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Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Birthday to me!

What a GREAT way to celebrate getting older! The Rim to Rim to Rim run of the Grand Canyon is probably the best way for a first timer (ultrarunner) to see this amazing wonder. It was very special having Matt, Roch & Catherine, the Boulder & Steamboat crews (who just happened to be there doing the same run on the same weekend) there to help celebrate. With Roch & Catherine's help Matt and I were able to descend the south Kaibab trail and return on the Bright Angel trail, which conveniently ended on the doorstep of our little room at the Bright Angel Lodge. The run is spectacular! The views take your breath away and the realization of the age of the surrounding terrain makes you realize that turning 29… just isn’t that bad. All day at random times Matt either sang or wished me Happy Birthday, just to make sure I didn’t forget. I loved it.

Descending the south Kaibab trail is rocky and steep and loaded with switch backs. Matt took some awesome pictures and a few videos in the early morning and at sunrise. We arrived at Phantom Ranch 20 minutes before they opened, so we filled with water and headed for the north Kaibab trail. Climbing 14 miles from the bottom to the north rim and then descending those same 14 miles equaled my longest climb/descent ever... there are not many places that can wind up for that long. After we turned around at the north rim we started running into the rest of the gang R2R2R’ing it. We exchanged hugs and I received lots of birthday wishes. Back at Phantom Ranch Matt and I shared a lemonade and wrote postcards to the parents. Only one 9 mile climb to go and we were looking good for time. Halfway back up, I scored some fig newtons for us from a hiker and then only a few miles from the top we ran into Catherine and Roch who had hiked down to the river for lunch and timed it great to finish with us. Just for fun and to beat the 11 hour mark Matt and I sprinted the last quarter mile (well it was a sprint to us).

The rest of the evening was pretty mellow and typical post run energy. After showers and Ultragen we (Matt, Roch, Catherine and I) tried for dinner at the Arizona Room, but opted for the Maswik cafeteria. A great choice as we were well fed and on our way to pumpkin pie before we would have been sat at the restaurant. In our little room Matt lit candles and the three sang Happy Birthday. I got to make a wish and within minutes the entire pie was devoured.

We joined the Boulderites in the bar before calling it a night. Again a wonderful birthday celebration spent with some very dear friends. Thank you to Matt, Roch and Catherine – it is a birthday I will always remember and cherish.

I will post pictures (need to get those -112 total - from Matt) soon.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Catching up (long post)

I am a little behind on "blogging," but with good reason... having lots of fun!

My last day in Silverton I cleaned up the house a bit and got out for a final mountain bike ride, give the legs a break I thought. Well, as unskilled as I am crossing a stream (on a dirt road) I went down smacking my left knee pretty hard. Just as I was thinking, well maybe I will get out for a little run this evening. Nope.

The Baer's returned to Silverton late Monday night and we shared some stories, Emily and I got out for a run (which made my knee swell up quite a bit), Ernst made us a wonderful breakfast and dragging my heals I headed out (with Swiss chocolate in hand) Tuesday (17th) afternoon in the snow. I'm happy to report that Ms Alice did quite well, but after 7 hours, two gnarly snowy passes and witnessing a couple of people sliding I opted to take a room just outside of Colorado Springs and wait till morning and sunshine before proceeding on to Denver where I visited my Sister and Brother-in-law.

Just a quick visit in Denver as those two were headed to Estes Park on Thursday.

Originally uploaded by kmoehl2000.
Next stop Los Alamos, NM where I got to spend a couple of days with Nate, Petra & Hailey McDowell. Nate's parents were also in town so there was a full house. Petra and I got out to play quite a bit in those two days, 2 great runs (my knee started to feel a bit better after two days of driving, icing & massaging) and some amazing climbing. From their home we crossed the street to immediately connect to endless trails. Climbing, within a 20 minute drive - check out the pictures, it was beautiful! Saturday morning we drove about 15 minutes up to the ski area Pajarito (more pictures) and ran on a portion of the Jemez Mountain 50 mile trail run. This race is in May and is a must add to any runners' "to do" list.

trail with great viewsOn my way out of town I stopped at Bandelier to see the Pictographs and hike on the trails carved right through the settled volcanic ash - it was a cool little self guided hike.

A couple hours later, I stopped in Santa Fe thinking I'd get some lunch and just check out the town in an hour or two... about 3+ hours later I finally wandered back to my car. I could definitely visit Santa Fe for a couple of days; an artsy town, somewhat touristy, but the flavor really sucked me in.

