09 September 2018

I've been sorta sedentary this summer. I figured that I trained for and then finished a 50k, why not take a bit of a break? I did not intend for it to last three months and counting. I did run a bit with my boyfriend as he trained for his half Ironman. I have done some recreational trail running for short distances. But I actually might need the nudge of an impending race to get me to really get back into gear.

It's also been hot out and I am very averse to spending much time in the heat, so I looked into other avenues of physical activity. I found a groupon for a very reasonable price for 10 classes at a kickboxing gym. Pretty cool stuff! I went for the first time about 3 weeks ago and it was really great. Nice atmosphere. Challenging, but fun workout. My arms were quite sore the evening after. Then, as I tried to sleep that night, my right arm kept having shooting pains. I didn't sleep at all that night. I called into work the next day and took myself to the doctor to see if I'd damaged something. The answer was sort of disappointing. Probably just a pulled/strained muscle. I was prescribed rest, a sling, ibuprofen and muscle relaxers for sleeping. I used the meds and the sling for about a week. I've been working on mobility, but the strength has not returned yet. I can only do about 5 pushups which is pretty sad as it's been my daily routine for years to do at least 25. I guess I'll have to hold off on the kickboxing class for a bit longer. In the meantime, at least it does't hurt to run.

I tried a new trail this week. An actually new trail, not only new to me. It is a trail that connects two Jefferson County Open Space parks and it's beautiful. A bit on the warm side still (foothills) but will be a great standby that's less than an hour's drive.

Anyhow, I guess I don't write very often these days. Nothing exciting going on.

12 May 2018

Greenland Trail


So last week I did one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, physically and mentally. I ran (and walked) 50 kilometers (31 miles) in about 7.5 hours.

Main thought after 5 hours: who pays for this sort of torture?

Because I didn’t know what to expect at aid stations, I brought all my own food. Probably too much, I definitely had a pretty full bag, but it served me well. My stomach was never in trouble. I did have to force myself to eat at regular intervals toward the end, but I was able to keep my energy levels up quite well. I did have to fill my hydration bladder though. And yes, it’s a pain to fill and replace. I can see how hard bottles are easier at aid stations, but the bladder is just so much easier to carry and run with.

My feet were fine! I was so happy. I worried about blisters between my toes, so I brought injinji socks as a backup. I didn’t start with them because the individual toes push my feet just wide enough to crush my pinky toe. I still have a black nail from more than a month ago. I never had to change socks or tape any toes or anything. I did have to dump pebbles out of my shoes from time to time. I like my shoes to be quite loose, so that’s a hazard, but easy to remedy.

The weather was beautiful! It was a tad hot, but not unbearable. It was a bit humid too, but gorgeous. I applied sunscreen before the race, but neglected to bring any along. Luckily the aid station had some and I avoided a burn. It was some sort of very strong "man" scent though. 

The trail was 4 loops of the same course. It got a little draining mentally, especially at the third loop, knowing I’d have to be back again, even more tired. Besides being loops, the trail actually did double back on itself for a short stretch. Getting to that aid station and literally turning around and running the exact same stretch again was rough.

I finished 75th out of 80 finishers.

I’m not sure how I feel about races. There’s definitely an atmosphere that’s fun, but since I finished so many hours after the winners, everything was packed up and there were only a few people to meet me at the finish. I don’t mind that it wasn’t full of people, but almost all the snacks were gone and it was just sort of sad. I paid the same amount as the others did and I finished in before the cutoff time, but I feel like I missed out a bit at the end.

I was definitely slow, I definitely could have benefited from a lot more training. But I finished, and honestly, for my first ultramarathon and first trail race, that’s all I was hoping for.

When I crossed the finish line I was overcome. It was odd. It was surely mostly due to exhaustion, relief. But I definitely teared up. Someone was handing me a medal. Boyfriend was congratulating me and asking me stuff, someone else was offering water and snacks. I wanted to sit and cry.

Recovery was not bad either. My hips and ankles were sore for a few days, but nothing bad. Now I just need to get back out and keep running. 
Photographer had an emergency, so this is the only photo. Huge smile as I neared the finish. 

