ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
I'd been toying with the idea of running an ultramarathon for some time, but it wasn't until this autumn that the stars finally aligned. I had signed up for this year's Durango Double because I really liked the new format and courses - not to mention that I had friends coming in from the midwest to run it, and it seemed awfully rude not to run it with them! But that would be the week before my usual fall half marathon, The Other Half (where I set my half PR last year). Then I discovered that the organization that puts on several well-regarded ultras in the Moab area was doing a new 50K/25K, the Dead Horse, on the day before The Other Half. In a burst of what probably seems like insane troll logic to anybody who isn't a competitive runner, I decided it would be easier to fun-run an ultra on the weekend after the two-day trail half/road half combo, than it would be to race a half, and signed up for the 50K.

race logo: Mexican-style skeleton rider on skeleton horse.

50K worth of words and pictures. Take your time. )

So, what's next? My husband admitted that he secretly hoped I would hate ultrarunning; he's not a fan of the amount of time I spend running, which certainly can add up. (He'd rather I got more into mountain biking, which we can do together - his knees are too worn out for running.) I am a better road runner than a trail runner, and I would like to keep chipping away at my half and full marathon PRs for as long as I can. But - I really enjoyed this run. I kind of want to train hard and run it next year as a goal race, and see if I could come in under 5:30. I am also contemplating the other area ultras, of which there are quite a few, 50K and 50 milers; I have promised Britt I don't aspire to a 100-miler. (Which, I really don't, because sleep deprivation.)

But, as Ned Stark said, Winter Is Coming. I might run our local 5-mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, but other than that, I'm looking forward to ski season - I just bought new skis! Except...the Boston Marathon Is Coming, too, in mid-April. I guess I'd better start training...

(PS: No horses were harmed in the writing of this report.)
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
Well, I did it. I signed up for the Deadhorse 50K (yikes! Baby's first ultra! I AM EXCITE but also NERVOUS!) which will be in three weeks!

So I've been doing my long runs on the trails, in an attempt at preparation. (I would feel a lot more prepared if I'd been running more, aie!) I have been bringing my phone/camera so I have an excuse to stop and breathe - I'm not resting, I'm taking pictures!

See? )
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
I had all sorts of grand plans for dominating my new age group at the Imogene Pass Run this year, but it was not to be. I did not get the consistent mileage, nor the long runs, nor the trail hill repeats I'd planned. My stupid blisters had kept me from trail-running on our layover day on our July 4th weekend backpack, but I had managed to at least get out hiking at high elevation fairly often, including much of the previous week, and so I clung to my unrealistic hopes until they were cruelly dashed.

Getting ready to start

Read more... )
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
I need to write up my Imogene report (spoiler alert: it did not go very well) but I am behind! I still haven't written up anything about our Labor Day Weekend vacation (which was a little longer than planned - we got home Wednesday morning, and then I left for Ouray on Friday afternoon, thus the backlog)...and I don't think I will get the chance. But have some pictures of the trails around Crested Butte, and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
Last week I was in Boulder to take a class on the climate model we use. I didn't think I'd be able to get a lot of running in while there, since I would have to catch a shuttle bus at 7:45 each morning, but it turns out that when I'm on my own I am pretty good at waking up early early, rolling out of bed and into my running clothes, and hitting the path. I ran between 5-8 miles each morning, got in another 4-miler on Wednesday evening (I ran to West Flanders Brewery on the Pearl Street Mall for beers and dinner, then took a bus back to my hotel), and did 11.5 miles on Saturday morning since I didn't have to go to a class that day. I wasn't much of a runner when I lived in Boulder, but it was nice to run on the creek path where I used to ride my bike.

Britt drove up in the Sportsmobile on Thursday, carrying our bikes on the back rack, and on Friday after my class we biked up the path to our old house at the mouth of Boulder Canyon, where we lived from 1987 (well, Britt did; I moved there in 1990) until 1999. It broke our hearts a bit to see that it's now a rental, and the guy who lives there now didn't want us to go inside or even walk around the yard, but he moved in three weeks before the Great Flood of 2013, and he told us all about the damage the house and yard sustained when the irrigation ditch at the top of the hill behind the house failed.

