ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
2017-07-21 02:10 pm
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race prep (and photos of fun stuff)

I haven't been posting in a while, bad me, so you're forgiven if you've forgotten that I'm doing the Kendall Mountain Run tomorrow. I'm a little less prepared than I'd like to be, mostly because I fell really hard while trail running twice in successive weeks, then also fell hard mountain biking, and so I've been more cautious and doing less trail running than I really should have been. But I have been hiking and biking and running!

On top of Graham Peak

Read more and see more photos )

So, tomorrow I am getting up way too early and going up to Silverton (it's about an hour's drive) with a friend who is also running. Now that I've seen what the course is like (we drove the first three miles to get to the trailhead of our late-June overnight backpack) I don't think I can make sub-3; I'm hoping to come in somewhere around 3:30. But my main goal is to NOT FALL.
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
2017-04-22 02:58 pm
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White Rim 2017

Our friends Ryan and Steve organized a White Rim trip again this year, and this time we were the only other people on it. (We did it with them last year, and also in 2013. We also did it twice in the 1990s with friends from Boulder, where we lived then.)

Ilana at top of Mineral Bottom switchbacks

Read more! See more pictures! And there's even a linked map! )

Or just look at the Flickr album.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
2017-04-02 03:09 pm
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clawing my way back

A month after my last post in which I bemoaned my February lost to illness, and I'm happy to say that things have been on a steady upward climb. I managed just under 118 miles in March, a huge improvement over February's 48 and the most since last October. My pace is also getting back under 10 minute miles for the most part, which - this is a small victory, since back when I was actually in shape my pace was generally 9-9:20. But it's still a victory.

Last week I ran 35 miles, which is, again, the most in a week since October 2016, with a 9-mile long run yesterday (at 9:54 pace!) that was my longest single run since The Other Half on October 23rd. Today I ache like I was hit by a truck, but I did it. Victory.

I'm trying to stick to a 5 days run, 2 days bike schedule. During the winter I skied once or twice a week, so this is just the logical springtime extension. Plus, we have a White Rim bike trip (four days) planned for mid-April, and a week-long ride to Moab in September (the same hut system as, but a different route from, the ride we did last summer) and anyway I have that gorgeous expensive mtb we bought last year, so riding doesn't suck so bad (and I have to justify the expense). So far we've been on our local trail system three times - it's really only recently become dry enough to ride - and we took one jaunt out to Phil's World, a fabulous trail network about an hour's drive from here. (I should probably go for a ride today, but the weather's kind of icky. Plus, I ache like I was hit by a truck.)ETA: We did actually go for a ride when it cleared up in the afternoon, 12 miles on the paved rec trail. Felt pretty good, actually!

If I can manage 35mpw more or less through April, that would be about 140 miles. (I'm talking running, now.) And if I can manage 40-45mpw in May, the Steamworks Half in June might not be horrible. I might even win my age group, though that's more because I'm old than because I'm any good. Which would be awesome, since prizes are beer. And then I'd have a real victory!
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
2016-07-13 01:49 pm
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In which we go to Moab the hard way

Moab, in Utah, isn't very far away from Durango. We go there three or four times a year, for the Canyonlands running races in March and October, for the nearby backpacking when our mountains are too snow-covered for access, and for the world-class mountain biking. It takes a bit less than three hours to get there by car; how much less depends on your willingness to exceed the speed limit, and your need for gas and bathroom stops.

Or you can bike there in seven arduous days, over 215 miles of secondary roads, jeep roads, and trails, up mountains and across desert valleys along the route set up by San Juan Huts. (Here is a map Britt put together, showing the route - click "->7.5' Topo Maps" and zoom in to see it more clearly.)

Want to guess what we did? Yeah. Strenuous climbs, scary descents, rain, heat, mud, and mosquitoes - also killer views, deserted roads, and cold beers enjoyed with good friends. I call it a win.

Riding toward Geyser Pass

Day by day trip report, with lots of photos )

All the photos (119!), none of the blahblah

Advice I'd give to anyone contemplating this trip )
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
2016-06-24 06:33 pm
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Breckenridge biking

I go to a conference every June in Breckenridge, which for me is partly an opportunity to listen to climate modelers talk about just how doomed we are, partly a chance to reconnect with my old friends from Boulder and remind my co-workers that I am more than just a mysterious voice on the conference calls and a response on the other end of the email, and partly an excuse to go mountain biking on some awesome high-elevation trails. :-) Biking in Breck! With photos! )
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
2016-06-14 06:41 pm
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bikin' around

I've been biking a lot lately. This isn't because I've fallen out of love with running, or because I'm too injured to run - okay, I'm a little injured, but it doesn't keep me from running. But Britt and I, and four friends, will be doing the San Juan Huts Durango to Moab ride at the end of the month: that's 215 miles over 7 days, mostly on secondary dirt road, with a whole lot of elevation gain and loss. So we've been getting our butts in shape by riding a lot of steep high-elevation jeep roads and dirt roads, and a bit of single track.

