Twenty Six Point Two

run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Odds and Ends

So, to wrap things up... the rest of the trip to Leadville was nice. We took a train ride around the town on our last day and ate another pizza at High Mountain Pies. It was fantastic, and I was sad to leave.

View from the Train.
Yes, totally ridiculous.

Getting back to the real world was pretty stressful. Somehow, July has turned into a megacrazy Life and Work month. I've got about a zillion projects at work right now (IT'S JULY. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?) and The KoB is basically having the month of his life right now (leadville, closed on a home last weekend, and has some other exciting stuff coming up in a week or so). 

Mr. Bloom checking out his new Doghouse. 
Yup. That's a doghouse. It has an
air conditioning unit and a heat lamp.
And it is practically the same size as my entire condo.

I am trying to get back into some consistent running. I'm a little nervous that once I start actually training for the 10 miler that it is going to feel SO VERY HARD. But, I am definitely itching to get back into a routine. For now, I'm just milking the laziness and enjoying it. I have been able to keep up with 10 mile long runs (with not much else during the week), so, THANK GOD I'm at least able to run the distance of the goal race at a fairly respectable time.   

Anyway, that's what's going on with me. Not much to really report on running-wise. But life is good and running will be soon enough.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Trip Report: Leadville Part 3

Aside from the obvious reasons of wanting to go to Leadville (KoB's favorite place, it's freaking beautiful, who doesn't want to go to Colorado in July, etc), one of the major draws for me was to experience higher altitudes. Leadville advertisers itself as the highest incorporated city in the US.

10,200 feet, y'all.

And on top of that, Leadville is centrally located to MANY 14,000 peak mountains. Including the highest one in Colorado...

 Hello Gorgeous.
Mt. Elbert, 14,440'
Actually, I think this is Mt. Massive.
But you get the idea. It's a fucking mountain.

One of my dreams is travel to Nepal and do a trek to Everest Base Camp. Everest Base Camp sits at around 17,600'. And while I realize that additional 3,200' is a HUGE DEAL. I wanted to make sure that I could at least handle 14,000 feet and not feel like my head was going to explode. So, I wanted to climb a 14er while we were in Leadville and of course, why not climb the biggest one??

In the beginning I'm taking pictures of everything.
Not so much by the end.

The KoB had done the hike lots of times before and like a good Eagle Scout he suggested that we get up and head out early. Just in case. From the start, this hike was already 100% smarter than any other hike I've ever done. My friends and I are notorious for happening upon a trailhead and saying... ohhhh... an 8 mile hike, that's nothing. And then 15 hours later we limp back to our cars after having survived a thunderstorm, no water or food, and one time... someone had a stress fracture. (slight exaggeration, except for the stress fracture part, that was real).

The trail starts out innocently enough. And then once above the treeline it becomes a real HIKE. Straight up.
The trail goes straight to the top of that peak.
And then back down it and to another peak.
Yup, that's a false summit. 
Mt. Elbert has a sick sense of humor.

Instead of the trail winding around switchbacks, it literally goes straight up. I actually preferred that to switchbacks. Sure it sucks and is way harder, but I could climb for 2 minutes and turn around to gaze below me and catch my breath and see the people that I just passed wayyyy below me. It was awesome.

Yup. Stopped to "take a picture."
AKA: Stopped to catch my breath.

After about a zillion false summits (that thankfully The KoB had warned me about)...

Nope! Not it!

We finally summit-ed!

Totes Adorbs.

It was spectacular up there.

I mean. Really.

We saw a few dogs making the trek.
This guy's name was Luther and he LOVED the snow.

Someone had left a sign from the previous day up there
so, we had our picture taken with it. In case ya know, Wikipedia
ever dies and we can't figure out how high Mt. Elbert is one day.
(Since I just finished The Stand, I totally believe that could happen).

Another view of her.

We started back down and while it did take significantly less time to get down than it did to get up, the down hike wasn't all that easy either. I actually jammed up my big toenail pretty bad and by the end of it, it was killing me.
A little rocky.

This is what the trail looks like below the treeline.

Finally we emerged back at the trailhead. It had taken us a little longer than we had anticipated, but it was a beautiful hike and I'm ready to tackle another 14er.