We got together with old friends on Friday night and Saturday morning, then headed out of town to take the long way back home. Where US285 turns south, near Buena Vista, normally we head south for Poncha Pass and the San Luis Valley; instead we went north and then west toward Cottonwood Pass. For our first night of camping we took the side road to Cottonwood Lake, but we had not realized it was a major 4WD/ATV camping destination and pretty much every spot that could be camped in, WAS camped in. We finally found a tiny but acceptable pull-out spot four miles past the lake. Fortunately we'd bought a bottle of wine in Buena Vista, and could drown our sorrows as we ate dinner. (And yes, we DID remember the lighter this time!)

In the morning we returned to the main road and drove to just short of Cottonwood Pass, where there is a trailhead for Brown's Pass and Mt. Yale. As Yale is one of Colorado's Fourteeners (mountains 14,000 ft high or taller) and it was Sunday morning, the trailhead was, predictably, very crowded. But we turned off at the junction for the pass, and saw only a few people.

It was a lovely hike. After having lunch at the pass, we followed a trail to the ridge above, and when the trail crossed to contour around the side, we left it to strike out straight up toward the nearest high point. This turned out to be the cleverly-named Point 12,955 (wanna guess how high it is?) which gave us excellent views of Mt. Yale and the surrounding peaks.

Mt. Yale from Point 12,955 cool rocks above Brown's Pass

Britt atop Point 12,955 Ilana on the rocks

We also saw a whole family of ptarmigan (including adorable chicks!) but unfortunately their gray-and-white color scheme blends into gray-and-white rocks so well that I couldn't actually find any birds to point out in any of my or Britt's photos!

A lot of thunderbooming accompanied us on the way back down, but we didn't get rained on, and we stopped here and there to pick some mushrooms we'd seen on the way up (boletes and hawkswings). Then we drove over Cottonwood Pass and down past Taylor reservoir, camping for the night off a dirt road close to the intersection with the road that continues on to Crested Butte. The next day we continued south through Gunnison, then veered off onto the road to Cochetopa Pass, which rejoined our usual route between the Front Range and Durango in the San Luis Valley. And now we are home again, home again....but Labor Day Weekend's coming up soon - which means, time for another road trip!
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
Some people choose the peaks they want to climb by their position on a list: the Colorado 14ers, say, or the highest 100 in Colorado, or the highest point of every state. We choose our destinations because they look cool. In the past years, we've climbed a lot of mountains just because we've seen them from the other places we've been. So it is with Lone Cone, which at 12,618 feet is not a very high mountain at all by Colorado standards. But standing alone at the western edge of the San Juan Mountains, it's a distinct landmark, and after seeing it in the distance countless times on drives to and from Utah, we figured it was time to get out and climb it.

"trailhead"

We left town early Friday afternoon. Easy highway miles to a turn-off past Dolores led to a narrow road through remote mountain valleys to the ghost town of Dunton, now a breathtakingly expensive hot springs resort. Here we turned off onto a Forest Service road which we followed on a combination of GPS waypoints derived from Google Earth, and old maps with old roads, until we reached a point pretty much directly under the Lone Cone, where we pulled off the road, popped the top of the Sportsmobile, and started making dinner. There was just one tiny little problem...

Read more... )
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
As we did last year, we got together with friends for a backpacking trip in the Weminuche Wilderness over the 4th of July holiday weekend. This year we headed for the Poison Park trailhead northwest of Pagosa Springs, which is a good access point for the upper Pine River and Rincon La Osa, where we'd spent the same holiday weekend in 2008. But this time, instead of sticking to the main trail, we bushwhacked along game trails up the west side of the Pine River valley until we picked up an old and overgrown trail leading to Elk Lake; from there, continued up and over Mesa Lato and then down into Rincon La Osa from the south, where we laid over a day before heading back down the valley to the Pine, then up to the bench above Granite Lake, to rejoin our inward path.

route and camp topo

across the meadow Wilderness boundary

Six days in the backcountry )
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
A few months ago I received a notice of a conference to be held at the Argonne National Laboratories, near Chicago. The first thing I thought was, "Hmm, this might be useful and interesting." The second thing I thought was, "Hmm, I wonder if there's a race I could run there?"

