Scatter my ashes here...

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

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ready to Blow Out Some Carbon!

I have safely arrived at my taper, having done my last real run this morning, a 12 miler.

I also feel like someone lifted a 100 pound weight off of me.

First thing this morning, I met with some friends from work to do a video to promote a community wellness project. It was early and I didn't expect to be asked to be part of the video, and I was toast from not sleeeping much all week, and I hadn't prepared anything. I was unable to get any spontaneous words out. So Nikki told me what to say and I said it. That's what friends are for. We had fun though. I can't wait to see the video after she edits it. It will be on You Tube, so I'll share the link on this blog soon.

Afterwards, I met with Eric from work, and we did 12 miles together. He is running the Colorado Marathon next week when I'm running the Cornbelt 24 Hour. Eric and I tried to hook up for a run two weeks ago but my schedule got thrown off and we missed each other. Then the past week was a whirlwind for both of us, as it's a mutual friend we are both close to who suffered the loss.

Eric and I had a great talk during our run and it helped me realize that I'm not alone in my grief response to the events of the past week. Eric sounded equally affected. I think sharing our feelings on the run was helpful for both of us. It always helps to know you're not alone.

Afterwards we had lunch and talked about happier things, so when I got home, I was feeling relieved and ready to tackle the things I've been putting off all week, like going to the grocery store. I took the girls for a walk, and felt such a sense of lightness and peace.

Now I feel like I'm able to taper both physically and emotionally, and get back on track. For 24 hours! I'm on the BIG taper, a 3 week taper. After being at 80 miles, last week I ran 56 miles, this week I've run 33 miles, and I expect to take this weekend off as it's my work weekend. Next week I'll shake out the legs briefly on a few days during the week, and call it good.

I have to dig all my stuff out of the garage so I can organize my table, tent, cooler, supplies, and everything I'll need for the race. I need to de-worm myself, to avoid any taper worms that might be slithering around. No walking around in the dark, no tripping over dogs, etc.

I am finding myself looking soooo forward to running a race. I want to push myself mentally and physically, and come away with a big PR. I also hope I have some competition to push me beyond where I would push myself.

Bring it ON!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Getting Back to My Happy Place

I ran a big 2.3 miles this afternoon. But it was the most relaxing and necessary run of the week, wrapping up a lot of emotion and a fitting way to close out the business of my day. After my run, I felt like I could melt into the floor. I finally took a nap, and was able to just close my eyes and sleep.

This morning was Ornella's funeral. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but for me it was a calming, reassuring way to bring closure to an important chapter of my life in a peaceful way. The chapter closing doesn't mean the book is over, though.

I'm not going into a lot of details here, but Ornella was, still is, and always will be a huge part of my inspiration to run Badwater, along with other ultras, and raise funds for the Cancer Center here. Ornella was married to my friend Troy. She fought ovarian cancer for 10 years, all the way to the end, and I've never seen anyone with a tougher spirit than her. She left behind a beautiful family and a legacy of love and kindness.

When I crossed Death Valley in 2008, and in my double crossing in 2011, I carried Ornella in my heart. I thought of the desert crossings as a metaphor for her struggles. One of these days I'll write a more detailed blogpost about that story.

After an emotional week, lots of intermittent meltdowns and not much sleep, I feel like I can now return to the business of my life. I need to start getting organized for my race next week.

Tomorrow I start out the day with a video session, with two runners I know who inspire me, and then I work the weekend. After my weekend I start an 11 day break from work that couldn't have possibly come at a better time. I have lots of exciting stuff planned in the next few months, including my race, the Double Mick, and being on the medical team at Badwater again. I'm also getting started on some new projects at work, related to community health, that will keep me busy.

I feel like I'm getting back to my happy place.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thought for the Night...


Gone Surfing...

I've been taking a little breather. I haven't had much energy for posting the past week.

I'm running, and tapering, and I've just been through an experience that has sort of knocked me for a loop, a complicated loss involving someone who has touched my life in more ways than I ever comprehended, and grief hits you in strange ways.

Running has been my solace, I feel best when I get out for a gentle run and I'm able to process the feelings and thoughts without having to work at it. They just roll through and over me like big waves at the beach, sort of like I'm surfing through my run, and I try not to sob and run because hyperventilating is not a good thing! I'm trying not to drown in the salt water tears at times. At least there are no sharks or crocodiles.

