Defn: a human male displaying evidence of devolution - exhibits distinctive "caveman-like" tendencies. This man often dribbles in public places; cannot drink a beverage without spilling it on himself, the floor or someone else; may also run into objects like lampposts & bushes; has a definite "sloopish & short legged" running style that is slow and low to the ground, often resulting in the dragging of knuckles.

These throwback neanderthals, along with their questionable diet, should clearly be avoided.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Running with Scissors - my running year



My year of running had a chunk cut out of it - literally.

In 2011 I turned 43 years old, but I think my body aged more than that. I was diagnosed w/ Rheumatoid Arthritis - specifically in my knees, wrists and lower back. According to the doc there are about a hundred different types of Arthritis. Mine comes and goes - flaring up somewhat inconsistently, when it does in my knees I usually lay low for 2 to 3 days.

It was discovered as a result of Arthroscopic knee surgery for a torn miniscus in the middle of Summer. Despite that, 5 weeks after surgery I proved to myself that amongst other traits that I have - I am at least determined - I did the Pikes Peak Ascent in under 4 hours.

All told, I ran almost 1500 miles this year, including over 120,000' of vertical gain.  I set PR's in 5K, 10K, 25K and Marathon (in Ogden, Utah).  All achievements that I am proud of.

I started Blogging in April this year, making some new (online) friends - whom I am hoping to meet this next year.  My blog detailed my running, my body woes, my family - who are also runners.  So, the blog was used to brag on their achievements.  This next year - that is likely to continue as my wife is recovering from ACL surgery and getting back into running, my 3 kids are growing up and still enjoying running - doing well most times also.

On the blog front I must say that I have been suprised that my 2nd most popular post has been on Bagpipes.  A little odd - but so are bagpipes, maybe that is why I am drawn to them.

So what lies ahead for 2012?  Don't know for sure - one I thing I would like to do - keep running, with less scissors, maybe be a bagpipe playing, superhero runner - like Mr Spjorn in this video.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Family Holiday Fun

Amongst all the snow, lights, presents, super excited kiddos, a day after Christmas indoor soccer game, super spoiled kiddos (thank you Grandparents), a birthday party (#10 is now #11), a couple of runs on the snowy roads, kiddos driving each other nuts playing with the other one's presents - we did some serious sledding, 3 days in a row on what we call "the hill" - which is the 1/4 mile stretch of road that sees little sun, few cars and optimum sledding conditions.
video

We had more than 1 sled - so towing the little sister became an option - albeit a little louder. 
video

This last one is a little wobbly and we didn't make it down very far before we wiped out
video

We made it through, grandparents and all, now it is time to show off the gifts that mean the most to me.  Photos of the wee ones.
#12
#11
#6

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Elf Yourself - good clean fun

It's a great Snow day today - 2 feet drifts at my home, still coming down like crazy.  It's awesome so I'm not going anywhere.  Jumped online and "elfed" my kids.  (takes a minute or so to load)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Getting abducted

Not this type of abduction.....
I've been reading the Running Times magazine latest issue - have enjoyed the subscription - and came across the "testing your (running) form and posture" article.  Specifically was interested by the Hip area section on abductors and adductors as my hips / butt / hammys / thighs and of course the knees - areas have been giving me grief recently.

So, in order to run better, recover quicker and feel better while doing both - I need to work on strengthening each.  The foam roller helps some, but I would like to feel better.

This post is going random...... pull the plug now, or go random w/ me.

A week or so ago I mentioned a (slight) possibility of a family New Zealand trip next Christmas.  Guestimated a cost of up to $10k or so.  Mentioned it to my wife and we did a little more research - that plug is now pulled as we came up w/ a more realistic figure of $15K, likely more if we do more stuff there.

I've been thinking recently about my kids and how proud I am of them, how fortunate my wife and I are to have them as healthy and (for the most part) happy wee things. 

I like to brag on them - especially their achievements, yet I have posted maybe only 1 or 2 pictures of them on the blog.  In fact I think #12 has made it on here twice, the girls have not.  So, I might talk myself out of this yet - but my wife has made up some Christmas Picture frames for the grandparents and relatives and I get a leftover set for Christmas (I have been told to act surprised).

My wife is a Facebook addict - and has dozens of pics of the kids on there - so I can justify me posting pics here of the 3 amigos.  Stay tuned and check out the blog the day or so after Christmas - it's family photo time.  Like I said, I may talk myself out of it.

Speaking of braggin.... (Last) Sunday was #12's last indoor soccer game of the season and I found myself more into it than any other game.  The 6 to 5 win was a hard fought game - he poured it all out there, putting more effort into it than I have ever seen (in Soccer anyway - running the Barr Trail Mtn Race last year was the most epic).