IMG_20140418_150307

Indeed there was: the First Merit Bank Lakefront 10 Miler, a race put on by CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association). My online friend [blogspot.com profile] justrunjim belongs to CARA, and had run the race before and said it was a good one. I decided that it would be a fine way to update my very old (2009) 10-mile PR with a nearly-sea-level race, and made arrangements to stay after the conference with Jim (who'd be running it with me) and his wife (who'd be running a 5K instead).

I had a good time at the conference, getting in three nice runs around the Argonne campus and the lovely crushed-limestone path which encircles it, but my stomach did not handle the conference-catering food well, and I was also not feeling any faster at Chicago's elevation than I am at home. In addition, I had not managed to run as much as I had wanted in the five weeks since running the Canyonlands Half Marathon, averaging only 40mpw rather than the 55-60 I had hoped for. Still, it was a perfect day for me, cold, sunny, and a little breezy, and I thought a target of about 7:20 pace (the slow end of my original goal, also Jim's goal) would be reasonable.

Jim and I lined up fairly close to the front; our friend Scott, a Chicagoan who has several children living in Durango and who I'd met running there, was coming back from injury and placed himself a ways behind us. After too much speechifying and the National Anthem, we were off!

The course begins with a loop to the north on a closed section of road, then hits the bike path and goes south to loop around a small-boat harbor before heading back north again. Along the way it stays on the path except for one short section routed over a grassy knoll, which I think is just the race organizers' way of trying to get a little more elevation change in there than Chicago normally provides. The path was open to other users - walkers, runners, cyclists - and it astonished me to see just how many people were out there. I think I saw as many runners just out for their Saturday morning run as I did actually in the race, and there were nearly 1400 racers!

There was a timing clock at each mile mark, a very nice feature. The first mile seemed awfully long, though, both by comparison to my Garmin (which had beeped some time back) and in absolute terms, and I suspect it was not quite where it should have been. However, it was easy enough to check my own time at each clock, and my total Garmin distance of 10.08 was reasonable for typical Garmin error/tangent issues.

I lost Jim pretty quickly, then caught him again at the grassy knoll around mile 2.7 - then lost him again as my stomach started to complain and my pace slowed. As I approached mile marker 4 I was thinking I might have to duck into a porta-potty, but I held it together and eventually the sensation passed and I felt good enough to accelerate again. I spotted Jim again around mile 7 - he was wearing a black shirt with a distinctive greeny-yellow neon hourglass shape on the back - but although I closed the distance bit by bit, I never could quite catch him. I crossed the line exactly 20 seconds behind him, in 1:12:59 - a 7:18 average pace (7:14 by Garmin) and good enough for 2nd in my age group.

(Also, a woman fell almost directly in front of me about a mile in. The guy who was directly in front of me stopped to help her up, and I zigged around them - but this is the second time in three races someone has fallen right in my path!)

Splits (note that I didn't stop my Garmin immediately; and the HR for the first 3 miles is artificial and should be ignored):
Dist	Pace	Elev chg   Avg HR      	Max HR          Elapsed
1.00	7:20	  -11	  157 (83%)	165 (90%)	0:07:19.69   
2.00	7:14	  +7	  166 (91%)	166 (91%)	0:14:33.68   
3.00	7:12	  +1	  166 (91%)	167 (92%)	0:21:45.57   
4.00	7:22	  +3	  152 (79%)	161 (86%)	0:29:07.29   
5.00	7:17	  -20	  152 (79%)	159 (84%)	0:36:24.72   
6.00	7:09	  +12	  162 (87%)	166 (90%)	0:43:33.64   
7.00	7:14	  -7	  165 (90%)	167 (92%)	0:50:47.71   
8.00	7:07	  +1	  165 (90%)	166 (91%)	0:57:55.18   
9.00	7:12	  +14	  165 (90%)	168 (92%)	1:05:07.49   
10.00	7:07	  -2	  166 (90%)	168 (92%)	1:12:14.00   
10.12	6:52	  -1	  168 (92%)	169 (93%)	1:13:05.26  

