Monday, August 22, 2011

If I had only known

Well, the summer of run has officially concluded.  And what a half marathon that was.  Not only did we gain an additional 2,500 feet in elevation just being in Vail, but the info on the race LIED to us.  Just outright lied.  The race packet and all literature said this about the race:  " As you run in the valley you will experience some rolling elevations but the route is designed with no sharp climbs.   You will however, experience the best of the mountain experience with runners enjoying views of the Gore and Holy Cross Mountain Ranges, running adjacent to Gore Creek and Holy Cross Wilderness, plus running through the iconic Vail and Lionshead Villages, finishing at Ford Park and being given a medal, flower and a flute of champagne by a handsome mountain hunk.  This event begins at an altitude of 8,247 ft but it is most flat with a total elevation gain of only 331 ft!"

What they really wanted to say was "steep pitches and knee-wrecking, scrambling downhills between the gentle rolling hills."  Holy COW!  For those of you familiar with my parent's property, for the last 3 miles, the so-called "gentle rolling hills" were like running up the hill from the river to the house then back down, TEN TIMES!!!

The other lie they told:  the flower and flute of campaign handed to us by a "handsome mountain hunk" was really handed to us by the mothers and guests of some of the runners.  None of whom were male. 

However, don't get me wrong. We had a great time!  And by that, I mean a lot of fun.  Our finishing time was 2:46:57.  That's almost 7 minutes SLOWER than our half in May.  But, that's OK. 

Do you remember when I posted about my goal for this race was to finish and not need a medic and the stipulation I put on that?  What I actually wrote was, "Rather than just finish, I want to finish without needing a medic.  At that altitude, I am not sure what to expect.  But unless the medic looks like John Stamos with a voice like Matthew McConaughey, I don't want to meet him (or her)." 

I wish I had needed the Medic.  It wasn't John Stamos or Matthew McConaughey, but it was Ryan Sutter.  For any Bachelor/Bachelorette fans out there, he's just as pretty in person.  And very kind.  I mean VERY kind.  After Lisa and I finished, we were standing in front of the Champagne tent and he walked up, touched my arm and asked if I was OK.  My response was, "Hi."  Seriously.   That's the best I could come up with?    I made the pretty man ask me again, fumbled my words and ended with "hi, thanks." 

And to make matters funnier, I had my camera/phone in my hand but didn't take a picture.  In Lisa's words, "if I had known he was going to be the medic, I would have crawled over the finish line!"  So, the race page website will have to be my proof that I really did meet the guy and that he really is that handsome!  See for yourself here.

 All in all, it was a great weekend.  Lots of girl time, lots of giggles, great food, fun times, and best of all, realizing that you've got the perfect friend when you say "I love napkins" and she knows that you mean pancakes. 


Friday, August 19, 2011

Random Thoughts

It's been a bit crazy this week.  And time seems to be simultaneously flying and dragging as the days pass.  The house is painted, and as soon as I get a spare minute to re-hang all of the pictures, I will be sure to post some before and after pics.  Here's what I will say about the new colors:  I had no idea how much I hated that Aztec orange until it was gone from our home.  Soooooooooo much better!

In about 2 hours, Lisa will be here to kick off our girls weekend as we conclude our Summer of Run.  On tap for tonight is the Sugarland concert at an outdoor amphitheater.  And the forecast is for evening thunderstorms.  I have a feeling there may be a delay tonight in that the band will likely be pretty gun-shy after the incident in Indiana last weekend.

Then tomorrow we will sleep in a little have some breakfast then jump in the car with our first stop at the Art Festival in Golden, CO.  Lisa goes every year and said it's great.  I figured, what the heck!  It's on the way-ish!

After the art festival we'll finish our drive over the continental divide ending in Vail, CO (and 8,000' elevation) to enjoy the pre-race expo.  And when we are finished with that, we get to have dinner with my "sister," Cait Doyle.  For those of you who don't know Cait, she started babysitting for me and Garren when we were pretty young. I think I was 8ish maybe?  And then she lived with us during college for a few years.  She's always been sort of a big-sister to me and rather than always telling the story, I just call her my sister. It's easier that way.