So have some photos. )
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
2016-05-24 07:00 pm
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White Rim 2016

Uh, hi! Remember me? I used to do stuff and post about it!

Last week we joined friends for a White Rim bike trip. This is the same trip we did three years ago (and look, I wrote about it here!) and it was organized by the same couple, though this year it was mostly a different cast of characters, and also in the opposite direction. And also, I have a new bicycle!

Ilana and new bike

For those of you who care about such things )

The ride was to start Wednesday, but Britt had a meeting he couldn't miss and would come later, so I got a lift to the start with some of the other riders. We had lunch at the top of the Mineral Bottom switchbacks and then rode the ~10 miles to the Hardscrabble campground. The road between the bottom of the switchbacks and the camp is often very sandy, which makes for hard riding; due to recent heavy rainfall, it was instead nicely packed, with occasional mud that was mostly avoidable by choosing a path wisely (or briefly leaving the road). Britt rolled in sometime around 8 pm, which was still well before sunset.

In addition to the mud, the rain had made the desert bloom. We rode by orange globe mallow and blue blanketflower, by the pinks and yellows of flowering prickly pear cactus. (Photo by Ryan)

Cactus flower (by Ryan)

Read more... )

All 15 of my photos at Flickr (the ones in this post, plus a few more)

Brendan's photos, which are better than mine, at Google Photos
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
2015-02-14 07:06 pm
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mountain biking on Valentine's Day. As you do.

Well, as you do in southwest Colorado when you're having an unusually warm, dry winter. We usually go skiing every Friday, but we punted the last two weeks because our ski day on January 30 was the last time it snowed up at Purgatory, our local resort. But Valentine's Day fell on a Saturday this year, a great day to take off and do something special with my why not go mountain biking?

Here in Durango the trails are still muddy, with snow lingering in the shady spots, but I had learned from the website of the local trails advocacy group about trail conditions elsewhere, and so I decided we ought to go to Sand Canyon, in the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, which is about a 1:15 drive from here. The canyons here are south-facing and on a broad mesa about 1200 feet lower than Durango, so it's even warmer and drier. If you scroll down on that link you'll see a map; we rode to the first dotted-line connector trail, then rode around East Rock Creek Trail in a counter-clockwise loop and back to the connector, and back to the trailhead. It was mostly easy riding, but we had to frequently stop to walk through steep, rocky sections, particularly at the head of the canyon.

Britt and alcove ruins Ilana by pillar

More photos and a few more words )
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
2014-11-23 10:13 am
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kinda sorta injured

I haven't been posting lately (geez, in over a month!) because I haven't been doing much. After the 1-2 punch (or 2-1, actually!) of the Double and the 50K, my right hamstring and ITB let me know in no uncertain terms that they needed a breather. So I have been taking a break from running in the hopes that I'll be able to start training for the Boston Marathon on schedule at the beginning of December.

In the meantime I've been getting massages and doing strengthening and stretching exercises, and biking a lot, or at least, a lot for me. When the weather is crappy I spin on the recumbent exercise bike in the basement, which is seriously boring, so I can't manage it for very long at a time. When the weather is good, though, I go mountain biking. I am not very good at mountain biking, and there are only two local loops I can do without carrying my bike over large portions of the trail. Fortunately, the more I do it, the less I suck at it - but I still suck!

Here is someone who does not suck. I don't think I could make some of these jumps on foot that he does on a bike! But wow, what amazing scenery porn this is. I would love to hike this mountain ridge (without a bike)!

ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
2014-01-27 05:24 pm

the week in running - winter, what winter?

Got up to 50 miles last week, as planned! While all my Facebook running friends were grousing about the snow and/or their treadmills, we had another week of beautiful blue skies.

Monday - 7.3 miles with 5 half mile repeats with 2 min jog recoveries. Not great, not horrible. Definitely slower than they were in autumn, though; the first 4 averaged 7:02 pace and I kinda blew the last one, 7:23.

