ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
Yesterday morning I ran the Kennebec Challenge, a 14.75-mile trail race I did three years ago (although running the lollipop-course in the opposite direction, as it switches every year). I didn't bring a camera this year, nor hang out with anyone who did, but here are some photos from 2009, and the GPS track overlaid on Google Earth - this year we went counter-clockwise instead. It's a pretty serious mountain race, and in fact this year all runners were required to have Colorado Search and Rescue cards - I figured I should get one anyway so I didn't mind! (It's $3/year or $12 for 5 years, although it's included in hunting and fishing licenses. It pays into a fund that pays for SAR services, so you won't get a bill if you have to be e.g. heli-evac'ed. Spoiler alert: I did not need to be heli-evac'ed.)

In 2009 I ran 3:19:20; this year I ran 3:03:49, an improvement I'm quite happy about even though I did not make my sub-3 goal. Oddly, both times I had an emergency bathroom break at exactly the same place; according to my watch this year I wasted a little more than three minutes on this, so I was awfully close to my goal without it! I also came in second in the 40-49F age group, about three minutes (again, those three minutes! argh!) behind a 43-year old (let me remind you that I am almost 49) who incidentally just ran the Hardrock 100 last month.

Play by play )

Final stats: 3:03:49 official time, 2nd AG. 7/23 women, 19/49 overall. (Yes, it's a tiny race!) No woman older than me finished ahead of me, although a 54-year old man did.
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
This past weekend, Britt and I headed out on a backpacking expedition to climb the Rio Grande Pyramid (13,821 ft, the 97th highest mountain in Colorado - or possibly the 30th, depending on how you define 'mountain'). I've wanted to climb it for some time; it's a distinctively-shaped peak (the name gives a clue!), much higher than anything else around it and thus visible from most of the high summits of the San Juans, and in 2008 Britt and I attempted to climb it but were rained out.

on the Rincon La Vaca trail

Adventure! Wildlife! Pain and suffering! )

Photos only
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
It's been pretty hot here in SW Colorado, so Britt and I decided that if we were going to go mountain biking (which we wanted to do) we'd have to gain some altitude to do it. So we drove up to Molas Pass to ride the Colorado Trail. Which was awesome.

Ilana riding

You know the drill... )
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
Britt and I had long wanted to climb Grizzly Peak (13,738'), which is in the San Juan mountains not far from Engineer Mountain. It's climbed far less frequently than Engineer, though, as it's harder to get to, sitting back at the head of a valley rather than right out near the highway. (We've been up Engineer a number of times, most recently last fall; this is my trip report from that climb, and here is a photo of me on the ascent; Grizzly is the highest peak in the background, on the right side of the picture.) As we debated where to go this weekend, we decided one reason to choose Grizzly was that it was quite far from the Little Sand Fire, currently stinking up the eastern part of our usual stomping grounds, the Weminuche Wilderness. We certainly didn't want to be hiking through smoke and ash! Ha ha ha! Little did we know.... [cue ominous music]

Ilana on the rocks

(Yes, the sky in Colorado is normally bluer than that. That is smoke haze. That is also me, on the way down, and the pointy thing behind me is Grizzly.)

Read more! See more pictures! )

All the photos [16 total], none of the blah blah blah

Weber Fire incident page (This is not, actually, the worst of the fires in the area; that would be the Little Sand Fire, about 40 miles northeast of Durango. Both of them added together are less than half as big as the one burning near Fort Collins, though. Colorado is seriously on fire this summer. Cross your fingers and hope for rain.)
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
Gorgeous, gorgeous day (my apologies to folks in the Northeast shoveling out and cleaning up), so I decided to take the camera along on a trail run. Wanna come along?

I started up the trail behind my house which joins with the Nature Trail; I went up one switchback and then took this picture:

switchback to rim

More... )
ilanarama: me in my raft (rafting)
Ilana on the Dolores

The Dolores is a lovely desert river in western CO and eastern UT which unfortunately has a very short season due to dam control. Most years, releases are limited to a couple of weeks or less, and of course the river gets very crowded then, particularly on the scenic and moderate Slickrock to Bedrock run (which I've done twice). The lower section from Gateway CO to the confluence with the Colorado River in Utah has a somewhat longer season, as the free-flowing San Miguel river joins the Dolores above Gateway, but usually by mid-June the flows have dropped below what's needed for rafting. This year, however, heavy snow in the mountains near Telluride kept the San Miguel flowing into summer, and conditions looked reasonable -- around 1200 cfs (cubic feet per second), on the low side but fine for smaller rafts -- for a July 4th weekend on the lower Dolores.

