Tag vacation

annual christmas hike


When I’m down in Florida for Christmas, we’ve started a new family tradition of a hike somewhere cool. We were torn this year – exploring somewhere new, or visiting a faorite, the La Chua Trail out on Paynes Prairie. The hope that the sunny weather would lure the alligators out won over the latter.

We were not disappointed.

A few favorite pics are below. For more, visit my picasa gallery.

gator and mustang

bird and ethan

alachua sink

Back, after a summer of R&R&R…


Yes, it’s been a long time since my last post. I had run my first stage race and my body rebelled. It was a long time in the works (the problems started back in Feb), and that fun little adventure put me over the edge. Enter the first R – Rehabilitation. I tried a few different types of therapy. I think the first 2 worked at getting the inflammation of my ITB down and breaking up any scar tissue that was developing. I tried some Rest, but little bits of aggravation told me that the problem was still not fixed. Trying not to get too frustrated, I went to yet another therapist that was going to attack things from a different angle – biomechanics. (hence their name, Chattanooga Performance Biomechanics and Rehabilitation).

We started with an analysis of my gait – both walking & running, barefoot & with several types of shoes. The verdict?  I had a ton of crossover with an added twist, that with repeated motion (say…. 60 miles?!) was going to keep my ITB tweaked. The answer was simple: just change the way you move. I want to type, “easier said than done”, but I have surprised myself. Yes, it’s been several months of rest, exercises, & stretching diligence (with lots of yoga, cycling to try to occupy my excess energy), but I can tell a HUGE difference.

The miles are slowly starting to build back up. I did the Greenway 5 mile race in August and at the time, that was the longest I had run since the stage race. I’m now prepping for the StumpJump 11 miler – nope, not the full monty 50, but these 11 miles will hopefully have a stout effort behind them (and a little bit of speed if I’m lucky).  It’s hard not to jump up to the big mileage races of fall, but I’m trying to further my patience.

So what else did I get to do while in this downtime? Well, not train much in the blasted heat that just would not leave. (Talk about timing an injury right!) I did get to do a lot of race spectating & supporting for Anders in his quest to tear up the south’s road racing scene. (mission accomplished!)

Now that the weather is starting to cool off, mileage will ramp back up, with my lucky entry into two of NC’s hottest races – the Shut-In Ridge Run and the infamous Mt. Mitchell Challenge. (Yes, the 40 once again, as long as the body’s feeling up to it!) In between, I’m hoping to catch a few cyclocross races in the region and hopefully improve a bit with that madness.

Austria or bust!

I’m headed over to Austria for a week of mountain biking, trail running, and scenic lounging. Hopefully the hotel will have internet working so I can actual update a few things on here! I’ll be catching up on some writing on the plane too (until my battery dies. the lowly economy seats don’t have power chargers. boooo!) Meanwhile, Rebecca and I are chilling in the Delta Sky Club, awaiting our connection to Amsterdam in style!

72 & (partly) sunny

sunset at lafayette blue springs, florida
our journey begins

over thanksgiving weekend, i joined some friends (well, 1 friend and 3 strangers-aka-soon-to-be-new-friends) on a canoe camping trip way down upon the suwannee river. the next 3 days were spent driving (we started in TN afterall), telling stories, and of course a whole lotta paddling. in all, it was one of the best weekends i can remember having. too much to recap here, so i’ll list just a bunch of memories that may make sense only to me. :)

- stars reflecting on the water
- ninja training
- cherry moonshine
- omg there’s rapids ahead!
- the BEST (insert food here) i’ve EVER had!
- 101 uses for a tortilla
- getting juiced
- random acts of kindness
- brad (heart) 911
- bug + butterflies
- birthday suits vs wetsuits
- stealing trucks & toast
- duckweed
- ambrosia
- kumbuya
- laughing gas
- mitch:1; everyone else: 0

springs we visited:
- Lafayette Blue Springs, our launch
- unknown springs, dinner night #1
- Peacock Springs. great swimming!
- Royal Springs
- Running Springs
- Troy Springs, our take out point. great swimming!
- Ruth Springs, camping night #2

the crew at adams tract river camp: katie, courtney, brad, cathi, mitch

an old swinging railway bridge

my paddling partner

being mermaids at peacock springs

yes we swam in this. duckweed, not icky algae. peacock springs state park

katie at troy springs

mitch getting a ride
old friends & new at “troy springs manor”

more pictures here and here

a quick hello from CO

i arrived in denver friday afternoon to sizzling temperatures of 100. luckily it feels better in the mtns of steamboat, but still pretty toasty.

