Monday, May 22, 2017

"You've Got To Knock It Down To Build It Up"

Hey There!

Please...don't ask how I was able to get back into this account after 3 years because I honestly have no idea. It just happened. I'll go ahead and call it fate.

And, I know what you all are thinking:

"Wow! Really?! Has it really been 3 years?"

Yes, yes it has. It's really embarrassing and I can't tell you why I am back, but I here we go...

If I have one thing going for me, it is that A LOT has changed over the years that I can share. I wish I can say I have made huge strides in my trail running but I can't. To be honest, I have gotten 100% worse than I was the last time I updated. What can I say? I don't half-ass things, when I put my mind to doing (or not doing) something, I go all out!

Now, while my running has not improved, I will say my chances of having my running improve have increased greatly.

How did I manage to do that? Easy, I moved. Where did I move? Simple, I moved to the mountains.

Ladies and Gents...I am now a resident of Asheville, NC!

What can I say? It is amazing!!!! Trails and mountains everywhere. I wish I had some really great story of how I ended up here but I don't. However, will say that it was one of the easiest things I have ever done in life. I simply sat down, discussed where I wanted to be and decided it was in the mountains. Of course, Colorado was my #1 choice but then I realized that no one can afford to live in Breckenridge at 36, so Asheville it was!

In all seriousness, I managed to land the most awesome job ever and the transition has been super smooth. My inner nerd does what she loves doing all day: reading contracts and providing compliance advice for a software/tech firm. What makes it even better is that I am surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains while I do it. While I am a minority in that I don't own a Subaru or Forerunner...I am surrounded by some of the most beautiful trails (including the AT) in the country and am meeting all sorts of people who love to spend time on them. Let's face is only a matter of time before the Prius gets traded in but until then, I have some peeps that take me for rides...

I have only been here a few months but have had the opportunity to explore and Asheville does not disappoint. I know when many hear Asheville, they think of the Biltmore Estate but there is so much more to the place! The whole lifestyle is a refreshing change. The environment comes first and everyone spends quite a bit of their time getting out and enjoying it. Minimizing your footprint is a priority and once you go to a restaurant and have to figure out what is trash, recycling, or compost, you realize how serious Asheville is about it. It has felt like home from Day One and I know it was the right choice. Oh! And my pups are welcome anywhere!!!

I know...I know... "Isn't this a running blog?"

Of course it is!  AND I actually have a funny story that relates to running...but it is going to have to wait. I watched some horrible documentary on David Bowie on Netflix and got a late I am too tired. The good news is that there may be a post tomorrow continuing this fun journey (if you are lucky.)

Until then...enjoy some photos of Asheville!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Everything That Kills Me.....Made Me Feel Alive....


Oy! Yes. It finally happened. After 6 months of dropping off the face of the "blog-o-sphere" I have been called out.

Now, I'm not going to lie to you. I really did not think anyone followed my mini adventures on a regular basis, but I am happy to report that I was dead wrong! I was surprised today when I opened my email and had a message wondering if I was OK. To make it even was from someone who I have never met before and does not even live in the country! Crack me up. Am I surprised? No...I'm pretty sure Madrid, Spain loves their trail running too! thanks to we go! I'm back!

My daily view has my heart wanting more!

Now, as you all may totally not remember (it has been over 6 months)...the last time I blogged was when I was out in Breckenridge, Co. I looked back and am pretty sure that I posted something every single day. It was such an amazing trip and it is one that I look forward to repeating yearly. What you all might not have known was that the trip was also what you would call a "breaking point" for me.

Colorado was a wonderful trip that really revived my mind and soul. I have never felt more alert and alive as I did when I was out there. What was not revived however, was my body. Sure, the altitude was a beast to get used to, but I feel like I owe more of an explanation than that. Too many people around here and abroad have asked why I quit here it goes.....(yeah, I really wish I had some dramatic opener...but I don't)

I loved running in the mountains. I loved it more than the trails here in Kentucky. However, the truth is that while my mind loved it, I was not allowing my body to enjoy it...and had not been for quite a while.

Now, I'm not going to go into all the details, because honestly, they are not that "Lifetime Movie" worthy. What I will share is what happened to me and how it affected trail running and my experiences with it. As far as this blog goes, nothing else really matters.

