Sunday, July 7, 2013

Trail #5--Peaks Trail and a weekly recap

Last Sunday, Adam and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary. Since we traveled to Michigan the week before, we didn't take a trip or anything, but went out to dinner in downtown Denver at a nice restaurant I've been wanting to try for awhile.  Maybe next year we will rent a house in Breckenridge for a few days to celebrate.
1 year ago in Breckenridge, CO
We also spent Saturday and Monday-Wednesday looking at a lot of houses.  The first house we looked at on Saturday was great--huge private back yard, updated, good price.  Unfortunately there were already 4 offers on it and the sellers were making their decision 1 hour after we saw it.  I need a little more time to make a decision than that.  We saw a couple other houses we really liked and one was also quickly under contract while another we thought about overnight and it went under contract too.  

On Wednesday, Adam saw a house he liked in the morning, so I left work to go look at it and a few other houses.  We put in an offer and by Wednesday night we were under contract.  So, we started the process on Saturday and were done by Wednesday (well at least with the search assuming all goes well).  

I ran a mile race on Thursday and relaxed most of the 4 day weekend if you can call racing a mile and trail running "relaxing".

On Friday, I took Mickey up to Frisco to run the Peaks trail.  It's an 8 or so mile trail that runs from Frisco to Breckenridge and I've been wanting to run or mountain bike it for awhile.  We got a late start, but thankfully it was cool (low 60's) and cloudy so it wasn't too hot.  

The plan was to start in Frisco and run to Breckenridge and back.  It seemed like the trail was going to be pretty easy to follow, so I didn't bring any map or directions.  I got off course early on and ended up running quite a bit out of the way.  After that I found the trail and stayed on it pretty well the rest of the way through until another wrong turn at the end. With my extra running in the beginning I didn't make it all the way to Breck.  I turned around at Cucumber Creek, which it turned out was only .6 miles from the Breck trailhead, but I didn't know that at the time and I was already 1:20 into the run and 5 mins past the time when I said I absolutely was going to turn around.

The trail was really nice--shaded a lot of the way and followed/crossed creeks which was great for Mickey to cool off and drink from.  It was really pretty and not super rocky. The elevation gain on the run was around 1700ft and most of that was on the way out, so the run back was mostly downhill and  the whole run was mostly gradual inclines and declines.  I'd like to go back and finish the whole run, but there are so many trails in the area that I want to explore, it may be awhile before I get back to it.

5 miles back to Frisco--I wasn't quite tired yet, but I was getting there!

There were so many beautiful wildflowers along the trail.

Mickey kept splashing in the creek to the left of the trail

This was my favorite part of the trail

Some of the peaks along the trail

One of the many bridges along the trail

The columbines were my favorite flower along the trail

Mickey leading the way

It only took 2 hours 40 minutes of running, but I finally wore out Mickey for a day
I got back to my car and was exhausted and frustrated after getting lost for awhile within a mile of the car.  I hadn't really planned on running more than 2:15, but I got caught up in the trails and the goal of making it all the way to Breck.  I opened the back door of the truck to let Mickey in and the wind caught the door, blew it all the way open and into the car next to me.  The car door blew into the handle of the car next to me and was stuck.  Seriously, what are the chances of this happening?  I was so tired and just wanted to go home and now I was stuck to another car!  I called Adam and he called the local Sheriff's Dept and after waiting awhile, two Sheriffs showed up.  They laughed at the situation, then they and another guy in the parking lot tipped the other car enough so that I could close the door.  I'm glad I finally got to leave with neither car damaged, but it was just so random at the end of a long hard day.
My door wedged into the other car's door handle.
On Saturday, Adam and I took Frito and Mickey up to Lair o' the Bear which is one of my favorite parks.  I ran with Frito and Adam played fetch with Mickey in the creek.
Running with Mr. Frito
Mickey waiting for a stick to be thrown.
The 4 day weekend went by way too fast.  

Friday, July 5, 2013

2013 Superior Downhill Mile Race Report

I decided to race a road mile on 4th of July because I'd never done a mile on the road before and it sounded like fun.  I haven't been doing much short speed work (or enough longer speed work while were on the subject), so I wasn't really sure what to expect in terms of time.  I ran a 5k in this area back in December and the start and part of the first mile was along this course and I ran the first mile in 5:55.  So I figured since I didn't have to keep running after the mile was over a 5:35-5:40 would be a good guess for my time.