I am taking good care of myself in all ways and I am also looking forward to some emotional closure after her funeral, which is this Thursday.

I'll be back to my happy place soon. I have so many exciting things to look forward to, my race next weekend in Iowa, and my Double Mick run, and I just got word from Dale that he is on board to crew for Ed and I the whole way! It's going to be a blast! I only have 3 more days of work during this week and then I get 11 days off, which couldn't have come at a more necessary time. I'm looking forward to riding happier waves in the near future.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


I got into some scrub pants I haven't worn in a while because they were a little on the tight side, and suddenly, they fit!!!

I'm a little embarrassed to admit all this but I am sure I'm not the only one who has done this before.

I got on the scale. 123 pounds! I haven't checked in a few weeks, so now I'm officially down 7 pounds from my high of 130 earlier this year. I think it will take about another 5 and I should be good. I was wondering why I'm feeling so much smoother and better running a little faster pace. I wonder if my body will let go of it? I haven't been below 120 pounds since 2007!

I must have hit the magic level with my thyroid. I've been really working hard this spring to watch what I eat, and cut my portion sizes, and avoid sugar, too many carbs, and too much fat. Until I get to a certain point, I don't lose weight no matter what I do, no matter how much I watch what I eat, or how many miles I put in.

I've been able to pick up the intensity somewhat in my workouts lately and I'm sure that helps, too. Now I'm starting to wonder if carrying the extra weight makes it so hard to run fast enough that I can't get a weight loss benefit out of it? Or is it that being too hypothyroid makes me too tired and sluggish to run faster? I don't know what combination of things is working, but I'm going to keep at it. Four months of doing strides probably helps, along with doing the tempo runs recently.

I need to go get my thyroid checked before my race to see where I am, I am curious. Plus I don't want to go into hyperthyroid land, tremors, mood swings, and heat intolerance are not fun.

So this got me excited. I spent a little time looking at my body in the mirror, something which I avoid because it depresses me, plus I have to stand on the coffee table in the living room in plain view of my neighbors if I want to see my whole body in a mirror in our house. I felt like I was posing for before and after pictures, like P90X. Embarrassing.

Here's the report: I saw my deltoids with a little definition, something I haven't seen in years. My ribs are still mostly hidden under the fat on my torso, but they are slightly more visible than before. I have definitely lost a good portion of the mountain bike tire belly. All this at the same time I've been having a few days where I felt like my appetite was heading into the uncontrollable range.

Right now I am heading into a taper before my upcoming 24 hour race, but I am looking forward to testing this leaner version of my body on the track during an ultra.

Yesterday morning I did a quick, short track workout which consisted of a 1.5 mile run. I did it 10:29, with faster splits on each of the 3 continuous 800s (3:37, 3:30, 3:22). I got a true mile and a half, added the extra 14 meters. I did it as a comparison from the same thing I did early this year, which was over 11 minutes. Hey, 10:29 isn't blazing fast, but according to my calculator, it counts as sub-7 minute pace average by less than one second, and 6:59.3 is faster than 7 minutes, in my book.

If the pace has a 6 in front of it, sounds good, I'll take it!

It fits!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


The world lost a beautiful, strong, inspirational woman today, with a spirit bigger than a warm spring evening with lilacs blooming, when the late daylight shines through the canopy of baby green leaves shimmering in the breeze.

Love is really all that matters, how you touch people in life, and how you make a positive impact on other people's lives, is what will be remembered.

I wish for everyone that they are surrounded by as much love and peace, when they make their exit from the world we know.

Thank you, Ornella, for the love you gave this world, that will live on in everyone you touched. Rest in love and peace.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Good Pain

I can feel my legs. Ouch. Today I was still sore from the 3 Rock Repeats on Sunday, and I had my 10 mile tempo run coming up tonight with Shannon, so I went out this morning to do a couple of miles super easy to shake out my legs and get rid of some of the soreness. Or so I hoped.

As we headed out for our 10 miler tonight, I could feel my quads, but it wasn't bad. We started out at about 8:30 pace and kept increasing, hit a 7:57 on the third mile, and kept on going at a good 8:10 clip on the dirt road section. When we reached our turnaround at 5 miles, I was at about an 8:10 average pace. My legs were burning and we stopped briefly before turning around.

