Friday, June 29, 2012

Day trip to Taos

We headed north to Taos to poke around in a few tourist trap shops and eat lunch. Traffic was kind of bad in the tourist area, and we had left 63 degrees in Angel Fire for 91 degrees in the desert town of Taos. Not feeling like browsing knock knack shops, we grabbed a bite at Orlando's, and made a short drive to see the Rio Grand Gorge Bridge.

This bridge was built on 1966, and is the 5th highest in the US--650 feet above the river. Driving up to it, you can't tell there is even a canyon there. But on the bridge, it's amazing.

The bridge has been in several movies, and also has been the site of several suicides. Bill and I were thinking bungie jumping would be cool here.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Western OK/TX

Driving across western Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle, I am awed at the vastness of the land. People think of it as flat, but listening to my Jeep on cruise labor one incline and decelerate down the next--it's not flat. Not even relatively. At the OK/TX state line, we were at 1900 feet. Now, 50 miles from Amerillo, we are at 3200 feet and climbing, speeding across I-40 through mini-grand-canyons. But it's boring.

I think of people who have ran across the US, and how many go right through this part of Texas. Yikes. I don't think I could do that.

I asked a friend who runs every weekend in the Colorado mountains about how a 2000' elevation change affects the temperature. He said that climbing 2000' at night could find temps 15 degrees colder. I'll be dragging a travel bag with me I suppose. If I slow to a drag-butt walk while climbing, and it's 30 degrees with wind, I'll need layers.

About that temperature decrease--it was 107 in Erick, OK at 2000'. It's 105 here at 3385'. Woo hoo two degrees.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Colorado Springs under attack.

I am deeply saddened hearing about the terrible fires in Colorado. I have dear friends who live in the path of this fire. Yesterday, I heard from them, and they were packed and ready to evacuate. (How can you pack everything in two cars? You cannot.)
Containing this fire has been made nearly impossible by 100+ temperatures, and yesterday's 65 mph winds.

Pictures are from the Colorado Springs Gazette

My understanding is that the fire spread through Garden of the Gods, a beautiful park that will probably be treeless now. Beyond that is miles of residential area. Colorado needs rain in the worst way. Please pray.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

what happens during taper

Here's what happens during taper. I feel rested. I want to run. So, I go and walk, which turns into a little running. My only salvation is bringing my camera to take pics.
These are some of the rocks I run over. Flying from the top of one to the next.

Mysterious little green plants. Weeds, to some. Brilliants works of art to others.

The remains of a bad ass spider. I thought he was a live critter while taking the picture. Looks like a mere shell of an arachnid up close.

No day in the woods is complete without a pic of the sun through the trees.

Remember the giant turtle head on the upper yellow trail? This is his brother on the "trail that goes nowhere."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dealing with tapering

The taper goes on. I have come to embrace short runs. four miles--no more than five, and mostly at a relaxed pace. Slow. Lotsa walking.

Jake has enjoyed my taper, as he specializes in short runs. We made a trip to Bixhoma Friday night. The lake was swarming with people, but we were the only runners. I have had him here before, but this time, after a text from an acquaintance who questioned the lake regulations pertaining to dogs, I read the signs and rules. "Pets must be on leashes." We were ok with that. "No Swimming." I did not intend to swim. "No animals allowed in lake." Hmmm. Tell that to the beavers.

The lake was beautiful, as it always is. I had dead legs, wearing my Asics 2160 Trail shoes. It seemed like I had lead weights on each foot. Our pace was never faster that 12 minute miles, and we averaged 16 minutes overall. I did stop my iPhone app when I took pictures.

Jake requires a dip every now and then, and I made my way around to the west side of the lake before turning him loose for a drink.

This little boat ramp was to Jake's liking. He lounged around in the water for about five minutes here.

We also went to the opposite side of the lake, crossing the dam, and along the bluffs  lining the south shore. We turned around at an old picnic shelter that had the concrete tables all busted out. Such a shame, and this side of the lake is seldom used--but I make it around there every now and then.

Sunday morning, I led a group of trail runners in a 4.75 mile scamper around the entire wilderness area.

Left to right: Russell, Bailey, TZ, Edward, Molly, Kristina, Chris, and Tim. I felt light and springy--and had one of the best trail runs I have had in a while. It's amazing how one bad run is always followed by a great one.

