Monday, September 15, 2014

Upstate Country Run

Tried my feet in a new adventure this week. Remember, we bought a lake house? It's in the upstate, in the foothills. It's a whole new place to explore.

I have been hesitant about running here because it's hilly, but I needed to I went. Just a few words to describe it:

HILLS - Not unlike Colorado, but at least I can breathe here.

CURVES - Not only is our road hilly, but it's narrow and curvy. There's no shoulder. I cringe, if a car comes by. By the way, only two came by. So, I cringed twice.

DOGS - Barked at by three. Thanks heavens they were in a fence. Doesn't matter, still scared the bejeebies out of me.

And then.......

UNKNOWN CRITTER: As I was rounding the last curve and descending the last hill, I saw a critter in the road. I couldn't make it out.

MY THOUGHTS: Could be a squirrel. If it's a squirrel, he'll run off by the time I get there. Oh wait, that's too big to be a squirrel. OMG! I hope it's not a skunk. Hope I scare the "C" word out of him so he will run off. Oh great, he's not moving. Wait, there's my driveway. It's ok, I'll turn before I get close to him. OMG!! OMG!! Now, it's moving towards me. Run feet, run!

REALITY: Bark, bark, woof, woof, bark, bark! Oh Lord, it's just Paul's dog.

FINAL THOUGHTS: He better not bite me!

HaHa! Only in LaLa Land!


Friday, September 5, 2014

Revel Rockies Half Marathon

I've been completely engrossed in for the past couple of months. I've been researching my family history for years, off and on. And I really do just love it to pieces. I get so engrossed that everything else goes on the back burner....that's why I do it off and on.  The underlying theme with my family, maternal and paternal, is that I come from a long, long, long line of farmers and the men in my family served in every military conflict and war. Maybe that's why I love a garden and it's bounty and why I'm drawn to the military. Could be! Anyway, I've been so engrossed these last few weeks that I've neglected to get my Revel Rockies Half Marathon post to you. I apologize....profusely. So without further ado.......I give you the race report.

Warning No. 1: Well, I guess I will release these photos. But, grody, I take awful pics.
Warning No. 2: This is long, but I was sure you wanted to know everythang.

Originally, we planned our trip to Colorado for Cliff to train. And then, Whitney sent me a message with a link about the Revel Rockies Half Marathon. She said, "You will be here on August 17th....just saying". I looked at the website and saw that it was all downhill and that was all it took. I figured I wouldn't get this chance again, so I signed up right away. I told Whitney if I was going to run it, she had to run it with me. And the child did!

Although I started training for this race in May or June, once we got to Colorado, I only had three weeks to get over the altitude sickness and acclimate to the lack of oxygen up there. Remember, we were staying at a 9000 ft. elevation. That, my friends, was a whole different ballgame. And, I am so glad it's over. I got over the altitude sickness pretty quickly, but danged if wasn't hard to breathe out there. My training suffered that way, but that coupled with climbing three flights of stairs everyday, more than once, prepared my legs. I felt strong and excited to run this half marathon.

So, the morning of…Aug. 17, 2014….Whitney and I awoke at 3:45 a.m. to get ready to leave for the half. We had coffee and peanut butter toast for breakfast. Left for the race venue to catch the bus to the start at 4:20 a.m. Arrived to the Bandemeer Speedway and what looked like hundreds of cars all trying to get into the parking lot. We parked and walked straight to a bus, which left within five minutes of our arriving for the race start. The start was in Evergreen, CO. It was cold! In the 40’s for sure. We were provided one of those very thin Mylar blankets and a pair of gloves. I didn’t use either. I just jumped up and down to warm up.
The race started and immediately, we had two steep hills to climb. Whitney and I decided to run our own races. She wanted to finish in under 2:30 hours, so I told her to go for it. Even with an ITB issue (she wore compression pants and an ITB strap), she took off like a streak of lightning. She ran the hills, which she states she’s good at, and I walked them. I was still dealing with a cold and didn’t want to lose my breath at the start. After the two uphills, we began descending and it was downhill the rest of the way. Sometimes it flattened out a bit and sometimes the downhill was in switchbacks (steepish), but mostly it was a gentle descent. I walked some, especially through the water stations. When I could, I would use the switchbacks to make up time. But, back on the course, even though there were those two hills in the beginning, what got me the most was when the road twisted and banked on the switchbacks. Running on a slanted road was horrible on my feet and ankles. But, I quickly learned how to run the flattest portion.

