2022 is Here

A Lot of Time in These Last Two Years

My last post on here was the Bull of the Woods Marathon from 2019! Shortly after that COVID hit and as an RN, I feel like I’ve been running and then stumbling along ever since. I know I’m not the only one to feel that way.

Any Running in There?

It’s been a struggle to run, recovering from an ankle injury which was likely exacerbated by the stress of working in healthcare during the pandemic, but I’ve continued moving along slowly. Lately I’ve been focused on simply enjoying the runs when I get to do them and not worrying about mileage or time. I’ve always enjoyed my runs so dropping the expectation of training has been helpful, though truthfully it’s been frustrating to perform at a level below my known capabilities.

I have been working with a wonderful strength coach really since December of 2020. Tracy is a good friend and amateur power lifter with a ton of knowledge and training to really support me and my running. Doesn’t hurt we are both nerds and love video games and RPGs.

Back at it

To keep it short: I’m back to mindfully tracking and building up from baseline as if I’m starting out (almost) from scratch. I’ll build up the miles slowly and get back on the trails.

  • Monday-rest
  • Tuesday-15% weekly Miles (easy)
  • Wednesday 20% weekly miles (workout)
  • Thursday 15% weekly miles (easy)
  • Friday-rest OR 10% miles (shuffle)
  • Saturday-25-35% miles (easy)
  • Sunday-15% miles (easy)

Simple and to the point. Worked well for me before. Currently doing STR training T/Th/Sun with bonus shoulders on Sat if I want. I’ll see how that will need to be adjusted.

See you soon I hope.

Taos Up & Over 10k

 

Strava Link

6.17 miles 1:18:37 total time 12:44/mile pace 2012′ gain

Well it was my first time doing this one. I had signed up once before but did not go as I had gotten into the La Luz Trail Run, which is always the next day. So I was very excited to give this one a shot. I had always heard it was tough (it is) and that it was beautiful (it is).

I left work at 12pm to make the 3.5 hr drive to Taos Ski Valley for packet pick up and more importantly to claim a campsite in the Carson National Forest. It took a bit longer than planned but I made it.

The Taos Ski Valley is beautiful. I think I’ll have to come back more often.

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End of many ski runs.

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It is WAY steeper in person

 

After packet pick-up I headed back down to the camp-site I had claimed to eat dinner, and read before bed. I ended up having a pleasant chat with my neighbor who is very into something called ‘Stellar Nations’ which sounded very ‘hippie-out there’ which she acknowledged. But I said I’d look it up and I will. It was a cute, quiet little site just above an ice-cold stream.

 

Race day dawned bright and what few clouds were present quickly diminished (which in New Mexico means ‘hot’). Thanks to my Rabbit gear I was comfortable and (I later learned) one volunteers favorite runner due to my bright outfit.

**Seriously folks Rabbit doesn’t pay me a thing but go check out their line up. It’s comfortable, light and made for the long haul.**

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The race itself is only a 10 but it’s all up in that first 5k (approx 2600 ft according to the website. I ran what I could and power-hiked the rest. I tried hard but I did not try to over-exert myself. I tend to really bomb the downhills and I wanted to have some leg left to let go after the peak.

That being said, I took a few pictures on the way up (I had time) but not on the down hill. I was moving too quickly.

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One of the gentler switchbacks

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That’s a long ‘up’

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2600′ elevation gain in 5k is no joke. I averaged 18.3 minutes/mile on the first half and 7.3 minutes/mile on the downhill portion. So no, I didn’t stop for pictures.

I did have a spectacular fall though. Rounding the first big turn on the downhill my left foot hit loose gravel and slid wide. I went down, hitting my right knee hard. Leaning into my momentum I rolled left, scraping my shoulder and back and returning right to my feet. I continued running with barely a loss in movement. It might have been my most bad-ass-ninja move yet while running and I’m sure it went unseen. Until I got to the bottom.

With all the twists and turns, this run ends on a nice downhill stretch where you can kind of let it go if you want and it makes for a nice finish that you’ve earned after all that work.

