"In these bodies, we will live. In these bodies, we will die. Where you invest your love, you invest your life." Mumford & Sons

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Things you don't wanna hear when you're injured...

I'm easing through week #9 (some of you are already judging that time frame right now, see #1 below) of my fracture healing. I'm out of all ankle supports and walking with a slight limp. I can do anything except for running. Though my doctor thinks I'll be back by July 4th, I'll be happy with August 1st. For workouts, I was limited for a couple of weeks to the arm ergometer and upper body weights (after taking two weeks completely off). The arm ergometer is mind numbingly boring and looks something like this:

Against my doctors suggestion, I started riding a stationary bike at about 5 weeks. When I had my boot removed, I started pedaling a spinning bike and pool running with a cheap boot that I found at a thrift store. Eventually, I added lower body weights, elliptical, stair mill, yoga and today, lap swimming...basically in that order.

Now that I'm on my way to being able to run again, I've been fixating on conversations that I've had with people regarding my injury. I know people mean well, but sometimes we respond when no response is really needed. So, with humor and love, I'll save you some trouble and give you some examples of things injured runners don't want to hear.

1. It could be worse.


This is quite possibly the most frustrating response to any injury, illness, etc. Of course it can be worse. It can always be worse. Holy shit, I could've been mauled by a bear in my marathon (which actually happened) But stating this trivializes a person's emotions.

2. He said you'll be in the boot for how long? Oh, it's gonna be way longer than that! You've got, at least, 6 months!

I get it, everyone has a different recovery time. But, not everyone has a medical degree, so STFU.

3.  Just take it easy. Listen to your body.

Duh. I'm tough, but I'm not stupid. I love running. I also just love being physically active, but not as much as I love running outside. I physically cannot run if I wanted to. My body literally cannot even do it, because it's so painful. Additionally, I have two parents that are already gonna tell me that, I don't need more.

4. My _______ had that injury and never ran again!

This one makes me so mad, I can't even respond. Usually, it's followed by a massive explanation of their intense surgery and recovery time. Since this injury, I have seriously caught myself from sharing personal stories about injuries, illnesses, and other experiences that are similar to what someone else is going through. Why? Because they didn't ask for your story, they just wanted the space to share theirs. I tread pretty lightly around this, and if there's a lesson to benefit, maybe...but if my motivation is to shine the spotlight my way. No. I have been guilty of doing this SO often, maybe other people do, too; but I see it now and am hard working at it!

5. That's why you shouldn't be running X miles a week.

I run because it makes me happy. Most people saying this have had some limitation, mental or physical, that keeps them from enjoying running. That's fine, if running isn't your thing, but it doesn't mean that it shouldn't be my thing. Furthermore, I have times of rest and recovery, coupled with times of intensity, and followed by relaxed runs with friends. It's what I do and how I connect, and I do this very safely.

6. You need to eat more/less XYZ.

Everyone is on the "cure all" diet, and they are all singing a different tune. Paleo, vegan, or gluten-free: you do you, and I'll do me. 

For whatever reason, I rolled my ankle. Maybe it was the lack of a warmup or maybe it's poor biomechanics (which I'm working on with my PT). I've rolled my ankle doing many things, besides running. Countless other people have done the same, sometimes ligaments tear, sometimes bones break...but in the end, give space, lend a hand, listen, and don't be a jerk.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A BQ on a Broken Ankle

Nothing was shaping up in my favor, as I road the bus to the starting line of the Colorado Marathon. The weather was snowy and cold to start. During the week, I had begun looking for other marathons that I could run to Boston Qualify, in the event that my time was affected by the impeding crappy weather. I'm not sure why I was so concerned, considering that some of my best racing has happened during the winter months. As I finally stepped off the bus, with only minutes to spare, I decided to give one last go at the bathrooms. This gave me enough time to put on my iPod and discover that the battery didn't charge, to drop my bag at the sweat check, and to walk to the starting line. There was no time to warmup. I calmed my worry by reassuring myself that all of these little things that weren't working were just a sign that my race was gonna be amazing. I had planned a slow first mile, anyhow, so I knew I would get some warming up. There I was, with only one way out of Poudre Canyon and the race starting in two minutes.

