Sunday, July 20, 2014

Camp Hardrock Day Six: Island Lake Trail

I climbed the Island Lake Trail on Monday, July 14, after Camp Hardrock ended on Sunday.

I got up and went to the Avalanche Cafe with the idea of getting some writing done, but Hardrockers kept walking in to talk to Billy Simpson, seated next to me, so it was far more interesting to join  into the post race chit chat. One thing Billy said, and I agree with totally: "There was alot of love out there this weekend. Alot of love at Hardrock".

I meant to take it easy. I had two items on the agenda: go on a tour of a gold mine, and take a hike up  Island Lake Trail, which would take me to the iconic lake featured prominently in many Hardrock photos.

I headed up the trail, nice easy single track, but climbing right out of the meadow. I kept it mellow. I was feeling much better, after breakfast and two coffees at the Avalanche, but all I wanted to do was stretch out the muscles, and shake off some of the stiffness.

A beautiful little trail.

Where I parked. About one mile or so, the trail splits, to the left for Ice Lake Trail, to the right for Island Lake.

As I ascended the trail, I noticed a Hardrock flag. Hmm.  I thought the course was well up and above the Ice Lake Trail I was hiking on.  But apparently not.  I don't remember this section of trail at all from 2012, all  I was doing that year was following other people and not trying to hold them up. But when we got to the Island Lake, I remembered the trail!

And funny, I don't really remember the lake.  At all!  I was do busy on climbing and keeping up with the other runners.  The first section was such a blur to me.  Until we came to Grant Swamp Pass.

It's very nice to hike this trail, taking it easy, having lunch, watching marmots, no pressure. 

 This is the climb up to Grant Swamp Pass.  I ascended about 1/3 of the way up the slope.  I was watching some clouds, and did not want to get stuck in some "weather" and have to run down this slope, as it was nearing noon.

The next time I post a pic with Island Lake I hope to be wearing a bib in the photo again!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Camp Hardrock: Course Clearing

I woke up around 3am and hung out at the Silverton Gym waiting for Gombu to finish.  Which was four hours too early.  After Gombu and Robert finished, and Amanda Grimes, last runner, ran in, it was time to do some work-aka course clearing.

Course clearing means picking up the metal markers and any ribbons  and trash along the course.
Our plan was to start from Grouse Gulch and clean up from there until Maggie Gulch, 27 miles of trail.  This route also takes one over Handies Peak, 14,048 feet.

Most people who are looking to summit Handies start from American Basin, but we start down on the County Road 2, where the Grouse Gulch Aid Station was located. It's a steep climb up from this direction.

Me and the trail out of Grouse Gulch do not seem to get along.

I have exactly the same symptoms as I had when Cam, Slim, and Eric hiked this in 2012.  It was a cool morning, at about 730 am.  I had my breathing mask with me, that I also wore overnight while pacing Gombu.

Same symptoms.  I immediately start the climb, hard to breathe, pulse rate elevated.  The group gets away from me right away.  I resolve to not let this bother me.  Same actions.  Climb, climb, stop, breathe.  I don't know what it is with this valley, but it doesn't agree with me.

The views agree with me though!

As it warms up, I can at least remove my mask and top layer of clothes.  It's still a slow slog up.

I DNF'd Hardrock 2012 at Grouse Gulch.  As I climb up, I reflect that was the best decision I could have made.  I would have probably been clocking a 60 minute mile, given my fatigue factor and health. I actually felt much better about that spot that I DNF'd in.

 First spot is American Basin, where it appears most hikers come from to ascend Handies.

Next landmark is Sloan Lake.

This was as far as I hiked back in 2012.  The rest of the climb up Handies is new territory for me!

Almost to the top here.

Summit photo!!

View from the other side of Handies, about two thousand feet down.

I could really feel the descent in my quads, despite only running downhill for  about four miles 24 hours previously.

Once you descend off Handies,  it's a nice piece of actual runnable trail! This is Grizzly Gulch Lake Trail.

