Monday, November 29, 2010

Family time

Check out SeaLegsGirl, she's made me famous by choosing a photo of yours truly as the best ultrarunning photo of the year. (Seriously, check it out, it'll make you laugh)

The past couple of weeks have been a delightful whirlwind. I somehow managed to race 3 times in a 7 day stretch, travel to Iowa and Missouri, spend a week with Mike's extended family, celebrate Thanksgiving, etc etc. It was fantastic. Spending 7 days with Selah just makes me so happy--and miss her all the more when work starts up again. She is growing into a sweet little girl with new words popping up every day. One of her favorite things to do is go through pictures and identify anyone she sees--if you're on the fridge, she knows your name. She also loves "simmin" and makes every effort to get us out the door to do so, like tracking down her swimming suit and waiting by the door. Taking her to the hot springs has become one of my all time favorite family activities.

The days have gotten shorter with the end of daylight savings, but we haven't been deterred from our evening runs. The above run was interrupted by a heinous sleet storm at the far end of a 6 mile loop. With 3 miles of running in sleet and 30mph winds blowing straight into our faces, I became a genuine whiner and begged to call a friend to pick us up. I was denied, of course, and Mike spent the half hour letting me draft behind him and joking around, making fun of my being "soft".

As for races, all 3 of the races were unique and inspiring. The first was unofficial, a contest between all of the willing students and faculty at the boarding school where I work. Of course, since I knew every contestant and was defending my title from last year, I think I ran harder in this event than either of the others. It was the first event in a 6 part series, including rock climbing, kayaking or swimming, mountain biking, XC skiing, and one more I can't remember at the moment. At the end, there will be overall winners for the combined efforts in 5 of 6 events. For each male and female student that finishes ahead of our headmaster and his wife, respectively, a large sum of money will go to the school club of that student's choice. All of the faculty are pledging different amounts of money, parents are getting involved, it's a pretty novel idea. This first contest is a 3 mile trail run that gains about 1500 feet on technical singletrack. I gave it my all, but finished 2nd to an 8th grade girl that was visiting in hopes of making a good impression on our Nordic coach. She succeeded! About 10 boys beat me.

Mass start on the road.

Our headmaster, a barefoot running enthusiast. He admittedly lost some mojo after encountering snow about 1/2 mile from the start that continued to the end!

The second race was in Cedar Falls, Iowa, a trail run on the Hartman Reserve. In nutshell: $5 entry, no race numbers, no official timers, no keeping track of who finished where, somewhere between 3 and 4 miles long. 100 people showed up for this entertaining and beautiful race and Mike snagged 2nd and I snagged 1st for women and 8th overall. I won an apple pie for my efforts--love that Midwestern spirit.

The 3rd race was the largest Turkey Trot in Missouri, 7100 participants on a blustery Thanksgiving morning. I PR'd here last year and was hoping for a similar performance. I missed my PR, but ran a respectable 21:23, good enough for 18th/3007 women and 3rd in my age category. Mike rallied and ran 17:44, winning his age category. I truly love running big races and the positive energy that comes with them. There were twice as many runners as residents in the entire town we live in. I love seeing so many people out trying to do something good for themselves before enjoying the Thanksgiving feast.

Celebrating his win with a fresh Krispy Kreme.

From IA, we drove to MO to join Mike's extended family for Thanksgiving. This was their 19th Annual Great Rieken Adventure, AGRA. Depending on the year, between 20 and 40 people show up and stay under one roof for about 5 days.

The incredible hosts, Tom and Donna. They go way above and beyond and are superiorly gifted hosts. The amount of preparation that goes into AGRA is pretty astounding, and they make it happen with smiles.

Selah's 2nd cousin, Gabby, who just turned 2. They were hilarious to watch as they chased each other around, played hide and seek, colored, tickled, and were genuinely sweet little girls.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Really, it's been 3 months??

Wow, I knew I was a blogging slacker, but 3 months, really?! Sorry for all of you previously loyal followers... The combination of 60 hour work weeks, an 18 month old, XC season, and attempting to maintain an exercise schedule, well you get the point. Any how, here's a snippet of what's been going on with our little family.

Just after Tahoe, we went straight to Iowa for an extended visit. Many afternoons were spent at the pool because, in case you've never been to Iowa in July, it's freaking hot!

