Saturday, January 26, 2008

My weekend

The pictures are from last night's "let's see how many therapists we can fit in my cabin" get together. I was a bit concerned about the road to my place, but we only had to push one vehicle. I'm not even sure we helped since our shoes couldn't get any traction on the ice. Not everyone could make it, but it was good to see those who did.

Some of us then had to get up early for a conference put on my this agency. It was a good morning session, but by the end of the afternoon, I was dragging. Instead of a nap, I decided to test out my new trail shoes that I got for 50% off! The color is not fabulous, but they seem to have good traction - a total impulse buy. (Thanks for the idea, Kelly!) I had my running clothes in the truck, but no shoes, so I decided to give the new ones a try. I headed out to a trail to find the snow way too deep to run. I sidetracked to a paved road and did about 4 miles. Pavement is not the best way to try out trail shoes, but they seemed to be OK. They are different from most of my shoes as the heel is low to the ground. One thing I really liked is "mono-sock" fit system. It really hugs your foot. Reminded me of my old toe shoes.

I'll be traveling for work this week, hoping to find some new trails in the process. Maybe I'll have a few new adventures and pictures to post when I get back!

Monday, January 21, 2008

- 4 degree run

Sunday morning was supposed to bring a long run with the group, but I woke up to a foot of new snow. We spent the morning shoveling snow to get our vehicles out. It was hard work, and an adventure in itself!

The long run was postponed until today (yay for holidays) and the temperature at noon was - 4. So, I loaded on the clothes. Wicking base layer, followed by wicking turtleneck, then my thick pullover, followed by a windbreaker. Under Armour tights, fleece pants and my rain pants to keep out the wind on the bottom. I had a hat, scarf, mittens, gaiters, trail shoes, yak trax and fuel belt. By the time I was out the door, I was feeling 10 lbs. heavier and HOT.

I did manage to be out there for 90 minutes though, and enjoyed the sunshine. Today's run was a loop course around my home which I did three times, plus an out and back section. Because of where I live, there is always an uphill portion about a mile in length, and a steady longer downhill section. Usually, I can run most of the uphill, but with all the snow, I had to power hike a lot of it. I figure winter is for endurance training anyway, and learning to hike the uphills is good for longer races. During the run, I had to knock my water bottle on rocks to break up the ice. I enjoyed a yummy crisp apple slushy. By the time I was done, I was feeling it in my hips and legs, and I had icicles hanging from my hat, scarf and gloves. All in all, a really good run!

My heel seems fine, even with the increase in mileage, so Snow Joke, here I come!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Good Weekend

After spending a lazy Saturday morning with a good book, I thought I'd better get some fresh air before the clouds covered the sun. I went to a local paved trail hoping it had been plowed. It was not, so I got to spend almost an hour running through packed snow again. It's a great workout, but covering any distance takes a lot longer than on cleared roads! That night, I spent some time with my former supervisor and her husband relaxing and catching up.

This morning, I joined my running group for a long run near Lakeside. We caught beautiful views of the snow covered mountains surrounding Flathead Lake. The road had several big hills, which I walked, since my heel is still in recovery mode and hills seem to make it worse. I had started out with the intention of only doing 5-6 miles (with the 10% rule in mind), but the view and company won out and I ended up doing around 9 miles. Oops. Oh well, my heel held up with only a slight tightening at the very end. I have to say though, the run was tough. I know taking six weeks off was good for me, but wow does your body rebel once you get going again.

When I started running, I ran primarily alone. Although I still like the solitude for many runs, I find that it sure is nice to have a group of people to connect with during long runs. I could not have hand-picked a more easy going, patient, kind and supportive group of people. Awhile back, we did an informal half marathon, and one of our runners made awards for several categories. You'll find the pictures from the after party posted to the right under Photo Links GGRRC Half Marathon.

Last, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday is January 21st, so I thought I'd post a link to a great song by Patty Griffin "Up to the Mountain." (Mom -just double click the play button on the video screen). Not only is it a tribute to an amazing man, but the lyrics can definitely apply to any one of us.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Good Samaritan

Here's a shout out to my very kind neighbor who plowed my driveway this afternoon. I live in the mountains at the top of a very steep curving road with an even steeper driveway. With all the snow we've gotten, my poor car finally gave up. After calling our management office, I was given a phone number of someone who knows someone who knows someone who would plow the driveway for a fee. Well, the first person I called said he would plow mine tomorrow. By the time I got home today, he was almost done. I can't tell you how relieved I was to have a place to park my car. Just when I was beginning to curse winter (and miss the city and DC's metro system), a good hearted person shows up to change my negative attitude!

