Sunday, August 30, 2009

Off the Mountains, Out of the Woods, and Back to Reality

More blogs to follow for in depth details....however just a quick update that I am back home (home sweet home) from the TransRockies Run. What an amazing event and Jinx's Revenge came in 9th overall in our category! I have nothing but enormous praise for the TransRockies crew and organizers. The race was phenomenal in so many different ways. Every day we ran our hearts out, enjoyed breath-taking views, and was pampered not only through the aid stations, but even more so as soon as we stepped over that finish line. Great schwag (holy crap I can't even begin to tell you how much freebies we got from this race) and drool-inducing meals.
The stages were tough climbs with deliciously fast downhills. I felt that each night I came in beat but ready to take on more. I have never loved running so much as I did this week.
I actually used almost every single piece of gear I brought minus my camelbak waist pack which just didn't have enough capacity for my cold weather and medical gear we were required to bring (and used) every day.

Just a few short shout outs to some company's products who made my experience a happy one this race:
Western Mountaineering- (OMG I love this company).....for my fluffy Antelope sleeping bag (along with a down pillow) that kept me toasty on every single night, especially the ones where we woke to ice on our tents. And for my brand new Flash Jacket which I ended up wearing almost every night. Both kept me warm and very very happy. I actually had a couple female racers "petting" my jacket:)
Zensah- for their compression calf sleeves. This was my first time really experimenting with these and was a huge skeptic. Stephanie and I wore our sleeves every day during the race, took them off for a short period during shower and dinner, then put them back on to sleep in. I had literally NO calf tightness or soreness the entire race. I took them off permanently after the finish of the race and found that the following night I had an increase in swelling and stiffness in my calves. I put them back on and the swelling has noticeably gone down in my toes and legs. I plan on weaning myself off over the next day or two:)
Nathan Hydration- for my Zone 2.0 pack which carried all my gear and water without shoulder soreness, chafing, or bouncing through the entire race. With my modifications to hold my 1.5L camelbak bladder (sorry NH) I never ran out of water and reloading it at aid stations was seriously cake.
Dirty Girl Gaiters- first time using them and they performed exceptionally well. Dried quickly, didn't rub in odd spots, kept the gravel and grime out of my shoes and off my feet (only one single minor blister), didn't make my feet sweat, and cost was very reasonable. I will be buying more of these for future races.
Injinji Socks- best performance running socks I have found for my feet hands down.
John Vonhof ("Fixing Your Feet" Guy)- I will be sending out a personal 'thank you' to him, but I have got to tell you....this guy saved my feet. Seriously. I have been struggling with blister issues my entire running career, each year becoming a bit more frustrating than the next trying to figure out how to conquer the blister battle. After reading his book twice, then meeting him in person for a little mono y mono foot care clinic, and THEN attending a clinic he held at our local Runners Roost Lakewood, I finally think I have beat the battle. This year's major race resulted in only one teensy minor toe blister that I drained and patched the first day. By day two it was dried up from an application of zinc oxide and caused no further issues. The rest of my feet (with my nightly pre-taping sessions) look beautiful and unwounded. I am just plain in awe. I know each run will give me new obstacles for my ever-changing feet, but at least now I have an artillery of knowledge to work with. From my heart, thanks so much John!
GoLite- for my amazing Virga jacket that I carried on my back every single day and pulled out to wear at least once a day for either rain or cold weather. I had searched high and low for the lightest rain jacket available and after two weeks of searching, GoLite was the one I chose. I was NOT disappointed. This jacket was ultra light and ultra effective. I didn't even notice it on my back but it was a lifesaver when I hit above tree line and began to quickly chill and bonk. It will never leave my pack except when its on my back!
IceBreaker- just discovered this brand a bit ago and really, really have been enticed. Pure Merino wool so soft you would swear it was a different material, and impressively odor resistant. Expensive...yes, but great gear costs a bit more. I consider purchases like these above as investments.
Moeben- for their colorful and warm armwarmers which I wore every single day. I found the fleece lined sleeves were my favorite. Liked 'em so much I convinced my teammate to place an order and will be placing another one myself! Shannon you ROCK!
SaltStick and Gu- Saltstick kept me from cramping and swelling and Gu products (chomps, brew, and gels) kept my motor running from start to finish and then some.

And of course Salomon for their XT Wings that helped me run with ease and comfort.