Selah loved this pair of goggles and wore them around for quite a while.

Iowa time was wrapped up with a family wedding. Here we with Mike's brothers, their ladies, and his mom, all dressed up.

August brought a Montana trip for a wedding on my side of the family (please forgive my lack of pictures of both wedding parties, I had to trim 3 months down somehow!).

I absolutely love this photo of 2nd cousins. Wish we all lived closer.

With September came the beginning of work for me and Mike and "school" for Selah. As much as I miss the heck out of her each day, she loves it. Most mornings, she puts her "pack pack" on and waits by the door.

Mike and I have enjoyed the minimal time we get together. It's been a gorgeous Fall in Colorado, like always, and we've gotten out to climb, hike, mountain bike, run, a little bit of everything. His XC schedule takes up most Saturdays and my on call schedule takes up pretty much the rest of them, so our time is limited. It's all or nothing for us--we have lots of time off (summers, holidays), but when we work, we work a LOT. We're trying to figure out a healthy balance and it has proven quite challenging.

Family hike day.

Daddy-daughter bouldering day. Selah got very excited about this little pothole on top of the boulder. I might be biased, but dang she is cute.

What would a tidbits of joy update be without a snippet on running? If I were honest, I'd say it took a full two months to recover from Tahoe 100. It was a completely different recovery experience than a 50 miler or marathon, where I feel normal after a few days. After Tahoe, I felt tired, heavy, and slow and didn't run farther than 10 miles for 2 whole months. For the first couple weeks of recovery, I slept until 10:30am every day (thank you, summertime!) and still felt ragged. Little by little, I got back at it and am now feeling fit again.

I have run 4 races since Tahoe, 3 of which were 5K's, 2 of which I actually won overall, and 1 where I got 2nd overall with the jogging stroller. The 4th was a half marathon in Denver. I know that doesn't sound consistent with feeling slow and heavy, but the competition was minimal at the races I won. The new 5K stroller PR is 23:00, also a small local race.

Family photo op at the Denver Rock N Roll Half Marathon. I PR'd with 1:37:49, but that was only good enough for 25th in my age group! Of over 9000 half marathoners, 1257 were women age 25-29. Mike ran 1:20:59, good for 3rd in his age category.


Flashback to one year ago. Times really does fly.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tahoe Rim Trail 100

Finally a blog post, I needed something good to motivate me to write. Also, Mike's iPhone has allowed us to do all of our internet stuff while driving down the road instead of needing to stop at coffee shops to use our computers. Hence, we have not blogged a single time!

Short synopsis of the 2 months since my previous post:

Selah is walking. I have been training for my 100 mile race. Mike, Selah, and I headed out on our 6th annual summer roadtrip June 8th and have been to Yosemite, Lassen, Redwoods, Oregon Coast, Crater Lake, Seattle (Mike ran the Rock 'n Roll 1/2 marathon), Tahoe, and now Iowa. We have kept ourselves busy running, climbing, biking, visiting friends and family, and generally having a great time. We truly appreciate the fact that we have the opportunity to spend so much quality time with the people we love.

Selah spent her summer as any kid should: dirty and outside.

My training for Tahoe has really been years in the making, but most notably I did a 50 miler in May and a road marathon two weeks before the race. A quick note on the marathon...I was trying to use it as a training run, but just can't help but get competitive once that starting line gun goes off. It was a fast and flat marathon and I ended up doing the first half in 1:35, a little fast for me. There was an out and back from miles 5 to 18, so I could see that I was in 3rd place. Instead of being smart and just keeping steady, I decided to start surging to maintain my place. I paid for it later and had a slower second half for a finishing time of 3:24:17 (7:47 pace) and 8th woman of 190. A 6 minute PR, not too shabby.

Between the marathon and Tahoe, I ran only twice and did a few days of hiking. I think the rest was just what I needed, both physically and mentally. I tried not to think about the race and was able to sleep well and eat normally. When I think about racing too much, I tend to have a hard time eating and sleeping, so that was good for me.

Wes and Stef arrived a few days early, so we backpacked into the Incredible Hulk to climb and hang out.

My parents, brother and sister-in-law, and us all arrived in Tahoe on Monday, 6 days before the race. We rented a big condo and had wonderful family time full of laughter, conversation, hiking, lake time, climbing, and lots of food and beer.