About a mile into the return, I could feel my quads getting progressively more sore and burning, and right around the 6 mile mark of the run, it was like someone locked them up. They were jelly on toast. I told Shannon I wanted to try walking it off for a few yards and then starting up again at the place where we stopped. I did that, and was able to continue, but at a slower pace. I was still sub-9.

A mile and a half later, at the top of the hill, I needed another walk off the burn break. Then we ran back to where we started. Not bad. In 10.6 miles, I got 6 miles at a little over 8 minute pace, and then managed to maintain sub 9s until the last mile, which was 9:12. Not the worst workout ever.

I was telling Shannon during the run that it's good to feel my legs like this, it's been a long time since they've hurt in this way. I never push myself hard enough to get anywhere near this point, not anymore, since I have been doing slow running for the past 5 years. It's a reminder that I'm working hard, and it will pay off.

But my quads burn like hell, even now, two hours after the run. I ate some extra carbs thinking it might help my recovery, in addition to some protein. I am hurting, but it's a good pain. Once this week is over, I'm doing a real taper. Only 17 days to my race! WooHoo!

Work Hangover Wednesday: Running In My Own Shoes

Running (or walking, as the proverb goes) a mile in someone else's shoes, you can never exactly retrace their steps or footprints, because only one person truly fits in their own shoes. So I run in my own.

Yesterday I got a chance to say goodbye to someone who inspired me, sort of indirectly, but in a very profound way that has impacted my running over the past 5+ years, and going forward. I know this isn't going to make a lot of sense but it's one of those days when I just have to vent on things that happen, and I can't share details. I can only share the emotions and what it means to me.

She has no idea how much her experience has affected me. She doesn't need to know, and I don't feel the need to tell her, because she hardly knew me at all in life. The family she will leave behind understands, and that's more important in this case.

Why am I talking about death in a running blog? Because it's part of my life, everyone else's life, and everyone's running. Even if you're a runner, you're going to die eventually, just like non-runners. And I hope you'll have lived a good deal healthier and more enjoyable life into your older years than most non-runners.

Death is part of what I do. I deal with it in some way almost every day at work, but we're all on the continuum of life and death all the time. They are one and the same, but how you experience it depends on your perspective. You can choose to be dying, or you can choose to be living, regardless of your state of health, attitude, and approach.

I see a lot of people who are dying, and most of the time, they're not the ones with cancer. I take care of a lot of patients who are being treated for infections and wounds as a result of their own self-neglect. Some of them are trying to die, more consciously than not. I can think of a lot quicker and less painful ways to do it.

Don't get me wrong, many, if not most, of the patients I see are nowhere near death. They will probably end up dying in old age like many of us, from some freak thing that happens with their bodies at age 80 or 90-something, that has very little to do with cancer.

What I do at work is odd. It's making the best out of bad situations. Taking a person and the people they are closest to, where they are, at their most difficult, sensitive, fearful, and vulnerable moments, and making that moment as comfortable, peaceful, and maybe memorable for them, if they have the luxury of time.

It's not that I have to put a positive spin on bad things, I don't. I don't say things they want to hear, or that their families want to hear. I just work with the moment, and put my effort into making that go well. I bring a lot of boxes of tissues to the bedside or chairside.

I say what I can, ask questions, and then I call the counselors, social workers, chaplain, or massage therapists, maybe all of them. I can't be those things to people. I can be their nurse, I can carry out the physicians' orders and make them comfortable, and figure out what they need and do everything in my power to get it for them.

I find that I don't often agree with the decisions that patients and family members make when it comes to end of life. It's not how I would do it. It's a time of heightened emotions and stress and it brings out the worst in a lot of people.

Too many people are in denial or ignorance about how close death is, and get taken by surprise when they think it's still far off. They don't see the signs because they don't know what to look for, or what it looks like. Most people would rather not know anything about dying, and I don't blame them for that.

Even people who are in the business of dealing with people at the end of life are not always well-prepared when it's someone they love who is dying. These people need non-judgmental support. They have to go through it in their own way, and we can't possibly understand the path they traveled in order to arrive at their world view. We can only run in our own shoes.

But it doesn't matter what I think. What does matter is that the dying person gets their say, and that things are carried out on their terms, as much as possible. I just keep my mouth shut and carry on with my work, preserving the person's available options until they make a decision, as long as there is nothing that is going to cause harm to them.