Race update and pics following shortly!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gear Shopping and Birthday Sushi

Have been lusting forever over Western Mountaineering website trying to figure out exactly which down jacket I was going to give up my first born for. Yesterday I discovered Golden, Colorado's Bent Gate (a dog friendly store too, I might add).
This store is the Western Mountaineering MECA. If you are drooling over high quality pillowy sleeping bags this is the place to be. They have every single WM bag you can imagine, a rarity if you know gear stores.
I was looking for a ultra-light down jacket for the TransRockies race that I could wear hanging out post race for those chilly nights and mornings. Something very very packable yet warm, water resistant, and comfortable. I rested my eyes on the WM Flash jacket in slate blue. The website's pics did not do this jacket justice- a vibrant blue, great baffling design, gentle elastic, draft tube behind zipper, nicely slanted down filled pockets, and the touch....oh my. Soft, smooth, fluffy and delicate. It felt as light as a t-shirt yet when I put it on I instantly began to get toasty. SOLD! And then to top it off, the guy showing me around took the jacket and began to roll it from bottom up, then tucked it neatly inside it's own hood. The thing was the size of a grapefruit and at a mere 9 oz you couldn't even recognize it as a jacket.

When I got home and got a pic of it the flash suddenly lit up the jacket. There is reflective piping throughout the jacket that isn't very visible at first glance. Very nice....

After tossing in a few Icebreaker shirts and a new Women's Prolite Plus Thermarest pad (to replace my old well-used Prolite), I think I am set for my race. Woot!

That night I went out for dinner at Sushi Zanmai in Boulder to celebrate one of my very good friend's 27th birthday. The spicy edamame appetizer and sushi were both excellent. I highly recommend their Mango Tango Roll, Salmon w/ green onion, and Rock and Roll (spicy tuna w/ tempura). The spicy tuna was awesome- just enough heat to make your mouth burn but with tons of flavor. The mango roll was unique in that it had sweet dipping sauce instead of soy. Delicious and almost could pass as a desert.
With bellies full, Amanda and I loaded back into the car to head to the house for some homemade cheesecake with raspberry ganache (compliments of Jason -THANK YOU!).

I call that some great carb-loading for pre-race week training:)

BTW- just heard from Steph and her flight comes in tomorrow afternoon! Get ready TransRockies cuz Jinx's Revenge is on their way!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Let Time Stand Still

I am so behind in bloggie land. This month is whizzing by me I feel a bit nauseated from all the spinning. I see my life right now like those time-lapsed commercials where the person is moving in real time and life is darting around them like busy ants.

This weekend I headed up to Wyoming's Sinks Canyon National Forest campground for a little R&R with family. Each day I got a good run in with some major elevation/technical trails up to the beautiful water falls. I made a point to carry my NH pack with everything I would normally carry for the race.

One of the days I decided to get adventurous and started a mile down the road at the beginning of the trail, headed up to the falls, back down to the beginning and then ran up the road back to my campsite. 9.5 miles in all and I felt great! The best part was flying down the mountain from the falls. All technical, rocky single track with amazing views. Even had a lovely little slithery partner for a short few seconds of the run. I had many many hikers give me odd looks as I leaped by them all tech-ed out. At one point a woman stopped me and asked if I was a cop running with my K-9 (Argos was wearing a blue and black pack). I just answered seriously "I'm training." I let her decipher that whatever way she wanted.

(catching my breath post I am not puking)

Pup post run- oops I think I might have pushed him a bit far....

Monday, after I got back into town I headed down to Runners Roost Lakewood where John Vonhof from "Fixing Your Feet" was having a clinic. I had met him just a few days before at his daughters' house where he proceeded to give me a little one-on-one demo on foot taping. It was a great experience and what an amazing guy. He doesn't even realize what a legend he is in the running world. He taught me a bunch and I hope to carry that great advice with me through this next race.

Took the family out to Mataam-Fez, a Moroccan restaurant in downtown Denver. It felt good to dress in something other than wicking athletic wear, sneaks, and a ponytail.

It was a real neat experience with belly dancing, sitting on the floor with pillows, eating food with your hands, and drinking. A little alcohol induced deviance led to my slipping a few bills to family's 11yo nephew to put into the belly dancer's skirt. We all got a good laugh as little Matt sat entranced with a goofy ear-to-ear grin watching the dancer.

Today leaves me a little "me" time to run on the suckmill (unless family gets back early and I get to hit a trail), start laying things out for the race, and cleaning house. I bought a few more running shirts for the race...cuz ya know through all that mud and sweat you still gotta look cute:)

***new top running song: Kat DeLuna "Unstoppable"**** brings out 'the lioness'. hells yeah.