Race Coming Up! Colorado (South Platte Half Marathon)

I am currently registered for the South Platte Half Marathon in Littleton, Colorado on April 15.  I haven’t been doing a lot of running in the last month since the 50 mile race and it’s time to get back in the routine.  I ran a 5k on St. Patrick’s Day and enjoyed every moment but since then work and life have been busy and it was the running I let fall by the wayside.  Not good!  So, back to work and time for a long slow run.

I’m looking forward to running this because:

  • Once again the race is not far away
  • It’s a great course along the South Platte River from Littleton into Denver
  • You get light rail tickets for the return to the parking area.  Fun!
  • To see if I am ready to get back into training – there are marathons coming up!

Weather:  Checking the 10 day forecast, I get: 62 with overnight lows in the 40s and showers.  It’s spring!!

The race starts at 9:00 (luxury!).  Nice!  Littleton, here I come!

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The Fifty Mile Run…

… Hike…  Walk…  Run

Race #7 for 2012 is done and done: the Old Pueblo 50 Mile Endurance Run in Sonoita, AZ.  This race is held in the desert mountains southeast of Tucson.  I had been in the area a couple of times 20 years or so ago but never run or hiked the area.  Parts of the course are on the 4WD Forest Service roads and parts were on the single wide Arizona Trail.  There were a few shallow water crossings, a great deal of climbing and descent and not a lot of shade.

The morning was cold and clear, about 13 degrees on the car thermometer, calm and very dark out there away from habitation and lights.  The stars were absolutely incredible.  It warmed up into the 60’s and then cooled again to the 30’s over the course of the day.  Minimal wind and lots of sun made for a beautiful day to be out in the hills.

Parking was easy at the site – no fee – and number pickup was organized.  There were two one person bathrooms and given the remote location and number of runners, that was not by any definition enough.  A few in the parking lot would have been a very good idea.

The race started on time though there were people trying to get through the bathroom lines and we headed off into the predawn stillness.  The first part of the course was an uphill walk back to the parking lot.  From there the light started coming up and we jogged off into the desert.

It was a beautiful day and the sunrise was gorgeous.  There were places where the course was not well-marked and a couple of people did get lost – one got several extra miles of running around trying to get back on course.

I ran the first half very close to my projected schedule but the last half bogged down quite a lot.  My last 1.5 miles were in the dark along a sandy trail following glow sticks hung in the bushes.  It was a bit surreal but also neat in a way.  I’d love to report I had some sort of hallucination about following the lights to the finish like following a line of stars… but I didn’t.  My mind doesn’t readily let go of the current reality and seemed determined not to be found wanting at any point on that day.

Again, I want to give my crew a huge THANK YOU!  By mile 40 I was pretty ragged – beyond tired, irritated, very sore.  My crew patched me up and booted me back into the game (very timely!) and the rest of the course wasn’t nearly so bad.

The volunteers were great – cheerful and helpful.

It was about 35 degrees when we finished.  There was still plenty of post race snacks and drinks for those of us who take our time.  In particular, the chicken soup tasted like liquid gold.

*       *       *       *       *

So.  I’ve been asked, “What do you think about while running for 50 miles?”

Well…  I don’t want to speak for anybody else, but I was paying close attention to the footing for the most part.  In some places it was comfortable and consistent and in most places it was rocky and complicated.  There was a lot of climbing – more than I really wanted.  I trained for a road race, I guess, and should have tried to find one.  I wanted to do more running and less power hiking.

I was also constantly checking how my legs felt, how my stomach felt, how my shoulders and back felt.  I was on my own quite a bit so I was paying close attention to the trail – trying to find it in some cases.  I was projecting my miles covered, timing, miles to go.  I don’t run on autopilot; its constant work.

But sometimes I’d play a song in my head or simply contemplate the scenery.  For a couple of miles toward the end I walked and ran with another woman and we talked about jobs and families.  The time did pass.

I am glad I did this.  I’m not convinced I need to do it again, though!  😉

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Liebster Blog Award

Today I was given the Liebster Award by Sara and Julia, the sew-sew runners.

