ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
Nearly two months after discovering problems with the wood flooring, we...still don't have a new floor. The old floor has been ripped up, though, finally, and the new flooring that we chose is in boxes waiting to be installed. The delay is because manufacturer wanted a second inspector to come look at it, and he couldn't get here until about a week into February, and then we had to wait for the approval, and then the guy who was going to rip out the flooring couldn't get here because we got a lot of snow. The cement underneath needs patching before the new new floor gets laid, and the trim will need to be redone. For a manufacturing error that we are not having to pay for, we are still having to pay for an awful lot of labor...

(Btw, if you want to see the sort of problems we had with the original flooring, here are two photos showing the cracking along the planks.)

A few things have been finished, though. The hardware in the master bath sink area is looking pretty good:

vanity cabinet and sinks and mirrors

The picture was taken before the bedroom floor was taken out, so you can still see it in the background. Also, our custom range hood has been installed, along with the redone backsplash. The black under the cabinets is the same metal as the hood; the inset granite panel is the same "volcano" pattern that is on the kitchen island (hidden under the blue protective foam). The rest of the countertop is a black granite with a very subtle pattern.

broad kitchen view closer view of range area

Britt and the contractor have also been discussing putting rails on the roof to keep the snowslides under control. Right now our unfinished back patio is rather covered, as seen by the view from the patio looking along the wall where my office and bedroom are, and by the view out my office window:

pile of snow next to house pile of snow through window

Seven weeks to closing on our current house. I suspect we'll need every bit of it...
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
We went up to the house on Saturday to see if any progress had been made. And...there is some. The floor has been completely installed (with the replacement floorboards), and that means the baseboard trim could be installed also. (No photos, though, because it's all covered with paper for protection). Unhappy ETA And...it turns out the floors are having problems (which we couldn't see because of the paper) and a rep for the company is coming out to meet with the contractor (and with Britt) tomorrow, sigh. But it's looking like all the floors are going to need to be replaced, again, and that is going to push things even farther out. Hopefully we will be able to move in by our closing date, 3 months+ into the future, but that is not a given!

The mirrors are up in the bathroom, though alas, we realized that the countertop color we chose doesn't look that great with the wood trim. Though that's just looking at the bit of sink backsplash since the counter and vanity drawers are all still clad in protective foam - hopefully it will look better when it's all visible. The kitchen backsplash and trim has been removed in preparation for replacing it with a slightly different arrangement; it had been installed without reference to our design plan, and the designer asked us to redesign it anyway because she didn't think it looked good, so we came up with a new plan and I guess that's what they've started in on.

But we've had a lot of snow, which has been great for skiing, and helping with our drought conditions, but not so great for getting our exterior hardscaping done. Which means that our steps and patio aren't safe to use without a lot of care (the flagstones are arranged but not cemented) and so they can't bring in the appliances. Most of the lighting fixtures and fans are also not yet installed, though some switches have been added.

I looked around and I said, "This doesn't look even close to being done!"

Britt looked around and said, "The things that are left will go fast once they can be done!"

So I don't know! BUT! I'm posting today because there is important news on the second half of the equation of us moving: WE SOLD OUR CURRENT HOUSE!!!!!

Okay, actually we just put it under contract today. So not "sold" yet, really, but I'm pretty sure this will go through; the couple we sold to are super nice and our house's idiosyncrasies, the things we did in remodeling to suit us but which wouldn't necessarily suit others, match their needs. (Like for example, we have a loft master bedroom/bath, and then a guest bedroom below, but because the loft is so open it's not suitable for a couple with a child, or someone who wants a roommate.) Best of all, because they haven't sold their own home yet (it's out in the country, and they want to move to town) and need the proceeds to afford another house, they were happy to set the closing date in mid-April, which gives us a lot of flexibility for our new house being finished and habitable and being able to choose when to move in (and so not have to move during a snowstorm, for example). If they don't sell their house, we'll carry the note (so they pay us directly rather than a bank) for a year, which is fine with us since the house money isn't critical for us and hey, we'll get interest.