We spent a day climbing at Lover's Leap. Here's dad on a steep and exposed pitch.

Found a natural waterslide at the end of the day. So nice!

Selah and Grandma playing by the lake.

Friday was the pre-race meeting in Carson City and Wes joined me for the drive. I shyly raised my hand when they asked who was running their first 100 and looked around to see just a few other hands up. They warned us about the heat (mid to high 80's), a large aggressive bear, and the strenuous new course that added about 4,000 feet of vertical. They weighed us and checked our blood pressure (I was a bit hypertensive with the nerves, 133/80). They put wrist bands on us with our pre-race weights and 3%, 5%, and 7% changes both up and down. If any racer was to lose or gain 7% of their weight, they had to sit at that aid station and attempt to get back to normal through hydration, etc. I dropped off a single drop bag and then we headed back to the condo for a spaghetti feast and some rest.

For those of you that are interested, here is what I had in my drop bag. Note that we went through this aid station a total of 6 times on the course and that my crew was at 3 other points on the course.

  • spray on sunscreen (it's easier to spray over very dirty skin)
  • baby wipes (SO NICE! I washed my face a few times, as well as other tender areas and I would highly recommend having these available)
  • headlamp and batteries
  • 4 peanut butter and banana wraps and a few pieces of homemade pizza (I ate only half of one wrap and 1 piece of pizza, they made me sick to my stomach)
  • electrolyte caps
  • ibuprofen
  • caffeine pills (didn't use them)
  • blister kit with bandaids, moleskin, skin glue, tape, topical lidocaine
  • two long underwear tops
  • 5 king size Snicker bars (ate most of them)
  • spare water bottle
I had the following items for my crew to have ready for me at check points:
  • shoes borrowed from El 1/2 size larger than mine
  • spare shorts, sports bra, and top (didn't use them)
  • extra socks (changed into new shoes and socks at mile 50)
  • super lightweight windbreaker
  • food
Thankfully, I was able to go to sleep around 9:30 Friday night in preparation for my 3:30 am alarm and 5:00 race start. Selah woke up a couple of times during the night, but otherwise I slept pretty well. I had the coffee pot ready to go the night before, so walked upstairs and turned it on and got dressed for the day. Even at 4:00, when we left the condo, it was already warm enough for just shorts and a T-Shirt. It was going to be a hot day.

Mike drove me to Spooner Lake State Park, the start/finish and 50 mile turnaround. Runners were milling about everywhere and everyone was getting excited. The race volunteers all wore bathrobes, slippers, and curlers in their hair, perfect for lightening the mood. We milled down to the start area and I found another woman that had raised her hand the day before. Off we went into the dark for the start of 100 miles! So anticlimactic, really, as we all started off by walking.

It was 6 miles and a 1500 foot climb to the first aid station above the beautiful Marlette Lake and I took it really easy, running any downhill, walking even the slightest uphill and running some of the flat. I talked to all kinds of people that I would see throughout the long day. From Hobart aid station, we got onto single track and weaved around the west side of Marlette and Harlan Peaks, then had a nice drop into Tunnel Creek aid station at mile 11. A quick weight check and some food in, and off we went on the notorious Red House Loop, a 6.5 mile lollipop type loop that ends back at Tunnel Creek. I was feeling great, so I booked it on the steep downhill to the Red House and power hiked back out, passing many people. To this Colorado girl, a 1200 foot climb in 1.5 miles wasn't as strenuous as they had warned. The only thing slowing me down was that I seemed to have to pee every couple miles.

From Tunnel Creek, the course took us north again towards Diamond Peak ski area. It was flat and rolling for about 8 miles, then 5 miles of downhill to the 30 mile aid station. I felt amazing and ran those 13 miles in just over 2 hours, fast enough for my family to show up 30 minutes after I had left the AS (they were watching live updates online). I think it was a mistake to go so fast, and I paid for it later. I must admit, I was pretty sad and disappointed when I showed up and had no cheering section waiting for me, but I decided I had to get over it and move on. I couldn't let my emotions get me down. Fortunately, Olga caught up to me at the aid station and we were able to climb the steep ski area out of there together, power hiking past guys like they were standing still. We both have some buns of steel to get us up those steep climbs! She was so wonderful to talk to! What an inspiration, with many many many ultras under her belt, a constant smile, and a charming Russian accent. At the top of the ski area, I took a little break in the shade and she took off ahead. She almost went off course at an unmarked turn, but this rookie had pored over the map for enough hours to memorize the course. Thankfully, I turned her around. (A few other runners weren't so lucky: the second place female came roaring past me at mile 40, stating she had gotten lost for 6 miles at that turn, and ended up DNFing in frustration).

