Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 Favorites

There were so many great running moments in 2008, it's hard to pick favorites. I've narrowed the list to the following. Thanks to the Kalispell and Helena runners for sharing these adventures!

1) Girls Only Trek from Herron Park to Blacktail - This was truly a great feat as there is no specific trail. We got semi-lost several times, climbed over what seemed like a million trees, post holed through major snow, ran out of water and food, but we prevailed!

2) Running with Buddy (who died early this year) on the snow packed trails surrounding the cabin. He wasn't my dog, but a super companion for a short time.

3) Don't Fence Me In - All I can say is what an awesome trail race! I had so much fun on that course.

4) Pig Farm run with Danni, gun shots and the dead refrigerator.

5) Blacktail mountain lion sighting with Leanne. Not sure who was more surprised, the mountain lion or us!

6) Pig Farm night run

7) Watching Callie and Danni slide down snow hills on their running shorts clad butts during our Strawberry Lake 4th of July run

8) Elkhorn

9) Wintery Grizzly Gulch long run with Rebecca

10) Surviving the even more wintery -10 degree run with Martin

I debated adding our trek to Glacier for our midnight full moon run to Logan Pass. BUT, the road was closed when we got there, we had to run on graded pavement, and it was just too scary trying to stay awake for the drive back home at 4:00 am. Still, thanks to those of you who made the adventure with me.

So, what were your favorite moments? See you in the New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Whirlwind

Usually, the family meets in North Dakota for the holidays. This year, I thought I was going to be on-call, so my parents drove out to spend almost an entire week. That's an incredible amount of time for my dad! He gets very restless, so we tried to keep him busy. In between long moments of cooking and eating (the highlights were homemade stuffing and caramel rolls), I took my parents to all my favorite trail spots. We had a beautiful white Christmas just for mom. Here are a few pictures from the first two days of hiking.
Mom and Dad on the Archery Range Trail
Refueling at the Pita Pit
View from MacDonald Pass Overlook

Isn't my mom adorable?

Where's Dad?

Trying not to slide down

View from parking lot in between hikes

Saturday morning, I got up and ran with the group. Even though I only planned to run a few miles, I ended up doing a loop of eight with Rebecca and Tammy while the men tacked on a few more. It was fun chatting with two very cool women, especially with the much warmer temperatures, and the time flew by.
Rebecca and Tammy on the way up

Looks a lot colder in this picture

Afterwards, my dad and I hiked Mt. Helena. It was the first time I'd been up there since the big snowfall and it was spectacular. Lots of powdery snow, clear skies and amazing views. Time well spent.

Dad on the Road to Mars - Mt. Helena

On Sunday, it warmed up to 45 degrees with a lot of rain. Much of the snow melted or washed away and now everything is ice. It's raining again now, but I'm hoping the weather cooperates for the planned New Year's Day adventure. More on that later - Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Update - Cold Conquered!

The only ones to show up today were Rebecca, Martin and me. I wasn't sure how far to go considering the cold (-10 degrees, not including the wind chill). Rebecca planned 4-5 miles; Martin wanted 9-10. Rebecca's toes were pretty cold and she decided to run around town closer to her car just in case of weather related issues. That was probably the smarter choice.

I tagged along with Martin, thinking I'd turn around at some point. But, it was sunny, I was toasty warm in all my gear and blissfully ignorant of the route Martin chose, so I continued on. He took me on a loop that eventually climbed up to some really amazing snow covered views. My only moment of doubt was when I saw the yellow "steep grade" sign and realized we were going up, up, up. Martin is always good at providing hills for us! I appreciated the fact that he included me in this run, slowing down for my pokiness on the uphills. We ended up doing 11 good miles.

A few strange things that did happen:
1) Even though I had on running tights and my Pearl Izumi Alpine pants, a couple areas of my derriere ended up with what seems a bit of frost nip. I got a little cold when I slowed down during the climb up, and the area was painful and a little funny looking when I got home. No serious damage - it was fine after a hot shower. Just a little weird.

