October 2007
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Month October 2007

Colorado Fall Vacation

These escapes west are starting to become a regular thing :) This time my primary excuse was to attend NEXT, the Biennial conference of the American Institute of Graphic Design in Denver. I went a few days early, stayed a few days late, and got inspired by everything around me, both professionally and personally.

A brief overview is below; skip right to the photo galleries here.

Monday Oct 8th: arrive in Denver, exhausted

Tuesday & Wed: I stayed with Hennie, so I was able to hang out & relax while I soaked in the elevation. Actually, I spent the mornings working on final details for the YMCA Strong Adventure Race I was putting on (a mere 2 days after I get back from vacation!). In the afternoon, I was able to join the Denver University Nordic Ski Team’s practice. Cool stuff! Hennie is the assistant coach and his roommate Dave is the head coach. (So was this sorta like hanging out with Urban Meyer??) Tuesday the team roller skied up Lookout Mountain. I borrowed a road bike and pedaled up…. with one damn foot, as I couldn’t figure out Look pedals, especially with no flat ground to practice on. Luckily my body was feeling ok after the big run only a few days before. We got a great few of the city and saw some crazy guys skateboarding (?!) downhill.

Wednesday we went on a run around nearby city parks & old neighborhoods for 1.5hrs. I was happy with how my legs were feeling and that the altitude wasn’t effecting me.

Thurs: Amanda came into town last night, so today we went to Boulder. It was a quick trip, primarily to pick up Johanna’s bike (so she could race 24 Hrs of Moab that weekend). We did get to drive around and see a good bit of the city and had a great 2hr hike around Mount Sanitas.
Thurs pm – Saturday pm: conference activities! long days, great speakers, old & new friends, good contacts, and open bars. There was a great installation of banners downtown called the Denver Urban Forest Project, all designed by local talent.
Sunday: was cold & drizzly (what a treat for everyone running the Denver Marathon) and therefore lazy for me. (more work on the Strong race). Lorraine & Susan drove down from Steamboat and after a mega shopping session, they picked me up and we headed back to SS. The rain of Denver equated to an early season snow in the higher altitudes. Luckily the roads in the pm were much better than their morning experience.

Monday: Our 24hr boot camp began with a 6:30am yoga class followed by a hearty oatmeal breakfast. Lorraine, Sophie & I went on hike around noon for a few hours, to the pools above Upper Fish Creek Falls. We topped out right around 9000′ (starting elevation around 7100′). We had a picnic up at the top enjoying the view until our shivering forced us back to our feet. Yes, we had a bit of snow up there. I think Sophie liked it just as much as me!

Tuesday: began with a 7:30am 20/20/20 (20min pilates; core; aerobic). after bfast settled, Steve took me up in his plane! The offer has been on the table the last few trips, but I just wasn’t ready until now. I did better than I thought and enjoyed it! That afternoon we returned to Denver, as Steve & Lorraine were flying out early in the morning to the east coast.

Wed: My flight wasn’t until the evening, so after some work on the race, Hennie took me on a tour of LoDo (Lower Downtown). I think I found heaven :

a 3-story REI with a Starbucks inside!

The trip as a whole was fab (as expected), although it ended poorly with my luggage not arriving until a day later. I’m already scheming on my next winter trip… hopefully to see/support Amanda in an XC race!

StumpJump 50k

Yes, I did survive the StumpJump even if it has taken forever for me to post anything here. This was my second year doing the race and even though I felt pretty fit, my training leading up to this point was much different than the previous year, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Last year there was a whole crew of us running it, so weekends were full of long runs with lots of motivation. This year there was only a few of us and we were all distracted by our other sports.

Race morning was a good 10-15 degrees warmer than last year. It has been a hot year though, so I didn’t expect this to make a big difference. There is much construction on top of Signal Mountain with two new schools being built, so the start of the race was a bit different than previous years. We started with a 2.5 mile loop over hilly (sort of deep) gravel trails. This really was not how I wanted to start as this is my least favorite part of the trail. And to have to do part of it twice before hitting the main singletrack – ick. I was happy to make the turn towards Mushroom Rock and get on with the rest of the race.

©Wilderness Adventure Photography
the descent to Suck Creek Road, around mile 6

It was great to see friends along the course…. Dan on the gravel loop, Sam & Leigh at Suck Creek, Lynn at Indian Rock House and Jeffrey & Tara at Haley Road. The volunteers everywhere were great, helping me with endurolytes and water refills. Especially great were those at Suck Creek Road, warning us of a yellow jacket nest just past the top of ladder. We were advised to veer right around the sign and bushwack a bit, skirting the danger area. I did just this and could see where others had gone. Unfortunately this led me directly to where the bees were! I yelped a bit and darted forward, somehow avoiding any stings. I was lucky! My friend Sergio, not so much – he estimated 22 stings. (And he still finished!)

©McKnight Photography
entering Indian Rock House, around mile 11

The Mullens Cove Loop went well. I ran it the previous weekend and it was nice to mentally have it under control. The low points were discovering my iPod battery was dead (why did I not check this?) and having Mr. Bad Attitude hanging out with me. I don’t know who he was, but all he did was complain. I think that’s why I passed him a few times when he was on the side of the trail after tripping & falling. Trail Karma. I was glad to finally drop him as it was starting to wear me down.

The last push, from Suck Creek Road back to Nolan Elementary (and the finish line!) is always interesting. I had already figured out I was about a half hour behind my goal time (oh well), so that aside, I just wanted to finish as strong as I could. I passed a lot of people and while I kept hoping I’d pass another girl, the ones ahead remained elusive. (same deal as last year!) The finish line was a welcome sight, with the clock reading 6:29.34 – a few minutes slower than last year. However, I was able to snag a top 10 finish – 9th in the womens open division, and 51 overall (out of 174 racers). That I am happy with!


Post-OME recovery has gone well and transitioned into a tapering for the StumpJump, happening this weekend. I’m ready enough to do it; not sure if I’m ready enough to meet the goal I have in mind. I just hope the rain stays away as I can’t imagine the rock garden if it were slick! (‘course, if I survived the ladders & rocks of Grandfather Mtn, I can deal with this fine!)

For tonight’s group trail run, we split up and ran portions of the Mullen’s Cove loop and flagged it for the race. I also cleaned up the trail a bit to hopefully avoid all the tripping I did when I was out here last Sunday – it was not a pretty run!

Chris just posted some more pics from OME:
Definitely on the calendar for next year!