A running update on my running..... I have really wanted to get into a good routine recently.  Sunday long run (12 to 15 miles) around the rolling hills at home.  Mon and Tues some indoor bike and / or eliptical.  Wednesday some hill work between 5 to 8 miles.  Thursday rest.  Friday a tempo run of 6 to 8 miles.  Saturday 3 to 4 miles super easy w/ at least 1 of the girls.  Aiming for 30 miles running for the week.

Been a struggle at times due to my right knee flaring up / swelling much more frequently.  The schedule has been bumped a few times - still getting in 30 though.  This week has not been good.  Really frustrating as I can't pinpoint any one thing or things that cause it.  Hopefully some strengthening of the areas mentioned several paragraphs above will help.

Finally - the below picture is not mine - but it is similar to what we woke up to this morning.  One of the many reasons why we love living in Colorado.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Coffee vs Tea - the Vote

Well, it's Wednesday, Christmas is a week and a half away, kids are still in school but are ready to be done, inlaws (or outlaws depending on how you look at it) are going to be arriving soon.  I ain't bought my wife anything yet - don't know where to start.   I would rather be running outside than sitting at a desk or driving round in circles.  My favorite socks have a hole in them.

I got distracted this morning thinking about coffee and tea.

(Very) Generally speaking - people in New Zealand drink tea.  They drink a lot of other stuff too.  But I think it is safe to say, they drink more tea than coffee.
Here in the US, having now lived here for about 20 years I think I am right to say that more Americans prefer coffee than tea.  I realize in the coffee "family" there is expresso, latte's, caputhingys and more - but lumped into one "class", coffee drinkers outnumber tea drinkers.  At least that is what I have noticed.
I drink both.  In my younger (living in NZ) years I drank tea.  Actually just about the whole country shuts down at 10 am and 3 pm each day for 10 - 15 minutes to have a "cuppa tea".  There is also usually tea at breakfast, lunch, dinner (sometimes also known as teatime) and before you go to bed.

When I first took my wife to NZ many moons ago, we got off the plane after many hours of travelling, changing time zones, were met at the airport by my Grandparents and after they initially said hello to us (my wife had never met them before - nor been to NZ), within 5 minutes of being at their home - we were drinking tea.

As an observer of US culture - I think it is safe to say that coffee is in the top 3 for "drug of choice".   People blame it (or lack of it) for the mood they are in, the choices they make and other things.  People have their favorite brand, or style, or flavor.  Nothing wrong with that - I do too.

Every so often I see (don't usually read or watch though) reports that "coffee is good for you because....." or "recent study shows coffee is bad for you because....."  I'm sure there are similar reports and studies for drinking tea.  Then there is the whole decaf vs full caff thing too.

I like to run, sometimes before or after a run I drink tea, sometimes coffee.  I don't know if or how either affect me, either good or bad.

At my house - and possibly those of you who also drink both tea and coffee - we have "tea cups" and "coffee cups".  It doesn't seem right sometimes when a cup is used for the wrong beverage.

Well you made it this far - to my point of this post.......
I'm curious to see if there are more tea drinkers or coffee drinkers out there.  So, my first poll going up.  Is a simple question:  Do you drink more coffee?  Do you drink more tea?

Feel free to comment and to post on your own blogs - while drinking your beverage of choice.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Review the week of Dec 4 - 10

I have decided that 30 miles per week for the next few (Winter) months is a good goal, with an eye on "peaking" for the new Super 1/2 Marathon on Feb 5th in the Springs - put on by the Pikes Peak Road Runners.
Course of the race from PPRR website
Having really only getting back into running for 2+ years now - Winter months have been very non structured and definitely sporadic for my running.  2 years ago I did the Winter Distance Series w/ my son, then last year I did it w/ my oldest daughter - I'll do it again with her this year, moreso for her as she likes running a lot but doesn't like to go alone.  During those years I never really followed a plan at all.

This year will be different - I came up w/ a plan for the next 8 weeks -putting some structure and a format into aiming for the 1/2 marathon.  Ideally I would like to PR it - and get that down to 1:35.  We'll see how that goes.

For 11 of the past 12 weeks I have done 30 mile weeks - some a little higher.  So the next 8 weeks is not really much new - aside from having that kind of base work already established as I look forward, but become a little more race goal specific.

Likely obstacles will be weather and health - which is why I am planning on running only 4 days a week, consisting of a long run, a hill run, a tempo run, and a short run - likely w/ the kids as part of their getting ready for the Rescue Run and then the Winter Distance Series (4 races in Jan and Feb).

