Scatter my ashes here...

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

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Quadrennial Quagmire, with a twist...

This morning I got up early to run four Rock Repeats, for the Quadrennial Quagmire event.

The Quadrennial Quagmire was born in 1992, when I lived in downtown Fort Collins in my graduate student days. I got my friends Wally, Dennis (not my husband,this was another Dennis), and Rembo, to join me. At the the time, it was a training run for my first 50 mile ultra. The original Q.Q. was named because it was a leap year, at the end of February, and that is the time of year when it is starting to be mud season in Colorado.

This year, after sitting on my ass for the past 18 months, I decided it would be prudent to pry myself out of the butt vortex in time to do a little birthday run. I wasn't expecting to run my age in miles, or even in kilometers, but I did need a challenge. I was looking at the calendar and realized it was leap year. Perfect time to revive the old Quagmire. Except this year more than anything I need to be doing hills to rebuild my strength so I can enjoy the mountains and trails this summer.

I announced to my running friends that I would be holding the esteemed event on February 27th, seemed like a good day. Just four Rock Repeats, 17.2 miles, 4400 feet of climb, and the same of descent. Parking lot aid station every 4 miles. Easy. Yes, it would be a quad bashing, but that was the point. Half a day of running, then time to relax afterward. No takers. I can't even imagine why!?

Then my friend Elise, with whom I used to work in the ICU, wrote to tell me she wanted to run 35 miles the weekend of her 35th birthday, since she's training for ultras now. Her birthday was February 27th. She wanted to do trails and dirt as much as possible. Perfect timing. I invited her to join me on as many Rock Repeats as she wanted to do. The plan was hatched.

We lucked out with the weather. It was supposed to be 70 degrees and sunny, with a front moving in later in the day with some wind. Elise ran 20 miles the day before so she only had to get another 15 in. She ran 3 miles with her dog in the morning, so she was down to 12 miles needed for her goal by the time we met at the trailhead. We waited for another friend to show up, she was running late, so we decided to get going and text her to meet up later. Throughout the day we ran into different people on the trail or at the trailhead who came out to wish Elise a happy birthday.

First summit was uneventful, but it was warming up quickly. Second summit was also uneventful, but I changed into shorts back at the car. Quads were doing okay. The trail was dry in some places, snowpacked in others, and a total quagmire in a few spots. It did not disappoint.

Third summit was Elise's last, she got her 12 miles plus some. My quads were feeling it, but I knew I could manage one more. The clouds were moving in, keeping it cool. At the car, I grabbed my fleece shirt and tied it around my waist, just in case. I congratulated Elise and we planned to meet at a Mexican restaurant in town later with a bunch of the ICU nurses we used to work with.

I headed up for my last Rock Repeat, feeling good going up. I got to the top and sucked down a packet each of peanut butter and a salted caramel Gu. Then I started running down. Painful. Not terrible, but it took me a good 5 minutes longer to run to the bottom. On the last 1/2 mile I passed a group of obvious fraternity dudes, carrying a gallon jug of who knows what, hats turned backward, and blasting hip hop music on some kind of device. Rich little white boys, so gangsta! Really, do you have to pollute the park with your noise? I don't think most people go out on the trails to blast music, they go to escape it... or they keep it confined to their earbuds.

Fortunately I was down and off the trail. Sore quads, sticky, sweaty body. I drove home.

There I showered, and got dressed, and dragged Dennis out of the house with me with promises of food.

We drove downtown and met Elise and about 8 other nurses at Illegal Pete's, ordered margaritas, and got some tacos. It was great to see everyone and catch up. I could feel my quads going up and down the stairs.

When we were done, we went back home. I felt like walking off my soreness a little so I told Dennis I was going for a short walk. I left the house and started walking down the sidewalk. I was in front of my next door neighbor's house, headed for the corner, when I noticed our neighbor across the street, one house down, directly across the street from where I was walking, had driven up in her driveway and was letting her dogs out of the car. At that precise moment, the dogs came running across the street at me, and attacked me. I turned around to hide my face and one of them bit me HARD. On the butt.

I started yelling at her to call her dogs. It all happened so fast I didn't even have time to think. I yelled "Hey your dog just bit me on the butt!" They were big dogs. One was as tall as me on its hind legs.

She acted like it was no big deal. I don't know these people. They haven't lived there very long and they are renters. This is the same house where the last renters had pit bulls and people coming and going all the time. But these people are not around much, but I do notice that this particular woman has kind of a nasty attitude and uses a lot of expletives, and smokes. Just saying...