The temperature warmed up as we got down to tree line.  I caught up to the guys at Burrows Park and told them I was going to bail on the rest of the course clearing.  I was moving much slower than they were, and the idea is to get the work done.
I walked the road section from Burrows Park to Sherman. It's all road here, the Cinnamon Pass Road, 5K in distance. I'm completely out of water! and pretty darn tired.

Now I will hop into our 4WD vehicle with our expert driver, Michelle, and take the road over  Cinnamon Pass!

I knew by dropping at Sherman that my ride would be over Cinnamon Pass. I had read up on this drive a bit, when we were trying to find a driver to go over the Pass. Despite  me being terrified on Bird Camp Road in 2012, I was not terrified on the drive over Cinnamon Pass.

Pic from
Just an photo example of Camp Bird Road.

I have to admit that Cinnamon Pass was kinda fun.  It didn't hurt that Michelle gave us a beer before we started, so that helped to relax me!

Views from Cinnamon Pass

Michelle drops me off in town, and I am happy to get back to the hostel and take a shower. After some food, I just crashed- the lack of sleep, HR miles and lack of altitude acclimatization just cooked me-I slept twelve hours that night!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Camp Hardrock: Pacing Report Hardrock 2014

I worked the Ouray Aid Station all day Saturday before Gombu arrived.  This was really fun, as I got to see the front runners come through, and see the media circus that was surrounding the event, due to the European runners-Killian, Seb, Julian, and of course our American runners Dakota, Timmy, Joe, Scott Jaime, Jared Campbell, Jeff Browning.

I tried to take it easy and not take on any taxing aid station duties. I made sure I ate a good lunch and dinner.  In the evening, I took over "Drop Bag Duty" which meant just hanging out in the gazebo, waiting on the radio for a runner to come in and either deliver their drop bag to the aid station or hand it off to a crew member who came by for it.

I think Ouray is a prettier town than Silverton, with these exposed rock surfaces.

Drop bags were set up in the gazebo.  There was a radio where someone would notify that a bag was needed, but most of the time, crews came by to retrieve bags way before runners.

Many runners had some rather big entourage.  I'm not just talking about the elite runners, many runners had more than two or three crew people there. I'm not used to that, I think I've had maybe three people crewing/pacing me in 100 mile races.

Ouray Aid Station theme was "North Pole".  When darkness fell, there were Christmas lights everywhere!

 I got to watch the electrical storm above Bear Creek Trail.   It was a very uneasy feeling, as that would be the direction were I would be going once Gombu showed up.  Well, if I wanted a taste of real Hardrock weather, I think I was going to get it.

Gombu was behind his targeted split-no surprise there, it's very odd that a hundred mile run will go to plan, specially something like Hardrock! He showed up shortly before ten pm, changed socks, got some food into him, and off we went!

Our first few miles are just through Ouray, thru the  Ice Park, down next to the river, then climb up and cross 550.  This is the section with the "china plates".   When you hit a rock, the sound they clink together sounds like china plates clinking together.

We both have donned and taken off our rain jackets twice in three miles.  When we start climbing Bear Creek Trail, the rain settles on us and the jackets go back on.  We are also experiencing wind and wind gusts on this section.

Bear Creek Trail is a pretty awesome section of trail during the daylight.

Slim and Eric, recce before HR 2012

  At night, with rain and wind, not so much.  I was not scared on the climb, it was more that I was concerned.  For once in my life I didn't regret my extra weight around the middle; I felt more grounded to the earth this way!  It was a careful section to pick your way through.  Luckily for us, the rain and wind died down as we got through the shelf trail.

I've been on this section of trail twice before, once reccying the course in the daylight, and then all by myself during the 2012 run.  Being fresh out of Ouray, it was nice to climb this trail in an entirely different perspective than when my wheels fell off in the 2012 race.

Your view of the trail in daylight

More pics from 2012 recce

As things happen in a 100 mile race, Gombu's stomach turned on him with several puking events and it was a slow climb up to Engineer Aid Station.  The streams that were near non existent in 2012 were flowing very quickly in 2014, and I was careful to pick my way across.  I was happy that the water level was not higher!  (Gombu even paused and turned to make sure I made my way across!)

