Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Skiing for New Years!

Well Christmas is over, huge sigh of relief so it's time to get ready to bring in the new year.   All in all I would say 2009 was a year full of changes, looking back it was a pretty good year even though there were some rough patches.  I'm interested to see what 2010 holds for me but so far it's looking like it should be a great year, I'll be starting it off right by hitting the slopes of Crested Butte in Colorado.

I head out tomorrow for a long weekend where I'll get in a couple days of skiing, some hot tubbing, and hopefully some running.  I'm very excited because it looks like my new skis will be mounted up by tomorrow morning (just dropped them off during lunch) and I have some telemark boots so I can start learning how to do that as well.  It's been awhile since I last went telemarking, ~ 2 years and I only went twice but I really enjoyed it so I'm excited to go again even though it means I'll spend a lot of time falling.

Also the stress of Christmas and being home with my family has given me the motivation I needed to start running again.  Since JFK I haven't been doing much and definetly have avoided running but since last Thursday I've actually wanted to run and have managed to get in a decent amount of miles which excites me because now I feel I can start to think about training for some early season races.

Well that's about it for now.  It's a bit early but since I'll be gone, Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Puffy Coats and Skiing

Thanksgiving to Christmas usually serves as a nice running break as the big fall races are done and the spring races still seem a ways off.  After running JFK this year I needed a break from running more than ever.  Luckily I think I have found some good winter substitutes to running that should challenge me and keep me in shape.  To go with all these winter sports I finally got a down coat, it makes the cold much more bareable and it's fun to press on it and watch it puff back up.

First is downhill skiing which while not always a great workout does cause the legs to burn when you get into the steep and bumpy.  I have some great skiing weekends planned for the near future which I'm really looking forward to.  The more I think about skiing the more I realize how much I missed it while living in Baltimore.  This weekend I'll be headed to Silverton ( ), I've wanted to ski here ever since I heard about it in the winter of '03-04.  Hopefully it will live up to the hype.

Second I've started skate skiing.  I've been three times now my fourth will probably be after work today.  My initial thoughts were that it's fun and will be a great running alternative.  My third time I spent a lot of time being frustrated as I couldn't get into a rythym and felt like I was just flailing.  Hopefully with more practice and pointers I'll be able to go for 5 mintes without wanting to chuck my skis into the woods.

I've also started swimming and once I get my car back I hope to start doing some spinning as well which I'm hoping will help me out a lot with my tri's next year.  I was surprised to find that swimming up at elevation isn't as hard as I thought it would be.

Lastly the nordic center also has snowshoeing which I think I'll get into a bit more in the next bit as running on snowshoes really makes your legs burn.  And hopefully at some point I'll be able to hike up and ski down snow bowl before work but that will probably require another storm to motivate me to get up at 5:30 when it's only single digits out.  With all these alternative I'm hoping that I can push back getting burnt out on running from some time in mid march to hopefully late april.  That's about it for now, hopefully I'll remember to take some pictures at Silverton this weekend.

On another note I'll be going to my rents house (DC/Baltimore area) the 24-27, if you are in the area let me know so I can make plans to see you.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Arches for Thanksgiving ... Moab not McDonalds

I had a great Thanksgiving minus the stomach bug Sunday night.  We headed to Moab after work Wednesday and stayed there till Friday.  Thursday we went into Arches National Park to see the largest collection of arches in the world.  It was a good time and we even went on some"primitive" and "rugged" trails ... The brochure emphasized bringing liters of water and allowing 10-15 mintues to walk 200m a good read but times were geared for the morbidly obese.  Below are some pictures from the park.  If you are ever in that area you should check it out.  Friday morning I did a short hike with Dee where I was amazed and how awesome the traction on those rocks really were.  After that we packed up and headed to Durango for the night.

Sat was my first ski day this year at wolfcreek.  The trails were all open but the tree skiing was a bit rough. Sat night we hot tubbed with snow falling on us which was great.  Sunday there were a couple inches of new snow making it another great day on the slopes at Wolfcreek.  It was great to be on skis again and those two days have me really excited for all the skiing I have ahead of me this winter.

