Scatter my ashes here...

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

Monday, June 29, 2009

What I do when I'm not running

I took two weeks off after the Estes Park Marathon. I didn't run at all except for a couple of miles with the girls. I've been riding my bike, and I logged 138 miles on the bike in the past week. Finally got out and ran 13 miles up Redstone Canyon with Cat and a few others on Sunday, and my legs felt the same. I wouldn't have gone out to run if I didn't have other people to run with.

I'm not having any trouble motivating myself to get out and ride 2 hours every day. It's the running I can't seem to force myself to do, so I don't force it. I think I need more time off than two weeks. I'm enjoying the bike, and I do want to build up to doing a century ride one of these days. I have a few rides I want to do this summer, like riding to Wyoming, doing the Rist Canyon/Flowers Road/Pennock Pass loop, and riding up to Estes Park. The hardest part about riding is my butt. It gets so sore. I probably should invest in a better seat on my bike.

The other night I went over to Riverbend Ponds dressed like the Radon Lady to protect myself from the bugs, and took pictures of what I knew would turn out to be an awesome sunset. I was not disappointed.
Longs Peak looks gigantic in the background here. It's about 50 miles away and 9000 feet above Riverbend Ponds, where I took the picture.

I've been going to the sauna to get ready for Death Valley. Only 12 days until I leave! I can't wait to get out there!

And the other thing I've been up to, now that my workouts are down to no more than 2 1/2 hours a day, is painting. I've been consistently painting again and it's like starting from scratch some days, but I'm enjoying it and I have actually painted a few things that look good! It will take a while to get back to painting in details, but I will get there. I started a website and once I have some paintings done, I will start selling things again.

It will be interesting to see how I feel after going to Badwater this summer, if it gets me charged up to train again. I'm thinking it will be 2011 at the rate I'm going, before I go back to run it again. And I've decided on my age 50 goal. More about that in a future post.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sharpei'd Part 2: Words of Wisdom

This morning I went to the sauna, looking at this for 30-plus minutes was a good, mindless way to start what could be a long week. I have to be at work for at least 4, probably 5 of the next 5 days.

I did go for a bike ride yesterday, narrowly avoiding a tornado and hailstorm. This morning I went for another bike ride, down toward Loveland, and no funnel clouds on the horizon, but as I got home, there were some dark-looking clouds settling in for more afternoon fun. If we have any leaves left on the trees after the next hailstorm, we'll be lucky.

I was in touch with my friend Keith (a.k.a.Towanda Frates) this morning, she would have loved our conversation on aging after the marathon the other day. She offered these words of wisdom, which I am going to quote:

"Speaking of profound thoughts on aging, it occurs to me that everytime I say something about getting old to someone who is 10 yrs. older than I, they always say,"You're just a baby!" In the sense that I'm still young and they should know since they have something to compare it to. In conclusion, always remember that in 10 yrs. you're gonna wish you felt like you do now, which apparently is fresh as a daisy and spring chicken-like."
- Towanda Frates

Monday, June 15, 2009


Here I am finishing the Estes Park marathon, with lousy form, after suffering through the second half of yet another one of these things I said I wouldn't do until the second half of this year. I've already run 4 marathon-length races this year and haven't felt good at one of them.

Katy and I drove up together. We saw Wayne and his friend Al at the start. Al and Wayne are from New Jersey. Katy ended up running the whole marathon with Wayne. Al was close to me at times early in the race, but I slowed way down in the second half. Dennis drove up later and watched us all finish.

With Wayne's help, I invented a new word. Sharpei'd. Middle-aged male runners, I feel your pain. It's like getting chicked, except by someone older than you, with a lot of wrinkles. Wayne was celebrating his upcoming 50th birthday this week and said he's in a new age group, the Sharpei group. That's what I'll be in next, now that I'm halfway through the Geezer Lite age group.

I was probably in the top 5 women while my legs were still fresh, and then in the last 8 miles I got passed multiple times. My butt got sharpei'd. By a woman with WAY more wrinkles than I have!

Usuaully I feel great coming down from Devil's Gulch on the McGregor Ranch side of the final loop. This time I had nothing left, I was mostly walking. At one point I looked to my right as I heard another person flying past me, and all I could see were wrinkly arms. Old lady arms. Much older than mine. Passed me like I was standing still.

I love this run, I would do it anyway even if I ran nothing else during the year, it's close to home and the scenery can't be beat. I am an idiot for running it without my camera, but I was trying to run fast. I wanted to.