You know me…I always see the most unusual things on the road when running and this race day was no different. You know what it was? SPIT. Yes, spit. I saw more spit than the law allows. Heck, I even spit a few times myself. I was really hoping for lots of funny things to tell you, but everyone was pretty much normal this time. HaHa! I was passed by many runners, but I also passed a few myself. I could definitely see an improvement. There was this one lady that was running/walking and I felt like she was trying to pass me and stay out front. But, what’s a race if you don’t have a little cat and mouse chase, right? So, I would pass her when she walked and then she would pass me when she started to run. I could tell that she wouldn’t be able to keep this up for long. So when we hit the switchbacks around mile 9, I pushed it. I used gravity and quick, short steps to pick up the pace. I left her and she never caught back up. Later, I saw a deer grazing on the side of the mountain. But other than that and the beautiful surroundings, nothing much happened. Oh, there was this one older lady that was apparently in awe that we were running so far. She asked me, “Honey, you’ve been running the whole way”? When I answered, yes ma’am….she just shook her head and smiled.
I took a few pictures. The quality was not good as I was using my cell phone and I didn’t take my time. The sun angle was bad….it was early morning and we were running straight into it. But I’m including them in this post anyway, because I’m sure you’re curious as to what it looked like out there. It was totally gorgeous. The pictures just doesn’t capture how gorgeous.
This and the following pictures were taken on
the run route from Evergreen to Morrison, CO.


To get to the finish line, we had to climb one last steep hill. I wanted so bad to run it, but I just couldn’t. I walked the hill and waiting at the top was Whitney. She had finished a good 45 minutes or so before me. But bless it, she met me at the top of the hill to run with me to the finish. The downhill to the finish line was a rock and gravel road that was killing my already sore feet, but running it in with Whitney was worth the pain.
Whitney, approaching the finish.
Whitney running to the finish with me.
I finished in 2:55 hours. Whitney finished in 2:08 hours. This was her first half and my third….and we both PR’d. Woo Hoo!!! I shaved 3 minutes off my time from the Diva's Half in April.
A little Revel Rockies bling, bling!
So, after the race and a couple of pictures, we went back to Whitney’s, showered and then went to Chili’s for lunch. After lunch, Cliff and I headed back to Dillon. I went straight to bed and took a three-hour nap. Took it easy the rest of the day. Soreness was starting to settle in by that night. Monday, I was very sore in my quads, hips and hip flexors and sides. It felt like I had just given birth. Oddly enough, my feet and calves were not sore. And I was still junky headed from the cold.

Over all, considering this flatlander was running a half marathon at an elevation of 7000 feet, I would say this race was really good. Granted, I had been training at 9000 feet. And although I had conquered altitude sickness, I still had problems breathing. didn’t help that I had been battling a cold all week. My early goal was to finish in 2:45 hours and who knows, if I had not had a cold, I may have achieved that goal. I am happy with my results, though. And I am even happier that I got to run it with Whitney.

I would love to say that I want to go back next year and run the Revel Rockies Half again, but I just don’t think so. Running in high altitude IS NOT EASY. You can’t get enough oxygen and your legs feel like lead. I never had one run that felt easy. But I wouldn’t take anything for the experience. Once again, I learned that I can do far more than I thought I could. And the views were breathtaking… pun intended. Really, it was just plain beautiful in Colorado.