A side note, I have biked twice this past week. 12 miles, and 16 miles. Cross training makes the taper go bu easier.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Update to the TZ Trail Guide

Check out the TZ Trail Guide. The permanent link is in the right column. I have added an Oklahoma map at the top of the page with all the trailz numbered and posted on the map. It's not perfect, but hopefully it will help. Find the trail on the map that seems like a possible interesting destination, then look up the name of the trail. Then, click on the link to that trail further down in the right column. That brings up my post on that particular trail, and mostposts have a few pictures, and some sort of a trail map. My goal is to have a google map with icons on it for the trails that can be clicked on like a live link. I gotta get more smarter first.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Losing weight TZ style

I have not really shared much about this--but I have been doing the diet thing the past few months. Back in 2002, and after years of over-nourishment, I topped the scaled at 232 lbs, and joined Weight Watchers. I followed the diet to the letter (well mostly), and started running, and lost down to 150 where I earned Lifetime membership. I was told I could begin introducing "other foods" into my diet. Bring on the pie, pizza, and beer. I gradually gained about half of it back, but of course I never stopped running. A return to a sedentary lifestyle would have rocketed my weight back into the 200s, but I hovered between 180 and 190-something.

I jumped back into Weight Watchers and a few other diet plans, but nothing really worked all that well. I always thought since I ran, I could eat whatever. And you can, but losing weight won't happen if there is not a calorie deficit. Well, my friends Bobby and Susan joined the WW camp, and they have done AWESOME, and inspired me to get lean and mean--well, just lean. Doing well in this upcoming 100 was also a motivating factor.

So, after being a fraction over 200, I have lost 25 lbs, and am feeling fit, fast, and confident. I also am sure the scales will continue to go down. Weekly weigh-ins seem to entice me to do what it takes to produce smaller numbers. But getting smaller numbers is also achieved by trickery of a sort. There are no hard and fast rules on "what" you weigh in each week. I do not think the WW personnel cares if you do your first weigh-in with lead shoes and a pocket full of bricks. Certainly, there are heavier clothes and lighter clothes aka "weigh-in clothes." But after a while, you reach a point where you're have the lightest apparel possible. Where do you go from here? When I joined, I wore blue jeans, a long sleeved cotton race shirt of some kind, running shoes, socks, OH, and undies of course. And of course, I want to see the scale go DOWN every week, but some weeks due to consumption of sweets, beer, movie popcorn, etc, I had to resort to other tactics. My weigh-in is Sundays at 2:00 pm, and the usual routine is running ~4 hours Sunday morning. Run those lbs off!! Yeah yeah yeah, I know. It's water weight, but if you do that every week and the scales keep going down, something is working.

But there are other methods. The blue jeans were replaced by my Patagonia running shorts--weighing a mere 8.5 ounces. Tech shirts weigh less than cotton. My Minimus shoes weigh less than my other running shoes, and barefoot weighing is not prohibited. I'm embarrassed to say, that weighing in "commando" is also not forbidden, but I am sure it would probably be frowned upon. (What they don't know, won't hurt them!) I have taken the "big sweat-off" to a new level. Last Sunday, I ran 4.5 miles on the trailz, and then came home and put on sweat pants, a cotton t-shirt and a heavy sweatshirt and stocking hat, and mowed my grass in 93 degree heat and I did not use the self propel on the mower. I just KNEW I had whittled of enough to have a 1 lb loss, but was pleasantly surprised that it was 2.5 lbs!! I had sweat off a total of 6.5 lbs in around 6 hours.

This week, I am trying to eat right, and hope I don't have to crash-course it so hard this Sunday. But if I do, I have determined that removing ALL of my "unwanted" body hair would net about a four once loss!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I am very sad. I have lost my Starbucks stainless steel coffee cup. I have had it for 5+ years. I found one on E-bay for $44.95 plus shipping. Not gonna pay that much.

I am very irritated. Joan Rivers in on Jimmy Fallon, and her voice GRATES on my nerves. But I'm not motivated enough to go change the channel.

I'm very jittery. I did not run today, and I feel awful, although I am SUPPOSED to be tapering.

I bet I run tomorrow.

Friday, June 15, 2012

need advice

I need help. Some advise. Something. I have been racking up some serious miles in training for Angel Fire. 96 miles two weeks ago, 76 last week, and will be in the 70s or 80s this week. The weather has been hot--it's SUMMER! I have kept myself hydrated and always carry a water bottle.
My bottle of choice is an insulated Camelback, with a California Innovations insulated sleeve over it. I can cinch the strap over my hand, and it's like it's not even there. These bottles have saved me when I fall several times--planting the bottle on the ground keeps my hand from being scraped up.