Tuesday - 4.4 miles trail running with Britt in the afternoon, as I spent the morning judging a middle school science fair. 11:17 pace.

Wednesday - Easy 10.5 up a canyon road and back down, 9:15 average pace.

Thursday - Another of the alternation workouts I linked in my previous post: this one was 2 miles of warm-up followed by 5 miles alternating 0.35M HMP (7:16) and 0.65M HMP+35 (7:50) and then easy running home for a total of 9.7. It was supposed to be 7 but I knew I couldn't do that; this Thursday I'll extend the same workout. Overall average 8:17 pace.

Friday - normally ski day, but we haven't had snow in two weeks, so instead Britt and I took off early from work and bicycled down the Animas River Trail all the way to the southern end, then back up the frontage road to Ska Brewing and had pints of stout. :-) About 12 miles total (which I know because this is one of my running routes - minus the beer).

Saturday - Long easy run, 14 miles at 9:03 pace.

Sunday - Another trail run with Britt, 5.4 miles, average pace 11:32. We stopped at the top of our little in-town ski hill to watch a couple of pairs of racers in a freestyle (moguls and jumps) competition. Weird to see the snow formed on the run with bare hillside all around it!
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
2013-04-26 06:13 pm
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White Rim trip

The White Rim Trail is a well-known 4WD road approximately 100 miles long which loops between the Colorado and Green Rivers through Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah: it descends from the 'Island In The Sky' mesa top down to the level of the White Rim sandstone, which was formed during the Permian period 245 to 286 million years ago. Blah blah blah, a picture's worth a thousand words:

edge and pillars

(Okay, I'm cheating here, because I'm not riding on the actual trail but on the sandstone rim. Most of the ride is really not as scary as this makes it look!)

More about our trip, with [occasionally scary] photos )
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
2013-04-03 05:00 pm
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alien revenge!

sandstone stop

On Sunday Britt and I went mountain biking on the Alien Run trail near Aztec, NM. Last year (almost exactly!) I fell hard not much more than 2 miles in, and we took the early turn-around; this year I made it past all the hard parts (well, I walked a few of them!) and only fell once, in deep sand at the top of a climb. Fortunately, sand is a lot softer than rock, and no damage was done. Anyway, we rode the full ten miles and it was loads of fun and we did not get abducted by aliens.

Since I don't have any big running-race plans this spring, I think I'll try to work on my mtb skills a couple of times a week. (Also, I should update my biking icon with my current bicycle, duh.)

The snow-covered mountains behind my head are the La Platas just outside Durango. The high country's still got winter, but it's definitely springtime in the desert!
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
2013-03-19 08:03 pm

Moab multisport!

Ilana running canyonlands half marathon 2013 Friday afternoon Britt and I drove out to Moab with the bikes in the truck; we had a pleasant dinner at Miguel's with our friends Kevin and Nora (as per tradition) and I drank a margarita (also as per tradition), then went back to the motel (the Gonzo Inn, where Karah and I usually stay) and took a soak in the hot tub (you guessed it). It was a lot more fun to have Britt along, which was not not as per tradition, but I hope it becomes one.

In the morning we got up and had coffee and breakfast cookies with Kevin and Nora (yep), then caught our respective buses for our respective starts. I was running the Canyonlands Half for my fourth time, and Britt would be running the five-miler; he's not really into racing, but he runs four miles with me a couple of times a week, so I figured he'd be fine.

It was a relatively warm but cloudy day, with only a light breeze - welcome weather after the ferocious headwinds of 2011 and 2012. After a quick porta-potty stop, I found Karah and the rest of the Grand Junction girls, and we chatted, resting among the red rocks while waiting to be allowed to move up the canyon to the start.

I lined up a bit in front of the 1:40 pacer; based on my last few tempo runs of around 7:32 pace, and my average mileage of around 44mpw, I figured 1:38-ish would be a good goal. Maybe I had a shot at a PR, under 1:37. My plan was to go no faster than 7:20 for the first mile (it's sharply downhill and oh-so-easy to go too fast - last year I ran 7:20 that mile, and the year before, 7:18) and no faster than 7:24 (1:37 pace) for the next three miles, then play by ear.

The race )

And then we went mountain biking. And eating. And biking again. )

Anyway, it was a fabulous weekend, A+ would run (and bike) again!
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
2012-08-21 06:36 pm
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USA Pro Challenge


Durango's been all abuzz for months about the USA Pro Challenge, a cycling stage race across the pretty part of Colorado that this year (its second) was to start here in town. We got a new piece of public art, a road through our college that was to be part of the course was repaved, and all kinds of events were scheduled for the several days before the start of the race.

