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

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

June 1 view from Rim Drive

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

June 9 view from Rim Drive

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

June 10 pano from Animas City Mountain

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 11 college webcam morning June 11 college webcam afternoon

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

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

I heard rumors it's been raining a lot over on the east coast. Can you guys pack that rain up and send it over, please? :-)
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
A couple of years ago, Britt and I found out about an older couple who had bought ten acres of land forty years ago, on the mesa above downtown where Fort Lewis College is; they'd built their house on a prime spot right on the rim, but were now looking to sell off most of the land to help fund their retirement. The catch was that in order to build another house, it would need to be formally subdivided and brought into compliance with city codes, and that would be expensive enough that it really only made sense if the buyer subdivided into a small development and sold lots. After much discussion we went for it, and Britt started yet another "career" as a developer, creating this small subdivision which I named Arrowhead Ridge. (Ours is Lot 1. It's not as big as it looks; everything "above" the old driveway that goes to the existing house is a steep slope down the edge of the mesa. We are not making money on the development, just offsetting the cost of our own lot a little.)

Why "Arrowhead Ridge"? And why the large area designated Open Space in the lower left corner of the development? Well, the city of Durango requested that we do an archaeological survey before digging. And oh my goodness, the things the archaeologist found! Bone needles, potsherds, and yes, arrowheads. The whole mesa-top had been a Basketmaker III/Pueblo I period site, but since nearly all of the modern development had been done without such surveys, there's little surviving evidence of the early inhabitants. We decided it was important to preserve what we found, and protect it, and to cover it in such a way that if we ever get the funds, we can uncover and stabilize the ruins we found.

And because of this, our development was nominated for and won an award for "outstanding achievement in historic preservation" from History Colorado! This short video shows the site, and some of the finds, and has interviews with Britt and the archaeologist he worked with. I'm super proud even though all I did was come up with the name. :-)

ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
This year's Durango Double was vastly changed from the races I ran in 2012 (Saturday trail 25K, Sunday road half marathon), with a new race director (Brendan Trimboli, a local ultratalented ultrarunner), a new distance for the trail race (13.1 rather than 25K), and only a single distance option for each day. The courses, too, had been changed - for the better, in my opinion, as the trail race made a big loop over two ridges with instead of being a lollipop, and the road race finished generally downhill rather than uphill.

I knew I was not quite in the shape I'd been in two years ago, but hoped to have a good showing. I was also excited about two friends from the Midwest who I only knew via the Runner's World Online forums (and Facebook) coming to run the races with me. I'd posted a photo of one of our hikes on Facebook, and Katie, who runs a lot of ultras, commented that she needed to come out and visit Colorado sometime. The conversation then went something like this:

Ilana: Come out and visit me, yes! We can go running!
Katie: I don't know - I'm traveling to a lot of races this fall...
Ilana: The Durango Double is a trail half marathon on October 11th and a road half marathon on October 12th.
[two minutes pass]
Katie: Okay, I've registered.

She and her boyfriend Thom flew out on Thursday, bringing the rain with them. In fact it rained a lot on Friday, too, leaving me a bit worried about Saturday's trail race. The race director had already announced that due to severe erosion on part of the course caused by the flooding we'd had in late September, the trail course would be reversed (which turned out to be a good decision), but I was concerned about mud. (As readers of this journal know, I HATE MUD.)

Fortunately, things dried out overnight and in the morning - the race started at the relatively late hour of 9am - and when the metaphorical gun went off and we hit the trail, there were only a few damp patches. We cruised up the fairly flat trail along the river, cut across the road, and went up Horse Gulch, which had been rearranged by the recent flooding into a rocky mess. Still, going uphill was slow and therefore not too difficult.

Picture from Trails 2000's photo set just after the flood.

Racers near the top of Horse Gulch

I typically get into these trails from a different access point and so don't usually go up or down the Horse Gulch road, but once we turned up onto the Rocky Road trail, we were on familiar territory - but steep territory. The climb from the bottom of Horse Gulch to the high point of Raider Ridge is 870 feet in 2.6 miles, and I was not speedy, averaging 13:35 pace. I got moving a little faster along the top of the ridge, and then bombed down Flame Out back to Horse Gulch.

View from the top of Raider Ridge, taken with my crappy old cell phone on a training run last summer.

