Friday, June 28, 2013

The Labor Begins

Tomorrow it all begins. The first race in the series that will make me a Leadwoman. Lots of people have been asking for my plan. Truthfully, I think having a plan right now is about as useful as most womens birth plans. The  races will unfold as they unfold and I will have to adapt. Not saying that I am winging it and haven't been to any prenatal classes or anything. No, I know what I want to happen but in reality I just want to have a healthy happy Leadwoman at the end of all of this. That is the main objective and whatever it takes to get there I am willing to do. 

The excitement is building, the anticipation of what is to come in the next seven weeks. I know it is going to be painful, but before I have experienced it, I really don't know how painful. I know that there are no epidurals available to aid in delivering me to the final finish line. Therefore, I have spent the last months becoming comfortable with uncomfortable. I am going to be gasping for air, my legs and lungs are going to be burning, that is a given. How I am able to deal with it is the unknown. 

Yes tomorrow it officially begins but I have been in gestation since last August when I decided to embark on the adventure. Even though the marathon is just the first of 5 races, I am going to be celebrating getting to the start line healthy and happy. Still loving the training and preparation. It is a gorgeous course and I plan to soak up the scenery and fill my well with happiness all day. I need that well to be overflowing come the big races in August.

sometime tomorrow I'll be on my way up that road to the top of Mosquito pass and the turn around point. 

there was another new beginning recently up on the marathon course

view from the course

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Squat Messenger

I have been doing a fair bit of my training alone on the trails. I have maps, I tell someone where I am going and when I will be done. Still, people worried about me. The Todd being on the injured reserve list felt that I would benefit from use of his Spot Messenger in case I need to be rescued. Little does he know (well, he'll know now) I have a built in system to bring someone onto the trail with me. I have been having trouble getting the Spot to send messages when I want it to, but my Squat system works perfectly every time.

Squat system you say, how do I get myself one? Well, they don't have it at REI! Let me give you an example of how it works. I am riding along the trail. Haven't seen a soul all day. I have the increasing urge to pee. I stop the bike. Hang my pack and clothes off the bike that is leaned up on a tree. I usually ride in bib shorts so this means taking off my jersey and my outer layers. I then proceed off the trail into the bushes. Sure enough, I pull down the shorts and am mid stream when someone appears. The first time my Squat tracker worked I heard a truck approaching. I hadn't seen anyone in hours and now a truck is coming up the dirt road. Of course, I can't stop now, I've been holding it too long already. The truck slows when it sees my trail side garage sale going on. The driver looks over to me and it is none less than the founder of the Leadville Races Ken Chlouber. I give a casual wave from my squat position and he moves on. 

This is not a one time phenomenon, it has happened repeatedly. I'll check to make sure there is no one in sight. Haven't seen anyone in ages. Seems safe to go, so I proceed to commence the routine. Sure enough, I met my new friend and fellow Leadman Andy( )right after I pulled up my shorts. He came running around the corner. Yesterday, I was out on a long run. Hadn't seen a soul on the trail all day. Had to pee, thought to myself just before I did the deed, 'well the lonely streak is about to end'. Was walking along the trail pulling up my shorts, rearranging my drawstring and once again the Squat messenger worked perfectly, a husband and wife came around the corner. They might have wondered why I was giggling. I know that even though I can't always get the Spot messenger to work the old fashioned technology of the Squat messenger is fool proof:)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hoka One One

My first impression of the Hoka One One shoes was 'how does anyone run in those moon boots?'. Looking at the shoe they seem cumbersome and bulky, nothing could be further from actuality. I have now been using the Hoka Stinson Evo shoe for two months. 

The women's Stinson Evo

The first big test I had for the shoes was after I ran a 100km race in another pair of shoes and my feet were trashed. I wanted to complete a 100 mile week and my feet were in pain laying in bed. Once I laced up the Hokas and started running, I couldn't feel a single blister or the swelling that was in my feet. I even had a cacti needle wedged into one toe and it didn't phase me in the 40 miles I ran in 4 days. I had another friend who could barely walk around on a broken toe but he could run in his pair of Hokas. Extreme testing but positive results.

This book should have a chapter on using Hokas!

As far as fit, it fits me true to size. It has a very roomy toe box but I haven't experienced any front slippage. I did have to use the top eyelet to lace the shoe and that is one fault I found with the Hoka. It came pre laced with the quick laces however, it was not to the top eyelet. In order to prevent heel movement I needed to lace it up to there for my narrow foot. The laces were not adjustable and I had to cut them off. Hoka did supply a pair of standard laces. Laced to the top my feet are very stable inside of the shoe.

Looking at the shoe it appears to have your foot very elevated and this is another illusion. The heel is not raised and the shoe does not cause instability while running. For the amount of cushioning you feel with this shoe it is amazing how much trail feel you also have. If you were a princess you could feel the pea but it wouldn't bother you at all. Hoka provides two choices for insoles for those that are particular. I am not but I do know people who have done modifications for hammer toes and other ailments and are very satisfied. 

For how big the shoe appears it is remarkably light. If you want to know the specifics check out the website but I can attest that they are feather light. This is something you appreciate the further into a run you go. 

