Monthly Archives: March 2013

The running.


Oh boy. Lots to report in the last few weeks.

First things first. I ran a half marathon! It was really satisfying, but mostly really hard. I could really tell that training long runs on trails helped me A TON in the first five miles. I was averaging a minute below my mile time and hardly felt tired or winded at all. The next five miles were a little harder, I definitely felt like I was working, but I was still comfortable. The last three miles were pure hell. Part of it is the way the course is set up. The first ten miles are along the Colorado River with beautiful red rock canyon walls on either side of you. This section is gently sloping downhill (you’re following the river downstream) and there’s only one real hill to speak of (at mile 9). The race planners were kind enough to put a Japanese drum group at the top of the hill to distract you from the pain of running uphill. However, right at mile 10 you break out of the canyon and onto the main highway through Moab. This part is barely uphill, but you’re running on the tilted shoulder of the highway with cars, 18-wheelers, and Jeeps flying by not 10 feet away. This part was so demoralizing. All I wanted was to be done with the race (I was running farther than I ever trained at that point) and instead hundreds of people were ogling us while they drove by. The last three miles were really hard. But the finish finally came, and I crossed the line in 2 hours and 12 minutes. My unofficial goal was to be under 2:15 (this based on absolutely nothing because I didn’t train for time AT ALL), so I was pleased with the result. After the race we sat around in the sun, drank chocolate milk and ate oranges, and tried to stretch a little. Here are some photos from the day:

The bus drop-off about 10 miles up the canyon. It was windy and overcast.

The bus drop-off about 10 miles up the canyon. It was windy and overcast.

to the start

We had to walk about 1/4 mile to the start because it’s such a narrow highway and the buses couldn’t turn around at the exact start location.

at the finish

Kyle and I at the finish. Sunny and beautiful! Notice that my shoes are already off – my blister doubled in size during the last 2 miles.

The half marathon was pretty fun, overall, minus the pain during the last 3 miles (from my blister and from my lack of sufficient training on long runs). The course was beautiful, the weather was great, and it felt like such a huge accomplishment. Seriously, I’ve been talking about running a half marathon since 2009, so it’s nice to finally cross that off the list.

Let’s see…what other good things can I talk about before I have to talk about THE HUGE BAD THING?

Wednesday was Kyle’s birthday. It was pretty great. We both had the day off, and decided to go for a nice, long (slow) trail run. I swear Kyle could run twice as far as I run when we go running together, but he’s nice and waits for me when I’m moving at the pace of a turtle. Anyway, we headed out to the Lunch Loops, an area right on the outskirts of Grand Junction that has amazing endless trails. We’ve done a lot of running there in the past, but we almost always do the same 3-7 mile runs on the same two loops. Kyle wanted to show me a whole different part of the area. The first three miles were STRAIGHT uphill. As in, I ran maybe half of it and walked (dragged myself) up the rest. But the view from the top was incredible. If you know Grand Junction well, this will mean something to you. If not, just know that you had an incredible view of every major landform within 100 miles in any direction – the Uncompahgre Plateau, the West Elks, the Mesa, the Bookcliffs, the Monument. So cool. So many different kinds of geology. So pretty!

Here's our view looking back into the Monument.

Here’s our view looking back into the Monument.

And here are a few other scenes from Kyle’s birthday run and other runs we’ve done at the Lunch Loops.

holey bucket

This trail is called Holey Bucket and is strewn with various rusty, broken and old buckets all along it.

holy cross

Any guesses on the name of this one? You got it, holy cross! I have no idea what the history of this cross is, but the view is pretty amazing don’t you think?


Here’s Kyle at the top of Eagle’s Wing


And here’s Jewell hanging out in front of another holey bucket (or this actually might be a piece of a car – there’s another trail called Clunker…) at dusk.

This place has become our playground. We take the dogs out here a couple times a week, we did most of our half marathon training here, we ride mountain bikes here occasionally (Kyle more than me, because the trails are super technical and I get scared. And scarred.) This is one of the greatest parts of Grand Junction and is something I’m absolutely going to miss.  I mentioned some bad news. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great. I don’t have the energy to go into it all now, but I’ll update again soon with our life plans. They’ve changed.



