and the demands of their families, and all the things we have to do at work, long days where we have to multitask our multitasking, and being expected to perform all these simultaneous layers of multitasked tasks without making a mistake, for more than 12 hours at a stretch, often without adequate food, water, breaks, or just a chance to catch our breath and think.

Lately by 5 pm my brain is so fried that I have a hard time sorting through things that require problem solving, and that's not good if you have two plus hours to go and things happen.

Running an ultra is much easier than a busy 12 hour shift at work. People don't believe me when I tell them that, but it's true.

To combat my exhaustion, I'm trying to round out my life again where my focus has been so narrowly centered on running this past year. Doing ordinary things, like this week, when I started cooking again.

I'm going into ATY feeling like whatever happens, happens. I don't know how I'll feel but it will be like a two day camping trip with a lot of fun people.

Over the next few months this blog is going to shift focus, maybe it will be less focused, like my random babbling. There will be assorted subjects like food, thoughts on life in general, and maybe, if I can shift some of my energy that direction, going back to some painting. And I'll be photographing things wherever I go.

For now, there will be whitecaps and cold wind until I restore balance to my life, but there's always something colorful to catch my eye. Life is never boring.

Monday, November 17, 2008

For Sale

I worked four of the last five days and I am exhausted today. It's been busy, and I ran my butt off at work all weekend. I know I would feel so much better if I could just sleep through the night!

I am so tired of waking up sweating and throwing off the covers and then freezing and not being able to go back to sleep for hours. It really sucks on the days when you have to get up for work and can't sleep in. I feel like putting an ad in the paper:

On the bright side, I have 3 days off and the weather is supposed to be awesome, in the 70s tomorrow. I hope to have energy for a good long run, maybe 4 hours on trails. Iris is smiling, she likes the warm weather.

Isabelle isn't smiling right now, she's in trouble for fence fighting with the neighbor's dogs. What else is there to do on a nice day?

Today I ran trails for an hour at the ELC, Prospect Ponds and Riverbend Ponds. The geese were out on the water. I wore shorts again. After my run, I went to get labs drawn for my thyroid, and I was dehydrated! They made a pincushion out of me and almost didn't get enough blood in the little tube!

Now I look like a drug addict, I have so many holes in my arms. I need to remember to drink a lot before I go to get poked next time! I think this happened last time too! That's what 4 busy days of work do to me, I don't have time to drink enough. Or pee. Or eat. I like my job, but when nurses are busy, our job does not allow us to be human.

Sort of puts you in the mood to fence fight...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Under the Night Sky

Lately I haven't been sleeping well but on those work mornings when I happen to be awake at 4 am and I know it's unlikely I'll catch any more ZZZs before I have to get up for work, I go out running. I love running at night, and under the stars and moon.

Sometimes, like last night, I get a treat, seeing the first snow begin to fall!
I woke up and looked outside and told the Buffaloes.

Running in the strong wind of northern Colorado is always a challenge. I love the wind, the way it knocks the breath out of your mouth before you can inhale. Today was one of those days. I ran from the Environmental Learning Center on the trails through Prospect Ponds and then over to Riverbend Ponds. The sky was perfectly clear and there were clouds over the mountains, the wind was howling.

Now all the leaves have fallen off the trees, and when the snow melts it looks like this.

I got a massage last week, Cindy Rice does myofascial release and I think it helped. I was tight throughout my whole back and my left quad, opposite my hamstring. I plan to schedule another appointment after my long run next week.

No running news, I took it easy all week and only did 24 miles, spent some time on the bike trainer listening to CDs to review for an exam I'm studying for, and now I have to work the whole weekend. Next week I hope to be back to "normal" and get some therapeutic adventure running in!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Vegetative State

Last week my physical activity consisted of taking the girls for short walks and whatever distance I covered on my feet at work. I did no running. I'm tired, I needed an easy week anyway after two long runs in 13 days. I've been in a vegetative state.

I can't say I've been feeling bad though. Any low energy feelings I might have had after my Halloween weekend training runs were obliterated with the results of the election on Tuesday! I can't help mentioning it here. President Obama. I keep repeating it, like it hasn't sunk in yet. I wonder what would have happened in the last two elections if we'd had the kind of voter turnout we had this time?

But then, maybe that's what this country needed, to reach a point where the cost of voter apathy was too high. The younger voters made a huge difference. You know something's up when in a college town of 130,000 people, 50,000 of them show up for a rally when Obama comes to town. It was long past time for the country to pull their heads out of the sand, lose the stodgy 1950s Ward and June Cleaver facade mentality and move forward.

Anyway, I look forward to the next 8 years and beyond. I could go on and on about it, but this is a running blog!

Today I ran, real running, for an hour on the trails at the Environmental Learning Center. It was a perfect Fort Collins November day, gray sky, cold air, leafless trees, crunching leaves under my feet, and the deafening sound of geese flying overhead. I always think September and October are my favorite months, but November comes pretty close.