From the top of Diamond Peak, the course heads back south to Tunnel Creek, back around Harlan and Marlette Peaks to Hobart Aid station, and then splits slightly east to the top of Snow Valley Peak, mile 42 and the high point of the course (9200'). I was feeling really strong at the top of the peak, had no blisters, had no GI issues, not even a sore muscle. As I left the AS tent, I looked right and heard "Boo!" and found my dad standing there! He had hiked up to meet me and run to the turnaround with me. What a morale boost!! I was so excited and just started talking his ear off, telling him how great I was feeling and how happy I was. In fact, I was feeling so great that he couldn't keep up with me and we were only together for about 1/2 mile. It's funny how an ultra is such an extreme emotional roller coaster, because by the time I got to the bottom of the descent to Spooner Lake, I had nearly talked myself into quitting at 50 miles. I wanted to sit on a rock and wait for my dad and was secretly wishing for some pain somewhere so I could have an excuse to stop.

Well, no such luck. I still had no pain at mile 50 and my brother was practically doing cartwheels in excitement to go back out for another loop with me. I couldn't stop or he would be too I went out again after 30 minutes of eating, changing shoes, and having Mike wash and doctor up a few hot spots on my feet. Wes and I left the turnaround at 6:00pm, 13 hours after starting the race, 50 miles and 12,000 feet of climbing down, 50 and 12,000 feet to go.

The climb back to Hobart was fairly uneventful, except that Wes was jumping around, hooting, yelling, and generally having more fun than I had ever seen. We left Hobart just before sunset and headed into the open above Lake Tahoe into one of the most fantastic views I have ever witnessed ever ever ever. Alpine glow on Marlette Peak, Lake Tahoe, Marlette Lake, a field of Arrow-leafed Balsam Root, Lupine, Indian Paintbrush, Cinquefoil, Pentstemmon....OMG!! I had just run about 57 miles and was back on top of the world. Wes and I headed toward Tunnel Creek (by the way, we saw the first 100 miler heading back to the finish here, he was nearly 30 miles ahead of us!) and we were RUNNING!! We averaged about 9:00 pace through the rocks in the dark and arrived at Tunnel Creek to find Olga, who had unfortunately decided to DNF. We left Tunnel Creek towards the Red House with rocket fuel in our veins (remember that roller coaster analogy?).

The Red House Loop has gained the reputation as "a taste of Hell". I didn't think it was bad at all the first time around, but it seemed interminable the second time! By the time Wes and I arrived at the bottom of the loop, I had a couple of very sore blisters and started feeling really tired. I basically could not get the energy to run and just walked all the way back to Tunnel Creek. I sat at Tunnel for a while, weighed in (I was peeing literally every 20 minutes or so but had not lost any weight), and left the AS walking at 11:45pm. We ended up walking the next 13 miles, the longest 13 miles EVER. I had been warned not to get into a death march, ie run even though it hurts and avoid the urge to keep walking forever. I should have heeded that advice and at least tried to run, but I could not muster any strength. The 13 mile stretch between Tunnel Creek and the bottom of Diamond Peak ski area was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. Wes turned music on for us and just stayed behind me, constantly telling me I was doing great and trying to encourage me. I remembered a couple of significant turns and kept waiting for them to arrive, but we just seemed to never get there. What had taken me 2 hours on the previous lap took 4:20 the second time. I essentially gave up, quit eating and drinking, and decided to quit as soon as we got to Diamond Peak. I could only imagine crawling into the bed in back of the van and having Mike drive me back to the condo while I slept. I only wanted to sleep, it completely consumed my thoughts. Several times, I sat down on rocks and begged Wes to run down and get Mike to come carry me to the van. I was done. Completely depleted. Over it. Thought it absolutely impossible to go out for another 20 miles. Pissed off. This is the stupidest thing I have ever done. I will never ever do this again and I don't care what anyone thinks. And on and on, you get the picture.