the rock/creek race team successfully got their asses over the passes and finished the wild west relay : 195 miles of running from ft collins to steamboat. i met them en route,  then we crashed at aunt lorraine & uncle steve’s casa for the rest of the weekend. recovery efforts included banana pancakes, icy soaks in fish creek (conveniently located in the backyard), soaks in the hot springs of strawberry park, and lots of local beer. more pics to come.
matt, natalie, lisa, chad, leigh, sam, kevin
today was catching up on some work and enjoying some great weather. i need to find a tripod for better sunset photos. squint and pretend it’s all sharp. :)

murals + moab = inspiration

so i was talking to amanda last week, trying to nail down some plans for my summer trips to leadville. she was out in moab, doing some murals for a new diner some friends of hers recently opened. she’s talking away, telling me about bc and danelle’s latest venture. it finally occurs to me that she’s talking about one of my “heroes”, danelle ballengee: multisport endurance rockstar. she’s a phenomenal athlete that i first was exposed to through adventure racing; she’s dominated many other sports as well. more recently it was an accident while on a normal training run that put her in the news. she’s made a remarkable recovery and has been racing again (although i don’t know what she’s been up to lately). anyways, it was just funny to hear amanda talking about danelle the friend when i hold her in legend status :)  maybe i’ll get to meet her this summer ?!!
meanwhile, my cousin is incredibly talented and an inspiration as well. i’m hoping to commission her to paint me something special soon so i can “escape” out west whenever i want. 

adventures with the nephews

Holiday Adventures

So the holidays are officially coming to a close and while I had a great time with family and friends, training has been nil due to this lingering cold. (day 15?? honestly! might be time for the doc…) I’ve missed a lot of important trainings that would have kept me on track and primed for Mitchell, including today’s annual Frosty Challenge. The silver lining is forced downtime which means added recovery for the groin pull. I got one short run in down in FL inbetween the sniffles that felt pretty good with no soreness the next day.

Here’s a few pics from adventures with my nephews, who kept me on my toes all the time. More pics posted here.

me, erick, evan, ethan, liz, kevin

helping ethan clean his first doves!

evan on his new scooter

the boys monkeying around

ethan & evan testing their new cars

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!

mini orlando vacation

I came down to Orlando for a few days to visit my sister, brother-in-law & nephews… for some fun and suffering in the Florida humidity.

Sunday, Liz and I woke up early to run the Track Shack’s Celebration of Running 3.0 mile race. It was their 30th anniversary, so there was a 70s theme throughout the day (70s funk music, costume contest, and their . They always put on a great race and this really was no exception, with one of the best swag bags I’ve gotten (next to the Stumpjump!) It was a hot morning, but despite added humidity, wasn’t worse than what we’ve been having up in Chatt. I haven’t run any short races since starting speedwork with Joey and crew, so I was really interested to see just how fast I could go. I was hoping to average 7:30min/mile. I think I was around an 8:15 for the country music half marathon, so I thought this was a doable estimate.

The first mile was a great start – 7:11, even with the crowded start (over 1500 runners started!) The second mile was at 7:19… a little slower, but still ahead of pace. Just a bit after the 2nd mile marker, the funky thing with my heart beat happened. I got a bit lightheaded and slowed, but didn’t stop (I really didn’t want to!) I took about 30sec easy and seemed to shake it off, so I pumped it up for the last bit. My final chip time was 21:57, which translates to a 7:19min/mile pace. Yeah!! Since this was a bigger event, seems like all the speedy peeps came out. I got 13th in my age group (out of 116), 47th overall woman (out of 882).

After we had a chance to cool down, the kid’s fun run started. Both Evan & Ethan got shy right before the start and got Liz & Erick to help them across the finish line. They both got bright yellow ribbons, which they thought were pretty cool.

That afternoon we headed to New Smyrna Beach to relax – although the boys kept me very busy! Here’s a few shots of the fun…