I put in a few fields I don't normally post, just to point out that 1) HAHA those elevation numbers! They are NEVER that small around here! and 2) you can see where I wasn't feeling so hot, the slowest miles other than the crowded first. Also my heart rate is interesting because it got right up there to what is basically my 10K HR - yet I didn't feel as though I was (aerobically) particularly working hard. My legs, on the other hand, could simply not go any faster. I was entirely limited by my legs, not my lungs.

This makes me wonder about how I can overcome the limitation of not being able to train my legs to the same level as my lungs, running at altitude. I mean, I can't maintain these 7:07-7:14 paces for longer than a mile at a time, at home; yet here I was, reeling them off if not with ease, at least without too much trouble. Maybe I need to run lots of mile repeats (and half-miles), and run downhill repeats, to get my legs used to rapid turnover.

Anyway, it was a good race (other than the gut issues early), and I'm very pleased with my final stats: 1:12:59, 2/61 AG, 24/742 women, 129/1351 OA. Here's a photo Jim took of the awards ceremony; the woman to my left (on the right) ran 1:06:10, which is like a 6:38 pace - I can't imagine!

lakefront awards
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
Chesler Park camp area

As you may remember, in mid-March I ran the Canyonlands Half Marathon in Moab, Utah, and Britt came out as well and ran the associated 5-miler. We'd arranged to keep our hotel room for the night after the race, and on Sunday we headed home by way of the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, along with my online friend Mike from Reno, who'd also run, and his wife Dorothy. Britt was the only of us who'd been to this part of Canyonlands before, and that a long time ago; after a too-short hike into the Chesler Park area, we all agreed that it was worth a much longer visit.

So as soon as I got home, I got online and applied for a backpacking permit. Pretty much all spring dates were full up, but I snagged the only consecutive days at one of the Chesler Park campsites (backcountry camping is by permit only at assigned sites), Sunday and Monday April 6th and 7th. Our plan was to head out at midday Saturday in our Sportsmobile, camp on public land nearby, then hike in on Sunday morning. Our assigned campsite would be only a bit more than four miles in, so we would have time for a dayhike that afternoon and a longer one on Monday before hiking out on Tuesday morning. To our delight, our friend (and frequent backpacking companion, most recently on last summer's Weminuche Wilderness trip) Shan would come with us, though alas his wife, also a fun person to have along on a hike, was out of town.

Read more, and look at way too many photos... )

These and more photos (57 pictures plus a video which...sometimes works?) at Flickr
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
It's been gorgeous weather here - sunny, dry, and (relatively) warm. Not good news for the ski areas, agriculture, the spring rafting season, or the summer fire season, but it makes for nice running. (Um, apologies to all my friends in the midwest and northeast?)

Monday - 9.7 miles with 12x(90sec hard, 90sec jog). The hard bits averaged 6:44 pace, overall avg 8:30 pace.

Tuesday - 5.3 trail run, slow and creaky. Avg pace 12:30 which is about 75sec slower than usual!

