races… good, then not so good

I ran the same two end of year races this year, that I did last year:  Briargate YMCA Turkey Trot and the Rock Canyon Half Marathon in Pueblo, CO.    One went really well, the other…not as good.

Turkey Trot 2011, November 24, 2011.

I don’t run many 5K races.  Usually if I do, it is a school event or like this race, an annual tradition.    Unlike last year when we stressed the chilly weather, we had a picture perfect day this year.   It was warm (mid-50s) and sunny!   So without any qualms (but plenty of chaos), we headed out to the race – all of us, my parents included!

we all turkey-trotted!
mom and dad
we had a fun filled holiday

The Turkey Trot was good for me… I ran a PR of 25:03 (8:05 mm) on a fairly hilly course and came in 5/146 in my age group…a pretty good day for me!

 Rock Canyon Half Marathon, Pueblo, CO, December 3, 2011

Rock Canyon is great race for many reasons: local, later start (9 a.m.), cheap ($35), a finisher’s sweatshirt and this year, a medal!  It’s also not ever going to be a PR race for me – trail, uneven terrain, a steep hill to finish… I ran the race in 1:58:55 last year and I just wanted to run something similar or a bit faster this year.   The 2010 Pueblo race was the last non-mountain race of any distance that I ran before getting injured earlier this year.

A few days out, weather forecasters started predicted “miserable” conditions for the race.  The race day weather was almost unimaginable just a few days before – when I ran in the sun, 64 degrees and no breeze!   Usually Pueblo has better weather than the north-end of the Colorado Springs area…but on this race day, it was fairly brutal down in Colorado’s ‘banana belt’ as well.    Our group was committed though – we headed out to run this race despite the cruel weather (although I think if anyone of us had said the word, we all would have been happy to stay cozy at home :-).)   Ultimately, over 550 people finished this race – Coloradoans are pretty intense!

The first few miles of the run proved to be pretty slick, icy pavement.   The trail itself was in good condition but the winds after the turn around were harsh!  All things considered, I ran a decent race (finished in 2:06) but it was my slowest half marathon to date…

Video by my husband, Mark sums up the day, what an adventure!

another winter stew

Yesterday brought another snow storm to our area – this time enough for the kids to have a snow day!   Summer time tends to be a time of less cooking at my house – mostly because we don’t have air conditioning and the heat from ovens and stoves just add to the misery of a hot house.. and also because summertime in Colorado is best spent outside in the beautiful sunshine.   That said, I love cooking in the fall and winter – a nice stew in the crock pot on a snowy day is one of my favorite things.

I experimented a bit today with some of my favorite veggies:

butternut squash, ginger
dino kale and a large white onion

I started with some chopped butternut squash and about a 1/2 inch piece of ginger in the crock pot, chopped up a bunch of delicious dino kale and of course,  the staple white onion.

While I was chopping up the veggies, I softened some dry black eyed peas in the pressure cooker…

2 cups of dry black eyed peas, soften in pressure cooker for about 6 minutes

I recently found a fragrant rosemary tree at Whole Foods, so I just pulled a bit off the tree to throw into the stew

rosemary

A very simple stew: butternut squash, kale, onion and black eyed peas.

spices: rosemary, garlic and ginger

simmer 'til dinner

With dinner in the works, I should be able to hit the gym this evening with nothing to do but eat and watch Marathon Boy (HBO Documentary premieres tonight) once I get home!

I discovered a few new tunes last week:

Balance by Future Islands

Breathe In by Frou Frou

Shuffle by Bombay Bicycle Club

All to All by Broken Social Scene

 

 

summer eases into the fall

just like that – summer has slid into autumn … the leaves on the trees are changing into vibrant colors…the first few snowy days on the peak have already made the local news.

snowy peak, second week of September 2011

Fortunately the temperatures are still summer like…creating the illusion that we won’t soon be donning our tights, half zips and gloves before going out on the roads and trails!

After this summer’s Pikes Peak Ascent, I had a bit of post-event blues.   I guess when you spend so much time on the mountain (or planning trips up the mountain), you are bound to miss it a little when it’s all over!  Just like last year, I find myself slowly (key word…slow) returning back to non-mountain running. .. slow twitch vs. fast twitch and all that I guess. Continue reading “summer eases into the fall”

Pikes Peak Ascent 2011

Your biggest challenge isn’t someone else. It’s the ache in your lungs and the burning in your legs, and the voice inside you that yells ‘CAN’T’. But you don’t listen, you just push harder. And then you hear the voice whisper ‘can’, and you discover that the person you thought you were is no match for the one you really are.  ~ Unknown

Days after the Pikes Peak Ascent 2011, my mind still lingers on race day.  I find myself glancing at the mountain every now and then and just think… wow…

This year’s race experience was incredible.   I had some of my best girlfriends to train with this summer which made the journey so much more enjoyable.   I skipped the TCR series this year – missing both the Garden 10 and Summer Roundup, opting to train on Barr Trail instead for just two races: July Barr Trail Mountain Race and of course, the PPA.  I also had a little Epic adventure thrown in :-).   The rest of the summer was spent with weekends somewhere on the Barr Trail, weekday trips up the Incline and eventually time at the summit just breathing.

summit training
amazing views

Continue reading “Pikes Peak Ascent 2011”

Epic Relay – Rocky Mountain style

I was runner #12 for team Get off My Pass in the Rocky Mountain Epic Relay last weekend: 2 vans, 12 runners and 200 miles of Rocky Mountain running.