Engineer Aid Station is a very small, no frills Aid Station where the volunteers have packed in their supplies two miles straight down. Gombu got a little food into him-no where near enough, just some broth and some ginger ale and water. I donned my rain pants over my shorts finally, knowing it was going to be cold out there-this was near 2 or 4 am?

Out of Engineer Aid Station, it's two mile straight up, 1400 feet of gain.  In 2012, this pretty much sunk me to the depths of despair.  (This is where my wheels really fell off in my 2012 race.) For my pacing duties in 2014, I was making sure I was eating!  That was my big downfall of my race, and I was going to nail my nutrition on this section of the course.

Gombu, being the Colorado native and  been training on the mountains dropped me here.  There is not much oxygen around 12,000 feet.

The air was cold and I made sure I got my mask out at Engineer Aid Station. I was a bit concerned about my asthma, but I made sure I wore the mask the rest of my pacing duties.

Here is where a flatlander cannot compete, especially with no acclimation time.  I was doing the walk up twenty paces, pause and breath for a ten count. Repeat, repeat, repeat.  Pant pant pant.  The little blinking red light at the top of Engineer never changes. It's still WAY UP THERE!!

Walk walk walk. Pant pant pant.  I  hear Gombu give a whoop and I know he has hit Oh! Point and is on the road.  Shortly there after, I ascend and give the red blinking light pole a little tap with my pole.  Oh yeah! All downhill now, four miles!

Except for the little uphill, followed by a little downhill, then another little gentle but annoying 1/2 mile or so ascent-hey I don't remember this at all!

Then it turns downhill. I see lights below me, and I start to jog. It's the first RUN I have gotten all day. I've spent 9 miles climbing uphill, so it's really hard to get the mechanics of the muscles settled into running downhill.

I catch up to Gombu. He's not in a good place but is continuing to move forward. He doesn't whine or complain, which is what I expect.  I try to move myself between him and the edge of the road when he teeters a little too close for my comfort.

He finally stops and curls up on the side of the road  and says to give him a few minutes. I glance at my watch for timing, then take off my pack to grab some food and my inhaler.

Gombu stirs and retches again.  A runner goes by and offers him a Tums. (I've lost my entire drug supply somewhere on Saturday.)  Gombu takes the Tums, and before I can really look up, he's gone down the road, running!
On our way to the Aid Station

I don't even have my pack on. Three runners go by and I dryly remark "I guess we're going to run now".  I regroup and start chasing him down the mountain.  He is moving really really well. I don't know whether the Tums either settled his stomach a bit, or he's suffering so much that he might as well run than walk to get to the aid station quicker.  I believe it was a big mind over matter.  I am actually sprinting (he's a much faster runner/walker than me).  I catch back up to Gombu and we settle into a very brisk power hike down to the aid station.

Mark meets me and tells me he is Gombu's next pacer! And I am so happy, because I did not know Bob had a pacer lined up. Of course, I didn't ask him either.  Gombu is eating a bit and I am very glad he's got a pacer over Handies Peak, the 14'er on the course.  The weather has been rather epic for Hardrockers this year, but the skies are blue around Handies at 7 am.

I beg a ride back to town and a nice runner family obliges me.  I'm pretty smoked after being up for about 26  hours straight, working an aid station all day, and pacing all night, but people, I wouldn't have it any other way.  Hardrock is a special special place.

Oh, and my runner? Bob Combs finished, his FIFTH Hardrock, he is now in the veteran pool!!

Robert Andrulis and Bob Combs finishing HR 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Musings on the Way to Camp Hardrock

Photo by Bryon Powell,

I’ve made it to Denver, I’m sitting in the New Belgium CafĂ© at the end of the wing, waiting for my flight to Durango!

A few musings, or brain dumps-I’m too wildly excited to be very coherent.

Two quotes, which seem to go together, for my situation this week:

“Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be”- Fanny Brice.

And the quote from the Hardrock Manual (which I thought was Latin for wild and tough)

Esse Quam Videri

“ To be, rather than seem to be”

“Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be”- Fanny Brice.

As I go out of town to Camp Hardrock, this is a good reminder. Be yourself as you are. Don’t try and present yourself as what you think the other Hardrockers see you as.  Admittedly, I do end up just as myself. It's more in my mind that I "think" I should be something else.