The truth is, I ran a great first half. I am not used to running fast for a long time, in long ultras I don't do that, and my recent training has consisted of only two 10 mile runs where I ran fast for that distance. I'm not surprised I pooped out after 15 in Estes. But I felt great until my legs died!
Wayne and Katy finishing on the track.

Coming up the last hill before the finish. I was running with a younger ultrarunner from Denver. She is not the one who Sharpei'd me. We finished together, so I guess by ultra standards, I sharpei'd her!

Sitting on the grass after we all finished, we talked about how getting old is not pretty, it's not for those who are weak or vain. Wrinkles, hairs that grow in places you didn't know could grow hair, increasing girth around your waist, gray hairs or hair falling out, slowing down, jiggling skin that you can see when you look down at your legs...DON'T LOOK DOWN!

Sitting on the grass afterwards, Wayne's tongue still hanging out, and he's not even in the Sharpei division yet!

Katy on the grass after the finish.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Anniversary Weekend

For our anniversary, we decided to go to the cabin for a long weekend. The weather has not been great lately, it's been wet and cold most of the spring, and the weekends have been rainy since March. Last year we didn't go up to the cabin much at all, I was busy training for Badwater and Dennis was busy with work. This year we want to spend a lot more time up there.

We found the Schaeffer cabin 5 years ago, when we were still living in Arizona. It has a interesting history as an old miners' cabin, originally built in 1932 and was located 3 miles up the creek from where it is now, in the townsite of Como. It was moved in 1954 and sits on two lots in town. From the front door it looks out over South Park, and on the north side of the cabin, the mountains between Como and Breckenridge including almost-14er Mt. Silverheels.

As soon as we opened the front door, the girls ran in and Iris found her favorite toy, the pink "WAHOO!" ball. The girls chased each other around the yard and through the field iris that line the front walkway. We've never been there before at the peak of the iris blooming.

No night in the mountains is complete without a thunderstorm, and it also happened to be a full moon.

The next morning, I took Iris up to the bristlecone forest on the slopes of Silverheels. Isabelle stayed at the cabin with her dad, she hurt her paw last week and was still taking it easy. By Sunday she was hiking and walking normally.

After our hike I walked around town, taking pictures, since it's been a while. One of the more interesting houses in town is the old brothel.

Como, the main street with the post office and mercantile. The Como Depot, now a restaurant and B & B, can be seen in the background.

More scenes in town.

A thunderstorm was building Saturday afternoon. All day Dennis was working on the logs and clearing some of the bushes that grow up around the cabin. He also primed the trim on the cabin so we can paint it this summer.

Looking north from the cabin, the historic marker is on the northeast corner of the logs.

Taking a break with dad.

The girls are always looking for ways to keep busy. So many things to sniff.

Iris kept a close eye on the grill.

The little red building next to the cemetery.

The old buildings in Como up the hill from the cabin.

More old houses.

It's always hard to leave. But we'll be back soon.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Where have I been?

If anyone wants to know why I have not answered my emails, it's because I've been here.

With these.

Watching this.

More details later...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rainy Day Thoughts

This morning the birds woke me up when it was still dark. There wasn't even light in the sky, and we had most of the windows closed because it was supposed to get down into the 40s with rain overnight. It was 4:00 am and it was pouring rain, and the birds were screaming like it was the first day of spring.

I couldn't motivate myself this morning to run in the cold rain and I can't force myself now, 7 hours later. I did go to the sauna this morning, but that's all. I've been tweaking some of my art stuff, I'm in the process of building a website for my new paintings.

I heard from Nick, who is tapering for Bighorn. He was worried that he's going to gain enough weight during his taper to affect his performance, and there's always the fear of things falling apart. I've had my own taper mishaps so I can empathize with him.

But I told Nick, the best thing he can do in the next few weeks is to avoid thinking. Those thoughts and second guesses about race preparation will weigh a runner down more than any food they can eat in the two or three weeks leading up to a race.

All this advice comes from Iris, who is full of good ideas today.

It is true that thoughts can weigh us down more than any physical weight. I try to cast all that heavy stuff off. When I find myself overthinking something, it's a waste of energy and time. So many better things you could do instead of obsessing about something, which is usually something you can't do anything about.

Running can get you thinking about things but instead of drawing the bad, obsessive thoughts out, it helps me put things in perspective. Then I'm able to let go of whatever was dragging me down and occupying all that space in my brain.

I know I could get myself out the door today, but I might not and I'm not going to worry about it. It's not going to make any difference in how I run in 12 days at the Estes Park Marathon. The only people who might care are the Buffaloes, but even Iris is a fair weather dog. When it rains, she wants to be inside. Good idea.