Wednesday, February 03, 2016


I think I've had more snow adventures in the past week and half than I have in the past 3 years.  I suppose it's due more to happenstance than anything, ie I've had various friends up for various adventures in the snow.

First was a little trip up to Eldora (about 40 minutes drive up into the high country) for some snow shoeing at Jenny Creek Trail.  I ended up hiking in Yax Trax because the trail was compacted enough that snowshoes were overkill.  Though I did end up post holing up to my knee when I wasn't paying attention and stepped into the uncompacted powder at the side of the trail.

A few days later was a trip to Devils Thumb which is a nordic ski area about 2 hours away, just past Winter Park.  I ended up skiing for 2 1/4 hours at around 8700' elevation.  This amounted to a measly 6.1 miles and I could barely move afterwards.  Have only skied once so far this winter on a nearly flat course in North Boulder Park for 45 minutes.  But we'd driven all that way and were having such fun, what's a few days of being sore?  It was a beautiful day, low 20's but sunny and didn't feel cold at all.  Snow was a bit icy for me in places but mostly not a problem.

Devil's Thumb Ski Area

The drive over Berthoud Pass

A spectacular day overall, seized up hamstrings notwithstanding.

Then a couple days later I left for a whirlwind tour of Durango/Cortez/Dolores.  It's an area that I'm interested in possibly moving to so we spent the time mostly driving through potential neighborhoods though we did make time for a short 1 hour fat biking adventure.  It was only a 3 day trip cut short by an approaching snowstorm (10"-20" predicted for Cortez area) though 3 days of driving is plenty for me (7 1/2 hours of driving to get to Cortez).

We spent the first night in Durango where they were having some 80's themed winter festival.  I so wish I hadn't been so tired because I would have loved to attend the 80's Drag Strip competition.  We saw some of the contestants in the street while looking for a place for dinner but I didn't know what it was about until the next day.  Plus being so tired, I was in my jammies before the competition even started.

Downtown Durango

Last summer Jonny and I made a trip to Pagosa Springs and Durango and our impression of Durango was that it was crowded, built-up and expensive and my impression this time around wasn't much different.  Though to be fair the festival may have lured more people than normal to town but it seemed most folks were there to ski Purgatory, a resort about 30 mins. or so from Durango.  Still it was interesting to check out some different areas and confirm that this probably won't be our final destination.

Next it was on to Dolores, a place I've never been.  The main attraction here is a trail system called Boggy Draw as well as a huge reservoir that allows for open water swimming in summer.  We rented fat bikes in Cortez and checked out the groomed fat bike trails in Boggy Draw.

So Much Fun

There were a couple deer legs along the trail but I didn't see any kitties.

I've got some Go Pro video footage but that'll have to wait for another day.  Still need to process it.  I'm also going to put together a video of the area from my dashboard camera.  Sometime.  Eventually.

Dolores is a small, unassuming little town.  The Boggy Draw trails are at the top of the cliffs, about 3 miles drive from town.

It's about 10 minutes or so from Cortez which is larger and has pretty much everything we need including public indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a groovy bike store and a farmer's market in the summer.  Horses, goats, chickens, donkeys, is it too late to start a hobby farm in your 50's?  And of course a dog agility field of my very own.

There's a lot of affordable housing between Dolores and Cortez.  We could easily afford 5-10 acres if not more.

The best part though is the access to so many awesome areas within an hour or two including Lizard Head Wilderness area and Telluride and a bunch of places in Utah and even Durango is just 50-60 minutes away.  I ran into a guy in the parking lot who was also finishing up his fat bike ride and it turned out he was a member of the cycling group that grooms the trail as well as a lifelong resident of Dolores.  He told me about so many biking and skiing trails.  SO many.  We could easily spend the rest of our lives exploring.  And the San Juans!  They are spectacular.  If I had to choose a favorite Colorado mountain range it would be the San Juans.

The view from the outskirts of Cortez.  Mesa Verde National Park is behind those cliffs.

On our drive home we stopped in Mancos, a little artist-ey sort of town about 10 minutes from Cortez.  Probably too small for us and too far from trails but a neat little place to visit and not totally off our list yet.  And they had some kind of organic food grocery store that looked promising.