What’s next? Hmmm, I have another half marathon in October…..The Myrtle Beach Mini. And after that, I’m not sure. I’ll continue my running and I’m thinking to get back on the bike some and start lifting weights again. But, who knows? My love of adventure will surely take me somewhere. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Peace Out,



Friday, August 15, 2014

Winding It Down

Hike up Tenderfoot Mountain
August 2014
Hey y'all! I just got back from the Farmer's Market here in Dillon. It's been one of my Friday highlights. Love, love a farmer's market! I've just bought some of the plumpest corn I've ever seen. The farmer said, "This corn is the bomb! It's from Pueblo." HaHa! Hope it doesn't explode in the microwave. Have you ever microwaved your corn, shucks and all? I'm telling you, it's the way to go. Just throw a ear of corn in the microwave, left completely in the shucks, and heat for 3 minutes. It will be steamy hot when you pull it out. I grab it with a paper towel and peel back the shucks and the silk just pulls right off. Perfection!
Anyway, I was actually going to keep this post short, but as it turns out, I have lots to tell you. Cliff and I are winding down our Colorado trip. I know I sound like a broken record here, but this place is breathtakingly beautiful. There is 360 degrees of pure gorgeousness! I love how one minute you are in long pants and a jacket and the next, you're in shorts and short sleeves. I've learned to be prepared when stepping out the door. I've gotten caught in the rain several times, also. As a matter of fact, right now, the sun is shining so brightly and it's misting rain. We have slept with the windows and doors open every night. And let me tell you, it's been in the 40's every night. But, we just snuggle up and enjoy it because we know before long, it's back to the heat and humidity. I could definitely get used to the climate out here. However, the thin air is another thing. I am looking forward to being able to breathe again, without effort.
Last weekend, Whitney and I did our last long run....9.1 miles. We ran down the second crookedest street in the world.....and of course, it was all downhill. Remember, the one I called switchback city? So anyway, we went 5 miles out and turned around at Cliff's triathlon spot and headed back. The closer we got back to the condo, the more the clouds were rolling in. And just when we got back to switchback city, Cliff and Jason pulled up to take us home. I really wanted to finish the 10 miles, but they insisted that we were getting ready to get caught in a big storm with lightning. So Whitney and I called the long run, done!
On Sunday, Whitney, Jason, Cliff and I went on a short hike up Tenderfoot Mountain. It was an easy hike, and once again, so beautiful! This trail has reported bears in the area. I'm sure glad we didn't see any, but I was hoping to at least see a moose. They frequent the area around Lake Dillon. But, no moose sightings, either. The picture above is one from the hike with Lake Dillon in the back ground. You see what I mean? Isn't it breathtaking?
Here are a couple more pictures from that hike:
The Tenderfoot Mountain Trail meandering off into the distance.
Tree stumps, wild flowers and the lake in the background. Ahhh!

More wildflowers. I love purple flowers of any kind! Oh, by the way, do you see the fallen trees in the background? There's a pine beetle infestation here that's killing off the pine trees. I don't know how they are treating the problem, but we have seen so many dead trees standing and some cut down. It's so sad!
Oh, wait! On a run the other day, Cliff and I saw runners coming toward us with numbers on. We saw a group cheering on the runners and stopped to ask about the race. As it turns out, there was a Ragnar 200 Relay Race going on.  The leg these guys were running was 10 miles. They began at Copper Mountain and raced all the way around that chain....through Breckenridge, Keystone, Dillon, Frisco and I think, finish up at Vail. Two hundred miles of running hills is not for the faint of heart, but it was a relay race so I guess it wasn't too bad. They seemed to be having a ball.  This particular group was from Utah. I don't know any of them in this picture, but who knows....maybe someone reading this blog will. I wish I had gotten their email so that I could send them the turned out pretty good. And of course, that's Cliff in the back.
So, that's it for today. The Revel Rockies Half-Marathon is Sunday.  Ready or not, Whitney and I will be there. To top it off, I have been battling a cold all week. I could barely breathe, yesterday, on my run. I hope this won't be an issue. But honey lamb, nothing is keeping me from this race. I've been looking forward to it all summer. Worst case scenario, I won't have a PR (personal record). I am feeling better today, fingers crossed that I'm on the mend. So, it's off to Denver tomorrow for packet pick-up and then to The Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner. Yum!!!
I'll be back with another post highlighting the half-marathon next week. For now, have a great weekend!
Running the Rockies,
P.S. On one of our rides, Cliff and I found a cemetery unlike any I've ever seen. I'm going back to take pictures. I'll post those soon, too.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The 14'er and Take Your Pick....12, 13 or 15 Miles