How is that staying up there

 A hole in a rock...pretty cool.

 North and South Windows

  The primitive trail was to much so I decided to take a nap.


Delicate Arch ... the one on the UT license plate

A view of the "rugged" trail


Breakfast after a very cold night of camping, I was very glad I had my toasty 0° down bag as it was prob around 20°.  No pictures of dinner from the night before but we roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, & veggies in the fire along with steak for meat eaters and veggie burgers for me.  Followed with an amazing chocolate cupcake with melted peanut butter cup for dessert, yummy.  Prob my favorite turkey day meals to date.
Well that's it for now.  Maybe in a bit I'll have some more snow pictures to post as there is a chance of more snow this weekend.  If not soon I should be able to post about my first attempt at learning how to skate ski.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Great scenery pictures from Waterline (Inner Basin)

Well I'm sitting here watching Return to Oz and sipping on a White Russian.  My computer is finally operational so I thought I would take a few minutes to get some pictures up.

This past week I have been dealing with leg pain so I took it pretty easy over the weekend, barely running at all. I managed to go for a road ride one day and then a nice hike on Sunday.  I'll post a bit more about the hike later this week along with some pics but first I thought I'd share some pictures from the waterline ride I did about a month ago that I wrote about.

Picnic Location at Inner Basin

Note the cooler trailer

Mountains, even a tiny bit of snow

Inner Basin

Now back to the movie, so far it's about as strange as everyone said it would be.

Monday, November 2, 2009

From Fall to Winter and back, First Snow

Well it seems I last posted about the leaves changing color so imagine my surprise when I'm eating lunch in the cafeteria last Wed and there is snow falling from the sky, isn't it Fall? By the time I left work I was glad that I had a scrapper in my car as there was enough on the windshield that the wipers just weren't going to be able to cut it. Some good news is that people out here are a lot better about snow than those in maryland as in they are decent at driving in it. But more so they don't go to the store the night before to buy all the milk, bread, and tp they can get their hands on.

After work I headed to some trails where there was a bit more snow so I got to enjoy running through the trees on freshly fallen snow. Unfortunately no pics of this as I started late and by the end I was running with the use of a headlamp. It was a great run and very peaceful.

I've also included a pic of the pumpkin I carved Fri night. I'm not artsy at all but I think it works as a type of witch, medusa something or other.

After 3 days of being ~19 degrees in the morning the weekend was phenomenal. I woke up saturday and it was sunny and in the 50's. A perfect day for my last super long trail run before JFK and halloween.
Once I track down Halloween pics I'll be sure to put them up as it was a great night and there were some great costumes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Lungs are on Fire

I've been out here a month, hard to believe. Running on flats is now doable but doing workouts, running uphill, or into the wind causes a severe burning in my lungs as opposed to my legs. The workout tonight really made my lungs scream as I felt like I was running uphill or into the wind the whole time. Luckily the sunsets that occur during workouts serve as a distraction as they are orange, purple, and red making for a great show. What's still a bit annoying is if I go up a flight of steps too fast I am out of breath for at least a minute afterward.

I hope to put something up about the Soulstice race I did 2 weekends ago but first I'll talk about a non running event I did last Sunday. Leaf peeping on Waterline. Waterline is a gravel trail that goes up a mountain for 8 miles and puts you into the inner basin. The path is lined with aspen trees which at this time of the year are changing colors, so very beautiful. Then the inner basin is a kind of meadow in the mountain with amazing views of trees and the peaks. While the scenery was great so was the journey. If you could imagine something like hubs of fury on mountain bikes on a gravel trail you may get an idea. There was a total of 19 of us, and 2 bikes had trailers with coolers to tote up plenty of beer, wine, whiskey, and the picnic that was devoured on top. Every mile or so people stopped to take shots of whiskey and put new beers in their water bottle cages. We even did the equivalent of whiskey water stops for people passing us as we took shots by running next to them and handing the bottle of whiskey off to them for a gulp. At the top an amazing assortment of foods was layed out cheese & crackers, prosciutto, brownie bites, vegetables, apples & caramel, and tons of other things. At the top the first bottle of whiskey was finished, 1 but possibly 2 bottles of wine and tons of beer. Then the fun part going back down 8 miles on a gravel road. All in all a great time and a reminder that drinking and bike riding are a great combo. I'm still trying to get ahold of all the pictures that were taken of this event, once I do I'll be sure to post a few.