The past week the knee flared up so I was kind of forced to take 3 days off, but still ran 12 miles around the rolling roads near home last Sunday, by Wednesday I was able to get out again and did 8 miles on the home (dirt) roads in the morning.  Friday evening I hit the Santa Fe Trail at Goose Gossage Park and went North 3 1/2 miles at an 8:15 pace, then back at a 7:30 pace in a nice full moon.  Was a good sign for me to keep up that pace for that amount of distance.  Something to build off. 

Saturday the family decided not to go to the site of the Rescue Run (Palmer Park) - instead we have a good and similar course near home - complete with a similar hill climb.  So we all did 3 miles - at varying paces and times.

I'm a person who likes and functions fairly well on a structured plan (as long as I am the one who comes up w/ the plan - being a little bit of a control freak) - so to map out the next 8 weeks and have a goal at the end makes me happy.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dreaming of a sandy (beach) Christmas (in NZ)

Don't get me wrong, I love the beauty of Colorado.  Winter time is very spectacular - especially when we have a bunch of snow.  Wind I could do without, but to be able to see the mountains, trees and (most days) clear blue skies is really special.

Colorado Christmas is nothing like New Zealand at Christmas.  It is early Summer there.  Beaches, b-b-q's, beautiful in it's own way.  One thing that New Zealand has is a lot more beaches than Colorado has.  Growing up there we spent a lot of summer time on the beach.  I do miss being able to get to the beach.

With that being said, having lived in the US for almost 20 years now, I like the "Winter Christmas" over the "Summer Christmas".  Along with the snow covered trees are the Christmas decorations - especially those not overdone
or half done.
My family and I like to see the lights and there are a few nights we go out cruising neighborhoods just to see the lights.

I get e-mails every so often from Air New Zealand - inviting me to come visit.  Yesterday was one of those times.  My family has the big family reunion coming up there next year at Christmas time.  By then it will be 6 years since I and my own family have made it.

So, curiously I went to their website and checked to see how much it would cost to go.  The answer was not pretty.  The best deal is to fly Christmas Eve / Day or New Years Eve / Day - then come back home any day in January.  (Add an extra $500 per person to travel on different days)

Cost per person (round trip) from LA was $1186.  That may seen okay to some.  However, that doesn't get us from CO to LAX.  Nor does it get us anywhere or do anything in NZ.  Add all that up for a family of 5 and we get somewhere around (conservatively) $8000 or possibly up to $10K.

Now, I'm not afraid of a 10K - have done plenty and will likely do more.  But when a 10K becomes 10 thousand - dollars.  Yikes.

Now if we were not to do anything as a family for next year, no soccer, no piano lessons, no other trips, no birthdays, no new clothes or toys, no food or water, no (gulp) running events - we could likely pay for 2 or 3 of us to go.

Unfortunately - doesn't look like we are going to make it.  Sorry Mum.  So, instead - I'll just have to dream of a sandy beach in New Zealand along with the other pretty scenary there, all the while enjoying Winter in Colorado.


I guess there is the option of a one way ticket....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

6 degrees of frozen Bacon

Sometimes I come up with (what I think) are smart Post Titles.  Other times - not so much.  This is probably one of those others.

Was a brisk start to the day - 6 degrees would have been nice, it was minus 8 degrees.  A crisp blue sky with full sun over fresh snow.  Picture perfect Colorado Winter postcard - unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me.

Was hoping to get out and run to really experience it but I likely jinxed myself yesterday when I wrote about recent snow storms coming through not affecting my knee.  Well, as the day wore on yesterday and into the evening my (right) knee swelled up big time and range of motion on it reduced to about 60 percent.

Icing, heating pad, elevating, even wrapping it didn't help.  When it happens like it has done so at least a dozen times in the past 9 months - I haven't found a way to curtail it.  Instead, just have to wait it out.  Usually takes about 3 days for the swelling to go back down.  Is not too painful, is quite uncomfortable.  Is arthritis related.  It sucks.

There seems to be no predicting it - I thought barometric weather changes may have something to do with it - but maybe not.  I really don't enjoy it and really hope that when it come to things like the Pikes Peak Marathon next year, it doesn't happen in the days leading up to it.

Oh well, dealing with what life gives.  Looking ahead, got the Pikes Peak Road Runners monthly magazine and are considering doing their new run on Super Bowl Sunday .  They are putting on a 5K as well as a 1/2 marathon.  Leaning towards doing the half - but will wait a bit to decide.

Family chatter is building on the 5K Rescue Run on January 1st.  Last year was in the single digits - My son and oldest daughter and I did it.

This year it is seeming like #12 might do the 10K version by himself.  My oldest daugher and I will do the 5K together.  My wife, her mother (who will be visiting and appropriately spoiling her grandchildren), and our youngest daughter - likely to do the 5K together.  Hoping it will be a little warmer than last year. 