I took off at a comfortable pace, following the 3:30 group. I kept them in sight for the first mile, allowing my legs and body to warmup. During the second mile, I started to close in on the group, because I was nervous that I might be taking things a bit too slow. I was immediately uncomfortable, mixed within the big group. I'm not use to running so close to people, so I stuck towards the outside. This unfortunate position made me have to dodge cones and be overly aware of how the runner, directly in front of me, was moving. It was about that time, as I was trying to watch other runners, look for potholes, dodge the cones, find my stride, that it happened. My left ankle rolled. I heard a noise. Maybe it was my feel scraping along the road. It was confusingly mixed with the voices of concern and regret surrounding me. The tones that told me my race was over. I looked at my watch; 1.8 miles. I was done, and if I were smart, I would walk myself back to the starting line to catch a ride to the finish. I hobbled for a minute, told everyone I was okay, and kept thinking and running. I knew an aid station would be in the next mile or two, just as close as the start. I figured I would keep going and evaluate my ankle as I ran.

I really don't run marathons, but in the past year, I spend 40 weeks training for them. I ran ADTM just to see what I could run and finished in 3:42:49. I trained harder for the Colorado Marathon with the help and guidance of John O'Neill in the hopes of qualifying for Boston with my husband and running Boston for our 10th anniversary. I knew that my ankle was damaged enough that I was gonna be off of it for awhile. I had figured that I could train for another marathon, if things didn't work out, but this injury changed the game. I had also been here before. I ran the Pony Express two years ago and rolled my right ankle 3 miles from the finish. I finished as the first female runner, but the injury put me out for 6 months. I swore that I would never let my ego get in the way, again. I regretted the decision to keep running and here I was, again.

I reached the aid station and pulled myself off the road. My ankle looked okay with just a little swelling below the fibula. I decided to keep going and check it at the next station. I spend the next two miles angry that this happened and wondering if I should keep moving. I checked my ankle again, at the second aid station, and noted that it kept the same amount of swelling. As I started to run again, I felt more pain. Clearly, stopping was allowing the swelling to increase, and I figured that my running was keeping the swelling down. I decided not to stop again, unless I was done. I was halfway to the half marathon point, and I figured I would reevaluate my decision, then. The 3:30 pace group was beginning to slip out of sight with my original goal. I spent the rest of the race watching my pace band.

At the half marathon point, I assessed the number of vehicles sitting around that could drive me to the finish. Duane had the keys, so I would sit in the cold until he finished. I was wet, cold and broken. My situation hadn't changed for better OR for worse in the last 13.1 miles. I was one minute off of my split goal, but my ankle wasn't getting worse, so I decided to keep on running. I started to notice people passing me around mile 16, so I made a game with the cones. Run hard for five cones, go easy for a few, a variation of what John told me to do around this point in the race. Or, I would pick a person to catch up to, just to keep motivated and keep my legs and brain from falling into a slower pace. I also noticed that any change in terrain made a painful adjustment for my ankle. Uphill would hurt, then my body would get use to it. Then the downhill would hurt, then my ankle would find that comfortable. When the pain would get bad enough, I would chant to myself, "The Revenant, but the Revenant!!" Reminding me that the human body is capable of astounding feats. At mile 20, I decided that I would never try doing math in a marathon, because I started counting down 8 miles and thinking that my BQ was completely gone. I only had 6 miles, though and was still in the game.

Pretending that I'm having fun at the Colorado Marathon!

Somewhere around 22 miles, I realized that I would be physically done running if I stopped. At mile 24, everything below my hip flexors began to cramp. My right leg was really tired from doing much of the work. My ankles didn't seem to flex or extend, but I could put one leg in front of the other. I finished in 3:36:29, much slower than my goal and only a little faster than my BQ. Immediately after crossing the finish line, I couldn't walk or hold my body up. I hobbled to the medical tent. Cold and shivering, they put me in the ambulance. My left ankle was now swollen to the size of my calf muscle. Once we located Duane, I was put in a wheel chair and brought to our van. I experienced an amazing amount of pain and guilt. We bought some crutches, and I did my best to keep from being incredibly miserable for the rest of our trip.