Outside the coffee shop in Mancos

Sunrise in Mancos

Overall a lot of good info. gleaned from a short little trip.  The guy from Dolores put my mind at ease about a lot of questions I had about water, fracking, trails, etc.  Of course we'll need a few more trips out there but it was good to see these places in winter.  Will be interesting to see them again in summer but so far I'm feeling encouraged.

Then yesterday was yet another skiing adventure.  We had 15"-16" of snow in North Boulder and after an asston of shoveling I treated myself to 1 1/2 hours at North Boulder Park.  Where there were Too Many People and I was longing for the serenity of Boggy Draw.

But again, not complaining.  Was happy to be able to ski less than 10 minutes from my house.  All the shoveling and skiing jacked up my neck though.  Feels better today but had to skip swimming at masters.  Hopefully will be better for Friday's masters workout.  Plus it would be nice if I could turn my head to the left.

Monday, January 18, 2016

"Evan, This Town Makes Me Wanna Puke!"

Matty came from far away
From New Orleans into the East Bay
He said this is a Mecca
I said this ain't no Mecca man, this place is fucked

 -Rancid ("Journey to the End of the East Bay")

And we'll sink with California
When it falls into the sea

-Youth Brigade ("Sink With California")

Jonny and I got out of the car in downtown Boulder a couple of summers ago and I immediately thought, 'Ugh but this place is barftastic' (we seldom venture downtown) only to have a couple turn the corner and the woman blurt out, 'Evan, this town makes me wanna puke!!  I have to get out of here, NOW!!!'.  After they passed out of earshot Jonny and I burst out laughing.  Because DUH!  If you want to know why, we turned the corner and encountered a store that sells antique European chandeliers.  I wish I was joking.

Lest you think these chandeliers are scooped up by the mainly tourist crowd that frequents downtown, I have a neighbor with not one but two gigantic pretentious chandeliers.  And the gigantic pretentious house to go along with them.  Now I don't begrudge the business for existing.  But I can't believe that I live in a town that is so wealthy and snooty that it can support such a business.  Especially downtown where rents are astronomical and most businesses cater to tourists walking around looking for knick knacks that can be carried home on the plane.

I could easily spend a month of posts making fun of Boulder, posting pictures of the gigantic 3,000 square foot McMansions that have sprouted up on my street and neighborhood in general.  SO many examples of the day to day arrogance of the wealthy people here.  But that would depress me and probably you already know that Boulder is rich and snooty and pretentious.

This is nothing new.  When I moved here in 1990, a whopping 25 years ago, yikes!-I ran the Bolder Boulder which is a huge 10 K race on Memorial Day and loads of people line the race course including bands.  I remember turning a corner and a punk band was blaring away, shouting the eloquent lyrics of 'Boulder Sucks!  Boulder Sucks!  Boulder Sucks!' over and over and you get the picture.  Once again I burst out laughing because even though I'd only lived there a year or two I had to agree.  When I made the decision to move here to go to grad school with the intention of staying, a good friend of mine suggested that maybe Fort Collins would be a better fit for me.  And he was totally right.  But the university there was appallingly bad, at least in structural engineering, and CU Boulder was in the top 20 or so in the country.  It was a no brainer and a good decision.  I had great professors and got a great education there.  Whereas the CSU structural engineering program (the school in Ft. Collins) was on the verge of losing its accreditation several years after I graduated.  Not sure if it ultimately lost it but school is expensive and I'm glad I went to the better school.  Got a job within a week or so of getting my degree.  Anyway, Jonny's job and our house were in the Boulder area so that's where we stayed after I graduated.

I know what you're thinking.  Is she really complaining about living in Boulder?  Srlsly??!!  I totally get it.  The very epitome of first world problems.  I'm not complaining at all, I've loved living here, especially coming from Chicago.  Relatively mild winters, trails a couple blocks out my front door.

Nothing like this in Chicago, especially not close enough to do as a 'before work hike'

Looking down on Wonderland Lake

So many other pictures I can and have posted of the trails right out my back door or within 20 minutes drive.

In town skiing not even 10 minutes away at North Boulder Park when there's enough snow which admittedly is only a couple few times a year but still.

One of the best masters swimming programs in the country with zillions of workouts every day and open water swimming at the Rez in the summer.