So things are happening, but not immediately, which is about the perfect situation!
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
Our original Thanksgiving plans had us moving into our new house, but if you've been reading this journal, you know that our move-in has been delayed until sometime in January. This left us with both a hole in our schedule, and some frustration, since we've been putting off vacationing in order to keep an eye on the building process. Because of this, Britt suggested we - go on vacation. And I had the perfect idea. During last year's Thanksgiving trip to Arizona, during which Britt and a couple of our friends rode a hard point-to-point trail while I car shuttled for them and did easier day rides, a real highlight was my solo day at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. I had told Britt that someday we had to take a trip there together, so he could experience it as well - and so we decided to go to Scottsdale, Arizona, and stay in a hotel near the Preserve, and ride there and in other nearby areas. (Of which there are many. We rode and hiked in the two large connected areas on the east of this map, and also on the "Sonoran Loop" which is the furthest south part of the large area at the top-center of the map.) Spoiler alert: excellent decision.

I'd actually been up for camping, but Britt wanted to go full-vacation-mode and stay in a fancy resort. As it happens, Thanksgiving is still low season in Scottsdale - one of the waiters I spoke with said that it's really not that busy until Christmas - so we were able to get a decent deal at The Boulders. This is a lovely resort with two golf courses, but for us the main attraction was that it is only a few miles from a connector trail to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. (Well, that and the hot tub. And the four restaurants!) Also, the name is not a lie:

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Lots of photos! And me blathering on! )

In conclusion:

2018-11-25 14.54.44

(40 photos - and I might add more - and no blah blah blah at Flickr. I haven't put captions on the photos yet, though, and...I might not get to it, be warned.)
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
I'm beginning to think this house thing is a very expensive mirage :( Originally we were targeting late October, then it was pushed back to "around Thanksgiving", now it's going to be next year! Mid-January, at the earliest. I've stopped hoping for snow despite my desire for a decent ski season and an end to our drought; well, I still want it to snow, but not until after we move...

The thing that's slowing the process now is that the floorboards (an engineered hickory) were delivered from two batches, and the installer fought with them for days before he noticed the labels on the box saying that the batches were incompatible. The little bit that got done in the master bedroom and my office has to be torn up, and it all shipped back, and replaced with a single consistent batch - and that's probably going to take at least a month if not longer.

IMG_20181110_145537
Stupid floorboards.

In better news, other stuff is looking good. We're having issues with the design of the kitchen backsplash area above the stove, and the pantry shelves were put in wrong and had to be fixed, but other than that things are progressing. The upper arched windows were delivered and installed (originally one was broken so we had to wait for a replacement), the wood stove has been installed, most doors and trim are on, and the flagstone work on the front steps and back patio is underway: Lotsa photos )
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
The November issue cover story, "Battle for the American West", talks about the reduction of the Bears Ears National Monument and includes a dramatic nighttime photo of Procession Panel, which I posted a (much more amateur) photo of back in September.

Later in the same issue is a short article "Caught in Chaos" about refugees from Venezuela fleeing to Brazil. These refugees are the indigenous Wareo people, who live in the Orinoco River delta - where we visited on our sailboat in 2001! Our website is no longer online, but here's a page from the Wayback Machine about our visit to the Wareo: Cambio

comb ridge

Sep. 6th, 2018 06:40 pm
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
The long Labor Day weekend is for us an excuse to get out of town, and this year we headed out to Utah in our Sportsmobile. It's still a little early for the desert, but rain was forecast for the mountains, and given the choice we opted for hot over cold and wet. Spoiler alert: excellent choice.

Because I'm still a bit injured, backpacking or mountain biking was off the table, so we went to Comb Ridge, where there are many relatively short dayhikes to ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and rock art panels. Comb Ridge is part of Bears Ears National Monument, and actually it's one of the few areas within it that is still protected as a national monument, which yay. It's about two and a half hours to the accesses to the dirt roads which run up each side of the dramatic rock ridge, so we left on Saturday morning to give us time to do some hiking that day.