Running, running, running


Remember this post? The one where I told you I was running a half marathon in March? Well, guess what? It’s March. Our run is 12 short days from now and in the past week I’ve ranged all over the spectrum from terrified to excited to terrified to slightly less terrified to resigned. The run is in 12 days and at this point, the only thing I can do about it is run. Today, tomorrow, the next day, and every day until I take a few days off right before the race itself.

And I have been running. In 2011, I took about a month and trained for a 10K. It was a lot of fun and I ran it in under an hour which I was really pleased about. And as soon as it ended, I stopped running. Not completely, I guess, but I stopped running consistently because I was tired of treadmills, I accomplished my goal and I had just met a really fun boy. But if you’ve followed my various attempts at blogging (visit here or here for past iterations of this blog, don’t be fooled by the top post being the same, they are two different blogs!) you’ve read my words “I want to run a half marathon” on and off since summer of 2010. As terrified of the prospect as I am, I’m excited that I’m finally accomplishing something I’ve thought about for so long. Ultimately, I know that just finishing will be a huge success and I don’t care AT ALL about the time that I finish with (just as long as I don’t get picked up by the sag wagon along the way).

I ran 7.5 miles yesterday. It hurt. 13 miles is going to REALLY hurt. But we’ve been training on the trails near our house, and our run yesterday had 1000 feet of vertical gain. Our race is along the Colorado River with a slight downhill trajectory the whole way. That will be nice. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to walk at all for the rest of the weekend. But I’m excited. It’s a strange mix of emotions. I’ll keep you updated.

Here's the summary of my run yesterday. Like I said, I'm not gunning for time...

Here’s the summary of my run yesterday. Like I said, I’m not gunning for time…

Also, wanna see something pretty? This was my prize after running 5.5 miles on the treadmill last Sunday. My grand plan was to run while watching the Oscars to distract myself from the pain and mind numbing boredom of running on a treadmill (we randomly got 3 inches of snow the night before) and I wanted to run 7 miles. Around mile 5 I started having some annoying pain in my right foot. If you know me, you know the right side of my body is a disaster, so this wasn’t really a huge cause for concern. But it got more and more annoying. Finally, at 5.5 miles, I stopped and pulled off my shoe. What a nice surprise! Not.

Nasty little blood blister. I guess I need to invest in some fancier socks.

Nasty little blood blister. I guess I need to invest in some fancier socks. Sorry for the gross picture of my foot…

But it’s starting to clear up and I’ve been wearing my trail running shoes on every run since then, so hopefully by race day I’ll be healed and happy!

In other news, I had my first advising appointment for Montana State University today. My adviser called to talk about my class schedule this summer and start sketching out what my 4 semester science extravaganza will look like. Yet another thing to be terrified of. Seriously, in all 4 years of college I (grudgingly) took 3 science classes (5 if you count those I did during study abroad programs – I don’t count them). And now I’m going to be taking 3/semester. My schedule is looking very packed full of lecture and lab hours, with little time to do anything other than eat, sleep, study, and play with my parents and my dog. That’s ok, there’s not much else to do in Bozeman, MT. Oh wait…

Take a look at my schedule this summer…yes, that’s right, two labs…

Ah, science classes. Whitman wouldn't recognize me!

Ah, science classes. Whitman wouldn’t recognize me!

For those of you who don’t speak Registration lingo, those classes are Intro Chemistry and Intro Physics. Two semesters of classes crammed into 2.5 months. Sounds lovely, no? Here’s the funny thing: most of the PA schools I’m looking at don’t require Physics, but because some PA schools out there do, I’m hedging my bets and taking it anyway. This is one of the most frustrating aspects to PA school: they don’t all have the same requirements. Not even close. Some schools require 16 hours of biology and 4000 hours of paid experience (ahem, University of Washington, ahem), some require 9 specific science classes with 1000 hours of paid experience, but your experience MUST BE FINISHED by the time you apply in October (to start school in June), some require the GRE, some don’t. Is your head spinning yet? Mine has been for the last 9 months. So my strategy is to take as many required classes that seem to be consistent from school to school, then add in the ones that are specific to the places I’d really like to go, and try to squeeze more in during a second summer semester at MSU. We’ll see how it goes!