I haven't seen Cait in several years.  We keep in touch, via phone and facebook, but I haven't actually been able to hug her in a LOOOOONG time.  It will be so great to have dinner with her, and have Lisa meet her.  Even if it is only for a couple of hours. 

Then Sunday is race day in the morning, followed by a trip through the Vail Farmer's Market.  It's supposed to be a pretty great market and Colorado sweet corn is at its peak right now. Hook me up!!!  Then some lunch and the 2 1/2 hour drive home.

All-in-all, it should be a great weekend. Who knew that the best part of the weekend won't even be the race.  You can never have too much girl time!

Cheers to all the girlfriends out there.  I hope you have a weekend filled with friendship and laughter.  I know I will!  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A lot can happen in a year

Can you believe that a year ago this week we moved into our home?  After all the tears, and all the money, and all the afternoons walking through strange houses, we finally found one to call our own and have lived here a year. 

Over the past 365 days we have made small purchases here and there to make this home our own.  And today the painter will be here to repaint the stairwell, guest bathroom, our bathroom and the red wall in our master bedroom.  While red may be one of my favorite colors, it is also one of the least neutral colors on the color wheel.  We have opted to keep the wall the dramatic focal point of the room, but in a greenish brown tone that will go with virtually every color.  Except for the Barny purple in the guest bath, and that just needs to go away.  

I'll take some pictures when he's finished.  If it looks as fantastic as I am expecting it will, I am going to be over the moon excited.  And probably planning the next painting project for him.  He's fairly cheap and I absolutely HATE painting a textured wall.  And I've tried.  Twice. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

An End in Sight, or a New Beginning I See?

On December 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm after a cheeseburger and frings (half fries, half onion rings) and a couple of winter ales at the Cherry Cricket in Denver, one of my best friends (Lisa) and I signed a "contract" on the back of the specials menu. 
As per the "contract" we had to pick a 5K.  Which was to be the Valentine's Day 5k in Wash Park ("Wash" is short for Washington, but nobody in Denver calls it Washington Park).  It took me 40 minutes to run 3.15 miles and I had never been so proud of myself in my adult life.  Having never run a race before, and probably never even running 2 miles before this event, it was nothing short of amazing that I finished at all.  And if you'll remember, the sense of pride completely overwhelmed me and I spent the day in tears.

The training continued as we had registered for the Colfax Half Marathon.  Every Saturday morning, Lisa and I met for our long runs.  As we toured the neighborhoods of Wash Park (think: half-a-million for 1500 square feet) and into the Downtown Denver area, every week our run would end and I would think, "Wow!  I really am making progress. I think I could go another mile."  And so we ran and ran and ran for 12 weeks.  May 15 brought cold, misty, yucky weather and my first ever 13.1  Having partially torn my calf muscle, I was worried about the cold weather.  But it turns out that not only would I be A-OK, I would run the whole thing a minute per mile faster than the 5K only 12 weeks before.

And the running continued.  After dubbing this to be "The Summer of Run" about 2 weeks later, on Memorial Day, I ran the second-largest 10K race in the United States with 56,000 of my closest friends: The Bolder Boulder.  That was an experience and a lot of fun. My body was still trying to recover from the "half" but I managed to run that thing 30 seconds per mile faster than I had run the half.  Which is about right.  It's about half the distance of a half marathon. 