Well this weekend I'm back in Baltimore for my cousins wedding, I'm interested to see how I feel running back at sea level. Well this is it for now as I get more settled I hope to post more regularly but for now it'll be when the mood strikes. Hope to see and run with a few of you this weekend.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I'm not in Baltimore any more

I know I'm not in Baltimore because:
  • Instead of seeing rats while walking to the bars I saw 2 skunks and had to very quickly run away from the one that was coming at me as it raised it's tail (apparently skunks and foxes are normal to see in the downtown area)
  • The first night I walked out the door I was amazed by all the stars I could see
  • There are bike lanes all over town and it's actually easy to ride from one part of town to another
  • People obey traffic signs and speed limits
  • everyone is very active
  • it is common for people to not have tv, rather if they have them they are for dvd playing only
  • you can apparently get a permit to just live in the woods in the summer
  • people are very friendly, I'm not used to this yet
  • At ladies 80's everyone seemed to be dancing whether they were good or bad and people really made an effort to dress 80's (and this is apparently a weekly occurence) prob helps that the drinks are .25
  • There is no Natty Boh (nobody's heard of it) or Yuengling
People know I'm new to town
  • I prefer riding on the shoulder of 66 to taking the back roads or some dedicated bike lane, which I have yet to figure out how to use
  • I don't have a mountain bike
  • I'm already commenting on how cold it is here
  • I don't know the staple locations as I say and where is that and am usually given a it's close to and I then have to ask where that is
  • It's a small town and I'm a new face
  • Also when my car arrives it's not a Subaru and it does not have all wheel drive

Settling In

I've been in Flag for a little over a week and I am finally starting to get a bit settled in. The first weekend was a bit rough because all I had was what I brought in my suitcases and I really only knew 2 people in town and had no tv and no internet. I managed to do the flagstaff half marathon which proved to be my slowest half marathon ever but it was a good taste of what running would be like up here, hard.
I attempted a track workout on Tuesday but it ended up with running ast for a min and then jogging for a min which I was fine with. Wednesday was Ladies '80s followd by some weird heaven and hell event in a bar where people can dance on the bar. Ladies '80s was good as I met some people and dance and sing to '80s music.
Friday brought around a usual happy hour type event and my friends slideshow where he had a new batch of home brewed beer that was pretty tasty.
Saturday I managed to make it to the highest point in Arizona, Humphreys (12,633), in looking at the trail stats its 9 miles round trip and a gain of 3333ft. I hiked up with one other person and the views from the top were amazing, you could see for miles around in each direction and see where the trees were changing colors. We didn't stay up there long as it was very cold and the winds were gusting to a point where I thought I could get blown off the mountain. Once we got back to tree line we shed our layers and ran down. I have a feeling a lot of my longer days will be like this with hike/running up and then running back down. The total time round trip was about 4 hours with probably 2:20 up, 15 min of stop time andthe rest for the way back down.
Today there was an event called War Dog which is a trail run where you gain 3000ft it used to be a race but now it's more or less an annual event. The trail takes you through aspen groves which were beautiful today as they are starting to change colors. The skies were very overcast and there was some rain showers so I only did about 1.6 miles and turned around with the people I got a ride with. They were saying there could be snow at the top which would be exciting.
Now I'm back to unpacking my things and buying bike parts online because none of the bike shops in town have 650 tires or tubes.