Well, the turns did eventually arrive and I actually did eventually make it to the ski area and immediately crawled into the van to go to sleep as planned. Mike, on the other hand, had been warned by me for months that I would try to do this and his job was to not let me do it. "This is different, you don't understand! I really am done! Quit being such an asshole and let me go to sleep!". Well, darn, he wouldn't listen and made me get out of the van "for a med check, I think you should get weighed to make sure everything is ok". He was totally working me. He wrapped me up in a blanket and helped me walk to the officials, whom I told I was quitting. Mike: "No, no, no, let's just go rest in the lodge for a bit". Me: "No, I'm quitting, you're such an asshole, why won't you let me sleep?! We went into the lodge, he made me eat some chicken soup and I fell asleep sitting up in the chair.

When Mike went to the bathroom, I sneaked back to the van and crawled into bed, ignoring Wes' pleas to have me try again. I dozed on and off between Mike and Wes trying to get me to eat and drink, and eventually the sun came back up. Then Mike pulled out the big guns, he called Sari, my uber tough Primal Quest winning friend. She knows what blisters feel like. She knows what exhausted feels like. She also knows what persevering through it feels like and what success at the end feels like. She told me to put on a new pair of shoes and "just try walking, just a little bit, just try" and I barely got out the words "I'll think about it" between sobs. Then Mike started gyrating his hips to "Freaky Girl" in front of me, claiming I was really going to miss out if I missed his special playlist.

I tried not to laugh, cuz gosh darnit, I was determined to stay mad. But I laughed. And then I put on a different pair of shoes. And then I walked across the parking lot. And then I tried, just a little bit. Wes was still on fire and amped beyond belief, so he decided to stay with me and Mike instead of having Mike take his place.

Heading back out at mile 80.

As I walked out of the AS and up that ski area, Mike and Wes yelled and clapped and jumped up and down in excitement. By that time, it was 7:15 am, 15 minutes before the cutoff. We were the last people to leave and we started passing people within about 10 minutes of starting. By the time we topped the peak, my blister-induced limp had stopped and I was running again. We passed another party just before Tunnel Creek and kept running. We passed 6 or so more runners by Hobart and kept going.

Mike kept yelling "Bone Crusher Joy!"

We hiked and laughed and started having fun and got to Snow Valley Peak aid station, mile 93 and all downhill to the finish. It was then that I realized I was actually going to finish this race. We ran almost the entire way to the end, passing another several runners in the process, and ended up with just over 6 hours for the 20 miles, the same pace I had done it on the first loop.

I crossed the finish line in 32:19, 11th out of 13 finishing females and 47th of 60 finishers overall. 57 of 117 had DNF'd. I persevered. Then I drank a well-deserved beer.

My award. I will now start wearing a belt.

There is absolutely no way I would have succeeded without my mom helping me get prepped, my parents and Stef watching Selah, Wes indomitable spirit for 50 miles, Mike's excitement. This was a family affair.

Will I do it again? Yesterday I said absolutely not. Today I say probably not. Tomorrow, who knows. I truly think that marathons and 50s are more my thing, but i guess we'll just have to see.

What I learned:
  • Sitting still for a few minutes at every aid station to eat, drink, and recover was a good idea. When I blazed through, I paid for it later. When I took the time to rest, I felt energized.
  • Eat and drink constantly. I drank about 8 gallons of water through the course. I ate a few king-size snickers, several chicken and avocado burritos, a piece of pizza, a few cheese sticks, lots of chips, a couple of ham sandwiches, a grilled cheese sandwich, a breakfast burrito, loads of watermelon and canteloupe, a few small smoothies, a peach, a few cups of soup, M&M's, jelly beans, half of a gel (made me gag) and lots more that I can't remember right now.
  • Sugary electrolyte drink almost always makes me nauseous. I tried in the beginning and it had the same affect, so I took electrolyte caps every hour with water.
  • Sometimes it takes 3 hours and lots of encouragement to get moving again, but once you just get moving, you feel better than you think you will. Make sure you have your crew prepared to talk you into things you don't want to do.
If you're still reading, I'm impressed~!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Selah loves the phone:

Playing at the park

Video of Selah at the park. She loves going down the slide.

She loves the spiral slide but she goes so fast I can hardly get my camera on in time.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Some fun video of Selah talking to Grandma Marge on Skype.

