Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Olde Tyme Revival! Quadrennial Quagmire Resurrected!

This picture from 1992 is of me and two of my three running buddies who joined me on the original leap year run, The Quadrennial Quagmire. The original run, which happened twice, in 1992 and 1996, consisted of a circuitous out and back loop from town, around Horsetooth Reservoir, through Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Park, up Redstone Canyon, and back. It was about 50 miles.

I am in need of a birthday challenge this year, but a "lite" version. I decided that given my minimal training and my need to keep doing the vertical, I'd do an easier challenge. Hence, the Quad Quag revival. Except this time, I'm calling it the Quadrennial Quadriceps Quagmire. It will be simple, consisting of just four Rock Repeats. Seventeen miles, 4400 feet of climb and the same of descent. Easy, right?

It's easy logistically, too, because the up and back course allows returns to the vehicle every 4 miles and change. No need to carry a bunch of gear. I plan to do it regardless of the weather. Quagmire or blizzard, sunny 70 degrees or downpour, I'll be there. I'm inviting any local runners to join me. Should be a fun time, regardless.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Broncomaniac Run, and an Ultra Goal!

Life has been batshit crazy since we got back from Arizona.

No other way to describe it. I desperately need to clear some time in my schedule to do some heavy editing of the modules for the service I'm launching, but I've been succumbing to many other distractions, most of which are important and unavoidable. What I need to do is put a message on my phone, email and door, barricade myself in the woman cave, set up an IV pump and infuse myself with coffee and cram like college student to get this editing done.

I want to hide and get my work done, but on the other hand, I can't ignore all these other things, like website edits and meeting with people and getting the word out. All important stuff. I need a clone.

The other thing that bugs me is that I want to be able to blog because I get ideas, but then I'm so busy, I forget about them and I don't have time to sit down and write. This afternoon, even though I am far behind on editing, I needed to indulge in some creative time.

One good thing is that I've been able to maintain the consistency in working out, both my runs and weight training, and doing my core and hip work. I'm still only up to running a total of 5 hours in the week, but I'm getting more miles on my feet by walking and I'm not finding excuses to get out of it like I was a few months ago.

Today I ran double Maniac Hill and double A hill, doing my hills. I am running much more of the uphills than I was when I started and feeling stronger. There was some guy up there riding a bike in a Broncos jersey. Broncomania has hit Colorado in full force. Two more days of this insanity...

Yesterday I needed to ask my friend and fellow runner Andy Lovy a question. I haven't seen him since the last time I ran North Coast, in my disastrous run at Nationals in 2014. The last time I talked to him, we were sloshing around at 2 am on the 24 hour course in a wicked downpour, laughing about how we were focused on the portapotties ahead so we could take shelter.

Andy is quite the ultrarunner. At 80 years old (give or take a year) he's still pounding out the miles in multiday ultras and 24 hours runs. He's also the US National Ultra team physician. I first met him years ago at Across the Years, where he was one of the race physicians.

Anyhow, I wrote Andy and he replied right away. He said he's doing well. He's planning on a few races this year, one of which is in Oklahoma at 24 the Hard Way. I ran the 12 hour there a few years back and loved it. Chisholm Dupree is the RD there, and he's such a great guy. I've known him and his dad, Harry, also an ultrarunner, for many years.

Anyway, Andy told me I ought to jump into some of those races he's doing, including a 55 hour in Houston over New Years. I am not going to be anywhere near ready to do a multiday by the end of this year, and I won't have time to train for it. But a 12 hour in Oklahoma in October, I can do that. Just to go hang out and do a few laps with Andy would be worth the trip.

It seemed like the perfect comeback ultra, as I thought about it. So I'm going to pencil it in and as the spring goes on, I will start arranging my life in a way that I can prepare to at least stay on my feet moving forward for 12 hours by the end of October. I think that's a reasonable goal.

I'll be baaaaack...

Monday, February 1, 2016

Podcast about Badwater and the Journey

It's dumping snow, and we just got back from a week in Arizona where the temperatures were in the 70s under sunny skies all week. Back to reality...

I was featured on Episode 5 of Amy Stone's Mile After Mile Podcast. Amy, a follower of Journey to Badwater, says she was inspired by this blog to get her podcast project going. She does a great job, and I encourage you to listen to all her episodes, not just the one I was in.

I'm a bit overloaded today after being gone a week, so I'll be back with more posts soon.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Vicarious Vlogging: A Rock Repeat Above The Clouds

I'm always talking about my Rock Repeats. Today I took you with me while I did one in the snow and ice on a beautiful winter day in Fort Collins. I wrapped up the week with a quick trip up and down, plus a few little extra spurs on some side trails to get a few extra miles.

It looked dismal this morning when I left the house, all overcast and foggy. But once I got up to about 6000 feet, it was clear blue sky.

