ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
Cliff notes version: 3:35:57, a 6-minute PR and 10/256 in my age group, on a seriously gravity-aided course, on a stupidly hot day, wearing a tiara, on pretty much no sleep and the least amount of fuel ever, feeling good (for values of good that are possible while you're running 26.2 FREAKING MILES) the entire time.

Epic novel version )

The official photos are up here. Yep, I'm the woman with a manic grin and a sparkly tiara.

ETA: Barb's husband Pete took pictures at the finish line and after the race, including several of me.
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
Thursday night was the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, so Britt and I had plans to drive out to Cedar Mesa in Utah, figuring it would be warm enough there to sleep out and look at the sky, as well as clear (rain was predicted for Durango) and dark (the nearest town being Mexican Hat, population 88). And it didn't really make sense to drive out around 3 hours just to spend one night and drive back in the morning, so at the last minute we decided to bring our gear and go backpacking on the Fish Creek/Owl Creek loop, a highly-rated hike that goes through scenic canyons with arches and ruins, with quite a bit of rock scrambling and route-finding required. Most people, of course, do this in the spring or fall, when it's not brain-scorchingly HOT. On the other hand, it had rained across the entire region the previous week, so the intermittent streams would be running and the pools would be full, and with predicted temperatures in the upper 80s to lower 90s it was still on the cool side. (For the desert. In August.) Best of all, we would have it to ourselves - because nobody else would be nuts enough to be there.

Rambling report and a bunch of photos )

All 26 photos (these plus more) as a Flickr set
ilanarama: me in my raft (rafting)
We had so much fun on the San Juan trip from Montezuma Creek to Mexican Hat we did in June that we had to do it again. Britt got on the BLM's website to check cancellations, and found a date on which we could get a permit from Sand Island all the way to Clay Hills Crossing, another ~55 miles past Mexican Hat.

on the river

Hot weather, low water, rapids, wildlife, flash floods, and (most importantly) photos. )

These are only a few (I know!) of the 55 photos I uploaded to my Flickr set for this trip.
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
The San Juan, in SE Utah, is the river I did my first river trip on, in 1990 when Britt and I had just started living together. It was also the last river trip that we did in 1998, just before selling our raft along with everything else we owned in order to buy a sailboat and goof off for a couple of years. The San Juan funnels all the water from SW Colorado and NW New Mexico through classic Utah sandstone canyons and into the Colorado River at Lake Powell, and was home to both pre-Puebloan native cultures and Mormon settlers. A few years ago, I bought a small paddle cataraft, but I only used it once since Britt didn't have a boat. But when Britt's niece's husband Dublin invited us to come with him and some friends on a San Juan trip, Britt immediately decided he'd better buy one as well.

medium walls

big walls

More about our boats. )

Dublin's friends had only time for a weekend trip, and so they had registered for a permit (the San Juan is lottery-controlled) for only the 28 miles from Sand Island to Mexican Hat. The next stretch of the river, to Clay Hills, goes through the fabled Goosenecks of the San Juan, where the river folds back on itself in big lazy loops, and we would have loved to do that too, but unfortunately there were no available permit slots. Instead we extended our trip by putting in a day and a half early at Montezuma Creek, 19 miles upstream from Sand Island. This rarely-floated stretch (we hadn't done it before) has no rapids and runs mostly through private land, but permits are free from the BLM and easily available.

Montezuma Creek to Sand Island - cliffs and inscriptions )

Sand Island to Mexican Hat - petroglyphs and rapids )

All 18 photos are here in a set on Flickr.
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
Britt and I wanted to get out of town, so we hopped into the Sportsmobile for a weekend in the canyons of SE Utah. He had in mind a place he'd heard of called Johns Canyon, at the south end of Cedar Mesa, just north of Mexican Hat on the San Juan River.