I live in a great location too, 6 minute walk to the best grocery store in Boulder, an Open Space trailhead 2 blocks away, library, coffee shops (not that I'm drinking coffee any more but still) a 6-10 minute walk, a playground 2 blocks away for body weight workouts, office 2 miles away (6 minutes by car, 10-12 by bike), 6 minute drive to the pool.  I have no right to complain, especially coming from Chicago where I had, um, none of this.  Also I hates driving.  Hates it.  I've managed to fashion a life here that doesn't require a lot of driving for day to day living.  I can go a couple few days a week without getting in my car.  But the driving to get to out of town/quieter trails, especially for mountain biking?  It's starting to reach a fever pitch.  Would so love to live somewhere with quiet trails out my back door.  Because the trails out my back door are anything but quiet.  Yes, I get it, First World Problem.  Yes, I am thankful to have trails out my back door.

But Boulder has become a wee bit cozy in the past 25 years, especially so in the past 5-8 years.  And around about then my neighborhood had a significant shift in demographics.  Boulder has always been a wealthy place relative to the rest of the Front Range but my neighborhood had a reasonable population of regular middle class folks.  People who got up in the morning and went to work and were not obsessed with Stuff and Huge Houses and ugh.  But a good chunk of those folks sold up and moved out during the last housing bubble and now the neighborhood is, well, different.  A lot of Money From Somewhere folk who do not get up early and go off to work.  One neighbor has 4 cars and 2 drivers and the one next door, not to be outdone, has 5 cars for 2 drivers (and a camper and a huge flatbed trailer that he left parked in front of my house for over a year because rich people don't park their crap in front of their own houses).  But I guess since 2 of the cars are Priuses they can carry on with their delusion of being Uber Green.

The neighborhood used to have a semi-rural feel to it, lots of big empty lots, sheep, horses, even a white donkey.  But in the past couple few years construction has exploded and the lots are disappearing.  A whole entire city block at the end of my street was developed this past year with houses renting for $4000 a month and selling for just under or just over $1 million.  I prefer the big bull elk that hung out there and the deer to the big ugly 3000 square foot McMansions.  But nobody asked me.  My street and the couple few blocks around me have changed so much so quickly that I'm confused about where to turn into my street any more.  I know, o.k., First World Problems.

But I'm paying what is to me a lot of money to live here.  Thanks to skyrocketing real estate prices and rich people voting for every possible tax like, oh, taxes for more art downtown because you can never have too much ugly yuppie art, my property tax has doubled.  Which is where California comes into all of this.

Part of the explosion here in Boulder is due to skyrocketing real estate in Silicon Valley.  This lady here has a lot to say about that.

At 17:34 she talks about the folks fleeing California for Portland, Seattle, Austin, and oh yes, Boulder.  'Places where middle class folks can still afford homes.'  Which makes me laugh and snort and roll my eyes because unless you consider a family middle class with a budget of $500,000 for a small starter home then they can't afford a home in Boulder.  And I don't consider of budget of half a million to be middle class, sorry.  I could never afford even a condo here if I was starting out today.  In fact Jonny and I would qualify for Boulder's Affordable Homes program if we weren't already buying our home.  And we would be spending about what we spent for our house to get a condo under that program.  A condo on the regular market?  No way.  Even the towns surrounding Boulder are becoming out of reach for the middle class, if they aren't already.  Never mind the ever increasing commute times and brown cloud.

And with Google putting in a major expansion and building a huge shiny new campus the prices will be going even higher.  Plus the lady in the film says the Silcon Valley exodus isn't even half over.  And Boulder and more importantly the trails will be getting even cozier and having the same problems as California.  The city is talking about making more allowances for taller buildings and tighter housing density.  This is not what we signed up for.

It's not just Boulder either.  The towns surrounding Boulder have nearly doubled in size since we moved here 25 years ago and the sprawl in the Front Range area (Fort Collins/Boulder/Denver/Colorado Springs) is even worse.  So much land turning to subdivisions, everywhere.  Traffic on I-70, the main road into the mountains/ski areas, has gone from crowded to epic.  We stopped going on it during the winter and summer Sundays maybe 10-15 years ago.  Even the week days are becoming crowded.  And driving through the ever increasing bottle neck of Golden to get to 285, the other road we take a lot to go mountain biking in Buffalo Creek?  This has reached fever pitch as well.  The week days are like the weekends used to be and the weekends?  Forget it.

