Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Week 4: DIYS Summer 100 Challenge

Day 22. Monday, June 17th
I am just loving these mountains. So, so beautiful. I had this goal of running my way from California to Michigan, and seeing as all I have done so far was ride my bike a measly 30 minutes in Utah, I figured today is the day. Only problem is--we are in the mountains. There is NOTHING that is remotely flat, ugggg. I knew the road up to our cabin was rather steep, so I decided to run the other way on the dirt road.

Now let me say, running in the Rocky Mountains at 8,000 feet is literally breath taking. Yes, I was running up a mountain, but the air is thin. I could only run 2.63 miles/33:06 minutes. The climb was 336 feet. Very gratifying. When I got back Denise was cooking a wonderful dinner. I took a quick bath in a small creek, ate a wonderful dinner and went to bed with a huge smile on my face. xoxoxxo


Day 23. Tuesday, June 18th
It's time to begin, isn't it?
I get a little bit bigger, but then I'll admit
I'm just the same as I was
Now don't you understand
That I'm never changing who I am

This has so become my song. I heard it before I left California and it came on during my run yesterday. After Taylor died I stopped listening to music ~ for years. It has only been recently that I have started listening again. I am really enjoying some of the new music out right now.

In any case, packing up to leave Colorado. It has been fabulous but we gotta get into Michigan. I have my first triathlon Sunday with Deb. Granted it's a mini-tri, but I am excited to do this too.

War Axe State Recreational Area, Shelton, NE 
So back in the car to carry on, except now I have a road trip buddy and someone who can testify to Blanca being a nutcase. As we left the Rockies behind, the landscape flattened out and became, well, flat. We stopped in North Platte, Nebraska for lunch--Mexican food--hahahaha. The waiter was terribly rude to us. Denise thinks he is homophobic. I am still trying to figure that one out. Which of us looks gay? Her? Me?

Back in the car, heading for some teepee for the night (yes, she booked us into a teepee) we agreed to get a hotel. Denise found us one in Lincoln and trust me, once there, we almost left. It was nothing to write home about, let me tell you, but it was better than the hotel I stayed in in Utah. We had dinner at The Outback, so that was good, and watched a few more episodes of Merlin and then called it a night.

Estes Park, CO to Lincoln, NE ~500 miles.

Day 24. Wednesday, June 19th
Since we had absolutely no love for this hotel, we packed up and found a Starbucks. After a few good cups of coffee we headed out--out of Nebraska, land of stink (cows, I think) and into Iowa.

Now Iowa is also very flat. In fact, it is always strange for me to not be able to see any mountains. But trust me, there are no mountains to be seen anywhere. Just green and flat and some rolling hills and big, big sky. On a whim we decided to stop at a winery tucked in the lush green hills just off the road. According to Denise, the wine was nothing to write home about, but it was nice to get out of the car for a bit.

Our hotel for the night was on the Mississippi River on the Iowa side. Denise was really starting to doubt Blanca as she led us to our hotel, but Blanca took not one wrong turn. We were floored by how fabulous this hotel was. Pristine. Fabulous. This was our view out our window. I was surprised that the Mississippi wasn't wider, but we did see a barge on it during dinner. And speaking of dinner, it was great! Sneaky Pete's. Casual attire a must. If you wear a tie, they cut it off and hang it off the rafters. Trust me, the rafters are full.

Holiday Inn Express Le Claire Riverfront-Davenport
1201 Canal Shore Drive, Le Claire IA
Lincoln, NE to Le Claire, IA ~365 miles.

Day 25. Thursday, June 20th
Last day of driving. We would be in Munith by nightfall. As soon as we left the hotel we were crossing the Mississippi river and in Illinois, the land of Lincoln. Illinois was uneventful as was our very quick jaunt through Indiana and then here we were. Michigan. We hit the visitors center, which was really nice and climbed back in the car for the few more hours it would take to get Munith.