 I felt a bit of a poser, I have to admit, at HR 2012.  People were surprised to hear I was in the race.  (That' didn’t help my confidence level.)  Being the status of a volunteer and pacer, I’m far more comfortable this year.

 With all my life stresses of the first half of 2014, it turned out well that I was NOT selected in the lottery.  It was hard enough to complete two 100 milers in the first half of 2014, I’m very glad I was not trying to train for Hardrock.  Many times things just work themselves out.

The Hardrock quote  “ To be, rather than seem to be” also connects.  One certainly needs “to be” in the moment of the Hardrock 100.  The mountains won’t let you “seem to be”.  You better have your shit together.  You better know what you are doing in the mountains.  You need to be able to read the weather signs and pay attention to the weather.  You need “to be” ready for hours alone, big climbs (this is an understatement). You need “to be” grateful that you have the opportunity to come out and play in the big beautiful mountains.

Okay, time to stretch the legs and get some water for my final leg to Durango.  I hope to do some blogging, and some major picture taking while on this trip.  There should be at least one "pre-race"  blog before Friday.

My tentative schedule:
Thursday July 10-climb up to the Christ of the Mines Monument and down the trail a bit
Volunteer at the Gym
Volunteer Meeting at 2 pm
Runner Meeting (Mandatory for the Runners) at 4 pm
Spaghetti Dinner for the S&R

Friday:  Attend Race Start
Friday: Work Ouray Aid Station
Friday Night: Date Night with Gombu!  (Pacing from Ouray to Grouse Gulch)
Saturday: Find ride back to town from Grouse Gulch

Sunday morning before 6 am: Wake up and welcome Gombu back to town
Watch the last finishers kiss the Rock
Sunday: spend the day clearing the course from Grouse Gulch to Maggie Gulch

Monday, Tuesday: TBA.  Hopefully spend more time on the trails!

Monday, July 7, 2014

My Hardrock Predictions

Me on Grant Swamp Ascent, Hardrock 2012

I'm heading to Camp Hardrock on Wednesday, but I'm going to post my predictions before Speedgoat Karl's predictions go live.

After the lottery, my first thought was, The Euros are coming! The Euros are coming! Meaning Kilian Jornet, Sebastien Chaigneau, and Julien Chorier.  Seb and Julien are previous HR winners.

The field is stacked. One, Kilian Jornet won the lottery this year.  I think it's Kilian's race to lose. I wonder who is pacing him.

The are four other HR winners in the race Julien Chorier, Seb, Jared Campbell.  Julien won in this direction.  They would also be in my top 10.

You can't count out home field advantage and knowing the course-and that is why I think Dakota Jones and Joe Grant will finish high also.

I don't know anything about Kabrucki but I would give him a top 10 nod.

My other dark horse top 10 nod would be Jeff Browining. He looks all tough and all, but he shared his crackers with me after I finished the Zion 100 in twice the time he finished, winning it!.

1. Kilian
2. Julien-he won in this direction
3. Joe Grant-course knowledge
4. Dakota Jones-course knowledge
5. Seb
6. Timmy
7. Kabrucki
8. Jared Campbell-former winner of HR AND he's finished The Barkley TWICE
9. Browning

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fitbloggin: PT Assessment: Core Work!

Retuning from my Savannah Squares run, the treadmill was open at the Move Forward Booth.  It seemed like a good time as any to get my gait analyzed.  It probably helped that I was good and warmed up too.

I ran for about five minutes or so on the treadmill, while the PT (I think his name was Steve?) watched my body run from the side, the back, and the other side. Then he said "stop" and then went over his short evaluation.

Foot Strike Pattern: Heel striker! Yes, I am one of those!

Hip Extension-is there adequate bilateral hip extension?  This seemed to be okay

Pelvic Tilt-is there presence of anterior or posterior pelvic tilt?  I have a slight forward (anterior) tilt

Trunk Side Bend-during mid-stance, does the participant's trunk bend ipsilaterally (same side) or contralaterally (opposite side) to the striking foot?

I tilt to my left a little while running.  it was an AHA moment!  "So this is why my hydration vest slides off my shoulder, all time, while running?"  It's not the vest,  it's ME?