We returned home on Monday. I had an afternoon appointment with my foot and ankle doctor, who immediately took x-rays of my ankle. I had a spiral fracture of my fibula that happened when it rolled. Knowing this alleviated some of my guilt from continuing my run. I'm in a boot and on crutches for 4-6 weeks, but should be able to run by July 4th. I can't walk if I wanted to, but have been able to get around on my crutches and knee scooter rental. I no longer regret my decision to keep running. I did PR and BQ, though I'm a little nervous about being so close to my 3:40 time. There is a chance that my BQ could not make the accepted time. If that happens, I will plan to train and run for the Colorado Marathon, again, hopefully on two good legs and in beautiful weather.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Running Goals for 2016

You might've seen my post this week about a student who asked if I would ever climb Mt. Everest. I gave an explanation that culminated in "no" (family, cost, life vs. death, etc). She proceeded to tell me about how a few of them were watching the Everest movie and decided that I was the only person they knew that would ever be able to, because of my determination and endurance. While I have no intention to ever climb Everest, I'm humbled and flattered. It also made me realize how much my students see, and possibly admire, about my training and goals. We lead by example, and I feel that the reason I am successful as an educator is because of this, coupled with the fact that I'm endlessly inspired by many of them...just as much as they may be inspired by me. To teach, you need to be able to learn, to re-evaluate yourself, and to change accordingly.

But, this post isn't really about teaching. It's about goals, some of those goals inspired by the young people that I work with everyday.

I've been training for the Colorado Marathon. It is my current goal, and I'm hoping to finish around 3:35 to more than clear my Boston QT of 3:40, thus landing Duane and I in Boston to celebrate our 10th anniversary at the Boston Marathon. After all, we hiked a 26 mile slot canyon for our honeymoon. Maybe for our 20th, we'll take on a 50 miler or 100 miler (if you do the math, that would make Duane really f'ing old). But, I've been slowly chipping away at mileage along the trails and on the treadmill in the hopes of having a great race. I was close at ADTM with a 3:42. The course was hillier, and it was really the first marathon that I had actually trained for. I used the "Run Less, Run Faster" training plan, and I just don't think it was the right plan for me. Now, I'm running almost daily under the guidance of John O'Neill. My running is stronger, and my body is well conditioned, now that I've added some strength training to my weeks.

I've also been kicking around the idea of completing the TCR, this year. I've never actually finished TCR, because the year that I tried, the Ascent was cancelled mid-race for terrible weather. I've decided that I will, at least, register for the Ascent. I'm just not sure that my body needs to run the Garden 10 Mile six weeks after my marathon. This way, I'll be ready to run the Ascent, but can decide on the Garden 10 as the time approaches. I'm looking forward to hitting a lot of trail during the summer, on my feet and on wheels. I'd like to earn a PR at the Pony Express (and not break myself, this time). I'm thinking that some Pikes Peak training can help complete that goal.

I will also be going back to Shoshoni to complete my RYT 500 training. I started this journey in 2008, the same year that I tried TCR, so it seems like a great year to finish both. I also am hoping to solo summit James's Peak (13er), during that time. It was an amazing and beautiful adventure that I had in between babies. I look forward to making that journey, again. So, I won't be climbing Everest, but I do have a couple of mountain challenges to attempt this summer. I'm grateful to my students, who have so much confidence in my abilities, for giving me the final push towards deciding that I can do this again.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

How hot yoga helped me embrace my body

Two posts in two days??? Damn, I'm on a roll. (But mostly, I'm just avoiding a pile of grading). I hate the winter. I'm cold all of the time. Most people that see me run on a cold day are like, "It's really frigid out there!" Honestly, the moment I run is the warmest part of my day. I recently purchased a space heater for work. I hugged it for an hour and still felt cold. So, I decided to try hot yoga. I'm a yogi. I've practiced yoga for a bit. I'm a lazy yogi, though. I like doing things on my own time, and I mostly enjoy practicing during the chaos of my own space at home, when I'm wearing jeans and my kids and dog are climbing all over me, while giving me kisses. Seriously, you can't beat that.