Pulling into the driveway was like coming home for me. I could hear the dogs barking, I knew Deb would be home shortly. Denise and I had driven 1,000 miles together and not killed each other, life was good.

Was so good to see Deb and to just sit and chat and just be, like it had never been six months since we had all been together, in this room, with these dogs, and cats, oh, and no hot water. The water heater had gone out at some point while we were driving. oh well. All is good.

LeClaire, IA to Munith, MI 361 miles.

Day 26. Friday, June 21st
So nice to be here in Michigan. I can not articulate how really wonderful it is for me to be here. I love the green. I love the hills. I love how laid back it is. I love Deb and Denise and Nico and Tilly and Sara-tippy and Mythos and Finnigan and all the out door cats.  I laced up my shoes and took off for my first Michigan run. My last run was Monday, at 8,000 feet in the Rockies and now here I was in the 90 degree heat with the humidity at 84%. Bring it on.

Run on Sayers to Plum
3.58 miles/40.56 minutes

Day 27. Saturday, June 22nd
So nice to wake up in Michigan . Makes my heart happy. Had a wonderful breakfast via Denise and Deb and I headed off to the lake for a morning swim at Portage Lake, where we would be swimming tomorrow for the TriGoddessTri Sprint (the mini for both of us). Deb has done this race five times in this lake and is the inspiration for me to sign up for this.

We had a fabulous swim and then returned later to pick up our registration packets (this lake is bike riding distance from their house). We are carbing up and getting to bed early. Tomorrow is the big day.

Day 28. Sunday, June 23rd
Triathlon Day.

Deb, Tiffany and Me
Such a thrill. The entire experience. My swimming felt horrendous. I started off way too fast and lost my breath and could never get it back. Rolled onto my back several times. Could not get on top of it. The bike ride was great despite the hills. The run was a challenge. I did not want to stop to catch my breath, but just had too. However, at the very end, with the finish line in sight, I heard footsteps behind me, catching me and with everything I had I pounded out that finish ahead of her.

When we all finished, Deb, Tiffany and I met up with Denise and Bess for a picnic breakfast in the park. The food was wonderful. The company was great. And I did my first Tri!

Loved it.  Great, great experience. Definitely doing this again.

Swim 14:47; rank 6
Transition to the bikes 2:17; rank 44
Bike 41:17; rank 2
Transition to the run 1:35; rank 86
Run 16:14; rank 5
Total Time: 1:16:12
Age Group: 3rd place/17 women
Overall place: 38th/124 women
Tri Goddess Tri Mini Sprint 2013 Results

My very first podium finish. 3rd place in my age division. So, so exciting.

1.27 miles/15.59 minutes (via Endomondo)


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Week 3: DIYS Summer 100 Challenge

Day 15. Monday, June 10th
Gym Day. Still really sore, but I need the routine. Started out with 10 minutes on the row machine nice and easy (1040 meters). Did all my arms and abs, same weights, no modifications. Then hit the pool. I really love the water. It is a treat to swim. First 10 laps, warm-up: 6:14. Then my regular 50 laps--no speed laps though. My legs are really sore. Last 10 laps, warm-down: 5:34, which is my best time yet. Not sure how that works. I feel so tired by then.... 70 laps done.

Day 16 Tuesday, June 11th
Running day. ugggg. It is such a mental challenge to run. First I have to put on all the appropriate clothes. In the summer: compression shorts, sports bra, running top. Then the shoes. And it never fails. I am fully dressed, hair up, teeth brushed and I realize I forgot to put on the compression calf sleeves. Off come the shoes, on go the sleeves, back on go the shoes..... uggg.