Then it was time to cross onto the Meadow Loop trail, which at this point is uphill but not particularly steep, and take it to the Telegraph Trail which is both uphill and steep. My pace, which had gotten back into 10-minute range, started slowing again. My only consolation was that the trail was in the shade of the hill, and as the day had already warmed significantly this was very welcome. (I was wearing a singlet and shorts, but there were quite a few people in tights and long sleeves. In fact, one woman wore not only tights and long sleeves but a jacket and wool hat, and to my surprise and dismay I could not catch her! I have no idea how she managed to run without spontaneously combusting!)

Why it's called Telegraph Trail.

In the 2012 Double's 25K, when we reached the top of Telegraph we went down the other side, down the Carbon Junction trail. We'd be doing that this year - eventually. But first, we had to climb to Patusky Point. This evil little side-trip is basically straight up a tilted rock slab, then back down; not only is it unrunnable unless you're Dakota Jones (a local elite ultrarunner, who won by an entirely ridiculous fourteen minutes), you pretty much want to be on belay the whole time. I scrambled up, went around the tree that marked the turn-around under the watchful eye of the course marshal, and then ran gingerly down. (Most people around me were walking down, so I made up a few places here, but they all passed me later.)

patusky hikers
The white rock slab to Patusky Point. The red circle shows where two people are going up.

Seriously: 170 feet in 0.15 miles, something like 40% grade. My ascent averaged 30 minute pace, but I descended at a blistering 16:42.

That got me to the 8 mile point of the course. Then it was downhill more or less all the way to the finish, which actually was pretty much 13.1 by my Garmin; I only managed about 10:45-11 minute pace here because of the terrain and my fatigue, and I was passed by a lot of people, only managing to pick off a few. I finished in 2:32:39, second in my age group (50-59) out of nineteen, but 16 minutes behind the winner who is seven years older than me, wow. I was 73/197 out of all runners. My average pace by Garmin was 11:50, nearly two minutes slower than in 2012, though this was a slightly harder course.

The next morning it was time to do it all over again, this time on the roads - or rather, on the paved rec trail along the Animas River. I was definitely hurting, particularly in my left hip (which had been bothering me since early in the week) and in my right hamstring (compensation?), but I remembered from my previous double that I had loosened up over the first few miles, and sure enough, this happened again and my run was mostly pain-free.

(Unlike for the trail course, I don't have any photos from the river path other than a few shots taken during a snowy winter. ETA: I have added one of the official photos from the road race!)

The course started with a short climb out of the parking lot and then a gentle descent down a closed road to a trail cut-off that took us to the river path at mile 2. Then it was generally uphill to just past 7, then generally downhill as we looped back through a neighborhood and rejoined the path.

My first two miles were 8:13 and 8:15 pace, but I must have placed myself poorly at the start because a lot of people passed me during this period. My third mile was my second slowest at 8:28 due to substantial uphill, but I passed a few people here, and kept passing people through the rest of the course. In fact nobody passed me after the second mile, other than one woman who zoomed past me in mile 6, then a few hundred yards later turned and ran back, and I realized she wasn't wearing a bib and thus was not in the race.

In contrast to the sunshine we'd had on Saturday, the sky was cloudy, which was awesome for me. I stayed mostly at around 8:20 pace, entirely limited by my legs; my heart rate was in my marathon zone rather than my half-marathon zone, which supports the theory of running the long run after a harder run the day before, to mimic the end of the marathon. (Also, it makes me wonder whether this run implies I'm in about 3:40 marathon shape...)

I felt pretty good coming down the trail in the last miles. I'd passed a good dozen people, and was feeling comfortable, though tired. When I passed the mile 12 marker, though, I started getting nervous. The first several mile markers had appeared well before I was expecting them, and then the mile 4 marker showed up just as my watch buzzed - perfect. After that, as is typical due to imperfect tangents, the mile markers were just a tiny bit late, but not enough to worry about.

But I know this path well, and so when I passed the mile 12 mark I knew that Animas Surgical Hospital, the start/finish staging area, was less than a mile off. Maybe we'd have to run uphill and around the building, which would not be a fun ending. But as soon as I crossed the bridge over the river, I could see the finish just to the right, and I crossed the line at 1:45:31, with 12.74 miles on my Garmin.

Despite the short course, I was pleased with my performance, as based on my average pace of 8:18 I would have finished a complete half in about 1:48:45. I came in 41st of 194 participants, a much better placement than my 73/197 for the trail race, which just goes to show what a lousy trail runner I am. Again, I came in second in AG (behind the same woman, argh, but at least not by as far as in the trail race!) out of 25 runners.