But, in my craving for heat, I schlepped my lazy yogi butt over to a hot yoga studio to try something new. I have tried a few classes, but I can only really handle the one where you hold poses for a long time. Anything with the words "vinyasa" and "hot" in the title are frightening and will most likely result in me passed out on the floor.

The first time that I attended, I had forgotten a towel. In a normal yoga class, this isn't a big deal, because sweating is at a minimum. However, when the room is 107 degrees, you'll sweat, and I actually sweat buckets. So, there I was, slipping along through hot yoga, unable to hold limbs in my hand or legs on my mat. Aside from an occasional panic attack from the heat and frustrations about being without a towel, I survived. As I lied in savasana, I felt pretty accomplished, only to discover that there was no actual time for savasana that was built into the class, and I actually had to be somewhere, so I couldn't stay longer. Talk about a buzz kill.

I kept going and surviving, until tonight. The class was the same as always, but the room felt a billion degrees hotter. I showed up in some tiny shorts and a tank top. Again, buckets of sweat began to pool on the towel that I have not forgotten since my first class. I looked around at the tight body yogis, advancing their postures and doing crazy movements in their bra tops and pre-baby bellies, and I thought, "F-this". I stripped off my shirt and finished my practice, baring a little extra skin. I haven't even worn a bikini in public since Rowan. My only feeling was pride for my body, and I am pretty sure that no one actually even noticed everything that I was so self-conscious about. I moved and I folded, and so did my more squishy parts, and I loved watching the postures fit my body. I breathed deeply to watch my belly expand, and I folded further to see the space that my babies once filled, move inward with strength and grace.

Truthfully, I think my love affair with hot yoga is coming to an end. I really don't enjoy it as much as I enjoy a regular vinyasa style class, in a normal temperature room. But, if and when I do attend again, it will almost certainly be without my shirt. There is so much to be gained by watching your body move, just as it is.

My 21 Day Fix Experience (No, I'm not a coach)

After Thanksgiving, and before...I noticed that my weight was on the higher end. I try to not care and be all body positive, but as a runner, a few extra pounds can be a lot to carry, and as an "athena" runner, I already carry 160 lbs. It can have an effect on your joint health, and my ankles and feet have been pretty unforgiving, lately. I want to get a tiny bit faster and possibly qualify to run the Boston Marathon this year, so I thought I'd focus on making some changes. Honestly, I was getting to the point of allowing myself to eat anything and everything. I just needed to reign it in. At my healthiest, I worked out in the morning (swimming) and ran or biked in the afternoon. I think there was something crazy about my metabolism then...like some type of supercharge after having Aspen, because I feel like I do a lot more now, with little change in my body. I think that my nutrition, and probably age, have something to do with the changes. As a result of my self-assessment (and probably spending too much time on Instagram), I decided to try the 21 Day Fix.
Don't stop reading.

I'm not trying to sell you anything.

Frankly, any blog post that I could find regarding 21 Day Fix was written by a coach. Coaches are people that sell the program and encourage that you finish. It's like the Pampered Chef of fitness. I had one, she was awesome. I probably would have quit, if she hadn't encouraged us. We used Facebook for some daily posts about our progress, thoughts, motivations and feelings. I do think that accountability is a cool addition to the program. But, I'm not a coach...so I'll give an honest assessment about 21 Day Fix.

It's actually pretty great.