2) My eyeballs froze! During much of the run, I had icicles on my eyelashes, but the entire last mile, my vision was considerably blurry. I kept trying to blink, thinking it would clear up, but it didn't. I had read about frozen eyeballs somewhere, so wasn't really worried, but I was happy to get to my car and turn the heater on.

3) My bottle of Heed turned to slush. That's not so bad, but the bite valve froze solid, so I kept having to unscrew the lid to drink. Under the lid was an entire shelf of ice with a tiny hole through which to drink. Interesting. I'm going to have to do some serious reconfiguration if winter keeps throwing me below zero temperatures.

I would have taken pictures, but it was too cold to stop for that. Thank you to Rebecca who actually got me out of bed and outside this morning, and to Martin for the company on a beautiful run!

Braving it?

It is now Saturday morning and the temperature without wind chill is a balmy -10 degrees. The high is supposed to be -1. Although the coziness of my warm bed made me question my choice a bit, I'm wanting to run outside with other people. I'm meeting the group (which may only consist of me and Rebecca) at 9:00. There is no question we'll go, but how far will we make it?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I hadn't run in three days because the temperatures have stayed below zero. With free gym pass in hand, I drove to the local YMCA, willing myself to hit the treadmill. And I SAT IN THE CAR. Staring at all the people packed into the cardio machine area. I just couldn't do it. There's something about working out in close proximity to people I don't know. In addition to the just plain hate running indoors feeling. So, regardless of the asthma issues that won't give up, I engaged in self-talk that went something like this.

"You grew up in North Dakota for crying out loud. You survived walking through mountains of snow in -50 wind chill to go to school. Dad used to bundle you up to run around the house in the middle of dark winter just to get the germs off. It's above zero. Stop being a wimp, and get your butt outside and run."

And so I did. 3.2 miles. Enough to freeze my face while the rest of me was sweltering. Enough to cause my Ipod (tucked nicely in my pocket) to suddenly stop because the battery froze. And it was so nice. Quiet. Peaceful. Just what I needed to cope with the insanity of being in the mental health field during the holiday season.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday Storm

A nice winter storm greeted me this morning. I ran a few miles anyway before going to work. It was 6 degrees when I left with snow and gusty winds. Other than my eyeballs, I was way too warm in all my cold weather gear. It was fun being one of the few people to venture out. You can't really tell in the picture, but those are icicles on eyelashes. At one point, they stuck together and I couldn't see. High temperatures for the next two days are predicted to be around zero, with way below zero wind chill. We'll see if I'm motivated enough to brave it tomorrow -anything beats the dreadmill!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A few club runners met Saturday morning at the Bagel Shop. Steve, Alan and Scott were planning a 12 mile loop, but Rebecca and I were going a bit longer and "a bit" slower. The route we chose was up and back on Grizzly Gulch for a total of 16 miles and around 3100 feet elevation gain and loss. Rebecca was trying to figure out the grade of the road with her Garmin. Not sure what it told her, but my a** told me areas were STEEP. It's been good for me to run with Rebecca. Even though we took our time, we ran the entire thing except for the hourly gel stop.

The men headed up a parallel road and were nice enough to swing back down Grizzly to say hi. The road was packed snow and areas of ice and I was the only one to forget the Yak Trax. My ASR's did fine though, and by the time we headed back it was slush. I had received a few Accel Gels in the mail, so tried them out during this run. Between the Heed in my pack and the gels, I felt great. My only complaint was the bite valve on the Nathan bladder. It's difficult to open/close and if left open, it just constantly leaks. I'm thinking a CamelBak bladder is in my future.
Rebecca heading up Grizzly Gulch
This afternoon, I did a little tempo work. I won't even post my pace per mile. Before I left DC, I was running 8:30-8:45 miles on a pretty consistent basis.Not fast, but I was happy with it. The last couple years, I've slowed way down due to laziness and a lot of walking during trail runs. This winter, I'm going to make the most of my road running time and try to get at least a little faster.

As a follow-up to my health goals...
I've been getting about 80-100 oz of water per day.
Only missed lunch one day last week - ended up eating at 3pm.
Got in 25 miles while recovering from my lung infection.
Still not sleeping well, and am exploring options for the insomnia.

And, congratulations to Emily and Jason on the birth of their baby girl!