Instead of medals, finishers were given stainless steel logo cups - and those who did two races got one for each. (And we got to fill them with Ska beer afterward!) "Doublers" also received a cute logo hat:

doubler swag

There were 89 people who did both races, and interestingly more women (52) than men (37). I was 15th among the women doublers as measured by total combined time, and 32nd overall.

Whew! Now it's time to rest up...until this weekend's ultra!
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? )


Mar. 12th, 2014 08:06 pm
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
I wrote elsewhere that I only read "running" blogs that were actually not entirely about running - that were my friends' journals with stories about their lives, running and otherwise - and then I looked at my own journal and um, all about running. Which is probably why I have neglected to update in a month - it's even boring ME.

So, how about a mini-review of the Durango Independent Film Festival that was last weekend?

Mostly environmental and adventure-themed documentaries. )

Anyway, such fun, many movies, wow.

ETA review of People of a Feather, because, how could I have forgotten that? It was really good.
ilanarama: me on a bike on the White Rim trail (biking)

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 in Escalante (yatta!)
Short version: I ran the Steamworks Half Marathon this morning and made most of the goals I listed in my last post - not only did I come in under 1:40, I ran a 1:38:10, my second-best time ever, on a hillier course at higher elevation than my PR from 2+ years ago, so I'm happy. I did not win my age group, but I came in second - this small race (300 runners) has 10-year AGs, and the woman who beat me by a little more than one minute just turned 40; I'm 48. So there. And I got this cool trophy:


The one on the left is the finisher's glass everyone gets when they cross the finish line, and the one on the right is my trophy. So now I can drink twice as much! Speaking of, I also got a $10 gift card to one of the local coffee shops. Not that I'm planning on drinking coffee out of these. (Hint: Steamworks, the title sponsor of this race, is a brewpub.)

Not too gory details )

I wasn't expecting a PR, so I'm not disappointed I didn't get one. This is still my second fastest half time by two minutes, and more than six minutes faster than the last time I ran this course three years ago. I think with more training and/or a flatter, lower-elevation course I can get down to the 1:35 range.

Ilana with Kevin O'Brien after the Steamworks Half 2012

Here I am with Kevin, a friend who lives in Paonia and came down for the race. He has run this race three times now, and ran a 1:28, good for first place in his age group!
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
Britt left on a river trip on Thursday afternoon - he'll be back later tonight - and so I had the weekend to myself. Which I kind of like. (I could have gone on the river trip, but 1) I didn't want to take a day off work, because I'm quite busy, 2) it was a harder trip than I feel prepared for at the moment, as we haven't taken the boats out yet, 3) I'm really focused on my half marathon in 3 weeks and didn't want to miss 3 days of running, 4) the group of people wasn't one I know other than one person - so I opted out.) What I did instead:

Friday: I worked. And I made mint chocolate chip ice cream. And I wrote, and I read.

Saturday: I went trail running early in the morning, then went to the Farmer's Market (too late, alas, for the greens; I bought eggs and cheese and spring onions), then washed some of our windows. In the afternoon I went on a mountain bike ride (and have the scrapes to prove it, alas), and then, um, I pigged out on some of yesterday's ice cream. I did three loads of laundry. And then I wrote and read and goofed off on the net in the evening.

Sunday: Long run (14 miles, nice and slow and easy), followed by Taste of Durango; it's the festival season now, so pretty much every weekend Main Ave. is closed down for something. This is a benefit for the soup kitchen in which all the local restaurants and breweries have booths where you can buy little portions of something (food or drink) for $1-$6. There was music by a local bluegrass band, Waiting on Trial who were quite frankly AWESOME and I was amazed I hadn't heard of them before. Then I went home and washed more windows (go me!) and then got a wild hair to buy some plants and put them in our yard, so I did that (we'll see if the tomatoes survive the deer; I'm guessing they won't), and mowed the lawn for good measure.

Now it's Sunday night. I watched the partial solar eclipse with a pinhole; I thought about driving to where it would be annular, about 90 minutes away, but decided to just sit on the patio with ice cream and hang out. I guess I'll pour myself another glass of wine and read some more. And tomorrow is Monday.
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: a mountain (mountain)
I spent last Thursday night at a county planning commission meeting, which started at 6pm and ended at about 10:45, and I was there for the whole thing, and...I wasn't bored. Not a bit. Which is weird, because in general, I hate meetings. But this one was interesting and infuriating, in turns.