With 3 weekends to go - seems like we might get some training in, starting this weekend - so if anybody is driving through Palmer Park and sees a knuckledragging family roaming through, don't run us over :)

Thanks to GZ for the reminder about this....

Monday, December 5, 2011

Week in review 11/27 to 12/3

Sunday was our last day at the Family reunion in PA, mind you over half the people (peaked at about 70) had left the day before.  There was still some runners left but I was wanting to run a little longer than them - not that I had run much with them on previous days.  So, I got out early and did the long lap, in the opposite direction of the days before, just as I was coming back I passed the group (2 Aunts, 1 cousin) heading out to do the small loop.  So, I did my last 1/2 mile, turned around and then set out to chase them.  Never did catch them as they ended doing the short, short loop - which I never knew existed.

Never mind.  Was a good run, 11 1/2 miles all told and over 1350' elevation gain.

Off down to Philly later that day where we stayed all Monday and did a few touristy things.

Tuesday was finally time to come home.  Uneventful flight and back to sunny Colorado.  Decided to enjoy the rest of the day w/ the family.  Noticed that I had actually run 8 of the last 9 days - my body told me that 2 days rest was a good choice.

Wednesday came and almost went - managed to get out just as the sun was going down.  Fortunately remembered to bring the headlight with me.  Did 7 1/2 miles on the Santa Fe Trail - from Northgate up towards Monument and back.  Nice run.  On the way back I picked up to an 8 min per mile average - which was a little interesting (for me at least) in the dark w/ a headlight - fortunately the trails are wide and smooth.

Thursday just didn't happen.

Friday I got out early and did 6 miles in the neighborhood, brisk morning - easy pace.

Saturday ran twice, once in Cathedral Pines doing approx 3 1/4 miles.  Lots of fun in the snow on the trails for the Huff and Puff Fun Run (actually came 3rd out of about 25 people - race itself was just over 1 1/2 miles).  Later in the day - after fighting for about 3 hours with a new treadmill belt, I finally got it working.  What an episode trying to get the old one off and put on a new one.   I didn't have any clue what I was doing, found some online (sort of) instructions - which sort of helped, but only to a point.

Finally got it working, not sure if it is calibrated right but rumbled around for 2 miles on it at various speeds and elevations.  Seems to be at least similar to what it was like before with the old scrappy belt.

30 mile week.  A little inconsistent but I think was good for my knees to take some days off.  With the snow coming through I was expecting some right knee swelling issues - but that never happened.  Pleasant surprise.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cathedral Pines Huff n Puff Fun Run

Woke up this morning and Winter was in full effect, 6+ inches of snow on the ground and wind blowing it all sideways.  So, was a great day for a run.

Was not in a hurry to get out though, 14 degrees and windchill kind of keeping me inside.  Jumped online and happened upon the Pikes Peak Road Runners Website and saw there was a 5K fun run a few miles away from me in Cathedral Pines (in Black Forest).

That would be out of the wind somewhat - eh, why not - not much else to do on a lazy, snowy Saturday.

I headed out arriving 10 minutes before race time (11 am).  Signed up, warmed up real quick.  Start was delayed about 15 minutes which helped - mostly to get used to the brisk conditions.

Was a little less breezy but plenty of snow still flying.  This was going to be fun.  No more than 25 people showed up.  At the start line we were told it was only a 1 1/2 mile course that got marked.  No biggie, I decided I'll probably do a 2nd lap.

Started at the Cathedral Pines Welcome center and wandered around some (well marked) trails.  Some slight rollers made it a little tough for those of us without much traction.  A lot of fun, I forgot to bring my watch but as I passed the finish line they called out 13:30 something.

I kept going and did another lap with the winner of the race.  He told me he had clocked 1.6 miles for the first lap.  On the second lap the snow had stopped falling, was still breezy - but running in the snow is a blast.

Took only 2 photos - one before the race start, one shortly after I did my 2nd lap.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Family problems

I know, this is supposed to be a running blog - and here I am venting about my family issues.
The final straw however has fallen, or bubble has broken, or whatever the saying goes.  With Christmas approaching, this is supposed to be a happy time of the year.  I mean you go to a Mall or watch TV and 9 out of 10 places you go or see things - it's Christmas music, Christmas sales, Christmas TV specials.

Even my home country of New Zealand celebrates Christmas.


Well, Christmas has been the furtherest from my mind, instead - today I have decided to be a little vulnerable and share my "family problems".  I'm not going to seek a counselor for it, this Blog will be my therapy point.  Maybe what is happening and what happened today to send me over the edge is a result of not getting enough rest.  Or the kids getting the day off school (due to snow) and me still going in to work.  Or maybe it is because I'm a so called "middle aged man" with a wife and 3 kids who all are great looking, smart, healthy - and I am weathered and often cranky, probably unbearable at times to them. 

