Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sledding and having fun

The snow is pretty piled up out here in Silverton. It was cold last night, too - low of around NEGATIVE 19 degrees. Coldest weather I have ever been in. Hey, it wasn't even that warm inside (we are trying to conserve heat, as we are staying at a lovely Victorian house owned by some people my husband knows. They are charging us for the wood/heat, but we don't want to abuse it.)

Since the snow plows and front loaders had dug the town out after the 2 day blizzard, it was time to get out and have some fun. So, I dragged myself out of bed, bundled up and headed out in the cold to take a 45 minute spin class (indoor cycling) followed by a 45 minute yoga class at the Silverton Movement Center this morning. Whew! Afterwards, I met Kenny at the Avalanche Coffee Shop for a very warm cup of Yogi Green Tea Kombucha.After warming up, we borrowed some sleds and spent the rest of the afternoon sledding down one of the hilly side streets in Silverton. What a blast! After the 10th time walking up the hill, I realized how sore I was. So, even though I'm not running, I'm getting lots of exercise here.Kenny took Dixie down on a sled ride, but she jumped off pretty quickly!

Dixie and Taos like to chase Kenny as he sleds down the hill.

We finished off the day with a homemade crockpot of chicken green chile soup and several mean games of Mexican Train dominoes. What a great vacation this is turning out to be. Very peaceful here in the San Juan mountains.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas from Silverton Colorado!

Kenny, myself, and our 3 dogs (Dixie, Taos and Cracker) headed up to Colorado to spend 8 days in snowpacked Silverton at 9,318 feet elevation. The mountain passes between Durango and Silverton were getting worse as we headed in on Christmas Eve, but we made it in time before the big storm hit. We had snow cables on our tires and with the 4-wheel drive, I felt a little better. Kenny drove very slow and safe over the passes. The last part of the drive was dark and the snow was really coming down.On Christmas Day, we did some walking around in the snow - the town was super quiet and hunkered down. It was snowing like crazy, and the wind was really blowing the snow around, but we went out and played with the dogs anyway. Kenny made a snow angel in the piled up snow near where his shop is in the Summer:
Kenny wearing his bear hat:
It snowed from Christmas Eve until the day after Christmas. The day after Christmas had the whole neighborhood shoveling snow:
The big front loaders came through after Christmas and helped clear out the town from the blizzard:
Dixie and Taos liked the snow, but Cracker has been a little cold:

We really had a great Christmas here. There is nothing more peaceful than sitting inside watching the snow come down. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention - I got the new Garmin 405 watch from Kenny for Christmas! I am so exciting to take it out on a run. I'm just learning how to use the GPS on it. I won't be doing any running here in Silverton, but we plan on snowshoeing, sledding (lots of walking uphill!) and I'll be taking lots of classes at the Silverton Movement Center (indoor cycling, yoga, pilates, body pump) to keep myself in training shape. My surgeon said no snow skiing because of my wrist - too much of a risk of rebreaking it since I had never been skiing before. The small ski area here in Silverton is a good one to learn on, but I'd feel pretty stupid if I broke it again, so I'll just hold off for now. We'll still have a blast here.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

TTR AZ Trail 50k

I knew I wasn't ready for the 50k, but I joined the Tucson Trail Runners for as much of an out and back on the AZ trail (a lot of it on the Old Pueblo 50 mile race course) as I was able to do. I got up at 5am and headed over towards Sonoita (about an hour Southeast of Tucson) for the scheduled 7am run.
It was pretty dang cold at the start - about 35 degrees, but I kept the clothes down to a minimum (skirt, long sleeve shirt, thin gloves and my 180 degrees ear muffs) because I knew I would warm up. The high was going to be around 60 in that area today. I did stay cold for quite a while, but finally got a little toastier after about 5 miles.

It was an out and back course, with all runners doing various distances. My plan was to get to Kentucky Camp, an historical mining camp (there were bathrooms there, too!), which was 10 miles out, for a total of 20 miles. I decided to walk the uphills on the way out to ensure that I would save my legs for the distance. It has been a long time since I had gone that far, but I figured with some walking, I could do it.

Well, I never made it there. We did have a map, but I just couldn't seem to follow it well. Others got a little lost, too. A lot of illegal immigrants cut new trails around there, causing some confusion. Even after examining a map back at the beginning of the route, I'm still not sure exactly where I went wrong. Having a GPS would have helped things. At any rate, at some point, I made a wrong turn. I knew I was on the wrong trail when I didn't see any more AZ trail signs. I decided to follow it through, just in case. So I went about 1:55 out, doing some pausing for map reading and some walking on the hilly parts.

I headed back and at one point, the route did not look the same; I was along a frozen creek (very small one). I certainly did not remember that. I didn't think that I had made any wrong choices coming back, so I roamed around a while looking for an alternate trail, and sure enough, I found it. I realized that going through there on the out part that I was higher up; I didn't even see the creek. So, I jumped up to the higher trail and made my way back. I do think there were a lot of other questionable spots for getting lost. Well, like I said, I wasn't the only one. I'll try to pair up with someone next time. I seems as if I'm in the middle - not as fast as the speedy ones, but faster than others, so I seem to run alone on most of these runs.