I would not have chosen this particular section of the Dolores on my own, because among its rapids is an infamously long and difficult one right at the state line between Colorado and Utah which is, oddly enough, called Stateline Rapid. (According to one of our guidebooks it is also called Chicken Raper, although that name seems to be mostly applied by kayakers to the crazy-boaters-with-deathwish line on the left of the big island that splits the rapid, about which our more sedate guidebook says DO NOT GO LEFT WHATEVER YOU DO.) But our previous plans had fallen apart, and I got email from a friend who really wanted to do this section, and Britt thought it sounded good, and so the lower Dolores it was.

Ridiculously long trip report, with photos and video. )

Or just go straight to the photos (these plus lots more) on Flickr.

boaty boats

Jun. 5th, 2011 07:48 pm
ilanarama: me in my raft (rafting)
On Saturday we de-cobwebbed our raft frames, unrolled the tubes and inflated them, and put our little raftlets together for the first time this season. Then we went rafting!


We took a short run down the Animas (the river that Runs Through It here in Durango) from 32nd St. to 9th St. late afternoon Saturday, and a longer run from Santa Rita park to Dallabetta park on Sunday. After our Sunday run we walked up to Smelter Rapid (in between the two sections we ran; I'm not yet feeling confident enough to tackle it in the current high water) and watched some commercial rafts go through. Just as we got there we saw one raft upside-down as it washed out below, two passengers on the upturned bottom and two bobbing along in the water, which definitely did not inspire confidence!

Let's see if this embed works - it's a teeny movielet Britt took of me going alongside a little bitty rapid - I tried to get into it but never quite managed to get into the waves, so it's not particularly interesting. But, it's me! I'm on a BOAT!

(If it doesn't work, it's at Flickr.)

The one icky thing is that the air has off and on been quite thick with smoke from the Wallow fire in northern Arizona, 200 miles from here. On Saturday it was really hazy, and I had a hard time sleeping - woke up coughing in the middle of the night once, and several times with a dry throat. I always keep a water bottle by my bed, and I drained it last night.

ski day

Jan. 15th, 2011 03:51 pm
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
I have a whole bunch of things I have been meaning to post, but somehow never got to. I'm still not getting to it. Instead, have some photos from yesterday's ski day, the fourth time we've been up this year.

Britt and I have weekday passes at Purgatory which is about a half hour drive from here in good weather, maybe 45 minutes in poor weather. If it snows during the week, we'll go the day after (because we like skiing in new snow under clear blue skies better than in falling snow during the storm), but otherwise, we try to go on Fridays because the nicer restaurant up on the mountain is only open Friday through Sunday, and having lunch there is part of our treat for the day. (Weekday passes are way cheap compared to full season passes, when you get them at the end of the previous season, and weekdays are less crowded. I work on the weekend instead and my boss is cool with it.)

Mountains and snow and me )

These and a few more at Flickr:
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
Sunday I did a long run up the Colorado Trail. Little pictures link to big ones at Flickr.

Colorado Trail bridge over Junction Creek

at Gudy's rest (looking NE) at Gudy's rest (looking S)

I apologize to anybody whose optic nerve I have just burned out from the combination of pink CEP compression socks and psychedelic-patterned Dirty Girl gaiters. If you should want a closer look - can't imagine why - here you go.
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
I was driving back from Moab through Dove Creek (which claims to be the "Pinto Bean Capital of the World") and noticed a sign at one of the gas stations:
   24 HOUR GAS

[ profile] cahotage, I don't suppose you could swing by there sometime and take a picture? I think I giggled all the way to Cahone.
ilanarama: me in my raft (rafting)
under a wall

We spent the weekend floating a Class II stretch of the Gunnison between Delta to Whitewater, also called the Dominguez run because the big attraction is Dominguez Canyon about halfway through, where there are historical sites and petroglyphs. We hadn't been on it before, but it's known as a good run for an open canoe, so we invited our canoeist buddies Dave and Julie, as well as our friends Andy and Betsy, who also decided to bring a canoe from their large stable of river craft.