Wednesday - 8 miles at 9:08 pace. Felt achy; I think I was still not yet recovered from Monday's hard workout, which is why:

Thursday - 7.2 miles, failed tempo. First three miles were with Britt, comfortable, starting at 9:12 pace and getting slightly faster each mile. Next half mile I did strides, bringing my pace to 8:23. The plan was 4 miles @7:15-7:25, but after just a few tenths of a mile my stomach started cramping. I slowed down and folded the waist of my running tights down, to not press on my stomach, and eventually it went away, but that mile averaged 8:04, way off plan. I started to accelerate again, and this time my legs started hurting. After half a mile I gave up and slowed again...and I kept slowing. I just hurt all over, from my toes to my hips. I cut my run short and even walked up a hill on the way home - my pace in the last 2 miles of my run was almost 10:30 on average! Overall pace of 9:17 hides a multitude of sins...

Friday - skiing! Sunny warm day, conditions not all that great but adequate.

Saturday - 9.1 miles trail running. I decided to check out 'Snakecharmer', a new mountain bike trail running down from Raider Ridge; my plan was to run up it, with it hopefully being a better route than climbing 'Babyhead Hill' which is so steep I have to walk most of it. It was still quite steep, but more pleasant, and then I was up on the beautiful ridge.

As many of you know, on Saturday runners were asked to participate in 'Meg's Miles' (#megsmiles, https://www.facebook.com/events/489458451159627/) in honor of Meg Menzies, a Virginia runner who was struck and killed by a (possibly drunk) driver while running last week. Runners were encouraged to log miles on a Googledocs spreadsheet, mark their locations on a map, and take photos of their run and post them to the Facebook event or the Twitter hashtag. I took my new smartphone (I have a smartphone now! It's a Nexus 5! I am still figuring it out!) and took a couple of shots:

IMG_20140118_120047 IMG_20140118_121329

Yes, it's the dorkiest selfie ever. Look at the mountains, not at me!

I don't yet have an armband for carrying the phone - I'm not planning on carrying it on most runs, anyway - but it was a perfect opportunity to test the Gregory Pace 3 hydration pack I got as an award for being the female masters winner at The Other Half. I was dubious about the way it strapped high across the chest with no waistband (though waistbands tend to be uncomfortable while running) but it was awesome - fit tight to my back and didn't bounce even as I ran on rough trails. The only thing I didn't like was that the bite valve tasted icky, but I'm sure that will go away with time.

Anyway, my average pace was almost 13 minute miles, but according to my mapping software the total elevation gain and loss was almost 1100 feet (the biggest part of which was 665 feet in 1.5 miles!), so.

Sunday - 7 miles easy with a few strides in the middle and 8x12sec hill sprints at the end. 9:00 average pace.

Total was 46.4 miles, a little less than last week but I got two trail runs in. Next week I'll try to push closer to 50, though I won't be able to run Tuesday morning as I'm judging a middle school science fair.
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
(Look! A post that's not about running!)

Britt had driven our Sportsmobile camper van out to Bakersfield CA just after Thanksgiving, to do some work on a solar project his company has out there, so our plan after CIM was to road-trip home over the next week and a half. As it happened, both of us came down with bad colds in Death Valley, so we high-tailed it directly home from there after only a half-day of exploring. But we had a lovely micro-vacation up until then!

Lots of photos, some text )

Zabriskie Point view
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
Here it is, the much-belated (due to roadtrip vacation home) CIM race report. To compensate for its lateness, it is ludicrously long. Grab something to drink, put your feet up, clear your calendar and dive in. Or alternatively, scroll through to the summary and look at the pictures. :-)

Training )

Pre-race )

Actually running the darn thing )


Post-race )

Hardware!
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
I ran my first half marathon in the spring of 2004 in a time of 2:01:30. In 2008 I began to get serious about running (you know, running more than twice a week!) and ran my first sub-4 marathon; in June 2009, hoping for a 1:50 half marathon, I ran an entirely unexpected 1:44. My PR dropped to 1:42 at The Other Half in October, then, at the Canyonlands Half in March 2010, to an astonishing (I was only aiming for sub-1:40) 1:37:01.