Total time out on the trail - 3:51. This included about 15 minutes of 'pause time', which included trying to read the map, stopping and looking around and taking some pictures. I figured I walked around 20-30 minutes of it. With the remaining time for running, and without a GPS to back me up, I came to the conclusion that I did around 17 -18 miles. Not bad, since that would be my longest run since the Red Mountain 50k in May. I was up to 16 miles before I broke my wrist. I feel better knowing that I can get in enough training now for the Pemberton 50k on Feb. 14th.

I had a really good time and met a lot of new faces - Doug K., Tanja, and Julieanne, and got to see some other faces that I met at previous TTR events. It was really pretty low desert mountainous landscape - a lot of single track and jeep road, some uphill, some screaming downhill, a little rocky in spots, some super smooth trail sections - a little of everything.
It was fun to watch everyone come in; I was one of the first. Here are Ross and Steve checking out the munchies (they were out about 5 hours, so they were hungry!)

My wrist never hurt during the run, even though it was so cold out there, which was great! I'm all done with physical therapy, although I'm supposed to keep doing my wrist exercises. It does still get stiff from time to time. I'm back to my weight workouts, even though the weight is lighter than before for now.

Oh, I added 2 races to the 2009 race schedule. I'll be doing race #1 of Blue Pants Racing Winter Trail Series on January 10th. They are starting at 8am this time. Yay! It will be 9.7 miles in the Tortolita mountains, which are gorgeous, and then I'll add on the nearby 9 mile Dove Mountain trail afterwards for training. I've also put the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon (White Sands, NM) on, although I'm not officially registered. It is on March 29th, and will be my 3rd running of it. I love it! Lots of hills, sand, mountain views, and only about 8 -10 miles of it is on pavement.

I have a feeling I'll be a little sore, so I'm hopping in the shower and putting on my recovery socks. I felt like taking a nap on the way home, but now I feel pretty good, so I'll just get some stuff done for our upcoming trip (Christmas in CO!) and turn in early.

I do have other news, but I'm just not able to do that post just yet, so maybe in a few days. Nothing earth shattering, but it just seems we've had a lot going on lately. Running helps me cope with all of that.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A very wet run on 50 year and Sutherland trails in CSP

Julie and I sat in the truck for about 20 minutes waiting for the rain to stop before starting our trail run in Catalina State Park this morning a little before 8am. It was looking like it was clearing, but 15 minutes into the run, the rain started and didn't stop the entire time! Luckily, I had my new Arcteryx rain jacket, which I had yet to rain test. It held up well, and I didn't overheat since the jacket had pit zips and I could get some ventilation. Poor Julie, though; I think she was soaked to the bone the entire run. What a trooper. I'll miss her when she heads out of town next month. She says she is not a tough one, but I disagree.

We started on the Bridle Trail, connected to the 50 year trail and then the Sutherland Trail. The Bridle Trail is super sandy, the 50 year trail is a fairly good climb onto a ridge and the Sutherland Trail was not so great. Shortly after getting onto the Sutherland Trail, it dropped back down off of the ridge in a series of short, steep switchbacks, which we navigated with care. After that, the trail turned into boulder fields for long stretches. And, by this point, the rain had really picked up, and although it was about 55 degrees at the start of the run, it seemed as if the temperature dropped about 10 or more degrees with the heavy rain. We were freezing (can you tell Julie is cold on the picture on the left above?)

I had meant to call Joyce (I added her nice blog to my blog listing) and ask about the Sutherland trail, which she had just ran; however, I had so much going on, I kept forgetting. It was probably just as well; if she had told me the truth, I probably would have skipped it. I'm sure Julie would have been okay with that, too. :)

However, the views of the Catalina mountains were amazing, albeit covered in hazy fog. The saguaro cactus just seem like sentinels out there watching over us as we went down the trail over wet, slippery rocks.

I had planned on doing 2 loops of the Canyon Loop trail (2.3 miles each) when we were done, but we were just too wet and too cold. Our shoes were just sloshing with all the water. I did have the energy, though. I felt good out there today. So, we ended up doing about 9 miles. The Sutherland trail hooks back down to the Canyon Loop trail, and we took the short part of the Canyon Loop trail back to the trailhead. Warm thoughts of a truck heater at the end of the trail and hot shower when we got home were beckoning. I will say that the last part of the Sutherland trail before Canyon Loop was super runnable and I had some fun on that section. If I hadn't been so wet and cold, I would have followed through with the plan.

Well, I ended up getting about 26 miles for the week. I certainly had planned on getting over 30 miles this week, but with cutting today's run down by 5 miles, that didn't happen. I'll do a nice, long weight workout later on today in the warmth of my exercise room.