I thought that I wouldn't gain much from the workouts, and would benefit from the nutrition. I was wrong on both accounts. Getting up 30 minutes early (the workouts are only 30 minutes) to sweat in my basement was much better than going to the pool. Showering and prepping for my work day away from home was always a pain in the butt. I honestly never skipped a workout on 21 Day Fix. There are seven different workouts that are a combination of strength training, cardio, plyometrics, pilates and yoga. As a super fit person, they kicked my ass (but they have modifications). I have found it really easy to get up early and go into the basement for a workout that is unlike my "norm". I also feel fantastic. I look strong, but more importantly, I am strong. I feel much more capable in doing things that I would easily give up on...like anything that required any level of strength. Plank? Forget it, I'd rather take a nap. Now, I can handle it. I also appreciate that the workout has a countdown clock, and when I can see it (I often don't put my contacts in before working out), it's nice to know how long I will feel the torture.

There are some things that I don't like about the workout, mainly the instructor. The overall vibe is that something is wrong with you, and you need to change it. There are a lot of buzz words throughout the videos to support this, "you give me 21 days, and I'll give you the body you've always wanted." I was totally annoyed by this. I already have the body I want. It's mine, and it's not going anywhere. At some point, she even says something about how no one wants to see your flabby arms. I don't think that body shaming creates lasting change in a person. You can't think of a workout as punishment and a way to banish unwanted parts of yourself...because it's yourself. It's not going anywhere. And, you certainly won't experience change, without some self-love and feel-good motivation. I really wasn't surprised, though, because the program is called 21 Day Fix, which implies that you need fixing...and you don't. I also don't think it helps that the only "normal looking" person in the workout video (i.e. not a fitness instructor or fitness model) is the one doing the modifications. Frankly, I know quite a few men and women that don't look as fit as me, but are a helluva lot more strong. It wouldn't hurt to put some diverse body types in their videos. But, alas, they are selling an image of perfection as something to be achieved in the way you look.

I thought that I would gain the biggest benefit from the nutrition. The problem, for me, with the 21 Day Fix nutrition program was that I'm a runner and had no intention of not running during the duration of the 21 days. The program gives you a mathematical calculation for your calorie intake. My intake was suppose to be 1200-1400 calories, which is starvation. I tried it for two days and was so hangry, I was a monster. I bumped myself up to the next level of 1500-1800. The program works by portioning your food into food groups. The biggest change for me was recognizing that I eat a ridiculous quantity of fruit and nuts. I began to eat more protein and complex carbohydrates.

By the end of 21 days, I had gained in muscle what I had lost in fat. I was much more toned. I didn't feel like the diet was sustainable for me, because I really felt the need to eat more, and I don't like going hungry. As a result, I started using a food and activity tracking app. This has been a much better way for me to monitor my eating and workouts. Using a combination of food tracking and the 21 Day Fix workouts in the morning with my regular running, I've lost about 4 lbs in this month. I'm not following the workouts everyday, because I actually value my running goals more than any weight-loss goals. At this point, I'm just happy maintaining that I am strong and happy. I have had a difficult time feeling this level of strength and confidence after having Rowan.

So, would I recommend the program? Maybe??? I think it's probably really fantastic if you are sedentary and aren't sure how to eat healthily and be active. The program emphasizes real foods and measures these foods in pre-measured containers, so it's very simple. I also think you need to have some pretty thick skin to laugh off the body shaming in the videos, though. It's probably not any more shaming than what happens in normal videos or fitness classes. As a previous fitness instructor and trainer, I probably said and believed some of that crap, too. The workouts are fantastic. As a pretty fit person, I've gained a lot more strength with very little extra commitment. So, I do think the program can benefit someone that understands their nutrition, but is less motivated to do strength workouts or high intensity interval workouts.

Overall, I'm pleasantly surprised by the strength that I've gained and the basic awareness of my nutrition, again. I might not lose any weight, but I'm happy being stronger.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rim Rock Marathon Relay 2015

I most recently raced in the Rim Rock Marathon Relay, again, with Duane. We ran the race back in 2011, when Aspen was tiny. Duane really wanted to win this race. We've been close and our times aren't far off, but it looks like we'll be needing to return for a big win. I have no problem with that.

We rented a house that was close to the bus pick-up on race morning. This was nice, because Duane was able to leave a bit earlier to catch the 1st leg bus, and I left about 15 minutes later. The wait was in the Fruita Community Center, which was so much nicer than waiting outside and in our van forever at the last Rim Rock we ran. The 2nd leg bus seemed to leave much earlier, this time around. I had a 1:30 wait until my leg of the race.