But worst of all are the trails.  So many people.  Too Many People.  What's the point of access to all these trails if you can't enjoy them because Too Many People?  Then there's the ever growing Brown Cloud which is only going to get worse as the Front Range explodes.  It's not what we signed up for when we moved here lo the many years ago.  I know, I know, First World Problems.  I get it.  But nonetheless it's hard not to mourn the degradation of your quality of life even if it is still pretty awesome compared to living on a garbage heap in Haiti.

So the thought has crossed our minds that we're not necessarily stuck here.  There are places in Colorado that are way cheaper, have incredible trails and are not crawling with Too Many People.  Why pay a ton of money to live in Boulder when we can live somewhere we'd rather be for less money?  Let the rich folk have the place, crowded trails, traffic, brown cloud and all.  There are complications to moving to a more rural place like how to make money but I become ever more convinced there are ways to work this out.  We don't need a big house or lots of Stuff and can live frugally.  There has to be a way, other people move to these places and find ways to thrive.  So that's the goal for the year - trying to find a place to move to and figuring out what we'll do once we get there.  This may take time, more than a year probably a few.  And we figure we may as well wait for the Google bubble anyway, not sure when that is supposed to happen but I know they've broken ground on the new campus.

The past 2 years we've taken trips with the idea of looking at places to move to.  Salida, Pagosa Springs, Durango so far.  Even Ogden, Utah is a possibility but yikes the air quality there is something awful never mind the sprawl all the way to Salt Lake.  Some friends of ours are having similar thoughts so I'm going to have a little Thelma and Louise type road trip with one of them to check out the southwest area of the state again in a few weeks if the weather cooperates.  Pagosa, Durango, Mancos, Cortes, Delores and points in between.  It's a long drive - 6-8 hours to hit all those places - and finding a window of clear roads/weather will be challenging.  But we want to see these places in winter and hopefully again in spring.  Though maybe we're overthinking it all.  Just up and go.  When I moved to Boulder I didn't have a job or apartment lined up and I'd only visited twice and somehow managed.  Hard to have the same carefree attitude at 51 though.  Maybe a few more trips can't hurt.

Edited to add:

 BTW, I forgot to point out what a skeezebag the realtor in the movie is.  At about 20 minutes he starts talking about buyers vs sellers of these million dollar shacks in Silicon Valley, portraying the sellers as schoolteachers/blue collar workers in a formerly middle class neighborhood and the buyers as 'brilliant people' with advanced degrees and an IQ 20-30 points higher than the sellers.  Nice. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Moving Forward

Hard to believe that racing season is over.  We've been having a freakishly warm fall and it feels like summer hasn't ended and I should be training for something.  I am still training with my coach, I like her workouts and I think I lost too much triathlon specific fitness when I was on my own during last year's off season.  But I've been uncharacteristically  tired, more fatigue than the workouts should be causing.  Heart Rate Variability numbers are holding steady at 'o.k. but not great'.  The prime suspect is that I've stopped taking the birth control pills I was taking for endometriosis and aside from having to adjust to that, the pills were controlling some of my other less fun middle aged lady symptoms that I know no one wants to hear about so we'll leave it at that.  I see the doctor in another couple of weeks.  I'm timing giving up the pills with the appointment so that if I get really sick again like I did last time I tried to stop them then she can see the symptoms and hopefully help.  So far things are mostly going reasonably well but last time it took me until week 4 to get sick and I'm only finishing up week 3.

Some fall color up at Caribou Ranch west of Boulder

I've been trying to work out a long term goal so that I have some motivation to keep up with the off seadon training and so far the best I can come up with is the 2017 ITU Off-Road World Championships in Penticton which is in British Columbia in Canada.  It's not as big a deal as going to Xterra Worlds in Maui but BC appeals to me a lot more than Hawaii and I could drive, take the dogs and Jonny, and it wouldn't cost nearly as much.  Except for all the zillions of fees that USAT charges and I'd have to go with the USAT team.  That part I don't like.  Also the race is 2 years away.  Next year it's in Australia which is waaay too far.  And probably the same problem of icky sticky hot like Maui, let's not even get into the $$$.  On the one hand it gives me 2 years to prepare.  On the other hand it gives me 2 years to get older.  It's on my radar anyway.  And of course there's always the goal of Maui if I could get the money and desire together. 