More video from the weekend

More video of Selah and I meeting Joy on the trail:

Joy, nearing the finish of the Collegiate Peaks 50 miler:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Here's a cute little video from Joy's race on Saturday. Selah gets so excited when she sees one of us. It's adorable!

More to come...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Selah Loves Hiking

Out for a hike with Selah while Mike ran. She loves being in her backpack and took a long nap and then snacked on a bar.

Desert RATS 25 mile race report

The short version:

Felt a little slow in the beginning, got stronger as the race went on, a course personal best of 4:20:33, a PR by 18 minutes, finished 4th woman overall and felt incredible at the end, was literally jumping up and down with excitement. Happy girl.

The long version:

This was my 4th Desert RATS ('06, '07, '08, watched in 2009, '10) and I came with a single goal: PR. My previous times were 4:49, 4:45, and 4:38. This is a very technical and hilly course, so those times actually landed me in the top 10 every year. I opted against wearing a watch and figured I'd just do my best and ask other racers if I was ever curious about the time. As race week approached, I was able to get out for several 2 hour runs and a couple of 3 hour runs, not ideal, but apparently sufficient training. Considering I planned on using this race as "training" for the upcoming 50 and 100 milers, I felt I had been a little lax in my preparation. Welcome to the world of baby and full time job!

El, Bobby Lowe, Mike, and I all planned on getting out of town Friday afternoon for the 2 hour drive to Fruita for the prerace meeting. As these things always go, we finally left at 6:30, about 30 minutes before packet pickup closed. Thankfully they allowed race day pickup so we were able to relax, eat, and have a pleasant drive to the campsite. We pulled into camp at dark, El set her tent up, Bobby realized he forgot his, and Mike and I arranged the van for sleep. This was going to be our first night sleeping in the van with Selah since last summer, when she couldn't really even roll over. Van sleeping with a 4 month old is quite different than with a 12 month old. There is a little cubby that we made for her at our feet, but she can stand up and look at us whenever she feels like it. She was overtired and screaming as we tried putting her down, but she eventually fell asleep for a few hours. She woke up sometime in the middle of the night and banged her head on the metal van wall (no bumper yet, but we'll make one before the next trip for sure), which sent her into another crying fit. She ended up snuggling between me and Mike in the twin-sized van bed. Cozy. It didn't really matter that I hardly slept that night, as I can never really sleep before races and they say it doesn't affect race performance. What is more important is proper sleep in the days leading up to the race, not the night before.

4:45 came around fast and I got up to make coffee, eat a bagel, and rouse El and Bobby. We were in the car by 5:20 on our way to the starting line and 6:30 race start. Why do races here insist on starting so dang early? As always, I skipped the warm up and instead took care of vital functions and got in a little stretching and fluids. At 6:30, we were off! The first mile is on a flat gravel road before the race heads up it's initial steep climb on rocky single track. I've learned through the years to run that first mile fast or get stuck behind someone that can't skip through rocks. I arrived at the first aid station, mile 6, in about 54 minutes, 3 minutes ahead of my old PR split. I was happy with this but my legs were feeling tight and heavy in the cold air and I didn't think I could maintain the pace. There is another long climb after the station, so I slowed down and walked some of the steeper parts. El caught up with me and we proceeded ahead together, she helping me to keep my pace up. By the time we got to the second aid station, she passed me and slowly started to pull ahead. Between aid stations 2 and 3, the course profile flattens and the surface becomes more even--El's specialty. She cruised ahead and was out of sight by the half way point. This is the most beautiful part of the race. The course winds in and out on top of 200 foot tall sheer sandstone cliffs above the Colorado River amid bursts of Indian Paintbrush and Juniper.

After finishing the fast first mile, heading onto the first climb and single track.

I arrived to the 3rd aid station, 12.5 miles, at around 2 hours feeling fresh and loose and enjoying the warming air. At this point, I was confident I could PR unless something really unexpected happened. With a previous PR of 4:38, I would have to slow down a LOT to miss my goal. The race gets technical and hilly again there and stays so for the majority of the remaining course. I got into a nice rhythm and started picking people off as I completed the 7 miles to the final aid station.

El and Ashley coming into the final aid station at mile 19.5.