While in Colorado, I felt very inferior running. I don't know if it was the group run at the local running shop...where everyone took off like gazelles ahead of me....or if it was my own insistence to run and explore everyday...but something exhausted me. While my mind wanted to go and see everything around, my body was breaking down.

After returning to Lexington, things did not get better and I was forced to take a break for my own good. It was the return from Colorado that made me realize something. If I wanted to enjoy trail running (and nature) ever again, I would have to confront the demon who has been on this "ride" called life for the last 18 years.

I am hesitant to say I have/had an eating disorder because I don't really have all the emotional trauma that comes with it. If you ask me to explain what has been happening...I will literally tell body seems to release a chemical when I eat telling me to get rid of it. I honestly do not know how anyone can eat lunch and NOT think about it for the entire day. I don't understand how people do not have the physical reaction/anxiety that I have!

Now, take that bit of information and add trail running. When I say I was exhausted...I am not exaggerating. I was heading out for runs twenty minutes after making myself sick. My injuries came from being so worn out at the end that I was just in a fog.  I was left with a body that  could no longer metabolize and absorb vitamins...ribs that were popped out of place....and hormone levels that were basically non-existent. I was a hot mess and no matter how much I mentally wanted to be out exploring, my body was sending me a pretty painful message that some things needed to be addressed first.

Like I said before, I am not your typical case...I had an amazing childhood and a support system that is second to none. I am very confident, and I think my friends will tell you that I am very outgoing. I make friends quickly and have always gotten what or who I have wanted (I totally don't mean to be a stuck up b*tch with that one....but just telling it how it is.) My problem was purely chemical and that is how my doctor approached it from the beginning. I had just become so naive that I thought my body would just physically adapt to my behaviors and running.

Once my ribs got back in a neutral position (and yes...they were popped out while getting sick), my problem finally had to be addressed. Multiple tests were done and many different options were discussed. In the end I feel like I am on the best path I can be on. Yes, it includes quite a few hormones and isotonic vitamins...but it also has me more physically ready to take on the trails than I have ever been. Yes, I had to give up carbs...rice....grain...wheat and sugar....but my body seems to be running better without it. And yes...I cannot believe how much sh*t (and sugar) Americans put in their food! Gross!

About a month back I took to the trails for a light run and let me tell is a totally different experience for me physically. I literally just kept going. My body was not wearing out. I was about to enjoy nature as one constant movement instead of multiple breaks. Still, I knew I had to give myself more time.

I have taken a break from running while I have allowed my body to get used to being "normal". I have changed...amazingly enough...for the better. I never thought I would get thinner by actually keeping food down...but turns out that is science :)

I am getting back out on the trails again. I am missing them so much and it has killed me to not make time for it. I didn't mean to drop off the face of the blog, but at the time I was not sure what I was dealing I was hesitant to share anything. Now that I am feeling better...well...I am ready to take to it again! And of course, you are all invited along for the run! I would love to hear from you. I am a pretty transparent person, so if you have any questions for me...shoot! I will answer. I'm not scared ;) I am what I nature...and when the time came...I did what I had to do to reach a "good balance".  I'm just sorry I did not share earlier...I never meant to make anyone feel like I no longer wanted to. you may have been wondering what I have been doing while not on the trails. I have been painting...and becoming a wine connoisseur...and accepting the fact that I will never be a Rob Krar or Kilian Jornet (who by the way....has a new movie out!!!!!) OH!! And I got a bike...and can now make a lot of things out of pallets. In the end, I think I have finally accepted that I will be that pale red head that runs by you while you are trying to have a peaceful hike. After you regain your vision (do to blindness) just keep going on your way. That is what I plan to do. And yes....WS100 is still an obsession of mine!

Look! I paint now! And I enjoy holding other peoples little babies in my hammock...because that is how I roll!

Friday, September 27, 2013

It Is Now Or Never...

(At one point I thought I would get lucky!)

Well, it is safe to say I jinxed myself last night when I mentioned the predicted weather change.

If you could only hear the moan I let out when I stumbled out of my bedroom to be greeted with " is snowing on the mountains...look!".


