Saturday, December 31, 2011

Snowshoeing at Happy Jack

The weather forecast for today in Laramie, WY called for high winds, snow and a wind chill of 0 degrees.  It sounded like a perfect day to start my snowshoe training.  I am signed up for three snowshoe races over the next six weeks at distances from 10K-30K.  My first snowshoe event is the Snowy Range Snowshoe Race in Laramie next Saturday.  There is a 5K, a 10K and a backcountry 22K.  I am running the 22K and Ean is running the 10K.  I'm sure this will be a well run and fun event.  It is put on by Alec Muthig, the man behind my favorite Wyoming adventure, the Twin Mountain Trudge.  The Snowy Range Race will be the State Championship Race for Wyoming.  Here's what Alec has to say about the event:

Come join us for some competitive and adventurous snowshoe racing, Wyoming style. All races start and finish from the Snowy Range Ski and Recreation Area main lodge. We plan on making this the most festive snowshoe finish line in the nation!   The Snowy Range has its name for a reason, so let’s have some fun in all of this snow!

I went to Happy Jack just outside of Laramie this morning with Scott and Eric- they skied the groomed ski trails and I took the less groomed snowshoe trails.  It was cold and windy, but it was fun to be out in the snow on my snowshoes and even though I only got about 5 miles, it was enough to make me feel a bit more confident going in to next weekend's race.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chubby '11, WS '12 and beyond

It was a wonderful weekend for running in Fort Collins.  On Saturday, I spent the whole day out on the local trails with 60+ runners from the Front Range and beyond at the 2nd running of the Chubby Cheeks 50K, marathon and 22 miler.  I opted for the marathon route this year due to slow going on snowy and icy trails.  Even though this route was 5 miles shorter than the route I ran last year, it took me 20+ minutes longer so I still feel like I got my money's worth.  I ran most of the way with Celeste and Ziggy and was treated to a full day of singing, taunting and threats of being bowled over.  It was great.  We were joined at mile 15 by Mindy and Lindsay and at mile 24 by Brian and Marie.  We all made it back to Nick's place well over 7 hours after we started and had a great time eating, drinking and hearing everyone's stories of snow and ice and getting lost and being tired and being glad to be part of a great sport and an even better community.
One big climb down, three to go
Ziggy checking out the view from the top of Arthur's Rock

Nick pulled up the results of the Western States lottery and called out the names of Colorado winners.  I was glad to hear Mike got in, but unfortunately my name was not on the list.  Well, maybe next year.  As for this summer, not racing a 100 in June frees me up to do some pacing which will be a lot of fun too.  I will be pacing Kyle in his first 100 at Big Horn on June 15 and maybe I'll make the trip to California the next weekend to do some pacing, crewing, and cheering out there too.

I was pretty sore today from yesterday's fun in the snow.  While Maddie was at ice skating practice this afternoon, Ean and I ran in to Mike at EPIC and we went for a very relaxed 8 miler in the sunshine on the Spring Creek, Poudre and Power Trails.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December Running

December 1st brought a sizable snow and cold air to the Front Range and so after a warm end to fall with temperatures near 70 degrees on Thanksgiving, winter has arrived.  December running was kicked off on Thursday with the last official (and my 23rd) Tower's Time Trial of the year.  The hill was un-plowed and had shin to knee deep snow all the way up with occasional thigh to waist deep drifts.  It was cold and foggy and wonderful.  I felt pretty good and pushed hard and still only just broke an hour with a time of 57:18.

It was snowing again Saturday morning and Ean and I got up early and met up with Scott, Celeste, Kyle and Sarah for a make it up as we went along 17 miler though town, along the river, up Centennial and then through the snow over Reservoir Ridge.  Saturday night I took Shadow out for a short snowshoe run in Pineridge.

Five of the first six races on my calendar for 2012 involve snowshoeing or running in the snow and I am looking forward to doing a lot of snowshoe outings over the next few weeks to prepare.  I hoping the snowshoeing will provide some good lower impact and high intensity cross training to start out the year and prepare me for the hard training ahead for the spring and summer ultras.

This morning was the Tortoise and Hare 10K at Lee Martinez Park and I ran 40:57 which was 1:36 faster than I ran last year.  I felt good despite having some soreness from yesterday's run and snowshoe.

It was a good week of running all around and I credit a lot of this to making much better decisions about what I am eating.  Ean and I have resolved to eat more whole foods and cut way back on sugars, animal products and processed junk.  I am amazed and encouraged about how much better I've felt for the last several days since I have been more thoughtful about what I eat.

Next Saturday should be exciting with the 2nd running of the Chubster and the WS lottery.  After that the big running of 2011 will be over and training for the events of 2012 begins.