Right now it's hard to imagine dying when spring is everywhere. I think that when I reach the finish line, I'd like to die in November or December, when it's cold and gray and the leaves are turning brown and crunchy, and there isn't a lot of nice weather to look forward to for a while.

I don't want to be buried in a cemetery, where my headstone would be lost among the crowds. I'd rather have my ashes scattered by people who knew me and where I'd want to be. At this point I'm torn betweeen Devil's Cornfield in Death Valley, and the slopes of Mt. Silverheels behind our cabin. But that could change someday.

When I was running in the cemetery last week, I saw a headstone that had a person's Ph.D. degree carved in next to their name. I don't think I've ever seen that before, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's common. I wondered if it was the person who died who wanted that on his grave, or if it was a family member who made that choice. Was that what the person wanted to be remembered for?

I also wondered if the aliens who land here in another couple of thousand years will know what a Ph.D. was. Will they care?

I hope I don't have any regrets when I die. What I do want to feel is that I lived my life as fully as I could have every single day, that I did the things that were meaningful to me, and that I am happy with the end result, even if it doesn't amount to something tangible to someone else. I feel like I do a good job of that. Money, toys and things really don't matter, they lose their meaning in death. Love is all that really matters at the end of life.

One thing's for sure, whatever you leave behind, whether it's money or things, it's only the wretched people who are left behind who will fight over the carcass, and that's sad. The thing that turns my stomach the most is when someone dies and the family members fight each other over what's left. I've seen that in happen my own family and that's why those people remain distant relatives.

When I reach the finish line, I won't have anything left. I hope I spend my last dollar on running shoes. Besides, I'll have to work until I croak to make ends meet, like most of my generation. That's okay, because I will have enjoyed the long adventure, and I'll be setting my own PR that no one else will ever beat.

In my own shoes.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rock Repeats and Ranting

The dire weather that was forecast for our area held off just long enough to make for a pleasant morning of running. I woke up at 6:30 totally surprised to see blue skies, with a bank of clouds behind the foothills, just like yesterday. It was cool and windy, but the sunshine was parked over us for at least a few more hours, the way things looked. I decided to go back to the original plan of Rock Repeats.

When I arrived at the Horsetooth Mountain trailhead at 8:30 am there were only 4 cars there! Usually on a weekend in the spring, the parking lot fills up early. Probably a lot of changed plans due to the anticipation of nastiness.

It's always nice to have the trail to myself. The first time up I ran a relaxed pace, figuring that a steady pace today would be the way to go, without bashing my quads too much. It's been several weeks since I did my last repeats up here, and I only did two. I go back to work tomorrow, and squatting down on the stool to start IVs is a challenge with sore quads.

The first trip up was uneventful, but the views were amazing. I could see where some of the foothills south of us got a dusting of snow, down to about 7000 feet. But the snow hadn't reached this far east. It was moving, though, and the wind was strong when I got away from the more sheltered areas of the trail. I added a little extra to each of my repeats this time. I went past the Wathen trail intersection and past the log bench, to the end of the singletrack directly under the Rock. Just a little more trail to challenge my ankle.

The second trip up was still sunny, but some sleet was flying around every so often. I couldn't figure out where it was coming from because there were no clouds above me. On the way up the second time I pushed a little harder and felt good. As I headed downhill, I could see the storm moving in over town, and it looked worse down there than it was up on the hill where I was.

When I was almost to the bottom, I ran into a group of runners coming up, I figured they were out there doing a run of the course of the upcoming Quad Rock 50, Nick's inaugural event this May. It will be a week after I run the 24 hour, and I'm not anywhere near ready for that kind of trail running. Hopefully all will go well this first year and the race will become a draw for lots of runners. We have so many good trails here, I think it will be hugely popular.

When I reached the bottom, I got some drinks and food at my car to prepare for my third ascent and who came down the trail but my friend Cat and a few other runners, doing the Quad Rock course. I did most of the first mile of the ascent talking with Cat, and then we reached the fork where they went up the trail, and I took the road to the left.

The only thing different was the sunshine was no longer there, but the wind hadn't changed and there was still an occasional mist of sleet. I got almost to the bottom and then did a little extra out & back on the service road to wrap up 15 miles for the day. I ended up with 4050' vertical gain and descent. Not bad to wrap up my last full mileage week prior to the 24 hour. Next week I'll cut back a little, but after that I plan to take a full two week taper. I can allow myself that luxury now. I'd like to give myself every chance to have a good race in Iowa, even though I'll be happy to do 100 miles.

