Friday, March 30, 2012

March: In Like a Lamb and Out Like a Lion

March has been a beautiful month this year, filled with great trail runs and exceptionally sunny skies. However, despite the "lamb" qualities of weather happening, our home life has been a bit more on the "lion" side trailing out the last part of March.

Last week, I was catching a quickie run on the treadmill before work when I got a call from Cowboy (who had just left for work about fifteen minutes prior).

"Uh hon....can you come pick me up?"
"First off, I'm totally okay but I just got in an accident and I think my car is totaled. I'm just down the highway on the left side"
At the word "accident" I had already grabbed my keys, my heart pounding in my ears, and was headed out the door not giving a hoot as to how stinky or sweaty I was.

Sure enough, the car was a crumpled mess, both airbags had deployed and although it was a front hit, the back of the car was bent as well. We still can't figure out how he walked away completely unscratched.

The following week was a whirlwind of activity involving searching lots for trucks, insurance company calls (thankfully pleasant), both of our work schedules, and a trip to the Boulder range with friends. It was our friend's first time shooting and it was a blast. We made sure to bring just enough variety for enjoyment without overwhelming. On our way from shooting clay pigeons to the rifle/handgun range we suddenly heard a distinct "tat-tat-tat-tat-tat". My ears perked up and I turned like a hunting dog pointing out prey. Cowboy and I exchanged mischievous grins.The group of us went to the next range over and discovered two guys with two young kids shooting. One was shooting a suppressed full auto. With us peering around the corner like shy curious toddlers, the guys waved and invited us to come join their party.

It was a great day all around and although exhausted and sun burnt, Cowboy and I continued our night back into Denver to teach another CCW class.

We finally found a pickup truck and by the end of the week Cowboy was a proud owner of a Ford F250 diesel pickup. It's a sweet truck with a long bed so we can haul stuff. What stuff? No idea but we can haul it!

Manual vehicles have a soft spot in my heart but make that manual a truck and now this country girl is happy as a hog in mud. I LOVE TRUCKS. The very first vehicle I ever learned to drive was a Ford Truck, a blue one. I wasn't even old enough to have my drivers permit but my Dad was determined to teach me to drive his manual truck before he sold it for a family van. It will always be a wonderful memory of my Dad and I.

Then, two days ago, I took my very first tumble on the trail. It was a nasty spill and one I don't wish to do ever again. I was on Mt. Galbraith with my new Sauconys (love them) and did the full 8 miles. It has some gnarly climbing when adding in the Nightbird Gulch Trail and I think my legs were starting to feel a bit fatigued. I was headed downhill, albeit at a fast clip, with only a half mile left down to the truck. I was feeling great. I think (I don't fully remember the entire fall) my back leg tagged a rock and sent me sprawling.

Well, actually sliding.

I remember seeing the ground come up quick to my face, my head arching up to keep my face from hitting,  tucking my right arm underneath my body, and my entire body sliding across the dirt. I recall thinking, "this is really going to suck." It didn't hurt initially, just a thud and a whoosh where the breath left my lungs on impact. It wasn't until I stopped sliding that the pain wrenched up throughout my limbs. I breathed slow and hard, pursing my lips and forcing the air out in great slow breaths to try to calm the pain and nausea. I refused to look at my body, afraid I would see a bone poking out, until I could stop the world from spinning. Argos paced, circling around me, emitting low whinnies of confusion. He would dart in and lick my face, sit patiently next to me, then pace. He provided a good distraction from the actual issue at hand.

I rolled over, dusted myself off, and assessed my scraped up body. Left knee bloody, right arm bloody from wrist to elbow, and right knee was quickly forming a large bruise. That's it. I was surprised; pleasantly surprised. It could have been a whole lot worse, especially when I realized how narrow the trail was and how steep the edge of the mountain was. No head bump and nothing broken. At that point my shorts felt a bit "uncomfortable" and I glanced around to make sure I was alone before dropping my drawers. I had a good fistful of dirt gathered in my underpants which I promptly shook out in amazement.

I limped down the trail as an older Asian couple headed up to me. The man stopped and asked me if I was okay and then proudly asked if I needed a band-aid, pointing to his over-sized back pack. "I've got one in here!" he said.

 It makes me giggle now to think of it as I hardly think a tiny band-aid would have covered it. It was a nice gesture though and I politely declined. I jogged the rest of the way down to the car, blood drizzling down my leg from my knee, and met two trail runners heading up. When they heard it was my first fall, they insisted I document the carnage with pictures.

When I got home, my neighbor saw me limping and offered me a beer. I am not normally a drinker and haven't had a beer in years. I grabbed that Budweiser (ick) out of his offering hands without a second glace as I headed up to the shower for the inevitable scrub down misery that was about to happen. I chugged it as I climbed the staircase, stopped and glanced at the famous red and white label and said, "Damn this tastes really good!"

I was glad Cowboy wasn't at home as I climbed into the hot water and started scrubbing chunks of dirt out of my skin. The cussing that ensued was outstanding in content and quantity. I bandaged myself up clumsily due to the sudden buzz I had obtained from one beer, climbed into bed, and promptly checked out.

Cowboy awoke me early in the morning when he got home from work. I didn't realize quite how hard I had hit the dirt until I attempted to get out of bed to go pee. My entire body groaned as if I had been physically slammed into a wall and fought several rounds with a UFC contender.

Now, a few days later, the kinks have been worked out and I am feeling much better. As the weather report flashes across the screen singing of 70+ degree days I am back again to dreaming of my next trail run. Life is pretty damn good, all things considered.

Oliver: the Ford shop manager

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Snowy Trail Run with the Hooge

Ok, wow, I'm way behind on posts.

A bit back my awesome running partner Paul Hooge (seen here and especially here) invited me to a snowy long trail run starting from his front door in Boulder, over to Eldorado Canyon State Park, and back. After several delicious freshly baked cookies from his super cool wife, we headed out somewhere around 1100. Kahtoolas secured and water bottles filled we stepped out his front door and started running. It is hard not to feel the slight pangs of longing to be able to step out of your door and run up the side of a mountain. That right there is a little slice of heaven in my humble opinion.

Paul warned me the first little bit was going to be trudging through some heavy deep snow but I was all for it. My spirits were high and it was going to take a whole lot of cold and nastiness to dampen them.

 The back of the flatirons- who knew?! I believe Paul said this was Bear Mtn. I definitely want to run this!

 Stopping by the creek for a picture. I'll bet this is absolutely stunning come summer.

 "It's a little steep ahead," he says," don't slide off the cliff"

WOW this was awesome. I love technical funky trails. I'll bet this is a beast to climb without the snow. 

 We found some semi-snowless boulders to sit on and paused for a little snack. 

 We were headed way over there to the railroad tracks! Somewhere around this time we started getting knocked around by some seriously strong wind. The gust would plow into my side and make me stagger mid stride. It was brutal up on the ridges and I kept myself sane by listening to music.

We took a bathroom and snack break at the visitor's center a few miles after this sign. The heat blasting on me upon entering the building was nauseating but soon warmed me up and made me cozy. Thankfully our trail headed back up a nice incline to keep my body warm and adjusted well being back into the cold. By this time my legs were really feeling the impact of sliding around in the snow. The spikes were awesome but didn't prevent the occasional post hole or side slide resulting in accessory muscles jumping in to play and keep my balance.

The last big climb to the house. We were both tired and chilled after 15/16ish miles of good running. Paul hit the hot shower while his wife and I submerged ourselves in the hot tub with a recovery drink. Ahhh this is the life.