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!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Selah's "Wake Up Call"

Recently, Selah has been waking up from a night's sleep or a nap not with a scream or a cry but the pounding of a picture frame against the wall. This afternoon I didn't hear a peep until I heard the steady beat emanating from her room. She busied herself with quiet play for several minutes before I went in, camera in hand. My mom will love the sight of her hugging the baby doll she gave Selah on her 1st birthday. Then, I prompted her to repeat her "wake up call" for everyone to see.

Monday, April 12, 2010

By popular demand (grandmas!) here are some fun videos of the little one:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Birthday Cake

Long before Joy and I talked about having kids, I had envisioned and looked forward to the day that I'd get to see my little 1-year old dig their mitts into their first birthday cake. Yesterday was the big day but it was a little disappointing, as you can see. She seemed more interested in the plate than the frosting.

Old Selah Videos

Yesterday was Selah's first birthday and we had a pretty raging party as far as kid parties go. More on that later but first, my mom and I were looking at old Selah videos from last summer before we went to bed last night. We were amazed at how much she has grown and how much of her personality you can see in those early videos. So, here's some old Selah stuff:

I don't know if we ever showed this video to anyone, out of fear that people would think we were bad parents, giving our kid sugar at an early age. During the summer we often take ice cream/snack breaks in the afternoon and one day I bought a couple gummy worms, which turned out to be the perfect thing for Selah to suck on.

Here's some video of us climbing in the Tuolumne area of Yosemite National Park, right around when Selah turned 3 months.

More video of Selah at about 3 months old during our time in California. Here she's just talking and being cute, what else does she do?