Okay, so here's where I have to rant. On my last descent, as I passed the first junction where the trail meets the service road, which is about 0.6 miles from the parking area, these two IDIOTS came huffing up the trail as I was running down. I could smell the cigarette smoke before I got there, and they were the source. What kind of stupid idiot would smoke a cigarette when we've had such a dry spring and the wind is howling? STUPID STUPID STUPID.

Should the park rangers start handing out nicotine patches? Maybe I should have said something, but I didn't. I was so mad after I ran by and thought about it. That's all we need, a good wildfire to start off the season. I'm mad at myself for not running back up the road and lecturing them. All it takes is one dumbass and POOF!

Since I'm on the topic of rants, I find it interesting that the Boston Marathon organizers have put out a warning to the runners about the predicted heat in tomorrow's race. They said, "inexperienced runners" should consider not running this year. My friend Connie is running with another runner from here, Dan, who is blind. They are going ahead with it. They are both well-conditioned, experienced and smart, so I'm not overly concerned that they'll get into trouble.

This raises some questions: first, any runner can get in trouble with the heat. Experienced and competitive runners are probably just as likely to have a problem from underestimating the effects of the heat. And doesn't the Boston Marathon start at some crazy hour out of tradition, like 10:00? Hello...

If you're training for an event you really need to be prepared for all conditions. If you know the race starts late, and it's a spring race, then heat is one of the first things you should be prepared for. Being a road racer doesn't exempt you from having to use common sense when it comes to weather. I sure hope they won't have that mentality of "Give me an IV at the finish line". As if it's the race's responsibility to put a bandaid on what they have just done to their bodies.

Anyway, just had to put my $.02 in about Boston. Let's just hope the prima donnas stay away. A race is a race, and it comes with a set of conditions: some are predictable, some are not. You need to be prepared for anything, so if you're not prepared, do the race a favor and stay home.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cemetery Run, and Fun Facts...

I woke up at 4 am today. I have no idea why. Once I realized I wasn't going back to sleep, I figured it would be a good opportunity to get my run in early, since a front is moving in that threatens to take away our spring weather for a couple of days. I wanted to run on dirt again, and I needed to get 20 miles in, plus some strides.

I decided to run 20 miles in the cemetery. Grandview Cemetery, at the end of Mountain Avenue, is not only a beautiful place to run, with it's carefully kept landscape, flowering trees, and variety of birds (great horned owls, herons, cormorants, golden eagles, etc.)that inhabit the place, the roads in the cemetery are packed dirt and gravel, a nice running surface.

But the best part for runners is that the outermost route around the cemetery is just about a mile: somewhere between 0.98 and 0.99 miles. Perfect for mile repeats or paced runs.

So now I have half the day ahead of me, and we're going to work on building Rocket this weekend, plus I'm going to make salsa, and hopefully take a nap. If the weather doesn't get too nasty this afternoon, maybe another run, or I'll just tough all the miles out tomorrow in whatever conditions the weather gods throw at us...April in Colorado could be anything.

Irreverent, irrelevant, and fun facts on the fourteenth of April:

The 50th anniversary of the day my dad and mom were married (a marriage of oil and water, which thankfully, ended 14 years later) is also the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Technically, the Titanic sunk on the 15th of April, but it struck the iceberg on the 14th. So it was the disaster of the 14th of April, much like their marriage. Not that it has anything to do with the Titanic, but I always find it to be an interesting coincidence.

Happy running!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday the 13th: Living Dangerously

Today I did my first REAL trail run in a gazillion years! It seems like a gazillion years, anyway. It's more like 2 years.

I was originally planning to do hills up at Horsetooth this weekend, a few Rock Repeats. Then I saw the weather forecast and I realized I better get those in today, because this weekend is looking to be wet and cold.

After yesterday's 20 miles mostly on the track, I woke up this morning feeling BLAH. I was tired, but not physically tired. I felt mentally tired, like I didn't feel like making the effort to do anything. It took me until 9:30 to get out the door, taking the girls for a wimpy walk.

I was feeling hormonal and irritable, craving chocolate and carbohydrates, with a big fat zit protruding out of my forehead like a new nose. Since these days I'm no longer able to predict in advance when I'm going to get hit with a bout of PMS/RPB, I have to roll with it and deal with it.