The beginning of the second leg was a bit confusing. The 2nd leg runner was chip timed, but there was no starting mat. I only wanted to find one to make sure that I was starting in the right place, mostly because the relay start changed this year. The 2nd leg started about 200 m sooner and actually ended a lot farther, so it just seemed suspicious and I didn't want to make a major mistake. I also really didn't want to start my run at the bottom of a rather steep hill.

I ran a couple of brief warmups (the morning was VERY cold), used the bathroom a couple of times, sat in a warm bus, and chatted with other relay runners to pass some time. I was super grateful to meet a couple that were waiting for their son (the lead runner) and 1st leg of their relay. The mother was able to drive Duane down to the starting line and we were so grateful for that. Otherwise, the 1st relay runners wait for the very last relay to be bused back to the start.

I caught the dad that started out before me pretty quickly. I didn't hold the lead for very long as a faster marathon runner soon took the lead. After another two miles or so, I was passed by a male team. I held around a 6:15/mi pace until around mile 7. I just started to decide that no one could actually catch me. This was somewhere on a big sweeping stretch of road where you can see about 1.5 mi in front of you. I'm pretty sure the next female saw me and committed to passing me at that moment. When I hit the section of switchbacks that lead out of the monument, I was surprised to see people behind me. I didn't realize it was a female, until she passed. I knew it must've been a coed team. This was about 3 miles from the finish. Within the last mile, I was passed, once more, by a male runner.

I finished knowing that I was the 4th relay runner to pass, and 5th overall. While I know this was good, I was disappointed that I allowed myself to slow down around mile 7. I relaxed into an easier pace, because I didn't want to cramp up and be unable to finish. I probably could have maintained a slightly faster pace, but maybe I just wasn't ready for that super downhill 13.5 mi of road.

After the race, we enjoyed the festivities that are now centered in downtown Fruita. We didn't stay throughout the awards, because the family was antsy. This was unfortunate, because it turned out we were the 3rd team. The 2nd place team consisted of both the 3rd and 4th place runners. The male runner that passed me in the last mile was the 1st leg of the team in front of me. I wish that had been more clear. We don't normally leave before awards, but sometimes it's hard with little guys.

We plan to return and run next year. Overall, I've been racing each week this fall and I'm looking forward to taking a couple of months off. I'll probably take a little bit of time off of running, completely and get back to racing in 2016. This weekend is my last race of the PPRR Fall Series on the Red Leg/CRC Women's team. After that, I'll be vegging out until my age group promotion at the end of December!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Babies on the Road

We took a ten day trip through Moab and back with the kids. It was a constant juggle, entertaining the littles while trying to figure out how to keep them fed, watered, and asleep in unfamiliar places and shared quarters. Last year, we camped for three nights in Golden for the Golden Bluegrass Festival, but we lasted two nights. Aspen began to fall apart and scream in the middle of the night. She's never been too good about being active all day and skipping her nap. Most kids get tired with that schedule, but for her, it's monster fuel. Anyhow, after two nights and the end of the festival, we didn't think we needed to torture ourselves and decided to return home a night early. She has never traveled very well, and this 10 day vacation was sure to be an adventure.

We drove to Moab in one day. It went rather well, up until the camper flat tire in Glenwood Canyon. We were fortunate that there was some nearby construction and an amazing system of cameras throughout the canyon. A man was there ready to divert traffic, immediately. Duane was able to fix the flat within a few minutes and we spent the next hour at Discount Tire. With two new tires, we headed into town to visit the local brewery for lunch, then be on our way. A few more hours, and we would pull into camp.

I was disappointed with Moab as we pulled in during a crazy desert storm. It had been incessantly raining in Colorado Springs when we left. I had told Aspen that it wouldn't and didn't rain in the desert. She was sure to remind me of this assertion many times. We met up with a couple of friends, Vanessa and Andy, en route and at camp to run the Thelma and Louise Half-Marathon with. They drove their RV and enjoyed comfort and dryness, while we set up the popup camper.