The good: Saturday was my birthday, and Julie baked me a cake! Nobody flipped or fell out or even got sunburned. The weather was beautiful. We did not run out of beer, and it was nice and cold. We had a nice camp spot at Dominguez Canyon. We saw desert bighorn, and petroglyphs, and a couple of really nifty windows in the rock.

The bad: Loud group at the put-in that partied all night, and we could hear them from our camp. Loud train that went by twice a night, waking us all. Dogs belonging to loud group peed on our gear (!!) Britt came down with a cold. We got off the river kind of late on Sunday and drove all over the country between Montrose and Ridgway before finding a decent place to camp for the night.

The ugly: Nope, not ugly at all. Photographic proof (20 photos at Flickr).
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
It was a glorious day, what we call a "bluebird" day here in Colorado, for the 37th annual (and my third) Imogene Pass Run, a 17.1-mile trail race mostly on jeep roads. The morning dawned cold and clear, and the race director took obvious glee in telling the runners, as we assembled at the start line shortly before 7:30am, that the temperature was currently 24° at the summit, some 10 miles distant and 5000' above us. I lined up with my friends from the RWOL forums, Jen, Annette (whose first time it was), and Karah, and when the gun went off, so did we.

Enjoy the experience without the leg pain! )

Stats and analysis )

Just the photos
2009 IPR
2008 IPR
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
I've been doing stuff! But somehow failing to update.

Labor Day weekend near Taos: gawking at hot-air balloons, climbing Wheeler Peak, and getting stitches in my elbow )

This Saturday I'm running the Imogene Pass Run for the third time. (First, second.) I'm not sure how I'll do this year; I'm not running as much as I was last year because of my recovery from peroneal tendinitis, but I've been faster at the short distances. My A goal is 3:49 or faster; my B goal is to beat my last year's time of 3:55, and my C goal is to just get under 4 hours. We shall see.
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
On Sunday, Britt and I climbed 12,504' Grayrock Peak:

Grayrock ridge

Huh, I wonder why it's called that? :-) It's actually a semi-detached point at the southeast end of a long, flat lump of rock called Graysill Mountain, connected by a skinny ridge. (In this photo, I'm standing at the end of Graysill looking at the ridge and the Grayrock summit.) We had actually tried to climb it from the east last year; we'd gotten lost and ended up wandering around a cliffy steep face that was no fun at all before picking our way down again. This time we drove around to the southwest and hiked up an old, closed logging road that eventually petered out into a trail, which eventually disappeared entirely, but by that time we were above treeline and just aimed for the high point.

More pictures )

The slopes of Graysill from where we parked around 10,200 to a bit above treeline were thick with mushrooms. This has been a banner year in Colorado for wild mushrooms. Last Sunday we went on a dayhike specifically to look for and collect them, and we came back with something more than 20 pounds of mostly Hawk's Wings and King Boletes (as well as a few random samples of other things to try or investigate); on our way down from the peak, we collected Saffron Milkcaps (Lactarius deliciosus) and King Boletes (Boletus edulis). Our dehydrator has been running nonstop, and we've been eating mushrooms with nearly every meal, yum!

Mushroom pictures )

The weather was pretty marginal all day, but it didn't start actually raining until we got back to the vehicle. (And then it hailed!)
ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
I was going to write up all the stuff we did, but I don't really have the energy. Hiked in past gorgeous waterfalls to a pretty lake, set up camp, hiked to another pretty lake, hiked up a mountain to the 12,640 ft high summit where we were attacked by hordes of ladybugs, hiked over a stunning high pass to another pretty lake, hiked back to the trailhead. Woo.