Cliff, Whitney, Jason and two of their friends hiked Mt. Elbert (elevation 14,433'), Sunday. Their total roundtrip was 8.5 miles. It is the highest peak in Colorado, highest in the Rockies, and second highest in the contiguous United States. I didn't go. So, I can only tell you what they told me. The trail was in well maintained...but, it was steep! Their research online named this climb a Class I (easy). However, this was Whitney and Jason's third 14'er and they said that it was far from easy. The temps up that high was possibly in the 30's or 40's, but they had plenty of sunshine. Descending was harder than hiking up. They felt they did not have complete control of their footsteps. You can imagine trying to walk down a sliding board.....I'm sure it felt much the same except that you had loose rocks to traverse, also.

Their plan, once at the bottom, was to stop in Leadville, CO for lunch. But, Leadville was having some sort of festival and finding a place that wasn't overly crowded wasn't happening. So, they headed back here to Dillon. Good thing I decided to cook dinner early because they came in tired, limping, quiet and HUNGRY! I cooked a huge pot of chicken pilau (pronounced per-lo), string beans, salad, pickles and for dessert....punch bowl cake (strawberry and angel food cake mixed with lots of other goodies). They feasted, then crashed. Ha!

Here are some pictures from their hike:

On their way up....hiking through an Aspen grove.
Coming through the tree line.
Steep and rocky. That's Whitney in the middle
and her friend Suzan in the yellow top.

Jason found some snow or ice or both.

Cliff and Jason, resting.
A view on the way up Mt. Elbert.

Another view and probably their destination.

Twin Lakes in the background.
They made it! This was Whitney and Jason's third 14'er and Cliff's first.
P.S. I have a couple of videos that Cliff took, but for the life of me can't get them to load here. I'll keep trying and post them at a later date, if I can figure it out.
12-mile run route. Dillon to Keystone.
I had my long run yesterday. Twelve miles. I was worried. I was having flashbacks of the eight-mile run last week that ended with me hugging the toilet. I wondered if I was truly acclimated or if running that far at an elevation of 9100' was a mistake. But, I had to try. My half-marathon is in two weeks. I started out feeling bad. I was feeling lethargic and my stomach was feeling a little nauseous. For the first one to two miles, I was breathing hard and I started thinking that maybe I should cut this run to ten miles. However, I started warming up and my breathing settled. Now, mind you, this run was an out and back and the out was almost all uphill. The uphill portions were not very steep at all, but enough to take what energy I had right out of me. My legs grew very tired. But, the scenery was gorgeous.

I ran from Dillon to Keystone and back. So, I had the mountains on my right going out and on my left coming back. The path mostly ran beside a river and because of all the rain we have had lately, the river was running extremely fast. The sound of the rushing water was so soothing that I almost didn't mind how tired I was becoming. Again, the oxygen up here is not as plentiful for this low country girl, so I'm sure that was a big part of my lethargy. The run back to Dillon was much easier as it was almost all downhill. It was a gentle descent.....that was surely welcomed and was also good training for my half. It is supposedly all downhill.