Watch the video to enjoy this awesome winter day and get a few ultra training tips and insights!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Vicarious Vlogging...Horsetooth Reservoir in the Wind

Welcome to a new feature on Journey to Badwater: Vicarious Vlogging by Alene.

It's where I take you with me on my running adventures, short and long, sharing snippets of my runs. If you've never run in Fort Collins, Colorado in the winter, you are missing out on one of my favorite places to run hills.

If you're lucky enough to catch it on a day like today, you can get the full effect of the sandblasting gusts that cut your face with ice shards, stab you with spears of dried grass, and steal the breath out of your mouth before you can inhale.

I wanted to get 10 miles of hills today but I only got 5 because the wind was blowing so hard I couldn't see. I pulled my hijab-like neck gaiter and head coverings up over my face and around my sunglasses, but I had to hang on to the edges so gravel and debris wouldn't blow into my eyes. And since I didn't have my arms at my sides for balance, the wind picked my up off my feet a few times and nearly knocked me over.

The snow blew so hard across the road that there were sections of slush all the way across the width of the asphalt.
Later in the day I finished up with a walk after the wind died down.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Really Quite Out of Sight...

Somehow, today I managed to get 10.5 miles in, mostly running, without too much effort getting out the door or keeping my legs in a running pattern, even on the slick streets and sidewalks with sheets of ice and slush puddles.

The days don't have enough hours in them to allow me to get everything done now, but I'm productive nonetheless. Seems like I only have half my work done and my workout, and I'm looking at a day going down in a blaze, like this sunset the other night.
I love nighttime, but it's been so cold and my workdays are so long that by sunset I am ready to wrap it up for the day. Before I climb into bed these days I usually watch things on my iPad, just mindless day-old comedy stuff like the Tonight Show, Daily Show, Larry Wilmore, and so on. And the other night I happened to see a clip of Jimmy Fallon promoting David Bowie's new album and I thought it was strange that he wasn't a guest on the show. And then the thought disappeared.

The next day I saw all these posts on Facebook, RIP David Bowie, etc.

I am not big on popular entertainment culture though I do pay some attention. I haven't been listening to music much because my iPod died last spring and I haven't been running long enough runs to warrant replacing it. But one of my favorite artists has always been David Bowie, and the rise & fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars has a designated spot on every music playing device I own. It's perfect middle of the night ultra music.

But David Bowie has a special meaning in my life beyond his dramatic and creative performances. When I was fourteen years old and still living in Philadelphia, my very first concert was David Bowie.

And it was spellbinding and spectacular in a way that only a 14 year old can perceive it, but I can remember it vividly nearly 40 years later. I remember going with my friend, we took the train to downtown Philadelphia and went to the concert, feeling so independent and grown up. I remember the stage, the lights, the smoke and haze, and the outrageous costumes he wore, so energetic, jumping around, and the way his voice projected. His gender-bending persona was ahead of its time in many ways, and I was grateful for it.

As a teenager I had a difficult time with my own self-concept and figuring out what was an acceptable way to dress and appear in public. Where I went to junior high, it was an affluent community of many spoiled upper-middle class brats, and Mean Girls was hatched in a similar environment. I was not a girly-girl and I didn't "get" fashion, and I didn't dress to look feminine or to impress. Jeans and t-shirts, no makeup, no hairstyle, just long, stringy thick hair, were my thing.

I hung out with a group of similarly outcast girls, and we were not boy-crazy. So we didn't fit in. And David Bowie showed me that it was okay to be offbeat and not tied to gender expectations. At 14, that was a powerful revelation, at least it was for me. And living through childhood with a mom who was all too happy to enforce her gender requirements on my style of dress and activity, it was pure validation.

Anyway,that's my David Bowie story. It makes me want to go get that new ipod today, fill it with my music, get out under the stardust and dance my way through a night run!

So the next time it looks like this outside, I hope to be headed out the door for a while. RIP David Bowie. Thanks for the inspiration.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Progress and Plogging

We are now three weeks past solstice and I already notice the slight difference in the evening light, past 5 pm. Looking out the back window I see this view.

I got 55 miles on my feet this past week. Three hours of which was running. Progress. It's been so cold, that's been the hardest thing to overcome.

I'm buried in editing work with my startup but enjoying it. I love it when I get the edits back from my team. They have so many great insights, and my blind spot is covered. I say blind spot because, not being a cancer survivor myself, there are many personal experiences that I don't bring to the work I do. I can listen and empathize to the best of my ability, but I will always be missing a piece. Thankfully I am not a cancer survivor. But I am aware of the potential for anyone, including myself, to become one.

Tomorrow I am being interviewed for a podcast by one of the longtime readers of this blog. I will share the link and info as soon as it's available. Sounds like fun. Thanks, Amy, for the opportunity to plog (podcast-blog).

Another busy week ahead, and every step gets me closer.

It's still Sunday. For now, back to the backyard gazing.