Then I headed west and 7 hours later finally arrived at Ashley and Nate's house. They had saved me some dinner and Ashley & I (in true girl form) caught up. I ran with Ashley in college and we've stayed in contact but haven't seen each other in two years; one of those friends that I immediately feel comfortable with no matter the time lapse.

The next morning the three of us plus the two dogs Bella and Loa headed out for an 11 mile loop which we crossed the road and were on a rocky access trail and then climbing up in the hills. I have yet to carry my camera on this run, but will get some pictures - it is beautiful! These guys have it good being so close to great terrain.

healingNate owns Endurance Rehabilitation and is arguably one of the best PT's in the area. There are two clinics, one in Scottsdale and one in Phoenix. On Sunday we went to see the Scottsdale clinic and Nate fixed both Ashley and I up with stem and icing treatment. (My knee is still a bit swollen)

We had lunch at a fun cafe north of Scottsdale and enjoyed a pretty mellow Sunday, Ashley and I continuing to chit-chat, share pictures, etc.

Today - finally! Caught up! Another run right across the street and up in the hills and more stem/icing treatment at the clinic (I feel so lucky to have this added help in recovering this knee). I went to XC practice at the nearby High School with Coach Ashley then headed down to Glendale to visit Jamie. Tackled with the biggest hug we hung out and then went to a yoga class at her university. Jamie is in her first year at Midwestern University and will soon be able to care for all our foot related ailments.

Wow – its late and we are getting up to for Jamie’s long run at 6am.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

THIS is Colorado!

kendall mtn views
Originally uploaded by kmoehl2000.
Thursday I woke up and decided to read for a bit and was finally called out of bed when the sun announced the day by peaking over Kendall Mountain’s shoulder. It was blinding and exciting. The sun energizes me. I had thought to try a new VO2 workout, but with the beautiful day I decided to run up Kendall. It was a great sustained climb with a bit of a scramble to reach the top at 13,274ft. The climb was well rewarded with a 360 degree view of these amazing San Juan mountains. My Suunto T6 counted roughly 3700 feet of climbing in two hours (up), one hour to cruise back down.

Today I repeated the morning routine and was happy to have the sun call me out of bed once again. Today I went for the new VO2 workout, called 30/30s that Karen shared with me. She and Stan coach the high school track team and are a wealth of knowledge for workouts. In addition to this 30/30 workout Stan and I discussed some different training tactics while out on the trail.

So the 30/30s is pretty simple to do, warm up then run hard for 30 secs, then back off for 30 sec, repeat 30 times. I took this out on the trails, actually the last couple miles of the Hardrock course (in the counter clockwise direction) and then ended the last 6 repeats on the local track. The first couple are pretty easy but as you get further into the workout the down 30 seconds isn’t enough time to recover and your heart rate stays up there. The last 5 were tough for me. For some more information check out the following sites.

These are glorious Silverton days!

Go Broncos

the game
Originally uploaded by kmoehl2000.
On Monday I woke up to snow on the ground and more coming down. The power went out, came on and went out again. I felt “snowed in”. Not to say I couldn’t leave the house, but my original plan to drive to Florissant to visit Karen, Stan and Madison appeared to be stalled. After a call from Karen to say that she had Bronco tickets, I decided to give it a go and jumped in Ms Alice. Six hours later I arrived at their beautiful log cabin style home. We jumped in her Outback, picked up the rest of the family from school and headed into Denver. The game was a blast! It rained on us all night, but the Broncos won and we stayed warm with hot chocolate, pretzels and nachos.

The next day Karen and Madison dropped Stan and I off up in the hills (I don’t remember exactly where) and we ran for about 4 hours down to Colorado Springs where Karen met us with chicken burritos. We probably had the most beautiful day of winter running. Up top the wind was blowing the snow crystals off the trees (and down my shirt collar) creating a pretty shimmering in the sun. The sky was a blue like I’ve only seen in Colorado and the temps were perfect. As we dropped down we got off the double track and on to some super fun single track. We diverted a bit to “just see” where this side trail went, and ended up doing a loop up around this small rocky point. Once down in town we opted to thumb back to the high school and easily got a ride. Hitchhiking is interesting.

Pretty worked from the run we headed home for a yummy pasta dinner complete with brownies made by Madison (8 years old). A super fun visit with some great friends; we shared stories that as Madison explained made us more comfortable around each other, I learned a new computer program to make movies out of my pictures and Madison showed me the art of beading and helped me organize my collection. Another beautiful corner of the world.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

What a day!