Cliff was flanking me on his mountain bike with oranges and Gatorade and some of his special brew that he uses on his bike rides. I can't remember what it's called. Normally, I don't like it, but yesterday it was like manna. I also had my favorite GU gels - Espresso Love.  I am quite ashamed of myself because Cliff was being so good to me and I was in such an ill state that I may have smarted off at him a couple of times. But, thank God, when it comes to is blind. He overlooks my moods and he even picked up a rock for me out of the river. Bless it!!!

Remember that steep, steep hill I told you about the other day that was at the foot of the condo? Well, yes, I had to climb it at the end of this very tiring run. I'm so sorry, but I just couldn't run another step. I felt like crawling, felt like lying down on the path for awhile, felt like leaning up against the rock wall, felt like crying, felt like lassoing a rope around Cliff's bike and having him pull me up and I felt like I was just not going to make it. But once again, walking very slowly, I couldn't stand up straight, I couldn't talk and I could barely breathe, but I made it!

Now, the distance is not conclusive and this makes me crazy. I am detail oriented and I want my mileage to be exact. My Garmin watch said 12 miles. I had to run around the condo parking lot to make it an even 12. Ha! See, I'm telling has to be dead on. And then, when I checked the Map My Run app on my phone, it said I had been 13.37 miles. OMG! So, I did what any runner would do that has to know for danged sure their exact mileage....I went to Google Earth and measured the path and Google Earth said it was over 15 miles. I am truly going crazy. For my peace of mind and to put this thing to a rest, I am calling it 12 miles. Although, for the records, I believe that due to a test Cliff and I did on my Garmin and the Map My Run app a few weeks ago, that the actual mileage is closer to the Map My Run app because of the amount of points it plots on the map. Technical stuff that I know not much of......and to keep my sanity, I chose to go conservative and use the mileage on the Garmin watch.

Here are a few pictures I took while running:

They actually have golf courses up here. It is beyond me! This bridge ran through it.

View from the bridge.


And, Cliff took this one. He got up close and personal.
Most likely, this is where he picked up my rock.

So, the adventure continues and I'll post again soon. Stay tuned.

Have a Happy Day,

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Summer 2014

Lake Dillon, Colorado

Hey y'all. Remember me? What? You thought I dropped off the face of the earth, didn't you? Nope, I'm still here. I have just had a busy, busy summer. Actually, I'm sort of on top of the world right an elevation of  9100 ft., to be exact. Yep, Cliff and I are in Colorado. We are staying on the beautiful Lake Dillon....not far from Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper and Vail ski slopes. As we speak, I am looking at the mountains draped with clouds. The sun is actually peaking through today and I can see snow patches on the tops of a few of the mountains. You wonder how in the world, especially with the intense sun, can snow still be on the mountain top. Well, here at 9100 ft. it has been in the 60's during the day and 40's at night. I can only imagine how cold it must be at 14,000 ft. They call these 14'ers, by the way. Whitney and Jason love to hike them. As a matter of fact, they are taking Cliff on a 14'er hike this Sunday. They are going to hike Mt. Elbert. Apparently, at an elevation of 14,000+ feet, it is the second highest peak in the lower 48.

I'm not going! I didn't even get invited. Hang on, you'll see why.

Coming from sea level to 9100 ft. proved to be somewhat of an issue for me. Immediately upon arriving, I got a headache and couldn't breathe well. Then came some nausea, fatigue and not much of an appetite. After consulting with WebMD, I discovered that these, indeed, are symptoms of altitude sickness. I need to contact WebMD to let them know that there is another symptom.....bloodshot eyes.  The treatment is to take it easy, stay well hydrated, take something like Advil and even eating a high carb diet. If the symptoms don't subside in a couple of days, then they recommend going to a lower altitude or get this, go to an oxygen bar. Did you know they had those? Me either! But they do. And, you can buy cans of oxygen at the local sports store. Well, I am happy to report that I didn't need to go to the oxygen bar. I followed WebMD's advice and Jason bought me some altitude sickness pills. They helped, too.

