25 December 2011

December Fun

It's been awhile since I've posted it seems.  Day 42 was so 3 weeks ago!  Today, Christmas Day, I got out for a nice 7.5miles at Coyote Ridge, marking day 62 of the streak.  I ran easy today, soaking in the sunshine and enjoying the chance to run in shorts on snow covered trails, not paying too much attention to how much the snow can slow you down.  The first couple miles were well packed and somewhat runnable, but on the back side of the ridge there was some mud and there were a few spots that were almost Trudge-worthy, though they were very short.  It was the second day in a row the weather was just about perfect, sunny, temperate, no wind, and great views of last week's snow.

Only about half way up to my knee here, it would be an easy Trudge.

Last week the Fort Collins Trail Runners had a Festivus run, ironically to view Christmas lights at the Gardens on Spring Creek.  I love my FCTR buddies, but some of them do not know what a social pace is when the surface is hard and flat and it is cold outside.  It wasn't long before I was at the back, totally dusted by the rest of the group.  Fortunately a few of my kind of runners were in back with me, and with some company the run was enjoyable.  The lights at the Gardens were pretty cool, I liked the Preying Mantis the best and there were several cool displays.  No pictures of these though as a couple weeks ago my camera died.  Overall the run was over 10 miles, a good reminder that I need to start working a longer mid-week run into my schedule as Moab nears.

The run was just the appetizer though, as we had Chili, and corn bread and chili, and beer, and chili once we got back to Cat's, and then we were treated to a great dance routine by the ladies of the FCTR - choreographed and directed by our own Victoria.  It was entertaining, especially the second time with Scott and Pete joining in.  I love the FCTR community, it was so much fun hanging out with everyone after the run, eating, drinking, swapping tale tails or training tips, just catching up, whatever.  And a special Thanks! to Dave, Cat's husband, who brews beer for us and doesn't complain when we invade his house just hours after he returns to town from a long business trip.

The Thursday before was the 2nd running of the VBM.  Warning: Not all the images at that link are safe for human eyes.  The VBM, I had to miss it as it was not run on the traditional last Towers Thursday of the year.  I was bummed to say the least, but it's your prerogative when you're So Damn Fresh, you get to change well established race days to suit your personal travel schedule.  From the stories I've heard I missed every bit as much fun as I thought I would.  Congrats to one of my kind of runners, Mindy Clarke, for taking home the women's title though, with a new course record to boot.  She beat some formidable competition.

The Thursday before that some of us FCTRs joined the Fort Collins Running Club for a holiday lights running tour and potluck.  Thursdays are where it's at, eh?  The runners in the FCRC are fast too, but they didn't take off at quite the speed the FCTR runners did so I was able to hang with them, mostly, for 5 miles. The last 2 miles Ellen kindly hung back with me and humored me by telling me she too hoped she could run under 4 hours in the Colorado Marathon this spring.  Those road runners have a lot more desserts at their potlucks.  I think they remind them of GU.  They have about the same amount of beer though, so I won't complain.

And this brings us to the big event for December, the Chubby Cheeks JV/Marathon/50K, held on Dec. 10th. This is So Damn Fresh, should be UROY, Nick Clark's fat ass-style race, in it's second year.  2011 provided much more snow than the 2010 version.  I opted for the 7 AM start again, because I'm slow.  I was kind of hoping to run the marathon course but knew going in that the 21.5 mile JV course was probably the right choice.  My last 20+ mile run had been in August, afterall.  Anyway, I had until Mile 12 to decide.  I ran nearly all day with Marie, Mary, and Laura, though there were big chunks of the day that others were with us as well.  We had a good time, listening to Marie needle everyone in to running up to Arthur's rock with her (which was on the marathon route, not the JV).  I secretly wanted to run to Arthur's too, and maybe cut off some elevation gain on the return. That was exactly how things turned out.  I'm not sure how I worked that one, while keeping mostly silent, but I was glad to work some magic  This is not the turn you are looking for.

The running was hard in El Chubbo this year.  I mean it's difficult any time as Nick has us running up and down and back up nearly anything that looks like a peak in Horsetooth or Lory.  Now throw snow, 8-10" of snow, and ice on top of things (like the entirety of Horsetooth Rock) and it's down right slow.  7:40 slow. That's 7 hours, 40 minutes, our time for the 23 mile JV+ version (5000 ft vert) Marie and I ran.  Last year it took us 7:20 to run the marathon course, which was an extra 3 miles and extra 500-1000 ft of vert.  It was fun though, as almost any day on the trail with my fellow FCTR runners is.  We had good conversation, good laughs, and good views.  And the weather was pretty nice as well.  My camera broke about 9 miles in, so I didn't get a ton of pictures, but the ones I did snag are below.  Hopefully I captured some of the magic that was out there that day.  There were times it seemed almost magical running on lightly used trails throught the trees in nearly pristine snow.  After the "race" we hung at Nick and Dana's place and had a potluck, of all things.  People think we like to run a lot because we're nuts, but really we just like to eat.  And evidently we're all pretty good cooks.

So, while I haven't been posting this month, I have been running.  And eating at potlucks.  December will be one of my bigger months of 2011, due mostly to the consistency the Streak provides, not any huge runs.  As I mentioned up top, my run today was day 62 of the streak. On the 15th I hit my 2011 mileage goal of 1620 miles (50K/week) and Monday I should hit 1700 miles for the year.  And the year isn't over yet, six more days of running, surely some shenanigans, and one race, the Resolution Run 5K, are left. 

It is time to start thinking about 2012 goals ... 50 miles a week sounds too daunting.  Maybe run my age every week, 43 miles a week seems possible.  Or maybe just a nice fat round number like 2000.  I've got a few days to decide.  One goal I know I'll keep is to eat healthier and lose some more weight.  I'm feeling better with the little I've lost, but know if I can lose the rest then I can hang up with fast kids instead of being in the back for the 2012 holiday light tours.  Another goal I'll keep is continuing the Streak.  It's been great for keeping me consistent and for getting my head back into the game of running.  It also helps with overall planning.  I'm glad Ean came up with this idea and inspired me to jump on board.

Heading up Audra Culver
There are some great views on the infrequently used Audra Culver Trail.  
Horsetooth Rock up close and personal
Longs and Meeker, always looking over us.

This snow was sooo sparkly, it was like there were diamonds littered about.


05 December 2011

The Ultimate Question

Today was day 42 of my streak.  Naturally I assumed when I went out for my run this afternoon I would return knowing the the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.  Well, not the answer, everybody knows that, what I hoped to learn was what was the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.  Things went well.  It was a lovely afternoon today, clear, calm, and about 4°F when I headed out with a co-worker, a fellow streaker.  We headed out for the "Feather Ridge 2.5" mile route, decided to veer off on the "pi" route, a 3.14 mile route, and then again took another turn to run the "Bernice 4" route (now known as the "6 X 9" route).  Running a bit faster than normal in the chill air the small talk slowly gave way to a wonderful transcendence I didn't want to end.  Unfortunately time didn't permit another detour and we returned to the plant site and back to our normal plane of existence. We were stronger, a little colder, and wiser.  I'd tell you what we discovered, what the question is, but then you would have no reason to start you own streak, would you?  

Long Live The Streak