Lately, it's been a lot hotter, and I've been running with two bottles. Here lies the problem. I always carry a single bottle in my right hand--never my left. When I carry two, it just seems weird to carry the second in my left, so I have them both in tow in my right.

One bottle full weighs right at two pounds, and carrying what is essentially 4 pounds of dumbbells over thirty miles has built up the muscle in my forearm--a good thing, right? But my LEFT arm is getting the short end of the stick. Try as I may, it just does not feel right running with a bottle in both hands. So, after a few months of progressive training, I have become a freak.

Yes--these are true pictures. I can almost flip the flab over the top of my arm. And people wonder why I run with long sleeves!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Some pictures from Pumpkin Holler

Kathy and I ran the loop at Pumpkin Holler today, and chatted with the owners of Eagle Bluff. Keep your fingers crossed--they are a bit concerned that the race is 5 calender days later than last year, as they normally winterize their bathrooms and close the place down on Sept 30 or shortly after. The way the days fall in the month this year, the third weekend is October 20, 21 instead of 15, 16 like last year. I am sure they'll still be good with letting us use the campground, and the BATHROOMS/SHOWERS. Otherwise, we'll come up with a plan. 
The course was in great shape. Roads were smooth, with only a couple of short spots a tad bit rocky. The hills seemed to have flattened out somewhat, but did ebb upward later in the day as the temperatures climbed into the 80s.

We stashed water at the Y near the start, and at Bathtub Rocks. We then started at the Nickel Preserve building, and ran the course in reverse.

I liked that direction--a lot at first. But in the later miles, we found short annoying inclines that go unnoticed when running the race clockwise. We decided that the best direction to run it is the way we did last year--so no changes there.

The course runs along the Illinois River, and a good view can be seen in five different stretches of the loop.

Running in the shade was good. Running in the sun was rough--especially in the last three miles.

By the time we hit Bathtub Rocks, the running water and natural pools was more than tempting.

We soaked our 18 mile ridden feet for about five minutes, and it seemed to breathe new life into them--for a few miles anyway.

This year, there will be an aid station here, and I recommend the healing waters of this stream.

The lopp we did was 27 miles. Add the out-and-back at the start, and the one on the course, and you'll have a 50K. There are other shorter loops possible there too. We'll plan a couple of training runs there in coming weeks.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekend Update

This weekend has been a lot like other weekends, so I'll make it quick on the same old same old stuff. I ran 30 miles Friday night, and had a great run. Had it been a 50K, I would have earned a PR for 31 miles. One more long run and I'll consider starting a taper. Saturday, I had an awful run (expectantly) on Turkey Mt. Sunday morning, I felt better, and had some spring in my step. I took a fall and boo-booed the same elbow and same knee in the exact same places as I did a month ago., This time, I at least tripped on a rock instead of tripping on a flat sidewalk. This pic is from my iPhone Hipstamatic app.

We ran all as one group, and either any possible speedsters were super patient with me, or they were all riding bikes, as it was Tulsa Tough weekend.

After 5.25 miles, Mitch and I headed out for some bonus miles on the paved trailz. My 13:xx pace on the trailz, dropped to the upper 11 m/m range, but I faded badly in the heat of the late morning, running the final 8 miles in the sun.

From there, I showered and napped. Then, I visited the action on CryBaby Hill at the Crit races at Tulsa Tough.  I really hoped my videos would have turned out better, but there is no way to capture the excitement of this race on film. Someone was quoted as saying the festivities of CryBaby Hill is like Halloween, Christmas, and New Years all rolled into one. It was a PARTY!~!

After that, I needed some LUNCH, albeit a late one. After a quick stop at RunnersWorld, and a taco-feed at Bueno, I decided to do some geocaching. I found a total of five, including two virtual caches.

The sun was getting low in the sky, dancing with western clouds as it descended. I spent the rest of the daylight hours chasing good vantage points for sunset shots.

How many people run by the coldest water fountain in Riverparks, and never notice the sculpture?

The above pic is another Hipstamatic shot.

Playing on the pedestrian bridge.

A final parting shot, and I headed for home.

76 miles for the week, including the walk today. 11 geocaches.