Sure I'm jealous - I mean, look at them.  No don't, cause you can't.  I don't want to really post photos of my family online for fear of the prettyness of my girls, my handsome son, my beautiful wife, falling into the hands or eyes of some creepy online trawler.  My family is "eye-candy"  I, not so much. 


I get home at the end of the day today - having forgotten to take my running gear with me to sneak in a run sometime during the day - so that is 3 days this week that I have not run.  But, I'm tired anyway and used it as an excuse, even with the snow and falling temparatures.  I'm hungry.  I'm not in the mood to do much of anything.  I walk in the door and are met with a family from.......


The Christmas Tree is up.  The girls have made a bunch of Christmas cookies.  There's food on the table.  There's my children giggling and playing nice together.  My wife has the house looking great.

I'm spoiled.  The problem with my family is: I don't deserve them.  But with that being said, I'm gonna keep them.  You who have families - you probably think they are the best.  You are probably right.  However, you keep yours.  I'm keeping mine.

Beginning to look like C O

To the tune of "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas"....

While it's lovely to get up and go,
to travel far with the family in tow,
for a reunion that's much of a show,
and time just ticks by so slow

So when it is time to finally come home,
waking up so early we all groan
but we catch our plane flight
and fly 3 hours to the sight.....

.....Of the mountains all aglow
capped with all the goodness of snow

We all may be tired and cranky
it's early to bedtime quite frankly
then we wake up so early
look outside and and it's blurry
Snowing - no school for the boy and 2 girlies

It's nice to be home in Colorado




Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bumping, Barking and Body Clocks

Not a big fan of the EST.  Tried to go to sleep earlyish last night so as to get up and run w/ the crowd this am.  After tossing and turning for an hour or so to no avail I was just drifting off when the little one did some drifting of her own - drifted out of bed onto the floor.  A nice loud noise, a bit of a lump on the forehead - she slept right through it.  I want her ability to sleep.

She may have slept through it - but a nearby dog didn't.  It barked and barked and barked some more.  Then more of the same.    Please stop.  Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark.  Enough already.  Bark, bark, bark.  Went on for 1/2 hour or so.  Bark, bark, bark - you get the idea.   I realize as I get older if I don't get enough rest I get cranky.  If you add a barking dog to the mix - and I'm usually okay with dogs - that keeps me awake, Daddy is not a happy camper.

I decided about then to not bother waking up early to run w/ the crew.  Instead to wake up whenever and run either by myself or the first born.

The runners left at 7:30 ish, I got up shortly after, the rest of my family still sleeping (the kiddos never heard the dog) and after putzing around for a bit I geared up and hit the trail.  The plan from the night before was that most people were going to do a longer run.  So, I figured giving them a 40 minute headstart I may catch them by the end.  Didn't happen.  They ended up doing the same run as yesterday.

I did 7.2 miles.  Some good rolling hills involved including a couple of steep ones that were 1/3 to 1/2 mile long w/ about 300' of climbing involved for each.   Started on a trail, full of leaves (nice) - then was on some back (paved) roads for the majority of it.  Despite all the pavement it was a good run and brings the weekly total (for the third week in a row) to 35 miles.

The run cleared my head - not so cranky anymore.  Although if I see a dog around later, that might change. 

Kids are bored out of their minds.  I'm a little of the same.  There is only so much to talk to "Uncle Steve" or "Aunt Kathy" about when you only see them once every year or so.  So we may head into Williamsport later to see where they have the LLWS - not that any of my kids care about baseball.  Maybe we will find a Walmart.  It's nice to get away some times - but there is something about home.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A long Thanksgiving

The day started at the "Y" in Briargate for the annual Turkey trot.  We parked just down the road and walking through the parking lot my 2 girls got stopped by a TV crew for an interview.  They are so stinkin cute, but just as shy - they did the interview, but were so quiet.  After scouring the online archives of the news (Ch 13) - they didn't end up using the footage.  Oh well - they don't need the fame of being asked what their favorite part of Thansgiving was - although for what it's worth - one answered "green beans", the other said "apple sauce".

Did the (so called) 1K w/ my littlest - a comfortable 1/2 mile.  Then shortly after along with about 2800 of our closest friends I ran w/ my oldest daughter in the 5k - a great effort from her, maintained a steady pace throughout and did 27:3x.  #12 ran on ahead and he chip timed a 21:0x.  Great result for him.