So when she called her dogs and I had a chance to figure out that I was bleeding, I wasn't sure what to do. I didn't know if I should call the humane society, or the cops, or what. My neighbor across the street came out to see what was going on and check on me. She told me to call 911. Being the nurse, I didn't want to call an emergency for a non-life threatening event, but I didn't know the numbers to call. So I called 911.

I was bleeding through my jeans, and my butt hurt! The dispatcher on 911 told me to move away from the neighbor whose dog bit me. By then she was yelling at me, like I was making a big deal out of it. I yelled back at her, "Wanna see the blood?" Then she said in a very insincere tone, "I'm sorry my dog bit you!" She looked like she was going to load the dogs back in the car and drive away. I yelled, "You're not going anywhere, I'm taking a picture of your license plate!" And she stood in front of her license plates. The dispatcher said, get her license plates and the type of car it is, then asked me if I wanted an ambulance. I said, no, I want the police. She said they're sending them, and to call her back if I decided I wanted an ambulance.

So by then Dennis came outside and we were waiting for the cops to arrive. Two cars showed up. One officer talked to me, I showed him my bloody hand and jeans, and the other cop went across the street. The Humane Society was supposedly on their way. My butt was bleeding and I could feel the blood running down. The cops told us to take pictures of my butt. Dennis and I went in the house and he took them. When the cops had the information they needed from me, minus butt pics, Dennis drove me to the emergency department at the hospital. Fortunately it was pretty quiet and we got in quickly. I saw one of the nurses I used to work with and got to tell her about my excitement for the day...

They took me back, irrigated my butt wounds, slapped a dressing on it, gave me a prescription for antibiotics and a tetanus shot, and I have to wait until the Humane Society does their investigation to see if I need rabies shots too. So I might even get to go back to my old workplace and get poked by my old coworkers. Which I hope does not happen.

It didn't even hit me until then that this could have been much worse. So much worse. I knew a nurse in New Mexico who got attacked by her neighbor's dog a few years ago and it literally ripped her nose off, and did more damage to her face. The house I was walking in front of, when it happened, is our next door neighbors' and their grandchildren play outside all the time there. Little kids.

I really didn't need this inconvenience, but I'm lucky. Still, I am going to be more of a pain in little miss trash mouth's ass than her dog was in my ass. I hope they will move out. I will be on their landlord's ass like a pit bull myself...along with my neighbors. That woman is lucky I'm not the gun-toting type...

So...I just had my hopes dashed of ever becoming a butt model. I will have a set of teeth marks permanently etched in my butt. I bet Kim Kardashian is breathing a HUGE sigh of relief now that the competition is eliminated. But I did get a special bracelet out of the deal...


Anyway, the Quadrennial Quagmire's finish line got moved at the last minute, from margaritas to the E.D.

And I will spend the next week taking doxycycline and having Nurse Dennis put gauze and tape dressings on my butt. I won't be able to sink back into the butt vortex, either, because it hurts to sit down on my left cheek. Won't be able to get enough suction on the chair seat.

Every day is an adventure...

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Leaning The Wrong Way

Wake up call!

After sitting on my butt more than I ever should, with at least another 4-6 weeks before I'll be less tethered to the desk, I happened to be in the doctor's office recently and got weighed.

I am 5'1". With each passing decade, it seems like my body has settled into a slightly higher weight. That's been okay when it happens gradually. My body is the type that clings to fat, it doesn't like to let go easily, and I have to work very hard to lose weight when I want to. Having a bad thyroid might have something to do with it, even though I take thyroid replacement hormones, they are never what your body makes on its own.

It might also have something to do with the fact that I am right at menopause, basically I am there, standing on top of it, at the peak, barring any surprises in the next few months to knock me off my self-assurances that I'm done with that pain in the ass body function that serves no purpose whatsoever except to make my race mornings more annoying. And I am 52 years old. My metabolic function is slowing, it's reality.

Most of my female relatives are short, like me, but most of them weigh barely 100 pounds and have little, tiny bird bone wrists. They don't have big powerful quadriceps or calves like I do. They're not athletes, either. I don't know where I got my bigger bone structure, or my muscular build, or my athleticism, but it's what I have, and it's served me well. I don't envy their bodies, I just envy their ability to keep their weight down at age 60 when I have to struggle so hard. And they have thyroid problems too.

But back to the wake-up call. I stood on the scale, having kicked off my shoes, and the medical assistant kept pushing the metal weight further and further to the right, until I felt like I was going to tip over with it. I've never seen it go that far to the right!