I tried to see the mountains and literally could not see a damn thing past the tops of the lower level of trees. Nothing but fog..mist..and snow.

The sun tried to come out a little before noon and that is when I decided to make my final attempt. Unlike yesterday, today I looked like I was heading to Antarctica or something. Long pants, two layers of shirts, buff, gloves, and my Summit waist/leg belt. Along with me I packed 2 water bottles, 2 gels, an extra cover up and phone. I was not sure how much of an effort the weather was going to require of me, so instead of the chicken I ate before yesterdays run I only ate a Cliffbar this morning. So far so good!

(You could not even see her from the water!)

I was actually surprised at how good the trail conditions were considering all the rain @ 9,600 ft. Yesterday, my Speedcross had some trouble on all the dry rock but today they took to the mud like a champ! I was surprised at what good time I made to where I left off yesterday. As I continued to go further the summit got closer and closer. I could not believe it!

(Ideal conditions at the start)

AND that is when the weather changed. I have to be honest. I was above 11,000 ft when I saw snowflakes really start to pick up, but I have never seen things get bad so quick. What was even weirder was that I think I *heard* it before I even saw it change. The roar of the wind coming down the mountain was insane. That was literally all you could hear before everything would go white. It was a friggin white out people! The sharpness in the air took my breath away and stung my skin like you would not believe. The temperature dropped so low at one point that my hands (which I kept in gloves) got too cold to operate the IPhone, making photos impossible past a certain point because we all know the phone won't work unless you have a special glove...which I do not :(

(I was so close....the end was just up there...I swear!)

(And then I was told to turn around ;) )

Anyway, it was at this point that I made the decision to turn around. While I really wanted to kiss that beautiful mountain on the lips....I ended up kissing the butt instead. I will say though, the amount of respect I gained for the mountain in a very very short amount of time was incredible. She truly is a part of Mother Nature....and like a mother...she will guide you and support you, even giving encouragement....but when she decides it is time for you to go will know it! I got a stern lesson today! When I got back down to around 9,600 ft and turned around I could not see where I was coming from. That was a clear indicator to me that I successfully listened to my instincts but at the same time got to experience something very special!

I may not have made it the whole 12,988 ft but I feel on top of the world and would do it again in a heartbeat. Up until the time I had to turn around, the trip up was very enjoyable. The ease at which my body was able to navigate is a good sign that my training methods throughout the week were on target. While at one point my legs started to go numb from the wind and temperature change, I am pretty confident that I could have made it to the top if the snow and wind had not picked up. Until the end there was no real point where I was too hot or cold. I had plenty of hydration and gels, as I only ended up using one water bottle. All in all....I made good decisions the whole time and for that I am grateful.

I will be back to conquer it again. I can't say I consider this an "Epic Fail" because I have experienced so much this week. I am also glad that I focused on one area. I really was able to see the true beauty of the mountain each time I went up, and was able to see her in all conditions....both when happy and not so happy :)

For now...that is it. I am happy. I head home tomorrow and until then I basically have nothing to do....which is a very nice thing. I may get out and wonder around a little bit.

(I failed at the selfie...could not get one once the weather started...but you can see how windy it was!)

OH...and man to I wish I had taken a picture. About 1/2 hour before I decided to turn around the wind and snow were picking up. I swear to G*d...I turned around and saw a gentleman running in nothing but a windbreaker and shorts. When I turned around about 2 minutes later he was gone. I can only imagine that he either turned around or shot up a hill before the trail I was on. I am kind of worried. He was not prepared at all. He looked to be making a good speed but I am left with a queasy feeling because he never caught up to be for me to make sure with my own eyes that he was OK. I can only hope he is used to this weather and is perfectly fine...all dry and warm from his run. At one point...I really did think I was seeing things...but I swear he was there! As for the rest of the photos I took....just check the FB...I am too lazy to upload them all here :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Almost There!!

Totally amazing day people!

I almost made it all the way! Peak 8 is such a reality...I can hardly stand it!

(Heading back up!)