During the night, the rain continued and became more fierce. Around 1 a.m., our EZ-up tent had completely collapsed. Metal bent and destroyed, it was in pieces. Around 3 a.m., I decided that if the rain continued at 5, I would not be running the race. The rain finally stopped at some point. I fumbled around in our dark camper to put on my Skirtsports Lioness skirt and to lace up my shoes. I met Vanessa at our van, and we headed to the start of the race.

The Thelma and Louise is an all women's event that runs along the Colorado River. I warmed up for a mile, and then headed to the start. I was surprised to see everyone standing sheepishly around the start and afraid to line up in front of the 1:45 pacer. I knew I would run faster than 1:45, so I joined a few other women at the front of the start. I ran in 5th place for the majority of the race. Around mile 9, the women holding 1st and 2nd began to dramatically slow down. I passed each one, and began to really push my pace in the last two miles as I felt someone on my shoulder. I knew the difference between 3rd and 4th place was pretty huge, so I fought to the finish. I finished at 1:40:14 in 3rd position, only seconds before the next runner. I ran back for Vanessa. Then, we both ran back so that I could run a total of 17 miles, following my marathon plan.

We spent a few days in Moab, finding the small hikes in Arches and Canyonlands to walk along with the kids. We also hiked the Negro Bill hike, which was a really tough route with small children. It became really hot in the last couple of miles of the hike. Truthfully, I bribed Aspen with ice cream and a stuffed animal.

We headed back into Colorado, and had a layover in Glenwood Springs at a friends house. It was relieving to sleep in a real bed, and to put the kids to bed early. They had been staying up later, and the lack of schedule was starting to overwhelm everyone. We visited the hot springs, but Aspen mostly needed a day out of the sun to rest. She enjoyed some TV and a good sleep. I was able to get a fantastic run along the Roaring Fork River in the rain the next day. That afternoon we headed to Vail for a couple of nights at the Healthy Schools Retreat. It was a fantastic stay. Duane and the kids were able to explore Vail, while I attended the conference.

Catching up on GoT in the hotel bathroom, while the kids slept.

After Vail, we headed to the Shoshoni Yoga Retreat Center for family weekend. It's an amazing program with beautiful surroundings, restful yoga, great activities for the kids, and fantastic food. On the last morning of our stay (and the last morning of our trip), I left the camper at 4:40 a.m. to run the Skirtsports 13er in Boulder. Ten days in a camper and two half-marathons might've been overly ambitious.

The race starts at Home Depot in Louisville, Colorado. The first year of the race, they ran us over a bridge overpass, which bottle-necked the runners to a standstill. Thankfully, they walked us over the bridge and had us start on the opposite side. The course climbs a lot, and the hills are really long. At first, I thought this was the reason for my slow start. Close to mile 8, and in the middle of the longest hill, I was passed by a young girl that I beat in the T&L half. At that point, I realized that sleeping in a camper and travel, in general, probably affected my race. No big deal. The event helped me focus on getting my distance for marathon training during vacation. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have run at all on vacation. I was suppose to finish 20 miles that day. I warmed up for a mile and was able to run an additional mile after the race, but that was it. No 20 for me. I was done. It was hot, and I missed my family. I enjoyed some post race oranges and snacks. They also had cake, which was nice, but the heat had me feeling really sick.

When I ran the race during the first year, Aspen was there, and I was pregnant. This year would have been perfect to have kids around, because Home Depot had a little maker's station underneath a tent for kids to build projects. I also didn't stick around long, because, unlike the first year, I didn't have any friends join me. A few of us ran the first year, but it didn't work out this time around. Hopefully, we can get a group going next year.

Later that day, we headed home and enjoyed sleeping in our own home and beds. The trip was a definite success with Aspen and Rowan. We visited with countless dear friends along the way. Overall, it was fantastic. I have learned that if I plan to travel to a race, to have that race be within the first 24 hours of my trip. It's not that I won't do this again...because the trip and two races were really fun, but I just won't expect to run very well at the second event.