Mish-Mash

Nothing too specific is going on right now, just a lot of little things. Here is a smattering.

– Training is going well, but my Masters Coach quit and I’m pretty sad over it. However, it looks like with adversity comes opportunity. I might just get to swim with a super stud hot chick swimmer/triathlete from now on. Hopefully those times will come down because of it!

– THEME DAY this Wednesday (4/1): Firefighters. It will involve books, crafts and a visit to the Denver Firefighter Museum. If you are intersted, send me an email and I’ll send over the itinerary.

Rev3 triathlon still has slots…and you can get $10 off registration using the code NSS146. If you are looking for someone to room with or hang with for the weekend of Rev3 I am traveling alone as of right now. Would love to have some company! Ooh, and there is now video footage of the bike and run on the website…like the ENTIRE course…on video. How cool is that?

– You may have noticed that my most favorite pro triathlete BREE WEE commented on my blog. I can officially die a happy woman now.

– My TT bike Scarlett just busted out of the spa today. Her goods have been touched up and she is ready to rumble. A test ride is in order tomorrow. I can’t believe my new fantastico bike Stella will have to stay home. This is just insane.

– R2R2R is so totally on. Peeps are hopping on board left and right and hotel reservations have been made. A meeting will happen soon to debrief the rest of the bold-runners on the up and down of the route. Should be grandiose.

– I ran up City View again this last weekend and felt like total poo, but for some reason was only 8 minutes slower over the 24 miles than when I felt like the shiz-nick. I persevered through a hard day and built a little character…as if I needed any more of that.

– I really want to run a 100 miler and have been scouring the web for a fun one. Hummm…

Beyond the Epic Run. Troy and I are going to the screening. Hope to see you there.

– I’ve read two books in 5 days, and inhaled an entire COSTCO box of Cashews in the process.

– My coach gives me homework now. I’m not even going to elaborate on this one….

– Troy and Annie are happy snappy and doing well. Annie is talking a bit too much, like the same phrase over and over. Troy is mello smello, chill cool dude that he is. He SAGed last weekends run…SAG support is sexy.

– Nobody in Denver is happy about the recent snow storm.

It’s Been A Long Time…

Whew, such an interesting day. The 17 hour training day crew (+Tyler) ran a 10K today. Steve wanted to make sure that we were keeping on top of our speed since we have been smashing the long distances this winter. He wanted us to all throw down a great 10K, and I was secretly thinking “How”?

I should have known not to question him. He’s been talking about me breaking 40 in the 10K, and being that my PR was 41:52, I was like UhHuh, yea, I’ll get right on that.

This morning I woke up feeling like I wanted to sleep in. But, I got up, got ready, and ate a banana. I made several trips down to the car and my legs were yelling at me going up the stairs. I figured I didn’t need those muscles anyways, it’s a relatively flat course.

Troy, Annie and I arrived at the Platte River Bar and Grill at 7:50. The race was $10 and had about 100 people in it. Where can you find that in Denver? Kinda cool. We did about a three mile warm up, I threw on my flats (for the first time this year), and off the troupe went.

The first mile was pain, but I settled into a groove. One lady took off at a really strong pace and I could tell she was quite a bit stronger than me. The third place girl seemed not quite as fast so I knew it was a day to just run my own race rather than to race others. I settled into a strong pace. As we passed the mile markers they seemed short and my times seemed fast. But, I was also running too fast to do good math, so I figured I was just confused.

We came back by the start/finish at mile 4 and that was brutal. I don’t like running by the finish. It’s tempting to stop. But on I went. Mile 5 I really tried to run strong. I kept repeating “The fifth mile is where it’s at”. Don’t really know why, but that’s what came into my head. It was fun to see Tony running strong over on the other side of the river, on his way to the finish. When we crossed the cones at mile 5 I glanced at my watch and was totally confused. Almost 7 minutes? Turns out this mile was long. Mile 6 was another long one, and the last 0.2 took almost 2 minutes, so a little long as well.