I asked what would be helpful here, and he said Core Work. Yes, I thought that was kind of going to be the answer.  That's fine, that is something I am being "planning" on doing, now it's time to implement.

Lateral pelvic drop-how much does the pelvis drop to the opposite side of the body to the striking foot-I'm okay here

Knee separation-when running, are the knees narrowly or wide separated-This was okay too

Rear foot position-is there an inward or outward rolling of either the left or right foot-I'm a pronater

Trunk rotation-does the trunk rotate to the left and to the right symmetrically or asymmetrically while running-I am more to the left

Arm swing-does the participant's arm swing to the left and right symmetrically or asymmetrically-again, to the left

Overall, I have pretty good form, which was what I believed.  It was interesting to know I do have a tendency to the left.  I am working on that.

I started the 30 Day Planking Challenge.  Again! I failed horribly in June, but July is a new month.  Knowing I can improve my running form is good incentive to get started on some core work.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

Image courtesy of nuttakit /

It's Independence Day! This marks out RESET Button for the rest of the year.

It's been a rough six months.  My husband was ill, but is about 90% or so.

The house rewire is done.  The house drywall hasn't even begun, but I'm good with that.

This was the big STRESSOR:

I wasn't allowed to pubicly talk about it.  My husband did not want anyone on-line to know we were down one dog.

My dog was in the hospital from the end of February to June 30.  She cut the pad of her foot in January.  It got infected.  She had several rounds of antibiotics.  We finally took her to Medvets in Columbus, where they put her foot in a big spiffy cast.

We let her run a bit too freely and the cast twisted.  She got more spots on her leg due to the twisting. They got infected.  We took her to the local vet for a dressing change, and he said "take her to Columbus".

She almost lost the leg.  But it got better, because she was under lockdown in a kennel in the hospital.

We visited her about every three days. It's a 100 mile trip.  It took about five hours out of the day, to drive 1.5 hours, visit with her for about one hour, drive home.

Many times I was trying to get a run completed on these days.  That was very hard to do.

I was very depressed.  My other dogs were down too.  I would have fun playing with the at home dogs, then think of her, in the hospital.  I felt guilty.  But what could we do?  She was in the best place in the country.  I've drank and ate more from stress, and also of not being able to articulate myself on my blog.  I've read the comments that I have been whiny, that I'm not my "happy go lucky self"  on my blog.  I did not reply to these comments because of my husband's request to keep her situation off the public domain of the web. I was whiny.  I was terribly stressed.  I was operating at about a 8/10 on a stress meter scale.

The only highlight of the last 6 months (not counting Fitbloggin, which just happened) was getting my three races completed: TWOT, Zion, and my Medina Half Marathon.  At least I had something positive come out.

The girl is home.  She's still on a bit of restriction, getting dog-walked on a leash (she doesn't like that!) but she's home.

She's home.

So this is a reset.  The next six months are going to be MUCH better than the last six months.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fitbloggin Recap of Sorts & Some Blog Clarity

That title won't win any search engine optimizations..

First thing-I won't be able to remember more than 10 names. And other than Roni, I can't put together the person to the blog name-let  alone their  Twitter handles.

Second thing-I was stoked to see the "Over 40" Small Session!  That was such a good ice breaker and intro to Fitbloggin for me.  It was good to be around some "like-minded" people who are at a certain age where "we don't care" .

Third thing-My word that I got from Fitbloggin was "Acceptance".  Everybody is in their journey, at different stages of their journey.

It was a great adventure to meet a bunch of people who are celebrating life as the persons they are now, not what they are going to be in six months or two years down the road.  It was neat to meet people of all shapes and sizes all committed to working toward or into a healthy lifestyle.

Looking over my notebook, I've got about six pages of various ideas and action plans on ways to improve my blogging/website/branding. I've got books to read, websites to explore, new people to interact with.

Blog Musings

One theme that kept emerging during the various talks was stay true to yourself, stay true to your brand.  Be authentic.

I have to be me. I'm not going to look to brands or companies that I don't have an interest in, or is not something that fits into my trail or ultra world or my definition of fitness.  I don't want to review products that I already know I don't believe in or know it's something that I would never use.