More Caribou Ranch

I had a few experiments this summer.  Continued on with the Eat ALL the Fat and Very Few Carbs through summer training and it mostly worked great.  Hardest part was remembering to eat and getting in enough calories.  I had some days with bouts of dizziness on standing up if I wasn't mindful to get in enough food but these were easily fixed by eating once I noticed the dizziness.  Heat and hydration may have played a factor as well, hard to say.  I was also experimenting with some intermittent fasting and by that I mean skipping breakfast or delaying it some days and doing morning workouts fasted.  Results were mixed on this and depended on training load and how much I'd had to eat the day(s) before.  Some mornings I had early morning swim practice at the Rez (6:15-7:40 or so) then a run immediately afterwards and some of those runs were tough but food might not have been the issue.  For some reason running after swimming is hard.  For now I've settled on having breakfast mid-morning on most days with the odd day of fasting until lunch. 

The Blood Moon as seen from my neighborhood

I had my yearly physical exam mostly so I could get the blood work which the doctor initially didn't want to order since it always comes up good.  But I pleaded a case and she put in an order for me.  After 1 1/2 years of eating ALL the fat my blood work is still really good.  LDL which is allegedly the bad cholesterol was 70 mg/dL and normal is 80-100.  HDL, the good cholesterol, was 81 with normal being 40-85, up from 68 last year.  Of course we could have the discussion of cholesterol is not even that great of a predictor of heart disease, if you really want to know if you're at risk you should just pony up for a calcium scan.  It's tempting but, meh, I'd have to drive to a Denver suburb and endure some radiation plus the money.  Maybe some day.  The best news was TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone was 1.49 uIU/mL with normal being .465-4.68.  You want this to be low and it was down from 1.74 last year.  I was so hoping for less than 1.5 so yay for that.  I often wonder about my thyroid function and TSH is not the best test, there are better tests but in the absence of symptoms or very many symptoms I'm not going to bother about it. 

Last gasps of fall color at Rocky Mountain National Park

One of my other experiments was giving up caffeine sometime mid-summer or so.  This was in impromptu experiment, my stomach was queasy one morning so I skipped the caffeine for a few mornings and noticed that I felt much better.  Stomach felt better in general and I was sleeping longer and so much more deeply, having freaky vivid technicolor dreams, very cool.  I don't miss it at all though I do have it occasionally if I'm out with Jonny and he stops for it.  I think it's been almost a month since my last cup.  I think it's also helped with that thyroid number.  Adrenal fatigue is a concern for middle aged female athletes and caffeine stresses out the adrenals which then messes with the thyroid so it's not a bad thing to be rid of for now.

First bits of snow dusting up at Winter Park

And still some color at Winter Park

The most recent experiment is with flat pedals on my bike.  This has been awesome, LOVE my flat pedals.  It took me a very very long time to swallow the Kool Aid of clipless pedal way back in the day and for those that don't know what those are, basically a pedal with a gizmo on it that you clip into with bike shoes that have a special matching cleat.  This means that you're attached to the bike unless you twist your foot just the right way to release the cleat.

Clipless pedals.  The silver part is the thing you clip into.  I know it makes no sense that they're called 'clipless' and then you refer to being 'clipped in' but 'clipless' refers to the old school toe clips.

Supposedly you generate more power by being able to pull up on the pedal as well as push down.  But this is controversial and there is no solid proof of this.  In fact there seems to be some evidence against it.  Wish I had known that all those years ago.

And by being attached to the bike you risk not being able to unclip in time if you fall.  This has happened to me several times, happens to pretty much everyone.  I also don't like having my knee and foot locked into one position.  So when I read an Xterra pro recommending flat pedals to someone as a way of improving skills and pedal stroke I was all over it.  Pulled out some of my old school zillion year old flat pedals, put on a pair of running shoes and I was off.  SO MUCH FUN!  I was sold immediately and ponied up the $$$ for some new school flat pedals.