Britt and I participated in a 'bike parade' from a downtown park to one of our local brewpubs just south of town - it was supposed to be a costume event with everyone wearing tutus, but we just showed up in normal clothes as did about half the other riders. It was great fun, though, with about 300 riders including the city manager (in a tutu) and several of our city council members, and we got to drink beer and listen to music at the end!

On Sunday there was a citizen's ride that happened to go on the same country road I was doing my 18-mile run on. It was nifty to see all the cyclists, probably more than I had ever seen around here at one time.

And then Monday morning the race began. I staked out a switchback on the hill going up to the college, and then after the riders went by I ran down a seekrit ditch trail that goes right to my house and came out on the course again to watch them go by again (right by my house!). And then they went through the rest of town and on to Telluride. Bye-bye, bicycles!

A couple more photos )

Eight total on Flickr.
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
2012-07-02 07:06 pm
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on the Colorado Trail

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: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
2012-03-31 06:57 pm
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aliens among us!

First mountain bike ride of the year! (Also, first mountain bike crash of the year, but I'm okay; I've got a couple of scrapes on my hands and arms, and a knot the size of an egg on my right shin. I feel it with every step. I expect I will turn all sorts of pretty colors tomorrow.)

Because the trails here are still too snowy or muddy to ride, we drove just over the border into New Mexico to find the Alien Run Trail in Aztec NM. Amusingly, out of 12 cars in the parking lot, all but one had CO plates. Aliens!

The trail is named for the alleged UFO crash site it encircles. It's a great trail, lots of swoops and swirls alternating between packed (and sometimes loose) sand and slickrock. Alas, it was a short steep slickrock uphill that got me, and because my hand and shin ached, we cut the ride short and opted for the 5 mile rather than the 10 mile option. Still, it was a good time, a nice ride, not too hard (mostly!) and yay for getting out and riding!
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)
2011-10-17 02:22 pm
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pre-race report: a sunny Saturday in Moab


I left for Moab around 10am Saturday morning with my mountain bike strapped into the bed of my pickup truck. Ordinarily the day before a half marathon is a day for rest, maybe a couple easy miles with strides at most, but I knew I wasn't in shape for a PR, and Britt was off in the mountains hunting elk, so I had the whole weekend to myself, and I wanted to have fun.

And so I had fun! )

Race report next! I promise!
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
2010-06-17 01:52 pm

why I love where I live

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: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
2010-06-07 04:40 pm

random update on a bunch of subjects

Biking: in addition to the Log Chutes ride last Saturday, Britt and I drove out to near Pagosa Springs, about 45 minutes from here, and rode up Devil Mountain, which has a rough and rocky road leading to a cleared summit that used to have a fire lookout tower. Not quite 12 miles up and 3500 vertical feet, woohoo! A few photos are here.

Running: I can run again! Sort of! My PT has given me clearance to alternate 5 minutes of slow running with 5 minutes of walking, after a walking warm-up. I did this 3x on Thursday and 4x this morning, and it's not causing the tendinitis to flare up, hooray! It's still going to be a long road to where I was as a runner, though.

Argh: I am annoyed more than I should be by people who email me - at an address that includes my name - and then misspell my name in the body of the email. ARGH. Also I am annoyed by people who are told that the deadline for the political newsletter I send out is Thursday noon, who then email me on Thursday at 2:30 pm with their news release prefaced by, "Thank you for holding the newsletter for this information." (It should not surprise anyone that someone has committed both these annoyances simultaneously. Also that I did not, in fact, hold the newsletter for that information.)

Fun: The newsletter deadline was Thursday noon because Thursday afternoon we drove out to Montezuma Creek, Utah to start a river trip on the San Juan. An exciting and scenic weekend that was not ruined by the roughly fifty bazillion gnats that each took a bite of my tender flesh. More details when I get the photos off the camera.

Administrivia: If you have a Dreamwidth journal and a LJ, I preferentially will read you at DW and will subtly filter you out at LJ. I also filter out those I read through another journal. If I read you at DW and you read me at DW you are welcome to defriend me at LJ. I don't do the subscribe-and-filter thing at Dreamwidth since there are separate access and subscription filters, but if the asymmetry bothers you, let me know, and I will cheerfully subscribe to you and then ignore you. Okay, not really, but you know what I mean.

And now I am off to a political thingy that didn't get into the newsletter. I will try to be polite to the campaign manager who annoyed me, see above.