Julie and I stayed in pretty good spirits all considering and she bought me an Einstein's bagel afterwards (Good Grains, my favorite, with honey butter) which was heavenly. Thanks Julie!

I've got plenty of 'news' going on, but I'll save that for another day. Time for that hot shower.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Some socks, a hike and a run

Thanks Angie for the Recovery Socks! I wore them after my long run yesterday for the remainder of the day, and although my ankles were sore, my calves were great!

We took the dogs for a walk today on Yetman trail - it was the first time Kenny had been out there. It was Taos' first desert walk and she learned a little about cactus (good thing I reminded Kenny about bringing his Leatherman before we headed out!) Cracker is really a hiking machine for such a little dog and Dixie is starting to show her age. I'll be taking Taos out for a short run (2 miles?) in the next week or so to see how she does. She loves to run.

So, we hiked about 3.7 miles under super cloudy sky. It was really nice. I read in the paper that a hiker found 2 murdered people out in that area the day before. Eek! I'm glad I didn't run across that! Initially, it was reported as a Tucson Mountain Park area incident, but it appears like it was a little North of it. The trailhead for Yetman is at the end of Camino de Oeste, south of Speedway. Either way - scary! Here is one of the articles:

2 bodies with 'signs of trauma' are discovered in West Side park
Tucson, Arizona Published: 12.07.2008

A hiker discovered the bodies of two men Saturday who are believed to be homicide victims, the Pima County Sheriff's Department says.
Authorities say the hiker found the bodies shortly before 9 a.m. in a wash inside Feliz Paseos Park, in a West Side foothills area near North Camino de Oeste and West Speedway.
The men's bodies had "obvious signs of trauma," a Sheriff's Department news release says.
Deputy Dawn Barkman, a department spokeswoman, said she did not have any additional information about the victims, including their ages. Their names had not been released Saturday pending positive identification and notification of family members.
Barkman said it appeared the bodies were there less than a day.
There have been 26 homicides in unincorporated areas of Pima County this year, she said.
There are no suspects, Barkman said, but detectives were searching the scene for evidence that might lead to those involved in the homicides.
Anyone with information should call 911 or 88-CRIME.

Boy, and I thought falling was one of the more dangerous things that can happen on a trail! Sorry, had to inject a little humor. A later article indicated that it was drug related. I thought Taos standing in front of this 'No shooting' sign was apropos:
Later that afternoon, I went for a 4.5 mile run under more cloudy sky; I got slightly rained on the last 10 minutes, but only a sprinkle, really.

Total miles for the week - 24.5 running, 3.7 hiking. I only ran on Tuesday (8 miles consisting of 2 rounds of the Reid Park loop and several turns of 'Viola's Loop'), Saturday (12 or so miles on Phoneline trail) and today. Work was just super busy this week and I wasn't able to do more. I'll be getting a little more mileage in this week.

Thought for this week - some people spend most of their lives in fear of what people think and worrying about bad things happening. The best way to let go of fear? Clean up your past - pay back everyone money you owe, make amends for every harm done. Poof - good things start happening and the majority of our fears disappear. Really, it works, if you are honest with yourself and thorough about doing it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Phoneline Trail run

Early this morning (7am - brrr), I met up with Julie, Sheryl and Lynn (and Lynn's daughter) to run Phoneline Trail up Sabino Canyon and then run down the Sabino Canyon tram road. When I showed up, there were also a bunch of guys that I knew doing the trail - Steve F. (Sheryl's husband), Steve H., Mark M. and some other guy named Jim (am I missing anyone?) Of course, shortly after we took off, the guys left us in the dust, but it was great to talk to a few of them for the first 1/4 mile.

Sheryl and I were behind Julie and Lynn for the trail portion. We were fairly slow on our pace, which was good considering the accident I had there last year. No need to kill myself. Phoneline trail sits above the canyon and one wrong step (or fall) and you could find yourself off the edge! Julie and Lynn would periodically stop and wait up for us, which was nice. We all ran down the road together.
It is about a 9 mile loop, but after we finished, Julie and I headed out for a little more. We did a few small trails out in the Sabino Canyon area, adding on an additional 3 or so miles. So, I ran 12+ miles - I really need to start doing longer runs, so next weekend, I have vowed to do 14. Pemberton 50k is closer than I think. All considering, this trail takes longer because it is so rocky and steep in the beginning, so I was good with the length of time we were out there. It is so unbelievably pretty in that canyon. I have lived in Tucson for 22 years, but only in the last few years have I really discovered the desert and all of the beauty in it. Desert trail running really gets you in the middle of it all.
Next week: new trail route for me - I'm going out to Catalina State Park with Julie to run the 50 year trail (which I have done before) and connecting with the Sutherland trail (which I've never done before) for a loop. Week after: TTR run on AZ trail (50k). I'll only do around 15-17 miles, but it should be fun.
My spirit is soaring just being back on the trails on a regular basis. It is so good to be me.