Took off running on my oh so sore legs. Music blasting. Great song. but then, the same great song came on again. Had to fiddle to get it to shuffle. New song. Still moving forward. New song repeats again. GRRRRRRR. Have to pull out the ipod again. It's hot. I'm frustrated. My legs hurt. Fix it, so I think. New song #3. It ends and on comes same new song #3. Fuck this. I stop in the shade. Turn off Endomondo and realize that I have the repeat button pressed. Problem solved. My total stop time, maybe 45 seconds, but man, that was the worst mile-point-something I ever ran. Managed to run 3.08mi/35:34. Slow. Pisser. First mile: 11:31. Second mile: 12:14 (hard, hot and tired). Third mile: 10:54. Last .08: 01:10. But it's done.

Came home and put the bike carrier together. This was NOT an easy feat. Step one: Open the hitch to 180 degrees. Mind you, that thing weights 50#s. For the life of me I could not get this thing open. I stepped on the one bar and pulled. I sat and yanked. I sat on it and pushed it with my feet. I stood up and held it between my feet and pulled. 20 minutes later I was in a complete sweat. So after staring at it and taking all the nuts and bolts in, it occurred to me to loosen the 4 bolts of the mechanism (directions did not say to do this). I stood up and gave it another yank and landed 20 feet behind me....

It is done now, and on the car, ready to go.


Day 17. Wednesday, June 12th
Getting ready to be gone for 5 weeks is a bit overwhelming. Thank goddess I have found an outlet in exercise. I hit the gym with a vengeance. Row machine warm-up, 10 minutes, 1220 meters. All arms and abs, no modifications. 70 laps in the pool. 1st 10 laps: 5:48. Last 10 laps: 5:29. It always surprises me that my last 10 laps are faster than my first 10. Maybe there is a purpose to warming-up?

Day 18. Thursday, June 13th
Starting to become totally overwhelmed with the tasks I need to do to leave tomorrow. Pay all bills. Clean the barn, pack the car, trust that all my animals will be taken care of. Worry a bit about Hayley. What's a girl to do? A 6-mile trail run, that's what.

I put Mohegan in the truck and turned it on to get the gate. Or rather, tried to turn it on. Truck was dead. FUCK. I did not plan on this. Took the dog out of the car, hooked up the charger, set a timer to switch the cables after 45 minutes and came in and paid the bills.

Two hours later we were off. I took off for the fire road off Spunky.  The fire road is where this all began for me in December of 2011. It is a hard dirt road. Starts off straight up a hill, then down the backside and then up, up, up for 2 1/2 miles. I start at 3403 feet and end up at 4298. This is still really hard for me. I run all the down hills (so down the backside of hill one) and push up the next mile the best I can. After than, keeping my feet in forward motion for miles 1 1/2 to 3 is the best I can do. I feel like I am huffing and puffing really loudly. But I realized today, it must not be that loud. At about 2.6 miles, Mohegan whiplashed me (she is tied around my waist). I looked up as my head was jerked forward just in time to see the biggest deer I have ever seen about 20 feet from us. She saw Mo as I saw her. Before I could even let out an ohhhhhhhh, she was off and running in the bush and Mo was determined to catch her. I let Mo pull me up the hill a bit until she realized the chase was over.

My goal today was 6 miles in 1:40 (the last time I did this trail run with Mo we did it in 1:45). As absolutely exhausted I was, we shaved off 14 minutes. So happy.

TOTAL MILES TODAY: 6.04/1:31:02

Day 19. Friday, June 14th
My bags are packed and I'm ready to go.....I have said my goodbyes to all of my animals and now I need to see my Maya Bug and hit the gym and then my journey to Michigan begins.

*560 miles later, Richfield, Utah

Well, I ditched the gym after spending too much time with my Maya Bug. I left Santa Clarita about 10 a.m. and headed out. Drove through Vegas, all of Nevada, through the Virgin Gorge (NW corner of Arizona]) and into Utah. Somewhere in Utah the earth turned red and then the world started to hint at green. Yay.

