And so past weekend Larry and I flew to Colorado and played in the Front Range. I won't be describing blow-by-blow the 9M hike near Loveland, a 22M full-day in Rocky Mountain National Park with a trip to Flat Top and a loop that included views at many lakes and ever-changing surroundings, or a local short Boulder trail, or the cutest town of Longmont with its Historic District. I will just share that hiking is my all-time favorite activity, a way of life, a most natural way to exist for me. I can walk forever. And when I do, thoughts from the "real me" come spilling out. As the more I re-discover (what I knew always), I rather be in the mountains either alone or with one other person whom I know understands me from inside out. Larry surely fits that description. We talked, non-stop, about our dreams, aspirations, future...and how different they might be from what is often expected. And even though our (well, mine for sure) butts hurt big time from 10,000 feet of climb over 3 days, training was far from the main thought (or the second...).
It was blissful, we ate food without regards what it does to our "athlete's body" or allergies and forbidden items, we drunk lots of awesome coffee, pocked fun of each other, and hoped that our dreams get closer every day. We stayed with good friends, walked lazily around town(s) and ran very little out of so many miles done total. And that felt right.
While I am quite depressed being back, I am an adult, and I made a choice of being here, in TX, right now. For one reason or other (those who know know, and those who don't, well...) we are in Austin for 6 more years. The trips to the mountains shake things up - yet while make us want it more, also make us long it more and be sad more immediately after coming back.That is life, and we make the best of it. Step by step.
While on the 8-hr wandering up high in Rocky Mountain National Park, I came back to my original plan to not train hard for the Grindstone. I am simply not in that state of mind. I know of plenty of quite serious ultrarunners who had gone through periods like that, and the community (at least through the internet) seems to be accepting, although who knows what each of them truly thinks. But it doesn't matter. I don't need a burn out, injury and other possible things arise from trying to do things I don't want to. All I need is a finish within cut off's - and hopefully without much of a second night involved. Ozark will just be a jog too, as well as Hellgate. Bottom line is, I'll keep in shape, and do things in good standing order (and quite frankly, I get bored to "just run" living here, in Texas, and running on roads 5 days out of the week), but I am wearing thin, and would like to do stuff that comes from burning desire, not because that's what I am expected. If it happens to come - great (it did, for couple of weeks, in July). If it doesn't - my body's memory should carry me through.
On a technical side, I wore Perl Izumi's M2 shoe, and while I don't need motion control, and they are pretty beefy, they felt great for what we did. VFuel gels always deliver, and EnduraFuel was out choice for recovery (as Pam Smith smartly said in her WS100 win report, as long as you get something after a hard/long run, you're golden, even if it's Gatorade with Whey protein mix, but in my case this one works just fine). I am off Epo-Boost until further notice. The SJ UD pack (I wrote the review on at EnduranceBuzz) worked fine, but when I did run/jog downhill, despite all the tightening I did, it still moved around too much. I am getting a hang on drinking it though, reminding taking it out, and hands-free is sweet for picture taking and waving your "wings". Larry took a whole bunch of video material with our new GoPro camera (delivered courtesy of Teva) and I hope to figure out how to link it up.
We had horrible (most horrific in my life) experience at P.F.Chang for the first night's dinner - and my gut is still plugged with all the corn starch they put in every dish in amounts enough to kill a horse. Serving sucked big time as well, but the price was obscene. It was so bad, I wasn't even obsessing about overpaying - I had to laugh. We ate huge portions of ice cream from DQ to shove the taste buds dead. In general, I ate a lot of ice-cream:) A little Thai place next day restored our faith in food industry.
Lots of coffee and latte consumed (I learned a new term, Breve: anything with half-n-half instead of milk, in your coffee drink!) and various scones too. I gained 5 lbs, and have no regrets - although do plan to get back on a horse once get around shopping and cooking this week...not for anything but I do feel ill right now.
I need to learn to cut down on my tasks. Reduce "other" work hours. And (God, I've been talking about it since the beginning of the year!) begin those various hobbies that get swept under the table with ultrarunning training. More house projects to be done as well - though, honestly, it is my man's territory, and he does it well. I just stand there looking pretty:)
I am in a good state of mind (even if sad of coming back to TX). Good for so many reasons. My therapists would have been so proud. I know I am.
Link to all photos.