With only a week off, we started over with the training plan to prepare for the Diva's Half Marathon in Vail, CO. The training on this go-round has been lackluster, to say the least.  I don't feel as strong or prepared for 13.1.  Part of the problem is the weather.  That's right, the weather.  Running in heat and humidity is NO FUN AT ALL!  It zaps the life right out of me.  Bring on 38 degrees w/mist and snow any day.  For as much as I wished for summer running, I am now wishing it away.  My pace has picked up a bit too.  Last weekend I ran 9 miles with an average pace of 11:45.  That's a good 30 seconds per mile faster than the first half I ran.  And in exactly 12 days, I will run another 13.1.  Only this time at 8,000 feet rather than 6,000.  It should be interesting.  But as I've said before, I am in it for the pink feather boa and the tiara just before crossing the finish line.  And because it's chicks only, rather than a beer tent, we get a champagne toast.  My goal for this one is a step beyond the last: Rather than just finish, I want to finish without needing a medic.  At that altitude, I am not sure what to expect.  But unless the medic looks like John Stamos with a voice like Matthew McConaughey, I don't want to meet him (or her). 

In 12 days I will be out of events to train for. But with three trips in September (two personal and one business) and two in October (one personal and one business) it's OK to not stress about long runs.  Lisa and I have kicked around the idea of registering for another half that's in October but the entry fee is $100. And after the end of October there aren't many half-marathons in the Denver area until the spring.  Maybe we will take a month off.  Maybe we will register for an out-of-towner at sea-level (I have my sights set on the Tinkerbell run through Disneyland at night).  Or maybe we'll decide to go for the gusto and run a full marathon next year in which case, we need all the time we can get to double our longest distance.

Regardless of what Lisa and I do next, I am already looking forward to our next adventure and a new beginning. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ruff Life

NOTE:  I just found this in my drafts.  Looks like I meant to publish this on August 4 2011.  Too cute to delete!

Our beagle LOVES to be warm.  I mean warm in the sense that it can be 100 degrees outside and she wants to be wrapped up in a blanket while sitting in the sun.  In the mornings, we have our routine of getting up, running outside to do business and quickly running back in the house and straight to the dining room where there is an absolutely perfect sunbeam that comes through the windows.

This week, we are all having some struggles with our allergies.  Abby (the beagle) suffers the worst which, in turn, makes us suffer.  Between the snoring that could rival a bear in hibernation (assuming bears snore when they in cartoons) and the snarfing (which is technically called a reverse cough or sneeze), she's been keeping us up at night.  So last night I drugged her.  One magic Benadryl pill and we all sleep well.

Well, Abby overslept today.  She stayed in bed until almost 10:00 am.  Then it was the normal morning routine, run outside to do business and right back in to catch the sunbeam.  Only today, this is what she ran in to:

By the time the darn dog was able to be awake for more than 10 minutes, her sunbeam was gone.  Is that not the most pathetic face you've ever seen?  I, for a fleeting moment, felt so bad for her.  But not so bad that I couldn't exploit her sorrow just a little.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Camera woes

I haven't been very good about blogging lately.  Mostly because I haven't had much interesting to say and never want this to turn into a forum for the airing of the grievances unless said airing evokes laughter from others!  What's really on my mind is that I like to read blogs with pictures, and I haven't had any pictures to share recently.  Mostly because our only camera is attached to a cell phone and those just aren't fun to take.  By the time you launch the app, the moment has usually passed.  So on the docket for our next big purchase is a camera.  A really good camera.  And a few classes on how to take incredible pictures.

Chris and I are headed to Key Largo in exactly 32 days and would love nothing more than to start experimenting with the camera on that trip.  Ideally, by the time we go to Seattle to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary in October, I'd like to be pretty well versed in what works and what doesn't and how to decipher camera settings.

So, all my blogger friends, I know you all take wonderful pictures and have been on a similar camera hunt. I am not looking for one of those "fits in an Altoid's box" digital cameras or something that Ashton Kutcher endorses.  I want a real, honest-to-goodness, may be a bit of a hassle to carry around, heavy around my neck, with interchangeable lenses, at-home-expert cameras.

Can you help me?  What camera are you using and do you love it?  If you do, what do you love about it, and if you don't love it, what are its shortcomings and what do you wish you had in stead?

Thanks for the feedback :-)