The course overall was an even 6.19 via Tylers Garmin, but the mile markers ranged from 0.88 to 1.2, so a little tough to pace with that.

I was pretty excited to cross the line at 40:47. My first thought was “Oh, it’s just short”. But after seeing Tyler (and others) Garmins, I was pretty excited. An actual 10K, which means…a nice PR today.

So, wow, one week of track, and a million LONG LONG miles this winter and my speed has held. I feel like I am faster, and I also feel like sub 40 is in my future. Very good gauge today (and mental boost)!

How Did This Happen To Me?

I’m not sure what’s come over me?

I surely didn’t intend for this to happen.

It was just a bit of luck.

You have to take advantage of good opportunities when they come your direction, right?

Well, one came my direction.

I am now the proud owner of this:

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Isaac Joule, DuraAce, Butterfly Saddle.

It will get a mild makeover to fit me in the spots it needs to, along with some new cables and such.

I know, I know, TWO new bikes?

I go from my one Giant with Ultegra, to TWO new carbon bikes with DuraAce.

Something says I won’t be looking at bikes for a very very long time.

Troy is still in shock.

I am still in shock.

I Would Not Date Me

So, Troy Boy, AKA Stroller Man is back training. He’s been training quite consistently for about 3 months, but he’s now started to step up his game.

Last night I thought I would throw his game for a loop.

“Hi Troy, I have a surprise for you”

“Yea?”

“Be at the bottom of your office building at 4pm sharp. Be there or be square.”

“Ummm, ok”

So, then, I packed up running clothes for him, his new Brooks Running shoes, the tub of HEED, lots of Cliff Shots and threw Annie in the car. Annie woke up asking to go to her drop in day care place, so I figured “DATE NIGHT”.

At 3:55pm there was Troy, waiting at the bottom of his building, wondering what was up. He got in the car, I handed him his running clothes and said “CHANGE”!

I drove to REI, doh, didn’t have what I was looking for. I made some calls on my iPhone all while driving through commuter traffic to drop Annie at day care. She was ecstatic.

After the calls the next stop was Boulder Running CO in Littleton. I whipped out a Benjamin (I love craigslist) and Troy tried on some new shorts. 2 pairs of shorts, and a Nathan HPL #020 Hydration Pack later we were back in the car.

“Pack your pack, get water, get goos, we’re going on an adventure.”

“Yes, mamm”

Up up up Morrison Road. I pull off into Lair of the Bear parking lot, it’s 5:15pm. Troy gives me a little smile as we get out of the car. I tell him, 12 miles, it may get dark, your going to love it.

The smile is from ear to ear.

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We take off together. I have almost NEVER trail run with Troy, and definitely not since Annabelle arrived in this world. Trail running is one of my favorite things on this earth, and to think that I’m not doing it with my husband is tragic. We cranked out 12 miles, and while Troy needs some work on the uphills (give him two weeks), his downhills are insane. He is 6 foot, 4 inches, but still, I’m supposed to be in better shape, and I let loose on the descents, and he was still gapping me. Made me pretty proud.

At mile 11, the farthest Troy has ever ran, we got back to a flat section along the creek and he picked it up. I decided to make him an honest man. When you pick it up with one mile to go to the car, that means you have to run it hard all the way back. At first my body was like “Noooo” and I could hear Troy’s smooth breath. But, after about 3 minutes, I found my groove, was cruisin’ along, and listening to Troy’s breath get more labored. He was panting by the time the car came into view, and I was just getting warmed up. Ha! That will teach him.

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After picking up Annie at 8pm we collapsed at home. Neither of us could make dinner and I was asleep in about 5 seconds. We are still getting used to this whole “Two People Training” thing. A lot of exercise happens, but not a lot of cooking. Now I know that there are plenty of couples that are out doing what we did last night every day of the week, but we are still learning. Incorporating activity into my lifestyle is one thing, but using my success to help ingrain it into my entire family is quite something else. I’m learning, I’m learning.

so, DATE NIGHT turned out to be:
– Surprise Troy
– Treat Troy to new goodies
– Rip Troys legs off

Again, like I said, I soooo would not date me.