Anyway, this morning I felt like I needed something DIFFERENT. Running in circles and on the flats, as much as I like to do it in races, can get pretty boring in training, week after week.

I've been telling myself I need to get out and test my ankle on the trails. I can walk and run on grass now without any pain, and walking over gravel and river rocks doesn't seem to bother it. I've been hesitant to go test it out, mostly out of fear of re-injuring it, but also partially out of my laziness? unwillingness? stubbornness? recalcitrance? to drive anywhere to run unless it's absolutely necessary.

I put my shoes on, and deliberately did not use the ankle brace.

Today was the day. I was going to live dangerously and ignore:

1. That it was Friday the 13th.

2. The fact that hormones do unfavorable things to our bodies at this point in the menstrual cycle: first, they cause brain fog which causes inattention and poor motor control, and second, they can make soft tissues more vulnerable to injury due to a drop in ligament and overall joint strength because of an increase in the hormone relaxin.

I wouldn't have thought of these things under normal circumstances anyway, but they did occur to me as I made my way up the first technical, rocky section. I parked at Maxwell Trailhead, and ran up the trail below the A, crossed the road at Rotary Park, and continued on the narrow singletrack high hogback trail on the west side of Centennial Drive until I got to the cattle guard near the 3 mile mark of the Horsetooth Half Marathon.

Then I turned around and backtracked, but did an extra little kilometer-long out & back to the ridge at the top of the A, looking over Hughes Stadium, a landmark currently claiming the most newsprint in Fort Collins since Balloon Boy.

The trails are partially technical, some very rocky stretches, in between smooth to bumpy sections without rocks.

I ran on this!

And this!

Not a peep out of my ankle, the whole time, and as I sit here afterward, I still can't feel it.

I was so excited, 2 miles into the run I stopped and took a picture of my feet on the trail and texted Cat with it, "Look where my feet are!"

The run was short, I got 5.8 miles and 1100 feet each of vertical gain and descent, but considering that eight months ago I couldn't even walk across the grass in my front yard without having serious ankle pain, I've come a long way.

I surprised myself with how easily I ran the trails. I thought the first time I got out there, I'd be overly cautious on the downhills, but I felt like my feet were gliding over the rocks, and I let go of any fear. I tried to stay relaxed and not over-think where I was placing my feet.

This gives me hope that I can rebuild to running on trails at least sometimes, and maybe some of the tamer trail races might be possibilities for me again. I can tell my leg and ankle strength have suffered over two years of not running trails. Trails work so many muscles and tissues from different angles, it's an important part of strength training and injury prevention. I bet I haven't done more than a dozen miles on trails since I ran the Old Pueblo 50 in 2010, which was the first time I realized I had an ankle problem.

So I'm going to get back to running trails. After the 24 hour I'll try to get one trail run in each week. Just in time for snake season! But maybe this weekend's cold, wet weather will keep the snakes away for a little longer.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kicking Back at the Track

Nice day today. Cool morning, perfect running temperatures. I took the girls for a quick warmup and then headed over to the track to get a 24 hour "race pace" run in, which really amounts to running super easy and getting used to the curves.

Last night Shannon kept me running a good steady pace for 10 miles. We were talking the whole time and I averaged 8:17 a mile.

What that tells me is that I'm not pushing myself hard enough when I run alone. I thought I wasn't capable of running that pace for 10 miles, much less being able to talk through it.

So it's not that I don't have the fitness, it's that I don't have the leg turnover. I haven't made my legs go fast for so long that 8 minute pace feels hard, not aerobically hard, but in terms of making my legs do the work.

The only solution to that is to get back to running faster and doing intervals, and probably adding back some half marathons, marathons, maybe even a few 10Ks and 5Ks.

As much as I hate to deal with those types of races (I have every excuse in the book not to do them) expensive, crowded, early in the morning, sometimes requiring a drive to Denver or longer than that...if I want to regain any of the speed that I know is in there, I have to do the work. Come to Jesus time.

On Sunday my running column in the Xplore section of the Coloradoan featured Shannon and Run to Work Day. He's been making great progress with it already this week, using social media sites to spread the word. It's very exciting, and I'm looking forward to seeing it develop into something really great. Bigger than Bike to Work Day, that's for sure.