We came here for exercise and training.....and well, to visit Whitney and Jason, of course. They are spending the weekends with us. This place is a mecca for exercise. You can literally walk right out of the door and be on a bike/run/walking trail. Our trail goes all the way around Lake Dillon, which happens to be about 18 miles. Great for Cliff's Ironman training for sure. He wasn't bothered with the lack of oxygen until he decided to do a triathlon in Silverthorne only 2 days after arriving here. He said he just could not get in enough oxygen on his swim. He probably felt like a fish out of water. It took him way longer than usual to finish the swim. I was starting to get worried. But alas, he emerged and was off on his bike. I knew he would recover on the bike....that's his thing. And the run wasn't too bad either. He placed 3rd in his age group. Go Cliff! 

Cliff and me at the finish of his triathlon...the Highest Triathlon in the World.
This little guy has a great sense of humor!

Even though I was experiencing some altitude sickness, I really wanted to try running. So Saturday, Whitney and I went for a 4-mile run. I say run loosely, of course, because I had to walk a lot. I was just coming back from a 2-week recovery break because of a hurt ankle. Not to mention, the running path was hilly. Uphills are a challenge anyway, but to run them in a 'lack of oxygen' state is far beyond challenging. It's downright brutal. We managed to finish the run and our time wasn't too shabby, considering. Downhills rock! And, the scenery....OMG! I don't know if there is anyplace any more beautiful. Well, maybe. But good land, this place is pure gorgeousness.

On a 4-mile run at Lake Dillon, CO.
Sunday, I rested after Cliff's Triathlon and then Monday, I needed to run 8 miles. I'm still in training for the Revel Rockies half-marathon....remember? I knew I would need some time to acclimate to the lack of oxygen, but I felt like after running 4 miles Saturday and not having any trouble that I could probably handle 8 miles. I started out slowly and was doing well. I ran around the lake to the dam, over the dam and into a very wooded area that led to a campground. By the time I got to the campground, I had ran about 4 miles and my water supply was gone. I saw a bathroom...decided I may as well and then was off to look for some water (primitive water). Surely, a campground would have some water. Well, everywhere I looked was primitive camping; no water hook ups. And then I saw a sign for the Camp Host and decided to take a chance. Sure enough, there was a water spigot outside his camp and I was able to fill up. I ate a GU gel and drank some water and was on the way back. Cliff was out on the bike, somewhere. He was finishing his ride and tracked me on his phone (we have an app called Find My Friends - great app!).  He saw that I was in a remote area and came looking for me. He found me just as I was leaving the campground, made sure I was ok and had plenty of water and then went on his way. It was a little warm that day and in hindsight, I think I may have been a little ambitious attempting 8 miles only three days after arriving from sea level. When I got back to the condo, I started feeling bad. I was getting nauseous. I showered, went straight to bed and tossed around like a beached whale trying to get back to the sea. And then it hit breakfast, water, Gatorade and gels wanted out. And up they came. OMG, I was sick! I went to bed and rested for a long time. Physically or should I say fitness wise, I felt fine. I just needed oxygen. I felt bad for the next couple of days and then the altitude sickness seemed to just go away. I have acclimated, mostly! Yay!

Do you see the fox on the log? He was not afraid of us, at all.
Just going about his business of hunting dinner.

Yesterday, Cliff and I went for a bike/hike/run. It was so beautiful. We biked to the trailhead, then hiked through a meadow with wildflowers. We saw the fox, pictured above, pouncing on mice and he didn't even mind that we were there. We saw cute little chipmunks and small squirrels. And then, we entered the wooded portion of the hike, up the small mountain. At the top, we could see gorgeous views of the lake below and the surrounding mountains. It was breathtakingly beautiful. We took our time, stopped at the overlooks and finally made our way down on the other side to a dirt road that led back to the trailhead. We hiked up the hills on the mountain and ran the downhills. And, we ran the dirt road leading back to the trailhead and bikes. Back on the bikes now, it was starting to get chillier and the wind had picked up....and then came the rain. It didn't take us long to get back to the condo, but I was huffing and puffing just the same. There is a very steep hill as the path approaches the condo. I didn't think I would be able to ride the bike up, but Cliff told me how to gear the bike down and make it easier to pedal. I made it....I couldn't breathe, couldn't talk or even sit up straight, but I made it. And the thought of vomiting again was real. But, I didn't even do that. I was tired, but felt fine afterwards. I had made a breakthrough. Who needs oxygen, anyway? Our total miles for yesterday was 7.94 miles.

