Monday, October 15, 2012 worked for me

Sean and I both had profiles on around November last year.  I had my profile set up, but was not paying for a membership and had my profile set so no one could see me.  I would go on there and "shop around." During one of my online shopping trips, I accidentally made my profile visible and Sean saw it and sent me an email.  I immediately turned my profile back to invisible and thought about joining.  Some time went by and I finally started subscribing in late December.  By that time, the email Sean had sent had been automatically deleted (> 30 days old).  But, he saw my profile again and sent me another email.   We agreed to meet up for a trail run and Sean suggested Apex or Lair of the Bear.  Lair of the bear is my favorite trail; so we agreed to meet there on 1/7/12.   Surprisingly, Sean had never been there before.

Lair of the Bear was pretty snowy that day.  I wore my favorite shoes- the Merrell Barefoot and brought my yaktrax in case it was icy.  Turns out, it was extremely icy and Merrell barefoot shoes have very little tread and yaktrax do not stay on shoes that are that minimal.  We ended up running about 10 miles and I ended up falling on the ice about 10 times.  By time we were half done both of my knees were bleeding and I kept stopping to clean them off in the snowbanks.  The weather was nice, so I was wearing shorts and a long sleeve T-Shirt.  Which was fine except when post-holing through deep snow to avoid the ice.

Unfortunately, there are no bloody knee  photos and no photos of us together from that day.

We had an amazing time and it felt like we had known each other forever.  After the run we went to the Blue Cow restaurant in Morrison  and attempted  to order vegetarian lunches while drinking copious amounts of coffee so I could warm up again.

The next day Sean met me at church and brought me flowers.  He offered to take me out to dinner and we went to Little India- a restaurant that I had always wanted to go to but never had anyone to go with.  We again had a great dinner and found out that we had a few mutual friends and that we like to frequent the same trails and run the same direction.  Our dads had worked at the same place and we had spend most of our lives within 10 miles of each other.

Since that time we have gone on many amazing trail runs, run a crazy amount of  races, eaten at Little India multiple times, eaten lots of awesome vegetarian food, and have made some amazing memories. 

Sean proposed after the Leadville 100.  We knew we wanted to get married soon, and we pondered getting married at Mount Falcon after a trail run, but there wasn't much time left before the weather gets questionable.   Weddings take time to plan and we didn't want to wait until next year to get married.  So, the most logical thing to do in that situation is to run away to the courthouse and get married. We realized early in the week that Thursday was 10.11.12 and thought that it would be a good day to get married. So about 7 hours before, Sean called the courthouse to see if we could actually get married that day.  Sean got off work an hour early and we headed to the courthouse with the boys. 

We checked in at about 4:30 and applied for a marriage license and then went to the judge to get married.  The boys watched and even got to sign the marriage certificate.  Mako taped the ceremony and you can hear  him giggling through the video.  We had a great time at the courthouse and I wouldn't change a thing.  Mako did suggest that you are supposed to have a cake after a wedding.  Don't worry, the reception will follow and all my closest family and friends will be invited. 

The wedding party with the cutest witnesses ever.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bear Chase 50K and 50Mile

Any race with a water crossing is a good race and running with Liz is always fun.

An awesome race organized by our friend Dave. The race was extremely well run: we were able to get on the shuttle bus to the start immediately, the course was well marked, the shirts were awesome, the race photos were free to download, the course was beautiful, and the aid stations were frequent.

Sean ran the 50 mile race and I ran the 50K.  The 50 mile race ran 4 loops around Bear Creek State Park with a total of 12 water crossings and the 50K ran 1 lap of the 10K course and 2 of the big laps like the 50mile course with a total of 6 water crossings.

This was our first race since the LT100.  Neither of us were 100% at the start. Sean is still fighting with his IT bands and I have been having some IT band issues as well with some low back pain and some pirformis syndrome on the side.  It took about 4 weeks for me to be able to run pain free after Leadville, but that doesn't extend to long distances.  I'm not sure if Sean has had any pain free runs yet, but he is cool with running 50 miles anyway.  I couldn't let him run so much farther than me, so I signed up for the 50K.

I started the race asking for some tylenol for my back.  Clearly, I am getting old.  Luckily, rock star Liz had some ibuprofen for me.  I only took one because of the risks with NSAIDs in ultrarunning, but I think I did feel some relief.  I got to about mile 15 before my back really started hurting again.  I stopped to stretch a few times and got some tylenol from an aid station but the low back pain was really cramping my style and hamstrings and glutes.