And there it sat. Over the next several years my times at other distances improved, but not at the half. It took me 5 more half marathons to even get under 1:40 again! Finally in 2012 I ran a 1:38:xx half, and then two more. But I was still a good 90 seconds or so above my old PR, which was seeming more and more like a weird fluke I'd never be able to repeat. And I was getting older - I turned 50 in September. Maybe that old PR would just have to stand.

But going into this year's The Other Half, I felt confident that my training was coming together for me. If I was capable of a PR, this would be my chance - despite the relatively challenging course profile:

The Other Half map and elevation

I had a plan for this race. It basically boiled down to: don't fall, don't poop, and don't go out too fast. The big question in my mind, as I drove out to Moab on a cool, sunny Saturday afternoon, was: could I execute this plan?

Getting ready )

Miles 1-4 )

Miles 5-7 )

Miles 8-12 )

Bringing it home )

Numbers, analysis, and pictures of me grinning like a loon. I guess that's a spoiler. :-) )
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
So, um, I didn't get around to posting any of the stuff I talked about last time. But here's what I did this week:

Monday - 5.8 miles on the trails easy, 11:25 pace and super-low HR. I was still a bit tired out from the previous day's 19.3.

Tuesday - Lousy tempo run, 11.7 miles total with 6 miles that were supposed to be at half-marathon pace but were at 7:34, on the slow side. Then again, my heart rate was also lower than half-marathon heart rate - closer to marathon-pace HR (but certainly not effort). Overall pace 8:14.

Wednesday - 8.6 mile trail run, again just taking it easy at 11:19 pace, felt pretty good.

Thursday - It rained pretty hard in the morning, and so I waited until things slacked to a drizzle before going out. I pushed a bit and ended up with 6.4 miles at 8:36 pace, but my HR stayed in the 'easy run' range, yay! My timing worked out pretty well: after I'd come home and showered, I looked out the window and saw it was snowing!

octobersnow

Friday - 10.1 miles, pushing hard again which was kind of stupid as my right peroneal tendon was aching (this is an old injury which pops its head up every so often) but I was spurred on by a Facebook friend/rival's post about her runs, which have been faster and better than mine lately, grr. 8:36 pace again, HR a bit higher than the previous day.

Saturday - I was to be a course marshal for the Durango Double's trail races, so I woke early and ran to my station with my pack stuffed with warm clothes, a thermos of coffee, granola bars, and my backpacking chair. I haven't run much right around sunrise and it was lovely. The trails were slightly muddy from the rain and snow, but still frozen solid when I headed out; unfortunately it had melted into mud by the time the racers came by. It was plenty slippery when the last runner passed my station and I packed up and headed back down, and I fell hard within the first 10 minutes, landing on my right index finger which still hurts an awful lot! I also felt tired and my peroneal tendon was screaming by the time I got home. 8.6 miles total, 12:22 average pace. (That pack was heavy!)

Sunday - I also had volunteered to work the finish line at the road races from 12-3:30 and so I had to get my run in early. My peroneal tendon still hurt, and I also forgot to bring my water bottle but didn't feel like heading back for it, so I made some loops back and forth around the rec center (where I could stop at the water fountain) and cut my run relatively short, to about 13 miles. After the first 6 miles easy I was feeling okay so I did a Squires Long Run (well, not really so long): a 90-second surge of fast running (5K-10K pace) at the beginning of every mile. This really sped up my average mile pace in the second half of the run, and my average pace ended up at 8:43.

Total this week was 64.4 miles, which is a lot considering the longest run was only 13 miles! Next week will be a small cutback as I taper a bit for my Sunday half marathon, and the following week will be lower as well for recovery.
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)

AHAHAHA.  So the bad news is, I did not come even close to my goal for the 10K.  I ran 49:06, which is my slowest 10K since 2008.

...the good news is I was third overall human, and first woman.  There were about a hundred runners, I am not really sure.  So why, you may ask, the relatively slow time?  The answer, my friends, lies in two images.

First, this is the map-corrected elevation plot; for your information, the climb from the low point shortly before mile 3 (the turn-around - the course was out and back plus a second out-and-back section from mile 4 to 5) was 145 feet in 3/4 of a mile.  Oog.