Liebster is a German word meaning favourite, dearest or beloved. The Liebster Blog Award is awarded by bloggers to other new bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers, to help spread the word about their blogs and to help them gain wider recognition.

The Liebster award comes with four conditions that each recipient must satisfy when accepting:

1. Choose 5 up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers to award the Liebster to.

2. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.

3. Post the award on your blog. List the bloggers you are giving the award to with links to their sites. Leave comments on their blog so they know about the award.

4. Share 5 random facts about yourself that people don’t know about you.

So… kind of like a benign chain letter.  Thank you, Sara and Julia!  OK… 5 blogs…

Sonoran Dreamtime

Between His Ears

Barelypoppins

Romina Danell

Nerdy After Thirty

And 5 random facts that (most) people don’t know…

I want a tattoo but don’t want the discomfort.

Ditto belly button ring.

I am determined to establish a productive vegetable garden – and eat what I grow.

I am raising chickens but there is no way in the world I will eat one.  (Just the eggs!)

I really, really do want a dog and I’m sure it would completely over complicate my life.

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The Workouts 2/27 – 3/4

2/27 – 30 min. yoga. Felt very good!

2/28 – travel

2/29 – 5 mile run – easy and fun

3/1 – 4 mile run – enjoyed every minute

3/2 – rest

3/3 – Old Pueblo 50 Mile Endurance Run – combination power hiking and trail running on a challenging and scenic 51+ mile course.  Temps started at 18 degrees, climbed into the 60’s and back down to the 30’s over the day.  Sunny, minimal wind and very dry!

The Perpetuum sustained my energy as I discovered no strong interest in ‘real’ food.  Minor injuries include a few blisters and the upcoming loss of two toenails.  My quads are still fussing at me and I’m not interested in taking a jog yet, but other than that, things are doing pretty good.

I have to admit – I don’t really see the overall charm of this sort of running.  Gorgeous scenery that you don’t take time to enjoy; rough road that you can’t quite hit your stride on.   Several times throughout the day, as I hiked up narrow rocky trails and dry stream beds, I found myself wishing I could do more running.  I trained for running, not speed hiking.  Some serious time on a Stairmaster during training would have been useful.

I was much slower than I had hoped to be but I got the job done and I owe my crew a huge THANK YOU and many, many hugs.  I couldn’t have done it without them and the food, support, information and encouragement they provided.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!

More details on subsequent posts!!

3/4 – rest and some walking

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You Know You Are Running in Northeast Colorado If…

  • One day you are running bundled up in everything you own due to wind/cold/snow/etc.
  • And the next day you are running in a light weight shirt and skort.
  • And the next day you run indoors on the treadmill because the wind is blowing too hard to even walk outside.
  • While running in light shirt and skort, you are still avoiding snow and ice on your route.
  • During any run in excess of 6 miles you can play Barnyard Animal Bingo!  Horses, cows, calves!, goats, sheep, lambs!, llamas, chickens, geese, pygmy goat…
  • You can run from one town to another and there are miles of open space between them.
  • You have ever answered a call of nature behind a hay stack.
  • You have ever been paced by a skunk in the bar ditch (for about 50 yards).
  • You have ever had a red fox follow along in front for a while.
  • You have ever been ‘led’ by an hysterical killdeer that refuses to flush away from the road.
  • You plan your route to avoid field fertilizer trucks.
  • You plan your route to avoid any crop harvest trucks.
  • You pass a combine driving down the road.
  • The guy in the combine asks if you need a ride.
  • You know the location of every dog in 18 miles.
  • You consider a run around your town your ‘short’ day.
  • You do laps around your town to get your miles on windy days.
  • In the summer you plan a route that passes all the local trees for shade (because there aren’t many trees).
  • In the winter you plan a route that avoids drift problem areas.
  • People building a barn, fixing a tractor, frolicking on an ATV, burning ditches or moving cattle stop to watch YOU go by.
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The Workouts 2/20 – 2/26

2/20 – 30 min. yoga.  Felt very good!

2/21 – 7 mile run – kinda chilly but a steady run.  Legs felt a bit heavy.

2/22 – 5 mile run – legs felt a little heavy.