Lots of photos and some text )

34 photos (more than are in this post) in my Flickr album
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
Last week I said:

I'm...less excited than I might be, because I seem to have pulled a muscle (?) in my groin; it started hurting while in Telluride (where I was doing biking only, no running!) and it hasn't stopped yet. At first I was nervous that I'd somehow re-injured my stress fracture, because it hurts in about the same place, but the pattern is different: it hurts most at night and in the morning, and when I start walking (or running), or stand up from a sitting position, but it eases up after some activity, and doesn't bother me much on runs after a mile or so. My body guy thinks it's a case of inner thigh muscles working when they shouldn't, and I'm doing exercises and have my second appointment tomorrow, but I'm really not pleased with the way things are feeling.

Well, after another week, I'm even less pleased with the way things are feeling, and so I've decided to bail on the race.

Monday: 5.7 miles mountain biking. Felt pretty good, though I noticed my groin hurting when I was pushing up steep bits.
Tuesday: 6.3 miles easy with strides.
Wednesday: 8.4 miles with 5 miles tempo, and this time, it was a really good tempo! Average pace for tempo miles was 7:59, average HR 152. I thought this was a good indicator for, if not my nominal goal, at least for getting in the vicinity of 1:45.
Thursday: 4.6 mile slow and painful trail run. All the other runs this week, my groin felt a little sore for a while but then eased up. This one, it hurt the whole time.
Friday: 11.5 miles mountain biking with Britt. Felt pretty good for the first 3 miles (at which point we stopped at our usual "lunch log" for a picnic) and then the next few miles were mostly coasting downhill - but after that, I started hurting again. A lot. At about mile 7 my right foot accidentally kicked a tree root or rock, and the pain just shot up my leg right into my crotch (the right side of my crotch is where the sfx was, and where the pain is now). I bailed to pavement as soon as I could, because the bumps were all making my owie ache, but basically any uphill (i.e. requiring effort to pedal) hurt a lot. After a visit to our homebuilding site I coasted home by the most downhill route.
Saturday: The plan was a 10 mile run with some surges. The actuality was two blocks of miserable pain, so I turned around and went home.
Sunday: Britt and I decided to hike up Perin's Peak, which is one of the small peaks that surround town. It seemed like everybody in town was out there that day! Unfortunately, this turned out to be one of those days when the smoke from the fires in western Colorado and in California was relatively thick, so our views were disappointing and depressing. As far as pain went, it was generally okay except for when I happened to land badly or step oddly on uneven ground. I used my hiking poles, and I think that helped somewhat. I was starting to hurt by the end of the 6-mile, 1500' round-trip, though.

Atop Perins Peak

(Those things that look like billboards are actually old radar reflectors. I wish they could be removed, though, they're visible from town and look weird, and they kind of ruin the "on a mountaintop" ambiance.)

Anyway, not running or biking any more for a while. Walking, and doing some core exercises. Needless to say, not doing the half marathon on Saturday. I probably could do it, but I'd like to heal up at this point, before doing anything more. I'm not as disappointed as I might be, as it's just a local race, and not really one of my favorites. I'd be much more upset if it was something I'd been planning to travel for. But I'm not looking forward to the inevitable loss of fitness and slowdown and weight gain that will result from yet another layoff.

coverups

Aug. 18th, 2018 11:30 am
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
The in-floor heating pipes have been covered with the sub-floor.
The wall framing has been covered with drywall (and the first coat of paint).
The rafters and insulation have been covered with a roof.
What a difference!

IMG_20180628_200536 IMG_20180814_145406

IMG_20180401_143856< IMG_20180817_141242

Okay, there have been many intermediate changes between these sets of pictures - the older interior one's from June and the exterior, from April - but still. It's turning into a house!
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
Two weeks to go to the Thirsty Thirteen half marathon! I'm...less excited than I might be, because I seem to have pulled a muscle (?) in my groin; it started hurting while in Telluride (where I was doing biking only, no running!) and it hasn't stopped yet. At first I was nervous that I'd somehow re-injured my stress fracture, because it hurts in about the same place, but the pattern is different: it hurts most at night and in the morning, and when I start walking (or running), or stand up from a sitting position, but it eases up after some activity, and doesn't bother me much on runs after a mile or so. My body guy thinks it's a case of inner thigh muscles working when they shouldn't, and I'm doing exercises and have my second appointment tomorrow, but I'm really not pleased with the way things are feeling.