I went because, at the monthly meeting of the county Democratic party (which I didn't attend, because I hate meetings, but Britt did, because he's on the executive committee) a couple people mentioned that the new county comprehensive plan (a policy document which outlines growth and resource management guidelines for the next twenty years) was being reviewed in several-chapter chunks by the planning commission, and the Tea Party types were showing up en masse and effectively drowning out the few liberal voices during the public comment period.

The comp plan has been in process for nearly two years, and I attended one of the public meetings and answered a survey on it; and anyway, when the draft plan was put up on the county website, I liked what I saw, so I figured I'd just go and give my "I like this plan!" opinion, to counter the anti-progressive types.

Before the part of the meeting that would deal with chapters 5-7 of the comprehensive plan, the planning commission had its regular business. Some people who knew this deliberately showed up late, and others were visibly bored (reading ebooks or texting), but I enjoyed it: at worst it seemed like democracy at work, and at best it was better than a movie made from a John Grisham novel.

The planning commission is a board of five county residents appointed by the county commissioners. Typically what happens is that the county staff presents a petition by someone, and their findings and recommendations; the petitioner speaks, the public is allowed to speak, and the board asks questions at each step. Finally they discuss the petition and vote on whether to allow or disallow it, and any conditions they will impose.

For the most part, this went quickly and smoothly...but then came the John Grisham novel. )

Finally, at nearly 8pm, the comp plan review began. And I was flabbergasted! I had thought that they would take citizen input first, and then, based on that, evaluate the plan. But instead the planning commissioners went through the assigned chapters and hacked the plan to bits. That is, they removed everything that a liberal, such as me, would approve of, and occasionally inserted language asserting the primacy of property rights, business owners, and farmers and ranchers, and constantly complained about how the government is overreaching and ought to be smacked down.

Whatta bunch of tea-brains. )

Here is the letter to the editor I wrote the next day: )

I'm going to miss the next meeting - next Thursday - because I'm going to be out of town. (I'm going to ECUADOR! Whee!) But I've been reviewing the draft plan chapters that will be covered then, and sending an email to the county planner, who hopefully will pass it on to the planning commission. (The planning commission chair said that they accept public comment by email, but there's no obvious place to send it, alas.) I've put the final two meetings on my calendar.

I always hated meetings. They're boring. Except somehow this one wasn't. And I imagine the next ones won't be, either.

At this rate, I'm gonna end up applying for a seat on one of the county citizen boards. Ulp.

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.
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
I took my cat in to the vet the other day for her annual exam and shots. The tech took her temperature and weighed her: "Nine point one five pounds," she announced, and I was a bit bemused that the scale weighed to such a level of precision, but figured with smaller animals it made sense. Then one of the vets (or a woman I presumed was the vet; fortunately Kitty hasn't had a lot of emergencies, so I don't really know the staff there) came in and looked at the paperwork. "Nine point one five pounds, and she was nine point two last year, so she's even lost a little weight, good."

(I know that nine or ten pounds doesn't sound like a particularly heavy cat, but she's a tiny thing with short legs and a stumpy tail. She's small and round, and actually, quite adorable. But she is most definitely overweight.)

I frowned. I didn't think she'd lost weight. I went over to the scale and pressed my hand on it, watching the numbers climb. And I noticed the decimal turnover: 5.8, 5.9, 5.10, 5.11...to 5.15 and then 6. "I think the tech misread the scale," I said. "It's not in fractions, it's in pounds and ounces. She's nine pounds fifteen ounces, just under ten pounds, so she's gained weight."

"No, it's nine point one five, see? There's a chart on the side so you can convert to ounces."

"But see, it's already in ounces." I showed her how the reading changed as I pressed my hand on the scale, how it was only logical if it was pounds and ounces and not pounds and fractions.

"But there's a chart to convert, see? Point one five pounds is, would be, let's see, point nine four ounces. And anyway, the important thing is that her weight is almost the same, nine point two to nine point one five."

At this point I gave up.
ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
This morning, when I turned the corner onto our block at the end of my run, I saw a policeman walking with my husband around the corner of the house into the alley. This immediately made me nervous, as it would anyone. But when I got up to the alley and saw the policeman getting back on his motorcycle, and my husband getting into our pickup truck, I immediately guessed what had happened.