Blanca, my car's navigational device, became very confused in Richmond, my stop for the night. After traveling the back roads of this tiny town and finally sent in the right direction by two very young boys taking down flags from the telephone poles for the night, I found my not-so-nice hotel. Bleh. I decided to jump on my bike to wind down. Didn't go far before I realized the street I was on turned into a highway very quickly. Only made it 6.53 miles before it started to get dark. It was a good use of 30 minutes. Good night from Utah.

Day 20. Saturday, June 15th
Got up in Utah and headed to Colorado. There is some beautiful landscape in this part of Utah, specifically the Salt Wash Area. Turned off the highway to check this out. Got out of the car and was bombarded by gnats. Nasty, nasty gnats. And a lot of them. Stayed maybe 20 minutes, long enough to snap some pictures and take in the land. Really amazing stuff.

Panoramic view of the Salt Wash Area in Central Utah off Interstate 70

Colorado River, Colorado
I was eager to continue on. I had never been in Colorado (except on flight layovers) and was excited to see Denise, who was flying into Denver to drive the second thousand miles across the country with me. Driving out of Utah and into Colorado was like entering wonderland. Seeing the Rockies ahead of me and then climbing up and over them was like water to my thirsty soul. The sky was blue, the clouds were white, the river was to my right, the land was green and lush, the mountains were huge, the air was thin. I had to stop again. I had to take this in. Really, I could have just cried out of sheer admiration of her beauty. I got back in the car knowing Denise and I would be back here, somewhere, tomorrow. And so I said goodbye to the river and headed down the mountain and into Denver to meet up with Denise.
Red earth in Colorado

And then Blanca struck again and took me to the wrong hotel. Thank Goddess it wasn't too far off. Checked in, found Denise, had a great dinner and watched my first episode of Merlin on Netflix. Great day. xoxo

Richfield, UT to Denver, CO ~470 miles.

Day 21. Sunday, June 16th
So amazing to wake up in Colorado and to be with Denise. As we left Denver for Estes Park in the
Rockies everything just came together and I was totally in the moment. Everything was just so overwhelmingly beautiful. We stopped at a market and got food for the next several days and found the place we would stay. We got there before check-in so to kill some time we hiked for a bit on the Lion Gulch Trail in Estes Park--fabulous-- and returned a few hours later to check into our cabin.

Elk in the meadow
It was still early, 2p.m. so we headed out to explore these beautiful mountains and her running water. At one point we found this magnificent boulder that we climbed up to. We both laid on it for a bit, taking in the amazing air at 8,000 feet when Denise sat up suddenly and said, Elk. We both looked around, but nothing. We hiked back to the car and drove higher and higher into the Rockies. The temperature dropped from the 80's down into the 40's. It began to rain lightly and threatened to become snow. We stopped at what seemed the top of the world to get out and explore, but clad in shorts and t-shirts we were wet and freezing and headed back to the car. On the way back down to our cabin we saw cars pulled along the side of the road. I pulled a quick cross-to-the-other-side-of-the-road-and-stop maneuver only to see a small group of Elk being admired by all these people. It was stunning. The elk were very close to the road just grazing. I took a lot of pictures as were all the other tourists but wondered how many of them had just had the experience of having their friend suddenly sit up an hour earlier and say Elk?

Trust. On all parts.
Another few miles down the road there were two other cars pulled over, so of course I pull over again. Took us a minute to find them, but there they were. Four more elk in the bushes. The few people that were there were standing back at the road taking pictures. Silently we began walking towards the elk. Total trust. On all accounts. The elk noticed us and we paused, making wonderful direct eye contact with these lovely creatures. We eventually got very, very close to them. The racks on these elks heads were huge, breathtaking. We stood between the worlds with them for quite a while before we realized we were being watched, from behind, by a lot of people, not just the few who were there when we started down the hill. The energy of the other people broke the spell, and we left. Speechless.


So how many miles towards the challenge today? None. Hiking doesn't count. But I don't care. What an amazing day.