Nothing Comes Easy

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Colorado Winters are pretty bi-polar. You get some cold spells but in between you get days like today where it was in the 70s in January. That’s pretty impossible not to love. Yesterday, was pretty nice too. The weekly dog outing up Green Mountain occurred. Here is the usual shot.

Green Mountain

I enjoy having the dogs on the run. There is a certain amount of wrangling required but it is worth it. They get home and are super tired. Then bug me to do it again the next day. If you struggle to be active, get an active dog and succumb to their needs.

Dog

At the summit, I bumped into JV. Well, there was minor coordination. We headed back down the back. You can tell it was warm out. JV had his jacket around his waist.

JV

The melting snow had the meadow all muddy. But we were talking and I wasn’t paying attention and bam. I did a GZ. A bunch of blood and mud. Nothing major. But it looked good as I went into Best Buy and Jimmy John’s on the way home. “What the hell happened to you?”, said everybody. “Bear”, I shrugged.

Mud

Pretty much ran every day this week. It got interestingly easier every day. Doesn’t take long to get this firing. Hit CrossFit 5 days this week too. Kind of becoming a 2-fer thing — gym in the AM, run in the PM. I pretty much smell all day that way. I haven’t lost a pound yet though. I feel like I am adding weight. Muscle? Maybe. I definitely am sore by the end of the week and feel better on Monday after the break from the gym over the weekend. Recovery.

Lizzy

This plan better work. I feel like I am putting a lot into it. Feeling tired and sore in all the right places. But better yet, I think I am having fun. I can’t wait to hunt.

Somewhere I Belong

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Spent the past weekend in Leadville. What is happening to the snow? I swear there was zero accumulation since we were there 2 weeks earlier for the New Years Holiday. Let’s get on that. The winter started strong but it is kind of fizzling out now. I didn’t even have to shovel on arrival.

I took the dogs for a few jogs around my little loop. They like going through the woods so that requires a bit of post-holing from time to time. The roads were a bit too icy in places. But we made the best of it. Random dog jog photos to follow. These guys just love this time of year up there.

Dogs

Dogs

Dogs

Reagan was under the weather so that meant just Sydney and I were going skiing. That is fine. She is my original partner. It was 8…EIGHT…years ago that I first took her skiing. Wow. I keep reminding her that young Brandon has still not skied at her age yet. She has until she is about 16 before I first ever tried.

Ski Cooper

I ran the Ski Tracks app today just for fun. It does a nice job. Captures the total runs. Breaks down the ascent vs. descent. If you try with your Garmin, it’s just all confused about the work you really did. This seemed real good. Even imported the data into Strava so I could count the cross-training. Oh, and we hit a top speed of 41 MPH. That seems fast-ish for our little hill.

Ski Cooper

Still having fun going to CrossFit. It is something new every day but continues to build on itself. Seeing some gains already. I am so weak everywhere but the legs — and even those are super tight. Been thinking about what other races to sign up for this spring & summer. I feel like I have to run something in the Leadville series. Such a convenient tune-up. Maybe a spring marathon too. Still planning on Pikes though. That seems like a bit of a goal race at this point.

Progress

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Registered for Run Rabbit Run 100 in September yesterday. I still have a few more items on the bucket list. Steamboat just gets me back into the mix on one of those. And I needed a break from the usual.

Green

It has been icy here all week so I have opted to delay my return to the run a bit. Instead, I spent my week in the “box”. Every class is learning more jargon but that’s fun. Running has its own lingo too. Knocked out 5 classes in the 6 days they are open a week. Skipped one day because of work and I felt a little sore and figured I could use the day. Every class leaves me sore in new ways. I am getting my monies worth on this.

Luckily, the box is closed on Sunday so it forced me out into the great wilderness for my workout. The dogs looked at me like “thank god”. So we hit Green in the light snowfall. Thought it was going to be a cold one but it was pretty nice. New microspikes were required.