We've known Robin, who owns (and rents out) the house across the alley from us, for some time. She used to be active in the local Democratic party, but she moved to another county (some 350 miles from here) a couple of years ago, so we haven't seen much of her. The thing about Robin is - well, you know the classic definition of the optimist and the pessimist? With Robin, not only is the glass half-empty, it's FILLED with POISON because SOMEONE is out to GET HER. She's got to be the angriest person I've ever met. Pretty much every year we'd see her putting out the "For Rent" sign and cleaning up the house, and she'd come over and tell us about how the last tenant had seemed so nice but had SCREWED her and LIED to her and CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS SHIT THEY PUT ME THROUGH? For a while she stopped renting it and lived it it herself, with her, I dunno, 5 cats and 3 dogs, and then her conversation stopped being about her scumbag ex-tenants and was about her scumbag ex-husband and ex-coworkers, and how much she hated this town, and wanted to move back to the place she used to live. (When she finally did move, and came back to pick up some more of her stuff from the garage out back of her house, she complained about how much she hated the place she was living now.)

When she moved, she rented to a guy who, as it turned out, we actually knew. And like. And all was cool. There's a parking area out in back of the house, but he sold his second car because he was laid off and needed the money, and so since he wasn't using it (he preferred to part in front) we asked if we could park our pickup way at the back of that parking area - there'd still be room for his pickup, plus another car - and he said sure, why not?

Do you see where this is going? One day this spring Robin happened to be in town, saw our pickup in HER PARKING AREA, and went ballistic. She knocked on our door and gave my husband hell for parking there, so he moved our pickup for a week or so, until he figured she was safely out of the area, and then started parking there again. Well, apparently, today she found out. And called the cops. The cop was, apparently, apologetic, and agreed that the fact that the current tenant had given us permission was a perfectly legitimate reason for us to be parking there, but it is, alas, still her property, and therefore, she has a right to go ballistic. So I guess we are on her ENEMIES LIST. Along with, I dunno. THE REST OF THE WORLD.

The house, by the way, has been for sale ever since we have lived here. (Actually, since before we moved here - we had in fact looked at it first, but felt it was in too poor shape for the money she was asking then. Now, of course, the price is even higher.) I live for the day when she sells it to someone - anyone - and she is out of our lives for good.

In entirely non-related news, in a couple of hours I'm heading out of town, solo, in the Sportsmobile, headed for St. George, Utah, to run a marathon. Woo!
ilanarama: me in my raft (rafting)
(But if you're on LJ you'll have to go to Dreamwidth to see it, because I don't have the icon slots on LJ, and am probably going to eventually delete all my icons but one there anyway. Except not right now, because I'm at the CESM workshop in Breckenridge on an incredibly slow and creaky internet connection, and I'm trying to get work done, and neither my brain nor my computer can cope with too much multitasking at the moment.)

On Saturday afternoon Britt and I put together the bits of the Animas River we have rafted individually in the past couple of weeks, starting at the 32nd St. put-in (actually a bit upstream of it) and taking out at the new bridge by Home Depot - about 7 miles. This is a little far to do a bicycle shuttle, but we talked our friends Doug and Anne into coming with us in their tandem duckie (inflatable kayak) so we had an actual car shuttle.

It was utterly awesome. The thing about the river through town is that for the first part it doesn't actually go along a road, just along the rec path and through parks, and for the second part it's way below the highway, so it's like - well, not exactly a wilderness experience, but definitely a recreational rather than an urban feel. On our previous trips we'd gone on weekday afternoons and had been surrounded by outfitters' rafts full of tourists, and locals out for a short ride, but maybe the outfitters were having a slow weekend and the locals were all doing other things because we only saw a few other boaters. Mostly people were playing on the banks with their dogs - as Britt said, "Half the people out on the river today are dogs."

We tied up about two miles down the river at Rotary Park where our first ever Pridefest was going full swing and had a beer with some friends (we'd promised one friend, who is the mainstay of the local PFLAG, that we'd show up) and then floated downriver, sobering up in time to go through the biggest set of rapids on this run. The first time I did this section was last Wednesday, and Smelter Rapid knocked me sideways and turned me around so I went through Corner Pocket Rapid backwards. Oops? (At least I didn't fall out or flip!) But this time I made it through in the approved forwards manner, although I slid over rather than next to one of the rocks. I'll get it eventually.

I bumped a few more rocks going through the next bit, right in front of the only other boaters we saw. Sigh. But then we pulled out at a large island for cocktail hour, and all embarrassment was soon forgotten; we put out camp chairs and poured gin and tonics and nibbled on cheese and crackers and grapes and other goodies. The island sits behind the shopping mall on one side of the river and the old road to town on the other, but from where we were it was almost like being in the wilderness.

