Friday, January 31, 2014

What's Cookin', 2014

Top of Lookout Mt., January 1st
Hello, 2014.   My blog's just late to the New Year's resolutions and goals bandwagon but that's  par for the course.   Keeping this blog updated in a timely manner thankfully isn't on the list of things to tidy up about myself in 2014 :).

After CIM, I spent December with no sense of structure to my running, and I enjoyed it - probably a little too much, as I ran little and consumed thousands of glistening sugar coated sugar cookies.  My body is weak now, which I am reminded with each and every run I do.  Recovery takes a million gazillion years whenever I push it beyond it's threshold. I'm trying to re-learn the word 'patience' and not beat myself up when I sit here stiff and sore and totally cooked after a measly 13 mile run.   I'm learning adaptation is no longer a month-long process but the body is slowly responding well (mostly) to the training I'm throwing at it.

I have some races on my 2014 calendar, but in all honestly, I can't really say they're 'goals' races but more so accomplishment races - some cool things to do.  I spent many long hours in December glancing at so many races, trying to find some - even ONE - that tugged at me where I could put my heart and soul it like I did Silver Rush last year.  I wrote out lists of races I was drawn to, only to scratch some off, then rewrite them back in the next day .... and the next they were removed again.   The weirdest thing has happened.....I  suddenly feel completely fulfilled racing.  Not burnt, no, but more a sense of culmination where everything just feels complete.  With the exception of possibly doing a 100k and a 100-mile race one day, I feel thoroughly satisfied with what I have accomplished.  It's been quite a collection, which has left me nothing but utmost pride.

That doesn't mean I'm not racing this year.  But oodles of speedy road race days are (mostly) behind me; I've done what I can do there and I'm not going to get faster.  I'm drawn to the trails now, which are kinder to my aging body and where I walk away with a feeling like I've just been on a little mini adventure and being an intrinsic part of nature.  They also challenge me more and leave me with a grander sense of achievement.  I've registered for a grand total of 4 races this year (which I will expand as the year progresses), that will carry me to the middle of June:
The last 3 are wow-o-wow hard for someone like me.  I need to train for those suckers, I know this. And I will.  And I am.  But I'm discovering after pretty much killing myself training last year that I am tired of, well, killing myself.  And missing some of the joy of running.  I believe I can still do these beastly races and not train AS HARD as I did for Silver Rush, which I'm sure will thus mean my finish time will be much slower.  And I am completely OKAY with that. 

I'm allowing myself to be at peace with whatever these races throw at me and if I have to drop to a lesser distance, well okay.  I have so much on my plate right now and life isn't as comfy and cozy as it was last spring training for Silver Rush; I don't have the freedom nor the luxury to arrange work around training, and Mother Nature isn't  exactly being kind this winter and allowing me on the trails when I do have some free time.  After a particularly rough start to this week, my daughter taped this cheesy quote on my steering wheel; I think it fits my life perfectly right now.

I'm going to loosely follow a 50 mile race on 50 miles with 5000' a week plan (already failed that in January.  Go me).  Give or take some miles.  Or feet.  That's mostly just to give me some markers for my long runs and a minimums for my mileage and climbing.  I'm no longer instilling the use of a coach, but I do have someone who has offered to give me some weekly guidance and insights to my training - and I am so grateful to have him there for me!  He's an incredible vertical trail runner and knows WAY more than I do (he needs to start kicking my ass a bit more, though! :)). And, of course, I have some annoying amazing friends whom I'm sure will keep me in line when my whining becomes too extreme, or severe doubts set in (like now, because January hasn't been too kind with it's weather unlike last year).   Racing is still important to me; it allows me to be around a community I still desperately need, and a means to keep me motivated to keep myself fit. 

I'm excited to start the new year off with some new adventures I've never done before. 

Here we go, 2014!

A few January highlights:
New Year's Day, a group of us went up Lookout Mt.  in Golden.  Lookout Mt. is a road that is about a 1300' climb in 4.5 miles and is very popular with road cyclists (Buffalo Bill's gravesite sits at the top).  It was an eerie morning socked in a cloud, a rare treat for us Coloradoans.  I actually managed to run a great deal of this road, even if I came in dead last (I'm sure I'll be in therapy for months recovering from the humility!).