I came into the aid station just behind another woman but left before her and never looked back. There is a heinous 700' climb that begins near mile 20 and I ran nearly the entire thing, really out of fear the woman behind would catch back up. Passing her gave me a confidence and energy boost and I was able to overtake several men on the long climb. I also knew that once I topped out, it was all downhill to the finish.

Sneaking out of the last aid station ahead of the woman that beat me to it.

Racing downhill through the rocks is what I am best at, so I knew if I could stay ahead of the woman I had passed (and another I saw creeping up), it was very doubtful they could catch me on the downhill. My legs and lungs felt amazing through this section and I flew through the last several miles. At the end of the trail section, just before the race turns onto the road, Mike was waiting for me and told me another friend, Ashley Arnold, was just ahead. I hauled down the final steep descent and got within about 50 feet of her on the road. I think I ran that last mile in about 7 minutes trying to catch her, but she heard me behind and put all she had into it, which was just a little more than me. I crossed the finish line 30 seconds behind her, 4th woman finisher (dare I say that 4 50-mile women beat me to the turnaround?), and with an 18 minute personal record and just 3 minutes out of 2nd place (El was 2nd!). I was so excited to have finished well that I was literally jumping up and down and seriously considered heading out for another lap. Not that it matters, but all of the racers with GPS's said that the race was actually just over 26 miles, not 25.

The race gave me a much needed confidence boost for this weekends 50 miler, Collegiate Peaks Trail Run. The only thing that hurt post race was an old ankle injury--no IT band pain, no blisters, no GI upset, hardly a sore muscle. I was even able to get out for a 2 hour run on the course Sunday morning for a little bonus training. Definitely a great weekend! If you're still reading, I'm impressed.

Now I'm laying on the couch with an ice pack on my right quad. Somehow, I strained it while hiking today and am really hoping it doesn't give me any trouble this weekend. Wish me luck!


And for the grandmas:

Yeah, she's awesome.

We planted raspberries and blueberries this weekend! They looked pretty good until the deer got to them last night. Now we just have stubs.

On our hike today.

Monday, April 19, 2010

More Weekend Video

Cheering mom on at the mile 19 aid station:

Playing in the van:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekend Video

My Weekend by Selah

I just got home from a great weekend with my parents. We went to Fruita so mommy could run the Desert RATS 25 miler. It all started on Friday…

I rode in the van with daddy and our friend Bobby Lowe while mom rode in a car with our friend Elinor Fish. The hour and 15 minute ride was okay but I wasn’t too fond of being in the car seat for a nap until Bobby rocked me to sleep. When I woke up we were in Grand Junction, home of Genghis Grill, one of daddy and mommy’s favorite pre-race restaurants. I loved all the veggies and the crunchy Chow Mein noodle things.

Playing with a tube of lotion. Daddy accidentally sprayed a stream of it across my face and into my hair. That's okay, it gave me a mohawk.
That night we stayed at Highline State Park where I slept in the van for the first time since last summer. I love playing in the van. We played for a while and read books under the Christmas lights that are strung up in the van. It was a little hard for me to get to sleep, probably because it was way past my bedtime and because I was sleeping in a very different place. I used to always sleep in the Moses basket when in the van but this time daddy set up the back of the van with an inflatable pad, sleeping bag and down jackets. It was kind of weird and I kept making a lot of noise because the van has metal walls so every time I would get upset I would cry loud, hit the metal door and it would sound like mommy and daddy were bad parents and beating me. After a little while, I eventually gave in and went to sleep.

In the morning, mommy got up early and went to the race for the 6:30 start time. In the middle of the night mommy had brought me in bed with her and daddy so I started to notice that her warm body was gone from the bed. I like to move around in bed a lot and I kept grabbing daddy’s face and kicking him. He tried to move so I wouldn’t fall off the bed and instead it woke me up. He tried hard to get me to go back to bed because it was only 5:45 but I was just so excited to play in the van. So, we left and rushed off to the race.

Taking a break while waiting for mom to run by.
There's my mom, running about 1-1/2 hours into the race.
Cool views, huh?