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I few people noticed my leg, including a wandering medic. I politely declined offers of assistance. I told them I am a nurse and I have my own kit in the car to clean up. Once I did finally clean it up though I realized it was much bigger than I thought. I lost a good chunk of myself up there.

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Damage done

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Cleaned up.

Turned out it was a nasty abrasion with a 3cm long and 2mm deep laceration. It took my 30 minutes to clean it up and get all the grit out. Then I placed some Bacitracin over it and a gauze pad until I could get home. Then I cleaned it yet again and pinched it together abd placed steri-strips to hold it. I visited work today and gave myself a Td shot just to be safe. Biggest lesson: I need to learn to do sutures. I could have sewn myself up.

Seriously though, this was a very fun race with lots of great people. I ran into a couple of running friends, met a nice fella named Pablo from San Diego who’s bumming aroung NM for a few months and Rosa the founder of Rebel Workout in Albuquerque and her partner. They are super cool and I’m looking forward to working with them at their place. Check them out if you are in the area.

My total time was 1:18:36 which netted me 50th overall (of 307) and 15th in my age group. It was also only 22 minutes behind the overall winner. So that’s how tightly we were packed in there and I feel pretty good about it all.

It is a hard race, harder than La Luz but it’s over faster and half of it it a fun (scary at times) downhill. I’ll be back in Sept for Bull of the Woods and probably for the Up & Over next year.

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Cedro Peak 50k 2019 = Suffering Success

First race of the year!

https://www.strava.com/activities/2323903915/overview

Cedro Peak is a very fun and challenging local race put on by a very talented and kind race director Kim King. I ran this race four yrs ago when it was a 45 mile and two years ago when it was converted to a 50k. Last year I had a blast volunteering but I wanted a shot at the course again.

I was feeling pretty confident. I’ve been running consistently if not quite as long as traditional training would dictate. My longest run in recent months was twenty miles but it was solid.

My real concern was that two days prior I was in bed with a fever and chills. I rode it out and broke it in just that one night and returned to work normally the next day. Running 30 miles was probably too much stress just two days later though.

Race started well. It was cool and easy to just cruise a long. I kept a 9 min/mile pace for the first 8 miles without really feeling over-exerted. After that I slowed for the inclines. As always there were beautiful views even if they just showed me how much work I had yet to do.

I have to go over there.

My last food was at mile 13 AS, after that I couldn’t eat anymore. My stomach was mad. Though I tried to eat, I only succeeded in vomiting twice before deciding to stop. I focused then on hydration and Tailwind. I couldn’t even run without severe dyspepsia so I slowed to a hike between miles 16 and 24. Some intermittent running but not much.

It paid off. I was able to slowly munch on some ginger cookies and eventually down some oranges (still nothing substantial). But I was able to mostly run in the last 8 miles.

Hot and sweaty.

While I started on track for a 5.5 hr finish I ended with a 7hr 48 minute finish. The important thing is it was a finish. I was considering dropping at mile 19, when I was in the midst of the nausea and fatigue but I just kept moving. Even managed a (kind of) smile at the end!

 

Deadman Peaks 53 Miles Triumph

I’ve not been here in a long time. I’ll just skip the recap and get right into the new stuff shall I?

This year I ran my 5th consecutive Deadman Peaks 53 mile Trailrun. As I’ve mentioned here, it is a Beautiful but difficult race that really has captured (and tortured my heart.

Total time: 13:49:55 Pace: 14:18 per mile

This year I not only ran the 53 mile but offered to volunteer as well. I had volunteered at a trail event earlier in the year and really enjoy the aspect of giving back.

I arrived mid-day the day before the race and was immediately swept up into placing directional signs and marking the start line for the Marathon start which is at the turn around point for the 53 miler. Then, back to the start/finish to set up my camp.

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This was the first year I was able to get out of town early and it was a joy to set up in the daylight. After making camp, I walked down the first two miles of the run which follows a dirt road linking the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) and I placed reflective flags. The 53 miler starts (and often ends) in the dark.