Anyway, the last two weeks. First week was mostly in Telluride and therefore mostly biking:

Monday: 27 mtb with ~2300' climb/descent
Tuesday: 14 mtb and 3.8 hiking (total ~4000')
Wednesday: 14 mtb with ~1200'
Thursday: 11 mtb with ~400'
Friday: 8 miles running with 2x2 tempo (7:57 average tempo pace)
Saturday: 3.8 easy
Sunday: 13 easy and quite a bit slower than I'd like (10:15 pace)

For a total of just under 25 miles of running, plus 66 miles of riding. The second week was back to running, and although I had planned on doing some riding too, it didn't work out that way:

Monday: rest (trying to ease the groin issue)
Tuesday: 6.3 easy
Wednesday: 8.3 with 5 tempo. I have been feeling as though my HMP goal is a bit aggressive, so I deliberately didn't push too hard out of worry that I wouldn't be able to complete the whole distance, but 8:17 was way slower than I wanted! I didn't feel I could go any faster at the end, either, so...I dunno. Maybe I'm delusional about my half goal. :-(
Thursday: 6.3 easy
Friday: 4.9 trail. A bit faster than my previous trail run, yay!
Saturday: 14.4 with 1-minute surges at the beginning of miles 6-14. It went really well, and I felt really good; overall pace was 9:18 which surprised me. I don't record the surge pace specifically, but generally it was in the 7:30-7:45 region, even in the last miles.
Sunday: Had been planning to mtb, but got a migraine and basically vegetated all day.

Total 40 miles nearly on the dot!

Now I'm planning to cut back my running volume and work in a bit more faster running in small doses, as my taper/sharpening period. As I commented four weeks ago, looking at past race failures has suggested I need to be more serious about my taper, even though I never used to do more than front-load race week (back when I was doing half marathons as marathon tune-up races). Hopefully this will give my adductors and glutes a chance to settle down, and give me a better race on the 25th.
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
One great thing about living where we do is that we're close enough to a lot of spectacular places that we can make a long weekend (or a short week) into a minivacation, instead of it being so long to get there that it makes no sense to stay only a few days. (Of course, another great thing about living where we do is that it's a vacation destination in its own right; I am immensely grateful that I get to do hikes and rides right here from my house that most people have to be on vacation for!) Britt decided on impulse that he wanted to take a few days of mountain biking in Telluride over his birthday (August 1), and since I'm a total pushover for anything that sounds like fun, I happily agreed.

Read more and look at pictures )
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Just under 40 miles running (because I forgot to check to see how long I needed to run to make exactly 40!) and about 19.5 miles cycling.

Monday: easy 4.6, felt kinda creaky since I'd run long the day before.
Tuesday: 8.7 with 5 tempo miles. Aimed on the slow side for the tempo and averaged 8:08, which is...a little slower than I wanted. HR was also a little low. But I feel like it was a good workout anyway, and built confidence.
Wednesday: rest. Normally I bike up to get my CSA veggies at the college on the mesa but it was hot, so I got a lift from Britt, who was going up to check on our house, and then hiked down.
Thursday: 9.6 in the morning, started out a little late and it got hot, so it wasn't very fast. In the afternoon I did 4 miles of biking to pick up eggs and some peaches and corn at a farmstand.
Friday: 4.6 trail running with Britt, rather slow but a pleasant run.
Saturday: 12.4 miles with surges in the first minute of miles 5-12.
Sunday: 15.5 miles mountain biking. We did part of this route back in April and I was much faster this time!

Next week will be a mulligan of sorts for my half marathon training, as we're taking a mini-vacation to Telluride to go mountain biking (and incidentally for Britt's birthday, which is August 1st). So Monday through Thursday will be biking rather than running, but I'm sure I'll get lots of exercise in.
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
A lot has happened since I posted about our house construction back in May!

The in-floor heating pipes have been laid (and are now covered up with the concrete subfloor):

IMG_20180628_200536 IMG_20180624_125742

Lights, internet, and other electronics have been wired:

IMG_20180624_130419 IMG_20180609_180816

We are going with as much home automation as we can, with lights, fans, window shades, sound system etc all controlled by our smartphones.