Don’t Even Mess With Us

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Me and my friend Princess, yea, we rock. Don’t mind Michelle and Sonja, no, they are just “tools”. It’s Princess and I that do all the hard work and today was one of those.

So, our coach, he’s pretty cool, he looks like this:
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Well, he told us that today was a big day. We were tasked with escorting the girls through the typical Shadow Mountain Loop, but this time, we were supposed to work together. Yes, Blue, and White do make a good team, and being that we couldn’t let the girls down, we performed.

Yes, two minute pulls, up Highgrade, up Shadow, up Little Cub. We rip roared the descents, we worked together, and only once (or twice) did the girls try to steer us towards some hot bikes with riders in Skins Kits.

The girls were proud of us, for we worked our rear detailers off, getting them back to the car safely in a record three and a half hours. Now we have tasked them with washing, buffing, and tuning tasks, must be ready for Wednesday. It’s a tough life being a Isaac bicycle in Colorado. So many mountains to climb, so little time.

It’s A Girl!

Today was a very very special day. It’s a day that I had to be very very patient for. I had ordered an Isaac frame some time ago and due to the recall of a very tiny part my new baby had to wait at the distributor before she could be shipped. Once shipped, she arrived in a very large 2 pound box. After that off she went to SteveO’s house where she had to wait some more. Measurements were taken, decisions were made (mostly by Steve as mine got over-ridden by the expert…Steve). Then all of her “extras” were ordered, like, you know, breaks, derailers, that kind of unnecessary stuff.

Then she got built, first half way, then several days later, the rest of the way. She is still waiting for some sweet white diamond encrusted peddals. Okay, I’m kidding about the diamonds, but only because SteveO said no.

Today she’s done enough for me to ride her and take her home. Oh my lanta. I can’t even explain it. You would have to ride my old bike for two years before you could really understand what I experienced today. There were tears in my eyes. The fit and position is so much more aggressive (just what my training partners were dreading).

So, since I have to go run right now, I won’t bore you any more with talk, and I’ll just get to the pictures!
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Name?

Stella, White Lighting, and Asimov have been suggested…

2009 USSSA Snowshoe Nationals

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What a great weekend I had. I flew out late Friday night, and mom and dad picked me up at the Portland airport in the rental car. They had arrived an hour ahead of me. We stopped at great little family owned restaurant on the way up to Timberline Lodge. This lodge is the coolest place EVER. If you ever get a chance to stay there, it’s a MUST SEE. The lodge was built in the 30’s by the WPA. Every ounce of the lodge is hand crafted, and it’s amazing.

The entrance to the Timberline Lodge
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The fireplace, awesome! My dad took is photo, nice huh?

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We had a hot toddy and hit the feathers. And I MEAN feathers, all the beds at the lodge are feather beds. Talk about divine, I wanted to take the bed, and the pillows, and the blankets home, it was the most comfortable nights rest I have ever had.

Hot Toddy?
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The next morning we got up, had a great breakfast and explored around the lodge. In the late morning we got suited up to brave the cold and headed over to the race site. The course had just been marked so I popped in the iPod and ran the course. It’s a two loop course, so I just did the loop once. Dad scouted spots to take pictures, and mom went for a snowshoe hike along the course as well. Everyone got a little exercise, and we were ready to head back to the lodge to relax.

We hung out next to these huge windows in the lodge and took it all in. It was stormy and windy. I was so happy to be relaxing on a warm couch, with some spiked hot cocoa. Several hours went by and we had lofty intentions of attending the Meet and Greet for the racers down in the town. Well, we just couldn’t pry ourselves away. So, we skipped it and had another drink!

Happy to just sit by the window and relax.
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Dinner that night was awesome, gourmet, gourmet! After that I watched Running the Sahara on my iPhone and hit the hay.

Race morning came too soon, and the time change cut into my blissful sleep. Only 10 hours the night before! We headed to the race site after dad DUG out the car, and I watched. He He!