Coming to the realization that I don't have to train too hard from now until Across the Years has helped me accept that a little vegetating is a good thing.

The girls have been setting a good example...

I am no longer in denial that the weather has cooled off and snow is right around the corner. Today I finally put my slick tire on the bike and loaded it on the trainer. I'll be spending a lot of time there this winter.

Speaking of denial, I am getting some body work done tomorrow. I have too long put off finding a massage therapist here in the Fort and relied on occasional massages from Dennis. I've had this nagging hamstring "thing", I guess it is a tear that never completely healed, or I have some scar tissue in there that needs to be softened up, or something. I have no idea. I finally found someone to try after talking with Felix last week. We'll see how it goes.

All I know is that every time I try to run faster than 7 1/2 minute pace I feel my hamstring and I know I need to back off or I'll injure myself worse, and it's been there since last spring. It doesn't bother me until I put in 70 miles or so if I go slow! I need to get the kinks worked out and deal with it like an injury. It almost hurts worse to say the I word!

There I said it. Does that make it real? It doesn't count as an injury if it doesn't stop you from doing what you want to do, right? I can run, pretty much as far as I want to. I just can't run fast.

I decided after my last few Tortoise & Hare runs that I would like to be able to run fast again, and I plan to take a break from long ultras next year to get some speed and running fitness back before my next run at Badwater. I know I need to do two things in order to do that. One is to give my hamstring a chance to completely heal, and the other is to take a real break from running after Across the Years.

I'll spend more time on the bike, maybe I'll swim at 24 Hour Fitness, and maybe do some nordic skiing if we get snow. If I can find my skis.

I am looking forward to going to Arizona for Across the Years. Rodger has done all sorts of changes to the course at Nardini Manor and it will no longer resemble a prison camp on the southeast end of the track. My friend Lynn posted some pictures of the improvements so far, and they look great. I never minded the southeast side, I didn't even mind the oleanders or the narrow curves, but it will give the course a different feel, and will be a nice improvement.

I wish Steph could go with me to Arizona this time but she's taking this year off from ATY and pet sitting for some friends. I'm planning an extra day in Santa Fe to go to some galleries to give my artistcally-deprived brain a treat. And then I'll visit my family while I'm in Scottsdale.

Over the next few weeks I'll run the Turkey Trot, the last Tortoise & Hare of the year, and the annual Fort Collins Running Club Holiday Lights run & potluck, where I'll be doing a short slideshow and presentation of my pictures and stories from Badwater.

In general, I've been feeling better than okay, considering what I've been up to lately. I need to get my thyroid checked again this week to see where things are. If I could get a decent night's sleep for several nights in a row without waking up and being unable to go back to sleep, and getting hot and then cold, it would be awesome. I'd feel fantastic.

I have a feeling that the sleep problems aren't going away too soon. I'm not in denial about this being perimenopausal stuff. I'm not getting older, I'm getting stronger. I plan to be stronger and fitter at 50 than I am now. I wish everyone would think that way, but then I'd be out of work.

Like our new President says, yes, we can!

The Buffaloes agree.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fifty Mile Hangover...T & H 8K at Edora Park

The first Sunday of every month is the Fort Collins Running Club's Tortoise & Hare series of informal races. I try to participate in as many as possible, they are always fun and they're a great way to get a fast workout in. They are usually on the bike paths or quiet streets around town, in a different location and a different distance each month. Afterwards we all go out to breakfast.

I did the 8K this morning at Edora Park. Felix was there! He's been out in California and I haven't seen him since before his bike adventure last summer. I also saw Nick, he's doing great in his running, just placed third in the Steamboat 50 followed by a 10K PR yesterday.

My 8K was not spectacular, I ran 38:04, over three minutes slower than my time last year. I managed to average just about 8 minute pace and ran my second half faster than my first half. I'll take a negative split where I can, but I really don't feel all that great running.

I did 70 miles this week, including my 50 mile run, but I can feel how tired I am. I took the girls out this morning for a quick walk before the T & H.

I woke up way too early, 5:05, that's with the time change. I got to see the morning light on the treetops, and got my cross training in with the girls pulling me everywhere, chasing the squirrels. They are easier to see now that there are few leaves left on the trees.

There's not much I miss about Arizona but one thing I do miss is not changing the clocks. We only have 4 months and then we go back to Daylight Savings Time. Seems kind of pointless.

Speaking of Arizona, I am looking forward to Across the Years, which is now only 8 weeks away! I'm also going to spend at least one extra night in Santa Fe before I drive down to Phoenix, to decompress, and go see some of the galleries. I need a mental break. I think I'll stop there on my way back, too. I found a great little hotel downtown last year.

I stopped in Runner's Roost at the new location this morning and got another pair of shoes, and some new tights for Across the Years. The new store is a lot bigger and they have a great selection of running gear. I like it because it's not so crowded, there's room to move around.

Someone wants my attention. Later...