My blog is about my definitions of trail and ultra running, training, fitness and adventure in my world.  I don't see me expanding the blog (at this time) to areas outside of this. Although there will be the "Home Remodel" series, but that's what's going on in my life!

I have felt funny in the past about trying to monetize my blog.  I have kind of gotten over this.
I now know I don't need to sit around and wait for a company for a to knock on my blog door and offer me products or services. I've learned a few ways to promote myself.  I've learned it's perfectly okay to reach out to companies, and I won't necessarily sell my soul to the devil or sell out to "the man".   That's something I can work toward.

I have  realized that I like to tell a story on my  blog.  Perhaps this is why I am not the biggest Tweeter or FB'er.  I like to tell stories, with a start, and finish.  I will continue to do this with my blog-that's what I do. I try to be thoughtful in my blog posts; telling how a run or race went, good or bad. 

I have also decided to move forward with my podcast.  I need to sit down and come up with some SMART goals for that, and a deadline for getting the first one-or five-completed and out there in the interwebs.

Whew! I went from writer's block to having enough content for the next four months! I've got new people's blogs to read, lots of blogging content, I just have to sit down, concentrate, and write!  (It  has helped tremendously that CCS is gone; I've not even missed it!!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Today I Deleted Candy Crush Saga

It wasn't them, it was me.

It was time for it to go.

At first it was just fun.  Then it was a way to "destress"  at lunch time.  Instead of doing some more productive after I ate my lunch, just play on.  Sure, I had other things I could do, but it was kind of like justifying food treats-" I've had a bad day-a boring day-a stressful day-" so I am going to eat XXX "cuzz I deserve it".

I played CCS on our boring drives to Columbus twice a week, so I wouldn't notice my husband's driving practices. I played CCS on lunch break.  I've played it..too much.

I played it today, in the airport waiting on flights. I played it during the flight. I changed my phone's time so I could get more lives. I still couldn't pass the level I've been on for at least a week. I knew it was time to go.

I've got things to do with my time.  I'm always complaining about not having enough time in the day to accomplish my goals, yet here I am, whiling away my life, playing CCS.  This is the only game I play played on my phone-I never played Angry Birds, or anything else.  The thing with CCS is it's simplicity.

I feel pretty refreshed after my blogging conference weekend. I think the writer's block is over.  I feel empowered to get my podcast going for real this time.

So good bye CCS.  It's gone, off the phone.  Let's get some stuff done in real life rather than Candy Land!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

14 in 2014 2nd Quarter Wrap Up

1. Take a picture each month and store them somewhere I can find them!  I now routinely do this! That was an easy habit to establish!

2. Finish TWOT-DONE!

3.  Write a letter to the future me-haven't done it yet.  

4.  Get to my goal weight-nope. I've been eating poorly, I need to hop back on the wagon with some clean eating.

5. Get into a routine with yoga-haven't even started.

6, Finish Reverse Ring-DNS.  I think I could just change this to Finish  The Ring 2014!

7. Finish Zion 100-Boom, done, thirty hours and change.

8. Have a day at the spa for myself-I got a spa day! Massage, pedicure and a good haircut!  That was much needed!

9. Go on a solo adventure-I hiked around Angels Landing. I'm also going to CoI'lorado by myself in a few days,

10. Run a sub 26 minute 5K-summer goal

11. Paint the hallway and hang my running T-shirt quilt on the wall-
Not yet! This is the chaos which will become my workout room.

12. Organize my photos-whoops, this probably could be lumped under #1

13. Expand and promote my blog-My blog now does  have a Facebook page, but I have not done much work on FB with that.  I've been listening to a bunch of Blogging podcasts.  I will have just returned from Fitbloggin 14 so I should be supercharged for blogging and blog design now!

14. Declutter my house, room by room, area by area-at the moment, it looks pretty bad.  Most rooms of the house are torn apart; there are holes in every wall of the house.  We have drywall repair to do and then that means every room will need to be repainted.  The repainting is fine, the house really needs the painting.  This is going to be a very slow process, but there will be blog posts about the progress here!