05 April 2018

I am one month away from my first ultramarathon trail race. It will be only the second official race I've ever done. The first being a 5k obstacle race.

I admit, I haven't been training or eating as well as I should for this race. I've been averaging about 20-25 miles a week, for a month or so, mostly in one long run. Lately my right hip has taken to hurting off an on. Usually the day after a long run, but recently during a run, turning it into a very short run. My web-search of the symptoms turns up that it's likely bursitis from over training. I've gone from doing about 10 miles once a week or so, to 20+ and apparently that's bad.

It's also really discouraging. Running trails is something I need. Something I love. It is one of very few things that clears my mind and puts me almost completely at ease. It is my time for introspection. It is my time to clear my mind of all thoughts.

I'm worried that training for this race, and possibly becoming injured is going to rob me of that clarity that I seek.

I'm going to stop running for a week. Tonight I'll try yoga for the first time (officially). I will work on strength training and stretching. I will try to make this better.


15 March 2018

Trail Training

So in just over a month I run my first real trail race. It's a big one. And I'm definitely going to be under-prepared. But so long as I run just fast enough to finish in under 8 hours, all will be well. I trained 2/3 of the distance today. I did manage to stay under the necessary minutes per mile, so that's something. I just hope I can train enough in the coming weeks to be able to sustain that pace.

Here's a nice photo from the trail:

17 January 2018

We tried our hand at winter camping. I just really like the desert and I hate the heat so I figured the desert during the winter would be great. And it was! Except at night it was really cold and very little changed that. Lesson learned. Anyhow, we drove to Grand Canyon National Park. We arrived after dark, so our first view was sunrise the next morning. A very nice introduction. Hiking at the Grand Canyon isn't much fun, as it starts on the downhill and ends on the uphill. But we did a couple little jaunts and it was quite nice. On the way back home, we stopped by Monument Valley which was beautiful and camped near the southern entrance to Canyonlands National Park in Utah. That night was probably even colder, but woke to a spectacular sunrise. I was super nice to take a vacation and get away for a bit. I don't think we'll be winter camping again anytime soon, though.
Sunrise on the south rim. 

Desert Watchtower. 

Mittens at Monument Valley

Sunrise near Canyonlands. 

Newspaper Rock. 

04 January 2018

New Year New You

... Nah.


I'll just update some of my previous goals.

2017 was a pretty 'meh' year. Not a whole lot happened besides the relative madness that is politics. I did get a new position at the shelter that I still mostly really like, even though it can be super busy/stressful at times. My manager is leaving in a month though, so things could take a drastic turn. I don't know how I feel about all of that.

I finished paying of my student loans, so that's cool.

I signed up for my first official trail race in May. I decided to go all in and do a 50k. It's at Greenland Open Space, which is a trail I'm very familiar with. It's mostly flat and I'm hopeful that I'll finish. Gotta get on the training though! My days off are Sunday, Monday and Thursday, so no more "Trail Tuesday."

This year my modest goals are to get out of the country, run some more, maybe buy a house?

Still have the cute and broken foster dog. I really want to know the person who adopts him. He's just a neat dog. That said, I want him to be done with foster and all healed up, because he's pretty annoying in the house with all the cat chasing and not-quite-trained-ness.


28 December 2017

Foster Pup madness.

I've had a really cool little foster dog these past few weeks. Usually we have tiny cute puppies that are loud and make a lot of messes and it's easy to return them once they heal up. This one is an older pup, super scruffy and gangly and really not all that cute. But he is more or less house-trained and he's super cuddly. He does have the tendency to chase cats (terrier!) I really hope I can find him a home with someone I know, so I can keep up with him. I am in no position to have a dog as we've got way too many in our house as it is, and have been putting off some repairs until we get rid of the foster pups. (My roommate has a 2 lb chihuahua pup.)

We've been calling him Ricky, though his given name was Tupac.  Anyone out there want a neat little dog?
cuddles!

style-able hair. 

catlike. 


Roommate's tiny. 