We headed back to town after the hike and after showering and relaxing for a bit, we both realized that we were pretty wasted. I felt pretty terrible and had some caffeine and took some pain pills. We went to a delicious restaurant and I ordered a plate of nachos and I could barely eat 1/3 of them. THAT IS UNHEARD OF. Seriously, normally, I will eat the entire plate of nachos, no problem. But, ugh, I just didn't feel well.

That is actually one weird thing I noticed on the trip. I was hungry and wanted food like I always do, but once I started eating... I got full MUCH MUCH quicker than I do at sea level. This should make me happy, because... yayyyy! not a fatty mcfatterson for once in my life. But, actually it kind of made me sad. I was on vacation, I wanted to stuff my face and eat all the things and enjoy it. Oh well. 

After the pain pills kicked in and I laid down for an hour or so, I was able to wallow down into town for ice cream (because... DUH vacation!). And I woke up the next morning feeling pretty good and normal!

Fantastic setting for a little town.

 Such a beautiful little "main" street.

Operation: 30 minutes at 14,000 feet was a complete success! Am I ready for Everest Base Camp? Meh, probably not... but at least I know I can hang reasonably well at Colorado's highest peak!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Trip Report: Leadville Part 2

I should point out that I took more drugs on this trip than I have in the last 5 years. From the moment we got into Denver, I started popping Excedrin Migraine pills and I didn't stop until we left. I also tried to stay as hydrated as possible. I wanted to be able to enjoy the vacation and not be knocked on my ass with terrible headaches from the elevation. The limited exposure I'd had in the past to elevation... always made me feel a little... off and headach-y. So, I went into the trip as prepared as possible.

We woke up on Saturday morning and plodded down for breakfast. I had always shied away from Bed and Breakfast places... mostly because they are usually more expensive and I am a cheap ass. But, also, because I like the anonymity of my regular ole Hampton Inns. I don't necessarily want to feel like I have chat it up with the other guests. So, I was a little nervous about the whole "breakfast" thing. Turns out... it was totally fine. The food was delicious, the people were friendly and talkative, and since we were in Leadville, anytime I didn't feel like engaging in the conversation... I just announced to everyone that The KoB had ran the race there before and everyone's attention turned to him and I got to sit and eat my meal in peace. Brilliant plan!

We started the day by milling around the town for a bit, grabbing lunch, and then we headed out in the car to drive around part of the Leadville 100 course.

The first stop was Turquoise Lake.
 Look how tiny I make that pine tree look!
Pygmy pine tree!

The lake was beautiful and it was an absolutely gorgeous day. There were tons of people out fishing, hiking, and just enjoying the day.
We drove all around the lake (as opposed to ya know... running around it) and then headed over to the Fish Hatchery which is also on the course. On our way there, he pointed off in the distance to a spot on a mountain where the trees had been cut, and told me that was Powerline (also on the course). 
The KoB running down the powerline in 2011.
It was straight up a mountain.
I wish I had gotten a picture of it from the ground.
Next time!

We got to Fish Hatchery, which is actually a working fish hatchery. I wasn't expecting that. Dumb, I know.

The view from Fish Hatchery.

After the fish hatchery, we got back in the car and The KoB said... let's drive over to Twin Lakes, "it's kind of a drive, but it's worth it." So, we drove out to Twin Lakes and boy was he right... 

It was spectacular.

We got out and walked around a bit, he told me a little history about the area and then he pointed up into the mountains and said.... "I think that's Hope Pass between those two peaks."
He was pointing somewhere up there.

Hope Pass? WAIT. Isn't Hope Pass on the course? 
You mean, THIS Hope Pass?
Yup. So, we were still touring the course. I mean, 100 freaking miles. 50 miles out, 50 miles back. It didn't really hit me just how freaking far that is, until you spend half a day driving around it. Crazy. 
 Almost at the top of Hope Pass
Twin Lakes down below him.

Anyway, we spent a little time at Twin Lakes, I thought it was just beautiful there. 

Twin Lakes 2011.
Mile 60ish feeling good.

Twin Lakes 2014
Standing in the parking lot. Feeling like
he hates his girlfriend for making him pose for a pic.

This was also taken in the Twin Lakes area, I have this picture hanging up in my office at work. 