Then we literally hauled off out of there, raced home, cleaned up, drove to the airport and flew to Philly.  After 3+ hours landed, jumped in a car and drove 3 1/2 plus hours to my wife's family reunion.  (near Williamsport).  Arrived at 1 am.  A very long day.

We are here for a few days.   There are some runners  amongst the Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and hangers on.  So at 7:30 we stumbled on to a trail.  My son and I gave everyone a couple minutes head start - then took off, uphill.  Our favorite.  Apparently no-one else likes hills like we do and we passed them in a couple of minutes.  Following a carefully drawn map - insert: a couple of lines on a napkin - we cruised 4 1/2 miles.  Some nice rolling terrain.  Was good to run w/ my son again.

Then on to the feast.  Need to run again tomorrow - feast was good.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Blodgett Peak

I did my best impression of an Aimless, possibly Headless, wandering Turkey, yesterday afternoon.  I've been wanting to get up Blodgett Peak for several weeks.  Not for training purposes, more so "just because".  Having never been up it before and not having much of an idea what to expect - I parked at the Trailhead, started the watch and away I went.
From the Trailhead
Faced w/ 2 initial options on how to start moving upward - a service road to some water tanks, or a small trail that initially started heading South (desired direction to the Summit is West).
I took the trail option.
Started out innocently enough
Followed that for a bit as it soon joined another trail, not a lot of directional signs to follow as other trails, turns and twists came and went.  Gradual climb, was able to slow jog most of it.  Took a few turns and my trail got narrower.
Nice steep slopes to traverse
After about 20 minutes, I figured out I was still heading too far South instead of West - so I needed to try to head more NorthWest.
This direction looked about right.
I resorted to hiking, following what sort of looked like someone or something had been there before.  That soon ran out and for the next 40 minutes or so I was left to blaze my own trail, traversing steep slopes, rocks, occasional snow spots, fallen trees, was half expecting to see a Mountain Lion.  Instead, lots of this terrain.
After traversing up / West and over / North of a couple of Ridges I saw the target.

Still a good hike to get up there.
No signs of any trails, but I kept hiking along - admittedly completely lost but not too concerned as I was sure I could figure out a way back down.  So, kept going up.

Not the way up to try
Finally, I came upon a small trail and jumped on it.....
Which lead to a huge boulder field that seemed like the way to the top.

Rock hopping
About 85 minutes after starting out I made it to the Summit.

Took a few photos before heading down.
Pikes Peak in the distance

Air Force Academy

Rampart Reservoir?
Heading down was a little slow through the boulder field, then below that was various tracks and trails through the gulley until finally came upon the actual trail.  Followed that all the way back to the car.  About a mile from the end I did get stopped in my tracks by this guy walking in front of me.

Yes Sir, you have the right of way
Made it back to the car, was pretty wiped out having not taken any water or food.  Was gone for almost 2 1/4 hours, yet only 4 1/2 miles, with just under 2500 vertical gain.

 A few scratches, a lesson learned - stick to the trails.  An awesome view from the Summit.  Overall - a good time.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Running with Cookies

For the first time in who knows how long - definitely several months - we didn't have any family activities, like kids soccer, to go to.  What a welcome relief and a chance to relax. 

Woke up Saturday morning expecting to see howling winds in full effect, but instead was low fog and no wind.  So, I got out for 8 miles and it ended up being a moderate tempo run - maintained 8:12 pace for the first 6 1/2 miles - the "big hill" to come up near home knocked me back a bit - but still was a good result.

While my son was in what we call "a book coma", and my oldest daughter and wife doing some sewing - my 6 yr old and I decided to make cookies.  Neither of us had really done it before, so we needed a little supervision - but after a while, as well as some misplaced flour - we made 3 dozen of the worlds best ever Chocolate Chip Cookies.   Should have taken photos - the saying of "a picture is worth a 1000 words" would not have done justice.  So we have a new saying - "the taste of cookies is worth a 1000 calories", or something.

Then I signed the 2 oldest kids and myself up for the YMCA Turkey Trot - I'll also run the 1K kids Fun Run w/ #6 prior to it.  So, after signing up - time to start training.  The plan - as always - is to run with the kids.  2 years ago, was w/ my son, last year, was w/ my oldest daughter.  This year will be the same.

So, we all bundled up - by now the wind had really started blowing and got to it.  We drove down the road to a neighbors house.  W/ the wife and youngest being cheerleaders - the 3 of us jumped out and started up our big hill - is a 130' climb, followed by a flat "ish" section to our house, then turn around and back to the start.  2 1/2 miles total distance, total climb of 170'.  On the way back I picked up the youngest and we ran about 1K back to the start.