Here are a few pictures from our hike........

The meadow with the Lake Dillon in the background.
There were pretty wildflowers scattered all around the meadow.
You can't see them very well here.
A close-up of some of the wild flowers.

Cliff at one of the overlooks.

The trail back down the mountain.

The dirt road that leads back to the trail head.
You can vaguely see the condo in the background, across the lake.

And a view from the condo looking towards a part of the mountain where we hiked.

I have so many pictures that it is hard to pick and choose. I want to show you all of them, but I would be here until next week trying to download them. So, I'll have to share a few at a time.

Today, I am going on this neat run that is all downhill. I ran part of it Wednesday and then it started raining on me. You know The Weather Channel's motto....turn around, don't drown. I figured I better heed their warning. Anyway, have you ever seen the "crookedest street in the world" in San Francisco. Well, this section of the running path is almost that crooked. It's like switchback city and it's all downhill. Loved it! Hopefully, I can make the whole 5 miles today without getting drenched, again.

UPDATE: Today's 5-mile run was rained out. Figures. I need to get an earlier start. However, after lunch, Cliff and I did go on another short hike between rain showers. We are going to do the whole thing next week. It was another pretty one, so I'll be sure to bring my camera and share those pictures soon.

Well, after catching you up on the last few days, there is still so much more to tell. I'll have to do it in spurts. I don't think any of us can handle the whole whopping summer all at once. And I'll continue to share our Colorado adventure with you along the and all.

But for now, I'm going to bullet the summer highlights, thus far. I'll go in depth with those a little later on.

June and July:
  • Lidia and Sawyer spent a whole lot of time with us this summer...LaLa Heaven!
  • I've been running a lot. Had to take a couple of weeks off, early July, due to some tendonitis in my ankle....I'm better now and rearing to go.
  • We bought a lake house on Lake Greenwood in SC....A total shocker.
  • Lidia and Sawyer are now avid fisher children....Just wait until you hear this story.
  • Lidia and Sawyer learned to kneeboard.....It was Deja Vu and pure joy.
  • Cliff, Whitney and Jason's 14'er on Mt. Elbert near Leadville, CO.
  • Revel Rockies Half-Marathon - Whitney and me.
  • Cliff's Ironman in Louisville, KY.
Hope everyone is having a great summer. I sure am!

Talk to you soon,


Monday, June 30, 2014

The Meanest Man in America

Have you ever heard of a man named Pee Wee Gaskins? He was a BAD man....a serial killer in the 70's and even earlier. He lived only 30-45 minutes from my home, when I was a teenager. I never knew him, but I remember being very afraid of him. There is a documentary on You Tube about him. If you would like to watch it, click this link: The Meanest Man in America. There have also been a few books written on the subject. Occasionally over the years, Pee Wee's name has come up in conversation taking me back to that time in the 70's, when I remember that feeling of fear from just hearing his name. I don't necessarily like to read things like this, but since it was so close to home, I wanted to know more. After all, it was local history. So, just a couple of years ago, I saw a book in the bookstore about him and decided to read it. How someone can be so callous and have no conscience is beyond me. It's enough to make chills run up your spine. And now I know why he was such a feared man.