Now, I had not anticipated making it as far as I did but I cannot be happier that I went those extra steps today. When I took off this afternoon, I really only wanted to get about 1/2 way up the mountain and then turn around and reassess what I would have to do/need to make it all the way to the summit. I took off at a slow pace and really just tried to get a feel for the trails and the twists and turns a long with way. I won't lie... my legs and lungs burned! The hills were so rocky and steep. Each time I got to the top of one I would peak over, hoping to see some flat ground, only to see another set of rolling rocky hills!  It was hard to get discouraged though. Each time I thought I wanted to rest, I would just look straight ahead and see all the beautiful snow ahead. It was literally calling me. I cannot wait to stand on the very top and look all around!


(Lots of rock)

Tonight is calling for more snow at the higher elevations, so my next trip up could be very different than this one. I doubt I will see another 59 degree day with bright sun and high winds. I only had to wear a t-shirt and long pants on this run. The trails were dry and the snow was isolated to the very top of the mountain. If it snows again I will have to figure out how much and what type of clothing to take. Today's run only consisted of a hydration belt. If the temperature drops and I have to carry extra clothing I may have to carry my Camel Bak for storage. One things for sure, I will be taking more water. I went up with my UD hydration belt with one bottle of water. I had finished it just about 1/2 up. Tonight I purchased a second bottle with a hand belt, so hopefully I will be better prepared.

Anyway, after returning home from my amazing experience...things changed (but turned out wonderfully in the end.)

Now, if you read the blog from yesterday then you remember me mentioning that Team Grand Timber would be splitting up, with both the fun run at the Vertical Runner and a special event being covered for this entry. Well, turns out that we only have the fun run to share. Yesterday, I placed a call to the Boulder Running Company and left a message explaining that I wanted to reserve 2 tickets for Kilian Jornet's Q&A, but would be making a 2 hour drive to get there and could not just run in the store and grab them. I thought we were good to go until last night when the BRC website was pulled up and I was informed it was SOLD OUT. Yes, if you heard the sound of something breaking, it was my heart hitting the ground here in Colorado. I was crushed. I feel bad to admit it...but I got teared up. Now, as self proclaimed #1 SOML fan, I will admit...I had no clue. I really had not been paying attention to anything like that and never would have thought something would pop up in Boulder. Turns out they had 300 tickets to sell and I may have missed the boat. I got a call this morning from BRC and was told they had "skipped over some messages" and were now trying to figure out what to do, as they were "shocked" that it sold out. They told me they would call at 3:00 and let me know if they could do anything. Turns out they could not, so if you heard a random squishing sound at around 5:00 EST, it was my crushed heart being mashed into the floor.

So, as you can imagine, I was forced to "put on my big girl panties" (much love to Melodie) and get over it. That may have been the best decision I made all day.

Tonight we made it down to the Vertical Runner for the fun run with Sage Canaday and Ian Sharman. It was such a great event. Scott Running was also there and had plenty of demo shoes (both road and trail) to try on. Their reps were super knowledgeable and the runners even helped with fit and style questions. It was so neat to interact with them in such an intimate setting. To be able to discuss what I had done earlier in the day, what the conditions were up there, etc...with someone like Sage was just mind blowing! Oh...and let me tell you...his sister (who is also a coach) the greatest person on the planet. What a great group of people! Now,my legs were trashed from my little adventure today, so I only ended up taking some Scott demo shoes for a "run around the block"...but a group of about 15 or so got to take off and run the beginning portion of UROC. Now, it was described as a "casual fun run", but I was in awe of Ian Sharman when he literally took off like a rocket towards the trails! I also can't say enough about the Vertical Runner team and Scott Running. They made everyone, no matter what level of runner they were, feel like an elite. I am really going to miss that shop when I go home!

(New Stuff!)

After that, it was off to the Breckenridge Brewery and then a nice walk through downtown before heading home. Such a wonderful just keeps getting better!

For now that is it. I am forced to quit typing. In the past 10 minutes I have had reject Star Wars (Lego edition) from being allowed on the TV and now my skiing ability is being made fun of as Late On 8 is on showcasing Skimo. I can't win on somethings!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

#Wind #Windsucks #Ihatewind

Hehehehe....if you don't get the humor behind all the # in the title...then before you go any further you have to watch this:

Anyway, moving was a wonderful rest day. I had planned on hitting those beautiful vertical trails I ran yesterday, however, after I almost fell to the ground in pain after jumping out of bed, I decided to take it easy.