Drywall

The basement is done being broken down now. Time to restore. That’s all the drywall they ended up cutting out. Insulation was wet back there. The pipe that drops down there is the one that broke. That goes through the wall to an outside faucet. Up at the top in the crease between the ceiling and the wall is where it broke. Insurance adjuster from Allstate was wonderful. Came out and direct deposited the damage estimate that day. Now the work begins. We can submit any additional things found or overages too. So some insulation, drywall, baseboards, and carpet. Then we will be back in business.

The Great Flood

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Note to self: When you are in Leadville and the person watching your home in Longmont calls and says your basement is full of water, it is not good.

Basement Flood

So this pipe blew while I was 100 miles away. Possibly could have been spraying for up to 24 hours prior to somebody calling it in. So they turned off the water and we began the battle of driving through ski traffic to reach our home in need. On the drive, we coordinated a plumber and a water mitigation company. Everybody was to arrive at 7PM and we go to work.

Basement Flood

So this wall is along the back of the house. The water line might go to an outdoor hose bib. But that is several feet away so it either froze that far in or it was something else. No, we didn’t have a hose connected. When we found the situation, the water was pouring out of that vent in the ceiling.

Basement Flood

They ripped up the pad really quick and tore off the soaked baseboards. The carpet is probably junk but the insurance adjustor makes that call I am told. For now, its being dried out with several industrial fans running 24×7. Two large dehumidifiers are also in place trying to remove the massive amount of moisture out of the basement. A few inches of standing water has to go somewhere.

Basement Flood

Some of the walls near the break are soaked. You can push on them and they are soft. So the next step will be to tear some of those out next week and re-insulate the basement. Then get a contractor in and start the renovation.

Basement Flood

Not a fun process. But we are working through it. The basement isn’t a necessary living space for us so its not a huge inconvenience. Hopefully, insurance picks up the tab and we get some new carpet and call it a wash.

Start It Off Right

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It has been a bit cold up here in the mountains. Daily temps have even stayed negative a few times. But that didn’t stop our friends, the Osters, from coming out to ski. Fresh snow but chilly temps today. One person cried because their toes were so cold. But we survived. Another ski day in the books!

Ski

Ski

Ski

Ski

The Next Chapter

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Crossfit

With some disappointing results this past season, I felt like it was time to re-evaluate. So at the end of the Denver Marathon, I stopped running. I did sprinkle in a few occasional dog jogs around home or on the local hills. But nothing serious. The intent of this was two-fold. 1) Rest. My legs hurt all the time. Every day. So let that heal right for the first time in a long time. 2) Re-evaluate. See how life feels without running for a bit.

The results? I got fat. Well, relatively. The pounds just piled up quickly. I didn’t go off a cliff with my diet. I actually was eating better — like salads every day for lunch. But no activity does that to you. I also suspect my body was taking its chance to hold onto what it could for later. I got moody. Well, moodier. Life was darker.

I had great plans during this hiatus to do some other type of physical activity regularly. Swimming was the top of the list. I swam competitively through high school and still enjoy the pool. A little. I never went. Biking? Yeah, its cold out right now and I am not in a winter mindset yet. So what’s left? Go to the gym? OK. Wait, I did that last year and I didn’t enjoy that. Never knew what to do. Felt like a lot of standing around.

There was one more thing that perked my interest. CrossFit.

So I walked into the CrossFit Longmont gym and they invited me to join in a Workout of the Day (WOD). Coming off of no activity in the last 2 months, I probably added to the challenge. But for an hour, we did things I have never done before. I learned a ton. I was sore in places that felt familiar but never used quite that way. I signed a contract.

If you aren’t familiar, CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program with the aim of improving, among other things, cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. My classes are filled with many different types of people in various states of fitness. Each activity is “scaled” so that everybody can complete the same general exercise together but with varied degrees of difficulty.

The classes at my gym start with a warm-up like a quick jog. Then we do a coach’s choice exercise which is always something different, like some flexibility movements. Then we move on to a strength component. This has been squats, dead lifts, etc. Then the core of the class is the WOD. These always vary. My last few classes have been some set of 3 different exercises done in repetition. As many as you can in 15 minutes. I keep moving that whole duration but it feels like running really hard. Its familiar. I just don’t have a lot of the strength to do many of the movements with “interesting” weight just yet. That will come.

