Tuesday, December 29, 2009

High Running

For Christmas 2009 the man and I decided to visit his grandparents in New Mexico - as well as meet up with his parental units who were visiting from CA. It was a torturing 13 hour drive to get there - man was not designed to be held captive in a motorized hunk of steel for so long! Anyway, we arrived at around 7:00pm on the 20th, just in time for some yummy home made tamales, visiting, then bed. Monday we got up and I needed to run - just so happens Brady's dad is a runner so we headed out for a 6 mile jaunt. The weather was great - cool and brisk - I was dressed appropriately and was running a slow and steady pace. One problem - I couldn't breathe??? Turns out that the variance in elevation was enough to set me back a bit (1,000 ft. in MO vs. 4,700 ft. in La Luz, NM). Regardless we got in about a 7 mile out and back run. We had
gradual downhill on the way out which of course meant gradual uphill on the way back, but it was good. I felt like I had done something when we finished.After the run we showered up, went to visit his grandparents cabin in the mountains, did some shopping in CloudCroft, then went to White Sands where we acted like kids and jumped, slid, ran, and fell down the huge white dunes. I seriously wished we would have had more time there - it was more impressive than I had anticipated!

Day 2 we decided on a hike at Oliver Lee State Park - the Dog Canyon trail. Biking was determined to be the best mode of transportation to the trail head (I was still a bit anti-car at this point!). It was a 20 mile ride at a slight incline for most of it. Overall it was good - it felt like we were going slow, but my quads were toasted a bit by the end. We met his parents and uncle at the trail head, ate a bite, changed clothes and headed out. It was a beautiful hike with vast changes in vegetation as you climbed. It was only around 6 mile round trip, but it had a lot of elevation change to make for a semi-challenging hill walk for us low-landers.

Day 3 Brady's dad, Duane and I had decided we would go for a run DOWN the mountain. Brady volunteered to drive us out and up 6 miles out so that we could run back in for a change of pace (literally). That morning we woke up to snow in the valley! Craziness really - who knew we'd see snow in the valley of New Mexico. I run in snow in MO so we decided we'd head on out and do the run. By the time we got out and up to the 6 mile mark the roads had gotten a bit crappy, but they weren't slick so we went for it. The snow was still coming down - the mountain was already covered in white, the weather was brisk and we were out running - AWESOME! I didn't know it until after the run, but we did the first 4 miles in 31 minutes - that's a 7:45 pace (compared to my normal 9's - that's super fast - lol!). After 4 miles is where we hit the flat land and I was tired, I know I slowed up for the 5th mile, but I tried to really kick it in at the end and it must have worked a little because we still finished in 48 minutes - a solid 8 minute mile - still pretty dang good for me!

On a completely non-running note, we followed up this fantastic run with a trip to some local wineries - they ended up being better than anticipated (New Mexico wine vs. say Napa or Sonoma??) and we ended up buying a couple cases of mix and match.

Day 4 was an easy 3 mile recovery - my quads felt like I had run a marathon from all the pounding they took down the hill.

Day 6 (Christmas Day) was skiing - as toasted as my quads were the day before running wasn't in my cards pre-skiing. I think the skiing was enough exercise for that day. I'm not a natural skier by any stretch, but I ended up being glad we got out there to hit the slopes! It did make some muscles sore that I didn't really know I had, but sometimes that's a good thing.

Yep - I am still snow plowing a bit, but at least I had cute new chartreuse Body Glove ski pants! :-)

Now we are back in MO and the challenge is keeping up with the running and biking with these snow packed streets - we'll see!
Till next time - run on!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter runs and rides

It's pretty dang chilly outside these days. My body is slowly getting used to it though. By around March I'll have the hang of it again! :-)

Some fun runs as of late included a Saturday run with Brooke, a Sunday run with Brooke and kids, and a SWAT run through the lights last night.

Saturday I was set to run 10 - not because I'm training for anything, just because and that's kind of fun in itself. I ran 2 miles to Brooke's house then we took off for our 6 miles. We were on our last two miles back to her place when it started spitting rain on us and from the look ahead of us it was getting ready to start raining much harder. We decided we would head back towards my house in the interest of health (cold + windy + wet = sick). Once we got to my house it had basically stopped so we looped around the courthouse so Brooke could get in her six and that put me at 8. I decided to go ahead and stop so I could drive her home and since I'm not training I can do that without guilt! :-)

Sunday I decided I would try to make up for my shortage a bit. The kids & Brady were in tow (and on bikes) while I ran. We ran a mile to meet up with Brooke and Michael (on his bike). From there we ran a loop and then back to Brooke and Michael's house for her 4 (actually 4.25). Then, we headed the 2 miles back home (6.25 miles total). It was fun, the kids sped up so I tried to keep up with them. They would leave me going down hills, but they would wait at the stop signs for me to catch up. I have to think we were quite a sight on the streets of Carthage. Picture a runner girl (me), being paced by a man (Brady) and boy (Kobe) on a tandem and two kiddos (Peyton & Haydon) on mountain bikes - pretty hilarious.