2/23 – Lower body weight workout due to inclement weather.

2/24 – 7 mile run on a sunny and chilly late evening.  The days are getting longer!!  Legs felt better.

2/25 – 1.5 hours running – on an absurdly nice afternoon.  Feeling good…

2/26 – 1 hour running – on the treadmill.  What better way to watch some of the Oscar presentation?

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Race Coming Up! Arizona (Old Pueblo 50 Mile Endurance Run)

I am currently registered for the Old Pueblo 50 mile Endurance Run in Sonoita, Arizona on March 3.  Yeah, this is it – the one I’ve been training for and thinking about for the last 15 weeks.

My reasons for running the Old Pueblo are:

  • Arizona in winter = better than Colorado in the winter.
  • Close to crew headquarters.  😉
  • I was able to train during cool weather instead of searing heat.
  • To see if I can do this.
  • To find out why I want to do this.

I am READY for this!  Wish it was this weekend or last weekend – why wait?  I’ve missed some training runs and nailed others.  I’ve run 9 races during the training for this and my last race saw a 10 minute improvement from the comparable distance in January.  I’m ready to not be spending quite so much time running.  Training for marathons doesn’t take as much time as this has.  I’ve enjoyed the work over the winter but the days are getting longer and will be getting warmer and my horses are looking at me hopefully and my job is about to get busy.  I’m ready to focus on something new – all I have to do is run this thing.

Weather:  Checking the 10 day forecast, I get: 65 with overnight lows in the high 30s.  That sounds absolutely perfect.  We’ll see…

The race starts at 6:00 and there is no time change to worry about.  Nice!  Arizona, here I come!

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Warrior Dash Valkyrie in Training #12

(The following is a guest post from my mother regarding our determination to run the Warrior Dash in Arizona this spring.  This is the 12th in the series wherein our Valkyrie sees the benefits of the hard work – check out part #11 here and keep tuned in for updates!)

Warrior Dash Valkyrie in Training #12 – Taking a Breath and Reflecting

While walking this morning, I had little else to do but reflect on where I am and how I got here.  Nothing as philosophical and lofty as the nature and meaning of life or, why is there air?  Just reflections on the last year of preparation for the Warrior Dash and the changes I have noticed in myself along the way.

When I began this journey 9 months ago, a 2-3 mile walk was a challenge.  I was slow, stamina was low, and walking was a chore.  I couldn’t wait to get home and I let almost anything distract me and give me an excuse not to walk.  In the last couple of months, I have been pleased to notice changes in both speed and stamina as well as changes in attitude.  Can it be?  Now, I actually like to walk and I miss it when I don’t get the opportunity to fit my walk into my day.  Sigh…go figure.  My daughter said this would happen; so did my husband.  Sometimes, the teacher becomes the student…

These days, I do not feel good during the day if I have not taken my walk in the morning and I do not feel like I have walked unless it is at least 6 miles. I love the days when I log 7 or 8.  I am still aspiring toward building in a 10 miler once a month.

This morning was chilly and clear; 38 degrees at 0630 when I began my walk, warming up to 48 and sunny by the time I returned home.  I immediately noticed the 0630 start time.  Yea!  The earth is turning!  Last month, it wasn’t daylight until almost 0700.  I am eagerly anticipating the spring and summer months when daylight arrives at 0500 and I can be on the road by 0445 just as the luminescence begins to silhouette the tops of the Catalina Mountains.  It will be doubly nice to go out in t-shirt and shorts instead of a down jacket.  In the middle of summer, the temperature at 0500 can be as warm as 82’ F.

This morning, I felt good so I tried a little running.  Walk a little, run a little.  I remember the first time I tried a little running.  I didn’t run very far and gave it up entirely after trying twice.  This morning, I was able to maintain a walk 1 minute, run 1 minute pace for half of my walk. I noticed that I can run much farther than before and I recover faster, ready to run again.  That awareness pleased me and gave me motivation to work on this kind of drill.  My goal is to run 2 minute intervals alternated with walking 2 minutes for the entire length of my walk by the middle of March.

