Scatter my ashes here...

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

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


We thought it would never arrive but it's here.

The cotton is flying, I'm sneezing, and the grass needs mowing. The rock garden we started last fall is full of wildflowers and I'm waiting for all of them to bloom before I decide which ones I want to weed out.

The Buffaloes love summer. So many things to sniff, lick, and smile about.

I have things to smile about too. Change is on the horizon. I can't say much because I don't know the details yet, but I'm very excited that some big exciting things are happening. I'm so happy, dancing in circles, smiling so wide I can barely keep the duct tape on my face.

Sometimes change is slower than we want but there's a good reason. I'm trying to be patient this week.

I went for a 30 mile run with Cat this morning. We ran down into Loveland, past downtown, and turned around. We got covered with bugs on the bike path section at Boyd Lake, but it was a nice morning and we felt good. We stuck maple seeds on our noses and caught up about her trip to Spain.

Last week I had a great running week. I did some rock repeats, got sore from that, since I haven't been doing much on hills because the Keys 100 was such a flat run. Now I have to gear up for the hills at Lean Horse and it means tougher runs. I did some pickups to get my leg turnover going again. So far this week has been good too.

I've been in the sauna, which has been repaired, now it's extra hot. When I first came back from the Keys it was not even warm in there. When it's extra hot I don't have to spend so much time in it and other people spend even less time there so I get more time to myself. I am headed to Death Valley in less than three weeks for Badwater as a medical volunteer again, and I hear it's been warm...119 degrees is what I've seen so far. I'm stopping in Phoenix for a couple of days before that to visit my dad and stepmom.

I spoke several times in the past few weeks about my running and raising funds and awareness of the need for cancer-related services in the community. We got a good turnout at the hospital where I work.

I need a new MP3 player. I don't like the design of ipods. I prefer my old AAA battery powered MP3 player, it's durable and easy to use. I have a 2 GB Creative Zen Nano from several years ago and it's worked well, but it's full to capacity and when my old laptop died, the software was not compatible with our newer laptop.

I found one that I like except the battery is rechargable. It's supposed to last 32 hours. The problem with that is I run longer than that and I don't always have access to electricity.

Solution: Get two of them, they're inexpensive and I can double up my tunes. It's 16 GB so I won't run out of space. I have almost my whole music collection on my current MP3.

The other problem is finding a way to clip the new MP3 on my clothing. My old Zen Nano has the perfect clip but the new one is a different size and doesn't come with a clip. Also, I am concerned about waterproofing and heat exposure with the new MP3. What if the battery doesn't work in 130 plus degree temperatures? My old MP3 worked fine in Death Valley. But will the new one work?

As I'm talking to the runners at Badwater this year I'll have to see what everyone is doing for their music. Then I'll invest in something that will carry me through Across the Years and, I'm hoping, next year's run at Badwater again!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Some days are just not meant to work out the way you plan them. Maybe I should have listened to myself. After last year I said I wasn't going to run the Estes Park Marathon this year. I needed a year off from it, run a race too many times and it can get old.

I might have jinxed myself too. A few weeks ago my friend Heidi who lives in Tucson wrote me after the Keys 100 and I told her humidity is my friend. 87 degrees and humid is one thing. I didn't mean humidity and 45 degrees.

The weather forecast for the weekend was looking dismal, which turned into abysmal. Dennis is out of town for the weekend. I couldn't fall asleep Saturday night and then woke up at 2 am, was awake for a while, then finally fell asleep sometime before the alarm woke me up Sunday morning at 4:00.

I hit the snooze for 5 minutes, and when it went off again, Iris rolled over against me, exposing her belly, and started making her big baby whining noise that she does sometimes in the morning when she's not getting enough attention. Isabelle pounced on me and licked my face. I was so groggy I could have fallen asleep again but I made myself get up.

Don't wanna!

The girls were not happy. I made coffee and went downstairs to check the weather forecast and looked out the window at the steady rain. Maybe if I was lucky it wouldn't be raining so hard in Estes Park. All I really cared about was that it wasn't going to become a raging flood down the canyon when I had to drive home afterwards.

The forecast was for thunderstorms all day long in Estes, high in the 40s. Fantastic. By the time I got ready to leave the house at 5 it was a steady mist. Not too cold, but 2000 feet higher might make a difference.

Driving up Big Thompson Canyon the water was so high that some of the front yards of the houses along the river were close to being flooded.

The rain was pounding down for the whole hour before the start, I sat in my car after I picked up my race packet and waited, trying to decide how much clothing to take.

The race packets had these foldable plastic cups that we were supposed to use in order to have a "green" event, no paper cups. It was called the Hydrapouch. You're supposed to fill your little cup at the aid station out of these special dispensers.

My first thought about aid stations is the nasty bugs that can be spread around by people not being conscientious about how they fill the mouthpiece on their water containers. It sort of grosses me out...

What if they have Epstein Barr? Or herpes? Or something else contagious?

When it came down to race time, I noticed how many of the hydrapouches I was seeing on the road. Were people just tossing them? Then I realized why- mine flopped off of my waist band twice within a mile. The clip that held it on the waistpack was flimsy.

By mile 2 I wasn't warmed up yet, and I was starting to worry that I didn't have enough warm layers on. I had my long sleeved shirt under my rain jacket, a hat, gloves, headband, and my medium weight drylete tights. My feet were soaked through by 1/2 mile from the puddles and runoff in every intersection.