We repeated this on Sunday, was less windy and a little faster for all of us.  We may do it again on Tuesday morning.  I really enjoy running w/ the kids - is fun and special to share a common activity.  Baking cookies, or devouring them as a family over the course of the weekend is also a fun, could become more common activity.

I also managed to get in 5 miles over at Spruce Mountain on Sunday as well.  So, 4 runs for the weekend, 3 dozen cookies (We didn't eat them all - yet), 2 naps, 0 soccer games played - although we did watch a few on the Tube.  All in all - was a good weekend.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pikes Peak Barr Camp Nov 17

Was hoping to get up a little higher but started too late and was very snow / ice packed trail - particularly the 3 1/2 miles below Barr Camp.  Some places on the trail will likely not see the Sun again for months. 

Still good to get over 3600' elevation climb and a total of 13 miles.   Slow going, 3 hr 15 minute round trip. 

Wind damage (from last weekend) had left it's mark as several trees were down, some across the trail.  Downhill journey left it's marks as I wiped out hard, twice.  (No photos of the war wounds this time).  If and when I do this next time I will be sure to take Yak Tracks or something to help w/ traction.  The last 3 miles I had my new headlamp on and finished in total darkness.

Despite some new ouchies, was still a good time.

Some photos of the trip......

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Colorado Springs - Live it up

Was just looking at extended forecast for next week (family doing the annual YMCA Turkey Trot) and noticed the below news video.

http://www.krdo.com/video/29781204/index.html

City paid $111k to come up with "Colorado Springs - Live it up"

Hmmmm

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blowing smoke, sh%$&* and W's 7

Scattered thoughts alert.....

Running first - after only doing 22 miles the prior week (knees and arthritis acting up), last week I ran Monday thru Friday - for the first time running 5 consecutive days since about June - and totalled 36 miles.  Nothing more than 8 1/2 miles, nothing less than 6 miles each day.  No adverse effects on the bod, particularly the knees.  Quite pleased with that.

Soccer next - last Soccer games of the season, Saturday was the longest day.  Left home at 7:30 am, finally back at 7 pm.  In between a game in Colo Spgs, then a drive up to Fort Collins for a game, then back home.  Not quite sure why the soccer fields are not more closer to the city - instead they are right beside I-25, and downwind on a very windy day.  No real nice way of saying how bad the smell was from the neighboring farm(s).  Do they feed the cows there beans?

On the way up to Ft Collins earlier in the day - wind damage was evident, 2 big road signs blown over.  A semi truck completely upside down.  On the way back - just as it was getting dark - I recognized Pike Peak in the distance, from North of Denver.  Gave me an appreciation of just how high that thing is.

Sunday I bagged running to stay in (out of the wind) to hang out with the family and get our new home computer up and running.  The old one has been on it's way out - giving us what we call "the blue screen of death" a few times.  So, we got a new modem, comes with Windows 7.  Plugged it in, turned it on - seemed to be working fine.  Quite impressive how fast it was.  Went to print something - nothing.  Wondered why - after a while going nowhere found out that the printer doesn't work w/ W's 7. 

Groan - now we have to get a new printer.  Moved the old printer out to the old computer - which we have "given" to the kids while it is on it's last legs.

Later in the day remembered I hadn't transferred running data from Friday into Garmin Connect.  Plugged the watch into the new computer - why am I not surprised - doesn't support W's 7 (64 bit).  Groan again - fortunately can use other computer to do that.

The moral of the story: When life blows things your way - be they unexpected, unpleasant (smelly) or unplanned - take a nap.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Memories of Pink Floyd

Saw a commercial a night or 2 ago for a "best of" Pink Floyd album coming out on i tunes.  I'm gonna check it out.

About 25 or so years ago I went to a concert of their's in New Zealand.  I remember it was pretty cool, was (I think) the first concert I ever went to.  Aside from the very nice blonde that I went with - Diane I think her name was - other memories include it being an outdoor concert at a dirt speedway.   We sat on a dirt bank of a large, elevated oval while the stage was set up in the middle of the track below.

The show had all kinds of things flying down a zip line during various songs from the back of the place to the stage including a huge pig, a bed and for the song "Money" - a pot of gold.

Good times. 

Nothing to do with running, don't know if any of their songs on the old i pod would help me run better, stronger, faster.  But for right now - was nice to listen to this one this morning.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Barometric Humbugs

What kind of a post title is "Barometric Humbugs" you ask?  Beats the %#$@ out of me.  But whatever it is or means - it seemed like last week something was not right and I am now doing an experiment to see if I am on to something.

Actually, it ain't new.  I typed into an online search engine: "barometric ailments" to see what came up.  Top of the list was this website ehowdotcom

Okay - so potentially what I have been thinking about for a few days has been studied for a while: "People sometimes complain of headaches and physical ailments during weather changes. Studies conducted at various times throughout the last two centuries have consistently shown that lower barometric pressures may also have a negative affect on human behavior".