Run for the Wine 9-14-2013, Elevation

 And the second photo.  As you know, it's been raining a lot in Colorado.  The course was on dirt farm roads.  What happens when you have rain + dirt roads?

mud1

 Needless to say, it was NOT a fast course!  There were a half-dozen serious mud-holes (each of which we had to traverse twice) and although the worst puddles could be bypassed, that meant  zig-zagging and heading off into uneven grass or slick mud. 

I lined up pretty much at the line and followed a small pack of men through the first mile and a half.  My pace was a little hot to start but I consciously let them pull away, and I lost the time negotiating the mud-holes and the grassy sections, so my first mile was 7:13, pretty much what I was aiming at...though at that point, I didn't realize just how hilly the course would be!

I slowed a lot climbing in the second mile (there were no markers, but I had my Garmin) and my only consolation was that I could see I was gaining on one of the men who had dropped off the pack.  I passed him about at the crest of the hill, where a water stop was located, and then tried to make up time on the downhill, but my split was 8:15, and looking at the long downhill ahead of me I knew coming back up would be a bear.

I had not counted the guys when they took off, so I was astonished to discover, as I approached the turnaround, that there were only three of them ahead of me.  The next woman was not that far behind me, though, so I knew I'd have to keep pushing.  My Garmin ticked off mile 3 at 7:20, not bad.  But by then I was going uphill, and it just got steeper and steeper..  I had never thought I'd see paces north of 9 minute miles on a 10K!   The only thing that kept me from total despair was seeing that I was gradually closing on the third man - I figured 9:30 pace must be okay, if he was moving even slower than that!

At the top of the hill we passed the water station again, and the third man stopped to take some water.  I slowed but didn't stop, and passed him as I drank.  Then it was time to fly downhill to try to make up some time, and I was able to claw my way back to an 8:21 on mile 4. 

Then came the second out-and-back section with another downhill I was not excited about having to climb back up.  The two guys ahead of me looked strong and comfortable and much younger than me.  I was just pleased to see, when I made the turnaround, that the second woman was a bit farther back than she'd been before.  I made 8:05 on that mile.

Where the second spur rejoined the main dirt road the route was a bit unclear, and I was worried I'd chosen the wrong path until I hit a mud-hole and saw all the running-shoe prints.  This stretch was the muddiest, and on the way back it was uphill.  I could no longer see the two men ahead of me, and all I could think of was that I had to stay ahead of the woman behind me.  I put my head down and chugged in, with 8:24 in mile 6 and an 8:10 pace for the last .2, to finish in 49:06 - nowhere near what I had targeted, but a good effort in these conditions.

I jogged back with my cellphone to take a few photos of the course, and caught the second place guy jogging back with his wife - who was pushing their kid in a stroller!  Talk about a serious workout!

mud2

Oddly they didn't do overall awards, but my satisfaction in coming in third overall and first female is its own reward.  I did get first in the 40-49F AG (the second woman was also in my AG), and so won a bottle of wine from the winery that hosted this event.  Finishers also received T-shirts, Balega socks, and a wineglass we could have filled at the tasting room. 

wine!

 Anyway, not remotely a PR, not any sort of fitness gauge, but a fun time and a solid workout. ETA: And to point out how solid a workout it was, I wanted to add that my HR average was 160 (86%WHR), for the last 30 minutes averaged 162, and for the last 10 minutes averaged 164, maxing out at 166 or 91% of HR reserve (working HR). So even though my average pace was just under 8 minute miles - slow for a 10K for me, the same as in my PR marathon - the effort was the level I would expect for a 10K.

