If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Saturday, January 01, 2022

January 1st, 2022 - looking in a rear view mirror

We woke up to a couple of inches of fresh snow right in town. About time! With that, we welcomed a white New Year, just the way it's supposed to be

 Before that happened, we wrapped up the year with a two-day ski trip, and both Cooper and Monarch treated us with fresh ungroomed power - Monarch had it so much, we were knee deep and above! All that provided for some serious quad workout, but also allowed us to conquer the final black diamond runs I was afraid of - including High Anxiety and Zipper. The Cooper runs are so mellow comparing to Monarch, not even funny (unless you go off the backside, where it's more of a meandering between the trees on a narrow path). Both days also were cold, cloudy, and windy, but very worthy the fun times.

In-between those two mountains we stayed in our new favorite place in BV, and even managed a trail run in the late afternoon. It was just too good not to take advantage of.

Upon return, I squeezed my last double-long run of this training cycle, and let me be honest, I was pooped. The longer of the two, 21 mile with 6k ft gain that included Mt Rosa circle, was just a killer on my already sore quads and gluts, and it was cold, and I fell...hopefully for the last time this season:) The second run went at least marginally less involved, and I was happy to wrap it up and enter taper time.
This all hasn't come easy. Up to this last week, I was holding ok with the speed intervals and hill repeats and the doubles, but this last part about killed me. I have never been so welcoming of taper...

With that graph, lets review a bit on the stats of 2021. I ran 3131 miles - which, surprisingly, was 55 miles less than last year (how did this happen? not that I care). A solid base, indeed. For the first time, I decided to check on my "vert" (just because we follow Seth DeMoor's YouTube training, and that's what he tracks). I busted his chops in that department! It actually blew my mind how much gain I have for the year. I occasionally look into this number for a certain run, or even a week (back when I trained for a 100 miler), but never cared about yearly total. Wow! Last year it was about 100k less. I guess 13 Pikes Peaks and 53 Inclines would do that. In general, living in the mountains, "vert" is my new thing.:)
In other statistical goals, I took 57 yoga classes, did 175 weights workouts, and kept up with daily running streak, as well as daily push ups/crunches routine. I will not be doing any kind of "daily" in this upcoming year, just proper training, but keeping tabs was fun. I read 77 books (good year!), but barely knitted, which I am trying to remedy as of yesterday. I ran 8 races, and did well in at least half of them, but failed at my biggest goal of through hiking Colorado Trail. This fact still bums me out. Yet, no dwelling allowed, can't reverse what happened, and not every goal gets achieved. I guess if we try things far out of our comfort zone, sometimes we are bound to fail. 

What's for this year? A little more racing. I signed up for another 100 - so much for "20 and done". It is still my favorite distance. I am going back to Bear, which I ran in 2007 (though the course has changed since then). I got a handful of 50 k's on the schedule, a 50 miler, and a couple of volunteer gigs at the races - all in the first 6 months. Larry has been very consistent with his running, and he is, too, getting his racing bug back. The second part of the year will shape up as we move on forward.

2021 has been pretty darn good to me. I always said, we make our own destiny, even if there were times I didn't follow my own advice. This past year, I was resolved to focus on things I can control, and it paid off in spades. Here's to 2022, more of the good stuff, none of the bullshit.

A new year. A blank slate. A wide open trail unfolding into the unknown…
The possibilities are endless, but will you redefine what’s possible for yourself this year?
Here’s to new goals, no limitations, no regrets, no fear of failure, no impossible, and to making 2022 the best year for YOU yet.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Still 2021 here

The worst part about social media is that it kills brain and desire to speak in coherent sentences and paragraphs, cutting every happening, no matter how big or important, to a mere few pictures and 5 words. I should know. This blog got resurrected because I quit FB and IG and Twitter, at once, in the middle of the previous October. Well, this past October, I crawled back on IG, just to watch first, then a photo once, another time, and before I knew it, it spurred put of proportion and I became "one of them". A paragraph and 10 pictures. Repeat. Sigh. It doesn't help that I get, what, like 20 random people wandering over here, clicking on the post, no clue who they are, and no comment/conversation. Lets face it, writing "for my own good" had been overrated. I am 52. I am good. I do love the pictures, though, as I live in the most beautiful place. I think I will never get tired of repeating this. With that, lets just throw them, pictures, over here, and move on.