Chick power!
A few days later, a large group from the track team went up the Manitou Incline.  "The Incline" (as we locals like to call it) is a trail that is the remains of a once railway to bring supplies to the top of Pikes Peak.  It's about 2000' in about 9/10 of a mile with some sections reaching a 68% grade.  Guys, that's like entering the jaws of death steep.  I was stoked I wasn't dead last like up Lookout and more so, that my time up (47:20) is the 2nd fastest I've done up this tower of  vertical pain.

Speeding up the trail in my Ferrari-esque 50 min/mile pace

Coming back down on Barr Trail with the summit of Pikes Peak as our backdrop
I FINALLY meet a blog friend - live - for a run together in hurricane-esque winds up Green Mt.  Sandra was instrumental with her guidance and knowledge getting me to Silver Rush; I bet we shared hundreds of emails before the actual event, without ever having actually met.  Even in 5000 mph winds and sloth place, we had a great time with some good vertical (I just wish I could have heard half our conversation) and were blessed with the most spectacular sunset.

Two weeks ago, Brendan and I, along with a group of crazy 14er climbers, scaled Mt. Quandary (14,265').  I'm not a fan of cold, so I stressed about what to wear for a week and ended up wearing most of Ryan's stuff - but it sufficed.  The snow was deep below tree-line and beings I forgot snowshoes in my overly obsessive state of what to bring, we did a lot of post-holing (falling into the snow, waist deep).

But the day couldn't have been more perfect as we made our way to the summit.....

Yep, that's me!
It was slow-going after clawing our way out of the snow so often, but once we got above tree-line, the snow wasn't as taxing, it was just the altitude and the OMGI'mSoOutOfShape that slowed me to a crawl.  Once at the top, we were rewarded with Mother Nature's party.

Brendan in green jacket, me red.  Friends in the boring colors.
I have been up Quandary a few times now (this was my first winter 14er, though) and every time on this same edge, I always see two mountain goats.  Not sure if they are the same guys each year, but regardless, they are incredible creatures to see in their natural backdrop.  I'm always in awe! 

Almost 8 hours later, and exhaustion and achiness beyond compare, we made it down.  Days later, I couldn't move a muscle without wincing, but it was a wonderful day spent with this kid of mine - so grateful for the opportunity as I know these moments will be gone soon.  LOVED THIS DAY!

January miles: 167.53

January Vertical: 17,403'
Swim: 3 miles
Weights: 4x
14ers scaled: 1

Run strong, my friends (I'm heeding this advise myself for February :)).


Paul said...

You have roared back so far from your foot of hell days, I *must* say.

Sounds like a good year coming up ..and off to a great start!

100 milers...yikes ..gotta run through the NIGHT on single track! Ha ha


Karen said...

Oh, so much to say:
1. I've got those same purple shoes. I love them, mostly because they're purple and the rest cuz they are actually cushy.

2. So much pretty. I love the post-holing and goats pictures.

3. I love your approach to trail races, I think it is similar to mine, just some trail snacks, trail buddies, and a fun adventure. :) Are there any November 50 milers nearby that I could jump in and run with you?

Gracie said...

The mountain goats are such almost mystical animals - living in the cold thin air. Well-done effort and pictures - they're lovely.

Ransick said...

Gorgeous pictures Jill! Climbing a 14er while post holing makes me tired just reading it but sounds and looks like fun.

Your race schedule already looks pretty serious to me with a couple 50 milers and a marathon.

Spring break is late for us this year so no Breckinridge trip :-(. My son is thinking about going to college in Boulder though so we may it out your way this year after all. I'll let you know.

Kate Geisen said...

"I can't say they're 'goals' races but more so accomplishment races - cool things to do."

Ahhhhh you're so a girl after my own heart! That's pretty much the story of my life. :) Of course, YOUR accomplishments are so much bigger -- and FASTER! The elevations you describe always make me laugh at myself when I'm whining about a 300 foot increase over 2 miles. At least I KNOW that I don't really know what real hills are...does that count for something?? :)

So cool that Abby posted that quote for you. Having your kids get it and kind of look after you a little is such a huge blessing.