Steve and I had talked about me going out in the #1 or #2 spot in the race. It’s a very difficult course to pass on, and we wanted to make sure that I controlled the race from the front. I actually executed the exact race plan we talked about. I went out in second. The girl in first took off and was never to be seen again. She was killing it. I slowed to a pace that was comfortable for me, and I thought that someone behind me might yell “track” and want to pass, but nope. I went my own pace and I felt the other racers right on my tail, but I just stuck to my plan. When the downhill started on the first loop I let it go. I gapped the third place girl and went into loop two with a 10 second gap on her. But, she caught right back up to me on the uphill. I just settled into my own rhythm and I continued to wonder when she would want to pass. I assumed at the top of the hill she would pass but nope. We went into the downhill and I opened up the gap again.

The start!
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Then the drama started. I fell down. Boom, face plant. Doh. Well, that happens all the time to me, especially when I am running fast. I get back up, and 30 seconds later I eat it again. This time my shirt is around my neck and I get up fast, start running, and start pulling down my shirt, but not before I eat it again. This time with an exposed belly. I get up from that one, pull my shirt down and continue on. Another minute goes by and boom, I go down again. I was flustered and had to tell myself to “calm down”, “pull in your core”, “lift your knees”, “don’t do that again”. I regain my balance and slow down a little and as I’m going up this little hill I see TWO ladies on my tail. Uh Oh, these falls have allowed them to close the gap. I’m not ready for a showdown, but I know its going to happen.

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I round the last turn and I see my dad, he’s yelling at me “She’s hot on your tail” and he sees that I don’t really respond. She is making her move and in a quite delayed fashion I pick it up, put on my move and pull away. We are three seconds apart in the results, and the fourth place lady is just a few seconds after that.

Hot on my tail!
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So, I was able to hold onto second, and I was ecstatic. I really enjoyed being on the National Snowshoe Team last year, and I am really excited to continue to remain on the team. Executing my race goals felt wonderful, I felt strong, and steady and oddly (I guess due to the time of year and high mileage) I felt I could have done several more laps of the course at a similar pace. My base feels deep right now. The speed will start coming soon.

Three of the 5 members of the 2009 National Snowshoe Team (#4: Christy Runde, #2: me, #5: Cheryl Paulson)
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The rest of the day was a great awards ceremony and raffle where I won a sweet pair of Kahtoola MICROSpikes. I have been eying these for some time since I have completely worn out my YakTraks.

Myra And Patty and I. It was great to see them again!
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Great Race, Great Day. A big thanks to Mom and Dad!!! And to Troy!! And To Steve-O!!

Here’s the video I took. If you can’t view it, you can try this link, or you can go to YouTube and search for “swieck”. You’ll find it under there called Snowshoe Nationals. Happy Viewing!

Portland Recon

Well, I have just had an absolutely wonderful day. First off, I slept in, that was divine. After a totally awesome gourmet breakfat here at the lodge we walked around and learned about the history of the lodge. Built in the 30’s by the WPA, every chair, beam, and curtain in here is hand built. The craftsmanship is sturdy, warm, and beautiful. Thousand of workers worked for 90 cents an hour during the depression to build this lodge and you can feel the opportunity that was provided by this structure. If you ever get a chance to stay here, I highly recommend it.

After our history lesson mom, dad and I headed over to the race site. Mom went for a snowshoe hike, dad went to scope out a place to photograph the race, and I ran the course. It’s a two loop course and very scenic. There isn’t much climbing to it, it’s all very runable. But the entire course is single track. Passing will be tough. The course meanders through the trees and I guess it’s a popular place to build a snow cave. I saw a good 6 people building caves to stay the night. One guy even invited me to come check out his cave. It was pretty sweet, but a little small, clearly built for one!

After a nice soak in the hot tub, and a call to talk strategy with Steve-O, I am curled up next to a huge window watching the snow dump. I’m so excited for tomorrow and can’t wait to put in a good effort and make my PC crew proud!