Having signed up for this event almost a year ago, I kept putting it in the back of my mind as I spent most weekends this spring and summer training for the Barr Trail Mountain Race and the Pikes Peak Ascent.   And having never participated in anything like this before, I had no idea what to expect!   So I entered the unknown with a bit of nervousness, a little trepidation and much excitement…embarking on a new adventure with my husband, three of my girlfriends and a brave girl who joined us sight unseen – and who we all enjoyed getting to know over the next 200 miles!

what an adventure it turned out to be…

Get off My Pass at the start

Continue reading “Epic Relay – Rocky Mountain style”

Barr Trail Mountain Race 2011

I ran my second Barr Trail Mountain Race last weekend.  I don’t have anything dramatic or spectacular to report.  I ran the course in about the same time that I’ve been running the last few training runs on the mountain.  The heat was pretty intense and I didn’t push the downhill segment but I completed the race within the 3:30 cutoff.   I definitely did better last year.. but I made a decision going into the race this year that I was not going to risk injury on the way down.  (Barr Trail Mountain Race 2010).   Speeding down Barr Trail can be fun…but painful!

the course:

 

to Barr Camp and back

 

on the trail

With BTMR behind me, I spent the week preparing for this weekend’s Epic Rocky Mountain Relay… 200 miles from Colorado Springs to Crested Butte, 2 vans, 12 runners.   I wasn’t sure what to expect but I can honestly say that it was one of the most fun, amazing and rewarding experiences that I’ve ever had.  I will be posting much more about this event soon.

Seattle 2011

We’re back from our annual Seattle trip.  It was another great year – family fun, urban living, good eats, pacific beach, crescent lake… sea level running!  I decided not to run the Seattle Rock n’ Roll half marathon this year.  I ran the race in 2009 and 2010 but after spending the first part of this year plagued with injury, I decided to limit my races this summer.  I have to admit, I kind of regret it  –  running at sea-level was particularly awesome this year!  It must be the runs up to Barr Camp but I found myself cruising through the urban jungle at near-race paces and it felt pretty effortless.

 

view from Kerry Park. I ran by several times!
kids @ Crescent Lake
rainbow over Crescent Lake
kids @ Ruby Beach
flying kites @ Gas Works Park
fireworks @ Lake Union. from the couch.

It was an amazing trip – we really love the area!   It’s time to get back to work – Barr Camp Mountain Race is in a week and a half!

more tales from the trail (and some new tunes)

 

I just completed 3 more trips up Barr Trail since my last post.  My 4th trip this year.   So far it’s looking something like this:

Trip 1:  39:33 (Top of the Ws)    –    1:02:54 (no name creek)          —na—  (Barr Camp)

Trip 2:  37:50 (Top of the Ws)    –    1:01:34 (no name creek)          1:56:50  (Barr Camp)

Trip 3:  36:01 (Top of the Ws)    –    58:46 (no name creek)             1:52:34  (Barr Camp)

Trip 4:  38:07 (Top of the Ws)   –  1:00:56 (no name creek)            1:57:25  (Barr Camp)

Last week was clearly my best week but it was also the week I fell and earned these trail battle scars:

 

mountain pain

I’ve had a pretty hard work out week performance-wise since falling down the mountain so I wasn’t particularly surprised that I didn’t have the best mountain run today.  However, I must say (knock on wood),  I feel a little better on the trail this year than I did last year… not to mention, I am enjoying it more this year.

So far, I’m running comparable to my Barr Trail Mountain Race splits from last year:

36:23 (Top of the Ws)   – 1:01:02 (no name Creek)  – 1:58:26 (Barr Camp)

and I’ve beaten my time to Barr Camp every run up so far… so I am feeling encouraged and fairly confident that if I can keep it up, I will be ok for this year’s BTMR (my first race post injury) and in decent shape for meeting the cutoffs – including the new 1:10:00 cutoff for No Name.

So let the trail running continue!  I am looking forward to running on the top half of the mountain because I know for me, the Pikes Peak Ascent race is really going start after Barr Camp…

I have a few new tunes to share below but the soundtrack for this blog post has to be this oldie but goodie:

Kiss the Dirt by Inxs 🙂

Falling down the mountain

End up kissing dirt….

 

New Tunes:

Burial – by Miike Snow

In the Morning – by Junior Boys

Scattered Diamonds – by Hungry kids of Hungary

New Theory – by Washed Out

Go Outside – by The Cults