15 November 2017

One of my very good friends was just diagnosed with cancer. On the week of his wife's last chemo treatment for her cancer. I know life isn't fair, but this is just ridiculous. I know that what I feel is unimportant compared to what they feel, but I feel so powerless and so exhausted. I don't know what to do to help them. I don't want to overwhelm them with my need to be useful. I'm at a loss.


26 October 2017

Jobbing.

My new position at the animal shelter is quite a contrast to animal care. In the transfer department, very little remains the same from day to day. We have certain duties that need to be carried out regularly, but things about them always vary. Things are generally very fast paced, but I'm not sure if that's just the learning of a new job or if things are actually faster than my previous position.

My job involves a lot of driving in rather large vehicles. Mostly just to shelters in the metro area, but also to our other shelter location down in Castle Rock. We also have a few partner shelters out of state.

My second week of work, I drove our box truck (moving truck size) to the north west corner of Texas. I started from Denver around 5pm and arrived five and a half hours later at 12:30 (central). I awoke at 6:30 and downed some coffee before driving to the shelter and loading up the dogs. It was an uneventful trip, really. Besides the driving at night and the fact that this was likely the last trip anyone from my job will make to that shelter.

Just this week, we received a bunch of dogs and cats from Puerto Rico. I didn't help with the intake, but will certainly dabble in the ongoing paperwork.

For the first time in a long time, I find myself actually liking my job. I rarely hated my last position, but I was usually unable to feel very positive about it. While I definitely still make sure to take my breaks and use my weekends, I find the days do not crawl tediously by as they used to.

It is a lot more sedentary than I've been used to. While I am very active for short bursts loading and unloading animals, much of my day is spent either in the driver's seat or in front of a computer. But that just means I need to use my three weekend days to be active.

Really, the only thing that could make it more enjoyable is having Saturday and Sunday off as well as a weekday, instead of only one weekend day and two weekdays. But with a department of only 2 and a manager, schedules are tough. One can dream.

28 September 2017

disaster relief

Recently, I travelled to Atlanta Georgia to help with some disaster animal sheltering. It was quite the experience.

I always have conflicting emotions when I go do disaster relief for animals. Because I really do believe that human take precedence. But this was a help to people in need as well. Atlanta was taking animals from shelters in Florida. From areas affected by the hurricanes. That freed up spaces in those shelters for owned animals whose people might be homeless. Most emergency shelters don't allow pets, so it's up to either relief shelters or local shelters to house the pets.

the shelter. rows of crated dogs. 
My job in Atlanta was similar to my previous job at my shelter. Namely: animal care. I walked and cleaned several hundred dogs each day with a team of around 10 people. The dogs were mainly pit bull types and all very sweet and patient. The animals were rotating through every few days. And one evening we took in a bunch of cats. Not a few cats. Over 50 cats, I can't remember the exact number. They had all been up for adoption in Florida, so they were mostly very nice and even pretty unperturbed at being transported and housed in a warehouse filled with dogs. Right, the warehouse: the animals were housed in an old Home Depot-- a warehouse without any air conditioning, only large fans.
comfy









these cats don't care.



my makeshift bed for the night shift. 


We worked 12 hour shifts. After the first two days, my coworker and I were asked to take the night shift. This was possibly an "easier" task, as the dogs didn't need cleaned or walked at night. But we got very little sleep due to the sporadic barking.




This did free up some time during the day for an outing or two. I was able to take a nice run along the Chattahoochee river. The humidity nearly killed me, but the lower altitude was a nice change on my stamina.
morning run on the Chattahoochee

30 ft. whale shark. coolest thing ever. 


My coworker and I went to the Georgia Aquarium. It was amazing. I can't begin to describe it all. We watched a dolphin show and saw the four huge whale sharks. I am still in awe.

jellies!

 On the last day, we switched back to help in the afternoon and then I took a lyft into town to meet a friend. He works at a fairly posh restaurant and I got a fancy drink and had to choose between a dozen fancy cheesecakes. It was a good send off.
best. 



Over all, it was a good experience. There was a lot of frustration involved with the organizing and communication, but I'm glad my job allows me such opportunities.

oh, did I mention we brought one home on the plane?

(I'm terrible at formatting!)