Most excitingly, we've got most of the windows now, and the exterior wood and stone has begun to be set in place! It's beginning to look like a real house instead of a skeleton house:

IMG_20180706_134426 IMG_20180721_121448

IMG_20180711_130325 IMG_20180714_121009

IMG_20180628_115928 IMG_20180628_193839

More house photos at Flickr
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Another good week, 41.5 miles running and 28.5 miles cycling.

Monday: 8.1 easy with 7x10 sec hill sprints.
Tuesday: 8.7 with tempo. I'd planned on the 2x2.5 tempo I didn't do last week, but I forgot to program it into my watch, and I don't like having to look at it during hard running, so instead I did 3 miles tempo, 2 minutes easy, 2 miles tempo. I think I pushed too hard early and so didn't quite hit my hoped-for pace in the second part, but it was a good workout nonetheless.
Wednesday: 8.7 mile mountain bike ride (680') ending at the college to pick up my CSA. It was quite hot and so when I got caught by some rain sprinkles it felt good!
Thursday: 6.3 with strides, the hard end of easy.
Friday: 4.4 trail running. I haven't done any trail running since last year, as any trail running here involves lots of steep hills, and between that and the technical difficulty I'm much slower on trails, so they take longer, and as I was trying to build my mileage I figured I'd stick to pavement until my paces got back to more or less normal. Well, my trail pace is still very very slow! But it was nice to do the college rim trail on foot instead of on my bike for a change!
Saturday: Biking with Britt, a big loop of a combination of road, dirt road, and trail, ending with going up and over a ridge I've done a few times now (my fastest time on it so far, but it's still hard!) and then going to check on our house-in-progress. (More photos soon!) Nearly 20 miles and 2000 feet of climbing.
Sunday: 14 miles, yippee! That's the longest I've run in 22 months. Got hot toward the end but it felt pretty good.

I have been trying to do a set of hip mobility exercises before each run. It's not very much - a couple of minutes of dynamic stretching - but I think it helps.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Look, I'm actually getting a post in after only one week! The rains have indeed started to fall in the high country, so we no longer have smoky mornings and I can run before breakfast as I prefer in the summer.

This week I still had 35mpw on the plan, but I ended up running 40mpw (which I'm going to try to keep up), and it felt good.

Monday: 8.1 easy outside (yay!) with 6x10 sec hill sprints.
Tuesday: 7.9 with tempo. I'd penciled in 2x2.5 tempo as a treadmill workout, but since I could run outside I decided to do the same I did last week on the treadmill, 2x2 with 3 min jog. Tempo miles averaged 7:52, HR smack dab HMP HR.
Wednesday: biked to pick up CSA and run other errands, 5.7 miles mixed trail and road, 450' vertical.
Thursday: Easy 5.3 with strides, cut short from planned 6.3 because I got a call from my dentist's office (while running!) offering to move my afternoon appointment to get my permanent crown to the morning.
Friday: Easy 6.3, which came out at 9:20, a fast pace for me, probably because I started earlier than usual and it was nice and cool.
Saturday: 12.5 on a moderately hilly route (not as hilly as last week's) which I did as a progression since I wanted to make sure I had energy for the whole thing. Started super easy, last three full miles between 9:15-9:20, then an easy half-mile warm-down.
Sunday: 10-mile MTB ride consisting of about 1500' climb (with a lot of hike-a-bike) over an often-steep, often-rocky 4.5 miles of old forest service road and singletrack (and old forest service road that had deteriorated to singletrack) followed by a long downhill on a dirt road. The view from the top was worth the climb:

Overlook Point

Total 40 riding, about 16 of biking. It all looks very good on my training log program, especially when I looked back at my log from this time last year, just before I ran Kendall Mountain and gave myself a stress fracture - in fact my paces are quite similar, including my tempo runs. But I was running higher mileage then, and doing trail running (which I haven't started up again), and I still only ran 1:47 at the 2017 Steamworks Half last June despite thinking I was in 1:43 shape. In my post-race analysis, I attributed this to 1) a hot day, 2) being overly-optimistic about my fitness and going out too fast, 3) failing to recover from a race two weeks prior, and 4) tapering poorly.