Nice non-technical course with beautiful views.

Banana Monster.
Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.

Help, they are chasing me!

I got to run in to the finish with Sean.
Sean's medal.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Camping in Leadville with the boys

We were getting homesick, so we went back up to Leadville on 9/22-23 for a possibly final camping trip for the season with the kids (at least at that altitude).    
The boys getting dressed up for the trip.
We stopped by Climax mine at our trusty port-a-potties on the way up and looked at the mining displays and climbed on the rocks.

We stayed at Sugarloafin' campground again and went on a few hikes to see the leaves changing.   The boys loved the playground and the cabin at the campground.  Toshi even wore his coonskin cap to celebrate the occasion. 

Cabin at Sugarloafin'
Yep, the swing set seems sturdy. 

Rock Star

Morning dancers

Then we headed back on Sunday morning and stopped in Georgetown for lunch at my favorite restaurant (Mountainbuzz) and took the train for some more leafy goodness.    

Georgetown dogpark- there were no other dogs for Barkley to play with- so we had to improvise.
Awesome playground at Georgetown

And we were all very tired.

Long's Peak

I finally made it to Long's Peak! :)  I have always wanted to climb Long's, but have always been intimidated by it because most people leave at 3am and hike until the sun goes down.  Long's is one of the few fourteeners in the front range that I haven't been to.

Sean got invited to go run Long's peak with his friend Ryan and luckily they let me come along.  We went up Friday night and camped at the Long's peak campground before our run on 9/15/12.  We got a somewhat early start at 8am and ran the trail in about 6.5 hours if you don't count clowning around on the top and on the trail.  We made some awesome new friends and had a blast.

The cool thing about ultrarunners is that they are pretty much all friendly, love the outdoors and trails, and are very down to earth.  After the run, we went and ate dinner at Southern Sun Pub and Brewery in Boulder which has some great vegetarian options.

The initial climb is a very runnable and a very well maintained trail.
It starts getting more technical the closer you get to the top.
My summer home. I am glad it wasn't my job to lug the rocks up to build that hut.
The infamous keyhole!

Bummer, I forgot my hang glider.
Sean, Laura, Joseph, Ryan, and Dan.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mt. Bierstadt

Now that Leadville is over we finally got to go climb a 14er!  Surprisingly, Sean has never climbed one although he claims to be a Colorado (mostly) native. 

First up, was Mount Bierstadt.  I love Mt. Bierstadt because it is one of the easier 14ers to climb and also one of the shorter distance climbs and it is one of the peaks closest to Denver.  This made it the perfect choice for our not quite recovered legs.  We went on Labor day, but it was nice because we slept in and didn't actually make it to the trail head until about 11am.  Starting that late is never advised, but we ran it and were blessed with good weather and made it down the mountain before the afternoon thunderstorm. The leaves in Georgetown were beginning to change and the views were amazing.  The best surprise of the run was that we got to see Moose playing in the lake on the way back to our car. 
I am actually related to the Guanella's so this pass is extra special.

Should we be this close?

Moose swimming and storm brewing.
and of course we stopped at Mountain Buzz for an awesome lunch after.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Leadville 100 Run


I almost forgot we had a blog :) 

Finally, the race Sean has been training for all year and the race I signed up for 6 weeks ago.   This is the 30th year of the Leadville 100 Run which makes the race as old as I am.  Ken Clouber started the race as a way to save the dying town of Leadville after the mining boom died out.  It was his idea to start some extremely difficult races to increase the amount of tourists visiting the town.   From the look of it, it has been a great success.   About 1000 people registered for the LT100 this year, 800ish started the race and 45% finished the race.  The usual completion rate is usually around 40%, so this was a good year.

This was my first experience with a race like this. Sean had been there last year pacing a friend, but I had no idea what to expect.  I was pretty sure that only crazy people do this race and I think I am correct in that assumption.  The city of Leadville is at 10,200 feet and the race climbs up hope pass to 12,600 feet of elevation.

Racers have 30 hours to complete the course with many cut off times throughout the course.  If you miss a cut off time you can be forced to quit the race.  Those who finish the race get a finisher's medal and a large belt buckle for the 25 hour and under finishers and a smaller buckle for the finishers under 30 hours.  Women also get a race pendant for finishing.