Soon I will be doing a full blogpost on Run to Work Day. I think it has a ton of potential, and the biggest stumbling block seems to be access to showers at work for most people. That's one of the things that Shannon is working on...there is no limit when you use your creativity to solve problems. I could go on and on about these things, especially when it comes to the general public and their inertia, but I'll save it for the upcoming blogpost.

Chris at AdventureCorps included a link in today's newsletter to one of my previous columns about making your own adventure run, which I appreciate very much! Thanks Chris! It was about the recent Extreme Running Tour de Walmart.

Now I'm hanging out in the woman cave, watching the lilacs bloom. I hope you're enjoying the spring as much as I am!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Work Hangover Wednesday: A Beautiful Day in the Hood

It's that day of the week again, the day after my two 12 hour shifts in a row. I wander through the day brain fogged and worthless until I can finally get my nap.

Work was busy again. I'm glad it is, it's job security in a time of uncertainty in health care. Cancer doesn't slow down in a tough economy.

So I have a lot of little things to report on today. Easter Sunday was a good day, except I never made it to the sunrise run. I was having trouble sleeping and was still awake at 1 am, so decided to turn off my alarm and bag it, and just meet Paul at the lakes. I ended up getting 20 miles for the day. Afterwards Dennis and I went out to some friends' for Easter brunch and hung out in the yard, it was a gorgeous day.

I'm not sure what Paul was doing here. Trying to prove that middle-aged ultrarunners can still catch air? He has less gray hair than I do, I think he was just showing off.

While running at the lakes, we saw this snake, nearly a four footer, this early in the season! It wasn't even that warm out. But the snakes are back.

This morning while I was brain dead I went to the bike shop and talked to a bike nerd about the "Rocket" project. He gave me some pointers on building this thing from the two strollers I have. I just need someone with some tools and creativity to fit it, and make the bolts stay without too much adjusting. This is going to be interesting. Dennis thinks he can probably do most of it, and our next door neighbor is a retired high school shop teacher who might be able to help, too. We should be able to do it without any welding.

Tonight I run with Shannon and hopefully I can keep a decent pace for 10 miles with him. I went for an easy run this morning with Iris through the neighborhood. Our neighborhood is mostly awesome in the spring. Lots of flower gardens and blossoming fruit trees.

Somewhere on a stone tablet it says thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's garden. But I do anyway. I am hoping to get our phlox to spread like this, but I haven't had much luck.

And then there's always the oddball in every neighborhood.

What would Mr. Rogers do?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Rocket's First Run!

Easter is tomorrow. I have a full day planned, a 10 mile sunrise run at Horsetooth with some of the Fort Collins Running Club runners and then afterwards, I'm meeting Paul for another 10 miles at the lakes. Dennis and I are doing an Easter brunch afterwards with some friends. And I will need a nap. Getting up at 4:30 am is not my favorite thing to do. But the coffee is ready to go.

I did a "race pace" run at the track today, trying to see how slow of a pace I could run and still maintain comfort. It's so hard to force yourself to run super slow. I was incorporating a few walking laps just to get an idea of how my walking pace feels. I haven't been doing any walking at all in my training so far this spring, so I need to remember to do a little of that. A 10:20 pace felt just about right for as slow as I could go- I was comfortable there without forcing myself to go any slower. I will need to do a lot of walking in the first half of the 24 hour to keep myself from putting too many miles in too early.

After my workout today, I pulled the "Rocket", the Batmobile, out of the box and put it together. It was so easy, even I, in my incredible mechanical ineptitude, could figure it out and get it together without Dennis's help. I was extremely proud of myself.

I tried taking the girls for a test drive, but they wouldn't stay in the seat. Isabelle did bettter than Iris. They got claustrophobic when I pulled the canopy down, even though they could see through it.

I adjusted the handle on Rocket the Batmobile to my height and that worked great. It's lightweight and comfortable, and easy to steer even with the awkward swivel wheel in front, which we will get rid of. I didn't load any weight in it to push it except for Isabelle, and she's 55 pounds. That was easy to push. She didn't stay in there long enough for me to really test it, so I'll have to put a loaded cooler in there next time.

I think the handle can adjust high enough for Ed, but he'll have to try it himself before we know. The problem we're going to have to solve is the swivel wheel set that came with the package. We need to replace the front wheel with some kind of a fork that will allow us to put a fixed-axle wheel on there (Gerry Z's). But figuring out how to do the fork will take someone with talent for these things, and that's not me. So I have my next project cut out for me.