Last night was the 2nd annual SWAT run through the lights. We had a good turn out. Brooke and I wore bells on our shoes to liven it up a bit. There was a lot of chatter and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. We ran through the light display at the Vietnamese college then around the square and back to the Y - 5.5 miles in the brisk night air. It felt great.

Update on biking - the day the thermometer said 12 degrees, feels like 2 Brady and I both opted for the heat of the car. Other than that I have continued to ride. I even rode to/from the Y last night for the run. After sweating a bit on the run the ride home was chilly, but tolerable. I'm still rocking the cross bike though (too lazy to dig the hybrid out - really just haven't had time). I think I look pretty funny on a Bianchi cross bike in my black, 3-1/2" heel dress boots, but it works!
Run on, ride on!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Biking Transport continues

It's day 3 of riding my bike to work. Day 1 was awesome weather. Day 2 was pretty dang cold and the sprinkles on my way home didn't help. Day 3 (today) was exhilaratingly cold. It's one of those cold, but clear days. One of the things that made it a good ride in was riding by the junior high and hearing a girl say 'bikes are cool'. It seemed a sincere statement and not the sarcastic dribble I would have expected had the high school still been there.

I think the best way to get kids interested in biking and running as a way of life is by doing and showing them that it can be done. I love it when a family drives past me while I'm running and the little kids in the back seat smile and stare. I'm hoping they are thinking it's something they would like to do. It's also pretty fun when you're out on a group road ride, decked out in gear (or as decked out as I get - hehe) and kids get excited and wave and yell. Or when kids see you out on the trails and drool over your bike (this doesn't happen to me as much, but I've seen it - lol).

Anyway, I'm still planning to keep up this riding to and from work - as long as it's not below freezing AND raining/sleeting/snowing. Dodging cars in the short commute is still aggravating (for me and them I assume), but it's getting better. I've found better paths to take to help avoid most of the real ruckus. I saw another guy decked out in coat, gloves, backpack biking to (I assume) work or school when I walked out my door today so that was inspiring - Go Carthage!! ;-)
A quick side note though - I wonder how many people think I'm riding too work because I've lost my license or my car is broke down rather than just doing it for the enjoyment of it?? That's probably a whole other blog...

The main thing I plan to change is my bike - I've been riding my cross bike since it's the most accessible and it allows me to make detours through the park. It's great except for the pedals - if you don't clip in they are just too small to be very functional - especially in dress boots/shoes. Not too mention it looks a little funny riding it in work clothes. I think it's time to break out my Specialized hybrid - it's more of a touring/commuter bike and it has cages. I'll give it a go and see what happens.

Running is also back in my life (post-vacation) - I was able to run 4 on Tuesday and 6 last night with Brooke. So nice to have a running friend!! Not sure if I'll run tonight or tomorrow, but Saturday for sure - hopefully 10 if things go well (fingers crossed!).

Run on, bike on!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Feeling the need to run

I do feel the need - not to run away this time - just to run. I haven't run (other than some happy frolics) since before vacation.
Not to say that I've been sedentary - once I finish my travel blog on our trip to Ireland you will be able to see specifically how non sedentary. Walking and some pretty awesome hiking was a big part of the last ten days. Just a few teaser highlights:

Trek to the top of Slieve Croob in the Dromara Hills (534m).
Although not a flattering picture of me, this helps to illustrate how extremely windy this walk proved too be. We were close to the top and it was taking effort to move one foot in front of the other. We were laughing hysterically at this point!

Spinc & Glenealo Valley trail at Glendalough (9km, 380m)

At this point we weren't even close to making it up the 600+ wooden steps that led to the top - if you look to the back and center of this shot you can kind of make out the trail that we took around the lakes.

I'm standing next to the path in this shot - we had to step off to let some other trekkers pass - the path in this section was made of two railroad timbers covered with chicken wire. We were close to the highest point.

This is a portion of the decent into the Glenealo Valley.

The sign says it all - and since you may or may not be able to read it - 'Dangerous Cliffs Ahead!'.

Awesome wood bridge.

Continuing down the trail - it continues for a while like this and then turns to rock.

Seriously an awesome trail. We had other hikes and many other walks, but those just stand out right now. As I sort through pics I'll probably have more posts specifically on our hikes (or hill walks as they call it).

But, like I said now I need to run - I intend to do just that tonight after work.

On a side note, after starting to read the book 'Pedaling Revolution' and seeing all the bikers in Ireland and Holland (on our brief stopover there) I realized what a slacker I've been by not biking too work. I made a commitment in my mind then to do it and today I stuck too that. With the weather getting colder we'll see how long this resolution lasts, but for now I'm on the bandwagon.

Run on, bike on!! :-)