Then we navigated our way through the rocky shallows for another couple of miles to the takeout - the river's unusually low for this time of year, and it's tricky at this water level - pulled the boats out and piled them on our truck. Another beautiful day on the river!

These photos are actually from Wednesday's run, but they'll give you an idea of what it's like. )
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)
The park where I've been doing most of my mountain biking lately is called Horse Gulch - it's a big hunk of city and private land on the southeast side of town. (Incidentally, this is also where I do my trail running - when I can run trails!) It's a very high desert-y climate, rocks and sand and scrub, but it's particularly nice in the spring because of the wildflowers.

bluebonnet in Horse Gulch meadow

I think this is bluebonnet, a kind of lupine. Phlox and paintbrush... )
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
Back in autumn of 2006, Britt and I ripped out the east side of our front yard (where the grass never grew too well, as there's a juniper tree and it's quite shaded) and put in a few plant terraces and a tiny patio. (A few photos of the process are on Flickr under my landscaping tag.) I have always wanted to put a little bistro table and chair set there, but the round tuit was elusive - plus, I never found exactly what I wanted...until now!

patio furniture

Isn't it pretty? And how I got it is yet another one of my small-town stories: I was walking to the natural foods coop (I call it a "grocery hike" - it's not quite a mile, and I figure I get some good exercise, especially on the way back with my backpack full of food) and passed by a consignment shop, Reruns. During the warm months they often have outdoor furniture displayed on their lawn, and there it was. I went inside, asked the woman at the register if I could write a check right now, and come pick it up the next day since I was just walking.

"Where do you live?"

"Up on 13th Street, by Mason Park."

"Oh, that's on my way home. If you help me load it up in my car, I'll drop it off when I close up tonight."

So we loaded it into her minivan, and then I went on my way to finish my grocery shopping, and that evening she came by and we set it up on my patio! And not only did she not charge me for delivery, she took off $10, for no apparent reason. (Other than to totally cement my conviction that this is a place I will shop in the future!)

I had my evening beer on it last night! Yay!
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: a mountain (mountain)
I was cleaning off my desk (for, er, rather liberally interpreted values of "cleaning off") this weekend, and I found the little card from the county clerk's office (they handle vehicle registration here) that I was supposed to have sent in with the check I sent in last Friday to renew my license plates, except that apparently I forgot to stick it into the envelope. I didn't write the plate number or anything else on the check. So yesterday I called the county clerk's office in a panic to ask what I needed to do.

They transferred me to a cashier. I gave my name and explained my problem.

"That's the 2001 Ford van, right? No big deal, we figured it out already and your sticker's in the mail." (And it was in my mailbox that afternoon, yay!)

I love living in a place small enough (with county workers unbusy enough) that when the county clerk's office gets a random check they look you up in their records and figure out what it was that you were intending to pay!
ilanarama: Mountain can has santa hat! (mountain santa)
Firstly, GIP. Because although I do not so much do the Santa hat icon thing, when [personal profile] blnchflr offered to santa-hattify icons (of her choice) I asked for one, and, hee! Mountain can has Santa hat!

Second, winter has come to Durango, and I know you all must be wondering how I am managing to keep up my arduous running schedule. And well you may ask, because frankly this is the first year I've ever planned on seriously running through the winter (as opposed to running occasionally when it's nice). The answer: screwshoes.

Kitty approves of screwshoes! )

I made them last month, but yesterday and today were the first times I have actually run in them. And they do the trick! They feel really secure even on that kind of packed snow which has melted a little and hardened into ice, although I have not yet had to run across glare ice which I suspect might be trickier. They feel just like regular shoes on a thin layer of packed snow, although they clatter and feel a little heavy and awkward on bare pavement. In unpacked snow (more than 2-3 inches) it feels kind of like running through sand. They do tend to accumulate lumps of snow in the gap under the heel.

Of course there are other aspects of winter that I'm going to have to get used to. Running in yesterday's light snowfall was kind of fun, and I actually overheated a little under my jacket, but I could tell my gloves and socks wouldn't hold out for much longer than the hour and twenty minutes or so I was running before getting wet and cold. Today I headed out when the snow had apparently stopped and the sun was feebly shining - except about 2/3 through the run it went from 0 to blizzard in about 60 seconds, and whoa, sideways snow makes your face cold and fogs up your glasses. Fortunately there were only a couple of spots on my route exposed to the wind, and I didn't have that much farther to go, anyway.

Today I brought a camera with me )


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

April 2019

14 151617181920

My running PRs:

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

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



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