Iris found the peeps with no problem and tipped the trailer over to get to them. She got the yellow one.

We were playing with Siri the other night on Dennis's iPhone and we got Iris into a conversation with Siri. Siri is clearly going to need some instruction in Australian Shepherd-ese.

That's all for now, and just three peeps left for Easter tomorrow.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rocket Run

Awesome run this morning. Did 12 miles, 2 mile warmup with the girls, then 10 mile tempo run in under 8:30 pace. I felt decent. It wasn't too hard, but I had to push.

I have a new running partner, Shannon. He's from Virginia and moved here about a year ago. He does ultras and recently started Run to Work Day. I wrote about it in this coming Sunday's Coloradoan, in the Xplore section, in my monthly running column.

Shannon and I ran the other evening and it was really helpful to have someone push me, plus he is so over the top enthusiastic about running that it's contagious. Today I really felt motivated to get out and move. I guess I must be feeling better since being sick last week.

Monday I did pushups to failure and I couldn't raise my arms above my head for two days. A little bit of weight training goes a long way. I'm taking it as a good sign, since I was able to do pushups again today. The five pounds have been staying off, I'm so happy about that.

"Rocket" arrived yesterday when I was at work. I haven't broken it out of the package yet, I am still busy with work and related stuff these few days until Saturday. I am not sure so far how we will rig up Gerry Z's wheels to Rocket, but we will. Even if we have to find someone to do some welding for us.

I'm thinking we might want to rename the Double Mick "The Rocket Run" since we will have the Rocket with us. Things are looking solid for Dale to be able to join Ed and I. With those two, it will be one of those "doubled-over-laughing-so-hard-I-can't-run-because-I-can't-breathe" runs.

It's a beautiful day. Not too warm, not too sunny, not too windy. Feels like April. I'm running this evening, gotta do some easy miles plus strides. Keep the leg turnover going. I'm tired of being so slow!

Busy day of running and social stuff planned on Easter Sunday. I don't even celebrate Easter! But somehow I'm doing Easter things all day. I did make baba ganoush the other day, which keeps the vampires away. But somehow I got talked into making egg salad for Easter brunch. Egg Salad? What's that? I guess it has eggs in it. Maybe I should make the vegan version and freak everybody out. I know a great vegan egg salad recipe with garbanzo beans and tofu.

Speaking of Easter, I'm down to 6 peeps. Gotta use them wisely. Three more days.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gerry Z and the Snow Peeps

After a whole month of warmer than usual temperatures and no measurable precipitation in what is usually our wettest month, it's now snowing. Or I should say, it was snowing when I went out to run. Now it's just damp and breezy with nothing falling from the sky.

The Peeps have taken to hiding under an umbrella, the cover over the seat of Gerry Z, short for Gerry Zoomer, the discontinued model of baby stroller who will sacrifice his parts for us when we build the Batmobile.

I'm almost recovered from the virus I had, I think. I feel okay, just tired, and my legs feel slow. I don't know if it's because I am slow or if I'm still recovering. Last week was supposed to be my rest week but it turned into a sick week instead, so maybe I haven't had the rest I need yet. Yesterday I did a little over 10 miles and felt okay. I ran 6 1/2 of it with Cat, and we went easy and talked the whole way. My legs don't want to do anything, they feel flat.

Then this morning I did a little warmup with the girls in the snow, took them home and went out to get a total of 9 1/2 miles. Flat again. That was enough since I'm running again this evening. I entertained myself on my run this morning by taking lots of pictures of the spring scenery in Fort Collins. Even on a day like today there's so much color everywhere! And earthworms, too.

My stomach feels like it's not all the way there yet, either. I'm not queasy but it just feels like it's not ready for most foods yet. I got super hungry on Sunday after working all day, but then yesterday and today food is not all that exciting.

As much as I like to complain about the cold weather, I am really glad we're getting this moisture. If we don't get some rain or snow in April and May, we're going to have one hell of a fire season, everywhere. The worst thing for runners is when they have to close the forests because the fire danger is so high, there's no trail access and you get stuck in town, which is hard because we know what we're missing around here.

I'm hoping I feel better toward the end of the week so I can get some decent workouts in, but if my body says no, I'll listen. I was just starting to feel like I was making some progress. Hoping I can get the rest I need and get back to it soon.