Prior to wearing the Stinson Evo I was unable to run downhill as fast as one of my training partners. He was wearing Hokas. Once I got myself a pair, he no longer could gap me on a descent. These shoes promise that is time to fly, and they deliver descending. The traction on loose gravel and dirt is fantastic and you don't feel disconnected from the trail but you don't feel like the trail is hammering itself into your legs. 

At the beginning of a recent run we crossed a river up to mid-thigh. Needless to say, my shoes were drenched. I was amazed at how light they still felt and how quickly they dried out. No rubbing problems when wet and great drainage.

I haven't taken flight in my Hoka Stinson Evos yet, but they have taken me to the top of the world. I will be using these shoes in my quest to be a Leadwoman this summer. Dorothy had her red slippers to take her home, I'll have my Hokas!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Man

Ever since Tana was a puppy ( 11 yrs ago) there has been a man in our neighborhood that puts her on high alert. She doesn't bark at him, she just watches him very closely. He walks with a back pack, a wide brimmed hat and a bit of a slouch. As soon as she spots him, she circles back around and gets behind him on her walk. She keeps a very close eye on him until he reaches a certain boundary. We have no idea why she does this, but her sense tells her that he needs an escort out of her territory. She has spotted him outside of the immediate neighborhood, once in downtown he was on the opposite side of the 101. She stopped and made sure he was far away before she would budge from her post. 

Over the years we have wondered what causes her to be so suspicious of this man. Maybe it is the contents of his backpack? Something about his smell? She doesn't pay attention to other people who have on hats or backpacks or walk with a slouch- unless all three are present like this morning. We were walking along and all of the sudden she stopped dead in her tracks and had missile vision locked on to something. I looked across the street and sure enough a fellow was walking along with a backpack, a slouch and a hat. I tried to explain to her that it wasn't who she thought it was but have you ever tried to reason with a dog on a mission? We had to cross the street and she had to get within sniffing distance. She put her nose in the air and did some sniffing and then stopped, looked at me and headed back where we were going. It wasn't The Man. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Silver Mining

I just read the story of the Silver Queen, Baby Doe Tabor. Her life was not easy. Sure, there were times when she was the queen of society, but there were also times when she was living in rags in an unheated, unplumbed shack. Bet she wished then that she hadn't spent so much money on silly trinkets!

It is fitting that I read this the same week that I started doing recon rides on the Silver Rush mountain bike course. The Silver Rush 50 is the second race in the Leadman series. If I want to strike silver I am going to have to dig as deep as those miners did. They led a hard uncertain life and I feel that I will be experiencing many of those things during this race. There are going to be very rocky bumpy times. I hope that I can hold my fortune and not end up burning all my matches on the early climbs. If I do, I'll end up like Baby Doe dying in the Matchless Mine. 

Climbing the back side of Ball Mountain

Not nearly as hard work as what the people who settled this area experienced.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


The first time I came to Leadville in 2009 I will never forget the feeling as I summited Fremont pass. I had a headache, I was breathing rapidly and I was lightheaded. I was driving. 

A week and a half after I arrived here this time I rode over the pass on my bike. I was happy to not experience those same sensations. I wasn't able to push hard though and took it pretty easy to the summit both directions.  The first few days I was here I would check my pulse oximetry (I may not work as a nurse anymore but I still love the medical devices:)). At rest I was 90-93% with a heart rate in the low 50's. When I would test it at light activity, such as scrubbing walls (which took 3 days) I would drop to 86-88% with a heart rate in the 80's. The first time I did an easy trainer ride I couldn't get my heart rate up over 120 without my Oxygen sats dropping to the low 80's. This is probably not that interesting to most of you but it is how I was testing my progress. It's funny that I am so excited to use my pulse oximeter when I don't have a computer on my bikes and I don't use a heart rate monitor and rarely break out the Garmin. (which I haven't done yet here because I really don't need to be told I am going slow). 

Last Friday I was able to do a tough trainer workout and actually work hard. It was super windy, gusting to 50mph in town and I didn't think it was smart to head out over a pass with no one available to rescue me. Tana has been a great companion but she still hasn't mastered driving. We will work on that. During the trainer workout I was happy that I could push as hard as at sea level. Three years ago when I had the princess canopy bed I also had a mask to use on the trainer. The more acclimated I got the harder it was to drop my oxygen saturations. It is a nice feeling when it is no longer your lack of oxygenation holding you back but your legs. Now the real work can begin, I am saturated.

Drove my heart rate into the 160's and couldn't get my saturation below 90. (it was tricky to get a picture while still working hard enough to maintain these numbers)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Can It Get Any Better?

Every day I am out on the trails training and every day I think to myself this is amazing. I look at the scenery around me whether I am on the bike or running and am in awe. I think every view and vista is the most spectacular I have ever seen, and then I turn a corner. Perhaps I am in a permanent euphoric endorphin state. 

A good friend sent me the following quote. 'Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls'. Joseph Campbell. Well right now doors are being flung open for me. I am feeling more and more blessed every day. 

I am enjoying my second spring of the year:)

You might remember my post recently about loving my life. Well, my dear sweet friend Cathy sent me my very own necklace. Live the life you love, love the life you live. I don't think it can get any better, but I still have many corners to turn!