I have neglected my upper body strength training.  Life kind of got in the way and…other excuses.  My second goal is to do 30 minutes of weight training 4 days a week for the 5 weeks remaining until the Warrior Dash.

Over all, I am enjoying this increased level of fitness and I am motivated to do even better.  At age 67 (just passed a birthday), I feel like I am in pretty good shape for a geezer.  I give a lot of credit and sincere thanks to my two biggest motivators, my daughter and my hubby.  THANK YOU!!:) You have been great; offering suggestions, providing encouragement, and, on occasion, giving me THE LOOK when I need it.

This morning, I had breakfast with two good friends, two other members of Team Geezer, and we talked about the Warrior Dash looming large on our horizon.  We are eager to “giterdone” and have some fun with it.  Hopefully, my last post in this series will include a photo of all 7 WD team members, including us geezers and those who still enjoy pre-geezer status, covered in mud and sporting huge smiles.  Have I mentioned that all 7 WD team members are female?  WOMEN RULE!!

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The Workouts 2/13 – 2/19

2/13 – 3 hours helping friends moving = NSOMAT

2/14 – 9 mile run.  Chilly, but, after running the Ralston half on Sunday, I wasn’t going to let minor chilliness put me off.  Due to excessive railroad traffic I had to change my planned route significantly but I ended up appreciating the change.

2/15 – 5 mile run – chilly late afternoon until just before dark.  Slow but easy and smooth.  Lower body weight training and ab workout at home.

2/16 – yoga

2/17 – 9 mile run – chilly and blah.

2/18 – 2 hours running: Snowman Stampede 5 & 10 mile races.  Nice conditions for the races and I ended up running the 10 mile race 10 minutes faster than the 10 mile race I ran in January.  The concrete trails do make the knees hurt after a while.

2/19 – 2 hours running – overcast and chilly.  Legs cramped a little after mile 2 but walked it off in about half a mile.  Very muddy now and having to stay on paved roads and sidewalks.  Can’t wait for things to dry out a little bit.

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Snowman…

… Stampede!

(This post is nearly identical to the one about Frosty’s Frozen 5 & 10 because it was the same distances and course at the same location.  It was a great day for a run and the entire series proved to be well-organized, enjoyable, and blessed with nice weather.)

Races #5 & 6 for 2012 are checked off: the Snowman Stampede in Littleton, CO.  These races head north of Hudson Gardens along the Platte, crossing a few times on long wooden bridges.  I’ve run parts of this course before and enjoy running alongside the river and seeing the mountain backdrop.

I picked these races to spice up my training plan and have a change of scenery – though now I feel pretty familiar with this scenery.  These races gave me a little more running than I needed today but it felt great and I don’t mind!

The morning was crisp and clear, about 22 degrees on the car thermometer, calm – good conditions for a long run.  There was a little snow in places, some patches of ice on the trail but for the most part the footing was dry.

Parking was easy at the site – no fee – and packet pickup and pre race registration were indoors 🙂 and organized.  There were indoor bathrooms and outdoor portta potties and coffee and HOT CHOCOLATE available before the race.

The 5 mile race started on time (I LOVE race directors who start their races ON TIME!!!) and started us off through the gardens (winter dormant) and then sent us along the paved bike path along the river.  We ran a little over 2.5 miles north, crossed the river, then ran back south to the finish line.  There was one aid station on the west side of the bridge.

The volunteers were great – cheerful and helpful.

I had half an hour break before the 10 mile race started at 10:15.  (Let me say I really like this consecutive start that allows a person to run both races!)  This race also started on time and retraced the first part of the route from the 5 mile race.  When we crossed the bridge to the first aid station we turned north and kept going.  The second aid station was at the turn around and there was a timing mat to run over.  It warmed up considerably and the sun came out as we headed back.  We passed aid station #1 for the second time and finished by running the same route as the second half of the 5 mile race.

It was about 41 degrees when we finished – which felt wonderful after the last few cold weeks.  There was still plenty of post race snacks and drinks for those of us who take our time.

This is the third in the Winter Distance Series and I continue to be very impressed with the overall organization and planning of these races.  Fun and a nice challenge for a Colorado winter!

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