Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Home Remodel: One Room Done!!

It was probably either the least important room OR the most important room in the house to renovate!

Our house is built into a hillside, which means it's much bigger than it looks on the outside.  More importantly, there is an entire level built below the hillside, but it opens out, if that makes sense. It's not a true "basement", meaning a hole in the ground.  This lower level is quite large. There is a "kinda" finished basement room, a rough bathroom, the "work room" which is mainly the husband's tool/machinery area but the washer and  dryer are there too (well, that is mainly his domain also) and the coal room.

The coal storage room, for you people not accustomed to either 1) old times or 2) rural life  is where the coal was stored.  The coal was used to heat your home. (It now goes to power some electric cars but I won't really go there..)

Then, once the home owners got an oil heating system, the oil tank was here.  When we bought the house, it was now using natural gas, but we still had the oil tank in this room.

Over time, we got some scrap metal folks to come drain the tank and remove it from the estate.

Now the coal room just became a storage room for ..stuff.

Luckily, not that much stuff. I had my paint supplies in here, in totes, and we had some pallets, Styrofoam, and pegboard in here.

Also, there is no dampness here.  Again, with the house  built into the hillside, the hill continues down to the pond.  It's very nice to have a basement/downstairs that is entirely usable, unlike our old house up North.

Why work on this room now? It now has lighting! There was not so much stuff in it. Besides, once finishing-or overhauling this room-I could move all the wine out of my workout room, which will be next on the agenda to fix. Read: no drywall to install.

I first gave the walls a coat of left over paint..which was purple.  This was the color of our guest room once.  I knew the walls would just suck up the paint, which it did.

Second coat of paint was white.  The husband saw it after it was dry, and mentioned it needed a second coat of paint.

Of course that was all I needed to hear. Then, since I was painting the walls a second time, I decided I might as well throw a coat of paint onto the floor too.

Two glass wine basket from

This is a 4 bottle (or 2 bottles, 2 glasses)  wine basket from

The pickling bookcase also went into the wine room.  This is my husband's work!

These are two peppers, hostas, grape leaves, jalapeno peppers.
Summer zucchini pickles
Cedar wine basket from

Very stoked at the way this little hole in the wall turned into a great little gem!  Now to find some Pinterest boards for some DIY craft to store our extra wine glasses down in the "Wine Room".

Next project:  Kim's workout room!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

10 Tips To Road to Trail

1.Slow Down

My number tip for moving to trails from road running is slow down.  Your pace will probably be slower, don't get frustrated if your numbers are different than road pace!

From Pinterest, via

2.Ditch the Ear Phones

It's a big argument about music, but if you are new to trail running I would advise against music. There is much to hear out there in nature, you might be sharing trail with other runners or horses or mountain bikers that you need to hear around a curve or tree to make a judgement call.

Image courtesy of cooldesign /
I do wear earbuds most of the time, even on trail.  But at a race, or an area with mountain bikers-like Mohican State Park-I only wear one earbud, and the sound is turned very low.

3. Prepare to Get Dirty

A trail runner usually comes home with a bit more dirt and cobwebs than the  usual road runner.  Bring a change of clothes and socks and shoes for the drive home.

4.Stay in the Moment

I was sitting on the trail, on the Island Lake Trail,  eating smoked almonds for lunch, just savoring my view.  I noticed a marmot had come out of his hole, and was travelling back and forth. He declined to have his picture taken, just like my dogs.  It was a pretty special moment, just sitting in the sun, looking at the mountains, and just basking in the moment.

5. Don't forget the bug spray!

You may get bit by little critters more in the woods than on a road.  Bug Spray can definitely be your friend.

6. Look up every now and then

Sometimes trails will lead you to gorgeous views that roads don't lead to.

7. Savour the surfaces

A nice feature of trail running is the different surfaces. You might run from dirt, to rocks, to mud, to puddles, back to soft pine needles in the same mile.

8. Walk the hills

Unless road races, it's pretty acceptable in trail races and running to walk the hills. (Back to number one point on slowing down..)

9.Keep trying

One of my first technical (read rocky) trails was in West Virginia, on the North Fork Mountain Trail.
I had NEVER been on such rocks before. I had never felt so slow before.  I really did not have an enjoyable time on that run.  But I went back the next year,  and now I really LOVE running over rocks-hence my fascination with the Massanutten Mountains. 

Even if you have a tough first experience, try again.  The next run might be "smoother" or you might just need a little adjustment to new surfaces.

10.  Enjoy nature!

Once I found trails there was no going back to roads for me.  Sure, I do run roads still, and enjoy nature while road running, but I just found it so much more satisfying going into the woods and just get surrounded with the sights, sounds and textures of nature!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Favorite Podcasts

I never listen to the radio these days.  I've been hooked on podcasts for the last eight years. Over time, my interests vary a bit, or podcasts "podfade:  and I find new favorites.

Image courtesy of cooldesign /

I like to review my podcasts every  year or so.  Here is the link to the favorites I was listening to in 2013.  I still listen to many of them.  Some new podcasts I have encountered and listen to on a daily basis are:

Athlete On Fire: Short, half-hour or so interviews with athletes of all sorts of backgrounds-not just runners, but swimmers, bikers, climbers.  The chat is about their background, what they do, and how they train.  Pretty interesting!

Operation Ultra-a new podcast featuring races in the south and Midwest south (if that makes sense.) Good mix of interviews with race directors and runners.

Run Buzz-this is Steve's second podcast, and he does a great job as a solo host.  His podcast talks about running, from 5Ks to the marathon.

Runners of a Certain Age-The goal of the runner of a certain age podcast is start a conversation around what it is like to run long distance races as we grow older. John does nice race recaps, it's just like reading race reports!

The Alton Browncast-it's Alton Brown! He does great interviews, with many different celebrities out there-well worth a listen!

The 5am Miracle Podcast-Jeff also does the solo host very well; Jeff wants you to "dominate your day before breakfast".  It's a personal growth/development type of podcast, but it's not so hyper-smiley or over eager that some motivational podcasts can be.  Jeff's podcast has turned me on to several personal development/growth books/authors/gurus that has been very helpful through the first half of 2014.

A new interest: learning more about blogging. I've come across several podcasts about blogging:

Blogging Betties: good interviews with bloggers usually with some funny banter with the Betties before and after

High Impact Blogging-this podcast is very good, as it is focused on the health/wellness lifestyle bloggers

These are my new favorites for mid year 2014!

 Any new recommendations for podcasts?

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!