At the end of my race report from that half, I wrote: Anyway, I think it comes down to this: Now that I'm an old lady, I can't just half-ass my training and still improve. I need to allow a lot of recovery after races, I need to get and keep my mileage (relatively) high, I need to be conservative with my taper, and I need to be realistic about my goals. I think it's good that I was inspired to revisit that report, because these are the things that I will need to keep in mind going into the Thirsty Thirteen in six weeks!
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Things are going fairly well despite the complication of having to run either on the treadmill or in hotter-than-comfortable temperatures over the past two weeks. This past Friday and Saturday night we got a little rain in the mountains where the fire is, and the following mornings were much less smoky, so I'm crossing my fingers that this pattern will continue and I'll be back to my usual morning outside runs soon.

Week 4 plan: 35mpw, 10M LR with surges, key 3x1M with 3 min jog between, plus hill sprints and strides. Too hot for hill sprints and strides, and did two long dayhikes instead of a LR. )

Total 26.1 running, 13 biking, 25.5 hiking (which I posted about here).

Week 5 plan: 35mpw, 12M LR, key 2x2M with 3 min jog between, plus hill sprints and strides. Too hot for hill sprints and strides, split the difference on the LR between last and this week, and babby's first hash run )

Total 35.5 running and 25.4 biking - that's the kind of week I like!

Next week I'm hoping to do more running outside. If it's smoky early I'll have to do my workout runs on the treadmill, still, but now that we're regularly getting afternoon rains we should be getting clearer mornings.
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
We decided to do a spontaneous micro-vacation last weekend and get out of our smoky town, driving our Sportsmobile east to Wolf Creek Pass to hike on the Continental Divide Trail. If you've got all summer, you can start at the Mexican border and hike all the way to Canada, but with only a weekend we just did out-and-backs, going south on Saturday and north on Sunday.

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Photos and blah blah )

Our first day's hike was 13.6 miles long (roundtrip), our second day 11.8, and lots of elevation gain/loss both days. It was nice to get out, and we were tired and happy by the time we pulled back into Durango on Sunday night.

All the photos, none of the blah blah at Flickr
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
At the end of May I posted about training to run a half marathon in August as the next step in my comeback from the pelvic stress fracture I suffered last July. I began my "official" training program the following Monday, three weeks ago. (I should point out that I don't use canned plans, but instead write my own "unplanny plan" based on the principles and workouts in Brad Hudson's Run Faster, which I have been doing since - gosh, 2009? By "unplanny" I mean that, rather than having specific distances and workouts for each day, I list only a mileage goal, a long run distance goal, and key workout(s) for each week. Actual distances and the days I do them may vary. Also per Hudson, I may change the plan as needed along the way.)

I started the plan with 31mpw the week before on 5 days running (all easy, one run with strides, another with hill sprints) and a longest run of 8 miles, plus two biking. I've maintained the 5/2, and last week bumped up to 35mpw (well, actually 34, but the goal is 35), which I will hold for a while before bumping up to 40mpw mid-July.

Week 1 plan: 30mpw, 8M LR, key 6x0.25 with 3 min jog recoveries, plus hill sprints and strides. Week 1 went pretty well except the LR became a hike. )

Works out to 23.5 miles running (with the 7.6 hike that gets me 31.1 miles on my feet) and 11 miles riding.
No hill sprints or strides, oops.

Week 2 plan: 30mpw, 10M LR, key 4x0.5 with 3 min jog recoveries, plus hill sprints and strides. Week 2 was largely on the treadmill due to smoke. )

Total was 32.9 miles running and 6.2 miles riding. The city and county had closed all the trails due to the fire danger, so there was nowhere to actually go for a ride, and the smoke was pretty bad all week. (I bought an N95 respirator mask for wearing to ride to the gym. It's okay for easy effort but I can't imagine running with it on.)