Turret Peak

Sep. 4th, 2013 05:41 pm
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
Britt and I always get out of town during Labor Day Weekend. This year, we decided it was a good time to climb Turret Peak, at 13,835 feet the 89th-highest mountain in Colorado, which we have often viewed from our local ski area and on other backpacking trips. It sits next to the slightly higher Pigeon Peak, which we climbed in 2008. These two mountains are often climbed together, but we hadn't had the time or energy to go up Turret on that trip. No big deal; we'd really enjoyed camping in the beautiful meadow below, and had decided that we'd just have to come back for the other peak, and enjoy it again.

approaching the summit massif

Read more! See more photos! )

All the photos at Flickr, none of the jibber-jabber
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
Posting now, because we're going backpacking over the long weekend, and so not only am I not running Saturday through Monday, but I will (I hope!) have an account of our awesome weather, beautiful views, and a generally excellent time had by all to post next week.

So this is a sort of cutback week, but really, the only cutting back is that I've run five rather than six days, and no long run - if we weren't heading out of town and I did a 15-miler or so on the weekend, my total weekly mileage would be pretty close to what it was last week.

Day by day, and a photo, too )

Total of 43 miles for the week, and (since I'm not running tomorrow) 243 miles for August. Next week I hope to hit 60 miles again.
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
entering the wilderness

The Weminuche is the largest wilderness (note to my non-US friends: this is a management designation) in Colorado, and it's pretty much directly outside our door (for certain values of 'directly outside'). Britt and I try to get there at least a couple of times a summer for backpacking or hiking. On this trip we were joined by our friends Mike, Shan, and Reggie.

We started from the Endlich Mesa trailhead, which is probably around 15 miles away as the crow flies, but 30 miles by road - and the last 10 are on a squiggly rough dirt road that takes an hour and a half to traverse. Luckily, our friend Jeff had come with us; he would hike with us a couple of miles, then hike back out and drive our van back. The rest of us would return on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Train.

Endlich Mesa is a long ridge that runs roughly south to north. We stopped for lunch at a place we could look over a saddle to the east and see the smoke of the West Fork Complex wildfire.

on Endlich Mesa smoke to the east

Mountains, lakes, trout, mountain goats, and more! )

These and more photos at Flickr, 36 in all
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
After spending a second night in Whitby, we boarded the bus for York; the York train station was the official end of the Sierra Club trip, and most of us were leaving that afternoon for Edinburgh or London or other destinations. The 'left luggage' office had an unbelievably slow line, since due to anti-terrorism measures every bag to be left there had to be opened and inspected, but Kris got the bright idea of checking with the hotel next door to the station, and sure enough, one of the porters was happy to let us leave our things there for a couple of pounds each. Thus unburdened, we were free to sight-see for a few hours.

York is an old walled city dating to Roman times (when it was the military fort Eboracum), and they have reconstructed enough of the wall - mostly medieval-era but with a few Roman bits left - to make a walking path around its circumference. Naturally, having walked (mostly) across England, we (me and Britt and Kris) were ready to WALK MORE!

On the city wall On the city wall

More pictures, mostly )

It was an awesome vacation, A+ would walk across England again! In conclusion:

Yay!  (On top of St. Sunday Crag)
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
The 'official' Coast-to-Coast route continues across the moors to a place called Hawsker, where it picks up a footpath leading to the coast at a point about halfway between Whitby and Robin Hood's Bay. Most of the our group chose to take the bus to Hawsker and walk from there, for a five-mile finish to the two weeks of hiking. But the Cleveland Way - a trail system we'd followed for much of our time in the North York Moors - actually goes through Whitby and follows the coast all the way down, and Britt, Kris, and I opted to leave from the hotel and take this route to our destination.

We walked down to the river, crossed the bridge, and climbed the stairs leading to Whitby Abbey. Just past the ruins we easily found the marked footpath, which took us to the cliff's edge.

setting out

The path wound precariously along the top of the cliff. In many places the path veered dangerously close to the edge - or rather, the edge had eroded dangerously close to the path. Farther along the route we talked with another walker, a teacher who'd lived in the area for twenty years, and he told us that they'd had to relocate the path as the cliff fell into the sea.

eroded path

To the ends of the earth! )

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

April 2017

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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

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