It took us about 2.5 hours to get to the turn-off. Then we spent the next hour winding along a tiny high-clearance dirt road that skirted the edge between Cedar Mesa looming above us and the side canyons that cut through to the river below us. We parked under a spreading cottonwood tree, had lunch, and then pulled on our hiking boots and spent a pleasant cool and sunny afternoon exploring a branch of Johns Canyon which ended about 3 miles upstream of our camp in a large pour-over alcove.

DSC02995

We got back to our van in time to relax with some wine and snacks before I made dinner, although the wind had picked up and although it was still sunny, it was more pleasant to hang out in the van than outside. Our plan for the next morning was to explore downcanyon on the opposite side from where we'd come in, then drive back to Durango in the afternoon.

Except we woke to this: )

12 photos (including more Sportsmobile pr0n just for Eric W.) on Flickr.

Also, a big thank you to whoever gave me (another!) month of paid time on Dreamwidth! Which is a good lead-in to tell you all that I'm directing comments to Dreamwidth now. I am still crossposting to LJ for the moment. If you would like a Dreamwidth invite code, just holler.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
I am afraid that this report is longer than the race. Longwinded storytelling at the beginning, numbers and analysis at the end.

Longwinded storytelling )

Final results: 1:37:17 gun time, 1:37:01 chip time. This is a PR for me by 4:43! 3rd in age group (45-49F) out of 172, 37th woman out of 1942, 213 human being out of 3282. I am still a very long way behind #1 and #2 (at 1:27:55, and OMG she is 49!, and 1:32:57) but #4 was 1:39:21 so I had a comfortable lead on her. The Runworks calculator spits out 1:33:40 for a sea level equivalent half, which, yeah, right. For a half at 6600 ft. I have to interpolate but it suggests about 1:39, which makes sense as that's a 7:35 pace, what I was aiming for in my training.

I attribute this great race to six things:
1) I had a really solid marathon training cycle up to 2 weeks ago, with 3 weeks in the 65 mpw range.
2) I was slightly injured - not enough to interfere with my racing, but enough that I took quite a bit of time off before this race, so all my training fatigue was gone.
3) The altitude advantage of living and training at 6600 feet and racing at 4000 feet.
4) Perfect weather; I run better in the cold.
5) A fast course, very gently rolling with a slight net downhill.
6) I am pretty well attuned to my body for pacing longer races without blowing up, even when the splits are faster than expected. So I didn't hold back out of fear - I knew (or at least, was fairly sure) that I could maintain pace.

Numbers and analysis )

ETA: If you want to be amused by the sight of me gasping like a landed trout as I race toward the finish line, here are the official pictures. Some of them (from the middle portion of the race) aren't too bad, but mostly? I look like a fish.
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)


Closeup of trophy )

As some of you know, I ran a half marathon in Moab on Sunday. This race - the "Other Half" - was to be a goal race for me; I figured that with the training I had been doing and the 2500-foot elevation difference from here, I had a good shot at 1:42, which would be a 2+ minute PR, and with magic pixie dust I might be able to get closer to 1:40. As it was, no pixie dust was to be had, but I ran a solid race and came in at 1:41:44, which was enough for third place in my age group - and as the AG winner was also second overall, and the AG second place was first Master (over 40) woman (after #1 was moved to an OA award), they were both knocked out of the age group placings and I got the first place AG award!

Details )
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
In reverse order:

1) I changed my journal style on LJ, mostly because I upgraded to Firefox 3.5 and thus lost the NoSquint extension, and my old style wouldn't let me change the font sizes. Also I wanted to have tags on the main page, so, might as well change. Note that I still have a paid LJ account but once it runs out, I will not renew, and therefore non-LJ users will see ads (yuck) and so you might want to read me over at Dreamwidth instead.

(Also, I have tons of DW invite codes, if anyone would like.)

2) OMG IMOGENE ON SATURDAY EEPS YAY YIKES WOO! My excitement cannot be textually rendered. I'm leaving tomorrow mid-afternoon and meeting up with my running buddies from the Runner's World Online forums for dinner and outhanging. And then Saturday morning it's race time! EEEEEEE!