The race directors get you pumped up at the meeting the day before and the morning of the race.  Ken was out of town for the first time ever so his son Cole spoke and filled in for him. 

The race starts in downtown Leadville and then winds around Turquoise lake to Mayqueen then jumps on the Colorado Trail segment 10 and then down a jeep road to Fish Hatchery. The race then runs on dirt roads and then jumps back on the Colorado trail heading to twin lakes and then climbs over Hope pass to Winfield and then you run right back the way you came.   The trail around Turquoise lake, the Colorado Trail, and Hope Pass are beautiful.  My favorite parts of the race are the water crossing before and after hope pass and also the aid station near the top of hope pass.  They use llamas to bring up all the supplies for the aid station because there are no roads that go there. The view from the top of Hope Pass is amazing.

I had an  amazing crew who met me at most accessible points and carried any gear I might need and 4 awesome pacers to keep me in line for the last 50 miles.  The pacer's job is to keep delusional runners on the trail, carry extra gear for them,  remind the runner to eat and drink, and to make them run when they are slacking.  

My first pacer was Rob who got me up and over Hope Pass.  I used trekking poles which made a huge difference because the ascent was so steep and the descent was slippery and my knees were already in pain.  Rob saved the day with his headlamp as it got dark before we were down from Hope pass.  Andy met me at Twin lakes to pace me out to Fish Hatchery.  

It was great to know so many people out there on the course.  There were people from the Runner's Roost Run club and the Denver Trail Runners at almost every aid station cheering me on.  I got to the Fish Hatchery Aid Station at mile 76.5 and was ready to quit.  It wasn't that I felt bad, it was just that I wanted to see Sean finish as well as I wasn't sure why I was out there.  It never really was a goal of mine to run this race and I was happy with my 76 mile fun run and figured that recovery would be very easy if I stopped there. I only signed up for this race because I am too competitive to let Sean run a race further than me.  Luckily, Ben and Dave were there to kick me out of the aid station and to make me keep running.  (Sorry Andy, I could have put in more effort running with you but I was too busy pondering why I was out there and figuring out how to quit). 

After it was decided that I was going to finish the race, I started to put in more effort.  Dan paced me up powerline and the land of a million false summits.  We still powerhiked up powerline and I tried to run going downhill, but my knees had now been hurting for the last 60 miles and were not thrilled with the idea.  We ran and hiked to Mayqueen where my brother in law was waiting for me to pace me for the last segment.  I was feeling really good when we got to Mayqueen.  John joined me and we continued running around Turquoise lake.  We left the lake and then ran/walked on a dirt road for what felt like an eternity.  When we were about 2 miles from the finish we saw my nephew and his girlfriend which was an awesome surprise.  They had driven from Michigan and stopped to see me finish.   We ran and powerwalked the last 2 miles to the finish.  The finish line was like a big party with many of my friends in attendance.

My crew grabbed my hands and ran me across the finish line to find Sean.  The No Doubt song Running started playing and Sean dropped down on one knee to propose.  Sean compared the race to marriage and asked if I would be willing to commit and not quit.

Apparently, Sean had already told his million closest friends that he was going to propose, so everyone was there waiting with their cameras to catch the moment.

It is not every day that you get to complete one of the toughest races in the US as well as to get proposed to by your best friend.

The race is long and difficult and many people who were very prepared for this race did not finish.  Congratulations to all who persevered for hours, but did not complete the course.  You are still an inspiration. 

It is Wednesday today, and I think I will be ready to run at the Runner's Roost Run club tonight.  I still have some mild knee pain, but it is back to what it was before the race.  Sean is still hurting pretty good but his muscles are feeling better.  The swelling in his legs is going down but his knees and feet are still very painful. 

Now that the race is over I am excited to resume trail running, break out my bike, climb some 14ers, and hopefully go backpacking before fall is over.  Sean is already ready to book reservations for lodging for next year. 

If I am dumb enough to do this again, I will run with just a handheld instead of my hydration pack, still use trekking poles on the big climbs, but find a way to carry them without my hands when they are not needed.  I would definitely have a headlamp when leaving Winfield. I would put citrus flavored gels in my Gatorade and skip gagging down gels in addition to the Gatorade.   I would also like to avoid avulsing fragments of my tibia while running road marathons and banging my knees on the pavement and Chipotle tables prior to the race.