IMG_3480I spent some time next to the campfire chatting with a couple other healthcare professionals I had just met about the state of our profession, then headed to bed before it got cold.  It got cold anyway and I work to frost on the tent exterior though I stayed plenty warm inside with many layers and a hell of a sleeping bag.

I did bring along Mr. Egg and Phil (who is also my pillow). They helped keep me warm and comfortable too.

6 am race start. 42º F and dark as usual. The day did not warm up much reaching 50º in the afternoon, but with winds gusting up to 31 mph all day it was cold! I wore the windbreaker all day and could have benefited from tights and gloves.

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I started feeling some right hamstring pain around 17 miles, an old nag back to bother me for a bit. I felt pretty good going into the turn around (26.2 miles. Yes we run a marathon then turn around and run it in reverse. Yes it is dumb).

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I was able to run pretty much constantly right up until 40 miles where I hit a big wall. Limped into the last Aid Station at 44 miles and was hypothermic and defeated.

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not happy. Also windy.

I was convinced I was done, but the AS workers wouldn’t let me. They threw some ramen and broth down my throat, pulled a pair of women’s tights onto me (I did not have mine in my drop bag) and shoved me out of the station.

I walked/ran the mile and a half to the base of Mesa Portales, which mean I had a 300 foot climb after running 45 miles. That’s just mean. Once at the top though I was able to run it in (read slowly jog). Plus I was able to catch the pink mountains (thanks feldspar) at sunset.

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I finished in the dark in almost the exact same time as last year. But I finished.

This is my third finish in five attempts. I am ahead in the count and I said when this happened I’d look at moving on. Time to start looking into 100K and maybe a 100 mile race.

I’m going to need a coach.

 

Running the Rio Grande

Last weekend I took the opportunity to run down by the Rio Grande. I don’t get down there often, preferring the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. It can be gratifying to run through the Bosque though as it is much lower in elevation, generally very flat and runnable and it is a delightful change of scenery.

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View from the bridge.

A quick 1 mile down to the Rio from the Baha’i center let me run through this beautiful forest. The Cottonwoods were not quite as thick here as in other spaces in the Bosque but they were still magnificent.

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I often wonder what the Rio Grande looked like before we took all the water out.

The traffic sounds faded quickly and I was soon running right next to a quietly burbling river. Quite soothing.

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An unknown benefit to running in a new area is the little surprises you will find. The Rio Grande is closer to downtown and I think more heavily trafficked than the foothills. Which means people will surprise you.

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Hello Friend!

Today (Thanksgiving) I participated in the 2nd Annual Gratitude Run by local group: Running Medicine a part of the Native Health Initiative. It was a nice, loosely organized event. I ran a 10 in 47:17 (7:44/mile pace) which is fast for me. Another lovely run by the river. If you are in ABQ next year I suggest you check it out. It is a free event with a good soul behind it.

Gratitude Run

Happy Holidays friends!

Deadman Peaks 2017 (or How I Learned to Keep Running and Get Even)

Well this was my fourth attempt at the 53 mile trail-run. I guess I just don’t learn.

Strava link here for most recent run.

1st attempt: DNF: 44/53 miles but I did them in Vibram Five-Fingers and my feet felt like hamburger at that point. Initially I thought I had wussed out but it was the right decision. Better to try again than cause some lasting damage.

2nd attempt: Finished 13:22:48. Solid Run. A bit hot but some cloud cover and sprinkles to cool us off.

3rd attempt: DNF 36/53 miles. It was HOT and I was having stomach issues. I couldn’t really eat after the first 9 miles and at the turnaround I was not able to drink anymore. I stumbled back to 36 miles but I was hot and dizzy and the nurse in me knew it was time to call it.

Score going into this year: DP50: 2 – Josh 1.

I didn’t want to leave it like that. So, off I go again.

Gear: Buff, Salomon shirt, Lululemon shorts, Salomon Speedcross 4, Camelbak Podium waterbottle (2x).

I camped at the Start/Finish again. It was cool but not as cold as last year despite being November. It was also a full moon and my traveling companions and I enjoyed the rabbit as always.