When relaying this story to my parents this afternoon I asked, do I even blog about this?!?! “Give the short version” was their advice as we laughed together. Thanks Ma & Pa, I’ll try to keep it short.

So this morning I woke in the all too comfy bed at Dale & Marybeth Garland’s house (same bed that greeted me at the end of the CT). I thought about how nice it would be to sleep in; turns out I should have. Dressed and ready to go and Ms. Alice (my car) wouldn’t start, and an alarm is going off. I didn’t know Ms. Alice had an alarm! After Dale’s help trying numerous things he offered me his car and I headed down to the race. With minutes to spare I walk over to the start line and run into some Chuckanut finishers and as the gun goes off I hear the familiar chirping of timing chips. DOH! I realize mine is back in Ms. Alice. Thankfully Matt Kelly (the RD) was able to get me checked in with the timing crew. By this point I am the absolute last person to start and not a quarter mile into the race is a bridge where pretty much the entire field of runners is at a stand still. At this point I am just laughing to myself. Another girl starts passing on the left so I sneak in behind her and we splash through the puddles that everyone else is trying to avoid.

Finally in a groove, iPod motivating me along and at about 15 miles I’m told I’m second female. I say this because about an hour later I cross the finish line in first; do the math – an hour for 15 miles and I never passed another female. Turns out by not looking over the map this morning in all the craziness I missed the important point that 50k runners are to do the front loop twice. I was not the only one to make this mistake so number 1577 and I went to the timing booth to disqualify ourselves from the race. What a bummer! My first DNF ever! I take total responsibility. The Telegraph 50k is a great race, super fun, beautiful and well-marked course. I must admit I’m a little bummed about the whole thing, but as I write this I’m laughing. We’ve got to be able to laugh at ourselves, right?

As for Ms. Alice, Dale once again came to the rescue and connected me with Jim at AutoWorks. Jim talked me through the manual process for turning off the alarm. Dale and I were able to get Ms. Alice jumped and down to Jim and he talked me through a few more car details, all for a 6 pack of Budweiser!

THE house
Originally uploaded by kmoehl2000.
I’m now back in Silverton, icing a tender knee and forearm (I fell into a tree) and am happy to be able to reflect on this positively. Oh and one other thing I must mention – it is a FULL MOON! (I’m just a bit superstitious)

Promised Pictures

Gillpan lake
Originally uploaded by kmoehl2000.
So I'm trying something new. I'm going to try to post my own photos using If I understand correctly when you click on this picture of Rob and I in Steamboat Springs (at Gillpan lake) you will be directed to Flickr where you can look at the rest of my photos. Let's give it a try!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Silverton - It’s so quiet!

Day 2 of solitude in Silverton. I dropped the Baer family at the Durango airport yesterday early morning then hung around Durango till late afternoon. I got in a BEAUTIFUL run at Horse Gulch. The Durango 50k that takes place this Saturday runs over these trails; I’m looking forward to the race.

On the way back from Silverton I stopped at Molas Pass; this is where Andy and I crossed hwy 550 while thru hiking the Colorado Trail. I called both Andy and David Horton to share the moment and got to talk to Horton, he understood the stop. Odd thing was that all the way up to the pass it was beautiful, but once I parked and got out to take pictures the weather turned and was very reminiscent of when Andy and I crossed. Back at the house I got myself sorted, went to the high school gym to lift weights and finally indulged in a few of the many splurges this house has to offer, an amazing sound system and luxury tub. Couple of things to note: Scott Jurek won Spartathalon! Matt Hart is racing the 24 hour Mtn Bike World Championship in Georgia this weekend – GOOD LUCK MATT! Scott Dunlap interviewed me on his blog.

Steamboat Springs

After 14 hours of driving on Thursday I finally arrived at Rob Shoaf’s house just in time to say goodbye to all of the guys leaving after watching the football game. I landed in Steamboat with perfect timing for viewing the turn of colors. On Friday after spending the morning in the local bookstore/coffee shop I met Rob at Smartwool and we ran the Mud Creek Trail and then he sent me off up towards Strawberry Park in search of the hot springs as he had to get back to work. I wound around the hills and beautiful fall colors, but ended up shy of the hot springs. Saturday morning we headed up for the Gillpin Lake loop with his buddy Pepper. We (slowly – altitude) climbed up to the lake and encountered crusty, shin scraping snow. A fun 12 mile loop. That afternoon before I headed south to Silverton we snuck in a trip to the Hot Springs for some hot/cold therapy. I really enjoyed my small taste of Steamboat, a cool little town. Best part being hanging out with a friend that truly loves living there.