Week 3 plan: 35mpw, 12M LR, key 0.25/0.5/1/0.5/0.25 ladder with 3 min jog recoveries, plus hill sprints and strides.Week 3 back on the roads and trails, yay! )

Total was 34.2 miles running and about 17.2 miles riding. And no hill sprints or strides, bad me.

The fire's perked up again as we've had hot, windy weather. I couldn't start today's run until 10:30, as I was waiting for the air quality to get decent, and by then it was really warm and my heart rate was too high for the slow pace I had to run. So it's back to the treadmill, sigh. No rain in the forecast, either.
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
Back in late January, I posted (among other things):
[After a weekend of skiing and mountain biking in mid-December, we] got home, put away our gear, showered, and sat down to dinner...and my phone rang. It was my youngest brother, telling me that my father was in the hospital, having just suffered a cerebral hemorrhage...and my mother was due to return from the nursing rehab center [where she'd been after hospitalization for a bad fall two weeks earlier] the next day! He and his family live fairly close to our parents, and they'd been helping out while Mom had been in the nursing center, but having simultaneous health crises with both parents was a bit much to cope with.

And so I flew out to Maryland on a one-way ticket the next day, after spending the morning on the phone with my brother, checking flight schedules online, and emailing my (extremely understanding) boss. Four incredibly difficult but rewarding weeks later, after getting the situation more or less stabilized, I finally came back home.

I'd intended to write more about this, but never got around to it. I guess Father's Day is an appropriate time to reflect on this experience. Musings on caring for my father. )

So it was a stressful, horrible, crazy, sleepless time. But there were good things I took away from it, and I'm grateful for the lessons I learned about family and love, even if it was not much fun to learn them.

The story, by the way, has a happy ending. Dad began to improve after he got home, sleeping a little less, eating a little more, and becoming more engaged and "present". I think this was partly due to being in a familiar environment with his wife, and partly due to having a live-in CNA to help him, along with in-home physical and occupational therapy. A month later we moved them into an assisted living facility that's actually only walking distance from my youngest brother's house. It was tough at first, and they're still not completely comfortable, but it is the right place for them right now, and Dad's continuing to get better. He was in a wheelchair when we moved him there; now it sits in the closet, and he gets around with a cane. His cognition and short-term memory are much stronger, though he still doesn't remember much about what happened last winter, and maybe that's a good thing. Last month the facility dropped him down a tier in their "levels of care" rubric, because he doesn't need the assistance he needed when he arrived. He's reading again, and using his computer again, and when I called today for Father's Day - and I just realized it's exactly six months after he had the cerebral hemorrhage - he sounded nearly like his old self again, talking about politics and science and asking questions about the things I'm doing.

Anyway, the moral of the story is, well, a bunch of platitudes about love being the strongest and most important thing, and about rising to the occasion and doing what's necessary, even when you don't think you can, and about how it doesn't feel like sacrifice when it's for someone you care about, or at least most of the time it doesn't. It sounds kind of silly, I guess. But it turns out to be true. All of it.

burning

Jun. 11th, 2018 06:39 pm
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
If you know where I live - Durango, CO - you may know that we are currently on fire. I am not personally burning, at the moment, but the "416 Fire" ten miles north of town has grown from 50 acres on June 1st, when it was started by (presumably, and supported by eyewitness accounts, but not officially) cinders from our coal-fired historical tourist train, to over 22,000 acres as of today.

Here's a photo from near our new house-in-progress on the afternoon after it started:

June 1 view from Rim Drive

And here's a photo from more or less the same place on June 9th:

June 9 view from Rim Drive

Yesterday (June 10th) we went up to Animas City Mountain at the north end of town (the long green mesa on the left side of the above photos; [personal profile] blnchflr, this is where we walked and you petted ALL THE DOGS; [personal profile] catbear, I believe we hiked there with you also, when you were in town oh so long ago) and hiked to the far northwest point where we took more pictures. A few days ago a second fire, called the Burro Fire, started about 13 miles west of the 416 fire as the crow flies, and that's the plume on the left side of the pano photo below. It's not nearly as big - as of today it's 1000 acres - but it's in very rugged terrain with a lot of fuels.