Because of this gesture, I didn't have to shovel out an area to park my car, and had an hour to run before dark. I enjoyed a quiet run through fresh snow in fairly warm weather. Since I did the route around my home, I had some significant uphill portions and my heel managed fine.

I also had the chance to try out my new Fuel Belt Excursion. I've been looking for a two bottle belt because I like to have one bottle of water and the option to carry an electrolyte mix, and I don't really like the Camelbaks. This particular belt has a velcro adjustable closure so that it doesn't loosen as I run. I've used Fuel Belt products before with good success and this one was no exception. I loved it!

After six weeks with no running, I've forgotten how much a person needs to drink to stay hydrated. I tend to get muscle cramps when dehydrated and I got back home with horrible foot cramps. Now, I'll spend the evening making extra trips to the bathroom as the four 22 oz. bottles of water I gulped down work their way through.

One last thing - wish Danni good luck as she runs her first Fat Ass 50k this weekend!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Running again!

After several weeks off, I finally started running again. Sunday and Monday were runs along a very snow packed trail. Monday was most beautiful! I did a headlamp run at dusk during a perfect snowfall. I found myself laughing at several points because of how ridiculous I must have looked trying to "run" gracefully through 6 inches of snow. It's a great workout though and I'm hoping the uneven terrain will strengthen my ankles and knees. I didn't figure out mileage either day, just ran for 45 minutes. My heel felt fine during and after the run. The only time it seems to hurt now is when I ice it. I think I'll discontinue that process and see what happens. I'm just very happy to be back out there!

For those who have asked...I AM enjoying my new job. My co-workers are great, very humorous and fun, even while being dedicated to a truly difficult profession. Many people have asked why I would return to this type of work - especially "since I'm licensed." I find that slightly irritating and a bit funny at the same time. I guess I have several responses which include:

1) A license is a piece of paper and a number. I don't think it should dictate who I serve.
2) Shouldn't impoverished people also receive quality care?
3) I went to school to become a social worker. It was a choice, partly made because of the social work code of ethics and commitment to service and social justice.
4) It's a system I understand. I may not always agree 100%, but I believe in its purpose and intention.
5) I have an intense fear of waking up one day as a private practice therapist.

I'm smiling as a I write #5. It is directed to those who know me best, who can also laugh at the absurdity of that idea.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


I was tagged by Danni, so here goes...

1) Most memorable moment on the trails:

Swan Crest 57k was one of the most difficult things I've ever done. I wasn't prepared for it, suffered for most of it with nausea and muscle cramps, and reached a moment where I really thought I'd need to be rescued by helicopter. That was a section called "Six Mile Mountain," a difficult uphill somewhere around mile 20. We were supposed to reach the top, grab a token that proved we were there, and head back down to complete the course. I could see the top, but had nothing left. I actually tried to sit beneath a tiny bush, hoping for some shade and motivation. Danni was waiting patiently at the top, so I decided to give it a go. Each step was horrible, but I made it. When life gets tough, I still think about that moment and my decision to continue. It was a huge life lesson.

2) Best new trail in 2007:

I love most trails, so it's hard to pick just one. My choice will come as a surprise to those who know how much I disliked living in Great Falls. At the end of the South side of the River's Edge Trail, there is a single track trail that runs to Cochrane Dam. Be prepared with lots of fluid and sunscreen because there is absolutely no shade. Despite that, it's a nice rolling trail with beautiful views of the prairie and the river. Plus, it was my sanctuary during a really difficult time. 

3) Best Performance:

I was happy I finished the Missoula half marathon with friends. I hadn't been running much prior to that race for several reasons, just one being the extreme wind in Great Falls. I am NOT joking. 

4) I do not know how I survived without...

YakTrax! Seriously, I would have loved these growing up in North Dakota!

5) The person I would most like to meet on a trail in 2008...

Actually, I'm selfishly hoping to meet ME on the trail in 2008. With a nagging heel injury, I worry I won't see the trail at all. Wish me luck!

I would try to tag another person, but most of the people I know don't blog, and those who do have pleaded for no more tag games. Sorry!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Amtrak update

The bag has been found. Someone took it off the train halfway between Whitefish and Williston. 
It now has been turned back in to Whitefish. Because a second alert was sent out yesterday, the agent knew how to contact me. She asked if I wanted it sent to Williston. Yikes! I don't think so. I'll live in my $10 jeans until Saturday! Other than travel tips - the lesson learned? I can live with just the basics. A good reminder once in awhile. 

Because my camera was also in the missing luggage, I didn't get pictures of my niece. I'm going to try and snag some from family members to post. It really was amazing to see my sister as a new mom. Even at the airport, balancing bags, bottles, carrier, and baby while going through security, she seemed like she'd been doing the mother thing forever. And my niece is beautiful. I'm thankful for the time I had with them. 

Happy New Year!