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Mr. Egg and Phil stole my damn spot.

This year the race was pushed back a couple weeks in order to capitalize on cooler temps and it payed off big time. Temps maxed out in the 70’s and it was overcast all day. No rain and chilly at the start but not hot at all. Pretty much perfect running weather.

On my way into the first Aid Station I caught my toe on a clump of grass and took a dive. Luckily the ground broke my fall. And it was soft and I didn’t hit any of the spiky, woody shrubs populating the area.  Landing on my left shoulder I managed to punch the ground with my right hand.

That will teach you!

Unfortunately I am not tougher than the loose sand on the earth. I heard my knuckle pop and there was some light pain in my hand. I didn’t notice anything for a while though and kept right on running.

I’m not sure how long afterwards but looking back it feels like right away: I noticed minor swelling in my hand and some lateral pain on my radius, just above my wrist. I cinched down the strap holding my water bottle in place (that is the same as compression right?) and kept tabs on my wrist

Throughout the course of the run it continued to hurt and I spotted swelling at the site of the pain above the wrist. I couldn’t hold that hand upright due to pain so I carried that bottle level. Other than that nothing to do but keep moving and enjoy the beautiful desert views.

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I came into the halfway point (26.5 miles) feeling pretty good. I was moving arounf 12 minutes per mile and had no hydration or fueling issues. I changed my socks, applied more Body Glide. Ate, drank and headed back out. By my estimate at that point I was the 12th person on the return.

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I had a solid if slower beginning to my return trip but definitely lost steam as the miles piled on. By the time I hit 36 miles I had slowed enough to get caught by two of the runners behind me. I didn’t really care. I keep count of my place in the line to occupy myself instead of focusing on how much I hurt.

I continued to slow, but was able to keep steady pace. I was passed by two more runners but no more after that. I had a lot of pain in my right hip. I had a lot of pain there on other occasions so that is s spot for me. Better look into it more.

I’d admit I had daydreams of getting to my truck and giving myself a Toradol shot (ketorolac or a buffed up ibuprofen). That helped me make it a few more miles. I’m a nurse folks, I have it in my Go-bag in the truck (along with saline, IV start kits, dressings etc).

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I’ll also admit after I heard a couple crew members discussing another runner stating his “chest hurt a bit” I imagined he had a cardiac event and I had to stop running to perform CPR until medics evacuated him. Yes I was that tired. Thank God and Baha’u’llah it didn’t happen and I’m just a crazy ass.

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I finished in the dark, just like I started. I had hoped to shave some time off my previous finish but was happy to simply finish. I honestly spent a great deal of time tightening and re-tightening my water bottles in my hands. I probably lost close to the 20 minutes I was slower just there.

I had purposefully brought then as I’ve had hydration pack issues before and I like running unencumbered. A pack or hydration vest would have saved me that hassle. Time to look into the Salomon vests. (Hey@salomonrunning you looking to sponsor a technically overweight Mexican? Or at least spot him a vest?) Serisously though I love their products and I’m already a running billboard for them.

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Also, when the sun set and I was still on the trail I made the decision to walk until I hit the last few miles of dirt road. It was dark (I had my headlamp) and I was tired  and on an unfamiliar trail. Not worth the risk to push it in that environment.

When I did hit that last stretch of road I picked it back up to a jog that I normally would have considered walking pace and ran it in.

Happy to have finished, I’ve been resting since then. Stretching and eating. I just put a few miles under my feet yesterday and today.

For next year, assuming I run it (I mean I have to get ahead in the score right? Leave it a draw? Harumph) I’m going to focus my training on maintaining strength over the distance. I seem to run the first half fine but lose it slowly on the return. Going to look into changing that.

As always this race was immaculately run by Kim King. Perfectly stocked and spaced Aid Stations, knowledgeable and supportive crew who are out there having a blast while we are suffreing as well. I look forward to volunteering next year at her events.