Yesterday, I took Kim to the class with me to show her what it was about. It was kind of a different setup but was a cool class. We did 12 different exercises in progression but in the 12 Days of Christmas (like the song!) format. So you did 1 of #1. Then 2 of #2, 1 of #1. Then 3 of #3, 2 of #2, 1 of #1. You get it. Here is the workout. Prior to this class, I probably couldn’t have told you what half of this stuff is.

1 Power Snatch – Lift bar with weight from floor over head
2 Over Head Squat – Squat with bar with weight over head
3 Deadlifts – Lift bar with weight from floor to standing
4 Power Cleans – Left bar with weight from floor to neck
5 Front Squats – Squat with bar with weight at neck
6 Bar Facing Burpees – Push up with a jump to feet after each
7 Toes-to-Bar – Swing from a bar and bring your toes to your fingers
8 Pull Ups – Regular old pull up
9 Kettlebell Swings – Swing weight from crotch to overhead
10 Box Jumps – Standing jump from floor up on a big box
11 Hands Lift Push ups – Push ups but you put your chest on floor
12 Overhead Plate Lunges – Hold weight plate over head and lunge

Those last few rounds were tough. Breathing hard. Muscles shaking. Fatigued. Instantly felt better the minute it was done. And it didn’t take 24 hours of running.

I delayed writing this post to see if this was a thing I was going to enjoy and stick with. So I guess the fact that I am writing shows that I am committed now.

I am still committed to running. But I really think CrossFit is going to make me a better runner. While running has made me fit, I might argue I am weaker than ever. Muscles are strong in the legs but heavily imbalanced everywhere else in comparison. And the legs are so tight and jammed up and stressed that its just not good. These classes force you to go anaerobic which is something I seem to actively try and prevent in running. I also gave up on passive stretching. But active stretching — like going down deep in a weighted squat — that’s the ticket. So I will report back in a few months on how its going. Starting slow. At 3-4 days a week right now. Low weight. Getting the techniques down and not hurting myself.

On the racing front, I am not in the Leadville lottery if you didn’t guess that. I, like others, are sitting this one out. However, I plan to be there in a supportive role for those that have supported me in the past.

I decided that I will run Steamboat in 2015 to get back in the Hardrock lottery. That seems like the best option given all factors for me.

Time for the holidays now. But with a new gym, a new race, a new watch, and a new year, I am ready to get back at it soon.

A Sanitas Reunion

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I picked up this guy and we hit Sanitas today along with my dogs. Decent day but a bit windy when we got down there. I haven’t run with JV in months. Everybody has been busy, hurt or on hiatus. Enough of that!

Sanitas

First mountain run with the new watch. One cool thing it does is that it communicates via Bluetooth with my iPhone. So as soon as the run was done, it sent the run to my phone which uploaded it to Garmin Connect. No hands! Then Strava pulls from Garmin Connect. So on the way home, I started getting a few Strava kudos on the run I just completed without ever posting it. And those kudos…they show up as alerts on your watch while you are driving. The future is now.

I wore the new HRM monitor too. It draws a lot of graphs about “Vertical Oscillation” and “Ground Contact Time”. I will report back if those actually mean anything. Here is the data.

New Toy

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My trusty Garmin 310XT is on its last leg. You probably thought it was dead? I brought it back to life but now the buttons are getting sketchy. Its like impossible to turn on without the perfect pressure. It was a great watch. I almost bought another…

But I went to the drawing board and looked over all the new options out there. Many new vendors competing with Garmin for your running dollars. After some analysis I decided to stay on the Garmin train and advance to the newest model…the 920XT!

920XT

Today was my first “real” run in 2 months. I say real because I wore a watch. A new watch. So I am still playing with it. It syncs over Wi-fi now instead of that ANT stick. It puts my phone notifications on screen which makes it a bit of a transition device while we wait for the Apple Watch. Its counting my steps and telling me to move. All that stuff is nice and its fun to mess with right now. But its all going to turn into a distraction eventually.

At some point soon, I have to start doing work. Technology helps but it doesn’t move you. Only you can do that.