I got in around a 3.25 mile warmup with part of it being a run down the course and then back up.  It was a nice gradual downhill most of the way.  As I was running back up to the start, I was running a little short on time.  I had to push the pace a bit to get back to my car, have my gu, change into my racing flats, and wait in one of two very slow moving bathroom lines.  After waiting for 10+ minutes in a bathroom line, it was a couple minutes to the start and so everyone in the line bailed and ran to the start.  I wish I hadn't wasted all that time in line when I could have been doing some strides/jogging some more.

I wasn't quite sure where to line up.  There were a lot of fast guys and girls there.  In the end, 3 guys went under 4 and 4 women were under 4:45.  I ended up lining up 4-5 rows back, behind several faster looking people, but ahead of the really small children and next to a fast looking 12 year old and some guys that were probably around my speed.

The gun went off and my legs just didn't turnover as fast as I wanted.  Several people ran past me and I just kept trying to convince my legs to move. After 300 meters or so I started passing a lot of people that started out too fast (a problem I don't have in a race this short).  I never felt like I was moving very fast, I was just going along with the flow of the crowd, which was fun!  I passed a traffic light in the middle of the course at 3:15 which I knew was probably around 650m or less to go.  Not long after this a woman (a coach I'm guessing) started screaming from the sidelines and then I heard her jump into the race behind me and keep screaming at a woman behind me.  She ran at least a quarter mile with the woman until 100m or so to go (after they had passed me) when she jumped off the course.   I got a little distracted by it. I probably should have focused ahead on keeping contact with the high school and junior high girls ahead of me and letting them pull me to a faster time instead of letting that distract me.

I finished with a gun time of 5:33 and a chip time of 5:31.5 and 17th overall female and 9th in the 20-39 age group. A little better time than I expected so I'm happy with it.

It was really fun because it was over so quick.  I don't have the leg speed yet to really hurt in a mile, so once I got to the finish I felt like I could have run another mile at the same pace.  At least that's what I like to tell myself :)  I'd like to do another mile race after I am in a little speedier shape.  There is one next Wednesday in Boulder, but that doesn't give me time to get in shape.  After that I only know of 1500's on the track, so I may just do one of those.  I definitely liked the feel of the road mile with all the people around.

Looking cool and calm heading to the finish.  

And then the ugly pain face going to the finish. Maybe I couldn't have run another mile after all :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Catching up and Park #4--Alderfer Three Sisters

Wednesday afternoon, I also got unofficial results from my actuarial exam.  I didn't pass.  It's hard to describe what it's like to put hundreds of hours of preparation into something and to feel like your ready for it and then to find out you failed.  Even though it's part of the process, it's still hard to not let it shake my confidence and let it get me down.

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

-Theodore Roosevelt
A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.-John Burroughs 

Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.
-C. S. Lewis 

Back over Memorial Day weekend, Mickey and I went running up in Evergreen at Alderfer Three Sisters Park.  This my first time at the park and it was a nice run, although shorter than I was planning.  We started running on the south side of the park on the Evergreen Mountain trail West and climbed up to the summit trail where we got some good views.  

Views from the summit trail

Mickey enjoying the run
The actual summit trail

a view on the way up
We were descending on the Evergreen Mtn trail east when I tripped on a rock and fell hard on my knees, left shoulder and back.  Instead of exploring the northern part of the park as planned, I just wanted to get back to the car as I was scraped up and bleeding.  So, we'll have to go back and explore more of the park another time.

The weeks following that run, I started to get a lot of lower back pain and finally went to the chiropractor last week for an initial visit.  I've actually never gone to a chiropractor for adjustments, only for ART.  I guess I was pretty out of whack, probably from this fall, and maybe from all my mountain bike falls over the last couple years. It seems to have alleviated my lower back pain so far and hopefully is helping me run a little better.  I certainly felt better when we were in Michigan.

I raced a 5k 2 weeks ago and it wasn't pretty.  I had a migraine the 3 days before and that and possibly my migraine medicine led to my legs becoming extremely sore, mainly in my calves.  I also still had the low back pain. I was planning to do a race on Saturday, but skipped it hoping my legs would feel better for Sunday.  Then we spent 3 hours at the Denver zoo on Saturday afternoon and my legs really felt like junk.  I told myself that no matter how bad I felt, I had to get out there and race, and if I did I could buy myself some new running clothes.

So I did the Apex Father's Day 5k in Arvada.  According to the race mile markers I did my race as follows:
Mile 1: 6:24 This felt hard but controlled
Mile 2: 7:50 Passed the second place female at around 8 minutes in, got passed by another female and one male at the "2 mile" mark.
Mile 3: 7:10 Got passed by another female running with a dog, and maybe one guy.
Final time:22:10
I think the mile markers and the total distance were off, but not too far off. I really didn't feel good and fell apart after the turn around.  I finished 4th overall and even though I ran poorly I'm glad I went but hope that I feel much better the next time that I race.