Here are the equivalent of 16,000 words, on my Flickr page.
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
On Sunday, Britt and I drove about an hour north to a new-to-us trailhead in the mountains between Silverton and Telluride. It took a while to find the trail, off a jeep road that inexplicably made a loop above the highway (presumably it originally gave access to a mine); once we did, we climbed a bazillion switchbacks through a pretty pine forest carpeted with early wildflowers, until we broke out into a beautiful treeline basin. Pictures of mountains and wildlife and snow! )
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
So far this week (which I count as beginning on Monday) I have mountain biked on three different trail systems, hiked, gone for a run, and rowed my raft down the river through town - and only the last activity required use of a vehicle. (In addition to my bicycle - I dropped off Britt and the boats at the put-in, drove to the take-out with my bike, left the truck and hopped on the bike and rode back up the rec path to the put-in, locked my bike, and got on my boat! Pedal powered shuttle FTW!)

And it's only Thursday. :-)

(This is also why I love having a job where I telecommute and set my own hours.)
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
This morning I got up early and rode down to the Farmer's Market, and also watched the start of the citizen's ride of the Iron Horse. Then at midday, I did some riding of my own. Britt's still a little sick but wanted to get out, so we decided to do the Log Chutes trail (which I rode solo two weeks ago). This time, I brought a picnic lunch and a camera.

Silver Mtn

A few more photos: )
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
Britt and I had been planning on going backpacking in Utah this weekend, but early in the week he came down with a cold, and he was miserable enough by Thursday, our planned departure day, that it was clearly a no-go. So instead yesterday I did yard work, and today I went mountain biking.

I have been riding my mountain bike (not the one in the icon; I have a fancier newer one, that was part of the deal when we bought our Sportsmobile, as the seller owned a bike store and was more willing to throw in a couple of bikes than lower the price) a lot lately as I am taking a break from running to let my peroneal tendinitis heal. The tendinitis seems mostly unaffected by cycling, probably because my foot is locked into place by the clipless pedal (which, of course, my shoe clips into - weird terminology!) and my PT said any exercise is good as it increases the blood flow.

I started out a couple of weeks ago doing the shortest, easiest loop in the Horse Gulch system (where I used to trail run, and hopefully will again soon) and have been gradually extending my rides and increasing their difficulty. I've been trying to apply my lessons from last summer's MTB clinic, in particular trying to attack technical and/or steep sections rather than just assuming I can't ride them and bailing ahead of time. This has resulted in my riding over things that I never would have thought I could do - plus a few fall-down-go-booms and new bruises on my legs.

Today I wanted to do something a bit longer, so I rode up Junction Creek to the Log Chutes trail, about 5 miles of pavement and 2 miles of gravel/dirt road to get there, pretty much all uphill with a few quite steep spots. I'd never ridden this trail and knew only that there were a couple of "intermediate" loops, 4 and 7 miles. When I got there, I found no signage at all, and no people to ask, just two parked vehicles, so I took a guess and rode out the dirt road at the back of the parking lot, which had a barrier for vehicles but which bikes clearly had ridden around.

It turned out to be my favorite kind of mountain biking - a narrow, bumpy rock-and-dirt closed Forest Service road, a little uphill and then a little down. Using the best maze-solving philosophy I turned left at the first intersection, where it became narrower and more steeply uphill, and then left again when a singletrack trail (marked by tree blazes, and a post with a green circle for difficulty, but no map or name) veered off into the woods. (I was wearing my wrist GPS which I use for after-the-fact mapping and for mileage and speed tracking, and theoretically I think I could have used it to figure out how to get back to known territory, but I have never actually used the GPS functions so I'm not really sure how.) The trail was a little trickier but perfectly rideable, even for a wimp like me, although someone needs to go through with a pair of pruning shears and lop off the encroaching willows. I did have a few nervous moments on some of the rockier sections, and I walked across one boggy bit, and I fell at a creek crossing followed by a steep and loose uphill I couldn't quite negotiate. But otherwise, it was an awesome ride, and right at 4 miles I spotted the Junction Creek road ahead of me.

Total of 19 miles at a blazing 8mph average, although that hides the variance; on the paved part of the downhill I zoomed at 16-20mph, and my average over the actual Log Chutes trail was 5mph, or about trail running speed. I'm looking forward to riding it again (and trying the right fork, which I think leads to the longer loop; and bringing a camera, 'cause it's pretty!) with Britt once he gets over his ick.

Then I came home, took a shower, and went to the Taste of Durango street fair where I stuffed my face on tapas and mini-plates from our finest restaurants, washed down with a beer and a margarita. A perfect Sunday!


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

August 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

You can reach me by email at heyheyilana @



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