So with no running planned I did the only thing any girl would do (after eating only bacon and coffee for breakfast..ick). I went to the pool and then I went shopping (hey...but give me credit...I walked downtown and back!) It was a lovely day and at around 59 degrees it almost felt hot. Tomorrow is supposed to be about the same, so the run is sure to be a good one!

In not so good news, the weather is showing quite a bit of wind in the higher elevations over the next couple of days. We are talking about possible wind gusts around 40 mph. Now, I love me some wind...but I am not sure if I love me that much while trying to achieve what I have set out to with this trip. I am going to keep an eye on it and will let you all know how it goes. It helps to have knowledgeable people around me who are taking a look at the maps and finding other fun and amazing things to do in the mountains if need be!

Speaking of fun and amazing things...LOOK OUT...tomorrow is going to be an interesting entry. For the first time ever (*drum roll*)...this blog will be covering two separate topics at once. Team Grand Timber is splitting up. One half is going to the Fun Run with elite runners Sage Canaday and Max King (woohoo!)  and the other half is taking off with special guest (and uber cool friend) Melodie on an adventure that will probably go down in history as both hysterical and embarrassing. I will give no more will just have to wait and see :) If you can will get a prize :)

** Update...not so much on the surprise fun adventure  :(  Fun run is still on people!

That is it for now. Nothing to talk about because this is what I did most afternoon:

(And was only 59 degrees)

Hate wait....#hateme :)

I can't wait to write tomorrow and tell you all about everything. Then...Friday...and attempts that will be made before returning to the Bluegrass state at the end of the weekend!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Oh That Vertical High!!

Oh Happy Day!

Today was the first real test of the legs with some vertical trail and it was beyond wonderful! It has me so excited for the end of the week....I can barely stand it!

Of course, the day started off like any day should...with a trip to the local donut shop! I decided it was up to me to be the "early morning hero of the house" and head out down the hill to provide everyone with good old fashioned nourishment ( it was 8:00...still early in my book.) I suited up and managed to only partially freeze my ass off on the way down, making amazing time along the way. Upon arrival I quickly started heading south when I needed to be heading north and managed to go over 1/2 mile out of the way before turning around and backtracking. Turns out the donut shop I've been looking for is RIGHT NEXT to the Vertical Runner, the running shop I have visited just about every day since I got here. How I did not know this before today is beyond me...but lesson learned. I even got props from the donut man since I was "working out and getting donuts".  Unlike yesterday, this morning the streets were a little busier. I felt kind of odd running around there because it seemed like everyone driving through town was staring at me out their window. I mean...common...there is UROC starting from here in a few days...people are going to be running!

(This is such a big thing for me)

Anyway, after making it back up the hill it was pool time and I can honestly say my legs have never been happier. It is such a wonderful way for me to stretch out my muscles and get my legs ready for the day ahead. I took it easy this afternoon, mostly lounging around the house and taking a nice nap before heading back downtown to do a little shopping. Like this morning, the streets were busier and I can't say I am a real fan. The UROC banner is up...and while it is mostly transparent (so as not to hide the beautiful mountain behind it) it is still a very intimidating presence. It almost has me terrified that any of the participants would actually see me running. Why? I don't know. Perhaps it is because I am here working on a dream of mine which is like *teeny tiny* compared to what these guys and gals will be doing in a few days. They probably do what is a huge thing for me before breakfast! Still, I try to remind myself that it is the passion and love of the mountains and trails that bring everyone to the same I guess we are equals when it comes to that.