And your 2014 so far looks pretty stinking cool to me!

Running Librarian said...

sounds like a great January! Hope Feb. is just a great with fun runs with friends and lots of great times :)

Char said...

That walk/hike/trek/mountain climb with Brendan sounds so amazing. What an incredible effort. You've both got some great memories and some fantastic pictures as mementos.

Can't wait to follow along with you and your adventures this year.

sllygrl said...

I claim at least 10 miles a week with you for the entire cycle!!Somehow - at LEAST 5...It's going to be a great year for you - things will sort themselves out - or you will make it so...I swear.

RunToTheFinish said...

beautiful pictures as always making me want to move. I love your thoughts on racing this year, I think that's how I felt a few years ago. Now I'm feeling excited to push hard again...funny how it cycles!

Half Crazed Runner said...

I want to see a mountain goat! Sooo cool! And about the times - it doesn't matter - you are out there and moving - that's what matters!

ajh said...

Very jealous of your mountain goat but I did get to see two snowy owls this week. It is just so wonderful to see animals in their own habitats.
Have a great 2014. You have some amazing things planned.

Terzah said...

I'm all for accomplishment rather than goal races this year (for both of us). You do have yourself some amazing adventures--it's what I like about you (and I bet your times will be better than you are saying here--they always are!). Looking forward to sharing at least some of your 2014 (Magnolia Rd. w/ Kathy....). :^)

Johann said...

That is some list of races there! I am where you are with road races. I have a few circuit race goals I still want to do while in my 50's. I would love to summit a mountain like that! Here's to a great 2014!

Robin said...

I bet in the long run, the rest in December will do you more good then harm. Your "event" plans sounds great for 2014, some fantastic venues for sure! Love your background, what a spectacular place to be active. Great photos (and love the sun lol). I have a 100 miler in my sights as well, at some point in the future...

Colorado Gal said...

What a month! I've been dying to get up a 14er this winter-- hoping to do so once I kick this sickness!

Adrienne Langelier, MA said...

Love the "start where you are emblem"! conditions on happiness, beginning something, or fitness become deadly when they appear! But mountain goats are not deadly, at least I don't think so! ;)

Kandi said...

You always go on the coolest adventures!! Good luck with your upcoming races and all your training.

Teamarcia said...

OMG coveting the purple shoes as well! Again forgive me for being last to the comment party. Don't know why I never see your posts in my feed. Wow Thelma, just wow! Look at the epic adventures you've got lined up. Awesome! I love the cheesy quote. But I love. cheese. JK. It's very sweet. Here's to another epic year. The half century mark looks great on you! xoxo

bobbi said...

Well! You have quite a year ahead of you! Can't wait to hear all about your accomplishments :)

Your pictures are fantastic...thanks for sharing such beautiful places with us!

One Crazy Penguin said...

What an awesome January! I always gt so jealous of your pictures. Our most scenic areas around here don't even compare! I may have to schedule another Denver trip!

Also, your race schedule for the year sounds great. Leadville is one of my bucket list races, but not sure if that will ever happen.

Hope all is well in your world!

Cory Reese said...

I love your writing. I love your pictures. I love your blog. I'm loving seeing those 50s on your calendar. I can't wait to follow all your adventures in 2014 my friend!

Jenny said...

I'm like Marcia and my feed doesn't update when you post. BOO!
You had a fabulous January!
Oh those goats stole my heart when I saw them in September! I think Quandary is one of my favorite peaks for that reason. :)
Lots of general #badassery happening this year for you. Go get it! :D

MILF Runner said...

I still remember you winning the dance contest with your lift-the-towel foot exercises. Here's to a fabulous 2014!

Black Knight said...

More than 4 races those are adventures. Beautiful highlights and beautiful pics.
The mountain goat is a wonderful animal, I can imagine your surprise when you saw it.

Raina said...

The goats are so fun! We have them on the east side of the state, but none near here.
Amazing adventure you took. I would say that you are in great shape being able to hike through waist-deep snow. You'll be sitting pretty for this summer's plans!

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