The silver bits are studs that grip into special shoes with grippy rubber.  You can wear whatever shoes you want but I love my grippy rubber shoes.  These pedals have more surface area than my old school pedals as well which helps a lot with keeping your foot from slipping off.  I love the freedom from the bike and feel so much more confident on descents and even some techy uphills where I formerly would have unclipped.  I also love being able to switch my foot position around which takes stress off my knee and allows me to place my foot so the are where I had surgery is not taking the brunt of the force as it was with the clipless.  There's even a guy who has written a manifesto about the flat pedals.  He is maybe more passionate than I am but I'm pretty excited with this experiment.  I've been on a half dozen or so rides now and it's early days to say if I'm faster but the flats sure are a lot of fun.  I may switch back and forth so I don't completely lose the muscle memory for the clipless but maybe not.

I gave up the idea of going to UKI Nationals.  21 1/2 hours is too much driving.  But we continue to practice with our training partner.  Strummy is still going strong and loves it.  I signed up for DOCNA trials in Nov. and Dec. because that's all there is except for AKC and NADAC and I'm not doing those.  Hopefully Strum will be able to do USDAA in January.  So far he's showing no signs of slowing down.

Boulder Rez - Strummy votes it 'Best Place to Run Your Buns Off'.

Phew, that's all for now.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Xterra Nationals 2015


Swim course distance: 1,500-meters/1640 yards (0.93 miles) Combines two 750-meter laps (no run in-between)
Elevation at Port Ramp Marina for swim start:  4,900-feet
Water temperature: Probably around 67 degrees
Mountain bike course distance: 28-kilometers (17.7 miles)
Total climbing on bike: 3,400-feet
Elevation at highest point: 7,300-feet (where Sardine Peak Trail meets the ridgeline)
Elevation at T2/Snowbasin Resort Lodge: 6,400-feet
Trail Run course distance: 10-kilometers (6.2 miles)
Total climbing on run: 700-feet
Total climbing on course: 4,100-feet

It's that time of year again - Xterra Nationals!  I love this race, look forward to it all year.

I also look forward to pre-riding the course because it's that awesome.  We drove in on Tuesday but couldn't hit the trails until Friday because of . . . rain?  In Ogden in September?  Really?  And snow??!!  Yes it snowed on the high peaks, including Snowbasin, on Wednesday.  This is what it looked like in Ogden when the rain sort of cleared for half an hour or so.

Thankfully we had a groovy place to stay.  The host hotel no longer allowed dogs so I found some people renting out the bottom part of their house.  A very interesting home.  Zen Gardens I think they called it.

I kid you not.  This place cost about the same as the cheapo hotel near the highway interchange when you added in all their outrageous dog fees.  No dog fees at the Zen House.

Lola enjoying her fancy accommodations.  Strummer was not so zen because of flies that kept getting in.  He's terrified of flies.  And the smoke detector.  That went off every time we used the shower.  The house was old and had some quirks but still so much better than a generic hotel.  Because how many generic hotels have chandeliers in the living room?  Or a living room?

We were in the best part of town, right next to the mountains rather than the highway.  So many nice trails just a couple of blocks away that we couldn't go on due to rain.

Thankfully the rain let up on Thursday but the trails were too muddy to ride, race officials asked us to stay off and thankfully people did.  So we went to Antelope Island instead.  Where we saw lots of buffalo but not much antelope.

It's a great place to go when you can't pre-ride for Nationals.  Wish I had thought to bring the bikes with.

Finally on Friday the trails were dry and the sun was back so we could pre-ride but I didn't want to do too much the day before the race so I only rode the Sardine Peak loop, a little over 8 miles.  I went nice and easy, stopping for lots of pictures and moments of whimsy.  And a gigantic bull moose.  No pix of that guy.

Race day was about as perfect as it gets.  Dramatic views on the drive back from dropping my stuff up at the second transition area up at Snowbasin.  There are 2 transition areas about 20-25 minutes apart so it's a lot of driving on race morning.

Driving back from Snowbasin to Pineview Reservoir where the race starts

It was hat and mittens weather while waiting for race start until the sun finally hit the transition area.  Other than that conditions were perfect.  Water was 64 degrees and I'd guess it was low 60's for the run, maybe even high 50's?  With a little breeze at times.  It was perfect.