(The start of some amazing trails)

Once I was back home I hit the trails around 6:00. I was not too worried about losing sun since I knew I was heading quite a bit up hill and had a pretty direct route down. The run was amazing. I will admit, my legs were burning about half way through, but just when I started to crap out I was able to get some incredible views of the mountains. They were right in front of me almost the entire way. All I wanted to do was run to them. It was such motivation. I even came across a lake about 1/2 way up that had the most amazing reflection of both the sunset and the snow covered mountains. It was like something out of a book. I had never felt so alive!! I sat for a while and just soaked it all in...trying to find trails up the hills to the mountains that I could take in the next few days. It was almost heartbreaking when the sun let me know it was time to head back by rapidly setting behind the mountains. Quickly I made my way back down hill (working my quads quite a bit along the way) and arrived home...winded...exhausted...and so happy! As you can imagine, the pool was needed but really did not feel that good. I am skipping the gym tonight and letting my legs rest. My poor calves ache and are sensitive to the touch, so I see some ice and compression in my future.

(Stopped me in my tracks...)

(Lovely trails)

I will probably do the same vertical route for the next few days to really get my legs used to the grade change. I am slowly getting used to the fact that compared to Kentucky, Colorado has no oxygen. Plenty of air...but no oxygen....hehehe :) As for pictures...I took quite a few...just jump on my FB page...I made them public :)

So that is it. I am resting once place going....door open....blankets on...and soccer on TV! I hope everyone is having a great week! From what I have been reading, Kentucky is having some amazing weather. We got to 59 here and it felt like summer! I can't imagine how long it is going to take to get used to the heat when I get back home. least I will be ready to ROCK Bourbon Chase!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sucking Wind

Isn't it amazing how every time you get a little too confident the Universe is there to knock you down a notch or two!?

For me, this evening's run was the perfect example of that.

(Morning snow)

Now, like I have mentioned...I thought I was doing pretty well with acclimating to the altitude here (not). So much so that today I decided to hit the trails and show them what I was made of. I am pretty sure they got a good laugh because I sucked ass. My pace per mile was normal but I felt like I was running with a small VW Beetle strapped to my chest. What an experience! I have never felt anything like it. I was able to run but boy was I sucking wind! I was literally trying to inhale as deep as I could with each step in some desperate attempt to convince my body that we were back at like 1,000 feet in Lexington. It was an enjoyable EPIC FAIL.

The run totally exhausted me for a while but I was able to come across some pure vertical trail that I totally plan on hitting up in the morning. Straight up the ski slope. While I am pretty sure I am still a few days off before I try Peak 8, I figure this back and forth up the slopes will really help me prepare.

(Yes...the picture sucks...but the trails were awesome!)

After a little while on the trails today, I decided to run back to downtown Breckenridge. I was really surprised that I had the whole town virtually to myself. The sidewalks were almost empty and I can tell you that I was the only one running them. It was kind of nice. I made my way back down to the Vertical Runner to pick up some GUs and try on that UD hydration vest I saw yesterday. I have never run with vest, let alone with one that had hydration bottles on the front. I wish someone was there to take a picture of chest....and hydration bottles strapped to the front of them. It was both amusing and friggin awesome at the same time. I believe the sales guys response was something along the lines of "well...women are mixed on the vest because of the you can have." It was hysterical honesty but the system itself felt really good. I may have to head back down tomorrow and pick it up. $39.99 for the system (which includes two front bottles) is really not a bad price at all! It was the perfect end to the run. I got to hit the run shop AND grab a bottle of wine before heading back home. I am not going to lie...the people I passed thought I was damn amazing running with a shopping bag full of wine ;)

Other than that I plan to hit those vertical trails tomorrow. Thursday's Fun Run is a 4-5 mile trail which will be really really laid back (I was promised by the VR guy) but I still want to be able to stay within sight of the elites, so I am going to work my butt of until then :) For now, I am heading to the gym after finding out that the hamburger I inhaled after my run was fried in bacon grease. It was amazing but I just can't go to sleep knowing my burger was fried in bacon grease and I did nothing about that :)  Actually...I do have a little confession. Being out here in Colorado and being as physically active as I have been in a higher elevation really has me confident about my body and how she can perform. My build and muscles are something I am embracing here and am really not at all self conscious. It is a nice change. I feel my body constantly working and it is something so wonderful I really cannot describe in words. For once my mind is at ease. I really don't think this trip can get any better.....

OH WAIT...and snow this morning. Most of it is here to stay, as some of the mountain sides don't seem much snow. What a wonderful sight to wake up to. That with a morning hot tub and out door pool swim and I was in heaven!!!