So......You may be wondering why in the heck I would write about the meanest man in America. It's simple. I was talking with Joyce, my neighbor at the beach, and she was telling me about a gentleman that she offered to give his grandson a golf car ride, while he set up his camper across the street from us. The man was so appreciative that he gave Joyce a signed copy of a book he had written. She showed me the book and what do you was the same book I bought and read a couple of years ago. I got all excited and Joyce asked if I wanted to meet him. So, we walked across the street and she introduced us. I couldn't believe I was actually shaking hands with a full fledged author of a published book. He was a very nice man and offered to sign my copy. The only thing was that my copy is in Colorado with my son-in-law. I almost wanted to go buy another copy, just to get his autograph. We finally came to the conclusion that I would bring my copy home with me when I visit Whitney and Jason next month and when Mr. Collins comes back to Lakewood for vacation, he will come by my house and sign it then. See how nice he was........

The Book. The Author. And the reason for this post.
Happy Fourth, Y'all!
Oh wait, in case you were wondering......
I have been running like a mad woman. At least my legs think I've gone crazy. I'm trying a new style of training, for me anyway, called the Hansons Method. It operates on Hansons' philosophy of cumulative fatigue. I'll explain that one later. Anyway, I've already ran 74.51 miles this month. And July's mileage will be even higher. I have high hopes for the Revel Rockies Half-Marathon in August and I can't wait to see how this new training method will have worked for me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Experiences of Running

Divas Half Marathon
N. Myrtle Beach ~ April 2014

I was so excited to be invited as a guest writer for the Grand Strand Running Club Newsletter this month. Scared, inadequate, insecure, but excited. My assignment.....running, of course.

I've had a couple of months to think about what I was going to write and honestly, I don't know that I can add anything to what you've already read about and what you, as runners, already know.

So, I thought I would tell you a little about my story and my experiences of running.

I began running two years ago this month. Initially, I started running for my health. And in no time, decided to enter some races. After all, that was what runners do, right? My first 5K was so powerful! I discovered things about myself that I would never have, otherwise. Of course, it has to be said.....I learned that 'the nerves' is a powerful cleanser. Ha!  But more importantly, I learned that my body will go farther than I ever thought possible. I learned that my mind can make or break me on a run. I learned that I can talk myself through some of the most painful runs or races and finish. And the sense of accomplishment I felt as I crossed the finish line was life changing.

There are certainly days when I don't feel like a runner....not that I'm sure I know what being a runner is supposed to feel like. First of all, I'm slow. I got a sense of that the day a lady security guard driving a golf cart and I nearly collided. She whipped around me just in time and proclaimed..."Don't worry, I brake for joggers".  I thought and nearly out loud, OMG!  Did she just call me a jogger?  Yes, she did! So, I guess it was confirmed....I am slow.

However, there is a bigger picture here. Being slow has nothing to do with being healthy. And being slow has nothing to do with the distance of a mile. A twelve to thirteen minute mile is just as long as a seven minute mile. So running slow......Ha! Who cares? I've decided there are worse things than being slow. I am able to run, some don't have that luxury.

And then there are those days that I proudly rack up the miles and think to myself....I may not be an elite runner, but I am in an elite group of people called..........'Runners'.

I have a blog and write a lot about my runs. Some days my runs crack me up and I just have to tell someone. And some days, I'm pretty sure inquiring minds just want to know. Ha! By telling my stories, I hope to inspire people to get serious about their health while having some fun at the same time. (If I can do it, so can you. Just put one foot in front of the other and soon, you too, will be a runner and on the road to better health.) If you would like to read more about my experiences of being a runner or just life in general, you can visit me at Or, you can read about my latest 10K race here:

The experiences I encounter through running make it thrilling and keep me coming back for more. And although I've been running for two years this month, I still consider myself a new runner. Oh yes, in those two short years, I've experienced running highs and lows, an injury, some good races and some not so good races. But, I've grown to love it....all of it. And as I've contemplated my running as a whole, I've come to realize that running is a metaphor for life. You get out of it what you put into it. There will always be uphill battles and then there will be glorious accomplishments. Running can thrill you or make you feel defeated, but you learn from it and grow.

What more of an experience could one hope for?
Happy Running Y'all!