Most people do crazy stuff when they turn 40 - the classic midlife crisis type affair. There's buying a snazzy new car (does a 4WD Merce...

Jan 31, 2011

Beating the snow

I think I may have beaten the weather today. Or at least, I have finally learned to kinda pay attention to the forecast. And if the forecast is to be trusted, the clouds are closing in and the temps plunging. So I ran at Lake Pueblo before work, hoping that for once things would go my way. It was a good morning for a run. A thick layer of clouds and fog blanketed the lake and trails, with a damp bite to the air. The chill was evident by the frost tinging the grass and trees. But luckily, it was cold enough to keep the trails from turning to clay. The fog blocked the noise from CO 96, so I was alone on trails and enjoying the winter silence. It was actually not that cold once I got warmed up and I had a good time. Felt really relaxed on the trails, despite the hard work last week. And so far it looks like I made the right choice. The clouds have tightened their grip on the earth, spitting snow as the temperature continues to drop. Below zero temperatures are in the forecast, so I might have enjoyed my last outside run for awhile.

Jan 28, 2011

Setting the 2011 Schedule

Well, it looks like my race schedule for 2011 is finally coming together. It will be a busy year, with a lot of traveling all over the country. I am looking forward to revisiting the Xterra races and trying out a few new mountain bike races. No marathons this year! I am taking a break from running long to focus on getting fast and getting dirty.

For the Xterras, there are six championship races this year. As of now, I am only planning on racing four. The timing and travel of doing the minimum five for a full score in the series is just not working for me. I keep running the numbers but nothing seems to make it work. So I will have to take a scored zero and make my races count. In the points series races, I am doing two of the local races: Xterra Indian Peaks and Xterra Lory. Dates and locations are on the schedule page.

In the mountain bike arena it will be a mix of 24 hour races, 12 hour races, and some of the MSC events. All of the endurance events will be with my husband in the coed duo. Pueblo and Sage for sure and possibly 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest. Still not entirely sure about all the MSC races, so the schedule may change slightly. I am planning on having some fun and seeing some new areas of the state with the mountain bike events this year. Racing hard is also the goal!

Jan 27, 2011

Saying Goodbye.

What is a wonderful opportunity for the owner of MotorTabs and the future growth of the product means that I will be saying goodbye to one of my best sponsors at the end of the month. MotorTabs will be shutting down and ending production of the electrolyte replacement tablets. Upon hearing the news, I stocked up my favorite flavors! Have to make them last now... I will miss the portability of the tablets, the great flavors, the slight effervescence and the balanced blend of electrolytes. MotorTabs made it easy to turn any drink into an electrolyte replacement drink, without tons of calories or artificial sweeteners. Greg, the founder, has accepted a position with CytoSport and will be the new brand manager for CytoMax. The potential for development in the arena of portable, single serving electrolyte replacement tabs is huge with this new position and I wish him the best of luck.

Jan 25, 2011

This is a test. If things turn out funny and there are multiple little posts, I apologize in advance to anyone reading this before I can clean it up. With travel and race season fast approaching, I need (want) a few ways to update my blog and keep you informed on my progress, results and such. My other method works, but is a little slower and not as consistant with access. Texting in my blog reports used to work well, but in the last few months it has been acting up. I haven't been able to get one complete post sent via texting, despite resetting the accout a few times. So again, if things look weird, I will clean it up later. If not, this was a tech test!

Jan 24, 2011

Drilling it!

I have always disliked doing swimming drills. I'd much rather just get in the water and swim. But after a few inconsistant days in the pool, I realized that it is important to do the drills. Trying to change my stroke is hard enough without making the effort to do the drills. If I just go to masters and swim I will always struggle to get faster. I have had some really good days after a drill session. So I will add in a day of drills, where the sole purpose of the swim is to work on the stroke. Get the lenght in the stroke and the high elbow pull. If I do the work now then it will seem easy and natural come April. And that is when I need to be fast!

Jan 21, 2011

Sunset running

After a last minute work schedule change yesterday, I found myself lacing up my trail shoes at 5:00 for my run at Palmer Park. Given the pink already tinging the clouds over Pikes Peak, I did bring my little head lamp. I was hoping that I would get a really pretty sunset and then be able to run under the full moon. Well, one out of two isn't that bad. Despite the cold, it was a perfectly still night and great running conditions. The trail was clear and the ground frozen, so I didn't have to deal with mud. As the sun slipped behind the mountains, I was treated to spectacular sunset. Hard to run fast when watching the shades of pink and orange shifting in the clouds! Good thing I didn't need to run fast with this being a recovery week! As for that full moon, well if I want to do a proper full moon run, it needs to be before the full moon, not after. I was very happy that I had my light because once the sun went down, it got dark fast. And it was dark, much darker then I had anticipated. So I had to slow down even more so I could watch my footing. Even with the light, Palmer Park is a little tricky to run in the dark.