I've always had a tendency to lean to the left. Whether it's seeing runners finishing a long ultra, in politics, and social issues. And on the scale too. I really haven't spent much too time east of 120 pounds, just during short, occasionally stressful or inactive periods of my adult life.

I was flabbergasted when I saw how much I weighed. I have gained a full 20 pounds since I ran my last race in September of 2014.

Holy crap. No wonder I can only run 11 minute miles these days.

No wonder my new, one larger size, just bought last year because I caved, pants are too tight now. No wonder the other day when I was running in my capri tights for the first time this season, that I had the new, weird sensation of flesh between each iliac crest bouncing up and down.

And when I lean to the side in my office chair, I can feel flesh in a crease that never was there before. And my butt is spreading over the chair, covering more territory, encroaching slowly, as it dominates the seat surface.

That's it. Done. I need to get off my ass, start running and putting some effort into it, and quit eating and drinking without thought. I guess I'm too old to do that anymore and ever get away with it. My BMI is solidly in the overweight range. Over 25, by a good tick. I'm FAT. I'm obesifying!!!

What did I expect? Consuming things with abandon...thoughtless, repetitive, hand-to-mouth action...

Don't tell me I'm being too critical of myself, or that I look good, because I don't care how I look. Maybe I happen to hold 140 pounds well for a 5'1" person. I don't care.

It's how I feel. I feel FAT. And no matter what people say you look like, it is not healthy to be fat. Even if nearly everyone else is. My body is made to run. Long distances. At a reasonable pace, not plodding along.
So now I'm 5 days into being very careful of what I eat to get a jump start on changing my habits, I haven't had a beer since last Saturday, and I'm VERY CRABBY!

"She hasn't been the same since the house fell on her sister"
Tread lightly around me for the next few weeks. Your life depends on it.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Vicarious Vlogs: Human Powered Brewery Tour 2016

Today was the ninth annual Human Powered Brewery Tour.

A fundraiser for Rocky Mountain ALS, the tour was started by Celeste O'Connor and Scott Slusher in honor of Celeste's two cousins who died from the disease.

The theme was "The Life Aquatic" based on the movie...which I and apparently most other people have not seen...

But we can Google on it. I made my costume easily, I already own a lot of light blue and aqua colored items, like my old Pearl Izumi team jacket, and a pair of girls leggings from Target. I made my hat from an old red t-shirt I never wear, so I cut it up and sewed it together, and printed the traffic light patch from my laptop at home, and covered it with clear tape to keep it water resistant, and stapled it onto the hat. I made an extra traffic light patch for my pogo stick.

I only went to four breweries, that was all the energy I had. This was my day I promised to myself to get away from work, I SO NEEDED IT!

The plan was New Belgium, Odell, Horse & Dragon, and Snowbank. The group would go on to Pateros Creek and a couple of other breweries but I was toast, and toasted enough after those four.

This morning there was a thick fog, it was cool and it didn't look like we would have the kind of sunny day we've been having all this past week.

I got dressed in my costume with extra layers underneath. I took my pogo stick but my plan was to park at Odell and ditch the pogo stick in the car after we finished there, it's a long way to Horse & Dragon carrying that thing. I ran to New Belgium from Odell, where I parked in the empty lot that is usually jammed once they open.

We all met at New Belgium before they opened the doors at 11, took pictures in costume, and it was great to see a lot of my old running friends, I have been so out of the loop for a long time. I didn't drink at New Belgium, mostly talked with people, catching up and shooting video.

After about 45 minutes it was time to move on to Odell...I jumped on my pogo stick and pogoed to the street, then ran with the big heavy thing all the way to Odell. What a workout! The sun was starting to come out and the fog was burning off.

I had a taster tray at Odell, I wanted to try one of the beers in there, a pale ale I'd never heard of, and I knew I liked most of the others. Horse & Dragon and Snowbank were my first time visits. I'll definitely go back to Horse & Dragon. I had a Picnic Rock Pale Ale there and it was good. Then at Snowbank I had a taster of the chocolate cherry stout which was also really good, but I'm not too big a fan of dark heavy beers. And the alcohol content was more like wine...

It was a good call to leave the pogo stick early, the beer was strong, even in small doses.

Everyone stayed at Horse & Dragon a long time and the bike group went on to Funkwerks, but I wanted to check out the ones I haven't been to. Betsy and I took off for Snowbank and we sat there with our chocolate cherry stouts talking, and eventually the bike group showed up. By 3:00 I was done and headed home.
It was a nice day, was fun and a great distraction from the endless piles of paper in which I am currently drowning.