I’ll leave you with one of the happiest things ultra-runners can see:

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Mt. Taylor update

Quick follow up to share a few more pictures from the race. These pics were snapped by the race photographers.

I want to express my gratitude for all the support personnel out there enduring the same conditions as the runners.

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Coming into the halfway.

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Climbing to the peak in the clouds.

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Grumbling

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tired

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What emotion is this? Anger?

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Finally a smile!

Quick (5k) update

Hello folks.

Short mid-week post to update on a minor achievement.

Quarterly 5k at work this am. This was my third time running it.

  • 1st attempt: 21:21 or 6:57 per mile (2nd place)
  • 2nd attempt: 21:00 or 6:59 (1st place)
  • 3rd attempt: 20:32 or 6:46 per mile! (2nd place)

I’m pretty happy with all of this. I’ve gotten faster each time, which means the intervals are paying off. and I always feel like I am just getting started at the finish which means all those long runs are paying off.

Speaking of intervals. Today is normally Workout Wednesday where I run about 8 miles with 4x1mile intervals. Not wanting to drop my mileage only to add it later in the week I still woke up and ran this morning.

So my time today in the 5k is after getting up and (very casually) running 5 miles on the trails the same morning.

I’m happy with that.

Keep on keeping on people. Doing that daily work pays off in increments.

La Luz Trail-run Next Week.

Here it is folks, the ABQ run of the Summer: the La Luz Trail Run. It might be the iconic race for ABQ but honestly it’s just such a fun and pretty run. It is also exhausting and pretty much straight up a mountain.*

*I know it’s not straight up, there are switchbacks but it feels like it’s straight up. I mean you gain about 1000′ elevation in just the first two miles on the road and then there are the stairs AFTER you run eight miles up a mountain.

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I might actually hate these things.

The damage is done now. Race day is a week from today. I’ve been running 40 or more miles per week for the last five weeks and it feels really good. Last year at this time my mileage was really inconsistent. So we’ll see what benefits that reaps.

Yesterday I ran my final training run up La Luz. I did and up and down from the trail-head to the peak. 15 miles round trip. It doesn’t include the road on which the first two miles of the race take place but I have also been running up and down the Road specifically for a number of weeks (not as consistent as I’d like but hey!).

I’m shooting for faster than last year (2:17) and I’d honestly like to break 2 hrs but any finish will be worth it. I will not be running with my camera (pronounced: smartphone) so I took the time on this last up-down to snap a few from my favorite spots on the trail and the Crest. Enjoy!

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Sleepy ABQ below

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Heading up there…

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Just before the Rock Slide…

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Bear in mind this is at 10k elevation. Who has horses up here?

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You can see the Tram tower in there. It’s blue.

I was going to take an after selfie but I forgot. I’m sure I was a sweaty mess anyway.

Thanks for reading folks. Wish me luck next week! Recap/update to follow.

Get out there and enjoy the world!

Holiday Weekend Starts Outside

Happy Weekend everyone. Just a quick update to say this Fourth of July we are sticking close to home and relaxing as much as possible.

You runners know what relaxing means right? Getting outside and getting the miles in. I enjoy my running solo more often than not, but it can get lonely sometimes, be sure to bring a friend.

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Along those lines: Animal had mentioned to me recently that she wanted to go hiking like we had a few times before. I was a bit surprised at this as she is twelve now and not likely to want to have anything to do with her boring stinky old dad.

Yesterday am instead of heading out the door in the am I asked her if she wanted to hike and off we went! Of course we left a note for Sweetums and Lisa.

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We took a short but fun route up to a nearby rock formation I’m fond of. Pretty level at first but it gets steep on the way up.

 

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She took a breather at the top to meditate so I naturally took a Christ-like picture. Because I could.

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She pointed out this nearby rock formation looks like someone mooning us.

On the way home we made a new friend!

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We returned home unbitten but with a few surprise cactus needles in us. Breakfast and then off to the rest of the day. Not a bad way to start a holiday weekend.

I did get out there to prance around the foothills on my own yesterday and today. It feels like a reward to get some sun on my back after running in the dark every morning before work.

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