15 Jun 2010

Gold Hill

We booked another week in the area, a house half-way between Gold Hill (where we are staying) and Boulder (where the action is). We checked the place out - 18 acres, old hippie commune, a cave and an old mine shaft

Before we leave Gold Hill, here are some of the great views from up here

Here are some pics of the Gold Hill cemetary across the street from our place

Saturday we are going to Rollinsville to do a race along the Continental Divide at 9,000ft

14 Jun 2010

Estes Park

3 years ago to the day was my first half-marathon, in Port Angeles. I did one later that year in Bellingham. None since. I had trained to do one last October back East but we couldn't find lodging in either PEI or Bar Harbor, ME (which is good since Bar Harbor was a Marathon only - I didn't realize until months later)

Finally I signed up about 7 weeks ago for one in Estes Park, CO. I was all set, having done a few 13-mile runs in the hills of Santa Fe at 7,500ft

Sunday was the day. Saturday I made the 55 minute drive up to Estes Park, which borders the Rocky Mountain National Park. Reviews of the marathon, which I didn't read until after I signed up, were "beautiful but brutal" (http://www.marathonguide.com/races/racedetails.cfm?MIDD=2075100613)

I picked up my packet and was all set. The race was at 7am so Maureen (who was doing the 5K) and I had to get up at 5am. Given the forecast was cold and rainy, we packed everything the night before (extra clothes for after, camera, etc). I fell asleep at 10 but kept waking up every 15-20 minutes. Finally, at 11:15 I went downstairs to the couch. It was silent except the rain. Time went by with no sleep ... midnight ... 1am ... 2am ... by 3am I assumed I was done, there would be no way I could run on less than 3 hours sleep. The lack of sleep wasn't because of the race, just because I sometimes have insomnia. I must have fallen asleep around 3:15am and the next thing I knew Maureen was waking me up "It's 5am". I mumbled something about "can't do it, didn't sleep". Given it was cold and rainy (and her race started 2 hours after mine), she was quickly back under the covers after e-mailing her friend Melissa saying it was a no-go

I started thinking, what a bitter failure it would be not to run the race. I thought about how I'd have to toss the "Estes Park Race" shirt I bought. Plus the disappointment of having to explain to my running buddies (not that they really care). And since I had no chance of winning, who cared (much) about my time? From the reviews I had assumed it would take 2.5 hours anyways, so 3 hours wasn't much different (although I wondered if the locals would be yelling "hurry up and get off our roads"). I told Maureen and she said she would come too (and e-mailed Melissa again that it was a go). So off we went. Into the cold rain

Cold? June 13th? Sure

No, really - cold enough for snow

June 13th

Along the way we saw elk. The final e-mail about the race had a warning that it was calving time so the elk were to be avoided

We arrived about 6:50am - perfect, since the rain was pretty steady. I would jump out just as the race was starting. I went to grab my handheld bottles - since they warned us there would be no paper cups and you had to fill up your own bottles at the aid stations - and realized I forgot the cooler. Waaah! I guess I would have to run with the huge half-gallon bottle that was in the car.

Off Maureen went to meet her friend and drink coffee. I went inside briefly and looked in the mirror. Waaah! I still had my glasses on! I guess I'd run with them in my pocket

And off we went. Taken the day before, here are a few pics of the course

Yup, the Stanley Hotel. "The Shining". We ran through the grounds at about mile 10 (and after we all went for a pretty awesome breakfast)

So the race went off just fine. It didn't seem to be any harder than the Bellingham run (aside from the altitude, but we've been at 7,000ft for a few months now - I assume the marathon course was the hard one). I actually broke 2 hours which was cool and came in 58th:

But it was freezing and I was soaked. It was below 40. I went looking for our car to change and dry off and warm up. I just missed Maureen's start at the 5K. I couldn't find the car (which should be easy to find as it is a big black Explorer with a Thule on top). My hands were going numb. So I went to "cheer" on Maureen's race. As she came by waving (barely recognizable being so wet) I yelled "Where's the car" and she pointed vaguely "Over there". No luck. So I went inside and warmed up under a hand dryer for about 10 minutes until the girls were done. They were equally cold and wet

HAHAHA! This below was taken after we had changed into dry clothes and had a hot breakfast - Marathoners. Crazy people

Here are a few random pics from the drive home

11 Jun 2010

Boulder 2 of 2: Boulder Rocks

We are staying 10 miles outside of and 2,700 feet above Boulder, in the town of Gold Hill (and we are across the road from the town cemetery)

Here is the drive from Gold Hill through Boulder to our favorite running trails (Flatirons Vista and Doudy Draw) about 5 miles outside of town:

The road to Boulder is mostly dirt. These first 3 pics are just a few hundred yards out of town

Plenty of wildlife - deer (he blends in) and fox

This is half-way down to Boulder, Bald Mountain. It is a short but hilly run we do with Hudson

Sweet breakfast this Sunday

This would be an ideal street to live on, Mapleton Avenue, but the houses are out of our price range

Dr Reefer!

And the trails. Great runs here with great views. I thought of Bill Kreisher when I took these, as he had been speaking earlier in the day of drinking beers on a patio with views of the Flatirons. The run starts through cow territory

Energy seems big in Colorado - windmills (everywhere) and natural gas pumps (especially in Durango)

And back through cow territory

We're not sure how long we're here, but hopefully awhile...

Boulder 1 of 2: Leaving New Mexico

Well, we left New Mexico after 2 months. What an awesome place (Northern New Mexico)

The final Friday I was going to do my final 13-miler before my half marathon Sunday (the 13th) in Estes Park, CO. It didn't go so well. I was trying a new trail, one that was in Tesuque (where we stayed) and went to the ski resort. Unfortunately the trail disappeared into seasonal rivers after 2 miles. So, I turned around and ran back to the car. Unfortunately I tripped along the way and went flying down the slope. Ouch

I woke up early Saturday (5am) to get my 13-miles in on the usual trails and then off we went

We loaded up The Grumpus...

Here are a few scenes along the way in New Mexico:

It was hot and did hit 100

And, sadly, leaving New Mexico...

...but back in beautiful Colorado

After several hours we passed through Colorado Springs. I think this is Pike's Peak through the rain and a dirty windshield

A few hours later and we were in Denver

We arrived at the house and had a few cocktails on our back porch, watching storms in the distance

Pics of Boulder in the next update...