Since I did do my race I got to order some new running clothes. I got two new pairs of shorts (they were on sale!) and a new sports bra.

Showing off the new clothes

I'm racing a 5k tomorrow morning and a downhill mile on July 4th so I'm looking forward to see how those go.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Park #2-Deerfield Park, Park #3-Leelenau State Park, and a wedding

This past weekend, Adam and I headed to Michigan for my sister's wedding.  The dogs didn't come along and we split all three of them up with Frito going to a petsitter, Cooper going to one friend, and Mickey going to another.

Frito made himself right at home at the petsitters.
Mickey with his buddy Max.

We flew in late, so we stayed in Mt. Pleasant where I grew up, before heading up to Leland (near Traverse City) where the wedding would be.  It gave me a chance to run at Deerfield Park in the morning.  Deerfield is where we went for walks as a family when I was a kid.  It was where we floated down the Chippewa river every 4th of July on inner tubes.  It was where I first fell in love with running as a teenager and where our high school cross county course was until my senior year.  I have a lot of miles and history in this park.  

It's a beautiful park--heavily shaded and much of it along the Chippewa river.  After living in Colorado for almost 3 years I've come to really appreciate the full thick shade that Deerfield provides.  You can't find shade like this in Colorado.  The only big drawback is the mosquitos.  You can't slow down, stop, or walk without them finding you, so I apologize for any fuzzy photos--I had to take them on the go!

Wildwood pathway

River Loop
I used to think this was a big hill
The covered brige--this was a long walk and a destination to get to when I was a kid!
The Covered Bridge from the other direction.
The swinging bridge
We had a lot of fun as kids and runners when this bridge bounced up and down.
The natural spring at Deerfield--iron fortified water.
On Saturday, we went for a run in Leelanau State Park near Northport, MI.  Adam really only ran to escape the mosquitoes.  I ran here 2 years ago when I came to visit my family for Memorial Day and watch my sister run the Bayshore Marathon. It's a beautiful park, again heavily shaded which I love, and with some steep hills and enough mosquitoes to keep you moving at a good clip.  

Adam looking over his shoulder for the killer mosquitoes.
Trying to drop Adam up a hill :)
Adam really likes trees like this

More Green!

Checking out the view of Lake Michigan from our room post run.
The weather was a little windy for the wedding which was on the beach, but it was beautiful.  The best picture the two of us got was near the parking lot unfortunately and it still wasn't great.  Thankfully there were a lot of great shots of the bride and groom.  We had a nice relaxing time and enjoyed seeing family.  It's nice to get back to Michigan in the summer to see how beautiful it is. 
Pre wedding.

My sister's dogs Charley Brown, and Timmy (you can't see much of Timmy)
Adam showing off the view from our room.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Introduction and Trail #1--High Line Canal

This is Frito. Running with Frito to me represents running for the sheer joy of it. Running to relax and escape everyday stress. Running to enjoy and explore nature.  

When I start to show even a hint that I am getting ready to run, Frito starts his running "dance". I just need to open the drawer with my running clothes, put on my running watch, start putting my hair in a ponytail, and he already knows its on. First he does a stretch.  Then he starts wiggling from his nose all the way to the end of his tail. Occasionally he lets out a long howl as if to say lets go!!!! As I put my running shoes on he chugs water, he knows he needs to hydrate.  Once I grab the leash he can't contain his excitement and he jumps, all four legs, 2-3 feet off the ground while wiggling from head to toe.  We call this a bah-boing! This is what Frito does when his is really really excited.  It's this pure excitement and joy that I want to have before and during every run.

There are some goals that I am working towards in my running right now.  The main one right now is  setting a 10k pr.  Another one is a little different.  My goal is to run in 52 different parks/trails in the next year.  I started this over Memorial Day weekend, so I have until next Memorial day to complete it.  I've decided it only counts if I take pictures, and share it, so I will be doing that here.  While I have run in more parks than 3, I have only taken pictures for 3 parks so far.  

This morning, Frito and I did an easy run along a short stretch of the High Line Canal in Littleton.  I like running this trail for easy runs, tempo or longer intervals, and occasionally for long runs.  It's pretty much flat and provides some shade. There are some good views of the mountains and depending on what stretch you run there are some nice houses to look at along the way. 

Frito stalking a bunny
Frito doing his slowmotion walk towards the bunny
Getting closer
 He probably thinks running=hunting.

Not the best lighting for pictures, but definitely the best time to run while it's still cool and shady!