Tag Archives: trail running

The running.

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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?

kyle

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

jewell

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.

 

And the time flies.

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I’m surprised I’m still surprised at how quickly time passes. Suddenly it’s December, and just as suddenly it feels normal that it’s December. Normal, at least, until I look around and realize that there is no snow anywhere. Are we due for another winter like last? I hope not. Anyway, here’s the long-lost Thanksgiving post that I promised and never delivered on…

Last year, Kyle and I hosted both our families for Thanksgiving here in Colorado. Though we’d been dating for less than a year, the circumstances lined up well and we decided it would be too fun to feel awkward about. So Kyle’s mom, dad, aunt, uncle, two brothers and sister-in-law and my mom, dad, sister, sister’s boyfriend and aunt all piled into our 850 square foot house for the big feast. We had to put our couch out on the porch and rent a table and enough chairs to fit everyone, but it was a fun day with lots of delicious food, and it was wonderful to have both our families there to spend time with.

This year, Kyle’s brother and sister-in-law hosted in San Francisco. I haven’t spent much time in the city, but I’ve always heard amazing things so I was excited to make the trek. Plus, the weather in San Francisco this time of year is gorgeous. Because of our work schedules, we had to fly the morning of Thanksgiving which meant that things were happening by the time we got to their house! After watching some football and making the food assignments, we got going! Here is the weekend plan:

weekend plan

 

After lazing around a little more, we started cooking. We’d planned on a 5pm dinner, but there was lots to do before that happened. The first was figure out how to use the deep fryer:

thanksgiving boys

Here you see the boys standing around trying to figure out how they were going to measure the temperature of the hot oil without losing all the skin on their hands. The solution: a metal hanger! Meanwhile, in the kitchen we were working on mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, bacon maple brussel sprouts, green beans, cranberry sauce and bread. Finally, not too much after 5, everything was ready! Here’s a glimpse of our serving line (desserts not included).

 

thanksgiving food

 

And here’s a look at our table and the view. Kyle’s brother and sister-in-law live up on a hill almost above the Golden Gate Bridge, and from their house you can see a lot of the bay. It’s really spectacular!

 

thanksgiving window

 

What an awesome day! Afterward, we went on a long walk through the Presidio, around LucasFilm and back to the house. It was so nice to be surrounded with Kyle’s awesome family, I only wished my family could have been there too!

The next morning, Kyle and I got up to go for a quick run before we headed downtown. We crossed the bridge over to Marin and ran in the hills above the Golden Gate. The sun washes it out a little, but what an awesome setting for a morning run!

trail run city view

 

We spent the afternoon of black Friday (with about 100,000 other people) in Union Square. It was fun to walk around one of the best shopping districts in the country on the biggest shopping day of the year, but it didn’t take me long to get overwhelmed. There were police directing traffic because there were so many pedestrians! Finally, we went home and spent the evening watching more football, playing games and eating leftovers.

The next morning we got up and headed across the Golden Gate Bridge to Tiburon – the ferry dock for Angel Island. The day was beautiful and clear, with a breeze on the water. Here’s a view of the harbor.

angel island boat dock

 

Kyle and I before getting on the ferry:

angel island kyle and rosa

I didn’t know anything about Angel Island before this trip. What an interesting glimpse into West Coast history! For many years, the island served as a military camp or fort, and there are several historic buildings on the island. However, it is probably best known as the “Ellis Island of the West.” Between 1910 and 1940, Angel Island served as the immigration processing center during which time 1 million Asian immigrants were granted entry to the country. In the late 1950’s, the US military built a missile base on the island, but it was decommissioned not many years after it was built. Now the entire island is a state park and the only way you can reach it is by ferry. It’s a small island, but you can stay overnight and camp, explore the beaches and historic buildings, even take tours put on by the Parks employees. This is one of the old buildings on the island:

angel island building

And here is the view of the Golden Gate bridge. I just can’t get over how beautiful the weather was while we were there!

golden gate

 

We spent Sunday walking around the city with Kyle’s brother and sister-in-law, checking out some of the fun neighborhoods and taking advantage of the lively bar and restaurant scene that we don’t really get here in western Colorado. What a fun weekend! Did everyone else have a nice Thanksgiving?