And I just found out that apparently, The KoB 
was feeling like CRAP here and threw
up a couple miles after this pic was taken.
So, um, maybe I should switch that pic out for a different one.

Also at Twin Lakes.
Post puke.

After walking around Twin Lakes a bit, we started to head back into town. We changed clothes in the car and got in a run on the Mineral Belt Trail in Leadville.

Stop it, Leadville. Just stop being so freaking beautiful.

The Mineral Belt trail is an 11.6 mile paved path that winds around Leadville. It offered some great views of the town, as well historical items and markers explaining the mining history of Leadville that afforded me opportunities to stop and pretend like I was soooo interested in all that, when really I was just dying for a break to breathe.

Pics or it didn't happen, bitches!

Honestly, the artifacts and history were really interesting.
This little cart was what the miners would ride down into the mines.

 It was such a cool trail.

After a long day of DRIVING around the Leadville 100 course (which just cracked me up all day) and a little jog along the mineral belt trail, it was time to head back to the room and clean up for dinner.

And enjoy some refreshments from our balcony.

Next up: Mt. Elbert!

*I have tried to get The KoB to do some kind of post on Leadville and he always declines. So, this shoddy write-up by me is what you get instead... blame him. Also, I bought the pics from his 2011 race as a birthday gift for him one year and that's why I am plastering them all over the blog.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Trip Report: Leadville Part 1

I hadn't even heard of the town of Leadville, Colorado until I read the book Born to Run. That was back in 2009. The parts in the book about the Leadville 100 were easily my favorite and I vowed to visit Leadville one day and hopefully even go and spectate/volunteer/crew at the race. 

Enter The KoB... without getting into a whole... "this is the story of how we met, etc...," he was the only person I actually knew who had ran the race (Actually, he still might be. haha). I can remember being at a party at Coach Bitch and Cheryl's house in September (of 2010, I think?) and The KoB was there (having just ran the race in August) and I pretty much spent the entire party asking him questions (and getting one word responses back) and taking tequila shots.

So, here's the deal. The KoB has finished the Leadville 100 three times. 3 TIMES!!!!!!!

Yes, folks... that is a sub 24 hour finish.

He's ran the race 4 times and spent some summers out there training for the race. Leadville is The KoB's happy place. He loves it there and when he would talk about it, it just made me want to go there even more. So... we booked tickets and a room at a Bed and Breakfast and went out there over the July 4th weekend.

The first sign it was going to be an awesome trip? Because we had a long layover, we got offered to take a different flight from Nashville and got put into first class and each got a $200 travel voucher. FIRST CLASS, bitches! To be completely honest... it wasn't that great. I would never pay to be in first class and I was especially bummed that they didn't have Baileys for my coffee. THE HUMANITY! What kind of First Class doesn't have Baileys????????

Moving on... we arrived in Denver and got on the shuttle for our rental car. Then we had a Seinfeld moment. THEY DIDN'T HAVE A CAR AVAILABLE FOR US. 

Anybody can just take a reservation.
They even had the gall to tell us that... "well, it's a busy, holiday weekend." NO SHIT POTHEAD, that's why we made a reservation. Anyway.... someone dropped a car off as I fumed in the corner and we were on our way after not too long of a wait. 
I've never been to Colorado, so the whole drive I was like... OMG look over there. And OMG... look over THERE. And I think I asked The KoB if every mountain we saw was a 14er. 

Nope. Not a 14er.

Along the way, I was also regaled with stories of when The KoB biked across Colorado. (Yes, I know, he's the one that should have the blog, nobody gives a shit about me or my gifs). It was a nice drive, but I was happy when we finally arrived in Leadville.

We changed into running clothes and headed out for a little Leadville Running Tour led by The KoB. 
It was July 4th, so stopping for this picture
seemed apropos. 'Merica.

I knew it was going to feel tough. Running at 10,000+ feet is  no joke. But, we stopped to take pictures and kept the pace easy.

My, "Hey, take this picture of me
so I can catch my breath" pose.

Everywhere you look... beauty.

After the run, the skies cleared and we walked into town for dinner at a Mexican Restaurant that I had heard The KoB talk about many times.
Heading into town.

It was the perfect start to our trip. 

When in Colorado...