Science has never been a strong point of mine, although I am curious as to "what would happen if ______ would happen".

Here's my point.  Seems like with the past few snow storms / cold fronts that have come through - my knees, especially the right one that had the surgery on it, swell up - a lot.  Range of motion is much more restricted.  Running, walking and even sometimes sitting is not overly painful - but frustratingly and annoyingly more difficult.

Do I blame that on falling barometric pressure?  Sure, why not.  But how much does age, diet, arthritis, sleep habits or too much / not enough exercise effect it?  Dunno.  Could be a combination of some or all of them.

Spelling it out - I'm going to keep a (loose) record of how I feel when there is a cold front coming through.  For the record so far - meaning the past few weeks - knees and other joints (wrists for example) have not been great about 1 to 2 days before the storm. 

However - with another storm in the forecast for tonight / tomorrow - no swelling or discomfort so far.  A little odd.  Plus, I was able to get out and run 7 1/2 miles this morning - knees did fine.  Maybe we won't get a storm.  Maybe I have no idea what I am talking about.   

What a wierd body I have - not that I think I'm alone - you do too.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Peak aboo

Ate some lunch today from one of my favorite places to "peak" a view (Mesa Rd overlook - Kissing camels in the foreground, Pikes Peak in the background).

I have mentally committed in my mind to do the Pikes Peak Marathon next year.  Now I have 9+ months to talk myself out of it, talk myself into it train for it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weekly review 10/23 - 10 29

I am missing long runs on the weekends - instead it is kids Soccer, off to Salida today for a game, back home over 8 hours later - #6 (game jersey for runner #12) scored twice and also played goalie for a bit, stopping 2 shots in a 6 - 0 shutout :)  Before the long drive home we got all sugared up which made for a loud and boisterious journey back.  That's enough about the kids - looking back at the past week.....

Monday - 8 miles on the Santa Fe Trail from Sth end of Monument, up and around Palmer Lake and back.  Slow pace up, then a tempo 5k back and was able to average a 7:20 pace for that.  Not blazing speed, but positive progress.

Wednesday was play day on Spruce Mountain.  6 1/2 miles in the snow - most fun running in who knows how long.  I wouldn't mind doing that again - maybe this next week (hello approaching Wednesday snow storm).

Thursday 4 1/2 miles along Cottonwood Creek.  This was a trail I have not run on before.  Started at Cottonwood Creek park, down the trail to Union, then back up, past the park up to Austin Bluffs, turned around and back down to CC Park.  Moderate pace, was a little weary after some effort in the snow the day before.

Friday afternoon I was planning on running the 1/2 marathon course of the American Discovery Trail Marathon.  Less than a 1/2 mile into it the trail was fenced off and no access, grrrr.  So, had to bail on that idea and instead ran South a 1/2 mile and then West under I-25 and up into Bear Creek park.  Having not run in there much at all I just kept on making right turns for the most part and ended up going all over the place, on mountain bike trails, wider trails, crossing 21st Street, some minor climbing, across sports fields, up, down, round and round - then finally back to America the Beautiful Park where I had started - totalled 8 miles.  Aside from not wearing trail shoes - was a good, somewhat surprising because it was not planed - but worked out quite well run.

Saturday evening after 7 hours away at Soccer games did an easy 3 miles on the Treadmill to bring the weekly total up to 30.

Kind of thinking that 30 mile weeks are good right now, don't want to do less - but with no upcoming race incentives - don't need to do more.  So, just banking miles and maintaining semi fitness.  I learnt 2 things this week - 1) although it is kind of nuts - running in snow is a lot of fun.  2) Sometimes a planned (eg: Friday) run - if not possible can still be worth it if you go looking for it - for which I am glad I did.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Snow day on Spruce Mtn

Spruce Mountain (near the Greenland exit on I-25) is possibly my favorite place to run 5 to 7 miles.  There's a few trails around the base and a loop up on top of the butte (or is it a mesa?).

I have not run there during (or after) a snowstorm - but yesterday I went during the storm.  8+ inches of snow, less than 800' of climbing and 6 1/2 miles at a ridiculously slow pace - yet a more than ridiculously awesome and fun time.

There are a few sounds that I really like to hear.  My youngest daughter giggling, my oldest daughter playing the piano, my son ripping off a primal belch - okay maybe not so much that one, but it is impressive.  Another sound I like is listening to snow crunching under my feet.  I found myself yesterday at times actually holding my breath while running in the snow so I could hear it underfoot.  I had a good time, enjoy some pics......