Swim went off without a hitch despite the much larger crowd than last year.  Except someone snagged me with a super long, super sharp nail and put a good gash in my finger.  Given the chaos I guess I'm happy that's the worst that happened.  I managed to negotiate the crowds without getting too hung up except at the very start.  Drafted a bit here and there.  Ended up about a minute faster than last year though you never know how accurately the course is set from year to year.  Garmin had it a little long at 1842 yards (should have been 1640).  It's possible I swam off course but 200 yards?  I felt like I swam close to the buoys and my Garmin map showed me on course as well. 

Bike course was crowded.  So crowded.  There were 323 people compared to last year's 266 in the championship race.  Not sure about the citizens' races but those seemed way more crowded as well and they were causing the most congestion and passing issues for me.  Everybody was polite this year, no issues with rudeness but I feel like I lost a lot of time/energy/momentum having to slow down to either pass or let someone pass.  But the course was beautiful as usual.

Photos taken during pre-ride, some by Jonny who rode the whole course

Sardine Peak photos from my pre-ride

Looking down on Pineview Reservoir where we start our swim

The run was my best and fastest at Nationals, 4 minutes faster than last year.  Not bad for a trail 10K. I ran the whole thing except 2 super steep hills.  Usually I end up walking a good deal of it, especially miles 4 and 5.  Though I ended up saving the most time on the downhill sections.  This summer I finally discovered the solution to the side cramps I get when I run downhill so I did the whole race without any cramps. 

The mile splits where I ran instead of power walked were actually slightly slower (15-30 seconds) but I was going off of my Garmin and I noticed that Xterra's mile markers didn't match my Garmin so that could easily account for the discrepancy from last year.  Will be interesting to wear the Garmin again next year and compare apples to apples.  I've been working so hard on my running, was happy to finally see some improvement.  It was cooler this year for the run so that could have played a part.  I never got that overheated fatigue feeling that I think is what causes me to walk.  More run practice over the winter, maybe I'll finally be a runner again.

Strummer waiting for me on the run course.  He about pulled Jonny's arm off when I ran past and didn't stop.

He got plenty of snugs at the finish line though.  You can watch on the video montage.  Because who doesn't love a good montage?

Overall I was pleased with my race and so happy to be able to go to Nationals.  I was talking to a guy in the transition area after the race and he was disappointed with his placement.  He felt he'd put in a good effort but didn't get the placement he was hoping for.  He was an older guy, maybe my age group or one away.  And all I could think was how happy I was that I could even go and that I have the health and strength to finish such a race.  Placements are nice but . . . really I'm happy enough to be strong enough to be out there competing and enjoying the day.  I know so many people who struggle with health issues, chronic pain and general lack of fitness and mobility, people who struggle to get through everyday life never mind go climbing up mountains.  People who would love to be able to afford to train for and attend such a race.  I felt so lucky, I feel so lucky.  And I hope I have the same opportunity to go next year.

Final Stats

Swim:  34:00 swimming time/1842 yards, 1:51/100 yards (35:07, 2:08/100 yd. last year if 1500m)
             258/323 overall (188/266 last year), 58/86 women (84/110 last year), 6/11 age group
             (3/7 last year) 

Run Up Ramp to T1:  1:44 mins. (1:16 last year)

T1:  3:10 (4/11 age group)

Bike:  2:47:38/17.65 miles/6.32 mph (2:42:00/6.71 mph last year)  294/323 overall (240/266 last
           year), 88/96 women (73/86 last year), 9/11 age group (5/7 last year)

T2:  1:53 (1:51 last year) (5/11 age group)

Run:  1:26:08 for 5.87 miles/ 13:40 min/mile per Xterra, 14:40 min/mile actual  (1:30:16/14:27
          min/mile last year)  290/342 overall (249/266 last year), 85/96 women (73 or 77/86 last year),
          9/11 age group (6/7 last year)

    Run Splits:

    Mile 1:  17:24
    Mile 2:  12:47
   (Miles 1 and 2:  32:26 last year, 30:11 this year)
    Mile 3:  15:57 (16:30 last year)
    Mile 4:  15:49 (15:16 last year)
    Mile 5:  14:32  (14:17 last year)
    Mile 5.87:  9:39 (12:01 last year)

Final Time:  4:54:33 (4:53:31 last year),  286/323 overall (243/266 last year),  84/96 women
                    (75/86 last year), 9/11 age group (6/7 last year)