June 10 pano from Animas City Mountain

As I mentioned above, the fire's ten miles north of town, and my house(s) aren't in any immediate danger. The real problem is the air quality. As is typical in the springtime it's quite breezy during the day, blowing those magnificent plumes to the north and east (and incidentally making it tougher on the firefighters). But after dark, the wind dies off, and the smoke drifts down the valley into town. It's been really bad for the last four or five days. Normally we have the windows open at night; now we have installed our bedroom window air conditioner (that we usually don't put in until late June) and run it with the filters on so we can keep the house air a little cleaner. Unfortunately it's an old house, and not very tight, so smoke still seeps in, and both Britt and I have been waking up with headaches every morning.

How bad is it? Well, here's some photographic evidence from this morning at 6:30 am, looking east, south, and west:

June 11 east morning June 11 south morning June 11 west morning

Fortunately when the wind picks up in the afternoon the smoke blows out, as you can see from the same photos taken at 2:30pm:

June 11 east afternoon June 11 south afternoon June 11 west afternoon

The mountain you can see in the middle view of the second set (and can't see in the first), is just a little over a mile away; the one in the right view is a bit under two miles away. Here's a second set of photos taken from the campus webcam at the college, which is up on the mesa where our new house is. These are looking down into town; the white sky in the second one is, I think, an artifact of the position of the sun, but I think there still is a bit of smoke haze in the air.

June 11 college webcam morning June 11 college webcam afternoon

Needless to say, I'm not running in this! It's actually dangerous in the morning, and by the time the smoke clears enough that it would be reasonable to run, it's too hot. Fortunately I still have some entries left on my rec center pass that I bought when I was injured last fall, so I've been riding my bike up a little before noon and running on the treadmill. (Actually today I drove, as it was still smoky by 11:30 and I didn't want to breathe any more of that stuff than I had to.) The treadmill is SO BORING. But at least I'm getting some fake-running in.

We are all doing rain dances, though the earliest possible precipitation in the forecast is looking like this weekend, courtesy of Hurricane Bud. Nobody's surprised by this fire, I should point out - we had an unusually warm and dry winter and spring, with a fraction of our usual snowfall in the mountains - and the southwest monsoon, which brings afternoon rainstorms, doesn't kick in until early July. The county was under fire restrictions, and there had been a number of small fires that had flared and been put out, making us all nervous. With only 10% containment currently (and zero on the Burro fire) it's going to take more than a few rainstorms to make a difference.

I heard rumors it's been raining a lot over on the east coast. Can you guys pack that rain up and send it over, please? :-)
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
We had a great trip on the White Rim, and even though I wasn't in awesome cycling shape I managed to make it up the Shafer Trail without walking (though not without stopping to breathe. Other climbs I did have to walk a bit, particularly Murphy's). I didn't take photos, but if you haven't heard of/seen this epic trip you can look at my write-up from last year, which has links to two previous trips as well. Despite it being awfully late in the spring season, we had decent weather, not too hot. We did have some mechanical failures - one bike (not mine) and one support truck - so three of our group of ten ended up driving all the way out and heading home on day 3 (of 4).

As I was hoping, this trip jump-started my fitness somewhat, and I'm trying to keep it up. To that end I (gulp) signed up for a half marathon, the Thirsty Thirteen, which I ran in 1:44:53 in 2015 as my "comeback race" after recovery from a herniated disc. I half-assed the training, by which I mean I went on a month+ roadtrip vacation just before the race during which I ran twice (but hiked a lot), and the only reason I ran that well (relatively speaking) is that the race is net downhill (though there are some steep uphills). I'm just hoping to train a bit better, and beat that time this year.

My plan is to push my running from 4x/week to 5x/week, and bike 2x/week. I hate to admit it, but my running seems to improve more when I'm biking, perhaps because it is additional aerobic exercise without the impact (except when I fall!). I should probably lift weights, too, but that's so boring. I'm hoping we get in some backpacking as well. I'm still about 5 pounds over my preferred weight, and I'd sure like to drop that - but I hate dieting more than I hate being a little heavy!

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ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Ilana

March 2019

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

You can reach me by email at heyheyilana @ gmail.com

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