Last I heard they raised over $3000 for Rocky Mountain ALS. I did the best I could with the video. Hope you enjoy it, consider joining us next year for the tenth anniversary.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Olde Tyme Revival! Quadrennial Quagmire Resurrected!

This picture from 1992 is of me and two of my three running buddies who joined me on the original leap year run, The Quadrennial Quagmire. The original run, which happened twice, in 1992 and 1996, consisted of a circuitous out and back loop from town, around Horsetooth Reservoir, through Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Park, up Redstone Canyon, and back. It was about 50 miles.

I am in need of a birthday challenge this year, but a "lite" version. I decided that given my minimal training and my need to keep doing the vertical, I'd do an easier challenge. Hence, the Quad Quag revival. Except this time, I'm calling it the Quadrennial Quadriceps Quagmire. It will be simple, consisting of just four Rock Repeats. Seventeen miles, 4400 feet of climb and the same of descent. Easy, right?

It's easy logistically, too, because the up and back course allows returns to the vehicle every 4 miles and change. No need to carry a bunch of gear. I plan to do it regardless of the weather. Quagmire or blizzard, sunny 70 degrees or downpour, I'll be there. I'm inviting any local runners to join me. Should be a fun time, regardless.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Broncomaniac Run, and an Ultra Goal!

Life has been batshit crazy since we got back from Arizona.

No other way to describe it. I desperately need to clear some time in my schedule to do some heavy editing of the modules for the service I'm launching, but I've been succumbing to many other distractions, most of which are important and unavoidable. What I need to do is put a message on my phone, email and door, barricade myself in the woman cave, set up an IV pump and infuse myself with coffee and cram like college student to get this editing done.

I want to hide and get my work done, but on the other hand, I can't ignore all these other things, like website edits and meeting with people and getting the word out. All important stuff. I need a clone.

The other thing that bugs me is that I want to be able to blog because I get ideas, but then I'm so busy, I forget about them and I don't have time to sit down and write. This afternoon, even though I am far behind on editing, I needed to indulge in some creative time.

One good thing is that I've been able to maintain the consistency in working out, both my runs and weight training, and doing my core and hip work. I'm still only up to running a total of 5 hours in the week, but I'm getting more miles on my feet by walking and I'm not finding excuses to get out of it like I was a few months ago.

Today I ran double Maniac Hill and double A hill, doing my hills. I am running much more of the uphills than I was when I started and feeling stronger. There was some guy up there riding a bike in a Broncos jersey. Broncomania has hit Colorado in full force. Two more days of this insanity...

Yesterday I needed to ask my friend and fellow runner Andy Lovy a question. I haven't seen him since the last time I ran North Coast, in my disastrous run at Nationals in 2014. The last time I talked to him, we were sloshing around at 2 am on the 24 hour course in a wicked downpour, laughing about how we were focused on the portapotties ahead so we could take shelter.

Andy is quite the ultrarunner. At 80 years old (give or take a year) he's still pounding out the miles in multiday ultras and 24 hours runs. He's also the US National Ultra team physician. I first met him years ago at Across the Years, where he was one of the race physicians.

Anyhow, I wrote Andy and he replied right away. He said he's doing well. He's planning on a few races this year, one of which is in Oklahoma at 24 the Hard Way. I ran the 12 hour there a few years back and loved it. Chisholm Dupree is the RD there, and he's such a great guy. I've known him and his dad, Harry, also an ultrarunner, for many years.

Anyway, Andy told me I ought to jump into some of those races he's doing, including a 55 hour in Houston over New Years. I am not going to be anywhere near ready to do a multiday by the end of this year, and I won't have time to train for it. But a 12 hour in Oklahoma in October, I can do that. Just to go hang out and do a few laps with Andy would be worth the trip.

It seemed like the perfect comeback ultra, as I thought about it. So I'm going to pencil it in and as the spring goes on, I will start arranging my life in a way that I can prepare to at least stay on my feet moving forward for 12 hours by the end of October. I think that's a reasonable goal.

I'll be baaaaack...

Monday, February 1, 2016

Podcast about Badwater and the Journey

It's dumping snow, and we just got back from a week in Arizona where the temperatures were in the 70s under sunny skies all week. Back to reality...

I was featured on Episode 5 of Amy Stone's Mile After Mile Podcast. Amy, a follower of Journey to Badwater, says she was inspired by this blog to get her podcast project going. She does a great job, and I encourage you to listen to all her episodes, not just the one I was in.

I'm a bit overloaded today after being gone a week, so I'll be back with more posts soon.