I’m still working on my “2014 Wrap Up” post, for now, you get a post about the start of 2015 and some goals for the new year. I’ll start with the goals, since those are pretty straight forward.
Remove processed food from my diet
My diet has become complete crap. I need to get it under control and start eating to fuel my body. A typical dinner for me over the past couple of months is bread and butter. Not exactly the food an endurance athlete needs. To start, I’m cutting out processed sugar. I’ve done this with a lot of success in the past. Now I just have to keep it up. The hard part will be staying good while I’m at Jason’s house and helping to educate him on all the food that contains processed sugar (including a lot of “heathly” food).
Stick to my training plan
This is something I did well in 2014 and I want to continue it in 2015. I have a loose training plan outlined for the rest of year with the focus being my two “A” races of Lavaredo in June and The Rut in September. At the beginning of each month, I will review the training plan and determine what I can actually accomplish based on how I’m feeling, making sure to schedule complete rest days. The training plan doesn’t just include miles, it also includes vertical feet goals and cross training goals to keep me honest!
Complete at least one strength training session a week
I’ve noticed that when I’m good about strength training (and not just running, running, running until my legs fall off) then I can usually prevent overuse injuries. I know I need to strength my core with a special focus on my hips and glutes. An ultrarunner I follow has been posting some great strength training routines recently so I’m going to start with those.
Well that’s it for my goals. On to my weekend! It’s less exciting that you probably think. I was sick. And in an attempt to kick those nasty germs right out of my system, I made every effort to get outside in the cold, fresh air.
The sickness started on New Years Day with a sore throat. I thought it was just the dry air so I decided that Jason and I should head up to Beaver Creek for some snowshoeing. Since it was cloudy, we decided to stick to the village area. I attempted to take him on the course for the Eastern Hillside route for the Beaver Creek Snowshoe race, but quickly realized I had absolutely no idea where it was so we just wandered. After a strenuous climb up to Allie’s Cabin, an amazing on mountain restaurant, we headed to the bus stop only to find the line was the three times as long as I’ve ever seen it. We’re both mildly impatient, hate waiting in line, and (I’m) inclined to walk anyways. So we decided to walk down. Which was a great idea except that it was cold and by the time we made it to Avon, we both had frozen hands that took a while to thaw.
Photo Credit: Ninety Seventy Photography
The next day, I still had a sore throat so I convinced Jason to go to my current favorite running place, North Trail in Vail. It was finally sunny (it had been snowy or cloudy for over a week!) so Jason lucked out with views of the Gore Range, Mount of the Holy Cross, and the very top of New York Mountain. He brought his camera and captured quite a few amazing pictures of me running which can be found on his website. When we got back to Jason’s house, I cooked my very first fresh ham! While I was busy cooking, Jason went to the store and surprised me beautiful “get well” (and happy anniversary) roses! I’m such a lucky girl!
Photo Credit: Ninety Seventy Photography
That night I really started to feel bad went to bed early wracked with chills, even though I was wearing a fleece onesie and was buried under all of Jason’s blankets. I woke up the next morning still not feeling well but slightly better than the day before. So I decided we should keep the streak going and convinced Jason to hike to Hanging Lake with me, even though the forecast called for snow and clouds. It turned out to be a beautiful day and we made it up to Hanging Lake approximately 15 minutes faster than we did a year ago. I guess all this running and hiking and walking has paid off! Hanging Lake was even more spectacular than the last time I was there. The lake was almost completely frozen with huge icicles hanging from the upper lake, but the waterfalls were roaring. It’s a short (although steep) hike that is worth every slipping, sliding step.
To close out the weekend, I ran the first Beaver Creek Snowshoe race of the three race series. I’ve always missed this race because I’ve always been too hungover (thanks to it being really close to New Years) or it’s been too cold. Even though I still felt sick, I decided to run the race anyways but to take it easy. I told Jason that I expected to finish in 2 hours for the 10k (6.2 miles). I walked almost every single step of the race, except where it was too steep to walk, stopped to take pictures, and chatted with the aid station volunteers. I made friends with an old man that I see at every race in the Vail Valley but that I’ve never had the chance to actually meet before. In all, I thoroughly enjoyed myself even though my lungs were burning from very little effort.
The race started with a very runnable uphill (if I had been able to breathe) that gradually gets steeper with the steepest section coming right before the aid station (about 400 feet in 0.1 mile – ouch!). The Beaver Creek Snowshoe Series is really known for making athletes question their decision to commit to the 10k race, with the 5k/10k split usually coming after an uphill. The 5k runners usually start heading downhill while the 10k runners continue heading up. I continued up until the trail joined the Village to Village trail, following it almost all the way to Bachelor Gulch (which was actually slightly downhill). It then continued the upward trend almost all the way back to the Elkhorn lift. When the downhill finally started, I joined up with my new friend and chatted with him until the end. The friendly people are one of the aspects of trail running that I love the best. Even during a “race”, you can usually find someone to chat with and help pass the miles. Jason surprised me at the start of the final downhill, hiding right past a bridge and taking pictures of runners. I surprised him too since he expected me to be a little slower. He ran to the finish (stopping once more to snap a couple more pictures) to capture me crossing the finish line. I really am a lucky girl to have a boyfriend who willingly comes to my races and finds ways to make the best of his free time by taking pictures of runners.
Well that pretty much summarizes the start to my 2015. I can’t wait to see what else the year has in store for me. If this first weekend is any indication, it will include lots of time on the trails and lots of elevation gain with Jason whenever possible (and Moose too). Stay tuned for the 2014 wrap up. I promise it’s on its way.