Next up: Seeing parts of the Leadville 100 Course and more running...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Back to the Grind

I've been away for a few days...

So, bear with me a bit, while I get a little caught up at work...

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Bitch Racing Team Annoucement

Well, I've done it. I've figured out what in the bloody hell I'm going to do next.

It's NOT crossfit.
I think that kitty in the front left has the right idea.

Back in April/May I was sure that I was going to run a marathon in South Dakota in September. And then time went by... I never signed up for it, I scaled wayyyy back on my running, and all the sudden, I was like... uhhhh... I guess I'm not doing that one (the same exact thing happened with that race last year). So, I scoured looking for a race to latch onto later this fall. 

And nothing really sounded good or convenient. The last few long runs (hahahhahaha 10 mile long runs... hahahhahah) I've done with Melissa, we've talked a lot about  race distances and training and what we like and don't like. And finally, it hit me... I don't want to train for a marathon. I don't want to do a long, grueling training schedule of long runs and tempo runs and worrying for 16 weeks how I am going to keep a certain pace for 26.2 miles. I don't want to worry about fueling during the race. What I REALLY want to do is see how fast I can go.

The only race I've ever trained for specifically besides a marathon is a half marathon. That was back in 2012 and was the first time I was coached. It was glorious. 

There are lots of reasons that I continue to train for marathons. For one, I typically actually enjoy the TRAINING for a marathon. (I'm kinda over it right now, but in the past that's always been my favorite thing). Also, I have this goal of running a marathon in every state and so, I NEED to run marathons. But, I also need to realize that I'm 34. Hopefully, I can get around it. And then there are other reasons, like... The KoB races marathons, my friends race marathons. I dont know, I just have this mentality that the Marathon is some sort of epic race. But, it's not. It sucks. And I need a break.

So, if not the marathon, then what?

Well, I've decided to RACE my favorite race! The Team Nashville 10 Miler in November. It's my favorite race for nostalgic reasons mostly, but also, because it's such a beautiful course. And it's challenging. It's got rolling hills to start, one BIG hill in the middle and another killer hill towards the end. But... with those uphills... come downhills. So, I feel like it all evens out in the end.

I can train on the course (I've incorporated the route on long runs in the past) and I'm excited to challenge myself to just get faster. I have NO idea what my time will be. I just want to run the fastest race that my training allows for on that day. Coach has signed on to coach me and we will probably start up in August. 

I am so excited! I think this is exactly what I need. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Race Report: Gay 5K

Bitch Brigade

It's a good day when all the bitches can get together for a great cause and school some bitches. Even if it felt like we were swimming instead of running. OMG the humidity!

We jogged around for our warm up (hahahahahahah. hahahahahahah. warm up. hahhahahahah), during which for reasons that I will choose to leave out so that I get more sympathy, Jeff SOB hit me so hard up-side the head that I swear to god I was concussed for the rest of the day (it was a joke slap that got away from him). I'm being a tad dramatic. But, it did end up being accidentally harder than he intended. And uh. It was pretty hard. I am a bitch though, so, instead of letting that get me down...  I just decided to that it would be the perfect excuse for my lackluster racing.

None of the bitches are in peak racing shape, so we ended up kind of all running together. We finished one right after the other (I was the last bitch) and it all felt so terribly hard for being around 8:20 pace. SERIOUSLY. It was 8:20 pace and I felt like I was going to have a heart attack and die. WTF? Oh wells.

Bitches were schooled though, as all 6 of us.. bitches and SOBs... placed in our age groups. And we got about a zillion comments on our shirts. Apparently, we have found the right demographic for wearing shirts that says BITCHES all over them. Finally!

Afterwards we attempted to get pictures. But we were all so sweaty and gross that no one really wanted to touch each other.
Bitches be sweaty.

After pictures, we celebrated with some watermelon jello shots. Jealous? And waited around for the award ceremony.

One guy was taking pictures with all the winners one by one...

Me and the dude. 
Looking stoned and/or concussed.
Cheryl and the dude.

And then Coach Bitch went up for her award and the guy was like... hey, wanna take a picture?? and she's all... SURE and pushes the dude aside...

Coach Bitch.
Although, take note, he's still smiling for the camera!

Anyway, it was a fantastic day. Well, except for the running part.... that Suuuuuuuuucked.