Mommy did great in the race and daddy and I met her at every aid station and at other spots along the race and saw her 6 times. Daddy put me in the Chariot and pulled me with his mountain bike. We rode along the bumpy, old 4x4 roads to get glimpses of mommy, Bobby and El and to cheer them on. It was fun to see mommy race. One of my new, really cute things, is to point and say mommy or daddy’s name when I see them in the distance. I did that a couple of times for mommy. I think it made her happy.
More pictures of my mom running - yeah!

Mommy ended up finishing as the 4th overall woman and beat her best time in the race by 18 minutes. She was just 3 minutes out of 2nd and daddy and I were really proud of her. After the race I got to drink out of mommy’s water bottle (another new favorite thing) and eat post-race snacks like cookies and bananas.

A picture my dad took while climbing back to the canyon rim. Mom wouldn't let me play close to the edge - so, don't worry grandmas!
After the race, mommy and I were tired from all that work so we drove into Colorado National Monument with daddy so he could go rock climbing. While he climbed, we napped in the van although a ranger almost woke me up. Luckily, mommy was able to shoo him away. After napping we went over to the edge of the canyon rim and looked down at daddy on top of the tower. It was pretty neat to see daddy climbing. After he finished we dropped him off for a 6-mile trail run and then picked him up at the finish. Mommy and I hiked in a short way to greet daddy and I did my really cute pointing thing and called his name.

For dinner we ate at a great mom-and-pop burger place. Mommy said she earned a cheeseburger and I think I earned my grilled cheese. I ate a lot of it. That night we camped up by Rattlesnake Canyon, above Colorado National Monument. I slept really sound all night because I was so tired from all the playing and biking and fun I had.

Of course, I woke up kind of early because the sun was starting to come up. It was only about 6:00 but mommy and daddy kind of wanted to keep sleeping so they let me climb around in the van and play. Eventually I convinced them to get up and start the day because as John Wayne would say, “daylight’s a wastin’,” even if it wasn’t truly daylight yet. Well, mommy wasn’t too excited about hiking/running Rattlesnake Canyon so early so she convinced daddy to go get pancakes instead. I said, “sweet, I love pancakes!”

Pancakes, yeah!
After breakfast I was ready for a nap because I ate so many pancakes and hash browns. So, mommy and I napped at the Kokopelli trailhead while daddy rode his mountain bike for 2-1/2 hours. When he got back, mommy was ready to go run so daddy took me in the Chariot behind his mountain bike and we showed mommy what we could do on the trails. It was really fun. We rode with mommy for a couple of miles before she split off and went on her own long run. Well, with all that action, I got really tired again and fell asleep in the Chariot while daddy was riding back to the van.

Playing in the van
When I woke up, daddy was reading a book under a tree where he had me napping in the shade. Oh, what a great nap. Daddy loaded me up in the van and we drove to where we met mommy at the end of the run. While waiting, daddy and I played in the van. We played hide and seek with my toys and I climbed all over the van. Plus, I ate a lot of trail mix. It’s one of my new favorite things. I love the peanuts and raisins and occasionally, if daddy hasn’t eaten all of them, M&M’s. Yum! I also love drinking water out of a hydration bladder although I also like to just play with it and get water all over me. Hence, why I was naked, except for a diaper, when mommy showed up from her run.I think I found some M&M's in the trail mix and now the chocolate is on my face - I'm so goofy!

Well, we decided to leave Fruita early to get back for my friend Zachary’s BBQ. On the way home, mommy and daddy bought me a present, my very own pink Camelbak. Now I have my own bite valve to chew on and get water out of. They used their REI dividend to buy it so I could have my own Camelbak to carry, that is, whenever I decide to start walking.
My new Camelbak - I can't wait for dad to take the plastic off the water hose so I can chew on the bite valve.

Before heading home daddy needed some caffeine so we went through the drive thru at Starbuck’s and got cold drinks. Mommy let me have some of her fruit smoothie and I figured out how to drink out of a straw for the first time. It was great, until it gave me a brain freeze headache. But, I didn’t really care, I was so excited to be drinking out of a straw so I kept sucking away.

Now, it’s on to a BBQ and kiddy pool session at Zachary’s where I’ll be much rested after a long nap on the ride home. What a great weekend. I can’t wait to go to Fruita again to play in the dirt and I can’t wait to go camping in the van again. I love playing in it and climbing around on the shelves. Sounds like I’ll get plenty of van time in this summer because we’re going to be on the road for 10 weeks. Yeah!

That’s all for now. See ya!