My hands were freezing and I could barely pull the thing off my waistband and squeeze it open to fill it. I ended up with gatorade all up my sleeve, and I was already soaking wet and trying to stay warm. I think I let out a few expletives at the second aid station when I soaked my gloves that I had finally managed to pull over my frozen hands. The aid station volunteer told me that was the general consensus of the runners.

The Hydrapouch sucked.

Someone will come up with a better design. Not me. I like my trusty old inconvenient screw-top water bottle. I reserve the right to be a fossil, I've been doing this long enough.

The rain seemed like it was letting up around 5 miles but then by 9 miles it was a downpour again. I am too well-adapted to the heat, I guess. I was getting almost warm going up the hills, and freezing my butt off going down, even though I tried to run faster.

My hands were frozen the whole time and my rain jacket was soaked through, all the way to my skin. Time for a new rain jacket. I had tights and a headband on and my legs and ears were warm, but I was cold everywhere else.

I kept thinking I'd make a detour off the course and go to my car and get my marmot rain jacket, my big bulky winter outer layer, that was in the car. I knew I'd have to add about 2 miles in order to make that happen. No big deal, because I was only out for a training run, and it didn't matter how long it took me to finish. Except I was feeling crappy- I had a bad headache above my left eye and my nose was running. It felt like my sinuses and head were going to explode.

Finally around 10 miles, I stopped for a bathroom break and when I went back out in the downpour, I decided it was enough. I wanted to find the quickest way to the car, drop off my chip, and go home. I wanted to be with the Buffaloes and I didn't feel like running in the rain for another 3 or 4 hours, which was what it was going to take at that point. I was cold and soaking wet and I really didn't care if I stuck it out.

I asked one of the course marshalls near the bike path by Lake Estes what was the quickest way back to the high school. Sometimes it's not worth it. I could not care less, really. I was NITM, NOT IN THE MOOD and I didn't care if I DWFed, DON'T WANNA FINISH.

So I ran to the high school track, dropped off my timing chip, and drove back to Fort Collins in the driving rain. I could barely dig the key out of my pocket and open the car door lock, my hands were so numb. It took until I got to Loveland before I could feel my hands. I figure I got 12 miles of running in for the day. Not much of a long run, but at least it's something. I figured maybe if I got a nap I could go out for another 14 or so on the bike path and call it good.

I came home to big smiles and wiggles from the Buffaloes, and I heated up some soup, took a shower, and then was thinking about a nap. I went into the bedroom and started to climb between the sheets and SURPRISE!

Mud, gritty dirt, wet grass, wet pawprints, all over the bed. It looked like they had a party while I was gone. Like they dug under the covers and got it as muddy as they possibly could. Was it revenge?

I knew I should have stayed in bed this morning. Now I have extra laundry to do. And it's still raining. At least it's not snowing.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Houska Houska!

Memorial Day in Fort Collins would not be complete without the Houska Houska 5k, the best Memorial Day running event ever.

Down the road is the Bolder Boulder 10K, but 50,000 people don't know what they're missing. You can't get root beer floats, bloody marys, poker hands, popcorn, cotton candy, face painting and petting zoos for the kids, or costume contests and live music for everyone in Boulder on Memorial Day. And you would miss out on an opportunity to raise money for PVH Cancer Center and the Bone Marrow Donor Program.

The Houska Houska starts on Riverside Ave. in the grassy area next to the railroad tracks, across the street from Houska Automotive, owned by Dennis & Noreen Houska, who started this event. Dennis Houska is a bone marrow donor, among his many other contributions to the bone marrow program, the PVH Foundation, and the community.

It's a low-key event and every year there is a slightly different theme, this year's was "Full House" where runners were dealt a poker hand at five different points during the race, and the runner with the best hand won the event.

The race is attended by runners, walkers, dogs, people on roller blades, scooters, baby joggers, and some other creative modes of transportation.

I am two weeks beyond my Keys 100 race and I felt pretty good in the 5K. I didn't push hard but I do feel recovered. I'm looking forward to summer.

I'm signed up to run the Estes Park Marathon in 2 weeks, I'm running the Leadville Marathon which goes up to 13,000 feet on July 3, and the following week I go out to Badwater to be a medical volunteer at the race again this year, with a visit to Phoenix to see my dad and stepmom on the way out to Las Vegas. At the end of August I plan to run the Lean Horse Hundred.

An occasional 5K or short race is good for a little speedwork and fun, to re-connect with the local running community. Members of the local running clubs also attend the Houska Houska. This year I saw Jance and Tom from the Fort Collins Running Club, Morgan and Melinda finishing together, Steve Cathcart from Runner's Roost, Dave Cranor, local physician and runner.

Dennis was there too, but he couldn't run because he has a calf injury, so he had a Bloody Mary instead. The Bloody Marys at Houska Houska are rumored to be the best. I don't drink them, but that's what I've heard. I had the root beer float instead.

The girls are getting re-adjusted to us being back from the Keys. We got a sea
turtle for Isabelle and she uses it as a pillow. Iris has a leopard shark and a gator that squeaks.

After the Houska Houska Dennis and I went out to get a new pool for the girls, so they can cool off after their morning run.

It seemed like it was never going to happen this year, but summer is finally here. It was 109 in Death Valley on Memorial Day! Only 6 weeks until I get to go out to Badwater again!