3) We were going to go backpacking on an obscure and trail-less route in the Weminuche over the long weekend, but the forecast was for rain (and it rained) so we went to Utah instead and did a bunch of dayhiking. 12 photos here which don't really do justice to the trip, as we forgot to bring the camera along during the hike in Hovenweep (amazing pre-Puebloan ruins) and the Dark Canyon pictures didn't turn out so great. But there are some nifty ones of the Valley of the Gods near Monument Valley, and Sportsmobile photos especially for Eric. :-)
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
looking out of cave

Back from a weekend trip to Road Canyon, which is in the Cedar Mesa area of Utah. (I love living so close to such cool stuff! It's only about 3.5 hours away.) We had a great time camping in our Sportsmobile, hanging out, reading, drinking beer, and hiking down into the canyon and looking for ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings. (We found some nice ones!)

Only problem was that I got bitten to death by gnats, which we weren't expecting to have hatched out quite yet - it seems to be an early summer all over the southwest, what with our snowpack level and river levels about what we normally get in mid-June. Alas. The bites itch like a %$#@!, too.

Ten photos here on my Flickr page.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
From Escalante we drove back toward Colorado on the Burr Trail, which is the more scenic and slower route. It passes through the dramatic redrock of Long Canyon, where we explored a little side canyon and I photographed some really cool stripey rock; then it descends across the Waterpocket Fold (the south end of Capitol Reef National Park) and joins the north-south Notom-Bullfrog road. We'd taken this road twice before; once we'd gone north to Hanksville and once we'd gone south to the Bullfrog ferry across Lake Powell. This time, armed with a guide to the backways of Utah, we went east, across the Henry Mountains. These granite peaks are weirdly out of place in the sandstone country; volcanic forces uplifted them, and then the sandstone eroded around them. Unfortunately, in 2003 there was a huge fire which absolutely toasted the forests in the Henrys, because otherwise it would have been a lovely and cool oasis in the desert. After routefinding our way across the pass and through the mountains, we headed Coloradoward, stopping at the overlook where Lake Powell backs up into the Colorado River. There were a bazillion places we would have loved to explore, but it was time to go home.

Four final pictures )

All 111 pictures from the trip (and let me tell you, that's only a fraction of the photos on the hard drive!) are in my Utah/Arizona 2008 set on Flickr.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
escalante pictograph

To wind down our trip, we revisited the Escalante area. (We were most recently there in the fall with friends: photos | lj post.) More photos and stories, including NEKKID ME OMG. )

OMG only one more set to go. I may actually get all these posted before our next backpack on the July 4th weekend.

ETA also, I am amused that on Flickr, "naked me" has more views than any of my other photos in this batch. Reminds me of everyone wanting to see my boobies.
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
I figured I'd better get to the rest of our vacation pictures before we went on another vacation :-)

Cottonwood Canyon is about 50 miles of dirt road that connects the Paria-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness and US 89 with Utah 12 between Bryce Canyon NP and Escalante, going north-south along Comb Ridge. It's known as a scenic drive for many reasons, among them Grosvenor Arch:

grosvenor

Cottonwood Canyon )

We then continued north to Bryce Canyon:

bryce3

That hoodoo that you do so well )

Or, straight to Flickr: Cottonwood Canyon photos (5) and Bryce Canyon NP photos (14).
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
stripes2

I...I'm going to have to punt, here. Because the South Coyote Buttes are so mind-blowingly magnificent - the colors, the shapes, the sheer abstract artistry - that I really don't have anything to say. I've uploaded thirty pictures to my Flickr site, and you can find them all here. Or do the slideshow thing. There's a sliver of moon over a butte, there's a weird tower with a window in it, there are stripes, there are squiggles, there's a couple pictures of me. Um, yeah. Ogg say: sandstone nifty, make pretty pictures.

colored pillars

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

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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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