It is pretty sad that I have done more night trail runs then rides this year. It's a 24 hour MTB race, not trail run coming up soon!

Jan 10, 2011

Welcome back winter

After a fairly mild November and December, January is proving that the cold and snow didn't forget about Colorado. The first big snow storm arrived just in time for the Rescue Run and the second wave hit this weekend. Two weekends in a row with near or sub-zero temperatures have made getting outside a bit of the challenge. The trails and roads were just starting to melt from the first storm this weekend. Nick and I had a muddy and a little icy mountain bike ride on Saturday in the Canyon. Some of the trails were in perfect condition, others were a little dicey. But after doing nothing but riding inside since Christmas, it was nice to get out. Then Sunday, the snow started flying again. I retreated to the trainer - Nick braved the cold!

My workout inside went really well, but staring at the walls for three plus hours does get a little mind-numbing. I knew I was having problems when I programed the distance on the treadmill to 40 miles! Then Nick started telling me all about his ride when I got home. About how quiet and still it was in Stratton. That it was cold enough for the mud to be all frozen. That there was no one else on the trails. I was pretty jealous. It's always so much fun to be out that first day of the snow, with the flakes falling all around. The sounds of the world are absorbed by the snow and all that matters is having fun. There's no one around and it's just you and the snow.

I did get a little of that today when I ran at Palmer Park. First tracks in places, no one but the birds around. I had my Katula spikes on and had a fantastic run. Despite how close some major roads are, the park was just peaceful and quiet. Trail running in the winter is so much fun, as long as you have the right equipment. It's a lot more mentally revitalizing then the treadmill or dealing with the traffic. I'm sure I'll be tired of the snow and cold in a few weeks - but for now, I'm looking forward to a few more snowy trail runs. Just enough to balance out the indoor trainer rides!

Jan 2, 2011

2011 Rescue Run

Another January 1st, another New Year and time for the Rescue Run! This long standing Colorado Springs event (older then me and one of the oldest races in the region) is one of major fundraisers for the El Paso County Search and Rescue and a good way to start off the New Year. Since I'm hoping not to need those guys ever, I always try to make the Rescue Run. And the logo of the race is "Rain, Snow or 20 below," so despite the icy roads and near zero temperatures, runners were gathering in Palmer Park. For just getting back into running and not doing a stitch of speedwork, I have to be pretty happy with my race. Add in the ice and snow and treacherous conditions and things look even better. I did the 10k in 45:57 and was second overall. The woman's winner ran 43:40, so it wasn't a close race. But I had fun and love doing the Rescue Run.

When I got to Palmer Park in the morning, my car was telling me that the temperature was about 6 degrees. I had packed an entire bag of warm clothes so I had a nice selection to choose from. Ended up with my heavy duty tights, Craft shirt and wind block overshirt. Left my coat on for the warm up . as well as my uber heavy gloves and hat. I was not looking forward to the few minutes before the race - with thin hat and gloves. There were a few crazy nuts wearing shorts - in below 10 degree weather, I can't imagine even attempting to run in shorts! I was also wearing the Katula spikes on my shoes Nick bought me a few years ago. That was the best choice I made all day! With the amount of ice on the roads, I needed the spikes to be able to stay upright, let alone run! The only section of the course that wasn't in ice was the trail on Yucca Flats - that was loose foot packed snow.

Since I was there more to have fun then race, I started at a comfortable pace and didn't bother with my watch. There were a few women in front of me, but I gradually moved up through the field. Just was we started the first major hill, two women passed me. They were both moving well and I didn't feel like pushing that hard on the hill. Irritating my Achilles at a fun race was not part of my plan. At the fork between the 5k and 10k, one woman went each way. I was comfortably in second and figured I would stay there. Onto the dirt road and the footing deteriorated into loose, uneven snow. I slowed down a little, making sure I was being careful on the trail. I could see the lead woman and was not making any ground - in fact, she was slowly pulling away. Oh well. Back on the ice road and I was able to run a little better. I felt comfortable and tried pushing the pace a little. Without the speedwork, I didn't really have another gear at that point. So I maintained the pace I had set and cruised to the turn around. With the spikes, it was just like running on dry pavement, so I was able to float down the downhills. As usual, the last long loop around the parking lot seemed to take forever, but I managed to sneak in under 46:00. A good effort and a great way to start the New Year.

After the race, I quickly bundled back into my boots and warm coat. I was not going to freeze while waiting for my friends to finish! The EPCSR had hot coffee, hot chocolate and cider waiting for us as well, which made the post race socilizing much better. Unlike in prior years, they also did the raffle drawings while we were all out running, so we didn't have to stand around and freeze. So the first race of the season is in the books and I will look forward to next year as usual.