On tap for tonight is a meet and greet for the snowshoers, and dinner reservations at the cascade dining room here at the lodge. Until next time…

I miss you Troy, and Annie! Happy Birthday Chris, party it up for me.

Portland Nationals

Well, I’m here in Portland! We are staying at the Timberline Lodge and boy is it a treat. We just finished having an evening toddy while catching dark glimpses of mount hood out the windows. I guess this is where they filmed the outdoor scenes for The Shining! REDRUM!

Tomorrow we will head over to the race site for some race recon and packet pickup. In the evening there is a meet and great for the athletes and then mom, dad and I have reservations planned for a shwanky dinner here at the lodge.

The beds here are feather beds with down comforters and pillows. The rooms are rustic and it’s quite peaceful.

I am updating my twitter account super often during the trip so if you want the play by play be sure to follow gosonja on Twitter.

I wish Troy and Annie were here, and Steve-o too. I miss you guys!

Goodnight all!

Rim to Rim to Rim (R2R2R) Research

Do you have a life list? I have one, but I’m constantly adding to it as well. One thing that has been on my life list since 1997 is a double crossing of the Grand Canyon. As a senior in High School my family backpacked down into the Grand Canyon, stayed two nights, and backpacked back out. We went down the Bright Angel trail, and back via the South Kaibab trail. One of my all time most amazing runs was a serendipitous accident of a run I did in the bottom of the Grand Canyon, along what is called the Box canyon on the North Kaibab trail. As a 17 year old I just took off for a run while my parents went hiking, and ended up having an amazing experience in this surreal canyon. Hiking out of the Grand Canyon was one of the most challenging experiences of my High School years. I was in great shape, and I hiked as hard as I knew how and made it out in just over 3 hours. I felt awesome. I came across a few ultra runners while hiking out and seeing them heading down for a double crossing made me jealous.

So, here I am, 29 years old, 12 years have passed and for the first time in my life this infamous double crossing seems like a plausible endeavor. It’s 46 miles round trip, with about 11,000 feet of climbing…but on the positive side, there are only two hills. When? Well, here’s the thing. I just happen to be heading to Las Vegas for my first long course triathlon in April. AND the Grand Canyon just happens to be on the way home. AND, April just happens to be the best month to attempt a double crossing (that and October). So, when in Rome? If the shoe fits?

I’m going to give it a go. Yes, I will have raced a half Ironman two days prior. Yes, I will have gone out on the town with my team after the race. And will I be ready for a long long run two days later? Yes. This is my life, it’s an adventure.

I am currently recruiting other like minded crazy folks. Hopefully Steve-O, hopefully Keith, Anthony already shot me down. I talked with Troy and he is game with taking a few extra days on the return trip home. He is also willing to chill on the rim with Annie, do some hiking, wait around for me.

The research has been fun. Here are some great blog entries if you are thinking about a double crossing:
Chris: Nov 2006 crossing
Davy Crockett: has crossed 6 times, has a great blog
Viswanath Vinod: a very nice account
Tony Maldonado: A great two day double crossing
AZ Speedgoat: A night time fast double crossing by a group of fast guys
Anton: ultra-stud, going for the record
YouTube: a fun little video giving you an idea of just how scenic it is

So, in making my plans, and doing my due-diligence on the research side I realized that I needed a bigger running pack. I am running with a one bottle pack right now and I need a backpack/vest type of pack for this distance. AND, our REI dividend just came. I am shocked that we got a dividend at all this year. We stopped using our REI credit card at the end of 2007 so who knows where it came from. BUT, I got a pack that I have been eying for some time. Troy said I need to get a hand bottle too, that way I will have one of every possible type of hydration devise that is on the market for runners. Teee-HeHeHe. What can I say to that?

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I ran an easy 5 miles today with the pack, and so far…it ROCKS the house. I can actually breathe in it, and I couldn’t believe that I was running with two liters of water. I couldn’t even tell! It’s got lots of spots for goo flasks, iPods, cameras, and jackets. Allright, I’ve got a pack, can I go run the Grand Canyon now?? Anyone else?