On December 15th COS saw highest winds recorded, gusting up t0 105 mph, downtown mostly - and our neighborhood was hit the worst. We lost power, trees, mostly evergreens, fell on the powerlines, houses, streets, alleys, garages - it looked like a war zone after 7 hrs of raging weather. Of course, it's not a tornado that ravaged near-by states a day or few prior, but we got severe damage still. Our house got spared (we cut some trees as soon as we moved in, what a foresight move), but our neighbors on both sides, and my boss, were not that lucky. 2 full days in the dark/cold, and 7 days without internet. Yikes, we're so spoiled in 21st century in good ol' USofA...

Of course, that didn't stop me from running and training and suddenly ramping up miles and workouts for a race that wasn't on a calendar even at the end of the first week of December. Talking about spontaneous...but it's going well, and a fine balance between this burst and health seems to be holding on well. I feel pretty good overall, and a little stronger and faster:)

Our local ski bump Monarch, to which we buy season passes every year, finally opened up on December 11th, with only a few runs though, so we waited another week before getting our skis out. The day was absolutely gorgeous, and it was so nice to zip on the slopes!

The following week I decided to sneak another Pikes Peak round-trip, just because. It was not a bad day, I knew we are about to hit high wind 10-day stretch, so it was one of those "now or never". I took a day off on Thursday before Christmas, officially starting my holiday break a little earlier, and got up and down on a pretty bare ground, with only gusts above the tree line at 30 mph - and hot temps once down back. No people at all on my 13th ascend for the year (and 21st overall), and the time of 4:24 to the top should technically beat my own Winter PP FKT from February. The run down, once past the icy sections, was quite nice as well, and I felt that I finished this whole thing on a better note than I started. Gosh, I love Pikes Peak, so nice to have it right at my door!
The next day (Friday before Christmas) Larry got into the car and drove to Lubbock, TX, to spend holidays with his son. You see, Harrison was supposed to drive up for a few days visit, but the day before he was to leave, his truck broke down. Nobody wanted to have a young man be stranded in an apartment in a college town, without friends, car, and on the biggest holiday of the year to boot. And since I don't really celebrate Christmas (not on December 25, anyway, Russian Orthodox have it on January 7), I figured I'd be the one "lonely and suffering". With that, Larry drove out, and I went into the mountains. But of course:)
There was no fancy dinner, just me, my veggies, and a little YouTube on TV indulgence, plus a bedtime by 7:30 pm. I have to say, though, our downtown is gorgeous on Christmas! And my coworker gave me an awesome shirt - she knows me well, since every time on Monday when she asks how was my weekend, my answer is always the same.
Christmas morning I was up dark'o'early and drove myself back to Monarch for some solo skiing. I wasn't sure if I'd like it alone, but it turned out, I loved it. I am a true introvert. It's like liking a focused workout, without any determents, all inner conversation. I love skiing with Larry, I guess I was just surprised that I'd enjoy it by myself so much as well, though not sure why it surprised me - I run alone, hike alone, backpack alone, and I sort of like my own company:) There was a fresh dump of snow the day before, and nearly all the runs (but 3) were not groomed - and it was so much fun! I methodically worked my way from the left side to the right side of the mountain, taking on every single run, including some black diamond ones I normally hesitate. With deep heavy snow, I seem to have much more control of my turns, and feel safe and excited. No great photos of me doing it, of course, the downside of being alone, ya know - but lots of great views! The first 3 hrs were bitter cold, cloudy and windy, but by 12:30 pm the sun finally peeked out. Too bad, as I finished my entertainment at 1 pm, and drove home. That early bedtime was calling my name:) 
On Sunday I threw in an extra Incline, making it an odd number 53 for the year, and even funnier number 88 all-time. There was a Christmas tree at the top - of course, why am I not surprised! 
The rest of the days were spent running, going to the gym, and taking yoga classes daily. No pictures of yoga (I don't take my phone inside), but here's a bit of a workout, because it's holidays, nobody else was inside, and I didn't feel too dumb setting up timers on my selfies while doing plyometrics.
Well, my dear 2.5 readers, the year is not over. We've got a couple days of skiing together scheduled, one more long double-run, last one for this cycle before a taper, and probably a post wrapping up the numbers for the year. From there on, who knows if the blog survives the silence.😜